Psalm 111:1-10 NIV Praise the Lord . I will extol the Lord with all my heart in the council of the upright and in the assembly. Great are the works of the Lord ; they are pondered by all who delight in them. Glorious and majestic are his deeds, and his righteousness endures forever. He has caused his wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate. He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever. He has shown his people the power of his works, giving them the lands of other nations. The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. They are established for ever and ever, enacted in faithfulness and uprightness. He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever— holy and awesome is his name. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.
Praise For The Lord’s Works
Psalm 111 is a hymn of praise. It opens with the writers announcement that he intends to praise the Lord.
The author starts by describing God’s works in general and then addresses His eternal righteousness and His compassion which are revealed in His mighty acts. These mighty acts of God cause us to seek even more evidence of His righteousness and compassion.
The author reminds us that God keeps His covenants with man. The evidence was His provision of food (manna and quail) in the wilderness, and the conquest of Canaan which fulfilled His covenant promise to Abraham.
He ends with the realization that the wisdom of our praise comes from the reverence and awe of God that penetrates our entire being.
It is the A B C of true wisdom. He who has learned to fear God has learned the first part of wisdom. According to some, the word “beginning” here means the chief, the head, the front, just as, often, in Scripture, “beginning” signifies that. “The fear of the Lord” is the chief part of “wisdom,” the essence of it.
Practical goodness is the proof of a good understanding. A man may have an orthodox head, and yet not have a good understanding. A man may be able to talk very glibly about the commandments of God, and even to preach about them with considerable power; but it is the doing of them that is the main point. - Charles Spurgeon
That praise should never end. We should never stop praising Him. Just as the angels surrounding God’s throne see His greatness and the greatness of His works.
Revelation 4:8 NIV Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “ ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.”
Psalm 37:1-40 (NLT)1 Don’t worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong.2 For like grass, they soon fade away. Like spring flowers, they soon wither.3 Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.5 Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you.6 He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.7 Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.8 Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper— it only leads to harm.9 For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the LORD will possess the land.10 Soon the wicked will disappear. Though you look for them, they will be gone.11 The lowly will possess the land and will live in peace and prosperity.12 The wicked plot against the godly; they snarl at them in defiance.13 But the Lord just laughs, for he sees their day of judgment coming.14 The wicked draw their swords and string their bows to kill the poor and the oppressed, to slaughter those who do right.15 But their swords will stab their own hearts, and their bows will be broken.16 It is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich.17 For the strength of the wicked will be shattered, but the LORD takes care of the godly.18 Day by day the LORD takes care of the innocent, and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever.19 They will not be disgraced in hard times; even in famine they will have more than enough.20 But the wicked will die. The LORD’s enemies are like flowers in a field— they will disappear like smoke.21 The wicked borrow and never repay, but the godly are generous givers.22 Those the LORD blesses will possess the land, but those he curses will die.23 The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.24 Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.25 Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread.26 The godly always give generous loans to others, and their children are a blessing.27 Turn from evil and do good, and you will live in the land forever.28 For the LORD loves justice, and he will never abandon the godly. He will keep them safe forever, but the children of the wicked will die.29 The godly will possess the land and will live there forever.30 The godly offer good counsel; they teach right from wrong.31 They have made God’s law their own, so they will never slip from his path.32 The wicked wait in ambush for the godly, looking for an excuse to kill them.33 But the LORD will not let the wicked succeed or let the godly be condemned when they are put on trial.34 Put your hope in the LORD. Travel steadily along his path. He will honor you by giving you the land. You will see the wicked destroyed.35 I have seen wicked and ruthless people flourishing like a tree in its native soil.36 But when I looked again, they were gone! Though I searched for them, I could not find them!37 Look at those who are honest and good, for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace.38 But the rebellious will be destroyed; they have no future.39 The LORD rescues the godly; he is their fortress in times of trouble.40 The LORD helps them, rescuing them from the wicked. He saves them, and they find shelter in him.
In The Face Of Evil And Dark Times Choose Courage
We live in a world filled with evil, greed, fear, pride, stress and anxiety. Psalm 37 the FTE Psalm of the week urges the righteous to have patience and confidence in God by contrasting the end of the righteous and the unrighteous. The major problem for David the psalmist is the inconsistency connected with the prosperity of the wicked. Although tempted to doubt God's goodness, he settles down and urges patience and trust.
He concludes the psalm by saying the the righteous will be able to see the downfall of the unrighteous. The end of the righteous is peace, the end of the unrighteous is destruction.
Last November, in response a series of tragic events, Max Lucado published This Brutal World on his website. I believe that it captures the essence of what David says in Psalm 37, and it is right on time for us today.
This Brutal World (Italics mine)
“Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” Matthew 10:28
Yet again, yet so soon, we struggle to make sense of bloodshed and violence. Last week bikers mowed down on New York City’s Westside. Sunday, worshippers slaughtered in a small-town South Texas church.
