Bought by the Blood

November 29, 2008

Psalms 42 and 43

Filed under: cross,Hope,Psalms,trials,Trusting God — cubsfan1980 @ 10:01 pm
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As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God? [2]
3 My tears have been my food
day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?” “Psalm 42:1-3

3 Send out your light and your truth;
let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill
and to your dwelling!
4 Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God my exceeding joy,
and I will praise you with the lyre,
O God, my God.

5 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God. “Psalm 43:3-5

I wrote a new poem today based on Psalm 42 and 43.  The psalmist at a point of despair and I tried to capture in this poem.  In the Psalm though the Psalmist is steadfast in clinging to his hope in God, so as I dealt with that, I tied it back into the basis of of hope which is the cross.

My heart yearns for you,
I need your grace to survive.
Without your spirit I’m at the brink of death.
My mouth is parched and my tounge sticks to the roof of my mouth,
Only your living waters can refresh me.
If I am not in your presence I will waste away,
Be not far from me my God.

When my enemies gather around
And my friends turn their back
My soul becomes cast down.
As my health fails
And I fear the loss of my job
Then turmoil grows within me.

Despite all of this,
Hope is not lost.
I come before the cross
And see where the Son of God died
To rescue me from my sins
And know I shall again praise Him.

At times when the darkness surrounds me
I cry out for your light and truth,
Assured that it will lead me to your dwelling place.
There is no place else I desire but your holy hill.
In your courts I bow down to worship you
For you are my exceeding joy and great reward.

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November 28, 2008

Psalm 40

Filed under: Character of God,cross,God's Faithfulness,Psalms,Will of God — cubsfan1980 @ 10:16 pm
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“I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.” Psalm 40:10

One of the things that I want to get back into is writing poetry.  I used to write poetry quite often based on things that God had taught me through His Word.  One of the neat things about glorifying God throug poetry is that it is a chance for me to proclaim God’s deliverance and steadfastness love.  It is a written way for me to proclaim His faithfulness shown to me at the cross.  Recently I wrote a new poem about Psalm 40.

Mt trust is in God
And I wait patiently for Him.
When I cry to His throne,
I am assured He will hear.

My steps are firm because of His grace.
When I couldn’t help myself
He rescued me and gave me a new song
With words to praise and extol His name.

I will tell of all He’s done
For His deeds of love and faithfulness
Are more plentiful than the stars in the sky,
None can compare to Him.

He is my help and deliverance.
At the cross I rejoice and find my gladness,
Continually “Great is the LORD” is on my lips
As your law dwells in my heart.

Even when His will is not mine,
Doing my Father’s will is my delight,
So that many will see and fear
And put their trust in the Lord.

November 14, 2008

Piper on parenting

There is a great story that John Piper tells about raising girls.  After raising four boys, the Pipers decided to adopt a little girl.  One of the things that was a bit of a learning curve for John was what it’s like to play with girls as opposed to boys.  Below is a humorous story that he told in a message of parenting and biblical masculinity.

Now I’ve got a 5 year old girl we adopted five years ago.  Talitha gets her playtime all to herself.  I did this four times with a guy.  I know guys.  Now I’m doing this with a girl and it doesn’t make any sense to me.  I’m turning this little dolls into bombers, I’m saying, “Let’s do this.  Let’s fly her over, she’ll drop the block on the top and boom!  blow it up!”

She says, “Let’s play people.”

I respond, “Well OK, what do you mean?”She goes over and gets her house and I look at her and say, “Well what are they going to do? What’s going to happen?”

She says, “Well, they’re going to have supper.”

“That’s all!?!?”

“Well, yeah.”

The whole playtime is just rearranging people.  I’m like, come on, we got have a bomber or a helicoptor or something.  Somethings gotta blow up!

