Psalm 49

Psalm 49


1 Hear this, all you peoples; listen, all who live in this world,
2 both low and high, rich and poor alike:
3 My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the utterance from my heart will give understanding.
4 I will turn my ear to a proverb; with the harp I will expound my riddle:
5 why should I fear when evil days come, when wicked deceivers surround me
6 those who trust in their wealth and boast oftheir great riches?
7 No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him

8 the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough
9 that he should live on forever and not see decay.
10 For all can see that wise men die; the foolish and the senseless alike perish and leave their wealth to others.
11 Their tombs will remain their houses forever, their dwellings for endless generations, though they had named lands after themselves.
12 But man, despite his riches, does not endure; he is like the beasts that perish.
13 This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings. Selah
14 Like sheep they are destined for the grave and death will feed on them. The upright will rule over them in the morning; their forms will decay in the grave, far from their princely mansions.
15 But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself.
16 Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases;
17 for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him.
18 Though while he lived, he counted himself blessed and men praise you when you prosper
19 he will join the generation of his fathers, who will never see the light of life.

20 A man whohas riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish.

As you look at these verses picture that you are listening to Christ preaching his messages from the hills of Galilee. The message is to answer the statement: No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him the ransom for a life is costly; no payment is ever enough that he should live on forever and not see decay. Let’s face it we cannot redeem our life. For all can see that wise men die; the foolish and the senseless alike perish and leave their wealth to others. There is no way that man, despite his riches, does not endure; he is like the beasts that perish. This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings.

However, there is a way and it is also in his message: But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself.

Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases; for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him. Though while he lived he counted himself blessed and men praise you when you prosper he will join the generation of his fathers, who will never see the light of life. A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish.

One event that a person will experience as they grow older is the end of a life of a love one or someone who is close to them. Yes, I am writing about a funeral. I experienced my first funeral (my father’s) when I was only fifteen. Then four months later, I attended the funeral of my brother. So at the age fifteen when most young adolescence were enjoying the experience of youth I had already lost a father and a brother and started the process of asking God the hard questions of life. Today as I was attending the funeral of a friend’s father, I realized that understanding one’s life is like putting together a puzzle. As I study Psalms 139:16, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” I realize that God has the top of the puzzle box with the picture. We are the ones that have to put together the pieces of the puzzle of life.

Sometimes our personal beliefs comes into conflict with the world and even those who are close to us. This psalm has the greatest promise for all of mankind. The promise of redeeming us from the grave. Jesus spoke this promise to Nicodemus in their discourse that is recorded in John 3:1-21. Jesus used the example of Moses lifting up the serpent in the wilderness as the way God was going provided as the way to redeem our life. Jesus explained that his only purpose of being send by God to this earth was to save man from the curse of sin. We either believe in Christ or we do not and reject him. Believing in Jesus will change the way we walk in this world. Knowing that there is so much more after we die and leave this world that the things of this life does not have as much attraction to us as it did in the past. I can now live a life that does not fear death.

Therefore, my lifestyle has not changed in the last two years. Covid does not control my life. Yes, I will respect the views of those that do not understand my way; however, I truly believe that my God and my Savior is a personal God. I do not let the fear of death effect my daily living because I believe that God will redeem my life from the grave and take me to be with him This is a psalm that I can apply to our personal life.

Psalm 48

Psalm 48


1 Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain.
2 It is beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth. Like the utmost heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King.
3 God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress.
4 When the kings joined forces, when they advanced together,
5 they saw her and were astounded; they fled in terror.
6 Trembling seized them there, pain like that of a woman in labor.
7 You destroyed them like ships of Tarshish shattered by an east wind.
8 As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD Almighty, in the city of our God: God makes her secure forever. Selah
9 Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.
10 Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with righteousness.
11 Mount Zion rejoices, the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments.
12 Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers,
13 consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation.
14 For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.

