Like King, Like People

Today’s reading is Psalm 37.

Do you remember how last week we recognized that Psalm 36 carried us back to Psalm 1? Psalm 1 contrasted two people, two ways, and two destinations. Psalm 36 contrasted two counsellors or guides: Transgression and Yahweh.

At this point in our study of the Psalms, will it surprise you to discover Psalm 37 carries us back to Psalm 2? In Psalm 2, David, the King, the Lord’s anointed is promised victory. Other kings and nations scoff at David and Yahweh. But Yahweh laughs in the heavens at their fruitless and powerless plots to escape the plans of Yahweh. They have but one choice. Give allegiance to the Lord’s anointed or perish in judgment.

Psalm 37:12-13 makes the connection most clearly:

The wicked plots against the righteous
and gnashes his teeth at him,
but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he sees that his day is coming.

In other words, this wisdom poem proclaims to the reader, “Do you remember how God was going to bless your King? Guess what! He’s doing the same for you. Like King, Like People.”

Today, spend some time thinking about your King. How did God treat Him? What was God’s plan for Him? How did God ultimately bless and give Him victory? Then meditate on what that means for you and me, His people.

Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 37.

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.

A New Approach

Starting today, we will take a new approach to this section that has historically been devoted to “A Word for Our Kids.” Rather than providing a second message of devotion, trying to focus more on children, we want to help you as parents lead a spiritual discussion with your children, helping you develop your skills of spiritual conversation with your family. We pray this is a blessing for your family.

Discuss the Following Questions with Your Family

  1. What are your initial reactions to the psalm and the written devo above?
  2. Do you think it is important for us to repeatedly notice all the connections between the various psalms? Especially the connections back to the first two psalms? Why or why not?
  3. Who is our King and how was He treated? What does that suggest about what we will likely face in life?
  4. How did God vindicate our King? What does this suggest about how and when God will ultimately vindicate us?
  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”

Know Your Real King

Today’s reading is Psalm 5.

David is in the midst of a time of groaning. He is beset by liars and bloodthirsty men. This psalm could indeed be written in the time of Absalom’s rebellion. There are some intriguing parallels. It could have been written in the time of Saul’s pursuit. Or it may have been written in a time when any enemy was after David and his throne. Not all of those stories are revealed in Scripture. In any event, how does David maintain the motivation to pray and stay faithful to the Lord? Because he knows his real King. I don’t mean he knows who God is, I mean He knows God. He knows his King’s nature, his King’s character, his King’s personality. This is clear in Psalm 5:4-6. Don’t skip over these verses as an embarrassing explanation of the nature of God and His dealing with enemies. This section is the anchor for the entire psalm. David can be on the run before enemies while maintaining faith in God because he knows God doesn’t delight in wickedness. He knows God will not let evil continue. He knows the boastful and liars are abhorrent to God. He knows God will eventually bring judgment down on such sinners. Our modern world doesn’t take kindly to a God of judgment. But it was understanding God’s judgment that kept David faithful. In this case, it wasn’t his fear of being judged himself that kept him faithful, it was his understanding that these enemies would be judged. Therefore, David didn’t need to give up on God just because God didn’t seem to be winning today. Our God is living. He is active. He is Judge. It may appear that He is tolerating evil and sin; you may be thinking of giving up on Him. Don’t! Know your real King. Keep your faith in Him. He will judge in His good time. He will win in the end. You want to be on His side no matter what.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 5.

Continue reading “Know Your Real King”

It Is Coming

Today’s reading is 2 Thessalonians 1.

Why are we so intent on making disciples? Because we know things will not continue as they are today. The day is coming when the Lord will descend with a shout. The day is coming when the heavenly hosts in flaming fire will come to inflict vengeance on those who have not obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ. Just as we are glad someone brought the message of the gospel to us to save us from that wrath, we would bring that message to others to save them from it as well. Further, we take comfort knowing that those who refuse to repent and instead persecute and mistreat us will be judged by God and do not need to be judged by us. So we speak. So we persuade. So we make disciples. Wrath is coming. To whom will you take the gospel today?

Tomorrow’s reading is 2 Thessalonians 2.

Continue reading “It Is Coming”