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.

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Psalm 69 – Deliver Me

depression_002This psalm is another of those that apply both to David and to Jesus.  Whether from a time when David was on the run from Saul, we do not know, nor does it matter.  He is crying out to God, clearly suffering and just as clearly afraid.  Many appeals contained in this psalm are appropriate for prayer today at times when life is bleak:

Save me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire,
where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
and the flood sweeps over me.

But the psalm is indicative of the Messiah’s plight in places as well.  Verse 4 (“They hated me without a cause”) is quoted by Jesus in John 15:25.  Verse 9 (zeal for your house has consumed me) is quoted in John 2:17.  And verse 21 (“They gave me poison for food,and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink”) is referred to in all four gospels (such as Luke 23:36).   Indeed, this psalm is quoted by Paul in Romans 15:3 (69:9b), Romans 11:9 (69:22), Romans 11:10 (69:23), and Acts 1:20 (69:25).

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 60 – Vain Is The Salvation of Man

A desolate wasteland south of the Dead Sea, which may have been the Valley of Salt

A desolate wasteland south of the Dead Sea, which may have been the Valley of Salt

The rather long superscription instructs the singing of this psalm to be to the tune of “Shushan Eduth” which is usually translated “the Lily of the Testimony,” which some suppose is the same song mentioned in the superscription of Psalms 45, 69, and 80.    There is no record in Scripture of the battles referred to in the first part of this superscription, which is understandable if (as some suppose from the first few verses) that they were defeats for Israel.  The victory in the last part that is ascribed to Joab (for he was David’s commander) in “the Valley of Salt” is accounted in 2 Samuel 8:13-14 and 1 Chronicles 18:12-13.   In the former, David was given the victory and in the latter, Abishai – David was his king and Joab was his commander.  So, although the superscriptions are not part of the inspired word, there is no inconsistency on that account.  As for the difference in the number of Edomites struck down, we will of course refer to the inspired word for the correct final count.

In any case, the psalm appears to be referring to the defeats mentioned above.  Verses 1-5 begin with the suggestion of God’s displeasure with them, as well as the confidence that He would come through for them in the end.  What follows in verses 6-8 is a recital by specific name of various lands that God had promised His people by general reference to Canaan.  Verses 9-12 look forward to the victory at Edom.

For us, verse 11 is the lesson (“Oh, grant us help against the foe, for vain is the salvation of man!”).  It has always been mankind’s folly to rely solely on his own capabilities.  Whether he acknowledges it or not, eventually man is dependent on God.

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.

Psalms 68 – The Procession of My God

This psalm is extolled by commentators as one of the most magnificent hymnal psalms of praise that David wrote – and in some ways, one of the most difficult to outline and interpret.  It is widely accepted as having been written at the time of the removal of “the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing” ( 2 Samuel 6:12).  And that certainly seems to be the case, as it starts out in verse one (“God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered; and those who hate him shall flee before him!”) – the same way the ark was always put on its journey (see Numbers 10:35).

Hill of Ophel, south of Jerusalem, where the city of David was located.

Hill of Ophel, south of Jerusalem, where the city of David was located.

Throughout the chapter, it echoes the praise for God when on a similar journey among His people, He led them from bondage in Egypt (i.e. verses 4, 6, 7-8).  Verse 20 (“Our God is a God of salvation, and to God, the Lord, belong deliverances from death”) is one of few verses in the Old Testament that clearly demonstrates an understanding of God’s saving grace for the righteous in eternity, as we understand now comes to us from the sacrifice of His Son.

But praise for God and His power is the sole intent of this song.  Part of Spurgeon’s description of the singing which follows here conjures quite an image:

“With the words of the first two verses the ark is uplifted, and the procession begins to move. In Psalm 68:3-6, the godly in the assembly are exhorted to commence their joyous songs, and arguments are adduced to help their joy. Then the glorious march of Jehovah in the wilderness is sung: Psalm 68:7-10, and his victories in war are celebrated in verses Psalm 68:11-14. The joyous shouts are louder as Zion comes in sight, and the ark is borne up the hill…”

The psalm concludes majestically:

Awesome is God from his sanctuary;
the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people.
Blessed be God!

