2510.) Psalm 126

December 14, 2018

P126 sow sheaves

Psalm 126    (ESV)

Restore Our Fortunes, O Lord

Many scholars believe this psalm was composed after the exile, as the people were returning to their own land and to Jerusalem, praising and thanking God for the restoration. And as it is a Song of Ascent, pilgrims would sing this psalm as they traveled to Jerusalem for holy feasts.

A Song of Ascents.

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
    we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
    and our tongue with shouts of joy;

“We must raise up ourselves with this consideration—that the gospel is nothing else but laughter and joy. This joy properly pertaineth to captives, that is, to those that feel the captivity of sin and death… These are the disciples in whose hearts should be planted laughter and joy, and that by the authority of the Holy Ghost, which this verse setteth forth.”

–Martin Luther 

then they said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us;
    we are glad.

 “This is a burst of ecstatic joy. O how happy are we!”

–Adam Clarke

Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
    like streams in the Negeb!

The wadis, or gullies, in the southern desert (Negev) are bone-dry in the summer, but when the winter rains come the water rushes down them with a great force, a sudden and powerful unleashing of blessing.  (The Archaeological Study Bible)

Those who sow in tears
    shall reap with shouts of joy!

P126 sow reap

God reverses the fortunes of His people! He overrules evil with good, suffering with blessing!

Psalm 30:11-12   (NIV)

You turned my wailing into dancing;
    you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
    Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

He who goes out weeping,
    bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
    bringing his sheaves with him.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is this psalm in Hebrew (with English sub-titles). I could listen this over and over! I hope you enjoy it!

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of:
Those who sow in tears (with grain).    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2018/12/4f55d-Psalm126-5-6.jpg
verse 3.   http://livelovehopepraydaily.blogspot.com/2013/02/psalm-1263.html
Those who sow in tears (with flowers).    http://ourdailyblossom.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/120109.jpg
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2506.) Psalm 118

December 10, 2018

P118 sun

Psalm 118   (NIV)

“This is my own beloved Psalm. Although the entire Psalter and all of Holy Scripture are dear to me as my only comfort and source of life, I fell in love with this psalm especially. Therefore I call it my own. When emperors and kings, the wise and the learned, and even the saints could not aid me, this psalm proved a friend and helped me out of many great troubles. As a result, it is dearer to me than all the wealth, honor, and power of the pope, the Turk, and the emperor. I would be most unwilling to trade this psalm for all of it.”

–Martin Luther

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

Develop an attitude of gratitude!

“This is reason enough for giving him thanks; goodness is his essence and nature, and therefore he is always to be praised whether we are receiving anything from him or not. Those who only praise God because he does them good should rise to a higher note and give thanks to him because he is good.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Let Israel say:
“His love endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say:
“His love endures forever.”
Let those who fear the Lord say:
“His love endures forever.”

In my anguish I cried to the Lord,
and he answered by setting me free.
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?

P118 resurrection_icon

Since New Testament times, Psalm 118 evokes for Christians the story of Easter.

“Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
the Lord answered me and set me in a broad place. 
With the Lord on my side I do not fear.
What can mortals do to me?” (118:5-6).

This confidence – what can mortals do to me? – anticipates Paul’s great resurrection chapter in 1 Corinthians 15. But instead of taunting mere mortals, Paul addresses death itself:

“Death, where is your sting? Grave, where is your victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:54, 55).

–Nancy Koester

The Lord is with me; he is my helper.
I will look in triumph on my enemies.

8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in princes.

This Psalm contains the center verses of the Protestant Bible (verses 8-9). The placement is unique in other ways. The shortest Psalm is immediately before and invites the nations (the Gentiles) to join in exalting God. The longest Psalm is immediately after which is an extended doxology of praise related to the law of Moses.

–Wikipedia

10 All the nations surrounded me,
but in the name of the Lord I cut them off.
11 They surrounded me on every side,
but in the name of the Lord I cut them off.
12 They swarmed around me like bees,
but they died out as quickly as burning thorns;
in the name of the Lord I cut them off.

13 I was pushed back and about to fall,
but the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.

When the LORD is our strength, it means that He is our resource and our refuge. We look to Him for our needs, and are never unsatisfied.

When the LORD is our song, it means that He is our joy and our happiness. We find our purpose and life in Him, and He never disappoints.

When the Lord is our salvation, it means put our trust for help and deliverance in none other. He is our rest and rescue.

–David Guzik

15 Shouts of joy and victory
resound in the tents of the righteous:
“The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!
16  The Lord’s right hand is lifted high;
the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!”

From where does our comfort & help come? How do we get such satisfying treasures? Where do we turn to receive their benefits? Comfort & help are wholly what God does, & speaks, & gives to us in Jesus’ Cross. The rejected Cornerstone is our Strength & Song & Salvation! God, in the end, will be our Salvation! He alone will help us in life & death & give us the victory!

Here the psalmist sings of victory and joy. He does this to increase our comfort, painting a beautiful word picture of the blessed children of God who’ve been rescued from trouble and distress, who are now confident on account of all His works and Word to them which creates confidence that trusts completely that in the end we too will sing joyously about the victory of God which comes through the sufferings of Christ. In Christ is our joy and victory, our singing, praise and thanks because in Him we live and move and have our victory song.

–adapted from Martin Luther

17 I will not die but live,
and will proclaim what the Lord has done.
18 The Lord has chastened me severely,
but he has not given me over to death.

19 Open for me the gates of righteousness;
I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord
through which the righteous may enter.
21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
you have become my salvation.

22 The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone;
23 the Lord has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.

P118 cornerstone

These verses are quoted by Jesus in Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10, and Luke 20:17, as well as by Peter in Acts 4:11 and 1 Peter 2:7.

The exaltation of Jesus from the cross to the resurrection to the right hand of God on high is the work of God alone. Who else?

· Not the religious leaders—they rejected Him.

· Not the Roman leaders—they crucified Him.

· Not the Jewish multitudes—they chose another.

· Not the disciples—they cowered in fear.

· Not His influential followers—they buried Him.

· Not the devoted women—they were beset by grief.

· Only the LORD Himself could lift Jesus high.

–David Guzik

24 This is the day the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

25 O Lord, save us;
O Lord, grant us success.
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

The main point of this ceremony of song is to welcome God’s deliverer through the open gates into the holy city. This deliverer received blessing from the singers as he approached the house of the LORD.

We have a strange prediction that was fulfilled precisely. This deliverer is welcomed with open gates (Psalm 118:19) and hosannas (Psalm 118:25) and blessings (Psalm 118:26). Yet He is and was the same chief cornerstone that would be rejected (Psalm 118:22). Exactly according to the words and spirit of Psalm 118, Jesus was welcomed as deliverer and Messiah on Palm Sunday, and rejected and crucified only a few days later.

–David Guzik

From the house of the Lord we bless you.
27 The Lord is God,
and he has made his light shine upon us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
up to the horns of the altar.

28 You are my God, and I will give you thanks;
you are my God, and I will exalt you.

29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

The psalm begins and ends with exuberant praise!

P106 pumpkins_________________________

Music:

Today is my birthday, and I am giving you a choice of songs — presents from Psalm 118!

HERE  is Christy Nockels singing “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” (verse 14).

HERE  is “Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty,” a piano fanfare (verse 19).

HERE  is “Cornerstone” — an arrangement of “My Hope Is Built” (verse 22).

HERE  is Phil Wickham (a Contemporary Christian vocalist/songwriter and guitarist from San Diego, California) and “This Is the Day” (verse 24).

HERE  is “All Glory, Laud, and Honour” from King’s College, Cambridge (verse 26).
_________________________

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)   Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Images courtesy of:
This is the day . . .    http://www.dodsonlumber.com/acts242/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/this_is_the_day.png
Christ’s resurrection.    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-mV-bdzCEBLg/T4G7cB1jCqI/AAAAAAAACes/U9ttANC7ghU/s0/resurrection_icon.jpg
verse 14.    https://society6.com/product/psalm-11814-the-lord-is-my-strength-and-my-song_print
cornerstone.   http://ablaze.org.au/torchie/?p=662
O give thanks.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/psalm106_cont8x10.jpg

2502.) Psalm 129

December 4, 2018

Psalm 129 “Furrows Not Fallow” (c) 2007 Aaron Collier

Psalm 129    (ESV)

They Have Afflicted Me from My Youth

A Song of Ascents.

