Today’s verse from the Psalms.
Lord, thank you for the refreshing you bring. Your mercy is new every morning.
Reading: Psalm 37
The LORD makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him;
though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the LORD upholds him with his hand.
I was young and now I am old,
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.
They are always generous and lend freely;
their children will be a blessing.
Turn from evil and do good;
then you will dwell in the land forever.
For the LORD loves the just
and will not forsake his faithful ones.
Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed;
the offspring of the wicked will perish.
The righteous will inherit the land
and dwell in it forever (NIV).*
According to Psalm 37 there is a string of blessings that is bequeathed to the righteous. We are kept safe—held secure in the palm of God’s hand. Furthermore these blessings are inter-generational. The children of the righteous are blessed, so they can be a blessing to their parents and others.
As parents and grandparents can attest, children can be a great blessing, or if they are corrupted by rebellion and disobedience they can become a curse, making life difficult for all around them.
Much of the trouble in the world today is self-inflicted. By choosing the path of anger, selfishness and resentment, we heap sorrow on our own head. Conversely, if we choose to follow the LORD along the path of love, generosity and forgiveness, we set ourselves up to receive blessings from our heavenly Father.
Down through the ages, David’s admonition rings true: Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever.
But God’s blessings rest on a premise, and here it is: The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him.
The question we need to continually ask ourselves is “Am I delighting myself in the LORD? Is He my chief joy in life? Do I hunger for His word and His presence in my life? Do I long for times of sweet communion with Him?
Response: LORD God, help me to delight myself in you. May I love what you love. Help me to position myself to receive your blessings. I pray in Jesus name. Amen.
Your Turn: Are you living proof of God’s inter-generational blessing on those who delight in Him?
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have become your father.
and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.
You will break them with a rod of iron;
you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
Reading: Psalm 105
He remembers his covenant forever,
the promise he made, for a thousand generations,
the covenant he made with Abraham,
the oath he swore to Isaac.
He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree,
to Israel as an everlasting covenant:
“To you I will give the land of Canaan
as the portion you will inherit.”
When they were but few in number,
few indeed, and strangers in it,
they wandered from nation to nation,
from one kingdom to another.
He allowed no one to oppress them;
for their sake he rebuked kings:
“Do not touch my anointed ones;
do my prophets no harm” (NIV).
Covenant is a term that is not used much in daily speech. The Encarta Dictionary provides us with this definition of covenant: a solemn agreement that is binding on all parties. By that definition marriage is a covenant that we enter into. A sound Christian marriage is a three-way covenant between the husband, the wife and their Creator.
Encarta also provides a biblical definition of God’s enduring covenant with His people: in the Bible, the promises that were made between God and the Israelites, who agreed to worship no other gods.
There is something very exclusive about both these covenants. In our marriage vows we covenant or promise to love each other exclusively. No other lover may intrude. In the same way no other gods may intrude into the covenant relationship that we have with God. The LORD wants us exclusively for Himself. That is the nature of true love. It is jealous—zealous and jealous in guarding that relationship.
God’s zealous and jealous love for His people is clearly visible in today’s reading from Psalm 105. We read: He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations. A thousand generations is a long time, 25,000 years by the commonly used reckoning. But forever is much longer. What an incredible love the LORD has for us!
We serve a faithful, passionate God who will remain true to His covenant. The question that remains for us is, will we remain true to our end of the bargain? Will we be faithful, passionate and committed in our love for the LORD? Through Christ we have an eternal inheritance by a covenant that is not of this world. Praise be to God for his enduring love.
Response: Father God, thank you for your love and faithfulness even when I have gone astray. You draw me back. Today, I renew my covenant with you. I commit myself afresh to loving and serving you. Amen.
Your Turn: Have you stayed faithful to your covenant? Does your covenant need to be renewed?
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).
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?
This week’s I Love the Psalms theme is land.
Are you waiting for your inheritance? Actually, as sons and daughters of the King, we have an eternal inheritance that will be coming our way. We have a promised land that is ours to possess. Today’s verse from the Psalms is a direct promise from the LORD:
Old Testament Israel was promised a land flowing with milk and honey—a rich inheritance. But there are conditions attached to receiving the promises of God. Israel did not simply waltz in and possess the land they were promised. They had to fight for it. Yes, the LORD fought with them, but in return He expected their love, obedience and worship.
The same principles apply to believers today. The LORD will show the right path to all who worship Him. The LORD may show us the right path, but we must be willing to take it—to walk down that path—His chosen path for our lives.
Response: LORD God, show me the right path. I worship you with my whole heart. Give me a willing heart to enter into your promises that come through a life of love, faith and humble obedience. Amen.
Your Turn: Are you entering into your inheritance?