Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 40 – G

Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart. This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 40

16 But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the LORD!”
17 As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!

The Lord is great, but I am poor and needy.

Let’s recount the historical reason for David writing this psalm. Many believe this psalm was written after the revolution of Absalom, and that David was back on the throne of Israel, nearing the end of his life.

He had experienced the greatest of betrayal in his life, and had been brought to the very edge of defeat and death by his son and a trusted friend. The depth of despair David experienced also brought with it a humility and gratefulness that is expressed in the final verses of this great psalm.

Also, it is instructive to note that the last two verses have two subjects, that is those who seek God and the author himself. The author looks to those who seek God, and desires joy and gladness for them in their chasing after God. He desires the best for them as they seek God.

For himself, he admits to his poverty and need. Please remember that the author is King David, and is near the end of his rule, where he rules over the most prosperous and militarily mighty nation in the area. His expansion of his rule saw few limits and the Lord gave him victory many, many times. He was the king of Israel, and is considered the greatest king that ruled over the nation.

Yet he saw himself as poor and needy. The word poor may be translated as afflicted. To be afflicted is to be in need, subject to oppression or abuse, and admitting to the need for deliverance.

How is it that David could honestly say these things, while sitting on the throne of Israel, and reigning over God’s people?

David was in the enviable position of understanding where he stood in relation to the great God we serve. Although he is considered one of histories greatest kings, he considered himself as poor and needy, a man before God, stripped of his earthly strength, and bowing before Him. David was great because he did not consider himself.

If this was the only one we might consider in the final verses, it would be enough, but I ask you to consider the greater David, the Lord Jesus Christ, for as we have seen though this psalm, the subject turns to the Messiah, and we can see glimpses of His life throughout the passage.

Consider Jesus, in relation to the claim of being poor and needy, One who voluntarily left all power and glory to be brought to a point of poverty and need, to being one who needed deliverance from God, who experienced affliction, poverty, humiliation and ultimately death.

David was rescued from the pit, but Jesus entered the grave, having prayed for deliverance. This exercise of trust in the Father is unexplainable, if He was not continually and always in the presence of the Father, communing with the Father, being One with Him.

His trust in the Father during His experience of poverty and affliction is amazing, and His willingness to enter death, while not deserving the condemnation is beyond any sense of logic or understanding.

The psalmist, at the end of this psalm, prayed for God not to delay. The Lord also prayed for deliverance. God delivered David. All appearance of deliverance for Jesus, in the eyes of the disciples was snuffed out at the point of death. It seemed the Father had delayed, had not delivered the greater David.

We must understand that the deliverance that was expected and the deliverance that was supplied was dependent on our understanding of the goal. Any one of us, being in the sandals of the disciples, would have seen this as the disciples did, as a great failure, a massive disappointment. If only God had not delayed in delivering Jesus from death.

But love is like that.

He truly is the leader of our salvation, the One who loved first, best and always.

We love because he first loved us. – 1 John 4:19


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Devotional

Let Me Tell You a Story – Courage & Strength

let-me-tell-you-a-story.jpg

If you have been following my ramblings for the past few months, you may remember that I spend some time in a parking lot, walking to the top and back down, praying for my family and friends, or memorizing a verse that I am trying to master. During my walks, as many of you may remember, I tend to wander in my thinking, ending up in a place in my mind I hadn’t intended. This post is the result of such wandering.

For some unknown reason, I began to consider the concept of courage, and the many commands in the Word of believers told to “fear not”. I have found that the Word actually speaks the words “do not fear” (or some similar phrase) over 100 times. Some of these verses are directed to individuals in specific historic circumstances, but the example provided can be very instructive. Other passages, especially in the gospels or epistles can be applied directly to us as believers. This is incredible, and reveals to me that fear is a huge issue that God often addresses with in His people.

As an aside, it is important to understand that if you are in a dangerous situation, fear is a healthy emotion, and is not to be rejected. Fear in an unsafe condition actually may save your life.

No, this post is about a non-defined, non justified fear that has no basis in truth, paralyzing (or controlling) us without any clear danger defined. Out of this condition of fear, God has a solution. Don’t be afraid. Be courageous.

It seems incredibly obvious to me now that fear is a decision to live in. Now don’t get me wrong, that when I am in the midst of fear, when the panic hits and the terror strikes, making a simple decision to be courageous, and reject fear is not my first consideration. I usually fall into the fear trap, get wrapped up in it’s tentacles and tremble. Usually, I actually feed the fear monster, by thinking of or listening to fear mongering. This is very easy to do in this society of social networking. Bad news sells!

