Thursday, May 31, 2018

Thursday - Psalm 112 - The Products of Godliness

hen we look at the morality and piety of men, we see that there is an applicable a rule in life. As a rule, when men blaspheme or ignore God and disobey his commandments, there are negative consequences in this life.  And, generally, when we humble ourselves before His mighty hand... He will soon lift us up.  “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (I Peter 5:6).  There are exceptions.  There are evil men who ascend and prosper.  There are righteous men who seem to only descend in this life. And indeed, everyone who strives to live a godly life will face opposition in this life (II Timothy 3:12). Still, the rule is plain: "The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever'' (Isaiah 32:17).

In Psalm 112 we have a few earthly carrots placed out in front of us, reminding us of the temporal benefits of doing things God's way.  As we learn to fear God and to delight in His Word, He is freed up to bless our children, to cause our business to succeed, to relieve our financial burdens, to preserve our health, to grant us a gracious heart, to fill us with His compassion, to give us victory in life, to make us kind, to make us lenders instead of borrowers, to give us wisdom, to increase our influence, to give us confidence and increased faith, to make our enemies' efforts fruitless and to turn us into philanthropists - essentially He is able to make us a great success... even in this life (Mark 10:29-30).  There are exceptions to this rule.  We may be faithful and yet die penniless and alone... but that is not the norm.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Tuesday - Psalm 111 - Work

ork is not a curse. Work is not a part of the curse. Difficulty, failure and fatigue associated with work are certainly a result of the curse, but work itself is good. Psalm 111 includes the word work (or works) five times in nine short verses.  God is a worker.  He does deeds.  He completes tasks (Philippians 1:6).  He fulfills responsibilities and accomplishes feats.  He is active, busy... occupied with a purpose.  He labors diligently and reliably.  And, obviously, He does a good job every time.

There is another word that surfaces noticeably in this Psalm: the word "covenant." God's covenant is comprised of His promises, which He has revealed to us with expectant intentions.  He expects us to work as He has worked.  Now, it is true that God worked for six days in creating the world and that He then rested on that first Saturday (Genesis 2:2).  It is also the case that God commands men to follow His example in our employment (Deuteronomy 5:13-14).  After all, "In all labor there is profit" (Proverbs 14:23).  But there is something deeper going on here.  What are the works of God anyway?

God's work (His deeds) and works (His actions) are presented here in this song with defining adjectives. The exertions of the Almighty are always honorable, glorious, wonderful, powerful, true, just, permanent, etc.  So, ours also should be.  However, there is one work that He did because we can't do it ... that is, the salvation of our souls.  Moreover, there are works which we must do in order to become co-laborers with God (I Corinthians 3:9).  Since God is fully faithful, He demands that we be full of faith in Him (John 6:29). His business is to get us involved in His kind of work... rooted in faith.  

Monday, May 28, 2018

Monday - Psalm 110 - The Root & the Offspring of David

n Matthew 22:41-46 we have a record of a conversation which Jesus had with some Pharisees.  In that context he quoted from Psalm 110 and essentially asked how David could call the Messiah "Lord" if the Messiah was to be his descendant?  The answer is obvious to us. The Messiah was not only to be David's heir, but he was also David's Author... his Maker... his God.  Jesus was claiming to be greater than King David, which was a significant assertion in the ears of His audience on that day.  There had to be some criterion that would legitimately qualify Him to be greater than Israel's greatest historical monarch.  I think the"beauties of holiness" are enough to settle that question (Psalm 110:3). But in addition, Jesus is not only the Lord, in this song He is extolled as Priest, King and Judge.  He will rule the world from Jerusalem and will conquer every foe.

Psalm 110:3 says, "Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power."  Being willing is a key difficulty.  Perhaps we all lack in many other areas, but for many of us, our primary shortfall always seems to come in this one arena.  Indeed, even when we are willing, we are unable... apart from an infusion of God's grace (Matthew 26:41 & Romans 7:18).  Our "will" is our greatest enemy.  The part of the mind which makes decisions is hopelessly broken. Even with strong discipline, experience, accountability, education and laboriously ingrained habits, we tend toward wrong decisions.  What glorious news that when Jesus comes in power, all of His people will be willing. At long last Jews and Gentiles alike will find complete sanctification and absolute victory over our flesh. Hurry up, Lord.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Saturday - Psalm 109 - My Heart is Wounded

SALM 109:22 reads like this, "I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me."  We've all been there.  Someone said something to us or about us that we deemed unfair or ill intended.  It's offensive.  We like to imagine that we are strong; that we are impregnable high flyers.  But, we are all susceptible... just as David was.

