The Lord’s Purpose for Me

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Reading the Word

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.

Understanding and Applying the Word

As we read these last several psalms, we find the central theme of praise. In Psalm 138, we once again find this theme and a focus on God’s steadfast love and faithfulness as the reason for our praise. It is God who answers prayer and it is God who is a helper in times of trouble (vv. 3, 7).

The psalmist concludes this psalm by saying, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.” This is a wonderful statement of confidence in the Lord’s faithfulness. God has a purpose for his people, not just collectively, but individually. Whatever we may face in life, we can find hope and a reason for thanksgiving because the Lord has a purpose and will fulfill it. And we know that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). So, let us learn to give thanks knowing that our God is great and he is faithful.

**Want to read the Bible every day? Be sure to subscribe to this page and follow along! We are currently reading through the Book of Psalms. In 2019, we will focus on the Life of Christ for our daily readings.

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Unless the Lord Builds the House

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Reading the Word

Psalm 127:1–5 (ESV)

1 Unless the LORD builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
2 It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.

3 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
5 Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate

Understanding and Applying the Word

What are you counting on for success? If you are counting on your own efforts and abilities, you labor in vain. It is God alone who gives blessing and success. This is a difficult truth for many of us to accept because we want to take credit for the good things in our lives. But a proper understanding of who God is will lead us to praise and thanksgiving for all he has done for us.

The second half of this psalm stresses that even our children are a blessing from the Lord. They are a blessing to parents and they too are in the hands of the sovereign God. This is a great comfort to parents because we can trust the One who is over all as our children grow, mature, and begin to live independently as adults. It is God who builds the house and protects the city. Let us not be anxious while trusting in ourselves, but let us rest in his loving care.

**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 Lord Who Is on Our Side

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Reading the Word

Psalm 124:1–8 (ESV)

1 If it had not been the Lord who was on our side— let Israel now say— 2 if it had not been the Lord who was on our side when people rose up against us, 3 then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us; 4 then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us; 5 then over us would have gone the raging waters. 6 Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as prey to their teeth! 7 We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped! 8 Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm observes that if the Lord had not been on the side of Israel, they would have been defeated. The enemy would have triumphed over the people and destroyed them. But God was on the side of Israel and the people escaped.

Romans 8:31 states, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” The Apostle Paul’s point in this verse is that if the sovereign God stands on our side, we are assured victory. Paul goes on to say that this is the same God who sent his Son to die for us. And if God was willing to pay such a huge price to save us, he is not going to just give us up. When we trust in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we are brought into the family of God. We are his and he stands on our side. Let us go into the world with confidence knowing that our salvation is secure and we have nothing to fear.

**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 All-Powerful King

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Reading the Word

Psalm 114:1–8 (ESV)

1 When Israel went out from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language, 2 Judah became his sanctuary, Israel his dominion. 3 The sea looked and fled; Jordan turned back. 4 The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs. 5 What ails you, O sea, that you flee? O Jordan, that you turn back? 6 O mountains, that you skip like rams? O hills, like lambs? 7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, 8 who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Psalm 114 recounts the exodus from Egypt by the Israelites. The details of the event are recalled in a manner that stresses the grand power of God. The sea looked and fled at the presence of God as the people crossed over the parted waters. The mountains skipped and the earth trembled as God descended at Sinai. And God brought water from the rock to supply his people.

God is the all-powerful King of creation. Everything bows before him. When he lead the people out of Egypt, there was nothing that could stand in their way, not even the seas and mountains. This is the same God who leads us into the world as his people. As we follow him, we go in the confidence of his power and authority. May we proclaim his greatness and grace to the nations.

**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 Is Not Afraid of Bad News

Psalm 1127 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 112:1–10 (ESV)

1 Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments! 2 His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. 3 Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. 4 Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous. 5 It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice. 6 For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. 7 He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. 8 His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries. 9 He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honor. 10 The wicked man sees it and is angry; he gnashes his teeth and melts away; the desire of the wicked will perish!

Understanding and Applying the Word

The one who fears the Lord is blessed. This is in contrast to the wicked, who gnashes his teeth and perishes. The one who fears the Lord will have influential offspring, wealth and riches, and will be remembered.

But what about when things do not go so well? What about when the circumstances do not seem to be a blessing at all? The one who fears the Lord even finds hope in the midst of trouble. As verse 7 states, “He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.” Those who belong to Christ, who trust in him, know that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord (Romans 8:28). Even what may be considered “bad news” is used by God for the good of his people. We have no reason to be afraid because God is in control and we trust him with every detail.

What are you facing today that causes you to fear? Know that God is in control of your situation and he is using it for your good. Let your heart be firm and trust in the Lord!

**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!

Hope for the Poor And Needy

Psalm 10922 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 109:21–29 (ESV)

21 But you, O God my Lord, deal on my behalf for your name’s sake; because your steadfast love is good, deliver me! 22 For I am poor and needy, and my heart is stricken within me. 23 I am gone like a shadow at evening; I am shaken off like a locust. 24 My knees are weak through fasting; my body has become gaunt, with no fat. 25 I am an object of scorn to my accusers; when they see me, they wag their heads. 26 Help me, O Lord my God! Save me according to your steadfast love! 27 Let them know that this is your hand; you, O Lord, have done it! 28 Let them curse, but you will bless! They arise and are put to shame, but your servant will be glad! 29 May my accusers be clothed with dishonor; may they be wrapped in their own shame as in a cloak!

Understanding and Applying the Word

In these verses we see David’s hope. His trust is in God, who he calls “God my Lord” in verse 21. The titles that he uses reflect on God’s sovereign rule over all. While David is “poor and needy” (a description of his weakness), God is in control and full of steadfast love towards David.

What are you going through? What is it that you are facing that makes you feel weak and powerless to overcome? David sought the Lord in prayer and trusted that the sovereign One would be faithful to him. You and I can rest in the truth that our God is in control and that he loves his people. Let us call out to him and trust him. We may be weak, but he is all-powerful.

**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 Lord’s Plans

Joseph Dwelleth in Egypt

Reading the Word

Psalm 105:23–25 (ESV)

23 Then Israel came to Egypt; Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham. 24 And the Lord made his people very fruitful and made them stronger than their foes. 25 He turned their hearts to hate his people, to deal craftily with his servants.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Jacob and his family traveled to Egypt to escape famine. Little did the family know they would not be leaving Egypt for many years after arriving. They would become slaves in the land. This means they had left the Promised Land behind to escape the famine and were now residing in Egypt. Yet, God continued to protect them by making them fruitful and stronger than their foes, the Egyptians. Over time, the Egyptians learned to hate the Israelites and treat them poorly.

Why did God do this? It was part of his plan to fulfill his promise to Abraham. He had promised that Abraham’s descendants would one day be a great nation and reside in the land of Canaan. God caused the people to prosper even in slavery as they continued to grow in number. And he caused the Egyptians to despise the Israelites so they would remain a distinct people group. Even in the midst of great hardship, God continued to fulfill his plans and promises.

Know that God has promised to be with his people and to complete the work he has begun in us. Whatever you are going through, now that God is using it to transform your life and to lead you to Christ-likeness. And one day, all of God’s people will be gathered together in a land where we will always be with him and where pain and sorrow and suffering are no more.

**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!

Even in Famine

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Reading the Word

Psalm 105:16–22 (ESV)

16 When he summoned a famine on the land and broke all supply of bread, 17 he had sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. 18 His feet were hurt with fetters; his neck was put in a collar of iron; 19 until what he had said came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him. 20 The king sent and released him; the ruler of the peoples set him free; 21 he made him lord of his house and ruler of all his possessions, 22 to bind his princes at his pleasure and to teach his elders wisdom.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In these verses we see the providential hand of God at work. It is God who “summoned a famine” on the land. It is also God who “sent a man ahead of them” in order to save the people. This passage is about Joseph from the Old Testament book of Genesis. Joseph went to Egypt as a slave, but was eventually promoted to the second in command in all of the land behind only Pharaoh. It was Joseph who advised the plan of storing up food during the plentiful years so they would have reserves for the years of famine.

As we have been reading in this psalm, God is faithful to his promises. Even in the midst of what may seem like random trouble and misfortune (e.g. a famine), God is at work. We can easily mistake bad circumstances for God’s inactivity, but the story of Joseph and many others in Scripture, tell us differently. God is always active, even in the difficult times of life, and he is working out his plans and purposes. We can be certain that his promises will be fulfilled. So, whatever you are going through, know that God is at work for your good and his glory.

**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!

An All-Powerful Creator

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Reading the Word

Psalm 104:5–9 (ESV)

5 He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. 6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. 7 At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight. 8 The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them. 9 You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth.

Understanding and Applying the Word

These verses speak of God creating the world we live in. Specifically, they reflect on the third day of creation when God separated the water from the dry land. We find in this psalm a reflection on the works of an all-powerful Creator who is fully responsible for the existence and governance of all things. God lays foundations, rebukes the waters, appoints the place for the mountains and valleys, and sets boundaries.

Scripture tells us that the world reveals the power and majesty of God because it is his handiwork (Romans 1:19-20). It is an amazing thing to behold the Rocky Mountains or watch the waves of the ocean beat against the sand. It is also amazing to stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon or look up at the stars on a clear night. When we do so, we see the awesome power and goodness of God on display. Mankind may try to run from these clear displays of God, but the harder we try to come up with other explanations, it becomes more and more clear that God is there, he is awesome, and he is good!

**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 Lord Has Established His Throne

Kingdom of God

Reading the Word

Psalm 103:19–22 (ESV)

19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. 20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word! 21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will! 22 Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Understanding and Applying the Word

As we come to the end of this psalm, all of heaven is called on to join in the worship of the Lord. His throne is in heaven and his dominion is over all places and things.

Can you imagine all of creation, both heaven and earth, joining in worship of God because of his steadfast love and sovereign rule? Can you imagine the whole world joined together in singing and adoration before the throne of God, the Creator? This is what Psalm 103 calls for. He is a great God and worthy of praise from all of his creation. Let our souls rejoice in him and join the heavens and the earth in blessing his name!

**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!