Excerpts from the Psalms and more

Thursday, May 14th

Life’s betrayals... In today’s Psalm, King David is betrayed by a chief herdsman of Saul, who was still claiming to be king of Israel at that time and seeking to kill David. David was outnumbered and hard pressed by Saul’s forces at that time. So, he sought shelter, comfort and aid from a priest of the Lord Yahweh by the name of Ahimelech. When David was received by Ahimelech and helped by him, both men were denounced to Saul by Doeg who was a man from Edom, and not a Jew. Apparently, Doeg was rewarded handsomely and rejoiced in and gloated about his bringing of evil upon David and Ahimelech.

In our life and society we often fill all three human roles in this story. There are times when we have been betrayed and times when we have been the betrayer. However, there are times when we are caught up in someone else’s dramatic evil and become collateral damage as Ahimelech did and suffer the consequences. Yet, what is the greater part of the narration of this Psalm? It is the love of God to come and forgive those who seek forgiveness and comfort those who have been harmed. To come and bring justice in the end to the cause those who are oppressed by evil. But most especially, for us as believers in God in Christ Jesus is to rejoice and praise God for all that He has done and continues to do for us.

Some may be troubled by verses 6 and 7 where in it seems as though the faithful are gloating over the destruction of the evil one. However the laughing pointed to in verse 6 is not one of joyful amusement, but bemusement or bewilderment. Also, those verses must be taken in harmony with verses 8 and 9, wherein is found the cautionary instruction, yes today we may be relieved and bemused when an evil one falls, but remember we too are green and can fall the next time – if we depart from God.

So, as we contemplate today’s Psalm, let us remember that we too are sinners in need of our great and true Champion, the Savior Jesus Christ. Let us seek him as we are pursued by sin, death and the powers of the devil and look for our place of rest in the House of God. Even though the so called Doeg’s of our lives may seek to denounce us and denounce our house of God, we know that “God is in the midst of Her and she shall not be moved” (Psalm 46:5). In that we rejoice and are glad at the mercy, peace and joy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Psalm 52 [1a] To the chief musician, a compilation of psalms of David when Doeg, the Edomite, came and told Saul, “David has come to the house of Ahimelech.”

[1b] Why do you boast evilly O mighty man? The faithfulness of God endures continually.

[2] Your tongue devises destruction, like a sharp razor working deceitfully. [3] You love evil more than good, and lying more than speaking in righteousness. [4] You love devouring your own deceitful words.

[5] However, God shall destroy you forever; He shall take you away and pluck you out of your dwelling place and uproot you from the land of the living.

[6] And the righteous shall see and fear, and shall laugh at him, saying, [7] “Here is the man who did not make God his strong refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches and strengthened himself in his own engulfing ruin!”

[8] And yet I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the mercy of God forever and forevermore. [9] I will praise You forever, because You have done it, and I will wait on Your Name for it is good, in the presence of Your saints.

O Lord Jesus, You are the Lord of the Sabbath teach us to rejoice in revel in and long for each Sabbath day’s rest in Your House. Rescue us from our hypocrisy, which keeps us from seeing You as the center and purpose of all Scripture and acknowledge the present time as the time of salvation. Call us to repent of our self-righteousness so that we might look to You alone as the source of our life; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen.

Monday, May 11th, 2020

Sunday, May 10th, 2020

Thursday, May 7th, 2020

A crashing bang of thunder is not the most welcome alarm clock, but sometimes it does start the day with an interesting twist. Today is a day like that. A pretty strong thunder storm began the morning in the dark hours of pre-dawn. But soon after that as the dark clouds continued to loom, the sunrise came, the clouds broke before its light and a beautiful day erupted out of the darkness and the passing storm.

For us in these days, we too are living through many storms and dark times, but as Christians, we do as the Psalmist says in Psalm 121 we “lift up [our] eyes to the hills.” And ask “From where does [our] help come?” For which the answer is our “help comes from the LORD, who made Heaven and earth.” It is easy to watch the news, read reports and fix our eyes on the darkness of the world and the problems and not the solution or the goal. What is the goal?... Salvation in Christ Jesus and our Heavenly home.

In today’s Psalm, King David walks us through such issues and encourages us to pray and pray in boldness (verses 1b–2; 6). Praying in boldness for a purpose that God hear us even though we are sinners and give us His presence and forgiveness in Christ.

Through each of these unusual days, as the normal pressures of life are amplified, we feel the testing and pressure – even and especially in the night we are again pressed and tried (verse 3). This nightly dialog we have with ourselves in trying to figure out the days past and the day to come is not done in isolation, unless we forget the Word of the Lord (verse 4).

As the pressure from Satan, the world and our sinful flesh grows we lift up our eyes to the hills and look for God’s help and it is there in His Living Word. In Christ, in the Bible we do find the that our steps are being guided and upheld so we do not slip (verse 5). That reading of God’s Word brings us back from the brink and brings us to prayer (verse 6). In those prayers, we pray with boldness and confidence knowing that God hears and answers with loving faithfulness, perhaps not giving us exactly what we pray for, but what He knows is best for us (verse 7).

Why would God do such good for us lost people? He does it because we are His beloved children, purchased and paid for in Christ’s precious blood (verse 8). We cling to that truth and keep our hearts open to Him no matter the situation. For the danger is to close ourselves off and become calloused, especially calloused in our hearts. When people close their hearts to God, they soon close their hearts to others and find that their only rewards are here in this temporary life, which is quite often one of misery for them (verses 9–11; 14).

These evil people and the evil work of Satan is indeed waiting to tear us apart like a hunting creature (verse 12). But we have a Victorious Savior, Christ Jesus, who actively protects us and fights for us (verse 13), we need only “be still and know that the LORD is God” and He does all for us (Psalm 46).

Ultimately, in this life we do see a new dawn each day. No matter how crashing or thundering or dark it may start, the light always overcomes the darkness and gives us hope. That hope is that in the True Light of the World, Christ, we shall indeed awaken and live in the peace and joy of being restored to Eden and living in the Likeness of Christ Jesus in His kingdom... and that is indeed a beautiful morning to which we look forward (verse 15)!

Psalm 17 [1a] A Prayer of David. [1b] Hear O LORD a just cause, attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from deceitful lips! [2] From Your presence let my vindication come! Let Your eyes behold the right!

[3] You have tried my heart, You have visited me in the night, You have refined me, and have found nothing; I have purposed that I will not transgress with my mouth. [4] Concerning the works of men, by the Word of Your lips I have avoided the paths of the destroyer.

[5] Uphold my steps in Your paths, that my footsteps may not slip. [6] I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God and incline Your ear to me; hear my utterances. [7] Show Your faithful loving goodness, O saving One, You who save those who trust in You from those who rise up against them by Your right hand..

[8] Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings, [9] from the wicked who oppress me, and from my deadly enemies who surround me.

[10] They have closed up the choicest places of their hearts to pity and with their mouths they speak gloatingly. [11] They have now surrounded us in our steps and they set their eyes to stretch us out onto the earth.

[12] Like a lion is eager to tear his prey, and like a young lion lurking secretly in ambush. [13] Arise, O LORD! Confront him, cast him down! Delivering my living soul from the wicked with Your sword, [14] and from men with Your hand O LORD, from men of the world who have their portion is in this life. You fill their belly with Your hidden treasure; they are satisfied with children, and they leave their abundance to their infants.

[15] I, however I, in righteousness shall see Your face and I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.

Let us pray:

– Lord Jesus Christ, in Your deep compassion You rescue us from whatever may hurt us. Part the storm clouds of our lives, bringing us Your Light to brighten the darkness of our days and sorrows which assault us or into which we fall. Keep our hearts open to You and to Your loving gifts of Word and Sacrament. Through Your Holy Word and life, teach us to truly love You above all things and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Send Your Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of all who would harm us and turn them from their evil ways. Restrain illness and sickness, bringing healing and health to all people according to Your gracious will; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen.