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 58 – God Who Judges the Earth

There is considerable dispute over both the translation and meaning of verse one: “Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods?”  Some translations have the last word replaced with “mighty lords.”  Others insist that it is “silent ones,” implying those accustomed to running things from afar.  In any case, David (for we have no reason to doubt the superscription’s claim that it is another of David’s “Psalms of the Golden Secret” – a Miktam) would certainly not speak of false gods as entities that actually did anything.

snake charmerAs one of the so-called imprecatory psalms, it speaks with sarcastic irony of the rulers and judges that are corrupt and wicked as being like deaf adders who cannot be charmed.  The psalm declares that the righteous will rejoice when God has his vengeance upon such evil men (verse 10).  It is a mistake to believe that righteous people will not do so when evil is defeated.  even the souls of those in heaven who have been slain by such men will rejoice when evil is crushed by the Lord (Revelation 6:9-10).  It is God who judges the earth!

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.

Psalms 50 – God Himself is Judge

This is the first of 12 “songs of Asaph.”  Asaph was one of David’s chief musicians (1 Chronicles 16:7), and undoubtedly did write some of the psalms (2 Chronicles 29:30), although it is not certain that he wrote all 12 of these, or simply was known to sing some of them.  Most commentators agree however that this one was likely written by him.  Adam Clarke said “The style of David is more polished, flowing, correct, and majestic, than that of Asaph, which is more stiff and obscure.”

Mount Zion, Aceldama, Akeldama, or Hakeldamia, the Field of Blood.

Mount Zion, Aceldama, Akeldama, or Hakeldamia, the Field of Blood.

Some say that this is a prophetic psalm concerning the Messiah, and that does have some merit.  Verse 2 (“Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,God shines forth”) seems akin to Isaiah 2:3 (“For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem”).  In the latter, “the word” obviously is Jesus (John 1:14).  And in verses 8-14, God tells His chosen ones that He neither needs nor wants their sacrifices (which we are reminded in Hebrews 10:5-7).

He rebukes the wicked among them in verses 16-22 for believing they can live their lives doing any sort of sinful act, as long as they make their sacrifices to atone for it.  God hates fake worship; and the verses are just as relevant for us today.  Too many of us live as pagans Monday through Saturday night, yet still consider themselves Christians on Sunday, as long as they go to worship services.  God will judge us for how we live our daily lives, and His salvation is for he who “orders his way rightly” (verse 23).

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.

Psalms 57 – Cry Out to God Most High

According to the superscription of this psalm, it was one  written by David when he fled from Saul “in the cave” – possibly on the occasion of either 1 Samuel 22:1 or 1 Samuel 24:1-3, more likely the former.  It is hard to imagine the despair that David felt as he had to hide himself in fear for his very life, appealing to God “My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery beasts…”

Public domain image from www.public-domain-image.comVerse one is another of the several verses found in the psalms (17:8, 36:7, and 63:7, for example) and elsewhere that refer to a place of safety as being “in the shadow of your wings.”  In verses 1-6, David makes his “cry out to God most high” in prayer for His help.  But even in so doing, he expresses his faith in the Lord saying “I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.”  When we have done all that we can do, we must learn to trust in Him.

Then in verses 7-11, he finishes his prayer renewed with strength, and praises God for his comfort and steadfast love.  The refrain of the song, found in verse 5 is returned to in verse 11:

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!

It is a song that is a model for prayer most appropriate at times of despair, fear, or oppression – any time that we need to “cry out to God most high” as we often do, remembering as we make our plea, that He hears us and that He deserves our praise for all that He is and does.

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.

Psalms 51 – The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit

EnstromAccording to the superscript, the occasion of this psalm was when the prophet Nathan came to rebuke David for his sinful affair with Bathsheba and the premeditated murder of her husband and David’s loyal soldier and friend, Uriah the Hittite (2 Samuel 12:1-14).  It is a psalm of prayer from one who has committed grievous sin, and who makes no excuse for it.  As a prayer, the psalm is a great model for us, because it shows us the correct attitude one must have toward his own sins, and in asking God for His forgiveness.

God does not take sin lightly, but He does forgive us for our sins when we come to Him with a truly repentant and contrite heart.    It is with a properly broken spirit that David says “I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.”  David knows that no sacrifice or burnt offering would appease God in this case, and that God has no interest in it; and he says that “the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (verse 17).

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.