Claim righteousness…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Psalm 18:20-36

The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness;

​​According to the cleanness of my hands

​​He has recompensed me.

 ​​For I have kept the ways of the LORD,

​​And have not wickedly departed from my God.

 ​​For all His judgments were before me,

​​And I did not put away His statutes from me.

​​I was also blameless before Him,

​​And I kept myself from my iniquity.

​​Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness,

​​According to the cleanness of my hands in His sight.

With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful;

​​With a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless;

With the pure You will show Yourself pure;

​​And with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd.

​​For You will save the humble people,

​​But will bring down haughty looks.

For You will light my lamp;

​​The LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.

 ​​For by You I can run against a troop,

​​By my God I can leap over a wall.

As for God, His way is perfect;

​​The word of the LORD is proven;

​​He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

​​For who is God, except the LORD?

​​And who is a rock, except our God?

It is God who arms me with strength,

​​And makes my way perfect.

 ​​He makes my feet like the feet of deer,

​​And sets me on my high places.

 ​​He teaches my hands to make war,

​​So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

You have also given me the shield of Your salvation;

​​Your right hand has held me up,

​​Your gentleness has made me great.

 ​​You enlarged my path under me,

​​So my feet did not slip.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Psa&c=18&t=nkjvp>

We are well aware of David’s sin yet he says he has not done evil.  He doesn’t stop there; he continues, “by turning away from my God.”  Sin is cast in this passage as encompassing all that constitutes turning away from God–a denial of God.  David states he has not done that and so can claim righteousness and cleanliness.  Do we see the absence of sin referenced as  obeying a list of do’s and don’ts?  When did we get away from the first commandment to love our God and the second, to love our neighbor;  when did we develop a list of criteria to be met in order to be ‘Christian’?  Non-believers can cite a list of behaviors that are expected of believers in Christ.  At what point did those behaviors become synonymous with loving Christ and accepting His salvation for us?  Something is askew here.  Twice the psalmist states “according to my righteousness; according the to the cleanness of my hands.”   Salvation brings to us His righteousness  and our hands are cleansed.  We can say this with the psalmist

“…The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness;

​​According to the cleanness of my hands…”

We become a new creature with an attitude change.

“…You have also given me the shield of Your salvation;

​​Your right hand has held me up,

​​Your gentleness has made me great.

 ​​You enlarged my path under me,

​​So my feet did not slip….”

The attitude change is what can be seen by others as evidence of the life change brought by Christ; not adherence to a list of behaviors.  That list is unique for each individual as the Holy Spirit sees fit.

With that said, look at the list of blessings that follow:

He gives life

“…For You will light my lamp;

​​The LORD my God will enlighten my darkness….”

He gives health

“…And makes my way perfect.

 ​​He makes my feet like the feet of deer,…”

He gives success

“…And sets me on my high places.

 ​​He teaches my hands to make war,

​​So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze….”

What forces of darkness are we fighting in our daily walks?  We are enabled to defeat them.

He lifts us up

“…Your right hand has held me up,

​​Your gentleness has made me great…”

He keeps us from falling

“… ​​You enlarged my path under me,

​​So my feet did not slip….”

What more could we ask for?  Stand with the psalmist and state the truth that we are changed not by what we do but by what he has done.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Can you say, “He delights in me”?

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Psalm 18

I will love You, O LORD, my strength.

 ​​The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;

​​My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;

​​My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

 ​​I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised;

​​So shall I be saved from my enemies.

 ​​The pangs of death surrounded me,

​​And the floods of ungodliness made me afraid.

 ​​The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me;

​​The snares of death confronted me.

​​In my distress I called upon the LORD,

​​And cried out to my God;

​​He heard my voice from His temple,

​​And my cry came before Him, even to His ears.

Then the earth shook and trembled;

​​The foundations of the hills also quaked and were shaken,

​​Because He was angry.

 ​​Smoke went up from His nostrils,

​​And devouring fire from His mouth;

​​Coals were kindled by it.

 ​​He bowed the heavens also, and came down

​​With darkness under His feet.

 ​​And He rode upon a cherub, and flew;

​​He flew upon the wings of the wind.

 ​​He made darkness His secret place;

​​His canopy around Him was dark waters

​​And thick clouds of the skies.

 ​​From the brightness before Him,

​​His thick clouds passed with hailstones and coals of fire.

The LORD thundered from heaven,

​​And the Most High uttered His voice,

​​Hailstones and coals of fire.

 ​​He sent out His arrows and scattered the foe,

​​Lightnings in abundance, and He vanquished them.

