Children of Character (By: Chris Barnes)
TEXT: PSALM 38
OBSERVE: In verses 1-4 of psalm 38, we see David appealing to God to avoid chastisement for a sin that he committed. In verses 5-8, we see that the mental anguish is so severe that David described it in terms of physical disease. In verses 10-20, we are told about the desertion of friends and the opposition of enemies. Then in the final two verses, we see David pleading for help from his Lord and Savior.
INTERPRET: There are many scholars who believe that this is a psalm that David wrote after the murder of Uriah. The story can be found in the book of 1 Samuel. This is when King David saw a woman that he wanted to marry who was already married. The woman’s name was Bathsheba and her husband’s name was Uriah, who was a soldier. At that time the army was fighting David’s enemies so David sent Uriah to fight on the front lines, so that he would be killed. Uriah was killed before long and David then married his widow.
For many years David would bear the stigma of this sinful, adulterous conspiracy with Bathsheba. Even though he was forgiven, his reputation was stained in the sight of many. David was also God’s chosen one, so this act was a very poor witness of his great God. Within this psalm David describes the absolute agony of living with the results of his poor character.
APPLY: To avoid such pain, scripture tells us to guard our heart (Proverbs 4:23), to walk wisely (Ephesians 5:15), and to follow in Jesus’ steps (1 Peter 2:21). It takes just a small moment of weakness to damage our good name and more importantly, our testimony of Jesus. Instead, we should be seeking to use each moment to bring glory to God, because that is the ultimate purpose/calling we have as his children.
This is where our character becomes so vital. Our calling is very important, but it is grossly hindered without being paired with the proper character. We are called to be witnesses for God, but we can’t shine the light if we don’t let the light shine into our own lives. We are called to help others with their struggles, but it is difficult to help them avoid tripping if we ourselves do not try to avoid the same pitfalls. We are called to walk alongside others towards Jesus, but we can’t do this unless we ourselves are following his steps in obedience. If we take care of our character, our reputation will take care of itself. More importantly, we will glorify God. In doing so, we will fulfill our ultimate calling as God’s children.
PRAYER: Holy Lord, you are holy and righteous and good; and your desire is that we become holy and good like you. May our lives reflect a character that is separate from this world as we seek to be a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a people belonging to you. AMEN.
SONG: Build My Life
Psalm 37 - by Rev. Susan Salo
Psalm 37 carries the marks of a wisdom Psalm (specifically mentioned in v. 37) telling the contrast of the righteous and the wicked. It is an acrostic psalm according to the Hebrew alphabet. In many ways it tells us to trust the Lord.
This Psalm is full of promises. It stretches back to the promise made to Abraham that his descendants would be numerous and they would also inherit the land. It also restates in a different way that God will contend with those who contend with Abraham(s) descendants - named here as the righteous.
Through baptism we are made the people of God, the New Israel, the recipients of all God's promises; God's covenant people.
Therefore these promises are written for us. What a wonderful thought!
"Do not fret ... or be envious" instead, "trust in the Lord and do good ... take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." (One of my favorite promises in this Psalm.)
"The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him." Another favorite promise. After all, who hasn't stumbled in life? Who hasn't made mistakes? But the Lord doesn't let go. He has us in his grasp. In fact, the Lord has made a place for us in his eternal kingdom.
The final two verses are a restatement of the theme of the whole Psalm, "The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him."
Go in peace my friends, remember that although things may look grim, God's got this. Better yet! God's got you!
Servant of the Lord
March 25th – Les Kovacs Psalm 36
Observe: Psalm 36 is a wonderfully odd little Psalm from David. It has all the elements of a lament, but it isn’t dragged down with the deep sorrow usually associated with his laments. He starts by saying that he has a message in his heart from God about wicked people, not so much as specific enemies, but as the usual fallen sinners doing things in their own way for their own desires. They are so wicked their pride prevents them from acknowledging their own sin, and so they think that God can’t see it either. They speak what is evil, do what is wicked and plot what is sinful, with no thought for the Lord.
Then David contrasts these wicked ways with the Lord’s goodness, in superlatives to His love, faithfulness, righteousness, and justice. The people God has saved can lean into to Him and be filled with all good things because of His great love for them.
David closes the Psalm by asking God to continue pouring out His lovingkindness to all those who know and love Him. He asks that God protect them from the prideful evildoers, whom He will eventually cast down, never to rise again.
Interpret: Scholars are not sure under what circumstances David wrote this Psalm, but it contains elements of both lamentations and praise. It is a concise study in contrasts between the wickedness of sinful humans, and the unassailable goodness of God.
David lays bare the truth that not only are the acts of sinful people sin in and of themselves, but that same sin blinds people to their sinfulness, and therefore they continue to commit sinful acts. They fail to see the wickedness of what they do and so they fail to fear the righteous judgment of the Lord. It’s the ultimate vicious circle.
From these dismal depths, David then soars in his praise of the Lord, delightfully meditating on His glorious majesty. The Lord preserves all creation out of His love, faithfulness, righteousness, and justice, all of which are the exact opposite of the sins of the people. However, says David, those who love the Lord, those who are called His people, take refuge in Him and are blessed with an abundance of provision for the necessities of life. And more, David asks God to protect His people from the evildoers, from those whom He will ultimately cast down.
Application: In the title of this Psalm, David calls himself “servant of the Lord”. A servant is one who serves another, one who does the will of his master. As servant is one who listens for the voice of his master and answers the call. A servant is one who takes direction from their master and follows their instructions. A servant always comes second to their master. That’s how David saw himself, regardless of his position as King of the Israelites; he was a servant of the Lord.
In our world today, with its emphasis on achieving material success, on amassing as much wealth as possible, and on striving to get ahead, it’s hard to place yourself in a position of servitude and still be content. I once heard this philosophy summed up this way, “He who dies with the most toys, wins”. When you buy into this worldview, sin takes a backseat to everything else. The line between right and wrong is continually blurred until it eventually becomes obliterated altogether, all in a vain effort to satisfy our own wants and desires. Sin becomes our master, and we no longer recognize sin in its various forms as being wicked when we see it or commit it. And when we no longer recognize sin, we forget that despite our blindness, God’s eyesight is perfect, and He is an eyewitness to everything we do.
David spends far more time extolling the splendors of the Lord than he does dwelling on the sins of the wicked because he, as a servant of the Almighty, knows that God’s holiness is so much more powerful than our sins. His glorious attributes triumph over all our sinful endeavours. As our creator, it is the Lord who truly and deeply satisfies all our needs. He knows us better than we know ourselves. It is He who gives our life meaning. It is He who fills us with lasting joy. It is He in whom “we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28.
If we need more convincing, we have only to look at the ultimate Servant and King, Jesus Christ. There is no greater King than Him. His throne is in heaven. The stars are His crown. The earth is His footstool. Everything in heaven and on earth belongs to Him. Yet He came down to earth, “not to be served, but to serve.” Matthew 28:20. He forsook His rightful high eminence to serve us by preaching the Good News, healing the sick in body and in spirit, and sacrificing Himself for our sins. He served us by bridging the gulf between us and our Heavenly Father. If we are to emulate the qualities of our saviour Jesus Christ, the Servant King, we should always ask how we can serve others.
Rather than fame, wealth or power, our greatest aspiration should be to live as a “servant of the Lord”.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we know that it is our sin that traps us in our station. Help us overcome our earthly desires and live a life of service to our fellow brothers and sisters. This we pray in the merciful name of Jesus, Amen.
Song: The Servant king – Graham Kendrick
God's Arms - by Lynne McCarthy
Observe: David asks God to plead his cause (‘contend’ -- literally “litigate” as if in a court of law (1)). God, though, is not a lawyer but an armed warrior carrying ‘shield and buckler’. He reminds David I am your salvation (3).
In verses 4-8, he prays for the destruction of his enemies, -- no political correctness here! – that the trap they’ve laid for David will become their own trap (8). And then? … my soul shall be joyful in the LORD; It shall rejoice in His salvation. All my bones shall say, “LORD, who is like You, Delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, Yes, the poor and the needy from him who plunders him?” (9,10) Praise in acknowledgement of God’s ‘hesed’, His mercy to the weak and vulnerable, alternate with his pleas.
