Psalm 66:18

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unanswered prayersHave you ever had a discussion with someone about unanswered prayer?  Typically – it goes something like this:  Either the person prayed and prayed and God did not answer; or else they prayed and He gave then exactly what they wanted (whether they were a Believer or not).  Yet – hopefully by now, as we read through His Word, you are beginning to understand that most of what is spoken in our mainstream culture regarding God and how He conducts Himself is made up – with no bearing to what God actually tells us about Himself in His Word.

In Psalm 66 we see a prime example of this.

“If I had cherished sin in my heart,
    the Lord would not have listened;”Psalm 66:18 NIV

Notice what the Psalmist is admitting here… that it is the state of his heart which dictates whether God actually hears his prayers or not.  In effect – God does not hear everyone’s prayers!

This Truth is usually quite shocking to people when they first hear it.  (Most Christians do not even know this verse exists).  If you talk to your typical American (Born again or not) – they will speak of a time when they prayed and expected God to answer their request.  Then, because God did not – they reject Him.

But (as the verse above states) – God doesn’t hear the prayers of those who are rebelling against Him.

The word “cherish” in vs 18 is the Hebrew word “ra’ah” and it literally means “to behold, approve, relish, consider, look upon, to be near, regard”.  So basically the Psalmist is telling us that if we live our lives surrounded and condoning sin – then God does not hear our prayers.  We speak only to the empty sky.

Many other verses support this:

“The Lord is far from the wicked,
    but he hears the prayer of the righteous.” Prov 15:29

“If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction,
    even their prayers are detestable.”Prov 28:9  OUCH!

“When you spread out your hands in prayer,
    I hide my eyes from you;
even when you offer many prayers,
    I am not listening.  Your hands are full of blood!” Isaiah 1:15

“We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will.”John 9:31

To say that God hears the prayers of those who have not been born again is just not true.  According to Scripture they are in rebellion against God and their spirit is unable to communicate with Him.  The circumstances where a prayer seemed to be answered are actually simply chance coincidence that the events turned out positively.

I point this example out only to show that by actually reading God’s Word you can learn what His true character is like… as well, you will see through the many false beliefs about Him spoken by an unbelieving world in darkness.

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Psalm 51

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psalm51In 1 Sam 13:14 – David is described as a “man after God’s own heart”.  This is later reinforced in Acts 13:22.  So what is it that made God describe David this way?  What was it about David that caught God’s eye (Psalm 17:8)?  As we have learned during our journey through God’s Word – David was far from perfect.  He made several mistakes throughout his progression from shepherd boy to King – many of which caused other people to die in battle!  In fact – God refused to allow David to build the Temple due to the “blood on his hands” (1 Chron 22:7-10).  So what was it that caused God to gush over David so much?

Psalm 51 gives us the answer.

This Psalm is written by David right after one of his most serious mistakes.  In 1 Sam 11-12 we are told of the situation; where David (as King) is not out in battle (where he should be) – but instead is lounging on his palace terrace roof… where he spots the beautiful Bathsheba bathing on her own roof.  David desires Bathsheba – and causes her to get pregnant.  Afterwards, David was informed that she is married and upon finding this out – King David sets up her husband, Uriah, to be killed in battle.

Sin has a way of spiraling out of control… from desire – to adultery – to murder.

It was the Prophet Nathan who came to the King and bravely revealed his secret sin.  This was a huge step of trust for Nathan, because as King, David had the power to have him killed in order to continue to protect his sin.  Instead – David repented.

Psalm 51 is the result of David’s repentance.  As you read it – can you hear his heart?

– His cry for mercy (vs 1).

– His complete confession about his sin (vs 4).

– His desire to be clean (vs 7).

David was well aware of the severe consequences for sin.  Sin destroys the heart and the spirit (vs 10).  It interferes with our relationship with God and hinders our prayers (vs 11).  It robs us of joy (vs 12) and steals our ability to praise (vs 14).

Sin kills.

Instead of demanding his own way – using his power/position to continue in his sin – or blaming God for his troubles… David repented, confessed his wrongdoing before God, and sought the renewal of a clean heart.

