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Crucified Before the Foundation of the World

"Crucified before the foundation of the world." What does that mean? How could that even happen? Historians and archaeologists ta...

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Psalms 6--Seek Forgiveness

Psalms 6 is a prayer of David. He calls on God to forgive his error and not to punish him in the heat of anger. The prayer is sincere and deeply moving, but the words imply some conscious sin that he cannot escape reproof and only forgiveness can restore his favor with God.

There are other psalms that carry the weight of sin: Psalms 38 and 51 are popular for helping the petitioner to find the words and humiliation to express sorrow and regret for sin.

This Psalm does not note the occasion of sin, but we all find sin "ever at the door," and David was a man just as human as all of us are and he must have had other times when he sought forgiveness.

He appeals to God for one reason: his unfailing love. Only because God loves him does he ask for forgiveness. He has worn himself out weeping and his bed is wet with tears; his eyes are weak with sorrow, but he does not appeal to God on those grounds.

He turns away those who might comfort him. It makes me wonder if they were knowledgeable about the deed or were also participants.

In Verse 9 he is convinced that God had heard his prayer and granted forgiveness. He continues to seek acceptance of their guilt on those who are also in need of God's forgiveness.

When you are in need of God's forgiveness, remember David's prayer and seek help from his words when you are convicted of sin. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Psalms 5--Pray Early in the Morning

David appeals to God in Psalms 5 for defense against those who do evil; he appeals to God to hear his prayer and consider his lament. David lived in a society of people who sometimes called on other gods and who were often filled with wickedness. He did not seek vengeance, but he sought God's guidance to lead him, to defend him from the deceit of those who were arrogant.

David prayed in the morning and laid his requests before God waiting expectantly for guidance. He proclaims God's rejection of evil and arrogance. He says God hates the bloodthirsty and deceitful. He does not count himself in the number of those men. He can come into the house of the Lord because of God's great love and bow down in worship.

In verse 8 he returns to the theme of his prayer: Lead me O Lord in your righteousness because my enemies are untrustworthy and tell lies. Make your paths straight for me. Let my enemies' evil come upon them and let their intrigues be their own downfall. Banish them for their many sins.

Let all who take refuge in you be glad. In this section he sees God as a shield of protection. David has been a man of war and he is well acquainted with the benefits of a shield and how to use it. He praises God for his favor and blessing and claims it for those who are righteous.

May we also be devoted to God and seek his righteousness early in the morning and his shield of protection from those who practice evil.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Psalms 4

This Psalm is unusual. The Living Bible paraphrase confirms my opinion: It is a conversation between David and God. It begins with David crying out for God to hear his prayer
1Answer me when I call to you,
    my righteous God.
 Give me relief from my distress;
    have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

In the next section God calls the people, and apparently David, to account for their neglect of praise and worship.

How long will you people turn my glory into shame?
    How long will you love delusions and seek false gods[b]?[c]

In Verse 3 David  claims God's provision for himself joins in God's reproof.

Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself;
    the Lord hears when I call to him.

In Verse 4 he refers to how the quality of sleep is affected by the spiritual condition.
Tremble and[d] do not sin;
    when you are on your beds,

    search your hearts and be silent.

In verse 5 I can't tell whether it is David or God that calls us to offer "righteous sacrifices," but in either case we are counseled to "trust in the Lord." 

Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
    and trust in the Lord.

In Verse 6 the speaker is David.  He knows that God is our only help in times of difficulty and he seeks the light of his face.
Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
    Let the light of your face shine on us.

 It is God's joy David seeks more than the sustenance of grain or the refreshment of wine.

Fill my heart with joy
    when their grain and new wine abound.

David again refers to the sustaining nature of peaceful sleep being assured that God provides for his safety.
In peace I will lie down and sleep,
    for you alone, Lord,
    make me dwell in safety.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Psalms 1

Psalms 1 presents the message of righteous behavior as a lesson in what people are not supposed to do. The first verse lists things to avoid. He begins with walking. Don't walk like the wicked do; don't stand like they stand; don't sit in their circle  to mock and demean others. Those who behave like this are not blessed of God.

The one who is blessed is the one who delights in God's law and finds  beauty and joy in it throughout the day and into the night.
There are other signs that he is blessed. He is like a tree that is planted by a river that does not wither when there is no rain. Everything he does prospers.

The wicked do not enjoy these benefits. No, those who do not observe his laws are like the chaff of the grain  that is blown away by the wind. They make no lasting contribution and have no value.

The ungodly shall not be able to face judgment, nor find support from the righteous. God discerns who obeys his laws and who does not. It is not God's judgment that dooms the wicked, but his own behavior and attitude.

Read Psalms 1