God, Our God

Posted: July 19, 2012 in Psalms

Psalms 120-125, “God, Our God”

Psalm 120 begins a new subsection in the book of Psalms called the Song of Ascent, which run from Psalm 120-134.  The thought is that these songs were sung as the people “ascended” up the mountain when they came to worship at Jerusalem.  Jerusalem is located upon Mt. Moriah, and is surrounded by mountains on every side.  To go to the city was literally to go “up” to the city, or to ascend to it.  As several festivals throughout the Hebrew calendar called the people to gather to Jerusalem to worship together, the songs of ascent were used during their travel.

We’re not told much of anything about the background of the psalms tonight.  Two were seemingly written by David, and there has been conjecture about others that were perhaps written after the time of captivity, but ultimately we just don’t know.  What we do know is that all of the authors express their dependence upon God.  Both individually for themselves, and for the nation of Israel as a whole.  Unless God was their God, they would have no hope at all.  And neither would we.

Psalm 120 (NKJV) – Save me from evil speech
A Song of Ascents.

Cry to God (vss. 1-2)
1 In my distress I cried to the LORD, And He heard me. 2 Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips And from a deceitful tongue.

  1. The psalmist had cried out to the Lord in the past, and he’s going to continue to cry out in the present trial.  Whatever his past distress was, when he called out to his covenant-keeping God (LORD) in the past, God heard him (and apparently acted in response).  Thus the psalmist cries out again for deliverance, trusting that his covenant-keeping God will again respond.
    1. What a wonderful truth it is that God hears us.  Just as God heard the psalmist, God hears each of us as His own children.  This isn’t merely a possibility; this is a guarantee we have by virtue of being in Christ.  Because Jesus is our Lord & High Priest, Jesus gives us unfettered access to go boldly before God the Father in prayer – and we can be sure that God hears us.
  2. Interestingly, whatever trial the psalmist was experiencing, we know this much: it wasn’t physical.  This wasn’t a military battle, nor some bout with illness; this was an emotional and/or spiritual battle as he dealt with people who lied against him.  He needed God to deliver him from lies & rumors.
    1. This is as practical as it gets for some people.  How do you deal with lies?  When people come against you & start saying things that aren’t true, what do you do?  The psalmist appealed to God.  Certainly the words spoken hurt him (as he later writes), but ultimately his help was found in the Lord.  God would make the situation right again – God is Who would bring the needed deliverance.  When people start lying to us or about us, many times we (understandably) get upset & we try to do everything possible to shut down the liar.  Maybe we engage in tit-for-tat, or name-calling, or do whatever we can do to discredit the person and defend ourselves.  For the Christian, that’s not where our deliverance will be found.  Our deliverance will be found in the Lord.  Certainly we should live uprightly and be careful not to do or say things that might be misconstrued, but when people lie about us, our defense is found in the Lord.
    2. This is just as true of our spiritual battle against the devil.  Jesus made it clear that the devil is a liar, and the father of all lies (Jn 8:44).  We certainly need deliverance from his lying attacks.  What do we do?  Run to the Lord Jesus & cry out to Him for help.  The ancient liar is trumped by the eternal Truth, Jesus (the way, the truth, and the life).  When the devil starts whispering lies into your ear, get your attention off of the liar, and onto the Truth!

Dangerous Tongues (vss. 3-4)
3 What shall be given to you, Or what shall be done to you, You false tongue? 4 Sharp arrows of the warrior, With coals of the broom tree!

  1. The tongue can indeed be dangerous & false!  It’s not just the false tongues of others that we need to beware; we need to beware our own.  James 3:5–6, "(5) Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! (6) And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell." []  That which is deep within our heart can come rolling out on our tongues to disastrous consequences.  Words spoken in a moment can sometimes never be taken back, and the memories and scars can last a lifetime.  How important it is to think before we speak & ensure that when we speak, speak in truth and love!
  2. Words can indeed hurt us.  How bad did it hurt the psalmist?  So much so that he asked for retribution of arrows and burning coals to be heaped upon this “false tongue.”  When someone calls for the death penalty because of something that was said, it had to have been bad!  Words spoken harshly or falsely can be truly hurtful, but words can also be healing.  Proverbs 25:11 “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” []  Pray that God would give us wisdom how best to use our own tongues in ways that build up, rather than tear down.

