Today’s reading is Psalm 27.
Bible trivia: I asked the Lord to let me see His face. He set me on the rock. He covered me. I saw his goodness. I asked the Lord not to abandon me, but to go with me. Who am I?
That’s right! I’m Moses. We can read about this in Exodus 33-34. Israel had sinned with the golden calf and the Lord was threatening to abandon them. Moses interceded and asked to see the Lord’s glory. God explained no one could see His face and live, so He placed Moses in the cleft of the rock, covered him, then passed by and let him see His goodness. Finally, He agreed that he would go with Moses and Israel. Now, here’s the really cool part. God demonstrated His presence in Exodus 40 by having His glory fill the tent of meeting. By day it was a pillar of smoke, by night a pillar of fire.
But wait! Psalm 27 shows that it is David too. David is channeling Moses in this psalm. Why was David so completely confident in his Psalm 27 prayer? Because he knew what kind of God he served. He knew how the Lord had worked with Moses, he was certain God still worked that same way. He knew the Lord would let him see His goodness. He knew the Lord would set him on the rock and cover him with protection. He knew the Lord would not forsake and abandon him but bestow His presence and favor. It’s what God does. It’s what God has always done. It’s what He still does. Praise the Lord!!!
Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 27.
Click here to take about 15 minutes and listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this post.
Continue reading “Channeling Moses”
Today’s reading is Psalm 25.
Today, I want to share with you the second most important lesson I’ve ever learned about prayer. The most important lesson is that prayer, whatever aspect of prayer I’m practicing, is always about God’s glory and not mine. We find that all over the psalms. But the second most important lesson is demonstrated in this psalm. Many commentators talk about how hard it is to get a hold of this psalm. Is it a lament? Is it a meditation? Is it a prayer? Is it a praise? They struggle with the outline and wonder at the mixture of prayer and meditation. But the reality is this psalmist is not only teaching prayer, but teaching one of the number one keys to effective praying. This psalm goes back and forth between prayer to God and meditation on God because the psalmist is praying and then meditating on the reason for the prayer. This is part of prayer that I skipped for a very long time. When we plan our praying and embark on a prayer, we should consider, what about God would remotely make Him willing to respond to what I’m praying right now? What about God’s character, nature, word, will, promises leads me to believe God will remotely want to respond to what I’m laying out before Him? The psalmist anticipates a problem with his trek up God’s holy hill. I’m a sinner. He knows the only way to deal with that is if God forgives him. But why would God do that? Why should the psalmist remotely expect God to respond to the request to “Remember not the sins of my youth”? Why should the psalmist remotely expect God to forgive his sins and then protect him from his enemies? Because of Exodus 34:6-7. Because God had revealed to Moses and to Israel His very nature. His character. His name. His name is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, forgiving transgression, iniquity, and sin. And so the psalmist has a reason to pray this prayer. “Don’t remember my sins, Lord. Remember Your name.” And therefore, the psalmist asks the Lord to act for His name’s sake and pardon his guilt. That was the psalmist’s reason for this prayer. When you bow, what is the reason God should or would respond to the request you are making? Think it through. Tie it to the Biblical reason, and then offer it up to God. You’ll be amazed at what this practice will do to improve your praying.
Today’s reading is Psalm 26.
Click here to take about 15 minutes and listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this post!
Continue reading “A Reason to Pray”
Today’s reading is Psalm 24.
Some believe this psalm was written when David had the Ark brought to Jerusalem. Others believe it was when Solomon brought the Ark into the temple. Still others believe it was written much later and simply a memorial of these trips. Honestly, I don’t have a dog in this fight at all. The bigger point that we should see is not about the Ark of the Covenant at all. The bigger point is about the King of glory! And who is the King of glory? Jesus, of course! Certainly, when He was first brought to the temple there were a couple of people who tried to point out the reception He should receive (think Anna and Simeon). And the second time He came to the temple, teachers were astonished. However, when Jesus grew up, He should have been hoisted on the shoulders of the people, brought into the temple this song being sung. When He cleansed the temple of the money changers, He should have been lauded and applauded. He should have been asked, “What else shall we do to serve You, King of Glory?” He should have been praised and worshiped universally. The people should have realized He was actually too big to be housed in that temple. But, instead, the Jews believed they were defending the temple by keeping Jesus out of it. Instead of marching Him up Zion’s hill and letting Him take His rightful place on the throne of God in the Holy of Holies, they marched Him up Golgotha’s hill outside the gate and nailed Him to a cross. He was and is the King of glory, the Lord of hosts, strong and mighty, mighty in battle. And Israel failed. Their hands were defiled with the blood of Jesus. Their hearts were divided against their true King. They did lift up their souls to what was false. They did swear deceitfully. And they did not receive their blessing. But as many as did receive Him and believed in His name were given the right to become children of God and subjects of the one, true King of Glory, Jesus Christ. Which choice have you made?
Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 24.
Click here to take about 15 minutes and listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this post!
Continue reading “Israel’s Great Failure”
Today’s reading is Psalm 10.
If Psalm 10 is a continuation of Psalm 9, the psalmist himself is under affliction (Psalm 9:13). By itself, Psalm 10 only recognizes a great deal of affliction going on in the world. Either way, the psalmist’s #1 concern isn’t actually about the affliction. Rather, the psalmist is most concerned about…are you ready for this? God’s reputation. (Yeah, the post’s title should have clued you in.) Even in Psalm 9:13-14, the psalmist wants mercy, deliverance, and salvation so he can recount God’s praises. In Psalm 10, his concern is about the terrible things being said about God because there is so much affliction going on in the world. Those seeming to get away with sin claim “There is no God” (vs. 4). In vs. 11, they claim “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.” In vs. 13, the wicked renounce God and claim “You will not call to account.” In vs. 6, though God is not specifically mentioned, the sinful claim, “I shall not be moved; throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.” That is, “What is God going to do about this?” Certainly, the psalmist decries these statements as godless and wicked in and of themselves, but vs. 13 demonstrates his concern is that because God is standing so far off, the wicked believe they have justification for their claims. In other words, the psalmist is not saying, “God, come do something about this affliction because I’m tired of the pain.” He is saying, “Come do something about this so everyone will know who You really are. Come closer so the atheists, agnostics, skeptics, rebels, and other sinners won’t have a leg to stand on.” I have to ask about my own praying. When I lay out supplications and intercessions, is that my concern? Is my goal in prayer my comfort or God’s glory? The psalmist was squarely in the God’s glory camp. Where are you in your prayers?
Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 10.
Continue reading “God’s Reputation”
Today’s reading is Psalm 8.
Oh Yahweh, our Master, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! What well-known praise. How deserving our God is of such praise. But His glory is not just in the earth. It is not just over the earth. It is above the heavens. Certainly, we are not to see this geographically, as if the throne of God is “up” from the earth above the sun, moon, stars and the great expanse of space. Yet, as we envision the hierarchy of the universe, we see the glory of the earth, then we see the glory of the heavens, then way above that is the glory of God. As Psalm 113:4 says, “The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens!” But then the psalm goes on to say, “Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth?” That is the view from God’s throne. He is lofty and lifted up above. We have to look up to see the heavens, so small are we. God looks down to see the heavens and then looks through them to see the earth. That is the greatness of our God. How majestic is His name in all the earth!
Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 8.
Continue reading “The View from God’s Throne”
Today’s reading is Acts 12.
Well, that’s not fair. James gets executed, but Peter gets delivered. How can that be right? Surely God understands that whatever blessing you give to one child, you have to give to them all. And yet, James gets executed, and Peter gets delivered. Did this mean James wasn’t right with God, but Peter was? Of course not. Rather, it means God is not obligated to give the exact same blessing to every one of His children. He gives the blessings to us that will most glorify Him and most help us be glorified in the end. Rather than comparing our blessings with one another, we need to be like Peter and James. That is, use the blessings we have as long as we have them for God’s glory. And if God gives someone else different blessings, let’s be thankful they have the opportunity to glorify God with them. Praise the Lord!
Tomorrow’s reading is Acts 12.
Continue reading “On Life, Death, and God’s Uneven Blessings”
Today’s reading is Acts 2.
Peter demonstrates the intersection of God’s foreknowledge and man’s action. Jesus’s crucifixion was not a shock to God. He had known it was going to happen. Not only that, He had planned for it to happen. Yet, Peter tells the Jews, “God delivered Jesus up, but you crucified Him.” When folks try to walk through the issues of foreknowledge philosophically, they get wrapped around the axle. Were the Jews bound to crucify Jesus? Of course not. If they hadn’t crucified Him, God would have foreknown something else. However, before our minds explode trying to keep all of this straight, can we simply notice what Peter, by inspiration of the Spirit, explains? Even though God foreknew this was going to happen, these Jews were still responsible for their actions. They chose their actions. They were not bound to those actions. They were not manipulated by God to accomplish those actions. They were not forced by God. In like manner, whatever God knows about us and our future, when we choose to do it, we are responsible for it. However, let us never think we are going to outsmart God. These folks crucified the Son of God, but they did nothing but accomplish what God wanted. We can fight all we want against God, He will be glorified in the end. He will either be glorified by our defeat as we try to fight against Him and fail, or He will be glorified by our surrender, as we give our lives up in service to Him and He saves us. No matter what, God is glorified. We might as well pursue the side that allows us salvation. Praise the Lord He has offered that option to us.
