ASCENDING

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SONGS OF DEGREES

What is a song of degrees?  Some have suggested these relate to pilgrims approaching the temple site in Jerusalem.  Others suggest a prophetic message of messiah coming.  I wonder if these may have been a bit of both.  Could we all be on a pilgrimage as we approach eternity?  Do our lives pass milestones that mark our growth of faith?  Perhaps this is the pilgrimage of all of mankind as we draw near the end of days and the beginning of eternity.

Psalm 120

(A Song of degrees.) In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me.  Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.  What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue?  Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper.  Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar!  My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace.  I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war.  Psalm 120:1-7

Have we ever known distress?  If you are reading a bible study you have considered God to be a possible source of help in bad times.  Betrayal by people we should be able to trust is a threat.  We hope for justice against the people who live to be evil.  We hope the police will bring their weapons against the violent men.  Don’t we live in evil times, surrounded by the criminal element?  Meshech is a grandson of Noah who faces an evil end.

Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood.  The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras.  Genesis 10:1-2

A prophesy reports that God has spoken against these sons of evil.  Many in the modern world have followed the pattern of these and will share this prosecution by God.

Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:  Ezekiel 39:1

Similarly the sons of Kedar are descended from Ishmael even as the Moslems claim to be.  Modern Israel is surrounded by the tents of Kedar.

And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam,  Genesis 25:13

Can we see people who can only want war even when their enemies are willing to have peace?  The psalmist has reported the condition of our time and unmasked the senseless evil of this world.  We can expect no logic to dissuade the zealots around us.  The spiritual realm is at war and we mortals are assailed by forces that were known from the beginning of time.  God is aware of evil, and he has announced his understanding for our encouragement here.  Our journey to faith may well begin in the dark places, but there is a promise for hope.  It was so for the children of Noah and still works among us today.

Psalm 121

(A Song of degrees.) I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.  My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.  He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.  Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.  The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.  The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.  The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.  The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.  Psalm 121:1-8

I love the mountains here in America’s west.  I expect the psalmist may be looking to Mount Zion.  The Lord is the help he is expecting and the one who created our world has promised to keep his children.  We who believe are the Israel he has promised to protect.  He never rests from his guardianship, and we rest in his shadow.  When I walk my dog in the Arizona desert, she may lay down to rest, and I will add my shadow to that of the sparse brush over us.  So the Lord shelters us from the heat of life’s trials.  We are preserved from evil by God forever.

In Wyoming the mountains are the source of the water that fill reservoirs for the crops of summer.  What was the bitterness of winter becomes the waters of spring.  The psalmist looks to the mountain of Zion for the living water of salvation.  Messiah will bring us eternal life as we progress through our journey here.

Psalm 122

(A Song of degrees of David.) I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.  Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.  Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together:  Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the LORD.  For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.  Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.  For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee.  Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.  Psalm 122:1-8

David is happy to enter the house of worship, the tabernacle of God.  We will stand inside the city Jerusalem which is densely populated.  David’s Jerusalem may have been outside the area of modern Jerusalem but it was already a center for worship.  All the tribes of Israel would gather at this point for worship and government.  We are called to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and for its prosperity.  We know the Prince of Peace, who is the peace of Jerusalem.  For the sake of our Jewish brethren we pray for peace to your city which we favor because of the house of the Lord within it.

Psalm 123

(A Song of degrees.) Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens.  Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us.  Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us: for we are exceedingly filled with contempt.  Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorning of those that are at ease, and with the contempt of the proud.  Psalm 123:1-4

As Israel is established in Jerusalem they can look to God for hope because they have seen that hope as they wandered out of Egypt.  God has become their master, and as employees seek to please employers, they know that he is their source.  As the world heaps scorn on them God becomes their only source of mercy and kindness.  Kings and masters have held them in contempt until now.

Psalm 124

(A Song of degrees of David.) If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, now may Israel say;  If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, when men rose up against us:  Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us:  Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul:  Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.  Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth.  Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.  Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.  Psalm 124:1-8

Even in the promised land, Israel was under siege.  If it had not been God guarding them they would have been overrun by their enemies.  Bless the Lord who did not turn rebellious Israel over to their enemies.  They escaped the snare of the Philistines then even as they do today among the Palestinians.  They returned from the Babylonian and Persian captivity and they will be delivered again from our modern Persians.

