Psalm 29

Welcome Back! I hope that the short break gave you a chance to catch up on this study or to pray for us on our trip to Cyprus. I am excited to get back into the routine of quiet time that has been fading as that trip came closer and closer. Instead of waking up first and finishing my study before everyone else got up, I have been ending up doing it in the late afternoon or evening. For those of you in Arizona this is still an appropriate time of day, but here it has been getting to be a low priority. When my quiet time is a high priority and I am following my whole routine for quiet time, I am at peace and more full of joy, as is my family. It affects everyone if I have spent time with God and the Bible or not. So, thanks for reading, and if you ever struggle with committing to spend time with God every day, know you are not alone. But it is worth continuing to try to find that time every day, so let’s keep reading. Today we are picking up where we left off: Psalm 29.

Overview

This is a Psalm telling us to give credit and glory to God, which is His due. The Psalm is filled with the mighty characteristics of God. Specifically, much of the Psalm is describing His voice and its power. And this Lord described gives us, His people, strength, and blesses us with peace. He could destroy us all with a word, but instead He brings us peace.

Characters

David—the Psalmist, the Lord, heavenly beings, Lebanon, Sirion, Kadesh, the deer, his people

Key Verse

Verses 2-4 “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness. The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over many waters. The voice of the Lord I powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.”

Cross References

Psalm 110:3 “Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of your power, in holy garments; from the womb of the morning the dew of your youth will be yours.”

1 Chronicles 16:29 “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him! Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness;”

Exodus 28:2 “And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for gory and for beauty.”

Psalm 18:11 “He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him, thick clouds dark with water.”

Job 37:2-5 “Keep listening to the thunder of his voice and the rumbling that comes from his mouth. Under the whole heaven he lets it go, and his lightning to the corners of the earth. After it his voice roars; he thunders with his majestic voice, and he does not restrain the lightnings when his voice is heard. God thunders wondrously with his voice; he does great things that we cannot comprehend.”

Psalm 68:32-34 “O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God; sing praises to the Lord, Selah to him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens; behold, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice. Ascribe power to God, whose majesty is over Israel, and whose power I in the skies.”

Conclusion

We must spend time recognizing the power of God. Thank God for what He has done for you, yes, but also praise Him for who He is. This is important in realizing how trustworthy He is, that He does not change, and His mighty power, His glory, that no man can see His face…It is amazing! We need to take the time to be amazed, to stand in awe of Him.

Jesus in the Psalm

“The biblical formula for peace is glory plus strength. As David observes a storm moving inland from the Mediterranean, he imagines a Redeemer riding the winds like a warrior on a horse. Rather than cower from this awesome vision, David concludes that this warrior comes to bring peace. No true worshiper could read “glory” (vv. 1, 2, 3, 9) and not recall the Lord’s revelation to Moses on Mount Sinai. Hiding his servant in the rock, God passed by, revealing his “glory” (Ex. 33:18-23). Surprisingly, his glory was expressed in that moment not merely as judgment on idolaters but as mercy toward sinners (Ex. 34:6-7). Thereafter, prophets and psalmists recognize that God’s sovereignty over seen and unseen worlds (Ps. 29:1-10) is mainly to prove that he is sufficiently powerful to have compassion on whomever he will (cf. Ex. 33:19). “Glory” then becomes the watermark of God’s redeeming love (Acts 7:2-4), describing loving kindness that can break stiff-necked rebels and forgiveness that can melt hearts of stone.”*

Exodus 33:18-23 “Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name, ‘The LORD.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” And the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.””

Exodus 34:6-8 “The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression of sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and fourth generation.” And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped.”

Acts 7:2-4 “And Stephen said: “Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ‘Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.’ Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran. And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living.”

“Finally, in Christ, we have “seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). His sovereign ability to bring “peace” within the seen world was proven when he calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee (Mark 4:39). And the one risen from the dead has unique authority to command “peace” to his disciples surrounded by spiritual enemies (Ps. 29:11; John 20:26).”*

John 1:14, 16-17 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth…For from his fullness we have all received grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

Mark 4:39-40 “And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”

John 20:26 “Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.””

Tomorrow: Psalm

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Psalm section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from 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.

To receive this Bible Study in your email CLICK HERE

To see the other posts in this study CLICK HERE

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Psalm 26

Overview

David is asking the Lord to vindicate him because of his integrity, and he recounts the ways in which he does right before God. He praises the house of God, the place His glory dwells, and asks God to redeem him and be gracious to him so that he can righteously bless the Lord.

Characters

David—the Psalmist, the Lord, men of falsehood, hypocrites, evildoers, the wicked, God’s glory, sinners, bloodthirsty men, the great assembly

Key Verse

Verses 6-7 “I wash my hands in innocence and go around your altar, O Lord, proclaiming thanksgiving loud, and telling all your wondrous deeds.”

Cross References

Psalm 73:13-18 “All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning. If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed the generation of your children. But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end. Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin.”

Exodus 30:17-21 “The Lord said to Moses, “You shall also make a basin of bronze, with its stand of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it, with which Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet. When they go into the tent of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn a food offering to the Lord, they shall wash with water, so that they may not die. They shall wash their hands and their feet, so that they may not die. It shall be a statute forever to them, even to him and to his offspring throughout their generations.””

Deuteronomy 21:6 “And all the elders of that city nearest to the slain man shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley, and they shall testify, ‘Our hands did not shed blood, nor did our eyes see it shed. Accept atonement, O Lord, for your people Israel, whom you have redeemed, and do not set the guilt of innocent blood in the midst of your people Israel, so that their blood guilt be atoned for.’ So you shall purge the guilt of innocent blood from your midst, when you do what is right in the sight of the Lord.”

Psalm 9:1 “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.”

Conclusion

    There is so much to dig into in these cross references. In our Psalm, David is washing his hands to approach the altar of God to praise him. This is much how we are often taught pray, we ask for forgiveness, or thank God for his forgiveness and praise Him.

In Psalm 73, the Psalmist, Asaph, is expressing his struggle with seeing people around him getting away with sin. He begins to feel that his ceremonial washing, and his innocence are worthless, and that he is being punished for being good. Sometimes we feel this same way. Then, as he goes to God, God gives him sight to see that in reality the evil are on slippery ground. Their houses are built on sand (Matthew 7:24-27). They are walking the road to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14).

Matthew 7:24-27 “Everyone then who hers these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mind and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Matthew 7:13-14 “”Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

The Exodus text is describing this washing, which is a symbol of the need to recognize we are sinners every time we come to God. We are not clean, and we must have God to clean us. Now that God lives inside us, we should recognize this all the time and come to God as often as possible, to obtain a right heart, to be cleaned, to see God’s work around us, and to find life.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

Washing our hands and seeking God’s redeeming love are throughout Scripture, and yet, merely washing our hands with water does not clear us of our guilt. As the Deuteronomy text shares, blood must be spilt as well. We are washed in the blood of Jesus, and so we are redeemed entirely. This also reminds me of Pilate washing his hands and saying Jesus’ blood is not on his hands. However, Pilate’s wife’s dream is clearly God speaking to him about his role in this (Matthew 27:19). We cannot merely wash our hands and be done with something, we must turn to God with repentance, not pride as Pilate does. Pilate seems to believe that the ceremony is what cleans the conscience, but it is the repentance that comes with it (Matthew 27:24-26).

Matthew 27:19, 24-26 “Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.”… So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.”

Jesus in the Psalm

    Continuing our big Christianese words is “Vindication”. My commentary describes this saying, “David pleads to be vindicated or distinguished from “hypocrites” and “evildoers” (Ps. 26:1, 4-5). Far from boasting, David’s pronouncements are implicit prayers for help in his pursuit of holiness.”*

“David knows he needs redemption and grace (v. 11b). Because of this grace, whatever happens, David stands on level ground (v. 12). The ultimate way in which God secured this redemption and grace was in the sending of his own Son, to whom God was not gracious, so that grace could be extended to sinners such as David—and us.”*

Tomorrow: Psalm 27

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Psalm section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from 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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To see the other posts in this study CLICK HERE

Romans 5

EDIT: I am sorry for the lateness of this post. Louis and I are doing Romans and so I had to wait until we could do the chapter together in addition to my normal study. I backdated it, so it looks like I posted it on time, and so it is in order when people are scrolling through. Sorry, and thanks again for following!

