The Lord Has Done Great Things for Us

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Reading the Word

Psalm 126:1–6 (ESV)

1  When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
2  Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
3  The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad.

4  Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like streams in the Negeb!
5  Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy!
6  He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The Lord is a God of restoration. In the Old Testament, we see how he restores the nation of Israel after defeat by its enemies. Such a turnaround results in joy and celebration.

The entire Bible is a story of restoration. It is a story of how God is restoring the entire creation to what it was meant to be. In the beginning, God created all things good, but when mankind rebelled against God through disobedience, sin entered the world and God’s good creation was corrupted resulting in suffering and death. God, in his grace towards us, promised to send one who would deliver mankind from the power of sin (Genesis 3:15).

As we read the Bible, we learn that the promised one was Jesus Christ, who died to pay for our sins and give us life. Those who turn to Christ in repentance and trust are promised eternal life in a restored creation without sin. Revelation 21 describes what that new world will be like:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” (Revelation 21:1–7, ESV)

There will be no mourning or crying or pain or death anymore. Our tears will be turned to joy and we will be with the Lord! Praise the Lord. He has truly done great things for us through Jesus Christ.

**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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A Lamp to My Feet

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Reading the Word

Psalm 119:105–112 (ESV)

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. 106 I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, to keep your righteous rules. 107 I am severely afflicted; give me life, O Lord, according to your word! 108 Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O Lord, and teach me your rules. 109 I hold my life in my hand continually, but I do not forget your law. 110 The wicked have laid a snare for me, but I do not stray from your precepts. 111 Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart. 112 I incline my heart to perform your statutes forever, to the end.

Understanding and Applying the Word

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” These are the opening words of today’s reading. By these words, the psalmist tells us that it is God’s word that guides him safely in life. Without the light of God’s word, we are left to wander in darkness and drift away from the path.

As we live in this world, we are presented with a variety of ways to live. Just go to any bookstore and look at the self-help books, psychology books, and counseling publications. There are many who claim to have the secret to living a full and happy life. But it is God who tells us what is truly fulfilling. It is God, the Creator, who tells us the true way to live. And God does does this through his word. When we live in obedience to God, we find that God’s word is not a burden, but brings joy to our hearts (v. 111).

**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!

Let Creation Rejoice

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Reading the Word

Psalm 98:7–9 (ESV)

7 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it! 8 Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together 9 before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.

Understanding and Applying the Word

All of creation is called on to sing for joy. This includes the sea, the rivers, the hills, and all of the world and those who dwell in it. This means all of creation, including mankind. Why? Because the Lord comes to judge the earth with righteousness and equity.

The Bible tells of a day when God will judge the world. In that day, sin will be dealt with once and for all and will be no more. God’s people, who have repented of their sin and trusted in Jesus Christ, will then dwell with him forever. When we speak of our eternal home with God, we often refer to it as “heaven”. We might even imagine a cloudy scene with angels and harps. The Bible has a different picture for our eternal home. It is described as a “new heaven and new earth”. It is a new creation without sin and its consequences. This is why all of creation joins in singing for joy in this psalm. All of creation rejoices at its release from bondage to the curse of sin (Romans 8:21). We look forward to that day when we will inhabit a new creation without sin. What a joyous day that will be!

**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!

Living for Jesus

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Reading the Word

Psalm 81:5–10 (ESV)

5 He made it a decree in Joseph when he went out over the land of Egypt. I hear a language I had not known: 6 “I relieved your shoulder of the burden; your hands were freed from the basket. 7 In distress you called, and I delivered you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah 8 Hear, O my people, while I admonish you! O Israel, if you would but listen to me! 9 There shall be no strange god among you; you shall not bow down to a foreign god. 10 I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.

Understanding and Applying the Word

God brought he people out of slavery in Egypt. In doing so, he had relieved their daily burden of extreme labor. God had heard the groanings of the people and had delivered them. In response, the Lord expected the people to worship him alone and become conformed to his likeness as they followed his instruction to them. As their God, he stood ready to feed them and meet their needs, which he demonstrated by supplying manna in the wilderness.

In John 10:10 Jesus states, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” This verse describes the  work of Satan in the word to tempt mankind and keep people enslaved to their sins. Through false promises, Satan convinces us that we are better off without God. In reality, his schemes only steal true joy from us and lead us to death.

On the other hand, Jesus came to free us from our bondage to sin. Through him, we have the weight of sin removed and we are given eternal life. When we trust in Christ, we follow him as our Lord and he, as our Creator, knows exactly what we need and how we ought to live to bring fulfillment and joy to our lives. Living for Jesus is the abundant life!

