Day 31 – Psalm 150 – Praise Him

I. Read Psalm 150

Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Introduction – In the beginning the Psalms speak of the Law of the Lord and how it serves as a source of nourishment and life to our souls.  In progressing through the Psalms a wide range of human experience is expressed. There is suffering. There is conflict. There is grief and loss. There is great fear and dread.  There is anticipation of the promises of the Lord.  In this last Psalm there is the culmination of all things – the praise of Him who is from and through and to all things. He is center of all life experiences. He is the joy of the journey and He is the end of the journey. The Psalms begin with the picture of a godly person drawing deeply from God through His Word. The Psalms end with the shout: “Hallelujah” (literally, “Praise Yahweh”).  This final chorus calls forth praise with every instrument and every part of ourselves. “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”

As you read and meditate on Psalm 150, answer these questions in your own words:

  1. Where can we offer praise to God (verse 1)?
  2. What are our reasons for offering praise to Him (verse 2)?
  3. In verses 3-5 many musical instruments are listed as means of praise (and certainly we should praise God with such instruments). What parts of your body do these instruments require to be skilled in praised?
  4. How can you specifically grow in offering praise to Him? List several actions you can do to praise God more in your daily life and in corporate worship with others.

II. Pray Psalm 150

Write out your own prayer of praise and express your heart to Him.

III. Sing Psalm 150

1  Praise ye the Lord. God's praise within
         his sanctuary raise;
      And to him in the firmament
         of his pow'r give ye praise.
   2  Because of all his mighty acts,
         with praise him magnify:
      O praise him, as he doth excel
         in glorious majesty.
   3  Praise him with trumpet's sound; his praise
         with psaltery advance:
   4  With timbrel, harp, stringed instruments,
         and organs, in the dance.
   5  Praise him on cymbals loud; him praise
         on cymbals sounding high.
   6  Let each thing breathing praise the Lord.
         Praise to the Lord give ye.

 
Page Copyright 2001, Music for the Church of God

 

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Day 30 – Psalm 73 – Whom Have I in Heaven

I. Read Psalm 73. 

A Psalm of Asaph.

Truly God is good to Israel,
    to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
    my steps had nearly slipped.
For I was envious of the arrogant
    when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

For they have no pangs until death;
    their bodies are fat and sleek.
They are not in trouble as others are;
    they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.
Therefore pride is their necklace;
    violence covers them as a garment.
Their eyes swell out through fatness;
    their hearts overflow with follies.
They scoff and speak with malice;
    loftily they threaten oppression.
They set their mouths against the heavens,
    and their tongue struts through the earth.
10 Therefore his people turn back to them,
    and find no fault in them.
11 And they say, “How can God know?
    Is there knowledge in the Most High?”
12 Behold, these are the wicked;
    always at ease, they increase in riches.
13 All in vain have I kept my heart clean
    and washed my hands in innocence.
14 For all the day long I have been stricken
    and rebuked every morning.
15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
    I would have betrayed the generation of your children.

16 But when I thought how to understand this,
    it seemed to me a wearisome task,
17 until I went into the sanctuary of God;
    then I discerned their end.

18 Truly you set them in slippery places;
    you make them fall to ruin.
19 How they are destroyed in a moment,
    swept away utterly by terrors!
20 Like a dream when one awakes,
    O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.
21 When my soul was embittered,
    when I was pricked in heart,
22 I was brutish and ignorant;
    I was like a beast toward you.

23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
    you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strengthof my heart and my portion forever.

27 For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
    you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
28 But for me it is good to be near God;
    I have made the Lord God my refuge,
    that I may tell of all your works.

Introduction – A lot of Psalms are written in the midst of a trial. This psalm however, is written after the trial has past with the psalmist looking back. What does he see when looks back? He sees that he was envious of the wicked men all around him, since they were rich, beautiful, and carefree. By contrast, the psalmist saw his life as one of rebukes followed by bad luck. He desired to be like the wicked, to have what they have. The Covenant God’s existence began to make little difference in the world. This all changes in verse 17, when he went to the sanctuary. In worshiping God, his whole perspective changed. He saw that the wicked are not blessed just because they have material things now, but rather their lives are heading toward destruction and judgment. The psalmist also no longer maintains his innocence and righteousness as he did in verse 11; he  confesses his sinfulness to God (verse 22). What is most striking is his change in attitude toward God. He no longer sees God at fault for not blessing him with material goods. Rather, he understands that having God Himself is the greatest conceivable blessing a person could hope to have. If we have God, how can we be envious of other people? We possess the greatest treasure in heaven or on earth. If we have God and we are in relationship with Him, if he is our loving Father, then what else on earth can we desire?

Reflect on this Psalm by answering these questions in your own words.

  1. What would the Psalmist experience at the sanctuary that changes his perspective?
  2. What are some contemporary examples of wicked people that seem to have nothing but blessings in their lives
  3. Can you recount a time when has God showed His loving presence to you in the midst of your sinful attitude toward Him?
  4. What are some things that might prevent you from praying verse 23 to God? In other words, what are some things you desire besides God?

II. Pray Psalm 73. Use the key ideas in this psalm to write a prayer.

III. Sing Psalm 73.

Contributed by Jared McNabb

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Day 29 – Psalm 98 – Sing a New Song

I. Read Psalm 98.

Sing to the Lord a new song,
    for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
    have worked salvation for him.
The Lord has made his salvation known
    and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
He has remembered his love
    and his faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
    the salvation of our God.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
    burst into jubilant song with music;
make music to the Lord with the harp,
    with the harp and the sound of singing,
with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
    shout for joy before the Lord, the King.

Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
    let the mountains sing together for joy;
let them sing before the Lord,
    for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples with equity. (ESV)

Introduction – Many people are familiar with the first answer of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, which states, “Man’s chief end [main purpose] is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” We can glorify God in many ways. We can do so by obeying Him and by performing good deeds. One very important way we can glorify Him is through our worship. Psalm 98 speaks of putting our whole being into our worship of God. We are to use all means of expression. We are to sing. We are to play music. We are to shout. The shouts are to be filled with joy and the songs are to be jubilant. We are to be energetic and enthusiastic in worshiping Him because He has done marvelous things. The word ‘enthusiastic’ comes from the Greek word “enthous” which means to be possessed by a god. He is worthy of our worship and when we worship Him we are fulfilling that for which He created us. God is not only calling us to worship Him, but for all nations to do so. His revelation of Himself in Christ is to the nations, to the very ends of the earth. He will judge the whole world and bring justice or equity to the nations. Therefore, all the world is called to praise and worship our God.

Answer the questions in your own words:

  1. What are the characteristics of the worship we are to offer God?
  2. What are the foundational truths upon which our worship is based?
  3. What can you do to bring your personal and corporate worship up to a higher level?

II. Pray Psalm 98. Write out a short prayer of praise and worship to Him.

III. Sing Psalm 98.

1  O sing a new song to the Lord,
         for wonders he hath done:
      His right hand and his holy arm
         him victory hath won.
   2  The Lord God his salvation
          hath caused to be known;
      His justice in the heathen's sight
          he openly hath shown.
   3  He mindful of his grace and truth
         to Isr'el's house hath been;
      And the salvation of our God
         all ends of th' earth have seen.
   4  Let all the earth unto the Lord
         send forth a joyful noise;
      Lift up your voice aloud to him,
         sing praises, and rejoice.
   5  With harp, with harp, and voice of psalms,
         unto Jehovah sing:
   6  With trumpets, cornets, gladly sound
         before the Lord the King.
   7  Let seas and all their fullness roar;
         the world, and dwellers there;
   8  Let floods clap hands, and let the hills
         together joy declare
   9  Before the Lord; because he comes,
         to judge the earth comes he:
      He'll judge the world with righteousness,
         his folk with equity.

 
Page Copyright 2001, Music for the Church of God

 

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Day 28 – Psalm 110 – Jesus Reigns

I. Read Psalm 110.

A Psalm of David.

The Lord says to my Lord:
“Sit at My right hand
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”
The Lord will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying,
“Rule in the midst of Your enemies.”
Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Yourpower;
In holy array, from the womb of the dawn,
Your youth are to You as the dew.

The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind,
“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.”
The Lord is at Your right hand;
He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath.
He will judge among the nations,
He will fill them with corpses,
He will shatter the chief men over a broad country.
He will drink from the brook by the wayside;
Therefore He will lift up His head.

IntroductionThe first verse of Psalm 110 is directly quoted or referred to at least 21 times in the New Testament—more than any other Hebrew Scripture verse. Including references to the later verses of the psalm in Hebrews (Heb. 5:6, 7:17, 7:21, 5:10, 6:20, 7:11, 7:15), it is cited at least 28 times in the New Testament. Why so? Because the Apostles concluded that this psalm was the direct fulfillment of the Ascension of Jesus. For example, on the Day of Pentecost Peter preached: “This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, 35 until I make your enemies your footstool'” (Acts 2:32–35). Paul wrote, “For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death” (1Cor. 15:25-26). This means that Jesus is reigning from the right hand of the Father. He will subdue all of His enemies and then will come the Resurrection at the end of history. In the mean time the Kingdom advances as people “volunteer freely in the day of Your power” through the grace offered in the gospel. There are so many, His “youth” are like counting the drops of “dew” on the grass. This King is a priest like Melchizedek who gives bread and wine. The language about shattering kings and corpses is simply the picture of overwhelming victory (vv 5-6, e.g., all His enemies under His feet). But there is another allusion in the final verse to the way He wins the battle. “He will drink from the brook by the wayside; Therefore He will lift up His head.” This is an allusion to the 300 men chosen by Gideon who drank standing from their hands (rather than kneeling) (Jdg. 8). He only selected 300 because God wanted to show His power, rather than letting the victory be due to a large army (Jdg. 7:2). So it is with Christ’s reign and His victory through the gospel. It is not through the might and power of men that Christ’s enemies fall and the kingdom advances.

Reflect on this psalm by answering these questions in your own words.

  1. From your knowledge of Christian history, what are a examples of advances in the Kingdom Reign of Jesus (from the Ascension until now)?
  2. The last enemy to be overthrown at the Resurrection is death. Name a few current “enemies” (ideologies, practices, powers) of Christ in the world?
  3. If Christ is now reigning as a Priestly King with assured victory, how should this affect your attitude in daily life as you face challenges?
  4. Christ is ruling, but He accomplishes His victories (often) along side His people (e.g., 300 of Gideon). What are some battles that God may be calling you to?  Are there areas of darkness in the world, sinfulness, “kingdom enemies” in which God desires your service in His army?

II. Pray Psalm 110. Using the main ideas of Psalm 110, write a prayer.

III. Sing Psalm 110. Use the musical resources below to sing Psalm 110.

 

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Day 27 – Psalm 51 – Sin, Repentance, and Restoration

I. Read Psalm 51.

For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

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.

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
    sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
    and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
    you who are God my Savior,
    and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
    you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.

18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
    to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
    in burnt offerings offered whole;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Introduction – When was the last time your sin caused you or someone else great pain and loss? Sin is a destructive force. In our modern age of toleration we often fail to hate sin. We lose sight of the harm it does. In this psalm David was hit with the full force of what he had done. The wise prophet Nathan cleverly presented the truth of the situation to David by telling him the story of the man who owned a lamb and of his neighbor who coveted the lamb. As David’s anger burned against the covetous neighbor in the story Nathan revealed to him that he was in truth that neighbor. This psalm reflects repentance. This is the true spirit of deep sorrow and regret over sin we have committed as we see the damage it has done to others and to our relationship with a holy God. In repentance we can truly seek grace and forgiveness and we can find it. Explore the heart of repentance as you read this psalm and meditate on it.

