KG June 5-11

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June 5, Sunday

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Hallelujah — This psalm begins with the command, “Praise the LORD!”—two words in Hebrew: “hallelu yah” (the short form, yah, of Yahweh).  It is a command given 28 times in the book of Psalms.  Why would God want His people to praise Him?  Some think that sounds self-serving; however, God commands us to praise Him, not for His benefit, but for ours.  He designed us with an admiring focus outside ourselves.  Getting attention away from ourselves and onto God helps us to be connected to our life-giving Source.  He is what we most need.  Praise is the faucet of blessing.  The three blessings in this psalm are that God “provides food for those who fear him” (v. 5), “giving them the inheritance of the nations” (v. 6), and “redemption to his people” (v. 9).  The main focus of praise emphasized in this psalm are the things God has done—His works: “Great are the works of the LORD” (v. 2) that are “Full of splendor and majesty” (v. 3), “wondrous” (v. 4), powerful (v. 6), and “faithful and just” (v. 7).  We also praise God because He is inherently worthy, which is why “His praise endures forever!” (v. 10).

Praise the Lord – YouTube

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June 6, Monday

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The High and the Low — This is another psalm of praise, opening and closing with the command, “Praise the LORD!” (Hallelujah!).  It provides two different reasons for praising God.  One reason is because of God’s elevated status.  He is “high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens … who is seated on high” (vv. 4-5).  God is worthy of our praise because He is so far above us in every way.  As Creator of all that we see in the universe, He “sits above” it as the reigning King, controlling its functions and the direction of history of the earth’s people.  The second reason given for our praise of God is that, although He has such a high position, He reaches down to earth to help unfortunate people.  He is a compassionate King.  “He raises the poor … lifts the needy … gives the barren woman … children” (vv. 7-9).  His high position doesn’t make Him remote; He intimately cares for His creation.  He is also a Father.  When we pray, we probably picture God as this greatly elevated Person, in distance as well as in quality.  But, let’s not forget that He is also a compassionate God who loves and cares for us, His children.  Praise Him because He is exalted; praise Him because He is empathetic!  He is worthy of our praise.

God of Compassion, in Mercy Befriend Us – YouTube

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June 7, Tuesday

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God’s Heavens — This psalm makes several important statements about God in relationship to the heavens.  First, He made them: “…the LORD, who made heaven and earth” (v. 15).  He is the Creator of all we see when we look into the sky—all that and more.  The heavens are the signature of God’s creative wisdom and power.  For that, the psalmist responded, “…to your name give glory” (v. 1).  We honor God as Creator.  Secondly, because God created the heavens, He “owns” them: “The heavens are the LORD’s heavens” (v. 16).  The heavens belong to Him in a special way because He made them.  I have a small footstool I made in a woodshop class in the 7th grade.  I “own” it in a special way because I made it.  The heavens and earth are uniquely God’s because He is their creator.  Finally, the psalm says that “Our God is in the heavens” (v. 3).  He not only created them and owns them, but He also inhabits the heavens.  Where is that?  It is everywhere.  Our infinite God is omnipresent, everywhere present.  He misses nothing that goes on in His heavens because He is everywhere.  He even indwells the hearts of those who surrender to Him in faith.  He is worthy of our honor; “…not to us, but to your name give glory” (v. 1).

Not To Us – YouTube

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June 8, Wednesday

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Public Thanks — The unusual emphasis of this psalm is that thanksgiving is not only made to God for answered prayer, but it is also given in public worship.  The psalmist said, “I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving” (v. 17); the “sacrifice” suggests that it was public worship.  The public nature of thanksgiving is also stressed by twice repeating the statement, “I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people” (vv. 14, 18).  How does that apply to us today in our form of public worship?  I remember as a young boy that our church would have a “testimony service.”  It was a time set aside for people to share how God had answered prayer, worked for their benefit, or taught them something special from the Bible.  We still have opportunities to do that today in our adult church community groups on Sundays or our small group meetings during the week.  When God does something special for us, we ought to think about how we can make our blessing public.  Tell others about the goodness of God!  Expressing how God has blessed you reflects on His character qualities, like this psalmist who said, “Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful.  The LORD preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me” (vv. 5-6).  This moves one from a focus on the blessing, toward giving praise to the One who blessed.

