The ‘Gods’ Know Nothing

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Reading: Psalm 82
A song. A psalm of Asaph.
God presides in the great assembly;
he renders judgment among the “gods”:
“How long will you defend the unjust
and show partiality to the wicked?
Defend the weak and the fatherless;
uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
“The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing.
They walk about in darkness;
all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
“I said, ‘You are “gods”;
you are all sons of the Most High.’
But you will die like mere mortals;
you will fall like every other ruler.”
Rise up, O God, judge the earth,
for all the nations are your inheritance
(NIV).*

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November morning — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
How high is the pedestal you are standing on? Are you standing taller than the fellow beside you?

Most of us would answer that we are not standing on a pedestal, but is that the truth. If we are honest with ourselves, I think we all can admit that we have looked down on others at times. We have considered ourselves superior to most of our peers.

Here in Psalm 82, God sets us on a pedestal. He calls us gods. This is a rather backhanded compliment, because after calling us gods, the Most High calls us to account. And what must we account for? We need to account for how we treat the weak and the poor among us. Here are the actions the LORD expects from us: Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.

Are we doing these things? Far too often I spend my time jacking up my pedestal—trying to get a bit of elevation over the fellow beside me. I’m too busy to help someone else who has fallen off their pedestal or the poor clod who can’t find one to stand on. You have to pity these folks—the ones who don’t have a pedestal. How can they hold their head up if they’re superior to no one?

Paul, the apostle, writes, “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12).

God will have the final say with mortals like me. This “god” needs to learn to serve in humility.

Response: LORD, you are the Most High. Help me to stop comparing myself with others. All I have comes from you. Today I want to get off my pedestal and help someone else. Show me how, Lord. Amen.

Your Turn: Do you compare yourself with others? Are you polishing your pedestal? What can you do to elevate someone else today?

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

Some good news: The first volume of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz will be published in November, 2020, by Elk Lake Publishing. Two additional volumes will follow in 2021 to complete the three volume set of devotions from the Psalms.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American Readers!

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Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

“Psalms 365: Volume I” Coming Soon

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During the last two weeks there has been a lot of progress on “Psalms 365: Volume I.” One full edit has been followed by another. This week the manuscript was finally typeset, and the typeset versions has gone through two additional edits.

How many errors can you spot in 250 pages? A dozen or two? But trust me, it’s better to find errors now, rather than when the book is in your hands.

Elk Lake Logo Much thanks is due to Deb Haggerty at Elk Lake Publishing for her help during this process. We are currently working on the cover design. 

Yes, we are still aiming for a finished book by the end of the month, and a book in your hands for Christmas giving.

Please pray for a stress free completion of this project and the delivery of a beautiful book. 

Honey from the Rock

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Reading: Psalm 81
(Verses 10-16)
I am the LORD your God,
who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.
“But my people would not listen to me;
Israel would not submit to me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts
to follow their own devices.
“If my people would only listen to me,
if Israel would only follow my ways,
how quickly I would subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes!
Those who hate the L
ORD would cringe before him,
and their punishment would last forever.
But you would be fed with the finest of wheat;
with honey from the rock I would satisfy you”
(NIV).*

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Reflection
In this concluding portion of Psalm 81, the LORD sets out two possible courses of action for the people of Israel. They can refuse to listen to God, persist in their stubborn ways and reap the devastating consequences, or they can submit to the LORD and be rewarded for their obedience.

God is for us; He is on our side. But we must decide to be on His side. He will fight for us—on our behalf—if we make the right decision. Take a look at this promise. “If my people would only listen to me, if Israel would only follow my ways, how quickly I would subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes!”

But the LORD doesn’t just promise victory over our foes. He promises to richly provide for us and bless us. “But you would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

The benefits of following the LORD are clearly stated and obvious. They are obvious when we examine the word of God, but they are obvious as well from human experience. I know many individuals who have resisted the will of God for their lives and their way has been marked by hardship and tragedy—much of it brought on by the choices they have made. The rebellious soul chooses to walk a rocky road. God sets the lonely in families; he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land (Psalm 68:6).

What choices are you making? Are you choosing God’s ways? Are you listening to Him? We can choose a rocky road in a sun scorched land or we can choose to be fed with honey from the rock. There are rich rewards when we make the right choice.

Response: LORD God, today I choose to follow you. I want to be on your side, rooting for the right team. I trust the promises in your word. You bring me victory, provision and enduring joy. Amen.

Your Turn: Have you struggled in obeying God?  How do you turn rebellion into submission to God’s will?

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

Some good news: The first volume of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz will be published in November, 2020, by Elk Lake Publishing. Two additional volumes will follow in 2021 to complete the three volume set of devotions from the Psalms.

Set Free!

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Reading: Psalm 81
For the director of music. According to gittith. Of Asaph.
(Verses 1-9)
Sing for joy to God our strength;
shout aloud to the God of Jacob!
Begin the music, strike the timbrel,
play the melodious harp and lyre.
Sound the ram’s horn at the New Moon,
and when the moon is full, on the day of our festival;
this is a decree for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob.
When God went out against Egypt,
he established it as a statute for Joseph.
I heard an unknown voice say:
“I removed the burden from their shoulders;
their hands were set free from the basket.
In your distress you called and I rescued you,
I answered you out of a thundercloud;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah.
Hear me, my people, and I will warn you—
if you would only listen to me, Israel!
You shall have no foreign god among you;
you shall not worship any god other than me
(NIV).*

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Placid autumn waters — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
Psalm 81 begins with a call for God’s people to celebrate: Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob! Begin the music, strike the timbrel, play the melodious harp and lyre.

Why should we break forth in music and song? Well, we have a good reason to celebrate. We have been set free from our burdens. Because of the victory of Christ, we have been set free from slavery to sin. The psalmist expresses this thought with these words: I heard an unknown voice say: “I removed the burden from their shoulders; their hands were set free from the basket. In your distress you called and I rescued you.”

Who is that unknown voice? That unknown voice belongs to the LORD. He is the One who set the people free from bondage in Egypt. God went out against Egypt. He opposed the most powerful nation of the world at that time and claimed a people for Himself by rescuing them from the hand of Pharaoh.

Our heavenly Father has done the same for us. At the cost of his life, Jesus redeemed us from bondage to sin and Satan and he brought us into his Kingdom. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:13-14). We have plenty of reasons to celebrate and break forth into music and song. Let nothing hold you back. The joy of the Lord is our strength.

Response: LORD God, I thank you for rescuing me from a life of sin and futility. I praise you for redeeming me, Lord Jesus. I rejoice in your continual goodness. Your mercies are new every morning. Amen.

Your Turn: Do you find it difficult or easy to break into song as you think of the Lord’s love for you?

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

Some good news: The first volume of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz will be published in November, 2020, by Elk Lake Publishing. Two additional volumes will follow in 2021 to complete the three volume set of devotions from the Psalms.

Who Can Turn This Around

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Reading: Psalm 80
(Verses 8-19)
You transplanted a vine from Egypt;
you drove out the nations and planted it.
You cleared the ground for it, and it took root and filled the land.
The mountains were covered with its shade,
the mighty cedars with its branches.
Its branches reached as far as the Sea, its shoots as far as the River.
Why have you broken down its walls
so that all who pass by pick its grapes?
Boars from the forest ravage it,
and insects from the fields feed on it.
Return to us, God Almighty! Look down from heaven and see!
Watch over this vine, the root your right hand has planted,
the son you have raised up for yourself.
Your vine is cut down, it is burned with fire;
at your rebuke your people perish.
Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand,
the son of man you have raised up for yourself.
Then we will not turn away from you;
revive us, and we will call on your name.
Restore us, LORD God Almighty;
make your face shine on us, that we may be saved
(NIV).*

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Ottawa River sunset — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
Who can turn around this situation? Who can bring this nation back to God? Essentially that was the question of the psalmist, Asaph, here in Psalm 80. Israel had been ravaged by foreign invaders. The beautiful land had been laid desolate, so Asaph pleads with the LORD. Your vine is cut down, it is burned with fire; at your rebuke your people perish. But one hope remains. Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand, the son of man you have raised up for yourself. Then we will not turn away from you; revive us, and we will call on your name.

Who is this son of man—this great hope of the people of God? Clearly a man—a champion like David is needed. David defeated Israel’s enemies on all sides. He turned the nation into a great military and economic power. He laid the foundation for the prosperity that followed under the wise rule of Solomon his son. Asaph is writing several generations later when all that wealth has been squandered and there is a dearth of godly leadership.

Who can save us now? The answer lies in the son of man. Jesus continually referred to himself as the Son of Man. He used that phrase thirty times in the Gospel of Matthew. All too often we are busy looking for a political savior. But what we need more than anything is the one and only true Savior. His name is Jesus Christ. He saves us body, soul and spirit from the corruption that is in the world.

Response: LORD God, on so many levels our nation is in a mess. We need a Savior to emerge. Jesus, you are the great Son of Man. I turn my heart to you. Govern my thoughts and my actions every day. Amen.

Your Turn: Who is governing you—governing your heart and mind?

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

Some good news: The first volume of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz will be published in November, 2020, by Elk Lake Publishing. Two additional volumes will follow in 2021 to complete the three volume set of devotions from the Psalms.

As a Father Has Compassion

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I will praise the LORD!

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November evening reflections — photo by David Kitz

As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting
    the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.

(Psalm 103:13-18, NIV)*

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