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 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.

Psalm 31

Psalm 31

of David.
1 In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness.
2 Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.
3 Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
4 Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge.
5 Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth.
6 I hate those who cling to worthless idols; I trust in the LORD.
7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.
8 You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place.
9 Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.
10 My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction and my bones grow weak.
11 Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbors; I am a dread to my friends those who see me on the street flee from me.
12 I am forgotten by them as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery.
13 For I hear the slander of many; there is terror on every side; they conspire against me and plot to take my life.
14 But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me.
16 Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.
17 Let me not be put to shame, O LORD, for I have cried out to you; but let the wicked be put to shame and lie silent in the grave.
18 Let their lying lips be silenced, for with pride and contempt they speak arrogantly against the righteous.
19 How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you.
20 In the shelter of your presence you hide them from the intrigues of men; in your dwelling you keep them safe from accusing tongues.
21 Praise be to the LORD, for he showed his wonderful love to me when I was in a besieged city.
22 In my alarm I said, “I am cut off from your sight!” Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help.
23 Love the LORD, all his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full.
24 Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.

As I read this psalm, I can see this as a psalm that the Lord would prayer, since it reflects his life on this earth.

As I read this psalm today I could not help think of David’s life from the time that Samuel anointed him as the king that would replace Saul in I Samuel 15:13 to the time of his death I Kings 2:10,11. I King 1:29 is David’s testimony to this “And the king swore, and said, as Jehovah lives, who hath redeemed my soul out of all adversity, verily as I swore unto thee by Jehovah, the God of Israel, saying, assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne in my stead; verily so will I do this day. David knew that his seed would reign after him as promised by God; however, his son Absalom try to take the kingdom from him by the use of force. Adonijah try to take the kingdom when David was well stricken in years by using politics to arrange a collation that would make him king. It is interesting that David did not interfere with Adonijah setting himself up as King. I King1:6 “His father (David) had never interfered with him by asking, “Why do you behave as you do?” He was also very handsome and was born next after Absalom”. However, when informed of what was happening, he charged Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet and Benaiah son of Jehoiada to set up Solomon as king. As I study David’s life, I see a pattern of how David waited on the Lord to make major decisions. His indecision is sometimes viewed as not taking a stand, however the more I study David’s life I can see how this was his waiting on God to intervene.

After studying the life of President George W. Bush, I learned that this psalm as well as psalm 91 were his two favorite psalms. I can see several of the characteristics in his life and his administration that seem to others as being indecisive, but in reality, he was reflecting the characteristics of a mature servant of Christ.  The characteristic of waiting on the Lord is a characteristic that only comes by having a personal wilderness experience where God’s presence since so far removed from you.  In fact some of the verse that Christ quoted to Satan in Matthew chapter four when he was in the wilderness came from Psalms 91. Knowing about the faith of President George W. Bush in God I can now see how the role of President given to him by God came about after much preparation of the events God placed in his life.

As I try to apply this principle of waiting in my own life over the past several years, I realized how strong my personal belief must be in God’s ability to take care of everything in our life. What then is the role I take in making those major decisions in my life?

Keys from this chapter:

  • I have taken refuge in the Lord
  • I let God lead and guide me
  • Into God’s hands I commit my spirit
  • I hate those who cling to worthless idols
  • I trust in the LORD
  • I will be glad and rejoice in your love
  • I trust in the Lord
  • I have cried out to the Lord
  • I called to the Lord for help
  • I will be strong and take heart
  • I hope in the LORD
  • And most important, I will leave the judgment of the wicked, proud and those who cling to worthless idols to the Lord.

So sometimes my waiting on the Lord may be viewed by others as indecisiveness, a weakness or not taking a stand on an issue, but like David I have learned to wait upon the Lord. 

 As I study this psalm, I look to it as a prayer that Christ would prayer during his ministry here on earth.  Verse eight “You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place” reminds me of the one enemy that all mankind faces and that is death.  As I studied this psalm this morning, I realized that Christ has conquered death.  In I Corinthians 15 Paul discuss the resurrection and how this is the heart of the gospel.  Without the resurrection there is not gospel.  As believers we must realize that the battles we face and the enemies we face are dominions, authorities, and powers in the heavenly realm.  The last enemy to be destroyed is death itself.  So, as we face the issues in life itself remember that the real battles are spiritual and not of things on this earth.  Do not let the events of today and our daily concerns over what we should eat, wear or what activities we should do guide your conversion.  Turn your eyes to Christ who set the example for all believers by depending on the Father to meet all his needs.  Study the gospels and learn of him, and your walk on this earth will be different.

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.

6My 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 1

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

As I start my quest of detailing my philosophy of life to my children over the next one hundred and fifty days, I will explore each of the one hundred and fifty Psalms and will focus on these four universal questions:

1. Does God exists?

2. What am I?

3. Is there a correct way to live?

4. How can we live together?

Psalm one is a great stating point since all four of the questions are addressed. Does God exist? It is interesting that the very first verse of the Bible states “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” In this Psalm God is the law giver, he is the judge, and the protector of the righteous. So, the very first Statement I must make in writing about my philosophy on life is the fact (the foundation) of my belief statement is that God is the creator of both heaven and earth.

The second question is what or who am I. In this Psalm man is described as either walking with the wicked or meditating on the law of the Lord (the path of the righteous). It is interesting that this Psalm gives us a way to walk. Our walk or way seems to determine what or who we are. So, what is man? A creature created by God who has the gift of chose. The law of God was simple to Adam and Eve as Eve stated it to the serpent: “And the woman said unto the serpent, Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” However the counsel of the wicked changes God’s words: “And the serpent said unto the woman, you shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.” And as the story goes in Genesis chapter three, we realized that this was the fall of man. “And when the woman saw 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, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat; and she gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig-leaves together and made themselves aprons.” (ASV) As Paul writes in Roman five verses 17 through 19: For if, by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one; much more shall they that receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, even Jesus Christ.  So then as through one trespass the judgment came unto all men to condemnation; even so through one act of righteousness the free gift came unto all men to justification of life.  For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one shall the many be made righteous. (ASV) So with first decision to disobey God by Adam the sinful nature was passed upon all mankind.

There with this sinful nature being a part of all mankind is there a correct way to live and if so, how can we live together? His Psalm address this path as the law of the Lord. But it not a law to know but to be mediated upon. Life is very complicated. And because of the sinful nature that exist in everyone we must follow David’s advice of mediating on God’s law both day and night.

As I was growing up one of the pictures that was in many Christian homes was an old man praying for his meal with a Bible next to him. Growing up I witness my grandparents finishing the evening by reading the Bible before bedtime. It is amazing how busy our lives have become that the simple pleasures of hiding God’s Word in our heart has lost it importance, The truth I want to leave my children is the importance of hiding God’s Word in your heart and mediating on it all day long. Life is not easy. However, I start the day out knowing the answers of two of the four major questions. Yes, God exist and is in control, and yes, I know I am a sinner saved by grace. The other two questions can only be answered daily by mediating on God’s Word. For it is the convicting power of the Holy Spirit that helps my sinful nature grow closer to God.