I will praise Him!
Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
let the mountains sing together for joy;
let them sing before the LORD,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples with equity.
(Psalm 98:7-9, NIV)
I will praise Him!
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;
make music to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,
with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
shout for joy before the LORD, the King.
(Psalm 98:4-6, NIV)
Reading: Psalm 40
Do not withhold your mercy from me, LORD;
may your love and faithfulness always protect me.
For troubles without number surround me;
my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails within me.
Be pleased to save me, LORD;
come quickly, LORD, to help me.
May all who want to take my life
be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace.
May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”
be appalled at their own shame.
But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
“The LORD is great!”
But as for me, I am poor and needy; may the LORD think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer; you are my God, do not delay (NIV).
David begins Psalm 40 by praising the LORD for rescuing him from the slimy pit of the past. But David ends this psalm with a fresh appeal for God’s mercy. Do not withhold your mercy from me, LORD may your love and faithfulness always protect me.
As we move forward, it is only fitting that we take time to praise God for what He has done for us in the past. Let us never forget that the LORD’s faithfulness has brought us to this point. We are not where we are today because of our own cleverness, effort or ability. Every talent we have is a gift from God; every breath we take is a gift from the Giver of Life.
Yet again David appeals for God’s salvation. Be pleased to save me, LORD; come quickly, LORD, to help me.
By the grace of God I have experienced an initial point of salvation, just like David, but my salvation needs to be renewed from time to time. We all need to experience fresh surges of God’s grace and love. Grace (charis) in the full New Testament sense means much more than just unmerited favor. It means we are recipients of God’s providential gifting and power to live a maximized life under His caring guidance. There’s something supernatural about grace. It goes beyond human ability or ingenuity because it comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. When we call out to God as David did, we are tapping into an ocean full of help, strength and possibilities beyond fathoming.
May that grace, that charis of God, be with you and upon you in the days ahead.
Response: LORD God, I need you as I face the days ahead. Equip me with divine grace and ability for each day through the love and power of Jesus. Amen.
Your Turn: Have you experienced God’s grace in the past week—the past year?
Reading: Psalm 38
For I am about to fall,
and my pain is ever with me.
I confess my iniquity;
I am troubled by my sin.
Many have become my enemies without cause;
those who hate me without reason are numerous.
Those who repay my good with evil
lodge accusations against me,
though I seek only to do what is good.
LORD, do not forsake me;
do not be far from me, my God.
Come quickly to help me,
my Lord and my Savior (NIV).
Today’s reading is the concluding portion of Psalm 38. As noted previously, this entire psalm is a lament over sin, and the trouble and affliction it has brought into David’s life. Rather than blaming others or blaming God, David takes responsibility for his self-inflicted difficulties. In anguish of spirit he cries out, “I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin.”
Are you troubled by your sin, or do you revel in it? Have the consequences of sin started to bite. The writer of the Book of Hebrews tells us that Moses “chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25). There are pleasures in sin for a season, but the long term consequences are pain and death. It would appear from a full reading of this psalm that David is suffering some of the consequences of his misguided sin.
But David has the correct response. He confesses his sin and throws himself upon the mercies of God. Hear his humble plea, “LORD, do not forsake me; do not be far from me, my God. Come quickly to help me, my Lord and my Savior.”
God’s ears are always open to that kind of prayer. We may believe that we have fallen too far –that our sin is too great –that we have sunk too low. But God hears our cry and His grace is sufficient. His mercy knows no bounds. The blood of Christ flows to the lowest valley. He can cleanse the vilest heart, if we call out to Him.
Repentance is a wonderful gift, perhaps the greatest gift of all. At various times in his life David fell into the grip of sin. But David knew how to repent and as a result he found favor in the eyes of God. Discover the gift of repentance today. It’s more than feeling sorry for yourself. It’s a 180-degree turn from pursuing sin to pursuing God.
Response: LORD God, grant me the gift of repentance. I am thankful that Jesus died on the cross to wash me clean. Hallelujah! I want to pursue you, Lord. You are my help and my righteousness. My salvation comes from you. Amen.
Your Turn: Are you troubled by sin? Have you found a remedy?
armor of God, authorities, David, devil, devil's schrmes, escape, Green's Creek, Jesus, New Testament, Old Testament, Ottawa River, resurrection, salvation, sin, spiritual forces, spiritual warfare, St. Paul, sword of the Spirit, the cross, the LORD, victory, word of God
Reading: Psalm 35
Since they hid their net for me without cause
and without cause dug a pit for me,
may ruin overtake them by surprise—
may the net they hid entangle them,
may they fall into the pit, to their ruin.
Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD
and delight in his salvation.
My whole being will exclaim,
“Who is like you, LORD?
You rescue the poor from those too strong for them,
the poor and needy from those who rob them” (NIV).
Paul the apostle reminds us that as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are engaged in spiritual warfare. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand (Ephesians 6:11-13).
The conflicts that David experienced in the Old Testament, reflected in the words of this portion of Psalm 35, are mirrored in the spiritual warfare experienced by New Testament believers. Make no mistake—the devil and his cohorts have dug a pit to trap you; they spread their nets to ensnare you in sin and degradation. But as was true for David, the LORD has also provided a way of escape for you and me. Once again Paul reminds us of this: No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13).
The LORD has equipped us with the armor of God and He has provided a way of escape, so then with David we can rejoice in the victory the LORD will bring.
Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD and delight in his salvation. My whole being will exclaim, “Who is like you, LORD? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them.”
Satan is a thief and a robber, who robs us of victory, peace and joy. But like David and Paul we can overcome. Victory is possible because the victory has already been won for us at the cross, and it was confirmed on resurrection morning at the empty tomb. “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25).
Response: Heavenly Father, I thank you that you have provided armor so that I can stand against the wiles of the devil. I praise you for the power of your holy word. I have victory through your blood, Lord Jesus. Amen.
Your Turn: In your battle against sin are you using “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God?”
Reading: Psalm 35
Contend, LORD, with those who contend with me;
fight against those who fight against me.
Take up shield and armor; arise and come to my aid.
Brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me.
Say to me, “I am your salvation.”
May those who seek my life be disgraced and put to shame;
may those who plot my ruin be turned back in dismay.
May they be like chaff before the wind,
with the angel of the LORD driving them away;
may their path be dark and slippery,
with the angel of the LORD pursuing them (NIV).
David was a man acquainted with warfare. Throughout his life, Israel was in a prolonged struggle with its neighbours, even as it is today. From time to time this struggle would flare into open combat. Quite naturally in those times David would turn to the LORD in prayer. Psalm 35 is David’s call for help against his enemies—enemies that may be external or internal.
Who doesn’t want God on their side? The answer is obvious; we all want God’s help when we find ourselves in trouble. Therefore, David cries out: Contend, LORD, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me.
But there are some questions we should ask ourselves before we enlist the LORD’s help. Am I being truthful? Is my cause just? Am I in the right? Do I know all the facts in this matter? Am I seeing this issue solely from a narrow personal perspective? Finally, we should ask ourselves if our heart is right. One can be totally right about a matter, but have a heart that is full of hate, bitterness, jealousy and anger.
God always stands on the side of truth and justice. He knows the full extent of a matter. He sees all sides, not just our perspective. We can’t fool Him or hide from His searching eyes. The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion (Psalm 11:5). Therefore, we need to come before Him humbly with hearts opened wide.
David asks this of the LORD: Say to me, “I am your salvation.”
The LORD will be our salvation—He is on our side—if our hearts are open and humble before Him. David’s confession in Psalm 51 confirms this truth. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise (Psalm 51:17). In other words, God is on our side when we move to His side in honest, humble contrition.
Response: LORD God, give me a humble heart that sees beyond my narrow interests. Help me to stand for righteousness, justice and truth. First, I want to align my heart and my spirit with you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Your Turn: Has the LORD fought on your side? Did you need to get your heart right first?
Reading: Psalm 27
Hear my voice when I call, O LORD;
Be merciful to me and answer me.
Do not turn your servant away in anger;
You have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior.
Though my mother and father forsake me,
The LORD will receive me.
Teach me your way, O LORD;
Lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.
Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
For false witnesses rise up against me breathing out violence.
I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD;
Be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD (NIV).
Is God listening? Do I have His full attention? Is He even there? Even people of great faith ask questions such as these. Listen to David’s plea, “Hear my voice when I call, O LORD.”
David’s psalms are replete with calls for God to listen and then quickly respond to his cries for help. These pleas for a listening ear happen with such frequency throughout the Book of Psalms that one can be forgiven for wondering if God is deaf. In our minds we know that this is an absurd proposition. He who formed the ear can surely hear the faintest whispered prayer or unvoiced thought. But despite what our intellect knows, we still plead for His listening ear. Along with David we cry out, “Hear my voice when I call, O LORD; be merciful to me and answer me.”
I suspect that the problem in prayer is not that we are speaking to a deaf God, but rather we, the petitioners, are deaf to God’s answers. The patriarchs and prophets of old heard the voice of God. They conversed with the LORD Almighty. Many of these conversations are recorded verbatim in the Old Testament. A fine example of this is found in Exodus as Moses speaks with the LORD at the burning bush.
Have we lost the ability to hear God? Has a great collective deafness settled across humanity?
In a cold world filled with rejection, there is a God. There is a God of mercy that the lonely soul can turn to. There is one who understands. There is one who listens to our anguished prayers. David discovered and knew that reality. We can join with David and say, “Though my mother and father forsake me, the LORD will receive me.”
Response: LORD God, this is my confession, “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” I will, “Wait for the LORD.” I will, “Be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Amen.
Your Turn: Are there times when you doubt that God is listening to your prayers? How do you know He is there? Has the LORD spoken to your heart?
I will praise Him!
“If my people would only listen to me,
if Israel would only follow my ways,
how quickly I would subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes!
Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him,
and their punishment would last forever.
But you would be fed with the finest of wheat;
with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”
(Psalm 81:13-16, 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?