I will praise Him!
Reading: Psalm 32
Of David. A maskil.
Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
whose sin the LORD does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.
When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.”
And you forgave the guilt of my sin (NIV).|
A right relationship with God is like a flowing stream. In such a relationship there is a natural giving to God that includes prayer, worship, time spent in His word, and periods of quiet communion. In turn, God by the Holy Spirit pours His peace, love and joy into our lives. And just as trees naturally line a river bank, there is a verdant fruitfulness that comes to the believer as that refreshing current is allowed to flow.
Sin acts like a boulder hindering the flow of God’s Spirit in our lives. As more and more un-repented sin piles up, a dam is formed. Suddenly prayer stops. Worship and thanksgiving that once cascaded so freely from our lips comes to a halt. The word of God becomes boring, and we find other interests. Times of quiet communion with our Maker are replaced by a search for other things like constant entertainment.
This is the state of David’s soul at the start of this psalm. The flow has stopped. Where was the overflowing cup experience of Psalm twenty-three? At this point David’s cup—his soul—is sitting stagnant. And in the natural realm any liquid left unstirred becomes foul as time goes by. David’s spiritual life was turning into a swamp because of unconfessed sin.
But there was a turning point for David: Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.”
Confession breaks the dam. David verbally brought his sin out in the open before God. He acknowledged what God knew all along. You see David’s sin and my sin are never hidden from God. Our sin is always in plain sight of the LORD. But praise God! He forgives the guilt of our sin when we break the spiritual dam through confession. Repentance restores the flow.
Response: LORD God, have mercy on me. I acknowledge my sin to you and do not cover up my iniquity. I need your forgiveness. I put my trust in the redeeming sacrifice of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
Your Turn: Has unconfessed sin dammed up the flow of prayer and worship in your life?
Reading: Psalm 27
Hear my voice when I call, O LORD;
Be merciful to me and answer me.
Do not turn your servant away in anger;
You have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior.
Though my mother and father forsake me,
The LORD will receive me.
Teach me your way, O LORD;
Lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.
Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
For false witnesses rise up against me breathing out violence.
I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD;
Be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD (NIV).
Is God listening? Do I have His full attention? Is He even there? Even people of great faith ask questions such as these. Listen to David’s plea, “Hear my voice when I call, O LORD.”
David’s psalms are replete with calls for God to listen and then quickly respond to his cries for help. These pleas for a listening ear happen with such frequency throughout the Book of Psalms that one can be forgiven for wondering if God is deaf. In our minds we know that this is an absurd proposition. He who formed the ear can surely hear the faintest whispered prayer or unvoiced thought. But despite what our intellect knows, we still plead for His listening ear. Along with David we cry out, “Hear my voice when I call, O LORD; be merciful to me and answer me.”
I suspect that the problem in prayer is not that we are speaking to a deaf God, but rather we, the petitioners, are deaf to God’s answers. The patriarchs and prophets of old heard the voice of God. They conversed with the LORD Almighty. Many of these conversations are recorded verbatim in the Old Testament. A fine example of this is found in Exodus as Moses speaks with the LORD at the burning bush.
Have we lost the ability to hear God? Has a great collective deafness settled across humanity?
In a cold world filled with rejection, there is a God. There is a God of mercy that the lonely soul can turn to. There is one who understands. There is one who listens to our anguished prayers. David discovered and knew that reality. We can join with David and say, “Though my mother and father forsake me, the LORD will receive me.”
Response: LORD God, this is my confession, “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” I will, “Wait for the LORD.” I will, “Be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Amen.
Your Turn: Are there times when you doubt that God is listening to your prayers? How do you know He is there? Has the LORD spoken to your heart?
Reading: Psalm 18
I pursued my enemies and overtook them;
I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
I crushed them so that they could not rise;
they fell beneath my feet.
You armed me with strength for battle;
you humbled my adversaries before me.
You made my enemies turn their backs in flight,
and I destroyed my foes.
They cried for help, but there was no one to save them—
to the LORD, but he did not answer.
I beat them as fine as windblown dust;
I trampled them like mud in the streets.
You have delivered me from the attacks of the people;
you have made me the head of nations.
People I did not know now serve me, foreigners cower before me;
as soon as they hear of me, they obey me.
They all lose heart; they come trembling from their strongholds (NIV).
