Blessed is the Man

Today’s reading is Psalm 40.

Here it is again. “Blessed is the man.” Sisters, please, don’t be upset. Women in this setting will be blessed also. These psalms are written from the king’s perspective. While they have application to all of God’s followers, male and female alike, they are primarily about the king.

But it is good to see a survey of this blessed person so far.

Psalm 1:1: “Blessed is the man [whose]…delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”

Psalm 2:12: “Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”

Psalm 32:1: “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.”

Psalm 32:2: “Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity…”

Psalm 33:11: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!”

Psalm 34:8: “Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”

Psalm 40:4: “Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who do not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!”

What more is there to say? We may not be the king. But we can be this person. And we will be blessed.

Tomorrow’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 post!

Discuss the Following Questions with Your Family

  1. What are your initial reactions to the psalm and the written devo above?
  2. Which of the “blessed” statements in the psalms so far is your favorite? Why?
  3. What comfort do you get from these beatitudes in the psalms?
  4. What do all these beatitudes have in common?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

A Real-Life Psalm

Today’s reading is Psalm 35.

I can’t prove it. However, I’m convinced our psalm is anchored in the real-life events of 1 Samuel 24. Saul was hunting David down. Somehow, in a cave in the wilderness of Engedi, Saul ended up in the exact same cave where David and his men were hiding out. Despite the urging of David’s men, he decided not to attack Saul, the Lord’s anointed.

Notice some connections between the record of the event and our psalm. In 1 Samuel 24:12, David says, “May the Lord judged between me and you, may the Lord avenge me against you, but my hand shall not be against you” (ESV). Psalm 35 begins, “Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me.” First, recognize the call upon the Lord to do the heavy lifting here. But, and this is really compelling. In both cases, the first phrases are judicial terms (Judge, contend). In the second, they are combat terms (avenge, fight).

In 1 Samuel 24:9, David asks Saul why he is listening to men who are lying about him. In Psalm 35:11, David writes about the malicious witnesses who are testifying against him falsely.

In 1 Samuel 24:17, Saul admits to David, “You are more righteous than I, for you have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil” (ESV). In Psalm 35:12, David claims, “They repay me evil for good” (ESV).

In Psalm 35:21-22, David makes a play on words out of the eyes and things being seen. In our psalm, he speaks of the lies of the false witnesses who claim to have seen some things. But then he drives home what God had actually seen. In 1 Samuel 24:10, David makes a clear claim about what Saul’s eyes had seen as part of his defense.

Thus, Psalm 35 is a meditation and series of prayers anchored in real-life events. Doesn’t it stand to reason then, that we can make some real-life application of this psalm for our own lives?

If there is one real-life application we should get out of David’s experience in the Engedi cave and this series of prayers he wrote about the experience, we must trust the Lord to fight our battles. We must leave vengeance to the Lord. I know we struggle with imprecatory psalms. We’ll talk more about that in later posts. But notice, despite what David asks God to do, when we look at this in the context of real-life, David didn’t take vengeance, he left it to the Lord.

This is even more noticeable in 1 Samuel when we go to the next chapter. That is where David almost lost this high ground. He almost took his own vengeance on Nabal, but was stopped by Nabal’s wise wife, Abigail. In fact, we may recognize some connections with this story as well. Abigail argues against David trying to work salvation for himself (1 Samuel 25:31). In our psalm, David asks God to declare, “I am your salvation!” (Psalm 35:3). According to 1 Samuel 25:39, Nabal had received his own evil on his own head. In Psalm 35:7-8, David prayed that his enemies would fall into the pit they had dug and be caught in the net they had laid. Further, in this story we find another reference to a man repaying evil for David’s good (see 1 Samuel 25:21). Finally, David sought peace for Nabal and his men (1 Samuel 25:6-8). But Nabal did not speak peace back to David. Psalm 35:20 refers to those who do not speak peace to those who are quiet in the land. Real-life events. A real-life psalm.

God is our real-life salvation, our real-life deliverer, our real-life avenger. We must trust Him. We must put the real-life judgment of our enemies into His hands. He will do what is right in our real lives.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 35.