 ​​Then the channels of the sea were seen,

​​The foundations of the world were uncovered

​​At Your rebuke, O LORD,

​​At the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.

 ​​He sent from above, He took me;

​​He drew me out of many waters.

 ​​He delivered me from my strong enemy,

​​From those who hated me,

​​For they were too strong for me.

 ​​They confronted me in the day of my calamity,

​​But the LORD was my support.

 ​​He also brought me out into a broad place;

​​He delivered me because He delighted in me.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Psa&c=18&t=nkjvp>

 

O may we delight the Lord to the extent he does the same for us.  What causes that delight?  We call on Him and seek Him and no other.  What visuals we see here!  Fire-breathing , smoke billowing give images of dragons, volcanoes spewing forth, great storms.  Nothing quiet here!! Images of greatness and intent to instill awe in the observer are versed.  When the Lord comes, we know it!! So do our enemies and so does the enemy  of our soul.  What do we do under fire?  We call upon the Lord and He responds.  He is on our side because he delights in us… He delights in us because we call upon Him.

“…I will love You, O LORD, my strength.

​​The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;

​​My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;

​​My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold….”

“…​​He delivered me because He delighted in me….”

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Love or obligation?

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Psalm 15

LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle?

​​Who may dwell in Your holy hill?

He who walks uprightly,

​​And works righteousness,

​​And speaks the truth in his heart;

 ​​He who does not backbite with his tongue,

​​Nor does evil to his neighbor,

​​Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend;

​​In whose eyes a vile person is despised,

​​But he honors those who fear the LORD;

​​He who swears to his own hurt and does not change;

​​He who does not put out his money at usury,

​​Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.

​​He who does these things shall never be moved.

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1.  Our walk is blameless.

2.  Our walk is righteous.

Both are true when we accept the cleansing of the blood of Christ and are made a new creature.

3.  Our words are true.

4.  We do not spread lies about others.

5.  We do good only, to our neighbor.

6.  We build up; we do not tear down others.

7. We despise, meaning to turn away from a vile person, we do not follow them.

8.  We honor those who fear the Lord.

9.  We keep  our word when it is given.

10. When it comes to money, we lend at a reasonable rate and refuse bribes.

Can we claim this list is a description of who we are and what we do?

“…LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle?

​​Who may dwell in Your holy hill?…”

What is our motivation?  Is it the love of God in us or just obligation?  When we love God completely with all of our being and it overflows into love for our fellow man/woman, we will be unshaken; for our trust is in Him and it shows.

Two worlds…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Psalm 17

Hear a just cause, O LORD,

​​Attend to my cry;

​​Give ear to my prayer which is not from deceitful lips.

Let my vindication come from Your presence;

​​Let Your eyes look on the things that are upright.

You have tested my heart;

​​You have visited me in the night;

​​You have tried me and have found nothing;

​​I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.

Concerning the works of men,

​​By the word of Your lips,

​​I have kept away from the paths of the destroyer.

 ​​Uphold my steps in Your paths,

​​That my footsteps may not slip.

I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God;

​​Incline Your ear to me, and hear my speech.

Show Your marvelous lovingkindness by Your right hand,

​​O You who save those who trust in You

​​From those who rise up against them.

​​Keep me as the apple of Your eye;

​​Hide me under the shadow of Your wings,

From the wicked who oppress me,

​​From my deadly enemies who surround me.

 ​​They have closed up their fat hearts;

​​With their mouths they speak proudly.

​​They have now surrounded us in our steps;

​​They have set their eyes, crouching down to the earth,

 ​​As a lion is eager to tear his prey,

​​And like a young lion lurking in secret places.

Arise, O LORD,

​​Confront him, cast him down;

​​Deliver my life from the wicked with Your sword,

 ​​With Your hand from men, O LORD,

​​From men of the world who have their portion in this life,

​​And whose belly You fill with Your hidden treasure.

​​They are satisfied with children,

​​And leave the rest of their possession for their babes.

 ​​As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness;

​​I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Psa&c=17&t=nkjvp>

Two worlds; one, earthly, destructive, greedy, arrogant and temporal and the other labeled righteous with a reward that grants the privilege to see the likeness of God, are pictured here.  We live in and are at the effect of those who follow only their own desires and ways.  They give no credit to God Almighty and oppress the righteous.

“…​​They have closed up their fat hearts;

​​With their mouths they speak proudly.

​​They have now surrounded us in our steps;

​​They have set their eyes, crouching down to the earth,

 ​​As a lion is eager to tear his prey,

​​And like a young lion lurking in secret places….”

