Category Archives: Old Testament

No worries …

Psalm 71: 5&6

For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth.  From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.  I will ever praise you.  NIV

The thing I learned about David yesterday was this:

When Samuel anointed him with oil as a young boy, the Holy Spirit came upon David.  Two things about that.  First, because I’ve always read the story with the knowledge that David was to be king — it is told from an omniscient perspective after all … the reader gets to learn what God is saying to Samuel as well as what Samuel is thinking — I’ve always assumed that the anointing was a sign to David that he would be king.

But, Samuel doesn’t say that to him.  He thinks it, he knows it, God says it, but, no-one says it to David.  Instead, as he is anointed, the Spirit of the Living God departs from Saul and comes on David in power.

Second, David is part of the lineage of Christ.  Before Christ’s death and resurrection, the Holy Spirit did not inhabit every believer.  Instead, I’m learning, it came and went in power to achieve God’s purposes.  It came upon David at the time of his anointing, and remained on him throughout, I think, his life.

So, as David (if he is the author of this Psalm) writes these verses, he has the same experience that we do today with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  When I accepted Christ as my Savior, there was no oil involved, but the oncoming of the Holy Spirit was undeniable.

It is through the experience of living with the Holy Spirit, that destiny, that David is able to write these words that are so meaningful to me today.

For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth. God is my confidence, not my own actions, or anything or anyone else here.  God has been with me since my youth … He is trustworthy.  I needn’t worry.  God is my hope.

From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. God ordained my life and the lives of each of His children.  We aren’t accidents.  He brought us forth for the purpose of communing with us.  I am God’s child.

I will ever praise you.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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There’s no room

Psalm 43: 3-4

Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me;  let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.  Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight.  I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God.  NIV

It appears to me that the verses I looked at yesterday are a chorus.  David uses them repetitively throughout these Psalms, which look like praise music.

I learned yesterday that the way that David found his way into the castle and onto Saul’s staff was because he could play the harp.  Apparently, when the Holy Spirit departed from Saul, Saul became quite tormented and David would play his harp to soothe Saul’s soul.  I am wondering if these songs may have been ones that David sang to the king.

Either way, they are both beautiful and comforting.

Send forth your light and your truth … because you know both the way and the whole story.

God, my joy and my delight … amen!

I will praise you … O God, my God.

If I remain focused on God as the source of light and truth … if I keep Him at the center of my life as the source of my joy and my delight … if I am consistently praising him, there’s no room for the worries of this world.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Body and Soul

Psalm 42: 5-6a

Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. NIV

I would imagine that everyone, at one time or another, has talked to himself.  Whether it’s a reminder of something you must do before going home, or a stern discussion that might start, “Why did you do that?” I’m pretty sure almost everyone has had at least conversation with his inner self.

I love this little snippet of dialogue between the Psalmist and his soul.  I love this his advice is spot on — “Put your hope in God!”

He then goes on to say, as if speaking for the body, “for I will yet praise him.”

Even at times when his soul is uncertain or downcast, he will still open his mouth to praise the one true God, our Savior.

I will praise Him, body and soul.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Watch this!

Psalm 33: 18-19

But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. NIV

I like the way The Message paraphrases this verse, “Watch this:  God’s eye is on those who respect him, the ones who are looking for his love.  He’s ready to come to their rescue in bad times, in lean times he keeps body and soul together.” MSG

I like that is starts out, “Watch this!”

Watch this — God is going to pull a rabbit out of the hat, and you’re going to get to see it.

Watch this — God is imminently able to protect and provide for his own, and he may choose to bless them in ways that will astound you … and them.

I love also that it says, “He’s ready to come to their rescue.”  That ties to all the verses that I’ve looked at that detail God’s desire for us to call out to Him in times in of need.

If we will call out … He’s ready … Watch this!

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Every day, all day long

Psalm 25: 4-5

Show me your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths; guide me to your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior and my hope is in you all day long.  NIV

A year ago, I would have thought this was a pretty verse.

Today, I see it as a summary of many of the things I’ve learned lately.

Show me your ways, O LORD not my way, not the path I think I ought to take at the moment, show me the way that YOU would have me to go.

teach me your paths … I love the use of the word “path” here.  Dictionary.com lists six definitions for the word “path.”  Among them are, “a narrow walk or way, ” and,  “a course of action, conduct, or procedure.”  Teach me the narrow way that you have gone, O LORD … teach me to conduct myself in ways that will honor you.

guide me to your truth and teach me … don’t let me be sucked in by the world’s truth, I want YOUR truth.  Teach me, tutor me in your ways.

for you are God my Savior and my hope is in you all day long. My only hope is in Christ, all day long, every day of my life.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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He is waiting to meet our needs

Job 11: 17-19a

Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning.  You will be secure, because there is hope, you will look about you and take your rest in safety.  You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid.  NIV

Again, these verse follow on from Job 11: 13, which says, “If you will devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him …”

… life will be brighter … darkness  won’t be as dark … you will be secure in you hope of the Lord … you will rest easily because you are not afraid … you’ll sleep peacefully, free from worry and fear.

Change, any change, isn’t easy.  While some change is for the better and some for the worse, it can’t help but feel … different.

When things are different, it isn’t immediately obvious, in my experience, that they are better.  Difference invites comparison, and comparison can kill optimism.

There is quite a bit of change in my little world at the moment.  As near as I can tell, it is all for the good, but, I needed this reminder today.

