Psalm 59

Psalm 59

1 Deliver me from my enemies, O God; protect me from those who rise up against me.
2 Deliver me from evildoers and save me from bloodthirsty men.
3 See how they lie in wait for me! Fierce men conspire against me for no offense or sin of mine, O LORD.
4 I have done no wrong, yet they are ready to attack me. Arise to help me; look on my plight!
5 O LORD God Almighty, the God of Israel, rouse yourself to punish all the nations; show no mercy to wicked traitors. Selah
6 They return at evening, snarling like dogs, and prowl about the city.
7 See what they spew from their mouths they spew out swords from their lips, and they say, “Who can hear us?”
8 But you, O LORD, laugh at them; you scoff at all those nations.
9 O my Strength, I watch for you; you, O God, are my fortress,

10 my loving God. God will go before me and will let me gloat over those who slander me.
11 But do not kill them, O Lord our shield or my people will forget. In your might make them wander about, and bring them down.
12 For the sins of their mouths, for the words of their lips, let them be caught in their pride. For the curses and lies they utter,
13 consume them in wrath, consume them till they are no more. Then it will be known to the ends of the earth that God rules over Jacob. Selah
14 They return at evening, snarling like dogs, and prowl about the city.
15 They wander about for food and howl if not satisfied.
16 But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.
17 O my Strength, I sing praise to you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God.

This was probably written when Saul had sent men to watch David’s house in order to kill him. This was when David had to flee from Saul
1 Samuel 19

10 And Saul sought to smite David even to the wall with the spear; but he slipped away out of Saul’s presence, and he smote the spear into the wall: and David fled, and escaped that night.

11 And Saul sent messengers unto David’s house, to watch him, and to slay him in the morning: and Michal, David’s wife, told him, saying, If thou save not thy life to-night, to-morrow thou wilt be slain.

12 So Michal let David down through the window: and he went, and fled, and escaped.

13 And Michal took the teraphim, and laid it in the bed, and put a pillow of goats’ hair at the head thereof, and covered it with the clothes.

14 And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, He is sick.

15 And Saul sent the messengers to see David, saying, Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may slay him.

16 And when the messengers came in, behold, the teraphim was in the bed, with the pillow of goats’ hair at the head thereof.

17 And Saul said unto Michal, Why hast thou deceived me thus, and let mine enemy go, so that he is escaped? And Michal answered Saul, He said unto me, Let me go; why should I kill thee?

18 Now David fled, and escaped, and came to Samuel to Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and dwelt in Naioth.

Of all the characters in the Bible, David is probably the one in which we can follow from his earlier life as a shepherd to his death as King. The story of David’s life as well as the life of Jesus gives us examples of how we should live our life as sojourners on this earth. The key to both of these lives was the principle of faith. Faith that no matter the events that are happening around us we need to only trust and obey. By living a life of faith we like David can say “O my Strength, I watch for you; you, O God, are my fortress, O my Strength, I sing praise to you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God.”

This was the beginning of David’s running from Saul. During this time, he went from being the national hero to an enemy of the state. As I study David’s life and his writings in the Psalms during some of the lowest times in my life, I realized how much of this time period of David’s life and the earthly ministry of Christ had in common. Both were rejected as King as well as their message. Both looked to God for deliverance instead of fighting the battle themself. The lesson I took away for my studies was that God will provide deliverance for us, if we wait on him.

Psalm 58

Psalm 58

1 Do you rulers indeed speak justly? Do you judge uprightly among men?
2 No, in your heart you devise injustice, and your hands mete out violence on the earth.
3 Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward and speak lies.
4 Their venom is like the venom of a snake, like that of a cobra that has stopped its ears,
5 that will not heed the tune of the charmer, however skillful the enchanter may be.
6 Break the teeth in their mouths, O God; tear out, O LORD, the fangs of the lions!
7 Let them vanish like water that flows away; when they draw the bow, let their arrows be blunted.
8 Like a slug melting away as it moves along, like a stillborn child, may they not see the sun.
9 Before your pots can feel the heat of the thorns whether they be green or dry-the wicked will be swept away.
10 The righteous will be glad when they are avenged, when they bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked.
11 Then men will say, “Surely the righteous still are rewarded; surely there is a God who judges the earth.”

