No Restraint

Today’s reading is Psalm 40.

Why did David believe God would not restrain Himself from mercy? …from steadfast love? …from faithfulness? …from preserving him?

David had sinned. His iniquities had overtaken him. His iniquities were more than the hairs of his head. With this being the case, why would he ever think God would deliver him?

Because when the Lord had delivered David in the past, David had not restrained his praise. He had told the entire congregation, that is, the entire nation, about God’s power, mercy, deliverance. He had sung God’s praises. He had proclaimed God’s mercies. He didn’t just think about them. He didn’t just meditate on them. He told them.

Because David had no restraint in acknowledging God, he was certain God would have no restraint in saving him.

Certainly, there are plenty of areas in which we need to restrain ourselves. But in the area of God’s praises, let us practice no restraint.

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. Why do you think anyone would ever restrain themselves from praising God?
  3. What kind of reasons do you have for praising and thanking God?
  4. What kind of reasons does our family have for praising and thanking God?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

Rejoice! Rejoice! And Again, I Say, Rejoice!

Today’s reading is Psalm 35.

Psalm 35 is easily broken into three sections, three prayers if you will. The first section is vss. 1-10. The second vss. 11-18. The third vss. 19-28. Do you notice anything similar between the last verses of these sections?

Each section/prayer ends with rejoicing and praise.

This isn’t quite Psalm 33. Psalm 33 is in a time usually reserved for lament, but it is completely full of praise, rejoicing, and thanksgiving. In this week’s psalm, there is a good deal of lamenting. Yet, even the laments end with rejoicing, thanksgiving, and praise or the promise to do so when the requests are granted.

The first prayer ends with a promise of personal rejoicing and praise. The second ends with a promise to personally rejoice, praise, and give thanks among the congregation. The third invites the rest of the congregation to rejoice, praise, and give thanks along with the psalmist.

Paul tells us to give thanks in all circumstances (see 1 Thessalonians 5:18). David gives us an example of how to do just that. What can you thank God for today? What can you praise God for today? How can you rejoice today?

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 35.

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 “Rejoice! Rejoice! And Again, I Say, Rejoice!”

Worship the Lord!

Today’s reading is Psalm 33.

Shout for joy! Praise! Give thanks! Sing!

Psalm 33 begins with an amazing call. In fact, you may notice that Psalm 33 begins where Psalm 32 ended. It seem Psalm 33 answers the call of Psalm 32. Yahweh is worthy of worship. Even before He brings the victory. Even before He calms the storm. Even before He provides the deliverance. God is worthy of worship.

In fact, I love the second statement in the psalms: “Praise befits the upright.” That is, not only is God worthy of worship, but worship is worth it for us.

By worship, I don’t mean “going to church.” Though certainly, when the church gathers together it worships. I don’t mean Sunday mornings from 10-11AM. Though surely, when the church assembles on the Lord’s day, it worships. And admittedly, this psalm is actually talking about the assembled, congregational worship of Israel at the temple (see “A Word for Our Kids” to dig into this).

However, in applying it to us, I want to speak about worship in general, whether congregational, familial, or individual. In any and all of these circumstances there are three principles found in Psalm 33:1-3 we should keep in mind (Hat tip to Derek Kidner’s comments on this psalm for bringing these three principles to my attention).

Principle #1: Worship should be fresh. It should be new. Okay, so this doesn’t mean we can’t ever sing old songs. However, God is so profound and amazing, our worship must never be offered merely by rote. We should be consistently coming up with new messages, words, phrases of praise. Yes, that does mean that while we don’t give up the old songs, we do write and learn new ones.

Principle #2: Worship should be skilled. No, I’m not saying we should withhold worship until we are professionals at it. But we should give it our best. Additionally, we need to recognize worship is not just giving God what comes naturally. It is a skill. Therefore, we should be growing and improving in it.

Principle #3: Worship should be fervent. “With loud shouts.” Granted, not everyone is as characteristically boisterous as others. There is a time for subdued worshipful reverence. But even if my voice in singing is not with fervor, at least my thoughts, attitudes, and heart should be. And surely, even the most restrained and solemn among us would have to admit that if a touchdown from our favorite football team deserves a shout of joy, surely our God does every now and then as well.

God deserves worship. We need to worship. Let’s work at it. God is worth it. Worship is worth it.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 33.

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 “Worship the Lord!”

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”

A Prayer Primer

Today’s reading is Psalm 25.

We don’t pick up on it in the English, but this psalm is an acrostic poem. Each verse begins with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Admittedly, the acrostic is not perfect. The letter for verse 2 is missing, two letters are skipped, and the last verse is not part of the acrostic at all. However, it is clear that this psalm is anchored in the Hebrew alphabet. It seems the author of this psalm wanted to make it memorable. He wanted it passed down from the priests to the populace, from father to son, and from mother to daughter to aid in worship and prayer for generations to come. In fact, this may explain that very last verse which seems to be tacked on out of left field. It may be true that some later editor of the psalms added that line about redeeming all of Israel out of troubles. However, it seems just as likely to me that the author broke from the acrostic to call attention to the desire for this psalm to not just be personal but to be passed around the nation so that everyone would learn about prayer and meditation from it. And now it is included in the book of Israel’s Psalms and has come to us. We too can learn to pray to God and meditate on God from it. Since it doesn’t match our alphabet, it may be harder for us to remember, but we can learn great things about prayer from it. Keep reading. Keep learning. We’ll talk more about prayer over the next couple of days.

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!

Continue reading “A Prayer Primer”

The Meal of Thanksgiving

Today’s reading is Psalm 22.

