He Broke Away Their Chains

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I will praise the LORD!

blur chains chrome close up

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness,
    prisoners suffering in iron chains,
because they rebelled against God’s commands
    and despised the plans of the Most High.
So he subjected them to bitter labor;
    they stumbled, and there was no one to help.
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
    and he saved them from their distress.
He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness,
    and broke away their chains.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
    and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
for he breaks down gates of bronze
    and cuts through bars of iron.

(Psalm 107:10-16, NIV)*

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

Good Judgments

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Today’s quote from Psalms 365
the shalom of God Psalm 98 365Heavenly Father,
in the past I have dreaded your judgment,
but now I recognize your goodness.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus.
I want to see this world set right
through your power and grace.
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.

Here Comes the Judge

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Reading: Psalm 98
(Verses 7-9)
Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
let the mountains sing together for joy;
let them sing before the L
ORD,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples with equity
(NIV).*

snow covered mountain

The mountains sing together—Photo by Gianluca Grisenti on Pexels.com

Reflection
What comes to mind when you think of God’s judgment? Do you envision pictures of doom, gloom and destruction? If that’s your response, you are not alone, but maybe you have the wrong set of pictures? Maybe you have a wrong understanding of God? Should the redeemed live in dread of God’s judgment?

Psalm 98 is a joyous anthem of praise to God—praise for the salvation the LORD has won for us. The psalmist begins this psalm by calling us to sing to the LORD a new song. In today’s reading, that call for praise and worship is extended to all of nature. Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands; let the mountains sing together for joy.

Have you seen any mountains singing for joy? Have you heard the rivers clap their hands? I love the pictures such thoughts put in my mind. In reality all of creation is speaking daily. The earth, sea and sky are telling of God’s mercy and glory. The setting sun shouts out the praises of God. Can you hear it?

According to the psalmist, there is a cause for this great celebration by the sea, the rivers and the mountains. These elements of creation are celebrating because the LORD is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity. In other words God’s judgment should bring joy not dread. The LORD will set things right.

For far too long we have lived in a world of injustice, suffering and death. When the LORD comes, He will bring all this pain and perversity to an end. The environmental degradation that we have caused will come to an end. The Eden that was lost because of mans’ sin will be restored. Once again we will have access to the Tree of Life. Best of all we will walk in sweet communion with our heavenly Father. All this is possible because of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. The power of sin was broken at the cross. Since God’s coming judgment will bring about all this glorious restoration, why wouldn’t we join the mountains as they sing for joy?

Many of us have a wrong understanding of God and a wrong understanding of the purpose for His judgment. His judgments are good. They bring about peace—the shalom of God. Here in Psalm 98 we have the promise of His word on that. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.

Response: LORD God, in the past I have dreaded your judgment, but now I recognize your goodness. Come quickly, Lord Jesus. I want to see this world set right through your power and grace. Amen.

Your Turn: Do you fear God’s judgment? Is that always a good thing? Can it be misunderstood?

* 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.

Salvation Arrives with Surrender

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Today’s quote from Psalms 365
Salvation arrives with our surrender Psalm 98Heavenly Father,
I am so grateful for the salvation
you purchased for me through the blood of Jesus.
I want all the ends of the earth to know
about that great salvation.
Thank you, Jesus.
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.

What Salvation?

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Reading: Psalm 98
A psalm.
(Verses 1-6)
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
The L
ORD has made his salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
He has remembered his love
and his faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;
make music to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,
with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
shout for joy before the L
ORD, the King (NIV).*

male with guitar singing with friends

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Reflection
Once again in Psalm 98 the psalmist calls us to break forth with a new song of praise to our God. This call to worship is a frequent theme in many psalms. In this case the cause for worship is well worth noting. We are to worship in music and song because of the salvation of our God. The LORD has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

To some extent these words trouble me. What salvation is the psalmist talking about? Is he referring to the miraculous redemption and rescue of Israel from slavery in Egypt? That’s the most significant act of national salvation in the Old Testament. On the other hand, the psalmist could be referring to the restoration of the Jewish nation after the destruction of the temple and the Babylonian captivity. Again this is a very significant event that was witnessed by the surrounding nations. Since we do not have a timeline or date for when this psalm was written, we are left guessing the answer.

For the New Testament believer we see the fulfillment of this psalm in the salvation that was won for us by Christ at the cross. There the ancient powers of sin, hell and the grave were defeated. Death itself was vanquished through the resurrection of Jesus. In reality, the true enemies of the people of God are not foreigners or foreign nations. Our enemies are spiritual; they lurk within—within us. Salvation from those enemies was purchased at the cross with the precious blood of Jesus.

Now here is a bizarre twist. Salvation arrives with our surrender. It arrives when we surrender our lives to our Savior and kneel before our King on a cross. That’s a salvation worth singing about!

