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Psalm 109New American Standard Bible (NASB)
For the choir director. A Psalm of David.
109 O God of my praise,
Do not be silent!
2 For they have opened the wicked and deceitful mouth against me;
They have spoken against me with a lying tongue.
3 They have also surrounded me with words of hatred,
And fought against me without cause.
4 In return for my love they act as my accusers;
But I am in prayer.
5 Thus they have repaid me evil for good
And hatred for my love.
6 Appoint a wicked man over him,
And let an accuser stand at his right hand.
7 When he is judged, let him come forth guilty,
And let his prayer become sin.
8 Let his days be few;
Let another take his office.
9 Let his children be fatherless
And his wife a widow.
10 Let his children wander about and beg;
And let them seek sustenance far from their ruined homes.
11 Let the creditor seize all that he has,
And let strangers plunder the product of his labor.
12 Let there be none to extend lovingkindness to him,
Nor any to be gracious to his fatherless children.
13 Let his posterity be cut off;
In a following generation let their name be blotted out.
14 Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord,
And do not let the sin of his mother be blotted out.
15 Let them be before the Lord continually,
That He may cut off their memory from the earth;
16 Because he did not remember to show lovingkindness,
But persecuted the afflicted and needy man,
And the despondent in heart, to put themto death.
17 He also loved cursing, so it came to him;
And he did not delight in blessing, so it was far from him.
18 But he clothed himself with cursing as with his garment,
And it entered into his body like water
And like oil into his bones.
19 Let it be to him as a garment with which he covers himself,
And for a belt with which he constantly girds himself.
20 Let this be the reward of my accusers from the Lord,
And of those who speak evil against my soul.
21 But You, O God, the Lord, deal kindly with me for Your name’s sake;
Because Your lovingkindness is good, deliver me;
22 For I am afflicted and needy,
And my heart is wounded within me.
23 I am passing like a shadow when it lengthens;
I am shaken off like the locust.
24 My knees are weak from fasting,
And my flesh has grown lean, without fatness.
25 I also have become a reproach to them;
When they see me, they wag their head.
26 Help me, O Lord my God;
Save me according to Your lovingkindness.
27 And let them know that this is Your hand;
You, Lord, have done it.
28 Let them curse, but You bless;
When they arise, they shall be ashamed,
But Your servant shall be glad.
29 Let my accusers be clothed with dishonor,
And let them cover themselves with their own shame as with a robe.
30 With my mouth I will give thanks abundantly to the Lord;
And in the midst of many I will praise Him.
31 For He stands at the right hand of the needy,
To save him from those who judge his soul.
Psalm 108New American Standard Bible (NASB)
God Praised and Supplicated to Give Victory.
A Song, a Psalm of David.
108 My heart is steadfast, O God;
I will sing, I will sing praises, even with my [a]soul.
2 Awake, harp and lyre;
I will awaken the dawn!
3 I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples,
And I will sing praises to You among the nations.
4 For Your lovingkindness is great above the heavens,
And Your truth reaches to the skies.
5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens,
And Your glory above all the earth.
6 That Your beloved may be delivered,
Save with Your right hand, and answer me!
7 God has spoken in His [b]holiness:
“I will exult, I will portion out Shechem
And measure out the valley of Succoth.
8 “Gilead is Mine, Manasseh is Mine;
Ephraim also is the [c]helmet of My head;
Judah is My [d]scepter.
9 “Moab is My washbowl;
Over Edom I shall throw My shoe;
Over Philistia I will shout aloud.”
10 Who will bring me into the besieged city?
Who [e]will lead me to Edom?
11 Have not You Yourself, O God, rejected us?
And will You not go forth with our armies, O God?
12 Oh give us help against the adversary,
For deliverance [f]by man is in vain.
13 [g]Through God we will do valiantly,
And it is He who shall tread down our adversaries.
Psalm 107New American Standard Bible (NASB)
107 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary
3 And gathered from the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.
4 They wandered in the wilderness in a desert region;
They did not find a way to an inhabited city.
5 They were hungry and thirsty;
Their soul fainted within them.