Life is a dangerous endeavor. We pass our days in the shadows of ominous realities. The power to annihilate humanity has, it seems, been placed in the hands of people who are happy to do so.
Contrary to what we’d hope, good people aren’t exempt from violence. Murderers don’t give the godly a pass. Terrorists don’t vet out victims according to spiritual resumes. The bloodthirsty and wicked don’t skip over the heavenbound. We aren’t insulated. But neither are we intimidated. Jesus has a word or two about this brutal world. “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul” (Matthew 10:28).
His disciples needed this affirmation. Jesus had just told them to expect scourging, trials, death, hatred, and persecution .
Matthew 10:17-23 (NKJV)17 But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues.18 You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak;20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.21 Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.22 And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.23 When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
Not the kind of locker room pep talk that rallies the team. To their credit none defected. Perhaps they didn’t because of the fresh memory of Jesus’ flexed muscles in the graveyard. Jesus had taken his disciples to the “the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, [where] two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs; they were so exceedingly violent that no one could pass by that road. And behold, they cried out, saying, ‘What do we have to do with You, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?’” (Matthew 8:28–29 NASB).
These two men were demon-possessed and, consequently, “exceedingly violent.” People walked wide detours around the cemetery to avoid them.
Not Jesus. He marched in like he owned the place. The demons and Jesus needed no introduction. They had battled it out somewhere else, and the demons had no interest in a rematch. They didn’t even put up a fight. “Have you come to punish us before our time?” (Matt.8: 29 cev). Backpedaling. Stuttering. Translation? “We know you will put it to us in the end, but do we get double trouble in the meantime?” They crumpled like stringless puppets. Pathetic, their appeal: “please send us into those pigs” (Matthew 8: 31 CEV).
Jesus did so. “Move,” he exorcised. No shout, scream, incantation, dance, incense, or demand, just one small word. We Christians trace the source of violence back to the devil. We place the fault of bloodshed at the feet of the one whose days are numbered; Satan. We find our hope in the sure victory of Jesus.
And though this world with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God has willed
his truth to triumph through us:
the prince of darkness grim,
we tremble not for him,
his rage we can endure,
for lo, his doom is sure,
one little word shall fell him.
This is the balance on which Jesus writes the check of courage “Do not fear those who kill the body and cannot kill the soul” (Matthew 10:28).
Courage emerges, not from increased police security, but from enhanced spiritual maturity. These days of violence call for people of faith. People of fear make poor decisions. They overreact, lash out and/or retreat. People of courage, on the other hand, keep a cool head. They are not blind to nor bewildered by the evil in the world.
Martin Luther King exemplified this courage. He chose not to fear those who meant him harm. On April 3, 1968, he spent hours in a plane waiting on the tarmac due to bomb threats. When he arrived in Memphis later that day, he was tired and hungry, but not afraid.
“We’ve got some difficult days ahead,” he told the crowd. “But it doesn’t matter to me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. And I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
He would be dead in less than twenty-four hours. But the people who meant him harm fell short in their goal. They took his breath, but they never took his soul.
Evildoers have less a chance of hurting you, if you aren’t already a victim. “Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but to trust the LORD means safety (Proverbs 29:25 NLT).
Real courage embraces the twin realities of current difficulty and ultimate triumph.
Avoid Pollyanna optimism. We gain nothing by glossing over the brutality of human existence. This is a toxic world. But nor do we join the Chicken Little Chorus of gloom and doom. “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” Somewhere between Pollyanna and Chicken Little, between blind denial and blatant panic, stands the level-headed, clear-thinking, still-believing person of faith. Wide-eyed, yet unafraid. Unterrified by the terrifying. The calmest kid on the block, not for lack of bullies, but for faith in our heavenly Father. The old people of God knew this peace: “Though a host encamps against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident” (Psalm 27:3 RSV).
Do not give in to your fears. Resist the temptation to retreat and hunker down. This is the time for faith; the season for God-based hope. “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about the evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes” (Psalm 37:7 NLT).
Courage is a choice. Let it be yours.
Psalms 112:1-10 NIV Praise the Lord . Blessed are those who fear the Lord , who find great delight in his commands. Their children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in their houses, and their righteousness endures forever. Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous. Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice. Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord . Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes. They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor, their righteousness endures forever; their horn will be lifted high in honor. The wicked will see and be vexed, they will gnash their teeth and waste away; the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.
The Traits Of The Righteous
This Psalm, whose writer is unknown describes the righteous person who has learned what it means to fear God and delight in His commandments.
The righteous person is;
Blessed - Reminiscent of Psalm 1
Psalm 1:1 NIV Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,
Their children will inherit their spiritual as well as his material wealth and his righteousness lasts forever.
Gracious - Full of compassion
These are characteristics used in the description of God.
Psalm 111:4 NIV He has caused his wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate.
