Love

Today’s post is part of our Psalm Saturdays series from guest blogger Robert Chamberlain. You can read his archives at www.roberlain.wordpress.com .

Psalm 136:1–26 (ESV)
1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever.
3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever;
4 to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever;
5 to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever;
6 to him who spread out the earth above the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever;
7 to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever;
8 the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever;
9 the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever;
10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, for his steadfast love endures forever;
11 and brought Israel out from among them, for his steadfast love endures forever;
12 with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, for his steadfast love endures forever;
13 to him who divided the Red Sea in two, for his steadfast love endures forever;
14 and made Israel pass through the midst of it, for his steadfast love endures forever;
15 but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea, for his steadfast love endures forever;
16 to him who led his people through the wilderness, for his steadfast love endures forever;
17 to him who struck down great kings, for his steadfast love endures forever;
18 and killed mighty kings, for his steadfast love endures forever;
19 Sihon, king of the Amorites, for his steadfast love endures forever;
20 and Og, king of Bashan, for his steadfast love endures forever;
21 and gave their land as a heritage, for his steadfast love endures forever;
22 a heritage to Israel his servant, for his steadfast love endures forever.
23 It is he who remembered us in our low estate, for his steadfast love endures forever;
24 and rescued us from our foes, for his steadfast love endures forever;
25 he who gives food to all flesh, for his steadfast love endures forever.
26 Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.


You can’t miss the main point of this Psalm! God is good all the time, all the time, God is good! And it’s all because of His love that we get to enjoy His goodness.

The preacher Paul Washer said God’s goodness is a scary thing, precisely because we aren’t good, and therefore deserve His condemnation. But thankfully in Christ, God’s goodness and love are reconciled. Through Him, bad people like us can be made good like God.

This Psalm gives us a sweeping view of the love of God for us. He created all things because He didn’t want to miserly keep His love all to Himself. He spoke, and it came into being, and He has made all things well.

Then the Psalm zooms in on Israel’s redemption story. Even in judging Israel’s enemies, God displayed His love. Similarly, in judging His Son in our place, God has supremely showcased His love.

God enabled His people not just to escape Egypt, but also to enter the promised land of Canaan. Similarly, God is delivering His new covenant people from slavery to sin to bring us safely to the new creation. God remembers how lowly and helpless we are without Him.

The Lord provides our every need. He gives us our daily bread. He is worthy of all our thanks and praise.

“King of kings and Lord of lords, You are good and Your love endures forever. Please keep us in Your love now and always, for Jesus’ sake, amen.”


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Praise!

Today’s post is part of our Psalm Saturdays series from guest blogger Robert Chamberlain. You can read his archives at www.roberlain.wordpress.com .

Psalm 135:1–21 (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.
13 Your name, O LORD, endures forever, your renown, O LORD, throughout all ages.
14 For the LORD will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants.
15 The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of human hands.
16 They have mouths, but do not speak; they have eyes, but do not see;
17 they have ears, but do not hear, nor is there any breath in their mouths.
18 Those who make them become like them, so do all who trust in them.
19 O house of Israel, bless the LORD! O house of Aaron, bless the LORD!
20 O house of Levi, bless the LORD! You who fear the LORD, bless the LORD!
21 Blessed be the LORD from Zion, he who dwells in Jerusalem! Praise the LORD!


Praise the Lord, for He is worthy. God is good, and deserves all our hallelujahs. Even if we’re tone deaf, it’s good to make a joyful noise to the Lord.

To be chosen as God’s own, to be His precious possession, is a great blessing. He is infinitely greater than anything and everyone else. He does whatever He pleases.

He’s sovereign over the weather, over death, in every war that is waged. He brought His people out of slavery in Egypt into the promised land. He will bring His people out of slavery to sin into the promised land of the new creation.

God’s name and renown are eternal. He will vindicate us His people and have compassion upon us. The idols of the nations are dumb, blind, deaf and lifeless. They may attempt to be immortalised on pedestals as statues, but eventually we all come crashing down.

We become like what we worship. So if we idolise inanimate, dead objects, we become like them. But if we worship the living God, we enjoy the eternal life that He grants.

Let every professing believer in the Lord bless Him! Let those who work “full time” for Him bless Him (although we should all work for Him whatever we do). If we fear the Lord, let’s bless Him, because He graciously allays our fears. Hallelujah!

“Hallelujah, living God, we praise You for Your goodness to undeserving sinners like us. May we bless You always, both now and forever, amen.”


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Blessing

Today’s post is part of our Psalm Saturdays series from guest blogger Robert Chamberlain. You can read his archives at www.roberlain.wordpress.com .

Psalm 134:1–3 (ESV)
1 Come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD, who stand by night in the house of the LORD!
2 Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the LORD!
3 May the LORD bless you from Zion, he who made heaven and earth!


The Lord is worthy of blessing. He counts us as worthy to serve Him, which is remarkable in itself considering our sinful rebellion against Him. He’s worth working through the night to serve!