6 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble;
He delivered them out of their distresses.
7 He led them also by a straight way,
To go to an inhabited city.
8 Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness,
And for His wonders to the sons of men!
9 For He has satisfied the thirsty soul,
And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.
10 There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death,
Prisoners in misery and chains,
11 Because they had rebelled against the words of God
And spurned the counsel of the Most High.
12 Therefore He humbled their heart with labor;
They stumbled and there was none to help.
13 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble;
He saved them out of their distresses.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death
And broke their bands apart.
15 Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness,
And for His wonders to the sons of men!
16 For He has shattered gates of bronze
And cut bars of iron asunder.
17 Fools, because of their rebellious way,
And because of their iniquities, were afflicted.
18 Their soul abhorred all kinds of food,
And they drew near to the gates of death.
19 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble;
He saved them out of their distresses.
20 He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their destructions.
21 Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness,
And for His wonders to the sons of men!
22 Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
And tell of His works with joyful singing.
23 Those who go down to the sea in ships,
Who do business on great waters;
24 They have seen the works of the Lord,
And His wonders in the deep.
25 For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind,
Which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26 They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths;
Their soul melted away in their misery.
27 They reeled and staggered like a drunken man,
And were at their wits’ end.
28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
And He brought them out of their distresses.
29 He caused the storm to be still,
So that the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad because they were quiet,
So He guided them to their desired haven.
31 Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness,
And for His wonders to the sons of men!
32 Let them extol Him also in the congregation of the people,
And praise Him at the seat of the elders.
33 He changes rivers into a wilderness
And springs of water into a thirsty ground;
34 A fruitful land into a salt waste,
Because of the wickedness of those who dwell in it.
35 He changes a wilderness into a pool of water
And a dry land into springs of water;
36 And there He makes the hungry to dwell,
So that they may establish an inhabited city,
37 And sow fields and plant vineyards,
And gather a fruitful harvest.
38 Also He blesses them and they multiply greatly,
And He does not let their cattle decrease.
39 When they are diminished and bowed down
Through oppression, misery and sorrow,
40 He pours contempt upon princes
And makes them wander in a pathless waste.
41 But He sets the needy securely on high away from affliction,
And makes his families like a flock.
42 The upright see it and are glad;
But all unrighteousness shuts its mouth.
43 Who is wise? Let him give heed to these things,
And consider the lovingkindnesses of the Lord.
Psalm 106New American Standard Bible (NASB)
106 Praise the Lord!
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
2 Who can speak of the mighty deeds of the Lord,
Or can show forth all His praise?
3 How blessed are those who keep justice,
Who practice righteousness at all times!
4 Remember me, O Lord, in Your favor toward Your people;
Visit me with Your salvation,
5 That I may see the prosperity of Your chosen ones,
That I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation,
That I may glory with Your inheritance.
6 We have sinned like our fathers,
We have committed iniquity, we have behaved wickedly.
7 Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders;
They did not remember Your abundant kindnesses,
But rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea.
8 Nevertheless He saved them for the sake of His name,
That He might make His power known.
9 Thus He rebuked the Red Sea and it dried up,
And He led them through the deeps, as through the wilderness.
10 So He saved them from the hand of the one who hated them,
And redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.
11 The waters covered their adversaries;
Not one of them was left.
12 Then they believed His words;
They sang His praise.
13 They quickly forgot His works;
They did not wait for His counsel,
14 But craved intensely in the wilderness,
And tempted God in the desert.
15 So He gave them their request,
But sent a wasting disease among them.
16 When they became envious of Moses in the camp,
And of Aaron, the holy one of the Lord,
17 The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan,
And engulfed the company of Abiram.
18 And a fire blazed up in their company;
The flame consumed the wicked.
19 They made a calf in Horeb
And worshiped a molten image.
20 Thus they exchanged their glory
For the image of an ox that eats grass.
21 They forgot God their Savior,
Who had done great things in Egypt,
22 Wonders in the land of Ham
And awesome things by the Red Sea.
23 Therefore He said that He would destroy them,
Had not Moses His chosen one stood in the breach before Him,
To turn away His wrath from destroying them.
