Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Conspiracies and Coverings | Psalm 5:9–12

          For there is no truth in their mouth;
            their inmost self is destruction;
            their throat is an open grave;
            they flatter with their tongue.
10          Make them bear their guilt, O God;
            let them fall by their own counsels;
            because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out,
            for they have rebelled against you.
11           But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
            let them ever sing for joy,
            and spread your protection over them,
            that those who love your name may exult in you.
12          For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
            you cover him with favor as with a shield.

Now we see why David prayed in the previous verse for God’s guidance.  His enemies slander him and conspire against him.  Some may try to smooth-talk David, using religious language, making it harder to navigate life. 

David pleads with the Lord that they would be held guilty.  David had already affirmed that God will destroy those who lie (v. 6), and he desires that God hold them accountable.  Interestingly, David does not pray for their salvation.  They are guilty, so let them be guilty.  They stumble in the darkness, so let them fall.  It’s not that David is raging against them; he says, “for they have rebelled against you.”  Those who are false must be thrust out for the sake of all God’s people and the purity of His Name.

Recognize your own need for God’s covering, and not just for protection against enemies.  Paul cites verse 9 to describe the depravity of all of mankind (Rm 3:13).  In other words, outside of Christ, our inward parts are only destructive, so it’s no wonder why we kill with our tongues.  Thankfully, because of the work of Christ, we don’t have to bear guilt or fall according to our unwise counsels.  We can find forgiveness and grace in Him, as well as the scriptural truth that guides us out of our dark places.  May we never need to be evil purged from among God’s people (cf. 1 Cor 5:13).


Moreover, rejoice in the physical protection He provides!  We should pray that He would spread His protection over us in times of trouble.  Christians are not promised a problem-free life, and David here had cause to pray.  Still, God often provides a shield and refuge.  He may remove enemies or convert them, or provide some other providential protection cushioning us.  Note all that He does and rejoice (Phil 4:4)! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Devotionals

Sorry, everyone.  The devotionals got clogged up a bit, and it is my fault.  They should be flowing again!

God’s Gracious Will for Us | Psalm 5:7–8

          But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
            will enter your house.
            I will bow down toward your holy temple
            in the fear of you.
          Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness
            because of my enemies;
            make your way straight before me.

David suddenly turns right, away from his enemies to himself.  The KJV and NASB translate his words, “But as for me.”  David sees a strong contrast between himself and other sinners, even though he had lied and killed many men.  This is because he places his confidence in the Lord, knowing “that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him” (4:3).

The chesed, steadfast love of the Lord puts David where he is.  That’s why David enters the house of the Lord with fear or reverence, for he knew he had no right outside of the grace of God to be there.  If any of us are to come to the Lord, it is not just with God’s goodness, but His overflowing graciousness toward us.

In Christ, we don’t need to come to a physical temple to meet the Lord.  Paul asks of corporate church, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Cor 3:16).  According to 1 Peter 2:5, “[Y]ou yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house.”  When we meet in local churches, we get a glimpse of the true temple of God of which all believers are a part. 


If we’re part of the temple and the Spirit indwells us, we have the guidance we need.  Sometimes, we’re tempted to seek more knowledge and information than is necessary because of the fear of man.  We have the Spirit-inspired Word of God, and it is enough.  Psalm 119:9 says, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.”  We use it as “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (v. 105) so that the darkness of those around us won’t obscure the way.  Prayerfully search the pages of Scripture and find what’s right and wrong, and then begin training the powers of your discernment in it (Hb 5:14).

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Help on the Road of Trouble | Psalm 3

Psalm 3  | Cornerstone Church of Savannah |
Shaun Marksbury | 27 November, 2016


This morning, we're continuing this leg of our trek through the Book of Psalms, and this morning we're studying "Help on the Road of Trouble" from Psalm 3. We may never be a king on the run from a rebellious son, but we may be attacked or maligned or face great heartache. God gave us this psalm because we all face spiritual warfare, and we need to our source of help as our world comes under attack. Notice:
I. The Requirement for the Lord’s Help
II. The Reality of the Lord’s Help
III. The Recognition of the Lord’s Help
IV. The Request for the Lord’s Help

http://cornerstonesavannah.org/

Video:

Audio:

Saturday, December 3, 2016

God Hates a Great Deal | Psalm 5:4–6

          For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
            evil may not dwell with you.
          The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
            you hate all evildoers.
          You destroy those who speak lies;
            the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.

We know that God is love (1 John 4:8), so we sometimes struggle with the idea that He could “hate all evildoers.”  The problem is that we have a limited understanding of love, for it must have hatred.  If I love my wife, I must, by necessity, hate whatever does her harm.  As God loves His children, He must also hate those who hurt them.  Even so, His hatred is pure and based on His holy nature.

God won’t countenance deviations from His holiness—wickedness, evil, boastfulness, iniquity, falsehood, murder, deceit.  He won’t enjoy it for a moment nor give it temporary lodging.  A New Testament reflection of this is 1 Corinthians 6:9–10, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

You were born under these wretched categories, but hope remains.  The next verse in 1 Corinthians 6 says, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”  This is the good news of the gospel—we don’t have to remain in bondage to sin.  Christ can set us free, washing the filth of our prison form us by Word and Spirit, and justifying us before the Holy Judge of heaven and earth. 


Place your hope and faith in Him to sanctify you—to take you in your depraved state and make you holy. Place your hope and faith in Him to declare you righteous of your iniquities and transgressions.  Place your hope and faith in Him today so that you, unrepentant in your sins, don’t become an object of His wrath.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Praying During Sorrow | Psalm 5:1–3

          Give ear to my words, O LORD;
            consider my groaning.
          Give attention to the sound of my cry,
            my King and my God,
            for to you do I pray.
          O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
            in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.

The emotion of this psalm makes it a clear lament.  Throughout, we read David’s heartache, mainly brought on by the enemies of God.  All with heavy hearts would resonate with the pain here, and these three verses illustrate the godly man’s prayer times amid cries and groaning. 

First, seek the Lord.  David prays to the covenant-keeping LORD, knowing that “my King and my God” will keep the promises of the covenant.  As such, David sees no problem asking he asks the Lord to “give ear,” to “consider,” and to “give attention.”  As we reflect upon this in Christ, we can likewise confidently come before the Lord in our times of need (Hb 4:16; 10:19, 35) as the Holy Spirit considers our groaning and helps us in our weakness (Rm 8:26).  Since God commands us request of Him (Phil 4:6), we must seek Him in prayer during times of need.

Second, be faithful in prayer.  David develops the pattern of morning prayer.  We should not shy away from similar in prayer.  It’s not legalistic or ungodly to have a set time of prayer in itself—it ensures that we have planned for the time, avoiding normal interruptions. Like setting a table, or like the priest might arrange the sacrifice, we should order ourselves in prayer.


Third, be confident in the Lord’s control.  What a difficulty waiting is during trials!  Yet, we must remember Who God is and His sovereignty over our troubles—He’s in control.  There’s even a hint here of eagerness; David prays believing that the Lord will work in some way.  Micah 7:7 says, “But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.”  James 5:16 says, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”  Whatever the outcome, He works it out for His good purposes (Rm 8:28).

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Another Email Correction

I noticed that the email service was 1) still called "Pisteuo" and 2) delivering late at night rather than the morning.  Part of that is that it was still set to Pacific Time (a. k. a., the left coast).  It should be fixed, but let me know if you have any issues.