Old Testament In a Year: May 25 – Psalms 15, 16

Psalms 15, 16
Focus Verse: I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. – Psalm 16:8

In war, a warrior who is defending another person stands on their right; thus, David is saying that God is his warrior and He is your warrior too. God is your fighter and your protection. God is your shield.

You can be confident and joyful in times of trouble and in times of peace by setting God always before you. To set God always before you means that you continually realize His presence. You feel that He is ever beside you. You trust that you are never alone. You are more concerned about His will being done and His glory being recognized than you are about your will and your glory.

Because God is close to you, ready to protect, save, help, comfort, and encourage you, you shall not be shaken. Nothing can move you from your faith in God or upset your confidence in Him.

Old Testament In a Year: May 24 – Psalms 12, 13, 14

Psalms 12, 13, 14
Focus Verse: The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times. – Psalm 12:6

Every word that God has spoken can be trusted in and depended on.

Often times, human beings speak boastfully, saying words that they cannot fulfill, or they speak deceitfully, saying words that they do not intend to fulfill. But God does not speak in such a manner. His words are not dishonest or deceitful. They are not self-serving. They are not insincere. They cannot be proven wrong. God’s words are pure, flawless, and absolutely reliable.

Human beings may fail to keep their words, but God never will. Each of God’s sayings are true and faithful. All of His promises are yes and amen.

May your words echo God’s words, reflecting things that are true, noble, right, pure, and lovely.

Women of the Word: Women Who Served at the Entrance to the Tent of Meeting

Eli served as the second-to-last high priest of Israel. He was faithful and did what was right, but his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were scoundrels who had no regard for the Lord. Even though they worked in the tabernacle with their father, they did not do so because they wanted to serve God. They only wanted to serve themselves. When people came to offer sacrifices to God, Hophni and Phinehas took the sacrifices for themselves. When women came to serve and worship God at the tabernacle, Hophni and Phinehas took them as objects on which to satisfy their sexual desires.

1 Samuel 2:22 says, “Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting.”

Eli’s sons had absolutely no respect for God or for those who sought to follow Him. Because of this, God caused both of them to die on the same day. In their place, He raised up Samuel – the last priest of Israel who remained faithful to God all of his days. Under Samuel’s leadership, women could go to the tabernacle and not fear being sexually harassed or being forced to perform sexual favors. Continue reading

Old Testament In a Year: May 23 – Psalms 9, 11

Psalms 9, 11
Focus Verse: You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish; you have blotted out their name forever and ever. – Psalm 9:5

When terror strikes the innocent, when moments of calm turn into moments of chaos, when laughter turns to tears, when joy turns to sadness, and when life turns to death, because of the evil acts of humans – remember this Scripture.

The wicked are not everlasting. They will stumble, and they will perish. Their names, and their despicable deeds, will be wiped out. Their end is inevitable. Even the very memory of them and what they did will be forgotten.

The assault of evil is relentless, but do not lose hope. A cloud of darkness hangs overhead, but do not despair. The weight of wickedness is heavy, but do not wilt under its temporary load. Take courage and have faith. Though it may seem that God has removed Himself from the affairs of humans, He still sits on his established throne for justice. He is still a stronghold for the oppressed and a stronghold in times of trouble. He has not forsaken His own – and we are all, despite our differences, His own.

When you despair, remember that there has been seemingly invincible dark people and evil people and wicked people before, but they have always come to an end – always.

Old Testament In a Year: May 22 – Psalms 7, 8

Psalms 7, 8
Focus Verse: What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? – Psalm 8:4

God is infinite. You are finite. God is immortal. You are mortal. God is mighty, and majestic, and everlasting. You are weak, inconsiderable, and temporary. Yet, God thinks of you. He is mindful of you. He cares for you.

It is why He crowned you with glory and honor. It is why He gave you dominion over His creation, control over His entire world. It is why He did so much to save you.

When you don’t feel like you are enough, when difficult circumstances cause you to question your value or worth, remember this Scripture. Remember the fact that God is mindful of you. I want you to know, God says, that I am thinking of you constantly. You never pass out of My thoughts.

You may question why a vast and glorious God, who made the heavens and the earth and who set the moon and stars in place with His fingers, may focus His attention on you. Why should His thoughts be turned to you? What have you done to have Him give you honor? Nothing, God says. You have done nothing, said nothing, made nothing. And I do not want you to ever feel like you must do something to have My attention or be in My thoughts. It is all of My mercy and love.

Old Testament In a Year: May 21 – Psalms 4, 5, 6

Psalms 4, 5, 6
Focus Verse: The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer. – Psalm 6:9

How confident are you that God hears your prayers?

How confident are you that God not only hears your prayers, but that He accepts your prayers and does not reject them?

God does not always provide answers to your prayers immediately, but you can have absolute faith that every time you cry out to Him, He hears you. As He heard and accepted the pleas and prayers of Job, David, Daniel, Esther, and Hannah, He will do the same for you.

With this assurance, you do not have to be afraid of what the future may or may not hold. You prayer has been accepted favourably by God, and in due time, it will be answered.

Old Testament In a Year: May 20 – 2 Samuel 23, 24

2 Samuel 23, 24
Focus Verse: Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into the hand of man.” – 2 Samuel 24:14

After the census was taken, David realized the foolishness of his sin and immediately begged for God to forgive him. God did forgive him, but He also let it be known that his sin would be punished. God offered David three forms of punishment and told him to choose which one he wanted to go through. David chose the third option of pestilence. Knowing that it was he who had sinned, he chose a punishment to which he would be equally exposed to as his people. If David had chosen famine or to flee before his foes, he would not have been affected as much. In choosing pestilence, David also showed that his trust, even in times of great distress and severe punishment, remained firm in God’s mercy and goodness.

When you are in the wrong, it is better to place yourself in God’s hands and suffer His punishment than the punishment of humans. Even in His wrath, God remembers mercy. And though He wounds, God also heals.

When God judges your sin, He does so out of His righteousness, not revenge; out of His sense of justice, not joy; out of His heart of goodness, not glee. In your good moments and in your bad, you can throw yourself into the hand of the Lord, knowing full well that His mercy is great.

Old Testament In a Year: May 19 – 2 Samuel 21, 22; Psalm 18

2 Samuel 21, 22; Psalm 18
Focus Verse: In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. – Psalm 18:6

When you are in deep distress – physically, mentally, or emotionally – call upon the Lord and cry to Him for what you need and desire. You will always find Him near and ready to help. He has the strength to save, the power to provide, and the might to work miracles.

By calling on God through prayer, you tap into what He is able to do. You show that you are not depending on your own strength or on any human help, but you are depending on Him alone. You may be in distress for a variety of reasons, but for all of those reasons, the solution is the same – go before the throne of God and find mercy and grace to help in your time of need.

God doesn’t look down at you in distress; He sympathizes with you. Because He is omniscient, He knows how you’re feeling. Because He is omnipresent, He is with you. Because He is omnipotent, He is able to help you, encourage you, and deliver you from your distress.

From His temple, which is Heaven, God hears your voice. Nothing can stop your cry from reaching Him. He will never shut His eyes or stop His ears or turn His face away from you. He is always willing to listen and answer.

Old Testament In a Year: May 18 – Psalms 64, 70

Psalms 64, 70
Focus Verse: May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!” – Psalm 70:4

When injustice is punished and wrong is made right, those who seek God will rejoice in God because they see proof of His righteousness, justice, and sovereignty. They will be glad because He destroys those who do wrong and preserves those who do right.

When you are a witness to God’s mighty work and when you experience the everlasting joy of His salvation, you too will say, “God is great!”