The slander against David in verses 11-12 foreshadows the humiliation Jesus endures in His trial and death. David (and Jesus) pray for and care about the enemy (13-14; Lk 23:34,43). And repayment? By evil for good (11c), and David seeks God’s vindication for unjust suffering (15-21), pleading, Do not keep silence. O Lord, do not be far from me. (22)… vindicate... according to Your righteousness (24). He will soon praise God for deliverance (18).
Knowing the enemy is vanquished (25,26), David invites God’s people to rejoice and praise God for his deliverance (27). Praise is his final word (28).
Interpret: An “imprecatory” Psalm where David pleads with God to destroy his enemies. The armour of God in this Psalm: the warrior’s small shield (magen) and ‘buckler’, a large rectangular shield (sinneh) carried by an arms-bearer, defend and protect the warrior who carries his own sword and javelin to attack at close and further range.
Strange to think of our mighty God wearing armour, but in Isaiah 59:17 he does just that: … He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak. No human could lead rebellious Israel back to God. So, armed, God himself sets out to destroy His enemies and save His people -- as Faithful and True, sword-wielding King Jesus saves us (Rev 19).
Apply: So we too put on the whole armour of God (Eph. 6:11). It’s war out there, literally and spiritually, not against flesh and blood (Eph. 6:12) but very real spiritual powers, and we need all God’s help, as did David. But, If God is for us, who can be against us? (Rom 8:31) Good question.
The armour in Ephesians 6:13-18 is His very real help in temptation, for our spiritual safety. He is our arms-bearer, our strength and shield as we go into battle each day against whatever the enemy throws at us – proving again that God alone vindicates.
Watch (often!) the beautiful and powerful “Armour of God” in our Prayer Videos, a visual reminder of His provision for our battles.
Ask: What pieces of God’s armour have I used significantly in my life? Do I wear them daily against the evil one’s lies?
Pray: Lord, You give me all I need to fight my daily battles, and I give you all I am with thankfulness. May I always know that You graciously protect, defend and hold me fast -- in Your arms.
Sing Psalm 35: Psalms Project - Awake, O Lord
Karl Kohlhase - I Am Your Deliverance
Here Be Lions - I Speak Jesus
Psalm 34 - by Trish Reimer
This psalm of David was written when he pretended to be insane before Abimelek , who drove him away and then David fled. Psalm 34 (in my mind) is divided into two basic sections. Verses 1-10 is a call for God’s people to praise and verses 11-22 focuses on teaching the people of God. Let’s break this down a little more into subsections. Verses 1-3 describe a life overflowing with praise and verses 4-7 give David’s testimony of being delivered by God. He then goes on (verses 8-10) to invite us to share in that joyful testimony. He urges us to live in the fear of the Lord (verses 11-14) and describes living under the watchful eye of the Lord (verses 15-16). God is the helper of the humble (verses 17-18) and shows His care for His righteous ones (verses 19-22).
Interpretation and Application:
I’d like to park a little bit on verses 4 and 6. David sought the Lord. He looked to Him in loving trust. God then heard him and delivered him from all his fears implying that the Lord heard him with love, sympathy, compassion and action. His fears could not be quelled unless God showed all those characteristics. If, for example, we as parents just listened to our children’s fears without showing genuine love and concern and didn’t follow through in some action to allay those fears, our children would still be fearful. Our Lord is always full of compassion and shows us mercy. If He didn’t, we wouldn’t have any confidence in our life situations. We need to believe that He has our best interests at heart and would never do anything to instill fear within us. “This poor man called and the Lord heard him” (verse 6). Some texts replace the word “called” with “cried”. A cry is usually short and not sweet, brief and bitter, and is the language of pain. Again, through this pain the Lord hears, answers and saves us from our troubles. In our desperation, God with love and compassion is there to walk beside us and guide us through those trials. It doesn’t always feel like it, but He promises us in His Word that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
Thank you Lord, that You are always there in our desperation, fears, anxiety and troubles. We know that You are walking beside us and encouraging us to trust You for everything. Help us to rest in that knowledge. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
This is a little unusual for a blog. The link below is from Southland Church in Steinbach and their Kid’s Church Online YouTube. My daughter Ruth is heavily involved in the kid’s ministry there and often teaches the memory verse. Start the video at around 20:00 minutes in. It ends around 22:18. I believe after you’ve listened to it a couple of times, you’ll have memorized Psalm 34:4,6!
