God Has Promised

2 Samuel 728 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 108:5–13 (ESV)

5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth! 6 That your beloved ones may be delivered, give salvation by your right hand and answer me! 7 God has promised in his holiness: “With exultation I will divide up Shechem and portion out the Valley of Succoth. 8 Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine; Ephraim is my helmet, Judah my scepter. 9 Moab is my washbasin; upon Edom I cast my shoe; over Philistia I shout in triumph.” 10 Who will bring me to the fortified city? Who will lead me to Edom? 11 Have you not rejected us, O God? You do not go out, O God, with our armies. 12 Oh grant us help against the foe, for vain is the salvation of man! 13 With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes.

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm is attributed to David in the header. In these verses we see that David is ready and willing to go to battle and stand his ground because he trusts in the promises of God. His confidence is not in his armies, but in the One who goes out to battle with him.

Here we see what it means to live by faith. God has given us his word and living by faith is trusting that God will keep that word. That’s what David did. That’s what we are called to do also. We have been promised that those who trust in Christ are saved and belong to God. We have an eternal future with him awaiting. If we believe and trust that word, the things we face in this world (e.g. ridicule, rejection, loss of wealth, etc.) become less important to us. They are fleeting in relation to eternity. Since we know that God keeps his word, we are emboldened to live for him now, even in the face of opposition and sacrifice because what awaits us in the future is far greater and more important.

**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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They Had No Faith

1 John 54 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 106:24–31 (ESV)

24 Then they despised the pleasant land, having no faith in his promise. 25 They murmured in their tents, and did not obey the voice of the Lord. 26 Therefore he raised his hand and swore to them that he would make them fall in the wilderness, 27 and would make their offspring fall among the nations, scattering them among the lands. 28 Then they yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor, and ate sacrifices offered to the dead; 29 they provoked the Lord to anger with their deeds, and a plague broke out among them. 30 Then Phinehas stood up and intervened, and the plague was stayed. 31 And that was counted to him as righteousness from generation to generation forever.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Even after all God did to bring the people out of Egypt, the people had no faith in his promises to them. They saw the plagues and miraculous events that made it possible for them to leave, but they quickly forgot and murmured against God. The events in view in these verses are those of the spy expedition in Numbers 13-14 and Balaam’s actions in Numbers 25.

As a result of their unbelief, God did not allow the entire generation that came out of Egypt to enter the Promised Land. They wandered the desert for forty years until they had all died and all that was left were their descendants. The Bible uses many words to speak of our belief (e.g. trust and faith) in him and his word. We are told that when we believe that Jesus is the Savior that we need to save us from our sin and trust in his sacrifice, that we find forgiveness and eternal life through him. If we do not believe, our sin condemns us and we will not enter the promised new heaven and new earth. Believe God’s word and trust in Jesus Christ 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!

I Will Show Him My Salvation

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Reading the Word

Psalm 91:14–16 (ESV)

14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. 15 When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

As we read the end of this psalm, we read of God’s promises to the psalmist. We are first told that this is one who holds fast to God in love (i.e. “with all his heart”), knows God’s name, and calls on God. In response, God promises to deliver, protect, answer, be with, rescue, honor, satisfy with long life, and show him salvation.

As we read these promises of God, know that these are the promises that God makes with all who call out to God in faith. He will rescue us and give us eternal life. God is a God of grace and he offers salvation to all who will trust in him. Seek him today with all your heart and he will answer you.

**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!

I Am Helpless

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Reading the Word

Psalm 88:10–18 (ESV)

10 Do you work wonders for the dead? Do the departed rise up to praise you? Selah 11 Is your steadfast love declared in the grave, or your faithfulness in Abaddon? 12 Are your wonders known in the darkness, or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? 13 But I, O Lord, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you. 14 O Lord, why do you cast my soul away? Why do you hide your face from me? 15 Afflicted and close to death from my youth up, I suffer your terrors; I am helpless. 16 Your wrath has swept over me; your dreadful assaults destroy me. 17 They surround me like a flood all day long; they close in on me together. 18 You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness.

Understanding and Applying the Word

As this psalm began, so it ends. The writer is calling out to God for help in the midst of great despair. As we come to the end, we may be wondering what we can learn from such a passage.

Here are a few things that I believe this psalm teaches. First, God does not always remove our trials and difficulties from us. We may have to face them all our days. This should not come as a surprise to us. Even our Savior prayed that the “cup” be taken from him before he was crucified. The Father did not remove the cup and Christ went to the cross. When we pray, we do so with the same words of Jesus: “not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

A second thing that we can learn is that we should never stop praying. It is an act of faith when we do. Even though the psalmist was discouraged and even after the passage of much time, he continued to pray. He showed his trust in God by continuing to go to him.

And lastly, this psalm reminds us that the fulfillment of the promises of God will not be realized in this world, but the next. God has put in motion a plan to redeem his creation from sin and its effects. There will be a new heaven and a new earth without sin and suffering and mourning and death, but that day is still future. We live in a fallen world and the effects of sin impact us all. So, we wait eagerly for the world to come and we trust in the promises of God until they are realized.

