Restored!

A devotional of Psalm 126

1 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.

God’s restoration in our lives is as a dream. It seems unreal and inexplicable. Frequently it is hard to connect the dots of his favor. All we know is we were as those who slumber and now are wide awake.

2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy;

then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”

Joy and singing are our anthem. They are the true mark of a Christian. You cannot know Jehovah and long persist in dreary drudgery. Laugh believer, rejoice redeemed. You are richly blessed indeed!

When God does amazing things for his children, onlookers cannot help but notice. Some may jeer but all acknowledge that a supernatural force is at work in our midst.

3 The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad.

May we in turn acknowledge that he has done great things. We must open our mouths are to be out with it. This is no place for silence.  This is no business for reticence. Arise, beloved. Tell of his goodness. Tell what he has done from the days of our spiritual fathers to this day.

4 Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negeb!

In the dry times of our lives, the Lord restores our fortunes like a wadi in the desert. Flash floods cascade torrentially in barren places resulting in unbelievable sprouting and blossoming.

5 Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!

6 He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing,

shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

Image result for sheaves

Our pains and tears water the dry places and lead to harvests we cannot imagine. This is a promise. Your tears were not in vain. Your tears are not in vain. They are precious to your maker. So much so that he collects them. He treasures them. They are earning for you an eternal glory. You shall reap. You shall laugh again. Jump for joy believer!

Weep if you must. Travail if you must. Sometimes God’s intervention is like a flash flood in your life. Other times it includes labor and waiting as you co-labor with him. What is your seed? Are you faithfully sowing it? Are you caring for the sick, the hungry, the imprisoned? This is your calling, farmer. Are you comforting the broken-hearted and binding up their wounds? Are you sowing seeds of the good news, the eruptive joy of being known by a savior? Weep with them, hold them close. Check in on them.

You will come home with shouts of joy. You will have a harvest. It will be as a dream. You will have piles of sheaves and your rejoicing will know no bounds.

The Divine Hug

A devotional on Psalm 125

1 Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.

I

n psalms 89, 101, and 102 we studied the word ethan­ which means rock-solid and unshakable. Please revisit those wonderful devotionals. Immovable is your identity believer. Do you behave like it or are you easily agitated and cowered? If the maker of the universe has declared you ethan, who dare calls you a coward? Woe to him who stirs you, who causes you to faint or shake.

2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore.

We have consistently seen this theme throughout the Psalms. God surrounds us constantly. We are beset with his love and protection; we are mantled by his heavenly host; we are to be surrounded by believers. It’s a celestial embrace; a divine hug. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth (Ps. 124: 8.) The Hebrew word for help – ezer – means to enfold or surround. This is not a conditional surrounding. It doesn’t come and go. It is rock solid always. You are never alone. Never abandoned. No matter how weak you feel, he is before and behind and beside you always. He is even in you and will never leave you nor forsake you.

“You have hedged me behind and before and laid your hand upon me.     

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;

It is high, I cannot attain it

(Psalm 139:5, NKJV).

3 For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous,

lest the righteous stretch out their hands to do wrong.

What a fantastic promise. Your land is secure from the wicked. Their rule shall not dominate you lest you find a reason and a way to do wrong. You will distinguish yourself as righteous and many will scratch their heads because Jehovah will confirm it. Use this as a powerful blessing over yourself and fellow believers, especially your children.

4 Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, and to those who are upright in their hearts!

5 But those who turn aside to their crooked ways the Lord will lead away with evildoers! Peace be upon Israel!

“To the merciful you show yourself merciful;

toh the blameless man you show yourself blameless;

to the pure you show yourself pure;

but to the crooked you make yourself cunning.”

(Psalm 18:25, 26)

You Rising up from Abuse

A devotional of Psalm 124
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Psalm 124 is one of my favorite psalms. As a song of ascents, it indicates coming from a lower place and up to a higher place. Chapter 14 in my book, Napping in Delilah’s Lap is titled ‘God’s SWAT team comes for you.’ This chapter follows one on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES.) ACES include neglect (emotional and physical); abuse (psychological, physical, and sexual); and household dysfunction (children growing up in a home where there is mental illness, violence against the mother, separation/divorce, incarceration, and substance abuse).

I have to add spiritual neglect, abuse, and dysfunction to this equation because the damage wrought can be as detrimental as that of the aforementioned issues. This topic maybe be especially apt at this time as you enter Thanksgiving week and may have to face an abuser from your past.

1 If it had not been the Lord who was on our side— let Israel now say—

2 if it had not been the Lord who was on our side when people rose up against us,

3 then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us;

4 then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us;

5 then over us would have gone the raging waters.

6 Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as prey to their teeth!

7 We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers;

the snare is broken, and we have escaped!

8 Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

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Please reread chapter 14 in my book. I painstakingly break the words down in the Hebrew as well as the significance of the number 15. This chapter is one about a person or institution more powerful than you that overstepped their bounds and imposed themselves on you in a smothering way – physically, sexually, emotionally, psychologically, and/or spiritually. They were as a raging river that swept you away. Their goals were to gratify themselves and to utterly destroy you in the process. God goes into painful, graphic detail in the psalm and I hold your hand and heart through it in the book.

I identified two lies that are imperative for you to believe in order to keep you bound in your trauma. The first is that the assaulting party was successful in their intentions. The second is that you are still in that place and time. Please reread and understand how those lies might be keeping you trapped and how Holy Spirit desires you to see the reality that can free you from that horrific snare and elevate you to a place of healing and restoration. I describe the horror of the experience but more importantly, the dramatic rescue that happened for you in the spirit realm, to his glory.

