Psalm 82

Psalm 82

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of Asaph.
This is the eleventh of twelve Psalms bear the name of Asaph

1 God presides in the great assembly; he gives judgment among the “gods”:
2 “How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked? Selah
3 Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.
4 Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
5 “They know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
6 “I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’
7 But you will die like mere men; you will fall like every other ruler.”
8 Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are your inheritance.

This is the psalm that Christ referred to in John 10:34. It was on this discourse that the Jews ask him this question “How long dost thou hold us in suspense? If thou art the Christ, tell us plainly.” Christ answer was simple “I told you and you believed not.” He ended by saying “I and the Father are one.” To this the Jews took up stones to stone him and answer him “we stone you not for your good works, but because thou being a man make thyself God.” Then Jesus referred them to this psalm. The theme of John chapter ten is the good shepherd and his flock. In this discourse Christ pictured himself as the good shepherd who took care of his sheep and did not act as a hireling who did not care for the sheep, but for his own personal needs. The good shepherd cares for the sheep, but the hireling only cares for himself. The rulers of the Jews who were to guide the weak and needy, the fatherless and the poor, forsook their duty and focused on making their lives better at the expense of the ones that were entrusted to protect. As I was studying A.W. Tozer’s book Knowledge Of The Holy this week I realized that the religious as well as the political leaders at the time of Christ did not have right view of God. The same can also be said about the religious and political leaders of today. As I study the truths in his book, I realized how much of our daily activities does not included the realization God in our decisions. After studying the chapter on God Incomprehensible, I realized how thankful I am for Christ. By trusting in Christ, I can get a glimpse of God. As John writes in I John 1:3 “that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you also, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and our fellowship is with the Father, and with his son Jesus Christ.” I can now fellowship with my creator. He also states in chapter 3 verses one and two that we are the sons of God.
So, think about the quote from this psalm “ye are Gods” in relationship to John’s writings in I John chapter three. Christ the son of God came to earth as the son of Man and was manifested to take away sins so that one day we too will be like him. Therefore, everyone that has this hope in Christ purifies himself even as Christ is pure. Ask yourself this question today “where is your hope for eternity found?”. Does your daily activities center around the pursuit of the knowledge of the holy, eternal, and incomprehensible God?

Psalm 81

Psalm 81

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Of Asaph.
This is the tenth of twelve Psalms bear the name of Asaph

1 Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob!
2 Begin the music, strike the tambourine, play the melodious harp and lyre.
3 Sound the ram’s horn at the New Moon, and when the moon is full, on the day of our Feast;
4 this is a decree for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob.
5 He established it as a statute for Joseph when he went out against Egypt, where we heard language we did not understand.
6 He says, “I removed the burden from their shoulders; their hands were set free from the basket.
7 In your distress you called and I rescued you, I answered you out of a thundercloud; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah
8 “Hear, O my people, and I will warn you if you would but listen to me, O Israel!
9 You shall have no foreign god among you; you shall not bow down to an alien god.
10 I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.
11 “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me.
12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices.
13 “If my people would but listen to me, if Israel would follow my ways,
14 how quickly would I subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes!
15 Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him, and their punishment would last forever.
16 But you would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

At the start of my journey of reading five psalms a day the purpose of this journey was to help me improve my prayer life. During this journey I also discovered the writings of Oswald Chambers. In his October 17 devotional The Key of the Greater Work, he makes this statement about prayer “Prayer does not equip us for greater works— prayer is the greater work. Yet we think of prayer as some commonsense exercise of our higher powers that simply prepares us for God’s work”. As I reflect upon this statement I am reminded of the Paul’s references to prayer:
Ephesians 6:18 – Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints
I Thessalonians 5:17 – Pray without ceasing.
Philippians 1:4 – Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy.
It is prayer and worship then that must play an important part in our daily spiritual walk. As I consider the first four verses of this chapter, I see the importance of daily worship. Do I have a song of praise in my daily walk? Do I thank the Lord for my daily needs that have been met? Do I take moments from my daily walk to devote to prayer? Do I consider prayer as asking God for something, or is it a request that we present before God? A great example of prayer from the business world would be that of a budget request. We put together our budget and then submit it to our manager and hope it gets approve. Prayer is the process of submitting our request to God. In verse ten we see God wanting us to open our mouth wide and he will fill it. However, we have not listened to God. Our prayers (budget request) are not in line with what is needed. We ask for things outside the requirements of God’s will. Verse seven gives us an example of what prayer is like “in your distress you called, and I rescued you, I answered you and I tested you”. The two parts of prayer are seen in this verse. I called and God rescued me. I ask and he fulfilled my requested desires.
The second part is the testing God gives to each believer after he has answered their request. This testing by the waters of Meribah comes when God has already answered our prayers, however we are again in a place that we need God’s help again. In Exodus 17 this place is called both Massah (which means testing) and Meribah (which means quarreling). Question yourself and considered if your request before God is either testing God or quarreling with God? Sometimes during our journey on this earth, we get hungry and thirsty for spiritual things in our life. However, instead of asking God to meet these needs we start to complaint about how God has just deserted us. We let our hearts become stubborn like Israel and stop listening to God and stop following his ways. To succeed in this time of testing we must practice the principle of trust and obey and know that God is God.

