The Journey with Ron Moore

Psalm 7:10-17

My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart. God is a righteous judge, a God who displays his wrath every day. If he does not relent, he will sharpen his sword; he will bend and string his bow. He has prepared his deadly weapons; he makes ready his flaming arrows. Whoever is pregnant with evil conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment. Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit they have made. The trouble they cause recoils on them; their violence comes down on their own heads. I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High.

God is on your side. God Most High has your back. Even if you feel like you are fighting for your life or running for your life—like David was when he wrote this psalm (see yesterday’s devotion)—God is your protective shield. He will come to your aid and save you. Everything He does is right “because of his righteousness.”

Those who don’t know Christ have no such confidence. Their minds and hearts are far from God. They conceive trouble. They live disappointed and disheartened lives. Don’t let their smiles, bravado, and independence fool you. They are fooling themselves. Whoever digs a hole of evil digs a hole of trouble that comes back at them like a spring that has been stretched to its max by two people and then one lets go. Their actions that hurt others will boomerang back and come “down on their own heads.”

So, remember, God is on your side.  All He does is right. All He does is good. He’s got your back. How does one respond to such a God—the God Most High? David answers the question for us. He finds confidence in God and says, “I will give thanks to the Lord…I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.” Let’s follow David’s example.

 Father, thank You for always being on my side. Thank You for always having my back. Thank You for always taking care of me. Thank You for sending Your Son to die on the cross for my sins. Thank You for the promise that I will always be Your child and nothing can separate me from Your love. Thank You for always doing what is right. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 7:1-9
A shiggaion of David, which he sang to the LORD concerning Cush, a Benjamite

LORD my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, or they will tear me apart like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me. LORD my God, if I have done this and there is guilt on my hands —if I have repaid my ally with evil or without cause have robbed my foe—then let my enemy pursue and overtake me; let him trample my life to the ground and make me sleep in the dust. Arise, LORD, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, my God; decree justice. Let the assembled peoples gather around you, while you sit enthroned over them on high. Let the LORD judge the peoples. Vindicate me, LORD, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most High. Bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure—you, the righteous God who probes minds and hearts.

David was on the run through no fault of his own. Jealous King Saul was in hot pursuit intent on putting him to death. David’s ragtag army was no match for Saul’s elite soldiers. David knew that if they ever caught him they would most certainly tear him apart like a lion.

Have you ever been unjustly accused…at work, by friends, or even in your home? You admit that you’re not perfect. You know you can say things that others misunderstand. But this time, at least, you are innocent. Your accusers are not intent on ripping you to pieces like David’s, but they are out to get you nonetheless. What do you do? Retaliate? Make similar accusations? Spread rumors? Mount an all out social media attack? No. Do what David did.

David found protection in God alone. God was his refuge so he made his appeal to the One who will “judge the peoples.” He is the One who knows your heart and will bring vindication. He is the righteous and just God. Can you trust God with accusations against you? He is more than capable to deliver you and deliver justice.

Father, I like to strike back at those who attack me. I like to take matters into my own hands. I want to make sure everyone sees my innocence. But I trust You—the righteous and just God. I trust You to deliver me and bring justice. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 6:6-10

I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes. Away from me, all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my weeping. The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer. All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish; they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.

Sorrow is exhausting. The emotion wears us out. Pain takes its toll. Tears come at unexpected times knocking us over like a rogue wave. Nights are often the hardest. Agony seems more acute in the dark, in the stillness, in the aloneness. That was the case with David. The night brought tears; the day brought swollen and tired eyes.

We considered the first part of David’s lament yesterday. His body and soul were in agony. He cried out, “How long, Lord, how long?” He cried out for mercy and based his pleas on God’s “unfailing love.” Now, as the psalm ends, David’s renewed confidence begins. He knows that God has heard his weeping and his cries for mercy. He knows that God has accepted his prayer. He is certain that God will come to his aid.

The same goes with you. God knows your pain. He sees your tears. And He is able to turn your cries into confidence. I can’t promise the illness will go away, the relationship will be restored, or the child will come back home. I can promise that in the midst of it all, God will give you everything you need to do what He is calling you to do. That’s comfort and confidence!

Father, I am weak. I need Your strength. I am anxious. I need Your peace. I am fearful. I need Your confidence. I dread the night. Please meet me here. The days are long. Stay by my side. Thank You for the promise that You will give me all I need to do what You are calling me to do. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 6:1-5
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. According to sheminith. A psalm of David.

LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. Have mercy on me, LORD for I am faint; heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish. How long, LORD, how long? Turn, LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. Among the dead no one proclaims your name. Who praises you from the grave?

Sometimes sleep won’t come. Sometimes the pain seems unbearable. Sometimes anxiety attacks the soul. Sometimes we don’t know if we can make it another day. We cry out, “How long, Lord, how long?” We are confused and frustrated. We long for God’s healing.

