The Lord is my Shepherd – Psalm 23:6

As we come to the final verse of the twenty-third Psalm, we find a beautiful conclusion.  The psalmist declares the continuing goodness and mercy of God toward His people.  However, we may wonder what brings about these blessings.  What are the purposes and benefits?

“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.” – Psalm 145:9

God’s goodness comes from His nature, not our worthiness.  Another psalm reads, “The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works” (Psalm 145:9).  The Gospel writer recorded these words from Jesus, “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45).  Like the previous, God’s loving mercy comes from His character, not our virtue.  Micah 7:18 is a reminder to us, “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.”  The greatest demonstration of God’s goodness and mercy was the self-giving sacrifice of Jesus for us.  Through His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, we are the recipients of an “unspeakable gift” (2 Cor. 9:15).

God further demonstrates goodness and mercy by drawing us to His home.  The word house could mean the family or household or flock of the Good Shepherd.   However, it carries with it the continuing theme of this psalm, to be in God’s presence.  John wrote about the encouragement we should receive about going to be with God:

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:1-3

Soon, and very soon, our faith will become a reality.  We shall dwell in unbroken fellowship with the Lord forever.  I am looking forward to that endless day.  It is a promise that every person has been given and will receive if they receive it by faith.

The Lord is my Shepherd – Psalm 23:5

In the middle of our chaos, God can provide a space to receive His grace.  The shepherd knows his sheep are weary and hungry in the dark areas of life.  He also knows that in the treacherous terrain that there are dangerous enemies waiting to attack.  Still, in the midst of an uncertain place, the shepherd of our soul delivers what feels like a banquet to us.

The shepherd would at times feed the sheep on a raised table (like a natural trough in the ground).  Two reasons for this raised table.  First, it kept dirt from the sheep from falling into their food and secondly, this made it easier to keep the sheep from wandering off.  In turn, making it harder for enemies to steal sheep.  God knows what He is going to do for his people.  He knows how to protect us from own self and from those who would seek to do us harm.

Also, anoints our head with oil.  Why?  One, for bug prevention.  Bot flies and such would dig into the nostrils and ears of sheep and drive them made.   The Devil also likes to get in our head, but the Holy Spirit can keep him away.  It was also for healing.  Sheep want to butt heads and would need their wounds attended too.   Sometimes, the Holy Spirit must address the conflict between the sheep and bring healing to broken spirits.

Finally, we are told that our cup is running over.  Seemingly this phrase speaks of the overflowing blessings the shepherd pours over the sheep.   It is lovely to know our God is willingly giving us good, but underserved gifts.  We have not merited the Lord’s favor.  However, He loves us and knows each of us by name.  Oh, how great is the Shepherd’s love for us!

Finally, if you will venture out with me a little, Revelation 19 speaks of a table being spread in the presence of all our enemies throughout all space and time.  The marriage supper of the lamb.  There is one last time in the future, yet to come, that we will have to dine in the presence of the enemy.  But, praise be to God, who gives us the victory!  We shall still have the Shepherd on our side.

 

 

The Lord is my Shepherd – Psalm 23:4

The fourth verse of Psalm 23 is very popular and has been quoted by people from different walks of life.  Not just by Christians either.   It is a very relatable verse.  However, this flippant usage of this verse underlies a more damaging notion.  It is an approach called moral therapeutic deism.  What does that mean?  Let’s break it down:

  • Moral – This is not Biblically founded morality but rather a humanistic morality.  IT is the idea that people are good and all are on their way to heaven, except for those deemed to be thoroughly evil.  Just be a good “ol’ boy or girl,” and everything will be alright in the end.
  • Therapeutic – Christianity is therapeutic and good for guidance in this sense.  It can help teach morality and how to cope with stressful life issues in a self-help book approach.  All you need is a daily verse of inspiration, and anything more would be like fanaticism.
  • Deism – As this perspective goes on, it approaches a type of deism where God is distant and unneeded, except when needed.  Classic Deism taught that God created and sustained the universe but since then has remained distant and left the world to naturalistic movements.  However, moral therapeutic deism, there are times of crisis when this god will react and help.  However, whenever there is no crisis, he’s not around.

Does this help explain many of those in who claim Christ but are none of His?  I believe it does and with moral therapeutic deism as a backdrop, we can understand why Psalm 23:4 is therapeutic.

