When No One Else Cares

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Reading the Word

Psalm 142:1–7 (ESV)

1 With my voice I cry out to the LORD;
with my voice I plead for mercy to the LORD.
2 I pour out my complaint before him;
I tell my trouble before him.

3 When my spirit faints within me,
you know my way!
In the path where I walk
they have hidden a trap for me.
4 Look to the right and see:
there is none who takes notice of me;
no refuge remains to me;
no one cares for my soul.

5 I cry to you, O LORD;
I say, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.”
6 Attend to my cry,
for I am brought very low!
Deliver me from my persecutors,
for they are too strong for me!
7 Bring me out of prison,
that I may give thanks to your name!
The righteous will surround me,
for you will deal bountifully with me.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The historical background of this psalm is when David was hiding in the cave of Adullam to escape the hands of Saul (1 Samuel 21:1). We get a sense of David’s emotions as he writes of feeling alone (v. 4) and trapped as in a prison (v. 7).

The attacks of others can cause us great suffering, both physically and emotionally. We get a sense of that in David’s words. However, we can follow David’s lead in turning to the Lord in those times of despair. David knew that God heard his pleas and he found great comfort in knowing that he was not alone, but that God was with him. And even in the midst of his trouble, David saw that the hand of God was generous and good (v. 7). May we find comfort in the Lord’s presence and have the eyes to see his overflowing grace in our lives.

**Want to read the Bible every day? Be sure to subscribe to this page and follow along! We are currently reading through the Book of Psalms. In 2019, we will focus on the Life of Christ for our daily readings.

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The Lord Who Is There

Psalm 1399–10 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 139:1–12 (ESV)

1 O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In verses 1-6, this psalm reflects on God’s omniscience. He knows everything about us. Then in verses 7-12 this psalm considers the Lord’s omnipresence. He is everywhere. There is nowhere we can go where he is not.

What an amazing thing to consider God’s knowledge and presence. It is such a comfort! Consider that there is nothing that can happen to you or me that the Lord is not aware of. He knows. And there is nowhere we can go where he is not right there with us. No matter who you are or where you are, God is there and is available. And he is the same God who sent his one and only Son into the world to save you from your sins. Why? Because he loves you. Turn to him and you will find peace.

**Want to read the Bible every day? Be sure to subscribe to this page and follow along! We are currently reading through the Book of Psalms. In 2019, we will focus on the Life of Christ for our daily readings.

My Comfort in Affliction

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Reading the Word

Psalm 119:49–56 (ESV)

49 Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. 50 This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. 51 The insolent utterly deride me, but I do not turn away from your law. 52 When I think of your rules from of old, I take comfort, O Lord. 53 Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked, who forsake your law. 54 Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning. 55 I remember your name in the night, O Lord, and keep your law. 56 This blessing has fallen to me, that I have kept your precepts.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Going through difficult circumstances is not easy for anyone. It can bring stress, worry, fear, and a host of other emotions that we would rather not experience. Such circumstances can be even more difficult if they are caused or made worse by others who purposely wish to harm us. This is the situation with the psalmist in these verses. His is under attack from others who seek his harm.

Even though he is under attack, the psalmist remains hopeful. Why? Because he trusts in the word of God. He believes that God will be faithful to do what he has promised to do. The word of God brings the psalmist hope, life, comfort, and singing in the midst of difficulty. We too can face our circumstances in the same way. We too can trust in God’s word, knowing he will fulfill his promises to his people. When we do this, we are prepared to face whatever life may send our way and we can do so with hope.

**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 Hope of All the Ends of the Earth

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Thank you for reading Shaped by the Word, 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 so you can follow along as we read through the Book of Psalms in 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 65:5–8 (ESV)

5 By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas; 6 the one who by his strength established the mountains, being girded with might; 7 who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples, 8 so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs. You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.

All Who Swear by Him Shall Exult

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Reading the Word

Psalm 63:9–11 (ESV)

9 But those who seek to destroy my life shall go down into the depths of the earth; 10 they shall be given over to the power of the sword; they shall be a portion for jackals. 11 But the king shall rejoice in God; all who swear by him shall exult, for the mouths of liars will be stopped.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In these words, we read David’s confidence that God would defeat his enemies. David is the king of verse 11 and he mentions that God’s deliverance would result in rejoicing and exultation and that the mouths of liars would be stopped as a result of God’s judgment.