The fact that these are traits of the righteous proves that as God works His purpose to confirm the righteous to the image of His Son
Romans 8:28-29 NIV And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
They become more and more like the Him who is object of their worship. Because of their godly character they will continue to prosper and maintain their reputation as people of God.
Confident - Complete trust in God.
Their complete trust in God gives them a sense of stability that the wicked cannot know. The righteous know that their standing with God will not change. On the other hand the wicked have no assurance of their fate.
The profile of the person who fears the Lord is remarkable. It is a reflection of the character of God Himself. It is generally fulfilled in the godly man or woman, and perfectly fulfilled in the man Jesus Christ.
Psalm 36:1-12 (NLT2)1 Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. They have no fear of God at all.2 In their blind conceit, they cannot see how wicked they really are.3 Everything they say is crooked and deceitful. They refuse to act wisely or do good.4 They lie awake at night, hatching sinful plots. Their actions are never good. They make no attempt to turn from evil.5 Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O LORD.7 How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.8 You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights.9 For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.10 Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you; give justice to those with honest hearts.11 Don’t let the proud trample me or the wicked push me around.12 Look! Those who do evil have fallen! They are thrown down, never to r
The Contrast Between Mankind And God
This Psalm, written by David, begins with the same observation of the prophet Jeremiah;
Jeremiah 17:9 (NLT2) The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?
The first four verses is a blunt description of the wickedness that resides in the hearts of unbelievers and the subsequent sin that results from rejecting their Creator. Left to themselves, people gravitate away from the Lord and toward an arrogant and destructive sense of ambivalence toward spiritual truth, which leads to self-deceit, evil and, ultimately, the willful rejection of all that is good.
Contrast that with the righteousness, purity and faithfulness of God, the Creator. The psalmist, David, struggles to adequately describe God’s divine justice and mercy by pointing to the vastness of the heavens, the height of the mountains and the depths of the sea as mere hints of the overwhelming goodness and love of God Almighty.
In light of the vast difference between the condition of mankind’s wickedness, and God’s goodness David makes an impassioned plea to the Lord to “continue your love to those who know you”
Jesus, the very image of God is the answer to David’s request on behalf of all people.
Colossians 1:15 (NLT2) Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
2 Corinthians 4:4 (NLT2)4 Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God. (emphasis mine)
Jesus gave His life as a “ransom for many” so that all who believe “might live through him”.
Matthew 20:28 (NLT2) For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
1 John 4:9-10 (NLT2)9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
1 Chronicles 16:7-36 (NLT2)7 On that day David gave to Asaph and his fellow Levites this song of thanksgiving to the LORD:8 Give thanks to the LORD and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done.9 Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.10 Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the LORD.11 Search for the LORD and for his strength; continually seek him.12 Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given,13 you children of his servant Israel, you descendants of Jacob, his chosen ones.14 He is the LORD our God. His justice is seen throughout the land.15 Remember his covenant forever— the commitment he made to a thousand generations.16 This is the covenant he made with Abraham and the oath he swore to Isaac.17 He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, and to the people of Israel as a never-ending covenant:18 “I will give you the land of Canaan as your special possession.”19 He said this when you were few in number, a tiny group of strangers in Canaan.20 They wandered from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another.21 Yet he did not let anyone oppress them. He warned kings on their behalf:22 “Do not touch my chosen people, and do not hurt my prophets.”23 Let the whole earth sing to the LORD! Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.24 Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.25 Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise! He is to be feared above all gods.26 The gods of other nations are mere idols, but the LORD made the heavens!27 Honor and majesty surround him; strength and joy fill his dwelling.28 O nations of the world, recognize the LORD, recognize that the LORD is glorious and strong.29 Give to the LORD the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his presence. Worship the LORD in all his holy splendor.30 Let all the earth tremble before him. The world stands firm and cannot be shaken.31 Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice! Tell all the nations, “The LORD reigns!”32 Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy!33 Let the trees of the forest rustle with praise, for the LORD is coming to judge the earth.34 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.35 Cry out, “Save us, O God of our salvation! Gather and rescue us from among the nations, so we can thank your holy name and rejoice and praise you.”36 Praise the LORD, the God of Israel, who lives from everlasting to everlasting! And all the people shouted “Amen!” and praised the Lord.
Rejoice The Ark Of Covenant Has Come To Jerusalem
On the day that David and the Levites brought the Ark Of Covenant into Jerusalem and placed it in the tent that he prepared for it David gave Asap, the Levite leader of the “Praise Team”, this song of thanksgiving.
David was so excited about the Ark that his praise embarrassed his wife.
1 Chronicles 15:29 (NLT2) 29 But as the Ark of the LORD’s Covenant entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David skipping about and laughing with joy, she was filled with contempt for him.
1 Chronicles 16:1-6 (NLT2)1 They brought the Ark of God and placed it inside the special tent David had prepared for it. And they presented burnt offerings and peace offerings to God.2 When he had finished his sacrifices, David blessed the people in the name of the LORD.3 Then he gave to every man and woman in all Israel a loaf of bread, a cake of dates, and a cake of raisins.4 David appointed the following Levites to lead the people in worship before the Ark of the LORD—to invoke his blessings, to give thanks, and to praise the LORD, the God of Israel.5 Asaph, the leader of this group, sounded the cymbals. Second to him was Zechariah, followed by Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-edom, and Jeiel. They played the harps and lyres.6 The priests, Benaiah and Jahaziel, played the trumpets regularly before the Ark of God’s Covenant.
David was so excited
This song includes parts of Psalms 105, 96, and 106.
1 Chronicles 16:12 (NLT2)12 Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given,
Psalm 105:5 (NLT2)5 Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given,
1 Chronicles 16:15 (NLT2)15 Remember his covenant forever— the commitment he made to a thousand generations.
Psalm 105:8 (NLT2)8 He always stands by his covenant— the commitment he made to a thousand generations.
Genesis 15:1-6 (NLT2)1 Some time later, the LORD spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.”2 But Abram replied, “O Sovereign LORD, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth.3 You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.”4 Then the LORD said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.”5 Then the LORD took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!”6 And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith. (emphasis mine)
In that covenant God promised Abram’s (Abraham) descendants that they would inherit the land in which he was a foreigner.
Genesis 17:7-8 (NLT2)7 “I will confirm my covenant with you and your descendants after you, from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you.8 And I will give the entire land of Canaan, where you now live as a foreigner, to you and your descendants. It will be their possession forever, and I will be their God.”
Abraham’s descendants did not come into possession of Canaan for hundreds of years. They even spent hundreds of years in Egypt most of them as slaves.
Genesis 15:13 (NLT2)13 Then the LORD said to Abram, “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years.
Exodus 12:40-41 (NLT2)40 The people of Israel had lived in Egypt for 430 years.41 In fact, it was on the last day of the 430th year that all the LORD’s forces left the land.
Verses 20 through 28 are a brief history of Israel before they settled in Egypt. During all this time God warned the nations not to harm His people (Abraham and his descendants) and His prophets.
1 Chronicles 16:21-22 (NLT2)21 Yet he did not let anyone oppress them. He warned kings on their behalf:22 “Do not touch my chosen people, and do not hurt my prophets.”
Psalm 105:13-15 (NLT2)13 They wandered from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another.14 Yet he did not let anyone oppress them. He warned kings on their behalf:15 “Do not touch my chosen people, and do not hurt my prophets.”
Psalm 105 in verses 16-45 provides a history Abraham’s dependents from their coming to live in Egypt, their freedom from slavery, their wilderness wandering, to their entrance into Canaan.
Beginning with verse 29 David includes some passages from Psalm 96
1 Chronicles 16:29-33 (NLT2)29 Give to the LORD the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his presence. Worship the LORD in all his holy splendor.30 Let all the earth tremble before him. The world stands firm and cannot be shaken.31 Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice! Tell all the nations, “The LORD reigns!”32 Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy!33 Let the trees of the forest rustle with praise, for the LORD is coming to judge the earth.
Psalm 96:8-13 (NLT2)8 Give to the LORD the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his courts.9 Worship the LORD in all his holy splendor. Let all the earth tremble before him.10 Tell all the nations, “The LORD reigns!” The world stands firm and cannot be shaken. He will judge all peoples fairly.11 Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice! Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!12 Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy! Let the trees of the forest rustle with praise13 before the LORD, for he is coming! He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with his truth.
The song ends with praise and thanksgiving for victory over and deliverance from the Philistines which resulted in return of the Ark of Covenant. The final word of the Psalm is Amen or in Hebrew Halleluya (Hallelujah)!
1 Chronicles 16:35-36 (NLT2) 35 Cry out, “Save us, O God of our salvation! Gather and rescue us from among the nations, so we can thank your holy name and rejoice and praise you.”36 Praise the LORD, the God of Israel, who lives from everlasting to everlasting! And all the people shouted “Amen!” and praised the LORD.
Psalm 106:47-48 (NLT2) 47 Save us, O LORD our God! Gather us back from among the nations, so we can thank your holy name and rejoice and praise you.48 Praise the LORD, the God of Israel, who lives from everlasting to everlasting! Let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the LORD!
Psalm 113:1-9 (ASV)1 Praise ye Jehovah. Praise, O ye servants of Jehovah, Praise the name of Jehovah.2 Blessed be the name of Jehovah From this time forth and for evermore.3 From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same Jehovah's name is to be praised.4 Jehovah is high above all nations, And his glory above the heavens.5 Who is like unto Jehovah our God, That hath his seat on high,6 That humbleth himself to behold The things that are in heaven and in the earth?7 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, And lifteth up the needy from the dunghill;
8 That he may set him with princes, Even with the princes of his people.9 He maketh the barren woman to keep house, And to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye Jehovah.
