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.

Psalm 14

Vs. 1, “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.” Our Psalm today is well known and is nearly identical to Psalm 53. We humans are a foolish people (vs. 1-3). Yet, the world looks at Christians as the fools. It’s important to note that King David is using hyperbole again to share the reality of many, not all. Not only are they fools, but they are evildoers who will one day be overwhelmed with dread (vs. 4-6). Question: Where will God’s people find their hope? At a city on a hill known as Zion (vs. 7). God is king of the hill and no one is going to be able to defeat Him!

Regarding application…Ways of the Wicked. Vs. 6, “You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the LORD is their refuge.” The evildoers of this world want nothing more than to frustrate the hopes of the godly. The irony is that the more they heap destruction; the faith of the righteous only grows. The poignant stories of slavery, Nazi concentrations camps, war prisons, etc. is a practical reminder for us. Question: How does the enemy frustrate us today? I think of all the volatile places of this world that need the Gospel now more than ever. The fear of oppression, imprisonment and death are very real. I read a Fox News report last year that stated over 100,000 people die every year for their Christian faith. This is the ways of the wicked, but God is our refuge in an increasingly violent world.

Psalm 13

Vs. 1, “How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” Inquiring minds want to know. Since the dawning of the first family, we have asked questions (Genesis 4). The very heart of any question can range from sincere genuine seeking to adversarial challenges. King David questions the LORD in our psalm today (vs. 1-2). David outpouring of anguish causes his heart to wonder. But David’s questioning is one that is seeking to grow his faith in the midst of tough circumstances (vs. 3-4). His life was in jeopardy and the enemy seemed to be close to victory. But the time of lament and questioning was needed in David’s prayer. For it was through the darkness that David was reminded of God’s light (vs. 5-6).

Regarding application…God’s Unfailing Love. Vs. 5, “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.” Question: What is love? There is a biblical love that is unfailing; the Hebrew word (ḥeseḏ). It is God’s loyal love given to those who trust in Him. God’s love is a covenant that He made with his people. There is nothing that can separate God’s love from those who trust in Him (Romans 8). Take our earthly relationships for example. There is nothing that can keep me from loving my wife. She is precious to me. I would die for her. If this wretched person can have a glimpse of God’s unfailing love, how much greater is God’s love? The depth of His love is something I cannot even imagine. Thank you Lord for you unfailing love!

Psalm 12

Vs. 2, “Everyone lies to their neighbor; they flatter with their lips but harbor deception in their hearts.” Certainly, King David is applying hyperbole as he looks around and sees the decline of the godly (vs. 1-2). There were many who would oppress others by their deceitful tongues. Question: What does it mean to have flattering lips? Throughout the Old Testament, the use of our lips reveals the character of a person (Psalm 12;2, 31:18, 63:5, Proverbs 16:13, Hab. 3:16). When we flatter another person with kind words, our heart is being deceptive for we are not being sincere (vs. 3-5). Thankfully, we having a standard by which the Lord has set with His flawless lips (vs. 6-8).

Regarding application…Flattery’s Danger. Vs. 3, “May the LORD silence all flattering lips and every boastful tongue.” Question: What could be the danger of flattery? I was thinking long and hard about this. One of the motives of flattery is to manipulate people. When we set our course to follow God’s will, this can often be deterred by the flattery of others. People will tell us (friends, family, school counselors) that we are good at such and such a thing. But, sometimes their motives can be selfish. We may end up doing something that God never intended us to do. On a light note example, I think of those reality television competitions. Simon Cowell always had quite a flair at destroying the dreams of young singers. They came to the competition because there must have been flattering lips of many to make them believe they could sing. Perhaps we all know people who so easily flatter others. Be careful for they will often ask for something in return.

Psalm 11

Vs. 1, “In the LORD I take refuge. How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain.” Question: Should I stay or should I go? This was the response King David would give in the midst of those wanting to flee evil (vs. 1-3). There are times when it seems evil is too rampant. The righteous yearn for a place of refuge. But, instead of fleeing, David confidently puts his trust in the LORD (vs. 4-7). God does not delight in the evil ways of this world.

Regarding application…Violent World. Vs. 5, “The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion.” Yikes, what a timely reminder for us all! This has been a tumultuous week with the Ferguson shooting and now the recent hearing of an American journalist beheaded by ISIS. It’s good to know the LORD’s stance on violence. I remember hearing a very ignorant scientific speaker comment on the violence in the Old Testament. The violence that was wrought wasn’t because God arbitrarily decided certain nations should be destroyed. Each of these nations had been given opportunities to stand down. But, in their evil, they rebelled against God. We should never seek out violence. However, there are appropriate times when we must defend ourselves from a violent world.

Psalm 10

Vs. 1, “Why, LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” I appreciate how the Lord does not hide the ups and downs of life. King David looks around at all the ungodly and wondered, “What’s up Lord?” The experiences of David as a humble shepherd to the king of Israel would give him plenty of exposure to the wicked unbelievers (vs. 1-11). We ourselves can attest to the haughty attitude of those who live as if they are above any laws. They are dangerous people who devour those around them. I can imagine David’s cry for vengeance as he puts pen to paper and realizes the seemingly effective ways of the wicked (vs. 12-15). But David declares by faith that the LORD will not forget the oppressed (vs. 16-18).

Regarding application…God Encourages. Vs. 17, “You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.” When we see the injustices of this world, it’s easy to grow discouraged. However, David is encouraged after it’s all said and done. Question: What would cause David to come to this solution? He was honest to the Lord. The fact that David was able to articulate his thoughts and record them gave him the perspective he needed. Question: How does God encourage you? We have many avenues; church, prayer, people, etc. One of the most important ways is to stay connected by allowing God to speak to us through the Bible.

Psalm 9

Vs. 1, “I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” Question: What deeds is the Psalmist considering? This psalm of David begins with praise and thanksgiving (vs. 1-3). Perhaps David is looking back and considering God’s faithful deliverance throughout the ages (The Exodus, Noah, etc.). David knew that God’s wonderful deeds are something that should not go unheralded. Another reason David was able to praise God was because He was actively delivering David presently (vs. 4-8). Because of God’s hand against the enemy, David was able to declare God provides refuge for those who are oppressed (vs. 9-14). There is safety in the presence of our God! Those people and nations that go against God and His people will be rightly judged (vs. 15-20). This is God’s divine retribution for those who have continued to go against him and harden their hearts. Until the new heavens and earth, there will be people and nations that will rise up against the Lord.

Regarding application…Testify God’s Goodness. Vs. 11, “Sing the praises of the LORD, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what he has done.”   Question: Did you notice that twice (vs. 1, 11) David reminds us to tell and proclaim what God has done? Sometimes we get myopic and think that our source of encouragement only comes from others (Bible, sermons, bible studies, praising, etc.). However, David is reminding us that we hold something very powerful; the testimony of God’s goodness! When I worked at the bank, one of my jobs for a year was being a personal banker. My goal was to sell people on why they want to open a checking, savings, credit card, line of credit, mortgage, IRA, etc. One of things I realized that no matter how much I share the benefits of each of these products, it means nothing if I haven’t experienced it first hand. So, I made it my goal to have each of these products I sold so I could share my first-hand testimonies of how they helped me. My production skyrocketed! When we share first-hand testimonies of God’s goodness, we are encouraging each other profoundly!