Psalm 146

Psalm 146

1 Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul.
2 I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
3 Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save.
4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.
5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God,
6 the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them the LORD, who remains faithful forever.
7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free,
8 the LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous.
9 The LORD preserves the sojourners and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
10 The LORD will reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the LORD.

If you are like me and read five Psalms and a chapter of Proverbs a day then you are on the last or second to the last day of the month today. These last five psalms are what I call the Praise Psalms. The reading of Psalm 146 reveals to the readers Christ a picture of the promise King. In Christ the reader would have found hope and help from the burdens that encompassed their lives. He would uphold the cause of the oppressed and give food to the hungry. He would open the eyes of the blind and restore health to the broken bodies. He would meet the needs of the fatherless and widows but would frustrate the ways of the wicked. However, when he came to earth two thousand years ago, he became the rejected one that was pictured in Isaiah chapter fifty-three.

Who hath believed our report?

And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground:

he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him,

there is no beauty that we should desire him.

He is despised and rejected of men;

a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:

and we hid as it were our faces from him;

he was despised,

and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our grief, and carried our sorrows:

yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions,

he was bruised for our iniquities:

the chastisement of our peace was upon him;

and with his stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray;

we have turned every one to his own way;

and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed,

and he was afflicted,

yet he opened not his mouth:

he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter,

and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.

He was taken from prison and from judgment:

and who shall declare his generation?

for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

And he made his grave with the wicked,

and with the rich in his death;

because he had done no violence,

neither was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him;

he hath put him to grief:

when thou shall make his soul an offering for sin,

he shall see his seed,

he shall prolong his days,

and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied:

by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many;

for he shall bear their iniquities.

Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great,

and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;

because he hath poured out his soul unto death:

and he was numbered with the transgressors;

and he bare the sin of many,

and made intercession for the transgressors.

As the readers after the time of Christ look back on the Savior and his work, we have a detail history of his walk found in the Gospels. We are also given the promise of his return. However, with this return we also will see the doing away with the ways of the wicked. With this hope in mind how can we not praise the Lord.

This promise of the Lord’s return is very important for Christians as they make a stand for Christ in the world today. As I read the Lord’s words concerning his kingdom found in Matthew chapter twenty-five, I ask myself these questions: am I a wise or foolish virgin, a profitable or unprofitable servant, a sheep or a goat. The answer depends upon which phrase would I want to hear. “Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels” or “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”. Peter informs us that if we have the correct view of the Second Coming of the Lord, it will help us from being carried away by the error of the wicked. Knowing this are you looking for that coming day?

Psalm 145

Psalm 145
Of David.

1 I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever.
2 Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever.
3 Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.
4 One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.
5 They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
6 They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds.
7 They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
8 The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.
9 The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.
10 All you have made will praise you, O LORD; your saints will extol you.
11 They will tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might,
12 so that all men may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.
14 The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time.
16 You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made.
18 The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.
20 The LORD watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.

As I have read and study the Psalms these last one hundred and forty five days the most common theme in this study is our relationship with the Lord. This relationship is one that I cherish. The psalmist gives the reasons for having this relationship with the Lord.

Below are his reasons:

I will exalt you, my God the King.

I will praise the Lord’s name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise the Lord.

I will extol the Lord’s name for ever and ever.
Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise.

The Lord’s greatness no one can fathom.
One generation will commend the Lord’s works to another.

They will tell of the Lord’s mighty acts.
They will speak of the glorious splendor of the Lord’s majesty.

I will meditate on the Lord’s wonderful works.
They will tell of the power of the Lord awesome works.

I will proclaim the Lord’s great deeds.
They will celebrate the Lord’s abundant goodness

They will joyfully sing of Lord’s righteousness.
The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.
The LORD is good to all.

He has compassion on all he has made.
All you have made will praise the Lord.

LORD; your saints will extol you.
They will tell of the glory of the Lord’s kingdom.

They will speak of the Lord’s might.
So that all men may know of the Lord’s mighty acts

They may know of glorious splendor of the Lord’s kingdom.

The Lord’s kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.

The Lord’s dominion endures through all generations.

The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.
The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to the Lord.

The Lord give them their food at the proper time.
The Lord open his hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
The LORD is righteous in all his ways.

The Lord is loving toward all he has made.
The LORD is near to all who call on him.

The Lord is near to all who call on him in truth.

The Lord fulfills the desires of those who fear him.

The Lord hears their cry and saves them.

The LORD watches over all who love him.

The Lord will destroy all the wicked.

So hopefully you can also agree with his list.

Psalm 144

Psalm 144
Of David.

1 Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war my fingers for battle.
2 He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.
3 O LORD, what is man that you care for him, the son of man that you think of him?
4 Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.
5 Part your heavens, O LORD, and come down; touch the mountains, so that they smoke.
6 Send forth lightning and scatter the enemies;shoot your arrows and rout them.
7 Reach down your hand from on high; deliver me and rescue me from the mighty waters, from the hands of foreigners
8 whose mouths are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful.
9 I will sing a new song to you, O God; on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you,
10 to the One who gives victory to kings, who delivers his servant David from the deadly sword.
11 Deliver me and rescue me from the hands of foreigners whose mouths are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful.
12 Then our sons in their youth will be like well-nurtured plants, and our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace.
13 Our barns will be filled with every kind of provision. Our sheep will increase by thousands, by tens of thousands in our fields;
14 our oxen will draw heavy loads. There will be no breaching of walls, no going into captivity, no cry of distress in our streets.
15 Blessed are the people of whom this is true; blessed are the people whose God is the LORD.

Verse three ask the question “O LORD, what is man that you care for him, the son of man that you think of him?” This is the type question that could be used in a group discussion, as well a question that could be used for self-examination. The phase “son of man” is a phase that leaded me to the books of Ezekiel and Mark. This phase is used at least eighty eight times in the New Testament and in Ezekiel it is used around ninety times as God’s reference to Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 2:3 “And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children ofIsrael, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day.” Ezekiel was sent as the prophet to Israel during their captivity in Babylon. Ezekiel’s’ message was to a rebellious nation that had rebelled against the way of God. This captivity was a fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy about Israel’s seventy years of captivity (Jeremiah 25:1-14) for Judah’s refuse to repent of their rebellious way. After these seventy years in Babylon the Jewish nation never return to the worship of idols of other Gods.

In Mark 2:2-12 Jesus saw the faith of the four who brought the one that was sick of the palsy and said to him son that sins be forgiven. However, when certain of the scribes heard Jesus, they accused him of blasphemies. But Jesus replied “that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) Arise and take up their bed and walk”. Here , Jesus, the Son of God referred to himself the title Son of man. Jesus took on this title to become the sin offering for mankind. Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” So we should learn for Judah’s mistake and repent of our rebellious ways. This offer was made to all, just read John 3:16.

Psalm 143

Psalm 143
of David.
1 O LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.
2 Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.
3 The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in darkness like those long dead.
4 So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed.
5 I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.
6 I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.
7 Answer me quickly, O LORD; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD, for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
11 For your name’s sake, O LORD, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.

When I look at the very essence of life the bottom line is that life is a gift from God. I also believe that living life without God can very difficult and is the reason why people can seem to live a life that seems wonderful, yet they are really left with an unfulfilling emptiness. As I study this Psalm ,I must reflect upon I Samuel 27:1 “And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul will despair of me, to seek me any more in all the borders of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand.” After seven years of running from Saul and waiting on God to intervene; David had reached a point in his life where he decided that living the life, he desired was no longer available. So, he decided with his men and their families to start over. One of the interesting facts I see in this verse is that David is leaving behind his family, his friends, and his past way of life to live with his former enemy.

This psalm probably was a representation of the type of prayers that David made before coming to this decision in Samuel 27:1. It has been stated that you must walk in someone’s shoes before you can feel and understand the pain that they experience when they go through rough times in their life. As I look at Samuel 27:1, after one of the most difficult times in my life I have a greater understanding of David’s feelings and the true sense of his prayers. To lose the daily relationship of your family, as well as your close friends and then to be treated as their enemy can break a person’s will to go on. I can still recall the very day, the very trip that I too make the decision that David made in I Samuel 27:1.

