From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 7/14:

Today in the Songs of Ascent the Israelites sing blessings over Zion:

  • “The Lord bless you out of Zion, and may you see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life” (Psalm 128:5).
  • “Let those who hate Zion be put to shame and turn back” (Psalm 129:5).
  • “For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for his dwelling place” (Psalm 132:13).
  • “The Lord who made heaven and earth bless you from Zion!” (Psalm 134:3).

The word Zion is used over 150 times in the Bible. Zion was first mentioned in 2 Samuel 5:7 when David captured the Jebusite fortress in Jerusalem – “Nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David.” And after Solomon built the temple for the Lord, Zion was mentioned in many psalms to include the temple location. The prophets also expand the use of the word Zion to refer to Jerusalem, the land of Judah, and the nation of Israel.  

Later in the story, Paul will use the name Zion to refer to God’s spiritual kingdom – “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering” (Hebrews 12:22). And Peter will quote Isaiah when he refers to Jesus as the cornerstone of Zion, the spiritual kingdom – “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.’ Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,’ and ‘A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.’ They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:4-10).

At the end of the story, John will use the name Zion while describing a vision of Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb, standing on God’s holy hill in heaven before the final judgment – “Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion” (Revelation 14:1). This story ends in victory for Jesus Christ over Satan and all evil. And after Jesus defeats Satan and casts anyone not found in the Book of Life into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15), He will create a new heaven and earth for those who trust in Him as their Savior – “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away’” (Revelation 21:1-4).

We can be assured that the Lord is still in control and that His plans will ultimately prevail, from the time when Zion was first mentioned in the Kingdom Era to when Jesus will stand on Zion during the End Times / New Beginning Era. Therefore we can praise the Lord as the psalmist does today in Psalm 135 – “Your name, O Lord, endures forever, Your fame, O Lord, throughout all generations. For the Lord will judge His people, and He will have compassion on His servants… Bless the Lord, O house of Israel! Bless the Lord, O house of Aaron! Bless the Lord, O house of Levi! You who fear the Lord, bless the Lord! Blessed be the Lord out of Zion, Who dwells in Jerusalem! Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 135:13-21).

Tomorrow we finish the Psalms, so keep reading! (Psalms 128-130, 132, Psalms 134-135)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 7/13:

Psalms 120-134 are called the Songs of Ascent or the Pilgrim Songs. Jews traveling to Jerusalem for the three annual Jewish Festivals, Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover), Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), and Feast of Booths (Sukkoth), would sing the Songs of Ascent as they climbed up to the city of Jerusalem which sat on top a high hill. King David wrote four of these songs (122,124,131,133), Solomon wrote one (127), and writers of the other ten songs are anonymous.

The songs we read today highlight that the Lord saves souls in times of distress (Psalm 120), our help is from the Lord (Psalm 121), the Lord is merciful to those who wait on Him (Psalm 123), the Lord’s favor is upon the righteous (Psalm 125), and our joy is found in the Lord (Psalm 126).

So imagine the Israelites walking to Jerusalem, looking around at God’s creation and singing:

  • “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).
  • “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people from this time forth and forever” (Psalm 125:2).  

More Songs of Ascent tomorrow, so keep reading. (Psalms 120-121, 123, Psalms 125-126)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 7/12:

Psalm 119 is not only the longest psalm but also the longest chapter in the Bible. Throughout the psalm, the psalmist elevates the word of God. One commentator said that Scripture is mentioned in at least 171 of the 176 verses of Psalm 119. This psalmist knows that it is the word of God that gives life — “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes. With my lips I have declared all the judgments of Your mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word” (Psalm 119:9-16).

The psalmist asks the Lord to revive him through His word and His holy nature:

  • “My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to Your word” (Psalm 119:25).
  • “Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way” (Psalm 119:37).
  • “Behold, I long for Your precepts; revive me in Your righteousness” (Psalm 119:40).
  • “Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, so that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth” (Psalm 119:88).
  • “I am afflicted very much; revive me, O Lord, according to Your word” (Psalm 119:107).
  • “Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness; O Lord, revive me according to Your justice” (Psalm 119:149).
  • “Plead my cause and redeem me; revive me according to Your word” (Psalm 119:154).
  • “Great are Your tender mercies, O Lord; revive me according to Your judgments” (Psalm 119:156).
  • “Consider how I love Your precepts; revive me, O Lord, according to Your lovingkindness” (Psalm 119:159).

