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August 29

Pastor’s Note

Today we encounter the familiar Psalm 139 that is filled with great insights and practical challenges. Let the power of these insights inform us about God’s character and may these truths also have the various effects on our lives that they should. In our New Testament reading we see that our study of the Old Testament narratives should not only be informative, but instructive. May we accept the biblical fact that there are many “moral” lessons that God expects us to gain from our reading of Bible stories.

— Pastor Mike

Psalms 139-141

Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

139:1 Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
 you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
 and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
 behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
 and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
 it is high; I cannot attain it.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
 Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
 If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
 and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
 and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
 and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
 the night is bright as the day,
 for darkness is as light with you.

13 For you formed my inward parts;
 you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. [1]
Wonderful are your works;
 my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
 intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
 the days that were formed for me,
 when as yet there was none of them.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
 How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
 I awake, and I am still with you.

19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
 O men of blood, depart from me!
20 They speak against you with malicious intent;
 your enemies take your name in vain! [2]
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
 And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with complete hatred;
 I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
 Try me and know my thoughts! [3]
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
 and lead me in the way everlasting! [4]

Deliver Me, O Lord, from Evil Men

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

140:1 Deliver me, O Lord, from evil men;
 preserve me from violent men,
who plan evil things in their heart
 and stir up wars continually.
They make their tongue sharp as a serpent’s,
 and under their lips is the venom of asps. Selah

Guard me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked;
 preserve me from violent men,
 who have planned to trip up my feet.
The arrogant have hidden a trap for me,
 and with cords they have spread a net; [5]
 beside the way they have set snares for me. Selah

I say to the Lord, You are my God;
 give ear to the voice of my pleas for mercy, O Lord!
Lord, my Lord, the strength of my salvation,
 you have covered my head in the day of battle.
Grant not, O Lord, the desires of the wicked;
 do not further their [6] evil plot, or they will be exalted! Selah

As for the head of those who surround me,
 let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them!
10 Let burning coals fall upon them!
 Let them be cast into fire,
 into miry pits, no more to rise!
11 Let not the slanderer be established in the land;
 let evil hunt down the violent man speedily!

12 I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted,
 and will execute justice for the needy.
13 Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name;
 the upright shall dwell in your presence.

Give Ear to My Voice

A Psalm of David.

141:1 Lord, I call upon you; hasten to me!
 Give ear to my voice when I call to you!
Let my prayer be counted as incense before you,
 and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;
 keep watch over the door of my lips!
Do not let my heart incline to any evil,
 to busy myself with wicked deeds
in company with men who work iniquity,
 and let me not eat of their delicacies!

Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness;
 let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head;
 let my head not refuse it.
Yet my prayer is continually against their evil deeds.
When their judges are thrown over the cliff, [7]
 then they shall hear my words, for they are pleasant.
As when one plows and breaks up the earth,
 so shall our bones be scattered at the mouth of Sheol. [8]

But my eyes are toward you, O God, my Lord;
 in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless! [9]
Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me
 and from the snares of evildoers!
10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
 while I pass by safely.

1 Corinthians 10:1-13

Warning Against Idolatry

10:1 For I want you to know, brothers, [10] that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ [11] to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Footnotes

[1] 139:14 Or for I am fearfully set apart
[2] 139:20 Hebrew lacks your name
[3] 139:23 Or cares
[4] 139:24 Or in the ancient way (compare Jeremiah 6:16)
[5] 140:5 Or they have spread cords as a net
[6] 140:8 Hebrew his
[7] 141:6 Or When their judges fall into the hands of the Rock
[8] 141:7 The meaning of the Hebrew in verses 6, 7 is uncertain
[9] 141:8 Hebrew refuge; do not pour out my life!
[10] 10:1 Or brothers and sisters
[11] 10:9 Some manuscripts the Lord

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