Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Tag Archives: Saturday Psalms

Psalms Saturday #8 – Psalms 70 – O LORD, Do Not Delay

wpid-downloadfile-4.jpeg

Psalms Saturday #8 – Psalms 70 – O LORD, Do Not Delay –02/13/2016

To the choirmaster. Of David, for the memorial offering.

Psalms 70:1 (ESV) Make haste, O God, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me! 2 Let them be put to shame and confusion who seek my life! Let them be turned back and brought to dishonor who delight in my hurt! 3 Let them turn back because of their shame who say, “Aha, Aha!” 4 May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!” 5 But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay!

This Psalm is both a plea for help and a prayer for deliverance, although it is just five verses it is rich in teaching moments. Let’s look it all five verses on a verse by verse basis beginning in verse one.

V1 Make haste, O God, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me!

How many times have you felt like this? Whether the trial is great or the trial is small we want deliverance as quickly as possible. Can I be so bold as to put to you something that might not be all that popular? Could it be that God is allowing you to go through whatever trial you are going through to be a teachable moment in your life in order to build you up for something greater yet to come in your life?

I most definitely can identify with this. Who can’t? Who actually enjoys trials? Who has not been frustrated with “God’s timing” when it has been slower than your timing (or what you would like your timing to be!) Regardless of the size of the issue and regardless if you will look back in a few years’ time and be ashamed that that stressed you out, the issue is big enough at that time to cause you to plead and to beg with the one you know can deliver you.

And that is the beauty of this, when the chips are down and you are reliant on who you believe can deliver you, your faith carries you home to that loving father God. It is said that in a fire you understand what is important in your life and what you are willing to leave behind. When you are in the fire you look to deliverance, it is important that you chose the one who can deliver you!

V2 Let them be put to shame and confusion who seek my life! Let them be turned back and brought to dishonor who delight in my hurt!

This is a righteous prayer, he wants the ones who are persecuting be put to shame and confusion and emphasizes the real harm that they want to do to him. They are said to be seeking after him looking to take his life. I am taken back by the restraint in the petition that he is not asking God (whom he knows could deliver according to his will) to “nuke them” to “wipe them out” or to “allow them to draw their last breath” and he does not seek the same medicine for those who seek his life. (At least not in these verses)

And we see this example when David is fleeing from Saul and twice has the opportunity to take Saul’s life and relents and does not. We may not be going through persecution to wipe that other person out. The Psalmist simply seeks to have them shamed, confused and dishonored. He appears willing to allow them to live.

V3 Let them turn back because of their shame who say, “Aha, Aha!”

They are saying “Aha” and not calling on the name of a Norwegian 80’s band! (Perhaps his opponents were calling him to “Take on me?”) They are being mean in their speech. It is a mean way of mocking and being derogatory and the manner of speech indicates a certain amount of gloating and goading.

Have we not all been victim of that these days due to the instant nature of the internet and the rise of social media, the slightest silly thing that we say can leave us with “egg on the face” with a period of longevity that would simply not be the case in the case of something that was said privately.

I have learned this the hard way and had to do some embarrassing back tracks and even this week I was teased about something that I posted nearly ten years ago and the reason I bring this up is that we are all blessed with astounding memories and some of us are blessed with better recall than others. I am unfortunate that when I make a “boo boo” I make a memorable one that people tend to remember. I am sure that as you are reading this you are recalling something that you have done in this manner?

V4 May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!”

And here is the praise portion of the Psalm; the Psalmist does not forget that God is worthy to be praised despite the current trial or issue that befalls him. A decent question to ask is “Do you praise him in the storm?” or do you snivel and whine because things are not rosy in the garden?

Are you being persecuted for the sake of your faith or for another reason? I ask this because sometimes we cause our own drama and we are our own version of a live “Jerry Springer show” I ask this because you may not feel like rejoicing in the name of the Lord because you may not actually be seeking Him and I doubt that you will be glad in Him if your focus is all about you.

This shows the heart of the Psalmist that he wants to praise God even although he faces the pain of death! What faith is this? Do we see such faith in our modern day comfortable Christianity except on the mission field. This month we rejoiced at the release from an Iranian prison a man who I am sure we all have been praying for called Saeed Abedini and we read of how the man endured beatings because he was a faith that was not accepted in the country that he was arrested and yet he still remained faithful.

V5 But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay!

He starts with “LORD make haste” and ends with “LORD, do not delay” and in case you are in any doubt of the urgency of this petition then we really should not be after seeing the urgency that begins and ends this Psalm. Timing truly is playing on the Psalmists mind. If the Psalmist was British he would be saying “Get on with it!”

He does reiterate that his God is “his deliverer” and he would be the one to get him out of this grave situation he is in. A good question to ask in this manner would be are you that confident when you go through the trials of life? Is your hope in your deliver? Do you have faith that you will be removed from danger when God’s timing happens?

Lord willing, in our next article in Psalms we look Psalm 93 and an awesome Psalm of praise. The Psalmist used such wonderful terms as “mighty”, “majesty”, “everlasting” and “holiness” all words which are very befitting a glorious God. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Advertisements

Psalms Saturday #7 – Psalms 43 – Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people

wpid-downloadfile-4.jpeg

Psalms Saturday #7 – Psalms 43 – Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people – 01/30/2016

Psalms 43:1 (ESV) Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people, from the deceitful and unjust man deliver me! 2 For you are the God in whom I take refuge; why have you rejected me? Why do I go about mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? 3 Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! 4 Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God. 5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

This Psalm is both a plea for judgment and a prayer for deliverance, although it is just five verses it is rich in teaching moments. Let’s look it all five verses on a verse by verse basis beginning in verse one.

V1 Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people, from the deceitful and unjust man deliver me!

The words “vindicate me, O God” by the Psalmist shows that the writer feels that he has been burdened or unjustly accused and he has taken his plea to a higher court, the ultimate authority if you will, he is asking for vindication and for his cause to be defended against the adversaries of God, the ungodly people. These people are described as…

• Ungodly – We see in the next two categories what makes these people ungodly. He leaves his vindication up to the Lord. How we could all learn from this as believers.
• Deceitful – When you are dealing with people who are not playing by honest standards and are representing you in a manner that is not correct, it can be hurtful.
• Unjust – These people not only know to do wrong but know how to cover it up with unjust measures.

When you are dealing with people who just are not playing fair and you are being persecuted for God’s sake then you do the right thing by crying out to God. We have to be careful though as not all persecution is Christian related because if we are causing our own drama then by all means cry out to God but also do what you can to reduce the issue from your side.

V2 For you are the God in whom I take refuge; why have you rejected me? Why do I go about mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

We see the reasons why the Psalmist cries out to God, he is the one that he takes refuge in, one who has protected him in the past and one that he trusts. God is his stronghold and his strength, which shows the relationship that the Psalmist has with his God. I would commend you to self-examine and see whether you call God these names and see if you have become cold with God. If you are melting like a chocolate teapot whenever you are in hot water then you may have your strength in God?

Because of his relationship with God he does ask why? Why have you rejected me? Why do I go about mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? I know I have had similar questions and what Christian hasn’t when they are being buffeted; we all think that God should arrange our lives in the way that we would want them. However we don’t always see God’s blueprint and see what is best for our lives.

V3 Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!

The great comfort I take from this is although the Psalmist is questioning, he is not detracted in his faith in God, he does have right to ask but he also praises God in the storm. He needs that light and truth and he desires to be led by them, it is vital to his spiritual wellbeing and he prays and is submissive in nature to the leader of the will in his life.

We learn so much about the Psalmist and why he was close to God, the submission to the will of God is tremendous, he began the Psalm lamenting about the wrong that he was having done to him but when he focusses on his God he culminates in a Psalm of praise once he has taken his issues to the LORD in prayer.

Part two has the terminology “let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling” he is being led by the light so he comes to His holy place and to his dwelling in order to continue to praise Him. For me the teachable moment is that once deliverance has occurred the Psalmist continues the praise. He wants to focus on the LORD with the people of God, he wants to dwell next to his deliverer. Such as the zealousness of this man!

V4 Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.

He goes into further detail of the praise he wants to lift up to God, he is full of faith, energized from laying his burdens down at the feet of God, he wants to go to the altar and sacrifice when his answer comes and give praise of gratitude. He sings songs of praise to his God! This to me is great in that it shows the depth of his communion and something we can relate to as Christians as we also sing praises to God. When we are in that close communion with God then we will come to the house of God and praise will be the overflow of gratitude in our hearts as well as an outpouring of devotion between us and our God.

V5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

We see the psalmist change in his countenance when his prayer has been heard. How much do we need to hear this as we also have had times in our lives that we think we are not being heard by God or perhaps God’s timing is not as rapid as you would like? When we are mad at God for our circumstances it can sometimes be intensified by our attitude towards what we are going through.

The psalmist uses terms like cast down, turmoil to show his former state, he is looking in retrospect at what he has cast onto God when he was in the place of being cast down or being in turmoil, we don’t see that (and I believe that we would see) his troubles have ceased or changed but when he focused on God and focused in the hope he has in God, he is then lifted out of that dark place and is no longer discouraged or depressed about his afflictions. He chooses to praise him again because as he states he is “my salvation and my God”

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Psalm Saturday #2 – Psalms 131 – O LORD, my heart is not lifted up

image

Psalms Saturday – Psalms 131 – 11/21/2015

Psalms 131:1 (ESV) O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. 2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. 3 O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.

This is a song of Ascents, of David known as the man after God’s own heart and I love this Psalm due to its simplicity and humble let’s look it all three verses on a verse by verse basis.

V1 O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.

David was humble of heart and knew his place in relation to his relationship with God. Despite being the man that God would elevate to King of Israel in his heart he knew that God’s ways were much higher than his ways as confirmed in Isaiah chapter 55…

Isaiah 55:6 (ESV) “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; 7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

And that is true today as it was when David penned those sweet words and in many cases we can trace a humble heart to a dynamic Christian life. God hates the haughty and proud, read what is said in the following passage in James chapter 4…

James 4:1 (ESV) What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

It is all great scripture and tremendous application however verse 6 tells us very plainly that God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble” and looking at your life with scripture as a mirror are you more proud than humble? Do we attempt to look at things that are too high for us? Do we occupy ourselves in things that are too great or marvelous for us? Do we attempt to self-promote?

Even in ministry and ESPECIALY in ministry we have to be careful to not allow ourselves to be “lifted up” or “self exalt” because when we do marvelous things in Jesus name we can allow ourselves to think and believe that we actually had something to do with it as opposed to just being the tool that God used, if you want to see an example of this in the early church let us look at Acts 14…

Acts 14:8 (ESV) Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, 10 said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking. 11 And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. 14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, 15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16 In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” 18 Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them.

Paul and Barnabas came to Lystra after fleeing Iconium and after doing great things in Jesus name the people mistook Paul and Barnabas for gods. They started to call them names of gods that were familiar with and attempted to worship them and offer sacrifices to them as celestial beings. Paul however did what we should be doing and gave glory to God, what an example and should you read on in Acts Paul ends up on the receiving end of a stoning a few verses later due to the people he was fleeing from pursued him to Lystra.

V2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.

I am a simple guy, this is a simple blog and advanced theologians probably will not get much from the analogy’s and stories that I share here but much like what Paul writes in 1st Corinthians chapter 1 I believe that God uses this simple blog to achieve great things and reach people at a level they are at in a way that websites that offer much greater and richer systematic theology do not. Paul writes…

1st Corinthians 1:26 (ESV) For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Too many of us get bent out of shape about our “Christian reputation” that we are petrified to get dirty for the Lord, that we don’t get messy and interact with messy people in their messy lives because we could appear to be less than “whiter than white”. I believe that is why there are less Good Samaritans these days and more “theologically wise believers” and I am not knocking getting your doctrinal ducks in a row however we forget the most important thing…LOVE!

We have to as David says “quieten our soul” and the analogy that David uses is like a weaning child and imagine the comfort and stillness of a child that has been freshly weaned, being a father I know the difference between a child that needed the food, the comfort and the succor compared to how they were feeling prior when they were far from that. Are you being comforted in the Lord this way? If not then is there something missing in your Christian life?

Psalm 46 advises to “Be still and know that I am God” and often times we cause our own stress by taking on burdens that we should be taking to the Lord in prayer and allowing to watch the one that has peace that passes understanding work in your life.

V3 O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.

And that brings you to David’s closing, the comfort of the Lord was not just for him, but it was for the whole nation from this time forth and forever more. God was not going to go back on his promise to his people and in the same way God does not go back on his promise to you dear Christian.

We are to hope in the LORD, first last and always from now and forevermore. There is no expiry date on his love he loved you first even in your sin, so much so that he sent is son to die for you on Calvary’s cross. We have confirmation of God’s love in the book of 1st John. 

1st John 4:13 (ESV) By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

This Psalm was written for me, I am no theologian I am just a guy with the heart to open the word of God and write about it. I mainly share Gods word in my explanations as I deem His words much higher than my own and I don’t seek fame or fortune and I don’t actually know if my full name is anywhere on this blog. I am just a simple guy who is seeking Gods will in his life, needs God’s comfort in my trials and wants to rest on God’s promises now and forevermore.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to
TTE
TGBTG
SDG