Psalm 118

v1-4. God’s mercy is limitless towards Israel, their Levitical Priesthood and anyone who fears Him. His kindness will not allow punishment. The apostle Paul knew the kindness of God, and taught the Church to be kind & forgiving towards others, as God was kind to them, Ephesians 4:32. If a genuine Christian confuses pain in daily  life with punishment, they have not grown to understand God’s mercy. Pain & suffering in a real Christians daily life may indeed be discipline in training our conscience & faith, but it is not punishment. There are many different reasons and purposes for pain & suffering in our life but punishment from God is not one of them, because His loving-kindness is now and forever more for Spiritual Israel, Php. 3:2-3 & Gal. 6:16. Many people confuse the Babylonian captivity God directed upon Judah as punishment for their idolatry, but they fail to recognize that God gave Judah more than a generation of warnings, and yet they rebelled spiritually, bringing into question the validity of their faith and utter failure to keep God’s covenants. But because of God’s covenant with Abraham, his mercy maintained a remnant of Jews to keep Israel alive until Jesus  came as the Christ.

v5-9, “distress” is a strong word, and no one should think God doesn’t understand the pain of distress. Christ prayed in great distress facing the trial of his life. Mark 14:31-36. He is now our High Priest that can truly empathize with our cry for help in a crisis. He took our punishment, and still to this day, before his return, he can indeed still suffer with us, Colossians 1:24. The best comfort anyone can feel relief from, is indeed FREEDOM. This freedom is found in Christ, John 8:34-36. The worst case scenario a Christian can face from any enemy is a change of address. We should never fear people able to kill us, rather, fear Him who can destroy both soul & body in hell, Matthew 10:28. Triumph is always best felt in a refuge! Christ provides both in the promise of forgiveness and the resurrection. Because even the strongest, richest prince that may give us the best in governing power & benefits, is still just a man, John 14:6.

v10-13,  “Nations”, it is thought by rabbis, that David is writing this Psalm in memory of his victory over the Jebusites to attain Jerusalem, and the surrounding countries honored his victory, 2nd Sam. 5:5-12. When he cites being aggressively pushed, it is noteworthy to see David’s experience in help being from the LORD (Jehovah) The name most sacred to Israelites today. Make note that this Psalm has many more references to this name than most Psalms, so it makes us wonder if the piety Jews show today, by refusing to pronounce it, is actually a level of piety Jews practiced in David’s day.

v14-18. The Lord’s punishment was restrained from killing the Psalmist in battle, it could have happened, but God’s mercy preserved his life through war. Remember that the death sentence was acceptable punishment for children in the law of God through Moses, Deut. 21:20-21.

v19-24, The “stone”, Christ applied it to Himself (Matt. 21:42; Mark 12:10-11; Luke 20:17). Peter and Paul also applied it to Jesus (Acts 4:11; Eph. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:6-8). God’s amazing resurrection of His rejected Son to the place of supreme authority is marvelous to say the least. The day of His resurrection is the greatest day the Lord ever made. It is indeed the basis for the Christian’s joy and rejoicing every first day of the week till time as we know it is escorted into eternity!

v25-29,  Faithful Israelite’s welcomed Jesus at His Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem during Passover season using verses 25 and 26 (see Matt. 21:9) They regarded this psalm as predicting the Messiah, we too should praise God with all the gratitude we can offer, whenever we see His deliverance in any way, especially our spiritual deliverance!

Psalm 111

Five times in this anonymous Psalm, the author calls God, the LORD (Jehovah) which is the sacred name for God indicating his eternal self-existent nature which is in popular use by the Nation of Israel, when Jews read it, they will not pronounce it, but say “HaShem” meaning “the name”. Therefore this Psalm is all about why we praise the Lord.

v1, it’s never a good idea to try and praise the Lord with only half a heart. The apostle Paul teaches the Church to try and fully understand what we are singing, and that we believe in what we are singing, 1st Corinthians 14:12-17, Why? Because God never changes in what he desires and who He is. Jeremiah 24:1-7 & Romans 6:17. The words “council” and “assembly”, indicates our praise is desired in both private and public gatherings. Singing by our self is acceptable, but singing together is preferred, The Lord loves unity demonstrated & experienced. When we have our whole heart praising God, we will then experience this verse, it is simply where I love to be and what I love to do.

v2, Understanding what the Lord has done, helps us discover why He did it. This knowledge doesn’t help us know how He works, but better than that, He teaches us why! Romans 8:6. The child prodigy and brilliant mathematician Blaise Pascal wrote “Philosophy searches for truth, theology finds it, but religion possesses it, therefore human things must be known to be loved, but divine things must be loved to be known” ~ B. Pascal 1623-1662. It is noteworthy that in all of our modern technology and progressive savvy, we still do not understand how the pyramids were built, or how stonehenge was made, so why do we quit admiring God when we are puzzled at how he performed a miracle, or how he wrote the Bible? We can still praise God for knowing WHY He worked, works and that he will work, regardless of how.

v3, Glorious and majestic are his deeds, and his righteousness endures forever. Whoever needs this statement explained is one of three types of people; 1- an atheist or 2- simply ignorant of Jesus Christ or 3- a pervert that deliberately rejects the reality of a creator in the design of creation that faces them everyday, as described in Romans 1:20-24.

v4, It is because of God’s compassionate grace, that he establishes ways to remember what he has done in the past. Both the work and word of God will never be diminished from us or our future generations. Modern archeology attests to Biblical authenticity and God provides both. Jude v25.

v5, Respecting God and living like it, brings delicious benefits! He created our tongue with more varieties of taste buds that any other mammal, so his faithful children could enjoy the food. Therefore we praise Him for both our pleasures, and his promises in a better covenant, Luke 22:20 & Hebrews 12:24.

v6, Modern Israel will never forget historical Israel, and neither should they forget their land is given to them from God, who took it off the ancestors of their neighbors, who had it first! Therefore Christians should never live like we deserve what we are given, if we haven’t earned what we have. Treating a gift, like it was something we paid for, makes us look ugly through the eyes of the Giver.

v7-8, See Deuteronomy 32:3-4, a Song from the Law, and the author remains the same!

v9, The fulfillment of this redemption is in Christ. The promise of it, in this praise, was annually tasted of in their Day of Atonement.

v10, It seems like Solomon might have been more than familiar with this Psalm, or perhaps had a hand in writing it? See Proverbs 1:7 & 9:10

Psalm 110

v1, Christ sitting at the right hand of God, shows as much terror to his enemies as happiness to his people. The power of this victory will be the utter ruin of his enemies. We have here the Redeemer saving his friends, and comforting them. Matthew 22:44, 28:18

v2, We need to pray for the continued use of the rod of divine strength. It was by his rod that Moses beat the Egyptians, and made miracles for Israel, and whenever the Lord Jesus sends forth the rod of his strength, our spiritual enemies are overcome today. There is an allusion here to Aaron’s rod which budded and so proved his power; stored in the ark, but our Lord’s rod is sent forth to subdue his enemies. This promise began to be fulfilled at Pentecost, and it continues even to this day, and will have a grander fulfilment, Revelation 6:2

v3, This work of grace in our regeneration is here described, for it is a spiritual resurrection. Even as the holy dead rise gladly into the lovely image of our Lord, so do our enlivened souls put on the glorious righteousness of Christ. We stand before the Lord and serve him. How truly beautiful is holiness! God himself admires it. How wonderful also is the eternal youth of the mystical body of Christ! As the dew is new every morning, so is there constant growth to give to the church perpetual youthfulness, 2nd Corinthians 8:5.

v4, Melchizedek is an eternal glimpse through our history that shows Jesus is sworn in to be the priest of his people, and he indeed lives on, because his commission is sealed by the unchanging oath of the immutable Jehovah. If his priesthood could be revoked, and his authority removed, it would be the end of all hope and life for the people he loves; but this sure rock is the basis of our security, Hebrews 7:11-24.

v5,  In the last days all the kingdoms of the earth shall be overcome by the kingdom of heaven, and those who dare oppose him will meet with overwhelming ruin. What are kings when they dare oppose the Son of God? A single stroke is enough for their destruction. When the angel of the Lord hit Herod Agrippa there was no second blow; he was eaten by worms and died, Acts 4:26 & 12:1. Pilate too met an embarrassing end, as well as Herod the Great, about whom Josephus records, “a loathsome disease descended upon the ruler as a judgment from God on account of his sins. He describes the horrible details —burning fever, ulcerated entrails, foul discharges, convulsions, stench, etc. (Antiquities 17.6.5).

v6, This doesn’t need to be understood literally, but as a poetical description of the overthrow of all rebellious powers and the defeat of all unholy principles. But if kings oppose the Lord with weapons of war, the result is their overwhelming defeat and the entire destruction of their forces, 2nd Thessalonians 2:8

v7, Expressing the joyous comfort, which Christ, as man, has in the presence of God, and at his right hand, having finished the work of our salvation; he then drinks to his refreshment of the river of divine pleasure, when God showed him the path of life, and raised him from the dead, and gave him glory, and introduced him into his presence; wherein is our fullness of joy, and pleasures for evermore, Psalm 16:11 & Revelation 22:1-2.

Psalm 109

This psalm is more like a prayer attempting to invoke God to curse, judge and punish our enemy. This thought in prayer is usually based on a covenant, not just our own human desire for vengeance or justice, see Genesis 12:3 & Deuteronomy 28:1-2 & 15. When David wrote this Psalm by inspiration, he wrote it as a king, being responsible for the welfare and protection of God’s children. David was also responsible for the justice system, the prosecution and execution of capital crimes. This kind of prayer is truly personal, but coming from a King, also has a public aspect towards matters of injustice to the throne of God, not acts of vengeance. David always recognized the truth of Romans 12:19, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,’ says the Lord.” See Deuteronomy 32:35.  It is our prerogative to pray for God to avenge wrongs, because vengeance belongs to Him (Deut 32:35; Romans 12:19–21). These prayers are a divinely appointed source of power for believers in their powerlessness. In the face of sustained injustice, hardened enmity, and gross oppression, they are the Christians’ hope that divine justice will indeed be realized—not only in the long term future (2 Thess. 1:6– 10) but also in “the land of the living” (Ps. 27:13). This psalm is not contrary to the New Testament teaching to love and forgive our enemies, see Luke 18:7–8. Forgiveness is often prayed for, but it is never realized without repentance and if our enemy will not repent and seems bent on evil, then they will indeed perish!

v. 8 “Let another take his office.” This statement is understood by Luke as divinely inspired prophecy in the promised Messiah’s establishment of justice, see Acts 1:20 which cites this statement from Psalm 109 as fulfilled with the death of Judas and the appointment of Matthias to the vacated apostleship. Just as David prayed that his chief enemy might be removed from his position of authority, so also Judas, the enemy of David’s greater Son – Jesus Christ, must  have Judas removed from his position.

v14, sounds inappropriate from a Christians perspective but “Fathers” have a certain specific responsibility for the sin of their children. The sweetness of vengeance lay in its completeness. The curse must strike backwards as well as forwards, and the root as well as the branch should be destroyed. Undoubtedly the Mosaic Law, Ex. 20:5, which proclaimed that the “iniquity of the fathers should be visited on the children,” suggested this form of punishment. The fact of the matter is that children and children’s children often suffer from the errors, the crimes of their parents, as in the case of alcoholism, drug addiction and even murder (compare Romans 5:12) and the prayer here is, that this regular effect of sin might follow in this instance; that these consequences might not be stopped by divine intervention.

v20 is most likely an appeal to the Mosaic law regarding false witnesses (Deut 19:15–21).

v23, David was not experiencing God’s blessings while writing this Psalm. This made other people question God’s justice and faithfulness. If God would again bless David and curse his enemy, this would show onlookers that God’s promises are trustworthy. In these verses, David described how he felt in his downtrodden condition. “The locust or grasshopper is proverbial as being a defenseless inoffensive little creature that is soon driven away, Job 39:40

v25,  Shaking the head can signify rejection or astonishment (Psalm 64:8: Lam. 2:15). The Lord Jesus’ enemies spoke these very words as He hung on the cross (Matt. 27:42-43).

A Christians lesson from this Psalm is this: When attacked, be a prayer first responder.  When tempted to sin, look to God and consider the impact upon your family. Be characterized by prayer and praise Christ, regardless of your circumstances. God is faithful!