Daily Encouragement

May 31 – Nicodemus Takes a Public Stand

2 Samuel 17:1-29
John 19:23-42
Psalm 119:129-152
Proverbs 16:12-13

2 Samuel 17:23 — Why was Ahithophel so bitter against David? From the American Tract Society (ATS):

Ahithophel seems to have been the grandfather of Bathsheba. 2 Samuel 23:34, compared with 2 Samuel 11:3.

2 Samuel 17:27 — When David felt like everyone abandoned him, it was so good to be refreshed by true friends. A friend in need is a friend indeed!

John 19:39 — Nicodemus is only mentioned in the Gospel of John. He met with Jesus at night in John 3, and he urged caution among the chief priests and Pharisees in John 7. Now he brings about 70 pounds of myrrh and aloe. From If714.org:

This teaching Nicodemus learned coming in the secrecy of the night would greatly transform his life. In John 19 we see a very different Nicodemus, who was once afraid to come to Jesus in the day. Here he brought a mixture of aloes and myrrh to Jesus’s grave. Nicodemus was no longer afraid of what others thought of him or his reputation as a Pharisee. Jesus’ grave was under heavy guard following His death. The Pharisees wanted to make sure the disciples did not try to steal Jesus’s body and claim that He resurrected. It would have been well known that Nicodemus went to His grave. That day Nicodemus was bold in his faith of Christ. He denied his own rights to a reputation and submitted everything to Christ.

Psalm 119:136 — Many a parent has wept over their children’s sins after it was too late to redirect them. In today’s reading, the psalmist is weeping not just over other’s sins but also crying to the LORD because of his own sins (Psalm 119:145).

Psalm 119:147-148 — Where do you start and end your day?

Proverbs 16:12-13 — Do these verses only apply to royalty like King Charles? We are told that we are a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). We shall reign as kings and priests one day (Revelation 5:10). Let us act like the “princes in training” that we are, for our Father is the King of Kings!

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Daily Encouragement

May 30 – Fog of War: The Frenzied Exit from Jerusalem

2 Samuel 15:23-16:23
John 18:25-19:22
Psalm 119:113-128
Proverbs 16:10-11

2 Samuel 15:25 — From Matthew Henry’s Commentary:

David is very careful for the safety of the ark. It is right to be more concerned for the church’s prosperity than our own; to prefer the success of the gospel above our own wealth, credit, ease, and safety. Observe with what satisfaction and submission David speaks of the Divine disposal. It is our interest, as well as our duty, cheerfully to acquiesce in the will of God, whatever befalls us. Let us see God’s hand in all events; and that we may not be afraid of what shall be, let us see all events in God’s hand.

2 Samuel 15:30 — Almost 1,000 years later someone else went up Mount Olivet, sweating drops of blood. David and Jesus both prayed to God on that mountain.

2 Samuel 16:4-5 — “Fog of War” is a phrase that applies. Ziba seems to be a devout follower of David, but then we read Mephibosheth’s account in 2 Samuel 19:24-30. Interestingly, it is difficult to tell what really happened. We hear Ziba’s account here and Mephibosheth’s account later. David doesn’t seem too sure either and just tells them to split the land (2 Samuel 19:29), but Mephibosheth foreshadows the wisdom of Solomon and tells David that Ziba can take it all. Or is Mephibosheth just glad to be alive? Either way David made a good call on the important issues (sending the Ark back, not killing anyone rashly, and building an informer network in Jerusalem).

Meanwhile, when Shimei bashes David, David spares him. We’ll see Shimei along with Mephibosheth later (2 Samuel 19:16).

2 Samuel 16:22 — This action with the concubines of David is seen as a political statement, and quite possibly what the Islamic term “zina” refers to. Zina (adultery punished by stoning) requires four witnesses, and depending on the school of thought, the witnesses must be witnesses to the very act. Very rarely does one have 4 witnesses to a generally private act, so possibly Mohammed was referring to the political implications of such an act, seeking to prevent one of his sons from rebelling like Absalom did against David.

John 18:30 — Not exactly a clear charge that the prosecutors have before the judge, Pilate.

