The Wonderful Word of God

Bible Law

Reading the Word

Psalm 119:1–8 (ESV)

1 Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord! 2 Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, 3 who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways! 4 You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently. 5 Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes! 6 Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments. 7 I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules. 8 I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me!

Understanding and Applying the Word

Psalm 119 is the longest of the psalms, stretching 176 verses. The psalm is organized as an acrostic based on the Hebrew alphabet with the first eight lines beginning with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet (aleph), the second eight lines with the second letter (beth), and so on. The focus of the entire psalm is on the goodness of God’s instruction (i.e. God’s law). Every line of the psalm uses the word “law” or a synonym for it to express the greatness of God’s word to mankind.

How wonderful is the word of God! It brings goodness and life to those who study it and obey it. Yet, for many of us, we neglect it and choose to live life our own way. This is only to our detriment as it is the Lord who created us and knows what is best for us. The good and loving God who sent his Son into the world to save us from our sin has also given us his word to guide our lives. How could we neglect the words of one who has shown us such great affection? Let us turn to his word again and again as we seek to understand this world and how to live in it.

**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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The Cornerstone

1 Peter 27 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 118:19–29 (ESV)

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord. 20 This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it. 21 I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. 22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. 23 This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. 24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 25 Save us, we pray, O Lord! O Lord, we pray, give us success! 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord. 27 The Lord is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar! 28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. 29 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

Understanding and Applying the Word

Returning from victory on the battlefield, the psalmist commands that the “gates of righteousness” be opened. There is need to go to the temple to give thanks for what God has done in bringing victory. The victory is the Lord’s doing and it is time to rejoice in it.

There are multiple references to this psalm in the Gospels connecting it to Jesus. The people cried out, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” in Matthew 21:9 as Jesus enters Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Jesus quotes from verses 22-23 in Matthew 21:42 as he addresses the religious leaders’ attitude towards him. And in Acts 4:11, Peter also quotes from verse 22 as he tells the people that Jesus, whom they have rejected and crucified, has become the cornerstone.

Jesus Christ, the rejected one who was sent by the Father, has proven to be the Cornerstone. What the world rejected as of no significance, the Father  has shown to be the One of greatest significance. The world put Jesus to death, but he rose victorious from the dead to bring salvation to his enemies. All who will call on him will be saved. We say with the psalmist, “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes!”

**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!

Thanksgiving

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Reading the Word

Psalm 118:10–18 (ESV)

10 All nations surrounded me; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! 11 They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! 12 They surrounded me like bees; they went out like a fire among thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! 13 I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me. 14 The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. 15 Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the Lord does valiantly, 16 the right hand of the Lord exalts, the right hand of the Lord does valiantly!” 17 I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord. 18 The Lord has disciplined me severely, but he has not given me over to death.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Psalm 118 is a psalm of thanksgiving for deliverance. In the verses for today, we read that the enemy had surrounded the psalmist. He repeats this fact three times in verses 10-12, while finishing with the statement that “They surrounded me like bees.” With these words, we get a sense of the frightening situation. However, with the help of the Lord, the enemy was “cut off.” Victory and deliverance was secured. As a result, the righteous sing glad songs of salvation.

Thanksgiving always begins with the individual. In verses 17-18, the psalmist recounts the deeds of the Lord to him. He remembers how God has granted him salvation and not given him over to death. When we as believers gather to worship and give thanks, we begin by thinking of our own salvation and join in thanksgiving with the people of God who have experienced the same. Let us sing glad songs of salvation as we remember our personal salvation and the salvation of all of those who belong to the Lord.

**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 Better

Psalm 1188 [widescreen]

 

Thank you for reading Shaped by the Word. I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but do include a suggested Scripture reading. Please take the time to subscribe to this page if you have not already. We are working our way through the Book of Psalms in 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 118:1–9 (ESV)

1 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! 2 Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” 3 Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” 4 Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” 5 Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. 6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? 7 The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. 8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. 9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.

Praise the Lord, All Nations

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Reading the Word

Psalm 117:1–2 (ESV)

1 Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! 2 For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm is a summons to praise the Lord. An important thing to notice is that it is a summons to “all nations” and “all peoples.” We misunderstand the Bible if we think that God was only interested in one nation, Israel, in the Old Testament. It is true that Israel was especially chosen by God to represent him in the world, but God’s redemptive plan has always been for all people. We see it here (and elsewhere) in the Old Testament and it becomes even more clear in the New Testament. Jesus tells his followers to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) and we see a heavenly vision in Revelation 7:9-10 that includes people from “every nation, from all tribes and people and languages” standing before God in worship.

God is a God of love for all people. He sent his Son into the world that all might be saved. As we proclaim the gospel to the world and as we gather each week with fellow believers, let us praise God together and let us celebrate that God welcomes all who will turn to him, regardless of race, social class, gender, or nationality. Praise the Lord!

**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!

Precious in the Sight of the Lord

Rustic Cross Quote

Reading the Word

Psalm 116:12–19 (ESV)

12 What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me? 13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord, 14 I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people. 15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. 16 O Lord, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant. You have loosed my bonds. 17 I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. 18 I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people, 19 in the courts of the house of the Lord, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!

Understanding and Applying the Word

The people of God are important to him. God is a God of love and loyalty. And the death of God’s saints is “precious” to him. It is of great consequence. He cares about it deeply. This is why God rescues his people in times of trouble. It is not because we have something to offer God for “all his benefits” to us (v. 1). Therefore, our only response is to lift the cup of salvation and cal on the name of the Lord. We are left to worship and praise our Savior.

Scripture tells us in its most famous verse that “God so loved the word, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” It is because of God’s love that Jesus Christ came into the world and died for sinners. It was not because we could offer anything to God to entice him. We are precious to God, who calls us his children and tells us to call him “Father.” Let us respond to such great love with devotion and praise to our Lord.

**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 God Who Delivers from Death

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Reading the Word

Psalm 116:1–11 (ESV)

1 I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. 2 Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live. 3 The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. 4 Then I called on the name of the Lord: “O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul!” 5 Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful. 6 The Lord preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me. 7 Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. 8 For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; 9 I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. 10 I believed, even when I spoke: “I am greatly afflicted”; 11 I said in my alarm, “All mankind are liars.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

How do we respond when God delivers us? In this psalm, we read the words of one who is overflowing with thanksgiving to God. It is God who has responded to his cries for mercy. The psalmist was either close to death or was greatly troubled (cf. verses 3 and 8), but God showed his grace.

All who have trusted in Jesus Christ have a reason to rejoice and overflow with thanksgiving to God. It is by God’s grace towards us that we are saved from the penalty of our sin. Our sin condemns us, but through Christ we find forgiveness. We deserve death, but God graciously gives us life. He is a great God. Let us tell 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!

 

 

He Is Their Help and Shield

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Reading the Word

Psalm 115:9–18 (ESV)

9 O Israel, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield. 10 O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield. 11 You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield. 12 The Lord has remembered us; he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron; 13 he will bless those who fear the Lord, both the small and the great. 14 May the Lord give you increase, you and your children! 15 May you be blessed by the Lord, who made heaven and earth! 16 The heavens are the Lord’s heavens, but the earth he has given to the children of man. 17 The dead do not praise the Lord, nor do any who go down into silence. 18 But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the Lord!

Understanding and Applying the Word

What do you trust in? The psalmist calls on us to trust in the Lord. He is the one who is trustworthy. He is the one who can protect and save. And he is the one who blesses.

Who is better able to bless than the Creator? The heavens and the earth are his. So, who do we trust in? Let us trust in the Lord 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!

Not to Us, but to Your Name Give Glory

Psalm 1151 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 115:1–8 (ESV)

1 Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! 2 Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” 3 Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. 4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. 5 They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. 6 They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. 7 They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. 8 Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.

Understanding and Applying the Word

When the Lord acts to save his people, he alone deserves the glory. That is what the psalmist is saying in these verses. The people of Israel were often attacked by surrounding nations. Those nations were devoted to other gods; gods that were just idols made by the hands of men. Yet, when those nations were successful in their oppression of Israel, it made it seem as if their gods were stronger than the God of Israel. So, this psalm calls out for God to glorify his name, not Israel, by defeating the enemies.

When we enter into the Christian worldview, we come to understand that there is a grand story that we are a part of. That story is the story of God and he is the hero. All that takes place in our lives is not ultimately about us, but about him. It is to bring him glory. This is why the Westminster Shorter Catechism states, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give 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!

The All-Powerful King

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Reading the Word

Psalm 114:1–8 (ESV)

1 When Israel went out from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language, 2 Judah became his sanctuary, Israel his dominion. 3 The sea looked and fled; Jordan turned back. 4 The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs. 5 What ails you, O sea, that you flee? O Jordan, that you turn back? 6 O mountains, that you skip like rams? O hills, like lambs? 7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, 8 who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Psalm 114 recounts the exodus from Egypt by the Israelites. The details of the event are recalled in a manner that stresses the grand power of God. The sea looked and fled at the presence of God as the people crossed over the parted waters. The mountains skipped and the earth trembled as God descended at Sinai. And God brought water from the rock to supply his people.

God is the all-powerful King of creation. Everything bows before him. When he lead the people out of Egypt, there was nothing that could stand in their way, not even the seas and mountains. This is the same God who leads us into the world as his people. As we follow him, we go in the confidence of his power and authority. May we proclaim his greatness and grace to the nations.

**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!