The raising of hands in worship isn’t a pentecostal innovation. It is present in this three thousand year old Psalm as well! If our faith doesn’t move our bodies to worship it could be argued that we don’t have very strong faith. Thankfully what matters isn’t so much the strength of our faith but the object of our faith: God.

God isn’t some inanimate object that we bless with no hope of blessing in return. Every good gift is from Him. He’s always blessing us.

Wanting and expecting God to bless us isn’t some vain desire. He’s the one who simply spoke and the universe came into existence. Nothing is too hard for Him.

“We bless You Lord, for You are worthy of our worship. May we worship You all of our days and nights, and may You bless us too in Your great love, in Jesus’ name, amen.”


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Flashback: The Lord Is My Rock

pexels-photo-461593.jpeg

Originally posted on January 26, 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 18:1–6 (ESV)

1 I love you, O Lord, my strength. 2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. 4 The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me; 5 the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. 6 In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Oh, the joy of having a refuge in every time of need. That is what God is to his people. We can call on him at all times knowing that he hears and is there. We know that our cries reach his ears and that he is able to come to our rescue. This is why David could praise God and say that he loved him (verse 1).

If you are hurting or afraid, call out to God. He is a rock and a stronghold and you will find refuge in him. Then praise his name for his goodness towards us. He is a great God and deserving of our love.

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Flashback: The Lord Lives

Psalm 1846 [widescreen]

Originally posted on January 31, 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 18:46–50 (ESV)

46 The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation— 47 the God who gave me vengeance and subdued peoples under me, 48 who rescued me from my enemies; yes, you exalted me above those who rose against me; you delivered me from the man of violence. 49 For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations, and sing to your name. 50 Great salvation he brings to his king, and shows steadfast love to his anointed, to David and his offspring forever.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In celebration of victory over his enemies, David gives praise to God. Why? Because he recognizes that it is God who has granted him success. The proper response of David, and all believers, is to glorify and praise God for all things. As David, we should praise him among the nations. We should make his name known for his greatness. He is the God who gives richly to his people. He is the God who provides and who saves. And we should especially tell the world of the salvation we have through Jesus Christ, the One who saves us from our sins and gives us eternal life.

We have much to praise God for. May we lift up his name and tell the world of his greatness!

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I Will Rejoice in the Lord

Habakkuk 317–18 [widescreen]

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish supplemental material on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading for the day. Be sure to subscribe to this page so you can follow along every day. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Habakkuk 3:17–19 (ESV)

17Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,

18yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

19God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.

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The Praise of a Multitude

Revelation 196 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Revelation 19:1–8 (ESV)

1 After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out,

“Hallelujah!
Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,
2 for his judgments are true and just;
for he has judged the great prostitute
who corrupted the earth with her immorality,
and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

3 Once more they cried out,

“Hallelujah!
The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”

4 And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” 5 And from the throne came a voice saying,

“Praise our God,
all you his servants,
you who fear him,
small and great.”

6 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

“Hallelujah!
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
7 Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
8 it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

Understanding and Applying the Word

What a scene that is presented to us in today’s reading! The people of God gathered together with the heavenly host and praising the Lord as one. They praise him for his righteous judgment on evil and they praise him for his salvation. Amazing!

Regardless what is going on in the world or in our personal lives, we can be sure that the Lord reigns. His plans and purposes are being fulfilled and one day the scene we read about in Revelation 19 will be the reality for the redeemed people of God. With each passing day, I long for that day more and more.

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I Will Recount All of Your Wonderful Deeds

Psalm 91 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 9:1–2 (ESV)

(1) I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
(2) I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

Understanding and Applying the Word

O how loving and gracious our God is! Take the time to consider his kindness and grace in your life. As I read the words of verse 1, “I will recount all of your wonderful deeds”, I am reminded of the song Count Your Blessings. Let us do that and let us praise the Lord for he is worthy of our praise.

As we think of the many blessings of God in our lives, let us not forget the greatest gift he has given. The Father has given his Son for our salvation. Jesus Christ went to the cross to bring salvation and life to all who would believe. Let us lift up our voices in worship and adoration for such a great and loving God!

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God’s Steadfast Love

Psalm 1361 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 136:1–3 (ESV)

1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Give thanks. This is the message of Psalm 136. We should be people known for praising our God and giving thanks. Why? Because our God’s love endures forever! We see his great love on display in its greatest manifestation at the cross of Calvary. God gave his Son to rescue us from our sin. It was a steep price to pay, but because of love, Christ went to the cross.

Too often, Christians are known for our downcast and complaining attitudes. This should not be. Our mouths and lives should be lived in praise and thanksgiving. Our God has done great things for us and his love endures forever! Let us tell the world of his goodness.

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The Almighty Reigns!

Revelation 196 [widescreen]

 

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish supplemental materials on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading. Please be sure to subscribe to this page so you can read along every day. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Revelation 19:6–10 (ESV)

6 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

“Hallelujah!
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
7 Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
8 it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” 10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.