John 18:33 — In John’s account, he does not record the Jews accusing Jesus of claiming to be the King of the Jews.

John 18:36 — Jesus challenges Pilate’s jurisdiction. Pilate is only worried about territorial threats to Roman domination, and Jesus is not an earthly threat.

John 18:40 — A great movie on Barabbas was produced by Unusual Films called Wine of Morning.

John 19:7 — Just a week earlier they shouted Hosanna. Now they have rejected His claim to be the Son of God. They rejected Him six separate times (John 18:40, John 19:6, John 19:7, John 19:12, John 19:15).

Psalm 119:113 — The Law is my love (Psalm 119:119, Psalm 119:127), my hope (Psalm 119:114), my safety (Psalm 119:117), and my instruction (Psalm 119:124).

Proverbs 16:11 — Don’t tell the Freedom from Religion Foundation, but virtually every state has government officials on government payroll doing the work of the LORD, a very religious task!

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Daily Encouragement

May 29 – Man Proposes but God Disposes

2 Samuel 14:1-15:22
John 18:1-24
Psalm 119:97-112
Proverbs 16:8-9

2 Samuel 14:3 — Interesting contrast between God’s words that Nathan conveyed to David and Joab’s words to the woman of Tekoah.

2 Samuel 14:5 — Because of today’s Secret Service protection, we’re not used to commoners having direct access to a high ranking government official. Abraham Lincoln, during the Civil War, was directly accessible by anyone who wanted to talk to him:

One aspect of White House life that made family life particularly difficult for the Lincolns was the mansion’s open-door policy to the public, war notwithstanding. Virtually from Lincoln’s first day in office, a crush of visitors besieged the White House stairways and corridors, climbed through windows at levees, and camped outside Lincoln’s office door “on all conceivable errands, for all imaginable purposes.”

Neither custom nor security precautions shielded the president from his voraciously demanding public. Office-seekers were the biggest drain on the presidents time and energy—among them, his wife’s own relatives—crowding the hallways all the way down the front stairs in an endless effort to importune him for lucrative government appointments.

2 Samuel 15:6 — Today, it’s hard to imagine such intense intra-family feuds that Absalom would seek to steal the hearts of Israelites away from his father. We don’t see Prince William trying to take the crown of his grandmother from King Charles. But as recently as World War I, we saw close relatives at war:

And at the center of this stage stood three cousins, King George V of Great Britain, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, whose complicated family relationships partly fueled the international animosity that led to the horrors of The Great War.


2 Samuel 15:8 — Ever notice how cavalier the leadership was to invoke God’s name in an act of subterfuge? Not just a generic term like El (God), but His covenant name YHWH (LORD). Saul swore by the LORD to the witch (1 Samuel 28:10), and David swore by the LORD to kill the rich man who took the poor man’s lamb (2 Samuel 12:5). Several of these may fall under violations of the Third Commandment.

2 Samuel 15:21 — Interesting that Ittai the Gittite was more loyal to David than David’s own son and his trusted counselor Ahithophel. Why? Thanks to Dexter Penwell for pointing this out:

“Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maachathite, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite …”

2 Samuel 23:34

Eliam is the son of Ahithophel … and Eliam had a daughter:

And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?

2 Samuel 11:3

John 18:1 — Much of Jesus’ special times were east of Jerusalem in the area of the Mount of Olives.

John 18:15 — The Gospel writers hint at many of the political connections of the group. Even though John was part of Jesus’ inner circle, he may have still had connections/access to the palace of the high priest. John was the one who had access enough to get Peter into the courtyard. The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary (JFB) discusses the issue with Acts 4:13.

John 18:21 — Jesus was invoking His “5th Amendment” right – the rabbinic right against self-incrimination obviously pre-dated the US Constitution by a few thousand years!

Psalm 119:97 — A great song based on this verse and this section of Psalm 119 is “Lord, How I Love Thy Law.”

Psalm 119:105 — This is the classic verse on the guidance of Scripture. Too often we keep the lamp on the shelf and walk in darkness.

Memorize this verse with Earl Martin:

Psalm 119:112 — Have you inclined your heart this way?

