The Lord Will Judge with Equity

2 Timothy 48 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 75:1–10 (ESV)

1 We give thanks to you, O God;
we give thanks, for your name is near.
We recount your wondrous deeds.

2 “At the set time that I appoint
I will judge with equity.
3 When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants,
it is I who keep steady its pillars. Selah
4 I say to the boastful, ‘Do not boast,’
and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horn;
5 do not lift up your horn on high,
or speak with haughty neck.’ ”

6 For not from the east or from the west
and not from the wilderness comes lifting up,
7 but it is God who executes judgment,
putting down one and lifting up another.
8 For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup
with foaming wine, well mixed,
and he pours out from it,
and all the wicked of the earth
shall drain it down to the dregs.

9 But I will declare it forever;
I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
10 All the horns of the wicked I will cut off,
but the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up.

Understanding and Applying the Word

For the next several days we will be looking at different passages from the Bible that speak of giving thanks. I today’s reading, the psalmist thanks God for being near and for his wondrous deeds. As we look at the whole psalm, we see that the focus is on God as judge of all people. He will hold evildoers accountable and he will lift up the righteous.

We live in a world where it is easy to become discouraged. It often seems like those who desire to live their lives for Christ face the roughest road. Christians face mocking and ridicule. Some face constant harassment or social ostracism. Christians in many parts of the world are severely persecuted for their beliefs and face beatings, prison, and even death.

Thinking about these realities can make us feel less than thankful. However, when we keep the future in mind, we know that God stands with us. He is near. And God will not abandon his people. The Judge will hold each and every one accountable and the wicked will be cut off. God will lift up his people and give them an eternal inheritance in his presence. There is much to be thankful for!

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Our Soul Waits for the Lord

Psalm 3320 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 33:1–22 (ESV)

1 Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous!
Praise befits the upright.
2 Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre;
make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!
3 Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

4 For the word of the LORD is upright,
and all his work is done in faithfulness.
5 He loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.

6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
7 He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap;
he puts the deeps in storehouses.

8 Let all the earth fear the LORD;
let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
9 For he spoke, and it came to be;
he commanded, and it stood firm.

10 The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
11 The counsel of the LORD stands forever,
the plans of his heart to all generations.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!

13 The LORD looks down from heaven;
he sees all the children of man;
14 from where he sits enthroned he looks out
on all the inhabitants of the earth,
15 he who fashions the hearts of them all
and observes all their deeds.
16 The king is not saved by his great army;
a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
17 The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
and by its great might it cannot rescue.

18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
19 that he may deliver their soul from death
and keep them alive in famine.

20 Our soul waits for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
21 For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
22 Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The psalmist calls us to shout for joy to the LORD, to praise him, and give thanks. Why? Because God’s word is trustworthy. God has given his word to his people and we can know that he is faithful to fulfill that word. It is the same word that spoke the world into existence and it is from the same God who rules over all things. Therefore, we wait for the LORD, who is our hope and shield and we trust in his name. He is our hope.

If you have ever asked “Why is this happening to me?” or wondered if God as forgotten you, this psalm is for you. It is a reminder to us all that God’s word is secure and that we can count on it. The promises that God has made in Scripture to his people will be fulfilled. So we can be encouraged that God has not forgotten us. He is the God of steadfast love and will deliver his people.

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Recounting God’s Wonderful Deeds

Psalm 91 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 9:1–20 (ESV)

1 I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
2 I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

3 When my enemies turn back, they stumble and perish before your presence.
4 For you have maintained my just cause; you have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment.

5 You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish; you have blotted out their name forever and ever.
6 The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins; their cities you rooted out; the very memory of them has perished.

7 But the LORD sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice,
8 and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness.

9 The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.

11 Sing praises to the LORD, who sits enthroned in Zion! Tell among the peoples his deeds!
12 For he who avenges blood is mindful of them; he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.

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

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm is a praise of God’s deliverance of Israel from their enemies. The writer states in the opening that he will “give thanks to the LORD” with his “whole heart” and “recount all of your wonderful deeds.”

Praise is always a response to something. When we praise God, it is because of who he is or what he has done, either in the past, the present, or promised future. We should especially focus our praise on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the focal point of all of Scripture. Yet, we often fail to remember the things God has done for us, so we fail to praise him as we ought. We fail to see the little things that transpire each and every day or we fail to see God’s hand at work in those little things. Take time today to think about how God has shown his goodness to you. He has done so in Christ and he has done so in so many smaller ways. Take time to praise his with thanksgiving.

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Turning Mourning into Dancing

Psalm 3011 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 30:1–12 (ESV)

1 I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
2 O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.
3 O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.

4 Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.
5 For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

6 As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.”
7 By your favor, O LORD, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed.

8 To you, O LORD, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
9 “What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me! O LORD, be my helper!”

11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

Understanding and Applying the Word

We have spent all of 2019 reading through the life of Jesus Christ from his entrance into the world to his ascension into heaven. We have even looked at the first days of his followers after Jesus left them to carry on the mission of proclaiming the gospel to the world. At this point, we are shifting gears and will spend the next couple of weeks focusing on the theme of thanksgiving, or thankfulness. The Bible has much to say about this topic and since we are nearing the Thanksgiving holiday, it seems appropriate to think about it.

Psalm 30 is a psalm of David where David praises and gives thanks to God for delivering him throughout his life. He was delivered from his foes (v. 1), from sickness (v. 2), and even from death (v. 3). David calls on all of God’s people to give thanks because “weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” God’s people may face trials and difficult circumstances, but we know that God is faithful and we will be delivered. One day, all of God’s people will be with him forever and the pain and suffering of this life will be finished. Therefore, we can give thanks even now.

Wherever you are and whatever you may be facing, know that God is faithful and will fulfill his promises to his people. We may face difficulty. We may face weeping for a night. But we know that deliverance is near. Joy comes in the morning. One day, we will proclaim with the psalmist, “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praises and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!”

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