Watching Daily At Wisdom's Gates

A Yorkshireman's take on life, death, and eternity

Feast

How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.

Psalms 36:7‭-‬8 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/psa.36.7-8.ESV

I think we sometimes think that God’s love is reserved for those for whom Christ died. But His love isn’t limited to those He grants eternal life to. Maybe we’re the only ones His love is precious to, but we’re not the only ones to recieve it.

As David says here, the children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of God’s wings. When people get into troubles, their gut reaction, whether they’re believers or not, tends to be prayers for help. God doesn’t just look after His people, but is gracious to all.

People feast on the abundance of God’s house. He provides us our daily bread. He satisfies our spiritual hunger for goodness. Every need we have is met in Him.

We can drink from God’s river of delights. The Bible isn’t just a gift to God’s people but to the world, to enable us to get to know Him. We can drink deeply of its teachings and find in it fulfilment for our souls.

“Oh God our Father, we want to thank You that there are no outsiders to Your love. We acknowledge that every good gift is from Your hands, and ask that You would provide for our needs. To the praise of Your glory, amen”

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Awake!

Awake and rouse yourself for my vindication, for my cause, my God and my Lord! Vindicate me, O Lord , my God, according to your righteousness, and let them not rejoice over me!

Psalms 35:23‭-‬24 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/psa.35.23-24.ESV

David was in trouble in this Psalm. Enemies had arisen against him. So he cried out to the Lord to wake up and rouse Himself for his vindication. Of course, the One who watches over Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps, but sometimes it can feel like it.

David had integrity, whatever his enemies said, and wanted God to vindicate him. But he wasn’t pleading the merits of his own goodness. He was pleading the goodness of God.

After all, David was someone who committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered her husband Uriah. He couldn’t plead his own righteousness, only that of God Himself. If we’re honest, we too need God’s goodness to be credited to our spiritually bankrupt accounts.

No one wants their enemies to rejoice over them. David turned that fear into a prayer that God would prevent that happening. That’s what we need to do with our fears: take them to the Lord in prayer.

“Oh Lord our God, please give us the victory over our enemies, not for our sake, but for Yours we pray. In the powerful name of Jesus, amen”

Brokenhearted

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.

Psalms 34:18‭-‬19 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/psa.34.18-19.ESV

Even if we’re close to God, He doesn’t immunise us from getting our hearts broken. What He does is comfort us in all our troubles. Jesus Himself was heartbroken at the fact that most of His people rejected Him, so God knows how it feels to be brokenhearted, He empathises with us.

Not only does God care for us, but He also actively saves us. Our spirits might be crushed. We might feel like we have no spiritual value, and we might be right. But God can save and restore us to become His own treasured possession.

Just because God’s made us good, doesn’t mean to say we won’t have affliction. In fact, David says we have lots of troubles. We get all the usual ones of mankind, plus persecutions from those who hate God and His people.

We might have more than our fair share of affliction, but the Lord delivers them from them all. David had fled murderous Saul to the enemy people of the Philistines. He’d panicked and feigned madness to avoid them killing him, but it was ultimately the Lord who delivered Him.

“Lord, we want to praise You that You’re close to us in our troubles. In the midst of them all, we ask You to save us, and have confidence that You will in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whose name we pray, amen”

Prayer

And I said, “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned.

Nehemiah 1:5‭-‬6 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/neh.1.5-6.ESV

So begins a prayer of Nehemiah when he learns what a literally ruinous state his home city of Jerusalem is in. He was in exile in Babylon, and was cupbearer, or butler, to the king of Babylon. But his heart was in his homeland.

Nehemiah’s prayer wasn’t a shopping list of demands of God. He started by worshipping the Lord for who He is: the great and awesome God. The Lord keeps covenant, and unfailing love with those who love Him and keep His commandments.

Nehemiah asked the Lord to forgive the sins of his people, which had landed them up in exile in the first place. But first he even asked that the Lord would simply hear his prayer. Nehemiah didn’t assume that God was going to listen- he had the humility to ask Him to.

And note also that Nehemiah wasn’t “holier than thou”. He didn’t look down on his fellow countrymen whose sins had landed them up in exile. Instead, Nehemiah recognised his own complicity and that of his family in the sins of his people.

“Great and awesome God, Lord of heaven and earth, we worship You today. We ask that You would hear us as we cry out for forgiveness and reconciliation to Yourself. In Christ’s name, amen”

Rejoice!

Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord . Be glad in the Lord , and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

Psalms 32:10‭-‬11 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/psa.32.10-11.ESV

Everyone has sorrows in the “vale of tears” that is this life. But if we’re wicked, we have many sorrows. We have the guilt and shame of what we’ve done, or failed to do, weighing on our consciences.

If we trust in the Lord for our salvation however, we takes the weight of our sorrows at our sins from our shoulders. “Blessed are those who mourn (their sins), for they will be comforted”. God hedges us around with His love from many of the sorrows that would assail us.

We have plenty to be glad about if we belong to Jesus. “He took my sins and my sorrows, He made them His very own, He bore the burden to Calvary, and suffered and died alone. How marvellous, how wonderful, and my song shall ever be, how marvellous, how wonderful, is my Saviour’s love for me!”

Our hearts are naturally bent to do evil. But when we trust in the Lord and His redemptive love, He sets our hearts straight. We become upright in heart, which makes us joyful and grateful, not “holier than thou”.

“We trust in You, our Lord and Saviour, to take away our sorrows and give us joy and gladness instead. Thank You so much for Your powerful love in Christ that sets us right on the path to glory. For Your honour, amen”

Time

My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love!

Psalms 31:15‭-‬16 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/psa.31.15-16.ESV

We might like to think our times are in our own hands, but if we do, we’re deluding ourselves. Our every breath is a gift of God, and who knows when our last one will come? David for one often lived with the shadow of death looming over him.

He cried out to the Lord of his days to rescue him from the hands of his enemies. Our times aren’t in our own hands, but thankfully they aren’t in the hands of our enemies either. God has the final say on when our time is up.

When God’s face shines on us, all is well. If God is for us, who can be against us? Ultimately no one, successfully anyway!

Why does God save us? Well it’s not because He’s under duress. It’s because of His unfailing love. All honour to His glorious name!

“Lord, we’re so glad that You’re in control of our times, not ourselves or our enemies. Please shine the light of Your favour and love upon us, to Your glory, amen”

Psalm 5: Morning

https://bloggingpsalms.wordpress.com/2019/08/03/psalm-5-morning/

Check out my latest post on blogging Psalms, and please follow that new blog of mine!

Thanks, and God bless,

Robert

Dancing

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

Psalms 30:11‭-‬12 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/psa.30.11-12.ESV

This Psalm is of David, a song for the dedication of the temple. He wasn’t allowed to build the temple, being a man of war with blood on his hands. But he made preperatioms for it for his son Solomon to complete.

But this Psalm isn’t about what David did for God. Instead it’s about what God did for David. He inspired him to dance and clothed him with joy, where once he was clothed in the sackcloth of mourning.

David was a glorious king in his majesty. But he didn’t seek out glory for himself. Instead he declared that his glory would sing God’s praise and not be silent. It’s God who glorifies one and humbles another.

David was grateful to the Lord his God for glorifying him. So he declared that he would thank Him forever. He wasn’t just a part time believer on a Sabbath day. His life was dedicated to the praise of his great God. Are ours?

“Oh Yahweh our God, may our lives be dedicated to Your praise and glory. Thank You for giving us gladness in the place of sorrow. May we rejoice in You, in the name of Jesus, amen”

Identity

And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?”

Mark 8:27 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/mrk.8.27.ESV

This is one of the most important questions we can answer, because upon what we believe the answer is hangs our eternal destiny. I can’t remember the percentage, but a surprisingly large number of Brits today think Jesus never existed. That would be convenient in the sense of having no one to be accountable to, no day of judgement.

Jesus’ disciples had no doubt He existed. They saw and touched Him, they knew He was as real as they were. They also knew that there were plenty of opinions about Him, as being like a prophet. Nowadays, many people project what they want Jesus to be onto Him, whether simply a good teacher, a hippie, a revolutionary, or whatever else.

The religious leaders came dangerously close to blasphemy by suggesting that Jesus was oppressed by demons. They said it was by satan that He cast out demons. But the ordinary people knew He is good, and demons don’t do good, even if they sometimes masquerade as angels of light.

As CS Lewis said, Jesus can’t just simply be a good man, because He claimed to be the Son of God. That’s why they condemned Him to death. So He’s either mad, bad- a liar- or who He claims to be. Peter confessed Him as the Christ- the Messiah anointed by God’s Holy Spirit to save His people from their sins.

“Dear Lord, may we truly know You as You are. We confess You to be the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Thank You for the salvation we recieve in You from all our wrongdoing. To Your glory and praise, amen”

Rock

To you, O Lord , I call; my rock, be not deaf to me, lest, if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit.

Psalms 28:1 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/psa.28.1.ESV

For David, prayer wasn’t an optional extra in his life. It wasn’t just something for moments of trouble. It was a way of life.

The Lord wasn’t just a friend to David. He was his rock. Jesus isn’t someone we can take or leave. He’s the one we must build our lives on if we are to last for eternity.

It was essential to David that the Lord answered his prayer. As far as he was concerned, if God didn’t answer his prayer, he was as good as dead. Do we have the same attitude to prayer as him?

To be honest, I’m not sure I do. If I was more prayerful, I’m sure I’d be more successful in life. Success isn’t so much dependant on us as upon the God to whom we must pray.

“Dear Yahweh our God, please give us that conscious dependance on you for everything. Please light up our eyes, lest we sleep the sleep of death. In Christ’s powerful name we pray, amen”