Meditations on the Psalms

Meditations on the Psalms

Psalm 58 meditations

Psalm 58:9 “O my Strength,” [You, O God, are the Mighty One; my strength is so small, so miniscule, so inadequate. Only in you is there the possibility of being strong in might, wisdom and eternal power. So I come to you in prayer, in trust, in obedience that you may be exalted before all I meet today.]

“I watch for you;” [This is an active, positive, worshipful watching to see what you will do, to be ready to give you glory in God sightings so that I and others may give you increasing glory and trust you more.]

“you, O God, are my fortress,” [Only you can adequately protect me from my powerful enemies, whether they be human or demonic or myself. Your power is far more than adequate; mine is totally inadequate, so I take refuge in you through praise, through waiting, through offering the sacrifice of thanksgiving, through intercession. You alone, O God, are my fortress.]

“my loving God.” [You, O Heavenly Father, have made yourself my God by creating me, by buying me back, by choosing me, by calling me, by cleansing/transforming me, by adopting me, by commissioning me, by delighting in my, by rejoicing over me in song. You are loving, gracious, fully committed to the goodness of your children. Your desire is to graciously share your love and goodness with the undeserving, making your enemies your family members.]

You are so gracious, O Triune God, so good, so great in your heart of love. We must bow before such undeserved grace and kindness, lifting up your Name, your Character, your Greatness. You are worthy of worship and wonder, of obedience and service. To you be glory in all I do and think today, Lord God; may your Spirit and your hope splash over on all who meet me today. Amen.

God Brings the Victory

Thank you, Lord, for your gracious provision of a good night’s sleep. Thank you that you watch over us, protect us, provide for us. I thank you, too, for the disappointments in life, for the negatives and the difficulties that remind us of our dependency on you, remind us that without you we perish.

I praise you, Lord God, for your good and wonderful protection in driving (like keeping me from backing into the guy at the post office), and in working. You are the God of grace and goodness, watching over your children at each step, giving us ideas and insights for each thing before us. I praise you for how you will help us at each juncture.   To you, Lord, goes all credit for things going well.

Psa 44:3  “It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory;”

[Although you required the Israelites to prepare, strap on their swords and fight, this was not what brought them victory. It was your power, your work, your planning. We need to  see your work behind the scenes, Lord, to remember that it is not our efforts that bring the actual long range results but your power.]

“it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.”

[Yes, it was you, it was your power, your intervention that brought victory. They were called to obey and then you acted. Praise you for that all hangs on you, Lord, that it is with you and by you that we can act. I give you glory for your good and powerful working in our lives as well as in the Israelites.]

Psa 44:4  “You are my King and my God,”

[how wonderful that is, Lord, that we belong to you, that we are your children, that you are my King and my God, personal, present, powerful and perfect. In you there is no fault, no lack, no weakness, no fear. You are the ultimate One, the eternal One, the infinite One, worthy of worship, praise, love and obedience.]

“who decrees victories for Jacob.”

[You decide, it happens. All depends on you, Lord, and we praise you for what you are doing in our lives. We praise you for our weakness and for your power, for our ignorance and your knowledge, for our foolishness and your wisdom, for our smallness and your greatness. To embrace what we are and to embrace who you are brings freedom, direction, power and victory in life.

Help me  to live in constant connection with you, Lord, to be alert to your leading, responsive to your conviction, mindful of your Word and obedient to your Truth. Praise you for what you will do in my life today.


Hope in God Alone Psalm 43 Part 4

Praise you, Lord God, that in the midst of failure, trouble and sorrow, we can look to you, our great Rock, our Refuge, our Redeemer and speak Truth to ourselves:

Psa 43:5  “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?”

[I must take my eyes off my troubles and raise them to you, Lord, the ultimate Reality. Who can be greater than you, thwarting your plans?  What can come without your permission? What can occur where you don’t give more grace than is needed? What can threaten us where you don’t give wisdom in dealing with it. You, Lord, are our sufficiency, you are all we need in every happening.]

“Put your hope in God,”

[This is the key: hope in nothing else! All here on earth can and will faill: people, resources, strength, wisdom and self. But you, O Mighty King, Creator and Ruler of everything, you never fail, you always triumph, you carry through, you protect, expose, empower, engrace. In you there is true hope, for you will do what is best, right, good and glorious.]

“for I will yet praise him,”

[This is a certainty. Now no matter what we face, you will act, help, carry us through and we will be able to praise you for what you will do.]

“my Savior and my God.”

[For you have made yourself my Savior, and my God, I belong to you and you will care for me! You will use me in your plan and Kingdom. I can be secure in the certainty of a future with you, the King of Glory, the Ruler of the Universe, the Shepherd of Time, the Ender of History, the Beginner of Eternity. To you be all honor and glory today. Amen.]

Pour Out Your Heart Psalm 43 Part 2

Psa 43:2  “You are God my stronghold.”

[David is speaking powerful reality here. What a wonderful statement of Truth! In you, Lord, is strength, in you is safety, in you is help; you are our unwavering, infinite, eternal shelter.

I praise you that your presence brings peace, protection, provision and power. In you there is all that we can need and desire. In the turbulence of daily life your power protects, your love leads and your goodness guides. Praise be to you that this is always true, whether we can see it or not. May I live in the light of this truth today!]

“Why have you rejected me?”

[David now pours out his heart, expressing his feelings, which, in contrast to the verse before, are not true. God has not rejected him, but it feels like it. David is doing what is right, though, for to pour out how we feel helps us to see the lies we are believing.]

“Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?”

[Here is another lie: he did not, and we do not, have to go about mourning, we do not have to be oppressed by the enemy. If we keep on the armor, if we keep up the shield of faith, we can praise in the midst of the worst situation and know the peace and joy of Jesus. This does not mean, of course, that we won’t have hard times, negative feelings and attacks of the evil one, but it means that in the midst of these we can praise instead of mourning, we can rise up and win rather than being oppressed.

I think of the man we met recently, who as a 15 year old was told that he had an untreatable tumor and would be dead in 3 months. He had so much pain that he shook all the time. A relative challenged him to thank God for the pain, which he did, and in the end God healed him. Now 17 years later he is strong and vigorous, living for the Lord. “He who offers the sacrifice of thanksgiving honors me, and opens the way that I may show him the salvation of the Lord.” Ps 50:23]

Gory be to you, Lord Jesus, our Great Shepherd, our Powerful King, our All-sufficient Savior. I praise you for what you will bring today: opportunities to praise you by faith in all, to rejoice in your goodness, to rest in your love.

Guide me today, Lord, in living in a way that will bring you glory, honor and praise, which will demonstrate to those around us the power of your grace, the awesomeness of your holiness, the depth of your wisdom and the goodness of your heart. Thank you now for the answers you will give. Amen.

God the Great Vindicator Psalm 43 part 1

Psalm 43:1

“Vindicate me, O God,” [You are the One who can bring out the proper conclusion from the corrupt system of this world, from unjust accusations, from corruption, from evil rulers, for you direct the hearts of men.

Your command is “commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him and He shall bring it to pass. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your justice as the noon day sun.” (Psalm 37:5,6)  We look to you go  vindicate us, O Lord God. You are Elohim, the incredibly powerful and eternally faithful One whom we can trust.]

and plead my cause against an ungodly nation;” [And so you did for me. At the time I was put on trial for illegally sharing my faith, the judge said to me “We don’t care whether you are the one who mailed these brochures in or not; if it is illegal to do this, you will go to jail; if it proves legal, you will go free.” I was left with you only as my defender, Lord, and you were more than adequate.]

rescue me from deceitful and wicked men.” [Then when the judge said that he’d send this case to a specialist for evaluation, and named the law professor who would give the opinion, I knew that you had rescued me from the wicked who lie. This professor was my friend, one who would give a correct answer, setting me free! He would do this, not because we were friends, but because he would follow the law.

