John T. Willis

Thursday, August 13, 2015

God Watches the Motives, the Words, and the Actions of all Human Beings--Psalm 33

Psalm 33 is a beautiful psalm. The poet reminds every hearer that Yahweh is always watching from heaven above to observe the motives and desires, the words, and the actions of every human being (verses 10-11). In this context, he addresses "the righteous," "the upright," those who desire to serve Yahweh faithfully (verse 1). This psalm falls into four parts.

I. The composer exhorts his hearers to praise Yahweh. Psalm 33:1-3.
    He specifically enumerates FOUR ways God's people are to praise God.
    a. Worshippers must praise Yahweh WITH THE LYRE. God has created each human being with certain innate gifts. Many have the skill of using musical instruments. In such cases, Yahweh expects these people to praise Yahweh with their musical instruments. Here the psalmist particularly mentions the LYRE. 33:1a.
The verb "make melody" in the entire Bible means to use musical instruments. The Hebrew verb for "make melody" is zamar; the Greek equivalent is psallo. Many texts throughout the Bible naturally connect "sing" with the voice with "make melody" with musical instruments, as in Psalm 33:2b and Ephesians 5:19.
     c. Worshippers must SING TO YAHWEH A NEW SONG. The Hebrew verb for "sing" is shir; the Greek equivalent in the Newer Testament is ado, again as in Ephesians 5:19. Singing with the voice and making melody with musical instruments are two ways in which worshippers express the feelings and desires of the heart. If singing or using musical instruments is not genuine from the heart, it is not acceptable to Yahweh, as Amos 5:23 emphasizes. 33:3a.
     d. Worshippers must PLAY SKILLFULLY ON THE STRINGS, WITH LOUD SHOUTS. When God gives us a gift, it is essential to use that gift, whether it be singing or using musical instrumentsor praying or preaching or helping the poor or whatever that gift may be. Of course, Paul emphasizes this important point in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. 33:3b

II. The Psalmist emphasizes Yahweh's Power in Creation. Psalm 33:4-9.
     a. "The word of the Lord" in verses 4 and 6 is not the written word of God recorded in the Bible, but God's oracle proclamations orally in creation, in history, and in all life. Yahweh's dynamic, spoken word in creation show that it is upright, faithful, righteous, just and full of steadfast love. 33:4-5.
     b. In creation, Yahweh made the heavens and their host: the sun, moon, and stars, "by the word of the Lord," that is, "by the break of his mouth." Yahweh brought everything into existence not by some great deed which he performed but simply by speaking his will. 33:6.
     c. Planet earth is surrounded by powerful oceans over which no one has control. The psalmist emphasizes that Yahweh gathered the waters of the sea in a bottle and put the deeps in storehouses or silos. Yahweh alone is in control of the mighty waters on earth. 33:7.
     d. As a result of this undeniable truth, the psalmist summons "all the earth," that is, "all the inhabitants of the world," to fear the Lord, which means to stand in awe of him, to respect him completely, to honor him. The reason for this is that Yahweh spoke, and it came to be. For example, God said, "Let there be light," and there was light (Genesis 1:3). God commanded, and it stood firm. 33:8-9.

III. The Psalmist emphasizes Yahweh's Power in History. Psalm 33:10-19.
      a. Nations, presidents, emperors, powerful human beings have made great plans and schemes to carry out their purposes and desires. This NEVER WORKS, BECAUSE YAHWEH ALONE is in control of all history. The psalmist declares: "The Lord brings the COUNSEL OF THE NATIONS TO NOTHING, HE FRUSTRATES THE PLANS OFTHE PEOPLES." ONLY the counsel and plans of the Lord will prevail. History has proved again and again that this is the case. 33:10-11.
      b. Only the nations who trust in the Lord will prevail. 33:12.
      c. As KING OF THE UNIVERSE, Yahweh constantly looks down from his heavenly throne in heaven to see ALL HUMANKIND, ALL THE INHABITANTS OF THE EARTH to evaluate and judge their thoughts, their words, and their deeds. NO HUMAN BEING can avoid this reality, no matter how smart or how powerful a person may think he or she may be. 33:13-15.
      d. Through history, kings have amassed great armies, great warriors have fought strong battles, and very sophisticated weapons have been made, but none of them has prevailed. ONLY GOD has prevailed, and this will always be true. 33:16-17.
       e. "The eye of the Lord" wants to deliver all people, and those who fear him, hope in his steadfast love, will be the recipients of Yahweh's deliverance. 33:18-19.

IV. The Psalmist concludes by encouraging all people to trust in Yahweh alone. Psalm 33:20-22.
      a. The psalmist and his comrades declare that they "wait for" the Lord and "hope in" his steadfast love and "are glad" in Yahweh, and "trust in" his holy name, and in no one and in nothing else. These worshippers set an example for all others. 33:20-21.
      b. Finally, the psalmist addresses Yahweh himself. He implores Yahweh to let his steadfast love be on all true worshippers as they "hope in" him and in no one else. 33:22.

What a POWERFUL, BEAUTIFUL psalm. These thoughts should change our hearts and our lives.

Share YOUR prayers and dreams and ideas and setbacks and experiences with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Who Can Understand the Heart?--I

The Hebrew word for "heart" is lebh or lebhabh. It occurs 860 times in the Hebrew Bible. Obviously the human heart is predominant in godly Christian living. In the next several blogs, we will deal with some of the concepts in the Bible about the role of the heart in the Bible.

One should begin with the broad perspective of the heart in Proverbs 4:23:

I. God has "wired us" so that we cannot avoid our inner being.
    a. People often attempt to PRETEND they are one kind of person while IN THEIR HEART is very different. We have the capacity of "masking" or "camouflaging" who we really are. Accordingly, we have the ability of DECEIVING many people in life.
    b. Jeremiah approaches Yahweh with this question:
          Why does the way of the guilty prosper?
              Why do all who are treacherous thrive?
           You plant the, and they take root;
               they grow and bring forth fruit;
                YET FAR FROM THEIR HEARTS. (Jeremiah 12:1c-2).
    c. The composer of Psalm 55 describe one of his close friends who pretended he was true to him but in his heart planned to destroy him. Psalm 55:20-21 says:
        My companion laid hands on a friend
             and violated a covenant with me
         with SPEECH smoother than butter,
             but WITH A HEART SET ON WAR;
         with WORDS that were softer than oil,
              but IN FACT were drawn swords.
     d. Paul tells Titus about the reality of dishonest Christians in Titus 1:15-16:
          To the pure all things are pure,
          but to the corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure.
          Their very MINDS and CONSCIENCES are corrupted.
          They PROFESS TO KNOW GOD,
          but they deny him BY THEIR ACTIONS.
          They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

II. These texts demonstrate that the HEART has to do with a person's intentions and desires.
     a. The reason that Yahweh destroyed humanity at the flood is that "every INCLINATION of the THOUGHTS of their HEARTS was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5; 8:21).
     b. When the Pharisees and the scribes  rebuked Jesus because his disciples were eating with defiled hands, Jesus responded in Mark 7:20-23:
         "It is what comes out of a person that defiles.
          that EVIL INTENTIONS come:
          fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit,
          licentiousness, envy, slander, pride folly.
          All these evil things COME FROM WITHIN, and they defile a person.

III. It is typical of human beings to emphasize GOOD external words and deeds.
      a. A big topic for everyone is politics, the election of the new president of the United States.
      b. Another big topic is sports: baseball, football, track, hockey, tennis, soccer, etc.
      c. Another big topic is the movies.
      d. Another big topic is new novels.
      e. Another big topic is all types of digital materials: iPhones, iPads, Verizon, Dell, etc.
      f. All these and many other external things are interesting and seize the imagination of many people, but God's people MUST get above and beyond all these external activities, and focus on the HEART.

Share YOUR experiences and surprises and dreams and beliefs and reversals with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Monday, August 10, 2015

Personal Experience of Sin and Forgiveness--Psalm 32

Psalm 32 is brief, but powerful. Several specific ideas suggest that this psalms is a Wisdom Psalm.
   1. "Happy" in verses 1-2 is characteristic of Wisdom :iterature--see for example, Proverbs 3:13; 8:34; 20:7.
   2. The admonition in verse 6 is common in Wisdom Literature.
   3. The composer of Psalm 32 says he will "instruct" and "teach" his audience is verses 8-9. This tone is clearly that of a wise person teaching a class.
   4. The contrast between the righteous and the wicked in verses 10-11 is common in Wisdom Literature.

