Tell of All His Wondrous Works!

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish supplemental material on Sundays, but I do included a suggested Scripture reading. Please be sure to subscribe to this page so you can follow along each day. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Psalm 105:1–6 (ESV)

1 Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
2 Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
3 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!
4 Seek the LORD and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
5 Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he uttered,
6 O offspring of Abraham, his servant,
children of Jacob, his chosen ones!

His Love Endures Forever

Reading the Word

Psalm 107:1–3 (ESV)

1 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble
3 and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Once again, we read a psalm with a call to give thanks to the Lord. This psalm focuses our attention on the steadfast love of God. This refers to his covenant faithfulness. God promised his people that he would always be with them and never fail to fulfill his promises. In the context of Psalm 107, God demonstrates his steadfast love by rescuing his people from trouble. Over and over throughout this psalm, the people call out to the Lord and he responds by delivering them.

The redeemed of the Lord have much to be thankful for. We have been delivered! We called out to God to save us from our sins and he did that. He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us so that we could go free. May we remember God’s steadfast love for us this Thanksgiving season and pause to give him thanks!


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Joy Comes with the Morning

Reading the Word

Psalm 30:1–12 (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.
6 As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.”
7 By your favor, O LORD, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed.
8 To you, O LORD, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
9 “What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me! O LORD, be my helper!”
11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

Understanding and Applying the Word

Psalm 30 is a psalm of David where David praises and gives thanks to God for delivering him throughout his life. He was delivered from his foes (v. 1), from sickness (v. 2), and even from death (v. 3). David calls on all of God’s people to give thanks because “weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” God’s people may face trials and difficult circumstances, but we know that God is faithful and we will be delivered. One day, all of God’s people will be with him forever and the pain and suffering of this life will be finished. Therefore, we can give thanks even now.

Wherever you are and whatever you may be facing, know that God is faithful and will fulfill his promises to his people. We may face difficulty. We may face weeping for a night. But we know that deliverance is near. Joy comes in the morning. One day, we will proclaim with the psalmist, “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praises and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!”


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Enthroned in the Heavens

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish supplemental material on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading. Please be sure to subscribe to this page to follow along every day. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Psalm 123:1–4 (ESV)
1 To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us.
3 Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt.
4 Our soul has had more than enough of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud.

Hear

Today’s post is part of our Psalm Saturdays series from guest blogger Robert Chamberlain.

Psalm 143:1–12 (ESV)
1 Hear my prayer, O LORD; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!
2 Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you.
3 For the enemy has pursued my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.
4 Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled.
5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.
6 I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah
7 Answer me quickly, O LORD! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
9 Deliver me from my enemies, O LORD! I have fled to you for refuge.
10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!
11 For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life! In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!
12 And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies, and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for I am your servant.


We long for God to hear our prayers, our pleas for mercy. We trust He will because He is faithful and righteous. We don’t want Him to judge us as we deserve, if He did, none of us could stand.

The ultimate enemy of our souls is the devil, who wants us to enter the darkness he inhabits. Sometimes, even as God’s people, it might feel, appallingly, that Satan has defeated us. In such cases, we do well to remember God’s faithfulness to us in times past.

Raising our hands in worship isn’t some modern innovation: it has ancient precedents. Spiritual thirst isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because God promises spiritually dehydrated people that He will satisfy them. We long for a speedy answer from the Lord before we lose hope.

His love is unfailing and His guidance is always right. His deliverance is assured in Christ, and He is assuredly a safe place for us to find refuge. We ought always to seek God’s will in our lives.

We need the guidance of the Holy Spirit. God has set His name upon us, so for His name’s sake we long for Him to have regard for our prayers. In His goodness we want Him to save us from our troubles.

Because God loves us, He will vindicate us against our enemies, all the spiritual forces of evil that war against us. Satan and his demons will ultimately and assuredly be destroyed. God looks after His servants.

“O Lord, may we always find in You the safety that we need. Please vindicate us as we seek to live for You our Saviour. In Jesus’ name, amen.”


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Thanksgiving

Today’s post is part of our Psalm Saturdays series from guest blogger Robert Chamberlain. You can read his archives at www.roberlain.wordpress.com .

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.


God loves wholehearted thanksgiving, and that’s what He gets from the Psalmist here. All the gods of the nations are idols, but God is worthy of praise forever. We have good reason to give God thanks, because He loves us and is faithful to us.

