Short Thoughts – Week 30: Days 204-210

Day 204      Praise God


  I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.   Psalm 34:1


This photo of Niagara Falls shows the beauty and power of Creator God.


Often in this life we feel that the world is against us, that nobody is paying attention to the wrongs being done against us. In Psalm 34, the Psalmist provides us with instruction on who to handle this problem. We   are to remember that it is God’s responsibility to corral the wicked, correct them, or punish them, according to His understanding of true justice. Our focus is to be on the Lord. When it is, we are protected, and we see how worthy of our worship and praise God really is.

The Psalm is divided into three parts.

Part 1

  1. 1-3 , The Psalmist wants to praise God. In these three verses we see him

  • BLESSING the Lord – at all times

  • PRAISING the Lord – continually

  • BOASTING in the Lord – which brings gladness to his soul

  • MAGNIFYING the lord – with others

  • EXALTING in the Lord – again, together with others

Part 2

  1. 4-14, The passage shows someone who eagerly seeks after God and is rewarded in various ways.

  • He sought and God answered (4)

  • Those who look at Him are radiant (5)

  • He cried and God heard & saved him from trouble (6)

  • He feared God and God sent an angel to watch over him (7)

  • When we taste the Lord, we experience His goodness (8a)

  • When we take refuge in Him, He blesses us (8b)

  • When we fear and seek God, we lack nothing (10)

  • When we listen, God sends one to teach us how to fear God (11)

  • We may want to live a long life (12) -if so, obey the following commandments:

Keep your tongue from evil & deceit (13)                                                                                Turn away from evil & do good (14a)                                                                                           Seek peace – pursue it!

Part 3

  1. 15-22, The psalmist concludes with reminders about the activity of God on our behalf.

  • He sees us and hears our cries (15)

  • He looks at what evildoers are doing – He knows their plots against us (16)

  • He delivers us when we need His help (17)

  • He is near the brokenhearted, those crushed in spirit (18)

  • He delivers the righteous person from many afflictions (19)

  • Evil men cannot break His bones (a prophecy of Jesus on the cross – v.20)

  • He will properly judge the wicked (21)

  • He redeems His servants, saving them from condemnation (22)

It is no wonder that the Psalmist wants to praise and worship the Lord!

Your turn:

  1. Read Psalm 34.

  2. Look at all the ways praise is described in verses 1-3. If you are looking for a way to worship God, here are five.

  3. Survey the commands of verses 4-14: seek the Lord, seek peace, look at the Lord, cry to Him, taste and see Him for who He is, take refuge in Him, fear Him, watch your tongue, turn away from temptation. Which one should you especially work on today?

  4. Notice how active God is on our behalf (verses 15-22). A lot of this is about people who do us wrong. Note that it is God who                   them. It is not up to us to get even with them!

Day 205    Waiting on God

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined for me and heard my cry…You are my help and deliverer; do not delay O my God!”            Psalm 40:1, 17b


Day 205 Waiting

Some things in life happen quickly – other times we have to wait. We live only 45 minutes from the border separating Canada and the United States. You don’t mind the 45 minute drive, but recently (December 2022), we had a long two hour wait to get through customs. News reports tell us that many people visiting the Emergency Department at Canadian hospitals are having to wait several hours before getting help – that can be very dangerous. Also lately, passengers tell of long delays either boarding a plane or working through customs and luggage claims once they arrive at their destination. It’s hard to wait.

Psalm 40 begins with the writer telling us he had to wait for God to answer a cry for help; it ends similarly asking God not to delay deliverance (verses 1 and 17). Waiting on God is his theme – but his focus is more on God than the waiting.

The psalm can be outlined as follows:                                                                                      Part 1: God hears, verse 1-5                                                                                                       Part 2: God comes, verses 6-10                                                                                                  Part 3: God is merciful, verses 11-17

Part 1                                                                                                                                           David is the author. He is thinking of a time when he faced destruction (v. 2). It was as if he were trying to get out of a “miry bog”, a time of insecurity. He had a wait before God came to his rescue, but He did come and now David could sing a new song of praise (v. 3). Witnesses to his deliverance would put their trust in God. David’s faith acted as a testimony to God’s goodness to him, with multiple “wondrous deeds” that David could tell others about (v. 5).