As you read these verses, you will see that even an unjust ruler or government will one day have to stand before God and answer for their actions. As I read, verse three “even at birth the wicked go astray”, I ask myself who are the wicked. In Psalm one the wicked are described as one who does not delight in the law of the Lord, but walk in the counselor of the wicked, stands in the way of the sinners and seats among the seat of the mockers. The difference between the righteous and the wicked is simply their delight in the law of the Lord. In I Samuel 16:7 when Samuel was starting the process of anointing one of Jesse’s son as the next King of Israel God revealed to him that God looked on the heart on a man and not on the physical characteristic of a person. David was anointed to take Saul’s place. But why? The answer can be found in I Samuel chapter fifteen.

Samuel delivered to Saul a command from the Lord to utterly destroy the city of Amalek and not spare anything in the city. However, Saul spared Agag the king, best of all the livestock, as well as all that was good. When Saul was questioned by Samuel on why he did not follow the command of the Lord he stated he saved them to sacrifice to the Lord. When questioned about it again he answered, “but the people took the spoil to sacrifice to the Lord”. When Samuel made known to Saul that he had rejected the words of the Lord, Saul acknowledged his sin, because of he feared of his men. He wanted pardon, but he approached this pardon with the attitude of “OK, I did wrong nothing bad happen, let’s forget it and move on”. This is seemed in the way he responded to Samuel after Samuel rejected his confusion of the wrong doings. Samuel let Saul know that their relationship was over since Saul had rejected God’s Word and he turned to walk away. Saul then grabbed Samuel to force him to return back to the victory celebration and tore his robe. Saul responds was “I have sinned: yet honor me now before the elders and the people and go with me so that I may worship your God”. Why did Saul join the ranks of the wicked? Because, his delight was not in following God’s way, but in doing things according to Saul’s way. Saul placed his honor above God’s honor. With this decision, the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul and an evil spirit from the Lord was sent to trouble him.

When man make the decision to place his honor above God’s honor he also includes in this decision his desire not to walk in God’s way. Paul describes this decision in detail in Romans 1:18-32:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness;

19 because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them.

20 For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse:

21 because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless heart was darkened.

22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.

24 Wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves:

25 for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile passions: for their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature:

27 and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error, which was due.

28 And even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things, which are not fitting;

29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

30 backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31 without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, unmerciful:

32 who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practice them.

As I study the psalms and God’s Word on why men rejection of God the one theme that is at the heart of this rejection is their purpose in life verses God’s purpose in life. They glorify man and humanize God and reject their creator completely.

Psalm 57

Psalm 57

1 Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.
2 I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills {his purpose} forme.
3 He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me; Selah God sends his love and his faithfulness.
4 I am in the midst of lions; I lay among ravenous beasts men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords.
5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.
6 They spread a net for my feet I was bowed down in distress. They dug a pit in my path but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah
7 My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music.
8 Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn.
9 I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples.
10 For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.

This is another psalm of David as he fled from Saul into the caves. David’s starts out this psalm off in the same manner as he did in psalm 56. He asks for God’s mercy as he takes refuge in him.

Key Facts:

We must ask for mercy because we have no righteousness to stand on.

God has provided a refuge for us and that is where we need to hide.

God has his purpose for me.

God does save me.

He rebukes those who are against his chosen.

David’s faith was steadfast and so must our faith in God.

The wicked will fall in their own traps.

I will praise Him. Why?

For great is His Love.

Great is His faithfulness

And He alone is exalted.

As I read verse two “I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills {his purpose} for me” it takes me back to Matthew 26:39 where Jesus prays “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” as his purpose. David did become the king of Israel as God purposed him to be as we will someday be made Christ-like when Christ appears the second time. However, until this event takes place, we must that refuge in the shadow of God’s wing and pray the same prayer that Christ our example prayed in the garden of Gethsemane. It is God who fulfills his purpose, not us fulfilling the purpose that God has given us. As a good soldier puts his life on the line to fulfill the military commander’s objectives so must we put on life and our dreams on the line to serve Christ.

