Category Archives: Psalms

Destiny

men-1276384_960_720

Vaclav Havel said, “The real test of a man is not when he plays the role that he wants for himself, but when he plays the role destiny has for him.”

Each one of us has a purpose for our existence.  When that purpose materializes, life has greater meaning.

The LORD will work out his plans for my life—for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.  Psalm 138:8 NLT

Embrace the role your spiritual destiny has for you!

Advertisements

Psalm 119:169-176: Holy discontentment

The Psalmists commitment to God’s Word shaped how he regarded God. It is evidenced in his prayers and worship.  (169) let my cry, (170) my supplication come before you, (171) let my lips utter praise and (172) let my tongue sing.

Matt Chandler states “Great men of God have a holy discontentment; their hearts can never get enough of God.”  This desire is evident in the Psalmists  words, (173) let your hand be ready to help me, (174) I long for deliverance, and (175) let my soul live.

(176) I go astray like a lost sheep.  David, a shepherd, knew what it was like to seek out lost sheep prone to wander off.  Jesus fulfilled David’s prayer as Luke 19:10 tells us He came to seek and to save the lost.

jesus-1166170_960_720

 

Psalm 119:153-168: Revival and Awe

woman-2100082_960_720

Verses 153-160 of Psalm 119 incorporate the theme of Revival.  Consider the Psalmist’s words, Deliver me (153), Redeem me (154), Revive me and preserve me (154, 156, 159).  David Guzik offers this commentary, “The Psalmist looked for help and salvation outside of himself…He knew he needed God to redeem him…The Word of God is a source of revival.”  If we will only read it and incorporate its principles into our lives.

Look upon my suffering and rescue me, for I have not forgotten your instructions. Psalm 119:153 NLT

One reason we fail to do just that is so many of us have lost our Awe of God.  This is the subject of verses 161-168.  I find it interesting that so many people are willing to make God an idea.  If they can allow themselves to believe that thought, then God can be manipulated.  Better still, God can be fooled.  However, if God is real, he is to be feared (revered) because he knows all and sees all.  Consider the Psalmists words, My heart trembles (161), I love your law (163, 165) because it is a great spoil (treasure) and brings me peace.  Because he is in awe of God and believes God knows everything about him, he obeys the Word of God (168).

Awe occurs when you stand on precipice of something vast (an ocean, mountain or canyon) and it makes you feel small.  In the words of Matt Chandler, “The human heart hungers, not to be consumed with itself, but to look up in awe of our Creator.”

Allow your heart to be revived, be in awe of God!

 

 

 

Psalm 119:137-152 Are you perfect?

praying-1319101_960_720

This stanza of the 119th Psalm highlights the righteousness of God.  He is righteous (137) and so is his word (138).  His righteousness is everlasting and true (142) and is unchanging (144).

How can anyone measure up to this standard of perfection? The psalmist’s approach is one of an all out pursuit of holiness (139). He recognizes his lowly and despised condition (141), yet he has an unwavering desire to understand God’s word.

The second stanza reminisces, considering the time and manner of the psalmists pleadings with God.  Charles Spurgeon summarizes it this way…He prayed with his whole heart (145).  He prayed, “God save me!” (146). He prayed before dawn (147) and all through the night watches (148), He cried out, “Preserve my life!” (149).  God drew near in response (150).

“He who has been with God in the closet will find God with him in the furnace.”  C. Spurgeon.

1 Peter 3:12 ties the two stanzas of this psalm together.  The eyes and the ears of the Lord focus on the righteous and listen to their prayers.

Psalm 119:121-136 Servanthood

god-2925343_960_720The previous three stanzas of Psalm 119 emphasized drawing near to God. In verses 121-136 we do not find the cry of a proud person looking over his domain.  Instead, a different cry arises, that of a servant.

(122) Ensure your servants well-being is a cry for God to take up the psalmist’s cause, for God to represent him.  Christ ensures his followers are heard by interceding on our behalf (Hebrews 7:23-28).  The Holy Spirit also intercedes for those who are God’s people (Romans 8:26-27).

The servant asks for God to (124) deal with them mercifully, (125) give them understanding, (128) and keep them from the wrong path.

What does the right path look like?  (130) Unfold your words is the preparing one’s heart to receive the light of God’s word.  It involves turning towards (not away from) the God of mercy.  Those committed to the right path  ask Him to direct their footsteps (133), deliver them from oppression (134) and shine on them (135).

If you find yourself on the right path do not be surprised if (136) streams of tears flow from your eyes when you observe those around you who are hostile towards the Savior they do not know personally.

Psalm 119:97-120 Find time alone with God

What is it about God’s Word that the psalmist is so enamored with?  Answer: he has a personal relationship with God.  If we were to characterize this relationship as a two-way street, one side is the psalmist’s side of the street lined with worldly buildings and distractions, and the other, God’s side of the street.  So what is it about God’s side of the street that makes the psalmist want to cross over and devote himself completely? (Hint: did you have a best friend in your youth?  Was being able to stay at their house the best and most exciting thing ever?)

book-863418_960_720These three stanzas of Psalm 119 highlight the importance of finding time alone with God in prayer and Bible study.

(97) Your law – The God given Law is found in the Old Testament.  God have us his son, Jesus, in the New Testament.  The Word became flesh and lived among us (John 1:14).  (98) Makes me wiser – the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10).  (99) I have more insight – those who sit at the feet of Christ often have more insight than Doctors of Divinity (Charles Spurgeon).  (100) I have more understanding – Trust in God with your heart and don’t rely on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).  A regular time of private devotion also yields guidance (101), learning (102), and a hunger for more (103); an example being to your favorite food that tastes so good you can’t get enough of it.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.  Psalm 119:105

In the next stanza God’s word lights my path (105), preserves my life (107), is my heritage  (111), and gives me hope (112).  If so much joy and happiness can be found spending time alone with God, why would we ever want to return to our worldly side of the street?  Spurgeon reminds us that, “We are walkers through the city of this world, and we are often called to go out into the darkness; let us never venture there without the light-giving word.”

The third stanza uses language one would find of a war being carried out in enemy territory.  (113) I hate double-minded people (frivolous, indulgent, worldly thinkers).  (114) God is our refuge and shield.  We must remember to wear the whole armor of God against the enemy (Ephesians 6).  (116) God’s word sustains and upholds us and is proven. (120) He alone is the right (true) one to worship.

narrative-794978__340

Matt Chandler offers three points for those who have a relationship with God, addressing our need to find alone time with him.  (1) Staying connected carries us through life’s ups and downs.  (2) When we remain near to God, it leads to a sustaining love. (3) We produce fruit when we stay connected.  Staying connected allows us to be transformed by him (Romans 12:1,2) and enables us to make a difference in the world in which we live (our side of the street).

“We are walkers through the city of this world, and we are often called to go out into the darkness; let us never venture there without the light-giving word.” C. Spurgeon

Psalm 119:81-96 Trust in the God of Hope

What do you do when a trial or threat you are facing wakes you up in the middle of the night?  Your mental, physical or emotional stability is hanging by a thread.  Do you get up out of bed and go to your safe, pull out a stack of bills and start counting your money?  Does that give you comfort? Do you pull out a prized collection and handle the objects of your desire for relief? Or, do you close your weary eyes and sing with all your heart, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”  What, or who, do you place your hope in?

questions-1922477_960_720This stanza appears to describe one of the psalmist’s seasons in the life; he is in a place so dark and desperate, a place where none of us wants to go, let alone think about.  My soul faints (v81); my eyes fail (v82). Whatever it is we put our hope in better be big enough, sure enough, true enough, strong enough, to bring us back from the brink.  (Remember: God is my portion in Psalm 119:57)

(v83) Wineskin in the smoke – Empty wine skins were strung up in tents.  The fire in the tent turned the skins black and sooty and caused them to wrinkle and shrivel, rendering them useless.  Are there times when you feel useless?

(v84) How long must I wait – We need to remind ourselves that God never tires of us asking him (Isaiah 40:28-31).

(v86) Your commandments are faithful – unlike the society in which we function, we don’t have to learn some new software or worry about something we learned being obsolete.  God’s truth is able to meet any present or future need.

(v88) The word of God is a life preserver – the living word of God speaks to us when we need it.  Jesus has saved us by the power of the cross (John 1:14 the word [of God] became flesh and lived among us).

If the previous stanza portrays the psalmist as being at the brink of ruin, this stanza is filled with great certainties. Derek Kidner reminds us that God and his commandments extend beyond the limits found in the world in which we live.

(v89) God’s word is eternal; (v90) he is faithful; (v92) your word saved me (don’t forget to stand on the promises found in scripture).

(v96) There is a limit to perfection we see in our world – a confusing verse but consider that in any situation we deem “perfect” such as witnessing a perfect sunset or a picturesque fall day, there will always be a limit to how long it will endure. Contrast this thought with:  But your commands are boundless – There is a spiritual (eternal) side to everything we experience that can only be truly be satisfied by God’s word (a.k.a Jesus Christ)

quotes-1449691_960_720

Matt Chandler in his video series on Psalm 119 stresses that there is hope found in God’s word.  It is a deep hope based on God being enough regardless of life’s circumstances.  Hope is not crossing our fingers, it is placing our trust in the God of the universe.  Finally, rejuvenation can be found for those who place their trust in God.