Keep Yourselves From Idols

O God, You are my God;

Early will I seek You;

My soul thirsts for You;

My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land

Where there is no water.

–Psalm 63:1 (NKJV)

I started memorizing Psalm 63 yesterday.  I’ve loved this passage for many years, and it’s been on my list of passages to memorize for quite a while.  As I was meditating on the first verse while walking Buster early yesterday evening, I realized that there’s another way to look at that verse.  No doubt David was drawing upon his circumstances and compared His longing for God to being in the arid wilderness to which he had been forced to flee – and in that comparison, he paints a very clear picture of the desire of a man after God’s own heart.  And with that picture in the background, whenever I have pondered this passage, I have mostly thought: “Someday, I’ll long for God in that way.  Someday I’ll seek after Him like I would for a drop of water after being stranded in a desert for a few days.”  Because, if I’m honest, I don’t often feel that kind of urgency in my pursuit of God.

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Oh Give Thanks!

Psalm 118 (ESV)

1 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! 2 Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” 3 Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” 4 Let those who fear the LORD say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” 5 Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free. 6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? 7 The LORD is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. 8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. 9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes. 10 All nations surrounded me; in the name of the LORD I cut them off! 11 They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side; in the name of the LORD I cut them off! 12 They surrounded me like bees; they went out like fire among thorns; in the name of the LORD I cut them off! 13 I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the LORD helped me. 14 The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. 15 Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the LORD does valiantly, 16 the right hand of the LORD exalts, the right hand of the LORD does valiantly!” 17 I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD. 18 The LORD has disciplined me severely, but he has not given me over to death. 19 Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD. 20 This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it. 21 I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. 22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.23 This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. 24 This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.  25 Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success! 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD. 27 The LORD is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar! 28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. 29 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

Exodus 4:24-26 – a difficult passage

I was doing my “read through the Bible in a year” reading in the Dr’s office earlier today (turns out I have bronchitis and not the flu). I ended up reading two days’ worth of chapters, which included God calling Moses going to great lengths to persuade Moses that He would enable him to do the job He was calling him to do (chapters 3 and 4). Immediately after the narrative finally has Moses starting off in the direction of Egypt, we encounter these verses:

Ex 4:24 At a lodging place on the way(Y) the LORD met him and(Z) sought to put him to death. 25 Then(AA) Zipporah took a(AB) flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’[c] feet with it and said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” 26 So he let him alone. It was then that she said, “A bridegroom of blood,” because of the circumcision. (ESV)

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Thoughts on Isaiah 44:21-23

To comfort His people during their captivity in Babylon, God says to them in Isaiah 44:

21 “Remember these, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are My servant; I have formed you, you are My servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me!
22 I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.”
23 Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it! Shout, you lower parts of the earth; break forth into singing, you mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For the LORD has redeemed Jacob, and glorified Himself in Israel. (NKJV)

While it may seem that God is absent during the severest trial, He has not forgotten us! Indeed, though our sins are like a thick cloud (!), He has blotted them out! Return to Him, if you are a believer who is in sin – He has redeemed you. And when you have done so… praise Him!

Thoughts on Isaiah 29:9-24

I came across these incredible verses last week while doing my quiet time:

9 Astonish yourselves [2] and be astonished; blind yourselves and be blind! Be drunk, but not with wine; stagger, but not with strong drink!
10 For the Lord has poured out upon you a spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes (the prophets), and covered your heads (the seers).

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Initial thoughts on Isaiah 19:22

I woke up late today and didn’t do my quiet time, so I ended up re-reading Isaiah 19 by “accident” over a Chipotle burrito (yum!) today at lunch when I should have been in chapter 21. Part of the reason I didn’t realize I had already read 19 was because I recently started using Pocket e-Sword on my iPAQ, with which I’m trying out the ESV. Plus, I don’t usually use my iPAQ when I do my quiet time. Anyway, between the new translation and the new tool (which I very much like so far!), I managed to land on the wrong chapter.

I’m glad I did! I somehow glossed over this verse the other day:

Is. 19:22 The LORD will strike Egypt, striking but healing; so they will return to the LORD, and He will respond to them and will heal them. (NAS)

a footnote for which lead to: Continue reading