Thursday, November 16, 2017

Proverbs 11:21 - The Certainty of Deliverance

Proverbs 11:21
Assuredly, the evil man will not go unpunished,
But the descendants of the righteous will be delivered.


Message: The Certainty of Deliverance

Time: King Solomon is the principal writer of Proverbs. Solomon's proverbs were penned around 900 B.C. In the Book of Proverbs, Solomon reveals the mind of God in matters high and lofty and in common, ordinary, everyday situations, too. It appears that no topic escaped King Solomon's attention. Matters pertaining to personal conduct, sexual relations, business, wealth, charity, ambition, discipline, debt, child-rearing, character, alcohol, politics, revenge, and godliness are among the many topics covered in this rich collection of wise sayings.

What the Lord is Saying:

The Contrast
As in many Proverbs, this verse presents a contrast. Here it speaks of the evil man and the descendants of the righteous. And then it also contrasts their two outcomes: not going unpunished contrasted with being delivered. The outcomes presented here of punishment and deliverance are outcomes we are all trying to avoid and receive, respectively.

Evil Outcomes
To me, the hallmark belief of the Bible is just this here and that is principally evil will be punished. I think this is one of the primary principals of the Bible that is chiefly being assaulted today. One of the big ways this is being done is what is defined as evil is being diminished or lessened. Conversely, what is called punishment is also being diminished.

I love old shows. One reason I love old shows is they generally are absent of vulgar thoughts and living in the shows and the tenets of what I would subscribe to in my life are often not as apparent. Sure, there still may be adultery or murder present but it is not explicitly shown. And bad language and cursing God's name is generally completely absent. And often there is a cord of faith in most movies because the country at large had a backdrop of faith even if they may not have really had their heart into it. So overall, I like these old shows and movies for those reasons.

Regarding this verse, I think of cop shows like Adam-12 and Dragnet. Adam-12 followed the lives of 2 officers, throughout their day as they encountered offenses that occurred in society. Offenses that were present were stealing TV's, revenge, domestic disturbances, investigating noise complaints, settling a dispute between arguing neighbors, arresting drug abusers (not dealers, but users). I guess my sense is many of these types of situations don't get dealt with by police today. But, also we in society may not even call these serious offenses. Much of the focus is what we term serious offenses now.

I think most people today would agree with this verse completely in that evil should be punished, but I also think that what they call evil today is way different from 50 years ago. TV shows, Movies, and the media have worked to redefine what is evil in society. And so the belief in society is punishment will not come to many because evil is not as prevalent in society as Scripture would make us to believe.

Deliverance
The contrast to the evil outcomes of evil choices and people and acts is the deliverance that comes from the descendants of the righteous. Now, this is different because it doesn't say the righteous, but rather the descendants. Could it be that there is power in living a righteous life; that living a righteous life yields dividends beyond the current generation? Perhaps this is the importance of living in a righteous manner. And yet it is possible the seed or descendant is more line with the children of God that we are called, those that have trusted Jesus as Savior and depend on his righteousness. We know we are not righteous without Christ. He is complete righteousness, so rather than this saying that this is a promise to my children, maybe rather what it is is a promise to those that have surrendered their lives to the Lord and accepting his riches.

The deliverance we have received is being in Christ and the peace that comes from this. We have peace in Christ that will last forever, for eternity. Those that keep the commandments of God; and have the testimony of Jesus Christ, we were delivered from the outcome that is deserved. We deserve punishment and to be separated from God, but through Christ we have been redeemed and we have been delivered.

Again, this is a message so contrary to the message that we hear in our world today. What is preached is human effort and outcomes from what we have done. The need to even be delivered has been replaced by the idea that we are all self-dependent. I don't need God when I have lots of savings in my back account. I don't need God when I can clearly see the result of my hard work and good decisions. I have much so I pray little. There is such a danger in riches or having things because it so easily makes me think that I can do it on my own, without God. It's the same lie that was presented to Adam and Eve. The serpent gave the idea that nothing really bad will come from breaking God's commandments. And even better we need to change God's rules into rights.

Promise: This is the essence of this verse - it isn't necessarily talking of immediate punishment or immediate deliverance, but these are final outcomes.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the clarity of this verse. Thank you for your great love for me and for saving me. Lord, keep me centered on You. Keep me focused on the great need in the cross. Help me to not be self-dependent and self-sufficient. I pray to remain urgent for truth, for deliverance. I thank you for your patience and allowing so many the opportunity for salvation by giving them time.


Monday, November 13, 2017

Psalm 115:9-18 - Blessing The Lord Now and Forever

Psalm 115:9-18

9 O Israel, trust in the Lord;
He is their help and their shield.
10 O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord;
He is their help and their shield.
11 You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord;
He is their help and their shield.
12 The Lord has been mindful of us; He will bless us;
He will bless the house of Israel;
He will bless the house of Aaron.
13 He will bless those who fear the Lord,
The small together with the great.
14 May the Lord give you increase,
You and your children.
15 May you be blessed of the Lord,
Maker of heaven and earth.
16 The heavens are the heavens of the Lord,
But the earth He has given to the sons of men.
17 The dead do not praise the Lord,
Nor do any who go down into silence;
18 But as for us, we will bless the Lord
From this time forth and forever.
Praise the Lord!


Message: Blessing The Lord Now and Forever

TimeBased upon authorship and subject matter, Psalms cover a range of centuries. David is mentioned 73 times, Solomon 2, Moses 1, and 50 designate no specific person. It is believed they were compiled around 537 BC. The psalms deal with such subjects as God and His creation, war, worship, wisdom, sin and evil, judgment, justice, and the coming of the Messiah.

What the Lord is Saying: 

As I continue to look at this Psalm, I saw in the first 8 verses a contrast between all praise to God and the folly of replacing God or instead worshiping idols. To God be the glory. He is the patient one despite many questioning that He is even there. But, God does as he wishes and He is to be glorified; He doesn't need me and He is sovereign over all. How narrow it is those that people can choose instead to worship a man-made idol and in so doing they get completely off track. It amazes me in life how easily we got off track and begin living for things that just don't matter. The Lord is to be praised above all. Daily I need reminders to remember God, seek Him, thank Him, praise Him.

People appraise God as being helpless and the Psalmist responds to show the stupidity of idolatry and finding rest in man-made things.

Appeal - The Covenant People
O Israel, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield. The first 8 verses sound like a prayer of praise to God, but verse 8 makes a shift to words maybe from a leader to the people, such as a choir leader to the congregation appealing to them to trust in the Lord. He is Israel's help and Israel's shield. He helps us and he protects us. Those are words I must not forget. Sunday, a man walked into a church service in Sutherland Heights, Texas and opened fire on a small church gathering killing 26 and wounding more. This tiny church now has lost half of its membership. It's hard to fathom, but it should remind us that people need the help of God daily in their lives. Without that help, we do not think properly. In all of life's situations he is our help and our shield. This doesn't mean that nothing bad will happen to us; his protection lasts for eternity.

Appeal - The Consecrated Priest
O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield. Verse 9 appealed to Israel and this verse appeals to the priest. The people are to trust in the Lord, but also the priests. The priests should set the example for the masses that it is God who is our help and shield.

Appeal - The Converted Pagan
You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield. From Israel, to the Priest, to the person, or the pagan, all are to trust in the Lord. He is our help and shield no matter where we are at in life.

Application - Assurance of Blessing
The Lord has been mindful of us; He will bless us; He will bless the house of Israel; He will bless the house of Aaron. He will bless those who fear the Lord, the small together with the great. Our Lord is the business of blessing. And I need to be in the business of recognized those blessings. This doesn't mean everything will work out the way I want it. Help me, Lord, to see where you are working and thank you for it. You are mindful of me. You have given me Life, eternal life. You have given me breath. All the good that I have in my life is a gift from You. Each day that I can live is a gift from You. And my faithfulness, my measure of my fear is not contingent on the degree of blessing that I will receive. God simply blesses His people.

Application - Assessment of the Blessing
May the Lord give you increase, You and your children. May you be blessed of the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth. The Lord is able to bless anyone at anytime. Nothing is too difficult for Him. I need to trust in this each day. Forgive me Lord for thinking you are done with me.

Applause - The Globe
The heavens are the heavens of the Lord, but the earth He has given to the sons of men. Heaven is the home of the Lord. It is his home right now. Any time Scripture attempts a description of Heaven it resorts to symbolic language. The earth has been given to human beings. God came to this earth to redeem it. It needs redeeming, continually.

