Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 33 Part B

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. 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 33

11 The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!
13 The LORD looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man;
14 from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth,
15 he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds.
16 The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
17 The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue.
18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love,
19 that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine.
20 Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.
21 For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.
22 Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you.

We want to trust in anything other than God. Great armies, great strength, great weapons. All of these “idols” are ultimately red herring’s for our soul, when we abandon the living God.

He is looking for those that fear Him, and that hope in his steadfast love, that look to the mercy of God in all His actions and attitudes. He is kind, desiring to be our help and shield, our protector and defender.

Each morning as I arrive at work, I take a 15 minute walk in my parking garage, reviewing some memory verses (on the way up to the 7th floor) and praying for my family, friends and specific daily concerns on the way down from the 7th floor. All this to say, it was just a few days ago, that verse 21 of this chapter came up in my memory review and it was a blessing to consider.

Note “our heart is glad in Him because we trust in His holy name”

In our trust towards the only One who deserves our trust, we experience gladness, a rejoicing that is simply an over flow of the very life of God being worked out in our day to day lives. Our experience is to be full of joy, a rejoicing in the many benefits of our Holy Savior.

In the midst of good news, the rejoicing of our heart is to be relational, exuberant, obvious, open and full.

In the midst of bad news, the rejoicing of our heart is also relational, but with a subdued settled confidence that in the midst of the trial, God is still on the throne, that in the strength of God, our heart can not simply survive the storm, but if exercised by the Spirit, increase in hope, faith and love.

Trust in His holy Name, in the Name of Jesus and as you trust, experience the gladness of heart the psalmist sings of.


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Bible · Hymns

In Christ Alone – Sounds Like Reign

I have sung this hymn often in the church I first joined the saints in song. This is a beautiful song done beautifully by this humble group.

In Christ alone
I place my trust
And find my glory in the power of the cross
In every victory
Let it be said of me
My source of strength
My source of hope
Is Christ alone

Tell me your thoughts, and how this song spoke to you!

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Bible · Hymns

I Wonder as I Wander – Simon Khorolskiy

I have never heard this hymn, and what a great contemplation.

I wonder as I wander out under the sky

how Jesus my Savior did come for to die

for poor ordinary people like you and like I

I wonder as I wander out under the sky

Tell me your thoughts, and how this song spoke to you!

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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 33 Part A

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. 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 33

1 Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright.
2 Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!
3 Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.
4 For the word of the LORD is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness.
5 He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.
6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
7 He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; he puts the deeps in storehouses.
8 Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
9 For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.
10 The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples.

Can we settle on one verse this morning. So many great verses in this chapter but verse 5 has stuck in my craw, and it won’t let go.

Psalm 33:5b …the earth is FULL of the steadfast love of the LORD.

Is it? Is it really?

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My friends , as we walk this path with the Lord through the lives that He has granted us, we make many decisions. Out of these decisions, our lives are expanded to new understandings and appreciation of the Lord Jesus, or we are shrinking in our love and desire to know Him. Thoughts like this occur to me at the oddest time and I am thankful for the still small voice that whispers truth to me.

Let me share a time of hearing a still small voice.

As many of you know, I am an engineer, encased in numbers and schedules, with pressure and deadlines always upon me. Lately staff shortages and the winning of new work has exacerbated this condition. It was only yesterday that I was on the phone with my mechanical lead (a mechanical engineer who leads his group to complete a task I have assigned for a certain deadline), discussing how thinly spread we are in getting our tasks done, when he mentioned how ugly his surroundings are.

You see, we had to send him to a desert of California to oversee the construction of a boiler install for a couple months. Each time I have chatted about his conditions, he states that his surroundings are ugly, windy, too hot (or too cold) and too dry.

Much to complain about I suppose, but I argued there must be something of beauty in the area. He claimed none and challenged me to consider when I first moved to Texas, being in the Panhandle area, where nothing grows, the wind always blows and the ground is flatter than a pancake. I agreed that the first few months in the panhandle were barren for beauty, especially since I had moved there from the beautiful shores of Lake Superior in Canada.

And yet, after a few months of living in the area, I began to see a beauty in the area. Of course I am not speaking of the oil pump jacks, or the abandoned factories, or of the rusting storage tanks. We have to remember that man has had an effect on this world. But given this concession, there appeared to be a beauty I did not expect. A vastness, an expanse that argued for the greatness of God, and of how little I was! That is a good lesson to learn for a proud man like I!

Am I equating the love of the Lord with beauty of my surroundings? Not at all. His love is steadfast. My surroundings change. Whether I’m experiencing the rocky shores of Lake Superior, or the flat vastness of the Texas panhandle, His love is steadfast.

Modern Proverbs Woman

The earth is FULL of the steadfast love of the Lord, yet we look at our surroundings as if He provided only difficulties and hurdles to “put up with”.

Do you believe the earth is FULL of the steadfast love of the Lord?

How do you “receive” the surroundings you are in? What is your perception? How do you translate your situation?

There are a number of passages that inform me that my decisions, which result in actions I perform, come back around on me. This isn’t the karma thing that seems so prevalent, since that includes a non-personal force that supposedly reacts to our actions.

No, what I am speaking on is the realization of God’s steadfast love in all our experience, being thankful and doing all things without murmuring and disputing’s. In this decision to trust God in His communication of His steadfast love, we have the opportunity to experience His love in a deeper and fuller way. When we distrust our loving Father, and interpret our situation as being from the hand of an angry God, one who will seek to trip us up, or that is angry with us, we cause our lives to become bitter, lonely and full of suspicion. Our very fears become a reality, become a self fulfilling prophecy, and our lives go down the proverbial toilet.

Consider the following passages

Ps 18:25,26

With the merciful you show yourself merciful;
with the blameless man you show yourself blameless;
with the purified you show yourself pure;
and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous.

Notice the Lord shows Himself to us in response to our character. Yet the Scripture states that the earth FULL of the steadfast love of the LORD!

What gives? If the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord, why do some experience Him as tortuous?

Consider

Psalm 109:17-18

He loved to curse; let curses come upon him! He did not delight in blessing; may it be far from him!
He clothed himself with cursing as his coat; may it soak into his body like water, like oil into his bones!

One more time where our decision to perform an action (cursing, not delighting in blessings) results in a similar action coming back to us.

Consider

Proverbs 3:34

Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor.

This verse is in the same vain as Psalm 18, but as I began to see this pattern in the Word, it continued to become a recurring theme in the Old Testament.

The New Testament also speaks of His reactions to our actions.

Consider

James 4:6,8,10

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Will you trust the Word and believe that the earth is FULL of the steadfast love of the Lord?

Take a step back, examine your life and consider if you are one who complains, finds fault or is generally negative. Find a friend or relative that you consider to be an honest person. Sit them down and ask for an honest evaluation of your life. It may be very enlightening!

You see, your base understanding of God is critical! You have, in the past, somehow assumed Him to be one who complains, finds fault and is negative towards you. What you believe about the LORD will ooze out of your life in the attitudes and actions you live in. Your actions and attitudes will be responded to in like manner, and the downward spiral continues!

If that is your understanding of God, your understanding of God is not according to truth.

Consider the goodness and loving kindness of our God!


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Bible · Hymns

Sing Hallelujah to the Lord – Simon Khorolskiy

English and Russian voices together praising the Father Son and Holy Spirit.

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Bible · Hymns

Wayfaring Stranger – Simon Khorolskiy

English and Russian voices together in a beautiful song of going home.

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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 32

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. 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 32

1 A Maskil of David. Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah
5 I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
6 Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him.
7 You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9 Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.
10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.
11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

David was a man after God’s own heart, and yet he struggled with sin issues, sin such as murder, adultery and deception. He was a man who sought the Lord and yet fell violently into sin, into a darkness that enveloped him, that pulled him into conflict with the One he loved. He was under the hand of God, and he kept silent. Confession and repentance for this man of God was refused.

He would not admit his sin! It would cost too much, (from a purely human standpoint).

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How often have you experienced the hand of God on your life? In the darkness, in the quiet of your soul, you have a balance sheet, a kind of ledger that you base decisions on. You weigh the pros and cons of each decision you make in your life, some of which are instantaneous, and some of which you spend time deliberating, considering the cost of certain actions.

Deciding to commit adultery with Bathsheba was an instant decision. (2 Samuel 11:2-3) David’s decision to commit adultery with Bathsheba did not consume much of David’s time.

A different story when it comes to cleaning the mess up. David spent nights tossing in his bed, conjuring up plans of action, determining methods of escaping the hand of God on his life, calculating his next move, trying to minimize the damage and maximize the benefits. He was running the numbers, and by his calculations he had to bury the sin!

First off, a little deception! Let’s pull an innocent man, no the victim of David’s sin, into the mix!

Call for Uriah and deceive him, appeal to his desire to serve the King, offer him a privilege of rest and renewal with his wife. David didn’t see the godliness of Uriah – how could he, his vision was clouded with his sin! Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, the man David cheated against, came to David and humbly served him, seeking David’s welfare above his own. He slept at the door of the King’s house, ever ready to serve!

David was in a bad place! He couldn’t cajole Uriah to be with his wife! David got the poor man drunk, tried to bribe him, sought to puff him up, and what became of it? Uriah served his King.

David had a decision to make. He consulted his ledger of options, and decided after serious calculation through the night, that Uriah had to die!

Note that David’s decisions caused one man’s death, one man becoming an accomplice, and one child’s eventual death. One woman became a byword through Israel, and yet attained the position of queen eventually. And the king was in sin!

Joab obeyed his king and abandoned the godly man Uriah in battle. Uriah died without any knowledge of the treachery going on in his world. The sacrifice had to be made based on David’s cold and calculating schemes.

And David fell deeper into the darkness, struggling against the chains of his own making. His self inflicted burden weighed him down and tore at his sleep. Constant raging in his soul all the day long. A never ending slavery to the decisions he made based on his calculations, his balance sheet of pro and con.

Sometimes the love of God draw’s us to His side. Sometimes the pain and agony of our current situation pushes us to the Fathers side. This concept of realizing our position before our Father is a recurring theme in my thinking lately. (Consider Parable Surprises – Lost Son).

When you are in the dark spot, that period of time that the struggle with choice is so fierce, when your calculations sheet of obedience/disobedience is tottering back and forth, remember the great love of God. Remember the first time you found the great forgiveness of God. Remember the freeing grace that opened up opportunities and confidence for your heart.

Confess you sin. Admit it to God, at least primarily. Agree with God in the existence and offence your action(s) have on the Father. Find forgiveness at the foot of the cross.

If you have sinned against someone, ask them for forgiveness.

Romans 5:20 …where sin increased, grace abounded all the more

He has provided grace that abounds. The calculation sheet during times of darkness does not consider the grace of God. It is uncalculatable!

Psalm 32:5 I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.



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Bible · Hymns

Amazing Grace – Simon Khorolskiy & Sounds like Reign

One of my favorites

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Bible · Hymns

Sweet By and By – Simon Khorolskiy

A classic

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Bible · Hymns

I am Dreaming of the Mountains – Simon Khorolskiy

Another beautiful song to rest in

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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 31

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. 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 31

1 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me!
2 Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me!
3 For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me;
4 you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge.
5 Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.
6 I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols, but I trust in the LORD.
7 I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul,
8 and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place.
9 Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also.
10 For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away.
11 Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach, especially to my neighbors, and an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me.
12 I have been forgotten like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel.
13 For I hear the whispering of many– terror on every side!– as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life.
14 But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!
16 Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love!
17 O LORD, let me not be put to shame, for I call upon you; let the wicked be put to shame; let them go silently to Sheol.
18 Let the lying lips be mute, which speak insolently against the righteous in pride and contempt.
19 Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!
20 In the cover of your presence you hide them from the plots of men; you store them in your shelter from the strife of tongues.
21 Blessed be the LORD, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city.
22 I had said in my alarm, “I am cut off from your sight.” But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help.
23 Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!

I would like to dwell on three verses from this beautiful psalm this evening. The first verse we will consider most will recognize.

5 Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.

This is the passage that the Lord cried out while on the cross, yet He only declared the first phrase. Knowing that those who were at the feet of the cross, especially those who sought His crucifixion, were Bible scholars, and knew the facts of the Psalms, they must have recognized this phrase from this psalm. But more importantly, they knew the context of the psalm, and even as He hung on that cruel cross, He was declaring the redemption He looked for.

He was quoting from a psalm that spoke of the LORD as being a faithful God, One that had redeemed Him. In the suffering and agony He was experiencing, He declared His victory through God

17 O LORD, let me not be put to shame, for I call upon you; let the wicked be put to shame; let them go silently to Sheol.

How contradictory this must seem. The Lord is considering this Psalm in the very act of dying for our sins, and it speaks of not being put to shame. He was spit on, beaten, mocked and humiliated. He was described as a demon, a false teacher, a heretic and a rebel. He was an outcast of His own people, a reject from the leaders who should have bowed down to Him

Oh, He was experiencing shame, but He is not experiencing this shame now, for He has been exalted to the highest, and one day, all will openly and joyfully confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father

21 Blessed be the LORD, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city.

As He suffered, He may have considered the 21st verse. He knew of the steadfast love of the Father, of being in a besieged city. Jerusalem was a city that killed the prophets and that was besieged with anti-God attitudes. He walked amongst those who despised Him, and yet walked in the steadfast love of God, even to the witness of those whom He walked amongst.

God the Father had shown His love to the Son in many ways during His ministry amongst the besieged city, through miracles and the witness of His teaching, through His sinless life and constant love for those who had been rejected by the religious community.

This religious community acted in pride and arrogance, determining their truth when looking at the truth. Their visitation would be soon and complete!

One last verse – I know I said three earlier, but this verse sums up the Psalm beautifully.

23 Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.


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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 30

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. 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 30

1 A Psalm of David. A song at the dedication of the temple. I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
2 O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.
3 O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
4 Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.
5 For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
6 As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.”
7 By your favor, O LORD, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed.
8 To you, O LORD, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
9 “What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me! O LORD, be my helper!”
11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

So often I read the psalms as a personal letter reflected in my own life. A psalm that describes a common struggle, or trial, or praise that all believers share in. This is a fair estimate of one of the values of the psalms. They were written with the intent of providing comfort to the battle weary believer.

Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

I would like to consider this psalm from a different angle this morning, as a number of verses shout out to me that the Lord Jesus must have identified with this psalm in a completely different manner than you or I.

Resurrection

Psalm 30:3 O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.

I can imagine that during our Lord’s time on earth, He dwelled on the verse above. Sheol is the Hebrew term describing the grave and it is obvious that He knew His death was the focus of His ministry for those He loved. This verse speaks of the restoration of the author from the pit, from the grave. Of course the author wrote it figuratively, since David did not actually die, and was not physically resurrected. It was a description of the danger he faced, and the saving outcome he experienced.

Not so for the One who came to die. He most assuredly understood the reference of resurrection and clung to the promise, veiled as it may be in our eyes.

Joy

30:5 For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

His death on the cross was His experience of anger produced by our sins against the Godhead. Our sins resulted in the “piling up” of anger that was poured out on the Son. The psalm speaks of anger, “but for a moment”. I refuse to consider the time of suffering He endured to be slight, or momentary, for it is surely something I will never fathom, understand or comprehend. It is beyond me, and rightly so.

Yet the Father’s favor is for a lifetime, to be experienced continuously. Yes, there is weeping for the night, and I can’t help but think of His suffering in the garden. His battle was in the garden, the tremendous burden He carried in those hours before His arrest.

Yet the joy was in front of Him, beckoning Him to follow through with His sacrifice for us.

Hebrews 12:2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Praise

30:9 “What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness?

This verse again speaks of the outcome of His death, of the intent of His death. Praise that will ascribe the faithfulness of God in the resurrection of His Son. The profit of His death is our deliverance and justification, but ultimately to the glory of the self sacrificing God, who stooped to our condition and entered death to provide forgiveness and life for an undeserving and rebellious people.

We have a God that is beyond our comprehension. He is above our thoughts and to praise Him is simply a natural result of glimpsing at the Son, thinking of His time on earth, seeing His focus and dependence on the Father. He is truly the only One we are to look to and to praise.

Praise Him for His mighty love.


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Bible · Hymns

Holy is the Lord – Simon Khorolskiy

Holy Holy Holy

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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 29

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. 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 29

1 A Psalm of David. Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.
3 The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, over many waters.
4 The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire.
8 The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth and strips the forests bare, and in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
10 The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD sits enthroned as king forever.
11 May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace!

This psalm of David has him watching a storm and contemplating the LORD above. His comparisons with the lightning and thunder of a storm makes for great comparisons with the voice of the LORD, His power, majesty and glory over all creation.

As many of you know, I am a bit of a technical geek and love to find out information that gives me a relative sense of a topic being described. As mentioned, this psalm is using a thunderstorm to try to describe the power of the voice of the LORD.

I found recently the following information that helps me understand (sort of) the massive power of a typical thunderstorm.

  1. The estimated peak power per lightning stroke is 1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion) watts.
  2. The total energy in a large thunderstorm is thought to be enough to power the whole of the USA for 20 minutes.
  3. A tall thunderstorm cloud can hold over 100,000,000 (one hundred million) volts of potential.

I am sure there are some out there that consider this information to be just so many numbers, and it a way it is, since it is sooo difficult to understand the term ” one trillion watts” or even “one hundred million volts”. I suppose the point is, that this may be the best example David had, though limited, to compare the power of the voice of the LORD to.

David, as he watches the storm in all his travels, had seen the lightning tear apart a massive cedar of Lebanon, and felt the land shake at a crack of thunder. His familiarity with the storms of the land gave him that sense of awe that as “moderns” we so sorely lack at times!

David mixes images by describing the voice of the LORD as sending out fire, that is, lightning bolts of power that nothing stands in the way of.

David speaks of the lightning breaking the massive trees of Lebanon. We can calculate the power it takes to destroy a tree, or create some havoc, but that is not the point in this psalm. David was in awe of the power that the LORD displayed, and used the things of nature (in our opinion) to consider the greatness of our God.

As the rain pours down in the middle of lightning flashes and thunder boomers, David considers the greatest rain event in the history of creation. The flood, with it’s related upheavals of the ground and releasing of the vents, reshaped the earth and controlled all things and everything on the face of the earth!

The LORD sits enthroned over the flood, and is enthroned as the KING forever.

This is the LORD we say we know, and yet even today, I was faltering a bit, confessing my weakness of faith and lack of love to Him. How powerful is His nature and being, and how tender of a Savior to us, in that He bends down to the lowly, seeks out our best, understands our weakness and loves us to the very end.

He is surely the great KING who is the servant of the lowliest, adversary to the proud, lover of sinners and walked amongst us to teach us of His compassion and goodness, to mimic and to follow.

May we learn to be more like Him as we look to Him for strength, wisdom, love and peace.

May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace!


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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – 28

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. 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 28:1-9

1 Of David. To you, O LORD, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me, lest, if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit.

2 Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary.

3 Do not drag me off with the wicked, with the workers of evil, who speak peace with their neighbors while evil is in their hearts.

4 Give to them according to their work and according to the evil of their deeds; give to them according to the work of their hands; render them their due reward.

5 Because they do not regard the works of the LORD or the work of his hands, he will tear them down and build them up no more.

6 Blessed be the LORD! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.
7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.

8 The LORD is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed.

9 Oh, save your people and bless your heritage! Be their shepherd and carry them forever.

Communication.

I struggle with it everyday, seeking to translate my thoughts into noises in order for others to comprehend my questions, needs or warnings. But that is only half the effort of communication. I may elucidate my thoughts perfectly, (in a theoretical world that is!) and if the one(s) I am addressing do not hear, understand and receive the message, it is all for naught.

David is letting us know of the communication between the God of Israel and himself. David is crying out for help, and nothing is happening. After years of open communication between the King and his King, David is calling out to God in some emergency.

The first verse has a bit of ambiguity to it when the ESV coins the phrase  “be not deaf to me”. A few of the other translations translate the phrase as “Do not be silent to me”.

There is a difference in my mind. The end results are the same of course, in that the praying saint seems to find no response from the One who can help. But David’s tone of the psalm changes based on this difference.

If the term is rightly understood to be “be not deaf to me”, David is implying that God isn’t hearing the prayer. God’s willingness (or ability?) to hear David has changed. He is not allowing any prayer to reach His understanding.

If the term is “do not be silent to me”, David is simply reiterating the same truth in the next phrase. The tone of the psalm then becomes that the saint isn’t receiving a response, though God may be hearing of the complaint.

You see, it is a different scenario if one doesn’t hear, and then doesn’t respond, than if one does hear and doesn’t respond. The ESV understands David’s complaint to be twofold. God isn’t hearing his prayer, and He isn’t responding to his prayer.

I think this allows us to see a bit deeper into David’s relationship with his God. He understood when his God heard his prayers, and when his God would answer his prayers. This is incredible, for many believers (my self included) struggle with this assurance and knowledge of God’s hearing and responding to our prayers.

Of course this may be a one-off for David, meaning this may be a specific time when David understood this situation. Therefore, I don’t mean we are to constantly know how and if God is receiving and responding to our prayers. But that is not the main point.

David had the sense, the discernment of knowing God’s attitude toward the prayer he offered up. And based on this knowledge, made his complaint anyway! He would not take no for an answer, and continued with his plea.

David pleads to the One on the throne, claiming that if his God is silent, he will die. God is the only One whom David leans on. If God doesn’t help, David’s life is over.

Get a feel for this situation.

You have spent your life seeking to hear and follow God, (imperfectly of course) and have come to a point when all is against you. At the time when all hangs in the balance, and you seek help from your God, all communication falls silent. No help comes. You are stranded, left to your enemies and the fate of death.

King David had to wait for his rescue, but it came.

Psalm 28:6

Blessed be the LORD! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.

David’s voice was heard. The LORD responded and saved his anointed one before he went to the grave.

Psalm 28:8

The LORD is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed.

David’s voice was heard and the grave was avoided. The greater David, our Lord Jesus, his prayers were heard, and yet the grave was not avoided. As a matter of fact, the grave was inevitable. Where David sought rescue from the grave, Jesus sought strength to endure entering to the grave.

Hebrews 5:7

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.

David’s salvation and Jesus salvation, both men facing the grave, followed different trajectories.

David was saved from the grave. (At least in relation to the current plea!)

Jesus was saved out of the grave, in resurrection power, not only to live forever, but to become the priest of a new creation, bringing many others into the same resurrection life.

Jesus prayers were heard. God the Father’s ears were (and are) always open to the Anointed One. The Fathers answer to the Saviors prayers were greater than any may have imagined, thought or wished for

Hebrews 5:7

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.

Jesus was heard by the Father. He is alive and praying for us.

Romans 8:34

Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

David sought deliverance from the grave. Jesus sought to enter the grave, to go through death in order to be “taken up”.

Luke 9:51

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.

He is the One to follow, if for no other reason than the incredible bravery and faith He exercised. The single minded focus of His life was to enter the grave, to obey the call of the Father on His life and to prove (ultimately) the great love wherewith He has loved us.

Love. It is the difference.

Let us love one another as the One who loved us has taught us.


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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – 27

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. 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 27

1 Of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.
3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.
4 One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.
6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD.
7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me!
8 You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.”
9 Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in.
11 Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.
12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence.
13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!
14 Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!

David was in trouble.