Answer the questions in your own words.

  1. When was the last time you grasped how your sin hurt others or damaged your relationship with God?
  2. In reflection of your own sin, which verses of this psalm most connect with your feelings of repentance?
  3. How does this psalm reflect the fruits of repentance?
  4. What fruits of repentance come forth in your own walk with God?

II. Pray Psalm 51. Write out a brief prayer of repentance in your own words using Psalm 51 as an example.

III. Sing Psalm 51.

1 After thy loving-kindness, Lord,have mercy upon me:For thy compassions great, blot outall mine iniquity.2 Me cleanse from sin, and thoroughly washfrom mine iniquity:3 For my transgressions I confess;

my sin I ever see.

4 ‘Gainst thee, thee only, have I sinned,

in thy sight done this ill;

That when thou speak’st thou may’st be just,

and clear in judging still.

5 Behold, I in iniquity

was formed the womb within;

My mother also me conceived

in guiltiness and sin.

6 Behold, thou in the inward parts

with truth delighted art;

And wisdom thou shalt make me know

within the hidden part.

7 Do thou with hyssop sprinkle me,

I shall be cleansed so;

Yea, wash thou me, and then I shall

be whiter than the snow.

8 Of gladness and of joyfulness

make me to hear the voice;

That so these very bones which thou

hast broken may rejoice.

9 All mine iniquities blot out,

thy face hide from my sin.

10 Create a clean heart, Lord, renew

a right sp’rit me within.

11 Cast me not from thy sight, nor take

thy Holy Sp’rit away.

12 Restore me thy salvation’s joy;

with thy free Sp’rit me stay.

13 Then will I teach thy ways unto

those that transgressors be;

And those that sinners are shall then

be turned unto thee.

14 O God, of my salvation God,

me from blood-guiltiness

Set free; then shall my tongue aloud

sing of thy righteousness.

15 My closèd lips, O Lord, by thee

let them be opened;

Then shall thy praises by my mouth

abroad be publishèd.

16 For thou desir’st not sacrifice,

else would I give it thee;

Nor wilt thou with burnt-offering

at all delighted be.

17 A broken spirit is to God

a pleasing sacrifice:

A broken and a contrite heart,

Lord, thou wilt not despise.

18 Show kindness, and do good, O Lord,

to Zion, thine own hill:

The walls of thy Jerusalem

build up of thy good will.

19 Then righteous off ‘rings shall thee please,

and off ‘rings burnt, which they

With whole burnt-off ‘rings, and with calves,

shall on thine altar lay.


Page Copyright 2001, Music for the Church of God
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Day 26 – Psalm 145 – Bless the Name

I. Read Psalm 145.

A Psalm of Praise, of David.

I will extol You, my God, O King,
And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless You,
And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised,
And His greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendor of Your majesty
And on Your wonderful works, I will meditate.
Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts,
And I will tell of Your greatness.
They shall [c]eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness
And will shout joyfully of Your righteousness.

The Lord is gracious and merciful;
Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.
The Lord is good to all,
And His mercies are over all His works.
10 All Your works shall give thanks to You, O Lord,
And Your godly ones shall bless You.
11 They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom
And talk of Your power;
12 To make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts
And the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.

14 The Lord sustains all who fall
And raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to You,
And You give them their food in due time.
16 You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing.

17 The Lord is righteous in all His ways
And kind in all His deeds.
18 The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.
19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He will also hear their cry and will save them.
20 The Lord keeps all who love Him,
But all the wicked He will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
And all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever.

Introduction – This Psalm’s structure is not visible in the English version, but in the original Hebrew it is an acrostic based on the alphabet, like Psalm 119. The first verse begins with Aleph (a), the second with Beth (b), Gimel (c), and so forth. It extolls the attributes and salvation works of the LORD (Yahweh, the “Covenant Lord”) from A to Z, or from Aleph to Tav (Hebrew letters). It is in a parallel structure as well:

A – The Greatness of His Redemptive Works (1-10)
….B – The Glory of His Redemptive Kingdom (11-13)
A’ – The Goodness of His Redemptive Character (Name) (14-21)

The greatness of our heavenly King is recognized by the redeemed and we are to “say so.” We must speak of His greatness to the next generation. You must speak to your kids about His redemptive works (“mighty acts”), after you  take time to “meditate” on His character and work (v5).  In verses 11-13, the kingdom means when “God reigns as king.” The kingdom of His rule is glorious and cannot be stopped. Especially in the light of fulness of the Resurrection and Ascension, we are to be hopeful and optimistic. Jesus reigns regardless of our national or personal problems! It is in seeing the glory of this reign that we may have the confidence to endure all manner of hardship. The Lord’s goodness has already been asserted (v9), but in 14-21 His compassionate deliverance is described. He raises the lowly and feeds the hungry. He satisfies the needy. He is kind and fulfills the desires of those who cry to Him. He “keeps” (guards) us. We are to bless His Holy name forever.

Reflect on this psalm by answering these questions.

  1. Are you eager to speak of His greatness since you have been redeemed (v7)? Look for opportunities to give praise to God today.
  2. Do you grumble about life or do you glory in the kingdom?
  3. What would you do differently today if you were to walk in the spirit of blessing  His name (character) for His kindness?

II. Pray Psalm 145. Turn this Psalm into a prayer.

III. Sing Psalm 145.  Use these musical examples to sing Psalm 145.

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Day 25 – Psalm 128 – Blessings

I. Psalm 128.

A Song of Ascents.

Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,
    who walks in his ways!
You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
    you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
    within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
    around your table.
Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
    who fears the Lord.

The Lord bless you from Zion!
    May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
    all the days of your life!
May you see your children’s children!
    Peace be upon Israel!

Introduction – This is the quintessential picture of what it means to be blessed by God. The blessed man will prosper from his own labor (Deut. 28:1-6). His wife will be a bringer of joy like wine to the home (Ps. 104:15), and the mother of his children. These children will be lively and full of promise and hope for the future, and like olive oil, they will be an anointing of blessing and glory to you. This is not to say such blessings come automatically, for this picture is itself the result of fearing God and walking in His ways. Hard work, loving your spouse, and faithfully training your children in the ways of God is what the family life of a blessed requires. These are the blessings from Zion/Heaven. May these blessings overflow from our own homes to the whole city of God – New Jerusalem, and may we see this prosperity all the days of our life. God’s covenant blessings extend to many generations, blessing us with the gift of grandchildren. A long life and a large family are great blessings from God. With such multi-generational covenant faithfulness and blessedness, shalom (Peace/Wholeness) will indeed be upon God’s people.

Reflect on this psalm with these questions:

  1. Think deeply on fearing God and what that means for your obedience. Does the fear of God enable you to walk in His ways more, or do you live like a practical atheist?
  2. This statement is true and faithful: Happy Wife, Happy Life. Husbands, what are some practical ways you could love your wife better so that she naturally brings joy and fruitfulness to the home?
  3. Children are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Our cultures’ general outlook on children is a negative one. Do you see your children as a blessing from God? Take the time right now to pray for your children’s future faithfulness, and your children’s children.
  4. Pray that the church would fear God, walk in His ways, and that God will bless all the families of the church (Peace be upon the new Israel).

II. Pray Psalm 128. Write a prayer based on Psalm 128.

III. Sing Psalm 128.

Contributed by Michael Shover, M.Div.

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Day 24 – Psalm 47 – Praise with Music

I. Read Psalm 47.

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.

Clap your hands, all peoples!
    Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared,
    a great king over all the earth.
He subdued peoples under us,
    and nations under our feet.
He chose our heritage for us,
    the pride of Jacob whom he loves. Selah

God has gone up with a shout,
    the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises!
    Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth;
    sing praises with a psalm!

God reigns over the nations;
    God sits on his holy throne.
The princes of the peoples gather
    as the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
    he is highly exalted! (ESV)

Introduction – One of the great musical and worship revolutions in Scripture was when David brought the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem (2 Sam. 6). At this stage a new kind of worship began with music and praise at the Tabernacle of David, while animal sacrifice worship continued at another location, Gibeon. Throughout David’s life, he worshiped at this Tent/Tabernacle set up for the Ark with musical praise and worship. (This was before Solomon built the temple and united sacrifices and musical praise.) This psalm reflects the great event of bring the Ark to Jerusalem. Verse 5 says, “God has gone up with a shout,” i.e., gone up to Jerusalem. David remembers Uzzah (2 Sam. 6:5-11) and was afraid of the LORD, and so reminds the peoples that God is to be feared (v. 2). Two ideas dominate this Psalm: 1) All peoples are to offer praise to God, because, 2) He is the great King over all the earth. The promise that God made to Abraham (v. 9) that all nations through him would be blessed, is the foundation rejoicing that God reigns over all peoples, and not just Israel. Because of God’s universal kingship, all peoples are to clap their hands and shout to God with joy. God is highly exalted!

  1. God’s kingship over all the earth calls us to worship. Do you fear Him? Do you rejoice in Him? How can you fear God and rejoice in Him at the same time?
  2. Count the commands to worship God. How many are there? List the ways you are to give God praise (clapping, shouting, etc.).
  3. Think of what God’s kingship means in your own life. How does God extend His rule to you?
  4. In your daily life and at church, does your worship look and sound like what this Psalm commands? How could you increase your physical participation in worship?

II. Pray Psalm 47. Write out a prayer based on Psalm 47.

III. Sing Psalm 47.

Contributed by Michael Shover, M.Div.

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Day 23 – Psalm 12 – Is No One Faithful?

I. Read Psalm 12.

For the director of music. According to sheminith. A psalm of David.

Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore;
    those who are loyal have vanished from the human race.
Everyone lies to their neighbor;
    they flatter with their lips
    but harbor deception in their hearts.

May the Lord silence all flattering lips
    and every boastful tongue—
those who say,
    “By our tongues we will prevail;
    our own lips will defend us—who is lord over us?”

“Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan,
    I will now arise,” says the Lord.
    “I will protect them from those who malign them.”
And the words of the Lord are flawless,
    like silver purified in a crucible,
    like goldrefined seven times.

You, Lord, will keep the needy safe
    and will protect us forever from the wicked,
who freely strut about
    when what is vile is honored by the human race. (NIV)

Introduction – This psalm has a strong sense of desperation. David feels alone in a world of evil. He feels as if godliness is a lost cause. He sums up the situation and then offers a prayer. Then in verse five the Lord Himself speaks through the voice of David in answer to the prayer. If we look around our world today it can often seem that the cause of godliness is lost. However, we should take comfort. God is in control. His words are flawless. It is true that many evil ideas are common thought now. What is often honored among men is vile but the cause of the Lord will triumph.

Answer the questions in your own words:

  1. Why is David so pessimistic about the cause?
  2. In what ways can you see the same things today?
  3. As you consider verses 5 – 7, what is encouraging about the promises of God to us as His people still in this world?

II. Pray Psalm 12. Write out a short prayer to the Lord in your own words.

III. Sing Psalm 12.

Help, Lord, because the godly mandoth daily fade away;And from among the sons of menthe faithful do decay. 

2 Unto his neighbor ev’ry one

doth utter vanity:

They with a double heart do speak,

and lips of flattery.

 

3 God shall cut off all flatt’ring lips,

tongues that speak proudly thus,

4 We’ll with our tongue prevail, our lips

are ours: who’s lord o’er us?

 

5 For poor oppressed, and for the sighs

of needy, rise will I,

Saith God, and him in safety set

from such as him defy.

