Rock

Today’s post is part of our Psalm Saturdays series from guest blogger Robert Chamberlain.

Psalm 144:1–15 (ESV)
1 Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle;
2 he is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and he in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.
3 O LORD, what is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him?
4 Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.
5 Bow your heavens, O LORD, and come down! Touch the mountains so that they smoke!
6 Flash forth the lightning and scatter them; send out your arrows and rout them!
7 Stretch out your hand from on high; rescue me and deliver me from the many waters, from the hand of foreigners,
8 whose mouths speak lies and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.
9 I will sing a new song to you, O God; upon a ten-stringed harp I will play to you,
10 who gives victory to kings, who rescues David his servant from the cruel sword.
11 Rescue me and deliver me from the hand of foreigners, whose mouths speak lies and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.
12 May our sons in their youth be like plants full grown, our daughters like corner pillars cut for the structure of a palace;
13 may our granaries be full, providing all kinds of produce; may our sheep bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields;
14 may our cattle be heavy with young, suffering no mishap or failure in bearing; may there be no cry of distress in our streets!
15 Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall! Blessed are the people whose God is the LORD!


The Lord is our rock, our love, our fortress, our stronghold, our deliverer, our shield, and our refuge. He is all we need. In Him we have the victory.

When we consider how great God is and how bad we are, it’s amazing to think that He has regard for the likes of you and I. We are a moment, He is forever. We long for God to break into our earthly existence, to rescue and deliver us.

There’s always room for new songs of praise to God. We should sing to celebrate the victory God gives us in Him. We want God to rescue us from our enemies.

We want God to bless our families, our work and our communities. We’re blessed by the sunshine and smile of God’s favour. We’re blessed to be people whose God is the Lord.
“O Lord, how we praise You for all that You are to us, and for all the blessings You bestow upon us. Please grant us victory over our enemies, in Jesus’ name, amen.”

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Hear

Today’s post is part of our Psalm Saturdays series from guest blogger Robert Chamberlain.

Psalm 143:1–12 (ESV)
1 Hear my prayer, O LORD; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!
2 Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you.
3 For the enemy has pursued my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.
4 Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled.
5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.
6 I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah
7 Answer me quickly, O LORD! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
9 Deliver me from my enemies, O LORD! I have fled to you for refuge.
10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!
11 For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life! In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!
12 And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies, and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for I am your servant.


We long for God to hear our prayers, our pleas for mercy. We trust He will because He is faithful and righteous. We don’t want Him to judge us as we deserve, if He did, none of us could stand.

The ultimate enemy of our souls is the devil, who wants us to enter the darkness he inhabits. Sometimes, even as God’s people, it might feel, appallingly, that Satan has defeated us. In such cases, we do well to remember God’s faithfulness to us in times past.

Raising our hands in worship isn’t some modern innovation: it has ancient precedents. Spiritual thirst isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because God promises spiritually dehydrated people that He will satisfy them. We long for a speedy answer from the Lord before we lose hope.

His love is unfailing and His guidance is always right. His deliverance is assured in Christ, and He is assuredly a safe place for us to find refuge. We ought always to seek God’s will in our lives.

We need the guidance of the Holy Spirit. God has set His name upon us, so for His name’s sake we long for Him to have regard for our prayers. In His goodness we want Him to save us from our troubles.

Because God loves us, He will vindicate us against our enemies, all the spiritual forces of evil that war against us. Satan and his demons will ultimately and assuredly be destroyed. God looks after His servants.

“O Lord, may we always find in You the safety that we need. Please vindicate us as we seek to live for You our Saviour. In Jesus’ name, amen.”


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Cry

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 142:1–7 (ESV)
1 With my voice I cry out to the LORD; with my voice I plead for mercy to the LORD.
2 I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him.
3 When my spirit faints within me, you know my way! In the path where I walk they have hidden a trap for me.
4 Look to the right and see: there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul.
5 I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”
6 Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low! Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me!
7 Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name! The righteous will surround me, for you will deal bountifully with me.


Prayer doesn’t always have to be a relatively passive, silent exercise. We can literally voice our concerns to the Lord and audibly cry out to Him like the Psalmist here. We can pour out our troubles to Him.