24 Then they despised the pleasant land;
They did not believe in His word,
25 But grumbled in their tents;
They did not listen to the voice of the Lord.
26 Therefore He swore to them
That He would cast them down in the wilderness,
27 And that He would cast their seed among the nations
And scatter them in the lands.
28 They joined themselves also to Baal-peor,
And ate sacrifices offered to the dead.
29 Thus they provoked Him to anger with their deeds,
And the plague broke out among them.
30 Then Phinehas stood up and interposed,
And so the plague was stayed.
31 And it was reckoned to him for righteousness,
To all generations forever.
32 They also provoked Him to wrath at the waters of Meribah,
So that it went hard with Moses on their account;
33 Because they were rebellious against His Spirit,
He spoke rashly with his lips.
34 They did not destroy the peoples,
As the Lord commanded them,
35 But they mingled with the nations
And learned their practices,
36 And served their idols,
Which became a snare to them.
37 They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons,
38 And shed innocent blood,
The blood of their sons and their daughters,
Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan;
And the land was polluted with the blood.
39 Thus they became unclean in their practices,
And played the harlot in their deeds.
40 Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against His people
And He abhorred His inheritance.
41 Then He gave them into the hand of the nations,
And those who hated them ruled over them.
42 Their enemies also oppressed them,
And they were subdued under their power.
43 Many times He would deliver them;
They, however, were rebellious in their counsel,
And so sank down in their iniquity.
44 Nevertheless He looked upon their distress
When He heard their cry;
45 And He remembered His covenant for their sake,
And relented according to the greatness of His lovingkindness.
46 He also made them objects of compassion
In the presence of all their captors.
47 Save us, O Lord our God,
And gather us from among the nations,
To give thanks to Your holy name
And glory in Your praise.
48 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
From everlasting even to everlasting.
And let all the people say, “Amen.”
Praise the Lord!
Psalm 104New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The Lord’s Care over All His Works.
104 Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, You are very great;
You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
2 Covering Yourself with light as with a cloak,
Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain.
3 He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters;
He makes the clouds His chariot;
He walks upon the wings of the wind;
4 He makes the winds His messengers,
Flaming fire His ministers.
5 He established the earth upon its foundations,
So that it will not totter forever and ever.
6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
The waters were standing above the mountains.
7 At Your rebuke they fled,
At the sound of Your thunder they hurried away.
8 The mountains rose; the valleys sank down
To the place which You established for them.
9 You set a boundary that they may not pass over,
So that they will not return to cover the earth.
10 He sends forth springs in the valleys;
They flow between the mountains;
11 They give drink to every beast of the field;
The wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;
They lift up their voices among the branches.
13 He waters the mountains from His upper chambers;
The earth is satisfied with the fruit of His works.
14 He causes the grass to grow for the cattle,
And vegetation for the labor of man,
So that he may bring forth food from the earth,
15 And wine which makes man’s heart glad,
So that he may make his face glisten with oil,
And food which sustains man’s heart.
16 The trees of the Lord drink their fill,
The cedars of Lebanon which He planted,
17 Where the birds build their nests,
And the stork, whose home is the fir trees.
18 The high mountains are for the wild goats;
The cliffs are a refuge for the shephanim.
19 He made the moon for the seasons;
The sun knows the place of its setting.
20 You appoint darkness and it becomes night,
In which all the beasts of the forest prowl about.
21 The young lions roar after their prey
And seek their food from God.
22 When the sun rises they withdraw
And lie down in their dens.
23 Man goes forth to his work
And to his labor until evening.
24 O Lord, how many are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all;
The earth is full of Your possessions.
25 There is the sea, great and broad,
In which are swarms without number,
Animals both small and great.
26 There the ships move along,
And Leviathan, which You have formed to sport in it.
27 They all wait for You
To give them their food in due season.
28 You give to them, they gather it up;
You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good.
29 You hide Your face, they are dismayed;
You take away their spirit, they expire
And return to their dust.
30 You send forth Your Spirit, they are created;
And You renew the face of the ground.
