Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Psalm 84

"My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God."  Psalm 84:2b

Psalm 84 is an expression of deep longing for the house and presence of the Lord.  The psalmist said , in Psalm 84:2, "My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God."  Do you and I long for time alone with the Lord in our daily devotions?  Do you and I long for the presence of the Lord in our daily activities?

Even the restless sparrow found rest and a home for themselves at the Old Testament alter of God.  So we also can find rest and peace for our souls in the presence of the Lord.  He alone can fill the longing and emptiness of our hearts with His joy.  The Lord alone provides for our salvation; and He alone meets our every emotional, physical, and spiritual need.  The psalmist said to God in prayer in Psalm 84:4, "Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; they are ever praising You."  Yes, blessed and joyful are we who are secure in the presence of the Lord!  Blessed and joyful are we who are drinking in the blessings of His grace!

The psalmist went on in His prayer.  He said in Psalm 84:5-7, "Blessed are those whose strength is in You, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.  As they pass through the valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.  They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion."  Blessed and joyful are we who find our strength in the Lord.  When we pass through the valley of weeping, trial, and difficulties in our lives, the Lord gives us His strength.  The Lord is our sustainer.  Not only does the Lord sustain us during difficult times, but He makes even the difficult times "a place of springs" in our journey through life.

Even the trials of life are transformed into blessings under the Lord's direction, as we submit to Him!  Hence, even the valleys of life can be turned into valleys of praise to the Lord!  A child of God goes from "strength to strength" and from victory to victory until he or she "appears before God in Zion."  Paul tells us in Romans 8:37, "in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us."

We must be busy serving the Lord in our small corners of the world.  It is not important that we are significant or popular in the eyes of the world.  What is important is that we are experiencing fellowship with the Lord and are serving Him.  Psalm 84:11 says, "For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless."  The Lord is our sun directing us on the paths of life.  He shatters the darkness all around us.  The Lord is also our shield.  No one or nothing else can provide us better protection than the Lord.  He gives us all we need, and He gives us only what is for our ultimate good.  Blessed and joyful are they whose trust is in the Lord!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Psalm 71

"For You have been my hope, O Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth." Psalm 71:5

"But for me, I will always have hope; I will praise You more and more."  Psalm 71:14

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with a new and major crisis in your life today?  Do you feel overwhelmed with just the accumulation of small daily problems and responsibilities you face today?  The Lord wants us to come to Him in prayer with all our needs.  The Lord is our only true resource for all our needs.

In Psalm 71 David, the psalmist, prayed for help in his old age.  His enemies were threatening him, and his strength was declining.  David prayed in Psalm 71:3, "Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for You are my rock and my fortress."  In spite of David's appeal for help from God in this Psalm, David was also expressing his trust and confidence in the Lord.  God had been David's refuge and help in the past, and David knew God would be his refuge in the present crisis.  In Psalm 71:5-6 David continued to express his confidence and trust in prayer.  David said, "For You have been my hope, O Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth.  From birth I have relied on You; You brought me forth from my mother's womb.  I will ever praise You."

The longer we serve the Lord the more clearly we see the Lord's continual faithfulness to us in past problems.  Then we also begin to grow in our trust in Him to sustain us in the midst of our present problems and needs!  We need to contemplate the Lord's faithfulness in the past; so that we can proceed in faith, trust, and peace in facing today's challenges and problems.  Our constant prayer must be that no matter what circumstances the Lord allows in our lives we will continue to say to Him, "I will ever praise You."  May our lives be filled with praise for the Lord every moment both in pleasant times and in difficult times.  This is possible, if we are truly trusting that the Lord is leading and guiding our lives in faithfulness.

In Psalm 71:9 David went on to pray to the Lord.  David prayed, "Do not cast me away when I am old; do nor forsake me when my strength is gone."  David was facing a new major crisis in his life.  In this new crisis in his life David needed a sense of the Lord's presence even as he was growing older.  David then went on to say in prayer in Psalm 71:14, "But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise You more and more."  David knew with an absolute certainty that God had been with him in the past.  David also knew that the Lord would be with him in the present crisis in his life!  Notice that David was also praising God in the middle of his crisis!  We must do the same.

We can praise the Lord in all circumstances, however, only if we are trusting in God's complete faithfulness and guidance.  David said in Psalm 71:19-20, "Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You have done great things.  Who, O God, is like You?  Though You have made me see troubles, many and bitter.  You will restore my life again."  Then in Psalm 71:23 David prayed, "My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to You-I, whom You have redeemed."

Because of the Lord's past faithfulness to us, we can trust Him for today's challenges and problems.  We can also trust Him for the future challenges and problems we will face.  We can do this with a joyful heart and with a heart full of praise, because our God is a faithful God!