Rejoice in the Lord - by Richard Neufeld
Psalm 33 does not have a defined author like many other Psalms, though it picks up right on the heels of Psalm 32 which seems to indicate similar authorship and a continuity of thought. Reading Psalm 32 and 33 together gives us a picture of high praise, wrestling in hardship, confession, instruction, and so much more. Psalm 33 calls each person to shout for joy in the Lord, sing Him a new song, and play skillfully on the strings. It goes on to tell us why we should praise the Lord; i.e. “…the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord. By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host.”
The author reminds us all that “The Lord looks down from heaven; He sees all the children of man … the king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.” It concludes that the Lord takes special care of those who fear Him, and all who do have steadfast hope in His gentle love and mercy; “Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in Him, because we trust in His holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.”
In what or whom should we rejoice? The author of this Psalm tells us that it must be in the Lord alone. We are all told to praise the Lord, to live our lives with utter faith, dependence, and joy in Him. Here we find the Lord “Calling upon the saints to be cheerful; and indeed there is hardly any duty more pressed in the Old and New Testament, or less practised,” (Trapp). Thanksgiving is a part of this joy, and we can imagine any multitude of inward types of worship, however it is clear that such joy must not be contained only to private study but spill over into corporate worship, however that looks! “Sing to Him a new song, play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.”
There is much in the way of changing our perspective as we continue on reading. We are reminded that it is God and God alone who created all things by a word, who holds the seas in place, who operates with supreme wisdom and power on you and on me and on every living thing. He is unstoppably powerful, inexorable in His will, and shall have the final word on all things at the end of time. It is fitting to read that a king is not saved by his great army or machines of war; given the state of our world, we must be encouraged that God is supreme in all things, restraining sin in the world and, beyond that, working all things to the good of those who love Him.
In the meantime, as chaos engulfs the world at large and/or we continue in our everyday struggles to make ends meet, those who simply put their trust in God to lead them on, to provide grace upon grace for the day and task at hand will find that He will always, always come through. We read in 1 Cor. 13 that what remains is faith, hope, and love, and the final verse of this Psalm 33 acknowledges the ongoing need for God’s love to be upon us as we hope in Him. We need all three each day, and to let these flourish is to overflow with joy.
Application and Question:
How much of your life should be dedicated to and revolve around Christ? Is it the big, important things like job, education, and family? How many people would call you a joyful person? When was the last time you truly rejoiced? If you’re like me and can’t really remember the last time that happened, welcome to the club.
I think I’ve done a pretty good job, by the grace of God, at reordering my life to what I know God requires of me. If you’ve heard my testimony, you’ll know that I was pretty much at rock bottom in my early 20’s and had nothing of my own to show for those two decades of life so far. God took me by the hand and gave me joy only in that which pleased Him, which was a terribly hard yet utterly necessary lesson for a young man like me. As it stands, I’m quite good at being obedient in the large things and even some small things, I know I’ve come a really long way, yet I have infinitely far yet to go. I’m realizing even nowadays that I don’t delight in the Lord nearly enough. My heart is constantly full of those sins I can’t seem to shake, I’m fatigued, forgetful, and unenthused. God has my obedience only when I can muster up enough motivation to be disciplined, but I’m finding out that He doesn’t want me, or anyone, to live out a forced, miserable obedience, but one that springs from real joy. That seems sort of impossible for me.
So how do we do that? Well, I’m well aware that there is a vast amount of literature already in existence that has been written by those infinitely more qualified and educated than myself; however, this blog is one ordinary person to another, and maybe what I’ve said so far has resonated with you so I’m going to plough on.
