Psalm 81

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Psalm 81

You shall have no foreign god among you;
    you shall not worship any god other than me.
10 I am the Lord your God,
    who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.

11 “But my people would not listen to me;
    Israel would not submit to me.
12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts
    to follow their own devices.

13 “If my people would only listen to me,
    if Israel would only follow my ways,
14 how quickly I would subdue their enemies
    and turn my hand against their foes!

Idolatry (verse 9) is at the root of our problems. God didn't bring the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and leave them there in the wilderness. He led them to the Promised Land. Likewise, God didn't just save us and free us from slavery to sin and death. God offers us an abundant life filled with fulfillment and purpose! Salvation is just the beginning.

Like the Israelites though, we tend to say to God, "Thanks for saving me," and go back to looking for life and fulfillment elsewhere. God is good, but I also need the new iPhone to be happy. God satisfies me, but I also need my boyfriend. It’s fulfilling to know God approves of me, but I also crave ‘likes’ on my Facebook or Instagram post. It’s interesting the things we try and pursue in addition to God, even though I think we know deep down that those things are all ultimately dead-ends. The phone will be outdated soon, your boyfriend will hurt you, and there will always be someone who gets more ‘likes’ or more followers. Those things aren't bad, but when they become as important or more important to us than God, they have become idols and idols create major problems.

A. W. Tozer spoke about this in his book, The Pursuit of God:

The evil habit of seeking God-and effectively prevents us from finding God in full revelation. In the "and" lies our great woe. If we omit the "and" we shall soon find God, and in Him we shall find that for which we have all our lives been secretly longing.

Everything we have secretly longed for is found in God! And, God is crying out to us just as he cried out to the Israelites: Open wide your mouth and I will fill it!

God is longing to satisfy us, to reveal himself to us and defeat our enemies. He’s just waiting for us to omit the “and,” and choose to seek him alone.

Picture a water bottle filled with water and some big rocks.

You were made to carry God's presence, as the bottle was made to carry water. You can cry out to God, asking him to fill you and to reveal himself and to use you to carry his refreshing presence to those around you. But until you are emptied of the rocks, your "and" pursuits, your capacity is maxed. We are all desperate for the Holy Spirit to reveal the rocks in our lives, and to give us the strength to remove them so he can have all of us and we can experience his fullness.

I want to experience God in his fullness. Don't you?

God, reveal the rocks to us. Reveal the things we’re pursuing for pleasure and fulfillment in addition to you. And, show us what it looks like to lay them down and put you first. We want more of you. We want you to fill us completely. Amen.

Psalm 31

S: Psalm 31

O: With all the distress that comes David's way from his enemies, he is able to stay strong in his faith in God.

U: David has been through "peaks and valleys" in his life. The one constant is God. God is His hiding place. God is His rock and place of refuge. Why worry when you have God on your side?

L: Personally, I know the book of Psalms got me through some moments in my life where I felt scared, distressed and uncertain. David reminds me that my God whom I trust is my hiding place, my rock, my fortress and my place of refuge. No matter what life throws my way, I know God is there, that He is in control and I can't do it on my own! So take it from David...let go and give all your worries and fears to God and trust Him who is merciful, loving and gracious!

28 Days - Day 20

When we are repentant (broken and contrite) and we ask God for forgiveness we are assured that He will forgive us.  David is convinced of of God’s ability to forgive and of His willingness to forgive.  Look at  David’s response to his forgiveness.

Because he has been forgiven he wants to tell others that they too can be forgiven and they can turn back to God.  
Because he has been forgiven he will worship God by singing of his righteousness and declaring God’s praise.
Because he has been forgiven he can offer up sacrifices to God that are acceptable because they are coming from a clean and a pure heart.  The clean heart is necessary before the outward actions are acceptable.

For us who have been forgiven we need to respond in the same manner as David.  

Forgiven people should be so joyful that they tell others about God’s forgiveness in order for them to experience the joy of salvation as well.
Forgiven people should worship with passion and abandon because of the great love of God towards us.  We are undeserving of His grace yet still He gives it to us.

Make it a priority to share God’s love with someone so that they too can experience the joy of His salvation.  

28 Days - Day 19

Confession and repentance.  Two things that are necessary for us as children of God.  Truth is that there are times when we go against the will of the Father - we sin.  We choose our way over His way.  When that happens the Holy Spirit convicts us of that sin and we must respond.  If we dont respond then God ramps it up and sends someone to confront us.  Hopefully by then we will listen.  But when we listen what should be our response?

I believe that David realized his error the moment he made it, but he kept hiding it.  That is exactly what satan wants us to do - hide our sin, because as long as we hide our sins he has control over us.  After Nathan confronted him David could have denied the sin, but thankfully he chose not to.  Instead he confesses his sin.  He confesses it to Nathan, acknowledges it before God and the rumors whispered around the palace became the truth.  It was out in the open.  Believe it or not the fact is that confession brings freedom.  David mentions it when he wrote Psalm 32...

  • Psalm 32:1-5 (NIV) 1  Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 2  Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. 3  When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4  For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Selah 5  Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD"-- and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah

 God knows our sin and shortcoming but He wants us to admit to them and bring what is hidden to light.  Confession is the first step of repentance.

Repentance entails confession and forsaking.  We admit our sins and then we turn around and go in the opposite direction so as not to do that again.

Take time to confess your sins to God and ask for forgiveness.  He will forgive you and the joy and freedom you will have is beyond measure.

28 Days - Day 11

Unity is a powerful thing.  When a team unites they are able to achieve more than they could ever achieve as the sum of their separate parts.  
In the church, unity is just as important.  The Bible mentions that unity is important to pleasing God.
David says...

  • Psalm 133:1 (ETRV) Oh, how wonderful, how pleasing it is when God's people all come together as one!

When God's people come together in unity they create a great force that can fulfill the Great Commission.  But being like-minded requires humility.  That is what Paul is saying in Philippians 2.  Look to be united in the things of God but in order for that to take place then you must put aside selfish ambition and vanity and clothe ourselves in humility.  We must humble ourselves, a character trait of Jesus who demonstrated what humility was.

When we see Christ for who He is one of the ways that we must change is from being self-centered to being others-centered, starting with putting His desires ahead of our own.  When God's people are transformed in this fashion the church will unite and nothing can stop us.

Let us humble ourselves before God, allow Him to build His nature into us and then live it out.

Psalm 145

Because of who God is we can trust Him and surrender our lives to Him.


It is a worthwhile exercise to do as David did and speak out loud (extol) the praises of God because not only is it pleasing to God, it also reminds us of the God who is our Father. Why not take a moment to speak out loud these attributes of God and allow the implications of them to sink in.

The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.
The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.
The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.
The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
The LORD opens his hand and satisfies the desires of every living thing.
The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made.
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
The LORD fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.
The LORD watches over all who love him

Day 12

When I kept silent,
    my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
For day and night
    your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was sapped
    as in the heat of summer. Selah
Then I acknowledged my sin to you
    and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
    my transgressions to the Lord”—
and you forgave
    the guilt of my sin.

A lot of times we think that we are okay if we did something bad and then as long as no one found out we are okay.  We even go as far as saying we are sorry, it will never happen again but I don't want anyone finding out.  But that is not okay.  David sinned and hid it, hoping no one would find out, but the problem (or good thing really) is that God knew.  David remained silent and God, through the Holy Spirit, began to press him.  When he was silent and did not confess his sin, David was weakened physically and his strength and vitality was drained.  

But then he chose to come clean and confess and discovered that God deals graciously with sinners.  He begins the Psalm by declaring how blessed he is to have gotten a fresh start, his sins forgiven by God.  Speaking from experience he tells us that we are blessed when we hold nothing back.

James tells us that beyond confessing to God we need to confess to trusted brothers and sisters in the family of God so that we can be healed spiritually and physically.

Are there areas of unconfessed sin, why not take care of it?


Psalm 139

You know when I leave and when I get back; 
      I'm never out of your sight. 
   You know everything I'm going to say 
      before I start the first sentence. 
   I look behind me and you're there, 
      then up ahead and you're there, too— 
      your reassuring presence, coming and going. 
   This is too much, too wonderful— 
      I can't take it all in! 

 7-12 Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit? 
      to be out of your sight? 
   If I climb to the sky, you're there! 
      If I go underground, you're there! 
   If I flew on morning's wings 
      to the far western horizon, 
   You'd find me in a minute— 
      you're already there waiting! 
   Then I said to myself, "Oh, he even sees me in the dark! 
      At night I'm immersed in the light!" 
   It's a fact: darkness isn't dark to you; 
      night and day, darkness and light, they're all the same to you. 

David is having a moment of revelation regarding the scope of God's reach.  God is everywhere, there is no place we can be that He is not there with us.  For the child of God that is so comforting.  David marveled at this in Psalm 23 as well, "even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death you are with me, your rod and staff they comfort me."  God speaking to Joshua told him, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

There is no situation, circumstance, place or time we can find ourselves in where God is not with us.  He is with us, He loves us and will keep us.  We must come to a place of believing that and living it out.  He is with us, there is no need to be afraid.

Psalm 119

What a great prayer to pray each day...

33-40 God, teach me lessons for living
      so I can stay the course.
   Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—
      my whole life one long, obedient response.
   Guide me down the road of your commandments;
      I love traveling this freeway!
   Give me a bent for your words of wisdom,
      and not for piling up loot.
   Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets,
      invigorate me on the pilgrim way.
   Affirm your promises to me—
      promises made to all who fear you.
   Deflect the harsh words of my critics—
      but what you say is always so good.
   See how hungry I am for your counsel;
      preserve my life through your righteous ways!

Psalm 119

28 My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. (NIV)

28 My sad life's dilapidated, a falling-down barn; build me up again by your Word. (The Message)

One of the best habits we can develop in our lives is the discipline of reading and studying God's Word.  And not just the quick reading just so that we can say that we read but the time spent meditating on it, studying it so that we read it in the right context, memorizing it so that it gets embedded in our minds and doing what the Word says.  What begins to happen is that this dilapidated falling down barn of our lives begins to be built up bit by bit.  

It is easy to neglect the reading and studying of God's Word but the result is a run down and dilapidated life.  Take time for this important discipline we must develop as Christ-followers.