**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!

Let the Righteous Rejoice in the Lord

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Reading the Word

Psalm 64:7–10 (ESV)

7 But God shoots his arrow at them; they are wounded suddenly. 8 They are brought to ruin, with their own tongues turned against them; all who see them will wag their heads. 9 Then all mankind fears; they tell what God has brought about and ponder what he has done. 10 Let the righteous one rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him! Let all the upright in heart exult!

Understanding and Applying the Word

The world can often seem unfair and even cruel. Wicked and evil people seem to get away with their actions. Swindlers sometimes seem to prosper from their lies and deceit. And the innocent and weak may seem to be taken advantage of.

But Scripture tells us a different story. God’s word tells us that evil will be judged by an all-knowing God. In the end, truth and justice will prevail as God deals with all of mankind with perfect justice. In that day, the righteous will rejoice and the wicked will be brought to ruin. So, today we live by faith in God’s promise to judge evil as we live for him in a world that is always seeking to devour the weak for profit.

As you read this, you may be wondering how anyone will escape God’s judgment. That is a good question. The Bible says we are all sinners and stand condemned by our sin. Yet God in His grace has provided His Son as payment for our sin. He went to the cross as a perfect sacrifice. And Jesus rose from the dead in victory over sin. God’s word tells us that if we repent of our sin and trust in the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf, we will find forgiveness and salvation. This is the free gift of a loving and gracious God for all who will believe. Will you trust Him 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 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!

Shout for Joy in the Lord

The Songs of Joy

The Songs of Joy (Public Domain Image)

Reading the Word

Psalm 33:1–9 (ESV)

1 Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright. 2 Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! 3 Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts. 4 For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness. 5 He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord. 6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host. 7 He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; he puts the deeps in storehouses. 8 Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! 9 For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.

Understanding and Applying the Word

We are called to praise God. It is the proper response of those who belong to him. Yet, we should not understand that this is something that we do out of obligation. It is to be done out of joy. The righteous rejoice in God and praise him.

But why?

Because “the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness.” God’s word is right. It results in life and righteousness. And God is faithful to his word. Unlike a friend who promises, but never delivers, God keeps every promise. You can count on his word! After all, it is the same word that created the world and everything in it. God’s power and goodness is shown in his word.

Let us therefore shout for joy in the Lord, who has spoken to us through his written word (the Bible). And let us rejoice in his faithfulness to keep his word because that is where we find hope.

**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!

Joy Comes with the Morning

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Reading the Word

Psalm 30:1–5 (ESV)

1 I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me. 2 O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. 3 O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit. 4 Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. 5 For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Understanding and Applying the Word

How do you feel when you are standing on the other side of difficulty? Most likely a sense of relief and possibly even joy. That is how David feels in this psalm as he reflects on how God has saved him from his enemies. Now David is able to rejoice and sing praises to God.

Verse 5 captures the theme of this psalm. For those who love God, the favor of God and the promise of joy awaits. Even while this life may bring weeping and trouble, it is only temporary and will give way to praise and thanksgiving to God who rescues his people. Even while God may be angry with his people for their continued sin, it is coupled with his grace that continues to shape and fashion us into his cherished possession. We may have to face the night, but the morning is coming and joy comes with it! Praise 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!

I Will Tell of Your Name

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Reading the Word

Psalm 22:19–26 (ESV)

19 But you, O Lord, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid! 20 Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog! 21 Save me from the mouth of the lion! You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen! 22 I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you: 23 You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel! 24 For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him. 25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him. 26 The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord! May your hearts live forever!

Understanding and Applying the Word

The previous verses describe one who is trusting in God to deliver him, even in the worst of situations – death itself! Now, the psalm turns to praise as God has come to the rescue and given deliverance. “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you,” declares the psalmist. He is overwhelmed with what God has done and wants to tell others.

This is exactly what has been done for every believer. We have been given salvation through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. Our sins have been atoned for and now we have been set free from condemnation. What are we to do in response? We are to go out and tell the world of our great God and of the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ. Let the world praise him! He is the God who saves!

**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!

In Your Presence Is Fullness of Joy

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Reading the Word

Psalm 16:7–11 (ESV)

7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. 8 I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. 10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. 11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Have you ever known someone that you just loved to spend time with? It may have been a close friend or a family member. That person just brought joy.

God brings joy to the believer. Not only joy, but fullness of joy. He brings pleasures forevermore. He does this by being present with us and by being a support to us. This does not mean that we will not face difficulties, but that he will be with us in the tough times. And he will not abandon us. Even in death he is there with us and promises to give life to the one who trusts in the salvation he offers through his Son, Jesus Christ. For the believer, there is fullness of joy because we will forever be in the presence of the loving God who redeemed 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!