Songs Of Worship

Reading Plan: 1 Chron. 6

1 Chronicles 6
31 Now these are those whom David appointed over the service of song in the house of the LORD, after the ark rested there.
32 They ministered with song before the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, until Solomon had built the house of the LORD in Jerusalem; and they served in their office according to their order.

David, who had a heart after God, was the chief author of Psalms. He knew that God loves when we sing songs to Him. David appointed people to lead others in song to The Lord.

Yesterday, Ellani, my 3 year old granddaughter, sang with all her heart. I was delighted by her joy. As I listened to her sing, I thought about how God must be blessed by her sweet voice.

David had it right. God loves when we sing to Him.

 


What Keeps You Up At Night?

Reading Plan: Psalms 73, 77-78

Psalm 77:4-9 (NASB)
4 You have held my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
5 I have considered the days of old, The years of long ago.
6 I will remember my song in the night; I will meditate with my heart, And my spirit ponders:
7 Will the Lord reject forever? And will He never be favorable again?
8 Has His lovingkindness ceased forever? Has His promise come to an end forever?
9 Has God forgotten to be gracious, Or has He in anger withdrawn His compassion? Selah.

The Psalmist writes during a time when he could not sleep. He felt that God and his troubles held a partnership in keeping his eyelids open. Sleep was no where to be found. He incessantly prayed, but did not find comfort in God.

Many of you can relate to this. Have you ever cried out to God and felt as if He was not listening? A sleepless night is temporary, but the faithfulness of God is forever. In verse 12, the sleepless one begins to meditate on all the works of God. He said he “muses” on His deeds. This brings a change in perspective and in this he finds comfort. By being reminded of the power of God, he restores his faith.

In the last verse he is reminded that God is our shepherd. A good shepherd would never leave His sheep. He will always lead, guide, and care for them. This is our God. Meditate on the works of our King & find rest in Him.


The Prayer Of Jabez

Reading Plan: 1 Chron. 3-5

1 Chronicles 4:9-10 (NASB)
9  Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, “Because I bore him with pain.”
10  Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested.

Pay close attention to Jabez’s  prayer. It can easily be overlooked in the midst of the genealogies. His prayer was life changing.

Jabez was born in pain and his name had the potential to mark his life in a negative way. However, Jabez drew closer to God. His prayer life was so remarkable that God wants us to know about it.

Jabez called out to God and God answered. We need to do the same. Let us pray like Jabez…

1) Ask God to bless you. Contemplate and ask God to bless you in specific ways. What would it be like if God truly blessed you? If you are unsure then ask God to show you what the blessed life would be like for you. Pray for His blessing and believe that He will grant it.

2) Enlarge your borders. In Jabez’s case, he knew the blessing of God would be for his lands to increase. In your own life, what would enlarged borders look like? As you pray to God, envision what it would look like for this to occur. God loved that Jabez made his request known to Him. God desires that we do the same.

3) Your hand might be with me. This is a reference to the fact that Jabez always wanted to be in God’s presence and have His protection and provision. The hand of God is the hand of power. It also means that God would hand him things. What do you want God to protect you from and provide for you?

4) Keep me from pain. In God’s plan, many go through times of pain. Job did and so did David. Jesus suffered more than anyone ever will. Yet God answered Jabez’s prayer. While God may allow suffering in order in order to work in us & through us, you can still pray for God to protect you form pain. James 4:2 says we have not because we ask not. Thus, we need to ask. Jabez had pain in his early life and God brought him to a place where it all ended. May He do the same for you.

Ultimately, we ALL need to pray. Pray, “not my will but Your will be done.”

 


Hearts Set On Pilgrimage

Reading Plan: Psalms 43-45, 49, 84-85, 87

Psalm 84:5-7 (NASB)
5  How blessed is the man whose strength is in You, In whose heart are the highways to Zion!
6  Passing through the valley of Baca they make it a spring; The early rain also covers it with blessings.
7  They go from strength to strength, Every one of them appears before God in Zion.

I love this Psalm! It is a song about the joy of pilgrimage. Three times a year, a devout Jewish person would make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. They would go to the Temple to seek and worship the Lord. This would be a joyful and wonderful journey.

As they journeyed to Jerusalem, they were to reflect on the condition of their life, the world, & what the needs of others were. They would meditate on the grief, suffering, & pain of others. That is what going through the Valley of Baca refers to. The Valley of Baca means “weeping.” Coming to God entails being aware of the joys and the sorrows of the world we live in.

Coming to God also involves leaving our sorrows behind. The “rain of blessings” referenced in verse 6 demonstrates  the washing away of tears from pain. A purpose of the ascent to Jerusalem and Temple mount was to leave it all behind.

This Psalm portrays how blessed we are when we become aware of the sorrow that others possess. We become aware because we care. This is the life that God blesses. God takes the pain away and wipes the tears from our eyes. God delivers us to a place of joy which will never cease. We are currently on the most important “pilgrimage” of all! We are journeying through this world on an ascent to heaven. Our arrival is when the real time of blessing comes!

