April 29, 2015.
Daily Reading: Psalm 48-50.
Background: Psalm 45-47.
Concepts and Connections.
The city of God: This psalm, written of the Sons of Korah, is a song of praise dedicated to the Lord. It depicts God in His glory, and then by proxy of His holy city, Zion. Zion in described in grand detail, exceeding the glory of the nations such that all around would know that the Lord is God, King of all the earth. Any nation that had assembled together and saw His glory had been scattered, frightened at His very presence and driven away by His glory. Yet the Almighty, creator of the universe, cares for His people, though they be small comported to His being. His people rejoice in His steadfast love and are called at the end of this psalm to walk throughout Zion and see her glory, so that they might tell His glory to the succeeding generations. His name was and still is worthy to be praised. Let us declare the glory of Zion and her Maker amongst the nations. Let us rejoice, and be glad in Him.
No need to fear man: The psalmist in the beginning of this psalm calls all the nations of the earth, all people rich and poor, into audience to hear the proverb/riddle that he was setting before them. According to those who don’t know God, riches and materialism and the trust in man are the pinnacle of success and security in this life, and without these, fear persists. However, the psalmist asks why should he fear in times of trouble, when those around him gain riches as he has none. His riddle for the world was a question they could not answer, because they did not know God, nor did they know what it was like to trust in the Almighty, creator of the universe, who is sovereign over life itself. In the end, without God all men die the same, rich or poor, foolish or wise (compare with Ecclesiastes 2:12-17). Trusting in material things will never hold merit, as material things are in a constant state of decay, and they will never last just as your life here on earth will not last indefinitely. However, the psalmist sees these things, and is secure, though the world does not understand his riddle. He is secure because he trusts in Him who does hold eternity in His hand, who supersedes all natural law and material blessing, who is in control of everything. Therefore the psalmist says to not be afraid when those around you become rich, for their riches do not cause them to succeed ultimately. The only success is through the Lord. Let us ever trust in Him.
God speaks: It is not often that God is directly quoted in the psalms for the amount of time He is in this particular psalm, which may catch our eye that we might want to pay close attention to what is said here. The opening of this psalm gives the Lord a grand introduction, and then He is given the floor to speak, for He does not keep silent. First He addresses His people to let them know who He is to them, and that it is not because of their works of righteousness that He is their God, but because of His own righteousness and sovereignty. Everything is His (note the use of 1000, which is figuratively a complete number for God, meaning all cattle was His), thus the people could not claim to be giving Him anything new when they sacrificed animals to Him. This was not to say that they were to stop sacrificing (as this was in the law), but rather to grant a broader perspective on life as a whole. It was not that He needed anything that they could give to Him, but rather He had granted them a pathway to Him, a way to be His children, a golden opportunity. He would then deliver them in their time of trouble, for His own namesake. Then He turns to the evildoers to address them directly. It seems that He is specifically talking to the wicked who pretend to be righteous, able to recite the commands and offer lip service to the Almighty. It is noteworthy that God does not like lip service (see Isaiah 29:13 and Matthew 15:8). Though God shows His steadfast love to His children, not based on works but on their heart for Him, He does not ultimately tolerate wickedness and a perversion of His covenant. In the end, only one group will be delivered by His steadfast love. He is offering you and I a chance to be in that group.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Job 35-37.
The Lord show you His mercy.