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!

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The Day of My Distress

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Reading the Word

Psalm 102:1–11 (ESV)

1 Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry come to you! 2 Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress! Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call! 3 For my days pass away like smoke, and my bones burn like a furnace. 4 My heart is struck down like grass and has withered; I forget to eat my bread. 5 Because of my loud groaning my bones cling to my flesh. 6 I am like a desert owl of the wilderness, like an owl of the waste places; 7 I lie awake; I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop. 8 All the day my enemies taunt me; those who deride me use my name for a curse. 9 For I eat ashes like bread and mingle tears with my drink, 10 because of your indignation and anger; for you have taken me up and thrown me down. 11 My days are like an evening shadow; I wither away like grass.

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm has historically been classified as a penitential psalm, which is a psalm of confession of sin. It is interesting because the psalm never mentions a confession of sin. There is lament over the circumstances the writer is facing and a call for relief, but there is no mention of sin as the cause. The reason(s) for the psalmist’s troubles are unmentioned.

This psalm does help us as we face difficulties in our own lives. We often suffer and hurt and wonder why things are the way they are. We call out to God and wonder if he is listening because he does not seem to answer. If you have ever felt that way, the words of Psalm 102 will resonate with you. As we continue reading the rest of the verses tomorrow, we will see that God is always there and that we can find our hope in him. We may not have all of the answers to our “Why?” questions, but we do know the answers to our troubles are in the sovereign hands 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!

I Will Show Him My Salvation

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Reading the Word

Psalm 91:14–16 (ESV)

14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. 15 When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

As we read the end of this psalm, we read of God’s promises to the psalmist. We are first told that this is one who holds fast to God in love (i.e. “with all his heart”), knows God’s name, and calls on God. In response, God promises to deliver, protect, answer, be with, rescue, honor, satisfy with long life, and show him salvation.

As we read these promises of God, know that these are the promises that God makes with all who call out to God in faith. He will rescue us and give us eternal life. God is a God of grace and he offers salvation to all who will trust in him. Seek him today with all your heart and he will answer you.

**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!

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!

How Long, O Lord?

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Reading the Word

Psalm 89:46–52 (ESV)

46 How long, O Lord? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your wrath burn like fire? 47 Remember how short my time is! For what vanity you have created all the children of man! 48 What man can live and never see death? Who can deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah 49 Lord, where is your steadfast love of old, which by your faithfulness you swore to David? 50 Remember, O Lord, how your servants are mocked, and how I bear in my heart the insults of all the many nations, 51 with which your enemies mock, O Lord, with which they mock the footsteps of your anointed. 52 Blessed be the Lord forever! Amen and Amen.

Understanding and Applying the Word

“How long, O Lord?” These are the words that the psalmist asks as we near the end of Psalm 89. The writer is wondering when God will fulfill his promises to his people. When will he provide a king from the line of David and defeat the enemies of Israel? It seems as though God has forgotten.

The way God chooses to fulfill his plans and purposes is not always evident to us. At times, we may be left wondering what God is doing or if he is doing anything at all. We may cry out with the psalmist, “How long, O Lord? Will you hide yourself forever?”

Notice that the author of Psalm 89 continued to put his hopes in God’s promises. He may not have understood how they would be fulfilled, but he waited for them. We know from the rest of Scripture that God did keep his promises by sending his Son, Jesus Christ, into the world. We have the benefit of knowing with greater clarity how God is working to redeem the world from sin, so let us continue to trust in him even when we do not always understand our circumstances or trials. Blessed be the Lord 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!

I Am Helpless

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Reading the Word

Psalm 88:10–18 (ESV)

10 Do you work wonders for the dead? Do the departed rise up to praise you? Selah 11 Is your steadfast love declared in the grave, or your faithfulness in Abaddon? 12 Are your wonders known in the darkness, or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? 13 But I, O Lord, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you. 14 O Lord, why do you cast my soul away? Why do you hide your face from me? 15 Afflicted and close to death from my youth up, I suffer your terrors; I am helpless. 16 Your wrath has swept over me; your dreadful assaults destroy me. 17 They surround me like a flood all day long; they close in on me together. 18 You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness.

Understanding and Applying the Word

As this psalm began, so it ends. The writer is calling out to God for help in the midst of great despair. As we come to the end, we may be wondering what we can learn from such a passage.

Here are a few things that I believe this psalm teaches. First, God does not always remove our trials and difficulties from us. We may have to face them all our days. This should not come as a surprise to us. Even our Savior prayed that the “cup” be taken from him before he was crucified. The Father did not remove the cup and Christ went to the cross. When we pray, we do so with the same words of Jesus: “not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

A second thing that we can learn is that we should never stop praying. It is an act of faith when we do. Even though the psalmist was discouraged and even after the passage of much time, he continued to pray. He showed his trust in God by continuing to go to him.

And lastly, this psalm reminds us that the fulfillment of the promises of God will not be realized in this world, but the next. God has put in motion a plan to redeem his creation from sin and its effects. There will be a new heaven and a new earth without sin and suffering and mourning and death, but that day is still future. We live in a fallen world and the effects of sin impact us all. So, we wait eagerly for the world to come and we trust in the promises of God until they are realized.

**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!

I Call on You, O Lord

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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 86:1–7 (ESV)

1 Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. 2 Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God. 3 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day. 4 Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. 5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. 6 Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. 7 In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me.

Testing God

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Reading the Word

Psalm 78:17–25 (ESV)

17 Yet they sinned still more against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert. 18 They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved. 19 They spoke against God, saying, “Can God spread a table in the wilderness? 20 He struck the rock so that water gushed out and streams overflowed. Can he also give bread or provide meat for his people?” 21 Therefore, when the Lord heard, he was full of wrath; a fire was kindled against Jacob; his anger rose against Israel, 22 because they did not believe in God and did not trust his saving power. 23 Yet he commanded the skies above and opened the doors of heaven, 24 and he rained down on them manna to eat and gave them the grain of heaven. 25 Man ate of the bread of the angels; he sent them food in abundance.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Even after God delivered the people out of Egypt, showing his love and power, the people sinned against him. They did so by testing God (v. 18). Instead of praising God and trusting in him because of all he had done, they questioned God. “Can God spread a table in the wilderness?” They did not trust that God would provide their basic needs of food and water as he led them through the desert to the land of Canaan. As a result, God was full of wrath (vv. 21-22), but he gave them water and fed them in abundance.

O believer, do not fail to see that God has shown his love and power to us. He has shown it as he has brought salvation to us through the shed blood of his Son, Jesus Christ. And he has shown it as he has given us new life through his Spirit that indwells us. Let us not ask for new proofs of God’s love and power. Such demands and attitudes are sinful and the result of unbelief. Instead, let us find confidence from all that God has done in the past as we walk by faith into the future.

**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!

No Turning Back

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Reading the Word

Psalm 78:9–16 (ESV)

9 The Ephraimites, armed with the bow, turned back on the day of battle. 10 They did not keep God’s covenant, but refused to walk according to his law. 11 They forgot his works and the wonders that he had shown them. 12 In the sight of their fathers he performed wonders in the land of Egypt, in the fields of Zoan. 13 He divided the sea and let them pass through it, and made the waters stand like a heap. 14 In the daytime he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a fiery light. 15 He split rocks in the wilderness and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep. 16 He made streams come out of the rock and caused waters to flow down like rivers.

Understanding and Applying the Word

After opening the psalm by calling for the people to learn from history (vv. 1-8), verses 9-16 begin to recount that history. It begins by telling how the Ephraimites had forgotten their history and had shrunk back in the day of battle. They forgot how God had displayed his power and allowed the Israelites to cross the Red Sea when they went out of Egypt. God also led them with a cloud in the day and a pillar of fire at night and supplied water from a rock. If the Ephraimites had remembered their history, they would have gone into battle knowing that God was with them.

We can read these words and wonder at how the people could forget what God had done. How often do we do the same in our own lives? We have seen and experienced God’s power as believers. We are told in Scripture that all who believe are born again and have the Spirit of God living within them. Yet, when faced with difficulty or trials, we often forget that God is with us and we wonder how we will make it through our circumstances. Let us not forget our history. It prepares us for the future.

**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 Right Hand of the Most High

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Reading the Word

Psalm 77:10–15 (ESV)

10 Then I said, “I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.” 11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. 12 I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. 13 Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? 14 You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples. 15 You with your arm redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph. Selah

Understanding and Applying the Word

As the writer considers his circumstances, he comes to the conclusion that he will appeal “to the years of the right hand of the Most High.” This may seem like a strange and difficult to understand statement, but it becomes clear when taken with the words directly following: “I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.” The psalmist is declaring that during his present situation, he will remember the mighty works of God when God showed his great power during the exodus of the people out of Egypt.

When we consider God’s great works in history, it gives us encouragement and strength to get through today. We can see how God has been with his people and brought them through great difficulties. This reminds us that he is with us as well. We are assured of this when we look to the cross and see that God has brought us through our time of greatest need. When we were alienated from God himself, he sent his Son to die for our sin and bring us back into a right relationship with him. He showed his great power to us in the resurrection that assures us of eternal life if we will 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!