This Psalm was written by David precisely because he had "enemies" who were treating him in a way that seemed unfair to him.  They lied about him (Psalm 109:2).  They hated and resisted him Psalm 109:3).  They returned to him pain for any kindness that he extended to them (Psalm 109:4). So eventually he had endured what he considered to be enough of it and as a result he wrote this Psalm... packed with imprecation.

Here he asked God to give his enemies over to Satan (Psalm 109:6).  He prayed for their damnation and requested that their prayers would not be heard (Psalm 109:7).  He prayed that they would die young and that they would be replaced (Psalm 109:8).  He wanted them to have no grandchildren (Psalm 109:9).  He asked for poverty and failure for them (Psalm 109:10-11).  He desired that they would be removed and forgotten (Psalm 109:15). Frankly, David petitioned God requesting that He curse his enemies.

Of course, David prayed for mercy for himself (Psalm 109:21).  "I'm the victim here, Lord!"  he cried. "Shame for them; joy for me!" (Psalm 109:28). At least he was honest, eh?  Of course, who among us hasn't felt a tinge of this before?  Yet, in the New Testament, a higher road is paved (Romans 12:14).  In Matthew 5:43-45 we read that Jesus set a standard that transcends the vengeance of Psalm 109. 

Friday, May 25, 2018

Friday - Psalm 108 - A Combination

HEN you read Psalm 108, you may pause to try to figure out what new revelation we are supposed to be discovering here.  And, there is a reason to read this Psalm forwards and backwards looking for something fresh.  We have already covered this truth.  The words of this Psalm are the same as the words of Psalm 57:7-11 & 60:5-12. When we covered Psalm 57 we ruminated a bit on the fruitfulness and futility of good intentions (Psalm 57:7 & 108:1), and more importantly on our utter dependence on God's grace in order to see good intentions to fruition... which is the point of Psalm 60:12 & 108:13.  If we do valiantly, it will only be through God’s power.  So, you see that we haven't anything new here, but we do have a perfectly appropriate combination of segments from two earlier songs.  Yet what is the purpose and point?  The Spirit has made no mistakes, nor has ever He ever forgotten any formerly recorded inscriptions.  He has never wasted a single word or spoken out of turn.

Of course, there are many repeated portions of Scripture.  If anything, repetition is the norm in Holy Writ, not an anomaly. Sections large and small are reiterated... presumably for emphasis.  Whatever the reason, it is clear here that the exaltation of Jehovah was the business at hand (when the psalmist edited former lines together to construct this tune). Not that God can be truly any higher than He now is, except in the minds of His creatures.  In our feeble and fallible little finite brains, God has never once been placed at as lofty a position as He justly deserves.  Even if we were to give Him the absolute preeminence (in our minds) that He has a right to, we still might as well only be shooting pebbles at the moon from a slingshot.  His majesty is beyond our capacity to comprehend.  Nevertheless, He is worthy of exaltation.  Lift His name high today... at least, lift it as high as you can.  Reach for the stars.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Thursday - Psalm 107 - Say So

F God invested the blood of His only Son purchasing you and me, the least we can do is to speak of that freely.  So emphatic is the psalmist about this, that he repeats his desire verbatim four times in this one song.  Psalm 107:8, 15, 21 & 31 all say the same thing, "Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!"  The descriptions interspersed between these four verses all serve the same purpose, to give us evidence that we can "observe" and thereby be more fully informed (or reminded) concerning God's loving-kindness (Psalm 107:43).

We who are "the redeemed" come from every quarter of the globe.  We come from hopeless backgrounds and dismal circumstances.  We were formerly rebellious fools (Psalm 107:11 & 17). We were at our "wit's end" in troubles and distresses without God (Psalm 107:27).  But He has saved us and blessed us abundantly.  Shouldn't we therefore be willing to speak up and to speak out about His wondrous grace?  "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!" (Psalm 107:2).

