I will praise Him!
Reading: Psalm 38
All my longings lie open before you, LORD;
my sighing is not hidden from you.
My heart pounds, my strength fails me;
even the light has gone from my eyes.
My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds;
my neighbors stay far away.
Those who want to kill me set their traps,
those who would harm me talk of my ruin;
all day long they scheme and lie.
I am like the deaf, who cannot hear,
like the mute, who cannot speak;
I have become like one who does not hear,
whose mouth can offer no reply.
LORD, I wait for you; you will answer, LORD my God.
For I said, “Do not let them gloat
or exalt themselves over me when my feet slip” (NIV).
In humble prayer David has come before a God who always hears and sees. God hears and sees even when we wish He could not. He sees our triumphs and our failures, our victories over temptation and our slide into defeat. He hears every idle word and understands every crass and selfish thought. The LORD sees and hears. He saw Adam’s sin in the Garden before He met with him in the cool of the evening. God sees our sins long before we bow in repentance.
God sees and hears all we say and do. This should bring comfort to the soul in distress and a healthy fear to the soul tempted to sin. All my longings lie open before you, LORD: the wholesome longings and those that spring from impure motives. The LORD sees my needs and my wants, my hopes and my dreams, but more than that, God understands my motives. David brought all of this before the LORD and so should we.
Though we may not see the pain of those around us, God sees our suffering. Though we may be deaf to the needs of others, God is not deaf to our plea for help. Though we may stand mute when others need defense or encouragement, our God speaks. He does not remain silent. His Spirit speaks even to you—even to me.
Response: LORD God, speak to me when I am downcast. Lift me when I am in need. Forgive me when I fail. You are my help and my strength. LORD, I wait for you; you will answer, LORD my God. Amen.
Your Turn: How has the all-hearing, all-seeing God helped you? Take a moment to reflect on how the LORD has helped you in the past.
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?