Psalm 80

Psalm 80

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For the director of music. To the tune of “The Lilies of the Covenant.” Of Asaph. A psalm.
This is the ninth of twelve Psalms bear the name of Asaph

1 Hear us, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock; you who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth
2 before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh. Awaken your might; come and save us.
3 Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.
4 O LORD God Almighty, how long will your anger smolder against the prayers of your people?
5 You have fed them with the bread of tears; you have made them drink tears by the bowlful.
6 You have made us a source of contention to our neighbors, and our enemies mock us.
7 Restore us, O God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.
8 You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it.
9 You cleared the ground for it, and it took root and filled the land.
10 The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches.
11 It sent out its boughs to the Sea, its shoots as far as the River.
12 Why have you broken down its walls so that all who pass by pick its grapes?
13 Boars from the forest ravage it and the creatures of the field feed on it.
14 Return to us, O God Almighty! Look down from heaven and see! Watch over this vine,
15 the root your right hand has planted, the son you have raised up for yourself.
16 Your vine is cut down, it is burned with fire; at your rebuke your people perish.
17 Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand, the son of man you have raised up for yourself.
18 Then we will not turn away from you; revive us, and we will call on your name.
19 Restore us, O LORD God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.
This psalm written by Asaph is a prayer to the Shepherd of Israel. It is a prayer to come and save us. It is also a prayer to restore them so that His former glory is upon them. Yet at this time God is making them struggle in everything that they attempt to pursue. As I read this psalm, I realize a simple truth that we sometimes seem to forget in our pursue of growing closer to God. That truth is our incomplete nature without God, the void that we feel when we are not in God’s presence. In verses four through thirteen Asaph writes how God anger smolders against them, how God has provided them with things of sorrow, and made them a source of contention to their neighbors. If my friends or even my family turns and treats me like this then I would probably discontinue my relationship and live life without them. However, in my pursuing a relationship with God the truth is that these events should bring me closer to Him. The impulse to pursue God must come from a desire to fulfill that missing relationship I have in my life for God. Therefore, the impulse not to purse God must come from a desire to fulfill this missing relationship with the things of this world.
As I look at verse 17 I am reminded that the phase Son of Man was a title that the Lord used refer to himself. This title is used 80 times in the New Testament by the Lord. When we consider the phase “son of man” we must also consider these verses found in Daniel 7:13,14: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshipped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”.

Psalm 79

Psalm 79

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A psalm of Asaph.
This is the eighth of twelve Psalms bear the name of Asaph

1 O God, the nations have invaded your inheritance; they have defiled your holy temple, they have reduced Jerusalem to rubble.
2 They have given the dead bodies of your servants as food to the birds of the air, the flesh of your saints to the beasts of the earth.
3 They have poured out blood like water all around Jerusalem, and there is no one to bury the dead.
4 We are objects of reproach to our neighbors, of scorn and derision to those around us.
5 How long, O LORD? Will you be angry forever? How long will your jealousy burn like fire?
6 Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not acknowledge you, on the kingdoms that do not call on your name;
7 for they have devoured Jacob and destroyed his homeland.
8 Do not hold against us the sins of the fathers; may your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need.
9 Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake.
10 Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Before our eyes, make known among the nations that you avenge the outpoured blood of your servants.
11 May the groans of the prisoners come before you; by the strength of your arm preserve those condemned to die.
12 Pay back into the laps of our neighbors seven times the reproach they have hurled at you, Lord.
13 Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will praise you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.

Psalm 78

Psalm 78

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of Asaph.
This is the seventh of twelve Psalms bear the name of Asaph

1 O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old
3 what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.
5 He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children,
6 so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.
7 Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.
8 They would not be like their forefathers a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.
9 The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned back on the day of battle;
10 they did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by his law.
11 They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them.
12 He did miracles in the sight of their fathers in the land of Egypt, in the region of Zoan.
13 He divided the sea and led them through; he made the water stand firm like a wall.
14 He guided them with the cloud by day and with light from the fire all night.
15 He split the rocks in the desert and gave them water as abundant as the seas;
16 he brought streams out of a rocky crag and made water flow down like rivers.
17 But they continued to sin against him, rebelling in the desert against the Most High.
18 They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved.
19 They spoke against God, saying, “Can God spread a table in the desert?
20 When he struck the rock, water gushed out, and streams flowed abundantly. But can he also give us food? Can he supply meat for his people?”
21 When the LORD heard them, he was very angry; his fire broke out against Jacob, and his wrath rose against Israel,
22 for they did not believe in God or trust in his deliverance.
23 Yet he gave a command to the skies above and opened the doors of the heavens;
24 he rained down manna for the people to eat, he gave them the grain of heaven.
25 Men ate the bread of angels; he sent them all the food they could eat.
26 He let loose the east wind from the heavens and led forth the south wind by his power.
27 He rained meat down on them like dust, flying birds like sand on the seashore.
28 He made them come down inside their camp, all around their tents.
29 They ate till they had more than enough, for he had given them what they craved.
30 But before they turned from the food they craved, even while it was still in their mouths,
31 God’s anger rose against them; he put to death the sturdiest among them, cutting down the young men of Israel.
32 In spite of all this, they kept on sinning; in spite of his wonders, they did not believe.
33 So he ended their days in futility and their years in terror.
34 Whenever God slew them, they would seek him; they eagerly turned to him again.
35 They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer.
36 But then they would flatter him with their mouths, lying to him with their tongues;
37 their hearts were not loyal to him, they were not faithful to his covenant.
38 Yet he was merciful; he forgave their iniquities and did not destroy them. Time after time he restrained his anger and did not stir up his full wrath.
39 He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return.
40 How often they rebelled against him in the desert and grieved him in the wasteland!
41 Again and again they put God to the test; they vexed the Holy One of Israel.
42 They did not remember his power the day he redeemed them from the oppressor,
43 the day he displayed his miraculous signs in Egypt, his wonders in the region of Zoan.
44 He turned their rivers to blood; they could not drink from their streams.
45 He sent swarms of flies that devoured them, and frogs that devastated them.
46 He gave their crops to the grasshopper, their produce to the locust.
47 He destroyed their vines with hail and their sycamore-figs with sleet.
48 He gave over their cattle to the hail, their livestock to bolts of lightning.
49 He unleashed against them his hot anger, his wrath, indignation and hostility a band of destroying angels.
50 He prepared a path for his anger; he did not spare them from death but gave them over to the plague.
51 He struck down all the firstborn of Egypt, the firstfruits of manhood in the tents of Ham.
52 But he brought his people out like a flock; he led them like sheep through the desert.
53 He guided them safely, so they were unafraid; but the sea engulfed their enemies.
54 Thus he brought them to the border of his holy land, to the hill country his right hand had taken.
55 He drove out nations before them and allotted their lands to them as an inheritance; he settled the tribes of Israel in their homes.
56 But they put God to the test and rebelled against the Most High; they did not keep his statutes.
57 Like their fathers they were disloyal and faithless, as unreliable as a faulty bow.
58 They angered him with their high places; they aroused his jealousy with their idols.
59 When God heard them, he was very angry; he rejected Israel completely.
60 He abandoned the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent he had set up among men.
61 He sent the ark of his might into captivity, his splendor into the hands of the enemy.
62 He gave his people over to the sword; he was very angry with his inheritance.
63 Fire consumed their young men, and their maidens had no wedding songs;
64 their priests were put to the sword, and their widows could not weep.
65 Then the Lord awoke as from sleep, as a man wakes from the stupor of wine.
66 He beat back his enemies; he put them to everlasting shame.
67 Then he rejected the tents of Joseph, he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim;
68 but he chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion, which he loved.
69 He built his sanctuary like the heights, like the earth that he established forever.
70 He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens;
71 from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance.
72 And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.
As I read verse seven “Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.” I realize the ultimate goal of being a godly parent. However, as I look at these verses the theme is not being delivered to parents, but to the nation Israel. The first part of this verse “then they would put their trust in God”, can be found on our dollar bill, and should remind us every time we use a dollar that our trust should be in God. But do we really place our trust in God? I believe most put their trust in the power of the dollar bill than the words “In God we trust” that is written on it.
The words of the first eight verses reminds me of the ministry of Christ.