That’s where David is in today’s psalm. The circumstance is not known but one thing is clear; David is in “deep anguish.” He feels that God is disciplining him. His body is weak. He doesn’t know how much longer he can make it. He is in great pain. He doesn’t know how much longer he can stand it. He is in distress. He doesn’t know how much longer he can take it.  He pleads for God’s mercy and deliverance.  

David’s cry for help is based on God’s “unfailing love.” This attribute of God comes from the Hebrew word chesed.  It is used thirty-three times in the psalms. It describes God’s loyal love, His love of covenant. It is a love that will never let  go. No matter how you feel, God will not abandon the believer. No matter how great the anguish, He is by your side. God will never leave you.  Hold on! He is there with you.

Father I am barely holding on. Please come to my aid. Please come soon. Because of Jesus I know Your unfailing love. I am holding on and trusting. Give me Your strength. I trust in You alone for deliverance. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 5:8-12
For the director of music. For pipes. A psalm of David.

Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies— make your way straight before me. Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with malice. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongues they tell lies. Declare them guilty, O God! Let their intrigues be their downfall. Banish them for their many sins, for they have rebelled against you. But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

Life’s path is filled with precarious stretches and wayward people. Like a child needs to be led by their parents, we need God to hold our hand and keep us on the right road. Enemies enter every onramp. They cannot be trusted. Following them leads to certain danger.

David prayed that God would judge his enemies and “banish them.” In effect, pull them off the highway! Sound harsh? Do you want to share the road (or have your loved ones share the road) with dangerous drivers?

So, follow hard after God. He will always lead you to a good place. “Our heart is at ease in our God.”[1] The path will not always be smooth. We have to watch our footing. But He is there and with Him by our side, gladness replaces gloom. Joy drives out dread. Those who follow God live under His protection and are surrounded by His grace.

Father, I love You and I take refuge in You. Inject gladness and joy into my heart. I pray that You protect me today from the Enemy, my enemies, and myself. Surround me with Your grace as if I were carrying a protective shield. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

[1] C. H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA: Vol 1). 49.

Psalm 5:1-7
For the director of music. For pipes. A psalm of David.

Listen to my words, Lord, consider my lament. Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness; with you, evil people are not welcome. The arrogant cannot stand in your presence. You hate all who do wrong; you destroy those who tell lies. The bloodthirsty and deceitful you, Lord, detest. But I, by your great love, can come into your house; in reverence I bow down toward your holy temple.

There is no right time or wrong time to talk to God. In fact, we should always have Him on our hearts and minds. But there is great wisdom in starting each day with prayer. David’s repeated phrase of speaking with God “in the morning,” is a great model for us to follow.

David’s desperation for God’s help causes him to cry out. David knows that much of what will happen during the day is out of his control. So he lays his requests before God in an act of dependence and surrender. Then he waits “expectantly” for divine leadership.

David has confidence because of God’s character. God detests arrogance, lying, murder, wickedness, deceit, and evil of any kind. David knows that God will always do what is right. And he knows that because of God’s mercy, he—a sinner—can approach the living God and worship Him.  

Father, like David, my confidence is in Your character. You do all things right. I approach You today based on Your great love. I am desperate for You. I wait on You to lead me throughout the day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 4
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm of David.

Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.  How long will you people turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?  Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him. Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.  Offer the sacrifices of the righteous and trust in the Lord. Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?” Let the light of your face shine on us.  Fill my heart with joy when their grain and new wine abound.  In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.

God is on your side! He brings relief. He delivers mercy. He hears your prayer. And…God does all things right. Others may try to discredit your reputation and spread lies. But know this—regardless of what others say, God says, “You are mine!” He has set you apart. He calls you “faithful servant.” The eternal God listens when you talk to Him.

The only thing to do for those who oppose you and God is to surrender. In the depth of their heart they know that battling the Almighty is futile. If they were wise, God’s enemies would worship and trust Him. People are never satisfied and always want more. But God satisfies us with His presence and fills our hearts with joy.

So live with God’s peace throughout the day and sleep well tonight. Even when you are vulnerable, God is watching out for you. He will surround you with His protection. His presence will be with you through this short life on earth and forever in heaven.

Father, thank You for being on my side. Thank You for Your relief, mercy, and protection. Thank You for listening as I pray. Thank You for satisfying my soul. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 3
A psalm of David. When he fled from his son Absalom.

Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me!  Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.” But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.  I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain.  I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.  I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side.  Arise, Lord! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. From the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.

It’s tough when you are involved in a serious conflict. It is devastating when that conflict is with one of your children. That’s where David found himself in today’s psalm. His son Absalom conspired against his father and gained a strong following. David and his household were forced to flee for their lives (2 Samuel 15-18).

David was on the run and the people in Israel were placing their bets on Absalom. But even as he fled, David trusted in God. He never doubted that God was his shield, his glory, “the One who lifts my head.” His confidence was grounded in the fact that God answered his calls for help. Even when he slept—a vulnerable state for someone on the run—God protected him. David prayed that God would deal a decisive blow on those attacking him. He was totally dependent on God for deliverance.

So, to you who are involved in a difficult conflict—with a boss, friend, parent, or even a child—David’s prayer is for you. Tell God that He is your shield and protection. Thank Him for His protection when you are most vulnerable. Thank Him for lifting up your head when you are discouraged. Turn your fears and your battle over to Him. He is the God who delivers His people.

Father, this conflict is too heavy for me to carry. The burden is painful and discouraging. I feel alone and defeated. But I proclaim You as my shield, protector, and deliverer. Right now, I hand over this battle to You. I call out to You and wait for Your answer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 2:7-12

I will proclaim the Lord’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father.  Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.  You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth.  Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling.   Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Psalm 2 is a messianic or royal psalm written for the coronation of an Old Testament king but it also looked forward to the crowning of King Jesus. This portion of the psalm begins with two declarations and ends with an exhortation.

The first declaration is echoed in Matthew 3, right after Jesus was baptized. As the Holy Spirit descends on Jesus, a voice from heaven says, “This is my Son….” God declares to the world His love for Jesus. The second declaration is found in John’s letter to the church in Thyatira (Rev. 2:27). Jesus holds authority over all the nations. Regardless of how chaotic things may seem, He will rule with undeniable power.

The ending exhortation is a call to surrender. All people are to serve the Lord with the awe and respect He deserves. He is God and we are not. But fearing the Lord is not a “cowering in the corner” type of emotion. Instead of running from Him we run to Him! In God alone we find refuge, protection, and shelter from the inevitable challenges of life.

Father, may I surrender to the King each day. Help me to serve Him with a full-out passion and demonstrate that He is the Lord of my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Psalm 2:1-6

Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?  The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,  “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.”  The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.  He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,  “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.”

In the book of Psalms there are eleven messianic or royal psalms—songs written for a king. Many of these psalms are quoted in the New Testament in direct reference to Jesus. While these do look forward to Jesus, many Old Testament kings used them during their coronation celebrations. So these psalms carry double duty. They were used to crown Israel’s kings and also looked ahead to the coming of the King of Kings.  

The psalmist begins by expressing his utter amazement that people would have the audacity to plot against God. The nations stand together and make great plans to defeat God and His people. But the “One enthroned in heaven” is first humored by their hubris, and then He terrifies them into utter defeat.

Today God has enthroned His King in our hearts. And He is just as humored at those who try to oppose Him. Satan cannot steal us away. The world cannot lure us away. We cannot, in our weakness, overthrow the King. The believer is secure. The King has been installed and reigns in our hearts. The King’s Spirit gives us everything we need to serve Him well, stay on the right path, and fend off the enemy. The believer can say with confidence, “The King is enthroned in my heart.” Because of God’s presence and power, we can laugh at our enemies.

Father, too often we, Your children, feel helpless. Lord, remind us of Whose we are. Don’t let us be defeated by the enemy. Help us to stand in Your power. Remind us everyday…every minute of every day…that You have installed the King in our hearts. Our confidence is in the King. We pray in His name. Amen.

Happy New Year! This year, we’re going to stay focused in the book of the Psalms. I have not attempted to do expositional work on each psalm. There are excellent books by seasoned scholars for that. My aim has been to provide daily devotionals purposed to challenge, convict, comfort, encourage, and inspire.

The Psalms are real and raw. The writers hold nothing back. There are times of great praise and thanksgiving when the writers seem unable to contain their worship. There are also times of questioning when the pain is unbearable. Through the Psalms our fears, anxieties, and disappointments are countered by God’s strength, peace, and encouragement. In each song, prayer, and lament the psalmist is pouring his heart out to God. The invitation is for us to do the same.

Come with me on a journey through the Psalms. The Father will walk with his children each step of the way; the Shepherd leads us through the varying terrain. God alone stays close to the joyful, sometimes weary, always expectant traveler. The best part of the journey is just ahead and the destination is heaven itself!

Psalm 1

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

Someone has said that every person should live a life that demands an explanation. A person whose heart has been transformed by Jesus should demonstrate a refreshing difference that causes people to ask, “What’s up with that?” The book of Psalms begins with contrasting the two paths that a person can take—the path that demands an explanation or the common and crowded path that needs no clarification.

The person on the path that demands an explanation reads and studies the Bible. They don’t forget God’s Word after reading a few verses. In fact, they think about it—meditate over it—throughout the day. They hang out with the right people as well. They don’t take the counsel of those headed in the wrong direction. This results in a grounded life with deep roots that produces good fruit and God’s blessings. God’s eyes are always on them.

Those on the crowded path live lives with no eternal value. They are like chaff, the worthless husks of grain blown away by the wind in the process of winnowing. People on the crowded path may seem to prosper. They may even do good things. But in the end God will separate those who know Him from those who don’t. Those who walk on the path that leads away from God will finally discover that the common, crowded path leads to eternal destruction.

Father, as we begin this journey through the Psalms, show us clearly what path we are on. Help us determine in the depths of our hearts if we have trusted in Jesus alone as the only way to You. Help us exhibit evidence of the new life that You have given. Help us begin this year with the assurance that we belong to You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


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