When studying David’s life at this time we must realize that he was going through a period of self-examination. Everything that he believed was being tested. At this time, he was surrounded by a small band of followers who like him was running and hiding. It is a setting like this that even when you are part of a group you still feel like you are alone with God. It is in these times of testing that God will slowly work to transform us to be making according to His purpose.

Psalm 56

Psalm 56
1 Be merciful to me, O God, for men hotly pursue me; all day long they press their attack.
2 My slanderers pursue me all day long; many are attacking me in their pride.
3 When I am afraid, I will trust in you.
4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?
5 All day long they twist my words; they are always plotting to harm me.
6 They conspire, they lurk, and they watch my steps, eager to take my life.
7 On no account let them escape; in your anger, O God, bring down the nations.
8 Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll are they not in your record?
9 Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me.
10 In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise
11 in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?
12 I am under vows to you, O God; I will present my thank offerings to you.
13 For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.

This psalm was written by David when the Philistines had seized him in Gath. This was the period in the life of David when he was running from Saul. David’s life has been given to us as an example of how we must face the issues that we encounter on our journey in this life and how to address these issues. In this example, David is fleeing from Saul not because of wrongdoing but because of Saul saw him as a threat to his kingdom. This threat was not caused by David’s decisions but by God’s decision that the Lord had made in I Samuel 15 and 16 when He rejected Saul and chose David. God made this decision but how David reacted to it affected others around him. This holds true for us today. When making ourselves available to God, his plans for us can have an impact on the relationships to those around us. Just the simple belief that God is our creator and we are his creation will cause others around us to form an opinion about us. Saul rejected God’s decision to make David the next King and placed himself against God and chose to kill David. David accepted it but waited for God to intervene and make him king. So, as you read this psalm study David’s reactions to Saul’s attack on him. Waiting is not easy however; it does strengthen on faith in the Lord.

The first thing David does is to make an appeal to God’s mercy. He places himself before the judge of the universe as one that is willing to accept his verdict because David knows that God alone has absolute power. He states his case before God: (1. men hotly pursue me 2. they attach me 3. they slander me) because of their pride. They have twisted David’s words, they are plotting against him, they are lurking about him and are watching his steps.

After this appeal for mercy, David states to God “In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?” David praises God’s word and trust in his judgment and at the same time, David does not fear man. Why? Because Samuel had anointed him king of Israel and God had not changed this. Sometimes we seem to forget God’s promises that he has made. We seem to forget that he will never leave us or forsake us. We seem to forget my daughter Alex’s favorite verse Romans 8:28 “And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose.” So, remember and trust in God’s promises in times of trouble. The second thing to remember is not to fear man.

Next, we see the results of David’s prayer “Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me”. I love I John 5:14-15 where one of the five evidences of Christ in you is this: “And this is the boldness which we have toward him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us: and if we know that he hears us whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions which we have asked.” Yes, God does answer our prayers, he protects us along the way and the true believer can also repeat what David states in verse thirteen of this psalm. However, we must also understand from these verses that answer prayer is in accordance to His will. As we grow in Christ we must realize that the working of events in our life is for the purpose of God transforming the innermost part of us to be more Christ-like. Events happen every day in our life that will bring us closer or farther from the transformation that God wants to happen in our life. If we stay in the Word and walk in His way, then these events will bring us closer to the transformation that God desires for us and we will see answer prayer in our life.

As we read this psalm, we can also compare it to the life that Christ lived during his ministry on the earth. For as David the anointed king to take Saul’s place was pursued and hunted so was Christ the promise Messiah from God pursued and hunted. During Saul’s reign David was the rejected King just as Christ was during his ministry on this earth was the rejected Messiah. Just as David became King after Saul’s death, so will Christ become King of Kings when he returns to the earth. Are you looking forward to that Day?

