We are complex and so is God

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills — From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2 NKJV

Yesterday we contemplated the complexity of human emotions and the difficult and joyous transition from Saul as King to David. We will be in this transition for a couple days – so today let us contemplate the complexity of God as well.  Maybe we can get to know God deeper and more fully.

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the book of Psalms chapters 121, 123-125, & 128-130 (embedded below for your convenience).  These are 7 of the 15 Psalms of Ascents. Not all of the Psalms of Ascents were written by David.

To me it is interesting that they are placed here in chronological order. In our chronological order story – David doesn’t know yet that Saul and his sons have died. Also there is dispute about when in history they were actually written. You see Psalms are prayer songs. So they were orally passed down from generation to generation. It is generally believed that the book of Psalms was written when Israel was going into Babylonian captivity – written for Daniel who survived the Lion’s den and his contemporaries. So some of the words in the Psalms are also contemporary to that time period  – whereas David would have said tabernacle, there is at least one place it was changed to temple (while some believe David was speaking of a future temple and God’s promise as if it was already fulfilled – like speaking in faith saying “I am healed” when the healing isn’t yet manifested.)

These 15 Songs of Ascents were traditionally sung as people made their way to the temple in Jerusalem on a pilgrimage in order to worship God on the way to the temple.  But the temple wasn’t built when David wrote his. This tradition was resumed when they rebuilt the temple.

Psalms, as a book, was created as a way to write down these songs for future generations in case they couldn’t sing them while they were enslaved by Babylon. They put them in an order that encouraged and helped the captives. They grouped the songs together according to similarities. They also set them together in a way that creates a visual pattern of the temple itself in visual imagery and symbolism. So the captives could not go to the temple to worship – but they could go to the Psalms.

I suppose, the people who put together the assumed chronological order of the events of the Bible (done by many companies and people and I have taken the generally assumed as most accurate of the versions) have placed these Psalms in this position of reading, because we do not know when David wrote them but this was probably the last possible point in which he could have wrote them. Maybe it was during this emotionally complex time of Saul and Johnathan’s death and his rise to the throne. Or was it written in a cave after one victory while still waiting for the promise of being king? Did He write them when He was comforting Saul? Did he write them after God saved him and the sheep from a lion or bear out in the lonely fields?!

What we do know is that these are beautiful prayers of faith and thanksgiving – speaking of how great God is from a humble position that God requests from us. What we know is that these are prayers we should pray regularly and with all our hearts but these are often saved for Jewish holidays and festive occasions that relate to joy and redemption.

I have many past posts about understanding who God is – David knew. So studying these, while focusing on the terms that describe God, is a great lesson – grasping more about this huge and mighty God!

Yesterday we read Psalm 18 when David called God: His Lord, strength, rock and my fortress, deliverer, trustworthy, a shield, horn of salvation, stronghold, worthy to be praised, does what He says He does, listener, earthquaker, angry, breathes smoke, shoots fire from His mouth, able to push down the heavens, has darkness under His feet, rides on a cherub, flies on wings of the wind, maker of darkness, but He has brightness before Him, He makes thick clouds passed with hailstones and coals of fire.

David goes on to describe the Lord as thundering from heaven, His voice is hailstones and coals of fire. He sent out His arrows and lightnings in abundance, and He moved the seas and the foundations of the world just with His exhale from his nose. (I am sorry to interrupt David here – but can you imagine God taking a yoga class… “Breathe in, through your mouth, a nice deep breath, and slowly, out through your nose, ex……..…..” then “Oh God! Stop! Stop exhaling!” as lightning and arrows pour out of His nose and the seas move and expose the dried up foundations of the world! And the whole yoga studio shakes, just for good measure.  Ok – no more yoga for God!!)

Next David describes God as loving, supportive, rescuing, and caring because He delights in humans and rewards them – God is merciful, blameless, pure, shrewd, savior, and conqueror. God is able to bring revelation and enlighten my darkness. God’s way is perfect, proven, a shield and reliable; a rock. And then David continues with describing a teacher: arming, teaching a perfect way, placing on a high place, and giving.  God hold people up, is gentle, bestows blessings, gives security, fulfills the promises He made and restores.

