Wishing to Be Near God
For the director of music. A maskil of the sons of Korah.
1 As a deer thirsts for streams of water,
so I thirst for you, God.
2 I thirst for the living God.
When can I go to meet with him?
3 Day and night, my tears have been my food.
People are always saying,
“Where is your God?”
4 When I remember these things,
I speak with a broken heart.
I used to walk with the crowd
and lead them to God’s Temple
with songs of praise.
5 Why am I so sad?
Why am I so upset?
I should put my hope in God
and keep praising him,
my Savior and 6 my God.
I am very sad.
So I remember you where the Jordan River begins,
near the peaks of Hermon and Mount Mizar.
These verses ask that we truly understand a “seeking heart.” Unless we are in this specific frame of mind we will never understand. This has to be the precursor of all that follows. And only an adoring heart can enter these private chambers. These rooms can only be opened with a special key– humility blended with worship.
Have you ever been really thirsty? I mean bone-dry, parched, dehydrated. It seems that all you think about is a big glass of sweet tea, with ice cubes! Psalms 42 is a very accurate description of a heart that only wants God. There is nothing on this planet that draws a desperately thirsty heart like His presence.
V. 1, 2 David compares himself to a desperate deer, that is driven to the clear streams of water. Funny, but deer are very reliant on a water source, much more than other animals. They will stay close to their water. David described his need for God in these terms. Are you thirsty? The living God is your soul’s real source.
V. 3, there is a profound sadness in David’s words. There are far too many people who will mock and discourage his deep need for God. Tears are David’s only response. Lots of tears. They cynically demand to know, “where is your God?” There will always be resistance, no matter what. What it works in us though is rich and true.
V. 4, is an active memory of things– the way they used to be. However it is only heart-broken nostalgia set ablaze. The enemy, he pushes us into an amnesia. We no longer think clearly about things. But David remembers his response, of travelling into His presence. What he remembered was glorious, he sang and danced as he led God’s dear people. But there is a caveat; we can only truly worship what we love and respect.
V. 5, David processes things as he looks inside. He asks himself certain questions. He doesn’t ask real questions. As he knows true answers. He talks about “sadness.” And a grief that can’t be assuaged. He makes comments that will never be understood apart from “trial.”
V. 6. only develops things that would be “sadness.” Our grief would only irrigate this understanding. David truly understands sadness, and everything he embraces is full of sadness and woe. But David penetrates past his deep grief, and God’s presence meets him on the way. All that we see at this point is sadness. We must accept all that we can. We can only take the things that come too us.
“God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.”
Matthew 5:4, NLT
For the choir director: A song of the descendants of Korah, to be sung by soprano voices.[a]
1″ God is our refuge and strength,
always ready to help in times of trouble.
2 So we will not fear when earthquakes come
and the mountains crumble into the sea.
3 Let the oceans roar and foam.
Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!” Interlude
“Ever-present!” That is how another version words verse 1. I will not to have to hammer very long to get to the real point. It is as if these three verses were beautiful gems just waiting on the ground. “Oh, look here! There is a diamond, and I saw a big ruby lying just over there!” The special promises of the Bible are just like that. I guess its just what holds our gaze.
The sons of Korah have compiled these verses for us to hold dear, close to our breasts. Korah was a family– a clan in the Jewish community. I’d like to believe that the composition of this Psalm knit them together in a profound way. (Their “family reunions” were not drunken brawls, where the police must be called in.) Rather they connected around the Word they had composed. Could it be that you are a son or daughter of Korah? I think that could be arranged. It would be a blessing.
These verses speak about the “secure security” we have in God. You’re the 98 pound weakling, with scoliosis– you wander the beach and very big bullies line up just to kick some sand in your face. And you really are sick of it. God has guaranteed our security. He now stands between us and them! And is always there, and ready to intervene.
The verses that follow all deal with calamities and natural disasters. In Mexico, I lived on the side of a volcano. I now live in Alaska with various earthquakes and tsunamis. I have been through hurricanes, tornados and floods. (I even went without coffee for three days.) But for God’s precious people, there will be triumph, even though there be at times considerable loss. We are not immune to bad things– we are just comforted and sustained in these terrible moments. We get comforted, when others can find none.
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm. A song. ”Make Your Face Shine Upon Us”
1 May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us,
2 that your way may be known on earth,
your saving power among all nations.
3 Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!
4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth.
5 Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!