Psalm 55

Psalm 55

of David.
1 Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea;
2 hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught
3 at the voice of the enemy, at the stares of the wicked; for they bring down suffering upon me and revile me in their anger.
4 My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me.
5 Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me.
6 I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest-
7 I would flee far away and stay in the desert; Selah
8 I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.”
9 Confuse the wicked, O Lord; confound their speech, for I see violence and strife in the city.
10 Day and night they prowl about on its walls; malice and abuse are within it.
11 Destructive forces are at work in the city; threats and lies never leave its streets.
12 If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him.
13 But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend,
14 with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God.
15 Let death take my enemies by surprise; let them go down alive to the grave, for evil finds lodging among them.
16 But I call to God, and the LORD saves me.
17 Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.
18 He ransoms me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me.
19God, who is enthroned forever, will hear them and afflict them. Selah Men who never change their ways and have no fear of God.
20 My companion attacks his friends; he violates his covenant.
21 His speech is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords.
22 Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
23 But you, O God, will bring down the wicked into the pit of corruption; bloodthirsty and deceitful men will not live out half their days. But as for me, I trust in you.

As I read this psalm as well as others written by David, I usually ask myself when David wrote this psalm. The beauty of old age is that you can look back on the experiences of your past to better understanding the events happening around you at the present. As I read this, I would have to agree with Charles Spurgeon that it was written at the time of Absalom‘s rebellion. This psalm reveals that David is honest with the Lord. Yes, his thoughts trouble him and he is not sure what course of action to take in this situation. When your son and one of your closest friends (in this case one of his advisors Ahithophel) turn against you and tries to destroy your very existance, how do you react? This psalm is also similar to the thoughts that Christ probably had about Judas when he betrays him in the garden.

Some of David’s feelings:

  • my thoughts trouble me
  • I am distraught
  • my enemy brings suffering on me
  • my enemy revile me in their anger
  • my heart is in anguish
  • terrors of death assail me
  • fear and trembling have beset me
  • horror has overwhelmed me

David’s prayer and his plea:

  • I will flee to my place of shelter
  • confuse the wicked
  • confound their speech
  • let death take my enemies by surprise
  • let them go alive to the grave
  • Lord save me
  • Lord ransom me unharmed from this battle

David’s enemies:

  • they bring suffering on him
  • they are violence
  • they bring malice and abuse within the city
  • they are my friends my companions
  • they refuse to change their ways
  • they have no fear of God
  • they violate their covenant
  • they speak lies
  • their ways are set on war

David’s actions:

Cast his cares on God

Looks to God to sustain him

Acts in righteous knowing God never let the righteous fall

And the key to everything that David does he trusts God

As we walk with the Lord daily and study, his Word this psalm will help us trust in him more. We do not live in a perfect world and more importantly, we cannot create the perfect world around us. We might try to control our surroundings and those around us to make our world perfect to us, but sin has a way of entering in and destroying that perfect world. We tend to focus too much on finding a purpose driven life instead of having a walk that is blameless before the Lord. In times of trouble, David left judgment in God’s hand and trusted God to lead him though the green pastures. Even when he was walking through the valley of death, he knew God was with him. So, if you are facing times when your world is collapsing and even your friends turn against you, just know that God is there. However, if it is you who are rebelling against God and his righteous ones, and you have no fear of God, but say in your heart I have no need of God then be warned that God will bring down the wicked into the pit of corruption.

Psalm 54

Psalm 54
1 Save me, O God, by your name; vindicate me by your might.
2 Hear my prayer, O God; listen to the words of my mouth.
3 Strangers are attacking me; ruthless men seek my life men without regard for God. Selah
4 Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.
5 Let evil recoil on those who slander me; in your faithfulness destroy them.
6 I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you; I will praise your name, O LORD, for it is good.
7 For he has delivered me from all my troubles, and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.

When the Ziphites had gone to Saul and said, “Is not David hiding among us?”

A theme I was developing today as I was studying the psalms is it is God who seeks after us, not us after God. However, once we reach out to the seeking God then it should become our desire to seek after Him. The New American Standard Bible titles Isaiah fifty-five as “The Free Offer of Mercy”. This chapter presents the center of God’s message to the world “Everyone who thirsts, come…and delight yourself in abundance”. However, this focus of seeking changes when we have heard the Word and open the heart door to accept God’s mercy. The message of verses three and six found in Isaiah fifty-five is clear “Give ear and come to me” “Seek the Lord while he may be found” clearly points us to seek after God. Why? Isaiah answers this in verse eight “My thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not our ways”. To seek God then should become the desire for all Christian. And in this process, we will become more Christ-like in everything we do.

