Where Is Your God?

Today’s reading is Psalm 42.

Twice, the psalmist is asked, “Where is your God?” Once when he’s in the drought. Once when he’s in the flood. There is nothing worse than feeling abandoned by God except possibly when the people around you are reminding you that you are abandoned by God.

“If you and God are so close, why isn’t He doing something about your situation?” “If your God was real, why is He letting this happen to you?” “If you really are God’s child, wouldn’t He take better care of you?”

And in this, we find Jesus. Isn’t this the temptation the devil offered in the wilderness? “If You are the Son of God, turn this stone to bread.” That is, “If You really are God’s Son, surely He wouldn’t let You starve.” “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself off this pinnacle. God will save You.” That is, “If You are really God’s Son, surely He wouldn’t let you get beat to death.”

And isn’t this what the people at the foot of the cross were saying. “If you are the Son of God, come down.” “He trusts in God, let God deliver Him.” All of this is just another way of asking, “Where is your God?”

So, let’s not be surprised when people ask us the same thing today. God doesn’t always work exactly as we expect. He certainly isn’t going to kowtow to the enemies and act at their beck and call just to prove Himself to them. Therefore, they will accuse us of being abandoned. Worse, they will accuse our God of not even existing. “Where is your God?” they will say.

One day He will answer. And His reply, if they have not given their allegiance to Jesus before that day, will be more than they ever bargained for.

Let us confess Jesus as Lord and bow our knee to Him before that day.

PODCAST!!!

Click here to take about 15 minutes to listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this post.

Discuss the Following Questions with Your Family

  1. What are your initial reactions to the psalm and the written devo above?
  2. Why is it so easy to get discouraged when folks in the world around us deny God’s existence?
  3. What tempts us to doubt God’s existence or care at times?
  4. What advice would you give to help us grow our faith in God who cannot be seen?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

Don’t Be a Heel!

Today’s reading is Psalm 41.

Many claim David was talking about either Absalom or Ahithophel when he declares his close friend had lifted up his heel against him. Jesus claims he was talking about Judas (see John 13:18).

Of course, David is not so much prophesying about Jesus and Judas. Jesus is saying, “That thing that happened to David. It is happening to Me and more so.”

But do you know what Jesus did with that heel that was lifted up against Him? He washed it. That is amazing. Not only that. He then turned around and went to the cross for it.

Sadly, Judas did more than lift a heel to Jesus. He was a heel. He wouldn’t accept the forgiveness offered. He wouldn’t seek the grace that was paid for. Instead, in his guilt and worldly sorrow, he killed himself.

Don’t be a heel. Don’t strike out at Jesus. But if you do, don’t be a stubborn heel. Turn back to the Lord. Let Him forgive you. Let His sacrifice atone for you. He was raised up to repay you. But His repayment is forgiveness for those who confess and repent.

Can we help you soften your heel? Can we help you put your foot back down and instead reach out your hand to the Lord? Let us know in the comments section.

Next week’s reading is Psalm 42.

PODCAST!!!

Click here to take about 15 minutes to listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this conversation.

Discuss the Following Questions with Your Family

  1. What are your initial reactions to the psalm and the written devo above?
  2. Would it be hard for you to wash the heel that was being lifted up against you?
  3. Have you ever lifted your heel up against Jesus? Think hard.
  4. How do we turn to Jesus today?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

Who Is in Control?

Today’s reading is Psalm 41.

Underneath Psalm 41:8 is an interesting claim. The ESV says the friends claim a “deadly thing” has been poured out on David. The word for deadly is similar to the word “Belial.” It is the word that means “worthless” (1 Samuel 25:25) and can also mean “destruction” (Psalm 18:4). It contains an underlying idea that David’s sickness is actually caused by demonic or unclean spirits. This actually brings up an amazing point we find in the Psalms.

In the ancient Near East, we learn that when folks from other nations wrote psalms, poems, laments, they often attributed their sicknesses and troubles to evil spirits, jinn, demons just as David’s enemies here do. But take a look at to whom David attributes control over his illness. Once again, David believes his illness is theosomatic. That is, he believes it is God’s discipline for his own sins.

I know it gives us just a bit of trouble to place God as the ultimate power behind all the things we read about in the psalms. However, the great blessing of that realization is God is the one in control. He is sovereign. If God is the one who is ultimately behind all these, then God is the one we must turn to when we face them.

No, this doesn’t mean every sickness we face is God’s specific discipline for a specific sin. Further, it doesn’t mean God is simply striking people with sickness right and left. But it does remind us God is the one in control. God is the one who can provide the healing. God is the one who can provide the deliverance. David’s sickness was not under the control of Belial, therefore David wasn’t going to die.