Psalm 125

(A Song of degrees.) They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.  As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.  For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity.  Do good, O LORD, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts.  As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the LORD shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity: but peace shall be upon Israel.  Psalm 125:1-5

Perhaps the Romans heard of this psalm, they are reported to have removed the hill known as Mount Zion.  But that was not the spiritual mountain, which is un-moved.  While the rod of Rome was on Israel for a season it did not stop the work of God.  Zealots were tempted to rebel, but that was not the work of God.  He does do good to the people who recognized the spiritual revolution of Yeshua.  Those believers eventually conquered Rome with their belief.  When some went in crooked paths with political ambitions that put power in Rome they were taken away from hope.  True Israel knows the peace of Yeshua and they are blessed by their Prince of Peace.

XYZs OF FAITH

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WHO SCATTERS OUR ENEMIES

As there is another side of life that is found on the other side of the veil, this is the other half of Psalm 119.  How great to know that the other side of life is the greater, the eternal and unlimited side.  Let’s continue to learn the ABCs of getting there.

PSALM 119 (Part 2)

LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.  Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.  They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants.  Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction.  I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me.  I am thine, save me; for I have sought thy precepts.  The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider thy testimonies.  I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad.  Psalm 119:89-96

Lord your word is eternal and living in heaven.  We know his name now, being Yeshua ha Meshiah, or Jesus, who is the word.  Your faithfulness is available to every generation, past, present, and future.  Your servants are all alive today with him.  I would have died in my sins had I not discovered your laws and promises.  I will not forget your teachings because they awakened me to spiritual understanding.  I want to obey you, so teach me and save me from my natural mind.  My enemies tempt me to sin but I will remember your wisdom as my path around their snares.  All worldly good is limited, but your spiritual wisdom is infinite.

MEM. O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.  Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.  I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.  I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.  I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.  I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me.  How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!  Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.  Psalm 119:97-104

This is joy and love to embrace your wisdom and commandments.  You give me divine inspiration over the natural mind of my ever present enemies.  I understand more than my teachers because the wisdom of God is greater than the foolishness of man.  I can avoid the snares and minefields of evil to be obedient to your word.  Since you were my teacher I have not turned away from your instructions.  Yours ways and words are sweet like honey to my tastes.  Because your principles are proven experiences that I now trust, I now hate the false ways of the world.

NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.  I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.  I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word.  Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me thy judgments.  My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law.  The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts.  Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.  I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end. Psalm 119:105-112

What more can I want than a spiritual light to guide my steps?  The word of God is the light that I have promised to follow, guiding me away from destruction.  Although I am under attack I ask you Lord; show me the way to safety.  Accept my worship, my song, and my praise as tuition for your classes.  Although my fears and doubts are always close at hand, I remember your rules.  Real enemies are stalking me but I have not sinned against your commandments.  The faithful testify of your goodness, and I embraced these as my inheritance for eternity.  These promises are my reason for joy.  I am determined to follow you Lord to the end.

SAMECH. I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.  Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.  Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.  Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.  Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.  Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes: for their deceit is falsehood.  Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross: therefore I love thy testimonies.  My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments. Psalm 119:113-120

Vain thoughts, ideas that exalt themselves over God are repulsive.  God you are my fortress and armor.  You who prefer the darkness can do so away from the light of God.  Lord keep me well so I am not shamed in honoring you before the world.  You can hold me up as proof of your statutes while evil workers are falling away.  Lord you put away those who lie and kill, so I love your promises.  I fear your power and I fear your condemnation.

AIN. I have done judgment and justice: leave me not to mine oppressors.  Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me.  Mine eyes fail for thy salvation, and for the word of thy righteousness.  Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy, and teach me thy statutes.  I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies.  It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law.  Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.  Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way. Psalm 119:121-128

As I obey you as ask you not to abandon me to my enemies.  Lord be the security deposit on your promise for my life.  Give me the Holy Spirit who is the ring of spiritual engagement.  I look for the hope of salvation and the word of God, but my eyes are strained by the search.  Give me your mercy as I find it in your word.  Train me to be your servant so I will become a witness of your faithfulness.  The heathen have tried to revoke your laws, so be the God of enforcement now.  Your laws are more precious than gold and prosperity.  Your ways are righteous above all, and I despise the darkness of rebellion.

PE.  Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them. The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments.  Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.  Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.  Deliver me from the oppression of man: so will I keep thy precepts.  Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes.  Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law. Psalm 119:129-136

Your good works are treasures that I keep within my soul.  When your word enters there it brings the light of wisdom to me.  Wanting more I pant like a hunter pursuing your word as food for my hunger.  See my need and give me the mercy you gave the patriarchs who loved you of old.  Let my feet follow your word so I do not travel off the road into the way of sin.  Keep me safe from the traps of evil men so I am not tempted to sin.  Favor me with understanding your will and commandments.  I weep for the sins that I still indulge.

