The Deep Glories of Our Faith: Psalm 112:4-6

4 “Light dawns in the darkness for the upright;
    he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.
It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;
    who conducts his affairs with justice.
For the righteous will never be moved;
     he will be remembered forever.”

Psalm 112:4-6, ESV

We all I suppose, want life to come and show us something. We all have expectations and we imagine that life will eventually come around, and bring us what we want.

This psalm seems to insist that we should accept, rather than demand. There is a certain deceit that declares we should insist on certain things. (And yet there are very few that have ever done this.)  And yet, we see that our humility in this, is almost compromised into this triumphalism. We are no longer “broken” but fortified by our certainty.

Commentary

V. 4, Light dawns in the darkness for the upright;
    he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.”

Light almost always is coveted. We definitely consider light to be a superior state. This verse seems to be  a understanding of a process where the believer will anticipate fluidity, a change. But those who connect to evil, are never ever given any sort of advancement. They are locked into a strange sort of stasis, they will never advance out-of-it. (This is scary, when you really think about it.)

We should anticipate the ‘light’ that comes. We’ve endured a long hard night, and we are suddenly surprised by the sunrise. And this can only really happen because of the heart of God.  “He is gracious, merciful, and righteous.”

And because He is like this, we can latch onto an aspect of God’s nature that is seldom ever seen. And because He has shown us these things, upon arrival, we are in a completely different state.

V. 5, “It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;
    who conducts his affairs with justice.”

Admittedly, there is “kind of Old Testament sense” here. But if we insist, the glasses of Grace will change all we see.  These “glasses” tell us that there is something beyond legalism. We will never find our Father, by the efforts of our will.

And yet, a definite kind of goodness meets us when our hearts are generous and kind. When we are a blessing to others, we suddenly realize that we’ve been blessed through our own kindness. It’s a bit ironic, isn’t it? (I would never have sorted this out on my own.)

V. 6, “For the righteous will never be moved;
     he will be remembered forever.”

Becoming right with God, on every level, brings us stability. This means, “stability” and a definite immobility. We are latched on to something good, and we dare not let this go. I’ve been told that huge whales and sharks seem to acquire a small “sucker-fish” that attaches itself on its much bigger host. These little fish will “clean”  their hosts. But then they are given a deep protection.

“Never be moved,” is a tremendous place to be. There is a solid state of certain publicity that is given. We can only receive all that we’ve been forgiven. We must work through these issues. This is all  we need to arrive at a place that is extraordinary. All I can say, is the fact that God’s grace is quite exceptional.

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The True King: Psalm 145:1-3

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“I will lift you up high, my God, the true king.
    I will bless your name forever and always.
I will bless you every day.
    I will praise your name forever and always.
The Lord is great and so worthy of praise!
    God’s greatness can’t be grasped.”

Psalm 145:1-3, CEB

The spirit of David opens up this psalm incredibly upbeat. He is wild and quite fervent as he unleashes his praise of God. In the past, he has been hammered many times by dark forces. And yet, David continues to praise in a way that some would consider way too excessive.

Praise has changed David. He has discovered much through trials and obstacles he has encountered. He is not bitter, but better. He has not been mauled, but amazed by the grace that has been given freely to him.

Commentary

V. 1, “I will lift you up high, my God, the true king.
    I will bless your name forever and always.”

King David loves to praise his God. He calls Him the “true king.” I suppose “true” is the operative word. God is royal, and He astonishes us beyond our focus.

The idea of “blessing His name” isn’t really a part of our western mindset. It may seem to be extraneous and doubtful. But David understands something. He can impart this directly to the presence of God. He really believes he can convey “goodness” to a God who is already good and true.

V. 2,  I will bless you every day.
    I will praise your name forever and always.

I suppose we are seeing something that drives David further. David is focused on delivering his blessing directly on the Lord. He is blessing when so many are cursing.

