Seek the Lord! Before It’s Too Late!

Today’s reading is Psalm 32.

David isn’t bragging about his own forgiveness in the Lord. He is using it as a basis to teach everyone about forgiveness. He basically says, “Hey you guys! Look at me. I sinned. I sinned big. I didn’t want to talk about it. I tried to cover it up. But the Lord saw. He disciplined. I finally confessed. You know what God did? He forgave me.”

Then, in vs. 6, he turns to his audience and says, “Be like me. I know you all have sinned. Let my forgiveness be an example to you. Our God forgives. Seek Him while He may be found.” Whoa! Wait a minute! “While He may be found”? Does that mean there will come a time when He won’t be found?

Yes! That is absolutely what that means.

Folks who are postponing their repentance have no idea the danger they are putting themselves in. While it is true that you will be forgiven any time you repent and for anything of which you repent, you need to understand that the longer you push off repentance, the harder it is for you to do it. It is never easier than today to repent and seek the Lord. The more you sin, the more you postpone repentance, the harder your heart becomes, the harder it is for that shell to be broken.

Further, you have no idea when the full judgment for your sins is actually going to take place. Trying to wait until just before that moment of judgment to repent is not actually repenting. The days are evil. Make the most of today by repenting and confessing right now. You may not have tomorrow.

But if you do seek the Lord while He can be found, then the great rush of waters will not reach you. Yes, that ought to call to mind the great rush of waters that came in the days of Noah. Once the rain starts to fall and the Ark is closed, its too late to seek the Lord.

Seek the Lord! Before it’s too late!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 32.

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.

Continue reading “Seek the Lord! Before It’s Too Late!”

Saved by Dismay

Today’s reading is Psalm 30.

David begins the psalm explaining why he will extol the Lord. “For you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me. O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.” Now, we must be careful at this point lest we make a mistake later in the psalm. In Psalm 30:7, David declares he was dismayed. The next verse repeats his earlier claim of crying out to the Lord. We may be tempted to believe David was saved from his dismay. But that isn’t what is happening at all. God did not save David from dismay; God saved David by dismay. I know, shocking, right? Look at what has happened. Because of the prosperity he had received by God’s grace, David had become overconfident in himself. He was believing his own press. He was forgetting God. So, God hid His face from David. He made his mountain quake. He caused David to dismay. It was this dismay that reminded David from where his strength actually came. It was the dismay that caused him to turn back to Yahweh. Like Peter sinking in the water (Matthew 14:30) or Paul’s thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7-10), the Lord allows us to face dismay because it can save us. Of course, we have to respond to it properly. Sadly, some people decide if they face dismay God must not be out there or God doesn’t care and abandon God further. Don’t respond to your dismay in that way. Rather, when you experience dismay, turn even closer to God. Grab hold of him even more. He will hear your cries. He will respond. He will lift you up out of the waters. And after all this is done, David decides to extol God. Not because God saved him from his dismay, but because God saved him by his dismay.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 30.

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David’s Victory Song!

Today’s reading is Psalm 29.

I hope when you read the title of this post, it prompted you to think, “Wait a minute! Didn’t we already have this post? Didn’t we talk about this last week?” Yes, we had a very similar post last week. You may want to go back and read David’s song in Psalm 28:8-9. It is actually quite similar to Psalm 29:10-11. Both highlight how God is the strength of His people. In fact, it prompts me to see that Psalm 29 may well be the final psalm in the series we’ve been tracking since Psalm 23. Throughout these psalms, David wants to dwell in the Lord’s house, but he is afraid. To dwell in the Lord’s house, you have to have a pure heart and clean hands. David, however, is a sinner. It’s a good thing David’s God is merciful and gracious, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin. But David seems to have a fear. Will God remember him according to God’s own steadfast love and faithfulness or according to the works of David’s hands? Will God draw David into His dwelling place or drag him off with the wicked in judgment? In Psalm 28:6-7, David declared God heard his plea. God had responded. He was making a distinction between David and the wicked. And what do we get next? Psalm 29. It is a song that exults, glorifies, and magnifies God. It’s a song that causes everyone in God’s temple, God’s house, the place where David wants to dwell, to cry out, “Glory.” But then notice this. We’ve been tracking the story of a storm. And in Psalm 29:10, David tells us which storm he’s actually talking about. The storm that shook the earth and covered the mountains in the day’s of Noah. The Lord sat enthroned over the “flood.” The only other place that word translated “flood” is used is in Genesis 6-11 (and we find it there 12 times). Do you know what the flood was? It was the classic example of God’s ability to judge the wicked, sweeping them away, while saving the people who trusted in the Lord. And that Lord still sits enthroned. And because He is still King, we know this: God knows those who are His. What an amazing God and King we serve! Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 29.