As I read this psalm, I am reminded that there are forces that advance against God. It happened in heaven as well as it is now taking place on earth. As I consider the many voices of society today, I can understand why those who have chosen to be close to God and seek to live a blameless life are quiet. These are the ones that I believe have the same life styles as the seven thousands of I King 19:18 ” Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.” These are the ones today who have abandoned the desires to chase after the Jones or seek the fame and riches that this world seeks to give. They are the ones that know God and enjoy the simple pleasures of life that he bestows upon them. They are the ones that like Abraham know that they are just on a journey and that their real treasures are in heaven, Mt Zion, the city of God. They meditate on God’s unfailing love and trust in his judgments. They do not have to prove to the world that God is on their side, because they have the peace of God within their heart that assures them that the Lord Almighty is their God.

Psalm 47

Psalm 47

1 Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.
2 How awesome is the LORD Most High, the great King over all the earth!
3 He subdued nations under us, peoples under our feet.
4 He chose our inheritance for us, the pride of Jacob, whom he loved. Selah
5 God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the LORD amid the sounding of trumpets.
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.
7 For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise.
8 God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne.
9 The nobles of the nations assemble as the people of the God of Abraham, for the kings of the earth belong to God; he is greatly exalted.

As I read this psalm this morning, I stop and reflect about all the influences that have already occurred today in my life. On my daily commute to work every morning I, listen either to the radio or to my CDs on the scriptures. When I listen to radio, it seems that half of the time I am listening to advertising that makes claims on how to improve and make your life better and more productive. Yet, most of this claim leaves out one major compound and that is God. By reading the psalms daily, the reader will soon truly grasp how awesome the Lord really is in heaven and on earth. When I listen to these claims that promise to give me a great and better life they leave out God. They usually have one purpose and that is to make the person or company offering them a profit. When hearing these claims, I have to reflect on the very fall of man in the Garden of Eden. Man took the fruit from his wife who had taken it from the serpent, who had convinced her that there was more to life than God had provided. He convinced Eve and she convinced Adam “that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise”. However, after they eat of the fruit, their eyes was opened and they saw their own nakedness.

I see the same with all the claims that the world offers us today. Even the claims of most Christian ministries seem to fall short of meeting the needs and desires of fallen man. Unless fallen man truly returns to a dependence on God, he will perish just like the beast of the field. As Psalm 49: 20 states “A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish”. However, when we truly get to a point in our life that we trust God and pursue a desire to live a blameless life in the light of his Word, then we will see that he will cloth us in His glory. How awesome would our lives be if our daily routines in this world would truly reflect our true dependence upon God to manage the affairs of our life?

Psalm 46

Psalm 46


1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
8 Come and see the works of the LORD, the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Selah

Sometimes as we study God’s Word, we just look at the words and apply them to our life. This Psalm was a song created for the worship of God. God is the subject of this song. As we see starting with verse one of this Psalm to the last verse it is God that takes care of us. God is our refuge and strength; then why do we fear? David’s theme in this Psalm is centered on the concept of faith. His faith was a total trust in God to intervene in every aspect of his life. Nothing too small or too large.

Verse ten of this Psalm gives the believer the way of God to approach the troubles, which we face as we complete our journey upon the face of this earth. Be still and know that I am God is the advice that for several believers do not have the time available to practice. This is a way of God that will test our faith and the more we grow in this way the more we will see his hand in the smallest activities that we pursue. This goes against the wise old saying of “God helps those who help themselves”. The problem that most believers have with dealing with the everyday issues in life is that this wise old saying seems to have a greater impact on their life then verse ten does. Try waiting on God as a way of walking in his way.

As I read this Psalm, I reflect upon the last two chapters of the Bible. Revelation twenty-one starts with this verse ” And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away and the sea is no more. There is a time in the future where everything I have worked for will be destroyed, the works of both my hands and my mind. However, the one that overcomes can inherit the things of the new heaven and the new earth.

Psalm 45

Psalm 45


1 My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.
2 You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever.
3 Gird your sword upon your side, O mighty one; clothe yourself with splendor and majesty.
4 In your majesty ride forth victoriously in behalf of truth, humility and righteousness; let yourright hand display awesome deeds.
5 Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies; let the nations fall beneath your feet.
6 Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.
7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.
8 All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; from palaces adorned with ivory the music of the strings makes you glad.
9 Daughters of kings are among your honored women; at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir.
10 Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear: Forget your people and your father’s house.
11 The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.
12 The Daughter of Tyre will come with a gift, men of wealth will seek your favor.
13 All glorious is the princess within her chamber; her gown is interwoven with gold.
14 In embroidered garments she is led to the king; her virgin companions follow her and are brought to you.
15 They are led in with joy and gladness; they enter the palace of the king.
16 Your sons will take the place ofyour fathers; you will make them princes throughout the land.
17 I will perpetuate your memory through all generations; therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever.

