Light for the Righteous

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Reading the Word

Psalm 97:10–12 (ESV)

10 O you who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them from the hand of the wicked. 11 Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart. 12 Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!

Understanding and Applying the Word

Those who love the Lord should hate evil. As we look at the world around us it might sometimes seem as if the wicked prosper. They may seem to have the best that life has to offer: money, possessions, fame, and power. Yet, we can be sure that judgment will one day come. In that day, it is the righteous who will be preserved and the wicked will be destroyed.

Verse 11 tells us that “Light is sown for the righteous”. This may seem like an odd statement, but taken in the context of this psalm, the meaning is clear. There is coming a final day when God will judge the world. The wicked will be condemned, but for the righteous, light is sown (rather than judgment). The righteous will be delivered and given life filled with joy and delivered from evil once and for all. This is truly worth our rejoicing!

**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 Lord Reigns!

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Reading the Word

Psalm 96:10–13 (ESV)

10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.” 11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; 12 let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy 13 before the Lord, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The Lord reigns. He rules over all things. This is established by the fact that he is the Creator who established the world. It is also established in the fact that it is the Lord who judges all people. The judgment of God is an occasion for joy and praise because God judges perfectly. He is fair and right in all of his judgments.

While this psalm is focused on the present truth that God rules over all things, it also points to the future when God’s rule will fill the creation completely. Sin and wickedness will be judged and removed from the world and perfect righteousness will prevail. This is why the creation itself is called to rejoice: the heavens, the earth, the sea, the field, and the trees. The creation, along with God’s people, will be finally released from the curse of sin and its consequences and we will dwell with the Lord forever. That is cause for great rejoicing!

**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 Righteous Flourish

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Reading the Word

Psalm 92:10–15 (ESV)

10 But you have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox; you have poured over me fresh oil. 11 My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies; my ears have heard the doom of my evil assailants. 12 The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13 They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, 15 to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Verse 12 states that the “righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.” Both of these tree are symbols of strength and vitality (cf. Isaiah 2:13; 65:22; Hosea 14:5–6; Zechariah 11:2). This is a great contrast to the evil, who will be swept away (vv. 9-10). We are also told that these trees are planted in the house of the Lord, which tells us of the nearness to God that the righteous will experience.

This psalm began declaring the praise of the Lord. God is deserving of worship because of his great deeds. As the psalm ends, we are once again reminded of why it is good to praise the Lord. It is God who gives life and gives it abundantly to his people. He is the God who will judge evil and give life to the righteous. The Lord is upright and he is a rock to those who 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!

Salvation Is Near

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Reading the Word

Psalm 85:9–13 (ESV)

9 Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land. 10 Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. 11 Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky. 12 Yes, the Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. 13 Righteousness will go before him and make his footsteps a way.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Righteous is near to those who fear God. Through this salvation there is restoration. Verses 9-13 describe the restoration that is pictured throughout the Bible. It will be characterized by the steadfast love of God and the faithfulness of his people. It will be a time of righteousness and peace. God, in his goodness, is will restore the land.

In the Book of Revelation, the eternal state is described as a new creation where sin and the curse of Genesis 3 have been finally dealt with and eliminated. In the new world there is no more pain or suffering or death. Instead, there is righteousness and peace and life eternal. This is the hope of the gospel and the what salvation is about. One day, all who fear the Lord will dwell in his presence in the new world.

**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!

Is It Worth It?

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Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but I do include a suggested reading for the day. Please subscribe to this page so you can follow along as we read through the Book of Psalms in 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 73:10–14 (ESV)

10 Therefore his people turn back to them, and find no fault in them. 11 And they say, “How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?” 12 Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches. 13 All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. 14 For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning.

From Sea to Sea

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Reading the Word

Psalm 72:8–14 (ESV)

8 May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth! 9 May desert tribes bow down before him, and his enemies lick the dust! 10 May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands render him tribute; may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts! 11 May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him! 12 For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper. 13 He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. 14 From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their blood in his sight.

Understanding and Applying the Word

After opening this psalm with a prayer of blessing for a newly inaugurated king, verses 8-11 go on to speak of the realm of the king’s reign. “May he have dominion from sea to sea,” says the psalmist. This is the prayer that the king’s dominion will be universal and that his reign will be acknowledged by the nations.

In verses 12-14 we again read that this king will be a defender of the weak and oppressed and will see to it that they receive justice.

These verses do not describe any government or ruler from history, but point us to the kingdom of God and the one true King who will rule the nations in justice. It is God’s plan to bring all things in heaven and earth under the rule of Jesus Christ, the Son (cf. Ephesians 1:10). As believers, we look forward to the day when the world will be as it should be and all people will be treated equally and with justice. We work to that end even now as we wait for the righteous and just King who will reign over 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!

The King of Justice

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Reading the Word

Psalm 72:1–7 (ESV)

1 Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the royal son! 2 May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice! 3 Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness! 4 May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor! 5 May they fear you while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations! 6 May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth! 7 In his days may the righteous flourish, and peace abound, till the moon be no more!

Understanding and Applying the Word

Many scholars believe that this psalm is a prayer for the inauguration of a king. The prayer asks that the king would be one who ruled justly and championed the cause of the people, especially the oppressed of society. The prayer understands that when justice is practiced the nation flourishes in every way.

Throughout the history of the world, there have been societies that were better and worse at practicing justice. We can even see that this is still the case in our world today. One thing is certain though: there has never been a nation/government/ruler who ruled in perfect justice. In every time and place, people have been treated unfairly and been the subject of oppression. The Bible gives us hope that one day there will be a righteous King who will rule over the people with perfect justice (Isaiah 11:1-9). In that day the world will prosper under his rule and authority. Come, King Jesus!

**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

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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!

Clean Hands

I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but I do include a suggested reading that will continue to take us through the Book of Psalms in 2018. Thanks for reading and, if you have not already, be sure to subscribe so you can follow along throughout the entire year.

pexels-photo-296282.jpegReading the Word

Psalm 18:20–27 (ESV)

20 The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me. 21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. 22 For all his rules were before me, and his statutes I did not put away from me. 23 I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from my guilt. 24 So the Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight. 25 With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless; 26 with the purified you show yourself pure; and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous. 27 For you save a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down.