The word of the Lord revives our souls. Later in the story, John, a disciple of Jesus, states that Jesus Christ is the word, fully divine and fully human – “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:1-5).

John said that Jesus existed from before creation and that He created all things. Jesus, the word, who is coming later in the story in the flesh to live as man, was and is God. Since Jesus is God, and the Father and the Son are one, Jesus reflects the image of God. God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are the foundations for the Trinity, equally God but distinct in Persons. Jesus will fulfill all that was written in the word and willingly sacrifice Himself so that we may be revived through His works of salvation. Anyone who puts their faith in Jesus Christ will be redeemed from their fallen state and restored to His Father.

“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Ephesians 2:1-5).

If your soul needs to be revived, run to Jesus! Pour out your heart to Him. He hears and He cares and He will sustain you. And keep reading. (Psalm 119)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 7/11:

Psalm 116 is one of the Psalms that Jesus will sing during the last supper with His disciples before His crucifixion. The psalmist says, “The pains of death surrounded me, and the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I found trouble and sorrow. Then I called upon the name of the Lord: ‘O Lord, I implore You, deliver my soul!’ … For You have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. I believed, therefore I spoke, ‘I am greatly afflicted.’ … I will take up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord now in the presence of all His people. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” (Psalm 116:3-15).

The wine that the disciples will drink with Jesus during the last supper is symbolic of the work of salvation that Jesus will finish on the cross when He pours out His blood for us, creating a new covenant between the Lord and His people (Matthew 26:27-30). Under the new covenant, we are no longer under the Law and sacrificial system which serves its purpose in the Old Testament. We are now saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ will live a life in perfect obedience to the Law for us and die as the final atoning sacrifice for our sins. Anyone who trusts in Jesus will receive the free gift of salvation. Therefore the psalmist can say, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” because when the saints, those who trust in Christ, die, they immediately ascend to heaven with their Lord and Savior for eternity.

In Psalm 118 the psalmist says, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:22-24). The cornerstone is the primary stone placed at the corner of a building’s foundation. In our June 28th reading, Isaiah prophesied of the coming Messiah by referring to Him as the Cornerstone -“Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; whoever believes will not act hastily’” (Isaiah 28:16).

After Jesus is crucified and raised from the dead, He will reunite with his disciple Peter, and Peter will declare – “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matthew 16:16). Then Jesus will call Himself the Cornerstone, the foundation for those who put their faith and trust in Him, and tell Peter that the church will be built on the proclamation of Jesus Christ as Savior – “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).

Then after Jesus’ ascension to heaven, when John and Peter are standing before the Jewish Council, Peter will rebuke the Jewish leaders by saying, “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:11-12). Paul will also explain to new believers that Jesus is the cornerstone of the church – “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:19-22).

The only way for salvation and to be a part of the church is by confessing and believing that Jesus Christ, the Cornerstone, is your Savior – “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (Romans 10:9-10). Keep reading. (Psalms 115-118)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 7/10:

The Lord often uses oppression to draw people to Him. We saw this very clearly in the Judges Era when the Israelites turned from the Lord and were doing what they believed was right in their own sight. Their actions were evil to the Lord because they were not consistent with His word, which is the only standard of truth. Therefore, the Lord allowed the enemies of Israel to oppress His people as a means to return them to Him. And when the Israelites would cry out to the Lord under their affliction, the Lord would raise up a judge to deliver them and there would be peace while the judge was alive. 

Today the psalmist of Psalm 107 speaks of the same cycle. There is despair, affliction and trouble, so the people call out to the Lord and He saves them: 

Despair – “They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way; they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them” (Psalm 107:4-5).

Cry to the Lord – “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble” (Psalm 107:6).

Salvation – “And He delivered them out of their distresses. And He led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city for a dwelling place” (Psalm 107:6-7).

