The Journey with Ron Moore

Psalm 14
For the director of music. Of David

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. The LORD looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. Do all these evildoers know nothing? They devour my people as though eating bread; they never call on the LORD. But there they are, overwhelmed with dread, for God is present in the company of the righteous. You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the LORD is their refuge. Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD restores his people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.

There are two brands of atheists. Pure atheists say that God does not exist. They believe that humankind is the creator and center of the universe. Practical atheists live as though God does not exist. They acknowledge His person but ignore His presence. Both pure and practical atheists are described in today’s psalm.

God describes both brands of atheists as those who practice moral folly. Both follow corrupt desires and carry out despicable deeds. They use people and take advantage of the poor. “Good” never describes their actions, but in those God-ignoring hearts there is a God-shaped hole. They are “overwhelmed with dread.” Deep down they know that God is the only refuge.

God is present in the company of the righteous. He is the One who guides our path. He is our sanctuary in a crazy world. He is our Savior for eternity. He walks with us step by step and delivers us home. Pity and pray for the pure and practical atheists. Praise God for opening your eyes to see Him, trust Him, and follow Him…all the way to heaven.

Father, please help me not to live as though I were an atheist. Guide me on Your path. Impart Your plans on my heart. Keep me in Your word. Surround me with the company of the righteous. Be my refuge. Protect me from my propensity to sin. Deliver me safely home. In Jesus’ name. Amen.  

Psalm 15
A psalm of David.

LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others; who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the LORD; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind; who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. Whoever does these things will never be shaken.

How can a person live with unshakeable faith in a shaken world? In today’s psalm, David describes the characteristics of a person who can meet the inevitable challenges of life head-on and stand firm. Let’s consider these ten important traits.

  • Blameless: Maintains a life of obedience and integrity.
  • Righteous: Lives in harmony with God’s standards.
  • Honest: Speaks truth from the heart.
  • No slander: Refrains from malicious talk.
  • No harm: Loves their neighbor as themselves.
  • No slurs: Refuses to discredit others.
  • Community: Honors other believers.
  • Commitment: Keeps their promises even to their own disadvantage.
  • Generous: Gives to those in need.
  • Above reproach: Declines to take a bribe.

Trouble comes knocking at our door when we least expect it. A person who lives with these characteristics will “never be shaken.”

Father, help me to pursue these traits. Remind me that going after these characteristics today will build a strong foundation for the inevitable challenges of tomorrow. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 16:1-6  
A miktam of David.

Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.” Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips. LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.

David was in a vulnerable situation. He may have been running from Saul or facing opposition when he was king.  Regardless of the setting he feels his life is at risk. His first words are a cry for protection. His only harbor of safety is the Lord. Notice David’s use of “my God” and “my Lord.” This personal relationship allows David to speak to the Father as with a friend. He acknowledges that there is nothing in his life worthwhile, except the Lord.

David refuses to waste his time running after the gods of the world. The heavenly Father is all that he needs. God alone provides security. God’s blessings are the greatest inheritance he could ever receive.

What about you? Can you say, “Apart from [God] I have no good thing?” Can you say that God alone is enough for you? Can you say, honestly, that God alone satisfies your heart? Running after other gods will bring suffering and sorrow. Running hard after God ends in “a delightful inheritance.”  

Father, I confess that running after other things has brought me to a desperate place. Seeking satisfaction in worldly “gods” has not quenched the thirst in my soul.  Today I run to You. I seek my satisfaction and security in You alone. I desire Your delightful inheritance. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 16:7-11  

I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Every day is filled with decisions. Some are as insignificant as what to have for lunch. Others are life-altering—where to go to college; whether to take a new job…or not; determining if this person is the one; saying yes or no if they pop the question; when to have children—the list goes on and on.

Certainly there are many things you can do to determine the right choice. But before drawing a line down the middle of a sheet of paper and listing pros and cons, and before calling your friends for input, seek divine input from the One who knows you the best and cares for you the most.

Make an appointment with the Counselor. God will make known the path He has for you and by His Spirit the session will continue even while you sleep. Keep your eyes focused on Him through scripture reading and prayer. He will bring physical rest in the middle of apprehensive decision-making. He will fill your anxious heart with joy. And…by His great grace He will present you with eternal pleasures free of charge.

Father, when I have decisions to make they can overwhelm me and cause anxious thoughts. Sometimes they paralyze me and leave me emotionally stuck and exhausted. Speak to me through Your Word. Calm me and confirm the things You want me to do…or stop doing. Make known to me the path of life and give me joy in Your presence. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 17:1-5  
A prayer of David.

Hear me, LORD, my plea is just; listen to my cry. Hear my prayer—it does not rise from deceitful lips. Let my vindication come from you; may your eyes see what is right. Though you probe my heart, though you examine me at night and test me, you will find that I have planned no evil; my mouth has not transgressed. Though people tried to bribe me, I have kept myself from the ways of the violent through what your lips have commanded. My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not stumbled.

David’s prayer is urgent. It begins with a threefold request. Lord, hear me, “my plea is just.” Lord, “listen to my cry.” Lord, “hear my prayer.” Danger seems to be pressing in hard on David. He needs God’s help…and fast.

David reminds God that this request is not coming from a person who is hypocritical or unrighteous. He invites God to probe, examine, and test his heart. He is confident that God will find no evil plans or sinful words. He has refrained from taking bribes. He has followed God’s commands and stayed put on God’s path. David is not trying to bargain with God. He is not saying, “God you owe me!” He is simply saying, “God I am living by Your grace and now I need some extra grace.”

Can you relate to David? Are you in a tight spot? Do you feel like time is running out? Is your prayer urgent? Learn from David. Tell God that you are on His side. Thank Him for His work in your life and let Him know that for you to keep going, you’re going to need His intervention. God is good at being God. He hears, He comes, and He works in our lives.

Father, like David, my prayer is urgent. I am willing to wait on Your timing, but the reality is…there isn’t much time. Danger (name the danger) is pressing in on me hard.  I am on Your side. I am Your child. Please listen to me and hear my prayer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 17:6-15  
A prayer of David.

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer. Show me the wonders of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings from the wicked who are out to destroy me, from my mortal enemies who surround me. They close up their callous hearts, and their mouths speak with arrogance. They have tracked me down, they now surround me, with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground. They are like a lion hungry for prey, like a fierce lion crouching in cover. Rise up, LORD, confront them, bring them down; with your sword rescue me from the wicked. By your hand save me from such people, LORD, from those of this world whose reward is in this life. May what you have stored up for the wicked fill their bellies; may their children gorge themselves on it, and may there be leftovers for their little ones. As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.

David’s prayer was urgent. Deadly enemies tracked him down and had him surrounded. They were preparing to throw him to the ground and devour him like a hungry lion. David asked God to confront them and bring them down. “By your hand save me from such people, Lord, from those of this world whose reward is in this life.”

David’s request is filled with confidence in his personal God. He addressed the Creator as “my God.” David was certain that God would answer him. He longed to see God at work in his life. He knew that God was the only place of refuge. He prayed that God would keep him as the apple of His eye; providing direct and focused attention. He prayed for God’s care and protection; the same care and protection that a bird would provide for its vulnerable young. 

Maybe you are feeling like the enemy has tracked you down and is getting ready to drag you to the ground. Find your confidence in the Lord! He is our Refuge. You are the apple of His eye. His focused attention is on you. He will hide you under His protective wing. Call on God. He will hear and answer your prayer.

God, my God, I feel like the enemy is closing in. My spiritual and emotional supplies are running low. I don’t know how much longer I can hold out. Please hear my cry for help and come to my aid. Let me know that Your attention is focused on me. Please protect me in my vulnerable state. Show me the great wonders of Your love. I take refuge in You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 18:1-5  
For the director of music. Of David the servant of the LORD. He sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:

I love you, LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies. The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.

I am weak. I need a dose of courage.  I love You, Lord. You are my Strength.

I am shaken. I need something to hold on to. I love You, Lord. You are my Rock.

I am vulnerable. I need a place of protection. I love You, Lord. You are my Fortress.

I am trapped…again. I need help getting free. I love You, Lord. You are my Deliverer.

I am running from the enemy. I need a safe place to hide. I love You, Lord. You are my Refuge.

I am in hand-to-hand combat with temptation. I need spiritual armor. I love You, Lord. You are my Shield.

I am spiritually hungry. I need a place to be still. I love You, Lord. You are my Stronghold.

I am a sinner. I need a Savior. I love You, Lord. You are my Salvation.

I love You, Lord. You are my God! Amen.

Psalm 18:6-15  

In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—the dark rain clouds of the sky. Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning. The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them. The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, LORD, at the blast of breath from your nostrils.

David’s ragtag army was no match for Saul and his skilled warriors. They were outnumbered and outarmed. Their days were numbered. David was desperate so…he called out to the Lord. He cried out to God for help. And God responded. He always does.

God’s intervention is described with poetic drama. It may have been that God used a tremendous storm or some phenomenon of nature to stop David’s enemy. The earth trembled. The mountains shook. Great bolts of lightning struck from the dark clouds. The earth was laid bare and David’s enemy was exposed.

Are you desperate today? Do the issues you face seem absolutely overwhelming? Do you feel the enemy is closing in? Call out to God! Cry out to your heavenly Father who loves you, cares for you, and always desires the best for you. I don’t know if your rescue will be as dramatic as David’s, but I know it will be just as effective. He will meet you right where you are and take you where He wants you to be—to a place of refuge and protection.

I love You, Lord. You are my Strength, my Rock, my Fortress, my Deliverer, my Shield, my Salvation, and my Stronghold. I am crying out to You from a desperate situation. I wait for Your rescue. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 18:16-19  

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.

God delights in you! He takes great pleasure in calling you His child. He desires fellowship with you. He loves hanging out…just having a conversation about life…about the things that are on your heart.

God delights in you! That’s why He reaches down and takes hold of you to pull you from the deep waters. That’s why He rescues you from the enemy determined to take you down.

God delights in you! When disaster comes—illness, divorce, death, brokenness, failure—He is there to give you the help and support you need. When you feel confined by your circumstances, He will take you out into a spacious field and let you run free and breath the fresh air of His presence.

Lord, life weighs me down. Sometimes I feel alone…and discouraged. Thank You for the reminder in today’s passage that You delight in me. Help me to pour that truth over my soul everyday. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 18:20-24  

The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD; I am not guilty of turning from my God. All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees. I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin. The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

God blesses obedience. He rewards us according to the cleanness of our hands. Obedience is not always easy. There are times our obedience is like a spiritual reflex…an automatic response; other times it is the hardest thing we will ever do. But when believers submit to the Spirit’s control and follow His leading, blessings follow.

David is not claiming perfection in today’s passage. David’s life had many chapters he would just as soon have deleted. But in this particular stretch of his life he reminded God that he was staying on the right path. He was ready for God’s “well done” stamp of approval.

I can’t promise what the rewards of obedience will look like. Sometimes they may be tangible; other times they may take the form of an inner sense of peace and satisfaction. They may be immediate; other times they may be delayed for years…or even for this lifetime. But the bottom line is this: God blesses obedience.

Father, I want to be able to describe this next stretch of my life like David described this particular stretch of his life. Give me the strength I need to keep my hands clean in Your sight. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 18:25-29

To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd. You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty. You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.

David understood the way God works. He rewards us according to our inner character—faithfulness to the faithful, blamelessness to the blameless, purity to the pure, and shrewdness to those who are devious. God’s work is always just.

The knowledge of God’s character gave David great confidence. He knew that God would stay with him if he remained humble. He understood that in dark times God would bring the light and keep his soul encouraged. David recognized that if God was on his side there was no enemy he could not defeat; no obstacle he could not overcome.

Maybe you feel like the light in your discouraged soul is about to go out. Trust God to keep it burning. In the darkest night He will bring the light you need. With God on your side you can overcome every enemy and every obstacle. Take confidence today in the knowledge of God’s character.

Heavenly Father, bring light to my darkness. Keep the flickering flame of my soul burning. Give me the confidence that with You I can overcome every obstacle in my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 18:30-36  

As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great. You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way.

God never makes a mistake. His way is perfect. His Word is flawless. These may feel like empty statements to some of you. Illness is sapping your strength. A loved one was taken too early. Your spouse walked away from the marriage. Your company downsized. A child won’t come home. God never makes a mistake. Really? How can these troubles be part of God’s perfect way and flawless Word?

I don’t know what you are going through nor do I know why. But God does. He is not wasting your time. He is using hard times today to prepare you for what He wants you to do tomorrow. Somehow He will work everything out for good. You may not understand it in this life. The “good” may not be revealed until heaven. But God’s work and word stands.

So, how do you respond when your heart feels like breaking? Let God hold it together. He works personally with His loved ones. He is our source of strength. He provides security. He trains us for the challenges and sustains us with His power. He can be trusted. There is no one besides the Lord. There is no Rock except Him.

