Psalm 143 of David. 1 O LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief. 2 Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you. 3 The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in darkness like those long dead. 4 So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed. 5I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. 6I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah 7 Answer me quickly, O LORD; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. 8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. 9 Rescue me from myenemies, O LORD, for I hide myself in you. 10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. 11 For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble. 12 In your unfailing love, silence myenemies; destroy all myfoes, for I am yourservant.
When I look at the very essence of life the bottom line is that life is a gift from God. I also believe that living life without God can very difficult and is the reason why people can seem to live a life that seems wonderful, yet they are really left with an unfulfilling emptiness. As I study this Psalm I must reflect upon I Samuel 27:1 “And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul will despair of me, to seek me any more in all the borders of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand.” After seven years of running from Saul and waiting on God to intervene; David had reached a point in his life where he decided that living the life, he desired was no longer available. So, he decided with his men and their families to start over. One of the interesting facts I see in this verse is that David is leaving behind his family, his friends, and his past way of life to live with his former enemy.
This psalm probably was a representation of the type of prayers that David made before coming to this decision in Samuel 27:1. It has been stated that you must walk in someone’s shoes before you can feel and understand the pain that they experience when they go through rough times in their life. As I look at Samuel 27:1, after one of the most difficult times in my life I have a greater understanding of David’s feelings and the true sense of his prayers. To lose the daily relationship of your family, as well as your close friends and then to be treated as their enemy can break a person’s will to go on. I can still recall the very day, the very trip that I too make the decision that David made in I Samuel 27:1.
This psalm then represents a prayer of one who knows God but seems to have no understanding of the events around him. This is a prayer from someone who has dreams that are in God’s way, but not in God’s plan. Sometimes it is difficult to understand why when we try to follow God’s way our life seems to be falling apart.
The Prayer Request
Hear my prayer
Listen to my cry for mercy
Come to my relief
Bring me not in judgment
My issues with my enemy
My present state of being and my desire for you.
Answer me quickly
Do not hid your face from me
I do not desire to be like those who go down to the pit
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love.
1I cry aloud to the LORD; I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy. 2I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble. 3 When my spirit grows faint within me, it is youwho know my way. In the path where I walk men have hidden a snare for me. 4 Look to my right and see; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life. 5I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” 6 Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. 7 Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.
This was written by David when he was running from Saul. As I read this psalm and reflect on the times in my life that God seem so far from me, I can sense the desperate need that David longed for at this time in his life. These times are characterized by rejection even from those who should be supporting you. It seems during these trialing times you must defend yourself from lies and dishonest statement from friends and foes alike, that are used to discredit you and your activities. This was the case with David at this time in his life. David was being hunt down as a criminal. He was separated from his friends and family. It was at this time that David even had to take his parents from their home and leave them with the King of Moab to protect them from Saul. The only ones that surround him at this time were those who were distress, who were in debt, and those who were discontented with the events happening in Israel at that time. These people looked to David for support, and he became captain over them.
As I study the issues that David deal with at this time, found in I Samuel chapters twenty-one through I Samuel thirty-one, I can see him praying verse six of this psalm. Toward the end of this time period these words of David were recorded in I Samuel 27:1 “And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul will despair of me, to seek me any more in all the borders of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand.” David just seem to give up at this time. The memory of the time he was anointed by Samuel to be the next King of Israel was pushed to the back of his mind. The memory of time spent in the service of King Saul and the relationship of being his son in law were history. His desire was to rest and find safety among the very enemies he once had defeated.
However, there is hope in God. David realized this in verse seven of this psalm. In this verse I see a principle that the church today needs to grasp and take hold of in order to have others gather around them. This principle is simply looking to God for deliverance instead of taking matters into my own hand. The church of Laodicea lost this principle of relaying on God to rescue and taking care of them. In Revelations 3:17 this church is characterized by these words “I am rich and have gotten riches and have need of nothing” yet to the Lord “they know not that they are wretched and miserable, poor and blind and naked”. In other words, their principle was “God helps those who helps themselves and see we have prospered by this principle.” And yet in God’s eyes they were poor, naked and blind. God intervenes in your life for many reasons, however when He does it always for His glory and refining you for his purpose. When we wait on the Lord and go through the refining process people will see God’s goodness to us.
