March 12, 2010 § 2 Comments
This is an illustrated story with a powerful message, and it explains why we each have our cross to bear, and why we need to keep going even when it seems too heavy. I got it via email a while ago and I don’t know who the author is. I’d love to give credit, so if anyone knows, please let me know in the comments below.
August 9, 2006 § Leave a Comment
There are some powerful phrases in this psalm, which not only serve to illustrate beautifully the point of the author, but also serve as reminders of how one’s faith in and desire for God should manifest. (I’m going to ignore verses 9 and 10, since I’ve already said plenty of times that it’s wrong to wish for revenge.)
For example, let’s look at verse 1: “my heart thirsts for you, my body longs for you, as a land parched, dreary and waterless.” Have you ever felt that way? Jesus said He was the water of Life, and by knowing Him, we would never be thirsty again. Have you ever had such a strong desire to be close to God? It should be natural. We shouldn’t shy away from it. He is our Creator, and we should want to be with Him.
How about verse 3: “better Your faithful love than life itself.” How true! Yet how many of us cling to this earthly life, so full of disappointments, of lies and deceit, and of decrepit old age and vanity… How can this be more precious than eternal life with God? I’m not saying we should forsake our earthly life, but we should live our days here on earth in preparation for an eternity with God, not sinning and going after fleeting pleasures that only remove us from Him.
Have you ever had an epiphany like the one described in verses 6, 7 and 8? Have you ever realized that God has always been there for you through the tough times? Have you realized how His hand has supported you through the toughest and most forbidding of circumstances, and carried you out unscathed? I have, and it’s a powerful reminder of His power to me.
I invite you to get to know God, to discover how wonderful it is to rest in Him, safe in the knowledge that He will take care of you, of even your smallest desires and wishes, and will welcome you to an eternity with Him after a life well-lived, observing His loving commandments.
June 14, 2006 § Leave a Comment
Like Psalm 56, this psalm shows a right attitude with God. David wrote this after escaping from Saul in the cave. This story is absolutely amazing, and is described in 1 Samuel 23 and 24. Read it, it won’t take but a few minutes.
Now that you’ve gotten the background, doesn’t this psalm leave you refreshed? David gave God all the glory for the escape. Nowhere in this psalm will you see any mention of how he made the decision to spare Saul’s life, or about Saul’s decision to leave him alone (for a short period of time, anyway).
No, instead you see a right attitude with God. David recognizes the Divine hand in all this, and is also smart enough to recognize that Saul’s promises are empty, as before. He chooses to rely on God instead.
That should be our attitude as well. We would do well to realize that when we, too, are delivered, it’s not men we should thank, but God. It was He who used other men to save us, or bless us, or increase our wealth or standing. As long as we do that, our defenses against worldly temptations remain strong. Our reliance on Him and Him alone gives us the strength that we need to do right in the face of danger and temptation.
June 12, 2006 § Leave a Comment
I like this psalm, because there is a peace that pervades it. Yes, there is turmoil in the words, but one gets the sense that its author, although harried, finds peace in prayer to the Lord, and in His promises of protection.
The attitude of this psalm is also much better than that of the last few psalms I’ve written about. There is a more complete trusting in God, and its author isn’t concerned with revenge. Instead, I find this: “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you, in God, whose word I praise, in God I put my trust and have no fear, what can mortal man do to me?” This is beautiful! Incidentally, it parallels Psalm 27: “Yahweh is my light and my salvation, whom should I fear? Yahweh is the fortress of my life, whom should I dread?”
The same feelings are mirrored in verses 1 and 11: “This I know, that God is on my side. In God whose word I praise, in Yahweh whose word I praise, in God I put my trust and have no fear; what can mortal man do to me?” Lest you think David’s being repetitive here, think about this: what more is there to say, when we trust in God? No matter what the problem is, we know God will take care of it.
