Paulines Daily Reflections
52 - 54
v3 “You love evil rather than good, falsehood rather than speaking the truth.”
v5 “Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin. He will snatch you up and tear you from your tent.”
v8 But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.”
I can remember that playground chant “Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me”. Sadly, name calling does hurt and it doesn’t matter whether it happens during childhood or adulthood.
The writer of this psalm knows that God will see that justice is done.
“The kingdom of God is justice and joy, for Jesus restores what sin would destroy; God’s power and glory in Jesus we know, and here and hereafter the kingdom shall grow” (Lyrics the Kingdom of God-Bryn A Rees)
v1 “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is not one who does good.” v3 “Everyone has turned away, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” v4 "Will the evildoers never learn. Those who devour my people eat as men eat bread and who do not call on God.” v6 “Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When God restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!”
What is the difference between dread and fear?
Dread is something you don’t like but don’t usually feel fear while doing it. I dread getting up early in the Winter as it is cold.
Fear occurs when you are frightened by a person or situation and may experience a physical response. Maybe being trapped in a confined space you might experience a panic attack or maybe you fear the dentist after a bad experience as a child.
It is possible to dread something because it makes you fearful. The psalmist is saying that we have nothing to fear because God is with us even through the worst times.
v2-3 “Hear my prayer, O God; Listen to the words of my mouth. Strangers are attacking me; ruthless men seek my life-men without regard for God.” v4 “Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.” Have you noticed that in most of these psalms David starts off by saying, ‘Lord I need your help - go and sort these people out’ and then finishes off by saying how confident he is that the Lord will keep His promises.
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days, almighty, victorious thy great name we praise” (Lyrics: Immortal Invisible, God only wise-W. Chalmers-Smith)
49 - 51
The truth is that it doesn’t matter how v2 “High and low, rich or poor we are” we are all going to die. v8 “for no one can ever pay enough to live forever and never see the grave” v17 “for when they die, they take nothing with them. Their wealth will not follow them to the grave.” The writer of this psalm isn’t rich but he knows that he will have treasure in heaven. Place your faith in God. v15 “But as for me, God will redeem my life. He will snatch me from the power of the grave.”
Finish, then, Thy new creation;
Pure and spotless let us be;
Let us see Thy great salvation
Perfectly restored in Thee;
Changed from glory into glory,
Till in Heav’n we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise. (v4 Love divine all loves excelling-Charles Wesley)
What does God really want from us? Reading this psalm, as nice as all those offerings are he doesn’t really need them. v8 -15 “I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices or burnt offerings, which are ever before me. I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest are mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird on the mountains, and all the creatures of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for all the world is mine and all that is in it. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? Sacrifice thank-offerings to God, fulfil your vows to the Most High.” I’ve underlined v15 in my Bible “and call upon me in the day of; trouble I will deliver you, and you will honour me.”
The offering God wants most from us is a relationship with Him. I read in one of my books of Biblical Illustrations about a little girl saying her night time prayers. She started off “The Lord is my Shepherd” and she forgot the next line so she simply said “that’s all I want”. She is absolutely right because all we want is the assurance that God is my God and my shepherd.
And I will trust in You alone,
And I will trust in You alone,
For Your endless mercy follows me,
Your goodness will lead me home. (Chorus: The Lord’s my shepherd. Stuart Townsend)
If you only know this verse it’s enough v10 “Create in me a pure heart, O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Members of the Jury do you find the defendant guilty or not guilty? Maybe we have done something in the past that wasn’t honest. Maybe we were a bit ‘economical with the truth’ because we were trying to cushion the blow for someone. In this psalm David says that maybe through his experience, he might be able to rehabilitate others and bring them back to God. v13 “Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.”
“forgive our sins as we forgive, you taught us Lord to pray, but you alone can grant us grace to live the words we say”
46 - 48
v1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.” v7 “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”. v10 “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” v11 “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
I think that living through tsunamis, earthquakes, forest fires, famine, global warming and a pandemic has made us more aware than ever that we need God. It says in this psalm that He is our refuge, a stronghold that that cannot be destroyed. So let’s be still and offer all our cares to Him.
Be still for the power of the Lord is moving in this place; He comes to cleanse and heal, to minister his grace. No work too hard for Him, in faith receive from Him. Be still for the power of the Lord is moving in this place.” (Lyrics: Be still for the presence of the Lord: DJ Evans)
v1. Clap your hands, all you nations shout to God with cries of joy.”
There are times when we don’t feel like singing and clapping our hands but we should be overflowing with joy that He saved us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
v2 “How awesome is the Lord Most High, the great king over all the earth.”
v7-8 “For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise. God reigns over the nations. God is seated on his holy throne.”
Jesus shall reign where'er the sun
Does its successive journeys run;
His kingdom spread from shore to shore,
Till moons shall wax and wane no more. (Lyrics: Jesus shall reign: Isaac Watts)
Reading this psalm, it says v4-5 “When the kings joined forces, when they advanced together, they saw her and were astounded; they fled in terror.” Mount Zion – Jerusalem came under attack but nothing happened to it. v7 “You destroyed them like the ships of Tarshish shattered by an east wind.” v8 “As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord Almighty, in the city of our God: God makes her secure forever.” v12-14 “Walk about Zion, go round her, count her towers, consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation. For this is God, our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.”
I wonder how much we take for granted. Living through a pandemic we have a lot to be thankful for especially if we and our loved ones have escaped pretty much unscathed but with a small inconvenience. Reflecting on the psalm it opens with thankful praise, v1” Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise” and closes with the confidence of God’s ongoing care and protection; v14 ”For this is God, He is our God forever and ever. And he will guide us until we die.”
Do you ever give thanks to God for the things that didn’t happen-those near misses?
43 - 45
v3, “Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me, let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.”
Most of the people back in the day related to God with being on a mountain. It might explain why we always look up to the sky because that’s where the sun, moon and rain comes from and at night we like to gaze at the stars, (that’s easier to do when we don’t have pollution from our towns and cities). We like to climb to high places to take in the beauty of everything around us. So when the psalmist said ‘lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live’ it seems reasonable that he expected that God is somewhere up high but God doesn’t live in the sky. He lives everywhere. When you want to get close to him do what Jesus did and go to somewhere quiet to talk to him.
How many times have you wondered why your prayers haven’t been answered? In this psalm there are some pretty nasty remarks made by the writer. Look at v9-14 “But now you have rejected and humbled us; you no longer go out with our armies. You made us retreat before the enemy, and our adversaries have plundered us. You gave us up to be devoured like sheep and scattered among us the nations. You sold your people for a pittance, gaining nothing from their sale. You have made us a reproach to our neighbours, the scorn and derision of those around us. You have made us a byword among the nations; the peoples shake their heads at us.”; and he goes on in v23-24 “Awake O Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever. Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression?” Wow this guy is pretty angry! Is it okay to get angry with God? God understands when we feel let down, okay so he’s had his rant but he held on to his faith. Look what he says in v18 “Our hearts had not turned back; our feet have not strayed from your path.”
We are invited to this wedding. The groom in v2 is described as “the most excellent of men” and the bride in v13 looks “All glorious in her golden gown”. In this love song the psalmist urges the groom v4 ‘In your majesty ride forth victoriously, on behalf of truth humility and righteousness.” Jesus is the king and we are the bride. v15 “They are led in with joy and gladness; they enter the palace of the king.”