So, as you read this psalm reflect upon the gloom and loneliness that David must have faced during these times and the hope, he still had in God to be his refuge and his portion in the land of the living. The key to David’s life is that his heart was fully devoted to the Lord. Being fully devoted to the Lord will bring times of difficulties in our lives and these times might be hard for us to understand. However, not being fully devoted to God will bring destruction to our life. Solomon is a perfect example of someone who follows God and then decides to go and pursue his purpose. In I Kings 11:4 “As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been”. He turned from God and God left him. So, we need to be like David and realize that when our spirit grows faint within us, it is God who know our way and all we need to do is to look to him for direction.
Psalm 141 A psalm of David. 1 O LORD, I call to you; come quickly to me. Hear my voice when I call to you. 2 May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice. 3 Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. 4 Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies. 5 Let a righteous man strike me, it is a kindness; let him rebuke me, it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it. Yet my prayer is ever against the deeds of evildoers; 6their rulers will be thrown down from the cliffs, and the wicked will learn that my words were well spoken.
7They will say, “As one plows and breaks up the earth, so our bones have been scattered at the mouth of the grave.” 8 But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign LORD; in youI take refuge-do not give me over to death. 9 Keep me from the snares they have laid for me, from the traps set by evildoers. 10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety.
In his exposition The Treasury of David Charles Spurgeon wrote the following introduction about this Psalm “Yes, David under suspicion, half afraid to speak lest he should speak unadvisedly while trying to clear himself; David slandered and beset by enemies; David censured even by saints, and taking it kindly; David deploring the condition of the godly party of whom he was the acknowledged heard: David waiting upon God with confident expectation. The Psalm is one of a group of four, and it bears a striking likeness to the other three. Its meaning lies so deep as to be in places exceedingly obscure, yet even upon its surface it has dust of gold. In its commencement the psalm is lighted up with the evening glow as the incense rises to heaven; then comes a night of language whose meaning we cannot see; and this gives place to morning light in which our eyes are unto the Lord.”. The greatest characteristic of David is reflected in this Psalm which was his trust in the Lord. This faith includes his ability to take refuge in the Lord and Him be the one that executes judgment.
As I read this psalm today, I stopped and reflected on how I defend my personal beliefs to others. Verse three “Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips” is a warning that we must be careful in our conversations. The one area that I must focus on is how to let others see Christ in my life and the personal relationship has to my Lord. The key to sharing my faith to others is that they must see this relationship in my daily walk before I present the gospel to them. Look closely at this psalm to study how David approached his relationship with God.
I call to you come quickly to me, hear my voice
I present my prayer before you
I lift up my hands to you
Set a guard over my mouth
Keep watch over the door of my lips
Let not my heart be drawn to evil
Let me not take part with them
Let me not enjoy the fruit of their labors
Let a righteous man rebuke me
My prayer is against the evildoers
My eyes are fixed on you
I take refuge in you
finally keep me from their snares that I pass by in safety.
As we go about our journey on this earth, we must remember that this life is just a journey. Most people I meet along my journey do not see life as a journey. They approach their life on this earth as their total existence for eternality. Goals determine how a person lives their life. Is your goal set to reflect that the most you can get out of life on this earth, or do you strive to place treasures in heaven?
The later part of verse five “Yet my prayer is ever against the deeds of evildoers;” from the NIV is different from the ASV “For even in their wickedness shall my prayer continue”. As I look at the difference between these two phases I realize how important it is studying the Word daily. Looking at the phases we could have two different ideas about praying for the wicked. In one incident it seems we are to pray against the deeds of the wicked; and in the other it seems we pray in spite of their wickedness. How do we handle the wicked acts of those around us? This is sometimes a difficult question to answer. The answer might depend upon who the person is that is acting as an evildoer. How do you pray for a son or daughter, brother or sister, or even a very close friend when they decide to partake in the deeds of an evildoer? When looking at David’s life from the scriptures I realize that the most difficult relationships in his life were with some of his closest friends and family. Therefore, as you pray concerning the wicked and the evildoers remember to fix your eyes on God and turn over all judgment to him.