Proverbs 16:9 — The phrase “Protestant Wind” brings to mind some of the miraculous protections of England that occurred in her history. But on this side of the pond, we have our own version of the “Protestant Wind”. Consider the amazing protection of George Washington from Captain Patrick Ferguson, or when Washington was found with four bullet holes in his coat, and that was after he had two horses shot out from under him. Man proposes, but God disposes.

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Daily Encouragement

May 28 – The High Priestly Prayer

2 Samuel 13:1-39
John 17:1-26
Psalm 119:81-96
Proverbs 16:6-7

2 Samuel 13:3 — Shimeah (Shammah in 1 Samuel 16:9) was passed over by the LORD. His son, Absalom, Tamar, and Amnon’s evil cousin (Jonadab) had shifting loyalties. Jonadab ended up helping Amnon rape his half-sister, Tamar, but then appears to side with Absalom in 2 Samuel 13:32.

2 Samuel 13:15 — So much of what passes for “love” is just “lust” that doesn’t bring people together.

2 Samuel 13:29 — Nathan warned David that the sword shall not depart from his house (2 Samuel 12:10). Once sin begins in a family, it can often spread.

John 17 — This chapter is known as the “High Priestly Prayer of Jesus”. John MacArthur did an eight-part series on this prayer.

In this passage He prayed for three things: Himself, His disciples, and believers in Him. How amazing is that? If you are a believer in Jesus, He prayed for you!

We’ll learn that the mission of Jesus our High Priest is to glorify God in His life, His ministry, His sacrifice, His resurrection, and His ascension. All that Christ did was designed to glorify God. As Jesus prays for His disciples we’ll learn that He prayed for their safety. That they would not stray from what was about to come. He is praying that they too, just like He prayed for Himself, would glorify God in all they do.

John 17:21 — I recently heard a message on unity. The speaker didn’t go into detail on what we were united in, just that we were all together. That wasn’t unity in doctrine, rather unity in mere proximity. We must be united in the truth (John 17:17). Sometimes people will separate from us because of their love for the world (2 Timothy 4:10). Sometimes we are commanded to separate from others (2 Corinthians 6:17).

Psalm 119:81 — How much do you desire God’s Word? Does your soul yearn for it? Do your eyes look for it (Psalm 119:82)? Do you delight in it (Psalm 119:92)? Do you seek it (Psalm 119:94)?

Psalm 119:89 — The center verse of the 176 verses in Psalm 119 emphasizes the eternal settled nature of the Word of the LORD. That is the same Word given to us – will we read it and heed it?

Proverbs 16:7 — You can have peace with everyone if you have peace with the most important One first!

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Daily Encouragement

May 27 – Thou Art the Man!

2 Samuel 12:1-31
John 16:1-33
Psalm 119:65-80
Proverbs 16:4-5

Nathan advises King David

2 Samuel 12:7 — “Thou art the man!” This is the only time this phrase is found in the Bible. What was the great sin David had done? “Thou hast despised me” (2 Samuel 12:10). What David had done in secret would soon be made known publicly (2 Samuel 12:12, Luke 8:17) because “the enemies of the LORD [have occasion] to blaspheme” (2 Samuel 12:14).

2 Samuel 12:24 — ”… and the LORD loved him.” God chastens, but God forgives.

2 Samuel 12:28 — The king that stayed home in days of battle now gathered the people for battle. Joab, not always known for his ethics, was loyal to David though.

John 16:2 — One of the people Jesus is talking about is Saul of Tarsus.

John 16:8 — The three duties of the Holy Spirit: conviction of sin (the greatest sin is not loving the LORD Jesus), conviction of righteousness (the One whose righteousness can pay the penalty of sin), and the conviction of coming judgment.

John 16:33 — We can rejoice because Jesus has overcome the world!

Psalm 119:72 — Would you rather have thousands of gold and silver pieces or the Law of God?

Proverbs 16:5 — Pride is an abomination to the LORD. Is it an abomination to us?

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Daily Encouragement

May 26 – But David …

2 Samuel 9:1-11:27
John 15:1-27
Psalm 119:49-64
Proverbs 16:1-3

2 Samuel 9:1 — Vows are important (Deuteronomy 23:21-23). David made a covenant with Saul before the LORD (I Samuel 24:21), and with Jonathan (1 Samuel 18:3, 1 Samuel 20:42).

2 Samuel 10:5 — The esteem of the nation of Israel was in how the other nations treated the ambassadors from Israel. By treating them shamefully, they declared war on Israel. David was loyal to his servants and protected their reputation and that of the nation they served.

2 Samuel 11:1 — We have seen many great victories of David, now we see the words “But David …” When he should have been at work, he tarried. When one warned him (2 Samuel 11:3), he disregarded it. While he acted in an unethical military manner as an absentee king, he had a loyal soldier who acted ethically (2 Samuel 11:11). But David’s actions were plainly understood by the unethical Joab (2 Samuel 11:19).

English: King David Handing the Letter to Uriah

2 Samuel 11:27 — The chapter that starts “But David …” ends with “But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.”

John 15:2 — The last lines of Ron Hamilton’s song “Rejoice in the LORD” echo this verse:

God strengthens His children, and purges in love.
My Father knows best, and I trust in His care;
Through purging, more fruit I will bear.

Ron Hamilton

John 15:5 — Some change the verse to say, “Without me ye can’t do everything.” Nope … it literally says, “You can do nothing without Jesus.” The challenge in ministry is that one can get caught up in doing things for Jesus, as opposed to doing things by Jesus. The scary admonition is what happens when we try to do things without Jesus … “they are burned” (John 15:6).

John 15: 7, 12, 13 — From Earl Martin (If Ye Abide in Me):

John 15:14 — Again, Jesus reiterates the connection between love, fellowship, and obedience.

Psalm 119:49 — What is the root of our hope? The Word of God in us. The memory of His judgments (Psalm 119:52). The melody of His statutes (Psalm 119:54). The motivation of His judgments (Psalm 119:62).

Proverbs 16:3 — How can we know what our thoughts should be? By giving our agenda to the LORD.

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Daily Encouragement

May 25 – Will the Davidic Covenant Be Fulfilled?

2 Samuel 7:1-8:18
John 14:15-31
Psalm 119:33-48
Proverbs 15:33

2 Samuel 7:2-4 — If a prophet is speaking for God, shouldn’t the prophet wait until after God has spoken to him before he says anything?

2 Samuel 7:13 — If the throne is forever, who is seated on the throne right now? From Jimmy DeYoung:

The promise of a house (Temple), Kingdom and throne for a descendant of King David from the Lord is known as the Davidic Covenant. This is a promise that will only fail if the day and the night are no longer in existence, Jeremiah 33:19-21.

For almost 6,000 years, we have had a night followed by a day – God’s promise to David is as true as the next moonlit night or majestic sunrise. The Davidic Covenant will be fulfilled by that member of the linage of King David, the person of Jesus Christ.

The complete fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant is yet future. It will be fulfilled when Jesus Christ returns to the Earth, to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem to set up His Kingdom by building His Temple on the Temple Mount (Zechariah 6:12-13) in Jerusalem.

2 Samuel 7:18, 22 — David maintains the right perspective. Personal humility – “Who am I … thy servant.” Praise for the LORD “thou art great … there is none like thee.”

2 Samuel 8:4 — ”Houghed” isn’t a word we use much today. From Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers:

Houghed, i.e., hamstrung, to render them incapable of use in war. (Comp. Joshua 11:6; Joshua 11:9.) This is meant to apply not only to the chariot horses, but to all those of the cavalry. Whether David’s reservation of the number needed for 100 chariots was wrong or not, is not said. David probably felt the need of these horses as a means of more rapid communication with the distant parts of his increasing empire; yet this act may have been the entering wedge for Solomon’s direct violation of Deuteronomy 17:16, by sending to Egypt to “multiply horses to himself.”

John 14:15 — This sounds like a theme of the Bible we have here in the Upper Room Discourse.

Psalm 119:33 — How can we obey? If the LORD teaches us, gives us understanding (Psalm 119:34), makes us follow the path (Psalm 119:35), inclines our heart (Psalm 119:36), turns our eyes (Psalm 119:37), quickens us in the way (Psalm 119:37), stablishes the word (Psalm 119:38), and keeps us from reproach (Psalm 119:39), we can obey.

Psalm 119:40 — Do we have any responsibility? Yes! We must long for the Law (Psalm 119:40), trust in the Word (Psalm 119:42), hope in the judgments (Psalm 119:43), keep the Law continually (Psalm 119:44), seek His precepts (Psalm 119:45), speak of His testimonies (Psalm 119:46), delight in the commandments (Psalm 119:47), and meditate on His statutes (Psalm 119:48)!

Proverbs 15:33 — Solomon saw this proverb demonstrated in David’s life, as we read about today. Humility brings honor.

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Daily Encouragement

May 24 – Davidic Ethics vs. Utilitarianism

2 Samuel 4:1-6:23
John 13:31-14:14
Psalm 119:17-32
Proverbs 15:31-32

2 Samuel 4:11 — David ushers in a higher ethical standard. Instead of a form of utilitarianism (the greatest good for the greatest number), David advances a Torah-based ethical system (Deuteronomy 24:16). What could be more utilitarian than assassinating one individual to save the lives of hundreds of soldiers? We read of something like this in John 11:50, and we’ll read about it again in John 18:14.

The City of David was immediately south of the Temple Mount. This is what it looked like in the apostle’s day. (2 Samuel 5:7)

2 Samuel 5:13 — David had been doing so well, and now he violates Deuteronomy 17:17. Thankfully, he listens to God in 2 Samuel 5:19 and 2 Samuel 5:23.

2 Samuel 5:21 — David follows Moses’ pattern from 450 years ago (Exodus 32:20).

2 Samuel 6:3 — David sins again (Numbers 4:5-15), and Uzzah dies (2 Samuel 6:7) as God warned (Numbers 4:15). Strangely, David is unfamiliar with Moses’ commands (2 Samuel 6:9).

John 13:34 — Moses gave 613 commandments, summarized into 10 “words”. Micah 6:8 summarizes the entire Law into three commands; Jesus boiled it down to two in Matthew 22:37-40. And because it is difficult to judge another’s love for God, loving God is best demonstrated by a love for one another.

John 13:35 — From Earl Martin (By This Shall All Men):

John 14:2 — A great promise set to music by Earl Martin:

John 14:2 — J.W. Pepper has a great song based on John 14:1-3 as well:

John 14:6 — Jesus is the way of life (Acts 2:28), the way of salvation (Acts 16:17), the source of instruction (Acts 18:25-26), an alleged heresy (Acts 24:14), the way of peace (Romans 3:17), the way of truth (2 Peter 2:2), and the way of righteousness (2 Peter 2:21).

Psalm 119:18 — A great prayer to pray before studying God’s Law.

Psalm 119:23 — How should we treat the Word? Meditate therein, delight therein (Psalm 119:24), and talk of it (Psalm 119:27).

Psalm 119:30 — From Earl Martin (I Have Chosen the Way of Truth):

Proverbs 15:32 — Correction is never easy to take, but it saves your soul and gives understanding!

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Daily Encouragement

May 23 – Ethics & War

2 Samuel 2:12-3:39
John 13:1-30
Psalm 119:1-16
Proverbs 15:29-30

2 Samuel 2:22 — Reading about the drama within the battle may sound a bit absurd, but an understanding of ethics comes into play. At first one may think that it’s just a matter of “doing the right thing,” but “doing the right thing” depends on one’s responsibilities. A lawyer’s job is not to determine legal guilt and punishment, his job is to represent the interest of his client and to ensure that the justice system does not become biased against the presumed guilty. Even if his client is guilty, the lawyer’s job is to make sure the prosecution has adequately proven its case. Similarly, a soldier’s job is not to decide the relative merits of the parties in the battle, but to obey those who have the rule over him (Romans 13). Abner warned Asahel twice because while Asahel was fast, Abner was better in hand-to-hand combat. Also, Abner likely knew that Joab was vengeful and unethical as a military commander (1 Kings 2:5).