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Tuesday - Psalm 106 - Cyclical Spirituality

OULDN'T it be great if spiritual regression were an impossibility?  However, such is not the case.  We can stand on the highest summit at one moment, only to plummet to the darkest of depths immediately thereafter.  Spiritual cycles of victory and defeat are sadly all too common. Israel during the days of the judges (between Joshua and Samuel) is perhaps the most defined example of this phenomenon.  In contrast to God who "does righteousness at all times" (Psalm 106:3), the people of God were famous for being sporadic in their worship, inconsistent in their obedience and intermittent in faith.

"We have sinned with our fathers..." the psalmist wrote, "Nevertheless He saved them..." (Psalm 106:6).  From the days of Moses until the times of Israel's captivities, this pattern was repeated again and again.  "They believed His word... sang His praises..." and then" ...soon forgot His works" (Psalm 106:12- 13).  They were inexcusably incorrigible!  They enjoyed His charity, but their souls were largely unfazed by His presence (Psalm 106:15).  In fact, Israel went from ignoring God's works to ignoring God Himself (Psalm 106:21), even to the point that they no longer believed the same words which they had initially received (Psalm 106:12 & 24).  It is evident that if it had not been for men like Moses and Phinehas (Psalm 106:23 & 30), the Jews would have surely been punished much more severely.  And why not? They descended from the heights of the Exodus to the depths of idolatry and murder with just a few doubting leaps and bounds.  So, the cycle of rebellion and oppression followed by repentance and deliverance was the norm in Israel (Psalm 106:42-44).

Monday, May 21, 2018

Monday - Psalm 105 - Very Few

SUALLY, God's promises have been spoken to small and insignificant groups and individuals. And, He has plainly declared the reason for this.  If He only used the chiefs and the mighty men among us, they would all strut about tooting their own horns.  But, He has chosen the weak, the foolish, the despised and irrelevant among us so that no undue credit can be claimed by clay vessels (I Corinthians 1:26-29).  Who would Noah, Abraham or Moses have been if God had not elected to bless them?  Were Peter, Paul and John chosen because of their perfection?  Even the author of this Psalm (compare to I Chronicles 16:8-22) was nothing and nobody until God took him and raised him up (II Samuel 7:8).

This passage is a historic recitation of just how God went about blessing the nation of Israel and how He brought them from being "very few'' (Psalm 105:12) up until He had made them stronger than their enemies (Psalm 105:24).  Their rags-to-riches story was a great demonstration of the wondrous works and ways of God.  He has done marvelous things with them.  From Jacob to Joseph, and all the way through until today, God has been keeping a promise that He made originally to one man, that is, to Abraham (Psalm 105:42).

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Saturday - Psalm 104 - Divine Control

OD has temporarily assigned certain authority and influence into the hands of men, nature, angels and Satan.  But ultimately, God is still in control.  In this 35 verse section of the Bible we read a compilation of various areas of nature over which God exercises sovereignty.  It is a highly diverse list.  Light, darkness, the sky, oceans, clouds, wind, tectonics, geography, fresh water, donkeys, birds, trees, grass, vegetables, wine, oil, bread, sap, wild goats, rocks, rabbits, day, night, the seasons, the sun and moon, lions, men, ships, dinosaurs, life, death, volcanoes and angels all get a nod or 2 in this presentation of the evidences of God's power.  But what is the purpose of such an enumeration?

The purpose of this Psalm is evidently simple praise.  We should sing to the Lord.  We should meditate on His existence.  We should be glad that He is God.  We should abhor evil, if for no other reason, because our good God is in control. There is not a single occurrence that escapes His sight.  The dying of a minnow or the supper of a sperm whale are both equally under His direct control.  He is the director of nations and the sustainer of butterflies.  He had it in Himself to create and name all of the stars, yet His hand is in the moving of an electron in the frizzy hair of an infant babbling impatiently in Timbuktu.  He is in control.  Our God reigns (Psalm 47:8, Isaiah 52:7 & Revelation 19:6).  Let the weak and the humble rejoice in this.  Let the strong and the stubborn fear before Him.  He has complete control.  He has never had an accident or made a mistake.  And, He never will.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Friday - Psalm 103 - The Feeling of Forgiveness

ANDWICHED in the middle of an introduction and a conclusion comprised of praises, the meat of this Psalm runs from verse 3 through 18 and addresses the glorious reality of being forgiven.  One of the most wonderful and amazing conditions of being a saint is the fact of forgiveness.  This is then accompanied by a glorious knowledge of that forgiveness which therefore produces in us the feeling of being forgiven.