Affliction – “Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, bound in affliction and irons— Because they rebelled against the words of God, and despised the counsel of the Most High, therefore He brought down their heart with labor; they fell down, and there was none to help” (Psalm 107:10-12).

Cry to the Lord – “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble” (Psalm 107:13).

Salvation – “And He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and broke their chains in pieces” (Psalm 107:13-14).

Trouble – “For He commands and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves of the sea. They mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the depths; their soul melts because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end” (Psalm 107:25-27).

Cry to the Lord – “Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble” (Psalm 107:28).

Salvation – “And He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, so that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; so He guides them to their desired haven” (Psalm 107:28-30).

The Lord is the same today! If you are in distress, under affliction, or in trouble, cry out to Him and He will save you. The Lord knows that we need Him to save us and to guide us; that is why He promised to send His Son to be our Savior and the Holy Spirit as a guide to those who trust in Jesus Christ. The psalmist of Psalm 113 speaks of the coming Savior – “The Lord is high above all nations, His glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, Who dwells on high, Who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in the heavens and in the earth?” (Psalm 113:4-6). The Son of God, Jesus Christ, will humble Himself by leaving His high position in heaven to come to earth as a baby born in a stable. He will live a life of rejection and persecution and die a brutal death for our salvation. After He completes the work of our salvation, the Lord will exalt Him in heaven and on earth (Philippians 2:5-11).

The psalmist of Psalm 113 also says, “He raises the poor out of the dust, and lifts the needy out of the ash heap, that He may seat him with princes— with the princes of His people. He grants the barren woman a home, like a joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 113:7-9). God loves to take the lowly and foolish things of the world and elevate them to accomplish His purposes so that everyone will know it was an act of God – “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29). We have already seen many examples of the Lord taking the lowly, those who are in despair, affliction and trouble, and saving them to accomplish His purposes throughout the story:

  • He took a former idol worshiper Abraham and his barren wife Sarah and gave them a child in their old age, making great nations from their descendants. 
  • He promoted Joseph from slave to ruler over Egypt to save the nations from a famine.
  • He saved Rahab, a harlot, who became King David’s great grandmother and is listed in Jesus Christ’s lineage along with Ruth, a former Moabite widow.
  • He made David, a shepherd boy, a mighty king and promised the Savior would come from his descendants. 

The Lord will save and use anyone who humbles himself and calls upon the name of the Lord. He has done it in the past, and He continues to do it today through His Son Jesus Christ. And those who are in Christ will one day be elevated to their desired haven as Psalm 107:30 said — and that is in heaven for eternity.

Keep reading. (Psalm 107, Psalms 111-114)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 7/9:

Today the psalmists recount the story of the Bible as they call the Lord’s people to remember His mighty works – “Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth, O seed of Abraham His servant, you children of Jacob, His chosen ones!” (Psalm 105:5-6). Since we are just over half way through the chronological story of the Bible, today is a good day to review the eras of the Bible that we have already covered in our reading with the help of the psalmists: 

