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!

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The Secret Plots of the Wicked

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Reading the Word

Psalm 64:1–6 (ESV)

1 Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint; preserve my life from dread of the enemy. 2 Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked, from the throng of evildoers, 3 who whet their tongues like swords, who aim bitter words like arrows, 4 shooting from ambush at the blameless, shooting at him suddenly and without fear. 5 They hold fast to their evil purpose; they talk of laying snares secretly, thinking, “Who can see them?” 6 They search out injustice, saying, “We have accomplished a diligent search.” For the inward mind and heart of a man are deep.

Understanding and Applying the Word

David calls out to God with a “complaint”. His enemies are secretly plotting to cause him harm. These evil doers are sure that there schemes will remain hidden and that no one can see their secret snares.

God sees what we cannot. There are no secrets that are kept from God. When we are faced with an enemy who is plotting evil, we can be sure that God sees the truth of the situation. We can be encouraged because we know that God is good and He is just.

God sees into our minds and hearts. We may believe that our thoughts and feelings are hidden, but they are not. We may hide them from our fellow man, but God sees even into these deep places. This is a warning to us all. We will all give an account to the righteous Judge who knows every detail to the full, even the things we keep in the depths of our minds and hearts.

**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!

But a Breath

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Thank you for reading Shaped by the Word. This is a daily Bible reading devotional. I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading, which you will find below. Please be sure to subscribe to this page and follow along as we read through the Book of Psalms in 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 62:9–12 (ESV)

9 Those of low estate are but a breath; those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath. 10 Put no trust in extortion; set no vain hopes on robbery; if riches increase, set not your heart on them. 11 Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, 12 and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. For you will render to a man according to his work.

Justice and Grace

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Reading the Word

Psalm 58:6–11 (ESV)

6 O God, break the teeth in their mouths; tear out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord! 7 Let them vanish like water that runs away; when he aims his arrows, let them be blunted. 8 Let them be like the snail that dissolves into slime, like the stillborn child who never sees the sun. 9 Sooner than your pots can feel the heat of thorns, whether green or ablaze, may he sweep them away! 10 The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance; he will bathe his feet in the blood of the wicked. 11 Mankind will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely there is a God who judges on earth.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm falls into the category of what is called an “imprecatory psalm”. These are psalms that call out to God to execute vengeance on those who are the enemies of God’s people. These can be difficult passages to understand since they seem to go against the Bible’s teaching on love your enemies. What do we make of verses like we find in Psalm 58:10:

The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance; he will bathe his feet in the blood of the wicked.

It is important to notice that the psalmist is not asking God to allow the people to exact vengeance. The psalmist is asking God himself to intercede. By doing this, the outcome is left in the hands of the all-knowing God who executes justice perfectly. It is not unbiblical for God’s people to call out to him for justice and righteousness to be done. In fact, God’s people should desire those things.  At the same time, we leave these things in the hands of God and continue to live out and proclaim the grace of God that is available 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!

Corruption at the Top

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Reading the Word

Psalm 58:1–5 (ESV)

1 Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods? Do you judge the children of man uprightly? 2 No, in your hearts you devise wrongs; your hands deal out violence on earth. 3 The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies. 4 They have venom like the venom of a serpent, like the deaf adder that stops its ear, 5 so that it does not hear the voice of charmers or of the cunning enchanter.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In every age, those in power have used their power for their own ends. The saying “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” was as true in ancient times as it is today. This psalm speaks of those in power who think of themselves as gods and act wickedly.

God’s word tells us that all will one day give an account to the final Judge and the One who is truly the absolute authority. God will act justly and show no favoritism in his judgments. May this psalm serve as a warning to all of us to seek to do what is right rather than what is popular or what may benefit us most. And may this psalm especially challenge those in positions of authority to exercise their power in accord to the will of God. We will be called to account.

**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!

A Matter of Trust

Psalm 528 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 52:5–9 (ESV)

5 But God will break you down forever; he will snatch and tear you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land of the living. Selah6 The righteous shall see and fear, and shall laugh at him, saying, 7 “See the man who would not make God his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches and sought refuge in his own destruction!” 8 But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. 9 I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly.

