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January 14, 2020

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year
New American Standard Bible for 2020

Text: Genesis 41-42
Audio: Genesis 41-42

Psalm 34 (ESV)

Of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.

I will bless the Lord at all times;
    his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
    let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
    and let us exalt his name together!

I sought the Lord, and he answered me
    and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
    and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
    and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
    around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
    Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,
    for those who fear him have no lack!
10 The young lions suffer want and hunger;
    but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

11 Come, O children, listen to me;
    I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 What man is there who desires life
    and loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil
    and your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Turn away from evil and do good;
    seek peace and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
    and his ears toward their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
    to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
    and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
    and saves the crushed in spirit.

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
    but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
20 He keeps all his bones;
    not one of them is broken.
21 Affliction will slay the wicked,
    and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22 The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
    none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.


English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

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Next: Psalm 35

Back: Psalm 33

This Post Has 8 Comments
  1. I will bless the Lord at all times;
        his praise shall continually be in my mouth (Psalm 34:1).

    Unconditional Praise

    One of the blessings of focusing on the truth of God's Word is not focusing on our problems. While there are plenty of things not going well at any given time, we can be certain not only does God know about it but He is God over it (and has a purpose for it). 

    One of the ways God grows our faith is through difficult times. These trials build our faith muscles and ensure our faith will endure. 

    In today's psalm, David says that he will bless the Lord at all times and praise will continually be in his mouth (Psalm 34:1). This means no matter what he is going through, no matter how high the mountain or deep the valley, David commits to blessing the Lord at all times and praising him continually.

    This reminds me of Philippians 4:4-9, "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

    8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you."

    Blessing the Lord at all times doesn't mean we will always feel like blessing Him or feel blessed by Him – especially when we're suffering. But in our darkest times and difficult challenges, blessing the Lord and praising Him reflects our resolve in His sovereignty and a deepened trust in Him with every aspect of our lives. 


    ~ Puritan Prayer ~

    "Show Me The Way From Your Word #3" by Philip Doddridge

    "Keep my heart tender (2 Kings 22:19), easily impressed with your word and providence, touched with an affectionate concern for your glory, and sensitive to every impulse of your Spirit.

    May I be zealous for you, God (Numbers 25:13), with a zeal based on knowledge and love (1 Corinthians 14:14). Teach me in your service to join the wisdom of the serpent with the boldness of the lion and the innocence of the dove (Matthew 10:16)."

    (Excerpt taken from Piercing Heaven: Prayers of the Puritans)

  2. As always, a great reading for me today. 

    For the past 5 days, I've been laid up with a bad back. Being an ambitious, productive person, I'm struggling with having the patience to allow it to heal. I'm watching my "To Do" list grow, and I'm anxious to attack it. Also, I have a family here to care for, and I am beginning to feel a bit useless. Ugh. 

    But right from the get-go, I have been trying to praise God in the storm. I know this is a test and it has a purpose in God's plan for me. I do get scared that if this becomes a recurring problem, my family will suffer for it, but I know I need to trust God to take care of us. 

    Want to hear something amazing? Right at this very moment, I can hear my family members discussing how we should maybe think about hiring a young person to train to work here, as my home is made up of all people with special needs, be it age or disabilities. 

    I was so exhausted before my back trouble – maybe this is God's way of making me rest and expanding our staff? I don't know for sure, but I can take great comfort in knowing for sure that He does. 

    1. Dear Brynne, I know God has a purpose for your suffering right now. And it is like Him to do something drastic to get our attention before we go any further down a road He does not want us on!

      I remember Scott saying many years ago that he believed God had him in ministry to "keep him on a short leash," because he was so prone to wander. When he left the ministry in 2007, he went through a very dark period (I call those "the cave years") and I often thought of his self-warning. He was indeed wandering, and so vulnerable. But God brought him back, and Scott followed His voice.

      I am praying for you, and excited to see God's work in your family's situation. He is good, good, good. 

  3. "Affliction will slay the wicked,
        and those who hate the righteous will be condemned."

    At first, I thought this was only about non-Christians who hate Christians — because certainly, they are the only people who would hate the righteous, right? And Scripture clearly states that non-Christians are condemned already:  

    "Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." John 3:18

    But then I thought of those who profess Christ as Lord and Savior, but who hate one of their brothers in Christ! What a terrible judgment awaits them. According to Scripture, they are numbered with the condemned. 

    "Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes." 1 John 2:9-11

    "We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother." 1 John 4:19-21

    I want to know more about this, Scott. Can you help me to understand? Thank you!

    1. Hi, Michelle – John MacArthur's Commentary on this section of Scripture is excellent. 

      "In this concluding portion of the passage, John applies the test of supernatural love to those who claim to be Christians. Its presence is a sure indicator of transformation, salvation, and divine life. The false teachers of John’s day arrogantly claimed a higher knowledge of the divine nature and communion with deity, but it produced only proud disdain for unenlightened, common people. But the Christians, most of whom were slaves or members of the working class (cf. 1 Cor. 1:26–29), were the truly enlightened who demonstrated their true knowledge of God as they not only loved one another, but reached out in love to those lost in sin’s darkness (cf. Matt. 5:44; Luke 6:27, 35).

      "It is a meaningless boast for someone to say he is in the Light (cf. Matt. 7:21–23; James 1:22; 2:14–26; 1 John 1:6); if he (or she) hates his brother—meaning that he does not love saints selflessly as God does—he is not in the divine kingdom of light but remains in the darkness until now. On the other hand, the one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. Those who love and obey God’s Word and express selfless love to fellow believers are truly transformed; they are not going to cause others to fall. In the New Testament, stumbling refers to sinning (cf. Matt. 5:29–30; 13:41; 18:6, 8–9; Luke 17:2; John 16:1; 1 Cor. 8:13; Rev. 2:14). John used the term to explain that the person who truly loves others—as a reflection of his love for Christ—will not cause them to sin (cf. Rom. 13:8–10) or reject the gospel. So there is a love that proves salvation, as the Son of God said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34–35)."

      I hope this helps!

      1. "John used the term to explain that the person who truly loves others—as a reflection of his love for Christ—will not cause them to sin (cf. Rom. 13:8–10) or reject the gospel."

        So MacArthur concludes that our lack of love for and toward our brothers and sisters, and for the lost, can cause them to sin or even reject the gospel.

        I'm reminded immediately of Galatians 5:13-26, and how uncharacteristic it is for someone who claims the name of Christ to be known for "sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."

        Our reputation should be for the fruit of the spirit: "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…."

        I like how v. 24 ties it all together: "And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." 

        Interesting that this came back around to what God has been teaching me this past week re: work.

        Thank you, Scott!

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