Father, I don’t understand. Maybe I never will fully understand how You are working this painful experience out for good. But I do know that there is no one besides You. I do know that there is no Rock except You. Even through my questions I trust You. Please arm me with Your strength and keep my way secure. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 18:37-45  

I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet. You armed me with strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me. You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes. They cried for help, but there was no one to save them—to the LORD, but he did not answer. I beat them as fine as windblown dust; I trampled them like mud in the streets. You have delivered me from the attacks of the people; you have made me the head of nations. People I did not know now serve me, foreigners cower before me; as soon as they hear of me, they obey me. They all lose heart; they come trembling from their strongholds.

It’s a truth we often forget: Everything we do, everything we have, and everything we enjoy is because of God’s work in and through us. Too often we take the credit. Impressed by our person and persona we begin to think that the good things surrounding us are because of us. But in this psalm, David set the record straight.

David participated but God did the work. David pursued but God gave the strength. He overtook the soldiers after God humbled them for defeat. When God brought them crushed and trembling from their strongholds, David rounded them up. David knew that every victory was from God.

We need to become less impressed with ourselves and come to a settled deep-heart understanding that everything we do, everything we have, and everything we enjoy is due to God at work in and through us.

Father, thank you for the privilege of partnering with you. Forgive me for taking the credit for victories and successes that belong to you. Help me come to grips with this truth. Help my life reflect the glory due you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.   

Psalm 18:46-50  

The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior! He is the God who avenges me, who subdues nations under me, who saves me from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from a violent man you rescued me. Therefore I will praise you, LORD, among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name. He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing love to his anointed, to David and to his descendants forever.

“The Lord lives!  Praise be to my Rock!  Exalted be God my Savior!” Don’t miss the exclamation marks. These statements shout out from David’s mouth and heart. He had been running for his life. Then God reached down to perform the rescue. David experienced God at work in real life in real time.

The Lord lives! He is the author of great victories. His love never fails. What He says, He will do. He is the Rock! The Savior! The Avenger!  

I have a red band on my left wrist that used to have written on it, “Watch for God.” The words are worn off now but the band continues to remind me to watch for God at work. Reading about God in His word is essential to Christian growth. And, we need to see Him in action. David did and the praise poured.

Father, You are at work in my life and in the lives of those around me. Help me to watch for You and see You work in real life in real time. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 19:1-6  
For the director of music. A psalm of David.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth.

For some reason I am impressed with the magnificence of the heavens each summer when we visit our family in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma sky is big and we are away from the city lights. Often Lori and I stand outside and gaze at the stars. We check out the Big and Little Dippers, the Seven Sisters, the North Star, and many other constellations that we try to locate through our star locator app.  One thing is for sure: The heavens declare the glory of God.

C. H. Spurgeon wrote that “the book of nature has three leaves, heaven, earth, and sea, of which heaven is the first and the most glorious, and by its aid we are able to see the beauties of the other two.” True, isn’t it? When we look up into the skies we see God’s glory displayed in the stars.

The same God, whose glory shines in the sky, desires to shine in you and through you. The apostle Paul encourages us as “children of God” to shine “like stars in the sky” (Philippians 2:15). Maybe you don’t feel like shining today. In fact, some circumstances in your life are making you feel rather dull. I encourage you to look up. God loves you so much that He sent His only Son to die on a cross just for you. Through Christ you can let your light shine in such a way that people see God at work in your life. Ready? Time to shine!

Father, thank You for revealing Yourself in the heavens. I pray that You would reveal Yourself personally to all who are reading these words. Through Christ allow each one of us to shine “like stars in the sky.” In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 19:7-14  

The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the LORD are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

There is no substitute for reading the Word of God. None! That’s why we need to read fewer books about the Bible and spend more time reading the Source.  Interaction with God’s perfect and trustworthy Word needs to happen on a daily basis. Here are the benefits:

  • God’s Word rejuvenates the soul.
  • God’s Word provides wisdom and discernment.
  • God’s Word brings joy to the heart.
  • God’s Word gives enlightenment.
  • God’s Word builds stability.
  • God’s Word is more precious than gold.
  • God’s Word is sweeter than honey.
  • God’s Word warns us of sin.

The Bible is God’s love letter to you. You will miss His great compassion and His perfect will when you neglect to crack open the pages.

Father, forgive my hidden faults. Keep me from willful sin. Please don’t let my propensity to sin rule over me. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight. Thank You for being my Rock and my Redeemer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 20  
For the director of music. A psalm of David.

May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion. May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings. May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the LORD grant all your requests. Now this I know: The LORD gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm. LORD, give victory to the king! Answer us when we call!

Do you pray before you go to battle? The king did. Psalm 20 is a royal psalm prayed by the people before the soldiers went to war. The king didn’t think of encountering the fight before he stopped at the sanctuary and had the congregation pray for him.

The congregation prayed for protection, help, and support. Battles are dangerous endeavors. They asked that God watch over their plans and give success in the heat of the confrontation. Then they anticipated the victory: May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God.

The king was in his battle array, flanked by his soldiers, and ready to enter the field. But he knew victory would not come by the strength of chariots and horses. God’s powerful right hand was the might behind every win. That’s why the king refused to put his trust in tangible things. His trust was “in the name of the Lord our God.” Trusting in God was the only means by which victory was achieved. It still is.

Father, I am always tempted to trust in chariots and horses—the things that represent strength in my life. Forgive me. My desire is to always trust in You. Help me when I lose my focus. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 21:1-7  
For the director of music. A psalm of David.

The king rejoices in your strength, LORD. How great is his joy in the victories you give! You have granted him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips. You came to greet him with rich blessings and placed a crown of pure gold on his head. He asked you for life, and you gave it to him—length of days, for ever and ever. Through the victories you gave, his glory is great; you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty. Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence. For the king trusts in the LORD; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.

I have a confession to make. I stink at thanksgiving. I have no trouble with requests…I can do that all day long. I don’t mean to be unthankful…but the next thing is on my mind. And, of course, the next thing is full of more requests. Today I am learning a lesson from the king.

Psalm 20 was a prayer before entering the battle; Psalm 21 is a thanksgiving psalm upon returning from the battle. David took the time to celebrate God’s strength and enjoy the thrill of victory. David expressed praise for granting him his heart’s desire, for rich blessings, and for the spoils of war. David asked that his life be spared and God had delivered. The benefits of trusting God are unending–His love never fails and He keeps his servant steadfast.

So, I have to learn this lesson from David. Pray before the battle AND take the time to thank God after the battle. Thanksgiving is the reminder that God is at work in our lives and guards us from using Him like an ATM machine. . . only approaching Him when we want to make a request withdrawal. 

Father, forgive me for not taking the time to give you thanks. Help me learn the lesson of this passage and apply it every day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 21:8-13  

Your hand will lay hold on all your enemies; your right hand will seize your foes. When you appear for battle, you will burn them up as in a blazing furnace. The LORD will swallow them up in his wrath, and his fire will consume them. You will destroy their descendants from the earth, their posterity from mankind. Though they plot evil against you and devise wicked schemes, they cannot succeed. You will make them turn their backs when you aim at them with drawn bow. Be exalted in your strength, LORD; we will sing and praise your might.

Thanksgiving promotes thanksgiving. When we take time to thank God for His work in our lives, others are inspired to do the same.

After King David returned from battle he took the time to thank God for the victory. He didn’t flaunt his win; he humbly directed the victory to God. The congregation followed his example. They praised God for delivering the king and his soldiers (their fathers, husbands, and sons). God brings the victory. Plots and wicked schemes cannot succeed when God is on our side. He is mighty to save.

The leader’s thanksgiving and confidence produced the same results among the members of the congregation. This is an extremely important principle for parents. The speed of the leader will be the speed of the team. We must model what we believe. Our children will hear what we say; they will learn what we show them. 

Father, help us learn not only the importance of giving thanks but the importance of providing a model of giving thanks. Help us show our children and grandchildren what it looks like to praise You for all of Your work in our lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 22:1-5  
For the director of music. To the tune of “The Doe of the Morning.” A psalm of David.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises. In you our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. To you they cried out and were saved; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

Do you ever feel like God has abandoned you? David did. In today’s passage he asks the question directly, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” He felt like God was far away, far from his cries for help.

Do you ever feel like God has abandoned you? Jesus did. This is the psalm He prayed from the cross as He bore our sins in His body. The Father turned His back on the sin-bearing Sacrifice. God seemed far away, far from the Son’s painful cries of agony.

Do you ever feel like God has abandoned you? Like He is far away and will not get back in time to help. Have you ever cried out to God without receiving an answer? That’s where this psalm begins, but not where it ends. Even in the first few verses confidence returns. God is the Holy One. He has been trusted in the past and proven faithful. He has not forgotten you, forsaken you, or moved far away. Can you trust God? The answer is a resounding “Yes!” Can you trust God? That is the question each one of us must answer.

Lord, help me to trust You even when it seems that You are far off. Help me to remain confident when it feels like I have been forsaken. Help me to keep my focus on You for proper perspective in the rollercoaster ride of life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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