Those Who Hate God

background blaze blazing bonfire

Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

 

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!

Advertisements

Give Justice to the Weak

Psalm 823 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 82:1–8 (ESV)

1 God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: 2 “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah 3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. 4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” 5 They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. 6 I said, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; 7 nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.” 8 Arise, O God, judge the earth; for you shall inherit all the nations!

Understanding and Applying the Word

The meaning of “gods” in the first verse is debated. It could refer to world leaders or the evil forces behind those leaders. Regardless, God stands above and calls them to account. God’s concern is for their injustice in how they have treated the weakest in society. They have failed to properly care for the weak, the fatherless, and the needy.

The Bible tells us that God is especially concerned for the weak. He calls his people to show the same concern. After all, he demonstrated his love for those who could not help themselves when he sent his Son into the world to save those who would trust in him. Jesus died for those who were poor and needy and weak that we might be saved. Let us have the same compassion for others that God has shown to 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!

From Sea to Sea

atlas close up dark dirty

Photo by Aaditya Arora on Pexels.com

 

Reading the Word

Psalm 72:8–14 (ESV)

8 May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth! 9 May desert tribes bow down before him, and his enemies lick the dust! 10 May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands render him tribute; may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts! 11 May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him! 12 For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper. 13 He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. 14 From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their blood in his sight.

Understanding and Applying the Word

After opening this psalm with a prayer of blessing for a newly inaugurated king, verses 8-11 go on to speak of the realm of the king’s reign. “May he have dominion from sea to sea,” says the psalmist. This is the prayer that the king’s dominion will be universal and that his reign will be acknowledged by the nations.

In verses 12-14 we again read that this king will be a defender of the weak and oppressed and will see to it that they receive justice.

These verses do not describe any government or ruler from history, but point us to the kingdom of God and the one true King who will rule the nations in justice. It is God’s plan to bring all things in heaven and earth under the rule of Jesus Christ, the Son (cf. Ephesians 1:10). As believers, we look forward to the day when the world will be as it should be and all people will be treated equally and with justice. We work to that end even now as we wait for the righteous and just King who will reign over all.

**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 King of Justice

battle black blur board game

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Reading the Word

Psalm 72:1–7 (ESV)

1 Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the royal son! 2 May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice! 3 Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness! 4 May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor! 5 May they fear you while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations! 6 May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth! 7 In his days may the righteous flourish, and peace abound, till the moon be no more!

Understanding and Applying the Word

Many scholars believe that this psalm is a prayer for the inauguration of a king. The prayer asks that the king would be one who ruled justly and championed the cause of the people, especially the oppressed of society. The prayer understands that when justice is practiced the nation flourishes in every way.

Throughout the history of the world, there have been societies that were better and worse at practicing justice. We can even see that this is still the case in our world today. One thing is certain though: there has never been a nation/government/ruler who ruled in perfect justice. In every time and place, people have been treated unfairly and been the subject of oppression. The Bible gives us hope that one day there will be a righteous King who will rule over the people with perfect justice (Isaiah 11:1-9). In that day the world will prosper under his rule and authority. Come, King 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!

Punishment upon Punishment

clearing desolation destruction fallen tree

Photo by Picography on Pexels.com

 

Reading the Word

Psalm 69:22–28 (ESV)

22 Let their own table before them become a snare; and when they are at peace, let it become a trap. 23 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see, and make their loins tremble continually. 24 Pour out your indignation upon them, and let your burning anger overtake them. 25 May their camp be a desolation; let no one dwell in their tents. 26 For they persecute him whom you have struck down, and they recount the pain of those you have wounded. 27 Add to them punishment upon punishment; may they have no acquittal from you. 28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living; let them not be enrolled among the righteous.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Reading these verses raises questions in our minds. The verses seem so unkind and unloving. How can David say such things? Should we feel the same about our enemies? Didn’t Jesus teach that we should love our enemies? These are all good questions and we should wrestle with them.

David’s words are not contrary to the teaching of Scripture. First, he leaves vengeance in the hands of God. He dos not take it upon himself to punish his enemies, but calls out to God, the righteous and all-knowing Judge to do so. This is important because God is the one who always renders the right judgment. Secondly, Scripture tells us that sin and evil will ultimately be judged. David’s prayer is in line with this truth. He is calling out for what God has told us will take place. All believers should long for the day when injustice will cease and perfect justice will take place. That is the heart of David’s prayer.

Let us read these words and be reminded of the injustice of this world as we look forward to the end of sin and evil when God makes things right.

**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 Hope of All the Ends of the Earth

aerial alpine ceresole reale desktop backgrounds

Photo by SplitShire on Pexels.com

 

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.

Let the Righteous Rejoice in the Lord

smiling woman wearing black jacket and pants jumping in brown open field

Photo by Pete Johnson on Pexels.com

 

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

woman dark eye spooky

Photo by Rene Asmussen on Pexels.com

 

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

wind

 

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

Romans 1219 [widescreen]

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!