Word of the Day

Run? I Think Not!

Psalm 11: 1

I have taken refuge in the Lord. How can you say to me: “Flee to your mountain like a bird?

I am happy to be back in a psalm of David. Not that the others are bad but there is a richness in his writing. I think what I like most is his authenticity and intimacy with the Lord.

Let me rephrase today’s verse just so you get the full flavor of it, “How can you say to me: ‘Flee to your mountain like a bird?’ I have taken refuge in the Lord.” Does it make better sense like that? I love the incredulity in David’s voice. “How dare you advise me, in your worldly wisdom, to flee. My sanctuary is the Lord!” I love his bold confidence in our God and his complete unwillingness to live below God’s covenant promises.

Why should we flee to the mountains? Why should we hide out in caves? Our hiding place is God Almighty! We reside in the palm of His hand. We little Christians are scurrying around all over the planet looking for help, looking for shelter. Fear and worry harangue our every move. It feels as though our enemy is as close as our shadow. That wasn’t David’s view though.

Listen to the words of King David as revealed from the Passion translation. He said, “Lord, don’t you hear what my well-meaning friends keep saying to me?” David’s reaction was,  “But don’t they know, Lord, that I have made you my only hiding place? Don’t they know that I always trust in you?” How could they advise David? They could not because they could not see from his perspective. In verse 5 we see David’s confidence because God is on His throne. All is under His eyes. Because of this, David knew all would be well.

Do you see why I love David so? I look forward to meeting him. I will tell him how his songs blessed me but even more how his faith in God and his absolute trust in the Almighty impacted my life. I hope you will let a little of David rub off on you as well.

Save the Wicked

Psalm 10: 15

Break the arm of the wicked and evil person. Punish his wickedness until you find no more.

This doesn’t seem a very Christian concept, does it? Yet, I wager most of us have felt the emotions articulated by this psalmist. You may wish to read the entire psalm, it isn’t long, in order to get the full flavor of this psalmist’s sentiments. He sees the poor and down trodden, the innocent, taken advantage of. He witnessed the arrogance of the wicked and their boasts that there is no God. No wonder in the last verses he adjures God to “Rise up.”

Why doesn’t God reach out his hand against these wicked people? Why doesn’t he just wipe them from the earth. I perceive two reasons why God does not simply obliterate them. First, He is love. If you know God and know that He is love, then that is always the first answer. Everything He does is colored by love. He wants these people saved rather than condemned. He wants all people to come to the full knowledge of His saving grace.

Second, He wants to give us room to exercise the authority He has given us. It sometimes appears that He is standing far off, but He actually is acting. He is nudging us, through His Holy Spirit, to defend the oppressed. We have been given the victory in Jesus and God’s plan is that we would enforce that victory. We have the sword of the Spirit and another mighty weapon, prayer. God is attempting to grow up His children so that we can take over the family business, now and through eternity. He has ministering spirits standing by, ready for action whenever we exercise our Kingdom Authority. That authority enables us to save the wicked and redeem the persecuted. We are not administrators of hate but rather of love and love is the most powerful force in the universe.

Pull out your sword and defend the weak. Wield your weapons and save the heart which is turned away from God for that is a brokenness that can be repaired by love.

Joyful Song

Psalm 9: 1 – 2

I will give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart. I will tell about all the miracles you have done. I will find joy and be glad about you.

What part of these verses do you like best? It’s all good, isn’t it. I was stopped by the part about telling of all His miracles.

This is another psalm of David. Are you beginning to hear and recognize his voice? Clearly David is passionate about his Lord and God. This passage is interesting to me because David declares what he will do. He isn’t asking the Father for anything. This is a celebration of Yahweh.
David was not without his problems and enemies and he did get around to one petition later in the psalm but it is almost a side statement. He wants to Lord to show him grace so that he can go on celebrating the greatness of God.

I look forward to meeting David in person. I want to tell him how much his words inspired and encouraged me. Here, at the bottom of my strength, with little to give I find David pouring out his heart to the Father and being grateful. Can we say, there is always breath enough to praise our God and speak thanksgiving? If there is breath for only one sentiment, should it be an entreaty or thanksgiving?

I quickly fall into whining and begging but David knew the Lord better than I do. He did his share of whining too, but he didn’t reside there. He lived in praise. Do you think David got the answer he wanted to every single prayer he offered? I don’t think so. None the less, his songs are not sorrowful. They are songs of praise, songs which celebrate the goodness of our God. David writes, “I will find joy and be glad about you.” That is a decision, an exercise of David’s will. That seems worth meditating on.

Status Check

Psalm 8: 3 – 6

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; what is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, and You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet.

I think this is a good place for a Selah – stop and consider these words. That is where David was. He reflected on who we are, who God made us to be and that thought awed him. When we consider who God is and the vastness of His creative might we are brought up short. God has made us second only to Himself. We are only a little lower than God. How can that be? Look at humanity. Who are we that God should give us a thought?

And that is the point. We are His beloved. In His creation of us, He made us to rule and reign. Consider the majesty of His creation. The stars and planets are in perfect synchronicity. How do you even create a planet, much less put it in a system of other heavenly bodies so that they all perform a celestial dance in a rhythm that has gone on for thousands and even millions of years? Think of the majesty of the created animals that belong to this planet. Are they not amazing? I could have never come up with the plethora of life forms which grace the earth. I am not up to the task of reigning and caring for all the gloriousness of the Father’s creation and yet, He has said that we are made to be only a little lower than Himself. That is quite a statement.

Some translations ponder why God should give any thought to human beings saying that He has made them a little lower than angels. The translators clearly think that is too high a status for humans but, this is one of those occasions where they have simply gotten it wrong. Our self-esteem and the recognition of how lowly we can be interferes with the accuracy of translation here. The word used in this passage is Elohim. This is a word for God, so the passage is quite clear. God has made us second only to the God head. You have not been made lower than angels. Your position is above the angels and below God. A child is ranked more highly than an angel. You are a child of God. Though it can be hard to accept, the angels work for us as they work for God. What I have to say about that is that we need to learn to be in our proper place. In our rightful place with our head wrapped around who we are there is no egocentricity nor false humility. There is no weakness in our self-identity because we see ourselves in the reflection of who God is, not in anything we contribute. When we see ourselves outside of God, then, yes, who are we that God should take any notice of us at all. However, while David pondered this question, he marveled that we have been given the status of one step below God. We on the other hand see ourselves as worms of the dirt. Not only are we lower than angels but we may see ourselves and unworthy of any status. David was not hung up on this because he understood that his worthiness and ours is not a product of our labor or righteousness. Our status is derived solely from birth. We have been born into the family of the Lord God. It is He who has given us a title and status.

It seems that when people read this passage they stop with, “Yet You have made him a little lower than God.” That becomes the title sentence of the passage and it is on this sentence that people cogitate. I suggest we read on. Verses five and six read, “You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet.” Stop and ponder that. Move on from deliberating on why God would give us any status at all and move on to contemplating the status and the role, into which you have been placed. You, my beloved, have been crowned with glory and majesty. You were made to rule over all the works of the Father’s hands. You, dear reader, have all things under your feet, placed there by the Almighty Creator Himself.

If you can grasp that the Father means these words literally, it can change your life. It certainly changed David’s. In fact, the whole of David’s life was colored by this revelation. He knew full well that he was unworthy of any of the Father’s consideration, but he knew equally well that he was entitled to them all. You don’t even have to be a good child to inherit your Father’s name, or business or estate. You have only to be born into the family. David understood that. He knew he was an unworthy child of the king but a child none the less. If we will take this identity into our hearts and embrace our position with the Father, we too will move mountains and do great things.

Impassioned Cry

Psalm 7: 1 – 2

O Lord my God, in You I have taken refuge; save me from all those who pursue me, and deliver me, or he will tear my soul like a lion, dragging me away, while there is none to deliver.

This psalm is headed with, “A Shiggaion of David, which he sang to the Lord concerning Cush, a Benjamite.” I find these words as important as the song itself. A Shiggaion is a particular type of song or poem. Easton’s Bible Dictionary defines it as, “a lyrical poem composed under strong mental emotion; a song of impassioned imagination accompanied with suitable music; a dithyrambic ode.” Ah, but what is a dithyramb? A google search led me to this definition, “a Greek choral song or chant of vehement or wild character and of usually irregular form, originally in honor of Dionysus or Bacchus. Any poem or other composition having similar characteristics, as an impassioned or exalted theme or irregular form. Any wildly enthusiastic speech or writing.” This begins to show more clearly the characteristic of Psalm 7. The Strong’s concordance has this to say about Shiggaion, “perhaps a wild passionate song with rapid changes of rhythm.”

