Search

Nicholas Hood III Ministries

Make a Difference in the World!

Patience – Psalm 40

Patience–

DSC_9418
Scholarship Award Recipients at Plymouth United Church of Christ

 

Patience is often described as a virtue. Psalm 40 is labeled a Psalm of Thanksgiving for Deliverance and Prayer for Help, A Psalm of David, but for me, I have a difficult time moving past the first verse, “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.” The first verse speaks of a person who is patiently waiting for the Lord to do something. Often in life, we are forced to wait. We wait on our children to mature. When we are ill, we are forced to wait as the body recovers. Professionally, we often are forced to wait until an opportunity for advancement presents itself . Sometimes in our patient waiting, we wait so long, we may not recognize that God is moving in a steady, progressive, positive, productive way. Let me give you an example.

DSC_9359

Last night, during a regularly scheduled Trustee Board meeting at my church, the major discussion circled around the endowed scholarship funds of the church. Thomas Seabron of Morgan Stanley, our fund manager, who is a member of the church, who grew up in the church, stayed in the church and has managed our endowed scholarship fund since its inception, 32 years ago, gave an update regarding the status of the fund. Our first memorial endowed scholarship was donated by a woman named, Rosetta Scott. She was a retired school teacher who was sick and wanted to leave a major contribution to the church. Mrs. Scott gave $95,000 to the church in 1986. $50,000 was used to establish an endowed scholarship. The other $45,000 was placed in our Current Expense and Mission Fund, which is the basic operating fund of the church. When Mrs. Scott died, the church paid her funeral expense and the first endowed scholarship was born! By prudently allocating scholarship awards from the earnings of her scholarship and never invading the principal, her scholarship alone has provided about $150,000 in scholarship awards and today, her initial $50,000 contribution is valued at $67,000! Since that first endowed scholarship, the church has received 50 additional memorial endowed scholarships, starting at various levels. Tom’s report to the Trustee Board last night said that the current value of our endowed scholarship fund is now slightly more than $700,000 and at the rate we are going, the estimated value of the endowed scholarship fund in the next three to five years will be around $1.5 million! Last year, 32 students who are members of the church, received $2000 each from our scholarship fund! I know this sounds like a lot of numbers and I hope you could follow me, but the point that kept poking me during the meeting was that although the endowed scholarship fund of my church has progressively grown, it also has been an exercise in a disciplined patience.  For me as a pastor, I am so proud of how the endowed scholarship fund of our church has grown, but the key lessons I have learned in the process is the importance of patience, discipline and fiscal responsibility. As church members have been made aware of the responsible way the fund has been managed, every year, for 33 years, new endowed scholarships have been established.

This is my most recent story about patience. As we read Psalm 40, I encourage you to consider the patience of David and how it relates to your life.

Psalm 40

Thanksgiving for Deliverance and Prayer for Help

(Ps 70:1–5)

To the leader. Of David. A Psalm.

1    I waited patiently for the Lord;

he inclined to me and heard my cry.

2    He drew me up from the desolate pit,

out of the miry bog,

and set my feet upon a rock,

making my steps secure.

3    He put a new song in my mouth,

a song of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear,

and put their trust in the Lord.

4    Happy are those who make

the Lord their trust,

who do not turn to the proud,

to those who go astray after false gods.

5    You have multiplied, O Lord my God,

your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;

none can compare with you.

Were I to proclaim and tell of them,

they would be more than can be counted.

6    Sacrifice and offering you do not desire,

but you have given me an open ear.

Burnt offering and sin offering

you have not required.

7    Then I said, “Here I am;

in the scroll of the book it is written of me.

8    I delight to do your will, O my God;

your law is within my heart.”

9    I have told the glad news of deliverance

in the great congregation;

see, I have not restrained my lips,

as you know, O Lord.

10  I have not hidden your saving help within my heart,

I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;

I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness

from the great congregation.

