Thursday, August 25, 2016
“O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth. Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; show forth his salvation from day to day.” (Psalm 96:1-2)
Humans have become so used to the things that God does that we no longer think about them. We don’t even realize how vitally our daily lives depend on him. Colossians 1:16-17 says, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” He not only created the universe and everything in it but it is by his power they exist day by day.
God didn’t just start the world running and walk away as some teach, nor does he periodically reach in and make adjustments as many seem to believe. It is his power that holds the electrons, neutrons and protons together. A nuclear bomb just releases a tiny portion of his power. To keep an atomic generator from exploding requires constant monitoring and adjustments, yet the sun, which is almost infinitely larger has run without problems for centuries. Without his control, it would have exploded and gone out thousands of years ago.
The same God controls the weather so that one area has proper rainfall and abundant crops whie other areas experience drought or floods that wipe out their crops, allowing hundreds or thousands of animals and people to starve. Every day, we can see different things he has done on our behalf, saving us from starvation, accidental death, diseases, military attacks or who knows what else. Other times he gives us something we have longed for or reveals some beautiful view that leaves us in awe. Literally a song describing what he has done today will be outdated tomorrow.
“Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens. Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. “ (Psalm 96:3-6)
When we begin to understand his role in our lives, we will want other people to understand as well. We won’t want them to waste their time on all the other gods they have invented, which have no power or impact other than in people’s imaginations. Our God is the creator and he deserves all the thanks and respect.
Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously.” (Psalm 96:7-10)
God didn’t just create on or two races, but all of humanity. Acts 17:26-29 tells us, “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.”
As people understand who God is they will begin to give him the respect and honor he deserves, bringing him tokens of their thanks and worshipping him instead of their idols. We need to tell them who he is and warn them of his coming judgment, so that they can understand.
“Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.” (Psalm 96:11-13)
All of creation is affected by God’s actions and benefit when he blesses the people. They will be especially blessed when he comes and sets up his eternal kingdom and judges the earth, punishing the wicked and rewarding those who obey him. Romans 8:21-22 explains, “Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” Sin has resulted in all the suffering in the universe, including the earthquakes, extreme storms, global warming, disease epidemics, wildfires and so forth, so that everything on earth is looking forward to God putting things back the way he intended them, eliminating the stresses they experience today.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. ” (Psalm 95:1-5)
Just realizing who God is, and how powerful he is ought to make us want to praise him for caring about us. After all he is the creator of the universe and controls everything. We ought to sing freely about his love and blessings.
O 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. To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work.” (Psalm 95:6-9)
We can either choose to enjoy what God has done for us, or we can be fretting because things aren’t like we wanted them like Israel did in the wilderness, constantly rebelling and trying to make things the way they wanted them.
“Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.”(Psalm 95:10-11)
God had been frustrated with Israel for forty years because no matter what he did they complained about is and demanded their own way. He finally told them that it was over and that that generation would not be allowed to go into the land and receive the promises. I Corinthians 10:11 tells us, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” If we want to continue to experience God’s blessings, we need to learn to appreciate what he has already done. If all we ever do is complain, there is no reason for him to continue to bless us.
Sadly, many people do not understand this principle even though it works the same way in human relationships, but most people are not as patient as God.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
“O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, show thyself. Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud. LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph? How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves?” Psalm 94:1-4)
Romans 12:19 states, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Sometimes, as we see the things that go on around us, we wonder how God can let the wicked keep going and begin to ask how long God will let them get by with what they are doing. It seems like they are proud to think they can make up their own rules.
“They break in pieces thy people, O LORD, and afflict thine heritage. They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless. Yet they say, The LORD shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it.” (Psalm 94:5-7)
The wicked set out to discredit and destroy God’s people. sometimes like the Moslem groups who want to kill everyone who does not practice their religion, the homosexual and transgender groups who want to have people arrested for saying their behavior is wrong, or the various socialist groups who tried to destroy the churches in their different countries. Like the various city gangs, they attack widows and people who are not from their neighborhood, and kill kids who have no father to protect them with impunity. They are convinced no one cares and that God will do nothing about it.
“Understand, ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise? He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see? He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know? The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.” (Psalm 94:8-15)
The people are like animals, concerned only with their own feelings at the moment. They do not look at what is really going on and have no respect for God or for other people. They are like the people in the Black lives movement, rioting when a black teenager is killed for shooting at the police, yet looking the otherway when thirty six black people were killed by black gangs in one weekend. They don’t understand that eh God who gave them the ability to hear can hear himself, or that the God who gave them eyes can see what they are doing. They refuse to believe that the God who punished their enemies will also punish them or that the one who gives them the ability to learn right and wrong knows the difference. God knows how foolish and worthless people’s ideas can be.
“Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law; That thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked. For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance. But judgment shall return unto righteousness: and all the upright in heart shall follow it.” (Psalm 94:12-15)
Depending on what is involvesd and the attitude of the one being chastened, chastening can range from simply telling a person they are doing something wrong, to actual physical punishment. Any kind of punishment is frowned on our day, but Hebrews 12:6-8 tells us that when properly done, it is a demonstration of love. “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” Parents who care about their kids teach their kids to behave properly to protect them from worse things in the future. It is far more loving to spank a child for playing in the street than to take him to the hospital because he got run over. It is far more humane to spank him when he steals a pencil from another child than to have him put into prison fo robbing a bank.