That is why God described him as a man after His own heart.

So how would God describe you?

Be fruitful & multiply,

PK

Psalm 44

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Psalm 44

The purpose of this blog is to encourage you as you read through God’s Word.  By reading a chapter a day – you develop the healthy habit of being in the Bible on a daily basis, training your spiritual man in all things.  Along the way, as we have read from Genesis to the Psalms, I have been taking opportunity to point out the countless ways God is displayed as a Giver – and discounting the numerous inaccurate accusations about Him which grow out of ignorance to His Word.

 Another such example of this is found in Psalm 44.  This psalm is located in the 2nd Book of Psalms (42-72) and is one of several ascribed to the “Sons of Korah”.  The lineage of Korah can be traced back to the Israelites wandering in the desert, where a group of men led a rebellion against Moses, resulting in 250 of them being burned up by fire from heaven – with only their children being spared (Num 16).  Coincidentally, these children would grow into the Korahites – who would become Prophets (Samuel was a Korahite), as well as choral leaders and musicians in the Tabernacle and Temple during the time of King David/Solomon (1 Chron 9).  This group of Israelites played an important role in the thanksgiving services and pageantry when the Ark of the Covenant was brought to Jerusalem, and King David formed an elaborate organization for song, instrumental music, and prophesying through these me, (hence why they wrote the psalms).

 

While Psalm 44 begins with praise and adoration for God (vs 1-8); it unfortunately goes awry as the Psalmist begins to blame God for their current situation.

“But now you have rejected and humbled us;
    you no longer go out with our armies.

You made us retreat before the enemy,
    and our adversaries have plundered us.
You gave us up to be devoured like sheep
    and have scattered us among the nations.
You sold your people for a pittance,
    gaining nothing from their sale.

You have made us a reproach to our neighbors,
    the scorn and derision of those around us.
You have made us a byword among the nations;
    the peoples shake their heads at us.

I live in disgrace all day long,
    and my face is covered with shame
at the taunts of those who reproach and revile me,
    because of the enemy, who is bent on revenge.”
– Psalm 44:9-19

 

Notice how quickly the Psalmist has switched gears.  Prior to this passage, God was trustworthy and a Great Protector… yet now He is being accused of rejecting, abandoning, selling, and ruining His people!  Right after this (vs 20-22), the Psalmist defends his people’s innocence – instead blaming God for their predicament.

 

This is the problem with only reading portions of the Bible to gain your doctrine.  When people pull verses and phrases out of context and apply them to generalities – they make laws out of statements which were made in ignorance – meant to teach us the very opposite!  By reading through the whole Bible – we can trace the history of what actually was happening to the people being spoken of by the Psalmist – thus gaining an accurate picture of what is being said here.  Looking back into the Law – we see God repeatedly warn His people about what would happen if they choose their own way and reject His instructions.  Take a moment and read through Lev 26 and Deut 28 to refresh your memory of God’s warnings.   In these two chapters of the Law – God provides His people with details into what life will be like under His Blessing, as well as what it will be like under the Curse (“walking contrary to His ways” Lev 26:21). 

 

Ironically – it is the very things the Psalmist describes in Psalm 44 which are detailed in the Law as consequences of choosing the live contrary to God’s ways! 

 

With this knowledge – we can understand that this Psalmist is attributing innocence to himself (and his people) – while blaming God for their situation and attributing wrong doing to Him.  He then ends his little rant by asking God to “wake up” and “arise” and rescue them (after he had accused Him of doing it unfairly in the first place!). 

 

This is definitely not an example I would want to follow, yet unfortunately, numerous Christians still follow this poor example today.  While their own sin and selfish actions have invited Satan into their lives to destroy – instead of repenting and seeking the Lord’s help – they assert their innocence and attribute the calamity to the mysterious “will of God” – all to their own demise.

 

As we read through our chapters together my friends, ask the Holy Spirit to bring other examples such as this one to light.  Take time to study and learn from the whole counsel of the Word… and you will find yourself standing upon solid footing – instead of sinking with the ship!

 

 

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK