God’s momentary anger and eternal favor

Psalms 30:5: “For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping Imagemay tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”

In David’s understanding of God, he pictured Him occasionally getting angry, but the overall view of the lifetime was His favor. In truth, God is the same yesterday, today and forever, so anger as we know it is not what David was seeing. His loving, correcting hand was seen instead.

David’s response to God’s correction was almost always immediate repentance, so to him, God’s favor seemed to return quickly, only after a moment. However, it would be unloving and out of favor for God to allow us to continue destructive behaviors and attitudes. So in the real sense, God’s correction is not His anger, but His love, greater than that of an earthy parent lovingly shaping the child with correction.

God’s judgment on sin is often described as wrath, but there too it would be unloving for evil not to be punished. However, for those who trust and believe in Jesus Christ, that wrath was poured on the Son of God, our substitute.

Therefore, God always reflects the description of love, and His favor is truly for more than a lifetime. It is for eternity for those who receive His gift of forgiveness.


False Accusations: Psalms 17

ImagePsalm 17 reflects those rare situations when we are falsely accused and we are totally blameless. It is when the accuser is completely guilty of wrong accusations. It sets forth our goal in response to totally false accusations in the model of Jesus Christ.

In prayer, the Psalmist asks that the vindication come only from God (2). He has thoroughly analyzed the situation and cannot find fault within himself in honest appraisal (3). He has resisted the temptation to strike back (4-5).

In the moments of feeling the hatred of the attack, he focuses on the love of God and asks God to protect him as His beloved (7-9).

Though these attacks quickly spread by gossip and offense-taking (10-11), there is usually one spearhead creating the problems (12). The Psalmist asks God to specifically deal with this one, and powerfully (13). He recognizes that God has granted to them the power and position to wield influence, and they have misused it (14).

In his final request, he looks forward to when this situation is resolved and he is vindicated (15).

Psalm 16: Draw nearer, cautiously

ImagePsalm 16 speaks to me specifically about the experience of drawing closer to God. I hope it speaks to you.

“Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.” God uses the trials of life to draw us into deeper fellowship with Him. This is necessary because of our tendency to run away from God.

Running to God creates in an awareness of our need for humility. God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. As we draw near into His glory, we understand the basis of our humility. “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”

Drawing near to God increases our love for other Christians. “As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.” No drawing close to God includes unforgiveness, bitterness, or mere dislike of other Christians, but a delight to meet together in community.

Drawing near also increases our compassion for the lost. “The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips.”

It also increases our hunger to draw even near. “The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.”

So many other benefits follow. He states that God has measured out his wonderful inheritance of blessings, advises us, speaks to us, even in the night.

But a danger (warning) exists in our believing that this joy and mania is permanent, and pride sets in, telling us we will never slip away again. “I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.” But since we, in our celebration, stop dealing with the areas in which we need further development in our hearts, trials which shake us from our pride will truly come.

Psalm 15: Oh, What a Savior!

ImagePsalm 15 (one of my favorites) raises a good question about the responsibility of man in fellowship with God. “O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?”

The answer sets markers for the righteousness required for fellowship with God if we do not have a Savior, a propitiation for our failures, which is impossible. This also serves as our reflection as to how we Christians are allowing the life of Christ to be lived out of our situations. But it is also a beautiful description of our Savior. On that, I want to focus:

“He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart…” From the outside in, we discover the Savior is saturated with righteousness and truth.

“…who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend…” He did not use his tongue to elevate Himself while putting others down, thinking the worst of his neighbor and speading that opinion, or participating with his friends when they ran another down, thus picking up the offense. So, the ultimate measure of His heart, which is the tongue, reflects the purity in the heart of our Saviour.

“…in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; who swears to his own hurt and does not change…” He finds no delight in evil doers, nor does He desire to participate in their evil doing, regardless of the apparent reward. He stands with those who honor God in their lives. This stand is taken regardless of the personal cost or pain. It is not about pain or gain, but right and wrong.

“… who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent.” He never took personal advantage of God’s supply, particularly when dealing with others. He doesn’t use His wealth to manipulate our behavior or production. The promise of wealth and prosperity does not tempt Him from His highest standards. Thus…

“He who does these things shall never be moved.” Moved from what? Moved from the fellowship with the Father that was the theme of this Psalm. “Who will spend time with you in your dwelling, O Lord? This one shall remain.”

