“Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.” Psalm 90:1 (NASB)
And this day many are traveling home after their visit with families or other travels on the busiest travel day in some countries. Going home is often a wonderful trip no matter what the reason. This is a very short verse today from a Psalm written by Moses. He was writing about his own experience and the experience of other people of faith who lived before him. We believe his words can describe our experience today as well. We like the picture of the Lord as being our dwelling place. It is like saying that the Lord is our home. Isn’t it true that when we trust in Him we do feel at home? Our Lord does want us to feel at home with Him. It is so comfortable to be able to trust Him and to sense His fellowship. So let’s always remember to come home to the Lord because that is where we belong. He is and He always will be throughout all generations for those who believe and accept Jesus. That is something we can be very thankful for today…tomorrow…forever.
“For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat; for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall, like heat in a dry place.” Isaiah 25:4-5a (ESV)
This verse gives us four ways that God promised to provide for the needy in Isaiah’s day. The prophet Isaiah knew the wonder of God and what He did for His own who were in need. Number one, God is a stronghold (defense) to the poor or those without the means to have a defense. Number two God is also a stronghold (defense) to those oppressed and in need of help. A stronghold was a place or means of safety and protection. A third is the shelter He provides when the storms of life come upon us. And when the heat is on God provides shade as the fourth way. He is ourrefuge and we can look to Him when we are threatened and wonder how things will work sort out for us. We trust Him for shelter when life is stormy. Sometimes we face people who have us up against a wall – we can trust and know God is with us to help us. So, let’s allow the words of our verse to remind us today how full sufficient our God is to be there and meet our every need.
“Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your mind to my knowledge; For it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, that they may be ready on your lips. So that your trust may be in the Lord, I have taught you today, even you. Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge, To make you know the certainty of the words of truth that you may correctly answer him who sent you? ” – Proverbs 22:17-21 (NASB)
Our longer than usual passage today is reminiscent of 2:1-5; and 5:1-2. It cautions us to be alert to hear and speak the wisdom of God. It is within human nature, which is fallen and without hope apart from God, that we will tend to disregard the words of the wise and even the words we read in our Scripture. The term in verse 20; excellent things, is literally “chief proverbs.” These verses which make up our passage is an introductory section of exhortation. What follows are a collection of words for the wise worshiper of God. The instruction “Incline your ear” is better translated “Bow down your ear,” Just as we might lean in and bow down to hear an elder person offer good words of advice or instruction and so that we will catch all that they have to say. Such words from God that follow and continue through Proverbs 24 are words of value and words we should heed with all diligence. If we do, there are many promised delivered to us as well as many warnings and cautions.
“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.” Psalm 118: 8-9 (NASB)
We might ask what it means to take refuge in the Lord? We are glad that the psalmist really explains it by what he says in the last part of each verse. There he uses the word trust. If we take the time to listen to what people are concerned with ⸺ we are talking about faith believers, ⸺ we find many who trust in “a way of life.” They fret and worry about how our society is changing and what once was common piety is being cancelled by a sinful world. God has been left out of the process of reckoning and replaced by wanton heathenism. We turn to take refuge in the Lord by reaffirming our trust in Him. Our teach us that it is better to put our confidence (trust) in the Lord than in any human being. Our presidents, princes, and kings are not good object of this kind of trust. So if we need to depend on the help of any person us let’s be sure that our real trust is first and always on our God. Trusting in God is a sure and safe means to find God’s way that never fails us.
“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?” – Psalm 56:3-4 (NASB)
Fear can paralyze us, freeze our feet to the ground and cause us to lose our balance. The psalmist, David composed this song which is labeled as “A Mikhtam.” We do not positively know what this label means. But we do have clues. For one clue, this is a very important and valuable song. It extolls God’s goodness and faithfulness. It sings of why we can put our trust in God especially when we are afraid. It reaffirms for us that human kind and their devices cannot truly hurt the faith believer in God. David pleads and rejoices in the help and deliverance God gives him. The root of the word means to stamp or grave (as in engrave). It leads us to believe that it labels the song as a composition so precious as to be worthy to be engraved on a durable tablet for preservation. Others might render “a psalm precious as stamped gold,” from the word kethem meaning fine or stamped gold. Perhaps like today’s top-selling songs that are “certified gold” could be considered “michtams” of a sort. We don’t know for sure anything except that God’s Word is all more precious than gold.
