Jewels for Worship Leaders: 52 Devotions from the Psalms


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Surrender to any temptation; transfer it from the realm of mental contemplation to life experience, and that temptation instantly becomes much more difficult to resist in the future. Each successive experience of surrender to temptation builds a habit, reinforced not only spiritually, but also by brain chemistry. Such ingrained habits are more and more difficult to break the more they are experienced; and it is almost impossible to break such habits without replacing them with another habit. Of course, it is not only the young man who has these challenges; older men and women of every age have their own challenges to pure living.

Yet these are often more severely felt in the life of the young man. He is praying rather than preaching. By taking heed : A life of moral purity does not happen accidentally. If one does not take heed , the natural path is towards impurity and degeneration.

One must take heed in order to be pure. According to Your word : This is how one takes heed. Jesus spoke specifically of the power of His word to cleanse and keep pure: You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you John Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth John You must take heed to your daily life as well as study your Bible, and you must study your Bible that you may take heed to your daily life. With the greatest care a man will go astray if his map misleads him; but with the most accurate map he will still lose his road if he does not take heed to it.

This idea is communicated in Proverbs When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, discretion will preserve you; Understanding will keep you, to deliver you from the way of evil, from the man who speaks perverse things. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You. With my whole heart I have sought You : Here the Psalmist both declares his dedication to God, while at the same time recognizing his weakness to maintain such a dedication Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!

With my whole heart I have sought You reminds us that Scripture was no mere textbook to the Psalmist; it was how he sought and met with God. Let me not wander helps us to put in perspective the many claims to purity and devotion in this Psalm and others. They are understood in the light of dependence upon God , not in the sense of self-righteous pride. In a careless or half-hearted state, wanderings are not watched, so long as they do not lead to any open declension. It is hidden in the sense that it is on the inside , where none can see it and it is safe so that none can take it away.

We can be assured that before this word was hidden in the heart , it was received in the mind. The Psalmist heard and read the Word of God, and thought about it continually, until it became ingrained in both mind and heart. It is a defense against sin, for all the reasons discussed above and more. The greatness of these ideas and the reality of them in his life has made such praise necessary. Teach me Your statutes : This is another reflection of the humility of the Psalmist. Sin will keep you from this book.

With my lips I have declared All the judgments of Your mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word. With my lips I have declared all the judgments of Your mouth : The Psalmist understood the importance of not only silently reading or hearing the Word of God, but also in saying it.

We may confidently conclude that there is not enough — never enough — of this among the people of God. Saying it is powerful and must not be neglected. Obedience is not a burden, but a delight. This will see the young man cleanse his way , and enjoy the fullness of such a God-honoring life. Deal bountifully with Your servant : This is a wonderful request; boldly asking for blessing deal bountifully , while at the same time coming humbly before God Your servant.

The servant properly depends upon the master for his bounty. This is a wonderful, God honoring prayer that is heard in heaven. As the rest of this section will demonstrate, the Psalmist prayed this because of great problems and pressures that had beset him. This section of the Psalm shows us that the author was a man who had suffered deeply. In the midst of these trials, he wanted to live — not only in the sense of surviving, but also in the sense of a quality of life, especially in regard to God.

It has to do with removing a veil, or covering. What then is this prayer? Not — give me a plainer Bible — but open my eyes to know my Bible. Not — show me some new revelations beside the law — but make me behold the wonders of the law. Wondrous things from Your law : There are wondrous things in Scripture; but they can only be seen when the eyes are opened by God. This means that prayer is an important and often neglected part of Bible study. God has given man a sense of wonder, and there are certain things that prompt it.

The new and unexpected can cause wonder; the beautiful and great and cause wonder, and the mysterious and unknown can cause wonder. We can say that God has provided for this sense of wonder by giving us His word. The Holy Spirit can make us alive to the Bible, and constantly see things that are new and unexpected; things that are great and beautiful; things that are mysterious and unknown. It is a shame to many Christians that they look for their sense of wonderful to be satisfied without looking to the Word of God.

Yet those who see more than you are not necessarily smarter or better; their eyes are just more open. We must also study the Bible carefully. The Holy Spirit is given not to make our study unnecessary but to make it effective. I am a stranger in the earth; Do not hide Your commandments from me. My soul breaks with longing For Your judgments at all times.

I am a stranger in the earth; do not hide Your commandments from me : This is the same request as in the previous verse, made upon a different reason. You cannot expect to be at home in it, and if you are, well, it is an indication that you really do not belong to Christ or at least are living far from him. It expresses excessive longing, grievous disappointment, hopeless love, accumulated sorrow. By this we may see the hungering and thirsting which the psalmist had after righteousness, often mingled with much despondency.

What God intends to give us he first sets us longing for. Hence the wonderful efficacy of prayer, because prayer is the embodiment of a longing inspired of God because he intends to bestow the blessing. What are thy longings, then, my hearer? Where the heart is breaking with desire there is life. This may comfort some of you: you have not attained as yet to the holiness you admire, but you long for it: ah, then, you are a living soul, the life of God is in you.

You rebuke the proud—the cursed, Who stray from Your commandments. Remove from me reproach and contempt, For I have kept Your testimonies. Princes also sit and speak against me, But Your servant meditates on Your statutes. Your testimonies also are my delight And my counselors. Reproach is unpleasant; it is the expression of disapproval or disappointment.

Yet contempt is even worse; it is the feeling that a person or thing is beneath consideration, that they are worthless and useless. Beyond reproach and contempt , these enemies also did slander the Psalmist sit and speak against me. When the world thinks we are strange and wonders if we belong, it sees us correctly.

When the slander us, they tell lies about us and falsely accuse us. Our own attempts at clearing ourselves are usually failures. It must be brought home to our own experiences, and consulted on those trivial occasions of every day, when, unconscious of our need of Divine direction, we are too often inclined to lean to our own counsel. In this section the Psalmist saw many things that hinder his reception of the Word of God and his fellowship with God, and he prayed to be preserved from them. My soul clings to the dust : The Psalmist used a strong image to say that he felt near death in his current crisis; dust was the place of death, the place of mourning, and the place of humiliation.

Revive me according to Your word : From this low place, the prayer for revival came. The Psalmist asked for life and vitality to be restored and he asked that it happen according to Your word. This shows us that revival comes from a sense of spiritual need and lowliness. True revival — in the Biblical and historical sense — is marked by a shamed awareness of sin and an urgency to confess and make things right mentioned in the following verse.

The Psalmist knew what he needed. When a person is depressed in spirit, weak, and bent towards the ground, the main thing is to increase his stamina and put more life into him; then his spirit revives. According to Your word shows us that God uses His word in bringing revival, and that works that claim to be revival can be measured according to His word. I have declared my ways, and You answered me; Teach me Your statutes. Make me understand the way of Your precepts; So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works. I have declared my ways… teach me Your statutes : The idea behind I have declared my ways is that he told God everything about himself and his life.

He confessed fully and freely before God. For this should be done, not only at our first coming to him, but continually throughout the whole of our life. We have the sense of a wonderful liberty in conversation; he spoke to God as a dear friend. Make me understand the way of Your precepts : The Psalmist understood that he needed more than knowledge ; he also needed understanding. I have declared to thee my ways; now, wilt thou teach me thy ways? I have confessed to thee how I have broken thy statutes; wilt thou not give me thy statutes back again? My soul melts from heaviness : The problems surrounding the Psalmist as seen in Psalm made his soul heavy, feeling as if it would melt.

He felt that he had no strength or stability within. He sorely needs succour and strength. How does he seek it? Not by asking for pity, but by a determined application to the law of his God. Remove from me the way of lying, And grant me Your law graciously. I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgments I have laid before me.

Remove from me the way of lying… I have chosen the way of truth : The Psalmist sensed the common temptation to lie; yet he determined to choose the way of truth. See 1 Samuel , 8, where he roundly telleth three or four lies; and the like he did, 1 Samuel , this evil he saw by himself, and here prayeth against it.

The full thought is, If we are to be kept from sin, it must be by the grace of God exercised through the teaching of his Word. Your judgments I have laid before me : This is how the Psalmist was able to choose the way of truth. It was because he was in close relationship with the Word of God. I will run the course of Your commandments, For You shall enlarge my heart.

The Psalmist understood that if he were to give himself entirely to God; to cling to His word as a shipwrecked man clings to a floating plank in the sea, then he could trust that God would not allow him to be put… to shame. This was well-placed confidence. The clinging of this verse connects well with the choosing of the previous verses. I will run the course of Your commandments : After beginning low in the dust, now the Psalmist is running. He has moved in a beautiful progression, from confessing to choosing to clinging to running.

He must have his heart enlarged; that is, made bigger and stronger and better and more steadfast. His confidence is that God will do this through His word. Weakness is not the plea for indolence, but for quickening grace… The secret of Christian energy and success is a heart enlarged in the love of God. He is the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and it is used at the beginning of verbs to make them causative.

Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, For I delight in it. The idea is that if only God teaches him, he will then persevere and keep it to the end. It is not an appeal for direction in some special case of difficulty, but rather for the clear manifestation of the meaning of the will of God. Only a God-changed heart can pray this.

Left to himself, man is unable to keep the way and word of God much less keep it to the end. Here the Psalmist prays as one who has received the will , and now prays for the doing of it. We should reckon ourselves to the duty of following God and His word to the end. Give me understanding… I shall observe it with my whole heart : Without this understanding, the Psalmist could not follow the desire of his transformed heart. The Psalmist had no doubt that God has given His word to us; his only fear was that he would not understand it or be distracted from it. Yet he was utterly confident that God had spoken and that it could be understood rightly by the prayerful heart and mind.

Incline my heart to Your testimonies, And not to covetousness. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, And revive me in Your way. For the first time he is confessing a potentially divided mind. We should beware of all sins, but specially of mother- sins. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things : The Psalmist rightly understood that some things, comparatively speaking, are worthless things.

They are of no value for eternity and little value for the present age. He prayed that God would empower and enable him to turn away his eyes and attention from such things. Many lives are wasted because people find themselves unwilling or unable to turn away their eyes from worthless things. The modern world with its media and entertainment technology brings before us an endless river of worthless things to occupy not only our eyes and time, but also our heart and minds.

Some things are clearly worthless ; some things are thought by many to be worthy, but are in fact worthless. The Psalmist understood that he had a natural tendency towards worthless things , so he prayed for that natural tendency to be counter-acted. Yet the eyes are so powerful that the Psalmist had to pray; pray for power outside himself to turn his eyes from worthless things.

Does the Psalmist have no eyelids? No muscles in his neck to turn the head? Yet we all sympathize with this prayer; the eyes are so small — yet they can lead the whole person, and often lead to destruction. This is because the eyes lead the heart, lead the mind, and can lead the whole person. He did not gouge out his own eyes or pray God to do it; instead he wanted to look another way, a better way. The best way to look away from sin is to look at something else. And revive me in Your way : This is another prayer for revival; this time, to be made alive again in the way or path of God.

Life is the peculiar sphere of God: he is the Lord and Giver of life. No man ever received spiritual life, or the renewal of it, from any other source but the living God. Beloved, this is worth recollecting, for we are very apt when we feel ourselves declining to look anywhere but to the Lord. We, too, often look within. Establish Your word to Your servant, Who is devoted to fearing You. Turn away my reproach which I dread, For Your judgments are good. Behold, I long for Your precepts; Revive me in Your righteousness. This is a prayer for a change in the heart and mind of the servant of God, so that the word of the LORD would be established in them.

