Re: Verse reading–Psalm 91 (day six) “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty” (vs 1) “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it.” says a familiar hymn. (Come Thou Fount) Sorry to say it, but the author is not alone. I feel the irritating tendency to wander away from the Lord. Do you? One day, I am close to Christ. The next, I walk away, in conscious disobedience or unconscious distraction. Arrrgh! It costs me God’s protection and blessing. Like Sampson, people loved by God must stay with Him or experience discipline. The God-given condition for our protection is that we remain/dwell/abide in Him. “If you remain in my word, and my words remain in you, you shall ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.” God’s best gifts are not for those who occasionally visit the Father’s house. Those who dwell in Him find rest in Him.
Re: Verse reading–Psalm 91 (day four)
There is great confidence and courage for the one who trusts in the Lord. The promises are many for what God will do for the faithful. Reading Psalm 91, the prominent word is “will”. God will, He will, I will, you will…all referring to what God ‘will’ do. God’s promises are true and He is always faithful to fulfill His Word. The one who trusts in God will receive these promises. Jesus knew that. He knew that whatever God said, God did. When Satan met Jesus in the desert to tempt Him for a season, he (Satan) quoted a portion of Psalm 91. Satan attempted to entice Jesus to prove that God meant what He said. “Throw yourself down and God will give His angels charge over you,”…but Jesus answered the temptation with more scripture (a good practice to follow!). Matthew and Luke both record His response in chapter 4 of each. Satan sought to separate a portion of scripture…God’s Word is unified. Jesus was obedient to all of scripture…so should we be!
Re: Verse reading–Psalm 91 (day three)
“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” We can say, “If I live according to God’s ways, I’m invulnerable.” We can say that, but we’re wrong. The truth is, we’re never more vulnerable than when we do live according to God’s ways. Our protection is this: We do not have to fear those things that could kill us—even thought they might. When we learn our way of life from the Lord, we find everything in life—even pain—rich with the beauty of the great and true story of God’s love bringing us along. We would never hear that story if we strained to hear only some assurance that we’re indestructible.
Re: Verse reading–Psalm 91 (day two)
“The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty” (Ps. 91:1). Where do you live? Throughout the Bible, God is described as a refuge, a fortress, a strong tower, strong embracing arms, a rock, a shield, a rear guard, a shelter, a place of safety, a protective covering. He meets people in a tent, a Temple, a cave, a threshing floor, the belly of a fish, a campsite and a prayer room. The metaphor of a dwelling place is so important that the apostle John would write, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14). Dwelling with God is what we were created for. Under His authority and protection, we find refuge. Living there requires humble, submissive trust (91:2). We are free to choose where to live. However, if we choose not to live under His authority and protection, we will discover ourselves living under His judgment and wrath. Where do you live?
Re: Verse reading–Psalm 91 (day one)
“If you make the Most High your dwelling. . .no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.” (vs 9-10) David talks to himself. It is one of the secrets of his spiritual life. In vs 2 of Psalm 91, he says what he is GOING TO SAY to God. By vs 3, he begins to assure himself with the implications of such a commitment. “Surely he will save you” (vs 3) “A thousand may fall at your side. . .but it will not come near you.” (vs 7) It is important to remember these are not promises from God to David. They are words of confidence from David to David. Nothing wrong with self-talk so long as we remember what God actually promises. See vs 14-16. God’s words (you will notice) are less about protection FROM danger. More about the presence of God with us IN danger. Self-talk is one thing. God’s word is something else.
Re: Verse reading–Psalm 69 (day seven)
“Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head.” (vs 4) Are Christians paranoid? Do we imagine the hostility of the world? Make it worse than it really is? Are we just “whiners” believing media and government to be biased against us? Not always. No. The long testimony of history is that “this world is no friend to grace.” The very life of the church and the testimony of the Spirit is convicting to the natural man. (see John 16:8) In mild ostracism and overt persecution, the man who lives apart from God reacts to the person who walks with Him. Something dark is at work here. On His last night, Jesus said, “You know that (the world) hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you, but . . .I chose you out of the world.” (John 15:18-19) Make us courageous and kind, Lord. The opposition is real.
Re: Verse reading–Psalm 69 (day six)
“I am worn out calling for help. My throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for God.” (vs 3) David is in trouble. Surrounded by enemies. Falsely accused. What does he do? He prays and waits. Why? It isn’t because prayer brings him quick relief. David reports crying out until his throat hurts. What keeps him on his knees? The book of Jeremiah speaks of people who “walked after emptiness and became empty” (Jeremiah 2:5) The disciples put the same truth in different words. “Lord, where could we go? You alone have words of eternal life.” The reason that Christians wait on the Lord is that we have no other choice! If God is patient we must learn the same virture. To leave Him because waiting is hard is foolish. God is good, but He is also slow (from our near-sighted perspective). Faith means we pray, even when we have to wait for Him to answer.
Re: Verse reading–Psalm 69 (day four)
Psalm 69 is one of the most quoted psalms in the New Testament. In most instances, it is related to Christ and His relationship with unbelievers. It foreshadows Christ…it is messianic. David suffered persecution and hatred and it painted a picture of what Christ would endure at the hands of the world. All believers can gain encouragement from this psalm when they face persecution for their faith. David experienced these events before Christ and looked forward toward Christ. Likewise, we often experience suffering, persecution, and hatred because of our faith in Christ. Ours is after Christ. Did we think we might escape all of this? Did we think that we would only experience circumstantial happiness and encouragement from the world? The word used in the New Testament is not ‘if’, but ‘when’. 2 Corinthians 6 says we are to give no cause for offense in anything, so that the gospel will not be discredited. How are we doing as servants of God?
Re: Verse reading–Psalm 69 (day three)
“I am forced to restore what I did not steal. You, God, know my folly…” One’s own heart appears blameless at first: “Many are my enemies without cause.” But in the give and take of honest conversation with God, the heart comes into clearer focus: “My guilt is not hidden from you.” That confession does not excuse malicious behavior from those who position themselves as enemies. It does, however, restore the soul’s ability to rest in God’s safekeeping during times of hostility. A cry for God’s help can become a review of your own life before the Lord. If you’ve ever wondered, “How did it come to this?” then let these ancient words teach you how to live from this moment on in a world in which everyone—even you—needs God’s forgiveness and wisdom and promise.
Re: Verse reading–Psalm 69 (day two)
Conflict. Most of us are experts at avoiding it. Some of us are experts at winning in it. All of us face it. We are treated unjustly (69:4). We are insulted (69:7). We are overwhelmed and cry out for escape (69:1). Is there hope? Jesus says, “Yes!” “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you” (John 15:19). When we clash with those outside the community of faith because of our faith, we have an opportunity be a living example of Jesus. But what about our conflicts with those within the community of faith? The Apostle Paul applies the same logic. When I clash with a church member, receive angry emails and even endure thoughtless comments, I have an opportunity to give my brother a living example of Jesus. “Each one of us must please his neighbor for his good, in order to build him up. For even the Messiah did not please himself…” (Romans 15:2-3). Conflict may be unavoidable, but it is never unredeemable when Jesus followers follow His example.