The psalmist states their reward is here and now,

“…​​From men of the world who have their portion in this life,…”

But, in contrast, those who choose to follow the life path set out by God for mankind have His protection here and now and the eternal reward of being with him after the temporal, earthly life has passed.  This is the hope believers in Christ have.  This is the promise life with Him grants.  And we can say with the psalmist

​​”…As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness;

​​I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness….”

Eternity begins with acceptance of His salvation, turning from the ways of humanity to live in His way.

Knowledge that preserves…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Psalm 16

Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust.

​ ​​O my soul, you have said to the LORD,

​​“You are my Lord,

​​My goodness is nothing apart from You.”

​​As for the saints who are on the earth,

​​“They are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.”

Their sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after another god;

​​Their drink offerings of blood I will not offer,

​​Nor take up their names on my lips.

​​O LORD, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup;

​​You maintain my lot.

​​The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;

​​Yes, I have a good inheritance.

​​I will bless the LORD who has given me counsel;

​​My heart also instructs me in the night seasons.

I have set the LORD always before me;

​​Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;

​​My flesh also will rest in hope.

For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,

​​Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.

​​You will show me the path of life;

​​In Your presence is fullness of joy;

​​At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Psa&c=16&t=nkjvp>

Long before Christ came, David talks of his rising from the grave.  David has been given the promise of salvation to come.  Who is our guiding force; who give us purpose and meaning in life?  In an age of blind faith in things scientific, mankind looks continually for proofs.  David testifies to knowledge that does  not beg for proof but rests in the sure, heartfelt knowing of God.  The Lord counsels, the heart instructs and what he was given to know came to pass though he did not live to see it.  He saw with the eyes of the heart and soul.

“​​…You will show me the path of life;…” 

We have the same knowledge available today through the faithfulness of the Lord Jesus and his disciples.  Let us continue to pass on this knowledge of life which needs no proof for it dwells within us, our spirit bearing witness with His, a connecting with the Lord God that cannot be explained; just is.

The fool has said…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Psalm 14

The fool has said in his heart,

​​“There is no God.”

​​They are corrupt,

​​They have done abominable works,

​​There is none who does good.

The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men,

​​To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.

They have all turned aside,

​​They have together become corrupt;

​​There is none who does good,

​​No, not one.

​​Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge,

​​Who eat up my people as they eat bread,

​​And do not call on the LORD?

There they are in great fear,

​​For God is with the generation of the righteous.

You shame the counsel of the poor,

​​But the LORD is his refuge.

Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion!

​​When the LORD brings back the captivity of His people,

​​Let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Psa&c=14&t=nkjvp>

There are two groups here; the sons of man and the righteous – sons of God.  Essentially this is humanity’s world-view vs. the believers biblical view.  The sons of man continually operate in opposition to the principles set forth by God and oppress the poor.  But we who are in the camp of the righteous, through the blood of Jesus can rejoice with the psalmist for salvation has come out of Zion and we know him.  His name is Jesus.

Out of Zion's hill salvation comes...

Out of Zion’s hill salvation comes…

How long?

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Psalm 13

How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever?

​​How long will You hide Your face from me?

How long shall I take counsel in my soul,

​​Having sorrow in my heart daily?

​​How long will my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and hear me, O LORD my God;

​​Enlighten my eyes,

​​Lest I sleep the sleep of death;

Lest my enemy say,

​​“I have prevailed against him”;

​​Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved.

But I have trusted in Your mercy;

​​My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.

I will sing to the LORD,

​​Because He has dealt bountifully with me.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Psa&c=13&v=1&t=NKJVP>

The believer is not exempt from hardship, suffering, depression.  The psalmist, known as a man after God’s own heart, experiences extreme depression and asks the questions we all have had at one time or another.  Why?  Where are you?  How long?  The heart longs for peace and relief from suffering.  Hope and light is the knowledge that God does care and is good to us.  The psalmist ends with praise for the goodness of the Lord.  His eyes are taken off his enemy, his circumstances and he places them back on his Lord.  This is what separates the believer from the unbeliever.  The believer has been given the power to rise above the depression and turn it to joy in his salvation.  This life is temporal.  Salvation starts now and is eternal.  Take hope and rejoice in that.

The words of the Lord are pure words…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Psalm 12

Help, LORD, for the godly man ceases!

​​For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.

​​They speak idly everyone with his neighbor;

​​With flattering lips and a double heart they speak.

