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Meditations Contents
Series Theme:   God in the Psalms Meditations

PART 1: Studies 1-17

Meditation Title: Overview







God who watches over the righteous



God enthroned



God who is a shield



God who delivers



God who is righteous



God whose face shines on us



God who is King



God who hates



God who leads



God who disciplines



God who is a refuge



God who is Judge



God of Glory



God who is a stronghold



God who hides



God who is helper of the fatherless



God of Contact






God whose words are flawless



God of unfailing love



God who looks down



God who dwells in the sanctuary



God who is good



God who assigns our portion



God at my right hand



God who probes



God who brings down.



God my strength



God who is a rock



God who rescues



God who rewards



God who is perfect



God who is fearful



God who answers distress calls



God who gives victories






God of joyful presence



God of anger



God of silence



God who is a shepherd



God who owns the earth



God who is teacher



God who remembers



God who forgets



God who vindicates



God who is light



God who speaks awesomely



God who heals



God of limited anger



God of lifetime favour



God who guides



God of truth



God who preserves







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Series Theme:   God in the Psalms Meditations

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Meditation No. 1

Meditation Title: The God who watches over us


Psa 1:6    For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

In this very first psalm we are introduced to a very basic concept in respect of the Lord. The Lord sees the affairs of men. The reality is that God IS there and He DOES see all that is going on in the affairs of the earth. Now if that is all it was, we might be able to be complacent, thinking that God is ‘out there' but powerless to do or affect anything we're involved in. But this verse doesn't allow us that complacency.


The verse says first that God ‘watches' over some people but that other people will perish. In other words the implication is that God DOES something when He looks and sees. The clear implication is that the latter group of people will perish because GOD destroys them! Now because one group is being contrasted with the other, then when it says “God watches over” the clear meaning must be that He sees AND ACTS in such a way as to preserve them. So one group He preserves and the other group He destroys. It is somewhat important therefore that we understand who these two groups are, for it suggests that we can either feel secure in the knowledge that God will look after us or, if we are in the other group, we should fear because the warning is that He will destroy us!


So, let's look at group one, first of all. This group is simply referred to as ‘the righteous'. This description occurs many times in the Bible. Put in its simplest form, we might refer to those who are living in ‘right-ness', whose lives are declared right because they are living in the way God has designed them to live. Abraham was declared righteous when he simply believed God (Gen 15:6/Gal 3:6). Righteous is therefore a term used to describe those who respond well to God, those who live in relationship to God.


By comparison ‘the wicked' are those who ignore or reject God and live as they want and live lives quite contrary to the way the Lord designed them to be. When they ‘do wrong' it is because it is contrary to God's desire. ‘Wrong' is that which is contrary to God's goodness.


Now notice the use of the phrase ‘the way of' which is used of both groups. An individual doesn't just do one or two good things in respect of God, or one or two bad things in respect of God. We LIVE in these ways. The righteous is the man or woman who has come into relationship with God and that means in every area of their life. The wicked have every area of their life ruled by ‘self' and every area is tainted by wrong. Thus when the psalmist refers to ‘the way of' he is meaning the whole of the life of that individual.


So it is that the Lord guards the life of the person who has turned to Him and put their life under His rule. So also, it is that the Lord deals with that person who is daring to live in God's world contrary to God's design for them, ignoring or rejecting Him and, even more, living in disharmony with others, causing harm to others. That is why the Lord will deal with them, because, left to their own devices, they will harm God's world. In His wisdom, the Lord may allow them leeway , space in which to repent (2 Pet 3:9), but if repentance does not come, their end is decreed. They perish!


Thus this simple verse in this first psalm reveals to us a God who distinguishes between right and wrong and who comes down and responds to people according to the way they have chosen to go. The challenge is, which way have we chosen?








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Meditation No. 2

Meditation Title: God who is enthroned


Psa 2:4-6 The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, "I have installed my King on Zion , my holy hill.”


In the second psalm we are presented with a truth that challenges every unbeliever in the world. So often, people get on with life, ignoring God and doing their own thing, in the false belief that they are the ones in charge. This psalm challenges that.


Our verses above start by revealing God as one who is seated on a throne in heaven, and a throne denotes a ruler. In fact, more than that, this psalm reveals God as The Supreme Ruler! The psalm itself starts by wondering why nations, peoples and kings conspire, plot and take their stand against God and His chosen servant, the anointed one (v.1,2), saying that they will break free from God's ‘chains' (v.3). That's how they view the Lord. Such have been scientists, philosophers and others who have foolishly said, “We don't need a belief in a God any more.”


The Lord's response to this is to laugh. He knows the reality of this, the stupidity of their words. He knows that they are so small and He is so great that it's like an ant challenging an elephant to a show of strength! (our comparison). But such folly also generates anger in the Lord. God's anger is always righteous anger. It is the response to crass stupidity, to people purposefully being willfully stupid when they should know better. Really, says the Lord, is that what you think ( implied )? Do you want to know the truth? I have put MY king in Jerusalem , that's who the anointed one is.


In the Old Testament kings and priests were anointed with oil as a symbolic sign of receiving God's Holy Spirit to enable them to perform the task they have been called to. Thus the king of the day, David, was the Lord's anointed one. Yet even more, Jesus was the Lord's anointed one who came two thousand years ago to bring the reign of God to the whole earth, not merely in one special nation. So when the Lord says He has placed His king in Zion (Jerusalem), it means, I have brought my earthly ruler and he is my representative of my reign on earth, so you'd better realize that you need to bow before him. The reference in v.12 to kissing the son indicates a bowing before a sovereign by a lesser subject, to kiss their hand or even feet, as a sign of subjection.


