July 1, 2016 Bible Study — Life Is Short, Praise the Lord

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Psalms 90-97.

    Our lives are short, let us not waste time that we can spend serving and praising God. This is the first of the three themes in today’s psalms. Those themes are: praise the Lord when you have the chance, God will protect those who trust and serve Him, God will extract vengeance against the wicked, against those who mistreat others. There are some wonderful nuggets throughout these psalms. There is wisdom to be gained by acknowledging how short our lives are. If we place our trust in God we do not need to be afraid of nightmares, armies, disease, or disaster. If we take shelter in doing God’s will, no evil will be able to conquer us. Let us praise God for all that He has already done for us. When I look back over my life so far I see the many times I cried out to God in desperation and how He brought great glory into my life in answer to my plea: when I thought that life was not worth living, I cast myself on God and He gave me joy, when I thought that I could not overcome a sin in my life, I cast myself on God’s mercy and when I next looked up that sin had no power over me, when I desperately wanted a wife, I cast myself on God and He revealed the wonderful woman who is my wife, when I desperately needed a job, I cast myself on God and He gave me a wonderful job, the list goes on.

June 30, 2016 Bible Study — No Other God Is Like The Lord

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Psalms 82-89.

    God will ultimately sit in judgment of those who govern on this earth. He will call them to account for their unjust decisions, He will hold them accountable for their failure to give justice to the poor and the powerless. We are all children of God, those who govern unjustly will die, just like everyone else. Every nation on this earth belongs to God, those who govern them are just His caretakers and He will judge them for how they do so. There are always those who think that they can use the power which God has loaned them to strike down God’s people and take their property. In the fullness of time (I really like that expression), God will show them the error of their ways (I like that expression as well) and they will be destroyed.


    I am going to do a bit of an aside, because I think that both Psalm 82 and 83 have great relevance to what is going on in the world today. Psalm 82 speaks of those who hand down unjust rulings which favor the wicked. Psalm 82 is a warning to them and a beacon of hope for the rest of us. When I read the news I see so many occurrences of where the government (not just of the U.S.) hands down rulings which do not grant justice to the poor and powerless; where rather than deliver the poor and helpless from the hands of the wicked the government turns them over to them. God will not long stand idly by and watch as this goes on. Psalm 83 speaks of those who have allied and plotted to attack and destroy God’s people. It speaks of how God will scatter them and destroy them. Once more, when I read the news I see that many nations have plotted against the nation of Israel. I have seen this in the news for years, but now recently I have begun to see news of how those nations are beginning to see their destructive ways come home to roost. I will point out that this psalm can also be applied to those who attack the Church.


    I don’t want to end this without spending some time on the rest of the psalms in today’s reading because they are so inspiring. Psalm 84 reminds us that it is better to work and have little in the House of the Lord than have plenty and lounge around in the house of the wicked. Psalm 85 is a prayer asking God to restore and revive us. Even beyond being a prayer it reminds us that listening to what God has to say and following His instructions is the path to that revival. Then Psalm 86 tells us to seek God’s teaching so that we can live according to His truth. We should ask God to give us a pure heart so that we can bring honor to His name. Psalm 87 promises us that no matter where you were born, or who your parents are, you are welcome to become a citizen in God’s Kingdom. And Psalm 89 teaches us that there is no one and nothing as powerful, majestic, and worthy of honor as our God. God’s love will never fail us.

June 29, 2016 Bible Study

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Psalms 78-81.

    The psalmist recounts the history of Exodus, but not just as a repetition of that tale. He recounted it as a parable. So, what shall we take from this parable? We, also, tend to live our lives as the people of Israel did. We cry out to God for rescue when times become too difficult. When He answers our prayer we are faithful for a short time, but, all too often, after a short time we fall back into our sins and stop listening to God. Then our troubles return and we once more cry out to God. The cycle repeats. The psalmist is calling on us to break free of that cycle, to recognize that we cannot be righteous without God’s help. When we cry out to God for rescue let us also ask Him to make us faithful to Him, not just for a short while, but for all eternity.

Turn us again to yourself, O God.
Only then will we be saved.

We will never remain faithful to God for long on our own strength. It is only when we throw ourselves fully on God’s mercy that we will receive from Him the strength to never abandon Him again.

June 28, 2016 Bible Study — Do Not Envy the Wicked

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Psalms 72-77.

    Psalm 72 gives us an outline of what we should pray for our government and government authorities. We should pray that they have God’s love of justice, that they defend the poor and the powerless. A government which acts according to the outline given will last and will be remembered favorably. When our government is not such a government it is easy to become envious of the proudly wicked, those to whom everything seems to come easily who have no thoughts but for their own desires. However, if we allow ourselves to do so we will become bitter and torn up inside. The wicked may have everything their heart desires on this earth, but when God brings that time to an end they will have nothing. However, those who desire God more than anything on earth will have the eternal joy of being with Him.


    God will bring His judgment against the wicked of this earth at the time He has prepared. In the meantime, when it seems like the good times are in my past and suffering is all I can expect in the future, I will remember the great things God has done and that He has promised to do similar things in the future. I will proclaim God’s glory and praise His name, even when times are hard. The treasures of the wicked will be handed over to those who serve God when the time that God has chosen comes.

June 27, 2016 Bible Study — I Have Foolishly Sinned

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Psalms 68-71.

    I struggle with the violent imagery of Psalm 68, but a key to understanding it comes in verse 5. There the psalmist tells us that God is father to the fatherless and the defender of widows. Which gives us an idea about what sort of people the psalmist is directing his violent imagery against, it was directed against those who attempted to take advantage of the defenseless. As we read on into the rest of today’s psalms, we see the psalmist admit that he was foolish to sin. As a result of those sins he is suffering and in deep despair. However, because he confessed his sin and begged God for mercy he became an example to many. Let us also live lives which will be an example to many. Not because we live lives that appear to be sinless, but because we are willing to admit that we are not perfect, that we have sinned. Let us set the example of confessing our sins and begging God for forgiveness. Let us fill our lives with a passion for serving God that will bit by bit force the sin out of our lives, not because we are such good and wonderful people, but because God’s Spirit will fill us and leave no room for sinful desires.

June 26, 2016 Bible Study — Rally to God’s Banner

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Psalms 60-67.

    There is a sort of progression through today’s psalms. It starts with a declaration that God has raised a banner where those who fear Him can rally in the face of attack. The first several psalms today speak of those who love and fear God being in a battle, under attack, under siege. This so reflects the world we live in today. Those who desire to righteously obey God are under attack from all sides. However, these psalms give us direction on how to face these trials. Let us rally to God’s banner and join forces with those others who fear God and are fighting to be faithful. When we are overwhelmed by our troubles, we need to cry out to God in prayer. He will hear us and lead us to safety. He will lead us to His fortress where we can wait quietly before Him. Our victory will come from God, not from our own actions. We need to put our hope and faith in God, not our fellow man.


    Slightly aside from the thread I am following here, but not completely. Psalm 62 verse 9 gives us an insight into the problem facing the world today. There the psalmist warns us that the common people do not have the power, and are not reliable enough, to be counted on to help us. And the powerful pretend to be able and willing to help, but will pursue what they believe are their own interests at our expense. The only aid in time of trouble which we can count on is that which comes from God.


    The thread I was following continues with calling on us to search for God, to desire God, to meditate on God, to cling to God. When we do so, He will hold us closely and safely. In response to the way in which God protects and rescues us, to the mighty deeds He has done, let us praise Him. To summarize the path so far:

  • Rally to God’s banner and unite with those who fear Him
  • Cry out to God in prayer and follow Him as He leads us to His fortress
  • Place our hope and faith in God, not our fellow man.
  • Wait for God to act and bring us victory, seeking His will and desiring Him
  • Praise God for what He has done and will do.

Then finally, Let us call on the whole world to come and see what God has done. Let us invite those who were attacking us to join us in sereving and worshiping God.

June 25, 2016 Bible Study — Listen To My Prayer, O God

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Psalms 52-59.

    I have really been struggling with what to write about these psalms. I wanted to connect Psalm 52’s “great warrior” boasting about his crimes to things we see going on in the world around us, because I do indeed see many situations where people are boasting about wrongs they have committed. And I wanted to talk about Psalm 53 telling us that only the fool says in his heart that there is no God, because I see how much that happens in the world around us. But I could not get those to connect with each other, let alone with the rest of the psalms in today’s reading. So, I read through the psalms again and again, trying to find something to say which tied that all together. Each time I read through I got nothing that worked.


    But each time I read through I hit Psalm 54 verse 2 and it stopped me.

“Listen to my prayer, O God.”

I would resume reading, only to be stopped by the same phrase in verse 1 of Psalm 55. Nevertheless, I could not see what the point was until I noticed a different, but similar phrase in Psalm 56 and Psalm 57.

“O God, have mercy on me.”

“Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy.”

These two phrases are A prayer. In the context of what is going on in the world, they are the prayer I want God to listen to above all else. The rulers of this world have forgotten the meaning of the word “justice”. They have lost all sense of the idea that justice is not an arbitrary concept. And so, we need to pray to God for His mercy, or we too will get caught up in the idea that justice is getting what we want, rather than something we should want to get. Justice is not relative and it is not just for some people. But it is only through God’s intervention that we will understand and receive justice. It is only by God’s intervention in response to our prayers that we will truly desire justice, not just for ourselves, but for everyone. If we do not seek justice for everyone, we will not receive justice either.

June 24, 2016 Bible Study –Mountains Crumble Into The Sea

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Psalms 45-51.

    Every time I hear the Led Zeppelin song “Thank You” I think of the beginning of Psalm 46. But unlike the Zeppelin song, it will not be the strength of my love for my wife which will keep either her or me safe when the mountains crumble into the sea. No, it will be God’s love for us that will keep us safe. It is He who will be our refuge and strength in the face of trouble. And the end of Psalm 46 gives us a great image to remember. When our entire world is crashing into loud chaos around us (the mountains crumbling into the sea, the oceans roar and foam, the mountains tremble as the waters surge–what great imagery of chaos), we are to be still and know that He is God. I have been blessed a few times in my life to have seen a person of great faith face a crisis. They calmly did what needed to be done while everyone around them yelled and ran around. They showed no fear in the face of great danger, because fear could provide no aid. They had faith that God, who could provide aid, was at their side, giving them the strength to do what needed to be done. While that is all I am going to comment on, please read the rest of the Psalms in today’s reading as they too will encourage you to praise God in the face of a world falling apart.

June 23, 2016 Bible Study — Talk About How Great God Is, But Don’t Just Talk

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Psalms 38-44.

    I will start my thoughts today with Psalm 39. In an effort to avoid sinning with what he said, the psalmist determined not to say anything around the ungodly. But he quickly discovered that was not the answer either, because, while by keeping silent he avoided sinning, ha also was unable to talk about the good things which God was doing. So, while we must watch what we do and not sin with what we say, keeping silent is not the answer. If we keep silent we cannot praise God.


    God takes no joy in our rote obedience to His laws. Rather His laws are designed as guidelines to show us how to love God and love our neighbor. He wants us to embrace His justice and be kind to the poor. As Jesus told us, the greatest commandment is that we are to love God with all of our heart, all of our soul, and all of our mind. If we do that we will tell others about how great God is and about His wonderful faithfulness. However, we will not limit ourselves to words, we will use our actions to show people God’s love and justice.

June 22, 2016 Bible Study — Taste and See That the Lord Is Good

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading. I have been trying to write my blogs on the Psalms with some thread that ties together my thoughts and comments on the Psalms I am reading each day. I do not think I am going to succeed in doing that today.


Today, I am reading and commenting on Psalms 32-37.

    When we refuse to acknowledge our sins to ourselves and confess them to God we suffer. If we acknowledge our sin and wrongdoing, turning away from them, God will forgive us. Then He will guide us along the best pathway for us to follow. When we look at the world around us, God’s power is clear (at least for those who are willing to see). Considering the state of the world today, Psalms 33 contains a phrase which does indeed cause me to sing for joy to the Lord:

The Lord frustrates the plans of the nations
and thwarts all their schemes.
But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever;
his intentions can never be shaken.

As terrible as the state of the world looks, as bad as I believe things would turn out if the declared plans of many nations came to fruition, I know that God is in control and it is HIS plans which will come to fruition. He sees what is going on and He understands mankind. Despite how powerful the many forces of evil in this world appear, their strength and power will serve them not at all when their plans run counter to God’s. On the other hand, no matter how weak you may think that you are, if you fear the Lord and do His will He will rescue you and bring you safely home.


    Psalm 34 speaks to me every time I read it. I constantly seek to apply my intellect to the problems I see around me. When I discuss with people I try to use logic to show them the right thing to do (my logic is not always right, but I have found that trying to use logic to make a case for what I believe will reveal where I have failed in doing so). Yet this psalm reminds me of the limits to using logic to convince people about God. Ultimately, people will only truly come to know and understand God by experiencing Him for themselves. Or as the psalmist puts it, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” It is only through your own experience that you can come to understand God. No matter how eloquent and convincing I may be, or you may be, it is only when people experience God for themselves that they receive the joy He has to offer. Then, when we have experienced God, we learn to do right, want to do right, and find joy in doing right (even when it scares us before we do it).


    Psalm 35 also reminds me of what is going on in the world today. Just listen to the news, or go on social media, and it will not be long before you hear someone accuse Christians of a crime they did not commit, or impute to all Christians the sins of a single individual. I will not spell it all out, read verse 11-16 for yourself. Have you not seen this for yourself? Yet, despite these things let us not fail to continue doing the things for which the psalmist claims credit. Let us fast and pray when they face trouble. Let us do what we are able to assist them when they are in need. Let us grieve for them when they suffer hardship. The wicked do not believe that they are wicked and nothing we can say or do will change that (except to pray that the Holy Spirit will touch their hearts and bring about change). So, let us not worry about the wicked and what they do. God will bring them judgment in His time. Rather let us seek to do what we know is right. We must guard against losing our temper over the seeming success of the wicked. Our anger will not help if it leads us to bring harm. It is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich.