I will praise Him!
My soul faints with longing for your salvation,
but I have put my hope in your word.
My eyes fail, looking for your promise;
I say, “When will you comfort me?”
Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke,
I do not forget your decrees.
How long must your servant wait?
When will you punish my persecutors?
The arrogant dig pits to trap me,
contrary to your law.
All your commands are trustworthy;
help me, for I am being persecuted without cause.
They almost wiped me from the earth,
but I have not forsaken your precepts.
In your unfailing love preserve my life,
that I may obey the statutes of your mouth.
(Psalm 119:81-88, NIV)
Reading: Psalm 108
A song. A psalm of David.
My heart, O God, is steadfast;
I will sing and make music with all my soul.
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise you, LORD, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, higher than the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth (NIV).
This morning did you awaken the dawn or did the dawn awaken you? For those who are early risers awakening the dawn becomes much easier as the days get shorter and we approach the winter solstice. But just the opposite is true now. I confess that this morning I did not awake before sunrise.
There is something quite magical about watching the sunrise and spread its golden rays across the eastern sky. I was treated to a magnificent sunrise display last Monday. I was driving east across the prairies and as each mile slipped by the glory along the horizon grew more and more intense. I pity the poor atheist who has no one to praise when he beholds such a display.
For believers, praise for our God springs naturally from our lips when we see God paint the sky with golden hues of splendor. In such moments David’s call to worship becomes our own: Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. I will praise you, LORD, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples.
Can you picture David taking up his harp and breaking into song as he locks his eyes on the rising sun? David was a most remarkable character. What sets David apart from other individuals we meet in the pages of scripture? He was a man of spectacular failings. His adulterous affair with Bathsheba and the treacherous means he used to dispatch her husband stand out. But there’s nothing remarkable about spectacular failings and shortcomings. These are common to man.
What stands out about David’s character is his steadfastness to the LORD. The opening lines of Psalm 109 hold the key to understanding David’s overcoming nature. My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul.
Despite his failings, David remained steadfast in his love for God. Secondly, he was wholehearted in his praise for God. When things came off the rails, he did not turn away from the LORD or stop praising Him. He repented and God forgave him. Then David gave thanks. David’s example is there for us to follow.
Response: LORD God, I always want to have a thankful heart that is quick to praise you. Help me to be steadfast in love and praise even when the way ahead is difficult. You are my help and my glory. Amen.
Your Turn: What does being steadfast look like for you?
I will praise Him!
Your word, LORD, is eternal;
it stands firm in the heavens.
Your faithfulness continues through all generations;
you established the earth, and it endures.
Your laws endure to this day,
for all things serve you.
If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.
I will never forget your precepts,
for by them you have preserved my life.
Save me, for I am yours;
I have sought out your precepts.
The wicked are waiting to destroy me,
but I will ponder your statutes.
To all perfection I see a limit,
but your commands are boundless.
(Psalm 119:89-96, NIV)
How do you connect with God?
For three thousand years, God has been connecting with humankind through the prophetic prayer, praise and poetry of the biblical Psalms. Come follow David, the shepherd king, the man after God’s own heart, as we begin a journey to intimacy with God. Discover for yourself what a soul-bonding relationship with God looks like.
As never before, let the psalms come alive for you!
Psalms Alive! can be best described as a 237-page devotional study of thirteen selected psalms spanning a total of twenty-six chapters.
In typical devotional style each chapter begins with a psalm or psalm portion. Then for five or six pages the author discusses this portion by bringing other scripture to bear, drawing from his personal life experience or relating powerful stories that illustrate the key thoughts highlighted in this psalm. Each chapter then ends with a number of questions or action prompts that are aimed at bringing the psalm to life for the reader. By including these questions, the book lends itself easily to group study and discussion.
The twenty-six chapter format provides a half year of curriculum material for churches or study groups that wish to grow their love for God through engaging with the Psalms. Of course Psalms Alive! works equally well as a personal study anchored in the unchanging truths of God’s word.
Endorsements for Psalms Alive!
“A timely call to stop our mad rush and encounter God in the stillness of prayer and Bible study. David Kitz paints pictures with words, taking lessons from Scripture and nature to offer us a three-dimensional, multi-sensory relationship with God.”
Robert L. Briggs, Executive Vice President, American Bible Society
David writes with a dramatic and compelling flair, enticing us to meet with God and therein find life. His intent to let God’s Word speak through the psalms is accomplished with theological sensitivity to the sitz im leben and creative application to the context of our lives today. Well done, David! Psalms Alive! helped me inhabit the Word and know Him more.
Rev. Dr. Lawson Murray, President – Scripture Union Canada
American readers can click on this link to purchase Psalms Alive! Connecting Heaven and Earth.
This 237 page devotional study is also available directly from the author by clicking here.
I will praise Him!
Your hands made me and formed me;
give me understanding to learn your commands.
