Chapter 1 Chapter 6 Chapter 11 Chapter 16 Chapter 21
Chapter 2 Chapter 7 Chapter 12 Chapter 17 Chapter 22
Chapter 3 Chapter 8 Chapter 13 Chapter 18 Chapter 23
Chapter 4 Chapter 9 Chapter 14 Chapter 19 Chapter 24
Chapter 5 Chapter 10 Chapter 15 Chapter 20 Chapter 25

This is a collection of songs, (psalms,) some of which were written by David, the king of Israel, the only man of whom God testified, “I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after Mine own heart, who shall fulfill all My will.” (Acts 13:22 ) Not only was David the king of Israel, but he was also a prophet; and, though of the tribe of Judah instead of that of Levi, there are one or two instances recorded in scripture of his fulfilling the office of priest, in the offering of sacrifices. Thus he is the type of Christ Jesus, our Prophet, Priest, and King. Moreover, in many of his psalms one may find passages that, although written in first person, refer not so much to David as to the Christ. In some publications of our modern Bibles someone has undertaken to place a star beside the passages thought to refer to the Christ. Some may consider this a help, but it is, in fact, a little misleading, because there are many other passages which refer to our Lord that are not so marked. Therefore the only proper way to study these songs is to consider what they say, study the gospel record of what Jesus did, and what He taught, and thereby determine which refer to Him, and which do not. Keep always in mind that both those that refer to Him and those that do not can also hold wonderful lessons for us. And we will find that many of both groups can be applied to our own experiences of life.

Chapter 1

(Verses 1 through 3) Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be as a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.


Before making any comment concerning this text, I must admit that I have absolutely no knowledge of the Hebrew language in which David wrote this. So I cannot compare translations to prove any point I might try to set forth. I am limited to the English, for which I use the King James Version. The first expression we encounter is, “Blessed is the man.” Even though “the” is the definite article, and technically limits the application of this statement to only one, we sometimes regard it as a generalization, and equivalent to “any,” thus making the expression to be, “Blessed is any man who ______.” Yet, if we look at some other expressions of scripture, we might come to the conclusion that Our Lord Christ Jesus is under consideration. In Isaiah 53:1-6 the prophet tells us the attitude of even the Lord’s people, climaxing this statement with, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all.” David, in the text we are considering, says, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” Every verb in this statement, that concerns what the man does, is present tense, and should be considered Historic Present, thus meaning one who has not, does not, and will not, do these things. Therefore, in the restricted sense, it can point to only One, our Lord Christ Jesus: for no one else can be found who fits that description. He is further described as one whose “delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His law doth He meditate day and night.” That He did this Jesus testified many times; and, perhaps, one of His strongest statements to this effect is found in John 4:34. “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.” This, although in the strict sense it can only apply to our Lord, having been procured for us by His sacrifice, and given to us by His grace, can be, and is, made applicable to every one of those for whom He died. The Father looks upon us through the blood of the Son, and thus we are seen as being the doers of these things which He has done for us. We therefore are blessed in Him.


Since this blessedness is wrought out by our Lord, and given to every one of His little children, if we are striving to do His will, although we may sometimes slip, and do some of those things that we ought not, we are judged as the Apostle Paul has told us in Romans 7:25: "So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin." He then continues in Romans 8:1-2: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”  We can claim the assurance of this blessedness only if we are striving to avoid those things mentioned by David in verse 1. It is also to be noted that the blessing given us of our Lord is the cause of our striving to avoid those things, and not the result. Our striving to follow His commands and examples is the evidence that He has thus blessed us. Because of this blessing we meditate upon the law of God. Paul tells us, concerning those who are not so blessed, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” So, as we put forth the effort to follow our Lord, Who completely fulfilled all these things, we find rest and comfort in knowing that we are blessed of Him.


Not only do we have the assurance that He has thus blessed us, but also we are further assured that, just as “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper,” so shall the Lord establish us by His grace. One caution should here be observed. He did not say that He will make you prosper in everything you may plan, or would like to do. Just as our Lord was, and is, always constant in everything He does, and never turns aside, so whatsoever He does shall prosper, and will continue as in the description already given in verses 1 and 2. Therefore it will prosper because it is of God, and is pleasing to God. Also if we are putting forth real effort to follow our Lord, although we are far from perfect, we are still judged to be as the Apostle Paul said in Romans 7:25, which we have already quoted. This statement is, by no means, a license to sin: for only when one is striving to follow the Lord can he claim to be with the mind serving the law of God. Those who are thus found are, indeed, blessed, and their works will also prosper, because they are wrought in the LORD.


(Verses 4 and 5) The ungodly are not so; but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.


Verse 4 is certainly plain enough for anyone to understand. The ungodly, far from being as the blessed character described in verses 1 and 2, are, indeed, directly opposite. They are always “walking in the counsel of the ungodly;” for they are walking after their own lusts, their thoughts and counsel thereby being ungodly, as are they themselves. Their way is the way of sinners, and therein they try to stand. Nevertheless, that will not support them in the judgment. So, they shall not stand in the congregation of the righteous. While here in this life they are scornful of those who try to serve the LORD, they will find that in that final day they cannot stand; but they will be carried away, just as the chaff, which is carried away of the wind, leaving only the wheat.


(Verse 6) For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.


When David says, “The LORD knoweth the way of the righteous,” we must remember that, His knowing this way means more than simply being aware of it. In addition to being aware of it, He gives it His recognition and approval. Since it is by the blessing of God that one is accounted righteous, the path through which he is led, is made righteous by the same blessing; and it is therefore approved of God. So, it being approved of Him, and established by His power, can never fail. On the other hand, “The way of the ungodly shall perish.” This needs little, if any, explanation. Many scriptures could be cited as evidence of its truth, but perhaps two will suffice. (Matthew 7:23) “And then will I profess unto them, ‘I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.’” (Revelation 20:15) “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”


Perhaps, no one knows the chronological order of the writing of the Psalms. However, the setting of  this psalm as the beginning of the work, regardless of who arranged them, seems to have been directed of God. It establishes that there is One, Who is righteous, and Whose work shall all prosper. He shall never fail; and all who follow Him are blessed. Also those who are blessed in Him shall never perish, but always have the approval of the LORD. But the ungodly shall finally be brought to judgment; and there they cannot stand, but will be carried away as the chaff.

Chapter 2

(Verses 1 through 3) Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.


The “lead off” statement in this is really a question: “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” The first thing to claim our attention here is that, two different groups of people are set forth as joined together in doing something. One group is motivated by rage, or anger, and the other by vain imagination, that is they have imagined a vain thing. The strange part of this is that these two groups would attempt to work together on anything. Yet in this they are joined together. When, in Old Testament usage we find "the heathen," “the Gentiles,” or “the nations,” the reference is to those peoples who are not Israelites, while “the people” refers to the Israelites. So in this endeavor both the Jews and the Gentiles are joined. The Gentiles are motivated by anger, and the Jews have imagined a vain thing. The question is, Why have they done this? It seems that the most fitting answer that can be given is that which Jesus declared while praying for those who crucified Him. He asked that the Father forgive them; “for they know not what they do.” To the leaders of the Jews He said, (Luke 8:19) ”Ye neither know Me nor My Father: if ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also;” and again, (Luke 8:55) “Yet ye have not known Him; but I know Him; and if I should say, ‘I know Him not,’ I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know Him and keep His saying.” This should sufficiently answer the question of why these things are done. Now let us turn our attention to what is done. First, “The heathen rage.” That is, they are extremely angry. In fact, they are so angry that they are ready to crucify One, Whom even the judge of the case knows to be innocent, and publicly declares Him so. One must remember that, although Herod claimed to be a Jew, he was Tetrarch of Galilee only by the appointment and sanction of Rome . Of course, Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor of Jerusalem . Therefore they together represent the Gentiles (or heathen); and, as already noted, they were angry enough to put to death a man, Who not only was innocent, but Whom they knew to be so. This Pilate himself openly declared in John 19:6, “Take ye Him and crucify Him: for I find no fault in Him.” In Acts 4:25-28, the disciples confirm that this is the matter to which David here refers.


Next we consider “the people imagine a vain thing.” One might question, “What is the vain thing which they imagined?” This also the scriptures will answer. (John 11:47-48) “Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, ‘What do we? For this man doeth many miracles. And if we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and our nation.’” Actually, they were imagining three vain things. The first is that “all men will believe on Him.” Jesus had already demonstrated the fallacy of this idea. In chapters 6 through 8 of John’s gospel record, as well as elsewhere, He clearly proved this to be false. Even some of the Jews who saw His miracles and believed them, turned away when He began to teach the fundamentals of His doctrine. He even very bluntly told them that not only were they not the children of God, but actually the children of the devil, “and his lusts ye will do.” Further, He declared, “No man can come to Me, except the Father Which hath sent Me draw him.” So under no circumstances would all men believe on Him. None would, except those to whom it was given of the Father. Another vanity they imagined is that, if they let Jesus alone, the Romans would come and destroy (“take away”) their place and their nation. One thing which greatly helped the Romans to rule so many different nations with as little disturbance as possible was their tolerance of the various religions. True enough, they wanted everyone to worship the Caesar as a god; but if they would do that, they were also free to worship anyone, or anything they pleased. One thing about the Jews that caused so much friction between them and Rome was their adamant claim of monotheism. They claimed to worship no god but Jehovah; and they would not agree that the Caesar was a god. Of course, this infuriated the Roman authorities, and caused a great deal of disturbance from time to time. Had they let Jesus alone, it is likely that the Romans would have considered this new religion a beginning of the break up of the monotheism that had caused so much disturbance already. Yet the greatest vanity of all that they had imagined is that they thought they could by putting Jesus to death stop forever this, as they thought, heresy. Since, as Jesus had told them they knew neither Him nor His Father, they could not possibly know that they were trying to overthrow the work of God; and they could not even imagine that God would raise Him from the dead. We are told, (Romans 1:3-4) “Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”


So in this we have a union of  “the kings of the earth,” represented by Herod and Pilate, and “the rulers,” the chief priests and the Pharisees, (for they were the rulers of the Jews,) as they took counsel against the LORD, and against His Anointed. Read the four accounts given by the gospel writers concerning the arrest, mock trials, and crucifixion of our Lord. There you will find the chief priests and Pharisees, as well as Herod and Pilate, gathered together and taking counsel against “the LORD and His Anointed.” By that counsel (or advice) they agreed to “break their bands asunder, and cast their cords from us.” They thought that by crucifying Jesus they would destroy, not only Him and His works, but also the effects of those works, thus “breaking their bands asunder, and casting away their cords.” That is, they purposed by this to eradicate even any residue of influence of His works and teachings. What a vain thing this proved to be!


(Verses 4 through 6) He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision. Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His hot displeasure. Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill Zion .


Certainly, this is not difficult to understand. David is likening God to a man, who, knowing that his enemies cannot overthrow, or even damage the works he has established, sits back and laughs in ridicule of their puny efforts. He holds them in derision, knowing that, in spite of their enmity toward him, they are utterly powerless to perform their purpose. Then, having thus shown His contempt for them, “He shall speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His hot displeasure.” To find the fulfillment of this one only has to read a little history. In less than fifty years from this event Jerusalem was completely overcome, the temple destroyed, and the Jews dispersed throughout the world: and in a little more than three hundred years the reign of the pagan Caesars came to an end by the embracing of Christianity by Constantine . From the Day of Pentecost after the crucifixion of our Lord the gospel has continued, and is even now continuing to spread through the world. Admittedly, men have brought in many errors, but there are still some who will declare that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living GOD,” and that is the core of the gospel. The LORD has, indeed, set His “King upon His holy hill of Zion.” Surely, we do not yet see Him in His full glory; but do not fret. At His return we shall not only see Him as He is, but we also shall be made like Him.


(Verses 7 through 9) I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto Me, Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee. Ask of Me and I shall give Thee the heathen (Gentiles) for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.


David says that he will declare, not what man may desire, or think, and, certainly not, what the people and the Gentiles, together with their kings and rulers imagined. Instead, what he is going to declare is that which the LORD has decreed. So, instead of being the miserable failure that was the outcome of their imagination, it will stand forever. This decree is not concerning David, but is addressed to the LORD’S Anointed, Christ Jesus our Lord. Speaking prophetically, David uses the “first person” address as he says, “ The LORD hath said unto me,” when, actually, the Anointed, Christ Jesus is under consideration. This is not an unusual manner of speaking. This decree first identifies Him Whom it concerns thus, “Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee.” That Jesus is not only the begotten, but, indeed, the only begotten Son of God, is several times declared in the writings of The New Testament. So, without doubt, He is the One being addressed in this decree. Having thus identified Him, the LORD  makes to Him a promise. “Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen (Gentiles) for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession.” God had, out of all nations, chosen Israel only as His “kingdom of priests,” to be the recipients and custodians of His laws, and that of Israel , according to the flesh, His Anointed should come into the world. Therefore He had dealt with the world primarily through Israel . Now He declares that, as He has set His King upon His holy hill Zion , He will through Him deal directly with all nations, including both Jew and Gentile; and His kingdom shall reach the uttermost parts of the earth. This is still continuing to be fulfilled today. Further, this King, Who, of course, is the Christ, shall rule with a rod of iron. His power cannot be broken, nor can it be resisted. All will finally be brought to bow before Him, and to confess that He is Lord to the glory of the Father. He will finally break all of them in pieces, even as one breaks a vessel of pottery.


(Verses 10 through 12) Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be ye instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him.


In view of what the LORD has both purposed and declared, David gives admonition to all kings, judges, and rulers of the earth, and through them to all people. The purpose and decree of God is that His King be set upon His holy hill Zion, and be given the Gentiles (“heathen”) and the uttermost parts of the earth for His kingdom. Further, He shall rule over them with an unbreakable power, even a rod of iron; and He shall break them into pieces like a “potter’s vessel.” The Apostle Peter tells us that this has not only been decreed, but has also been accomplished. (Acts 2:36) “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made this same Jesus, Whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ (Anointed).” It would be extremely difficult to make David’s admonition any clearer than he has already stated it: “Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little.” Surely, such a great King as the Son is to be feared, respected, and loved; and the LORD Who so established Him is to be served; for just a little arousing of His wrath can have disastrous consequences for those who arouse it, even to their total destruction.


Having thus declared the LORD’S decree and the results thereof, David gives a message of greatest comfort to all who trust in the great King. “Blessed are all they who put their trust in Him.” He does not say that, they will be blessed, but that, they are blessed, and not just some of them, but “all they that put their trust in Him.” You may be, for one reason, or another, greatly downcast or depressed. You may be suffering pain or grief, or both. If so, examine your heart. Is your trust in Him? If so, cheer up and smile: for you are blessed. This blessing is what causes you to trust in Him: and He can never fail.