Psalm 22:25-26 is a beautiful picture we might miss if we don’t remember the Law. Leviticus 7:16-17 provides the law for votive or vow offerings. What we often miss is these sacrifices weren’t simply slaughtered and burned. They were eaten. Psalm 22:25-31 is a beautiful picture of a votive sacrifice celebration. The delivered king invites the entire congregation of God’s people to gather and watch him offer his votive sacrifice. Not only do they get to watch, they get to eat the feast from the sacrifice. It is reminiscent of the feast Solomon offered at the dedication of the temple in 1 Kings 8:62-66. There is sacrifice, feasting, joy, praise, worship. And while I do not want to claim this is a prophecy of the Lord’s Supper, I do want us to see that the Lord’s Supper is a fulfillment of this picture. That is, Psalm 22:25-31 is not teaching us to take the Lord’s Supper, but every time we participate in the Supper we are participating in the votive feast of peace and thanksgiving. Whether we are the afflicted or the prosperous, whether we were part of the Jewish congregation or have come to the supper from the Gentile ends of the earth, we eat and are satisfied. We praise the Lord and we worship. And we tell to the next generation “He has done it. It is finished.” Praise the Lord!!!

Next week’s reading is Psalm 23.

PODCAST!!!

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

Continue reading “The Meal of Thanksgiving”

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 Battle Belongs to the Lord

Today’s reading is Psalm 21.

David may have been a wonderful warrior. For all I know, he may have been a superb strategist and talented tactician. He may have been truly skilled with the sword and brilliant with a bow. No doubt, it seems he was super with a sling. But when the king comes back from the battle victorious in Psalm 21, everyone knew exactly why he did. It wasn’t because of David’s skill or prowess, it was because of his God. The battle was fought in the prayer closet before stepping onto the battlefield. Therefore, the battle was won before it was even engaged. Yet, David did have to engage. When it was over, though, David shouldn’t turn to God in expectation, asking, “Did you see that? Did you see how hard I fought for you?” No, David should bow before God acknowledging the true victor: “Thank you, Lord, for fighting for me.” At the end of our battles, the trophies are not ours. They are God’s. We don’t take our victories to God as badges of our strength or accomplishment. No. We take them as reasons to praise and give thanks to the One who truly won the victories. The battles belong to the Lord. And if that is so, that doesn’t merely mean stepping onto the battlefield in faith, that means stepping off the battlefield with thanksgiving and praise. We don’t get the credit for our victories, God does. In the end, we learn the women who sang, “Saul has slain his thousands, but David his ten thousands,” caused a great deal of jealousy and turmoil for nothing. In fact, neither had slain any. Both were merely God’s weapons in the wars against His enemies. God, we thank You for fighting on our behalf. We thank you for our victories. Our enemies are too much for us. If we have cowed them today, it is because of You and You only. Thank You.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 21.

PODCAST!!!

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

Continue reading “The Battle Belongs to the Lord”

“Thank You!”

Today’s reading is Psalm 21.

In Psalm 20, a pre-battle blessing was prayed for the king. Psalm 21 seems to be it’s companion. In Psalm 20:4, the requested blessing was that God grant the king his heart’s desire. In Psalm 21:2, the psalmist acknowledges God had done exactly that. Once again, we are saying that while each psalm is its own literary unit, we can see why the compilers of the psalms placed these two together. And what a powerful lesson they give when taken that way. When the trouble is upon us, we are quick to ask. But when the request is granted, do we always remember to acknowledge God? Do we always remember to thank Him? Do we always remember to praise Him? You would think everyone would be thankful for every gift, wouldn’t you? But do you know about the 10 lepers in Luke 17 that begged Jesus for healing? As they went on their way, they all were healed, but only one returned to give thanks. I doubt any of the nine thought of themselves as ungrateful people, but only one returned. I’m sure they were all excited, but only one returned. Where were the nine? Certainly, victory in battle is a pretty big thing. We’d imagine the nation would never forget to thank God for that. Remember, however, that Paul encourages us to be thankful in all circumstances, not simply the really, really big ones (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Are you breathing today? Have you thanked God for air? Is your blood flowing today? Have you thanked God for blood flow? Are you saved in Jesus today? Have you thanked God today for that victory? We could, of course, go on and on and on. But let us especially remember to thank God when He does respond to our requests, whether big or small.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 21.

PODCAST!!!

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

Continue reading ““Thank You!””

The Trustworthy God

Today’s reading is Psalm 18.

Let’s face it. I can actually place myself in the shoes of a skeptic and view the Psalms as a hot mess. Back in Psalm 2 God promised His anointed one, His king, that while the enemies would plot, they did so in vain. They were going to be judged, and so they need to quickly reconcile with the king. But then psalm after psalm after psalm shows David begging for God to go ahead and do what He promised. Many of the psalms show the psalmist in that interim place between the promise being given and the promise being fulfilled. After a while, a reader begins to wonder if the promise ever does get fulfilled. Oh sure, the psalmist always believes it will. The psalmists consistently demonstrated their faith by continuing to call out to and rely on God. But does God ever actually fulfill His promises? Psalm 18 answers with a resounding YES!!! The Lord is in His holy temple; He does hear; He does respond. Remember in Psalm 11 when David refused to follow the counselors who said he needed to flee like a bird to his own mountain, relying on his own strength? David claimed one of the foundations that would not be shaken is God’s residence in His holy temple. He is testing the sons of men. He will rain coals on the wicked. He will deliver the upright. And now in Psalm 18, David’s trust and perseverance is rewarded. God is exactly what David thought Him to be. God is trustworthy. Yes, He works on His time table. Yes, there are moments when it looks like He is going to lose. Yes, sometimes the wicked counselors seem to have a point. But Psalm 18 is a thrilling reminder God really is in His holy temple in the heavens, has us under His watchful eye, and when the time is best, He does keep His Word, fulfill His promises, and shines forth like the sun. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 18.

Continue reading “The Trustworthy God”