Whatever we face, whether it is because of our sins or just because of time and chance, it isn’t under the control of the enemy. It is under the control of God. Turn to Him. He is the one who can deliver. He is the only one who can deliver. He will deliver.

Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 41.

PODCAST!!!

Click here to take about 15 minutes to listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this conversation.

Discuss the Following Questions with Your Family

  1. What are your initial reactions to the psalm and the written devo above?
  2. Why are you glad that God is in control?
  3. Why is it hard to hang on to God when we are really sick or when enemies attack?
  4. What advice would you give to encourage others to hang on to God even when life is difficult and painful?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

My Enemies

Today’s reading is Psalm 41.

It hurts when you find out friends are actually enemies. To your face they say nice things, behind your back they spread secrets and lies. When you are around, they feign care about your life. In their hearts, they wish you were dead. When you are providing the meal, they eat your bread. When you are in your sickbed, they abandon you.

Have you ever been betrayed by a friend? Hurts like crazy, doesn’t it? David knew what that was like.

Friends are great. We all need them. But always remember who your actual hope is. God is the best friend. When friends fail us, God never will. Even when our friends become enemies, though they hurt us, they will not shout in triumph over us.

God always wins. Therefore, when we are with God, we always win. Hang on to your truest friend no matter what.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 41.

PODCAST!!!

Click here to take about 15 minutes to listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this conversation.

Discuss the Following Questions with Your Family

  1. What are your initial reactions to the psalm and the written devo above?
  2. What benefits and blessings do your friends provide you?
  3. Why does it hurt so bad when friends betray us?
  4. What advice would you give to help us make God our best friend?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

Lord, Be Gracious

Today’s reading is Psalm 41.

Based on David’s description of the Blessed Lord as the one who cares for and delivers the poor and needy, he describes the request he had made beginning in vs. 4: “O Lord, be gracious to me.” He comes back to the main request in vs. 10: “But you, O Lord, be gracious to me…”

In this first book of Psalms, David has requested the Lord be gracious to him eight times, not counting these two requests (see Psalm 4:1; 6:2; 9:13; 25:16; 26:11; 27:7; 30:8 [“merciful”]; 31:9).

It is so hard to accept this grace and mercy, isn’t it? When we can look back and see our sins, when we are convinced our troubles are the result of our sin, when others are reminding us of our sin, mercy and grace are hard to seek.

On top of that, mercy and grace are just difficult to seek. Most of us don’t want mercy and grace. Most of us just want God to be patient with us. “Hang on, Lord, I’ll prove I’m better than my sins.” “Just watch and see, Lord, I’ll show you I deserve Your favor.” It is hard to ask the Lord to just be gracious to us, to give us what we don’t deserve. We so desperately want to deserve it.

Of course, this recognition that we can’t earn God’s favor doesn’t mean there are no conditions. Even David says God will uphold him because of his integrity (vs. 12). In this psalm, as in 26:11, we have a sinner who has integrity. In other words, we are sinners who deserve judgment, but we can submit to the Lord’s righteousness. We are not totally depraved or utterly incapable. God does expect sinners to turn to Him in integrity. He does expect us to meet conditions without which He will not save us. The condition is not, of course, sinless perfection. It is not earning the favor. But neither can we expect to be saved by God if we decide to continue to walk in the counsel of the wicked, stand in the paths of sinners, or sit in the seat of the scornful. We must walk in integrity. We must walk the Lord’s path. Yes, we will fall. But the Lord is gracious.

Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 41.

PODCAST!!!

Click here to take about 15 minutes to listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this post.

Discuss the Following Questions with Your Family

  1. What are your initial reactions to the psalm and the written devo above?
  2. What comfort do you get from the Lord’s grace and mercy?
  3. What struggles do you have with seeking the Lord’s grace and mercy?
  4. What do you think of the difference between earning grace and meeting conditions to receive grace?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

A Body for an Ear

Today’s reading is Psalm 40.

In case you wonder whether we are allowed to find Jesus in psalms where the psalmist proclaims his own sinfulness (as we’ve done in the past), the Hebrew writer finds Jesus in Psalm 40. In Hebrews 10:5-7, the author is talking about Jesus and applies this quote to Him:

Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body you have prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’

However, you may have noticed a difference. Psalm 40 says, “You have given me an open ear.” Hebrews says, “A body you have prepared for me.” This is because the author of Hebrews is quoting from the Greek translation. Honestly, I’m not quite sure why the Greek translation turns receiving an “open ear” into a “body.” Frankly, trying to figure that out is above my pay grade.

Here’s what is fascinating. In Psalm 40, David’s point is God wants more than sacrifice from David. He wants submission. He wants obedience. He wants sincerity. That is, there is no room for “sin all you want as long as you offer the sacrifice.” Yes, David, sacrifice is available when you need it. But don’t let that be permission to sin. Put the Law in your heart and follow it. However, when the Hebrew author quotes it, he ends up at almost the opposite point. The whole point in Hebrews is that God does want a sacrifice. Jesus is that sacrifice. He is the offering once for all that God did want.

The point seems to be that God wanted a plan that would get rid of sacrifice and offering. Therefore, He prepared a body for the Son of David that would be the ultimate sacrifice. When the Son of David came to do the will of God that was recorded for Him in the scroll of the book, it was to be the ultimate sacrifice that made all other sacrifices unnecessary.

What an amazing King we have. How can we do anything but shout, “Great is the Lord!”

PODCAST!!!

Click here to take about 15 minutes to listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this post.

Discuss the Following Questions with Your Family

  1. What are your initial reactions to the psalm and the written devo above?
  2. Why are you thankful for Jesus’s ultimate sacrifice?
  3. How does this psalm make the point that we aren’t supposed to let sacrifice be a license to sin?
  4. How can you put God’s law in your heart and avoid sin?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

Help Me, Yahweh! You’re My Only Hope!

Today’s reading is Psalm 39.

My life is fleeting. Money isn’t helpful. I’m actually just a sojourner. Then what is this life all about?

David asks the question this way, “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?” That is, “What hope do I have?” His answer? “My hope is in you.”

Honestly, this is were we find Jesus. What was David really waiting for? Jesus. Jesus removes transgressions. Jesus removes our scorn. God removed the stroke from us and placed it on Jesus.

Looking forward, David didn’t fully understand exactly what his hope was. Looking back through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, we do. What hope do we have in money, houses, cars, retirement accounts, gizmos, gadgets, etc.? What hope do we have in this life? What hope do we actually have in the future generations? What hope do we have? Yahweh is our only hope. Jesus is our only hope.

But what an amazing hope He is! Praise the Lord!

Next week’s reading is Psalm 40.

PODCAST!!!

Click here to take about 15 minutes to listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this conversation?

Discuss the Following Questions with Your Family

  1. What are your initial reactions to the psalm and the written devo above?
  2. Do you see Jesus in this psalm in any other ways than mentioned in the devo above?
  3. What other things do people put their hope in besides Yahweh and Jesus? What does that look like?
  4. What does putting our hope completely in Jesus look like in our daily lives?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

Sojourners

Today’s reading is Psalm 39.

“For I am a sojourner with you, a guest, like all my fathers.”

Certainly, this calls to mind the principles we’ve covered the past couple of days about the fleeting nature of this life and the ultimate emptiness of wealth. We are sojourners, temporary residents. This isn’t where we plan on spending eternity with God. We are looking forward to something more, something better. Laying up treasures in our sojourn would be like investing a bunch of money in the house we are renting knowing full well we are going to be buying a different house in the next couple of years.

However, there may be a bit more to this idea of sojourner than just recalling the above principles.

This statement is practically a quote from when David prayed at the collection to prepare for the temple. In 1 Chronicles 29:15, David prayed, “For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth a like a shadow, and there is no abiding.” In context, this statement is a recognition that every bit of financial blessing they had was actually God’s anyway. They were giving to the building of the temple, but it wasn’t like they were actually giving. They were just conduits for God to provide for His own house. It was His stuff anyway.

But this statement is anchored in Leviticus 25:23. God said none of the Israelites actually owned the land. The land was His. The Israelites were strangers and sojourners on it. Therefore, they couldn’t sell the land in perpetuity as if they owned it. In other words, even the old homestead was a gift from God. They were living on what God had provided.

Finally, there is another aspect of this that fits very well into the context of the end of Psalm 39. In Deuteronomy 24:17-22, we see direction on how God expected Israel to treat sojourners. They were not allowed to pervert justice to the sojourner. Further, they were supposed to provide for the sojourner, even the poor sojourner. They were to care for the sojourner. In other words, David is, in a very real sense, asking God, “You remember how you told us to treat sojourners when they were in need and crying out? Treat me the same way.”

And we can be assured God did treat him with that kind of care. We can be assured He will treat us with the same kind of care. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 39.

PODCAST!!!

Click here to take about 15 minutes to listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this post.

Discuss the Following Questions with Your Family

  1. What are your initial reactions to the psalm and the written devo above?
  2. Which aspect of sojourners in the above devo is most comforting to you? Why?
  3. Why is it hard to remember that here on earth we are just sojourners?
  4. How do you think we can spend more time focused on our eternal home with God instead of focusing on our sojourning time here?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

You Better Believe We Can Find Jesus in Psalm 38

Today’s reading is Psalm 38.