The purpose of the story is two-fold.  One, the importance of building affection in the family and the fruit that it will bear down the line.  Secondly, is how if kids are shown that type of affection, than spanking can be a redemptive experience.  On the topic of affection and learning to play with his daughter Piper goes to say:

I’m learning.  I’m trying to figure this out because I’m going to be there for her…Will she want me around when she has to deal with guys and sexual things and guys are going to want her?  Will she come to me?  Will she listen?  My investment right now is the answer to that question.  Right now do I give myself to her?  Right now do I get my hands on her purely, purely, so that she knows what it’s like to be touched purely?  Hugged, kissed, held in my lap, feels a mans body and knows what it’s like.  You don’t have to sell yourself to a mans body, she knows what a pure thing is like.  You can wait for it.  Dads are so important in a kids life.  They grow up healthy because dad touched them in a right way.

Piper goes on to explain that spanking cannot be done out of anger, but as an act of love.  God disciplines His children because He loves them.  If we love our kids we will use discipline so that they don’t grow up to be disobedient and rebellious. Discipline and intimacy go hand in hand.  Children are taught to fear God, by how they fear their parents.  A healthy fear of God does not involve running from God, but running to God and having reverence and respect for Him.  Children should have that same attitude towards their parents as parents show kids the love of Christ.

November 9, 2008

Change We Can Believe In

Filed under: 2nd Chronicles,God's Sovereignty,Hope,Mark Dever — cubsfan1980 @ 2:43 am
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2794457235_d2edc269faOne of the things that Obama has promised is “change.” It sounded really appealing and inspiring when he said, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” As nice that sounds Obama has missed the mark because he makes change about us, the essence of true change is found in the hope that God has given us through His sovereignty over His creation. Mark Dever says the following about 2nd Chronicles:  “It teaches that our situations can change, because we can change.  and we can change because there is a God who who speaks and gives life!  That is why we can hope.” There is a God who is the fortress and rock in these changing times and being united to Him through Christ is the essence of hope!

November 5, 2008

Highlights from the blogosphere on the election

Randy Alcorn at Eternal Perspectives

I pray that in those areas where President Obama does advocate what is right, God will richly bless him. I pray God will give him wisdom and strength in negotiating with international heads of state. I pray God will change his mind in areas where he’s wrong, and restrain him from keeping his promises to Planned Parenthood concerning the Freedom of Choice Act, which would dramatically set back the legal cause of unborn children. I pray that, by some heart-changing miracle or providential human miscalculation, the next Supreme Court justice would be someone who would vote for the right to life of our smallest children, God’s smallest children.

Here are three thoughts I’d like to share in the wake of this election (and eager to get back to normal life and normal blogging):

1. Don’t Stop Voting.

Voting isn’t something you do every year or two. We cast multiple votes each day. We cast votes for heaven or hell, for grace or truth. For self-control or self-indulgence. For the Spirit or the Flesh. For abiding in Christ, or independence from Christ. For wisdom or foolishness, and for blessing or curse.

Every decision we make, every action we take—and the heart attitude with which we conduct our lives—casts a vote for one kingdom or another. Every vote counts. God tallies them. Eternity will be affected by them.

You can still talk to parents and kids in your neighborhood about the value of unborn children, and offer support and help as needed. You can go to city streets and homeless shelters and offer your service. Your ballot may not have made a difference, but your vote to love your neighbor will. God won’t overlook it, as He won’t overlook a single cup of water given to little ones in His name.

Our next chance to vote is right here and right now, whether we spend time with God, pray for His help, read His Word, serve our family, help the poor, give to help the dying and needy in the Sudan, entertain this thought, speak these words, watch this television program, or click on this Internet site. (You already vote often; so vote wisely.)

The key to change and influence in this world is not, and never has been, politics. It is faithfulness to Jesus. In the end, which will never end, acts of faithfulness—many of them quiet, some seen only by God—are the votes that will count, bringing the eternal results that will matter. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).

2. Look to God’s Word for Direction for the Future
Circumstances change: Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth. (Proverbs 27:1)

Our Savior does not change:
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

Only by trusting in Christ and His promise of the world to come can we find peace:
Trust God; don’t worry; be at peace. Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am…Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:1-3, 27)

No matter what direction our earthly country may be going, it is our never-ending heavenly country that we should represent:
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:13-16)

America may or may not unravel in coming decades, but God’s kingdom certainly won’t. People of the world don’t need America; they need Jesus. While living in the wreckage of this sin-stained earth, let’s realize the world’s main problem is that it’s inhabited by people like us, sinners in need of redemption. These thirsty people need us to reach out our hands and extend to them, as cold water, the love of Jesus.

As Romans 8 tells us, this world under the curse groans as in the pains of childbirth, awaiting our Redeemer and our resurrection, on the coattails of which it too will rise.


3. Don’t Give Up Intervening for God’s Unborn Children

This blog normally touches on abortion only from time to time, but because of what was at stake in this election, in the last few months I’ve dealt with it frequently. This will be the last blog for a while dealing with the unborn. Still, I ask you not to forget them.

This election, like all those before it, did not end this discussion, any more than American elections in the nineteenth century ended the discussion of whether Africans were fully human and deserving of civil rights. The real issue was hidden under the words, and it was far bigger than those who supported and opposed it.

The election is over. But the righteous cause of the unborn is not over. The indictment against people who shed innocent blood is not over. The command of God is not over: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8-9).

You and I can each defend ourselves in this national debate. The children can’t. We are the only voice they have.

Who is more poor and needy, more incapable of speaking up for themselves than these unborn children, created in the image of God? Who in our country has been stripped of legal protection and is being killed at the rate of over one million per year? There are many other issues, of course, but what issue is more important and horrific than the killing of children? And who will speak up for them if not us?

Candidates and elections and presidents will come and go, but this issue will not leave us as long as we live. And we will surely face it, when all is said and done, at the judgment seat of Christ. May we not wait until then to discover how serious it really is.

Justin Taylor at Between Two Worlds

It’s very easy to forget–especially for those of us who are on the younger side–that it was only a little over 40 years ago that there were Jim Crow laws in the US. Just a generation ago, many African Americans were segregated from whites in public schools, transportation, restrooms, and restaurants.

Tonight, the United States has elected a biracial man to serve as its leader.

It would be an understatement to call this a watershed cultural moment in our country’s history.

No matter who you voted for–or whether you voted at all–it’s important to remember that, as President, Barack Obama will have God-given authority to govern us, and that we should view him as a servant of God (Rom. 13:1, 4) to whom we should be subject (Rom. 13:1, 5; 1 Pet. 2:13-14).

Josh Harris at Joshharris.com

On Sunday I told my church that after the election half the country would be elated, confident that all would be right in the world because their candidate won; the other half dejected and sure that the world had ended because their candidate lost. But Christians should realize that both sides are wrong. If you voted for Obama, he isn’t worthy of your ultimate hope. And if you didn’t vote for him, don’t despair as though Jesus isn’t reigning over the world. Those who call Jesus their Lord can be filled with a quiet peace and confidence in all seasons. Our Savior is never in the White House. Our Savior is Jesus. We must turn to him with joy and faith. And as we do let’s pray for our new President Elect that God would give him wisdom and grace to lead our nation in the days to come.

John Piper at Desiring God

How does the Bible instruct us to pray for “all who are in high positions”? It says,

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1Timothy 2:1-4).

A few observations:

1. Giving thanks “for kings” is hard when they are evil.

And, as Calvin said on this passage, “All the magistrates of that time were sworn enemies of Christ.” This shows us that anarchy is a horrible alternative to almost any ruler.

We should give thanks for rulers because “non-rule” would unleash on us utterly unbridled evil with no recourse whatever.

Again Calvin: “Unless they restrained the boldness of wicked men, the whole world would be full of robberies and murders.” The better we understand the seething evil of the human heart that is ready to break out where there is no restraint, the more thankful we will be for government.

2. The effect we pray for is “that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly, and dignified in every way.”

Dignified means “serious and reverent,” not stuffy. I suspect what Paul means is not that we can’t live godly and serious lives during times of anarchy. We can. I suspect he means that peaceful and quiet lives, which are the opposite of anarchy, are often wasted in ungodly and frivolous actions.

So he is praying for a government that would give peace and quiet (not anarchy), and that Christians would not fritter away their peaceful lives with the world, but would be radically godly and serious about the lost condition of the world and how to change it.

3. Using our peace for radical godliness and serious action will lead to more effective evangelism and world missions.

This last observation is confirmed by the hoped-for outcome Paul mentions. Paul says that the reason God delights in such peaceful, Godward, serious action is that he “desires all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

More people will be saved if our government restrains the horrors of anarchy, and if Christians use this peace not to waste their lives on endless entertainment, but seriously give their lives to making God known.

And lastly, Mark Driscoll at The Resurregence

This election season which has dominated the cultural conversation for many months has been particularly insightful regarding the incessant gospel thirst that abides deep in the heart of the men and women who bear God’s image. Without endorsing or maligning either political party or their respective presidential candidates, I am hopeful that a few insights from the recent election season are of help, particularly to younger evangelicals.

First, people are longing for a savior who will atone for their sins. In this election, people thirst for a savior who will atone for their economic sins of buying things they did not need with money they did not have. The result is a mountain of credit debt they cannot pay and a desperate yearning that somehow a new president will save them from economic hell.

Second, people are longing for a king who will keep them safe from terror in his kingdom. In the Old Testament the concept of a peaceable kingdom is marked by the word shalom. In shalom there is not only the absence of sin, war, strife, and suffering but also the presence of love, peace, harmony, and health. And, this thirst for shalom is so parched that every election people cannot help but naively believe that if their candidate simply wins shalom is sure to come despite sin and the curse.

The bottom line is obvious to those with gospel eyes. People are longing for Jesus, and tragically left voting for mere presidential candidates. For those whose candidate wins today there will be some months of groundless euphoric faith in that candidate and the atoning salvation that their kingdom will bring. But, in time, their supporters will see that no matter who wins the presidency, they are mere mortals prone to sin, folly, and self-interest just like all the other sons of Adam and daughters of Eve. To help extend naïve false hope as long as possible, a great enemy will be named and demonized as the one who is hindering all of the progress to atone for our sins and usher in our kingdom. If the Democrats win it will be the rich, and if the Republicans win it will be the terrorists. This diversionary trick is as old as Eve who blamed her sin on Satan rather than repenting. The lie is that it’s always someone else’s fault and we’re always the victim of sinners and never the sinner.

Speaking of repentance, sadly, no matter who wins there will be no call to personal repentance of our own personal sins which contributes to cultural suffering and decline such as our pride, gluttony, covetousness, greed, indebtedness, self-righteousness, perversion, and laziness. And, in four years we’ll do it all again and pretend that this time things will be different. Four years after that, we’ll do it yet again. And, we’ll continue driving around this cul de sac until Jesus returns, sets up his throne, and puts an end to folly once and for all.

In the meantime, I would encourage all preachers to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and repentance of personal sin. He alone can truly atone for our sins. He alone can deliver us from a real hell. He alone is our sinless and great King. And, he alone has a Shalom kingdom to offer.

Lastly, for those preachers who have gotten sidetracked for the cause of a false king and a false kingdom by making too much of the election and too little of Jesus, today is a good day to practice repentance in preparation to preach it on Sunday. Just give it some time. The thirst will remain that only Jesus can quench. So, we’ve still got work to do….until we see King Jesus and voting is done once and for all.

Al Mohler at albertmohler.com

Regardless of politics, could anyone remain unmoved by the sight of Jesse Jackson crying alone amidst the crowd in Chicago?  This dimension of Election Day transcends politics and touches the heart of the American people.

Yet, the issues and the politics remain.  Given the scale of the Democratic victory, the political landscape will be completely reshaped.  The fight for the dignity and sanctity of unborn human beings has been set back by a great loss, and by the election of a President who has announced his intention to sign the Freedom of Choice Act into law.  The struggle to protect marriage against its destruction by redefinition is now complicated by the election of a President who has declared his aim to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.  On issue after issue, we face a longer, harder, and more protracted struggle than ever before.

Still, we must press on as advocates for the unborn, for the elderly, for the infirm, and for the vulnerable.  We must redouble our efforts to defend marriage and the integrity of the family.  We must be vigilant to protect religious liberty and the freedom of the pulpit.  We face awesome battles ahead.