But Good News heals. Only after I spend some quiet with the Lord, do I regain my sense of control over this emotion.

Let’s consider the emotion of anger. In the past I have grown in my rejection of unjustified anger. How is it that fear is any different in the way the Word addresses a solution for believers. The Word tells us to not be angry.

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. – Col 3:8 ESV

It seems to be a straight forward command. A decision that one can make to humbly admit our weakness and depend on Him. And yet, in the midst of the sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, there appears to be no escape, no other way. (Consider Gal 5:19-21 for this list of sins)

A walking with the Lord rescues us from these debilitating choices, these temptations that are overpowering for the one who is seemingly alone!

But let us return to the topic at hand.

When I finally recover from an “attack of the fearries”, I usually think of the time I went back to college in my mid 30’s, when I once again fell into fear. Paralyzed by fear if my memory serves me right.

I was a latecomer in the class, starting the semester a week late, one of the older students, with the peer clicks firmly established and the pecking order obvious. I don’t recall any reason fear crept up my spine and nestled in my mind, but it settled in for a long stay. For weeks, I was quiet, not looking at anyone, or entering into any conversations with other students. It seemed hopeless.

The fear that had controlled my actions for weeks was literally shattered while I was in the hallway next to my soils class, and I read the following Scripture.

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” – Isa 12:2

All I could hear was that my fear was revealing my lack of faith. There were two attitudes the prophet spoke of. Either trust or be afraid. Trust resulted in not being afraid. I will trust, and not be afraid. This was a seminal moment for me and I have often thought of this time in future periods or fear.

Is there a time in your life when you could state you exercised faith and experienced fear at the same time. The Bible tells us that fear is something we can reject through trust in the Living God.

Can it be that believers want it to be more complicated? Let me know of your experiences with fear and how the Lord has provided deliverance for His child.


Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion. If you would like to receive daily posts from Considering the Bible, click on the “Follow” link below


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 40 – F

Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart. This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 40

13 Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me!
14 Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether who seek to snatch away my life; let those be turned back and brought to dishonor who delight in my hurt!
15 Let those be appalled because of their shame who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”

In our last post, the passage emphasized the trials David experienced, a hopeless that was expressed by outward and inward enemies. Multiple iniquities, more than the hairs of his head, and evils surrounding him.

His heart was failing.

As we consider our passage, verse 13 reflects David’s heartfelt desire to see God active and working, delivering his child from all his enemies. David is not asking for mercy in this request, but that the motivating factor to drive God in delivering his child is God’s own pleasure in saving those who call out to Him. Not only is David appealing to God to take pleasure in delivering the saint, but that the Lord would make haste.

I love doing things that please me. I love writing in this blog, and will get up early in the morning in order to be involved with the text and to ask God for direction. I take pleasure in it! I usually (always?) put off things that I take no pleasure in (weeding the garden for example), in order to do that which pleases me. Of course this is a comparison of earth with heaven, yet that which we are pleased to do, we seek to find time to do.

How about God? Do you see God as a God who takes pleasure in delivering His saints? Is the God you worship a God that is reluctant in delivering the saint? Is He One who is distant and would rather not be bothered?

What is it that God takes no pleasure in? What actions does God prefer not to be involved in (I speak as a man)? A quick search of the Word brings a number of verses for my reader to consider.

For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live.” – Ezekiel 18:32 ESV

in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. – Hebrews 10:6 ESV

but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” – Hebrew 10:38 ESV

After David appeals to God for deliverance, he speaks of the natural outcome of this deliverance as he understood it. Deliverance for David would mean the doom of his enemies.

He speaks of “those” enemies that he was facing, that they be put to shame, disappointed, turned back, brought to dishonor and appalled.

Let’s remember that David is a man of war, that his perspective was that of victory or defeat against his foes. The entire kingdom of Israel existed through military conquest, and for the nation to continue, it’s physical enemies would need to be held back.

Is it so for us as the body of Christ in the church age? Are we dealing with physical enemies, and should we seek their downfall, that they be put to shame?

Consider the contrast of David’s desire for his enemies with the New Testament teaching provided to the saints.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:12 ESV

Is it fair to deduce from this passage that since we do not wrestle against the physical, that we are also not to enter into adversarial attitudes with those who may appear to be “against” us?