Chapter 3

(Verses 1 and 2) LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! Many there be which say of my soul, “There is no help for him in God.” Selah.


There seems to be some controversy among those who claim to be expert in the Hebrew Language, as to the meaning of the word, “Selah.” Some say that it is only a musical notation calling for a pause in the singing of the psalm, while others say that it a signal for singers, musicians, and audience to momentarily rise to a standing position. However, all seem to agree that it has no meaning so far as the text itself is concerned. Therefore I shall make no further comment concerning it, in this psalm, or any of the others.


David is here lamenting the increase of those who rise up against him, trouble him, and even belittle his expectation of help from God. Certainly, we have all had moments, or even longer times in our lives when we were made to feel the situation which he describes here: and, surely, he had experienced this also. But if we look carefully at the record given by the four gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, we will see a more important exemplification of this in the experience of our Lord while He was on earth. Shortly after His birth He had to endure the trip to Egypt , to escape the murderous efforts of Herod. Little is given us concerning His boyhood in Nazareth . But immediately after His baptism by John the Baptist, He was “driven of the Spirit into the wilderness,” there to endure the temptations of the devil. As He blessed the people with the miracles He wrought, and preached to them the kingdom of God , the Jews grew more and more angry, until that anger finally crescendoed into the cry, “Crucify Him. Crucify Him.” Then, in the very act of crucifying Him, they taunted Him, saying, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be the King of the Israel , let Him come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him: for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” Indeed, His enemies did, by this, say, “There is no help for Him in God.” We may, at some time, face a situation, which to us may seem this hopeless. If so, let us remember that God raised Him, even from the dead. Also our own experience will teach us the same truth set forth in the next part of this psalm.


(Verses 3 and 4) But Thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and He heard me out of His holy hill. Selah.


What wonderful memories when we, thinking back over the course we have run, can see where the LORD has, indeed, been our shield in times of danger, and the One Who has lifted up our heads when we were overwhelmed by sorrow, care, pain, fear, or distress. In times when we have cried unto Him, He has heard us, and delivered us. Since He has done this so many times for us, why should we not trust Him to continue His mercy upon us to the end.


(Verses 5 and 6) I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.


Since this psalm applies to our Lord Jesus, to the psalmist David, and to us, let us consider its message in that order. First, consider what Jesus said, (John 10:17-18) “Therefore doth My Father love Me; because I lay down My life, that I may take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of My Father.” So He did, indeed, lay Himself, (His life,) down, and slept. On the third day, according to the purpose and power of the Father, He awaked, and rose up from the grave, thus proving that the LORD did sustain Him. In Romans 1:3-4, Paul says, “Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, Which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” There can be no doubt that in this David was referring to Him.


Then we should consider David’s life, at least those experiences of it that are given us in the scriptures. We find a great array of events, from the efforts of Saul to kill him, or have him killed, through even the uprising of his own son, Absalom, against him. All of these were such that only God could have delivered him. He, though having suffered these things, could still say, “I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.” Perhaps, we have not had such drastic experiences as did our Lord, or even as did David, but if we examine our lives, we will also find many times and places along the journey that the LORD did sustain us, so that we were able, by His mercy, to lie down and sleep in peace, and awake by His blessing. Certainly, if one has never had such experience this would be of little comfort to him; but those who have, have every reason to say with David, “I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.” The Apostle Paul’s questions in Romans 8:31 should be of great comfort to us at all times. “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”


(Verses 7 and 8) Arise, O LORD: save me, O my God: for Thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; Thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly. Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: Thy blessing is upon Thy people.


These two verses seem to be the climax of the song. Whether we consider it from our Lord’s experience, from that of David, or from our own, it is a prayer that the deliverance He has already wrought be fully manifested. As we consider our Lord, we find Him, in anticipation of the great triumph of His resurrection, saying, “I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.” (John 17:4-5) He knew that after going through His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, He would be able to declare, “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Surely, the LORD had smitten all His enemies on the cheekbone, and broken the teeth of the ungodly. When we consider this from the perspective of either David or ourselves, it is the equivalent of the prayer of the Apostle John, when He said, “Amen, Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Our Lord has completely overwhelmed all of both His and our enemies. We are now waiting, and longing for His return, when He will give us final deliverance from all the evils of this world, and make us as He is. In all things we are thus brought to the realization that, salvation does belong to God. He has wrought it by His own power, with no help from anyone. Not only so, but He has also bestowed it, which is His blessing, upon His people.


Chapter 4

This is another song written by David. As we study it we find many things that are a perfect parallel to our own experiences. No doubt, this is what makes it of such great value to us. We feel that David’s experience and ours have common ground, and therefore we must be, in spirit, related to David. This gives us comfort and strength because God Himself testified that David was a man after God’s own heart. So, if we are in spirit related to David, we too must be children of God. Therefore we can, with confidence claim God’s promises.


The first verse of this psalm is a prayer of David, and should be ours, as well. “Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness. Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.” When we pray to God, we certainly desire that He hear us; not only that He hear our words, but also that He answer our petition. In addition to this we are to, as did David, recognize that He is the God of our righteousness. If we have any righteousness it is of Him: for there is no other source from whence it could be. Also His is the only real righteousness, and only by His imputing it to us can we be righteous. David’s next expression is one we should well know from our own experience: “Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress.” How often have we found ourselves in situations, which we felt had us so boxed in that there was no way to escape. It may have been the illness or death of a loved one, a life-threatening situation of our own, a financial disaster, or whatever. The list could go on and on. In such distress, we could see no way out, and we may have been brought to the place that we asked the LORD to deliver us from this distress, even by death, since that was the only escape we could see. Yet in His mercy, He gave us strength, and released us from some of the anxiety and distress that had imprisoned us. Without going into detail, I can truthfully say, “I have been there.” Most likely so have you. If you have not, you probably know someone who has. In those things He has enlarged us when we were in distress. With memories of such, we can be confident that He will do the same again, if necessary. The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews has given us a formula for strengthening our faith in such times. (Heb.10:32-33) “But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions, partly while ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.” It may be that we have not been called upon to bear any great reproaches for our Lord’s namesake, or to become companions of (give aid and comfort to) those who were so treated. But, surely, we have all had afflictions of one sort or another, from which He has delivered us. If so, we have solid ground upon which to believe that He will hear and answer our prayers. This may seem a hard saying to some; but if we do not believe that He will, we may as well save our breath, and not ask: for James says, (James 1:6-7) “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.” In Hebrews 11:6 we find, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Then, in Romans 14:23, the apostle says, “And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Nevertheless, our thinking upon how the LORD has delivered us in former times should, certainly, revive our faith in the present distress so that we can pray as did the poor man in Mark 9:24. “And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, ‘Lord I believe: help Thou mine unbelief.’” That prayer was answered; and so will be yours: for He knows our every weakness.


(Verse 2) O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory to shame? How long will ye seek after vanity and leasing? Selah.


A word used in this text, “leasing,” in modern English means either taking, or giving a lease, or rental contract on something, and with that meaning would be completely out of place in the present context. However, an archaic meaning of this word was “falsehood,” and seems to be far more appropriate in this usage. David’s question then to the sons of men is, “O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory to shame? How long will ye seek after vanity and falsehood?” The first question that comes into our mind is, “What is David’s glory?” Even this psalm, as well as many other statements found throughout the scriptures, and particularly in Psalms, show that, without question, his glory was the Eternal God and His Christ. Perhaps, one of the most outstanding of these is Psalms 110:1, “The LORD said unto my Lord, ‘Sit Thou at My right hand until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.’” The “sons of men,” that is, worldly men who do not know the LORD, are constantly trying to belittle God and His Christ. Even many of them, who claim to believe in our Lord, will tell us that He has done all He can do to save sinners. And it is left to us to validate His work by accepting Him and it, and be saved; or reject Him and His work, and be lost to die in our sins. They further tell us that we must get busy and help Him reach others: for without our help He can do nothing. Then there are others who tell us that we are foolish, or worse, even to believe in Him; “For,” say they, “there is nothing to it at all.” If this is not an effort to “turn our glory to shame,” what is it? Further, is it not seeking after vanity and falsehood.? I know of nothing that will any more closely fit this description. Of course, we, as well as David know that there is only one answer to both questions. They will continue until our Lord puts a stop to such by bringing them to judgment. This He will do at His appointed time. Obviously then, until God takes care of the matter, we must suffer at their hands; but David does not back up from them, and neither should we.


(Verse 3) But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for Himself: the LORD will hear me when I call unto Him.


David shows no fear of the “sons of men” as he sets forth this answer. It is the equivalent of saying, “I know that you are going to continue trying to heap shame and contempt upon the Christ Who is my glory, and upon me because I am His servant, but learn this message well (know this). ‘The LORD hath set apart him that is godly for Himself; the LORD will hear me when I call unto Him.’” In spite of the fact that, as the Apostle Paul said to Timothy, (II Timothy 3:13) “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived,” they are to be told, and that to their faces, that the godly man is the one whom God has set apart for Himself; and that He will hear his prayer. The world delights in reading this a little differently. They read, “If a man is godly, God will set him apart for Himself.” Unless one takes careful notice of the wording, he might ask, “Is that not the same thing David said?” That is just the point by which many are deceived. David said, “The LORD hath (has) set apart him that is godly for Himself.” “Hath set apart,” or, in modern English, “Has set apart,” is the present perfect tense, and shows the action to have already been finished. Thus the setting apart of the man by the Lord, inasmuch as He set him apart for Himself, is the fundamental cause of the man’s being godly. Had not God set him apart for Himself, that man would still be in his original condition, ungodly. But because of the LORD’S work he is godly. The world’s version of it is that if a man is godly, then, and only then will, (and some even say that only then CAN) the LORD set him apart for Himself. What few seem to understand is that being godly, or ungodly, is a state of mind, or a state of being, instead of just a matter of conduct. Let us look at the dictionary definition of the two words. “Godly: pious; reverencing God and His laws; devout; religious; righteous; conformed to, or influenced by God’s law.” “Ungodly: not godly; careless of God; godless; wicked; impious; sinful.” By contrasting these meanings, we readily see that they are direct opposites; and both refer to the basic and fundamental values that determine the character of a man, instead of the behavior of the person. All of this brings us back to our Lord’s statement upon which all His teachings concerning righteousness are based. (Matthew 7:16-20) “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” Even God’s record of creation clearly shows the same principle. (Genesis 1:11-12) “And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth:’ and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” Without question, the tree is before the fruit, because it was created before the fruit; and it bears fruit after its kind. Therefore when we see a godly man, we know that he is one whom God has set apart for Himself; not one whom God will set apart. Not only so, but that man has the assurance that, “The LORD will hear me when I call unto Him.” What confidence this gives us as we face the “sons of men” who would put to shame our glory, the Lord Christ Jesus! We can rest in the assurance that they can never succeed.


(Verses 4 and 5) Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.


Verse 4 can surely be addressed to both those who know the LORD and those who do not. This is not to say that those who do not know Him will obey such instruction, but rather it is to put them on notice that the LORD is One Who is so great that those who oppose Him are headed for certain destruction. Thus God often calls upon the wicked to take notice that He is infinitely greater than they, and that He will not be mocked by them; but will surely bring them to judgment. It is not only a great sin, but also the height of folly, for one to try to cast shame upon the eternal God. So they should stand in awe, (that is, fear or dread) of Him: and desist from their efforts to shame Him. They should quietly consider in their own hearts how much greater He is than they. This, of course, they will not do; but that does not lessen their responsibility. On the other hand, those who do know Him are called to quietly consider in their own hearts upon their beds, and, as David quotes the LORD in another place, “Be still and know that I am God.” Not only are we to consider His great power as demonstrated in the creation of all things; but in our hearts, while resting, and undisturbed by other things, consider all the wonderful mercies He has shown us, in all the paths through which we have passed: Then we can “be still,” that is, we can truly rest in Him.


Next we are told to “Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.” Although this might be spoken to those who do not know the LORD, it would only fall upon deaf ears. Therefore we consider it as instruction to only those who do know Him. Surely we are all aware that the only righteousness that will stand before God is that of Christ Jesus our Lord; and our only hope of standing in this righteousness as imputed unto us is by the grace of God. Yet, when David says, “offer the sacrifices of righteousness,” it seems evident that his meaning is that we are to show forth this righteousness by living according to His instructions and examples, thus sacrificing our wills and desires that our lives may reflect His righteousness. Only by putting our trust in Him can this be accomplished. When we do this we should have no fear of failure; for Proverbs 16:7 says, “When a man’s ways please the LORD, He will make even his enemies to be at peace with him.” So, let us put our trust in Him, and live a life that will reflect His righteousness.


(Verses 6 and 7) There be many that say, “Who will shew us any good?” LORD lift Thou up the light of Thy countenance upon us. Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and wine increased.


All the way from the beginning of verse 2, David has been showing the efforts of the wicked to disturb the righteous by trying to shame their glory, which is, of course, our Lord the Christ. Here he says they (“many”) are questioning the promises of God upon which we rest, by saying, “Who will show us any good?” This is much like what the Apostle Peter says, (II Peter 3:3-7) “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’ For this they are willingly ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing in the water and out of the water: whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water perished: but the heavens that are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” No doubt, David and Peter were speaking of the same persons. They have not, even yet, changed their tactics, and neither have they learned anything about that which they criticize. Now David turns his address to the LORD, saying, “LORD lift up the light of Thy countenance upon us.” This should be our constant prayer, and especially when the scoffers are tempting us to doubt the promises of our God. At such times we are to remember His wonderful mercies to us in times past. To make David’s next statement a little clearer, let us make a slight change in the wording. “You have put gladness in my heart more than they had in the time that their corn and wine increased.” Corn and wine are here used to represent all the worldly wealth and success that men may gain; and for those who know not the LORD, that is all they ever have in which to rejoice. Yet, no matter how great may be their rejoicing in such things, it can never measure up to the joy God has given us in His wonderful love and fellowship, and the great deliverance He has wrought for us all along life’s way. Certainly, it can never be compared to the great joy of salvation by the grace of God through the sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord. Indeed He has given us greater gladness than they have ever been able to find.


(Verse 8) I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for Thou, LORD only makest me dwell in safety.


We think we live in a day of violence; and indeed we do: but so did David. As a little boy, keeping his father’s sheep, he was at one time faced by a lion, and at another by a bear. By the power of God he was enabled to kill them both. Then, while still but a lad, he fought and killed Goliath, the giant. The praise ascribed to him by the people made King Saul so jealous of him, that as long as Saul lived, he tried to find some way to either kill David, or to have him killed. The scriptures give many more dangers that David faced. Yet he says, “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep;” not because he was such a valiant warrior, nor because he had such a brave army to protect him; but,  because The LORD made him dwell in safety. There was no reason to be afraid to lie down and go to sleep. He was protected by the greatest power ever known, the LORD, WHO created and rules the heaven and the earth. There is no other power that could guarantee his safety; nor is there any that can guarantee ours. In our present day everyone seems to think he must have a weapon of some sort for protection. This might work, if only the criminal would cooperate, and tell us before hand when he is coming. Then we could watch for him, and, maybe, prevent whatever damage he purposed to inflict upon us; but this he will not do. What no one seems to realize is that, with or without a weapon, one cannot keep awake always. Sooner or later fatigue will set in. And in spite of all effort to the contrary, we will fall asleep. Then where is our protection? Our weapon loses its value, and we are totally exposed to whatever danger there may be. That is not so with the protection in which David trusted, and in which we also should trust. “Thou, LORD, only makest me to dwell in safety.” God never grows weary; He never sleeps; but His ears are always open to the cries of His children. How then, can anything befall one of them without His knowledge? He says concerning the sparrows: “Not one of them shall fall to the ground without your heavenly Father.” He further declares, “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” What more could anyone want?


Chapter 5

(Verses 1 through 3) Give ear to my words, O LORD. Consider my meditation. Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto Thee will I pray. My voice shalt Thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and look up.


This entire psalm is a prayer of David; both a petition for God’s help, and a declaration of His power. In these first three verses, his petition is that God will hear him; that He will consider his thoughts, or meditations; and that He will give favorable attention to his cry. In this he shows the importance, not only of calling, in words, upon God, but also of keeping our thoughts directed to Him. We are, at all times, and especially when attempting to pray to God, to keep our thoughts and meditations directed toward Him. We should not, in our thoughts and meditations, try to work out some scheme of evil, or worldly design while attempting, in words, to approach God in prayer. Not only does David ask that the LORD will both hear his words and consider his meditations, but that is exactly what God will do. So, when we pray, we should do everything in our power to make sure that our minds are clear from all worldly schemes and purposes: for The LORD knows our secret thoughts as well as our words. Then, with all evil and worldly thoughts cleared away, we can direct our words to the LORD, and ask that He give favorable attention to our cries. If in our hearts we indeed feel that He is our King and our God, we can properly pray unto Him: and we can be sure that He will hearken (listen favorably) to our prayers. Then, and only then, can we truly say, “Unto Thee will I pray.” Verse three is David’s vow; and it should be ours also. “My voice shalt Thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will look up.” This is the equivalent of saying, “Every morning I will remember to direct my prayer toward You, O LORD, and will look up toward heaven, Your throne.” It was not David’s purpose to just pray to the LORD when in trouble, and forget Him the rest of the time: and neither should that be our intent. Inasmuch as the first purpose of prayer is to honor God, we should daily, and, indeed, constantly, thank Him for every blessing He has given us, and even for the fact that He is God. And we need always to recognize Him as the only One, Who can take care of us, and lead us in the path of righteousness.


(Verses 4 through 6) For Thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with Thee. The foolish shall not stand in Thy sight: Thou hatest all workers of iniquity. Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.


Obviously, this portion of this psalm is a declaration of praise of, and unto the LORD. He is such that He has no pleasure in wickedness; and He will not permit evil to dwell with Him. He is forever pure, holy, and righteous, in the highest meaning of these words. His righteousness is so great that no evil of any sort holds any pleasure for Him: and no evil is, or ever will be, tolerated in His presence. It is for this very reason that our Lord Christ Jesus came and died for us; that when the Father looks upon us, He sees us, not in our sins, but washed in the blood of His Son Jesus, and perfect in His righteousness. When David says, “The foolish shall not stand in His sight,” he is not considering everyone who has ever thought, said, or done a foolish thing: for that would exclude all humanity. His reference is to the same characters as those of whom he speaks in Psalms 14:1 and 53:1, calling them “fools.” “The fool hath said in his heart, ‘there is no God.’” Such shall not stand in His sight. The LORD hates all workers of iniquity: and He shall “destroy them that speak leasing (lies or deceit).” Also He will hate “the bloody (violent) and deceitful man.” He is not only the all powerful God, but the all righteous God also. Therefore it is His inalienable right to hate all evil, and evil men. Today’s would be directors of what God can, and cannot do, say that since He is also a God of love, He has to love everyone in the world just alike. “Otherwise,” say they, “He would be unjust.” This, in no wise, fits David’s description of Him.


(Verses 7 and 8) But as for me, I will come into Thy house in the multitude of Thy mercy: and in Thy fear will I worship toward Thy holy temple. Lead me, O LORD, in Thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make Thy way straight before my face.


Although God had Himself declared David to be a man after His own heart, the only access David had to the house of God was through the multitude of His mercy: and that is also our only way of approach to Him. We are continually hearing it said that when the scriptures speak of our fearing God, they only mean that we should have a reverential respect for Him. While, I would never deny that we should, indeed have reverential respect for Him, when I try, with the little understanding He has given me, to contrast the immensity of God and His power to the frailty of man, I am forced to ask: “Who can deny that the fear of God means more than this?” Still it is only in the fear of God that we will, or ever can, worship toward His holy temple. As we come before the LORD in the fear of Him and in the multitude of His mercy we can pray as did David, “Lead me, O LORD, in Thy righteousness because of  mine enemies; make Thy way straight before my face.” The way of the LORD is always straight, but it does not always seem so to us. There appear to us to be too many obstacles in the way, making it seem that we must take this, or that detour, thus making the way crooked. When the LORD opens our eyes to see His way as it is, we find it straight. Then, with His help, we can walk in it without fearing the obstacles we thought were there; and we don’t have to take detours.


(Verses 9 and 10) For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue. Destroy Thou  them, O God, let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against Thee.


In verse 9 we find a further description of the workers of iniquity whom God hates, as mentioned in verse 5. No matter what they may say or promise, it will not be dependable; for “there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre.” That is, they will not keep their word; their heart (inward part) is not only inclined to wickedness, but is even wickedness itself; and their throat, like an open grave, is ready to swallow up everyone and everything that stands in the way of their wicked purposes. While they are thus working their own wicked schemes of destruction, they flatter with their tongue, trying to enlist more recruits to their own evil purposes. This sort have always been present through the history of man; and they will be until our Lord returns to bring them to judgment. Then David’s prayer is, “Destroy Thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against Thee.” He prays that their destruction may even be according to that which they have planned for others. May they be caught in their own snares, and cast out in the multitude of their own transgressions. Notice particularly the reason why David prays that they be destroyed. It is not because they have done him any wrong, although indeed they have persecuted him a great deal. His prayer for their destruction is “for they have rebelled against Thee.” We have no right to pray for the destruction of our enemies just because they are our enemies. We cannot ask God to take vengeance upon them for our sake. His judgments will be poured out upon them because they have rebelled against Him. It is a righteous thing for God to take vengeance upon His enemies, and even on ours; but we are too imperfect to be given the right to take vengeance upon anyone, or even to pray that vengeance be taken for our sake.


(Verses 11 and 12) But let all those that put their trust in Thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because Thou defendest them: Let them also that love Thy name be joyful in Thee. For Thou, LORD wilt bless the righteous; with favor wilt Thou compass him as with a shield.


David prays that a great distinction be made between  those who have rebelled against the LORD and all those who trust in Him. Notice that his prayer is in perfect harmony with the will of God. He is praying that joy and gladness be given to all who trust in the LORD, because God does, indeed defend them; and that those who love the LORD may be joyful in Him: “for Thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favor wilt Thou compass him as with a shield.” It is the LORD’S will to bless the righteous, and to protect them with His favor, as with a shield that completely surrounds them. Why, then, should we ever fear what man may do to us? “If God be for us, Who can be against us?” What wonderful comfort indeed!


Chapter 6

(Verses 1 through 3) O LORD, rebuke me not in Thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed. My soul is sore vexed: but Thou, O LORD, how long?


From the wording of this text, there seems to be no doubt that David was a little depressed in his repentance for his sins, just as we also are sometimes prone to be. No particular sin is mentioned, but evidently some fault has been brought to mind, for which he expects to be chastened: for his prayer is that God not rebuke him in anger, and not chasten him in His hot displeasure. Instead he begs for the LORD to show mercy even in the chastisement, and remember his weakness. Instead of letting His wrath and hot displeasure dictate the chastisement, David begs that He show mercy, and heal him. He says, “for my bones are vexed. My soul is sore vexed.” He was indeed in great sorrow; and he knew that he could not survive the wrath and hot displeasure of God. Should that be poured out upon him, he would be as those of whom he spoke in Psalm 2:5. Although David was a man after God’s own heart, he was still human, just as you and I, and subject to error as are we. He was deeply repentant for whatever sin it was that had been brought to his mind; and he prayed that God would temper the chastisement with mercy: and, in fact, this is always the LORD’S way of dealing with His children. Even in that, His love is always the same. His wrath is always reserved for His enemies. Otherwise we would be completely destroyed. Sometimes we may go for what seems to us a long time in the sorrow of repentance; and, apparently that was David’s experience; for he asks the question, “O LORD, how long?”


(Verses 4 and 5) Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: oh save me for Thy mercies’ sake. For in death there is no remembrance of Thee; in the grave who shall give Thee thanks?


By examination of this entire text, we are brought to the conclusion that, David felt that his sins were severe enough that, should God mete out full justice to him, it would require his death. So he begs for deliverance according to the mercy of God. “Oh save me for Thy mercies’ sake. For in death there is no remembrance of Thee: in the grave, who shall give Thee thanks?” How often our experience fits that of David! We know that we literally deserve to die; for that is the wages of sin. Yet we cry to God for deliverance, not for our sakes, but for His mercies’ sake. That is why our Lord instructed us to pray in His name, not ours, to our heavenly Father. We are not worthy to ask anything in our own name. But because Christ Jesus is the embodiment of the mercy, grace, truth, and love of the Father, we can ask in His name, and expect to receive that for which we pray. When David says, “For in death there is no remembrance of Thee: in the grave who shall give Thee thanks?” he is not, by any means denying that there shall be a resurrection of the dead at God’s appointed time. He is simply saying that while this body is in the clutches of death it cannot remember the blessings of God, and will be in no condition to render thanks unto Him. So, his prayer is that he be spared a little longer to remember the mercies and blessings of God, and render praise and thanksgiving to Him for them.


(Verses 6 and 7) I am weary with groaning: all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears. Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies.


This is, certainly, a description of a man in the deepest of sorrow and repentance. He portrays himself as being in such sorrow that, instead of sleeping at night, he weeps all night long, and his tears are so many that they wet his whole bed: “all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.” Wherever he may lie down his tears wet that upon which he lies. His grief is so heavy that even his vision is clouded, and it seems that his eyes have grown dim, as with age; and his enemies are all around. This is a terrible condition in which to be; but it is also a blessed one, as we shall shortly see.


(Verses 8 and 9) Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping. The LORD hath heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer.


How wonderful the feeling, when the LORD gives us the assurance that He has heard our cries! At this point new vigor has been given to David, so that he can boldly say to his enemies, “Depart from me all ye workers of iniquity; for the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping. The LORD hath heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer.” As we study this, we see that these “workers of iniquity” could as easily be doubts and fears sent upon him by our arch enemy, Satan, as men who are his enemies. Whatever they are, he can now, with assurance, order them to leave, because the LORD has heard his cries and his supplication, and has assured him that He “will receive,” that is, listen favorably to, his prayer. In short, David is fully assured that God does look upon him in mercy, and will deliver him. We may not have had quite so drastic an experience as did David; but, surely, we can see a parallel between his experience and ours. Then, if the LORD delivered him from that situation, surely He will do the same for us. Thus we can dismiss and drive away all doubts and fears; for God will also receive our prayers.


(Verse 10) Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed: let them return and be ashamed suddenly.


One word in this text might need a little clarification. Usually, today, when we say, “return,” our meaning is “come back,” that is return to us. In its usage at the time of the King James translation, it could also mean, “return back to the place from whence it came.” This is David’s meaning here. He is not asking that these enemies return to him, but, on the contrary, he would have them sent back to the place from whence they came. Thus his prayer is that they be completely taken away, and immediately brought to shame, or destroyed.


Chapter 7

(Verses 1 and 2) O LORD my God, in Thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver.


As with all his psalms, this is a prayer of David. Sometimes they are petitions for help, sometimes declarations of what God will do, and sometimes his praise of God for His glory, power, mercy and love. Here he first declares that his trust is in the LORD alone, and he prays that He will deliver him, because there is no other who can.


(Verses 3 through 5) O LORD my God, if I have done this; if there is iniquity in my hands; if I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me; (yea, I have delivered him that without cause was mine enemy) let the enemy persecute my soul and take it; yea, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay mine honor in the dust. Selah.


Of course, David knew, as do we, that there is iniquity in the hands of every one of us, unless it be washed away by our Lord. So the iniquity of which he speaks must be that of a particular act of which he had been accused, and of which he knew himself to be innocent. It is said that this had to do with an accusation brought by Cush, the Benjamite. Whatever the charge, David declares that, not only did he not do the act, but, on the contrary, he delivered one who, without cause, was his enemy. He, knowing himself to be innocent of this charge, asks the LORD to save him from it. In protesting his innocence of this accusation, he says that if it is true, then may the LORD “Let the enemy persecute my soul, and take it; yea, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay mine honor in the dust.” In other words, “If I am guilty of this, then do not deliver me from my enemy; but let him completely overcome me.”


(Verses 6 and 7) Arise, O LORD, in Thine anger, lift up Thyself because of the rage of mine enemies: and awake for me to the judgment that Thou hast commanded. So shall the congregation of the people compass Thee about: for their sakes therefore return Thou on high.


Here David, sure of his innocence in that which had been charged against him, prays the LORD to rise up in His anger against the wicked, his enemies, not so much for his sake as to vindicate Himself in bringing to pass the judgment He has Himself commanded. When He does this, the whole congregation of the people, that is, the righteous will be gathered around Him. Then he asks that, for their sakes God will “return on high:” thus He will manifest Himself to the righteous. This does not mean that God has departed from on high, and is no longer there, but only that His presence has been hidden for a season, and His people are longing for it to be manifested to them again.


(Verses 8 through 10) The LORD shall judge the people: judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me. Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and the reins. My defence is of God, Which saveth the upright in heart.


He knows that the LORD shall judge His people. What false accusers say will have no bearing upon the case. Therefore he asks that God judge him according to his righteousness and his integrity. Remember that, David is not here claiming to be righteous in all things; but only in the matter of which he has already spoken. Certainly, none of us can claim to be righteous in all our thoughts, words, and deeds, nor can we claim that our integrity is totally unblemished; but sometimes totally false accusations may be made against us. In these things we are righteous, and our integrity is unsullied. Thus it was with David in this matter. So he asks for judgment according to that. Then he prays that the LORD will bring to an end the wickedness of these false accusers, and that He will establish the just. For He is not swayed by the false witness of the wicked; but He looks into the heart itself, and knows the truth. In this case David wants no defense but God, because He saves those who are upright in heart.


(Verses 11 through 13) God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day. If he turns not, He will whet His sword; He hath bent His bow, and made it ready. He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; He ordaineth His arrows against the persecutors.


When David says, “God judgeth the righteous,” he does not mean that God brings judgement against them to condemnation, but rather that He examines and exonerates them, thus showing His favor to them. On the other hand, He “is angry with the wicked every day,” not just once in a while. If the wicked does not turn away from his wickedness, God sharpens His sword, and has already “bent His bow, and made it ready” against him. In addition, He has prepared against him the instruments of death, and has appointed (“ordained”) His arrows against him. So unless he turns away from his evil ways, the wicked is in a hopeless condition, as indeed, are all who persecute the righteous.


(Verses 14 through 16) Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood. He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealings shall come down upon his own pate.


David compares the work of the wicked, in his effort to accomplish evil things, to a woman who brings forth a child. In this case, instead of being in travail to bring forth a child, the labor of the wicked is to bring forth iniquity. Even in its conception it is mischief, and when it is brought forth it is falsehood. How then can it prosper? After this David tells us the final outcome of all this work. We must remember that, God may let the wicked prosper for a while; but in the end it will be as he has described it. First he tells us that the wicked “Made a pit, and digged it.” This pit is dug for a trap to snare the righteous, just as was in that day customary for trapping animals. The hunter would dig a pit from which the animal could not escape. Then he would conceal it so that the unwary animal would fall therein. David says that the wicked has fallen into the very pit he has prepared to entrap the righteous. Actually, though David here uses the past tense of the verbs, it is to be understood that this does not always follow this pattern, but that this will be the final outcome. He will finally be the recipient of the very mischief he has prepared for the righteous. It “shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.” How fitting the reward God has prepared for him!


(Verse 17) I will praise the LORD according to His righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high.


After all the worry and depression through which he had passed, David could now render full praise unto “the LORD most high,” because he was fully assured that He will deliver the righteous, and bring the wicked to judgment. Let us also always remember to praise Him.


Chapter 8

(Verses 1 and 2) O LORD our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth! Who hath set Thy glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast Thou ordained strength because of Thine enemies, that Thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.


Here David begins with an exclamation that shows his amazement at the glory and greatness of God. His glory is set, not equal with the heavens, but far above them. That His enemies might be stilled, or brought to silence, He has ordained, or appointed, strength, or praise, “from the mouth of babes and sucklings,” infants too young to even talk. (Matthew 21:15-16) “And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying, ‘Hosanna to the son of David;’ they were sore displeased, and said unto Him, ‘Hearest Thou not what these say?’ And Jesus said unto them, ‘Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise?’” Obviously this is the fulfillment of this prophecy by David. Our LORD’S power is so great that He can make even a baby on his mother’s breast cry out, and ascribe praise to Him. This should put to silence all men who might try to rise up against the LORD.


(Verses 3 and 4) When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; what is man that Thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that Thou visitest him?


How can any man look up to the heavens, see the light of the sun, and view the moon and the stars, without being awestruck by the contemplation of the power and glory of Him by Whom all were made? Work done by one’s fingers might be considered very meticulous work, but never strenuous labor. All these things are the work of God’s fingers. He was never in any strain at all in their creation and production. Yet, although man is also an object of God’s wonderful work, and as compared to many other objects of His creation, a very minute one, actually just a speck of dust, the LORD is still mindful of him. That is, He has a great love for him. David’s question is, “What is there about man to bring this about?” And the answer is a single word, “Nothing.” The whole cause is found in God alone, His love. Not only did, and does, it embrace man, but also the son of man, man’s descendants: and, in this case, especially one descendant of man, even Christ Jesus our Lord. So therefore God continued to visit and speak to man “at sundry times and in divers manners,” until His appointed time. Then He “hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, Whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by Whom also He hath made the worlds. (Hebrews 1:1-2)


(Verses 5 through 8) For Thou hast made Him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned Him with glory and honor. Thou madest Him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under His feet. All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.


Were it not that God gave us the gospel of Christ Jesus the Son of God to explain this, we might think that it refers only to the creation of Adam and the setting of Him as overseer over all the earthly creation, as set forth in Genesis 1: 26 and 1: 29-30. Although the LORD did set Adam over all these things, this also, as explained in Hebrews 2:6-9, refers in a special manner to Christ Jesus, the Son of man. “But one in a certain place testified, saying, ‘What is man that Thou art mindful of him? Or the son of man, that Thou visitest him? Thou hast made Him a little lower than the angels; Thou crownedst Him with glory and honor, and didst set Him over the works of Thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under His feet.’ For in that He put all things in subjection under Him, He left nothing that is not put under Him. But we see not yet all things put under Him. But we see Jesus, Who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” The Apostle Paul said, (I Corinthians 15: 28) “And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” So, although we do not yet see all things “under the feet” of Christ Jesus, that day is already appointed, and will be manifested according to that appointment. That is the time of which the Apostle John speaks, when he says, “But we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” It is no wonder David was made to declare the praise of God as he did in the next verse of this psalm.


(Verse 9) O Lord our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth.


With what wonder and awe we must consider the glory and power of God, when we are permitted a real glimpse of His great works, and His care for us, as exemplified in His sending His Son, Christ Jesus our Lord, to be our Saviour!


Chapter 9

(Verses 1 and 2) I will praise Thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all Thy marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in Thee: I will sing praise to Thy name, O Thou most High.


As David starts this song, we find him greatly rejoicing, and praising God for all His marvelous works. He is not distracted by anything; so he can praise the LORD with his whole heart. He has ample reason to be glad and rejoice in God, and sing praise to His name. He gives his reason for this in the next verse.


(Verses 3 through 5) When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at Thy presence. For Thou hast maintained my right and my cause; Thou satest in the throne judging right. Thou hast rebuked the heathen, Thou hast destroyed the wicked, Thou hast put out their name for ever and ever.


His great joy is based upon the fact that, at the presence of the LORD all his enemies were driven back so that they fell and perished. He is rejoicing, not in any work of his own to defeat his enemies, but in that of God, Who has maintained his right and his cause. It is as if he had been in court where the sitting judge was the LORD. He sat “in the throne judging right.” That is the way He always judges; and when He maintains our cause, we are completely cleared. The result of this trial is that the LORD has rebuked the heathen, (the enemy), destroyed the wicked, and that not just temporarily. He has “put out their name for ever and ever.” They will never again give trouble about this case.


(Verses 6 through 8) O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end: and thou hast destroyed cities; their memorial is perished with them. But the LORD shall endure for ever: He hath prepared His throne for judgment. And He shall judge the world in righteousness, He shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.


In earlier verses it is not quite so obvious, but from the beginning of this psalm David has been building up his song of praise to the LORD so that, at this point He is considering God’s final judgment. At which time this enemy (the wicked) and the destruction he has caused, will be brought to a perpetual end. Although he, the wicked, has destroyed cities, so that they are no more remembered, the LORD shall endure forever. Not only so, but He has prepared His throne for judgment. Having thus made His preparations, “He will judge the world in righteousness, and minister judgment to the people in uprightness.” This is not something some man has planned, and would therefore be subject to failure: but it is what God Himself has ordained, and cannot fail.


(Verses 9 and 10) The LORD will also be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know Thy name will put their trust in Thee: for Thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek Thee.


The Apostle Paul gives this same comforting message in slightly different words. (II Thessalonians 1: 7-10) “And to you who are troubled, rest with us when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power; when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and admired by all them that believe.” We may have trials and tribulations, even much suffering, now: but in that time of the greatest trouble that ever has, or ever will, come upon the world, we can rest in Him with the apostle and all the saints of God. Because “the LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.” Not only so, but those who know (recognize and honor) His name will put their trust in Him; and they will not be disappointed; for the LORD has not forsaken those who seek Him. He has promised that He will never forsake us; and His promises are always faithful: they cannot fail.


(Verses 11 and 12) Sing praises to the LORD, Which dwelleth in Zion : declare among the people His doings. When He maketh inquisition for blood, He remembereth them: He forgetteth not the cry of the humble.


Zion ” and “ Mount Zion ” are expressions that, although they do refer to specific places, are often used to refer to the LORD’S people, wherever they are. It is thus used here. So David’s exhortation is, “Sing praises to the LORD Who dwells in, or among His people.” He is always with them. Sometimes, for a season, we may feel that He has gone from us, and we are left alone; but such is not the case. He is always present; and how wonderful it is when He reveals Himself to us. Then we can really sing praises to Him, and declare His works among the people. “When He makes inquisition (investigates) for blood,” seems to indicate that He is constantly searching out, and finding those who have shed the blood of His saints, as in Genesis 4:9-10. “And the LORD said unto Cain, ‘Where is Abel thy brother?’ and he said, ‘I know not: am I my brother’s keeper?’ And He said, ‘What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground,’” He makes inquisition for blood, not from lack of knowledge of either where it is, or who has shed it, but to bring judgment upon those who have shed it. In doing this He remembers His people, and does not forget the cry of the humble.


(Verses 13 and 14) Have mercy upon me, O LORD; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, Thou that liftest me up from the gates of death: that I may shew forth all Thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion : I will rejoice in Thy salvation.


Certainly, this is David’s prayer for deliverance; and, no doubt, we also have prayed similar prayers: but if we look closely at it, we can hardly fail to see in it a prophecy of our Lord Christ Jesus. Surely, He suffered more at the hands of those who hated Him than has any other. Read all four of the accounts given by the gospel writers of His experience, from the garden of Gethsemane through His arrest, the mock trials, and His crucifixion. It was, indeed, the LORD Who lifted Him “up from the gates of death,” literally. He had died, and was buried. Yet God raised Him up. Now, being of the LORD raised up from the dead, He does show forth all the praise of the LORD; and He declares it in “the gates of the daughter of Zion .” His joy is in this great salvation of the LORD. That is, in this salvation which God has wrought by raising Him from death itself.


(Verses 15 and 16) The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net, which they hid, is their own foot taken. The LORD is known by the judgment, which He executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah.


In verse 15, “the heathen” has no reference to Gentiles, any more than to Jews, but simply means “the wicked.” Since the LORD has raised up His Anointed even from the gates of death, the wicked are caught in their own pit, or trap, which they had purposed for Him. Now their own foot is caught in the snare they set. Just as we, when looking at a building showing the characteristics that are what we might call “the hallmark” of an architect with whose work we are well acquainted, can immediately identify that architect, so we can know by the judgment executed that GOD is the Judge. He is known by His work. In this case, that judgment is that “the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.” Here another Hebrew word, “Higgaion,” is introduced, which, according to the experts, may have some significance as a musical notation, but has no textual value.


(Verses 17 and 18) The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. For the needy shall not always be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.


Here David gives us a description of the final disposition of all men. “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” Beginning at Revelation 20:11, and continuing through the chapter is a description of the final judgment. It climaxes in verse 15, “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” This is exactly the same message David has given, but in slightly different words. All the wicked and all, who forget, or turn away from, God will be cast into that lake of fire. But the needy and the poor shall not be forgotten: their expectation shall never perish. Certainly, the poor mentioned here are the same as those of whom Zephaniah spoke, (Zephaniah 3:12) “I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD.” It appears to be becoming popular today to tell God’s people that, the Lord wants them to be prosperous in worldly things in this present life: but I can find no indication of such in the word of God. Yet, though poor they are while in this world, their expectation of the glory of God, when He returns, shall never perish.


(Verses 19 and 20) Arise O LORD; let not man prevail: let the heathen be judged in Thy sight. Put them in fear, O LORD; that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah.


These two verses seem to be David’s prayer for the coming of the very thing for which the twenty-four elders thanked the LORD, as recorded in Revelation 11:17-18. “We give Thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, Which art, and wast, and art to come; because Thou hast taken to Thee Thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that Thou shouldest give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and unto them that fear Thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them that destroy the earth.” He is, indeed, praying that God will rise up in judgment, and bring the wicked to that condemnation which He has already ordained for them. That they may not prevail; and that all nations may be stripped of their arrogance, and made to realize that they are but men, facing the wrath of the Almighty and everlasting God.


Chapter 10

In verse 1 David asks a question that has been echoed by the people of God many times through the ages; and the only real answer is that, it is according to His plan, and He does not change. Perhaps, He may see fit to tell us His reason for it, when this world has passed away. If not, we won’t worry about it. In verses 2 through 11 he describes the wicked. The remainder of this psalm is a prayer that God will bring the wicked to judgement and deliver the righteous; all of which the LORD has purposed, and promised to do.

(Verse 1) Why standest Thou afar off, O LORD? Why hidest Thou Thyself in times of trouble?


We, no doubt, have all asked this question when we were in a situation that looked almost, if not altogether hopeless. We wonder why He has left us alone to face our problems, which give us so much trouble. The real truth, however, is that He has not left us alone; but is still standing by, although, for some reason of His own, He is not making His presence felt, as He does at other times. Though this may not be His reason for so doing, a result of this experience is that, when He does reveal his presence to us, we will be much more appreciative of His fellowship. Sometimes, even in times of trouble, He hides Himself from us for a season: but do not despair; He is still at hand, and in His own time He will show Himself.


No doubt, this was inspired of the Holy Ghost as a prophecy of our Lord Jesus as He was on the cross. Although the words are slightly different it is the same cry that came forth from Him: “My God, My, God, Why hast Thou forsaken Me?” So if we are experiencing this feeling of being for a time left alone, remember that we are enduring, though not to as great an extent, the same experience as the Son of God. This ought to make us feel a closer fellowship with Him.


(Verses 2 and 3) The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined. For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth.