I think that this verse directs us a to an admirable consistency of faith. But David presses us in this psalm to focus on a worthy God, who deserves a daily acknowledgement. David shepherds us into the concreteness of our belief.

“Forever and always. Simply understood, we must realize we are offering up something quite eternal and everlasting. David understands that his faith is fairly understood. (But understanding doesn’t mean acceptance). But certainly, there is a grace that punches into our malaise. We suddenly understand a grace that is beyond us.

V. 3,  The Lord is great and so worthy of praise God’s greatness can’t be grasped.”  It seems David is running on an understanding of this worthy God. David is focused on “greatness” and “worthiness” of God. Simply, the understanding this deep awareness will change us completely. He turns us “upside down.”

“Can’t be grasped,” propels us into a deep awareness of His goodness. We see it, and then we try to focus, but our silliness and foolishness deflects so much. And yet it pushes us into an ignorant place. Humility will bring us directly into His presence. (But that may seem very hard.)

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Gaze Into a Servant’s Eyes: Psalm 123

Our Eyes Look to the LORD Our God
    A Song of Ascents.

 1 To you I lift up my eyes
O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
2 Behold, as the eyes of servants 
   look to the hand of their master, 
as the eyes of a maidservant 
   to the hand of her mistress, 
so our eyes look to the LORD our God, 
   till he has mercy upon us.

 3 Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us, 
   for we have had more than enough of contempt. 
4 Our soul has had more than enough 
   of the scorn of those who are at ease, 
   of the contempt of the proud.

Psalm 123:1-4, ESV

I don’t think we get the idea of a “community” lament. When we weep, we tend to cry alone. The idea of national grief has only once or twice affected this generation. I think of the attacks on 9/11. The pain polarized us, and we seemed to lament together.

This is one of the Psalms of Ascent. It had a specific use; as the memorized songs to be sung as the Jews travelling up to the Temple. Jerusalem was elevated above the surrounding terrain. While the pilgrims sang on the roadways, the Levites would sing the same songs on the steps up to the Temple. This group of 15 Psalms are collected for us as 120-134.

Commentary

V.1 Right away I look to the obvious. The reference to “eyes” repeated four times in just two verses, vv. 1-2. Eyes are organs exclusively dedicated for sight, complex eyes can distinguish shapes and colors. We can distinguish 10 million colors. Without them, we would be severely handicapped. But many seeing persons can’t always perceive and discern things as they should.

V. 2 The theme here is “servanthood”. The person who serves another has to be focused. We look to the hand, watching and anticipating the next move the master might make. He might raise the index finger on the right hand, he wants tea. A clenched fist means I’m ready for my lunch. We must see the link between servanthood and seeing. A good servant is one who can anticipate the master’s will.

V. 3, “Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us.” The mercy needs to be sought, for there is not automatic mercy. You should plead for it, if you are serious about getting it. There is a solid boldness of coming and asking, begging.

V.4 The world is hardly a tolerant and congenial place. We often get “our belly full”. Never expect to be loved and esteemed as a believer. And if it does happen. someone has a certain self-awareness. It will never be what you think. Our “enemies” are into what is easy and what strengthens their pride. That will make them dangerous.

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Psalm 87:7, Where Does the Beauty Come From?

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7 “Singers and dancers alike say, “All my springs are in you.”

Psalm 87:7, ESV

“It was when I was happiest that I longed most. The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing to find the place where all the beauty came from.”

C.S. Lewis

Giftedness has fascinated me for years. I have had the honor of knowing painters, writers, dancers, poets, singers, musicians, and actors, (not sure about ‘mimes’ though)– all creative people. Most of these have been believers, although not all. But each was an artist, through and through.

What is the intangible spark that sets them apart? What is the ‘difference’ between them and me? I believe it is not as simple as some would suggest.

