The Hope of All the Ends of the Earth

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Thank you for reading Shaped by the Word, a daily Bible reading devotional. I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading for the day. Please subscribe to this page so you can follow along as we read through the Book of Psalms in 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 65:5–8 (ESV)

5 By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas; 6 the one who by his strength established the mountains, being girded with might; 7 who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples, 8 so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs. You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.

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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!

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!

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

Your Throne, O God, Is Forever

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Reading the Word

Psalm 45:1–9 (ESV)

1 My heart overflows with a pleasing theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe. 2 You are the most handsome of the sons of men; grace is poured upon your lips; therefore God has blessed you forever. 3 Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one, in your splendor and majesty! 4 In your majesty ride out victoriously for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; let your right hand teach you awesome deeds! 5 Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; the peoples fall under you. 6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness; 7 you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions; 8 your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia. From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad; 9 daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor; at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Psalm 45 is a royal psalm. It speaks of the kingship in Israel and describes his beauty and righteousness. In Hebrews 1:8-9, this psalm is quoted and applied to Jesus Christ as the King who is God and whose throne is eternal (cf. Psalm 45:6).

The Old Testament points forward to the day when a promised King would come into the world to rule in righteousness. Scripture tells us that this King would be one who would be just and fair. He would be humble and would serve his people. In the New testament, we find that Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of that promise. He came to serve his people by going to the cross to die for them. He then rose from the dead victorious over sin and death. He is the triumphant King! And we are promised that he will come again to reign over all of creation. Let us praise our King who is just and righteous, loving and full of grace. He is a great King!

 

Turn from Evil and Do Good

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Reading the Word

Psalm 37:27–34 (ESV)

27 Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever. 28 For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off. 29 The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever. 30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. 31 The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip. 32 The wicked watches for the righteous and seeks to put him to death. 33 The Lord will not abandon him to his power or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial. 34 Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off.

Understanding and Applying the Word

“Turn away from evil and do good,” we are told in this psalm. In fact, this is the message of all of Scripture. The thing is, most of us probably think that we are already “good”, or at least good enough. The problem is that Scripture tells us that none of us are good. We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). As a result, we are condemned to death (Romans 6:23).

But we can turn from our sin in repentance and call upon the Lord for forgiveness. In his grace, God does forgive those who repent and trust in Jesus Christ for their salvation (Acts 2:38). Not only does the believer find forgiveness, but also the promise of eternal life in a new heaven and a new earth in the very presence of God. What a great hope we have in 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!

The Wicked Vanish Like Smoke

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Reading the Word

Psalm 37:12–20 (ESV)

12 The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him, 13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming. 14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose way is upright; 15 their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. 16 Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked. 17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous. 18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever; 19 they are not put to shame in evil times; in the days of famine they have abundance. 20 But the wicked will perish; the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures; they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Try as they might, the wicked will not prosper. Their ways are futile. They may “plot” in order to get the upper hand, but their own evil will turn on them. They resist and despise the righteous and their ways. They cling to evil and hate what is good. They use every evil (sword and bow) to put down the righteous, but they will only find defeat.

The Lord upholds the righteous. They are his possession and he will sustain them. By contrast, it is the wicked who are like smoke and vanish quickly because they are the enemies of God.

The world chases after “success” at all costs and justifies whatever means is necessary to obtain it. May we be content to walk in righteousness even if we have little in this world. We know that we belong to a wonderful God who will not abandon us and who will one day gather us to himself. There is nothing to be desired more than that.

**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!