“May Your lovingkindnesses also come to me, O LORD,
Your salvation according to Your word;
So I will have an answer for him who reproaches me,
For I trust in Your word.” – Psalm 119:41-42 (NASB)
There is an increase in the resistance of our world to the Word of God. There is also a significant decrease in the number who hold the Bible to be absolute truth. Within this battle, those who oppose the teachings in the Bible are becoming more active in demonstrating their hostility. The psalmist called on God to deliver him through His love and His Word and He will for us based on the promise God has given to us. He sought and trusted that he would have an answer for his enemy. He prayed and affirmed that the Word would continue to be his pattern of life. That is the way God has prepared for us to enjoy victory over the obstructions they set to the spreading of His Word. When opposition comes we frequently take it very personally but here we can know that it is God that the non-believer is rejecting and fighting against. We can like this passage teaches learn to delight in God’s commandments grow to love them for they are life to our soul. Next time we meet resistance, lets remember, God’s Word has an answer for us to give in return.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV, NASB)
We look again today at a verse we have considered in the past. It is a favorite verse for many and for many reasons. It is simple, straight to the point and a verse we can’t easily disregard. To trust in the LORD means what He has said to us is better than any conclusion from our own understanding. That’s where we start. We put our trust in God with all our heart. We turn away from our understanding as a guide when it misdirects us. What does “lean on our own understanding” mean? It’s what we do when we learn God’s will from His Word. We take it in and then refine it and revise it until we think we understand it. But we really don’t because our own understanding most times leads us astray from obedience and trust in what God wants. God’s promises can be trusted. God’s word can be acknowledged even when our own means to understand is not in agreement. God promises to make, direct and guide us on straight paths – paths to His way. They are the best and better than anything we come up with using our understanding.
“Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
For the Lord God is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.” – Isaiah 12:2 (NASB)
Yesterday we learned from God’s Word through His prophet Isaiah that perfect peace is available to those whose mind is steadfast and unwavering in their trust in God. Today’s promise gives us the attitude of fearlessness. The idea of ‘No Fear’ is presented to us in many different ways: the No FEAR Act of 2002; as a brand for lifestyle clothing; and even as a translation of old English literature such as Shakespeare into modern English. God knows we all are tempted to be afraid and desire to have no fear. He has given us this guide – the Bible – which promises what He will do for us in these times. We can affirm that God is our salvation. When we can confirm that our salvation from the wages of sin (Romans 6:23) is ours by faith in God, we can trust Him without fear. Isaiah confirms his own standing – he trusts because the Lord God provides strength to do so. It is a strength that calms our spirit and gives us a song of praise. We have this promise: when we trust in God, He becomes our salvation and we abide in Him for the rest of time and beyond.
“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace,
Because he trusts in You.
“Trust in the Lord forever,
For in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock.” – Isaiah 26:3-4 (ESV)
This promise for today is for every day. It is well worth keeping it in the top of our mind. We all face times when the peace we have is challenged by events and circumstances. What we expect fails to be what we get and our peace is gone like a puff of smoke in a sudden breeze. We resort to worry, doubts and are tempted to go down a different path. What we need instead is to grip onto and hold firmly in our mind the truth in this promise from God. Isaiah penned these words inspired by the Spirit of God. He wrote, a fixed outlook of trust in the Lord causes a peace within that the wicked can never know (Isaiah 57:21). Such trust prevents double mindedness (James 1:6–8) and serving two masters (Matthew 6:24). Perfect peace means complete, genuine peace that comes only by grace from God. As we experience this inner peacefulness our faith grows and we are encouraged to continue trusting our Lord and Savior Jesus. Let’s prepare ourselves now for today’s opportunity to exercise trust in God who is our Rock forever. Perfect peace can be ours.
“Examine me, O Lord, and try me;
Test my mind and my heart.
For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes,
And I have walked in Your truth.” – Psalm 26:2-3 (NASB)
The love God promises to all who love Him is always before us. It is always for our benefit and never fails. We are the ones that fail in this love. David, who wrote this song seeks vindication that he has not failed. He calls on God to examine, try, and test his inner self – deeper emotion than what he might show to others. It is interesting that the phrase “test my mind and my heart” is translated from the Hebrew original “test my kidneys and my heart.” The use of kidneys is a figurative way to speak of the seat of emotion and affection; hence, it is involving character. It was seen as the most sensitive vital part of a person, thus, the “mind” as we today see the mind as the most vital part of a person along with the heart. These three invitations to divine scrutiny are essentially synonymous ways of testing, refining, and purifying. If we include the first verse, we can understand that David wanted confirmation of his faithfulness and trust in God. Can we claim that our integrity guides our way and our trust is steadfast? Let’s commit to that today.