Psalm 15:1

“LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain?” Psalm 15:1

To live in the Lord’s tent, to dwell on His holy mountains…wow, what an incredible place to be.

At the time that the Psalm was written, the Temple had not yet been built. The place of worship was the tabernacle. It was essentially a tent that could be moved and then set up in the most convenient place during the travels of the Israelites in the wilderness. It came to rest on the mountain that would come to be known as the Temple Mount when King Solomon constructed the Temple. It was considered the holy mountain.

So, what are we seeing here?

We are being challenged to spend time in the place of worship. We are to come together on a regular basis and be in God’s house. Worshiping together is an experience unlike any other.

But there is a hint of something more here.

At the time this was written the Tabernacle was the tent of worship and they were one generation away from the Temple being constructed. But when Jesus came, He helped us to realize that we were to become the Temple. Our bodies are to be the place where we invite Christ into our lives and He dwells within us.

Yes, we are to live in the Lord’s tent, but we must also invite Him to live in ours.

Dear Jesus, it is such a privilege to come into Your house, our churches to worship. Thank You for allowing us to do that, but we also want to invite You to come into our lives to be the center of worship within us.

 

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Psalm 14:7

“Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD restores his people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!”  Psalm 14:7

The psalmist, David, is crying out for salvation. He was on the front side of the plan. He knew it was coming. He knew that Messiah was promised and He would come from Zion and would restore the children of Israel. David trusted in the promises.

We are on the backside of the plan. We look back and see that Messiah has come. He was born in Bethlehem, laid in a manger, visited by shepherds and magi, grew up in Nazareth and preached all throughout Jerusalem and the surrounding area. He came to die. He came to rise up out of that grave in victory so we might know victory.

David longed for the salvation of Israel. But for us, rather than yearning for salvation, we can experience it. We can accept Jesus, the Christ, the promised Messiah. We can know that we know that we are saved.

The psalmist cried out for salvation. We can experience it.

Have we?

Jesus, I want to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am saved. I admit that I am a sinner. Forgive me for my sins and come into my life. I accept You as my Savior and my Lord. Thank You for saving me.

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Psalm 14:4-6

“Do all these evildoers know nothing? They devour my people as though eating bread; they never call on the LORD. But there they are, overwhelmed with dread, for God is present in the company of the righteous. You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the LORD is their refuge.” Psalm 14:4-6

The sad truth is that evildoers don’t know anything. They are bent on destruction because their hearts are bent on evil. Look around. The news gets scarier each year. We hear of more and more killings, kidnappings, conflicts. It’s so sad to listen to.

But look again at these verses. It says “God is present in the company of the righteous.” As believers, wherever we are, we take Jesus. He is there in the midst. It means if we drive around our public schools we are taking Jesus there as we pray. If we walk into a prison to minister, we are taking Jesus. If we go shopping, the Lord comes with us to the mall. If we are at work, Jesus is there with us in every office, every meeting, every break.

Yes, the world is filled with evildoers. There is no question about that, and it feels like evil grows, but Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Lord Jesus, You have overcome the world. Help me not to look at the evil around me, but rather fix my eyes on You.

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Psalm 14:2

The LORD looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.”Psalm 14:2-3

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9

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

Psalms, Jeremiah, Romans, these verses make it pretty clear that there is not one of us who is righteous. No matter how good we think we are, we are not. We are all sinners. It’s a pretty sad state of affairs. This is really bad news.

There’s more and we see it from Isaiah 53: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way…”

We do our own thing. We have our own agenda. We walk our own path and it’s on the wide road that leads to destruction.

But Jesus died for us so we could know Him. He lived a perfect life to be the perfect sacrifice so He could pay for our sins. Here’s the whole verse of Isaiah 53:6: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

All our sin, all our iniquity was laid on Jesus. He carried it to the cross; He took it to the grave. He paid it, so we don’t have to.

So, we have bad news and good news. The bad news? We are all sinners. The good news? Jesus died to pay for those sins and that means we don’t have to.

Dear Jesus, I know I’m a sinner in need of a Savior. Thank You so much for paying the price for my sins. I am forever grateful that You have made a way for me to have my slate wiped clean of all my sins and for me to have You as my Lord and Savior. 

 

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Psalm 14:1

The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.” Psalm 14:1

The Bible says if we say there is no God, then we are fools. This verse further describes these fools. They are corrupt; their deeds are vile. They don’t do good.

That says a lot and all of it is bad.

Why would people say there is no God?

As we look up into the night sky, we see stars that are hung in space. They reside in beautiful harmony throughout the universe. How could it have just happened?

How could the earth have materialized from nothing and be the exact right distance from the sun?

How could green plants that use the sun to make food, not only for themselves but also for all other life, have just begun to grow by mere chance?

How could the right gravitational pull for life be an accident?

How could the perfect amount of water, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen just have shown up in the right percentages to support all life?

The answer?

Those things couldn’t have just happened. There had to have been a Creator. It is too perfectly synchronized for it to be random. There had to be a God who spoke it all into existence from the tiniest one celled animal to the largest and farthest galaxy in the universe.

It was like this: In the beginning God…

There is so much evidence all around us that proves we have a Creator.

But creation is just the beginning of the proof of God. The Bible is the most amazing book ever written. It’s unlike anything else. Words written hundreds of years earlier were prophecies that came true and are coming true as if they are today’s news. No other book is like it and only God who knew what was to come could have been the author.

The Bible itself is proof of God.

And these are just a couple of ways we can know that God exists. There are so many more.

Yet a fool says that there is no God.

It is the most foolish thing anyone can say.

Heavenly Father, I see Your creation. The work of Your hands shows me that You are real. I read Your Word and I see the intricacies of Your promises and prophecies and I know it had to have been authored by You. Thank You that I know that You are there. 

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Psalm 13:6

And David ends this Psalm that begins with so many questions with the exact right response. “I will sing the LORD’s praise because He has been good to me.”

Singing and praise, even when there are difficult, challenging questions, set our hearts at peace.

David recognized God’s goodness. We can too. When we look around and see beauty, when we remember that this life is barely a heartbeat next to eternity, when we recount the great sacrifice that Jesus made for us, our hearts can sing. Praise can fill our minds and spill out of our lips and God’s peace and joy can flood our very existence even when the trials of life seem to overwhelm.

Lord, today I want to sing with the song-writer, “It is well with my soul.” His children had died at sea and yet he could pen those words because You are bigger than the grief and sadness of this life. You are the Peace that passes all understanding.

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Psalm 13:1

“How long LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?”

In the very first verse of this Psalm we can gather that David has been praying day after day for a long time. This kind of frustration and feeling of abandonment doesn’t happen when we have prayed about something and the answer comes in a day or two. These thoughts plague us when the answer we want doesn’t come after days or weeks or months or even years of asking and seeking and knocking on the doors of heaven.

And then our questions become the “Why?” questions. “Why doesn’t God answer? Why did He help someone else so quickly with their finances and not me? Why did that person get healed from their disease and I keep getting sicker?” Why? Why? Why?

And then the temptation is to jump to the human conclusion that either God doesn’t care or He isn’t able. And neither of those is true. David had his questions, but came to this conclusion in verse 5: “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.”

David knew God’s love; we can too. The evidence is clear. Jesus loved enough to give His life and He is powerful enough to have conquered death, and compassionate enough to redeem, recreate, restore and pour His life into me.

“God, I know that in this life I will not have all the answers to the how and the why, but help me to follow because I know I can trust Your unfailing love and rejoice in Your salvation for me.

 

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Psalm 13

In Psalm 13 all of David’s questions begin with, “How long?”

The “How long?” questions show up in our lives. On a trip with children we hear it over and over. “How long ‘til we get there?” “How long ‘til lunch?” “How long ‘til we stop?” “How much longer?” “How long…?”

We see it in our kids, but it lingers long into adulthood. We humans are not a very patient lot.

David’s questions began with, “How long?” How many of ours begin that way too? How long must I deal with this sickness? How long will I be in this financial situation? How long will my work be so difficult? How long, God, until You answer? How long…?

God’s timing is not our timing.

Sometimes the answers come immediately. The sickness ends, a financial miracle occurs, we’re transferred to a new part of the company and the relief is amazing and God is good and faithful and caring and we don’t have words big enough for such great answers.

But then there are the days of waiting when sickness doesn’t end, and the financial situation gets worse and the job heats up and it feels as if we have been abandoned by our God. It makes us wonder along with David, “How long?”

Both are equally true and God is equally good and faithful and caring through both.

 

Father, just like earthly fathers, You often hear us asking, “How long?” Help me to trust You even when the questions feel unanswered.

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Psalm 13:1-2

“How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” Psalm 13:1-2

Questions, followed by more questions, which are just like the questions we sometimes have for God during the difficult situations that we are living through.

There is great comfort for us in David’s questions. He knew God in such a personal way. He followed to the point of being called a man after God’s own heart. He trusted even in the face of gigantic giants like Goliath and terrible circumstances like being chased by Saul’s armies.

Did David follow perfectly? Nope! He messed up big time, but that did not disqualify him from being God’s follower. He, like all of us, experienced God’s great grace.

One of the take-aways for me here is that it is perfectly okay to come to God with my questions. It’s fine for me to be completely honest when I am overwhelmed with the day to day or even the enormously difficult. I can ask the hard questions of God. His shoulders are big enough to shoulder any and all of my concerns.

When the questions come to my heart and mind I can always lift them immediately up to God.

Lord, thank You that I am free to open up and ask the hard questions, the ones that plague my heart and mind. Thank You that even in the questions You are always the answer.

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