Psalm 119-169-176, Psalm 87 – This one was born there

tawWe conclude our study of Psalm 119 with this final stanza that begins each verse with the 22nd letter of the Aleph-Bet, the Hebrew letter “taw.”  Most appropriately, this stanza of the psalm has the psalmist acknowledging what we knew all along – that he, like everyone, is a sinner and in need of God’s mercy and forgiveness (verse 176).

Psalm 87 is another psalm of the sons of Korah.  The hymn, “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken,” by John Newman and Franz Joseph Haydn, is based on this psalm.  It is a prophecy of a time when Jerusalem will become the birthplace of all nations through Him that will arise from there, as in birth.  “Rahab” mentioned in verse three is another word for Egypt, and all of the other cities listed there are bitter enemies of Israel.  It is an illustration of the fact that all nations will serve God one day.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

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Psalm 119-161-168, Psalm 81 – If You Would But Listen

shinThis stanza of Psalm 119 begins each verse with the 21st letter of the Aleph-Bet, “Shin” (also sin).  In the middle of the psalmist’s praise to God here, despite the persecution he endures, he proclaims his innocence while stating to God that “all my ways are before you.  These should not be taken a the words of one who thinks himself without sin, but one with a clean conscience.

Psalm 81 is thought to be related to one of the times of feast, possibly the Feast of Tabernacles, but its lament is suitable for any time and could apply just as well to the times in the cycle of the Judges, Babylonian captivity, or even in anticipation of the destruction of Jerusalem – “O Israel, if you would but listen to me!”

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Psalm 119:153-160; Psalm 97 – The Reign of the Lord

resh

This stanza of Psalm 119 begins each verse with the twentieth letter of the Aleph-Bet, “resh.”  Like the previous stanza, it contains verses with pleas to the Lord for help, with the psalmist declaring his love for God’s word, as well as some that remind of God’s promises and His love for the righteous.  Like the previous stanza, it concludes with the eternal truth of God’s word.

Psalm 97 is a beautiful song of praise to God for His power, authority, and supremacy over the heavens, the earth, and mankind.  The psalmist is believed by many to be David, although just as many attribute the writing to some time after the Babylonian captivity.  The psalm does have the “feel” of celebration concerning some victory or similar grand event.

In fact, it reminds us quite a bit of the “Song of Moses” – particularly Exodus 15:6-18, which praised God for His deliverance after the crossing of the Red Sea, as well as sights and sounds from the mountain after their arrival at Mount Sinai in Exodus 19:16-20, with a dash of Psalm 19 for good measure.

The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice;
let the many coastlands be glad!
Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Psalm 119:145-152; Psalm 93 – The Lord Reigns

qophThis stanza of Psalm 119 begins each verse with the Hebrew letter “qoph,” the 19th letter of the Aleph-Bet.  The origin of the letter, which resembles the English letter “P,” is sometimes said to be a sewing needle.  Others say it is the human neck and head.  The focus of the stanza is on calling on the Lord  in times of trouble, and of assurance that He is near always.

Psalm 93 is a song of praise to God as King and ruler of the universe, similar to the longer Psalm 29.  It has the distinct air of having been written at a time when God’s people had been in peril from an outside enemy or enemies (the “floods” of verse 3), recognizing that God is “mightier than the waves of the sea” (verse 4).  It gives God the glory for holding the universe in stability (verses 1-2), and for the absolute truth of His word (verse 5).

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Psalm 119:137-144; Psalm 84 – The Sparrow Hath Found a House

tsadeThis stanza of Psalm 119 begins each verse with the Hebrew letter “Tsade.”  These verses are heavily salted with references to the psalmist’s state of persecution from enemies (verse 141, 143).  The point he makes, and the lesson from the stanza,  is that he takes comfort from God’s word.

Some ascribe Psalm 84 to David (Spurgeon says it “exhales to us a Davidic perfume, it smells of the mountain heather and the lone places of the wilderness, where King David must have often lodged during his many wars”).  Others hold that it was written during times of actual Temple worship during the monarchy (verse 9), suggesting that it was written during Solomon’s reign; and verses 4 and 10 certainly have that air.

In any case, the twelve verses of this hymn of praise are beautiful; and the KJV (which we include below) do better justice to the poetry than other versions IMHO.  The theme of the song is the joy of being in the house of worship to the Lord – a day of which, verse 10 says is better than a thousand elsewhere.  This blogger whole-hardheartedly agrees.  There is no time that I am happier or more at peace than when I am worshiping the Lord with my brothers and sisters.

How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!
My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.
Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God.
Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.
Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.
Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.
They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.
O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah.
Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed.
For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Psalm 119:129-136; Psalm 15 – He Who Walks Blamelessly

peThis stanza of Psalm 119 begins each verse with the 17th letter of the Aleph-Bet, “pe” or “peh.”  The pictograph for this letter resembles a mouth, which (as often occurs with these stanzas) goes with part of the text (note verse 131).   Verse 135 (“Make your face shine upon your servant”) reminds us of the Lord’s blessing on Aaron in Numbers 6:23-25.

Some commentators have speculated that Psalm 15 was written by David after his first failed attempt to move the Ark of the Covenant (1 Chronicles 13) and before the second (1 Chronicles 15).  That seems as likely a guess as any.  But as for relevance to us today, it seems clear that the psalm reminds us that in our walk with the Lord, He cares very much about whether we are truthful, honorable, generous, and compassionate to each other (verses 2-3, 5).

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Psalm 119:121-128; Psalm 76 – Who Can Stand Before You?

ayinThis stanza of Psalm 119 begins each line with the 16th letter of the Hebrew Aleph-Bet, “ayin.”  The psalmist repeats three times the reference to himself as God’s servant.  In 121, he declares his faithfulness to God as that servant, asking Him for deliverance from those which oppress him.  In verse 126, he urges the Lord to act now because his laws have been broken.  Whether this refers to a specific occasion or simply the general state of God’s people at the time, we are not told, but it hardly matters.  It is a prayer to God for His justice.

It is the general consensus of most commentators that Psalm 76 centers around God’s destruction of Sennacherib‘s army during the time of Hezekiah.  This would make “Asaph” in the superscription actually be those Levite descendants which were so named.  The complete destruction and defeat described in verses 3-8 fits this line of thought.

Sennacherib's army

Miraculous destruction of Sennacherib’s army.

Salem in verse 2 is the name of the kingdom city of Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18), and it is used synonymously with Jerusalem, especially in reference to Adonizedek (see Joshua 10:1-3).  The references to the wrath of man praising God in verse 10, and the following verses about the victory of God’s people over the kings of man, echo well the insolence of Sennacherib being his downfall.  His anger with God’s people brought him to pit an assault on God’s people with an army led by blasphemous representatives (2 Kings 18:17-36).   Sennacherib’s defiance and mockery of the Lord were followed by Isaiah’s prophecy of his downfall and the subsequent crushing of his army by the angel of the Lord (2 Kings 19:14-36, Isaiah 37:36).

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Psalm 119:113-120; Psalm 75 – The Righteous Shall Be Lifted Up

samekhThis stanza of Psalm 119 begins each line with the Hebrew letter “samekh.”  The psalmist decries the “double-minded” in the first verse.  This refers to those who claim to believe in God, but will not stay committed to Him and\or those whose faith is in low quantity and easily shaken.  Elijah spoke of these in 1 Kings 18:21 at his showdown with the prophets of Baal, asking the people “how long will you go limping between two different opinions?”  They wanted to believe in God but enjoy the sinfulness that life among Baal-worshipers afforded them.  James spoke of the double-minded as those who doubt or whose faith is not strong (James 1:5-8), saying they are unstable in all ways.

The directions to the choirmaster in the superscription of Psalm 75 say that it is to the tune of “Do not Destroy,” just as in Psalm 57.  It also says that it is a psalm og Asaph – a song.  Asaph was one of those in charge of David’s “service of song” in the Tabernacle (1 Chronicles 6:31-40).

Earth_003The psalm appears to speak in the voice of the psalmist in parts and in that of God in others.  The picture painted is of an unstable world that totters, but it is God who keeps it steady – not the boastful and the wicked who believe in their hearts that they are in control of things.  All through the ages, there have been proud societies that are often evil and oppressive to the righteous and to the weak – those who are insolent, with “haughty neck.”  But the truth is in verses 7-8:

“but it is God who executes judgment,
putting down one and lifting up another.
For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup
with foaming wine, well mixed,
and he pours out from it,
and all the wicked of the earth
shall drain it down to the dregs”

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Psalm 119:105-112; Psalm 37:1-20 – Trust in the Lord, and do good

nunThis stanza of Psalm 119 begins each line with the fourteenth letter of the Hebrew Aleph-bet, “nun.” The most well-known part of this stanza is verse 105: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”    This is the eternal truth about God’s word – it is our guiding light for life.

We have broken up Psalm 37 into two readings.  These first 20 verses are written to those of Gold’s people who are trying to live right in a land full of people who increasingly turn their backs on God’s law.  It is a hymn that calls for the righteous not to lose heart when the wicked always seem to prosper as well as seeming to be doing their best to find ways to persecute the righteous.  Christians probably can relate to this reality of living among  pagans in a pagan land much better in this decade that at any time in the last century.  It is natural for those who try to live right to be saddened at times when they see all around them the increasing acceptance of living a wicked and unrighteous life.  Verse 3 is the answer – keep doing what is right no matter what, and trust in the Lord.  The wicked will “soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb” (verse 2); and as for the righteous, “their heritage will remain forever” (verse 18).

We’ll look at the second half of this psalm, and make a slight examination of its structure on Friday.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Psalm 119:97-104; Psalm 65

mem-01

Today’s stanza of the acrostic Psalm 119 is centered around the 13th letter of the Hebrew Aleph-bet “mem.”  For more information about this psalm, see this previous post.   The Isaac Watts hymn “Oh How I Love Thy Law” is based on this stanza.  The main point of the stanza is that study and meditation on God’s word does indeed bring wisdom.   The psalmist says he is wiser than his enemies, his teachers and the aged because of God’s word.

Psalm 65 is deemed in its superscription to be a song of David.  It is, however, a song of praise to God, beginning in the first few verses with His goodness, holiness, for His justice, and because He hears our prayers.  Verses 5 and following continue praise for the one true and living God as the one hope for all people who dwell on the earth.  The inspired writer emphasizes this again in verse 8.  The following verses praise the one who set the earth in its perfect position and tilt, the designer of all that man knows as science for His power, might, and wisdom in creating the world, as well as His continued care for it and all who dwell therein.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.