My daughter sculpts in miniature. She is very good. I watch her create and I just know I’m in the presence of the extraordinary. My wife is a gifted musician. Thecreativity-music heavens open up when her fingers brush the ivory keys. And me, well– I’m the hack– trying to write a blog and the occasional poem. Oh, I paint sometimes. (Acrylics, mostly). I guess I just know enough about giftedness to recognize it when it comes along.

The psalmist hears the artists of his day say, “All my springs are in you.” Someone has described the creative process as just opening up a “spigot.” It’s probably more than that. The source itself is found in God. When something beautiful is done– its origins are supernatural, filtered through a person. It uses that person’s training and latent talents to express the beautiful.

There is an authentic mystery to this. Elements must be considered: being created in God’s image, and our unique aptitudes. Our own spiritual formation plays a keen role.

I praise God for “the fountains” that enrich our lives. They are in Him. I can live with that.

ybic,

Bryan

Psalm 28:1-2– Hotline to Heaven

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“To you, O Lord, I call;
    my rock, be not deaf to me,
lest, if you be silent to me,
    I become like those who go down to the pit.
2 Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy,
    when I cry to you for help,
when I lift up my hands
    toward your most holy sanctuary.”

Psalm 28:1-2, ESV

Having a person who really wants to listen is priceless. King David is at his best when he is at his worst, as this Psalm is strong evidence of this truth. David is a model of the desperate soul that sees reality crushingly close.

Verse 1 is translated by the New Living Translation as:

“I pray to you, O Lord, my rock.
    Do not turn a deaf ear to me.
 For if you are silent,
    I might as well give up and die.”

If this is a better version I cannot tell. I suggest understanding both. One expresses fear of going “to the pit.” The other of death, “give up and die.” Both are horrible fates. with staggering repercussions. David faces his own mortality, and rather than hide his fear uses it as a “springboard” into God’s presence. In dramatic fashion he starts off with this desire to cheat death of his own soul. (This has side-effects benefiting David, lol.)

More precisely,  David needs God’s focused and undivided attention. A man hanging be a slender taut rope would be a clear picture. And the world’s  maxim goes– “When at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” This psalm describes this effort of “tying.”telephone_300

2 “Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy,
when I cry to you for help,
when I lift up my hands
toward your most holy sanctuary.”

David believes that God is a listening God. He is always on duty and responsive, like a celestial 911 operator.  Both voice, and hands make the call– right into the sanctuary– the Holy of Holies. David is completely absorbed in this, for his hope is real, and he is confident that God will show up and save Him. And this is always the believer’s right and privilege.

The rest of this psalm is super, as well.

ybic,

Bryan

Psalm 103, From Out of a Deep Pit

“Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
                                      3who forgives all your iniquity,
                                        who heals all your diseases,
                                      4who redeems your life from the pit.”

Psalm 103:2-4, ESV

Your gratitude is not really an option.

You have been lifted to a place of safety.  He has poured on you extraordinary blessings.  Complete forgiveness, total healing, and a secure redemption–you’ve been purchased off “the slave block.”  So much has happened to you since you met Jesus.

The Psalmist energizes himself. He states truths, and then pulls himself up to them.  He isn’t crazy, and yet he talks to himself.  Perhaps we should do this, much more frequently then we do.  It appears we might have definite advantages if we do.

A pit has been dug to trap you.  If you fall into it, you won’t be able to escape. It does its work, grimly and exceptionally.  Falling into it should be most complete. But there are so many living who reside in this pit.  It is most evil and desperate, and fully destructive to the souls of men.

In the light of this “atrocity of the pit,” deliverance is monumental.  When we are lifted out of it, we have a freedom that was nothing more than a fantasy– a really horrid dream.  This alone should generate an overflowing heart. If you will only walk in understanding, you will start to find victory!

Forgiveness, healing and redemption.  This triumvirate bores into our heart.  These three words create salvation deep inside us.  Each concept shapes us into ways that could never happen unless the Father wanted it.  He lifts us out of that wicked trap. He wants to free us!

