Psalm 16

Notes for Bible Discussion, Gold Canyon Church of Christ, 23 Dec. 2018

v1, “A prayer of David. Protect me, O God, for I have taken shelter in you…”

David wants divine protection because he has remained loyal to God. He praises God for his rich blessings, and is confident God will vindicate him and deliver him from death. None of us takes shelter in something we don’t trust. When it comes to death, who can we trust? Romans 8:37-39. He experienced many hardships because he remained faithful to God. Nevertheless, he also knew that life lived after another god was even more difficult. This is the same attitude of Peter in John 6:66-69, when he said “Lord, to whom shall we go?”

v4, “their troubles multiply; they desire other gods. I will not pour out drink offerings of blood to their gods, nor will I make vows in the name of their gods…”

Offering your own blood is a senseless sacrifice of self, which must be appalling to Christ whose blood was offered for us in the first place! Even today some Roman Catholics whip themselves to blood, offering their blood to their twisted conception of God. This should move us to rejoice for the blessing of redemption we sing about. There is no need for a self-inflicted martyrdom spirit in the church, but if we were called upon by a hateful world to sacrifice our self, we should have an open prayerful heart on the prospect, considering Christ’s love for sinful persecutors.

v7, “I will praise the Lord who guides me; yes, during the night I reflect and learn…”

Our heart should always be open for instruction, Romans 12:2, as Paul encouraged Christians to “renew the mind”.

v9-10, “Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.”

David described another benefit of his life decision to set the LORD as his goal. It was the confidence of God’s care and blessing in the life beyond this one. David had the settled hope (a confidence, not a simple wish), that God would not leave his soul in the grave (Sheol), but that his life would continue on in the presence of God. This statement is a wonderful declaration of trust in a resurrection and afterlife. In the New Testament, we know that Jesus Christ brought life and immortality to light (2 Timothy 1:10). Wonderfully (and perhaps unknowingly), David spoke beyond himself. In one sense David was indeed the Holy One of God, whose soul would not be left in the grave. Yet in a greater and more literal sense, only Jesus Christ fulfills this in His resurrection. This was perceived by Peter on the Day of Pentecost, who said that these words went beyond David who was obviously dead, buried in a grave, and whose body had long ago decayed into dust (Acts 2:25-31). In quoting and applying this passage from Psalm 16 to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, Peter showed a remarkably sophisticated understanding of the work of Jesus on the cross. He understood that because Jesus bore our sin without becoming a sinner, He remained the Holy One, even in His death. Since it is incomprehensible that God’s Holy One should be bound by death, the resurrection was absolutely inevitable. As Peter said: It was not possible that He should be held by death (Acts 2:24).

v11, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” The apostle Paul was good at keeping himself reminded and refreshed with the presence of Christ in his daily life, so he could tell Christians to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Php. 4:4) John declares from his vision in Revelation 22:5, that our reign in Christ is eternal, it is better than having more good days than bad, because it is one eternal perfect day. That is real joy!

Psalm 4

Notes for Bible Discussion, Gold Canyon Church of Christ, 16 Dec. 2018.

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.

A Psalm of David.

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer! O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah

But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him. Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah

Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the LORD. There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!” You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

v1… “Hear My Prayer”, Persuading God by emotional displays may look & feel good in the movies, but God wants us to care deeply about the things He cares deeply about, Yes the Almighty has an agenda as the lover of our soul. The prophet Isaiah spoke with sorrow about the lack of this in Israel:And there is no one who calls on Your name, who stirs himself up to take hold of You (Isaiah 64:7). When prayer seems ineffective, it is worth taking a spiritual inventory to see if there is a reason for unanswered prayer. The Bible tells us there are many reasons why prayer may not be answered.

– Unbelief (Matthew 17:20-21)

– A Bad Marriage Relationship (1 Peter 3:7)

– Unconfessed Sin (James 5:16)

– Trusting in the Length or Form of Prayer (Matthew 6:7)

v2-3, Another contrast between the godly & ungodly. Christians can have confidence in being heard, basing that confidence on Christ, not our self, our education, our own righteousness or morality, but only on Christ and his righteousness. David didn’t have Christ, so what did he base his confidence for being heard upon? Where was his “godliness”? Compare John 15:5& 16:24. Do you recognize the significant role the “mercy seat” in the Temple fulfilled? Where is our mercy seat?

v4, Surely the apostle Paul was familiar with this song, when he wrote Ephesians 4:26. Usually strong resolve arrives in our heart when we stop to rest on the truth and re-align our priorities in order to sleep on them after we have prayed about them. It is consoling to know that we are cared for by The One whose eyes never close, Psalm 121:3-4. The word “Selah” is referring to a pause in lyrics.

v5, placing our trust in God’s abilities, but not your own ability to sacrifice, while at the same time making a sacrifice can be tricky business for the human heart. This forces us to think about our motive in sacrificing. Is it for a pat on the back, or is it to only benefit someone else,preferably God? This is why Peter reminds us of the faithfulness of our Creator God, in the face of suffering from making sacrifices, 1st Peter 4:19.

v8, “You Alone O Lord”, Paul experienced this depth of security and self-value,which is why he wrote Romans 8:35-39. God’s love for you and me in Christ is the only virtue that gives true confidence & peace

Psalm 1

(Notes for Bible Discussion 9 Dec 2018, 9am, Gold Canyon Church of Christ)

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers.

But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;  for the LORD knows the way of the righteous.

But the way of the wicked will perish”.

If your happy and you know it, USE THE PSALMS! See James 5:13, Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. This is the height of being blessed!

Do we see the difference between the blessed person and ungodly people? See Matthew 5:6

The ungodly are not blessed by God; they do not have delight in God’s Word, and they will not bear fruit by the Holy Spirit. See 1st Corinthians 2:12-14

Note the way of the wicked is described as:

Note the way of the righteous is described as:

What does “walk” mean to you?

The chaff is with the grain until the wind blows, signifying the day of judgment, then comes the separation. See Luke 3:16-17

The ungodly can not stand in the judgment, we will stand in the day of judgment. What does “stand” mean to you?

What is the determining factor in whether a tree stands or falls?

John 3:16-17 is a good reminder of the what the word “Perish” means, to be destroyed, remember it is the way of the wicked, not the wicked themselves that are destroyed, they will live forever in eternal punishment, but their wicked way will be totally annihilated. The way of the righteous lives on! This is good news.

Introducing Psalms

Hebrew poetry is unlike English poetry. Jews formed their poetry for the purpose of memorizing God’s praise and to teach their children God’s precepts. They educated with methods of repetition, giving meaning to obscure and figurative words. Christian praise is primarily for the purpose of expressing our love to God and encouraging fellow Christians. The Psalms were very close to the heart of Jesus, they were so much a part of his nature, he quoted them as part of his dying words on the cross, Mat. 27:46 (Psa. 22:1) & Luk. 23:46 (Psa. 31:5). He also used them in his teaching, Mat. 7:23 (Psalm 6:8). The New Testament writers quoted from the Psalms in at least 67 passages.  We can find God’s strength from using them. The Psalms were not written for just our reading, they were written to help shape our praise, they are better described as divine praise, instead of poetry.  Jesus was obviously educated with the Psalms, Luk. 24:44.

The Psalms have known authors and many anonymous authors: 73 by King David, 12 by Asaph, 9 by the Sons of Korah, 2 by King Solomon, 1 by Heman, 1 by Ethan and 1 by Moses, with 51 that are anonymous, totaling 150. Since David was the main contributor, it is obvious why instruments play such a big role in Jewish praise. It was King David who introduced and presumptuously authorized instrumental music in the Temple worship, 1Chron. 23:3-5. David’s authority has no bearing on Christian praise, because Christ is the fulfillment of his messianic promises in the Psalms, and Christ reigns supreme. Jesus set an example of singing with his disciples. The only time it is recorded is on the night he was betrayed. Matthew 26:30, Mark 14:26. We do not know for sure how he sang. Most likely it was a solemn chant, rather than a boisterous melody.  The reason God is silent on the melody of Jesus singing is because he does not want Christians globally, to feel led in practicing only Jewish music. The same mindset was in the writers of the New Testament, which were mainly Jewish.  They had use and knowledge of instruments in their praise as Jews, but refrained from imitating that in Christian praise. The only type of music for the apostles, Jesus and his disciples, was singing with grace in our hearts. This takes on all types of music in the very generic description of Colossians 3:16. We should take the opportunity to sing seriously. It is not the harmony of voices which God hears, but rather the united feelings of love from our hearts, Eph. 5:19.

All 150 Psalms are divided into 5 sections, resembling the Torah (first 5 books of the Old Testament).  This was done early in Hebrew history probably during Ezra’s day after their captivity to impress upon the people that they were the authorized words for Prayer and Praise which God would accept. But the most famous grouping of Psalms is 113-118 and 120-136 as the Hallel Psalms used in all three of the mandatory feasts during the Jewish calendar. The exception being 119, glorifying God’s word and being used educationally. Do we pray with an emphasis on praising God? Or do we pray with an emphasis on other desires? Interspersed throughout all 5 sections are 6 different types of Psalms with 19 different tunes. Some tunes are so ancient, no Jew alive today can recite them with any certainty.  These 6 types are not necessarily formats of music, the type of tune expresses the purpose of the Psalm. Actually meditation, instead of harmonic singing was preferred amongst the writers of the Psalm, which is demonstrated in Psalm 19:14. Meditation is translated from “Higgayon”, “a musical notation, as a murmuring sound while thinking or meditating”.

6 Types of Psalms

1.  Didactic – Teaching on the nature & virtue of God’s Lawful word.

2.  Praise – Expressing love to God

3.  Thanks – Expressing gratitude for the mercies of God to His people.

4.  Devotional – Expressing penitence, faith and hope.

5.  Prophetic – Messianic

6.  Historic – Recounting God’s Providence.

How do you use the Psalms? Do you have a favorite Psalm?