Today’s reading is Acts 2.
Continue reading “You Crucified; God Delivered”
Today’s reading is Luke 19.
Which of the servants won? I mean, obviously the servant who wrapped up his mina in a handkerchief lost. But what about between the other two. Which one won? Both are congratulated by the nobleman/king. Both are awarded cities to rule in the nobleman’s new kingdom. Granted, the 10 mina fellow received more cities and even got the 1 mina man’s mina. But the question seems silly because we understand this wasn’t a competition. Both the 10 mina servant and the 5 mina servant won, but neither of them beat the 1 mina man. Neither did one beat the other. In fact, when I recognize that both of them attributed their success to the mina they were given and not to their own investing prowess, I realize even more how little competition there was between them. Were the mina’s competing? Of course not. This is a problem I often have. I compete. I tend to view everything as a competition. If my wife and I are driving separate cars to the same location, it automatically becomes a race, and I think getting there first says something about my personal value and self-worth. It’s really kind of ridiculous. I find it hard to listen to other preachers because in my mind I’m thinking how I could have done it better or how I could never have done as well as they did or how I would have done it differently. Then I’m wondering if the audience likes the preacher they are hearing now better than they like me and my preaching. I recently read this line in a book:
“Relationships that involve competition may give us a fleeting sense of connection. ‘At least we’re all in this together,’ we may think. But in the end it’s hard to count on a friend who is also an opponent.”*
When I grasp that it is the Master’s mina that is doing the heavy lifting, I can drop the competition. It’s not about me. My job is merely to put the Master’s mina to the best use I can. The Master can decide what kind of return to give it and what kind of fruit to let it bear (just to mix metaphors). In the end, whether the Master’s mina produces 10 minas, 5 minas, or only 1 mina for us, we win. The only time we lose is when we think it is a competition about our ability and decide not to use the Master’s mina.
Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 19.
Continue reading “Who Wins?”
Today’s reading is Revelation 16.
Of course, there are some differences, but don’t these bowls of wrath sound familiar? Painful sores, darkness, water turned to blood, hail. Obviously, the Holy Spirit is again calling to mind the plagues of God on Egypt. Further, He is calling to mind Pharaoh’s own hardness of heart that refused to repent and give glory to God. However, notice right in the middle of this the interjection, “Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!” Does that sound familiar to you? It should. It is a mixture of what Jesus said to the church at Sardis in Revelation 3:2-3 and to the church at Laodicea in Revelation 3:18. Smack in the middle of all this judgment coming on the Bride’s enemies, there is a reminder that these messages are for us, the Bride, the church, as well. This is not simply an issue of insiders and outsiders. This is not just an issue of having gone through some entrance requirements, having our name on the role, paying our weekly dues, and now it doesn’t matter how we live. We who make up the Bride are to stand against the enemy as much as God is to judge the enemy. How often do Christians end up turning their back on the Lord because of hardship instead of repenting and giving glory to God. Remember, no matter what, God is the Savior. He is the Lord. He is the deliverer. Even when it looks like He is going to lose, even when we can’t understand why He is behaving as He is, He deserves glory. Whether you are in the church or without, let God’s disciplines accomplish their goal. Do not curse God and die, rather surrender to God and give Him the glory. I promise you, in the end, you’ll be glad you did.
Tomorrow’s reading is Revelation 17.
Continue reading “Repent and Give God the Glory”
Today’s reading is Revelation 15.
When the Babylonians took Solomon’s temple apart, the glory of God was gone. When Zerubbabel and Joshua rebuilt the temple, however, there was no visible manifestation of the Lord’s glory. When Herod refurbished the temple, there was no manifestation of the Lord’s glory in the temple. However, under Jesus Christ, the sanctuary not made with hands in the heavens is full of the glory of the Lord. Here is the picture of victory. In fact, it is the same picture that demonstrated victory in Exodus. We often think the crossing of the Red Sea is the climax of Exodus. Not so. The climax is when the glory of the Lord enters the tabernacle. God had sent the plagues on the enemies, He had delivered Israel through the Red Sea, He had brought them to Mt. Sinai. But the climax is when God shows His abiding presence by entering the tabernacle. That is exactly what is going on here. God has sent plagues of judgment and will continue to do so in the next chapter. But the real glory is that He is in the midst of His people. He takes residence in the sanctuary, which is His church. The promises of restoration are fulfilled not in a temple rebuilt on earth, but in the heavenly temple of God’s house. Praise the Lord! He dwells with His people.
Tomorrow’s reading is Revelation 16.
Continue reading “The Glory of God”