The wicked is so proud of his own accomplishments that he persecutes the poor, probably for two reasons. First he is lifted up with pride in his own evil deeds and his success in them that he considers the poor as something to be pushed out of the way. If they were as important as he thinks himself to be, surely they would also be rich. Then, also there is the possibility that the poor might need some help, and he does not want to be bothered with such. The wicked is always boasting of his ambitions (his heart’s desire), and since the covetous man is usually successful in this world’s endeavors, he blesses (speaks well of) him, not considering that the covetous man is one whom God hates. So for these, David’s prayer is that they “be taken in the devices that they have imagined.” That is, those they have designed against the poor. It is noteworthy that the scriptures consistently speak of the LORD’S people as “the poor.” Some will say that this means, “the poor in spirit.” While it is true that the poor in spirit are blessed, and that sometimes God will bless one of His to become wealthy in this world’s goods, by far the majority of His are poor in material things. And that is the meaning in most instances of the use of “the poor” in reference to His people. Not only so, but His promises to them in this life are for poverty and affliction; but glory in the world to come. He did promise that, if we put the kingdom of God and His righteousness as our first priority, he will take care of our food and raiment: but not that He would give us a big fancy house, a new car, a big bank account, diamond rings, or anything else of this world’s riches. Their glory is to come at His return. Their very poverty is one of the major reasons why the world, or the wicked, hates them.


(Verses 4 and 5) The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God. God is not in all his thoughts. His ways are always grievous; Thy judgments are far above his sight. As for his enemies, he puffeth at them.


David continues with his description of the wicked. The wicked thinks himself to be too great to seek after the LORD, and therefore he will not do so. In all his thinking there is no consideration of God. He never considers God when making any of his plans. He feels to be above any interference that anyone, including God, might offer against his projects. His ways are always grievous (evil and violent). The reason that he cannot understand anything of the judgments of God is that, they are so far above the level of his thinking that he is totally unable to see them. They are completely above and out of his sight. Although, in comparison to its hatred for the people of the LORD, the world loves its own. Yet that love is so shallow that it does not prevent the wicked from being enemies one of another among themselves. So the wicked puffeth at his enemies, That is, their in-fighting is much like that of a pack of dogs, growling, snarling, and fighting among themselves. They cannot know real peace.


(Verses 6 through 9) He hath said in his heart, “I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity.” His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity. He sitteth in the lurking places of the villages: in the secret places doth he murder the innocent: his eyes are privily set against the poor. He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net.


This is a continuation of David’s description of the wicked. He (the wicked) is so proud of his worldly success that he thinks as did the rich man of whom our Lord told in Luke 12:16-21, that he will never be poor, but has enough wealth to last for a long time. So he is without, either, fear, thankfulness, or compassion. He does not thank God for his blessings, nor does he intend to share it with anyone else. Instead of being thankful, he is always cursing, lying, and trying to defraud someone; that he may thereby add to his evil gains. When he speaks it is to ensnare those who will listen to him; for “under his tongue is mischief and vanity.” There is no truth in him; no one can depend on what he says; because all that his tongue puts forth is designed to make trouble, and has no worthwhile substance in it. He sits in hiding places, looking for victims, and in those secret places he murders the innocent. He will not only destroy those who may be in his way, but even those who offer no hindrance and no threat to him. Once again, David identifies the LORD’S people as “the poor,” and the wicked has his eyes set against them privily, or in secret. Just as a lion that has hidden his den, and there lies in wait for his prey the wicked sets up an ambush against the poor; and when he can he draws the poor into his net, and catches them.


(Verses 10 and 11) He croucheth, and humbleth himself, that the poor may fall by his strong ones. He hath said in his heart, “God hath forgotten: He hideth His face; He shall never see it.”


Notice should be taken that, through all of this description of the wicked he is said to be directing all his efforts against the poor. Surely, then he cannot be hoping for gain by these activities: since the poor have nothing he wants. We have already pointed out that, the poor are the LORD’S people, and they have little, if any, material wealth. Their only wealth is the love and protection of the LORD: and this, the wicked does not even believe exists; and therefore he has no desire for it. So the only reasons for the wicked’s directing his efforts against the poor are his own hatred and scorn for them, and his hatred of God, Whose existence he doubts. While at the same time, he feels that, if God does exist, He is so afraid of him that He has hidden his face and cannot see what he is doing. Thus he feels safe in doing what he pleases to the poor. He will finally find this to be false security.


(Verses 12 through 14) Arise, O LORD; O God, Lift up Thine hand: forget not the humble. Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? He hath said in his heart, “Thou wilt not require it.” Thou hast seen it: for Thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite it with Thy hand: the poor committeth himself unto Thee; Thou art the helper of the fatherless.


Having set forth the description, purposes, and thoughts of the wicked, David now prays that the LORD will arise and show the wicked just how wrong has been his thinking. The wicked says that, God will not require, that is, He will not bring judgment, upon his evil deeds. However, David knows that, God does see and take notice of mischief and spite, for the very purpose of bringing it to justice. Why then is the wicked permitted to scorn God, as he does? This is a question we cannot answer; but we do know that, at His appointed time the LORD will requite it with His own hand. Therefore the poor commits himself to God according to the advice given by the Apostle Peter (I Peter 4:19). “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” In so doing, they will never be disappointed: for He is “the helper of the fatherless.”


(Verses 15 and 16) Break Thou the arm of the wicked and the evil man: seek out his wickedness till Thou find none. The LORD is King for ever and ever: the heathen are perished out of His land.


Since “the arm” is often used as a synonym for “the power,” we see that David’s prayer is that the LORD will rise up against the wicked and evil man, and break his power. He also prays that God will seek out and destroy his wickedness until no more can be found. This He will do when He returns to bring judgment upon the world. When He does, the heathen, (the wicked) will perish from the LORD’S land. The whole world is the LORD’S land: and the LORD shall reign King forever and ever. There will never be any more wicked or wickedness.


(Verses 17 and 18) LORD, Thou hast heard the desire of the humble: Thou wilt cause Thine ear to hear: to judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.


What joy it is, even in our times of suffering, when we can realize that the LORD has, indeed heard our humble prayer! Then we know that He will listen favorably to us (“cause His ear to hear”), as we continue to pray. We know that at His time He will judge, (that He will favorably consider) the cause of the fatherless and the oppressed. When He does this “the man of the earth,” the wicked, will be brought down no more to oppress the poor. Their days of causing trouble for the poor will be over forever. With this assurance we can patiently await His schedule.


Chapter 11

(Verses 1 and 2) In the LORD put I my trust: How say ye to my soul, “Flee as a bird to your mountain? For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart.”


It is a little unclear whether verse 2 is a part of David’s answer to those who told him to flee, or a part of their advice to him, telling him why he should flee. From examination of the whole psalm, it appears to me to be a part of their warning to him. Perhaps those who have given this warning are his friends, who fearing for his safety are telling him to “flee as a bird to your mountain.” That is, “Go and hide, lest these wicked destroy you.” Or they might be his enemies, taunting him because they think he does not have any protection from the wicked. However that may be, His answer is the same, and is given in the first part of verse 1, “In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul - - -?” Since his trust is in the LORD, upon what grounds can anyone advise him to go and hide? In spite of the preparations of the wicked to destroy him, he is safe in the LORD’S keeping, and does not need flight or concealment.


(Verse 3) If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?


This is one of the most outstanding hypotheses in scripture. David uses it in answer to those who have warned him to run away and hide lest the wicked destroy him. (In our experience these could just as easily be temptations, doubts, and fears, as actual people.) He has already told them that he has put his trust in the LORD. Now he says that if that is not enough, (if God suffers the foundations, truth and righteousness, to be destroyed,) “What can the righteous do?” That is, there would be no protection anywhere, even in flight and hiding. It would be a hopeless case, and one might as well stand still as waste his effort in flight.


(Verses 4 and 5) The LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven: His eyes behold, His eyelids try, the children of men. The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence His soul hateth.


Far from the foundations being destroyed, the LORD is still in His holy temple, and His throne is still in heaven. Actually, at the time of this writing there was no temple of the LORD on earth; it had not yet been built. So David’s reference to the temple must mean either the tabernacle or heaven, the latter seems most appropriate. So the LORD is still in heaven, and that is His throne. He has not been destroyed nor overcome. Not only so, but He still works in the same manner He always has. “His eyes behold, and His eyelids try, the children of men.” Further, the LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence His soul hateth.” The righteous have nothing to fear. The LORD tries them, but it is in love, and is to teach them to rely more upon Him. At the same time, His very soul hates the wicked and those who love violence. So the foundations are not destroyed, but remain firm, and will stand forever.


(Verse 6) Upon the wicked He shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.


Clearly, the LORD will inflict dire punishment upon the wicked. Although the wicked may be permitted to flourish for a while, the final portion of their cup is terrible destruction. The Apostle Paul describes their punishment thus: “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the LORD, and from the glory of His power.” (II Thessalonians 1:9)


(Verse 7) For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; His countenance doth behold the upright.


Let us couple this to David’s first statement in this psalm. “In the LORD do I put my trust: for the righteous Lord loveth righteousness: His countenance doth behold the upright.” Thus we can see his reason for saying to his advisors, “How say ye to my soul, ‘Flee as a bird to your mountain - - -?” His soul was already under the greatest protection that ever has been, or ever will be. His trust was in the LORD; and the LORD loves the upright. What more could, either he, or we, ask? In the LORD’S keeping we are safe forever.

Chapter 12

(Verses 1 and 2) Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men. They speak vanity every one with his neighbor: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.


One would think, when reading this, that David was describing our present day society: and, indeed he was, although he also was describing the situation as it was in his day. The Apostle Paul has told us, concerning the times following his day, “Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” This actually describes the course of humanity from Adam’s day to the end of time. Every generation thinks that the situation has become as bad as it can get; but it continues to get worse, and will until the Lord returns to bring judgment upon the world. As we think back to our childhood, we remember it as a time when, generally, it seemed that people were more godly, or, at least, were a little more conscious of morality, than most of them are today. And, surely, more people valued the integrity of their word, than do today. It appears that the time has come, when we cannot trust men to keep their word, or their promises. This seems particularly true of our leaders, whether of the community, the state, or the nation. They all seem to be far more interested in vanity, or worthless things, than in truth and integrity;  so, naturally that is what they speak. David was faced with this same situation. So he prayed to the LORD for help: and that should be our prayer also. He is the only One, Who can, even temporarily, turn man back to a consideration of real values. Until He does this, man will continue to speak “with flattering lips, and with a double heart,” as they were doing in David’s day, and are doing in ours.


(Verses 3 and 4) The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: who have said, “With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?”


What David tells us in verse 3 has a double application. From time to time the LORD does, in defense of His people, cut off, or bring down those that speak vanity “with flattering tongues and with a double heart,” thus giving relief to His troubled children. Also there is coming a time when He shall cut off ALL flattering lips and ALL tongues that speak proud things. That will be in the day when He returns to bring final judgment upon the world. Presently, these proud ones think they can talk their way out of anything, and that what they say is no one else’s business. They think themselves the only masters of their tongues and lips. So in their minds, no one can bring them to account for their words.


(Verse 5) “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise,” saith the LORD; “I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.”


In spite of the pride and arrogance of those who think they can prevail with their tongues, and are their own lords, or masters, the LORD says that He will arise for the oppression of the poor and the sighing of the needy. Not only will He arise, but when He does, He will set the poor and needy “in safety from him that puffeth at him.” “The poor and the needy,” as has been shown in earlier psalms, are the LORD’S people, while “him that puffeth at him” is also identified in Psalms 10:4-5, as the wicked. So when the LORD arises to the defense of His people, He will give them safety from the wicked.


(Verses 6 and 7) The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, Thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.


Certainly, the words of the LORD are pure words, being totally without any falsehood or any possibility of failure. No one can prevent their being fulfilled, They are as pure as silver refined seven times. Since seven is a number often used in scripture to represent not only seven, but actually the whole of anything, it seems that David is simply saying that the words of the LORD are the very pinnacle of purity, with no possibility of imperfection. Therefore he can declare with total assurance that God will keep forever those whom He sets in safety. They will be eternally preserved.


(Verse 8) The wicked walk on every side when the vilest men are exalted.


This is a general observation to which we can all bear witness today. That is exactly what is the trouble with our present day society. We have continued to set more and more of our vilest men into high positions. The result is that, now, few men of real integrity will even seek high office: because they know that honesty and integrity have little, if any, chance of getting them elected: and that, if they should be elected, someone will fabricate some great falsehood concerning them; and completely ruin their reputation. The result of this is that evil men are placed in high offices, (“the vilest men are exalted,”) and “the wicked walk on every side.” The wicked think they have total freedom to do as they please: and in most instances, they do.


Chapter 13

(Verses 1 and 2) How long wilt Thou forget me, O LORD? For ever? How long wilt Thou hide Thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?


This sounds very much like our own experience often is. We find ourselves being engulfed by doubts and fears; it seems that every thing we do turns out wrong, and everyone is against us. Then we begin to wonder how long this is going to last. Like David, we may wonder if it is to be permanent; will it last forever? We think that those who are against us are raised up above us, so that we are in danger of being overcome by them. And, indeed, that may be a true assessment of the situation; but it will not continue forever. It will cause us to call upon the LORD, as did David.


(Verses 3 and 4) Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; lest mine enemy say, “I have prevailed against him;” and these that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.


In the midst of the situation he described in verses 1 and 2, David calls upon the LORD to “consider and hear” him. That is, to give recognition to his prayer as well as hear his words. He is asking that God will give him relief and clear away the sorrow that has brought him so low that even his vision is clouded by it. He feels that unless he receives relief his sorrow will bring him down, even to death. If it does, his enemy will boast of having overcome him; and all those who trouble him will rejoice at his downfall. We should remember that, in our experience, these enemies can just as easily be temptations, doubts, and fears, as men; and these are all servants of Satan. Surely, the LORD would not be glorified in their gaining a victory over us.


(Verses 5 and 6) But I have trusted in Thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation. I will sing unto the LORD, because He hath dealt bountifully with me.


How different this is from the earlier verses! And how different our own experience when we turn away from a contemplation of our troubles, and remember that our trust is in the mercy of our God. Then we are assured that our hearts shall rejoice in the salvation of the LORD: and we find ourselves ready to sing God’s praises for the bountiful mercy He has bestowed upon us. Even His bringing us through such experiences as this causes us to understand more about His love and mercy. So we can see that, for the LORD’S people, “Every cloud does have a silver lining.” This saying is not found in scripture, but the truth of it is taught in many places therein. Romans 8:28 is a very outstanding one of these places.



Chapter 14

(Verse 1) The fool hath said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.


David’s use of the word, “fool,” is not a reference to someone who has done a foolish thing, or has at some time spoken foolishly. But it points to one who has no understanding, at all; and is an apt description of one who says in his heart, “There is no God.” If he had any understanding, just a contemplation of the things of nature that are visible to all men, would teach him that there MUST be a God. Even such a simple thing as the growth of a plant from a seed, teaches the necessity of a God. I call that “a simple thing” only because it is something that man has observed as long as he has been in this world. Yet it is so complex, and so great a miracle that no man understands it. If he did, he could reproduce it synthetically. That is, he could make an artificial seed, plant it, start the process of growth in it, and produce the plant, all by his own power. This he cannot do. Neither does nature produce a seed without the antecedent plant; for God created them all to produce seed after their kind. Since these of whom David speaks, have no understanding, “they are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” Lest we get the idea that we are somehow better than they, we should read Ephesians 2:1-3, where the Apostle Paul tells us what every one of us are by nature. If we are no longer in this category, it is not by our natural goodness, but by the grace of a merciful and loving God.


(Verses 2 and 3) The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.


This is David’s description of  “the children of men,” (the whole human family). His assessment of them is in complete harmony with that of the Apostle Paul, to which we have already directed attention. No one is able to claim exemption from it. “They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Remember that this is what God saw, when He “looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek after God.” He made, as it were, a special search, to see if there could be found any that had understanding enough to seek after God. What He found is that David’s expression, “the fool,” fits every one of us by nature. Unless something be done for us that we neither will nor can do for ourselves, we are all lost, and without hope.


(Verses 4 and 5) Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? Who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD. There were they in great fear: for God is in the generation of the righteous.


Sometimes the best way of emphatically expressing a fact is to set it forth as a question. Here David does exactly that. He asks, “Is it, indeed, possible that, all these workers of iniquity are ‘fools,’ or totally without understanding?“ There is but one answer, “Yes.” When he says, “who eat up my people as they eat bread,” without using either “election,” “predestination,” or “choice,” David declares that God has chosen a people for Himself. Since he has shown that the whole human family contains not a single one who has the understanding to seek after God, and yet God has a people whom he further identifies as “the generation of the righteous,” in which God is. This “generation of the righteous” must be the same ones of whom he spoke in Psalm 4:3, saying, “But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for Himself.” It is obvious that “the generation of the righteous” must be they whom God has set apart for Himself. Otherwise they would not be godly, since, in their natural condition, they had no understanding to seek after God. Further, to be “set apart” is to be separated by a power other than one’s own. The expression, “There were they in great fear,” as it refers to those “who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD,” might be better understood as, “There were they in great danger.” The reason for this is that “God is in the generation of the righteous.” So those who consume His people are in great danger, and should be in great fear, if only they had sufficient understanding to realize their danger.


(Verses 6 and 7) Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the LORD is his refuge. Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion ! When the LORD bringeth back the captivity of His people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.


David’s address to the wicked is, “You have shamed (ridiculed) the counsel of the poor, because the LORD is his refuge.” This seems far different from what we so often hear today from our ministers. Most of them concentrate, almost exclusively upon telling us that God has already taken care of our salvation, (Which He has, indeed.) and whatever may take place in this world, even our disobedience, will in no wise affect that. Some of them even try to comfort the sinner by setting forth every character mentioned in the scriptures, no matter how wicked he was, or what judgment God declared upon him, as “a child of God in disobedience.” And “for that disobedience he will have to suffer a little here in this life, but he will finally be saved forever.” Few, however, attempt to advise the wicked as did Daniel, when he advised Nebuchadnezzar, in Daniel 4:19-28, climaxing thus in verse 28, “Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor: if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquility.” In summing up this counsel, we see that, without making any promise to Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel advised him to abandon his sins and iniquities, and instead of continuing in them, work righteousness and show mercy to the poor. Daniel did not tell him that if he would do this God would save him, and, in fact, he did not tell him that God would bless him in any manner. He only said, “if it might be a lengthening of thy tranquility.” This is the counsel of the poor to the wicked, and it is given because God is the refuge of the poor. The wicked have shamed, or ridiculed this counsel, and some will say, “They always will, so why even give them counsel?” The answer is that we do not counsel them for their sake, nor even for our own, but because the LORD is our refuge, and He has sent us forth as His witnesses. In court, the witness only testifies; the judge renders the decision. To understand better what is the responsibility of the servant of the LORD, read Ezekiel 3:16-21. In spite of all this, the LORD is the refuge of the poor. Now David looks forward to the time when the LORD will bring back all of His people who have been taken into captivity. In Psalms 68:18 David says, “Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captivity captive: Thou hast received gifts for men.” In Ephesians 4:8, the Apostle Paul quotes this, and shows that it refers to the work of Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore it seems reasonable that David is here considering the same event, the coming of the Christ. We do know that, at His coming, “Jacob rejoiced, and Israel was glad.” Some might object to this, because the leaders of Jews rose up against Him, and had Him crucified: but the Apostle explains that “They are not all Israel that are of Israel .” The LORD’S people rejoiced at His coming, they are still rejoicing, and they will rejoice even more when He returns.



Chapter 15

There is, actually no break in the primary thought that runs through this entire psalm. David sets forth to identify the One, Who shall abide in the LORD’S tabernacle and His holy hill.


(Verses 1 through 5) LORD, Who shall abide in Thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in Thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in His heart. He that backbiteth not with His tongue, nor doeth evil to His neighbor, nor taketh up a reproach against His neighbor. In Whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but He honoreth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to His own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out His money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.


The first question that arises in my mind concerning this is: “Can you, or I, honestly claim that we ever have, or ever will, of ourselves, measure up to this description?” And I greatly fear that we can give only a negative answer. First, let us notice the manner in which this is written. In every verb of action in this description the present tense is used; and in such a declaration this is to be considered the Historic Present, meaning this is the way it has always been, is now, and always will be. Not only are we immediately cut down by the fact that even now, we sometimes violate, or fall short of one or another of these items, but we are completely destroyed by the fact that, there was a time when we made no effort at all to measure up. With this realization, we might well say with our Lord’s disciples, (Matthew 19:25) “Who then can be saved?” or, “Who then can abide in Thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in Thy holy hill?” The answer is still the same as that given by our Lord. (Matthew 19:26) “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” The only One, Who has ever measured up to this standard is our Lord Jesus. He always walked uprightly, worked righteousness, and spoke the truth, not only in His heart, but also in His spoken word. He did not backbite with His tongue. He would not speak well of one to his face, and evil of him to his back. He did not take up a reproach (a rumor of evil) against His neighbor. He had no respect for a vile person, and often openly condemned such: but He honored them that fear the LORD. He even called them His mother and His brethren. See Matthew 12:48-50. He did, indeed, swear (or take a vow) to His own hurt, and never changed, or turned away from it. In Hebrews 10:5-10, the writer says, “Wherefore when He cometh into the world, He saith, ‘Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me: in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me,) to do Thy will, O God.’ Above when He said, ‘Sacrifice and offering, and burnt offerings, and offering for sin Thou wouldest not, neither had pleasure therein;’ which were offered by the law; then He said, ‘Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God.’ He taketh away the first that He might establish the second.’” In this we see that His oath, or vow, was to do the will of God: and, although it brought Him great suffering, even to the laying down of His life on Calvary , He fulfilled it in every detail. He did not put out His money for usury, and He even drove out the usurers from the temple. Nothing He did was for His own glory, but for the glory of the Father. Neither could He be bribed to turn against the innocent. David says, “He that doeth these things shall never be moved.” The wonderful thing about it all for us is that all, who trust in Him, are by His grace and power firmly established with Him. (Colossians 3:3-4)) “For ye are dead, and your lives are hid with Christ in God. When Christ Who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.”


Chapter 16

(Verses 1 through 3) Preserve me, O God; for in Thee do I put my trust. O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, “Thou art my LORD: my goodness extendeth not unto Thee; but to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is my delight.”


David here prays that God will keep him, because he has put all his trust in Him. There is no other to whom he can turn. He remembers what his soul has said to the LORD. Further, whatever goodness may be found in him is not worthy to be mentioned before God. It will not reach that far. It may benefit the saints who are in the earth, and those who are excellent (or righteous). It is in them he delights. That is, their company and fellowship is what he enjoys, not the company of the wicked.


(Verse 4) Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips.


Since David has from his soul confessed the LORD as his God, he will not offer the drink offerings of other gods, which are oblations of blood, nor will he even name their names. Those who do so shall have sorrows multiplied unto them.


(Verses 5 through 7) The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: Thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage. I will bless the LORD, Who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.


David declares that the LORD is “the portion of his inheritance.” In this respect, he considers himself in the same position as the children of Aaron. They had no inheritance of  lands, as did the other Israelites. In Numbers 18:20 we find: “And the LORD spake unto Aaron, ‘Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel .’” So, just as Aaron’s descendants had no inheritance among the children of Israel , except the LORD, David declares this to be his situation. When he says, “Thou maintainest my lot,” he is praising the LORD for having taken care of him, and having kept his inheritance inviolate. He continues: “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places.” Should we receive an inheritance of lands, the first thing we would examine is the border, or “the lines,” of that inheritance. Since the LORD is the portion of his inheritance, he surveys his inheritance, and declares, “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places.” He is delighted with his inheritance, although it contains no great houses, no wide open fields for cultivation, and no large forests for hunting. Neither does it contain anything of great monetary value. Actually, from a worldly viewpoint, it might be very undesirable: and this might be a very accurate picture of our inheritance also. Yet David was completely satisfied with the “portion of his inheritance,” for it was the LORD Himself. Therefore the lines were fallen to him in pleasant places. This inheritance is greater than all worldly wealth. If this is also our inheritance, surely we too should find our lines fallen in pleasant places Worldly men measure their inheritance by its value in worldly wealth, fame, etc.. But if the LORD is the portion of our inheritance and our cup, we are far richer than they, even if we do not have a dime. We have been adopted by the God of heaven and earth. And by virtue of this adoption we are made to inherit HIM. “The cup,” whether of water or wine, was used for refreshment: so, since God is also our cup, He it is Who refreshes us when we are about to faint from the hardships of this life. In fact, He is our all in all. David sums the matter up thus: “I have a goodly heritage.” It is always uplifting to talk with one who views the lot the LORD has given him as “a goodly heritage.” On the other hand, how sad it is to hear one always complaining. David says, “I will bless (praise) the LORD, Who hath given me counsel.” His counsel always directs us in the way of truth and righteousness. Surely we should praise Him for this. “My reins (some translators say, ‘heart,’) also instruct me in the night seasons.” The LORD does speak to our hearts, and from those messages our hearts instruct us in the night seasons. Sometimes, when we are on our beds and quietly thinking of our LORD’S wonderful works He gives us instruction, with no one else hearing the message.


(Verses 8 through 10) I have set the LORD always before Me: because He is at My right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore My heart is glad, and My glory rejoiceth: My flesh also shall rest in hope. For Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell; neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption.”


That this is a prophecy of our Lord Christ Jesus is affirmed by the Apostle Peter, on the Day of Pentecost, (Acts 2:25-36,) and the Apostle Paul, at Antioch in Pisidia, (Acts 13:34-37). So we have no need to wonder about its meaning. The LORD was, indeed, always before Him, and was always at His right hand. So He was never “moved,” or tempted to step aside from the will of the Father, but followed it all the way. His heart was glad, and He could rejoice in His glory, with nothing to disturb the hope of His flesh. For He knew that the Father would not leave his soul in hell, nor suffer His Holy One to see corruption. He was raised from the dead before corruption could even set in on His flesh.


(Verse 11) Thou wilt shew Me the path of life: in Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”


The Father did show Him the way of life, in that He raised Him from the dead, to die no more. “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Even now He is seated at the Father’s right hand: so, surely, He could say, “In Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.” And, Glory to God! He has promised that all who trust in Him shall be permitted to share in these pleasures with Him, when life here is over. 


Chapter 17

(Verses 1 through 3) Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips. Let my sentence come forth from Thy presence; let Thine eyes behold the things that are equal. Thou hast proved mine heart; Thou hast visited me in the night; Thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.


Here we find David praying that God will hear the right, or the truth. That is, he desires that God listen favorably to the right. One might ask, “Does He not always hear the truth?” The answer is, “Yes, but David’s special request that  the Lord hear the right, is based upon his declaration that he is not praying with “feigned,’ or false lips. His prayer is truly from the heart. His desire is that his sentence or judgment may come directly from the presence of the LORD. He knows that, if it does, it will be right; for God takes notice of  “the things that are equal.” God’s decrees are according to truth and righteousness; and it is for this that he prays. The LORD has already tried him, and proved his heart. So he is sure that nothing false and nothing detrimental to his case will be found. He has made up his mind that he will not transgress with his mouth, that is, he will say nothing but the truth.


(Verses 4 and 5) Concerning the works of men, by the word of Thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer. Hold up my goings in Thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.


So far as the works of men are concerned, which are indeed the paths of the destroyer, it is by the word of the LORD (“the word of Thy lips,”) that David has been able to escape those ways. So also it is with us. The word of the LORD identifies to us the ways of the destroyer, and counsels us to avoid them. All who follow His word thus keep themselves from these. Then he prays what should be our prayer at all times. “Hold up my goings in Thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.” Try as we may, unless the LORD holds us up in traveling His paths, our footsteps will surely slip, and we will fall. So we have to depend upon Him, and not upon our strength.


(Verses 6 and 7) I have called upon Thee, for Thou wilt hear me, O God: incline Thine ear unto me, and hear my speech. Shew Thy marvelous lovingkindness, O Thou that savest by Thy right hand them which put their trust in Thee from those that rise up against them.


Notice should be given to David’s reason for calling upon the LORD. He says, “I have called upon Thee, for (or because) Thou wilt hear me.” This is the only legitimate reason for anyone to call upon Him. Hebrews 11:6 tells us,” He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Therefore he was sure that God would hear him, and answer his prayer. This must be our conviction before it is profitable to call upon Him. James says, “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.” (James 1:6-7). Thus calling in faith upon the LORD, David continues, “Incline Thine ear unto me, and hear my speech. Shew Thy marvelous lovingkindness, O Thou that savest by Thy right hand them which put their trust in Thee from those that rise up against them.” His loving kindness is truly marvelous. That we have all experienced, and we need to bring it to memory far more often than we do. Then we would have a far greater confidence in the LORD. Then we would clearly see that He is the One, Who saves by His own right hand those who trust in Him from those who rise up against them. In such expressions as this, “right hand” is a synonym for “power.” So by His power He saves us from our enemies.


(Verses 8 and 9) Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of Thy wings, from the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies that compass me about.


The exact origin of the expression, “the apple of the eye” may be a subject of controversy, but its meaning is clear enough. The “apple of one’s eye,” in such usage is simply his dearest possession, whatever it may be. Thus David is asking that God will keep him as His most treasured possession, and hide him under the shadow of His wings. Just as, in times of danger, a mother hen will call her chicks to her, and hide them under her wings, so may the LORD do for us. When He does, we are safe from the wicked that oppress us and from our deadly enemies. Although, no doubt, David’s reference is to men who are his enemies, for us these enemies can very well also be temptations, doubts, and fears, that beset us at all times. They, surely, compass us about. The LORD can also deliver us from them.


(Verses 10 through 12) They are enclosed in their own fat: with their mouth they speak proudly. They have now compassed us in our steps: they have their eyes bowing down to the earth; like as a lion that is greedy of his prey, and as it were a young lion lurking in secret places.


Again we remind you that, although, surely, David was concerned about men who were his enemies, ours may be temptations, doubts, fears, etc., which are also the instruments of  Satan, with which he seeks to destroy us. In either case, David says, “They are enclosed in their own fat.” That is, they are not starved and weak, but fat and strong, and ready to tear us to pieces, if possible. They have completely surrounded us, “compassed our steps.” As a lion, or other wild beast seeking his prey, not yet ready to charge, but carefully stalking, they keep their eyes turned to the ground, as if they have no interest in us, until they think they have found the right opportunity for a successful attack. They hide in secret places awaiting the opportune moment.


(Verses 13 and 14) Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down, deliver my soul from the wicked, which is Thy sword: from men, which are Thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly Thou fillest with Thy hid treasures: they are full of children, and leave their substance to their babes.


David has just described these wicked enemies as a lion that is stalking his prey. Now he prays, “Arise O LORD, disappoint him  _ _ _.” He is here speaking of all these enemies as one, as represented by the lion. So his prayer is that the LORD will not permit this lion to be successful, but will disappoint him, cast him down. Thus He will deliver David from the wicked. The remainder of this text sets forth a truth of which many are ignorant. “The wicked, which is Thy sword: from men which are Thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly Thou fillest with Thy hid treasures: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes.” This entire description is of the same people, They are the wicked, or men of the world, which have their portion in this life. Yet they are “Thy sword,” that is, the sword of the LORD; and  they “are Thy hand.” Certainly it is hereby clear that, if they are the LORD’S sword and His hand, He must be the One Who directs them in the use He makes of them. This seems hard for many to understand. It may be that He permits them some autonomy within certain parameters, but not independence. He uses them to bring about certain things which He has ordained. Therefore He takes care of them in this life. Remember that it is in this life that they have their portion. Nothing is promised to them beyond it. Nevertheless He fills “their bellies with His hid treasures.” He feeds them well here in this life. Not only so, but He enlarges their families, “they are full of children” He makes them to prosper here so that they have substance to leave to their children. Yet, for all this, they are “men of the world, which have their portion in this life.” Notice what Abraham said to the rich man, (Luke 16:25) “Son remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.” So let us not be envious of the rich in this life; for such may not be a good omen for them.


(Verse 15) As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness.


We would never say that no one with wealth will ever see God in glory; for He does, sometimes call a wealthy person, and sometimes He may bless one to obtain wealth after He has called him. This is all in His hands. Nevertheless, an examination of His word will show that, in general, the path He has chosen for His servants is that of suffering and poverty in this world, with glory in that to come. If we can feel the assurance of David as he says, “as for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness,” we are richer than all the wealth of this world could make us.



Chapter 18

(Verses 1 through 3) I will love Thee, O Lord, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in Whom I trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, Who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.


As David declares this list of those things, which the LORD is to him, we have to conclude that he considered Him everything that he either needed or wanted: and so He should be to us. He is our strength; without Him we could do nothing at all. He is our “rock,” or support, and He will hold us up when all else fails. It is He, Who delivers us when we are in trouble. There is no other, Whom we can trust, and feel sure that we will never be let down. He is the “horn,’ or power of our salvation, our shield, and our “high tower.” That is, He is the One, to Whom we go to see the approach of the enemy that we might be forewarned of his approach. He is all that we need now, or ever shall need. So let us, even as David, declare, “I will love Thee, O LORD, _ _ _ I will call upon the LORD, Who is worthy to be praised.” All praise should go to Him: no one else is worthy. When, therefore , we call upon Him as did David, we also can say with assurance, “So shall I be saved from mine enemies.”


(Verses 4 and 6) The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me. In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry came before Him, even into His ears.


David describes his situation before calling upon the LORD as very grave. The sorrows of death were all around him, and the multitude (“floods”) of the ungodly made him afraid. His enemies were so numerous that there appeared to be no escape from death. So he feared greatly. Verse 5 only emphasizes those things said in verse 4. According to those who know the Hebrew language, the word “sheol” is the one, here translated “hell,” but its usual meaning is “the pit,” or “the grave.” So he was brought to the point of feeling that death would be the next event for him, and he was completely boxed in by the snares of death. So, in such distress, he “called upon the LORD, and cried to God.” Remember that in David’s day there was no earthly temple to the LORD. There was only the tabernacle. So, when he says, “He heard my voice out of His temple,” his meaning is that the LORD heard him from heaven. Although heaven is the throne of God, He can, and does, hear His children when they call upon Him from on earth. David’s cry came before Him, “even into His ears.” Thus He always hears the cries of those who trust in Him.


(Verses 7 through 12) Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundation also of the hills moved and were shaken, because He was wroth. There went up a smoke out of His nostrils, and fire out of His mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under His feet. And He rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, He did fly upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness His secret place; His pavilion round about Him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. At the brightness that was before Him His thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire.


This is the description of a terrible event. Men may, and, probably, will, argue about whether it is to be taken literally as the description of this one event, or whether he may have been using what is termed “poetic license,” and drawing various acts of God from other events, and applying them to this one.: but one thing is sure. The LORD wrought a marvelous deliverance for David from the situation in which he was trapped. No doubt, that deliverance was just as miraculous in David’s experience as would be all these things he tells us the LORD did: and make no mistake, the LORD’S power is such that all of these things could be literal. This is the LORD, upon Whom all His children are invited to call in time of trouble. He will hear, and deliver. This also could well be a prophetic description of the great earthquake and darkness at the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus.


(Verses 13 through 15) The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave His voice; hails stones and coals of fire. Yea, He sent out His arrows, and scattered them; and He shot out lightnings, and discomfited them. Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at Thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of Thy nostrils.


 In this David continues his description of the work of the LORD in delivering him from his distress. It is unclear whether he is speaking historically concerning his personal deliverance, or prophetically concerning the coming of the LORD to bring final judgment upon the wicked. The entire description sounds a great deal like the latter. However, God did deliver David, He will deliver us when we call upon Him, and He will bring final judgment upon the wicked, and deliver His saints. Of these facts we can be well assured.


(Verses 16 through 19) He sent from above, He took me, He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; He delivered me because He delighted in me.


No doubt, the LORD delivered David from his great distress, but this text and all through verse 24 seem particularly applicable to Christ Jesus our Lord. I believe this is more a prophecy of Him than just a description of David’s  experience. “He sent from above, He took Me, He drew Me out of many waters,” seems to be a prophecy of God’s reaching down, taking Jesus, and “drawing Him out of “many waters,” or much suffering. Surely, He suffered much from Gethsemane to the cross; but remember that He had a commandment from the Father to lay down His life that He might take it again. This He did when He cried, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit,” and thus brought His suffering to an end. His dying so soon was a surprise to Pilate, and, probably a great disappointment to His enemies. When the Father raised Him from the grave He delivered Him from His “strong enemy, and from them that hated Him.” They might have been “too strong” for Him alone; but He was not alone. The Father was with Him. All His enemies and all the power of Satan concentrated against Him brought Him to a “day of calamity,” but the LORD was His stay. Instead of leaving Him in the grave, the LORD brought Him forth into a “large place.” In that large place He is even now seated at the Father’s right hand. The LORD delivered Him for one very special reason. He delighted in Him.


(Verses 20 through 24) The LORD rewarded Me according to My righteousness; according to the cleanness of My hands hath He recompensed Me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from My God. For all His judgments were before Me, and I did not put away His statutes from Me. I was also upright before Him, and I kept Myself from Mine iniquity. Therefore hath the LORD recompensed Me according to My righteousness, according to the cleanness of My hands in His sight.


As we read this we can, surely, see that it describes our Lord far better than it does David, or any one of us. The only way David, or any of us, could be righteous enough, or clean handed enough, to merit a reward is through the imputed righteousness of our Lord. He indeed is righteous: He kept the ways of the LORD, without any departure from them; all the judgments of God were before Him; and He did not put away from Himself any of His statutes. He was upright in all things before God: and He kept Himself from His iniquity. That is, not only was He free from original sin, but He also committed no sin. He was therefore perfect: and the LORD rewarded Him according to His righteousness and the cleanness of His hands. No other person on earth can, or ever could make this claim. Yet through His grace and mercy the LORD has imputed this righteousness of His Son to every one who trusts in Him. Through His righteousness, and according to it, the LORD has rewarded us who believe.


(Verses 25 and 26) With the merciful Thou wilt shew Thyself merciful; with the upright man Thou wilt shew Thyself upright; with the pure Thou wilt shew Thyself pure; and with the froward Thou wilt shew Thyself froward.


Here David turns his address back to the LORD, declaring that God will show mercy to the merciful. Two other scriptures dealing with this matter come immediately to mind. They are Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy,” and James 2:13, “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shown no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” Those who have been given grace to be merciful shall be judged in mercy. God will also show His righteousness to the upright: and to the pure He will show His purity. “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8) On the other hand, those who are froward (obstinate or disobedient) will find that the LORD is just as firmly opposed to them as they are to Him. In such a situation, it is obvious Who will win.


(Verses 27 through 29) For Thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks. For Thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. For by Thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.


David again declares his confidence that the LORD will save, or deliver, those who are afflicted, and punish those who afflict them. He is assured that when times of darkness come, (and these times of darkness can be caused by temptations, doubts, fears or depression, as easily as by night,) the LORD will give him light. “Thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.” This He has promised to do for all who trust in Him. Perhaps, verse 29 may refer to some particular event in David’s experience in battle against men who were his enemies: but in our lives it will as well apply to our battles against the forces of Satan that are always trying to overthrow our faith. We may be surrounded by them as by a troop, and enclosed by them as by a wall, but God will strengthen us that we may break through them and leap over that wall.


(Verses 30 through 34) As for God, His way is perfect: He is a buckler to all those that trust in Him. For Who is God save the LORD? Or Who is a rock save our GOD? It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places. He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.


David here attempts to give us some understanding of, Who God is, and what He does for those who trust in Him. First, he says, “As for God, His way is perfect.” This should always be our first consideration of GOD, His perfection. He is also “a buckler,” or shield to all those who trust in Him. He is their protection, therefore they are safe in Him. There is no other God: neither is there any other “Rock,” or foundation upon which we can stand. Whatever strength we have must come from Him, for “He girdeth me with strength.” “He maketh my way perfect.” This has not so much to do with “sinless perfection,” as with being solid, with no slippery places, and no obstructions, in the way, or path. In addition to this, David says that the LORD is the one Who makes him sure-footed in that path, “He maketh my feet like hind’s feet.” He also “setteth me upon my high places.” That is, He lifts me up to a higher level than the terrain about me, so that I can see what enemies there may be around me. David was a great warrior, but he rightly gives all the credit for that to God to Whom it belongs. “He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken in my arms.” The LORD is also the One, Who teaches us how to fight the battle against Satan’s forces; and He can cause their bows to be broken in our arms though they may be made of steel.


(Verses 35 through 42) Thou hast also given me the shield of Thy salvation: and Thy right hand hath holden me up, and Thy greatness hath made me great. Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip. I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again until they were consumed. I have wounded them that they were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet. For Thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: Thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me. Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies; that I might destroy them that hate me. They cried, but there was none to save them: even unto the LORD, but He answered them not. Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind: I did cast them out as the dirt in the streets.


This might be prophetic of the song of triumph of Christ Jesus our Lord after the great battle set forth in Revelation 19:19-21: but probably, we should consider it as historic, describing some of David’s victories God had given him,  over his enemies. Even though they “cried unto the LORD,” they received no answer from Him: He would not deliver them. Their cry to God was not of faith, but of physical fear. This clearly illustrates the truth of an old military saying, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” Obviously, the meaning of this saying is that, men who do not believe in the LORD, will, because of their physical fear, call upon Him in battle. He has promised to hear those who put their trust in Him; but those who call upon Him just because they are scared are a different matter altogether. May we never be faced by such physical enemies as David was, and have to destroy them as he did. Still we are constantly surrounded by temptations, doubts, fears, and all the other powers of Satan. And the same LORD, Who delivered Him, is able to save us.


(Verses 43 through 49) Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people; and Thou hast made me the head of the heathen: a people whom I have not known shall serve me. As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me: the strangers shall submit themselves unto me. The strangers shall fade away, and be afraid out of their close places. The LORD liveth; and blessed be my Rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted. It is God that avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me. He delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, Thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: Thou hast delivered me from the violent man. Therefore will I give thanks unto Thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto Thy name.


Some may contend that this is nothing more than David’s recounting the victories God has given him over his natural enemies. Yet, if we examine it closely, we find some things said herein that history will not allow to David; just as the Apostle Peter pointed out to the people on the Day of Pentecost, concerning another quotation. See Acts 2:25-36. In David’s writings, “heathen” is often equivalent to “Gentiles;” and in this passage it should be so considered. Now, according to history, David was never the head of the Gentiles. But in Psalms 2:8, which all Bible scholars agree refers to our Lord Jesus, we find, “Ask of Me and I will give thee the heathen (Gentiles) for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession.” The New Testament shows clearly that almost all of this psalm refers to the Christ. Since the text before us is so similar to that, it seems evident that this also is concerning Him. Our Lord Jesus was delivered from the “striving of the people,” (the Jews) and made “the head of the heathen,” (Gentiles). “A people whom I have not known shall serve me.” Romans 9:25-26 says, “As He saith in Osee, I will call them My people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not My people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.” The miraculous turning away of the gospel from the Jews to the Gentiles is very evident, and, no doubt, that is the event to which David here refers. A people that was not recognized of God during the Law dispensation is now serving Him. Those who hear of Him, that is those to whom He speaks, obey Him. “The strangers shall fade away,” indicates the spread of the gospel through all the world, not to every individual, but to every nation, kindred , and tongue  of the world. In verses 46 through 48 praise is ascribed to God, because He lives, is “the God of my salvation,” He has “avenged me, and subdueth the people under me.” He  has “delivered me from mine enemies,” He has lifted “me up above those that rise up against me,” and He has “delivered me from the violent man.” This may, indeed fit David’s experience, but how much more that of our Lord! The Father did deliver Him from His enemies and the violent, subdued the people under Him, and lifted Him far above those who rose up against Him. We are assured in the first chapter of Hebrews, and in the fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians, that, although we do not yet see all things subdued under Him, it will, surely, be done at the appointed time, And meanwhile, He is seated at the right hand of the Father, awaiting that day. “Therefore will I give thanks unto Thee, O LORD, among the heathen, (Gentiles).” This He, through the Holy Ghost, is doing even today.


