I wonder about Old Testament King David.  The Bible highlights his life and relationship with the Lord,  while not hiding his dirty laundry.  You know the stories of his bravery, and devotion to God, along with his moral and political failures, displaying a far from perfect life.  Such a mixed bag.  Much like me… and you.

Also, I wonder about myself.  My commitment to Jesus mottled with sins of varied kinds.  Lies told.  Mean thoughts about someone I seemingly like.  If they only knew.  Shortcuts are taken that gives me a certain advantage in life.  Think I’ll stop there.  You get the point.  You can add your own.

At the end of Psalm 78, there’s a reference to God choosing David to lead His people–‘He (God) chose David his servant and took him from the sheepfolds; from following the nursing ewes he brought him to shepherd Jacob his people…With upright heart, he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand’ (Psalm 78:70-72).

No mention of his failures.  As if what matters most is David’s single-hearted devotion to God.  No whispers here of his shady and shoddy life.  None.  He’s aligned with the One, true God.  When the chips are down, that’s what counts.  Being faithful to God.

That’s what the Lord finds in His servant David.  He’s true blue.  Dyed in the wool.  Loyal and dependable.  No matter how far he’s drifted from God’s target, he knows his way home.  David returns to God.  And so must we as we travel life’s rocky roads, taking wrong turns, winding up stuck in dodgy deadends.  But home is where we know who’s bought us out of sin’s slavery, who saves us by forgiving and forgetting our sins (only God does that).

Travel home…to Jesus.  The backdoor light is on.  The door unlocked.  Come on in.  Welcome home.  He’s been waiting for you.  Arms wide open.  Lifting us up, putting us back on our feet… for Him.  Dignity restored.  Purpose in life now focused… on Him.

There’s truly no place like home… with Jesus.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for making us your own.  Amen.


Refresh yourself.  I don’t mean with ice-cold lemonade.  Or a relaxing stroll on the beach.  Or leafing through that classic novel you haven’t read since junior high or at all.  All are refreshing but that’s not what I mean.

I”m looking at Psalm 78, one of the longest, which in my Bible covers 4 pages.  It’s a good reminder that I need God’s refreshment all the time.  Not only once in a blue moon.  No.  Every day.  Am I alone?  Don’t think so.  Never met anyone, anywhere, who said they’d had enough of their Bibles.  Knew it through and through.  Nothing new between its covers.  Old hat.  Out of date.  Kapooey.  Enough already.

There’ve been times in my life when my Bible’s been neglected, which produces a spiritual desert.  Being out of touch with Jesus.  But when I draw closer to Him, giving the time He deserves, soaking in His Word, it makes troubles less so, as thanks are eagerly given to their source, my Lord Jesus.  Cracked and shattered life comes together better with Him next to me, even holding me.  He’s my superglue, so to speak.

Can I sense Him?  I can.  Through eyes of faith.  Must I be perfect to have Him nearby?  Are you kidding?  I’m just an old sinner saved by grace.  Psalm 78: 39–‘He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again.’  God understands us better than we think.  Warts and all.  So, get up off the ground of guilt and self-pity.  ‘Stand up, stand up for Jesus…’

Reading verse 40 and beyond, the psalmist gives us added refresher material about God’s power and judgment.  How He saves His own, and deals with those who thumb their noses at Him.  These verses serve as reminders of what we so easily forget.  That God is there for us.  No matter what, we can depend on Him and utterly trust Him.  Easy to do?  Yeah, right.  I wish.

But as you consciously remember who He is, and what He’s done for you in the past, you begin to grasp that the present and the future will be cared for by your Lord Jesus Christ.  He’s the ‘I am’ of life.  The current.  The promise in our past, present, and future.  All of it.

How’s your grade in this refresher course?  I’m about C+ but class isn’t over yet!

Thank you, Jesus, for helping me.  Amen.

SUCH SAD WORDS Psalm 78: 32-39

Have you ever encountered such sad words?  Some of the most heartbreaking in all of the Bible.  Which ones?  Check out Psalm 78:32–‘Despite all this, they still sinned; despite his wonders, they did not believe’.  And these–‘They did not keep God’s covenant, but refused to walk according to his law.  They forgot his works and the wonders that he had shown them’ (Ps. 78: 10-11).

