Monthly Archives: August 2014

Singing with the King (13) – An Invitation

O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD, let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. (Psalm 95:1)

Jump for JoyWhen I read this Psalm, I get the impression that O come… is an invitation rather than a command. The same could be said about the beginning of the next phrase and verse 2. Now it could be a command I suppose, but that would lose the mood and attitude of the one doing the singing. I command you to sing for joy—doesn’t seem to work.

At the beginning of a page of sheet music, there is usually a Latin term to indicate the tempo and sometimes the mood. That would seem to be the purpose of verses 1 and 2—besides being the lyrics, they’re also providing the tempo and mood. Those who are doing the singing, are doing so willingly and joyfully.

Now, not all songs are joyful, because life is not always joyful:

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. Upon the willows in the midst of it we hung our harps. For there our captors demanded of us songs, and our tormentors mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion.” How can we sing the LORD’S song In a foreign land? (Psalm 137:1-4) (Remember to pray for Israel)

How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? (Psalm 13:1-2)

But this Psalm is not only a joyful song (mostly) it is an invitation to joy! Have you responded to God’s joyful invitation?

 

Singing with the King (12) – Your Journey

You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. (Psalm 139:2)

Walk with Jesus

Following vs.1, David lists three more aspects of his life—indeed, our lives—that God knows.

The path and ways of which David speaks, have more to do with our entire life, rather than something as simple as a direction. It’s as much about how we go, and why we go, as where we go; it’s all about the journey—the whole journey.

We are so goal oriented, but how often do we think about the One Who walks with us? Should not our greatest joy be that we are walking side by side, hand in hand, with the King of kings?

Here is another principle of Living Life in Context. As we go along our way, the MOST overwhelming reality is that we are walking along His Way, with Him. And as we are walking with Him, we then have His perspective on our life, and our journey.

Detour

When we look at our path, when we see the scenery, the environment, the backdrop, we see it through His eyes. Then when there is a divine detour, we make it, and we can accomplish what He has called us to do. If we do not have His perspective, we miss the opportunity to minister, to touch a life, and to make a difference; or we missed the opportunity to be touched or be changed ourselves. But we did not miss it, because we are walking with Him.

The problem is, it’s way too easy to be distracted and detoured, and because of our sinful nature, we choose to go our own way. But it is essential (and eternal) that we walk with Him; and as we are walking with Him, we then have His view on our life, and our journey.

Singing with the King (11) – Where Now is Their God?

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to Your name give glory because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth. Why should the nations say, “Where, now, is their God?” (Psalm 115:1-2)

angry mob

That’s an interesting question to follow a verse that talks about giving God glory.

When you read this question, you probably have an idea of how they asked it (sarcastic…duh yeah!) But the definitions of this word makes the mood clear: to boast, to act proudly. Remember, we’re not talking about nations that give God glory; they give themselves glory.

So, are the nations asking that question because they’ve seen us give God glory? Or are they asking because they haven’t seen us giving God glory, and since we are inactive, then God is inactive. Or maybe they’ve seen us God glorify God, but that doesn’t square with the circumstances.

Perhaps they’ve seen the walls torn down, and cities lying and ruin, and yet there is a people who continue to glorify God.

Perhaps they’ve seen someone dying of cancer, a family who has been split apart because of divorce, or a church fall apart because of what the pastor did, and still there are those worshiping in the ashes, glorifying God.

The nations see these kinds of situations, but they cannot reconcile the actions of those in the midst of these painful situations.

But that is what we are called to do: to give God glory in the midst of pain, trial, devastation; in the midst of whatever doesn’t make any sense to those who are watching. And because of the disconnect, they cry: Where, now, is their God?

Shouldn’t people who are giving God glory be in the midst of prosperity, or blessing, or good things? This would make sense to the nations; and to those who are watching. But giving God glory in hard times does not align with the world’s worldview; and it has nothing to do with their understanding (or lack thereof). We give God glory because we must. We give God the glory because our love for Him, compels us to do so.

 

Singing with the King (10) – An Uninvolved God?

Search me, O God, and know my heart - Psalm 139:23

Sit Alone2

There are those who believe God is unknowable–or at least uninvolved. Consider these lyrics by King David from Psalm 139.

You have searched me (vs.1) means to investigate, explore, and examine thoroughly

You hem me in—behind and before (vs.5) is a military term; means to confine, secure, bind, cramp, and besiege.

You have laid Your hand upon me ( vs.5) not only has to do with placing or setting one’s hand upon, but making, performing, appointing, and taking a stand.

Your hand will guide me (vs.10) means to lead, and bring.

Your right hand will hold me fast (vs.10) to seize, to be caught, to take possession.

For You created my inmost being (vs.13) besides create, the word is often used for acquiring, buying, possessing and even redemption.

You knit me together in my mother’s womb (vs. 13) to hedge about, to cover, to fence about, to protect.

All the days ordained for me (vs.16) a theological word; but for God it is a creation word. It has to do with forming, fashioning or framing; and implicit in its meaning and use is, God will form or fashion us the way He has ordained.

Search me (vs.23) Same as vs. 1

Test me (vs.23) a refining, mining word; like an assayer, the LORD tests our purity.

See if there is any offensive way within me (vs.24) inspecting, gazing, consider, and to look after.

Lead me in the way everlasting (vs.24) means to lead, guide, or bring.

Note all these are verbs, describing the LORD’s actions.

Consider some questions which should arise regarding the LORD’s actions:

Does He know you? Does He protect you? Does He hold you and guide you? Has he created you? Is there anything about you that He does not know? Do you belong to Him? If these are not rhetorical questions for you, please read Psalm 139. You will see it is impossible to regard the LORD as a distant, aloof, and uninvolved.

Singing with the King (9) – Where are You Looking?

I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? (Psalm 121:1)

Refuge4

I love rhetorical questions. There’s literally NO chance in getting them wrong (unless you weren’t listening…)

Lift is a wonderful word in the Hebrew. It’s pretty common, but has some great translations: to carry, support, sustain, to take away, swept away, forgive, and desire. Look at this verse through these other definitions:

O may I be swept away to the hills.

May I find support in the hills.

My desire is in the hills.

Perhaps the most significant translation of this word is in the following:

Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; (Exodus 34:6-7a)

The LORD is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; (Numbers 14:18)

Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:18-19)

When the Psalmist penned these words, he knew that there was forgiveness in these hills. But we see from the other meanings: deliverance was in these hills; shelter was in these hills; and the One Whom we love was in these hills. If you’re looking for help, you’ll find so much more.

So… where are you looking?

We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete. (Hebrews 12:2 CEV)