Dwelling with Evil (vss. 5-7)
5 Woe is me, that I dwell in Meshech, That I dwell among the tents of Kedar! 6 My soul has dwelt too long With one who hates peace. 7 I am for peace; But when I speak, they are for war.

  1. This is a song of ascent, but apparently the author didn’t live anywhere close to Jerusalem.  The cities he mentions are far-off places in Asia Minor and Arabia.  Perhaps he lived in one of those cities, or was surrounded by people from those places, or it felt like he actually did live there.  He certainly wasn’t around anyone who acted as if they served the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Hebrews were supposed to speak the truth, as the law forbade bearing false witness (9th Commandment).  Yet he lived with hateful, deceptive people.  It brought him to a place of deep discouragement.  No peace was to be found because he was surrounded by people who desired war and conflict.
  2. And that’s where the psalm ends.  It might seem rather depressing until we remember verses 1-2.  These are the very things from which he wants to be delivered, and he knows his God hears him.  Trusting that God will indeed save, the psalmist simply & honestly lays his trials at the feet of God.  He doesn’t gloss over his pain, nor pretend it doesn’t bother him – but he does trust that the Lord will act, and it seems that he simply ends by waiting upon God.
    1. There are times in our lives when things don’t get wrapped up nicely, when we’re just waiting upon God.  The key is to wait, trusting that God still hears.  The psalmist knew that God had heard him in the past, so he has faith that God will hear him still.  Likewise with us.  We may be waiting & waiting…but we KNOW that God has heard us in the past.  How so?  Our very salvation is proof!  We KNOW that God has heard us because Jesus has saved us.  Thus we can wait upon the Lord for everything else as well, trusting Him in to work in His timing.

 

Psalm 121 (NKJV) – God is our Help, part 1
A Song of Ascents.

Who helps (vss. 1-4)
1 I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help? 2 My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.

  1. It’s easy to imagine the psalmist singing this as he approached Jerusalem, looking up to the city from the roads going up the mountain.  He literally looked up to the hills, and thought about his deliverer.
  2. Yet his helper isn’t the hill; his helper is bigger than the hills because it comes from the One who made the hills!  His help was the LORD – the great “I AM,” covenant-keeping God of Israel.  What an amazing thought!  Who is my help?  Who will help a little human like me (one of 6 billion other humans on the planet)?  None other than the Creator God.  Can you imagine?!  Almighty Infinite GOD is our help!  Who are we, that God would be mindful of us at all?  Yet the Lord God truly DOES see us, and for those who are hidden in Christ, God DOES help us.  There can be no greater help than that which “comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.

3 He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. 4 Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

  1. God gives strength.  Remember playing tug-of-war?  It’s easy to have your feet slip & be unsteady.  That may be the same way we feel when we’re under attack – as if we’re playing tug-of-war on an oily surface: no grounding, no stability, frantically looking for some sort of foundation.  Our foundation & strength comes from the Lord Jesus. “He will not allow your foot to be moved.”  Just as Peter found a sure foundation upon roiling water when Jesus pulled him up, so does God strengthen our feet during crisis.
  2. God is always vigilant.  There’s never a time when God sleeps – there’s never a time when He’s off-duty & not available to help.  God is ever-watchful, and always in control.  This ought to be of great comfort in our times of trial & sorrows when we encounter things we don’t understand.  It’s not as if God blinked & missed our problem, or that He was asleep and something slipped His attention.  God was always watching, always vigilant, and was sovereignly in control the entire time.  That God would allow trials to come in our lives can sometimes by a mystery, but it does give us another opportunity to trust Him and watch Him work.
  3. There is a great contrast here regarding God and the false pagan gods of the day.  Other deities seemingly had to sleep or go to the bathroom (per Elijah’s taunting of the prophets of Baal), but not God.  God never slept because there is no need.  God never loses strength because God is infinitely strong.  Question: “If God never sleeps, then why does Scripture tell us that God rested on the 7th day of creation?”  God rested from His work in that He stopped creating; not that God took a nap or a vacation.  God’s rest serves as an example to us that we would find our rest in Him.  We do not strive for our salvation, but rather rest in Christ because the work of salvation has already been accomplished.

How He helps (vss. 5-8)
5 The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade at your right hand. 6 The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night.

  1. God gives protection.  He is our “keeper.”  We remember how God gave a plant to Jonah to shield him from the blazing sun as he watched over Nineveh (and then took it away in order to teach Jonah an important lesson) – God is also our “shade,” to protect us when we need it most.  The psalmist shows that God protects day and night, and is assured of the fact that God will not fail.

7 The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. 8 The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore.

  1. How much protection does God provide?  Complete protection!  He “shall preserve you from all evil.”  He shall preserve us “from this time forth and even forevermore.”  This is truly complete protection: protection from all kinds of attacks and protection at all times in the future.  The psalmist originally referred to God’s sovereign protection over Israel, but ultimately this speaks to God’s eternal protection over His people.  He doesn’t simply preserve our bodies, but He “shall preserve your soul.
  2. This is exactly what we find in Christ Jesus.  He is our solid protector who preserves us forevermore because of His unbreakable covenant.  When He died upon the cross, He shed the blood of the new covenant (which we celebrate at communion), and those who receive of His sacrifice by receiving Jesus as Lord receive all of the benefits of that covenant…including sure perseverance forevermore by the Lord.  We don’t have to worry about having our salvation ripped away from us by some attack from the outside.  We don’t have to stress about keeping ourselves “good enough” to stay saved.  (We weren’t good enough to save ourselves in the 1st place!)  GOD is the one who will preserve us from all evil & preserve our soul forevermore.  Our salvation is found squarely in Him.  He is our help – our eternal help, and there’s no better help to have!

 

Psalm 122 (NKJV) – Can’t Wait to Worship
A Song of Ascents. Of David.

Prelude (vss. 1-2)
1 I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the LORD.” 2 Our feet have been standing Within your gates, O Jerusalem!

  1. David seems to have been bursting with anticipation, ready to worship the Lord with the rest of the congregation.  His feet were standing at the door, just waiting for the invitation to go inside.
  2. Is this how we are when it comes to our own worship times?  There are times when it’s good to be alone in our prayer and worship of God (as Jesus demonstrated in Matthew 14), but there are also times when it’s good to join with others.  When we do, it’s not simply routine, the same-old, same-old…it’s worship!  It’s excitement!  We come prepared with expectant hearts ready to worship God and to hear from Him through the word & prayer.  May God help us keep that same exuberance we had when we first surrendered our lives to the Lord Jesus & experienced what worship is like.

Praise for the city (vss. 3-5)
3 Jerusalem is built As a city that is compact together, 4 Where the tribes go up, The tribes of the LORD, To the Testimony of Israel, To give thanks to the name of the LORD. 5 For thrones are set there for judgment, The thrones of the house of David.

  1. This was the place of corporate worship.  Jerusalem was a bustling city, the center of the life of every Hebrew, no matter where they may have resided.  People would regularly take pilgrimages to the city to worship, along with the rest of the congregation of Israel.  It would have been an amazing thing to see (as in the days of David, Solomon, and Hezekiah) the entire nation gathered together in this one city, ready to worship the Lord.  They may have been all crowded together (the city was “compact”), but it was a sea of people prepared to worship.
  2. This was the place of the ark & Law, and thus the presence of the Lord.  During David’s day, the temple had not yet been built, but eventually the ark & tabernacle did reside there.  The ark contained the tablets of the 10 Commandments, the “Testimony of Israel,” and the ark’s mercy seat was considered the throne of God.  This was a symbol of God’s presence among His people – no wonder David longed to be in that city in order to worship.
  3. This was the place of government and covenant promises.  David ruled from Jerusalem, and according to the covenant of God, David’s house (royal dynasty) would last forever in the promise of the Messiah (Jesus).  Jerusalem was a place in which God could be worshipped, and also a place in which God’s justice would be known.
  4. Jerusalem is still a city in which all of these things will be known.  During the Millennium, Jesus Himself will reign over all the earth from Jerusalem, and people from every nation all over the earth will come to worship.  Every knee will bow & every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord!  And beyond the Millennium, there will be the day when the New Jerusalem descends from heaven, and we will forever dwell with Christ there.  This is a city that we can look forward to!

Prayer for the city (vss. 6-9)
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you. 7 Peace be within your walls, Prosperity within your palaces.”

  1. It was wise of David to instruct people to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  As Jerusalem went, so would the rest of the nation.  As long as Jerusalem stood, the nation of Israel/Judah withstood the myriad of attacks it faced.  Yet when Jerusalem fell, the entire nation fell into captivity.
  2. David told them not only to pray for peace, but to pray for prosperity.  Basically praying for blessing from the Lord.  When Solomon prospered financially, the entire nation prospered as well.  We remember that Solomon was the richest man in history, but sometimes forget that the rest of the nation benefitted at the same time.  During Solomon’s day, gold was so common that silver practically had no value. (1 Kings 10:21)
  3. Keep praying for the peace & prosperity of Jerusalem!  It’s been observed that it’s ironic that city supposedly known for peace has suffered so much war.  It will continue to be the center of much conflict until the day King Jesus sets foot upon the earth at His 2nd coming.  Yet as much as possible, we pray for peace, and for Jews & Muslims alike to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

8 For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, “Peace be within you.” 9 Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek your good.

  1. David isn’t selfishly praying for peace, so that he won’t have to battle as king.  Everyone would benefit when Jerusalem is peaceful & prosperous.
  2. The ultimate reason he prays for peace?  Because Jerusalem is where the Lord God was worshipped.  When the temple was eventually destroyed and the walls of Jerusalem torn down (as a result of the Babylonian conquest), the people mourned, knowing that it was impossible to worship God according to His commands.  There was no place to bring the sacrifice – there was no way to offer incense – there was no opportunity to bring showbread before the Lord.  Everything the Lord told them to do in worship was impossible because they were without a home.  Eventually, the Lord brought them back & allowed the temple to be rebuilt (for a time).  They needed a place to worship God, and Jerusalem was that place.
  3. We certainly look forward to that day of the New Jerusalem, but praise God that we don’t have to be in a certain place in order to worship!  As the Church, we ARE the temple of the Holy Spirit, and wherever the Church gathers is a place where the Lord God can be worshipped.  Perhaps today we not only pray for peace within the physical city of Jerusalem, but we ought to also pray for peace among the Church.  As the Lord Jesus prayed for us, that we would be unified as one (as the Son is in the Father & vice versa – John 17).

 

Psalm 123 (NKJV) – Prayer for Mercy
A Song of Ascents.

Audience (vss. 1-2)
1 Unto You I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens.

  1. Similar to Ps 121:1, only instead of lifting his eyes to the hills, the author lifts his eyes directly to the Lord.  Certainly both authors trusted God as their help.  The first was inspired to worship God as he looked up to the physical city of Jerusalem; the second simply goes to God in prayer.  Whatever it is that causes us to look to the Lord, good!
  2. Notice how the author describes God, “You who dwell in the heavens.”  Theologically speaking, God is omnipresent – meaning there is no place in creation where God does not exist.  He is ever-present, not limited to the physical place of the atmosphere or outer space.  Yet the idea here is plain: the author’s prayer is to the One True God of the universe.  This isn’t an appeal to the other pagan gods who supposedly reigned over the various city-states in the Middle East (Baal, Molech, etc.); this is an appeal to the God who reigned over all.  God symbolically dwells in the heavens – He is over ALL the earth, and there is no inch of creation over which He is not supreme.

2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes look to the LORD our God, Until He has mercy on us.

  1. Because God is supreme, the author appeals to God as the sovereign king.  Just as servants appeal to their masters to right the wrongs done to them (both male & female), so does the psalmist appeal to God.  He could appeal to God because God is HIS God, and he is God’s servant.  The psalmist knows God in personal faith, to him God is the “LORD our God.”  The author falls under the covenant protection of God, and appeals to God as such.
    1. This is what makes the difference between the prayers of a Christian & the prayers of someone outside of Christ.  There are many people who claim to be “spiritual” and to have a relationship with God even though they want nothing to do with Jesus.  Simply put, they are not heard.  There is one mediator between God & man, the Man Christ Jesus (1 Tim 2:5).  It is because we have faith in Christ that God the Father hears our prayers AT ALL.  When Jesus is truly our Lord, then that is when God can be called OUR God.
  2. What is the psalmist waiting for?  The “mercy” of God.  He’s dependent upon God to show him favor & mercy.  Here, the word isn’t “chesed” (referring to the loyal love of God, mercy based upon His covenant), rather it’s “chanan,” which refers more to favor, pity, or kindness.  Like Esther who waited for the king to stretch out his scepter and show favor to her by allowing her in to speak (when previously uninvited), so the author understands that he needs favor/mercy from the Lord.  He needs God to pay attention to his needs and to act upon his behalf.
    1. We have the assurance of this kind of favor when we are in Christ Jesus.  The very fact that we are in Christ AT ALL is a demonstration of the fact that God has shown us this kind of mercy!  If we had been given what we deserved, we would have faced an eternity in hell.  Yet because of the mercy/kindness of the Lord God through Jesus Christ, we have been brought into the very family of God.