This psalm then represents a prayer of one who knows God but seems to have no understanding of the events around him. This is a prayer from someone who has dreams that are in God’s way, but not in God’s plan. Sometimes it is difficult to understand why when we try to follow God’s way our life seems to be falling apart.

The Prayer Request

Hear my prayer

Listen to my cry for mercy

Come to my relief

Bring me not in judgment

My issues with my enemy

My present state of being and my desire for you.

Answer me quickly

Do not hid your face from me

I do not desire to be like those who go down to the pit

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love.

Show me the way I should go

Lift up my soul

Rescue me from my enemies

Teach me to do your will

May your Spirit lead me on level ground

Preserve my life for your namesake

Bring me out of trouble in your rightness

Silence my enemies

Destroy all my foes

Psalm 142

Psalm 142
of David.

1 I cry aloud to the LORD; I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy.
2 I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble.
3 When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who know my way. In the path where I walk men have hidden a snare for me.
4 Look to my right and see; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life.
5 I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”
6 Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me.
7 Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.

This was written by David when he was running from Saul. As I read this psalm and reflect on the times in my life that God seem so far from me, I can sense the desperate need that David longed for at this time in his life. These times are characterized by rejection even from those who should be supporting you. It seems during these trialing times you must defend yourself from lies and dishonest statement from friends and foes alike, that are used to discredit you and your activities. This was the case with David at this time in his life. David was being hunt down as a criminal. He was separated from his friends and family. It was at this time that David even had to take his parents from their home and leave them with the King of Moab to protect them from Saul. The only ones that surround him at this time were those who were distress, who were in debt, and those who were discontented with the events happening in Israel at that time. These people looked to David for support, and he became captain over them.

As I study the issues that David deal with at this time, found in I Samuel chapters twenty-one through I Samuel thirty-one, I can see him praying verse six of this psalm. Toward the end of this time period these words of David were recorded in I Samuel 27:1 “And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul will despair of me, to seek me any more in all the borders of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand.” David just seem to give up at this time. The memory of the time he was anointed by Samuel to be the next King of Israel was pushed to the back of his mind. The memory of time spent in the service of King Saul and the relationship of being his son in law were history. His desire was to rest and find safety among the very enemies he once had defeated.

However, there is hope in God. David realized this in verse seven of this psalm. In this verse I see a principle that the church today needs to grasp and take hold of in order to have others gather around them. This principle is simply looking to God for deliverance instead of taking matters into my own hand. The church of Laodicea lost this principle of relaying on God to rescue and taking care of them. In Revelations 3:17 this church is characterized by these words “I am rich and have gotten riches and have need of nothing” yet to the Lord “they know not that they are wretched and miserable, poor and blind and naked”. In other words, their principle was “God helps those who helps themselves and see we have prospered by this principle.” And yet in God’s eyes they were poor, naked and blind. God intervenes in your life for many reasons, however when He does it always for His glory and refining you for his purpose. When we wait on the Lord and go through the refining process people will see God’s goodness to us.

So, as you read this psalm reflect upon the gloom and loneliness that David must have faced during these times and the hope, he still had in God to be his refuge and his portion in the land of the living. The key to David’s life is that his heart was fully devoted to the Lord. Being fully devoted to the Lord will bring times of difficulties in our lives and these times might be hard for us to understand. However, not being fully devoted to God will bring destruction to our life. Solomon is a perfect example of someone who follows God and then decides to go and pursue his purpose. In I Kings 11:4 “As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been”. He turned from God and God left him. So, we need to be like David and realize that when our spirit grows faint within us, it is God who know our way and all we need to do is to look to him for direction.

Psalm 141

Psalm 141
A psalm of David.
1 O LORD, I call to you; come quickly to me. Hear my voice when I call to you.
2 May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.
3 Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.
4 Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies.
5 Let a righteous man strike me, it is a kindness; let him rebuke me, it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it. Yet my prayer is ever against the deeds of evildoers;
6 their rulers will be thrown down from the cliffs, and the wicked will learn that my words were well spoken.

7 They will say, “As one plows and breaks up the earth, so our bones have been scattered at the mouth of the grave.”
8 But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign LORD; in you I take refuge-do not give me over to death.
9 Keep me from the snares they have laid for me, from the traps set by evildoers.
10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety.

In his exposition The Treasury of David Charles Spurgeon wrote the following introduction about this Psalm “Yes, David under suspicion, half afraid to speak lest he should speak unadvisedly while trying to clear himself; David slandered and beset by enemies; David censured even by saints, and taking it kindly; David deploring the condition of the godly party of whom he was the acknowledged heard: David waiting upon God with confident expectation. The Psalm is one of a group of four, and it bears a striking likeness to the other three. Its meaning lies so deep as to be in places exceedingly obscure, yet even upon its surface it has dust of gold. In its commencement the psalm is lighted up with the evening glow as the incense rises to heaven; then comes a night of language whose meaning we cannot see; and this gives place to morning light in which our eyes are unto the Lord.”. The greatest characteristic of David is reflected in this Psalm which was his trust in the Lord. This faith includes his ability to take refuge in the Lord and Him be the one that executes judgment.

As I read this psalm today, I stopped and reflected on how I defend my personal beliefs to others. Verse three “Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips” is a warning that we must be careful in our conversations. The one area that I must focus on is how to let others see Christ in my life and the personal relationship has to my Lord. The key to sharing my faith to others is that they must see this relationship in my daily walk before I present the gospel to them. Look closely at this psalm to study how David approached his relationship with God.

His prayer:

I call to you come quickly to me, hear my voice

I present my prayer before you

I lift up my hands to you

Set a guard over my mouth

Keep watch over the door of my lips

Let not my heart be drawn to evil

Let me not take part with them

Let me not enjoy the fruit of their labors

Let a righteous man rebuke me

My prayer is against the evildoers

My eyes are fixed on you

I take refuge in you

finally keep me from their snares that I pass by in safety.

As we go about our journey on this earth, we must remember that this life is just a journey. Most people I meet along my journey do not see life as a journey. They approach their life on this earth as their total existence for eternity. Goals determine how a person lives their life. Is your goal set to reflect that the most you can get out of life on this earth, or do you strive to place treasures in heaven?

The later part of verse five “Yet my prayer is ever against the deeds of evildoers;” from the NIV is different from the ASV “For even in their wickedness shall my prayer continue”. As I look at the difference between these two phases I realize how important it is studying the Word daily. Looking at the phases we could have two different ideas about praying for the wicked. In one incident it seems we are to pray against the deeds of the wicked; and in the other it seems we pray in spite of their wickedness. How do we handle the wicked acts of those around us? This is sometimes a difficult question to answer. The answer might depend upon who the person is that is acting as an evildoer. How do you pray for a son or daughter, brother or sister, or even a very close friend when they decide to partake in the deeds of an evildoer? When looking at David’s life from the scriptures I realize that the most difficult relationships in his life were with some of his closest friends and family. Therefore, as you pray concerning the wicked and the evildoers remember to fix your eyes on God and turn over all judgment to him.

Psalm 140

Psalm 140

of David.
1 Rescue me, O LORD, from evil men; protect me from men of violence,
2 who devise evil plans in their hearts and stir up war every day.
3 They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers is on their lips.
4 Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; protect me from men of violence who plan to trip my feet.
5 Proud men have hidden a snare for me; they have spread out the cords of their net and have set traps for me along my path.
6 O LORD, I say to you, “You are my God.” Hear, O LORD, my cry for mercy.
7 O Sovereign LORD, my strong deliverer, who shields my head in the day of battle-
8 do not grant the wicked their desires, O LORD; do not let their plans succeed, or they will become proud.
9 Let the heads of those who surround me be covered with the trouble their lips have caused.
10 Let burning coals fall upon them; may they be thrown into the fire, into miry pits, never to rise.
11 Let slanderers not be established in the land; may disaster hunt down men of violence.
12 I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.
13 Surely the righteous will praise your name and the upright will live before you.

