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Current study: Spiritual Warfare

28 April 2012

Week 17 Review

April 22 Psalms 81; 88; 92; 93
April 23 1 Chronicles 7-9
April 24 2 Samuel 5:1-10; 1 Chronicles 11-12; Psalm 133
April 25 2 Samuel 5:11-6:23; 1 Chronicles 13-16
April 26 Psalms 15; 23; 24-25; 47
April 27 Psalms 89; 96; 100; 101; 107

This week we learned more about David, and saw the exploits of “the Three”, David’s trusted warriors. We learned about David’s taking of Jerusalem, and saw details of his 40 year reign. And most important, we see that David continues to consult God before he goes into battle. We go through the gamut of emotions in our Psalms and end on a high note – the Lord reigns!

In the story of the movement of the Ark, we learned that God’s instructions are to be followed explicitly, and in the story of Uzzah, we saw the deathly consequences of taking matters into our own hands. We watched Obed Edom store the Ark properly and receive God’s blessings for obedience.

When the Ark was in Jerusalem, the people rejoiced. I was especially moved by David’s song of God’s faithfulness.

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him; sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice! Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles and the judgments he uttered. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him! Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;  tremble before him, all the earth; yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.  Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice, and let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!” Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! 1 Chron 16:8-12, 29-34 (ESV)

Once again, we read many of the Psalms – songs of victory, praise, and anguish. We see the range of human emotion, and see that man hasn’t changed over the centuries.
Psalm 15 and 24 – when these are read together, we see the models of behavior and action that God wants, and
O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved. Psalms 15:1-5 (ESV)

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Psalms 24:3-5 (ESV)

How can we possibly live up to these requirements? We know it’s impossible alone. Only through salvation in Christ, living with the power of the Spirit, can we become holy enough for God. Friend, if you think that your good deeds will allow you passage into heaven, you are wrong. Without Jesus, it’s impossible to ascend to stand in the presence of the Almighty. If you’ve not asked Jesus into your heart, today is the day! Email me or speak to a pastor to begin your new life in Christ.

Psalm 23 – This is one of the most beloved Psalms of all time. I’m sure that you have heard it many times. Did you see the green pastures in your mind? Did you feel the Master’s hand of love and correction as you read these timeless words? Do you know that God’s rod and staff are truly a comfort? Does your cup run over with God’s mercy? Do you know that you will dwell in God’s house for eternity?

Psalm 25 – a Psalm of prayer. We see the absolute confidence we can have when we speak to God. He is faithful to hear what we have to say (1-7); to deal with our sins (8-14) and to help us through our afflictions (15-19). It concludes by asking God for mercies in walking upright and with integrity. This is another great section of Scripture to “pray through” when you don’t know that else to say to God!

Psalm 47 – a Psalm of praise – HE REIGNS!
Psalm 81 – A reminder of God’s works and faithfulness – and a lament that Israel refused to listen to God.

Psalm 88 – This Psalm was particularly moving to me. It is a cry of anguish, asking God why He seems so far away. He is going through a tremendously hard time, but even though this is a song of anguish, we see that the writer’s faith in God’s steadfastness shining through. This is a good Psalm to have on hand when you don’t know how to pray through a trial!

Psalm 89 – God’s promise to David that his throne is built for all generations. Through good times and bad, God’s steadfast love is revealed. Although David’s offspring are chosen by God, He says that they don’t get a “free ride”. If  they sin and turn away from Him, they will be punished. This is the way God operates with us, too. As a faithful Father, He loves us unconditionally but must punish us because He is holy and righteous. But through it all, we have this promise:

Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face, who exult in your name all the day and in your righteousness are exalted. For you are the glory of their strength; by your favor our horn is exalted. For our shield belongs to the Lord, our king to the Holy One of Israel. Psalms 89:15-18 (ESV)

Psalm 92 and 93 – Contrasting with Psalm 88, we see an abundance of joy and praise for God’s deeds, righteousness and might.

Psalm 96 and 100 – Songs of right worship.

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength! Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts! Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth! Psalms 96:7-9 (ESV)

Beautiful words! Do you tremble before Him? Do you ascribe the glory due to God? Or is your worship just another thing to do – an early Sunday morning meeting before the “real” business of the day starts?

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. Psalms 100:1-5 (ESV)

Do you serve Him with gladness? Does your heart sing joyfully when you come into His presence (at church and during your prayer time)? Do you truly understand how good He is – how much He loves you – and how faithful He is? I don’t think we will completely understand worship until we enter His presence in heaven.

Psalm 101 – This Psalm shows David’s list of I wills in his daily walk. Similar to Psalm 15 and 24, it details behaviors we should model today.

I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O Lord, I will make music. I will ponder the way that is blameless. Oh when will you come to me? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil. Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure. 6 I will look with favor on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he who walks in the way that is blameless shall minister to me. No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes. Morning by morning I will destroy all the wicked in the land, cutting off all the evildoers from the city of the Lord. Psalms 101:1-8 (ESV)

David makes a very serious commitment to God. We know that he wasn’t always successful, yet God called him to leadership anyway. How would your life change if you took “the David challenge” and made the same commitments he made in Psalm 101?

Psalm 107 – a long list of ways that God redeems His people. It is a great reminder that whatever our distress, God is faithful and able to walk us through it. Although we may not see immediate relief from our problems, we know that if we simply give God our problems, He is big enough to take care of them. Our problem is that we want to try to “help” God, and that usually gets us in a bigger mess than we had in the first place! Whether you are walking through a desert, feel captive by life’s circumstances, are sick, or feel like you’re drowning in life, know that He is there for you and He cares for you.

Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord. Psalms 107:43 (ESV)

Psalm 133 – In my opinion, the first verse should be displayed everywhere that people gather for interaction! It reminds us of the way God wants us to live.

 Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!  Psalms 133:1 (ESV)
What have you learned from our Scripture readings this week? I’ve been reminded that it’s okay to tell God everything. It’s great to worship Him (and He requires it of me), but He wants me to pour out my heart to Him when I’m sad, or scared, or lonely, or stressed. God isn’t an insurance policy. He’s an assurance policy when I am in a relationship with Him.

What does the relationship require? We learned from Uzzah that we need to take our worship seriously, not going through the motions, but worshiping as the Creator demands. We learn from the Psalmist that the relationship includes telling God about our troubles. We learn from David that the relationship includes such joyous worship that we don’t care what others think! And we learn that God is faithful by seeing His works recounted within the early church hymns.

I pray that you are learning more about right worship, and that that knowledge will affect your worship and service in your home church. I pray that you will “enter His courts with praise” on Sunday, that you will attempt to “dwell in unity” with all you come into contact with, and that this week you will strive to not “set anything before my eyes that is worthless”.

Please take a moment to write and tell me what you are learning as we go through the Scriptures together. Which verses have encouraged you? Challenged you? Inspired you?

If you need prayer or a shoulder to lean on, please email me (or see your pastor). We need to be able to rely on each other!

See you next week.

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