Dr. David Rose, Pastor
Thursday, May 6, 2021—Psalms 76-78
When a judge arrives in his courtroom, all those present stand as a sign of respect. At the sight of a superior officer, military members stop what they are doing, come to attention, and salute. The recognition of authority requires action appropriately.
The Psalmist saw something like this as he considered the righteousness of God. The people of Israel knew Him. He had shown His great power against their enemies. When God rose up to judge, the earth grew quiet and still (76:8). While man is no match against the power and processes of nature, creation knows it is no match for God. To be honest, therefore, means that even the greatest leaders are humble before God.
Respect for God means remaining patient in the darkest of times. There will be instances where difficulty makes His people wonder whether He has forgotten them or rejected them. The heartache and challenges will seem to say His love has come to an end. To overcome this doubt and discouragement, His people need to remember (77:11). He is loving. He is powerful. He is unchanging. In time, He will deliver.
Those who do not remember and endure will be short-sighted. They will be deceived and fall into sin (78:11). They will not rely on Him. They will increasingly doubt Him (78:22). Despite all He has done and the respect He deserves, they will walk away. Only when they suffer the consequences will they stop, remember, and repent (78:34-35).
Give God respect and praise. Remember all He has done for you.
Wednesday, May 5, 2021—Psalms 73-75
Drivers can become distracted somewhat easily. Though they are driving a vehicle often weighing well over 2,000 pounds and are responsible for their safety and the safety of others, they can be more interested in something on a screen inside the car or on a billboard outside. Fatigue and tunnel vision can dull them to what is truly vital.
David knew God was good. There was no doubt . . . until there was distraction. He was jealous of the successful and the wicked. The prideful and corrupt seemed to have it all and face no judgment, and he was discouraged that loving Yahweh and obeying His commands was not as rewarding. When He came into the presence of God (73:17), however, the fog lifted, and his vision improved. He saw the richness of knowing Yahweh, and he remembered the destiny of those who don’t.
God’s people will face deep sorrow and breathtaking devastation which can make God seem very far off, uncaring, or impotent (74:1-11). They are not immune from struggle. Though times change and situations bring burdens, God remains the king (74:12). His people can call on Him in confidence to come and champion His cause and save His people. God is the judge who will come and bring down the wicked (75:7).
Praise God today for His presence, His goodness, and His power. Pray for a reminder of His coming judgment and eternal reign. Give thanks to Him for remaining faithful even when we are doubtful.
Tuesday, May 4, 2021—Psalms 70-72
At times, when people are hurting, they turn inward. They isolate themselves and keep their feelings inside. Rather than reaching out to those who could listen and console, they retreat and forego what they really need.
The Psalms are filled with expressions of emotion directed toward God. When sin has tainted him, the Psalmist doesn’t run away and hide, as his flesh would encourage him to do. Instead, he comes to the One he has offended and the only One who can forgive. When he is hurting and needs God’s intervention, he doesn’t wilt and worry. He prays directly to Him.
When the Psalmist needs God to act, he cries out, “Hurry up!” (70:1, 5), “and help me!” He doesn’t think God may be too busy or uninterested. He doesn’t wonder whether this is too big or too small an affair. He wants God to show His power and be glorified in it.
The Psalmist leans on God and trusts in His justice because he has made this a habit, a spiritual discipline, since his youth (71:1-6). An athlete who practices a movement over and over develops muscle memory so his body knows the movement in the heat of competition without his having to think about it. Imagine the power and peace for the soul that has learned the habit of trusting God in each and every situation. This soul knows He will restore and revive in time, so he rejoices in God (71:19-24). He prays for those who lead him to follow this one, true God (72:1-17).
Rejoice in the God who listens, saves, and blesses.
Monday, May 3, 2021—Psalms 67-69
Parents enjoy doting on their children. They work hard so they can give their children benefits and experiences they themselves did not have. Very few parents would say they bless their children so their children will become self-centered and lazy. Most would say they give these benefits to enrich their relationship and strengthen their bonds.
The Psalmist called on God to be gracious to him and to bless him (67:1). His desire was not selfish, however. He wanted God’s grace on his life to be a testimony to the world of the goodness of knowing and walking with God. He wanted the nations to sing God’s praises and to affirm God’s justice and righteousness.
