Thursday, July 31, 2008

Psalm 54

A short Psalm, only 7 verses. But in those 7 verses you see change in David's attitude as he prays. He begins with a plea for the Lord to save him.
Save me, O God, by your name;

By verse 4 he has begun to have a little more confidence as he realizes it is the Lord who sustains him.
Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.

And by the end of the Psalm he speaks in all confidence as he says he will praise the Lord's name.
For He has delivered me from all my troubles, and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.

Here David did not succumb to his emotions and fear, though he certainly starts out in them. But he was reminded of who God is and what He has done and he responds with praise and reverence for the name of the Lord and confidence in His plan.

Oh, that I may remember who God is and respond in the same way when I am fearful of those around me who would do me harm. For God is not ignorant of circumstances, nor is He incapable of handling my problems. I will put my trust in Him.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Psalm 53

The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."

That's how this Psalm begins. 5 verses later it ends with these words...
Oh, that the salvation for Isreal would come out of Zion! When God restores the fortunes of His people, let Jacob rejoice and Isreal be glad!

I love that this Psalm ends on a note of restoration. When I started reading I began to think of all the people I know who don't believe that there is a God. It saddens me that there are those who should know better and have turned their backs on Him, to the point of doubting His existence. Scripture makes clear the consequence for unbelief and rebellion from God. But the end of this Psalm reminds me not to give up hope, not to stop praying for their salvation and restoration. I praise God for His work in their lives and I ask Him to pursue them more fervently and to give them hearts receptive to His advances. And when He does restore them to fellowship with Him, we will rejoice and be glad! Praise the Lord for His goodness and mercy! His love endures forever!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Psalm 52

This Psalm has a completely different tone than the last one, and one verse in particular stands out to me:
"Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold but trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others!"

These are the words of verse 7, and the previous 6 verses speak of how the man boasts of evil, who speaks falsehood rather than truth, and how the Lord will bring him to ruin.

What the righteous say of him is not that he was a terrible sinner, nor that he was a liar, though he was. His great fault is that he trusted in his own wealth, his own works, himself, rather than trusting in God. The righteous know that they, too, are liars and sinners, and that it is only by the grace of God that they are saved. Because they know this and understand it, they do not trust in themselves, but in the God's unfailing love and His name.

Do I trust in myself and my own wealth (though not necessarily monetary wealth) or do I make God my stronghold?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Psalm 51

When David messed up, he messed up big time. He didn't do anything halfway. His adultery with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah marked a very dark time in his life, where he was, no doubt, out of fellowship with God. It wasn't just a few weeks where he was out of step with God, either. He did not repent of his sins until Nathan came to him after Bathsheba gave birth to their son. But when Nathan confronted him with his sin, after David had spent months living in it, David's response was repentance. Not a reluctant admission that what he had done might have been wrong and a statement that he was sorry if he'd hurt anyone. No, David repented like he sinned - wholeheartedly. Psalm 51 reveals David's heart as he comes before the Lord after months of absence. He lays himself bare before the Lord. And even after absence and sin and rebellion, when he returns to the Lord he has not forgotten WHO GOD IS. He KNOWS the Lord - His justice, His mercy. He says in verse 17 "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart." and that is what he brought before the Lord.

It has been a long time since I have been truly broken hearted for my sin. I would do well to learn from David's example of repentance and fall before my Lord in humility. But how can I expect to be sensitive to my sin if I am not constantly in the presence of the One who is without sin? Reading scripture, meditating on the Word, and being in constant communion and prayer is the only way to make my sin evident, all of my sin, the sins of my heart. Because what I desire is a heart that follows Him and does not go its own way.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. (Ps 51:1-2)