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Lowell Brueckner

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August 17 - 23 Daily Meditations in the Psalms


August 17

Psalms 78:36-41, 65-72

36.  Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues.
37.  For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant.
38.  But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.
39.  For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.
40.  How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert!
41.  Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.
65.  Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine.
66.  And he smote his enemies in the hinder parts: he put them to a perpetual reproach.
67.  Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim:
68.  But chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved.
69.  And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established for ever.
70.  He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds:
71.  From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.
72.  So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.

     Oh, wretched men that we are, who shall deliver us from this body of death? God does not use the example of faithful Joseph or the blessing upon his mightier son Ephraim. The overruling, human-perplexing plan of God was to find the tribe of Judah and turn it towards the heretofore unconquered hill called Zion. There, He built His sanctuary, as He created the earth – by the might of His own power, without the consultations of puny man. Out of the stinking sheepfolds, He drew David, as he followed fat, pregnant sheep, and made him a skillful leader.
     Now, the apostles conclude, from this man’s loins God raised up a Savior to redeem His people from their backslidings. “I thank my God through Jesus Christ our Lord,” Paul exclaims. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.”

August 18

Psalms 79:1-4

1.  O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance; thy holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps.
2.  The dead bodies of thy servants have they given to be meat unto the fowls of the heaven, the flesh of thy saints unto the beasts of the earth.
3.  Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem; and there was none to bury them.
4.  We are become a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and derision to them that are round about us.

     Christianity, when it is as it should be, has a barrier around it to keep out the heathen. There is a sacred air to it, something that signifies, “Only the holy pass here.” There is something of fear in it, a “take off your shoes, you’re on holy ground” reverence. In the early church, “no man durst join himself to them”, yet “believers were the more added to the Lord.” There was a distinct distance between the holy and the profane.
     If the heathen begin to feel comfortable among us, they will eventually control us. They will defile the church, leaving it in ruins. Someone has said that easy-believism has filled the evangelical church with the unconverted and they are now in the majority. Many pastors and elders, if they are converted at all, are manipulated by members and boards, who will not allow the Holy Spirit to do His work.
     Those, who want to live like saints with a desire for holiness, are picked apart and cast aside. There is no place for their strictness and seriousness in the program. They are outcasts, while heathen become the governing force. For this reason, the church has become a reproach, scorn and derision.

August 19

Psalms 79:5-10

5.  How long, LORD? wilt thou be angry for ever? shall thy jealousy burn like fire?
6.  Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name.
7.  For they have devoured Jacob, and laid waste his dwelling place.
8.  O remember not against us former iniquities: let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us: for we are brought very low.
9.  Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name's sake.
10.  Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is their God? let him be known among the heathen in our sight by the revenging of the blood of thy servants which is shed.

     The same God, who loved Solomon as a child, was angry with him as an adult, because he did not return that love. He was grieved, as Solomon defiantly turned to other gods. He, who had all the advantages, teaching and wisdom, in his prosperity turned away from God. Will God be angry forever? I believe God is angry today and very hurt.
     Let us be intercessors, who can offer the prayer of verses eight through ten from the heart. Our case lacks a justifiable defense, so let us ask for mercy. We plead guilty, as charged, so lowliness and humility will be our defense. “A broken and contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” The Laodiceans were about to become vomit, because what they said they were, was a 180 degree contradiction against what Christ knew them to be. They did not hear Him outside the door of their church, so His call went to “any man”. The heathen could no longer find the true God among His people. Intercessors will watch for God’s honor and will pray in Jesus name and for His sake. Man’s needs are secondary and are met when God’s name is cleared.