of David. 1 Rescue me, O LORD, from evil men; protect me from men of violence, 2who devise evil plans in their hearts and stir up war every day. 3They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers is on their lips. Selah 4 Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; protect me from men of violence who plan to trip my feet. 5Proud men have hidden a snare for me; they have spread out the cords of their net and have set traps for me along my path. Selah 6 O LORD, I say to you, “You are myGod.” Hear, O LORD, my cry for mercy. 7 O Sovereign LORD, my strong deliverer, who shields my head in the day of battle- 8 do not grant the wicked their desires, O LORD; do not let their plans succeed, or they will become proud. Selah 9 Let the heads of thosewho surround me be covered with the trouble their lips have caused. 10 Let burning coals fall upon them; may they be thrown into the fire, into miry pits, never to rise. 11 Let slanderers not be established in the land; may disaster hunt down men of violence. 12 I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy. 13 Surely the righteous will praise your name and the upright will live before you.
As one studies Exodus and the way that God interacts between Moses and Israel, we get a glimpse of the nature of man and the nature of God. The most important aspect of God is that his nature is unchangeable, but his relationship with man is not. In Exodus 34:6,7 Moses describes Jehovah relationship to man as “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in loving-kindness and truth, keeping loving-kindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin; and that will by no means clear the guilty”. In this psalm David prays to God not to grant the wicked their desires or let their plans succeed.
One of the greatest joys I have found in studying God’s Word daily is the understanding I gain about God, me, those around me, and the rest of humankind and the relationships that exist between them. The process of aging has greatly increased my understanding of God’s Word since I now have a tremendous treasures of life experiences to give me greater insights to the lives that the great men of faith have lived in the past. I look back and see how the little issues in my life help me better understand the issues in David’s life. David’s youth was that of a shepherd. At the time of his anointing by Samuel, he was out in the field working and not with his family as they were having dinner with Samuel. David probably enjoy the simple life of being a shepherd. He probably learned the secret that Paul shares with us in Philippians 4:11″ Not that I speak in respect of want for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content”. However, the contentment that he had did not always help him understand the actions of others.
It is only when I went through difficult times such as David or Paul did that, I can truly state I know how to be content even when the world around me is falling apart. I like the comment that Charles Spurgeon makes about this psalm in his book The Treasury of David :
This Psalm is in its proper place, and so fitly follows 139 that you might almost read right on and make no break between the two. Serious injury would follow to the whole Book of Psalms if the order should be interfered with as certain wiseacres propose. It is TheCry of A Hunted Soul the supplication of a believer incessantly persecuted and beset by cunning enemies, who hungered for his destruction. David was hunted like a partridge upon the mountains, and seldom obtained a moment’s rest. This is his pathetic appeal to Jehovah for protection, an appeal which gradually intensifies into a denunciation of his bitter foes. With this sacrifice of prayer, he offers the salt of faith; for in a very marked and emphatic manner he expresses his personal confidence in the Lord as the Protector of the oppressed, and as his own God and Defender. Few short Psalms are so rich in the jewelry of precious faith.
This psalm was probably written when David was fleeing from Saul right after Doeg the Edomite slew eighty-five of the inhabitants of Nod. It was witnessing this type of evil that caused David to write this psalm. In this psalm the evil men and the men of violence were those that served with David in the past. Saul was not only the king that David served but was also his father in law; Michal David’s wife was his daughter. Therefore, it is the knowledge of Psalm 139 that gives David hope. Yes, David could follow the ways of man and take action against this evil, however he realizes that he must leave this in God’s hand. However, leaving judgment in God’s hand is not an easy matter. Individuals today like to have full control of the events in their lives. However, David follows the truths he wrote about in Psalm 139. This knowledge of God and the relationship I can enjoy helps set the stage for studying David’s life. By studying the Psalms, David’s life and relating them to the events in my life I can see how contentment can come to those who truly wait on the Lord. They have the blessed assurance that God is truly in control. l
Psalm 139 Of David. 1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. 2You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. 5You hem me in-behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you. 19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God! Away from me, you bloodthirsty men! 20They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. 21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you? 22I have nothing but hatred for them; I count themmyenemies. 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
As I read this psalm, I recall a friend whose desire was to commit this psalm to memory to remind her of how much God was really in control of everything around her. David who like Timothy was instructed in the ways of truth at an early age by his family was the writer of this psalm. His great grandmother was Ruth, so the history of faith must have run deep in his family. I too saw this strong faith in my mother’s parents (my grandparents) and in her life. As parents and grandparents, we must realize that actions speak louder than words and that, our children and grandchildren watch our every action. These actions should reflect a godly worldview as presented by this psalm. Note that this psalm starts with the phase “you have searched me, and you know me” and ends with the phase “search me, test me, and lead me in the way everlasting”. This psalm starts out by introducing the great teacher God and ends with a student eager to learn God’s ways.