6 The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, shall bless us.
7 God shall bless us;
let all the ends of the earth fear him!
This dear one, is what we call a “liturgical” song, it’s a classic. The author was most likely a Levite, one of the priest’s assistants, but he had a gift for this. The song had been created for Israel, for the profound purpose of bringing and guiding God’s covenant people into a special place. I suppose we all could use the help in this.
Two “Selahs”. I believe this is our first contact with this term in our study. We don’t grasp the meaning, but a Hebrew psalmist would. Actually almost every school boy would understand this. But it keeps everyone aware that we are reading songs (but you don’t read them, you sing them!) These are lyrics, people. You got to sing them, even if you annoy your neighbors. And so singing is perhaps what we should being doing, and less reading.
Our lives don’t do that, we would vastly prefer reading or studying. The musical part of us, is to a large degree, atrophied and crippled. Back in the day, I was a student in a small Bible college. One class was something fiendishly called “Music Conducting.” Now I’m tone-deaf, and furthermore have the musical rhythmic acumen of a tree sloth. I passed the class due to the incredible kindness of my instructor, who understood my calling to someday be a pastor; and she couldn’t bear to be the one to fail me.
V.1, and bring out the howitzers! No one does this better and more intensely than writer of Ps. 67. Key words are “graciousness and blessing.” If we wake up tomorrow without these two graces, we would definitely know it. The writer uses the phrase, “make his face to shine upon us”. This is taken from the Priest’s Prayer we find in Numbers 6:24-26, I’m using the Message Bible here.
24 God bless you and keep you,
25 God smile on you and gift you,
26 God look you full in the face
–and make you prosper.
Blessing, and then keeping: Smiling, and then gifting: Caring, and then making you prosper. Additionally the word for “God” is “Jehovah.” That was the name He chose to use with His own people. The Levitical Blessing was a wonderful place to pray (or sing!) like this.
V. 2-3 places the deep-seated need to take God on a “world tour.” However v. 1 tells us that this special friendship between God and His people needs to be genuinely figured out first. But the vision is universal– for everyone, everywhere. The joy just oozes out, like a very saturated and soggy sponge.
V. 4 doesn’t seem to have the charismatic personality of its brother in v.1. But neither is it to be trifled with. It places everything God wants to do, with all that He intends. My brother John Piper, has used v. 4 as the title of his book on World Missions, “Let the Nations Be Glad.” Great book, see DesiringGod.org.
V. 5 repeats v.3. It doesn’t compete with it, or supersede it in anyway. Maybe I need two feet to be mobile– a right and a left? Perhaps it made sense lyrically, or even musically?
V. 6 is well done as you would appreciate living in an agrarian society like Israel. It’s often seems like these guys are from Iowa, they know what a manure spreader looks like (and how it smells). Everything in terms of surviving or feasting was from the land. God’s presence, His name, and His deep care was a measurable and tangible blessing. Theology is reduced and perhaps, most appreciated by the poor farmer watching a tornado bypass his property.
V.7, is as sure of itself you could ever get. Boldness, without cockiness. Confidence, without arrogance. Steady, like a rock.
Temple Guards, Praise the Lord
A song for going up to worship.
134 Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord,
you who serve at night in the Temple of the Lord.
2 Raise your hands in the Temple
and praise the Lord.
3 May the Lord bless you from Mount Zion,
he who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 134, NCV
This remarkable Psalm is part of an elite group known as “the Psalms of Ascent.” These 15 were sung as the congregation of Israel went up the steps of the temple in Jerusalem. They would sing each in “rounds” with each other. As you can well imagine, this made the ascent slow, but meaningful.
As you read the three verses, I get a picture of worshippers turning back and blessing the Levites. This takes place at the very end of the day. The Levites, and other godly ones who lived in the Temple, (remember Anna and Simeon, in Luke 2?)
V. 1, “Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord,
you who serve at night in the Temple of the Lord.”
The first significant thought is “Lord” mentioned three times. The word is the recognition of someone’s status and standing. We call Him Lord, because He is that (and more).
The second has to deal with the Levitical “night-shift.” They served and guarded the Temple during the wee hours of the night. They probably cleaned, stacked wood, sharpened knives and maintained the Holy Place with its needs.
There was no real glory working the night shift. There were no people to serve. The crowds were for the day shift. (Here’s a weird thought– think “Disneyland at 2:00 a.m.”) There was also a contingent of non-Levite people ministering to the Lord as well. They had no duties, and only the priests could serve through their work.
V. 2 “Raise your hands in the Temple
and praise the Lord.”
I’ve worked nights before. It’s a real adjustment. You never feel like you’ve had enough sleep, and it is really hard to be positive and cheerful. I could get pretty grouchy at times.
But an exhortation is given, a shout and a blessing as the crowds leave. “Raise up your hands– and praise Him!” It is as the work, although necessary, would be secondary. The worship however, was primary. We need to hear that.
V. 3, “May the Lord bless you from Mount Zion,
he who made heaven and earth.”
To be blessed (made “lucky”) by our Creator and Lord is pretty profound. As a kid who read a lot, I think of “fairy dust.” I know better now, but to be blessed by God is deeply significant.
To summarize, I believe this Psalm is speaking of those in the church who are doing “hidden service.” No one sees them really. They go about there duties quietly, and purposefully. The only recognition is from God– who sees all.
I must encourage you to keep on. There are more than you think who see your hidden ministry to the Father.
Praise the Lord with Music
1 Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his Temple;
praise him in his mighty heaven.
2 Praise him for his strength;
praise him for his greatness.
3 Praise him with trumpet blasts;
praise him with harps and lyres.
4 Praise him with tambourines and dancing;
praise him with stringed instruments and flutes.
5 Praise him with loud cymbals;
praise him with crashing cymbals.
6 Let everything that breathes praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!
Psalms 150, NCV
There exists an orchestra here, a certain symphony of praise. So many are escorted into this, and yet not enough are praising Him. These six verses give us a deep variety of instrumentation to choose from. Everything must be accepted, and brought into this certain place of blessing Him loudly.
There are 12 certain approaches listed in this psalm. Twelve ways to worship, who go on to create a deep harmony within each other. None of us operate on our own, but as believers are ushered into music practice. All of a sudden, we are much more than “spiritual musicians.” We are quite corporate, or at least should be.
Recently, I’ve gotten hooked on the Jazz musician, of Miles Davis. His work seems to be always a conundrum of a jazz and blues, but always several instruments working together, weaving a wonder that is exquisiteness at it’s best. He teaches me of how the Church weaves a certain connection between people.
Psalm 150 brings everything together, as we read it we should think “together.” We have “worship tools” that enhance what we want to do. Harps, tambourines, and flutes are some of what we play. All are invited as we excel in something more than the mundane or ordinary. We will never be elevator music or “Muzak.”
Psalm 150, the last psalm should really be the first psalm. (But I won’t make a federal case of it.) The throne room of God is not simply a visual place– it is just as much an auditory one. We do see things, but we also hear things, which are wonderful in themselves. Get ready dear ones, for a concert which will not disappoint, that is going on, without us, in the heavenly places.
For the director of music. A psalm of David. To help people remember.
“1 God, come quickly and save me.
LORD, hurry to help me.
2 Let those who are trying to kill me
be ashamed and disgraced.
Let those who want to hurt me
run away in disgrace.
3 Let those who make fun of me
stop because of their shame.
4 But let all those who worship you
rejoice and be glad.
Let those who love your salvation
always say, “Praise the greatness of God.”
5 I am poor and helpless;
God, hurry to me.
You help me and save me.”
Lord, do not wait.
Psalm 70:1-5, NCV
“As in all warfare, the two essential elements in victory are knowing your enemy and knowing your resources.”
Sinclair B. Ferguson
Welcome to the war! It’s very seldom that a new convert realizes what we are all up against. Not to put too fine a point on it, but you have become a target for hell to shoot their arrows at. What was never an issue before, now becomes an universal adjudication.
There is a nasty viciousness about Satan’s attacks. We look into his kingdom and see such hostility and spite that it takes your breath away. David saw it also. He was able to write cogently and forcefully about what he had experienced. What we have here in Psalm 70 is nothing less then a “first person” account of a war that’s going on for David’s very soul.
V. 1, there is a plea of desperate alacrity in this verse. There is a deep earnestness to David’s words. Figuratively, he has been pinned down by the enemy, and is making an urgent call for help. It’s typical for a soldier under a withering assault will cry out to be saved.
V. 2, Sometimes we start viewing the darkness as a kind of foggy philosophy of ‘anti-god’ protoplasm. But David won’t do that. His enemies are real, and they possess solid identities. They can be forced to be backed down. And yet David can’t push these bullies away, and so we see him on the radio to HQ for divine intervention.
V. 3, I can just imagine God hearing these words from David. I can see the hint of a smile that the Father has for such audacity and zeal. I can hear Him say, “Now that’s my boy!” The Father releases His power on those who are desperate.
V. 4, Now David doesn’t remain in this same place. We see him getting up and advancing directly into worship. (I always wanted to get a tattoo, “Born to Worship.”) David finds his footing enough to exhort and encourage his brothers and sisters. Warfare does that to you, David understood where everything was leading to.
V. 5, This verse always struck me as being out of sequence. V. 4 after all seems to be the pinnacle. This arrangement though creates a real sense of the cyclical nature of spiritual warfare. In a certain sense we will never see a final battle in our lifetimes. There will always be high places to tear down, and towering giants to kill. But our Helper is just a prayer away. Thank God.
- God, Come Quickly: Psalms 70 (psalmslife.com)
- Lord, Please Hurry!! (mrsknack.wordpress.com)
- Psalm 28:3 Draw me not away with the wicked and with the workers of iniquity, (calvinistview.com)
- Restore the Sparkle: Psalm 13, NLT (brokenbelievers.com)
- Psalm Chapter 70 (pofw.wordpress.com)
- Psalms (vannettachapman.com)
A Call to Praise the Lord. A psalm of thanks.
1 Shout to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Serve the Lord with joy;
come before him with singing.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
He made us, and we belong to him;
we are his people, the sheep he tends.
4 Come into his city with songs of thanksgiving
and into his courtyards with songs of praise.
Thank him and praise his name.
5 The Lord is good. His love is forever,
and his loyalty goes on and on.
This is a “good” psalm, in the sense that it is fairly easy to read through, and it doesn’t make things too terribly difficult to think out its purposes. And yet, we do come across things that require a certain attentiveness.
Vv. 1-2 pronounces our need to shout. Shouting is something we do when things get very bad, or at least when we desperately need assistance. We only shout when the present moment is collapsing around us. We think that if we should shout, it will make us a “shouter.” We don’t want to live with that label.
Shout, and “serve.” Our thinking can deal with serving. It is much better than shouting. Serving is to be done with “joy.” There is something to being a joyful servant. The secondary part of verse to pushes the need for us to sing. This also can create issues. We really find it hard to sing, from our heart, spontaneously. Perhaps our rigidity and stiffness are taking roles they should never have taken in the first place.
V. 3 is a key verse. It essentially is a thought that explains, but it also declares. It does well in both of these dual purposes. When it “explains” we start to grip vv. 1-2. When it “declares” we find that we have just now taken up the challenge. There is a deep idea of a stepping into the attack, and accepting an objection against the evil one.
There is also the idea of being sheep who are carefully watched and tended. The verse declares we are people, and sheep, which He is tending. The parallels between the natural and the spiritual should lead us into a more enhanced understanding of His love for us. Just as the earthly shepherd cares and protects, so the Shepherd is fully aware of us.
V. 4 is a condensed understanding of worship. The intensity within v. 4 presses, and we praise and thank with the best of them. As we step into the boundaries of Jerusalem, we pick up the chant of worship. We have been led through so much, what we sing is only the starting step. He has covered us, and brought us through such terrible difficulties. There comes an essential awareness of His care over our souls.
V. 5, ”The Lord is good. His love is forever, and his loyalty goes on and on.” This is the “king verse” of this psalm. The ideas come together, “goodness, love, and loyalty.” The three together make a wonderful blend. They enhance each other, you might say that each one brings out the best in the others. There is no reason to pick them apart, or try to focus on just one. They all belong together under God’s protective care.
But I will sing about your strength.
In the morning I will sing about your love.
You are my defender,
my place of safety in times of trouble.
God, my strength, I will sing praises to you.
God, my defender, you are the God who loves me.
Psalm 59:16-17, NCV
I’ve always considered singing as strange. Leave it to me to try to understand music on any level. But to me, to vocalize with music as a bit bizarre. The dictionary really doesn’t clarify it for me at all, but it makes it even stranger,
“to utter words or sounds in succession with musical modulations of the voice; vocalize melodically.”
And yet from this strangeness, David can find a solid reason to sing. At this time in David’s life, things are quite tense. Saul has been focused on him, and has come very close to pinning David down (literally). I’m sure David is struggling with anxiety, doubt and despair. And yet, it is from these considerable issues that David starts singing.
