Promise Kept

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Reading the Word

Psalm 132:11–18 (ESV)

11 The LORD swore to David a sure oath
from which he will not turn back:
“One of the sons of your body
I will set on your throne.
12 If your sons keep my covenant
and my testimonies that I shall teach them,
their sons also forever
shall sit on your throne.”

13 For the LORD has chosen Zion;
he has desired it for his dwelling place:
14 “This is my resting place forever;
here I will dwell, for I have desired it.
15 I will abundantly bless her provisions;
I will satisfy her poor with bread.
16 Her priests I will clothe with salvation,
and her saints will shout for joy.
17 There I will make a horn to sprout for David;
I have prepared a lamp for my anointed.
18 His enemies I will clothe with shame,
but on him his crown will shine.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

These verses refer to God’s promise to David. The Lord made a covenant promise to David that there would be a descendant of David’s who would reign forever. The promise finds its fulfillment in Jesus Christ.

Jesus, the descendant of David (cf. Matthew 1:1), came into this world as the long-awaited Messiah. Messiah is the title that means “anointed one” and was used as a way to speak of kings because they were anointed as they began to reign. Jesus came as King, but went to the cross to die for his people. He is a King that gave his life so that his people could live. Scripture tells us that Jesus will one day come again. In his return, he will come as a conquering King who will defeat his enemies and sit as their Judge.

God is faithful to his promises. Scripture is a record of the promises he has made and their fulfillment. As we go through this Christmas season, let us remember why we celebrate: Jesus has come into the world. The King has come! God has kept his promise to David. And Jesus has brought salvation to all who believe in his name. What a wonderful and faithful 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!

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I Hope in Your Word

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Reading the Word

Psalm 119:81–88 (ESV)

81 My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word. 82 My eyes long for your promise; I ask, “When will you comfort me?” 83 For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke, yet I have not forgotten your statutes. 84 How long must your servant endure? When will you judge those who persecute me? 85 The insolent have dug pitfalls for me; they do not live according to your law. 86 All your commandments are sure; they persecute me with falsehood; help me! 87 They have almost made an end of me on earth, but I have not forsaken your precepts. 88 In your steadfast love give me life, that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Sometimes life is hard. It may even feel like you cannot go any further. This is how the psalmist felt. Listen as he says, “My soul longs for your salvation…My eyes long for your promise.” Here we read of one who is desperate for God to intervene.

As we read the feelings of the psalmist, let us not miss what sustains him through his trouble. It is because his hope is in God’s word and in the promises that God has made that he is able to persevere. Though the world is seemingly against him, he remains steadfast in living according to God’s word and waiting for the promises to be fulfilled.

This is what faith is all about. It is trusting in the word of God no matter what. It is believing the promises of God and living according to his word. It is believing that God is saving his people through his Son, Jesus Christ, and that one day he will gather his people to be with him forever. And faith is what gives us the strength to persevere in this word until we reach the next one where sin and suffering are no more. Do you trust the word 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!

The Good of Affliction

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Reading the Word

Psalm 119:65–72 (ESV)

65 You have dealt well with your servant, O Lord, according to your word. 66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments. 67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. 68 You are good and do good; teach me your statutes. 69 The insolent smear me with lies, but with my whole heart I keep your precepts; 70 their heart is unfeeling like fat, but I delight in your law. 71 It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. 72 The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The Concise Oxford English Dictionary defines affliction as “a cause of pain or harm.” Why then does the author of Psalm 119 says in verse 71 that “It is good for me that I was afflicted?” After all, who likes to suffer?

The psalmist speaks of the good of affliction because it was through suffering at the hands of others that he turned to the word of God. As he was facing pain, he found hope through the promises of God. This is why the psalm ends by saying, “The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.”

Are you hurting or facing your own affliction? Turn to the promises of God that are recorded in his word. Know that God is faithful and always keeps his promises. And remember that he is good and does good (cf. verse 68).

**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!

He Remembered His Covenant

Study Read Book Bible

Reading the Word

Psalm 106:40–48 (ESV)

40 Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people, and he abhorred his heritage; 41 he gave them into the hand of the nations, so that those who hated them ruled over them. 42 Their enemies oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their power. 43 Many times he delivered them, but they were rebellious in their purposes and were brought low through their iniquity. 44 Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress, when he heard their cry. 45 For their sake he remembered his covenant, and relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love. 46 He caused them to be pitied by all those who held them captive. 47 Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise. 48 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! And let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the Lord!

Understanding and Applying the Word

These verses describe the time period covered by the Book of Judges. During that time, the people of Israel are described as living in a cycle of rebellion against God. They would forget God and turn to idolatry. As a result, God sent oppressors to deal with the people. After a time of oppression, the people would call out to God. Then God would send a rescuer (i.e. a judge) to save the people and deliver them from their oppression. After a time, the cycle would repeat itself.

Why did God listen to the cries of the people over and over if he knew that they would continue to repeat this cycle? Verse 45 gives us an answer. It was because of his covenant. God promised to deliver the people and to make them into a great nation. His promise was based solely on his grace, not Israel’s merit.

We may ask the same question of ourselves. Why does God continue to abide with us even after our continued sin against him? It is only by his grace. He has promised us that if we trust in his Son, Jesus Christ, that our sins are forgiven and that we are made children of God. It is not our ability to earn our salvation because we cannot. It is completely by the grace of God and his faithfulness to his promises that we are saved. Let us give thanks to him for continuing to strive with us each and every 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!

The Promise Keeper

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Reading the Word

Psalm 105:8–11 (ESV)

8 He remembers his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations, 9 the covenant that he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac, 10 which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, 11 saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan as your portion for an inheritance.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

In the Book of Genesis, God promises to Abraham that he will turn him into a great nation and give him a land for the people (Genesis 12:1-3). This promise became known as the Abrahamic Covenant and the land became known as the Promised Land. Israel was the nation made up of the descendants of Abraham and the land of Canaan was the land of promise.

The New Testament makes it clear that the promise to Abraham was greater than just a political nation. The Promised Land would be fully realized when the true descendants of Abraham, those who share his faith, are gathered to be with the Lord in a new creation (cf. Hebrews 11:8-18 and Galatians 3:1-14). The story of the Bible shows that God keeps his promises and is working his plan to bring those promises to fulfillment. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ were essential to the keeping of God’s promises because it is through Christ that our sins are forgiven and that we enter into a covenant relationship with God. Let us praise God who makes and keeps promises. And let us praise our Lord, Jesus Christ, for securing those promises on our behalf.

**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!

No Evil Shall Befall You

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Reading the Word

Psalm 91:5–13 (ESV)

5 You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked. 9 Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge— 10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. 12 On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The words of these verses can be, and have been, misunderstood. If we do not read them carefully we may think that they teach us that nothing bad will ever happen to the people of God. This is how Satan tried to deceive Christ when he quoted verses 11-12 (cf. Matthew 4:5-6). This is how Satan has always tried to deceive mankind.

In the garden of Eden, Satan deceived the woman and the man by convincing them that God was not good. God was holding something good back from them (i.e. wisdom). The first man and woman fell for it and ate of the tree that was forbidden. Likewise, we are often tempted to believe that if God is good then nothing bad should ever happen to his good people. We might ask, “If God is good why do bad things happen to good or innocent people?” After all, the verses of this psalm teach that evil is reserved for the enemies of God, right?

Well, not really. As we will read tomorrow, in verse 15 God promises to be with his people in the time of trouble and to rescue them. These verses do not promise freedom from trouble, only that God will be with us in those times and will ultimately deliver us. For some, that might mean he will heal our sickness. For others, he may give us victory over our enemies. But for many, it will mean that our victory does not come in this life, but in the next. God promises us that he will give us the ultimate victory. We will be victorious over sin and death because of what he has done for us through his Son, Jesus Christ. We will have eternal life and the joy of eternity with God as our Father. Nothing in this world can ever take that away!

**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!

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!

Have You Broken Your Promise?

