Reading: Psalm 31
How abundant are the good things
that you have stored up for those who fear you,
that you bestow in the sight of all,
on those who take refuge in you.
In the shelter of your presence you hide them
from all human intrigues;
you keep them safe in your dwelling
from accusing tongues (NIV).
Our view of God is of crucial importance. It will greatly influence how we live our lives on planet earth. Is He a divine ogre waiting to pounce on us for the slightest transgression? Is He aloof, hard of hearing, out of touch and out of reach? Does He stand opposed to your wishes and dreams—the nagging heavenly parent who frowns at your ambitions?
That’s not David’s view of God. He saw a caring LORD of heaven and earth, who was only too eager to bless those who sought refuge in Him. That’s why David exclaims, “How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.”
Think of it for a moment: God has a storehouse of good things just waiting for you. He has prepared a whole series of blessings that He will lavish on those who fear Him. Furthermore, the LORD will bestow those blessings in the sight of all—on all who seek shelter in the shadow of His wings. Now that’s a picture of an amazing God.
What might some of those good things be? First and foremost the LORD has an abundance of mercy set aside just for you. In the midst of unparalleled disaster, as a witness to the destruction of Jerusalem, the prophet Jeremiah rightly discerned the heart of the LORD. Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23). For Jeremiah God was good all the time, even in disaster.
God has an abundance of love, peace and joy set aside just for you. Tap into it; drink deep of it. It’s there for you. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval (Romans 14:17-18).
We serve a generous God—a God of grace who extends unmerited favor to us. In your mind, stop limiting His blessings. They are abundant, they are stored up for you and they will manifest in the lives of those who love and fear Him.
Response: LORD God, thank you for all the good things you have stored up for me, both temporal and spiritual. I rejoice in you! You are a generous God lavishing mercy on me through your son, Jesus. Amen.
Your Turn: How do you see God? Do you have the right perspective of Him? Is He opposed to your wishes and dreams?
Reading: Psalm 28
Praise be to the LORD,
for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.
The LORD is the strength of his people,
a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
Save your people and bless your inheritance;
be their shepherd and carry them forever (NIV).
David ends Psalm 28 with a doxology of praise. Yes, it is good and fitting to praise the LORD. He hears our cry for mercy. To those who seek to know Him, He is not a God of harsh judgment or we would all perish. He is my shield and strength despite my frequent failings. David declares, “My heart trusts in him, and he helps me.” I can join in David’s declaration and personally testify to the truth of these words, “My heart trusts in him, and he helps me.”
Our God does not stand afar off. He is near to those who call on Him.
David was not one to be shy or reserved in his expression of praise. He exults, “My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” When David brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, he gave full expression to his joy. Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the LORD with all his might, while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets (2 Samuel 6:14-15).
Recently, I watched as Canada’s women’s Olympic hockey team scored a late-rally, come-from-behind, overtime victory over a shocked American team. There was no shortage of leaping, dancing and rejoicing in the Canadian ranks. The outburst of praise and jubilation was completely fitting for them.
But as born-again children of God, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, we have a far greater reason—an eternal reason—for bursting forth in praise. Our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ has scored a late-rally, come-from-behind, overtime victory over death, hell and the grave. And he scored that victory for you and me. Together we are on an international team—Team Believer—believers in Jesus. What a victory he has won! What a celebration!
We join with David in declaring, “The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.”
Response: LORD God, help me to grasp the full extent of the victory I have in you. Now I ask you to hear my prayer, “Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever.” Amen.
Your Turn: Why do we put limits on our expressions of praise to God, when our praise is exuberant and boundless at sporting events?
I will praise Him!
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
for as many years as we have seen trouble.
May your deeds be shown to your servants,
your splendor to their children.
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.
(Psalm 90:14-17, NIV)
Reading: Psalm 21
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
The king rejoices in your strength, LORD.
How great is his joy in the victories you give!
You have granted him his heart’s desire
and have not withheld the request of his lips.
You came to greet him with rich blessings
and placed a crown of pure gold on his head.
He asked you for life, and you gave it to him—
length of days, forever and ever.
Through the victories you gave, his glory is great;
you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty.
Surely you have granted him unending blessings
and made him glad with the joy of your presence.
For the king trusts in the LORD;
through the unfailing love of the Most High
he will not be shaken (NIV).
The greatest test of a man’s character does not come during times of failure and defeat, but rather during times of success and victory. The higher a person rises the more detached he becomes from the common man’s reality. The historian Lord Acton observed that “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Despite much opposition, conflict and affliction, David, the shepherd boy, became the King of Israel. David’s character was severely tested as he wandered as a fugitive in the wilderness, but greater testing lay ahead. David’s moral failure came at the pinnacle of his success. He passed the test in the wilderness, but failed the test in the throne room. Nothing tests a man’s mettle like success.
Despite this weakness, David knew where his strength lay. His strength came from the LORD. He knew the true source of his success. Here in Psalm 21 he testifies to why he rose to prominence: The king rejoices in your strength, LORD. How great is his joy in the victories you give!
When we achieve success, we need to cast our mind back to the reason for that success. It’s interesting to note that David did not take the credit for his victories. He attributed his accomplishments to the LORD. This is contrary to human nature. I am apt to crow about my triumphs, rather than give the credit to God. The truth is my abilities come from God and any success I achieve comes as a gift from Him. For promotion and power come from nowhere on earth, but only from God. He promotes one and deposes another (Psalm 75:6-7, TLB)
Response: Heavenly Father, help me to rightly handle the success that you bring. Lord Jesus, you are my victory over death, hell and the grave. Keep me thankful. You are more wonderful than I can imagine. I praise you. I owe any success I have achieved to you. Amen.
Your Turn: What personal success can you thank God for today? Are you giving credit where credit is due?
I will praise Him!
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,
for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
for I put my trust in you.
(Psalm 86:2-4, NIV)
Reading: Psalm 4
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm of David.
Answer me when I call to you,
my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
How long will you people turn my glory into shame?
How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?
Know that the LORD has set apart his faithful servant for himself;
the LORD hears when I call to him.
Tremble and do not sin;
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.
Offer the sacrifices of the righteous and trust in the LORD.
Many, LORD, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
Let the light of your face shine on us.
Fill my heart with joy when their grain and new wine abound.
In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety (NIV).
Where are you looking?
Think about it for a moment, where you look is where you go. If you are walking, you are looking where you are going. If you are driving, you are looking where you are going, and if you don’t fix your eyes on where you are going, your journey will surely come to an abrupt end—an accident. As you move through your day—as you move through life—where you look is where you go.
If you look to the internet for porn, you are sure to find it, and be trapped by it. If you look to television for entertainment, you are sure to find it. It too in subtle ways can ensnare and deaden the spirit. If you look to others, they will often disappoint you. As David points out in this Psalm, all too often we love delusions and seek false gods. We are looking in the wrong places and consequently we steer our life into the ditch.
In Psalm 4, David’s approach is totally different. He is looking to the LORD. He is calling out to God. He fears the LORD (trembles and does not sin). In silence he searches his heart and encourages us to do the same. Have you offered a sacrifice of righteousness recently? Right living has a cost. But it also pays enormous dividends.
As we trust in the LORD and look to Him, as a loving Father, He turns His face to us. The light of His face shines on us. Wow! That fills my heart with joy.
Response: Heavenly Father, today let the light of your face shine on me. Guide me in the way of truth. I want to look to you. Amen.
Your Turn: Has the light of God’s face shone on you recently? What was that like?