11  Do not, O Lord, withhold

your mercy from me;

let your steadfast love and your faithfulness

keep me safe forever.

12  For evils have encompassed me

without number;

my iniquities have overtaken me,

until I cannot see;

they are more than the hairs of my head,

and my heart fails me.

13  Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me;

O Lord, make haste to help me.

14  Let all those be put to shame and confusion

who seek to snatch away my life;

let those be turned back and brought to dishonor

who desire my hurt.

15  Let those be appalled because of their shame

who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”

16  But may all who seek you

rejoice and be glad in you;

may those who love your salvation

say continually, “Great is the Lord!”

17  As for me, I am poor and needy,

but the Lord takes thought for me.

You are my help and my deliverer;

do not delay, O my God. [1]

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What parts of Psalm 40 can you relate to?
  2. Have you ever felt like you were waiting “Patiently” for the Lord?
  3. Have you found that “Waiting patiently on the Lord” increased or challenged your faith in God?

 

Prayer: Lord, I am waiting with patience on you. I wait for you with patience, because I believe in your power. I wait on you with patience, because I believe you are aware of what I am going through, what I am experiencing, and what I am feeling. I wait on you, Lord, because I believe you are loving, kind and compassionate and do not wish for any of your children to suffer. I wait on you with patience, Lord, because through the darkness of the night, I see the faint hint of the breaking dawn. I wait on you with patience, Lord, because I know that you have a history of lifting the downtrodden, blessing the poor, and standing with the oppressed. Lord, I call upon you with patience, looking for your salvation in the life the come, but in this life as well. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms and Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 40). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Psalm 39 – “Lord, Le Me Know My End!”

Psalm 39-“Lord, Let Me Know My End”

20170427_055751_0011325777706.jpg

Psalm 39 is introduced as a “Prayer for Wisdom and Forgiveness.” We are also told that it is a “Psalm of David.” The psalmist begins by saying, “I will guard my ways that I may not sin with my tongue.” The language of this psalm is vibrant and easy to identify with: for example: “I will keep a muzzle on my mouth…” Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt you needed to “Muzzle your mouth?” Often, I feel like “muzzling my mouth.”

I pastor a church that I grew up in, went to Sunday School, and have seen members of the congregation at their worst and best. When I preach eulogies during a funeral, some people are surprised that I can recount personal stories about the deceased. I smile and say thank you, but what I cannot bring myself to say to these folks is that at a funeral, I have a different kind of problem. My problem is that I often know too much about the deceased – like the outside the marriage girlfriends or boyfriends, instances of public drunkenness, incarceration, financial distress, job loss, domestic abuse, child abuse, sexual harassment and abuse and more. So, I pray that the Lord will help me to muzzle my mouth!

As we read Psalm 39, I encourage you to listen to the language of David and ask yourself, which of these sentences, lines and words remind me of my own feelings as a seek the wisdom and forgiveness of God?

Psalm 39

Prayer for Wisdom and Forgiveness

To the leader: to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.

1    I said, “I will guard my ways

that I may not sin with my tongue;

I will keep a muzzle on my mouth

as long as the wicked are in my presence.”

2    I was silent and still;

I held my peace to no avail;

my distress grew worse,

3      my heart became hot within me.

While I mused, the fire burned;

then I spoke with my tongue:

4    “Lord, let me know my end,

and what is the measure of my days;

let me know how fleeting my life is.

5    You have made my days a few handbreadths,

and my lifetime is as nothing in your sight.

Surely everyone stands as a mere breath.       Selah

6      Surely everyone goes about like a shadow.

Surely for nothing they are in turmoil;

they heap up, and do not know who will gather.

7    “And now, O Lord, what do I wait for?

My hope is in you.

8    Deliver me from all my transgressions.

Do not make me the scorn of the fool.

9    I am silent; I do not open my mouth,

for it is you who have done it.

10  Remove your stroke from me;

I am worn down by the blows of your hand.

11  “You chastise mortals

in punishment for sin,

consuming like a moth what is dear to them;

surely everyone is a mere breath.        Selah

12  “Hear my prayer, O Lord,

and give ear to my cry;

do not hold your peace at my tears.

For I am your passing guest,

an alien, like all my forebears.

13  Turn your gaze away from me, that I may smile again,

before I depart and am no more.” [1]

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What does Psalm 39 say to you?
  2. What are some of the challenges in understanding the wisdom of God?
  3. What is most impressive to you regarding the forgiveness of God?

 

Prayer: Lord, I seek your wisdom. Grant me the understanding to know when to speak and when to remain silent. Grant me a spirit of discernment. Help me to make good and strong choices. Enable me to grow in faith, hope and love in Jesus name I pray. Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms and Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 39). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Lord, all my Longing is Known to You!

Lord, All My Longing is Known to You!!

DSC_1207

In verse 9, David says, “Lord, all my longing is known to you.” When I think about that expression, “All my longing,” I think about the person with a difficult, illusive, festering illness that neither visits to the doctor or pharmacy can solve. Perhaps this Psalm was written during the end of the life of David. We are told in 1 Kings chapter one that near the end of his life, David became cold and nothing could warm his body. Advisors to the king searched the land and found a young woman, Abishag, who they brought to give the old, infirmed king warmth and joy. Even though she lay her body on David, she was not able to restore his health. Eventually, the old king died. Coleman Young, the first African American to be elected mayor of the City of Detroit, said this was his favorite part of the Bible. He seemed to take great joy in shocking persons when he would recite this passage in the Bible. At some point he would remind his listeners, “It is in the Bible.” Let me read a little from the 1st chapter of 1st Kings:

1 King David was old and advanced in years; and although they covered him with clothes, he could not get warm. So his servants said to him, “Let a young virgin be sought for my lord the king, and let her wait on the king, and be his attendant; let her lie in your bosom, so that my lord the king may be warm.” So they searched for a beautiful girl throughout all the territory of Israel, and found Abishag the Shunammite, and brought her to the king. The girl was very beautiful. She became the king’s attendant and served him, but the king did not know her sexually. [1]

As I read the account of the terminal illness in David, I think about all the people today with an illness they cannot overcome. I think about the people who hope for healing, pray for healing, work virtuous, wholesome and good deeds in the hope for healing, and long for healing, but the restoration of their health seems so far away. As I read Psalm 38, I invite you to say a little prayer for every person you know who suffers an illness that will not go away. I encourage you to pray for every person who hopes and longs for a full, complete and healthy life.

Psalm 38

A Penitent Sufferer’s Plea for Healing

A Psalm of David, for the memorial offering.

1    O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger,

or discipline me in your wrath.

2    For your arrows have sunk into me,

and your hand has come down on me.

3    There is no soundness in my flesh

because of your indignation;

there is no health in my bones

because of my sin.

4    For my iniquities have gone over my head;

they weigh like a burden too heavy for me.

5    My wounds grow foul and fester

because of my foolishness;

6    I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;

all day long I go around mourning.

7    For my loins are filled with burning,

and there is no soundness in my flesh.

8    I am utterly spent and crushed;

I groan because of the tumult of my heart.

9    O Lord, all my longing is known to you;

my sighing is not hidden from you.

10  My heart throbs, my strength fails me;

as for the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.

11  My friends and companions stand aloof from my affliction,

and my neighbors stand far off.

12  Those who seek my life lay their snares;

those who seek to hurt me speak of ruin,

and meditate treachery all day long.

13  But I am like the deaf, I do not hear;

like the mute, who cannot speak.

14  Truly, I am like one who does not hear,

and in whose mouth is no retort.

15  But it is for you, O Lord, that I wait;

it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.

16  For I pray, “Only do not let them rejoice over me,

those who boast against me when my foot slips.”

