Your Steadfast Love

Psalm 481 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 48:9–14 (ESV)

9 We have thought on your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple. 10 As your name, O God, so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is filled with righteousness. 11 Let Mount Zion be glad! Let the daughters of Judah rejoice because of your judgments! 12 Walk about Zion, go around her, number her towers, 13 consider well her ramparts, go through her citadels, that you may tell the next generation 14 that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Remembering all that God has done results in praise. When God’s people think about his steadfast love, the result is worship. The word translated as “steadfast love” is the Hebrew word hesed. It speaks of God’s covenant faithfulness to his people. God has lived up to his promises! As the people admire God’s temple and think on his faithfulness, they praise him!

Followers of God today have even greater reason to praise and rejoice in God’s steadfast love. This psalm was written prior to the cross and the people had not heard of God’s work there. We live in a post-resurrection world and have the full benefit of seeing God’s love displayed as his Son went to Calvary for our sins and then rose from the grave victorious over sin and death. He did this for us. Let us think on all the ways God has been faithful to keep his promises and let us join the praise of God’s people!

**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 King’s Bride

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Reading the Word

Psalm 45:10–17 (ESV)

10 Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear: forget your people and your father’s house, 11 and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your lord, bow to him. 12 The people of Tyre will seek your favor with gifts, the richest of the people. 13 All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold. 14 In many-colored robes she is led to the king, with her virgin companions following behind her. 15 With joy and gladness they are led along as they enter the palace of the king. 16 In place of your fathers shall be your sons; you will make them princes in all the earth. 17 I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore nations will praise you forever and ever.

Understanding and Applying the Word

As we read thee verses, we read the portrayal of a wedding where the bride is led to her husband, who is the king. In this psalm the king is of the line of David. In Hebrews 1:8-9, this psalm is quoted as a reference to Jesus Christ, the true Davidic King who is the promised Messiah.

In the New Testament, the Church is said to be the bride of Christ. We see this imagery in multiple places, including Ephesians 5:25-32 and 2 Corinthians 11:2. Many interpreters have seen this psalm as speaking of the beauty and love of Jesus Christ as he is united in unity with his people. Given the quotation from Hebrews 1:8-9, I too would understand it in this way. We, the Church, the people of God, are the bride of Christ. He loved us so much that he laid down his life for us. Let us adore him for his love and majesty and beauty!

**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!

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!

 

Suffering for Your Sake, O God

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Reading the Word

Psalm 44:17–26 (ESV)

17 All this has come upon us, though we have not forgotten you, and we have not been false to your covenant. 18 Our heart has not turned back, nor have our steps departed from your way; 19 yet you have broken us in the place of jackals and covered us with the shadow of death. 20 If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god, 21 would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart. 22 Yet for your sake we are killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered. 23 Awake! Why are you sleeping, O Lord? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever! 24 Why do you hide your face? Why do you forget our affliction and oppression? 25 For our soul is bowed down to the dust; our belly clings to the ground. 26 Rise up; come to our help! Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love!

Understanding and Applying the Word

We have been reading this psalm for a couple of days. In the previous verses we read the words of one crying out to God for help, but God has not done anything. Now we read that, even through all of the difficulties, the people have been faithful towards God (v. 17). They continue to live their lives for him.

Interestingly, we are told that the suffering that is taking place is “for your sake” (v.22). The people are suffering precisely because they are God’s people. This passage is quoted in Romans 8:36-39 by the apostle Paul who uses it to speak of his suffering for belonging to Christ and proclaiming the gospel.

The people of God in every age can expect rejection. In some places and times they can also expect severe persecution. Why? Because, as the people of God, they walk as witnesses to the truth to a world that has rejected the truth for a lie. When believers suffer for the sake of the truth of God’s word, they suffer for God’s sake. He may not come to our immediate rescue, but we can do the same thing that the writer of this psalm did. We can trust in the steadfast love of God (v.26). After all, he is the one who has redeemed us by sending his Son to die on a cross. He has shown us his love and we can trust him in every circumstance.

**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!

Reflecting the Love of God

Psalm 411 [fullscreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 41:1–4 (ESV)

1 Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him; 2 the Lord protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; you do not give him up to the will of his enemies. 3 The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health. 4 As for me, I said, “O Lord, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you!”

Understanding and Applying the Word

The word rendered “poor” in verse 1 is often used in contrast with the rich (cf. Proverbs 10:15). It can also mean “sick” or “weak” (cf. 2 Samuel 13:4) and is probably best understood in this way here as the psalm goes on to speak of one on his sickbed.

The idea of these verses is that God deals with his people often times in the way that his people have dealt with others. Those who reflect his grace and mercy towards others will receive that grace and mercy themselves. It reflects Christ’s words in Matthew 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.”

