July 23: Melchiz-a-who?

Read Psalm 110 

Inaugurations and coronations are typically formal events with their own share of pomp and circumstance. That was true in Old Testament Israel as well. Not only were kings crowned through anointing, but there was also the use of corresponding words that were spoken as part of those ceremonies.

Coronation psalms like Psalm 110, likely served that purpose. These psalms typically pointed in hope and anticipation to the king’s exaltation and his victory over his enemies.

But if we look beyond Psalm 110, we discover that portions from this psalm are cited in the New Testament as well. Instead of referring to a mere human king, the New Testament references are used to describe the King of kings, Jesus Christ. No wonder Psalm 110 is classified as a Messianic Psalm.

Did you identify the thoughts that point to Jesus? There were at least two major ones in these seven verses.

  1. The Lord said to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet’” (v. 1). This statement is often made in the New Testament in reference to Jesus. His title as Lord points to Him as the sovereign ruler. His position at the right hand of God depicts Him as equal with the Father. His authority over His enemies makes clear that He will one day reign victorious against all opponents of God and His righteousness.
  2. You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek” (v. 4b). The Old Testament character Melchizedek made only a momentary appearance on the stage of Scripture, in Genesis 14:18-20. Hebrews 7 offers us further insight as to what all of that means. Jesus is like Melchizedek in that His name and title indicate Him as the “king of righteousness” and “king of peace.” He is a great, eternal priest without beginning or end.

While earthly kings and government authorities will fall short of the description given here, we can celebrate the fact that a day is coming when the realities of Christ’s reign will be fully experienced here on the earth!

sbk

Posted in Psalms

July 22: His Love Endures Forever!

Read Psalm 107:1-40

His love endures forever! Amen! What a refreshing reminder in the very first verse of this Psalm of what seems to be the theme of our summer at Grace. These four words may seem like cliché verbiage used by pastors to encourage their congregation, yet that couldn’t be any less true. In the light of His divine perfection, attributes, and will, these words portray an elaborate picture of God’s goodness of which we will see expounded upon throughout the rest of the psalm.

God’s goodness has provided for humanity since it’s creation. But for the English Puritans, seeking religious freedom in a new land, the reality of His goodness became very known. On their maiden voyage crossing the Atlantic aboard their vessel the Mayflower, the English Puritans (aka pilgrims) relied on this very Psalm as a means of encouragement, and constant reminder, even through the valley God’s love is unfailing (vv.1,8,15,21,31)! That is why, after this grueling journey was complete, and the settlers made landfall on Plymouth Rock, Governor William Bradford, the leader of the group, referred to Psalm 107, and almost quoted it verbatim as the reason for their success.

After studying this psalm, it only makes sense to me why, for centuries, people have turned to these words for hope in times of desperation. The psalmist gives us an array of imagery, lavishing us in the goodness of our God!

The Israelites, who were hungry and thirsty as they wandered through the desert, after crying out to God, were provided for (vv.4-9). Prisoners, who, were depressed, in deep gloom, and in the bondage of slavery, sought out the Lord in desperation, and they were rescued (vv. 10-14). Even people in Israel, who rebelled against the Lord, and loathed His will, whilst they were dying, God rescued them from their deathbed. Our God is good and his love is unfailing!

What storms are you going through right now? What voyage have you embarked on that maybe you need a reminder of God’s goodness? Never buy into the lie that God has stopped loving you! Don’t let the enemy get the joy of relishing in victory as he convinces yet another person of the foolish notion that you are beyond the love of our God. No powers of people, no power of this world, no power of hell can separate you from His love for you (Romans 8:38-39)!

His love endures forever,

-TAB

 

 

Posted in Psalms

July 21: Praise God! He Keeps His Promises!

Read Psalm 105

Psalm 105 encourages us as reader to give thanks and sing praise as we remember His wonders, miracles, and judgments of the past (vv. 1-5).

Have you ever taken a tour of history and used it as an impetus for worship? Let’s do that now as we highlight these verses!

  1. Praise God, He made a covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that He has remembered and will remember forever (vv. 8-11)!
  2. Give thanks because He protected this wandering, fledgling nation from destruction (vv. 12-15)!
  3. Rejoice in the reality that God placed His man, Joseph, in a position of protection and authority during a time of famine (vv. 16-22)!
  4. Tell of His wonders in which He multiplied His people in Egypt, where they were hated (vv. 23-25)!
  5. Sing praise to Him for sending Moses and Aaron to deliver His people from bondage (v. 26)!
  6. Make known the miraculous signs and wonders God did through Moses and Aaron!  He sent darkness, turned water into blood, multiplied frogs, sent swarms of bugs, brought hail, caused locusts and grasshoppers to consume the plants and produce. Then He then struck down the firstborn (vv. 27-36).
  7. Praise God that He brought His people out of Egypt, miraculously guiding and providing for them (vv. 37-41)!

He did all of this because “He remembered His holy promise given to His servant Abraham.” God keeps His promises! His promise to New Testament followers of Jesus is no less significant.

The writer of Hebrews applies an Old Testament promise to people like you and me. He writes, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Heb. 13:5).

What are some key words or events from your own life that demonstrate how He is keeping and has kept that promise? Use those thoughts as reason to praise Him!

sbk

Posted in Psalms

July 20: Dear Soul, Don’t Forget.

Read Psalm 103
(A letter to my soul to not forget to praise the God who formed it.)

Dear Soul,
Sometimes you lose sight of who God is. You sometimes forget that He is good, that He’s worth every part of your bowed-down knees and your surrendered heart. Oh my soul, you forget what He’s done, what He does, what He’s promised. Well, stop it, soul.

Stop forgetting and remember this . . .

The Creator God heals every sickness you deal with. He forgives every dark deed because you trust Him. God paid a ransom for your life so He could rescue you from the pit you fell into. He gave you a crown full of love and mercy stones. He fills you with all the goodness you can possibly handle so you would be young and vibrant in Him.

Almighty God works righteousness and justice for people who suffer at the hand of oppression. So don’t let injustice bring you down, dear soul. Remember, God’s got this. He will make it all right.

God let Moses in on His ways. He showed His hand to His people, Israel. And He has let you know Him, too! He didn’t just make a way for you to live forever. He told you about it oh soul of mine. Don’t forget!

Sometimes you get distracted, but remember that the God you serve is merciful. He is full of gifts you don’t deserve. He doesn’t get angry quickly. And when He does, He won’t stay mad forever.

When the One Holy God looks at you, dear soul, He doesn’t see you through eyes that view your sin. Instead, He sees Jesus — His righteousness.

His love for you is forever. Even when you forget, He still loves you. The love God has for you is as big as is the distance from heaven to earth. The greatness of His love is as forever as the time limit of that love.

Dear soul, always remember that God picks up all your trash and removes it. He takes out the trash and moves it as far from you as the east is far from the west. Then He leaves it there.

And this God knows you intimately. He formed you. He never forgets that. He always has in His mind that before He formed you, you were dust. He knows where you come from. He hasn’t lost sight of the fact that before He made you, you were literally nothing but dust.

This is the God you trust with all that you are, oh my soul. So praise Him as such! Don’t ever forget.
Sincerely,
Bria

 

Posted in Psalms

July 19: Worship Anyway

Read Psalm 100

It had been a rough couple of weeks. No single major catastrophe, just a lot of little things nipping at my heels. I was discouraged. Feeling sorry for myself, really. So when I entered worship in the gym that Sunday morning, I hoped God would see it from my perspective and join my pity party.

He didn’t.

That’s not how God works. In fact, He does things altogether differently.

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise” (v4).

Wanna’ know how to join God where He is? Thank Him. Wanna’ know how to rest where He dwells? Praise Him.

If you’re like me, you know that sometimes it’s easy. Like when the sun sets beautifully over the corn crops down the road and I can almost hear the earth as it shouts for joy to creator God. Or when I see God’s hand working in my children’s lives as they share Jesus with a friend.

Other times, though, it’s more difficult, this praising thing. When my kids are sick or a friend hurts my feelings. When my computer crashes and I’m looking a writing deadline straight in the eye. Or when the cats next door rip through the screen in my back porch and I can’t enjoy my morning quiet time that I’ve grown to love.

Even then, God wants my praise. He doesn’t change His gate-entry procedure according to my circumstances. God is always good. He still deserves our praise. Not only that, but He knows that when we worship Him we remember who He is. Funny, because the converse is also true: when we remember who He is, we can’t help but worship Him.

