Third Verse not Like the First

Today’s reading is Psalm 43.

The common consensus is Psalm 42 and Psalm 43 were originally one psalm. There are decent reasons to believe this. For starters, a few ancient manuscripts apparently record them as one psalm (though the majority do not). The repeated refrain from Psalm 42:5, 11 is also the refrain in Psalm 43:5. The question about mourning and oppression of the enemy is found in Psalm 42:9 and Psalm 43:2. Clearly, Psalms 42-49 is a collection of psalms by the Sons of Korah. Psalm 43, however, does not have an attribution to anyone. That seems pretty convincing that the attribution for Psalm 42, in view of the other similarities, is supposed to stand for both psalms.

No doubt, the common consensus may be right. Of course, almost no one can venture a guess as to why the psalm would have been split in two. The only conjecture I’ve read is this last verse was separated for liturgical use. It is more of a prayer than the two verses in Psalm 42, so it was separated to be used in different worship settings. Perhaps.

But just like many of the psalms that we are told are surely two psalms that have been jammed together, I’m left with the same question. Why? It is clearly obvious that somehow these psalms are connected. So obvious almost everyone asserts they must have once been a single psalm. Why then would anyone separate them?

In my mind, its much more likely that either the author of Psalm 42 or another Son of Korah determined Psalm 42 was a song that needed another verse and added it later. Something was missing and needed to be completed. It seems God felt similarly, because He wanted both included in the Psalter. But whether I’m right or the common consensus is correct really doesn’t matter. These two psalms go together and clearly the ancient editors of the Psalms thought so, because they put them together in our psalter.

But there is a difference. Psalm 42 is very much a lament. It explains the two scenarios of dehydration and drowning. It laments the mocking of the enemies. It questions what God is doing. Psalm 43, however, is a prayer, a request. “Lord, do something about this!”

And that is exactly what we can do. When lament is the order of the day (and there are days when lament is in order), the prayer is not complete with just the complaint. Certainly, Psalm 88 proves you can end with just the lament, but why would you want to? Bring in that third verse that is not like the first or the second. Bring in that third verse that calls on God. He’ll let you ask. He wants you to ask. What gracious God we serve!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 43.

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. What do you think? It doesn’t matter a great deal, but do you think these were probably a single psalm that were broken apart or is Psalm 43 a later psalm meant to “complete” the first?
  3. Why are we sometimes tempted to just lament? Is there ever a reason to do so?
  4. What comfort does it give you to know that in our lament God allows and even wants us to make our requests of Him?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

Where Is Your God?

Today’s reading is Psalm 42.

Twice, the psalmist is asked, “Where is your God?” Once when he’s in the drought. Once when he’s in the flood. There is nothing worse than feeling abandoned by God except possibly when the people around you are reminding you that you are abandoned by God.

“If you and God are so close, why isn’t He doing something about your situation?” “If your God was real, why is He letting this happen to you?” “If you really are God’s child, wouldn’t He take better care of you?”

And in this, we find Jesus. Isn’t this the temptation the devil offered in the wilderness? “If You are the Son of God, turn this stone to bread.” That is, “If You really are God’s Son, surely He wouldn’t let You starve.” “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself off this pinnacle. God will save You.” That is, “If You are really God’s Son, surely He wouldn’t let you get beat to death.”

And isn’t this what the people at the foot of the cross were saying. “If you are the Son of God, come down.” “He trusts in God, let God deliver Him.” All of this is just another way of asking, “Where is your God?”

So, let’s not be surprised when people ask us the same thing today. God doesn’t always work exactly as we expect. He certainly isn’t going to kowtow to the enemies and act at their beck and call just to prove Himself to them. Therefore, they will accuse us of being abandoned. Worse, they will accuse our God of not even existing. “Where is your God?” they will say.

One day He will answer. And His reply, if they have not given their allegiance to Jesus before that day, will be more than they ever bargained for.

Let us confess Jesus as Lord and bow our knee to Him before that day.

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 is it so easy to get discouraged when folks in the world around us deny God’s existence?
  3. What tempts us to doubt God’s existence or care at times?
  4. What advice would you give to help us grow our faith in God who cannot be seen?
  5. What do you think we should pray for and about in light of this psalm and our discussion today?

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?

Help Me, Yahweh! You’re My Only Hope!

Today’s reading is Psalm 39.

My life is fleeting. Money isn’t helpful. I’m actually just a sojourner. Then what is this life all about?