First, in order to be joyful in the Lord, we need to spend time with Him. Go over the Lord’s prayer in your bedroom with the door closed, taking each verse one at a time and spending as much time as needed to fill out the framework of prayer which Jesus gave to His disciples. Ex: Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name; Start with praise and thanksgiving and pay no mind to how you feel. Write it all out if that helps, or even say it out loud. Continue on, knowing that He is already aware of your needs and desires. What matters here is spending time with your Father.
Second, preach to your own heart which will absolutely try and condemn you for the nasty things you’ve said, done, and left undone. Those who are in Christ are a new creation, and “Even if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts, and He knows all things. Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God, and we will receive from Him whatever we ask, because we keep His commandments and do what is pleasing in His sight,” (1 John 3:20-22).
Third, remember that you are a work in progress, that God is pleased even by the stumbles who seek to obey Him and walk the narrow path. You will never be perfected here, but Jesus will finish what He started in you at the end of your days! Remember too, that when you are in Christ, God looks upon you with all the favour and felicity with which He looks upon His own Son – you are in Christ! You are co-heirs, risen to new life, full of the Holy Spirit, and should confidently come before the throne of God Almighty and cry “Abba, Father!”
Fourth, remember that He knows all of your needs far, far better than you. He is faithful to provide and loves you perfectly. All your stresses of money, work, social things, health; He knows it all and will come through in His timing and means. He never abandons His children and gives them good gifts.
You have likely heard all of this before and, having read them one more time, don’t feel any great stirring within you that resembles joy. That is so normal, but not what God has in mind. How do we bridge that gap between your head’s knowledge and your heart’s feeling? Meditate on the Word of God. Meditate in prayer. Spend time with Him, look diligently for Him in the Word and the day’s events right now. We cannot be surprised that we haven’t gotten any stronger after having bought a gym membership – you actually have to go to the gym! That which consumes your time owns your heart. We are called to rejoice in God, but rejoicing is an inevitable overflow of being close to Him. So go spend some time and get to know your God! Remember, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart,” (Jer. 29:13).
Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory; forever and ever. Amen!
Song: Feeling Low - Will Reagan
“Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit”
Psalm 32: 1-2
This Psalm of David begins with a title; maskil. This is probably a literary or musical term and indicates that the Psalm is instructive and/or didactic. It seems that this Psalm, in history terms, may well follow the great fifty-first Psalm of repentance. In verse thirteen of that Psalm David promises to teach transgressors the ways of God; this is what he does in Psalm 32. Some believe that this Psalm will have been sung on the Jewish day of expiation as a general confession. Corporate confessions are a true gift.
David describes the agony of living under sin’s power in the state of unconfessed transgressions. Being at odds with God is agony, being a slave to sin is true bondage. In these verses I believe we see the resistance that we often harbour in our hearts to making a confession, to submitting to God (3-4). Oh, but the blessed release when repentance follows, sins are confessed and forgiveness received (1-2, 5). This makes a relationship with God possible and blessings follow. We are able to seek God, receive His protection, instruction, counsel and guidance (6-8). In that state though, we are to use the wisdom He gives for our lives and not expect His guidance on every single little matter (9). There are echoes of the parable of the Talents here, where God wants to see what we do with His gifts to us; faithful innovation to give glory to God (Matt. 25: 14-30).
In this fabulous freedom of forgiveness trust grows and praise follows with true joy (10-11).
Pride filled hearts are dangerous. They harbour the seat of sin and rebellion against God. They are the source of sin and the wall of stubbornness that prevents repentance and forgiveness for others. They leave us under God’s wrath where we are described as His enemies; a position we do not wish to hold (Roms. 5: 9-10). Our lives will become embittered and imprisoned in this state. Paul quotes this Psalm in Romans 4: 6-8, where he describes how rightness with God (righteousness) can be secured through faith in Jesus Christ, not earned by works and our own efforts. Forgiveness is a blessed state of freedom that liberates our hearts and souls. Taking a knee and repenting, placing our faith in Christ is all that it takes. What follows is truly fabulous; a joy and purpose filled life with God in a state of forgiveness that brings very real freedom.
The Question of Application
Dear friends in Christ, God is steadfast in love and infinite in mercy; He welcomes sinners. So let us confess our sins, confident in God’s forgiveness.
Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbours as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us, that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your name. Amen.