Why do you enjoy sports? Why do you take pride in seeing your home team win? The answer is really quite simple: Inside you beats the heart of a warrior. I can deny that I have a warrior spirit, but in reality there’s a competitive, fighting spirit written into my DNA. It’s in your DNA too. In fact, that warrior spirit is essential to your success and survival.
David had an abundant supply of testosterone fuelled warrior spirit, and in the psalm portion above, we see it on full display. David was a fighter and every competitive warrior signals his triumph. You do as well. This psalm was part of David’s victory celebration. For a scientific discussion of human response in moments of victory visit: Olympic victors‘ first reaction is dominance, not pride | TIME.com
For me as a follower of Jesus the question is not, do I have a warrior spirit? The question is how will I direct that warrior’s heart into a path that is pleasing to my heavenly Father?
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ twelve disciples turned the world upside down. Their response to Satan’s attacks was not merely defensive. Through prayer and proclamation they took souls captive to the obedience of Christ. The apostle Paul declares, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere (2 Corinthians 2:14). Paul was a triumphant warrior in the spiritual realm. David was triumphant in the natural realm. What about you?
Response: Heavenly Father, help me rise up as a spiritual warrior for you today. Help me to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Jesus everywhere. Through the power of Christ I know that I am more than a conqueror. Amen.
Your Turn: Are you personally gaining ground in the spiritual battle all around you?
Reading: Psalm 17
A prayer of David.
Hear me, LORD, my plea is just; listen to my cry.
Hear my prayer—it does not rise from deceitful lips.
Let my vindication come from you; may your eyes see what is right.
Though you probe my heart, though you examine me at night and test me,
you will find that I have planned no evil; my mouth has not transgressed.
Though people tried to bribe me,
I have kept myself from the ways of the violent
through what your lips have commanded.
My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not stumbled.
I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.
Show me the wonders of your great love,
you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes.
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings
from the wicked who are out to destroy me,
from my mortal enemies who surround me (NIV).
“Are you up for the test? The exam schedule has been posted. Have you prepared? Are you ready for it?” Words like those can produce feelings of dread or anxious thoughts, especially for high school or university students. If you have studied and prepared yourself well, you can have a measure of confidence. But some uncertainty always remains.
In today’s psalm, David welcomes God’s examination. He states, “Though you probe my heart, though you examine me at night and test me, you will find that I have planned no evil; my mouth has not transgressed.”
David had nothing to hide. His conscience was clear; therefore he did not dread God’s probing. He knew that an examination of his heart would result in vindication. He would be proven right and just before his Maker. Do you and I have the same confidence?
Check your heart. Better yet, allow God to check it regularly. Be open and transparent before Him. It’s the only way I know to keep a clean heart and a right mind before God and others. The LORD is the best heart doctor available, and He does home visits if we invite Him in.
Only when our hearts and minds are open and right before God can we freely pray, “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.
Response: Heavenly Father, probe my heart so that I can repent of anything that displeases you. I want to bring only joy and pleasure to the heart of my Father. Amen.
Your Turn: Why do we resist allowing God to examine our heart issues? Are we afraid of what He may find?
Reading: Psalm 5
For the director of music. For pipes. A psalm of David.
Listen to my words, LORD,
consider my lament.
Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray.
In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly.
For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness;
with you, evil people are not welcome.
The arrogant cannot stand in your presence.
You hate all who do wrong;
you destroy those who tell lies.
The bloodthirsty and deceitful you, LORD, detest.
But I, by your great love,
can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
toward your holy temple (NIV).
Are you a morning person? Are you most productive in the morning hours, or do revive after the sunsets? Our bodies move according to their own internal rhythm. Some people love to rise with the chirp of the first songbird, while others are true night owls. Often my wife catches her second wind in the evening as I’m fading into sweet oblivion.
It would seem that David was a morning person. Here in Psalm 5, we read these words from David: In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
David was one of those early birds that began calling out to God at the break of day. He knew God was listening. He made sure that the LORD heard his voice.
Is the LORD hearing your voice in the morning? Are you calling out to Him? Of course, your heavenly Father is pleased to hear your voice at any time, day or night. Is He familiar with your call?