What is this psalm revealing about God? That He is THE Lord of Lords who reigns from heaven, but He has a delegated anointed leader on the earth who is His representative. Thus any talk about breaking loose from God's rule is folly because, whether we realize it or not, He IS the Lord and He will not cease to be simply because we utter words. He is THE Lord, even if He sat on His throne silently saying and doing nothing. He is God Almighty, the One who has all knowledge and all power and before whom human beings are merely tiny objects who could be obliterated in a second. Oh no, don't come out with any stupidity about breaking free. You can do what you like – and God will let you – but be under no illusions, He will hold you to account and He will bring that time of accounting when He deems it fit. The fact that He holds back is, as we said in the first study, simply because He graciously gives time for repentance, preferring to bring salvation rather than destruction if it is possible (2 Pet 3:9), but be under no illusions, He IS the Lord and He DOES reign, whatever men may think or say! The challenge is, therefore, have we submitted to His rule?






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Meditation No. 3

Meditation Title: God who is a shield


Psa 3:3 But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head


We have seen previously that God sees and God acts. God reigns from heaven through His anointed on the earth. He is the Lord. Now all of that could remain purely academic, purely remain in our mind and leave the rest of us untouched, but not so for David. The God who is ‘out there' is also ‘down here' with us and therefore has effect upon us.


For David, as he flees from his rebellious son, as he fears for his life, he sees the Lord as a shield. Remember what a shield us? Something you hold out in front of you to protect you. We have windshields in our cars to protect us from the wind as we drive. We have shields around x-ray machines in hospitals to protect us from the x-rays. We have shields in nuclear reactors to protect us from harmful radioactivity. We have sunshield creams to protect us from too much sunshine. A shield keeps something away, stops something from harming us. Thus for David, he is able to say that the Lord stands between him and his enemies to keep them from harming him.


But more than this; he says that the Lord is a shield around me. In other words, the Lord's protection completely surrounds him. There is nothing half-hearted about this protection. It is complete.


When others come against us with words, with unkindness, or with harmful intentions, do we know the security that comes from experiencing the Lord standing between us and them? That's what it is – a sense of Him standing between us and them, and therefore we can be sure that they cannot harm us. That knowledge means that we can therefore stand there without fear, stand there in the grace of God, knowing that we are God's children, loved and protected. This means we can smile at our enemies. This means we can pray for our enemies (Mt 5:44). As we stand there, confronted by our enemies, we can know peace and security, because He is there and He surrounds us with His protection.


But there is more in this verse. Sometimes when others seem to be against us, it has the effect of wearing us down. We feel we are in a place of blackness, a place of isolation and loneliness. So what does David go on to say? “Y ou bestow glory on me”. The light of God's presence seems to shine in our darkness and two things follow. First, we know that we are not alone; He is here. Second, the darkness, the heaviness, falls away as His light shines and suddenly we are no longer cast down. Suddenly we find we are walking with our head held high. As David said, the Lord came to lift up my head .


Yes, this is what this psalm tells us: our God is not just the all-powerful, all-mighty, all-knowing God ‘out there', but He is personal, here for me. I can experience His presence, here and now. I can know security because He is here and now, to guard me and protect me, to stand between me and those who are against me. Can we learn to have that sense, that God IS here with us and that He is here FOR us, to love us (for He is love – 1 Jn 4:8), and to protect us, as He stands all-powerfully between us and the people or things that would seek to harm us? He is there to ensure that we are not harmed by them, and He wants us to learn to know Him, know His presence, know His power, know His protection, and in ‘knowing' we shall be changed.






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Meditation No. 4

Meditation Title: God who Delivers


Psa 3:8 From the LORD comes deliverance.


So we have seen previously that the Lord reigns from heaven, and that He sees and acts, and the things He does affect us here and now. In fact David was able to say that God was a shield to him, as He came and stood between David and those who would harm him. Thus God was not ‘out there' but ‘down here' right now.


Now, at the end of that same psalm comes this claim, that from the LORD comes deliverance . This phrase is worth pondering upon because it is an extension of what we considered in the previous meditation. God doesn't stand outside our affairs when people rise against us, but He stands between them and us. But He doesn't just stand there, maintaining the situation as it was, He changes it, and He delivers us.


Do you remember the story of David and Goliath? When David came to his brothers at the battlefront, he found the two armies in a place of stalemate, or of stand-off. For forty days Goliath came out and taunted the Israelites and nothing happened (1 Sam 17:16). It needed someone to DO something, to change the situation, to deliver Israel from this place. You sometimes see it in a playground at school, two groups of children challenging each other, but no one actually wanting to provoke the situation further because they are unsure of the outcome. That's what happens to us sometimes. Something happens and a bad situation forms. We want to do something about it but we don't know how. We'd love to break through to change the thing but we feel powerless. We need delivering out of this situation, and that's what the Lord does.


Paul conveyed the same sense in his letter to the Colossians: he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son( Col 1:13). We had been in darkness but God came and lifted us up and transferred – or delivered – us from that into a place of great light; in other words into Jesus' kingdom.


The thing about deliverance, is that it is something we couldn't do ourselves. Israel couldn't get themselves out of slavery in Egypt (Ex 1:11-14). Only God could do it - I have come down to rescue them (Ex 3:8). Peter couldn't get himself out of prison (Acts 12:5) but as the church prayed, an angel from God came and rescued him (Acts 12:11). This is deliverance, being rescued from a bad place that you cannot get free from on your own, God stepping in and taking you out. We couldn't get free from sin (Rom 7:24) but Jesus came and by his work on the cross and by the power of his Spirit, he set us free (Rom 8:2). We couldn't do it but he did. As Paul put it when writing to the Ephesians, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions(Eph 2:4,5).

Paul says it was like we were dead (spiritually at least) when we lived self-centred lives, doing wrong. We were powerless to change that, but God came and delivered us by making us alive with Christ by the power of his Spirit, released in us because we simply accepted what Jesus had done for us. Believing didn't suddenly make us capable of change (like self-help courses suggest), but believing opened the door for God to come by His Spirit and empower us so that we were no longer spiritually dead, and we now had His power to live as His children (Jn 1:12). David knew that God, who was his shield, was also his deliverer. Deliverance is God's business because He knows that we are incapable of delivering ourselves. Have you reached this same glorious conclusion? Have you known this wonderful deliverance?







