As We Have Heard, So We Have Seen

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Reading the Word

Psalm 48:1–8 (ESV)

1 Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God! His holy mountain, 2 beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King. 3 Within her citadels God has made himself known as a fortress. 4 For behold, the kings assembled; they came on together. 5 As soon as they saw it, they were astounded; they were in panic; they took to flight. 6 Trembling took hold of them there, anguish as of a woman in labor. 7 By the east wind you shattered the ships of Tarshish. 8 As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God, which God will establish forever. Selah

Understanding and Applying the Word

Psalm 48 fits in nicely with the themes of Psalms 46 and 47. In those two previous passages, we read words of praise and confidence in God as King. Here in Psalm 48, the focus is on the city of God, Jerusalem, where the King has placed his name. It is a grand city that causes the cities of the earth to tremble at its strength. God’s presence and the power he has displayed in the past are known to the people.

Verse 8 is the emphasis of the entire psalm. It reads, “As we have heard, so we have seen…” As the people of God had heard about all God had done in the past, they had experienced his greatness in their own lives. Believers today can say the same. We have heard through Scripture of God’s greatness and all that he has done, but we can also say that we have experienced his powerful work in our own lives. He is a great King and his presence brings praise and worship from his people as well as fear and trembling from the nations.

**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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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I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but I do post a suggested reading for the day.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.

The Lord Thundered

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Reading the Word

Psalm 18:7–19 (ESV)

7 Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because he was angry. 8 Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from him. 9 He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under his feet. 10 He rode on a cherub and flew; he came swiftly on the wings of the wind. 11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him, thick clouds dark with water. 12 Out of the brightness before him hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds. 13 The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered his voice, hailstones and coals of fire. 14 And he sent out his arrows and scattered them; he flashed forth lightnings and routed them. 15 Then the channels of the sea were seen, and the foundations of the world were laid bare at your rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of your nostrils. 16 He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters. 17 He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. 18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support. 19 He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In the first six verses of Psalm 18 David speaks confidently of God hearing his cries for help and of God being a faithful refuge in times of trouble. Now, in these verses, David recalls how God has rescued him from times of trouble. He describes God as one who shows up in great strength and ready to do battle on David’s behalf. God showed up in great power and scattered the enemies.

We too can have great confidence in God as our stronghold and our deliverer in times of need. He is the Sovereign One over all of creation. All things are in his hand. While our circumstances may seem too big for us, we know that he is always able. In fact, we know that he desires for his people to trust in him and not in themselves, contrary to the common saying “God helps those who help themselves.” The Bible teaches us that God helps those who realize they need him. And he promises to save us and bring us into his presence because he delights in 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!

The Lake of Fire

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Reading the Word

Revelation 20:11–15 (ESV)

11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Understanding and Applying the Word

As we near the end of Revelation, and the Bible as a whole, we find one last judgment. This is the Great White Throne Judgment. At this time, all non-believers throughout history will be gathered before Christ who will sit as their final judge. All of these will be judged according to what they have done and cast into the lake of fire where Satan and his followers were cast in Revelation 20:10. Death and Hades are also thrown into the lake of fire.

Those who have not trusted in Jesus Christ to save them will stand and be judged for their actions. The Bible tells us that all are sinners and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). There are none found not guilty at this judgment. May believers praise God for his grace and for the salvation we have in Christ. May we take the opportunities that we have to proclaim the good news that salvation is free to all who will call on the name of Jesus!

**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 Dragon’s Fury

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Reading the Word

Revelation 12:13–17 (ESV)

13 And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14 But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. 15 The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. 16 But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. 17 Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.

Understanding and Applying the Word

After Satan is cast out of heaven, he goes after the woman who had given birth to the child (i.e Israel; cf. Revelation 12:1-6). The woman is protected by God who delivers her to a place in the wilderness for “time, times, and half a time” (three and one half years). When Satan cannot attack the woman because of God’s protection, he turns to focus his anger on her offspring, which includes all believers. The passage describes these offspring as “those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” We call those people Christians today.

In this passage, we see the two targets of Satan’s attacks: ethnic Israel and Christians. It was through Israel that God’s redeemer, Jesus Christ, came into the world. And Christians, and Christianity, have taken the message of God’s redemption to the world. It is natural to see why Satan would fix his attacks on these two targets.

Let us not be surprised by the adversity we face in this life, but may we remain faithful as we trust in the one who delivers 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!