The Psalmist's approach is compelling an persuasive. It falls into three natural parts.

I. The composer begins by giving the conclusion, the point, he wishes to emphasize. Psalm 32:1-2.
    a. The poet wants to persuade his audience that Yahweh's forgiveness of human sins makes the sinner happy.
    b. Here the psalmist uses the THREE terms for sin in the Bible: transgression (verses 1, 5); sin (verses 1, 3, 5 [2x]), iniquity (verses 2, 5). It would be a mistake to try to sharply distinguish between these three terms. They are simply synonyms; they mean essentially the same thing.
    c. The psalmist uses THREE terms for Yahweh's forgiveness: Yahweh "forgave" his transgression (verse 1) and the guilt of his sin (verse 5); Yahweh "covered" his sin so that no one would ever see it (verse 1); Yahweh "did not impute"  his iniquity on him (verse 2).
    d. The point in verses 1-2 is that Yahweh does not hold it against the sinner his sin as a large debt which he owed him.

II. The composer gives his own testimony about his experience with sin. Psalm 32:3-5.
     a. The psalmist confesses that when he first committed his sin, he tried to hide it, to pretend that it had never occurred, as if he had done nothing wrong. But the harder he tried, the more miserable he became. The human conscience will not allow a person to hide his sin ultimately. Yahweh's hand is heavy on the human heart when we sin. It is miserable every day to try to hide our sins. 32:3-4.
     b. After many struggling days, the psalmist finally came before Yahweh and confessed his sin. And when that happened, Yahweh graciously forgave him of his sin. 32:5.

III. Having shared his own experience, the psalmist urges his fellow-worshippers to follow his example. Psalm 32:6-11.
      a. Sin is so powerful that it feels like "mighty waters" overwhelm and drown the sinner. So the psalmist urges his comrades to offer prayer to Yahweh in confession of their sins. 32:6.
      b. The only protection from sin is Yahweh. He alone is the sinner's "hiding place." It is futile to try to hide oneself. Yahweh has the power of "surrounding" and protecting all who come to him in trust. 32:7.
      c. As a loving, faithful teacher, the psalmist declares he will instruct and teach his audience. The instruction is: "Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding, whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle." All human beings want to be independent, to do their own thing. This never works. The psalmist urges all of us to quit rebelling against God in pride, and turn to God in trust and seek his forgiveness. 32:8-9.
     d. The psalmist reminds his audience that the torments of the wicked are many. If one digs in and becomes hard-hearted, his heart and life are doomed. Only Yahweh's steadfast love "surrounds" everyone. Thus, the message is: trust in Yahweh alone, and you will rejoice in his deliverance. 32:10-11.

Share YOUR experiences and questions and confessions and shortcomings and reversals with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Ant, the Flea, and the Fly

It is interesting that the Bible uses different insects to declare God's message. Three of these insects are the ant, the flea, and the fly. Here are some of the biblical ideas.

I. The Ant is an Example of Industriousness.
    a. Proverbs 6:6-11 is a paragraph emphasizing the sin of laziness.
          Go to the ant, you lazybones;
              consider its ways, and be wise.
          Without having any chief or officer or ruler,
               it prepares its food in summer,
               and gathers its sustenance in harvest.
          How long will you lie there, O lazybones?
               When will you rise from your sleep?
           A little sleep, a little slumber,
                a little folding of the hands to rest,
           and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
               and want, like an armed warrior.
    b. Paul was deeply troubled about Christians who would not work. He says in 2 Thessalonians
        Now we command you, beloved, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
        to keep away from believers who are living in idleness and not according to the tradition that
                                     they received from us.
        For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, we were not idle when we were with you,
        and we did not eat anyone's bread without paying for it;
        but with toil and labor we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you.
        This was not because we did not have that right, but in order to give you an example to imitate.
        For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work
                                     should not eat.
        For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work.
        Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly
        and to each their own living. Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right.
    c. True Christians work hard under God's guidance and motivation.