This psalm can only refer to one person and that is Christ. The writer of the book of Hebrews uses this verse in chapter one to introduce Christ, God’s son, as the one who has provided purifications for sins and is now seated at the right hand of God in heaven. This process of our growth in understanding why God provide redemption through Christ for mankind is a mystery I cannot fully understand; however, it is psalms such as this psalm that makes it so real to me. Paul states it better in Philippians 3:8 as I count all things loss for the Excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. The goal of this knowledge is to be found in him and to obtain the righteousness that is provided by our faith in him. The end result is that we will know Christ and that the new life given to us by the result of his resurrection and by our partaking in his suffering will make us more Christ like so that we will become sons of God. No wonder this psalm starts out with the phase “My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the King”. When studying the Bible, I hope that Christ is the noble theme that you look for in your studies.

Psalm 44

Psalm 44

1 We have heard with our ears, O God; our fathers have told us what you did in their days, in days long ago.
2 With your hand you drove out the nations and planted our fathers; you crushed the peoples and made our fathersflourish.
3 It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.
4 You are my King and my God, who decrees victories for Jacob.
5 Through you we push back our enemies; through your name we trample our foes.
6 I do not trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory;
7 but you give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversaries to shame.
8 In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever. Selah
9 But now you have rejected and humbled us; you no longer go out with our armies.
10 You made us retreat before the enemy, and our adversaries have plundered us.
11 You gave us up to be devoured like sheep and have scattered us among the nations.
12 You sold your people for a pittance, gaining nothing from their sale.
13 You have made us a reproach to ourneighbors, the scorn and derision of those around us.
14 You have made us a byword among the nations; the peoples shake their heads at us.
15 My disgrace is before me all day long, and my face is covered with shame
16 at the taunts of those who reproach and revile me, because of the enemy, who is bent on revenge.
17 All this happened to us, though we had not forgotten you or been false to your covenant.
18 Our hearts had not turned back; our feet had not strayed from your path.
19 But you crushed us and made us a haunt for jackals and covered us over with deep darkness.
20 If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god,
21 would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart?
22 Yet for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.
23 Awake, O Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever.
24 Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression?
25 We are brought down to the dust; our bodies cling to the ground.
26 Rise up and help us; redeem us because of your unfailing love.

Verse twenty-two “Yet for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered” is used by Paul in Romans 8:36 in response to the question “If God is for us who can be against us”. In the past my daughter Alex and I would race to see who could quote Romans 8:28 the fastest. It was my desire to make this verse real in her life, since I knew her Christian walk in this life would not be easy. Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” is the verse that states the conclusion of Paul’s discussion on living your life through the spirit. When studying Romans we realize that we were born in sin and we do not seek God, but it was God who seeks after us and provided a way back to Him through Christ that we might become sons of God. Therefore, to understand this psalm in light of Romans chapter eight we must understand that the world lives according to the sinful nature of the old man and we live according to the spiritual nature of the new man. These two natures have two different masters with two different goals: Christ and glorifying God, man and glorifying man. When we take on the spiritual nature we take on the nature of a servant just as Christ did when he was on this earth. This new nature then seeks Christ and ways of glorifying God.

When we study the scripture, we must realize that God’s will for man is that we become sons of God. Therefore, it is important that all believers know and completely understand the effects that the fall of man (found in Genesis 3) had on the relationship of God and man that existed before the fall. Before the fall man walk with God, after the fall man hid from God. Christ though his death on the cross has renewed the relationship between God and man. The relationship that existed before the fall (found in Genesis 3) has been restored to man through Christ.

Psalm 43

Psalm 43


1 Vindicate me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation; rescue me from deceitful and wicked men.
2 You are God my stronghold. Why have you rejected me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?
3 Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.
4 Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God.

5 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

This psalm is similar to psalm forty-two, however he does request two things: God’s light and God’s truth. This light and truth is Christ. As I age and see the events happening in the world, today I cannot help but reflect on this time in David’s life. Samuel had anointed David as a young lad to become the next king of Israel. David was probably only thirteen or fourteen at that time. I am not sure how much this affected his life at the time of the anointing, but soon after he was in the courts of Saul playing his harp for him as well as being one of his armor-bearers.

Verse three “Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell”. Your light and your truth refer to God’s Word and teachings. As I reflect back on my life, I realized how God uses the events in our life to shape us. At age thirteen I entertained myself in the evening by reading. The books I read were Arthur Maxwell’s Children Bible Stories. These ten books gave me a wonderful understanding of the Bible. This led me to a deeper desire to study the Bible. Studying the examples in God’s Word will give us the hope that David writes in verse five.

My office contains several hundred commentaries and religious books about the Bible. Many of these how to study your Bible, or life application of the scripture’s books can add insight my daily studies; but they can never replace the daily reading of the Bible in my life. The more I study the scriptures, the more the Holy Spirit opens my eyes to the truth of God. To me the Bible is the living Word of God. In this psalm verse three states “Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell”. As I study the book of John, I realized that this light and truth is Christ. So, the more I know about Jesus and the more I let him direct my paths the closer I get to the place that God dwells.

Psalm 42

Psalm 42


1 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
4 these things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.
5 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.
8 By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me a prayer to the God of my life.
9 I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?”
10 My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
11 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

This psalm centers on these two questions.

Why are you downcast, O my soul?

Why so disturbed within me?

This psalm centers on these answers.

Put your hope in God,

I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Sometimes during our walk on this earth, we seem to walk in a dry and thirsty land. It is during these times that we must remember that the earth is under the curse of sin. We are not in heaven yet but on a journey. We sometimes forget that we are on a journey and live as if this life on earth is it and there is no life after we depart from this earth. However, it is God that leads and sometimes these paths will lead us through a period of testing, or should I state a desert place. The key to getting through these times is to remember who God is (the One that our mind cannot comprehend) and that this is just our journey and not our home. The psalmist also reflects upon his time of worship with others (how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng) during this time of testing. Remember Psalm 62:11-12 “one thing God has spoken two things have I heard: that you, O God are strong, and that you O, Lord are loving.” It is these times of worshiping and praising God that we must look back to when we are in these periods of testing to give us hope for the future.

As I was studying the book There was a Time written by Mary Alice Wilhelm this week, I ran across a list title Nine Aspects of Life written by a source not known in the second chapter. Reflecting on these nine aspects can helps us as believers when we face the two questions that this Psalm presents to us.

Nine Aspects of Life

1. The adventure of life is to learn.

2. The purpose of life is to grow.

3. The nature of life is to change.

4. The challenge of life is to overcome.

5. The essence of life is to care.

6. The opportunity of life is to serve.

7. The secret of life is to dare.

8. The spice of life is to befriend.

9. The beauty of life is to give.

Source not known

As we age and realize that our journey through this world is now much nearer to the end we begin to look back and reevaluate our understanding of the true meaning of life. For those who know God and the work that Christ paid for us on the cross this reevaluation will usually lead to a more rewarding life for us in our later years.

Psalm 41

Psalm 41

For the director of music. A psalm of David.


1 Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the LORD delivers him in times of trouble.
2 The LORD will protect him and preserve his life; he will bless him in the land and not surrender him to the desire of his foes.
3 The LORD will sustain him on his sick bed and restore him from his bed of illness.
4 I said, “O LORD, have mercy on me; heal me, for I have sinned against you.”
5 My enemies say of me in malice, “When will he die and his name perish?”
6 Whenever one comes to see me, he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander; then he goes out and spreads it abroad.
7 All my enemies whisper together against me; they imagine the worst for me, saying,
8 “A vile disease has beset him; he will never get up from the place where he lies.”
9 Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.
10 But you, O LORD, have mercy on me; raise me up, that I may repay them.
11 I know that you are pleased with me, for my enemy does not triumph over me.
12 In my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever.
13 Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and Amen.

