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Bible: What Does Psalms 107-110 Teach Us About God's Faithfulness and Mercy?

Updated on September 8, 2016

The Meaning of Mercy

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The Fool


Psalms 107-110: God's Faithfulness and Mercy

The poet again exhorts his audience to give thanks to God for His goodness and eternal mercy (v. 1; cf. Ps. 106:1), especially since He has redeemed them and brought them to safety (vv. 2-7).

A refrain—often repeated in this psalm (vv. 8, 15, 21, 31)--further encourages the people to praise Yahweh for meeting their various spiritual needs (vv. 8-9).

Some of them, because of their rebellion against God’s word, wound up in prison (vv. 10-12); nevertheless, after they cried out to the LORD, He graciously released them from their bondage (vv. 13-14; cf. vv. 10, 16).

Having been delivered from their distress, the afflicted should give Him thanks (vv. 15-16).

The writer discusses another group of people who suffer physical affliction because of sin: fools (vv. 17-18).

After recording their subsequent plea for help and their rescue through the proclamation of Yahweh's word (vv. 19-20), he inserts an expanded refrain, starting with the same basic wording but adding an exhortation: the beneficiaries of God's mercy should offer sacrifices and testify about His works on their behalf (vv. 21-22).

While weathering life-threatening trouble at sea (vv. 23-27), sailors—a third group, but one not necessarily guilty of rebellion or transgression—cry out to God, who shows them mercy and guides them to the desired port (vv. 28-30).

Another expanded refrain calls for praise of God in the assembly and before the elders (vv. 31-32).

Leaving his familiar sequence of recording the distress, prayer, and salvation of various types of people, the writer explains how the LORD uses the precious commodity of water in the Land to deal with the wicked and the righteous, cutting it off to the former but providing it in abundance for the latter (vv. 33-38).

In depressed times God punishes the oppressive, but exalts the poor (vv. 39-42). "This is how God's chesed works," he says, "and if you are wise, you will understand this well" (v. 43).

[Believers often find themselves in trouble because of their sin; sadly, God is often the last Person they look to for deliverance.

Nevertheless, once they learn that He is there and they cry out to Him, they discover that He is faithful to rescue them and bring them to a restful position of trust and safety].

Psalm 108

David promises to praise God for His infinite mercy and eternal truth (vv. 1-4). He desires that the LORD be exalted through the salvation of His beloved (vv. 5-6).

[To whom does David refer when he speaks of “beloved”?]

Since God owns the whole land, He can do with it and with its people as He wills (vv. 7-9). David depends on Him, not on human beings to give him victory over His/his enemies (vv. 10-13).

[We need a firm faith in the sovereign power of God; otherwise, we will not be able to trust Him for victory].

Psalm 109

David complains to God about those enemies who accuse him of evil, who speak hatefully toward him for no reason, and who treat him badly even after he has been good to them (vv. 1-5).

[Note that David gives himself to prayer (v. 4)].

In the next eight verses, he unleashes a long series of imprecations through which he seeks to destroy every area of an accuser’s life: legal (vv. 6, 7a), livelihood (v. 8b; note Peter’s application of this verse to Judas in Acts 1:20), home (vv. 9-10), financial (v. 11), and posterity (vv. 12-13).

David wishes the LORD to “remember” the sins of his enemy’s parents (vv. 14-15), because his enemy unjustly treated the needy (v. 16).

He desires God [implied] to fill his foe’s life with cursing (vv. 17-19).

[Through verse 19, the subject is singular, as if David referred to only one individual; only in verse 20 does he return to the plural nature of his enemies.]

The psalmist asks mercy for himself from the LORD.

Mercy would show his enemies that Yahweh has not only helped him in his physical and emotional distress (vv. 21-26), but that He has also brought shame to them (vv. 27-29).

As a response to His salvation, David promises to praise the LORD among the multitude, thus bringing Him more glory (vv. 30-31).

[David gave himself to prayer when others treated him unjustly.

How to understand the ethics of imprecatory prayers, however, is a difficult undertaking.

Where does the instruction “love one’s enemies” come into play?]

Melchizedek: The Priest of the Most High God

The Identity of Melchizedek

Who was Melchizedek?

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Psalm 110

The New Testament employs verses one and four when speaking about Christ, the King. Jesus cites verse one to defend His status as Messiah and God in His debate with Jewish leaders (see Matt. 22: 41-46), while the writer to the Hebrews quotes verse four to bolster his argument for the superiority of Christ's Melchizedekian priesthood over that of the Levitical (cf. Heb. 5:6, 10; 6:20).

David portrays this King as summarily judging the LORD's enemies (vv. 2, 5-6) while His people stand in attendance (v. 3).

[Those who reject Christ have only eternal condemnation awaiting them; God's people, however, possess in Jesus the comfort of an eternal Priest].


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