Psalm 139

v1-6, Knowing us inside and out is called the omniscience of God for souls that trust & obey Him. This thought is terrible to those who are not at peace with God, but delightful to those who love Him. For people who are in open rebellion and distrust God, there is a different perspective God has upon them. Romans 1:21-28, states four times that God does give up on people, their sins avert God’s attention far away from them. God is love, and still provides access for them, but he will not run after them, nor even be aware of any details in their life, until they first turn toward Him, Luke 15:11-32. At the end of their life, God will say, “Depart from me…for I never knew you”, Matthew 7:23. Therefore, to be known by God is a huge, beautiful and privileged blessing.

v4, Jesus proclaimed God’s omniscience even in our prayer. Some people let this foreknowledge of God in prayer, hinder them from praying at all. See Matthew 6:8. But why do we talk to our parents that know what we are going to say before we say it?  Because we crave each others fellowship. Isaiah 65:24 says that this will be common in the life to come, “And it shall come to pass, before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”  But even though God isn’t always answering immediately every time we pray today, it doesn’t mean He isn’t aware of what we’re going through. Sometimes the lessons are in the waiting itself – a testing of faith – but if we are truly one of His own, and in a sincere relationship with God, there will never be a time when our needs will go unsupplied, as David has written in Psalms 37:25, “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread”.

v5, Having the Lord “place his right hand upon us” is a figure of speech that reflects a concern for our welfare and strength to do what is holy, see Revelation 1:17. There are at least 67 occurrences in the BIble of God telling his children “do not fear”.

v7-16, The experience of God being all encompassing around us and in us, is throughout the fullest extent of our cosmos, and also down to the inner molecular structure of DNA in our mother’s womb.  The omnipresent character of God enables Him to bring into effect anyone’s forgiveness and redeem them from anywhere. Even people abandoned in sin by war in a remote desert. God is able to help them, if they will diligently search for him. Acts 17:26-28.

v13-16, These words seem to be the clearest in Scripture, for defending life in the womb to be protected against abortion. It is amazing that some Jewish rabbis still today, do not believe a baby is a human being with a soul until after the baby is birthed. Human life at conception is a life worth protecting because we are made in the image of God, wherein we are still to this day a natural work of God in our mother’s womb. The apostle Paul believed God knew him and was working on him in his mother’s womb, Galatians 1:15. Which means Paul had no problem with thinking God planned his “Damascus road experience” while he was a fetus. Christians today should have the same idea and be willing to protect a pro-life position legally and publicaly.
v17-24, The safe comfort of knowing God knows us, even in the face of our enemies, reflects the Psalmists faith in the power of God. He is able to eventually eliminate any enemy, no matter how violent, deceptive or smart. This is called the omnipotence of God. His hate towards evil can engender our hate, which is not a sin, as long as we learn to separate the sin from the sinner in our minds, while our hearts detest sin & love Christ. See Revelation 2:2-6 & Luke 14:26. Pray for our enemies that God will grant them repentance from the evil we hate.

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Psalm 137

In 587BC most of the nation of Judah was over-run by the Babylonians and taken to Babylon. Almost a century before this, Israel had been defeated and taken into captivity by Assyria. Prophets warned this would happen if the people of Judah didn’t stop their idolatry & repent. They were urged to repent by several prophets, but didn’t. Acceptance of other gods was their obvious sin. Eventually God used a foreign army to destroy Jerusalem and The Temple, even the ark of the covenant was lost, it looked like the end of Judah forever. (See Jeremiah 29) Prophets encouraged Jewish exiles to accept this experience as discipline from God. Their task was to settle and pray for Babylon and Babylonians, but not to become integrated. To keep their hearts fixed on the promise that God would bring the Jews back to Jerusalem was a huge task. They would need this Psalm to help them through 70 years of captivity, and forever help them remember how serious God is about keeping his word. Christians can use this Psalm for that same reason.

v1-2,  Sitting by a river is a good place for refreshment, but when you are enslaved, refreshment is hard. But with God, all things are possible, Matthew 19:25-27.

