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Lowell Brueckner

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August 10 - 16 Daily Meditations in the Psalms



August 10

Psalms 76:1-3

1.  In Judah is God known: his name is great in Israel.
2.  In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion.
3.  There brake he the arrows of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the battle. Selah.

     This is a Psalm of peace, due to the destruction of the instruments of war. Blessed are the peacemakers and God brings peace through His people.
     Israel had seen His acts and the whole country had been under His influence. Judah, however, was more intimate, closer to His heart and the seat of blessing. They knew Him.
     The Psalmist narrows things down, beginning with Israel, then referring to Judah, next to Jerusalem and finally to Mt. Zion. Curiously, he refers to the holy city by its original name, going back to Genesis and the days of Melchizidek. Salem was established on two principles- righteousness and peace. We must frequently go back to the beginnings to find the original intents and purposes of God. We see “in the beginning it was not so.” In the beginning, righteousness reigned and thereby peace. Coming closer still, we find ourselves on Mt. Zion, at the place where God is at home, the place from which He operates and executes His judgments.

August 11

Psalms 76:2-12

2.  In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion.
3.  There brake he the arrows of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the battle. Selah.
4.  Thou art more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey.
5.  The stouthearted are spoiled, they have slept their sleep: and none of the men of might have found their hands.
6.  At thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, both the chariot and horse are cast into a dead sleep.
7.  Thou, even thou, art to be feared: and who may stand in thy sight when once thou art angry?
8.  Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth feared, and was still,
9.  When God arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth. Selah.
10.  Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.
11.  Vow, and pay unto the LORD your God: let all that be round about him bring presents unto him that ought to be feared.
12.  He shall cut off the spirit of princes: he is terrible to the kings of the earth.

     It is from Mt. Sion that the instruments of war are spoiled. From there, God shows that His ways are the best.  The backbone of war is the proud effort of man to prey upon one another, dominate and destroy. Meekness and humility beam upon lowly Mt. Zion. There, courageous men are embarrassed, strong hands are paralyzed and their most powerful weapons lie silent on the battlefield.
     Where is Mt. Zion, which causes earth to hear from heaven? Where are the Wesley’s, Whitefield’s and Finney’s who left the slain lying on the battlefield, trembling in fear and stillness before God? He raised the meek and repentant and gave them salvation. There were days in the Old Testament when wrath against sin glorified God and His fierce ire was restrained by priests, who cut down the wicked. Then God was appeased, honored, feared and worshipped. The spirits of darkness, both men and demons, were broken and people surrendered to the Lord. His foes became His footstool. God is satisfied, when conquered men honor Him with their lives and possessions. He gives them the peace of Salem.

August 12

Psalms 77:1-10

1.  I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me.
2.  In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted.
3.  I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah.
4.  Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
5.  I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times.
6.  I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.
7.  Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more?
8.  Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore?
9.  Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah.
10.  And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High.

     How dreadful are the days of our weakness! Do you know troublesome days and comfortless nights that take you to the brink of despair? Here are Paul’s words: Troubled, perplexed, persecuted, cast down, and pressed beyond measure. Is it the end of His favor, faithfulness and mercy to us? Have we angered Him and fallen from grace? In those times, we might wonder if we are experiencing eternal reprobation and, with anguish and desperation, our spirit digs deeply for answers.
     At the peak of his anxiety, the Psalmist comes to a crisis in verse 10 and truth breaks through. He realizes that God is showing him his weakness. I believe it was Oswald Chambers who stated that our weakness consists in the fact that we can do nothing at all. How necessary it is for every Christian to know it!

August 13

Psalms 77:7-13

7.  Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more?
8.  Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore?
9.  Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah.
10.  And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High.
11.  I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.
12.  I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.
13.  Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?

     We need low points in our life to show us clearly how helpless we are at all times and that our sufficiency is of God. Paul knew “that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead.”  We are good for nothing but doubt, despair and complaint. Even faith to please God must come as a gift from His hand.
     The Psalmist remembered, meditated upon and talked of God’s works. We should remember them and turn our thoughts away from our weakness. Deliverance will seldom come instantaneously. It comes through a trip into the sanctuary. We need deep preparation and cleansing by entering into the Holy of Holies. No amount of appointments with a counselor can provide it. “My feet were well nigh slipped...until I went into the sanctuary, then understood I...” (Psalm 73:2, 17). Only in the sanctuary do the ways of the Lord become clear. Rush to the sanctuary for refuge, but know that you are doing business with a holy God and “without holiness, no man shall see the Lord.”