  • Creation Era – The Creation Era included five stories: Creation, the Fall, Cain and Abel, Noah and the flood, and the Tower of Babel. We also read the Book of Job, which many scholars place at the beginning of the Patriarch Era. After the fall, the Lord made a promise to send a Savior to redeem His people (Genesis 3:15). Then He killed an innocent animal and used its skin to cover Adam and Eve, illustrating that the shedding of the blood of the innocent atones for the sins of the guilty (Genesis 3:21). Jesus Christ is coming as the final sacrificial Lamb to live a life we can’t live and die a death that we deserve, shedding His innocent blood on our behalf, to restore us to His Father the Lord. The rest of the story is about the coming Messiah.
  • Patriarch Era – There were three patriarchs in the Patriarch Era: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Lord made a promise to Abraham that he would be a father of many nations and that kings would come from him. The Lord promised to give his descendants land in Canaan and said that through Abraham’s descendants all the nations on the earth would be blessed. When Jacob was on his deathbed in Egypt, he gave blessings to his sons, and we discovered that the Messiah would come from the bloodline of Judah (Genesis 49:10). The psalmist recalls the works of the Lord through the patriarchs in Psalm 105:
    • “He remembers His covenant forever, the word which He commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac, and confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, ‘To you I will give the land of Canaan as the allotment of your inheritance,’ When they were few in number, indeed very few, and strangers in it” (Psalm 105:8-12).
    • “Moreover He called for a famine in the land; He destroyed all the provision of bread. He sent a man before them— Joseph—who was sold as a slave. They hurt his feet with fetters, he was laid in irons. Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him. The king sent and released him, the ruler of the people let him go free. He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his possessions” (Psalm 105:16-21).
    • “Israel also came into Egypt, and Jacob dwelt in the land of Ham. He increased His people greatly, and made them stronger than their enemies. He turned their heart to hate His people, to deal craftily with His servants” (Psalm 105:23-25).
  • Exodus Era – The Lord delivered His people, who were enslaved in Egypt for four hundred years, by sending the ten plagues. The final plague was the death of the firstborn in Egypt, both man and animals. But God delivered the Israelites by the Passover, another clear illustration that we are saved by being under the blood of the innocent, pointing to the coming Savior. Then the Lord brought them into the wilderness where He established the sacrificial system and gave the people the Law. The Lord was training the Israelites to walk with Him, to trust Him, and to obey Him as He provided for them:
    • “He sent Moses His servant, and Aaron whom He had chosen. They performed His signs among them, and wonders in the land of Ham… He also destroyed all the firstborn in their land, the first of all their strength. He also brought them out with silver and gold, and there was none feeble among His tribes. Egypt was glad when they departed, for the fear of them had fallen upon them. He spread a cloud for a covering, and fire to give light in the night. The people asked, and He brought quail, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven. He opened the rock, and water gushed out; it ran in the dry places like a river” (Psalm 105:26-41).
    • “But they soon forgot His works; they did not wait for His counsel. But they had a wanton craving in the wilderness, and put God to the test in the desert; He gave them what they asked, but sent a wasting disease among them” (Psalm 106:13-15). The psalmist goes on to talk about the rebellious stories of Dathan, the golden calf in Horeb, Baal of Peor, and he ends with the story of the waters of Meribah where Moses sinned against the Lord and lost the privilege of entering the promised land – “They angered him at the waters of Meribah, and it went ill with Moses on their account, for they made his spirit bitter, and he spoke rashly with his lips” (Psalm 106:32-33).
  • Conquest Era – After the death of Moses, Joshua led the Israelites into the promised land, but the people failed to drive out the inhabitants as the Lord commanded:
    • “For He remembered His holy promise, and Abraham His servant. He brought out His people with joy, His chosen ones with gladness. He gave them the lands of the Gentiles, and they inherited the labor of the nations, that they might observe His statutes and keep His laws” (Psalm 105:42-45).
    • “They did not destroy the peoples, concerning whom the Lord had commanded them, but they mingled with the Gentiles and learned their works; they served their idols, which became a snare to them. They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons, and shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with blood. Thus they were defiled by their own works, and played the harlot by their own deeds” (Psalm 106:34-39).
  • Judges Era – After the death of Joshua, the Israelites forgot the Lord and turned to idolatry. This era was defined by everyone doing what was right in their own sight, which was evil in the sight of the Lord. Therefore the Lord turned His people over to their enemies, but when they cried out to Him, He sent a judge to deliver them. The people had peace while the judge was alive, but once the judge died they fell back into idolatry and wickedness. Therefore, the Lord turned them over again to their enemies. This was the sin cycle. The Israelites experienced seven different cycles with twelve different judges in the Book of Judges:
    • “Therefore the wrath of the Lord was kindled against His people, so that He abhorred His own inheritance. And He gave them into the hand of the Gentiles, and those who hated them ruled over them. Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand. Many times He delivered them; but they rebelled in their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity. Nevertheless He regarded their affliction, when He heard their cry; and for their sake He remembered His covenant, and relented according to the multitude of His mercies” (Psalm 106:40-45).
  • Kingdom Era – The people no longer wanted the Lord to rule over them, so they asked for a king like the nations around them. The Lord gave them King Saul, who was more concerned about the praise of man than the approval of the Lord. Therefore, the Lord took the kingdom from Saul and gave it to a man after His own heart, King David. King David desired to build a house for the Lord, but the Lord told him that his son Solomon would be the one to build His house. However, the Lord promised King David that He would build him an enduring house and that his descendants would sit on the throne forever, pointing to the Messiah who is coming through his bloodline. David’s son Solomon began well as king. He built the temple of the Lord, asked for wisdom, executed justice, and was well respected by all. However, he intermarried with many women amongst the nations around him and began worshiping their false gods, causing his heart to turn from the Lord. Therefore, the Lord stripped ten of the twelve tribes from the hand of Solomon’s son, Rehoboam.
  • Divided Kingdom Era – Ten tribes were given to Solomon’s servant, Jeroboam, who formed Northern Israel. Jeroboam was an evil king who devised a new religion of idolatry in an effort to control the people. All nineteen kings after him were evil. Northern Israel lasted two hundred and nine years before the Lord raised up the Assyrians to serve judgment against His rebellious people and destroy them as a nation in 722 BC. Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, was the first king of Southern Judah which consisted of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, plus the ones who left Northern Israel to come and worship the Lord in Jerusalem, including the Levites. Southern Judah has had a few good kings, but most have been wicked like the kings in Northern Israel. However, every king in Southern Judah is a descendant of King David as the Lord promised. God is still working His plan to send King Jesus through David’s descendants. Currently in the Divided Kingdom Era, the godly King Hezekiah is sitting on the throne in Judah. 

