2740.) Psalm 123

October 18, 2019

Psalm 123   (NRSV)

Supplication for Mercy

The scene is the land of captivity—an all-too-familiar setting for the oppressed people of Israel. They found themselves there in Egypt, in Babylon, in Nazi Germany, in the Warsaw ghetto and the Siberian slave-labor camps. Their urgent plea is for mercy. They pour out their prayer to the One who is their only refuge and security, to the Friend of the oppressed and downtrodden.

–William MacDonald

A Song of Ascents.

To you I lift up my eyes,
    O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
As the eyes of servants
    look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maid
    to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God,
    until he has mercy upon us.

Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us,
    for we have had more than enough of contempt.
Our soul has had more than its fill
    of the scorn of those who are at ease,
    of the contempt of the proud.

What is the most difficult thing in your life right now? What weighs you down? The most broken relationship? The most nagging fear? The part of you that feels hopeless or faithless? Read this psalm again with that in mind and ask God for mercy for you. Isaiah 30:18 says, Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.  Blessed are all who wait for him!



HERE  is Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant with “Lord, have mercy.”


New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)   New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
Psalm 123 Two.   https://www.alittleperspective.com/psalm-123-and-124-chiastic-structure/
Have mercy on me.   https://i.pinimg.com/736x/f9/40/c5/f940c55c0ca9bc6f2e26920d58c0972a–psalm–bible-scriptures.jpg
Psalm 145:8.   https://www.cagnz.org/bible-verses-about-God-s-mercy.html

2739.) Psalm 133

October 17, 2019

P133 unity

Psalm 133   (ESV)

When Brothers Dwell in Unity

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

The psalms with the title “A Song of Ascents” were especially relevant for pilgrims travelling together to Jerusalem to celebrate their religious festivals. “During the pilgrimages, the Jews enjoyed an ecumenical experience on their way toward and in Jerusalem. The pilgrims came from many different walks of life, regions, and tribes, as they gathered for one purpose: the worship of the Lord in Jerusalem.”

–Willem A. VanGemeren

Behold, how good and pleasant it is
    when brothers dwell in unity!

All of us know, either in personal experience or from stories of others, how difficult it can be to deal with family conflict. Yes, a loving, accepting, unified family is a wonderful thing!

· It is good because it reflects God’s heart and purpose of unity among His people (also described in Ephesians 1:9-10).

· It is pleasant because it makes life together as God’s people so much more enjoyable than seasons when constant bickering and conflict dominate.

–David Guzik

It is like the precious oil on the head,
    running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
    running down on the collar of his robes!

This refers to the anointing of Aaron, the high priest. The special and exclusive blend of oil (Exodus 30:22-33) was poured out extravagantly, running down his beard and onto his sacred robes. In the same way the unity of the people of God is a rich perfume making their worship pleasing to Him (Romans 15:6).  (The Reformation Bible)

“The composition of this holy anointing oil may be seen, Exodus 30:23; sweet cinnamon, sweet calamus, cassia lignea, and olive oil. The odour of this must have been very agreeable, and serves here as a metaphor to point out the exquisite excellence of brotherly love.”

–Adam Clarke

“What a sacred thing must brotherly love be when it can be likened to an oil which must never be poured on any man but on the Lord’s high-priest alone!”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

It is like the dew of Hermon,
    which falls on the mountains of Zion!

With its high altitude, regular precipitation and heavy dew, Mount Hermon is known for its lush greenery even during the summer. The experience of the pilgrims singing these psalms was like Hermon’s refreshing dew. From May to October virtually no rain—or even dew—falls on Jerusalem. During these months at least two pilgrimages were held.  Regardless of the harsh conditions of life in general, or of the pilgrimage in particular, the unity of God’s people was refreshing.  (The Archaeological Study Bible)

For there the Lord has commanded the blessing,
    life forevermore.

John 17:20-23  (NIV)

Jesus Prays for All Believers

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.



HERE  is “Precious Oil (Psalm 133) by James Block. James describes his music:  “Powerful, modern worship music inspired and recorded in Jerusalem. Music that stays true to the original names and themes of scripture.”


English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
Unity.    http://www.wednesdaynightservice.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/unity_432x3281.jpg
anointing oil.   https://i1.wp.com/gpcchurch.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Aaron-oil.jpg
heavy dew.   https://www.deviantart.com/999999999a/art/Heavy-dew-morning-546506690

2738.) Psalm 131

October 16, 2019

P131 quiet child

Psalm 131    (ESV)

I Have Calmed and Quieted My Soul

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

This short Psalm is a beautiful denial of pride, arrogance, and selfish ambition. “It is one of the shortest Psalms to read, but one of the longest to learn. It speaks of a young child, but it contains the experience of a man in Christ.”

–Charles Spurgeon

*The first verse is a humble appeal to God to save us from three areas of pride – the heart, the eyes and the actions. David brings his heart before the Lord knowing he cannot hide anything from him.

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
    my eyes are not raised too high;

In Biblical language the heart is the center of the human spirit, from which spring emotions, thoughts, motivations, courage, and actions.  (The Archaeological Study Bible)

I do not occupy myself with things
    too great and too marvelous for me.

James 4:6 (ESV)

Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

*The second verse compares perfect contentment and confidence in God with a weaned child, who previously fretful, has now found peace and solace with its mother.

But I have calmed and quieted my soul,

The soul is not a spiritual aspect distinct from the physical but an individual’s very self as a living, conscious, personal being.  (The Archaeological Study Bible)

    like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child is my soul within me.

A child not-yet weaned embraces the mother with the thought of food and immediate satisfaction. A weaned child embraces the mother out of a desire for love, closeness, and companionship. Such was David’s humble desire to draw near to God.

God is beyond what we normally think of as gender; He is neither male nor female. Yet overwhelmingly, God is represented to us as a Father. This is one of the few passages where God is represented in some way as a mother, and others include Isaiah 49:15 and Isaiah 66:13.  

–David Guzik

*The third verse moves from a private prayer to a public one, where David beseeches Israel, and every reader, to hope in the Lord now and forevermore.

O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore.

“The last verse rouses us from contemplating David to following his example and that of his greater Son: not through introspection but through being weaned from insubstantial ambitions to the only solid fare that can be ours. ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work’ (John 4:34)” 

–Derek Kidner



HERE  is Marty Goetz and “Psalm 131.” Marty describes himself as “a Jewish gospel singing, piano playing, family cherishing, Bible reading, ever learning, G-d fearing, baby booming follower of Yeshua HaMashiach, the Messiah of Israel and the Savior of the world.” He lives in Nashville. I hope you have time to take 5 minutes and sit at the feet of the Lord with this lovely combination of words and music.


English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
quiet child.    http://livingthelectionary.blogspot.com/2011/02/
Romans 15:13.   https://www.pinterest.com/pin/296815431666398066/

2737.) Psalm 134

October 15, 2019

P134 ascents

Psalm 134   (NIV)

A song of ascents.

This is one of the series of fifteen Psalms with the title, A Song of Ascents. It is a call to the priests and Levites of the temple to continue their service of praise, with the answer of a blessing from those servants to the people.

Charles Spurgeon suggested that the scene was of pilgrims departing Jerusalem in the darkness of early morning, calling out to the priests and Levites who stood watch at the temple. The pilgrims then receive the blessing spoken to them by those same servants.

–David Guzik

Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord
    who minister by night in the house of the Lord.

“Those who have made their way to Jerusalem to worship and have completed their devotions are now returning home, singing this song. They will not be able to worship in the temple again until their next journey. As they leave the city, they are encouraged to know that the priests will be remaining behind to represent them at the temple and so they will be worshiping God there continually.”

–James Montgomery Boice

2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
    and praise the Lord.

The lifting of the hands was not only the common posture of prayer among the ancient Hebrews; it was especially appropriate for praise. It displayed the anticipation of gratefully receiving from God, and the sense of surrender to Him.

–David Guzik

May the Lord bless you from Zion,

David Guzik says that Bless you uses the singular, not the plural. This is because the idea is drawn from Numbers 6:23-27, and also because God’s blessing comes to us not only as a community, but also as individuals. He loves and blesses us each one.

    he who is the Maker of heaven and earth.



HERE  is “Psalm 134” from the Psalm Project.


New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Images courtesy of:
going up to the temple.    https://therealyesua.blogspot.com/2016/04/passover-during-time-of-yeshua.html
verse 2.   https://www.v6de.com/photo/BumMnnaBnN2
God bless you.   https://www.printeryhouse.org/ProdPage.asp?prod=CA8123

2736.) Psalm 117

October 14, 2019

Psalm 117   (NIV)

The shortest chapter in the Bible invites all the earth to praise God!

“Martin Luther devoted thirty-six pages to this psalm, expounding it in four important categories:
1) prophecy (the Gentiles will participate in gospel blessings),
2) revelation (the kingdom of Christ is not earthly and temporal but rather heavenly and eternal),
3) instruction (we are saved by faith alone and not by works, wisdom, or holiness), and
4) admonition (we should praise God for such a great salvation).”

–James Montgomery Boice

Praise the Lord, all you nations;
extol him, all you peoples.

Paul quotes this verse in Romans 15:11 to show that all the nations and peoples of the world share in the promises to the patriarchs.

For great is his love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.

“Here then is a true Christian universalism, not that all people will be saved regardless of the god they believe in, but rather that all people may be saved through Jesus Christ.” 

–James Montgomery Boice

Praise the Lord.



Isaac Watts wrote a hymn based on Psalm 117 — “From All that Dwell Below the Skies.”  HERE  is a lovely multicultural presentation of this familiar piece!


New International Version (NIV)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
Psalm 117, “Praise.”    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/psalm117.gif
Psalm 117, yellow leaves.   https://www.alittleperspective.com/psalm-117-reverse-parallelism/

2735.) Psalm 16

October 11, 2019

Psalm 16   (NRSV)

Song of Trust and Security in God

1Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.

2I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”

3As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble, in whom is all my delight.

4Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names upon my lips.

5The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.

6The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; I have a goodly heritage.

farm land in Minnesota

“boundary lines” — farm land in Minnesota

7I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.

8I keep the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

9Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure.

10For you do not give me up to Sheol, or let your faithful one see the Pit.

16. resurrection butterfly Noyes

John 11:25-26 (ESV)

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

11You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Pentecost Psalm

The apostle Peter quoted from this psalm while speaking to the crowd on the day of Pentecost.

Acts 2:22-32 (New Living Translation)

People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know.  But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him.  But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip.  King David said this about him:

‘I see that the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
No wonder my heart is glad,
and my tongue shouts his praises!
My body rests in hope.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead
or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave.
You have shown me the way of life,
and you will fill me with the joy of your presence.’

Dear brothers, think about this! You can be sure that the patriarch David wasn’t referring to himself, for he died and was buried, and his tomb is still here among us.  But he was a prophet, and he knew God had promised with an oath that one of David’s own descendants would sit on his throne.  David was looking into the future and speaking of the Messiah’s resurrection. He was saying that God would not leave him among the dead or allow his body to rot in the grave.

“God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this.”



HERE  is Shane and Shane and “Psalm 16 (Fullness of Joy).”


The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
v. 1.   https://dailyverses.net/images/en/NIV/psalms-16-1.jpg
Without you, nothing makes sense.   https://patriciawonders.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/hum.jpg?w=720
farm land.  http://cache.eb.com/eb/image?id=65699&rendTypeId=4
Michael Noyes butterfly and calligraphy.   http://www.michaelnoyes.com/images/products/product_36_copyright.png

2734.) Psalm 36

October 10, 2019

Psalm 36 (New American Standard Bible)

The wicked man . . .

1Transgression speaks to the ungodly within his heart;
There is no fear of God before his eyes.
2For it flatters him in his own eyes
Concerning the discovery of his iniquity and the hatred of it.
3The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit;
He has ceased to be wise and to do good.

His sins include what he does and what he does not do.

4He plans wickedness upon his bed;
He sets himself on a path that is not good;
He does not despise evil.

The good and righteous God . . .

5Your lovingkindness, O LORD, extends to the heavens,
Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
6 Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
Your judgments are like a great deep.
O LORD, You preserve man and beast.

Looking to the God of mercy for help against wicked men . . .

7 How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.

“The word precious establishes at once the change of scale from the immense (the heavens, the skies, the mountains, a great deep, in vs. 5-6) to the intimate and personal.”

–Derek Kidner

8They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house;
And You give them to drink of the river of Your delights.

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael


Psalm 36:8 — They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Thy house; and Thou shalt make them drink of the river of Thy pleasures.

The Septuagint has “They shall be fully satisfied,” and a footnote says that the Greek means “intoxicated.”  It is not difficult to be “abundantly satisfied” or even “intoxicated” with God’s goodness when all is going well.  But when things are, as we say, “impossibly hard,” what then?

Well, the Word still stands, and we must learn to live in the power of that word:  They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Thy house. In other words, satisfied with Him, His will, His providence, His provision, His withholdings as well as His givings.  We must not build our satisfaction, our happiness, on any earthly thing; not on having what we want, or going where we want, or doing what we want.

The foundation of our happiness must be invisible, not visible.  It must not depend on circumstances of any sort whatever.  Let us gratefully take all that is given us of visible good things, for they are the gift of our most loving Father.  But do not let us build on these things.  No, never.

9For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light.

10O continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You,
And Your righteousness to the upright in heart.
11Let not the foot of pride come upon me,

Proverbs 21:4 (Contemporary English Version)

Evil people are proud

and arrogant,

but sin is the only crop

they produce.

And let not the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12There the doers of iniquity have fallen;
They have been thrust down and cannot rise.



HERE  is Third Day and “Your Love, O Lord” — from verses 5-7.


New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Images courtesy of:
rainbow and 36:9.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/36-rainbow-and-v91.jpg
verse 5.   https://thebayfriendshipclub.co.za/psalm-36/
Holy Bible.    http://s1.hubimg.com/u/415740_f260.jpg