You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
The kings of old used to make a banquet after having achieved victory in battle. At the banquet the enemy king who had been defeated was placed at the foot of the table where the winner ate as an act of humiliation to the loser and hence as a gesture of exaltation of the victor. Anointing the guest of honor with perfumed oil was another way of exalting him, and the availability of wine to gladden the guests to the celebration speaks of joy and satisfaction for being able to carry out the task successfully. In this portion of the famous Psalm 23 King David tells us that the foundation of his success is the power of God and that only to him he owes the privilege of celebrating victory over his enemies.
Have you recently achieved success in the tasks you have undertaken? If so, have you recognized that everything you achieved was because you had God’s help? and if you did not have any success, was it because you did not depend on God, but of your own strengths and abilities? The word of God tells us to commit to the LORD whatever we do, and he will establish our plans, that is, he will ensure that everything is brought to fruition. If we depend on our own strength, two things will happen. First, we will utterly fail and second, we will feel faint because our forces are limited, especially when compared to those of our formidable enemies. Conversely, if we depend on God two things will happen, one is that we will win by decisively defeating our adversaries and the other is that we did not have to use our own energy because God took care of everything and in the best way possible. Which of these two options do you prefer? Only to God be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged anointed, cup, enemies, God, head, Jesus, life, oil, overflow, prepare, presence, table
I have considered my ways
and have turned my steps to your statutes.
I will hasten and not delay
to obey your commands.
Everyone thinks they are always doing what is right. This is so because many people do not have a good framework to determine what things are right or wrong. Not having something to compare with the behavior of the individual will always lead him to deceit because what he thinks is correct will only depend on what his being prompts. God gave man two great points of reference for all men to know where they stand. One is his conscience and the other is the word of God. In the absence of the word of God, conscience acts as a mechanism of checks and balances and can be very useful. Unfortunately, conscience can be silenced by the will and in fact, this is the situation of the vast majority of people who live next to a muted conscience. On the other hand, they have no way to shut the word of God up because it carries the glorious message of truth and salvation. Where there is light darkness disappears, where there is truth deceit has no place.
This is the main reason why people do not like reading the word of God. Because of satanic pride nobody likes to be told that they have been acting improperly. Hence, as mentioned earlier, everyone thinks that what they are doing is right and that their behavior needs no correction or adjustment. The word of God is inflexible and stands as an absolute standard to separate right from wrong. We may interpret it as we like but we can never change it. We can think whatever we want of it but we will never be able to lessen its authority and its absolute position and ability to discern right from wrong. The word of God is the food that we eat every day so we are not guided by our own opinion, which is very accommodating and will always yields to our passions. Only when we compare our actions with God expectations of us is that we can correct the course to return to the paths of God’s presence. Only to God be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged Christianity, commands, consider, delay, God, haste, obey, righteousness, statutes, steps, turn, ways
the taunts with which your enemies, LORD, have mocked,
with which they have mocked every step of your anointed one.
Praise be to the LORD forever! Amen and Amen.
It is easy for some of us to be thankful to God when all is going well. Others cannot even raise a thankful glance to heaven or mutter a simple “thanks God.” when everything is going superb. And there are those who, despite adversity, amid the most terrible storms, when everything falls apart and all hope is lost, can say “thank you Lord, for I know that whatever happens to me is for my own good.” The latter are those who have understood perfectly what the apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Not only are they have perfectly understood this principle but they have also taken ownership of this promise of God for His children. Be it storm or peace, they are always trusting that everything is under the absolute control of God.
The author of Psalm 89, Ethan, was one of these people because despite the wealth of aggression and adversity to which he was subjected he was able to send blessings to the Lord, knowing that everything that was happening in his life and also in relation the nation of Israel was part of the good, pleasing and perfect will of God. Do you understand this biblical principle? Can you thank God for all that you have received, whether good or bad, recognition or insults, blows or kindness, curses or blessings, hate or smiles, contempt or acceptance, health or sickness, scarcity or abundance, joy or pain, etc.? When you learn to maintain your spirits high despite the circumstances around you, you will fully understand what Ethan was thinking when he ended his long list of complaints and lamentations with a heartfelt blessing for God. So, the next time you complain, also give praise to God. Only to God be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged Amen, anointed, Christianity, enemies, forever, God, LORD, mocking, praise, taunts, understanding
But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.