You are the One, Lord, who rises above the squabbles of men and can bring the proper conclusion to each situation. Not every instance of persecution will turn out like mine. It may be that you will allow your child to hounded, to go to jail, or to be executed, as Bonhoeffer was, but in that outcome you and he will triumph in your grace as you take him home, or sustain him through the suffering of injustice. You, Lord God, are the One who knows what is best and we can trust you for it.]

Glory be to you, Lord God, the High and Holy Triune One who lives outside of time, who intervenes in history to guide, protect, vindicate and rescue those who put their hope in you, who fear you, not men or suffering or death.

Praise you, Lord Jesus, that you are Reality, that you are Truth, that you are the great Shepherd leading us through valleys of darkness and suffering out again into the sun of your salvation. Praise you that we can trust you in the midst of difficulty and grief, in uncertainty and suspense, in sickness and exhaustion. You, Lord God, are the One who will carry us through as we trust in you. May praise and glory be yours today in all we do and say. Amen.

Psalm 34:22

Psa 34:22  “The LORD redeems his servants;”

[In you, Lord Jesus,  we, your servants, are bought back from the shackles of sin, we are redeemed from slavery to self and Satan. I praise you for your faithfulness in following through on your promises, Father, to provide a Savior and salvation for all. I praise you for holding open the gate to every human being, continually offering eternal life to all who wanted to come. It is interesting to note that it says “redeems” as an ongoing, consistent action. You, Lord, are continually redeeming, saving us from the evil, trouble and fears which tumble unbidden into our lives. You are the faithful One whom we can trust.]

“no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.”

[You, Lord Jesus, are the true and mighty Rock of refuge, the Place of protection and pardon, the Fortress of forgiveness. Praise be to you for your great Love, your mighty Power, you great Grace and your persistent Goodness as you seek to bring all into your Kingdom, even though you know all will not come.

Your unending Love is so Great, so Mighty, so Eternal, so All-embracing–in spite of what we are. You are worthy of our love and adoration, our fear and obedience, our worship and exaltation.

Lord, today may you be glorified in my life because you are worthy. May you be lifted high in my being, exalted in my words, praise in my thoughts, honored in my actions and please with my motives. To you belongs honor; may it flow to you today. Amen.

Psalm 34:21

Praise be to you, Lord God, the Righteous One, Hater of sin and Judge of all. I praise you that you found a way to eliminate evil, to contain it from the future, while offering mankind a way out of the dominion of darkness into the Kingdom of Light. I praise you for saving us from Satan’s power, from sin’s slavery and from our own depravity. I thank you that you have made us your children, given us your Spirit and equipped us to be more than conquerors.

You are the God of Glory, the King of Freedom, the Lord of Love and the Shepherd of Grace. I praise you that you are sovereign, capable of controlling every single detail if you want, yet you grant us the ability to make real moral and ethical choices in our everyday lives. You have given us important and significant roles in your great plan to bring about a sin-free Kingdom with a new heaven and earth.

You are wonderous in your Wisdom, delightful in your Desires, majestic in your Might and righteous in your Rule. To you belongs all glory and honor. To you belongs all credit for what is positive and right and lovely. All that is good comes from your hand and we should and do give you worship for this.

Praise be to you for how things play out here on earth within the rules you have laid down. As it says in Psa 34:21  “Evil will slay the wicked;” [we cannot play with evil and win. In the end it will devour those who indulge in it. The devil always destroys his own, we can be certain of it.

In contrast]  “the foes of the righteous will be condemned.” [The righteous will be vindicated and their foes, those who oppose righteousness, who reject good and love evil, will be judged, condemned and sent to the holding place of wickedness. Praise you, Lord, for your just and good hatred of evil, for your not allowing it into heaven. You are purely good and only what is good will be allowed into eternity. Praise you that you found the way to eliminate evil from our nature, to free us from both the essence and penalty of sin, to transform us from enemies into emissaries of your Kingdom. May we live worthy of you, your wisdom and your love, exalting your name all through our day!]

Psalm 34:18-20

Praise you, Lord, for this; I’d have liked to get up earlier, but you know what is best, Lord, and I praise you for what you have allowed.  You are the God of glory, the Lord of Love, the King of kindness, the Ruler of righteousness and the Shepherd of strength. To you belongs trust, surrender, dependence, obedience and love. To you belongs worship, praise, honor, fear, awe and glory. To you we belong, along with our time, energy, abilities, possessions and relationships. To you belongs wisdom, power, grace, goodness and holiness. All of these you share with us whole-heartedly, abundantly, richly, graciously.

Praise be to you, Lord Jesus, for your sweet shepherding of us through the valley of the shadow of death, through the disappointments, hurts and difficulties of life, through loss, failure, pain and suffering, through conviction, repentance, forgiveness and restoration. You are wise and good in knowing what we need.

I thank you for the “limbo” we are in now, not knowing when we will leave this country. I praise you, Father, that you have things planned out: how long we must wait, the help you will give and the circumstances we will go through. At present I feel like I am not doing much, that I am not earning my keep, not performing in my role as a worker. Give me wisdom in how to move forward in wise and godly ways that you may be honored and glorified in my life.

I praise you, the Sovereign God, who allows us free choice in our sphere of responsibility, that you then weave together our choices and those of others around us to bring out in the end the great conclusion you desire. Praise be to you for the guidance you will give, the protection you will provide and the strength you will grant.

Psa 34:18  “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” [You, Lord, know the heart of each person; you see when we are wounded and overwhelmed. And you are there, actively working in us. We are by nature so stubborn and independent, rebellious and stiff-necked, that surrender often comes only when we are crushed and broken by circumstances. It is then that we see our true state of total weakness, of dependence on you, of sinfulness and rebellion. This is what you did to me in Alaska and I praise you for it, for with this dark experience you ushered me into the Kingdom of Light.

Lord, do bring such breaking to us as is needed that we may surrender more to you, be a more useful instrument in your gracious, powerful hands.  You are trustable, you are good, you are wise, so we can rest in your love.]

Psa 34:19  “A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the LORD delivers him from them all;” [Being righteous in you does not protect us from trouble—think of Job–and we may have much trouble—but clearly you are with us in the challenges and will deliver us from each difficulty. You may deliver us at the moment, or in a while, or years later or at death; I think of Abraham waiting for a son, Joseph waiting to get out of prison, Daniel, being attacked again and again, Elisha’s difficulties, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Jesus. You were with each and delivered them at the right time. Praise you for this promise that we can trust.]

Psa 34:20  ‘he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.” [Here is a clear reference to how you protected Jesus. In spite of all the physical abuse he took, you kept his bones whole, every single one. You are the God of detail, of power, of total awareness. So you also work in our lives. I think of the many times you have spared me in driving, times when I should have had an accident because of my own poor choices, but you sovereignly intervened and kept us safe.

You are God, you are King, you are wise and you are powerful. You are worthy of our trust. I surrender myself to you this day, willingly giving my life into your hand again. Fill me with your Spirit, may He overflow onto to all whom I meet today. May you be honored and exalted in what I think, say, do and accomplish. May I praise you in and for all things. May your name be lifted up by my responses to whatever comes. I praise you for the privilege of exalting you. Amen.

Psalm 34:15-17

Thank you, Lord, for your goodness which under girds us in difficulties, permeates our problems and transforms our troubles into the next step up as we praise you for who you are and what you are doing in them, even though we cannot see any good at the moment, for you are faithful, as Psalm 34 says.

Psa 34:15  “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry;”

[Praise be to you, Lord, for your rich faithfulness, for your persistent love, for your deep commitment to your children. Praise you that you always watch over them, always hear every prayer, every word, every thought. Praise you that you are totally aware of what is going on in our lives. Your love is strong and deep and powerful, the rich spiritual earth out of which we grow. Praise be to you that we can trust you to always work out what is best.]

Psa 34:16  “the face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.”

[What a stark contrast, from the offer of total redemption to the position of total rejection. In your great Love you hate evil and will deal with those who choose to live in it. You will righteously end their lives and wipe out even the memory of them. Praise you for your rejection of evil so that it may not continue in heaven and in eternity.]

Psa 34:17  “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.”

[Praise be to you, the Sovereign, Holy and Powerful God who hears every prayer of every one of your children and answers them. Praise you that you act to deliver us from all our troubles. The timing may be very different from what we’d like, but you will act at the time you know to be right.

In sending Jesus to suffer, die and rise again you have delivered us in the most fundamental of ways. You have delivered us from the demonic kingdom of darkness, from the dominance of sin, from the danger of eternal death, from the devil’s tricks and attacks. We stand now as your beloved children, free of shame, of condemnation, of hopelessness, of meaninglessness. We stand in your presence, in your light, in your love, in the new life you have given us. We stand equipped for the battle, able to be more than conquerors in whatever comes to us, as we stand firm in the armor you have provided.

You have saved us from all the great troubles we were born into as children of Adam, under his curse. And you will save us out of the minor troubles that plague us in this warped world of woe, using each one to mature and mold us into the image of Christ—as we respond with praise and trust in all

In addition, you have supplied us with wisdom, patience, love and grace. You have made your Holy Spirit dwell within us. You have given us your wonderful Word. We live in the certainty that you will triumph and that you are carrying us with you to the end of history, giving us each a significant role to play in the plan.]

Yes, you, Lord God, the faithful One, are the great deliverer, saving us from all our troubles. To you be honor and glory today as we live in the light of your Grace, rejoice in the goodness of your Love and rest in the certainty of your Promises. Keep our eyes on the Truth, Lord, instead of on our troubles; help us to keep on the armor, to keep up the shield of faith, to be people of truth and trust because we know you, the God of love and goodness and righteousness and grace. May you be exalted in all that I do today.


Psalm 34:11-14 The Fear of the Lord

Psa 34:11  “Come, my children, listen to me;”

[We need to be as teachable as children. They recognize their limited abilities, their dependence on their elders, and are open to input, learning and guidance; so should we be before God, always ready to hear from God rather than relying on our own thoughts and ideas.]

“I will teach you the fear of the LORD.”

[Knowing how to fear God is not something natural, something we can figure out ourselves. We need His input to understand what the fear of the Lord is, and how to live in it. Are we listening?]

Psa 34:12  “Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days,”

[Here are the results of fearing the Lord: we will live longer, and we will have many days where we have lots of good flowing into our lives. Who doesn’t want that? God wants to motivate us to desire to fear Him.]

Psa 34:13  “keep your tongue from evil”

[First element of the fear of the Lord is not speaking what is evil. No complaining (a big evil in God’s eyes because we are saying He’s not always good), no gossip, no negatives, no cutting others down, no manipulation, no sarcasm, no selfish boasting.]
“and your lips from speaking lies.”

[No lies, only truth. So no more telling ourselves lies (“Poor me,” “Everything is terrible,” “No one loves me,” “Nothing ever goes right.” “I can never win,” “Whatever I do, it’s wrong.”), no more telling others lies, no matter how polite they seem (“I’m fine” when I’m not. Instead, saying something like, “I’m having a difficult time, but am trusting God in it.” This is an honest answer that brings glory to Him and may open up meaningful conversation).  And definitely no intentional lies to protect self.]

Psa 34:14  “Turn from evil and do good;”

[Reject darkness and live in the light. I must measure my motives, thoughts, words and actions by Scripture, by what Jesus did and commanded. No delving into lustful thoughts, jealousy, competition, criticalness, gossip or complaining. I must avoid evil at all costs, spotting it early on and rejecting it in favor of doing what God deems good. Confessing ahead forearms and forewarns me; I need God’s help to see evil in every area before it becomes action, so I can bring Him glory.]
“seek peace and pursue it.”

[Not just desire peace, but whole-heartedly run after it, push to get peace, beginning with forgiving those who have hurt us, returning good for evil, blessing those who persecute us, and being loving to those who are obstinate. Lord give me wisdom in how to do this correctly.]

Praise you, Heavenly Father, for sending your Spirit to give us your Word: clear, deep, rich and transforming. Help us to walk in the fear of the Lord today, taking your Word as the measure. Alert me to when I am not doing so and help me to get back onto the path immediately. Praise you now for how you will help me. Amen.