Overview

    Romans 4 began the weightiness of words for me, and this chapter has continued that. In reading it three times some of the longer sentences began to make sense, but don’t feel silly if you have to look up some of the words. It is important to know what we believe, and some of these words are meaningless even to us. Remember our discussion on Christianese?

This chapter continues from the justification through faith discussed in Chapter 4. Now that we have been justified through faith in Jesus Christ, we have peace. Before that justification we had only death. Now we rejoice, even in our sufferings because of the hope we have in God.

What makes you joyful? For Louis & me, Davy’s love of family and God makes us very joyful. This Study fills me with joy as well. Our marriage also fills us with joy: Daily coffee dates, planning for our new responsibilities here in Lebanon, etc. Louis goes to the center which fills him with joy and the stories he brings home, in turn, fill me with joy. Even in our sufferings we can b joyful. Louis was sharing the story of Davy’s near death experience with a group of high school students at the center this week. It is a joy to share the gospel with them, and this opportunity came out of intense suffering for Louis.

Verses 3-5 are excellent promise box verses. “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, an character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

The chapter also make the comparison between Adam and Jesus. Adam, with one act, brought death to all of us. Christ Jesus, with one act, brought life and grace and righteousness to all of us. That which is impossible for us to gain on our own, Jesus earned for us with His death on the cross. Thank You, Jesus!

Finally, Moses receiving the law, and its place in the story of Christ’s coming to earth to die for us is discussed.

My last initial observation is that Paul is reminding the readers of this letter of stories that are the foundation of their beliefs (Abraham and Sarah, David, and now Adam and Moses), and showing how those stories point the way to Jesus. This fits so well with our purpose of studying the Psalms, to find Jesus in them. The Bible is not just a New Testament about Jesus, everything is about Jesus!

Characters

Paul, those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his saints, God, our Lord Jesus Christ, us-Christians, the Holy Spirit, the ungodly, a righteous person, a good person, sinners, Adam, Moses, and all men.

Key Verse

Verses 18-19 “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.”

These two verses say the same thing in two different ways, and I think it is the main point of this comparison, so I included them both. Repetition in the Bible, and here in Lebanon, is a way of emphasizing a point, so this two ways of stating the same thing seems like bolding and italicizing and underlining and then adding a bunch of exclamation points. That, to me, is a key verse.

Cross References

John 12:32 “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.””

2 Corinthians 10:5-6 “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”

This verse I talked about last week in Romans 4 for our application challenge, here is where “take every thought captive” come from (verse 5).

Hebrews 5:8-9 “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,”

Philippians 2:8 “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Conclusion

    Obedience to God was shown to us by Jesus, in dying on the cross. Now we are obedient as we follow Jesus and all He tells us to do. Did you follow through with last week’s challenge? I referenced it again above. Did you pray and see what God was calling you to do?

Just like the people Paul was writing to probably didn’t think about the old stories all the time, they knew them. Sometimes we have learned lessons, but have stopped following through or have almost forgotten. This can happen with our prayers. We can forget what we prayed, so like the 10 lepers we forget to go back and thank God for what He has done for us when He answers our prayers. When He tells us to do something we may choose not to do it, and then wonder why He isn’t talking to us, while He is waiting for our response to what He asked us! Take time to search your own heart for faith, trust, and obedience to Christ in Your Life.

Verses 2-11 are all reasons we should rejoice, even in our sufferings. Rejoice always (1 Thessalonians 5:16, Philippians 4:4). One of the main reasons we rejoice is that God loves us. While we were still sinners, Jesus died for us, and now we have reconciliation with Him. God’s Love is based on grace.

1 Thessalonians 5:16 “Rejoice always.”

Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”


Study Notes

    I normally don’t use the study notes for Romans, but here they provide some very well worded definitions for some of those Christianese words, so I will give you those.

