Wednesday, May 4, 2016

"Sing unto the Lord!"

Day #126

Scripture Reading:  Psalms 1-2 …

The Psalms were meant to be sung!  It is said that music is the universal language and the words of the Psalms speak to the minds and hearts of those who know the LORD, "Yahweh," the great "I AM."  While the Psalms express the emotions of those who know God and who seek Him, the focus of the Psalms is God Himself.  The old Psalter hymnal presented a "tune" for each Psalm, however, most of them were quite similar and almost all of them were quite slow and methodical.  The Psalms cover a range of emotions, so as you read them perhaps try to imagine what type of music went with this Psalm as the congregation of Israel sang it in worship.  Though written for the people of Israel as they worshiped the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Psalms are for those who believe in the one, true God throughout the ages, pointing us ultimately to the coming King, Jesus Christ, the “Seed of Abraham,” the “Lion of Judah,” the “Son of David.”

Psalm 1 begins by revealing the contrast between the man who loves God, who seeks after God, who delights in obedience, and the man who cares nothing of God and who does his own thing and goes his own way.  In the end, "the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish" (1:6).  That means that the "way" the righteous have chosen is the way of life, while the way the wicked have chosen leads to death.  Perhaps Jesus was thinking of this Psalm when He said in His Sermon on the Mount:  "Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it" (Matthew 7:13-14).

It is fitting that the first Psalm begins with the word, “Blessed” (1:1).  God revealed to His people from the beginning that obedience brings blessing.  While no one can ever be good enough to earn eternal life, the evidence of the work of God’s spirit in the hearts and minds of His people is a heartfelt desire to please Him by living according to His commands.  Where this is no desire to please God there is no spiritual life!  Psalm 1 therefore describes the attitude of the one who seeks after God:  “His delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night” (1:2).  This is a far cry from the attitude of those who reject God and His Word, whose desire is to walk the broad road that leads to destruction.

Jesus is the “narrow gate” that leads to life.  Believing in Jesus, trusting in His shed blood on the cross for forgiveness, is the fruit of His Spirit within you.  Jesus said, "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life!" (John 14:6).  Through faith in Jesus Christ the perfect righteousness of Jesus is “credited” to your account.  The Father now sees you “in Christ.”  The Apostle Paul explains in Romans 8:1-4 that the Spirit of God in the life of the true believer now produces righteousness that is lived out in obedience to God’s revealed will ... His law.  “He (God) condemned sin in sinful man in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.”  James tells believers to look into the “mirror” of God’s perfect law that gives freedom (James 1:22-25) and to receive God’s blessing by doing what it says. 

Through the reign of Jesus Christ within us by His Spirit we have freedom to KEEP God’s law, not freedom to break it!  Jesus quoted Moses from Deuteronomy 6 when He told His disciples to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, and then to love their neighbor as themselves.  Yes, “the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish” (1:6).  The way you live your life matters!  Thus begins the songs God gave Israel to sing.  No other people can sing these songs for no other people desire to worship God, to love God, to serve God, to obey God.

Psalm 2 presents that fact in no uncertain terms.  Psalm 2 is one of the many "Messianic" Psalms.  As men try to control their own lives and the lives of others through various means, including ruling over the nations, God has anointed ONE to be King.  He is the promised "Seed of the woman" (Genesis 3:15), the descendant of Abraham through whom all nations will be blessed, the Ruler from the tribe of Judah, the Son of David!!  The nations of the world then and now oppose Jesus' reign, but God laughs at them.  "I have installed MY King on Zion, my holy hill" (2:6).  No power of hell or human plan can change that fact.  God promises to give the world to His Anointed One and He "will rule them with an iron scepter" (2:9).  That actually refers to Jesus reigning during the Millennium, following His return to earth (See Isaiah 2:1-5).

It is amazing how accurately the Psalm-writer describes the state of our world today in words that were written some 3,000 years ago!  “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?  The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against His Anointed One.  ‘Let us break their chains,’ they say, ‘and throw off their fetters’” (2:1-3).  Isn’t that exactly what people all over the world and in our own nation are doing TODAY?  They reject God’s Word and insist that they have the “right” to do whatever they want.  The LORD, the one true God who created all things, has not given them that right!  Jesus is the “Christ,” the “Anointed One,” the “King of kings and Lord of lords!”  There is no other king.

For now, God calls all people to "Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling.  Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for His wrath can flare up in a moment" (2:12).  That is hardly the picture of the "god" many worship today, even in churches throughout our nation and the world.  Psalm 1 began by telling us who is "blessed," and the Psalmist ends Psalm 2 by saying, "Blessed are all who take refuge in HIM" (God's Anointed King!).  May you be blessed as you find in Jesus Christ all you need every day!

"O LORD Almighty, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, give to me the understanding of your Word, that I may know You and draw near to You through faith in Your Son, the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Christ, Jesus!  I take refuge in Him, for YOU are my hope and my joy!!  In Jesus' precious name.  Amen"

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