October 14: Jesus in Psalm 22

Read Psalm 22

Did you notice the superscript of the Psalm you just read?  These words were designed to be sung to the tune of an existing tune of the day…“The Doe of the Morning.”  After reading the Psalm, you might conclude that the “doe” was none other than Bambi’s mother!

OK, I’ll admit that was a poor joke.  Nevertheless, there is no avoiding the fact that David, as the author, was experiencing life-threatening opposition and sensed anything but the presence of the Lord.  But these words also comprise a “Messianic Psalm” that points to parallels in the life of Jesus.

Join me as we worshipfully approach the sacred ground of the cross at Golgotha by appreciating words that David wrote even hundreds of years prior to Christ.

They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.”  (v. 18)  Our Savior was stripped and humiliated while others sought personal gain!

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  (v. 1a)  Those desperate words from Christ’s lips describe the reality of His separation from the Father as He bore the punishment demanded by your sin.

All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: ‘He trusts the Lord; let the Lord rescue him.  Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.’” (vv. 7, 8)  Those godless words from soldiers, spectators, and a criminal next to Him must have sliced through our Lord the way the sword would later pierce His lifeless body!

My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death…they have pierced my hands and my feet…I can count all my bones.”  (vv. 15, 16, 17)  Experts say that crucifixion is among the most excruciating forms of execution.

These words paint a horrible picture of what our Lord endured.  But don’t lose sight of why He endured all of that.  Don’t lose sight of what His suffering made possible.  It was right-standing with God!  “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”  (Rom. 3:23, 24)  Thank you, Jesus!

sbk

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October 13: Jesus in Psalm 69

Read Psalm 69:1-36

The 150 psalms comprising the book of Psalms of the Old Testament are often categorized into different types according to the theme and tenor of the writing.  Psalm 69 is somewhat unique in that it incorporates aspects of many of these different types.

  • Lament– David endured human opposition as illustrated by scorn, shame, and disgrace (vv. 7, 19)!  There was no one in his life expressing sympathy and comfort (v. 20).  He felt helpless (v. 20) and worn out in his attempts to call upon God for help (v. 3).
  • Penitential– David is not afraid to admit that there was something in his life that he described as “folly” and that he was “guilty” (v. 5).  As a result, God had apparently “wounded” and “hurt” him through divine discipline (v. 26).
  • Acrostic– Some commentaries describe the Psalm as being comprised of 44 statements arranged in a “double blank alphabet acrostic” form.  Sounds technical, but there are some acrostic parallels in these verses!
  • Imprecatory– His enemies “hated him without reason” and sought “to destroy” him (v. 4).  They “scorned, disgraced, and shamed” him (v. 19).  If you have ever felt intense hatred like that, you can likely understand why David candidly prayed that his opponents might experience God’s wrath and retribution and not His salvation (vv. 22, 23, 27, 28).

But we must keep in mind that the Psalm is not only about David, his experiences and his writing style.  Psalm 69 also contains “Messianic” elements that enable us to see Jesus in the Old Testament.  Here are just a few:

  • The Psalm describes “those who hate me without reason” (v. 4). That is a great description of those who opposed the sinless Son of God.
  • The disciples later connected the line “zeal for your house consumes me” with Christ’s action of cleansing the temple (v. 9; cf. Jn. 2:17).
  • The fact that they gave Jesus vinegar (Jn. 19:29, 30) while on the cross was a fulfillment of verse 21.

Indeed, Jesus came to fulfill all that the Old Testament said about Him.  He will neither default on even one of His promises nor fail to fulfill a single prophecy.

sbk

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October 12: Jesus and the Majesty of God

Read Psalm 8:1-9

The opening and closing lines of Psalm 8 draw attention to the majesty of God:  “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”  (vv. 1, 9)  Indeed, His name, indicative of all that He is, depicts majesty and magnificence!  That magnificence is portrayed in some spectacular and unexpected ways in the verses between.

  1. Children and infants are able to recognize and extol God and His greatness, while others choose not to (v. 2)! Isn’t it amazing that Jesus took time for children, that He applauded childlike faith, and that children were among those shouting “Hosanna” as Christ entered Jerusalem?  Even in our own church life this past summer, nearly 600 children used amazing excitement to demonstrate his greatness on every day of Vacation Bible School.  Meanwhile, many who are deemed “wise” or “successful” in this world are enemies of God!
  2. Amidst the vastness of the stellar creation, God has placed His love on tiny and seemingly insignificant humans (vv. 3, 4)! As David looked out over the night sky, he saw distances that science has only recently uncovered.  Light travels at 186,000 miles/hour.  Nevertheless, it takes more than 8 minutes for sunlight to reach the earth.  And it takes more than 4 years for light from the next nearest star to reach your eyes!  In spite of that vastness, God has chosen to place His love on mankind!  He is magnificent.
  3. Man’s position in the world also points to God’s magnificence (vv. 5-8)! Mankind is a bit lower than angels and yet positioned above the rest of creation.  We have been created in His image.  God chose to reflect his own sovereignty in us by giving man dominion over the animal world!

But through Psalm 8, we also see Jesus once again in the Old Testament.  You see, the author of Hebrews also cites verse 4-6 and applies them, in part, to the Son of God (Hebrews 2:5-9).  The humility of Christ in becoming man is unimaginable.  But that humility gave way to glory.  One day, He will reign visibly and perfectly over everyone and everything!

God is majestic!  Pause for a few moments and consider those great realities as you read Psalm 8 again!

sbk

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October 11: Jesus and the Promise to David

Read 2 Samuel 7:1-29

David purposed to build a temple.  He recognized the wonderful blessings he had received from his Heavenly Father.  This temple would serve as an ornate and permanent “dwelling place” for God.  For centuries, “God’s house” had been a portable, makeshift pavilion made of sticks and canvas.  In David’s mind, it was somehow inequitable and unthinkable that he, as the king, should enjoy a beautiful palace while the King of the Universe should “inhabit” an “easy-up tent.”

But God had other plans.  David would not build a house for Him.  No, his son, Solomon, would construct it.

But this chapter also points to the house that God would build for David (vv. 11b-13).  This house was much more than a physical dwelling place or shelter.  This “house” would neither be built by nor even fulfilled in Solomon.  It was a permanent reign and rule that was to be established by one of David’s future descendants.

Of course, Jesus was the fulfillment of this promise.  He was the house and the ruler of the kingdom mentioned here.  If you look carefully at David’s offspring, you discover that Jesus was the person spoken of by God in this Old Testament passage (Lk. 1:30-33).  Centuries later, He came as a descendant of David in both the lineage through His mother, Mary (Lk. 3:31), and His “earthly father,” Joseph (Matt. 1:6).

From eternity past, you see, God the Father has been leaving a trail, pointing us to our need for and His provision of His Son.  Today, we are blessed to live at a time on the other side of the Savior’s first coming.  You are likely fully aware, that His current kingdom is one reflected in the surrender of the hearts of His followers.   But at His second coming, the full gamut of the eternal kingdom mentioned in 2 Samuel will be experienced.  The day will come when Jesus will return to the earth.  Once here, He will rule forever.

While you and I pray today for our nation and for our world, we must understand that complete and lasting morality and justice will only be realized when Jesus, the King, reigns!

sbk

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October 10: Samson Foreshadows Jesus

Read Judges 13; 16:23-31

Almighty God intervened on behalf of His people throughout the book of Judges. He raised up Israelite leaders to rescue them from the bondage of their enemies.

Samson was one of those leaders.

Announced by the angel of the Lord, Samson’s birth was a miracle of great proportions. His mother was barren. Jesus’ birth was pre-announced too, by God’s angel, Gabriel. And, although Mary’s young womb was virgin for a much different reason, neither Mrs. Manoah nor Mary conceived without the personal work of God’s intervening hand.

But the foreshadowing of things to come, the glimpses of Jesus the Messiah Who would eventually come to earth on the biggest rescue mission ever, didn’t stop with the prophecy of Samson’s birth.

Samson had one mission in life. To begin to deliver Israel from oppression. (See verse Judges 13:5.) Jesus’ mission was to finish that deliverance.

If you know anything at all about Samson’s life, you know him as a prideful, selfish man who did not follow God’s ways. It seems difficult to see the Jesus-glimpse that God wanted to give us through him. Still, even as messed up as Samson was, God fulfilled His plan to rescue His children from their enemy.

Our enemy is sin. Death. We are slaves to them without God’s intervening. But Jesus Christ conquered that enemy when He came to earth and gave His life on our behalf, so we could live.

It’s a crazy foreshadowing that God would use Samson, the messed-up man, in much the same way.

You see, when all was said and done, God used Samson’s death to rescue Israel from the Philistines. Just like God rescued you and me from our enemy, sin and death, through the death of Jesus Christ His Son, Samson gave his life so his nation could go free.

So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life. (Judges 15:30)

Samson’s story is hard for me because it’s hard to find redemption inside all that he did wrong. But God provided the redemption for Samson’s story, when He saw Samson’s humble and repentant heart and used him to rescue His people.

And just like He did with Samson, God can redeem our stories too. If we humbly repent and let Him be the Lord of our lives.

brw

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October 9: Gideon Foreshadows Jesus

Read Judges 6:1-27; 7:1-25

Gideon was not who Israel expected to lead them to victory over the Midianites, I imagine.  The least in his father’s house, which was from the weakest clan in Manasseh. He was far from the picture that most of us would expect to be the mighty warrior Israel needed to save them from oppression.

But God’s plan had the least of the least rescuing His children from the worst of the worst.

More than a thousand years later, God revealed His plan that looked a lot the same. His plan to rescue His children, including you and me and whoever else would turn to Him, from the worst enemy ever — the clutches of sin and death — with His Son, whom nobody recognized.

More than a thousand years after God surprised His people and chose Gideon to lead His people to freedom with his tiny army, God surprised mankind and sent His Son Jesus Christ to rescue mankind from inevitable servitude to the enemy we could not conquer alone.

Everything about Gideon’s story is a surprise. The underdog wins because God gets to show off His almighty power. Similarly, the way Jesus Christ came, His modus operandi while He was here, surprised God’s people, too.

A tiny baby, whose mom was a virgin, was literally born in a barn. He didn’t come with silver spoons or really any kingly human power to speak of. He wasn’t outstanding in His appearance, not someone who would turn heads with His looks.

And His methods were even more surprising. He waged war on mankind’s enemy named death by picking up a cross and letting Himself die on it.

Throughout the book of Judges, we can find glimpses of Jesus as God rescues His children from enemy after enemy. Here, we find Gideon and His teeny tiny army and we glimpse God’s plan to rescue us from the biggest enemy of all.

Isn’t it comforting to know that God has been working His plan throughout all of history so you and I could know Him and live the real kind of life He made us for?

brw

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October 8: Glimpses of Jesus

Read Judges 3:12-30

Then the people of Israel cried out to the LORD, and the LORD raised up for them a deliverer . . . (v15)

We can find types of Jesus Christ throughout the book of Judges. Glimpses of God’s perfect Son sent for the rescue of fallen man.

The Israelites found themselves resting in and enjoying God’s provision, the Promised Land He’d led them into. But they got lazy and started to rebel. It’s a cycle we see over and over throughout the book of Judges, like a washing machine that’s stuck on spin.

So God would hand His people, the Israelites, over to their rebellion and they would find themselves in bondage to horrible situations. That’s when they would realize God’s ever-available, faithful, and bountiful mercy towards them and they would humbly confess their stupidity, as they cried out for His help.

Time after time after time, then, God would graciously provide for His needy and helpless children by sending a deliverer to rescue them from their horror. That’s who the judges were — people appointed by God to lead Israel for specific times. Deliverers sent by God to rescue His children, who could not rescue themselves.

Sounds a lot like our story, too, doesn’t it?

Each one of us needs help, that we cannot provide for ourselves. It’s a problem almost as old as humanity itself. We want real life, the kind God intended for us to live when He created it. But we can’t attain it. Instead, we race for our own idea of what might work best. And always, always, it falls short.

We can’t lift ourselves out of the pit or break the chains of the oppression sin weighs us into. The chains of sin and death. Our problem has always been our own inability to free ourselves from that slavery.

Just like Israel’s problem: its slavery to Eglon, the king of Moab.

Were it not for God sending a deliverer, Ehud, for His people, they would have never been freed from their servitude to him and the Moabites.

In all truth, were it not for God sending the Deliverer, Jesus Christ, for you and me and everyone who will trust Him for real life and freedom, we wouldn’t have a chance. We’d be stuck spinning our wheels, trying to free ourselves from what we cannot beat.

Only by God’s grace, only through His Son to deliver us, can you and I know life and freedom.

brw

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