As we bring our Summer Bible reading and devotional series to a close, I’m grateful for the opportunity we’ve had to let God’s Word shape and form our thoughts and daily lives. I’ve greatly enjoyed and benefited from the thoughts and reflections of the entire team of writers. Thank you!
Our final daily reading is found in Psalm 139—another well-known and well-loved Psalm. And a fitting final Word.
Have you ever felt helpless? I don’t mean helpless in the sense of, say, being a Mariner fan halfway through the season (sorry, I love them too…just being real!). I mean helpless in the sense of having a pit in your stomach…like you don’t know the outcome of your situation.
Have you ever had dehydration sickness in the heat of summer? I have experienced this unpleasant condition multiple times. You would think once would be enough to teach me the lesson, but no, I have proven myself to be rather thick-headed in this particular area...the area, that is, of making sure I'm adequately hydrated BEFORE doing physically demanding activities in extreme heat.
If you haven't noticed by now, Psalm 119 is an epic journey. It's the great treatise in the Word of God about the Word of God. The perspective of the Psalmist is striking to me in how he views the Word of God as immediately helpful. In his darkest hour, the Psalmist is running to God's Word.
We all love to write ourselves in. Whether it's a movie, show, or book, we are always looking for a character to identify with. We want to write ourselves into the story. We do this with the Bible, too. And this is not a bad thing...as long as our timing is right. But one of the most common mistakes we make when reading the Bible is that we often jump the gun. We write ourselves into the story too soon.
The Psalmist asks the Lord to “[t]each me Your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness. Give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name” (Ps 86:11).
What a bold prayer. It takes courage to make such a request from the Lord. He’s asking that the Lord would show him areas in his life where his focus on Jesus is divided.
Would you ever trade places with an animal? And I don’t mean for just a moment.
Would you ever trade jobs with someone who cleans the sewers? And I don’t mean for just a day.
How about would you ever trade the next 3 years of your life for just one more day this week? And you can’t get those 3 years back.
I know. This is a strange series of questions.
At the very end of this chapter (second only to Psalm 119 in length!), there are two verses that succinctly capture the essence of David’s leadership.
“God chose his servant David and took him from the sheep pens, from tending the sheep God brought him to be the shepherd of God’s people. So David shepherded God’s people with integrity of heart, and guided them with skillful hands.” Psalm 78:70-71
There are multiple leadership axioms here. Let’s look at three briefly.
Psalm 51 is one of the most well-known Psalms, and rightly so. It is David’s Psalm of confession following his adultery with Bathsheba.
And before we roll our eyes and cast a stone at that wicked adulterer David, we need to realize that this could and should be your Psalm of confession and mine.
Sometimes you find yourself in situations that seem unbearable. Maybe people are talking about you in ways that tear you down. Maybe you’re physically depleted and running on empty. Maybe your friends are abandoning you. Maybe you feel at a complete loss for what to do.
Maybe that whole paragraph describes your 2020. Or even 2021.
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