“Justification—God’s reckoning or accounting of Christ’s righteousness to sinners—is through faith alone (3:27-31). The only thing we contribute is our need.”*

“[Paul] takes up sanctification, the work of God’s grace to set us free from sin and make us joyful servants of God’s righteousness (see 6:17-18). Believers in Christ have peace with God (5:1), a state of grace and rejoicing (v. 2), and a way of living that is both sobering and satisfying. It is sobering that trusting in Christ brings sufferings (v.3; see also 8:17).”*

In what area of your life are you experiencing suffering? Louis is struggling with the visa difficulties we have experienced so far, and this compounds the difficulties of living in Lebanon. We feel overwhelmed with having to handle all of the details on our own. Many of the sufferings have become livable and taken care of, but it has been a difficult two months of growth. It is a paradox of suffering and rejoicing, yuck duck vs. yay duck, having to leave the country and also looking forward to a break we didn’t get yet this year (since our Rome trip became less than relaxing). While we feel frustrated with figuring all of this out on our own, we rejoice in the reality that we can now help other Americans coming to visit and stay to not have the same overwhelming stress in renewing their visas. CHALLENGE: Can you rejoice in your own area of suffering?

Tomorrow: Psalm 24

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Study Notes section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from 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.

To receive this Bible Study in your email CLICK HERE

To see the other posts in this study CLICK HERE

Psalm 7: Do we continue to praise God in the worst situations?

Overview

    Yesterday I shared that I usually use the word “Psalmist” in place of David because my focus is on the red thread binding Jesus through all of Scripture, and that my Bible currently in use does not contain notes on the history. Here in this Psalm, the Psalm itself mentions the purpose of this Psalm being written, “A Shiggaion of David, which he sang to the Lord concerning the words of Cush, a Benjamite”. This Psalm again shows David coming to God unsure of whether his suffering is punishment from God or the enemy. He again repents and turns to God in trust that God’s judgment is righteous. He will praise God even if the suffering continues, and he is torn apart. Can we say the same thing? I find myself wanting to curl up and stay in bed forever, to give up. But David faithfully continues to praise God through it all, while also committing himself into God’s hand for discipline as well. In fact, he even takes the time to pray for the righteous to be established and the evil to come to an end. So, he seeks aide for others as well even knowing God may be casting judgment on him.

Characters

David, Cush-a Benjamite, Lord my God, my pursuers, my soul, my friend, my enemies, the assembly of the peoples, the wicked, the righteous, the upright in heart, a man who does not repent.

Key Verse

Verse 9 “Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end, and may you establish the righteous—you who test the minds and hearts, O righteous God!”

Cross References

Psalm 11:5 “The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.”

Job 23:10 “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.”

Psalm 139:1 “O Lord, you have searched me and known me!”

1 Samuel 16:7 “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

1 Chronicles 28:9 “”And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but of you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.”

Psalm 26:2 “Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind.”

Jeremiah 11:20 “But, O Lord of hosts, who judges righteously, who tests the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you have I committed my cause.”

Jeremiah 17:10 “”I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.””

Jeremiah 20:12 “O Lord of hosts, who tests the righteous, who sees the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you have I committed my cause.”

Revelation 2:21-29 “I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. Only hold fast what you have until I come. The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, ad he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'”

Conclusion

Repent.

Hold fast to God.

Give him praise and thanks no matter the circumstance.

Jesus in the Psalm

“David’s sufferings are not only anticipatory of Christ’s sufferings. They are also an example of how all of God’s children suffer in union with their Savior”.*

Matthew 10:16-25 “”Behold I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.”” (You can read on to see that Jesus, like David in these Psalms, follows with telling us to not fear these people.)

1 Peter 1:3-12 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.”

Just as Jesus was, David was betrayed “by a fellow Israelite from a friendly tribe”, as many of us have been as well. As Louis and I say often, sheep bites hurt worse than wolf bites. How this Psalm describes that feeling of pain when it is the church members that betray us. We also cry out to God to save us, “lest like a lion they tear my soul apart, rending it in pieces, with none to deliver.”