Establish Your word to Your servant is much the same idea as what Mary said to Gabriel regarding the word of the Lord that he brought to her: Let it be to me according to your word Luke There is some reproach [disgrace] that we face as faithful followers of Jesus. Paul suffered these kind of reproaches 1 Timothy and indeed even took pleasure in them 2 Corinthians This kind of reproach we expect and receive as followers of Jesus Hebrews , 1 Peter I long for Your precepts; revive me in Your righteousness : Again the Psalmist prays for revival.

There are almost no words in Hebrew that begin with this letter, which is properly a conjunction, and hence in each of the verses in this section the beginning of the verse is in the original a conjunction — vau. So shall I have an answer for him who reproaches me, For I trust in Your word. Let Your mercies come… Your salvation according to Your word : Here the Psalmist acknowledged that mercy and salvation come from God to man through the Word of God.

It actually brings mercy and salvation to us. The Psalmist rightly said mercies , in the plural. The ancient Hebrew word here translated mercies is hesed. For centuries it was translated with words like mercy , kindness , and love. However, many disagreed and there is no good reason for changing the long-held understanding of hesed and taking it as a word that mainly emphasizes covenant loyalty see R.

The disapproving voices we often hear can be answered by our abiding trust in the approval that the believer finds in God. When we believe who God is and what He has done for us in Jesus Christ, the disapproval of this world is answered. And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, For I have hoped in Your ordinances.

So shall I keep Your law continually, Forever and ever. Take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth : This request is rooted in the understanding that it is only by the goodness and grace of God that His word does dwell with us. Therefore the prayer comes that it may continue so. This is true for humanity in general; hypothetically, God might have created man yet never communicated with him by His word. They are so because of the work of God in them, so it is wise and worthy to pray that it would remain so.

It is true most of all for those who proclaim the word of God. For I have hoped in Your ordinances : His past hope is the ground for his future expectation. He has hoped in the word of God ordinances in the past, and has not been disappointed. It was to glorify God through obedience to His word, not any self-serving purpose. And I will walk at liberty, For I seek Your precepts. I will speak of Your testimonies also before kings, And will not be ashamed. And I will delight myself in Your commandments, Which I love.

Freedom comes through obedience and submission to God. The Spirit of holiness is a free spirit; he sets men at liberty and enables them to resist every effort to bring them under subjection. The precepts of God were not forced upon him; for he sought them. I will speak of Your testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed : This is an example of the liberty just mentioned. To have the boldness and ability to speak freely of God and His great word before kings and the great men of this earth shows true liberty. In the verses following he lists at least three things that come from this life of obedience: liberty , courage will not be ashamed , and delight.

These are blessings to the obedient life; blessings not earned by our obedience, but simply enjoyed by the one who will keep His law continually. We may say that all true love has these three components: feeling, the giving of honor, and the desire to spend time and energy in knowing the beloved. Because it is not loved. We do not go to it, as the hungry man to his food, as the miser to his treasure. The loss is incalculable. Remember the word to Your servant, Upon which You have caused me to hope.

This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life. Speaking in the manner of men, this was a plea for God to fulfill the promises stated in His word. God wants His people to plead His stated promises back to Him in prayer. Sue him on his bond. He loves that we should wrestle with him by his promises.

He binds himself down to such and such a course when he says that such and such a thing shall be. Hence, when you grasp the promise, you get a hold on God. It came because God worked in him to hope in His word. This also demonstrates that the word of God is worthy of such hope. Man has to eat his words, sometimes, and unsay his say. He would perform his engagement, but he cannot.

It is not that he is unfaithful, but that he is unable. Now this is never so with God. His word never returns to him void. Go, find ye the snowflakes winging their way like white doves back to heaven! Go, find the drops of rain rising upward like diamonds flung up from the hand of a mighty man to find a lodging-place in the cloud from which they fell! Until the snow and the rain return to heaven, and mock the ground which they promised to bless, the word of God shall never return to him void.

It does not sing the song of deliverance therefrom. In this stanza there is no specific prayer for help. It is a way of acknowledging that suffering is common to human beings. In the midst of affliction , the Psalmist proclaims his comfort: this is my comfort.

My comfort… my affliction : In the midst of an affliction suited to the individual, the believer can also enjoy a comfort specifically suited to them. It is my affliction, and it is my comfort. Instead, the word of God gives life — especially to dead preachers. The proud have me in great derision, Yet I do not turn aside from Your law. These proud mockers look at the Psalmist and dedication to the word of God and hold him in great derision. Yet I do not turn aside from Your law : We almost sense a note of defiance in the Psalmist.

No matter how great the derision that comes from the proud , he will hold faithful to God and His word. Be satisfied with the approbation of your God. Has he not adopted you by his Spirit, sealed you for his kingdom? Therein he comforted himself. The proud who hold the simple believer in great derision enjoy the applause and honor of some in this world; but they can never know the comfort that the Psalmist wrote of here.

So we are comforted and strengthened in hope as we remember how God has dealt with men and circumstances in the past. Indignation has taken hold of me Because of the wicked, who forsake Your law. Your statutes have been my songs In the house of my pilgrimage. This has become mine, Because I kept Your precepts. He recognized their great sin: who forsake Your law.

Worse yet, they often lead others to do the same. Jesus graphically described the penalty for those who lead others astray Luke Even as Paul and Silas could sing in the midst of suffering Acts , so could the Psalmist. Even as a pilgrim, not yet home and afflicted, he could sing unto his God. We are in this country, not as residents, but only as visitors, who take this country en route for glory. Yet this comfort was also real in the figurative night that believers may face.

This has become mine : This is a glorious, triumphant statement from the Psalmist.

Although obedience does not earn these blessings, it turns us around to receive them. Because I kept Your precepts : The Psalmist enjoys this triumph not only because he knows the word of God, but also because he obeys them I kept Your precepts. I entreated Your favor with my whole heart; Be merciful to me according to Your word. To possess God is truly to have everything. We understand this is the broader context of Psalm For God is an inexhaustible treasury of all riches, sufficing innumerable men; while the world has mere trifles and fascinations to offer, and leads the soul into deep and sorrowful poverty.

I have said that I would keep Your words : This promise would be an empty vow without the empowering of God in the life. He was public in this statement of his intentions. I entreated Your favor with my whole heart; be merciful to me according to Your word : Here the Psalmist understood both the urgency to seek and please God, and the inability to completely do so.

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The Psalmist here declares that he has sought the face of God. He sought the face of God with a sense of urgency , reflected in the words entreated and whole heart. The Psalmist understood how important it was to seek the favor of God and to please Him with the life. Be merciful to me according to Your word : This is a blessed and glorious apparent contradiction. I thought about my ways, And turned my feet to Your testimonies. I made haste, and did not delay To keep Your commandments. This gives the insight necessary to turn in the right direction.

He came to the word, and then he came to himself, and this made him arise and go to his father. Multitudes live for the world — forget God and die! This is their history. I made haste, and did not delay to keep Your commandments : Once on the right path with the feet having been turned , now the Psalmist may speed his way in the course of obedience. It is dangerous to make haste on a wrong path; it is glorious to make haste on the right way. We can also say that making haste to God is a sign of revival.

When God is moving in power, people make haste to get right with him. We are too often in haste to sin; O that we may be in a greater hurry to obey. The Hebrew word, as well as the English , strongly marks indecision of mind, positive action being suspended, because the mind is so unfixed as not to be able to make a choice. The cords of the wicked have bound me, But I have not forgotten Your law. At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You, Because of Your righteous judgments. The cords of the wicked have bound me, but I have not forgotten Your law : The Psalmist was attacked and afflicted by adversaries; but they could not make him forget or forsake the law of God.

At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You : The heart and the mind of the Psalmist are so filled with thanks and appreciation towards God that he finds his sleep interrupted by these high thoughts. There is not much in the position of the body, but there is something, and that something is to be observed whenever it is helpful to devotion and expressive of our diligence or humility. He was willing to thank God when no one else could see him or be impressed by his devotion. He was willing to sacrifice legitimate things sleep, or perhaps food for the pursuit of God.

Praise requires something of both soul and body. I am a companion of all who fear You, And of those who keep Your precepts. This wonderful companionship is the testimony of countless Christians, who experience warm fellowship across the lines of race, class, nationality, and education. He was a fellow-commoner of the College of All-saints. Even if they should exhibit some repulsive features of character, they bear the image of him, whom we profess to love. We see again the course of a never-ending cycle. The pursuit of God in and through His word leads to satisfaction and blessing.

That satisfaction and blessing leads to a deeper pursuit, leading to even more satisfaction and blessing. When one lives in this glorious cycle, it feels as if the whole earth is full of the mercy of God. It is a glorious, blessed life with the experience of mercy all around. Teach me good judgment and knowledge, For I believe Your commandments. He loves us, He chose us, He called us, He drew us to Himself. He makes us kings and priests and co-workers with Him, and He rewards all our work for Him. According to Your word implies that the Psalmist not only knew the promises of God and pled them in prayer as in Psalm ; he also received the promises by faith and experienced them.

Let it be to me according to your word. This should be the life experience of every child of God. They know that God has deal well with them, and they know that it has been according to His word. But why should we delay our acknowledgment till we come out of our trial? Teach me good judgment and knowledge : This is the prayer of wisdom from a blessed life. Having received this well-dealing from God, the Psalmist understood the need to live in good judgment and knowledge. The blessings were given to him for wise and obedient living to the glory of God.

Hebrews We far too easily forget our great need to learn good judgment and knowledge , and are far too ready to trust our own heart and conscience. For I believe Your commandments : He wanted God to teach him because he really did believe the commands and words of God. If we really do believe His word, then we want Him to teach us to live wisely and obediently. You are good, and do good; Teach me Your statutes.

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word : The Psalmist speaks here of lessons learned the hard way. Yet, under a season of affliction, he was now devoted to the word of God. A time of wealth is indeed a time of special need. It is hard to restrain the flesh, when so many are the baits for its indulgence. This principle has worked its way in the life of virtually everyone who has pursed God.

This is one reason why God appoints affliction for His people 1 Thessalonians Affliction sanctified is a great blessing; unsanctified, it is an additional curse. You are good, and do good; teach me Your statutes : This is an important and precious line to follow the recognition of affliction and the good it has done in life. It shows that the Psalmist did not become bitter or resentful towards God for the affliction that brought him to greater obedience. This shows how confident he was in the goodness of God. In the most basic sense, this is praise for who God is You are good , and praise for what God does and do good.

These are always two wonderful reasons for praise. The proud have forged a lie against me, But I will keep Your precepts with my whole heart. Their heart is as fat as grease, But I delight in Your law. The proud have forged a lie against me : In reading of the godly and humble character of the Psalmist, it is almost shocking to hear that he has enemies who carefully forged a lie against him.

Yet he explains how this is possible: they are the proud , who are no doubt convicted in conscience and spiteful of his humble, obedient, teachable life before God. When a friend once told Plato, what scandalous stories his enemies had propagated concerning him, — I will live so, replied the great Philosopher, that nobody shall believe them.