May those who fear you rejoice when they see me,
for I have put my hope in your word.
I know, LORD, that your laws are righteous,
and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
May your unfailing love be my comfort,
according to your promise to your servant.
Let your compassion come to me that I may live,
for your law is my delight.
May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause;
but I will meditate on your precepts.
May those who fear you turn to me,
those who understand your statutes.
May I wholeheartedly follow your decrees,
that I may not be put to shame.
(Psalm 119:73-80, NIV)
Reading: Psalm 106
Praise the LORD.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the LORD
or fully declare his praise?
Blessed are those who act justly,
who always do what is right.
Remember me, LORD, when you show favor to your people,
come to my aid when you save them,
that I may enjoy the prosperity of your chosen ones,
that I may share in the joy of your nation
and join your inheritance in giving praise (NIV).
Let’s face the truth. We all want to live a blessed life. We desire God’s blessing, whether we clearly state it in those terms or not. In today’s reading, the psalmist begins Psalm 106 with a flurry of praise for the LORD. Then he makes this statement: Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right.
I confess that I have a problem with that statement. I am certain there is great blessing in acting justly and doing what is right. My problem is with the word always. I’m not an always kind of guy. I would be far more comfortable if the verse read like this: Blessed are those who act justly, who ‘usually’ do what is right. I think I can achieve ‘usually’, but ‘always’ is setting the bar higher than I can achieve. I would like a little wiggle room, LORD.
It would appear that the psalmist was of a similar persuasion, because in the following verse he asks for the favor of the LORD. We desperately need the LORD’s favor because we cannot always achieve the high mark of God’s righteousness and justice. We fall short.
Consider the psalmist’s plea: Remember me, LORD, when you show favor to your people, come to my aid when you save them, that I may enjoy the prosperity of your chosen ones, that I may share in the joy of your nation and join your inheritance in giving praise.
In reality, this is a prayer for inclusion. The psalmist wants to be included with all those who experience the salvation and blessing of the LORD. He wants to be one of the chosen ones. I am reminded of the words of that old gospel spiritual ‘When the Saints Go Marching In.’ O Lord, I want to be among the number, when the saints go marching in!
Our shortcomings or sins exclude us, but it is the grace of God—His unmerited favor—that includes us. It has always been this way. We are a people—a nation—in need of God’s favor. Our efforts and good intentions fall short. We need to rely on God’s favor. He is the true source of blessing.
Response: Father God, I call on you. Look on me with favor. I know I fall short of your standard. I need your mercy. I depend on you. I know my efforts are inadequate. I rely on your grace. Amen.
Your Turn: Are you an always, a usually, or a sometimes kind of person, when it comes to doing right?
I will praise Him!
You are my portion, LORD;
I have promised to obey your words.
I have sought your face with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
I have considered my ways
and have turned my steps to your statutes.
I will hasten and not delay
to obey your commands.
Though the wicked bind me with ropes,
I will not forget your law.
At midnight I rise to give you thanks
for your righteous laws.
I am a friend to all who fear you,
to all who follow your precepts.
The earth is filled with your love, LORD;
teach me your decrees.
(Psalm 119:57-64, NIV)
Reading: Psalm 105
Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.
Look to the LORD and his strength;
seek his face always.
Remember the wonders he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
you his servants, the descendants of Abraham,
his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.
He is the LORD our God;
his judgments are in all the earth (NIV).
This past Sunday during the children’s church time the pastor led the children in a rousing chorus of “Jesus Loves Me.” In case you need a quick refresher, here is the first verse of that much loved children’s hymn: Jesus loves me! This I know, For the Bible tells me so; Little ones to Him belong; They are weak, but He is strong.
I remember singing this song with much gusto as a young tyke at Vacation Bible School. I took special comfort from this line: Little ones to Him belong; They are weak, but He is strong.
As a child I was well aware that I needed the strength of Jesus, since I had so little strength of my own. As we grow up and mature into adulthood we can forget to depend on the Lord’s strength. We have plenty of our own strength. Soon we can find ourselves relying on our own intellect and resources to solve problems as they come our way. Who needs Jesus when we can make our own way in life? Maybe we don’t consciously say that, but our actions reflect that line of reasoning.
The children’s song “Jesus Loves Me” might have been inspired by a line from Psalm 105 where we read, Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.
The plain truth is that I need the LORD and His strength at every stage of my life. My strength on every level is miniscule in the sight of God. That’s why I need to seek his face continually. His wisdom surpasses my limited understanding. I have so little strength on my own, but His power is all surpassing. How foolish we are to rely on our abilities, when the Lord offers to walk through this life right beside us. Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29).
Response: Lord Jesus, you are strong—strong enough to carry the cross on my behalf—strong enough to purchase my redemption. I look to you for strength and salvation. Always guide my steps. I confess that I need you at every stage of my life. Amen.
Your Turn: Did you find it easier to trust in Jesus as a child than as an adult?