King of kings, majesty, God of Heaven living in me, gentle Saviour, closest friend, strong deliverer, beginning and end,
all within me falls at your throne. Your majesty, I can but bow, I lay my all before you now. In royal robes I don't deserve
I live to serve your majesty. (Lyrics: King of Kings Majesty: Jarrod Cooper)Nathan Nockels. Release Date November 19, 2012
39 - 42
I wasn’t too sure how to approach this one. After all nobody likes to talk death and dying! I was reading a book by Max Lucado (You are never alone) and he told of the time a life insurance representative gave him the good news that according to his chart, Max had probably 20 years of mortal life left. That really brings it home to us. None of us know how long we’ve got and news like Max had from the insurance agent probably made him think of all the things that he would do differently if he had his life over again. In this psalm v4 says “Show me O Lord my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life.” v11 “You rebuke and discipline men for their sin, you consume their wealth like a moth - each man is but a breath.” His hope is to return to God v12-13 “Hear my prayer O Lord, listen to my cry for help; do not be deaf to my weeping. For I dwell with you as an alien, a stranger, as all my fathers were. Look away from me, that I may rejoice again before I depart and am no more.”
There is a hope that stands the test of time,
That lifts my eyes beyond the beckoning grave,
To see the matchless beauty of a day divine
When I behold His face!
When sufferings cease and sorrows die,
And every longing satisfied.
Then joy unspeakable will flood my soul,
For I am truly home. (There is a hope: Stuart Townend)
Flip the coin. Heads you win tails you lose. At times we find it hard to make a decision. When we can’t make up our mind about something we get that sinking feeling inside. In this psalm I wonder what happened to make him feel that he was sinking into a pit and then he was rescued from the muddy clay. v2 “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire and set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” By reflecting on his situation and praying, he received guidance from God.
Praise him for his grace and favour, to his people in distress.
Praise him, still the same as ever, slow to chide, and swift to bless.
Alleluia, alleluia! Glorious in his faithfulness! (Praise my soul the King of Heaven: Henry Lyte)
A real friend will stand by you whatever the circumstances. What has happened here? David is sick and, v6 “Whenever one comes to see me, he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander; then he goes out and spreads it abroad.” He carries on in v7 to say “All my enemies whisper together against me...” and in v9 “Even my close friend whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” Let’s look again at v9. Who betrayed Jesus after eating with Him? Read John 13:18-20 “I am not saying these things to all of you; I know the ones I have chosen. But this fulfils the scripture that says, ‘The one who eats my food has turned against me. I tell you this beforehand so that when it happens you will believe that I AM the Messiah. I tell you the truth, anyone who welcomes my messenger is welcoming me, and anyone who welcomes me, is welcoming the Father who sent me.”
How much do you really long for God? How much do you thirst for Him? How much do you long to be in his presence? v1 “As the deer longs for flowing streams, so I long for you God.” v2 “My soul thirsts for God, the living God. When can I go and meet with God?”
As the deer pants for the water, So my soul longs after You, You alone are my heart's desire,
And I long to worship You. You alone are my strength my shield, To You alone may my spirit yield,
You alone are my heart's desire, And I long to worship You. (Lyrics As the Deer: Martyn Nystrom)
36 - 38
v5-9 “Your love O lord reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O Lord you preserve both man and beast. How priceless your unfailing love, O God! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast in abundance of your house; your give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.”
What kind of relationship do you have with God? He is our protector, provider and guide.
All the way my Saviour leads me, What have I to ask beside? Can I doubt His tender mercy, Who through life has been my Guide? Heavenly peace, divinest comfort, Here by faith in Him to dwell! For I know, whate’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well.
(All the Way my Saviour leads me: Fanny Crosby)
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “don’t fight fire with fire” This is a lesson in anger management. David is saying, v1 “Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong;” v3 “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.” What he is saying is that instead of getting angry have patience and trust God to judge. Getting angry will only make matters worse. v8-9 “Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret – it leads to evil. For evil men will be cut, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.”
All my hope on God is founded; He doth still my trust renew, Me through change and chance He guideth, Only good and only true. God unknown, He alone Calls my heart to be His own.