This psalm starts by introducing an omniscience and omnipresence God who is involved in every aspect of David’s life. The question now arises “can I apply this psalm to my life?” The answer to this is a resounding YES. Just read Matthew chapters five, six and seven (Christ’s message to Israel). In these chapters, Christ is stating the way in which we should walk and how God seeing us will provide everything, we need. In I John 3:19-20 “This then is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence, whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts and knows everything” John states that he knows everything in our life. So yes, this psalm can apply to you.
From the introduction, I know that God is searching my heart and that he knows me. He knows my actions, my speech, as well as my thoughts. He even directs my path by placing a barrier around me. He is my potter the one that has created me. He knows how I was form and the purpose for which I was created to perform since these were written in his book before they even happen. Therefore, as the master teacher he knows the students.
One of the truths I learned as a classroom teacher was for learning to take place the student must be willing to learn. David recognizes the first step in learning was to trust the teacher. He recognized that God not only knew him and was always present, but that he was framed and created by God. We see David’s longing for knowing God’s thoughts. However, we also see David’s desire for God to get rid of evil. David does not hide his hatred for people with evil intent. However, his prayer is that God will intervene in this battle. One of the biggest issues facing classroom teacher today is the issue of maintaining discipline within the classroom. I have witnessed many times when an unruly student has interfered with the learning process of the class. How to handle the issues that result from evil intent is a delicate issue for the believer. This is why God has given us great examples of faith such as Joseph, David, and many others to help guide us along the way. Joseph’s reply to his brothers’ request from Jacob to forgive them for the way they treated him at seventeen reveals how we must approach evil intentions of other. He stated in Genesis 50:19-20 this truth “Fear not: for am I in the place of God? In addition, as for you, ye meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Therefore, when evil intentions are directed your way turns them over to God and keeps living a blameless life before God and man.
As I study the last eight verses of this Psalm, I gain an insight of how David must have felt as King over the nation of Israel. His desire was to rule over God’s people as a King who follow God’s way and a King who could transform this nation into a Godly nation. As I was reading, some news articles this morning I could not help reflecting on an article titled Bush debuts as motivational speaker by Alexander Mooney of CNN on George Bush’s comment that he made in a motivational speak in Fort Worth Texas October 26, 2009. One of the interesting points in this article was about how Bush’s faith played a large role in guiding his decisions as the President.
“Every single day, I was honored to be your president by bringing honor and dignity to the office,” he said. Bush also added later that his faith played a large role in guiding his decisions: “From a personal perspective, I don’t see how you can be president without relying upon an almighty.”
Just like David, the president’s first step was to get his personal life in the right with the almighty. Verses 17 and eighteen gives us a picture of this first step: “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Where I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.” We must turn our thoughts toward God and reflect on his way.
However, verses nineteen through twenty-two brings up the issue of dealing with those that are wicked. It is interesting that the first thing that David does is to turn his desires over to God. Verse nineteen starts out by stating, “If only you would”. Yes, David had no desire to be in their presences, he had no desire to take part in their plots. Yet how do you work with the wicked when it is part of your task on this earth? David’s desire was to create a kingdom for promoting God’s way, however, many of those surrounding him only wants to follow their desires and pleasures and promoting their way. When studying the Psalms, we see the challenges that David faced in his life as he tried to walk in God’s way. These challenges were the same as Christ faced when he came to earth two thousand years ago. The goal of his coming was given to us in Luke 4:16-21 as he recited Isaiah 61:1 and the first half of verse two. The mission Christ came to do was “he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Christ did not read the second of verse two “and to proclaim the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion; to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair”. Many believe that this will be fulfilled when he returns the second time.
So, as we study Psalm 139 and realize that God deals with us as an individual, we must not lose focus that God’s dealing with us is for his purpose, not ours. As David closes this Psalm with these words, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” The central theme of this Psalm is God’s way and our desire to follow it. So, as I read this Psalm I am drawn to these last few verses. God usually uses a small still voice to speak to us, so heed the words of Eli and be quiet and listen for the Lord to speak to you.
Psalm 138 of David. 1I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise. 2I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word. 3 When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted. 4 May all the kings of the earth praise you, O LORD, when they hear the words of your mouth. 5 May they sing of the ways of the LORD, for the glory of the LORD is great. 6 Though the LORD is on high, he looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar. 7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me. 8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O LORD, endures forever do not abandon the works of your hands.
We are living in the age where people are seeking for a purpose in life, a reason for their being here on this earth. However, as I read this psalm, I realize that it is not me that must fulfill my purpose for God, but God fulfilling his purpose in me. As I study the Pauline epistles as well as the other general epistles I realize that my purpose to God is to present myself to Him as a holy living sacrifice that has been transformed from the old man to the new man (Romans 12:1,2; Colossians 3; I John 3; Philippians 2; and II Timothy 2:21). In I Corinthians 2:2 Paul states “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified”. If we follow Paul’s example, we can become a vessel of honor, holy and acceptable for the Lord’s use. My prayer is the same then as David’s “Your love O Lord endures forever do not abandon (me) the works of your hand. In his daily devotional for January 26 Oswald Chambers writes the simplicity of this process of God fulfilling his purpose in me. He writes “By receiving His Spirit, recognizing and relying on Him, and obeying Him as He brings us the truth of His Word, life become amazingly simple.”
As I read and study verse seven of this psalm, I realize that the reality of living a quiet life without problems and issues in this world does not exist. This psalm likes many of David’s psalms brings out the importance of praising God. Even in the midst of trouble we are to praise God. How do I make discussions of how to react to the issues in my life and at the same time let God fulfill his purpose for me? One way that I have realized is to look at the examples that God has given us of David’s life as well as the life of Christ found in the scriptures. When looking at finding purpose in my life I must always go back and reflect on the experience that Christ faced at Gethsemane. His prayer found in Luke 22: 41-44:
And he was parted from them about a stone’s cast; and he kneeled down and prayed, saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless, not my will, but your will, be done. And there appeared unto him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became as it were great drops of blood falling down upon the ground.
This too must be our prayer. As I have been studying the Bible for over forty years the question that I have not been able to fully comprehend is “What was the true purpose of the Cross and why did it have to be this cruel death”. Yes, I know his death was the price for the sins of this world. But why this type of death?” It was truly the only way to provide salvation to a lost and dying world. But again, why this type of death? And yet as I have face Gethsemane moments in my life I have grown to realize that even the ones close to me, just as the Lord’s disciples were close to him, cannot truly know the reason behind the purpose of praying “nevertheless not my will, but your will, be done”. The secret in being able to say this prayer is one’s knowledge that God is truly God. I have realized that getting to the place in your life where you can really have the trust and obey relationship with God is not easy. This relationship only comes when you arrive at the place in your life that you can truly pray “nevertheless not my will, but your will, be done”. This relationship is your commitment to be total dependence upon God for everything. This relationship can only come by walking daily with Him and knowing that you are the work of his hands.
Verse six states that God looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar. Success has a way of putting distant between us and God. It seems that the more successful we become the more likely we are to forget about the way of God. That is why the Lord stated to his disciples “that he that is the greatest among you, let him be the servant to all”. Instead of being the bottom man on the totem pole, the lowly is really the rock that supports the low man on the totem pole. To cover the roughness of the rock they place rich dirt and manure on top of this rock to plant flowers. In other words, the lowly are usually completely unseen, yet supports the entire totem pole. Unseen, perhaps by most except for the Lord.