Here the pile grows larger–‘ Yet they sinned still more against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert.  They tested God in their heart by demanding…’ (Ps. 78: 17-18).   Unfortunately, their grim description continues unabated–rebellious…forgetful…ingrates…flatterers and liars…testing and provoking their God.  Enough already.  Can’t take any more of this.  When you think things can’t get worse, then they do.

Such sad words.  Old Testament people–such downers and no-accounts.  Unlike me.  I’m so smart.  I imagine I can get away without paying attention to Jesus in my life.  That I can push Him to the exit as I take center stage.  The show’s lead.  Make room for… me!  I’ll make life’s decisions.  Even when they fall apart, slipping through my fingers, I still think I’m so stinkin’ clever.  Now who speaks such sad words?

I’ll tell you when my turn-around begins.  It’s a challenge by some friends to read my Bible from cover to cover in a year.  All of it.  Don’t skip Leviticus or Chronicles.  Not just a few familiar psalms.  Or New Testament only.  ‘All’ means all.

I quickly discover that it’s hard to miss God’s point when you’re in His Word daily.  Listening to Him at least part of the time.  Ears perked when not distracted by all kinds of tech stuff.  Eyes on Jesus when not deflected by myriad temptations.  So, I challenge you, as I was, to start getting serious about time in God’s Word.  A holy habit as regular as eating three square meals a day.

Start, determined to see it through to the end.  From Genesis to Revelation.  In whatever order.  Doesn’t matter.  Just cover it all.  Then I defy you to stop.  Please don’t!  I did early on, but I don’t recommend it.  Not at all.  Big boo-boo.  But, for decades now, I’m determined to, well, you know–stick to it.  Daily.  Year by year.

But if you’ve been tardy or negligent, just start over.  Pick up where you left off.  For sad words will be transformed into His good Word, that carries you through the most difficult of times.  Try it.  You’ll like it.  I have.  And still do.

Thank you, Jesus, for being my Word of Life.  Amen.


Don’t you wish you could see directly, without a doubt, when God acts?  Answers to prayer as clear as a bell?  No long-shot, thin ice uncertainty about His responding to our needs and wants?  Everything out in the open?  Alas, not to be!

Life requires faith in Jesus.  A trust which relies on Him with all the unseen and unknown.  His helping hand when less than obvious.  His actions as if behind closed doors.  Or is He another Wizard of Oz?  A fantasy of my own making?  An opiate to soothe life’s pains?

Reading Psalm 77 you overhear another anguished voice–‘In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted.  When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints…I am so troubled that I cannot speak…’ (vs.2-4).

Maybe you’re also in a pickle, a tight spot, hot water.  Haven’t we all had those moments?  Can’t find your way out?  As if God has turned His back on you?  Given up on us as we stumble and fall all over sin’s consequences, which land squarely on the old kisser?

Read on as the poet remembers when God leads Israel out of slavery in Egypt, the Exodus event.  Psalm 77:19–‘Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen.’  The Hebrew word ‘unseen’ also translates as ‘unknown’.  Though the Israelites couldn’t directly see the Lord doing these wonders, they will experience the results.  Their deliverance.  Their enemies defeated.

Often in hindsight, we see much clearer through eyes of faith.  Gazing back, remembering God’s promises and how He’s worked them out in our lives.   No ifs, ands, or buts.  An unshakeable, unmoved certainty that can sit with the unseen and unknown, patiently leaning on God’s shoulders.  Even beginning to wait…on Him.  That would be nice for a change (speaking of myself here).

I’m asking Jesus for more faith in Him alone.  To bear down, plugging away at trusting and believing Jesus, again with all the unknown and unseen, which usually puzzle me, giving me the heebie-jeebies.

I want to get closer to Jesus.  To take His hand in mine, telling Him all about it, stretching my faith His way.  It won’t break.  His hold is firm.  Want to try it?

Lord Jesus, help me to develop strong muscles of faith in you.  Amen.