Psalm 53 – Not Even One

English: The Geneva Bible (1560): God's name I...

English: The Geneva Bible (1560): God’s name Iehouah (in older Latin transcription form), that is Jehovah. Greek/Ελληνικά: Η μεταγραφή Ιεχουά (Ιεχωβά) στο εδάφιο Ψαλμός 83:18, από την Βίβλο της Γενεύης (Geneva Bible) του 1560. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Psalm 53 is nearly identical to Psalm 14 (see this previous post). The biggest difference appears to be that verse 5 in this psalm is a combination of verses 5-6 of Psalm 14. But there are subtle differences, which some explain as Psalm 53 being adapted for different occasion – and the word “”Elohiym” (God) is used in this psalm instead of Jehovah (YHWH) in the former. Both begin with the familiar phrase, “the fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”

 

Both of these short hymns express grief that man does not in general seek the Lord, and that God’s people are often persecuted by those who do not believe. As verse 3 states:

 

They have all fallen away;
together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good,
not even one.

 

Paul revisits this sentiment in another light in Romans 3:10-12:

 

“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”

 

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.  

 

Psalm 78:1-24 – Give Ear, O My People

English: Solomon and the Plan for the Temple, ...

English: Solomon and the Plan for the Temple, as in 1 Kings 6, illustration from a Bible card published by the Providence Lithograph Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, we read the first 24 verses of this comparatively lengthy historical psalm, which according to the superscription was one of about a dozen written by Asaph – one of the singers at Solomon’s dedication of the temple (2 Chronicles 5:7-14). Verses 2-3 are somewhat familiar to Christians today, as Jesus referred to it in Matthew 13:35:

I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known,
that our fathers have told us

Parables and “dark sayings” (somewhat the kin of riddles) were used by great teachers to impart wisdom, while challenging and exercising the imagination more than to entertain. Obviously, as any good teacher knows, the more thought the student has to put into the lesson, the more that student will learn. One has to be interested in learning the subject in order to benefit – which is one reason Jesus used them.

Verses 5-8 speak of the covenant with Jacob and the tradition of fathers teaching their children about the covenant, the law, and the wondrous things that God has done for them. Verses 9-16 continue with the parting of the Red Sea (Exodus 14) and God’s providing of water from the rocks to an ungrateful and unfaithful people (Numbers 20:5-9). Verses 17-20 tell of their rebellion in the desert and how they tested the Lord (Numbers 20:2-4). Verses 21-24 recount how, though God’s anger was kindled against these people who did not trust Him despite all He had done, He still provided food for them in the form of manna from heaven (Exodus 16).

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.  

Psalm 89:27-52 – Will You Hide Yourself Forever?

In this second half of Psalm 89, it quickly becomes apparent that it must indeed have been written after the exile and the capture and deportation of king Jehoiachin. Where we pick up verse 27, the psalmist is still writing a rather long section that is quoting God – His promise and covenant with David (2 Samuel 7), as well as His warning to Solomon of what will happen if David’s heirs stray from Him (1 Kings 9).

The Anointing of Solomon by Cornelis de Vos. A...

The Anointing of Solomon by Cornelis de Vos. According to 1 Kings 1:39, Solomon was anointed by Zadok. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The psalmist is “reminding” the Lord of His promises, yet he acknowledges that the heirs to David’s throne did exactly what the Lord warned against. Still, he seems to be faltering in his confidence that God is going to keep His covenant with David alive now.  Verses 38-45 in particular accentuate that sentiment, and verse 39 specifically says so, saying “You have renounced the covenant with your servant; you have defiled his crown in the dust.” The latter part of that verse obviously refers to Jehoiachin’s fate.

Verse 46 is where the psalmist specifically acknowledges that the things that have happened are a result of God’s wrath against His unfaithful people: “How long, O Lord? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your wrath burn like fire?” Verses 50-51 do indeed suggest a time before the Lord dealt with the Edomites and the others who betrayed Israel, as it speaks of all of the nations that now mock them.

In verse 49, the psalmist questions the Lord earnestly about when the end of His anger will come: “Lord, where is your steadfast love of old, which by your faithfulness you swore to David?” He ends his prayer with “Blessed be the Lord forever! Amen and Amen.”

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.  

Psalm 18:25-50 – His Way Is Perfect

David, King Over All Israel, as in 2 Samuel 5:...

David, King Over All Israel, as in 2 Samuel 5:1-12, illustration from a Bible card published 1896 by the Providence Lithograph Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In this second half of Psalm 18, David continues singing God’s praises for being a just and merciful God, and specifically for care and help He has given David. In verse 29, the phrase “and by my God I can leap over a wall” may refer to David’s victory over the stronghold of the Jebusites at Jerusalem in 2 Samuel 5:6-10.  Verses 31-45 continue in that line of thought, as David recounts his military victories, his leadership, and his prowess as a warrior.

But he does not do so in a boastful manner. Instead, he rightly gives all the credit and glory to God, where it belongs. In verse 34, he says that “He trains my hands for war.” In verses 39-40:

For you equipped me with strength for the battle;
you made those who rise against me sink under me.
You made my enemies turn their backs to me,
and those who hated me I destroyed

Verse 46 continues the words that now are the lyrics for the popular hymn “I Will Call Upon the Lord” (which began in verse 3): “the Lord lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation.” In verse 49, David writes: “for this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations, and sing to your name.” This verse is also written in 2 Samuel 22:50, and Paul sites them in Romans 15:9-12, as he explains that it was always God’s plan to include the Gentiles as the children of God through the Davidic line in Jesus Christ. To this point, verse 50 ties up the entire chapter into a succinct summary:

Great salvation he brings to his king,
and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
to David and his offspring forever

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.  

Psalm 89:1-26 – You Rule the Raging of the Sea

We will take up the first half of this rather long psalm today through verse 26. It is a community lament that many scholars attribute to the time after the fall of Jerusalem and the capture of king Jehoiachin. There is nothing in the text that this blogger can see to really confirm that, and a time that late for the writing of the entire psalm seems somewhat problematic. Adam Clarke suggested that a better translation would have been that it was for “the instruction of Ethan the Ezrahite.” So, the writer certainly could have adapted an earlier song of Ethan’s for this psalm.

 

English: The Harlot of Jericho and the Two Spi...

English: The Harlot of Jericho and the Two Spies, c. 1896-1902, by James Jacques Joseph Tissot (French, 1836-1902) or follower, gouache on board, 9 1/16 x 6 5/8 in. (23.1 x 16.9 cm), at the Jewish Museum, New York (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

We have stated before that the superscriptions at some of the Bible’s headings are not of the inspired word, and in many cases their application can be considered dubious. Still, those of a factual, rather than an interpretative nature have proven to be pretty reliable over time. In this superscription, the “maskil” is stated to be of “Ethan the Ezrahite.” He was probably a musician for corporate worship, and is probably the same one that is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 2:5-6, and certainly the same as mentioned in 1 Kings 4:29-31, where it was said of Solomon that he was wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite. Pretty impressive to have your wisdom compared to that of Solomon.

 

The chapter begins with praise for the steadfast love and faithfulness of the Lord to His people and to the promises He made to David (verses 1-4). Verses 5-13 are beautiful poetry offering praise to the mighty power of God over all things. “Rahab” in verse 10 does not refer to the woman who helped the Israelite spies in Joshua 2. It is a term that is ascribed to Egypt (and to monsters of the sea); and if one substitutes the work Egypt for Rahab in that verse, it makes sense.

 

Verses 14-18 praise God for being the strength and glory of His people. Verses 18-26 exalt God for choosing David, giving him strength and might over his enemies, and making the point that just as God had said that David was a man after His own heart, David would be faithful to the Lord, as shown in verse 26 below. It is very much a celebration of the throne and the line of David. But as we will see when we pick the chapter back up, there is more. Of David, it refers to God as saying (very much in the manner in which David wrote):

 

He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father,
my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’

 

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.  

 

Psalm 18:1-24 – I Call Upon the Lord

cherubim_002We are breaking this relatively long psalm up into two sections, and so we will cover verses 1-24 in this blog. Occasionally there is some disagreement among scholars as to the author of certain psalms. But with Psalm 18, there can be no doubt. The psalm is also found in 2 Samuel 22. In fact, even most of the superscription is contained in verses 1-2 of that passage practically word for word:

“And David spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said…”

This is one of the “royal psalm,” and it shows God’s faithfulness to his people by giving them the Davidic monarchy, and keeping him safe through many dangers. The hymn “I will call upon the Lord” is taken from this psalm. Consider verse 3: “I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.”

Though there are few differences between this psalm and the passage in 2 Samuel 22, the distinction is in context. The latter is David’s personal prayer of praise and thanksgiving to God for His deliverance of him. Psalm 18 is the adaptation of it to a song that the whole congregation can sing to give thanks for the line of David, and to pray for the faithfulness and strength of the heirs to his throne.

The words of the first half of psalm, when referring to God’s deliverance of David, convey imagery of God rushing to the rescue of His anointed one like an angry and powerful protector, arriving on winged transport with swiftness of speed. His voice like thunder, flinging fire and hailstones, the picture of a powerful and protective God is painted in such a way as to instill awe, reverence and gratitude for the swiftness of action with which God acts to protect His righteous.

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.  

Psalm 143 – I Stretch Out My Hands To You

Absalom

Absalom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

This psalm of David is one of  those which are referred to as “the penitentials.” It still has all the elements of a lament, however, and as such it is clear that it was one written during his flight from Jerusalem during Absalom’s rebellion. The penance in his prayer is far too deep and genuine to be of the time of Saul’s persecution. Franz Delitzsch wrote of this psalm that it:

 

“is certainly composed as coming out of the situation of David who was persecuted by Absalom; and it is distinguished from those of the time of Saul’s persecution by the psalmist’s deep melancholy, founded upon the penitential sorrow of David’s consciousness of his own guilt.”