**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!

Testing God

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Reading the Word

Psalm 78:17–25 (ESV)

17 Yet they sinned still more against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert. 18 They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved. 19 They spoke against God, saying, “Can God spread a table in the wilderness? 20 He struck the rock so that water gushed out and streams overflowed. Can he also give bread or provide meat for his people?” 21 Therefore, when the Lord heard, he was full of wrath; a fire was kindled against Jacob; his anger rose against Israel, 22 because they did not believe in God and did not trust his saving power. 23 Yet he commanded the skies above and opened the doors of heaven, 24 and he rained down on them manna to eat and gave them the grain of heaven. 25 Man ate of the bread of the angels; he sent them food in abundance.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Even after God delivered the people out of Egypt, showing his love and power, the people sinned against him. They did so by testing God (v. 18). Instead of praising God and trusting in him because of all he had done, they questioned God. “Can God spread a table in the wilderness?” They did not trust that God would provide their basic needs of food and water as he led them through the desert to the land of Canaan. As a result, God was full of wrath (vv. 21-22), but he gave them water and fed them in abundance.

O believer, do not fail to see that God has shown his love and power to us. He has shown it as he has brought salvation to us through the shed blood of his Son, Jesus Christ. And he has shown it as he has given us new life through his Spirit that indwells us. Let us not ask for new proofs of God’s love and power. Such demands and attitudes are sinful and the result of unbelief. Instead, let us find confidence from all that God has done in the past as we walk by faith into the future.

**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!

No Turning Back

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Reading the Word

Psalm 78:9–16 (ESV)

9 The Ephraimites, armed with the bow, turned back on the day of battle. 10 They did not keep God’s covenant, but refused to walk according to his law. 11 They forgot his works and the wonders that he had shown them. 12 In the sight of their fathers he performed wonders in the land of Egypt, in the fields of Zoan. 13 He divided the sea and let them pass through it, and made the waters stand like a heap. 14 In the daytime he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a fiery light. 15 He split rocks in the wilderness and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep. 16 He made streams come out of the rock and caused waters to flow down like rivers.

Understanding and Applying the Word

After opening the psalm by calling for the people to learn from history (vv. 1-8), verses 9-16 begin to recount that history. It begins by telling how the Ephraimites had forgotten their history and had shrunk back in the day of battle. They forgot how God had displayed his power and allowed the Israelites to cross the Red Sea when they went out of Egypt. God also led them with a cloud in the day and a pillar of fire at night and supplied water from a rock. If the Ephraimites had remembered their history, they would have gone into battle knowing that God was with them.

We can read these words and wonder at how the people could forget what God had done. How often do we do the same in our own lives? We have seen and experienced God’s power as believers. We are told in Scripture that all who believe are born again and have the Spirit of God living within them. Yet, when faced with difficulty or trials, we often forget that God is with us and we wonder how we will make it through our circumstances. Let us not forget our history. It prepares us for the future.

**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 Right Hand of the Most High

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Reading the Word

Psalm 77:10–15 (ESV)

10 Then I said, “I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.” 11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. 12 I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. 13 Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? 14 You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples. 15 You with your arm redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph. Selah

Understanding and Applying the Word

As the writer considers his circumstances, he comes to the conclusion that he will appeal “to the years of the right hand of the Most High.” This may seem like a strange and difficult to understand statement, but it becomes clear when taken with the words directly following: “I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.” The psalmist is declaring that during his present situation, he will remember the mighty works of God when God showed his great power during the exodus of the people out of Egypt.

When we consider God’s great works in history, it gives us encouragement and strength to get through today. We can see how God has been with his people and brought them through great difficulties. This reminds us that he is with us as well. We are assured of this when we look to the cross and see that God has brought us through our time of greatest need. When we were alienated from God himself, he sent his Son to die for our sin and bring us back into a right relationship with him. He showed his great power to us in the resurrection that assures us of eternal life if we will trust in him.

**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!

I Cry Aloud

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Reading the Word

Psalm 77:1–4 (ESV)

1 I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me. 2 In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted. 3 When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah4 You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In a time of trouble, the writer of this psalm turned to God. He cried out and was confident that God heard his cries. Notice that he says that he cried aloud and without wearying. The psalmist must have been in great despair!

Where do you turn in times of trouble? The place we go first may say a great deal about what we trust most. When we turn to God and cry out to Him, we can be confident that He hears us and that we can continue to cry out to Him without growing weary, knowing that He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).

**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 Ruler of Creation

Psalm 7417 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 74:9–17 (ESV)

9 We do not see our signs; there is no longer any prophet, and there is none among us who knows how long. 10 How long, O God, is the foe to scoff? Is the enemy to revile your name forever? 11 Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand? Take it from the fold of your garment and destroy them! 12 Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth. 13 You divided the sea by your might; you broke the heads of the sea monsters on the waters. 14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan; you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness. 15 You split open springs and brooks; you dried up ever-flowing streams. 16 Yours is the day, yours also the night; you have established the heavenly lights and the sun. 17 You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth; you have made summer and winter.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In verses 9-11, we read a lament. The people no longer see God’s work among them. There are no sign and there is no prophet to speak God’s word to the people. It is as if God has abandoned them.

In verses 12-17, the tone changes. It goes from one of lamentation to one of speaking of God’s greatness as the Sovereign One. These verses proclaim that God is the ancient King who is always at work to fulfill His plan of redemption. He is powerful over all of creation.

In these verses we see one who is troubled by his circumstances as he calls out to God. He even feels as though God has forgotten or is ignoring him. However, the psalmist reminds himself that God is the Sovereign King and that His purposes will be fulfilled. God has His reasons for the things that take place in our lives, even if we do not always know what those reasons are. We must simply trust in His redemptive plan knowing it is being worked out in all of God’s creation. Let us not lose heart, but let us remember who is King.

**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!