Know that Almighty God has mercy upon us, has pardoned and delivered us from all our sins, confirmed and strengthened us in all goodness, and will keep us in eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Watch over us, loving God, and when we fall into sin teach us to acknowledge our guilt. May we forgive and be forgiven, for the sake of the one who was wounded for our transgressions, Jesus Christ your Son our Saviour. Amen
Forgive our sins as we forgive by Becky Messer
Forgiven by David Crowder
Blog on Psalm 31 - Rev. Kim Salo
Observe: Psalm 31 is a personal lament, with prayers and praises mixed with pleas for help. The writer is besieged by enemies, mostly verbally, but also by shunning him. Many images are used, such as refuge/fortress in v 2, a trap that the enemy sets in v 4, physical and emotional suffering in v 9-10, social alienation in v 11-12, the realm of the dead (Sheol) in v 17, God’s presence and dwelling in v 20, a besieged city in v 21.
The stanzas move from a cry for help, with a confession of trust, in v 1-8; to laments and petitions in v 9-18; to praise and thanksgiving in v 19-22; and a final call to the congregation to love the Lord and trust him to do justice and have mercy.
Interpret: One clue to understanding this psalm is the final two verses, a cry of encouragement to everyone present, all his faithful ones/saints. Everything that is expressed is deeply personal, yet all the worshippers are included at the end in a kind of “Let’s all join in the final chorus! All together now…Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord!”
Deep calls to deep: when I express my deepest emotions and hardest experiences, others will nod their heads, saying, ‘Yes, that’s where I’m at, too.’ If we have gone through a time of alienation from others, rejection or verbal attacks, then the “I” of the psalm becomes “Me too.”
The psalms are often best read with not just an individual in mind, but also with “we” in mind, perhaps as Israel, perhaps as the church now or though the ages.
Another clue is the word love, in the Hebrew, hesed, which means God’s covenant loyalty to us, and ours to God. It expresses God’s faithfulness, goodness, and graciousness. With that meaning in mind, read again verses 7, 16, 21, and 23.
Apply: V 4: “Keep me from the trap/net that is set for me.” Think of all the hidden traps in our lives that are just waiting for us to step into: subtle or overt temptation to sin, falling into the schemes of others, the spirit of personal rejection that is triggered by some word or incident. The devil delights in setting these traps. Pray that you don’t step into one and be caught. “Lead me away from temptation, Lord.”
V 5: “Into your hands I commit my spirit.” This is the prayer of release: “I am putting my life in your hands, Lord.” We can also pray for release and trust in the Lord for other things. “Lord, into your hands I commit my health/family/friend/job/church…”
Similarly, v 14-15 is a helpful prayer of faith and trust: “I trust in you, Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands, deliver me.” Since God is the sovereign Lord of time over all our moments, all our days, each stage of our life from childhood to old age and in between, we can pray into not only the time we are in now, but into the past and into the future. God’s ultimate will is to heal our whole lives. That’s heaven.
Finally, v 21, “Praise be to the Lord, for he showed me the wonders of his love when I was in a city under siege.” Pray that for the people of Ukraine now, or for yourself and others when troubles multiply. The wonders of his hesed love are found in the midst of the worst situations, and God’s justice and mercy will always triumph over evil.
Pray: I trust in you Lord. You are my God, my times are in your hands. Deliver me, O God, save me in your unfailing love.
Song: A Mighty Fortress is our God (Martin Luther)
Text: Psalm 30
OBSERVE: David begins this psalm by praising the Lord. While praising the Lord, he recalls the forgiveness and healing power of God. He also encourages all the righteous to praise and thank the Lord for everything. David also praises how quickly the Lord turns from his anger, as he speaks directly from his own experience. The Lord had disciplined David for his wrongdoing; which led to his weeping through the night. However, his weeping was soon replaced by extreme joy in the morning.
