A Very Present Help in Trouble

Psalm 461 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 46:1–5 (ESV)

1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.

Understanding and Applying the Word

When the world is falling apart, where do you turn? God is our refuge. He is the one we can turn to in every time of trouble. Our world may be falling apart in a figurative sense because of things like a job loss, sickness, or the death of a loved one. The world may even be falling apart in a very literal sense as the result of natural disasters or war. No matter what we may face in life, we can rest in the immovable God who is a refuge to his people. We know that, regardless of our struggles and trials in this world, a new heaven and a new earth await where our troubles will be no more. Praise the God who saves!

**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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Betrayed by a Friend

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Reading the Word

Psalm 41:9–13 (ESV)

9 Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me. 10 But you, O Lord, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them! 11 By this I know that you delight in me: my enemy will not shout in triumph over me. 12 But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever. 13 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In the previous verse, David calls out to God because of his enemies who long to see David’s end. Now, in these verses, he mentions that not only is he dealing with the attacks of his enemies, but also one who was supposed to be his closest friend. This is one who had eaten with David and who David trusted. Many years later, we see Jesus quote this passage and apply the betrayal of a friend to Judas (John 13:18).

Even after being betrayed by his friend, David trusts that God would vindicate him. We see here an example of faith in the face of great adversity. It is easy to trust on God when things are easy, but what happens when the world stands against you? What happens when God is all you have? David trusted and his trust turned to praise in the final words of this psalm. Whatever our circumstances, may we remember the God is with us and that he is for us.

**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!

False Accusations and Trusting God

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Reading the Word

Psalm 35:19–28 (ESV)

19 Let not those rejoice over me who are wrongfully my foes, and let not those wink the eye who hate me without cause. 20 For they do not speak peace, but against those who are quiet in the land they devise words of deceit. 21 They open wide their mouths against me; they say, “Aha, Aha! Our eyes have seen it!” 22 You have seen, O Lord; be not silent! O Lord, be not far from me! 23 Awake and rouse yourself for my vindication, for my cause, my God and my Lord! 24 Vindicate me, O Lord, my God, according to your righteousness, and let them not rejoice over me! 25 Let them not say in their hearts, “Aha, our heart’s desire!” Let them not say, “We have swallowed him up.” 26 Let them be put to shame and disappointed altogether who rejoice at my calamity! Let them be clothed with shame and dishonor who magnify themselves against me! 27 Let those who delight in my righteousness shout for joy and be glad and say evermore, “Great is the Lord, who delights in the welfare of his servant!” 28 Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In these verses we learn that David’s accusers are those who are intentionally lying about him. The phrase “wink the eye” has the idea of deceit behind it as do the words of verse 21. There David’s enemies say, “Aha, Aha! Our eyes have seen it!” They claim to have seen something that has not truly happened, which is why David leans on the fact that God truly has seen and knows that David is innocent.

It is a difficult thing when you are falsely accused. It is even more difficult when the false accusation comes from someone who knows they are lying about what happened. How do we handle these things? More often than not, we likely get angry, lash out, and do all we can to destroy the other person. We probably give little thought of God in the situation. This psalm tells us that we can trust in God, even in these situations. And we can sing his praises as he sustains and strengthens us.

Does this mean we should become a doormat? Absolutely not! But it does mean that we can trust in God while we do the right thing in the right way without stooping to the ways of an unbelieving 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!

My Times Are in Your Hand

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Reading the Word

Psalm 31:9–18 (ESV)

9 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also. 10 For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away. 11 Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach, especially to my neighbors, and an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me. 12 I have been forgotten like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel. 13 For I hear the whispering of many— terror on every side!— as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life. 14 But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” 15 My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! 16 Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love! 17 O Lord, let me not be put to shame, for I call upon you; let the wicked be put to shame; let them go silently to Sheol. 18 Let the lying lips be mute, which speak insolently against the righteous in pride and contempt.

Understanding and Applying the Word

As David thinks about his situation and describes his enemies’ desire to destroy him, he is encouraged by one thing: that God is in control. He declares, “But I trust in you, O Lord.” Regardless of the circumstances. Then he says, “My times are in your hands.”

Reading these words shows us the great faith of David in God. He was a man of great trust! We also need to learn how David’s trust in God is an example for us to follow. We should trust God as well. Even in the midst of difficulties, we know that the sovereign God is in control and that he is loving and gracious and good. We can trust him. Let us find the faith to say, with David, “My times are in your hand.”

**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!

Into Your Hand

Psalm 315 [widescreen]

I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but I do include suggested reading for the day. This will allow us to complete the scheduled reading plan on time for the year. If you have not already done so, follow this page so you can stay up to date and follow along as we read through the Book of Psalms in 2018. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Psalm 31:1–8 (ESV)

1 In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! 2 Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! 3 For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me; 4 you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge. 5 Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God. 6 I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols, but I trust in the Lord. 7 I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul, 8 and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place.

Joy Comes with the Morning

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Reading the Word

Psalm 30:1–5 (ESV)

1 I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me. 2 O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. 3 O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit. 4 Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. 5 For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Understanding and Applying the Word

How do you feel when you are standing on the other side of difficulty? Most likely a sense of relief and possibly even joy. That is how David feels in this psalm as he reflects on how God has saved him from his enemies. Now David is able to rejoice and sing praises to God.

Verse 5 captures the theme of this psalm. For those who love God, the favor of God and the promise of joy awaits. Even while this life may bring weeping and trouble, it is only temporary and will give way to praise and thanksgiving to God who rescues his people. Even while God may be angry with his people for their continued sin, it is coupled with his grace that continues to shape and fashion us into his cherished possession. We may have to face the night, but the morning is coming and joy comes with it! Praise 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!

The King of Glory

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Reading the Word

Psalm 24:7–10 (ESV)

7 Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 8 Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle! 9 Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 10 Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah

Understanding and Applying the Word

At the close of this psalm, the Lord is pictured as a King returning from victory on the battlefield. The cry is for the gates to be lifted. Let the doors be opened so the victorious King can enter the city. This is how kings were received after success in battle. It was a grand occasion with much celebration and joy.

Who is the King of glory? Who is the victorious King who deserves adoration and praise? It is the Lord of hosts! He is the King of glory. He has triumphed over sin and death at the cross of Calvary and has given life to all who will call on his name. Jesus Christ is the King of glory. Let us rejoice in his victory on our behalf!

**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!

Walking in Truth

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Reading the Word

3 John 1–4 (ESV)

1 The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth. 2 Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. 3 For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Understanding the Word

In all three of his letters, John has made knowing the truth a central issue. The truth he speaks of is the truth regarding the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. False teachers make the error of denying either that Jesus was truly a man or that he was truly God. Both of these truths are necessary for the gospel message to be Good News. John tells us that he has no greater joy than to know that others are walking in the truth.

Applying the Word

What brings you the greatest joy? Is it a prized possession? Is it a favorite vacation place? Is it a favorite food? Is it the truth of God’s word?

As a parent of young children, my greatest desire is to see my children grow up in the knowledge of God’s word and then to see them walk in it. I pray that God will help me to instill in them the truth of his word through times of teaching and how I live my life in front of them. I would trade all of my possessions, vacations, and favorite foods for that.

As a pastor, I desire the same for every individual who is a part of our church family. Nothing brings me greater joy than to see others coming to an understanding of the truth and then living it out in their lives. Praise God for the life-changing truth of the gospel!

**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!