June 24, 2015.
Daily Reading: Psalm 72-74.
Background: Psalm 69-71.
Concepts and Connections.
Justice for the king: This psalm which is attributed to Solomon (the final verse of this chapter is likely in reference to the ending of the second book of the psalms, which houses many of David’s psalms) is one that asks God’s blessings and hand be on the king of His people. The psalmist ask for guidance for the king, that he might know how to lead his people and do justice for them. Note the focus on a righteous king here, one that defends the poor, fights for the oppressed and provides for the needy. This is why the psalmist asks for the blessing of God to be on the king, in light of his righteousness and attempt at goodwill. Since the king seems to wish to carry out the will of the Lord, it is fitting that he ask the Lord to guide and bless him during his reign, both for him and for the people. Along with guidance, the psalmist also prays for physical blessings, of conquered lands and tribute from other nations who see the righteousness of the king. This was likely the scene during the reign of Solomon, as he reigned during Israel’s golden age (see I Kings 10:14-29), gaining riches and displaying the wisdom and knowledge that God had given to him to the nations around Israel. The psalm ends with a blessing of the Lord for all of His wondrous deeds.
Do the wicked win? This psalm depicts the thought process of a righteous man who looks out at the world and wonders why the wicked prosper. This is a question that is often asked by the righteous as sometimes the world just doesn’t make sense. The psalmist says here that he almost slipped because he was envious of the wicked around him, for what they did seemed to work, as they grew prosperous and found success in their arrogance. They thought nothing could touch them, not even God, and the psalmist doesn’t understand why this is allowed to be so. After he goes to the house of the Lord, however, he is taught to discern the difference between the righteous and the wicked, and he sees that the path of the wicked always ends in destruction, no matter how successful they might be. The Lord will put an end to the wicked, whether that be in this life or the one to come. The psalmist confirms that he has chosen to be continually with the Lord, and that the Lord is his strength and portion. Though the wicked might seem to prosper here, he has chosen the right side, the side of the Lord. It is good to be near to God. Let us take refuge in Him.
“Arise, O God”: This psalm, as many others like it, is a plea to the Lord that He might arise and defend the cause of His people. It seems that the psalmist is somewhat frustrated with the apparent lack of presence from the Lord in their time of need as he cries out “How long?” He describes the situation that the people of God are in and the destruction to even the places of worship that the enemy has carried out, still asking God how long He was going to cast them aside. Then, beginning in verse 12, the tone changes a bit, displaying the confidence the psalmist has in the Lord because of His very nature and power, displayed in His creation and dominion thereof. The psalmists ends with one final push to arouse the Lord, calling on Him to arise and defend the cause of His people, for the enemy was scoffing at His people and reviling His name.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Proverbs 8-9.
Grace and peace.