“Better Than Life” – One Year Bible Reading (Psalms/Proverbs) – March 20

Psalm 63:1-11   A Song Of Thanksgiving or Trust or Lament by David

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Psalm 63:1-11  Better Than Life

Psalm 63 could be categorized as a thanksgiving psalm.  Unless, of course, you see it as a song of confidence and trust.  Or maybe you see it as just a generic lament.   You can decide.

David is being earnest again (see day before yesterday’s blog on Ps. 61, Scraping Enemies).  The word “earnest” in verse 1 can also be translated “early.”  Some have taken this to imply believers should pray in the morning.  If you are going to get up early in the morning for some serious prayer time, then you’d have to be earnest!  It is good to have a time alone with God in the morning, praying and reading the Bible.  If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it is, shouldn’t your best spiritual meal be in the morning as well?

David was most likely fleeing Absalom when he wrote this (v. 1, cf. 2 Sam. 15:23).  He was separated from the ark which would have been considered “the sanctuary” (v. 2) and probably hiding in the desert (cf. 2 Sam. 15:25).  The desert became a metaphor for his parched spiritual condition.  He was thirsty for God.  When we are thirsty, we should drink the water of the Word (cf. Eph. 5:26).

We sing a song in our church based on verse 3.  When I used to sing it, I didn’t understand how God’s lovingkindness (hesed!) could be better than life.  If you had His lovingkindness and were dead, what good was that?  Then I figured out that I’d be alive with Him if I died so His lovingkindness was better than being alive down here!  The thought caused David and should cause us to “lift up our hands” to praise Him (v. 4)!  In fact, praising God is better than a steak dinner at Elmo’s in downtown Indianapolis (v. 5).  I’ve never had a steak dinner at Elmo’s but I’ve heard it’s pretty good.

Sometimes when I can’t sleep at night, I pray.  I don’t like to have insomnia but when I do, I pray.  So did David (v. 6).  Or maybe he just stayed up late and prayed.

Here is the wings thing again (v. 7).  We saw it in Pss. 17:8; 36:7; 55:6; 57:1; and 61:4.  I don’t know what it is but I feel comforted just thinking of being under God’s wings, don’t you?

Some people thought I was crazy years ago but I thought that John 20:17 was an important verse.  They thought I was nuts.  It says,  “Jesus said to her, ‘Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, “‘”I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.”’”  I think that is the place to be, at His feet, “clinging.”  Why wait till you’re at the end of your rope to cling to Him?  Why not always cling to Him?  He may have left the earth but He left the Holy Spirit for us.  No other generations have ever had the indwelling of the Spirit like we do (cf. John 16:7, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you”).  We need to “cling” to Jesus (v. 8).

Why wouldn’t God just crush David’s enemies?  He uses our enemies, trials, and hardships to bring us closer to Him (v. 9).  Look how David grew as he suffered.  Despite what you might hear on TV, suffering is part of the Christian life (cf. Rom. 5:3-5; 1 Pet. 2:21).

David trusts that the Lord will avenge him (vv. 9b-10) while he will end up celebrating (v. 11).  It is OK to celebrate when your enemies (v. 11c) are subdued (cf. Prov. 24:17).

 So if Butler goes further into the NCAA basketball tournament than Indiana, Notre Dame or Purdue, I can be happy but I can’t really rub it in to anyone.

Proverbs 11:20-21  Bask-et Makers

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Everyone thinks that God is just all love, love, love.  We call that “sloppy agape.”  Personally, I’m glad that evil people are going to get what’s coming to them (v. 21a).  Aren’t you?   If not, why do you watch Liam Neeson movies or enjoy it when the abused main character finally offs his nemesis in a violent way?  Don’t you think someone like Hitler or Attila the Hun deserve to be punished?  God will set the world straight one day.  It won’t happen after this next election.  It will happen when the Lord comes back.

Evil people are an abomination to the Lord (v. 20a).  He doesn’t like them.  He delights in those who are doing His will and following the Holy Spirit (vv. 20b, 21b, cf. Rom. 8:14; Gal. 5:18).

Are you trying to do God’s will with all your heart (cf. Jer. 29:13)?  God likes you for that.  In fact, He delights in you.  Do you feel like He delights in you?  You don’t have to.  But He does.  Bask in that.

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