A precedent has been set. Singing when you are in deep water. This particular Psalm has a definite theme and direction. David sings about God. He sings about His strength, and love, and protection. I suppose if you are walking through an evil mob– it is really good to be watched over, and to be securely protected is very much appreciated.
When evil is immense and active, our first response should be to sing! When we direct ourselves toward the Lord, and begin to sing to Him, the enemy scrambles for cover. Worship scares him. Satan is confused and frightened when we start to praise our God. (I tend to think he has an ‘allergy’ to our simple worship.)
I consider myself to be pragmatic and logical. There are things I see right through. Pyramid schemes, Nigerian banking plans, and multilevel marketing are things that are discernible to me. But this particular Psalm punches through, and I confess I have come to understand this extraordinary power of worship. When I decide to worship, all heaven goes crazy!
Often, I think, we “candy-coat” worship, we dip it in chocolate, and make it for ‘feeling good.’ If we ‘catch a buzz’ it was good worship. But then we come into His presence, it is a joy and there is peace for us. And this is terrific. But we should reformat our thinking.
But worship is warfare. As we stand and praise Him, the kingdom of Satan is substantially degraded and minimized. Worship does this and more.
Satan fully hopes that we will forget, or at least trivialize this idea of worship, he strategically works his way against it. It frightens him when we start to understand. The worship of the True God drains Satan of his power and authority. I think perhaps, when we do worship, we start to truly become ‘kings and queens’, but only when we praise our God.
Childlike Trust in the Lord
A song for going up to worship at Jerusalem. A psalm of David.
1 Lord, my heart is not proud;
my eyes are not haughty.
I don’t concern myself with matters too great
or too awesome for me to grasp.
2 Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself,
like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk.
Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.
3 O Israel, put your hope in the Lord—
now and always.
Psalm 131, NLT
The Christian, the struggler, and the mentally ill should become avid and fanatical readers of the Psalms. Some of us will need to take meds, that is true. But the Psalms are pretty much required as well. We diligently need to take a physical dose of our daily medication. For believers, Psalm 131 is a spiritual dose that is just as mandatory, and just as necessary.
This particular Psalm is unique, and deeply insightful. It begins its work in us right at the start; the superscription. “A song for going up to worship,” and it strikes me that a work must happen inside of my heart. It is a preparation that will take me higher, and help me see God more clearly. I need to worship. That is viewed by some as an option. We know it is critical. We must worship.
Verse 1 states the certain issue we have; it is called ‘pride.’ What David says seems to be a very arrogant and audacious thing to say. There is a truism that you think you’re humble, you’re not.
A church once gave an elder a medal for humility. But they had to take it away, because he wore it everywhere. To claim you are suddenly liberated from pride, knowing ears perk up. It is almost always a sign of danger. Perhaps it might happen, but don’t hold your breath.
Take it at face value, King David states that he has a real contentment with limitations and weakness. It appears that he has been freed from the vicious cycle of needing to be the center of everything, ‘in the mix,’ and a quite a very significant person. But he admits his ignorance, and something quite significant works its way into us through this psalm.
There exists a definite place where we must renounce “ambition.” Are you content to be the simple servant now, and delay the accolades and praise until you get to heaven?
Some make themselves, literally sick by the deep dark quest to be important. In verse 2, we connect with some astonishing imagery. A baby! I am like a little baby being held by my mom. It’s not an issue of sophistication, but simplicity. Of having limits, but never any applause. How can this be?!
The word in Hebrew, isn’t “baby,” (as in newborn) but baby, but more like a small toddler. A “weaned” child more is a better translation. A weaned child no longer needs his mom’s milk. You can guess that it makes the child more content. He doesn’t fuss, or nuzzle his mothers breast, demanding his food. The child no longer receives his nourishment this way. There is a contentment, a simple desire just to be with mom, just because he wants to. This is a significant step into maturity.
To me, verse 2 is the centerpiece of Psalm 131. OK, let’s apply this spiritually. There was a time when it was necessary for me to have my mother’s milk. I screamed and would throw a terrible tantrum if she didn’t feed me from her breast. I would starve if she didn’t give me her milk. For all practical purposes, it seems we use God to get what we need. But we grow, and move into this new maturity.
David is saying that we need to emulate his example. Now we come into God’s presence– just to be with Him. That’s all. So simple. As a child, we just want to be where He is at. We have no ulterior motives, there is no manipulation. We seek His face, and not what is in His hands.
