Salvation Among Nations

Psalms 67:2
“That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.”

Psalm 67 was written by an unknown author. We cannot know for sure who wrote it or what circumstances influenced its content. The one thing we know for sure is that it was penned by a person with a desire for others to come to the Lord. He pleads with God for mercy in his own life, in order that the world around him may come to a saving knowledge of God. The Psalmist is not alone in this. Paul declared

Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved” (Romans 10:1).

As a result of this desire, Paul risked his life to bring the gospel message to his countrymen. At the conclusion of his third missionary journey, Paul made his way to Jerusalem with one goal in mind, he wanted to tell others about Christ. He received continual warnings regarding the danger he would face and the beating and imprisonment that lay ahead. Regardless of these threats, Paul pressed forward because his desire was for others to come to Christ.

The pattern of Paul has been followed by saints down through the centuries. Men, like Saint Patrick, who in the 6th century brought the gospel to the unreached pagans of Ireland and his contemporary, Saint Augustine, who brought the gospel to England. Saint Boniface, who in the 8th century brought the gospel to Germany,  Hudson Taylor, whose efforts brought the Gospel deep into China, in the 19th century. CT Studd gave up a life of wealth and comfort to bring the Gospel into Africa. Or the countless unnamed Methodist circuit preachers who took the Gospel to the settlers in the United States.

What the world needs today are men and women with a desire to see others come to Christ, regardless the personal cost.

Psalms 67:2 “That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.”

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 67

  1. This psalm clearly looks forward to the Lord Jesus’ return and His reign on earth. It also speaks of the fulfillment of something great, turn in your bibles to the gospel of Matthew 28:18-20. Why are the nations going to be glad and singing for joy?
  2. In verse 7 what is meant by the use of the word “fear”

Old Testament:
Psalm 68- The Spoils
1 Kings 13- Pray For Me
1 Kings 14- Faking It

Who Are You Wearing?

Psalm 65:6
“Who established the mountains by His strength, being clothed with power; . . .”

Have you ever noticed, when movie stars are walking the red carpet, for one of their many awards presentations, they are not asked what they are wearing, but who they are wearing? One of the marks of success is getting a particular designer to make you a one-of-a-kind outfit.

Here the Psalmist declares to us what God is wearing. He is “clothed with power.” I picture God getting ready for the day and choosing to put power on as His garment. His power is infinite. No power on earth or in heaven can be compared to it. The power of the storm, the devil, sickness, and death, were all overthrown by the word of His mouth. Without sweating, straining, grunting, or pulling a muscle, Jesus spoke and conquered the greatest powers on earth. The people were fascinated by His great power; the whole nation was in awe of the One to whom even the demons were subject.

Between the resurrection and ascension of Christ, forty days transpired. During those forty days, Luke tells us Jesus was doing two things. First, He was appearing, to prove beyond a shadow of doubt, that He had, in fact, risen; conquering sin, death and hell.

Second, He was giving commands to His followers. These commands fit into two categories: go and wait. He was sending them out into the world with the message of eternal life. They were to start at home, then travel the globe, sharing with everyone the glorious message of salvation through faith in Christ. Before they went, they were commanded to wait for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Jesus instructed them that when the Spirit came upon them, they would be clothed with power from on high. Just like the Twelve, we have been commissioned to live a holy life in an ungodly world; to declare the hope of salvation with our family, friends and community.

Just like the Twelve, we have been promised power from on high to accomplish this. As you prepare to face your day, with the unknown temptations and opportunities that await, who are you wearing? Are you walking out the door clothed with all the strength that you can muster? Or have you taken time to sit at the feet of Jesus and be filled afresh with the Spirit of holiness? Let’s clothe ourselves with the power of the Spirit.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 65

  1. At what point does this Psalm begin to describe the greatness of God through creation?
  2. Verses 1-4 revolve around the presence of the Lord in the sanctuary of God. Take some time and evaluate your life asking yourself if you foster an atmosphere that ushers in the presence of the Lord around you.
  3. In verse 3 iniquities prevail against David. He recognizes his own sin. This is important for us to do as well. It’s at that point that God will provide a cleansing or atonement for sin if we confess. The Bible says that sin separates us from the presence of the Lord. Jesus brings us atonement for our sin. An easy definition of the word atonement is found when you break the word apart. (at-one-ment) We can be at one with the Lord through Jesus. Read 1 John 1:9
  4. Read the rest of this Psalm beginning at verse 5 and meditate on the Lord as revealed through creation.

Old Testament:
Psalm 66- Works Of God
1 Kings 11- Misguided Affections
1 KIngs 12- New, But Not Improved

Hungry?

Psalm 63:1-2
“O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory.”

Have you ever had one of those times when you are craving something, but you are not sure what it is? When that happens to me I tend to keep trying things, in an attempt to satisfy a craving that I cannot define. What is true with physical hunger, is also true in the spiritual realm. God created us with a need for Him. This need evidences itself with a desire to find meaning in life, answers to what lies beyond this life, and a craving to worship.

Man is incurably religious due to his built-in hunger to know God. This hunger to know God is sometimes clouded by the sinful world in which we live, and by personal experiences. Many, knowing an emptiness within, fail to recognize that it is a spiritual craving to know God. They attempt to satisfy it with relationships, substances, or experiences. Often, these very attempts to satisfy the cravings within, become addictions or leave us scarred. Instead of satisfying our need for God, they fill the spiritual hole within us with junk, which may take a lifetime to get out.

After meeting God, David went on to declare that his soul was satisfied. Meeting God does that. Once you have come to God through Christ, you no longer need to hunt around for spiritual satisfaction, you are satisfied. However, if you have truly met Him, you develop a new hunger. This is a hunger that keeps you coming to Him for more.

David did not write this Psalm as an unbeliever who just met the Lord, but as a godly man desiring to know God better. David gives insight to properly fulfilling our built-in hunger for God. He says, “So I have looked for You in the sanctuary.” While it is true that God is everywhere, and we cannot hide from Him, it is also true, there are places where we will have a greater chance of meeting with Him, and hearing from Him. It is much easier to hear, when we gather with the people of God in corporate worship. David, knowing his hunger was for God, made his way to the sanctuary, where he was sure to meet with God.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 63

  1. As you read this Psalm ask God to make this your hearts cry.
  2. God has designed us with a longing inside to know Him and commune with Him. The problem is often times we try to fill that longing with other earthly minded things or activities. Notice verse 2. What effort does David do to satisfy the thirst in his soul?
  3. Find in Psalm 63 the attributes of God that demand responses of David to seek God and Trust Him.

Old Testament:
1 Kings 9- If…Then…
1 Kings 10- What Does It Mean? 

Sharpen Their Tongue

Psalms 64:2-3
“Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked, From the rebellion of the workers of iniquity, Who sharpen their tongue like a sword, And bend their bows to shoot their arrows—bitter words”

Unknown.jpegDavid found himself on the receiving end of a barrage of carefully planned attacks. Like an army of well trained soldiers those who had rejected God came against the righteous. Their weapon of choice was not the sword, spear, bow or staff but the tongue. Things have not changed much. The most effective weapon against the righteousness today is the tongue. If a person takes a stand against the unrighteousness trends that are being heralded as freedoms in our world today they will receive an onslaught of verbal attacks. Should you decide to boldly declare the Gospel of Jesus Christ calling sinners to turn to God you will need to be ready to hide beneath the shelter of the Almighty because attacks will come. This is not a new phenomenon, the early church experienced the same things as they declared the message of Christ those with the loudest voice sought to silence their message.

Acts 4:17
But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.”

Instead of cowering under the threats the church gathered together and sought the Lord to embolden them to share Christ regardless of the consequences.

Acts 4:29
Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word.

The times we are living in are not times to be silent. The world is in a downward spiral because the devil wants to destroy the lives of all men. People are being led into destructive lifestyles that will have life long consequences and we need to boldly declare the Gospel of Jesus Christ because it alone has the power to save.

Perhaps more than ever we need to remember the words of Jesus;

Matthew 10:28
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 64

  1. David in this Psalm is in trouble. At what verse does His focus shift from his enemies to the Lord?
  2. The enemy in this Psalm uses a different kind of weapon on David. What is that weapon and do you find yourself using this weapon on others and becoming in a sense an enemy to others?
  3. Notice in verses 7 and 8 what happens to David’s enemies. Eventually the tongue that is used as a weapon will bow the knee and declare the work of God (verse 9). Why not start declaring that now and save yourself the trouble of verse 7.

Cry Out

Psalms 61:1-2
“Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You. When my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I .”

We cannot be certain of the occasion that stirred David to write this psalm. It may have been a time of great difficulty, opposition or trial. He may have been facing severe attacks from Saul, the Philistines or one of the neighboring kingdoms. It is also possible the struggles he faced were not external. It may have been that David was engaged in that great inner struggle between his desire to do what is right in the eyes of God, and his own human weaknesses. Whatever caused the dilemma, he concluded that the only solution was to cry out to the Lord. Crying out to God should include at least three things.

First, we cry out for deliverance from whatever it is that is attacking us. We need to realize,  no matter what the cause, Jesus is the solution. If you are being plagued by consequences to your own actions, cry out to God. If you are being unfairly attacked because you have chosen to live for Christ, cry out to God. If you are under the stress of inward turmoil or temptation, cry out to God. He alone has the strength to deliver us from all things.

Second, cry out to God for forgiveness. Often the hardships we face are allowed by God to expose things that are amiss within us. We learn to justify sinful behavior or cover it up, as if we could hide it from the Lord. During times of great opposition, our own sinfulness is often exposed. Those things are brought to the surface so we can cry out to God for forgiveness. Sometimes, this can be done privately by dropping to your knees and confessing your sin to our Heavenly Father, who delights to forgive us. Other times, there is value in making your way forward at church and treating the stage as an altar, where you can cry out to God and confess your sin and recommit your life to Him.

Finally, we should cry out to God for more of Him. Difficulty reveals weakness and weakness should reveal our need for God. Our needs can be met when He pours His Spirit out upon us. Individually and corporately, the greatest need the Christian has is for a fresh and deeper work of the Spirit. Looking at the current condition of the world, as well as most Christians individually, I would say we are in need of revival. We need God to pour out, from heaven, a larger measure of His Spirit upon His church. Join with me as we cry out to God to be filled again with Holy Spirit.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 61

  1. When your heart is overwhelmed, what should your prayer be?
  2. What is the rock described as in verse 3?
  3. What are the two repeated words in verse 4 and 7?
  4. As the Lord does all these things in David’s life, what is his response in verse 8?
  5. Let this be your response in your life so that you may daily perform all that you are committed to.

Old Testament:
Psalm 62- Power
1 Kings 7- Limitless
1 Kings 8- Too Small

I Did It My Way

Psalm 59:13
And let them know that God rules in Jacob to the ends of the earth.”

In the early eighties, a well-known Christian band wrote a song called “God Rules.” In some ways, it became the anthem of many young Christians. I remember having a “God Rules” bumper sticker on my car, and proudly writing it on my school notebook. To me, that phrase was a slang term meaning little more than the fact God was best. I believe the Psalmist is saying much more than that, he is speaking of the sovereignty of God. The word sovereign means ‘to possess supreme power.’ David is declaring that God has supreme power over His people.

Throughout Scripture, we see evidence of God’s supreme power. We see nature bow to His authority when seas part, storms cease, and the sun stands still. Sickness, demons, and death are also at His beckoning, and obey His commands. It is clear, there is no power in heaven or on earth that is not subject to the sovereign rule of God. No power, that is, except the will of man.

In His sovereignty, God will not force you (at least not now) to bow to Him. He gives each of us a choice. We can choose to bow our will to Him in obedient surrender, or we can choose to resist His love and live our own way.

A modern song writer penned these words in contrast; “For what is a man, what has he got, If not himself, then he has not. To say the things he truly feels, And not the words of one who kneels. The record shows, I took the blows, and did it my way. Yes, it was my way”

David is boasting in the rule of God, while others boast in the fact that they have refused to submit to God’s ways. Again, Scripture makes it clear, one day all will bow to God. Paul declared, “. . . that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, . . . ” (Philippians 2:10). Even those who declare “I did it my way,” will bow before the One who sovereignly rules, and recognize that He truly is King and Lord. The problem is, only bowing then, is too late to reap the benefits of His rule. I would hope that as we age and come toward the end of our life’s journey, we would be singing, not that we ignored God, fought against Him and lived in rebellion, but that we had bowed to His supreme authority, and did it His way. The benefits are far-reaching. Paul said that godliness is profitable for all things having promise for this life and the one to come (1 Timothy 4:8).

Then and now, God still rules.

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 59

  1. Sometimes we are upset or in distress bringing our problems to the Lord. Notice the pattern that David has as he starts to pray about his challenges. He starts to change and focus on the Lord and his prayer turns to praise. Have your prayers turned to praise?
  2. As your read David bringing his problems to God, can you relate to him in any way?
  3. Verse 13 David is asking for God to consume them in wrath. There is another request like this in the New Testament to Jesus. Read Luke 9:52-56
  4. Does this now put verses 16-17 in perspective? The next chapter is great!

 

Old Testament:
Psalm 60- Help From Trouble
1 Kings 5- Expanding Your Portfolio
1 Kings 6- The Temple

Shelter

Psalm 57:1
“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by.”

No matter where we live, we are faced with the storms of life. Growing up in California, I was constantly reminded of the great earthquake that was looming on the horizon. We were told that because of the fault lines, one day California would fall into the sea. Upon moving to Florida, the new fear was the hurricane. A few years back, a particularly large hurricane had developed in the warm waters of the South Atlantic. The atmospheric conditions were such to allow this storm to grow larger and larger as it traveled north. All of the models had it making landfall just outside of my home town. Having never experienced a hurricane before, I was glued to the Weather Channel for information. A hurricane this large had never been tracked before; it was larger than the state of Texas, and had wind speeds over 140 mph. People up and down the coast of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina were heading west for safety. One news station reported that hotels, as far as Kentucky were filling up, as people searched for a safe place in the storm. I felt stuck. I did not know where to go. In a last-minute decision, we drove across the state and stayed with friends, figuring though we might not be avoiding the storm, at least we would have the comfort of going through it together. Fortunately, the storm moved north, missing Florida all together, and reducing in size drastically as it met cooler waters. I came to the realization,  no matter where we live, we are faced with the storms of life, and must determine where we will run for safety.

David, facing the calamities of a wicked king seeking to destroy his life, fled to the Caves of Adullum. However, it was not the security of this hidden cave that comforted him. Instead, he writes, “And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge.” True peace will only come when we make the Lord our hiding place. Scripture is filled with invitations to come to Him, no matter what storms we are facing, and find safety, rest, peace and even guidance.

“. . . casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  Matthew 11:28

“Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”  Psalm 55:22

Will you make the shadow of His wings your hiding place today?

Pastor Jim

Questions for Psalm 57
This Psalm is entitled “Prayer for Safety”

  1. Verse 2, “I will cry out to God Most High. To God who performs all things for me.” God performing all things for you, do you understand what David means? Verse 3 puts this in perspective. How can this change your perspective?
  2. Verse 5 & 11 should not only be read but be put into practice in our lives. What in your life need to be replaced by God being exalted?

    Old Testament:
    Psalm 58- Respond In Love
    1 Kings 3- Divided Heart
    1 Kings 4- Wisdom