Sunday, April 27, 2014

This Week in the Psalms #3 (55-81)

I am continuing to work through the Psalms. This week there were a lot of Psalms, especially those of Asaph, exploring the seeming dissonance between the promises of God (the ideal) and the way we experience things in the present. He doesn’t really provide a definitive answer except to trust God in the present because we know he has been faithful in the past and will keep his promises in the future. I think one reason that the Psalms minister to us so deeply is that they do not minimize the pain we feel in the present while, at the same time, they provide hope for the present and future.

Betrayal is one of the most difficult offenses to handle. Even this one can be turned over to God because he can and will sustain you through it. Psalm 55

The truth of who God is insures the triumph of the just. Psalm 56

Even when the circumstances say, "No way!" God will bless those who trust Him according to his promise. Psalm 57

It seems that there are some people who are born evil and can't even listen to instruction. Even they will be judged justly and God will set things right. Psalm 58

May God judge those who abuse power by using it to hurt others rather than serve. May God show his justice by making their punishment fit the crime and be evident to all. Psalm 59

Sometimes God lets us experience impossible difficulties so that he can save us from them and remind us that he is our only sure protector. Psalm 60

Only God is worthy of worship. The ultimate blessing is to live in His presence. Psalm 61

Only God is worthy to be the basis of our life. If we live for power, money or glory these will all fail us. God is the only center to life that works. Psalm 62

When we begin to realize just how much we need God and how wonderful his blessings are, then we become worshippers. Psalm 63

Evil people use words as weapons against God's people. But God knows their thoughts and will thwart their plans so that justice is done and his people are blessed. Psalm 64

The abundance we enjoy in God's presence, including forgiveness, is all just a side benefit of his Presence with us. Psalm 65

God's work in creation and his work in our lives should bring a response of trust, praise and worship. Psalm 66

God's purpose is that everyone in the world knows him through his people sharing his blessings and the message that he is king. Psalm 67

Our just and good God will win the battle against all his enemies, establish His rule, set things right and bless his loyal people - act based on that in the present. Psalm 68

Suffering (deserved and undeserved) and persecution are inevitable for the person committed to following God and living God's way. Despite that we trust that God will be present with us in our suffering and deliver us; and, even if suffering results in death, make our present lives meaningful and reward us in the eternal kingdom. Psalm 69

Prayer: Hurry Lord! make your kingdom values the norm now - so that the good are protected, the needy satisfied and justice done. Hurry! Psalm 70

Those who trust God can be confident in his ultimate deliverance. Those who oppose God can be sure that they will be disappointed. Psalm 71

The job of a leader is to protect, serve and help his people prosper, especially the most needy people. But, All human leaders will disappoint us until Jesus rules. Psalm 72

The wealth and apparent happiness of those who oppress others and have no regard for God can be a problem for the believer until they take God's perspective and realize that the prosperity of the wicked is very temporary but "brief" afflictions of this life lead to long term good and blessing in God's eternal kingdom. Psalm 73

Even though we recognize the justice of God's discipline of his people, we also recognize that it causes a loss of regard for God in the world. Thus we ask God to remember his promise and renew his people to blessing. Psalm 74

Do not be prideful and live as though you are independent. Everyone will be judged by God and things will be set right. Psalm 75

Trust and worship God because he has a "track record" of defeating those who oppress his people and then saving and blessing them. Psalm 76

In those times when it seems that present circumstances do not match God's promises, or that God is far away, meditate on what he has done in the past in the stories of scripture and in the story of your life. Then you will see that, often, what God is doing in the present is not clearly seen or understood until much later. Psalm 77

Some things we learn from the history of Israel (Psalm 78)
1. The most basic formula for success: Trust God and live according to His covenant. (7)
2. We have a tendency, when God works through us to accomplish something, to take all the credit for ourselves.
3. It is easy to miss the amazing things God is doing all around us if we are not looking with trust.
4. It is easy to turn the results of God blessing us with his presence into idols that become barriers to His presence.
5. Present difficulties can make us forget past blessings. (42)
6. God understands our weaknesses and is compassionate and always willing to forgive, no matter what we have done, when we return and submit to him. (38-39)
7. God is very patient, but he will judge all sin, starting with his people. (59-60)
8. The most basic formula for success is to follow the Son of David (70-72)

God is forgiving and just. The repentant can call to him for restoration and justice. Psalm 79

The essence of blessing is God's presence with us. Living in God's presence is salvation. Psalm 80

God demands full submission and obedience but he promises full joy and satisfaction. Psalm 81

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