Category Archives: Sunday–Praise God

My Delight is the Lord, December 25

Fear and Hope

December 25, Sunday: Praise God

Scripture Reading: Psalm 147

We are easily confused about what we need most. Too often we identify as our greatest need that which we don’t have and, possibly, is out of our reach and/or control. Maybe that’s wealth or power or prestige. Do we ever find ourselves wistfully thinking, “If I just had more money…” or “If [so and so] would just do what I say…” or “Well, I know what I would do if I had the authority…” as solutions to our greatest concern? The real answer for everyone is well within reach. “His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love” (vv. 10-11). To fear God and hope in His steadfast love is the supreme need of us all.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What historical timeframe is suggested in v. 2?
  • How is God’s limitless knowledge described in v. 4?
  • What ongoing activities of God are to be praised? (vv. 8-9)
  • What advantage was given to Jacob and Israel? (vv. 19-20)

My Delight is the Lord, December 18

Strong Soul

December 18, Sunday: Praise God

Scripture Reading: Psalm 138

I want to have strength and endurance, but I’m not interested in any kind of exercise. We all know that won’t work, will it? An increase in physical strength and the capacity to endure demands exercise of some kind. Present physical limitations must be pressed in order for increase to result. So, when the Bible says, “my strength of soul you increased” (v. 3), the same principle applies. Strength of soul and endurance of spirit cannot happen without our present limits being stretched. That’s why this passage goes on to speak of God’s people in difficult situations. Notice words like lowly, trouble, deliver, wrath, preserve (vv. 6-7). All of them suggest circumstances other than ease and comfort. It is there, in the crucible of our struggles, that God increases the strength of our soul.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What has God exalted above all things? (v. 2)
  • Whom does the Lord regard? (v. 6)
  • Whose purpose will God fulfill? (v. 8)
  • What is “the work of your hands”? (v. 8)

My Delight is the Lord, December 11

Wise to Fear

December 11, Sunday: Praise God

Scripture Reading: Psalm 130

Scripture is pretty clear that fearing God is a non-negotiable. It is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 9:10). Coupled with obedience, it is the essence of our existence (Ecc. 12:13). Since “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31), this question is a very good one: “If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” (v. 3). That is quite frightening! But the very next verse assures us, “But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared” (v. 4). So fearing God has every bit as much to do with His desire to forgive us of our sins as it does with the wrath and condemnation our sin deserves from holy God.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Have you ever cried to God “out of the depths”? (v. 1)
  • What does it mean to “mark iniquities”? (v. 3)
  • How do we “wait for the Lord”? (vv. 5-6)
  • What is to be found with God? (v. 7)

My Delight is the Lord, December 4

How We See God

December 4, Sunday: Praise God

Scripture Reading: Psalm 123

The question is not whether or not you see God, but how do you see Him? We’re all on board when the Psalm says, “To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!” (v. 1). Are we still on board when it goes on to say that we do so as a servant looks to the hand of his master and the  maidservant to the hand of her mistress (v. 2)? Not everyone sees God that way. Too many see Him as their sugar-daddy, the one who makes sure I get what I want; or maybe their super hero who shows up when I’m in trouble to get me out of my messes in the nick of time; or their doting parent who readily validates me, no matter what. Unless we see God as our master whom we serve and to whom we look for mercy (v. 2), it’s really not God we’re seeing at all.

Questions to Ponder:

  • How does a servant look to his master? (v. 2)
  • For what ought ones who look to God be looking for? (v. 2)
  • Why is mercy needed? (vv. 3-4)
  • From where do these problems come? (v. 4)

My Delight is the Lord, November 27

Recognized Value

November 27, Sunday: Praise God

Scripture Reading: Psalm 116

We’ve all heard the stories of someone going to a flea market or garage sale and buying something of extreme value dirt cheap. How does that happen? The buyer is able to recognize worth that the seller obviously does not. We’re not talking about just being lucky here–like the guy who bought an old, framed picture at a garage sale only to find one of the oldest known copies of the Declaration of Independence behind the displayed picture. Rather, this is the ability to recognize what is genuinely valuable when others do not. That’s the point of v. 15, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” The writer has been talking about God’s people’s lives being threatened (see vv. 3, 8).  This gets God’s attention. He sees those lives as “precious.” They are of great value to Him. Think about the lives that garner the most attention (typically at the time of death) in this culture. Much fanfare accompanies their passing, but that’s not an accurate reflection of God’s outlook.

Questions to Ponder:

  • How is God’s grace, righteousness, and mercy displayed? (v. 5)
  • What is “the land of the living”? (v. 9)
  • What is an appropriates response to the good God does? (v. 12)
  • What sacrifice is appropriate to God? (v. 17)

My Delight is the Lord, November 20

Not To Us

November 20, Sunday: Praise God

Scripture Reading: Psalm 115

Now here is a counter-intuitive, counter-culture, counter-human nature statement if there ever was one; “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory” (v. 1). If there is anything humanity wants it’s for the flow of glory to be coming our direction. Our concern is for all the accolades, recognition, and praise to come our way. It’s so bad for some folks that they get upset to see someone else be on the receiving side of glory. Unfortunately, some of these same people are religious folks. Their faith, and the practice of it, turns God into an instrument for their personal promotion. This is why Jesus said the prerequisite for following Him is denying self. Faith is all about Him, not us. So, “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory.”

Questions to Ponder:

  • Because of what should God receive glory? (v. 1)
  • Why would the nations ask where “their God” is to be found? (v. 2)
  • What happens to those who worship idols? (v. 8)
  • What has God given to the children of men? (v. 16)

My Delight is the Lord, November 13

God’s Great Work

November 13, Sunday: Praise God

Scripture Reading: Psalm 113

God is praised because, among other things, of the great things He does. He accomplishes what we cannot. His work is of such magnitude and beauty that we stand in awe. On the computer screen behind this word processing document is the amateurish photo I took from my front porch of a brilliant cloud formation of remarkable beauty. Those types of scenes and events frequently elicit praise for our Creator.  Praise God who brings such pleasure and enjoyment into my life. Nothing wrong here, but could that not easily morph into a rather self-serving outlook? God gets my praise when He does what pleases me. Am I as quick with praise when He raises the poor from the dust and the needy from the ash heap and gives the barren woman a home (vv. 7-9)? Do I even notice the great work of God when it doesn’t directly impact me?

Questions to Ponder:

  • When should God be praised? (vv. 2-3)
  • Where is God? (vv. 4-6)
  • Where are those to whom God gives attention? (v. 7)
  • To whom is God’s attention directed? (vv. 7-9)

My Delight is the Lord, November 6

God’s Great Works

November 6, Sunday: Praise God

Scripture Reading: Psalm 111

We all know the Bible stories; creation, the flood, Abraham and Sarah, Joseph, the 10 plagues, etc., etc. Knowing the stories is all well and good, but if that’s as far as it goes, we have failed miserably in what God intends for us to know. The “works of the Lord” (that what all Bible stories are relating) are to be “studied by all who delight in them” (v. 2). So far so good. “Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever, He has cause his wondrous works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and merciful” (vv. 3-4). These works of God are intended to show us God. They display his majesty, righteousness, grace, mercy, power, faithfulness, justice, and trustworthiness (vv. 3-7). When we read and study these incredible accounts, the question is not so much, “What happened?”, as it is, “What does this teach me about God?”.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What are two conditions in which thanks is given to God? (v. 1)
  • Of what is God’s work full? (v. 3)
  • What event (or process) showed God’s power? (v. 6)
  • What is the beginning of wisdom? (v. 10)

My Delight is the Lord, October 30

Promise

October 30, Sunday: Praise God

Scripture Reading: Psalm 105

We are familiar with the biblical account of how Abraham’s descendants went down into Egypt and then brought them out again four centuries later to give them the land He had promised to the man from Ur. The question is, “Why?”. Why was God so good to these people in particular? Why did He protect and provide for them? There was but one reason, and it had nothing to do with any measure of worthiness on the their part. Instead, it had everything to do with His promise (see vv. 7-11). The message for us is that there is nothing more certain than God’s promise. Nothing! He intends for us to base our life, our future, our hope, our eternal destiny upon His promise (see 2 Pet. 1:3-11, noting the foundational “precious and very great promises”). This is why this Psalm begins with a call to make known his deeds among the peoples (v. 1). These deeds prove the incontestable reliability of His promises.

Questions to Ponder:

  • How are Abraham’s descendants described prior to going to Egypt? (vv. 12-13)
  • To whom did God say this? (v. 15)
  • How is Joseph’s prison time in Egypt described? (v. 18)
  • Why did the Egyptians hate the people of Israel? (v. 25)

My Delight is the Lord, October 23

Creation Information

October 23, Sunday: Praise God

Scripture Reading: Psalm 104

If we allow Scripture to inform us about creation (both the act and its outcome) only from Genesis 1-2, we are greatly disadvantaged. It would be like thinking the only place we learn about Jesus’ teaching or the subjects of faith, love, and the resurrection is from the Gospels, Hebrews 11, 1 Corinthians 13, and 15. Psalm 104 is all about the Creator and His creation. It’s even more comprehensive than the initial two chapters of Scripture in that it goes beyond the world’s first week and acknowledges the ongoing and ever-present Creator/creation relationship. It touches on the angels’ roles relative to the created order (vv. 3-4, see also Heb. 1:7) and that singular occasion when God radically altered the original created arrangement–the flood (vv. 6-9). The object of God’s creative act relishes in the “good things” He supplies. But, when withheld, it’s dismay, death, and dust (vv. 27-29). “May the glory of the Lord endure forever, may the Lord rejoice in his works” (v. 31).

Questions to Ponder:

  • With what does God clothe Himself? (vv. 1-2)
  • How does Hebrews 1:7 apply v. 4?
  • From where do young lions seek their food? (v. 21)
  • What is Leviathan? (v. 26)