The Lord Reigns!

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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 I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but I do include a suggested reading from Scripture.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.

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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!

You Return Man to Dust

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Reading the Word

Psalm 90:1–4 (ESV)

1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. 2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. 3 You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!” 4 For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.

Understanding and Applying the Word

These verses speak of the everlasting nature of God. He was before the formation of the mountains. He was before the creation of the earth and the world. God is eternal. As verse 4 says, “For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.” Time is insignificant to the eternal God.

When we read the words of this psalm and contemplate God’s eternal nature, we must not only think about time. We must also see that these verses make a greater claim. The Lord is God! He was before all things and all things came from him. Verse 3 tells us that that the Lord is God not only of the world around us, but he is also sovereign over mankind. He determines our lives. He brings us forth and he returns us to the dust.

These verses are a great comfort to those who call on the Lord as Father, but they can also elicit strong resistance from those who reject God’s authority. Many will reject the idea of God altogether and cling to other explanations of how the world and mankind came to be for this very reason. Many will live their lives as if they are the final authority. But the Lord is God over mankind whether we accept his rule or not and we will all be brought to account for our lives. So, let us know that our lives are short and let us seek him while there is still time.

**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!

Your Mighty Arm

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Thank you for reading today’s post on Shaped by the Word. This is a daily Bible reading devotional. I do not publish devotional material on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading below. Be sure to subscribe to this page so you can follow along as we read through the Book of Psalms in 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 89:9–18 (ESV)

9 You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them. 10 You crushed Rahab like a carcass; you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm. 11 The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them. 12 The north and the south, you have created them; Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name. 13 You have a mighty arm; strong is your hand, high your right hand. 14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you. 15 Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face, 16 who exult in your name all the day and in your righteousness are exalted. 17 For you are the glory of their strength; by your favor our horn is exalted. 18 For our shield belongs to the Lord, our king to the Holy One of Israel.

A Shepherd King

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Reading the Word

Psalm 78:65–72 (ESV)

65 Then the Lord awoke as from sleep, like a strong man shouting because of wine. 66 And he put his adversaries to rout; he put them to everlasting shame. 67 He rejected the tent of Joseph; he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim, 68 but he chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion, which he loves. 69 He built his sanctuary like the high heavens, like the earth, which he has founded forever. 70 He chose David his servant and took him from the sheepfolds; 71 from following the nursing ewes he brought him to shepherd Jacob his people, Israel his inheritance. 72 With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Against conventional understanding, God rejected the tribe of Ephraim and chose Judah. Ephraim is the tribe descended from Joseph and seemed to be the tribe of favor. However, God showed his sovereignty and his grace by choosing Judah instead. God chose David, a descendant of Judah and made him king over Israel.

While king, God promised David that he would have a descendant who would sit on the throne forever. In the New Testament, we learn that this descendant is Jesus Christ. God’s grace was not only with Judah in the days of David, but God would bring the Messiah, the King of kings, into the world to bring salvation and to forever shepherd the people of God. What a wonderful and gracious God who uses flawed people to fulfill his perfect plans for this 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!

Your Footprints Were Unseen

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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 Scripture reading. Please subscribe to this page and follow along through the Book of Psalms in 2018.

 

Reading the Word

Psalm 77:16–20 (ESV)

16 When the waters saw you, O God, when the waters saw you, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled. 17 The clouds poured out water; the skies gave forth thunder; your arrows flashed on every side. 18 The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook. 19 Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen. 20 You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

 

The Ruler of Creation

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Reading the Word

Psalm 74:9–17 (ESV)

9 We do not see our signs; there is no longer any prophet, and there is none among us who knows how long. 10 How long, O God, is the foe to scoff? Is the enemy to revile your name forever? 11 Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand? Take it from the fold of your garment and destroy them! 12 Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth. 13 You divided the sea by your might; you broke the heads of the sea monsters on the waters. 14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan; you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness. 15 You split open springs and brooks; you dried up ever-flowing streams. 16 Yours is the day, yours also the night; you have established the heavenly lights and the sun. 17 You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth; you have made summer and winter.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In verses 9-11, we read a lament. The people no longer see God’s work among them. There are no sign and there is no prophet to speak God’s word to the people. It is as if God has abandoned them.

In verses 12-17, the tone changes. It goes from one of lamentation to one of speaking of God’s greatness as the Sovereign One. These verses proclaim that God is the ancient King who is always at work to fulfill His plan of redemption. He is powerful over all of creation.

In these verses we see one who is troubled by his circumstances as he calls out to God. He even feels as though God has forgotten or is ignoring him. However, the psalmist reminds himself that God is the Sovereign King and that His purposes will be fulfilled. God has His reasons for the things that take place in our lives, even if we do not always know what those reasons are. We must simply trust in His redemptive plan knowing it is being worked out in all of God’s creation. Let us not lose heart, but let us remember who is King.

**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!

Has God Cast Us Off Forever?

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Reading the Word

Psalm 74:1–8 (ESV)

1 O God, why do you cast us off forever? Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture? 2 Remember your congregation, which you have purchased of old, which you have redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage! Remember Mount Zion, where you have dwelt. 3 Direct your steps to the perpetual ruins; the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary! 4 Your foes have roared in the midst of your meeting place; they set up their own signs for signs. 5 They were like those who swing axes in a forest of trees. 6 And all its carved wood they broke down with hatchets and hammers. 7 They set your sanctuary on fire; they profaned the dwelling place of your name, bringing it down to the ground. 8 They said to themselves, “We will utterly subdue them”; they burned all the meeting places of God in the land.

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm begins with a prayer asking God to remember His people. It is a description of total destruction of the land, including the temple itself. The description fits best with what we know of the Babylonian invasion in 586 B.C.

The people did not think that God would allow such a catastrophic defeat to happen to His people. They especially did not not think that He would allow the temple, which represented God’s presence and protection, to be destroyed and profaned. However, it did happen and now the psalmist is calling out to God wondering where He is.

Just as God used difficulties in the Old Testament to discipline His people. He often does the same for us today. The Babylonian destruction and captivity was used by God to redirect the hearts of the people to Him. It was a very difficult time for the people, but it was used by God. Let us not lose heart in the midst of difficulty as if God has forgotten us or as if He has failed. Instead, let us continue to trust in Him and learn to to trust in Him even 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!

All Things for Good

Romans 828 [widescreen]

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!

Be Still and Know

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Reading the Word

Psalm 46:6–11 (ESV)

6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. 7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah8 Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. 9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. 10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” 11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Understanding and Applying the Word

If you like the old hymns, you likely know Martin Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” Luther was inspired by the words of Psalm 46 when he penned the classic hymn that is a favorite of many still today. Like the hymn, Psalm 46 speaks of God’s great authority. He is powerful over nature (vv. 1-3), over those who attack his city (vv. 4-7), and over all who would make war (vv. 8-11).

When we come to verse 10, we come to words that are often quoted, but often misunderstood. It reads, “Be still, and know that I am God.” These words should not be read as words of comfort or encouragement to the downtrodden. These are the words of God to the raging nations. “Be still, and know that I am God!” It reminds us of Jesus’ calming of the storm when he says, “Peace, be still!” and the storms cease. God tells the nations to be still and recognize that he is God.

God is the sovereign authority over all of creation. Many reject that claim and say there is no God or claim another as god, but in the end all will know who the one true God is. And the greatest confidence believers can have today is that this is the God who is with us even now.

**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!