Posts Tagged protection

Cheer and Courage

Psalm 31: 23 – 24              Passion Translation

Listen to me, all you godly ones: Love the Lord with passion! The Lord protects and preserves all those who are loyal to him. But he pays back in full all those who reject him in their pride. So cheer up! Take courage all you who love him. Wait for him to break through for you, all who trust in him!

I hope some of you took me up on the idea of reading each of these psalms in their fullness as your daily Bible reading. I recommend you read this psalm in the Passion Translation. It reveals David’s emotions and the context of his lyrics better than any of the other translations. If you read the whole psalm, you will see how he arrives at this concluding statement.

He felt abandoned by the Lord, but then realized God was on the scene rescuing him. David hid himself in the Lord and was vindicated despite those who spoke ill of him and mocked him. In the end, David and Yahweh have again triumphed.

David learned something on this journey and what he learned he summarized and attempted to convey through this song. The morale of the story is, take heart, be of strong courage. Let your heart be fortified because the Lord, your God, is on your side and together, you will prevail. God has never forsaken you and never will. Like David, there may be times you feel very alone. You may wonder where God is. Well, I can tell you. He is right there with you. If you close your eyes and listen to the voice of your heart, you will find God’s presence there with you.

David advised us to love God passionately because he learned that this is the secret to life and success in all things. Jesus, referring to Deuteronomy 6: 5, said, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH,” (Mark 12: 30). See, I am guessing there is a huge life lesson in here from David and now Jesus. What are they telling us? David and Jesus are teaching from the same book here. In fact, if you want to see how tuned into the spirit of Jesus David was and how relatable Jesus found David’s writings, look at verse 5 where David wrote, “Into Your hand I commit my spirit,” the words famously uttered by Jesus on the cross. Both of these men knew suffering. They knew what it was like to face unprecedented tribulation. And now, in this seminar living in the breakthrough their combined recitation is love God with all you are, with all the strength of your body, mind, spirit and soul. This is how we get our breakthrough. This is how we live in the blessing of the Lord. We throw our whole selves into a love relationship with he who died for us and the Father who gave him up for us. He is the Lord of the breakthrough, the one who breaks through the barriers and problems for us. Our part is to love him passionately, and why wouldn’t we?

Blessed Refuge

Psalm 5: 11 – 12

Let all who take refuge in you rejoice. Let them sing with joy forever. Protect them, and let those who love your name triumph in you. You bless righteous people, O Lord. Like a large shield, you surround them with your favor.

I hope you are enjoying this sojourn through the psalms. David reminds us, today, that there is blessing, success, victory, protection, joy and favor for those who take refuge in the Lord.

David found his respite in the Lord.  He had a way of intertwining his existence with that of God and that was an uncommon space for the Old Testament believer. I love reading David for this reason. He had an enviable relationship with the Lord. We get to peer into this relationship through the songs written by David. Can’t you almost hear his heart soar as he sings, “Let them sing with joy forever.” As he wrote these words, I believe he was basking in the presence of the Lord. You can hear the praise and reverence in David’s lyrics but you also sense the deep intimacy he had with Yahweh.

As you read this psalm, you hear about the favor of God surrounding you. You may even rejoice at the simple acceptance that God blesses us, His righteousness. Most of all, though, today I hope that you will not only hear the substance of David’s song but even more so the tone of his conversation with the Lord. I hope that through these words, you will glimpse the heart and passion of David seeing the inspiration of his affection for the Lord. I think if we will take our time with these words, we will find our own hearts stirred. Maybe we will raise our voices or pen a beautiful lyric of our own. Maybe you can write a love song to the Lord. If you do, I hope you will share it with the rest of us.

Have a blessed day in the Lord. Rejoice in Him.

Selah

Psalm 32: 7 – 8       Amp

You are my hiding place; You, Lord, protect me from trouble;
You surround me with songs and shouts of deliverance.
    Selah.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you [who are willing to learn] with My eye upon you.

This is a good time to learn about the word “Selah” because it impacts the understanding of this psalm. One of the primary ideas about this word is that it indicates a pause. We find this word mostly in the Psalms so one might ask if it represents a musical interlude or just a pause in the lyric or instrumentation. It turns out that it has more to do with ideas represented in the lyric than it does to the lyric or melody specifically. It calls the listener, or in our case, the reader, to pause and consider the immediately preceding lyric. Today’s psalm was written by David. When we hear or read “Selah” in the above passage, he wants us to stop and consider the meaning. He has just said something very important and he wants us to stop and be sure that we have taken in that important thought.

