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!

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No Evil Shall Befall You

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Reading the Word

Psalm 91:5–13 (ESV)

5 You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked. 9 Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge— 10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. 12 On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The words of these verses can be, and have been, misunderstood. If we do not read them carefully we may think that they teach us that nothing bad will ever happen to the people of God. This is how Satan tried to deceive Christ when he quoted verses 11-12 (cf. Matthew 4:5-6). This is how Satan has always tried to deceive mankind.

In the garden of Eden, Satan deceived the woman and the man by convincing them that God was not good. God was holding something good back from them (i.e. wisdom). The first man and woman fell for it and ate of the tree that was forbidden. Likewise, we are often tempted to believe that if God is good then nothing bad should ever happen to his good people. We might ask, “If God is good why do bad things happen to good or innocent people?” After all, the verses of this psalm teach that evil is reserved for the enemies of God, right?

Well, not really. As we will read tomorrow, in verse 15 God promises to be with his people in the time of trouble and to rescue them. These verses do not promise freedom from trouble, only that God will be with us in those times and will ultimately deliver us. For some, that might mean he will heal our sickness. For others, he may give us victory over our enemies. But for many, it will mean that our victory does not come in this life, but in the next. God promises us that he will give us the ultimate victory. We will be victorious over sin and death because of what he has done for us through his Son, Jesus Christ. We will have eternal life and the joy of eternity with God as our Father. Nothing in this world can ever take that away!

**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!

Teach Us to Number Our Days

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Reading the Word

Psalm 90:5–12 (ESV)

5 You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning: 6 in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers. 7 For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed. 8 You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence. 9 For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh. 10 The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. 11 Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? 12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Tim Keller, in The Songs of Jesus, tells us that these verses are a reminder that death is not the natural order of things. This may seem like a strange thing to say since we all die. What does he mean?

Throughout Scripture, and in these verses, death is said to be the result of our sin and rebellion against God. Death was not a part of the original created order, but came about through the effects of sin. We all die because we are all sinners. The psalmist asks that God would “teach us to number our days” because by understanding the brevity of life and the inevitability of death, we are motivated to do something about it. We are moved to repent and turn to the One who can save us, Jesus Christ. This is where true wisdom begins. We must have a proper understanding of who God is and who we are in relation to him. Have you learned to number your days?

**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 Return Man to Dust

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Reading the Word

Psalm 90:1–4 (ESV)

1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. 2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. 3 You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!” 4 For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.

Understanding and Applying the Word

These verses speak of the everlasting nature of God. He was before the formation of the mountains. He was before the creation of the earth and the world. God is eternal. As verse 4 says, “For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.” Time is insignificant to the eternal God.

When we read the words of this psalm and contemplate God’s eternal nature, we must not only think about time. We must also see that these verses make a greater claim. The Lord is God! He was before all things and all things came from him. Verse 3 tells us that that the Lord is God not only of the world around us, but he is also sovereign over mankind. He determines our lives. He brings us forth and he returns us to the dust.

These verses are a great comfort to those who call on the Lord as Father, but they can also elicit strong resistance from those who reject God’s authority. Many will reject the idea of God altogether and cling to other explanations of how the world and mankind came to be for this very reason. Many will live their lives as if they are the final authority. But the Lord is God over mankind whether we accept his rule or not and we will all be brought to account for our lives. So, let us know that our lives are short and let us seek him while there is still time.

**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!

Have You Broken Your Promise?

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Reading the Word

Psalm 89:38–45 (ESV)

38 But now you have cast off and rejected; you are full of wrath against your anointed. 39 You have renounced the covenant with your servant; you have defiled his crown in the dust. 40 You have breached all his walls; you have laid his strongholds in ruins. 41 All who pass by plunder him; he has become the scorn of his neighbors. 42 You have exalted the right hand of his foes; you have made all his enemies rejoice. 43 You have also turned back the edge of his sword, and you have not made him stand in battle. 44 You have made his splendor to cease and cast his throne to the ground. 45 You have cut short the days of his youth; you have covered him with shame. Selah

Understanding and Applying the Word

After focusing on the promises and faithfulness of God in the previous verse, now the psalmist asks why God has renounced his covenant with David. These verses reflect the time when Israel was defeated and taken into exile. It seemed as though the throne of David had come to an end.

God had not forsaken his promise to David. However, the promise was to be fulfilled in an unexpected way. God’s promised King would descend from David, but his kingdom would not be geopolitical. Jesus, the eternal King, established a kingdom for people from every nation and tribe and language. All who trust in him are a part of this kingdom, whether Jew or Gentile (i.e. non-Jew). Even in the midst of what seemed like defeat, God’s plans and purposes for Israel, and the entire world, were being fulfilled. And God was once again showing his faithfulness to his promises.

**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!

Your Mighty Arm

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Thank you for reading today’s post on Shaped by the Word. This is a daily Bible reading devotional. I do not publish devotional material on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading below. Be sure to subscribe to this page so you can follow along as we read through the Book of Psalms in 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 89:9–18 (ESV)

9 You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them. 10 You crushed Rahab like a carcass; you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm. 11 The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them. 12 The north and the south, you have created them; Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name. 13 You have a mighty arm; strong is your hand, high your right hand. 14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you. 15 Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face, 16 who exult in your name all the day and in your righteousness are exalted. 17 For you are the glory of their strength; by your favor our horn is exalted. 18 For our shield belongs to the Lord, our king to the Holy One of Israel.

Better Is One Day in Your Courts

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Reading the Word

Psalm 84:9–12 (ESV)

9 Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed! 10 For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. 11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. 12 O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!

Understanding and Applying the Word

There is a well-known Christian song based on this psalm called Better Is One Day. The chorus takes the words of verse 10: “Better is one day in your courts, better is one day in your house, better is one day in your courts than thousands elsewhere.” The song, as well as the psalm, reflect on the supreme value of living in the presence of the Lord. Nothing else even comes close!

There is nothing this world has to offer that is of greater value than knowing the Lord. He is better than fame and fortune. He is better than beauty and power. Let us seek him while there is still time and let us savor his goodness as we wait to dwell in his presence for eternity.

**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 Pilgrimage to God

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Reading the Word

Psalm 84:5–8 (ESV)

5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. 6 As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. 7 They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion. 8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah

Understanding and Applying the Word

The words in these verses describe a pilgrimage to the temple. The opening verses (vv. 1-4) described the wonder of being in the presence of God, so here we find a description of the reward of the journey to get there. There is a progression in the journey along the highway from the Valley of Baca to the place of springs. The meaning of the word “Baca” is “shrubs” and pictures a dry desert region.

The imagery of this psalm is quite striking. It describes the pilgrimage to the presence of God as one that takes the traveler through the difficulty of the desert and brings her to a place of abundance, a place of springs. As pilgrims in the world, we understand that we may have to go through trials and difficulties before we reach our destination. But our destination is an eternity in the presence of God and it is described as a new creation where there is no more pain or suffering and where there is life abundant (Revelation 21-22). What a day that will be when our journey is over and we stand in the presence of God! For now, we are pilgrims on the way.

**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!

Longing for the Presence of God

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Reading the Word

Psalm 84:1–4 (ESV)

1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! 2 My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. 3 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. 4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah

Understanding and Applying the Word

In these verses, the psalmist speaks about beauty of the dwelling place of God. In the immediate context, this spoke of the temple in Jerusalem where the people would go to worship, offer their sacrifices, and celebrate the yearly festivals. The temple was an ever important place to the Jewish people because it was the place where God dwelled among them. And it looked forward to a time when God would dwell with his people in an even greater way.

The Bible looks forward to a day when God will dwell fully with his people. In the Book of Genesis, God dwelled with the man and woman in the garden of Eden, but they were sent away from his presence after they sinned. Through the work of redemption, God has made it possible for mankind to reestablish a relationship with him. It is done through the cross of Jesus Christ where sin was atoned for. This who repent of their sins and trust in the work of Christ will be saved and receive eternal life in the presence of God forever in a new heaven and new earth. Blessed are those who dwell in the presence of the living God!

**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!

That They May Know

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Reading the Word

Psalm 83:14–18 (ESV)

14 As fire consumes the forest, as the flame sets the mountains ablaze, 15 so may you pursue them with your tempest and terrify them with your hurricane! 16 Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek your name, O Lord. 17 Let them be put to shame and dismayed forever; let them perish in disgrace, 18 that they may know that you alone, whose name is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth.

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm calls for God to destroy the enemies of Israel. Not only that, but it calls for God to do so in dramatic fashion. Why? “That they may know that you alone, whose name is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth.”

In the time of these events, the enemies of Israel would have worshiped other gods. If they had defeated Israel, surely they would have given credit to their idols as being the superior gods or even the true gods. The psalmist calls out for God to act so that it would be clear who the true God is.

Christians know who the true God is because of the resurrection. Jesus Christ came into the world to proclaim the word of God and to die for sinners so that we could find forgiveness. If Jesus had simply died and stayed in the grave, we would have no reason to believe his words and we would have no reason for hope (1 Corinthians 15:12-28). However, Christ did not stay in the grave. On the third day he rose from the dead. The resurrection is the proof that Jesus is who he claimed to be and that we can trust in his words. He is the true God who came into the world to save 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!