The name of the Lord is exalted above all things. God is who He is, and at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, because there’s no other name by which we should be saved. And God’s word is exalted because by it we are made wise for salvation.

God always answers our prayers, just not necessarily in the ways we would expect or want. He strengthens our souls even as our bodies inevitably weaken as we age. Though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day to day.

God’s salvation hasn’t been achieved in a corner. All the rulers of earth have heard of Him. The Psalmist describes them all giving Him thanks and singing His praise, which seems inconceivable, although I suspect that kind of think will eventually go on at the funeral of Elizabeth II of the UK.

The Lord might be high above all, but He has regard for the lowly. The haughty however are far from Him. Even in the midst of trouble, God looks after us.

God has defeated our enemies, including our greatest enemy of death. He will deliver us from them all. He will preserve our lives eternally.

The Lord always fulfills His purposes, even in our individual lives. His love is eternal. We cry out to Him not to forsake the work of His hands.

“Thank You Lord for Your unfailing love and faithfulness to us. Please don’t forsake us, for Jesus’ sake, amen.”


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Wise Worship

Reading the Word

Ecclesiastes 5:1–7 (ESV)
1 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil.
2 Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.
3 For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words.
4 When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow.
5 It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.
6 Let not your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands?
7 For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity; but God is the one you must fear.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Ecclesiastes has been giving us a look at life from a humanistic viewpoint. There has been very little discussion of God so far. However, now we read about proper worship of God. If we are to worship, we must do so with a posture of being ready to listen and learn and being careful not to speak foolish things. Foolishness may lead us into wrong worship and angering God. We need to be ready to learn and be careful not to make vows that we cannot or will not keep.

Today’s passage ends by saying that “when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity.” In other words, when our own illusions guide us and we speak freely in ignorance, it leads to empty, even idolatrous worship. We can try to find meaning to life through worship, but we will only find it if we take the time to learn who God truly is and what he desires from us. This is what it means to fear God in this passage. Our worship must be centered on God, not on ourselves.


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Remember

Today’s post is part of our Psalm Saturdays series from guest blogger Robert Chamberlain. You can read his archives at www.roberlain.wordpress.com .

Psalm 137:1–9 (ESV)
1 By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion.
2 On the willows there we hung up our lyres.
3 For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
4 How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a foreign land?
5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill!
6 Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy!
7 Remember, O LORD, against the Edomites the day of Jerusalem, how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare, down to its foundations!”
8 O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed, blessed shall he be who repays you with what you have done to us!
9 Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!


There’s a certain symmetry to this Psalm. There’s weeping now for God’s people whilst their enemies exult. But there’s a day of reckoning coming when God’s people will rejoice whilst His enemies will despair.

God’s people are exiles and strangers in the world. It feels strange to us to sing of our heavenly home in the midst of the world in which we live. Worshipping God isn’t something we want to do to the mockery of others.

Israel’s singers may have gone on strike in exile in Babylon, but they still wanted to remember the good old days when they sang their old time worship songs. And they still penned laments like this of their lamentable current circumstances. Psalm 137 is from exile in Babylon, and the book of Lamentations is from the devastated homeland.

We want to remember good times in the midst of lament. But we also want God to remember injustices that we have suffered. The final verses of this Psalm seem shocking to our respectable modern sensibilities. But we have an ugly sense of entitlement if we think that God owes us anything other than destruction, because He doesn’t.

“Lord, we’re strangers and exiles in this world, and we long to come home to You. Please help us in the meantime, and grant us justice against our enemies, in Christ’s name, amen.”


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Love

Today’s post is part of our Psalm Saturdays series from guest blogger Robert Chamberlain. You can read his archives at www.roberlain.wordpress.com .

