I Love Your Son!

Today’s reading is Psalm 26.

I certainly recognize Psalm 26 is not foretelling Jesus in the sense we most commonly think of. However, Jesus is all over Psalm 26. First, we once again find ourselves saying that this psalm can’t really, truly be about David. I mean, for all the senses in which we want to take David’s claim about walking in integrity, we know this doesn’t truly describe David (I Kings 9:4 notwithstanding). While David didn’t go into apostasy, he did fall from his integrity on multiple occasions. But there is One that in every sense of the word walked in integrity: the Son of David, Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Christ. When I recognize this, suddenly this psalm opens up whole new vistas. First, that whole bit about not being swept away with sinners and bloodthirsty men becomes really appropriate when Jesus is on the cross between sinners and bloodthirsty men. Of course, what is amazing is not only does Jesus not get swept away with them, He is even able to bring one of those men to repentance and carry Him to paradise. The whole psalm starts with a request for vindication/judgment. But the psalmist isn’t interested in the vindication or judgement of the people around him. He just want’s the Lord’s vindication and judgment. Didn’t Jesus receive that on Sunday morning? He was judged by men as a criminal and hung on a cross. He was vindicated by God as King and Savior, being raised from the dead. Then there is the fact that Jesus doesn’t sit with men of falsehood or the wicked, He doesn’t consort with hypocrites, and He hates the assembly of the evildoers. If I want to hang out with Jesus, I must not be one of these. Finally, when I think about this psalm applying to me, I understand God’s steadfast love and faithfulness were most demonstrated by the Jesus who most fulfills this psalm. The only way this psalm can apply to me is because Jesus lived it completely and fully. The only reason I can dwell in God’s holy house is because Jesus opened the way with His perfect sacrifice. Praise the Lord. I love God’s Son! Don’t you?!

Next week’s reading is Psalm 27.

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!

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But I’m a Sinner!

Today’s reading is Psalm 25.

Yesterday, we recognized a connection between Psalm 24 and who may ascend the Lord’s hill and Psalm 25, this week’s psalm. But there is another connection. It is almost as if this psalm were written or placed here as a response to the previous one. Or maybe it would be better said that it is placed here to deal with an anticipated objection. According to Psalm 24, the one who has clean hands and a pure heart can climb the Lord’s hill. In Psalm 25, we have the anticipated objection. “But what about me? I’m a sinner.” Psalm 25:7 is the first explicit mention from the psalmist of his own sinfulness (Psalm 6:1 implies it; Psalm 23:3 almost implies it). It is almost as if Psalm 25 is finally expressing the objection we’ve brought up on several occasions as we’ve gone through these psalms. I do lift my soul up to the Lord. I do trust Him. But I haven’t been perfect. I’m a sinner. My hands are befouled. My heart is defiled. I want to be clean. I want to be perfect. But I’ve blown it. What now? The great news is our God is merciful. Our God forgives. Our God loves. Our God is faithful and true to His covenant. Yes, we have failed. But we can lift our soul up to our God, seek mercy and we will go away justified. Honestly, it really defies reason. I mean, I know we’ve been trained up on 2000 years of Christianity and the love and forgiveness of the sacrifice of Jesus. But if you think about it, why would anyone expect the supreme power of the universe to be loving, merciful, and forgiving? We could much more expect Him to be exacting, demanding, and unsparing. And yet, He is not what we expect. He wants us to climb His hill and He will forgive us so we can. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 25.

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’m the Nail

Today’s reading is Psalm 22.

If the victim in this psalm is ultimately Jesus, who is ultimately the victimizer? I leave that question with you and the answer in the form of a poem I read while studying this psalm:

To have been the cup
His lips touched and blessed,
To have been the bread
Which He broke;
To have been the cloth
He held as He served,
Or water He poured
As He spoke.

To have been the road
He walked on the Way,
To have been His print
in the sand;
To have been the door
That opened the tomb,
But I was a nail
In His hand.

“Remorse” by Sue Fife*

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 22.

PODCAST!!!

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

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Answered!

Today’s reading is Psalm 22.

