A Foundation For Praise

God’s Mercy Displayed In Psalm 103

Psalm 103 is one of joyous praise, perhaps one of the clearest examples of the pure praise in the Bible. If you take a good look at these twenty-two verses, you can see that this psalm is addressed to the Lord; that David not only invited his own soul but the soul of every individual, to join with Him in worship and praise to God. Not one single petition is found here.

A Foundation For Praise

This psalm is a vivid expression of worship. Many tend to look at prayer as only an avenue to seek God’s blessings. This is certainly one phase of prayer (Matthew 7:7-8), but not the main part of it. Prayer offers a greater opportunity to pour out our heart’s affection to God, and to worship him with our whole heart.

Psalm 103 gives light, it gives life, and it brings hope to us. There is much that you can glean from these verses. But, almost as the very first thing, David reveals some attributes of God’s character that are worthy of praise all on their own. There are at least four things that stand out in the first five verses alone:

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
   And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
   And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities,
   Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit,
   Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things,
   So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.

What We Gain By Studying History

Taking A Good Look At Psalm 78

One of the things I think we are really bad at, as humans, is learning from the past. I believe that we tend to get so focused on the present, or what might come, and we neglect to learn lessons from our history… Much needed lessons. Psalm 78 is a history lesson that can teach us some of those lessons.

What We Gain By Studying History

In Psalm 78, the psalmist desires to teach the nation of Israel something about God’s character, and in order to do this, he goes back into Israel’s history and gives an example of God’s faithfulness in spite of their rebellion. Like a road map, it lays out the course that Israel has taken through the generations, and shows how God continues to be faithful.

Despite all God had done for them, and all He had been to the Israelites, they didn’t keep His covenant and they refused to walk in His ways. They were a redeemed people, yet they were rebellious, full of complaining, and despised the provisions that God gave them. For their rebellion, their revolt and defiance of His authority, God brought punishment and retribution upon them. When the people repented, pardon was given. God’s grace led them to the land of promise.

Psalm 51

The Blessings Of Confession

Perhaps one of the most beautiful expressions of redemption can be found in Psalm 51. In fact, this may well be one of the most beautiful passages in all of Scripture.

Psalm 51

Psalm 51 is an expression of repentance. And it displays the possibility of redemption for those who are willing to confess their sin and repent of it.

It is the result of David’s sin of adultery with Bathsheba. You probably know the story found in 2 Samuel 11-12. David saw a beautiful woman whom he desired. He took her and committed adultery with her, resulting in a pregnancy. In order to cover his tracks, he tried to have the woman’s husband come home from war and visit is wife. When that failed, he had the husband murdered. And he thought he got away with it.

But he didn’t. God knew what David had done, and sent the prophet Nathan to convict David of his sin. It worked. David repented, and wrote Psalm 51 as a result.

That’s a very condensed version of the events that transpired, but I think you get the big idea. What David’s words in Psalm 51 show is that there is power in confessing our sin and repenting of it before God.

Psalm 51 can be broken into three different sections, and show us the progression he went through as he turned from his sin and returned to God.

The Alternative To Worry Is Trust

Learning How To Avoid Fear And Trust God

Psalm 37 is one of what many call the “Security Psalms,” which ranges from Psalm 32 to Psalm 37. Last week, I shared some thoughts on the phrase found in this psalm, “do not fret.” Now I want to look at the answer to that.

The Alternative To Worry Is Trust

Worry, or fretting, at the most basic level, is a feeling of insecurity. Many people believe that the opposite of worry is contentment, peace, or calmness. I don’t think any of those provide a complete picture of what replaces worry. God tells us not to worry, and he does say that we will receive peace and contentment as a result, but that’s not the basic root of the issue.

What we are called to instead of worry and fear… is trust.

Trust is the opposite of worry. Trust is what we are called to do. Peace and contentment will come as a result. But if we don’t have that trust, that faith, worry will continually overtake us.

Trusting God in the face of difficult circumstances can be very difficult at times. Fortunately, the same psalm that tells us not to worry also tells us how to trust. Psalm 37 gives us five different ways to build and strengthen our trust in the Lord.

Do Not Fret

How To Avoid Worry And Find Security In God

Psalms 32-37 are often called the “Security Psalms.” This is a series of psalms of David, written at times in his life when he had to rely on God for his his security, and not on his own efforts.

Do Not Fret

Our natural inclination when things get crazy is to worry about the outcome. It’s human nature. And although the Bible commands us to avoid it, we find that hard to accomplish most of the time. Worry is ultimately a lack of trust. We see our own inability to control things, and we fret over them, knowing that we can do nothing about it.

Psalm 37 is the final portion of this series of Security Psalms, and is one of the most poignant. In it, David addresses our inclination to worry, and then gives us an alternative.

David was often faced with troubling enemies. He was pursued by Saul before he became king, and faced threats from multiple foreign nations during his reign. He also faced a threat that came from his own son, who attempted to take the kingdom from him in rebellion. David had to rely on God for his sense of security.

In Psalm 37, we can see his trust in God come through clearly.

First, David assures us that the prosperity of our enemies is short lived, and that their fall is self-evident in their own nature. The wicked are their own worst enemy. But in stark contrast, the way of the righteous is secure, because it is established by God, and he provides safety to those who follow him.

Seeing Christ In The Book Of Job

One of the most intriguing aspects of the book of Job is that God steps in and takes part in the discussion. This is unique in the pages of the Old Testament, at least in this fashion. And it provides some good insight into the nature of God’s character and activity on behalf of men.

Job

God shows up to the discussion between Job and his friends. And when he does, he gives quite a speech, so long that it covers five chapters in Job, chapters 38-42.

Right away, we can see the infinite contrast between the knowledge and power of God, and those of man. God decides to answer Job’s complaint. But he does so in an unexpected fashion: he speaks out of the whirlwind. Job 37:1-2 seems to give some foreshadowing of the storm in which God appears, as Elihu speaks to Job. Perhaps the storm was on the horizon. The whirlwind is often used as a symbol of judgment. Out of the midst of the whirlwind, God answered the challenge of Job, and shows that if man cannot explain everything in God’s natural creation, how can man, then, hope to understand everything about God’s moral creation?

Job’s cry has been heard. “Let the Almighty answer me!” he called out in Job 31:35. God now answers out of the storm. Perhaps Job didn’t expect God to hear and answer. His cry seems to be one of desperation. Perhaps he regrets it. Perhaps he didn’t think it through, and just uttered it under his breath. Matthew 12:36 states: But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.

The Genre Of The Book Of Job

I have always been intrigued by the book of Job. It is one of the oldest books of the Old Testament, although some have tried to place it as late as the period of the Second Temple. But either way, it is a fascinating book.

The Book Of Job

Job is the first of the books found in the poetry and wisdom section of the Old Testament, along with Ecclesiastes, Psalms, Proverbs, and the Song of Solomon. It is a series of poetic conversations between Job and his friends, sandwiched between two shorter sections of prose, that describe the setting and the conclusion of the events contained within the rest of the book.

As poetry, Job a very interesting piece of literature. Hebrew poetry does not have meter or rhyme, like the poetry of English, or most other modern, western languages. Rhythm is not achieved by repetition of similar sounds, as it is in rhymed verse; and not by rhythmic accent as in blank verse, but rather by the repetition of ideas. This is called parallelism, and is found throughout the poetical literature of the Bible. Take Psalm 9:9 for example:

The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed,
   A stronghold in times of trouble…

Parallelism is called synonymous when the thoughts are identical, as in Psalm 9. It is antithetic when the primary and the secondary ideas are in contrast, as in Psalm 1:6:

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
   But the way of the wicked will perish.

And it is considered synthetic when the thought is developed or enriched by the parallel, as it is in Job 11:18:

Then you would trust, because there is hope;
   And you would look around and rest securely.

And Job is filled with example after example of parallelism, which is interesting in itself. But when it comes to classifying just what kind of poetic literature Job is has been vigorously contested throughout the years. Here are few of the different forms that have been suggested by scholars.