As one studies Exodus and the way that God interacts between Moses and Israel, we get a glimpse of the nature of man and the nature of God. The most important aspect of God is that his nature is unchangeable, but his relationship with man is not. In Exodus 34:6,7 Moses describes Jehovah relationship to man as “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in loving-kindness and truth, keeping loving-kindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin; and that will by no means clear the guilty”. In this psalm David prays to God not to grant the wicked their desires or let their plans succeed.

One of the greatest joys I have found in studying God’s Word daily is the understanding I gain about God, me, those around me, and the rest of humankind and the relationships that exist between them. The process of aging has greatly increased my understanding of God’s Word since I now have a tremendous treasures of life experiences to give me greater insights to the lives that the great men of faith have lived in the past. I look back and see how the little issues in my life help me better understand the issues in David’s life. David’s youth was that of a shepherd. At the time of his anointing by Samuel, he was out in the field working and not with his family as they were having dinner with Samuel. David probably enjoy the simple life of being a shepherd. He probably learned the secret that Paul shares with us in Philippians 4:11″ Not that I speak in respect of want for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content”. However, the contentment that he had did not always help him understand the actions of others.

It is only when I went through difficult times such as David or Paul did that, I can truly state I know how to be content even when the world around me is falling apart. I like the comment that Charles Spurgeon makes about this psalm in his book The Treasury of David :

This Psalm is in its proper place, and so fitly follows 139 that you might almost read right on and make no break between the two. Serious injury would follow to the whole Book of Psalms if the order should be interfered with as certain wiseacres propose. It is The Cry of A Hunted Soul the supplication of a believer incessantly persecuted and beset by cunning enemies, who hungered for his destruction. David was hunted like a partridge upon the mountains, and seldom obtained a moment’s rest. This is his pathetic appeal to Jehovah for protection, an appeal which gradually intensifies into a denunciation of his bitter foes. With this sacrifice of prayer, he offers the salt of faith; for in a very marked and emphatic manner he expresses his personal confidence in the Lord as the Protector of the oppressed, and as his own God and Defender. Few short Psalms are so rich in the jewelry of precious faith.

This psalm was probably written when David was fleeing from Saul right after Doeg the Edomite slew eighty-five of the inhabitants of Nod. It was witnessing this type of evil that caused David to write this psalm. In this psalm the evil men and the men of violence were those that served with David in the past. Saul was not only the king that David served but was also his father-in-law, Michal, David’s wife was his daughter. Therefore, it is the knowledge of Psalm 139 that gives David hope. Yes, David could follow the ways of man and take action against this evil, however he realizes that he must leave this in God’s hand. However, leaving judgment in God’s hand is not an easy matter. Individuals today like to have full control of the events in their lives. However, David follows the truths he wrote about in Psalm 139. This knowledge of God and the relationship I can enjoy helps set the stage for studying David’s life. By studying the Psalms, David’s life and relating them to the events in my life I can see how contentment can come to those who truly wait on the Lord. They have the blessed assurance that God is truly in control.

Psalm 139

Psalm 139
Of David.
1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.
5 You hem me in-behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.
19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God! Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!
20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

As I read this psalm, I recall a friend whose desire was to commit this psalm to memory to remind her of how much God was really in control of everything around her. David who like Timothy was instructed in the ways of truth at an early age by his family was the writer of this psalm. His great grandmother was Ruth, so the history of faith must have run deep in his family. I too saw this strong faith in my mother’s parents (my grandparents) and in her life. As parents and grandparents, we must realize that actions speak louder than words and that, our children and grandchildren watch our every action. These actions should reflect a godly worldview as presented by this psalm. Note that this psalm starts with the phase “you have searched me, and you know me” and ends with the phase “search me, test me, and lead me in the way everlasting”. This psalm starts out by introducing the great teacher God and ends with a student eager to learn God’s ways.

This psalm starts by introducing an omniscience and omnipresence God who is involved in every aspect of David’s life. The question now arises “can I apply this psalm to my life?” The answer to this is a resounding YES. Just read Matthew chapters five, six and seven (Christ’s message to Israel). In these chapters, Christ is stating the way in which we should walk and how God seeing us will provide everything, we need. In I John 3:19-20 “This then is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence, whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts and knows everything” John states that he knows everything in our life. So yes, this psalm can apply to you.

From the introduction, I know that God is searching my heart and that he knows me. He knows my actions, my speech, as well as my thoughts. He even directs my path by placing a barrier around me. He is my potter the one that has created me. He knows how I was form and the purpose for which I was created to perform since these were written in his book before they even happen. Therefore, as the master teacher he knows the students.

One of the truths I learned as a classroom teacher was for learning to take place the student must be willing to learn. David recognizes the first step in learning was to trust the teacher. He recognized that God not only knew him and was always present, but that he was framed and created by God. We see David’s longing for knowing God’s thoughts. However, we also see David’s desire for God to get rid of evil. David does not hide his hatred for people with evil intent. However, his prayer is that God will intervene in this battle. One of the biggest issues facing classroom teacher today is the issue of maintaining discipline within the classroom. I have witnessed many times when an unruly student has interfered with the learning process of the class. How to handle the issues that result from evil intent is a delicate issue for the believer. This is why God has given us great examples of faith such as Joseph, David, and many others to help guide us along the way. Joseph’s reply to his brothers’ request from Jacob to forgive them for the way they treated him at seventeen reveals how we must approach evil intentions of other. He stated in Genesis 50:19-20 this truth “Fear not: for am I in the place of God? In addition, as for you, ye meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Therefore, when evil intentions are directed your way turns them over to God and keeps living a blameless life before God and man.

As I study the last eight verses of this Psalm, I gain an insight of how David must have felt as King over the nation of Israel. His desire was to rule over God’s people as a King who follow God’s way and a King who could transform this nation into a Godly nation. As I was reading, some news articles this morning I could not help reflecting on an article titled Bush debuts as motivational speaker by Alexander Mooney of CNN on George Bush’s comment that he made in a motivational speak in Fort Worth Texas October 26, 2009. One of the interesting points in this article was about how Bush’s faith played a large role in guiding his decisions as the President.

“Every single day, I was honored to be your president by bringing honor and dignity to the office,” he said. Bush also added later that his faith played a large role in guiding his decisions: “From a personal perspective, I don’t see how you can be president without relying upon an almighty.”

Just like David, the president’s first step was to get his personal life in the right with the almighty. Verses 17 and eighteen gives us a picture of this first step: “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Where I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.” We must turn our thoughts toward God and reflect on his way.

However, verses nineteen through twenty-two brings up the issue of dealing with those that are wicked. It is interesting that the first thing that David does is to turn his desires over to God. Verse nineteen starts out by stating, “If only you would”. Yes, David had no desire to be in their presences, he had no desire to take part in their plots. Yet how do you work with the wicked when it is part of your task on this earth? David’s desire was to create a kingdom for promoting God’s way, however, many of those surrounding him only wants to follow their desires and pleasures and promoting their way. When studying the Psalms, we see the challenges that David faced in his life as he tried to walk in God’s way. These challenges were the same as Christ faced when he came to earth two thousand years ago. The goal of his coming was given to us in Luke 4:16-21 as he recited Isaiah 61:1 and the first half of verse two. The mission Christ came to do was “he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Christ did not read the second of verse two “and to proclaim the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion; to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair”. Many believe that this will be fulfilled when he returns the second time.

So, as we study Psalm 139 and realize that God deals with us as an individual, we must not lose focus that God’s dealing with us is for his purpose, not ours. As David closes this Psalm with these words, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” The central theme of this Psalm is God’s way and our desire to follow it. So, as I read this Psalm I am drawn to these last few verses. God usually uses a small still voice to speak to us, so heed the words of Eli and be quiet and listen for the Lord to speak to you.

Psalm 138

Psalm 138
of David.
1 I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
2 I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
3 When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.
4 May all the kings of the earth praise you, O LORD, when they hear the words of your mouth.
5 May they sing of the ways of the LORD, for the glory of the LORD is great.
6 Though the LORD is on high, he looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me.
8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O LORD, endures forever do not abandon the works of your hands.