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, – Matthew 5:44 ESV

In my opinion, (which is worth less than two pennies) this is the most challenging single verse in the Bible to live out. I am a naturally pessimistic, argumentative and judgmental fella, and find that an attitude of grace and mercy towards those I meet with during my day to day life is impossible without the continual help from God in thinking and behaving properly, under His direction.

Our outlook on life is to be per the Messiah’s teaching and though we often feel as David felt in this passage, we have a higher calling, a calling that will prioritize love over revenge, of forgiveness over bitterness, of prayer over argumentation.

We have a high calling brothers. Let us remember the challenge, and seek to follow the One who loved us when we were enemies!

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. – Romans 5:10


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 40 – E

Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart. This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 40

11 As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!
12 For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me.

In our earlier passage, David declared his “nots”. Just as a reminder, let’s review them

I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O LORD.

I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness

David is confident that the Lord will not restrain His mercy from him. I find it somewhat interesting that the prophet used the same negative terminology for both the Lord and his own actions, that is, that restraint was not carried out.

Restraint implies a restriction, an unwillingness, a loss of freedom, inhibition. Both David and the Lord are free to exercise their respective actions. David has freedom to share the goodness of God. The Father is free to exercise mercy in David’s experience.

But that brings up a question for my readers.

  • Is David linking his freedom to share with the congregation, with God finally able to exercise mercy to him?
  • In other words, is the Lord free to exercise mercy in every and all circumstances? Or is He restricted upon our actions?

Comment below with your thoughts.

Let’s continue. David proceeds into verse 12 with a litany of overwhelming perils. Let’s look them one at a time.

Wickedness surrounding me

David confessed he had enemies all about. Friends, acquaintances or sworn enemies, he realized wickedness was prevalent outside of his own person. We know of this trial in our own lives, as we realize that many in our lives may would seek to take advantage of us, harm us or at the least sideline us to make us of no effect.

Iniquities within me

David was realizing that external forces were not his only problem.

If he lived in a utopian kingdom, where all was love and kindness, no wickedness or evil intent possible, He would still have an enemy. As Pogo, a cartoon character of 50 years ago quipped, “We have met the enemy and he is us”

David realized his own inner wickedness, selfishness, self deceit and weakness. This I find to be the hardest truth for the average Christian to accept (it is for me!) and the most difficult to discuss. We tend to exaggerate either extreme. Some may state that sin is not resident in their lives, thereby experiencing spiritual perfection. I don’t meet many believers of this doctrinal stance, that is sinless perfection, yet I fear there are many that believe they may have attained to it without verbally expressing it!

The other extreme is complete and utter evil only lurking in the heart of man. This seems to have much Scriptural backing, and my calvinist brothers would claim it is the reason for their gospel message. (Without this key lynch pin holding their theology together, the logical system they have built crashes to the ground).

Although I spent decades in this thinking, I have come to understand that wickedness resides in me alongside a desire to know God, a desire to seek him and know him. As an experiential knowledge of my own heart, I understand that my own witness is not to be trusted. Therefore, I would appreciate my readers to comment on this topic – the heart of man and it’s condition.

It is instructive though, that David states “my iniquities have overtaken me.” He does not say that his entire being is only sinful, iniquitous, evil, hateful and dastardly. Of course I am being extreme here, but I hope you get my point. (I have always wanted to use the word dastardly in my blog – now I have!)

No vision to guide me out

David claims blindness. He cannot see. Of course we are not to take this literally. He is speaking of his trials, his situation. He is looking for a way out, but with external and internal enemies, there is no escape, no where to run for safety. His back is up against a wall, and he is realizing the wall is also a foe.

Nope, As my momma used to say “He is up the crik without a paddle stick!”

Sins uncountable

How many hair reside on your head? Innumerable, uncountable. Why count them when there are so many. This is the sense I get as David describes his sins to God. It is hopeless!

As we have mentioned in our blog earlier, the Hebrew poets would repeat a thought in the next stansa, using this devise to explain or amplify the previous thought. David is dwelling on his internal iniquities when speaking of the innumerable sins he is recounting.

No strength

His heart fails. No hope, no escape, no relief, no release, nothing that would give encouragement for the future. That is, if we did not have the foundation of God’s promise in the verse above.

As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain your mercy from me;
your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!