v3: Could Captors encourage Israelites to become integrated by singing foreign songs? Maybe they are trying to get the Jews to see that God and His promises are consigned to the past; and make him just a memory? This no doubt would bring back memories of the glory of Solomon’s Temple, where those songs would have had their life! But now, they were sung mournfully. It may seem horrible that God would force his children under the hands of captors to sing about Zion as it lay in ruins, but the cold hard truth is that they would survive to have children rebuild it. The very next generation saw God’s glory in the Temple sort of regenerate in Jerusalem. Remember Luke 21:6, the words of Jesus teach Christians that God’s glory in physical Jerusalem would one day be forever destroyed, and only reside in human hearts. But for our future? Where is the glory of His Temple now? Heaven.

v4-6: Having a determination not to forget Jerusalem and what it represents. (Even though it lies in ruins!) is keeping focused on God’s promises for the future. This is how Christians can do more than just survive discipline, if we sing about our future, His power can help us grow through discipline. See Hebrews 12:11.

v7-8; First it was the Edomites, then it was the Babylonians, finally the Romans. What do they have in common? God used each of these nations to discipline his children. Jews are still to this day, objects of God’s testimony to the world; Rebel against me, and the only way I can show you my love is to discipline you, to near extinction, but yet always allowing my mercy to keep you in existence! See Luke 23:27-31. Jesus could see this discipline coming to God’s children as he went to the cross. If we think it is not like God to discipline us, we are in grave error.

v9, If we read this glibly, we can only conclude that God has a morbid interest in revenge, but none of Scripture should be read at a glance. It is stunning that God would allow his name, his children and his city to be drug through the gutter like this, but the underlying fact is; Not even horror can destroy God’s holiness and ability to share his holiness with repentant children, even if our enemies become his children! Remember it was the same evil people that committed the horror of crucifying Christ and stoning Stephen, which repented and became His holy children, See Acts 6:7 & Read Romans 12:20-21.

Psalm 119

This Psalm has two outstanding characteristics about it, firstly, it’s construction is very orderly, especially when you consider it is the longest Psalm. It has 176 verses comprised of 22 stanzas of 8 lines each starting in the order of the Hebrew alphabet of 22 letters. Therefore it was used for centuries in synagogues teaching children as a school textbook. No one knows for sure, who wrote it, but it was probably Ezra. Secondly, it is the only Psalm that exalts the word of God exclusively. Other Psalms praise God’s word in a verse, but Psalm 119 is the only Psalm that praises God’s word in every verse.

The word of God is described by using 7 different words. Pointing us to His POWER.

“Law”, v1 (what is legislative)

“Testimonies”, v2 (what is verbal)

“Precepts”, v4 (what is thought or meditated upon)

“Statutes”, v5, 8. (what is enforceable)

“Commandments”, v6 (what is written)

“Judgments”, v7 (what is punitive)

“Ordinances or Regulations”, v13 (what is taught or practiced)

The psalm opens with two beatitudes. “Blessed” are those whose ways are blameless, who live according to God’s law, who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart. The author of the psalm has experienced great trouble in this life, but is also one who has come through it with a deep and passionate understanding of God’s unfailing love and compassion, v75-77. The author clings to the truths learnt from the Scriptures, which are eternal and “stand firm in the heavens” v89-91. This is the recipe for happiness, as James 5:13 points us to. The Psalm ends with a cry for help, as if he is a lost sheep, needing delivered into safety, v169-176. This conclusion is from real experience in God’s word, meeting our needs for spiritual salvation, John 10:11. These are the lessons for us in this great psalm. The Word of God is sufficient to make us wise, train us in righteousness, and equip us for every good work, 2nd Tim. 3:15-17. The Scriptures are a reflection of God’s nature, and from them we learn that we can trust His character and His plan and purposes for humanity, even when those plans include affliction and persecution. Notice these attributes of God ascribed to Scripture itself:

1. Righteousness (verses 7, 62, 75, 106, 123, 138, 144, 160, 164, 172)

2. Trustworthiness (verse 42) God’s word always educates us in grace & knowledge

3. Truthfulness (verses 43, 142, 151, 160)

4. Faithfulness (verse 86)  God’s word is always powerful to help comfort or deliver.

5. Unchangeableness (verse 89) no fluctuation in character through changes in work.

6. Eternality (verses 90,152) no fluctuation in character through time in our world.

7. Light (verse 105)

8. Purity (verse 140)

The profound truth that the Word of God is praised as all-sufficient is an expansion of Psalm 19:7-9: “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. Just as Christ Himself the Logos is, John 1:1-14 & Matthew 5:43-48. He can even make us perfect in our Creators sight!