David asks the question this way, “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?” That is, “What hope do I have?” His answer? “My hope is in you.”

Honestly, this is were we find Jesus. What was David really waiting for? Jesus. Jesus removes transgressions. Jesus removes our scorn. God removed the stroke from us and placed it on Jesus.

Looking forward, David didn’t fully understand exactly what his hope was. Looking back through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, we do. What hope do we have in money, houses, cars, retirement accounts, gizmos, gadgets, etc.? What hope do we have in this life? What hope do we actually have in the future generations? What hope do we have? Yahweh is our only hope. Jesus is our only hope.

But what an amazing hope He is! Praise the Lord!

Next week’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 conversation?

Discuss the Following Questions with Your Family

  1. What are your initial reactions to the psalm and the written devo above?
  2. Do you see Jesus in this psalm in any other ways than mentioned in the devo above?
  3. What other things do people put their hope in besides Yahweh and Jesus? What does that look like?
  4. What does putting our hope completely in Jesus look like in our daily lives?
  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”

Not a Bone was Broken

Today’s reading is Psalm 34.

Did you see Jesus at the end of this psalm?

He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.

Psalm 34:20

In John 19:36, we learn Jesus died relatively quickly on the cross. This kept the soldiers from breaking His legs. John says that was to fulfill the Scripture that says, “Not one of his bones will be broken” (ESV).

Certainly, this is part of Jesus fulfilling the Passover sacrifice (see Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12). Yet, Jesus is fulfilling our psalm as well.

Now, I know that sounds odd based on where we started the week. We explained that this psalm is David’s meditation on a moment when he stumbled and fell, but God delivered him anyway. Jesus didn’t stumble and fall. Why would we ever say this psalm is about Him? Good question.

The answer is very simply this. Even though David stumbled and fell, he learned how he was actually supposed to act. He used the experience to turn around and teach the coming generations how they were supposed to live. What did Jesus do? He lived that way. Where David failed, Jesus succeeded.

Jesus lived in fear of God and in wisdom. Jesus lived without deceit and without evil. Jesus sought peace and pursued it. Jesus took refuge in the Father. He committed His spirit into the hands of God. He faced many afflictions, but the Lord delivered Him from them all. And very specifically, despite all His afflictions, not a bone was broken. And because He succeeded, even though He died under Rome’s condemnation, His life was redeemed from the grave because of God’s approval and power. He was condemned by Pilate to die on the cross; He was justified (declared innocent) by God through the resurrection.

From David who failed and from Jesus who succeeded, we learn the same lesson. Trust the Lord. Take refuge in Him. Do what He says. It will be worth it in the end.

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 “Not a Bone was Broken”

Our Soul Waits for the Lord

Today’s reading is Psalm 33.

I love movies with a twist, don’t you? I know a lot of people who try to prove how smart they are because they knew before the big reveal that (spoilers ahead) The Village was actually set in modern day or that Dr. Malcolm Crowe was actually dead. As they work to impress me with their intellectual acumen, I just feel sorry for them. Because I’m not that smart, I enjoyed the twists. They didn’t. Must be tough being that smart.

I’ll give you a hint as you read Psalm 33. It’s a psalm with a twist. For almost the whole psalm, you think one thing is happening. In the last scene, however, you discover this is a completely different psalm from what it seemed.

It’s a standard praise and thanksgiving psalm, right? God is wonderful. He’s done amazing things. He is the power and the strength. We are not. Nobody can overcome the Lord; no king, no nation, no counsel. So, let’s all just sit around the campfire and praise the Lord because thanks to Him, life is good.

Then:

Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.
For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.

Psalm 33:18-22

Wait! What?

We are in a famine? We might die? Why are we waiting on the Lord if we are thanking Him for victory that has already been accomplished?

Because this is not praise offered in the calm after the storm. This is not thanksgiving offered in the shining sun of victory as we enjoy the spoils of war. This is praise offered for calm and peace while the storm is still thundering. This is thanksgiving offered for victory while the battle is still raging.

Don’t wait for the victory to thank and praise God. Thank and praise God while you wait on Him to bring the victory. That is faith. That is trusting in the Lord. That is waiting on the Lord. The steadfast love of the Lord will be upon as we put our hope in Him. But it is not putting our hope in Him if we wait to see how it turns out before we praise and thank Him.

No matter what is going on in your life today, put your hope in the Lord, praising Him, thanking Him, waiting on Him. His steadfast love will abound; I promise!

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 conversation.

Continue reading “Our Soul Waits for the Lord”

My Spirit and My Times

Today’s reading is Psalm 31.

“Into your hand I commit my spirit,” David says in Psalm 31:4. That sounds beautiful. I want to do that. But what does it mean? Practically, how do I commit my spirit to the Lord? Perhaps Psalm 31:15 gives us some insight. David also says, “My times are in your hand.” That is, my circumstance, my life events, my days, my nights, my seasons, my weeks, my years. If “my times” are in God’s hands, doesn’t that imply my behavior during those times is in God’s hands? Paul provides a great example of this in 2 Corinthians 12:10. Having become convinced of God’s grace in his life through a thorn in the flesh, he says, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” In other words, “My circumstances are in the Lord’s hands. If He decides to make me sick, if He decides to make me go through a shipwreck, if He decides to put me in prison, if He decides to make me abound in prosperity, I’ll trust Him that He is doing what is right; and I’ll just obey Him no matter what.” Of course, Jesus demonstrates this on the cross. He even quotes it (Luke 23:46). Even if God puts me on a cross. Even if I’m thrown in a fiery furnace or a lion’s den. Even if the fig tree doesn’t blossom, there is no fruit on the vine, the produce of the olive fail, the fields yield no food, the flocks and herds get destroyed, I will rejoice in the Lord (Habakkuk 3:17-18). He’ll get me through. I trust Him. My job will just be to do whatever He says and rejoice in Him no matter what. I know in the end, He’ll work it out for His glory and my good. My spirit and my times are in the Lord’s hands. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 31.

PODCAST!!!

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

Continue reading “My Spirit and My Times”

Are You Sure You Trust the Lord?

Today’s reading is Psalm 31.

“I trusted the Lord and look where it got me,” says the person who went to church for a while, started obeying the Lord, but then faced a hardship and decided to jump ship. Let me ask you this. Which of the following most demonstrates trust in the Lord? Doing what the Lord says when everything is going your way and turning out exactly as you expected or doing what the Lord says when everything is still going against you and it is not turning out how you expected? David is in some hardship. Enemies have laid a trap for him. He is afflicted and distressed. He has become a reproach to his neighbors, his acquaintances, and even perfect strangers because of his enemies. He is facing terror on every side and the schemes of those who plot to take his life. And all of this has caused his eyes, his body, and his soul to waste away because of how long it has been going on. Yet, he says, “But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.'” It is one thing to say, “I trust You, Lord,” when the Lord behaves exactly like we expect, giving us everything we want and ask for. It is another thing to trust Him by continuing to do what He says and pray to Him when He is not responding the way we want and when it seems like it is doing no good at all. May I suggest we can’t be sure we trust God until that trust has been put to the test in the crucible of shocking circumstances, circumstances in which God isn’t behaving exactly like we expected, in which He isn’t delivering as quickly as we had hoped. In fact, I also suggest we can’t be sure we truly trust God until we continue doing what He says even in the moments when it looks like it is not working at all. You know, moments like when you are hanging on a cross, dying, feeling forsaken, and then say, “Into Your hand I commit my spirit.” I’m not trying to make us fear we don’t have enough faith. I am simply trying to encourage us to hang on to our faith in those moments when we are ready to give up. Because if we don’t, I’m not so sure what we have is actually faith and trust.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 31.

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 “Are You Sure You Trust the Lord?”

Unto You, O Lord!

Today’s reading is Psalm 25.

The previous psalm explained that whoever lifts up his soul to what is false is not allowed to ascend the holy hill of Yahweh. As if in response, this psalm begins with a clear “To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.” In the previous psalm, this kind of person would receive blessing and righteousness from the Lord. In this psalm, the psalmist is asking the Lord to hold true to His word. “Let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me.” However, it is more than a request, it is also a confident assertion. “Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame.” He ends this psalm the same place he begins. His foes are many. They are violent and hateful. But he takes refuge in the Lord and waits on Him. Therefore, he asks and expects the Lord to guard his soul and keep him from shame. Today, we recognize that suffering and struggle, whether from enemies or from some other source, isn’t an indication of shame nor does it lead to shame. Paul tells us our suffering produces endurance, our endurance produces character, character produces hope, and our hope does not put us to shame. Further, we are confident this is true because God’s love has been poured into our hearts and the Holy Spirit has been given to us (Romans 5:3-5). The next time you sing “Unto thee, O Lord,” remember there is no shame with the Lord. 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!

Continue reading “Unto You, O Lord!”