Blessing of God – Psalm 5:11-12

The Lord Is A Shield About The Righteous

11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
12 Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

Royal Refuge

God desires us to seek refuge in Him.  We are to go to God for all of our wants and desires.  It is God who is able to provide us with refuge from all things.  We can seek refuge from God in three ways:

Singing Songs

David was one of the most prolific song writers that we know of in the Bible.  Many of the Psalms were written by him.  David provided us with an example of joyful singing before God in praise and worship.  The Lord enjoys it when we worship Him in song.

Even for those who have not been blessed by God with a voice to sing, we are given a command to make a joyful noise to the Lord.  The Hebrew word eriou is a command and is literally translated “[raise a] shout you!”  Let your heart give praise to God in a shout for all He has done!

Bathed in Blessing

God blesses the righteous, and with the blood of Christ we are declared righteous before Him.  Oh, the many blessings of God!  We are blessed in that we are blessed!  If you ever want to see a short list of some of the most important blessings of God, read Ephesians chapters 1-3.

Sovereign Shield

God is a shield about us and the lifter of our heads.  He desires to gather us like chicks under His wings.  He is our refugeGod is our shieldNo one can snatch us out of His hand.  God has promised to never leave us nor forsake us.  Even when we are in the valley of the shadow of death, God is with us.  He shields us from the second death.

There is nothing that God cannot sovereignly shield his people.  Yet we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.  God may use you as a witness to the unbelieving.  If this is the case, do not fear the tribulation that God has appointed you to bear.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question: Am I praising God as I seek refuge in Him?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are glorious and beautiful beyond description.  You shield us from so much more than we can possibly imagine.  Thank You for your vast and encompassing protection.  Help me, Father, to not forget all that You do in my life.  May my life be a blessing to You.  May Your praise be on my heart and my lips even as I suffer in this life, knowing that You will remove all pain and all tears in Your time.  Help me to endure and to faithful until You call me home.  This I ask and pray in the name of Your Perfect and Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Trust in God – Psalm 62:5-8

Our Souls Can Rest in God When We Trust Him.

5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.

Reasoned Rest

David, the author of this Psalm, encourages himself, and us as well, to allow our souls to find rest in God.  He states he can do this because David, without a doubt in his heart, knows that his hope and salvation come from God.

When we truly take to heart that God is sovereign, and desires for us to be saved, and that He wants to protect us, we can find reassurance and peace in knowing that we are being well cared for by God.

Formidable Fortress

David refers to God as his Rock, Salvation, and Fortress.  God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  He does not change like shifting shadows.  He is perfect in all His ways.  David can depend upon the steadfastness of the character of God.

As a picture of this, David uses a rock to signify how strong, durable, and trustworthy God is to him.  He likens God to a fortress, a well designed structure that is still used today to keep out evil and protect what is inside (think Fort Knox).  In the case of God, He is an impregnable fortress – no one and nothing can penetrate the defenses to attack or corrupt God.  God is immutable, and is able to stay that way because:

  • God is all-powerful: omnipotent
  • God is all-knowing: omniscient
  • God is ever-present: omnipresent

We can depend upon God not only because He is sovereign, but also because it is impossible for Him to not be sovereign.

Sturdy Salvation

David reminds us here that our salvation and honor rest in God.  God and God alone is the only one who can rescue us from our sin.  Our identity is to be found in Jesus Christ.  He is the one who provides us with His righteousness.  He is the one who provides us His honor.

Since God is sovereign, David recognizes that any honor that he has been provided has been given to Him by God.  No one can claim honor, because anything that they have done or accomplished was provided by God.  God has given us our bodies, minds, and souls.  He has provided all of the physical universe.  Even the very breath we are taking right now is because God is gracious to us and is providing it.  Because of this, David is confident in his salvation, as God is the author of it and is able to sustain and protect him.

Treasured Trust

David implores us to place our trust in God and, by implication, not in ourselves, anyone, or anything else.  David can say this with great confidence, as his heart is firmly convinced in the strength, character, and ability of God to do all things needed to protect and provide for us.  David both reasons these things in his mind, and recounts from personal experience how God has been at work in his life.  We can look back on the life of David, and see how David was treated by God and through that, trust in the Living God as David did.

Prayerful Petition

David also exhorts us to pour out our hearts to God.  David implies that he has a two-way relationship with God.  God not only provides for our physical and spiritual needs, he also engages us in EVERY aspect of our lives.  The Lord God Almighty’s very name, YHWH, means “I am he who exists and is dynamically involved in your life.”

God seeks to have the very deepest level of relationship with us.  We can not only trust God with our protection and provision, but also with our innermost desires and concerns.  God waits with anticipation for us to really open up to Him and engage Him as we would our most intimate and best friend.  He delights in us pouring out our hearts to Him.  And while we can bring praises and petitions to Him, we can also share ourselves with Him – even though He already knows us!  It is for OUR benefit, not God’s, that we share ourselves at that deepest level.  God is a jealous God (in the good meaning of jealous) – there is no part of us that God does not declare – “You are MINE!”  Give yourself to Him totally and completely.  And God will satisfy the deepest, innermost part of your soul.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask ourselves a question:  Are we trusting God not only with our protection and provision, but also with our deepest and most hidden inner being?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, it is a glorious thing to know how trustworthy and faithful You are.  You reveal Yourself to us through Your word and Your creation.  You constantly pour out Your love for us in all that You do.  You seek us as a shepherd seeks lost sheep, and care for us with an everlasting love.  Help me to give myself to You in every way, shape, and form, that even my innermost being would be shared with You.  You have earned my trust, and it is my honor to share myself as fully as I can with You.  Help me when I am in need.  Care and provide for me.  And help me to release the parts of myself that I hold on to, that I cling to, and never reveal to anyone.  Help me to bring all of them out into Your glorious and beautiful light, that they would be displayed as precious jewels.  Remove the dross from my life, and if anything in my innermost being is not desirable, help me to bring it out and leave it at the foot of the cross.  This I ask and pray in the precious and mighty name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Leadership with God – Psalm 2:10-12

An Open Letter to All Who Are Called to Leadership by God

10 Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear
and celebrate his rule with trembling.
12 Kiss his son, or he will be angry
and your way will lead to your destruction,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Wise Warning

God sets the tone for these passages with a warning to all leaders.  God specifically mentions kings, then more generally mentions rulers.  All authority comes from God.  There is no authority that exists that is not expressly instituted by God, for God is Sovereign over all creation.  Anyone who is wise will take heed of and allow their heart to ponder His warning to them.