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 “A Real-Life Psalm”

The Lord’s Hand Revisited

Today’s reading is Psalm 32.

In Psalm 31, we were excited to place our spirit and our times in God’s hands. In Psalm 32, we’re back to the Lord’s hands. But this isn’t so exciting. “For day and night your hand was heavy upon me.” Oh man! That sounds tough. I don’t like that. “Ease up, Lord,” I want to cry out. “Your hand is too heavy.” But wait! Do I really trust the Lord’s hand with my spirit and my times, or don’t I? In fact, David is thankful for the Lord’s heavy hand here. He understands without that heavy hand, he wouldn’t feel the guilt quite as intensely. If he doesn’t feel his guilt quite as intensely, he will never come to confession. If he doesn’t come to confession, he will not receive forgiveness.

Entrusting our spirit and our times into the Lord’s hands means we believe God knows when to be heavy-handed. In fact, we are glad when He is because we know it is for our good.

It’s not that we enjoy the heavy hand of God, but we know where it leads. As Hebrews 12:5-11 explains, the Lord disciplines us for our good. Therefore, though it is painful in the moment, it trains us, and we yield peaceful fruit of righteousness. That is something we do enjoy. Praise the Lord!

Today’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.

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The Lord’s Anger

Today’s reading is Psalm 30.

Why should the saints praise the Lord and give thanks to His holy name? Because His anger is for a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. Well, this doesn’t sound like the Lord’s anger at all, does it? God’s wrath and judgment are eternal. If we face the judgment outside of Jesus, it is going to be a forever issue. How can David say it only lasts for a moment? Is he saying God is one of those flash in the pan folks who can’t control His anger, it bursts forth like an eruption, but then He backs off? Is Yahweh fickle like Baal, Zeus, and other pagan gods? You never know what will cause Him to explode or how long it will last? No. David isn’t saying any of these things. David is remembering his own covenant with Yahweh that is also Israel’s covenant. In 2 Samuel 7:14-15, the Lord covenanted with David saying, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you.” Look again at Psalm 30:4. This is the reason the Lord’s saints can praise and give thanks. Not just anyone can praise and thank God for this. Sometimes we, the Lord’s saints, do things worthy of the Lord’s anger. In these times, like a loving Father, He disciplines us (see Hebrews 12:4-11). However, He knows our frame. He remembers we are but dust (see Psalm 103:14). He does not carry on in His anger forever. He doesn’t bear a grudge against us. Rather, in love, He restores us and brings His favor to us. And the moments of discipline develop within us peaceful fruits of righteousness for which we can rejoice. In other words, we can give thanks and praise God because with us, His saints, He doesn’t use His anger to merely vent His spleen. He uses it as a tool for our discipline, our growth, our good which will lead us to rejoice in the long run. What an amazing Abba, Father God we have. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 30.

PODCAST!!!

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

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Giving Thanks Forever

Today’s reading is Psalm 30.

Psalm 23 ended with, “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” But what will we do there? Psalm 30 brings that home. It begins with “I will extol you, O Lord.” It ends with “O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!” I have now seen one commentator who has noticed the series nature of Psalm 23-29 that we have noted. While I had been thinking Psalm 29 was the conclusion of the series, he suggests Psalm 30 may be. It’s title, which declares it as a song for the dedication of the house (possibly the temple as ESV translates it), may make a connection to this series that has been all about dwelling in the Lord’s house. He may well be correct. The ending of this psalm does call the ending of Psalm 23 to mind. Maybe Psalm 29 was the praise psalm declaring God to be the one who judges but makes distinctions on behalf of His covenant people while Psalm 30 is a thanksgiving psalm for God actually making the distinction and performing the deliverance. Even if it isn’t directly connected, can you see David’s reaction to his deliverance? Not, “I’ll give you thanks the next time I pray.” No, it is, “I’ll give thanks to You forever.” David was going to thank God over and over and over again. He was going to take every opportunity to thank God. And he planned on carrying that thanksgiving into eternity. Paul encourages us to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). We don’t certainly know what particular deliverance David was thanking God for (though we might be able to make a good guess), but we absolutely know the deliverance we have God to thank for. In Jesus Christ, we are delivered from sin, Satan, and death. If David was going to thank God forever, what do you think we should do? Have you thanked God today?

