2405.) Psalm 24

July 20, 2018

Ps24 v7

Psalm 24 (New King James Version)

A Psalm of David.

Many think this Psalm was written upon the occasion of the entrance of the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem during the reign of David (2 Samuel 6). Yet Spurgeon correctly wrote, “The eye of the Psalmist looked, however, beyond the typical upgoing of the ark to the sublime ascension of the King of glory.”

–David Guzik

1 The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell therein.
2 For He has founded it upon the seas,
And established it upon the waters.

3 Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD?
Or who may stand in His holy place?

There are two eminences in the city of Jerusalem, Mount Zion with the royal palace to the south, and Mount Moriah with the temple site to the north: these are the hill and the house/place of the psalm. The candidate to take possession of them must be both a king and a priest.

–all text in red from T. Ernest Wilson

4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.

Here are four moral qualifications required of the person worthy to occupy the hill and the house.

The first applicant was Satan. At our Lord’s temptation in the wilderness, he claimed to have possession of all the kingdoms of this world and the glory of them (Luke 4:5-6). But clearly that was a usurper’s claim and he certainly does not fulfill the credentials or qualifications.

Then we have the four great Gentile world empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome, with the names of Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Alexander, and Augustus Caesar. In more modern times there have been Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. When we compare them with the required moral qualifications, we see how far short they come.

Adolf Hitler boasted that he would found an empire that would last a thousand years. Does he have clean hands? They are stained with the blood of six million Jews cruelly done to death in the gas ovens of Europe. Does Nero, the Roman emperor have a pure heart? He was a human monster who murdered his own mother and who killed his wife with a kick when she was pregnant with his unborn child.

Napoleon lifted up his soul unto vanity. When he was being crowned emperor, it was suggested to him that the pope should be invited to perform the ceremony. This he disdainfully refused, and with inflated pride, set the crown on his own head.

Stalin swore deceitfully when he signed political alliances and later broke them. He, too, is said to have been responsible for the planned extermination of eleven million persons in the Ukraine and other parts of Russia.

Certainly none of these would-be rulers fulfill the moral qualifications to occupy the throne of world dominion. But let us think of another Man—Jesus of Nazareth. Does He meet the standard?

Did He have clean hands? His hands were pure, powerful, pierced, and priestly hands. They were laid in compassion on the leper, on the blind, and on the heads of little children while He blessed them.

Did He have a pure heart? He was sinless and impeccable. There was no traitor within the gates of His mind or heart to open the door to the tempter. He could throw out the challenge to the world: “Which of you convinceth Me of sin?” (John 8:46). There was no answer to that challenge.

Was His soul lifted up unto vanity? He could say: “I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29). Pride was Satan’s original sin. He reached up, but Jesus stooped down to the death of the cross.

Did He ever swear deceitfully? He was truth personified. He could say: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6).

All the political leaders who have ever appeared in this world have failed the moral test: the only One who has come up to the standard is Jesus of Nazareth. He is the only perfect moral Person the world has ever seen.

5 He shall receive blessing from the LORD,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6 This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him,
Who seek Your face.  Selah

The Eastern Gate, also known as the Golden Gate or the Gate of Mercy, in the eastern wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.  In Jewish tradition, this is the gate through which the Messiah will enter Jerusalem.

7 Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.

“Ancient rabbinical sources tell us that, in the Jewish liturgy, Psalm 24 was always used in worship on the first day of the week. The first day of the week is our Sunday. So, putting these facts together, we may assume that these were the words being recited by the temple priests at the very time the Lord Jesus Christ mounted a donkey and ascended the rocky approach to Jerusalem.”

–James Montgomery Boice

8 Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty,
The LORD mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Lift up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
10 Who is this King of glory?
The LORD of hosts,
He is the King of glory.  Selah

When our Lord came in humiliation at His first advent, He was designated “King of the Jews.” Such was His title in rejection. In His manifestation in the millennium, He will be King of kings and Lord of lords. But in relation to His people, He is the King of glory. He will be the Priest-King, “a Priest upon His throne, and He shall bear the glory” (Zechariah 6:12-13).

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “Lift Up Your Heads, O Ye Gates”  from Handel’s Messiah.  Performed by the Engelbrekts Chamber Choir and members of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bengt Eklund, Conductor.

Concert in Engelbrektskyrkan, Stockholm, December 16, 2012

_________________________

New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Images courtesy of:
Lift up your heads, o gates!   http://markryman.com/BLOG/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/psalm24-7.jpg
Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?   https://i1.wp.com/www.nancykaygrace.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Day8.-Psalm-24-3-4-graceimpact.png
Eastern Gate in Jerusalem.     https://oneyeardevotional.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/golden_gate_jerusalem_02.jpg
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2400.) Psalm 122

July 13, 2018
Let us go unto the house of the Lord!

Let us go unto the house of the Lord!

Psalm 122   (NRSV)

Song of Praise and Prayer for Jerusalem

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

The final several chapters of Ezekiel will deal with his vision of the Temple, so here is a Temple song to prepare us.

Psalm 122 carries the title, A Song of Ascents. Of David. It is one of the four Songs of Ascents that is specifically attributed to King David. He wrote it both for what Jerusalem was in his day, and for what it would become under his son and their successors. David perhaps never made pilgrimage from a great distance to one of the major feasts, but he wrote Psalm 122 in the voice of one who did, and who has arrived at the Holy City.

–David Guzik

I was glad when they said to me,
    “Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
Our feet are standing
    within your gates, O Jerusalem.

I lived in Jerusalem for the school year 1978-1979, working as an English teacher at the Anglican International School. (I remember in my 7th grade class, I had 11 students who spoke 11 different languages at home; we all spoke English at school.) I also played the organ every week for the English speaking services at Redeemer Lutheran Church in the Old City.

I lived in Rehavia, a section of the New City (my apartment was not far from the Prime Minister’s official residence). So every Sunday morning I traveled (often walked) to the Old City.  I would enter through Jaffa Gate. I got into the habit of saying the first two verses of Psalm 122 whenever I entered the city on Sunday morning. And it is a habit I have kept up for all these years — most Sunday mornings, when I wake up and begin to get ready to go to church, I say these verses to myself.

I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
 Our feet have stood
within your gates, O Jerusalem!

Jerusalem—built as a city
    that is bound firmly together.

“During David’s reign and for some time thereafter, Jerusalem was a small city located on the crest of Mount Zion and Mount Moriah, bounded on two sides by steep descents to the Kidron and Tyropaeon valleys, and thus no more than half a mile in breadth. It had a dramatic setting for one approaching it from a distance, and its tight structure would have impressed anyone observing it.”

–James Montgomery Boice

To it the tribes go up,
    the tribes of the Lord,
as was decreed for Israel,
    to give thanks to the name of the Lord.

One of the reasons David conquered Jerusalem and established it as the capital of both the political and religious life of Israel was because it did not previously belong to a specific tribe, being under Canaanite occupation. Because it belonged to no tribe it belonged to all the tribes, and the tribes of the Lord could come together as one at Jerusalem and the house of the Lord.

For there the thrones for judgment were set up,
    the thrones of the house of David.

P122 pray for peace

The metal dome (lower right) is part of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher; the tower (upper left) is part of the Lutheran church of the Redeemer; both in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
    “May they prosper who love you.
Peace be within your walls,
    and security within your towers.”
For the sake of my relatives and friends
    I will say, “Peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
    I will seek your good.

The name “Jerusalem” means city of peace. We pray for peace in the city of peace. The benediction of peace rests upon all who love the city of the Great King.

–William MacDonald

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing “I Was Glad When They Said Unto Me”  by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848-1918).

Psalm 122 has been sung at the entrance of the monarch at every British coronation since that of King Charles I. Parry’s version was composed for the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902, and revised in 1911 for that of King George V when the familiar introduction was added. This setting employs antiphonal choir effects and brass fanfares. At the first performance of Parry’s arrangement at the 1902 coronation, the director of music, Sir Frederick Bridge, misjudged the timing and had finished the anthem before the King had arrived, having to repeat it when the right moment came. Bridge was saved by the organist, Walter Alcock, who improvised in the interim. This setting of “I Was Glad” was also performed in 2011 at the Westminster Abbey wedding of Prince William and Catherine as the processional music for the bride and her father and the bridal attendants. It had previously been performed at the wedding of Charles and Diana in 1981.

_________________________

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:
Let us go unto the house of the Lord.    http://closerdaybyday.info/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/psalm-122.jpg
city of Jerusalem, looking west.    https://mobile.almasdarnews.com/article/u-s-ready-open-jerusalem-embassy-may-state-department/
map of David’s Jerusalem.   http://www.generationword.com/jerusalem101-photos/city-of-david/city-of-david-model.jpg
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/p122-pray-for-peace.jpg

2397.) Psalm 80

July 10, 2018

Ferrari-Carano Vineyards, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California — a beautiful and beautifully tended vineyard!  Photograph by Lawrence Goldman.

Psalm 80  (NIV)

For the director of music. To the tune of “The Lilies of the Covenant.” Of Asaph. A psalm.

1 Hear us, Shepherd of Israel,
you who lead Joseph like a flock.
You who sit enthroned between the cherubim,
shine forth 2 before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.
Awaken your might;
come and save us.

3 Restore us, O God;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.

This begins a refrain that is repeated three times in this Psalm (verses 3, 7, and 19). It expressed the trust and dependence upon God, and confidence that His favor (shown by His shining face) was all that was needed for Israel’s restoration and blessing.

–David Guzik

And if this was true for the dry bones of Ezekiel’s vision, how much more true for us, the adopted sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty!

4 How long, LORD God Almighty,
will your anger smolder
against the prayers of your people?
5 You have fed them with the bread of tears;
you have made them drink tears by the bowlful.

“There cannot be a more striking picture of Sion in captivity. Her bread is dipped in tears, and her cup is filled to the brim with them: no time is free from grief and lamentation.”

–George Horne

6 You have made us an object of derision to our neighbors,
and our enemies mock us.

7 Restore us, God Almighty;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.

“It is not so much said, ‘turn our captivity’ but turn ‘us.’ All will come right if we are right. The best turn is not that of circumstances but of character. When the Lord turns his people he will soon turn their condition.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

8 You transplanted a vine from Egypt;
you drove out the nations and planted it.
9 You cleared the ground for it,
and it took root and filled the land.

“The figure is carried out with much beauty in detail. The Exodus was the vine’s transplanting; the destruction of the Canaanites was the grubbing up of weeds to clear the ground for it; the numerical increase of the people was its making roots and spreading far.”

–Alexander Maclaren

Lauren Tatum planting grapes in New Mexico

10 The mountains were covered with its shade,
the mighty cedars with its branches.
11 Its branches reached as far as the Sea,
its shoots as far as the River.

And under Kings David and Solomon, the vine of Israel did extend from the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River. 

12 Why have you broken down its walls
so that all who pass by pick its grapes?

13 Boars from the forest ravage it,

In 1520, as Martin Luther rose in prominence as a reformer, Pope Leo X published a condemnation of Luther and his work known as Exsurge domini. In the opening paragraph he used this image from Psalm 80: “At thy ascension into heaven thou hast commanded the care, rule and administration of this vineyard to Peter as head and to thy representatives, his successors, as the Church triumphant. A roaring boar of the woods has undertaken to destroy this vineyard, a wild beast wants to devour it.”

–David Guzik

and insects from the fields feed on it.
14 Return to us, God Almighty!
Look down from heaven and see!
Watch over this vine,
15 the root your right hand has planted,
the son you have raised up for yourself.

16 Your vine is cut down, it is burned with fire;
at your rebuke your people perish.
17 Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand,
the son of man you have raised up for yourself.
18 Then we will not turn away from you;
revive us, and we will call on your name.

19 Restore us, LORD God Almighty;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.

“Both for Israel and the Church this prayer has been answered in Christ. In Him we may be restored to God. In Him, the face of God is shining upon us in grace.”

–G. Campbell Morgan

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is Peter C. Lutkin’s “The Lord Bless You and Keep You.”