31 Let the glory of the Lord endure forever;
Let the Lord be glad in His works;
32 He looks at the earth, and it trembles;
He touches the mountains, and they smoke.
33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
34 Let my meditation be pleasing to Him;
As for me, I shall be glad in the Lord.
35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth
And let the wicked be no more.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Praise the Lord!
Psalm 103New American Standard Bible (NASB)
A Psalm of David.
103 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
3 Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
4 Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
5 Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.
6 The Lord performs righteous deeds
And judgments for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the sons of Israel.
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
9 He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
14 For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
16 When the wind has passed over it, it is no more,
And its place acknowledges it no longer.
17 But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children,
18 To those who keep His covenant
And remember His precepts to do them.
19 The Lord has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.
20 Bless the Lord, you His angels,
Mighty in strength, who perform His word,
Obeying the voice of His word!
21 Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,
You who serve Him, doing His will.
22 Bless the Lord, all you works of His,
In all places of His dominion;
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Psalm 102New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Prayer of an Afflicted Man for Mercy on Himself and on Zion.
A Prayer of the Afflicted when he is faint and pours out his complaint before the Lord.
102 Hear my prayer, O Lord!
And let my cry for help come to You.
2 Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my distress;
Incline Your ear to me;
In the day when I call answer me quickly.
3 For my days have been consumed in smoke,
And my bones have been scorched like a hearth.
4 My heart has been smitten like grass and has withered away,
Indeed, I forget to eat my bread.
5 Because of the loudness of my groaning
My bones cling to my flesh.
6 I resemble a pelican of the wilderness;
I have become like an owl of the waste places.
7 I lie awake,
I have become like a lonely bird on a housetop.
8 My enemies have reproached me all day long;
Those who deride me have used my name as a curse.
9 For I have eaten ashes like bread
And mingled my drink with weeping
10 Because of Your indignation and Your wrath,
For You have lifted me up and cast me away.
11 My days are like a lengthened shadow,
And I wither away like grass.
12 But You, O Lord, abide forever,
And Your name to all generations.
13 You will arise and have compassion on Zion;
For it is time to be gracious to her,
For the appointed time has come.
14 Surely Your servants find pleasure in her stones
And feel pity for her dust.
15 So the nations will fear the name of the Lord
And all the kings of the earth Your glory.
16 For the Lord has built up Zion;
He has appeared in His glory.
17 He has regarded the prayer of the destitute
And has not despised their prayer.
18 This will be written for the generation to come,
That a people yet to be created may praise the Lord.
19 For He looked down from His holy height;
From heaven the Lord gazed upon the earth,
20 To hear the groaning of the prisoner,
To set free those who were doomed to death,
21 That men may tell of the name of the Lord in Zion
And His praise in Jerusalem,
22 When the peoples are gathered together,
And the kingdoms, to serve the Lord.
23 He has weakened my strength in the way;
He has shortened my days.
24 I say, “O my God, do not take me away in the midst of my days,
Your years are throughout all generations.
25 “Of old You founded the earth,
And the heavens are the work of Your hands.
26 “Even they will perish, but You endure;
And all of them will wear out like a garment;
Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed.
27 “But You are the same,
And Your years will not come to an end.
28 “The children of Your servants will continue,
And their descendants will be established before You.”
Passionate About Purity
Matthew 5:8 (KJV) Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
What does it mean to be pure in heart? Like so many other words, purity has lost its way over the course of the evolution of our language. For many, the notion of purity is simply an avoidance of sin particularly sexual immorality. Is it possible that the idea of purity could be so easily summed?
The Danish philosopher and theologian Søren Kierkegaard included, in what is perhaps his most regarded work, Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits, a discourse entitled “Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing.” In this, he explains that purity is not for the sake of reward, nor to avoid punishment, nor is it simply doing of good for the sake of good or altruism. Purity’s only motive is to seek for what he called the “eternal.”
Perhaps, dear reader, you may be asking why it is that you should consider the writings of a Danish theologian who died in the middle 1800s? The answer is simple; because he’s right. There can be no purity so long as we are of two desires.