Psalm 77

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Of Asaph.
This is the sixth of twelve Psalms bear the name of Asaph

1 I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me.
2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted.
3 I remembered you, O God, and I groaned; I mused, and my spirit grew faint. Selah
4 You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak.
5 I thought about the former days, the years of long ago;
6 I remembered my songs in the night. My heart mused and my spirit inquired:
7 “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again?
8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time?
9 Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” Selah
10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High.”
11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.
13 Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God?
14 You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.
15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Selah
16 The waters saw you, O God, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed.
17 The clouds poured down water, the skies resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth.
18 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked.
19 Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.
20 You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
What actions do you take when everything around you seems to be falling apart? In this psalm Asaph cries out to the Lord. Whatever the situation might have been it seemed to him that the Lord had abandon him. Look at the questions he states in his prayer:
Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?
I have also asked these questions before God. One thing I have realized as I have age is that there will be hard and difficult times in life. Many of us will face issues that many of the Old Testament saints faced in their life. This psalm gives us the answers to these times and to the questions above. The first step is to mediate on the things God has done “Then I thought”. In this mediation we must make our appeals directly to God “To this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High”. I must remember the deeds of the Lord. I look back and the focus usually starts with how God has been moving in my life.

Psalm 76

Psalm 76IMG_0197

A psalm of Asaph
This is the fifth of twelve Psalms bear the name of Asaph

1 In Judah God is known; his name is great in Israel.
2 His tent is in Salem, his dwelling place in Zion.
3 There he broke the flashing arrows, the shields and the swords, the weapons of war. Selah
4 You are resplendent with light, more majestic than mountains rich with game.
5 Valiant men lie plundered, they sleep their last sleep; not one of the warriors can lift his hands.
6 At your rebuke, O God of Jacob, both horse and chariot lie still.
7 You alone are to be feared. Who can stand before you when you are angry?
8 From heaven you pronounced judgment, and the land feared and was quiet
9 when you, O God, rose up to judge, to save all the afflicted of the land. Selah
10 Surely your wrath against men brings you praise, and the survivors of your wrath are restrained.
11 Make vows to the LORD your God and fulfill them; let all the neighboring lands bring gifts to the One to be feared.
12 He breaks the spirit of rulers; he is feared by the kings of the earth.
It is important when studying the Psalms to understand their historical background. As I study this psalm today, I not only reflected the life span of Asaph but carried it out to my life span as well. During Asaph’s life span he probably witness the reign of the first three Kings of Israel. If he lived eighty years then he could have witness twenty years under Saul, forty years under David and twenty years under Solomon. As I reflect upon my nearly sixty years on this earth, I look back at the leaders of the USA during my life time.