 

6 The words of God are words most pure;

they be like silver tried

In earthen furnace, seven times

that hath been purified.

 

7 Lord, thou shalt them preserve and keep

for ever from this race.

8 On each side walk the wicked, when

vile men are high in place.


Page Copyright 2001, Music for the Church of God

 

 

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Day 22 – Psalm 127 – Building and Guarding

I. Read Psalm 127.

 A Song of Ascents, of Solomon.

Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman keeps awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To retire late,
To eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.

Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate. (NASB)

Introduction – Psalm 127 is the first psalm in our devotions that is ascribed to Solomon. It has structure that also is a two-part parallel pattern.
A – Building
…B – Guarding
A’ – Building in Painful Labors vs the Gift of Children
…B’ – Guarding with Children-Arrows with no Shame
We must actively depend on the Lord in building our lives. Unless the Lord . . . The first verse of this Psalm addresses the God-condition on which our plans fail or succeed. “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. In first place the constructive efforts of “building” should be guided by a complete dependence on the Lord doing the “building.” We must also actively depend on the Lord in protecting our lives. “Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” Secondly, the watching/guarding to  protect what has been constructed must also be grounded on the Lord’s complete control. These are the two basic activities that we are doing throughout life: “building” and then “guarding” that which we have built. Whether you intend to or not, you are building and guarding what you have built. Maybe it’s a poor “house” with bad angles in the corners, but you are building. And perhaps you are asleep at the watch, but you are protecting or letting your your building be looted. In both of life activities, we must yield to the Lord accomplishing these activities. Building or protecting apart from the Lord will result in futility or fruitlessness. This psalm makes clear that we must actively depend on the Lord to avoid futility and fruitlessness. In the last verses there is a benediction on children who are “gift,” a “reward,” “like arrows,” and many are desired since they succeed us “at the gate” (the place of judgment and transaction). God accomplishes His building and guarding through our children. It is critical that we transfer our faith (and kingdom building/guarding) through them.

Reflect on this psalm using these questions.

  1. The Lord is not doing the building or guarding without our asking Him to do so. Invite the Lord into your home and life (once again) today.
  2. The Lord is not doing the building or guarding when we are not following His blueprint. Can you list areas of disobedience in your life? If so ask Him to grant you repentance.
  3. The Lord is not doing the building or guarding if it is not resulting in the fruitfulness of gratitude, joy and serving others. What is one action you could do or plan today to show gratitude for God’s building and protecting in your life?
  4. Children are a gift and reward. Purpose to take time to bless the children in your life today. They need affirmation, kindness, and good examples.

II. Pray Psalm 127. Turn Psalm 127 into a prayer.

III. Sing Psalm 127.

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Day 21 – Psalm 63 – Thirsting for God

Note: If you have been with us since May 1st, we are two-thirds through this 31 Day challenge! Good job! If you are just joining us, please continue and we will post the previous days after May 31st. Remember, keep journaling, keep praying the Psalm, and keep singing. Sometimes you may have to do the devotional silently, but I encourage you to try to sing audibly whenever possible. Make a joyful noise.

I. Read Psalm 63.

A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.

O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly;
My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You,
In a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips will praise You.
So I will bless You as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.

When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches,
For You have been my help,
And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to You;
Your right hand upholds me.

But those who seek my life to destroy it,
Will go into the depths of the earth.
10They will be delivered over to the power of the sword;
They will be a prey for foxes.
11 But the king will rejoice in God;
Everyone who swears by Him will glory,
For the mouths of those who speak lies will be stopped. (NASB)

Introduction – This psalm is structured in two main parallels around thirsting for God:
A. Thirsting for the Lord (v.1)
…B. Knowing God’s Covenant Love (vv.2-3)
…..C. Results in Praise (vv.4-5)
A’. Thirsting for the Lord (vv.6-8)
…B’. Knowing God’s Covenant Deliverance (vv.9-10)
……C’. Results in Praise (v.11)

1) We will thirst for the Lord if we know His Covenant Love (vv.1-5). David, in a time of trial, “seeks”  earnestly and his “soul thirsts” for the Lord. His flesh “yearns” for the Lord (v.1). He sees literally and metaphorically (in the desert) that everything else is dry and weary. David thirsts for the Lord because he has seen God in the sanctuary. He has seen God’s power and glory (v. 2). Seeing God as He is has led him to see that the covenant love (hesed) of the Lord is “better than life.” The result is that the Lord is to be “blessed” and worshiped. The experience of authentic worship brings the realization that “My soul is satisfied” as with literally “fat food.”
2) We will thirst for the Lord if we trust His Covenant Deliverance (vv.6-11). David seeks God in his “down time” (“on my bed”). In the restlessness of troubled times he contemplates (meditates) the Lord’s salvation/deliverance. God has been his help, his cover, and his strength (v.7-8). David knows that the enemies that hunger to destroy him will be “delivered over” to His Covenant Protector. Their mouths will be stopped. Those who would prey upon him will become prey because David prays. The result of hungering for the Lord is to glimpse His glory. “Everyone who swears by Him will glory” (v.11).

Reflect on this psalm by answering these questions.

  1. Why does David begin this psalm with the image of thirsting?
  2. Remember God’s kindnesses and covenant love for you. Name a few of them.
  3. Do you have any enemies, those that may be seeking to do you harm? How did David view his enemies in this psalm? (vv9ff) Why so? (vv6-8)
  4. If our thirst increases as we trust in His deliverance (vv. 6-11) – what are several ways can you show a desire for the presence of God in your daily life?

II. Pray the Psalm. Write a prayer from Psalm 63 that expresses your heart to God.

III. Sing Psalm 63. Sing this psalm using a famous melody written by Thomas Tallis, also used in the music to the film, “Master and Commander.”

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Day 20 – Psalm 34 – Facing Trouble

I. Read Psalm 34.

Of David. When he pretended to be insane before Abimelek, who drove him away, and he left.

I will extol the Lord at all times;
    his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;
    let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
    let us exalt his name together.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
    he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
    their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
    he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
    and he delivers them.

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
    for those who fear him lack nothing.
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
    but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, listen to me;
    I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Whoever of you loves life
    and desires to see many good days,
13 keep your tongue from evil
    and your lips from telling lies.
14 Turn from evil and do good;
    seek peace and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
    and his ears are attentive to their cry;
16 but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
    to blot out their name from the earth.

17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
    he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19 The righteous person may have many troubles,
    but the Lord delivers him from them all;
20 he protects all his bones,
    not one of them will be broken.

21 Evil will slay the wicked;
    the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
22 The Lord will rescue his servants;
    no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned. New International Version (NIV)

Introduction – This psalm contains a mixture of ideas, but there are a couple of key themes that run throughout. First, times of trouble come. Second, seek the Lord in these times of trouble. Third, He will answer our cries for help in these times of trouble. Have you ever faced a time of overwhelming trouble? If you have not, chances are very good that you will. This is life. Maybe you or a person you love will suffer a tragic situation. Probably you have heard someone say to another person who was suffering, “it will be alright.” The good news is that this is very simply the way it is for those of us who belong to Him. In our very worst moments, we can cry out to Him and He will look at us and comfort us with the truth that it will in fact be alright. This is not a comfort available to the rest of the world. They have only fate, often cruel fate, to count on things working out. As we learn to trust Him in the small problems of life this builds us up and prepares us to trust Him in the larger issues of life.

Answer these questions as means to reflect on Psalm 34:

  1. In what ways does the psalm describe trouble?
  2. How does the psalm describe the responses of David to trouble?
  3. What trouble do you or could you possibly face in life? What is your worst fear?
  4. In what ways could you respond as David did? What would it look like in your behaviors?

II. Pray Psalm 34. Use David’s prayer in this psalm to pour our your heart to Him prayer. Let Him know those things that trouble you and commit yourself to trust Him with this. Let Him know your worst fears and commit yourself to trust Him come what may. Write out this prayer in your own words.

III. Sing Psalm 34 using this metrical arrangement. It can be sung to the tune of “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name.”

1 I will give laud and honor both unto the Lord always; My mouth also for evermore shall speak unto his praise. 2 I do delight to praise the Lord,in soul, ill heart, in voice,That humble men may hear thereof,and heartily rejoice.3 Therefore see that ye magnifywith me the living Lord;

Let us exalt his holy Name

always with one accord.

4 For I myself besought the Lord,

he answered me again,

And me delivered speedily

From all my fear and pain.

5 Whoso they be that him behold,

shall see his light most clear;

Their countenance shall not be dashed,

they never need to fear.

6 The poor distressèd man for help

unto the Lord doth call,

Who doth him hear without delay,

and rid him out of thrall.

7 The angel of the Lord doth pitch

his tents in ev’ry place,

To save all such as do him fear,

that nothing them deface.

8 Taste, and consider well therefore,

that God is good and just!

O happy man, that maketh him

his only stay and trust!

9 O fear the Lord, all ye his saints,

who is a mighty King;

For they that fear the living Lord,

are sure to lack nothing.

10 The lions shall be hunger-bit,

and pined with famine much;

But as for them that fear the Lord,

no lack shall be to such.

The Second Part.

11 Come near to me, my children, and

unto my words give ear;

I will you teach the perfect way,

how ye the Lord shall fear.

12 Who is the man that would live long,

and lead a happy life?

See thou refrain thy tongue and lips

from all deceit and strife.

13   Turn back thy face from doing ill,

and do the godly deed:

Inquire for peace and quietness,

and follow it with speed.

14 For why? the eyes of God above

upon the just are bent;

His ears likewise to hear the cry

of the poor innocent.

15 But he doth frown, and bend his brows

upon the wicked train,

And cuts away the memory

that should of them remain.

16 But when the just do call and cry,

the Lord doth hear them so,

That out of pain and misery

forthwith he lets them go.

17 The Lord is ever nigh to them

that broken-hearted are,

And for the contrite spirit he

salvation doth prepare.

18 Full many be the miseries

that righteous men endure;

But of deliv’rance from them all

the Lord doth them secure.

 

19 The Lord doth so preserve and keep

their very bones alway,

That not so much as one of them

doth perish or decay.

20 The sin shall slay the wicked man

which he himself hath wrought;

And such as hate the righteous man

shall soon be brought to nought.

21 But they that fear the living Lord

are ever safe and sound;

And as for those that trust in him,

nothing shall them confound.


Page Copyright 2001, Music for the Church of God

 

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Day 19 – Psalm 91 – Under the Mercy

I. Read Psalm 91.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High,
    who abides in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress;
    my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
    and from the deadly pestilence;
he will cover you with his pinions,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
    nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand;
    but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
    and see the recompense of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord your refuge,[a]
    the Most High your habitation,
10 no evil shall befall you,
    no scourge come near your tent.

11 For he will give his angels charge of you
    to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder,
    the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.

14 Because he cleaves to me in love, I will deliver him;
    I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
    and show him my salvation.

Introduction – What do you worry about? What do you fear? This psalm describes the peace that comes from resting in God’s protection. God shelters his people like a bird who spreads it’s wings over it’s chicks to keep them from prey. Those who trust in God should not fear, night or day. The Lord is our God. Verse 11 is part of Satan’s temptation of Christ and the psalm has a Messianic quality after these verses. In verse 14, voice of the psalm moves from the writer to God, Himself, speaking. God promises that he will deliver, protect and always be with his people in their troubles. He promises and answer those who call out to him, and promises to send his salvation. Nothing happens beyond God’s power and God’s purpose. The Father’s care for the Son which led to Christ’s resurrection and ascension is a pattern for us to remember. God does promise deliverance in the first place to Jesus and through His deliverance, we are all to be fully delivered in the resurrection.

Reflect on this Psalm with these questions.

  1. Taking this Psalm to heart, when you are in trouble, what should you do?
  2. In the past few weeks have you faced trouble or hardship? How did you respond?
  3. How might thinking about God’s protecting care in Christ change how you responded to your hardships? Based on this how will you deal with the next problem?
  4. Give praise to God since He will ultimately deliver you through Christ in resurrection.

II. Pray Psalm 91. Use these thoughts and ideas to write a prayer with Psalm 91.

III. Sing Psalm 91. Listen to or download this Genevan version of Psalm 91.

Posted in Anxiety, Protection | Tagged | Leave a comment

Day 18 – Psalm 32 – My Hiding Place

I. Read Psalm 32

1. Blessed is he

whose transgressions are forgiven

whose sins are covered

2. Blessed is the man

whose sin the Lord does not count

against him

and whose spirit there is no deceit.

3. When I kept silent,

my bones wasted away

through my groaning all day long.

4. For day and night

your hand was upon me;

my strength was sapped

as in the heat of summer.

5. Then I acknowledged my sin to you

and did not cover up my iniquity.

I said, “I will confess

My transgressions to the Lord”—

And you forgave

The guilt of my sin.

6. Therefore let everyone who is godly

pray to you

while you may be found;

surely when the mighty waters rise,

they will not reach him.

7. You are my hiding place;

you will protect me from trouble

and surround me with songs of

deliverance

8. I will instruct you and teach you in the

way you should go;

I will counsel you and watch over

you.

9. Do not be like the horse or the mule,

which have to be controlled by bit and bridle

or they will not come to you.

10 Many are the woes of the wicked,

but the Lord’s unfailing love

surrounds the man who trusts in

him.

11. Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you

righteous;

sing, all you who are upright in

heart!

Introduction: There are several interesting points about this psalm. First, there is a note that states this psalm is a ‘maskil’ of David. A maskil is thought by some to be a psalm written by David during the time he did himself from those who sought to harm him. Recall that David fled from Saul and others in his lifetime. In verse seven David affirms the Lord as his hiding place, a refuge, a place of protection. Second, note the change of voice throughout this psalm. At times David comments on truths from a third person point of view (vs. 1,2,6,10,11). At other times he speaks of his own experience and addresses this in prayer to the Lord (vs. 3,4,5,7). At another point in the psalm he appears to take the voice of the Lord as he instructs (8,9).

Answer these questions in your words as you reflect on the truths of this psalm:

  1. What the general timeless truths that David expresses in his third person statements?
  2. What truths does David express from his own personal experience in his relationship with God?
  3. How do David’s circumstances at that time add meaning to what he writes?
  4. How would these truths connect with your life in your moments of struggle?

 

5. What truths come from the voice of the Lord in this psalm and how do we appropriate these promises in our life?

 

 

II. Pray Psalm 32

Write out a short prayer expressing your own response to these truths. Pray in response to the general truths in this psalm. Pray in response to David’s own personal statements. Pray in response to what the Lord promises in this psalm.

III. Sing Psalm 32. Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart! Apply this verse right now by using these musical versions:

1 Happy the man to whom his God No more imputes his sin,But, washed in the Redeemer’s blood,Hath made his garments clean.2 Happy beyond expression heWho debts are thus discharged;

And from the guilty bondage free,

He feels his soul enlarged.

 

3 His spirit hates deceit and lies,

His words are all sincere;

He guards his heart, he guards his eyes,

To keep his conscience clear.

 

4 While I my inward guilt suppressed,

No quiet could I find;

Thy wrath lay burning in my breast,

And racked my tortured mind.

 

5 Then I confessed my troubled thoughts,

My secret sins revealed;

Thy pard’ning grace forgave my faults,

Thy grace my pardon sealed.

 

6 This shall invite thy saints to pray;

When like a raging flood

Temptations rise, our strength and stay

Is a forgiving God.


Page Copyright 2001, Music for the Church of God
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Day 17 – Psalm 121 – My Help Comes from the Lord

I. Read Psalm 121.

A Song of Ascents.

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.

The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore. (NKJV)

Introduction – Psalm 121 has provided great comfort to God’s people. One phrase has been frequently used as a call to worship: “From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.” For those in covenant with God, like father Abraham, God has promised to bring about His covenant promises and will bring protection. Since God is the maker of the world, the elements of the world will not harm us. We can sleep with ease, because the sun will not hurt us. Neither will the moon hurt us. We are defended from enemies on all sides. This psalm is a benediction upon God’s covenant people.  All benedictions are general. If we receive the blessing that, God bless you and keep you, it may seem that sickness or trial would be inconsistent with this. But is it? To the unbelieving, every difficulty is a sworn witness against God’s goodness and His willingness to bless His people. But to one who is saturated in God’s Word and promises, we know that all things work together for good because He is conforming us to the image of Christ. Abraham went through trials, but they all resulted in His receiving promised blessings from His Covenant Lord. So this psalm calls us to look to the Lord for goodness. We are to look to Him and from His hand we are to receive goodness. We are to trust that the Lord will preserve us from all evil. In believing this, we can weather trials and hardships because the Lord who is sovereign overall does not intend these as evil, but for our eternal good.

Reflect on these truths by answering these questions in your own words.

  1. From whence is your help to come?
  2. What are some ways you could use or share such blessings and benedictions on others in your life?
  3. If God will preserve you from all evil, does that mean no evil things can come into your life? What are your thoughts or questions on this?
  4. If you were to fully trust God as meaning and intending only eternal good for you, how might you respond differently to difficulties today?

II. Pray Psalm 121. Turn the words of this Psalm into a prayer offered to the Lord.

III. Sing Psalm 121. Listen to or download this Psalm in several versions.

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Day 16 – Psalm 27 – Whom Shall I Fear?

I. Read Psalm 27.

A Psalm of David.

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the defense of my life;
Whom shall I dread?
When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh,
My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell.
Though a host encamp against me,
My heart will not fear;
Though war arise against me,
In spite of this I shall be confident.

One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord
And to meditate in His temple.
For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle;
In the secret place of His tent He will hide me;
He will lift me up on a rock.
And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me,
And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice,
And be gracious to me and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You,
“Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.”
Do not hide Your face from me,
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not abandon me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation!
10For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
But the Lord will take me up.

11 Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a level path
Because of my foes.
12 Do not deliver me over to the [i]desire of my adversaries,
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
13I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord. (NASB)

Introduction –  This Psalm’s theme is confidence in the presence of God. This confidence removes fear. This can be seen from the outline or structure of this Psalm. One of the literary aspects of the Psalms is parallelism. Parallels do not just affect one line compared to another: “Whom shall I fear?/Whom shall I dread?” – These parallels extend to the outline or structure of the entire Psalm. This Psalm is in two sections (1-6, 7-14) and these sections form a mirrored parallel:
A) Confidence in God’s Presence (vv1-3)
B) Praise for God’s Presence (vv4-6)
B’) Prayer for God’s Presence (vv7-12)
A’) Confidence in God’s Presence (vv13-14)
(This kind of parallel structure is a called a chaism or chiasmus.)

We should have confidence in God because He is our light, our deliverance, and our defense (v1). The result of this is faith, not fear; rather we worship instead of worry.  Fear comes when that which we trust fails.  Anxiety is produced when our “light” is not the Lord. This Psalm speaks to our tendency to have worry and anxiety. Here there is a contrast between worry and worship. Worry uses the same faculties as worship. In both our thoughts and words are present, as well our emotions and imaginations. Worry is imagination used in futility. But worship is using all of our faculties aright. We should seek God’s presence because only in seeing Him as He is, will we worship Him as we ought. True worship involves meditation, seeing the beauty of the Lord, and the sacrifice of praise (4 & 6). This kind of worship lifts us above our enemies (5-6) and helps us cry out for God’s presence in the times when we feel abandoned (vv9-10). There is a surprising turn in the mood (v7). It shows the ordinary experience of believers. We prepare in worship and then we face life challenges. If we have confidence in God because He is our light, deliverance, and defense; and if we have prepared by worship (meditation, God’s beauty, and praise), then despite our “day of trouble,” we will return to confidence in God’s presence. Despair will come “unless we believe.” Acting in faith. we will “see the goodness of the LORD” (v13). The spiritual disciplines to practice are patience and prayer instead of anxiety and fear.

Reflect on this Psalm by answering these questions in your own words.

  1. In recent days have you found yourself trusting in your resources (money), your natural abilities, or other people (spouse, family, friends, leaders, government, etc.) more than the Lord? In what ways?
  2. Despite your confessed faith, write down a few anxieties that haunt you?
  3. What would peace and patience (“waiting” v14) look like in your life? List at least three ways you could demonstrate peace and patience because of God’s presence.

II. Pray Psalm 27. Write out a prayer which is about your life now, including the themes of this Psalm.

III. Sing Psalm 27. Worship the Lord by singing this Psalm. Listen to or download this version of Psalm 27. Listen to another version of this Psalm.

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Day 15 – Psalm 95 – Enter His Rest

I. Read Psalm 95.

O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord,
Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving,
Let us shout joyfully to Him withpsalms.
For the Lord is a great God
And a great King above all gods,
In whose hand are the depths of the earth,
The peaks of the mountains are His also.
5The sea is His, for it was He who made it,
And His hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us worship and bow down,
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.
Today, if you would hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
As in the day of Massah in the wilderness,
“When your fathers tested Me,
They tried Me, though they had seen My work.
10 “For forty years I loathed that generation,
And said they are a people who err in their heart,
And they do not know My ways.
11 “Therefore I swore in My anger,
Truly they shall not enter into My rest.”

Introduction – This Psalm begins with a call to worship in God’s presence, to thank Him and praise Him with song. He is the Maker of the world so we should worship Him on bended knee. But even more, He is our Shepherd and we are the sheep of His hand. This means that our Shepherd feeds and cares for us by His hand. The Psalm ends acknowledging Israel’s failure as they grumbled and showed hard hearts at Meribah and Massah in the wilderness. The consequence is that many did not enter into their rest from the wilderness. Psalm 95 thus turns the experience of the Israelites (Ex. 17) into a song. In hard episodes in life we want to completely wash them from our memories, especially in sinful and shameful things we have done. Israel did not get to sweep their sin “under the rug.” Israel’s failures were written into their history and their hymns. True worship arises from truth. Proper worship arises not only from knowing God’s power and love, but from reflecting on our failures. Let us shout to the “Rock of our salvation,” while we also know that we must not harden our hearts like rocks.

Reflect on this Psalm by answering these questions in your own words.

  1. Why should we make a joyful noise?
  2. If you were to write a song that recounted your disobedience, what would it say and where did it happen?
  3. Being as honest as possible, is your heart hard now? If so ask God to soften your heart before Him, remember that He is your Creator and your caring Shepherd. He wants you to enter into rest by faith and trust in Him.
  4. Are there some ways that you could enter into the Lord’s rest which your are resisting?

II. Pray Psalm 95. Using the main ideas of this Psalm write a prayer to the Lord.

III. Sing Psalm 95.Worship the Lord by singing this psalm. Listen to or download this version of Psalm 95.

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Day 14 – Psalm 130 – Cry Out to the Lord

I. Read Psalm 130.

A Song of Ascents.

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
    Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
    to the voice of my supplications!

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
    Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you,
    so that you may be revered.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
    and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
    more than those who watch for the morning,
    more than those who watch for the morning.

