The Upright Will Prevail in the Morning

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Reading: Psalm 49
(Verses 13-20)
This is the fate of those who trust in themselves,
and of their followers, who approve their sayings.
They are like sheep and are destined to die;
death will be their shepherd
(but the upright will prevail over them in the morning).
Their forms will decay in the grave,
far from their princely mansions.
But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead;
he will surely take me to himself.
Do not be overawed when others grow rich,
when the splendor of their houses increases;
for they will take nothing with them when they die,
their splendor will not descend with them.
Though while they live they count themselves blessed—
and people praise you when you prosper—
they will join those who have gone before them,
who will never again see the light of life.
People who have wealth but lack understanding
are like the beasts that perish
(NIV).*

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Old hand pump near MacNutt, SK — photo by Donald Adam

Reflection
Throughout Psalm 49 the psalmist is establishing a contrast between those who trust in themselves and the wealth they have accumulated, and those who put their trust in God. Death is the fate of all, rich and poor, wise and foolish. The grave spares no one. This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings. They are like sheep and are destined to die; death will be their shepherd (but the upright will prevail over them in the morning).

I find great hope between the parentheses in the passage above. But the upright will prevail over them in the morning. A new day is coming—a day of resurrection—a day where justice will prevail at last. We can rest in hope that wrongs will be righted, truth will triumph over lies, and joy will snuff out sorrow. Yes, a new morning will dawn. A Redeemer is coming. Along with suffering Job believers can say, “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God” (Job 19:25-26).

The psalmist boldly declares where he has placed his faith: But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself. 

Is that where you have placed your faith? Do you put your trust in Jesus, the Redeemer, who purchased your redemption with his shed blood? Death is a certainty, but so is redemption for those who put their trust in the One who died and rose again.

Response: LORD God, I thank you that Jesus, my Redeemer, lives! I put my trust in you, now and for eternity. I rest in the hope that a new day will dawn when the dead in Christ will rise. Amen.

Your Turn: Is your heart ready for that glorious day? Have you bowed before your Redeemer? How has your life changed as a result?

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

Because of open heart surgery, publication of 365 Days through the Psalms by award-winning author David Kitz has been delayed until later this year or 2021. In due course, 365 Days through the Psalms will be published by Elk Lake Publishing. In the interim, please pray for my return to good health.

The Ransom for a Life Is Costly

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Reading: Psalm 49
For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm.
(Verses 1-12)
Hear this, all you peoples;
listen, all who live in this world,
both low and high, rich and poor alike:
My mouth will speak words of wisdom;
the meditation of my heart will give you understanding.
I will turn my ear to a proverb;
with the harp I will expound my riddle:
Why should I fear when evil days come,
when wicked deceivers surround me—
those who trust in their wealth
and boast of their great riches?
No one can redeem the life of another
or give to God a ransom for them—
the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough—
so that they should live on forever and not see decay.
For all can see that the wise die,
that the foolish and the senseless also perish,
leaving their wealth to others.
Their tombs will remain their houses forever,
their dwellings for endless generations,
though they had named lands after themselves.
People, despite their wealth, do not endure;
they are like the beasts that perish
(NIV).*

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Marsh arrowhead blossoms — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
This opening portion of Psalm 49 reminds me of that old maxim: There are only two certainties in this life: death and taxes. The same fate awaits us all; no one is spared. The Grim Reaper cuts down all without exception. The psalmist asserts the obvious: For all can see that the wise die, that the foolish and the senseless also perish, leaving their wealth to others.

But the psalmist is not entirely correct. He makes a sweeping statement that fails to account for a most unusual exception. The psalmist states: No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them—the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough—so that they should live on forever and not see decay.

Jesus Christ is that unusual exception. He proves the psalmist wrong. Jesus paid my ransom. He redeemed my life. He went to the cross on my behalf and there he poured out his life blood so that I can live forever. Then to prove that Jesus’ sacrifice was accepted, God the Father raised Him from the dead. Death no longer has dominion over Him. Better still, those who put their trust in Jesus Christ will be raised to life on the last day. Praise be to God, who breaks the bonds of death.

Response: LORD, I thank you for the victory of Jesus! By faith I will live and reign through Him. Amen.

Your Turn: Jesus faced death and overcame. Will you be an overcomer too? How?

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

Because of open heart surgery, publication of 365 Days through the Psalms by award-winning author David Kitz has been delayed until later this year or 2021. In due course, 365 Days through the Psalms will be published by Elk Lake Publishing. In the interim, please pray for my return to good health.

Within Your Temple

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Reading: Psalm 48
(Verses 9-14)
Within your temple, O God,
we meditate on your unfailing love.
Like your name, O God,
your praise reaches to the ends of the earth;
your right hand is filled with righteousness.
Mount Zion rejoices,
the villages of Judah are glad
because of your judgments.
Walk about Zion, go around her,
count her towers,
consider well her ramparts,
view her citadels,
that you may tell of them
to the next generation.
For this God is our God for ever and ever;
he will be our guide even to the end (NIV).*

architecture buildings business city

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Reflection
Have you watched a television newscast recently? Invariably at some point during that telecast you will see a cityscape—a grand view of the city skyline in all its glory. If experts from Montreal, Vancouver or Chicago are being interviewed, they will appear against the backdrop of a large photo of their city. Routinely, sports telecasts feature brief live shots of the arena and the host city’s downtown.   

Why do broadcasters go to the trouble of filming these cityscapes and providing these skyline backdrops? A good part of the answer is identification. We identify a city by its skyline and by its landmark buildings and towers. Washington, D.C. is intimately linked to pictures of the Capitol, Paris with the Eifel Tower and Toronto with the CN Tower. When the twin towers of the World Trade Center were destroyed, New York mourned not only the loss of lives, but also the loss of an element of its identity—the twin icons of its identity.

Psalm 48 is the Bible’s version of a cityscape telecast. Read the psalmist’s call: Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, consider well her ramparts, view her citadels that you may tell of them to the next generation.

What is the psalmist asking us to do? He is asking us to identify with the city of God. What makes Zion unique in the earth is the presence of God within her. The psalmist clearly stated, “God is in her citadels.” Is God within you? Is He reigning in your heart and mind? Is He the master of your affections? Have you had landmark experiences with God that changed the course of your life? Have you climbed towers of prayer? Have you stood guard on the ramparts of your mind? Then with conviction you can say with the psalmist, “For this God is our God forever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.”

Response: LORD God, reign in me. Establish your capital in my heart. Govern my ways, now and forever more. I commit my thoughts and intellect to your service. Stir my heart and my affections. Amen.

Your Turn: Has Jesus come to rule your heart? Is the Lord enthroned there?

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

Because of open heart surgery, publication of 365 Days through the Psalms by award-winning author David Kitz has been delayed until later this year or 2021. In due course, 365 Days through the Psalms will be published by Elk Lake Publishing. In the interim, please pray for my return to good health.

Where does God dwell today?

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Reading: Psalm 48
A song. A psalm of the Sons of Korah.
(Verses 1-8)
Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise,
in the city of our God, his holy mountain.
Beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth,
like the heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion,
the city of the Great King.
God is in her citadels;
he has shown himself to be her fortress.
When the kings joined forces,
when they advanced together,
they saw her and were astounded;
they fled in terror.
Trembling seized them there,
pain like that of a woman in labor.
You destroyed them like ships of Tarshish
shattered by an east wind.
As we have heard, so we have seen
in the city of the L
ORD Almighty,
in the city of our God:
God makes her secure forever
(NIV).*

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Saskatchewan sunrise on the farm where I grew up — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
I grew up on a farm in wide open rural Saskatchewan, Canada. It was a cross-country mile to the nearest neighbour, but if you stood at the right spot in our farmyard, you could see our neighbour’s house. I loved growing up on the farm and I still love visiting. Who wouldn’t? I was living in God’s country surrounded by the wild beauty of nature in all its varied, changing forms.

But I have spent the last forty years living in the city—actually three rather large cities with populations of more than a million. Is the God of the open country the God of the city too? The psalmist seemed to think so. He begins Psalm 48 with this declaration: Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain. 

Of course the sons of Korah were referring to biblical Jerusalem, more specifically Mount Zion, the fortified citadel within the walls of ancient Israel’s capital. God was within her. During the reign of David the Ark of the Covenant—the seat of the LORD’s rule—was housed in the sacred tabernacle on Mount Zion. This was where God dwelt.

Where does God dwell today? As partakers of the new covenant, through the blood of Christ we are the temples of God. Paul, the apostle, asks, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). God dwells in the city too—your city. Whether it’s Calgary, Ottawa, New York or Tokyo, God is within her because His redeemed people live there.

Response: LORD, I thank you because you live within us! Help me to let my light shine in my city. Amen.

Your Turn: How would you characterize your city? How is God revealing His presence there?

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

Because of open heart surgery, publication of 365 Days through the Psalms by award-winning author David Kitz has been delayed until later this year or 2021. In due course, 365 Days through the Psalms will be published by Elk Lake Publishing. In the interim, please pray for my return to good health.