As Christians, we are called to reflect the nature of God to the world. The way we interact with others should show the love and grace of God – the same love and grace that he has shown to us through his Son who died in our place. Pray that the Lord would give you a heart for others that reflects his own.

**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!

Not an Offering, but Myself I Bring

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Reading the Word

Psalm 40:6–10 (ESV)

6 In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required. 7 Then I said, “Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me: 8 I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” 9 I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord. 10 I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.

Understanding and Applying the Word

David tells us that it is not our offerings and sacrifices that God desires (v. 6). No, it is our hearts that he is after and David is ready to offer his life in obedience. He states, “I delight in your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” David delights in the will of God. He is not living in obedience out of religious obligation, but because he loves the Lord and the Lord’s ways. As a result of his love, David is ready to tell others of God’s grace and steadfast love. He cannot keep it in!

So many Christians see God’s word as a burden that they obey, at least in part, not out of love, but out of obligation. This is not how it should be. As we grow in knowledge of God through his word, our hearts should be transformed by that word and the work of the Spirit. Our transformation leads to a growing love for God and his ways because we see him as good and his law as a joy rather than a burden. Is God’s word burdensome? Ask him to transform your heart that you might love him more.

**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 Fountain of Life

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Reading the Word

Psalm 36:5–12 (ESV)

5 Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. 6 Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O Lord. 7 How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. 8 They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. 9 For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light. 10 Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your righteousness to the upright of heart! 11 Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me, nor the hand of the wicked drive me away. 12 There the evildoers lie fallen; they are thrust down, unable to rise.

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm begins by speaking of the evil that we find in this world (vv. 1-4). People who have no regard for doing what is right. Yet, in these verses, we read of the steadfast love of God. It extends to the heavens and includes both man and beast. While evil men may not concern themselves with doing right, God exercises love, faithfulness, righteousness, and judgment.

What a contrast between the wickedness of men and the steadfast love of God. His people take refuge in him and find life. As we live in a world of evil, let us look to God for our salvation and for our hope. He is steadfast and upright and we can 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!

I Love Where Your Glory Dwells

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Reading the Word

Psalm 26:6–12 (ESV)

6 I wash my hands in innocence and go around your altar, O Lord, 7 proclaiming thanksgiving aloud, and telling all your wondrous deeds. 8 O Lord, I love the habitation of your house and the place where your glory dwells. 9 Do not sweep my soul away with sinners, nor my life with bloodthirsty men, 10 in whose hands are evil devices, and whose right hands are full of bribes. 11 But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me. 12 My foot stands on level ground; in the great assembly I will bless the Lord.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In the second half of this psalm, David again appeals to his integrity (v. 11) and his innocence before God. He uses them as the basis for his plea towards God to not sweep him away with sinners and bloodthirsty men.

As we come to this psalm we see the close connection between love for the Lord and his glory and our personal conduct. The two go hand in hand. When our hearts are fixed on God it changes the direction of our lives. We change our actions, not because we must, but because we desire to out of love. Our actions become our worship of the God we love and we long to bless 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!

Be Exalted, O Lord

Psalm 2113 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 21:8–13 (ESV)

8 Your hand will find out all your enemies; your right hand will find out those who hate you. 9 You will make them as a blazing oven when you appear. The Lord will swallow them up in his wrath, and fire will consume them. 10 You will destroy their descendants from the earth, and their offspring from among the children of man. 11 Though they plan evil against you, though they devise mischief, they will not succeed. 12 For you will put them to flight; you will aim at their faces with your bows. 13 Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The second half of this psalm is a sobering reminder that God’s enemies will be judged. There is coming a day when God’s patient endurance of sin and rebellion will come to and end and his wrath will be poured out on an unbelieving world. At that time, no one will escape.

The redeemed of God look forward to a day when evil is finally judged. God has promised a new heaven and a new earth where sin is no more and where the people of God will be with him for eternity. In that day, all believers will stand in unity and praise God for his power in defeating evil and for his grace in saving sinners who turn to Christ for forgiveness and new life. Let his name be exalted!

**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 Heavens Declare

Psalm 191 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 19:1–6 (ESV)

1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. 2 Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. 3 There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. 4 Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, 5 which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. 6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The psalmist tells us that the world around us shows us how wonderful God is. When we look at the night sky we see how vast the universe is. The number of stars visible to even the naked eye is astounding. Also, when we consider the orderliness of all we see we come to a realization of how great and awesome the God behind it all must be.

There is no escaping God’s glory. It is all around us. His beauty, his power, and his care are evident in his creation. Let us take time to look around and stand amazed at the One who made it and watches over it. He is an awesome 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!