In these postmodern times no one knows and few care about what is right and what is wrong. The characteristic ambiguity of postmodernism makes no distinction between black and white, all boundaries disappear and everything becomes a range of gray tones without limits. Gradually we can see how practices and customs that until now have always been considered sin, are now being accepted as normal for the sake of a misunderstood tolerance. The world, which has plunged into total confusion, would rather accept whatever comes its way so it does not have to bother to separate what should be from what should not be. Everything is accepted and taken for legitimate and nobody cares what is going on as long as all thoughts are focused on putting man at the center of the universe. No one seems concerned that values have become obsolete, but as soon as someone is affected by the vices of another, that someone becomes outraged and calls for justice.
Existentialism placed emotions above reason, the world accepted these ideas without objections and now we all suffer the consequences of living in a world of confusion and violence where tolerance becomes the cardinal virtue and the traditional scheme of values has lost relevance. The psalmist Asaph ends the psalm with a clear and firm statement: “But as for me, it is good to be near God.” Who can refute this truth? What about you? How close are you to God? What gives meaning to your life? Do you just go along with your emotions and your sensual pleasures or rely upon the word of God to make your decisions? Your actions are controlled by your scheme of values. And for you, Who is above all things, you or God? Calibrate your values against the word of God and you will know how close or far you are from Him. Only to God be the glory!
“But now, Lord, what do I look for?
My hope is in you.
If anyone needs an example of how to put his hope in God, just remember the last words of our Lord Jesus Christ as He hung on the tree seconds before submitting His spirit, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit!” We know that Jesus’ hope was honored by God because on the third day, God raised Him from the grave, freeing Him from the chains of death and giving Him absolute victory over the great enemy of mankind and antithesis of all that Jesus Christ means to all creation. The Lord said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” The Lord, who is life Himself, could not be bound by death because God is above all things for He is the Creator of all that is, seen and unseen.
When you think that everything has failed and you have no more hope, approach the only one who truly you can go to and who will never disappoint you. He is our hope. We long for His return to get rid of this physical body full of sin and destined to fall into the clutches of death. Let us say together with the Psalmist King David: “I put my hope in you!” And let us rejoice like David also saying: “I put on the Lord all my hope, he leaned toward me and heard my cry. He took me from the pit of death, the mud and mire, and set my feet upon a rock, and planted me on solid ground. He put in my mouth a new song, a hymn of praise to our God.” Only to God be the glory!
Dogs surround me,
a pack of villains encircles me;
they pierce my hands and my feet.
All my bones are on display;
people stare and gloat over me.
They divide my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.
This is one of the many prophecies that found their fulfillment in the person of Jesus, the Messiah, he who had to come to restore all things. The people of Israel motivated by the hate and envy of their religious leaders towards the Rabbi who brought teaching with authority, not knowing what they were doing, demanded that the teacher be crucified as a vile murderer or thief. He who came to give life was led to death. He who came to give us dignity received scorn and derision from his own people. He who came to show compassion for lost souls, in exchange, received injuries and violence. He who came to show us the way of love was hated to the point of wishing his death as the most despicable of criminals.
However, this was all part of the glorious master plan of God. In spite of all the painful and terrible suffering of our Lord on the cross of Calvary or Golgotha, it was necessary for us that he would take the place that in justice was for all of us despicable sinners without any possibility of redemption. It was you and me who had to be on that shameful cross and not the Creator of the universe. But it was necessary for him to occupy our place to achieve victory over sin and then also conquer death, which now has no power or authority over the lives of those who believe in him and who have accepted His sacrifice for all of us . On this Good Friday, let us pause to reflect on the work that Jesus Christ accomplished for the sake of all mankind. Upon reflection there cannot be but a spirit of gratitude and surrender at his feet. Thank him for everything he has done for you and correct your course to follow the path that he has set for all who are called children of God. For the wonderful work accomplished by our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, only to God be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged bones, cast lots, clothes, dog, feet, garment, gloat, hands, pierce, surround, villains
I am a stranger on earth;
do not hide your commands from me.
One of the strongest industries in the world is that of tourism. Tourists spend large sums of money each year to visit foreign countries and also to do domestic tourism. Most countries in Europe, the United States, China and Mexico are at the top of the list of countries that have generated more revenues for this concept. The number of travelers visiting these countries is measured in millions of people per year and the income they generate is measured in billions of dollars a year. One of the industries that have developed alongside tourism is that of the publication of travel guides. These books, full of information to help you make the most of a short stay in a city or a specific country, sell very well and make one of the most visited sections of bookstores. Can you imagine visiting a country without having defined a well researched plan of visits to museums, historic sites, beautiful architecture and landscapes of breathtaking beauty? Very few tourists would dare to live the adventure of a tourist trip without carrying in their pockets one of these helpful guides.
Surprisingly, many of God’s children pass through this world, of which they are not citizens, without using the ultimate traveler’s guide, the word of God, the Bible. The vast majority of the time we feel so comfortable in this world that we forget that our citizenship is in heaven and that we are just passing through a very large tourist attraction, this world. On top of it, we do not even know anything about the quite interesting things we can do and the most recommended places to visit while we are here to enhance our travel experience. It’s never too late for you to review the travelers guide. You will be surprised to find out the many things you never knew you could do and those that you had to do to make the most of your trip. Therefore, let us begin now to know more about this world and what God expects of us because time is short. You’ll travel with a completely differently perspective than the one you had before. Only to God be the glory!
Some wandered in desert wastelands,
finding no way to a city where they could settle.
They were hungry and thirsty,
and their lives ebbed away.
For any thing that causes anguish God has an answer and a solution. It is very common at certain times in our lives to find ourselves going through desert wastelands having lost our orientation. The time it will take us to get out of that desert will depend on the stubbornness with which we cling to old ways of doing things, which we know do not work but continue to carry out by not daring to do something different and more aligned with what God commands in His word. The enemy is in charge of bombarding our minds with thoughts of low self-esteem to make us believe, by the endless repetition of his lies, that we can not change or learn to behave in a way that pleases God. Several times I have found in the leadership literature that a definition of insanity is to continue doing the things that end up in failure, expecting to obtain a different result. I think that this definition also applies to folly and it is not surprising since both words, madness and folly, are often used interchangeably.
Are you moving in circles without achieving any progress? Have you ever wondered if the reason for this lies in the manner or direction you’re moving? Are you planning to do things or trying to resolve issues as they come? Have you consulted with God why you are stuck in the road? Are you doing things properly? Often the causes of our slow progress toward spiritual maturity are inappropriate behaviors that we refuse to give up either because we like doing things that way or because we have not bothered to find out what God wants us to do. In a situation like the one shown in the verse of today’s reflection, the Holy Spirit of God inspired the psalmist to let us know the solution to such a serious matter: “Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.” What is taking you so long to bring your case before the loving presence of your heavenly Father? That is the only place where you will find both guidance and solution to get you out of stagnation. Only to God be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged Christianity, city, desert, ebb away, God, hungry, life, settle, spirituality, thirsty, wander, wasteland
He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father,
my God, the Rock my Savior.’
And I will appoint him to be my firstborn,
the most exalted of the kings of the earth.
Those who dominate the world care about keeping their dynasties in power. Be it monarchies, dictatorships or democracies, those in authority seek ways to establish continuity in power through their descendants or close relatives, either by constitutional means, by established traditions or by brute force. In the case of monarchies there is one or more lines of succession for determining who is entitled to occupy the throne on the death of the incumbent. Following the steps, regardless of the inconsequence, of people who are in these lines of succession is the purpose and business of some celebrity magazines. But rather than keeping up with these petty stories the world should be keeping abreast of everything related to the only person who is above all kings and authorities in the universe, the King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus Christ.
The covenant established by God with King David contains the promise that the house of King David and his kingdom will endure forever before God and his throne shall be established forever. The Lord Jesus is the person who now occupies and will occupy for ever and ever that throne promised by God. The Lord Jesus said: “I am the root and offspring of David, the bright morning star.” We look forward to that day when the King returns to reign over all the earth to be the only God and his name to be the only name. We look forward to that day when we all with one voice and with all our might will sing: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” and “To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, forever and ever!” To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged appoint, Christianity, earth, Everlasting Father, exalted, firstborn, God, hope, kings, rock, Savior
Whenever God slew them, they would seek him;
they eagerly turned to him again.
They remembered that God was their Rock,
that God Most High was their Redeemer.
One characteristic of human behavior is its fickleness. We are too changeable. Our attention shifts focus at all times and we rarely concentrate on one idea. Our thoughts have no reins and we can hardly control them. In everything we act like that. If we want something, we insist and insist until finally we get it and then we put it away because something else has caught our interest. This fickleness applies in any aspect of our lives and is a serious weakness of character. Even with God we act like that. We cry out to God for a solution or something that we need and when God gives us what we are asking for we praise him. But this gratefulness is short-lived because once the need is gone we forget how it was that we reached peace. We forget that God is our savior and our provider and we return to our empty routines that bring us no benefit.
To bring us back to the way of righteousness God allows new situations which require us to raise our eyes to him and ask again for his help to once again give continuity to the vicious circle of need, pray, receive, appreciate and forget. Let us draw near to God with faith and ask for wisdom considering what James, the brother of the Lord Jesus tells us in his letter: “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” The apostle Paul said:” You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” The key is to stay in obedience considering everything from the perspective of faith with perseverance. Only then will we walk straight in the path of justice. Only to God be the glory!