Psalm 136:1–26 (ESV)
1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever.
3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever;
4 to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever;
5 to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever;
6 to him who spread out the earth above the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever;
7 to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever;
8 the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever;
9 the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever;
10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, for his steadfast love endures forever;
11 and brought Israel out from among them, for his steadfast love endures forever;
12 with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, for his steadfast love endures forever;
13 to him who divided the Red Sea in two, for his steadfast love endures forever;
14 and made Israel pass through the midst of it, for his steadfast love endures forever;
15 but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea, for his steadfast love endures forever;
16 to him who led his people through the wilderness, for his steadfast love endures forever;
17 to him who struck down great kings, for his steadfast love endures forever;
18 and killed mighty kings, for his steadfast love endures forever;
19 Sihon, king of the Amorites, for his steadfast love endures forever;
20 and Og, king of Bashan, for his steadfast love endures forever;
21 and gave their land as a heritage, for his steadfast love endures forever;
22 a heritage to Israel his servant, for his steadfast love endures forever.
23 It is he who remembered us in our low estate, for his steadfast love endures forever;
24 and rescued us from our foes, for his steadfast love endures forever;
25 he who gives food to all flesh, for his steadfast love endures forever.
26 Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.


You can’t miss the main point of this Psalm! God is good all the time, all the time, God is good! And it’s all because of His love that we get to enjoy His goodness.

The preacher Paul Washer said God’s goodness is a scary thing, precisely because we aren’t good, and therefore deserve His condemnation. But thankfully in Christ, God’s goodness and love are reconciled. Through Him, bad people like us can be made good like God.

This Psalm gives us a sweeping view of the love of God for us. He created all things because He didn’t want to miserly keep His love all to Himself. He spoke, and it came into being, and He has made all things well.

Then the Psalm zooms in on Israel’s redemption story. Even in judging Israel’s enemies, God displayed His love. Similarly, in judging His Son in our place, God has supremely showcased His love.

God enabled His people not just to escape Egypt, but also to enter the promised land of Canaan. Similarly, God is delivering His new covenant people from slavery to sin to bring us safely to the new creation. God remembers how lowly and helpless we are without Him.

The Lord provides our every need. He gives us our daily bread. He is worthy of all our thanks and praise.

“King of kings and Lord of lords, You are good and Your love endures forever. Please keep us in Your love now and always, for Jesus’ sake, amen.”


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Praise!

Today’s post is part of our Psalm Saturdays series from guest blogger Robert Chamberlain. You can read his archives at www.roberlain.wordpress.com .

Psalm 135:1–21 (ESV)
1 Praise the LORD! Praise the name of the LORD, give praise, O servants of the LORD,
2 who stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God!
3 Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing to his name, for it is pleasant!
4 For the LORD has chosen Jacob for himself, Israel as his own possession.
5 For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.
6 Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.
7 He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.
8 He it was who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and of beast;
9 who in your midst, O Egypt, sent signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants;
10 who struck down many nations and killed mighty kings,
11 Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan,
12 and gave their land as a heritage, a heritage to his people Israel.
13 Your name, O LORD, endures forever, your renown, O LORD, throughout all ages.
14 For the LORD will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants.
15 The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of human hands.
16 They have mouths, but do not speak; they have eyes, but do not see;
17 they have ears, but do not hear, nor is there any breath in their mouths.
18 Those who make them become like them, so do all who trust in them.
19 O house of Israel, bless the LORD! O house of Aaron, bless the LORD!
20 O house of Levi, bless the LORD! You who fear the LORD, bless the LORD!
21 Blessed be the LORD from Zion, he who dwells in Jerusalem! Praise the LORD!


Praise the Lord, for He is worthy. God is good, and deserves all our hallelujahs. Even if we’re tone deaf, it’s good to make a joyful noise to the Lord.

To be chosen as God’s own, to be His precious possession, is a great blessing. He is infinitely greater than anything and everyone else. He does whatever He pleases.

He’s sovereign over the weather, over death, in every war that is waged. He brought His people out of slavery in Egypt into the promised land. He will bring His people out of slavery to sin into the promised land of the new creation.

God’s name and renown are eternal. He will vindicate us His people and have compassion upon us. The idols of the nations are dumb, blind, deaf and lifeless. They may attempt to be immortalised on pedestals as statues, but eventually we all come crashing down.

We become like what we worship. So if we idolise inanimate, dead objects, we become like them. But if we worship the living God, we enjoy the eternal life that He grants.

Let every professing believer in the Lord bless Him! Let those who work “full time” for Him bless Him (although we should all work for Him whatever we do). If we fear the Lord, let’s bless Him, because He graciously allays our fears. Hallelujah!

“Hallelujah, living God, we praise You for Your goodness to undeserving sinners like us. May we bless You always, both now and forever, amen.”


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