Bow to the Son (Psalm 2)

The name of Jesus is mocked by many in this present age. Individuals and nations shake their fists at God, His Son, and His Word. All around us the teachings and ways of Jesus Christ are ridiculed and disregarded. For much of the world and now even our own nation, the God of the Bible has become a distant and insignificant figure of another era, a cruel invention of superstitious and mean-spirited religious leaders. Modern man worships self-centered pleasure, comfort, and entertainment. He has no place for a heavenly King who would claim the throne of every human heart. So for now “the nations rage” and the leaders of this wicked world “set themselves…against the Lord and His Anointed” (vv. 1-2). We truly live in a time and place that has lost all fear of God. This pervasive lack of reverence for a holy God has even infected many of our churches and Christian schools. As you look around you even just today, do you see any evidence of what the Bible calls “the fear of the Lord?” Do you see anyone around you, yourself included, living as if their lives will one day be evaluated before the eyes of an all-seeing God? The painful truth is that most of us don’t love Jesus very much because we have lost sight of the holiness of God and the awful wrath from which He has saved us. We love little because in our minds our sin is little – we do not see the darkness of our souls the way that God does.

But as the rest of Psalm 2 warns, our judgment approaches. A day of reckoning will come. The question is not if or when that time will come, but, “Will we be ready?” The Psalmist, probably King David himself, tells us that God laughs back at those who laugh at Him (v. 4). The Messiah, His Anointed Son, His Chosen Ruler, the Lord Jesus Christ – He will return one day in full power and glory to rule all of the nations and crush all of his enemies (vv. 8-9). All of us will eventually give account for our lives to King Jesus. For this reason, Psalm 2 pleads with us to “kiss the Son” now, an old way of saying that we should bow the knees of our hearts to Him and surrender to His Lordship over us (the image is of a noble kneeling and kissing the hand of a king to pledge his loyalty and obedience). The glorious truth is that when God finally breaks our selfish pride so that we begin to “serve the Lord with fear,” we are not only spared from His angry judgment, but we find that bowing to Jesus each day becomes our greatest joy and blessing (vv. 11-12). Will you bow your life to Jesus today?

The Text (Psalm 2)

1 Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing?

2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,

3 “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.”

4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision.

5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure:

6 “Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion.”

7 “I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.

8 Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession.

9 You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’”

10 Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth.

11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

Questions to Think About

1. When do you first remember beginning to “fear the Lord” as described in this passage and devotion? In other words, when did your heart first get gripped with God’s holiness and your sinfulness?

2. Do you think a lost person really fears God? Why or why not?

3. As a Christian, how can Psalm 2 be a great encouragement to you?

In Christ,

Mr. Reel

The Road to Life (Psalm 1)

I once heard Billy Graham say in one of his crusade sermons (you can watch many of these on YouTube) that he had a habit of reading five psalms a day as part of his devotional life. I have personally been reading through the psalms at night since the summer and then reading in the New Testament (Mark, then 1 Peter, and then Ephesians – the Bible books for the blog) in the mornings. Reading from an Old Testament and a New Testament book each day can give you good structure and balance for a Bible reading plan. If you only read the Bible once a day, I would suggest reading through the Psalms, Proverbs, or one of the gospels on the days that you aren’t reading Ephesians.

Psalm 1 is a short, powerful message from God showing us how to walk in His ways all of our days. It poetically paints an image of the spiritually-blessed Christian pressing on along the path to heaven. The blessed man or woman avoids the evil counsel of the world, the company of those doing wrong, and especially those who openly mock and hate God. Instead, the godly Christian fills his or her mind with the truths and promises of Scripture by daily meditating on the Bible (“day and night” in verse 2, which means morning and evening). This person develops an authentic, deep relationship with God, so that he or she becomes like a firmly planted tree that bears spiritual fruit (like love, joy, peace, etc.) even in the middle of the painful trials of life (verse 3). “The Lord knows the way” of the humble Christian who walks with Him, which means that He watches over and protects him or her for all of this life and eternity.