17  For I am ready to fall,

and my pain is ever with me.

18  I confess my iniquity;

I am sorry for my sin.

19  Those who are my foes without cause are mighty,

and many are those who hate me wrongfully.

20  Those who render me evil for good

are my adversaries because I follow after good.

21  Do not forsake me, O Lord;

O my God, do not be far from me;

22  make haste to help me,

O Lord, my salvation. [2]

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Psalm 38 is said to be a Psalm of David. What are your thoughts about him praying to the Lord regarding the Lord knowing his longing?
  2. Have you ever prayed to the Lord for something you, “Longed” for?

 

Prayer: Lord, it is to you I pray. There are things I long for, things I hope for, things I desire, things I want, things that keep me from living a full, free and fulfilled life. Fix my body. Fix my mind. Fix my thoughts. Fix my hopes. Lord, you are medicine for every illness. Lord, you are hope for every despair. Lord, you are joy for my sadness and encouragement for my fears and frustration. Grant me your hope. Grant me your peace. Grant me your joy. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms and Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (1 Ki 1:1–4). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 38). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Jonah and the whale

The following video is from the Wednesday noon worship service this week where I preached on Jonah and the whale. This was in preparation for a male-only bible discussion on Jonah Wednesday night. I hope you’ll enjoy

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10155584174550208&id=627995207

Do Not Fret!

Do Not Fret!

The late Judge John Feikens, a former chief judge of the Federal Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, one year during the Judges annual holiday party, stood up and said something that caught my attention. The tradition at the time was that the eldest judge would stand up after dessert and share brief remarks. In descending order, from the eldest to the newest judge, each judge would take their turn at sharing reflections from the soon to be ended year. For years, my wife would go last because she was the newest and youngest judge. Interestingly, 23 years later, my wife is now the oldest of the active judges on their bench, and the current chief judge.

Judge Feikens spoke slowly, deliberately, and with great reflection repeating a portion of Psalm 37, “I have been young, and now am old…”He proceeded to talk about what it meant to grow old in his work as a judge and how much he appreciated working with his colleagues. I don’t remember if he said this next comment during his official comments during the Holiday Party or afterwards, but he pulled me aside and told me he wanted my opinion on something that was happening in his life. I was surprised because I did not know him very well. He said that he was deeply honored, but also unsure because his pastor and the board of elders at his Presbyterian Church had recommended him to join the board of elders. He was unsure that he was worthy to be an elder in the church and wanted to know what I thought he should do.

I could not get past him quoting from the 37th Psalm. It was absolutely powerful and moving to hear a man in his 90’s reflect upon growing old. I told the judge I was going to preach on verse 25 of the 37th Psalm that next Sunday and I wanted him and his wife to attend our worship service. The judge and his wife, Henis, came to church and I did my best to digest and proclaim the good news from this portion of Psalm 37 about the transition from young to old.

Psalm 37 is labeled a Psalm of David. David tells us in verse 25 that he once was young, but now is old. As we read Psalm 37, I encourage you to reflect upon now only verse 25, but the entire flow of the Psalm, with his early emphasis on “Do not fret.”

Psalm 37

Exhortation to Patience and Trust

Of David.

1 Do not fret because of the wicked;

do not be envious of wrongdoers,

2 for they will soon fade like the grass,

and wither like the green herb.

3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;

so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.

4 Take delight in the Lord,

and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the Lord;

trust in him, and he will act.

6 He will make your vindication shine like the light,

and the justice of your cause like the noonday.

7 Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him;

do not fret over those who prosper in their way,

over those who carry out evil devices.

8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.

Do not fret—it leads only to evil.

9 For the wicked shall be cut off,

but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

10 Yet a little while, and the wicked will be no more;

though you look diligently for their place, they will not be there.

11 But the meek shall inherit the land,

and delight themselves in abundant prosperity.

12 The wicked plot against the righteous,

and gnash their teeth at them;

13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,

for he sees that their day is coming.

14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows

to bring down the poor and needy,

to kill those who walk uprightly;

15 their sword shall enter their own heart,

and their bows shall be broken.

16 Better is a little that the righteous person has

than the abundance of many wicked.

17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,

but the Lord upholds the righteous.

18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless,

and their heritage will abide forever;

19 they are not put to shame in evil times,

in the days of famine they have abundance.

20 But the wicked perish,

and the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures;

they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.

21 The wicked borrow, and do not pay back,

but the righteous are generous and keep giving;

22 for those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land,

but those cursed by him shall be cut off.

23 Our steps are made firm by the Lord,

when he delights in our way;

24 though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong,

for the Lord holds us by the hand.

25 I have been young, and now am old,

yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken

or their children begging bread.

26 They are ever giving liberally and lending,

and their children become a blessing.

27 Depart from evil, and do good;

so you shall abide forever.

28 For the Lord loves justice;

he will not forsake his faithful ones.

The righteous shall be kept safe forever,

but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.

29 The righteous shall inherit the land,

and live in it forever.

30 The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom,

and their tongues speak justice.

31 The law of their God is in their hearts;

their steps do not slip.

32 The wicked watch for the righteous,

and seek to kill them.

33 The Lord will not abandon them to their power,

or let them be condemned when they are brought to trial.

34 Wait for the Lord, and keep to his way,

and he will exalt you to inherit the land;

you will look on the destruction of the wicked.

35 I have seen the wicked oppressing,

and towering like a cedar of Lebanon.

36 Again I passed by, and they were no more;

though I sought them, they could not be found.

37 Mark the blameless, and behold the upright,

for there is posterity for the peaceable.

38 But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed;

the posterity of the wicked shall be cut off.

39 The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;

he is their refuge in the time of trouble.

40 The Lord helps them and rescues them;

he rescues them from the wicked, and saves them,

because they take refuge in him. [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Why do you think David says, “Do not fret” four times in Psalm 37?
  2. What are your thoughts about David saying, “I have been young, and now am old, but never have seen the righteous forsaken…” (Verse 25)
  3. When have you believed that you experienced the justice of the Lord?

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for being with me every step of the way. You were with me in my youth. You have been with me at every stage of life. Lord, teach me to count every blessing, to live every moment, and to enjoy every age and stage of life. Lord, I praise you with my mouth. I praise you with my hands. I praise you with my hopes, thoughts and dreams. You are my sunshine. You are my joy. You are my life and my all. Through Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms and Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 37). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Contrast between the Writing of Peter and King David – Psalm 36 and 1st Peter

DSC_5824For with You is the Fountain of Life –

 

In Psalm 36, I see a certain symmetry, a balance, that begins with concern regarding people who dwell on wickedness, who spend every waking hour, trying to figure out how to hurt others, take advantage of others, and how to deceive others. David says these people do not fear God and are full of flattering themselves. He says their words and actions are bad and full of poor choices.

The sweet symmetry in Psalm 36 is the contrast David makes between the desire of some people to dwell on wickedness and the divine goodness of God. David speaks at length about the expansive, all-encompassing goodness of God. He writes that the love of God extends to the heavens as well as the universality of the love of God.

The literary style of the Psalms fascinates me, particularly, Psalm 36, because the language is so flowery, lofty and full of a celestial imagery. I cannot imagine where David learned to speak and write in such a manner. We meet him as a shepherd boy who follows the sheep for his father. Where did he learn to write with such beautiful and powerful language. When I fast forward to the New Testament, I have a similar feeling about the letters of Peter. Peter, was from the Galilee, a fisherman, described as a little rough around the edges, but when we read his letters, he too, like David, speaks with a degree of refinement that absolutely blows my mind. Listen to the words of Peter as he talks about Jesus Christ as a “Living Hope.”

1 Peter 1: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours made careful search and inquiry, 11 inquiring about the person or time that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated when it testified in advance to the sufferings destined for Christ and the subsequent glory. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things that have now been announced to you through those who brought you good news by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look! [1]

 

Now, as I read Psalm 36, I want you to listen to the balance in David’s writing between his concerns about wickedness contrasted with the divine goodness of God. I find the literary style of both Peter and David to be fascinating, powerful, and spiritual.

 

Psalm 36

Human Wickedness and Divine Goodness

To the leader. Of David, the servant of the Lord.

1    Transgression speaks to the wicked

deep in their hearts;

there is no fear of God

before their eyes.

2    For they flatter themselves in their own eyes

that their iniquity cannot be found out and hated.

3    The words of their mouths are mischief and deceit;

they have ceased to act wisely and do good.

4    They plot mischief while on their beds;

they are set on a way that is not good;

they do not reject evil.

5    Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,

your faithfulness to the clouds.

6    Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,

your judgments are like the great deep;

you save humans and animals alike, O Lord.

7    How precious is your steadfast love, O God!

All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

8    They feast on the abundance of your house,

and you give them drink from the river of your delights.

9    For with you is the fountain of life;

in your light we see light.

10  O continue your steadfast love to those who know you,

and your salvation to the upright of heart!

11  Do not let the foot of the arrogant tread on me,

or the hand of the wicked drive me away.

12  There the evildoers lie prostrate;

they are thrust down, unable to rise. [2]

Questions for Reflection:

  • Psalm 36 is described as a contrast between human wickedness and divine goodness. What does psalm 36 say to you?
  • Verse 7 says, “All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” What does this verse tell you regarding the universality of the love of God?

 

  1.  

 

Prayer: Lord, grant me a spirit of discernment. Endow me with a clear view of those things that are right and those things that are wrong. Bless me so even when I am at rest that I might be filled with a positive spirit, positive attitude, and a positive perspective on life. Hide me Lord, under the shadow of your wings. Protect me. Motivate me. Love me, so I might share that love with all I might meet, friends, strangers, and people throughout the entire world. In Jesus name. Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms and Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (1 Pe 1:3–12). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 36). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Contend, O Lord, With Those Who Contend with me! (Psalm 35)

Contend, O Lord, With Those Who Contend With Me!

026

Psalm 35 is described as a “Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies.” It is also labeled, “Of David.” Because Psalm 35 immediately follows the 34th Psalm, where the reader is informed that David gave thanks to God after being spared in his release from the city of Gath, the home of Goliath, it makes sense that one might think that Psalm 35 represents a continuation of a theme that is prevalent at this point in the collection of Psalms, where David is still on the run from Saul and looking to God for protection from his enemies.

Because David was so powerful in battle and war, it is easy to assume that every battle was easy for him. The reality is that David felt weak and overwhelmed with only a few hundred fighters at his side. David is protecting himself from the full force of the army of Saul. In his strength, David understands his weakness and vulnerability. Because of his vulnerability to the power of king Saul, David calls upon the Lord to help him fight his battles.

Likewise, you and I should never refrain from asking God for help. If David could ask God for help, surely you and I should also be unafraid to ask God for help. In our humility, you and I should never fail in praying to the Lord, “Jesus, I cannot help myself, there for, I need your divine intervention in my life. Do what I cannot do. Fight where I cannot fight. Bless, where I cannot bless, and grant me joy, unspeakable joy and peace!

Psalm 35

Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies

Of David.

1    Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me;

fight against those who fight against me!

2    Take hold of shield and buckler,

and rise up to help me!

3    Draw the spear and javelin

against my pursuers;

say to my soul,

“I am your salvation.”

4    Let them be put to shame and dishonor

who seek after my life.

Let them be turned back and confounded

who devise evil against me.

5    Let them be like chaff before the wind,

with the angel of the Lord driving them on.

6    Let their way be dark and slippery,

with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.