Part 2                                                                                                                                          David continues the thought of God’s faithfulness and salvation in verses 6-10. He has an “open ear” (v. 6). In other words, he is listening. Isaiah had a similar experience and gives God the credit for making him listen: Isaiah 50:4-5, “Morning by morning He awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. God has opened my ear.”

God has come: “Behold, I have come.” Reflecting on this encourages David to delight in doing God’s will and to tell other worshippers the “glad news” of God’s steadfast love, deliverance, and salvation.

Part 3                                                                                                                                                    In the final section, the Psalmist is again thinking of the evils that surround him – those who threaten his life and reputation (verses 14-15) and even his own sins that overwhelm him (v. 12). So, again he pleas for help (v. 13) and again he thanks God, rejoices in the Lord, and praises God: “Great is the Lord!” (v. 16).

Your Turn:

  1. Read Psalm 40.

  2. Notice v. 6 where David states that God is more concerned that we are listening to Him than that we perform religious rituals. The sacrifices of the Old Testament were meant to represent God’s redeeming work on our behalf. They stood for something much larger and more important than the mere act of doing them. Hebrews 10:5-7 quotes this passage, ending with, “Behold, I have come to do your will, O God.” The One who came was Jesus, who did the Father’s will in offering Himself as the sacrifice that ended all sacrifices. Isaiah 40 can be understood as a reference to Christ who had to face severe trial and did so in obedience to the Father and acceptance of His plan.

  3. God listens to our cries and we should listen to God’s words to us. Sometimes God answers our prayers immediately; at other times, He takes more time and we are to wait. If we are truly trusting Him, we will wait.


Day 206      Why?

Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God. Psalm 42:5,11;43:5

669 Civic Broken Window

It is not at all unusual for us to ask, “Why is this happening to me?” It might be

  • a relatively minor complaint when something is not going right -e.g., the vacuum cleaner stops working

  • a time of confusion about the choices facing us – this should not be so difficult, the options are clear

  • a moment of forgetfulness – why can’t I remember that password or combination

  • a major fear or disappointment that is weighing down upon us – people don’t believe me; someone is ridiculing me in front of others; a friend has turned against me

  • it might be a prolonged struggle with depression, an inner struggle

Can you recall a time when something like this has made you ask, “Why?”

In Psalms 42 and 43, the writer makes this cry for answers a total of nine times (42:5, 11; 43:2, 5). He asks, Why is my soul discouraged? Why am I in such turmoil? Why has God rejected me? Why am I mourning? Part of his difficulty is that he wants to spend time with others in worship of God, but something is preventing that from happening: “When shall I come and appear before God?” (42:2). He used to do this frequently – going with others to the house of worship with glad shouts and songs of praise (42:4). He had found those times ones of joy (43:4). That is why he longs for their return: “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” (42:1-2)

It is good to have a thirst for God’s presence. Jesus taught, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6) Sometimes, though, there are circumstances that stand in the way – illness, infirmity, lack of transportation to get to church, opposition of a spouse to anything ‘religious’, government oppression, a job schedule that requires you to work on Sundays, the weather, or a worldwide pandemic!

So, what answers to this dilemma does the psalmist suggest? Notice these several aids available to us in times of frustration and depression.

  1. Belief in the reality of God. The writer never questions whether God exists. Instead he speaks of “the living God” (42:2). Sceptics say, “Where is your God?” (42:3,10). Perhaps they mock, ‘Aren’t you supposed to be a Christian – well, where’s your God, then?’ Or, maybe they question your faith and suggest, as Job’s ‘friends’ in the Old Testament spoke to Job, “Know then that God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves” (Job 11:6). Job did not give up his trust in God even when he had no answer for all the pain he was experiencing.

  2. Remembering past times of joyful fellowship with God. The psalmist has fulfilling memories of previous times of worship – Psalm 42:4, 6 – and these memories help him to have confidence that one day soon he will be able to go to the holy hill and altar of God and praise God with music (43:3-4).