 

David is paying the price for his sin with Bathsheba, and his atrocious murder of his loyal friend, Uriah the Hittite – of which Nathan warned him to be prepared for in 2 Samuel 12:7-12.  Psalm 143 is another great model of prayer for us today. In the midst of praying for his deliverance, David also prays not only for deliverance, but for strength to serve God better:

 

Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God!
Let your good Spirit lead me
on level ground!

For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life!
In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!

 

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.  

 

Psalm 139 – I Am Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

lake and mountain02This psalm is ascribed to David in the superscription, and its writing style does not contradict that in the least. It is regarded by some as one of the greatest passages in the Old Testament, and it is not hard to understand why when one reads it. Edward J. Young wrote an entire book on these 24 verses (“The Way Everlasting: A Study in Psalm 139”, The Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh, Great Britain, November 1, 1997). Most commentators recognize 4 sections to the psalm, consisting of 6 verses each. The first section deals with God’s omniscience. Verse one begins “O Lord, you have searched me and known me!” Verses 7-12 are concerned with his omnipresence. Verse 7 asks “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?”

The third section (verses 13-18) praises God for His omnipotence. Verse 14 is one of the more famous verses: “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Put those last four words in a search engine, and you will have hours of reading available; and we cannot do the verse justice here. Suffice to say that “fearfully made” is intended with the same sort of respect and awe that we are to have of the Lord (as in “fear of the Lord”), and the meaning of “wonderfully made” is quite obvious to those who study the intricacies of the human body all the way down to the cell level.

The final section (verse 19-24) is one of supplication for God. It pleads for the Lord to deal with the wicked and with those who speak against him. It is also a plea for God to examine the psalmist’s heart, leading him away from any sin and “in the way everlasting.”

The psalm points out in a most elegant way how much God knows, while acknowledging how little we really know about that very fact. He knows all about us, and He knew us before we were even born, as God told the prophet in Jeremiah 1:4-5. Even His very thoughts are too vast and wonderful for us to comprehend (verses 17-18).

Altogether, these 24 verses speak volumes about the nature and power of our Creator and His care for us, and make an excellent source of thoughts for our prayers to Him.

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.  

Psalm 137 – By the Waters of Babylon

Destruction of Jerusalem under the Babylonian ...

Destruction of Jerusalem under the Babylonian rule. Illustration from the Nuremberg Chronicle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

This psalm is one that is often misunderstood. It is also one that skeptics and critics like to quote to “prove” that the Bible, of all things, is somehow evil (he says, rolling eyes toward heaven). Verses 1-3 make it clear – psalm 137 is obviously written either during the time of Babylonian captivity or just afterward, making it some time between 587 BC and 537 BC.

 

It is a lament for the destruction of Jerusalem, and for all that was lost in human life, in heritage, in freedom, and in dignity. It is lament of a people who were taken off forcibly and with certain ferocity, while others they knew – and loved – were killed violently.

 

What causes the misunderstanding – even among some of those scholars who are genuinely faithful – is verse 9. First it should be pointed out that the word that is translated “blessed” in some versions (here and in other parts of the Bible) is more accurately translated as “happy.” Secondly, verses 8-9 are not recounting what has happened, but they are a prediction of what will be.

 

“Happy shall he be who repays you with what you have done to us! Happy shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!” The third thing to remember is that the prediction in this passage is of what the Medes and the Persians are going to do to the Babylonians. God is not instructing them to do so (nor does He condone it), but His word accurately predicts what will happen – the same atrocities the Babylonians committed. And the invading soldiers in this prediction will be just as joyful in their cruel conquest as the Babylonians were.

 

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.  

 

Psalm 136 – Give Thanks To the God of Heaven

English: An image of Psalm 23 (King James' Ver...

English: An image of Psalm 23 (King James’ Version), frontispiece to the 1880 omnibus printing of The Sunday at Home. Scanned at 800 dpi. Français : Illustration du Psaume 23 (version autorisée par le roi Jacques), en frontispice de l’édition omnibus du Sunday at home. Version numérisée à 800 dpi. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ok, so I blew it. In a recent blog about another psalm, I had the choice of several ways to go in choosing a title. But I chose “His Steadfast Love Endures Forever” because of the repetition of the phrase in the psalm.  Well guess what? I should have remembered that was true of other chapters of books in the Bible. Psalm 136 repeats this phrase in every one of its 26 verses! So I went with the opening line of its 26th verse – “Give thanks to the God of heaven.” Since this is indeed what the entire psalm actually does, I think it works anyway.

The psalm is very much a psalm of praise and thanksgiving; and like Psalm 135, it goes through several key events in the history of God’s people to do so. It is a very easy and fulfilling psalm to read; and it gives us much to be thankful and praise God for today as well. As verse 24-25 say “It is he who remembered us in our low estate,…and rescued us from our foes,…he who gives food to all flesh,

For his steadfast love endures forever.”

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.