Blessed is he who has regard for the weak:

The LORD delivers him in times of trouble.
The LORD will protect him

The LORD will preserve his life

The LORD will bless him in the land

The LORD will not surrender him to the desire of his foes.
The LORD will sustain him on his sickbed

The LORD will restore him from his bed of illness.

 As

I said, “O LORD, have mercy on me; heal me, for I have sinned against you.”


My enemies say of me in malice:

When will he die?

When will his name perish?
Whenever one comes to see me, he speaks falsely

While his heart gathers slander

Then he goes out and spreads it abroad.
All my enemies whisper together against me

They imagine the worst for me, saying, “A vile disease has beset him

He will never get up from the place where he lies.

Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.

But you, O LORD

Have mercy on me

Raise me up, that I may repay them.
I know that you are pleased with me

For my enemy does not triumph over me.
In my integrity you uphold me

Set me in your presence forever.

This is another psalm which we can see the life of David, the life of Christ and the life that we are now living entangled together. Verse eleven “I know that you are pleased with me, for my enemy does not triumph over me” could refer to many enemies. As we study this psalm it starts out as blessing the one that is a friend to those in need. As we consider the word friend, we must realize that the word enemy comes from the Latin word inimicus which means unfriendly or hostile. So this psalms centers around the behaviors that are either friendly or unfriendly. So, as the psalmist writes in verse eleven “for my enemy does not triumph over me” is referring to these forces that are unfriendly to him. So, the next time you considered the word enemy considered the word friendship. To love your enemy is to love these who are not a friend to you. That is what God did for us on the cross. We were all unfriendly to God, yet in his love he reached out to us his enemies (whose who were not his friend) to make us his friend. This is the same love we must reach up to our enemies (those that are not a friend) to make them a friend of ours as well as God.

In his devotional for February 9 titled “Are You Exhausted Spiritually?” Oswald Chambers writes “Examine your reasons for service. Is your source based on your own understanding or is it grounded on the redemption of Jesus Christ?”. As I read the words of this psalm, I cannot help but see the desire of the Psalmist to fulfill the purpose that God has for him in this life. Verse eleven states “I know that you are pleased with me.” However, this desire of having God being pleased with us can sometimes make us feel spiritually exhausted. This is especially true when we have realized that we have sinned against God. When sin does take place in our life, we must realize it and turn from it. This is the examination that Oswald writes about in this devotion. Paul writes about this call for service in II Timothy 2:21 “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, meet for the master’s use, prepared unto every good work.” There are usually two reasons that I believe Christians become exhausted spiritually: first they are so focus on the things around them that they forget about God; or because they focus on and become assumed by trying to discover what is God’s purpose for them in this life. To me the answer to renewing a spiritually life is to live blameless before God.

Psalm 40

Psalm 40


1 I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.
4 Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.
5 Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.
6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced; burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.
7 Then I said, “Here I am, I have come it is written about me in the scroll.
8 I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”
9 I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, as you know, O LORD.
10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly.
11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, O LORD; may your love and your truth always protect me.
12 For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me.
13 Be pleased, O LORD, to save me; O LORD, come quickly to help me.
14 May all who seek to take my life be put to shame and confusion; may all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace.
15 May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!” be appalled at their own shame.
16 But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation always say, “The LORD be exalted!”

17 Yet I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; O my God, do not delay.

This is one of my favorite psalms with verse six being the key verse that I use to understand this psalm. The writer of Hebrews in chapter 10 verses 5-7 reference this psalm as verses that portrays the earthly ministry of Christ. Hebrews 10:5-7 “Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll I have come to do your will, O God.'” Another section to consider is Deuteronomy 15:6,7 “But if your servant says to you, ‘I do not want to leave you,’ because he loves you and your family and is well off with you, then take an awl and push it through his ear lobe into the door, and he will become your servant for life.” which is the piercing that I believe that verse six reference. Deuteronomy fifteen is God’s instruction to Israel on how they should handle the canceling of debts. Verse one states “At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts” so Israel was to forgive debts every seven years. With this verse in mind look at the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:12 “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” here we are instructed to forgive others. Debt gives us power, it gives us control over someone, however by releasing the debt we no longer hold the debtor responsible for the debt. Yet so often we go through the process of forgiving, but do not really release our debtors. We have a way of reminding them that they do not have to repay the debt but that they are still in debt to us; since we did forgive the debt that they owed us. In the same way a lot of believer put God in this category of forgiving debt, but we still owe God. However, in Deuteronomy 15 this is not the true picture of debt forgiveness. Debts are forgiven completely just as our sins are remember no more.