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Goldman:  Ferrari-Carano  vineyard.   http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4058/4696657453_48eb93c25b_z.jpg
The Lord bless you . . .   by Michael Noyes.  http://michaelnoyes.com/images/products/product_41_copyright.png
The Lord bless you  . . . plaque.  http://oneyearbibleimages.com/image82.jpg
planting grapes.  http://fabiangarciasc.nmsu.edu/documents/lauren-tatum-ag-business-planting-grapes.jpg
picking grapes.   http://inside-sonoma.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Grape-harvesting.jpg
The Lord bless you . . . with pansy.  http://www.4catholiceducators.com/graphics/Numbers6_24-26b.jpg

2393.) Psalm 79

July 4, 2018

Psalm 79 (The Message)

An Asaph Psalm

“It is the cry of amazement at sacrilegious intrusion; as if the poet were struck with horror. The stranger pollutes thine hallowed courts with his tread.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Pay attention and you will hear some of the same themes we have been dealing with in Ezekiel — sinful people, deserving of punishment, yet still loved by God, God’s anger and judgment, prayers for deliverance and peace . . .

 1-4 God! Barbarians have broken into your home,
violated your holy temple,
left Jerusalem a pile of rubble!
They’ve served up the corpses of your servants
as carrion food for birds of prey,
Threw the bones of your holy people
out to the wild animals to gnaw on.
They dumped out their blood
like buckets of water.
All around Jerusalem, their bodies
were left to rot, unburied.
We’re nothing but a joke to our neighbors,
graffiti scrawled on the city walls.

graffiti in Tel Aviv

Many scholars believe this psalm was written after the fall of Jerusalem. The Babylonians had leveled the city, burned the temple, killed many Jews and taken many more into exile.

5-7 How long do we have to put up with this, God?
Do you have it in for us for good?
Will your smoldering rage never cool down?
If you’re going to be angry, be angry
with the pagans who care nothing about you,
or your rival kingdoms who ignore you.
They’re the ones who ruined Jacob,
who wrecked and looted the place where he lived.

8-10 Don’t blame us for the sins of our parents.
Hurry up and help us; we’re at the end of our rope.
You’re famous for helping; God, give us a break.
Your reputation is on the line.
Pull us out of this mess, forgive us our sins—
do what you’re famous for doing!


Don’t let the heathen get by with their sneers:
“Where’s your God? Is he out to lunch?”
Go public and show the godless world
that they can’t kill your servants and get by with it.

11-13 Give groaning prisoners a hearing;
pardon those on death row from their doom—you can do it!
Give our jeering neighbors what they’ve got coming to them;
let their God-taunts boomerang and knock them flat.
Then we, your people, the ones you love and care for,
will thank you over and over and over.
We’ll tell everyone we meet
how wonderful you are, how praiseworthy you are!

“The very fact of the song is a revelation of the underlying confidence in God. In distress the heart seeks its way back to some hiding place, and finds it in the name of God.”

–G. Campbell Morgan

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “You rescued me”  by Geoff Bullock, performed by Hillsong.

_________________________

The Message (MSG)   Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Images courtesy of:
sheep.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/psalm79sheep1.jpg
graffiti.   http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3455/3870096293_605ab52af0_z.jpg?zz=1
Psalm 79:9.   http://xd3.xanga.com/847f6a7b38730276481605/z220291303.jpg

2390.) Psalm 91

June 29, 2018

Psalm 91 (NIV)

Assurance of God’s Protection

“This psalm is one of the greatest possessions of the saints.”

–G. Campbell Morgan

“In the whole collection there is not a more cheering Psalm, its tone is elevated and sustained throughout, faith is at its best, and speaks nobly.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

I post this particular psalm in memory of my mother, Maurine Edvenson Riskedahl, who would have turned 96 years old today. She taught me many things, but especially to love Scripture and to learn it by heart. She lived her life on earth dwelling in the shelter of the Most High, and now in heaven she knows it as an eternal reality.

1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw

MY DREAD AND MY SECURITY

In Old Testament times, Yahweh alone was to be feared. 

Yahweh alone was God, and there was no savior beside him. Perfect peace was found by keeping one’s mind stayed on him. This was not an easy religion, and it was dramatically different from the other ancient religions, in which people believed in magic, fate, and capricious gods. Old Testament faith pulled away all the normal crutches provided by society and insisted that a person must stand by faith in Yahweh alone, depending on him in all circumstances.

In our day of swaying values and relative “truths,” when the world pressures all Christians to accept some other help besides God, we need to remember that the God of the Old Testament is still our God. Jesus Christ reflects his Father’s nature and puts the same demands on us that he placed on the Israelites; he insists that we be a striking contrast to the culture around us, which would have us be conformed to its own image. Society will offer a thousand crutches on which to lean, but each one will fail and will ultimately be destructive if we turn to it for security rather than to God himself.