But there’s more to this than just calling out to God and laying out your requests. David waits expectantly. He expects God to respond. He is listening, watching and waiting for the LORD’s reply. Have you built some wait time into your prayer time?
All too often our conversations with God are one sided. They are one sided because we blurt out our requests and rush off into our day. We don’t wait expectantly for the LORD’s reply. We don’t allow Him time to respond.
Response: Heavenly Father, I call out to you. I lay out my requests. Teach me to wait expectantly for you. Open my ears to hear your voice. I want to be tuned into you throughout my day. Amen.
Your Turn: Have you set aside a regular prayer time? What time works best for you?
Reading: Psalm 145
The LORD is righteous in all his ways
and faithful in all he does.
The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.
The LORD watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD.
Let every creature praise his holy name
for ever and ever (NIV).
Psalm 145 begins with David calling us to praise the LORD, and it ends with a similar call to praise. David extols the virtues of the LORD. He sees Him as righteous and faithful. One can have these virtues, but still be distant or aloof. But that’s not how David sees the LORD.
David knows his God hears him when he prays. How does he know this? For David this isn’t an answer he learned from a textbook. He knows God hears prayer from personal experience. In his daily life David called out to the LORD over and over again in times of trouble, and over and over again the LORD helped him. That’s why he can record the following words in this psalm of praise: He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.
What about you? Have you discovered from personal experience that God answers prayer? Have you called out to the LORD in a time of trouble? Has He brought help your way?
Just this week my wife lost/misplaced her driver’s license. This produced some anxious moments as she discovered this loss just as she was about to board a flight across the country. She had arranged a car rental at her destination, but without her driver’s license she could not access the car. Some desperate prayers were offered up and in due course, after she arrived at her destination, the answer came. The driver’s license was found.
Do we involve the LORD in our day to day activities? That should be the norm. Here is David’s testimony—the testimony of Holy Scripture: The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
That should be our testimony in the daily grind of life, in the ups and the downs. The LORD is near 365 days of the year. Before Jesus ascended to heaven, he left his disciples with these words of assurance, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). We can rest assured that He is as near as our next breath.
Response: LORD God, I am so glad that you are not distant or aloof from those who call out to you. You are near to me. You answer prayer. My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD. Amen.
Your Turn: Can you testify that the LORD is near and He answers prayer?
Reading: Psalm 144
Part your heavens, LORD, and come down;
touch the mountains, so that they smoke.
Send forth lightning and scatter the enemy;
shoot your arrows and rout them.
Reach down your hand from on high;
deliver me and rescue me
from the mighty waters,
from the hands of foreigners
whose mouths are full of lies,
whose right hands are deceitful.
I will sing a new song to you, my God;
on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you,
to the One who gives victory to kings,
who delivers his servant David (NIV).
“Lord, why don’t you come and fix this mess?” Have you ever thought that thought, or voiced that prayer?
When we look at the world around us, there are a great many things that appear to be coming off the rails. This past week the abandoned body of a toddler was found in a church parking lot in Edmonton, Canada. Where are the parents? They haven’t come forward. Who would harm a child like that? Sadly, you can check the news services and see that cases like this occur all too frequently all over the globe. It appears that the love of many has grown cold. See 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
Here’s a chilling statistic. In America on average every month fifty women are shot to death by their male partners. Meanwhile gun advocates keep insisting that more guns will keep America safe—safe from whom? Sadly, a gun in the hands of their partner did not keep these women safe. It did just the opposite.
On the international scene, wars, violence and mass migration are creating havoc and instability in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Terrorists and dictators continually amp up their threats. Has the world gone mad?
In this context, David’s prayer in this portion of Psalm 144 makes a lot of sense. Part your heavens, LORD, and come down; touch the mountains, so that they smoke. Send forth lightning and scatter the enemy; shoot your arrows and rout them.
David is asking for the LORD to come down and fix this mess. Down through the ages believers have prayed similar prayers. Jesus did come down to fix this mess, and the world he created turned on him and had him crucified. But we can be sure a final day is coming when he returns again triumphant.
Response: LORD, I look forward to the return of Jesus. He alone can fix this mess. Lord, help me to do what I can to speed your return. Let your gospel be preached in the entire world as a witness. Amen.
Your Turn: Do you believe the Lord will fix this mess? Do we have a role to play in Christ’s return?