Blogging Through the Psalms: The Lord is Almighty.

Psalm 105

This Psalm continues to praise the Lord for His faithfulness to His covenant promises. The Psalmist considers how he has done this as he reviews the Lord’s dealings with His people from Abraham to the liberation of the children of Israel from Egypt and the beginning of their journey to the Promised Land. He calls on the people to be joyful because the Lord is faithful and true. He always protected His chosen ones from harm and always provided for them. He made promises to Abraham that he would have uncountable descendants at a time when this seemed impossible, but He kept His word. This should make us realize too that though we may ask for deliverance without any immediate response, we must continue to trust Him for He surely will reply.

The Psalmist takes a lot of space to review the plagues that afflicted Egypt. This is to remind His people that the Lord is a divine warrior who fights for them in ways they should acknowledge. When pestilence and disaster strike the nations that oppose the Lord and His people, this is His doing. He is involved in every natural event that the media today attribute to “Mother Nature”. What they do not realize is that “Mother Nature” has no real power for it exists only as a disguise for Satan. God controls all things for His will and glory and will use events to sustain and protect those who put their faith in Him.

The world is hesitant to acknowledge the Lord’s mighty hand in disasters such as earthquakes, typhoons, hurricanes and tsunamis. They think that such an idea indicates that God is not as kind and loving as we think. They would rather have a god is not almighty but very merciful for such a god overlooks sin and has no reason to punish any one, a god who will let everyone do their own thing. But an Almighty and merciful God is to be feared for He holds humans beings accountable for their actions and beliefs and is beyond their control.

Blogging Through the Psalms: Wow, all creation praises the Lord!

Psalm 104

This psalm is a devotional commentary on the creation account of Genesis 1. As such it closely follows that passage and develops each stage of creation as the theme for different reasons to praise God. One of the first things we note is that the Lord created light, a fundamental aspect of His own being. Light brings life to all that it touches. With light then, the Lord is able to create other things which will make up the heavens and the earth. This includes the sea which in the Bible is always a symbol for chaos, that which is beyond human control. But God created the dry land and so set limits on the chaos of the sea, thereby demonstrating His almighty and sovereign power.

The Psalmist calls on all creatures to honor the Lord and submit to Him because He is the source and sustainer of all that exists. He had provided for all the needs of all living things. Man too must realize that even though he can work to develop fruits and vegetables, these too are provided by God for he has set the laws in motion that allow their successful cultivation. In our world, as in the world of the Psalmist, however, many do not acknowledge God’s total sovereignty. Many worship the created things rather than the creator or the law rather than the law giver. Ultimately the Psalmist prays that God’s glory would be acclaimed by all. The wicked, all those who do not acknowledge the Lord as Sovereign and Almighty  would perish for they are out of harmony with the rest of creation.

 

Blogging Through the Psalms: Relief from sin and guilt.

Psalm 103

This Psalm of David is one that promotes great comfort and encouragement for all of us. We all at times feel lethargic, bored, tired, full of doubt, despairing and filled with guilt over our sins. Yet the amazing God that we worship is one who delights to forgive. He reveals Himself to all men so that all may know what He expects of them. This He has done by entering into covenant with Israel through which He reached out to the whole earth. Daily we see His blessings on the righteous and wicked alike as we are given health and delivered from a myriad of illnesses, though not all. Daily we are delivered from much danger and peril without a thought on our part.

Daily we are blessed with God’s mercy. He delights to forgive us our sins, a trait that we who are righteous ought to share. We are spared the just punishments for our sins. Jesus on the cross took the penalty due us for our acts of wicked selfishness. He did this out of love for us. Our salvation is the greatest of His blessings because He extends mercy to those who deserve otherwise. This offer of mercy extends to all sinners. God will forgive all those who repent and turn to Him. Repentance insures that the righteous will be blessed with an eternity of joy and peace dwelling in the presence of Yahweh. For this reason above all others, God is worthy of praise.

We believers then ought to extend forgiveness to those who, in our opinion, do not deserve it. We have been forgiven an eternal debt. Why then should we let others carry their debt to us which is minor in comparison. If we think otherwise then we should consider what would happen to us if God decided to treat us with justice according to our deeds. We must do unto others as we would want them to do unto us.

Blogging Through the Psalms: Worship God during suffering.

Psalm 102

Here we encounter an anonymous writer crying out to the Lord for help. This lament reflects his feelings of agony and pain either due to a serious wasting illness or because of the reproaches and attacks of his enemies. In any case he is physically wasting away because he has lost interest in sustenance. However, he shifts his focus in verse 12 from self to Zion and the eternal nature of Yahweh. We may think that the Psalmist is asking for strength and a long life in the light of God’s eternal existence. God exists forever, but the world and all mankind do not. They all pass away in a brief span compared to the Lord.

The switch in his focus in the subject makes us realize, however, that this Psalm is really Messianic. Verses 25-27 are cited in Hebrews 1:10-12 as descriptive of the Lord Jesus as God and King. They celebrate the glory of His resurrection. The suffering of this Psalmist then matches the suffering of Jesus on the cross. He suffered for the sake of the salvation of Israel and also for the whole world. By His death and resurrection He releases all those groaning prisoners trapped and bound by sin and death on the way to eternal separation from God. In addition the Messiah’s work will also transform the entire earth to the state it was in at the time of creation, pure, sinless and filled with peace and joy for all people as they dwell in the eternal presence of the Lord.

And so as we think about the pain that the Psalmist suffers w should compare it to our own. Suffering in life in unavoidable and is quite hard to bear. Yet all suffering and pain reaps a harvest of eternal bliss for those who have put their faith in Jesus as their Messiah.

Blogging Through the Psalms: Worship the Lord with Joy.

Psalm 100-101

These Psalms continue our praise for the God who loves us. Psalm 100, known as the Jubilate (‘O be joyful’), is a psalm often used in liturgical worship. When we enter into the presence of the Lord we ought to do so with joy as we give Him thanks for His love and faithfulness. God is worthy of praise because He is faithful to His promises. All that He has said He will do, He will do, blessings as well as judgments, so no one should think God is soft or easy.

In the light of this, perhaps like David the writer of Psalm 101, we must desire to live lives that are unblemished by sin and wickedness of any sort. As David indicates, if we want to have fellowship with God we must not only avoid sin but also live in obedience so that we do what He commands us rather than seek out own way.

David desired to walk in purity, to avoid even the sight of wickedness. This is quite difficult in our day as our lives are saturated by worldly ideas which daily bombard us with immoral and corrupt ideas and images through the media and the Internet. If we are not careful, we will become enslaved to the world and adopt its ungodly values and we will gradually compromise our faith and our testimony. In addition, we must also avoid praising those the world praises as that is a form of idolatry that detracts from our worship of the Lord. The world worships celebrity and beauty and ignores the ungodly morals, dishonesty, hypocrisy, selfishness, egotism and lack of integrity of those individuals and groups that it idolizes.

Blogging Through the Psalms: Does not the Lord God always keep His promises?

Psalm 89

The Psalmist here is a wise man named Ethan, another musician in David’s service just like Heman. He writes a prayer of intercession for David who has suffered some type of defeat or setback. He bases his plea on God’s covenant promises made to his people in general and to David in particular. He praises the Lord and enumerates all His mighty acts as well as His divine attributes. Ethan maintains that one can feel at peace in the security of Yahweh’s presence and His love. He then appeals to the Lord to honor His promises for the Lord is steadfast and true to His word. What had happened seemed to exalt David’s enemies and make a mockery of the Lord’s might and trustworthiness. Since God had a special relationship with David and had promised to bless him with victory and strength, the Lord should defeat these enemies and continue to extend his authority and power.

There will be times when we may think that God seems to be acting contrary to His character and promises. We may doubt but we cannot give way to fear. We cannot use our doubts as an excuse to desert the Lord and to live as we please, to walk in disobedience. As God’s holy people we always have hope. We have hope because the truth is that He is steadfast and faithful. We should call on Him to act to achieve glory and maintain His own reputation as well as the welfare of His children. Finally we must remember that although God does discipline us for our benefit, He does not desert or cut off those who He has called Hos own.

Blogging Through the Psalms: God favors the underdog.

Psalm 83

This Psalm addresses a time when Judah has been surrounded on all sides by a coalition of hostile nations led by the mighty Assyrian empire. The Psalmist realizes that it is Yahweh who is the one who is really being challenged. Therefore, he calls on the Lord to take up arms, to remember the deeds of the past, specifically 2 encounters from the period of the judges. At those 2 times, Israel was up against great and powerful enemies. At that time the Israelites lacked the training, skill, leaders and cohesiveness to oppose them, but the Lord choose Gideon and Deborah to rally His people and overcome the enemy despite the differences in numbers and skill. Now the Psalmist knows the Lord will do the same for Judah.

For us as we read of God’s provision we know we need it. Many times we are beset by enemies, or pain and suffering and things just seem to pile up on top of us. One thing at a time may be manageable but a whole host of troubles causes us to cave in and cry out for help. What adds to the woes of the child of God are the attacks of those who hate God, hate Christianity. We endure hate speech of many who label us intolerant because we oppose the teaching of evolution, abortion, indiscriminate sexual relations, homosexuality and because we have the audacity to claim that there is only one way to heaven: through Jesus. All these foes outnumber us and threaten to overwhelm us, but we need not fret. The real truth is that the Lord can handle all these attacks and deliver us.

But we need not wait until the burden on us is great. Now is the time to go to the Lord for help. There is never a time when we do not need Him.