1 – Psalm 78:18-20 (ESV)
18 They tested God in their heart
by demanding the food they craved.
19 They spoke against God, saying,
“Can God spread a table in the wilderness?
20 He struck the rock so that water gushed out
and streams overflowed.
Can he also give bread
or provide meat for his people?”
RAF: Heavenly Father, this is so much how I am. No matter how often or how wondrously you prove yourself to me, at the next crisis, it is as though you have done nothing in the past. It is as though you are constantly having to prove yourself to me. Please forgive my hardness and unfaithfulness. Make my mind recall your past graces, and let me stand secure in your love that I do not repeatedly put you to the test. Let my heart be free of its sinful doubting – and truly trust you. Make my only “demand” – that I might know you more.
2 – Psalm 80:19 (ESV)
19 Restore us, O Lord God of hosts!
Let your face shine, that we may be saved!
RAF: This same petition is repeated in vs. 3, vs. 7, and here in 19. It is the sum of the matter. For the Psalmist, for all God’s people when He has found it necessary to chasten us – restoration and salvation are reduced to this: “Let your face shine.” This is what we need, this is what true restoration and salvation are – dwelling in the consciousness of God’s smile. This is what we lose in sin and rebellion. Nearness. Intimacy. Our Father’s displeasure. And this is what He calls us back to from our sin. To Him. In sweet, true communion. Reader, where are you today?
3 – Psalm 83:16 (ESV)
16 Fill their faces with shame,
that they may seek your name, O Lord.
RAF: While the mystery of exactly how to handle these imprecatory Psalms is matter for much discussion, we get some great light on it here. With all of the destruction which the Psalmist seeks God to rain down on Israel’s enemies, the prayer is not simply about destroying their foes. Yes, he desires their enemies fail and be defeated and their faces filled with shame – but to what end? “That they may seek your name, O Lord.” The desire is not mere relief from attack, nor the wanton destruction of others. It is the crushing of their sinfulfulness, by subduing them to God. This is how we are to pray against our enemies. That their words, tactics, and wicked actions would but ruthlessly and utterly overthrown – but not that alone – That they might become our brothers and sisters in Christ. That they too would seek the glory of our Savior’s name. That, is victory!
4 – Psalm 84:10 (ESV)
10 For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
RAF: Haven’t you felt this at times Believer? Seasons in His presence that are so magnificent, so indescribably wonderful that one full day of it would offset everything negative we could ever experience. How God sweetly lets us taste those delights from time to time. They are meant to whet our appetites for Heaven. To remind us that is what it is like there. Inexpressible bliss. Sweetness and light and peace and joy and absolute fullness and satisfaction. Yearn for Heaven Christian. Long to be home. This world is so low, and He has such high things prepared for us.
5 – Psalm 90:11 (ESV)
11 Who considers the power of your anger,
and your wrath according to the fear of you?
RAF: What an insightful, brave and powerful request this part of the prayer is. In essence, he is asking for God to terrify him. The question put is: Who really comprehends what it means that they might one day be sbuject to your anger and wrath? And by implication – “give me some sense of that.” The Psalmist is wanting to live terrified of sin. Terrified of falling into the hands of an angry God. To experience the full impact of the outcome of sin in revelation now, that his heart might not go there. To catch a glimpse of what the end of sin is really like – so as to never want to even flirt with it. We could use a good dose of this – couldn’t we? O Father – make us to see the reality of it. How we theorize and hold such things at a distance. Show us where sin ends, so that we flee from every temptation to it in absolute terror. Let us never treat it lightly. Who ever really considers the “power” of God’s anger? Make me that man.