Praise To The Merciful God
Psalm 113 is the first of the “Hallel” psalms which were sung at the three Feasts of the Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. These were the feasts that Jewish males were required to attend annually in Jerusalem
The psalmist opens with and appeal to the worshipers of the Lord. The writer appeals to them to speak to the character of God’s nature and manifestations. The praise is to be universal and unending. Blessed be the name of Jehovah From this time forth and for evermore.From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same Jehovah's name is to be praised.
He is to be praised because there is none like Him. Who is like unto Jehovah our God, Jehovah is beyond the range of l human experience., and present throughout creation. In other words He is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. At the same time Jehovah considers the needs of mankind. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, And lifteth up the needy from the dunghill;
Jehovah is worthy to be praised. The psalm begins and ends with “Praise ye Jehovah” (Hallelujah)
Psalm 35:1-28 (NKJV)1 Plead my cause, O LORD, with those who strive with me; Fight against those who fight against me.2 Take hold of shield and buckler, And stand up for my help.3 Also draw out the spear, And stop those who pursue me. Say to my soul, "I am your salvation."4 Let those be put to shame and brought to dishonor Who seek after my life; Let those be turned back and brought to confusion Who plot my hurt.5 Let them be like chaff before the wind, And let the angel of the LORD chase them.6 Let their way be dark and slippery, And let the angel of the LORD pursue them.7 For without cause they have hidden their net for me in a pit, Which they have dug without cause for my life.8 Let destruction come upon him unexpectedly, And let his net that he has hidden catch himself; Into that very destruction let him fall.9 And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD; It shall rejoice in His salvation.10 All my bones shall say, "LORD, who is like You, Delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, Yes, the poor and the needy from him who plunders him?"11 Fierce witnesses rise up; They ask me things that I do not know.12 They reward me evil for good, To the sorrow of my soul.13 But as for me, when they were sick, My clothing was sackcloth; I humbled myself with fasting; And my prayer would return to my own heart.14 I paced about as though he were my friend or brother; I bowed down heavily, as one who mourns for his mother.15 But in my adversity they rejoiced And gathered together; Attackers gathered against me, And I did not know it; They tore at me and did not cease;16 With ungodly mockers at feasts They gnashed at me with their teeth.17 Lord, how long will You look on? Rescue me from their destructions, My precious life from the lions.18 I will give You thanks in the great assembly; I will praise You among many people.19 Let them not rejoice over me who are wrongfully my enemies; Nor let them wink with the eye who hate me without a cause.20 For they do not speak peace, But they devise deceitful matters Against the quiet ones in the land.21 They also opened their mouth wide against me, And said, "Aha, aha! Our eyes have seen it."22 This You have seen, O LORD; Do not keep silence. O Lord, do not be far from me.23 Stir up Yourself, and awake to my vindication, To my cause, my God and my Lord.24 Vindicate me, O LORD my God, according to Your righteousness; And let them not rejoice over me.25 Let them not say in their hearts, "Ah, so we would have it!" Let them not say, "We have swallowed him up."26 Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion Who rejoice at my hurt; Let them be clothed with shame and dishonor Who exalt themselves against me.27 Let them shout for joy and be glad, Who favor my righteous cause; And let them say continually, "Let the LORD be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant."28 And my tongue shall speak of Your righteousness And of Your praise all the day long. (emphasis mine)
A Plea For Vengeance
This psalm of David paints picture of him being in a court of law, as the defendant, where he is pleading his case before the judge which is God. What’s interesting is that although David appears to be the defendant he consistently calls for the punishment for his opponents.
The psalm begins with an appeal for judgment on his enemies. His appeal is that they be judged on his own, not God’s terms. This is interesting because when David was faced with making deciding whether to be judged by men or God he chose God because he knew that God is merciful and man is not.
2 Samuel 24:11-14 (NKJV)11 Now when David arose in the morning, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Gad, David's seer, saying,12 "Go and tell David, 'Thus says the LORD: "I offer you three things; choose one of them for yourself, that I may do it to you." ' "13 So Gad came to David and told him; and he said to him, "Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land? Or shall you flee three months before your enemies, while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days' plague in your land? Now consider and see what answer I should take back to Him who sent me."14 And David said to Gad, "I am in great distress. Please let us fall into the hand of the LORD, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man." (emphasis mine)
He expresses his resentment by asking that his enemies be completely defeated, discredited, and caught in their own pitfalls. He ends this section at verse 10 with a vow that he will really rejoice in the Lord.
In the next section of the psalm beginning with verse 11 David now identifies his enemies as former friends that have now turned on him. They lied on and mocked him, mocked him, while he only returned good for their evil. He also ends this section at verse 18 with a vow that he will publicly praise God if God will only deliver him.
David again appeals for judgement. He first pleads that his enemies back off and stop taunting and spreading evil lies about him. Then he asks for final judgement with his enemies now getting the same treatment that they gave him. He closes this section, and the psalm with a vow of thanksgiving.