TZADDI. Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments.  Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful.  My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.  Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.  I am small and despised: yet do not I forget thy precepts.  Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.  Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.  The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live. Psalm 119:137-144

Lord, you alone are righteous, your judgment and testimonies alone are true.  I am more passionate about your truth because your enemies have turned away from them.  The word of God is pure, and we love the word that is our Messiah.  While in the eyes of the world I am of low esteem, I still cling to your promises.  I have the same trials as others, but I have joy in your comforting word.  Your promises are eternal, so teach me your ways so I too may live forever.

KOPH. I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O LORD: I will keep thy statutes.  I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.  I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word.  Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.  Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O LORD, quicken me according to thy judgment.  They draw nigh that follow after mischief: they are far from thy law.  Thou art near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth.  Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever. Psalm 119:145-152

I call on God without holding back, with your help Lord I will obey you.  I cry out for you so teach me how to be saved in keeping your word.  My despair darkened my day until I prayed and found hope in your promises.  Instead of watching for night fears I meditate on your comforting pro

RESH. Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law.  Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word.  Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes.  Great are thy tender mercies, O LORD: quicken me according to thy judgments.  Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies.  I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word.  Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness.  Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.Psalm 119:153-160

Lord feel my pain and recognize my acceptance of your word.  Be my advocate and lift me from my depression as your word promises.  Violent and evil people do not even try to follow your will so their hope is removed from them.  I know that you are merciful and ask you to lift my spirit.  I am surrounded by critics and violence but I trust your ways and your word.  I was sorry that our enemies have rebelled against the hope that you offer us.  Lord search my heart and see my faith in you; teach me how I may follow you more closely.  Your words are living truth from beginning to end and your decisions are eternally righteous.

SCHIN. Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word.  I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.  I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love.  Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments.  Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.  LORD, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments.  My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly.  I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my ways are before thee. Psalm 119:161-168

The people with power and authority have belittled me and attacked me when I was innocent.  Still I find that your words have been true against their evil.  Lies and evil I hate while I love your law.  I praise you and no one who loves your law is vulnerable to the anger of the world.  I live for your salvation and your commandments, my heart loves your principles.  Your ways are my ways in everything I do.

TAU. Let my cry come near before thee, O LORD: give me understanding according to thy word.  Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word.  My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes.  My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.  Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts.  I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law is my delight.  Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me.  I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.  Psalm 119:169-176

Lord hear my prayers and my calls for help, and give me spiritual hearing and vision.  May my prayers rise like incense to your throne and give me deliverance.  I will praise you to the world, so help me as I desire your truth.  I desire your salvation as I live in your will.  As long as I live I will tell my world of your righteousness and I will allow your words to guide me.  I have wandered away in sin, so seek me as your lost sheep because I am yours.  Your commandments are my master’s voice.

The sum of the psalm is repeated from Aleph to Tau; there is trouble but there is hope.  We will be challenged and we will respond with faith to wait on God for deliverance.  We praise God to our neighbors who are his lost sheep.  We embrace the promises and laws of God and we see the faithfulness of God in his season.  This repetition is like memorizing the alphabet; it plants understanding that we can depend on for our entire lifetime.  It delivers another lifetime for eternity, so we can live by it.

PRAISE HIM OR FEAR HIM

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 Persecution2

ACKNOWLEDGE HIM    

We are usually admonished to praise God in these psalms.  But today the psalmist addressed God directly as a participant in the song of life.  To live for God we have to live with God, illustrating our trust for the world to see.  Like dark matter and dark energy we cannot measure the spiritual realm, but we know that it holds the universe together.  Someone is there for anyone who can see with the eyes of faith.

PSALM 108 (A Song or Psalm of David.)

O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.   Awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.  I will praise thee, O LORD, among the people: and I will sing praises unto thee among the nations.  For thy mercy is great above the heavens: and thy truth reacheth unto the clouds.  Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: and thy glory above all the earth;  Psalm 108: 1-5

I have joy in the morning because God has given me a day.  Since he has also given me eternal days I have even more reason to praise him.  Now I have a greater adventure because I can share that eternal gift with others.  All I have to do is to make sure I tell people about the gifts of God.  God’s mercy reaches all the people on the earth, and he can also reach those in orbit in space.  Remember Apollo 8 astronauts reading from Genisis?  We too can praise him today!

That thy beloved may be delivered: save with thy right hand, and answer me.  God hath spoken in his holiness; I will rejoice, I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth.  Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine; Ephraim also is the strength of mine head; Judah is my lawgiver;  Moab is my washpot; over Edom will I cast out my shoe; over Philistia will I triumph.  Who will bring me into the strong city? who will lead me into Edom?  Psalm 108: 6-10

Lord, be glorified by my testimony to others so I too can be saved.  I will divide the lands of Seechem and deliver the property to its owners of Israel.  This same passage is found in Psalm 60.  David is assured of victory and ownership of the Canaan lands.  He is confident of victory over the enemies of Israel.

Wilt not thou, O God, who hast cast us off? and wilt not thou, O God, go forth with our hosts?  Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man.  Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies. Psalm 108: 11-13

You, the God who threw us away, won’t you go into the battle with us now?  Our generals are only men, and their plans are feeble next to yours.  Now we will remember to call on you and with your help we will have our victory.  It is God who wins our battles for us, not our own works.

Oh my, this writer has been unemployed for over five years now, and I have no education of note.  But the trade skill that I have remains in reach and God has pointed out open doors to serve.  My plans are feeble, but I have seen deliverance.  We can invest in business or plant crops, but it is the Lord who will bring the harvest.

PSALM 109  (To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.)

Hold not thy peace, O God of my praise;  For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue.  They compassed me about also with words of hatred; and fought against me without a cause.  For my love they are my adversaries: but I give myself unto prayer.  And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love.  Psalm 109: 1-5

Is there true evil in the world?  Do people allow their minds to imagine false accusations?  At times even the people of faith may be tempted to judge falsely without evidence or even an excuse for investigation.  Rumors are just as good as facts, and some even invent the rumors to serve their jealousy.  For these David asks God to be the judge.  David will not act against them except in prayer.  He will trust God to clear a safe path for him.

Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand.  When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin.  Let his days be few; and let another take his office.  Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.  Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places. Psalm 109: 6-10

If these people love evil then give them a leader of their own kind.  Those who hear the dark ideas are listening to Satan and they are the leaders who will draw the evil men down to the lake of fire with their dark lord.  If they spawn like flies their children learn the ways of maggots, so the sins of the fathers will draw them into decay as well.

Let the extortioner catch all that he hath; and let the strangers spoil his labour.  Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children.  Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out.  Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the LORD; and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out.  Let them be before the LORD continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth. Psalm 109: 11-15

Extortioners may be crude criminals or respected elected officials.  So evil men may suck the life blood of other evil men as they gather in dark cities.  The sins of fathers, sons, and grandchildren are all observed and noted by God.  They are already booked for prosecution.

Because that he remembered not to shew mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy man, that he might even slay the broken in heart.  As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him: as he delighted not in blessing, so let it be far from him.  As he clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment, so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones.  Let it be unto him as the garment which covereth him, and for a girdle wherewith he is girded continually.  Let this be the reward of mine adversaries from the LORD, and of them that speak evil against my soul. Psalm 109: 16-20

These Are people who have a memory problem about mercy.  These people may have bible teaching, but the natural heart yearns for vengeance.  If they do not ask for supernatural help they may start a tale that turns into a lynch mob.  So David asks God to mark the works of evil “return to sender”.  So the cursing will become the covering of those who launched the attack.

But do thou for me, O GOD the Lord, for thy name’s sake: because thy mercy is good, deliver thou me.  For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me.  I am gone like the shadow when it declineth: I am tossed up and down as the locust.  My knees are weak through fasting; and my flesh faileth of fatness.  I became also a reproach unto them: when they looked upon me they shaked their heads. Psalm 109: 21-25

David has been a target, and he asks God to save him.  Later in the book of Esther we will see a demonstration that returns evil to the enemy of Esther and her uncle Mordecai.  They may have remembered this example that David has left for us during their crisis.

Help me, O LORD my God: O save me according to thy mercy:  That they may know that this is thy hand; that thou, LORD, hast done it.  Let them curse, but bless thou: when they arise, let them be ashamed; but let thy servant rejoice.  Let mine adversaries be clothed with shame, and let them cover themselves with their own confusion, as with a mantle.  I will greatly praise the LORD with my mouth; yea, I will praise him among the multitude.  For he shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those that condemn his soul. Psalm 109: 26-31

When your enemies know that God was their judge, they witness another form of praise.  This revelation is evidence of a mighty God.  Enemies will learn to fear God while the persecuted learn to praise God.  When the poor are delivered, they know that their God was their hope and their strength.  These are the witnesses that praise with sincerity.  Their testimony is the hope of the world around us

CAUSE AND EFFECT

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DRY SEA 

ACKNOWLEDGE HIM    

We are usually admonished to praise God in these psalms.  But today the psalmist addressed God directly as a participant in the song of life.  To live for God we have to live with God, illustrating our trust for the world to see.  Like dark matter and dark energy we cannot measure the spiritual realm, but we know that it holds the universe together.  Someone is there for anyone who can see with the eyes of faith.