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You have escaped. The snare is broken and you have escaped! Your help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth. Lift your eyes up to him and give him great glory.

The truth is that God was and is at your side then and he was and is on your side now. God intervened powerfully for you in the spirit realm and sent his SWAT team to get you. That is why you are here today, hallelujah! Rise up, loved one, from the miry bog of what was done to you. Rise up to the abundant life that God desires to elevate you to despite what you have been through. I’ll show you biblical and scientific ways to rise up to the abundant life that God desires to elevate you to because of what you have been through.

If you don’t have a copy of Napping in Delilah’s Lap you can order one on tribalminded.com and I’ll send you a signed copy. It is also available on Amazon as a hardcopy or an e-book. If you can’t afford one, please let me know. If you know anyone struggling with the aftermath of abuse, please put a copy of this book in their hands. There is hope, healing, and restoration for them. If you need to talk to someone about what happened to you or to a loved one, I would be honored to do so. I’m also praying for a retreat and renewal on this topic next Fall. Please pray with me to that end.

Arise, my soul, and sing his praises!

(Psalm 108:2, TPT)

Of Toads and Other Vermin

A devotional on Psalm 120

See the source image

The Songs of Ascents are 15 psalms from 120-135 likely written by various authors. The number 15 corresponds to the 15 steps leading into the Temple which was at the top of a hill. Ascending to it corresponded to approaching God Most High. “We shall consider them as songs sung by those pilgrims who went up to Jerusalem to worship…. These songs of desire, and hope, and approach are appropriate for the pilgrims’ use as they go up to worship,” says G. Campbell Morgan. This being likely so, then Jesus would have sung these songs on His many journeys to Jerusalem from Galilee,” as commentator Guzik notes. A pilgrim is a person who journeys to a sacred place for religious reasons. He is also a wayfarer or traveler.

1 In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.

Maclaren states, “Devout hearts argue that what Jehovah has done once He will do again. Since His mercy endureth forever, He will not weary of bestowing, nor will former gifts exhaust His stores. Men say, ‘I have given so often that I can give no more’; God says, ‘I have given, therefore I will give.’” How favored we are to be the recipients of such blessings.

2 Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue.

3 What shall be given to you, and what more shall be done to you, you deceitful tongue?

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Lord, save us from the lying lips of our enemies that seek to do us harm. As we approach God, may we be reminded and convicted that lying lips of our own are just as ensnaring as those of an enemy. “When he [the devil] lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies,” John 8:44. When we enter God’s holy presence, we are made utterly aware of our sin. Sin cannot dwell with him. The first order of business then is to confess. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” 1 Jn. 1:8, 9.

Guzik adds, “The lies our soul needs deliverance from are not only the lies said about us, but also the lies said to us – lies about God, lies about man, lies about ourself, lies about life, identity, purpose, and happiness. From these lies, deliver my soul, O LORD.”

4 A warrior’s sharp arrows, with glowing coals of the broom tree!

“Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, [Is] the man [who] deceives his neighbor, and says, “I was only joking!” Pr. 26:18, 19. Deceit hurled against anyone is as a sharp arrow. It lands heavily and wounds deeply, the intent of kidding notwithstanding. Paradoxically, this deceiver soon gets a taste of his own medicine. God will rain on him a trained warrior’s sharp arrows and the mercilessly glowing hot coals of the broom tree. God has arrows of his own, albeit based on truth. God has judgment coals of his own. These may be used for cleansing (as in Isaiah’s case when the coal was touched to his lips upon his confession of being a man of unclean lips) or for destruction as in the case at hand.

5 Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech, that I dwell among the tents of Kedar!

Commentator Boice says, “These two peoples were located so far apart geographically that they can only be taken here as ‘a general term for the heathen.’ No one person could have lived among both. They are examples of warlike tribes, among whom the singers of Psalm 120 had no true home.” The psalmist echoes a sentiment of many believers who never truly feel at home in this world. Even when we are permanent dwellers here, we know we are mere sojourners and our hearts long for home.

6 Too long have I had my dwelling among those who hate peace.

To dwell among peace-haters for ten minutes is to dwell there too long. Commentator Trapp quips, “The very society of such (be they ever so tame and civil) is tedious and unsavoury to a good soul; like the slime and filth that is congealed when many toads and other vermin join together.” Guzik adds, “This makes Psalm 120 a fitting start to the Songs of Ascents. As the pilgrim journey to Jerusalem began, the author was mindful of the weariness endured living apart from the supportive community of God’s people. The psalmist needed this trip to Jerusalem at feast time and needed the larger community of the people of God.”

7 I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war!

To Love Muchly

A devotional on Psalm 119:145-176

ק Qoph

145 I call with all my heart; answer me, Lord, and I will obey your decrees.

146 I call out to you; save me and I will keep your statutes.

147 I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word.

148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.

149 Hear my voice in accordance with your love; preserve my life, Lord, according to your laws.

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The psalmist obeys the decrees, keeps them, hopes in them, and meditates on them. He is greatly vested in them. This draws him to call out to God, even with all his heart, in his time of need. The owls’ hours find this believer awake, not only rising before dawn but also staying awake through the night. He knows that he is heard because he is loved.

150 Those who devise wicked schemes are near, but they are far from your law.

151 Yet you are near, Lord, and all your commands are true.

152 Long ago I learned from your statutes that you established them to last forever.

What will you choose to be near, the wicked and their schemes or God’s law? The wicked distance themselves from God and his ways. They want nothing to do with him and certainly don’t want to be associated with him. But that God is close to those who incline to him. He delights to cozy up to them. He wants to be near them. He enjoys being near them. Many of them have a long history with the statutes and they’ve stood the test of time. Their relationship to him is as a long-term investment. They start young and it carries them for decades, getting sweeter and richer; bearing much fruit and profit. As we saw yesterday in verse 140, “Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them.”

ר Resh

153 Look on my suffering and deliver me, for I have not forgotten your law.

154 Defend my cause and redeem me; preserve my life according to your promise.

155 Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek out your decrees.

156 Your compassion, Lord, is great; preserve my life according to your laws.

157 Many are the foes who persecute me, but I have not turned from your statutes.

158 I look on the faithless with loathing, for they do not obey your word.

159 See how I love your precepts; preserve my life, Lord, in accordance with your love.

160 All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.

ש Sin and Shin

161 Rulers persecute me without cause, but my heart trembles at your word.

Human power has the capacity to make us quake in our pants in fear. We know the terror of being called to the principle’s office when we’re in trouble. We know the panic of being pulled over by an officer when we are speeding. Terrible is the angst of being persecuted without cause. Yet even that pales in regard to our feelings about the Word. Because we revere it so much, because we believe the majestic, consuming power of its writer, the Word causes such visceral reactions within us that our bodies quake, reiterating the sentiment of verse 120, “My flesh trembles in fear of you; I stand in awe of your laws.”

162 I rejoice in your promise like one who finds great spoil.

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God’s Word to the believer is like gold, like much fine gold. It is so rich, so valuable that it strikes delight in the heart of him who finds it. Jesus tells the story of a pearl of great price that a man discovers hidden in a field. The man reburied it, sold everything he had, and bought that field. With earnest, may we do the same. May we sell all we have and invest in the field of our spiritual life. Its returns are a thousand-fold!

163 I hate and detest falsehood but I love your law.

164 Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws.

165 Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

166 I wait for your salvation, Lord, and I follow your commands.

167 I obey your statutes, for I love them greatly.

168 I obey your precepts and your statutes, for all my ways are known to you.

How dear are God’s statutes to you? How precious are his commands? Can you say you love them greatly, exceedingly, with muchness? Oh, I love that word, muchness, it seems so incorrect and yet speaks volumes. That means that we love the Word wholly, speedily, vehemently, with ever increasing passion.

ת Taw

169 May my cry come before you, Lord; give me understanding according to your word.

170 May my supplication come before you; deliver me according to your promise.

171 May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees.

172 May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous.

173 May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts.

174 I long for your salvation, Lord, and your law gives me delight.

175 Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me.

176 I have strayed like a lost sheep.  Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.

Prayers of supplication and praise gush from this believer alternately. We know God alone is our source, so we run to him for succor. We are awed and thrilled by him, so we rejoice to tell him that.

Shine the Light

A devotional of Psalm 119:97-144

מ Mem

97 Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.

God’s word is like a hearty breakfast or a cedar log in the fire. It sticks with us all day long, providing brain fuel for hours of meditation.

98 Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies.

99 I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.

100 I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts.

Who wouldn’t want to be wiser than their enemies? Who wouldn’t want more insight than all their teachers? Who wouldn’t want more understanding than the elders? There’s a sure-fire way to get it and it’s in God’s commands, statutes, and precepts.

101 I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word.

102 I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me.

103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

104 I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.

Pursuing and obeying God’s word is all about dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter. We have to develop a taste for it. Our six senses are the gateway to our soul. We train our soul and its appetites so that one thing appeals to it over another. We train it through discipline so that it treasures and appreciates this over that. As we spend slow, deliberate time mulling over God’s precepts, they become sweeter and sweeter to us than the greatest lure of evil. Spending time in the Word means God himself if teaching us. Imagine God as your personal tutor. Jesus was the greatest teacher that every lived. He gave us the Holy Spirit who would continue to instruct us and remind us all things.

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26 ESV). “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you,” (John 16:12-14.) Truly, as verse 102 states,I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me.

נ Nun

105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws.

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This light is what my Bible devotion ministry Zahar is all about. Remember that zahar means to admonish. The literal picture the word paints is one of shining a light upon something and therefore illuminating it. This whole ministry exists to partner with Holy Spirit in lighting up shadowy areas of our hearts and keeping them lit up as he abides there. Every day in weighty ways he gives us solid nourishment to digest and ponder. He knows what lies ahead for us and what we need to tackle it successfully.

107 I have suffered much; preserve my life, Lord, according to your word.

108 Accept, Lord, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws.

109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands, I will not forget your law.

110 The wicked have set a snare for me, but I have not strayed from your precepts.

111 Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.

112 My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end.

What determination to possess these words for himself that the psalmist demonstrates. Determination is a construct of the brain’s executive function. He purposes that he will not forget the law – even in the face of adversity – and he states out loud that he has decided to do so. We frequently need to verbalize our resolve, so we hear it just as our listener does. We remember differently what we hear audibly than what we only think.

What a delight to think of these statutes as a heritage. How blessed we are when we consider them as gold. What joy they elicit in the heart and the life through what they bring us and what they prevent us from. They bring good things and show us how to combat and consider any bad that comes.

ס Samekh

113 I hate double-minded people, but I love your law.

114 You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.

115 Away from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commands of my God!

We have very different reactions to various people. As we read verse 74 “May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word. But in the cluster above we see a repulsion to those who despise God’s commands. The former aide and abet us in following the statutes. The latter are a hinderance to our compliance. Not only is the psalmist having to do the arduous work of following the commands, he is additionally having to fend off the evildoers which is no easy task.

116 Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.

117 Uphold me, and I will be delivered; I will always have regard for your decrees.

118 You reject all who stray from your decrees, for their delusions come to nothing.

119 All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross; therefore I love your statutes.

120 My flesh trembles in fear of you; I stand in awe of your laws.

Earnestness and conviction fill us as we stand in the light of the source of all light and our lowly cells and organ systems respond with trembling. His very presence makes the earth rumble and quake. How much more our bodies. You are fearsome and formidable, God. We fall flat on our faces before you. We are boggled, amazed, overwhelmed at your grandeur. We are boggled further still, at your love and gentle care of us.

ע Ayin

121 I have done what is righteous and just; do not leave me to my oppressors.

122 Ensure your servant’s well-being; do not let the arrogant oppress me.

123 My eyes fail, looking for your salvation, looking for your righteous promise.

124 Deal with your servant according to your love and teach me your decrees.

If my plight depended on happenstance, I would be lost. If my well-being was a matter of chance, I would have no hope. My only assurance, even when things are bleak is that God will deal with me according to his love.

125 I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.

126 It is time for you to act, Lord; your law is being broken.

127 Because I love your commands more than gold, more than pure gold,

128 and because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path.

We have no capacity to comprehend God outside of him. Only as he opens our eyes can we see wonderful things in his law as we saw in verse 18. Only with his discernment can we understand his statutes. Only with his drive can we sense urgency to defend the treasure that is constantly under siege.

פ Pe

129 Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them.

130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.

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Here we see the matter of light again. As we unfold hidden things, we get to participate in the wonder of discovery of his greatness. Always new marvels. Always new curiosities. It is akin to snorkeling in the ocean and seeing new mind-blowing things at every turn, in every direction. And it’s not just for the heady and intelligent. Anyone can comprehend and appreciate. No wonder we constantly see things in scripture we haven’t seen before. It is indeed a sea of delights.

131 I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands.

The more we read it, the more we want. Our appetite for it cannot be satiated. Nor can its provisions be depleted. May we hunger and thirst for this bread and water. May we pine for it so much that our bodies crave it.

132 Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name.

The psalmist’s trust is God is unshakable. It is clear that he is in trouble and surrounded by an enemy. The Word galvanizes his resolve and is faith, keeping him steadfast despite the stormy assault to his soul and his very being. As he awaits the deliverance he knows is on the way, he busies himself with the Word. What a worthwhile use of his time and energies. How much more effective than fussing and fretting.

133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.

We are delivered from the power and the consequences of sin. God has given us dominion over sin in our lives. Who the son sets free is free indeed, John 8:36. “Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master because you are not under law but under grace,” Rom. 6:13, 14. “

134 Redeem me from human oppression, that I may obey your precepts.

135 Make your face shine on your servant and teach me your decrees.

136 Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed.

God facing you means favor, approval, and acceptance. He declares you righteous. It is the highlight of your life. Zeal for his good Word pierces our hearts when we see it violated and trampled. Does the blatant contempt for God’s word bring tears our eyes or are we as calloused as the disobeying world? Does thievery, slavery, hatred, murder, and immorality sicken and affront us or have we become desensitized? May our hearts be tenderized by his Word so that what saddens him saddens us.

צ Tsadhe

137 You are righteous, Lord, and your laws are right.

What a beautiful throwback to verse 68, “you are good and what you do is good.” What simple, straightforward phrases that speak rock-solid truths.

138 The statutes you have laid down are righteous; they are fully trustworthy.

139 My zeal wears me out, for my enemies ignore your words.

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Holy Spirit ignite our emotions and make us zealous for you. May we not be passive and lackluster. Spark passion and fire within our hearts that we may burn for you and your causes.

140 Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them.

What confidence this inspires in us. This Word has stood the test of time. Generations over millennia have lived it out and proved it true – all over the world, all cultures, all walks of life. How blessed we are to be a part of this grand army. How blessed we are to be betrothed to the Promise-Keeper.

141 Though I am lowly and despised, I do not forget your precepts.

142 Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true.

143 Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands give me delight.

144 Your statutes are always righteous; give me understanding that I may live.

The only right thing about this world is you, O God. You are righteous. Your statutes are righteous. All else is altogether wrong. You are acceptable and all else is not. You are light. All else is darkness.

Wineskin in the Smoke

A devotional of Psalm 119:65-96

ט Teth

65 Do good to your servant according to your word, Lord.

66 Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust your commands.

67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.

Afflicted – anah – means to look down on literally and/or figuratively. It is to humble or humiliate oneself, to chasten, submit, or abase oneself. In previous chapters we’ve described the soul as a spirited seven-year-old behind the wheel of a car, quite certain they know what they’re doing. But the default way of the unsubmitted soul is to stray. It smugly follows its own plan, making up its own rules along the way; its own template; its own blueprints.

The default way of the unsubmitted soul is to stray.

Hannah tk

God enters the picture and desires to be inserted into the picture in a radical way. In his sovereignty, he declares himself master and brings his blueprints for us to transpose our lives to. We examine our ways and his ways and wisdom reveals that his ways are supreme. We then, moment by moment, divest ourselves of what we are and pour our lives into his for him to make wonders with. We choose his way. “I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes,” v. 59. Ultimately it is no loss to us at all. This process of losing ourselves in him and his ways makes us more than we could ever be otherwise. This is knowledge. This is good judgement. This is the loving Lord doing good to us.

The process of losing ourselves in him and his ways makes us more than we could ever be otherwise.

Hannah tk

68 You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.

Here is another ingot to memorize. Say this one to yourself and to others often. “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me, Matthew 16:24. To deny – aperneomai – means to forget oneself, to lose sight of one’s self and one’s own self-interest. Spiritually, we do this with our soul – our will, our intellect, and our emotions. As you die to yourself you quickly learn that dying hurts. Hurt is another definition of the term affliction we discussed in v. 67. The pain involved in dying makes us fear and avoid it. Pain and death are a human beings’ greatest fears.

If I am to carry my cross and crucify myself daily, I must deeply trust the cause. If I am to take my will (desires;) my intellect (attention, plans, knowledge, etc.;) and my emotions (joy, fear, anger, excitement, etc.) and afflict them, submitting them to him, I will only be as successful as my trust factor that God’s will, his intellect, and his emotions are better than mine.  My heart and soul and mind must learn and know that he is good and that what he does is good. Otherwise, I will walk in doubt and default to my will, my intellect, and my emotions.  

69 Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies, I keep your precepts with all my heart.

70 Their hearts are callous and unfeeling, but I delight in your law.

71 It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.

72 The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.

The practice of submission will galvanize your soul and your faith in incredible ways. It will enable you to stand before people who accost and smear your character without you being shaken. Then you can say with David, “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone, my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my Salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My Salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O LORD, are loving,” Ps. 62:1, 2, 5-8, 11, 12a.

“I have set the LORD always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life;  you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand,” Psalm 16:8-11. God’s law and ways then become the greatest treasure we could ever desire – one that no one can ever take from us.

י Yodh

73 Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands.

74 May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word.

75 I know, Lord, that your laws are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.

76 May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.

77 Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight.

78 May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause; but I will meditate on your precepts.

79 May those who fear you turn to me, those who understand your statutes.

80 May I wholeheartedly follow your decrees, that I may not be put to shame.

the Hallel Psalms (113-118) we studied three groups of people God identified as greatly blessed:  the house of Israel, the house of Aaron, and those who fear the Lord. Ps. 119:74 and 79 address the conduct of those who fear God towards you. First they rejoice at the very sight of you. Remember our senses are the gateway to our souls. You spark recognition (intellect) and delight (emotion) in them. You ignite their very soul. You relish each other and spur each other further in the fear of God. Secondly, when you are pushed away many who besmear you with malice aforethought, may there be God-fearers who turn to you in compassion, love, and understanding. In everyday life may God-fearers turn to you as God increasingly sets you up as a leader among them because of your obedience. May they turn to you as an example and as a beacon of hope in their affliction.

כ Kaph

81 My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word.

82 My eyes fail, looking for your promise; I say, “When will you comfort me?”

83 Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget your decrees.

84 How long must your servant wait? When will you punish my persecutors?

85 The arrogant dig pits to trap me, contrary to your law.

86 All your commands are trustworthy; help me, for I am being persecuted without cause.

87 They almost wiped me from the earth, but I have not forsaken your precepts.

88 In your unfailing love preserve my life, that I may obey the statutes of your mouth.

Waiting on God is one of the toughest disciplines of faith as we all know. Things don’t happen in our time. Many lose hope and faith on this issue of time.  Theologian Horne says, “While the promised salvation is delayed, the afflicted soul thinketh every day a year.” How true that feels. Conception of time is another construct of our intellect. It is therefore another opportunity to surrender our soul to God, even as we ask, “when will you comfort me?”

The psalmist describes himself as a wineskin in the smoke. What a visual. Smoke makes our eyes smart and imbues us with its distinct odor. Our initial reaction is to wave it away. It seems to compromise the integrity of the wineskin as it dries it out, sapping it of all life. Yet God knows that smoke has its purpose too. As it dries the wineskin it cures it. It kills harmful microorganisms. It removes the moisture that harbors them and makes it prone to disease and irreparable damage. It makes it tough and able to endure various conditions.

It doesn’t stay in the smoke forever, but it might feel like it to the wineskin. Within a day the wineskin might say, “Okay, I’m good. I’m pretty well cured now.” But not so. It must sit there many days till its master sees to it that it is devoid of all disease; denuded of all humidity which would damage the wine. The master of the wine knows exactly when it is ready. Spurgeon adds, “our trials are smoke, but not fire; they are very uncomfortable, but they do not consume us.”

ל Lamedh

89 Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.

90 Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.

91 Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you.

92 If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.

93 I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life.

94 Save me, for I am yours; I have sought out your precepts.

95 The wicked are waiting to destroy me, but I will ponder your statutes.

96 To all perfection I see a limit, but your commands are boundless.

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What glorious words of life! What faith and depth of truth. A life lived thus ends with no regrets. Indeed, its end is heightened with anticipation to see the culmination of the faith when it truly becomes sight and we behold our master face to face. Delight in the laws. Seek out and remember the precepts. Ponder the statutes. They are the ultimate in unlimited perfection!

Open the Eyes of my Heart

A devotional of Psalm 119:33-64

ה He

33 Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees, that I may follow it to the end.

We saw yesterday that being in the Word learning the way requires discipline and strength. To follow it to the end, we must also grow in endurance. This is not a short stint. It is a marathon. May we determine to start, maintain, and finish no matter what comes our way.

34 Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart.

King Solomon prayed, “Give therefore your servant a heart of understanding to judge your people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge so great a people?” 1 Kings 3:9.  If wise king Solomon needed a heart of understanding, how much more do we? I love that God invites us to understand so that we can obey. He is not just forcing or lording us into obedience. He wants us to understand his laws because in so doing, we understand him more and more.

35 Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.

We were created for pleasure. Father, convince my heart that there is ultimate pleasure and delight in your ways. Satan, the world, and the flesh are determined to tell me otherwise. They offer tantalizing alternatives. I must become convinced from my own experiences and those of others that, “The blessing of the LORD enriches, and He adds no sorrow to it,” Pr. 10:22. The problem with the world’s “blessings” is that they are paid for in the currency of sorrow as I show repeatedly in Napping in Delilah’s Lap. Only in God’s pure Word and ways will we have no regrets.

36 Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.

37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.

Heart management takes two parties: us and God. I have to co-labor with him and cooperate with him in training my heart to align with his. He has provided the Word, I am to learn from it. He gives the instruction and the power of the Holy Spirit, I yield to those forces and decision by decision, moment by moment choose his way over mine. I do this repeatedly, immediately, consistently, with passion or muchness, to the end.

So much of the competition of God’s Word and ways is worthless. It is fleeting, it is deceptive, it is hollow, it is consuming, and it is dismally dissatisfying. Like King David, may we determine, “I will set no vile thing before my eyes,” Ps. 101:3a. The eyes and other senses are the gateway to our souls. May I do everything in my power to guard them carefully. And when I fail, Jesus take the wheel and turn my eyes away.

38 Fulfill your promise to your servant, so that you may be feared.

39 Take away the disgrace I dread, for your laws are good.

40 How I long for your precepts! In your righteousness preserve my life.

ו Waw

41 May your unfailing love come to me, Lord, your salvation, according to your promise;

42 then I can answer anyone who taunts me, for I trust in your word.

43 Never take your word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws.

44 I will always obey your law, for ever and ever.

45 I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.

46 I will speak of your statutes before kings and will not be put to shame,

47 for I delight in your commands because I love them.

God’s ways are stalwart and competent. We should have to fear of them appearing as foolishness even in the presence of kings. They will not let us down. They will hold their own as we speak them with confidence and passion. May they come to define us as we become increasingly associated with them, like a familiar coat.

48 I reach out for your commands, which I love, that I may meditate on your decrees.

ז Zayin

49 Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope.

50 My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.

What a wonderful verse to remember in difficult times. May we quote it often for ourselves and for others.

51 The arrogant mock me unmercifully, but I do not turn from your law.

52 I remember, Lord, your ancient laws, and I find comfort in them.

53 Indignation grips me because of the wicked, who have forsaken your law.

54 Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge.

55 In the night, Lord, I remember your name, that I may keep your law.

56 This has been my practice: I obey your precepts.

As part of the brain’s learning process, practice is indispensable. We have to do things over and over and over. We are to aim for mastery and it only comes through repeated exposure. Moreover, we gain an affinity for what we spend our time and attention on. Ensure that your time and attention are on worthwhile things.

ח Heth

57 You are my portion, Lord; I have promised to obey your words.

58 I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise.

59 I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes.

Here again is the picture of the template. This is true north. May we constantly recalibrate our tools. Where my life doesn’t measure up to God, I need to fix my compass to his.

60 I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.

Note the matter of immediacy in obedience as it is reiterated here. We are training our brains and it is imperative that our responses are swift. This is like training an animal or a child. We must home in on immediacy.

61 Though the wicked bind me with ropes, I will not forget your law.

62 At midnight I rise to give you thanks for your righteous laws.

63 I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts.

64 The earth is filled with your love, Lord; teach me your decrees.

May he guard and guide you in the grand adventure of getting to know him more and more in his Word. May he nurture a deep love and appreciation for it. May he help you understand and find new insights every time you are in it. May your heart crave it and drink deeply of it. May he open your eyes that you might see wonderful things in his law.

The Word as a Template for the Heart

A devotional on Psalm 119:1-32

Fascinating facts about Psalm 119 according to rcg.com:

  • This, the longest psalm, is divided into 22 sets of eight-verse strophes, or sections.
  • Before each section, a word and sometimes a symbol appear. (These words are the English names of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The symbols represent the Hebrew letters.)
  • It is written in a unique poetic form known as an acrostic. (In an acrostic, the first verse begins with a word starting with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Aleph. The second verse then begins with a word starting with the second letter, Beth. This pattern continues until the alphabet is used up.)
  • Because Psalm 119 is divided into 22 eight-verse sections, each section then represents a Hebrew letter. The first eight verses all begin with the letter Aleph. Verses 9-16 all begin with Beth, and so on throughout the psalm.

א Aleph

1 Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord.

The blameless – tamiym – are complete, whole, sound, and healthful. They are innocent, without blemish, perfect, and unimpaired. They are these things in the way – derek – in the frequented or trodden road. They are tamiym in their habits. What a great goal to aspire to. The psalmist shows us how.

2 Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart

3 they do no wrong but follow his ways.

The heart is front and center when it comes to fulfilling our calling to be tamiym. It’s not just what we do, it’s who we are. This is an unfolding of what it means to love the Lord with all our heart, and all our mind, and all our soul – the greatest commandment. Reflect back to the three aspects of the heart/ soul/mind. They are the Will, the Intellect, and the Emotions (WIE.) Keep these in mind as we explore this glorious psalm.