Psalm 117:1-2 (NKJV)1 Praise the LORD, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples!
2 For His merciful kindness is great toward us, And the truth of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!
A Shout Of Praise
At only two verses Psalm 117 is the shortest song included in the book of Psalms (the Psalter).
The first verse is a universal call to praise. What’s unique in this universal call is that throughout the Psalter the call to praise is directed at the nation of Israel with little regard for the nations surrounding them. In this psalm all nations (all you peoples) are called to praise the God of Israel.
Verse two give the reasons for giving praise. The Lord is:
This merciful kindness is shown towards all of mankind not to the Jewish people only.
This mercy has been very great, or powerful. For us today God’s mercy and kindness are shown in Christ and all mankind can join in this acknowledgment, and in the praise which is therefore due.
Galatians 3:26-29 (NKJV)26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
This truth of God’s merciful kindness endures forever. He has kept his covenant promise that in the seed of Abraham should all nations of the earth be blessed, and he will eternally keep every single promise of that covenant to all those who put their trust in him. This should be a cause of constant and grateful praise. The Psalm ends and it begins with “Praise the Lord”
Psalms 34:1-22 (NLT) I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord ; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord ’s greatness; let us exalt his name together. I prayed to the Lord , and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Fear the Lord , you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing. Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the Lord . Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous? Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase their memory from the earth. The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken! Calamity will surely destroy the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished. But the Lord will redeem those who serve him. No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.
The Lord Delivers The Righteous
When running from King Saul David went to Achish, king of the Philistine city of Gath. However Achish’s officers didn’t want him there so David pretended to be insane. He wrote Psalm 34 after being sent away from Gath.
1 Samuel 21:10-15 (NLT2)10 So David escaped from Saul and went to King Achish of Gath.11 But the officers of Achish were unhappy about his being there. “Isn’t this David, the king of the land?” they asked. “Isn’t he the one the people honor with dances, singing, ‘Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?”12 David heard these comments and was very afraid of what King Achish of Gath might do to him.13 So he pretended to be insane, scratching on doors and drooling down his beard.14 Finally, King Achish said to his men, “Must you bring me a madman?15 We already have enough of them around here! Why should I let someone like this be my guest?”
David opens this psalm of praise and thanksgiving by inviting others to join him in his praise and acknowledgement of God’s goodness. He bases his praise on his deliverance so he knows God’s faithfulness firsthand. Because God has delivered him David urges others to “put God to the test” that’s what he means when he says “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” True blessings come only to those who trust, fear, and seek the Lord.
Hebrews 11:6 (NLT2) And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
Right in the middle of the psalm David changes from exhortation to instruction. His experiences have given him the right to teach others. He starts his instruction by telling those who follow him that the first thing necessary is that they fear God. The kind of fear David is talking about is not terror but reverence. The rewards of that reverence are protection and deliverance from the actions of others. Those who fear (reverence) the Lord are also rewarded by deliverance from God’s wrath while the wicked will overtaken by calamity and punishment.
Psalm 34:22 (NLT2) But the LORD will redeem those who serve him. No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.
David could teach others about the fear of the Lord because he had come to understand it more fully from his own life experiences.
Psalm 119:1-176 (NKJV)1 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, Who walk in the law of the LORD!2 Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the whole heart!3 They also do no iniquity; They walk in His ways.4 You have commanded us To keep Your precepts diligently.5 Oh, that my ways were directed To keep Your statutes!6 Then I would not be ashamed, When I look into all Your commandments.7 I will praise You with uprightness of heart, When I learn Your righteous judgments.8 I will keep Your statutes; Oh, do not forsake me utterly!9 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.10 With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!12 Blessed are You, O LORD! Teach me Your statutes!13 With my lips I have declared All the judgments of Your mouth.14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As much as in all riches.15 I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways.16 I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.17 Deal bountifully with Your servant, That I may live and keep Your word.18 Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law.19 I am a stranger in the earth; Do not hide Your commandments from me.20 My soul breaks with longing For Your judgments at all times.21 You rebuke the proud--the cursed, Who stray from Your commandments.22 Remove from me reproach and contempt, For I have kept Your testimonies.23 Princes also sit and speak against me, But Your servant meditates on Your statutes.24 Your testimonies also are my delight And my counselors.25 My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to Your word.26 I have declared my ways, and You answered me; Teach me Your statutes.27 Make me understand the way of Your precepts; So shall I meditate on Your wondrous works.28 My soul melts from heaviness; Strengthen me according to Your word.29 Remove from me the way of lying, And grant me Your law graciously.30 I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgments I have laid before me.31 I cling to Your testimonies; O LORD, do not put me to shame!32 I will run the course of Your commandments, For You shall enlarge my heart.33 Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes, And I shall keep it to the end.34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.35 Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, For I delight in it.36 Incline my heart to Your testimonies, And not to covetousness.37 Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, And revive me in Your way.38 Establish Your word to Your servant, Who is devoted to fearing You.39 Turn away my reproach which I dread, For Your judgments are good.40 Behold, I long for Your precepts; Revive me in Your righteousness.41 Let Your mercies come also to me, O LORD-- Your salvation according to Your word.42 So shall I have an answer for him who reproaches me, For I trust in Your word.43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, For I have hoped in Your ordinances.44 So shall I keep Your law continually, Forever and ever.45 And I will walk at liberty, For I seek Your precepts.46 I will speak of Your testimonies also before kings, And will not be ashamed.47 And I will delight myself in Your commandments, Which I love.48 My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments, Which I love, And I will meditate on Your statutes.49 Remember the word to Your servant, Upon which You have caused me to hope.50 This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life.51 The proud have me in great derision, Yet I do not turn aside from Your law.52 I remembered Your judgments of old, O LORD, And have comforted myself.53 Indignation has taken hold of me Because of the wicked, who forsake Your law.54 Your statutes have been my songs In the house of my pilgrimage.55 I remember Your name in the night, O LORD, And I keep Your law.56 This has become mine, Because I kept Your precepts.57 You are my portion, O LORD; I have said that I would keep Your words.58 I entreated Your favor with my whole heart; Be merciful to me according to Your word.59 I thought about my ways, And turned my feet to Your testimonies60 I made haste, and did not delay To keep Your commandments.61 The cords of the wicked have bound me, But I have not forgotten Your law.62 At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You, Because of Your righteous judgments.63 I am a companion of all who fear You, And of those who keep Your precepts.64 The earth, O LORD, is full of Your mercy; Teach me Your statutes.65 You have dealt well with Your servant, O LORD, according to Your word.66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge, For I believe Your commandments.67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word.68 You are good, and do good; Teach me Your statutes.69 The proud have forged a lie against me, But I will keep Your precepts with my whole heart.70 Their heart is as fat as grease, But I delight in Your law.71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.72 The law of Your mouth is better to me Than thousands of coins of gold and silver.73 Your hands have made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.74 Those who fear You will be glad when they see me, Because I have hoped in Your word.75 I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are right, And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.76 Let, I pray, Your merciful kindness be for my comfort, According to Your word to Your servant.77 Let Your tender mercies come to me, that I may live; For Your law is my delight.78 Let the proud be ashamed, For they treated me wrongfully with falsehood; But I will meditate on Your precepts.79 Let those who fear You turn to me, Those who know Your testimonies.80 Let my heart be blameless regarding Your statutes, That I may not be ashamed.81 My soul faints for Your salvation, But I hope in Your word.82 My eyes fail from searching Your word, Saying, "When will You comfort me?"83 For I have become like a wineskin in smoke, Yet I do not forget Your statutes.84 How many are the days of Your servant? When will You execute judgment on those who persecute me?85 The proud have dug pits for me, Which is not according to Your law.86 All Your commandments are faithful; They persecute me wrongfully; Help me!87 They almost made an end of me on earth, But I did not forsake Your precepts.88 Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, So that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.89 Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.90 Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth, and it abides.91 They continue this day according to Your ordinances, For all are Your servants.92 Unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction.93 I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have given me life.94 I am Yours, save me; For I have sought Your precepts.95 The wicked wait for me to destroy me, But I will consider Your testimonies.96 I have seen the consummation of all perfection, But Your commandment is exceedingly broad.97 Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.98 You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; For they are ever with me.99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation.100 I understand more than the ancients, Because I keep Your precepts.101 I have restrained my feet from every evil way, That I may keep Your word.102 I have not departed from Your judgments, For You Yourself have taught me.103 How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!104 Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.106 I have sworn and confirmed That I will keep Your righteous judgments.107 I am afflicted very much; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your word.108 Accept, I pray, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, And teach me Your judgments.109 My life is continually in my hand, Yet I do not forget Your law.110 The wicked have laid a snare for me, Yet I have not strayed from Your precepts.111 Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, For they are the rejoicing of my heart.112 I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes Forever, to the very end.113 I hate the double-minded, But I love Your law.114 You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.115 Depart from me, you evildoers, For I will keep the commandments of my God!116 Uphold me according to Your word, that I may live; And do not let me be ashamed of my hope.117 Hold me up, and I shall be safe, And I shall observe Your statutes continually.118 You reject all those who stray from Your statutes, For their deceit is falsehood.119 You put away all the wicked of the earth like dross; Therefore I love Your testimonies.120 My flesh trembles for fear of You, And I am afraid of Your judgments.121 I have done justice and righteousness; Do not leave me to my oppressors.122 Be surety for Your servant for good; Do not let the proud oppress me.123 My eyes fail from seeking Your salvation And Your righteous word.124 Deal with Your servant according to Your mercy, And teach me Your statutes.125 I am Your servant; Give me understanding, That I may know Your testimonies.126 It is time for You to act, O LORD, For they have regarded Your law as void.127 Therefore I love Your commandments More than gold, yes, than fine gold!128 Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right; I hate every false way.129 Your testimonies are wonderful; Therefore my soul keeps them.130 The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.131 I opened my mouth and panted, For I longed for Your commandments.132 Look upon me and be merciful to me, As Your custom is toward those who love Your name.133 Direct my steps by Your word, And let no iniquity have dominion over me.134 Redeem me from the oppression of man, That I may keep Your precepts.135 Make Your face shine upon Your servant, And teach me Your statutes.136 Rivers of water run down from my eyes, Because men do not keep Your law.137 Righteous are You, O LORD, And upright are Your judgments.138 Your testimonies, which You have commanded, Are righteous and very faithful.139 My zeal has consumed me, Because my enemies have forgotten Your words.140 Your word is very pure; Therefore Your servant loves it.141 I am small and despised, Yet I do not forget Your precepts.142 Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, And Your law is truth.143 Trouble and anguish have overtaken me, Yet Your commandments are my delights.144 The righteousness of Your testimonies is everlasting; Give me understanding, and I shall live.145 I cry out with my whole heart; Hear me, O LORD! I will keep Your statutes.146 I cry out to You; Save me, and I will keep Your testimonies.147 I rise before the dawning of the morning, And cry for help; I hope in Your word.148 My eyes are awake through the night watches, That I may meditate on Your word.149 Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness; O LORD, revive me according to Your justice.150 They draw near who follow after wickedness; They are far from Your law.151 You are near, O LORD, And all Your commandments are truth.152 Concerning Your testimonies, I have known of old that You have founded them forever.153 Consider my affliction and deliver me, For I do not forget Your law.154 Plead my cause and redeem me; Revive me according to Your word.155 Salvation is far from the wicked, For they do not seek Your statutes.156 Great are Your tender mercies, O LORD; Revive me according to Your judgments.157 Many are my persecutors and my enemies, Yet I do not turn from Your testimonies.158 I see the treacherous, and am disgusted, Because they do not keep Your word.159 Consider how I love Your precepts; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your lovingkindness.160 The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.161 Princes persecute me without a cause, But my heart stands in awe of Your word.162 I rejoice at Your word As one who finds great treasure.163 I hate and abhor lying, But I love Your law.164 Seven times a day I praise You, Because of Your righteous judgments.165 Great peace have those who love Your law, And nothing causes them to stumble.166 LORD, I hope for Your salvation, And I do Your commandments.167 My soul keeps Your testimonies, And I love them exceedingly.168 I keep Your precepts and Your testimonies, For all my ways are before You.169 Let my cry come before You, O LORD; Give me understanding according to Your word.170 Let my supplication come before You; Deliver me according to Your word.171 My lips shall utter praise, For You teach me Your statutes.172 My tongue shall speak of Your word, For all Your commandments are righteousness.173 Let Your hand become my help, For I have chosen Your precepts.174 I long for Your salvation, O LORD, And Your law is my delight.175 Let my soul live, and it shall praise You; And let Your judgments help me.176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; Seek Your servant, For I do not forget Your commandments.
THE GREATNESS AND GLORY OF GOD’S WORD
Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. Most commentators believe that it was written by David and composed throughout his entire life. Others believe that it was written after the Babylonian exile. It was likely written over some period of time and later compiled, because there is no definite flow of thought from the beginning to the end.
The psalm is arranged in an acrostic pattern. Meaning that it is written so that each section is given a letter of the Hebrew alphabet and and each line in that section begins with that letter. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, and this Psalm contains 22 sections of 8 verses each. The closest parallel to this pattern in Scripture is in Lamentations 3, which is also divided into 22 sections.
This psalm refers to the Torah as God’s revealed Word. The English word “Torah” comes from the Hebrew word toh·rahʹ, which can be translated as “instruction,” “teaching,” or “law.” Toh·rahʹ often refers to the first five books of the Bible—Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, as God revealed them to Moses. These are also called the Pentateuch, from a Greek word meaning “fivefold volume.” The Torah was written by Moses, so it is called “the book of the Law of Moses.” Evidently, it was originally written as one book and divided later.
Psalm 119 refers to the revealed Word of God over and over again, and is mentioned in at least 171 of its 176 verses.
There are 8 basic words used to describe the Word;
The lessons from this psalm are that the Word of God is sufficient to make us wise, train us in righteousness, and equip us for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV)16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The Scriptures are a reflection of God’s nature, and from them we learn that we can trust His character and His plan and purposes for mankind, even when those plans include affliction and persecution. We are blessed if we delight ourselves in His law (Word) and meditate on it day and night.
Psalm 1:1-2 (NKJV)1 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. (Emphasis mine).
Psalm 37:4-6 (NKJV)4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.6 He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your justice as the noonday.
Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.