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!

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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!

The Lord Is Enthroned Forever

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Reading the Word

Psalm 102:12–17 (ESV)

12 But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever; you are remembered throughout all generations. 13 You will arise and have pity on Zion; it is the time to favor her; the appointed time has come. 14 For your servants hold her stones dear and have pity on her dust. 15 Nations will fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth will fear your glory. 16 For the Lord builds up Zion; he appears in his glory; 17 he regards the prayer of the destitute and does not despise their prayer.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The opening verses of this psalm reflected the words of one who is in despair and waiting for God to act. The tone of the psalm turns in our verses today. The psalm goes from questioning to a proclamation of trust. “But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever” are powerful words that speak of God’s sovereignty over all. The writer has not forgotten this even in the midst of his circumstances.

It can be difficult to maintain hope in times of trouble. It is much easier to focus on the negative and forget that there is more to the story than just the present moment. God instructs us to view our circumstances differently. He instructs us through his word and tells us that he is in control and works all things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). God has a plan and his plan never fails. But do we trust him? Do we trust him even when all hope seems lost? We can because he is enthroned 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!

Let the Earth Rejoice!

Psalm 971 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 97:1–5 (ESV)

1 The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad! 2 Clouds and thick darkness are all around him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. 3 Fire goes before him and burns up his adversaries all around. 4 His lightnings light up the world; the earth sees and trembles. 5 The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In these verses we read about the reign of God. He is not the God of Israel alone, but of the whole world. “Let the many coastlands be glad,” says the psalmist. Why? Because the Lord reigns! God rules over all of the world as the final judge.

The image of God as judge can be one that brings joy and gladness or one that brings fear and denial. The different responses are both seen in this passage. For those who are the enemies of God, judgment is a terrible thing. God’s wrath brings trembling. However, for those who have repented of their sins and called out to God for forgiveness, the Lord’s appearing is a time to be glad. His grace is unending and his love is worthy of our praise. Our God reigns. Let us rejoice!

**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 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 Lord Reigns!

crown

Thank you for reading Shaped by the Word. This is a daily Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but I do include a suggested reading from Scripture. If you would like to follow along as we read through the Book of Psalms in 2018, please be sure to subscribe to this page.

Reading the Word

Psalm 93:1–5 (ESV)

1 The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. 2 Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting. 3 The floods have lifted up, O Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring. 4 Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the Lord on high is mighty! 5 Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O Lord, forevermore.

In the Shelter of the Most High

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Reading the Word

Psalm 91:1–4 (ESV)

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In these verses, we find imagery and titles for God that tell us why we can go to him in times of trouble. We find four different metaphors for security: shelter, shadow, refuge, and fortress. The first two use the imagery of a mother bird protecting her young. The last two speak of a stronghold that protects its inhabitants from outside attackers. We then notice the titles. God is the Most High. He is the Almighty. He is the LORD (YHWH). And he is God. Taken together, we learn that the Lord is powerful and that he protects his people.

People seek safety and protection in many places. It may be money. It may be retirement plans or insurance plans. Some seek it in drugs and alcohol. Still others seek these things in other people. None of these places can offer what we truly desire. All of these will fail us sooner or later. But God will never fail us. When we trust in him, we know that he is able to protect us and deliver us from evil. In fact, he assured that all who trust in him will be fully delivered from pain and suffering. He did this through the cross. Jesus died at Calvary so that our sin could be paid for and that we might have eternal life in a new world where sin and its consequences are no more. And when we trust in God, he promises that we will be there with him 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!