O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.  Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;  And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south.  They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in.  Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.  Psalm 107:1-5

To speak to God with gratitude acknowledges his participation in the conversation and in our conversion.  Acknowledgement to him and to our world confirms the source of safety to all who know they need to be saved from a spiritual enemy.  Everyone so redeemed still has a journey to reach a promised land, and it is still a hard road.  When I announce that God is my source and destination our fellow travelers know where to find what they are hungering for.

Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses.  And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.  Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!  For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.  Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron;  Psalm 107:6-10

Amazingly after all these lessons the people do remember who to turn to for help.  They find the right road through the hard times and arrive at the city of glory.  If people would just give honor and praise to God for the neighbors to learn about him!  He does deliver hope to the needy.  Those neighbors are bound in death by the mistakes that tear their lives apart.  Old fashioned mistakes like fornication and greed fail to build a good life.  Avoidable mistakes bring them disease, divorce, poverty, and prison.

Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High:  Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help.  Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses.  He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.  Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!  For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder.  Psalm 107:11-16

Because they rebelled…the cause is found in their choices.  Although God allowed the consequences they suffered, but only enough to be awakened.  We can all wake up and follow their example.  They cried to the Lord and he saved the people who didn’t deserve to be saved.  There was real pain and despair before that relief came, and we only need to remember to appreciate what God has offered us.  We should tell our neighbors who gives us mercy, grace, and wisdom for safety.  The Lord is good.

Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted.  Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death.  Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses.  He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. Psalm 107:17-20

Who is punished?  Those who try to evade the natural laws of God.  Those who refuse to believe that they answer to a real God discover real distress until they hear that God is good.  Then they speak to God and discover mercy.  Israel repeated this cycle endlessly as an example to us.  Don’t we sometimes read the bible and wonder why they never learn?  They are our example for today.

Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!  And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.  They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;  These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.  For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. Psalm 107:21-25

So, church, it is our job to praise God to our friends so they remember his name.  Giving thanks is a sacrifice for them, a huge effort after actively ignoring him.  Once they start he joins them and inspires their rejoicing.  This pattern is also seen among the men who go to sea as sailors.  They witness the power of his works as the waves sink and rise to tower over them.  I took a canoe past a breakwater in Lake Huron once, and immediately felt the power of the lake pulling me away from the safety of land. I retreated quickly.

They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.  They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end.  Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.  He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.  Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.  Psalm 107:26-30

Those stormy waves can still overpower the modern super freighters.  The oceans, and even the Great Lakes have broken the backs of steel leviathans.  Those men witness a ship capsizing and rolling like a toy while their legs forget where their balance is at.  These men remember what prayer is for, and God remembers to honor them.  There are many kinds of storms in life, and God is prepared to guard the coasts of your home as well.

Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!  Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.  He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground;  A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.  He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings. Psalm 107:31-35

How can God bring them to the desired haven if no one is operating the lighthouse?  Who will publish a declaration of the safe haven in Jesus name?  God can turn the rivers and seas into a desert.  In Russia the Aral Sea has become a desert as our cover photo shows, but in Israel the desert has been made to bloom as the people of the land return.

And there he maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation;  And sow the fields, and plant vineyards, which may yield fruits of increase.  He blesseth them also, so that they are multiplied greatly; and suffereth not their cattle to decrease.  Again, they are minished and brought low through oppression, affliction, and sorrow.  He poureth contempt upon princes, and causeth them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way. Psalm 107:36-40

Where God created the waters he brought the hungry to build their city.  Even today God has planted the Jews in prosperous fields and they are blessed in Israel.  They do still see war and strife, but they will see their way to salvation in his time.  God has no respect for leaders who mislead or abuse their flocks so they are left in confusion.

Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock.  The righteous shall see it, and rejoice: and all iniquity shall stop her mouth.  Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD. Psalm 107:41-43

While leaders are lost, their people are delivered from poverty and established their families as his own sheep.  Those who observe the deliverance of the oppressed will celebrate while evil will fall silent in fear.  Wisdom will have the spiritual view of all this and reflect the love that God would want, even as he gives.

