When we trust in other men, no matter what their status in life, we put our trust in an flawed savior. In Psalm 146:3-4 the author says, 3 Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. 4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that day their plans come to nothing. We are all the same; flawed, sinful, and ultimately inadequate. True hope for the weak can only come from a perfect God and savior.
Sometime, in our sorrow, we forget what it’s like to be joyful. When the Israelites were exiled or in captivity, they would work hard to maintain their culture and their identity as God’s chosen people. Often that identity was tied to their life back in Jerusalem. In Psalm 137:5 the author wants to desperately remember his identity as God’s chosen and what it meant to live as a free and sovereign nation under God: If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. For us, when we are far from God or when we have lost our joy because of the sorrow in our lives, we should cling closely to our identity in Christ and the freedom we have from salvation, regardless of our present circumstances. While this is easier said than done, there will be times when this is all we have.
Have you ever thought about what salvation really means? It means forgiveness of our sins and our sinful nature. It is literally God forgetting all the many and creative ways we sin. Psalm 130:3-4 says, 3 If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? 4 But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared. If God kept a record of our sin, the burden would continue to be overwhelming. But God removes the weight and eternal consequences of sin and frees us to be who He intended us to be. Likewise, God gives us an example of how we are to forgive others. If we cannot release others from their transgressions against us, then we have not truly forgiven them.
We are not slaves to unrighteousness. God has set us free by His grace and love. Psalm 129:4 says, But the Lord is righteous; he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked. Through our freedom found only through God’s perfect plan, we are no longer tied to sin. That doesn’t mean we are perfect, but through God’s power and grace we have the tools to be free from the damaging power of sin in our lives. Trusting and relying on God’s strength through the Holy Spirit is all we need to conquer sin.
In today’s short Psalm we read of the Lord’s great love for us, which reminds us of His worthiness of our praise. In Psalm 117:2 it says, For great is His love towards us, and faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord. Let this Psalm be a reminder to us all that God’s love and gift of salvation is for all people. Regardless of who they are, if they believe in Him and accept the gift of salvation, then they can be in the presence of the King for all eternity.
Today’s Psalm was written as a praise to God after the Jews returned from exile in Babylon. Whether we have lived lives of hardship or relatively easy lives, God deserves our praise. In Psalm 107:32 it says, Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people and praise him in the council of the elders. God’s great love for us should give us all the reason we need to praise and worship Him openly and freely for all the world to see. Thankfulness should never be far from our lips if we know we have been saved by Him.
Because east and west can never meet, this is a symbolic portrait of God’s forgiveness of our sin. In Psalm 103:12 David says, As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Living according to past transgressions is unproductive and fixes nothing. In addition, God’s forgiveness of us is a model for how we are to forgive others. If we are truly believers and followers of God, we must forgive others as He has forgiven us.
Today is Good Friday and I always wondered why we refer to this day as “Good” since it was the day Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross. While historians debate many things about our faith, there are three things all historians agree on: 1) Jesus Christ really existed; 2) Jesus Christ was baptized; and 3) Jesus Christ was crucified. Christ’s crucifixion was an agonizing and torturous death. Matthew 27:50 says, And when Jesus cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. This was a brutal death and His suffering is hard to imagine. But when we take time to think through what Christ’s crucifixion represents and the transformation it has caused to the course of each of our lives, we realize it really was a “Good” day. Today reminds us that Jesus took on the sin of the world and died because of it. And more importantly, it is “Good” because Sunday is coming.
Israel’s holidays are reminders of God’s miracles in delivering the people from evil. Asaph used Psalm 81 to remind the people of God’s deliverance in the exodus from Egypt. In Psalm 81:1 he calls out the people to praise God, Sing for joy to God our Strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob! Our Christian holidays (Christmas and Easter) should be reminders to us of the hope we have in God and His ultimate deliverance of us through salvation. Let us not forget the true meaning behind why we celebrate and why God is worthy of our praise.
Three times the writer repeats his call to God in Psalm 80:3,7,19, Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved. Restoration into relationship with God is a continuous process. While grace was granted to us all through Christ, fellowship with Him requires effort to building a strong relationship with God. To many people salvation only serves the purpose of eternal life, but God’s ultimate purpose of Christ’s sacrifice for our salvation was to give us a way to a personal relationship with Him. If we miss this, we are missing out on a life of purpose.