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Psalms 4

Psalms 4: 1 Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!

Here we have the psalmist of David praying to the Lord, and reflecting on relief he's already been shown by God.

2 O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah 3 But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him.

A footnote tells us that "O men" can mean "men of rank," That means this is to the generals, elders and other people in power. Aren't these still the same questions ones were asking of our leadership in this current society? To follow after false easy answers from charismatic leaders is how our economic and political messes were started. His way, however, is set apart, for He is holy; and he still hears when we speak to Him.

4 Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah 5 Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord.

Here is one of the couple of times this idea is stated in the Bible: It is alright to have anger, but what you do with it is what makes your way clean or unclean. "Ponder in your beds" means roughly (at least to me) "sleep on it." And then to "Be silent" is to refrain from quick action. In my experience, if I don't take a step back when I'm upset I am more likely to say something I really didn't want to say, and you really can't take something back once it is said. While Jesus has made the sacrifices unnecessary (being the ultimate sacrifice), in such situations it is still best to trust in Lord rather than to blindly act out of anger. Anger is useful in some cases, it can motivate, it can correct; but it is a strong emotion and it can also be an open door to sin, as it was to Cain.

6 There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” 7 You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.

The praises to God among the people bring more joy to Psalmist than a plentiful harvest; that is after all why we are all here -- to serve, honor and worship God.

8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. (ESV)

True peace can only be found in the Prince of Peace, and he will bring safety to vulerable and sleep to the restless for all those who believe, obey and love the Lord.

Fourth Commandment

This is the last commandment related to paying honor and love to God. Notice, that the commandments about God come first, and then rules about how to treat each other come after. God views all sin as equal, but I think the point that obeying God should come first in our lives. The fourth commandment reads:

Deuteronomy 5:
12 “‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15 You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

In modern times this has come to mean "Go to church on Sunday." A lot of Christians aren't descended from the 12 tribes of Israel, however, very clearly requires us to use it as a day of rememberence for bringing us our of our own personal Egypt. Moreover, Paul wrote:

Romans 14:
5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Which reminds us that the important part is to remember God in all we do, and honor him everyday.

Psalms 3

Psalms 3: 1 O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; 2 many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. Selah

Even in modern times we feel this way. The "foes" may not be neighboring armies or political rivals like they were for David, but we all have felt that feeling that they are "all out to get us." Sometimes, depending on our social circle or work enviroment, it may even be true. What advice does the Lord have for us?

3 But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. 4 I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah

The advice is to take refuge in the Lord, to cry to him, and to pray to him. The Lord answered the prayers of King David, and so to will answer yours if you cry out when the enemies (whoever or whatever those are for you) are at the gate.

5 I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. 6 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.

Peace to sleep was given to David, and when he woke up, the Lord removed his fear of the trial that lay before him. When I think about what that means to me in those dark times in my life, not to worry about those who are set against me, it gives me a new spring in my step and peace in my heart.

7 Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked.

Without the fear, he still continues to pray for the resolution to situation. He prays for justice, that those who do wicked would have their teeth broken; don't think that God will answer a prayer that isn't just.

8 Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people! Selah

David acknowledges that God is the one with power of redemption, and he then prays for a blessing from God to be upon the people who have been called.

Third Commandment

Sorry for the delay in this post, I've been preoccupied with life. This is not an excuse, it's an explanation; I should have posted sooner, and I know it. I will continue to try to update this on a more regular basis, and add more technical and financial posts. This one, however, continues the Ten Commandment series. So, here is The Third Commandment...

Deuteronomy 5:
11 "'You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. (ESV)

This one seems simple, but lets really think about what vain means. Vanity implies a connotation of being artificially puffed up. I think this is more than a ban on saying "Oh my God!" During the time it was written, it was common for people to invoke the name of their god "We will win. by Baul." This is warning not to tread lightly with using God's name to add authority to causes He has not called His people to go after. It is easy to reach for the name of God to justify actions, to urge support for a cause and to puff ones self up.

This commandment also holds an extra warning, like the last one did; he will not hold you guiltless for violating this commandment. It seems like a small infraction to us, but it is a sin worthy of the ten commandments, and must be repented of like any other. He is still God, and His ways are still higher than our ways; Hist standards are still higher than our standards.

Psalms 2

The second psalm is typically thought to be a Messianic prophecy. That is, it is thought to predict the coming of Christ, the strife of the nations against Him, and even His resurrection. I don't see that in the Psalm, the following is what I do see in it.

Psalms 2: 1 Why do the nations rage[a] and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, 3 "Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us."