Surely, we should all kneel in adoration before God as we recognize or remember how wondrously generous He has been in forgiving us.  He has done more than just heal us, He has absolved us of every infraction... as if we never did it in the first place.  This is justification.  Then on top of that He treats us royally (Psalm 103:5) and defends us as if we are worthy of such chivalrousness.  This is grace (unmerited favor).

Even when he chides us, His mercy shines through.  He pities us in our plight.  And, as we fear Him, follow Him and listen for His word, He is able to bless us as if we had been doing His works for all of our days.  As we serve Him by doing His pleasure (Psalm 103:21), we can and should praise Him because He forgave us.  Do you feel forgiven?  We should all come to appreciate the grandeur of our privileged station in Christ.  He has removed our transgressions from us!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Thursday - Psalm 102 - A Lonely Bird

AYBE there are only a few of us who have ever been truly destitute, but most of us have certainly felt like we were.  An author who was afflicted, overwhelmed and alone wrote this Psalm.  It was written during a time of defeat and disaster.  It was penned as a prayer of complaint and as an imploration for mercy and help. Without comparing our hard times to the hard times of others, it is easy to think of occasions when we were "in trouble" and needed desperately for God to step in with supernatural aid and intervention.

Brokenhearted; withered; a wisp of smoke; aching bones; wasting away - this is how the author viewed and described himself in his circumstance.  Like a lonely bird, hungry and tormented by dangerous predators, he cried in misery because of his plight.  He thought of himself as if he were a prisoner on death row.  Have you ever been there?

Now, beginning with verse 12 it appears that the psalmist began to approach his dilemma as if it were simply a great opportunity for God to step in and shine brightly.  In other words, his destitution had a transcendent purpose as a good excuse for God to get involved and thereby to reveal Himself. The concept is not strange (John 9:2-3). In fact, Psalm 102:19-20 reads as if God commonly looks upon the earth for the very specific purpose of finding "groaning prisoners" whom He can then deliver from the jaws of death.  

What an amazing thing that He is willing to raise us up to His level... by having stooped down to ours (Psalm 102:28 & II Corinthians 5:21).  We may have to endure the feeling of being frail fowls limping languishingly along in this life, but we will soar with Him in His good time (Isaiah 40:31).

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Tuesday - Psalm 101 - I Will Behave

ITUS 2:14 succinctly summarizes one of the most fundamental and yet also most unpopular tenets of the Christian faith.  "Christ gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."  Put simply, believers are supposed to be distinctly different from unbelievers (I Peter 2:9). We sing a different song.  We behave differently.  We live for a different purpose.  We are looking for a different future.  We walk differently.  Our hearts are different.  We chose a different environment.  We have a different flock with which we fly.  We have a different master.  At least... those are supposed to be accurate descriptors of our existence.  It is sad when professing believers are no different than the ungodly.

Now, I know that the great apostle Paul claimed under the influence of the Holy Ghost to use a chameleon-like strategy in evangelism (I Corinthians 9:22).  However, his "all things to all men" philosophy did not include violating God's law.  In culture, language, economics, style and other such irrelevancies, we can and should be as flexible as possible in order to reach out to others with the gospel, but to sin against God in the name of bringing people to God just makes no sense.  It's worse than illogical, it's counterproductive.  It is certainly true that we have liberty in Christ, but that freedom is from sin, not to sin.  I fear that most of our modern expressions of spiritual freedom have a lot more to do with the appetites of our flesh than they do with our thorough understanding of biblical sanctification or with our burden for the lost. We must never forget that human misbehavior is still offensive to God.  

Monday, May 14, 2018

Monday - Psalm 100 - Another Psalm 23

UCH like Psalm 23, Psalm 100 hardly needs commentary.  Just read it and reread it.  Memorize it. Meditate on it.  Quote it.  Sing it and then read it again and again.  What explanation is needed?  Every phrase is packed with meaning and clarity.  It's a Psalm that directs our attention upward toward our heavenly Father.

This is a song of joy and praise.  "Serve the Lord with gladness!" Not begrudgingly...  serve with gladness!  "Come before His presence with singing!"  How else should we come?  "Know Ye that the Lord He is God!"  Of course He is.  He alone is God.  He is God alone.  He made us. We did not make ourselves.  We did not evolve. We belong to Him.  We do not belong to ourselves.  We are dependent upon Him.  He who is endlessly good and merciful and true, deserves many great expressions of gratitude.

Let us go to Him now. Pick a good song to sing and sing it to Him now.  Bow your head and lift your hands and with gratitude, enter into His presence in worshipful prayer.  "Make a joyful noise unto the lord!"  What better way could we spend our energy and our time?  What cause could be nobler? 

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Saturday - Psalm 99 - Forgiveness & Vengeance

N our modern Christian minds we typically think of forgiveness OR vengeance, not forgiveness AND vengeance.  Such a perspective is understandable; perhaps even commendable.  Yet, we know that the forgiveness which God offers generously to us doesn't cancel justice.  Our commuted sentence has been made possible by the propitiatory substitution of a Volunteer who has endured judgment for us.  God has quite literally provided a way by which He can offer forgiveness and maintain vengeance at the same time.  Of course, He is God, so that right and responsibility is naturally His. Vengeance is not usually our business.  I say "not usually" because there are certain circumstances where governments, churches and parents must either exercise a kind of vengeance and retribution, or the promotion of evil will quickly ensue.

God reigns.  He is in charge.  He loves judgment, establishes equity and executes righteousness.  This is who He is.  It is what He does.  He makes rules, declares wisdom, keeps promises and passes judgment.  A divine being who did not do these things would not be the God described in the Bible.  Even here in Psalm 99:6 we are reminded of 3 specific characters who experienced both mercy and revenge from the hand of God: Moses, Aaron and Samuel. He forgave each one, yet there were still consequences for their actions.  David is another Bible character who famously paid for his deeds to some degree, even though God had forgiven him.

It may not always be obvious when and where such measures are appropriate, but clearly there are times when we would do well to willingly forgive perpetrators, yet at the same time require some remuneration for the damage that is done. 

Friday, May 11, 2018

Friday - Psalm 98 - With Many Tools

UR God is extravagantly marvelous.  Because of the magnitude of His personage, it is fitting and appropriate that we utilize every possible tool that we have or that we can obtain in celebrating His greatness.  Because of who He is and because of what He has done, He is worthy of our worship. So, in this Psalm we are commanded to praise God musically with our voice, with cheerful noises, with loud sounds, with harps, with trumpets and cornets.  According to this Psalm, even the sound of crashing waves and echoes off the sides of steep cliffs can be used as tools of praise.

As we offer our sacrifices of praise to God and as He demonstrates His own character to everyone near and far, the possibility of His righteous salvation extending to more of His creatures is increased.  So, let us gather whatever tools we can and use them to declare God's greatness, His righteousness, His justice and His grace.  (See also Psalm 96, as it has many similarities to this Psalm).

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Thursday - Psalm 97 - Confounded

N this Psalm the author points out the utter insanity of worshiping an inanimate object as if it were divine.  The whole idea and definition of divinity is that a (or I should say, THE) divine being is supernatural and superior.  How can a statue made by a man be his god?  Why should a man who can walk, talk, speak, think, hear, smell, feel and decide, worship a deaf and dumb image, which can do absolutely nothing? Hence, we see the statement here about the nonsensical actions and attitudes of idolaters (Psalm 97:7).

Still, the confoundedness that sin has brought upon us doesn't end with the unregenerate barbarian polytheist.  We who are saints have a conundrum of our own with which to wrestle.  One would think that when we fall in love with God, we simultaneously fall out of love with anything and everything that opposes God. Such is not automatically or instantly the case.  We should and can have our vicious appetites replaced by wholesome and heavenly allurements. But, this sanctified perspective is far from reflexive, immediate or permanent (Psalm 97:10).  Why would we be commanded to hate evil if it were an automatic result of learning to love God?  Even in the New Testament we discover that God found it necessary to command holiness even from those who follow Him in love (John 14:15).

So, let's cut to the chase. What is the problem with us?  We are born again, aren't we (2ndCorinthians 5:17)?  The difficulty lies simply in the fact that after our regeneration we are essentially shackled with a spiritually split personality of sorts.  In Romans 7:21-23, the apostle to the descendants of Ham and Japheth admitted that he struggled constantly with opposing desires within himself.  This reality is seen voluminously by comparing 1stJohn 3:9 and Romans 7:18. The new nature can do no wrong... the old nature can do no right.  Herein lies the challenge.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Tuesday - Psalm 96 - Spread the Word

NY way you cut it, there is no doubt that God wants everyone to hear the gospel.  There is also no doubt that the propagation of the gospel is a responsibility which lies squarely on the shoulders of God's children. We have an unction from the Spirit, yes (1stJohn 2:20)!  Jesus will go with us to the end of the world, yes (Matthew 28:20)!  Nobody can come to God unless He woos them to Himself, yes (John 6:44).  Still, it is OUR privilege to declare God's name to every human being (1stCorinthians 1:21).  Whether they will hear and heed and profit from the information or not is between them and God, but it is our great dispensation to publish the good news far and wide until the whole world has heard it.

In the words of an old hymn, "Tell to sinners far and wide, 'Jesus Saves! Jesus Saves!' Sing above the battle strife, 'Jesus Saves! Jesus Saves!"' Declare it! Sing it! Shout it!  Tell everyone you know. Tell it everywhere you go.  Announce God's greatness and His glory. Proclaim His goodness and His grace. Invite the lost to come to Him in humility, because He is surely going to come to us with justice (Psalm 96:8 & 13).  He deserves every bit of praise which we can offer.  He is worthy of worship and of fear.  If we will just come to Him, we will discover that He can give us reasons to rejoice.  Yes, His arrival at the Second Advent will be famous for righteousness and truth, but God (and God alone) can prepare us for that day.  Spread the word!  Publish the tidings!  Give the gospel!  The false gods of this world are fabricated emissions from the minds of men, but our God formed us.  This information must be shared.  Let's share it!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Monday - Psalm 95 - Don't Sin, Sing!

HAT a difference one little letter makes.  Add the letter "G" to the word sin and you have a very new thing.  In this psalm, verses 1 - 7 is an encouraging section on music that honors God.  Verses 8 - 11 address the rebellion and retribution that ancient Jews involved themselves in during the days of Moses.  The choices are simple in this context: sing and rest in God or provoke Him and grieve Him. We generally vacillate back and forth, choosing first one and then the other option.  This is no good!  James 1:8 says, "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways."  We can't get on our horse and ride off in every direction at once.  It just doesn't work.  We must choose a direction (Romans 6:16).

My personal music library has thousands of songs in it.  Just my favorite song list is over 1,500 tracks long.  With a few odd exceptions, these are hundreds and hundreds of songs that direct my attention toward God; joyful noises addressed "to the Rock of our salvation" (Psalm 95:1).  With high and low voices... with rapid and slow beats... with southern twangs and foreign accents, I listened to artists worship Jehovah.  Old songs, new songs; loud ones and soft ones... tune after tune reminds me of Scriptures and doctrines.  Use a song or two (or many) to lift your mind to higher planes each day.  We all spend too many days in the valleys of defeat.  Don't sin with the devil, sing unto the Lord!

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Saturday - Psalm 94 - Two Kinds of Wicked

SALM 94:12-13 reintroduces to us 2 different categories of wicked men: wayward children and wandering strangers.  According to Psalm 94:13, He chastens His disobedient and wicked children so that He won't have to destroy us with the Devil's children... who are also wicked. Of course, those of us who are God’s children were once among the Devil’s offspring.  

So, needless to say, all sin is sin and all men are vain sinners (Psalm 94:11).  Any and every transgression of God's law is iniquitous. The wages of any, every and all sin is death.  Any one sin makes me a sinner and qualifies me for hell.  In fact, I'm a sinner by nature and was born into condemnation. Yet my soul is not condemned.  I'm forgiven, redeemed and regenerated.  I'm a child of God headed for heaven.  So, what is the difference between me and the hell bound hellion.  I sin. He sins.  One of the primary differences between me and a lost man is that I am disciplined for doing wrong and He will be destroyed for doing wrong.  These are 2 very different things.

Vengeance is ahead for the unregenerate sinner.  Victory is ahead for the regenerate saint.  The Psalmist asked how long the wicked would prosper (Psalm 94:3).  I now ask how long wickedness in general will prosper.  It isn't really the wickedness of the ungodly that bothers me most... it is the wickedness of the godly, particularly my own.  But, Psalm 94:4 points out that unregenerate men can boast freely of their sinful exploits.  On the other hand, we are (or should be) deeply ashamed of ours.  Sinners leap into sin and love it.  Saints lapse into sin and loath it, or we pay a dear price for continuing in it.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Friday - Psalm 93 - The Lord, Strong & Mighty

ACK in Psalm 24 we read these words, "Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle" (Psalm 24:8).  God is great! And, He is our God.  Our God reigns!  He is majestic.  He is strong. He is steady, solid and eternal. He is holy.  He is reliable.  He is the God... the mighty God; God Almighty.  There are not enough names or adjectives that we can compile to describe Him adequately.  In reality, we don't even know Him, at least not in His fullness, essence and infinity. We are only getting to know Him, and our capacities are far too shallow to grasp just Who we have discovered... or rather, Who has revealed Himself to us.  Our minds and our senses are quickly exhausted.  So, when we come into His presence, it is fitting that we be holy (Psalm 93:5).

Now, we're still awaiting our full sanctification.  We have not yet been fully adopted (Romans 8:23).  We want to measure up... I suppose what we want is to make Him proud, or to somehow please Him in some significant way.  The contrast is startling... which is why we are at His mercy and are subject to His grace.  He is so great and we're so small.  He is strong, but we are weak.  He is wise; we are foolish.  He is perfect; we are imperfect.  He is righteous; we are unrighteous.  He is infinite; we are finite.  He is the Creator; we are mere creations.  He is worthy; we are unworthy.  He is the Lord!  Worship Him!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Thursday - Psalm 92 - His Work and Mine

E are supposed to be co-laborers with God.  Of course, for that to be the case, we have to get in on what He is already doing... because He certainly is not going to adjust His plans to fit our agenda nor forsake His own will in order to follow after our priorities or methodologies. There is definitely a great chasm of divergence between His works and ours.  Most obviously, we are naturally unrighteous (Romans 3:10), whereas He is infinitely and always righteous in ever act and attitude (Psalm 92:15).

This song was written for the "Sabbath day" and is therefore a song of worship AND instruction. As such, the key point that stands out to me is the fact that God's work can make us glad (Psalm 92:4).  On the contrary, we should all know that our works do not make us glad.  Our works (in our energy) are perpetually dissatisfying and faulty. 

But, when God steps in; when He gets involved; when I know without a doubt that it is Him working and not me working without Him... or against Him... or even for Him (but in my own strength), then and only then does the joy of the Lord suddenly show up. When will we ever learn that God is not interested in seeing what we can (or can't) do, He is interested in revealing to us what He can do?  "It is good to give thanks unto the Lord" (Psalm 92:1).  It is not good for us to try to persuade the Lord that He should be thankful that He has us on His side.  Our victories are found only in Him (Psalm 92:4).  His thoughts and program are deep and perfect... our thoughts and plans are shallow and flawed (Psalm 92:5).  And only fools imagine otherwise (Psalm 92:6).

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Tuesday - Psalm 91 - Got it Made in the Shade

ERE in Psalm 91, the author speaks positively of "abiding under the shadow of the Almighty."  Now, there are strong Messianic overtones in this song (Psalm 91:11-12 & 14).  Yet additionally, there is much that can be gleaned here concerning the blessings to which we as His saints are privy.  We who trust in God do find Him to be our refuge and fortress; a safe and secure shade from the intense heat of life's curses. He is a strong deliverer.  With compassion and gentleness, He is willing to cover us with His feathers to shield us from noonday dangers (Psalm 91:4 & 6).

We are joint heirs with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17).  We are laborers together with Him (I Corinthians 3:9).  In Him we are absolutely secure.  We are safe in Him (Psalm 91:7).  "In Him we live..." (Acts 17:28).  "Of Him, and through Him, and to Him" we live (Romans 11:36). He is our habitation (Psalm 91:9).  The glory that He owns by right, He shares with us by grace (John 17).

We are His.  We belong to Him.  So, we have it made.  We've got it good.  In the words of the late great Peggy Davenport, "We are blessed, highly favored and heaven bound."  We have access to His throne room and have tapped into His power.  We are redeemed.  Hallelujah!  As His children, by faith, we are close enough to Him to rest in His shadow.