The foundation of God’s mercy, steadfast love and faithfulness is what David finds hope in. He will venture into this great hope in our next blog, dealing with verses 13 – 15.

I hope you can join me as a hopeless situation finds light shone on it! And hopefully, we can see our own situations in like manner, where the Lord Jesus will bring light to our situation and provide deliverance and help in time of need.

Thanks for joining me in this venture through the Psalms. I rarely express my gratitude for your attention to my ruminations. Thanks again, and I look forward to your comments.

May God bless you and keep you in His love.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Devotional

Let Me Tell You a Story – Montana

let-me-tell-you-a-story.jpg

My favorite and I flew to Montana a few weeks back to spend some time with our eldest son and his lovely family. While we were there, we camped out at a KOA camp, sat by the fire at night, ate hotdogs and burgers off the grill and played a bunch of rummy.

I was able to teach my grandson the game and he took to it, to the point he wanted to play and play and play. He won a few times, which only fueled his confidence, but that is another story.

This story is about my son and I trying our hand at fly fishing.

We purchased the rods, flies, licenses and even some boots to wade into the river with. Our first day out was a Monday, and we had no cell service – which was glorious in it’s own way. Our trek took us upstream to a sand bar on the Boulder River, where we could get some practice in our casting skills, which admittedly were pre-beginner status.

A bit of testing and trying, and pretty soon I felt like I knew what I was doing. Note that it is a feeling – I didn’t know what I was doing, but as my momma used to say “Ignorance is bliss”. We fished for a few hours, pulled our flies out of the trees, untangled our line numerous time and generally appeared completely out of our realm.

By 2 pm, we were ready to head home, realizing the fish were not gonna cooperate. Dang fish!

The point of this story is not to describe the frustration with our efforts, or to whine about our lack of success, or to complain about the heat of the day.

No, there was absolutely no reason to be negative. I was in the middle of some of the pertiest nature I had ever experienced.

As I was trekking away from the Boulder River, looking back at the clear blue pristine river, the bright green hillside, with a rustic brown escarpment, up against a crystal clear sky, that just for a moment, a fleeting moment, I was flooded with praise to the One who created such beauty and grandeur. (I would describe my reaction with greater detail, but I fear I would be giving up my man-card.)

Of course, as a city dweller, I never experience this in the concrete jungle. Grey concrete structures and steel pan bridges do not ignite the inner wonder of God’s creation I experienced that afternoon. For many, if I were to paste a photo of this area, would simply bypass it, thinking it was a “dime a dozen” view, nothing to get excited about, and well it may be.

But that afternoon, under the sun and with God, I experienced something that will not escape my memory for many many years. It was indescribable, and I will quit trying to do the impossible.

My point is – Get out of the city and experience nature as soon as you have opportunity. Thankfully, God is with us always and everywhere, that is the gospel truth. Yet, it may be that out in a wide open field, with a cold bubbling river beside you, (and uncooperative fish teasing you) you may get a new perspective that will light you up!

God is good.


Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion. If you would like to receive daily posts from Considering the Bible, click on the “Follow” link below


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 40 – D

Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart. This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 40

9 I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O LORD.
10 I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.

In our previous post we found it spoke directly of David’s prophetic ability to delve into the text beyond the surface reading of Old Testament commands. But more importantly, Psalm 40:6-8 speaks of the life purpose of the Messiah, that is the Messiah’s desire, ‘to do thy will”.

The passage also speaks of the desire of God in both the arenas of sacrifice and of obedience, of how the sacrifices were never the end goal, but the complete obedience of the Lord Jesus to the Father’s will as being the great story, the end goal, the purpose of it all.

Our passage before us speaks of the telling, preaching, sharing, and declaring of the message to the great congregation, to those who need to hear of the Messiah and of His heart for God.

David spoke freely to the congregation, to those who assembled together. He did not hide the message within his heart, but freely spoke the good news of the God of creation. David has spoken of hiding the word in his heart in another Psalm, in order to not sin against God, but in this Psalm he is not restrained in voicing the glad news.

Although the Psalm speaks of David proclaiming the God of all creation to the congregation, the passage should be recognized as describing the Lord Jesus (and His followers) as the preachers of the salvation provided.

If we consider the congregation David shared with as His own nation, or possibly to the faithful within his own nation (the remnant of faithful), we should not understand that as applicable to the times of the Lord. His congregation was those He came across, the adulterous Samaritan woman, the legalistic Pharisee, the blind beggar at the well, and a dead man in a cave. He was not restricted as David may have been in preaching or sharing of the great salvation He was to provide, in the good news of the kingdom of God arriving. His congregation was all of creation, and as a believer, I need to be reminded that He is the Lord of all, that all of creation is His congregation, His assembly.

To the Ones who know Him currently, He is to be declared. To the ones who have yet to understand, He is to be declared. To the ones who have never heard of Him, He is to be declared. To those who despitefully hate Him, He is to be declared.

Each declaration of the Lord Jesus is to be from the heart, as the psalmist describes that he had not concealed or hidden His deliverance within his heart. It is to be a life message, based on the Living Word having passed through our lives and into our neighbor. Each person we meet, we must have wisdom to know the best manner of sharing His deliverance, the love to open ourselves up to unwanted responses, and the courage and boldness to share the truth and react in love.

Earlier I spoke of the Living Word passing though our lives and into others. Without experiencing an ongoing active relationship with the God of our salvation through the Word of God and prayer, the message of God’s love may simply become cold, lifeless, factual, exact, documental, even story like.

This is a great challenge to myself as I need to be awakened to the great news of His deliverance, of my heart being opened to the Living truth, of a refreshing, a revival of glimpsing His great love, not only for myself, but for the entire congregation.

No matter how passionate you feel you are in preaching the good news to His congregation, there is currently no restriction for the believer to grow in this privilege. There is always a greater depth to plunge in the knowledge of God, and out of that experiential relationship, a greater desire to share will be the natural outcome. The desire will naturally pour out of our lives, our speech and to the ones we meet. Each of the verses we have looked at above speak of David telling good news, not restraining his lips, not hiding God’s deliverance, speaking of God’s faithfulness, and finally not concealing His steadfast love.

Wherever you may judge yourself in exercising this privilege, dig into the Living Word, (please do not simply look for facts!) look to the Father for boldness, passion and wisdom, and witness a change as you share with those who are in His congregation.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 40 – C

Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart. This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 40

6 In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.
7 Then I said, “Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
8 I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”

As believers, we have come to live in the sacrifice our Lord has provided, and understand the concept (at least intellectually) of self sacrificing love. Try to remember a time when, as a Christian, you did not consider love greater than law, self sacrifice stronger than sanctified image.

Our psalm above starts off with a statement of God not desiring sacrifice and offering. How can David say this, when entire books of the Old Testament, such as Leviticus, spend a majority of time detailing the requirements of sacrifices to and for God?

How is it David is speaking of God not wanting sacrifice?

David, in my opinion, is speaking on two levels.

Level One

The first level, as a prophet, “scratches the surface” of understanding the nature and character of our God, of the core element of the goodness and mercy of God. He is not speaking of a relationship based on animal sacrifices and burnt offering, but reflecting on the nature of God.

I was taught once that the nature of a person (and God is a person), that a persons nature will exude from their inner person to their actions and appearance. Given this, David reflected (I suppose), on the nature of sacrifice described by the God of all creation, and understood that the very nature of the God of the universe was of sacrifice, of giving to others, of supplying needs, of loving those who are unlovely, and of being “otherwise”, when compared with us mere mortals.

To say God has not required burnt offerings and sin offerings, – well that seems to fly in the face of many of the commands of Scripture. And yet, David continues with a seeming “alternative” message.

But let us consider a thought. It may be important to consider that David isn’t providing an “alternative” message, but a deeper message, a fuller message, a message that is as a blooming flower compared to the seedling it once was. Same plant, far different appearance. The standard Old Testament saint, the “ordinary, average” believer in the ancient days may have understood that the physical sacrifices of bulls and goats were what God wanted, and with that understanding, he would be in obedient and in good standing. But David dove deeper!

How about us? Do we understand the shoulders we are standing on? The insight of David, as a prophet of God is light-years ahead of my thoughts and musings. He saw the sacrifices and considered the nature of God. This is instructive to me, as when I read a command or declaration of God in the word, I automatically think of me, how I can do something, how a Scripture statement reflects on me me me.

David was beyond this. As I have been taught previously, David is sometimes described as a New Testament believer in this psalm, one who had grasped the difficult concept of moving from a life depending on the sacrifice of a bull or goat, to a life that understood God’s true nature, and finally to the life of self-sacrifice.

Level Two

The second level is as the Lord Jesus Himself, the Messiah, and of His full understanding of the nature of God, and of a true relationship with His Father.

This second level is clear when we consider the book of Hebrews, and the apostle’s interpretation of the Old Testament passage David provided us. Let’s notice the commentary the apostle has inserted into our text, fleshing out the psalm to provide a full understanding of it – that is the full revelation of David’s text, about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Psalm 40:6-8

In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.

Then I said, “Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me: I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”

Hebrews 10:5-10

Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.

Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.'”

Notice Hebrews 10, where the apostle adds “a body have you prepared for me”, speaking of the humanity of the God-man Jesus Christ, and check out the “minor edit” the apostle provides in the next verse. He not simply delights to do God’s will, as David expressed in the psalm, but that our Lord Jesus Christ did the will of God!

When we slow down enough to consider who our Great High Priest is, He truly is beyond our wildest imagination. When we speak of Him, although He is still mocked and spit on to this present day, let us remember that He is the Risen King.

Let us keep our eyes on Him for God is good, all the time.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Devotional

Let Me Tell You a Story – Cancelled

let-me-tell-you-a-story.jpg

My wife and I got up at 3:30 a.m. (in the morning!) to head to Billings Montana for a long awaited vacation. We were quite excited to see our son and his family during our camping trip. It was going to be great.

But alas, life interrupted our plans! Arriving at the airport at 5 am, we hit a giant, colossal, insurmountable hurdle. For some reason, the flight was booked and no seats were available for us. We used a third party provider to set up the flight, and the night before, received verification that the flight would be departing as scheduled.

The flight was fully booked! What a catastrophe! A complete meltdown of all that was important in life!

We were told the flight had no seats available, even though the documents said they had been reserved! I couldn’t help thinking of the Seinfeld bit about reservations!

Of course, I didn’t have the foresight to use some of those classic lines he used at the car rental desk, since I was more disappointed in not seeing my son, daughter in law and my widdle grandbabies that afternoon. But alas, my wife and I resolved the problem and flew out the following day

My point isn’t to compare my experience with Seinfeld, although I find some of it to be similar with the clip. No, the issue that came to mind was that this was more of a “first world” problem, and that it shouldn’t shake me, irritate me, or cause me to fall into a frustrated ball of nerves.

I suppose as we walk this life, it is easy to accept minor inconveniences as major disruptions in our lives. Kinda like calling a paper cut a life threating open wound. Call it what you want, but in all honesty, it is only a paper cut. And complaining about a paper cut (or even a life threatening open wound), seems to be at odds with Paul’s admonition to think on positive things. Let’s take a minute to consider that passage.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

Notice there is nothing in the verse speaking of thinking on disappointments such as cancelled airplanes, reservation losses or ticketing issues. Although it is true that these things occurred, they do not fall under the “lovely” or “commendable” descriptors. Considering that, I’m thinking Paul is defining an attitude that includes all the descriptors for us to settle our minds upon.

Maybe a much bigger challenge than what I first considered.

What think ye?


Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion. If you would like to receive daily posts from Considering the Bible, click on the “Follow” link below


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 40 – B

Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart. This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 40

4 Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!
5 You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told.

Let’s continue with this incredible psalm, remembering that David earlier described the actions of the Lord in rescuing him from the miry pit and setting him on a firm foundation. The natural expected response to this show of grace to the sinner was that we would make the Lord our trust. Those who do make the Lord their trust, they are blessed.

But what does it look like to make the Lord their trust? David gives us some direction in this regard, by providing two descriptions of those who do not trust the Lord.

Trusting the Proud

David speaks of the one who makes the Lord his trust as one who does not turn to the proud.

First off, this implies a difference between the saint and the sinner, since a typical characteristic of those who do not know and trust the Lord in His mercies, these poor souls only have themselves to depend on (or at least another mere man) for their guidance and stability, which naturally breeds a pride and arrogance in their lives. This is an inevitable outcome of trusting our own thoughts and opinions. I cannot depend on my own thoughts and at the same time truly consider myself to be humble, for I have elevated my accumulated bank of wisdom over all others.

Consider a man that has attained a high level of education, excelled in his career, and is confident of his abilities. It is a rare that he will consider others opinions to be equal to his, although for the sake of social graces and professional appearance, this may seem to occur.

Trusting the Lord is a different matter, since many, if not all of the precepts of the Lord go against our natural inclination, and rub against our pride. A believer, trusting in the Lord, will exhibit a willingness to be subdued by the Word as he hears it, and will reject a dependence on those who are confident in their own status.

Trusting the Liar

Many times in the ancient writings, the Hebrews would use a type of poetry that is not familiar to us. Where we tend to look for words that rhyme, or for a certain cadence to the verse, for the Hebrew prophet, much poetry started with a statement, followed by a clarification of the statement.

A prophet using a synonymous poetry style, is seen in the following passages.

Deliver me, O LORD, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue. – Psalm 120:2

Notice how lying lips are further defined as a deceitful tongue

My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, – Proverbs 3:11

Notice that discipline is further refined as reproof.

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. – Isaiah 53:5

Multiple parallels in this short passage. Take a moment to identify at least two parallel descriptions in the verse above.

Lets return to our passage in Ps 40 where David speaks of the one who does not make the Lord his trust. Consider that to turn to the proud, is refined in this couplet as going after a lie! Pride and lies are common bedfellows in both the Old and New Testament.

The relation between humility and trust is again brought to my attention, and I ask those who may be reading, to consider the place of humility in trusting the Lord in their experience with the Lord.

Deeds and Thoughts Toward Us

David reverts to considering the One to whom he is praying, the One who has rescued him from the miry pit, and has set his feet on solid ground.

His thoughts and deeds are toward us, toward the hurting and helpless, toward those who suffer and are ignored, toward those who are weak and without guidance. The Lord’s deeds and thoughts are more than can be spoken. More than can be revealed. More than can be communicated.

His character of grace and mercy towards those who trust Him, (and those who don’t) cannot be fully expressed. Of course those who do not know Him, are still the recipients of multitudinous mercies on a daily basis, and yet they have no knowledge. We who claim to know Him, will naturally proclaim Him, even though it is impossible to fully communicate each and every one of His gracious thoughts and deeds toward us.

He is toward us, He is good and He is to be trusted.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 40 – A

Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart. This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 40

1 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.

He inclined to me. He bent down to me.

The psalms speak of the Lords bending down to the saint in many passages. I will supply a few verses that use the very same Hebrew word David uses here, but as you read through the psalms, it will become evident the image of the King of Glory “bending down” is quite regular.

Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! – Psalm 31:2

In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me! – Psalm 71:2

A Prayer of David. Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. – Psalm 86:1

Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry! – Psalm 88:2

Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress! Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call! – Psalm 102:2

Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live. – Psalm 116:2

As I was gathering these verses, I was simply looking for the Hebrew word that is translated as “incline” in Psalm 40:1. I was hoping to simply display the fact that the Lord of Glory would incline towards the saint through this simple study, but something much more specific has been observed. Can you see it?

The Lord inclined His ear! He listened to the saint. He took time (I speak as a fool again) to consider the saints concerns and troubles. This was a wonder to the Old Testament saint, a blessing from the hand of God, and a privilege the saint experienced.

How so for us in the church? Do we have this privilege, of the Lord inclining His ear to us?

Oh my friends, we have much more than that. He inclined His life to us, taking on the form of a servant, and was born in our likeness.

He “inclined” totally!

who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. – Philippians 2:6-8 ESV

This is a mystery that is beyond me when I seek to understand it, and rightly so. The very fact that He took time to listen in days of old speaks volumes, for the Old Testament saint did not have a God who was indifferent or standoffish.

How much more for us, in that He not simply listened to the ones he heard, but rubbed shoulders with us, ate with us, walked with us and died for us.

Verse 2 speaks of His deliverance of our lives and a phrase caught my attention as I was a ruminating! He drew me up, “out of the miry bog”

When I first believed, I was so excited about escaping the fires of hell, but not so with the Psalmist. David has a different emphasis in this verse. He does not say He drew me up out of the fiery flames. No no no

The miry bog. A pit of clay. A hole without escape. Not to get too technical, but clay, when wet, has no bearing capacity, in not confined. It is a condition that the more you struggle and fight, the more the clay grabs you, holds you, even consumes you. No hope of escape on your own. A condition of distress, confusion and helplessness.

How often have you been in this condition? All is dark, with no seeming hope and nothing positive on the horizon? This is the condition David recounts as he begins this psalm and speaks of the unilateral help of the only true God in giving us deliverance.

He is the only One active in this set of verses, with the saint being the benefactor, the recipient of the goodness of God.

He is good. Think on these things and praise Him for His many mercies to us!


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.