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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Digging into the Psalms (Part 2)- Psalms of Confidence

As I've been reading through the first few Psalms (1-5), I've noticed a theme- David's confidence in His God. One can see while reading through these Psalms that David was going through a lot. He was being attacked from outside enemies as well as enemies within his own ranks, even his own family. David was on the run from his enemies for long stretches of his life. He had every reason to be depressed and discouraged and he oftentimes was, but he was also very confident in the Lord. He was confident that the Lord would protect him, fight for him and keep His promises.

"But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
    my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the Lord,
    and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah
I lay down and slept;
    I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
    who have set themselves against me all around." Psalm 3:3-6 (ESV)

David, in these few verses, describes God as his shield, his glory and the lifter of His head. He rejoices in the fact that he can cry out to God and God hears him and answers him. He says the Lord will sustain him and that even though many are against him, he has no reason to fear.

Again in Psalm 4:8 he says, "In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." Even while David was running from his enemies, He had enough confidence in the Lord to be able to sleep peacefully at night and know that God would keep him safe.

When I first noticed David's confidence in the Lord, I thought well of course David is confident in God. God had helped David to defeat Goliath, God had sent Samuel specifically to anoint David as king of Israel, God had saved him from the hands of Saul and David had watch numerous foreign armies fall before him through God's intervention. He had seen and experienced numerous miracles of God.

Then I think, "Well if I'd seen God act in such big ways in my life of course I would be nothing but confident in Him even in the darkest times." But, the New Testament tells us that as Christians we can have the same confidence David had in God through Jesus.

We can be confident that through Jesus, God will give us victory and He will protect His own.

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." Romans 8:37 (ESV)

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28 (NASV)

But not only can we be confident that God loves us and protects us and gives us victory through Jesus. We can also confidently come before God in worship, praise and prayer knowing that through Christ we have constant access to our Father.

"Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16 (ESV)

"And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us." 1 John 5:14 (ESV)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Digging into the Psalms (Part 1)

Over the next few months, I plan on doing a personal study in the Psalms. I'm really excited about it so I'll probably post more often on what I'm learning as a I study. Today I started with Psalm 1.

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

(Psalm 1:1-6 ESV)

What a great introduction to the Psalms! The Psalmist starts the Book of Psalms with a description of those who delight in the law of the Lord and those who do not (the mockers). The line that always stands out to me from this Psalm is, "...and on his law he meditates day and night". Until today I thought that meant that I literally had to sit and pray and read the Bible for hours on end. Well, as a mom of young children that's almost impossible. As I type my daughter is watching Mickey Mouse while my son is crying in his crib because he decided to finish his nap a little earlier than I'd planned. So much for meditating in peace!

Then it hit me. When the psalmist speaks of delighting in God's law and meditating on His word, he's describing a lifestyle, a manner of living if you will. From the moment I wake to the second I close my eyes in sleep, I should desire to do the will of God and glorify Him in every area of my life. Does that mean I will spend some time in His word and have moments of dedicated prayer? Yes! But, it also means that while I'm making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and wiping noses and changing diapers and running carpool and watching my daughter at gymnastics I can delight in God's word and glorify Him as I go about my day. And as I do that, I'm also teaching my children to "delight in the law of the Lord."

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."
(Deuteronomy 6:4-9 ESV)

The Word of God should be my delight and I should meditate on it day and night by living out His will when I talk and I sit and I walk and I lie down. As I do that, my children and all those around me will experience the blessings of one who lives for Him.

Reading Psalm 1 has gotten me really excited to dig into the Psalms. I hope you'll join me!