Our simple response must be only to worship.  For many of us, it will take time and practice.  Worship needs to be learned, we simply don’t do it naturally.  But, thats ok.  Simply put, we need to start, and not forget all that He has done.  Please, don’t forget.  But remember all that He has done for you!  Psalm 103 will teach you, and bring you to a special place.

ybic, Bryan

Time in a Small Bottle

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10″ The years of our life are seventy,
    or even by reason of strength eighty;
yet their span is but toil and trouble;
    they are soon gone, and we fly away.
11 Who considers the power of your anger,
    and your wrath according to the fear of you?

12 So teach us to number our days
    that we may get a heart of wisdom.”

Psalm 90:10-12, ESV

(Actually, in order to scoop this up, you should read Ps. 90:7-17. I can honestly predict good thing emanating from your reading.)

I once attempted to carry Bibles into the village of Minto, Alaska in January 1985. Minto is small and isolated, and it is north of the Arctic Circle. In winter, it is a cold, beyond cold. We saw the temperature drop to a -30, with a windchill of -50 F.

When it gets this cold, the tires on your car freeze. They get flat spots, frozen rubber that keeps its shape. So you hear a clumping  sort of sound when someone drives by. This is readily seen in Fairbanks.

Our car just had to breakdown in this frozen waste. We were quite isolated, we were the only vehicle in 50 miles. I tell you this. The cold was horrific. The dead car now was nothing more than a “windbreak”. Since the engine couldn’t run, the temp quickly plummeted. And I knew two things.

      • One, I discovered that this kind of cold could quickly  kill you.
      • Second, I was going to die, as “a Bryan flavored popsicle.”

But we found a miracle. Twelve hours later, a singular snowplow right at the point of turning around, saw the red top of our little Toyota. The driver  hesitated, and then decided to find out this mystery. He discovered us, and yes, we were quite close to dying. (No melodrama here folks, just keep moving).

So teach us to number our days
    that we may get a heart of wisdom.”

Psalm 90:12

This is a Psalm of Moses, and we see him connect the dots. This particular verse should lift us up. Just the idea of enumeration should connect us to a deeply eternal watch. Moses is writing directly to the psalmist, and we must accept all that he has said.

Things are astonishingly brief for us. Even as believers (expecting something better) are never really content. We think that we deserve much more than this. But our life is shortened to a set of days, and we have no recourse but to take all that is given to us.

In 1985, in a beat-up Toyota Corolla I suddenly understood the issues. My life was negotiable. This was my certain moment, when I could really understand. We must “count our days”. Only the person who discovers his mortality, can really appreciate” eternal life”.

Its simple, really. We focus on the numbers, and the numerical count we have accrued. We can honestly do nothing less– and nothing more. It seems we are  living on a tether, and we can only advance so far. But this is not a bad thing.

There is an “old world”  idea of bravery. It’s not so popular lately. But we will only advance if we understand “bravery.” Courage is the only accepted currency in the spirituality of this moment, today. We will trust in the things He gives us.

&

ybic, Bryan

God, Motivate Me– Psalm 119, ה

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ה He

33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes;
    and I will keep it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
    and observe it with my whole heart.
35 Lead me in the path of your commandments,
    for I delight in it.
36 Incline my heart to your testimonies,
    and not to selfish gain!
37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
    and give me life in your ways.
38 Confirm to your servant your promise,
    that you may be feared.
39 Turn away the reproach that I dread,
    for your rules are good.
40 Behold, I long for your precepts;
    in your righteousness give me life!

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Again, this is an acrostic. It is painstakingly put together and embedded with the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Each letter will have eight verses. And each verse begins with the letter assigned to it. For example, today’s post is the Hebrew letter is  ה , or He– the eight verses (see above) each begin with the letter “He”.

There are some references in the Hebrew Talmud about “he.” It is a special letter. A few suggest that two letters were brought together to be used by God to form the entire universe. Paired up it constructs “the divine name” of God. In Psalm 33:6, we read–

“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
and by the breath of his mouth all their host.”

I suppose Psalm 119 can be compared to a ‘literary’ tapestry– many threads meticulously woven into something with so much beauty, it takes your breath away when you see it. It is a masterpiece of unparalleled exquisiteness and elegance.

Commentary

He

Vv. 33-34, “Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes;
    and I will keep it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
    and observe it with my whole heart.”

If we just look at the verbs, we will go along way toward an understanding.

  1. Teach me
  2. I will keep
  3. Give me
  4. I will observe

As a believer, God commits Himself to provide me with what I need. He is a teacher, and a giver. He infuses us with wisdom and understanding.

And as a disciple I finally can give what He really wants. I plan to keep, and observe. He gives, and I commit. Its a bit like a “give and take” scenario. But we don’t earn or deserve anything. We receive from Him far more than we could give.

Vv. 35-36, “Lead me in the path of your commandments,
    for I delight in it.
36 Incline my heart to your testimonies,
    and not to selfish gain!”

We must be led. We are on this journey you see, but it will take His work to direct us. The commandments should delight us. The rebellion which is innate in each of us really hates this.

Inclination means a motivation, or a proclivity within. It describes a disposition where we really do want to follow, we really do! In a sense we see a sort of ‘magnetism’ that effects us, pulling us to Him. “Selfish gain” is a bit vague, but it is anything that lifts us up, when it is really all about Him.

Vv. 37-38, “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
    and give me life in your ways.
38 Confirm to your servant your promise,
    that you may be feared.

My eyes are constantly roving, and unfortunately they gravitate toward “worthless things.” These are things which have little or no value. There is a strange sort of spiritual seduction here. We need God’s help in controlling this. If we don’t we will be in bondage to sin.

Confirmation is a sort of an implanted promise that reassures us. Without it we are a real mess. We each are capable of much wickedness. But when God’s hand is on us, confirming us– it is then we start to have a healthy fear of God. And that is a very good thing.

Vv. 39-40, “Turn away the reproach that I dread,
    for your rules are good.
40 Behold, I long for your precepts;
    in your righteousness give me life!”

The “reproach” is coming from our enemies, both spiritual and fleshly (vv. 22, 42, 51). It seems that we are the most hated– and the most loved people. The verse seems to suggest that we need God’s work to “turn away” this nastiness.

The Holy Spirit refocuses us, recalibrating us. We start to “long for” the things He speaks to us. If we let Him work, we will discover true life. And once you taste that life, it will ruin you for the vain morsels of this present age.

&

ybic, Bryan

A Solid and Steady Love: Psalm 62:11-12

11 Once God has spoken;
    twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,
12     and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
For you will render to a man
    according to his work.

Psalm 62:11-12, ESV

This portion exudes confidence. The Lord God is totally and completely in control. When we come to Him, we can expect someone who has our good in mind, and He doesn’t change, falter or fluctuate. He is the steadiness of the steady.

We conclude Psalm 62. We have learned much and been brought into the place of understanding. When this psalm rules the heart and mind of the Christian believer, we penetrate the darkness that desperately wants to swallow us up.

Commentary

V. 11, “Once God has spoken;
    twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,”

The New Living Translation says this– “God has spoken plainly,
and I have heard it many times: Power, O God, belongs to you;” Without a doubt, God has exhausted every option He has to explain Himself and what He definitely desires from us.

I suppose the real issue here is “power.” Who really has it, and who is just pretending and blustering. Having power over the salvation of men should be a radical encouragement to us. He focuses all His energy on bringing us home safely and victoriously.

David understands exactly how candid the Lord has been with Him. He has spoken “plainly.” David has heard the message many times. After several attempts, the ‘lights’ suddenly go on. Suddenly, he understands.

V. 12, “and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
For you will render to a man
    according to his work.”

God holds the “copy-write” on steadfast love. He has a patent on it, and a “steadfast love” belongs to Him exclusively. It belongs to Him, and it is His certain possession. All we might understand about Him declares a steady and solid love.

