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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Devotional, hymns, Old Testament, Psalms

Psalms for Psome – 24 – 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. 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.

This psalm speaks of the Lord’s ownership the earth/land, of all things on/in the earth/land , and all that dwell in the world.

I start off with these either/or statements since it is not clear (at least to me) what exactly the psalmist is referring to in the first verse.

The hebrew word (‘ereṣ) translated earth could be translated two different ways, that is “earth” or “land”. As a matter of fact, ereṣ is translated as “land” twice as many times as “earth” in the Old Testament. I know that proves nothing, but it was surprising when I first found this out.

If the term is to be understood as land, does that imply that the Lord only owns the “land” of Israel, which would be understood by the ancients? Not at all, since the psalmist, within the very first verse qualifies the extent of the LORD’s ownership, by stating He owns “the world” and all that dwell therein.

So, if my understanding is correct, the psalmist is telling me…

The land of Israel is the LORD’s, and all that is therein, but not only that, He owns the entire world, and every body/soul on it!

He is not a simple or tiny god that oversees a nation, or a people group, but He is the LORD who owns His people, and even those who know him not.

This psalm is so rich, that when I first sat down to consider this passage, my eyes were drawn to verses 3 – 6 to discuss. Alas, this portion will have to await for my next blog, since I have found a blessing in the first verse that I would like to dwell on for the day.

Hope you also, in considering this passage, experience a fleeting glimpse of the LORD and the extent of His possessions. The implications can be life changing!


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Psalms for Psome – 23

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 is the big one. This psalm has been studied, meditated on, inspected, investigated, perused, researched, examined, analyzed, sung, recited, and memorized more than any other psalm I can think of. At least in my lifetime.

But you know, I can’t find any verse of Psalm 23 in the New Testament. It is such a beautiful heartfelt psalm, I can’t think of the Lord and His apostles not dwelling on the intimacy the psalmist was expressing about His Lord.

Yet it isn’t in the New Testament – Amazing.

Nevertheless, although it is so wildly popular in our day and time, it would be good to consider it one more time. Read with me as we consider Psalm 23

Psalm 23:

1 – A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 – He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
3 – He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 – Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 – You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 – Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

I will not spend more than a few moments with you in this blog, and if you see fit to read the psalm one more time instead of my ruminations, I think you may have made the better decision.

Yet the last verse is where I want to settle.

You see, mercy and goodness have followed me all the days of my life. I have a life of unbounded blessings, and it is in spite of me and my pride, my obstinance and my stubborn will.

He has dealt bountifully toward me.

The goodness and mercy that follows me, could be understood as actually pursuing me, chasing me, actively running after me, almost to the point of harassment. The old Hebrew word translated as “follow” can be understood such.

And yet I seek out the bad, the sorry, the sad, and am unthankful, disrespectful and hating. My friends, the grace of God is seeking you and I. He is pursuing us, and we so often flee from the goodness and mercy of God Himself.

Oh for the day when our obstinate nature is released.

Brothers and sisters, be thankful. Turn around and pay attention to the good things that God provides. Do not dwell on the fears, dangers, suspicions, and lies that swirl about our feet. Look up and praise the One who is always seeking our best.

Surely goodness and mercy is chasing us. Let Him catch you!


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Psalms for Psome – 22

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. A while back, I realized this massively important psalm was coming up for our reading and, as is typical, worried about all the truth that is included in this chapter.

I am a kinda half glass empty type of guy, looking at a blessing and seeing something negative. (So unchristian!)

With this confession, I will simply delve into one portion for the present time.

Psalm 22:7-8

All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
“He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

Sneering.

To sneer or to show scorn or contempt for the subject. A curled lip, an attitude of judgement. Ridicule and insulting pouring from the people upon the subject. To have derision towards the subject. To consider the subject a joke, a farce and not worthy of any consideration.

Mockery

All the people who see him mock him. The tide had turned and any surface popularity that may have existed has vanished. The people simply view the subject and wag their heads, jeering him as the look on. He had become, in the peoples eyes, a laughing stock, fair game for sarcasm and scoffing.

But let’s consider why all the people were acting thus. Why were the people mocking and sneering the subject? Upon what topic was the subject being mocked, and subjected to scorn?

His trust in the Lord.

David suffered due to his trust in the Lord many times, whether it be when hunted by Saul, or running from his own son, Absalom, as he was about to loose his kingdom. Many times David did not have his best life now, due to his trust in the Lord above, but he hung on to the promises and when sin came into the picture, relied on the character of God, his loving mercy and patient care of the people of God.

But you see, as David wrote this psalm, he may have considered his own shortcomings and failures. He had a heart for God, but in the midst of that heart, a weakness resided, a tendency to want his will instead of the Lord’s.

Not so with the Greater David, the One who was mocked by the very ones who needed His grace and forgiveness. His trust in the Lord survived when the entire populace turned on Him, when the popular culture became opposed to His life.

My friends, as we see our modern culture dropping the façade of righteousness, and we are standing with less popular opinion, standing against a tide of rising opposition, remember Him who trusted in the promises, and the character of the Father in Heaven.

Jesus was mocked and sneered at. He stood strong, when everything around Him was against Him, when everyone around Him was yelling for His death, when politicians crumbled to popular opinion, when all seems lost, hang onto the One who is True, to the One who has provided us all things for life and godliness.

To the One who has went before us and suffered more, much more than we will.

His name is Jesus, and there will be no more mocking and sneering soon enough.