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 30.

PODCAST!!!

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

Continue reading “Giving Thanks Forever”

Blessed be the Lord!

Today’s reading is Psalm 28.

To really grasp how powerful and profound Psalm 28 is, we need to walk back through the story this last set of psalms has been telling. In Psalm 23, David summarized his journey from pasture to palace and ends with his commitment to dwell in the Lord’s house forever. That leads to a meditation on who can actually dwell in the Lord’s house in Psalm 24. The answer is those with clean hands and pure hearts. That leads to an anticipated objection in Psalm 25. “What if I’ve already defiled my heart and befouled my hands?” The Psalm 25 answer is Yahweh is merciful and forgiving because of His steadfast love and faithfulness. This leads David to beg for help from God in Psalm 26. We miss it because we tend to think of requests for testing as requests for God to learn how awesome we are. But these are refining fire tests that actually pull the slag to the surface and scrape it off. They are tests that grow us and purify us. David realizes that growing through these tests and refinements is walking in the paths of God’s steadfast love and faithfulness (see Psalm 26:3). And it causes David to hang out at God’s reconciling altar allowing his hands to be washed in innocence. This causes David to make a request: “Do not sweep my soul away with sinners” (Psalm 26:9, ESV). However, in Psalm 27, David is surrounded by enemies and false accusers. This concerns him because he has asked the Lord to let him dwell in His house forever, but these enemies seem to be standing in the way between David and the Lord’s house. He is struggling as he walks through these battles and confrontations. He longs to see the Lord’s face, but he fears the Lord may forsake him and turn him away in anger. And if you had committed the kind of sins David had, wouldn’t you be afraid of that as well? But he hangs on. He restates his faith and declares he will wait for the Lord. And now in Psalm 28, David takes up his request again. In fact, this almost seems like an entire psalm dedicated to restating Psalm 26:9 (“Do not sweep me away”). How is this going to end for David? Will he get to be in the Lord’s house forever? Will the Lord remember David according to the mercy for which David is begging or according to the works of his hands? And then we get to Psalm 28:6: “Blessed be the Lord! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.” This is not merely David’s faith that God has heard. This is his reaction to the previous declaration that God will tear down the enemies for not regarding the Lord. David knows the distinction has been made. Some commentators, thinking David’s life is in danger, think this psalm was written during the time of Absalom’s rebellion. Frankly, I think it fits much better the time when Nathan told him, “The Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die” (2 Samuel 12:13). And when I grasp how this psalm is the climax of David’s concern about his own sins and his eternal destiny, that is when I gain comfort. Because isn’t his concern mine as well? I have seen David, an awful sinner, forgiven by God. I know I too can turn to God. I can regard the work of His hands above my own. I can call out to Him, and He will hear me as well. Blessed be the name of 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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I Love Your Friends!

Today’s reading is Psalm 26.

We mentioned Psalm 1 yesterday. Remember it again today. That psalm made a distinction between the blessed and the wicked. But there is more to the choice than just being the blessed or being the wicked. David understands that if He is going to dwell in the Lord’s holy habitation at the summit of the Lord’s holy hill, he has to be careful who his friends are. In Psalm 15, another psalm that questions who can dwell in the Lord’s house (similar to Psalm 24), David recorded that the holy hill dweller is one “in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord.” In a day and age, such as our own, dominated by the concept of tolerance, we can lose sight of the fact that the Lord does not tolerate everyone. Those who pursue what is false, hypocrites, evildoers, and those who practice wickedness are not tolerated by the Lord in His own house. And while nothing makes God happier than for these to repent, submit to Him, and then come live with Him, nothing will make God bring these into His house while they continue in their sin. And so, back to Psalm 1, the person who walks with the wicked, hangs out with the sinful, settles down with scoffers will not be blessed. David loves Yahweh. He loves worshiping Yahweh. He loves those who worship Yahweh in truth. He knows that if he hangs out with the impenitently sinful and rebellious now, he will be hanging out with them for eternity. He loves the Lord and those who love the Lord. He loves the Lord’s friends. While we can never go out of the world (see 1 Corinthians 5:10), and while we certainly must develop relationships with the impenitently sinful in order to lead them to repentance, we must make sure our closest relationships are those who have their closest relationship with Yahweh. And doesn’t that just make sense? I mean, it is kind of hard to dwell in Yahweh’s house if I’m having to constantly abandon it to hang out with my best friends. Who are your best friends?

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 26.

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.

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I Love Your Grace!

Today’s reading is Psalm 26.

As we recognized yesterday, David loves the Lord’s house. This sets this psalm up in the middle of a series of psalms starting with Psalm 23. The Shepherd’s psalm ends with the declaration, “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” But who gets to actually dwell in that house? Psalm 24 provides the answer: one who has clean hands and pure heart. But wait, I’ve already messed that up. Is there any hope for me? Psalm 25, the first psalm to explicitly mention the psalmist’s own personal sin, anticipates and answers that objection. Our God is merciful, gracious, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness (reminding us of God’s own declaration in Exodus 34:6-7). Because of God’s mercy and grace, I can climb His holy Hill and dwell in His house despite my failures and sins. And now Psalm 26 talks about life in God’s house. Before we jump to David’s integrity (a topic for tomorrow), notice how David actually got into God’s house. “Your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness.” In whose faithfulness? David’s faithfulness? No, in God’s. This is another reference back to Exodus 34:6-7. In other words, David isn’t saying, “I’ve been so amazing, I deserve to be in Your house, Lord.” He is remembering the principles we learned in the previous psalm. He has walked in the Lord’s love and faithfulness. He has called on God’s mercy and grace. As Psalm 5:7 explained, David has entered the Lord’s house not because of his own awesomeness, but “through the abundance of your steadfast love.” It is no wonder that David’s prayer about his own integrity still ends with a request for God to “be gracious to me.” The only way to dwell in God’s house is by His grace. Don’t you just love God’s grace? David did. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 26.

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!

Continue reading “I Love Your Grace!”

I Love Your House!

Today’s reading is Psalm 26.

Have you ever walked into a friend’s house for the first time and just been blown away? It’s layout is cool. The d├ęcor is fabulous. It’s cozy. You just love it. You wish it was yours, and you start mentally jotting down ideas about how to improve your house. Psalm 26 is all about that. Except it isn’t simply a friend’s house, it is the Lord’s house. “O Lord, I love the habitation of your house and the place where your glory dwells.” For David, this referred to the tabernacle. After Solomon, it spoke of the temple. But for us, it is the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:19-22 demonstrates that the collection of all Christians whether Jews or Gentiles is the temple of the Lord. Ephesians 3:19 is the prayer that this modern temple will be filled with the fullness of God, that is, being filled with His glory. While this refers to the universal church, the sum collection of all disciples of all places and of all times, we mostly interact with this temple at a congregational level. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying each congregation is a temple of the Lord, but our interaction with the temple (the universal church) is on that congregational level (the local church). This entire psalm is about “going to church.” No, it isn’t about going to a church’s building. Rather, it is about gathering with the church, the assembly, the brothers and sisters. It is about gathering to worship the Lord God with our spiritual family. Whether we are gathering to pray, sing, read Scripture, break the Bread of Life, or break the bread of communion, or a combination of these things, David demonstrates the attitude we should have. Do you look forward to Sunday? Do you look forward to congregational gatherings, classes, worship, singings, prayings just because it is time with God’s church, time in God’s house, time in the midst of God’s glory? Or is it a checklist item you want to mark off as quickly as possible and get out of the way so you can get on with all the other things you think are more important? No doubt. It’s a growth process. But may we all get to where we can say, “I love Your house, Lord!”

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 26.

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!

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A Reason to Pray

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.

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!

Continue reading “A Reason to Pray”