The person who is chastened by the lord is seeing God’s love demonstrated to prevent his suffering the same punishment the wicked suffer for their crimes. Though it may be painful, God does not hate his children or diown them. The punishment will ultimately lead to proper behavior.
“Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.” (Psalm 94:16-19)
Without God’s help, the wicked would have everything their way because their e would be no power to stand against them. Standing against them would result in one’s death. It would be easier to just go along with what they wanted. Fortunately, God si there, and when we find ourselves almost ready to give in, God is there to strengthen us, and change our attitude and focus to see how he has blessed us.
“Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law? They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood. But the LORD is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge. And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the LORD our God shall cut them off.” (Psalm 94:20-23)
God gave the law so that we might know what was acceptable and what was not, as Romans 3:19-20 tells us. “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Would the God who set the standard for right and wrong ignore his own standard? The wicked condemn those who follow God’s law as being evil, like Hilary Clinton saying “we have to get rid of those old Christian teachings.”
Instead of us trying to kill her, or the various groups that oppose us, we are to depend on God to protect us. In Deuteronomy 32:35, he said, “To me belongeth vengeance, and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.” In Romans 12:19-21, Paul tells Christians, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” We should not allow our resentment against the way we have been treated cause us to do wrong in retaliation. Instead, we should go out of our way to treat them right and let God settle the bill. He can do a far better job than we could.
Monday, August 22, 2016
“LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved. Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting. ” (Psalm 93:1-2)
God created the entire universe, using power mankind can only imagine. He set the world in orbit and nothing less than God himself has the power to even alter that orbit. He has the final say in everything that happens on earth. Satan attempted to seize God’s power, and throughout history, mankind has tried to replace God’s authority with human authority. Even today false teachers quote Judges 17:6 and 21:25 to prove a strong human power is needed in an effort to justify their usurping authority over the church. In I Samuel 8, Israel demanded a king, even though, as Samuel told them in I Samuel 12:12, “…the LORD your God was your king.” In I Samuel 12:17, Samuel told them, “…I will call unto the LORD, and he shall send thunder and rain; that ye may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which ye have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking you a king.” It is sin for them even to want someone else to be their king or ruler.
God established his authority in creating the world, and he is the eternal God. There will never be a need for anyone else to replace him. Exodus 15:18 states, “The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.” When Jesus Christ sets up his earthly kingdom, it will be as coregent, not as replacing God the father.
The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves. The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.” (Psalm 93:3-4)
Once it starts, it nearly impossible to stop a flood, although one can sometimes divert it around a particular area. Even a realatively small stream can knock a person dowm or sweep a car off the road, and larger ones can destroy strong, well built buildings or sweep away mighty dams that were designed to control them. God’s powere is greater than even the flood that carved the Grand Canyon or buried the dinosaurs and created most of the landscape we see today. No tsunami or tidal wave even approaches the power he has.
“Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever.” (Psalm 93:5)
People often make commitments they are powerless to fulfill when the time comes. Because God’s power is infinite, he is able to make what he promised happen regardless of the situation. As a result we can depend on his statements absolutely, He is incapable of lying and wouldn’t if he could. His holiness is a characteristic of God, and it is what we would expect of those who claim to be his children.
Friday, August 19, 2016
A Psalm or Song for the sabbath day.
“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: To show forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound. For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands.” (Psalm 92:1-4)
Taking the time to think about how God has blessed us does a great deal to lift our spirits and remove depression. Music tends to deepen the emotional impact of the song’s message, whether good or bad. The Psalmist makes a point about using different instruments to share God’s loving kindness, whether a hammered dulcimer with ten strings or a psaltery or harp with a more serious sound.
In Ephesians 5:17-20, Paul instructs Christians to do the same thing “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
An unthankful spirit is one of the characteristics of those who turn away from God as Paul describes in II Timothy 3:1-4. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” Because they do not appreciate what they have, they become totally self-centered, with no concern for how their actions affect other people. Their only concern becomes getting more for themselves and are never satisfied.
Learning to be thankful and sing praises to God plays a major role in maintaining a spiritual attitude. In Colossians 2:6-7 Paul instructs. “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” Hebrews 13:15 commands, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” A thankful attitude is crucial for a healthy attitude. The Psalmist is focused on what God has done.
“O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep. A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this.” (Psalm 92:5-6)
The Psalmist understands God’s thoughts go to very root of things and as a result his accomplishments are beyond compare. Unfortunately, those who are animal like, only concerned with their immediate pleasure do not understand that there is than immediate gratification. They are like people in the story. The Goose That Laid The Golden Eggs, destroying their future benefits in an effort to get more right now.