Today, and all days, I will devote my heart to the Lord.  I will stretch out my hands — full of things that I’m experiencing and thinking about — to Him.

Recently, I was talking with a set of new parents about the challenges of caring for their young son.  They are thrilled with him, but, they cannot escape the obvious realities that he needs absolutely everything done for him.  Their world — for this precious, precious time — revolves around meeting his most basic needs, moment by moment.  It’s an exhausting task.

But, then, we thought about this question, “What is it like for him?”  His every need is met as soon as he makes it known.  He is warm and dry and cuddled and safe and cared for.

In our lives as children of God, we are the baby.  As we grow in Christ, just like the child of my friends, we will be able to accomplish much.  But, no matter how old we are or how mature we are, we are always, always God’s children.

If we will stretch out our hands to him … He is waiting to meet our needs.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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It’s all water under the bridge

Job 11:16

You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by.  NIV

As I work my way through these last few weeks of my project, I’ve begun a word search on “hope.”  It strikes me that “hope” is an antonym for worry, and that therefore I might find several reminders this way.  This morning, a phrase on the listings of the word “hope” caught my eye and brought me back here to Job 11, where I’ve been before.

The verses just preceding this one are ones that I looked at back in June of last year.  They read in part, “Yet if you devote your heart to him … you will stand firm without fear.”

It is interesting to me that I stopped at that point in exploring this rich chapter.  Today’s reminder is a truth that I likely would not have recognized at the time.

You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by.

My life, like everyone else’s, has had its share of disruptions.  In the thick of a trial, I’ve often been nearly derailed by my circumstances and my propensity to worry over them.  My troubles have seemed like flood waters threatening to carry me away.  That’s where I was last February, when I began this project.

With the perspective gained by a year of time passing, with the love and support of my dear friends and my precious family, and with the knowledge and new skills I’ve gained from a year of diligently scouring God’s word for reminders not to worry, I can see the truth in this verse.

Worry is pointless and fruitless and, like the majority of our troubles here, short-lived.  The vast majority of things that seem horrible at the time are merely part of the ebbs and flows of life.  Having said that, some things here are truly horrible … some things forever re-route the path of the river of your life and the lives of those you love, but, life … moves on.

That is what this verse is saying to me.  Don’t dwell on the past, don’t be too concerned with the events of the present, and don’t even think about the next worry that might come your way … because in time … You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by.

Instead, invest your time in others, use the gifts God has given you for the good of the kingdom.  Store up treasures in heaven.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Filed under Job, Old Testament, Worry

You’re asking the wrong question

I Samuel 14: 6

Jonathan said to his young armor bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows.  Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf.  Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving whether by many or by few.” NIV

It’s February.

I began this journey last February, while I was in the midst of a Beth Moore study.  It is so fitting that I’ll finish this February, in the midst of another.  Last night, the women of my church began to study, “David – A Heart Like His.”  I am so looking forward to this study.  David is my very favorite person in the Bible.

But, we’ve begun by looking at the faith of others who would touch and shape David’s life.  We spent the first day of our homework with Jonathan.

In this verse, he is young, and has set off on an adventure, alone with only his armor bearer.

As he and his young companion creep up on the Philistine camp, he says, “Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf.  Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving whether by many or by few.”

Nothing can hinder the LORD!

Jonathan knows that God can accomplish anything … his only question is whether God will choose to do so.

It struck me last night as I was doing the homework that this has been a source of worry for me in the past … will God do what I want Him to do?

The joy, the freedom of the redeemed life comes in flipping the question.

Not, “Will God do what I want?”  but, “What does God want of me?”

Each day, I must ask, “How can I fall in and be helpful in God’s plan … whatever it is that He chooses to do?”

God can accomplish whatever He chooses.

That’s what I’ll think about today

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The ultimate power source

I Chronicles 29: 12

Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things.  In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. NIV

I’m back in David’s prayer in Chronicles.   I love this.

David acknowledges that wealth comes from God.  So often, we think of ourselves making our own fortunes, our own way in the world, but, all wealth is a gift from God.

Honor comes from God.  We think of honor as coming from others, in recognition of our accomplishments, but all honor comes from God, the ruler of all things, the ultimate power broker.

And then, In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.

Strength, not always as the world sees it.  It’s perhaps the quiet strength to endure hardships, while continuing to honor Him;  strength to step out of your comfort zone to do His work;  strength when you are weak — because He is strong.

All good comes from God.  I know that.  I’ll honor that.

And, that’s what I’ll think about today.

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Filed under Hope, I Chronicles, Old Testament

What carries you?

Jeremiah 29: 14

“I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.  I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”  NIV

I heard a beautiful sermon on the 29th chapter of Jeremiah this morning.  I’ve known and loved Jeremiah 29:11 for some time.  Earlier in my project, I worked through verses 11, 12 and 13, but I stopped short of tackling verse 14.  The image of God banishing the Israelites into exile was not a comfortable one for me.  I don’t want to think that I, too, may be carried into exile.  I prefer to think of exile being caused by my own choices, or by external forces.

But, this morning, as I read verse 14, I was struck by this, “I carried you into exile.”

Regardless of how I arrive at places or exile in my own life, God never fails to carry me.  I am His child.  I am gripped tightly in the palm of His hand, and nothing can touch me that doesn’t first past through His fingers.

That doesn’t mean that life here will always be pleasant … there will be times of exile … but, it does mean that I will not be deserted.  Regardless of my earthly circumstances or of my own perspectives, I am carried by the hand of God.

That’s pretty powerful.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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