We are living in the age where people are seeking for a purpose in life, a reason for their being here on this earth. However, as I read this psalm, I realize that it is not me that must fulfill my purpose for God, but God fulfilling his purpose in me. As I study the Pauline epistles as well as the other general epistles I realize that my purpose to God is to present myself to Him as a holy living sacrifice that has been transformed from the old man to the new man (Romans 12:1,2; Colossians 3; I John 3; Philippians 2; and II Timothy 2:21). In I Corinthians 2:2 Paul states “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified”. If we follow Paul’s example, we can become a vessel of honor, holy and acceptable for the Lord’s use. My prayer is the same then as David’s “Your love O Lord endures forever do not abandon (me) the works of your hand. In his daily devotional for January 26 Oswald Chambers writes the simplicity of this process of God fulfilling his purpose in me. He writes “By receiving His Spirit, recognizing and relying on Him, and obeying Him as He brings us the truth of His Word, life become amazingly simple.”

As I read and study verse seven of this psalm, I realize that the reality of living a quiet life without problems and issues in this world does not exist. This psalm likes many of David’s psalms brings out the importance of praising God. Even in the midst of trouble we are to praise God. How do I make discussions of how to react to the issues in my life and at the same time let God fulfill his purpose for me? One way that I have realized is to look at the examples that God has given us of David’s life as well as the life of Christ found in the scriptures. When looking at finding purpose in my life I must always go back and reflect on the experience that Christ faced at Gethsemane. His prayer found in Luke 22: 41-44:

And he was parted from them about a stone’s cast; and he knelled down and prayed, saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless, not my will, but your will, be done. And there appeared unto him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became as it were great drops of blood falling down upon the ground.

This too must be our prayer. As I have been studying the Bible for over forty years the question that I have not been able to fully comprehend is “What was the true purpose of the Cross and why did it have to be this cruel death”. Yes, I know his death was the price for the sins of this world. But why this type of death?” It was truly the only way to provide salvation to a lost and dying world. But again, why this type of death? And yet as I have face Gethsemane moments in my life I have grown to realize that even the ones close to me, just as the Lord’s disciples were close to him, cannot truly know the reason behind the purpose of praying “nevertheless not my will, but your will, be done”. The secret in being able to say this prayer is one’s knowledge that God is truly God. I have realized that getting to the place in your life where you can really have the trust and obey relationship with God is not easy. This relationship only comes when you arrive at the place in your life that you can truly pray “nevertheless not my will, but your will, be done”. This relationship is your commitment to be total dependence upon God for everything. This relationship can only come by walking daily with Him and knowing that you are the work of his hands.

Verse six states that God looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar. Success has a way of putting distant between us and God. It seems that the more successful we become the more likely we are to forget about the way of God. That is why the Lord stated to his disciples “that he that is the greatest among you, let him be the servant to all”. Instead of being the bottom man on the totem pole, the lowly is really the rock that supports the low man on the totem pole. To cover the roughness of the rock they place rich dirt and manure on top of this rock to plant flowers. In other words, the lowly are usually completely unseen, yet supports the entire totem pole. Unseen, perhaps by most, except for the Lord.

Psalm 137

Psalm 137

1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion.
2 There on the poplars we hung our harps,
3 for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
4 How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land?
5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill.
6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy.
7 Remember, O LORD, what the Edomites did on the day Jerusalem fell.
“Tear it down,” they cried, “tear it down to its foundations!”
8 O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us
9 he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.

Read Isaiah chapter 13 and 14 to fully understand this psalm.

As I read verse three “for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” it reminds me of the scene in the movie The Return of the Kings where Pippin is ask to sing a song of his homeland. He reply that that we do not have songs for great halls and evil times. The seventy years that Judah spent in captivity were times that gave three generations time to reflect on their relation with God. They were living in a land that was not their home. They also knew God will redeem them and destroy Babylon.

As believers we are also in the same place as Israel was in Babylon. We are not of this world, yet we live in this world. We are looking forward to the new heaven and the new earth. The songs we sing are those that speak of our redemption. These songs of the Blessed Assurance that we have found inn Christ.