23 January 2014

psalm 138

So, everything in the Word is blowing my mind these days, [including our ladies Bible study this afternoon- so good!!] but Psalm 138 takes the prize for this morning's treasures unearthed. This is the next section of Scripture I want to memorize.

Lest you get the impression that I am some memorization whiz, let me correct you immediately; I haven't endeavored to memorize anything from the Bible in at least a year. And when I did that a year ago, it was the first time in a long time. But it has been on my heart to be meditating on the Word, and to start to try memorizing Scripture again, focusing some really great passages that have been speaking like crazy to me these days. And the funny thing is, the passage that I'm memorizing in some unfathomable way ties together everything else I'm learning. Seriously. I had no idea this psalm would be so incredibly applicable to every part of my life. So that's kind of awesome.

My current memory project is Psalm 65. I felt like the Lord gave it to me as a promise to hold onto in 2013: "You crown the year with Your goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance" and "the little hills rejoice on every side" - well, ok! I'll take that as a promise! The promise wasn't fulfilled in the glorious way that my little mind had imagined though; it was an amazing year, and I do look back and see God's faithful hand through every step of the way, and His goodness and sweetness and kindness all the way through rough times and glad times, but it wasn't exactly a year that "went out with a bang," you know? So I was thinking of a verse from it again the other day, nowadays in 2014, and it seemed as though the Lord was hinting at additional yet-future fulfillment. Well, ok! So it's been my 2013 and 2014 chapter, and if it sticks around for 2015 as well, so be it! I love it!

But we're talking about Psalm 138 here. While on a completely different line of thought this morning, I recalled a phrase that said, "In the day when I cried out, You answered me." So I did a little literal searching followed by a little Bible app searching, and eventually it appeared: Psalm 138:3 - "In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul."

And then look! Verse 8 is one of my other all-time favorites [I have about 4 million other favorites, give or take a few.]: "The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever; Do not forsake the work of Your hands."

Yes and Amen to both of these. I quickly finished my initial train of thought, then read through the whole psalm, first real fast, and then again more slowly. The gist of this psalm goes exactly along with my thoughts from the other day, on how to get joy; remember? When we choose to put our trust in the Lord and love His name, He fills and overflows us with His Holy Spirit's fruit of joy. It can't not happen. So thankful for that, because it's just too easy to run out of circumstantial, emotional happiness!

So here again, we see the Psalmist making some deliberate choices, based on his previous knowledge of God, and completely in spite of overwhelming circumstances or any of his present feelings. [This is important; there is no other way to deal with things Biblically than to put our trust in the Lord and hold fast to His Word. Speaking of that, this week I've been listening to Levi Lusko from Fresh Life Church in Montana teach through the book of Philippians, in his series called Rampart. We have an unshakeable rampart for our souls, despite anything the devil or the world can throw our way: the joy of the Lord. Seriously guys, check this series out! There's even an app for it so you can download them to your phone! Ok, that's the end of the commercial; I didn't get paid for that, I'm just really enjoying this study!]

You can read the whole Psalm 138 here, but I'm going to just give you the two lists that were jumping off the page at me this morning.

The first list is about us: what we choose to do, and what happens to us because of it. The second list is about God: Who He is, and what He does. Ready?

Psalm 138: The "Us" List // what we choose to do, and what will happen:

  1. I will praise You with my whole heart
  2. I will sing praises to You
  3. I will worship toward Your holy temple [incline my heart Your direction]
  4. I will praise Your name
  5. (On the day when) I cried out
  6. All the kings of the earth shall praise You
  7. (when they) hear the the words of Your mouth
  8. They shall sing of the ways of the Lord
  9. (Though) I walk in the midst of trouble
Praise, wholeheartedness, singing, worship, praising His name, crying out to Him, more praise, hearing His Word, singing of His ways, and just plain old-fashioned walking. Even though I walk in the midst of trouble. The circumstances do not determine our response. Knowledge of God's character and His ways and His word and His goodness cause me to rejoice, nevertheless. Even though I will certainly walk in the midst of trouble. That adds up to eight choices to trust God, and one lifelong fact that we can't change; "in this world you will have trouble, but take heart; I have overcome the world." Jesus said that.

Look at how easy this is: basically, praising and worshiping and singing to Him, crying out to Him, hearing His word, and just walking through the midst of trouble [did you catch that? We won't die in the midst of trouble.. just keep walking, one step at a time; we can do that!]. Can I pull a preacher-man alliteration right here?? Worship - hear His Word - and Walk right on through. My dad's gonna get a kick out of that one. And don't forget to cry out to Him- tell Him all of the everything that's going on, let your requests be known, and cry out in thanksgiving because He is your God! Philippians 4:6-7 all the way, baby.

Ok, so here's what God does. See how there are nine things on the "me" list, and they can even be condensed into a few really simple choices to make and responses to have? There are 17 huge and awesome things on the "God" list!

Psalm 138: The "God" List // God's character [who He is] and works [what He does]:
  1. Your lovingkindness [oh, so thankful for this! Both loving and kind. I need these so bad, even when I won't admit it.]
  2. Your truth [He's got the corner on the truth market, and we've got His word, which IS The Truth.]
  3. You have magnified Your word [HE magnifies it and makes it so we can see and understand its depths, by His Spirit!]
  4. (above all) Your name [which is pretty awesome and powerful on its own- do you know His names?? do you use them? And He says knowing His Word is even more important than knowing His name! They really go hand in hand, don't worry.]
  5. (in the day when I cried out) You answered me [notice the timing! no delayed response action going on here; TODAY!]
  6. You made me bold with strength in my soul [perfect love casts out all fear, because I trust that He's got me]
  7. The ways of the Lord [so much higher than ours!]
  8. Great is the glory of the Lord [revealed in creation, in our hearts, and most importantly in the face of Jesus Christ]
  9. (though) the Lord is on high [The King; the One God and there is no other; and again, way higher than our ways and thoughts and time/space/matter continuum!]
  10. (yet) He regards the lowly [I want to be one of these! Oh how blessed are the meek- God regards and truly cares for them.]
  11. (but) the proud He knows from afar [oh He knows, all right. He sees it all, and they're going down if they don't humble themselves]
  12. You will revive me [You restore my soul..! "Quicken/revive me, O God, according to Your word!"]
  13. You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies [not my hand! Vengeance belongs to Him alone]
  14. Your right hand will save me [the hand of His favor is going to save me]
  15. The Lord will perfect that which concerns me [HE will bring it to pass! HE will make it perfect! All of it!]
  16. Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever [new every morning, and enduring forever. Good thing, because we need it real bad!]
  17. [You] do not forsake the works of Your hands. [we are the works of His hands! He does not give up on us! He will finish what He has begun in us. Philippians 1:6]
We can do all of the "us" list [all 3ish things on it], once we start to get these huge, marvelous, tremendous truths about God into our hearts and minds. If God is for us, who can be against us? Know the Lord, my friends. He does not forsake the works of His hands, and we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Just walking. Just one step at a time. Not seeing the whole picture, but having a listening heart and a willing mind to trust Him and obey Him and praise Him because He is so good, always.

Now isn't that a great Psalm?? "Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts." (Jeremiah 15:16)

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