  3. Hope in God. Hope, for such times that will come – “Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him”. Trust Him to be there in the dark nights (“at night His song is with me”, 42:8). Trust Him to vindicate and defend you from false accusations (43:1). Take refuge in Him (43:2). This hope is a sure hope. God will deliver.

Thus, seek Him. Seek God’s light and truth. Seek His comfort. After all, that’s what these two psalms are about, isn’t it? Notice the seeking theme:                                                                                                          my soul pants for You                                                                                                           my soul thirsts for God                                                                                              when shall I come before God?                                                                                hope in God                                                                                                                              the God in whom I take refuge                                                                                     let them (God’s light & truth)                                                                                   lead me let them bring me to Yor holy hill                                                                      I will go to the altar of God – hope in God…

Your Turn:

  1. Read Psalms 42 and 43.

  2. Do you have a hunger for God’s presence? Are you seeking Him? How?

    1. Read Psalm 45

    2. Do you find joy in Jesus’ presence? Does your heart overflow (v. 1) – do you desire to praise Him?

    3. Do you welcome Him into your day and seek Him always?  How do you worship God? Is meeting regularly with other seekers in a worship setting a regular part of this worship


      Day 207    Wedding Song 

       Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness;  you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions…                Psalm 45:5-7                                              

                                  Day 207 OrganPipes




      Music is an important part of a wedding ceremony. Imagine the organ pipes illustrated above, sounding forth with Richard Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus” or Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” and other glorious music that might be used in a wedding. We smile and enjoy the splendour and meaningfulness of the occasion. Psalm 45 is a musical composition written for the wedding of a king. The title includes this explanation: “To the Choirmaster: According to Lilies. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah: A Love Song”. “Lilies” may refer to the flower which is ornamental, has a lovely fragrance, and comes in a variety of colours – though white lilies are the ones often associated with bridal bouquets. “Maskil” is a term found in thirteen psalms and is probably a musical term related to how the music is to be performed. The title also identifies this as a “love song” with both bride and groom being addressed (verses 1-9 and 15-17 address the king and verses 10-15, the bride and her party).

      Who is this king? We don’t know for sure, but it is most likely someone in David’s lineage. And it has another special and important connection, namely as a reference to the Messiah, the King of kings. Hebrews 1:8-9 says (referring to this Psalm), “But of the Son, He says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore, God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gradness beyond your companions.’” So, while reading these beautiful words, we must see that they ultimately point to Jesus, the Christ (Anointed One), King of Kings, plus God and Son of God (“Your throne, O God is forever  .… God, your God, has anointed You”).

      How is the King/Groom described? In verses 2-9, He is said to be handsome, full of grace, blessed, mighty, full of splendour and majesty, and victorious. He stands for truth, meekness, and righteousness. He carries a “scepter” of righteousness. The scepter speaks of rightful authority to rule. And His scepter supports a kingdom based on what is right and what is in opposition to what is wicked. The reference to being anointed with oil (v. 7) speaks to the official recognition of an honoured person, especially a monarch –  as the prophet Samuel anointed David as the next King of Israel in I Samuel 16:13. Here in Psalm 45 it is the “oil of gladness”, meaning a particularly joyful recognition by God Father of the Son for all His work on our behalf. This joy is further emphasized by the descriptions in verses 8-9 of lovely fragrances, triumphant music, and fair maidens in attendance at the wedding reception, along with the beautiful bride.

      We must remember that in the New Testament believers are spoken of as the “bride of Christ”.       

      25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.    Ephesians 5:25-27        

         The psalmist is giving us a picture of more than a royal wedding. It is a picture of Christ Jesus (majestic, honoured, righteous, bringing joy). Thus, when we get to verses 10-15, what is said of the bride is said to us, if we belong to Him through faith. We bow to Christ the King (v. 11) and understand that Christ loves and cherishes us .  We find joy in Him (v. 15). We are associated with the Lord’s name, the name of the King who is worthy of praise forever (v. 17).