2 Samuel 3:13 — Is this a violation of Deuteronomy 24:4? James Burton Coffman thinks so:

Young pointed out that what David did (by taking Michal back as his wife) was against God’s law. “According to the law of Deuteronomy 24:1-4, David could not legitimately receive his wife back after her marriage to Paltiel.” This action must therefore be reckoned among the shameful sins of this “man after God’s own heart.” There was only one way in which David was entitled to be so-called, and that lay in his absolute refusal to love and trust any other god except the Lord God. Even when condemned for his gross and lustful sins, David continued to confess his unworthiness, seek God’s forgiveness, and pledge again to walk in the paths of righteousness.

Or was it a political move?

David wanted to give himself a greater claim to Saul’s throne as his son-in-law.


2 Samuel 3:28 — While some think of war is “entirely unethical,” most people believe that there are definitely ethics that need to be displayed in war. As feared, Joab murdered Abner in revenge for the killing of his brother (2 Samuel 3:26-27). Even in war, honor is the code.

John 13:1 — How touching is it that even when Jesus knew He would die, He still loved His disciples unto the end.

John 13:14 — Are we supposed to be engaged in footwashing today?

There is no indication in the New Testament, or in the Christian literature of the first three centuries, that our Lord was understood to have instituted an ordinance [feet-washing] by the acts and words under consideration [in John 13].Feet-washing was a common and needed act of hospitality in Palestine at the time, and the teaching that Christ intended to convey was the manifestation of the spirit of brotherly love in acts of humble service. . . The earliest reference to the ceremonial use of feet-washing is in the canon of the synod of Elvira (A.D. 306) where it is condemned

A Manual of Church History

Psalm 119:1 — Welcome to the longest psalm in the Bible! Organized into 8-verse stanzas in an alphabetical (Hebrew) array, this passage is home to the richest descriptions of the Word of God in the Bible. These verses talk about the Law (vs. 1), testimonies (vs. 2), ways (vs. 3), precepts (vv. 4-5), commandments (vs. 6), judgments (vs. 7), and statutes (vs. 8).

Psalm 119:9 — How can we change? Heeding God’s Word and hiding God’s Word (Psalm 119:11).

Proverbs 15:29 — A great way to make sure your prayer is heard by God is to repent.

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Daily Encouragement

May 22 – Different Types of Hearers

2 Samuel 1:1-2:11
John 12:20-50
Psalm 118:19-29
Proverbs 15:27-28

2 Samuel 1:8 — Did the Amalekite kill Saul or did Saul kill himself? From GotQuestions.org:

The clear answer from the biblical text is that Saul killed himself and that the Amalekite’s story was a fabrication. The biblical text records the story the Amalekite gave but does not affirm it as true …

This would be the correct order of events: Saul is wounded in battle and then kills himself by falling on his own sword. An Amalekite comes across his dead body and takes his crown and armlet. The next day, the Philistines find Saul’s body, behead him, strip him of his armor, send the report, and fasten his body to the wall of Beth Shan (1 Samuel 31:10).

2 Samuel 2:1 — Good things happen after a king “enquires of the LORD.”

Brooklyn Museum – The Gentiles Ask to See Jesus (Les gentils demandent à voir Jésus) – James Tissot

John 12:24-26 — Listening to Jesus must have been difficult. Fruit comes from dying. Loving life loses it; hating life keeps it. Servants are honored. The Eternal One will die (John 12:34). God opened the eyes of the blind (Matthew 9:30), but He blinded the eyes of the seeing (John 12:40).

John 12:37 — Notice the different groups:

  • The uncircumcised outsider Greeks wanting to learn (John 12:21)
  • The Hebrew crowd who saw the miracles but didn’t believe (John 12:37)
  • The chief rulers who believed but didn’t confess (John 12:42-43)

Very few fall into the category of a vocal believer.

Psalm 118:24 — Bob Jones Academy performed a song based on this verse.

Psalm 118:28 — A great blend of the immanence of God and the transcendence of God.

Proverbs 15:28 — Interesting parallel to Proverbs 10:19.

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