A Man Born Blind

John 93 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

John 9:1–12 (ESV)

1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.

8 The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10 So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

Once again we read of Jesus performing a miracle. In this instance, he healed a man who had been blind since birth. Jesus’ disciples asked Jesus why the man was blind. Had his parents sinned? Had he sinned? Whose sin was it that caused this blindness? Jesus’ response to his disciples is an important one for us to consider.

In the first century, it was common for the Jewish people to think of life in a cause and effect manner. If a person was good, good things happened. If the person was bad, punishment and bad things happened. So, sickness and disabilities were thought of as a direct result of sin. Jesus corrects this faulty understanding by saying, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” Sin was not the reason for the man’s blindness. He was blind so that God’s work could be displayed in him when Jesus healed him. The man’s blindness was not as a result of punishment, but so that God would be glorified through him.

We often interpret the world in much the same way that Jesus’ followers did in this passage. We wonder why bad things happen to us or others. We wonder what we did to deserve some of the bad things that come our way. How often do we stop to consider that the way we handle our troubles and adversities can bring glory to God? Let us find strength and courage in him, knowing that he works all things for his glory. Let us tell of his goodness both in the good things and in the bad, because we know that our troubles are only temporary and one day we will all find healing and restoration in the presence of our Savior.

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For Your Name’s Sake

Romans 1136 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 143:1–12 (ESV)

1 Hear my prayer, O LORD;
give ear to my pleas for mercy!
In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!
2 Enter not into judgment with your servant,
for no one living is righteous before you.

3 For the enemy has pursued my soul;
he has crushed my life to the ground;
he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.
4 Therefore my spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is appalled.

5 I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all that you have done;
I ponder the work of your hands.
6 I stretch out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah

7 Answer me quickly, O LORD!
My spirit fails!
Hide not your face from me,
lest I be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.

9 Deliver me from my enemies, O LORD!
I have fled to you for refuge.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God!
Let your good Spirit lead me
on level ground!

11 For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life!
In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!
12 And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies,
and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul,
for I am your servant.

Understanding and Applying the Word

David is in trouble and needs God to rescue him. However, David knows that he does not deserve God’s mercy because he is unrighteous, as we all are (verse 2). So, David pleads for God to rescue him, not based on what he has done, but for the sake of the Lord’s name (verse 11).

David understood that all things ultimately point to God. It is God who judges sin and it is God who saves from sin. In judgment and in salvation, the Lord’s name is glorified. He is upheld as holy and he is upheld as merciful and forgiving. We must never believe that we somehow earn God’s favor through the works we do. We are saved completely by grace as we understand our sin, repent of it, and trust in Jesus Christ for forgiveness (Ephesians 2:8-9). Is is truly all for the sake of the Lord’s name.

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Not to Us, but to Your Name Give Glory

Psalm 1151 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 115:1–8 (ESV)

1 Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! 2 Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” 3 Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. 4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. 5 They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. 6 They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. 7 They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. 8 Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.

Understanding and Applying the Word

When the Lord acts to save his people, he alone deserves the glory. That is what the psalmist is saying in these verses. The people of Israel were often attacked by surrounding nations. Those nations were devoted to other gods; gods that were just idols made by the hands of men. Yet, when those nations were successful in their oppression of Israel, it made it seem as if their gods were stronger than the God of Israel. So, this psalm calls out for God to glorify his name, not Israel, by defeating the enemies.

When we enter into the Christian worldview, we come to understand that there is a grand story that we are a part of. That story is the story of God and he is the hero. All that takes place in our lives is not ultimately about us, but about him. It is to bring him glory. This is why the Westminster Shorter Catechism states, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give glory!

**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!

Clothed with Splendor and Majesty

mountains with crepuscular ray

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com


Reading the Word

Psalm 104:1–4 (ESV)

1 Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty, 2 covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent. 3 He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind; 4 he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire.

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm begins much the same as Psalm 103. It begins with the writer calling himself to worship (“Bless the Lord, O my soul!”). He then speaks to God directly and declares the Lord’s splendor and majesty. He is a great God who clothes himself in light and rides the clouds and the wind. His messengers (i.e. angels) are sent out as winds and fire (cf. Hebrews 1:7).