What do you mean you don’t think we can find Jesus in Psalm 38? Have you even read it?

“There is no soundness in my flesh…there is no health in my bones…my wounds stink and fester…I am utterly bowed down and prostrate…I am feeble and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart.” Doesn’t that sound like Jesus on the cross?

“O Lord, all my longing is before you…My heart throbs; my strength fails, and the light of my eyes–it also has gone from me. My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague, and my nearest of kin stand far off.” That doesn’t remind you of Jesus at His trial and then His crucifixion?

This psalm is about someone who has enemies laying snares for him, meditating treachery against him. Yet, the whole time he is silent before them. He has vigorous foes and enemies who hate him wrongfully. They render him evil though he has done good for them.

Seriously?! You can’t see Jesus in this?

“Well, Edwin, I mean, yeah those things sound like Jesus, but what about all the sin in this psalm? Jesus didn’t sin. Maybe we can find Jesus in most of the psalms, but surely, we aren’t supposed to find Jesus in this one.”

This struggle is what makes this psalm so profound, especially when we read it through the lens of Jesus. After all, this psalm sounds exactly like Jesus…except for the sin. David went through all this bad stuff, but he did so because of sin. How did God respond to that? He responded by coming into this world and enduring all the bad stuff just like David did. Except Jesus did it without sinning. Jesus went through every bit of this psalm, just like David. Except without the folly. And because Jesus did it without folly and sin, He was able to offer the sacrifice that allowed David to get the forgiveness he was seeking in this psalm.

Jesus came into the world and His life looked just like ours except without sin. He went through what we go through. He faced the struggles. He dealt with the physical trauma, the emotional torment, the relational turmoil. He even went through death. What’s the one difference? He didn’t sin. And because He didn’t, we can turn to God and find forgiveness.

Praise God! We can, in fact, find Jesus in Psalm 38.

Next week’s reading is Psalm 39.

PODCAST!!!

Click here to take about 15 minutes to listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this post.

Discuss the Following Questions with Your Family

  1. What are your initial reactions to the psalm and the written devo above?
  2. Are you surprised to find Jesus in Psalm 38?
  3. What comfort do you get from recognizing Jesus throughout the psalm, but with the one major difference that all the sin stuff doesn’t apply to Him?
  4. How does finding Jesus in this psalm help us recognize that God really is, as the last verse says, “my salvation”?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

The Future of the Blameless, Upright Man of Peace

Today’s reading is Psalm 37.

Psalm 37 is not a foretelling of Jesus. We don’t read Psalm 37 and start looking for someone who fulfills certain verses so we can know that person is the ultimate Messiah.

However, when you have a man on trial as a criminal and you can’t actually get real testimony against Him…

When you bring a man before the magistrate, governor, or king and they have to say, “I find no wrong in Him”…

When the governor’s wife is sending him messages to leave this innocent man alone…

You might want to remember the psalm that says:

Mark the blameless and behold the upright,
for there is a future for the man of peace.
But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed;
the future of the wicked shall be cut off.

Psalm 37:37-38

Certainly, it looks like there is no future for that innocent Man up there on that cross. But understand, things aren’t always what they seem. Just as the sprawling green tree isn’t actually as blessed as it appears, the Man hanging on the tree is not what He appears either.

He isn’t going to perish. He isn’t going to vanish away. Even if you kill Him, He has a future. But you will be cut off. You will be judged. You will be destroyed.

As we look back at Jesus, we should see how He lived this psalm. We should see His example in the face of enemies. He didn’t fret. Rather, He committed Himself and His way to the Father. He trusted God and waited on Him. He didn’t wait on Him until the very last second, see that He was going to die, and decide to take things into His own hands. He waited on the Father until time ran out. Then on the third day, we all discovered time doesn’t run out for God.

Do we ever look around at the wicked who appear blessed in this modern world and fret? Do we get all bent out of shape because if somebody doesn’t do something, they might start taking away our political rights and they might even start to imprison and kill us? How did Jesus handle it when that happened? Perhaps we should take a page out of His book. You know, a page out of the psalms. Maybe specifically we should take out page 37.

Really, it’s going to be okay. God’s got this. Even if you die, you win. That’s the way it worked for our King. That’s the way it will work for us.

Today’s reading is Psalm 38.

PODCAST!!!

Click here to take about 15 minutes to listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this post.

Discuss the Following Questions with Your Family

  1. What are your initial reactions to the psalm and the written devo above?
  2. Read through the psalm again. Now that you are thinking about the blameless and upright man of peace, Jesus, what else do you see in the psalm that makes you think of Him?
  3. How did Jesus live by this psalm for His whole life including His death?
  4. What will our lives look like when we follow His example and this psalm?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?