Response: LORD God, I am so grateful for the salvation you purchased for me through the blood of Jesus. I want all the ends of the earth to know about that great salvation. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.

Your Turn: Have you knelt before the King on a cross? Take some time to do that now.

* 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.

Love the LORD—Hate Evil

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Reading: Psalm 97
(Verses 8-12)
Zion hears and rejoices
and the villages of Judah are glad
because of your judgments, L
ORD.
For you, L
ORD, are the Most High over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all gods.
Let those who love the L
ORD hate evil,
for he guards the lives of his faithful ones
and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
Light shines on the righteous
and joy on the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the L
ORD, you who are righteous,
and praise his holy name
(NIV).*

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Petrie Island ice — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
Love and hate are two extremes—two opposites. Almost always we see love as a good thing, something to be encouraged or applauded, while hate is regarded as a universally negative emotion. But is this a correct view of love and hate?

The addict may love his crack cocaine pipe, but is that a good or wholesome kind of love? Strange as it may seem, the battered wife may love her abusive husband, and yet feel locked into that relationship despite its toxic or even deadly consequences. Is that a healthy kind of love? Of course not, but the addict and the abused partner both use the term love when they describe the object of their affection.

Similarly hate—that polar opposite emotion—is universally viewed as negative. Is it wrong to hate injustice, murder or pedophilia? Of course not. Hate is the right emotional response when we see these things taking place. The devastating consequences of sin and criminal wrongdoing are repulsive. Seeing such harmful conduct should prompt us to hate those actions.

In today’s reading from Psalm 97, we see a different perspective on love and hate. Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.

Are you loving God and hating evil? All too often we see there are those in this world who love evil and hate God. Why do they hate God? Could it be because the LORD expects—no requires—better from them, and they thinking they know better, have gone their own selfish way?

Note that we are commanded to hate evil. We are not commanded to hate evildoers. God in His great mercy may yet redeem the evildoer. It is by God’s grace that we ourselves are not caught up in evil, so wisdom urges us not to be haughty. We do well to focus on loving the LORD. We can draw encouragement from these words: Light shines on the righteous and joy on the upright in heart.

Response: LORD God, teach me to identify and hate evil when I see it. I want your light to shine on me, so I can walk in the path you have set out for me. Let my love for you grow day by day. Amen.

Your Turn: Are you loving the LORD and hating evil? What can you do to prevent getting caught up in hating the evildoer?

* 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.

The Distant Shores Rejoice

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Today’s quote from Psalms 365
He is allied with goodness, mercy and truth Psalm 97Heavenly Father,
it is my prayer that all people will see your glory
and bow before you,
the magnificent King of Righteousness.
Extend your reign I pray.
Let the distant shores rejoice because you reign,
Lord Jesus.
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 Foundation of His Throne

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Reading: Psalm 97
(Verses 1-7)
The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad;
let the distant shores rejoice.
Clouds and thick darkness surround him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire goes before him
and consumes his foes on every side.
His lightning lights up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the L
ORD,
before the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
and all peoples see his glory.
All who worship images are put to shame,
those who boast in idols—
worship him, all you gods!
(NIV).*

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Winter ice on the Ottawa River — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
Who is in charge here? In any situation, that’s a legitimate question. There are always a variety of authorities in any given situation. A while back I watched Prince William and his family get off a plane in Victoria, BC. On the tarmac the royal family was first greeted by the Governor General, then by the Prime Minister of Canada, then the Lieutenant Governor of the British Columbia and finally, the Premier of the province. They were all lined up according to proper protocol. Yes, there are a variety of authorities all deserving respect. But this question remains. Who is in charge here?

The authorities of this world have jurisdiction over a certain geographic area or realm. Some authorities govern well, and others rule as despots who plunder the wealth of the nation. But Psalm 97 reminds us that there is one great authority who rules over all. The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice.

The earth can be glad and the distant shores can rejoice because this King, this heaven-dwelling authority rules well. He does not plunder His faithful people and bring them to ruin. He reigns supreme from on high. Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.

We can rest assured that the LORD will do what is right. He is allied with goodness, mercy and truth. That’s why justice is the foundation of His throne. We should not fear His judgments because they are right and good. Yes, the authors of evil should be afraid, but if we have done right, we can count on the LORD as our defender. Now here is a proclamation that we all should heed. The heavens proclaim his righteousness and all peoples see his glory.

Response: LORD God, it is my prayer that all people will see your glory and bow before you, the magnificent King of Righteousness. Extend your reign I pray. Let the distant shores rejoice because you reign. Amen.

Your Turn: Is the Lord Jesus reigning over you and your home? Who has jurisdiction there?                                 

* 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.