Today’s readings are Psalms 120-132
We have several fairly short Psalms in our reading today. As I was writing my notes, I found that, once again, I had used these readings as a form of self reflection, asking myself questions to help me discern if I was hitting or missing the mark with regards to walking in the Father’s ways. I considered, for a moment, trying to approach these from a different angle with you since I tend to go the self examination route so frequently but then I heard that little voice inside that said “The Bible is to be used as a mirror to see yourself in, not a magnifying glass to judge others with”. With that in mind, more self examination is coming!
Psalm 120 This last set of lines really pierced my heart in a very personal way:
Too long have I had my dwelling among those who hate peace. I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war! Psalm 120:6-7
Too long I held onto my dwelling in the world and wondered why I did not find peace there. The world will never bring us peace. One foot in the world and one foot in the Kingdom will never bring us peace. We must be all in, or we are at war with the Father. And as hard as it may be to read this, bless the war that brings us back to the Father.
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4
Psalm 121 is the inspiration for a very popular song. I invite you to check out that Psalm first and then hear my heart.
What if an idol worshipper were to be going through a hard time and come upon this Psalm and feel encouraged by it, then decide to name it and claim it? They had no intention of learning more about this God of Israel, had no intention of abandoning their idols, and were definitely not going to go by the guidelines for living set out by this God. They just liked how this Psalm made them feel and so decided to put their hope in it. Do you think that would make the devotion YHWH has for who love and follow Him automatically transfer to them?
I’ve seen a lot of people take the “name it and claim it” approach to this Psalm. By that I mean, folks who have chosen not to be set apart, not to walk in YHWH’s ways, and not to obey His commandments. It is much the same thing. We can say we stand under His banner but if we aren’t marching to His orders we will not be under His protection on the battlefield. Or to summarize Messiah, it’s not whether or not we know Him, but whether or not He recognizes us as one of His people. Matthew 7:23
Y’all, that was me. I spent the bulk of my life “playing” Christian. I went to church, I had the nice Bible, I knew where the verses were, I dressed the part and I was what the world would consider a “good” person. But I didn’t trust in that book I carried enough to read the entire thing. Instead, I settled for soundbite summaries from other people and when I saw something in the Word that contradicted what I had been taught, I put my trust in man’s word over the Father’s.
I called Him God, but I did not treat Him as such.
As a result, I always felt as if something were missing, as if there had to be more. My dwelling was in the world, among other folks who were playacting same as me. My dwelling was not in Him. The values and priorities I lived by were counterfeits to His – just enough like them to convince me they were true.
Once He put that hunger on my heart to find the part that I knew was missing, and I began begging for more of Him at His feet daily, the shingles fell and I found that narrow path at last. Grace upon grace – in order for me to remain on that path, I must seek Him daily, hourly, minute by minute. Grace upon grace. I have to wake up each day and set my heart on Him. Grace upon grace. I stumble, I make mistakes, I falter, I lose heart, but I continue to seek Him and He lifts me up. He forgives, He strengthens my heart, He holds tight to my hand, and He holds tight to me. I am not perfect, but I am wholehearted. And when we are wholehearted, Grace fills in the gaps.
Psalm 124 is a Psalm I can speak as if it were written about my own life!
If it had not been YHWH who was on our side—
let Israel now say—
if it had not been YHWH who was on our side
when people rose up against us,
then they would have swallowed us up alive,
when their anger was kindled against us;
then the flood would have swept us away,
the torrent would have gone over us;
then over us would have gone
the raging waters.
Blessed be YHWH,
who has not given us
as prey to their teeth!
We have escaped like a bird
from the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken,
and we have escaped!
Our help is in the name of YHWH,
who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 125 calls for more self reflection. Do we trust in YHWH? Does He see that in how we conduct our lives? Have we turned aside from our crooked ways? Know that for most of us, “crooked ways” can easily be described as “normal” and “healthy” by the world’s standards, but are we striving to live by the world’s standards? If we have examined ourselves and not found anything crooked within us, that is a queue that we should step back, change from our world lens to the Father’s lens, and have another look. Remember, the Bible is the straight edge to which all must line up.
In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:6
Psalm 127- Unless YHWH builds a house, those who build it labor in vain.
Unless YHWH watches over a city, the watchman stays awake in vain. Psalm 127:1
Father, tear down all that we have built. Build us up again on the foundation of your Word, with our Messiah as the cornerstone.
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
MAY YHWH BLESS THE READING OF HIS WORD AND MAY HE RICHLY BLESS YOU AND YOUR HOUSEHOLD AS WELL!