At the same time, we must be honest and recognize that the political maps are being redrawn before our eyes.  Will the Republican Party decide that conservative Christians are just too troublesome for the party and see the pro-life movement as a liability?  There is the real danger that the Republicans, stung by this defeat, will adopt a libertarian approach to divisive moral issues and show conservative Christians the door.

Others will declare these struggles over, arguing that the election of Sen. Obama means that Americans in general — and many younger Evangelicals in particular — are ready to “move on” to other issues.  This is no time for surrender or the abandonment of our core principles.  We face a much harder struggle ahead, but we have no right to abandon the struggle.

We should look for opportunities to work with the new President and his administration where we can.  We must hope that he will lead and govern as the bridge-builder he claimed to be in his campaign.  We must confront and oppose the Obama administration where conscience demands, but work together where conscience allows.

Evangelical Christians face another challenge with the election of Sen. Obama, and a failure to rise to this challenge will bring disrepute upon the Gospel, as well as upon ourselves.  There must be absolutely no denial of the legitimacy of President-Elect Obama’s election and no failure to accord this new President the respect and honor due to anyone elected to that high office.  Failure in this responsibility is disobedience to a clear biblical command.

Beyond this, we must commit ourselves to pray for this new President, for his wife and family, for his administration, and for the nation.  We are commanded to pray for rulers, and this new President faces challenges that are not only daunting but potentially disastrous.  May God grant him wisdom.  He and his family will face new challenges and the pressures of this office.  May God protect them, give them joy in their family life, and hold them close together.

We must pray that God will protect this nation even as the new President settles into his role as Commander in Chief, and that God will grant peace as he leads the nation through times of trial and international conflict and tension.

We must pray that God would change President-Elect Obama’s mind and heart on issues of our crucial concern.  May God change his heart and open his eyes to see abortion as the murder of the innocent unborn, to see marriage as an institution to be defended, and to see a host of issues in a new light.  We must pray this from this day until the day he leaves office.  God is sovereign, after all.

Without doubt, we face hard days ahead.  Realistically, we must expect to be frustrated and disappointed.  We may find ourselves to be defeated and discouraged.  We must keep ever in mind that it is God who raises up nations and pulls them down, and who judges both nations and rulers.  We must not act or think as unbelievers, or as those who do not trust God.

America has chosen a President.  President-Elect Barack Obama is that choice, and he faces a breathtaking array of challenges and choices in days ahead.  This is the time for Christians to begin praying in earnest for our new President.  There is no time to lose.

November 4, 2008

prayer s for tomorrow

Filed under: John Piper,Prayer — cubsfan1980 @ 2:14 am
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This one is old school and is From the Book of Common Prayer of the American Anglican (Episcopalian) Church 1789, courtesy of my friend Dan Gelok

A Prayer for Congress

MOST gracious God, we humbly beseech thee, as for the people of these United States in general, so especially for their Senate and Representatives in Congress assembled; that thou wouldest be pleased to direct and prosper all their consultations, to the advancement of thy glory, the good of thy Church, the safety, honour, and welfare of thy people; that all things may be so ordered and settled by their endeavours, upon the best and surest foundations, that peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety, may be established among us for all generations. These and all other necessaries, for them, for us, and thy whole Church, we humbly beg in the Name and mediation of Jesus, Christ, our most blessed Lord and Saviour. Amen.

For a State Legislature

O GOD, the fountain of wisdom, whose statutes are good and gracious and whose law is truth; We beseech thee so to guide and bless the Legislature of this State, that it may ordain for our governance only such things as please thee, to the glory of thy Name and the welfare of the people; through Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Amen.

For Courts of Justice

ALMIGHTY God, who sittest in the throne judging right; We humbly beseech thee to bless the courts of justice and the magistrates in all this land; and give unto them the spirit of wisdom and understanding, that they may discern the truth, and impartially administer the law in the fear of thee alone; through him who shall come to be our Judge, thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

For Our Country

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favour and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This first one is from John Piper at http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/1475_A_Prayer_for_the_Election/

Father in heaven, as we approach this election on Tuesday, I pray

1) that your people will vote,

2) and that they will vote with a sense of thankfulness for a democratic system that at least partially holds in check the folly and evil in all our hearts so that power which corrupts so readily is not given to one group or person too easily;

3) that we would know and live the meaning of

  • being in the world, but not of it,
  • doing politics as though not doing them,
  • being on the earth, yet having our lives hidden with Christ in God,
  • rendering to Caesar the things that are Caesars, and to God the things that are God’s;

4) that we would discern what truths and values should advance by being made law and which should advance only by the leavening of honest influence;

5) that your people would see what love and justice and far-seeing wisdom demand in regard to the issues of education, business and industry, health care, marriage and family, abortion, welfare, energy, government and taxes, military, terrorism, international relations, and every challenge that we will face in the years to come;

6) and above all, that we will treasure Jesus Christ, and tell everyone of his sovereignty and supremacy over all nations, and that long after America is a footnote to the future world, he will reign with his people from every tribe and tongue and nation.

Keep us faithful to Christ’s all important Word, and may we turn to it every day for light in these dark times.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

November 3, 2008

Thoughts from John Piper on the election

Filed under: God's Sovereignty,Gospel,John Piper,Uncategorized — cubsfan1980 @ 2:33 am
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November 1, 2008

Psalm 18

I recently read this Psalm in my Bible reading plan and it totally rocked my world.  I have pasted the Psalm below with my own comments in block quotes.

The Lord Is My Rock and My Fortress

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, the servant of the Lord, who addressed the words of this song to the Lord on the day when the Lord rescued him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said:

18:1 I love you, O Lord, my strength.
2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.

It’s neat to think about these three verses in their context.  After David’s deliverance He is praising God and not himself and his ability to survive.  David starts this Psalm proclaiming his love for God.  It is never overrated to start a prayer by proclaiming our love for God.  It’s neat to see how David attributes all of his strength to the Lord and does not take any credit for himself.  God is not some abstract thought to David, but David finds in God his rock, stronghold and deliverer.  This truly is a God worthy to be praised.  In times of trouble David looks to God as his refuge.  In times of trouble David doesn’t call upon his friends or any escapisms, but he calls upon God.

4 The cords of death encompassed me;
the torrents of destruction assailed me; [1]
5 the cords of Sheol entangled me;
the snares of death confronted me.

6 In my distress I called upon the Lord;
to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.

I am so thankful that in the worst circumstances, I can call upon God and be confident that He hears me.  No matter how bleak things look, and they look pretty bleak for David, God can redeem any and all situations.  If hope was not lost when the Son of God was crucified and was buried in a tomb, then hope is eternal.

7 Then the earth reeled and rocked;
the foundations also of the mountains trembled
and quaked, because he was angry.
8 Smoke went up from his nostrils, [2]
and devouring fire from his mouth;
glowing coals flamed forth from him.
9 He bowed the heavens and came down;
thick darkness was under his feet.
10 He rode on a cherub and flew;
he came swiftly on the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him,
thick clouds dark with water.
12 Out of the brightness before him
hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds.

13 The Lord also thundered in the heavens,
and the Most High uttered his voice,
hailstones and coals of fire.
14 And he sent out his arrows and scattered them;
he flashed forth lightnings and routed them.
15 Then the channels of the sea were seen,
and the foundations of the world were laid bare
at your rebuke, O Lord,
at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.

Verses 7-15 remind me of the Mark Driscoll analogy about “Ultimate Fighter Jesus” and how many of us have misconceptions about Jesus.  Here is a quote from Driscoll at the 2006 Desiring God conference on this topic  “One of my favorite pictures of Jesus is not just in the Gospels, though I go there for my example, it is also going to revelation 19 for His authority and there we see Jesus Christ in all of His glory; where He has(and this will offend some of you) a tattoo down his leg that says, ‘King of Kings and Lord of Lords.’  And He is wearing what color?  White!  And what is He going to do?  Declare war on those who do not repent of sin and trust in Him.  That is a Jesus with authority, that is a Jesus who rules and reigns over all nations and creation.   That is the ultimate fighter Jesus, I love that one!  That is a guy I cannot beat up, so I can sing songs to Him without feeling moderately gay, I like that.    Anytime you show up for a fight and the other guy is wearing white, he’s pretty confident how that fight will go.”

16 He sent from on high, he took me;
he drew me out of many waters.
17 He rescued me from my strong enemy
and from those who hated me,
for they were too mighty for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a broad place;
he rescued me, because he delighted in me.

David had God as his support, so when surrounded by those who hated him and with calamity at every side he could be comforted by the fact that those that were against are no match for Him that was with David.  There is no water to deep for God to draw David out of.  The strength of his enemies paled in the comparison of the one that gives might and power to all living creatures.  God didn’t just remove David from a rock and a hard spot to place with more breathing room, but God put David in broad territories.  I love what Spurgeon says about verse 19, “Rest assured, if we go deep enough, sovereign grace is the truth which lies at bottom of every well of mercy.”

20 The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
and have not wickedly departed from my God.
22 For all his rules [3] were before me,
and his statutes I did not put away from me.
23 I was blameless before him,
and I kept myself from my guilt.
24 So the Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

My confidence in any righteousness is because of what Christ has done for me and His blood that covers me.  The only way for my hands to be clean in the sight of a holy God is for Him to see His Son when He looks upon me.  If I am to be blameless and keep myself from guilt, then this can only be done by the help of His Spirit that indwells me and empowers me to live for God’s glory and mortify my flesh.  By God’s grace, I need to be diligent to love His Word, only by doing that can I keep His way and always have his statutes before me.

25 With the merciful you show yourself merciful;
with the blameless man you show yourself blameless;
26 with the purified you show yourself pure;
and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous.
27 For you save a humble people,
but the haughty eyes you bring down.
28 For it is you who light my lamp;
the Lord my God lightens my darkness.
29 For by you I can run against a troop,
and by my God I can leap over a wall.
30 This God—his way is perfect; [4]
the word of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

What I sow, that I will reap.  Help me oh Lord to sow to mercy, purity and blamelessness.  If I sow to purity I will see you.  I want to see your perfection and fall deeper in love with you.  I want to reap a harvest of seeing your nature being proven true.  Let my heart not be haughty, but give me a spirit of dependence on you, knowing that I am nothing w/out you and your Word to guide me.  As I see myself as less and have an eager expectation of you increasing my life strengthen me to do the impossible for your name and your kingdom.

31 For who is God, but the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God?—
32 the God who equipped me with strength
and made my way blameless.
33 He made my feet like the feet of a deer
and set me secure on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for war,
so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You have given me the shield of your salvation,
and your right hand supported me,
and your gentleness made me great.
36 You gave a wide place for my steps under me,
and my feet did not slip.
37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them,
and did not turn back till they were consumed.
38 I thrust them through, so that they were not able to rise;
they fell under my feet.
39 For you equipped me with strength for the battle;
you made those who rise against me sink under me.
40 You made my enemies turn their backs to me, [5]
and those who hated me I destroyed.
41 They cried for help, but there was none to save;
they cried to the Lord, but he did not answer them.
42 I beat them fine as dust before the wind;
I cast them out like the mire of the streets.

Greatness is found in gentleness.  The victory is yours to give to me.  The strength that I will have to battle sin and the devices of satan in this world will be given to me from you.  Any blamelessness in me is formed by you working in me.  In you I stand firm and secure.

43 You delivered me from strife with the people;
you made me the head of the nations;
people whom I had not known served me.
44 As soon as they heard of me they obeyed me;
foreigners came cringing to me.
45 Foreigners lost heart
and came trembling out of their fortresses.

46 The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock,
and exalted be the God of my salvation—
47 the God who gave me vengeance
and subdued peoples under me,
48 who delivered me from my enemies;
yes, you exalted me above those who rose against me;
you rescued me from the man of violence.

49 For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations,
and sing to your name.
50 Great salvation he brings to his king,
and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
to David and his offspring forever.

Deliverance is found in you.  You have given me a great salvation, purchased by the blood of your Son at Calvary.  My desire is to bless you and exalt you all my days.  Your love is steadfast and never fails.  The song of my heart is to praise our name for all that you have done for me.

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