The prayer of the suffering sinner. David is sick. How many times have you said 'why me, why am I suffering, I must deserve this.' The problem is that we probably don’t deserve whatever illness we’ve got and I am pretty sure that God hasn’t inflicted it as a punishment. In this psalm David thinks that he is paying the penalty for his sins and he gives a critical review of himself. v18 “I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin.” He feels cut off. His friends stay away, his relatives avoid him. The crisis he has found himself in has actually brought him closer to God and towards the end of the psalm he asks God not to abandon him but to hurry and help him. v21-22 “O Lord, do not forsake; me; be not far from me, O my God. Come quickly to help me, O Lord, my Saviour.”
33 - 35
Psalm 33 (NLT)
v1-4 “Rejoice in the Lord. You righteous ones; praise from the upright is beautiful. Praise the Lord with the lyre; make music to him with a ten-stringed harp. Sing a new song to him; play skilfully on the strings with a joyful shout. For the word of the Lord is right, and all his work is trustworthy.”
How would you define praise? I believe that praise is talking and singing about what God has done.
Shout to Lord, all the earth let us sing, power and majesty, praise to the king, mountains bow down and the seas will roar at the sound of your name. I sing for joy at the work of your hands, forever I’ll love you, forever I’ll stand, nothing compares to the promise I have in you. (Shout to the Lord- Darlene Zschech)
v4 “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.” v18 “The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Have you ever stopped and asked yourself ‘Why did God create us?’ Well he wants a relationship with us because He loves us but He can’t force himself on us. He gave us freedom and we have the choice whether we reject him or welcome him into our hearts.
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
no turning back, no turning back.
Though none go with me, I still will follow;
though none go with me, I still will follow;
though none go with me, I still will follow;
no turning back, no turning back.
The world behind me, the cross before me;
the world behind me, the cross before me,
the world behind me, the cross before me;
no turning back, no turning back. (Anon)
What happens when your friends become your enemies? David is trying to cope with exactly this situation. He remembers how he cared and prayed for them when they were sick and now they have turned their back on him. Like it says in v12-13 “They repay me evil for good and leave my soul forlorn. Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting.” He continues in v15 “but when I stumbled, they gathered in glee; they gathered against me. Attackers gathered against me when I was unaware. They slandered me without ceasing.” In v26 “May all who gloat over my distress be put to shame and confusion; may all who exalt themselves over me be clothed with shame and disgrace.” He pleads with God to pass judgement so that he will know who his true friends are.
29 - 32
v4 “The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic.”
v11 “The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.”
There have been times in my life when I have wondered why has God put something on my heart. I recall the day He got into my car and told me that he wanted me to train for ministry. It was something that kept eating away at me until I finally agreed.
Here I am Lord, is it I Lord, I have heard you calling in the night, I will go Lord, where you lead me, I will hold your people in my heart. (I The Lord of sea and sky- Dan Schutte)
v4-5 “Sing to the Lord, you saints of his; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favour lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”
Bless the Lord oh my soul, worship his holy name, sing like never before, O my soul, I worship your holy name. The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning, it’s time to sing your song again, whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes. (10,000 reasons Matt Redman)
Psalm 31 (NLT)
v2. “Listen closely to me, rescue me quickly. Be a rock of refuge for me, a mountain fortress to save me.” v5 “Into your hand I entrust my spirit; you have redeemed me, Lord, God of truth.”
v7 I will rejoice and be glad in your faithful love because you have seen my afflictions. You know the troubles of my soul.”
v15-16 “The course of my life is in your power; rescue me from the power of my enemies and from my persecutors. Make your face shine on your servant; save me by your faithful love.”
When Jesus was on the Cross and was betrayed by many, he trusted God and put himself in His Father’s hands. We will have times when our lives don’t run smoothly and we must be like the psalmist and place ourselves in God’s hands and trust that He knows best.
Open now thy crystal fountain, whence the healing stream doth flow, let thy fire and cloudy pillar, lead me all my journey through, strong deliverer, strong deliverer, be thou still my strength and shield, be thou still my strength and shield. (Guide me O thy great Jehovah)
v5. “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not conceal my iniquity.” With God honesty is always the best policy because he already knows everything. When we commit a sin, own up to it and tell the Lord. God promises forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ.
v8 The Lord says “I will instruct you and show you the way to go; with my eye on you, I will give counsel.”
If we don’t trust God with our needs, we are in trouble! Do you remember the disciples and the fishing trip when they thought they were going to drown? Jesus calmed the sea and the wind and he taught them that even in the worst storms He is the One we can trust.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey. (Lyrics: When you walk with the Lord)
24 - 28
v1 “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it…”
v3 “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place?”
v4 “He who has clean hands and a pure heart…”
v6 “Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob.”
v8 “Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.”
v10 “Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty – he is the king of glory.”
God loved me enough to lose all his glory even though he owned the whole world and everything in it. “I love you Lord and I lift my voice to worship you Oh my soul rejoice. Take joy my King in what you hear, let it be a sweet sweet sound in your ear.”
v4-5 “Show me your ways O Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour, and my hope is in you all day long.” v7 “Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me for you are good, O Lord.”
v8 “Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.”
How does God guide us? Do you want to live according to His Word? Do you know what is right and wrong? v21 “May integrity and honesty protect me, for I put my hope in you.”
Psalm 26 (NLT)
v2 “Put me on trial Lord, and cross examine me. Test my motives and my heart.”
Chuck Swindoll says this ‘We do not ask God to examine our hearts often enough. We are too busily engaged in doing-doing-doing… and we ask God bless our activities. At times, however, God says, “stop doing, and let me examine your heart.’
v4 “The one thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek; that I may dwell in the house of Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”
How would you describe God’s character? He is holy, pure, just, loving, wise, merciful, gracious and so much more that I can’t think of right now. He is beautiful in fact he is so beautiful I can’t compare Him to anything.
Oh Lord, You're beautiful
Your face is all I seek
For when Your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me
I want to take Your word and shine it all around
But first help me to just, live it Lord
And when I'm doing well, help me to never seek a crown
For my reward is giving glory to You (lyrics Keith Green)
v7 “The Lord is my strength and shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy. and I will give thanks to him in song.”
Our lives belong to God and when we pray “thy will be done” what are we saying? Our lives are in His hands and He is Lord over whatever will happen in our lives.
20 - 23
v1 “May the Lord answer you when you are in distress. v4 May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. v5b May the Lord grant all your requests. v7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of our Lord our God.” David was just about to go into battle but immediately before this happened he prayed. I wonder how much we think we are self- reliant but really we are dependent on others. Sometimes we can physically see our helper and other times we can’t but He hears our prayers.
v1-2 “O Lord, the king rejoices in your strength. How great is his joy in the victories you give! For you have granted him the desire of his heart and have not withheld the request of his lips.” v4 “He asked you for life, and you gave it to him- length of days, for ever and ever. v7 “For the king trusts in the Lord; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.”
We can’t see the whole picture but God can. He is the judge and will never leave us.
v1-2 “My God, my God why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. v9-10. Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast upon you from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
v15-18 My strength is dried up like a potsherd (clay pot) and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth, you lay me in the dust of death. Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing. v22-24 I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you. You who fear the Lord praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honour him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.”
Jesus knew these verses off by heart and when he was dying in agony he said them. Thank you Jesus for what you did for us.
v1 “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not be in want.” I wonder, how many times have you messed up? I know that I have but my Good Shepherd cares for me and surrounds me with His love.
v2-3 “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake”
Read that bit again and notice the two pronouns preceding the two verbs. He makes me...He leads me...
The Shepherd is in charge and He has decided the path I will take.
v4-6 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil and my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Read it again ‘goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life’ It doesn’t say some of the days, or only on Sundays but all the days of my life. He will be with me when I am happy, sad, worried and lonely. He will be walking with me always.
16 - 19
v2 “I said to the Lord, ‘you are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing”; v8 “I have the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken”; v11 “you have made known to me the path of life, you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand”
One day we will see him face to face and until that day comes, v8 keep your eyes always on the Lord. With Him at your right hand you will not be shaken.
v3 “Though you probe my heart, and examine me at night, though you test me, you will find nothing; I have resolved that my mouth will not sin.” v4 “As for the deed of men – by the word of your lips I have kept myself from the ways of the violent.” v5 “My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not slipped.”
David knows that he’s not perfect but he says he’s done nothing wrong and wants the Lord’s protection. How can we keep a clear conscience when we know we are right? v11 “They have tracked me down, they now surround me, with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground.” v12 “They are like a lion hungry for prey, like a great lion crouching in cover.” David maintains hope and in v15 he says “And I in righteousness I shall see your face; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with seeing your likeness.”
v1-3 “I love you O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God, is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.” We will all at some time in our lives have a bad experience and will find ourselves in darkness looking for a way out. Our faith in God will shine through. v28-30 “You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.”
v1-4 “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun.” The instructions of the Lord are perfect, His commandments are right, because the Lord is pure and everlasting. v10 “They are more precious than gold; they are sweeter than honey.” David asks v12 "…who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults.” Through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit God enables us to tell right from wrong and in v14 “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight. O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
10 - 15
v1 “Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
How many times have you asked yourself “Why?” Why this, why that, why everything? We want answers don’t we? Often things happen and we can’t get answers and we start thinking that God doesn’t care or does God really know what I’m going through? In times like these keep strong because rest assured God does know and often through times of weakness we find our strength.
Imagine that you are in a catch 22 situation. Do you run to the left or run to the right or stay put? Come on make your mind up we haven’t got all day! David’s friends are telling him to v1 ‘fly like a bird to the mountain for safety!’ but he decides to stay put ‘do you know what, God is still in charge, he will look after me and punish those who have done wrong.’ v4 “But the Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord still rules from heaven. He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth.” In short, David loves God and trusts Him to do the right thing. Do you love God enough to trust Him?
v2 “Everyone lies to his neighbour; their flattering lips speak with deception” v6 “And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times.”
There is so much happening in the world at the time of writing this reflection. “Fake news…they stole the election from me” and so many other false allegations broadcast via social media. So, what happens when we hear two versions of the same story? I don’t fully understand all the political issues but I do understand that if a person in authority has not been honest, they should be punished. They are a bad example about how to behave. Don’t look on people like that but look at Jesus as your role model.
v5-6 “but I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me.”
When we pray we are entering into a personal relationship with God. We are bringing our concerns to God’s attention. We can’t give God orders and He doesn’t have to answer our prayers exactly as we would like him to. Our prayers are based on trust that our prayers will be answered in His time not ours.
v1-2 “The fool says in his heart ‘There’s no God.’ They are corrupt and their deeds are vile; there is no-one who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.”
Fools will believe exactly what they want to. Don’t be foolish but ask God to pour his blessings upon you and make you hunger and thirst for more knowledge about His ways.
What does an upright pillar of the community look like? v2. “He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart; v3 and has no slander on his tongue and does his neighbour no wrong and casts no slur on his fellow man, v4 he despises a vile man but honours those who fear the Lord, who keeps his oath even when it hurts. v5 He lends money without charging interest, who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent.” We can only come to God through His grace. No one was perfect except Jesus and it is by His blood that we are saved. It is only as we grow our relationship with Him that we want to be more like Him.
6 - 9
I can hear my mother echoing words like “what have I done to deserve this?” David the writer of this psalm is saying “why am I being punished, why is God angry with me?” The problem is that we will all have sickness at some stage in our lives and no we didn’t deserve it. Millions have died through the pandemic. They didn’t deserve to die.
v6-7 “I am worn out from groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes.” and then v 9 “the Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.”
When we are suffering and we don’t know why, remember that He is always with us. He feels our pain and He is our healer.
