The Blessed of God: Psalm 112:1-3

“Praise the Lord!
Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
who greatly delights in his commandments!
2 His offspring will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches are in his house,
and his righteousness endures forever.”

Psalm 112:1-3, ESV

It seems that never has so much blessing rested on so little effort.

Fearing God and the delight of obedience would be reasonably easy; given what we understand about God. Following Him are should be quite winsome and inviting and altogether attractive. It should be easy. But our hearts are profoundly wicked, and we soon trade righteousness for sin’s disobedience.

Our trade for sin could be compared to the Lenape Indians selling Manhattan Island in 1626 for $24.00 of trinkets and costume jewelry. We trade for “the fleeting pleasures of sin” for comparatively far less (Heb. 11).

But the  theme of vv.1-3 is much more positive. It ‘s like a flickering neon light that blinks in our darkness. It’s quite obvious if it is there.

This psalm is an acrostic poem, each line beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This reveals to me the great care and craft in the author’s heart as he wrote.

Commentary

V. 1, “Praise the Lord!
Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
who greatly delights in his commandments!”

Hallelujah! The Hebrew word for ‘praise God.’ Three words that matter the most,

  1. praising, (the area of worship)
  2. fearing, (the area of obedience)
  3. delighting, (the area of enjoying God deeply)

These are the three ‘must-haves.’ Your spiritual well-being depends on these. Expand it further, and it pushes into blessing.

Blessing really is what we seek for ourselves, and our families, and our neighbors. In my thinking it is being enriched, or favored and uses a great metaphor of a flourishing tree. Psalm 1:4,

“He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
    and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.”

“Greatly delighting” is somewhat like joy (on steroids!)

V. 2, “His offspring will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.”

Believing believers open their lives up to tremendous blessing. But they also exude a powerful influence over others. Israel was promised this in Lev. 26:8,

“Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall chase ten thousand, and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.”

Faith would infuse them, and they would be able to do wonders. God shared His strength with those who made a decision to honor Him. But in reverse, it would be terrible. People would scatter like scared rabbits at just the rumor of an enemies approach. In Lev. 26:17,

 I will set my face against you, and you shall be struck down before your enemies. Those who hate you shall rule over you, and you shall flee when none pursues you.”

V. 3, “Wealth and riches are in his house,
and his righteousness endures forever.”

However, this is a Psalm of Blessing! That blessing can be tangible, but it is also something quite spiritual. Something happens to the soul of anyone who intends to fear and honor Jehovah. Many of us understand this.

A curse on the other hand, is also something we know. Having been ‘lost in sin’ I understand living life devoid of God’s special grace. It was an empty and futile way of life.

***

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Fantastically Solid: Psalm 111:7-8

Typical Ice-fishing shack

7 “All he does is just and good,
    and all his commandments are trustworthy.
They are forever true,
    to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity.”

Psalm 111:7-8, NLT

I seem to be in a place of learning “appreciation”— the study of God, through the majesty of the Word– the very promises– through acquired ideas of Him. We are starting to become gracious people and recognize the presence of grace.

Thankfulness is not confined to a holiday. It is the way we grow up in God. It is the main ingredient in this concoction of maturity.

“Thanksgiving is the language of heaven, and we had better start to learn it if we are not to be mere dumb aliens there.” A.J. Gossip

Note: This psalm is a Hebrew acrostic poem; after the introductory note of praise, each line begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

 

Commentary

V. 7, “All he does is just and good,
    and all his commandments are trustworthy.”

These twin ideas, “justice and goodness,” not only go together, but enhance each other. Being “just” without being “good” would be something awful. And to be good without being just would be very hard to imagine.

Everything God does is stellar. He is completely exceptional. And we can’t imagine all that it means. But, who’s complaining. It seems like I’m always reducing Him to my own level. It’s never too high, or too excessive. My understanding is far from complete.

“He manufactures truth and justice;
All his products are guaranteed to last—
Never out-of-date, never obsolete, rust-proof.
All that he makes and does is honest and true:”

(V. 11-12, Message)

I grew up in the 1960s in Wisconsin. The winters there are frequently below zero, with a nasty ‘wind-chill’ factor. But in the fall, people would get their ice fishing ‘shacks’ ready to await the go ahead of trekking out on the ice. People wanted to fish, but the ice thickness determined everything.

What God is, is quite solid. He is a “rock.” You can land a 747 on a Wisconsin lake in January, no problem at all, it’s like concrete. God and all He promises are even more substantial, “like a rock.”

V. 8, “They are forever true,
    to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity.”

Not just true, but “a forever-kind-of-true.” He is fully consistent, no cracks or ‘thaws.’ We on the other hand are unstable, liquid, weak. Even at our best we are vaporous. When we look about the spiritual landscape, strewn about with collapses and sin– the best of us, will admit to faults and sin.

God is so solid, and so true. Because of this, we have an obligation and a willingness to become people of a true integrity.

 

ybic, Bryan

We Are the ‘Word People’: Psalm 119:1-8

“The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.” Ps. 119:130

א Aleph

 1 Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, 
   who walk according to the law of the LORD. 
2 Blessed are they who keep his statutes 
   and seek him with all their heart. 
3 They do nothing wrong; 
   they walk in his ways. 
4 You have laid down precepts 
   that are to be fully obeyed. 
5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast 
   in obeying your decrees! 
6 Then I would not be put to shame 
   when I consider all your commands. 
7 I will praise you with an upright heart 
   as I learn your righteous laws. 
8 I will obey your decrees; 
   do not utterly forsake me.

Psalm 119:1—8, NIV

This psalm has many unique characteristics.

#1, there are 22 paragraphs. Each one focuses on a single letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

#2, And to make it even more interesting, every verse in that paragraph begins with that same letter. Example vv. 1 — 8 all start the verse with the appropriate letter of the alphabet.

#3, There is a complexity in this psalm, which we certainly don’t see in English; but we do see it in the original Hebrew.

#4, There is an obvious awareness of the Law, or “torah.” But there is a total of nine other synonyms that have a connection to the ‘Torah’. They’re other translations of these words— law, statutes, ways, precepts, decrees, commands, promises, word. These are all different words, each have a different connotation. And they are changeable. I suppose this has to be is a divine intelligence beyond our comprehension, and far beyond our human ability to manipulate. God’s ‘fingerprints’ are all over this psalm.

Commentary

V. 1 — 2, the word “blessed” is used. But that is only the core idea. It has the broad idea of peace, confidence, and happiness in one’s new place or position. There is a place, but it seems to come to the blameless. And just so you know, being blameless is not being sinless. We sin, constantly. But we can be blameless in that place. V.2 has put an emphasis on two verbs— keeping, and seeking.

V. 3, “They do nothing wrong,” as far as I can see the believer is lifted out of a lifestyle of hopeless sinning. It is no longer the compelling momentum that energizes us. We are now to be walking the avenues that the Lord has made for us.

V. 4,  God has taken an active role in our salvation. We can look at His precepts as a burden, or as a help. They word, “obey” gets used.  (I suppose that that word obedience is the ‘neutron bomb’ of theological terms.) Yet, it is a necessary attitude if we want to lived blessed lives.

V. 5, Is an ejaculatory cry for deliverance. It has the spirit of Romans 7 all over it. The heart that is truly following God will understand this, it is the profound desire to be more like Him. Our spirits should yearn to be like our Father in heaven.

V. 6, deep inside the writer of this psalm should be a kindred spirit for us. The driving thought in this verse is that of having a true heart, a faithful heart. In a sense the psalmist realizes there is a day of accountability and judgement for himself.

V. 7, When I read this verse I have a wonderful sense of the mechanism of Christian transformation. We see praise building as the disciple is obeying, and vice versa. Obedience is linked into praise; and praise builds obedience! One feeds the other, and they are both strengthened.

V. 8, Here we see “commitment.” We observe the hungry heart of the psalmist to obey. “Obey” is always his critical word for us. In his mind this is the pivot on which everything turns on. There exists a holy resolve to comply and to heed His will.

Becoming Quiet For a Change: Psalm 62:1-4

A Place to Become Quiet

For Jeduthun, the choir director: A psalm of David.

1 “I wait quietly before God,
    for my victory comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress where I will never be shaken.

So many enemies against one man—
    all of them trying to kill me.
To them I’m just a broken-down wall
    or a tottering fence.
They plan to topple me from my high position.
    They delight in telling lies about me.
They praise me to my face
    but curse me in their hearts.” Interlude

Psalm 62:1-4, NLT

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David establishes the wonderful need we have, to be quiet– silence. He understands a great deal of things.

  • Who God is, and His heart for me,
  • being in a precarious position,
  • the extent of the conspiracy against him,
  • the deceitfulness of so-called “friends.”

 

Commentary

V. 1, “I wait quietly before God,
    for my victory comes from him.”

The Hebrew word for “wait” is “kawva.” It is a curious word. Its definition is “to bind together, by twisting.” For David, waiting could not be a passive condition. It had a far more active concept, that of “braiding.” When we “wait on the Lord,” we should be pliable, and soft. It is a time for us to be wrapping our hearts and minds with God, and the things of God.

When we think of “waiting” today, it’s pretty much a passive thing. We “wait” to see the doctor. We sit in a “waiting room,” reading old magazines until he (or she) is ready to see us. Very few people like waiting.

The verse also shows a coming “victory.” It is given to us freely and extravagantly. We certainly can do a single thing to be given such an incredible gift.

 

V. 2, “He alone is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress where I will never be shaken.”

David sees God as a place of safety, security– a castle. I think that David was seeing God properly. Perhaps all of this crisis– over and over, is exactly what the Lord wanted. When crisis initiates a desperate heart, than it is worth it.

 

V. 3, “So many enemies against one man—
    all of them trying to kill me.
To them I’m just a broken-down wall
    or a tottering fence.”

Sobering, isn’t it. This is not a game, in David’s eyes. “So many enemies,” and the phrase, “kill me” is not melodrama. He’s not making this up, and he isn’t paranoid. He is a target for assassination.

I think what David was trying to say (with the last part of the verse), that many see him as vulnerable and weak. Tottering, especially, is an evocative word. It has the idea of being decrepit. In the eyes of his enemies, David is completely defenseless and totally assailable.

 

V. 4, “They plan to topple me from my high position.
    They delight in telling lies about me.
They praise me to my face
    but curse me in their hearts.” 

David understands how “coups” work. He realizes that slander, and lies are just the first step to remove David as king. He doesn’t trust anyone. He finds that those who are flattering him are telling him lies. They intend to deceive, that is their real purpose.

*

ybic, Bryan

 

God, Motivate Me– Psalm 119, ה

megaphone-god

ה He

33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes;
    and I will keep it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
    and observe it with my whole heart.
35 Lead me in the path of your commandments,
    for I delight in it.
36 Incline my heart to your testimonies,
    and not to selfish gain!
37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
    and give me life in your ways.
38 Confirm to your servant your promise,
    that you may be feared.
39 Turn away the reproach that I dread,
    for your rules are good.
40 Behold, I long for your precepts;
    in your righteousness give me life!

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Again, this is an acrostic. It is painstakingly put together and embedded with the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Each letter will have eight verses. And each verse begins with the letter assigned to it. For example, today’s post is the Hebrew letter is  ה , or He– the eight verses (see above) each begin with the letter “He”.

There are some references in the Hebrew Talmud about “he.” It is a special letter. A few suggest that two letters were brought together to be used by God to form the entire universe. Paired up it constructs “the divine name” of God. In Psalm 33:6, we read–

“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
and by the breath of his mouth all their host.”

I suppose Psalm 119 can be compared to a ‘literary’ tapestry– many threads meticulously woven into something with so much beauty, it takes your breath away when you see it. It is a masterpiece of unparalleled exquisiteness and elegance.

Commentary

He

Vv. 33-34, “Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes;
    and I will keep it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
    and observe it with my whole heart.”

If we just look at the verbs, we will go along way toward an understanding.

  1. Teach me
  2. I will keep
  3. Give me
  4. I will observe

As a believer, God commits Himself to provide me with what I need. He is a teacher, and a giver. He infuses us with wisdom and understanding.

And as a disciple I finally can give what He really wants. I plan to keep, and observe. He gives, and I commit. Its a bit like a “give and take” scenario. But we don’t earn or deserve anything. We receive from Him far more than we could give.

Vv. 35-36, “Lead me in the path of your commandments,
    for I delight in it.
36 Incline my heart to your testimonies,
    and not to selfish gain!”

We must be led. We are on this journey you see, but it will take His work to direct us. The commandments should delight us. The rebellion which is innate in each of us really hates this.

Inclination means a motivation, or a proclivity within. It describes a disposition where we really do want to follow, we really do! In a sense we see a sort of ‘magnetism’ that effects us, pulling us to Him. “Selfish gain” is a bit vague, but it is anything that lifts us up, when it is really all about Him.

Vv. 37-38, “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
    and give me life in your ways.
38 Confirm to your servant your promise,
    that you may be feared.

My eyes are constantly roving, and unfortunately they gravitate toward “worthless things.” These are things which have little or no value. There is a strange sort of spiritual seduction here. We need God’s help in controlling this. If we don’t we will be in bondage to sin.

Confirmation is a sort of an implanted promise that reassures us. Without it we are a real mess. We each are capable of much wickedness. But when God’s hand is on us, confirming us– it is then we start to have a healthy fear of God. And that is a very good thing.

Vv. 39-40, “Turn away the reproach that I dread,
    for your rules are good.
40 Behold, I long for your precepts;
    in your righteousness give me life!”

The “reproach” is coming from our enemies, both spiritual and fleshly (vv. 22, 42, 51). It seems that we are the most hated– and the most loved people. The verse seems to suggest that we need God’s work to “turn away” this nastiness.

The Holy Spirit refocuses us, recalibrating us. We start to “long for” the things He speaks to us. If we let Him work, we will discover true life. And once you taste that life, it will ruin you for the vain morsels of this present age.

&

ybic, Bryan

Dusty Believers– Psalm 119, ד Daleth

psalm-119-graphic

ד Daleth

25 I lie in the dust;
    revive me by your word.
26 I told you my plans, and you answered.
    Now teach me your decrees.
27 Help me understand the meaning of your commandments,
    and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds.
28 I weep with sorrow;
    encourage me by your word.
29 Keep me from lying to myself;
    give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.
30 I have chosen to be faithful;
    I have determined to live by your regulations.
31 I cling to your laws.
    Lord, don’t let me be put to shame!
32 I will pursue your commands,
    for you expand my understanding.

We are heading back to 119, and picking up where we left off. Verses 1-24 are available for perusal on this site using the search function on the home page.

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As a teacher, I admit that Psalm 119 seems very big and cumbersome. Its a lot like having a circus elephant in your living room. It’s all jolly to begin with– but there are some challenging issues as well.

Psalm 119 is quite unique. Each verse is potent and exacting. As we read it we find it is quite choppy and it moves quicker than what we are used to. For many of us, we prefer the sweeping poetry of a Psalm 23 or 103. But this ain’t that.

But it is the most sophisticated chapter in the Bible. It is constructed around the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. And each verse starts with the letter assigned to it. We call this an “acrostic.” (But only in Hebrew.) It the longest chapter, larger than some entire books of the Bible. The construction severely limits the author, as you may imagine.

I am tingling with joy
Of a glorious discovery:
Continuous surrender
Brings continuous freedom.
Lord, I love being free!
 
~ Ruth Harms Calkin
 

Commentary

DalethThis is the 4th letter in Hebrew. Each 8 verses assigned to Daleth begin with the letter Daleth. This is pretty fantastical if you try to transfer this alphabet pattern to English.

V. 25, “ I lie in the dust;
    revive me by your word.”

I’m sure we all have seen movies where the protagonist is wandering in the desert under a scorching sun. He has no water, and his strength is completely gone. He dramatically collapses, and looking up he sees the buzzards circling.

The verse makes us see our own desperation. But instead of water, we need to take in God’s Word. We crave and yearn for that which can restore us. The Bible speaks like nothing else.

V. 26, “I told you my plans, and you answered.
    Now teach me your decrees.”

As you can see the psalmist does not take time with one metaphor. But jumps to the next.

The writer has been planning. He has been contemplating his future. A strategic understanding must be found, and communicated to the heart of God. An answer comes from the Throne Room.

We see that the psalmist craves instruction. His mindset and inclination is eager for the Father’s aid. In a way, he really want’s God to meddle with his life.

V. 27, “Help me understand the meaning of your         commandments,
    and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds.”

Understanding is a word connect to the idea of knowledge, discernment, perception, and impression. A multi-faceted word, the writer wants all of these things working.

There is a special way that truth is understood–it comes from God alone. Throughout history, men and women have sought to  understand life without God. I’m somewhat of a history buff. Especially WWI history. The foolish and rash ignorance of world leaders was a travesty. (Its laughable, if it wasn’t so tragic.)

What is spoken here is meditation that is not eastern. There is a big difference. On one hand there is an emptying, a turning off of the intellect and rational. On the other, is a taking in of God’s Words. You could say that Eastern meditation is passive, while Biblical meditation is active.

V. 28, “I weep with sorrow;
    encourage me by your word.”

Jesus taught in his Beatitudes the core movements of really walking with God. Below are the first three, Matthew 5:3-5,

“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
    for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
God blesses those who are humble,
    for they will inherit the whole earth.”

When we begin to understand our sin, and unwholesomeness we start on a walk that is real and significant. God delights in the “dust dwellers.”

V. 29, “Keep me from lying to myself;
    give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.”

How do we lie to ourself? One of the strongest impulses is to protect ourselves. It is a central urge we have. For many, the physical rules over the spiritual. Self-deception might be easier than deceiving others.

V. 30, “ I have chosen to be faithful;
    I have determined to live by your regulations.”

The choice is made and we shouldn’t look back. Put your hand to the plow and keep moving. We make a decision in the heat of a moment. Then we think we can walk away from it.

“I have chosen– I have determined.” 

V. 31, “I cling to your laws.
    Lord, don’t let me be put to shame!”

Psalm 119 is the “Fort Knox” of God’s word. This psalm easily has a lifetime supply of  gold in it. Laws are just one of eight different words that categorizes the promises of the Word.

Whenever this word “cling” is mentioned in the Bible; a certain image clicks in. I see someone out in the ocean, clinging to a life jacket. Are we sufficiently aware of our hopeless state without Christ?

V. 32, “I will pursue your commands,
    for you expand my understanding.”

The word “pursue” is a very intense word. The writer doesn’t say, “I will wander in your general direction.” There can be a great case made for a single-minded devotion.

Having your mind-blown by God, our thinking doesn’t shrink, but it grows and expands. It is God who does these things.

&

ybic, Bryan

God Never Plays “Hide & Seek”: Psalm 102:1-2

Come out, come out. Wherever you are!
Come out, come out. Wherever you are!

Do Not Hide Your Face from Me

A Prayer of one afflicted, when he is faint and pours out his complaint before the Lord.

102 “Hear my prayer, O Lord;
let my cry come to you!
Do not hide your face from me
    in the day of my distress!

Incline your ear to me;
    answer me speedily in the day when I call!”

Psalm 102:1-2, NLT

Affliction is the most common experience we will share. It seems that it is our natural environment, because we can be found there most of the time. Afflictions vary in intensity– from the casual, day-to-day stuff to the catastrophic. It’s good to be reminded of our common situation. It helps, a little.

I chose this psalm because of content and ‘heart.’ A quick read will reveal issues not normally discussed or pondered. It’s sort of like ‘super-gluing” your hand to the horn of an enraged rhino. You’re not sure where he’s going, but you’re going to get there very shortly.

Bible study is like that for me. The text I happen to be thinking about has incredible power. I sense it and I handle it, and I pray. Once I attach myself to the text, anything can happen. Responding to the Word can be exhilarating.

Commentary

V. 1, “Hear my prayer, O Lord;
let my cry come to you!”

Someone once said that just as breathing is to our physical bodies, prayer is the same to our spiritual ones. We must breathe. As a kid I remember having “breathing contests.” We would hold our breath for as long as it took to win. Weird, huh?

There is a definite need, as sure as anything, for each of us to fellowship with “the God of all comfort”.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NKJV

There is a heart-cry that comes out of the spirit of the believer. The Hebrew word chosen in verse 1 is one of the most intense found. It’s not just “whimpering”, but it goes far beyond that. This “cry” is strenuous and strong. It is the cry of a broken heart.

The psalmist does not intend to waste his sorrows. The pain he is feeling may just rip him into two; but he knows and believes that it has eternal value and everlasting purpose. (He knows this because he has faith).

Our faith was never meant to be spiritual medals and ribbons for decoration. Rather faith is a life boat we are swimming to reach. It is what I call, “the desperation factor”.

V. 2,  “Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress!

Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call!”

God does not play “hide and seek” with our hearts and souls. He absolutely loves it when His children are desperately looking for Him. He does not play tricks on us. We may have to walk in the dark, and have to listen through the cacophony of competing voices. But He is so close, “His eye is on the sparrow’.

There are often “time factors” that He uses. We will learn to wait. But waiting is first– never “passive.” We don’t need to go into a “spiritual hibernation” because things are quiet. Second– waiting does not mean “abandonment”.

The three Hebrew children stood in the furnace. This is the way they did executions back then. They stood in faith of a God who heard their prayers. They might as well have been standing in their bathrooms, as the fire couldn’t even singe them. The were so ‘insulated’ they didn’t even smell smokey.

But the king, peering through the walls of the furnace, could see a fourth man. The Lord God was quite present, even in this place of death.

*

ybic, Bryan

Let’s Get It Right: Psalm 8, NLT

“In the beginning…”

O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
    Your glory is higher than the heavens.
You have taught children and infants
    to tell of your strength,[b]
silencing your enemies
    and all who oppose you.

When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—
    the moon and the stars you set in place—
what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
    human beings that you should care for them?[c]
Yet you made them only a little lower than God[d]
    and crowned them[e] with glory and honor.
You gave them charge of everything you made,
    putting all things under their authority—
the flocks and the herds
    and all the wild animals,
the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea,
    and everything that swims the ocean currents.

O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!

Psalm 8, NLT

This psalm is hopelessly impregnated with a sweet significance. We read the words, and the sentences to understand. The implications and consequences have a way of turning everything upside down. In this sense it is subversive, working inside of us, until it does what the Spirit has assigned it to do.
Looking at the Word as a prescription can be quite healthy. Thirty years ago I had a counselor who once wrote her Bible verses on a pad—  just like a physician would do.  I would take the recommended verses home, read and pray. I valued them, because I felt they were for me. (Perhaps more Christian counselors  and pastors should try this?)
Commentary
V. 5 “Yet you made them only a little lower than God
    and crowned them with glory and honor.”
We have been engineered and placed under God Himself. This is my position in creation. It is true whether I believe it or not. “Made” and “crowned.” Both words are considerably significant. To me, being made is all about humility and limitations. I belong to Him. And wearing a crown makes me noble— royalty. As a believer I must exercise that authority that God has given me.
V. 6, “ You gave them charge of everything you made,
    putting all things under their authority—
 The created world has a master, and that must be considered. And yet we discover that some of creation is hostile to us. Man- eating tigers, venomous snakes, and disease-causing microbes are just the start. We seem to be in opposition to much of creation.
This was never meant to be. Even though we are placed in this position of noble/servant, things aren’t going swimmingly well for us. Much is explained here:
“For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”
Romans 8
V. 7— 8, “the flocks and the herds
    and all the wild animals,
 the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea,
    and everything that swims the ocean currents.
God’s ideal was that creation would have an order, and that we should be responsible for leading the created world. This was upset when men chose to sin, and rebelled against the Lord.
V. 9, “O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!”
Everything ends up in worship. We may struggle with sin, struggle with theology, and struggle with the Church. But all of this can benefit us, if we end up worshipping.
There is much here that we should see. And I trust that the Holy Spirit would advance His truth in your lives. I leave you with this verse.
 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.
Colossians 3:10

ybic, Bryan

Footnotes:
  1. Psalm 8:1 Hebrew according to the gittith.
  2. Psalm 8:2 Greek version reads to give you praise. Compare Matt 21:16.
  3. Psalm 8:4 Hebrew what is man that you should think of him, / the son of man that you should care for him?
  4. Psalm 8:5 Or Yet you made them only a little lower than the angels; Hebrew reads Yet you made him [i.e., man] a little lower than Elohim.
  5. Psalm 8:5 Hebrew him [i.e., man]; similarly in 8:6.


Please, Rebuke Me: Psalms 141:5-7, NLT

 

5 “Let the godly strike me!
    It will be a kindness!
If they correct me, it is soothing medicine.
    Don’t let me refuse it.

But I pray constantly
    against the wicked and their deeds.
When their leaders are thrown down from a cliff,
    the wicked will listen to my words and find them true.
Like rocks brought up by a plow,
    the bones of the wicked will lie scattered without burial.[a]

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 141:7 Hebrew scattered at the mouth of Sheol.

These are great verses for the humble, and challenging ones for the interpretive acumen of the translator. Verses 6-7 typically leave them scratching their collective heads. And I admit that I like it that way. I do not need complete answers anymore.

The style of these verses is what we call, “imprecatory.” That word is defined  at dictionary.com as follows,

Definition: curse
Synonyms: anathematize, be foul-mouthed, bedamn,blaspheme, cuss, damn*, execrate, flame*, takename in vain, talk dirty, use bad language, utter profanity

Scan through this and see exactly how intense this word really is defined. There are several psalms that are written in this manner. On a personal note, I’ve learned to apply them not to physical enemies, but the spiritual ones. The New Testament does both actually. But more I suppose, it concerns us in our war with Satan and evil. (But I’m sure you can sort this out.)

Commentary

V. 5, I have been rebuked by the best of them! And I admit that I have almost always had to make a very quick  “adjustment.” It’s like I had to “flip a switch” in my heart to listen to correction and receive the words. Every believer has a need to be corrected reasonably often.

“If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace;
    if you accept correction, you will be honored.” Proverbs 13:19

David has a therapeutic sense about this in v. 5. He makes his own adjustment to rebuke knowing it will heal his soul. If you think you can avoid this you will walk  in a crunchy and complete error. I was once rebuked by an 80 year old saintly woman, and she didn’t say a thing. Her actions alone pointed me to Jesus.

“Don’t let me refuse it.” David knows that he doesn’t need to receive it, but he wants God to act to make him willing. When we can’t will, we can ask to be made willing. There is a common proverb– “Let who rebukes me have rings on her fingers.”

V.5, continues, “But I pray constantly against the wicked and their deeds.” I really thing their is a proactive (almost aggressive) attitude toward all who do evil and do dark things. (I wonder if praying like this does something inside of us?) You might say that David separates himself, putting a distance from himself and wickedness.

Vv. 6-7, O.K. These are the “toughies.” The picture is the enemies of God, men who led all the others to be thrown off a high wall. In 2 Kings 9:33 we read of Queen Jezebel being hurled off a wall to her death. Same word, exactly. I believe that this was the standard way of killing the leaders off. Their crimes were brutal, because of their influence over others. Sin was distinguished, and death had to be public and “meaningful.”

ybic, Bryan

Please Remember: Psalm 25:1-7

Forget Me Not

A psalm of David.

 1 O LORD, I give my life to you. 
    2 I trust in you, my God! 
   Do not let me be disgraced, 
      or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat. 
 3 No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced, 
      but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others.

 4 Show me the right path, O LORD; 
      point out the road for me to follow. 
 5 Lead me by your truth and teach me, 
      for you are the God who saves me. 
      All day long I put my hope in you. 
 6 Remember, O LORD, your compassion and unfailing love, 
      which you have shown from long ages past. 
 7 Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth. 
      Remember me in the light of your unfailing love, 
      for you are merciful, O LORD.

Psalm 25:1- 7, NLT

I don’t think we fully grasp the reality of eternal things. The church seems oblivious and amnesic about a world that is more real than this one we see. Perhaps we’re befuddled by the cares and concerns of this present life, not seeing what is truly significant. We really must have a touch by the Holy Spirit to deliver us from this malaise.

This is the beginning  part of Psalm 25, written by David. We are sincerely blessed to have this to ponder and apply. Examining it prayerfully we discover things that we need. It’s a lot like one of those RPG games. We need to collect things and store them, to make our way through the maze. If we miss something, we will know it.

This psalm is a Hebrew acrostic poem; each verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Quite imaginative, and showing considerable literary skill.

Commentary

V. 1, 2, David has made a decision. He has given himself over to God. This means that he is now God’s possession. A trust is secured between him and God. David expresses a confidence in the Lord’s ability to hold him securely.

V. 3,  “No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced.” This is a bold statement of faith. The two key words here are “trust” and “disgrace”. But the real thought is the stark boldness behind this statement.  He articulates and asserts that anyone who trusts will be taken care of. It is a public declaration that effects everyone. But just as valid, is the certainty of disgrace to all would practice deception.

V. 4, We see a heart that understands his need for guidance. David wants a map of the Spirit, to find his way. But perhaps more; he wants a guide.

V. 5, “Guide me in Your truth and faithfulness and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You [You only and altogether] do I wait [expectantly] all the day long”  Amplified Bible.

We really need to become teachable. David has a pliable heart. He wants to be lead, and savors God’s instruction. This really is a keystone component to spiritual growth. David is the student, the Lord is the teacher.

V. 6,   7.  Perhaps these verses will open with the word “remember.” (It’s used 3x in these two verses.) Remembering has the idea of both retaining and recalling. David asks God to recall his own character; of love and faithfulness. The psalmist also asks that God will not recall his sin- “the rebellious sins of my youth.”

So much faith is expressed in these verses. David reveals his sincere heart for all who want reality. He helps us understand what is really important.