Russell and Duenes

Archive for the ‘Psalms’ Category

That I Might Not Sin Against You

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Then I shall not be put to shame…that I might not sin against you… that I may live and keep your word…that I may behold wondrous things out of your law…that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart…that you may be feared…then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me…that I might learn your statutes…that I may learn your commandments…that I may live…that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth…that I may be safe and have regard for your statutes continually…that I may know your testimonies

In Psalm 119, these are some of the reasons why the author wants God and His commandments in his life. The Psalmist wants these results. We should consider our own lives and ask whether these are results we want as well, as we come to God’s word. Notice the blend of “learning God’s statutes and commands” and “keeping God’s commands.” We should desire to learn them, but also to keep them. God’s word has a primacy for the Psalmist. May it have primacy for us too. In Augustine’s famous words: “Take up and read!”

-D

Written by Michael Duenes

June 9, 2017 at 3:51 am

Posted in Duenes, Psalms

For the Wonderful Works He Does Among Mankind

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Some were wanderers, hungry and thirsty with no place to live . . . some lived in darkness, in the shadow of death because they had rebelled against God’s word and spurned his advice; they were brought low with hard labor and all possible helpers abandoned them . . . some were fools because of their sinful ways, bringing affliction upon themselves; they loathed food and drew near to death . . . Some were sailors who did business on the seas, who lost their courage and reeled and staggered like drunken men.

But in each case, they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. This is the story of Psalm 107, and it is a very encouraging saga. For it demonstrates that, no matter how bad our circumstances, and no matter how much those bad circumstances are of our own sinful making, it is always possible to cry out to the LORD for deliverance. Such a cry, made in sincerity, will not be ignored by our LORD. He will respond to us in love.

This is a great incentive to repent and turn to the LORD, to lift up our hands to Him in trouble, to never fear that He will reject us when we call upon Him. So call upon Him, and look for His rescue. Call upon Jesus, and wait for His mercy. No matter what you’ve done, throw yourself upon God, for He is our only hope and joy. And then, let us thank the LORD for His steadfast love, for His wondrous works among mankind!

-D

Written by Michael Duenes

June 2, 2017 at 4:42 am

Posted in Duenes, Psalms

Tell of His Salvation

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Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! (Psalm 96:2-3)

I’ve already mentioned the difficulties I often have “singing to the LORD.” I actually enjoy doing so, but find that the songs are missing.

But here I was struck by the words: “Tell of his salvation from day to day.” I think of my experience. I tell my kids things about God each day, but I don’t know that this includes telling of his “salvation.” I think there’s an objective telling here, meaning, we are to tell others about the saving works God does and how he does them. So telling others about God’s deeds in the Scriptures might fall under this.

But it seems there is a subjective component too. I should be speaking of God’s saving work in my own life. This is the part I don’t do “from day to day.” I don’t speak to my wife, children, neighbors or friends of God’s saving work in my life each day. So this is an area for repentance. Yet I don’t want to see it as a burden, one more thing to “check off the list” spiritually. It would seem the Psalmist is so caught up in the greatness of God and his salvation that he just naturally tells people to speak of it.

And this is not simply a local task. We are to be declaring God’s glory and marvelous deeds among all the nations, all the peoples. It is a message that should burst forth the world over. Tell of God’s glory and his great saving power far and wide.

Again, all of this is written to the people of Israel, and assumes, or exhorts, them to be the kind of people who know and cherish the greatness of God and his work in them, and thus, to exuberantly sing and speak about it to the nations. O God, make us, your church, the same. Give us such hearts, such exuberance at knowing and experiencing you. Open wide our mouths and send us to tell of your glory among the nations.

-D

Written by Michael Duenes

May 25, 2017 at 4:12 am

Posted in Duenes, Psalms

Who Considers the Power of Your Anger?

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For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed. . . For all our days pass away under your wrath. . . Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you?” (Psalm 90:7, 9, 11).

“God is a righteous judge and a God who shows His wrath every day.” (Psalm 7:11)

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth in their wickedness.” (Rom. 1:18)

We generally don’t consider the power of God’s anger. Any cursory reading of the Bible shows that God is a God who gets angry, but we do not like to consider it. In many ways, we wish it was not true (and more and more professed Christians are happy to proclaim that it is not true). It is startling in the ears of licentious modern man to hear that God “shows His wrath every day,” that it is God’s anger that brings us to an end, not just disease, accidents or old age.

Psalm 90 seems to imply that by not considering the power of God’s anger and wrath, we do not fear God as we should. The proper fear of God and reverence toward His name, the proper care in obeying Him, must entail a proper consideration of His indignation and anger toward sin and sinners.

Having a consciousness of God’s righteous anger, we can then pray like Moses: “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” (Psalm 90:14)

-D

Written by Michael Duenes

May 23, 2017 at 4:04 am

Posted in Duenes, Psalms

When He Killed Them, Then They Sought Him

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“In spite of all this they still sinned and did not believe in His wonderful works. So He brought their days to an end in futility and their years in sudden terror. When He killed them, then they sought Him, and returned and searched diligently for God; and they remembered that God was their rock, and the Most High God their Redeemer.” (Psalm 78:32-35)

The Israelites rebelled against God, sought their own selfish ends and desired their own ways, to the point that God had to kill them to get their attention. They were so hard-hearted that nothing short of putting some of them to death would effect repentance. They forgot God until they were brought to the point where they simply could not forget Him.

Must we reach the same point? St. Paul told us that what God did to the Israelites “happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.” (1 Cor. 10:6).

God was mad because the Israelites “did not remember His power.” (78:42). We, too, have forgotten God’s power. We do not call upon Him. We come up with all sorts of man-made contrivances, or ridiculously convince ourselves that some politician, some corrupt man like Donald Trump, will deliver us and make up for our lack of godly character.

The Israelites provoked God with their idols. They “did not keep His testimonies.” (78:56). We, too, have not been careful to keep God’s Word. We have exchanged the pursuit of God and the commendation of Christ for continual acquisitiveness, covetousness and upward mobility. We have said that we love God in our hearts, but this has meant that we have a certain “feeling” about God, rather than that we have intended to obey what He says.

Yet for all this, God still “awoke as if from sleep” and “drove His adversaries backward.” He gave them King David, and ultimately, David’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. (78:65-72).

Let us turn to Jesus, not with words only, not with self-deceiving thoughts that our hearts are “all that matters,” such that we exempt ourselves from obedience, not with the mentality that “God never said I can’t have x, y and z,” but with sincere hearts that seek to honor and enjoy God in all that we do. Forgive us, O Lord! Turn our hearts to You.

-D

Written by Michael Duenes

May 19, 2017 at 4:43 am

Posted in Duenes, Psalms