Channeling Joshua

Today’s reading is Psalm 27.

David begins with a declaration that Yahweh is his light, salvation, and stronghold. Because that is the case, he refuses to be afraid. But then he explains he is surrounded by armies and violent, false accusers. The psalm is a mix of confidence and at least a little fear that God is forsaking him. That is, whatever he is dealing with has gone on longer than he would expect if God was with him in this dark valley. But the psalm ends with “Wait for the Lord!” In other words, it ends with a declaration that David isn’t going to abandon his Shepherd just because the Shepherd isn’t acting on his time table. He will wait for Yahweh to act on His own timetable. And in the middle of that declaration, he does an interesting thing, he says something familiar, though in the ESV it is worded slightly differently than usual. I’ll word it the way we are used to and see if you catch it. “Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous; wait for the Lord!” Did you get it? (Maybe the title of this post gave it away.) David is channeling Joshua. Joshua was told to be strong and courageous over and over again (Deuteronomy 31:, 7, 23; Joshua 1:6, 7, 9, 18). And so it is no surprise that in Joshua 10:25, he turns around and tells Israel to be strong and courageous. David knew God would defeat His enemies because that is what God has done over and over and over again with the enemies of His people. And He will defeat our enemies. No, that doesn’t mean God is going to take out the person who got the promotion we were hoping to get at work. But it does mean that those, whether earthly or spiritual, who rise up against us trying to pull us out of our Savior’s hands will be defeated in God’s good time. He may not do it when we expect, but wait on Him; He will do it! Praise the Lord!

Today’s reading is Psalm 27.


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Channeling Moses

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.

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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.


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The Lord’s Earth

Today’s reading is Psalm 24.

In Hebrew, the first word of Psalm 24 is Yahweh. “Yahweh’s is the earth and its fullness, the world and its inhabitants.” The emphasis is not on the earth or its fullness. It is not on the world and its inhabitants. The emphasis is on the owner: Yahweh. Yahweh owns all that is because He is the one who conquered the chaos and created the cosmos. Moses proved this in Exodus 9:29 when Yahweh was the one who started and stopped the hail, but no Egyptian god could (and that was demonstrated 10 times over). In recognizing this amazing ownership, Moses registered shock that God would settle His steadfast love on one family among mankind in Deuteronomy 10:14-15. David understood that since this was true, when he gave to God, he was only giving to God what was actually His already in 1 Chronicles 29:11-16. Based on this knowledge, Asaph grasped that God did not ask for offerings because of His own needs in Psalm 50:9-13. Because this is true, Paul was able to recognize that idols were nothing and no food actually belongs to an idol in 1 Corinthians 10:25-26. And this makes Yahweh distinct from the ancient gods. Yahweh is not a personal God. He is not a national God. He is not a territorial or regional God. He alone is God. He is not merely God on Zion, He is God everywhere. You cannot make Yahweh your God. He is your God. You can either recognize it now or recognize it later. I can tell you which one would be better. Yahweh is the only God! Hallelujah!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 24.


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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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When I Awake

Today’s reading is Psalm 17.

WOW!!! Is this to be read simply as an evening prayer in which David expects to awake from his night’s sleep and be face to face with God and be satisfied with God’s likeness? We should find it intriguing that this “likeness” or “form” of God which David believes will satisfy him is something that goes beyond what idolaters received from their gods. After all, David is not allowed to carve or cast a likeness or image of God (Exodus 20:4; Deuteronomy 4:16, 23, 25; 5:8). Further, this calls to mind the face to face conversation Moses was able to have with God (Numbers 12:8). Was David simply claiming he expected God to give him a face to face response the following morning? I know there are many who want to claim the Old Testament presents no concept of the afterlife, but I think we have pretty strong evidence that David believed in some kind of afterlife. I have no doubt it wasn’t as fully developed as we have in the New Testament. But he was well aware that because the Lord was his portion, his portion wasn’t in this life. He would sleep. But he would awake (see Daniel 12:2). And when he awakes, he is going to be in the very presence of God. His enemies are filled with treasure and satisfied with children. He is going to be satisfied with the very presence of God in eternity. And when that is my hope and my satisfaction, I can endure a whole lot of enemies surrounding me. In fact, I can realize that the Lord may deliver me not from death, but through death. While I pray that the Lord will arise and conquer my enemies, I can rest in the comfort that I will arise and my enemies can do nothing about it. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 17.

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Distinct Love

Today’s reading is Psalm 17.