If we connect the dots, we find that we land right back to the opening superscription. This is an amazing concept of worship– the real kind. As a struggler, a rascal and mentally disabled, I must start at the beginning– again and again and again. I have to worship. And I can only do this until I become a little boy again. I finally realize I must throw ambition and pride overboard. And at this point, I must rest in Him.
- Mother-Led Weaning | How and Why I Gently Weaned My Son (thejoyofthis.com)
- Sermon Introductions: A Weaned Child (Spurgeon) (memoirandremains.wordpress.com)
- Mothers: Mother-Love Models Grace (colourmeballoon.wordpress.com)
- Psalm 131: With Childlike Trust (urcpsalmody.wordpress.com)
To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. Of David.
1 Hear my cry, O God,
listen to my prayer;
2 from the end of the earth I call to you
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I,
3 for you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.
4 Let me dwell in your tent forever!
Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings!
5 For you, O God, have heard my vows;
you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.
6 Prolong the life of the king;
may his years endure to all generations!
7 May he be enthroned forever before God;
appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over him!
8 So will I ever sing praises to your name,
as I perform my vows day after day.
As human beings we live our lives under assault. As we grow up very little gets communicated to us about spiritual warfare. The stark realities of heaven and hell are seldom passed down to us. Evil remains abstract; it never becomes personal. Until.
Psalm 61 was written by David, who understood pretty clearly the evil that wanted to destroy him. He was someone who understood the vicious nature of reality. It seems that David wrote this song while he was running from his son. But there are only a couple of hints for that, nothing more. Ps. 61 is meant for the pursued soul, it is designed not to be autobiographical. The details may change from person to person, but we all live in hostile territory.
“There is no neutral ground in the universe; every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counter-claimed by Satan.”
V. 1, have you ever talked to someone about something very important, but they aren’t listening? So, you raise the volume a bit, and put more energy behind your words.
V. 2, describes the vast scope of prayer, and its potency and clout. Even out there, teetering on the edge, God hears. David knows exactly where he needs to be. A rock that is way beyond me in scope and size. The “high ground” of the presence of God.
V. 3, “for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me” (NLT). In the Army, I learned tactics of “cover and concealment.” Essentially to put yourself in the place of safety. It’s actually a great skill to have. High ground, thick walls, and out of the weather were all prime ways to find it. David announces to God, that He is his safe place. David has irrevocably put his trust in Him.
V. 4, Here are dual images that work together. God is to be a tent we live in, and wings to hide under. A hen opens up her wings, just enough for the chicks to collect. Now a chicken is not very formidable on our level. But God is. Under His wings we are in the safest place possible.
V. 5, isn’t really a popular truth today. Vows seem antiquated and part of the Old Testament. But I think that is a bit harsh. We make vows when we get married. It’s a promise made before God and God’s people. Those vows are exceptional words of true commitment.
V. 6-7, we hear David speaking of himself in the “third person.” I think that this reveals a lot of humility. He doesn’t demean or diminish himself here, but in the light of what he knows its quite refreshing. David knows now what is of value, and what isn’t.
V. 8, within this verse we see David establishing a way of life. Vows and praises! Furthermore, David wants God to understand exactly how he intends to supervise his life from this moment on. He fully intends to be an eager servant in the ways of the Lord.
Psalm 92:8-11, New Living Translation
8 But you, O Lord, will be exalted forever.
9 Your enemies, Lord, will surely perish;
all evildoers will be scattered.
10 But you have made me as strong as a wild ox.
You have anointed me with the finest oil.
11 My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies;
my ears have heard the defeat of my wicked opponents.
Strengthening and weakening. The world, as we know it is being shuffled and sorted. The very things that we think are wonderful, and praiseworthy, mean nothing at all to God. Enemies fall down, and can’t get up. Ultimately they’re defeated by their own wickedness.
The psalmist has dedicated this entire psalm to be read every Sabbath day. (Remember this fact, as it helps us understand what we are reading.) There were two services–morning and evening. I believe this would of been read publicly at both. The Sabbath accomplished three things– a public gathering of the faithful, an opportunity to pray, and a chance to worship Jehovah.
V. 8, “But you, O Lord, will be exalted forever.”
This is not a self-confidence– it is a confidence in God. There is a humongous difference. As believers, we are to function from this awareness of God’s majesty and glory. They say that if you want to go places, just hook yourself to a ‘shooting star.’ And then you can go anywhere. In grace He pulls us to travel with Him.
Exalted forever! It buries in our hearts a profound sense of worship and hope, which endures without any end at all. It just keeps going, and going, with neverending joy. Our faith is not equipped with a ‘pause button’ so we can take a break, and get away from it all.
V. 9, “Your enemies, Lord, will surely perish;
all evildoers will be scattered.”
Cemented into place is a real awareness of what happens to the active ‘haters of God.’ It’s interesting that no names are mentioned; after all that isn’t the writer’s place. But that doesn’t nullify any awareness of how things are working out. Evildoers will certainly end up in a very bad place.
V. 10, “But you have made me as strong as a wild ox.
You have anointed me with the finest oil.”
Comparisons are made. On one hand we observe the wicked perishing–and on the other is the enriched place of verse 10.
Strong as an ox! Able to carry much, and plow as well. A strong ox was a great thing to have, and it’s likely a good ox would double the value of the farm. In a way, the modern equivalent would be a brand new tractor.
Anointed with the finest! Very few people would merit this ‘beauty treatment of the soul.’ Anointing sealed a person, and set them apart for life. In a weird way it was like inferring a title– baron, a duke, a lady or a knight. But it also was like a rabbit’s foot (that actually worked). But anointing wasn’t magic. It was divine favor. (Which is much better!)
“The Lord keeps you from all harm
and watches over your life.
8 The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
both now and forever.”
V. 11, “My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies;
my ears have heard the defeat of my wicked opponents.”
Obliquely I would say v. 1o, makes v. 11 possible. Did you see the shift? It’s now “my enemies” and “my wicked opponents.” That subtle change between your enemies and my enemies has powerful implications.
This shift is also seen in “my ears” and “my eyes.” It seems in a sense the lines are being blurred a little; the boundaries are not as distinct. I can only conclude that the anointing that preceded this changed everything. Perhaps, maybe, the baptism of the Holy Spirit changes a person forever?
A psalm. A song to be sung on the Sabbath Day.
1 “It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to the Most High.
2 It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning,
your faithfulness in the evening,
3 accompanied by the ten-stringed harp
and the melody of the lyre.”
This particular psalm was used on ‘Shabbet’, or the Sabbath. It contains the elements needed for a congregation to enter into corporate worship. When we come together– we should celebrate in such a manner that pleases the Lord God.
Corporate worship is significant. It knits us together in places we never considered connecting with another. The Bible really advances, in quite a few places, a mutual blending of voice and instruments. But, it is something we must be taught. It is hardly automatic. But it is necessary.
V. 1, “It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to the Most High.”
This verse plainly states the core benefit of “goodness”. We are to weld this to “giving thanks”. Believe or not, but God is recruiting people who want to be worshippers. The word, “good” carries within itself, the idea of health, healthiness, and salvation.
Many things are corrected as we worship. We come forward to sing praises, and suddenly we are healed from many things inside of us. In a sense, we are recalibrated when we worship. And some of it, has to be on a corporate level.
There is no room to negotiate this. The psalmist says it is good– I think we should take him at his word. It seems if you really want to be “good”, you must learn to worship. This is a transformational thought; try to dilute it and you end up all wrong.
V. 2, “It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning,
your faithfulness in the evening,”
There is such an intelligence embedded here. Again the psalmist has us to reiterate what we have learned in v. 1.
It is good. Whether you know it or not, each of us need to proclaim things from the spiritual realm. You may have a quiet, or a brash personality. It doesn’t matter. The word, “proclaim” means “to announce, exhibit or declare.” These words, like cogs in a machine, mesh with God’s love. It would seem we are to declare His unfailing love (and faithfulness) in the morning when the sun rises– and in the evening when it sets.
V. 3, “accompanied by the ten-stringed harp
and the melody of the lyre.”
The musical instruments listed are not known to us. I personally like a Strat and drums and piano. A bass and cello are great.
But this leads us back to the idea of corporate worship. I can’t play an instrument. I can’t really sing worth a ‘plug-nickel’. The key word here in verse 3 is “accompanied.” That means more than one– corporate.
- Significant Worship (brokenbelievers.com)
- The UnMaking of a Worship Disorder (donnaharris.wordpress.com)
- The Lord Delights in Those Who Put Their Hope in His Unfailing Love (smritidisaac.wordpress.com)
- Why I Worship God (yahwehssong.com)
- People of the Crescendo: Psalm 51:15-17 (psalmslife.com)