PODCAST!!!

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The God of Thunder

Today’s reading is Psalm 29.

He’s not the god of hammers. Actually, he’s not the god of anything. He isn’t real. For those who aren’t into Marvel comics or movies, I’m talking about Thor. As Captain America said, “There’s only one God, Ma’am; and I’m pretty sure He doesn’t dress like that.” Of course, when Psalm 29 was written, no one had even heard of Thor. Ba’al on the other hand was big stuff in the nations around David. In Israel, Ba’al the god of thunder, lightning, and storms, may well have been Yahweh’s biggest competition. Some scholars suggest Psalm 29 was actually co-opted by David from Ba’al worshipers. They see David as answering the false idol worshipers by taking one of their own songs and making it about Yahweh. If that were true, that wouldn’t bother me. It wouldn’t change the message of the psalm. However, it seems to me the evidence for the claim is kind of scanty. At the same time, there is no doubt David is straight up shutting down Ba’al worship. As David describes a massive storm starting over the Mediterranean, quaking Mt. Hermon north of Israel, passing through Israel to shake the southern wilderness of Kadesh, he helps us viscerally experience the power of Yahweh’s voice. Ba’al’s voice, on the other hand, isn’t doing anything. After all, Ba’al doesn’t actually have a voice (see Psalm 115:5). Yahweh is king. Yahweh has always been king. Yahweh will always be king. Yahweh’s voice creates. Yahweh’s voice destroys. And if you want to know what it is like to hear Yahweh’s voice, go stand out in the middle of the hurricane. That is how powerful Yahweh’s voice is. Worship Him. Worship only Him.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 29.

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Who are the Wicked?

Today’s reading is Psalm 28.

Back in Psalm 24, when David was explaining the qualifications for those who can actually climb God’s Holy Hill, he said they had to have clean hands and a pure heart. Now, in Psalm 28, when he is scared he might get dragged off with the wicked, he brings us back to their deceitful hearts and defiled hands. As we consider who these people might be, we can imagine all kinds of terrible, awful, vile, violent, immoral things these people who deserve the titles “wicked” and “workers of evil” have done. And there is certainly a whole gambit of possibilities. Interestingly enough, it might include a list of sins that David committed. You know, adultery and murder. Look again through the psalm, however, and see if you can spot what actually makes someone wicked. Do you see it in vs. 5? “Because they do not regard the works of the Lord or the work of his hands, he will tear them down and build them up no more.” In fact, do you notice how there is a shift in personal reference for the Lord in this verse? In vss. 1-4, David is referring to the Lord in second person (you, your). In vs. 5, it switches to third person (He, His). David is drawing attention to this verse to highlight that it is not merely prayer, but instruction. It is wisdom from the Lord. And what actually marks the wicked as wicked? Not regarding the Lord. Not regarding the work of the Lord’s hands. This may cause all kinds of activities we think of as evil. Or it may just cause someone to eat a fruit from a forbidden tree. It may just cause someone to offer a different fire on the alter. It may just cause someone to reach out and touch the Ark of the Covenant. It may just cause someone to start worshiping a bronze serpent that God commissioned to be made. It may even cause someone to put more faith in the Jerusalem Temple than in Jesus Christ. The fact is people won’t be dragged away in judgment because their sins were worse than everyone else’s. Folks will be dragged away in judgment because they had more regard for the works of their own hands than the works of God’s hands. God’s view of wicked is different from ours. That’s why David, an adulterer and murderer, doesn’t get dragged off with the wicked. He had regard for God and God’s work as demonstrated by his humble repentance. That’s why Saul got dragged away, he ultimately didn’t as demonstrated by consulting the medium on his final day. And that will be the ultimate distinction between those in Christ’s kingdom and those cast into the outer darkness. Whose work are you regarding?

