Psalm 5:7-12 David’s Guidance

But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.
Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face.
For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.
Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against thee.
But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.
For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield. – Psalm 5:7-12 KJV

Let’s look now at how David seeks guidance through prayer.  Remember, he is waking up each morning and spending intentional, undivided time meditating on God.  David begins by speaking of God’s house.  If we look back in 1 Chronicles 29:3, we find what a love for God’s house looks like: “Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house.”  David carries a holy fear of God.  He knows that he will enter into God’s house,  where he has been storing his treasures, but he also knows that it is a merciful entry.  Though we may not feel it as David did (I would rather imagine that there was dancing at the doorway when David walked into the house!), he keeps in perspective that all that has happened to him and everything God is doing through him does not come by his own doing, and entry into God’s house is also not his doing, but is from the mercy of God.  ‘Thy fear’ is the fear that we have for God- respect and reverence that stems from knowing how awesome is God’s power.  David will always direct his worship toward the heavenly realms, and separate himself from the wicked.

Then he prays for guidance.  He prays like a father who has experienced some rough spots; a husband who wants to protect his family; a king who seeks to do what is right before the eyes of the Lord; a man who just wants to draw nearer to God.  I actually spent some time this weekend studying ‘Righteousness’.  The verses that I read, which had examples of people who lived out righteousness, shared some characteristics: a perfect heart- free of idol worship; doing what is good, right, and truthful before God and a hatred of sin so deep it causes one to run from it; and keeping the commandments and laws of God.  David isn’t asking for an easy change, but he wants to be lead in these ways because the wickedness around him is so bad that he wants to be completely opposite.  The more he reflects on the goodness and positive qualities of God, the more he despises the wicked and sinful ways of man.  David doesn’t have a God complex- his fear of the Lord keeps his request for righteous living holy.  He wants to be on the path that leads him to a righteous life.

And we hear David talk more of how he is tormented by the wicked.  I am glad he includes these contrasts- sometimes what God wants to teach us isn’t found in what we want to be, but in what we should NOT want to be. The wicked have no faith.  Their wickedness comes from within them- it is not limited to an accidental slip of the tongue or an occasional temper.  They chose evil.  They are rotten to the core.  David compares their speaking to an open grave.  They hold back nothing, everything that they think, or believe, or hear, or see, they share it all with everyone.  And they flatter- but not in a good way!  This is not edifying flattery of some sort.  This word comes from the Hebrew word “chalaq” (strong’s dictionary on BLB reference is H2505) which is to divide.  The wicked use their words to bring about division among people.  So David asks for some ‘divine intervention’.  He prays for the fall of the wicked.  Because they have not only tormented David, but also rebel against God, and David wants no more to do with them.

His psalm ends on a positive outlook.  He wishes for all who trust in God to rejoice!  Not quietly on the inside, but outwardly with shouting!  Because God is our defense!  (Do you know how grand that one statement is?  How aware are we of all that God protects us from?) Look at these three different uses of a happy spirit: Rejoice- be glad!; Shout for Joy- give a ringing cry; Be Joyful- to exult.  Though these words have similar roots in English, they are very different words in Hebrew.  Nonetheless, I think we can still gather that David believes strongly in a spirit that is full of positive aspects!  Not wishing to leave his song on a sad note, he writes about a glad, happy, joy filled way of living three times in one verse!  Love God and have spiritual joy!  In what I have been studying about an upright and righteous spirit, I would have to say that this is key to maintaining the qualities of such a life.  David states that the Lord with bless the righteous.  He doesn’t hesitate, or stutter, and he doesn’t leave it open-ended.  And the righteous will be protected in God’s Divine Favor.

My Thompson Chain Bible has marked the last verse as one containing a ‘Promise to Saints’, which may be worth a post and study after the next five chapters.

Be blessed, brothers and sisters.

Bonus: Samuel’s Calling

I’ve decided to talk about the calling of Samuel for the bonus post.

And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision.
And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see;
And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep;
That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.
And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down.
And the LORD called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again.
Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him.
And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child.
Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.
And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle.
-1 Samuel 3: 1-11 (KJV)

Samuel was promised to God by his mother Hannah, who longed for a son and so promised to give him up to God should He give her one.  Samuel grew up in the temple under Eli.  Studying and growing in the Lord.  And we have some insight into how he was called.  I wonder what Samuel thought when he heard God’s voice but mistook it as Eli’s?  Do you think he thought Eli was playing games with him.  Samuel lived with Eli at the temple, so I am surprised he wasn’t able to tell the voice he heard didn’t belong to Eli.  Perhaps Eli and the Lord sound similar, or maybe Samuel was so tired he wasn’t hearing right.  The chapter does begin by telling us that the word of the Lord was scarce in these times, so we know Samuel had never heard the voice of the Lord because it was even absent from Eli.  Yet, each time the Lord called, Samuel lept up, ready to serve Eli who he thought was calling him.

When Eli finally put it together and gave Samuel the proper response, the Lord came to Samuel again, the same way He had before.  God didn’t change anything about His methods of calling, Samuel was just ready to listen this time.  God was still ready to speak, His purpose didn’t change.  Samuel didn’t even know God was calling him, but when he stopped going to Eli, thinking he had called him, and responded instead to God who had called him, it was a very important lesson and message.  We could compare Samuel’s thinking that Eli calling him to those things we take from the world as something God has called us to that He really hasn’t.  In other words, Samuel was listening to the things the world was telling him at first.  Perhaps Samuel was really following Eli up until this point, since God was not speaking during this time.  Eli may have just been keeping up the temple as a duty and not as a servant of the Lord, still teaching, but disconnected from God.  When Samuel stopped answering the world and answered the Lord, ready to listen, God was planning great things for Samuel. (Later verses tell us how quickly Samuel grew in the Lord.)

I think Samuel is a good example of how tough it can be to discern the voice of God against the world, and a great example of what is to come when we listen to God.  I wonder if Samuel felt any embarrassment later for thinking Eli was calling him, and making that mistake 3 times, and for mistaking God’s voice for Eli’s!  He sure did feel dread over waking the next morning and sharing the news he’d received with Eli.  I doubt he was able to sleep!  What a beginning for a prophet called by God!  Look as how awesome our Lord is at using our human nature to bring us near to Him.  Eli probably struggled too, having his student come to him 3 times, and realizing the student was hearing from God and not the teacher…I’m sure he had to humble himself a bit that third time to instruct Samuel in what to say.

Have you had moments where the world has made something look so appealing that you took part in it, maybe it wasn’t even a bad thing, but later discovered God wanted something else for you?  Or better yet, is the world holding you back from something God wants you to do?  Let’s look at a story from Acts 3.  Peter and John are walking to church.  Two brothers, following the Lord, off to the temple in the morning to spend time in fellowship.  They are on their way to the gates called Beautiful.  And sitting outside of these gates is a beggar.  This beggar is special, though.  He is crippled in his legs, and his friends carried him up to these gates because this was the best place for him to be.  Such good friends!  The beggar sees John and Peter walking and thinks they look like people who will help him-give him some change- so he looks to them for help.  And Peter looks back at the beggar.  How many people do you think walked past this man on their way to the temple?  Finding him an inconvenience on their way to praise God.  But Peter sees this man as an opportunity.  Peter tells him he has no money, but he can offer something more.  The beggar was expecting something much less that what God wanted to give him.  The beggar wanted some spare change, but what he got was the ability to walk again!  Samuel wasn’t expecting to be called to be a prophet, but what he got when he gave God his attention was so much more then what he expected!

Be blessed, my loves, and listen to the Lord.

Psalm 5:1-6

Psalm 5:1-6

“Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation.  Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.  My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.  For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.  The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.  Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.”
– Psalm 5:1-6 KJV

I love that David doesn’t hold back in his psalms, don’t you?  His verses are raw from the heart of a fellow human facing trials and trying to thrive under God’s provision just like us.  He shares his inner turmoil, releasing it through his songs; an excellent example to someone like me who needs to learn to praise more through any situation!  [I should warn that these first six verses speak of how the wicked are, it won’t be till the last six verses that we hear how David responds.]

His songs don’t start like a prayer, but they reflect a prayer.  He asks God to listen, which is also what we seek in prayer.  But let’s look further how his song unfolds.  How often do you find yourself telling God to ‘Give ear to my words’?  Does that sound like such a bold thing to ask?  Maybe in modern terms, David is saying ‘Listen to me!’  Then it does sound bold!  He is hearkening to God, not in a way that is demanding though, as we may perceive it.  We can imaging he has humbled himself in his distress, in the sorrows he has from the wicked of the world, he is coming to God in a position of begging.  And he continues his song with ‘consider my meditation.’  The word ‘consider’ is certainly not a demand, but an invitation.  He is preparing to talk to God so he invites Him in.  He wants God to hear the things that are going on, his deepest desire is to share with his God exactly how these wicked people are hurting him.  God already knows, yes, because He sees everything and He is omnipotent.  But there is no one else that David wants to talk to at this time other then God.  Yĕhovah.  The Existing One.  The only one who can guide David in what he is experiencing.

His second verse is similar, but he ends it with such a basic statement- ‘for unto thee I will pray.’  David prayed to God.  Here’s what it doesn’t say though, because we need to remember this deep connection between David and God- it doesn’t say ‘for unto thee I will deliver my checklist of what I need today’ or ‘for unto thee will I list off all anyone has done wrong against me’ or even ‘for unto thee will I list off all my complaints’.  David is going to enter into a deep time of being focused on God and experiencing His presence.  Maybe this sounds strange to some of us- sitting quietly, just focused on God.  Not reading a book, drawing a picture, or playing a game.  David spends his free time with God alone.  In this day, it seems like a really tall order!  Some would just like to have quiet time to focus on reading 5 verses and do a devotional for 5 minutes!  But David says, ‘God, you will hear my voice in the morning!  As soon as I awake, I will begin talking to You, making time for You, praising Your name!’  He wanted this to set the entire tone for his day.

His desire to spend time with God like this reminds me of a music piece that I feel should be listened to more- the title is 4’33” [click the title to watch the video].  Imagine with me that you have purchased tickets to watch this famous composer perform his newest piece and the hall is entirely filled for the concert!  You arrive, sit down, people are talking, then the lights dim and someone comes to introduce this man- John Cage.  Anticipation builds and he comes to the stage, people clap!  He sits down, gets ready, and then….silence.  You wait, thinking maybe this is how concerts begin or it is some strange ritual of his…but at least a minute passes and still no sound.  Needless to say, people were really upset with this man.  They paid to be locked into a concert hall where they expected to hear music, but what did they really get?  In that silence, all those people were forced to confront themselves.  They had to spend time in their own heads, and they were outraged!  But Cage took the silence seriously, and so did David.

David begins his meditation by considering how righteous God is and how wicked the wicked are, because they are not pleasing to Him.  I think this also speaks to how David revered and feared him, because he takes time to study what God doesn’t like and compares it to God’s character-not himself!  Because his desire is to be more like his Creator.  God is not evil and He does not like evil.  David goes as far as to list off some evil- ‘the foolish’ who are unwise, and make bad decisions with what they have; ‘workers of iniquity’ who seek to bring evil wherever they go; and ‘those that speak leasing’ who are the ones that weave a web of lies all their life.  These are the ones the Lord despises.

It’s clear as David drew closer to God, he made many contrasts between the Holy characteristics of the God he loved and the wicked ways of the people who persecuted him.  I’m so glad David shares his process!  So be challenged this week- sit in silence and just draw near to God, reflect on Him.  I once asked my art class to spend the first minute of class just in silence to see how long they could go- keep in mind I work with K-5th graders!  We made it 43″ before one of the younger ones spoke up and said, ‘This is stupid.  When are we going to draw?’  They almost made it, but it really is a challenge!  And if a bunch of little kids can make it almost a minute, surely you can find 5 to just meditate on God.  Unguided, just purely you and God.

Be blessed my friends!  Hopefully I will get a bonus post out tomorrow!

Psalm 4-Show us Good

Psalm 4-Show us Good

I am excited for this post on so few verses, and I hope that my post is just as long as previous ones as we dig deep into the word of God!

“There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.
Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.
I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.”   -Psalm 4: 6-8 (KJV)

I just left a wonderful Christian clothing store where I had been talking to the shopkeeper about my upcoming trip and about life in general.  It has not been an easy week, and so we shared our woes- both in ways related, but also very personal.  I have had a tough week with some of my students coming to me talking about being bullied to the point of having nightmares and not wanting to come to school or even wishing to harm themselves in their struggle. I work with K-5th grade children, and these weeks break my heart.  One kid was doing all the right things that only a 1st grader can do with her bullies, and she was feeling so crushed…I have had this child in class fewer than 20 times, and she decided to come to me over her homeroom teacher.  There is little I can do since I am not employed by the school and don’t know who are her bullies.  I remember sitting on the floor with her on Monday while watching over the rest of my class, listening to her heart break- not just over her situation, but because deep down she knew those bullies have problems too.  And I thought to myself “where is the good?  What can I say to this little girl that will help her talk to her teacher openly about this so these bullies can be redirected? What good can come of this- how can I help her?”  I encouraged her as best I could in that moment, but I sought wisdom from other teachers shortly after…Then came Friday.  I have a bit of a ‘troublemaker’ at my Friday school, it is obvious he comes from a bit more of a broken family then the girl from Monday.  He came to class late but still wanted to draw the lesson- needless to say, he ended up being the last kid in class (I teach after school, so kids leave when their parents get them or go to another after school care program- he was in the program so I let him stay to finish), I sat with him while he finished coloring and we chatted.  The stories he told me of his day that had made him lash out angrily at himself, which only resulted in being sent to the principals office and the later lectured by his teacher over what caused his anger…his stories made me realize how much children need people in their lives that believe in them.  That see their potential beyond what their home circumstances may say about them, or what other children say about them, or what maybe even they think about themselves.  I sat there mostly shocked that a 9 year old boy could be so passionate about something it would cause him to bang his head against his desk.  Again, I offered what advice I could, as the first words from his mouth after his story were “I don’t want to go to anger management classes”, I recommended some alternatives. But again “what good can come for this child in this place? Where no one is giving him alternatives, but just beating him down- who can see his potential?”
Then I met this lady today- one of those angels of perspective!  She told me how happy she was to have a church that her kids enjoy attending, especially when there is so much bad stuff out there-  And I got the perspective of a parent.  Because raising kids isn’t an easy task to begin with, and most parents now seem to have the attitude of “however they turn out, that’s on them, they are their own person”.  But they are so wrong.  This mother’s cry is so similar to David’s in this Psalm- He knows what people are saying about him, the lies going around, all the corruption, and in seeking out shelter in the Lord he questions if there is any good in the world.  This mother has thankfully found some shelter from the world for her children as she finds it difficult to protect them from the negativity this world offers that makes living as Christ has called us to such a persecuted way of life.  She tells me how quickly they have grown in her eyes; all teenagers now, one is married and exploring the world, yet it seems like yesterday she was able to hold them in her arms to keep them safe!  She feels the ‘light of thy countenance’ in the church for her children.  David was seeking that too!  So are those children with bullies!

David calls out for God to look upon him and bless him- a piece he took from Aaron’s promise in Numbers 6:24-26.  David didn’t care what others thought of him, he just wanted God’s blessing!  This was the advice I straight-forwardly gave my student on Friday- because others may throw you under the bus and say untrue things about your character, but what matters is that you know what makes you you.  David is defined by God’s many blessings and promises to him, and that is represented in his character.  And I so desire that for all the children I teach too!  And that mother desires it for her kids also!

So David continues recalling how God has looked on him before and all the gladness it brought him.  Though he was discouraged and distraught over his situation (like my kiddo on Monday), he could remember those times when things were great and praise God anyway.  He picked gladness to keep in his heart though.  I know often times we don’t think of it like this, but it is a choice to be happy.  Lack of food, sleep, and other things may get in the way of us feeling like we have that control, but we totally do.  I’ve heard it put this way before- you can wake up and say ‘Good morning, Jesus!’ or ‘Jesus, it’s morning.’  Are you taking that hardship you’re going through as a blessing or a burden?  God saw potential in Peter, who was out fishing and had caught nothing- most would consider him a failure in his profession, and do you think he felt burdened not being able catch fish (his livelihood) while Jesus was on his boat? I bet he did.  And then what happened?  Jesus said to try fishing on the other side of the boat- he took the burden and made it a blessing, and Peter caught so many fish his boat began to sink!  That gladness that pours over!  David chose to keep that in his heart!

And he knows that the gladness he has is more than what his accusers feel during high times of harvest- more then what money can bring, or good food, or good drink!  He knows that what he has is better!  Because it is easy to be happy, and joyful, and cheery when everything is going well, but David can be glad even in his distress!  He can be happy when things are great, and even happier when things aren’t going great!  And, what’s more, he says he won’t lose a bit of sleep from his woes!  He says “the enemy can try to tell me all these lies and make me feel unsafe- but my comfort comes from above!  I can sleep despite these circumstances!”  He has a joy that the world can’t take away!  I have definitely been in such a place of being tormented by the enemy that I could not sleep.  Instead, when I would lie down, my thoughts went to all sorts of discouraging places. Like my student from Monday who told me she was afraid to sleep because of the nightmares she had from her bullies.  It is tough to escape, and sleep even seems like a place to escape to for most, but not when the enemy closes your eyes to hope.  And David knows he could be that person, OR he could be glad despite everything.

The last bit of verse 8 could be taken a few ways, but let’s focus on two: God is the only secure shelter AND in our solitude with God we find shelter.  The translation of it makes it tough to decipher which David was really talking about, but both are accurate.  We should not seek shelter or comfort from worldly places.  This means we should be weary of what we go to in our life when things get tough- for some it’s food, maybe it’s people for others, it can even be exercise or a hobby- and when we make those into a type of idol in our life (since we are not going to God, I call them idols) we make the things that God intended for good into something evil the enemy can use.  God should be the FIRST and the LAST!  When trouble comes, pray to God!  And the other way we can take this is that we should seek God when alone.  In fact, ‘only’ translates from the word ‘badad’ in Hebrew, which means ‘isolation, withdrawl, separation’.  David pulls himself out of everything, away from people, away from worldly comforts, and draws near to God.  He dwells there, in the place where he is with God alone.  And there is where he finds safety.  There he finds his peace and rest and where he gathers himself with all the thoughts the enemy has put in his head, and he sorts it all out with God alone to refocus himself on the One who fills his heart with gladness.

Days will come, if they haven’t already, when something happens and you will have to make the decision- Do I dwell in gladness that comes from the Lord or do I believe what the world is telling me?  Do I find the good in this moment or do I continue to let this be a burden?

Be blessed my friends!

Psalm 4- Pray Passionately

It is going to be strange to split up this short chapter, but I am looking forward to making a long post about just 3 verses next time.  And hopefully this is a great post about passion.  David is a great example of not just having passion, but using it fully.  Let’s see how he does it!

“Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me and hear my prayer. O ye sons of me, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah. But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him.  Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.” -Psalm 4: 1-5

David asks for an audience with God to open this song.  You can hear the passion- he’s not just casting words to ring in the air like an empty prayer, he needs God’s attention!  Do you ever have those days when you feel like your prayers fall flat?  I think a lot of us have felt this at some point.  Especially after hearing a prayer given passionately by another, or at the beginning of one’s walk maybe.  The strange thing is that our culture tends to shun passion.  Of course, everyone has a different idea of passion.  Maybe you think of a specific group of people whose passion has resulted in others misery. Or crazy enthusiastic athletes.  We don’t often associate passion with religion any more, and if we do, it may not be the most positive thing we hear.  Why are we afraid to live passionately for Christ?  To pray with passion to God? To passionately share our faith?  In Francis Chan’s book “Crazy Love” he calls this ‘lukewarm Christianity’.  That place where everyone gets along, no one is challenged around you to consider faith or their way of living, you may not be living a ‘bad’ life, but you aren’t living passionately in your faith.  But in just David’s first few words- “Hear me when I call!”- we can feel that passion flow!

David knew his passion too, which greatly helped.  He was passionate about leading, and he knew God wanted him to lead because he was made king!  But David wasn’t just made to lead, he was made to passionately lead people to God.  And he knew his passion well.  He spent time learning how to be a better leader, he was not discouraged by his son trying to overthrow him and being forced from his kingdom- in fact, maybe he was only made more certain that he was in the right place by the amount of resistance he faced, but nobody said following God was easy, and David knew that!  He knew his God, he knew his passion, and he knew what he needed to do.

He turns to the God of his righteousness- the One who has made David righteous by His guidance, laws, and provision.  The One who put him in the position he is in. David, again, practices recognizing who has helped him in the past, recalling how God has never let him down before or let him stay low.  David uses the word ‘distress’ which is a relation on an emotional level for extreme sorrow or pain.  It is heartbreak.  It stems from a desire for some kind of healing.  That’s how passionate he is about seeking his help from God.  He bears his emotional state to God- Elohim, the One who created him, the True God- because he knows God understands. God will listen as He has in the past.

We would think David would be distressed because his son is after him or because he has been displaced, but it is actually because people are trying to destroy his good name, slandering him. (Though the other things may also be a factor.) Thus, in the second verse, he changes his desire for audience to men, because God is backing him.  And he confronts them straight away- “how long will ye turn my glory into shame?”  How long?- David keeps asking, as though he is pleading with children.  How long will they try to turn the good he is doing into something bad?  We can think to Job where we get the saying ‘Shall we accept good from God?’  David is praying on behalf of these people who are breaking his heart by pursing such a vain thing as his destruction.

David knew that God had set him and others apart.  Such people are a joy to God!  They have a special purpose, they seek to live in that higher, more difficult calling of purity.  They live with passion for God.  Do you know someone like this?  I honestly haven’t met many people who live this lifestyle, but the few I have met have inspired me to pursue it more!  You know who they are in your life- the ones who walk upright, that are full of edifying comments to encourage and build up those around them, and eager to talk about their faith with a passion, but also often the ones you may hear ridiculed the most for their lifestyle.  They aren’t afraid of the enemies that come up against them, because even Jesus had enemies (though David didn’t have that knowledge, he still lived righteously!).

We already know that God hears David’s prayers.  He has confidence that every Christian should have about their prayers- God will hear our prayers.  But the Bible is clear that there are reasons our prayers may not be answered: if we don’t fast, don’t believe, aren’t abiding in Jesus, or haven’t repented, just to name a few reasons.  Knowing and studying these should help us to know what we do need to continually practice as upright Christians to have our passionate prayers answered!

For the last bit of these verses today, we witness David talk to himself, which is something popular in the psalms, and it has it’s own purpose too.  If we live our lives in righteousness under God’s guidance, then even talking to ourselves should be encouraging.  He gives himself great advice that is founded in truth for good Christian living.  He says ‘Stand in awe, and sin not.’  Our understanding of ‘awe’ should not confuse us here- Not the awe we feel of being before something incredible, but the awe of something troubling that angers us.  Note that he doesn’t say ‘do not be angry, and do not sin’ (ESV uses ‘angry’ instead of ‘awe’).  It is not unbiblical to be angry, but we should make sure our anger is righteous too, and totally under our control so we do not sin. And David has lots of reasons to be angry, but he has no reason to sin, so he reminds himself of this.  He also speaks of meditation- to be filled with God’s word (as opposed to the eastern practice of emptying yourself).  He also speaks of traditional religious practices coupled with trusting in God.  Not replacing our trust!  But drawing near to God, abiding in Him.  Taking time to be with the Creator, even in the middle of an attack. (Or maybe, ‘especially’ in the midst of attack!)  We do not practice that traditional way of offering sacrifices to God, but sacrifice is a practice we should still have in our personal lives.  Things like sacrificing technology for a while, or certain foods (like a Daniel diet), or anything that is a large part of our life where the removal of it calls us to rely heavily on God in-place of that thing.

I hope this has been encouraging to your soul!  I am coming up on the 5th Psalm post quickly, and hope to make a topical post after 5 Psalm posts- if you have a topic you’d like me to talk about, leave it in a comment!