James 4:7-10 (KJV) 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
After urging the brethren to consider the fruits of heavenly wisdom (chapter 3), he then questions them as to the source of the strife and hostility among the brethren. Attributing both to their devotion to fleshly desires, he admonishes them to seek the Lord as a cure for their impurity. He does not prescribe better deeds or even urge them to set their affection on Heaven. Instead James encourages them to first cleanse their hands of wickedness and more importantly to purify their hearts.
An abrupt turn toward purity will doubtlessly bring about pangs of conscience, but James concludes that the sufferings are worthwhile in the face of returning to humility before our Lord. This is the nature of seeking the eternal. James concludes that they have forsaken that which brings them closer to God and adopted that which draws them away. The answer is not simply cleanse the hands and do better but purify the heart of its double mindedness.
He introduced the idea of double mindedness in the first chapter where he warned in verse 8 that the man who asks God for wisdom to deal with various trials should do so without doubting. The one who asks of God when he is not earnest in his desire to overcome temptation is unstable in his ways. He has no true allegiance. How can a man will the one thing when he is devoted to two? (Matt. 6:24)
Elijah posed the same question in 1 Kings 18, raising the challenge, “How long halt ye between two opinions?” Challenging them to be either fully devoted to Baal or to God, Elijah understood that a half measure of devotion is no devotion at all. This is truly a lesson for the modern age and the modern Christian.
We’ve become satisfied with the half measure. It’s evident it in the morality of the day. Modern morality, which often resembles the immorality of decades past, can only mean that our devotion to purity and our will for the eternal has become corrupted. Morality, in which long settled questions are reopened with a view toward being more permissive of worldliness, does not speak to a single-minded imitation of the Father.
Encroachment is visible even in the most fundamental aspects of faith. Countless sermons are taught defending baptism as essential, but how often do we teach on the transition within the heart as one forsakes the old self and puts on Christ? Are we emphasizing the action at the expense of devoting the heart? When we disregard the notion of the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us, a spirit that leads us (Romans 8; Galatians 5), instructs us, and even teaches us to cry, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8; Galatians 4) in favor of rudimentary and easily digested lists of works and restraints, can we really say that our hearts are wholly devoted to the Lord? How can we say that we have but one will, when we’ve barely scratched the surface of what it means to surrender our will to His?
No amount of good doing or good teaching can replace the example of a heart that is devoted to the cause of being like the Father. Is it any surprise that our young are being lost to attrition when they observe in us less than the Father’s will? Can we fortify our claim of purity based on abstaining from sin, when the devotion of the heart is evidently not in the fullest measure to the Father?
They Shall See God.
The beauty of the purified heart is that it builds a deep connection to the Father. They become imitators of Christ who died to bring many sons to glory (Ephesians 4-5; Hebrews 2). They receive from Him wisdom to overcome their trials of faith (James 1). They bear righteous fruits which are sown in peace because they seek the heavenly wisdom (James 3).
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God
It would be easy to see this commendation of Matthew 5 as a blessing for some future time. Truly those who have purified their hearts will see God for all eternity, but the beauty of the purified heart is not that we will see God one day but that we see God in our lives every day.
Psalm 100New American Standard Bible (NASB)
All Men Exhorted to Praise God.
A Psalm for Thanksgiving.
100 Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
3 Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
5 For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.
Psalm 99New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Praise to the Lord for His Fidelity to Israel.
99 The Lord reigns, let the peoples tremble;
He is enthroned above the cherubim, let the earth shake!
2 The Lord is great in Zion,
And He is exalted above all the peoples.
3 Let them praise Your great and awesome name;
Holy is He.
4 The strength of the King loves justice;
You have established equity;
You have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.
5 Exalt the Lord our God
And worship at His footstool;
Holy is He.
6 Moses and Aaron were among His priests,
And Samuel was among those who called on His name;
They called upon the Lord and He answered them.
7 He spoke to them in the pillar of cloud;
They kept His testimonies
And the statute that He gave them.
8 O Lord our God, You answered them;
You were a forgiving God to them,
And yet an avenger of their evil deeds.
9 Exalt the Lord our God
And worship at His holy hill,
For holy is the Lord our God.