Tag Archive: psalmthing


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]

So hey, remember that King David guy and the ‘man after God’s own heart’ moniker? Well, here is that guy going on a little enemy rant…

22 May the table set before them become a snare;
    may it become retribution and a trap.
23 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,
    and their backs be bent forever.
24 Pour out your wrath on them;
    let your fierce anger overtake them.
25 May their place be deserted;
    let there be no one to dwell in their tents.
26 For they persecute those you wound
    and talk about the pain of those you hurt.
27 Charge them with crime upon crime;
    do not let them share in your salvation.
28 May they be blotted out of the book of life
    and not be listed with the righteous.

Just figured that was a great place to jump into Psalm 69. And an important reminder that the Bible is made up of a whole lot of different types of writing and how important it is to know and understand the type you are dealing with. If, for example, we approach the bible as purely a teaching manual [as some do] then it would look like a good thing to be praying for peoples’ names to be ‘blotted out of the book of life’ . However, that kinda seems to contradict 2 Peter 3 which says, ‘ The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise,as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.’ 

So i’m not sure this is a biblical teaching. But it is an honest glimpse into some guy’s heart. A good guy. A guy who was known for being after the things God was after. And yet we see him here, clearly a little broken, a little messed up by his enemies. Requesting something he probably knows God would not be after.

 i think sometimes that many christians have been conditioned to avoid the kind of real that David exhibits here so freely and passionately. And so on a Sunday morning, if you take a minute and look around at a typical church service, for the most part you will see a lot of smiling faces. No evidence of the imminent breakup of a marriage, or the verbal abuse that is going on behind closed doors. No idea that that mom is near to breaking point as her relationship with her daughter has met a new and ugly low. No clue that the girl sitting in front of you is wearing long sleeves to hide the fact that last night she cut her arms just so she could feel some sense of power and control in her own life. Or the many men [and some women] caught up in watching pornography. And more.

i do a preach sometimes when before worship singing time happens i get everyone to write down the ‘everything that hinders and sin that so easily entangles’ that we see spoken of in Hebrews 12:

‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame,and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.’

Then, after the singing time, i read out all the pieces of paper we have gathered and it is always incredible how deeply some people respond. As a church body we get some sense of some of the pain and shame and struggle that is going on with our family. And after the preach i give an invitation for people to come forward and be prayed for and with.

A most powerful part of that service is often just letting people know that it is okay and maybe even a good thing to be real. To let it all out. To be honest [even if anonymously on a piece of paper which is at least a good step forward from holding it to yourself] But also just hearing and really getting that other people are struggling with the same crap you are. And giving a space to voice it. We need more occasions like David took in Psalm 69 to just be open and honest and raw and rough and real. Even if some of the sentiments we express are not godly ones. That can help create a space for God to get involved in changing them.

There is so much more in this Psalm, but i am not going to get to it all – read it and meditate on it and maybe this one requires a few days of reading and being still and taking it all in.

But two last things which jump out at me. Firstly David’s attitude and focus as displayed here:

Lord, the Lord Almighty,
    may those who hope in you
    not be disgraced because of me;
God of Israel,
    may those who seek you
    not be put to shame because of me.

The desire that he will not be a stumbling block to those around him.

And in verse 9 we read:

for zeal for your house consumes me,
    and the insults of those who insult you fall on me.

Does that describe you? And me? Does the zeal for God’s house consume you? And do you stand and take a hit when people speak against God?

So much to consider.

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

May God arise, may his enemies be scattered;
    may his foes flee before him.
May you blow them away like smoke—
    as wax melts before the fire,
    may the wicked perish before God.

i’m not going to lie, i often don’t quite know what to do with some of the anger and violence of the Old Testament. When i was young it was as black and white as an old A-team episode [google it, kids!] where there were the good guys and the bad  guys and the good guys beat the bad guys. But then one day when i got older, i realised that the bad guys might have moms and wives and children. And suddenly it got a whole lot more complicated.

i do still, however, feel that the evidence of a good God is overwhelming and so this doesn’t make me question God, but it does make me try a little bit harder to understand why things got a little hectic earlier on.

Cos let’s face it – ‘blow them away like smoke as wax melts before the fire’ – sounds a little hectic to me. But it’s the bad guys, so it’s okay. Oh but wait, maybe these bad guys have families too? Argh.

Well, i’m not sure i know the answers, so let’s start with that confession as the base point, BUT perhaps there are some clues that may help.

In the second half of verse 6, after talking about people God looks after, it says, ‘but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.’

Okay, so that is helpful. These enemies of God are people who rebel. Turn against. Refuse to follow God.

21 Surely God will crush the heads of his enemies,
    the hairy crowns of those who go on in their sins.

i think this verse is helpful as well as it suggests the idea of going on in their sins. So not necessarily people who have just got it wrong or made a mistake or been born in the wrong tribe or anything like that. These are people who repeatedly continue to choose a path away from God and to their sin, whatever that particular sin is.

The verses after that get a little edgy in their description of the treatment of the enemies and perhaps what is helpful to get our minds around that is knowing it was spoken into a specific context in the language of the people of the day. This whole piece is a poem, or more correctly a song, and so poetic licence is given in terms of the language used not necessarily being literal but more emotive and colourful.

Because if we only read those verses, we can get a very particular picture of God, but let’s see how else He is described here:

Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
    extol him who rides on the clouds[];
    rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
    is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families,[]
    he leads out the prisoners with singing;
    but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

I love that phrase, ‘God sets the lonely in families’ [Could read a whole subtext of ‘Adoption’ into that one phrase, or ‘Community’ or both].

‘A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows’ and He ‘leads out the prisoners with singing’

Okay, so suddenly this God is sounding a lot more likeable.

You gave abundant showers, O God;
    you refreshed your weary inheritance.
10 Your people settled in it,
    and from your bounty, God, you provided for the poor.

That is really great as well, ‘from your bounty, you provided for the poor.’ We can start to get a picture for the kind of people God seems to strongly gravitate towards – those who can’t seem to look after themselves as easily or well.

This is a long Psalm and so worth reading through the whole thing by yourself, maybe multiple times, to really get the meat of it. But there is still a piece or two i would like to draw attention to:

19 Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,
    who daily bears our burdens.
20 Our God is a God who saves;
    from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.

The God we serve is the God who ‘daily bears our burdens’ and He is a ‘God who saves’. Those are both powerful statements ad remind me a lot more of the God i am drawn towards and know.

i think it is important to know that there is a difference between ‘bearing our burdens’ and ‘removing our burdens’ as often we would love fr God to just take away all the bad stuff in our life, but this image is of God carrying it alongside us. So being with us and helping make the burden lighter as opposed to necessarily taking it away altogether.

And lastly this song finishes off with a flourish:

32 Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth,

    sing praise to the Lord,
33 to him who rides across the highest heavens, the ancient heavens,
    who thunders with mighty voice.
34 Proclaim the power of God,
    whose majesty is over Israel,
    whose power is in the heavens.
35 You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary;
    the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people.

Praise be to God!

Awesome in your sanctuary. This is out God. Praise be to Him.

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

this is a super great psalm and just one of those where virtually every verse can be looked at and appreciated and spoken into – for that reason i want to encourage you to go and read the whole psalm and then come back here and share what stood out for you. i am just going to be looking at two specific sections that stood out for me:

8 Praise our God, all peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard;
9 he has preserved our lives
and kept our feet from slipping.
10 For you, God, tested us;
you refined us like silver.
11 You brought us into prison
and laid burdens on our backs.
12 You let people ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance.

what i loved about this first piece is the idea of the vocalisation, or declaration of the praise of God – let’s say it so people can hear it and let’s do it collectively – this speaks into the whole concept and need of church, the gathering of God’s people to lift His name up.

but then also the fact that it speaks into God being a presence in times of trouble as opposed to a protector from trouble or remover of it. phrases like ‘preserved our lives’ and ‘kept our feet from slipping’ indicate that the going has not been easy, but God has been there and His hand has been active and He has kept us from being overwhelmed by the life situations we faced which were not all comfortable and easy.

being refined like silver is a painful and uncomfortable process, but one that yields incredible and beautiful results.

and then God is even described as the One who was responsible for some of the trouble [an imagine none of us like to rush to or even consider at all sometimes?] – ‘You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs.’

i really love the realness this psalm exudes – we give God praise because He is so worth it – while at the same time the acknowledgement that it has not all been easy, but perhaps it has all been good?

the second passage that grabbed my attention was this one:

16 Come and hear, all you who fear God;
    let me tell you what he has done for me.
17 I cried out to him with my mouth;
    his praise was on my tongue.
18 If I had cherished sin in my heart,
    the Lord would not have listened;
19 but God has surely listened
    and has heard my prayer.
20 Praise be to God,
    who has not rejected my prayer
    or withheld his love from me!

again it starts with giving God praise and lifting His name up and i love the simple phrases ‘with my mouth’ and ‘on my tongue’ and all they convey…

but what really stands out for me here is the phrase ‘If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.’

great note to get us to stop for a moment and examine our lives and ask if there is actually any sin we are cherishing right now – not fighting against or wrestling with or trying to overcome, but actively being ok with? it made sense to the psalm writer that if that was the case, then we could naturally expect God to remain silent in the answering of our prayers.

is there any sin in your life right now that you have been justifying using phrases like, ‘It’s only…’ or ‘Everyone is doing it’ or ‘It’s not that bad’? 

if God is seeming to be particularly silent , then maybe that is a good place to start.

but the psalmist here is confident that there is no cherished sin going on in his life and as a result of that he is able to once more raise some praise to the God ‘who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!’

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

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