3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.

“Lord Craven, a Christian, was a nobleman who was living in London when plague ravaged the city in the fifteenth century. In order to escape the spreading pestilence Craven determined to leave the city for his country home, as many of his social standing did. He ordered his coach and baggage made ready. But as he was walking down one of the halls of his home about to enter his carriage, he overheard one of his servants say to another, ‘I suppose by my Lord’s quitting London to avoid the plague that his God lives in the country and not in town.’

It was a straightforward and apparently innocent remark. But it struck Lord Craven so deeply that he canceled his journey, saying, ‘My God lives everywhere and can preserve me in town as well as in the country. I will stay where I am.’ So he stayed in London. He helped the plague victims, and he did not catch the disease himself.”

–James Montgomery Boice

8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

9 If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

The devil quotes Scripture, too! But not faithfully. He was just trying to make a scene.

Luke 4:9-12 (NIV)

The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here.  For it is written:

   “‘He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

In the last lines of the Psalm God spoke personal and wonderful blessing over the one who loves and knows Him:

· The blessing of His presence: I will be with him in trouble

· The blessing of His protection: I will deliver him

· The blessing of His promotion: I will…honor him

· The blessing of His prosperity: With long life I will satisfy him

· The blessing of His preservation: And show him My salvation

–David Guzik

_________________________

Music:

Verse 4 assures us that “under his wings you will find refuge.” My mother knew what it was to suffer loss and disappointment, and she knew where to go in such times.  HERE  is George Beverly Shea singing “Under His Wings.”

_________________________

New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
refuge.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/psalm91_4.jpg
crutches.   https://www.4mdmedical.com/quick-change-crutches-junior.html#gallery
the plague.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/theplague.jpg
Satan tempting Christ.   http://www.jesuit.org.sg/html/prayer/homilies/2017.yeara.lent01.php

2389.) Psalm 109

June 28, 2018

Psalm 109  (NLT)

For the choir director: A psalm of David.

This is a Psalm of David, and is thought to be the strongest of what are known as the Imprecatory Psalms, David’s songs that call down curses upon his enemies. It is important to remember that these are prayers, committing vengeance unto God. With the greater revelation of grace and truth that came by Jesus Christ, we understand that we are to pray for the good of our enemies, and not their cursing.

Yet, we remind ourselves that David refused to act upon these curses, instead leaving vengeance up to God. This is especially relevant regarding David, who knew what it was to take life with the sword. If David withheld vengeance, it was because he chose to, not because he lacked the opportunity, skill, or courage.

–David Guzik

Of all the Psalms of imprecation (to invoke evil upon or curse), this one is unrivaled for first place. No other calls down the judgment of God with such distilled vitriol or with such comprehensive detail. The reader cannot fail to be intrigued and fascinated by the sheer ingenuity of the psalmist in the variety of punishments he invokes on his foes!

–William MacDonald

O God, whom I praise,
don’t stand silent and aloof
while the wicked slander me
and tell lies about me.
They surround me with hateful words
and fight against me for no reason.
I love them, but they try to destroy me with accusations
even as I am praying for them!

“The Hebrew is more abrupt and therefore even stronger. It says literally, ‘But I prayer.’ That is, ‘I am all prayer or characterized by prayer. While my enemies are uttering false words about me to other people, trying to do me harm, I am speaking to God. I am praying to God always.’”

–James Montgomery Boice

They repay evil for good,
and hatred for my love.

They say, “Get an evil person to turn against him.
Send an accuser to bring him to trial.
When his case comes up for judgment,
let him be pronounced guilty.
Count his prayers as sins.
Let his years be few;
let someone else take his position.

The Apostle Peter quoted this verse, before the apostles elected the replacement for Judas Iscariot in Acts 1:16-26.