Now for the true meaning of verse six of this psalm. Paul states it best in Romans 12:1-2 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Yes, Christ paid the debt for us, yet because of our love for him and knowing that we cannot make it on our own in this world we turn our life back over to God. We make God our master and not self.

As you read this psalm take time to read Philippians 2:5-11 were Paul states that we should have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had in our relationship to others. Christ was Lord, yet he humbles himself and died as a criminal on the cross. The human nature struggle with the issues of pride and humility daily. To aid us in this struggle Paul gives us this advice: don’t be selfish, do not try to impress others, think others as better than yourself, do not look to your own interest but take an interest in others. Do these and the battles against the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life can be won. As I have just finished my course in Leadership, I have realized there are two types of leaders: the leaders that seek their power, and the leaders that are appointed because their services are needed. Moses is a great example of both leaders. At age forty he decided that it was his time to stand up for the rights of the children of Israel. However, his actions were not received by others and he had to flee for his life. At this time, he suffer humiliation from those he tried to help. In this humiliation he lost respect from his people and the Egyptians as well. In this humiliation he became a shepherd and stepped out of the picture. It was in this humiliation that God spoke to him. Moses returned forty years later not in humiliation, but as a humble servant with no agenda of his own. From Stephen’s sermon in Act chapter seven we see Moses life divided in three parts: God preparing him with knowledge and training that he would needed in the future, God humbling the character of Moses to prepare him for service, and the last forty years combining the two to perform the task that God had planned 430 years earlier (Exodus 12:41). Highlight Philippians 2:1-11 in your Bible and realized it is only as a humble servant can we truly serve God.

Probably one of the best books that has help me gain a better understanding of my walk with Christ on this earth has been the collection of writings of Oswald Chambers. His reading from My Upmost for His Highest for September 22nd helps illustrates the Master and Servant relationship that is illustrated in this psalm. He sums up his daily reading with this summary “If we are consciously aware that we are being mastered, that idea itself is proof that we have no master. If that is our attitude toward Jesus, we are far away from having the relationship He wants with us. He wants us in a relationship where He is so easily our Master and Teacher that we have no conscious awareness of it—a relationship where all we know is that we are His to obey.” After my many years of being involved in the work of the church and then years of just attending services I have realized that the task of making Christ the Lord of my life comes about with many hardships. The short poem of “Footprints in the Sand also illustrates the principle of a relationship where He is so easily our Master and Teacher that we have no conscious awareness of it coming out of times of difficulties where we thought God had abandon us to look back and realized that it was really Him that had carry us through the crisis. As you study the psalms you must do so with a complete understanding of David’s life as well as the faith heroes before him. As we study David’s life, we realize that before God can use us, we must face a wilderness journey in which we become totally dependent upon God to get us out. Once this happens then our relationship with Christ changes and is so easy to make him our Master and Teacher. We arrive at this place in our walk and really do not have any conscious awareness of when this relationship began to take place.

Oswald Chambers reading The Surrendered Life for March 8 ties in beautifully with this Psalm. His opening sentence “To become one with Jesus Christ, a person must be willing not only to give up sin, but also to surrender his whole way of looking at things.” helps bring the true relationship of this Psalm to the individual believer. The Psalm starts out by waiting patiently for the Lord. This implies waiting for his timing in the daily events of my life. However, it does not imply that I be just like a piece of driftwood floating in the sea of life, but rather I see the opportunities that are before me and present them to the Lord. He hears me and puts me in the right position to either take fully advantage of them or to abandon them. This maturity of decision-making only comes from years of walking with the Lord and trusting him completely. Surrendering completely to God’s way of looking requires the practice of daily commune with the Lord in the light of his Word.