O Israel, hope in the Lord!
    For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
    and with him is great power to redeem.
It is he who will redeem Israel
    from all its iniquities. (NRSV)

Introduction – Psalm 130 is a Psalm of Ascents. These were sung by those journeying to worship in Jerusalem to celebrate annual festivals. Some were penitential, calling out to the Lord for mercy. In this case, the psalmist cries out to the Lord, recognizing that no one can stand on their own righteousness in God’s presence. But He is rich in forgiveness. So the Psalmist waits for the Lord. Israel is to hope in the Lord because God will redeem Israel from all their iniquities. The Psalms teach us the full range of prayer, praise and even complaints that we may properly express to God, not only individually, but corporately. In Psalm 130 we have a call for God’s presence along with a recognition of our unworthiness (“If You should mark iniquities . . .”). We are sinners and saints at the same time. We have no inherent righteousness whereby we can demand a Holy God’s presence and power in our lives. Yet, He forgives and now we see the full basis for that forgiveness through Christ’s death and resurrection. Despite our natural unworthiness, it is right and good that we still call upon Him to be present. We should be those whose “souls wait for the Lord.” We need a thirst for God that is just as eager as those awaiting the safety of morning light in the dark night of battle. The promise is that “with the Lord there is mercy” and “abundant redemption.”

  1. Do you believe this that God is merciful and give abundant redemption? What evidence of this is in your life?
  2. Do you sense God’s abundant presence in your life now or are you awaiting more of His presence like the Psalmist? Cry out to the Lord in prayer to ask for His presence.
  3. What iniquities could the Lord mark in your life? Confess them to the Lord and ask for abundant forgiveness through Christ.
  4. Believe and keep believing that you are forgiven through Christ’s abundant redemption. Believing this, how will this shape your actions and attitudes today?

II. Pray Psalm 130. Write out a short prayer expressing your response to this psalm.

III. Sing Psalm 130. Worship the Lord by singing this psalm. Listen to or download this version of Psalm 130 (Music notation in the Outline).

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Day 13 – Psalm 118 – This is the Day

I. Read Psalm 118.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good
and his loyal love endures!
Let Israel say,
“Yes, his loyal love endures!”
Let the family of Aaron say,
“Yes, his loyal love endures!”
Let the loyal followers of the Lord say,
“Yes, his loyal love endures!”
In my distress I cried out to the Lord.
The Lord answered me and put me in a wide open place.
The Lord is on my side, I am not afraid!
What can people do to me?
The Lord is on my side as my helper.
I look in triumph on those who hate me.
It is better to take shelter in the Lord
than to trust in people.
It is better to take shelter in the Lord
than to trust in princes.
10 All the nations surrounded me.
Indeed, in the name of the Lord I pushed them away.
11 They surrounded me, yes, they surrounded me.
Indeed, in the name of the Lord I pushed them away.
12 They surrounded me like bees.
But they disappeared as quickly as a fire among thorns.
Indeed, in the name of the Lord I pushed them away.
13 “You aggressively attacked me and tried to knock me down,
but the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord gives me strength and protects me;
he has become my deliverer.”
15 They celebrate deliverance in the tents of the godly.
The Lord’s right hand conquers,
16 the Lord’s right hand gives victory,
the Lord’s right hand conquers.
17 I will not die, but live,
and I will proclaim what the Lord has done.
18 The Lord severely punished me,
but he did not hand me over to death.
19 Open for me the gates of the just king’s temple!
I will enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the Lord’s gate—
the godly enter through it.
21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me,
and have become my deliverer.
22 The stone which the builders discarded
has become the cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord’s work.
We consider it amazing!
24 This is the day the Lord has brought about.
We will be happy and rejoice in it.
25 Please Lord, deliver!
Please Lord, grant us success!
26 May the one who comes in the name of the Lord be blessed!
We will pronounce blessings on you in the Lord’s temple.
27 The Lord is God and he has delivered us.
Tie the offering with ropes
to the horns of the altar!
28 You are my God and I will give you thanks!
You are my God and I will praise you!
29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good
and his loyal love endures!

Introduction – This Psalm was sung by travelers coming to Jerusalem to worship (after the exile). It focuses upon the goodness of the Lord for those entering into His presence in His House. It is used by worshipers on the original Palm Sunday and since then in the Church to mark that time: Psalms 118:25–26 – “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD; We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.” This Psalm includes some marvelous prophetic words that Jesus cited in the temple area during Holy Week. Jesus was the chief cornerstone, but the builders rejected Him. Yet through this rejection, God has acted. The latter verses in the Psalm make it clear that God was doing something marvelous by the rejection of Jesus. The rejection of the chief cornerstone, means the building will be rebuilt. The religious leaders of Jerusalem in the first century rejected Jesus as the cornerstone of the holy temple of God. They were trying to build a different building. Their foundation was their works done in self-righteousness, their dead rites, and their political collusion. Their unrighteousness becomes clearer and clearer as they successfully plot the murder of Jesus. When Jesus went to the temple in fulfillment of Psalm 118, He announced in the words of Jeremiah 7, this temple would be no place of refuge for them. Not one stone would be left standing on the other. Jesus was intent on building another house, another temple, the Church from all nations.

Answer these questions in your own words:

  1. According to this Psalm, who is the Messiah and what will he do?
  2. From your knowledge of history, why do you think God let Jerusalem’s temple be destroyed in 70 A.D.?
  3. The Apostle Paul wrote to Christians, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1Corinthians 3:16). What are a few things you could do to strengthen your own part in the Church?
  4. This Psalm speaks of the worshiper who enters into the gates and give thanks (vv19ff). How can you enter into God’s house with this same spirit? Are there ways you could be better prepared for worship (arriving promptly, resting well the night before, learning about the Word to be taught or preached, learning music, etc.)?

II. Pray Psalm 118. Write out a short prayer expressing your response to this psalm.

III. Sing Psalm 118. Worship the Messiah  by singing this psalm. Listen to or download this version of Psalm 118 (Music notation is in the Outline). Listen to another version of the Psalm.

Posted in Messianic, Temple, Worship | Tagged | Leave a comment

Day 12 – Psalm 8 – Our Majestic Creator

I. Read Psalm 8.

For the director of music. According to gittith. A psalm of David.

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
    in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
    to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels
    and crowned themwith glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
    you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
    and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
    and the fish in the sea,
    all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Introduction – This psalm is overtly musical. It contains a musical directive at the beginning in its instruction from the director of music to use the instrument called the gittith for accompaniment. It seems to have originated in Gath. The ancient Targums (Aramaic version of the Psalms) says, “For praise, on the lyre that he brought from Gath.” David praises God and prophesies of Christ with a Philistine musical instrument. David incorporates instruments from other nations into his musical praise (1Chr. 23:5). Some scholars think this might be an ancient stringed instrument, possibly an ancestor to our modern guitar. How delightful it is that these psalms can be authentically performed with complex musical arrangements (i.e. Psalm 150), with simple accompaniment (such as this psalm), or even without a simple vocal expression. This psalm is about worship. It begins with a phrase of worship, “Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” Sandwiched in between these phrases is great truth about who God is and what He has done. Take the time each day to offer your voice to Him in worship as you sing the psalm of that day. It is not the grandness of your music or your voice that pleases Him. It is the outpouring of your joy in worshiping Him in spirit and in truth.

Answer these questions in your own words:

  1. How do you see the character of God in creation?
  2. Why is God interested in “all the earth” recognizing the majesty of His name?
  3. Why should the God who created and sustains all things desire to be mindful of you?
  4. How should we respond to the initiative of this creator God who approaches us for relationship and fellowship? What are some ways that you can personally respond to Him?

II. Pray Psalm 8. Write out a short prayer expressing your response to this psalm.

III. Sing Psalm 8. Worship the majestic creator of the universe by singing this psalm. Listen to or download this version of Psalm 8.

Sing metrical version of this psalm to the tune of O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing.

1   O God our Lord, how wonderful are thy works ev’ry where!Thy fame surmounts in dignitythe highest heav’ns that are.2 E’en by the mouth of sucking babesthou wilt confound thy foes;For in those babes thy might is seenthy graces they disclose.3 And when I see the heav’ns above,the work of thine own hand,

The sun, the moon, and all the stars

in order as they stand;

4 Lord what is man, that thou of him

tak’st such abundant care!

Or what the son of man, whom thou

to visit dost not spare!

5 For thou hast made him little less

than angels in degree;

And thou hast also crowned him

with glorious dignity.

6 Thou hast preferred him to be lord

of all thy works, and thou

Hast in subjection unto him

put all things here below.

7 As sheep, and neat, and all beasts else

that in the fields do feed,

Fowls of the air, fish of the sea,

and all that therein breed,

8 O God our Lord, how excellent

is thy most glorious Name

In all the earth! Therefore do we

praise and adore the same.


Page Copyright 2001, Music for the Church of God
e-mail us at: webmaster@cgmusic.com

 

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Day 11 – Psalm 116 – Salvation and Celebration

I. Read Psalm 116.

I love the Lord, because He hears
My voice and my supplications.
Because He has inclined His ear to me,
Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.
The cords of death encompassed me
And the terrors of Sheol came upon me;
I found distress and sorrow.
Then I called upon the name of the Lord:
“O Lord, I beseech You, save my life!”

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
Yes, our God is compassionate.
The Lord preserves the simple;
I was brought low, and He saved me.
Return to your rest, O my soul,
For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
For You have rescued my soul from death,
My eyes from tears,
My feet from stumbling.
I shall walk before the Lord
In the land of the living.
10 I believed when I said,
“I am greatly afflicted.”
11 I said in my alarm,
“All men are liars.”

12 What shall I render to the Lord
For all His benefits toward me?
13 I shall lift up the cup of salvation
And call upon the name of the Lord.
14 I shall pay my vows to the Lord,
Oh may it be in the presence of all His people.
15 Precious in the sight of the Lord
Is the death of His godly ones.
16 O Lord, surely I am Your servant,
I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid,
You have loosed my bonds.
17 To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
And call upon the name of the Lord.
18 I shall pay my vows to the Lord,
Oh may it be in the presence of all His people,
19 In the courts of the Lord’s house,
In the midst of you, O Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord!

Introduction – Psalm 116 is a deliverance Psalm which is cited in the New Testament in several places (2Cor. 4; Rom. 3). It’s shape is very Messianic. It pictures the righteous man who loves the Covenant Lord (Yahweh) and calls out to Him. This man is trapped, snared in death, but he calls for God to save him and deliverance comes. This Psalm includes a beautiful verse regarding the death of believers: “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful ones.” In light of his deliverance he asks, how can I repay the Lord? But of course there is no repayment of grace or else it is not grace at all, it is “works.” The answer shows the true nature of delighting in the Lord. He will delight in the cup of salvation. He will give thanks with joy in the presence of the people of God. Christ was encompassed by death and evil men, but was delivered through resurrection and lifted up the cup of salvation on the first day of the week. For the original setting, paying a vow with a thanksgiving sacrifice included an offering of an animal, then a sacrificial meal which was a way to celebrate God’s goodness. In this rite, the sacrificial animal(s) must be eaten on the same day (Lev. 7:15). This implies (given the amount of food) that it required family, friends, and even the poor, to participate in this celebratory meal. Christ began a meal of thanksgiving prior to his death and after he was raised he ate and drank with his disciples (Acts 10:41). The meal he established is often called the Eucharist (from the Greek word for “thanksgiving”). After God’s full and complete deliverance in Christ, we are to celebrate the feast with thanksgiving. How do we repay the Lord for our salvation? We cannot repay Him; we can only rejoice and give thanks in His presence, lifting with joy the cup of salvation. Deliverance leads to joy in celebration.