1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. 2 There on the poplars we hung our harps, 3 for there ourcaptors asked us for songs, ourtormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” 4 How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land? 5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. 6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy. 7 Remember, O LORD, what the Edomites did on the day Jerusalem fell. “Tear it down,” they cried, “tear it down to its foundations!” 8 O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us 9 he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.
Read Isaiah chapter 13 and 14 to fully understand this psalm. We are delighted when we are living in the blessings of the Lord. But when we forsake the way of the Lord and follow the path of the world and let sin rule over us we are no longer under God’s protection. This psalm represents what happens when sin runs it’s full course and we are standing naked and without anything left to show of God’s past presence in our life.
1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. 2 Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. 3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever. 4 to him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever. 5who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever. 6who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever. 7who made the great lights His love endures forever. 8 the sun to govern the day, His love endures forever. 9 the moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever. 10 to him who struck down the firstborn of EgyptHis love endures forever. 11 and brought Israel out from among themHis love endures forever. 12 with a mighty hand and outstretched arm; His love endures forever. 13 to him who divided the Red Sea asunder His love endures forever. 14 and brought Israel through the midst of it, His love endures forever. 15 but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea; His love endures forever. 16 to him who led his people through the desert, His love endures forever. 17who struck down great kings, His love endures forever.
18 and killed mighty kingsHis love endures forever. 19Sihon king of the AmoritesHis love endures forever. 20 and Og king of BashanHis love endures forever. 21 and gave their land as an inheritance, His love endures forever. 22 an inheritance to hisservantIsrael; His love endures forever. 23 to the Onewho remembered us in our low estate His love endures forever. 24 and freed us from ourenemies, His love endures forever. 25 and who gives food to every creature. His love endures forever. 26 Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.
This psalm could be titled His Love Endures Forever. But the question that comes up very frequently in conversations is how can a God that loves us so much let so much evil exists in his world. As I meditate on this question, I recall the opening words from the Lord’s prayer found in Matthew chapter six. These words “Our Father who is in heaven holy be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” helps me realize that God will in the kingdom in heaven is complete; but his will on the kingdom which is on earth must not be complete. Trying to comprehend the question of how can a God that loves us so much let so much evil exist in his world is difficult to man because the first step in this process is to grasp an understanding of the true nature and attributes of God. This process of grasping the nature and attributes is something that is really impossible for man who is just another creation of God.
In the first three verses the psalmist describes God as good, the God of gods, and the Lord of lords. What command are we given in this psalm? Give thanks. The reason for our thanks is simply “His love endures forever”. The next six verses give us the reasons why His love endures forever by describing His creative acts. . Verse four states that He alone does great wonders and verse five adds the phase, who by his understanding made the heavens set the stage that He is beyond our understanding. Men prides himself on his great creations. This pride can be seen in the simple sandcastle built by a young child to great cities as well as the social structures that are built through the combined forces of a nation. However, the concept of building something out of nothing is beyond my understanding as well as the understanding of all mankind. How can I or mankind as a whole grasp the nature of the creator when we cannot even grasp an understand of how the heavens, the earth, and everything on the earth was created?
Verse ten through twenty-five gives us illustrations of how God intervenes in the history of man. These illustrations deal mainly with Israel. Why Israel? Because of God’s promises to Adam and then to Abraham, and then to David. However, in verse twenty-five the psalmist also God’s involvement on earth to include the giving food every creature. Paul summaries God’s dealing with man in his sermon on Mar’s Hill to the Athenians in Acts chapter seventeen.
The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ “Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”
In studying Paul’s ministry, it is interesting that here at Athens the great city of learning that the impact of the gospel had very little effect on the people that heard this message. Paul ended his sermon with a warning that God is now dealing to all people to repent because he has fixed a day in which he will judge the world.
