Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Psalm 3:7-8

Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God!

For Thou has smitten all my enemies on the cheek;

Thou has shattered the teeth of the wicked.

Salvation belongs to the Lord;

Thy blessing be upon Thy people!

Perspective and Hope

That is what I believe these verses are talking about. I love the phrase "Arise, O Lord". I believe this is the same idea that we covered yesterday. When we utter the phrase "O, God!" when something happens, although this is in a more direct reverent way. Arise, or take your position and show yourself. The acknowledgment that when God reveals himself, the situation will change. This is the cry for God to glorify himself, and the acknowledgement that only He can save us.

Alot of times we are tempted to run to other things to try to save us. Friends, Family, Relationships, or retail therapy. Yet all fall short and are limited. In this verse the cry is targeted towards the one who is limitless and all powerful.

The next phrase is a strong one. Some may think it disturbing because of the violent imagery. I love the insight that Matthew Henry gives in his commentary on the verse: "That God had often broken the power and restrained the malice of his enemies, had smitten them upon the cheek-bone (v. 7), had silenced them and spoiled their speaking, blemished them and put them to shame, smitten them on the cheek reproachfully, had disabled them to do the mischief they intended; for he had broken their teeth". The teeth in this culture and still in many cultures in the region are a symbol of pride and of strength. For one to shatter the teeth of another is to remove this symbol. This verse shows the supremacy of God and His ability to frustrate, incapcitate the efforts of the enemy.

I love the closing of this Psalm - Salvation belongs to the Lord; Thy blessing be upon Thy people!

This is were our hope rest. Hope during this time was defined differently the how we use it now. Hope now is basically the equivelent of wish. I hope it doesn't rain, for example. However during this age and in the way it is used in scripture it is better defined as a future certainty rather than a wish. Salvation does belong to God, this is certain. Not something that you have to wish for. His blessing do rest upon His people, we don't wish that they would. So, we have a fixed hope in Christ, a certain future and reality that helps us to persevere during trial.

In this Psalm God has granted us perspective and hope. I pray that these truths would be certainties in your life and change the way you live, not just merely nice things to remember occassionally.

Soli Deo Gloria

Only for the Glory of God!

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Psalm 3:4-6

I was crying to the Lord with my voice,

And He answered me from His holy mountain.

I lay down and slept;

I awoke, for the Lord sustains me.

I will not be afraid of ten thousdands of people

Who have set themselves agains me round about.

There is a difference between whining and despair. The crying that it is talking about here isn't the crying of someone who just didn't get their way. This is the cry of desperation. A cry for help because the opposition is overwhelming. You only cry like this when things are really bad. When faith has run dry and you are in the desert of despair and hope is fading. You cry out to God, who at times honestly you think may have abandonded you or is not around. Yet even in your cry of desperation is the thread of worship, for you realize that there is one higher who can help. This has always amazed me cause usually when something bad is about to happen to someone (a car wreck, they see something bad) their response is usually, "O, God". Some may say it is just a saying, however having lived in other countries, it happens there as well. I think it is the innate condition of a person realizing there limitations and appealing to the unlimited God. Although they may actively supress this belief in God, in a moment such as this, it comes rushing to the surface. Their usually defenses or issues quickly tossed aside when they realize the futility of their ability to control, save, or rescue.

And He answered me from His holy mountain - I think this is an interesting phrase. This verse was written before Jesus came. God's presence (the Holy Spirit) cannot dwell with sin. There is a seperation -the perfect God and the imperfect man. Yet even in this, you see God's desire for relationship. God does not abandon the despairing man. He answers from His holy place. His ultimate answer was when He sent Jesus to die on the cross for us, making away for us to live in the presence of God. He heard our cries and He answered. We have the choice whether or not to accept that answer.

I lay down and slept - Ok this seems like a bit of a curve ball. Why does this guy let us know his nap or sleeping schedule? I have come to two conclusions or thoughts. Many times we use sleep as a form of escape. I have said during this past year, which was really hard, that often wished I was in a medically induced coma. When we sleep, we don't have to deal with things. The second part of this verse focuses on God sustaining us. You can also view this as God giving us the capacity through Him to quit trying to escape and actually to deal with issues. Not out of our own resources but out of His.

The second thought is that sleep is not possible without some level of peace. So in this you see God's provision for us to have peace and rest even in the midst of trial. All of this made possible because it is the Lord sustaining us. I often think about how God sustains us in ways we don't even realize. How the athiest denies the existence of God with the very breathe that, that God has provided. If you were to fully realize how God sustains you, in every moment, in every day, even when you sleep, worship would not be a hard thing to do.

I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people that have set themselves against me round about. - We have a choice. Fear or Faith. Faith is not denying the circumstances and pretending ignorance. Instead it is acknowledging them yet also acknowledging the supremecy of God. So proper perspective accompanies faith. If you focus on the people and how they are all around you, in opposition to what you hold true, then you will be overwhelmed. Yet remember that in those moments, when you utter the phrase "O, God!", your soul still cries out for you to acknowledge the supremecy of God over this situation and over these people.

I pray that you would have perspective and faith. That though you may be surrounded, you realize that there is a God who has heard from His holy mountain and provided a deliverer for you.

May God bless you and keep you, may God cause His face to shine upon you.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Psalm 3:1-3

O Lord, how my adversaries have increased!
Many are rising up against me.
Many are saying of my soul,
"There is no deliverance for him in God."
But Thou, O Lord, are a shield about me,
My Glory, and the One who lifts my heard.

Opposition, we don't always think that it will come. Many times we are surprised that it does. Yet in living the way that God calls us to, we will.
In moments like this we have a choice of what to focus on, either we focus on the adversary, or we focus on the Deliverer.
Opposition will find us, and at times it will increase. Many will be vocal and say "they are hopeless" or "there is no deliverance for him in God".
If we listen to these voices, and if we shift our perspective to only be these people, this is what we begin to believe.
That is why I love vs. 3 and decided to include it today. I love the phrase "But Thou, O Lord". Any times you see a but in the Bible it usually leads to a big contrast. In the first half of this you see the hopelessness and despair of only focusing on adversity. Then enters "The Lord". Who reaches in and is our Deliverer, despite what people say.
I love the comparison of the Lord being our shield, yet not only that, a shield that is all about me. There is nothing left unprotected.
Something else to realize is that in this culture a shield was not only a defensive weapon but also an offensive one. The had hooks on the sides of them and could be hooked together to form a wall and to take ground against the enemy.
I love the thought of this. The Lord not only defends me, he also helps reclaim the ground that the enemy may have taken.
The Lord is also my glory. God is everything good about me. He is the source of all things good and the source of all praise.
The Lord is the one who lifts my head. You can take this to mean that He is the one that gives us strength. This is true but there is a bit more. In this culture when one went before the king, they would bow and expose the back of their neck. If the king was not pleased with them, then the king would take a sword and that would be the end of it. However, if the king was pleased and had a purpose for the person, he would place the sword under their chin and lift their head. It signified purpose and acceptance.
The Lord is the lifter of my head. He grants me purpose, acceptance (through Christ). He is my defender, protector and helps retake the ground that the enemy has stolen.
May your perspective be on the Lord and not on the opposition. Please pray the same for me.
May God bless!
Thanks for reading,

Monday, April 5, 2010

Psalm 2:10-12 Amazing Grace

Redemption and the call to Repentance

"Now therefore, O kings, show discernment;
Take warning, O judges of the earth.
Worship the Lord with reverence,
And rejoice with trembling.
Do homage to the Son, lest He become angry, and you perish in the way,
For His wrath may soon be kindled.
How blessed are all those who take refuge in Him!"

