Saturday, July 21, 2018

Year 8, Day 202: Psalm 57

Theological Commentary: Click Here

I think one of the aspects of David that I respect the most is his ability to always see.  I’m not talking about his ability to use his eyes.  What I’m talking about is his ability to use his mind.  To put it in the most confusing way possible, what David sees often doesn’t match what David sees.

When David, the greatest Hebrew king of all time, looks out with his eyes he sees a bleak picture.  People are always trying to usurp him.  They want his power.  They want his throne.  They want his power.  They want his prestige.  If there is anything true about being at the top, it’s that you have everyone else’s bull's-eye on your back.  That’s David’s reality every day.  It’s hard to be king and go through a day not wondering who is gunning to take you down.

In fact, David had good reason to fear!  In spite of being able to do some great things through faith – killing Goliath comes to mind – his reign was filled with valleys.  His son revolts.  The nations around him rise up against him.  His own subject plot against him.  The other tribes wrestle with being ruled by a Judahite.

Having said that, read the words in this psalm.  Yes, the pain of life is there.  The words, however, paint a different picture.  David sees hope.  David sees a reason to sing!  David finds reason to believe and be steadfast.  David finds reason to praise God!

It really is a matter of perspective.  David could easily have turned angry and bitter.  He could have become suspicious and cold.  He could have built emotion brick walls within spiritual ones.  But that isn’t what he does.  David continues to turn to God, find joy and peace, and then bring that light to life.


Friday, July 20, 2018

Year 8, Day 201: Psalm 56

Theological Commentary: Click Here

Today we get another psalm of David.  It’s another psalm where David talks about turning to the Lord in the midst of being pursued himself.  Hopefully the theme that’s appeared throughout the last ten psalms or so is clearly visible.  In the midst of David’s trouble, David turns to God and has faith.  In the midst of human pursuit, David turns to God instead of lashing out.

Think about all of the things that happened to David in his life.  How many times did Saul try to kill David?  Yet when David had opportunity to take Saul’s life, David didn’t.  Remember when Absalom overthrew David and took over the kingdom?  David vacated the throne and waited for God to open the door back into the kingdom.  Remember when David was chased out of Israel and was forced to live among the Philistines?  David waited among the Philistines, working hard, until God opened a door for him to return.

David truly is a man after God’s own heart.  He trusts the Lord.  He desires to live according to God’s direction and has the patience to wait him out.  Yes, David sinned.  Yes, David made his share of mistakes.  But there is something that is true in David’s life.  When the chips are down, David turns to the Lord and trusts.

That’s what this psalm is about.  People scheme against David.  They look for their opening.  They think evil thoughts against him.  They speak ill of him.  They lurk and plot and plan.

In all of this, David turns to the Lord and honestly asks how he can possibly be afraid.  If God is for him, what should David fear?  If David is truly walking step by step with the Lord, why cower in fear?


Thursday, July 19, 2018

Year 8, Day 200: Psalm 55

Theological Commentary: Click Here

In Psalm 55 we can continue the thinking we started in the last psalm.  Again we have a psalm of David when he is calling out to the Lord for help.  There is one difference in today’s psalm than from yesterday.  Today, David is oppressed by someone close.  David has found an enemy in someone that he thought was a friend.

David’s response, however, is still the same.  David calls out to God for help.  David knows that the source of salvation is not something within himself but something found within God first.  David understands that while oppression may come from the humans, even friends, around him but salvation only comes from God.

What’s neat about this psalm, though, is that we see that this is not nearly as easy as it sounds.  David’s heart is in anguish.  He wants to run – or in this case, fly – away.  He needs to fight the human instinct within.  David is restless inside.  Waiting for God and His salvation can sometimes require patience.  Patience is often in short supply when we feel like we are oppressed.

As discussed yesterday, worshipping God must be more than lip-service.  If we trust God, then we must place our trust in Him, too.  We cannot lash out and react, solving our human problems in our own human way.  But this is easier said than done.  Waiting upon the Lord means we must learn patience.  We must learn how to listen.  We must resist temptation within to follow our human solutions.  Being the Lord’s disciple means all of this so that we can truly follow Him even in our troubles.


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Year 8, Day 199: Psalm 54

Theological Commentary: Click Here

In psalm 54 we have another plea for salvation.  No surprise, we return to a psalm of David.  This psalm has a simple, honest tone about it that sounds like David.  David is in trouble and he cries out to God.  David even seems to have been caught blindsided by the trouble as he claims that strangers have risen up against him.