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Psalms for Psome – 21

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 21

1 – To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. O LORD, in your strength the king rejoices, and in your salvation how greatly he exults!
2 – You have given him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah
3 – For you meet him with rich blessings; you set a crown of fine gold upon his head.
4 – He asked life of you; you gave it to him, length of days forever and ever.
5 – His glory is great through your salvation; splendor and majesty you bestow on him.
6 – For you make him most blessed forever; you make him glad with the joy of your presence.
7 – For the king trusts in the LORD, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.
8 – Your hand will find out all your enemies; your right hand will find out those who hate you.
9 – You will make them as a blazing oven when you appear. The LORD will swallow them up in his wrath, and fire will consume them.
10 – You will destroy their descendants from the earth, and their offspring from among the children of man.
11 – Though they plan evil against you, though they devise mischief, they will not succeed.
12 – For you will put them to flight; you will aim at their faces with your bows.
13 – Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power.

The psalm was written by David upon a victory over an enemy. The specific details at this time are unimportant, since the only message I see in the psalm is a description of the true King, and His joy.

Consider vs 3

For you meet him with rich blessings; you set a crown of fine gold upon his head.

Did not the Father crown our Lord Jesus with authority and power (Revelation 14:14)

Or vs 4

He asked life of you; you gave it to him, length of days forever and ever.

The Lord Jesus “received” life, not only directly from the Father (John 5:26), but also in the ultimate sense of resurrection life, eternal and incorruptible.

Or take a minute to consider vs 6

For you make him most blessed forever; you make him glad with the joy of your presence.

There is a time when we will experience the great joy of the Father and Son as we are presented blameless before His presence. (Jude 1:24 ) This joy is the great joy Jesus has with the Father continually, being eternally glad before His God.

And lastly Vs 7

For the king trusts in the LORD, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.

When the Master prayed in the garden, His trust in the Lord was evident when He gave of His own will, surrendering to the will of the Father. Suffering, shame, darkness, abandonment and horrors awaited the Son, and He trusted the Father to deliver Him out of the crucible of death. His miracles of raising the dead were astounding, yet His cost in performing the miracles upon another did not compare with the sacrifice of His own suffering, and death.

I am leaving a few verses without comment since I would love to hear from you on how you see the King of Glory reflected in the remaining verses. I am tempted to look at verse 9, but I will recant in order to offer my readers an opportunity to consider it.

It really is a great verse to consider how it relates to the King. But I will stop for now.

Hope to hear from y’all, and thanks for sharing a few minutes with me in my time in the psalms.


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Psalms for Psome – 20

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.

Occasionally we will be reading through the Psalms and a passage will open up a wee bit for us. This happened last night as we were slowly reading through this psalm of prayer. Lets take a moment to read Psalm 20

Psalm 20

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
May he send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion!
May he remember all your offerings and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah
May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!
May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions!
Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.
O LORD, save the king! May he answer us when we call.

David recorded the prayers of the congregation for the King, asking that David’s prayers be answered, and all his petitions be fulfilled. The congregation capped of their initial requests to God with an overarching request to God that all of David’s petitions be granted by the Lord

May the Lord fulfill all your petitions

What jarred us last light was the term “anointed” in verse 6. In David’s time, history tells us that the Lord rescued him in the day of battle. David was triumphal in his battles, not only saving David from defeat, but providing great victory. The anointed King David’s petitions were fulfilled.

Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed;

But as we considered this verse, it occurred to me that anointed is the same term as Christ.

As the Savior read the Scriptures, pondering on them, how would he initially relate to verse 6, reading that the LORD saves His anointed. When did He understand that the salvation David experienced would not be the same as the salvation He would experience?

It becomes obvious as we read through the gospels, that the salvation Jesus would experience was the salvation of the resurrected life, that He would have to enter the battlefield of sufferings and death to gain the victory.

He entered a battle field all alone, eventually being abandoned by the Father. All appearances of victory were demolished, and certain defeat was apparent. His suffering appeared to be for naught, the death of an itinerant rabbi that had simply crossed the lines of a jealous leadership.

Place yourself at the foot of the cross. Your hope in the Master completely crushed. Your shock at such a hateful mob, cursing the One who just days earlier was being praised by the crowds. The horror of the sight, of the One whom you had spent three years with, learning from and coming to love, being exposed shamefully for all to gape at. The teasing and the taunting, the fear of association with this movement.

And the disappointment. How could God save Him? He was doomed to an ugly death.

And yet on this side of the cross, we know of the result. He is victorious.

He is Jesus, for His very name means “The Lord is Salvation”.

Trust Him in the darkness, for He is ever faithful. Hang onto the promise, for He will supply a salvation that is greater than you expect.

But know that the darkness is very real.

Trust Him.


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Psalms for Psome – 19

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.

It seems that every Psalm I come across is too full. Too full to address sufficiently in the arena of the blogosphere.

This particular Psalm is again an experiential psalm, a psalm to reflect Davids reviving’s, joys, desires, warnings and rewards. A Psalm that is to be shared with one another in our experiential relation with the God of the Universe and His Word.

Psalm 19

1 – To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2 – Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.
3 – There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard.
4 – Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun,
5 – which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
6 – Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
7 – The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
8 – the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 – the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.
10 – More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 – Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
12 – Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13 – Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
14 – Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

His Word. The psalm describes His Word as

  • The Law of the LORD
  • The Testimony of the LORD
  • The Precepts of the LORD
  • The Commandments of the LORD
  • The Fear of the LORD
  • The Rules of the LORD

Four of these descriptors of the Word has its resultant effect on the trusting believer. The last two are statements of fact, referring to the eternality, truthfulness and righteousness of the Word. Of Jesus.

He is the Word

He is the Law, Testimony, Precept, Commandment, Fear and Rule of the LORD, that we are to look to. He is the Eternal, Righteous Truth.

Let’s consider one of these phrases – that is

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.

But David – don’t we know that the law brings wrath?

