My Tears in Your Bottle

Psalm 568 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 56:8–13 (ESV)

8 You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? 9 Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me. 10 In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, 11 in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? 12 I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you. 13 For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.

Understanding and Applying the Word

David tells us that God has kept David’s tears in his bottle. God is so concerned about what happens to David, and all of his people, that he keeps track of every detail. Reflecting on this truth, David declares, “In God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

We have a God who cares about us. He cares not only about the large matters of life, but the smallest details. He sees and cares about every tear. When we realize this truth, we realize that we have nothing to fear. God is with us and we can trust him. The only thing left for us is to live by his word and praise his name!

**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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In God I Trust

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Thank you for reading Shaped by the Word. This is a daily Bible reading devotional. I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but I do include a suggested reading for the day. Please be sure to subscribe to this page and follow along as we read through the Book of Psalms in 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 56:1–7 (ESV)

1 Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me; all day long an attacker oppresses me; 2 my enemies trample on me all day long, for many attack me proudly. 3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. 4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? 5 All day long they injure my cause; all their thoughts are against me for evil. 6 They stir up strife, they lurk; they watch my steps, as they have waited for my life. 7 For their crime will they escape? In wrath cast down the peoples, O God!

But I Will Trust in You

Psalm 5522 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 55:20–23 (ESV)

20 My companion stretched out his hand against his friends; he violated his covenant. 21 His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords. 22 Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. 23 But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction; men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Some “friends” are not true friends at all. They simply say all of the right things and do all of the right things to mislead. In reality, they are seeking their own interests and not what is best for others. These types of relationships often cause the greatest harm. As a result, when we are hurt, we are often tempted to distance ourselves from everyone so it does not happen again.

People and relationships will often disappoint us. People are sinful. People are selfish. This includes all of us. Yet, we can trust in God. He is faithful. He is true to his word. And he is gracious when we fail. Let us cast our cares on him and trust him in our times of need.

**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!

When a Friend Becomes the Enemy

Friends in Pinky Swear Gesture

Reading the Word

Psalm 55:9–19 (ESV)

9 Destroy, O Lord, divide their tongues; for I see violence and strife in the city. 10 Day and night they go around it on its walls, and iniquity and trouble are within it; 11 ruin is in its midst; oppression and fraud do not depart from its marketplace. 12 For it is not an enemy who taunts me— then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me— then I could hide from him. 13 But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. 14 We used to take sweet counsel together; within God’s house we walked in the throng. 15 Let death steal over them; let them go down to Sheol alive; for evil is in their dwelling place and in their heart. 16 But I call to God, and the Lord will save me. 17 Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice. 18 He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me. 19 God will give ear and humble them, he who is enthroned from of old, Selah because they do not change and do not fear God.

Understanding and Applying the Word

It is bad when someone else has it as their goal to bring harm on you. It is especially difficult when that person is someone who you once counted as a friend. This is the betrayal that David describes in these verses. What does David do? He prays morning, noon, and night (cf. Psalm 55:17). When David finds himself in his most desperate situations he turns to God as his hope because he knows that God is the one, and only one, who can help him.

It is disappointing to hear and read so many disparaging prayer today. They speak as if it is equal to doing nothing. That is a total misunderstanding of who God is and what prayer is. For the Christian, we realize that God is the one who holds all things in his hands and he has the power and authority to act on behalf of his people. In fact, he tells his children to call out on him because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Let us never forget the great privilege and importance of prayer and may we turn to God in every time of need knowing that he hears and answers our prayers.

**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!

Give Ear to My Prayer, O God

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Reading the Word

Psalm 55:1–8 (ESV)

1 Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy! 2 Attend to me, and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and I moan, 3 because of the noise of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked. For they drop trouble upon me, and in anger they bear a grudge against me. 4 My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me. 5 Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me. 6 And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest; 7 yes, I would wander far away; I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah8 I would hurry to find a shelter from the raging wind and tempest.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

What do you do when you are in trouble? In this psalm, David is facing great difficulty. He describes himself as restless, moaning, in anguish, fearful, trembling, and wanting to run away. He needs help. So he prays.

Many of the psalms record the prayers of God’s people crying out to him for relief from their trouble. It is interesting to note that we are not told of how God answers these prayers. That is because the psalms are meant to teach us how to live in the world and how to face the difficulties of life. We do it through faith and by trusting in God. That is the entire point of Psalm 55. We see this summarized in verse 22 where it says, “Cast your burden on the Lord…”

Life has times of difficulty, but we have a great and loving God that we can go to in times of trouble, He hears our prayers and he is faithful to his people.