Solemn Service

The Lord God Almighty asserts His Sovereignty and commands those who have been placed in leadership over others to serve Him with (reverential) fear.  God has stated that He is ruler over all.  Just as those who are in leadership over men expect them to heed what they decree, so also does the Lord God Almighty.  Every ruler should celebrate that they are just a link in the chain of leadership over us, rather than the head, for who can rule alone wisely that is not omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent?

As leaders consider their role and position in the chain of leadership, they should do so with trembling.  We are told to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.  In the same way, leaders should carefully consider their actions as they are accountable to the One and Only God who is in authority over them and requires them to be obedient to Him.

Royal Recognition

Leaders are to “kiss the son”.  Matthew Henry points out that we should kiss the son not in way that betrays Him like Judas, but rather with a kiss of adoration and religious worship.  All are to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord.  Every knee show bow and every tongue shall confess that He is Lord.  We can choose to bow the knee now in praise, adoration, and obedience, or we can bend it later in front of the white throne seat of judgement.  The choice is ours.

Angered Answer

Those that choose it ignore their place in leadership and go on to be a “Lone Ranger” will suffer the consequences of their actions.  Just as we expect our children to obey us, God expects us to obey Him.  And when we are disobedient, especially with regards to the usurpation of power and authority by leaders from that which God grants to them over His people, there are grave consequences.

Pride goes before destruction; a haughty spirit before a fall.  Leaders that refuse to accept God’s authority and leading in their lives face eventual destruction.  This will manifest itself in their removal from office by the hand of God through people, circumstances, disability, or even death.  Their destruction is foretold by the one who placed them in leadership to being with.  They rebel against God at their own peril.

Those who rebel will be held accountable by God.  We should pay attention to the past, for God has warned us of what He does to the disobedient:

15 The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. 16 But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. 17 He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and did not spare young men or young women, the elderly or the infirm. God gave them all into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar.

In times past, it was kings like Nebuchadnezzar that were used as tools of God’s wrath.  Now, it is the fundamentalist adherents to Islam that God is using as tools to implement His wrath.

Beatific Blessing

Finally, God pronounces a blessing upon all who take refuge in Him.  When leaders take refuge in God, they will be protected and blessed by the One is able to save and protect them.  Some trust in weapons, and some trust in armies, but wise leaders trust in the Name of the Lord God Almighty.  When leaders of a nation yield themselves to the God of Creation, and celebrate His sovereign authority, they are protected and blessed:

Let us read about the confession of a leader that was humbled by God and then blessed:

33 Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like the ox. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird.

34 At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever.

His dominion is an eternal dominion;
his kingdom endures from generation to generation.
35 All the peoples of the earth
are regarded as nothing.
He does as he pleases
with the powers of heaven
and the peoples of the earth.
No one can hold back his hand
or say to him: “What have you done?”

36 At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

A Qualifying Question

So, let’s ask ourselves a question.  Are we taking God’s warning to leaders to heart, given that all of God’s people are called to be priests of a royal priesthood, and are therefore leaders?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You provide us with the opportunity to be leaders in every aspect of life.  We lead not only our families, but are often called to greater responsibility in our jobs and in government.  Watch over us and help us to fulfill all that You have planned for us in the roles that You have placed us.  Father, keep me humble that I may not rebel against You.  Help me to have a heart that greatly desires and seeks to know You and Your will for every aspect of my life.  Empower me and strengthen me as I seek to honor You and bring glory to Your name.  May all praise, honor, glory, strength, power and dominion be Yours forever and ever, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

A Promise of God – Psalm 34:17-19

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all;

Not one, but three promises of God!

When we cry out, God hears our prayers and delivers us from (through) our troubles.  And look how many troubles we have today!  Cast your burdens upon the Lord; He is able to bear up under them.

Oh, toD know that God is close to us when our heart breaks!  A perfect picture of our kind, gentle, compassionate Father gathering his child into His arms comes to mind.  Only He can help us when we are crushed in spirit.

God is our rock, our refuge, our strength, our fortress.  He can move Heaven and Earth for us.  God’s promise to deliver us from ALL of our troubles should bolster our faith and solidify our hope – our sure belief – that God is not only able to do these things, but that He WILL do them.  God’s character is perfect, and He does not renege on His promises (conditional, unconditional, and implied).  Therefore, pray to God and ask Him to fulfill His promises.

A Short Prayer of Preparation

Father in Heaven, You are perfect in all your ways.  You love your children and give them good gifts.  And unlike us, You fulfill Your every promise.  Father, meet me where I am today.  Deliver me through my trials and troubles.  Stay near to me when my heart breaks.  Provide for all of my needs.  Help me through these most difficult times.  Strengthen me this day and give me confidence in what I am about to face.  You, O Lord, have seen all that is to come and know perfectly how to navigate through it.  Transform my pain into trust, and lead me in the way everlasting.  This I ask and pray in the precious name of your most beloved Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?