Next Week’s Reading Plan
Monday Psalm 16
Tuesday Psalm 17
Wednesday Psalm 18
Thursday Romans 4
Friday Psalm 19
Saturday Psalm 20
Once again David is poetically giving us a picture of what is required to be justified before God. Beginning with the question of who is worthy to come near to God in the temple, he continues by listing excellent attributes of a righteous person.
David-the Psalmist, the Lord, the righteous man, his neighbor, his friend, a vile person, the innocent.
The whole psalm is a key section. It describes how to be worthy, and it again gives us reason to realize that we are not worthy to be near to God. I will choose verse 5 because it states “He who does these things” which includes all the verses previous.
Verse 5 “who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.”
Exodus 22:25 “”If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be like a moneylender to him, and you shall not exact interest from him.”
Leviticus 25:36 “Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God, that your brother may live beside you.”
Deuteronomy 23:19 “”You shall not charge interest on loans to your brother, interest on money, interest on food, interest on anything that is lent for interest.”
Ezekiel 18:4-9 “Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die. “If a man is righteous and does what is just and right—if he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife or approach a woma in her time of menstrual impurity, does not oppress anyone but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, does not lend at interest or take any profit, withholds his hand from injustice, executes true justice between man and man, walks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfully—he is righteous; he shall surely live, declares the Lord GOD.”
Ezekiel 22:12 “In you they take bribes to shed blood; you take interest and profit and make gain of your neighbors by extortion; but me you have forgotten, declares the Lord GOD.”
Exodus 23:8 “And you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of those who are in the right. “You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.””
Deuteronomy 16:19-20 “You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous. Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”
Psalm 10:6 “He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved; throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.””
Bribery was one of the topics brought up in our MTI training. We discussed that in many cultures this is an accepted part of life, but as Christians are we going to go along with it because it is cultural, or protest it even to our own detriment. The point made was that on any topic, if we do not know what the Bible says we cannot make a stand. We need to know what God says about all of our decisions. Many of us skip the books of Law because they are boring, hard to read, or it is challenging to figure out how they apply to us in 2014. Well, today they apply. We want to live righteous lives, to come to God in repentance and build a relationship with Him, so we can be those who are never to be moved because God is our foundation.
So often the books I am reading become a way that God teaches me lessons. Whether it is the Bible, which is an obvious source of God’s teachings, or a novel or a cozy mystery or an easy read short story collection or young adult book, books I am reading or have read will stick with me. As I think on them in the back of my mind, sermons, conversations, life events, and my Bible reading and quiet time will be shaded by those books.
This is what is happening now with Born Again. I had been reading about a chapter a week and they were good, factual accounts of the people in the Nixon administration during Watergate. But pre-Chuck being saved it could be frustrating to read it. He wrote the book in such a way that you can see what he was thinking without the shadings of his later conversion to Christianity. Until the last few weeks it was a book in my pile for every now and then. Then he began to see his need for Christ and that is when I began eating it up. Now it is shading my reading of this Psalm.
How easy it is to justify our sins to ourselves. We do not repent because it is not that bad, or we didn’t mean it, or…insert your typical excuse for sin here. But when we get to heaven and find the book of our life (or when we have the time to write a thorough autobiography) what is it going to reveal about us that we thought was ok, but was a grievous sin?
In Romans 1 we made a list of sins that we might not recognize as ours, or we may think are lesser sins. As I read these Psalm today I know I am not righteous according to even this short list.
So, I ask you, if you were to write the story of your life, would you be able to recognize sins in your past and see their grievous nature before God? Do we truly realize that slandering others has such deep impact and leads to death just as much as murder or sins we perceive to be worse? Do we even recognize when we gossip about others?
I choose this last one from verse 3. As I read that verse I was reminded of a challenge Louis would issue to every small group and Bible Study he was a part of: “Every time that you talk about another person, the person you are talking to, should leave that conversation thinking better about whomever you have brought up.”
Jesus in the Psalm
As I am working to remember Jesus in all my Old Testament readings, to realize the need for Him in every book and chapter, it is becoming easier and more obvious. Obvious to the point of feeling like I should have always seen this. Reading Psalms has always been a challenge for me because of the poetic nature, but today I realized right away two things:
- Only Jesus is going to fulfill these requirements.
- I do not have any guilt on me for these sins because I have been forgiven and justified before the throne of God because Jesus died for me. Therefore, without satisfying the prerequisites, Jesus has promoted me to be one who will never be moved because I rely on His foundation.
Ephesians 2:19-22 “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”
Monday: Psalm 16
*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Psalm section, so these are paraphrases of the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.
Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please leave a comment to share them with us.
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