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Bible: What Does Psalms 61-68 Teach Us About The Praise of God's People?
Metaphors of God
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Praise for David's Yahweh
Praise for Yahweh's Eternal Love
During a time of weakness the psalmist cries out to God for guidance and protection, employing the metaphorical clause, "Lead me to the rock that is higher than I" (vv. 1-2).
Metaphors abound as David reflects upon past experience which has taught him that the LORD, his “shelter” and “strong tower,” is worthy of trust; therefore, he promises to serve God forever and trust in the LORD’s protection (vv. 3-4).
David also realizes that God has not only blessed him with the Land as an inheritance, but also with the promise of “eternal” life (“His years as many generations”).
He asks that the LORD might grant Him the mercy and truth to preserve him (vv. 5-7). Assured of these things, he himself promises to praise Him every day and forever (v. 8).
[Understanding God's eternal love for us should elicit praise and service from us]!
Trust Not in Riches
Relying Upon the Omnipotent LORD
Although David is currently experiencing some difficulty, he maintains a quiet trust in God as his rock, his salvation, his defender (vv. 1-2).
Though his enemies are constantly preparing to fall on him, their efforts will be in vain (v. 3), for their conspiracy subsists upon lies and curses (v. 4).
David encourages himself in his faith, reiterating much of his earlier prayer (vv. 5-7), and then exhorts his people to do likewise (v. 8).
Reflecting upon mankind—high or low-born, it does not matter—the psalmist concludes that their life is a vapor and a lie (v. 9).
He instructs his people not to trust in wealth, however they might have acquired it (v. 10).
Power and mercy belong to God alone, Who will also judge man (vv. 11-12).
[How foolish it is to trust in something that will pass away so quickly, and how wise to rely upon the omnipotent, merciful LORD]!
Meditate Upon the LORD
Joy in Fellowshipping with the LORD
While wandering in the lonely Judean wilderness (superscription), David pours out his heart to Yahweh; he composes this psalm in which he seeks a vision of God in the sanctuary (vv. 1-2).
Enraptured and satisfied by the knowledge of the LORD that this inner sight supplies to him, the psalmist praises Yahweh with great joy (vv. 3-5).
He meditates upon Him, his Help, and rejoices in His protection and in the strength He provides (vv. 6-8).
On the one hand, David knows that his enemies’ lies will stop, and they themselves will perish (vv. 9-10); on the other hand, he and other believers will glory in the LORD (v. 11).
[Being allowed to fellowship with God brings the believer great joy].
God is For Us
The psalmist again asks God to preserve him from enemies who scheme to overthrow him by "shooting" bitter words at him (vv. 1-4).
Although these “workers of iniquity” think that their conspiracy is secret and their plan foolproof (vv. 5-6), they are woefully unaware that God fights for David.
The LORD will defeat them with His own arrow, and His victory will cause widespread fear and panic in their midst (vv. 7-8).
“All men” who witness the demise of David’s enemies will confess that Yahweh performed this discomfiting deed against those who sought to kill the king; as the result of the LORD’s judgment, the righteous will praise Him (vv. 9-10).
[We would not seek to fight the battle alone if we truly understood that God were “for us”].
Israel: Rule in the Future?
Will Israel one day reign over the Earth?
The Beauties of the Kingdom
While addressing his prayer-hearing God, David mentions that a time will come when “everyone” will praise Him, and He will “cover” their sins (vv. 1-3).
Satisfying worship will accrue to the chosen, among whom the author numbers himself (v. 4).
The LORD will also provide abundantly for them through the Earth, His creation which He controls and nurtures (vv. 5-13).
[Indeed, this psalm presents a beautiful picture of what one might expect to experience during the millennial reign of Christ]!
Crossing the Jordan
Testify to the LORD's Goodness
The psalmist exhorts everyone to sing joyful praise to God because of His wonderful works (vv. 1-3a).
He envisions the day when Omnipotence will demand universal worship, even from His enemies (vv. 3b-4; cf. Phil. 2:5-11).
At the present time he invites his listeners to see a dramatic presentation of some of God's more awesome displays of power; namely, the Sea of Reeds and Jordan River crossings (vv. 5-6; cf. Ex. 14:21; Josh. 3:14-16).
Such glorious strength should serve as a warning to any rebels (v. 7).
Addressing the peoples, the author encourages their praise to God, who has brought them through deep, refining trials to a place of prosperity (vv. 8-12).
In thanksgiving for his deliverance, the psalm writer promises to make many sacrifices (vv. 13-15).
Again, he invites believers to hear his testimony of God's goodness to him (v. 16): answers to prayer and mercy (vv. 17-20).
[Giving thanks and testifying to God's working in your life should flow from your lips].
Reaching the World with God's Love
The psalmist asks God to prosper His people, so that the rest of humanity might know that He is the LORD and turn to Him for salvation (vv. 1-2).
He also petitions God to cause the peoples to praise Him as the One who will judge the earth (vv. 3-4).
Worship of God causes the fruitfulness of the earth to increase greatly (vv. 5-7).
[When God's people worship Him acceptably, their testimony reaches the world with the message of the LORD].
Power for Those Who Praise God's Grace
David petitions the LORD to chase down His enemies—note the synonyms (“those also who hate him” and “the wicked”) and judge them with death (vv. 1-2)—note also the psalmist’s similes for their dissolution (“as smoke is driven away . . . as wax melts . . . “)—, so that the righteous may rejoice in His victory with songs of praise (vv. 3-4).
Orphans, widows, the lonely, and prisoners receive benefits from the mercy of this holy God, but He deprives rebels of all good things (vv. 5-6).
[Notice also the continued contrastive “but” (vv. 3, 6b)].
The psalmist praises his powerful God for His goodness, for the LORD sends rain to enliven His land and provide for the poor (vv. 7-10).
The next section announces God's victories over certain local kings who, fleeing from Israel, leave much spoil behind (vv. 11-14).
David rebukes the “mountain” of Bashan (perhaps the people who live there) for being envious of Zion: the mountain God had chosen for His eternal dwelling place (vv. 15-16).
Verses 17-18 suggest that God's enormous power, represented by innumerable chariots, triumphed over enemies and acquired much booty in the form of gifts.
[The apostle Paul alludes to verse 18 in Ephesians 4:8, but states there that He gives gifts to men, not receives gifts from men.
How might we understand the apostle’s reason for using this verse to teach about spiritual giftedness?]
David then interjects praise of adonai, the God of their salvation, for daily supplying the needs of His people (vv. 19-20) and for mortally wounding His enemies (vv. 21-23).
A description of God's procession into the sanctuary, escorted by several tribal leaders—Benjamin, Judah, Zebulun, and Naphtali--, follows (vv. 24-27).
David desires that the LORD show Himself strong as nations, recognizing His greatness, come under His dominion (vv. 28-31).
He commands the world's kings to praise the God of Israel for His great power (vv. 32-34).
David himself ends his psalm by blessing the LORD for providing strength for His people (v. 35).
[God will infuse power into those of His people who acknowledge His great grace with praise].