7    For without cause they hid their net for me;

without cause they dug a pit for my life.

8    Let ruin come on them unawares.

And let the net that they hid ensnare them;

let them fall in it—to their ruin.

9    Then my soul shall rejoice in the Lord,

exulting in his deliverance.

10  All my bones shall say,

“O Lord, who is like you?

You deliver the weak

from those too strong for them,

the weak and needy from those who despoil them.”

11  Malicious witnesses rise up;

they ask me about things I do not know.

12  They repay me evil for good;

my soul is forlorn.

13  But as for me, when they were sick,

I wore sackcloth;

I afflicted myself with fasting.

I prayed with head bowed on my bosom,

14     as though I grieved for a friend or a brother;

I went about as one who laments for a mother,

bowed down and in mourning.

15  But at my stumbling they gathered in glee,

they gathered together against me;

ruffians whom I did not know

tore at me without ceasing;

16  they impiously mocked more and more,

gnashing at me with their teeth.

17  How long, O Lord, will you look on?

Rescue me from their ravages,

my life from the lions!

18  Then I will thank you in the great congregation;

in the mighty throng I will praise you.

19  Do not let my treacherous enemies rejoice over me,

or those who hate me without cause wink the eye.

20  For they do not speak peace,

but they conceive deceitful words

against those who are quiet in the land.

21  They open wide their mouths against me;

they say, “Aha, Aha,

our eyes have seen it.”

22  You have seen, O Lord; do not be silent!

O Lord, do not be far from me!

23  Wake up! Bestir yourself for my defense,

for my cause, my God and my Lord!

24  Vindicate me, O Lord, my God,

according to your righteousness,

and do not let them rejoice over me.

25  Do not let them say to themselves,

“Aha, we have our heart’s desire.”

Do not let them say, “We have swallowed you up.”

26  Let all those who rejoice at my calamity

be put to shame and confusion;

let those who exalt themselves against me

be clothed with shame and dishonor.

27  Let those who desire my vindication

shout for joy and be glad,

and say evermore,

“Great is the Lord,

who delights in the welfare of his servant.”

28  Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness

and of your praise all day long. [1]

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1. When have you asked God to help you fight your battles?
  2. What are your thoughts about the plea of David that God would fight on his behalf?

 

Prayer: Lord, I call on you today for help. Help me to fight my battles. I cannot fight this battle alone. I am strong, but you are stronger. I am smart, but you are smarter. I am creative, but you are more creative. Like David, Lord, I call on you for help. Lord, I pray for your protection. Grant me your peace. Bless me with your presence, but most of all bless me with your love. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms and Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 35). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

I Will Bless the Lord at All Times

I Will Bless the Lord at All Times!

img210

One of the Bible passages that several preachers use at the start of a sermon is the first several verses from Psalm 34. Psalm 34 is a powerful Psalm of praise. Its verses punctuate thanksgiving and joy as the community is called together to magnify the Lord. The most interesting aspect of the 34th Psalm is the introduction where the reader is informed that it was written by David when he pretended insanity at Gath, the same city where Goliath was from. This was a particularly low point in the life of David. Saul, the king, who also was his father in law, had ordered the death of David. David was on the run, with few places to retreat. He could not remain in the presence of Saul. Few people would allow him to hide and retreat with them. Things became so bad, David approached the enemies of Saul at Gath and asked for asylum. The people did not trust David. They knew exactly who he was. They were aware of his reputation as a fighting man who had led troops for Saul. The people of Gath insisted that their king put David out. He could have been killed, but because he seemed mentally incapacitated, he was released unharmed. When he left Gath, Psalm 34 is the psalm of praise David uttered in praise of God

Psalm 34

Praise for Deliverance from Trouble

Of David, when he feigned madness before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.

1    I will bless the Lord at all times;

his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

2    My soul makes its boast in the Lord;

let the humble hear and be glad.