Sunday, May 3rd, 2020

Thursday, April 30th, 2020

Trinity Lutheran Church - Arapahoe, Nebraska

4 hrs · Pastor James Moshier

This last day of April 2020 breaks forth in glorious beauty in rural Nebraska. The glory of this beauty given by God stands in stark contrast to the many difficult days and nights of challenges we have been through in the last three months... yet we live in hope. The hope in which we live is not a passing, fleeting hope, but a trusting, confident in and of God. This living hope is the hope that something better coming and coming from God’s gracious and giving hands.

The Psalm appointed for today is a piece of Psalm 119. Psalm 119 is the longest Psalm in the Bible and covers a wide range of topics. This section is one of comfort, hope and trust in God’s full Word and the Living Word – which is Christ!

As we meditate on this small portion, we are actually living out the sentiment of verse 145, coupled with Jesus teachings – in the Gospels, including “If you love Me, keep My Commands” (John 14:15); “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them” (John 14:21). Also, Jesus taught us “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). All consistent teaching from the beginning of Genesis, but as stated directly in Deuteronomy 6:5 – “you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and will all your soul and with all your strength.” Reading, meditating and study of God’s Word equips us for fulfilling this love.

Verse 146 prays in confidence that echoes verse 145 and cries out to God in a trusting hope that God will and has saved us and that we can live out that blood bought gift of salvation, forgiveness and life. This crying out for God’s help does not make us weak or unworthy or somehow less, it actually shows that we trust in something greater... something that can’t be seen, tested or proven, only held onto in a trusting hope in the living Word of God.

How do we know these truths? We learn of them and take them to heart by meditating on the full council of God which is His living Word, the Scriptures the “Torah” giving all of His words of promise (verse 148). Though some read God’s Word and see only judgmentalism, crushing law and limitation, and judgment to death and damnation, we in faith see and know that God judges us forgiven in Christ and gives us the gift of forgiveness, abundant life and peace in Christ Jesus alone (verse 149)!

Again, this stands in stark contrast to many of the world who live in, revel in and thrive in doing evil, promoting evil and stay far from God’s Torah (verse 150). Worse still they will twist, mock and scoff at the simple reading, trusting and living in God’s Word by those of us who are trying. Though we may fail and not do as well as others would judge us and demand us do, we live God’s Word in our lives to the best of the abilities we have and trust that God sees not our failings, but the Triumph of Christ over sin and death – silencing the devil in Christ’s fully atoning death in our place.

These are the truths to which we hold onto dearly and rejoice in, knowing that each day is a day that the LORD has made and we rejoice in each one of them (verse 151). This simple trust in God for life comes from the beginning when God first made mankind in His image and likeness, and even after the devil’s causing of sin and introducing death to mankind, God came right back with the truth of the covenant promise of forgiveness and live (Genesis 3:15)... (verse 152)

Psalm 119:145–152 [145] With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O LORD! I will keep Your statutes. [146] I cry out to You to save me, that I may keep Your testimonies.

[147] I rise before dawning of morning and cry for help. In Your Word I hope. [148] My eyes are awake through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on Your Torah.

[149] Hear my voice according to Your faithful kindness; O LORD, according to Your judgment give me life.

[150] They draw near who follow after wickedness; they are far from Your full council. [151] But You are near, O LORD, and all Your ten Commandments are truth.

[152] From of Old I have known of Your testimonies that You have founded them forever.

Let us Pray:

– Almighty and everlasting God, in these ever changing and challenging days, increase in us Your gifts of faith, hope and love that we may receive the forgiveness You have promised and love what You have commanded. Uplift us and enliven our hearts in the knowledge of the true testimonies of Your Living Word for life, joy and confidence of a new and better day ahead. Through Jesus Christ, Your Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen.