January 28, 2015.
Daily Reading: Psalm 9-11.
Background: Psalm 6-8.
Concepts and Connections.
The Lord’s Righteousness: A common motif throughout the psalms is praising God for His righteousness. The character of the Lord is shown throughout these praises as He gives judgement to the faithful and the wicked according to their lifestyle. This psalm by David specifically focuses on praising God’s righteousness, pledging to tell of His wondrous deeds, exalting Him and singing praises to His name. How often do we praise God for who He is and for His righteous judgments? We live in a time where pronouncing judgment on other people, even if they are in sin, is frowned upon. It is hard for some to serve a God who judges men for their deeds. However, this was never a hard concept in the psalms. It was simple truth. The righteous took comfort in this fact, knowing that though they may suffer at the hand of the wicked, the Lord was a righteous judge that would indeed reward the wicked accordingly. The wicked would be snared by their own hands, as David puts it. The righteousness of God would reign down on the nations who forgot God and the oppressed would be remembered once again. The Lord would arise, and then the nations would know of His glory through His judgment. We too should praise God for His righteousness, though it be an unpopular stance to take amongst the world.
1. Questions when things don’t seem to be going right: There are times in life where nothing really makes sense and it seems like though we are doing the right things, it is the wicked that are prospering. Times of trouble may fall upon us and we start to wonder where God is. The Psalmist here wonders the exact same thing, and boldly asks God where He is at. What we can learn from this is that it is not necessarily a bad thing to ask God what is going on. It is not bad to ask Him where He is and what He is doing. That is, as long as we listen to His answer. We all go through rough times and it can feel like the Lord has legitimately forgotten about us, perhaps even to the point where we question Him about it. However, we must realize that the Lord has not forgotten about us, even when it seems everything is counterintuitive. We do not have the mind of the Lord so as to know everything that is going to happen and see the good that He has already worked out for us (see Romans 8:28). We must trust in the Lord that He knows what He is doing and that what He is doing is ultimately good for those of us who put our faith in Him. Though we can question God, we must be attentive to His answer. Then we should praise Him for who He is, King forever and ever.
2. The attitude of the wicked: The body of this Psalm details some common characteristics and actions of wickedness. People who work iniquity often do so in arrogance, having pride as one of their major downfalls. The wicked think that they will never meet their match. They believe that God will not see their iniquity, for they believe there is no God. Their arrogance leads them to their lack of accountability, renouncing God in the process. When we read about this wickedness, it may be hard for us to imagine people like this. However, this motif is actually quite common today in the minds of many. They might not be as forward as what is described in this psalm, but there are many who call for no judgment and no accountability. There are many who have the pride that is mentioned here, letting their arrogance guide their lives. There are many who believe there is no God, or that God will not call them into account. We need to be mindful of our steps so as to not fall into the deception of pride.
Taking refuge: Many times in David’s life did he seek refuge in the Lord. When he challenged Goliath, he relied on the Lord. When he was running from Saul, he sought the Lord. When his newborn child died as a consequence of his relationship with Bathsheba, he got up and went into the house of the Lord to worship. In this psalm he details his faith and trust in the Lord even when other’s tell him that there is no hope and that he should run from his problems. David knew, however, that the Lord was in His holy temple, ready to judge the wicked. He knew that the Lord indeed tested the righteous, but would not ultimately tolerate the deeds of the wicked. David could rejoice in the Lord and the refuge that he found within Him. When troublesome times come upon us, the psalms are often a place that we go to to find refuge and shelter, comfort and strength. We can use them to relate to the psalmists who were going through rough times as well, and we can hear the answer from the Lord. The Lord is in his holy temple, ready to judge the wicked and comfort the afflicted. We too should find our refuge in the Lord.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Job 8.
Trust in the Lord.