Matthew 26:23 “He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me.”

Psalm 41:9 “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.”

In that pain do you and I turn to self pity, or do we repent of anything we may have done? David chooses repentance and to let God handle the situation. His trust in his Redeemer is so great that he knows the outcome will be righteous even if it means he is the one judged to be in the wrong. Again we see him reach, like Paul, for the shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16).

Do you have God as your shield in hand today? Or does that visual/metaphor mean little to you, lost in the vocabulary of Christianese? What is attacking you today. To take up this shield is to give it to God, to throw down your weapons of attacking back. In this way God is your shield, you are relying on Him to handle the situation, as your defense.

Tomorrow: Psalm 8

*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.

To receive this Bible Study in your email CLICK HERE

To see the other posts in this study CLICK HERE

Christianese -Written by Louis Liss

For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2

I adore intellectualism. I lavish wading in the waters of hyper-cognitive conversations and am filled with a bolt of adrenaline at the opportunity to debate any given topic that pops up in daily dialogue. So when the Holy Spirit illuminated the Great Commission for me in high school as being imperative for my life, I felt uniquely equipped to stand in the middle of the courtyard and watch as my words brought down tongues of fire onto the campus. You can imagine how stunned I was when my incredible oratory and prowess in verbal sparring bore no fruit and sowed a lot of dissension towards not only myself but God in general. For some bizarre reason my puffed up pride did not convey the gospel of Jesus Christ. Beyond my arrogance, the greatest barrier to Jesus was the language I was using, which to me was clear and deeply significant. To my post-modern classmates the words, “Justification by grace through faith,” not only had no meaningful impact, but had no meaning at all. Though I had a comprehensive command of the theological principles of the road to salvation this did not impress my classmates enough to give their lives over to Jesus nor did they appreciate being dragged brain first across the threshold of salvation. So I stumbled through constant clumsy evangelism into college. It was there at our InterVarsity campus ministry that we played a game where we had to make a list of words that meant nothing or something completely different to our non-Christian neighbors. We made a long list of words including, for example, atonement, sanctification, and blood. Then we were asked to flip over the page and answer the following question without using any of those aforementioned words: What is the significance of the cross in your life? Jesus’ death on the cross was and is the most important manifestation of Christ in my life and so I feverishly began to write with growing fervor. I soon found that I was doing far more erasing than I was writing. I realized that I had become fully dependent on explaining my deep and passionate love for Jesus in a way that only I and those select few fluent in Christianese could understand. I then received a far deeper revelation from the Holy Spirit. I had been clinging to these insider terms during evangelism because I had placed my identity in my intelligence and not in Christ. I thought that it was more important that people were impressed by my knowledge of God than by God, and to bring the illumination to its completion the Holy Spirit finally told me that my amazing oration had drawn many people to myself but very few were then drawn to Him. So I began to take a John 15 set of shears to my language. I started to systematically reevaluate all of my beliefs about God and if it included any of the post-modern taboo words that I had listed then I moved it from the evangelism part of my brain to the discipleship section. I began to realize how deeply difficult this truly was. I found my post-modern friends were in no way interested with whether or not Jesus was true in what He said, but they were intently fascinated by whether or not these truths worked practically in my life. With my high church armor stripped I found myself exposed. These words had protected me from having to engage about my own struggles and failures. I now stood bare before the world with nothing but Jesus and my personal stories of his daily actions in my life. I sat one day in my hockey locker room surrounded by several guys I have known for well over 15 years. They would frequently recount the debaucherous exploits of our youth. After several months of stories a newer player who knew that I had been present for all of the depicted events asked me how it was possible that I could be a character in these stories from the past and now be a pastor and missionary who continued to consort with my former teammates. The characters in these tales were comprised of heroin addicts, a multiple rehab attender, a drug dealer whose family had to flee the state because of death threats, a prisoner for illegal pornography, adulterers, drunkards, three lifetime ban holders, and a rap sheet full of assaults to round out the tales that come to mind. Even as I began to speak I looked at my teammates through a haze of pot smoke. “How did you end up like you did after spending your life with these guys?” he asked. “I was lost, running in darkness and filling my life with anything that could make me not think about the pit I was in. I tried to pull myself out so many times and never could shake the darkness. Then I was invited to come to a youth retreat where Jesus met me and broke in with such amazing light that all of the darkness in me fled and all the venom in me was drained out. I was a new person with Jesus in my heart, and as for these guys. There’s no place that Jesus would rather hang out than in a hockey locker room. We all need that light in our lives.” The locker room that usually sounded like, well, a locker room was silent. One of my old friends leaned over and said, “Thanks Lou we need someone like you in around us.” Everyone agreed and as we were going out to play the game the new guy approached me and asked if we could talk more at the bar after the game. Of course I agreed and we had weeks of amazing conversations about Jesus and His light. While I am amongst someone who hasn’t yet taken that unfathomable leap into the arms of Jesus I now confess to know nothing but Christ and him crucified. It has transformed my life, my ministry, and truly proven to me that God was right when He spoke about all we need in Revelation 12:11, “They overcame [the accuser] by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony.” Amen and Ahmeen

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Psalm 3

Overview:

When others slander and stir up doubt in your mind, rely on God. He is in charge of salvation. No one else can tell you whether or not you have salvation, but God, He is the only one who can assure you of your salvation. That assurance of salvation is well placed, too, because He is our shield and sustainer. He is the one who can lift us up. And He is a God who answers our cry to Him. We have nothing to fear from people.

So many verses here are applicable to anyone who feels attacked. Even by lies from our own inner voices or perhaps Satan, we can feel attacked. I know that doubt stirs up in my mind often. I had to read this Psalm through 4 times because I kept thinking about how this is right where I am, and then I realized I had stopped thinking about what I was reading, my eyes just continued to move. I have a friend who has shared about her own doubt in her salvation before, and I have my own doubts that make it seem like everything is hopeless. Perhaps you also have an inner voice influenced by the world or the Devil that seems to be trapping you.

But to wake up in the morning shows that the Lord has preserved me, and as I go through the day seeking Him, I will find His approval and plan for the day rather than remaining concerned about others’ plans. Then I realize I have nothing to fear from people, because God is in charge. And salvation, both eternal and from all bondage in this world, comes from God. So I lay even my doubts about little choices in His hand so that I am no longer paralyzed by even my inner voice. You take care of her, God, I only want to hear Your voice.

Characters:

Lord, my foes and enemies, myself, people.

Key Verse:

Verse 8 “Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people! Selah

Cross References:

Psalm 37:39 “The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.”

Psalm 62:7 “On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.”

Isaiah 43:11 “I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior.”

Isaiah 45:21 “Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me.”

Jeremiah 3:23 “Truly the hills are a delusion, the orgies on the mountains. Truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel.”

Hosea 13:4 “But I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior.”

Jonah 2:9 “But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!””

Revelation 7:10 “and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!””

Revelation 19:1 “After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,”

Conclusion:

    There are some excellent stories in the verses above. I think you could do a whole study on some of them alone. The fascinating thing about Psalms cross references is the variety of texts to which they send you. I might need to come back through here for more than just my Promise Box.

What is being expressed over and over about the salvation from God, is that He alone can provide it. Whether salvation from the stomach of a huge fish, salvation from a life of slavery or exile, throughout all of time, it is God our Lord alone who can provide salvation. Even from those pleasurable things that we think are awesome and filling that hole in us, but in reality bind us, God is the only salvation from those vices as well. I shared over the first two Psalms that my Christianese was being redefined in the word “Blessing” which was in our Psalm today also! Another word today that is standing out to me is “Salvation”. I tend to think of salvation only in terms of who is “saved” or not, but we have been saved from more than an eternity in hell. I have been “Saved” for many years, but I still need God’s salvation from that inner voice, from addiction and vices, from impatience and anger, and I am sure you can relate.

Jesus in the Psalm:

    Of course, salvation is found in Jesus, so an entire Psalm about salvation lends itself to sharing about Jesus. Jesus is the only way we can be saved for all eternity, and with Him is the only way to be saved from the sins in our life as well.