Applause - The Grave
The dead do not praise the Lord, nor do any who go down into silence; At this time, Jesus had not yet brought life to those in the grave. The Old Testament shares a gloomy picture of the grave. In contrast, the living are to praise the Lord.

Applause - The Godly


But as for us, we will bless the Lord from this time forth and forever. Praise the Lord! We are to bless the Lord forever. He is to be praised at any time, at all times. 

Promise: The Lord is about blessing His people and we are about blessing the Lord, praising His name forever.

Prayer: Lord, thank you that we are able to put our trust in You. Thank you for being our help and our shield. Help me to believe this each day and trust in You no matter what comes. As we experience difficulties and trials that we think are too big for us to deal with, remind us that we can trust in You, remain in You and you will help us and shield us from the world and its messages. Thank you for the way you have blessed me. I don't understand it, but I continually thank you for it. Help me to continue to recognize this in my life.


Monday, November 6, 2017

Psalm 115:1-8 - Glory to the Name of the Lord

Psalm 115:1-8
Not to us, O Lord, not to us,
But to Your name give glory
Because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth.
2 Why should the nations say,
“Where, now, is their God?”
3 But our God is in the heavens;
He does whatever He pleases.
4 Their idols are silver and gold,
The work of man’s hands.
5 They have mouths, but they cannot speak;
They have eyes, but they cannot see;
6 They have ears, but they cannot hear;
They have noses, but they cannot smell;
7 They have hands, but they cannot feel;
They have feet, but they cannot walk;
They cannot make a sound with their throat.
8 Those who make them will become like them,
Everyone who trusts in them.


Message: Glory to the Name of the Lord

TimeBased upon authorship and subject matter, Psalms cover a range of centuries. David is mentioned 73 times, Solomon 2, Moses 1, and 50 designate no specific person. It is believed they were compiled around 537 BC. The psalms deal with such subjects as God and His creation, war, worship, wisdom, sin and evil, judgment, justice, and the coming of the Messiah.

What the Lord is Saying:
I believe Chris Tomlin's second album Arriving opens with the song Not to Us. The chorus is:
Not to us, but to Your name be the glory
Wow. That is this verse from Psalm 115.

Overall, this Psalm is about idolatry and exposing it and contrasting it to the worship of the true God.

Appreciation - The Sanctity of God's Name
Our redemption is forever associated with the act of our Great God. Thus, it is His Name that we will forever glorify, not ours. And in this verse, that idea of not to us is repeated, like an exclamation point and further clarification: Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory. 

Appreciation - The Scoffers of God's Fame
There will always be scoffers of God. There will always be those that call into question his existence, authority, sovereignty. Why should the nations say, “Where, now, is their God?” God's name is cursed more than ever as society looks more and more unlike God and things of God. God remains patient. He understands people and He is kind, waiting for people to come to repentance. His timing is perfect. Those that don't believe in God thing they can somehow call on God to act. When he doesn't respond, they think they are proving that he doesn't exist. They are proving that He remains patient.

Appreciation - The Straightness of God's Aim
But God does as he wishes. He is not under my authority nor the authority of man. I must even remember this that He will act in a way that is best for him and for me. He sees all and knows all. But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.

Appraisal - The Form of the Idol
Their idols are silver and gold, the work of man’s hands. They have mouths, but they cannot speak; they have eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but they cannot hear; they have noses, but they cannot smell; they have hands, but they cannot feel; they have feet, but they cannot walk; they cannot make a sound with their throat. I suppose from the perspective of God it seems absurd to believe in something that has been crafted by man or is even an animal that is a creation of God. It makes as much sense talking to a garden gate or bench. Why do people elevate these creatures, these objects to the status of God. It doesn't make sense to me, but that is my perspective. And as I know there are other idols in our lives that we erect in place of our worship of God, that I'm sure don't make sense either to God.

Appraisal - The Folly of the Idolator
Those who make them will become like them, everyone who trusts in them. The worship of idols creates this hold on us as we almost habitually allow them to become a part of our lives and then we can't see it anymore as it takes hold of our minds. The only thing that can change this is a change of heart. It's sad to watch this happen. And yet I see it all too often in my boys, more specifically my youngest son and his attachment to a drug in his life.

Promise: This passage begins with a prayer - not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory. I need to continue to give praise to the Lord and continue to pray giving glory to his name.

