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 85, 86, and 87.
Small verse. Big idea. What role does righteousness play in our daily life and decisions? Righteousness, living right before God, is what we are in Christ and what we must live out as Christ-followers. It is not always our first course. The Bible is full of folks who lived righteously and many who did not. What impact would it make in our lives if we were more intentional about living right before God? What if we prayed each day and aimed each decision at righteousness? How would lives be lifted, marriages strengthened, finances improved, faith matured, and cares be comforted? Pray with me, “Lord, thank you for your love and salvation. May I walk right before you and live right for you more today than yesterday. May righteousness be what guides my life, decisions, and steps. Help me be the person you envision I can become. Amen.”
“Righteousness goes before him and prepares the way for his steps.” — Psalms 85:13
I particularly find Scriptures that remind me to have an “undivided heart,” to always be timely and impactful. Why? Because it is always so easy to be conflicted, distracted, overwhelmed, and busy with so much to do and think about. I need to remind myself to be undivided, focused, devoted, and committed to God as my first priority. It’s not that I don’t want to. It’s not that I don’t believe it is vital. It’s just that life has a full list of competing demands, and if you are not careful, can sweep you away and divide your heart. Burdens, work issues, problems, cares, concerns, disappointments, and many good things, too. All have a way of demanding our attention and at times can distract us from God. We need to discipline ourselves to live undivided lives when it comes to honoring God first in our lives. I need to start and end each day reaffirming that He is my God and that I want to serve Him fully. God will help us. Ask Him to give you an undivided heart.
“Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, Lord, my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” — Psalms 86:11-12, 15
The centrality and importance of Jerusalem in the Old Testament is often referred to and celebrated. It always reminds me of the New Jerusalem, our eternal home. Keeping our eyes and hearts fixed on Heaven is a good thing. It can help us remember who we are, where we’re going, and what matters most in life. Revelation 21:1-4 says. “Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
“Glorious things are said of you, city of God:” — Psalms 87:3