Romans 4:15

For the law brings wrath…

David saw behind the rules and into the spirit of the law. The truth of the law is evident, and to those without faith, the law does brings wrath and condemnation.

Yet as a believer, the law of God, fully realized and expressed in the life of the Son of God, is the source and end of all life and blessing for the believer. He truly revives the soul, continually feeds the soul, directs the soul, guides the soul, loves the soul.

Need I go on?

To those who know the Messiah, I am “singing to the choir”. To those who do not know Him, wrath is the only thing the law brings, and it is evident that no-one wants to face judgement.

My friend – You may run from the Law, but it is eternal (and you are not!) Running will simply avoid the inevitable.

Unless – you change your mind about sin & rebellion against the God of the Bible (repent of your sin) and accept that the God of the Bible is the source of all truth, that He is a loving and gracious God who sacrifices Himself for His enemies (Trust/Believe in Him).

Follow His ways, for He is good.

Yes, He revives the soul. Without Him, there is no life. With Him, life, peace and joy.


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Psalms for Psome – 18

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 18 is a wonderful Psalm and David praises the Lord through out the Psalm, speaking of the deliverance afforded him by God.

There are a few verses that are special to me that I would like to bring to your attention.

Psalm 18

2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

In David’s deliverance, he cannot stop in his ascribing different aspects of the Lord’s provision to his life.

Rock, Fortress, Deliverer, God, Rock (again), Shield, Horn of my Salvation, Stronghold.

Each of these descriptors are possessions of the author. God is described as David’s God, David’s rock.

This is not a psalm where the nation is addressed, where the bulk of humanity is spoken of in relation to God. This is a personal, intimate experience we are entering into with David as he writes of his relation to God.

But as you might expect, this is also a view of the more intimate relationship between the Messiah and His Father. David’s relationship, though real and far superior to many during his time, pales in relation to the Messiah’s.

Psalm 18

3 I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.

4 The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me;

5 the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me.

Both David and Jesus experienced this salvation from enemies, but as we know the enemies are somewhat different. David was saved from death, whereas Jesus was saved through death. His victory was over death, not from death. Lightyears different, yet the Psalm expresses praise for the God who saves.

Psalm 18

6 In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.

Both David and Jesus cried out to God. Both David and Jesus had their prayers heard, yet the greater Son had the faith to enter death to receive His answer. What faith, and trust in the Father, in the midst of such contradiction and confusion.

Psalm 18

30 This God–his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

After the deliverance is granted, and the struggle is complete, the Psalmist concludes, at least at the interim in the Psalm, that His way is perfect. This term is often translated as “without blemish”, or “entire”, “without spot” or “in accord with truth”.

This is a verse I ruminate on often, trusting that in all the struggles we go through, there is purpose and reason and that as we seek to serve Him, He is performing His good work in us. Paul may have been thinking of this verse, or at least the concept, when he penned the following.

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Take refuge in Him.

His way is perfect.


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Psalms for Psome – 17

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. Let’s take a few minutes in Psalm 17

Psalm 17:1-15

1 – A Prayer of David. Hear a just cause, O LORD; attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!
2 – From your presence let my vindication come! Let your eyes behold the right!
3 – You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night, you have tested me, and you will find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.
4 – With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent.
5 – My steps have held fast to your paths; my feet have not slipped.
6 – I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words.
7 – Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand.
8 – Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings,
9 – from the wicked who do me violence, my deadly enemies who surround me.
10 – They close their hearts to pity; with their mouths they speak arrogantly.
11 – They have now surrounded our steps; they set their eyes to cast us to the ground.
12 – He is like a lion eager to tear, as a young lion lurking in ambush.
13 – Arise, O LORD! Confront him, subdue him! Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword,
14 – from men by your hand, O LORD, from men of the world whose portion is in this life. You fill their womb with treasure; they are satisfied with children, and they leave their abundance to their infants.
15 – As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.

It is truly amazing that David could say the things he did, but for the fact that he was prophesizing of the Messiah. Consider verses 3- 5, where he declares his life as blameless and righteous, his heart clean, his speech without transgression and his actions pure.

Verses 7-9 speak of David’s (and even more so, the Messiah’s) confidence in answered prayer, and the protection for the One who is the apple of God’s eye.

10-12 speaks of the authors enemies and their hardened hearts, arrogant speech, evil walk and jealous vision. So unlike the King.

13-14 is the request for defense against the enemies, of deliverance from his enemies. David received deliverance physically. Not so with the Messiah, and yet both could claim the same promise of verse 15.

Satisfaction.

In this world of advertising and one-upmanship, I wonder if we, as believers understand the concept of satisfaction. Of true contentment.

I think the Rolling Stones stated a general truth when they sing about satisfaction, and the elusiveness of it. Of course I don’t refer to the Stones for truth, for that is some shaky ground, but a broken clock is correct twice a day!

So it is with the general message of this song. While we are on this earthen ball, satisfaction is an elusive friend, and the world system does all in her power to keep us unsatisfied.

But for one secret.

Verse 15, this verse describes the ultimate victory of the Messiah (in the midst of a seeming contradiction of verses 8 and 9,) this verse speaks of satisfaction, but after death.

My question to the reader – Is there satisfaction for the Christian in this life? Is there any promise on this side of the grave for the Christian to be truly satisfied?

I’m not speaking of that satisfaction when I get what I want, or when my needs are relieved, or when the satisfaction depends on my circumstances, environment or feelings. No that is not what I’m trying to get at.

Satisfaction that is not dependent on me, that is not a result of my actions or work, or effort, or lifestyle, or purchases, or….

Consider my question, and let me know your thoughts, or better yet, your experience in any struggle for satisfaction.