II. The Ant is an Example to show that Small Things are VERY IMPORTANT.
     a. Proverbs 30:24-28 uses FOUR examples of creatures who are small but wise.
         Four things on earth are small,
              yet they are exceedingly wise:        
         the ants are a people without strength,
               yet they provide their food in the summer;
         the badgers are a people without power,
               yet they make their homes in the rocks;
         the locusts have no king,
               yet all of them march in rank;
         the lizard can be grasped in the hand,
               yet it is found in kings' palaces.
     b. There are numerous examples of SMALL PEOPLE in the eyes of other human beings, but in the eyes of God they are exceedingly important. Size and wealth and power mean nothing to God. God's concern is the heart.

III. The Flea is an Example of Humility.
      a. Only two texts in the Bible refer to a flea. Both of them have to do with the attitude of David. When Saul was trying to kill David, David repeatedly refused to kill Saul when he was able, and declares that Saul was the Lord's anointed, and that David felt like he was only a single flea.
       b. When David and his men hid in the cave at En-gedi, Saul came into the cave to relieve himself. After he left, David called out to him from a distance, and said in 1 Samuel 24:14:
            Against whom has the king of Israel come out?
            Whom do you pursue?
            A dead dog? A single flea?
      c. The same thought also appears in 1 Samuel 26:20. After David could have killed Saul when Saul was asleep with his soldiers, David went up on a hill and called out to Saul, saying:
           Now therefore, do not let my blood fall to the ground, away from the presence of the Lord;
           for the king of Israel has come out to seek a single flea,
           like one who hunts a partridge in the mountains.
      d. Ungodly people will often attempt to persecute and destroy people they do not like. When this happens, David is an outstanding example. He pictures himself as very insignificant, like a single flea.

IV. The Fly can be a Plague on Ungodly People.
      a . Several passages in the Bible relate the Fourth Plague that God sent on Pharaoh and the Egyptians when they refused to let the Israelites go out of captivity. Exodus 8:24 gives this description:
           Great swarms of flies came into the house of Pharaoh and into the officials' houses;
            in all of Egypt the land was ruined because of the flies.
      b. Here in West Texas, we are covered with flies, especially in the summer. So we can relate to this situation.
      c. Psalms 78:45; 105:31 allude to this event to emphasize Yahweh's power to punish wicked people.

Share YOUR experiences and thoughts and dreams and setbacks and successes with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Sunday, July 26, 2015

One can trust in God, because he is our Refuge--Psalm 31

One can quickly resonate with the feelings of the author of Psalm 31. He is burdened with many challenging problems. (1) He is very sick--verses 9-10. (2) He feels that God is punishing him because he has committed some terrible sins--verses 10, 22. (3) He has strong enemies who are plotting schemes against him and are trying to figure out how to put him to death--verses 4, 11, 13, 15, 17-18, 20, 21, 23. (4) His neighbors and close relatives avoid him because they are convinced his hardships are the result of God's punishment for his sins--verse 11. Psalm 31 falls into three parts.

I. The psalmist trusts in God to deliver him from his afflictions as God had done in the past--Psalm 31:1-8.
    a. 31:1-3 is almost verbatim with Psalm 71:1-3. It also contains thoughts similar to Psalm 18:1-2. The psalmist implores Yahweh to rescue him from his distresses. He seeks refuge in God. He asks God to deliver him. He beseeches Yahweh to incline his ear to him, rescue him quickly, be a rock of refuge and a strong fortress for him, lead him, and guide him. 31:1-3.
   b. The psalmist praises Yahweh for his righteousness, and because Yahweh is the psalmist's rock and fortress. 31:1, 3. Many biblical texts call Yahweh "ROCK"--cf. Deuteronomy 32:4, 15, 18, 30-31, 37; 1 Samuel 2:2; Psalm 18:2, 31, 46; and often.
   c. The speaker asks God to take him out of the net. He praises God for being his refuge, and because he had redeemed him in the past. Thus he proclaims: "Into your hand I commit my spirit." Jesus quoted this line on the crucifixion (Luke 23:46). 31:4-5.
   d. The psalmist gives God THREE REASONS why he should answer his pleas.
       1. The psalmist's enemies are worshippers of idols--v. 6.
       2. God had delivered him in the past--vv. 5, 7-8,
       3. The psalmist commits God's care into his hands and totally trusts in him--vv. 1-7. 31:6-8.