In your own words, respond to the questions:

  1. Consider the many occasions God has given you temporal deliverance, safety, healing,  restoration, keeping you out of trouble, etc. Give thanks to the Lord for a few of these.
  2. Beyond temporal safety, meditate on the full deliverance you have in Christ. List some of the benefits of the work of Christ for you.
  3. When you realize the deliverance you have in Christ, what are some ways you can respond with joy and thanksgiving?
  4. This week how can you lift up the cup in joy in your daily walk? How can you “pay the vow” of a thanksgiving offering with your family, friends and the needy, extending the Table of thanksgiving?

II. Pray Psalm 116. Write out a short prayer expressing your response to this Psalm.

III. Sing Psalm 116. Worship by expressing your soul through music.

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Day 10 – Psalm 40 – I Waited Patiently For the Lord

I. Read Psalm 40.

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the Lord.

Blessed is the man who makes
    the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
    to those who go astray after a lie!
You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
    your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
    none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
    yet they are more than can be told.

In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted,
    but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt offering and sin offering
    you have not required.
Then I said, “Behold, I have come;
    in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
I delight to do your will, O my God;
    your law is within my heart.”

I have told the glad news of deliverance
    in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips,
    as you know, O Lord.
10 I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
    I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
    from the great congregation.

11 As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain
    your mercy from me;
your steadfast love and your faithfulness will
    ever preserve me!
12 For evils have encompassed me
    beyond number;
my iniquities have overtaken me,
    and I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head;
    my heart fails me.

13 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me!
    O Lord, make haste to help me!
14 Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether
    who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
    who delight in my hurt!
15 Let those be appalled because of their shame
    who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”

16 But may all who seek you
    rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
    say continually, “Great is the Lord!”
17 As for me, I am poor and needy,
    but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
    do not delay, O my God! (ESV)

Introduction – Psalm 40 is a Psalm attributed to David, but it is known to many in the Western contemporary world due to the fact that U2 performed a version of it on their 1983 album, War. It’s no secret the song was a success. Despite the centuries and cultural differences that separate its original context and ours, there are universal themes that anyone faces in the pilgrimage that is the Christian life. The Psalm provides a wonderfully simple formula for spiritual encouragement and sustenance. First, look back on God’s past faithfulness. “I waited patiently for the Lord, he inclined to me and heard my cry.” “You have multiplied…your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us.” Second, realize that spiritual transformation comes from the inside out. As Jesus says, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander” (Matt. 15:19). A heart broken and contrite before God leads to celebrating God’s deeds with our lips and our lives. Looking back on God’s constant faithfulness and grace, delighting in God in our hearts, flowing over into our vocation to be His witnesses, these are sure fire ways to press on with godly confidence to the hope of glory.

In your own words, respond to the questions:

  1. Make a list of some ways that God has been faithful to you and your community of faith in recent memory.
  2. Verse 4 says: “Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!” Where has God’s grace covered you even when you have wandered after lies? Are there lies that keep your heart captive right now? Idols that need to be smashed?
  3. “For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me,  and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me” (v. 12). These could have been the very words of Jesus in his passion. In what ways does the vicarious suffering of Christ for you make you want to “tell the glad news” in the church and in the world.
  4. Who do you know that needs the encouragement and glad news concerning the God who inclines and hears His children’s cries, tabernacling with them in the flesh. List two people and pray for them by name, and for guidance as to how to encourage or evangelize them. (Contributed by Scott Jones)

II. Pray Psalm 40. Write out a short prayer expressing your response to this Psalm.

III. Sing Psalm 40. Worship by expressing your soul through music.

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Day 9 – Psalm 67 – The Purpose of God’s Blessing

I. Read Psalm 67.

God be gracious to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine upon us—Selah.
That Your way may be known on the earth,
Your salvation among all nations.
Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy;
For You will judge the peoples with uprightness
And guide the nations on the earth. Selah.
Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
The earth has yielded its produce;
God, our God, blesses us.
God blesses us,
That all the ends of the earth may fear Him. (NASB)

Introduction – Have you ever listened to a songwriter explain the background of a song that you enjoy? This Psalm has a background. The Psalmist is reflecting on one of the great themes in the promise God made to Abraham. God not only promised Abraham a Land and a Seed, but that somehow “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:3). Psalm 67 makes a prayerful praise song from this. It explains the reason that blesses his people: [In order] “that Your way may be known on the earth, Your salvation among all nations. The overflow of Israel’s blessings is to the nations. This has been on God’s heart since Genesis 12. The good puritan Matthew Henry rightly draws out three truths intended from this. We are blessed: 1) That divine revelation might be sent among [the nations]. 2) That divine worship may be set up among [the nations]. 3) That the divine government may be acknowledged and cheerfully submitted to [among the nations]. “Let the nations be glad!” Missions exists because worship doesn’t (says John Piper). Blessings to us exist so that missions should. God provides us with blessings so that we can proclaim the goodness of God to those who do not yet share in that goodness. So why has God blessed you, “God blesses us, that all the ends of the earth may fear Him” (v7).

In your own words, respond to the questions:

  1. What are several blessings God has given to you?
  2. What kinds of blessings has God given to your community, your church, your home?
  3. What blessings do you think the Lord desires to extend to other nations and ethnic groups you know about?
  4. Can you think of any ways you can support such opportunities to send forth blessings to others? List some missions efforts that you could include for prayer or financial support. Ask God to lead you and help you grow in missions.

II. Pray Psalm 67. Write out a short prayer expressing your response to this Psalm.

III. Sing Psalm 67. Worship by expressing your soul through music.

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Day 8 – Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16 – Surrounded by Despair and Death

I. Read Psalm 31 (focusing on verses 1-5 & 15-16)

In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
    let me never be put to shame;
    deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me,
    come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
    a strong fortress to save me.
Since you are my rock and my fortress,
    for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
    for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commit my spirit;
    deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.

I hate those who cling to worthless idols;
    as for me, I trust in the Lord.
I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
    for you saw my affliction
    and knew the anguish of my soul.
You have not given me into the hands of the enemy
    but have set my feet in a spacious place.

Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress;
    my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
    my soul and body with grief.
10 My life is consumed by anguish
    and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,
    and my bones grow weak.
11 Because of all my enemies,
    I am the utter contempt of my neighbors
and an object of dread to my closest friends—
    those who see me on the street flee from me.
12 I am forgotten as though I were dead;
    I have become like broken pottery.
13 For I hear many whispering,
    “Terror on every side!”
They conspire against me
    and plot to take my life.

14 But I trust in you, Lord;
    I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in your hands;
    deliver me from the hands of my enemies,
    from those who pursue me.
16 Let your face shine on your servant;
    save me in your unfailing love.
17 Let me not be put to shame, Lord,
    for I have cried out to you;
but let the wicked be put to shame
    and be silent in the realm of the dead.
18 Let their lying lips be silenced,
    for with pride and contempt
    they speak arrogantly against the righteous.

19 How abundant are the good things
    that you have stored up for those who fear you,
that you bestow in the sight of all,
    on those who take refuge in you.
20 In the shelter of your presence you hide them
    from all human intrigues;
you keep them safe in your dwelling
    from accusing tongues.

21 Praise be to the Lord,
    for he showed me the wonders of his love
    when I was in a city under siege.
22 In my alarm I said,
    “I am cut off from your sight!”
Yet you heard my cry for mercy
    when I called to you for help.

23 Love the Lord, all his faithful people!
    The Lord preserves those who are true to him,
    but the proud he pays back in full.
24 Be strong and take heart,
    all you who hope in the Lord (NIV).

Introduction – In many respects this is a cry of despair and desperation. David takes on the voice of one who is in the midst of great suffering, under attack and oppression from all sides. Certainly we know of death. We have seen loved ones pass on. We all die a little each day as this body starts to break down. All those aches and pains are reminders that your time here is limited. As James says, “You are a mist that appears for a little while then vanishes” (James 4:14). However, the focus of this Psalm is not on us, but on him, on the one who truly suffered and who truly committed his way to God. Jesus said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46). Just as Jesus trusted God the Father and committed his spirit to him in that moment of great despair, so we too must all commit to the Father our spirits as well. It is through his death and resurrection that we too are able to commit ourselves into the hands of the Father. Death will come to each of us and the comfort that we can take is that we can safely commit our spirit to him. If we can trust him in death, how much more can we also trust him in life.

In your own words, respond to the questions:

  1. In what ways can you identify yourself with struggles of the Psalmist?
  2. Do you see parallels in the experience and life of Jesus referenced in this Psalm?
  3. How often does your sense of mortality enter into your thoughts? How does this effect your decisions?
  4. Are you able to say now, through your faith in Christ, that are ready to commit your spirit to God should He will to call you home? What things should be set in order in your life before you could be at peace?
  5. If you are spiritually prepared to stand before the Lord in the righteousness of Christ, then how should you now live?

II. Pray Psalm 31. Write out a short prayer expressing your response to this Psalm. Commit your spirit to him who is able to truly comfort and save.

III. Sing Psalm 31. Worship by expressing your soul through music.

  • Listen or download this version using a simple melody to sing Psalm 31 (music in the Outline).
  • Sing the metrical arrangement of Psalm 31 to the tune of Auld Lang Syne with words below.
1 O Lord, I put my trust in thee, let nothing work me shame;As thou art just, deliver me,and set me free from blame.2 Hear me, O Lord, and that anon,to help me make good speed;Be thou my rock and house of stone,my fence in time of need.3 For why? as stones thy strength is tried,

thou art my fort and tow’r,

For thy Name s sake be thou my grade,

and lead me in thy pow’r.

 

4 Pluck thou my feet out of the snare

which they for me have laid;

Thou art my strength, and all my care

is for thy mighty aid.

 

5 Into thy hands, Lord, I commit

my soul, which is thy due,

Because thou hast redeem-ed it,

O Lord my God most true.

 

6 I hate such folk as will not part

from things to be abhorred;

When they on trifles set their heart,

my trust is in the Lord.

 

7 For I will in thy mercy joy,

I see it doth excel;

Thou seest when ought would me annoy,

and know’st my soul full well.

 

8 Thou hast not left me in their hand

that would me overcharge;

But thou hast set me out of band,

to walk abroad at large.

 

The Second Part.

 

9 Great grief, O Lord, doth me assail,

some pity on me take;

My eyes wax dim, my sight doth fail,

my heart with fear doth ache.

 

10 My life is worn with grief and pain,

my years in woe are past;

My strength is gone, and through disdain

my bones corrupt and waste.

 

11 Among my foes I am a scorn,

my friends are all dismayed;

My neighbors, and my kinsmen born,

to see me are afraid.

 

12 As men once dead are out of mind,

so am I now forgot;

As little use of me they find

as of a broken pot.

 

13 I heard the brags of all the rout,

their threats my mind did fray;

How they conspired and went about

to take my life away.

 

14 But, Lord, I trust in thee for aid,

not to be overtrod;

For I confess, and still have said,

Thou art the Lord my God.

 

15 The length of all my life and age,

O Lord, is in thy hand:

Defend me from the wrath and rage

of them that me withstand.

 

16 To me, thy servant, Lord, express

and show thy joyful face,

And save me, Lord, for thy goodness,

thy mercy, and thy grace.

 

The Third Part.

 

17 Lord, let me not be put to shame,

because on thee I call;

But let the wicked bear the blame,

and into tile grave fall.