The distinct idea in all of this should be our solid focus on an unshakable love that has decided to hold us in place– safe and secure.

The last part of verse 12 declares to us a powerful principle. God is monitoring, and evaluating the things we do and all that we say. He fully intends to give every person the results of their actions. We can not escape this principle.

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ybic, Bryan

Your Enemies Must Be Loved: Psalm 35:19-21

Please, make it so.

19 “Don’t let my treacherous enemies rejoice over my defeat.
    Don’t let those who hate me without cause gloat over my sorrow.
20 They don’t talk of peace;
    they plot against innocent people who mind their own business.
21 They shout, “Aha! Aha!
    With our own eyes we saw him do it!”

Psalm 35:19-21, NLT

Somehow, David is aware that the enemy will gain much by his defeat. It seems he stands at a pivot point, where his obedience and humility will cause issues that he never considered before.

He uses two definite and classic phrases– “enemies rejoice,” and “they cause gloating.” These are definite areas that have made Him so vulnerable and weak. He has given the enemy space to function here in these places.

This Psalm will continue to develop. But these three verses will declare a certain direction. It suggests how evil and ungodliness starts to flourish, and what it uses to make it work for them.

Commentary

V. 19, Don’t let my treacherous enemies rejoice over my defeat.
    Don’t let those who hate me without cause gloat over my sorrow.

First, David’s enemies are “treacherous,” they means they betray, they deceive, and mislead. They do not understand faithfulness. They are definite enemies because of what they have decided.

Second, the second phrase becomes even more vicious than the first. “Don’t let those who hate me without cause gloat over my sorrow.” What is David thinking? I suppose we start with “those who hate me.” David is not the glowing central figure that we think he is. There are many loyal Jewish teachers who would make an issue of David’s adultery and subsequent murder of Uriah. He is hated by many.

But King David presses, “There is no cause.” All that they decide works in conjunction with the devil. Through forgiveness, David has uncover a gracious forgiveness, that has released him from these evils. Many just can’t recognize the release of David from his sins.

The word “gloat” is perhaps too closely related to “bloat.” This is a very negative, and a very poor choice of words. If I gloat it means I have incorporated pride/arrogance/ego with the things I choose to do. When I start gloating, I become pretty much lost.

V. 20, “They don’t talk of peace;
    they plot against innocent people who mind their own business.”

The works of these “scorners” are broadened to include all who profess a Godly hope. These rascals begin to target the innocent ones. The word “plot” is important as it does suggest an effort to bring down any kind of a Godly life they can discover. In a real sense they want to rip up anything that the innocent can develop.

V. 21, “They shout, “Aha! Aha!
    With our own eyes we saw him do it!”

This is everything that the liars and deceivers can produce. There proclamation of a “truthful witness.” I suppose this is someone’s direct witness to David’s terrible sin against Uriah and his wife, Bathsheba.

But I also think that very many took this up, and made it their personal vision. Although most had never saw the details, they too created an imaginary scenario that defied David, and made him ‘forgiven.’  And how can they follow such an evil sinner like King David?

*

ybic, Bryan

An Innate Sense of God Almighty: Psalm 4:6-8

There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?
     Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!”
You have put more joy in my heart
    than they have when their grain and wine abound.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
    for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 4:6-8, ESV

Overall, I would suggest that quite a few people have an innate sense of God. They will posture and be dramatically opposed to Him, but this is mostly a magnificently constructed ‘smoke-screen.’ Take it deep down however, and they almost believe.

We desperately want God’s favor, but things don’t go beyond that. We know we need shelter, but not at the expense of our “freedom.” We have a vague understanding of His love, but we insist on our own autonomy.  It seems that we can never ‘relax’ but we are always being judged. This is not the environment for faith to grow.

Commentary

V. 6, “There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?
     Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!”

The “many” is  certainly good news. But it seldom translates into something life changing. Seeking Him is never a hobby, or a possible move toward respectability. What we are dealing with is a superficial faith that is barren and infertile.

Men love the idea of God. And there is considerable effort to accommodate His presence  (but almost  never His call ‘to be holy.’) We desperately want to be good, but never really godly.  We take what we want, and avoid the rest.

V. 7  “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.”

Joy is really the outcome of a surrendered life. Joy must start from God, and it then flourishes in our hearts. David is making a comparison here.  He understands the excited joy over the exceptional harvest. It is indescribable, the thrill of having a super abundance, within the character of God.

Joy is a wonderful place, it is a very deep sense of happiness, mixed with obedience. We must understand, that God is really the only one who can bring us joy. He is the exclusive source and purveyor of joy. We must meet His terms if we are to experience it.

V.8, “In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
    for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

We have considered joy, now we must consider peace. For me, coming to the point of having ‘peace with God’ was very powerful. After many years of warfare and conflict against God, I arrived at a place where peace was waiting. We signed the treaty, and peace now ruled.

When we ‘sleep’ we are quite vulnerable. We curl up in a ball, and we lose consciousness  and awareness. We become quite vulnerable. But we are assured that we will be safe and secure, even in this vulnerable and sensitive place. His definite peace will be a real and substantial guard for us, and over us.

***

ybic, Bryan

God Inspired Holiness: Psalm 141:1—4, ESV

“O Lord, I call upon you; hasten to me!
 Give ear to my voice when I call to you!
Let my prayer be counted as incense before you,
    and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;
     keep watch over the door of my lips!
Do not let my heart incline to any evil,
    to busy myself with wicked deeds
in company with men who work iniquity,
    and let me not eat of their delicacies!”

Psalm 141:1—4, ESV

I’ve gotten feedback, which is great, but it has been suggested that my posts are too long, and that maybe true. But I have decided to cut down the selection of verses handled to make it a bit easier on you. Teachers have a strong tendency to overwork their mules. LOL.

This is one of David’s.  We will just consider a couple of verses in this post.  There is a potency in these first verses. They are like “Miracle Grow” for our hearts and souls. After working it in the soil, everything gets very green, very fast.

Commentary

V. 1, I suppose “call” is the prominent word in this verse. When we decide to intiate contact with the Lord, we think it is we who start the dialogue. (There is a doctrine of Christian theology that teaches the doctrine of prevenient grace, which briefly stated means this, that very often before a man can seek God, God must first have sought the man.)

We are being sought, like a pesky salesman at our door, our Father is incredibly persistent. He wants in, and keeps ringing our bell, and won’t go away. He calls us, before we call Him. Continually throughout scripture, we are commanded to “seek the Lord.” But we are only responding to His efforts to reach us. God is always first.

V. 2,  Let my prayer be counted as incense before you,
    and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!”

David equates his prayer with what was going on in the temple. Incense and  the sacrifice had a curious equivalence. Also, this would link his prayer life to the very essence of the priesthood. Prayer should be understood in this framework, but quite often we don’t acknowledge this reality. Offer a calf, or say a prayer, it is pretty much the same thing.

V. 3, Perhaps this is a weak point in his life. He is seeking help for guarding his heart and his mouth (don’t we all?)  and He goes directly into the presence of God for help. Quite often we need direct intervention on our tongue. The Almighty has to step in to restrain and guide our words.

V. 4, “Do not let my heart incline to any evil,
    to busy myself with wicked deeds
in company with men who work iniquity,
    and let me not eat of their delicacies!”

Some believers make their own personal holiness there primary life issue. They live to be holy, however this misses the mark. Now don’t get me wrong, holiness of life should be sought, but there is much more. The psalmist realizes that God must take quite a bit of responsibility. He is the active element in v. 4. He is doing the “heavy lifting” here. The desire that David has, all that he wants to happen is God’s action and grace. He works very hard to enable us to get through sin.

ybic, Bryan