We have six more days reading the psalms before we get back to the warnings from the prophets and the story of King Hezekiah and his reign, so keep reading. (Psalms 105-106)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 7/8:

Psalm 102 is “A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed and pours out his complaint before the Lord.” Commentaries said that this psalm could have been written during the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. The psalmist begins by asking the Lord to hear his cries. Then he goes on to pour out his heart to the Lord. 

The psalmist is afflicted internally by his health and externally by his enemies. He feels abandoned by the Lord – “Because of Your indignation and Your wrath; for You have lifted me up and cast me away. My days are like a shadow that lengthens, and I wither away like grass” (Psalm 102:10-11).

However, when the psalmist moves his eyes off of himself and onto the Lord, he concludes that although man’s days wither away, the Lord endures forever – “But You, O Lord, shall endure forever, and the remembrance of Your name to all generations” (Psalm 102:12). The psalmist is now hoping in the eternal God whose greatness will be proclaimed throughout all generations. 

We see that the psalmist believes that the word of God is true when he says that the Lord would one day restore Jerusalem, just as God said He would through the prophets. Jeremiah prophesied that the Jews would be in captivity for seventy years in Babylon, but then He would restore them to Jerusalem (Jeremiah 25:11). The psalmist recognizes that when this happens, the nations and all of earth will know the Lord’s glory; and it will be written for all generations and even for people yet to come – “This will be written for the generation to come, that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord. For He looked down from the height of His sanctuary; from heaven the Lord viewed the earth, to hear the groaning of the prisoner, to release those appointed to death, to declare the name of the Lord in Zion, and His praise in Jerusalem” (102:18-21). 

The Lord is always looking down from heaven and assessing His creations. We saw this during the Creation Era. After the Lord created each thing He would look upon it and declare it was good. However, ten generations after Adam and Eve, the Lord looked upon earth and saw nothing but evil and wickedness in the hearts and minds of all the people except Noah and his seven family members. Therefore, the Lord sent a flood to destroy the wicked, but He saved the righteous, Noah and his seven family members who trusted in Him. 

The Lord is the same today. He still looks down on earth, assessing the evil and the righteous, and He will judge accordingly. This is why the psalmist ends his psalm with this prayer – “O my God, do not take me away in the midst of my days; your years are throughout all generations. Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; yes, they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will change them, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will have no end. The children of Your servants will continue, and their descendants will be established before You” (Psalm 102:24-28).

In times of trouble and despair the psalmist calls upon the eternal unchanging God whose purposes will stand throughout all generations. We will see His purposes stand later in the story when Jesus Christ arrives on the scene. Jesus will establish the church, and He will tell His disciples to build the church by making disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:18-20). As disciples continue to go out as tools in God’s hand sharing the Good News of Christ with others, the Lord continues to grow His church, and the remembrance of His name will continue from generation to generation, just as the psalmist stated. 

More psalms tomorrow, so keep reading. (Psalms 98-100, Psalms 102, 104)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 7/7:

Today the psalmists tell us to sing to the Lord and why we should sing praises:

Sing -“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High” (Psalm 92:1). 

Why – “For You, Lord, have made me glad through Your work; I will triumph in the works of Your hands” (Psalm 92:4). We sing praises to the Lord because it is by the works of His hands that we have victory, not by our own doing.

Sing – “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms” (Psalm 95:1-2).

Why – “For the Lord is the great God, and the great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth; The heights of the hills are His also. The sea is His, for He made it; and His hands formed the dry land” (Psalm 95:3-5). We sing praises to the Lord because He is the only God, the God of Creation, who is sovereign over all.

Sing – “Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples” (Psalm 96:1-2).

Why – “For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary” (Psalm 96:4-6). We sing praises to the Lord not only because He is the only God, the God of Creation, but also because strength and beauty are in His sanctuary, here on earth and in heaven. The Bible explains that the tabernacle built by Moses and the priesthood established from Aaron’s descendants in the wilderness were a shadow of the heavenly sanctuary and the ultimate High Priest, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 8:5). The glory of the heavenly sanctuary is far greater than the earthly sanctuary. The church, which consists of those who trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior, is heavenly people with a heavenly inheritance (Hebrews 9:15); and for this we sing praises to the Lord! 

We see worship of the Lord through songs throughout the Bible. The first song recorded in Scripture is in the Exodus Era after the Lord parted the Red Sea and brought the children of Israel out of their bondage in Egypt. They sang the Song of Moses, a praise song, while Miriam led the women in dance (Exodus 15).

In the wilderness, the Israelites sang a song of joy when the Lord provided water (Numbers 21). And when Moses passed his leadership off to Joshua right before the Conquest Era, Moses and Joshua taught the Israelites a song of remembrance (Deuteronomy 32).

In the Judges Era, Deborah and Barak sang a victory song after Jael drove a tent peg through Sisera’s head (Judges 5).

In the Kingdom Era, the women sang a victory song for Saul’s and David’s battle success (1 Samuel 18). After the death of Saul and Jonathan, David sang a song of lament (2 Samuel 1). David also sang a song of lament after the murder of Abner (2 Samuel 3). Plus, there are three song books in the Bible: Psalms, Song of Solomon, and Lamentations.

The prophets also use songs during the Divided Kingdom Era to warn the people and to mourn the Israelites’ rebellion and destruction.

Singing is a powerful tool of expression. Songs are used to worship, praise, remember, celebrate victories, mourn, and give thanks. At the end of our reading today, the psalmist speaks about the day that Jesus will return to judge the world – “For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with His truth” (Psalm 96:13). And when Jesus, the Lamb of God, does return to execute His judgment, those in the heavenly sanctuary will sing to the Lord: 

  • “And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth’” (Revelation 5:9-10).
  • “And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, ‘Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations!’” (Revelation 15:3).

Keep reading. (Psalms 92-97)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 7/6:

In Psalm 1, the psalmist contrasts the godly versus the ungodly. He says blessed is the godly who delight in the law of the Lord for whatever he does shall prosper. However, this is not so with the ungodly. “For the Lord knows the way of the righteous but the way of the ungodly shall perish” (Psalm 1:6). 

In today’s psalms, the psalmists describes several deeds of the ungodly:

1) his pride persecutes the poor

2) he boasts of his heart’s desires 

3) he blesses the greedy and renounces the poor

4) he is too proud to seek God

5) his mouth is full of cursing, deceit, and oppression

6) he secretly murders the innocent 

7) he preys on the helpless and the poor

The psalmist says in Psalm 10 that the ungodly perform their wicked deeds assuming that the Lord does not see – “He has said in his heart, ‘God has forgotten; He hides His face; He will never see’… Why do the wicked renounce God? He has said in his heart, ‘You will not require an account’” (Psalm 10:11,13). 

The ungodly are wrong. The Lord sees all:

  • “For His eyes are on the ways of man, and He sees his every step” (Job 34:21). 
  • “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3).

And the Lord will require an account: 

  • “For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14).
  • “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36). 
  • “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12).
  • “For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).

The man the Lord appointed to judge the world is Jesus Christ, our Savior. Later in the story, Paul will tell the Christians that there will be a day when the Lord will serve justice to the ungodly and reward the godly – “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God” (1 Corinthians 4:5). “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

The judgment seat of Christ is not something that Christians need to fear because “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Jesus is coming later in this story to live a life we can’t live and to die a death that we deserve by taking on the sins of the world so that His perfect righteousness is credited to anyone who believes in Him. The psalmist says that the Lord will judge each person individually, but the righteous, the ones who trust in Him, do not need to fear as their salvation is secure:

  • “The Lord looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works… Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name. Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, just as we hope in You” (Psalm 33:13-22).
  • “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation” (Psalm 91:14-16).

We are all going to stand before the Lord one day. The ungodly, those who do not know Jesus Christ as their savior, will face judgment and be forever separated from the Lord – “But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:7). But the righteous, those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, will be saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) and receive rewards for deeds performed here on earth (Ephesians 6:8). “In other words, salvation is by faith, and rewards are by faith, but the evidence of invisible faith in the judgment hall of Christ will be a transformed life. Our deeds are not the basis of our salvation, they are the evidence of our salvation. They are not foundation, they are demonstration.” ~ John Piper. 

More psalms tomorrow, so keep reading. (Psalms 1-2, Psalm 10, Psalm 33, Psalm 71, Psalm 91)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 7/5:

Today we read the last of the psalms by the sons of Korah. In psalm 49, the psalmist has a word for all people, both rich and poor. The psalmist shares wisdom on trusting in wealth or envying the wealthy – “Those who trust in their wealth and boast in the multitude of their riches, none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him – For the redemption of their souls is costly, and it shall cease forever – that he shall continue to live eternally, and not see the Pit” (Psalm 49:6-9). 

So there is something money can’t buy, and that is salvation. No amount of material wealth will be enough to redeem a soul. We are redeemed by God’s atoning sacrifice, which comes at a cost much higher than any material wealth. Our sins are atoned for through the shedding of the blood of the innocent on behalf of the guilty. After Adam and Eve listened to the wrong voice in the Garden of Eden and disobeyed the Lord resulting in the fall, God made a promise that He would send a Savior to redeem them (Genesis 3:15). Then the Lord sacrificed an innocent animal and covered Adam and Eve with its skin (Genesis 3:21). This was a picture of the Savior who is coming to shed His innocent blood as the final Sacrifice for the sins of the world (Hebrews 10:12). Those who trust in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ will not see hell; they will live eternally in heaven with the Lord. 

The psalmist explains that although the rich will receive honor and praise here on earth from men, they will have nothing at the end of their life if their trust is in their wealth and not in Christ – “Do not be afraid when one becomes rich, when the glory of his house is increased; for when he dies he shall carry nothing away; his glory shall not descend after him. Though while he lives he blesses himself (for men will praise you when you do well for yourself), he shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light” (Psalm 49:16-19).

When Jesus arrives on the scene, He will also warn the rich:

  • “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:23-24).
  • “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:24-25).

And Paul will later say, “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1 Timothy 6:9-10).

The Bible is not saying rich people can’t go to heaven. We have seen examples throughout the story. Abraham and David are two examples of men who were wealthy, but they did not put their trust in their wealth — they trusted in the Lord. The Scriptures are warning that riches can be a spiritual stumbling block. Therefore, the rich should guard themselves from the distractions that can come with being wealthy. But there are also spiritual stumbling blocks that come with being poor. That is why the Psalmist, Agur, asked in Proverbs 30 not to make him rich or poor. He knew the struggles that come with both. 

The Lord uses both the wealthy and the poor to accomplish His purposes. His blessings are not found in the abundance or lack of material riches. His blessings are found through a relationship with Him. Therefore, we can not place our hope in anything or anyone in this world, only the Lord. 

Tomorrow the Lord has a word for the wicked. Keep reading. (Psalms 47-49, Psalms 84-85, 87)