But I will keep Your precepts with my whole heart : The lies of the proud did not distract or overly discourage the Psalmist. Instead, he dedicated himself to greater obedience and honor of God, pledging to obey Him with his whole heart. If we keep the precepts, the precepts will keep us in the day of contumely and slander. Their heart is fat as grease, but I delight in Your law : Their fat heart was not good for their physical or spiritual health.

It meant that their hearts were dull, insensitive, drowning in luxury and excess. In contrast, the Psalmist found delight in the word of God. I have nothing else to fill it but thy word, and the comforts I have from it; but their hearts are fat hearts; fat with the world, fat with lust; they hate the word. As a full stomach loatheth meat and cannot digest it; so wicked men hate the word, it will not go down with them, it will not gratify their lusts. It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes. The law of Your mouth is better to me Than thousands of coins of gold and silver.

It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes : The Psalmist repeats the idea from earlier in this section Psalm This repetition is an effective way to communicate emphasis. I bless the Lord for the correctives of his providence by which, if he has blessed me on the one hand with sweets, he has blessed me on the other hand with bitters. I have always found it one of my best schoolmasters. Yet we must guard against the misunderstanding that seasons of affliction automatically make one better or godlier.

To all of us the injunction, Be still, is most appropriate. It is only in standing water that silt settles, and in quiet nights that the dew distils. In the night, when the eye is closed to all the world, let it be opened to self-examination. Sacrifice here is the whole burnt offering, and corresponds to entire surrender, out of which trust naturally springs.

How true is this of the "many" everywhere who know not God! How rich is the soul on which its light rests! Absalom, and his conspirators, with all that David had left them, had not as much true bliss as the fugitive monarch enjoyed. In the hour of his sin he had asked to' hear joy and gladness Ps. The saint has no need to envy the prosperous worldling John May the Holy Spirit "put gladness in our hearts" to-day Gal.

Psalm means, "I shall go to sleep as soon as I lie down. He suffices for heaven: why not for earth? In solitude, let us turn to Him Ezek. Uttered words are inadequate to convey deep thought, groanings which cannot be uttered, but which the Spirit understands Rom.

Distinguished from either of these is the urgent call for aid, described as the voice of a cry. As soon as we awake at early dawn, let us speak to God. Let Him be the first to hear our voice. And let us direct, i. The same Hebrew word is used in Gen. We are not to pray without method Eccles. And, having prayed, we must look out for the answer Hab. We miss many answers, because we get tired of waiting. There are here seven expressions for the ungodly. Evil may not even sojourn as a wayfaring man 2 John Not in the spirit of boasting, but of humble gratitude, David turns to himself 1 Cor. The Jew in prayer looked towards the temple Dan.

The tabernacle was spoken of as Jehovah's temple 1 Sam. We may appeal to God's righteousness to vindicate his righteous ones. Because He is what He is, we may count on Him 2 Chron. Then Psalm is thus parallel to the Psalm This terrible description of the ungodly is concerned with the sins of the tongue. It is largely quoted in Rom. Wicked men are like graves, which look fair without, but are full of corruption within.

As by their words they sin against God and mislead the righteous, so by their words they shall be condemned and fall. David here, as God's mouthpiece, pronounces their inevitable doom. Here again Psalm we meet the oft-repeated word, trust. And with trust goes joy, and with both goes love. The first of the Penitential Psalms; the other six being Psalm 32, 38, 51, , , Sheminith is evidently a musical term, signifying the octave.

The earlier verses of this Psalm are a wail; but it ends in a song. It is like a day of rain which clears at evening. The Psalm is full of beautiful ejaculatory cries. There was the pressure of Divine displeasure because of sin Psalm , combined with soul-anguish Psalm , perhaps accompanied with sickness, bringing nigh unto death Psalm , while enemies add their hate Psalm In Psalm David considers the grave as disabling us from that active service of praise which is the peculiar privilege of the living Isa.

He clearly foresaw the Resurrection; but perhaps not so clearly the state of the departed, which is brought to light in the Gospel. How touching is the plea, so suitable for sufferers! How expressive the broken sentence, How long? And that prayer, O Lord, heal met. The prayer is no sooner uttered than answered. The consciousness of having been heard steals over the weary soul like a glint of light on to a bed in the hospital ward.

David knows that the petition is granted, though it has not yet come to hand 1 John Weeping has a voice for the ear of God. He can interpret sighs and tears Psalm In the Revised Version, the words of Psalm read like an imprecation--they shall be ashamed and turn back. When God returns Psalm , our enemies turn back Psalm Shiggaion is thought by some to refer to the erratic and irregular metre. The expressions of this Psalm should be carefully compared with the narrative of events in 1 Sam.

Cush may be a covert allusion to Saul, who was a Benjamite. Or it may refer to some "black-visaged" member of his tribe, who was one of David's chief calumniators. If David desired deliverance from his foes, how much more do we need deliverance from our arch-enemy! So far from being guilty of the offence charged on him, David, on two occasions, spared Saul's life 1 Sam. Mine honor is probably only another name for the soul Gen. By a bold metaphor, he attributes the success of his foes to some temporary abdication on God's part, and entreats Him to reassume his throne, and give his decisions, as Eastern judges are wont to do, in the midst of the people standing around.

When we do right and suffer for it, we have a strong argument with God; we stand still, keep silence and leave Him vindicate 1 Pet. What a noble prayer is Psalm ! Was Gittith a tune or instrument brought from Gath? This exquisite ode, which can only reach its fulfilment in the person of the Son of Man--to whom it is referred in the New Testament Heb. It probably dates from the early shepherd days, when wild creatures crept around the fold, and night-birds screamed, reminding the sweet singer of the animal world.

