“Ally ally in free!”

The Word for today:
Psalm 27

There sure is a lot of hiding and seeking going on in Psalm 27:

One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to inquire in his temple. (Psalms 27:4)

For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion;
In the secret place of his tabernacle he shall hide me. (Psalms 27:5)

When you said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to you, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.” (Psalms 27:8)

Do not hide your face from me;
Do not turn your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not leave me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation. (Psalms 27:9)

Who is hiding? Who is seeking?

The answer is found on the very first pages of your Bible.  Before sin, God sought out Adam and Eve so often, so regularly, that they were familiar with the sound of his voice:
And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day… (Genesis 3:8a)

But, alas, their sin caused them to hide:
…and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8b)

Carefully note that they were not actually hiding from God. What they were doing was hiding their sin from God:
The LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” (Genesis 3:9-10)

In the same way, God is not hiding from man. David, in Psalm 51, knew that God hides not from him, but from man’s sin:
Hide your face from my sins… (Psalms 51:9)

God went to great lengths to hide his face from Adam and Eve’s sins, skinning an animal to fashion a sin-covering for them. This freed him to seek them again.

That sacrificed animal pointed straight to the cross, where God had to forsake Jesus:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Psalms 22:1)

Jesus was, at first, startled and overtaken by the estrangement. But he was given the answer he’d cried out for:
Yet you are holy… (Psalms 22:3)

God’s holiness could not coexist with sin. He is a consuming fire (1) who would have reflexively flashed forth and consumed the sin-bearer on the cross. So he was not actually hiding from Jesus. He was hiding from my sin.

What all of this means is that God never hides–from anybody, ever. He wasn’t hiding from Adam, or Eve; or from Jesus; or from you.

He is ever ardently seeking–and hoping to be sought:
When you said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”
(Psalms 27:8)

I hope your heart talks to God today. I hope you seek his face. If you take your sins to the cross of Jesus Christ, you’ve got nothing left to hide–and God’s got nothing left to hide from.

“Ally ally in free!” (2)

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(1) Deuteronomy 4:24; Hebrews 12:29
(2) “Ally ally in free” is a catchphrase used in such children’s games as hide and seek to indicate that players who are hiding can come out into the open without losing the game. It is thought to derive from the phrase “All ye, all ye ‘outs’ in free;” in other words, all who are “out” may come in without penalty.

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do unto God as you would have God do unto you

The Word for today:
Psalm 26

mark this: Psalm 26:12
I will bless the LORD.

Everyone says, “God bless you.” It’s like the Christian version of “Have a nice day.”

Well, here’s how to have a nice day: You bless God.

The Bible teaches us to do unto others as you would have them do unto you (Luke 6:31). We could start with God.

Do you want God to say something encouraging to you? You say something encouraging to God. Go ahead.

Do you want God to notice your effort? You notice his. That’s right.

Do you want God to give you a reason to smile? You give him a reason to smile. You could tell him a good clean joke. Or, better yet, tell him how good it feels to be clean:
Because the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)

***

You get the picture, so I don’t need to belabor this. Whatever you need, you give God. Don’t wait for a blessing when you can create one.

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teach me your paths

(by Professor Dave)

The Word for today:
Psalm 25

After I accepted Jesus as my Savior, I developed a real hunger for the Word of God. I remember that one of my favorite psalms was Psalm 25. When I would read this Psalm, it became the prayer of my heart. I had a longing to understand God’s ways, and to be able to walk according to His direction. As David directed this prayer to God, he reminded himself of the essential elements of being teachable.

Psalm 25 is a psalm of David. The first thing that David requests is that he not be ashamed. Shame comes as the result of defeat. If we can recall, after Adam and Eve fell in the temptation, shame immediately followed. They knew that they were naked and they were ashamed. Sin brought shame. David opens by stating that his trust is in God. If we are to be free from the shame of sin, it begins with trust in God. In our own in strength we are powerless over sin and shame. Therefore, David goes on to ask that none who wait on God should be ashamed.

Having made this plea to God, David requests that God teach him His ways, His truth, and His paths. In seeking deliverance from the enemies of our soul, we need to follow God’s direction. In doing so, we must rely on God’s mercy and lovingkindness. Without these we would be lost, without hope. If God were to immediately respond to our sin, we would never see His face. But, because of His mercy and lovingkindness He has provided a way to restore fellowship with Him. Again David calls upon God’s mercy as he looks back to the sins of his youth and to his transgressions. He does not want to be remembered for his youthful sins or transgression, but he looks to God’s goodness in delivering him from them.

As David continues he reminds himself that God teaches those who are honest with regard to their soul’s condition and to those who are meek of heart. If one will not acknowledge one’s own sinfulness; they are not in a position to be taught by God. God teaches sinners. The beginning of God’s wisdom is in the fear of the LORD. God chooses the way to teach each individual, and that way is especially fitted to each individual.

David acknowledges his troubles and affliction, but continues to focus on God as his deliverer. David closes by stating that which he stated at the beginning. He seeks God’s deliverance from shame, based on the fact that he trusts in God. David ends by requesting the redemption of Israel.

I began this thought by stating the Psalm 25 was a prayer that I resorted to often in my early walk with Jesus. That hasn’t changed; I still return to this psalm when I am seeking guidance from the LORD. It all begins with placing our trust in God. We need to be honest with ourselves and with God that we are in need of His instruction. We need to approach God with meekness and reverence. Regardless of our present circumstances, we need to look to God as our deliverer, as David did.

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triptych

“Cross, Shepherd, & Crown” — Stained Glass Panels, Faith Community Lutheran Academy

The Word for today:
Psalm 23, 24

Psalms 22, 23, and 24 are best seen as a triptych–a continuous painting displayed across three panels (1). Together, they depict the past, present, and future of our eternal relationship with Jesus Christ.

***

Psalm 22 is the holiest ground in scripture, a too-vivid picture of the day Jesus died. What is most striking is that it is the only picture of the cross from Jesus’ point of view. It is shrouded in darkness until verse 22, where the resurrection is indicated by a shift in tense–a reference to the future and a ray of hope:
I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.

Now note the Psalm’s last words: He has done it. It is finished! (cf. John 19:30)

Psalm 23 is a picture of the believer’s new life, which Christ purchased in Psalm 22:
identified (baptized) in the still waters of death with Christ;
born again (he restores my soul);
led (v. 2, 3);
sealed, indwelt, and anointed by the Holy Spirit (v.5);
the fruit of the Spirit (paths of righteousness);
filled to overflowing with the Spirit (v. 5);
the faithful discipline and guidance (rod and staff) of the Father;
eternal life in the house of the Lord.

Psalm 24 begins where Psalm 23 left off–in the house of the LORD.
The suffering servant of Psalm 22, who is the shepherd of Psalm 23, is revealed as the eternal King of glory, who has restored his image and likeness (see Gen 1:26) in us:

Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.
He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah. (v. 3-6)

Now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. (1 John 3:2)

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(1) see yesterday’s introductory article

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My God, my God, why?

The Word for today:
Psalm 22:22-31

Psalm 23 is the single most famous, most memorized, most beloved poem in all of literature. But it is even more meaningful when it is placed in its true context–as the middle “panel” of a triptych which spans Psalms 22, 23, and 24.

A triptych is a display which stretches across three panels. Here’s an example, called “Cross, Shepherd, & Crown” which presents the inter-relationship of Psalms 22, 23, & 24:

We will, over the next couple days, consider these three Psalms as a triptych which displays the past, present, and future of an eternal relationship with Jesus Christ.

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Psalm 22–the cross
Psalm 22 is the holiest ground in scripture. It is a vivid picture of the day Jesus died. What is most striking is that it is the only picture of the cross taken from Jesus’ point of view:

My God, my God, why?

I’ll type no more today. I leave you with the Lamb of God, in the Holy of Holies.

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