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Meditation No. 5

Meditation Title:   God who is righteous


Psa 4:1 Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God


We have observed previously that righteousness can be otherwise described as rightness. David calls God here the God of rightness. Let's consider that. Everything God does is right. He never does wrong. He never gets it wrong. Everything He does works out right, works out well. Every thought, every word, every act of God is right. He is the only one of whom that can be said. God cannot be faulted for He is perfect. He knows everything and He knows how He has designed things to work and therefore He interacts with His world in a way that perfectly fits that design. That design cannot be faulted and His actions within it cannot be faulted.


Now that is both scary and reassuring. It is scary in that it is unnerving to be in the presence of someone who is utterly perfect and always gets it right and knows what is right. But it is also reassuring because we can trust God to always act in a good and perfect way towards us. Everything He does is good.


Now these assertions are clearly statements of faith that we make in the light of the whole Bible. The Bible reveals God as having designed a perfect world. It only goes wrong because of man bringing Sin into it. We are imperfect in that we are sinners, but we have been made perfect in God's sight by our response to the work of Christ and His working in us by His Spirit. That is amazing. Righteousness has all to do with relationship. God who does all things right, saw that we would fall to Sin and so provided a way for us to come back into a relationship with Him, through Jesus' work on the Cross. God thus establishes a right relationship with all those who will respond to His call through Christ, and thereafter He is able to bring rightness into our lives by the work of His Holy Spirit.


But note something more about David's words here. He refers to God as my righteous God. God has become personal to him; there is a real relationship here that David has entered into with God, whereby David now has a sense of intimacy with God and knows God as the one who always relates to Him rightly and well. Thus David can call to God and demand, Answer me when I call to you . Now that is amazing when you think about it, that little David can demand things of great God. On what grounds can he demand this? On the grounds that he knows that God always acts rightly and so when His child calls to Him, the Father will always answer the child, for that is the right, caring thing to do. So David is able to say, the LORD will hear when I call to him, (v.3) for that's how it works. He know when he calls, God the Father hears His child.


David has come to know that God works (acts) in right ways always. However He will respond to David will be right, and He will respond because that is right. Do you want to know how to pray aright? Pray what you know to be true of God. Ask in line with what you know of God's character. You know he always does right? Then what is right in this situation? Not what you think is right because of your selfish desires, but what is right as seen in the light of the God who has designed this world to work in particular ways, right ways, and who always acts in conformity to His character and the way He has made things to be. Have you caught this? Do you see that God is righteous, that He always moves in rightness, He always does what is right; that is His will? Let that bring security into your life, this sense of order and rightness.







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Meditation No. 6

Meditation Title:

God whose face shines on us


Psa 4:6 Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD


Here is an interesting phrase to meditate upon, ‘ the face of the Lord'. This raises various questions about God. What do we know of Him? The Scriptures refer to his arm (e.g. Num 11:23), His eyes (e.g. Gen 6;8), and His face, but in every case we are given the impression that this is personification, ascribing to God human characteristics so that we may understand His activity. After all, all we are really told about God in respect of His entity, apart from the amazing revelations to the prophets (e.g. Ezek 1:27,28, Rev 4:3) which really don't tell us much, is Jesus' assertion that “God is Spirit” (Jn 4:24).


Sometimes we find the Lord saying, I will set my face against that person” indicating a sense of rejection (e.g. Lev 17:10, 20:3, 26:15-17). Similarly He says, I will hide my face from them,” meaning He will distance Himself and not be found (e.g. Deut 31:17, Job 34:29, Psa 13:1). More positively there are calls to seek His face”, e.g. 2 Sam 21:1, 1 Chron 16:11, 2 Chron 7:14, Psa 24:6. And now we find, the light of your face” (also Psa 4:6, 31:16, 44:3, 67:1 etc.).


What we can say is that often, when there are references to God, there are also references to His glory, or the brightness that shines from His presence. Yes, when His presence is expressed in our earthly world, it seems that it was accompanied by this amazing brightness or glory. Israel first encountered this glory at Sinai (Ex 24:16,17) and after Moses met with God, when he came down the mountain, his face shone with the same glory (Ex 34:29). In fact every time he went into the tent to the Lord's presence his face shone (Ex 34:34,35).


Thus for God's glory to shine on someone, they had to be in His presence, so when David uses this expression, Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD , it was a call for the presence of God to be revealed to him. It was like David was saying, please Lord, turn to me, come to me, make yourself known to me, come close to me please.


Why? Well in this psalm David seems to give indications of difficulties that they were experiencing. For example, Give me relief from my distress (v.1) indicating his anguish, How long will you love delusions and seek false gods (v.2) indicating that others were seeking other answers to their distress, and Many are asking, "Who can show us any good?" (v.6) indicating they were in trouble and looking for help that did not seem to be coming. The actual nature of the trouble is not spelled out. The fact is they were in difficulties and they weren't getting help because until now the people have not turned to God. David knows the answer is the Lord's Presence. They need to know the glorious presence of God in their midst as they had done in the past, because David knew from what had been passed down to Him that Israel had a history with God that revealed that when God turned up to help, they were helped!


Thus again here, we find an indirect testimony to the goodness of God, the God who does not stand at a distance, but a God who can be relied upon to draw near to His people and bless them. Of course there is also significance in ‘light'. As we have previously noted, Paul said we have been rescued from a dominion of darkness and lifted into the kingdom of the Son (Col 1:13) which, by implication, is a kingdom of light. Light shows us the way, reveals what is. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (Jn 8:12). Do we need him to shine on our circumstances today?






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Meditation No. 7

Meditation Title:   God who is King


Psa 5:2 Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray


In the second of these meditations we saw God enthroned (Psa 2:4). In this psalm we see reference to God being King. Many nations of the world do not have kings today and so perhaps we loose the sense of what this means. In Old Testament times, the king was sovereign. The king ruled and what the king said, happened! In the book of Esther, King Xerxes, the Persian king, was probably a good example of this. He ruled over a massive empire (Es 1:1) of 127 provinces stretching from India to Egypt. So great was his authority that no one dared come into his presence without being called by him otherwise they would be put to death (Es 4:11).


