The Lord Lives

Psalm 1846 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 18:46–50 (ESV)

46 The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation— 47 the God who gave me vengeance and subdued peoples under me, 48 who rescued me from my enemies; yes, you exalted me above those who rose against me; you delivered me from the man of violence. 49 For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations, and sing to your name. 50 Great salvation he brings to his king, and shows steadfast love to his anointed, to David and his offspring forever.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In celebration of victory over his enemies, David gives praise to God. Why? Because he recognizes that it is God who has granted him success. The proper response of David, and all believers, is to glorify and praise God for all things. As David, we should praise him among the nations. We should make his name known for his greatness. He is the God who gives richly to his people. He is the God who provides and who saves. And we should especially tell the world of the salvation we have through Jesus Christ, the One who saves us from our sins and gives us eternal life.

We have much to praise God for. May we lift up his name and tell the world of his greatness!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

 

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He Trains My Hands

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Reading the Word

Psalm 18:34–45 (ESV)

34 He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. 35 You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great. 36 You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip. 37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them, and did not turn back till they were consumed. 38 I thrust them through, so that they were not able to rise; they fell under my feet. 39 For you equipped me with strength for the battle; you made those who rise against me sink under me. 40 You made my enemies turn their backs to me, and those who hated me I destroyed. 41 They cried for help, but there was none to save; they cried to the Lord, but he did not answer them. 42 I beat them fine as dust before the wind; I cast them out like the mire of the streets. 43 You delivered me from strife with the people; you made me the head of the nations; people whom I had not known served me. 44 As soon as they heard of me they obeyed me; foreigners came cringing to me. 45 Foreigners lost heart and came trembling out of their fortresses.

Understanding and Applying the Word

David now looks at his accomplishments in defeating his enemies. He describes how he destroyed them and beat them as fine as dust in the wind. It was a complete victory! David was a great and powerful king and had great success on the battlefield. It would have been easy for him to think highly of himself.

Notice David’s focus. He points to God as the source of his success. God trained him, supported him, and made him great. It was God who gave David strength for the battle and made David’s enemies flee from before him. And it was God who had made David the head of nations. Rather than focus on himself and his greatness, David focuses on the greatness of God.

Becoming self-focused and self-centered is a danger we all face. We can easily begin to take the credit for everything we have been able to accomplish without giving the credit to God who has gifted us, trained us, and shown his grace towards us. May we always seek to give him the glory in all things.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Who Is God, but the Lord?

Psalm 1830 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 18:28–33 (ESV)

28 For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness. 29 For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. 30 This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. 31 For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?— 32 the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. 33 He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights.

Understanding and Applying the Word

“Who is God, but the Lord?” This is the question David asks. Then, “Who is a rock, except our God?” The answer, of course, is no one. There is no other. David is secure and empowered by God who gives him the strength needed to face any circumstance.

A relationship with the God of all things brings confidence. It does not mean that God’s people will be removed from all difficulty in life, but it does mean that we go into those circumstances knowing that God is for us and not against us. Our God holds all things in his hands and his way is perfect. We can have confidence in him because his word is true.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Clean Hands

I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but I do include a suggested reading that will continue to take us through the Book of Psalms in 2018. Thanks for reading and, if you have not already, be sure to subscribe so you can follow along throughout the entire year.

pexels-photo-296282.jpegReading the Word

Psalm 18:20–27 (ESV)

20 The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me. 21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. 22 For all his rules were before me, and his statutes I did not put away from me. 23 I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from my guilt. 24 So the Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight. 25 With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless; 26 with the purified you show yourself pure; and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous. 27 For you save a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down.

The Lord Thundered

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Reading the Word

Psalm 18:7–19 (ESV)

7 Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because he was angry. 8 Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from him. 9 He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under his feet. 10 He rode on a cherub and flew; he came swiftly on the wings of the wind. 11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him, thick clouds dark with water. 12 Out of the brightness before him hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds. 13 The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered his voice, hailstones and coals of fire. 14 And he sent out his arrows and scattered them; he flashed forth lightnings and routed them. 15 Then the channels of the sea were seen, and the foundations of the world were laid bare at your rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of your nostrils. 16 He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters. 17 He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. 18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support. 19 He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In the first six verses of Psalm 18 David speaks confidently of God hearing his cries for help and of God being a faithful refuge in times of trouble. Now, in these verses, David recalls how God has rescued him from times of trouble. He describes God as one who shows up in great strength and ready to do battle on David’s behalf. God showed up in great power and scattered the enemies.

We too can have great confidence in God as our stronghold and our deliverer in times of need. He is the Sovereign One over all of creation. All things are in his hand. While our circumstances may seem too big for us, we know that he is always able. In fact, we know that he desires for his people to trust in him and not in themselves, contrary to the common saying “God helps those who help themselves.” The Bible teaches us that God helps those who realize they need him. And he promises to save us and bring us into his presence because he delights in us.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

The Lord Is My Rock

pexels-photo-461593.jpegReading the Word

Psalm 18:1–6 (ESV)

1 I love you, O Lord, my strength. 2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. 4 The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me; 5 the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. 6 In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Oh, the joy of having a refuge in every time of need. That is what God is to his people. We can call on him at all times knowing that he hears and is there. We know that our cries reach his ears and that he is able to come to our rescue. This is why David could praise God and say that he loved him (verse 1).

If you are hurting or afraid, call out to God. He is a rock and a stronghold and you will find refuge in him. Then praise his name for his goodness towards us. He is a great God and deserving of our love.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Lurking in Ambush

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Reading the Word

Psalm 17:10–15 (ESV)

10 They close their hearts to pity; with their mouths they speak arrogantly. 11 They have now surrounded our steps; they set their eyes to cast us to the ground. 12 He is like a lion eager to tear, as a young lion lurking in ambush. 13 Arise, O Lord! Confront him, subdue him! Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword, 14 from men by your hand, O Lord, from men of the world whose portion is in this life. You fill their womb with treasure; they are satisfied with children, and they leave their abundance to their infants. 15 As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In the opening verses of this psalm, which we looked at yesterday, David makes the case for his own obedience to God’s word. Now he turns to describe the wicked. They are closed to pity. They are arrogant. And they are like a lion ready to pounce. All they seem to care about is themselves.

David calls on God to protect him from such people. God will one day hold them to account. As for David, he will not join them. He will continue to live in righteousness rather than turn to their wicked ways, knowing that the righteous will see the face of God and be satisfied.

May we walk righteously in the world and avoid taking advantage of others for our own benefit. Instead let us serve others in love as we point them to salvation in Jesus Christ. And let us look to the day when we behold him in his glory.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

In the Shadow of Your Wings

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Reading the Word

Psalm 17:1–9 (ESV)

1 Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit! 2 From your presence let my vindication come! Let your eyes behold the right! 3 You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night, you have tested me, and you will find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress. 4 With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent. 5 My steps have held fast to your paths; my feet have not slipped. 6 I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words. 7 Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand. 8 Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings, 9 from the wicked who do me violence, my deadly enemies who surround me.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In this psalm, David cries out to God for help. As he calls on God, he points to his own faithfulness towards God as a reason why God should protect him from his enemies. Does this mean that David thought he was perfect? No. It means that, generally speaking, David believed he was obedient and followed God’s will in contrast to his enemies who paid no regard to doing so.

Scripture teaches us that continued sin in our lives hinders our prayers. Compare passages such as Psalm 66:18 and Proverbs 28:9. These passages should not be understood to mean that we need to be entirely sinless. That simply is not true of anyone. But they do warn us that our willful continued sin harms our prayer life. Are you wondering why God seems distant and not answering? Is your life a reflection of the person who is faithful towards God? Or are you living in opposition to God’s will and know you need to repent? Praise God that he stands ready to forgive!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

In Your Presence Is Fullness of Joy

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Reading the Word

Psalm 16:7–11 (ESV)

7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. 8 I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. 10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. 11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Have you ever known someone that you just loved to spend time with? It may have been a close friend or a family member. That person just brought joy.

God brings joy to the believer. Not only joy, but fullness of joy. He brings pleasures forevermore. He does this by being present with us and by being a support to us. This does not mean that we will not face difficulties, but that he will be with us in the tough times. And he will not abandon us. Even in death he is there with us and promises to give life to the one who trusts in the salvation he offers through his Son, Jesus Christ. For the believer, there is fullness of joy because we will forever be in the presence of the loving God who redeemed us.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Preserve Me, O God

Psalm 162 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 16:1–6 (ESV)

1 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. 2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” 3 As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. 4 The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips. 5 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. 6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

Understanding and Applying the Word

At the end of the day, everyone trusts in something, even if it is themselves. This psalm speaks of those who chase after other gods besides the one true God. These can be the false gods of other religions or the things that we make gods because we elevate them to a godly status in our hearts. These would include things like money, power, fame, or pleasure. But these false gods will fail. In the end, they can only bring sorrow and disappointment.

Let us not chase after the gods of this world, but let us take refuge in the Lord. Let us commit ourselves to him and say with the psalmist “the Lord is my chosen portion and my cup.” He is a great God. The one true God. And his promises never fail. In him we find the fulfillment that our hearts long for.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!