As we strive to align our hearts with God in love, our actions follow and we are tamiym. We frequently try to get the actions to align first but that puts the cart before the horse. The heart is the horse and the resulting actions are the cart. Moreover, as New Testament believers know, we are woefully incapable of meeting every requirement of the law. Yet to sin in just one means we completely miss the mark and might as well have broken them all. So God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteous of God, (2 Cor. 5:21.) To be tamiym starts with Jesus being Lord of the heart.

4 You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed.

As sovereign over our lives, God has laid down rules for living. In this passage we will see them called precepts, decrees, commands, laws, the way, statutes, and the word. These are not given willy-nilly just to keep us busy till Jesus returns. They are serious mandates with serious consequences when they are obeyed and when they are not obeyed. They are to be obeyed diligently – meod – with muchness. I love that word. It means forcefully, exceedingly, very vehemently, wholly, and speedily.

5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees!

Here the psalmist passionately states the desire of his heart: to consistently obey with muchness. Jesus makes it abundantly clear how we are to love him in John 14:15, 16, 21 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” He also makes it clear that we can’t do it alone, but need a helper, the promised Holy Spirit.

6 Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands.

As we learn God’s ways, we find that we constantly fall short. He who thinks he is perfect has not considered or understood the commands. To know them is to constantly see our shortcomings. Remember that the commands can be summed as loving God and loving others.

7 I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws.

8 I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me.

Here we see the will applied. The psalmist determines to praise – yadah. That is the word that means to thrust the hands in the air, to give thanks and worship, and to confess sin. To do so with uprightness means to do it as it should be done, not our idea of what’s good enough. It is imperative that we learn the laws that we are to obey. If we don’t know God’s expectation, how can we meet it? May we explore the word so as to learn (a function of the intellect) them.

To obey is to keep, to guard. it is to attend to and put a hedge about so as to preserve. It speaks to a treasure that is cherished and at risk.

ב Beth

9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.

10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.

To seek is to resort to. It means that we speedily defer to God and his ways, not as a last resort when our ways have failed. May we desire to stay tethered to the word and its commands. Further, to seek means to investigate, to practice with care, to follow.

11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

To hide is to store, treasure, to hoard. It is to esteem and protect. So we hide God’s word in our will. We treasure it in our intellect. We protect it in our emotions.  This treasure is endangered. Many imposters within and without desire to crowd it out. That is why we are to “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it,” Pr. 4:23.

12 Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees.

We are to expose ourselves to God’s teaching at all times. May we take every opportunity to immerse ourselves in the refreshing pool of his teaching. May we expose our brains (an aspect of the heart/soul) to him and his ways. May we fill it with information. The more we know, the richer we are. May we be teachable. Man’s opinions and thoughts may be good, but the unadulterated pure word of God is unmatched.

13 With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.

Have you ever thought you understood something till you went to explain it to someone else and realized you didn’t get it? If you can recount it, you probably learned it. Practice this constantly. Speaking organizes the thoughts and gels what you are learning. Do it alone and with others.

14 I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.

The psalmist here engages his emotions. He nurtures delight in following the statutes. We gain an affinity for what we spend time and attention on. May we pursue God’s word as much as we pursue silver and gold. May it be the primary desire of our hearts.

15 I meditate on your precepts and have respect upon your ways.

To meditate is a function of the intellect. It means to ponder, consider, or muse and to utter. To have respect – nabat – is to consider, to pay attention to, to scan and lock in on. This too is a function of the intellect preceding focus and learning.

16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.

The psalmist again engages the emotional state of delight. It is to amuse or please oneself. The KJV renders the latter part of the verse, “I will not forget your word.” Shakach is to ignore or to cease caring. We see his will determining to engage the intellectual aspect of memory and the emotional aspect of caring.

ג Gimel

17 Be good to your servant while I live, that I may obey your word.

18 Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.

This is one of my favorite verses. The senses are integral to the heart. Indeed, the heart has parallel senses to our physical senses.  Paul said “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints,” Eph. 1:18. One person will read the word and find nothing of value. Another will see pure gold. May we be those who have eyes to see spirit treasures that our physical eyes cannot. Make this your prayer every time you get in the word: “open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.”

19 I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me.

20 My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.

21 You rebuke the arrogant, who are accursed, those who stray from your commands.

22 Remove from me their scorn and contempt, for I keep your statutes.

To keep – natsar – is to maintain, to guard. To maintain is another function of the intellect. We initiate activity, maintain it, and then terminate it.  Many start but don’t follow through. Maintenance is an act of maturity and commitment. This is where the rubber meets the road. It requires faithfulness, strength, and endurance. Anyone can start on a desire and commitment to be in the word. Many do, con gusto. To maintain and finish well requires assistance from our precious helper, the Holy Spirit of God himself. He wants to help you in this regard. Ask him.

23 Though rulers sit together and slander me, your servant will meditate on your decrees.

24 Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.

ד Daleth

25 I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to your word.

26 I gave an account of my ways and you answered me; teach me your decrees.

He is always teaching. Are we always learning?

27 Cause me to understand the way of your precepts, that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.

28 My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.

To strengthen – qum – is another aspect of the intellect, the will, and the emotions.  It starts with the basic intellectual act of being roused as from sleep so we can pay attention. Sorrow (among other emotions) wears us down and can cause our bodily systems to start shutting down in self-preservation. God’s word is as sugar to a diabetic having a low. It gives a new lease on life so that we can rise up. God has not called us to stupor and ignorance. He calls us to valor and strength and purpose. He calls us to prosper and engage; to maintain and finish, and to do so with muchness!

29 Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me and teach me your law.

Lies are the primary thing that keep us from the Word. The enemy of our souls is a liar. He has always been and always will be. If the Word is the truth, it is the antithesis of Satan. He does not want us in the Word. He’s okay if we are in the news and on Facebook and YouTube for hours on end. But he trembles when we are consistently and strategically in the Word. He will do anything and everything in his power to keep us from it. It’s a good thing we have power and help in that department. Not today, Satan! Tomorrow doesn’t look good either.

30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

To set ones heart is to adjust so that it resembles something else. We have to choose (intellect) what is truth and then align our souls with it. That is the sole job of our lives. This is what it means to worship God. This is what pleases him. I take my will and use his will as a template – I desire what he desires. I take my intellect and adjust it to his – I am roused by what rouses him; I become alert to what he is alert to; I focus on what he focuses on; I learn and memorize what he teaches and values; I perceive as he does; I problem-solve and plan according to him. I take his intellect and use it as a blueprint for mine. I also adjust my emotions to his. I fear what he says to fear. I delight in what delights him. I love what he loves and hate what he hates. Beloved, set your heart on his laws.

31 I hold fast to your statutes, Lord; do not let me be put to shame.

32 I run in the path of your commands, for you have broadened my understanding.

KJV I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.

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Hold fast with tenacity and determination. Many things will attempt to knock you off. It is like a scene on American Ninja. Dabaq means to stick to, to cling and join to. Adhere yourself to his statutes. Become one with them. Follow hard after them. With your will, determine that in your life the path – derek – of his word will be well worn. It will be as a frequented and well-used highway. It shall consume you and make you one with it. Delight me in it, Lord. Have your way with me.

His Mercy Endures Forever

A devotional on Psalm 118

1 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; because his mercy endures forever!

Give thanks – yadah – to the Lord. That means throw, shoot, or cast the hand out as to launch a weapon; worship with extended hands; give thanks and praise; to confess sin. Yad is a hand and, figuratively, means strength, direction, and power. We do this for he is good – tob – meaning pleasant, kind, appropriate, excellent, valuable, beautiful, precious, and sweet. And why is he all that? Because his mercy – chesed – goodness, kindness, faithfulness, and beauty endures forever – olam olam. If he was all that for a year, he’d be good enough, I suppose, but his chesed endures a long time. A long, long time.

2 Let Israel say, “His mercy endures forever.”

3 Let the house of Aaron say, “His mercy endures forever.”

4 Let those who fear the Lord say, “His mercy endures forever.”

You, beloved, fall into those three factions as we studied three devotionals ago and again yesterday. It is the blessed triad: You are the chosen of God; you are the royal priesthood; you are the wise who fear the Lord. Thrust those hands and say loudly “His mercy endures forever.” Tell that to your circumstances. Tell that to your aching body. Tell that to your difficult relationship. Tell that to your bank account. Tell that to the desire of your heart. Make it your mantra today.

5 Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me in a large place.

Are you in a squeeze? Are you in a narrow place? Are you constrained? Are you bound? Call on your God. You call, he answers. You call, he answers. You call, he answers. “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” Psalm 18:16-19

6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?

7 The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.

KJV The LORD taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me.

I hope you are feeling confidently cocky right about now. The shielding that you have is supreme. The back-up you have is imperial. Your posse is frightful. Look who is on your side. Look who supports you, cheers you, empowers you. Look who cares for you, loves you, adores you. And all that, olam olam. Do not be afraid for I AM with you. Do not be dismayed for I AM your God. I will help you; I will strengthen you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Halal Jah!

8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.

9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.

It is better, my friends. The arm of flesh will fail you. “With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.” 2 Chronicles 32:8. “This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind, who makes the flesh his strength and turns his heart from the LORD. He will be like a shrub in the desert; he will not see when prosperity comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.…” Jeremiah 17:5, 6.

“Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the Lord. Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit. When the LORD shall stretch out his hand, both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down, and they all will perish together,” Isaiah 31:1, 3.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord, my friends.

10 All nations surrounded me; in the name of the Lord I cut them off!

11 They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side; in the name of the Lord I cut them off!

12 They surrounded me like bees; they went out like a fire among thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them off!

13 I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me.

14 The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.

15 Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the Lord does valiantly,

16 the right hand of the Lord exalts, the right hand of the Lord does valiantly!”

17 I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.

18 The Lord has disciplined me severely, but he has not given me over to death.

“It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great. You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way. I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet. You armed me with strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me. You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes. They cried for help, but there was no one to save them— to the Lord, but he did not answer. I beat them as fine as windblown dust; I trampled them like mud in the streets,” Ps. 18:32-42.

Call upon the name of the Lord, and be saved!

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.

20 This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it.

21 I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.

22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.

23 This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.

24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Consider again that this is the final hymn that Jesus sang after dinner on the night of his betrayal. They sang psalms 115-118 for the Passover. This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it. Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep… I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – John 10:7-10 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it,” Mt. 7:13, 14.

25 Save us, we pray, O Lord! O Lord, we pray, give us success!

26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord.

27 The Lord is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar!

Hosannah in the highest, the crowd had sung as he entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey. He knew full well he was to be the sacrificial lamb that Passover. “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” Jn 8:12. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” they hailed and lauded as they spread their robes for the donkey to tread on, welcoming their king. But in no time, they would bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar. “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,” John 1:29.

28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you.

29 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

Halal Jah!