December 16, 2015.
Daily Reading: Psalm 135-138.
Background: Psalm 132-134.
Concepts and Connections.
Praising the Lord: This is a psalm about praising the Lord, calling all His servants into His praise. The psalmist calls for praise to the Lord because He is good and His name is pleasant. The Lord had chosen the children of Israel to be a special possession. He is to be praised for His sovereignty and mighty power, above all so called ‘gods’. The Lord’s will is done on heaven and earth, and the psalmist states his control over nature. Then the praise is shifted to what He had done in His power over the kingdoms of men, leading Israel out of Egypt by mighty works and striking down the Sihon and Og, along with the kingdoms of Canaan before the children of Israel (see Numbers 21:21-35 and Joshua 7). The Lord had shown His compassion for His people and His name endures forever. The psalmist then turns to comment on the idols of the nations, how they are mute, blind and deaf, though they have the form of each of the respective sensory receptors, and those that serve them become like them. Finally, all of Israel, the priests and the Levites are called to bless the Lord. Praise be to the Lord.
His steadfast love endures forever: It is not hard to decipher the main message of this psalm, as it is written in every other line for emphasis and poetry (repetition can be found throughout Hebrew poetry): His steadfast love endures forever. The first stanza of the psalm calls the audience to give things to the Lord, who is God of gods and Lord of lords. The second stanza lifts Him up for His great works, focusing on the creation of the heavens and the earth (see Genesis 1). The third stanza likewise praises the Lord for His great works, but this time focusing on striking down the Egyptians who oppressed and enslaved the children of Israel for 400 years (see Exodus 1-12). The fourth stanza talks about the Lord striking down great and mighty kings who were standing in the way of His will by confronting His people in the wilderness (see Numbers 21:21-35). The psalmist concludes with praising the Lord for remembering, rescuing and providing for His people, giving thanks to the God of heaven, who’s steadfast love endures forever.
Lament in captivity: This psalm seems to be written by one who was living in the time of babylonian captivity. The psalmist laments over the remembrance of Zion, and paints a saddened scene that is void of music or merry making. Their captors adjured them to sing the songs of Zion, but the captives didn’t even have the heart to do so, even if it were appropriate (which it wasn’t, for they had been exiled to a foreign land). The psalmist makes it clear that he cannot and will not forget Jerusalem, lest ill befall him. In the end, he calls for the Lord to remember the words of His people’s enemies when they called for the destruction of Jerusalem. Babylon was doomed to fall by the recompense of the Lord, which was where the psalmist put his hope.
Thanks to the Lord: This psalm, attributed to David, is a prayer of thanks to the Lord from a whole heart, and a song of praise to His name. The psalmist praises and worships the Lord, exalting Him above all things. In the day of distress, the Lord answered his call and strengthened him. Then the psalmist says that all the kings of the earth will give thanks to the Lord and sing His ways. It is interesting to note that the palmist makes the point that the Lord regards the lowly, but only knows the haughty from afar. In the final stanza, the psalmist puts his full faith and trust in the Lord to protect him against his enemies, delivering him from them and fulfilling His purpose for him, which, with the attribution to David, would be a grand purpose indeed- the lineage of the Messiah. The steadfast love of the Lord endures forever.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Psalm 4-6.
Praise the Lord!