His name excellent on earth; his glory the crown on the brow of the sky. And so mighty that his strength communicated to babes is more than enough to vanquish and silence His foes 1 Cor. See also Christ's own quotation Matt. Let us rejoice that we are weak and helpless. This is the very way of acquiring God's strength 2 Cor. At first sight there is a great descent from the vastness of the works of God in the heavens to frail man enoush , the son of Adam ben-h' adam , whose very name implies that he is of the dust Adam, earthy.

How should so great a God visit him? We often confound size and greatness, and forget that the King loves his little babe more than all the splendor and extent of his ancestral palace. The age of the telescope was the age of the microscope. There are as many worlds of wonder which are too minute for our vision as there are which are too great for our understanding.

Yet, man in his original creation was only a little lower than the angels. He was invested with the vicegerency of the lower orders of creation Gen. Some traces of this still exist in the power of the human eye and voice over animals. But sin rolled this crown into the dust. We have to win authority with effort, and retain it with difficulty. We see not yet all things put under us. But this lost power has been re-acquired by Jesus, as man Matt. And in his kingdom it shall be restored to man Isa. And from the redeemed creation shall arise the words with which this Psalm begins and ends Rom.

Muth-labben probably refers to the tune to which these words were set. Psalm is the most remarkable specimen of this acrostic style of composition. In the Septuagint this Psalm refers to the death of the Divine Son, and recites his victory over death and the grave, and all our foes. Let us not praise with a divided, but with a whole heart.

And we must incite praise by recounting all God's works. Let memory heap fuel on the altar of praise. The Lord has indeed rebuked our arch-enemy compare 6 and Zech. What a contrast between our dead foes, and our ever-living King! The oppressed, the humble, the needy, and the poor have strong encouragement. Calamity drives them to God and makes them familiar with the secrets of his character. The more we know of God the more we can trust Him.

Doubt is born of ignorance. Let God vindicate you: He will not forget Psalm What a contrast between the gates of death Psalm and the gates of the holy city! What a striking example of Psalm is given in the story of Haman! Esther He who lifts the righteous hurls down the wicked. It is a sin to forget God Psalm ; Isa. There is a striking emphasis in the two closing verses; the Hebrew for men might be rendered weak, mortal man enoush.

The treatment which the unjust oppressor deals out to his prey is set forth in many rich and striking images. Now it is the serpent with venom under his tongue Psalm ; now, the bandit secreted in ambush Psalm ; now, the lion in his den, and again the hunter snaring the unsuspecting prey Psalm And all the while God seems to stand afar off and hide his eyes from the tribulation caused to his own; so much so that the thoughts of the wicked, that there is no God, seem confirmed Psalm God is asked to lift up his hands from rest in the folds of his robe.

He is the helper of the helpless and hapless, who commit themselves to Him. Let us commit ourselves to Him who judgeth righteously 1 Pet. What in Ps. Forget not the humble Psalm is here recalled: Thou hast heard the desire of the humble Psalm The preparation of the heart in prayer is His work; and so of course He is able to hear and answer. When we abide in Jesus, and the Holy Ghost flows through our hearts as sap through the vine, we are taught how to pray; and whatsoever we ask we receive. True prayer begins with God, and returns to Him again. When John Welsh and his fellow-captives were summoned from their prison on the Firth of Forth, to appear before the court, they sang this Psalm as they walked by night under guard to their trial.

It is worth reading in the rugged Scotch version. The Psalm is a debate between fear and faith, and probably dates from the time when David was being persecuted by Saul. Timid friends, anxious for his safety, urged him, not simply to flee to the literal mountains, which he did, but to desert the cause of God, and to renounce his faith--which he never did. Birds escape the dangers of the plains by winging their flight to the caves or woods of the hills. Such counsels of expediency were frequently given to Nehemiah Neh. And the enemy has ever sought to dislodge the faithful servants of God by fear Job ; Luke Luther's diaries abound in similar references.

And there is much force in the reasons alleged. The bow is already being bent; the darkness is in favor of evil stratagems Psalm , R. Righteousness cannot avail! The revolutions of earth cannot shake His throne. He permits the Evil One some license that the righteous may be tested Job ff, Job , 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7; Luke 22, 31, And when the limit is reached, their persecutors will be entangled in snares from which they shall not escape.

Let the righteous remember that the eye of God not only beholds their patience, but exchanges glances of tenderness with his suffering ones Ex The opening words suggest that this Psalm is an appeal for help in bad and evil days. There are days when sin seems rampant, sweeping all before it. The great and godly men one by one are taken away and the ungodly reign supreme.

But when there is no help in man, let us turn to God with the cry which broke from Peter's lips when sinking in the waves. It is a very convenient cry, both from its brevity and its comprehensiveness. Help, Lord! A double heart is literally a heart and a heart; and such practice deceit on neighbors whom they should love. On the contrary, we are bidden to put away lying, and speak truth to our neighbors Eph. Oh for perfect transparency of heart and life! The very prayer begotten in the heart carries the assurance of an answer.

Besides, the world is so made that daring wickedness rarely goes unpunished. Let us never act as if we thought our lips were our own; for they too have been bought with the price of those dear parched lips which cried, 1 thirst. God hears sighs. One sigh will make Him arise, as the sighs of Stephen made Jesus stand Acts There is no mixture of error in the words of God; all dross has been removed: they may therefore be trusted to the uttermost.

Bind the words of God to your heart, and fearlessly go forth into the world.

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You shall be kept and preserved for evermore Isa. This Psalm evidently dates from the time of the Sauline persecutions. Four times the afflicted Psalmist cried, How long? The Psalm begins in the deepest dejection, but it clears as it proceeds; and the soul, lark-like, rises above the lower current of east wind, till it revels in the heaven of God's love. Pray on, troubled believer: it is marvelous how certainly prayer proves to be a ladder from the deepest dungeon into the most radiant day. Saul's persecutions probably lasted for eight or nine years; and no hope of termination appeared 1 Sam.

David was a man who spends five hundred days passing through a forest: the tangled over-growth hides the sun; and he begins to despair of ever emerging. Some say that this Psalm is the cry of the Church Rev. How wise to hand over all worries and anxieties to God. If we make them all instantly known to Him, we will live more blessed and peaceful lives Phil.

He had bemoaned four evils: he now entreats three blessings Psalm Oh for the enlightened eyes! The holy soul is as eager for God's honor, as for its own vindication Psalm It is delightful when we can sing, because certain of coming deliverance. Faith praises for the victory, before the fight has even reached its worst. After lying for some time in the Bishop of London's coalhouse, Mr. John Philpot was rebuked for singing hymns in prison, and he answered: "I have so much joy that 1 cannot lament; but day and night 1 never was so merry before.

The creed, character and doom of the Atheist are here depicted; and the Psalm is so important as to be repeated Psalm 53 , with slight alterations, which show this rendering more suitable for public use. The Hebrew word translated fool naval denotes one of withered intellect. It begins not in the head, but in the heart Rom. Men do not like God. They try to ignore Him and end by blatantly denying Him. The surest way of dealing with such is to treat them as rebels and sinners. Corruption as of a grave; abominable works; darkened understanding; filthiness of heart and life; persecution and shaming of the godly; but finally "great fear.

These verses are largely quoted by the Apostle Ro , 11, 12 as true of all men; because the seeds of this awful crop are by nature latent in us all, awaiting favorable conditions of germination. God comes as a seeker "the Father seeketh": John , eagerly looking for those who abjure the - ways of sin and call upon Him. These are picked out by Him as his choice jewels for his own.

The word because in Psalm would be better rendered but. The enemy may come up against the camp of the righteous, but God is in the midst of them; they cannot be moved Ps. The Church of God is too much in captivity to the world and the devil. Let us daily ask that our salvation may speedily come, the advent of which shall bring discomfiture to our foes, and long, glad rejoicings to us Heb.

This Psalm was probably composed with Ps. The first words are almost a repetition of the awe-struck question of the stricken men of Bethshemesh 1 Sa And the rest of the Psalm gives a description of those who may dwell with God. If we would have fellowship with God, and dwell in his house all the days of our earthly life, let us see that this character is ours, by the grace of the Holy Spirit! The answer is given, first, positively Psalm , and then, negatively Psalm ; so also, in the two following verses. We need to watch our walk, work and talk, if we would have fellowship with God.

We must abhor slander, evil and reproach. When stories reach us, let them stop with us. Let us act as nonconductors. We must also mind what company we keep; withdrawing from the vile, but drawing close to and honoring all who fear God, as children of the same Father, and therefore brethren and sisters. Usury, which is a very different thing to the taking of interest; and bribes--are equally inconsistent with the vision of God. If we are heedful of all these matters, we shall not only be able to dwell in the royal palace, as priest and kings, but we shall remain steadfast and unmoveable amid the changes and convulsions around.

Here is the secret of permanence and rest Psalm Michtam is derived by some from a word meaning golden. And, indeed, that epithet may be truly applied, not only to this Psalm, but to Psalm 56, 57, 58, 59, Others explain it as a secret; i. This, then, is the song of the golden secret. The key to the Psalm is given by the Apostle Peter, when, quoting from it, he says: "David speaketh concerning Him" Acts And in the following verses he goes on to show that the Psalm could not be true in all its wealth of meaning of David, but of David's Lord Psalm The Apostle Paul makes a very remarkable reference to this Psalm, expressly ascribing it to God's authorship through the Psalmist, and affirming that it spoke of Him Acts But, of course, in a lower sense, each one of us who are one with Jesus may appropriate these golden words.

The believer turns from all creature confidence to his God, as his only hope and all-sufficient help. Trust in Him cannot be misplaced. The rendering of R. The R. Those who exchange the Lord for another god shall have "sorrows multiplied"; those who live in God's favor shall have "a goodly heritage. The measuring lines are outstretched so as to divide off for us a liberal patrimony; they fall in pleasant places, and our allotment is one facing the sun and including abundance of water.

Oh to be as Levi, whose only portion was God Himself! Reins mean inmost thoughts Ps. God often speaks in the quiet heart through the language of thoughts. The one object of life is to do his will and please Him; and He is ever at the right hand to help--nearer than our accusers compare Ps. My glory interpreted by Peter of "the tongue" Acts Speech is man's glory: therewith he blesses God and teaches his brother. Thus The Lord Jesus might have softly sung to Himself as He descended into the lowest depths of his humiliation. Hell here is sheol; not the place of torment, but of disembodied spirits.

Thine Holy One, i. The path of life is the upward path to life.


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God is at our right hand and our lot is pleasant here. Ere long we shall be at his right hand amid everlasting pleasures. This prayer dates from the Sauline persecutions. In the earlier verses David protests his innocence, and then proceeds to plead for deliverance from his foes, ending with glad anticipations of his vision of God's face. It may have been composed for use at eventide. Two verses point in that direction Psalm What a comfort to appeal from the accusations of men to the judgment-bar of God!

Even if behavior has been unwise God judges the motive and heart. The Hebrew word "tried" is "melted" tzaraph ; as gold is tried in the furnace and found to have no dross. But we can have no hope of preserving our integrity and keeping from the paths of the transgressor unless we avail ourselves of God's Word to test and direct our goings. Use the Royal Guide-book if you would keep on the King's highway.

How safe we are! As the apple of the eye: the pupil of the eye is defended by eyelash, lid, brow, bony socket, the swiftly-uplifted hand comp. Thy wings: the eaglet is gathered under the wing of the parent bird Deut. They are filled with this world--I with Thee: they look for the things of this life--I with the eternal and unseen: they satisfied with children--I with thy likeness 1 Cor.

We shall never be perfectly satisfied with anything less than the beatific vision. Most of that rapturous vision is veiled from sight; but when it shall be unveiled, it will be approved. There is another form of this Psalm on record--that in 2 Sam. It recapitulates the deliverances of the past, and sets them to music. How beautiful is this array of metaphors; as if no single one were forcible enough to set forth the many-sided glory of God. Faith puts its hand, my, on all that God is and claims it for its own.

Not indeed as we would, yet we can take John "Thou knowest. It is good to recall God's gracious dealings. David does it in poetical language, borrowed from the scenes of the Red Sea and Sinai. And yet there was so much of God's gracious help in his life, that he was warranted in comparing it with the deliverance from Egypt. We, too, have our Red Seas. And God will do for us as much as for David.

In our distress let us also cry. The voice is thin and solitary, but the answer shakes creation. The righteousness of which David boasted was not his own, for he was willing to admit that he was not free from impurity. Rather it indicates purity of motive and integrity of heart as contrasted with hypocrisy and wickedness. Compare Psalm with Lev. Our character gives its shape to our thoughts of God. God's way is perfect and He maketh our way perfect.

Walls and troops cannot oppose us, when God's way lies through them, and we are on the line of his purpose. Swift and sure-footed in slippery places Psalm Strong in battle Psalm Oh, the gentleness of God! It has done more for us than severity. Instead of the word "gentleness" the Prayer-book version translates, "Thy loving correction.

We must stint our words when we thank our fellows, lest we be extravagant. But mortal lips need never refrain themselves for fear of saying too much to God. If Psalm 8 were written at night, this must have been penned by day. There is the blue tapestry of the azure and the expanse of the firmament woven by God. What a picture of the sacred silence of the dawn!

There is also the universality of their witness-bearing. Some translate it "chord. Does not the picture of the dawn, in which the sun comes forth radiant as a bridegroom, strong as an athlete, make us think of the resurrection? And is not Jesus our Sun? Six synonyms--the law; the testimony; the statutes; the commandment; the fear; the judgments--are used of the Word of God. Twelve qualities are ascribed to it.

How truly might our blessed Lord have appropriated Psalm ! The man who lives a simple life is he who appreciates the Bible. The "dominion" which the Psalmist feared is expressly referred to in Rom. What a claim we have on God when we can say, "Thy servant! This Psalm may have been written on such an occasion as that of 2 Sam. It may be used especially when the armies of our King are going forth to war. Ready drawn up for the fight, the soldiers pray for their king, who was wont on the eve of battle to bring sacrifices and offerings for success.

Psalm The Lord hear thee! The "name" of God is his character. The God of Jacob will not reject or forsake any worms as weak as the patriarch was once. As the banners wave in the breeze it is expressly said that God is the object of trust. The Lord is our banner Exod. We succeed so far as we set forward in his name and for his glory. The devotion of the soldiers seems to their leader an omen for good. God's holiness is a guarantee of his faithfulness.

The Hebrew for strength gevooroth, "powers" is plural, implying the infinitude of God's resources. As they look across the field to the embattled array, they contrast the chariots and cavalry of the foe with their slender equipment. But, lo! And with the brief ejaculation, "Save! This is evidently a companion Psalm to the former.

The blessings there asked are here gladly acknowledged to have been granted and bright anticipations are entertained for the future. How much of it is true of our King as He rides forth on his white horse Rev. His heart's desire. There is no contrast implied between unspoken desire and oral prayer, both ascend together.

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Honour and majesty--Similar terms are used of our Lord in Heb. All thine enemies. Not one of them shall escape. How will it be when the wrath of the Lamb flames forth? Who shall be able to stand? Be Thou exalted, O Lord! But we may ask whether we have exalted Him to the place of power in the inner kingdom. God has exalted Him to be Prince and Saviour. We shall not have peace until we have done the same Acts The Hebrew inscription to this exquisite ode, which demands as many pages as we can give it lines, is "the hind of the morning.

Song The cruel persecutors are designated as "bulls, lions, and dogs. There is a remarkable exchange in the latter part of the Psalm Psalm of triumph for complaint. Of course, our blessed Lord is in every syllable. Indeed, it reads more as a history than a prophecy. It seems as if the Divine Sufferer recited it to Himself during the agonies of his crucifixion, for it begins with "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?

It is the photograph of our Lord's saddest hours: the record of his dying words; the memorial of his expiring joys. Ah, Psalm that was balm to the pierced heart of Jesus, how precious art thou to those who drink his cup! My God, my God! Uttered by our Lord after the darkness had lasted for three long hours. His God still, though hidden. God was as near and tender as ever; but the human consciousness of the Sin-bearer, made a curse for us, had lost the sensible enjoyment of his presence.

Thou hearest not. This is rendered in R. Thou art Holy. Though prayer is not immediately answered there is no imputation on the character of God. The praises of the saints are the throne of the Eternal. They trusted. The thrice repetition is very significant.

Is this the prominent feature in our character that our children will recall, and on which they will base their pleas? His very enemies had remarked how he rolled himself upon God 8, marg. From his birth he had been God's nursling, and could he be now deserted? Be not far from me.

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Trouble sometimes seems nearer than God. But this is only to the eye of sense. Faith descries the Deliverer coming across the waves, and saying, It is I. All my bones are out of joint. What a vivid picture of the anguish of the cross! The gaping crowds; the strength and virulence of their abuse; the bones wrenched from one another; the broken heart; the fevered lips; the pierced hands and feet; the parted garments; the thrusting of Jehovah's sword against his fellow Psalm ; Zech. My Darling. We learn from the parallelism that this represents his soul. The Hebrew is my only one.

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