But as the reader of this psalm will notice this is not the theme of this psalm. The theme of this psalm is for God to save David and vindicate him from those who are trying to destroy him. In this psalm we see how David handles the events concerning those ruthless men who seek to destroy him. David’s way was to turn it over to God to handle. David’s prayer to God was to sustain him and let God be the one to destroy them. This is God’s way, not the way of men. So how do we react to those who try to slander and destroy us? How do we handle the attaches that we face from the godless people in our life who does not know God’s way?

This problem can even get harder to handle when ungodly men turn the grace of God into lasciviousness and makes it look like they are the godly ones and you are the wicked one. David answers this with verse seven of this psalm “for he has delivered me from all my troubles and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes”. Therefore as we seek after God, we will see his way becomes our way as we wait on him to complete His purpose in us. How do we know this is happening? It happens when the peace of God that passes all understanding is within you and you know that everything is working together to make you more Christ-like in your daily walk.

This is not an overnight process. Remember David spend seven years of his life running from Saul. It was during the lowest points of these seven years that we see David looking to the intervene of God’s hand in past events to give him the assurance of future victories. Sometimes at our lowest point God’s sends words of encouragement. During this time of running from Saul, Jonathan Saul’s son arose and went to David and strengthened David’s hand in the Lord.

Psalm 53

Psalm 53

of David.
1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good.
2 God looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.
3 Everyone has turned away, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.
4 Will the evildoers never learn those who devour my people as men eat bread and who do not call on God?
5 There they were, overwhelmed with dread, where there was nothing to dread. God scattered the bones of those who attacked you; you put them to shame, for God despised them.
6 Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When God restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!

Who is a fool? According to Merriam-Webster, the word means a person lacking in judgment or prudence. In verse, one of this psalms the psalmist describes a person first as one that rejects God. In other words, this person is Godless, someone who has rejected and denies that God exist. The psalmist then describes them as being corrupt and their ways as being vile. This is the state of a man who rejects God. This psalm of David along with Psalm fourteen is used by Paul in Romans chapter three. Paul’s conclusion is found in Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” As I study this psalm, I realize the truth found in Hebrews 2:3 “how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.” The first step in grabbing hold of this great salvation knows God.

The theme of the seeking God is clear in this Psalm. The fool is the one that rejects God, the one who denies God, and his way. Then God look down from heaven he saw that the sons of men did not seek Him. So, as we see in the Gospels that God, send his Son to us as the way, the truth and the life. So as Israel’s hope of salvation rested in God restoring it so must our hope rest in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection.

Psalm 52

Psalm 52
1Why do you boast of evil, you mighty man? Why do you boast all day long, you who are a disgrace in the eyes of God?
2 You tongue plots destruction; it is like a sharpened razor, you who practice deceit.
3 You love evil rather than good, falsehood rather than speaking the truth. Selah
4 You love every harmful word, O you deceitful tongue!
5 Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin: He will snatch you up and tear you from your tent he will uproot you from the land of the living. Selah
6 The righteou will see and fear; they will laugh at him, saying,
7 “Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold but trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others!”
8 But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love forever and ever.

9 I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will praise you in the presence of your saints.

As you read this psalm, go back and read I Samuel 22 where Doeg the Edomite informed Saul that David has gone to the house of Ahimelech. This was the start of David’s running which probably lasted about seven years. This was seven years of running as a criminal of the state. Yet during this time he placed, his hope and trust in the Lord. So, no matter what comes into your life remember this truth; the righteous will see and fear. I trust in God’s unfailing love forever and ever. As you live your life on this earth, do you live it in the light of today’s rewards or the rewards that eternality offers? Have you made God our stronghold and the one who will guide you, or have you made yourself the controller of your life? In Philippians 4 Paul gives us an example of how to handle disputes. The key is to agree with each other in the Lord. However, this does not always happen. So Paul gives us these final instructions on handling disputes in Philippians 4:8,9 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you”. This is the path we must follow when we make God our stronghold.