David asked God to “Wondrously show your steadfast love” (vs. 7). The word translated “Wondrously show” however is used in only a few other places. We find it three times during the plagues on Egypt (Exodus 8:22; 9:4; 11:7). Each time it refers to how God made a distinction between Israel and Egypt, punishing Egypt and preserving Israel. In Exodus 33:16, Moses claimed it was by God going with Israel that they were made distinct (that’s our word). Then in Psalm 4:3, we learned that God had set apart (that’s our word) the godly for Himself. In other words, David isn’t simply asking God to love him. David is asking God to show the entire world that it matters who your God is. David is asking God to repeat history. He is asking God to do for him what God did for Moses and Israel when in Egypt and when entering the Promised Land. David is asking God to demonstrate a distinct love. God loves everyone. God has demonstrated His love for everyone. But for His chosen people, He demonstrates a love that shows them to be distinct, to have a special relationship with Him. And while it may sound self-serving to pray that God would distinguish us, His chosen and special people, with a distinct kind of love, it is actually exactly what the world needs to see. The world needs to see that it really does matter who your God is. Perhaps we should spend more time praying that God would make a distinction. Perhaps we should spend more time asking God to distinguish us from the world by His love. The fact is, He only has His covenant love for His covenant people. Why not ask Him to demonstrate it? That may be the only way some people will learn their need and develop a desire to take God up on His covenant.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 17.

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Those Who Know Your Name

Today’s reading is Psalm 9.

“Those who know your name put their trust in you”? What is that about? Yahweh? I Am that I Am? Those who know those words put their trust in God? What is it about that name? Actually, David isn’t referring to the Tetragrammaton, the four Hebrew letter combination that represents God’s name. Actually, David is referring to God’s proclamation of what His name means found in Exodus 34:6-7: “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation” (ESV). Those who know these things about God trust Him. They rely on Him. They turn to Him even when they have sinned. They turn to Him even when they know they don’t deserve it. They know that no matter what it looks like in the moments of battle, God has not forsaken them. Even when it looks like the battle tides have turned against them, they know who their God is. They know His name. They know His nature. They know that even if it looks like the needy have been forgotten, it will not always be that way. They know that even if it looks like the guilty are getting away with it, it will not always be that way. They know that God, in His time works together all things for good for those who love Him. So they hang on to Him. Only those who don’t know His name forsake Him. Then, of course, as His name says, He will not clear their guilt, but will visit their iniquity on them. Know God’s name. Trust God’s name. God will save His people for His name’s sake. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 9.

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Thank the Lord

Today’s reading is Psalm 7.

David’s final claim in Psalm 7 is “I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness.” The point is not “I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his sinlessness,” though I completely understand why some make that application. Of course, God is sinless. God always does what is right. But I encourage you to take a survey of the Old Testament claims about God’s righteousness. You will find that the point is deeper than always doing what is right, going on to always doing what God had committed to. God always delivers whom He promises to deliver and He always judges whom He promises to judge. He always keeps His word, His loyalty, His covenants. There is comfort in knowing God will deliver His covenant people who turn to Him despite their sins. There is also comfort in knowing God will judge His enemies who make war on Him and His people. There is great comfort in knowing God never blurs those lines or mistakes whom He is dealing with. Let’s always give the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness and sing the praise due His name.

Next week’s reading is Psalm 8.

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The Lord’s Love

Today’s reading is Psalm 6.

What is the basis for God’s grace even when he is angry? His steadfast love. That is how steadfast His love is. Even when He is angry, He still loves. Every time we read about God’s steadfast love, we should remember the proclamation of His name in Exodus 34:5-8. God is slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. It is really amazing to me how often His “name” comes up in Scripture. The faithful knew the name of God and their faith was anchored in it. God had revealed Himself to Moses and the faithful trust God that He was telling the truth. Not for the sake of my righteousness, not for the sake of my good deeds, not for the sake of my attempts to pay God back, not for the sake of my reputation, but for the sake of His own love, God delivers and forgives. That is, God loves even when He is angry because that is exactly who He is. It is His name. It is His nature. Don’t misunderstand. That doesn’t mean no one will be condemned. He will by no means clear the guilty. Those who linger in sin, keeping God at arm’s length, not seeking the grace and love He has to offer will be judged as they deserve. But why on earth would you want to be that person? Turn to God. Cast your sins and your cares on Him. He loves. He is gracious. He will forgive. He will deliver.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 6.

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