Psalm 123 – Looking Up

[Originally posted by Matthew Broadbridge on 16 June 2013]

 

David Cornejo

 

Psalm 123

Yep, this is how I want to be. Too often when the going gets tough I send up short little yelp-like prayers without lifting my eyes to really gaze upon Him. It seems my eyes need filling before opening my mouth. Upon whom do we call? – “The Lord Our God” – not just any ‘deity’! Sometimes when I’ve seen a humble person pushed to their limit they’ve quietly uttered the words “Lord give me strength!” It’s a telling phrase. When proud and arrogant people make life difficult – perhaps only through their plain foolishness and ungodliness – we need a superhuman source of endurance. The Lord provides it (Jehovah Jireh). I don’t have an internal source of forbearance, but if I follow the example of Psalm 123 my supply won’t run out so easily or if I do hit the wall He offers mercy. Also when we lift our eyes off the people giving us grief and look to our Lord we become humbly dependent on God which is not just a good thing it’s the only way to avoid becoming proud and self-righteous yourself. It looks like the eyes have it.

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The Rock I Cling To

[Originally posted by lathlean on 2 June 2013]

Today’s faithful daily read is Psalm 121.

This week I attended my first Banff Film Festival, which is an annual festival dedicated to screening short stories and documentaries about adventure seekers and explorers. One story that stood out to me was that of 27 year old Alex Honnold, an American rock climber well known for ascending large cliffs without a rope. In the film we follow Alex as he sets out to achieve what nobody has done before. Climb three of the largest rock faces, a combined height of more than 7000ft, without a harness within a single day. As we watch Alex achieve this amazing feat it is obvious that he has tremendous composure and steadfast courage in the face of real danger. A fellow rock climber and friend states in the film that Alex simply does not experience fear like the rest of us.

Fortunately, most of us don’t routinely face death like Alex Honnold but we all have our own mountains to climb and fears to overcome. This brings us to today’s reading Psalm 121, which describes the Lord as our helper and guardian.  The psalmist begins by drawing our attention to the mountains in our lives (v1) and continually reminds us that God is watching over and protecting us. We get a sense that the psalmist was deeply concerned for his wellbeing but at the same time is strengthen by his faith in God.

As a Christian we have no fear in death “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55), or in eternal punishment “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment” (1 John 4:18). Yet sometimes I still find myself worrying about all the other things in between. Will God continually provide for me? Can I make a difference in this world? Will I live a fulfilled life? Questions that make us all feel scared from time to time.

Fear, therefore, comes in all shapes and sizes. Even Alex Honnold who can fearlessly scale massive rock faces must overcome fear in some aspect of his life. As Christians we have the knowledge and comfort that in our daily routine God will not let us fall (v3). God doesn’t promise that things will be easy but we have the assurance that he will watch over our lives both now and forevermore.

God and His Word

Psalm 119

You might be familiar with the term, bibliolatry.

Maybe someone has accused you of it. Or perhaps you might have labelled someone a bibliolater yourself.

What does it mean?

Commonly it refers to someone who worships the Bible over and above God; that is, someone who idolises Scripture. Now, I think we’d all agree that the person who puts a Bible on an altar, lights some candles or incense around it, and bows down and worships this object, would be guilty of idolatry – worshipping the created rather than the Creator (Rom 1:25). But this is not usually what people mean when they call someone a bibliolater. What is generally meant is someone who excessively reveres the words of God.

Is it possible to make the Bible into an idol? To treasure God’s words more than God himself?

If it is, Psalm 119 would arguably be a great example of “bibliolatry”:

For I delight in your commands
    because I love them. (v. 47)

The law from your mouth is more precious to me
    than thousands of pieces of silver and gold. (v. 72)

Oh, how I love your law!
    I meditate on it all day long (v. 97)

How sweet are your words to my taste,
    sweeter than honey to my mouth! (v. 103)

Is the Psalmist idolising Scripture?

Brothers and sisters, he is doing nothing of the sort.

I find it incredibly saddening when Christians set up a dichotomy between loving God’s word and loving God. The beautiful truth is that it is impossible to revere God’s words too much. We’re at no risk of idolising the creature rather than the Creator when we cherish Scripture, for there is a profound unity between God and his word. Theologian John Frame suggests that “you cannot separate the word of God from God himself.” John Stott likewise says that “God has clothed His thoughts in words, and there is no way to know Him except by knowing the Scriptures.”