“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.” – Psalm 23:4

Albert Barnes wrote, “The idea is that of death casting his gloomy shadow over that valley – the valley of the dead.  Hence, the word applies to any path of gloom or sadness; any scene of trouble or sorrow; any dark and dangerous way.  Thus understood, it is applicable not merely to death itself – though it embraces that – but to any or all the dark, the dangerous, and the gloomy paths which we tread in life: to ways of sadness, solitude, and sorrow.”

The Scripture is no stranger to grief and is one of many reasons for its undeniable relevance.  Passage after passage paints the picture of reality we live in:

“Before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death;  A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.” – Job 10:21-22,

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” Isaiah 9:2

However, Psalm 23:4 is not a lament but praise.  Notice it says, “Though…I will fear no evil.”  Just as much as Scripture paints our grim reality, it is also using a backdrop of God’s majesty.  Let’s sample some of these passages that remind us not to fear because God is with us:

But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah. I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.” – Psalm 3:6,

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.” – Psalm 27:1-4.

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” – Isaiah 41:10,

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Cor. 15:55-57

Why can we have this confidence?  Because “Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”  The staff is a symbol the shepherd guiding his flock, and the rod is a symbol for protection.  However, there is a greater implication that goes against the idea of God be afar off.  These symbols are of tools that had to be used nearby.  Again, remember the verse says, “I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.”  God is near His people.  We exclaim that, “he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”  What a great comfort this is to us.

When we are in trouble, He is already by our side.  Yes, and when we pray, He is already there.  However, the implication is that He never leaves.  Even in the good times, God is right there by our side.  He is offering us guidance, correction, and protection, at every moment of our existence.  The Lord is not distant, but truly “God with us.”

The Lord is my Shepherd – Psalm 23:3

So far, we have seen that in the Lord, we do not lack in the first verse.  In the second verse, we find provision and rest.  As we continue, we see restoration for our souls.

“He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” – Psalm 23:3

This verse is about restoration and not just a refreshing as with the previous verse.  It’s the difference between an invigorating soda in one instance and the doctors working to restore a patient from dehydration.  The severity of our circumstances requires a more profound work when we come to this verse.  

Jesus Christ is the only one who can bring complete restoration to our lives.  Isaiah 53:6 reads, All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”  It is through Christ’s sacrificial death, resurrection, and ascension that we have this faithful promise. 

What is this restoration of the soul?  In the context of shepherds and sheep, it is speaking about a lost sheep being restored to the sheepfold.  The parable of Jesus from Luke 15 comes to mind:

4What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

This restoration speaks of our justification.  It is a change of positions.  Such as from sinner to saint, from lost to found, from orphaned to adopted, from death to life.  It also speaks powerfully to our moments of weariness and straying.  There are times when life brings us so low, and we succumb to our temptations.  It is at these times we find God restoring our strength and faith.

We also see that “He leads me in paths of righteous, for his names sake.”  As we live as believers, our aim is become more and more like Jesus.  It’s not about us.  It’s all about his excellent name.  Psalm 25:4-5 records a beautiful prayer in this same mind, “Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.

Still, God’s grace to us is his namesake.  It’s not selfish, it’s scandalous.  His name is on the line.  How far would you go out of your way for a person like you?  God gives us mercy when we are undeniably guilty.  God had displayed His love through His Son even when we were sinners.  God’s actions are considered foolish by the world, but they are lifegiving.  Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:18, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”  The Lord has went out of His way (which is actually His way) to restore us to Himself.

Psalm 23:1

Psalm 23:2

Seven Miracles in John: 2- The Nobleman’s Son

Jesus just had a wonderful ministry in Samaria and other places outside of his hometown. Nicodemus, women at the well.  Now he is returning home. Jesus knows the people’s hearts.  They will welcome him, but not with honor, not in the right way, but with improper motives.  This is the scenario that leads up to Jesus’ second miracle in John.

John 4:46-54

So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. 48 Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. 49 The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. 50 Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. 51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. 52 Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. 53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house. 54 This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee.

A person in need of help.

We Have no idea who this man was (vs. 46).  The Greek word used, “basilikos” just means the subject of the king.  He could have been a royal advisor, accountant, worker, or someone of importance in King Herod Antipas government.  We do not know who he was, but we are aware of the one he would seek for help.  This man found Jesus because he had heard of the other miracles Jesus had performed.  He knew that his son would die unless Jesus healed him.  It was the only way, and he came to Jesus with faith for this healing.