Dwight D. Eisenhower 1953-1961
John F. Kennedy 1961-1963
Lyndon B. Johnson 1963-1969
Richard Nixon 1969-1974
Gerald Ford 1974-1977
Jimmy Carter 1977-1981
Ronald Reagan 1981-1989
George Bush 1989-1993
Bill Clinton 1993-2001
George W. Bush 2001-2009
Barak Obama 2009-Present
As I reflect on verse one of this psalm in relationship to Asaph life to the history of Israel, I realized that God was known in Israel and that his name was great. This has been the same with the USA in my lifetime. However, as I look back upon the list of the presidents above, I wonder how many of them truly knew God was really in control? So, as you read this psalm look at the role that God plays on this earth:
he broke the flashing arrows, the shields and the swords
the weapons of war
You are resplendent with light
You alone are to be feared.
Who can stand before you when you are angry
From heaven you pronounced judgment.
God, rose up to judge, to save all the afflicted of the land
your wrath against men brings you praise
the survivors of your wrath are restrained.
He breaks the spirit of rulers
he is feared by the kings of the earth.
As I study the psalms it forces me to evaluate the issues of life on an eternal timeframe not a daily timeframe. As I examine the activities of the human race and the goals that people place on the daily activities to reach these goals, I notice how the timeframe centers around today or tomorrow. When studying the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount we find these words in Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” when addressing how we need to approach the daily issues of life.

Psalm 75

Psalm 75IMG_4046

A psalm of Asaph.
This is the fourth of twelve Psalms bear the name of Asaph

1 We give thanks to you, O God, we give thanks, for your name is near; men tell of your wonderful deeds.
2 You say, “I choose the appointed time; it is I who judge uprightly.
3 When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm. Selah
4 To the arrogant I say, ‘Boast no more,’ and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horns.
5 Do not lift your horns against heaven; do not speak with outstretched neck.
6 No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt a man.
7 But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.
8 In the hand of the LORD is a cup full of foaming wine mixed with spices; he pours it out, and all the wicked of the earth drink it down to its very dregs.
9 As for me, I will declare this forever; I will sing praise to the God of Jacob.
10 I will cut off the horns of all the wicked, but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up.

As I read the psalms after a while some of the themes are repeated and I wondered what else could I say about this theme. Then verse nine gives me the answer; “As for me, I will declare this forever; I will sing praise to the God of Jacob”. Forever is a term that we cannot fully comprehend in this life. When we were young, we set goals and some of these goals seem to take forever to achieve. These goals that made forever seems to be a far away when we are young, become reality and we realize that this timeframe we called forever was only a short period of time. There is one goal that will stand the test of forever and that is to be ever praising God. So, as I live my live on this earth, I will praise Him, and when I pass from this life to step into eternity the praising will never cease.

When you have been taken advantage of, been abused, been cheated on, been accused falsely, or attached for standing up for the truth than read this psalm and understand that it is God who chooses the appointed time for his judgment. And yes, there is a time when the righteous will be lifted, and the wicked will be cut off. Remember this it is in God’s hand not ours.

Psalm 74

Psalm 74

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A maskil of Asaph.
This is the third of twelve Psalms bear the name of Asaph

1 Why have you rejected us forever, O God? Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture?
2 Remember the people you purchased of old, the tribe of your inheritance, whom you redeemed Mount Zion, where you dwelt.
3 Turn your steps toward these everlasting ruins, all this destruction the enemy has brought on the sanctuary.
4 Your foes roared in the place where you met with us; they set up their standards as signs.
5 They behaved like men wielding axes to cut through a thicket of trees.
6 They smashed all the carved paneling with their axes and hatchets.
7 They burned your sanctuary to the ground; they defiled the dwelling place of your Name.
8 They said in their hearts, “We will crush them completely!” They burned every place where God was worshiped in the land.
9 We are given no miraculous signs; no prophets are left, and none of us knows how long this will be.
10 How long will the enemy mock you, O God? Will the foe revile your name forever?
11 Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand? Take it from the folds of your garment and destroy them!
12 But you, O God, are my king from of old; you bring salvation upon the earth.
13 It was you who split open the sea by your power; you broke the heads of the monster in the waters.
14 It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan and gave him as food to the creatures of the desert.
15 It was you who opened up springs and streams; you dried up the ever flowing rivers.
16 The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and moon.
17 It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter.
18 Remember how the enemy has mocked you, O LORD, how foolish people have reviled your name.
19 Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts; do not forget the lives of your afflicted people forever.
20 Have regard for your covenant, because haunts of violence fill the dark places of the land.
21 Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace; may the poor and needy praise your name.
22 Rise up, O God, and defend your cause; remember how fools mock you all day long.
23 Do not ignore the clamor of your adversaries, the uproar of your enemies, which rises continually.

In this psalm Asaph tackles the question of why a sovereign God permits evil and why this evil behavior seems to prosper.

Psalm 73

Psalm 73IMG_5762

This is the second of twelve Psalms bear the name of Asaph

1 Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.
3 For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.
5 They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence.
7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits.
8 They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression.
9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth.
10 Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance.
11 They say, “How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?”
12 This is what the wicked are like always carefree, they increase in wealth.
13 Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.
14 All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning.
15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed your children.
16 When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.
18 Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin.
19 How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!
20 As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies.
21 When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered,
22 I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.
23 Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
27 Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.

My purpose in life is found in verse 28.
This is the second of twelve Psalms that bears the name of Asaph and is probably one of the Psalms that has had the most material written about it.
In this psalm, Asaph tackles several difficult questions that believers will face in life. The first question he addresses is the question is why a sovereign God permits evil and why this evil behavior seems to prosper. Here is so of the reasoning that Asaph gives to address this issue.
Verse 1. Stated as a fact: “Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.”
Psalm 15 gives the characteristics of this type of person:
• walk is blameless
• does what is righteous
• who speaks the truth from his heart
• has no slander on his tongue
• does his neighbor no wrong
• casts no slur on his fellowman
• despises a vile man
• honors those who fear the LORD
• keeps his oath even when it hurts
• lends his money without usury
• does not accept a bribe against the innocent
He who does these things will never be shaken
Verses 2 and 3: The problem is stated as “I almost slipped”.
Why? Because I envied the arrogant. I saw their prosperity and desired it.
Verses 4 thru 12 Characteristics of the Arrogant:
They have no struggles
Their bodies are healthy and strong
They are free from the burdens common to man
They are not plagued by human ills.
They wear pride is their necklace
They clothe themselves with violence.
Their callous hearts are full of iniquity
The evil conceits of their minds know no limits.
They scoff, and speak with malice
In their arrogance, they threaten oppression.
Their mouths lay claim to heaven
Their tongues take possession of the earth.
Therefore, their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance.
They say, “How can God know?”
They say, “Does the Most High have knowledge?”
This is what the wicked are like always carefree
They increase in wealth.
Verses 13 -16 The reasons I almost slipped (I saw their earthly treasures and desired them):
Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure
In vain have I washed my hands in innocence
All day long I have been plagued
I have been punished every morning.
If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed your children.
When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me
Verses 17 thru 20 The answer to my question:
When I entered the sanctuary of God
I understood their final destiny
Surely, you place them on slippery ground
You cast them down to ruin
How suddenly are they destroyed
They are completely swept away by terrors!
As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies.
Verses 21, 22 How the knowledge of God’s way has an effect me:
When my heart was grieved
My spirit embittered,
I was senseless and ignorant
I was a brute beast before you
Verses 23 thru 28 My relationship with God:
I am always with you
You hold me by my right hand
You guide me with your counsel
Afterward you will take me into glory
Whom have I in heaven but you
And earth has nothing I desire besides you
My flesh and my heart may fail
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever
It is good to be near God
I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge
I will tell of all your deeds.
Verses 18, 19, 20, 27 The Ungodly relationship with God:
Surely, you place them on slippery ground
You cast them down to ruin.
How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors?
Those who are far from you will perish
You destroy all who are unfaithful to you
You will despise them as fantasies
This sentence from Oswald Chambers’ book My Utmost for His Highest from the reading on March 13 “ The consequences and circumstances resulting from our surrender will never even enter our mind, because our life will be totally consumed with Him” This is what I believe the psalmist is trying to portrait in this psalm. There is the way in which we should walk daily. However, we see many that live lifestyles we envy even through their walk is not in truth. We then begin to question our walk with God. The life of surrendering to God is a day by day actively. Some days it seems to be a moment by moment actively where we must constantly go back to him for strength. As I watched the Lord of the Rings, I marveled at the job that J.R. Tolkien did of portraying the Christian’s journey through life through the character of Frodo Baggins. This journey is full of good times, bad times, times of failure, times of success, times of friendship, times of betrayal, but the journey does continue. We can give up or go on. However, if we are totally commented to Christ, as Frodo was to his mission, we would keep moving forward in the task that is ahead of us. Frodo could have just given up, but he did not. The greatest purpose that a believer can have in his or her life is to grow into a closer relationship to God.