When he looked around, all he saw were evildoers, enemies, adversaries and foes. A brief look through this rich Psalm gives us some idea of the condition David found himself in.

David’s Condition

  • His enemies were after him

When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.

  • He was removed from the House of the Lord

One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.

  • He experienced abandonment by mother and father

For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in.

  • He was defamed by false witnesses rising up against him

Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence.

I don’t recognize a victim mentality coming from David, that I sometimes hear when a believer is under trials. Statements of his condition didn’t fall into that favorite category of mine, which I reserve for times like this, that is of blaming someone for my situation.

In all of his trials, David interspersed this psalm with confidence in God.

David’s Confidence

David’s life is a life of exhibiting confidence in God, when he was is serious trouble. Was David perfect – No, only the Messiah was able to live a life of perfection. But David did exercise confidence in the Lord when the chips were down, and this psalm typifies this character of David.

David’s life was in jeopardy, his kingdom is falling (this psalm was likely written during the insurrection of Absalom), his family was treacherous to him, and the political machine had turned against him.

What I find interesting is that he does not look for revenge directly. He begins with his confidence in the Lord and rhetorically asking of whom he shall be afraid. Everything had turned on David and he looks to the Lord as the stronghold of his life.

What is your stronghold? Family? Finances? Friends?

David had focused his confidence in the Lord through a continual faith. He had confidence since he had proven the Lord to be faithful. So many instances of David in his life seeing the faithfulness of the Lord may be noted, but it may appear to be giving obvious information. Suffice it to say, David’s trust in the Lord over the years had provided him the confidence he was living in during this crisis.

David’s Prayer

As I hinted at above, David does not look for revenge directly. Of course he is looking for a mighty rescue, for the Lord to pull him out of this jam. He doesn’t look for revenge, but looks to the Lord for the solutions. This is amazing in my estimation, since it is the default position to blame someone (usually God) for our troubles, and David sees the Lord as the focus and center of the situation.

Consider the last time you were being persecuted, abandoned or defamed. Did you focus on the condition you were in or on the Lord who is the Savior?

David looked to the Lord for strength.

When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.

David states that in the past, his enemies, adversaries and foes stumbled and fell. But David – you are in the midst of the greatest betrayal and fall from grace yourself. But dear reader, this is looking at the situation, and David is looking to the Lord, He comes back to his desire to “dwell in the house of the Lord” and to “gaze upon the beauty of the Lord”

How often have you been told that, in the midst of trials, this thinking is “pie in the sky” thinking, and that you need to plan, execute, do, prepare, analyze, organize, coordinate and designate.

Don’t get me wrong, for even in the time of David’s worst political danger, he executed plans to mitigate and overwhelm the enemy. Hushai was sent by David to that rebellious Absalom, in order to redirect him into a strategic error. David strategized and acted, but this psalm shows David’s source of strength, his priority and focus in life.

As David left his throne, his city and was being chased by his enemies, two truths come blaring out to me

Consider 2 Samuel 15, where we pick up David’s experience of leaving his capital.

But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, barefoot and with his head covered. And all the people who were with him covered their heads, and they went up, weeping as they went.

King David, after being rejected by the nation of Israel, his family and most of his support, climbed the Mount of Olives. This narrative speaks volumes of the Greater David, the Lord Jesus and His confidence in God the Father for His future trial. I have heard it many times that the victory was secured in the Garden. His strength for the torture of the crucifixion was found in the garden. David’s weeping and travail of soul was a picture of the Greater David, of His confidence in our Father God, and show’s us who we are to follow after.

And it was told David, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” And David said, “O Lord, please turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.”

David did not send out an assassin for Ahithophel. David, if he was thinking only of his kingdom and of his own survival, may have reverted to taking revenge upon his friend and counsellor Ahithophel. This was not David’s response, but he prayed that the Lord would interfere with Absalom’s understanding. David knew Ahithophel would give excellent advice, but David prayed that the advice would be turned into foolishness.

How that happened was a combination of events. Hushai argued against Ahithophel in front of Absalom in giving “next steps” advice. Hushai wisely saw the subject he was providing advice to and fed Absalom’s arrogance and pride.

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

The prayer of David was accomplished through the planning of David and the vanity of Absalom.

David’s confidence was again strengthened due his continued trust.

When hard times come, trust Him. Do not seek revenge, but seek to know God’s will and to follow it in your heart, mind and actions.

Romans 12:19

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

Difficult times train us to stand up, and will produce a confidence in the Lord that prepares us for future struggles. There is a war we are fighting, and as David experienced in the civil war that was erupting before his eyes, the only wise approach is to seek God and his will.

David’s admonition is wise advice

Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!


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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – 26

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. 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.

This psalm naturally divides

Let’s read the first few verses before any comment.

Psalm 26:1-3

Of David. Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.
Prove me, O LORD, and try me; test my heart and my mind.
For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness.

David was bold.

He knew where he stood, and wanted to be tested. He wanted to be proven, tested to ensure he was where the Lord wanted him in his life.

Prove me! (bāḥan)

To prove something is to examine something, to put to a trial and find results.

What are you saying David? You are telling the Lord to test you out? How rare this request is for our modern christianity!

Consider

Proverbs 17:3

The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the LORD tests (bāḥan) hearts.

Try me! (nāsâ)

To test something is to get proof of the validity of the thing. When the Old Testament saint used the word try (nāsâ), the word literally meant “to test by the smell”.

Consider

Exodus 17:2,7

2 Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test (nāsâ) the LORD?”
7 And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested (nāsâ) the LORD by saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?”

Massah nasa. Can you see the similarity between these two words, and the reason Moses called it Massah? It was the place the children of Israel tested (nāsâ) the LORD. (These two words are so homophonic!)

One additional verse needs to be considered in relation to Psalm 26:2

Psalm 95:9

When your fathers put me to the test (nāsâ) and put me to the proof (bāḥan), though they had seen my work.

Amazing contrast, no?

In Psalm 26, the psalmist is requesting the test, to be proven by the Lord. This is the heart of the mature believer, one who seeks to be used by God and will submit to a testing to ensure it!

In Psalm 95, the people are demanding proof of God’s presence. They are not walking in faith, seeking to know God’s will for their lives, but they are seeking their own desires and wants, their own goals and purposes. These folk are continually and without pause, desiring to put God to the test, to demand their rights, to question His goodness and wisdom.

How often have you heard one say that God is not fair, that He must not care for His creation, or His people. If He cared he would stop all disease and hunger, and provide quails for all!

But alas, this is the spirit of a fallen people.

Test me! (ṣārap̄)

The literal meaning of this word is “to melt”, as in to smelt a metal. Heat is implied in this verb, and the Psalmist is demanding this from his Lord.

What audacity! What guts! What confidence in his Master.

My friend, the Lord Himself is a kind and loving Father, One who seeks our best. The monkey wrench in the plan is our lack of desire to be involved in His work.

David sought to be tested, to be melted down and purified. We so often sing of our desire to be purified, and rightly so, but if we are to mimic the saints of old, we need to realize what this means from their standpoint.

This is not to be entered lightly, and is a sobering request of the saint to his Father. Early into my Christian faith, I saw this teaching throughout the Old Testament and sought to follow after their example.

Trials have come, and trials have continued.

Looking back, some of them were simply my immaturity and ignorance of God’s ways, and the results of making poor decisions on my part. He has always brought about good things out of the most painful circumstances.

Some of them were the result of loved ones making bad decisions and my faith was tested. Being out of my control (as if I had much control!), made this testing even more difficult, but He has been so kind and brought about good things out of the bad. But tests such as these are difficult, and can be very painful.

Finally, some trials may have come directly from the hand of the Lord, and not necessarily through an intermediary, or through my own foolishness. These tests, in my opinion have been the most personnel and have caused me to understand my reason for being. These test have also begun to teach my heart and mind of the Lord Himself. He has been so kind to me in my stunted growth, my wanderings and my questionings.

The tests have brought about good things in my life and the lives of those I love. We have great hope based on His constant past care for His loved ones, and we trust that God will bring about a settled faith in future trials.

But let it be clearly stated that the circumstances within and beyond the trials have also been very painful.

Consider when you ask for purification that you are willing to stay under the trial, and have the dross burned off.

It takes time!


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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – 25 Part 2

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. 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.

This psalm naturally divides in two portions, and I would like to consider verses 12 – 23 for this blog post

Let’s read it before any comment.

Psalm 25:12-23

Who is the man who fears the LORD? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.
His soul shall abide in well-being, and his offspring shall inherit the land.
The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.
My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses.
Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.
Consider how many are my foes, and with what violent hatred they hate me.
Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.
Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.

The psalmist, in the last half of the psalm is speaking of two topics. The depth of his need and his utter dependency on the LORD.

One verse, amongst the many that speak to me, of relationship with the One who is All, is verse 16

Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.

The verse before, the psalmist speaks of his eyes always being toward the LORD, that he seeks the favor of God continually. But something is wrong. The LORD is not looking to the psalmist. You see, when the psalmist states “Turn to me”, it implies that the LORD had turned away from him.

Now, I don’t understand too much about the Old Testament saints related to the LORD, and this particular saint, being David, definitely had a relationship with his LORD that compared in many ways with our condition today.

For believers, after the LORD provided His Son for our rescue, to consider Him to be turned away seems to be beyond the pale. (Consider Romans 8:32 as an example of our Father’s attitude to us)

Where is the application for us in this passage?

It may feel like He has turned on us at times in our life, and a couple of thoughts come to mind.