The nations of the earth war with each other because they war against the commandments of God. God is love, He is a Just King and has abounding mercy for those who repent. Nations and their leaders are often greedy, and power hungry. They burst away the cords that tie themselves to other nations, and strive on nationalistic sentiment. They take counsel from other rules, not seeking the face of God, but doing what they think is right in their own eyes.

4 He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. 5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, 6 "As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill."

The real ruler of it all is the Prince of Peace, seated in heaven. Wrath will come to those rulers who war for Greed and more power.

7 I will tell of the decree:The LORD said to me, "You are my Son; today I have begotten you. 8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel."

We are the children of God, and if we seek his face in earnest, he will provide that we need not strive to conquer foreign lands, but that in War, if you are just and trust in the Lord you shall not be destroyed and enemies shall fall.

10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Follow The Lord, as the only wise king. Fear the Lord, and rejoice in him, and you shall not perish from the earth. Blessed are those who believe in and obey the Lord.

Second Commandment

I read the next Psalm and commandment, but haven't had a chance to post until now. I apologize for being a little late with the post.
Exodus 20:
4 "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. (ESV)
Deuteronomy 5:
8 "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 9 You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 10 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. (ESV)
This commandment bars making your own gods to worship. Note, that this is very similar to the first commandment; but the Lord thought it worth repeating. Note, however, that this commandment comes with a reason. God is jealous for his children, and that I believe is a reflection of His love for us. Imagine if a child were to tell their father, "I don't want you as a dad, so I built one out of wood. I'll give it all the honor and love that I think a real dad deserves." Don't you think that most fathers would be deeply hurt by this action? Why, then, do so many people put so many things before God? The world is enticing, we have much we have built to entertain ourselves; but, true happiness cannot be bought at a store or created by knowing who the next American Idol is. Happiness, for me at least, is when my daughter looks up from her crib and smiles at me. Happiness is when my wife tells me she loves me before I go off to work. You can't put a dollar amount on the way it feels to help someone in need, and you can't pay enough to remove the guilt of ignoring someone's suffering. God also promises in this commandment that he will visit iniquity to the 3rd and 4th generation. So, if you cut yourself off from God you are likely teaching your children to do the same. He will judge the unrepentant sinner that passes on his immoral or disobedient lifestyle to his children. But there is hope, for He also says that unfaltering love will be upon those who love and obey the Lord.

Psalms 1

Psalms 1:
1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. (ESV)

Those who follow unethical advice, who follow peer pressure to do evil things and nay say that which is righteous shall not be blessed. On the other hand, if you love the law and think upon what is right and wrong you will be blessed.

3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. 4The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. (ESV)

Follow the God's commands and you will be like a tree with strong deep roots. You will get nurisment (planted by streams), will be productive (bare fruit) and full of life (leaves that don't wither). The wicked will not revieve this blessing, but not be steady, not firmly rooted and at the mercy of the winds of change (be like chaff on wheat that is blown away).

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; 6for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. (ESV)

Wicked will not be found innocent at the time of judgment and will be separated from the righteous. Those who do ill will perish, but the Lord will keep those who good.

The First Commandment

I've decided that I'm going to combine two things that I should do more, post updates to this blog and read the Bible. I figured I'd start easy on myself, and blog Psalms and the Ten commandments. So, every day I plan to write a post about the next commandment, and a post about the next psalm. So today we look at the First Commandment.
Exodus 20:

2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

3 “You shall have no other gods before me.(ESV)

Deuteronomy 5:
6 "'I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

7 "'You shall have no other gods before me.(ESV)

Note, there is footnote in both places on the word "before" which reads: "besides." We should have no gods besides the Lord. We live in a world full of man made marvels, a world full of comforting technology, a world that sends the message that a man is measured by his pocket book, and a world where we look at celebrates as heroes and role models. It is easy to begin to worship unholy things, to bow to the almighty dollar and pay homage to the America Idols (it us ironic how true the name of that show really is). We must remember to humble ourselves to God, and worship Him alone, and not follow after the ways of the world. That doesn't mean you can't enjoy the talent of artist, actor or singer, nor does it mean you cannot enjoy money, but what it does mean is that God is still the one and only King of Kings that we should give our all.

Just following the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy, we find the a most important prayer:

Deuteronomy 6:

4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6And(B) these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (ESV)

The first six words of this typically start morning prayer for most religious Jews, "Shema Yisrael, Adonai eloheinu, Adonai echad." The reason is clear, it shows that they have no other gods besides the Lord and they are giving proper honor to Him. Acknowledging the Lord's control in all things.