This is an amazing picture of God’s glory. He is far above all things, but he is also a God who is active in his creation. He is both transcendent and immanent. One of our most well-known hymns comes from this psalm: “O Worship the King” by Robert Grant.

O worship the King all-glorious above,
O gratefully sing his power and his love:
our shield and defender, the Ancient of Days,
pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise.

O tell of his might and sing of his grace,
whose robe is the light, whose canopy space.
His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
and dark is his path on the wings of the storm.

**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!

Exalted Far above All Gods

human statue under clear sky

Photo by Andreea Ch on Pexels.com


Reading the Word

Psalm 97:6–9 (ESV)

6 The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory. 7 All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols; worship him, all you gods! 8 Zion hears and is glad, and the daughters of Judah rejoice, because of your judgments, O Lord. 9 For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.

Understanding and Applying the Word

There is one God and all of creation proclaims his glory. However, mankind is prone to worship other things. Anything that receives the love and admiration that properly belongs to God alone is idolatry. Those who worship such idols will be put to shame when the Lord reveals his glory to all.

When we think of idolatry, we are likely to think of carved images made from wood or stone. These are the religious idols that are most common, but idols can consist of other things as well. When we make something else the center of our affections and pursuit, it can become an idol. Some of the things that can take the place of God in our lives are money, possessions, our jobs, sex, or even our family. Nothing is wrong with any of these things. All of them are good things, but when they become central in our lives rather than God, they become an idol. This psalm reminds us that God is the one and only God and all other “gods” must worship him (v. 7). All things must find their proper place in light of who God is and one day they all will. Let us even now give our total worship to the one and only God who is the Creator of all things.

**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!

Not Hidden from You

Psalm 695 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 69:1–6 (ESV)

1 Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. 2 I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. 3 I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God. 4 More in number than the hairs of my head are those who hate me without cause; mighty are those who would destroy me, those who attack me with lies. What I did not steal must I now restore? 5 O God, you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you. 6 Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord God of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel.

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm describes the plight of David, who is wrongfully accused. He describes himself as up to his neck in deep water where he has no footing because of the deep and slippery mud. He calls out to God for help, but he has grown weary and his throat is parched from calling out. God has not answered him and he is growing faint. David is not literally drowning, but we we understand the desperate situation he is facing through this figurative description.

Why does David feel this way? Because his enemies hate him and have falsely accused him of theft. Now, it seems, they want to force him to pay back what he did not take (verse 4). In the midst of this, David calls out to God and proclaims his innocence in the matter. He mentions that God knows David’s folly and his wrongs, but he knows that he did not do what he is accused of.

Perhaps the most surprising thing we read here is not that David is in this situation. The surprise is what we read in verse 6. There, David tells us his main concern. He is most troubled that, through the accusations, God’s people would be shamed. He is most concerned not with himself, but God’s glory and honor. May we have the heart of David as we seek God’s glory in all that we do.

**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 Glory of God


Reading the Word

Psalm 57:1–6 (ESV)

1 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. 2 I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. 3 He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness! 4 My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery beasts— the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords. 5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth! 6 They set a net for my steps; my soul was bowed down. They dug a pit in my way, but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah

Understanding and Applying the Word

In this psalm, David calls out to God to save him from his enemies. He describes them as lions whose teeth are spears and arrows and whose tongues are swords. The situation sounds difficult and David is obviously troubled by it. Even so, in the middle of his prayer to God, David calls out in praise. In verse five he says, “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!” Even in this hardship, David’s desire is that God would be glorified.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, “What is the chief end of man?” The answer is, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” We exist to glorify God. This is true no matter what circumstances we may be facing. In fact, it is often in the most difficult of times that we are able to give the most glory to God as we rely on him to bring us through and as we testify of his grace and mercy. This is why David calls out “Be exalted, O God” in the midst of his prayer for help. What are you going through in your life? Regardless of the circumstances, can you say with David, “Let your glory be over all the earth”?

**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!