3    O magnify the Lord with me,

and let us exalt his name together.

4    I sought the Lord, and he answered me,

and delivered me from all my fears.

5    Look to him, and be radiant;

so your faces shall never be ashamed.

6    This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord,

and was saved from every trouble.

7    The angel of the Lord encamps

around those who fear him, and delivers them.

8    O taste and see that the Lord is good;

happy are those who take refuge in him.

9    O fear the Lord, you his holy ones,

for those who fear him have no want.

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  Which of you desires life,

and covets many days to enjoy good?

13  Keep your tongue from evil,

and your lips from speaking deceit.

14  Depart from evil, and do good;

seek peace, and pursue it.

15  The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,

and his ears are open to their cry.

16  The face of the Lord is against evildoers,

to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

17  When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears,

and rescues them from 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 rescues them from them all.

20  He keeps all their bones;

not one of them will be broken.

21  Evil brings death to 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. [1]

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Have you ever pretended to be insane?
  2. What are your thoughts about the praise David gives to God in Psalm 34 when he is released from Gath unhurt?

 

Prayer: Lord, I bless your name! When I thought I was lost, you sought me and found me. When it seemed like there was no way out, you showed me the way. When I could not find one person who would listen and talk with me, you were there. Lord, I sing your praise. Lord, I taste your grace. Lord, feel your power. Because of your mercy, Lord, I live with newness of life. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms and Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 34). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Psalm 33 – The Greatness and Goodness of God!

The Greatness and Goodness of God

20171128_1142512143595029.jpg

Psalm 33 is described as a Psalm about the greatness and goodness of God. Sometimes, I stop and smile at the intricate nature of the creative power of God. When I think about the human body, with its blood, veins and arteries, a heart to pump the blood, lungs to breath, the vital organs like the kidney, pancreas, liver, the bones, a brain to think, eyes to see, a mouth to eat and speak, a nose to breath, ears to hear, and so much more, then on top of that, each of us is unique, and our God in heaven has the capacity to hear our thoughts, feel our joy and pain, orchestrate opportunities, direct us and protect us – all of this is too wonderful for me to digest!

As we read Psalm 33, I encourage you to contemplate the greatness and goodness of God and what God means to you.

Psalm 33

The Greatness and Goodness of God

1    Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous.

Praise befits the upright.

2    Praise the Lord with the lyre;

make melody to him with the harp of ten strings.

3    Sing to him a new song;

play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

4    For the word of the Lord is upright,

and all his work is done in faithfulness.

5    He loves righteousness and justice;

the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.

6    By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,

and all their host by the breath of his mouth.

7    He gathered the waters of the sea as in a bottle;

he put the deeps in storehouses.

8    Let all the earth fear the Lord;

let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.

9    For he spoke, and it came to be;

he commanded, and it stood firm.

10  The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;

he frustrates the plans of the peoples.

11  The counsel of the Lord stands forever,

the thoughts of his heart to all generations.

12  Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord,

the people whom he has chosen as his heritage.

13  The Lord looks down from heaven;

he sees all humankind.

14  From where he sits enthroned he watches

all the inhabitants of the earth—

15  he who fashions the hearts of them all,

and observes all their deeds.

16  A king is not saved by his great army;

a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.

17  The war horse is a vain hope for victory,

and by its great might it cannot save.

18  Truly the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,

on those who hope in his steadfast love,

19  to deliver their soul from death,

and to keep them alive in famine.

20  Our soul waits for the Lord;

he is our help and shield.

21  Our heart is glad in him,

because we trust in his holy name.

22  Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,

even as we hope in you. [1]

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What does Psalm 33 say to you about the creative power of God?

 

Prayer: Lord, my soul waits for you! In you I find help. In you I find protection. In you, I find sustenance. Because of you, I have found strength. I trust your holy name. Your steadfast love is upon me. In you I hope and pray and give praise to your name. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms and Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 33). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