Psalm 64, 65, 66
The Psalms have brought tremendous comfort and guidance to so many for so long. Join me in taking a fresh look at each Psalm. As you read through them, I urge you to reflect, pray, and apply these devotional bits of encouragement to your own life. Today, we study and reflect on Psalms 64, 65, and 66.
What is the first thing you do when treated unjustly? When people speak evil of you, criticize you, minimize you, hurt you with their conversation or actions, or both? Typically, our hurt turns to anger, and our anger wants to strike out seeking revenge. It is a natural human impulse, but it’s not typically the wise course. I like David’s words here. He reminds us to do first things first. Pray. Talk to God about our complaints. Lay it all on Him. He can handle it, and He can give us clarity on what to do next. Maybe we ignore it, or perhaps we respond calmly and clearly to provide correction and perspective. Maybe we communicate our side of the issue. Maybe we confront wrongdoing. Maybe we turn the other cheek or give a “soft answer.” Scripture encourages various responses depending on the circumstances, but it is wise to always start with prayer in all situations. Ask God for calmness and clarity. Ask Him for wisdom and strength. Let Him defend you and guide you. Be more concerned about pleasing Him in how you handle unkindness than pleasing others.
“Hear me, my God, as I voice my complaint; protect my life from the threat of the enemy. Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked, from the plots of evildoers. They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows. They shoot from ambush at the innocent; they shoot suddenly, without fear.” — Psalms 64:1-4
Forgiveness. Do we really understand forgiveness? If we knew how much our sins broke the heart of God, would we seek to be more humble, more obedient, and more faithful? Our sins are why Jesus went to the Cross. Our disobedience and unfaithfulness ruins relationships, taints our testimony, contaminates character, and keeps us from being who God wants us to be. God is saddened by our sin, and we should be too. Today, thank Jesus for His forgiveness and tell Him you want your life to reflect deep gratitude for it by living more faithfully for Him. May God’s amazing love and merciful forgiveness stir in our hearts today and compel us to love and live for Him more today than yesterday. Forgiveness. I don’t deserve it, but it powerfully shows me God’s love. It moves me to live my life humbly, showing God I understand it and am deeply grateful for it. Truly appreciating forgiveness turns our heart toward Him as we reflect on His amazing love for us.
“When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions.” — Psalms 65:3
We must do two things every day, not only as a spiritual discipline, but as a life discipline: Praise and Prayer. Besides honoring God and building my faith, praise clears my mind, focuses my heart, and prioritizes my life. Praise glorifies God, first and foremost. It also trains me to focus on my many blessings. It helps me remember His many attributes (power, wisdom, kindness) and celebrate His promises. Prayer draws me closer to God. I express sorrow as I confess my sins. I discuss my problems and needs and the needs of others. I communicate my dependence on and devotion to God. Make prayer and praise a priority at the beginning of every day. Prayer and praise are like spiritual exercise and strength training. Let’s go!
“Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious. Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you. All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing the praises of your name.” Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!” — Psalms 66:2-4, 16, 18-20