 

REMEMBERANCE

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 RED SEA

COVENANT

 

As always the psalmist gives honor to God for his goodness.  Formerly he observed the ancient works, and now he addresses the gifts that God gave to the patriarchs.  Nature has been our womb, and now supernatural freedom has been given to man.    Abraham leads us to generations of evidence for God.

 

Psalm 105

 

O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.  Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.  Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.  Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.  Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;  Psalm 105:1-5

 

How else can I start my day except to praise God for giving it to me?  I’m alive!  I have this day and I can tell the world about the great days I have witnessed where God has given me victory.  Before my day were the foundations of time, and more recently are the patriarch who also gave this testimony.

 

O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen.  He is the LORD our God: his judgments are in all the earth.  He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.  Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac;  And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant: Psalm 105:6-10

 

You of Israel who are descended from Abraham Isaac and Jacob, he is our God.  I can say this as one grafted into the family of Abraham by faith.  He is our God, and I am of Abraham.  God remembers the covenant he made with Abraham, and we are all part of this eternal agreement.

 

Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance:  When they were but a few men in number; yea, very few, and strangers in it.  When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people;  He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes;  Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm. Psalm 105:11-15

 

This morning I celebrate God’s promise that Israel has Cannan and we all have our promised land.  Abraham had a small family in a large land so God protected them from enemies in that strange new land.  Indeed Abraham’s family was able to intervene against  kings with strong armies.  His new nation was under God’s protection even as it has been since 1948.

 

Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread.  He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:  Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron:  Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.  The king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and let him go free. Psalm 105:16-20

 

A famine in the land; isn’t that bad news?  And Joseph the favorite son was secretly sold as a slave.  Worse still, he became a convicted sex offender, which wasn’t good even in those days.  The word of the Lord tried him, then the word came.  Yeshua was there even then to be the word and to give mercy to Joseph.

 

He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance:  To bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom.  Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.  And he increased his people greatly; and made them stronger than their enemies.  He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtilly with his servants. Psalm 105:21-25

 

The king made Joseph ruler of his substance, kind of a prime minister.  Not bad for an ex-con.  Now the young man is a wealthy ruler of Egypt when his brothers arrive seeking food to survive.  When they recognized their lost brother, he gave mercy as God had given to him.  Israel prospered while Egypt began to hate them.  Do I see a shadow of Messiah in all this?  A brother presumed dead returns with mercy and the world begins to hate these children of faith over the centuries they lived together.

 

He sent Moses his servant; and Aaron whom he had chosen.  They shewed his signs among them, and wonders in the land of Ham.  He sent darkness, and made it dark; and they rebelled not against his word.  He turned their waters into blood, and slew their fish.  Their land brought forth frogs in abundance, in the chambers of their kings. Psalm 105:26-30

Moses experiences the opposite of Joseph, leaving royal comforts to become a shepherd to a stubborn flock.  Egypt rejected his declaration of independence so God delivered plagues on them.

 

He spake, and there came divers sorts of flies, and lice in all their coasts.  He gave them hail for rain, and flaming fire in their land.  He smote their vines also and their fig trees; and brake the trees of their coasts.  He spake, and the locusts came, and caterpillers, and that without number,  And did eat up all the herbs in their land, and devoured the fruit of their ground. Psalm 105:31-35

 

God sent bugs.  I moved to the west from Michigan and I don’t miss the bugs that seek blood relentlessly.  I could have taken that hint alone.  But Egypt needed hail, fire, storms, and even more nasty bugs.  The harvest was all gone now.

 

He smote also all the firstborn in their land, the chief of all their strength.  He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes.  Egypt was glad when they departed: for the fear of them fell upon them.  He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night.  The people asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven. Psalm 105:36-40

 

Oh Egyptian leaders can’t take a hint.  Just ask their last president, even today.  The death of children closed the deal though, and Israel was sent away gladly, with riches as well.  Egypt feared Israel, but they failed to understand that they should fear the Lord.  In our day some of Egypt have discovered Christ, and they too are grafted in to Israel by faith.  Israel left with a guiding light and provisions for their journey.

 

He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river.  For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham his servant.  And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness:  And gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labour of the people;  That they might observe his statutes, and keep his laws. Praise ye the LORD. Psalm 105:41-45

 

Again a shadow of Yeshua Ha Meschia in this rock.  We will remember that a rock of ages, the stone the builders rejected, will produce living water in the future.  The psalmist is again singing in the spirit, and God is using him for a prophetic message.  Israel received a land and the psalmist reminds us again to always Praise the Lord.  Praise is capitalized, as a verb and a noun both it is a proper sacrifice to God.

OF OLD

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IMG_0840

 

TO YOU       

The psalmist again demonstrates praise, reveals the power that it awakens, and includes you in those rewards.  He offers a comparison of that which is alive and growing and that which is a dead growth of a past season.  You are invited to join the endless summer; can you feel the Lord in this?

 

Psalm 103 (A Psalm of David.)

 

Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:  Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;  Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;  Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.  Psalm 103:1-5

 

We can call our whole being into service to exalt the name of the Lord.  As I engage my whole being in praise I remember all the ways that he has already lifted me in the past.  He has lifted me from my worst state and delivered me from injuries and illness.  He carried my family and I through lean times.  I feel strength and energy as he restores my youthful energy.

 

The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.  He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.  The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.  He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.  He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.  For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.  Psalm 103:6-11

 

All the downtrodden can call on God for help, and will hear his people.  He will let us recover from his correction and he forgives us.  His mercy is great enough that he doesn’t give us what we really deserve.

 

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.  Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.  For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.  As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.  For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.  Psalm 103:12-16

 

We dwell on the great expanse of mercy where are sins are beyond the horizon of memory.  God sympathizes with those who fear and obey him.  He knows that we are weak flesh, full of temptations.  Our days are too short to be of value without mercy.  We are gone like last year’s grass.

 

But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children;  To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.  The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.  Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments,   hearkening unto the voice of his word.  Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.  Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul.  Psalm 103:17-22

 

There is no limit to God’s forgiveness and mercy; you are eligible.  He is fair to you and your family down to your grandchildren.  His throne is established above everything else.  The psalmist is envisioning the glory above and in this he calls the heavenly host to exalt the Lord too.  The psalmist is calling the angels, the ministers, and the heavens to bless the Lord as if he himself is in a vision of the heavenly host.  He calls all of the creation to bless the creator, and finally he again calls his own soul to bless the Lord.  It would seem that his soul has complied, and probably the host of heaven as well.  Mission accomplished in the joy of the Lord.

 

Psalm 104

This psalmist will not let his soul forget to bless the Lord.  He reminds us as well, and an often repeated lesson is meant to be learned.

 

Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty.  Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:  Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind:  Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:  Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.  Psalm 104:1-5

 

The psalmist engages his soul in direct communion with the Lord now.  He honors the Lord as a participant in this song.  Some songs are not written with great effort, but spring from the soul as a spontaneous celebration.  He sings as speaking directly to the Lord, and as one who is seeing the vision he is painting in song.  This is a song inspired by the subject of his praise, the Lord himself.  The word is living and revealing himself in the living word here, even as he inspired the singer.

 

Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains.  At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.  They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.  Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.  He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills. Psalm 104:6-10

 

You Lord covered the earth with oceans and changed their places and their foundations.  You sent them in the great flood, then limited them from doing that ever again.  You delivered our springs and rivers to the earth.

 

They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst.  By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches.  He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.  He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;  And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart. Psalm 104:11-15

 

You, our creator, gave the streams for the creatures and the plants of the earth.  You provided crops for man and his herds, and abundant foods to give life and joy to man.

 

The trees of the LORD are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted;  Where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir trees are her house.  The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and the rocks for the conies.  He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down.  Thou makest darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth. Psalm 104:16-20

 

God created robust trees for the birds, and hills for the wildlife of the earth.  Here in Wyoming we have the mountain sheep, elk, and antelope.  Around the world God provided a food chain for all the grazing and predatory animals.  Now we have to protect his creation from poachers and the lust for profit.  God also provided men to serve as game agents, and technicians to patrol the skies with drones.  He still provides today.

 

The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God.  The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens.  Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening.  O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.  So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. Psalm 104:21-25

 

The order of God provides for lions and men alike.  The wisdom of God is established in the wonder of creation.  The earth and the seas declare the order that is, and that has been in place for the ages.

 

There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein.  These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season.  That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good.  Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.  Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth. Psalm 104:26-30

 

On the seas are ships and great creatures that all depend on God for life.  The life of the earth comes and fades into death only to be replaced by new life.  The cycle of life is eternal.  Lord, your spirit established and renews all the life here.

 

The glory of the LORD shall endure for ever: the LORD shall rejoice in his works.  He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: he toucheth the hills, and they smoke.  I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.  My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.  Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the LORD, O my soul. Praise ye the LORD. Psalm 104:31-35

 

God is glorified and he is the power over the earth.  The psalmist sings praises of God, and will do so for his lifetime.  These are the testimonies of God that have been confirmed for all the ages of the past and of the future to come.  This is testimony of God from old times, and newer assurances will come in the next psalms.  The psalmist knows a lifetime of evidence, and declares the evidence of all history: God is good.

TRUMPET

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 SHOFAR

DRAWING NEAR  

Begin your days with praise.  Accept the gift of dawn as a day of opportunity, and celebrate the end of the day as leading us to better days that will never end.  This life is a short day of trials and challenges. But the next life is endless joy.  The challengers who confront us are challenging God and they will be answered in his time.  The signs of the day of the Lord are here now.

Psalm 100  (A Psalm of praise.)

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.  Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.  Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.  Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.  For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.  Psalm 100:1-5

Can I begin my day better than a song to the Lord?  I thank God for a new day, and I ask forgiveness and guidance, but am I just mumbling?  We are his sheep, and have a new day to graze on the bread of life.  Even the sheep make a little noise as they move through their day.  So we should be in the spiritual temple even on days when life keeps us at work and home, always announcing his greatness to the world.

Psalm 101 (A Psalm of David.)

I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.  I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.  I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.   A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.  Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.  Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me.  He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.  I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD.  Psalm

David begins his day with praise, and with the purpose to be a living example of God’s goodness.  He expects God to answer, and he aims to keep his house and heart free of sin when he arrives.  I can ask God to forgive and to deliver me from temptation every morning.  But it is hard for me to feel spiritually lifted if I carry the weight of my own mischief.  David has also decided to be separated from evil people.

Now even in the church we may encounter an infiltrator, one who serves the enemy more than the Lord.  We need to turn away from these without trying to impose our laws on them.  Church leadership should know how to deal with problems.  But we may have to warn a friend away from error if we truly love them.  That means we ask if they understand without intending to hurt or belittle them.  Similarly our feed on Facebook may need to un-follow or un-friend those who feed us too much gossip or whining.  I can speak up when people are being bullies or when they belittle the gospel too.  The world is attempting to burn down the house of God.

Psalm 102   (A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the LORD.)

Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee.  Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily.  For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth.  My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread.  By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin. Psalm 102:1-5

Lord hear my prayer and come quickly to help me.  Medication does not cure depression.  Prosperity does not lift your spirits unless you are imbibing spirits.  Those spirits and drugs only drag you deeper into despair.  Humor will not make the nightmares go away.  But some troubles are connected to real enemies and violent threats.  Poverty, sickness, and death follow us along the road of life.

I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert.  I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top.  Mine enemies reproach me all the day; and they that are mad against me are sworn against me.  For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping,  Because of thine indignation and thy wrath: for thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down. Psalm 102:6-10

I wish I could fly above these threats like a bird.  How many Christians are being attacked and driven out by every manner of false cults?  In some cases our own sins have invited God to add to our suffering.  But we don’t have to take guilt from everyone because repentance and faith can lift us out of our despair.

My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass.  But thou, O LORD, shalt endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations.  Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come.  For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof.  So the heathen shall fear the name of the LORD, and all the kings of the earth thy glory. Psalm 102:11-15

Don’t these days disappear like smoke in the wind, or like the grass without water?  But God does not fade, and he remains on the throne of mercy.   Zion is to be favored again, and the land of Israel is still holy.  Rebellious men and their kings will know the power of God in his season.

When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.  He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.  This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD.  For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth;  To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death; To declare the name of the LORD in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem;  When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.  Psalm 102:16-21

How do the Christians retain hope and joy in the face of persecution?  This is possible because this verse is a solid promise to them from God.  He will hear their prayers, see the evil earth, and deliver the oppressed.  The world today is marked by persecution in many nations.  They will see their hope in God.  HE will release them to peace in his service.  http://www.persecution.com/public/newsroom.aspx

He weakened my strength in the way; he shortened my days.  I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are throughout all generations.  Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. Psalm 102:21-25

We may often feel like God has left us suffering and fear an early demise.  But the psalmist asks God for relief knowing that he will be heard.  God forms heaven and earth and the days of every soul.

They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:  But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.  The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee. Psalm 102:26-28

The creation itself will fade while God is eternal.  There will be a new heaven and a new earth, but God and his people will endure eternally.  We can see the world around us a mankind circling the drain.  I watch old television shows on the internet and notice the gradual slide towards immorality.  We see the news and the anarchy that seems to reign as Christians and Jews are persecuted.  As Joseph and Daniel prospered in captivity so we will continue in the days ahead.  How the son of God will shine on the dark day of his return.  Are we living in the generation to witness that event?  Perhaps the trumpet is being blown in Zion this very day.

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