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Reading the Word

Psalm 89:38–45 (ESV)

38 But now you have cast off and rejected; you are full of wrath against your anointed. 39 You have renounced the covenant with your servant; you have defiled his crown in the dust. 40 You have breached all his walls; you have laid his strongholds in ruins. 41 All who pass by plunder him; he has become the scorn of his neighbors. 42 You have exalted the right hand of his foes; you have made all his enemies rejoice. 43 You have also turned back the edge of his sword, and you have not made him stand in battle. 44 You have made his splendor to cease and cast his throne to the ground. 45 You have cut short the days of his youth; you have covered him with shame. Selah

Understanding and Applying the Word

After focusing on the promises and faithfulness of God in the previous verse, now the psalmist asks why God has renounced his covenant with David. These verses reflect the time when Israel was defeated and taken into exile. It seemed as though the throne of David had come to an end.

God had not forsaken his promise to David. However, the promise was to be fulfilled in an unexpected way. God’s promised King would descend from David, but his kingdom would not be geopolitical. Jesus, the eternal King, established a kingdom for people from every nation and tribe and language. All who trust in him are a part of this kingdom, whether Jew or Gentile (i.e. non-Jew). Even in the midst of what seemed like defeat, God’s plans and purposes for Israel, and the entire world, were being fulfilled. And God was once again showing his faithfulness to his promises.

**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!

A Forever Promise

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Reading the Word

Psalm 89:27–37 (ESV)

27 And I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth. 28 My steadfast love I will keep for him forever, and my covenant will stand firm for him. 29 I will establish his offspring forever and his throne as the days of the heavens. 30 If his children forsake my law and do not walk according to my rules, 31 if they violate my statutes and do not keep my commandments, 32 then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes, 33 but I will not remove from him my steadfast love or be false to my faithfulness. 34 I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my lips. 35 Once for all I have sworn by my holiness; I will not lie to David. 36 His offspring shall endure forever, his throne as long as the sun before me. 37 Like the moon it shall be established forever, a faithful witness in the skies.” Selah

Understanding and Applying the Word

These verses continue the theme of yesterday’s reading regarding God’s promise to David. In 2 Samuel 7, God promises David that his throne will remain forever. There will always be a descendant of David on the throne. Not only would David and his descendants reign over Israel, but over all of the nations (v. 27). When we get to verse 30 we read about how God will respond if David’s descendants do not seek God and do not keep his commandments. They will be punished, but God will not remove his grace nor the kingship from them. God then swears y his own character that he would not go back on his promise to David (v. 34).

At first glance, this may seem like an unrealized promise. After all, if someone was supposed to sit on David’s throne forever, where is he today? When we read the Bible and come into the New Testament, we are shown that Jesus Christ is the final fulfillment of this promise. Jesus is a descendant of David and is the King of kings and Lord of lords (Matthew 1:1-17; Colossians 1:15-20) whose kingdom will never cease. We are called to be a part of his kingdom by repenting of our sins, turning to Christ for forgiveness, and living in obedience to our King. Praise to God for keeping his promises!

**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 God Who Is Gracious

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Reading the Word

Psalm 89:19–26 (ESV)

19 Of old you spoke in a vision to your godly one, and said: “I have granted help to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people. 20 I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him, 21 so that my hand shall be established with him; my arm also shall strengthen him. 22 The enemy shall not outwit him; the wicked shall not humble him. 23 I will crush his foes before him and strike down those who hate him. 24 My faithfulness and my steadfast love shall be with him, and in my name shall his horn be exalted. 25 I will set his hand on the sea and his right hand on the rivers. 26 He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’

Understanding and Applying the Word

These verses recount how God chose David as king of Israel. The passage recalls the events of 1 Samuel 16. The emphasis that we see in these verses is that it was by God’s choosing that David was made king. And it was also by God’s hand that he was given success as king as he triumphed over his foes. God promised to give David success and he fulfilled his promise.

God is a God of steadfast love and faithfulness. He is committed to his people and he makes promises that he keeps. Why? Not because we deserve such faithfulness, but simply because God is gracious. As we live our lives, we should be encouraged by God’s unfailing loyalty and when he fulfills his promises to us, we should give him the glory because it is only through him that we have anything at 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!