The great joy in this Psalm, though the product of these standards are too high for me to achieve, is that through Christ I have the standing of One who has fully met these. 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Psalm 14’s invitation to redemption…

Psalms 14 looks at the discouraging wickedness of mankind which is demonstrated in every day’s news. Here is a summary of the short Psalm:

The vocalizing of atheism originates from corruption in the heart and the compromise of lifestyle. It must be discouraging to God to look down upon our state, the self-damage we commit, knowing that we, without intervention, will not seek God for health and healing. Instead, we moralize our wickedness, choosing the path of evil.

Not only are we without the capability to do good of ourselves, we have no desire and see no reason to change. Instead, we destroy ourselves and each other, considering the hateful treatment and damaging behavior as normal as eating bread.

Yet within us is the terror that there really is a holy and righteous God who is not so excusing. There is fear that God has provided a way out of this mess and we have ignored it. There is a sense of justice which we cannot explain that cares for the ones we disregard the most. We can sense that.

Something in us cries for salvation. Let that spark of God ignite you, invite you to God’s forgiveness. You see, salvation did come out of Zion. He will call to Himself a people. You can be part of that people through Jesus Christ who paid the price for your wickedness if you believe in Him and accept His salvation.

Psalm 10 shows that the deception of today will bring justice tomorrow.

Living by feelings, or emotions, is the bane of western civilization. It is reflected in Psalm 10.Image

In verse one, there is the feeling that God is far from the righteous and close to the ungodly. The wicked go about their business with no consideration of God, seeking only the wicked imaginations of their minds.

With the evidence that is before his eyes, the wicked can say, “There is no God.” In other words, not even God can stop my plans to prosper at the destruction of others. His life, his mouth and his decisions testify that his wicked ways are acceptable and preferable if no righteous standard can stand against him.

The results are that the helpless are crushed, sank down and have a mighty fall. Meanwhile, the wicked proclaim, God has forgotten me or has given up on dealing with the power that is me.

The Psamist then calls for God to “arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted.”

Despite the proclamations of the wicked, God sees and keeps an account. God will bring payment to those who rack up debt. He will break the arm of the wicked and evil doer, and everyone will be called into account.

God is faithful to his promises, and the issues that appear to speak otherwise are temporary and not final.

God will bless the righteous and destroy the wicked, protecting the fatherless and oppressed and bring fear to the wicked.

Looking back after this life; victory…

Psalm 9 looks back upon our troubles from a future date, when all has been resolved. This Imageperspective, even today as it demonstrates faith in God’s promises and actions in the future, gives us courage and purpose.

The Psalmist first thanks God for His character, a character that we can count on and thank with our whole heart. In the end, the enemies are caught in their own trap (a promise of God of reaping what you sow). Just causes will prove successful and blessed. The wicked masses will be dealt with, and Christ will be recognized as Lord of all (every knee will bow).

The oppressed will realize their sustenance, while those who shed blood for gain will have their blood shed.

The Psalmist now asks to be among those who persevere. His pledge to praise God as if victory has already been given reflects his faith. His expectation that God will prove His promise true is his hope. His anticipation that the righteous will be praising God and the wicked will be in their eternal doom will vindicate those who seek for God. He uses a word that means “let that sink in” (Higgaion).

Finally, the Psalmist shows his resolve in the work of God. “Do your thing, Lord. Let it be,” reflects the sentiment of final verses.

Sometimes a view of life from the future can give us strength for today.

 Psa 9:1-20: 1 I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. 2  I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. 3 When my enemies turn back, they stumble and perish before your presence. 4 For you have maintained my just cause; you have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment. 5 You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish; you have blotted out their name forever and ever. 6 The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins; their cities you rooted out; the very memory of them has perished.

7 But the LORD sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice, 8 and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness. 9 The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. 10 And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.

11 Sing praises to the LORD, who sits enthroned in Zion! Tell among the peoples his deeds! 12 For he who avenges blood is mindful of them; he does not forget the cry of the afflicted. 13 Be gracious to me, O LORD! See my affliction from those who hate me, O you who lift me up from the gates of death, 14 that I may recount all your praises, that in the gates of the daughter of Zion I may rejoice in your salvation.

15 The nations have sunk in the pit that they made; in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught. 16 The LORD has made himself known; he has executed judgment; the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. Higgaion. Selah

17 The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God. 18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever. 19 Arise, O LORD! Let not man prevail; let the nations be judged before you! 20 Put them in fear, O LORD! Let the nations know that they are but men! Selah