Your thoughts and comments are always appreciated.


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Psalms for Psome – 16

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 16 – A psalm full of amazing truth. I can only promise that I will fail at even scratching the surface of this Psalm, but let us not keep from reading this psalm simply because it has so much to absorb.

Psalm 16:1-10

A Miktam of David. Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips.
The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Peter preaches the resurrection, giving Old Testament sourcing of Psalm 16 in his reference to the grave. I understand the Jewish rabbinic literature, written prior to the appearance of our Lord on the earth, also stated this Psalm to be Messianic.

There is so much in this Psalm, yet the reference to “the lines have fallen” grabs my attention in this reading.

During the establishment of the newly formed nation of Israel, upon entering the land of their inheritance, each tribe was assigned a portion of the land by way of “lots”. David is referring to this historical event and applying it to his life. He has indeed a beautiful inheritance, a wonderful situation, in which the Lord took a poor shepherd boy and exalted him to be Israel’s greatest earthly King.

Yet, this psalm is Messianic. It is a picture of the Christ and of His Passion, His life and death, and resurrection.

Let’s pull back and get a 30,000′ foot view of the psalm. Take a moment to read the Psalm once more.

Would you not consider the author to be expressing great joy, confidence and trust in the Lord? His general attitude of this psalm is of victory. Such victory that this psalm includes victory over the greatest enemy, death and the passage through it unto life.

Back to my focus verse. The lines have fallen (for the Messiah) in a pleasant place.

How can that be said?

Pain and terror await the Messiah on the cross, and during His ministry, He was rejected by the very people He came to save. His few disciples didn’t get the message, and He is described as a Man of sorrows, One who was acquainted with grief.

The psalm itself holds the key, for in Psalm 16, the psalmist directs us to the Messiah’s ability to enter each trial and challenge with joy.

Consider the Psalmists inner life.

vs 5 – The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot

vs 7 – I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;

vs 8 – I have set the LORD always before me;

On a personal note, I have often fallen into the miry slough of self pity and self examination, which drives me into comparisons with others and finally a deep sadness of experience. As I look back on my travels with the Lord, I find I looked to myself for strength, for knowledge and for joy. My accomplishments would provide me my worth, and my holiness would show my devotion.

This is folly. My only strength, wisdom and love is to focus on the One who claimed me so long ago, that suffered the cross, looking to the joy that was ahead. He is to be the focus of my affection, the One whom I bless, and the One whom I need to keep before me, in front of me.

As I look to Him, verse 9 becomes real in my life, a fruit of the Spirit.

 Psalm 16:9

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.

Brother / sister – where is the Lord Jesus? Is He ever before you?


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Psalms for Psome – 15

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.

We have come to a psalm that I avoided for years and now look to it for encouragement, for a challenge and for a check on my spirit. Lets read this awesome psalm

Psalm 15:1-5

A Psalm of David. O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart;
who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.

As many of you who have followed this blog may remember, I spent an extended period of time in a teaching that minimized the Old Testament, and the Ten Commandments. Oh, of course it would reach into the OT for a verse here or there to support its teaching (or was it me that wanted to avoid the Law of God?)

Nevertheless, once the Lord opened my eyes to some of the contradictions I was allowing my self to believe, I avoided the Decalogue and therefore the tremendous dependency of the OT on His law. How foolish. (Consider the influence the commandments have on the NT – check out my series of posts Commandments for Christians – Introduction and Jesus on the Sabbath – Introduction)

Psalm 15 is a stellar example of how the law of God is the heartbeat of the believer. David got the New Testament life if you ask me!

A couple of points that occur to me as I sit and ruminate on this precious psalm.

To Walk Blamelessly.

I am thankful that the term is not “sinlessly”, for I know I am unable to maintain a sinless life. But when I sin, (and who doesn’t?) I am responsible for making amends, correcting the error if possible, and communicating with any offended or hurt brother of my repentance and request for forgiveness.

Speaks Truth in his Heart

Do we sometimes seek to speak the truth, or at least to avoid lying, in order to “woodenly” obey the 9th commandment. One looking to the commandments can seek to “do the minimum” or do as this man of God desires, and that is to speak the truth “in his heart”, where no one but God can see. To speak the truth in our heart is a safeguard against deceiving ourselves, a very dangerous condition per many New Testament admonitions. But again, David was describing his positive pursuit of truth, even in his own heart, where lies have no competition in the race for capturing the man’s life. He is not simply doing the minimum, but seeing the depth of the commandment, the all encompassing effect it is intended to have on the follower.

Speaking truth in his heart. A challenge and a blessing for the believer, but alas, we need to know the truth, the absolute truth found in the Word of God, and more tentatively, that subjective truth that each of us experience with our relationship with the Lord Himself. And this is where love comes in, for we must not slander another believers subjective experience, but I am getting ahead of myself!

Does not Slander with his Tongue

How often have I slandered a brother whose experience is different than mine, and yet it is obvious he is seeking to know the Word of God for his life. Too often I fear, and it can be too easily justified by my claiming I was fighting for the purity of the gospel, when in reality my heart was dark and my intentions were evil. To slander, or to backbite is a tell tale sign in my life that I am NOT acting as a believer. The red bells should flash in your head and the sirens should blare in your heart, when you catch yourself devouring your neighbor, especially a believer for whom Christ died!

Who Swears to His Own Hurt and Does Not Change

For myself, this is the big one, the one phrase that got stuck in my “craw” when I first sought to internalize this chapter. This believer is not simply keeping his word, that is had made a promise but found out later that it may not turn out as he expected, but this follower makes a pact “To His Own Hurt”

How much more Christlike could the believer be by being self sacrificing, by following through and performing his oath, knowing from the start, from before making the promise, that it would cause pain for himself.

I said earlier that David understood the New Testament life. I want to clarify that statement.

David knew his Lord.


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Psalms for Psome – 14

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.

Let’s take a few moments out of our day to consider Psalm 14.

Psalm 14:1 -7

To the choirmaster. Of David. The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good.
The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.
They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.
Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the LORD?
There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous.
You would shame the plans of the poor, but the LORD is his refuge.
Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

This is a rich psalm, and is referred to in the New Testament to define the fallenness of the sinner. It is interesting that the pronouns used in the third chapter of Romans is indefinite, and that by reference back to this Psalm, we find they are describing the fool.

The fool says in his heart “No God!”

Per the reading of the Old Testament, it is important to remember that when a fool is referred to, it is not describing the person’s intellectual ability, as so often we think of in todays culture. No – back then, to be termed a fool was a description of a person in moral failure. David begins this psalm with the central claim of a fool.

“No God”

Most translations usually have the phrase as “There is no God”, and that may be the intent of the passage, but there is an alternate intent. The fool has said “No God”, as in – I refuse to confess You, I refuse to acknowledge You, I refuse to obey You. It is not simply a matter of claiming there is no God, but that the fool rejects God. To reject something implies a knowledge of that something being rejected.

Does this fool have knowledge of the God of the universe and yet says “NO” to God in his heart?

Much may be said about the results of this rejection of God, and David spells it out in the next few verses. Corruption, doing evil and not doing good (which are two different things!)

The fool appears to have all the power, and no conscience. They destroy the people of God, as if they are nothing. Yet the LORD is his refuge, the refuge of the generation of the righteous, those who are described as poor. Yet a few verses later, David speaks of the fortunes of the Lords people. The future is bright for the people of God. As darkness may descend, remember, dear brother, dear sister, that Salvation has come out of Zion, redeeming us from this evil world.

Look to the One who gave Himself for your foolishness.


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Psalms for Psome – 13

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.

Let us take a few moments and consider Psalm 13

Psalm 13: 1-6

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,

lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

As a believer, I have forgotten His mercies and grace too many times to recount. During my hectic day and to my shame, I find little time to think on His goodness. He is a constant Savior, even a Brother, that treats me better than I deserve, and because of that, I yearn to be of that character. The character of Christ, who exhibited a self sacrificial life, forgives me as I repent of my wrong thinking/doing and is constantly drawing me into fellowship.

As I consider His goodness, grace and kindness, I tend to hear the niggling doubts, the faraway thoughts that remind me of my fears and struggles, the enemies that are so real. And yet these two thoughts seem to be at war with one another.

It has been years since I learned that fear and faith cannot live together. Why can I not maintain this truth in my experience? Why must I be reminded of it so often?

It appears that the psalmist is going through the very same struggle that so many of us can identify with.

At one point in the first verse the psalmist states that God is ignoring him, forgotten His child, ceased from caring for His child. He claims that God has hid His face from him, a term that signifies absence. The Father is no longer available to the child.

Have you experienced this? Have dark times enveloped you, where the love of God is completely absent from your life, where the enemy is seemingly victorious, and that you have no helper, no resource, no experience with the Father?

I do not intend to minimize this, as I have in the past experienced very dark times of solitude, of living in fear and feeling abandoned. As many of my readers may know, I have known the Lord for over 40 years, and during that time have struggled with many battles.

If I were to admit to one battle that I seem to have recurring failure at is that of addressing my fear. My fear of rejection, my fear of loss, my fear of failure, my fear of shame…. Need I go on?

The psalmist had physical enemies that were growling about his life, that were nipping at his heals. The victory of the enemy seemed inevitable.

Our fear seems justifiable in the appearance of the circumstance!

The believer is to rest in the steadfast love of God, in the constant truth of the salvation found in the Messiah. Does this resolve all specific aspects of all the circumstances being faced by the saint?

NO.

Circumstances do not necessarily change because of trust. (They may of course, due to His mercy, but that is not the point of this post!)

The psalmist states a fact, that is that he has trusted in the steadfast love of God. The circumstances are what they are, and yet in the past, the saint has trusted. The saint is trusting now, and this is obvious, since his heart is in rejoice mode. Fear is fleeing, and the rejoicing heart is victorious over it. (Consider 1 John 4:18!)

To trust is not to have all the answers, or to be experiencing “your best life now”. As a matter of fact, trust implies that there are issues that are fighting against our decision to trust.

Consider the concept Paul refers to in Romans 8:24-25

For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

What we see with our physical eyes is often a distraction for our spirits eyes.

As you consider this, remember that the life of faith is truly a battle.

The turning point for the psalmist was his remembrance of the steadfast love of the Lord. Do not abandon your trust by concentrating on the appearance of life.

It is either faith or fear.

These two do not exist together.

Remember the steadfast love of God when the enemy rears its head and tells you to be afraid!


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Psalms for Psome – 12

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.

Let’s read this short Psalm in it’s entirety

Psalm 12:1-8

To the choirmaster: according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David. Save, O LORD, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.

Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.

May the LORD cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts,

those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us; who is master over us?”

“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the LORD; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”

The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.

You, O LORD, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever.
On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among the children of man.

The Psalmist is bemoaning the loss of the faithful man, the righteous and good man who spoke truth, who could be relied upon to provide wisdom and understanding. He cries out to the Lord for justice, for His justice to prevail upon those who lie, boast and flatter.

These boasters speak of thier ultimate power over everyone, since they boast of prevailing , and even question who is the master over them. Little do they know, they are the slaves to their own deception, they have no power over their own speech. These men are being led by the ring in thier nose to thier destruction

As I think of the New Testament teaching on the tongue, one passage comes to mind.

James 3:2

…And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.

James uses the tongue as the ultimate test of perfection in the saint. Imagine, the implication is that the tongue is the greatest of our foes.

James 3:8

…but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

James continues, stating that the tongue is the master of the man, the ruler of the body that is full of deadly poison. This counsel is for the believer, who has been forgiven of his sins, and provided the Spirit of God to empower godly living. And yet the tongue is a formidable enemy for the saint. How much more so for the poor sinner who is captive to its wiles.

The tongue plunders those who are supposedly weak. The tongue is a destroyer, the enemy of those who are in humble conditions, who are needy and are easily taken advantage of. Great swelling words seek to dominate those who are susceptible to the lies and deceptions of the proud and arrogant, godless man.

Where can we find a man who can be trusted? Where is there any hope of knowing a faithful witness, a brother who will speak faithfully?

Psalm 12:6

The words of the LORD are pure words,
like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
purified seven times.

His words are pure.

This purity speaks of an article or material as being unalloyed, such as gold. It is common to think in our modern world of some precious metals as being 99.99% pure. This is a standard that is used within the metals industry. The concept of a percentage of purity was not considered in the Old Testament to this degree. When purity is spoken of, it is to an absolute.

Habakkuk speaks of the Lord’s eyes as being pure

Habakkuk 1:13

You who are of purer eyes than to see evil
and cannot look at wrong,
why do you idly look at traitors
and remain silent when the wicked swallows up
the man more righteous than he?

James speaks to us again, informing us that purity is the first characteristic of the wisdom from above.

James 3:17

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

His words are pure.

John 17:17

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

It seems obvious to me that the words of the wicked draw them to the trap, to a destruction they do not expect, and shall swiftly fall upon them. Those who look to the word of Jesus, find a Brother who is worth listening to, a Friend who speaks the truth, (hard as it is to hear at times!), and a Savior Who is ever present to give direction and encouragement for those very folks who may be under the influence of the boasting liars all about us.

The psalmist closes this psalm, speaking of the wicked prowling about Peter also reminds the believer of an enemy prowling about

1 Peter 5:8 …Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Be sober, be vigilant, be aware of your circumstance and your resources. The Lord has not left us helpless.

It is common knowledge that the lion will devour the weakest of the prey. Do not be fodder for the adversary, by being the weakest of the body of believers. Much strength may be found in the words of God, pure words that are given for our edification and exhortation. For the building up of the saint, to increase our knowledge, understanding and wisdom.

His words are pure. Read them, memorize them, study them, treasure them and work them out in your life. Without them, you will only have one source of information. Let me tell you – that source of information is definitely not pure!


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Psalms for Psome – 11

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 11 contains a verse that a brother used in discipling me, and in training me in how to approach those that preach beyond the limits of orthodoxy, that is, those who are clearly heretical.

First, though, let us read this psalm.

Psalm 11:1-7

To the choirmaster. Of David. In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain,
for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;
if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.

My brother George spent time with me as a young believer and during one of the informal sessions we had, (for they were always informal – he always seemed to have time to discuss the Word and of the Savior), he drew my attention to verse 3.

Psalm 11:3 if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?

At the time, I was not an engineer, but I understood the importance of foundations. A fancy roof is not good if the footings are made of mud. But if the foundations are strong, any roof will do, any color, any shape, any pitch, any material.

In our Christian life, the foundation is critical. I have spent much too much time focusing on the roof, those things that are not foundational, but merely window dressing in the Christian life. Hair splitting of minor doctrine, when Jesus has told us to love our neighbor, to love one another, to care for the weak and provide for the widow and orphan.

So, in our Christian life, what specifically is our foundation? The apostle Paul gives us direction through his letters.

1 Corinthians 3:11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

This is the foundation, the Person upon whom all the church, and creation depends on, whether they understand it or not. He is the bedrock of all that is created, and has been recreated. Without Him, there would be no church, with Him the Church can not be destroyed – They killed Him once and now He is invincible. (Big mistake on their part!)

Ephesians 2:20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,

Paul refines the concept of the foundation of the church as being the apostles and prophets, upon whom we can trust due to their dependence on the Chief Corner Stone, Jesus Christ. The teaching of the apostles and prophets can be relied upon as they were directly commissioned by the Savior to give instruction for His followers

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.”

This passage speaks of relationship. When I first read this verse over 40 years ago, I glibly consumed the syllables and moved on.

Not so fast Carl. God’s foundation stands. It is branded with an inscription, with two statements.

The Lord knows those who are His – This is obvious, but in my thinking, I feel Paul is speaking of God’s experiential knowledge, of a knowledge “gained” through relationship with His people. Please don’t call me out as a heretic on this, where it seems I am claiming God is gaining in knowledge and therefore deficient in some way. I don’t understand, and I may be out in left field, but the term ‘know” has the connotation of learning, or perceiving, understanding.

Relationship of our Heavenly Father and His children includes our time based condition. I do not understand how He relates to us through eternity while we are present in this evil world. But it is the first seal on the foundation, and it is how I understand it currently.

The second statement is of those who identify with the Lord, they depart from iniquity. Claiming to be a believer and continually refusing to repent of wrongdoing is, at the least hypocrisy, but I fear in reality is self deception. The Christian life is a life of continual repentance and renewal, or changing your perspective on every topic in life, of being re-educated from the dirt of the world to the truth of the Word.

My friend, if you are being challenged in an area of your life that is scary, or that will be difficult, trust in the goodness of God. If I read this verse properly, it is merely a matter of time before you repent, unless of course…

The foundation of Christianity is solid, since it is the Lord Jesus Christ. Trusting in a religion, a denomination, a way of life, a philosophy, a leader, a political party, or whatever you lean on other than the Lord, will disappoint you. If you think you are a Christian because of something other that a living relationship with Him, you will be disappointed.

Thanks for dropping by and considering the Bible with me. I do hope to hear from you in the comment section, and to


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Devotional, hymns, Old Testament, Psalms

Psalms for Psome – 10

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.

First, lets read the passage and take your time. We should never rush the Psalms!

Psalm 10

Why, O LORD, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor; let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.
For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the LORD.
In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
His ways prosper at all times; your judgments are on high, out of his sight; as for all his foes, he puffs at them.
He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved; throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.”
His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression; under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.
He sits in ambush in the villages; in hiding places he murders the innocent. His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket; he lurks that he may seize the poor; he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.
The helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall by his might.
He says in his heart, “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”
Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted.
Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?
But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless.
Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none.
The LORD is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land.
O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

This psalm, in the Latin Vulgate, is the second part of Psalm 9, where David is describing the wicked, and the traps they build, for themselves. Whether this psalm is to be connected directly with the 9th or not, the theme is identical.

The wicked are described as being prosperous while cursing the Lord, of being unmoveable, of a mouth full of cursing, deciet and oppression, of setting traps for the innocent and helpless and of telling himself that “God has forgotten”, that “He has hidden His face” and that “He will never see it”

Psalm 10:11

He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,
he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

Why? Why do the wicked seek to convince themselves? Their conscious thoughts will be deadened eventually, by fighting against the truth of a God that will be answered to.

It is a choice to be in this condition. If you are fighting your conscious, give up before you win, for in winning against your conscious, you lose so much!

Psalm 10:16-18

The LORD is king forever and ever;
the nations perish from his land.
O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

There will come a time when the man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.


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Devotional, hymns, Old Testament, Psalms

Psalms for Psome – 9

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 8 is a wonderful psalm, full of contrasts and comparisons. Throughout the psalm, David is in awe of the greatness of our God, of the creation he has provided, and the position God has placed man in .

First, lets read a portion of this Psalm, and take your time. We should never rush the Psalms!

 Psalm 9:15-16

The nations have sunk in the pit that they made;
in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught.

The LORD has made himself known; he has executed judgment;
the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. 

My momma used to say “You are your own worst enemy Carl!” Truer words were never spoken. She had a way of being blunt that I didn’t take offense at, since I knew she loved me and was simply speaking her mind for my benefit.

This psalm is speaking the author’s mind for our benefit.

This psalm speaks of the traps we lay for each other, and how the traps take us. The psalmist is looking globally, or nations falling into dissolution and destruction, but as believers fall, so fall families, and so fall communities, and cities and states and nations.

To set a trap for a fellow is to condemn ourselves to being ensnared.

David goes so far as describing those who are snared in their own traps as wicked. To set a trap for a fellow human is to become wicked, and will result in self damage. This is obvious as we watch the dissolution of great civilizations, but lets be applicable for a moment, lets get to the personal level.

Consider.

At the office, you see a peer getting ahead by hard work and long hours. You consider spreading some harmless innuendos – nothing actually specific, but enough to start someone else on the path to a conclusion.

This is a wickedness.

Ephesians 4:20-21 But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,

You are out with your friends for a night of fun, and happen upon a friend that is not so popular with the others. You seek to avoid him, but he approaches the group. What is the right thing to do? Calculate the repercussions of aligning with your not-so-popular friend and decide against it? Determine to shame him, mock or ridicule him, in order to find acceptance of the in-crowd?

This is a wickedness.

Ephesians 4:20-21 But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,

A friend has abused his body most of his life and he seems to refuse to change, to care for his own life. You have sought to minister to him with gentleness and humility, seeking to encourage and exhort him to change. You come to the end of your rope, and consider abandoning him to his decisions.

What think ye?

Psalm 9:18

For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.

God is so much different than I. (Is He different than you?)

He is truly good, and His name is to be praised.


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Devotional, hymns, Old Testament, Psalms

Psalms for Psome – 8

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 8 is a wonderful psalm, full of contrasts and comparisons. Throughout the psalm, David is in awe of the greatness of our God, of the creation he has provided, and the position God has placed man in .

First, lets read the passage and take your time. We should never rush the Psalms!

Psalm 8:1 – 9

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

As you read through this passage, did you notice it sounded somewhat New Testamental? This psalm is quoted multiple times in the New Testament and the way that the New Testament authors used the Old Testament statements have always challenged my thinking. It is a worthy endeavor to seek to align our thinking with the Lord and His apostles. See end of the post for verses to consider.

With that challenge for you, let’s consider one verse out of this psalm. My wife and I settled on verse 4 to discuss as we read through the psalm. Given the littleness of man in relation to God’s majesty, what is it that man can claim that would draw the attention of the Creator God, the One who created the heavens and the earth.

If the stars and the moon, in David’s mind, caused wonder, imagine the expected multiplied impression as we moderns understand the expanse, not only of our own universe, but of the billions of universes that God flung into existence with the mere expression of a word. How insignificant in comparison to the created universes is lowly “man”, not to mention in comparison the the One who created all.

What is man? David informs us, through creation, that we are insignificant, and yet God is mindful of us. Mindful is the thought of remembering us, recalling our condition and existence, of calling to record.

God thinks on us. His concern and remembrance of a tiny part of His creation can not be based on our relation to the extent of the universe. The universe, and all universes were created at the pleasure of the Godhead, and man is the one who God has thoughts on.

Yet the psalm continues with speaking of the son of man. The Old Testament writers used Hebrew poetry, where they would repeat a thought in a second line, as opposed to our modern simply poetry of ending the line with a rhyme. David was linking “man” with “son of man’ in this next line. Yet we know that the New Testament author in Hebrews applies this passage to the Son of Man.

What is the Son of Man, that you (God) care for Him. That is a striking thought, if I am understanding the text. Of course, looking at it from one perspective, the Son of Man is the Father’s great love, a “caring” that is limitless.

From an opposing view, as He hung on the cross, and the Father looked away, the constant “care” of the Father was broken, ruptured from all of eternity. Darkness descended and relation was broken.

As believers, in the midst of darkness, we are to look to the Savior. Consider the contrasts the Psalm provides and how different He is from our base understanding. We are insignificant, and yet consider ourselves to be of utmost importance. He knows our frailty, weakness, and brokenness and yet thinks on us, loves us and gives all for us.

Truly a psalm that speaks of contrasts, of a love that is showered on insignificant man, and of a love that was severed for the Significant One.

Consider the blessing of knowing our God and give thanks.

He is majestic!


Mat 21:16

and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read,
“‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies
you have prepared praise’?”

Hebrews 2:6-7

It has been testified somewhere,
“What is man, that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man, that you care for him?

You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned him with glory and honor,

1 Corinthians 15:27

For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him.

Ephesians 1:22

And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,


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Devotional, hymns, Old Testament, Psalms

Psalms for Psome – 7

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 come 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.

Its been years since we dealt with Miles. He was a big ol’ fella, our neighbor for about 5 years, and at the start, was pleasant, friendly, aw shucks he was even neighborly.

But something “broke” in Miles, or more likely, his true colors came out, and he started to attack our family. Specifically my sweet wife. My sweet little wife.

Miles eventually poisoned the neighborhood against us, dragged my wife into court, had the police and the RCMP (federal Canadian police – similar to the FBI) come to our door, and berated us on the local radio station.

Meanwhile, in the Simpson home, we were reading through the Old Testament, connecting with David when he was being chased by that King Saul. David never retaliated, threatened or caused Saul any harm. He had opportunity to seek revenge – that is for sure, but he trusted the Lord, which meant no revenge.

Me and that sweeet wife of mine decided to pray and seek no revenge. To be fair, most of this burden fell on my wife since she was a stay at home mom, home schooling our children, and Miles was on disability, at his home all day long. She sought a peaceful life and after close to three years, the Lord delivered us from Miles.

Psalm 7

14 Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies.
15 He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole that he has made.
16 His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends.
17 I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.

You see, Miles dug a pit for us to fall in, to trap us and to cause us pain. Please do not think that we were without temptations, anger, frustrations and fears. Much frustration!

But the Lord worked it out for Miles to give up, sell his home and move to a new community, which eventually filled up with young families. By the way, did I tell you one of his major complaints were the number of children we had? No? Well, lets just say he didn’t love our youngins, which always shocks me, since they are the bestest youngins!!!

When we look back at that time, I think the Lord also added wee bit of humor to the situation, in that I received a job offer in another city and sold our home just months after he moved. Poor Miles. He loved that home and wanted us to leave so he could have “peace”. Eventually his anger and hatred forced him to give up and move away.

He fell into the hole he dug for us.

Sometimes the Lord just adds a bit extra “justice” to the way He takes care of His people.


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Devotional, hymns, Old Testament, Psalms

Psalms for Psome – 6

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.

In our prayers as believers, we have been given many wonderful promises, promises such as

Hebrews 4:16

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

The throne of grace, where mercy flows, and help is available. What a fantastic promise to depend on, to believe. This privilege of the believer is a precious truth, one that, I can safely safe many of us do not appreciate fully.

This is a truth that we have constantly, and that as we reach out to the Father is humility and with confession, we can believe we have brought our petitions before Him and that we will receive mercy and help.

This psalm is the first of seven penitential psalms David authored. David was in deep despair and trouble in Psalm 6. He is physically sick and spiritually troubled. He is pleading with God to turn, yet this is a displeasure he has brought upon himself. His sin before God brought this distance and the pain and fear he is experiencing is a grace that God provides to get his attention.

Brother/sister, are you struggling with doubt or despair?

Two thoughts come to mind. The first is the simple decision of the Lord to simply allow us to have a barrenness in our lives, a time of dryness and quietness from the Lord that seems unexplainable. I will confess this has been my experience in the past, and has caused me to search the Word and my relation with Him.

The second, which sadly is the more common for myself at least, is the experience of bring the doubt and despair upon myself. My hardness of heart in listening to the voice of God has caused me to commit sin again Him, either in attitude or actions. I fear we all fall at times in our walk with Him. Have you knowledge of sin against God in your life? This doubt and despair may be a gracious act of God, seeking to get your attention.

David committed sin against the Lord and was in the depths of despair and anguish. He speaks of his end being in Sheol, of his death. His experience is that of life and death. He weeps and wails, seeking relief. In the midst of his grief, David writes the following

Psalm 6:8-9

Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping. The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD accepts my prayer.

Did the weeping and wailing “pay” for his sins, satisfy the Lord and force the Father’s hand in forgiving His child? Some may think this way, but I speculate those who think thus may not have experienced a child’s tears of sorrow.

When one of my children approached me in humble contrition for a wrong they committed against my self, their mother, or worse yet, against themselves, all I could think of are ways to find resolution and to restore what was lost.

Granted, I am a sinner with little wisdom, but I recognize that Jesus often used our experiences to compare and demonstrate the Fathers love for His children. (Take a few moments to consider how often He used our parental experiences as a basis to explain the Father’s greater love for His children.)

David prayed to the Lord, he approached the throne of grace in humility and contrition. He boldly states “The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer” This is the experience of Hebrews 4.

May we experience that confidence as we seek His pleasure.


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