I will praise Him!
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
their starry host by the breath of his mouth.
He gathers the waters of the sea into jars;
he puts the deep into storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the LORD;
let all the people of the world revere him.
For he spoke, and it came to be;
he commanded, and it stood firm.
(Psalm 33:6-9, NIV)
I will praise Him!
I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart;
before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
I will bow down toward your holy temple
and will praise your name
for your unfailing love and your faithfulness,
for you have so exalted your solemn decree
that it surpasses your fame.
When I called, you answered me;
you greatly emboldened me.
(Psalm 138:1-3, NIV)
I will praise Him!
May all the kings of the earth praise you, LORD,
when they hear what you have decreed.
May they sing of the ways of the LORD,
for the glory of the LORD is great.
Though the LORD is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly;
though lofty, he sees them from afar.
(Psalm 138:4-6, NIV)
I will praise Him!
Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous;
it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
Praise the LORD with the harp;
make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully, and shout for joy.
For the word of the LORD is right and true;
he is faithful in all he does.
The LORD loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of his unfailing love.
(Psalm 33:1-5, NIV)
Greetings to the regular readers of my daily devotionals on the Psalms. For a number of reasons I have decided to take a short break from my daily postings. This is largely due to looming deadlines on two writing projects and a rapidly approaching appointment for eye surgery.
As every juggler knows, if you have too many balls in the air, you have to let one of them drop. Reluctantly, I have decided to drop my daily devotional posts. In their place you will find a photo and a short reading from the Psalms. I typically do these short posts on the weekend, but for the next few days they will appear on regular week days as well.
One of my writing deadlines involves the final edit of my full-length Passion of Christ novel entitled, The Soldier who Killed a King.
Please click on the link to view the book cover. Kregel Publishing will be releasing this book later this year. Yes, I’m pleased about that!
Finally, on a personal note, today is my sixty-fifth birthday. My how time flies when you are having fun!
I have so much to be thankful for including good health, a great wife and a loving family. But Jesus and spiritual rebirth is the greatest gift of all. There’s a great expression from the Psalms about how that makes me feel.
Here it is: “Hallelujah!”
Reading: Psalm 134
A song of ascents.
Praise the LORD, all you servants of the LORD
who minister by night in the house of the LORD.
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
and praise the LORD.
May the LORD bless you from Zion,
he who is the Maker of heaven and earth (NIV).
This is the fifteenth and final psalm in the Songs of Ascent series. In reality, this psalm is the pilgrims’ farewell offering of worship to the LORD. After a week or more in Jerusalem, the time has arrived for the pilgrims to return to their homes. But on the evening before they set out on the return journey, they make one last visit to Mount Zion and the great Temple of the LORD. There they lift their hands in praise to the God of Israel. Early next morning, they will begin the arduous journey back home. But for now, it’s time to bless the LORD and offer thanks.
It is likely that the twelve-year-old Jesus sang this psalm with his parents on the final evening of their Passover pilgrimage to Jerusalem. On the following day the family departed for Nazareth where Joseph would resume his trade as a carpenter. When they left the next morning, they assumed Jesus was traveling with them in the large company of other pilgrims from their hometown. See Luke 2:41-52.
Typically, we read this account of the lost twelve-year-old Jesus from the viewpoint of a parent. We identify with the stress of losing a child in a big city. We would title this story, “Mary and Joseph find lost Jesus.” But the story reads quite differently, when we view it from the perspective of a child trying to discover who he really is. Viewed from Jesus’ perspective the title of the story might well be, “Lost Boy finds Himself” or “Lost Boy Discovers His Divinity.”
How did Jesus discover he was the son of God? Some believers might well reason that the answer is obvious. Jesus is God; therefore, he is omniscient. The all-knowing Jesus would surely know that he was God’s son. But many theologians would beg to differ. They view the humanity of Christ as all pervasive. Jesus was 100% human and as such he needed to learn and discover his identity even as any child does.
If through the incarnation Jesus fully took on humanity, then the boy Jesus needed to discover his divine identity. It may have been written into every fibre of his being, but he still needed to discover it, just as any young musical prodigy needs to explore and discover his or her gift. All divine gifts must be discovered and developed to reach their maximum potential.
How do we discover our true identity? From the account in Luke, it would appear that the boy Jesus discovered his true identity in the House of God. Perhaps it began as he lifted his hands in worship. We cannot fully discover who we are until we discover who God is. We must know our Creator to know ourselves. Self-understanding begins with knowing whose we are. You and I belong to the Father.
