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Psalm 119:25-32 (Click to read NIV or select your preferred translation of the Bible. Please read the scripture first.)

We are about to begin a study of Josiah, the boy king. I believe this Psalm was selected for today’s scripture because it reflected so well the barrenness of the spiritual condition of the Jewish nation when Josiah began his reign.

This passage would not only have encouraged Josiah in Bible times, it is written for us today as well. Perhaps you are at an all-time low and you are tempted to believe that God has abandoned you because of your circumstances. The psalmist is writing from the perspective of the dust heap–he is feeling great sorrow.

But the psalmist is lifting his eyes to the Lord. He is pleading with God to teach him his laws so he could meditate on them through his time of sorrow. He is praying that God will strengthen him through the scriptures, that he will keep him from becoming deceitful, from trying to rise in his own strength. He resolves to continue in the way of truth with his heart set on the laws of God, and prays that God will not allow him to be put to shame. The psalmist is able to run in the freedom he has received from following God’s paths.

Are we willing to trust in the scriptures to lift us out of our own despair? I recall a Sunday when I was so deep in despair that I couldn’t bear to attend our worship service for fear I would make a spectacle of myself through my tears. Instead, I armed myself with my Bible and some scripture-based music tapes and drove to a secluded place to worship my God in private. I cried as I listened to one song after another. I looked up the scriptures the musicians sang. Even though the tears continued to flow, they gradually changed from tears of grief to tears of hope and then joy. I returned home with a new lift to my spirit. I was ready to face whatever came my way.

Father God, we thank and praise you that you know our hearts and that you care. Just as Jesus wept for Martha and Mary in their grief, you weep for us when we are hurting. Help us to never forget your love, and to never forget to lift our eyes to you when we feel discouraged. You have promised to never let us down. Thank you for always being there for us.

P.S. As I was uploading this message God blessed my heart with the song “You Are My Hiding Place” on the radio and my tears again flowed, as he had been my hiding place on that day I just wrote about. God will bless you if you will give him the opportunity. (Psalm 32:7 is the scripture that inspired this song)

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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     37 David left Asaph and his associates before the ark of the covenant of the LORD to minister there regularly, according to each day’s requirements. 38 He also left Obed-Edom and his sixty-eight associates to minister with them. Obed-Edom son of Jeduthun, and also Hosah, were gatekeepers. 

    39 David left Zadok the priest and his fellow priests before the tabernacle of the LORD at the high place in Gibeon 40 to present burnt offerings to the LORD on the altar of burnt offering regularly, morning and evening, in accordance with everything written in the Law of the LORD, which he had given Israel. 41 With them were Heman and Jeduthun and the rest of those chosen and designated by name to give thanks to the LORD, “for his love endures forever.” 42 Heman and Jeduthun were responsible for the sounding of the trumpets and cymbals and for the playing of the other instruments for sacred song. The sons of Jeduthun were stationed at the gate.

     43 Then all the people left, each for his own home, and David returned home to bless his family.

1 Chronicles 16:37-43  (NIV)

The ark of the covenant is finally back in Jerusalem. The great ceremony has taken place and it was magnificent. God’s name was exalted and his praises filled the air.

Before it was time to go home, David took care of some important details. To make sure that God’s name would continue to be lifted up, he Asaph and his associates to minister regularly at the ark of the covenant. Another group was assigned the responsibility of gatekeepers. A third group was in charge of the burnt offerings every morning and evening. A fourth group of musicians were responsible to continually offer thanks to the Lord. They were to sound the trumpets and cymbals and play other instruments to praise the Lord at the gate.

Only after all of these arrangements had been made, was it time for all the people, including David, to return to their homes.

David still was not finished, however, for when he went home, he blessed his family. Perhaps a reminder is in order. The last mention of David’s family was of his wife’s bitter scolding of him for his exuberant dancing in front of all the people. No doubt, he was expecting to face more criticism when he stepped in the door. But we are told in this passage that he “returned home to bless his family.”

But David had spent the day in worship and praise of his God. He had also put things in order with his public ministry. Surely God’s presence followed him home and helped him to sooth the ruffled feathers from earlier in the day.

Lord help us to seek you through heartfelt praise so that we may be prepared to deal with the struggles we have in our everyday lives.

Have you ever experienced a time when God’s presence, in a time of worship, empowered you to deal with hurtful situations in your life. You are invited and encouraged to share them with our readers in the comments section below.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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1 Chronicles 16:7-36 (Click on this link to read the passage. It is too long for me to copy into this post without breaking the Copyright law that governs its use.)

This passage is a psalm of David’s even though it is not in the book of Psalms. It is a song of thanksgiving and praise to God for all he has done for his people. The cause of this celebration of praise was the restoration of the arc of the Covenant to Jerusalem.

In this psalm David is thanking God for all of the wonder acts he performed on behalf of the Israelites. He is calling for the Israelites to rejoice and to glory in the name of God. He calls on them to remember the wonders and miracles God has performed as well as his righteous judgments against those who rebelled against him.

David remembers God’s faithfulness to his covenant even when the people were not faithful. He remembers God’s faithfulness to give the Promised Land to his people as an inheritance.

David recalls how God protected the Israelite nation as they wondered in the desert with no place to call home – yet. He then calls on the Israelites to sing God’s praises and to declare his glory to all nations.

David declares God’s sovereignty over all other gods. He challenges the Israelites to give God the glory and honor he is due. He calls on the earth to tremble before the Almighty God.

My feeble re-telling of this great psalm leaves much to be desired. One needs to read this Psalm over and over. Try to imagine King David’s uncontainable excitement as he sings his heart out to the Israelites through these words.

As I have written these words today I have wondered how we could bring this psalm closer home. Those of us who live in the United States have a history that, at least at the beginning of our nation, had very close ties with God. His name is embedded in our national documents, and his people were at work making our nation great. It is grievous to see how far away from God we have moved in the past 100 years.

I would like to see this psalm re-written to fit our nation’s history and to challenge our own citizens to “Cry out, ‘Save us, O God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, that we may glory in your praise.’ Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.” (1 Chronicles 16:35-36 NIV) 

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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1 Chronicles 15:16-24 Click on link to read passage. You may select your own version of the Bible after the link opens.

At first glance this seems an insignificant passage in the scriptures with its long list of names. Granted, we don’t know much about the majority of these individuals apart from their brief descriptions here. But God doesn’t waste space in his Bible.  So let us glean what we can in an overview.

David went to the Levites, God’s appointed priesthood to the Israelites, to work out the details of the music to be sung and played when the ark was to be brought back to Jerusalem. The leaders of the Levites were to select from among their brothers the singers and the musicians to play musical instruments. The players of the bronze cymbals were named in verse 19.  Verse 20 and 21 name the persons who are to play the harps and lyres in each of what appears to be two different styles of music. Because Kenaniah was such a skillful singer, he was placed in charge of the singing. Doorkeepers and trumpet players were also named.

Nothing was left to chance because David knew the important role music had and still has in worshiping God. Restoring the arc of God to Jerusalem was not to be taken lightly.  We must offer our best to God when we worship him and sing his praises.

Most holy God, please accept our offerings of praise as we attempt to make our joyful noise as we worship you. May we offer you only our best.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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