God knows everything about us. He knows us inside out! He knows our heart. v10 “My shield is God most High, who saves the upright in heart.”
Many times those who are not being honest have been caught out. v15-16 “He who digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit he has made. The trouble he causes recoils on himself; his violence comes down on his own head.”
Thank God that he is our defender, and praise his name forever.
Psalm 8 (New Living Translation)
This is one of my favourite Psalms.
Tonight look up at the sky, can you see the stars? Maybe not so easy to do in a polluted town or city. Years ago I loved camping with the family and being away from the towns and cities it was easy to see the stars. There are far too many to count. Take a moment and ask yourself “Where do I fit into this great big universe?” v3-8 “When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers-the moon and the stars you set in place-what are mere mortals that you should think about them? Yet you made them only a little lower than God and yet crowned them with glory and honour. You gave them charge of everything you made putting all things under their authority-the flocks and the herds, and all the wild animals, the birds in the sky and the fish in the sea, and everything that swims in the ocean current.”
God has made us in his image and He has given us the job to look after his creation. Sadly, we aren’t making a good job of it! If God wrote my report card it would say “could do better!”
Lord our Lord, how magnificent is your name throughout the earth.
“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name.”
What does it mean to have a thankful heart? During this pandemic I have a lot to be thankful for.
Every time I switch on the TV News there is a lot of pain, hurt, crime, violence and abuse. Should I be thankful for such things? The answer is no! But I am thankful that v9-10 “The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you O Lord do not abandon those who search for you.”
Sometimes God will send his angels to help us. Sometimes God works in such a subtle way we forget that it was Him. Have you opened your Bible and the verse reached out to you? Maybe you had a phone call from someone who said “hi, you’ve been on my mind recently is everything okay?”
Thank God for the ways He has supported us through difficult times.
1 - 5
“Happy is the one who does not walk in the advice of the wicked or stand in the pathway with sinners or sit in the company of mockers.” and then in v4 it says “But the wicked! They are like worthless chaff scattered by the wind.”
Right at the start of the psalms we are shown that there are two ways of life and we have to make the choice between right and wrong. Each path we choose will have consequences. God wants to be part of our lives and in all honesty I want to be his daughter. As we spend some time each day to meditate on His word let us be strengthened by it.
v11 “Serve the Lord with reverent fear and rejoice with trembling.”
Remember the Creator. Without him we have nothing and we are nothing. When we feel downhearted, remember the One who comes alongside us and walks with us.
This psalm reminded me of “herd mentality” Stop following the crowd and follow Jesus. Pray that He will lead you along the right paths.
v5-6 “I lie down and slept; yet I woke up in safety for the Lord was watching over me. I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side.”
No one likes to be hurt or hated by someone and sometimes you might even wonder what lies they are spreading about you. This happened to David when his son Absolom turned against him.
It is reassuring to know that God’s presence will lead us through those difficult times.
v2 “How long will you people ruin my reputation? How long will you make groundless accusations? How long will you continue your lies? v5 “Offer sacrifices in right spirit and trust the Lord” v8 “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, will keep me safe.”
We all get churned up at times and we can’t relax because we have too many things on our minds.
Work, finances, relationships etc. How do you deal with anxieties and tension?
v8 sums it up nicely because knowing that we are in God’s presence makes us feel safe and secure.
v4-7 “O God, you take no pleasure in wickedness; you cannot tolerate the sins of the wicked. Therefore the proud may not stand in your presence; for you hate all who do evil. You will destroy those who tell lies; the Lord detests murderers and deceivers. Because of your unfailing love I can enter your house. I will worship your temple with deepest awe.”
How many times have you wanted to hit back at those who have hurt you? We bite our tongue and hold back. We feel as though no-one cares but God cares and in v5 it says that God will deal with them. v11- 12 “But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy. For you bless the godly, O Lord; you surround them with your shield of love.”
God’s love will never fade away because He is the source of true, everlasting love.