In the book of Revelation we are given a picture of Jesus returning to the earth as a conquering king (Rev 19:11-15) and he is described as King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (v.16). Jesus is the King of Kings – the king above all other kings, yet he is but the Son who, when he has finished his work, will hand back the kingdom he rules over to his Father (1 Cor 15:25,28). God Himself is THE King, THE Supreme Ruler.


Sometimes, when we look at the awful things that are going on in the earth, we might wonder about God's ‘reign'. Yet the truth is that it is Jesus who is now ascended back to heaven and is reigning at the right hand of his Father (Acts 2:33-35, Eph 1:20-22) and, prophetic Psalm 110 tells us, is ruling in the midst of his enemies (v.1,2). So yes, for this time God allows men freedom of will to think, say and do what they please, but that doesn't stop Him exercising His will in the midst of all they do, to bring about the things He has decreed. He IS working out His purposes (Eph 1:9,10, 2:10), because He IS the King. The Bible declares it long and loud!


When Jesus came the first thing he declared was, Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”( Mt 4:17) In other words, put your lives right for God is about to manifest His presence through me to exercise His rule as king! Now Mark's Gospel adds, The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news (Mk 1:15). The coming of God's reign through His Son was good news. Why was it good news?


Well start with Jesus' declaration in the synagogue, reading Isa 61: He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." (Lk 4:18,19), That was surely good news. See also Jesus' words to John's followers: Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. (Mt 11:4,5). See Peter's message to the Gentiles: You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached-- how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him .( Acts 10:37,38). This is God ruling as a King. Does that leave us fearing God as the Supreme Ruler? It shouldn't do for it shows us that everything He does is for the blessing of people. He comes to restore them to Himself through the work of His Son, He comes to bring goodness to their lives, He comes to pour out His love on whoever will receive it. What should be our response to all this? Surely it must be, Lord, come and be Lord over my life, come and rule over my life. Amen.







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Meditation No. 8

Meditation Title: The God who hates


Psa 5:4,5 You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell. The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong


In theses two verses we focus on the last phrase: you hate all who do wrong. How, we might think, does this fit with the God who is love? Let's check, first of all, what the Bible says about the things or people God hates.


Deut 12:31: You must not worship the LORD your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the LORD hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods. Deut 16:21,22 Do not set up any wooden Asherah pole beside the altar you build to the LORD your God, and do not erect a sacred stone, for these the LORD your God hates. Psa 11:5 The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates. Prov 6:16-19 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.


That will do for now, a good selection. God made the world perfect. Sin came in and spoilt it, yet it is still possible for men and women of faith to enter into relationship with the Lord and receive His ongoing restoration. Such people who turn to Him, He calls His children (e.g. John 1:12). For God perfection is normal and natural. Thus Jesus was able to say, Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt 5:48). Perfect there means whole or complete, i.e. let God restore you by His Holy Spirit and the work of the Cross, so that you are the complete being He wants you to be in the likeness of Jesus. Now because God is perfect, He loves what is perfect, all He has made, and those He is restoring but, conversely He hates anything that spoils or mars the wonderful world that He has made. Thus whenever He sees sin He hates it, in the same way that a surgeon may hate cancer cells, knowing that unless it is eradiated it will destroy. Thus in the verses above we find a variety of expressions of sin that God hates because He knows that unless it is dealt with it will destroy His people, His creation.


But people? Yes, even people. Look carefully at their descriptions: the wicked, the arrogant. These are not people who just occasionally do these things, these are people who have settled into this way of life. Like an infection in the body these are “carriers” that cause sin to spread. What to you do with a life-threatening infection? You destroy it by whatever means you can before it destroys you. No wonder God hates or detests these “carriers” of sin. They are working to destroy the wonder of all that He has made.


But note something else. As soon as this person comes to repentance, if that is possible, then God is instantly there for them. The second they turn to God He is there for them. Here is a mystery. We can see someone who we would describe in the language used above, and then somehow God moves in their life, they pause, they question, they seek and they submit, and we see God's salvation was there for them just as it was for us. Jesus told us to pray for and love our enemies (Mt 5:44). Is it possible that God loves and hates at the same time, or is it that He sees the possibility of repentance coming in this person, and although He hates what they are at the moment, He knows they will respond and become one of His – pre-chosen! (Eph 1:4) A glorious mystery!








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Meditation No. 9

Meditation Title:   The God who leads


Psa 5:8 Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies - make straight your way before me


There is one particular truth in Scripture that many people have never taken hold of: God is an initiator. Yes, God knows the future, God knows what He wants to do, God knows the plans He has (Eph 2:10) and they are firm and sure (Psa 33:11) and He has an end in mind (Prov 16:4). We can plan and strategise , but it is HIS purposes that will succeed (Prov 19:21) and the good news is that they are for our blessing (Jer 29:11, Eph 1:4-11). It is with this understanding that we should always approach the subject of guidance. Guidance is all about bringing our lives in line with God's plan for our lives.


Thus we find David asking the Lord to “lead me”, but this comes some way into this psalm that we've already considered twice. He's called the Lord his King – recognizing the Lord's right to rule over him. He's recognized that the Lord hates evil and blesses good. He's clear in his mind about the nature of the One he is asking to lead him. He comes to the Lord, morning and evening (v.3), to talk to Him. He recognizes that it is only by God's mercy that he can come to worship God (v.7). He's got a problem with enemies (v.8) who speak badly of him (v.9) and he's aware he needs the Lord's help. He needs the Lord to lead him, to make straight the way before him. Why? Because when you have enemies coming against you, your emotions go all over the place, your vision can get blurred, worry or even fear can take a hold of you, and even confusion can upset you. When all of those things happen we need to come and make the way clear, to clarify the path we should be walking with Him. There is one little word in that last phrase that is so important: make straight your way before me . This brings us right back to everything we considered in the first paragraph above; it is God's plan for our lives that we want, it is HIS way ahead that we want to walk in. He is righteous, His ways are right and because they are right they are good.