May his children become fatherless,
and his wife a widow.
10 May his children wander as beggars
and be driven from their ruined homes.
11 May creditors seize his entire estate,
and strangers take all he has earned.
12 Let no one be kind to him;
let no one pity his fatherless children.
13 May all his offspring die.
May his family name be blotted out in a single generation.
14 May the Lord never forget the sins of his fathers;
may his mother’s sins never be erased from the record.
15 May the Lord always remember these sins,
and may his name disappear from human memory.
16 For he refused all kindness to others;
he persecuted the poor and needy,
and he hounded the brokenhearted to death.
17 He loved to curse others;
now you curse him.
He never blessed others;
now don’t you bless him.

My mother used to say, “What you put into the lives of others comes back into your own.” 

Galatians 6:7-8 says,    “Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”

I say, “Let me bless and not curse!  Let me consider this:  How can I help bring love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control into my life and the lives of others today, to the glory of God and the praise of his name?”

18 Cursing is as natural to him as his clothing,
or the water he drinks,
or the rich food he eats.
19 Now may his curses return and cling to him like clothing;
may they be tied around him like a belt.”

This psalm is used by Thomas Hardy  in his novel The Mayor of Casterbridge. The protagonist and hero of the story, Michael Henchard, is drinking with the choir after practice when he sees his rival, Donald Farfrae, whom he hates. He subsequently persuades the choir to sing Psalm 109. The choir master remarks of this psalm that — “Twasn’t made for singing. We chose it once when the gypsy stole the parson’s mare, thinking to please him, but parson were quite upset. Whatever Servant David were thinking about when he made a Psalm that nobody can sing without disgracing himself, I can’t fathom.”

20 May those curses become the Lord’s punishment
for my accusers who speak evil of me.
21 But deal well with me, O Sovereign Lord,
for the sake of your own reputation!

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

Psalm 109:21 — Do Thou for me, O God the Lord, for Thy name’s sake.

There are times when we do not know what to pray for as we ought. It is restful, then, to leave the matter open. Do Thou for me, O God the Lord. That covers my personal need. Do Thou for them covers the need of those I love. It does not matter that I do not know how to pray for them as I want to pray. He knows everything, and He will do for them all that His love sees is best.

The Psalms give us many brief telegram prayers, and this is one we can use today and every day, for all in need.

Rescue me
because you are so faithful and good.
22 For I am poor and needy,
and my heart is full of pain.
23 I am fading like a shadow at dusk;
I am brushed off like a locust.
24 My knees are weak from fasting,
and I am skin and bones.
25 I am a joke to people everywhere;
when they see me, they shake their heads in scorn.

26 Help me, O Lord my God!
Save me because of your unfailing love.

Grace:   Where we get what we really don’t deserve.
Mercy:   Where we don’t get what we really do deserve.

27 Let them see that this is your doing,
that you yourself have done it, Lord.
28 Then let them curse me if they like,
but you will bless me!
When they attack me, they will be disgraced!
But I, your servant, will go right on rejoicing!
29 May my accusers be clothed with disgrace;
may their humiliation cover them like a cloak.
30 But I will give repeated thanks to the Lord,
praising him to everyone.

 He didn’t want deliverance only for his own sake, but also for the glory of God.

31 For he stands beside the needy,
ready to save them from those who condemn them.

One final consideration! The severity of the imprecations in the Psalms prepare our hearts in a feeble way to appreciate the One who bore every curse in His body on the cross so that we might be eternally free from the curse and from cursing. Not all the punishments described in the  psalms put together give a feeble, faint reflection of the avalanche of judgment which He endured as our Substitute.

–William MacDonald

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Music:

Verse 21:  Rescue me, because you are so faithful and good.

HERE  is “Rescue Me”  by Selah.

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New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Galatians 3:13.    http://pastormurungi.blogspot.com/2016/01/christ-redeemed-us-from-curse.html
It’s about love.    http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lscfi993521qj3fzro1_400.jpg
The Mayor of Casterbridge.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/mayorofcasterbridge.jpg
verse 21.   http://wallpaper4god.com/wallpapers/psalm-10921_4407_1024x768.jpg
v. 26.   http://biblepic.com/48/15782.jpg

2388.) Psalm 108

June 27, 2018

Psalm 108   (ESV)

With God We Shall Do Valiantly

A Song. A Psalm of David.

Psalm 108 is actually the compilation of sections from two previous psalms. Psalm 108:1-5 comes from Psalm 57:1-11, and Psalm 108:6-13 comes from Psalm 60:5-12. These are David’s words, but by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, taken and applied to a present challenge. The enemies specified in verses 9-13 are Moab, Edom, and Philistia (with the emphasis on Edom). It may be that the old foe, subdued in David’s day, rose again and Israel must defeat her again. Or, it may be a different foe, the prior prayer and victory over Edom serves as an example and ground for faith in the present crisis. Psalm 108 shows us that we can and should use the words of Scripture as our present prayers and praises, suitable to our present situation.

–David Guzik

My heart is steadfast, O God!
I will sing and make melody with all my being!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn!
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your steadfast love is great above the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

“God is exalted above the heavens. His glory does fill the earth. The goal of history is that God might be known as God and be honored for it.”

–James Montgomery Boice

For thy mercy is great above the heavens, and therefore there must be no limit of time, or place, or people, when that mercy is to be extolled. As the heavens over arch the whole earth, and from above mercy pours down upon men, so shalt thou be praised everywhere beneath the sky. Mercy is greater than the mountains, though they pierce the clouds; earth cannot hold it all, it is so vast, so boundless, so exceeding high that the heavens themselves are over topped thereby.

And thy truth teacheth unto the clouds. As far as we can see we behold thy truth and faithfulness, and there is much beyond which lies shrouded in cloud, but we are sure that it is all mercy, though it be far above and out of our sight. Therefore shall the song be lifted high and the psalm shall peal forth without stint of far resounding music. Here is ample space for the loudest chorus, and a subject which deserves thunders of praise.

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!

1 Kings 8:27   (NIV)

The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you.

That your beloved ones may be delivered,
give salvation by your right hand and answer me!

God has promised in his holiness:
“With exultation I will divide up Shechem
and portion out the Valley of Succoth.

God claims all of Israel as his, and he knows the future of each nation. Do things in our world sometimes seem out of control? Let us remember that God has the whole world in his hands, and his purposes will ultimately be fulfilled! So — no need for us to be anxious or afraid; God is in control!

These two places (Shechem and the Valley of Succoth) are associated with Jacob in Genesis 33:17-20 as the first two places the patriarch occupied after returning from his encounter with Esau. They are on opposite sides of the Jordan River.

Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine;

Both of these areas are located, at least in part, east of the Jordan River.

Ephraim is my helmet,
Judah my scepter.

The two most powerful tribes in Israel. They were frequently rivals, but here they are united as parts of God’s army.

Moab is my washbasin;
upon Edom I cast my shoe;
over Philistia I shout in triumph.”

These are nearby hostile nations. 

10 Who will bring me to the fortified city?
Who will lead me to Edom?
11 Have you not rejected us, O God?
You do not go out, O God, with our armies.
12 Oh grant us help against the foe,
for vain is the salvation of man!

This is an important and eternal principle: That which seems unconquerable can be overcome by the power of God.

“We ought to pray with all the more confidence in God when our confidence in man is altogether gone. When the help of man is vain, we shall not find it vain to seek the help of God.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

13 With God we shall do valiantly;
it is he who will tread down our foes.

He who would valiant be ’gainst all disaster,
Let him in constancy follow the Master.
There’s no discouragement shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent to be a pilgrim.

Who so beset him round with dismal stories
Do but themselves confound—his strength the more is.
No foes shall stay his might; though he with giants fight,
He will make good his right to be a pilgrim.

Since, Lord, Thou dost defend us with Thy Spirit,
We know we at the end, shall life inherit.
Then fancies flee away! I’ll fear not what men say,
I’ll labor night and day to be a pilgrim.

–John Bunyan (written during his 12-year prison sentence for re­fus­ing to conform to the official state church)

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Music:

I am thinking “harp and lyre” from verse 2. So  HERE  is a favorite hymn on the harp — “Be Thou My Vision,” performed by Regina Ederveen.

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English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
valiantly.    https://bible.faithlife.com/bible/Ps60.12
plane in the clouds.    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/tm/2008/12/05/plane_sky_428x269_to_468x312.jpg
Earth from space with stars.    https://joanofartshipofimagination.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/1earth.jpg
God is in control.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/god-is-in-control_t_nv1.jpg
follow Christ.   http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2542/4162619769_034e6ce31e.jpg