 

18 O Lord, make dumb their lips outright,

who given are to lies,

And cruelly with pride and spite

against the just devise.

 

19 How plentiful thy mercies be

laid up for thy children,

That fear and put their trust in thee

before the sons of men!

 

20 Thy presence shall them fence and guide

from all proud brags and wrongs;

Within thy place thou shalt them hide

from all tile strife of tongues,

 

21 Thanks to the Lord, that hath declared

on me his grace so far,

Me to defend with watch and ward,

as in a town of war.

 

22 Thus did I say both day and night,

when I was sore oppressed,

Lo! am clean cast out of sight,

yet heard’st thou my request.

 

23 Ye saints, love ye the Lord alway,

the faithful he doth guide;

And to the proud he doth repay

according to their pride.

 

24 Be of good courage, all ye just,

on God your strength depend;

For those in him that put their trust

he ever will defend.


Page Copyright 2001, Music for the Church of God
 e-mail us at: webmaster@cgmusic.com

 

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Day 7 – Psalm 23 – The Goodness of God

This is Day 7. Don’t be discouraged if you missed a few days (all the posts will be available after May 31 so you can cover each one you missed). But do keep the commitment to do the Psalm each day from here forward. Also, keep writing down your thoughts and prayers even if a short comment. Your journaling will be a record of your interaction with the God in these 31 days.

I. Read Psalm 23.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. (KJV)

Introduction – Psalm 23 is a beautiful poem which expresses the care of the Lord for his people with the well-known Shepherd/sheep relationship. It is a Psalm of David and calls to mind a young man who came to know God while tending the flock. Just as David was a good shepherd, nourishing and protecting the flock, so the Lord was The Good Shepherd (1 Samuel 17:34ff).  This is one of the most memorable passages in Scripture and has been the comfort of God’s people for over 3000 years. It explains God’s care for us, to lead us, to restore us, to be with us through the darkness, to strengthen with rod and staff, to prepare a table, to anoint us, to cause goodness and mercy to follow us – forever. When God looked on David’s heart, by His grace, David was the kind of believer that placed His trust in Yahweh as Shepherd of His people. This caused David to sing and play psalms of praise to his Lord.

In your own words, respond to the questions.

  1. What is the most comforting line of this Psalm for you?
  2. While this Psalm speaks of assurance and blessing, it also indicates a context of adversity or enemies. What are some phrases that show comfort in the midst of trouble?
  3. This Psalm starts in the pasture, but where does it end? Why so?
  4. What is your greatest fear? Who do you fear? Who is troubling you? With these fears in mind, take a few moments and meditate on the first five words using this technique: emphasize a different word in the first line: “The Lord is my shepherd.”
  • The LORD is my shepherd. That is The one and only Almighty God is the One who cares for me.
  • The LORD is my shepherd. He is not a vague deity. He is the Covenant Lord (Yahweh) of Israel revealed in Jesus, a covenant keeping God who has committed Himself to the care and full salvation of His people.
  • The LORD is my shepherd. Now He IS ever existent and will always be,  at any time I call upon Him.
  • The LORD is my shepherd. He is certainly the Almighty God, unlimited in His power to save, but I confess now that He is MY personal Shepherd who cares for me.
  • The LORD is my shepherd. Not only is He the Almighty God, but He saves me not as a Tyrant, but as a loving Shepherd. So I can claim boldly, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”
  • Are you still afraid?

II. Pray Psalm 23. Respond with your heart to God by writing out a prayer to Him based on your key thoughts from Psalm 23.

III. Sing Psalm 23. Worship the Good Shepherd by singing this Psalm 23.

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Day 6 – Psalm 22 – Crucifixion and Victory after Death

I. Read Psalm 22.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
    Why are you so far from saving me,
    so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
    by night, but I find no rest.

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
    you are the one Israel praises.
In you our ancestors put their trust;
    they trusted and you delivered them.
To you they cried out and were saved;
    in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

But I am a worm and not a man,
    scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
    they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
“He trusts in the Lord,” they say,
    “let the Lord rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
    since he delights in him.”

Yet you brought me out of the womb;
    you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
10 From birth I was cast on you;
    from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

11 Do not be far from me,
    for trouble is near
    and there is no one to help.

12 Many bulls surround me;
    strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
13 Roaring lions that tear their prey
    open their mouths wide against me.
14 I am poured out like water,
    and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
    it has melted within me.
15 My mouthis dried up like a potsherd,
    and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
    you lay me in the dust of death.

16 Dogs surround me,
    a pack of villains encircles me;
    they pierce my hands and my feet.
17 All my bones are on display;
    people stare and gloat over me.
18 They divide my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.

19 But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
    You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
20 Deliver me from the sword,
    my precious life from the power of the dogs.
21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
    save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

22 I will declare your name to my people;
    in the assembly I will praise you.
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
    All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
    Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or scorned
    the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
    but has listened to his cry for help.

25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
    before those who fear youI will fulfill my vows.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;
    those who seek the Lord will praise him—
    may your hearts live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth
    will remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
    will bow down before him,
28 for dominion belongs to the Lord
    and he rules over the nations.

29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
    all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
    those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30 Posterity will serve him;
    future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness,
    declaring to a people yet unborn:
    He has done it! (NIV)

Introduction – The most striking thing about this Psalm is the theme of suffering. Many specific details of this suffering are cited in the passion of Jesus (in the Gospels). The mocking mentioned in verse 7 is found in Matthew 27:39-40. The division of his clothing in verse 18 is found in Mark 15:24. As extreme as all this physical suffering was, Martin Luther was moved most of all by verse 1: Why did God forsake his son? These are the words of Jesus on the cross as found in Matthew (27:46) and Mark (15:34). Luther realized that the Son, Jesus, experienced something at that moment that he had never experienced in his entire infinite existence – separation from the Father. As tormenting as the physical pain was, nothing could compare with that sensation of separation from the Godhead. Jesus experienced the wrath of the Father for the sin of those he was to save. This Psalm truly is about the greatest torment that was ever suffered, but it is not primarily the physical suffering that should bring us to our knees: it is  understanding what Jesus surrendered to and experienced in separation from the other persons of the Godhead. That is true sacrifice. No one else could offer it. But it doesn’t end with Christ on the cross. Rather, this horrific suffering somehow leads to worship in all the world: “All the ends of the earth shall remember
 and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations 
shall worship before you” (verse 27). This is easier to see now. Christ not only suffered, but also rose again, and ascended to reign from the right hand of God. Now people from all nations gather to sing praise to the King who paid for sins and was victorious over death.

In your own words, respond to the questions.

  1. How many connections do you see in this Psalm with the gospel accounts of the passion? Which one speaks to you the most?
  2. The passion of Jesus happened about 1000 years after this Psalm was written. Knowing this, how does it make you respond to God?
  3. Have you ever lost someone whom you loved? Consider the pain you felt due to that separation and imagine the loss felt by Jesus as he experienced separation from the Father for the only time in eternity. How can you apply this pain to your walk with him?
  4. Knowing that Christ died for your sins, rose victorious over death, and now sits at God’s right hand, how can you become a better worshiper?

II. Pray Psalm 22. Respond with your heart to God by writing out a prayer to Him based on your key thoughts from Psalm 22.

III. Sing Psalm 22. Worship him who suffered by singing the first part of Psalm 22. Listen to or download this setting or view the music (in the Outline).

Or sing this song with the words below. Use the tune from Amazing Grace. Listen to or download the music and view the words of this metrical Psalm.

1 My God, my God, why hast thou me

forsaken? why so far

Art thou from helping me, and from

my words that roaring are?

2 All day, my God, to thee I cry,

yet am not heard by thee;

And in the season of the night

I cannot silent be.

3 But thou art holy, thou that dost

inhabit Isr’el’s praise.

4 Our fathers hoped in thee, they hoped

and thou didst them release.

5 When unto thee they sent their cry,

to them deliv’rance came:

Because they put their trust in thee,

they were not put to shame.

6 But as for me, a worm I am,

and as no man am prized:

Reproach of men I am, and by

the people am despised.

7 All that me see laugh me to scorn;

shoot out the lip do they;

They nod and shake their heads at me,

and, mocking, thus do say,

8 This man did trust in God, that he

would free him by his might:

Let him deliver him, sith he

had in him such delight.

9 But thou art he out of the womb

that didst me safely take;

When I was on my mother’s breasts

thou me to hope didst make.

10 And I was cast upon thy care,

ev’n from the womb till now;

And from my mother’s belly, Lord,

my God and guide art thou.

11 Be not far off, for grief is near,

and none to help is found.

12 Bulls many compass me, strong bulls

of Bashan me surround.

13 Their mouths they opened wide on me,

upon me gape did they,

Like to a lion ravening

and roaring for his prey.

14 Like water I’m poured out, my bones

all out of joint do part:

Amidst my bowels, as the wax,

so melted is my heart.

15 My strength is like a potsherd dried;

my tongue it cleaveth fast

Unto my jaws; and to the dust

of death thou brought me hast.

16 For dogs have compassed me about:

the wicked, that did meet

In their assembly, me enclosed;

they pierced my hands and feet.

17 I all my bones may tell; they do

upon me look and stare.

18 Upon my vesture lots they cast,

and clothes among them share.

19 But be not far, O Lord, my strength;

haste to give help to me.

20 From sword my soul, from pow’r of dogs

my darling set thou free.

21 Out of the roaring lion’s mouth

do thou me shield and save:

For from the horns of unicorns

an ear to me thou gave.

22 I will show forth thy name unto

those that my brethren are;

Amidst the congregation

thy praise I will declare.

23 Praise ye the Lord, who do him fear;

him glorify all ye

The seed of Jacob: fear him all

that Isr’el’s children be.

24 For he despised not nor abhorred

th’ afflicted’s misery;

Nor from him hid his face, but heard

when he to him did cry.

25 Within the congregation great

my praise shall be of thee;

My vows before them that him fear

shall be performed by me.

26 The meek shall eat, and shall be filled;

they also praise shall give

Unto the Lord that do him seek:

your heart shall ever live.

27 All ends of th’ earth remember shall,

and turn the Lord unto;

All kindreds of the nations

to him shall homage do:

28 Because the kingdom to the Lord

doth appertain as his;

Likewise among the nations

the Governor he is.

29 Earth’s fat ones eat, and worship shall:

all who to dust descend

Shall bow to him; none of them can

his soul from death defend.

30 A seed shall service do to him;

unto the Lord it shall

Be for a generation

reckonrd in ages all.

31 They shall come, and they shall declare

his truth and righteousness

Unto a people yet unborn,

and that he hath done this.

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Day 5 – Psalm 16 – The Way Back to Life

I. Read Psalm 16.
Psalms 16 (NRSV)

1 Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.
2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”
3 I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
4 Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips.
5 Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
7 I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Introduction – Have you ever been locked out? Perhaps of a building or even your own house? In one sense the whole story of the Bible is the story of Man being locked out of God’s presence and most importantly God making a way back. This Psalm is Messianic. Peter cites it in Acts 2:25-28 which applies verses 8-11 to the resurrection of Jesus. God will not give up the body of Jesus to rot in the grave. Rather, God raised Jesus to the Right Hand of power, into His presence. Before Christ, those like David the writer of this Psalm, called on the Lord and by faith were given refuge. God provided an elaborate system of sacrifices to show a path of blood on the altar and not only the death of the animal, but a fiery transformation of the victim into an acceptable offering. All of this was preparation for the true path of life which came through Christ’s blood and ultimately His resurrection and ascension (with a true human nature) to the right hand of the Father. This Psalm testifies to Christ. And now through Christ we can say confidently, “You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

In your own words, respond to the questions.

