God Is Great!

Psalm 704 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 70:1–5 (ESV)

1 Make haste, O God, to deliver me! O Lord, make haste to help me! 2 Let them be put to shame and confusion who seek my life! Let them be turned back and brought to dishonor who delight in my hurt! 3 Let them turn back because of their shame who say, “Aha, Aha!” 4 May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!” 5 But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay!

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm is almost identical to the words of Psalm 40:13-17. Here we find David once again calling out to God to defeat his enemies and deliver his from trouble. In verse 4 we read David’s words of praise as he considers that God is the one who is able to deliver him.

As David calls out for God’s help and even finds words of praise in the midst of his prayer, he ends the psalm with “But I am poor and needy.” These words are true of all of us, which is exactly why we all need God to save us. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” When we come to a realization of our poverty and need, it is then that we are in a position to find God’s salvation. When we realize we cannot save ourselves, we are forced to look outside of ourselves to the one who can deliver us. This is why those who seek the Lord say, “God is great!”

**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 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!

My Prayer Is to You

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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 the page so you can follow along as we read through the Book of Psalms in 2018!

Reading the Word

Psalm 69:13–18 (ESV)

13 But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness. 14 Deliver me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters. 15 Let not the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the pit close its mouth over me. 16 Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me. 17 Hide not your face from your servant, for I am in distress; make haste to answer me. 18 Draw near to my soul, redeem me; ransom me because of my enemies!

The Lord Who Daily Bears Us Up

Psalm68_19

Reading the Word

Psalm 68:19–23 (ESV)

19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Selah20 Our God is a God of salvation, and to God, the Lord, belong deliverances from death. 21 But God will strike the heads of his enemies, the hairy crown of him who walks in his guilty ways. 22 The Lord said, “I will bring them back from Bashan, I will bring them back from the depths of the sea, 23 that you may strike your feet in their blood, that the tongues of your dogs may have their portion from the foe.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

In these verses we read of praise to God for His deliverance. He has delivered His people from the enemy through military victories.

We may be tempted to pass over verses like these and see no way to find application to our lives, but I believe there is something here for us. These verses should encourage all who are God’s people in the world. We know that He is with us and that He is the one who brings us through our circumstances, whatever they may be. Scripture tells us in multiple places that if we live in this world as God’s people that we can expect persecution. Yet, we know that God daily sustains His people and one day He will completely eliminate all of His enemies. These words give us the strength and encouragement that we need to live each day for Him. We know the final outcome and we know the victory has already been won!

**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 Led a Host of Captives

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Reading the Word

Psalm 68:7–18 (ESV)

7 O God, when you went out before your people, when you marched through the wilderness, Selah8 the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain, before God, the One of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel. 9 Rain in abundance, O God, you shed abroad; you restored your inheritance as it languished; 10 your flock found a dwelling in it; in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy. 11 The Lord gives the word; the women who announce the news are a great host: 12 “The kings of the armies—they flee, they flee!” The women at home divide the spoil— 13 though you men lie among the sheepfolds— the wings of a dove covered with silver, its pinions with shimmering gold. 14 When the Almighty scatters kings there, let snow fall on Zalmon. 15 O mountain of God, mountain of Bashan; O many-peaked mountain, mountain of Bashan! 16 Why do you look with hatred, O many-peaked mountain, at the mount that God desired for his abode, yes, where the Lord will dwell forever? 17 The chariots of God are twice ten thousand, thousands upon thousands; the Lord is among them; Sinai is now in the sanctuary. 18 You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the Lord God may dwell there.

Understanding and Applying the Word

As we read these verses, we read a retelling of the exodus when God brought the Israelites out of servitude in Egypt and into the Promised Land where the people became a nation. The passage proclaims that it was God, and God alone, who was responsible for the great victory. The Lord is the victorious King who led a host of captives in His train.

In Scripture, the exodus is often used as a picture to the greater deliverance that God would bring to mankind by delivering them from captivity to sin. God accomplished this deliverance through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ followed by the resurrection. The Letter to the Ephesians quotes Psalm 68 when it states the following:

“When he [Jesus] ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” (Ephesians 4:8)

The imagery here is clear. Jesus is seen as the conquering King who leads His people out of bondage to sin. This is the message of all of Scripture. We are sinners and God, by His grace, has made it possible for our sin to be dealt with so that we might have eternal life. We cannot do it on our own, but our King does all of the conquering for us. It is ours to simply 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!

Come and Hear

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Reading the Word

Psalm 66:13–16 (ESV)

13 I will come into your house with burnt offerings; I will perform my vows to you, 14 that which my lips uttered and my mouth promised when I was in trouble. 15 I will offer to you burnt offerings of fattened animals, with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams; I will make an offering of bulls and goats. Selah16 Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In these verses, the psalmist promises to publicly worship and praise God for all that He has done. He will tell others of what God has done for him.

Worship is always a response. It is a response to our understanding of who God is and our knowledge of what He has done. As such, our worship is a witness and testimony to others of what God has done. We worship and we tell others why we worship, We proclaim God’s praises because He is worthy of praise and then we tell others why He is worthy. And our worship is centered on the salvation we have in Jesus Christ, who died in order to give us life.

Let us worship the Lord for all He has done and let us tell the world of His greatness!

**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!

Restore Us

Psalm 601 [widescreen]

Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. I am at a conference May 6-8 and will not be posting devotional material on those days, but I will continue to post a suggested Scripture reading for each day. Please subscribe to this page and follow along as we read through the Book of Psalms in 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 60:1–5 (ESV)

1 O God, you have rejected us, broken our defenses; you have been angry; oh, restore us. 2 You have made the land to quake; you have torn it open; repair its breaches, for it totters. 3 You have made your people see hard things; you have given us wine to drink that made us stagger. 4 You have set up a banner for those who fear you, that they may flee to it from the bow. Selah 5 That your beloved ones may be delivered, give salvation by your right hand and answer us!

Create in Me a Clean Heart

Psalm 5110 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 51:10–13 (ESV)

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.

Understanding and Applying the Word

David has admitted his sin and taken full responsibility. Now he requests that God would create in him a new heart and renew a right spirit within him. With these words, David is asking God to change him at the core level of who he is. He wants to be a different man. He is not just asking for strength to resist sinning, but he is asking for his desires and passions to be changed. This can only happen through the work of God in our lives.

When we come to Christ in repentance of our sins and trusting in him to save us, we are told that we are born again. We are given new life. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that those who are in Christ are a new creation. This means that God has begun a work within us to change us. Through his word, his Spirit, his people, and our experiences, God reshapes our desires so that they are the same as his desires. And he promises that the work that he has begun will be brought to completion (Philippians 1:6). We will one day be completely free from our sin and we will be holy as he is holy. Look back at your life and see how far God has brought you as he has been working in your life. As you reflect on God’s work, give thanks to him for his grace.

**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!

O My God, in You I Trust

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Reading the Word

Psalm 25:1–7 (ESV)

1 To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. 2 O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. 3 Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous. 4 Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. 5 Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. 6 Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. 7 Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!

Understanding and Applying the Word

The saying “God helps those who helps themselves” is popular and is often attributed to the Bible. However, the phrase is nowhere to be found in Scripture nor is its sentiment. Rather, David’s words in Psalm 25 tell us the opposite. God helps those who trust in him.

The message of the Bible is that we cannot help ourselves. We need God to save us. And that is exactly what God does for those who place their trust in him and his word. God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to die for the sins of mankind. All who acknowledge their sin and turn to Christ for forgiveness find the salvation they need and a God who is gracious and loving. Will you trust in him today?

**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 Fool Says, There Is No God

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Reading the Word

Psalm 14:1–7 (ESV)

1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good. 2 The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. 3 They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. 4 Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the Lord? 5 There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous. 6 You would shame the plans of the poor, but the Lord is his refuge. 7 Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Paul quotes from this psalm in Romans when he says, “…there is none who does good, not even one.” There, Paul argues that all people are sinners and have fallen short and therefore are deserving of God’s wrath. Thankfully, God has graciously sent his Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to take the wrath for our sins instead. Those who trust in Christ are forgiven and given eternal life.

However, there are many who continue to refuse. Instead, they rebel against God, even to the point of denying his very existence. Why? Because if there is a God, they know they stand condemned as a result of their sins. To admit that God exists is to acknowledge a greater authority and a need to submit to that authority. Many are unable to do that so they stubbornly reject the revealed truth of God and continue to trust in their own ways. Sadly, this denial will eventually lead to self-destruction.

God is a refuge for those who will seek him and turn to his Son for salvation. Let us do that today.

**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!