INTERPRET: The description of this psalm is usually translated with the phrase "the dedication of the temple." The Hebrew terms translated as "temple" include the term ba'yit, used here, as well as hekal', which has a more formal meaning. David did not live to see the temple being built in Jerusalem (1 Kings 8:17–19), though his son Solomon did (2 Samuel 7:12–13; 1 Kings 7:51; 8:1–66). This psalm could very likely be something David wrote to dedicate the future site of the temple (1 Chronicles 22:1; 2 Chronicles 3:1). This is likely why this psalm includes praise about God's forgiveness.
David praises God for His mercy and rescue. This psalm speaks of God saving David back from the edge of ruin, while also speaking of God's righteous judgment. This was likely composed in response to the plague which struck Israel when David took a census for prideful reasons (1 Chronicles 21:7–14).
APPLICATION: For believers, the Lord's discipline is only temporary, but His love and mercy are eternal. Because David had been rescued, he could continue to praise and worship God……..and so should we. Often it takes times of tragedy to remind us what really matters in life. When things are going well, we can easily get preoccupied with what we own. We can become tied to so many nonessential things. But when life is reduced to the essentials, as we have all experienced in one way or another, we recall again that life with God is more then enough reason to praise God.
In the same way that a good night sleep can often help us to refocus, so too can a time of trial. In the morning we can reset and prioritize what needs to be done first. In the same way, a time of trial helps us to restructure what is most important in our lives. Joy comes in the morning because we wake up with Jesus by our side, even when we fail miserably like David did.
PRAYER: For today’s prayer; let’s praise God for a life with Him by our side and for the people He has given us to share life with.
SONGS: Joy Cometh in the Morning
Psalm 30 (Lyric Video)
The Voice of The Lord
March 9th – Les Kovacs Psalm 29
Observe: Psalm 29 is a beautiful piece of poetry celebrating the power of the Lord. It reminds us that He is the God of all creation. It invites everyone in heaven and on earth to marvel at His glory and strength and splendor and holiness and power. His voice thunders over the waters; it is powerful and majestic; it breaks the mighty cedars and flashes with lightning; it shakes the desert and strips the forests bare; and in His temple, everyone cries “Glory!” The poem closes with an image of the Lord enthroned on high as King over everything, giving blessings of strength and peace to His people.
Interpret: Psalm 29 is one of the oldest Psalms ever recorded. In it King David proclaims the majesty of God, as Creator of the universe, and extolls His power over it. David uses the imagery of one of nature’s most powerful elements, the storm to convey the power of God. How appropriate that he calls it the Voice of God. We have all witnessed the fury of thunderstorms, hurricanes or tornados either in person or via newscasts. We’ve all felt the howl of the wind against the window panes, or felt it’s tug on our clothes. We’ve all felt the deep rumble of thunder in our chests as well as in our ears, and occasionally felt the primal fear that rises when the thunder crashes directly overhead. What creature on earth can stand against the hurricane? God’s might is on full display in David’s poem.
And because of His might, we are to praise Him, worship Him, and adore Him. Because of His might, His people can take refuge in Him. His strength sustains His people and brings them peace.
Application: When the storms of life threaten to overwhelm us, we often draw into ourselves. During these moments, we realize just how ineffectual our struggles can be when we struggle alone. David often felt those same difficult times, and they encouraged him to write some of the most poignant verses in all scripture. But he didn’t just remember the Lord when he was in need, he also remembered to praise the Lord when he was joyful. He constantly remembered who God was, and expressed his awestruck wonder at God’s holiness, power and glorious splendor. His psalm reminds us that God is the most powerful force in all creation, nothing can stand against Him.
Should we fear this God? For non-believers this may be a knee-trembling fear of condemnation before a judgmental God, or perhaps it’s not even a fleeting thought until they face their own death and hope that they right all along. But for followers of Christ, is a righteous fear of humility before an awesome, living God who sits on His throne and loves His Children. His majesty and benevolence is emblazoned across all creation. He is the one, true God to whom we can turn in every circumstance of life, and know that He will graciously provide what we need, when we need it. He offers us refuge, and blesses us with His strength and peace.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray that you would fill us with due humility and respect toward you, the only true God. You alone can provide us with the strength and peace to face all of life’s challenges. We thank you for your great loving-kindness in all circumstances. This we pray in the merciful name of Jesus, Amen.
Song: Never Let Go – Matt Redman
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.