But a Breath

wind

 

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 I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading, which you will find below. 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 62:9–12 (ESV)

9 Those of low estate are but a breath; those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath. 10 Put no trust in extortion; set no vain hopes on robbery; if riches increase, set not your heart on them. 11 Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, 12 and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. For you will render to a man according to his work.

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Trust in Him at All Times

Psalm 628 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 62:5–8 (ESV)

5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. 6 He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. 7 On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. 8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah

Understanding and Applying the Word

In times of trouble, it is God alone that we wait for. Notice how David describes God as he expresses his confidence. He calls God “my rock”, “my salvation”, “my fortress”, “my glory”, “my mighty rock”, and “my refuge”.

David understands who God is and that is the true source of his confidence in the midst of difficulty. As David declares his trust in God, he invites us to do the same. These words remind us of the words of our Savior in Matthew 28:18-20:

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”” (Matthew 28:18–20, ESV)

Let us live in confidence knowing that our Lord and Savior is always with 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!

For God Alone My Soul Waits

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Reading the Word

Psalm 62:1–4 (ESV)

1 For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. 2 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. 3 How long will all of you attack a man to batter him, like a leaning wall, a tottering fence? 4 They only plan to thrust him down from his high position. They take pleasure in falsehood. They bless with their mouths, but inwardly they curse. Selah

Understanding and Applying the Word

When faced with trouble we can face it in different ways. One way is to be fearful and try to run away from the danger. Another way is to face the circumstance with confidence. This is what David does in Psalm 62. He declares that he will wait in silence and will not be shaken.

Why is David so confident in his time of trouble? His trust is in God and God alone. He trusts that God will save him from his enemies. David does not gain confidence by denying his problem or by trying to put a positive spin on the situation. No. He trusts in God, the One who is a fortress to his people. May we learn to trust in the only One who can truly save us and may we face our troubles with confidence in the God of our salvation.

**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!

From the Ends of the Earth

Psalm 612 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 61:1–8 (ESV)

1 Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; 2 from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, 3 for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. 4 Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah5 For you, O God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name. 6 Prolong the life of the king; may his years endure to all generations! 7 May he be enthroned forever before God; appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over him! 8 So will I ever sing praises to your name, as I perform my vows day after day.

Understanding and Applying the Word

These are the words of King David as he calls out to God. We are not given the specific details of the historical background, but we know that David calls from the “ends of the earth”. He feels far away from God. Perhaps David is involved in a battle far away from the tabernacle of God’s presence. Still, David calls for God to hear him and protect him as he trusts that even at the ends of the earth God will do so.

It is a wonderful privilege to be able to call on the name of the Lord. No matter the circumstances and no matter the location, we can be sure that God hears and answers his children. You may feel that you have gone to the ends of the earth and that you are far away from God, but this is not true! You are never too far away to call out to God. He hears and he listens and he is always near. Turn to him 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!

Valiantly with God

Psalm 6012 [widescreen]

Thank you for reading Shaped by the Word. This is a daily Bible reading devotional meant to encourage the regular reading of God’s word. In 2018 we are reading through the Book of Psalms. If you have not done so already, please subscribe to this page so you can follow along each day.

I am out of town at a conference on May 6-9 and will not be posting devotional content on those days, but I will continue to post suggested reading for each day.

Reading the Word

Psalm 60:6–12 (ESV)

6 God has spoken in his holiness: “With exultation I will divide up Shechem and portion out the Vale of Succoth. 7 Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine; Ephraim is my helmet; Judah is my scepter. 8 Moab is my washbasin; upon Edom I cast my shoe; over Philistia I shout in triumph.” 9 Who will bring me to the fortified city? Who will lead me to Edom? 10 Have you not rejected us, O God? You do not go forth, O God, with our armies. 11 Oh, grant us help against the foe, for vain is the salvation of man! 12 With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes.

Restore Us

Psalm 601 [widescreen]

Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. I am at a conference May 6-8 and will not be posting devotional material on those days, but I will continue to post a suggested Scripture reading for each day. Please subscribe to this page and follow along as we read through the Book of Psalms in 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 60:1–5 (ESV)

1 O God, you have rejected us, broken our defenses; you have been angry; oh, restore us. 2 You have made the land to quake; you have torn it open; repair its breaches, for it totters. 3 You have made your people see hard things; you have given us wine to drink that made us stagger. 4 You have set up a banner for those who fear you, that they may flee to it from the bow. Selah 5 That your beloved ones may be delivered, give salvation by your right hand and answer us!

For You Are My Fortress

Psalm 5917 [widescreen]

I am out of town for a conference on May 7-9. As a result, I will not be able to post daily devotional material. I will continue to post daily Scripture readings for the days I am away. I hope that you are enjoying and benefiting from the daily reading of the Book of Psalms in 2018. If you have not done so already, take a moment and subscribe to this page.

Reading the Word

Psalm 59:14–17 (ESV)

14 Each evening they come back, howling like dogs and prowling about the city. 15 They wander about for food and growl if they do not get their fill. 16 But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. 17 O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.

My God in His Steadfast Love

Psalm 5910 [widescreen]

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

Reading the Word

Psalm 59:8–13 (ESV)

8 But you, O Lord, laugh at them; you hold all the nations in derision. 9 O my Strength, I will watch for you, for you, O God, are my fortress. 10 My God in his steadfast love will meet me; God will let me look in triumph on my enemies. 11 Kill them not, lest my people forget; make them totter by your power and bring them down, O Lord, our shield! 12 For the sin of their mouths, the words of their lips, let them be trapped in their pride. For the cursing and lies that they utter, 13 consume them in wrath; consume them till they are no more, that they may know that God rules over Jacob to the ends of the earth. Selah

Howling Like Dogs

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Reading the Word

Psalm 59:1–7 (ESV)

1 Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; protect me from those who rise up against me; 2 deliver me from those who work evil, and save me from bloodthirsty men. 3 For behold, they lie in wait for my life; fierce men stir up strife against me. For no transgression or sin of mine, O Lord, 4 for no fault of mine, they run and make ready. Awake, come to meet me, and see! 5 You, Lord God of hosts, are God of Israel. Rouse yourself to punish all the nations; spare none of those who treacherously plot evil. Selah6 Each evening they come back, howling like dogs and prowling about the city. 7 There they are, bellowing with their mouths with swords in their lips— for “Who,” they think, “will hear us?”

Understanding and Applying the Word

In Psalm 59 David again calls out to God to save him from his enemies. This has been a recurring theme in the Book of Psalms. In these verses, David compares his enemies with a pack of dogs (v. 7). He says they come each evening “howling” (or perhaps “snarling”) and prowling about the city. In David’s day, dogs were not kept as pets, but were thought of as dangerous scavengers that could be vicious.

In fact, David’s enemies are vicious. He further describes them as “bellowing with their mouths with swords in their lips”. Their threat begins with their words. Perhaps their words are cruel. Perhaps their words are untrue. Whatever their words, they are hurtful and wrong. They believe they can get away with them because no one will hear them. They do not believe they will have to give an account for the words they speak.

We live in an age today with social media where people often say things that they would not say face-to-face. We tend to think that the things we say online are things we will not be held accountable for. However, Scripture tells us that everything we say is known by God and that we will give an account for “every careless word” (Matthew 12:36). Let us guard our words and let us take comfort in knowing that God knows the words and actions of our enemies and will hold all to account.

**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!

Justice and Grace

Romans 1219 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 58:6–11 (ESV)

6 O God, break the teeth in their mouths; tear out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord! 7 Let them vanish like water that runs away; when he aims his arrows, let them be blunted. 8 Let them be like the snail that dissolves into slime, like the stillborn child who never sees the sun. 9 Sooner than your pots can feel the heat of thorns, whether green or ablaze, may he sweep them away! 10 The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance; he will bathe his feet in the blood of the wicked. 11 Mankind will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely there is a God who judges on earth.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm falls into the category of what is called an “imprecatory psalm”. These are psalms that call out to God to execute vengeance on those who are the enemies of God’s people. These can be difficult passages to understand since they seem to go against the Bible’s teaching on love your enemies. What do we make of verses like we find in Psalm 58:10:

The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance; he will bathe his feet in the blood of the wicked.

It is important to notice that the psalmist is not asking God to allow the people to exact vengeance. The psalmist is asking God himself to intercede. By doing this, the outcome is left in the hands of the all-knowing God who executes justice perfectly. It is not unbiblical for God’s people to call out to him for justice and righteousness to be done. In fact, God’s people should desire those things.  At the same time, we leave these things in the hands of God and continue to live out and proclaim the grace of God that is available through Jesus 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!