The psalmist closes this psalm in verse twenty-six with the phase “give thanks to the God of Heaven”. As I consider the question of “how can a God that loves us so much let so much evil exist in his world?” I must consider Paul’s warning to the Athenians that God is now dealing to all people to repent because he has fixed a day in which he will judge the world. After considering this psalm and Paul’s sermon on Mar’s Hill a more pressing question needs to be asked. Why does man reject such a great salvation (the gospel or good news) that is presented to him in God’s Word? Those who do give thanks to the God of heaven are those who have not rejected this great salvation and truly realize that His love endures forever.
Psalm 135 1 Praise the LORD. Praise the name of the LORD; praise him, you servants of the LORD, 2you who minister in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of ourGod. 3 Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant. 4 For the LORD has chosen Jacob to be hisown, Israel to be his treasured possession. 5I know that the LORD is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods. 6The LORD does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. 7He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses. 8He struck down the firstborn of Egypt, the firstborn of men and animals. 9He sent his signs and wonders into your midst, O Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants. 10 He struck down many nations and killed mighty kings 11Sihon king of the Amorites, Og king of Bashan and all the kings of Canaan 12 and he gave their land as an inheritance, an inheritance to hispeopleIsrael. 13Your name, O LORD, endures forever, your renown, O LORD, through all generations. 14 For the LORD will vindicate hispeople and have compassion on hisservants. 15 The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. 16They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see; 17they have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths. 18Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them. 19 O house of Israel, praise the LORD; O house of Aaron, praise the LORD; 20 O house of Levi, praise the LORD; you who fearhim, praise the LORD. 21 Praise be to the LORD from Zion, to him who dwells in Jerusalem. Praise the LORD.
The key to understanding this psalm is found in verse 6 “The LORD does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth”. As one recalls the Lords’ prayer in Matthew chapter six “Thy kingdom come Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven”. This Psalm is similar to Psalm 115. Verse six of this Psalm “The LORD does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths.” compares to verse three of psalm 115 “Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.” Verse fifteen through eighteen of this psalm compares to verses four through eight of Psalm 115. Finally, reference is made in both psalms to the house of Israel, the house of Aaron, and those who fear the Lord.
These psalms help us understand how God uses the nation of Israel. It is not because of the greatness of Israel as a nation that God uses this nation, but to the glory of God. It is because of God’s promises to Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and many others that God uses the nation of Israel be bring Him glory. His dealings with Israel throughout history give the nations of this world examples of God’s love and faithfulness. It gives the nations of the world to view God in action. Yet it leaves an open door for all to have a relationship with Him. This psalm speaks of praising him, whereas Psalms 115 speaks of trusting Him. But both Psalms include the phase “those who fear the Lord”.
As I read this psalm, I cannot help but focus on the word praise. Praise should be a very easy task for us in our relationship with the Lord; however, I believe because of the effects of “the cares of this world” on our life we lose our focus on the relationship we are to have with the Lord. We become so wrapped up in the everyday activities that we seem to forget the most important relationship we have is with the Lord. Praise is wonderful. Our relationship with our spouse is also an important relationship we have on this earth. I have come to realize how important praise is in this relationship. The simple, yet meaningful words such as my lovely beautiful sweet lovely young lady before I start a conversation can set the stage for a wonderful conversation. This is the type of praise we need to come before the Lord within our conversation. Once we have set in place who God really is than why would we ever question the path he has prepared for us each day. So as you start this day out start it out by praising the One who will lead you in paths of righteousness through the green pastures and still waters, and if by chance you happen to have to go through the valley shadow of death He will also be there.
This is the last psalm of the fifteen Song of Ascents psalms
1 Praise the LORD, all you servants of the LORDwho minister by night in the house of the LORD. 2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the LORD. 3 May the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth, bless you from Zion
What are the duties of the servant of the Lord? In these verses we are to minister and praise the Lord. The root definition means the act of serving. It is used to describe the work of one that serves. One section of scriptures that all saints need to know is Philippians chapter two. The importance of these verses from Paul describes the walk that we should have in this world “Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men”. This walk should be modeled after the ministry of Christ.
So, praise the Lord and learn more of the walk of Christ. Learn more about Him and you will learn more about being a servant of the Lord.