By contrast, Psalm 1 warns us to beware of the broad road that leads to death. The way of death is marked by listening to the wisdom of the world and allowing the lies of Satan to shape our thoughts, then joining in with others in sinful words and actions, and finally settling into a position of cold-hearted unbelief and rejection of the Lord and His Word. This gradual descent into darkness starts small and can be unnoticed in the teenage years but it ultimately leads to an adult who abandons the Lord and His church in college and may never come back. These lost sinners become like the bad part of the wheat, the “chaff,” which after it has been threshed or separated from the good part is simply blown away by this world of sin and is finally burned in the fires of hell (verses 4-5; also see Matthew 3:12). This is a sobering message that God wants to use to drive us away from the path of death and onto the road to life.

The Text (Psalm 1)

1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

2  But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.

3  He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.

4 The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.

5  Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Questions to Think About

1. Are there any areas of life where ungodly, sinful ideas could be finding their way into your mind and heart? This could be through non-Christian friends, to which the counsel of God is to be careful who you hang out with. Consider carefully the warning Paul gives us in 1 Corinthians 15:33: “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good morals.” Are you spending most of your time with people who love Jesus or with people who don’t? The thoughts and attitudes of your friends will affect your thoughts and attitudes. Choose carefully – choose the friends of life!

2. The other area where sin can easily enter our hearts is through the videos and shows that we allow ourselves to watch and listen to. So many children, teenagers, and adults are sadly being led like dumb sheep along the road to death by the massive amounts of ungodly television, movies, music, and social media content that they consume each day and week. Blatant cursing (or “”cussing” to you Southerners), extreme acts of violence, and constant displays and references to sexual immorality are being portrayed so casually on the rectangular screens we never let go of that even professing Christians are no longer sensitive to any kind of sin at all. The heart-hardening effect of the modern sinful screen diet is so strong that by seventh grade and up, it has become almost impossible for students to get saved (note that I said “almost,” I do believe that with God all things are possible; the conversion odds today just get much longer after age 12). Of the 70-plus salvation experiences that we have seen in the middle school in the past nine months, almost all of them have happened when the students were in the sixth grade, and that was only after lots of prayer and constant strong preaching and teaching in homeroom devotions, the lunchroom, and special chapel services. If you are a slave to digital sin right now, I beg you to make a strong break from your device and call out to Jesus for deliverance! Start spending a lot of time in God’s Word and doing healthy, non-digital activities with Christian family and friends, and get help from Christian adults with starting a new life free of the evil influences that have been slowly destroying your relationship with God. It is matter of life and death. “For as he [a man or woman] thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).

God of Truth and Grace (Psalm 145:17-21)

Our God is just. He is truly “righteous in all His ways” (v. 17). He is completely justified in all that He does; the Lord is blameless in all His dealings with the human race. The unsaved people who reject Christ and His rule in their lives suffer from the rightly earned consequences of their own sins. They reap what they sow. Yet God’s hand of forgiveness remains extended to them as long as they draw breath, waiting for them to repent and trust in Jesus for salvation. For whoever will turn to God in honest and humble submission will never be cast away. He hears the cries of the brokenhearted with open ears. Our God is not only just, but gracious. He is always near to those “who call upon Him in truth” (v. 18); all who fear Him find His love and protection. Through Moses we received the Law that we could not keep in our own strength, but through Jesus Christ we find our God full of both grace and truth (John 1:14). Let us praise HIS name forever and ever!

The Text

17 The Lord is righteous in all His ways, Gracious in all His works.

18  The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.

19  He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.

20 The Lord preserves all who love Him, But all the wicked He will destroy.

21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, And all flesh shall bless His holy name forever and ever.

Questions to Think About

1. Have you ever had times when you have questioned if God has been just and fair in how He is treating you? Most Christians have struggled with doubts about God’s goodness at times, especially in the midst of extreme sorrows and trials. I know that I have! But when the bitter questioning arises in our hearts, we must look to the cross of Jesus Christ. If God truly gave us what we deserved for our sin, it would be eternal judgment and punishment. God has been better than fair with us. He has been infinitely merciful and gracious by saving us from our sins, and if in fact we count all His other blessings in our lives, we must conclude with the psalmist that He is indeed “gracious in all His works” (v. 1).

2. Can you think of a time when you felt God especially near as you called upon Him in prayer? What happened?

3. Why do you think that praising God is an important part of our relationship with Him?

4. Do you want to praise God right now? Why or why not?

In Christ,

Mr. Reel

God is Great, God is Good (Psalm 145:8-16)

As children, many of you probably learned some kind of simple mealtime prayer. “Thank you for the world so sweet, thank you for the food we eat, thank you for the birds that sing, thank you God for everything,” for example. Or the song my nephew uses, “Thank you God, thank you God, for this food, for this food, and our many blessings, and our many blessings, Amen, Amen!” In my house growing up, the dinner prayer was, “God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for this food.” That simple prayer has good theology and is the main point of today’s passage in the middle of Psalm 145.

The author, King David (of “David and Goliath” fame), has just written that he will “bless” and “praise” the name of the Lord “forever and ever” (vv. 1-2). He just cannot contain the joy that God has put in his heart. Now, in verses 8-16, the psalmist marvels at God’s kindness to all of His creation. God is “good to all,” both believers and unbelievers alike. He provides us food, clothing, and shelter for our bodies. God is patient and long suffering regarding our sin, being “slow to anger and great in mercy” (v. 8). God’s people, His “saints,” are especially blessed because we can see the glory of His “kingdom” as well as His “power” and “mighty acts” in our lives and the lives of those around us (vv. 10-13). I pray that today we could join with David and the rest of God’s saints and praise God for His greatness and goodness. Let us thank Him for our food and every other good thing that we receive from His hand of grace.

The Text

8 The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy.

9 The Lord is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works.

10 All Your works shall praise You, O Lord, And Your saints shall bless You.

11 They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, And talk of Your power,

12 To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, And the glorious majesty of His kingdom.

13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.

14 The Lord upholds all who fall, And raises up all who are bowed down.

15 The eyes of all look expectantly to You, And You give them their food in due season.

16 You open Your hand, And satisfy the desire of every living thing.

Questions to Think About

1. Do you have a common prayer that you use at mealtime? Maybe you can take time today to think more about the words of that prayer and to let your heart truly give thanks to God before you eat.

2. In your next quiet time with the Lord, take a few moments to give thanks to Him for all of the blessings in your life. There is an old hymn that wisely encourages us to, “Count our many blessings…one by one” so that we can see and give thanks for all the things that “God has done” for us.

3. Do you ever find yourself feeling ungrateful? What should we do when God shows us a lack of thankfulness in our hearts?

In Christ,

Mr. Reel

Praise His Name Forever and Ever (Psalm 145:1-7)

Note: The snow day cancelled last week’s chapel, so we will hear about Ephesians 1:1-14 this coming Thursday. Please be in prayer for this service. Pray for students who know the Lord to be encouraged with the blessed peace of assurance in their salvation. Pray for the Holy Spirit to awaken students who are not “in Christ” to repent, believe in Jesus, and be saved. For this week, I will do three short posts from Psalm 145, a psalm of praise to our God. We will continue next week with posts on Ephesians 1:15-23 (next week’s chapel message).

When people know the Lord, they talk about Him. They cannot keep their love for Him to themselves. They praise His name in private as they read His Word and pray, and they praise His name in public by sharing with others about what He is doing in their lives. In the heart of every true Christian is a song of praise to the name of Jesus. From the moment of our salvation forward, our eyes are opened to see Him at work in us and around us. We see His greatness grow in our understanding each month and year as we mature in Christ. We see His good gifts and mighty acts in our lives, and we give Him thanks and praise. Read Psalm 145:1-7 today and take time to let your heart sing with praise to your God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Psalm 145:1-7

1 I will extol You, my God, O King;

And I will bless Your name forever and ever.

Every day I will bless You,

And I will praise Your name forever and ever.

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;

And His greatness is unsearchable.

One generation shall praise Your works to another,

And shall declare Your mighty acts.

I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty,

And on Your wondrous works.

Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts,

And I will declare Your greatness.

They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness,

And shall sing of Your righteousness.

Questions to Think About

1. When do you first remember having a desire to tell others about what God was doing in your life?

2. Why do think that Christians have such a strong desire to tell others about the works of the Lord in their lives?

3. What has God been doing in your life this year? For what does your heart burn to give Him praise?

In Christ,

Mr. Reel