We might feel hopeless, but God knows our ways. He knows every potential trap and pitfall along the way. We might feel helpless, but if we have God, we have the ultimate Helper.

Even if we don’t feel the truth, it’s good to confess that God is our refuge, if indeed we’re taking refuge in Him. We long for God to deliver us from all our enemies. We might be brought low, but God can and will raise us up in the end.

Whether we’re literally imprisoned or psychologically, we should cry to God to deliver us. Then we will give thanks to God’s name. If we’re righteous, we long to be in the company of the righteous. We do well to have faith that God will assuredly deal bountifully with us.

“Father in heaven, thank You for knowing where we’re at, and caring for us in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. Please attend to our cries, in Jesus’ name, amen.”


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Guard

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 141:1–10 (ESV)
1 O LORD, I call upon you; hasten to me! Give ear to my voice when I call to you!
2 Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!
3 Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!
4 Do not let my heart incline to any evil, to busy myself with wicked deeds in company with men who work iniquity, and let me not eat of their delicacies!
5 Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it. Yet my prayer is continually against their evil deeds.
6 When their judges are thrown over the cliff, then they shall hear my words, for they are pleasant.
7 As when one plows and breaks up the earth, so shall our bones be scattered at the mouth of Sheol.
8 But my eyes are toward you, O GOD, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless!
9 Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me and from the snares of evildoers!
10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by safely.


We don’t have crystal balls, so when we pray to God, we’re usually hoping for a quick answer. We want Him to hasten to us. We want God to hear us and to accept our prayers.

We need God to guard our words, because as James says, if we can guard our tongues and speak aright, we would be perfect. Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. We need God to steer our hearts away from their natural inclination to evil.

We might think of things like watching pornography as an individualistic choice, but in reality if we do so we’re taking part in the deeds of evil people in exploitative and abusive wickedness. If a good man rebukes us for any evil in us, if we’re spiritual, we’ll respond positively, and take it as the constructive criticism it is. We don’t need to get defensive when we get told off.

We need to pray against evils that are so prevalent in the world today, like pornography, abortion and racism. We would do well to number our days, and be conscious of our mortality. We would do well to seek refuge in God against the attacks of evildoers.

“O Lord, may we take refuge in You from the attacks of wrongdoers. Please deliver us from evil, and don’t lead us into temptation. In Jesus’ name, amen.”


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Deliverance

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 140:1–13 (ESV)
1 Deliver me, O LORD, from evil men; preserve me from violent men,
2 who plan evil things in their heart and stir up wars continually.
3 They make their tongue sharp as a serpent’s, and under their lips is the venom of asps. Selah
4 Guard me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from violent men, who have planned to trip up my feet.
5 The arrogant have hidden a trap for me, and with cords they have spread a net; beside the way they have set snares for me. Selah
6 I say to the LORD, You are my God; give ear to the voice of my pleas for mercy, O LORD!
7 O LORD, my Lord, the strength of my salvation, you have covered my head in the day of battle.
8 Grant not, O LORD, the desires of the wicked; do not further their evil plot, or they will be exalted! Selah
9 As for the head of those who surround me, let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them!
10 Let burning coals fall upon them! Let them be cast into fire, into miry pits, no more to rise!
11 Let not the slanderer be established in the land; let evil hunt down the violent man speedily!
12 I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and will execute justice for the needy.
13 Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name; the upright shall dwell in your presence.


We need God’s deliverance from those who would do us harm. We need Him to guard us and to preserve our lives. We need Him to save us from the traps of evildoers.

The Lord is our God, and we need Him to give ear to our cries for mercy. God is the strength of our salvation who clothes us with the helmet of salvation. He protects us from the enemy’s attacks.

We don’t want evildoers to get their own way; we want them to get their comeuppance. They deserve hell, but God can graciously save the afflicted. God maintains the cause of the needy and executes justice for them.

If we’ve been made righteous through faith in God, we will give thanks to His holy name. If we’ve been set upright by God, we can have confidence that we will dwell in His presence. We deserve His condemnation for our wrongdoing, but we can graciously receive His eternal life.

“Dear Lord, thank You so much for protecting us from those who would do us harm, and please grant that we should be made righteous and dwell in Your house forever. In Jesus’ name, amen.”


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Knowledge

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 139:1–24 (ESV)
1 O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.
7 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.
13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.
19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me!
20 They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!


God knows us thoroughly. He knows us inside out. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows our futures when we cannot envisage them ourselves. Who of us successfully predicted 2020 would turn out the way it has so far?

God is awesome, and the reality of His omniscience is staggering. We can’t escape His comprehensive gaze. We can run, but we can’t hide.

We’re not just the product of chance, or the fertilisation of an egg by some sperm. We’re crafted by our Maker. Our parents might provide the raw ingredients, but God cooks us up in our mother’s wombs!

God is amazing how He has formed us and how He knows us completely. We can never fully mine the depths of God’s thoughts, fascinating as it is to attempt it. It’s amazing as God’s chosen people to think that, sinners that we are, God thinks enough of us to sacrifice His Son on our behalf.

We long for the day when God’s enemies and ours are no more. But we are to love our enemies and seek to convert them into friends of ours and of God. I love how open and honest the Psalmist is.

He might hate his enemies, but to his credit he asks God to reveal any grievous way in him. Considering that God commands us to love our enemies, for us to hate people is grievous. We long for God to lead us in the everlasting way.

“O Lord, You know us through and through and yet You love us still. Thank You so much for Your sovereign care of us, in Jesus’ name, amen.”


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Thanksgiving

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 138:1–8 (ESV)
1 I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise;
2 I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
3 On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.
4 All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O LORD, for they have heard the words of your mouth,
5 and they shall sing of the ways of the LORD, for great is the glory of the LORD.
6 For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me.
8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.


God loves wholehearted thanksgiving, and that’s what He gets from the Psalmist here. All the gods of the nations are idols, but God is worthy of praise forever. We have good reason to give God thanks, because He loves us and is faithful to us.

The name of the Lord is exalted above all things. God is who He is, and at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, because there’s no other name by which we should be saved. And God’s word is exalted because by it we are made wise for salvation.

God always answers our prayers, just not necessarily in the ways we would expect or want. He strengthens our souls even as our bodies inevitably weaken as we age. Though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day to day.

God’s salvation hasn’t been achieved in a corner. All the rulers of earth have heard of Him. The Psalmist describes them all giving Him thanks and singing His praise, which seems inconceivable, although I suspect that kind of think will eventually go on at the funeral of Elizabeth II of the UK.

The Lord might be high above all, but He has regard for the lowly. The haughty however are far from Him. Even in the midst of trouble, God looks after us.

God has defeated our enemies, including our greatest enemy of death. He will deliver us from them all. He will preserve our lives eternally.

The Lord always fulfills His purposes, even in our individual lives. His love is eternal. We cry out to Him not to forsake the work of His hands.

“Thank You Lord for Your unfailing love and faithfulness to us. Please don’t forsake us, for Jesus’ sake, amen.”


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Remember

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 137:1–9 (ESV)
1 By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion.
2 On the willows there we hung up our lyres.
3 For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
4 How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a foreign land?
5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill!
6 Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy!
7 Remember, O LORD, against the Edomites the day of Jerusalem, how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare, down to its foundations!”
8 O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed, blessed shall he be who repays you with what you have done to us!
9 Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!


There’s a certain symmetry to this Psalm. There’s weeping now for God’s people whilst their enemies exult. But there’s a day of reckoning coming when God’s people will rejoice whilst His enemies will despair.

God’s people are exiles and strangers in the world. It feels strange to us to sing of our heavenly home in the midst of the world in which we live. Worshipping God isn’t something we want to do to the mockery of others.

Israel’s singers may have gone on strike in exile in Babylon, but they still wanted to remember the good old days when they sang their old time worship songs. And they still penned laments like this of their lamentable current circumstances. Psalm 137 is from exile in Babylon, and the book of Lamentations is from the devastated homeland.

We want to remember good times in the midst of lament. But we also want God to remember injustices that we have suffered. The final verses of this Psalm seem shocking to our respectable modern sensibilities. But we have an ugly sense of entitlement if we think that God owes us anything other than destruction, because He doesn’t.

“Lord, we’re strangers and exiles in this world, and we long to come home to You. Please help us in the meantime, and grant us justice against our enemies, in Christ’s name, amen.”


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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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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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