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Summaries, Psalms 62-66

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

 

Psalm 62 is another psalm written by David in a time of trouble.  He expresses his determination to wait on the Lord because the Lord’s protection is certain.  Vs. 1-2 make up a “prelude” that is repeated in vs. 5-6.  Vs. 3-4 explain David’s problem:  he is attacked by people who want to overthrow him as king.  However, he continues to trust in God and encourages others to do the same.  He observes that trusting in earthly power isn’t as beneficial, so seeking for power and riches is pointless.  Power will always belong to God, and He will judge rightly.

Psalm 63 expresses David’s longing for God.  He compares his desire for God’s presence to longing for water in the desert.  He loves to praise God and will be satisfied with the opportunity to praise Him.  He even thinks about God in his bed at night.  He has this regard for God because God has always protected him.  He is confident that God will destroy his enemies and exalt him.

Psalm 64 addresses the problem of wicked men plotting against David.  He compares their hateful speech to sharpened swords and arrows being shot from ambush.  He notes that these are people who have invested a lot of thought in how best to be wicked and betray him. 

However, as they are shooting their “arrows” at David, God will shoot His arrows at them.  They will be destroyed by their own evil words so that mankind will learn from their example and the righteous will rejoice.

Psalm 65 is a song of praise to God.  He deserves this praise because He answers prayer, forgives sin, and allows the righteous to come near to Him.  He answers His people with awesome deeds, the same kind of power that He revealed in establishing the mountains and stilling the sea.  As a result, people praise Him across the earth, and even the dawn and the sunset rejoice in Him. 

God reveals His goodness by sending rain.  This causes his people’s crops to grow abundantly.  Even the wilderness and the hills are green, and the verdant landscape praises Him.

Psalm 66 calls the earth to glorify God.  Even His enemies have to give Him glory, and worldwide, people worship Him.  This praise is justified because of God’s revelation of His power in parting the Red Sea and the Jordan River so His people could cross.  To this day, He continues to protect His people from the nations around them.  Where once He allowed them to be enslaved, now He has blessed them with abundance. 

Because of this, the psalmist is resolved to praise Him and offer sacrifices to Him.  He wants everyone to know that God has answered his prayers because of his righteousness and God’s steadfast love.

Summaries, Psalms 57-61

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

 

Psalm 57 pleads with God to show mercy.  David acknowledges that only God can protect him from the storms of life.  He trusts that God will save him and embarrass those who seek to harm him.  He views God’s help as particularly necessary because he is surrounded by enemies whom he compares to lions and fire.  The first section concludes with the chorus contained in 57:5 (and repeated in 57:11).

These enemies have sought to ambush David, but through God’s help, he turned the ambush around on them.  As a result, David continues to steadfastly trust in God, and he seeks to praise Him as enthusiastically as he knows how. 

Psalm 58 is addressed to the arrogantly wicked.  David calls them out for claiming to be righteous judges while treating others unfairly.  He hyperbolically claims that they were wicked from birth, and he compares them to venomous snakes. 

David then asks God to break the teeth of these “snakes” in their mouths.  He wants them to disappear as though they never had existed, to be consumed as quickly as thorns in the fire are.  David concludes by predicting that if God treats the wicked like this, the righteous will rejoice and mankind will acknowledge His judgments.

Psalm 59 is another plea for help from David when he is beset by his enemies.  The superscription says that David wrote this during/after the events of 1 Samuel 19:11-17.  David says that these enemies are lying in wait to destroy him, even though he has done nothing wrong.  He invites God to come and judge them all, himself included, and to punish the wicked, whoever they are.

David goes on to compare his enemies to packs of wild dogs who are prowling around the city.  They’re unconcerned with whether anyone notices them, but David knows that God sees them, sneers at them, and will destroy them.  David asks God not merely to kill them, but to bring them low in a way that will reveal His power and lordship.  Even as they are in the midst of their prowling and growling around, David will continue to trust in God’s protection and deliverance.

Psalm 60 appeals to God for help in battle.  It begins by lamenting that God has destroyed Israel’s defenses with an earthquake.  However, even without those defenses, God will still protect those who trust in Him.

The psalm then begins to speak for God, answering David.  God states that He controls not only the territory of the people of Israel, but even the lands of their enemies. 

The final portion of the psalm is David’s reply to God.  He wants to know who will help him, expresses his fear that God has abandoned him, and pleads with God to accompany him so that he will have success.

Psalm 61 asks God to hear David’s prayer.  He is weary, but he looks to God to be his refuge like a towering rock would be.  He wants God to allow him to dwell with Him forever because of his faithfulness and God’s past blessings.  The psalm concludes with a final appeal for lifelong protection and a promise to praise God and perform the vows made to Him.

Summaries, Psalms 52-56

Monday, June 10, 2019

 

Psalm 52 is addressed to the wicked.  It asks the wicked man why he is so arrogant in the face of the love of God.  He is using lies to destroy others, but God is aware of his misdeeds and will destroy him.  After his destruction, the righteous are going to mock him for not trusting in God.  By contrast, the psalmist is going to remain secure because of his trust in God, and he will praise God forever because of His protection.

Psalm 53 is also concerned with the unrighteous.  It observes that the fool denies the existence of God and sins accordingly.  As God considers mankind from heaven, He sees no one who is righteous.  In response, the psalmist wonders what evildoers are thinking in their malice toward others and refusal to acknowledge God.  God will frighten them and eventually destroy them because they do not belong to Him.  The psalm concludes with a plea for God to rescue His people.

Psalm 54 is a prayer for salvation.  The psalmist pleads with God to answer him because evil, godless men are attacking him.  He looks to God for his help and trusts that He will destroy his enemies.  The psalmist anticipates the time when he will offer sacrifices of thanksgiving to God because God has rescued him.

Psalm 55 also asks God for help in trouble.  David can’t find peace because he is so distressed by wicked men who are persecuting him.  His heart is filled with grief and fear, and he wants to escape.  He asks God to set them at odds against each other because of all the trouble they are bringing on the city (probably Jerusalem).

This is especially bitter to David because it is a former friend who is causing all the trouble.  David wants God to destroy him and all those who help him.  In the midst of his trouble, he continually calls on God.  He trusts that God will protect him and bring the wicked down.

David also says about his friend that he used deceitful speech to hide his hatred.  He observes that no matter what, God will continue to protect the righteous but will surely destroy the violent and treacherous.

Psalm 56 is more of the same.  David asks God to have mercy upon him because others are oppressing him.  However, despite his bad situation, he puts his trust in God and is not afraid. 

However, his enemies are truly oppressive.  They hate him, and they are looking for an excuse to bring him down.  However, God is aware of his suffering, and he knows that these enemies will be defeated.  Again, he trusts in God and so is not afraid. 

The psalm concludes by anticipating God’s deliverance.  David will offer sacrifices because God rescued him from death.

Summaries, Psalms 47-51

Monday, June 03, 2019

 

Psalm 47 is a simple song of rejoicing before God.  It invites all of Israel to praise Him because He is great and has defeated their enemies.  Because He has been exalted, they should sing praises to Him.  Now, as He reigns on His throne, the leaders of His people are gathering to worship Him.

Psalm 48 is about God’s defense of Jerusalem.  He has made her His holy mountain, set His throne within her, and made Himself known as her protector.  When enemy kings attacked Jerusalem, God’s presence frightened and defeated them.  From this, God’s people conclude that He always will protect her.  They rejoice in His steadfastness and goodness.  They urge everyone to consider how well fortified Jerusalem is, as well as the implications of God’s presence within her.

Psalm 49 is a reflection on the impermanence of wickedness.  The psalmist announces to everyone that he has something wise to say.  He asks, rhetorically, why he should fear the evil people who trust in their wealth.  No amount of money can buy off God, and they, along with everyone else, will end up in the grave.  They foolishly rely on themselves, but death will be their end.  Only those who rely on God can hope for anything better.  As a result, the righteous should not be afraid of the rich, no matter how impressive they may appear.  They’ll die like everyone else.

Psalm 50 is about God coming as a righteous judge.  He comes to judge in dramatic fashion, demanding that His people appear before Him.  He applauds their faithfulness in offering sacrifices to Him, but He points out that He doesn’t need them.  He owns everything anyway, and He doesn’t eat sacrificial animals.  Instead, sacrifices are useful for the righteous because they ensure God will help them when they need it.  

On the other hand, God condemns the wicked who talk a good game but don’t obey and who associate with thieves and adulterers.  They spoke evil things, and they thought they were going to get away with it, but now God has come to rebuke them.  If they continue their wickedness, they will be destroyed, and only if they praise and obey Him will they be saved.

Psalm 51 is David’s famous plea for pardon after his sin with Bathsheba.  He begs God to have mercy on him and cleanse him from his sin.  He thinks about that sin constantly, and he admits that he has wronged God.  God is perfect, but he is so imperfect that he feels he may as well have been born in sin. 

God delights in truth, so he begs God to cleanse him and take away the consequences of God’s righteous punishment.  He pleads for a clean heart, for God not to reject him.  If God will do these things, he promises to lead others to God and to praise Him.  He won’t offer God any sacrifices for himself because he knows that what God really wants is his contrition.  However, if God will defend Jerusalem, the sacrifices from His people will continue.

Summaries, Job 25-26, Psalms 44-46

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

 

Job 25 is the shortest chapter in the book.  In it, Bildad the Shuhite emphasizes the wisdom and power of God.  Given those things, he argues that it’s impossible for man to be righteous in the sight of One who is so perfect.  This argument is certainly correct, but it misses the point.  If everybody is unrighteous before God, why is Job being singled out for punishment?

Job 26 begins Job’s longest speech in the book.  Once again, he resorts to sarcasm.  Bildad believes that he has been helpful and wise, but his wisdom is nothing before God’s wisdom.  God can see into even the abode of the dead.  He supports the earth, orders the heaven, controls the seas, and defeats His enemies.  However, even these things, as impressive as they are, cannot begin to reveal the extent of His power.

In many ways, Psalm 44 is similar to the book of Job.  It opens by remembering God’s help for the Israelites in conquering the land of Canaan.  Even today, God’s people look to Him and trust in Him. 

However, there’s a problem.  Rather than blessing His people, God has humiliated them.  They have been defeated in battle, sold into slavery, and made a laughingstock for the people around them.  The psalmist asserts that this is not due to their sin.  They have been faithful to God, and God knows that they have been faithful, but He has allowed them to be slaughtered anyway.  The psalm concludes with a plea to God to rise up and rescue them from their plight.

Psalm 45 was written on the occasion of the marriage of one of the kings.  It opens by praising the king.  He is blessed by God and mighty and victorious in battle.  Because he is righteous, God will continue to bless him and uphold his throne forever.  Note that vss. 6-7 appear to be addressed to God about the ways that God will bless Him.  This is a Messianic prophecy quoted in Hebrews 1:8-9 and a hint that one day God would be King.

The rest of the psalm is addressed to the king’s bride.  It encourages her to leave behind her father’s house and devote herself entirely to her husband.  It praises the beauty of her attire.  If she is willing to submit to her husband, she will be blessed with many sons and remembered.

Psalm 46 celebrates the protection of God.  Even in the middle of an earthquake, His people still can be unafraid.  God will continue to safeguard His holy city even when all others are opposed to it.  His people see the evidence of His care in His previous actions.  He has devastated the earth and destroyed armies.  Everyone must acknowledge that He is God, and He will be a refuge for Israel.

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