The entire tenor of the psalm changes at Psalm 22:22. It started as an extreme lament; so dismal we can hardly find a time to actually place it in David’s life. It becomes an extreme praise and thanksgiving; so exuberant it asserts praise not only from the psalmist, not only from the congregation of God’s people, but from the entire world. It is so intense and amazing, we can hardly imagine anyone whose deliverance and salvation would warrant such reaction from the whole world. What produced such an extreme swing? Read vs. 21b: “Save me from the mouth of the lion! You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!” (ESV). Though that conveys the excitement and reality that would produce such a shift, it actually clouds the really important point David was making. Consider the NKJV: “Save me from the lion’s mouth and from the horns of the wild oxen! You have answered me” (NKJV). I know “rescued” sounds so much more exciting than “answered,” but “answered” is intended to connect us back to vs 2 in which David was receiving no answer. What is the shift? Psalm 22:1-21a is the dismal lament of the one whose request has not been granted though it has been made over and over again, day and night. Psalm 22:22-31 is the exuberant praise and thanksgiving of the one whose requests have been granted. In a very real sense, Psalm 22 mirrors Psalms 20 and 21. Psalm 20 is the prayer for requested blessing on the king as he goes out to battle. Psalm 22:1-21a is the prayer of the king himself in the midst of the battle, but it isn’t going his way. Psalm 22:22-31 is the king’s prayer of thanksgiving and praise when the battle finally turns his way by the grace of God. Psalm 21 is the prayer of thanksgiving offered by the people when the king comes back victorious. Honestly, we likely go back and forth between the two halves of the psalm. Remember, the same God rules in both halves. If you want to be able to offer the praises of the second half of Psalm 22, you have to hang on to God and await His answers while living through the first half of Psalm 22. Yes, He may wait to grant your request until the dogs circle, the mouth of the lion closes, the horns of the oxen vault you in the air. But He will answer. He will deliver. You are not forsaken. You are answered! Hang on!!!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 22.

PODCAST!!!

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

Continue reading “Answered!”

The Only One Qualified

Today’s reading is Psalm 15.

Well, we’re in a bit of a quandary, aren’t we? Only the blameless get to dwell with the Lord. We water that down a bit so we can pretend we fit. However, we look at Psalm 15 as a mirror, and we can’t even see ourselves in it. Oh, we try hard. Sure, we are better than some people at it. But when the reality settles on us, we know there is really no hope for us. We start to turn away in sadness like that young ruler who had many possessions. We stop to wonder, “But who qualifies? Does anyone?” Yes! One is qualified: Jesus Christ, the righteous, the incarnate Son of God. He fulfilled every bit of this description of God’s welcome guest. He had every right to live on God’s Holy Mountain. And yet, what did He do? He died on God’s Holy Mountain. Every bit of the judgment for not fulfilling Psalm 15 was poured out on the only One who was qualified according to it. Why? To prepare a dwelling place for us (John 14:1-4, 24). The righteous requirement of the Law is that sinners die. Those who are unqualified don’t get to dwell with God. But Jesus, the only qualified one who knew no sin, died a sinner’s death fulfilling the righteous requirement of the Law. Those who die with Christ fulfill the righteous requirement of the Law in Him (Romans 8:4). And through that grace of fulfillment, we are granted access to God’s Tent on His Holy Hill. Again, none of this means we ignore the Psalm 15 qualifications for dwelling with God. Rather, through Jesus’s death and God’s Holy Spirit of grace we meet the qualifications. Yes, we still often fail at these qualifications, but we hang on to Jesus and keep climbing God’s mountain. By God’s strength and grace we will summit the Holy Hill and we will dwell with the Lord. Hallelujah! So my big question for you is not how good you are at being blameless, but have you died with Christ? Do you even know how? If you are interested in learning how, read Romans 6:1-4. Then shoot us a message. We’d love to help you take up your residence on God’s Holy Hill.

Next week’s reading is Psalm 16.

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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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But Wait! Psalm 14

Today’s reading is Psalm 15.