However, Jesus did not seem like He was going to help this man’s son.  What was going on in this situation?  Jesus was aware of the traps his hometown had fallen into concerning His fame.  They were proud of their relation to someone special.  We do this as well.  A sense of pride can be found among believers in an individual church, movement, song style, methodology, preacher, or singer.  Jesus’ followers had fallen into the trap of feeling entitled.  They felt that Jesus owed them miracles.  Falling headfirst, they only wanted Jesus because of the miracles He could perform.

Jesus, the giver of good gifts.

This man pressed on that he needed Jesus to heal his son or else he would die.  What Jesus did next was perform a miracle even though the man was not seeking Christ for salvation.  Jesus gave a good gift even when he is disappointed with the majority of people’s motive.  Grace that healed, regardless of the distance, immediately.  The man’s son was healed, and the man went home trusting that the healing had taken place while he was with Jesus.

While the man may have been seeking only a miracle, no doubt, his faith on Jesus increased.  Scripture goes on to say that after arriving home and finding his son alive and well, the man and his whole house believed in Jesus.  Romans 2:4 says, “despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”  The everyday gifts from God that sustain life and the supernatural works of God are given to us from the Lord to strengthen our faith and draw us closer to him.

Proverbs 3:5 reads, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”  Don’t be afraid to cry out to God.   Call on God first and seek Him early.  Not a last resort but as the only one.  The Lord is full of goodness and mercy.  His grace is sufficient for salvation and for every need that we have on a daily basis.

SOM: Blessed Are They Which Do Hunger and Thirst After Righteousness.

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6

This is the last beatitude that focuses on our relationship with God.  The remainder will focus on our relationship with other people around us.  With that in mind, we find words in this verse that are commonly used to express our greatest desires and needs.  This fits well in the progressive stages of our relationship with God that we find in these first four beatitudes as it ends with our continually seeking of the things of God.  As the psalmist writes, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God” (Ps. 42:1).  There will never be a time during our life where we stop growing and seeking after God.

The words, “hunger” and “thirst,” not only point out a desire but a need.  Hunger and thirst are associated reactions to the need for food and drink.  They remind us of our limited ability to sustain ourselves and the need for outside resources.  The same is true about our spiritual life.  As we cannot supply food and water for our physical body within ourselves, neither can we supply for our spiritual life.  God alone is able to supply that which we need in our soul.  God alone satisfies our spiritual appetite and God alone is able to quench our thirst for the water of life.

Jesus is concerned that we are hungry and thirsty for righteousness.  This is a word used throughout the scripture and it is rich in meaning.  For us, it particular means to be “made righteous,” “justified,” or one of my favorites, “right-a-fied.” It is the act of God where he takes guilty sinners and pronounces them just and innocent because Jesus has taken their place.  It shows the quality of one who is pronounced righteous by the eternal Judge.  The righteousness of Christ is placed on us.  Paul in the book of Romans discusses righteousness in great detail but in the end we know that we are, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” (Rom. 3:24).

We must hunger and thirst after God’s righteousness rather than our own.  The Old Testament prophet writes, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Is. 64:6).  Our innocence is lost due to the power of sin.  We stand before quilty without a defense except when we come by faith in Jesus.  Then his righteousness is imputed (transferred legally) onto us before God.  We are “satisfied” or “filled” by Christ’s righteousness.  The moment faith in Christ has come, at that moment, righteousness is declared.  The wrath of God is fully satisfied and judgement is becomes a place of reward.  Our longing soul is satisfied from it empty and dark state by the decree that we are justified in the sight of God.

SOM: Blessed are the Meek

“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” – Matthew 5:5

Weak and meek are not the same the same thing.  Jesus was anything but weak.  He had power of demons, diseases, and death.  He demonstrated his power over nature by simple use of His voice and when he spoke the people that heard him recognized an authority in it.  Jesus is the Son of God but yet He was meek and here He calls us to have the same attitude.  We are called to live in the power and freedom of grace but not at the cost of another’s own walk with Christ.

It is probably best for us to get a better understanding of what it means to be meek.  The Greek word used here can be translated with other words such as humble, gentle, considerate, and courteous.  Perhaps a better understanding of meekness requires us to take each of those words into mind when we read this verse rather one or another.  Together the word indicates an inward virtue exercised toward others.  For example, when the meek are wronged or abused, they show no resentment and do not threaten or avenge themselves.

Psalm 37 provides the background for this verse because it seems Jesus was quoting it, “But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace” (37:11).  If you would take the time to read this entire Psalm by David you would be sure to quickly realize the calm assurance he gives as we lean on God’s power, wisdom and timing in dealing with those that would take advantage of us.  Earlier in this study we seen how the first set of beatitudes we vertical, meaning they focused on our relationship with God as citizens’ of the heavenly kingdom.  This verse seems to emphasis the fact that while we may have power and authority to avenge ourselves and deal with our enemies, we still don’t.  Rather than taking vengeance into our own hands we allow God to be God.  We rely on God dealing with our enemies, natural and supernatural.

We are tempted to take full advantage of all our rights in order to take care of ourself but the meek choose not to.  Why?  It is because we are not of this worldly system. Notice the blessing of the meek, “for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5).  This world is not our home.  We are only passing through it on our way to the promised land.  The blessing though is like Abraham, who was promised a certain land but is also told that everywhere he sees and steps will also be part of his blessing from God.  The same is with the meek child of God.  We do not use the systems of the world to better ourselves because we are of Heaven and not of Earth.  But one day we shall inherit the earth when it is made new.

When shall that be?  In the context of Psalm 37 we notice that it the time frame is when the wicked have been dealt justice by God.  At the return of the Lord we will find ourselves the recipients of the message, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matt. 25:23).  When evil and the ones that perpetuate evil are removed then shall all things be made new and the righteously meek will inherit the earth.

So, the big question for us is whether we are willing to live meek in a cutthroat world?  Where people are constantly looking to take advantage of others and various systems in order to constantly get ahead we are cautioned against such actions that show us to be more earthly minded than heavenly.  During our times of devotion we must look not only towards pride, desires to have revenge, and to take advantage of others but also to examine our actions to see if we have behaved in such a way that is contrary to being meek.

SOM: Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” – Matthew 5:3

Poverty is not something we desire.  Most work against it and the insecurities that it brings.  Still, it does teach us something of immense value.  It teaches us humility before and dependence upon God.  It is those “poor in spirit” that God blesses with salvation.  As James 4:7-10 reads,

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”

What does it mean to be blessed?  This is first a word that we will see repeatedly in this passage so it would be good to make sure we have a better understanding of it.  In looking at Scripture we see such uses like in the book of proverbs where it speaks of worldly well-being.  Blessing is conferred upon those who live in conformity with the principles prescribed by God (Pro. 3:13, Prov. 8:32).  Then we also see in Scripture that blessing designates a future apocalyptic blessing as it is directed at those who in the end times (Dan. 12:12).  In the second instance, the blessing is more than about flourishing but it is a formal assurance of salvation!  Therefore, being blessed of God not only regards the state of our well-being but is a way to describe the state of our soul before God.  In fact, the greatest blessing from God is salvation.  Though the Greek word for blessed is means “happy” and the Hebrew means to “praise,” there truly is nothing happier or more praiseworthy than the salvation Jesus has brought.

Now we can move on to what it means to be “poor in Spirit?”  The word “poor” is a verb in the Greek that signifies, “bowing, or crouching like a beggar.”  It is a stronger than the idea of just not having anything.  It refers to the humility of needing to beg and depends on the mercy of others.  This picture is followed by a reference to how this person is poor – poor with respect to the spirit!  A certain relationship is established in this phrase.  The poverty here referred is not one that is speaking to our physical or spiritual lack, but the position of heart towards God.  Most likely Jesus is referring to the same idea the psalmist has in Psalm 34:6, “This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.” Thank the Lord!

We could launch into a study of Romans from here and our inability to save ourselves.  We could wade through the teachings that God provides for our daily and greatest needs.  God is our provider and by His grace and mercy we have one who is on our side.  Knowing that we can do nothing for ourselves, that Jesus is on our side, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 5:5).  We humbly come before God, with confidence, that He will hear our cries.

What does he do when we cry out to him?  We receive the kingdom of Heaven.  It is true that these blessed attitudes do contain a present and future tense to them, but one thing that Jesus did is bring future realities into present day believers.  In fact, in this same sermon Jesus will teach us to pray, “Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).  The kingdom of heaven is present now as Jesus said, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21).

