Psalms 67 & 80

Both of these Psalms sound alike. As we read all the Psalms, we start to recognize certain phrases being repeated and many of the words in Psalm 67 & 80 are very much alike. This is a reminder that whenever you find God repeating himself, take note! Don’t miss it’s importance.

that your way be known on earth, your saving power among all nations” Here is the purpose of God’s blessing, which we should be desiring with all our heart. Psalm 67:2 cries out for this towards the world, and Psalm 80:19 cries out for this towards Israel. When do we pray for God’s blessing towards the lost, or restoration of our own weakest members? When Jesus arrived, this was the primary point of his ministry, “to seek & save the lost”, Luke 19:10. He made sure the blessing of his saving power was at the core of His great commission, first recorded in Matthew 28:18-20. His apostles faithfully obeyed this message to their death, with glory being reflected to this day. The same glory lay in His message commissioned in our hearts today, you are living letters being written and read by a lost world, 2nd Corinthians 3:2-3. Do you believe the light of the world is the Spirit of Christ which writes his law of faith on human hearts?

The “shining face of God” is a repetitive phrase, connected with God’s blessing upon those He shines upon! This fact appears in Numbers 6:25, Psalm 31:16, 67:1, 80:3,7,19, 119:135 and also in Daniel 9:17. Where does the full impact of this kind of blessing become so obvious? In Jesus, as Paul describes the light of the world inside the heart of Christians (2nd Corinthians 4:6), Physically it was literally seen by Peter, James & John on the mountain top when Jesus was transfigured, Matthew 17:2. This will happen for each and every faithful child of God throughout the ages, when we gather together in Heaven!

The face of God is very important to Jesus, as he describes angels always watching God’s face. Matthew 18:10. As if our angels can’t bare to watch our own foolish and dangerous ways, but that God’s face will reflect the light which is needed to turn us from our darkened ways. Our angels are peering into the revealing ways God works to spread his good news into the hearts of lost sheep. Factually, most of 2nd Corinthians 3:7-18 is all about how great the glory of God is, while this ministry of righteousness in Christ is being spread. We too, should be desirous and prayerful to look into ways we can reflect the light of the world, so that others can be freed. Why?  Because… “the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” ~ 1st Peter 3:12.

This glorious light (which is spiritual and permanent right now for Christians) will one day be obvious. John brings the Revelation of Christ to a close with this vision in the future. Revelation 22:1-5 proclaims that people of all nations will receive healing from the leaves on the tree of life and while in near His Throne, we will see his face…and night will be no more! By His light will the nations walk and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it”, (21:23-24) where never anything accursed will enter.

This is worth praying for, singing about and repeating, everytime we meet together to worship Christ!

Psalm 51

This Psalm is what repentance sounds like when it comes out of a sorrowful soul that has just been taught how horribly helpless we are when we intentionally sin. David’s words here are a result of being convicted of sin by the punishing words of the prophet Nathan. The prophet Nathan delivered God’s judgment against David’s rebellious sexual sin with Bathsheba. Which resulted in David’s cry for mercy and admission of his sinfulness, from birth and lapsing into sin as an adult. It is a popular idea that since David said he was born in sin, that the majority of religious people assume that everyone else is born in sin (Psalm 51:5) since Adam’s sin gave the world a death sentence. However, this Psalm was written by David, and he knew two things about himself. Firstly, his heritage, and secondly, what the law said about his ancestry. Deuteronomy 23:2 clearly cuts off an illegitimate person from the religious life of the nation, including all 10 generations of such a person. One such ‘bastard’ was Perez, born out of Judah & Tamar’s illicit relationship, Gen. 38. The 10th generation from Perez was David’s generation, therefore David was truly “born in sin”, and his whole family, along with his brothers knew it. They are as follows: 1st-Perez, 2nd-Hezron, 3rd-Ram, 4th-Amminadab, 5th-Nahshon, 6th-Salmon, 7th-Boaz, 8th-Obed, 9th-Jesse & 10th-David, see Matthew 1:3-6. Please do not conclude that because we might have an illicit background, it would hinder our relationship with God, that is not true. This law concerned only Jews, another law would counter foreigners from having a part in the religious life of Israel, see the rest of Deut. 23. But as for David, he could not consider himself born into a good relationship with God, according to the Law. However, when he grew to be a young man. God chose to change his position and relationship, when God led Samuel to anoint him to be the future King. If anyone can over-ride, or re-interpret the law, it can only be the author of that Law. So then, David became not only a Psalmist, but also a King, purely by the grace of God. Now after he sinned with Bathsheba, he pled for mercy. Don’t let anyone lead you to believe that people are born in sin, and sinful from birth. The Bible actually teaches the opposite, Children are a blessing and gift from the Lord, Psalm 127:3-5 & Mark 9:36-37 & 10:14. Our sin, is our own personal responsibility, not the inherent responsibility of our parents, or Adam, Romans 5:12-19 & Ezekiel 18:20. The only thing that anyone inherited from Adam is death, not sin itself. Even if a child is born from an incestous relationship, the child hasn’t any sin inherent. Indeed the sins of parents can put a child at risk or in a grave physical disadvantage, but a baby’s soul is pure, see James 1:17-18.

Sinfulness can lead us all to crave God’s mercy for a clean new start. We should fully realize the unique beauty of Christ alone, providing a new creation in every Christian. Which is what David cried out for in Psalm 51:10. The apostle Paul declared this fact in 2nd Corinthians 5:17, and explained it well in Ephesians 2:10. There is no sense in simply asking for a “fix” when we need washing, but there is glory in realizing that God’s cleansing of our soul is seen as a totally new heart being adjoined with the Spirit of Christ, see Psalm 51:11.

Bringing Zion itself into good standing, was reliant on the Nation’s King being in good standing with God. Psalm 51:17-19 is a reminder of how important it is to have real godly virtues in our leadership, even today. Do you pray for our Nation’s leaders to understand what real sacrifice is in God’s eyes? Read 1st Timothy 2:1-4.

Psalm 46

What good is a fort, if you don’t know where it is? Once you find it, how can it help you, if you don’t know how to get in? If you find it and get access, how can a fort help you if it has weak points? God is a fortress, bigger than any fort so that the world knows where it is, accessible to anyone under attack by the devil & the strongest shelter, having thicker impenetrable walls than any other fort in the universe. The word “strength” implies that God is the source of strength to those who are weak and defenseless; that we may rely on his strength “as if” it were our own; feeling as safe in his strength as though we had that strength ourselves. We may make it the basis of our confidence as though the strength resided in our own arm. Centuries after this Psalm was written & sung, Jesus would come and say “ “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her!  How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings” ~ Matthew 22:37 God’s Fort is Love Himself! Jesus came to prove this.

v1, “A very present help in trouble.” Echoed from Psalm 18:2, He is the Deliverer. God is with us – this is like a chorus throughout the psalm – His company declared in v1, v7 & v11. God is available to us. God is accessible at just the right time when we need Him the most. Factually leading the Hebrew Christian writer to conclude,  “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” ~ Hebrews 4:16.

v2 “Therefore we will not fear,” Is our persevering confidence in God’s Power? How much of our life is disrupted by fear or anxiety? Satan attacks us with this weapon of fear to paralyze us and keep us from stepping out in faith and aggressively trusting the Lord to accomplish great things for Him. The Lord Jesus constantly addressed this weakness in the hearts of His disciples.  Luke 12:22-34 – “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.” And as Jesus comforts His disciples in view of His departure: “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.” John 14:1.

v4-6  The Joy of our Life can be in appreciating the Presence of God, “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, The holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her”. The symbolism of the river brings the life giving power and presence of God, it reminds us of Rev. 22:1-2  “Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life”. If we want to experience joy in a close relationship with Jesus, never forget his promise fulfilled. “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’  But this He spoke of the Spirit” ~ John 7:38.

v10, “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Paul put it best, that we should bow our knees now before it is too late – “at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  Philippians 2:10-11

What could we accomplish for the Lord if we were freed from struggling with Fear? Fear of failure, Fear of inadequacy, Fear of people’s opinions, even Fear of financial ruin or of the loss of our health. Jehovah is not only a means of escape from pressures and trials.  He is also Lord over them. He is not an escape from history, but the one who is busy working on his purpose throughout history. He is therefore not just a Savior to be trusted, but also a Lord to be acknowledged. So the Psalmist goes on: Stop fighting, and acknowledge that I am God.

v11, The Fortress, This truth conveyed is adapted to the people of God in all lands and at all times, as showing that God has power to defend his people against the most formidable enemies! Read Revelation

Psalm 37

v1-8,  Notice the hope & trust expressed in this praise, while contrasted with envy, v1, which progresses to worry, then to fretting and anger, then ending in evil, v8. This Psalm of David is certainly written in his old age, v25, and his wisdom shown in this praise is an example of how to answer the age old question by all of us: why do the wicked experience such pleasurable success while the righteous suffer? Jesus answers us in John 16:33 & 1st Jn. 4:4.

v9-11 are an introduction to v22, 29, 34 which is discussed in the Koran (21:105) where Psalm 37:29 is quoted verbatim. Jesus alluded to v29 from quoting, v9-11, in the sermon on the mount, Matthew 5:5, and it is still a well-known verse in the world. Worldly people largely misunderstand it, but it’s explanation is straightforward. To understand “inherit the earth”, we can look at Abraham’s faith in Jesus, and Paul’s teaching on Abraham, Romans 4:13. Yes Jesus lived out the faith of Abraham perfectly. The lifetime of Abraham’s faith led him to only own one parcel of ground, a burial place for his wife, Sarah. What kind of inheritance is that for the descendant of Abraham which would bless the entire world? Appropriately a different gravesite would figure most prominently in Christianity! The children of Abraham (Isaac & Jacob & Esau) would later bury Abraham himself with his wife Sarah, but of course their ancient gravesite near Hebron today has no significance to Christians now because we believe only the dust of their corpses are there, their real identity is in Heaven. When the inheritance occurs for “the meek” as Jesus describes all the righteous people of God, it is then we will experience the glory of the new heaven and the new earth. But for now, because of what Jesus did at his gravesite, as the descendant of Abraham which blesses the world, we have spiritually attained this inheritance because of our faith in Christ, the seed of Abraham. In one sense faithful Christians already have inherited the earth, as being in Christ and he is now sovereign over it, Matthew 28:18, but not unbelieving worldly people, for now, they are the devil’s, Ephesians 6:12, John 8:44 & 1st Jn. 3:10.

v12-21 , Only the Lord can laugh at the wicked. Whereas we his subjects should empathize, because we once were wicked too. If a Christian can maintain and grow this attitude, we will succeed in evangelism. The crescendo of this Psalm, is v16, worthy of our memory work, and it’s sentiment is echoed in Matthew 6:32-33, Philippians 4:11-13 & 1st Timothy 6:6-8.

v22-34, when or if the Lord is upholding our hand, v24, disaster will never totally defeat us. Paul as a Christian understood this little victory led to a great eternal victory, read 2nd Cor. 4:7-10. Do you ever prayerfully picture the Lord upholding your hand? Could this poetic vision be in Paul’s mind when he wrote, 1st Timothy 2:8. God wants holy/clean hands to hold, James 4:8.

v35-40, The ultimate plight of the wicked is in stark contrast here in v35-36, to the present reality of the wicked from our perspective. If you work in a prison, you are constantly exposed to the injustice of “rehabilitating” the lives of some murderous thieves via a temporary “justice” system, which can be disheartening for the righteous, if we lose sight of the ultimate victory for the righteous. This passage should remind us that the justice of humanity at best, is inconsequential in the long run. We all should be waiting on the justice of the Lord in Jesus Christ. Never forget the eternal gospel picture of His justice, Revelation 19:1-3.

Psalm 34

There are at least seven lessons in this Psalm. It is an acrostic (Alphabetic) Psalm where in Hebrew each line begins with the successive Hebrew letter. However, it is irregular. One letter (vau) is missing and another (pe) is repeated. There are only a few Psalms written in this style, many Rabbis say they are primarily used for teaching children, as well as praise. The title says, “A Psalm of David when he pretended madness before Abimelech (King Achish) who drove him away, and he departed.” This refers to the events of 1 Samuel 21:10-15 where David, because he was afraid, acted like he was crazy before Achish, the king of Gath. The Psalm does not indicate any attempt to vindicate David’s action. In fact, in the Psalm, David makes no comment about his conduct. He merely recalls his feelings at the time of his deliverance.

A. The point of the Psalm is to praise Jehovah as our provider, protector, and deliverer. God gives us in this Psalm many good reasons for trusting Him while in trouble, so that we grow courageous for the next trial that comes our way, to see how God helps us.

B.  Fear must be taught (v. 11). If we fear God, we have been taught to fear God. If we want our children to fear God, we must teach them to fear God. When we wonder why some of our children have no use for God or his word, we would do well to consider that maybe we didn’t teach them to fear God.

C. What it means to fear God. The term “fear” is equated with several other expressions. These terms serve as a commentary on what is involved in fearing God, v. 8 describes one who “trusts in him.” v10 says “seek the Lord.”  v15 calls this one “righteous.” v22 says he is a servant.

D. The Lord protects those who fear him (v. 7, 15, 17, 19). The Lord cares about his people. He delivers them from their troubles.

E. The Lord blesses those who fear him (v. 8-10). God gives us all that we need (2 Pet. 1:3). There is no promise that the Lord will give us all we want. He did promise that he would grant all we need. While the young lion may hunger, his people will not lack any good thing (v. 10).

F. Those who fear God are those who really enjoy life (v. 12). Those who seek pleasure from life without the fear of God, have no idea of what lasting joy is.

G. God listens to those who fear him (v. 15-22). What a privilege to have God’s ear tuned to our request! Such an honor is not granted to just anyone. It is an honor bestowed only on those who fear God. (1st Peter 3:12)

John the disciple Jesus loved, was keen to show how truly He was indeed the Lamb of God, fulfilled in David’s messianic prophecy, Psa. 34:20. Moses commanded that when a lamb was sacrificed, (Ex. 12:46) none of the bones should be broken, indeed the care taken in it’s death was shown through the careful guidance God had in giving his Son as The Lamb, ensuring not a bone was broken, John 19:36. How could this be achieved while undergoing all the savage inhumanity inflicted on Jesus’ body? God is in control, and is our Deliverer. The resurrection was in sight all the while, and indeed with perfect timing, a reality.