      Your Turn:

      1. Read Psalm 45

      2. Do you find joy in Jesus’ presence? Does your heart overflow (v. 1) – do you desire to praise Him?

      3. Do you welcome Him into your day and seek Him always?  


Day 208            GOD, THE JUDGE

The heavens declare His righteousness, for God Himself is judge.    Psalm 50:6

208 God Judges

The Canadian Encyclopedia defines the role of a judge as follows,

         “Judges are public officers appointed to preside in a court of justice, to interpret and apply the laws of Canada. They are responsible for adjudicating personal, sensitive, delicate, and emotional disputes; and for resolving major social, economic, and political issues that arise within a legal context.” 

                                                                                [ ]

I have been in court only a couple of times in my life – once as a witness called to testify in a child custody matter – a concerning case involving parental responsibility and a child’s future; and once as a spectator, there to see three of our grandchildren officially adopted, the Judge in his robes there questioning the children and signing the binding documents – also a serious matter but one of celebration!

In Psalm 50 the Lord God’s role as Judge is spoken of: “that He may judge His people” (v. 4).

Judges have authority. In God’s case, He inherently has authority, compared to a human judge who is appointed by someone else, usually a government. We read that God is “the Mighty One” (v. 1). He speaks and summons the earth – we are expected to listen. His strength is likened to fire and a tempest (v. 3). He is the judge of the highest court (v. 14, “the Most High”). God is also declared to be beautiful (v. 2), covenant-keeping (v. 5), and righteous (v. 6). If you are going to appear before a judge, you want this kind of judge!

He speaks, and what does He say? Verse 7-13 tell us.  In a court, testimony is offered, from human witnesses, existing statutes, previous court rulings, and various pieces of evidence. Verse 7 says that God, the Judge, will testify against the nation of Israel. He has credentials as an expert witness: “I am God, your God”.

The case against the nation related to the sincerity of their lives. They had offered sacrifices and offerings, as the Law of Moses required, but they were in fact dishonest in that act of worship for their lives had not matched God’s expectations. God says He does not need their sacrifices of animals or birds  (verse 9-13). What does He ask of them?

         Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon Me in the day of trouble (v. 14).

God wanted them to acknowledge that the provisions of life they had came from Him. For this they should be thankful. No doubt also included in this thought was the thanksgiving that they should give Him for forgiveness of sin, cleansing, and life eternal. The animals, for example, were considered payment for their sins, as one day, Christ Jesus would die for your sins and mine. These offerings were not just religious ceremonies. The people had too often gave these sacrifices while reciting scripture (v. 16), but they had not really repented (“you hate discipline and you cast My words behind you”, v. 17). They had committed sins like theft and adultery (v. 18),and spoken with deceit against brothers (vv. 19-20). They had at times make sacred vows (v. 14) but not kept their promises. God desired follow through on those vows. He was eager to answer them in a day of trouble (vv. 14-15)

That was the case for the prosecution. They had no defense.

In verses 21-22 of Psalm 50, the concluding statement is given, consisting of a summary of the charges against them.

   These things you have done, and I have been silent; you thought that I was one like yourself, but now I rebuke you and lay this charge before you. Mark this, then, you who forget God, lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver!

They had failed to obey God in the ways identified in the previous verses. They had forgotten God. The Judge had made His decision. They thought He was like them – interested only in the form of religion their religious acts symbolized, but He was not. They mistook His patience (“I have been silent”, v. 21) for acceptance or approval when it was far from that.

However, there was still opportunity for them. They could offer a genuine sacrifice of praise and glorify God, backed up with an obedient lifestyle (v. 21).

Your Turn:

  1. Read Psalm 50.

  2. Look again at the opening definition of a judge and his or her role above. Now, let’s change that definition a little by defining God’s role as Judge:

As Judge, God is self-appointed Judge, presiding over the administration of justice, Who interprets and applies the laws of He has written down in His Word. He is responsible for adjudicating personal, sensitive, delicate, and emotional disputes; and for resolving major social, economic, and political issues that arise within the context of the Law of God.

How have you done in your observance of God’s Law? Do you seek His justice in your disputes and in resolving the issues of life you face?

  1. Notice also that God is Judge is mighty, most high, the perfection of beauty, righteous, and offering salvation. He does not ignore sin and is to be respected, and worthy of praise for His forgiveness and salvation – if we will only accept it.