Tag Archive: Bible


This is an interesting psalm: the heading in my bible says, ‘Of Solomon’ and yet verse 29 says ‘this concludes the prayers of David, son of Jesse’ so who actually wrote it?

And if you read the psalm it is talking about the king and how great he is going to be, so if Solomon did write this himself then it seems to smack of a little bit of ‘Look at me! Look how great i am!’ So i thort i would make a bit of a change and go and do some investigating and whereas it does seem there is some difference on opinion about who wrote it, this is something i found:

The psalm is clearly messianic and looks forward to the millennial reign of Christ when His kingdom of peace and righteousness wilt be established. It is one of the most wonderful psalms which heavily underlines all that we embrace in our millennial teaching.

It is best summed up in the words of Scroggie himself, who says, ‘,..so the prophecy of the father, and the prayer of the son, look onto a time still future when God’s kingdom on earth shall be perfect and universal’. 

[http://www.pwmi.org/cms/index.php?page=did-solomon-pen-psalm-72]

Which makes a lot more sense – there is also apparently a direct link to 2 Samuel 7, which as you know is ‘ David’s great messianic prophecy for kingdom rule.’ [Duh!]

Here is God’s message to David from that passage:

“‘The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: 12 When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name,and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. 15 But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’”

Which is great and a time when i am grateful for people who read commentaries for fun and find these links because then suddenly, what i would have just read as another cool psalm, is found to be spreading out all over the bible and even into future times.

In a nutshell, this seems to be a comforting message from God that, ‘I’ve got this!’

So go and read the whole psalm and see it in this space of speaking both about a local, physical kingdom and a greater spiritual one that is to come. But let’s first be reminded of the first two verses:

Endow the king with your justice, O God,
    the royal son with your righteousness.
May he judge your people in righteousness,
    your afflicted ones with justice.

i like how straight away with this one, the focus is on God. It is ‘Your justice’ and ‘Your righteousness’ and this gives a clear reminder to us of how we are to live on this earth – am i reflecting God’s justice? am i shining His righteousness?

i know in South Africa [and echoing across the oceans in Americaland as well] right now, these questions of justice are huge – poverty and orphans and land distribution and equality. And we can see guidance in this very psalm. We are called to be beacons of God’s justice and righteousness. We should therefore be very wary of living lives that are disconnected to the plight of the poor, needy and those who have had their voices muted in our country.

So this psalm about the greatness of the king and what he will achieve [present and future] is sandwiched with focus on God and this final praise declaration is how it ends:

18 Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel,
    who alone does marvelous deeds.
19 Praise be to his glorious name forever;
    may the whole earth be filled with his glory.
Amen and Amen.

[For the rest of the Psalms and other Bible passages i have been walking through, click here]

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This feels like a psalm for old people [like me]. So if you’re not even partly old, maybe bookmark this and come back and read it in ten years or so…

And seriously go and read the whole psalm – i am not going to go through all of it here, but it really is a good one to read all the way through:

In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
    let me never be put to shame.
In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me;
    turn your ear to me and save me.
Be my rock of refuge,
    to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
    for you are my rock and my fortress.
Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked,
    from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.

For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord,
    my confidence since my youth.

i may just be putting my own oldness and tiredness on to this, but it feels like that is where the author is coming from. Looking back over a lot of years , which have not all been easy [see vs.20] it is the faith of his youth that he is raising up.

You have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth.

That line also speaks very much of a faith that has endured. I continue to believe. It may not always have been easy and clearly hasn’t been at times, but i am still holding on, i am still running this race. You continue to sustain me and keep me going and be enough for me God.

This is encouraging in a world where so many people seem to have given up on their relationship with God. Life and having a family and needing to be responsible and the pressures of conformity and the enticement of comfortability have all proved too strong and so a passionate run with God has either declined into a once-a-week religious meeting and an attempt to ‘be kinda good’ or at least as good as the next guy, or a snuffing out of the flame completely, and in some cases turning strongly against it [and how evil it always was]

But this psalmist knows. He knows God as the rock of refuge to whom he can always turn. He knows God is his deliverer and hope. And so continues to believe and hope and live for Him.

