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Lowell Brueckner

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May 14 – 20 Daily Meditations in the Psalms


May 14

Psalms 36:9, 12

9.  For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.
12.  There are the workers of iniquity fallen: they are cast down, and shall not be able to rise.

     To sin against the light is to sin against life. We toy with death when we resist its rays and ignore its warnings. How many thought they could harbor one hidden sin and entertain it in the privacy of their own heart, who are ashamed today and are as exposed as a naked man on a hill? How irritated they were at the voice of the preacher of righteousness! They branded him a critic, a legalist, or a negativist. Now where are the wraps of false grace and licentious love they held so close to their frames?
     Our comfort and peace can be due to a resistance to the light. May our personal history have a happier ending. May we, like the Samaritan woman, rejoice in having found the Christ of truth and righteousness, who tells us all things that ever we did, for this One alone gives the living water that springs up into everlasting life.
“God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth...if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and CLEANSE US from ALL unrighteousness.”

May 15

Psalms 37:1-6

1.  Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
2.  For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
3.  Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
4.  Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
5.  Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
6.  And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.

     Get your eyes off men and focus on Christ. All human glory and pomp is short-lived. Do not allow yourself to become overly upset with the prosperity of evil. The Lord will one day overthrow it.
     Here are promises for pilgrims. First and foremost, they are to put their trust in God. They are to look to Him and wait. Then, they are to do what is good and right. The Lord can never support the transgressor, but He will stand behind the one who works righteousness. He will give residency in the land where he sojourns, with no need to fear that he will be forced to leave. The Lord will feed him there, though he has no natural source or ability to fend for himself.
     May we go far beyond a simple acknowledgement of God. Let us find our delight in Him. Our desires will be one with heaven’s desires and we will enjoy fulfillment. God will bring them to fruition. If we will commit our way to God, He will guide. When we do not know which way to turn or what is right, we can abandon our own way and look to Him to guide in His way and He will lead us in the paths of righteousness. It will be as clear and distinguishable as the noonday sun.

May 16

Psalms 37:7-15

7.  Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
8.  Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
9.  For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.
10.  For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.
11.  But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
12.  The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.
13.  The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.
14.  The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.
15.  Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.

     Rest and wait patiently. Do not become discouraged because of apparent temporal setbacks. It’s the long-term victory, for which you are looking. Rest and do not fret. Do not give in to the temptation to take matters into your own hands. The inheritance is yours, if God said so. Do not let the squatters and settlers provoke you to anger. The time will come, when you can search diligently for some residue or ruins of the wicked’s habitation and not find it. The inheritance belongs to the meek, who trust the Lord.
     The theme of this Psalm, then, is to be content in our little place on the earth and not be fretting over the dominance of the wicked. The day is coming when the wicked will be overthrown by the Lord’s hand and the meek shall inherit the earth. Let God do His business and, I repeat, do not take matters into your own hand.

May 17

Psalms 37:16-40

16.  A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.
17.  For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous.
18.  The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.
19.  They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
20.  But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.
21.  The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.
22.  For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.
23.  The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way,
24.  Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.
25.  I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
26.  He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.
27.  Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.
28.  For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.
29.  The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.
30.  The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.
31.  The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.
32.  The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.
33.  The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.
34.  Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.
35.  I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.
36.  Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.
37.  Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.
38.  But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the
wicked shall be cut off.
39.  But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble.
40.  And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

     The Psalmist says that we have a little (verse 16). Thank God for the comforts that He gives in this time. He gives us all things richly to enjoy. Here are some better things that we now have: The Psalm shows that we have the Lord’s upholding arm (verse 17), as Peter did, in the midst of an angry sea. We have the intimate care and communion of the Lord (verse 18) and the unfolding of His sovereign blueprint on our lives. We have help through earth’s greatest trials (19) and guidance every step along the way, all having been prearranged in the mind of the Lord. The Lord is delighted with the unfolding of the good man’s way (23). He may fall, but he cannot go down for the count of ten, because in some way, the Lord always intervenes (24). Jesus will be with him all the days and there is no need to be reduced to beggarly means (25). Though surrounded by evil and selfishness, he is selfless and recompenses good for evil, knowing that the Lord loves judgment and will repay (26-28). He is wise in the midst of fools and he speaks truth in the midst of lies. The inner leading of God guides Him (31) and the Lord watches over and protects him (33).
     Do not go your own way. Keep His way and you will see how He works things out, as the Lord triumphs over all His enemies and yours. What is the basic reason for the Lord’s close attention and blessing? It is because you trust in Him.

May 18

Psalms 38

1.  O LORD, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.
2.  For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore.
3.  There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin.
4.  For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.
5.  My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness.
6.  I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.
7.  For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh.
8.  I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart.
9.  Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee.
10.  My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.
11.  My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off.
12.  They also that seek after my life lay snares for me: and they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long.
13.  But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth.
14.  Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs.
15.  For in thee, O LORD, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.
16.  For I said, Hear me, lest otherwise they should rejoice over me: when my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me.
17.  For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me.
18.  For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.
19.  But mine enemies are lively, and they are strong: and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied.
20.  They also that render evil for good are mine adversaries; because I follow the thing that good is.
21.  Forsake me not, O LORD: O my God, be not far from me.
22.  Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation.

     What has happened to the times when people were sore afflicted because of their sins? Where are those who are afraid of the wrath of the Lord? Who is smitten of God and feels His heavy hand pressing upon him? Who finds no relief or anywhere to turn? Who is overwhelmed by the sense of guilt? Who sees the stinking results of foolish, ungodly living? Who groans and roars in broken contrition? Whose fearful condition has caused all his friends to abandon him? His strength is gone and the light has left the eye.
     Upon this one, the enemy moves in for the kill. He would take things beyond the purpose of God and bring the man into despair and utter ruin, “swallowed up with over much sorrow”, in the words of Paul. However, when the enemy is just about to gain his end, this is what happens: “And the spirit cried and rent him sore...and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up.”
     Friends may abandon him and enemies may seem very near. He comes to a place, where there is none to turn to, but God. Man’s help is totally out of the picture. The desperate soul must find His God and Savior. Jesus alone can lift him. The man has nothing to lose, so he uncovers all his iniquity, exposing the shame and hidden things. He is repentant and sorry for his sin. He has come with all his desire before the Lord, who is his Help and Salvation. “Thou wilt hear, O Lord, my God.” Of that, he can be assured.

May 19

Psalms 39

1.  I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.
2.  I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred.
3.  My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue,
4.  LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.
5.  Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.
6.  Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.
7.  And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.
8.  Deliver me from all my transgressions: make me not the reproach of the foolish.
9.  I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it.
10.  Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thine hand.
11.  When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity. Selah.
12.  Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.
13.  O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.

     This Psalm teaches at least two things: a) The impossibility of self-control and b) the vanity of self-effort.
     May God teach me how frail I am. I cannot govern myself. When I determine to keep my mouth shut, I found I could not overrule the divine principle, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” When the heart burned, the tongue spoke. I cannot even determine when I must be silent and when I must speak. What can I accomplish with my words? Man at his best is vanity.
     Let this conviction turn me to God, because unless He moves, all is in vain. The best I can do is count upon Him. Is my hope in Him alone? Vain words are corrected at His rebuke. When the Lord controls my tongue, I can be silent.
     The only thing I can do is call upon God for His strength. If God is my Lord, He will teach me His lessons concerning the vanity of mere human effort. It makes me a stranger and pilgrim to this vain world and its pursuits. I join the band of misfits who find this world offers nothing. These are the kind of people who can pray and be heard. They alone stand with Jesus on His side of the fence. “He was despised and rejected of men.”

May 20

Psalms 40:1-4

1.  I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
2.  He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
3.  And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.
4.  Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

     David transmits a testimony that God is a prayer-answering God. What is its purpose? It is an encouragement to those that read to know that they must wait patiently and the Lord will turn His ear towards their prayers. James gives similar encouragement, mentioning Elijah, a man of like passions as we, but he prayed and God answered.
     David’s God is a converter. In answer to prayer, He lifts man from the most unstable circumstances and gives purpose and stability to his life. How better can the life of sin be described than a horrible pit and miry clay? Three steps follow this testimony progressively. First, men witness God’s work of conversion. How we need demonstrations of divine power in the midst of the world’s people to turn them to God-consciousness! Then, fear always results from a clear witness of God’s power. We find it so throughout the Bible. Godly fear and faith are not opposites. On the contrary, from fear comes trust. Following trust comes blessing to the one who turns away from the proud and deceitful and instead puts his trust in the Lord. Blessed is the man who follows David in depositing his life in God’s hands.


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