I Shall Be Whiter than Snow

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Reading the Word

Psalm 51:5–9 (ESV)

5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

Understanding and Applying the Word

There have been some interpreters over the years that have understood verse 5 to mean that David’s mother had sinned when she conceived David and that all sexual activity is sinful. This is not a proper understanding of the verse. The proper interpretation is clear when we look at a translation like the NIV which reads, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” David’s focus is on his own sinfulness, not the sinfulness of someone else in this psalm. He acknowledges that he is a sinner and has always been a sinner.

What does David do in light of this truth? He calls out to God to cleanse him. He needs to find forgiveness before God so that he may have the joy that results from having a right relationship with the Lord. We all have the same need as David. We are all sinners and in need of forgiveness. Thankfully, God is gracious and ready to cleanse us and restore us when we call out to him and trust in Jesus Christ, the One who gave his life as a payment for our sin.

**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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Reflecting the Love of God

Psalm 411 [fullscreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 41:1–4 (ESV)

1 Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him; 2 the Lord protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; you do not give him up to the will of his enemies. 3 The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health. 4 As for me, I said, “O Lord, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you!”

Understanding and Applying the Word

The word rendered “poor” in verse 1 is often used in contrast with the rich (cf. Proverbs 10:15). It can also mean “sick” or “weak” (cf. 2 Samuel 13:4) and is probably best understood in this way here as the psalm goes on to speak of one on his sickbed.

The idea of these verses is that God deals with his people often times in the way that his people have dealt with others. Those who reflect his grace and mercy towards others will receive that grace and mercy themselves. It reflects Christ’s words in Matthew 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.”

As Christians, we are called to reflect the nature of God to the world. The way we interact with others should show the love and grace of God – the same love and grace that he has shown to us through his Son who died in our place. Pray that the Lord would give you a heart for others that reflects his own.

**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!

Feeling Crushed

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Reading the Word

Psalm 38:1–8 (ESV)

1 O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath! 2 For your arrows have sunk into me, and your hand has come down on me. 3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin. 4 For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me. 5 My wounds stink and fester because of my foolishness, 6 I am utterly bowed down and prostrate; all the day I go about mourning. 7 For my sides are filled with burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh. 8 I am feeble and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Sin is a serious matter. It can cause many problems in our lives. It can harm or destroy relationships. It can get us into legal problems. It can even cause illness and physical issues. This is the case in Psalm 38.

As a result of sin, David is sick. He states, “There is no soundness in my flesh…there is no health in my bones.” He also mentions his feeling of guilt and describes it as a great burden that is too heavy for him. So he is left crushed under the weight of his sin.

There is good news for David and for us. God forgives sinners. In fact, this is the very message that is central to the entire Bible. We have all sinned and are crushed under the weight of our sin, but God loves us and has sent his Son into the world as a sacrifice for sin. He took the weight of our sin upon himself and let us go free. When we realize our need for salvation and trust in the sacrifice of Christ, our sins are forgiven and we are set free from our burden. What a gracious 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!

By Your Favor, O Lord

Psalm 3011 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 30:6–12 (ESV)

6 As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.” 7 By your favor, O Lord, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed. 8 To you, O Lord, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy: 9 “What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? 10 Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper!” 11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, 12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

Understanding and Applying the Word

Success can have negative consequences on our spiritual life. That is why Jesus said it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven (Matthew 19:24). When things are going our way, we become self-reliant and shut God out. We think we have mastered life and have no need for God’s help.

David realizes differently. In this psalm, he reflects that when God removed his grace he was dismayed (v. 7). As a result of God’s favor, David praises him and declares that he will do so forever. Sometimes we need the same lesson. Sometimes we need it more than once. We need God’s favor. We need it every day. Without it we are dismayed, just as David. Let us remember that all we have and are able to accomplish is fully by the grace of God. He alone deserves our eternal praise.

**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 Gracious to Me

Bible Prayer

Reading the Word

Psalm 25:15–22 (ESV)

15 My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net. 16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. 17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. 18 Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins. 19 Consider how many are my foes, and with what violent hatred they hate me. 20 Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. 21 May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you. 22 Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Here we find the words of one who is trusting in God to rescue him from his enemies. David’s eyes are fixed on the Lord as his hope. Then he calls on God to bring him out of his distress and asks for the forgiveness of his sins.

Notice David’s plea for grace and his repentant heart as he cries out to God for deliverance. This is how we are told in Scripture to approach God. We are to repent of our sins and place our faith in Jesus Christ. Through our faith in him we are saved by God’s grace. He rescues us from condemnation and saves us to eternal life with him. Today, turn from your sins and ask God to show his grace to you. You can be confident that he will do what he has promised.

**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 Unrepentant

Psalms

Reading the Word

Psalm 7:12–17 (ESV)

12 If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword; he has bent and readied his bow; 13 he has prepared for him his deadly weapons, making his arrows fiery shafts. 14 Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies. 15 He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole that he has made. 16 His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends. 17 I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.

Understanding and Applying the Word

It is often said that God would never punish a person because God is loving and forgiving. Well, it is true that God is both loving and forgiving. He calls on us to repent and turn to his Son who was offered as a sacrifice for our sin. God, in his love, sent his Son into the world to die for the sins of mankind. What amazing love! Through Jesus Christ the sinner finds forgiveness of sin and reconciliation with God.

However, the Bible is also clear that God will judge and punish all sin. Some believe that because they have prospered or not suffered immediate consequences despite their wrongdoings that they are okay, but one day God’s wrath will be poured out. Every sin will be judged by God and for those who have not repented and found refuge in Christ, the wrath of God awaits. Those who have found forgiveness can rejoice in the name of the Lord!

**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 One Who Is Able

Jude 25 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Jude 24–25 (ESV)

24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Understanding the Word

How can a person walk with God and not stumble in a world filled with evil? If we were left to do it on our own, we could not. Thankfully, we have not been left to do it alone. Jesus Christ keeps us from stumbling and presents us blameless before God.

Applying the Word

What a great Savior we have! Jesus Christ not only died as a sacrifice for our sins, but he keeps us to the very end. It is by grace that we are saved through Christ and it is by grace that we are kept as well. Glory to God for such a wonderful salvation! May he receive all worship, adoration, power, and praise because he is worthy!

**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!

Perverting Grace

Jude

Reading the Word

Jude 1–4 (ESV)

1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: 2 May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you. 3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Understanding the Word

Jude addresses an issue among a group of believers where grace was being perverted. They were using grace as an excuse to indulge in sinful passions and please their own desires. In doing so, Jude warns that they were denying Jesus Christ.

Applying the Word

The gospel message is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has offered himself as a sacrifice for sinners that they might be free from their bondage to sin. Some would have this to mean that since our sins (past, present, and future) have been dealt with at the cross, then we can do whatever we want. We are free from condemnation. This is not what Scripture tells us.

Jesus died to set us free from bondage to sin. He did not free us to continue to serve sin. The grace we have received is a grace that leads us to God. It brings forgiveness and new life to the believer. The desire of the believer is to serve Christ in everything we do. We no longer live for ourselves, but for the one who saved us through his death and resurrection.

**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!