The reason the Psalmist is so delighted in the Scriptures is because the word reveals God.

I’m convinced that if our greatest desire is to know God, then we will relish the Scriptures with such an intense passion it will probably look idolatrous to the outside world. My prayer for us this morning is that we would be people who, like the Psalmist, “open our mouths and pant, longing for God’s word” (v. 131)

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly for His glory,

Daniel Budd

[Originally posted on 19-5-2013 by LiveitLoveit]

Give Thanks to the Lord

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What I love about the Psalms is their depth of emotion. Emotions are one of the things that set us apart as human. The ups and downs of life expressed by those with the image of God imprinted upon them, but experiencing a corrupted creation that is groaning for something better.

In Psalm 118, the psalmist has a message of joy about the Lord that he is repeating for us:

his love endures forever
his love endures forever
his love endures forever
his love endures forever

The Lord is with me
The Lord is with me

It is better to take refuge in the Lord
It is better to take refuge in the Lord

he has become my salvation
you have become my salvation

the Lord has done this
The Lord has done it this very day

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever

As we reflect on the week just gone and prepare for the week to come, let us remember with the Psalmist “his love endures forever”!

[Originally posted on 17/5/2015 by Andrew Zahra]

Psalm 117 – Singing Signposts

Psalm 117


Praise the Lord, all you nations;
    extol him, all you peoples.
For great is his love towards us,
    and the faithfulness of the Lord endures for ever.

Praise the Lord.


 

Psalm 117 is the shortest Psalm in the Bible. In fact it is the shortest chapter also, (narrowly beating three other Psalms, 131, 133, and 134, and Esther 10, all with three verses). Yet in just these two verses there is wonderful truth staring us in the face that might be easy to miss. To help unpack that truth I’m going to take these verses in reverse order.

Continue reading

Psalm 116: Oh worship the Lord

Today’s (Su 06/05/2018) Faithful Daily Read is Psalm 116.

We ought  not lose a moment to worship our God.  Our God who, as Psalm 23 (The Message version) tells us “Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.

So what do you and I wait for?

This Psalm (NIV2011 Version) shows us what David thinks and does after he looks at what has happened to him and what the Lord has done for him.

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
    he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
    I will call on him as long as I live.

The cords of death entangled me,
    the anguish of the grave came over me;
    I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
    Lord, save me!’

The Lord is gracious and righteous;
    our God is full of compassion.
The Lord protects the unwary;
    when I was brought low, he saved me.

Return to your rest, my soul,
    for the Lord has been good to you.

For you, Lord, have delivered me from death,
    my eyes from tears,
    my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the Lord
    in the land of the living.

10 I trusted in the Lord when I said,
    ‘I am greatly afflicted’;
11 in my alarm I said,
    ‘Everyone is a liar.’

12 What shall I return to the Lord
    for all his goodness to me?

13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
    and call on the name of the Lord.
14 I will fulfil my vows to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people.

15 Precious in the sight of the Lord
    is the death of his faithful servants.
16 Truly I am your servant, Lord;
    I serve you just as my mother did;
    you have freed me from my chains.

17 I will sacrifice a thank-offering to you
    and call on the name of the Lord.
18 I will fulfil my vows to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people,
19 in the courts of the house of the Lord –
    in your midst, Jerusalem.

Praise the Lord.

 

(This blog was published previously by Glenn on 03/05/2016.)

Mash up

Psalm 108 is not a new Psalm but rather a new arrangement – in today’s musical terms what would be referred to as a “mash-up”. Verses 1-5 are derived almost verbatim from Psalm 57:7-11 and verses 6-13 from Psalm 60:5-12. One alteration being the use of the great name of Jehovah in Psalm 108:3 instead of Adonai in Psalm 57:9.

In doing so, the writer (be that David himself or a later compiler) discards the laments that begin the original Psalms and therefore their historical contexts – David hunted in Psalm 57 and defeated in Psalm 60. Thus we are left with those portions which express confidence in the Lord.

The new Psalm positively positions David firstly as the composer / musician drawing his inspiration from his relationship with God – he will sing to the Lord his songs of praise – be that at the break of dawn, amongst the nations or up to the highest heavens v1-5.

One commentator states that the two joined fragments “offer a striking instance of true biblical faith. Human steadfastness (v1) rests upon divine steadfastness (v4). Divine steadfastness is expressed in the great promises (v7-9) which give confidence in coming victories (v10-13).”