June 10, 2006 § Leave a Comment
There are three things that I notice right away when reading this psalm:
- The most obvious is the pain one feels when a “friend” betrays you,
- David wasn’t as brave as people have come to believe, and
- A day is described as such: “evening, morning, noon.”
I don’t want to beat the first point to death. If we all haven’t been there, we will at some point – it’s guaranteed. When we go through such a time, it’s nice to know others went through it as well, that we can turn to this psalm for some support, and that God will never betray us.
Take a look at some of the language David uses to describe his state, and wonder, is this the great leader of Israel?
- “I shudder at the enemy’s shouts, at the outcry of the wicked…”
- “My heart writhes within me, the terrors of death come upon me, fear and trembling overwhelm me, and shuddering grips me.”
- “How far I would escape, and make a nest in the desert!”
It’s with some surprise that I read those verses. Hey, all that happened is that he got slandered! There are a lot of things that are a lot scarier, right? If he reacts like this to slander, how will he react when enemy troops surround Jerusalem? He’s the king, he should show some backbone.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not trying to slander David’s memory. The point I’m trying to make, is that he was able to be the great leader he was through God. We can see for ourselves that he wasn’t very brave, or at least in this particular instance, he wasn’t all there. But the one right thing he kept doing is trusting upon God. Take a look at this: “Unload your burden onto Yahweh and He will sustain you; never will he allow the upright to stumble.” (verse 22) He’s got his priorities straight, and this gives us hope. There are plenty of us, myself included, who aren’t brave or courageous, either consistently, or at certain times when the chips are down. But if we trust in God, we, like David, can get through the tough times, and things will be alright.
Now, take a look at verses 16 and 17, which I quoted at the beginning: “For my part, I appeal to God, and Yahweh saves me; evening, morning, noon, I complain and I groan.” The NJB has a footnote for verse 17, and it’s this: “The hours of prayer, Dn 6:11.” Evening, morning and noon were the times when the Israelites would pray to God. What does this have to do with us? Well, how do we describe the day? We say morning, noon and evening. David says evening, morning and noon. He does it because that was the normal progression of a day back then. The day started when the sun went down and the previous day ended. There was night, then the day, including morning and noon. When evening came, the next day began.
This same succession is found in Genesis: “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that light was good, and God divided light from darkness. God called light ‘day’, and darkness He called ‘night’. Evening came and morning came: the first day…” This is found in verses 5, 8, 13, 19, 23 and 31 of the first chapter of Genesis, and these verses bring us to verses 1-3 of the second chapter of Genesis: “Thus heaven and earth were completed with all their array. On the seventh day God had completed the work He had been doing. God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on that day He rested after all His work of creating.”
We are to discover two things from these descriptions of the succession of a day. The first is that the day rightfully begins when the sun goes down, not at midnight. That’s a concocted idea and took seed when people wanted to find a clean division between each day, one that occurred at precisely the same, all the time. It may be good for time-keeping, but it’s not Biblically correct. The second is that the proper day of rest is on the seventh day – the Sabbath, or Saturday. God established this at the beginning of the world, and His people have followed this desire of His throughout time. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Israel, David and Jesus Christ followed it. Even the early Christians followed it, until very misguided people decided to change it, against God’s will.
We would do well to follow God’s will, not people’s whims, and we’d be much better off if we’d trust in Him completely, as David did, at countless times in his life.
May 23, 2006 § 6 Comments
This is an amazing book. I have liked the story of Joseph ever since I was a child, but Ms. Fivash has research the history of the time and has written about Joseph’s life in a historically and Biblically accurate manner while providing the story between the lines, so to speak. This book captivated me from the moment I picked it up and I practically “devoured” it within three days.
May 23, 2006 § Leave a Comment
(2004, Warner Faith, New York, NY)
This book is easy to dismiss as nothing more than Christian pep talk, but to do that you would have to skim the opening chapters superficially. If you read this book from cover to cover, you cannot help but realize that this is a great read. It is a book which opens your eyes to the possibility of leading a happy, fulfilled and God-filled life – a shining example of God’s power to change lives for the better.