**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!

By Your Name

Reading Black and White

Reading the Word

Psalm 54:1–7 (ESV)

1 O God, save me by your name, and vindicate me by your might. 2 O God, hear my prayer; give ear to the words of my mouth. 3 For strangers have risen against me; ruthless men seek my life; they do not set God before themselves. Selah4 Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life. 5 He will return the evil to my enemies; in your faithfulness put an end to them. 6 With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good. 7 For he has delivered me from every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In this psalm, David appeals to the name of the Lord. As he appeals to his name, he uses two different names for God. The first is Elohim, which is simply translated “God”. When David uses this name he also speaks of God’s strength and power. David also uses the name Yahweh, which is the covenant name of God and speaks of his loyalty and faithfulness to his people. This is the name that is translated “LORD” (all capital letters) in our English Bibles.

As David is threatened by evil, he calls out to God who is both the powerful sovereign one and also the faithful and loyal one. David points to God’s character (i.e. his “name”) and trusts that God will deliver him. He is confident in God and plans to give thanks for what God will do.

David knew God. He knew his power and he knew his faithfulness. And David trusted God. How well do you know the Lord and do you trust him in the midst of whatever it is that you might be facing? There is no better way to get to know him than through spending time reading his word and in prayer each day. If you have not already done so, schedule time each day to do just that.

**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!

Fear and Trust

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Reading the Word

Psalm 53:1–6 (ESV)

1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good. 2 God 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 fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. 4 Have those who work evil no knowledge, who eat up my people as they eat bread, and do not call upon God? 5 There they are, in great terror, where there is no terror! For God scatters the bones of him who encamps against you; you put them to shame, for God has rejected them. 6 Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When God restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm contrasts two groups of people: those who are fools and ignore God and those who trust in the Lord. The first group says that there is no God and feel they can do as they please. They commit themselves to all kinds of evil and have no fear in doing so. On the other hand, God’s people often suffer at the hands of the foolish. Because of this suffering, God’s people often fear those who are committed to evil.

This psalm tells us that the wrong group is fearful. The foolish do not fear, but should because they will answer to God for their sin. God’s people have no reason to fear. Verse 5 reads, “There they are, in great terror, where there is no terror!” God will take care of his people and he will bring those who practice evil into judgment.

Who or what do you fear? Who or what are you trusting in? Fear the Lord and trust in him. He will protect and he will save.

**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!

A Matter of Trust

Psalm 528 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 52:5–9 (ESV)

5 But God will break you down forever; he will snatch and tear you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land of the living. Selah6 The righteous shall see and fear, and shall laugh at him, saying, 7 “See the man who would not make God his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches and sought refuge in his own destruction!” 8 But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. 9 I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly.

Understanding and Applying the Word

There are those who do evil and love it. They have no regard for doing what is right. But in the end, they will answer for their ways. God, who sees all and knows all, will bring them into judgment. At that time, they will be removed from the land of the living.

The righteous, who by extension, have often suffered at the hands of the wicked will not be judged, but will be like an olive tree in the house of God. Such a tree would thrive and flourish. So it will be for the righteous.

What is the difference? The wicked trust in themselves and all that they possess (v. 7) while the righteous trust in God and his provision in their lives (v. 8). Ultimately, what we place our trust in becomes our god. What are you trusting in?

**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 Love of Evil

Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but I do include a suggested reading. Please subscribe to this page and follow along as we read through the Book of Psalms in 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 52:1–4 (ESV)

1 Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man? The steadfast love of God endures all the day. 2 Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit. 3 You love evil more than good, and lying more than speaking what is right. Selah4 You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue.

 

My Mouth Will Declare Your Praise

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Reading the Word

Psalm 51:14–19 (ESV)

14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. 15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. 18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem; 19 then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In this psalm, David has shown a repentant heart and asked for God to forgive him. He makes his request not based on his merit. He knows he does not deserve forgiveness. He admits that he is a sinner and has been since the day he was born. No, he has no merit rely on. Instead, he asks God to forgive him based solely on God’s steadfast love (v. 1). God’s forgiveness always comes by grace and is based on God’s love for us, not what we have done to deserve it.

Now, at the end of this psalm, David says that God’s forgiveness will result in David’s praises. He will tell the world of all that God has done for him. What a wonderful and great God David has! He is a God who forgives! May we all give praise to God for his grace and for his love for sinners!

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.” (Psalm 107:1–3, ESV)

**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!