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Singing with the King (99) – One Stop Shop

You alone are God. (Psalm 86:10)

Last time we looked at this Psalm with a more or less theological approach. We considered this verse the way David was seeing it, the way he was seeing and knowing the LORD. But then we continued on with more verses from this Psalm to understand why David knew this to be.

Protect me, for I am devoted to you. Save me, for I serve you and trust you. You are my God. Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am calling on you constantly. Give me happiness, O Lord, for I give myself to you. O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.  But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. (vs. 2-5, 15)

Notice the couplets:

Protect me— I am devoted to you.

Save me— I serve and trust you.

Be merciful to me— for I am calling on you.

Give me happiness— I give myself to you.

Then David lists off a string of characteristics about his God, who alone is God: good, ready to forgive, full of unfailing love, compassionate, merciful, slow to get angry, filled with unfailing love, and faithfulness. Who wouldn’t want to come to a God like that?

I mention all this again because God being the “one and only” is more than just a theological truth, it’s a relational truth. What I mean by that? Not only is He God alone, He’s all you need. Consider these following verses:

In heaven I have only you, and on this earth you are all I want. (Ps 73:25)

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. (Ps 23:1)

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Ps 37:4)

The apostle Paul picks up on this theme in in his letter to the Philippians: And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (4:19)

So now we have in effect, a double-edged sword. The LORD, he is God alone. And he’s all that you need. God does not call you into an exclusive relationship, just to exclude you from all else. Your salvation need and you relational need are one.

Your salvation is both eternal (John 6:40), and to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25).

Your heart has more than you can ever ask or imagine:

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

The greatest need for your heart? The greatest need for your soul? Jesus Christ… Only.

Singing with the King (35) – All That I Want

Needs vs. Wants – Psalm 23:1

Girl in a field 4The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
I’ve pretty much been taught my entire life that God will supply all my needs, but NOT my wants. And there is a very famous passage which everybody quotes to prove that point: And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19) See? Needs.

But don’t forget the other phrase from that first line; and consider what the LORD, your shepherd has done for you:
He makes me lie down in green pastures
He leads me beside quiet waters
He restores my soul
He guides me in paths of righteousness
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me
You prepare a table before me
You anoint my head with oil
My cup overflows
Goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life
I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever

This is far from an exhaustive list, but note, He has even ushered you into eternity. Now if the LORD has done all those things for you, what else do you want? And speaking of want, the Hebrew word has several close relatives as translations. They are empty, some form of lack, and decreased. All those translations work in this verse. With the LORD as my Shepherd, I shall not be empty; I shall not lack; and I shall not decrease.

So many times we’ve had to compared the thought of God supplying our needs vs. God supplying our wants. But here it says wants, not needs. And that particular word is here, because it answers that very fundamental question: What do you want? And the answer is… the LORD. My favorite Psalm is Psalm 73, which sadly is not one of David’s, but it is still my favorite. And the one verse that ties directly into Psalm 23:1 is verse 25—Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. So you can see why David has no other wants— he has the Lord. Can you say the same? I hope so.

Singing with the King (32) – Confession & Forgiveness

When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. (Psalm 32:3-5)

Interrogation

 

If you’ve watched a lot of crime shows (like I have) the word confession is not very pleasant. In fact the goal of every detective in an interrogation is to get a confession out of the guilty party. Now obviously there is no need for the innocent to confess. But the problem is, is there anyone who is NOT guilty?

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?”  And hearing this, Jesus said to them, It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:16-17)

So, we’ve all sinned, and we’re all sick—and that is we need to confess if we want to be healed by Jesus.

There are four parts to a heartfelt and Biblical confession:

  1. Agree with God you’re a sinner
  2. Acknowledge that God KNOWS you’re a sinner
  3. Admit your guilt (and be specific)
  4. Repent (change your mind, then change your direction—turn away from your sins and return to God.)

I was surprised at the different translations of the word confess in Hebrew, but they are consistent with the joy one receives from confession, and glory given to God. Most often the word is translated as thanksgiving or praise.

So what happens when you confess?

Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!  Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! (Psalm 32:1-2)

But if we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing. (1 John 1:9)

Confession is not about the weight of penance or guilt. It’s about the joy of being forgiven by a loving God.

 

Singing with the King (30) – The Whole Earth

All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.                     (Psalm 98:3b)

Jesus WorldGod could have done a quiet work of salvation, He did after all, chose a small, even insignificant, people, in a remote part of the planet. They had many huge and notable empires nearby: Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, etc. But there was tiny Israel, always with another conqueror breezing through, and making them a (remote and inconsequential) part of an “intergalactic” empire. But one of the reasons God chose a small people was to ensure that they would never (try though they must) get the credit for their salvation. This salvation was very much a God-thing, and must not be confused for anything else. So when All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God, they were seeing the salvation of our God.

Now the question needs to be asked: Why? If this was an “Israel only” to-do, why should all the earth see it.

Well, Israel may have been God’s Chosen people, but all earth’s peoples were made by Him—all had His image stamped upon them.

There were those who were aliens who would recognize that the God of Israel was indeed the Lord of all. In the context of this Psalm, it was because they had seen the salvation of our God.

The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God. ( Lev 19:34)

So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 10:19)

God had spoken to Israel on many occasions, reminding them they too were aliens; Perhaps the greatest thing about the New Covenant—all of us aliens can now draw close to the Lord God through the shed blood of Jesus.

But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:13)

After all, We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)