Psalm 118

v1-4. God’s mercy is limitless towards Israel, their Levitical Priesthood and anyone who fears Him. His kindness will not allow punishment. The apostle Paul knew the kindness of God, and taught the Church to be kind & forgiving towards others, as God was kind to them, Ephesians 4:32. If a genuine Christian confuses pain in daily  life with punishment, they have not grown to understand God’s mercy. Pain & suffering in a real Christians daily life may indeed be discipline in training our conscience & faith, but it is not punishment. There are many different reasons and purposes for pain & suffering in our life but punishment from God is not one of them, because His loving-kindness is now and forever more for Spiritual Israel, Php. 3:2-3 & Gal. 6:16. Many people confuse the Babylonian captivity God directed upon Judah as punishment for their idolatry, but they fail to recognize that God gave Judah more than a generation of warnings, and yet they rebelled spiritually, bringing into question the validity of their faith and utter failure to keep God’s covenants. But because of God’s covenant with Abraham, his mercy maintained a remnant of Jews to keep Israel alive until Jesus  came as the Christ.

v5-9, “distress” is a strong word, and no one should think God doesn’t understand the pain of distress. Christ prayed in great distress facing the trial of his life. Mark 14:31-36. He is now our High Priest that can truly empathize with our cry for help in a crisis. He took our punishment, and still to this day, before his return, he can indeed still suffer with us, Colossians 1:24. The best comfort anyone can feel relief from, is indeed FREEDOM. This freedom is found in Christ, John 8:34-36. The worst case scenario a Christian can face from any enemy is a change of address. We should never fear people able to kill us, rather, fear Him who can destroy both soul & body in hell, Matthew 10:28. Triumph is always best felt in a refuge! Christ provides both in the promise of forgiveness and the resurrection. Because even the strongest, richest prince that may give us the best in governing power & benefits, is still just a man, John 14:6.

v10-13,  “Nations”, it is thought by rabbis, that David is writing this Psalm in memory of his victory over the Jebusites to attain Jerusalem, and the surrounding countries honored his victory, 2nd Sam. 5:5-12. When he cites being aggressively pushed, it is noteworthy to see David’s experience in help being from the LORD (Jehovah) The name most sacred to Israelites today. Make note that this Psalm has many more references to this name than most Psalms, so it makes us wonder if the piety Jews show today, by refusing to pronounce it, is actually a level of piety Jews practiced in David’s day.

v14-18. The Lord’s punishment was restrained from killing the Psalmist in battle, it could have happened, but God’s mercy preserved his life through war. Remember that the death sentence was acceptable punishment for children in the law of God through Moses, Deut. 21:20-21.

v19-24, The “stone”, Christ applied it to Himself (Matt. 21:42; Mark 12:10-11; Luke 20:17). Peter and Paul also applied it to Jesus (Acts 4:11; Eph. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:6-8). God’s amazing resurrection of His rejected Son to the place of supreme authority is marvelous to say the least. The day of His resurrection is the greatest day the Lord ever made. It is indeed the basis for the Christian’s joy and rejoicing every first day of the week till time as we know it is escorted into eternity!

v25-29,  Faithful Israelite’s welcomed Jesus at His Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem during Passover season using verses 25 and 26 (see Matt. 21:9) They regarded this psalm as predicting the Messiah, we too should praise God with all the gratitude we can offer, whenever we see His deliverance in any way, especially our spiritual deliverance!

Psalm 111

Five times in this anonymous Psalm, the author calls God, the LORD (Jehovah) which is the sacred name for God indicating his eternal self-existent nature which is in popular use by the Nation of Israel, when Jews read it, they will not pronounce it, but say “HaShem” meaning “the name”. Therefore this Psalm is all about why we praise the Lord.

v1, it’s never a good idea to try and praise the Lord with only half a heart. The apostle Paul teaches the Church to try and fully understand what we are singing, and that we believe in what we are singing, 1st Corinthians 14:12-17, Why? Because God never changes in what he desires and who He is. Jeremiah 24:1-7 & Romans 6:17. The words “council” and “assembly”, indicates our praise is desired in both private and public gatherings. Singing by our self is acceptable, but singing together is preferred, The Lord loves unity demonstrated & experienced. When we have our whole heart praising God, we will then experience this verse, it is simply where I love to be and what I love to do.

v2, Understanding what the Lord has done, helps us discover why He did it. This knowledge doesn’t help us know how He works, but better than that, He teaches us why! Romans 8:6. The child prodigy and brilliant mathematician Blaise Pascal wrote “Philosophy searches for truth, theology finds it, but religion possesses it, therefore human things must be known to be loved, but divine things must be loved to be known” ~ B. Pascal 1623-1662. It is noteworthy that in all of our modern technology and progressive savvy, we still do not understand how the pyramids were built, or how stonehenge was made, so why do we quit admiring God when we are puzzled at how he performed a miracle, or how he wrote the Bible? We can still praise God for knowing WHY He worked, works and that he will work, regardless of how.

v3, Glorious and majestic are his deeds, and his righteousness endures forever. Whoever needs this statement explained is one of three types of people; 1- an atheist or 2- simply ignorant of Jesus Christ or 3- a pervert that deliberately rejects the reality of a creator in the design of creation that faces them everyday, as described in Romans 1:20-24.

v4, It is because of God’s compassionate grace, that he establishes ways to remember what he has done in the past. Both the work and word of God will never be diminished from us or our future generations. Modern archeology attests to Biblical authenticity and God provides both. Jude v25.

v5, Respecting God and living like it, brings delicious benefits! He created our tongue with more varieties of taste buds that any other mammal, so his faithful children could enjoy the food. Therefore we praise Him for both our pleasures, and his promises in a better covenant, Luke 22:20 & Hebrews 12:24.

v6, Modern Israel will never forget historical Israel, and neither should they forget their land is given to them from God, who took it off the ancestors of their neighbors, who had it first! Therefore Christians should never live like we deserve what we are given, if we haven’t earned what we have. Treating a gift, like it was something we paid for, makes us look ugly through the eyes of the Giver.

v7-8, See Deuteronomy 32:3-4, a Song from the Law, and the author remains the same!

v9, The fulfillment of this redemption is in Christ. The promise of it, in this praise, was annually tasted of in their Day of Atonement.

v10, It seems like Solomon might have been more than familiar with this Psalm, or perhaps had a hand in writing it? See Proverbs 1:7 & 9:10

Psalm 110

v1, Christ sitting at the right hand of God, shows as much terror to his enemies as happiness to his people. The power of this victory will be the utter ruin of his enemies. We have here the Redeemer saving his friends, and comforting them. Matthew 22:44, 28:18

v2, We need to pray for the continued use of the rod of divine strength. It was by his rod that Moses beat the Egyptians, and made miracles for Israel, and whenever the Lord Jesus sends forth the rod of his strength, our spiritual enemies are overcome today. There is an allusion here to Aaron’s rod which budded and so proved his power; stored in the ark, but our Lord’s rod is sent forth to subdue his enemies. This promise began to be fulfilled at Pentecost, and it continues even to this day, and will have a grander fulfilment, Revelation 6:2

v3, This work of grace in our regeneration is here described, for it is a spiritual resurrection. Even as the holy dead rise gladly into the lovely image of our Lord, so do our enlivened souls put on the glorious righteousness of Christ. We stand before the Lord and serve him. How truly beautiful is holiness! God himself admires it. How wonderful also is the eternal youth of the mystical body of Christ! As the dew is new every morning, so is there constant growth to give to the church perpetual youthfulness, 2nd Corinthians 8:5.

v4, Melchizedek is an eternal glimpse through our history that shows Jesus is sworn in to be the priest of his people, and he indeed lives on, because his commission is sealed by the unchanging oath of the immutable Jehovah. If his priesthood could be revoked, and his authority removed, it would be the end of all hope and life for the people he loves; but this sure rock is the basis of our security, Hebrews 7:11-24.

v5,  In the last days all the kingdoms of the earth shall be overcome by the kingdom of heaven, and those who dare oppose him will meet with overwhelming ruin. What are kings when they dare oppose the Son of God? A single stroke is enough for their destruction. When the angel of the Lord hit Herod Agrippa there was no second blow; he was eaten by worms and died, Acts 4:26 & 12:1. Pilate too met an embarrassing end, as well as Herod the Great, about whom Josephus records, “a loathsome disease descended upon the ruler as a judgment from God on account of his sins. He describes the horrible details —burning fever, ulcerated entrails, foul discharges, convulsions, stench, etc. (Antiquities 17.6.5).

v6, This doesn’t need to be understood literally, but as a poetical description of the overthrow of all rebellious powers and the defeat of all unholy principles. But if kings oppose the Lord with weapons of war, the result is their overwhelming defeat and the entire destruction of their forces, 2nd Thessalonians 2:8

v7, Expressing the joyous comfort, which Christ, as man, has in the presence of God, and at his right hand, having finished the work of our salvation; he then drinks to his refreshment of the river of divine pleasure, when God showed him the path of life, and raised him from the dead, and gave him glory, and introduced him into his presence; wherein is our fullness of joy, and pleasures for evermore, Psalm 16:11 & Revelation 22:1-2.

Psalm 109

This psalm is more like a prayer attempting to invoke God to curse, judge and punish our enemy. This thought in prayer is usually based on a covenant, not just our own human desire for vengeance or justice, see Genesis 12:3 & Deuteronomy 28:1-2 & 15. When David wrote this Psalm by inspiration, he wrote it as a king, being responsible for the welfare and protection of God’s children. David was also responsible for the justice system, the prosecution and execution of capital crimes. This kind of prayer is truly personal, but coming from a King, also has a public aspect towards matters of injustice to the throne of God, not acts of vengeance. David always recognized the truth of Romans 12:19, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,’ says the Lord.” See Deuteronomy 32:35.  It is our prerogative to pray for God to avenge wrongs, because vengeance belongs to Him (Deut 32:35; Romans 12:19–21). These prayers are a divinely appointed source of power for believers in their powerlessness. In the face of sustained injustice, hardened enmity, and gross oppression, they are the Christians’ hope that divine justice will indeed be realized—not only in the long term future (2 Thess. 1:6– 10) but also in “the land of the living” (Ps. 27:13). This psalm is not contrary to the New Testament teaching to love and forgive our enemies, see Luke 18:7–8. Forgiveness is often prayed for, but it is never realized without repentance and if our enemy will not repent and seems bent on evil, then they will indeed perish!

v. 8 “Let another take his office.” This statement is understood by Luke as divinely inspired prophecy in the promised Messiah’s establishment of justice, see Acts 1:20 which cites this statement from Psalm 109 as fulfilled with the death of Judas and the appointment of Matthias to the vacated apostleship. Just as David prayed that his chief enemy might be removed from his position of authority, so also Judas, the enemy of David’s greater Son – Jesus Christ, must  have Judas removed from his position.

v14, sounds inappropriate from a Christians perspective but “Fathers” have a certain specific responsibility for the sin of their children. The sweetness of vengeance lay in its completeness. The curse must strike backwards as well as forwards, and the root as well as the branch should be destroyed. Undoubtedly the Mosaic Law, Ex. 20:5, which proclaimed that the “iniquity of the fathers should be visited on the children,” suggested this form of punishment. The fact of the matter is that children and children’s children often suffer from the errors, the crimes of their parents, as in the case of alcoholism, drug addiction and even murder (compare Romans 5:12) and the prayer here is, that this regular effect of sin might follow in this instance; that these consequences might not be stopped by divine intervention.

v20 is most likely an appeal to the Mosaic law regarding false witnesses (Deut 19:15–21).

v23, David was not experiencing God’s blessings while writing this Psalm. This made other people question God’s justice and faithfulness. If God would again bless David and curse his enemy, this would show onlookers that God’s promises are trustworthy. In these verses, David described how he felt in his downtrodden condition. “The locust or grasshopper is proverbial as being a defenseless inoffensive little creature that is soon driven away, Job 39:40

v25,  Shaking the head can signify rejection or astonishment (Psalm 64:8: Lam. 2:15). The Lord Jesus’ enemies spoke these very words as He hung on the cross (Matt. 27:42-43).

A Christians lesson from this Psalm is this: When attacked, be a prayer first responder.  When tempted to sin, look to God and consider the impact upon your family. Be characterized by prayer and praise Christ, regardless of your circumstances. God is faithful!