There is a second use of Selah. It is used as a bridge or a connector. It alerts the listener that the stanza which is about to follow is thematically tied to that which has just preceded. In other words, the psalmist wants us to hear the next passage with the former still in mind. So stop and hear what has been said with a mind to integrate it with what comes next.

In today’s scripture selection, David confesses his confidence to God. He is able to hide himself in God, receiving protection and deliverance from trouble. He says, also, God surrounds him with joyous songs and exuberant shouts. That isn’t the end though, because in the next stanza, God answers him.

In the combination of these two verses we see a great deal of their relationship. Not only does God protect David but you hear David’s confidence in that protection. David is the one who proclaims that he is protected from trouble. His trust in God is the unspoken refrain. Yahweh answers his confidence and trust with, “I will lead you. I will counsel you. I will be your mentor and will guard your way and keep my eye on you at all times.”

There is a relationship between these two verses and these two people. That is what we are supposed to see in this psalm and that is what the word Selah reveals to us. These are not two independent ideas but rather a revealing of the intermingling of their lives. This is a model of how our lives are meant to be. We also have a hiding place, we are hidden in Christ. We should have the same confidence is the three persons of the trinity as David sang of here. I am hidden in Christ and thus protected from the danger and trouble of the world. God is my helper, my right hand and my deliverer. God, for his part, will lead me and guide me in the way that I should go because I have hidden myself in Him. Selah!

Heavenly Shelter

Psalm 91: 1

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

Psalm 91 is one of the Bible passages that it really pays to meditate on. It is such a comfort. It is, however, a bit poetic. Let’s overlay New Testament ideology with it and see if it becomes more understandable.

Since Jesus’ victory, which overcame all things on our behalf, our language has turned to expressions of being “in Christ” or “in him.” This idea is a cornerstone of New Testament theology. No longer do we strive in our own might. The key now is to rest in him. In Christ we have righteousness, salvation, redemption, victory, etc. It’s all about being in him. Jesus said he is the vine and that we must, therefore, abide in him (John 15: 4). When we abide in him, then all things are possible, and we are safe. That is what this verse in Psalm means. Those who dwell, or abide, in Jesus will be safely covered by the shadow of the Almighty. Since we are in him, then we are close enough that his shadow covers us. We are hidden from the powers of evil and chaos. The Passion Translation says it better than I can, “When you sit enthroned under the shadow of Shaddai, you are hidden in the strength of God Most High.”

Yesterday, when God brought this verse out to me, the message that came with it was, “When you abide in me, you have no reason to fear.” Trusting God and dwelling in His shelter gives us the ability to stand in confidence. God is with us and watching over us. Does that give you comfort?

The other way to apply this is to ask yourself what you are frightened over or what is holding you back. Then, purposefully, abide in the shelter of God. Pray and see yourself moving into His home. See that wherever you go, wherever He goes, His shadow is over you. You are always as close as His own shadow. Meditate and pray about being in Christ and think about God in you. This is our resting place; our safe and sturdy refuge.

The world can be a scary place, but you have a friend. You are never alone. He is with you always. Acknowledge Him and His presence. Make it point to live in Him and everything will be okay.

Armored Fruit

Proverb 3: 3

Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.

Within this short, little passage we have the makings of greatness. First of all, there is the command quality of the statement. It is a declarative sentence. It makes a statement, not a suggestion. Here wisdom is speaking; a wise father telling His kids what to do so that they will experience success. There is also a promise attached which is in the next verse. It promises favor and a good reputation in the sight of God and man if you will keep truth and kindness as your trademarks.

The command alone should be enough to compel us but if the command does not, the promise certainly should. Yet there is more. In this little verse we also see the application of the fruit of the Spirit and the armor of God. You see, kindness is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5: 22). Truth is part of the armor of God (Ephesians 6: 14). Here God has combined his armor with the fruit of the Spirit. Your protection and success are here. God is leading us into success in all areas of our lives by teaching us to walk according to the Spirit instead of walking according to the flesh. If you walk by the Spirit, you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. The fruit will protect you from the lusts of the flesh. You have to decide to live by the Spirit though.

Secondly, God wants to protect you with His armor. Again, though, it is your decision to walk by truth instead of deceit. You have to choose to put on His armor. Then His protection surrounds you and you can call on all of His angels to reinforce you. Kindness and Truth will go before you like a guard. When you out of an act of your will, choose to operate in Kindness and in Truth, then you are marshaling the forces of God into your ranks as your soldiers. If you lie and deceive or behave unkindly, you are using the weapons of the enemy and you will defeat yourself.

God would have you wear kindness and truth close to you, even inscribe them on your heart. He wants you to do this so that He can cover you with His favor and bring all His blessings to your house. Don’t let the devil deceive you into lying and or being unkind. Don’t let him steal your blessings from you.

Freedom

Galatians 5: 1

It was for freedom that Christ set us free.

I recently read How to Stop the Pain by Dr. Jim Richards. Though my copy of this book is highlighted throughout and hand-written notes garnish every chapter, there was one page, one paragraph that was so loud to my Pastor’s heart that I determined I must share it with you.

It is from this premise that Jesus came to set us free that Dr. Richards writes, “Following Him (Jesus) wholeheartedly is the safest life in the world. It has the greatest peace; it has the emotional freedom we all desire. To follow Him wholeheartedly, though, requires that we trust Him enough to apply His truth to our lives” (P. 94). Therein lies the rub. The freedom Jesus bought for us on Calvary is wrapped in the cloak of trust. If we put on this cloak and enfold ourselves in it we will absolutely be protected from the storms but how do we trust Jesus to the extent that we are willing to take those first tentative steps? For some people it comes from desperation. When we get ourselves in a deep enough mess, sometimes that is enough to allow us to make that leap of faith. Dr. Richards continues, “We must walk in love. We must discard our former way of finding safety and happiness and follow His teachings.” This requires us to do things differently and that can be a challenge.

Truthfully, most of us are not making cognitive choices about our interaction with the world. We just do what we have always done or what we were taught to do. This freedom in Jesus requires us to abandon our ways and live according to his ways. Even if we know the difference rarely do we make contemplative choices. We live according to reactionary patterns. It is possible, though, for his ways to become so ingrained in us that they surface without cognitive thought. In order for that to become our reality, though, we must spend quiet, meditative time with Jesus and with his word. It is not enough for us to merely read a chapter a day. That is good and fine but what we are talking about here is that word getting down in your heart. Whatever is in your heart will come out when faced with a situation. Many times we do not even have the luxury of thinking about our choices. Sometimes we just react and those reactions come from whatever we have sown in our hearts.

Truly the freedom that Dr. Richards encourages is from following Jesus wholeheartedly. As we spend time with Jesus, talking with him and listening to him, and as we observe him through the scriptures we gain a new reality in him. His ways become our ways and the chains that he came to set us free from fall away. There is freedom in Jesus. It is in trusting him and following him. It is in putting our feet in his footsteps instead of following the ways we have learned in the world. Knowing Jesus, not just knowing about him but knowing him is to know freedom. Trust him and be free.

Plague Barrier

Psalm 91: 10

No evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your tent.

Do you believe this scripture? To whom do you suggest it is directed? Is it for you, or for someone else? Yesterday’s Word of the Day holds the key to making this verse real and viable in your life. The key to having no evil befall you and to keeping all plagues at bay is belief. Do you believe this verse is for you? Do you believe it speaks truth? Do you believe God is able to make this a reality in your life?

Psalm 91 is truly one of the outstanding chapters of the Bible. It is rich with the promises of God. What good does any of this do, though, if we do not understand that these words were written for each one of us individually? God has provided protection for you among His many gifts. You need to understand your rights as well as other allowances God has already made for you. There is chapter upon chapter of Bible promises, all meant for you. The activator for each and every promise is your belief. If you believe a promise is for you, then you activate it in your life. If you believe today’s verse, that no plague can come near your dwelling and that no evil can befall you, then it’s true. If you really want to add power to your punch, start saying what the Bible says, “No evil will befall me.” When people at work begin talking about all the sickness and disease you say, “No plague shall come near me or my household because we are a household of faith.” Then, you shall have what you say.