Understanding and Applying the Word

There are those who do evil and love it. They have no regard for doing what is right. But in the end, they will answer for their ways. God, who sees all and knows all, will bring them into judgment. At that time, they will be removed from the land of the living.

The righteous, who by extension, have often suffered at the hands of the wicked will not be judged, but will be like an olive tree in the house of God. Such a tree would thrive and flourish. So it will be for the righteous.

What is the difference? The wicked trust in themselves and all that they possess (v. 7) while the righteous trust in God and his provision in their lives (v. 8). Ultimately, what we place our trust in becomes our god. What are you trusting in?

**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!

God Is Judge

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Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but I do include a suggested reading. We are reading the the Book of Psalms in 2018. Please subscribe to this page if you would like to follow along. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Psalm 50:1–6 (ESV)

1 The Mighty One, God the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. 2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth. 3 Our God comes; he does not keep silence; before him is a devouring fire, around him a mighty tempest. 4 He calls to the heavens above and to the earth, that he may judge his people: 5 “Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!” 6 The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge! Selah

The Futures of the Wicked and the Righteous

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Thank you for reading each day at Shaped by the Word. I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but I do include a suggested reading for the day. If you have not already done so, please subscribe to this page so you can follow along as we read through the Book of Psalms in 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 37:35–40 (ESV)

35 I have seen a wicked, ruthless man, spreading himself like a green laurel tree. 36 But he passed away, and behold, he was no more; though I sought him, he could not be found. 37 Mark the blameless and behold the upright, for there is a future for the man of peace. 38 But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed; the future of the wicked shall be cut off. 39 The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble. 40 The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

Fret Not

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Reading the Word

Psalm 37:7–11 (ESV)

7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! 8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. 9 For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. 10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. 11 But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In this psalm we find the phrase “fret not yourself” repeated three times. The phrase appears as the first words of Psalm 37:1 and then again in verses 7 and 8. The Hebrew word translated as fret means “to be heated or enraged”. It has the idea of getting angry over the success of the wicked (cf. verse 8). Proverbs 24:19 repeats this instruction.

Rather than allow ourselves to get angry because evildoers seem to prosper, we are told to “be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him”. What does this mean? We are to trust that God knows and that he will take care of these things. Evil and those who participate in it will be judged. The wicked will be no more and those who trust in and depend on the Lord will inherit the land and dwell in peace.

When we read the end of the Bible, Revelation 21 tells us what awaits those who are the people of God. There will be a new heaven and a new earth where sin and evil are no more. God will dwell with his people and there will be peace. The meek shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5). What a 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!

To You, O Lord, I Call

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Reading the Word

Psalm 28:1–5 (ESV)

1 To you, O Lord, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me, lest, if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit. 2 Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary. 3 Do not drag me off with the wicked, with the workers of evil, who speak peace with their neighbors while evil is in their hearts. 4 Give to them according to their work and according to the evil of their deeds; give to them according to the work of their hands; render them their due reward. 5 Because they do not regard the works of the Lord or the work of his hands, he will tear them down and build them up no more.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Have you ever prayed to God? Have you ever felt like he is not listening to your prayers? In this psalm, this is how David felt. He calls on God and pleads with him to not be deaf and silent to him. In other words, he needs God to respond to his prayer.

After the opening plea, David continues to call out to God to show mercy towards him. He understands that God’s judgment will come and asks God not to include him in the judgment that will fall on his enemies. This is the judgment that will fall on the wicked who show the evil in their hearts by their evil deeds. God will hold them responsible and they will answer for their actions.

The Bible tells us that a day of righteous judgment is coming. It will be a day when the all-knowing God holds all of mankind responsible for their sin. The Bible also tells us that all of us are sinful and stand condemned as a result. But God is a merciful and gracious God and has made forgiveness possible for those who will trust in the sacrificial death of his Son, Jesus Christ. Call out to God today and he will show you his mercy.

**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!