There’s something neat that comes up when thinking about this psalm and psalms like it.  Worshipping God is more than just lip service.  Naturally, we understand that.  There is no logical reason for anyone, much less God, to appreciate lip service.  We naturally understand that worship must be more than lip service.

That being said, when it comes to trouble do we really practice what we claim to believe?  How often when we are oppressed do we try to save ourselves?  How often do we lash out in anger, seek revenge, devise a scheme equally as bad as those who oppress us, or other such calamity?  When people rise up against us, how often do we try to take matters in our own hands and solve our troubles our way?

That’s the neat thing about this psalm.  When David is oppressed, even by an unknown enemy, look what he does.  He turns to the Lord.  He asks the Lord to deliver him.  He places his trust into the hands of the Lord.

We need to be careful with this, though.  I’m not saying that David became inactive and expects God to do everything for him.  What David does is to wait upon the Lord.  Instead of lashing out in his human emotional reaction, he pauses to understand what God’s plan is.  Once he knows how God will work salvation, then he acts, playing whatever part God needs him to play.    That’s the key to making our faith more than lip service.  We need to wait upon the Lord and then truly follow Him if we are truly going to claim to worship Him as God.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Year 8, Day 198: Psalm 53

Theological Commentary: Click Here

At first pass, this psalm seems utterly depressing.  Nobody does good.  All have sinned.  We’re all corrupt.  We’re all covered in iniquity.  We have all fallen away.  We all prey upon one another in one form or another!  Oh, what a bleak picture!

Truth be told, it’s all true.  Can any of us be declared righteous on our own merit?  Can any one of us shed our iniquity?  Can any one of us keep himself from falling away from God’s ways?  While bleak, is it any less true?

This is why the end of the psalm is so meaningful.  Salvation does come out of Zion.  God Himself makes our salvation a reality.  It is God who restores the fortunes of His people.  God is the source of salvation.

While this psalm does cause a bleak look in the mirror for humanity, it is a fundamental look.  To truly rejoice in the salvation, is it not necessary to understand our own turmoil?  To receive grace, isn’t it best when we understand the cost? 


Monday, July 16, 2018

Year 8, Day 197: Psalm 52

Theological Commentary: Click Here

Psalm 52 gives us another pair of opposite perspectives to analyze.  The first is the perspective of evil.  The psalmist asks why the evil one boasts, even.  These are the people who plot against others, who put their trust in money, who lie, or who deceive.  In other words, these are people who are looking to figuratively consume other people and their livelihood.

On the other hand, there are the righteous.  These are people who boast in the Lord, not the things of this world.  They trust in the Lord.  They thank God.  They wait upon Him.  They make company with other righteous people.  In other words, these are the people who do things according to the Lord’s ways.

Looking upon both camps, and serving as judge, is God.  God will break down those who boast in themselves while being a refuge for those who are in Him.  He will snatch away the wealth of the wicked while abundantly providing for the righteous.  He will uproot those who plant themselves in the world but grant stability to those who plant themselves in Him.

In the end, it really does boil down to a matter of faith.  If God is looking down and sitting as judge, why would we sit in the position of evil?  Why would we place ourselves not only in a place of judgment but also a place where we depend on ourselves when we can place ourselves within God’s influence and protection?


Sunday, July 15, 2018

Year 8, Day 196: Psalm 51

Theological Commentary: Click Here

Psalm 51 is a classic psalm.  It contains refrains that are used over and over in popular culture.  The “Create in me a clean heart, Oh God, and renew a right spirit within me” refrain is present.  “Oh Lord, open my lips and I will declare your praise.” These phrases are often referenced as people turn to the Lord.

Looking back to the beginning of the psalm, we can understand why the psalmist would say these things.  The psalmist has a great understanding of their own sinfulness.  In fact, the psalmist has a great understanding of their own redemption, too.  It is God who washes us clean.  It is God who purifies us.  We do not purify ourselves.  The psalmist knows this, which is why the psalmist desires to request cleansing from God.  He creates clean hearts within us.  Our response should be to declare Him praise.

Ultimately, this brings us to the end of the psalm.  An oft overlooked passage, but a rather important one nonetheless, are Psalm 51:16-17.  He the psalmist tells us for certain what is in the mind of God.  God does not desire burnt offerings from an impure person.  As discussed yesterday, what can we sacrifice that really isn’t God’s anyways?

What God desires is a broken spirit and a contrite heart.  What God desires is that we understand our brokenness.  God desires an understanding of our sin and confession of our inability to resolve the situation.  God desires an attitude within that starts with our brokenness and looks ahead to our redemption.  These are the things that God does not despise.