*The commentary also makes the connection between the “holy hill” in this Psalm and the hill Jesus dies on, both hills being used for sacrifice. But only the sacrifice of Jesus holds the power of salvation for mankind. This prayer/psalm walks through the three steps of saving faith: 1) Acknowledge that salvation can only be found through our Lord (verses 2, 8, and John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the lie. No one comes to the Father except through me.”). 2) Agreement that I need that salvation and shield as seen in verse 3 and Ephesians 6:11-13 in the armor of God. 3) Finally, I must have an authentic commitment, welcoming this salvation from God. 2 Corinthians 4 talks about how the world has blinded the unbelievers to “keep them from seeing the light of the gospel” (verse 4).

Finally, here are two more New Testament verses which relate to this Psalm and our assurance of being on the winning team:

1 Corinthians 15:57-58: “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

Colossians 2:13-15: “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”*

*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.

I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please leave a comment to share them with us.

Tomorrow: Romans 1

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Psalm 2

Overview:

This Psalm is talking about kings and rulers setting themselves up opposed to God. The Lord laughs at this because He is the King of Kings and has already set His plan in motion. A king, His Son, one who can ask anything of the Lord and He will receive a heritage. This Son is sent to destroy those other rulers. This Psalm serves as a warning to them so that they may turn and take refuge in the Son and be blessed. (In the commentary of Psalm 1 I found that “blessed” is corollary to the “redemptive presence of God.” This is helping me take the Christianese out of “Blessing” and have an application for it. So, those who take refuge in him are blessed means they will be connected to God’s redemptive presence, they could be redeemed. Also, the parts about his wrath and breaking them with iron and dashing them to pieces reminds me of the verse we just read in the lectionary this past week about Jesus not bringing peace, but a sword (Matthew 10:34).

Characters:

The nations, the peoples, the kings of the earth, the rulers, the Lord, his Anointed, King on Zion, Son, a potter, and all who take refuge in him.

Key Verse:

    Sometimes it is so hard to pick a verse. Today I am going to be Annie about it and pick two. I think two that are key to the whole Psalm (and the entire Bible). With such an outright prophecy of Christ, I just can’t limit myself to one verse! Verse 6 & 7 together are key to the entire Psalm I think, with Jesus being the King and also Son.

Verse 6 & 7: “”As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.””

Cross References:

Proverbs 8:23 “Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth.”

2 Samuel 5:7 “Nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David.”

Psalm 110:2 “The Lord sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your enemies!”

Psalm 3:4 “I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill.”

Psalm 15:1 “O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?”

Psalm 43:3 “Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!”

Psalm 99:9 “Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the Lord our God is holy!”

Romans 1:4 “and he was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,”

Acts 13:33 “this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.'”

Hebrews 1:5 “For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”?

Hebrews 5:5 “So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”;

Conclusion:

    What exciting verses! Hebrews and Acts quote this Psalm because it is indeed about Jesus! It is so great that all of Scripture testifies about Him. Jesus, who is God’s Son, was appointed as king and high priest, so no ruler here has any power above that. Jesus will win. And if we choose Jesus, and have a relationship with him, we will be redeemed, saved, and on the victorious team. Also, these verses continue to show that while Jesus is a recapitulation of King David, Kind David could never match up to all the words here. Only Jesus is the perfect King, the wholly righteous, Salvation. No one else is, has been, or will be as holy as Jesus, the rightful heir to the nations.

Jesus in the Psalm:* Here is one that is so obviously about Jesus. In verse 2, the word “Anointed” is Messiah in Hebrew and Christ in Greek. The apostles used this Psalm to preach the gospel, and Hebrews explains that Jesus is the Son from this Psalm. Peter preached about the cross being a display of the rage talked about in this Psalm, and Paul that Christ became King due to his resurrection. Our relationship with Jesus is essential to our salvation. We are blessed in obedience to Him, and are saved through Him. Psalm 2 is fulfilled by Jesus Christ.

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible, so notes on commentary are coming from there.

What are your observations, comments, thoughts?

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