Is anyone else struggling with this week’s psalm? Honestly, I’m a bit tired of reading one commentary after another explaining away Psalm 15:2. One after another after another has an explanation of why “blamelessly” shouldn’t concern us too deeply. Certainly, this is the word that described Noah in Genesis 6:9. We know he wasn’t perfect. So there is that. But it’s most common use is in reference to sacrifices that must be “without blemish”–not mostly without blemish, completely without blemish. Some will say the better translation is “integrity” or “uprightly.” Then they pretend these words are more attainable. Others, recognizing the root idea of “wholeness” claim it would be better to say the welcome guest of the Lord walks “wholeheartedly.” However, doesn’t that mean if any part of our heart has ever gone in a different direction than God, we can’t really claim it either? No matter how we translate the word, doesn’t it still get us back to a problem? Who among us has done it? I mean, really lived it? Didn’t we just read Psalm 14, which told us none of us have lived like the person in Psalm 15? Consider David himself. On the day after he committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered Uriah, what would he think about this psalm? To be honest, I think most commentators and most readers approach this psalm the way the one we call the rich, young ruler approached Jesus when he asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said, “Keep the commandments.” Without much thought we say, “Cool! I’ve been doing that.” Jesus has to come back and say, “Are you sure? Let Me give you a hard dose of reality right now.” Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying this psalm doesn’t matter or has no application. I’m not saying we aren’t to continue to strive for everything mentioned in this psalm. Certainly, anyone who gives up on these characteristics will never dwell with the Lord. But I think we make a grave mistake when we water down the requirements to something we think we have accomplished or can accomplish if we try really, really hard. The fact is we have all hopelessly failed at the very first requirement. And, I imagine most of us have failed at several of the others as well. I know that today’s post doesn’t leave us in a very pleasant place. But take heart, those who are poor in spirit have the kingdom of heaven, and those who mourn will be comforted. We’ll have more hopeful things to say before the week is out, but perhaps it is good for us to simply spend some time in the seeming hopeless place this psalm leaves us. Let’s face it. We want to dwell with the Lord, but we are unqualified.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 15.

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Salvation from Zion

Today’s reading is Psalm 14.

Many people struggle with this psalm. They aren’t sure what to make of it. One of the very first things students usually want to do with a psalm is label it. Is it communal or individual, is it lament or praise, is it wisdom or messianic. They struggle with pigeonholing this one. It starts by talking about fools; so some claim it is a wisdom psalm. However, it clearly demonstrates the wickedness of the wicked as they oppress the poor; so others claim it is a lament. But notice how it ends. It ends looking for salvation from Zion. It is not if, but when. The psalmist may have had all kinds of ideas about what that might look like, but we actually know, don’t we? Jesus went to the cross on Mt. Zion. He was buried on Mt. Zion. And He arose on Mt. Zion. Salvation came from Mt. Zion. We can rejoice. We can be glad. Not because we are confident something will happen in the future, but because we know it has already happened. There was actually a great big exception to all that this psalm had said. There was One who was no fool. There was One who never turned to corruption. There was One who never did abominable deeds. There was One who sought after God. He was the righteous. He was the only One righteous in His generation. And the wealthy and powerful tried to shame His plans, but the Lord was His refuge. He committed His Spirit into God’s hands. And He burst forth from the grave on Zion bringing salvation in His wake. Perhaps this psalm is Messianic after all. Praise the Lord!

Next week’s reading is Psalm 15.

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Wait! Who Did You Call a Fool?

Today’s reading is Psalm 14.

Yesterday, I felt pretty self-satisfied. After all, I’m no fool. I believe in God. I go to church. I pray and read my Bible. But wait…what’s that you say? There is none who does good? Is it really so bad you had to say it twice? God looked down from heaven to see if any understand and seek after him and He couldn’t find any? Not a single one? How many of them have turned aside? All of them? But wait, that means you’re talking about…me! Yup! In fact, no less than the apostle Paul quotes this psalm in Romans 3:10-12 as part of his argument that you and me and everyone else are sinners in need of a Savior. I have been a fool. I, alongside everyone else, have diminished God in my own mind and heart. I, alongside everyone else, decided at some point in my life that God was inconsequential, His will didn’t matter, His promises were not true, His law was not supreme. And I decided to neglect and ignore His direction, His pleading, His instruction to do what I wanted to do instead. I am a fool. I need a Savior. Praise God! He sent One to Zion!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 14.

Continue reading “Wait! Who Did You Call a Fool?”