Journey with Daniel
I Repent Because I Love You
The second theme out of Psalm 119 is repentance. Maybe you’re a bit discouraged while you read through Psalm 119—and not just because it’s so long. After all, it can be spiritually distressing to read verse after verse basically about how much this psalmist loves rules. By the time you get to v. 164 and read “seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules” you might start thinking about the Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14 pretentiously “thanking” God for how absolutely fabulous he is at obeying all the rules. That kind of tone can be disheartening on an average weekday, particularly if you have not been fabulous at rule-keeping lately.
Don’t let it get to you. The difference between that Pharisee and the psalmist is this: the psalmist knows he is in fact sinful and desperately needs God’s grace. Despite all the ways he goes on about loving the law, there is also petition and repentance. The psalmist pleads for God’s salvation (vv. 41, 81, 123, 166, 174), and desires mercy (vv. 77, 156). He knows that life—his life—is not perfect. In fact, the psalm ends in the key of repentance: “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments” (v. 176a).
So acknowledging sin and loving the law are fully compatible according to this psalm.
That is the beauty of Christ’s sacrifice for us. We cannot keep the Word of the Lord perfectly; He knows this and has provided a way for us to still gain His mercy and grace. It is through this action of acknowledgement and repentance. The asking of forgiveness and if you can be counted as one of His own He lovingly says, with out-stretched arms, welcome home child.
These two Psalms fit together well. They point us to the blessing of family. He calls children a gift of the Lord (127:3), and compares them to arrows in the hands of a warrior (127:4-5) a source of strength and protection when trained and prepared. The wife is compared to a fruitful vine, a constant source of blessings (physical, emotional, spiritual) to her home (like the woman of Proverbs 31) (128:3). His children are likened to olive plants – they may take a long time to mature and bear fruit, but patiently cultivated they can produce a crop that will last for centuries (128:3).
The blessings for these families is conditioned in both Psalms –
- “Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it’” – 127:1
- “How blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways” – 128:1
- “Behold, for thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord” – 128:4
Homes that are a blessing to those in them are homes built by the Lord.
- Men who lead their homes with wisdom, conviction, and love
- Husbands who cherish their wives, who constantly remind them of their beauty and worth, inside and out
- Homes where wives honor and respect their husband, whose loving support is a constant source of strength to her man.
- Mother’s filling her children full – minds full of truth, hearts full of love, lives full of wonderful memories.
- Children who know they are loved unconditionally by their parents, and by their God who made them – who are taught to love God and live lives that honor Him
- Homes that are filled with worship of God – songs of praise, prayers of thanksgiving are often heard here
- Homes where God’s words are read, are shared, are respected and treasured
- Homes that are busy in works of love – serving others around them, demonstrating kindness, sharing blessings that God has given them with others
- Homes where rules are made and enforced with firm love, helping children learn and grow into the people God made them to be
- Homes that think, that speak, that focus on Christ – He is the heart of that family.
I asked one of my children the other day, “Where are you going, and how will you get there?” Their answer – “I’m going to Heaven, and we’ll get there together.” Together. I couldn’t express it any better. The way we honor God through these amazing blessings, our mate and our children, is that we walk with Jesus, we live lives that honor our Creator, hand in hand – heart in heart, together we reach the goal of Heaven. Together.
Wonderful Creator, giver of all that is good, You have blessed my life with abundant blessings. Were I to try to name all the good You have brought into my life, it would fill a lifetime trying to mention every gift. For that, I am so very thankful. Today I specifically thank You for the gift of my family. You have enriched my life with those I call my family, my mate, my children, my parents, siblings, and all extended members. Thank You for each of them, for the way they each have helped shape and mold where I am today. I ask You bless the home You have created, the family You gave me – help us to grow in our love for one another, and our love for You. Keep us safe and strong against the evil one. Help us, whether in the days of our youth, or in the days we grow old, to walk with You, and to journey home to Heaven together. For those in my family who are not who they ought to be, give them time and a soft heart to hear instruction and be pricked with the truth. Win their heart back Father. Let the words I speak and the example I set be one that blesses my family for generations to come. I can never thank You enough for these precious gifts. I can never thank You enough for the gift of Your Son. With all my heart I give You thanks!
A Cry For Help
Psalms 22 is a cry for help. If we ever find ourselves overwhelmed by life or adversity and enemies, this Psalm is a great comfort. David begins with a haunting cry, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” In the end David learns God had not forsaken him. He learns God understands and helps.
Following the cry, David soon turns to speak of God’s power (vs. 3-5). David speaks of how people viewed him and treated him (vs. 6-8). He shows us how helpless he is (vs. 9-11). He is surrounded by enemies and he feels helpless and void of strength (vs. 11-18). He cries to God for help (vs. 19-21).
What is David to do? What will God do? David learns God has not forsaken him (vs. 21). He then breaks out in praise. “God has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; nor has He hidden His face from him; but when he cried to God, He heard” (vs. 23-24). The whole assembly rejoices (vs. 22). All Israel rejoices (vs. 23-24). The entire world rejoices (vs. 25-31).
This Psalm is a great comfort. We learn God does not forsake us even in our darkest moments. David shows us that even though, from our perspective, it seems like God has left us all alone, He is listening to us. So, what should our attitude be toward God? We praise Him (vs. 26). We seek Him (vs. 26). We remember Him and turn to Him (vs. 27). We worship Him (vs. 27). We bow before Him (vs. 29). We serve Him (vs. 30).
This Psalm is also Messianic. Jesus utters the words of David on the cross about being forsaken. Did God forsake Him? Did God forsake David? David finds out God has not. When has God ever forsaken any righteous person? The idea that God forsook Jesus because He looked on Him as a sinner is incorrect. Our sins were not imputed to Him. Jesus was our sacrifice not our substitute. Further, Jesus says, “Indeed the hour is coming, yes, and has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me” (John 16:32). Like David, Jesus uses this as a hyperbole. To all that were there that day, it looked like God had forsaken Him. It looked like Satan had delivered the death blow to God’s Son. But He was not forsaken. He was despised by men, forsaken by His own, but not His Father. His Father was ever with Him.
For us this should be tremendously comforting. In our deepest, darkest moments God has not forsaken us. He is ever with us. He will not leave us alone.
- It is okay to cry for help. We need God.
- In our moments of despair, do not despair because God has left us. He said He would never leave us nor forsake us.
- Everyone else may walk away from us but God won’t. Even when we walk away from Him, His hands are out-stretched to us.
Psalms 19 tells us God is real. God speaks through His world book and His word book. We often think God only revealed Himself through His word. In Psalm 19 we see God has two books: His world book and His word book.
In His world book, we see God through His creation. “The heavens declare” the mind and power of God. When we look up into the heavens, we see the intelligence of God. We see how marvelous and wonderful this world is made. We also see that His creation took great power. Man cannot duplicate what God has done. He is not smart enough and he is not powerful enough. Consistently, this world operates, “day unto day.” Creation “utters speech.” While that speech is silent, it is also deafening. It shouts, “There is a God!” And, it does not matter what part of the world we may be in, the speech is still the same.
By His world book we can know there is a God. But it is by His word book we come to know who He is and how we can serve and please Him. Notice, it is in His word book we learn the law of the Lord is perfect. We learn His testimony is sure. We learn His statues are right. We learn His commandments are pure. We learn the fear of the Lord is clean and His judgments are true and righteous.
In His word book we see how valuable His word is. It is more to be desired than gold and it is sweeter than honey. Why? Because it warns and directs. It warns us of danger and directs us to the right path.
The world book will show there is a God. The word book will tell us how we can be with Him.
- Look at God’s world book and listen. But we must want to hear.
- Look into God’s word book and listen. But we must want to hear.
- “He that has ears to hear” let him hear both God’s world book and His word book.
Psalm 98 is a beautiful song of praise. It is very similar to Psalm 96. Psalm 98 points our attention to our victorious God. In v. 1-3 He is our deliverer. In v. 4-6 He is our King. In v. 7-9 He is our righteous judge.
Some of the language found in the first 3 verses are found echoed through the Exodus
- V. 1 – right hand…holy arm – Exodus 6:6; Deuteronomy 4:34
- V. 2 – He has revealed His righteousness to the nations – Exodus 9:16; Romans 9:17
- V. 3 – He has remembered…His faithfulness to the house of Israel – Exodus 2:23-25
There are also some interesting parallels between the first 3 verses and Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55).
- V. 1 – Sing to the Lord a new song – Luke 1:46
- V. 1 – He has done wonderful things – Luke 1:49
- V. 2 – His right hand and holy arm have gained the victory – Luke 1:51
- V. 2 – He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations – Luke 1:50
- V. 3 – He has remembered His lovingkindness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel – Luke 1:54-55
There is much mentioned to praise God for through this Psalm, but one attribute worth thinking on today is that our God is a God who does not forget (v. 3). That’s hard to imagine, because we forget – a lot! We forget about appointments, commitments, where we put things. Joseph was forgotten in prison. There was a time the Apostles forgot to take along bread to eat (Matt. 16:5). God’s people forgot their Creator and His laws.
But God doesn’t forget. He doesn’t forget His promises He made to us. He doesn’t forget to keep His word. He doesn’t forget about us or neglect us. Not even the sparrows are forgotten in His eyes (Luke 12:6).
The Hebrew writer said, “For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister” (Heb. 6:10). We can trust as the Psalmist did, as Mary did, that the Lord remembers us.
High King of Heaven, with joy I lift up Your name. You have done great things for Your people, delivering them from their enemies – and You deliver Your people today from sin. I join my voice with the rivers and the mountains – Your Creation lauds and admires You. I am in awe that You remember me, You remember the promises You’ve given, You remember to provide daily care and direction. That I am in Your mind even today thrills my soul. It is my prayer, o God, that my life can further reveal to the world how righteous and good You are. You are my thoughts, my song, my joy.