The way ahead? We want His way, not a way that is dominated by the enemy, a way that distorts us, that is confusing, and worrying. No, His way is good, His way is right, and His way brings peace and blessing. But His way might be different to the way of our natural inclinations. Our natural inclinations may be defensive in the face of an enemy, in the face of unkind, harsh, untruthful words about us. And when we are defensive we respond in like manner, we attack and that is not God's way. Thus we find ourselves in a place of real need, of being led, of being guided into God's way of doing things, God's way of leading us through the days ahead. Oh yes, there's the problem! Tomorrow and all the days ahead! We've got to live through these days in the sight of the enemy. Somehow we need God's grace to walk in His way.


That's why, so often, the apostle Paul would start his letters with “grace and peace to you.” Grace is God's ability there for us, to help us cope, to help us overcome, and to help us triumph in the situation – in His way. Peace is the ability to be at rest in the knowledge that the Lord IS Lord, that He reigns and He has a plan that he is working out. Perhaps this word comes to you like the word through Isaiah, Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." (Isa 30:21). Is your tendency to veer off God's path? Then the quiet word comes from behind you, still on the path, “THIS is the way!” Wondering how to proceed? Needing guidance? The answer is God's way, God's plan carried out in God's way!









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Meditation No. 10

Meditation Title:  The God who disciplines


Psa 6:1 O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath


Our initial response to these words may not be one that lifts our spirit. Most of us would read these words and say, “Oh dear!” (or something similar!). The thought of being rebuked or disciplined is not a comfortable one! These exact words are repeated in Psa 38:1. In fact the concept of the Lord disciplining His people is a very common one in Scripture, and when we see it in context we will see what a good thing it is.


Psa 39:11 says, You rebuke and discipline men for their sin. So, there discipline is linked with our sin. Well we would expect that perhaps but look at Deut 4:35,36 You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other. From heaven he made you hear his voice to discipline you. The ‘things' referred to there were His acts of deliverance in Egypt before the Exodus and their experience of Him at Sinai. This idea is repeated in Deut 11:2,3 Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the LORD your God: his majesty, his mighty hand, his outstretched arm; the signs he performed and the things he did in the heart of Egypt. Again the discipline that is referred to comes about by observing the mighty acts of God as He dealt with Pharaoh and led them to their land.


Well let's consider a general definition of discipline and see how it might fit what we've seen here: discipline = training that develops self-control and character . Now what would have been the effect upon Israel of watching God at work in Egypt ? It would have gradually brought the revelation to them that He is all-mighty, all-powerful and that He deals with pride, arrogance, idol worship and sin generally. This should have taught them that God was not to be trifled with! Psa 94:12 says, Blessed is the man you discipline, O LORD, the man you teach from your law . In other words, discipline comes about when we realize God's Law, when we realize God's standards, the way God has made things to be, when we realize the boundaries God has given us in life. Discipline can thus be seen to be conforming our understanding and our lives to God's design, God's character and God's will. The Lord made us perfect when He made the world but with the Fall, sin made us think and do things contrary to that perfection. Discipline is both the process and the product that brings us back to God's way of thinking and acting. David was feeling very low in Psalm 6. It wasn't that He objected to discipline but he didn't want God to have to discipline him in anger because of sin.


Heb 12:5-11 is probably THE New Testament passage on discipline. The writer encourages us to not lose heart when he rebukes you (v.6) and then gives the reason: the Lord disciplines those he loves” and “God disciplines us for our good” ( v.10), so that “ Later on… it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (v.11). Now substitute the word, “trains” for discipline and we see more clearly what this is about. It's not about punishment; it's about bringing us into conformity with the truth – the truth of who God is, how He's made the world to be, and how we are to live to get the best out of it. Yes, it so often needs difficult circumstances to mould us. That was what was happening to David. We learn patience by having to wait, endurance by having to hang on in with difficult and trying circumstances, to love by being given difficult people, and so on. Each of these is God training us, disciplining us, and conforming us to His likeness – because He loves us and wants the best for us.







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Meditation No. 11

Meditation Title:

God of Refuge


Psa 7:1 O LORD my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me


We have seen previously (Meditation 3) God as a shield, the one who stands between us and our enemy and provides protection, but the idea of God being a refuge takes us on beyond that to a fuller and more intimate picture of God with us.


Yes, there is the same idea of God being a protector and He does it by being a deliverer (as we saw in Meditation 4), to save David from those who pursued him and sought to kill him (v.2). So what's the difference between a shield and a refuge? A shield is something you hold out in front of you to protect you from the enemy, while a refuge is a place you retreat into to receive that same protection. A shield is before you and a refuge is all around you. A shield you have to hold up strongly, but a refuge is something you retreat into when you are weak and unable to defend yourself. The refuge provides the strength and you need do nothing except get into it.


In mountain areas, there is sometimes a refuge in high places which is either a hut or simply a wall in a square shape with a single opening. In both cases the climber or walker simply gets into the refuge to escape the weather. When wives have been beaten by husbands who are bullies, we now have ‘refuges' where they can go where the husband cannot. All they need do is flee into the refuge and they are safe.


Thus, similarly, we can have a sense of the Lord's presence surrounding us and when that happens, the noise of the winds of adversity are cut off and we have peace. God is our refuge. There are times when the enemy seems to rage against us and affliction comes in a variety of ways, and we cry out to the Lord and, suddenly all is still, the struggle seems to be terminated. God is our refuge. It is simply His presence being manifested and whenever He comes into our circumstances, He takes control and peace comes. The picture of Jesus asleep in the boat with the disciples, in the storm (Mt 8:24-), although an historical event, is also a good analogy of this. A storm blew up that threatened the boat. They woke Jesus and he returned to their conscious world and rebuked the wind and the waves. Suddenly there was peace. Thus was God manifest. God was their refuge.