Clearly the temptation to walk away is here for him as well:

Do not cast me away when I am old;
    do not forsake me when my strength is gone.
10 For my enemies speak against me;
    those who wait to kill me conspire together.
11 They say, “God has forsaken him;
    pursue him and seize him,
    for no one will rescue him.”
12 Do not be far from me, my God;
    come quickly, God, to help me.
13 May my accusers perish in shame;
    may those who want to harm me
    be covered with scorn and disgrace.

14 As for me, I will always have hope;
    I will praise you more and more.

But although he has no doubt witnessed it in others, he finishes this section with the powerful words, ‘as for me’ – others may arrive at a different place, but this is how it is going to be for me.

Very reminiscent of Joshua standing before the people in Joshua 24:

14 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

You can do what you want. But AS FOR ME and my family, we will serve the Lord. 

And there is a whole lot more, but let’s just finish off with the opening lines of these last three paragraphs:

22 I will praise you with the harp
    for your faithfulness, my God;
I will sing praise to you with the lyre,
    Holy One of Israel.
23 My lips will shout for joy
    when I sing praise to you—
    I whom you have delivered.
24 My tongue will tell of your righteous acts
    all day long,
for those who wanted to harm me
    have been put to shame and confusion.

I will praise you.

My lips will shout for joy.

My tongue will tell of your righteous acts.

Is this you?

[To take a look at any of the other Psalms i have walked through so far, click here]

Psalm number 70 is not the Lords of the Rings of the Psalming community. And because it is so short, i thought it would be helpful to actually just meditate on the whole thing together:

Hasten, O God, to save me;
    come quickly, Lord, to help me.

May those who want to take my life
    be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
    be turned back in disgrace.
May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”
    turn back because of their shame.
But may all who seek you
    rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
    “The Lord is great!”

But as for me, I am poor and needy;
    come quickly to me, O God.
You are my help and my deliverer;
    Lord, do not delay.

What jumps out at me with this one is that it starts all inward-focused – Woe is me and all of that and has a lot of the previous psalm’s kind of tone in terms of calling on God to take out my enemies and so on.

But probably the thing that stands out most is verse 4, which is like a little interjection between the beginning and the end where David goes back to calling on God, just as he had started:

But may all who seek you
    rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
    “The Lord is great!”

It’s almost like we get a deep sense that he is not in a good place and is calling on God for rescue and to take care of his enemies, but then suddenly there’s a moment of just stopping and being still and knowing He is God [see Psalm 46] and reflecting on that. I think of a raging storm that suddenly lets up for a moment and the let up is so surprising and sudden that it grabs all of your attention. Focus on god – look at God – if you’re in trouble know that He is the one to look to – keep seeking and rejoicing and being glad in Him and long fr His saving because THE. LORD. IS. GREAT.

And then, almost as suddenly as it arrived, the moment is gone ad David returns to his crying out to God, although this time he is acknowledging that God is the one who helps and delivers…

[To take a look at any of the other Psalms i have walked through so far, click here]

This is such a short baby of a psalm that it is worth publishing the whole thing here:

May God be gracious to us and bless us
    and make his face shine on us—
so that your ways may be known on earth,
    your salvation among all nations.

May the peoples praise you, God;
    may all the peoples praise you.
May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
    for you rule the peoples with equity
    and guide the nations of the earth.
May the peoples praise you, God;
    may all the peoples praise you.

The land yields its harvest;
    God, our God, blesses us.
May God bless us still,
    so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.

This Psalm is a great reminder of what the kingdom of God is all about and what – in too many respects – christianity has become for so many.

We LOVE verse one. Verse one is our theology: May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us

But we certainly like to end it there – it’s all about meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, Jesus, and all this is for meeeeeeeeee, for my glory and my fame….

However, this psalm DOES have a verse 2: so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.

There doesn’t seem to be a cheese-free way of saying this [and for that i humbly apologise], but the reason it is suitably named ‘history’ is because it is in fact ‘His story’ – the story of life is one about God and yet how quickly we continue to bring it back to being all about us…

Verse 3 should be our prayer and our cry: May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you.

And the rest is just beautiful. This is a delightful, happy, inspiring little psalm.

When God is praised and when we realise and live out that the story is about Him, it does result in us being blessed and in nations being glad…

[To return to the Intro page and be connected to any of the other Psalms i have walked through before now, click here]

Finishing off my video blogs of the Gospel of Mark as i work through the last four chapters with thoughts and insights from each passage as I go:

All men will hate me? Mark 13.1-13

Be ready, be very ready Mark 13.14-37

Jesus, perfume and space for the interruption Mark 14.1-11

Having your enemies round for some pizza Mark 14.12-26

why DID Jesus keep them around? Mark 14.27-42

Jesus heads to the garden and gets arrested Mark 14.43-65

One of Jesus’ friends starts claiming that he doesn’t even know Him Mark 14.66-72

Jesus before Pilate Mark 15.1-15

Jesus death on the cross: a reflection Mark 15.16-32

The effect of Jesus’ death around Him Mark 15.33-47

How do you put a positive spin on the words, “All men will hate you because of Me”? Especially when they come from the mouth of Jesus [which makes them a little bit harder to ignore or explain away].

Perhaps that is why Mark 13.1-13 is not a particularly popular passage for those who don’t specifically preach continuously through the Bible? The rest of it is End of the World stuff which generally is good for an audience, so let’s take a look and see what this passage has to say to us:

 

[For the next passage with Jesus talking about end times, click here]

Verse 31 of Isaiah 40 is a well-known muchly quoted one:

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.

Which is great and has become a huge source of strength and encouragement… BUT if you skip the lead up into that verse you miss out on so much more:

Isaiah 40.27-31

Isaiah 40.27-31

The first part to note is the context of this passage. This is being given to a people who are frustrated by God and feel like He has not been there for them:

27 Why do you complain, Jacob?
Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord;
my cause is disregarded by my God”?

It is helpful to be reminded of that as this is a place where many of us find ourselves from time to time and often don’t have the words to express it. We feel like ‘God doesn’t care about me’ and yet we might be too scared to express it and instead put on a happy face as if we are feeling close to God and all is well. What that does though is prevents God from really reaching in to that place of loneliness and desolation and responding with His felt Presence and hope.

28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.

So firstly there is this reminder of Who we are dealing with and just how huge and capable He is. Which can be really helpful when we tend to put God in a tiny box based on our experiences of Him and think that He can’t or won’t do much more than we have ever experienced before. But IF the God we are in relationship with is ‘everlasting’ and the ‘Creator of the ends of the earth’ then we can be very confident that ‘He will not grow tired or weary.’ At the same time, it is helpful to be reminded that we won’t necessarily always understand His way of working. Sometimes situations that look like they are against us can be very useful for strengthening us or working character in us and by removing those situations or helping us escape them, we might miss out on the growth that God has intended for us in the midst of them. We should constantly be living life with the refrain of ‘God is bigGER’ in our minds, especially when we don’t understand. That’s where trust and faith come in big time, but at the same time we are still able to ask God for guidance and wisdom to understand the confusing times we might find ourselves in.

And that’s where the big finish comes in:

29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

In the light of our complaints and feelings that God has deserted us, and with a reminder of exactly how big our God is and what He has already accomplished, that is where this final piece becomes so powerful. It is also encouraging to be reminded that in our world the response to the weary and the weak is to push them to the side or to drive right over them. Not so with God. The other misstep the church has often made is to expect God to remove all hardship and challenge, and prosperity doctrine gives the strong idea that we will never need to face tough times [God wants us to be happy and comfortable and rich and strong] but what this passage seems to indicate is that IN times of struggle or stress or pain or weakness, God’s response is not to protect or remove from, but rather to give us the strength within…

So in our tough situations, God gives strength when ours is fading… 

When life feels all stacked up against us, God gives power to us to see it through…

When we feel like we have nothing left to give, God draws near and renews our strength…

And not just to the extent that we can crawl through and get a hand over the finish line…

We will soar, we will run [without getting tired] and we will walk [without fainting] – God has promised us life to the full and when we put our hope in Him [that is a key part – see also John 15 and remaining in the vine] we will see that lived out in the most incredible way.

[For the growing list of all my favourite verses, click here]

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