When we read the words of David having been translated into Greek and then to English, we certainly lose a great deal of his passion. The English language is not known for its ability to convey strong emotion anyway. Apparently, this psalm was wildly passionate and yet the words read as dry as week old bread. Can we put ourselves in David’s shoes and touch his passion?

David knew his only refuge was the Lord. His enemy was so powerful and venomous that David was not only fearful for his bodily survival but more so for his immortal soul. Can you imagine being that threatened, scared that your enemy would, with the force of a lion, rend your soul?

Let me take you a bit further. We learn from the definition of Shiggaion and dithyramb that this would have been a wildly impassioned lyric with similar accompanying rhythm. The melody might well have been irregular, perhaps even discordant. Now add dance movements to this concoction. Everything David was and everything he felt got poured into this song to the Lord. It was an expression of his body, soul and spirit. He emptied out his heart to the Lord as expressively as a human being can. His spirit wailed within him and he gave vent to that strong emotion.

It will be impossible for us to appreciate the poetic rhythm in the translated version. We would need to read it in the original language to see the meter. However, we can, perhaps, reach into our own souls and feel the anguish David felt and sought to express. His song cried out from within him, seeking the solace that he knew he could only find in God. He laid out his problems to his father, lord and benefactor and called on God to save him. Then as he so often did, he praised the lord. Seek the Lord, petition the help you need, praise the Lord; this is the formula we learn from David. Let your trust have the last word. Here is how the Passion translation records the last verse, “But I will give all my thanks to you, Lord, for you make everything right in the end. I will sing my highest praise to the God of the Highest Place!”

That is how we should remember David and it is a powerful lesson we can learn from his life. No matter how dire the circumstances, David always ended his impassioned, even desperate plea, with thanksgiving, praise and faith. Oh that we might be people of faith. Would that we might pour out our hearts as did David. Though many of us may fall short of David’s gift of expression, we all have the ability to fully believe in the saving power and grace of our dear Lord. Give Him praise. He is worthy indeed. Get crazy and shout out your trusting confidence in your Lord. Reach into the deepest part of your heart and find what is most passionate within and share it with your beloved God and Father.

Plea for Mercy

Psalm 6: 2 – 4              (TPT)

Please deal gently with me; show me mercy, for I’m sick and frail. I’m fading away with weakness. Heal me, for I’m falling apart. How long until you take away this pain in my body and in my soul? Lord, I’m trembling in fear! Turn to me and deliver my life because I know you love and desire to have me as your very own.

A friend of mine turned me on to the Passion Translation and I am so glad she did. I really love to read the psalms from it. I think you may be able to see why.

Have you ever felt like this, felt like you were falling apart both body and soul? I have and so I can relate to David’s cry for help. David had something many of us have not fully realized. He knew that God wanted him as His very own. Isn’t that a heartwarming thought? Can you truthfully say the same thing about yourself? I know it is true. God treasures you, but do you know it?

If you know that God loves you and desires to have you as His very own, does that give you greater confidence that He will answer your prayers? David was confident. Verses nine and ten from the God’s Word translation demonstrate this, “The Lord has heard my plea for mercy. The Lord accepts my prayer. All my enemies will be put to shame and deeply shaken with terror. In a moment they will retreat and be put to shame.” He really did trust that the Lord would meet whatever need presented itself. I can imagine David standing before his enemies saying, “In a moment you will retreat and be put to shame!” I think he believed it that strongly.

What will you say? What will you declare when you look into the mirror this morning? Do you believe the Lord will restore your soul? Is He going to heal your body? Will your enemies turn and flee in terror? Your declaration determines whether these are truths in your life or simply wishes. What is God’s role in your life? Is He a partner or a spectator?

Get excited about the God of your life. Meditate on His love and desire for you. Let that thought fill you. He will hear your plea for mercy and help and rush to your aid. That is the Father, your real father, the one who created you before the beginning of time.

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.

Page 1 of 16712345...102030...Last »