WEEK: I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X
August 24: Verse 88--"In your steadfast love give me life, that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth." He's not bargaining, just stating facts. Fact one: God is the source of life. Fact two: We do not earn this love, but it is given by God's own choice (thus the appeal to God's steadfast love). Fact three: testimony-keeping here on earth is a different sort than testimony-keeping in heaven. So, the life for which the psalmist pleas brings with it increased opportunity to keep God's testimonies here on earth. This reminds of Paul, when he tells the Philippians that he does not know whether to ask for life or death. He knows that death is better because it is presence with Christ, but life is more needful because of ministry (Philippians 1:17-26). So, I ask myself, do I ask for life because I do not wish to go through the process of dying or because I desire to minister and keep God's testimonies?
August 23: Verses 86, 88--We think of the psalms as praises, but sometimes they are pleas.
August 22: Verse 83--"For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke, yet I have not forgotten your statutes." The Word imbedded. That is the image popping into my mind as I read this verse. It is the Word imbedded in the soul that makes bearable the dried up condition in which the psalmist now exists. He is being pummelled by opposition of some sort, but the imbedded Word is not forgotten. The events of Sunday, August 21 made the truth of this very clear. Connie's family displayed before hundred's of people what it looks like to walk through tragedy with both pain and faith.
August 21: Verse 81--"My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word." The first part of this verse talks about the psalmist's direction. The inate tendency of his heart is toward God's salvation. That is the thing that moves him forward. It is the magnate pulling him. The secod part of the verse talks about the psalmist's foundation. The place where he walks as he longs for God's salvation. This place is hope. "Concretion" as one of my former pastors used to say. Hope is something solid; it is not mere wishes.
August 20: Verse ALL--As I read I am reminded of the need to clarify my calling. This is in process now as I head for graduation from Talbot this fall. How will I wait? What character traits will be exhibited as I wait to hear a clearer call? Time will tell.
August 19: Verse ALL--The image that floods my mind in this section is prayer as "banging on the gates of heaven." Times of tragedy make this type of prayer a necessity. The untimely death of a young mother, a mom getting the news that the cancer has returned, finding out the lump under your ear may be lymphoma--such things make a banging-on-the-gates-of-heaven prayer appropriate. The awesome thing is that our banging is only required by our emotion and not by God's character. We need only think it for him to hear us, but he completely understands when we need to bang on his chest in pain.
August 18: This week's picture is drawn from verse 83, where the psalmist describe his condition as one like a wineskin in the smoke, dried up.
81My soul longs for your salvation;
I hope in your word.
82My eyes long for your promise;
I ask, "When will you comfort me?"
83For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke,
yet I have not forgotten your statutes.
84How long must your servant endure?
When will you judge those who persecute me?
85The insolent have dug pitfalls for me;
they do not live according to your law.
86All your commandments are sure;
they persecute me with falsehood; help me!
87They have almost made an end of me on earth,
but I have not forsaken your precepts.
88In your steadfast love give me life,
that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.