We Gather Together – YouTube

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June 9, Thursday

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Steadfast and Faithful — This is not only the shortest psalm in the book of Psalms, it is also the shortest chapter in the whole Bible.  It is an important one, however, because it reminds us of two things about God that we have seen many times before.  The first is how greatly he loves us: “For great is his steadfast love toward us” (v. 2a).  This “steadfast love” is the chesed love we talked about earlier, used 251 times in the Scriptures.  It is such a broad word that it is difficult to translate into English.  It involves both love and kindness (“lovingkindness” NASB 1995) that is broad in scope, abundant in quantity, good in quality, and long in duration.  It is the availability of God’s infinite goodness to mankind, being “great … toward us.”  The second thing this psalm shows us about God is His lasting faithfulness: “…the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever” (v. 2b).  He demonstrated it to Israel for almost 2,000 years after His promises to Abraham, through rescue from Egypt’s bondage, entering and possessing the Promised Land, and producing the Messiah.  God is faithful; we can count on Him.  And His faithfulness is enduring; it puts up with so much!

Thy Loving Kindness – YouTube

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June 10, Friday

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Saved to Sing — In our previous psalm, the endurance of God’s faithfulness was emphasized (“…the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever”—Ps. 117:2).  In our present psalm, it is the endurance of God’s steadfast love that is stressed, repeating this four times: “his steadfast love endures forever!” (Ps. 118:1-4).  There are many other things mentioned about God in this passage: He is “good” (vv. 1, 29), answers prayer (v. 5, 21), is our “helper” (vv. 7, 13), works “valiantly” (v. 15, 16), “exalts” (v. 16), disciplines (v. 18), is “the cornerstone” (v. 22), does “marvelous” things (v. 23), “makes our day”! (v. 24), blesses His people (v. 26), and shines light upon them (v. 27).  In addition to these, I was struck by a cluster of qualities mentioned in one verse: “The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation” (v. 14).  He is “my strength” because Jesus said that “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).  We do not understand how dependent we are on God’s strength.  Every breath we take and every beat of our heart are gifts from Him.  Our talents and intellectual abilities are given to us by God.  He provided a spiritual gift for each of us that is only effective through His power.  He is our strength.  Secondly, God is also “my song.”  He is the source of true joy and He is the object of my praise.  I praise Him in words and in song.  Ten times in Scripture, we are commanded, “Sing to the LORD!” (e.g., Ps. 96:1-2).  If we know that God is our strength, we should sing about it.  Finally, the psalmist said, “he has become my salvation” (Ps. 118:14).  He may have been thinking of a particular battle victory, but it applies to both physical and spiritual rescue.  To be saved is to be rescued, and we need to sing not only about our recognition of God’s strength, but also about our rescue.  The next verse declares that, “Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous” (v. 15).  Let’s sing about it!

Saved, Saved! – YouTube

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Meditation: I love the fact that Ps. 118:8 is the center verse of the Bible because it contains this central truth: “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.”  We tend to trust in ourselves more than in God.  It is easy to place our hope in people of ability and proven success.  We even sometimes trust the government to take care of us, but the next verse also instructs us that trusting in God is better “than to trust in princes” (v. 9).  As Solomon advised us, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5).  Center on that!

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June 11, Saturday

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God’s Supporting Arm — Although God “laughs at the wicked” (v. 13), He lovingly cares for His own, His righteous ones.  There are so many ways God’s care for us is shown in this psalm:  He “will act” for us (v. 5), gives us the desires of our heart (v. 4), gives generously to us so that we have abundance (vv. 26, 19), exalts us (v. 34), doesn’t forsake us (v. 28), and protects us in times of trouble (vv. 39-40).  In two places, it says that God “upholds” us.  One time, it is in the context of wicked people that “the LORD upholds the righteous” (v. 17b).  God protects us from the danger of evil people.  In the time of battle, “the arms of the wicked shall be broken” (v. 17a), but God takes the righteous by the arm to “uphold” us.  In the other context, God protects us from the danger of falling.  Although we may be walking in the “steps of … the LORD” (v. 22), sometimes we stumble.  But guess who is there to keep us from planting our face in the ground?  God is there for us: “…though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand” (v. 24).  The Lord is walking with us, holding our hand so that if we should stumble in ignorance, error, or disobedience, God is there to catch us and keep us upright.

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms – YouTube

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This website honors the Bible as the inspired Word of God through which God speaks to us as we read and study it.

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