Prayer: Lord, help me to always remember that you are my God in the heavens and you do as you please. It is not to me, but to your name be the Glory. Help me to always realize that people will question you, but you are the unseen personal God. It is sad to see people worshiping idols that are fashioned in the more of a god. Remove this from people's lives, specifically from my families lives. Help us all to be surrendered to you and your ways.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Proverbs 6:27-29 - Fire Safety

Proverbs 6:27-29
27 

27 Can a man carry fire next to his chest
and his clothes not be burned?
28 Or can one walk on hot coals
and his feet not be scorched?
29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife;
none who touches her will go unpunished.


Message: Fire Safety

Time: King Solomon is the principal writer of Proverbs. Solomon's proverbs were penned around 900 B.C. In the Book of Proverbs, Solomon reveals the mind of God in matters high and lofty and in common, ordinary, everyday situations, too. It appears that no topic escaped King Solomon's attention. Matters pertaining to personal conduct, sexual relations, business, wealth, charity, ambition, discipline, debt, child-rearing, character, alcohol, politics, revenge, and godliness are among the many topics covered in this rich collection of wise sayings.

What the Lord is Saying:

The message in these verses is simple: "Don't play with fire; if you do, you will get burned." Verse 27 is almost a verse a humor acknowledging the ridiculous of carrying fire next to his person and yet thinking that he can do this and not get burned. We often do the same with sin. We listen to music that we know has a bad message, but I remember saying as a kid, I just ignore the words and enjoy the music. We do the same with TV shows and movies, loving parts, and saying we ignore the rest. But, it is having an affect on us.

These verses are a caution statement to the sin in our lives. Most notably here is the sin of adultery. It amazes me how much the Bible is a book about avoiding sexual sin. And yet we find ourselves living in a day and age when sexual immorality and temptations is everywhere in our world. As a man, I see that I am weak in those areas. Perhaps it was being tempted to look at a magazine when I was a young man, before the age of 10 and then again in middle school when my hormones were on high alert. And this temptation has carried with me in life, despite having a beautiful and wonderful wife who fulfills all of my needs and desires. It continues. The temptation continues despite my circumstances. The media puts out the message continually because they know it is something that people want and desire. Hugh Hefner just died and in many ways he is thought to be a revolutionary person and yet he gave permission to something that really was a taboo throughout scripture, but he helped normalize it so that the sin became acceptable behavior.

This is the danger I have seen with sin in the 21st century and post 1960's, it is the rewriting of it, to make it seem acceptable. We have focused instead on "If it feels good, do it" and even the idea of tolerance in which we respect anyone's desire to like whatever they desire. We are riding down a slippery slope and in many ways, getting further away from God as a country (USA). And many people don't care because as long as our comfort, safety, and entertainment is in check, we don't care about what is going on around us.

It's an interesting sin in society. We have so many messages that joke about it, but we still call out people that get caught in these behaviors. A famous Hollywood producer just got caught because he pressured women to be involved with him (the accusation). I don't think the act is being judged but rather what is being judged is the infringement of another person's rights. It's just so ironic when it is a message that is continually sold in society.

The message here is clear: don't go near it. Stay far from it. That's the only way to get out unscathed.

Promise: Knowing our own weaknesses, we should avoid those occasions, people, or places where we might find ourselves playing with the fire of sin. If we do not do that, we will set ourselves up for failure and compromise the holiness to which God calls us.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the truth of your word, even words written by a man that lived about 3000 years ago still resonate with us today. Despite our advances in a myriad of ways these same principles hold true to our lives. Lord, give us your power to resist these sins. Lead us not into temptation. When we do sin, deliver us from evil. Thank you for being a God of forgiveness and cleaning us from all impurity. Now, help us to walk each new day - clean.


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Ecclesiastes 12:1-8 - Remembering God While We are Young

Ecclesiastes 12:1-8

1 Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”; 2 before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain, 3 in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those who look through the windows are dimmed, 4 and the doors on the street are shut—when the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low— 5 they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along, and desire fails, because man is going to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets— 6 before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, 7 and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. 8 Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity.