August 20

Psalms 79:2-3, 11-13

2.  The dead bodies of thy servants have they given to be meat unto the fowls of the heaven, the flesh of thy saints unto the beasts of the earth.
3.  Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem; and there was none to bury them.
11.  Let the sighing of the prisoner come before thee; according to the greatness of thy power preserve thou those that are appointed to die;
12.  And render unto our neighbours sevenfold into their bosom their reproach, wherewith they have reproached thee, O Lord.
13.  So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations.
     We need to appreciate the blood of the martyrs. Ecumenicalism is a curse and a disgrace upon God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is an insult to the blood of the faithful, who laid down their lives at the hand of religious hypocrites and their system. Religion is a high percentage of that, which the Bible terms “the world”. We should make no apologies for the Reformation. God honors his prisoners. He detests the leniency towards the doctrines and institutions that killed John Huss, Savonarola, Mennonites, Hugganots and hundreds of thousands more in Europe alone. The heavens will rejoice over their destruction, joined by the followers of the Lamb (Rev 18:20, 24; 19:1). We should take another look at the Reformation. The reformers preserved praise to the Lord for our generation. Who today will join them and preserve Christianity for our children, “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you”?

August 21

Psalms 80:1-7

1.  Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.
2.  Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us.
3.  Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
4.  O LORD God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people?
5.  Thou feedest them with the bread of tears; and givest them tears to drink in great measure.
6.  Thou makest us a strife unto our neighbours: and our enemies laugh among themselves.
7.  Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
8.  Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it.

     The metaphors given concerning God and His people are pictures of dependency – that of a Shepherd and His flock or a Husbandman and His vine. We cannot get along without Him. Christ applied these two to His church in the New Testament. A revelation of our helplessness and dependency are the incentives to prayer. No amount of human effort or programs can help us. “Stir up Thy strength, and come and save us.”
     Our eyes can easily catch the theme of this Psalm. It is a three-point sermon and is repeated three times: a) turn us again, b) cause Thy face to shine, c) and we shall be saved. These are very simple and basic keys to revival. Repentance means turning to God and then there is a manifestation of His presence with resultant salvation.
     We are given another look at the fallen state of the people. We see God’s anger towards them (even their prayers), reproach by outsiders and the fact that they are not getting along with themselves. Personal victory, effective witness, and relationship with God has been lost.

August 22

Psalms 80:8-19

8.  Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it.
9.  Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land.
10.  The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars.
11.  She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river.
12.  Why hast thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her?
13.  The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it.
14.  Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine;
15.  And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself.
16.  It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance.
17.  Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself.
18.  So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name.
19.  Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.

     History is a good place to begin in an honest quest for a return to God. Begin with the Bible and see the Author’s initial work of creation. Watch the story develop, as the Great Husbandman brings forth a vine, breaks the power of the enemy, tears out the weeds and breaks the soil. He feeds it with exceeding great and precious promises and causes it to take deep root and spread. Then, turn to church history and finally weigh its current state against its history and you cannot fail to discern the broken down hedges, the utilization of foreign hands, and the entrance of demonic powers.
     However, the Author is the Finisher and His purpose will not know defeat. This is our prayer: Look down…behold…visit. We remind ourselves that His people are His possession that He planted with His right hand. Can the right hand of God fail? The branch was made strong, empowered by the Holy Spirit. Can it be abandoned? To lead the cause of revival is the One who originated the work, the Man of Thy right hand, the Son of Man. May He take charge, who has all power in heaven and in earth and has every enemy put under His feet. He will heal backslidings and revive communication between God and His people. He heard and answered the Psalmist and He will do the same for us, if we turn away from other sources.

August 23

Psalms 81:1-7

1.  Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.
2.  Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery.
3.  Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.
4.  For this was a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob.
5.  This he ordained in Joseph for a testimony, when he went out through the land of Egypt: where I heard a language that I understood not.
6.  I removed his shoulder from the burden: his hands were delivered from the pots.
7.  Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee; I answered thee in the secret place of thunder: I proved thee at the waters of Meribah. Selah.

     Asaph takes us back again to Jacob, Joseph and the deliverance from Egypt. That initial triumph, which points to our soul’s salvation, was a source of boisterous song, accompanied by musical instruments, and gladness in the midst of difficulties. Sing unto the Lord, who delivered us from slavery to the devil and his world. Were we not bound and hard put to meet quotas that opposed our own welfare and furthered Satan’s causes? The God, who we knew not, spoke His word and performed such a thunderous work, one would think that nobody could miss it, yet it was done in the depths of our hearts. At the Waters of Meribah, all human instrumentality failed and the great leader Moses failed, but God remained faithful. It is, after all, His work and not the work of men.


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