Archive | August 2015

Psalm 33

Praise and being close to God go hand in hand.

Such praise deserves the best musicians.

What God says is so.  It is true.  He is faithful to us and worthy of our trust.

The earth is full of God’s love.  All we have to do is look for it.

He puts the deep into storehouses to give us just the knowledge we need at the moment.

Human resources cannot save a man or a nation.  God is the best protector.

God is watching over me.  I need to let go and rely on His steady love.

We wait for the Lord.

We hope in the Lord.

God is our help.

God is our shield.

In God we’re happy to the deepest part of our innermost being.

We trust in God.

His love rests upon us and surrounds us.

Psalm 32

When we ask God to forgive our sins, we received blessings and happiness.

As we confess our sins, the deceit we use to cover them up leaves and we are more open to fellowship with God. The energy we spend in being guilty is now spent on growing in the Lord instead.

When we keep silent about our sin, God’s hand becomes heavy upon us – there are so many things that God wants to share with us that they start building up. God can’t share with us because our sin is in the way – we’re too busy being guilty.

God will not bridle us – He gives us free choice.

The Pride of Hezekiah

“However, because his heart was proud, Hezekiah didn’t respond according to the benefits that had come to him. So there was wrath upon him, upon Judah and upon Jerusalem.“ II Chronicles 32:25

So many benefits had come to Hezekiah. God had annihilated the army of Sennacherib, which so impressed the surrounding nations, they brought gifts to Hezekiah. He was exalted in the eyes of all nations (verses 22-23 and 27-29), and it went to his head. When Hezekiah became ill to the point of certain death, he prayed and God granted his request with a miraculous sign (II Kings 20:1-11). Then Hezekiah started coasting like a spoiled child who knows they can ask for anything and get it.

So many benefits. So little gratitude and glorying in God. That was how Hezekiah (and we) was (are) to respond. There’s no mention of Hezekiah’s thanksgiving or turning any of the tribute received over to God. When our Book of Life is opened in heaven, how many entries of thanksgiving and giving glory to God will there be? Our Book of Life should be filled with them! According to the benefits we have received and then some.

But that wasn’t so for Hezekiah, and his pride led to God’s wrath upon him and also all those around him, and the entire nation. We must check our pride and increase our thanksgiving and God-glorying.

“When the ambassadors of Babylon’s rulers were sent to him to inquire about the miraculous sign that happened in the land, God left him (Hezekiah) to test him and discover what was in his heart.” II Chronicles 32:31

Before Jesus ascended into heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to permanently reside in the hearts of believers, the Spirit of God would come and go as the need arose. The Spirit was with God-seeking Hezekiah, but left him when the Babylonian delegation came so God could test him and discover what was in his heart. Unfortunately, when the Spirit left, Hezekiah’s pride ruled his heart.

God still tests His children to discover what is in our hearts, but He doesn’t leave us – He can’t. He promised He wouldn’t in Hebrews 13:5, not just once, but with the quintuplet, “I will never, no never, no never leave you or forsake you.”

We must guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23) so that we’ll be able to pass God’s next test.

Joash and Zechariah

“The Spirit of God took control of Zechariah, son of Jehoida the priest. He stood above the people and said to them, ‘This is what God says, “Why are you transgressing the Lord’s command and you do not prosper? Because you have abandoned the Lord, He has abandoned you.”’ But they conspired against him and stoned him at the king’s command in the courtyard of the Lord’s temple. King Joash didn’t remember the kindness that Zechariah’s father Jehoida had extended to him, but killed his son. While he was dying, he said, ‘May the Lord see and demand an account.’” II Chronicles 24:20-22

Oh, that the Spirit of God would take control of me and of every single Christ follower! What a difference it would make in our lives and in our culture! But we resist, afraid of Zechariah’s fate – not the stoning, but the rejection of our peers.

I wonder how much prosperity would be released if everyone in this country would stop transgressing the Lord’s commands. My part is to examine my life to make sure it is in line with God’s commands and then start being a prophet to others.

King Joash didn’t remember the kindness shown to him. Zechariah’s father saved his life, kept him hidden frim his murdering power-hungry grandmother, and instructed him in God’s ways. But Joash forgot all that under Zechariah’s public scolding and ordered Zechariah’s execution. Joash had to silence the voice of conscience that had become much too loud for comfort. Surely Joash and Zechariah grew up together, so he wasn’t just ordering the death of a detractor, but a brother. Jehoida would have trained both boys. One chose God’s way, the other chose the people’s (see verses 17-18 where the rulers come to Joash after Jehoida’s death and their homage turns his heart away from God). Sometimes the pull of other people, popularity and conformity is stronger than years of solid teaching and upbringing.

Zechariah asks for God’s justice and judgment for his murderers, unlike Jesus and Stephen, who asked for God’s forgiveness for theirs. How much Jesus changed the world!

Psalm 30

God lifts me out of the depths –

The depths of depression

The depths of self-pity

The depths of laziness

The depths of debt

God heals me from lack of self-confidence and hurt feelings.

Help me to spend more time singing.

When I felt secure, I got proud and cocky. I depended on myself instead of on You, and so Your face was hid. You didn’t hide it – I covered it with my own self-assurance. I became dismayed when I realized I couldn’t do it myself.

Save us, Abba. What gain is there if we lose it all? Then there would be nothing to praise you with or for.

Turn our wailing and worrying into dancing and assurance.

Thank You Abba.