Because God is a righteous judge, His enemies scatter, and those who hate Him flee His presence (68:1). Because He is righteous, He stands in as a father for the fatherless and a champion for the widow (68:5). He gives homes to the homeless and sets the captives free. He works mightily to show His power and love and daily bears the burdens of His people (68:19). His people want Him to show His strength (68:28), and they want the world to come before Him in awe (68:34-35).
Even in the depths of suffering and despair, God’s people can cry out to Him because “the Lord listens to the needy and does not despise his own who are prisoners” (69:33). Praise God for His goodness. Ask Him to use your life as a testimony that draws others to faith in Him.
Sunday, May 2, 2021—Psalms 64-66
An artist paints because he has an idea he must express. He wants others to see with their eyes what he sees in his mind. An actress performs because she wants to embody the character and influence the audience through her actions. When people view a painting, they praise the painter, not the colors on the canvas, although they are beautiful. When a play is moving, they cheer the actress, not the character on the stage.
The Psalmist looked at the world in which he lived and concluded that God deserved praise (65:1). God demonstrated His powerful artistry through the natural world. The hills were robed with joy, the pastures were clothed with flocks, and the fields covered in grain (65:13). The beautiful scene did not deserve the praise. The One who made it was worthy of that.
Psalm 66 gives praise to God not because of His work in creation but because of His work in Israel. He turned the sea into dry land. He led a nation through the wilderness, testing them to mature them and leading them into abundance. Above all, He listens to prayer and makes His enemies cringe. He is loving and worthy of shouts of praise.
He is worthy of trust as well. He has proven His love and protection, so His people can pray for His deliverance when in anguish or afraid (64:1). God will deliver His people, and all those who see it will give praise to Him. Rejoice in the Lord for His majesty in creation, His provision in your life, and His protection from evil.
Saturday, May 1, 2021—Psalms 61-63
When good things become ultimate things, those good things become idols. God has given good things like food and hobbies to bring pleasure and spur creativity, but those things can become more important than God Himself. Wanting those things more than God is idolatrous.
The Psalmist kept such idolatry in check through prayer. He knew he needed God. God had been his refuge in storms and attacks. His heart had been weary, and God had given him strength, so he prayed God would hear and continue to answer him. The Psalmist also prayed for his king. The heart is an idol factory, so he could easily have begun to trust the king—someone with power that he could see—more than he trusted God, so he prayed for the king, remembering the king needed God’s protection and provision as well (61:7). Prayer kept the king in proper perspective.
The things of this earth are temporary (62:9). Whether people or possessions or pleasures or positions, they will all eventually pass away. God remains forever. The Psalmist declared his trust in God alone. His source of hope and peace and stability was in God. In the end, God will repay everyone for their works (62:12), so he invested his life in Him.
The king himself rejoiced in the power, protection, and provision of God (63:11), so the Psalmist did, too. His inner being longed for the thirst-quenching satisfaction of God alone (63:1-5). Pray that God becomes more valuable and satisfying than any of the good things He gives in life.
Friday, April 30, 2021—Psalms 58-60
People hate injustice. They want life to be fair, especially to them themselves. When they see something wrong, they feel the anger boiling up. When they experience unfair treatment, they want to make it right.
The Psalmist knew this internal intensity. He saw the unrighteous living around him. He knew they were sinful to their core, so he knew only God could change the situation. “God, knock their teeth out of their mouths,” he cried (58:6). Imagine the pain this would cause. Imagine the way the mighty would run away in fear and misery. He knew if God acted, the guilty would receive punishment, God Himself would receive praise, and the righteous would receive their reward (58:10-11).
What the Psalmist knew was the foundational need for God’s action. God needed to act against the wicked. God needed to deliver him from his enemies (59:1-2). If he tried to rid himself of his foes, they would find a way to come back. God, however, laughs at those who oppose Him (59:8). God would be the righteous judge of their sin. He asked God not to wipe them out but to make them weak and miserable. Then, the people would see the continual evidence of a life wasted by not following Him. His judgment on them would prove His worth to the world.
Sing to the Lord today because of His faithful love and His strength in your life (59:16-17). Pray for humility that recognizes personal weakness and sin. Celebrate God as the only hope for victory (60:12).