 


Division

Reading Plan: 1 Chron. 1-2

1 Chronicles 1:10…”Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one in the earth.”

1 Chronicles 1:19…”the name of one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided.”

These verses reference a remarkable time in ancient history. Nimrod was the founder of Babel (Genesis 10:10). This was the city where people rebelled against God by making a tower so they would not have to scatter and fill the earth as God had told them to do (Genesis 9:7).

To put an end to their rebellion, God caused them to begin to speak in different languages so they would not be able to understand each other. This disrupted unity and forced them to live apart from one another.

The name, Peleg, means division.

What we learn from these passages of scripture is that God will always have His will accomplished. If He desires for people to scatter and fill the earth, then they will. We also learn how God is unquestionably involved in our lives. He did not create us and then abandon us. God cares. He works for our good. In the genealogies of the Bible, a division would lead to the birth of the Jewish nation. This would bring about the birth of the Messiah. It would bring about our birth as God’s children through the blood of Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The division in the past would impel unity between God and man in the present.

 

 


The Law Of the Lord Is Perfect

Reading Plan: Psalms 6, 8-10, 14, 16, 19, 21

Psalm 19:7-11 (NASB)
7  The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
8  The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9  The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.
10  They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
11  Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; In keeping them there is great reward.

The Law of the Lord is perfect. God has provided His perfect Word to us and He has protected it. We can trust that no one will ever be able to corrupt His Word. It is His message to us and it is His gift to us.

Take some time to reflect on how these verses describe what the Word of God does. His promises are true & exist for you!

 


David’s Relationship With God

Reading Plan: 2 Samuel 1-4

We can learn a lot from observing David’s relationship with the Lord. I would like to highlight two things to note from our reading in 2 Samuel 1-4. The first is found in 2 Samuel 2:1.

2 Samuel 2:1 (NASB)
1  Then it came about afterwards that David inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go up to one of the cities of Judah?” And the LORD said to him, “Go up.” So David said, “Where shall I go up?” And He said, “To Hebron.”

David knew that he needed God’s guidance and direction regarding where he should travel and reside. We need to do the same. Proverbs 3:5-6 states, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”

The second thing I took note of is found in 2 Samuel 4:9.

2 Samuel 4:9 (NASB)
9  David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said to them, “As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my life from all distress,…”

David not only apprehended God’s guidance, he experienced His deliverance. David did not have an easy life, but God always came through for him in the end. God not only redeems us from sin, when we love and trust Him; He will also redeem us from all distress.

 


Seven Mountains

Reading Plan: 121, 123-125, 128-130

Psalm 125:1-2 (NASB)
1Those who trust in the LORD Are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever.
2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, So the LORD surrounds His people From this time forth and forever.

Israel and Southern California have resembling features. That is one of the observations I made when I traveled to Israel for the first time. The hills that surround us in Southern California are very similar to the hills that surround Jerusalem. Jerusalem is surrounded by seven hills which are still, to this day, referred to as mountains. The most famous hills are the Mount of Olives and Mount Zion.

David envisions God protecting us & providing security just as the seven mountains of Jerusalem do. We were designed to look up to God as the means from which we draw our strength (Psalm 121:1-2). In Southern California, we can gaze upon the mountains and be reminded that God is present & will protect us in our times of trouble. He is a our perpetual sense of security.

 


God Is Gracious

Reading Plan: 1 Samuel 28-31; Psalm 18

After 16 Months of backsliding…

1 Samuel 30:6 (NASB)
“Moreover David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.”

This marks the return of David’s faith. He spent 16 months away from the Lord, despoiled in his faith. During this time, he raided villages and lied about what he did. He became entrusted by Achish, one of the Philistine lords. David believed he would serve him forever.

Then, it all fell apart. The Philistines sent him away. His camp was raided and their loved ones were taken. The people he trusted were ready to stone him. After 16 months, he received a wake up call. His heart was awakened and he turned to God. God, by His grace, took his son back.

God is gracious and ALWAYS desires for those who wander to return. There is nothing we can do that our merciful God will not forgive and redeem!

 


Apple Of His Eye

Reading Plan: Psalms 17, 35, 54, 63

Psalm 17:8 (NASB)
8 Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings

David fathomed how precious he was to God. In the midst of his troubles, he knew God would protect him because of His great love.

David felt he was the apple of God’s eye. Some interpret it as meaning the pupil of God’s eye because the black area at the center of our eyes looks like an apple. If someone were to try to touch your eye, your reaction would be to recoil and do everything in your means to protect it. Therefore, some interpret the verse as David depicting how precious we are to God; anyone who seeks to touch us or harm us would receive the same reaction from God. God would recoil & protect.

Others believe the verse describes how we are like a beautiful apple that is treasured by God. God views us as an apple that stands out for it’s beauty, is sweet & delicious when eaten. They perceive that David is saying that we are like the apple that is chosen & picked from a tree. Apart from the rest of the apples, we are chosen.

However you choose to interpret the verse, I want you to know that you matter to God! You are precious to Him & eternally loved by Him.

You are the apple of His eye!

 

 

 

 


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