“The Lord lives!” He is alive. He is exalted. He is worth of ALL praise from both Jew and Gentile – all will sing praises to Your Name.

God is BOTH someone to fear and someone who you can run up and curl up in His arms! This is what leads avid into such wonderful praise and worship songs! God LOVES to hear that we understand who He is – moreover that we are thinking and singing and living all about that understanding! This is worship.

So as we read today’s passages let us remember our own complexities and deep honest truths of our shortcomings (to stay humble) and Worship God with David – outside of time and space – and in agreement and unity!  And let us worship God understand His complexity and inability to fail!

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: Hebrews 2:14 – Jesus defeated the devil!
NKJV – “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,”
NAS – “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, so that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,”
ESV – “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,”
NLT – “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.”
NIV – “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Psalms 121, 123, 124, 125, 128, 129, & 130 NKJV

God the Help of Those Who Seek Him

A Song of Ascents.

121 I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to [a]be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your [b]keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.

The Lord shall [c]preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve[d] your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 121:3 slip
  2. Psalm 121:5 protector
  3. Psalm 121:7 keep

Prayer for Relief from Contempt

A Song of Ascents.

123 Unto You I lift up my eyes,
O You who dwell in the heavens.
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters,
As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,
So our eyes look to the Lord our God,
Until He has mercy on us.

Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us!
For we are exceedingly filled with contempt.
Our soul is exceedingly filled
With the scorn of those who are at ease,
With the contempt of the proud.

The Lord the Defense of His People

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

124 “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,”
Let Israel now say—
“If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,
When men rose up against us,
Then they would have swallowed us alive,
When their wrath was kindled against us;
Then the waters would have overwhelmed us,
The stream would have [a]gone over our soul;
Then the swollen waters
Would have [b]gone over our soul.”

Blessed be the Lord,
Who has not given us as prey to their teeth.
Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the [c]fowlers;
The snare is broken, and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.

The Lord the Strength of His People

A Song of Ascents.

125 Those who trust in the Lord
Are like Mount Zion,
Which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
So the Lord surrounds His people
From this time forth and forever.

For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest
On the land allotted to the righteous,
Lest the righteous reach out their hands to iniquity.

Do good, O Lord, to those who are good,
And to those who are upright in their hearts.

As for such as turn aside to their crooked ways,
The Lord shall lead them away
With the workers of iniquity.

Peace be upon Israel!

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 124:4 swept over
  2. Psalm 124:5 swept over
  3. Psalm 124:7 Persons who catch birds in a trap or snare

Blessings of Those Who Fear the Lord

A Song of Ascents.

128 Blessed is every one who fears the Lord,
Who walks in His ways.

When you eat the [a]labor of your hands,
You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
In the very heart of your house,
Your children like olive plants
All around your table.
Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
Who fears the Lord.

The Lord bless you out of Zion,
And may you see the good of Jerusalem
All the days of your life.
Yes, may you see your children’s children.

Peace be upon Israel!

Song of Victory over Zion’s Enemies

A Song of Ascents.

129 “Many a time they have afflicted[b] me from my youth,”
Let Israel now say—
“Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth;
Yet they have not prevailed against me.
The plowers plowed on my back;
They made their furrows long.”
The Lord is righteous;
He has cut in pieces the cords of the wicked.

Let all those who hate Zion
Be put to shame and turned back.
Let them be as the grass on the housetops,
Which withers before it grows up,
With which the reaper does not fill his hand,
Nor he who binds sheaves, his [c]arms.
Neither let those who pass by them say,
“The blessing of the Lord be upon you;
We bless you in the name of the Lord!”

Waiting for the Redemption of the Lord

A Song of Ascents.

130 Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord;
Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
To the voice of my supplications.

If You, Lord, should [d]mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than those who watch for the morning—
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.

O Israel, hope in the Lord;
For with the Lord there is mercy,
And with Him is abundant redemption.
And He shall redeem Israel
From all his iniquities.

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 128:2 Fruit of the labor
  2. Psalm 129:1 persecuted
  3. Psalm 129:7 armsful, lit. bosom
  4. Psalm 130:3 take note of

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