​​May the LORD cut off all flattering lips,

​​And the tongue that speaks proud things,

 ​​Who have said,

​​“With our tongue we will prevail;

​​Our lips are our own;

​​Who is lord over us?”

 ​​“For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy,

​​Now I will arise,” says the LORD;

​​“I will set him in the safety for which he yearns.”

​​The words of the LORD are pure words,

​​Like silver tried in a furnace of earth,

​​Purified seven times.

 ​​You shall keep them, O LORD,

​​You shall preserve them from this generation forever.

 ​​The wicked prowl on every side,

​​When vileness is exalted among the sons of men.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Psa&c=12&t=nkjvp>

It is tempting to say with the psalmist that the godly are no more, lies abound, flattering flows and wicked strut about freely because what is vile is honored.  As a nation, as a people what have we become?  These ills are present among our churches and their leadership as well.  What to do?  Join with the psalmist in giving praise to the Lord and remaining faithful to Him.  His words are flawless, purified within us, known by us who believe.  As we are faithful, may our lives draw others to the One who lives within.

In the Lord I put my trust…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Psalm 11

In the LORD I put my trust;

​​How can you say to my soul,

​​“Flee as a bird to your mountain”?

For look! The wicked bend their bow,

​​They make ready their arrow on the string,

​​That they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart.

 ​​If the foundations are destroyed,

​​What can the righteous do?

​​The LORD is in His holy temple,

​​The LORD’s throne is in heaven;

​​His eyes behold,

​​His eyelids test the sons of men.

​​The LORD tests the righteous,

​​But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates.

 ​​Upon the wicked He will rain coals;

​​Fire and brimstone and a burning wind

​​Shall be the portion of their cup.

 ​​For the LORD is righteous,

​​He loves righteousness;

​​His countenance beholds the upright.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Psa&c=11&v=1&t=NKJVP>

This morning’s reflections were in harmony and unity with today’s reading.  The question why say to the mountains to fall on us if we are his children came?  What have we to fear?  Those with lack of faith will seek, not his face, but a way out.  The believer runs to the Lord, not the mountains.  They will see his face; they will see justice; they will see righteousness.  They are charged only with seeking Him.  We don’t ‘fix-it’; he does.

Justice to the fatherless and the oppressed…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Psalm 10

Why do You stand afar off, O LORD?

​​Why do You hide in times of trouble?

The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor;

​​Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised.

​​For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire;

​​He blesses the greedy and renounces the LORD.

The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God;

​​God is in none of his thoughts.

 ​​His ways are always prospering;

​​Your judgments are far above, out of his sight;

​​As for all his enemies, he sneers at them.

 ​​He has said in his heart, “I shall not be moved;

​​I shall never be in adversity.”

 ​​His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and oppression;

​​Under his tongue is trouble and iniquity.

 ​​He sits in the lurking places of the villages;

​​In the secret places he murders the innocent;

​​His eyes are secretly fixed on the helpless.

 ​​He lies in wait secretly, as a lion in his den;

​​He lies in wait to catch the poor;

​​He catches the poor when he draws him into his net.

 ​​So he crouches, he lies low,

​​That the helpless may fall by his strength.

 ​​He has said in his heart,

​​“God has forgotten;

​​He hides His face;

​​He will never see.”

 ​​Arise, O LORD!

​​O God, lift up Your hand!

​​Do not forget the humble.

 ​​Why do the wicked renounce God?

​​He has said in his heart,

​​“You will not require an account.”

 ​​But You have seen, for You observe trouble and grief,

​​To repay it by Your hand.

​​The helpless commits himself to You;

​​You are the helper of the fatherless.

 ​​Break the arm of the wicked and the evil man;

​​Seek out his wickedness until You find none.

 ​​The LORD is King forever and ever;

​​The nations have perished out of His land.

 ​​LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble;

​​You will prepare their heart;

​​You will cause Your ear to hear,

 ​​To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,

​​That the man of the earth may oppress no more.

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Those who victimize others have no God.

​​”…He blesses the greedy and renounces the LORD.

The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God;

​​God is in none of his thoughts….”

They do not recognize the one who created them and loves them.  Those who call upon him, he hears and defends.

“…The helpless commits himself to You;

​​You are the helper of the fatherless….”

He encourages – gives courage– instills courage to fight the evil, avoid its trap, live free in Him.  If the Holy Spirit leads us, we are not victims.  Anything that comes our way is for instruction and to prove the grace and love of God.  The Spirit enables us to rise above our circumstances, rise to the challenge rather than sink in the murky waters of the storm.