II. The psalmist portrays a detailed description of his troubles--Psalm 31:9-18.
     a. First, the psalmist explains that he has been very ill for a long time. His whole body wastes away with grief. His life is spent with sorrow and sighing. His strength fails and his bones waste away. His whole life--physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually--is tormented with sickness. 31:9-10.
     b. Second, his close relatives and neighbors avoid him and scoff at him because of his terrible condition. Almost completely separated from all his acquaintances, he feels like he is dead, he is like a broken vessel. 31:11-12.
     c. Third, wicked enemies are devising conniving plans to destroy the psalmist.
         1. The poet is surrounded by his enemies, they terrify him, they whisper evil things about him, but do not speak to him face to face; they get together and scheme against him, they plot to take his life. 31:13.
         2. The psalmist's enemies are liars, they speak insolently against the righteous, they are filled with pride, arrogance, and contempt. 31:18.
         3. In the face of these enemies and their wicked plans, the psalmist still trusts in God. He knows that Yahweh  holds his times in his hand. Thus, he beseeches Yahweh to deliver him from his enemies and persecutors. He rests his life on Yahweh's steadfast love to save him from his enemies. He implores Yahweh to put the wicked to shame and bring them down into Sheol, the grave. 31:14-17.

III.  The poet exhorts his fellow worshippers to trust in Yahweh. Psalm 31:19-24.
       a. Yahweh has answered the psalmist's prayers. Now the poet praise Yahweh for all he has done for him. First, he praises Yahweh for "laying up" or "storing" his goodness to bring forth in behalf of the faithful. The psalmist has taken refuge in Yahweh, and now Yahweh showers him with his goodness. 31:19.
       b. Second, the psalmist declares that Yahweh has "sheltered" him from his enemies who had devised evil plots and spoken against him with contentious tongues. 31:20.
       c. Third, the poet felt that he had been like a city under siege against enemies, and that his enemies had driven him far from God's sight. And yet, Yahweh manifested his steadfast love when he cried out to him for help. 31:21-22.
       d. Finally, the psalmist turns directly to "all his faithful saints" in his community, encouraging them to be strong and take courage in the power of Yahweh, especially when their enemies act haughtily and seek to demean and destroy them. 31:23-24.

Share YOUR experiences and surprises and reversals and intentions and fears with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Friday, July 24, 2015

Majoring in Minors--VIII

Throughout history, God's people have focused on specific issues and lost the big picture of God's work in the world and God's plan for human beings. Here are only a few reminders of this spiritual myopia.

1. Baptism.
    a. When I first became a Christian at the age of 14, the preacher emphasized the necessity of being baptized by immersion for the forgiveness of sins. He stressed the importance of Acts 2:38; 22:16; Romans 6:3-4. It is true that God wants all people to be baptized by immersion for the remission of sins. But there is much more to Christian living than being baptized.
    b. 1 Corinthians 1:14-17 troubles many Christian people. Here Paul said:
            "I thank God that I baptized non of you except Crispus and Gaius,
              so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name.
              (I did baptized also the household of Stephanas;
              beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.)
              For Christ did not sent me to baptize
              and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power."
    c. Obviously, many early Christians focused on their baptism rather than focusing on the cross of Christ. It is very easy for each one of us to turn in on ourselves rather than keep our hearts and minds on Christ--his incarnation, his life, his death, his burial, his resurrection, and his continuing work in the lives of human beings throughout eternity.

2. Conversion from sin.
     a. When a person was not raised in a Christian family and in time realized that he or she was a sinner, that person need to be converted from sin to God. Texts like 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10;
1 Timothy 1:12-17; and related passages show the importance of conversion from sin. At the same time, Christian living is much more than being converted.
     b. Most of life has to do with being formed in the image of Christ, which takes a lifetime to occur. Paul writes to Christians who were already converted from sin to God in Galatians 4:19: "My little children, for whom I am again in the pain of childbirth UNTIL CHRIST IS FORMED IN YOU." Roman 12:1-2 contains the same thought: "DO NOT BE CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD, BUT BE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MINDS."
     c. The history of the Church of Christ denomonation has been plagued by denying what they have called "social religion." As a result of this, numerous Church of Christ churches have denounced the importance of working to help needy people. They have refused to help needy people UNLESS they listen to their message and be baptized by immersion for the remission of sins. It is clear that Jesus would NEVER entertain such an idea. God through Jesus Christ is PRIMARILY concerned with the needs of people. The ONLY TASK of God's people on earth is to try to help and support and encourage people in distress, in hardship, in severe disease, in setbacks, in needs of all kind.