Appeal (vss. 3-4)
3 Have mercy on us, O LORD, have mercy on us! For we are exceedingly filled with contempt. 4 Our soul is exceedingly filled With the scorn of those who are at ease, With the contempt of the proud.

  1. Not only is he dependent upon God to show him mercy, the author is desperate for God to show mercy!  This is his overwhelming need.  As with the author of Ps 120, the psalmist here faced the hurtful words of those around him.  Because he was hated by others, he understood he needed the favor and kindness of God.
  2. Although these are very personal words to the psalmist, it’s easy to understand how this prayer became included in the songs of those who ascended to Jerusalem to worship.  After all, who among us have not come under the scorn of others?  Where else would we find kindness & mercy, if not for the Lord?  Today in our own culture in which Christians are increasingly scorned & mocked for our faith in Christ, we understand the need for God’s mercy.  Our value is not found in what the rest of the world thinks of us, but in what Christ thinks.  When God looks upon us with mercy, that is all we need – and that is exactly the assurance we have in Christ.

 

Psalm 124 (NKJV) – God is our Help, part 2
A Song of Ascents. Of David.

Hopeless without God (vss. 1-5)
1 “If it had not been the LORD who was on our side,” Let Israel now say— 2 “If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, When men rose up against us, 3 Then they would have swallowed us alive, When their wrath was kindled against us; 4 Then the waters would have overwhelmed us, The stream would have gone over our soul; 5 Then the swollen waters Would have gone over our soul.”

  1. Quite a bit of repetition here, underscoring the importance of what’s being said.  Why repeat so much?  Because it’s a song. J (Almost a blues-like format!)  What’s being underscored?
  2. Truth #1: the Lord was on their side.  The author puts it in the negative, “If it had not been for the LORD who was on our side,” but this just shows that the Lord was indeed ON their side.  God had fought for them, and taken their side in a time of battle.  The covenant-keeping God honored His covenant promises and fought for Israel.  And the sobering thought is that this might not have been the case.  “IF…”  There were times that God did not always fight for Israel.  After Achan’s sin at Jericho, God allowed the Hebrew nation to walk into battle with Ai unprotected. (Josh 7)  Earlier, after the Hebrews balked at going into the promised land, they attempted to do so when God told them of their punishment – and they were defeated without the protection of God. (Num 14:44)  David knows that God could have allowed Israel to face this battle alone, but mercifully He did not & fought for them.  This was something worthy of praise & thanks.
    1. Thankfully we have the assurance of the presence of Christ Jesus!  He may not always bless our decisions (especially when we make sinful or unwise choices), but He will not leave us nor forsake us.  God IS on our side, and Jesus is our advocate before God the Father when we do sin.  This isn’t license to go off & do whatever we want, but it’s wonderful assurance that our relationship with God is secure because of Christ.
  3. Truth #2: they were in danger of complete destruction.  Men had risen up threatening to destroy the nation.  We don’t know exactly the events to which David referred.  There are certainly other events in the lives of other kings of Israel/Judah in which this might be true, but then it would be tough to see this as a psalm of David.  (Some scholars suggest this was written by another Davidic king.  Others suggest that perhaps David is referring to Hebrew history as a whole, even referencing the Red Sea here.)  Whatever the historical reference, the idea is plain.  There were in trouble, and needed the help of the Lord badly.
    1. Spiritually speaking, each one of us have been in the same place.  Before we put our faith in Christ, we were in danger of complete destruction.  Our sin had left us deserving of the full & eternal wrath of the Almighty Just God, and we would have been left overwhelmed by the consequences of our rebellion against Him.  We would have no hope at all…IF the Lord was not on our side.  Praise God He took the initiative & saved us!

Help from God (vss. 6-8)
6 Blessed be the LORD, Who has not given us as prey to their teeth. 7 Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; The snare is broken, and we have escaped.

  1. Praise God that He saved us!  Just as an animal is saved from the hunter, so did God save Israel, and so did God save us.  The devil roams about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  He hunts, we have been delivered from his hunting.  Jesus is our grand escape & the One who delivered us!

8 Our help is in the name of the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.

  1. Just as the author of Ps 121 (vs. 2), David knows exactly Who it was that delivered him & the nation: the LORD – the Creator God.  The God who made heaven and earth is surely powerful enough to deliver the nation of Israel from any enemy.  The God who made heaven and earth is surely powerful enough to deliver us from our sin – from death – from the devil – from whatever enemy we might face.  Our help is in the Lord, and His help is enough!

 

Psalm 125 (NKJV) – God’s Eternal Protection of the Righteous
A Song of Ascents.

God’s Protection (vss. 1-3)
1 Those who trust in the LORD Are like Mount Zion, Which cannot be moved, but abides forever. 2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, So the LORD surrounds His people From this time forth and forever.

  1. We have a solid foundation in the Lord.  Ps 121:3 said that God would not allow our foot to be moved; Ps 125 gives us an indication of exactly how solid that is: like a mountain.  Try moving Mount Zion…it can’t be done!  Likewise with “those who trust in the LORD.”  Our foundation is in Christ, and He is incredibly strong.  He will not be moved, and thus when we are grounded in Him, we will not be moved either.
  2. Not only does God provide this strong foundation & protection, but it is an everlasting protection.  As Jerusalem had a natural barrier of mountains which protected the city, so those who trust in the Lord have the supernatural protection of God.  He serves as a wall around His people, watching over them as they dwell securely in Him.
    1. What wonderful assurance we have of our salvation in Christ!  God surrounds us from now to forever.  When we’ve been made a child of God, we’ve been forever made a child of God.

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

  1. Although we’re not told the historical context of Ps 125, it may have been written during the time of captivity.  There was a foreign power that reigned over Jerusalem, but the promise from God is that it would not always remain that way.  Their “scepter of wickedness” would not forever “rest” upon the land that had been given by God to Israel.  God would not break His promise to the people, and give them reason to abandon the Lord.  (They abandoned God, but not because God was unfaithful!)
  2. If this was true of the historical land of Israel, certainly it will be true of the Millennial Kingdom.  During that time, there will be no scepter of wickedness – Jesus will reign in truth, and the righteous will flourish.

Prayer for blessing and judgment (vss. 4-5)
4 Do good, O LORD, to those who are good, And to those who are upright in their hearts. 5 As for such as turn aside to their crooked ways, The LORD shall lead them away With the workers of iniquity. Peace be upon Israel!

  1. It’s a simple prayer to which we can all relate: do good to the good & judge the bad.  Yet there’s a big problem: who’s good?!  The psalmist obviously was referring to those who walked according to the commandments of God, but Scripture makes it plan that no one can do this perfectly.  If we’ve broken the law in one part, we’ve broken it all.  How is it that God can do good to those who are good?  Because He is the one who MAKES us good.  He declares us righteous in Christ & justifies us.  Thus He can pour out His blessings upon us because now we ARE good (clothed in the righteousness of Christ).
  2. Yet there’s also a promise for those who remain in their sin.  They will be led away by the Lord, presumably away from the land of promise & the blessings that belong to the people of God.  When God is not their God, they miss out on the blessings God offers.

Conclusion:
What grand assurance we have because God is our God!  Whether we face the lies and scorn of people around us, or devastating attacks from the enemy, God is our sure foundation.  Maybe you are in need of His mercy, or simply exuberant for the opportunity to worship – the reason you can go to God with these things is because God is your God.  What blessings!  What privilege!  That we can appeal to the Awesome Creator God of heaven and earth – that He would know us by name and bring us into eternal relationship with Him…it’s truly an amazing thing.

Perhaps tonight you need to spend time thanking God for the salvation and relationship you have in Christ.  You’ve been reminded of the assurance you have because God is your God, so thank Him for that.  Do not take your relationship in Christ for granted – let it humble you and keep you excitedly seeking the face of God.  (Which you’ll have an opportunity to do in communion.)

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