In Num 35:9 onwards we find God giving Moses the law for the cities of refuge. These were simply places where someone who had committed manslaughter could go to get protection against the avenger. We have an accuser, Satan, for that is what his name means. When we fail and sin, we confess it and when he accuses us we have to flee to the refuge that is Jesus and all he's done of us on the Cross. That was why John wrote in 1 Jn 2:1,2 about how, should we sin, we have one who speaks in our defence, the one who died for us, Jesus. When we are accused we are to flee to God, our refuge, for He alone has provided safety and protection for us against the demands of Satan and the Law, so that we might live and not die. He is our refuge because of who He is and what He's done. Psa 126:1 says, Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge.” This is what a refuge does, it keeps us safe; it makes us feel secure. That is far more than the work of a shield. As we said, the refuge surrounds us and it is His strength, not ours, that prevails against the enemy. We just have to cry to Him and then let Him be Himself for us, for His very presence acts as a refuge from all the enemy can bring against us. Hallelujah!









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Meditation No. 12

Meditation Title:   God who is Judge


Psa 7:6-8 Awake, my God; decree justice. Let the assembled peoples gather around you. Rule over them from on high; let the LORD judge the peoples. Judge me, O LORD


These verses introduce us quite clearly to a new description of the Lord: the Lord who is a Judge. What does a Judge do? He (or she) assesses a case in the light of the Law and pronounces a verdict based on that Law. For the Lord this is a circular thing for the Lord designed the world in accordance with His character (perfection) and decreed the Law to ensure people lived in accordance with that design. Now He judges according to that Law, according to that design, according to His character. Justice is weighing actions in the light of that Law and bringing appropriate action to bear on the miscreant to make right the situation.


Now with the Lord, nothing can be hidden. The writer to the Hebrews was able to write: Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account . (Heb 4:13). So, when the Lord assesses the situation He does so with full and complete knowledge. But there is more. Paul described the Lord as, the only wise God (Rom 16:27). The Lord is the only one who not only knows all things but knows that is right to do in every situation. (Wisdom is knowing what to do). Therefore the Lord looks, the Lord knows and the Lord knows how to respond. The one thing we will never be able to do when we get to heaven, if the Lord should allow us full vision of all that has happened, is criticize anything the Lord has said or done. His ways are perfect (Deut 32:4). Thus in heaven they cry, Just and true are your ways” (Rev 15:3).


So it is, that when we come before the Lord we may never fear injustice. But do we want justice? Do we want to be judged by the One who sees all things, every wrong thought, every wrong word, every wrong deed. If every such thing throughout our lives were brought out for accounting, it would truly be a terrible thing. There would be no doubt; we are guilty! Piled up before us all these things condemn us. It's all right for David in this one situation to say, Judge me according to my righteousness. Oh, yes on specific occasions we can say, well, yes, I was righteous then, I did respond well then. But what about all the other times when we were not so careful, the times when we do not quite come up to the mark, or even fell well short of it?


Yes, this is why we need an advocate, one who will step in and speak up for us. But what could he plead? Extenuating circumstances? No, there were none. We were guilty, it was our fault! No, there is only one ground on which he can plead – that he himself has already stood in for us and taken our punishment and the penalty for every sin has been paid. That's what John had in min d when he wrote: if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 Jn 2:1,2) Here is the advocate speaking for our defence and here is the one who has paid for our sins – and they are one and the same person, Jesus Christ. Thus when God stands as Judge before the whole of Creation, He CAN bring justice, He can decree rightly in respect of our sins. There is no ‘letting us off', there is no turning a blind eye. The judgement is given, justice is done, the sins are paid for. It has been done! The Judge does give a right judgement – and we are released! How wonderful!









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Meditation No. 13

Meditation Title:   God of Glory


Psa 8:1 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.


In the 6 th of these meditations, when we considered the face of the Lord, we briefly considered the glory of the Lord. Let's now think about that more fully. David starts this eighth psalm off by reflecting on how wonderful the Lord's name is. He uses the covenant name for God (LORD = “I am who I am” – see Exodus 3:13-15 and footnotes) which is another way of saying “God of Eternity” or “the Eternal One”. When he thinks of the Lord he feels His name is majestic, higher than any other, and then he gives the reason for this: the Lord, he says, has set His glory above the heavens. Now that's an interesting way of putting it: “above” the heavens. In some old paintings the painter showed the earth and the sky above it, and then had heavenly beings above the sky. It's like they wanted to put the heavenly world above “the heavens”, the sky, to give a fuller or more complete picture of reality.


When we look at the rest of this psalm we see David marvelling at God's work in Creation (v.3). He then wonders at the fact of God making man and giving him all this and making him ruler over all of it (v.4-6). As he ponders on this and on the wonder of this incredible world, God's gift to mankind, he just bursts out with, “how majestic is your name in all the earth !” (v.9). Man may have been given this world to rule over, but God Himself is the King over all things. He's the One who created all things and therefore He's the only one who can really claim to be King, Lord of all.


But there's more than this, there's this reference to the Lord's glory. When we considered God's glory before, we saw it as the brightness that literally shines from God's presence, the glory that was first revealed to Israel at Sinai. It was subsequently seen at the completion and dedication of the Tabernacle (Ex 40:33-35) and the completion and dedication of Solomon's Temple (1 Kings 8:10,11). Is that the glory that is being referred to here by David now? Not quite but the same sense is there in what he describes. He is saying that when you look at the wonder of God's creation you see the wonder of the Master Craftsman, the Creator, behind it all; it isn't just a bland piece of construction; it is a masterpiece that reflects the staggering nature of the One who brought it all into being from nothing. What it reflects is the glory or wonder of the One who made it all.


Have you ever seen it like this? Have you ever been somewhere in the world and gazed upon what you see before you – and marvelled and wondered at what is before you – the handiwork of the Master Creator? Have you ever stood on the seashore with the sun setting and marvelled? Have you ever stood on a hillside gazing on the panorama before you, and marvelled? Have you ever seen the Canadian Rockies, or any other great mountain chain, and marvelled? It would be possible to write for hours describing the incredible variety of the features of the world that are so beautiful. This is God's world; this is what He has made. You have to be hard-hearted or blind not to see the handiwork of God in all this and remain unmoved. Paul wrote about such people, what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen (Rom 1:19,20). His conclusion about their blindness and refusal to respond? They have no excuse! Let's not be like them!









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Meditation No. 14

Meditation Title:   God who is a stronghold


Psa 9:9 The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble


We have seen previously the Lord who is a shield (Meditation 3) and the Lord who is a refuge (Meditation 11) and now we consider an extension of this, to God who is a stronghold. We saw that a shield is something you hold out between you and an enemy for protection, but a refuge is something you run into so that the strength of the refuge protects you. A stronghold is a development of the idea of a refuge. Indeed it is something you run into for protection, but the picture is a much stronger one.


When David escaped from Gath, he fled to the Cave of Adullam (1 Sam 22:1) where he was joined by his family. This place was then referred to as a stronghold (v.4,5). A stronghold is a fortified place with strong defences. That is the difference between a refuge and a stronghold. A refuge is simply a general term for a place of retreat and safety, while a stronghold is a particular type of refuge, a strongly defended refuge. David frequently retreated to this particular place for safety and security (1 Sam 24:22, 2 Sam 5:17, 23:14). In Psa 144:2 David piles on this imagery: He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge”. There fortress and stronghold are really one and the same thing, a strongly defended place of complete security. A refuge is somewhere you go to peace and protection, but a fortress or stronghold is somewhere you go to specifically withstand the enemy who comes to attack.


Thus it is that David speaks of going to the stronghold “in times of trouble”. The trouble he refers to is his enemy (v.3,6), other nations (v.5) who may be described as ‘the wicked' (v.5). He has seen the Lord dealing with them (v.3-6). So many of the things about the Lord come together in this Psalm. The Lord who is enthroned (v.7,11 and Meditation 2), The Lord who judges (v.8 and Meditation 12) and the God who delivers (v.3-6 implied and Meditation 4). In all these ways the Lord acts as a stronghold, a place of strong defence. Because He is The King who is reigning, enthroned, because He is the Judge who stands against and judges against unrighteousness and because He comes to deliver, He is a stronghold, a place of strong security. When David is in trouble, when nations rise against him, when enemies come and oppose him unrighteously, he knows that when he runs to the Lord, the Lord WILL stand against unrighteousness, He will deal with the enemy, and so David can feel entirely secure. There is no way that the enemy can come and get him when he's with the Lord.


It's not merely that the Lord is a refuge, as good as that is, but the Lord is a stronghold, a strong place of defence that will not be breached and so there is utter security with him. To get a sense of the strength that is conveyed with the picture of a stronghold we need to go to countries that have castles and see the incredibly high and thick walls that were utterly impossible to scale or breach. This is a stronghold, a place that is impregnable and which cannot be breached. It is a picture of total and utter security. There no stronghold like the Lord. Because He is who He is, with all His might, power and authority no enemy can get through Him to us when we are ‘in Him'. This is the sense of security the Lord wants us to have. We are secure, not because of anything we do, not because of our activities, but simply because we are ‘in Him' and He is utterly impregnable! Is that the sense we have when troubles come on us? We run to the Lord, we call on Him and he draws near, and then comes the sense that all these troubles mean nothing because He surrounds us, He is our stronghold.








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Meditation No. 15

Meditation Title:   God who hides


Psa 10:1 Why, O LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble ?


There are times in life when it seems that God is a long way away or, even, that He has hidden Himself. They are mostly times of affliction or of attack, when things come against us and our vision is filled with them. Habakkuk had one of those times when he cried out, How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?” (Hab 1:2). All around him he saw unrighteousness and God seemed to be totally ignoring it, even a million miles away! Quite possibly Israel felt like this in Egypt because when He met Moses at the burning bush, the Lord said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.” (Ex 3:7) This feeling that God has hidden Himself stems from the fact that we expect Him to move, we expect Him to do something about unrighteousness and when it seems that He is not, we have this sense that He is hiding Himself, He is ignoring our plight. The ultimate extreme of this, of course, was Jesus' cry from the Cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mt 27:46). Even the Son of God himself knew this experience. It is not uncommon!


So why does it seem that God is not around? Does He actually move away from us? Does He actually hide Himself? Well, yes there are times when the Lord seems to stand back, simply that we will realize how much we value Him, which only happens when He steps into the shadows. However, more often than not, this sense of God not being there is simply what we suggested above, our vision is filled with the problems or the people, and they blot out any sense of His presence. At those times we need to step back away from them, be quiet or call on the Lord, to sensitise ourselves to realise that He is actually there all the time. Did God abandon Jesus on the Cross? No, the Father never leaves the Son. It was simply that on the Cross Jesus took all our sin and that terrible experience was so awful for the sinless Son of God, that it seemed momentarily to blot out the awareness of the Father's presence.


The reality is that the Father is always there, Jesus is always there, his Holy Spirit is always there, but because we see the problem or the person, we momentarily lose sight of God's presence, but it is still there: he will never leave you nor forsake you .” (Deut 31:6, Heb 13:5). Jesus said, I am with you always, to the very end of the age .” (Mt 28:20). At such times we must declare the truth to ourselves: He IS still here; it's just that I'm not aware of Him!


There are times when the Lord seems to make His presence much mor e real. The psalmist was very much aware that, wherever he went, the Lord was there, when he said, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” (Psa 139:7), yet Jacob learned that he could be somewhere where God was without realizing it, when he said to himself, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it." (Gen 28:16). David saw the wicked (v.2) saying to himself, "God has forgotten; he covers his face and never sees(v.11), but that is not the truth. The Lord may be holding back while waiting for the right time to take action, but he sees, He knows. Thus He was able to say to Moses, I have seen….I have heard …I am concerned…I have come down (Ex 3:7,8). Oh yes, David, He's still there! Oh, yes, He's still here!