In the previous verses we heard David say that God’s love was greater than life as he was facing great danger at the hands of his enemies (verse 3). In the New Testament we see Jesus going to the cross and showing us what it looks like when the Father’s love truly is our greatest desire. Jesus went to the cross and died in submission to the will of the Father. And, as we read in our verses for today, the Father has given victory over the enemies of the King (i.e. King Jesus) through the resurrection. It is interesting to note that Psalm 63 begins by speaking of a desert without water and Jesus will later declare, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water'” (John 7:37-38).

We can have confidence in God who has promised to be with and deliver His people. We see how he has delivered Christ from His enemies. We can be sure that we too will be saved. Let us trust in Him and let us praise Him for His great love!

**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!

You Have Been My Help

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Reading the Word

Psalm 63:5–8 (ESV)

5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, 6 when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; 7 for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. 8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Life can be a roller coaster. In the heat of the moment we can feel fear and loneliness when things get tough. We may even feel as if God has abandoned us. However, how often have you looked back on difficult events after the passing of time and realized that God had not abandoned you after all? In fact, He was using those difficult times to do some work in your life?

In this psalm, David is in the heat of battle, yet he is comforted as he thinks about God’s faithfulness to him in the past. David declares that “you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.” David sees that God has been with him in the past and trusts that He will continue to be with him in his present trouble.

Are you feeling troubled? Are you afraid of what may lie ahead? Look to the past and see how God has been with you all the way. Look at the demonstration of His love displayed on Calvary as the Son gave His life for you. The Lord has not abandoned you. Cling to Him now and sing for joy.

**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!

Be Still and Know

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Reading the Word

Psalm 46:6–11 (ESV)

6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. 7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah8 Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. 9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. 10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” 11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Understanding and Applying the Word

If you like the old hymns, you likely know Martin Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” Luther was inspired by the words of Psalm 46 when he penned the classic hymn that is a favorite of many still today. Like the hymn, Psalm 46 speaks of God’s great authority. He is powerful over nature (vv. 1-3), over those who attack his city (vv. 4-7), and over all who would make war (vv. 8-11).

When we come to verse 10, we come to words that are often quoted, but often misunderstood. It reads, “Be still, and know that I am God.” These words should not be read as words of comfort or encouragement to the downtrodden. These are the words of God to the raging nations. “Be still, and know that I am God!” It reminds us of Jesus’ calming of the storm when he says, “Peace, be still!” and the storms cease. God tells the nations to be still and recognize that he is God.

God is the sovereign authority over all of creation. Many reject that claim and say there is no God or claim another as god, but in the end all will know who the one true God is. And the greatest confidence believers can have today is that this is the God who is with us even now.

**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!

My Soul Thirsts for God

Psalm 421 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 42:1–5 (ESV)

1 As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? 3 My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?” 4 These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival. 5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

Understanding and Applying the Word

How do you feel when God feels far away? In the opening verse of Psalm 42 the psalmist compares his desire for God to that of a deer in need of water during a drought. The psalmist’s soul thirsts for God and waits for a time when he may appear before God. As he waits, his tears flow (v. 3) and others mock and ask him, “Where is your God?”

Life can be difficult and it can seem especially difficult when you feel abandoned. In verse 5 we read a refrain that will repeat itself in verse 11 and again in Psalm 43:5. It is the heart of the message of these two psalms. In these verses, we are reminded that we need not be troubled because we can trust in God. He is faithful and will not abandon us. There are better days ahead. In fact, for God’s children, there are days of never ending joy ahead because he has promised to dwell with us forever in a new creation where there is no pain or sorrow or suffering. Let us rejoice in the hope we have 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!

They Will Fade and Wither

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Reading the Word

Psalm 37:1–6 (ESV)

1 Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! 2 For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. 3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. 6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Does life ever seem unfair? Why is it that those who pay no regard for doing what is right often seem to have great success? Should it not be the righteous who succeed? This observance is the topic of this psalm as David writes to us to tell us how to handle it.

“Fret not” is the advice of David. Do not worry about it and do not be envious of wrongdoers. Why? Because they will come to their end. They will fade like grass. And then they will stand before a holy and righteous God who will judge all.

Instead of fretting and being envious, we should trust in the Lord and do good. We should live in a way that delights God because he is faithful to the righteous and will reward them. We know from the rest of Scripture that God rewards those who turn from their sins and trust in him that he gives eternal life. May we commit our ways to him and wait for him to deliver us to himself.

 

Our Soul Waits for the Lord

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I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but I do post a suggested reading for the day. This reading will keep us on track to read through the Book of Psalms in 2018. If you have not done so already, please be sure to follow this page so you can read along each day. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Psalm 33:18–22 (ESV)

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.