Journey with Daniel
Be Aware Of Envy
Psalms 73 is so current. It is so easy to look at the rich and famous and grow envious of them. We see them die with a smile on their face. They die in strength. Seemingly, they have no trouble. They live in nice homes. They drive nice cars. They are popular. They take exotic vacations (vs. 3-12). It is easy to ask, “God, don’t you care about the righteous? They suffer. They give it all up for You. God, I know you are good but…”
Asaph had three choices. He could abandon his faith and run with the wicked, he could hold on to his faith in hypocrisy and fake it, or he could look to God for answers.
When Asaph goes to the house of God, he gains a different perspective. He sees life from God’s point of view. Now he sees from the 30,000 foot point of view. Now he understands. One reason the rich and famous enjoy life as they do and die with a smile on their face is because they do not know what they face. The godless life is a mirage. It has a sad end. It is not fulfilling. They are living miserable and do not know it. When Asaph realized how he had been thinking, he was grieved (vs. 21-22). He was looking only at the here and now. He was giving no thought to the consequences of that lifestyle.
Asaph now knows the reward of the world, but what of his own fate? The wicked are on the wrong road. They may appear to have health, wealth, and worldly success, but they don’t have God. Therefore, they don’t have anything! He realizes this one great truth. When he has God, he has everything. He has no want. He has ultimate success. He knows that those who draw near to the Lord will have true strength and prosperity (vs. 26 -28).
He concludes, “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none on earth that I desire besides you” (vs. 25).
Coming to the house of God is so important. It brings us back to the fundamental of what life is really all about. In our materialistic world, none of us is beyond taking our eyes off God and looking at the world and worldly people. When we begin to measure ourselves to them and their lifestyle, we will always be lacking. No one can keep up with them. When we see life from God’s point of view, we see how really blessed we are. We see what the worldly do not have. We see their poverty among their riches. We see their wrinkles that are covered by the make-up of worldly success.
Come before God. Let Him show what life is all about. Let Him show us true wealth and success. Ah, to be with God! There is peace!
- Next time we go to the house of God, thank God for allowing us to see things from His point of view.
- God’s point of view is the only point of view that explains life and gives life value.
I Have Sinned, but Can Take Joy in God’s Words
The final theme for Psalm 119 is that it teaches us that loving God’s rules is qualified and produced by knowledge of sin, grace, and the promises of God. The more you can relate to the psalmist’s repentance for sin, the more you will relate to his love for God’s rules as you endure the trials of life.
So, on this average weekday, you may be like the writer of Psalm 119: suffering under temptation to sin or afflicted by circumstances or people around you. Plead with God to deliver you based on his promises (v. 170). Rest in his covenant faithfulness to his people (v. 76). Rejoice that God eternally keeps the terms of his own law, his own rules, perfectly (v. 65). Remember that he has given you life in himself according to his Word (v. 50). Let the true Word of God, Jesus Christ, abide in you richly today, and be filled with love for your Savior.
Thank you for taking this journey with us through Psalm 119. We hope that we have learned that even though this chapter may be daunting there is so much to learn from it.
Psalm 100 is a psalm of thanksgiving. It is a psalm of praise. It is said that Israel would sing psalms such as this one as they traveled to Jerusalem to worship in the Temple. Isn’t that a great thought – worshipping on their way to worship! Rather than coming into the courts of the Lord (the place of worship) with complaints and criticism, with bitterness and resentment, with yawns and boredom, they enter into the courts with thanksgiving in their hearts and praise on their lips!
Worship is important. It is a gift we give to God. The Old Testament language is “offering” or “sacrifice.” We offer our words, our hearts, our focused attention, our sincere admiration to God. We express the joy, the thanksgiving, the glory and importance of God in our lives. Worship exalts the King. Worship reorients our thinking. Worship helps us stay focused on the things that matter the most. Worship helps us magnify the Lord – to see Him more clearly, more greatly, than before.
Psalm 100 is all about expressing thanks to the Lord. He reminds us that God is our Creator, our Shepherd, the giver of every good thing, our faithful and merciful Lord. Ephesians 5:20 says we should give thanks always, and for everything. Thankfulness stems from the attitude of gratitude. Some may say, “Saying thanks, well, it goes without being said.” Sadly that’s true. When was the last time I stopped and expressed my thankfulness – that I verbalized the words, “Lord…thank You.”
Thankfulness is being able to answer this statement, “Because of God…”. How would you finish that statement? How long would your list be of what God has done for you? It would be a good exercise for today – take a moment and finish the statement above in prayer. Lord I give You thanks because…
Entering His courts… entering into a new week, into a new day, with thanksgiving in our hearts!
Lord of all the Earth, everlasting Creator, merciful Shepherd – all the paper in the world couldn’t contain the list of reasons I am thankful for You, for who You are and what You have done. Because of You I live and exist, I was fearfully and wonderfully made – You had me in Your mind before my time began. You have filled my life with blessings abundant – the greatest being Your Son – His life, His death, His resurrection. Words fail to express what His love and sacrifice means to me. O Lord, You are good, and with all my heart I give you thanks.
Psalms 71 contemplates getting old. I once was told that the sin of the young man is lust and the challenge of the old man is apathy. Paul tells Timothy to flee youthful lust, but he never says flee apathy. This Psalm tells us that even as we grow older there is no time to grow apathetic.
Notice the Psalm says, “Do not cast me off in the time of old age; do not forsake me when my strength fails.” Also, “Now when I am old and gray headed, O God, do not forsake me. Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone is to come.” (vs. 9,18).
The Psalmist did not have an easy life (vs. 20). Yet, the same God that allowed his trials had revived him to an even deeper faith and grit. After all the lamentation, he ends by praising God. “My tongue will utter Your righteousness all day long.” He is saying there is no place to quit.
Maybe it is because I see my parents aging and the challenges that age poses for them. Maybe it is that I am getting a little bit older. Our culture, even when I was young, is in love with youth. I appreciate young people. I really do, but I adore older people. Those who are older offer something young people cannot offer. They have a perspective of life that is important for the younger to know. They have a wisdom that is the by-product not only from many years of learning but many years of living. They have earned the right to be respected. They have earned the right to be heard. We who are younger must give them much deference. We do not know all we think we know.
“O God you have taught me from my youth; and to this day I declare Your wondrous works.” Only one of age can do that.
“You who have shown me great and severe troubles, shall revive me again, and bring me up again from the depths of the earth.” No young person can appreciate that. It is only having been in the depths of despair that we can realize God has delivered us.
I challenge us to raise a voice of respect and gratitude to those among us who are older. The Psalmist said, “I have been old, and I have been young…” Is there a generation gap? The older have been young and now are old. The younger have only been young. Age and experience give a perspective of life that is valuable.
Oh, to be young again. Yes, but I would not trade it for the age I am. Nor, would I trade it for watching my parents and learning from them as they have aged.
- Do something special for an older person (a gift basket, a gift card with a thank you card, etc.).
- Take the time to sit with an older person and ask them to tell you about their life.
Today’s Psalm is a song of love, a royal song dedicated to the king and his bride. When you read v. 11-15 it’s as if we’re reading the description of a wedding. Verses 1-9 are addressed to the king, verses 10-17 are addressed to the queen.
Who is the king addressed in this psalm? The king had praises coming out of ivory palaces (v. 8) – king Ahab built a house of ivory (1 Kings 22:39). The queen is a foreigner (v. 10) – king Ahab married Jezebel, the daughter of the king of the Sidonians (1 Kings 16:31). Solomon also married pharaoh’s daughter, and perhaps other foreigners (1 Kings 11:1). Historically it’s not clear who this song could be sung/written about.
However v. 6 helps identify who this King truly represents. This verse is quoted in Hebrews 1:8-9. The writer of Hebrews is illustrating how Jesus is greater than the angels, even those who brought forth the words of God. Without a doubt the king in this psalm is pointing to Jesus. The King:
- Rides on victoriously for the cause of truth, righteousness and meekness (v. 4) – meekness seems to be a strange characteristic for a king’s pursuit, and yet Jesus is described as meek and lowly (Matt. 11:29). He came to earth as a human, as a child (Phil. 2:5-10), and offered Himself as a servant of others (Matt. 20:28).
- His throne is forever and ever (v. 6) – prophesied of David’s descendant (2 Sam. 7:13, 16 – see Rev. 11:15).
- He was anointed, with garments of sweet fragrance (v. 7-8) – Those anointed were the kings of God (1 Sam. 16:13). The word for “anointed one” in Hebrew is “Messiah”, translated in Greek it is “Christ.” The special fragrance he is wearing is seen elsewhere. The High Priest was anointed with this very oil (Exodus 30:22-31). Jesus our King is also our High Priest. We also see this same fragrance used for Jesus after His death (John 19:39).
If Jesus is the King, then we – His people – are the bride (Rev. 21:2; Eph. 5:32). Notice how the bride is described:
- Forget your people, your father’s house (v. 10) – it is a call to forsake where she came from, certainly pointing to an aspect of marriage, of leaving and cleaving (Gen. 2:24). There’s also a connection to Deut. 21:10-13 – Christ has left His ivory palace and come to a destitute land and saw us, not as beautiful princess, but as slaves to sin (John 8:24, Rom. 6:17). Yet He pursues us in marriage, to bring us back to His place of royalty. This certainly points to a practical application – to pursue Christ one must leave the world behind (Luke 9:61-62, 2 Cor. 6:17, Eph. 4:17).
- The Queen is glorious (v. 13) – this is what we find described in Eph. 5:25-27. Christ is the One who cleanses us, washes away our sin, to present the bride in all her glory. We become more and more like our King, and leave the world we came from behind.
We sing the song in our hymn book, “Out of the ivory palaces….” That’s our King. That’s our Jesus. He left Heaven for us. He gave His life for us. He pursues us to be His bride, until the day He welcomes us home. What a glorious day that will be!
King of Kings, what an amazing thought that You left the comforts and brilliance of Heaven to come to Earth for me. You took on flesh, suffered and endured great pain, even willingly faced the cross, for me. You are the King, and we – Your church – are Your bride. Help us each day to become more and more like You, less and less like the world. We long for the day to be united with You in glory.