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 28.

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Saved from God

Today’s reading is Psalm 28.

David is begging for mercy. He is afraid he will be like those who go down to the pit. But what does he want to be saved from? What is he actually afraid is going to happen? He mentions the wicked, workers of evil, and those who have falsehood in their heart. It is no wonder so many people believe David is asking God to deliver him from wicked people. There are many psalms in which David is doing exactly that. However, read the psalm again. In which verse does David speak of what these wicked people are doing to him? In which verse does David speak of needing rescue from his enemies? Shockingly, when we slow down and don’t just read into this psalm what we’ve read in other psalms, we see those things are actually missing here. Of whom is David really afraid in this psalm? Be honest. David is afraid of God. David is afraid that God, when He brings judgment on the wicked, the evil, the false, will drag him off as well. David is afraid of being swallowed up in God’s judgment. David wants to be saved from God and His wrath. This really fits with the series of psalms we’ve been reading. In Psalm 23, David expresses that he wants to dwell in the Lord’s house. In Psalm 24, he describes the qualifications for dwelling in the house. But then in Psalm 25, he hits a snag. He knows he doesn’t qualify. However, he serves a merciful God who is full of loyal love and is faithful to His covenants. Praise the Lord! That is the only reason David can be assured he will dwell in the holy hill. So, he begs God to remember him according to God’s mercy, not according to David’s sin. But David knows the wicked will be remembered according to their sins. They will be remembered for the works of their hands. What hope does David have? There is nothing he can offer God. He can’t earn His way into the sanctuary of the Lord. He can only turn toward it and beg for mercy. He is the tax collector whose only recourse is to cry out, “Be merciful to me the sinner.” More than that, he is a stalk of wheat in the midst of tares. Can he be sure that he won’t get cut down and cast into the fire with the wicked? That is exactly where we all are. We don’t really need to be saved from the wicked people. What we really need is to be saved from God’s wrath. Isn’t that what Paul says Jesus does for us in Romans 5:6-11? Absolutely. David begged that God would not sweep him away with the wicked. God’s response was to let Jesus die for David. That is His response for us as well. And if God was willing to sacrifice Jesus to save us from His wrath, don’t you think He is paying attention to which folks are actually in Jesus? Of course, He is. In fact, isn’t that the message of Revelation 7:1-12? The Lord knows who are His. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 28.

PODCAST!!!

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

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But I Love These Guys!

Today’s reading is Psalm 21.

As we acknowledged yesterday, the last half of Psalm 21 is hard for us to stomach. The declaration of judgment is hard to swallow. It is full of consuming fire, encompassing destruction, engulfing death. The enemies will be found out. They will face God’s wrath. They will be consumed as in a fiery furnace. More than that, their descendants will be cut off from the earth. The Lord, either directly or through His king, will not only put them to flight but will fire His arrows into their faces. And this pulls us up short. Some of these enemies are co-workers that we admire. Some are neighbors whose company we enjoy. Some of them are friends we like. Some of them are family members we love. And this just doesn’t seem right. Sure, back in those barbaric days of ancient, land-grabbing warriors, this kind of thing was taken well, but today? It is as if we have forgotten that almost all of the Israel’s enemies were actually her cousins. Here’s the thing. Judgment is coming. God’s enemies will be consumed. And if we really love all those people who will be facing judgment as much as we claim, we have only one choice: tell them about Jesus. Sitting back and trying to redefine God’s wrath, love, punishment, or reward in hopes of making one not so bad and the other a little more imaginable isn’t going to help. The only thing that will help is getting the message out. The only thing that will help is letting folks know that God hates the idea of judging them more than we do. God loves them more than we do. In fact, God loves them so much and hates the idea of judging them so much, He sacrificed His Son in order to save them. Let’s tell them about it. Otherwise, let’s not deceive ourselves into thinking we love them very much.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 21.

PODCAST!!!

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Do Not Be Deceived, Judgment Comes

Today’s reading is Psalm 21.

In the first half of Psalm 21, the psalmist is looking back. The king having come home victorious, the psalmist is acknowledging God’s part in the victory. However, beginning in vs. 8, the psalmist looks ahead. The past victory is a sign, a down payment if you will, of what is to come. It is unclear whether the speaker is addressing Yahweh, simply asserting faith regarding what He will do, or if he is addressing the king, encouraging him with what Yahweh will do through him. Either way, the message is the same. “Enemies Beware!” It is as if to say to everyone of the enemies, “Did you see what just happened to my last enemy? That is what is coming for you.” Having been raised up on the love of Jesus, it is hard for us to stomach this kind of psalm. And yet, we need to understand that being an enemy of Jesus is a serious affront. It is a crime against not only humanity, but against heaven. It is a sin of truly extravagant proportions. Jesus’s love was offered to find escape from this judgment. Those, however, who ignore His love and choose rather to stiff arm Him and spit in His face will be judged. Don’t be deceived. It is coming and it won’t be pleasant. It will be awful. Don’t joke about it. Don’t dismiss it. Don’t ignore it. Don’t procrastinate preparing for it. In the end, the battle does belong to the Lord. You can’t defeat Him. I encourage you if you haven’t already done so, surrender. Lay down your weapons. Put down your defenses. Surrender your allegiance. The only way to victory is to grant that God wins and defect to His side. Don’t delay. Judgment comes.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 21.

PODCAST!!!

Click here to take about 15 minutes to listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier expanding on this post!

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The Consistent God

Today’s reading is Psalm 18.

All throughout Psalm 18, David links back to earlier events. Perhaps the coolest connection is in vs. 16 when he says God “drew me out of many waters.” The only other place the word translated “drew me out” is used is when Moses was drawn out of the water in Exodus 2:10. In other words, God is dealing with David just as He did Moses. Then there is so much language that is reminiscent of events like judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah, the Exodus, victories during the conquest period. Hailstones as in the plagues and in conquest victories. Foundations of the earth laid bare under the channels of the sea as in the crossing of the Red Sea. Lightning, thunder, shaking earth as in Israel’s time at the base of Mt. Sinai and also judgment on Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. If God is anything, He is consistent. He cares for His people. He keeps His Word. He delivers. He judges. He is not erratic or fickle. With God, you know exactly what you are going to get. Granted, you don’t always know exactly when you are going to get it. However, you do know it will be at the best possible time for His glory and our good. But this is how God treats His people, all of His people, of all times, in all places. We don’t have to fear we are going to be an exception. Of course, He’s also consistent in His dealings with His enemies. Sure, He is patient. The judgment is rarely administered immediately. And too many take that patience as a clue for tolerance or escape. But God is consistent in judgment of enemies as well as salvation of His people. Hang on to that. Don’t let go.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 18.

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Why Israel Lost

Today’s reading is Psalm 15.

Have you ever thought through why Israel and Judah were driven out of the land of God’s dwelling? God had promised to dwell in their midst and plant them to dwell in their own place. Yet, they were defeated by Assyria, then Babylon, and ultimately by Rome. Psalm 15 is the answer. Do not consider Psalm 15 as merely a request for who might live on the temple mount. Rather, it is a question about who might sojourn under the protection of the Lord who dwells in the midst of His people in His Tent (tabernacle or temple) on His Holy Mountain. Jeremiah 7 brings this home. Jeremiah stands in the gate of the temple to proclaim the word of the Lord. Notice how “dwell in this place” seems to refer to dwelling in the temple in Jeremiah 7:3, but refers to the Promised Land in Jeremiah 7:7. Folks were trusting in deceptive words, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.” Yet they were oppressing orphans, widows, and sojourners. They stole, swore falsely, murdered. Yes, they also committed idolatry. Then they thought they could continue to sojourn under the shadow of God’s Holy Hill. They thought they could continue to find sanctuary in the temple. They thought they could continue to dwell where God had planted them. But, He explained, He would only let them dwell in this place if they changed their behavior. If not, He would destroy His own dwelling place and cast them out of the land. Why were Israel and Judah kicked out of the land? Because only Psalm 15 kind of people can sojourn under God’s protective wing. Israel and Judah were not made up of those kind of people. Psalm 15 is serious business. How have you measured up?

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 15.

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