First off, sin breaks fellowship, and unconfessed sin pulls us away from His loving care. Confess the sin, and repent of it, four hundred and ninety times if you have to.

Secondly, the feeling of abandonment may be just that – a feeling. Now don’t get me wrong, feelings are powerful and intended to be a blessing from God, but they can be used to detract us from our goals in life.

There have been times in my life when I have been very low, struggling to maintain a faith, to not give up. Times of loneliness and affliction that were drawn out for months, even years, and were very difficult!

Every believer goes through times such as these. It should drive us to the promises that have been given, that His love is extreme and He seeks the best for us in all our trials. He is seeking to conform us to the image of His Son, and this is a gargantuan effort from my point of view!

Hold on to the promises of God, in the depths of your loneliness and affliction, for He has promised.

And remember, He was truly abandoned in order that we may never be.

Praise Him for His many many mercies.


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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – 25 Part 1

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. 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.

This psalm naturally divides in two portions, and I would like to consider verses 1 – 11 for this blog post, since it has caught my attention.

Let’s read it before any comment.

Psalm 25:1-11

Of David. To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me.
Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.
Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!
Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great.

The psalmist speaks of his failings, of the potential shame he may experience, of his transgression of his youth, of his sinfulness. He is a man humbled, and in the humility of his experience, he is seeing that God teaches and leads the sinner. This man is looking to God for His ways, His paths, and His ways. He is tired of his own ways, and the resultant shame that is the result of depending on his own understanding.

The psalmist also recognizes that God is good and upright, full of stedfast love and mercy. He can’t seem to say it enough, that He is mercy, He is good, He is a teacher (of sinners, no less), He is the One who brings salvation, He is faithful.

One is sinful. One is not.

One departs through pride. One invites through love and mercy

One is to be humble. One is a capable teacher.

How are you in the Lord?

Check your walk with Him and consider verse 10, asking yourself if your ways are being led by the Lord, for

All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

Steadfast love and faithfulness – a characteristic of one who is led of the Lord into His paths.


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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – 24 – Part 2

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. 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. Lets read it before we consider the message the psalmist is communicating

Psalm 24:1-10

1 A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein,
2 for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.
3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.
5 He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah
7 Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle!
9 Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah

Such a rich psalm. Our last post touched on the first verse and the ownership of the LORD, His extent of ownership, His far reaching possessions.

As I mentioned in that post, my original intention was to address verses 3 – 6, which I will attempt with this post. So lets take a few minutes to consider.

I settled (eventually) on these verses since one of my favorite psalms is Psalm 15, and the similarities between these verses and Psalm 15 are so obvious. (If you recently found this blog, consider reading Psalms for Psome – 15)

The psalmist is questioning the believers ability to “ascend the hill of the LORD”. He is speaking to the populace and stating – You people of God – there are requirements to meet if you seek to enter the temple, to share in His company.

Clean Hands

The believer, in order to approach the LORD, is to have clean hands. His actions are to be right, observing the moral standards set down by the King. Not simply performance to the standards set by the culture, or by legal precedence of a population, but by the moral standards of the King who gave His law.

The King has given us “the law” to live by. This law is the outworking of the commandments, and is described in the beatitudes. Check it out.

Consider 2 Timothy 2:19

But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

Clean hands – Departing from iniquity.

A Pure Heart

Again, my mind takes me to the apostle Paul when he wrote to the young Timothy.

1 Timothy 1:5

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Sometimes it is truly amazing that the New Testament is so dependent on the Old Testament, that the faith described in the Old is so in line with the New.

To be in possession of a pure heart, a clean heart, is a gift of God through our faith, that is to be maintained in fellowship with the Savior. Confession of sins to the Lord, and to those we offend or sin against, seeking restitution with our brothers, pursuing peace with all and exercising love towards them that breathe. A pure heart is a gift, and it is also a responsibility.

Who does not lift up his soul to what is false

To lift up, in the hebrew is the term nāśā’, and refers to directing our mind or soul to something or someone. The one who would ascend the hill of the Lord, will direct his mind and soul to the true and righteous God, the only One who is worthy of our attention.

To the false, the one who ascends will not direct his mind or soul. It is an affront to consider a falsehood for the believer.

Does not swear deceitfully

The topic of truth comes to the fore front again, yet this time it is not referring to our object of worship, but of the message that pours from our mouth, even our faithfulness in keeping oaths and our word to others. It is the believers responsibility to keep his word to his neighbor if he is to ascend the hill of the Lord.

As believers, we are to consider approaching God, through our Lord Jesus, as a high privilege that is granted to those who consider it so, acting on the requirements of the King. True He has opened the veil for us to enter, but the cost was His blood, His very life.

When I ponder this, it is a sobering thought, and the psalmist reminds me that there is a price to pay to ascend that hill.


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