Bible Study Minute – Psalm 18:2 – God’s Protection

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield, the horn of my salvation, and my stronghold.
— Psalm 18:2

I have been reading through the Psalms recently and found this second verse of the 18th Psalm interesting in that David shows us 5 characterizations of God’s protection of his people.

1.  A rock

The word used for rock here is cela (sela), which means a lofty crag or cliff.  Not just a simple boulder to hide behind, but a place of rocks and caverns that a person could hide in and escape an enemy.  God, when we run to him, becomes our cela to which we can hide surrounded by his protection.

2.  A fortress

The word here for fortress is matsuwd, a fortress or stronghold fortified by rock where we could be safe from our enemies and rest.  The fortress is a place of such safety that we can find rest.  The enemy can’t follow us there and we can rest assured that God has us in his safety net.

3.  A shield

God is often referred to as our shield.  A shield comes between us and our enemies protecting us from harm.   In Ephesians 6:16, we are called to take up the shield of faith.  I always picture this as holding our faith out in front of us as we move through life.  The enemy will be throwing arrows of doubt and darts of fear at us constantly, but our shield of faith protects us from those attacks.

4.  Horn of salvation

The horn was often used as a means to signal an attack or defense.   It is frequently used as an emblem of power or strength.  Here it is used to symbolize the strength that we receive in our salvation.  Through the work of Christ on the cross we are saved from our enemies and nothing can snatch our salvation from us.  Read in John 10:28 where Jesus says;

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish;  no one will snatch them out of my hand.  -John 10:28

5.  A stronghold

Here the word used is misgab, which means a high place, refuge, a lofty or inaccessible place.  This is a place high above our enemies, inaccessible and again we are well protected from our enemies.

If we need protection we need only look to God.

 

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Always in His Prescence – Psalm 16:11

You will show me the way of life
granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever.
-Psalm 16:11

In the Old Testament, God lived in the Most Holy Place behind the inner curtain of the temple.  The penalty of entering without the prescribed preparation was death.  Aaron had to spend hours preparing to meet God.  (Read Leviticus 16).  Today the way to God has been opened to us through Christ.  When Jesus died, the curtain separating us from the Holy of Holies was turn and God no longer dwells there.  We can now approach him anywhere, anytime.   We should still be sure to prepare our hearts to meet with God, he is still Holy and we need to be aware of that.

Today we still often look for God to be there in those special places.   We enter a church service and feel God’s presence, because he is there.  We may feel Him present in other activities and be assured he is there.

But how often do we actively feel his presence in our every day lives?  Do you feel he is with us at work?  You should, he’s there.  Do you feel him when you’re out with your family for dinner?  He’s there.  Do you enjoy his company at a sporting event?  You can, because he’s there.

He’s with you always and is with you everywhere.  You don’t have to wait until you are at a “church” service or gathering of Christians to meet him.  You can do that anywhere at anytime, because Jesus Christ did the preparation for us and has made us able to come into the presence of God outside the steps prescribed in the Old Testament.

Do we really need to “seek” God’s presence out?  Perhaps all we need to do is acknowledge his constant presence with us.

Meditate on the Word of God – Psalm 119

As I was reading this morning, I came across a chapter in a book I’m working through about how important positive thinking is to our mental, spiritual and in fact physical being.  In that reading, one of the precepts in making sure you have positive thinking throughout the day is to meditate on the Word of God, the Bible.  Not meditation in the sense of some new-age or pagan type of meditation, but to think upon and reflect upon.  I like the first definition of meditate I came across.

meditate – to engage in thought or contemplation; reflect.

God calls us to meditate on his Word, to think about it, to reflect upon it and we should be doing that continuously throughout the day.  Knowing that a key way that God communicates to us is through his Word, I felt it is an important goal to work towards.

I read my Bible and am familiar with most of it, I’m no Bible scholar to be sure, but I felt I could do better.  So what better place to to start is to see what God has to say about the importance of his own Word.

Let’s start at what I think is one of the most telling of the scriptures to remember.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself.   John 1:1

Here John is speaking of Jesus and he clearly states that Jesus is the Word and the Word is God.  When we read scripture, we can have faith that we are seeing the mind of God and that he will reveal himself to us through his word.

Let’s turn back a few pages, to the book of Matthew.

Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will remain forever.  -Matthew 24:35

Why is his word so important to us?  The psalmist in psalm 119, repeatedly tells us why.  I’ll share just a few, but the chapter is very long and is filled with thoughts on the importance of God’s Word.  I like the note that is contained in my study Bible on Psalm 119.

It is thought to have been written by Ezra after the Temple was rebuilt as a repetitive meditation on the beauty of God’s Word and how it helps us to stay pure and grow in faith.

Right from the start, we see how God’s Word can help us mentally.

Happy are people of integrity, who follow the law of the Lord.
Happy are those who obey his decrees and search for him with all their hearts.  – Psalm 119:1,2

How can we help our youth through their trials and temptations that all young people face?

How can a young person stay pure?
By obeying your word and following its rules. -Psalm 119:9

Can the Word help us when we are feeling down and depressed?

I lie in the dust, complete discouraged;
revive me by your word.  -Psalm 119:25

I weep with grief;
encourage me by your word. -Psalm 119:28

Can the Word help us with those that are against us?

Lord, give to me your unfailing love,
the salvation that you promised me.
Then I will have an answer for those you taunt me,
for I trust in your Word.  -Psalm 119:41,42

Can the Word build our confidence?

I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments.
I will speak to kings about your decrees and I will not be ashamed. -Psalm 119:45,46

Can we have hope in a dark world?

Remember your promise to me, for it is my only hope.
Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.  -Psalm 119:49,50

Can we learn good judgement and discipline in our lives?

I believe in your commands; now teach me good judgement and knowledge.
I used to wander off until you disciplined me; but now I closely follow your Word. -Psalm 119:66,67

I could go on and on, verse after verse that shows how important reading, learning and reflecting on God’s Word is.  While a long chapter, it is definitely worth a read as a good starting point.  If all that wasn’t enough, the psalmist comes right out and tells us what we need to do.

Oh, how I love your law! I think about it all day long.
Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for your commands are my constant guide.  -Psalm 119:97,98

Read God’s Word and think about it all day long.  I am working towards becoming better at that each day as I can see the potential changes it could bring about in my life.  I can’t wait to see what happens!

 

Bible Study Minute – Psalm 118:24 – Today is the day

Psalm118-24Today is the day that God has given us.  There are days that are easy to rejoice in and there are days that rejoicing is the last thing on our minds.  But let’s remember what we learn in this psalm,

This is the day the Lord has made.  We will rejoice and be glad in it.  -Psalm 118:24

When reading through the psalms, we can notice that the writers situations were often out of hand, or their sorry or guilt was overwhelming.  The writers wrote their psalms to God, telling him exactly how they felt, often crying out and questioning why they were in the situation they were in.

Something important to note was that they were completely honest with God, telling him exactly how they felt.  But as they talked with God, their prayers ended in praise.  God had given them a reason to rejoice and they praised God for that.

When you don’t feel like rejoicing, tell God how you truly feel.  God will give you a reason to rejoice.  God has given you this day to live and to serve him, be glad and praise him for that!