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Meditation No. 16

Meditation Title:   God who is helper of the fatherless


Psa 10:14 The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless .


It is believed that Psalms 9 and 10 were written as one with each stanza starting with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet. At the beginning of Psalm 9 is the inscription: “To the tune of, ‘The Death of a Son”. In Psalm 9 David declares his praises for God having dealt with his enemy yet in the beginning of Psalm 10 David, if it is still David writing, asks why the Lord sometimes seems to stand off when there is trouble. This we considered in the previous meditation. He then goes on, seemingly in anguish, describing the awful activities of the wicked who hunts down the weak (v.2), ambushes and murders the innocent (v.8), catches the helpless (v.9) and crushes his victims (v.10). The wicked then denies that God sees (v.11) and says He won't hold him to account (v.13) but, David says, He will deal with them (v.14 on). Yes, he says, God will defend those who are left fatherless by the tyranny of murderers.


Israel knew God as the defender of the weak – of the fatherless and of widows (Deut 10:18, 14:29, 16:11,14, 24:17-21, 26:12,13, 27:19) – as the Law clearly showed them. God's heart is clearly for such people in need, people who are weak and vulnerable. In this Psalm David seems to envisage the havoc caused by the wicked and those who are left in the wake of their work. It is a psalm that picks up on the worst injustices of the world, where orphans are left in the wake of the plundering of evil men. This psalm faces the most awful atrocities of sinful mankind and the resulting anguish – of being left fatherless and vulnerable. The father is a picture of security, the head of the home protecting his family and when he has been snatched away by evil, the family is left weak and vulnerable, especially the children who are physically weak, emotionally immature and socially unwise. It is a terrible picture!


There it is, utter blackness in the face of gross evil. There seems no hope in the face of the strength of evil – and then comes God. Previously we have seen God described as a shield, a refuge and a stronghold. We have seen Him as the One who is enthroned, the King who is ruling, so why do these awful things happen, why are there the fatherless? The answer must be that God has given us free will and that includes free will and free action for those who are evil. If, in the sinfulness of mankind, other strong men do not stand up to evil then it will reign. Yes, sometimes God allows it to reign as judgement against godlessness and unrighteousness. It is as if he steps back and lifts off His hand of restraint (see Romans 1:24,26,28) so that evil men are free to do what they want – and death ensues.


But then there is the next generation who are left fatherless and vulnerable, and it is to them that God comes. He is there for the weak and the vulnerable; He reaches out His hand to them in an offer of restoration – but he will not force Himself on them. See what David says, “The victim commits himself to you”. When those who are left turn to God and put themselves in His hands, He is immediately there for them. Watching the history of Israel and the way God dealt with them – it never has to come to this if there is righteousness and godliness. However, if there is and judgement ensues, it is never judgement that excludes the next generation from the knowledge of God; they can still seek and find Him. While we are still alive, it doesn't matter what awful things have gone before; we can still reach out to God and He will be there for us, because he is the God of the fatherless, the One who comes to the survivors with outstretched arms. He is there!







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Meditation No. 17

Meditation Title:   God of Contact


Psa 11:4 The LORD is in his holy temple


At first sight, in the context of the Psalm, this seems a strange reference. David immediately follows it by, the LORD is on his heavenly throneindicating that the Lord's position is actually in heaven so the ‘temple' he refers to is also in heaven. We need to understand what David means by ‘temple'.


At the time of writing, the Temple of God on earth had not been built – that was the task of Solomon, David's son. References to temples in the Old Testament, before this time, largely referred to buildings where pagan deities were supposed to dwell, e.g. Judges 9:4, the temple of Baal-Berith, or Judges 16:23,26 which refers to the temple of Dagon. So, in the world's terms, a temple was a place where you went to worship a deity. However, in 1 Sam 1:9 & 3:3 the word ‘temple' is used of the tabernacle that God had instructed Israel in the wilderness to build, a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them (Ex 25:8). David had had it in mind to build a house for the Lord (2 Sam 7:2) but the Lord had said that his offspring would build it (2 Sam 7:12,13). David understood that the tabernacle or temple was the place of meeting with God, the place of contact with God, that the Lord had established.


Yet now we find David referring to God dwelling in a ‘heavenly temple', a dwelling in heaven. Habakkuk was later to say, “But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” (Hab 2:20) which was simply an instruction to beware, to the idol worshippers, meaning that God is in His dwelling, the place of contact with mankind, and so they had better pay attention to Him, because He was in their midst.


We have noted above that the tabernacle or temple was to be seen as a place of God's dwelling in the midst of His people. It isn't just a distant dwelling place in another galaxy; it is a dwelling place where His people may find Him. That is the point being made. If we want to find a particular person, we go to their home, their address. For the people of Israel , they gathered at the tent of meeting, the tabernacle (Ex 33:7), to find the Lord. Here is a significant point. Where was God? Here is a question that has haunted people through the ages. Where is God? For the people of Israel in the desert and later in the Land, if they had a doubt it was answered for them by going to the Temple . When the Tabernacle and the Temple were completed, on both times, as we've seen in previous meditations, the glory of the Lord filled them both ( Ex 40:33-35, 1 Kings 8:10,11­) . This was His way of saying, I am here.


Again and again throughout Scripture, we see that God is intent on making contact with the people of the world, with those who would respond to Him and become His people. In the New Testament, the apostle John came to understand a further aspect of this as he records Jesus speaking of his own body as a temple (Jn 2:19-22). This makes Mt 24:1 all the more ironic – the temple of God (Jesus) walking away from the glorious temple buildings built by Herod but now no longer containing the presence of God! The writer to the Hebrews links these things, speaking of the earthly tabernacle (Heb 9:1,2) and the heavenly one (9:24). Both are places of contact with God. The latter one we have contact with today by means of His own Holy Spirit and one day we will go to be with Him in His heavenly dwelling and there live with Him for eternity. The primary point that is being made here, and in which we should rejoice, is that God had made contact with man and wishes to maintain that contact. How wonderful!