August 14

Psalms 77:14-20

14.  Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people.
15.  Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.
16.  The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled.
17.  The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound: thine arrows also went abroad.
18.  The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook.
19.  Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known.
20.  Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

     The Psalmists and the evangelists often take us on a history trip. In this case, we consider the mighty deliverance for the sons of Jacob and Joseph from 400 years of Egyptian bondage. The waters, which generally refer to the world’s people, here depicts the Egyptians. They saw the ten great plagues, terminating with the death of the firstborn in all the houses of Egypt. This is what Asaph remembers, as the children of Israel begin the 400 years between Malachi and John the Baptist.
     The Lord led His people, where there was no way. He is the God of the impossible, but not of patterns. He left no footsteps, because He works differently every time. He is not the God of  ‘how-to’ seminars, but of people who trust in His person with all their heart and lean not on their own understanding. He directs their paths. To this day, it is impossible to point to the exact spot, where the Israelites passed through the Red Sea. Each individual in every generation, must find his own passage. He must hear the voice of God for himself. Patterns are one of the greatest deterrents to revival. We tend to look for answers, rather than to God Himself. Asaph found the answer: “He gave ear unto me.”

August 15

Psalms 78:1-7

1.  Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
2.  I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:
3.  Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.
4.  We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.
5.  For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children:
6.  That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:
7.  That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:

     Because of the length of this chapter, which contains a summary of Israelite history, we will only examine a few key portions. These Psalms are no longer David’s, but were written during the latter period of Israel’s kingdom and some during the captivity in Babylon. Stephen and Paul used the material in this chapter for sermons in the book of Acts. Abundance of prophets were called to warn the people of their sin and the resulting captivity. After 400 years, God takes His people right back, through the apostles, to where He last spoke to them. They must repent of the old nature, inclined to sin, unbelief, and violence, and submit to God’s government of the heart.
     However, this Psalm is more than a history lesson. It contains spiritual truth concerning the eternal purposes of God, who established a testimony in Jacob. In the unfolding of counsels ordained before man’s existence, He weaves a testimony, a witness of Himself, into the story of Jacob and his children. The law follows, revealing His character in order that it might be lived before the world. The purpose was that the generations to follow might set their hope in God.

August 16

Psalms 78:9-19, 21-22, 54-56, 60-64

9.  The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.
10.  They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law;
11.  And forgat his works, and his wonders that he had shewed them.
12.  Marvellous things did he in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
13.  He divided the sea, and caused them to pass through; and he made the waters to stand as an heap.
14.  In the daytime also he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire.
15.  He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths.
16.  He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.
17.  And they sinned yet more against him by provoking the most High in the wilderness.
18.  And they tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust.
19.  Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?
21.  Therefore the LORD heard this, and was wroth: so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel;
22.  Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation:
54.  And he brought them to the border of his sanctuary, even to this mountain, which his right hand had purchased.
55.  He cast out the heathen also before them, and divided them an inheritance by line, and made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents.
56.  Yet they tempted and provoked the most high God, and kept not his testimonies:
60.  So that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men;
61.  And delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy's hand.
62.  He gave his people over also unto the sword; and was wroth with his inheritance.
63.  The fire consumed their young men; and their maidens were not given to marriage.
64. Their priests fell by the sword; and their widows made no lamentation.

     Unbelief is the result of resistance. Israel would not turn their heart, submit and find their hope in God. They armed themselves and were turned back in battle. Because they would not walk, they forgot. They should have found it easier to believe than doubt in the face of all the evidence that God gave them. The parting of the sea, the pillar of cloud and fire, and the streams in the desert were not enough for them. Could He provide a table furnished with meat in the wilderness? Well, He did, but that was not enough either. “They believed not in God and trusted not in His salvation.” In their need, they returned to Him, but in their prosperity, they turned away again. May God have mercy on the whole lot of us! Isn’t this the story of our lives? “Many a time turned He his anger away”, being full of compassion.
     Things did not change in the Promised Land. The children followed in the footprints of their fathers, who died in the wilderness. Then came the time of the judges, ending with the glory having departed from Israel. He turned them over to the Philistines, when Hophni and Phinehas, sons of Eli, fell by the sword.


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