Whatever the Lord Pleases

Psalm 1356 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 135:1–12 (ESV)

1 Praise the LORD!
Praise the name of the LORD,
give praise, O servants of the LORD,
2 who stand in the house of the LORD,
in the courts of the house of our God!
3 Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good;
sing to his name, for it is pleasant!
4 For the LORD has chosen Jacob for himself,
Israel as his own possession.

5 For I know that the LORD is great,
and that our Lord is above all gods.
6 Whatever the LORD pleases, he does,
in heaven and on earth,
in the seas and all deeps.
7 He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth,
who makes lightnings for the rain
and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.

8 He it was who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
both of man and of beast;
9 who in your midst, O Egypt,
sent signs and wonders
against Pharaoh and all his servants;
10 who struck down many nations
and killed mighty kings,
11 Sihon, king of the Amorites,
and Og, king of Bashan,
and all the kingdoms of Canaan,
12 and gave their land as a heritage,
a heritage to his people Israel.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The beginning of this psalm is a call to worship. Over and over again we read in the opening verses, “Praise the Lord!” Then in verses 4-5 we are told the reason: God is great and whatever he pleases, he does. This may not seem like a convincing reason to praise God unless we continue reading the following verses. There we are told that God, who is great and above all, is in control of all things and, in his great might, brought the people out of slavery in Egypt.

Power alone is not a reason to praise God. However, God is not just all-powerful. He is righteous and just and loving and gracious. In short, God is good (v. 3). All believers should praise the Lord for his greatness. He has delivered us all from our bondage to sin and death. He did this through his Son, Jesus Christ, who died on a cross to pay the penalty for sin, but rose on the third day victorious over sin and death. Now all believers have victory through Christ and the promise of an eternity with our Lord. Let us praise his name. He is great and he is good!

**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 All-Powerful King

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Reading the Word

Psalm 114:1–8 (ESV)

1 When Israel went out from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language, 2 Judah became his sanctuary, Israel his dominion. 3 The sea looked and fled; Jordan turned back. 4 The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs. 5 What ails you, O sea, that you flee? O Jordan, that you turn back? 6 O mountains, that you skip like rams? O hills, like lambs? 7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, 8 who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Psalm 114 recounts the exodus from Egypt by the Israelites. The details of the event are recalled in a manner that stresses the grand power of God. The sea looked and fled at the presence of God as the people crossed over the parted waters. The mountains skipped and the earth trembled as God descended at Sinai. And God brought water from the rock to supply his people.

God is the all-powerful King of creation. Everything bows before him. When he lead the people out of Egypt, there was nothing that could stand in their way, not even the seas and mountains. This is the same God who leads us into the world as his people. As we follow him, we go in the confidence of his power and authority. May we proclaim his greatness and grace to the nations.

**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 Mighty Deeds of the Lord

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I will be out of town for the next few days and will not be able to post devotional content. However, I have scheduled for a daily Scripture reading to publish each day I am away. Daily devotional thoughts will return on Monday, October 1. Thanks for reading!

If you have not already done so, subscribe to this page and join us each day as we read through the Book of Psalms in 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 106:1–5 (ESV)

1 Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! 2 Who can utter the mighty deeds of the Lord, or declare all his praise? 3 Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times! 4 Remember me, O Lord, when you show favor to your people; help me when you save them, 5 that I may look upon the prosperity of your chosen ones, that I may rejoice in the gladness of your nation, that I may glory with your inheritance.

An All-Powerful Creator

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Reading the Word

Psalm 104:5–9 (ESV)

5 He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. 6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. 7 At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight. 8 The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them. 9 You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth.

Understanding and Applying the Word

These verses speak of God creating the world we live in. Specifically, they reflect on the third day of creation when God separated the water from the dry land. We find in this psalm a reflection on the works of an all-powerful Creator who is fully responsible for the existence and governance of all things. God lays foundations, rebukes the waters, appoints the place for the mountains and valleys, and sets boundaries.

Scripture tells us that the world reveals the power and majesty of God because it is his handiwork (Romans 1:19-20). It is an amazing thing to behold the Rocky Mountains or watch the waves of the ocean beat against the sand. It is also amazing to stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon or look up at the stars on a clear night. When we do so, we see the awesome power and goodness of God on display. Mankind may try to run from these clear displays of God, but the harder we try to come up with other explanations, it becomes more and more clear that God is there, he is awesome, and he is good!

**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!

crown

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 reading from Scripture. If you would like to follow along as we read through the Book of Psalms in 2018, please be sure to subscribe to this page.

Reading the Word

Psalm 93:1–5 (ESV)

1 The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. 2 Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting. 3 The floods have lifted up, O Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring. 4 Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the Lord on high is mighty! 5 Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O Lord, forevermore.

In the Shelter of the Most High

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Reading the Word

Psalm 91:1–4 (ESV)

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In these verses, we find imagery and titles for God that tell us why we can go to him in times of trouble. We find four different metaphors for security: shelter, shadow, refuge, and fortress. The first two use the imagery of a mother bird protecting her young. The last two speak of a stronghold that protects its inhabitants from outside attackers. We then notice the titles. God is the Most High. He is the Almighty. He is the LORD (YHWH). And he is God. Taken together, we learn that the Lord is powerful and that he protects his people.

People seek safety and protection in many places. It may be money. It may be retirement plans or insurance plans. Some seek it in drugs and alcohol. Still others seek these things in other people. None of these places can offer what we truly desire. All of these will fail us sooner or later. But God will never fail us. When we trust in him, we know that he is able to protect us and deliver us from evil. In fact, he assured that all who trust in him will be fully delivered from pain and suffering. He did this through the cross. Jesus died at Calvary so that our sin could be paid for and that we might have eternal life in a new world where sin and its consequences are no more. And when we trust in God, he promises that we will be there with him forever.

**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 Mighty Arm

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Thank you for reading today’s post on Shaped by the Word. This is a daily Bible reading devotional. I do not publish devotional material on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading below. Be sure to subscribe to this page so you can follow along as we read through the Book of Psalms in 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 89:9–18 (ESV)

9 You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them. 10 You crushed Rahab like a carcass; you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm. 11 The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them. 12 The north and the south, you have created them; Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name. 13 You have a mighty arm; strong is your hand, high your right hand. 14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you. 15 Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face, 16 who exult in your name all the day and in your righteousness are exalted. 17 For you are the glory of their strength; by your favor our horn is exalted. 18 For our shield belongs to the Lord, our king to the Holy One of Israel.

Your Footprints Were Unseen

footprint

Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading. Please subscribe to this page and follow along through the Book of Psalms in 2018.

 

Reading the Word

Psalm 77:16–20 (ESV)

16 When the waters saw you, O God, when the waters saw you, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled. 17 The clouds poured out water; the skies gave forth thunder; your arrows flashed on every side. 18 The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook. 19 Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen. 20 You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

 

The Right Hand of the Most High

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Reading the Word

Psalm 77:10–15 (ESV)

10 Then I said, “I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.” 11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. 12 I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. 13 Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? 14 You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples. 15 You with your arm redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph. Selah

Understanding and Applying the Word

As the writer considers his circumstances, he comes to the conclusion that he will appeal “to the years of the right hand of the Most High.” This may seem like a strange and difficult to understand statement, but it becomes clear when taken with the words directly following: “I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.” The psalmist is declaring that during his present situation, he will remember the mighty works of God when God showed his great power during the exodus of the people out of Egypt.

When we consider God’s great works in history, it gives us encouragement and strength to get through today. We can see how God has been with his people and brought them through great difficulties. This reminds us that he is with us as well. We are assured of this when we look to the cross and see that God has brought us through our time of greatest need. When we were alienated from God himself, he sent his Son to die for our sin and bring us back into a right relationship with him. He showed his great power to us in the resurrection that assures us of eternal life if we will 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!