The kingdom of heaven is something already accomplished and being accomplished.  It’s a difficult concept but the kingdom is ours now, and will be ours in future.  In its progress it will us all all that God still has laid up for us!  In regards to salvation, it is that we are saved from future wrath but we can enjoy the present reality of being forgiven now.  In regard to healing, we look forward to a future healing but through Christ we can receive healing now.  In regard to need, all social injustices and lack will be fully taken care of but we can indeed receive material help in our time of need.

How does it start?  Through the poorness of our spirit before our awesome Savior.  Let us cry out to the Lord for every need!

Bible Study: Psalm 131

Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child. Let Israel hope in the Lord from henceforth and for ever.”

I remember hearing a sermon on four pictures about a fence post.  In two of the pictures the post represented grace. The third represented standards and the fourth represented man’s advancement.  The first of the two was a turtle on top of post and the caption said, “Somebody had to help him up there.”  That’s the grace that lifts us up.  The second of the two was a picture of a boat in a stormy tied to a post on the shore with a simple caption, “The anchor holds.”  That is also a picture of grace that keeps us through life’s trials.  The third picture was a broken fence post and fence that was in a sheep field with the caption that said, “When the fence is broken the sheep will get out.”  The last picture though feels the heart of Psalm 131.  It was a picture of a well-dressed man with his nose in the air standing on top of the fence post.  The caption read, “A step in any direction will lead to a great fall.”

Proverbs 16:18 reads, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”  David had quickly ascended from a shepherd boy to the king of Israel.  There wasn’t a any political ladders to climb.  God anointed him to the position and he went.  Overwhelming?  Yes!  Trained?  No!  This psalm is a reflection of David in this sudden whirlwind of events that lead him to the throne.  Did he become prideful that he was now king?  No, instead, he was humbled.  This psalm is not David’s resume.  He didn’t list his credentials and make the people sing about them.  David rather focused on his humble beginnings and the lack of study in kingly matters.  He was a quiet child and teenager that didn’t try to act arrogant.  Now he was king and he didn’t want his attitude to change so in humble admission of his lack he wanted Israel to know they should trust in the Lord more than him.

What we find in our own discipleship (going up the mountain towards God with Christ), that we lack the ability in ourselves.  The spiritual formation of the believer is the work of God in us as one commentator put it, “The disciplined life was not a natural endowment” (Paschall, 1972).  We can plant and water but it is God that gives the increase.  When we begin to think highly of our own achievements we become prideful and after that there will be a fall.  We must continually humble ourselves before God and seek to lift Him up as our only source of strength.

References

Paschall, F. H., & Hobbs, H. H. (Eds.). (1972). The teacher’s Bible commentary. Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers.

Bible Study: Psalm 130

“Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning. Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.”

This is truly a beautiful psalm for when we are in the “depths.”  Have you ever been in deep trouble?  Deep in debt?  Deep in anger?  Deep in guilt?  Deep in failure?  Deep in despair?  Deep in defeat? Deep in sin?  The Lord is speaking your answer through the psalmist.  He was well acquainted with grief.  He had seen death.  He had tasted defeat.  He know what it was to be attacked by enemies.  But he had hope.

We can cry out to the Lord according to the first two verses.  Pray is invaluable to the believer.  It is the very breath of our soul and many times we forget to breathe.  The Lord wants to hear from His children.  Even though God already knows what we are going through it is in His divine plan that we talk with Him.  He wants a relationship with us.  Many times we treat God as we do family.  I have seen many parents in the nursing home that are so proud of their children, their accomplishments, and love them with every ounce of strength that they have but the don’t understand why their children won’t call and won’t visit.  Many times we neglect God in the same way.  He loves us and desires for a close relationship but we won’t take the time to visit with Him.

Do you hope in God?  Do you have faith in Him?  People that have faith in God not only believe in Him but also trust His word enough to call out to Him in prayer.  When we pray we are to wait on the Lord.  This is not a just a, “Okay, now we have done this and we will see what happens,” and then go about our business like we just entered for some prize contest.  No, the word wait here in the Hebrew means an active expectation.  It means I prayed and I know an answer is on the way.

My children get so excited when mommy is home from teaching at school.  They know when daddy says that mommy is on her way home that it won’t be long.  They stand by the door and look out.  They keep asking daddy if mommy is home yet.  They are actively expecting.  They it will happen and they are ready to receive her with open arms.  Does you wait for the Lord?  Do you hope in His word?