I will praise Him!
I am laid low in the dust;
preserve my life according to your word.
I gave an account of my ways and you answered me;
teach me your decrees.
Cause me to understand the way of your precepts,
that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word.
Keep me from deceitful ways;
be gracious to me and teach me your law.
I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I have set my heart on your laws.
I hold fast to your statutes, LORD;
do not let me be put to shame.
I run in the path of your commands,
for you have broadened my understanding.
(Psalm 119:25-32, NIV)
I will praise Him!
Be good to your servant while I live,
that I may obey your word.
Open my eyes that I may see
wonderful things in your law.
I am a stranger on earth;
do not hide your commands from me.
My soul is consumed with longing
for your laws at all times.
You rebuke the arrogant, who are accursed,
those who stray from your commands.
Remove from me their scorn and contempt,
for I keep your statutes.
Though rulers sit together and slander me,
your servant will meditate on your decrees.
Your statutes are my delight;
they are my counselors.
(Psalm 119:17-24, NIV)
I will praise Him!
How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.
I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
Praise be to you, LORD;
teach me your decrees.
With my lips I recount
all the laws that come from your mouth.
I rejoice in following your statutes
as one rejoices in great riches.
I meditate on your precepts
and consider your ways.
I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word.
(Psalm 119:9-16, NIV)
This week I came upon this review of my devotional study “psalms alive!” I find it encouraging to know the word of God is coming alive for those who read and meditate on it. Thanks goes to Pam Godard Mytroen for the following thoughts on my book:
David Kitz’s devotional, “psalms alive!” is a book I bought for my friends and family this past Christmas and I plan to read it a second time. It is one of the best devotionals I have ever read for the following reasons:
- The Scripture is printed at the beginning of each devotional. This makes it so convenient and for me it meant reading and then re-reading that Psalm many times as I studied Kitz’s devotional which followed. Many devotionals only quote the reference which you are to study. Tell me – how many of you actually look up this passage? Lol. It’s too easy not to get your Bible and look it up. It’s such a simple thing to print the Psalm right in the devotional but it made the study so much more helpful.
- Secondly, this was an excellent resource because of the cultural and historical insights Kitz provided. These brought the Psalms to life and helped me remember and apply them.
- Theologically, I believe Kitz is sound and credible; he often cross-referenced his thoughts with other biblical passages.
- The whole picture – Kitz provided each Psalm in light of the sweep of biblical history and revelation, often showing how the Psalm prophesied Christ. I appreciated this and it helped me see the relevance and power of the Psalms in my daily life.
Reading “psalms alive!” was a highlight of October/November 2017. I looked forward to it every day; it was a feast every morning that I will indulge in again. My copy is highlighted, underlined, tear-stained, and I have several pictures I drew in response to the insights I learned. It is a treasure that I recommend with the highest confidence.
There’s something innately powerful about good literature. The characters and events we read about can become very real to us. We come to know these people; their experiences become our own.
For nearly 3,000 years people have been getting in touch with God through the sacred literature from the Book of Psalms. Generation after generation has drawn strength, comfort and inspiration from the words of the psalmist.
In times of calamity the psalms bring peace. When storms rage within, a psalm can provide a haven of rest. When anger erupts, a psalm can act as a release valve. When God seems distant, the psalms bring us near.
Psalms Alive! Connecting Heaven and Earth is a devotional study of thirteen selected psalms. Each chapter is designed to help the reader interact with God’s word, and connect with their Creator in a fresh and living way.
There is something surprisingly practical about the psalms. They are meant to be lived.
The Bible is in fact a living document that must be applied to life to be effective. This should not surprise us since, “The word of God is living and active” (Hebrews 4:12a). Author David Kitz draws from other biblical sources and real life experiences to make these psalms come alive for you.
There is power in the unchanging word of God. Why not experience that power for yourself? Discover Jesus, the Good Shepherd, walking off the pages of the psalms and into your life.
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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 19
The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
The decrees of the LORD are firm,
and all of them are righteous.
They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.
By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward (NIV).
The voice of the speaking stars (see yesterday’s reading) is now joined by the voice of the written Holy Word. If nature, specifically the sky, is the first witness to testify to the glory of God, then the scriptures—the written word of God—constitute the second great witness to speak of God’s existence. Both these great witnesses have gathered here to testify within the context of Psalm 19.
While nature speaks to us of the existence of God the creator, it is largely silent regarding the nature or character of this all-powerful supernatural being. Is He good? Is He evil? Is He indifferent to us? Is He angry with us? What is this great, overarching, omnipresent God really like? May we approach Him?