Response: Father God, I thank you for loving me and inviting me into your family. Lord Jesus, thank you for purchasing my redemption. Holy Spirit, I thank you for the confirmation that I am your child. Amen.
Your Turn: Do you know who you are? How is God the Father shaping your identity?
Reading: Psalm 133
A song of ascents. Of David.
How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the LORD bestows his blessing,
even life forevermore (NIV).
Short, but powerful and evocative—that’s my description of Psalm 133. I might also add, easily read, but difficult to put into practice. Unity among the people of God is that great allusive goal that seems to always disappear around the next bend in the road just as we approach it. But there God has commanded His blessing, if we could only reach that blessed state.
The psalmist uses two metaphors to portray this good and pleasant state of affairs. The first may appear to be rather messy and wasteful. Who wants oil running down their beard and onto their clothing? But in the Old Testament, prophets, priests and kings were anointed in just this way. It symbolized the release of divine authority and power into an individual’s life. The Spirit of God was coming upon them for public service. This concept forms an effective bridge to the coming of the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts. When the waiting disciples were of one accord, the Holy Spirit was poured upon them; the anointing came. See Acts 2.
The second metaphor signifies rejuvenation. The dew of the morning is new each day. It refreshes and revives. When our social interactions are positive and enriching, the outcome is spiritual renewal and a deep sense of belonging. Recent studies have shown that social isolation may be a greater risk factor among the elderly than smoking or heart disease. Lack of meaningful interaction with others also has a negative impact on mental health.
The person who continually self-isolates is committing a slow form of suicide, both physically and spiritually. Satan loves the isolated believer—feasts on the mind of the isolated believer.
Simply put, we need each other. We need to be surrounded by loving caring relationships, at home, at work and in the church. On every level, unity of purpose coupled with unselfish love, refreshes and revives the weary soul. We all want God’s blessing. Well, here’s the key to God’s blessing. The LORD commands a blessing when God’s people live together in unity!
Response: Father God, help me sow words of love and unity. Open my eyes to see where I can bring a word of encouragement and affirmation to those around me. Make me an instrument of peace, love and unity today. Amen.
Your Turn: How can you avoid sowing seeds of discord? What can you do today to build unity?
Reading: Psalm 132
The LORD swore an oath to David,
a sure oath he will not revoke:
“One of your own descendants
I will place on your throne.
If your sons keep my covenant
and the statutes I teach them,
then their sons will sit on your throne for ever and ever.”
For the LORD has chosen Zion,
he has desired it for his dwelling, saying,
“This is my resting place for ever and ever;
here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it.
I will bless her with abundant provisions;
her poor I will satisfy with food.
I will clothe her priests with salvation,
and her faithful people will ever sing for joy.
“Here I will make a horn grow for David
and set up a lamp for my anointed one.
I will clothe his enemies with shame,
but his head will be adorned with a radiant crown” (NIV).
I am an armchair student of history. I enjoy reading history books, particularly books about war and great epic battles. In recent years, several books have appeared on the market, which examine alternate scenarios in history. The authors of these books imagine what might have happened if historic events had unfolded differently. For instance what might have happened if Lee Harvey Oswald’s gun had jammed as he attempted to shoot President Kennedy? How would the Kennedy presidency have unfolded? Or what would the world look like today, if cooler heads had prevailed and the great blood bath known as World War I had been avoided? These are fascinating questions.
I call these “What if…” books. They imagine history unfolding differently. Today’s reading from Psalm 132 leaves me in a “What if…” frame of mind.
The LORD made this promise to King David: “One of your own descendants I will place on your throne. If your sons keep my covenant and the statutes I teach them, then their sons will sit on your throne for ever and ever.”
God promised that history would unfold in a certain way. A descendant of David would sit on the throne of Israel in perpetuity. But there was a condition attached to that promise. God’s promise would be fulfilled, if the sons of David kept the covenant and the statutes. Unfortunately, that did not happen. The descendants of David disobeyed and succumbed to idolatry. But what if those sons had obeyed…
How will history be different if I wholeheartedly obey the LORD?
Response: Father God, I thank you for your son, Jesus. He is the descendant of King David who fulfilled your covenant and now he reigns forever. King Jesus, I am your servant. Reign in my life today. Amen.
Your Turn: Is Jesus your king? How are you serving him?