How Long, O Lord?

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Reading the Word

Psalm 89:46–52 (ESV)

46 How long, O Lord? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your wrath burn like fire? 47 Remember how short my time is! For what vanity you have created all the children of man! 48 What man can live and never see death? Who can deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah 49 Lord, where is your steadfast love of old, which by your faithfulness you swore to David? 50 Remember, O Lord, how your servants are mocked, and how I bear in my heart the insults of all the many nations, 51 with which your enemies mock, O Lord, with which they mock the footsteps of your anointed. 52 Blessed be the Lord forever! Amen and Amen.

Understanding and Applying the Word

“How long, O Lord?” These are the words that the psalmist asks as we near the end of Psalm 89. The writer is wondering when God will fulfill his promises to his people. When will he provide a king from the line of David and defeat the enemies of Israel? It seems as though God has forgotten.

The way God chooses to fulfill his plans and purposes is not always evident to us. At times, we may be left wondering what God is doing or if he is doing anything at all. We may cry out with the psalmist, “How long, O Lord? Will you hide yourself forever?”

Notice that the author of Psalm 89 continued to put his hopes in God’s promises. He may not have understood how they would be fulfilled, but he waited for them. We know from the rest of Scripture that God did keep his promises by sending his Son, Jesus Christ, into the world. We have the benefit of knowing with greater clarity how God is working to redeem the world from sin, so let us continue to trust in him even when we do not always understand our circumstances or trials. Blessed be the Lord 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!

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The Steadfast Love of the Lord

Lamentations 322–23 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 89:1–8 (ESV)

1 I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations. 2 For I said, “Steadfast love will be built up forever; in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness.” 3 You have said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn to David my servant: 4 ‘I will establish your offspring forever, and build your throne for all generations.’ ” Selah 5 Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord, your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones! 6 For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord? Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord, 7 a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around him? 8 O Lord God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O Lord, with your faithfulness all around you?

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm begins speaking of God’s steadfast love and faithfulness to his people. It speaks specifically of God’s promise to David in 2 Samuel 7:4-17 where God promises to establish David’s throne forever. This promise is what we refer to as the Davidic Covenant and is the promise of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who would come and be the eternal King.

As we reflect on these words, it is important to see the connection to the rest of this psalm. In these opening verses, the writer praises God for keeping his promises. In the following verses, he asks God to save his people so that those promises can be fulfilled. As we face the challenges of life and as we seek God in prayer, we too need to remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness and steadfast love through the ages, both to us and those who came before us. By doing so, we give praise to God for all he has done and we are strengthened to face our circumstances knowing that God is with 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!

Raise a Song!

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Reading the Word

Psalm 81:1–4 (ESV)

1 Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob! 2 Raise a song; sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp. 3 Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our feast day. 4 For it is a statute for Israel, a rule of the God of Jacob.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Israel was instructed to celebrate their festivals corporately. These festivals were put in place by God as ways to remind the people of what he had done for them as each festival looked pointed to God’s work on their behalf. The particular festival in view in this psalm pointed the Israelites to the Exodus. As part of the celebration the people would sing together with musical instruments.

We too, as Christians, are called to gather corporately to worship and remember all that God has done. Hebrews 10:25 tells us not to neglect gathering with fellow believers. While there are many things to sing about, the focus of our worship is the crucified and risen Savior, Jesus Christ. He is our salvation and the cross is the pivotal moment in the history of the world. Let us raise a song for joy to our God for all he has done!

**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!

Groans, Taunts, and Praise

James 513 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 79:9–13 (ESV)

9 Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake! 10 Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Let the avenging of the outpoured blood of your servants be known among the nations before our eyes! 11 Let the groans of the prisoners come before you; according to your great power, preserve those doomed to die! 12 Return sevenfold into the lap of our neighbors the taunts with which they have taunted you, O Lord! 13 But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In these verses we read a plea for God to help his people. The request is made with an appeal to God’s name, not the merit of the people. It is God’s reputation that is at stake because it is God’s people who are being destroyed. If the enemy does conquer, what does that say to the world about the God of Israel? The last verse tells us that, even in the midst of the destruction, the psalmist still believes that God will deliver his people. Even though the people have sinned and have brought about the circumstances as a result, there will be thanksgiving and praise when God saves them.

In verses 11-13 we read three different types of speech that are directed at God: groans, taunts, and praise. In fact, these three summarize all speech directed at God. We groan when we are in trouble or despair and call out to him. The unbelieving world taunts God as they mock his existence, his power, or his goodness. And we praise his when we know who he is and what he has done. In the midst of any circumstance, let us direct our speech to God in faith knowing that he hears us and that he is the deliverer of his 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!

I Went to the Sanctuary of God

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Reading the Word

Psalm 73:15–20 (ESV)

15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed the generation of your children. 16 But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, 17 until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end. 18 Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. 19 How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors! 20 Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.

Understanding and Applying the Word

It is easy to become discouraged. When we look around and begin to compare our lives to the lives of others, we can easily find things that we wish were different. We see where those who have no regard for holiness or for God seem to prosper while we and others who are committed to Him struggle in life. It can be disheartening.

The psalmist in Psalm 73 has written about his discouragement in the opening verses, but something changes his perspective when we get to verse 17. When he enters the sanctuary of God his eyes were opened. Through gathering with the people of God and worshipping, he was reminded who God was, what God had done, and what God would do in the future. It is through worship that God’s people not only glorify God, but that God’s people are encouraged to live in the world and trust in Him. Let us not fail to gather with the people of God for worship. We need it.

**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!

Filled with His Glory

Psalm 7219 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 72:15–20 (ESV)

15 Long may he live; may gold of Sheba be given to him! May prayer be made for him continually, and blessings invoked for him all the day! 16 May there be abundance of grain in the land; on the tops of the mountains may it wave; may its fruit be like Lebanon; and may people blossom in the cities like the grass of the field! 17 May his name endure forever, his fame continue as long as the sun! May people be blessed in him, all nations call him blessed! 18 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. 19 Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen! 20 The prayers of David, the son of Jesse, are ended.

Understanding and Applying the Word

These verses begin with a call for long life for the king and then requests that the people pray for the king. Also, there is a prayer for gold and an abundance of food and crops for the land. In verse 17 we see the nations recognizing this king’s reign and submitting to him, not out of subjection, but because they find their blessing in him.

As we have mentioned previously, this psalm does not describe any earthly king who has ever reigned, but the rule of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. In Genesis, God promised Abraham that he would be blessed and that through his seed the nations would be blessed. It is through the Messiah, the descendant of Abraham, that the world finds its blessing. Jesus Christ came to remove the curse of the fall and restore the world to what it was intended to be. It is through Christ’s reign that we find life in abundance. May the whole earth be filled with his glory!

**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!

All Things for Good

Romans 828 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 71:19–24 (ESV)

19 Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you? 20 You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. 21 You will increase my greatness and comfort me again. 22 I will also praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God; I will sing praises to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel. 23 My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed. 24 And my tongue will talk of your righteous help all the day long, for they have been put to shame and disappointed who sought to do me hurt.

Understand and Applying the Word

Verse 19 begins by speaking of God’s righteousness, which “reaches the high heavens.” When we speak of God’s righteousness, we mean that God does what is right. This is interesting given the words of verse 20 where the psalmist writes that God has made him see “many troubles and calamities.” The difficulties the psalmist has been facing are from the hand of the sovereign God.

So, how can God be righteous if He is responsible for the troubles? Because God uses those difficulties to make us better. As Romans 8:28 says, “all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” We can have confidence knowing that God has a plan to work in our lives and bring us to maturity in Christ. For that reason, we can join the psalmist in praise of the righteousness of 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!

Our Inheritance

2 Peter 313 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 69:34–36 (ESV)

34 Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moves in them. 35 For God will save Zion and build up the cities of Judah, and people shall dwell there and possess it; 36 the offspring of his servants shall inherit it, and those who love his name shall dwell in it.

Understanding and Applying the Word

When we come to the end of this psalm, David calls on all of creation to sing praises to God. Why? Because God’s salvation belongs to all who love His name.

The offspring of God, those who love His name, will inherit the earth. They will dwell in it. Jesus tells us that the meek will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5). Paul tells us that all of creation waits for its redemption (Romans 8:18-25). Peter says that the hope of Christians is in a new heaven and a new earth (2 Peter 3:13). And in Revelation 21:1-4, we get a glimpse of the eternal state as God dwells with His people in a new heaven and a new earth where there is no mourning or crying or pain anymore. Sin and evil have been judged and are no more.

God’s salvation is cosmic. One day He will remove sin from His good creation and restore things to the way they should be. Let us praise Him as we look forward to that day!

**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 Will Praise the Name of God

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Reading the Word

Psalm 69:29–33 (ESV)

29 But I am afflicted and in pain; let your salvation, O God, set me on high! 30 I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. 31 This will please the Lord more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs. 32 When the humble see it they will be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive. 33 For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise his own people who are prisoners.

Understanding and Applying the Word

David’s focus shifts from being troubled to one of praise. We see the transition in verse 29. As he trusts in the salvation of God, he breaks out into praise of God.

In these verses, David says, “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs.” His point is that God is more interested in praise that Issues forth from the heart than he is in our physical sacrifices. What good are “horns and hoofs” to God? Compare Psalm 50:12-15 to see God’s thoughts on this.

Trusting in God does more than bring us through difficulty. It results in worship. Not just the physical act of worship, but praise that issues forth from the heart. When we know the word of God and trust in it, that God will fulfill the promises he has made, we can not only face every circumstance, but we can sing out praises to God knowing that he is the source of our salvation.

**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!

Praise the Conquering King

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Reading the Word

Psalm 68:32–35 (ESV)

32 O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God; sing praises to the Lord, Selah33 to him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens; behold, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice. 34 Ascribe power to God, whose majesty is over Israel, and whose power is in the skies. 35 Awesome is God from his sanctuary; the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God!

Understanding and Applying the Word

What wonderful words of praise end this psalm! Sing praises to God!

Throughout Psalm 68 God is praised as the past, present, and future Savior of Israel. So, when we come to the end, it is little surprise that we are urged to join in worship. In the psalm, God is imaged as a warrior who goes out and defeats the enemy on behalf of His people. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ is pictured as the one who defeats Satan at the cross for believers (Colossians 2:13-15).

Our Lord and Savior has gone before us as our conquering hero. Let us lift up our praises and tell of His goodness!

**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!