3. The Lord's Supper.
    a. Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper shortly before he was arrested and crucified. He told God's people to commemorate this until he returns in his Second Coming. So keeping the Lord's Supper, the Eucharist, is very important. See Matthew 26:26-29; Luke 22:14-23; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34. At the same time, observing the Lord's Supper is ONLY a small aspect of Christian living.
     b. One can partake of the Lord's Supper physically without having a true heart. How does a person live during the week? How does one treat a "foreigner," a "rejected individual," like the so-called "Good Samaritan." The Jews denounced Samaritans. They were not acceptable to them. Luke
     c. One can USE the Lord's Supper to condemn others. A classic example of this is John Calvin. He opposed the understanding of a fellow-Christian named Servetus, and Calvin was so powerful at that time in Geneva, he had Servetus executed because of his understanding of the Lord's Supper. It is very difficult for me to accept the idea of DEBATING over the Lord's Supper. What an oxymoron!!!

Share YOUR concepts and reversals and insights and fears and experiences with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

Thursday, July 23, 2015

God Changes Mourning into Dancing--Psalm 30

The poet of Psalm 30 is confronted with enemies who attempt to destroy him (verse 1) and with a threatening disease (verses 2, 9). He prays to Yahweh to deliver him from his afflictions, and God rescues him. When this happens, the psalmist goes to an assembly of God's people and summons them to praise God for what he had done for him (verse 4). He is full of thanksgiving for God's gracious intervention. Psalm 30 naturally falls into four small paragraphs.

I. The composer extols Yahweh for delivering him. Psalm 30:1-3.
    a. At the very beginning, the speaker addresses Yahweh as "O Lord" and as "O Lord my God." Because of his enemies and his severe disease, the psalmist felt that he was drowning. But God the great spiritual SAFEGUARD "drew the poet up" from drowning and "brought up his soul [him] from Sheol," the grave, the Pit. What a graphic picture of God saving people in danger! 30:1, 3.
    b. When the psalmist was in deep trouble, he did not seek help from other people. Instead, he "cried to the Lord for help." Yahweh is a very dependable resource when we are in great distress. It is always best to turn to God for help and deliverance. 30:2.

II. The poet encourages his fellow worshippers to praise Yahweh. Psalm 30:4-5.
     a. After addressing Yahweh directly, the writer turn to his fellow worshippers, Yahweh's "faithful ones." While we depend on Yahweh, it is always helpful to turn to reliable faithful followers of God to support and encourage us. The psalmist admonishes his fellow worshippers to praise and thank Yahweh for what he has already done for him. 30:4.
    b. Like all people, the psalmist committed sins, and Yahweh punished him demonstrated by his anger. But God's anger is "but for a moment," while God's steadfast love is "for a lifetime." A loving parent chastises his or her son or daughter in order to refine that person's heart and life. Hence, weeping is often necessary for a brief period of time, but in time joy comes in the morning. 30:5.

III. The psalmist gives a brief testimony of his own experience with God. Psalm 30:6-10.
       a. The psalmist explains that for a long time in his life, he experienced great prosperity under God's guidance. At that time, he concluded, "I shall never be moved." Because of God's favor, God had established him as "a strong mountain." It appeared that he was invincible. 30:6-7b.
       b. But because of his pride and attendant sins, the psalmist sinned, and thus God hid his face and the psalmist was dismayed. In this dark period of his life, the psalmist besought Yahweh, reasoning that there would be no profit in his death. So he prays fervently that God will be gracious to him and help him through this difficult situation. 30:7c-10.

IV. The poet praises Yahweh for delivering him from his troubles. Psalm 30:11-12.
       a. When Yahweh rescued him from his afflictions, the psalmist addresses Yahweh directly:
             "You have turned my mourning into dancing;
                    you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy." God is so powerful that he can change hearts and lives from bad to good. Often, people go through challenging setbacks, and miraculously and surprisingly God intervenes and gets us through. 30:11.
      b. Because Yahweh has been so gracious, the psalmist concludes by praising him for what he has done and to give him thanks for all his great works. 30:12.
This psalm is a great encouragement for everyone who encounters reversals, serious problems of all kinds, losses, fears, and setbacks.

Share YOUR inclinations and concerns and beliefs and insights and responses with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis