Day 73: Be blessed
The 3rd book of Psalms begins.
Asaph, a priest and David’s musical director not only wrote the music for a lot of the Psalms but he also penned 12 Psalms himself.
What do we know of him?
He was also director of music to Solomon in the new temple. He had come through a golden age, this was Israel’s best years and Asaph was experiencing them. But then it all went wrong. Solomon rebelled against God and worshipped his wealth and the foreign gods of his many wives.
The people were oppressed by a heavy taxation system imposed upon them. Yet it was the murder of Asaph’s brother, Zechariah, by Solomon’s ‘police force’ because he had opposed the King that was behind this Psalm 73.
It is a familiar story for us, we know disillusionment, we know how people disappoint. We know the man who started out well but to only fail in the end. We know the feeling when we see these people getting away with actions that are unrighteous and never find themselves judged. We know how easy it is to become angry and even envious of those we do not even want to become like. And we know what it is to almost have fallen ourselves. We nearly lost our way because we took our eyes off God and put them on men.
But almost and nearly is not the end.
Asaph recognises he has no one but God, v25
His God is everything for him, v26
He is near to God, v28.
So although we almost did and we nearly did, we didn’t.
And that’s why we are blessed!
Day 72: Be blessed
So we come to the end of Book 2 of 5 arranged books of the Psalms. Mirroring the 5 books of Moses where God is speaking His word to His people the Psalms are the responses to Him, our word to Him. This is shown by verse 20 “this concludes the prayers of David.”
However because it is clearly a Psalm of Solomon it would seem he had heard this prayer of his father and after David’s death penned the Psalm himself.
Solomon was now king by inheritance. But he knew it was more than that, he was God’s appointed one. So he begins “Endow the King …”
Solomon knew the mortality of man as he saw his father die. But he knew the truth of immortality. So he continues “May his name endure for ever …”
Let this be our prayer, our song today.
“Endow me Lord, equip me, empower my life with all I need to live today for you. I will spend my life on righteousness and justice, I will defend and save and crush. I will refresh, rule and defeat my enemies. I will deliver the needy, have pity and rescue the oppressed. But I need you to give to me all that I need for this life. So furnish me with your ability. Endow me.”
“Endure my life. May I continue to live. If I am slain let me rise. “
We should live for today in the light of tomorrow, one eye on this life and an eye on our next life, now and then.
This is the blessed life.
Day 71: Be blessed
v17-18: Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvellous deeds. Even when I am old and grey, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.
Being blessed is to have 3 generations all living comfortably inside of you.
You need to continue to be young, to learn, to be corrected, discipled and to grow.
You need to be a generation who have walked awhile with God to be able to testify of His power.
You need to be old enough to have something to pass on, to mentor and coach those who will come after you.
This is a different kind of 3 in 1 person. It is a blessed person.
Day 70: Be blessed!
Is it okay to ask God to make haste?
More than this, is there any point in asking Him to speed up a bit?
Is He dragging His feet?
Can His moves be described as quick and slow? My slow days are my tired, disinterested days. This cannot be the lifestyle of God.
Surely God appears at just the right time? He acts in your life at the perfect moment.
However, this is not the intention David is trying to communicate.
We all need the emergency services and if we have never used them we accept life is better for having them there.
If we ever used them we would be expected to use words of “come quickly”, if we said “whenever you’re ready, no need to rush” then everyone would know we are not in that place of great need.
David is saying in my hour of need, when the crisis hits, when the enemy has come and gloats they are defeating me, I know who to turn to. I look to my deliverer.
Everyone around me calls their own 999, but I call upon God. I ask for speed not because I doubt Him, but because of my need of Him. It shows my desire, my longing and my intent.
So today maybe in your crisis you cry: I need you now, come quick.
This is acceptable and is encouraged.
Maybe you are outside of a crisis and yet the New Testament encourages us to pray: Maranatha: Come quickly Christ.
Day 69: Be blessed
It has become everything.
I am submerged. I cannot think of anything else.
Bored with the trivial. Deafened to the politics. Angered by the waste.
Indescribable, this unsatisfied desire.
I cannot talk of anything else, for it all comes down to this.
When I speak of it the more I realise I am unqualified to do so.
I know nothing of that which has become my all.
It has ruined me.
It has consumed me,
It burns within me.
But I want more of it.
I struggle to find the words.
Others do not understand me.
Even close friends do not share what I share.
Insulted, the butt of jokes and blamed.
Yet I want more of it.
Passion for Your Presence Lord has taken over my life.
Your presence is what I want more than anything.
This is blessing.
Day 68: Be blessed!
God is never dormant.
He is rising v1: There may be a need today to pray “God arise in my situation”. So often people try and get the enemy out when we should focus on getting God in!
He is riding v4-6: the clouds of life are the vehicle for carrying His presence.
The clouds of having no one to guide and instruct you, v5
The clouds of feeling vulnerable and unprotected, v5
The clouds of loneliness, v6
The clouds of feeling trapped, v6
He is marching, v7: He is making a way before us so that we follow.
The march is a walk of dedication. It is a walk only for the desert for determinations is for when it is tough and when you want to give up.
He is a moving God.
Day 67: Be blessed
Here in this Psalm we are right back to the Aaronic Blessing of Numbers 6. Let us never be anxious to move away from it either:
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us.
But now we have further understanding. The song gives the answer to why should we seek to be blessed.
a. For mission, v2. We are not living to be blessed to feel good, but we live for others. Bless me God so that I can reach others with your ways and your love!
b. For Praise to God, v3-5. Not just ourselves, or the church, but the blessing is for the whole world to praise Him!
c. For purpose, v6. Blessing precludes knowing fruitfulness, purpose, a harvest. The world will never be fulfilled until it knows God.
God will bless you and me again and again so long as our focus is on the world that He loves, v7.
It is the way to stay blessed.
Day 66: Be blessed
Blessing is often crafted from the place of pain. Since we began this journey of a chapter of the Bible each day, over the last 18 months we have seen God’s people become held against their will, burdened heavily (v11), been walked over and journeying through dangers (v12) and yet through it all God uses every experience as a testing and a refining, (v10).
You may be facing a tough time but think about how God is using this to craft you to be the person He has created you to be.
Years ago, there was a master violinist in Europe. He would play in concerts, and he had a magnificent Stradivarius violin, extremely expensive. He would play the Stradivarius violin in concert and everyone would whisper in the crowd, “Listen to the beautiful sounds of the Stradivarius.” He would play in churches, and people would say, “Listen to the beautiful sounds of the Stradivarius.” He even played before kings and queens, and they, too, would turn to one another and say, “Listen to the beautiful sounds of the Stradivarius.” All the glory went to the instrument.
Then one day this master violinist was walking by a pawn shop. He noticed an old, beat-up, worn-out violin. He walked into the pawn shop and asked how much it would cost. The owner of the pawn shop told him the American equivalent of five dollars. He bought the violin, and he took it home. He polished it, and he refined it, and he tuned it, and he re-tuned it, and he built some character into that violin. Then, when he was to play the greatest performance of his life in a concert hall, he took out the little, five-dollar, worn-out, beat- up violin that he had polished and refined. He put it up to his chin, and he began to play, and everybody in the concert hall whispered, “Listen to the beautiful sounds of the Stradivarius.””Rejoicing in Our Suffering,” Preaching Today, Tape No. 74.
It matters not how you start or what you go through but what happens to you in the hands of God that will determine…
Day 65: Be blessed
In 2010 there were 2.18 billion Christians around the world, nearly a third of the global population.
279 million (12.8% of the world’s Christian population) identify themselves as Pentecostals, 304 million (14%) are Charismatics, and 285 million (13.1%) are Evangelicals, or Bible believing Christians.
In the unevangelised world, there are 20,500 full-time Christian workers and 10,200 foreign missionaries.
In the evangelised non-Christian world, there are 1.31 million full-time Christian workers.
In the Christian world, there are 306,000 foreign missionaries to other Christian lands. Also, 4.19 million full-time Christian workers (95%) work within the Christian world.
Approximately 78.5 million Bibles are distributed globally per year.
An average of 159,960 Christians worldwide are martyred for their faith per year.
David wrote, “Those living far away fear your wonders.” V8.
You are not alone today. You are part of something global. Even people reading this devotion are doing so from the furthest points of the world. What unites us is that we are in awe of the wonders of God!
What unites us is that we are indeed blessed!
Day 64: Be blessed
They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their words like deadly arrows.
David laments about those who have spread slanderous messages of him and who try to intimidate him by the choice of words.
We’ve all heard the old adage, “If you can’t find anything nice to say about someone, don’t say anything at all.” In a recent article for Salon.com, Lauren Frey Daisley tried to follow that advice for one month. She titled the article “My month of no snark.” (“Snark” is a slang word that combines “snide” and “remark” and refers to sarcastic comments.)
Daisley writes: “It started when my husband, baby and I drove away from a visit with my aunt, who has Stage 4 breast cancer. I thought back on the 30-some years I’ve known her. I have never once in all that time heard her say anything unkind. Not even in the subtext of her words. That’s one [heck]—or, in this case, heaven—of a legacy…. I began to wonder, how would holding my tongue—or at least changing what came off it—alter my relationships?”
That’s when she began her “month-long campaign” to practice kindness in her speech. Daisley discovered that it’s not easy to live without snark. Instead, she wrote, “It’s so much cooler to be more sarcastic …. It says, I am so above this scene—above other people, even.”
After her month-long experiment she concluded, “Kindness [of speech] doesn’t have to imply repression. It doesn’t rein in humour or impede the fight for justice. But it does require discipline and substantive engagement with others.”
Lauren Frey Daisley, “My month of no snark,” Salon.com (3-28-11)
Maybe everyone reading this has experienced the sharpened tongue from a person at work, in the family, neighbourhood or church. Bring the experience to God as David did. At the same time resolve to hold your own tongue towards others. It is the way to remain blessed!