Message: Remembering God While We are Young

TimeThe Book of Ecclesiastes does not directly identify its author. The conventional belief is that the author is Solomon. The book was likely written towards the end of Solomon's reign, approximately 935 B.C. It is a book of perspective whereby the speaker reveals the depression that inevitably results from seeking happiness in worldly things. Most every form of worldly pleasure is explored by the Preacher, and none of it gives him a sense of meaning. He accepts that life is brief and ultimately worthless without God and advises the reader to focus on an eternal God instead of temporary pleasure.

What the Lord is Saying: The outcry here is summed up nicely in verse 1. We are to remember our Creator in the days of our youth. It reminds me of Proverbs 5:18 which says, "Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth." It's as if Solomon is saying that as we get old, life gets harder in some ways, and we need to stay focused on the days of our youth and not lose that sweetness and adventure.

I saw this quote by Alexander MacLaren (1826-1910), born in Glasgow, died in Manchester spent 65 years as a minister. His quiet routine of ministry was 2 sermons on Sunday, a Monday prayer meeting and a Thursday service and lecture.  He was an expositor of scripture and said this:
The temptation of the young is to live in the present. Reflection belongs to older heads; spontaneous action is more characteristic of youth. Therefore, they specially need to make efforts to bring clearly to their thoughts both the unseen future and Him who is invisible. The advice is specially suitable for them; for what is begun early is likely to last and be strong.It is hard for older men, stiffened into habits, and with less power and love of taking to new courses, to turn to God, if they have forgotten Him in early days. Conversion is possible at any age, but it is less likely as life goes on. The most of men who are Christians have become so in the formative period between boyhood and thirty. After that age, the probabilities of radical change diminish rapidly. So, ‘Remember . . . in the days of thy youth,’ or the likelihood is that you will never remember.
The rest of these verses in this chapter seem to speak of the same sentiment of verse 1, the evil days come. The language is sort of peculiar and to me it is just Solomon's perspective of old age at that time. In verse 3 the keepers of the house tremble are our limbs and our body that begins to deteriorate; and the strong men are bent, even the powerful men become hunched over and their liveliness to rule is diminished; and the grinders cease because they are few speaks of our molars or our teeth and they are not as strong as they once were, and those who look through the windows are dimmed is our eye sight.

And verse 8 concludes with the same sentiment that was expressed in chapter 1, verse 2, vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity to express that by the end of the book the message has been clear. He asserted this message at the beginning and now he has proven. It is like an opening and closing statement in a court case.

Promise: Life is vanity. Make the most of each day. Be content with what you have done. But, have no regrets. In order to get the rewards you want in life, you will have to do what is difficult now. It may be against the grain, but for the youth, these are the formative years and if you form yourself for only having fun and having no responsibilities, adjustment later in life will be very difficult. 

Prayer: Lord, I pray for my children, that you would help them each day to make decisions that honor you. Lord, challenge them in their lives. We live in a world of entertainment, where it is seen as the highest good. Lord, challenge me, them, to think of tomorrow. Help them to honor you in all they do. 


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Song of Solomon 8:13-14 - The Only Love That Can Fully Satisfy

Song of Solomon 8:13-14

He
13 O you who dwell in the gardens,
with companions listening for your voice;
let me hear it.
She
14 Make haste, my beloved,
and be like a gazelle
or a young stag
on the mountains of spices. looking through the lattice.

Message: The Only Love That Can Fully Satisfy

Time: Solomon wrote the book during his reign as king of Israel, meaning he composed it sometime between 971 and 931 BC.

What the Lord is Saying: 

According to my Bible, these two verses are the voices of the man (v. 13) and the woman (v. 14). These are the last 2 verses of the book. They seem to echo a sentiment that has been present throughout the book, the longing of each person to be with the other person.

He Speaks (v. 13)
The bridegroom calls upon the (Shulammite) woman to let his friends, who have come to congratulate him on his bride's safe return, listen to him. She seems to reside in the garden, perhaps a special spot for her. Like Solomon, I notice a simple delight in hearing the voice of my bride, my wife. Many voices of my day can make me impatient and I tire sometimes with people, but with my wife I never tire. I always look forward to her speaking. Often I feel like I am saying these words of Solomon, "let me hear it." It is possible the bride here is singing a song which she sang early on in their courtship. In essence, real love lasts.

She Speaks (v. 14)
In answer to his request, she sings. And her words point back to him and draw him in once again. His desire for her is met. He asks her to possibly sing or speak something from the past, a song that represented the foundation of their relationship. This verse echoes back to chapter 2, verse 9 when se says My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag, there he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, looking through the lattice. Gazelle is used multiple times in this book. She uses gazelle to describe the dancing around or the way he leaps in her heart. He uses gazelle several times when talking of intimacy, namely her breasts, to speak of the delicate nature of them, it would seem. Delicate seems to speak of their smaller proportion. Bigger breasts are not appealing or attractive. The stag and gazelle also point to the speed at which he is coming for her.

On the mountains of spices paints a picture of ascending to a high place. Standing on the mountain results in a feeling that you are top of it all. And the spices augment this with a sweet aroma. Paul remarked that man is to love his wife and here the bride is experiencing the result of that great love. Once again, she is being set apart and is distinct from all others. How it hurts a woman to be compared to. My wife told me early on in our marriage that the thing that saddens her the most is my wandering eye. She dislikes seeing men peer at other women with their wife right next to them. It should not be done at all, but then it is done in her presence. This should motivate me. And yet I find myself digressing from this in moments of anger or resentment. And yet how childish this is. It's like I'm looking elsewhere having a temper tantrum of sorts. My love and devotion needs to be more mature. My wife envelopes everything I desire and there should be no reason ever to look elsewhere. So, let this verse be a reminder of the continual need to pursue my wife. 

Promise: It is true that God's love for us is the only that fully satisfies, and yet in this picture of marriage here is an encouragement to pursue one another. Obviously, as I age, that changes. We don't move around as fast and neither is in as good of shape. The times of intimacy are less, but they are still valuable. What I realize is my need to savor all that I have, even if what I have is different in these times. And in return, I see more and more the fullness of my relationship in Christ, who never changes. 

Prayer: Lord, I want to trust in You alone and I want to thank you for the gift of my wife. Her words are what I look forward to hearing each day. Her presence is what I value. Help me to center always on her and her alone. Keep me pure Lord and my eyes focused loving my wife and her alone. Forgive me for me not keeping vow, but today I begin again. Thank you for her faithfulness and the sweet gift that she is. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Psalm 149 - Our Duty to Rejoice in Our King

Psalm 149
1 Praise the Lord!
Sing to the Lord a new song,

His praise in the congregation of the godly ones.
Let Israel be glad in his Maker;
Let the sons of Zion rejoice in their King.
Let them praise His name with dancing;
Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre.
For the Lord takes pleasure in His people;
He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.

Let the godly ones exult in glory;
Let them sing for joy on their beds.
6 The high praises of God in their mouth,
And a two-edged sword in their hand,
To execute vengeance on the nations
And punishment on the peoples,
To bind their kings with chains
And their nobles with fetters of iron,
To execute on them the judgment written;
This is an honor for all His godly ones.
Praise the Lord!

Message:  Our Duty to Rejoice in Our King

Time: Based upon authorship and subject matter, Psalms cover a range of centuries. David is mentioned 73 times, Solomon 2, Moses 1, and 50 designate no specific person. It is believed they were compiled around 537 BC. The psalms deal with such subjects as God and His creation, war, worship, wisdom, sin and evil, judgment, justice, and the coming of the Messiah.

What the Lord is Saying:
The Song (1-3)
The Theme (1a)
Praise the LordSing to the Lord a new song, I've read this before in various Psalms and scripture and have never thought that the new song is a new and distinct song from the other songs. And the song has a special point of emphasis that is possibly different from the other songs, perhaps. In the book of Psalms there are 6 new songs (33:3, 40:3, 96:1, 98:1 144:9, 149:1). New songs anticipate the millennial reign of Christ. 

The Throng (1b-3)
     The Great Congregation is Assembled (v1b)
His praise in the congregation of the godly ones. Congregation could mean many different types of groups, but I think what is significant is it is a group of the godly ones. This group is separate and distinct and it should confirm the importance of assembling together. It saddens me to hear of people that suddenly find no time for church or regular community with other Christians. To me, it seems that when this occurs Satan is winning and pulling apart this formidable force. But, it also makes me think about the church as it assembles. Are we simply walking into a movie theater and watching a show or are we building community in the body to wage war against the darkness. 

     The Great Creator of Israel is Acclaimed (v.2-3)
Our Great God adopted the nation of Israel as His own
Let Israel be glad in his Maker; Let the sons of Zion rejoice in their King.
Here is a Levite prayer on behalf of the nation in regards to sealing the covenant in the days of Nehemiah:
Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the terrible God, who keepest covenant and mercy, let not all the trouble seem little before thee, that hath come upon us, on our kings, on our princes, and on our priests, and on our prophets, and on our fathers, and on all thy people, since the time of the kings of Assyria unto this day. Howbeit thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly:
Neither have our kings, our princes, our priests, nor our fathers, kept thy law, nor hearkened unto thy commandments and thy testimonies, wherewith thou didst testify against them. For they have not served thee in their kingdom, and in thy great goodness that thou gavest them, and in the large and fat land which thou gavest before them, neither turned they from their wicked works.
Behold, we are servants this day, and for the land that thou gavest unto our fathers to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof, behold, we are servants in it: And it yieldeth much increase unto the kings whom thou hast set over us because of our sins: also they have dominion over our bodies, and over our cattle, at their pleasure, and we are in great distress.
Zion is the poetical name for Jerusalem and proverbial name for the city as the center of all political power in the coming millennial age. Thus, Israel's King (Maker) is to be rejoiced in as he is higher than any other king. 

Let them praise His name with dancing; Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre.
When a person dances, there entire body moves and thus in praising God with our dance, every part of us is moving and focused on Him. Their voices are singing praises with music instruments. It is good to see the encouragement to praise the Lord with song.

The Saints (4-5)
Their Blessing (4a)
For the Lord takes pleasure in His people. Much of the Bible is not simply about God but how God relates to people and people's worship of God. 75% of the book of Genesis speaks of Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph and God's pleasure in his people.

Their Beauty (4b)
He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation. He will deliver those that are afflicted. Society likes the person that returns a tough word with a tougher word. We love to watch debates where people respond from an attack with a good defense or insult even. But, we are reminded often in scripture to let God take care of the outcomes and he mentions the beauty here of those that have been afflicted. And this is the picture of Jesus and his life because he willingly went to the cross rather than fight back when he was accused. 

Their Bliss (5)
Let the godly ones exult in glory; Let them sing for joy on their beds. The Psalmist believes that people should be happy and they should be rejoicing even as they go to bed, thankful for the day and what the Lord has provided and then awaken with happiness as seeking to praise God. We have much to be praising God for. 

The Sword (6-9)
There is victory in the Lord

Trusting in that Sword (v. 6)

The high praises of God in their mouth. I am to be a person that is praising God. We are to be a people that praise Him. It seems in recent years as worship music becomes more popular, I tend to be moving away from it and yet, the Christian music I grew up on is worship music. The song we sang in church Sunday was unstoppable God. His Glory goes on and on. There is much we can praise God for. He is eternal, uncreated, self-existing, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, holy, just, true, tender and living, gracious and kind. 

And a two-edged sword in their hand. The Word of God is a our sword in all of life. We use it to meet all attacks. In the list of Christian armor, it is the only weapon of attack, all other weapons are for defense (Ephesians 6:17). When Satan attacked Adam and Eve, what he attacked was the reliability of the Words of God. In his hour of temptation with Satan, Jesus' only defense was the word of God. The Word of God needs to be our defense. 

Trusting with that Sword (v.7-9)

To execute vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with chains
And their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute on them the judgment written; This is an honor for all His godly ones. 
Praise the Lord! In Revelation 19:15, when the Lord descends out of the sky to engage the enemy, it is the sword that comes out of his mouth. Could these verses be thinking of that moment? The remaining Gentiles on the earth here are the nations and peoples of verse 7. The restored Hebrew people will execute judgment in honor of all His Godly ones. Once again, the Word of God will be feared as we all Praise the Lord. 

Promise: No matter how we feel, no matter what is going on in our life, there can always be time to stop and Praise the Lord. 

Prayer: Praise the Lord, Sing to the Lord. Lord, revitalize Your church and the people of God. Help all people of God and Christians to put aside their differences and assemble together each week at church, supporting it with financial gifts and continuing to give glory to You. Lord, you are higher than any other. You are there for the afflicted ones, providing deliverance. Let the people of God continually praise you, at morning and night. I want to praise you more. May the people of this earth recognize the holiness of the Word of God. In the end, as in the beginning, the Lord will be praised.