How do you make a decision? How do you handle the daily tough situation around you, which forces you to make tough decisions? One of the keys to making good decisions is found in the principles that Paul outlines for us in Philippians 4:8, 9. However, I have come to realize in the last several years that following these principles and being Christ-like is not an easy task. Consider what Paul is saying in these verses:

  • whatever is true
  • whatever is noble
  • whatever is right
  • whatever is pure
  • whatever is lovely
  • whatever is admirable
  • if anything is excellent or praiseworthy
  • THEN think about such things

These principles taken individuality are easy to understand, however when taken as a group can cause much confusion. That is why verse eight ends in the phase “if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things” or as Psalm 1 states “mediate”. As I look into God’s Word daily and see his word, reflecting back on the imperfections of my daily activity I am reminded how much I need my Bible study to get me started every morning. Just as my looking into a mirror in the morning reflects back my physical appearances that must be corrected before I go out and face the world each morning, God’s Word reveals the things in my life that are not true, noble, right, pure, lovely, or admirable. Therefore we must mediate and think about all things in light of these six attributes working together. David’s life is a great example of this process. Samuel had anointed him to be the next King of Israel. That was truth? However, these verses were written as he was running from Saul and being treated as a criminal of the state. Should he not stand up and fight for what was rightfully his position, knowing that God had rejected Saul and chosen David to be the next King? What was noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable? What route then should David take to secure this kingdom that that he was anointed to take? This was the issue that David was facing in this Psalm.

In John 1:10-12 it states of Christ “He was in the world and though the world was made him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” Christ came to this earth two thousand years ago as King, and yet the world rejected him and crucified him on the cross. Just as David was rejected by Israel to take his rightful place during the time of this psalm, Christ also was rejected by the world when he came to earth the first time. Why did he not take the world by force since he was the King of Kings? This is a mystery that many struggles with, “why does God not intervene immediately to right the wrongs in this world?” To me the answer is simple, He did. The answer is Christ. As I study the psalms, I have seen several features in David’s life that seem to reflect in Christ’s earthly ministry. The three characters in this psalm, God, the evil, and the righteous are the three main characters in the world around us today. By studying the psalms, may I learn the principles of Philippians 4:8, 9 and apply them to my life. May I like David learn to rely totally on the Lord, for guidance and direction!

Opinion is defined as a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter. In a stronger form, it means a formal expression of judgment or advice by an expert upon which a legal decision is based. It is opinions that either bring people together, or divides people into different groups. What happens when the mighty men of a nation look at their evil ways and call them good? How do we make a stand against these evil ways? Do we wait on God or do we make a stand and fight against evil? Sometimes it seems the route in which the righteous chose to make their stand against evil practices results in greater separation in the forces against evil practices rather than the evil practices themselves. By studying David’s life, we can get a picture of what it means to truly wait on the Lord.

The very start of evil can be traced back to Satan. By studying Isaiah chapter fourteen, we see these I wills use by the son of the morning:

I will ascend into heaven

I will exalt my throne above the stars of God

I will sit upon the mount of congregation, in the uttermost parts of the north;

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;

I will make myself like the Most High.

Evil is simply going against the way of God. As I looked at this Psalm today in light of Isaiah fourteen I asked myself a simply question “Do I have the characteristics of a man that did not make God my stronghold or do I look to God to fulfill in me his daily purpose?” To answer this question, I went to Matthew chapter 20 verses one through fifteen:

1 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that was a householder, who went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard.

2 And when he had agreed with the laborers for a shilling a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing in the marketplace idle;

4 and to them he said, Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.

5 Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour and did likewise.

6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing; and he saith unto them, Why stand ye here all day idle?

7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard.

8 And when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the laborers, and pay them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.

9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a shilling.

10 And when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received every man a shilling.

11 And when they received it, they murmured against the householder,

12 saying, These last have spent but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.

13 But he answered and said to one of them, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a shilling?

14 Take up that which is thine and go thy way; it is my will to give unto this last, even as unto thee.

15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? or is thine eye evil, because I am good?

The characters:


12-hour Laborers for a shilling a day

9 hours Laborers for whatsoever is right

6 hours Laborers for whatsoever is right

3 hours Laborers for whatsoever is right

1-hour Laborers for whatsoever is right

The Plot:

A householder hired workers at different times to work in his vineyard. He agreed with the first to pay them a shilling for their day’s work. The others hired during the day were promised to be paid with the promise of whatsoever is right. At the end of the day, the householder paid the last to start to work a shilling and continue to pay the reminder of the workers a shilling. These who worked longer expected to be paid more, but they were not. Then they murmured against him. The householder’s answer was simple “I did you no wrong I paid you what we agreed to.” Is it not lawful for me to do what I want with mine own?

The conclusion:

The Questions you must answer and apply to your life:

Was the householder right in what he did?

Whom does the householder represent?

Whom do the laborers represent?

Did the laborers who worked all day have a right to question the householder’s decision?

How does this parable relate to evil?

So, when I get to heaven how should I react to the prize that will be set before me?

Psalm 51

Psalm 51
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.
14 Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
18 In your good pleasure make Zion prosper; build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then there will be righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings to delight you; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Have you ever judged someone and then find out that it was you who was wrong and guilty of the issue? This is David’s psalm to Nathan’s remark in II Samuel 12:7 “Thou art the man”. It is only when we see our sinfulness before God that we come to the point of realization of our own fallen nature. As I read this psalm I must go to I Kings 15:5 “because David did that which was right in the eyes of Jehovah, and turned not aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite”. This psalm along with psalm 32 was written as a result of this sin. Every time I read this psalm, I realized that a life without God’s presence is a life in which there is brokenness.

In verse, one David comes to God for mercy and the blotting out of his transgression. In verse two, he adds wash away my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. David knew he had sinned; he felt the need for cleansing and knew that this cleansing could only come from God. As you read the rest of this psalm, you should be able to notice one of the major characteristic of God and that is his unfailing love and his great compassion. How do you get right with God after you have sinned and done evil in the sight of the Lord? Read psalms 51 and 32 and let the Holy Spirit speak to you through these verses to restore the joy of your salvation and renew a steadfast spirit within you. Then you will have a purpose in life and that is to teach transgressors God’s way and turn them to Him.

One of the greatest truths that one learns in life is the importance of relationships. This psalm represents a time in David’s life where he had abandoned the ways of God to protect himself and others from public shame. Yet his plans to protect these relationships did not work. As a believer, we need to realize the truth about sin, and that truth is that all sin is known by God. Another truth about sin is that it affects relationships. The family relationship is usually the strongest relationship that people have in this world, and yet the bond of this relationship can easily be broken when sin enters the picture. There is also the relationship that we have with God. This psalm focuses on the only way to restore a broken relationship and that way is through repentance and returning back to God’s ways. Verse 6 makes God’s way simple, God desires truth in our inner parts He desires to have His laws written on our heart. So, if you are facing a broken relationship today know that unless you are coming to God with a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you will not be able to have true joy and peace in your heart.

This leads to another truth I see in the world today but cannot fully understand. Why do we let sin rule our life and wreck relationships, when God has provided a way for all relationships to be restored by his great gift of forgiveness? As I study the story of Cain and Abel, found in Genesis chapter four I see God’s love being rejected by Cain before he killed Abel. In addition, even after Cain killed Abel God placed a mark on Cain to protect him from others. Yet Cain still went out of God’s presence. Why then do individuals who have been once enlightened and who have tasted the heavenly gift fall away? The Lord gives reasons for this falling away in his parable of the sower found in Matthew chapter thirteen. In this parable, the seed (God’s Word) falls on four types of soils: the soil of the wayside, the rocky soil, the soil among the thorns, and the good soil. In the first case, the word is heard but Satan takes it away from them. In the second case the word is heard, but is soon abandon when tribulation or persecution comes along in a person’s life. In the third case the cares of this world choke out the word and the person does not grow and becomes fruitful. However, in the fourth case, the word is heard and by applying that, life becomes fruitful. Do you let the Word of God grow in you, or does Satan, the cares of this world, or the desires of this world destroy the effects that the Word could have on your life.

Verses 6 and 7 “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” describes the nature of man. As a child grows the sweetness that the newborn child processed gives way to the true sinful nature, which we all are, have at birth. The desires of the child turn to me, me, me. However, God is always calling to us to return to Him. His desire for us is to have truth within our hearts and wisdom within our inmost place. Therefore, as a young child, we must heed the call of God. This simple concept of God’s desire seems to get lost in our everyday routine of living. We let Satan, the cares of this world, or the desires of this world rob us of a desire that God wants for us in our life. In the devotion for June 11 in his book, My Utmost for His Highest Oswald Chambers writes:

The questions that truly, matter in life are remarkably few, and they are all answered by these words— “Come to Me.” Our Lord’s words are not, “Do this, or don’t do that,” but— “Come to me.” If I will simply come to Jesus, my real life will be brought into harmony with my real desires. I will actually cease from sin, and will find the song of the Lord beginning in my life.

This is what David is writing here in this Psalm. As I look back in my life as well as the life of other Christians I know or have known; it was not our seeking after God that brought God in our lives, but it was the way that we responded to the seeking God as we opened the door to our heart and let him enter our inmost place to dwell. Once we open the door and receive Him then the true transformation of bringing our life into this harmony with His desires takes place and we can experience the peace that passes understanding.

Psalm 50

Psalm 50

A psalm of Asaph.

1 The Mighty One, God, the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets.
2 From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth.
3 Our God comes and will not be silent; a fire devours before him and around him a tempest rage.
4 He summons the heavens above, and the earth, that he may judge his people:
5 “Gather to me my consecrated ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
6 and the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for God himself is judge. Selah
7 “Hear, O my people, and I will speak, O Israel, and I will testify against you: I am God, your God.
8 I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices or your burnt offerings, which are ever before me.
9 I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens,
10 for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine.
12 If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it.
13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?
14 Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High,
15 and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”
16 But to the wicked, God says: “What right have you to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips?
17 You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you.
18 When you see a thief, you join with him; you throw in your lot with adulterers.
19 You use your mouth for evil and harness your tongue to deceit.
20 You speak continually against your brother and slander your own mother’s son.
21 These things you have done, and I kept silent; you thought I was altogether like you. But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face.
22 “Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with none to rescue:
23 He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.”

This is the first of twelve Psalms bear the name of Asaph. He was of high repute in the days of David and is mentioned as one of the main composer of the psalms. Asaph was certainly a prophet since he is called a seer. It seems from studying his writings that he was well educated and had a natural talent that made him well qualified to compose hymns or psalms in the honor of God. He also reflects the strong influence that David probably had on his life and his writings. Not only did he have a great grasp of the nature and attributes of God, but he also had a keen understanding of the corrupt nature of man. This knowledge probably was strengthening as the result of positions he held while serving in David’s reign. During his lifetime he witness a time in which there was great changes; since during his lifetime he probably witness the reign of the first three Kings of Israel. It was during his lifetime that the history of Israel saw some of its great changes. These changes brought about much displeasure from God, yet God still watched over his people by giving them David as their King. He probably lived during the period of Saul’s kingdom, and then was involved in David’s kingdom and was probably even alive and wrote during the reign of Solomon. As you read these psalms the prophetic characteristics of Asaph writings seems to have include a lot of the historical past of Israel as examples of God’s dealings with his people then and how this relationship will continue with his people in the presence as well as in the future. This is the only one of his psalms that stands alone. The others start with Psalm 73 and continue to Psalm 83.

This psalm speaks of God judging his people as well as the wicked. As I read this psalm I must also look to the words of Christ found in John 5: 24-30 where he speaks as having been granted the judge of mankind by the Father. God gave this authority to him because he is the Son of Man (verse 27). However, Christ also refers to himself as the Son of God in verse twenty-five. As I consider verse twenty-two of this psalm “Consider this you who forget God” in relationship to the verses in John chapter five I realize that the view that one has of Christ will affect their behavior on earth, and their judgment for eternity. Christ’s testimony was that he has been performing the task that the father had given him. Does your testimony reflect the task that Christ has given you? The first step in this process knows Christ as your Lord.

The last two verses set the stage for all of mankind. There are only two ways, God way or the ungodly way. One way is having God direct your way and the other way is living with God. The warning to all mankind is found in these two verses. “Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with none to rescue:” is a warning that yes you can live your life without God, and do things your way; however, God will not be there to rescue you, even in death. “He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God” are the ones who walk in God’s way. They recognize their sinfulness and are thankful for his salvation and their new desire is to take on the nature of the new creation that has been given to them though the redemptive work of Christ. Romans 12:1,2 are verses that all believers should memorize and meditate on day and night.