This Psalm is another of the series of fifteen titled, A Song of Ascents. As the pilgrims came to Jerusalem to remember God’s many past deliverances (such as in the feasts of Passover or Tabernacles), they prayed confident prayer in God’s continued protection and the defeat of their many enemies.

–David Guzik

“Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth”—
    let Israel now say—
“Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth,
    yet they have not prevailed against me.
The plowers plowed upon my back;
    they made long their furrows.”

P129 menorah

From the early days of nationhood, Israel had been sorely afflicted. Their oppression in Egypt, for example, was an unforgettable chapter of servitude and suffering. Yet the enemy never succeeded in exterminating the Jews. God’s people were always delivered from captivity. Their survival has been one of the great miracles of history.

–William MacDonald

The Lord is righteous;
    he has cut the cords of the wicked.
May all who hate Zion
    be put to shame and turned backward!
Let them be like the grass on the housetops,
    which withers before it grows up,
with which the reaper does not fill his hand
    nor the binder of sheaves his arms,
nor do those who pass by say,
    “The blessing of the Lord be upon you!
    We bless you in the name of the Lord!”

grass roof in Scotland

grass roof in Scotland

Grass that sprouted on the flat, sun-baked housetops would wither, since no plow could prepare a nurturing soil to sustain the young shoots—and so there would be no harvest. This verse expresses the hope that the same would happen to those who “plowed” the backs of Israel (see verse 3).   (The Archaeological Study Bible)

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Music:

HERE  is Psalm 129 like you have never heard it before! Jason Silver puts Scripture to contemporary worship music, and I think he has a perfect marriage of text and tune here!

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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:
Collier.    http://cardiphonia.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/psalm-129_furrows-not-fallow.jpg
menorah.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/p129-menorah.jpg
grass roof.   http://allmyprecious.blogspot.com/2011/05/blog-post_9288.html

2501.) Psalm 125

December 3, 2018

P125 mountains surround J

Psalm 125   (NIV)

A song of ascents.

Like the other psalms in the series of 15 Songs of Ascent, this psalm was especially appropriate for those pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem for one of the three annual major feasts of Israel. As they sang, they remembered that from the temple on Mount Zion, the Lord provides protection for His people.

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
    which cannot be shaken but endures forever.

The pilgrim who came from afar was impressed with the stature and standing of Mount Zion, the prominent hill upon which Jerusalem is established. The one who believes and trusts in the LORD is promised the same security and he or she abides forever. Our place in His love, His new life, and His gracious purpose lasts forever and cannot be moved.

· Some people are like the sand, ever shifting and unstable (Matthew 7:26). 

· Some people are like the sea, restless and unsettled (James 1:6). 

· Some people are like the wind, uncertain and inconsistent (Ephesians 4:14). 

· “Believers are like a mountain—strong, stable, and secure.” (Spurgeon)

–David Guzik

As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
    so the Lord surrounds his people
    both now and forevermore.

“Jehovah is our rock foundation, our encompassing protection, our enthroned King. In Him is all our strength and confidence.”

–G. Campbell Morgan

The scepter of the wicked will not remain
    over the land allotted to the righteous,
for then the righteous might use
    their hands to do evil.

Lord, do good to those who are good,
    to those who are upright in heart.

The greatness of the revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that God did good for those who are not good. We remember that in due time Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6) and God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

–David Guzik

The good people here are those who have been saved by faith and who walk in obedience to the Lord. Their uprightness is not the basis of their salvation, but is the fruit of their trust and obedience.

–William MacDonald

But those who turn to crooked ways
    the Lord will banish with the evildoers.

Peace be on Israel.

Shalom, shalom!

