Though it is right to remember those who fell in times of war, especially at the time of the ANZAC Centenary, it is even better to remember that Psalm 46 reminds us that the security of the nations depends not upon man and his machine, but upon the Lord of Hosts. Further to this, though Jesus’ words about ‘greater love has no man’, are often used to highlight the cost of freedom won by the sacrifice of many, they really refer to how we ought to understand His sacrifice on the cross for our sin. Then also, the Bible describes a war that we are all involved in and declares those who have faith in Jesus as the ones who are on the winning side.
In an age where ‘selfies’ are trending more and more popular, Psalm 67 rightly points us back to God (instead of man) as the source of all grace and blessing. The need of the hour is that we know more and more of this grace and blessing – not so that we become comfortable, but so that we may be a blessing to others, even the whole world. Given too that God is the Lord of all the nations, the Psalm points out that His praise ought to be sung by peoples from every land. In this day when less than half of the world has even heard about the Lord Jesus Christ, we must pray that God would fulfill the Psalm’s vision and send His word to the ends of the earth. (No audio this week, sorry).
As one of the Psalms of King David, Psalm 139 relates how David knew that God knew so much about him! This intimate knowledge of God is so vast that He even saw knew David in his mother’s womb. Because of this David knew that he could never leave God’s presence. In this message, Rory Weightman reminds us that in the midst of such wonderful truths, David also knew that that God is holy and must punish the wicked. The Psalm ends as we might not expect, yet gives the assurance that believers are safe with God and will never be abandoned by Him.
As one of the Psalms of King David, Psalm 51 relates how David confessed his sins to God and found that God is gracious. Rev Russ Grinter reminds us in this message that this grace transforms a sinner into a saint (a believer in Jesus Christ) through repentance and faith. This grace also enables those who are saints to continue to repent and believe – which is just what God wants from us in the New Year, a life of repentance and faith.
It’s good practise to begin the New Year with sober thoughts and Psalm 90 does just that. As one of the oldest portions of Scripture, the Psalm brings us face to face with the eternal nature of God, His judgments and His mercies and yet at the same time, the transient nature of man. Life is short, therefore Moses encourages us to ‘number our days’. The truly wise person lives in the light of the shortness of life here on earth and the length of eternity.
Psalms 132,133 and 134 are three psalms that are linked by a common theme of being part of the ‘songs of ascent’ that were sung by the people of Israel going up to Jerusalem. Psalm 132 highlights that the city of Jerusalem was the city where God’s King lived. Psalm 133 celebrates the unity of the people of God in that city, and Psalm 134’s focus is upon the worship of God’s Name that happened there by day and night. Heaven will be all this and more for God’s people upon a ‘pilgrim journey’ to that heavenly city.
At the end of a year, Hugh Price encouraged us from Psalm 81 to focus on God and listen to him. God’s people ought to celebrate him and his goodness to them. God gives those who do not listen what they want – but it is not good. We are invited to open ourselves to God, ready to receive.