  1. Our greatest challenge is often our heart’s idolatry. Can you bring yourself to say with David (and Jesus), “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you”?
  2. God takes pleasure in His people, his saints, “in whom is all my delight” (verse 3). This is even more clear of those who are united to Jesus by faith (Rom. 8:31-39). How might you think of yourself differently as result? Do you walk in this love and acceptance or in self-condemnation?
  3. Meditate on this statement: “In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Explain how and why God’s presence is the most satisfying.
  4. What are a few ways that you could grow in experiencing God’s presence in your daily life?

II. Pray Psalm 16.  Write out a short prayer using the text and ideas in the Psalm.  Express your heart to God as you respond to Him and ask Him to help you realize His presence in your life.

III. Sing this Psalm. Worship Him using this setting of Psalm 16. This version is a simple melody (from Lutheran worship resources). Listen to or download this Psalm setting and view the music.

Posted in Blessing, Deliverance, Life | Tagged | 2 Comments

Day 4 – Psalm 2 – A New King in Town

I. Read Psalm 2.

Why do the nations conspire
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up
    and the rulers band together
    against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
“Let us break their chains
    and throw off their shackles.”

The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
    the Lord scoffs at them.
He rebukes them in his anger
    and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
“I have installed my king
    on Zion, my holy mountain.”

I will proclaim the Lord’s decree:

He said to me, “You are my son;
    today I have become your father.
Ask me,
    and I will make the nations your inheritance,
    the ends of the earth your possession.
You will break them with a rod of iron;
    you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”

10 Therefore, you kings, be wise;
    be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear
    and celebrate his rule with trembling.
12 Kiss his son, or he will be angry
    and your way will lead to your destruction,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
    Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (NIV)

Introduction – Since the dawn of human civilization a conflict has brewed. The powers of this world have declared war with God and those that follow him. Psalm 2 relates the ultimate futility of this course of action. Those who truly walk in the way of the Lord will have tension with the world. In the course of this conflict, there was One who walked perfectly according to the will of God. He came to earth and faced the ultimate in resistance from the earthly powers of His time. He was sent into world to endure this brutality and to overcome it. He came then as a lamb (Jn. 1:29), but he will come again as a lion (Rev.5:5). Psalm 2 speaks of the evil intent of the world, the Son who endured this evil and overcame it, and his present rule in triumph over the world from his heavenly throne (Acts 2:33ff). Even now his kingdom grows. The rulers of this world are warned to act now and commit their allegiance to him before they encounter his wrath.

In your own words, respond to the questions.

  1. How does the world now rebel against the rule of God?
  2. How do you participate in that rebellion?
  3. How does the truth of this Psalm relate to the command Jesus gave in Matthew 28:18-20?
  4. What are at least three actions you can take to align yourself more on the side of his kingdom?

II. Pray Psalm 2. Write out a short prayer as your response to the truth of this Psalm. Praise God for his power and authority.

III. Sing this Psalm. Worship God by singing the words of this Psalm in a setting from the Reformation era. Listen to or download this Psalm and view the music (in the Outline).  Listen to a folky alternative version of this Psalm on Spotify.

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Day 3 – Psalm 119:1-16, 169-176 – The Masterpiece of God’s Word

I. Read Psalm 119:1-16, 169-176

Psalm 119 from the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

א Alef

How[a] happy are those whose way is blameless,
who live according to the Lord’s instruction!
Happy are those who keep His decrees
and seek Him with all their heart.
They do nothing wrong;
they follow His ways.
You have commanded that Your precepts
be diligently kept.
If only my ways were committed
to keeping Your statutes!
Then I would not be ashamed
when I think about all Your commands.
I will praise You with a sincere heart
when I learn Your righteous judgments.
I will keep Your statutes;
never abandon me.

ב Bet

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping Your[b] word.
10 I have sought You with all my heart;
don’t let me wander from Your commands.
11 I have treasured Your word in my heart
so that I may not sin against You.
12 Lord, may You be praised;
teach me Your statutes.
13 With my lips I proclaim
all the judgments from Your mouth.
14 I rejoice in the way revealed by Your decrees
as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on Your precepts
and think about Your ways.
16 I will delight in Your statutes;
I will not forget Your word.

ת Tav

169 Let my cry reach You, Lord;
give me understanding according to Your word.
170 Let my plea reach You;
rescue me according to Your promise.
171 My lips pour out praise,
for You teach me Your statutes.
172 My tongue sings about Your promise,
for all Your commands are righteous.
173 May Your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen Your precepts.
174 I long for Your salvation, Lord,
and Your instruction is my delight.
175 Let me live, and I will praise You;
may Your judgments help me.
176 I wander like a lost sheep;
seek Your servant,
for I do not forget Your commands.

Introduction – Have you ever personally seen a great work of art, a masterpiece? Dozens of books and hundreds more chapters and articles describe and portray Leonardo Da Vinci’s, “Mona Lisa.” One can study a great work of art from many perspectives, looking for every angle, contour, and hue. This Psalm takes as it’s subject just such a work of art: God’s revealed Word. The Psalm expresses the many excellencies of the verbal revelation of God to us. It is the longest Psalm, by far. The value of God’s Word is praised in 176 verses. It is arranged in an acrostic, moving through each letter of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet in eight stanzas. The first eight verses begin with the letter Aleph, the second (verses 9-16) begin with the letter Beth, etc. This is to say that from A to Z God’s Word is beautiful and amazing. Even more, the Word changes us because through it we know the Triune God as He is revealed in Scripture. Many people upon viewing a great work of art in person express that it “speaks to them” differently than a replica or photograph of the same work. Because of God’s Spirit present in believers, God speaks to us through His Word as we open our lives to Him.

In your own words, respond to the questions.

  1. The first description of the person who walks in the Word is “happy.” List a few ways you could be happier if you spent more time growing in the masterpiece of God’s Word.
  2. In verses 9-11 the writer explains a way of overcoming sin. How does treasuring the Word (verse 11) in your heart help you avoid sin?
  3. Like the colors refracted by a diamond, even these few verses of the Psalm show many hues. Paraphrase the verse that speaks most clearly to your current experience.
  4. Despite all the glories of God’s revealed Word expressed by the Psalmist, the last verse of this Psalm acknowledges going astray (verse 176). Write down a few failures in your recent experience and seek forgiveness from God.

II. Pray Psalm 119:1-16, 169-176.  Write out a short prayer using the text and ideas of these verses in the Psalm.  Express your heart to God, believe in His promises, and commit to be faithful.

III. Sing this Psalm. Worship Him using this setting of Psalm 119:169-176. Listen and sing along using the music.  Read the Music to Psalm 119. Here are other versions and verses:

 

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Day 2 – Psalm 19 – Growing Closer through the Word

Day 2 is now here! Did you write down your spiritual diagnosis and assessment yesterday? If not, do it now: Begin with a journal entry that honestly expresses where you are in your faith, your walk with God, your confidence in knowing the truth of the Christian faith, and your sense of God hearing your prayers (in a paragraph or so).

Day 2 continues the theme of the Word of God . . .

I. Read Psalm 19 (focusing on verses 7-11)

As you read, notice that Psalms are written in parallelisms (a key part of Hebrew poetry). For example:

1. Parallelisms help with the understanding of the meaning.

1′. Restatements in parallel show relationships of the ideas.

This is another way to say the same thing, but has expanded the meaning (there are other kinds of parallels, too).

Psalm 19 (NIV)

1. The heavens declare the glory of God;
    1′. the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2. Day after day they pour forth speech;
    2′. night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voicegoes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
    like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
    and makes its circuit to the other;
    nothing is deprived of its warmth.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
    giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
    giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
    enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
    and all of them are righteous.

10 They are more precious than gold,
    than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
    than honey from the honeycomb.
11 By them your servant is warned;
    in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can discern their own errors?
    Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
    may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
    innocent of great transgression.

14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight,
    Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Introduction – Do you have any books that come in two volumes (Vol. I and Vol. II)? The “book” written by God comes in two volumes: God’s revelation in the world and God’s special revelation in Scripture. Psalm 19 covers both of these. Verses 1-6 deal with the general way that God reveals Himself in the wonders of nature around us all, especially in the vastness of the stars of heaven. This “general revelation” leaves people “without excuse” as to God’s existence and presence (Rom. 1:20). Verses 7-11, the heart of this Psalm, focus on the special revelation of God’s Word to us. There are several important things to notice about God’s Word. First, it is His Word. All of these things are, “of the Lord.” It comes from Him. He is the source. When we connect ourselves with His Word, we are connecting to Him. Second, verses 7-11 tell us what these things are: they are law, statutes, precepts, commands, fear, and ordinances. Each of these things speaks of authority, but also of guidance and connection. God has not left us to wander aimlessly in life. Finally, these verses inform us about what these things of the Lord do. They are active entities; the Word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). The Word accomplishes positive results in us. The psalmist takes us from the general revelation of God to His special revelation in His Word, and then finally takes us to the place where it all finds a home, our heart (vss 12-14).

In your own words, write a response to these questions.

  1. List several results or benefits from the use of God’s Word (vss 7-9)? e.g., “refreshing the soul.”
  2. What results from our encounters in the Word of God (vss 11-14)?
  3. In your daily life, what are several ways you could enter into using God’s Word even more in order to receive some of the benefits in verses 7-9?
  4. The psalmist has several descriptions of sin: errors, hidden faults, willful sins, and great transgression. Honestly confess any sins in these categories to the Lord and ask for forgiveness through Jesus Christ who paid for sins, once for all.

II. Pray Psalm 19. Write out a short prayer of your own. Respond to God’s offer of making His Word active your life. Ask Him to keep you “from willful sins” and not let them “rule over” you, as well as to let “the words of [your] mouth and the meditation of [your] heart be pleasing” to Him.

III. Sing this Psalm. Worship the Lord through the singing of His word. Here are several versions and sections of this Psalm to listen to and sing.

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Day 1 – Psalm 1 – Source of Growth

I. Read Psalm 1.

Blessed is the man
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the lawof the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
    and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
    but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked will perish. (ESV)

Introduction – In this first day of our 31 Days with God, we will reflect upon the source of our growth. This very first Psalm begins the book of Psalms with a vivid picture of the source. Godly people are like fruitful trees that drink in the water of God’s Word. They don’t wither; they prosper. It also pictures wicked people as chaff, the dry and scaly husks which blow away. Many Psalms speak simply of the righteous and the wicked, but this Psalm shows the source of their faithfulness. The righteous are nourished by God’s Word. The roots of their lives reach down into the pure water of God’s revealed Word. The righteous receive the counsel of the law of the Lord. They do not take counsel from the wicked. Such people do not obey God’s Word. They have dried up and become husks. The result is the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor in the congregation of the righteous. The wicked will perish.

In your own words, respond to the questions (in your own journal).

  1.  In verse one, the blessed person’s life is contrasted with three unwise actions. Are these actions speeding up or slowing down? What does this direction mean?
  2. In verse two, the blessed person “delights” in the law of the Lord. What are three ways you could show more delight, affection, or love for God’s word?
  3. Draw or imagine a picture of the godly person in this Psalm using the image of a tree by a stream.
  4. List a few ways you could be more like this tree.

II. Pray Psalm 1.  Write out a short prayer using the text and ideas of these verses in the Psalm.  Express your heart to God as you respond to His word and ask Him to help you to apply the truth of this Psalm to your life.

III. Sing this Psalm. Worship Him using this Psalm.

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