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation,” a 6th century Latin hymn that was translated into English in the mid-1800’s by John Mason Neale, an Anglican priest, scholar, and hymn-writer. Neale had all the qualifications of a good translator. He was not only an excellent classical scholar in the ordinary sense of the term, but he was also positively steeped in medieval Latin. An anecdote illustrates this—

Dr. Neale was invited by Mr. Keble and the Bishop of Salisbury to assist them with their new hymnal, and for this purpose he paid a visit to Hursley Parsonage. On one occasion Mr. Keble, having to go to another room to find some papers, was detained a short time. On his return Dr. Neale said, ‘Why, Keble, I thought you told me that the “Christian Year” was entirely original.’ ‘Yes,’ he answered, ‘it certainly is.’ ‘Then how comes this?’ and Dr. Neale placed before him the Latin of one of Keble’s hymns. Keble professed himself utterly confounded. He protested that he had never seen this ‘original,’ no, not in all his life. After a few minutes Neale relieved him by owning that he had just turned it into Latin in his absence.”

–hymnary.org

Other examples of Neale’s hymn translations include “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” “All Glory, Laud, and Honor” and “Of the Father’s Love Begotten.”

1 Christ is made the sure foundation,
Christ the head and cornerstone,
chosen of the Lord, and precious,
binding all the church in one,
Holy Zion’s help for ever,
and her confidence alone.

2 All that dedicated city,
dearly loved of God on high,
in exultant jubilation
pours perpetual melody;
God the One in Three adoring
in glad hymns eternally.

3 To this temple, where we call You,
come, O Lord of Hosts, today:
with accustomed lovingkindness,
hear Your servants as they pray;
and Your fullest benediction
shed within its walls alway.

4 Lord, here grant to all Your servants
what they ask of You to gain,
what they gain from You, forever
with the blessed to retain,
and hereafter in Your glory
evermore with You to reign.

5 Praise and honor to the Father,
praise and honor to the Son,
praise and honor to the Spirit,
ever Three, and ever One,
one in might, and one in glory,
while unending ages run.

_________________________

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:
Jerusalem surrounded by mountains.    http://courseweb.stthomas.edu/jmjoncas/LiturgicalStudiesInternetLinks/JewishWorship/JewishWorshipMusic/OTPsalms/Ps125IrvDavis.jpg
verse 4.   https://i.pinimg.com/originals/6a/44/c0/6a44c01f1c3ae8682849a95da2873f0b.jpg

2500.) Psalm 116

November 30, 2018

Psalm 116   (NIV)

Paying the Vow of Gratitude

I have much to be thankful for! I was raised in a secure home by believing parents. I attended church regularly and learned to love Jesus and the Word of God. I graduated from Wheaton College. I have lived in interesting places in the USA, Europe, the Near East (Jerusalem!), and the Far East. I have three wonderful children and three even more wonderful grandchildren, plus dear ones on my husband’s side. I am happier in my marriage with David than I can express. I am part of a church that takes God seriously, on a beautiful island in the Atlantic Ocean. I have beloved friends around the world.

But today I must say there is another great thing for which I am thankful:  early in 2009 Sue Awes asked me to consider writing a Bible reading blog, a chapter of the Bible a day, named “DWELLING in the Word.” The idea was very appealing! My first post was Genesis 1 on May 4, 2009. Little did I think that nine and a half years later I would be putting up post number 2,500!

How can I begin to say what it has meant to my heart and my mind to be DWELLING in God’s Word every day? The joy of finding the right commentary, the best pictures, helpful accompanying material to round out our understanding of each passage, good songs! The joy of being reminded each day of God’s power, God’s love, God’s mercy, God’s patience, God’s forgiveness, God’s majesty, God’s faithfulness, God’s goodness.

Thank you, Sue! Thank you, readers! Thank you, my dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.

“My resolve is to trust God exclusively and worship him explicitly.”

–Derek Kidner (British OT scholar, 1913-2008)

The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came over me;
I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“Lord, save me!”

The Lord does not stand at a distance when his people suffer. His salvation is close at hand.

The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
The Lord protects the unwary;
when I was brought low, he saved me.

“Not only is God gracious, he is also gracious to the little people, to the plain, to commoners, to the everyday person on the bus or in the shop—to people like the psalmist. That is one of the great glories of our God. When Jesus called his disciples, he called fishermen and tax collectors. When the angels announced the birth of Jesus, they appeared to shepherds.”

–James Montgomery Boice (author and pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia for more than 30 years, 1938-2000)

Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.

For you, Lord, have delivered me from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.

Psalm 27:13-14  (NIV)

I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

10 I trusted in the Lord when I said,
“I am greatly afflicted”;
11 in my alarm I said,
“Everyone is a liar.”

12 What shall I return to the Lord
for all his goodness to me?

13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord.
14 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.

15 Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his faithful servants.

“They shall not die prematurely; they shall be immortal till their work is done; and when their time shall come to die, then their deaths shall be precious. The Lord watches over their dying beds, smooths their pillows, sustains their hearts, and receives their souls.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon (English author and the “Prince of Preachers” from London, 1834-1892)

16 Truly I am your servant, Lord;
I serve you just as my mother did;
you have freed me from my chains.

17I will sacrifice a thank offering to you
and call on the name of the Lord.

P116 loosed

 

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

(missionary to India who served 55 years without a furlough, 1867-1951)

Psalm 116:15-17  —  Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. O Lord, truly I am Thy servant . . . Thou hast loosed my bonds. I will offer to Thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving.

Sometimes even Christians write of death in a sad way. “We regret to announce,” they say. The Salvation Army people are right in the way they put it:  “Promoted to Glory.”

Just after “Precious in the sight of the Lord” comes “Thou hast loosed my bonds.” Think what a loosening that loosening is! No wonder the next words are, “I will offer to Thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving.”

But those words first refer to the loosening of all bonds of sin. If anyone is conscious of any such bond, ask for it to be loosened now. Live as God’s loosed ones.

18 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people,
19 in the courts of the house of the Lord—
in your midst, Jerusalem.

Praise the Lord.

Psalms 113-118 are known as “Egyptian Hallel” psalms (Hallel simply means “Praise Yahweh!”), thus they were written as praises that were sung in connection with the Passover meal and other Hebrew festivals and reflect upon God’s redemption of his people, particularly from their bondage in Egypt. In the context of the Passover celebration, Psalms 113 and 114 typically would have been sung before the Passover meal and Psalms 115-118 would have been sung afterward. It is most likely these were the psalms that Jesus and his disciples sang after the Last Supper. 

–wikipedia

Every Christian should read this Psalm with the atonement of Jesus in mind. Christians cannot help but praise God for such a wonderful gift—the gift of eternal life through His Son Jesus. Will you look upon the Psalmist and emulate His cry: “I love you LORD”? Are you willing to commit yourself to Him without reservations?

–freedominchrist.net

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Music:

Paying the vow of gratitude — “How can I say thanks / For the things You have done for me?”  HERE  is “My Tribute,” written by Andrae Crouch and sung here by the Norwegian soprano Sissel Kyrkjebo.

_________________________

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:
I love the Lord.   http://www.freedominchrist.net/BIBLICAL%20STUDIES/Old%20Testament/Psalms/sermons–psalms–psalm%20116–i%20love%20the%20lord-htlm.htm
verse 6, from Jeanette’s Ozpix.   https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeanetteb1/17820504665
from the hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”   https://smoodock45.wordpress.com/2017/12/03/what-does-jesus-mean-by-mammon/
verse 15.   http://jacobcherians.blogspot.com/2013/11/psalm-116.html
loosed chain.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/chains2.jpg

2494.) Psalm 117

November 22, 2018

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.

_________________________

Music:

Let us offer praise and thanks to God on this Thanksgiving Day — and every day! 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.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/psalm117.gif
Thanksgiving table cartoon.   https://morningcoffee.files.wordpress.com/2007/11/thanksgiving.gif

2490.) Psalm 48

November 16, 2018

Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. The blue building with the gold dome is the Dome of the Rock, the third most sacred mosque in Islam. The pointed tower at the far left is the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in the Old City. The gray dome about in the middle is Holy Sepulchre, or as the eastern Christians call it, the Church of the Resurrection. Tall buildings in the background are in the new city of Jerusalem.

Psalm 48 (NIV)

The City of the Great King

1 Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise,
in the city of our God, his holy mountain.

Great is the LORD: He is great indeed.

· He is greater: For God is greater than man (Job 33:12). 

· He is greatest of all: For the LORD is the great God, and the great King above all gods (Psalm 95:3). 

· He is greatness itself: His greatness is unsearchable (Psalm 145:3). 

–David Guzik

2 It is beautiful in its loftiness,
the joy of the whole earth.
Like the utmost heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion,
the city of the Great King.

Ultimately, this is what makes Jerusalem wonderful. There are cities with better natural resources and more natural beauty. Yet there is only one city of the great King, the King of kings. 

3 God is in her citadels;
he has shown himself to be her fortress.

The Jerusalem Citadel, also known as the Tower of David, is located just south of Jaffa Gate on the western side of the Old City. Its location is  the highest point of the city, higher even than the Temple Mount. There have been fortifications here for over twenty centuries, protecting and defending the city.

4 When the kings joined forces,
when they advanced together,

5 they saw her and were astounded;
they fled in terror.

“In Hebrew the words are similar to the well-known report of Julius Caesar about his victories in Gaul: Veni, vidi, vici (‘I came, I saw, I conquered’). Only here the kings did not conquer; the fled from the city in terror. The verbs literally say: ‘They saw [Jerusalem is implied]; they were dumbfounded; they were overwhelmed; they fled in panic.’ The fast pace of the language captures the confusion and fearful flight.”

–James Montgomery Boice

6 Trembling seized them there,
pain like that of a woman in labor.

7 You destroyed them like ships of Tarshish
shattered by an east wind.

8 As we have heard,
so have we seen
in the city of the LORD Almighty,
in the city of our God:
God makes her secure forever.
Selah

Do we speak enough of the faithfulness of our Lord? Do we share with our friends and family what God has done for us today? We are always ready to discuss the problems and problem people around us — do we eagerly also share the joy, the kindness, the grace of the Lord in our lives? 

9 Within your temple, O God,
we meditate on your unfailing love.

10 Like your name, O God,
your praise reaches to the ends of the earth;
your right hand is filled with righteousness.

11 Mount Zion rejoices,
the villages of Judah are glad
because of your judgments.

the walls of Jerusalem

12 Walk about Zion, go around her,
count her towers,

13 consider well her ramparts,
view her citadels,
that you may tell of them to the next generation.

14 For this God is our God for ever and ever;
he will be our guide even to the end.

And so the city fades from view, and we see God alone. God! — the one who is enough.

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

“For this God is our God for ever and ever;
he will be our guide even to the end.”
–Psalm 48:14

In the Hebrew language, the future is behind a person and not out in front. Instead of striding confidently into the future, the Hebrews talked about stumbling backward into it. We can see the past, but we cannot see the future, and we can never tell exactly where our foot will land. Isn’t this an accurate description of life’s uncertainties? Christ asks us to put our hand in his because he can see the future as well as the past. He is the one who transcends time’s boundaries. He is the Lord of tomorrow as much as he is the Lord of today and yesterday. He can see exactly where each footstep will go. It is never irrational for us to put our hand in the hand of God. In fact, it is the only rational choice for us, considering our vantage point in life. If we choose to go alone, we will most certainly back into something destructive.

As a Christian you do not know what the future hold, but you do know who holds your hand. If you get ready to put your foot down in the wrong place, he will stop you and nudge you in another direction. He will shift your direction often, and as you look back on the way he has led, you will find that he has never guided you into a dead-end street or into a destructive situation. When your hand is in his and you come to the end of the way, you will be able to say, “I never lost a day.”

The essence of being a Christian is putting your hand in the hand of Christ and turning your back on any rights to the direction of your life. Your future becomes his, and he leads you.

_________________________

Music:

Using the opening phrases from verses 1 and 2, HERE is “Great is our Lord.” The song continues with praise and thanks to God!

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New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica
Images courtesy of:
Jerusalem overview.    http://www.synergise.com/travel/Homepage/ecards/israel_jerusalem_dome.jpg
Jerusalem Citadel.     http://www.katapi.org.uk/images/Archaeology/JerusalemCitadel.jpg
God is faithful.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/48-god-is-faithful.jpg
walls of Jerusalem.     http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_RRV7ci01pYA/TCyn2f4uUkI/AAAAAAAACMo/dlpZdFxW-M0/s1600/jerusalem+walls.JPG
past-present-future signs.   http://donnalenz.blogspot.com/2014/06/change.html