God’s word shows us the way. Here David tells us, “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.”
The law is perfect, flawless, inerrant and infallible. Only a perfect, flawless, inerrant and infallible God can be the source of such a document. The law of the LORD that is referred to here is in fact the Bible, the Word of God. Jack Hayford in his commentary on this verse from the Psalms states, “That the ‘law of the LORD is perfect,’ is direct reference to the absolute, complete, and entire trustworthiness of the Holy Scriptures, which constitute the Bible.”
And this perfect, true and infallible law, or Word of God, has an effect. The Word of God is active. It revives the soul. God’s word literally brings souls back to spiritual life. There is great power in the written word. The word of God is redemptive, personal and transformational.
Response: LORD God, help me draw life, wisdom and joy from your word every day. Light my way. Amen.
Your Turn: Do you read God’s word daily? How has it helped you grow in faith?
Reading: Psalm 18
As for God, his way is perfect:
The LORD’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.
For who is God besides the LORD?
And who is the Rock except our God?
It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he causes me to stand on the heights.
He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You make your saving help my shield,
and your right hand sustains me;
your help has made me great.
You provide a broad path for my feet,
so that my ankles do not give way (NIV).
There’s a principle of biblical interpretation that goes something like this: The natural comes first, and then comes the spiritual. We can see this illustrated in Paul’s comparison of the first man, Adam, with the new man, Christ in 1 Corinthians 15. Similarly, the natural Kingdom of Israel is replaced in the New Testament by the spiritual Kingdom of God, which has no physical or geographic boundaries.
In David’s time natural Israel had borders, which needed to be defended from attack by flesh and blood enemies that were only too eager take advantage of any perceived weakness. In the same way today, the church and every born-again believer must be on guard, because Satan and his demons are lying in wait, ready to attack.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Devil. And he has marked you as his target. He has spiritual murder as his top priority—your murder. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
But God did not leave David or natural Israel defenceless. The LORD provided His matchless word and His impenetrable shield of faith against the foes attack. Furthermore, there was strength for the battle. David declares, “It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure… He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.”
This portion of Psalm 18 has its New Testament spiritual counterpart in Ephesians 6:10-17, where Paul the apostle, calls us as spiritual warriors to put on the armor of God. Like David, we are in a battle.
Response: Heavenly Father, help me to fight the good fight. Today, I put on the armor of God to fight the attacks of the enemy. Give me your strength in Jesus name. Amen.
Your Turn: How does Satan try to bring you down? What weapons are you using?
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Reading: Psalm 149
May the praise of God be in their mouths
and a double-edged sword in their hands,
to inflict vengeance on the nations
and punishment on the peoples,
to bind their kings with fetters,
their nobles with shackles of iron,
to carry out the sentence written against them—
this is the glory of all his faithful people.
Praise the LORD (NIV).
In society today there are moves afoot to rewrite history. Old monuments are being torn down or neglected. Places and buildings are being renamed because past victories or policies are now seen as oppressive or unjust. Many of the heroes of the past have lost their luster. In many cases there is sound reasoning that goes into justifying this change. Let’s face it; not every conquest was undertaken with pure motives. Not every government policy in the past was without racial or gender bias.
But are we wise when we judge people from a different era with the moral positions and perspectives of today? Do we carry our own set of biases that color our view of history? Of course we do.
We encounter the same issues when we look back at Old Testament history. It’s difficult for New Testament believers to justify Old Testament vengeance, genocide and slaughter. And yes, there’s plenty of that recorded in our Bibles. Today’s reading from Psalm 149 touches on this very point. The psalmist urges the infliction of vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron. As followers of a gentle Jesus, who taught us to love our enemies, how are we to interpret and apply this call to action?
First, let’s realize that we are living under a new and better covenant with Jesus as our Lord and Savior. When he was arrested, Jesus told Peter to put away his sword. We do well when we heed that advice. The eager warmongers among us often need to take a chill pill. Jesus showed no tendencies to war.
But we do have a battle to fight, and we urgently need a double-edged sword. St. Paul calls it the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17b). How effective are you in handling the word of God? How effective are you in battling the spiritual forces and daily temptations that are arrayed against you? With the praises of God in your mouth, and the sword of the Spirit in your hand, are you propelling your way to victory in the daily grind of life? Are the joy and peace of God reigning in your life?
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him (James 1:12).
Response: LORD God, I want to grow in my love for your word. Help me to use it wisely and deftly to the advance of your Kingdom. Lord Jesus, help me gain victory over spiritual forces that oppose me. Amen.
Your Turn: Are you developing competence in using the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God?