God Has Ascended Amid Shouts of Joy

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Reading: Psalm 47
For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm
Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.
For the LORD Most High is awesome,
the great King over all the earth.
He subdued nations under us,
peoples under our feet.
He chose our inheritance for us,
the pride of Jacob, whom he loved.
God has ascended amid shouts of joy,
the L
ORD amid the sounding of trumpets.
Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth;
sing to him a psalm of praise.
God reigns over the nations;
God is seated on his holy throne.
The nobles of the nations assemble
as the people of the God of Abraham,
for the kings of the earth belong to God;
he is greatly exalted (NIV).*

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On a river-side walk — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
I appreciate God’s timing; it brings a smile to my face. Yesterday’s psalm reading seemed particularly appropriate as we reflected on the events of Good Friday. This today’s psalm posting is fitting as we rejoice in the triumph of the resurrection. I can’t help but think of the risen Christ as I read these words: God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the LORD amid the sounding of trumpets.

Psalm 47 calls forth a spontaneous joy. It is a song of celebration to the LORD for the victories of the LORD. He has conquered! What has He conquered? The LORD has conquered the nations. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise. God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne.

In its original context, Psalm 47 celebrated the victory of Israel over the surrounding nations. But that is a feeble victory compared to Christ the King’s triumph over death, hell and the power of the grave. Hallelujah! The King is alive. He arose from the dead. The power of sin and Satan are defeated, and because Jesus lives and reigns we too will live and reign with Him through eternity. For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! (Romans 5:10).

In the resurrection of Jesus we have the ultimate cause for celebration. Shout to God with cries of joy!

Response: LORD God, I thank you for the victory of Jesus! He is my forerunner. I will live and reign through Him. Amen.

Your Turn: The resurrection means the dead in Christ will be raised. Who will you want to greet first?

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

Because of open heart surgery, publication of 365 Days through the Psalms by award-winning author David Kitz has been delayed until later this year or 2021. In due course, 365 Days through the Psalms will be published by Elk Lake Publishing. In the interim, please pray for my return to good health.

You Call Forth Songs of Joy

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I will praise the LORD!

Psalm 62-5

You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds,
    God our Savior,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
    and of the farthest seas,
who formed the mountains by your power,
    having armed yourself with strength,
who stilled the roaring of the seas,
    the roaring of their waves,
    and the turmoil of the nations.
The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
    where morning dawns, where evening fades,
    you call forth songs of joy.

  (Psalm 65:5-8, NIV)*

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

Praise Awaits You

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I will praise the LORD!

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Black-winged dragonfly — photo by David Kitz

Praise awaits you, our God, in Zion;
    to you our vows will be fulfilled.
You who answer prayer,
    to you all people will come.
When we were overwhelmed by sins,
    you forgave our transgressions.
Blessed are those you choose
    and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,
    of your holy temple.

  (Psalm 65:1-4, NIV)*

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

Come and See What the LORD Has Done

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Reading: Psalm 46
(Verses 8-11)
Come and see what the LORD has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress
(NIV).*

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Be still — Photo by David Kitz

Reflection
I originally wrote this post during Holy Week—a week of contemplation leading to Good Friday—leading to our Savior’s death on the cross. The opening line of this reading from Psalm 46 grabs me: Come and see what the LORD has done.

Yes. Come and see what the LORD has done! Come and see what has happened to God’s son. Come and see the desolations he has brought on the earth—the desolations He has brought on the dust-formed bundle of flesh that at birth was laid in a manager. Now he is laid on a cross. He is not wrapped in swaddling clothes. He is stripped naked; arms pried wide open and nailed to a cross.

Come and see what has happened to him. This is the LORD’s doing. This is the Father’s will. This is the Son’s willing obedience. Now hear the Spirit’s beckoning call, “Come and see what the LORD has done!”

This is what love looks like—not our love for God, but God’s love for man. Love looks like Jesus on the cross. Love looks like a bloody sacrifice, engineered by God, inflicted on God, God come-in-the-flesh. Love looks painful. It looks painful because it gives to the last drop. It calls us near to the last breath. “Come and see what the LORD has done!” 

And when you come be still. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” 

This is not the time to rush on by. Eve reached for the forbidden fruit. Adam rushed after her. Rushing has brought us this mess—this messed up world—this mess on the cross. Self-centered rushing hurtles us into sin with no thought for tomorrow—no thought for the man on a cross. Instead today, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Be still. Be still before the cross. He is God. The man on the cross is God. Love has a price, always has a price. It’s written in blood—the Savior’s blood.

Response: LORD God, alter me at the foot of the cross. I need you to change my heart, my life, my attitude. Help me be still before you as I contemplate your love—love that I don’t deserve—that I have not earned. But Jesus, you offered yourself freely. Thank you. Amen.

Your Turn: Has your life been altered by the cross?

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

Because of open heart surgery, publication of 365 Days through the Psalms by award-winning author David Kitz has been delayed until later this year or 2021. In due course, 365 Days through the Psalms will be published by Elk Lake Publishing. In the interim, please pray for my return to good health.