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Psalm 2

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Psalm 2 is relevant and sheds light on our world in the twenty-first century.  Why do nations conspire against other nations?  Why do leaders often turn their backs on God?  These are the questions that the Holy Spirit addresses through the pen of King David.  Let us begin by reading the passage:

"Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?  The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.” The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.  He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, “I have installed my kingon Zion, my holy mountain.”  I will proclaim the Lord’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son;  today I have become your father. Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.  You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve theLord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling. Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment.  Blessed are all who take refuge in him."

It only takes a brief look at a globe or map of the world to see that the nation of Israel is surrounded by countries that conspire against them and seek there destruction.  In spite of tiny Israel holding less than one percent of the land in the middle east, neighboring countries demand that she give up major portions of the promised land those seeking her destruction.  Yet it seems that God laughts at the foes of Israel today just as King David noted three millennia ago. 

The leaders of all nations ought to consider the exhortations of this chapter.  Be wise - serve the Lord with fear and celebrate His rule.  "Blessed are all who take refuge in Him."  It is my prayer that all nations heed this advice, both in own governance and in their treatment of Israel.

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Psalm 1

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During the winter of 2017 we are going to review selected chapters from the book of Psalm.  It is fitting that we consider Psalm 1 on January 1;  while it is a short passage it is rich with theological truth.  Let us begin by reading the chapter: 

"Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.  3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.  4 Not so the wicked!  They are like chaff that the wind blows away.  5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.   6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction."

There are many passages in Scripture that encourage us to carefully consider our friends and associates (ie. do not be unequally yoked).  Verse one indicates that we are blessed when we refrain from close association with the wicked, or even with those who mock God.  This precludes that the behavior of a Christ Follower ought to differ substantially from those who would mock God.  An example of this difference is referenced in verse two:  we are to delight in the law of the Lord and to mediate on His word.  It it good to develop the habit of daily Bible reading and I can think of no better time to begin than the first day of a new year.  There are many Bible reading plans available - some can be found on the NAC website.  If you are new to Bible reading, I would encourage you to begin with one of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John).  Begin with only a chapter or two per day.  By the time you have finished that book, your habit will be well established and you can continue with the book of Acts.  At that point, alternating between the Old and New Testaments is a good plan. 

David declares God's purpose in exhorting us to read Scripture in verse three.  The person who regularly reads and mediates on the Bible is like a tree planted by streams of water...  While a tree needs sun and air in addition to water, most plants find water to be the most lacking need.  A tree growing along a river always has plenty of water and grows both quickly and strongly.  The tree anology is made clear to us in the final phrase of verse three:  "whatever they do prospers."  The person who mediates on the Word will yield much fruit (not necessarilly monitary prosperity). 

"Not so the wicked," continues David in verse five.  Rather than yield much fruit, the wicked will be like chaff that blows away in the wind.  The wicked may seem to do well for a time, but in the end (and in the most important components of life) they will not yield lasting fruit.  The legacy they leave will soon be forgotten.  Therefore, concludes David, the wicked will not sit in the seat of a judge, they will be judged.  The sinners and mockers will not sit among the chosen of God.   Just as the Lord watches over the righteous, He will judge and condemn the evil and the evil doer. 

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