In the past few verses we see how God has warned against the ways (kings) of the world. He has spoken about our feeble efforts of control and satisfaction. He has revealed to us His desire to take us deeper and to provide for us. And now, now we see an amazing God of grace.
In calling out to abstain from the worlds ways, He turns and offers a hand of grace to the very ones who were leading the rebellion against Him.
Show discernment O king. Take Warning. He doesn't just blast them away although you see in verse 4 that He could very well do that. Instead you see Him give hope and a way out.
Sometimes people become so defensive because they feel trapped and think they have no way out. Think about a cornered animal, the more it feels threatened the more hostile it becomes. In this same way, so is the world. When people see the truth and light of the gospel, alot of times the response is hostility. They feel trapped because now the light shows that their ways have been in vain. Yet, God extends an invitation to worship. He doesn't say, "OK come on in, but you are gonna pay for that whole fiasco that happened last week."
Instead, you see the grace and redemption of God that one has the chance to go from the king of the rebellion to now becoming the child of redemption. There is a warning, there is a clear stating of God's wrath and how He isn't someone to just take advantage off, instead you see The power of God and the mercy of God. This verse doesn't say Jesus is my homeboy and I can just take advantage of Him. This verse is calling sinners to repent and providing away to do so, all the while, realizing that the Almighty Lion of Judah is just and will reveal His wrath and sin will not go unpunished.
Even in the ending you see the provision and grace of God. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him. Not just some, not just those who grew up in church and never did anything wrong. The word is all, the offer was extended to the kings of the rebellion. So, if Osama bin Laden was to trust Christ and see the light of the gospel and repent and call out to Jesus as His Savior, then he too would be one of those who would find refuge. I admit that I don't always like this, a kind of violent grace, because honestly I would be picky about who I handed it out too. Which means that I would not be just and then it would not be grace because people would have to earn it. When I think about it, it all comes down to me realizing that in reality, I am just as wretched as Osama bin Laden, I was a child of wrath (Eph 2:1-7). We are all on equal footing and we all need the Savior.
"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch, like me"

May I not be stingy with grace and may I pray for the kings of the rebellion to repent, for such is the heart of God.

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Psalm 2:7-9

"I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to Me, 'Thou art My Son,
Today I have begotten Thee.
'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Thy possession.
'Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron,
Thou shalt shatter them like eathernware.'"

This passage is telling of the promise of the Messiah, the Deliverer, that God would provide in Jesus. We see it fulfilled in John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever shall believe in Him, should not perish but have eternal life.

Yet one of the things that rings in my heart in this section is 'Ask of Me and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance'. Now, I know that this is talking of Christ, and how God has granted Him all power and authority in heaven and on earth. But what sticks in my heart is the desire for us to ask. Not selfish materialism ask, but asking God to do what He desires.
We so often get caught up in asking for provisions or things, we forget to ask for God to give us what He desires. I cringe at the thought of dying and going to heaven and talking with Jesus and Him saying, these are all the things I longed to give you if only you would have just asked.
Yet, I find myself to busy or to scared to pray something like that. Scared because I'm afraid what He wants to give will be so different than from what I want, or, so busy with stuff that I am blinded by what God is really wanting to do.
If I believe that God made me, that He alone fully knows me (there are parts to me that I don't even know about yet), then it is only He alone that knows fully what I need to accomplish what He desires.
So I boldly some may say selfishly pray, Lord give it all! Please!! Forgive me for not asking for what you desire to give. Lord may you give me open hands and an open heart to receive what you desire to give. Not in materialistic ways but in the reality that you are the one who has made me, you are the one that knows me best. Lord help me to pray according to your desires and not my own.
For in that we see the fulfillment of verse 9 where you will break the wicked and shatter their efforts with your truth. Not because of my own abilities, but because of what you have granted.
So Lord please give it all, you already have in Christ and granted me access to it, but please give it, even when I am to ignorant to ask. For Your desire is for me to be perfect and complete lacking in nothing, that I would do the works that you have prepared for me beforehand. May you be glorified O' Lord.

Soli Deo Gloria!
Only for the Glory of God!

Thanks so much for reading.