Psalm 117

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I will praise the LORD!

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Crocuses announce spring’s arrival — photo by David Kitz

Praise the LORD, all you nations;
    extol him, all you peoples.
For great is his love toward us,
    and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.

Praise the LORD.

(Psalm 117:1-2, NIV)*

* New International Version, Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

The first volume of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz is now available. For a closer look at this 262-page daily devotional book click here.

Hidden in My Heart

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Today’s quote and prayer from the Psalms
Psalm 119_11
Father God,
 I want to live my life according to your word.
I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you
(Psalm 119:10-11).
Amen.

The first volume of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz is now available. For a closer look at this 262-page daily devotional book click here.

The Path of Purity

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Reading: Psalm 119
ב Beth
(Verses 9-16)
How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
    By living according to your word.
I seek you with all my heart;
    do not let me stray from your commands.
 I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you.
Praise be to you, LORD;
    teach me your decrees.
With my lips I recount
    all the laws that come from your mouth.
I rejoice in following your statutes
    as one rejoices in great riches.
I meditate on your precepts
    and consider your ways.
I delight in your decrees;
    I will not neglect your word (NIV).*

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On an icy resurrection morning stroll — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
In the age of the internet and one-click-away pornographic websites, the opening question in today’s reading from Psalm 119 has never been more salient. How can a young person stay on the path of purity?

Why would a young man want to keep his way pure? Why not chase every skirt in town? Why not have some fun? Why not eat, drink and be merry? We only pass through this life once. Why not live it up?

But if the God of the universe has called men and women into relationship with Him, then purity and holiness are at the very core of that relationship. If we are called to be with God—to dwell in harmony with Him—then we must embrace holiness. To embrace God is to embrace holiness. Those filthy sin spots have got to go. If we are to walk with God, we must willingly walk away from mind and soul-fouling sin.

The writer of the Book of Hebrews urges on the young faith runners with these words: Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1-2, NIV).

In a world awash in pornography, we all need fixed eyes—eyes fixed on Jesus—eyes that see the cross— eyes that see the blood-drenched cross. Purity comes at a price. It cost the heavenly Father the life of His very own Son. A young man named Jesus—in flesh like my own—in skin like my own—poured out his life’s blood to make me pure. Fix your eyes on Him!

Response: LORD, I want to live my life according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Amen.

Your Turn: Do you struggle with impure thoughts? Are you neglecting God’s word?

* New International Version, Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

The first volume of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz is now available. For a closer look at this 262-page daily devotional book click here.

A Steel-Tipped Bullet to the Heart

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Today’s quote and prayer from “Psalms 365”
Psalm 119 Aleph
Father God,
like the psalmist
I want to fall in love with your word.
Here is the purpose to my desire:
I want to live a blameless life
that brings honor to my Maker
because you are good.
Amen.

The first volume of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz is now available. For a closer look at this 262-page daily devotional book click here.

The Longest Psalm

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Reading: Psalm 119
א Aleph
(Verses 1-8)
Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
    who walk according to the law of the LORD.
Blessed are those who keep his statutes
    and seek him with all their heart—
they do no wrong
    but follow his ways.
You have laid down precepts
    that are to be fully obeyed.
Oh, that my ways were steadfast
    in obeying your decrees!
Then I would not be put to shame
    when I consider all your commands.
 I will praise you with an upright heart
    as I learn your righteous laws.
I will obey your decrees;
    do not utterly forsake me (NIV).*

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From the rising of the sun — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
We are about to start a twenty-two day journey through Psalm 119, the longest Psalm in the Bible. This is also an acrostic poem, which in this case means each stanza of this poetic psalm begins with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The section above for instance, begins with the letter Aleph, which roughly corresponds to our letter A. Also, within each alphabetic stanza are eight verses, which all begin with the same Hebrew letter. In this way the psalm’s composer works his way through the entire twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This psalm is a truly remarkable literary composition, which was originally structured to be memorized, like the alphabet. Alas, for the English reader, much of the elaborate, intricate beauty of this psalm is lost the moment it is translated from its original tongue.

The theme of this psalm is consistent throughout. It is a poetic testimony in praise of God’s holy, unchanging word. Here we find the alpha and omega of the psalms—a literary tribute to the A to Z wonder of God’s word. Every letter trumpets the salutary goodness of God’s written word.

From the beginning of this poetic masterpiece the author recognizes his need. His life needs to be governed by the law of the LORD. His goal and heart’s desire is to lead a blameless life. God’s blessing comes to such a person. Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart—they do no wrong but follow his ways.

In a world of injustice and moral rot the words of Psalm 119 pierce like a steel-tipped bullet to the heart. The need for all humanity to follow his ways, rather than our own selfish ways has never been greater.

Response: LORD God, like the psalmist I want to fall in love with your word. Here is the purpose to my desire. I want to live a blameless life that brings honor to my Maker because you are good. Amen.

Your Turn: Is holy living one of your goals? Do you see value in leading a blameless life before God?

* New International Version, Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

The first volume of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz is now available. For a closer look at this 262-page daily devotional book click here.

His Light Shines on Us

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Today’s quote and prayer from the Psalms
Psalm 118_27a
Father God,
I thank you for your prophetic word
because it points to Jesus.
Lord Jesus,
you are the rock solid foundation of my life.
give thanks to the LORD,
for he is good!

Amen.

The first volume of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz is now available. For a closer look at this 262-page daily devotional book click here.

The Cornerstone

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Reading: Psalm 118
(Verses 22-29)
The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
the L
ORD has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.
The L
ORD has done it this very day;
let us rejoice today and be glad.
LORD, save us! LORD, grant us success!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.
From the house of the L
ORD we bless you.
The L
ORD is God,
and he has made his light shine on us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
up to the horns of the altar.
You are my God, and I will praise you;
you are my God, and I will exalt you.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever
(NIV).*

Ruth Waring

Kingfisher Bay on Stoney Lake, ON — photo courtesy of Ruth Waring

Reflection
This final reading from Psalm 118 contains one of the most profound messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. The opening sentence carries great significance: The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.

The apostle Peter identifies Jesus as the stone the builders rejected. He adds that this rejection was due to disobedience and unbelief and he quotes Isaiah 8:14 to prove his point. “[Jesus is] A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:8-9).

In reality our reading from Psalm 118 paints a metaphoric picture of Christ’s Passion Week. When Jesus arrived triumphant in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday he was greeted by the crowds chanting this line from Psalm 118: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Matthew 21:9). But later, Jesus, the rock of our salvation, was rejected by the religious leadership. Metaphorically, he was taken up to the horns of the altar and there on a cruel wooden cross, the Lamb of God became our sacrificial offering.

But… but praise be to God! The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This same Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day, and now he offers forgiveness and salvation for all those who put their faith in him. He is our living rock—the rock that accompanied Israel through the wilderness. See 1 Corinthians 10:1-5. Jesus is the rock on which you can build your life—your cornerstone.

Response: Father God, I thank you for your prophetic word because it points to Jesus. Lord Jesus, you are the rock solid foundation of my life. I give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! Amen.

Your Turn: Are you building on the Rock, which is Christ? What building materials are you using?

* New International Version, Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

The first volume of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz is now available. For a closer look at this 262-page daily devotional book click here.

Today’s Resurrection Quote

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Today’s quote and prayer from the Psalms
Psalm 118_17
Father God,
you have extended your right hand of blessing over me.
You work on my behalf.
Show me your mercy, your power and glory.
Again and again,
I will give you thanks, for you answered me.
Amen.

The first volume of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz is now available. For a closer look at this 262-page daily devotional book click here.

God’s Right Hand

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Reading: Psalm 118
(Verses 15-21)
Shouts of joy and victory
resound in the tents of the righteous:
“The L
ORD’s right hand has done mighty things!
The L
ORD’s right hand is lifted high;
the L
ORD’s right hand has done mighty things!”
I will not die but live,
and will proclaim what the L
ORD has done.
The L
ORD has chastened me severely,
but he has not given me over to death.
Open for me the gates of the righteous;
I will enter and give thanks to the L
ORD.
This is the gate of the L
ORD
through which the righteous may enter.
I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
you have become my salvation
(NIV).*

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Photo by Sharefaith on Pexels.com

Reflection
Are you left handed? Today in western cultures being left handed presents some challenges since many devices are designed with right-handed people in mind. Try finding left-handed scissors next time you’re at a store. Good luck with that! Oh, and if you find them, expect to pay three times the price of a right-handed model. Often lefties don’t have it so good.

Even today in Middle Eastern cultures being born left handed presents an enormous challenge. The right hand is used for eating food; the left hand is used for personal hygiene—bottom wiping. You dare not reverse that assigned role. Toddlers are strictly trained in this cultural practice. Usually left-handed children are forced to switch so they conform to the social norm. Making this switch plays havoc with the developing brain and often results in speech impediments such as stuttering, since this transition requires a complete rewiring of the child’s brain.

The Bible was written by Holy Spirit inspired authors, but like authors today they were not blank slates. They wrote from their cultural perspective to the people of their time. As a result, readers today can easily miss or misunderstand concepts that were readily understood in their original context.

The significance of the right hand is one of those culturally important concepts that we often pass over with little thought. The Bible is replete with references to the right hand, or specifically God’s right hand. So what’s the big deal, we think to ourselves. But in Middle Eastern culture the right hand holds great significance. This is the hand of righteousness, honor and blessing. Thus, there is immense significance in this statement: “The LORD’s right hand has done mighty things! The LORD’s right hand is lifted high; the LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!”

Response: Father God, extend your right hand of blessing over me. Work on my behalf. Show me your mercy, your power and glory. Again and again I will give you thanks, for you answered me. Amen.

Your Turn: Are you like the psalmist? Has the LORD spared your life for a purpose? Has God lifted His right hand to save and bless you?

* New International Version, Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

The first volume of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz is now available. For a closer look at this 262-page daily devotional book click here.

A Fighting Spirit

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Today’s quote and prayer from “Psalms 365” by David Kitz
Rugged Determination Psalm 118b
Father God,
there are battles you want me to fight.
Help me to personally tap into your power.
Give me courage to stand for you
and your truth
though a thousand oppose me.
Amen.

The first volume of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz is now available. For a closer look at this 262-page daily devotional book click here.