“Worship the LORD with gladness . . .” (v1).

True worship is that which is glad in who God is. Period.

“For the LORD is good and his love endures forever” (v5).

No matter where we are. No matter what we feel.

I might not be glad about the my ripped screen, but the LORD is God. He’s my God. I might be downright upset about not having a computer for a short time, but I am God’s. A sheep in His pasture under His care.

We can know God’s true presence and enter into His very place of dwelling when we choose to praise Him anyway. Only then will we find true joy.

Worship anyway.

brw

Posted in Psalms

July 18: Worship Song

Read Psalm 98

It had been a difficult semester. My heart had been broken and my spirit was crushed. The middle of my senior year in college proved to be a defining one in which God let my brokenness take me down so He could build me up into the woman He’d made me to be.

But brokenness is hard to survive. It’s hard to watch someone else live it, too. It’s difficult to see a loved-one stammer through each day and grasp for joy but find none. So when my dear friend approached me with the idea of worship, I knew it came with sincerity and a desire to help me out of the pit.

I’d just woken up from a nap when she entered my room and gently offered her thoughts. “You need to praise God anyway,” she said. “Even when you’re broken, find something to thank Him for. Then thank Him.” Worshiping God is really the only way to thrive, even in brokenness.

Almighty God is worth worship. Perfect Sovereign Lord is always worthy of praise.

That’s the theme of our psalm today. Worship God. He is worth all of our praise. He’s worth the worship of all of Creation. The earth cries out to Him in praise because God the Lord is worthy of it all. He is worth all the praise you and I can muster plus all the praise of the whole earth.

And really, when it hits us, the truth of what He has done, how can we not erupt in praise for the joy? How can we not praise Almighty God with all that are when we realize the righteousness He bathed us in despite our shortcomings? How can we not shout joyfully to the One who made a way for those shortcomings to be dealt with in a way that brings you and me life forever?

We can worship Him with music. We can honor Him with our talents and our money and our time.

All of Creation worships Him, too. The rivers clap their hands. The mountains sing in joy. The thunder claps and brings God glory.

Even in the brokenness, He let you and me in on salvation. God the LORD revealed His mercy and grace. He made a way for you and me to know Him. Then He let us know about it so you and I could live the way He created us to live — free and loved and secure forever.

So join the earth’s worship song and praise Him.

brw

Posted in Psalms

July 17: Pivoting Towards Faith and Rest

Read Psalm 95:1-11

Every circumstance has pivotal, even polarizing potential. You have probably noticed that with others.

  • Two patients . . . both diagnosed with a terminal illness . . . one’s faith and intimacy with God seem to grow daily . . . for the other, doubt is multiplied and animosity towards God seems to grow.
  • Two employees . . . both lose their jobs in a corporate reduction . . . one’s bitterness seems to drip like a leaky faucet . . .the other’s “God-confidence” inspires all in his path.

In those instances, the circumstances were similar. In both instances, the circumstances were pivotal. But the directions, in which the people pivoted, were 180 degrees apart.

This was not unlike the Israelite experience at Meribah and Massah cited by the Psalmist.  The children of God had already experienced God’s miraculous deliverance from Egypt as He used the plagues to show Himself great, loving, and powerful. They had already witnessed His provision as they traveled through the Red Sea on dry ground between walls of water. They had already observed His protection as Pharaoh’s army drowned in the same waters that had parted for them.

Still, a new circumstance arose. They were thirsty. Given God’s track record, wasn’t it safe to assume that He would provide them with an ample supply of fresh H2O? Easy for us to say, I suppose. They, however, chose to test God, quarrel, and even suggest that the Lord had delivered them from Egypt only so they would die of thirst in the desert. (See Exodus 17). They allowed their circumstance, you see, to polarize them towards doubt, not faith.

Even though God miraculously provided water for them, the example of their decision has served as a warning for God-followers through the centuries. Don’t do what they did! Don’t repeat the complaining, quarreling, doubting, testing response of Meribah! Today, in the challenging circumstances you will face, don’t allow your heart to harden towards God as at Massah! Instead, listen to His faithful and trustworthy promises and allow yourself to be polarized towards faith and rest.

sbk

Posted in Psalms