Psalm 24

Vs. 3, “Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place?” Our psalm yesterday reminded us of the pilgrimage the Shepherd leads us through. Today’s psalm looks to the specific journey to Jerusalem. King David was the author and some scholars see this psalm in the backdrop of the Ark of the Covenant coming to Jerusalem (II Samuel 6). Question: Who could ascend the mountain? David sought to help answer such a person (vs. 1-6). Question: Who is the King of glory? It is the LORD (vs. 7-10)!

Regarding application…Clean & Pure. Vs. 4, “The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.” There is a praise song that is based off this psalm that we sing today. Question: Does this mean we have to be perfect? God is looking at our motives and our desire to walk with Him. We cannot be clean and pure without Him. Jesus is the ultimate example! Like a reconciled relationship, God is cleansing us from our sin and impurities to come into His holy presence. By His grace, we can come pure and clean everyday we rest with Him in our devotions!

Psalm 23

Vs. 1, “The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” We come to one of the most beloved psalms and chapters in the whole bible! There is something very comforting to picture the LORD as our shepherd. A good shepherd will lay down his life for his sheep (John 10:15). King David would be able to accurately understand such imagery having been a good shepherd himself. The Shepherd leads the sheep to green pastures, quiet waters, and even through the dangers of the valley below (vs. 1-4). David was so confident of God’s provision that he envisioned God preparing a great banquet for the believer even in the midst of such danger (vs. 5). The goodness and love of God would guides us along until we get to our final destination (vs. 6).

Regarding application…Calm Down. Vs. 2, “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.” In the midst of danger, it is not natural for sheep to lie down. In fact, Philip Keller shares how sheep must be free from four things: 1) Free of all fear 2) Free of all friction 3) Free from flies or parasites 4) Free from hunger. If the sheep do not have these needs met, it is nearly impossible for them to calm down. In a dry and arid land, green pastures were very difficult to come by. The Shepherd had to travel far and wide to find such a place. It’s really a wonderful picture of how God provides such measures in our life. Though there is danger, fear, and small pockets of hope, the King Shepherd risks his life so we can be calm and trusting. Question: How can you trust the Shepherd this coming week?

Psalm 22

Vs. 1, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?” David’s psalm today carries us through the range of emotions from lament to rejoicing! It’s humbling to consider that Jesus quotes from this Psalm (Mark 15:34) and likely meditated on this psalm in the Garden of Gethsemane. David feels danger on all sides and cries out with feelings of abandonment (vs. 1-11). King David and King Jesus would both experience total rejection. The enemies of the anointed are many and quite vicious (vs. 12-21). All four gospels refer to the casting of lots for the garments (vs. 18). Question: What would cause David to erupt into hopeful praise? Prayer. It was his honest prayer and fervent searching that would increase his faith (vs. 22-31). It gives us a deeper appreciation when we consider this psalm prophetically picturing Jesus.

Regarding application…Conquered Death! Vs. 31, “They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!” Death has lost its sting! Question: When something amazing happens in our life, what do we do? We want to testify and tell others! David was surely dead, but is now alive! Jesus died, but has risen! We were once sinners, but are now saints! David is determined to ensure the good news of such faithfulness from God will not go unnoticed; nor should we. We will have times of despair beyond measure. But, God’s goodness and power will carry us through till eternity. Question: How has God delivered you? Take time to consider such things and open your heart in trustful praise!

Psalm 21

Vs. 1, “The king rejoices in your strength, LORD. How great is his joy in the victories you give!” Our psalm yesterday was a cry for help as Israel was about to go to war. In today’s psalm, we see that the LORD answered King David’s prayer (vs. 1-7). Much props to David for taking the time to acknowledge that the LORD was the reason for the victory. David’s victory meant the enemies defeat (vs. 8-12). No nation can stand up against God past, present, or future.

Regarding application…Corporate Praise! Vs. 13, “Be exalted in your strength, LORD; we will sing and praise your might.” As sweet as our individual devotions are, there is something powerful when we join together in praise! Few things are as awe-inspiring as witnessing God’s people worshipping with all their hearts. I’ve had the privilege to worship in stadiums filled to capacity with thousands of worshippers. I’ve also experienced the intimacy of worshipping at church, revivals, and retreats. It’s exhilarating to see the unity bonded through the Spirit when we join together in corporate praise. I implore you not to take this for granted. The next time you attend church and have the opportunity to praise, give it your all! He is worthy above all things!

Psalm 20

Vs. 1, “May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.” Question: What do you when you need help? King David and all of Israel set the example for us as they turned to the LORD. Our psalm today is a royal one and the backdrop is likely a situation in which Israel was about ready to go to war. They lift up intercessory prayers for victory (vs. 1-5). King David found much encouragement from their prayers and declared his faith in God’s hand (vs. 6-9).

Regarding application…Who Are You Trusting? Vs. 7, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” Chariots and horses were the tanks of their time; the bigger the weapon, the likelier the victory. I’ve never been in battle, but I’m sure there is a sudden urgency to turn to God when life is at the brink. When you go into the battles of life, there is much assurance in the weapons you possesses. Of course, there is one metaphorical offensive weapon we possess as believers; the sword (Ephesians 6:17). Question: Who or what are you putting your trust in?

Psalm 19

Vs. 1, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” David’s psalm today is incredibly powerful! This was one of the psalms that my theology professor at Talbot Seminary had us meditate on. Our psalm today starts out with a glorious revelation of whom God is (vs. 1-6). This section speaks to us that we are without excuse; God has clearly revealed Himself to us. David goes on to declare that God’s law is perfect (vs. 7-11). It is awe-inspiring to consider the power that comes from the Word! In the latter section of our psalm (vs. 12-14), David responds with humility and prayer.

Regarding application…Honoring Prayer. Vs. 14, “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” My theology professor had us memorize this psalm verbatim as part of our final. Initially, I had much fear because I didn’t think I could do it. However, when I read the majesty of this psalm, I was inspired to honor the LORD! I felt like I was literally honoring Him by the words that came out of my mouth. So often, I feel my words and expression are inadequate. I believe that’s why it so encouraging to know and memorize Scripture! We join King David and many others when we read, pray, and declare God’s truth.

Psalm 18

Vs. 2, “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” David’s psalm today is a very close replica of David’s song in II Samuel 22. David probably composed this psalm earlier in his reign as he rejoiced that God delivered him from the hands of Saul. King David was an emotional man and has much to teach us about the healthiness of expressing ourselves. David experienced rejection and near death, but he also experienced adulation and joy! This psalm of David gives us fascinating insight to the understanding of how God works through His covenant promises. David reminds us that God is the rock (common word used for God, which connotes stability and foundation) that provides salvation. There is no ambiguity; the God of David is the most powerful God and true God! You might be curious as to David’s statements (vs. 20-24) concerning his perfection. This is not a declaration of living a sinless life, rather the integrity of David’s heart.

Regarding application…Seeking Support. Vs. 18, “They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support.” Question: When times get tough, whom do you turn to? While God does provide people in our life we can count on for support, it is the Lord whom we should first seek out. It is an obvious answer and one that any good Christian would agree with. But the challenge for David as well as us was to ensure that we are living out the truth. The church is a wonderful gift from God. Our family is a wonderful gift from God. Our friends are a wonderful gift from God. They are all sources that we turn to when we need support. But the one constant in our lives that will never forsake us or leave us is the Lord our God. I thank God for people who have my back, but I must never replace them with God. That is why this blog site exists to remind all of us our dependence upon the Lord! Question: What aspect of your life do you need to lean on for support from the Lord?

Psalm 17

Vs. 1, “Hear me, LORD, my plea is just; listen to my cry. Hear my prayer—it does not rise from deceitful lips.” Question: When you are in trouble, what do you do? We cry out for help! As M.C. Hammer declared, “We got to pray just to make it today.” Yesterday, I challenged my ministry to pray faithfully each day this week. Our psalm today is a prayer for protection (vs. 1-5). David pleads his case of innocence and asks for justice. David is confident that when God examines each person, he will be vindicated. God’s mighty hand will protect David as the enemy attempts to destroy him (vs. 6-15).

Regarding application…Seeing God. Vs. 15, “As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.” David had an eternal perspective. While we may not literally see God presently, we do see Him in other ways. I’m reminded of one of Jesus’ beatitudes, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Question: Have you seen God? As believers who have put our trust in Jesus, the answer is a resounding Yes! Our sight is not predicated upon the eyes in our heads, but the eyes of our hearts. Take time today and consider how God has made Himself known to you.

Psalm 16

Vs. 11, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” King David is able to declare victory in the LORD’s refuge! I appreciate David’s candid emotions whether he is lamenting or praising. After praying for safety, David testifies how he is able to put his trust in the Lord. David sees that the righteous will find favor in the LORD, while the wicked will perish (vs. 2-4). Rather than trust in other god’s, David declares his belief in God’s provision (vs. 5-8). Question: How should we respond with such goodness? Rejoice in the Lord (vs. 9-11)!   The Apostle Peter would cite the last four verses of this Psalm in his sermon at Pentecost (Acts 2:25-28).

Regarding application…Finding Security. Vs. 8, “I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” For the most part, we are pretty secure here in our comfortable first-world setting. While I lock my door at night, I’ve slept with the garage door accidently open on a few occasions. Thankfully, no one broke in! Those who know me are aware that I am a pretty cautious man. I like to be safe and secure and keep my family protected. But, for David and the vast majority of people that live in this world, life was isn’t so secure. Yet, David was able to declare that God is his portion in the midst of a dangerous world. Question: Where is your security? Take time to pray and find your peace in Him!

Psalm 15

Vs. 1, “LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain?” King David poses a question and then proceeds to answer it in our wisdom psalm today. In contrast to the ways of the wicked in our previous psalm, we see the ways of the righteous. Question: Can any of us live to such a high standard (vs. 2-5)? Like a good Pharisee in Jesus’ day; we could live an outwardly righteous life, but inwardly be dead. Our psalm today is more concerned about our attitude and intention. With a good heart will come the fruit of our faithful lives.

Regarding application…Watch our Tongues. Vs. 3, “whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others.” I am currently preaching from the book of James and have been reminded how important it is to tame our tongues. I called the message from James 3:1-12, “Tongue Whisperer.” Not only does slander and slurs hurt others, it ultimately hurts us. Taming our tongues is one of life’s biggest challenges. What comes out of our mouths is often a good indicator of what comes from our heart. Question: Have you done someone wrong? Take time to pray and if appropriate, go and reconcile with this person.