“When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever: But thou, LORD, art most high for evermore. For, lo, thine enemies, O LORD, for, lo, thine enemies shall perish; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered.” (Psalm 92:7-9)
While the wicked appear to do much better for a time, it is a temporary situation. Ultimately they will be destroyed forever, because God is the ruler of the universe, and he will see to their punishment. Those who deliberately do wrong will be destroyed and scattered like a dead man’s ashes.
“But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil. Mine eye also shall see my desire on mine enemies, and mine ears shall hear my desire of the wicked that rise up against me.” (Psalm 92:10-11)
For the gazelle, the size his horns are a sign of his maturity and power. God will make the horns of his servants long and strong as a sign of their blessing with God. We used to spread oil on a cloth for the cattle to rub on to keep insects away and prevent their skin drying out. God’s people will be protected from many of the annoyances of daily life, and they will get to see the punishment of those who have taken advantage of them.
“The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; To show that the LORD is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.” (Psalm 92:12-15)
Those who do right will be like a palm tree, growing steadily regardless what the weather does, or like the local juniper trees, which survive and thrive, even when everything else is dying for lack of water. Those that have placed their faith in God will flourish like a fruit tree planted in one’s garden. While it takes several years for them to begin producing fruit, they will eventually begin to see the results of their work, demonstrating that God can be trusted in every way because there is no unrighteousness in him. He will always reward people appropriately.
Thursday, August 18, 2016
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. “ (Psalm 91:1)
This first verse states the theme of this Psalm, that those who abide in the Lord are protected by him from the evil around them, much like a baby bird huddling under its mother. In this Psalm the Psalmist switches back and forth between telling what his decision is and what we could expect if we make that same decision.
“I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” Psalm 91:2-4)
When we put our trust in the Lord, and go to him, like the mother bird protecting her babies, he leads us away from the traps the world sets for us, and protects us from the sicknesses and disasters that affect others. The closer to him we become, the more sure we can be of his protection in every situation. We learn to trust his word completely.
“Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.” (Psalm 91:5-8)
Because you have put your trust in him you will not have to live in fear of home invasions by night or sneak attacks in the daytime. You will not have to worry about a disease attacking while you are asleep or disasters during the day. Even when others are dying around you or everyone you know lose everything you will have nothing to fear. You will see what happens to those who are wicked, but will not experience it yourself. You have nothing to worry about.
“Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.” (Psalm 91:9-13)
Because we have placed our trust in the same God as the Psalmist, we will be protected from all evil things. While some may seem evil, Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Ultimately, even those seemingly bad things will produce good results. The plagues will not destroy us or our families because God will send his angels to protect us, even from stumbling over a rock and breaking a toe or turning and ankle. Lions or snakes will pose no threat,
“Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.” (Psalm 91:14-16)
The psalmist finishes with God’s promise to those who love and obey him. Because they have set their love on him, he will not only deliver them from the dangers around, but will cause them to be respected. Because they have been interested enough to learn and remember his name, he will respond when they ask for help, delivering and honoring him, and giving him a long life, and ultimately, eternal salvation.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
A Prayer of Moses the man of God.
Tradition holds that this Psalm was written by Moses. There is nothing to support the claim and there are some things in the Psalm that indicate it was not.
“LORD, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” (Psalm 90:1-2)
God is the eternal I am. He has no beginning or ending, but always exists in the present. Mankind has depended on God from the very beginning, because he was God then, he is today, and he will still be eternally in the future. He is without time, except as he has made it.
“Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men. For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” (Psalm 90:3-4)
Because God created mankind, he has the right to do whatever he wants with them. If he chooses to destroy a group, it is his right to do so, but no one else has that right. He also has the right to have mercy and give them another chance if he chooses to do so. As the Psalmist points out, to God, what will happen a thousand years in the future is as clear as what happened yesterday, or even a couple of hours ago is to us. As a result, he knows exactly what we will decide and can plan with certainty as to what the result will be, while giving us freedom to choose.
“Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up. In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth. For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled. Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance. For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.” (Psalm 90:5-9)
People do not like to admit they do not control their destiny. At any point their life can be taken away as easily as one can be waked from his sleep and as completely as if he were caught in a flood. His life is much like the grass or weeds growing around the house. What was growing vigorously yesterday can be cut down and wither away today. God’s displeasure can result is suffering or death at any moment because he is constantly aware of what we are doing. To God our actions are a story he has already heard. There are no surprises.
“The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” (Psalm 90:10-12)
The Psalmist says that a person can expect to live seventy and sometimes eighty years. Since Moses was eighty when he began to lead Israel, it is unlikely he wrote this Psalm. The Psalmist goes on to state that even if they live to be eighty, their life has been spent in labor and sorrow, constantly reminded death is coming and that life is only temporary and God can cut it even shorter if we anger him. He asks that God teach us to be aware of days of our life so we utilize them wisely.
“Return, O LORD, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants. O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil. Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children. And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.” (Psalm 90:13-17)
Knowing that our life is short, the Psalmist asks how long we will be separated from God before he forgives and blesses again. He asks that we be able to look back to the days of trials and struggles and rejoice in them, seeing how God worked through them for our benefit and that of our children. As a result people will see God in us, and we will reap the rewards of having served him. Galatians 6:9 promises, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” We don’t want to get discouraged and quit.