Your Years Have No End

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Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but do include a suggested reading from Scripture. Be sure to subscribe to this page to follow along each day as we read through the Psalms in 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 102:23–28 (ESV)

23 He has broken my strength in midcourse; he has shortened my days. 24 “O my God,” I say, “take me not away in the midst of my days— you whose years endure throughout all generations!” 25 Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. 26 They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, 27 but you are the same, and your years have no end. 28 The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you.

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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!

Light for the Righteous

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Reading the Word

Psalm 97:10–12 (ESV)

10 O you who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them from the hand of the wicked. 11 Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart. 12 Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!

Understanding and Applying the Word

Those who love the Lord should hate evil. As we look at the world around us it might sometimes seem as if the wicked prosper. They may seem to have the best that life has to offer: money, possessions, fame, and power. Yet, we can be sure that judgment will one day come. In that day, it is the righteous who will be preserved and the wicked will be destroyed.

Verse 11 tells us that “Light is sown for the righteous”. This may seem like an odd statement, but taken in the context of this psalm, the meaning is clear. There is coming a final day when God will judge the world. The wicked will be condemned, but for the righteous, light is sown (rather than judgment). The righteous will be delivered and given life filled with joy and delivered from evil once and for all. This is truly worth our rejoicing!

**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 Earth Rejoice!

Psalm 971 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 97:1–5 (ESV)

1 The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad! 2 Clouds and thick darkness are all around him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. 3 Fire goes before him and burns up his adversaries all around. 4 His lightnings light up the world; the earth sees and trembles. 5 The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In these verses we read about the reign of God. He is not the God of Israel alone, but of the whole world. “Let the many coastlands be glad,” says the psalmist. Why? Because the Lord reigns! God rules over all of the world as the final judge.

The image of God as judge can be one that brings joy and gladness or one that brings fear and denial. The different responses are both seen in this passage. For those who are the enemies of God, judgment is a terrible thing. God’s wrath brings trembling. However, for those who have repented of their sins and called out to God for forgiveness, the Lord’s appearing is a time to be glad. His grace is unending and his love is worthy of our praise. Our God reigns. Let us rejoice!

**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 Lord Reigns!

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Reading the Word

Psalm 96:10–13 (ESV)

10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.” 11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; 12 let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy 13 before the Lord, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The Lord reigns. He rules over all things. This is established by the fact that he is the Creator who established the world. It is also established in the fact that it is the Lord who judges all people. The judgment of God is an occasion for joy and praise because God judges perfectly. He is fair and right in all of his judgments.

While this psalm is focused on the present truth that God rules over all things, it also points to the future when God’s rule will fill the creation completely. Sin and wickedness will be judged and removed from the world and perfect righteousness will prevail. This is why the creation itself is called to rejoice: the heavens, the earth, the sea, the field, and the trees. The creation, along with God’s people, will be finally released from the curse of sin and its consequences and we will dwell with the Lord forever. That is cause for great rejoicing!

**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!

Jesus, Our Champion

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Reading the Word

Psalm 94:16–23 (ESV)

16 Who rises up for me against the wicked? Who stands up for me against evildoers? 17 If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence. 18 When I thought, “My foot slips,” your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up. 19 When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul. 20 Can wicked rulers be allied with you, those who frame injustice by statute? 21 They band together against the life of the righteous and condemn the innocent to death. 22 But the Lord has become my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge. 23 He will bring back on them their iniquity and wipe them out for their wickedness; the Lord our God will wipe them out.

Understanding and Applying the Word

These verses begin with two questions: “Who rises up for me against the wicked?” and “Who stands up for me against evildoers?” The answer is “the Lord”. God is the One who proves to be the help the writer needs. It is God who is a stronghold and a refuge. And it is God who will destroy the wicked because of their sin.

Believers have a Savior we can count on. Jesus Christ not only paid the price for our sins, but he also promises to never leave us nor forsake us. He bought us at a high price (the price of his own life) and he will never let us go. It is Jesus who will stand as our Champion in the end as he defeats Satan and destroys evil once and for all. Let us, as his people, find assurance in our Savior and know that the days of the wicked are numbered.

**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 God of Vengeance

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Reading the Word

Psalm 94:1–10 (ESV)

1 O Lord, God of vengeance, O God of vengeance, shine forth! 2 Rise up, O judge of the earth; repay to the proud what they deserve! 3 O Lord, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked exult? 4 They pour out their arrogant words; all the evildoers boast. 5 They crush your people, O Lord, and afflict your heritage. 6 They kill the widow and the sojourner, and murder the fatherless; 7 and they say, “The Lord does not see; the God of Jacob does not perceive.” 8 Understand, O dullest of the people! Fools, when will you be wise? 9 He who planted the ear, does he not hear? He who formed the eye, does he not see? 10 He who disciplines the nations, does he not rebuke? He who teaches man knowledge—

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm is a prayer for God to give justice to his people. The wicked have taken advantage of them and believe that God does not know what has happened. But God does know. The One who created the eye and the ear has seen and heard. He is fully aware and he will bring judgement upon the wicked.

The children of God can find peace and assurance in knowing that God is omniscient. There is nothing that happens without his knowledge. And there is nothing that happens that will not be brought into judgement. This is why Paul can write in Romans 12:19, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’” So let us live our lives in such a way that give glory to God while we trust in him to right the scales of justice in the end.

**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 Righteous Flourish

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Reading the Word

Psalm 92:10–15 (ESV)

10 But you have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox; you have poured over me fresh oil. 11 My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies; my ears have heard the doom of my evil assailants. 12 The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13 They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, 15 to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Verse 12 states that the “righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.” Both of these tree are symbols of strength and vitality (cf. Isaiah 2:13; 65:22; Hosea 14:5–6; Zechariah 11:2). This is a great contrast to the evil, who will be swept away (vv. 9-10). We are also told that these trees are planted in the house of the Lord, which tells us of the nearness to God that the righteous will experience.

This psalm began declaring the praise of the Lord. God is deserving of worship because of his great deeds. As the psalm ends, we are once again reminded of why it is good to praise the Lord. It is God who gives life and gives it abundantly to his people. He is the God who will judge evil and give life to the righteous. The Lord is upright and he is a rock to those who trust in him!

**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!

Those Who Hate God

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Reading the Word

Psalm 83:1–8 (ESV)

1 O God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God! 2 For behold, your enemies make an uproar; those who hate you have raised their heads. 3 They lay crafty plans against your people; they consult together against your treasured ones. 4 They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!” 5 For they conspire with one accord; against you they make a covenant— 6 the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites, 7 Gebal and Ammon and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; 8 Asshur also has joined them; they are the strong arm of the children of Lot. Selah

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm is a plea for God to rescue the people of Israel from their enemies. Those enemies are spelled out in verses 6-8. One thing to note is the concern of the psalmist. He does not make his plea based on the innocence of Israel. He does not call out and ask God to protect the Israelites because they are being treated unjustly. His primary concern is that the enemy has declared war on God himself. Notice verse 2: “For behold, your enemies make an uproar; those who hate you have raised their heads.”

Throughout the ages, God’s people have suffered at the hands of others. The primary reason is not because of something that they had done. The primary reason has always been because the world is at war with God. It does not want him. We, as his people, are a constant reminder of the reality of God and the truth that God will one day bring all of mankind to judgment. Let us, as the people of God, remember that the word is at war with God and let us not be surprised when the world hates us. Let us be encouraged knowing that the war has already been won and that our God reigns!

**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!