Devotionals

  • March 18, 2018: A Joyful Expanse of Praise

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 9-12, Psalm 65, Matthew 26:57-75, Romans 11:25-38 Psalm 65: Why praise God? Christians often take it for granted that everyone understands that God is worthy of praise. But non-Christians frequently think that for God to demand praise of his creatures suggests he is insecure if not egocentric. Perhaps Christians, too, from time to time, also wonder the same—if less loudly and less publicly. Why should we praise God? David here gives us three reasons why “praise is due” to God (65:1). First, it is because of his gracious salvation. “When iniquities prevail against me, you atone for our transgressions” (65:3). What a great reason and motivation for us to praise God! Yes, we are sinners. Yes, our sins “prevail against” us; they enslave us, trouble us, and—if unforgiven—ultimately damn us. But God has found a way to “atone” for our transgressions! Surely this means we should praise God. Surely the…

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    March 17, 2018: But God!

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 6-8, Psalm 64, Matthew 26:36-56, Romans 11:1-24 Psalm 64: When we think of complaining, we think of moaning, of unrighteous doubt about God’s provision or his care. But here David turns his unease into prayer: “Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint” (64:1). Do you have a complaint? Do you have something that is bugging you, that is a source of discomfort and disease in your soul? Is there something that you feel has been unjust or done against you unjustly? Turn that to prayer this morning. Bring it before God. Voice to God your concerns. For David, it was what his adversaries were saying that was the problem. They “whet their tongues like swords” (64:3). What a vivid image! Their words are carefully prepared, expertly honed, aimed just right, in order to cause maximum damage. Just as a person sharpens (or “whets”) his sword, so they are sharpening…

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    March 16, 2018: Thirsty for God

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 4-5, Psalm 63, Matthew 26:17-35, Romans 10 Psalm 63: Have you ever felt like God was distant? You believe in him, but he doesn’t seem close, near, present, real? David begins this psalm by saying how much he is seeking God. “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you” (63:1). Even followers of God must seek God. As God elsewhere says, “Seek me and live.” We are to be seeking after God, longing for God, pursuing God. The life of the Christian is not one of arrival; it is one pilgrimage, of journeying, until we finally arrive home in that far country. Now, we must seek! And David was seeking God. Look how earnestly he sought God! His soul “thirsts” for God. Do you thirst for God? Are you longing for God like someone longs for a drink of cold water after a long hot run on a…

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    March 15, 2018: God and God Alone

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 1-3, Psalm 62, Matthew 26:1-16, Romans 9:19-33 Psalm 62: One of the great truths of life—if not the greatest truth—is that when all else fails, when everything else falls apart, there is one and only one person on whom you can rely. And that person is not yourself: it is God. God and God alone. That is the theme of this psalm. “For God alone my soul waits in silence” (62:1). “He alone is my rock and salvation” (62:2). “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence” (62:5). “He alone is my rock and my salvation” (62:6). Several times the same point is made from a slightly different angle. For instance, at the end of the psalm, David employs “parallelism” (a common Hebraic poetic device) to emphasize that it is God and God alone: “Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, and…

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    March 14, 2018: Hear My Cry

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Numbers 33-36, Psalm 61, Matthew 25:31-46, Romans 9:1-18 Psalm 61: Perhaps you need help today? One biographer of Winston Churchill said that he could imagine Churchill preaching, but he could not imagine him praying. There is something about the act of prayer that for many practically minded, successful people appears to be degrading and abasing—groveling even. We can take succor from such illusions of our own self-sufficiency until we find that we are facing a problem too big for us to handle. There are no, or very few, atheists in an airplane as it crashes. Few, if any, would not pray then. It is then of extraordinary relevance to such practically minded, successful people to read these psalm-prayers of David (like this one in Psalm 61) and realize that they were written by David. That is a warrior; that is a king; that is a rock star musician. This is someone…

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    March 13, 2018: With God

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Numbers 31-32, Psalm 60, Matthew 25:14-30, Romans 8:18-30 Psalm 60: This is the record of a series of great victories on the part of David. And the lesson? God did it. “With God we shall do valiantly” (60:12). The psalm starts by giving a fair record of the situation. It’s bad news. Even the theologians have given up. “O God, you have rejected us, broken our defenses” (60:1). And the army, “our defenses,” appears to be a mess; they are defenseless. “You have made the land to quake; you have torn it open” (60:2). Were there natural disasters too? Or was this “quaking land” a poetic way of describing the massive social chasms that were opening up in the fabric of society? Either way, it is also bad news. “You have made your people see hard things” (60:3). The people have had any illusions about everything being alright removed; they now…

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    March 12, 2018: I Will Sing of Your Strength

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Numbers 28-30, Psalm 59, Matthew 25:1-13, Romans 8:1-17 Psalm 59: Yet again, David is in trouble. This time, men have been sent to his house to kill him. Michal, his wife, tells him about the plot, and David escapes out of the window of his house. It is an extraordinary danger, but the kind of danger with which David has become all too familiar. How does he keep on going when faced with such opposition? What is the source of his confidence, his power? It is the “steadfast love” (59:10, 17), the covenant love of the almighty God. He asks God to “deliver” him (59:1). There are people lying “in wait for his life” (59:3). They are incorrigible and unrepentant, thinking they can get away with their evil deeds without anyone noticing. “Who, they think, will hear us?” (59:7) But God instead “laughs” at them! (59:8). He holds all the nations—here…

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    March 11, 2018: Vengeance

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Numbers 26-27, Psalm 58, Matthew 24:34-51, Romans 7:13-25 Psalm 58: Have you ever felt so angry with someone, or some situation in the world, that your thoughts turned to vengeance? Great literature, like parts of the classic Moby Dick, as well as contemporary movies, are replete with themes of revenge. It is clearly a common emotion. Often what makes it particularly powerful in an individual is the sense that human justice is inadequate. As David puts it here, “Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods?” [“gods” meaning the rulers or lords or human judges]. “Do you judge the children of men uprightly? No, in your heart you devise wrongs; your hands deal out violence on earth” (58:1-2). In other words, not only is wrong done, but also those who do wrong appear to get away with it. It is that lack of justice which fuels the fire for revenge.…

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    March 10, 2018: Be Exalted, O God!

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Numbers 23-25,Psalm 57, Matthew 24:15-35, Romans 7:1-12 Psalm 57:Once again, David is in trouble. This time he is hiding in a cave from the attacks of King Saul. Who among us has experienced this kind of extreme danger? But whatever the scale of difficulty you have encountered, difficulty it still is. And this psalm—and David’s experience—can still help. He starts with prayer for God to have mercy. “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me” (57:1). He does not begin with expostulating on his innocence, how undeserving he is, how unfair it is that he is going through what he is going through. Biblically speaking, we all deserve far worse than we experience in this life: outside of Christ, we all deserve literal hell. So it is right for us to cry out to God for mercy. Then David makes use of some evocative imagery to focus his mind (and…

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    March 9, 2018: Trust in God by God’s Word

    By Josh Moody

    Today's Bible Reading: Numbers 21-22, Psalm 56, Matthew 24:1-14, Romans 6:15-23 Psalm 56: David is facing another—or continued—attack. It is, according to the ascription, “when the Philistines seized him in Gath.” Having fled from Saul, he hides in the kingdom of Achish in Gath among the Philistines. They recognize him as the great general who had killed so many Philistines in battle. David fears for his life and pretends to be insane. And he escapes. You can read about it in 1 Samuel 21:10 and following. So when David says, “my enemies trample me all day long” (56:2), he means real physical danger. And there must have been emotional, verbal, relational pressure as well! What does David do about it? He tells us, and so important is the lesson that he repeats it. When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I…

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