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!

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Preserve Me, O God

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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!

Who Shall Dwell on Your Holy Hill?

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Below is the suggested reading for today. I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but I do include the day’s reading. Please subscribe so you can follow along all year as we read through the Book of Psalms in 2018!

Reading the Word

Psalm 15:1–5 (ESV)

1 O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? 2 He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; 3 who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; 4 in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; 5 who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.

The Fool Says, There Is No God

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Reading the Word

Psalm 14:1–7 (ESV)

1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good. 2 The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. 3 They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. 4 Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the Lord? 5 There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous. 6 You would shame the plans of the poor, but the Lord is his refuge. 7 Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Paul quotes from this psalm in Romans when he says, “…there is none who does good, not even one.” There, Paul argues that all people are sinners and have fallen short and therefore are deserving of God’s wrath. Thankfully, God has graciously sent his Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to take the wrath for our sins instead. Those who trust in Christ are forgiven and given eternal life.

However, there are many who continue to refuse. Instead, they rebel against God, even to the point of denying his very existence. Why? Because if there is a God, they know they stand condemned as a result of their sins. To admit that God exists is to acknowledge a greater authority and a need to submit to that authority. Many are unable to do that so they stubbornly reject the revealed truth of God and continue to trust in their own ways. Sadly, this denial will eventually lead to self-destruction.

God is a refuge for those who will seek him and turn to his Son for salvation. Let us do that today.

**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!

How Long, O Lord?

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Reading the Word

Psalm 13:1–6 (ESV)

1 How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? 2 How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? 3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, 4 lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. 5 But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. 6 I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The Bible tells us that God hears and answers prayer. Yet sometimes it can feel like he is either not listening or not acting. That is how David felt in this psalm. He felt forgotten. He felt like God was hiding from him. And it brought great sorrow to David.

Even so, David trusted in the steadfast love of God. This speaks of God’s covenant promises to his people to be with them and be their God. David trusted that God would not let him down, even if at times it seemed as if God was far off. God had dealt bountifully with him in the past and he was sure God would bring him salvation in the future.

May we have the faith of David as we go through life. We all face times when God seems distant and we are desperate for him to act. Look back at the ways he has been faithful in the past and then know that he will be with us in the future.

**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 Godly Are Gone

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Reading the Word

Psalm 12:1–8 (ESV)

1 Save, O Lord, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man. 2 Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak. 3 May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts, 4 those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us; who is master over us?” 5 “Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the Lord; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.” 6 The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times. 7 You, O Lord, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever. 8 On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among the children of man.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The psalmist ends this psalm with the words “vileness is exalted among the children of man.” Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever felt like the whole world has turned its back on God and no one is left that seeks him? The psalmist reflects that everyone is full of lies and they speak with flattering lips and a double heart.

Where has truth and honesty and doing what is right gone? What advantage is there to godliness in a world that applauds what is vile? God’s people seek to honor him not to gain the world’s approval and applause, but to bring glory to him. The world may reject godliness, but God will save his people and he will judge the wicked.

**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’s Throne

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Reading the Word

Psalm 11:1–7 (ESV)

1 In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain, 2 for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart; 3 if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” 4 The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man. 5 The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. 6 Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. 7 For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In verses 1-3, David responds to his advisers who tell him to “Flee like a bird to your mountain”. Their argument seems to be that David needs to run away from the present danger because, as king, the hope of the righteous rests on his survival (cf. Psalm 11:3).

Verses 4-7 give us David’s response to this advice. The Lord is in his holy temple! God is in control! God is on his throne. He sees what is going on and David places his trust in the Lord to deal with the wicked and reward the righteous.

What a great comfort it is to know that God is all-seeing and all-knowing. There is no evil that escapes him and he will deal justly with all people. God’s people can live confidently and obediently in this world knowing that they serve the Lord and he gives life to the faithful.

**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 King Forever

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Reading the Word

Psalm 10:12–18 (ESV)

12 Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted. 13 Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”? 14 But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless. 15 Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none. 16 The Lord is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land. 17 O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear 18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In the first half of this psalm, which we looked at yesterday, the writer wonders why God has not acted on behalf of those who are being trampled by the wicked. In this second part, the writer trusts in God to bring justice. God will surely act on behalf of the weak and the wicked will answer for their evil.

As believers, we are called to walk by faith. This means that we believe God’s promises and trust in their fulfillment, even if at times it may not seem like those promises will be fulfilled. Among the promises that God has made is that sin will be judged. Evil will not go unpunished. Justice will have the final say and it will be justice from the hand of the all-knowing and all-powerful King of kings. For a time it may seem as though the wicked prosper and are winning, but in the end the wicked will perish and those who trust in the Lord will be lifted up.

**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!

Why, O Lord?

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Reading the Word

Psalm 10:1–11 (ESV)

1 Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? 2 In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor; let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised. 3 For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord. 4 In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.” 5 His ways prosper at all times; your judgments are on high, out of his sight; as for all his foes, he puffs at them. 6 He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved; throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.” 7 His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression; under his tongue are mischief and iniquity. 8 He sits in ambush in the villages; in hiding places he murders the innocent. His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless; 9 he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket; he lurks that he may seize the poor; he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net. 10 The helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall by his might. 11 He says in his heart, “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

Sometimes it seems as if God is absent. The wicked seem to get away with their ungodliness and they take advantage of the vulnerable. They seek after their hearts desires and crush others to get what they want. They tell themselves that God does not exist or that he is unaware of their acts.

In this psalm, the writer calls out, “Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?” We live in a world where sin and evil are still a very present reality. Sometimes we too may wonder where God is in the midst of our struggles. We too can call out to God to intervene and to protect the vulnerable and to bring justice. But let us know that God is aware of every detail and all will answer for their sin. God will judge the wicked and those who trust in his promises will be saved.

**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!

Let the Nations Be Judged

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Shaped by the Word is a daily weekday devotional. I do not publish devotional comments on the weekend, but I do publish daily reading suggestions. Please take a moment to follow along and share by using the links and buttons below this post.

Reading the Word

Psalm 9:13–20 (ESV)

13 Be gracious to me, O Lord! See my affliction from those who hate me, O you who lift me up from the gates of death, 14 that I may recount all your praises, that in the gates of the daughter of Zion I may rejoice in your salvation. 15 The nations have sunk in the pit that they made; in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught. 16 The Lord has made himself known; he has executed judgment; the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah 17 The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God. 18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever. 19 Arise, O Lord! Let not man prevail; let the nations be judged before you! 20 Put them in fear, O Lord! Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah