Those Who Hate God

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Reading the Word

Psalm 83:1–8 (ESV)

1 O God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God! 2 For behold, your enemies make an uproar; those who hate you have raised their heads. 3 They lay crafty plans against your people; they consult together against your treasured ones. 4 They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!” 5 For they conspire with one accord; against you they make a covenant— 6 the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites, 7 Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; 8 Asshur also has joined them; they are the strong arm of the children of Lot. Selah

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm is a plea for God to rescue the people of Israel from their enemies. Those enemies are spelled out in verses 6-8. One thing to note is the concern of the psalmist. He does not make his plea based on the innocence of Israel. He does not call out and ask God to protect the Israelites because they are being treated unjustly. His primary concern is that the enemy has declared war on God himself. Notice verse 2: “For behold, your enemies make an uproar; those who hate you have raised their heads.”

Throughout the ages, God’s people have suffered at the hands of others. The primary reason is not because of something that they had done. The primary reason has always been because the world is at war with God. It does not want him. We, as his people, are a constant reminder of the reality of God and the truth that God will one day bring all of mankind to judgment. Let us, as the people of God, remember that the word is at war with God and let us not be surprised when the world hates us. Let us be encouraged knowing that the war has already been won and that our God reigns!

**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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Give Justice to the Weak

Psalm 823 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 82:1–8 (ESV)

1 God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: 2 “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah 3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. 4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” 5 They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. 6 I said, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; 7 nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.” 8 Arise, O God, judge the earth; for you shall inherit all the nations!

Understanding and Applying the Word

The meaning of “gods” in the first verse is debated. It could refer to world leaders or the evil forces behind those leaders. Regardless, God stands above and calls them to account. God’s concern is for their injustice in how they have treated the weakest in society. They have failed to properly care for the weak, the fatherless, and the needy.

The Bible tells us that God is especially concerned for the weak. He calls his people to show the same concern. After all, he demonstrated his love for those who could not help themselves when he sent his Son into the world to save those who would trust in him. Jesus died for those who were poor and needy and weak that we might be saved. Let us have the same compassion for others that God has shown to 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!

Will We Listen?

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Reading the Word

Psalm 81:11–16 (ESV)

11 “But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. 12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels. 13 Oh, that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways! 14 I would soon subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes. 15 Those who hate the Lord would cringe toward him, and their fate would last forever. 16 But he would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

Even after all God had done for his people and even after his promise to be their God and bless them, they still did not obey him. They followed their own hearts and their own sinful ways. Even so, God promises to restore them if they turn to him. He stands ready to bless them.

Israel is a picture of all of mankind. In the Garden of Eden, man was placed in a paradise with all of the blessings of God, but sinned by disobeying the word of God. Likewise, Israel was rescued from slavery and brought to the Promised Land and offered the blessings of God, but sinned through disobedience to God’s word. And we do the same thing. God saves us from our sins through his Son, Jesus Christ, but we would rather follow our own way than submit to him as Lord. Even so, God stands ready to forgive and restore those who will repent and turn to him. What a patient and gracious God!

**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!

Living for Jesus

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Reading the Word

Psalm 81:5–10 (ESV)

5 He made it a decree in Joseph when he went out over the land of Egypt. I hear a language I had not known: 6 “I relieved your shoulder of the burden; your hands were freed from the basket. 7 In distress you called, and I delivered you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah 8 Hear, O my people, while I admonish you! O Israel, if you would but listen to me! 9 There shall be no strange god among you; you shall not bow down to a foreign god. 10 I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.

Understanding and Applying the Word

God brought he people out of slavery in Egypt. In doing so, he had relieved their daily burden of extreme labor. God had heard the groanings of the people and had delivered them. In response, the Lord expected the people to worship him alone and become conformed to his likeness as they followed his instruction to them. As their God, he stood ready to feed them and meet their needs, which he demonstrated by supplying manna in the wilderness.

In John 10:10 Jesus states, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” This verse describes the  work of Satan in the word to tempt mankind and keep people enslaved to their sins. Through false promises, Satan convinces us that we are better off without God. In reality, his schemes only steal true joy from us and lead us to death.

On the other hand, Jesus came to free us from our bondage to sin. Through him, we have the weight of sin removed and we are given eternal life. When we trust in Christ, we follow him as our Lord and he, as our Creator, knows exactly what we need and how we ought to live to bring fulfillment and joy to our lives. Living for Jesus is the abundant life!

**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!

Raise a Song!

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Reading the Word

Psalm 81:1–4 (ESV)

1 Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob! 2 Raise a song; sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp. 3 Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our feast day. 4 For it is a statute for Israel, a rule of the God of Jacob.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Israel was instructed to celebrate their festivals corporately. These festivals were put in place by God as ways to remind the people of what he had done for them as each festival looked pointed to God’s work on their behalf. The particular festival in view in this psalm pointed the Israelites to the Exodus. As part of the celebration the people would sing together with musical instruments.

We too, as Christians, are called to gather corporately to worship and remember all that God has done. Hebrews 10:25 tells us not to neglect gathering with fellow believers. While there are many things to sing about, the focus of our worship is the crucified and risen Savior, Jesus Christ. He is our salvation and the cross is the pivotal moment in the history of the world. Let us raise a song for joy to our God for all he has done!

**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!

Restore Us!

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Reading the Word

Psalm 80:14–19 (ESV)

14 Turn again, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine, 15 the stock that your right hand planted, and for the son whom you made strong for yourself. 16 They have burned it with fire; they have cut it down; may they perish at the rebuke of your face! 17 But let your hand be on the man of your right hand, the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself! 18 Then we shall not turn back from you; give us life, and we will call upon your name! 19 Restore us, O Lord God of hosts! Let your face shine, that we may be saved!

Understanding and Applying the Word

The phrase “turn again” in verse 14 is translated from the same Hebrew word in verses 3, 7, and 19. In those verse, the word is translated “restore”. The idea is to “turn us again.” This is the central theme of the psalm. Israel once occupied a place at the right hand of God, but had fallen as a result of sin. Now the people are calling out for mercy and restoration.

Reading this psalm reminds us of the Messiah who is the true Son who sits at the right hand of the Father. Through him, we find the salvation and life that we are longing for. It is through Jesus Christ that our sins are forgiven and that we find restoration with God.

**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!

Out of Egypt

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Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. I do not publish separate devotional content on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading for the day. We are reading through the Book of Psalms in 2018. Please follow this page if you would like to follow along. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Psalm 80:8–13 (ESV)

8 You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it. 9 You cleared the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land. 10 The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches. 11 It sent out its branches to the sea and its shoots to the River. 12 Why then have you broken down its walls, so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit? 13 The boar from the forest ravages it, and all that move in the field feed on it.

Restore Us, O God!

Psalm 803 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 80:1–7 (ESV)

1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth. 2 Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up your might and come to save us! 3 Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved! 4 O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers? 5 You have fed them with the bread of tears and given them tears to drink in full measure. 6 You make us an object of contention for our neighbors, and our enemies laugh among themselves. 7 Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved!

Understanding and Applying the Word

The theme of this psalm is captured in the repetition of the words “Restore us, O God; let your face shine that we may be saved.” The psalmist understands the circumstances facing Israel to be punishment for their sins and now he is crying out for restoration.

Restoration is the heart of the story of Scripture. In the beginning, God created all things, including mankind, and we are told that he looked upon his creation and pronounced it “good”. However, mankind sins against their Creator through disobedience and all of creation suffers as a result. Evil and sin and death entered into the good creation. The resulting circumstances seemed to be hopeless because of mankind’s sinfulness, but God provided a way for us to be saved. He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to suffer and die in our place so that we could have life. God made a way that we could be restored. All who acknowledge their sin and turn to Christ will be saved. Will you call out to God for restoration 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!

Groans, Taunts, and Praise

James 513 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 79:9–13 (ESV)

9 Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake! 10 Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Let the avenging of the outpoured blood of your servants be known among the nations before our eyes! 11 Let the groans of the prisoners come before you; according to your great power, preserve those doomed to die! 12 Return sevenfold into the lap of our neighbors the taunts with which they have taunted you, O Lord! 13 But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In these verses we read a plea for God to help his people. The request is made with an appeal to God’s name, not the merit of the people. It is God’s reputation that is at stake because it is God’s people who are being destroyed. If the enemy does conquer, what does that say to the world about the God of Israel? The last verse tells us that, even in the midst of the destruction, the psalmist still believes that God will deliver his people. Even though the people have sinned and have brought about the circumstances as a result, there will be thanksgiving and praise when God saves them.

In verses 11-13 we read three different types of speech that are directed at God: groans, taunts, and praise. In fact, these three summarize all speech directed at God. We groan when we are in trouble or despair and call out to him. The unbelieving world taunts God as they mock his existence, his power, or his goodness. And we praise his when we know who he is and what he has done. In the midst of any circumstance, let us direct our speech to God in faith knowing that he hears us and that he is the deliverer of 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!

Let Your Compassion Come Speedily

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Reading the Word

Psalm 79:1–8 (ESV)

1 O God, the nations have come into your inheritance; they have defiled your holy temple; they have laid Jerusalem in ruins. 2 They have given the bodies of your servants to the birds of the heavens for food, the flesh of your faithful to the beasts of the earth. 3 They have poured out their blood like water all around Jerusalem, and there was no one to bury them. 4 We have become a taunt to our neighbors, mocked and derided by those around us. 5 How long, O Lord? Will you be angry forever? Will your jealousy burn like fire? 6 Pour out your anger on the nations that do not know you, and on the kingdoms that do not call upon your name! 7 For they have devoured Jacob and laid waste his habitation. 8 Do not remember against us our former iniquities; let your compassion come speedily to meet us, for we are brought very low.

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm is a lament that most likely connected to the fall of Jerusalem and exile of Judah at the hands of the Babylonians. The verses describe the defiling of the temple, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the killing of many Israelites by the enemy. Why did this happen? Because God was angry with his people because of their sin.

Scripture tells us that all who place their trust in the sacrificial work of Jesus Christ are forgiven of their sins and will not be condemned before God. However, Scripture also tells us that God does discipline his people for their benefit. It is through discipline that our hearts and minds are transformed as we learn to love the things God loves and hate the things he hates. Let us be thankful that God is a gracious and forgiving God. And let us also be thankful for the discipline we receive that helps us as we become more and more like Christ.

**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!