Saturday, October 26, 2013

Psalm 65

A hymn in praise of the LORD's goodness and for answering their their prayers.

LORD hears the prayers and is always ready to forgive our sins and transgressions. LORD has chosen few people and brought them over to live in His temple - they are blessed.
Psalm 65:5 You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds,
    God our Savior,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
    and of the farthest seas,
LORD's goodness and righteousness is what enables Him to answer our prayers. LORD is the One who formed, enriched, and ordained everything on earth.

LORD is the one who blesses our crops and grasslands abundantly.

Psalm 64

A confident prayer of David for protection when threatened by conspiracy.

In this psalm, David voiced his complaint to protect his life from the threat of his enemy. He describes his enemy as wicked and evildoers, who shoot deadly words like arrows. Further, they are the ones who shoot from ambush at the innocent man.

They are always busy scheming and plotting:
Psalm 64:5 They encourage each other in evil plans,
    they talk about hiding their snares;
    they say, “Who will see it?”
6 They plot injustice and say,
    “We have devised a perfect plan!”
    Surely the human mind and heart are cunning.
David is sure that LORD will strike them down, turn their own tongues against them, ruin them, and rescue him. Those who are righteous will rejoice and take refuge in the LORD.

Psalm 63

A confession of intense longing for LORD and security, written by David, while he was in the Desert of Judah.

David is earnestly seeking the presence of LORD while his body is longing for his presence, just like how one thirsts for water in the desert.
Psalm 63:3 Because Your love is better than life,
    my lips will glorify You.
He will praise LORD as long as he lives and while doing so, his soul is satisfied as if he ate the richest of foods.
Psalm 63:6 On my bed I remember you;
    I think of You through the watches of the night.
David clings to the LORD at times of trouble. He is certain that the LORD's protection is over him and he will destroy those who seek his life.

My Thoughts
David, after experiencing LORD's love said, "Your love is better than life." The love this world can offer us is infinitesimal, conditional and seasonal. Those who crave for "True Love" should seek the LORD. He owns that "Abyss of Love" where we can swim till our hearts delight. Those who sample the taste His love will seldom compromise.

One can only think of the love of his life while on the bed, and during the passing of night. Here David is portraying the intensity of his love towards LORD.

Psalm 62

David commits himself to the LORD at times of threat and assaults from conspirators.

David's knew that his soul found rest in the presence of the LORD and salvation came from the LORD. He trusts in the LORD and will not be shaken.

His enemies intend to topple him and destroy him. They speak blessings with their mouth, but in their hearts they utter curses. He decided to trust in the LORD and make Him his rock and salvation.

Next, he calls out to his people to put their trust in the LORD.
Psalm 62:8 Trust in Him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to Him,
    for God is our refuge.
People, regardless of their social and financial status, rich or poor, are equal in the eyes of the LORD.

He then issues three warnings to people:
- not to trust in extortion,
- not to take pride in stolen goods,
- not to set the heart on riches.

LORD is strong and loving. On judgement day, He will reward people according to their deeds.

Psalm 61

A prayer for restoration of LORD's presence. 

David is begging LORD to listen to his cry and to answer his prayers from far corners of the earth. LORD is his only refuge and strong tower; he longs to be under LORD's care. 
Psalm 61:4 I long to dwell in your tent forever
    and take refuge in the shelter of Your wings.
His prayer continued as he begged long life and sang praises to LORD. He wants to fulfill his vows everyday. 

Psalm 60

A national prayer for LORD's help after suffering a severe loss at the hands of Aramites and Edomites.

In this plea, David felt as though LORD was angry and had rejected his men by sending these enemies to attack them.
Psalm 60:5 Save us and help us with Your right hand,
    that those You love may be delivered.
David believes that for the sake of few faithful Israelites, LORD will make a strong army against his enemy. He then pleads to the LORD in faith to save Israel from the disaster.

His prayer request contained guidance for the Israeli army and is optimistic in his faith.
Psalm 60:12 With God we will gain the victory,
    and He will trample down our enemies.

Psalm 59

A psalm composed when Saul had sent men to watch David’s house in order to kill him.

David is praying to the LORD to deliver him from King Saul. He complains to the LORD that King Saul is attacking him for no reason.
Psalm 59:4 I have done no wrong, yet they are ready to attack me.
    Arise to help me; look on my plight!
His enemies are besieging and prowling about the city. His enemies are thinking that LORD will not punish them for their wicked deeds.

LORD is the stronghold of David. He does not want LORD to kill his enemies; rather he is requesting them to be brought down. He is requesting his enemies to be caught in their pride.

It seems that his enemies are not satisfied with the evil they have done, wanting to do more. He will praise the LORD as He is their strength and fortress.

Psalm 58

A rhetorical address to the wicked and a reassuring word to the righteous. This prayer requests LORD, the ultimate Judge to set human affairs right.

Most likely, David is speaking about King Saul as the one devising injustice and acting unjustly. He describes those wicked as evil poisonous snakes who are stubborn to listen to LORD's commandments. They are compared to cobra who does not hear the charmer's tune.

David is requesting LORD to break their teeth and make them disappear like flowing water. He praised the LORD for being a just LORD. The LORD rewards those who are righteous by avenging their enemies.

Psalm 57

A prayer of deliverance composed at a time when threatened by fierce enemy.

David is crying out for mercy and wants to take refuge in the LORD by trusting in Him. He want to be under the LORD's wings until the disaster has passed.

LORD is faithful and always saves His children. David knows that if he cries out to the LORD, He will deliver him from his anxieties and enemies. His enemies as fierce as lions have surrounded him.

His enemies have cast a net for him to fall down. They dug a pit in his path, but they were the one who fell into it.

David will continue to sing and make music for the LORD. He is determined to praise the LORD and to sing for Him among nations.
Psalm 57:10 For great is Your love, reaching to the heavens;
    Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
May the glory of the LORD be filled all over the earth.

My Thoughts
Love and Faithfulness are two qualities we seek in our best friend. Look no further. Our LORD is the one who can provide the best, in both these departments. Once you taste His love, everything else will seem inadequate. There is none as faithful has Him - taking care of us, and providing us from time we were in our mother's womb.

With such tremendous capacity of love and faithfulness, we can blindly submit ourselves into His hands - for His work.

Psalm 56

A prayer for help written by David when the Philistines had seized him in Gath.

David begged the LORD to be merciful when his enemies and slanderers are pursuing him and attacking him.

He will trust in the LORD when he is afraid, and when he does, his fear fades away. His enemies are plotting schemes to kill him. David prays the LORD bring down his enemies. The LORD is the only one who has kept track of his tears.

He will praise and place his trust in the LORD and not be afraid. Then nobody can harm him. His prayers have already been heard in the heaven, and he has been delivered by the LORD.

David plans to present his thanks and offerings to the LORD for delivering him from death. He wishes to walk without stumbling before the LORD in the light of the life.

My Thoughts
Even we may not remember all those tears we shed during our lifetime - but He does. He keeps track of everything in His records. Isn't He awesome?

Psalm 55

A prayer to the LORD, written at the time when David was threatened by a powerful conspiracy in Jerusalem by a former friend.

David pleads to the LORD to listen to his prayers at times of distraught and trouble. He felt anguish at the thought of his enemies hunting him down. He wished he could go hide someplace far.
Psalm 55:6 I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
    I would fly away and be at rest.
7 I would flee far away
    and stay in the desert;
8 I would hurry to my place of shelter,
    far from the tempest and storm.”
As he sees violence and strife in the city, his prayer to the LORD is to confuse the wicked and confound their speech. If an enemy insulted him, David would endure it, but here it is a close friend.
Psalm 55:12 If an enemy were insulting me,
    I could endure it;
if a foe were rising against me,
    I could hide.
13 But it is you, a man like myself,
    my companion, my close friend,
14 with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship
    at the house of God,
as we walked about
    among the worshipers.
He prayed and cried that LORD destroyed his enemies by surprise. David is reflecting over the treachery of his former friend.
Psalm 55:20 My companion attacks his friends;
    he violates his covenant.
21 His talk is smooth as butter,
    yet war is in his heart;
his words are more soothing than oil,
    yet they are drawn swords.
David believes that LORD will bring down the wicked and those who are righteous will never fall. Those bloodthirsty and deceitful men will not live for ever - they will go to grave before their normal course of life.

My Thoughts
David is feeling hurt because his wounds were inflicted by his friends. Those wounds inflicted by a friend stay open for a long time. Time may heal the anguish of such wounds; however the loss of a dear friend cannot be repaired. May your soul never be hurt by such wounds or loss.

In case you have a dear friend, remember:
That what holds you two together, is mightier than what pulls you two apart.

Psalm 54

A prayer of deliverance from enemies who want David to be killed. This psalm was composed when those Ziphites betrayed him by going to King Saul and revealed his whereabouts.

David is asking LORD to save him from those ruthless strangers who are vindicating him. He knows that LORD is his only help, who sustains him.

David calls for a judicial redress of those evil acts of his enemies and slanderers. He prayed that his enemies be destroyed at the hands of the LORD.

He then offers sacrifice of freewill to praise the LORD, since He has delivered him from all his troubles.

Psalm 53

A testimony concerning the foolishness of wicked, and narrating the example of an arrogant fool being denounced. Psalm 53 is is quite identical to psalm 14. A quotable difference is that God is used in one and LORD is used the other.

Those who believe in the non-existence of LORD are morally foolish. They don't know the LORD because their moral ways are corrupted. They do not feel guilty about their deeds of sin.

LORD, who loves humans looks down from the Heaven to see if anyone is seeking Him. He is disappointed that hardly anyone seeks Him.

David wonders whether the evildoers will ever learn about the consequence of mistreating the helpless. He wonders if they realize about their punishment for not approaching the LORD.

He hopes that LORD will restore the fortunes of Jerusalem and that of his people.

My Thoughts
The LORD looking down from heaven and finding hardly anyone seeking Him was true during the time of King David. It is no different today - majority of people are interested in walking their own path, avoiding the LORD. We also have those who follow the 50/50 rule - walking both sides, to be safe.

Psalm 52

A psalm composed at time of attack by arrogant and evil enemy. When Doeg the Edomite had gone to Saul and told him: “David has gone to the house of Ahimelek.”

It was evil on Doeg's part to go tell King Saul that Ahimelech provided David bread and sword when he actually wanted Saul to kill those priests.

David prayed that LORD punished Doeg by bringing everlasting ruin. He wished that the righteous will say about Doeg,
Psalm 52:7 “Here now is the man
    who did not make LORD his stronghold
but trusted in his great wealth
    and grew strong by destroying others!”
David acknowledged that he put his trusted in the LORD for His unfailing love and will always praise Him;

Psalm 51

A psalm of repentance by David, after Prophet Nathan rebuked him of his affair with Bathsheba, and murder of her husband, Uriah.

David is pleading to LORD to have mercy on him and wash away his transgressions.

He is aware of his sins and evil; therefore he is repenting and asking LORD to forgive him. He accepts the fact that he is not a perfect man and is a sinner from the time his mother conceived him. He is pleading LORD to cleanse him and make him pure. He is praying that LORD won't punish him and create a pure heart within him, so that he can rely upon the Holy LORD for his faith again. David was afraid that the Holy Spirit left him after he committed those sins.

David is sincerely begging the LORD for his faults, and is asking to be saved. He also prayed to make Jerusalem prosperous so that everyone rejoices and offers thanksgiving to the LORD.

Inspiration by Dale

God-given struggles don't come to stay, they come to pass. Just be patient. Wait while God works for you.
- Dale R. Whitaker

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Psalm 50

LORD Almighty summons all of earth's inhabitants and that of heavens for judgement.
Psalm 50:5 “Gather to me this consecrated people,
    who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
The LORD is righteous and filled with justice. He says that He is not interested in sacrifices of bulls or goats. The entire world is His and he has no need for anything from it. He asks,
Psalm 50:13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls
    or drink the blood of goats?
What He wants us is to obey Him and worship him sincerely. If we do so, He will always be with us, including at times of trouble.

To the wicked, he says that it is useless for them to behave like a hypocrite - observing laws outwardly and joining thieves, adulterers, spreading slander, and testifying against the brother. Such people think that LORD is overlooking their deeds, but He will arraign them and set accusations.

LORD will honor those who sincerely offer sincere worship. Others will be torn into pieces.

Difficulty in following God

Last night I have been pondering on this question, "Why is it so difficult to live for the LORD?" and as if by sheer coincidence, I came across this article today morning. After reading, I am sharing it with those out there, and hope it serves as a guidepost to whoever decide to follow God.

Why is it so difficult to live for God?

Jesus talked to those who would follow Him about taking up a cross, counting the cost, and giving up everything (Luke 14:25-33). "The way is hard that leads to life," He said (Matthew 7:14, ESV). Scripture mentions many of God's people who have walked that hard road-Daniel, Elijah, Joseph, and John the Baptist are just a few.

Romans 7 shows that living for God is difficult for all of us. The apostle Paul wrote of his own struggle: "So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me" (verses 22-23).

Before we knew Christ, we could do nothing but sin. We had no choice in the matter. Our motivation was to please ourselves. Even the benevolent acts we performed had a selfish root: we did good things to feel better about ourselves, to assuage guilt, or to enhance our reputation with others. At salvation, the Holy Spirit moves into our spirits. He breaks the power that sin had held over our lives and frees us to obey God. We are now motivated by love rather than guilt (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

But we still face temptation from without and from within (2 Corinthians 7:5). The Bible calls our old sin nature "the flesh" and warns that those who are "in the flesh" cannot please God (Romans 8:8). Even Christians can be "in the flesh." Although the Holy Spirit indwells the heart of every believer (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19), it is up to each person how much control to allow Him to have. We are commanded to "walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16, 25). It is only by considering ourselves "crucified with Christ" (Galatians 2:19-20) that we can remain walking in the Spirit.

Jesus did not come to reform our flesh, but to crucify it (Romans 6:6-7). But the flesh does not want to die. The deep desire to please ourselves and compromise with the world does not die an easy death. When we cling to our rights, our opinions, and our agenda, we remain the lords of our own lives. When we lay our will on the altar before God and let go, we die to ourselves. We can then be "filled with the Holy Spirit," totally controlled by Him (Acts 4:8; 13:52; Ephesians 5:18). It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we can live a life that honors God. Only the power of the Spirit can produce good works in us free from legalism and pride.

The desire to be acceptable to the world is the greatest source of compromise for Christians. We don't want to suffer ridicule or face persecution of any kind. It is more pleasant to gauge ourselves by those around us than by the Word of God (2 Corinthians 10:12). But James 4:4 says, "Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God."

When we adopt the false idea that salvation will make our lives easier, we are in for a shock. Those who have come to Christ for the "goodies" He offers often turn away when they realize that accepting Him means they have a new Boss. When Jesus was on the earth, the crowds loved the free food and the miracles, but when He began to talk about the hard things of the gospel, "many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him" (John 6:66).

We cannot serve both God and ourselves (see Luke 16:13). Living for God means we make a final decision about who is in charge. When our flesh begins to reassert its rights, we take it back to the cross and allow it to die. When sin tempts, the decision has already been made: we seek God's will over our own. Galatians 1:10 asks, "Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people?" The answer is plain: "If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ."

Living for God may be difficult, but it is not joyless. Paul wrote his most joyful letter while suffering persecution in Rome (see the book of Philippians). We will still face temptation and hardship, but when the glory of God is our focus, living for Him becomes the source of our joy rather than a drudgery (Psalm 100:2; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Peter 4:16).

My Thoughts
This article was written by someone who tried submitting themselves to the LORD as it describes the exact traits of those challenges. I was hoping to see some answers, but looks like readers will have to discover them all by them-self.

James 4:4 says, "Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God."
The converse of this is true as well, "Anyone who chooses to be a friend of God becomes an enemy of the world." Still, decide to follow God, not people.


Psalm 49

A wisdom word for those rich fools who proudly rely on their great wealth and upon themselves to assure their welfare and security in this world.

The author heard a word of wisdom from the Holy Spirit and is expounding the meaning of that parable to the people.

There is no reason to fear when we are surrounded by those rich fools - the ones who trust in their wealth and boast great riches. Their wealth cannot help them escape or redeem death.
Psalm 49:10 For all can see that the wise die,
    that the foolish and the senseless also perish,
    leaving their wealth to others.
Even though they lavish their wealth upon their tombs, and try to perpetuate their memory by naming their holdings as memorial, their grave will be their eternal home.

The riches of men will not endure as they cannot take their wealth along with them. They perish just like other animals. The psalmist comforts those who are righteous and abhors the rich fool's destiny.

There is advice not to be impressed when someone grows rich and when the splendor of his house increases. He will take nothing of that with him when he dies. When he was alive, he counted himself to be blessed and men praise you when you prosper. Once dead, people will never see the light of life.

A rich man who does not know the LORD is similar to the beast that will perish.

Psalm 48

A celebration of security that Zion is the city of a great King.

In Jerusalem, LORD is great and worthy of most praise. Jerusalem is called the city of the LORD and He acts like the city's fortress protecting it from enemies. When other kings joined forces to strike Jerusalem, LORD stuck them with terror and as a result, they retreated.

LORD is the one who safeguards Jerusalem and provides protection. He shows His unfailing love and the people meditate upon it within the temple. The LORD's right hand is filled with righteousness and he is not partial in making judgement.

The psalmist asks the people to walk around Jerusalem, counting it's towers, ramparts, looking at her citadels. The author urges people to offer thanksgiving to the LORD as everything remains safe and nothing has been destroyed. They have faith in the LORD.
Psalm 48:14 For this God is our God for ever and ever;
    he will be our guide even to the end.

Psalm 47

A testimony to the nations and celebration of the universal reign of Israel's LORD.

All nations should praise the LORD by clapping their hands, shouting with joy.
Psalm 47:2 For the LORD Most High is awesome,
    the great King over all the earth.
He has subdued several nations under their feet. He has chosen the inheritance for the children of Jacob, whom he loved.

In the midst of shouts and joy, the tabernacle of the LORD has ascended to the place. LORD is the King of the entire earth and everything belongs to Him. He is seated on His Holy Throne and He is in charge of everything on earth.

Psalm 46

An expression of security and celebration in the midst of a threatening world.

LORD is our refuge and strength so therefore we should not fear anything. Instead, we should just trust in Him and patiently wait for Him.

The presence of LORD is in Jerusalem and He is our fortress. Everything in this world happens according to the LORD's will.

Listen to the LORD:
Psalm 46:10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”
The LORD is our fortress and is with us.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Psalm 45

This is a wedding song.

While writing this nuptial song, the psalmist acknowledges that his heart is stirred up fervently by the Holy Spirit.

The bridegroom is addressed as the most excellent men - similar to Jesus Christ. He clothes himself with splendor and majesty. He rides victoriously with truth, humility and righteousness. He will rule the world forever with justice. His honorable bride is seated on his right side.

The bride is a king's daughter, adorned with virtuous actions, followed by virgin companions. They follow her in joy and gladness for the wedding.

Addressing the bride, he advises her to pay careful attention. The advise is to forget her people and her father's house. She is instead asked to honor the LORD.

Their sons will be crowned as future kings. Their memory will perpetuate through all generations, throughout nations and they will be praised for their deeds.

My Thoughts
Isn't wedding a wonderful occasion? I love it, and have been listening to wedding songs this past weekend.

Psalm 44

The author recalls those events by which LORD delivered them from Egypt and brought them into Israel. He acknowledges it was with the help of the LORD that they were able to drive out nations and not by the might of their swords.

It was with LORD's help they tasted victory and inherited this land. The author does not place any trust in their weapons, but only in the LORD.
Psalm 44:8 In God we make our boast all day long,
    and we will praise your name forever.
However now it seems that the people have rejected the LORD and therefore He does not go out with their armies, and they are now facing retreat at the hands of their enemies. People have been scattered over nations and many are being sold as slaves. Other nations are making fun of them and it feels like a disgrace.

The author feels these events happened while people were still faithful to the LORD. If they have forgotten the LORD, He would have known it already as he knows the secret of hearts.

He then calls out to the LORD to arise, awake, and not to reject them forever. They are being helpless and need the LORD's help.

Psalm 43

Another prayer of deliverance from the enemy.

The author is praying to vindicate him from all his sins and to rescue him from wicked men. He believes in the LORD, but feels rejected by Him. He is requesting the LORD to send His truth and light to guide him to His Holy mountain. With those, he is confident of reaching the LORD's altar.

He then talks to his own soul and asks it to cheer up.
Psalm 43:5 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

My Thoughts
This is the second time a psalmist requesting the "light and truth" to be those guiding factors to reach His altar.

Psalm 42

We are now entering into Book 2 of Psalms. This particular psalm was composed by sons of Korah. We met Korah along with Moses - Korah was the one devising plans against Moses. Click here to take you back in the memory lane. Korah's sons were assigned roles in the David's court.

This is a prayer for deliverance.

The author's soul thirsts for LORD just how a deer pants for water in the streams. He is in search of the LORD and wants to meet the living LORD. He has been crying day and night and recalls participating in those processions with joy and thanksgiving.

He is feeling downcast and disturbed at his current circumstance. He continues to praise the LORD and remember Him. He is confident that the LORD will guide him day and night.
Psalm 42:8 By day the LORD directs His love,
    at night His song is with me—
    a prayer to the God of my life.
He wonders why the LORD has forgotten him and is not answering his prayers even thought he mourns so much. He is asking why his soul has been downcast. He has decided to put his hope in the LORD and praise Him.

Psalm 41

A prayer for mercy when David is seriously ill.

Those who take care of LORD's people when they are weak are blessed. The LORD will watch over and protect such individuals by not surrendering them to their enemies and restoring them from their sickbed.

David is praying for LORD's mercy and knows he has sinned against the LORD. His enemies are waiting for his death and are spreading slander about his illness. David is extremely sad because of broken friendship.
Psalm 41:9 Even my close friend,
    someone I trusted,
one who shared my bread,
    has turned against me.
He then reaches out to the LORD to raise him up so that he can repay his enemies. He is confident that the LORD is pleased with him. He then praised the LORD because He upheld him.

My Thoughts
Notice David being hurt because he lost someone whom he trusted. Wounds caused by a close friend upon the soul will never heal. We have two options - (a) not to be too close to anyone, (b) not to inflict wounds upon those who are close. Pick whichever suits you. One way I figured is to handle such situations by finding refuge in the LORD - He can serve as a faithful and wonderful friend, if we allow Him to be one. Try Him, and you will never want another friend. 

Psalm 40

A prayer for help during troubled times caused by David's sin.

David is waiting patiently and praying persistently so that LORD will save him from his enemies. He wants to compose a new song to praise the LORD. He is hoping to be a testimony so others will fear the name of the LORD.

Those who trust in the LORD are blessed. LORD just wants us to be obedient to his commandments. He does not desire in sacrifices and offerings above his commandments. Sacrifices are offerings are a sign about the future - the coming of Jesus Christ and how He will offer His blood as a ransom for our sins.

In the public assembly, David is proclaiming the LORD's righteousness and faithfulness. David prayed to the LORD not to withhold his mercy and may His love and truth protect him. He prayed that the LORD be pleased to save him from his enemies and later rejoice and be glad. LORD is his deliverer and he requests Him to come fast.

Psalm 39

This is a poignant prayer of David written when he is deeply troubled by the fragility of human life.

David is unable to control his rage against his enemies. He is trying to keep quiet, but is unable to do so. He is trying to find a way to calm himself down. He is aware that his life span is not very long. Human lifespan itself is nothing before the LORD. He acknowledges, "Each man's life is but a breath."

Interestingly, man heaps up wealth without being able to take it with him when he dies, and without knowing who is going to get it.

David decided to put his trust in the LORD and begged Him to save him from all his transgressions. He would not open his mouth to talk about his enemies. Then David begged the LORD to listen to his prayers and cry for help.

My Thoughts
"Each man's life is but a breath." How many times have we heard this verse, and how little have we meditated upon it's actual meaning. There comes a time in everyone's life, when we breath the last breath - the moment our soul separates from the body; the time when we bid adios to our family and friends and get ready to face the LORD in the cosmos. Does anyone think that moment is for real? Does anyone wonder what lies beyond the horizon of death?

Psalm 38

This is an urgent appeal for relief from a severe and painful illness. David in this psalm seems to be afraid about LORD's anger.

David requests LORD not to rebuke or discipline him in His anger. He feels as if he is facing a difficult circumstance and feels guilty due to LORD's anger. He feels crushed and is groaning in anguish of heart.

Nothing can be hidden from the LORD and He knows everything - David is aware about it. Now that David is in trouble, his friends have abandoned him and would not help him. His enemies are plotting schemes and setting traps to capture him.

David feels guilty and is surprised at the current punishment LORD has given Him. He is feeling almost numb and dumb. He still anticipates LORD to answer his prayers and rescue him from his enemies so that they don't gloat over his fall.

Now David is feeling almost as if he is going to be conquered by his enemies. For this reason, he has confessed all his sins to the LORD. He has numerous enemies and they are waiting for him to fall.

David is begging LORD to come quickly and save him.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Psalm 37

This is an instruction in godly wisdom. In this psalm, the contrast between the wicked and righteous is addressed. The central theme being, "Who will inherit the land?"

Other psalms that can be grouped as 'wisdom psalms' are Psalm 1, Psalm 34, Psalm 49,  Psalm 73, Psalm 91, Psalm 92, Psalm 111, Psalm 112, Psalm 119, Psalm 127, and Psalm 128.

Here is the summary of this chapter:

- Never envy at the success of wicked people,
- Always trust in the LORD, obey His commandments and do His will,
- Always commit our ways to the LORD and place our trust in Him,
- Do wait patiently for the LORD, and do not fret when the wicked succeed in their ways,
- Refrain from becoming angry at the wicked, as it could lead it sin,
- Those who are wicked will be on the earth temporarily,
- Know that the wicked will plot evil against those who are righteous,
- The wicked will try to oppress the needy but the LORD will punish them,
- It is better to have little and be righteous, than be wealthy and wicked,
- The LORD upholds those who are righteous,
- The inheritance of the blameless will endure forever,
- Those who are wicked will perish and vanish like smoke,
- The wicked never payback, but the righteous are always generous in giving,
- The LORD will never allow the righteous to fall down, though he may stumble,
- The LORD always provides for the children of those who are righteous,
- We should turn away from evil to dwell and be protected in the land forever,
- The righteous man utters wisdom and his tongue speaks what is just,
- LORD's law is in the heart of a righteous man,
- LORD rescues the righteous even though the wicked may attempt to attack him,
- Those wicked men stay around only for a brief period of time,
- The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD and He is their stronghold,
- The LORD delivers and rescues the righteous as they take refuge in Him.

My Thoughts: 
I love this chapter as it offers several "nuggets" for safekeeping. 

Psalm 36

This is a prayer for LORD's unfailing protection.

David shares a revelation regarding those wicked people. The wicked do not fear the LORD and do not consider His "all seeing eyes." They know what they do is wrong, but convince themselves to look from a different angle - that they are not sinning. This kind of people are plotting evil all the time - day and night, and always approve what is wrong.

LORD is faithful, just and righteous. He preserves mankind and the animals. His love is priceless and He displays His benevolence towards all His creatures. LORD has that fountain of life.
Psalm 36:9 For with You is the fountain of life;
    in Your light we see light.
LORD extends His unfailing and awesome love to all those who are righteous and upright.

David prayed that his enemies will be unable to overthrow him. He then thanked the LORD for destroying his enemies.

My Thoughts
Most of us, we have experienced love from fellow human beings. That is very good - however it is not the ultimate love. The kind of love that LORD provides is awesome! His love is pure, unyielding and not seasonal. He loves us much more than we love Him. He began loving us even before we could spell L O V E. Know that LORD's divine love is the supreme form of love - it's worth tasting once.

Psalm 35

David seems to be maliciously slandered by those whom he had shared the most tender friendship. This is an appeal to the heavenly Judge and King to come for the defense of his servant. 

David requests the LORD to arise fight on behalf of him, against those who are seeking his life and disgracing him.

His enemies seems to repay him evil for good. This has left his soul pitifully sad. Whenever his enemies were sick, he used to fast and pray, wearing sack-clothes. Conversely, when he stumbled, they are attacking him in his weakness. David is crying out in front of the LORD to rescue him from those enemies. He then promised to praise the name of the LORD in front of the great assembly.

He is seeking LORD's help so that his enemies do not gloat over his fall and celebrate victory. Instead, he is seeking LORD to inflict punishment upon them - in the form of shame and confusion. He is ready to shout for joy and exalt the name of the LORD.

Psalm 34

Psalms 34 - 37 are grouped together which contain wisdom-like instructions and warnings concerning the fate of the wicked. This particular psalm was composed when David pretended to be insane before Abimelech, who drove him away and left him.

In his mind, David has decided to glorify and praise the LORD at all times. He encourages others to exalt LORD's name along with him. At times of trouble, David sought the help of LORD, who answered his prayers and delivered him from his problems. If we seek LORD sincerely and patiently, our prayers will be answered too.

Those who take refuge in the LORD are blessed. Fear Him and obey His commandments. He will watch over us and be our provider. David speaks in the conventional language of a wisdom teacher:
Psalm 34:11 Come, my children, listen to me;
    I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12 Whoever of you loves life
    and desires to see many good days,
13 keep your tongue from evil
    and your lips from telling lies.
14 Turn from evil and do good;
    seek peace and pursue it.
LORD is always watching over those righteous, hearing their prayers and answering them. The righteous may face troubles, but LORD delivers them from all of it, and takes great care of them.

Those who are wicked will be paid back in the same coin of wickedness. None who take refuge in Him will be condemned.

Psalm 33

This psalm is a liturgy in praise of the LORD.

Let those who are righteous sing joyfully to the LORD and praise Him with various musical instruments. His words are right and true. He is faithful and always keeps His promises.

The LORD created the heavens, the earth and the starry skies. The entire world (not just Israel) should revere Him. His plans supersede those of the humans. Those nations who see Him as as the God is blessed. He can see everyone from the Heavens.

Those who fear Him are always under His protection. Nobody, including the animals can accomplish anything just by their own strength.

Those who pray continuously, trust in Him, wait patiently, and submit their hope in the LORD will be shielded and answered by the LORD.

Psalm 32

This is a testimony for those who confess their sins with integrity and ask LORD for repentance. Such individuals welcome LORD into their lives. This psalm seems to be a dialogue between David and the LORD in the presence of worshipers at the sanctuary. 

LORD has the ultimate authority to forgive any sins - nobody can question Him. David states that blessed are those whose sins and transgressions are forgiven by the LORD. 

David felt that his sins were forgiven when he confessed and repented them to the LORD. He is then encouraging the congregation to ask for LORD's forgiveness if they have sinned. David revealed that his hiding place was the LORD, who protected him from all sorts of trouble.

Let LORD instruct and teach us in the direction we should go. He will then watch over our path.
Psalm 32:9 Do not be like the horse or the mule,
    which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
    or they will not come to you.
LORD's blessings and protection will be upon those who follow Him faithfully; His wrath upon those who are wicked. The righteous should therefore always rejoice in the LORD.

Psalm 31

A psalm composed at a time when David was confronted by some conspiracy so powerful that even his closest friends abandoned him. He was smart to take refuge in the LORD whenever he ran into such problems. He prayed to the LORD to give him a listening ear. He completely submitted his spirit to the LORD, his redeemer.
Psalm 31:5 Into your hands I commit my spirit;
    deliver me, LORD, my faithful God.
David makes a statement about those worthless idols behind which many are running after. He is able to find comfort in the LORD, and has no need to go after them.

As he is being pursued by his enemies, David is asking LORD to show mercy upon him. Those who used to respect him and the ones who used to be his close friends dread him and flee from him, if they see him on the streets. Many of his earlier friends already consider him to be dead. He has heard several slanders and many are conspiring to kill him.

Even though he is facing the terror of his enemies and abandonment from his friends, David trusts in the LORD and prayed to silence those lying lips.

The LORD bestows goodness upon those who fear Him, and those who take refuge in His shelter. For all those answered prayers, David thanked the LORD. He believed that the LORD is on his side and he should put his faith in Him.

My Thoughts
When friends abandon us, it causes us heartache and brings great disappointment in our lives. During such times, the One and only One who will serve as a faithful refuge and share our suffering is the Good LORD. He will never abandon us - we just saw it earlier:
Psalm 27:10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
    the LORD will receive me.
Verse 5 in this chapter was the very climatic verse used by Jesus Christ on the cross, entrusting the LORD to take care of Him - His very life.

Slander is a weapon used by those who are out there to destroy us. At times of being faced with this weapon, our righteous choice is to put our trust in the LORD. Our friends may encourage us to counter-attack with similar slander - that is outright wrong! We will lose our credibility and during such occasions, we are taking matters into our own hands. Have faith in the LORD and leave it to Him, as He will resolve those situations (better than us).

Psalm 30

A psalm to publicly celebrate the LORD's deliverance from the threat of death.

David gives praise and thanks to the LORD for saving him from his enemies. He reached out to the LORD and He heard him.

Here is something interesting David shared about our LORD:
Psalm 30:5 For His anger lasts only a moment,
    but His favor lasts a lifetime;
For those who pray persistently, LORD will provide His salvation.

Whenever LORD showed him favors, David felt secure. When he was in danger, he felt that LORD had hidden His face from him. He is always crying out for mercy and LORD has always heard his cries. David thanked LORD for those responses he received, and for turning around his situation.

Psalm 29

This is a psalm praising the LORD. It does not call to do anything. All it does is praise the LORD. Seven times it calls out, "The voice of the LORD."

David thanks the glory of the LORD. He calls out to worship the LORD as He is holy.

He sees and hears the LORD everywhere:
- in the voice of thunder over the water,
- in the forest as lightning,
- in the desert,
- in the forest that strips those trees.

David calls all these voices as, "voice of the LORD."

The LORD is seated as the King forever, and controls everything that takes place in the world. He is the one who strengthens and blesses his people.

My Thoughts
I wonder how in the world is it possible, that very few men see the might of the LORD. Men tend to think that they are the movers and shakers of the world - the ones controlling lives of people, pulse of the industry etc. How do they fail to see the presence of the LORD and miss out on acknowledging His might?

I am the one who needs direction - the one who fails to see it their way.

Psalm 28

A prayer of deliverance from deadly enemies. We can hear three different aspects - an evil heart, the trusting heart, and the rejoicing heart.

David is begging LORD to listen to his cries. If the LORD keeps quiet, David is afraid that he will sin like others and end up in the hell (which he does not wish).

The prayers request the LORD not to punish him. The wicked speak so sweetly in front of their neighbors, but secretly plot evil behind their back. David hopes the LORD tears them down forever, for their evil work.

David praised the LORD for hearing his cries for mercy. He trusts in the LORD and his heart leaps with joy, as the LORD is the strength of his people. He requests the LORD to bless them by making their labor and lives fruitful. He hopes the LORD will shepherd them forever.

Those three hearts:
1. The Evil Heart: 
who speak cordially with their neighbors
    but harbor malice in their hearts.

2. The Trusting Heart
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.

3. The Rejoicing Heart:
My heart leaps for joy,
    and with my song I praise him.

Psalm 27

A confident prayer to deliver David from all those who conspire to bring him down.

David knows that the LORD is his stronghold and the light of his life. He has no reason to fear anyone, regardless of their might or numbers. He is not afraid even if a war broke out against him. He has just one wish:
Psalm 27:4 One thing I ask from the LORD,
    this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
    all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the LORD
    and to seek Him in his temple.
David is sure about the safety within the LORD's house, during days of trouble. He can hide there in His dwelling without any danger coming near him.

In his plea, David shares his thought - his heart says to seek the face of the LORD. He then requests LORD not to hide His face even in anger. LORD has been his helper and the only refuge during tough times. At this time, David trusts in the LORD more than his own parents.
Psalm 27:10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
    the LORD will receive me.
He is confident that he will get to see the goodness of the LORD as long as he follows his paths.

Psalm 26

This is David's prayer for vindication as he has led a blameless life and has refused to sit with the wicked.

David is confident about his own path and is courageously asking the LORD to examine his heart and mind to see if he has sinned in any area of his life. He has been walking righteously - which he is sure about!

He is always giving praise to the LORD and sharing with people about all those wonderful things LORD has done for him. David loves his best friend's residence - the LORD's abode.
Psalm 26:8 LORD, I love the house where you live,
    the place where your glory dwells.
David then begs LORD not to punish him and send his soul to the place where LORD sends those wicked men - the hell.

He made up his mind to give praise to the LORD and serve as a witness in a large assembly.

My Thoughts
About verse 2: In the book of Job, we saw him confidently asking LORD to come examine his heart. Here David is asking the same. These guys seem to be fearless in inviting LORD to come check out their hearts. They are 100% confident about not sinning (even in their thoughts). Remarkable!

The first task for these guys was to understand what LORD was expecting them do. The next task was putting that expectation into practice. Finally, they have the guts to ask LORD to come examine their hearts.

In the year 2013, with so much media and literature all around us, information is not hard to find - one should be easily able to detect what LORD expects out of us. Next, living in a high-tech world with all modern amenities, it should be relatively easy (a piece of cake) to apply LORD's will in our lives - right?


Psalm 25

Psalms 25 through 33 form a group of nine, which form a "plea for mercy," and is accompanied by a profession of "trust." In this psalm, David is praying for LORD's mercy at a time when his enemies seize an occasion to attack, mostly through false accusations.

David chose to lift up his soul and put his trust in the LORD, as he knows those who do so will never be put to shame; unlike those who do evil things.

He then prayed for LORD's guidance and acknowledged LORD as his savior and hope. As David has been abiding LORD's commandments, he is pleading LORD not to remember his past sins and to have mercy upon him.
Psalm 25:7 Do not remember the sins of my youth
    and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
    for you, LORD, are good.
LORD as He is upright can provide guidance for those sinners who are humble and penitent. Those who sincerely follow Him will be abundantly blessed and will live in prosperity.

David then pleads to be gracious to him as he is lonely, afflicted and his troubles have multiplied. His enemies hate him fiercely and he wants to take refuge in the LORD. His hope is in the LORD and is counting on those personified virtues such as integrity and uprightness.

My Thoughts
Verse 25:7 is so true and applicable in my own life, as they are countless. My old friends can vouch and serve as witness in implicitly stating what a hopeless sinner I am. It is indeed a Herculean task to get out of those past sins. The recipe to come out is provided in verse 8, and all throughout wisdom books.

Loneliness is when we get closely connected to our creator. When everyone, including our closest friends and relatives, have abandoned us the one and only one who remains is the LORD. In that quietness, we can hear Him speak. That's when we hear the truth and see what we have - a time we face the realities of life.

David is counting on his integrity and uprightness. while seeking protection from the LORD. If the LORD keeps track of my integrity and uprightness, I wonder what would my balance sheet look like. Is there a way to walk up to the ATM and check the balance?

Psalm 24

Celebrating the LORD's entrance to Jerusalem, and composed when the Ark of the Covenant was brought into Jerusalem.

Everything and everyone in the world belongs to the LORD. Only those who keep themselves away from the wicked, the ones who put LORD first, the ones who have a clean hand and a pure heart may stand in the LORD's presence. Such individuals will receive blessings from the LORD. Their sins will no longer be remembered by the LORD.

David is excited and jubilant in receiving and heralding the King of Kings. He is asking the gates of his city to stay wide open and let the King of glory come in.
Psalm 24:10 Who is he, this King of glory?
    The LORD Almighty -
    He is the King of glory.

My Thoughts
Verse 5 seems to convey a wonderful promise.
Psalms 24:5 They will receive blessing from the LORD
    and vindication from God their Savior.
It means worthless sinners like myself have a shred of hope!

Psalm 23

This popular psalm sustains LORD as the Good Shepherd King.

David is acknowledging LORD as his shepherd and provider. He then thanked LORD for watching him over and supplying him with everything he needed.

LORD has been guiding David throughout his life and keeping him away from evil. This enabled David to walk in the path of righteousness.

In those closing remarks, David thanked LORD for protecting him from his enemies and allowing him to conquer his enemies. He is hopeful about his future days.

My Thoughts
I am aware of me skimming through this psalm. Many of you probably know lot about this psalm than I do, and I probably should listen to your explanations.

Another psalm which I was told to memorize while I was young.

Psalm 22

This beautiful psalm prophecies those deep, sublime, and harsh sufferings endured by Jesus Christ on the cross.

The psalmist is asking the LORD why has He forsaken him and not helping him after he cry out to Him day and night. Here, Jesus Christ is looked upon as the Messiah, whom the Jews did not recognize and eventually crucified Him to fulfill LORD's words. Jesus is treated bitterly and is despised by His people.
Psalm 22:9 Yet you brought me out of the womb;
    you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
10 From birth I was cast on you;
    from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
LORD has brought out Jesus into the world from the womb of virgin Mary. Jesus is pleading to the LORD to save Him from His enemies who are surrounding Him. He felt so weak and panicked to the point of death. Those who captured Him cast lots for His garments and divided his share.

Jesus is requesting LORD to come fast and to deliver His life from the hands of His enemies. He will proclaim the name of the LORD to all the people as He has not hidden his face anytime or from any cry for help.

LORD, feed the poor and make them satisfied. One day the entire earth will bow down and worship the LORD as the King of Kings.

Now, those who have been faithful to the LORD will receive that heavenly invitation. This is no regular invitation and is special - it is the one for that wedding feast of the Lamb in heaven. People will proclaim the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ to those future generations.