(Verse 50) Great deliverance giveth He to His King; and sheweth mercy to His Anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.


This King of whom he speaks, is the same as He Who is introduced in Psalms 2:6: “Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill Zion ,” Who also is Christ Jesus our Lord. The LORD’S mercy is shown “to His Anointed, to David, and to his Seed for evermore.” This “Seed” of David is also the “Seed” of Abraham, of Whom the Apostle Paul speaks in Galatians 3:16. “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, ‘and to seeds,’ as of many; but as of one, ‘And to thy seed,’ which is Christ.”


Chapter 19

The first six verses of this psalm set forth a description of some things, which are, probably, the greatest evidence the man in nature can find to prove the existence of God. The next five tell of those that are of greater value to believers. Then the last two are David’s prayer to the LORD for help that he might be free from the great transgression.


(Verses 1 and 2) The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.


When one goes outside into the clear night, and is not distracted by artificial lights of any sort, he can see one of the most beautiful sights of nature. If it is a moonlit night, of course, the most notable object he will see is the moon. Pagans have, from earliest recorded time, been so impressed with the beauty of the moon that they have worshipped it as a god, or goddess. And we that worship the LORD, and recognize the moon as only one of the objects of His creation, cannot help being somewhat affected by its soft silvery light. Then, in a night when the moon is not shining, and one views the stars, he cannot help being awed by both the multitude of them, and their individual beauty. The Apostle Paul has rightly said, “One star differeth from another star in glory.” (I Corinthians 15:41. The number of the stars is beyond our ability to count: but however many there are of them, each is unique. There are no two alike. Man, unless he is totally without any understanding, when looking upon these wonderful lights that are like diamonds in the black sky, will surely realize that there has to be One Who made them. It is said that Napoleon upon hearing one of his soldiers express a doubt as to the existence of God, called that soldier out one starry night, ordered him to look up at the stars, and asked, “Who made all of these?” Not only do we see the moon and the stars in the heavens at night, but when we go forth in the daytime we see the “greater light” which God created to rule the day. See Genesis 1:16. That light is the sun, and David speaks further about it in verses 4 through 6, which we shall take up later. With all these witnesses permanently before us in the heavens, man is totally without excuse for not believing that there is a God. These witnesses from “day unto day,” and from “night unto night,” speak always of the being of God, and thus give such knowledge that even the man in nature has no excuse for doubting His existence.


(Verses 3 through 6) There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their word to the end of the world. In them hath He set a tabernacle for the sun. Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.


Since the heavens, or the firmament, extend over the entire earth, no place can be found, no matter what language the people of that place use, where the speech of the heavens is not heard. Whether the time be night, or day, makes no difference; because “day unto day uttereth speech and night unto night shows knowledge.” They speak, not in an unknown tongue, but in a universal language, that is understood by all. Their line, that is, the line, or borders, of  night and day reach throughout all the earth: therefore their words, or speech covers the entire world, leaving men everywhere without excuse. Not only so, but God has set in the heavens a “tabernacle” (place to abide) for the sun. There it has remained through all the ages of time. When the sun rises in its beauty on a clear morning, it is as glorious as “a bridegroom coming out of his chamber.” And it appears to be looking forward to, and rejoicing in the race it is to run; just as would a strong man who had no fear of a successful competitor. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it.” Although, scientifically, we are incorrect in using such terms, we speak of the sun’s rising and setting. This is David’s manner of speaking, as he speaks of the “going forth” of the sun, and of “his circuit.” As we look at the sun at different times of the day, it appears to start in the east (at one end of heaven), and go across the sky to the western end of the heavens. Although by the rotation of the earth all parts of it are exposed to the heat of the sun, we still have the same result as if the sun moved around the earth. “There is nothing hid from the heat thereof.”


All of this is wonderful, and leaves all men without excuse for not believing that there is a God. Yet, if by these witnesses alone a man is brought to believe that, as many say today, there must be some God, or intelligence, that is able to create and establish all these things, he is little, if any, better off than the one who does not even believe this. James says, (James 2:19) “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” So, it is evident that such belief as this is no better than that which the devils have. Something more must be done for him, or he is in a hopeless condition. The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 1:18 –32, what the situation is for those who know only what can be known from nature about God. Romans 1:19 says, “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.” “That, which may be known of God,” is that, which is open before all men, and may be learned by them from all the natural evidence around them. In verse 20 of that chapter Paul points out that this is only the principle of the being of God, “His eternal power and Godhead.” Nevertheless man cannot from nature learn anything of the righteousness of God: that is only in the gospel “revealed from faith to faith.”


(Verses 7 through 9) The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.


Having set forth the natural witnesses of God, as shown in the heavens, David here lists some unseen witnesses of the LORD that are far more potent; and of far greater importance to the believer. The testimony of the heavens can only show “the eternal power and Godhead” of the LORD. They have no spiritual import. Before man can know anything about the righteousness of God something else must be brought to bear upon him. The first of these spiritual witnesses mentioned is “the law of the LORD.” We sometimes consider the law delivered by Moses to Israel as “the law of the LORD:” and in some respects it is. Nevertheless, it could not save man; and, indeed, it could not even cause “the righteousness of the law” to be fulfilled in him. Romans 8:2-4 says, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” From this it is readily apparent that, the law delivered by Moses is not the “law of the LORD’ that converts the soul: for it is the “law of sin and death.” It had, through the flesh, such a weakness that it could not cause even the righteousness of the law to be fulfilled in man. So the “law of the LORD that converts the soul must be “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” It makes one free from the “law of sin and death.” The “law of the Spirit of life” converts the soul, that is, it changes the soul from being dead in sin and a prisoner of the law of sin and death, to one made alive, and free from the law of sin and death. Is not “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” also the LORD? Every word and action of the Christ was exactly according to the will of the Father. With this conversion made by the law of the LORD, “the testimony of the LORD,” (His word, or doctrine,) is “sure, making wise the simple.” Once the soul is thus converted by the law of the LORD, that soul is able to receive the testimony of the LORD, which must be the holy scriptures. ( II Timothy 3:14-15) “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them. And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” There is no doubt that salvation is through faith in Christ Jesus; but the holy scriptures are the means whereby we are made wise unto it. That is, it is by them that we are taught of the wonderful grace, mercy and love of God that brought it about; and at what cost to our Lord it was purchased. The testimony of the LORD does not give salvation, but so teaches one to whom it has been given that he will have knowledge of it, “be wise unto it.” “The simple,” when used in scripture, usually means one who has little, or no understanding, and that is our condition when the soul is converted: but by the testimony of the LORD we are made wise. Of course anything that the LORD does establish is right. Therefore the “statutes of the LORD” are surely right; and they do cause the heart of His children to rejoice. Notice the steps through which David takes us in this discussion. The soul is converted by the “law of the LORD,” the simple, or foolish, mind is made wise by “the testimony of the LORD,” and the heart is made to rejoice by “the statutes of the LORD.” By His statutes, or rules, given to us we are informed as to what is pleasing to Him, and what is not. Thus we are warned to avoid the evils that bring chastisement and sorrow. “The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.” Sometimes “statutes” and commandments” may refer to the same thing; but here “statutes” is plural and “commandment” is singular. So, it appears that he is considering a single commandment, instead of the whole code of laws. If so, would not he likely be referring to the greatest commandment of all. (Matthew 22:37-40) “Jesus said unto him, ‘Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like unto it. ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’” If we read “The Ten Commandments,” we find that every one of them that pertains to our relation to God is bound up in this “first and greatest commandment;” and every one that deals with our relation to man is included in the second. In reading the ten, we might not be quite so forcibly brought to the realization that love is the foundation of the whole law of God: but this “first and greatest commandment” enlightens our eyes to this fact beyond any doubt. “The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever.” Not only is the fear of the LORD clean in itself, but it makes us clean also. Proverbs 8;13 says , “ The fear of the LORD is to hate evil." If we hate evil, we will certainly try to avoid it, thus making our lives clean. Not only so, but the fear of the LORD endures forever. It is not a temporary thing. “The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.” The judgments handed down by the judges of this world are sometimes biased in favor of one or the other of the litigants, but this can never be with “the judgments of the LORD:” for they are true and righteous altogether, and cannot be corrupted.


(Verses 10 and 11) More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is Thy servant warned: and in keeping them there is great reward.


Sometimes “the judgments of the LORD” means the punishments the LORD sends upon evildoers, but in the present text they, no doubt, are the decrees of judgment the LORD has declared. They are more to be desired than even great riches, “much fine gold.” Worldly wealth, as here represented by “much fine gold,” may in some manner be lost or destroyed; but not so with the judgments of the LORD. Although “honey and the honeycomb” are sweet to the taste, that taste will fade away; but the judgments of the LORD are sweeter to the heart of one, who loves God, and cannot pass away. It is by them that the LORD’S servant is warned to avoid the pitfalls along the way, and in keeping them there is great reward. That reward is avoiding many of life’s pitfalls and dangers.


(Verses 12 through 14) Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.


David’s question, “Who can understand his errors?” is really the very strongest way of saying that no one can understand his errors. When we find that we have made an error, and especially one that we think of great importance, we are likely to rationalize concerning the matter, and try to come up with something upon which we can lay the blame, and shift it from ourselves. This, however, is wasted effort, for we still do not understand it. That which is secret, is something hidden; and, in this case, no doubt refers to the same thing that David has just called  “error.” It may be a sin of which we were not aware at the time of its commission, or it may be one we have committed and cannot understand why we did it. David prays that he be cleansed from such, and that he be kept back from presumptuous sins, those of which he was well aware when he did them. Actually, these two, “errors,” or “secret faults,” and “presumptuous sins,” make up the whole catalog of sin. When we do wrong, we either do it without knowing it, which is an error, or we do it knowingly, which is a presumptuous sin. If the LORD will cleanse us from these secret faults, or errors, and keep us back from presumptuous sins, we will, indeed be innocent from the great transgression. So, our prayer should be the same as that of David; that even the thoughts of our hearts and the words of our mouths might be acceptable to the LORD, Who is both our strength and our Redeemer.


Chapter 20

(Verses 1 through 4) The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee; send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion; remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifices: Selah. Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfill all thy counsels.


Whether David is, in this psalm, addressing his own heart, some other individual, or the LORD’S people in general, may be a little difficult to determine; but it will certainly apply to all. His prayer is “The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble.” That is, may He not delay His response, but send it at the time we need it. Also “May the name of the God of Jacob defend thee.” Since we are the people of God, His name is upon us; it is both our seal and our shield, and is therefore our defense. Further, he prays that God will send “help from the sanctuary, strengthen thee out of Zion .” The temple, or in David’s day, the tabernacle, was considered the dwelling place of God, and for that reason it was a sanctuary, or place of safety for one who was falsely accused. Zion , though it is the name of a specific place, it is also often used to represent God’s throne. Since, in reality, heaven is the throne of God, this request is that the LORD will send help and strength from His own presence. Not only does he pray for this, but also that the LORD will “remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt offerings.” Since today we do not offer burnt sacrifices, it can, for us, only refer to our service to God. So may He accept our efforts to serve Him, and may He sanctify them to His glory. Then, indeed, He will grant unto us that for which from our hearts we pray, “and fulfill all thy counsel.” Certainly we realize that we are not capable of giving the LORD counsel, or advice. So our requests to Him must be what David has under consideration.


(Verses 5 and 6) We will rejoice in Thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the LORD fulfill all thy petitions. Now know I that the LORD saveth His Anointed; He will hear Him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand.


Down to the colon in this first sentence, David addresses the LORD, declaring that our rejoicing will continue to be in His salvation. This does not mean that the LORD either needs or receives salvation, but that He is the source of it. As Jonah said, “Salvation is of the LORD.” Since it is of Him, it is His. Not only will we rejoice in His salvation, but it is in His name, or in honor of Him, that we will set up our banners, or flags. In battle the flag identifies the kingdom, or country, to which the soldiers of a military unit belong. In this case the kingdom belongs to the LORD. Therefore we set up our flags in His name; thus honoring Him, and His name. Our prayer is that He will fulfill all our petitions, or requests. Then David declares, “Now know I that the LORD saveth His anointed: He will hear Him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand.” David surely knew that it was of the LORD that Samuel anointed him king of Israel . He also knew that the Lord had many times saved him from his enemies. So he was confident that God would hear him from His holy heaven, and not only hear, but answer him with the saving strength of His right hand. Yet, in this there also seems to be a reference to Christ Jesus our Lord: for He is also “the LORD’S Anointed.” Even the title, “Christ,” means “Anointed.” So, in His case, the LORD did deliver Him, and both heard and answered Him with the saving strength of His right hand. The Father raised Him up from the grave, and seated Him at His own right hand.


(Verses 7 and 8) Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.


The chariot was designed, and for many centuries used, as a war machine. In this use it was very successful, although it was a little harder to maneuver and was a little slower than a soldier mounted upon a good horse. So David reminds us that “some trust in chariots, and some in horses.” Even after the day of the chariot, the horse continued to be used in battle. But David tells us there is a much better defense than either the chariot or the horse. This is the name of the LORD our God. Therefore in it we will trust. “They,” those who trust in chariots or horses, “are brought down and fallen.” That is, they have been defeated. On the other hand, we who trust in the name of the LORD our God “are risen, and stand upright.” This seems to look forward to the resurrection; for only those who have been down can rise. We may, indeed, fall; but the LORD our God is able to raise us up again.


(Verse 9) Save LORD: let the King hear us when we call.


The LORD is the only One Who can save us when we have been laid low by the hand of death. But He can, and will do so by His King, the Christ: and that King hears us when we call, even now: and He will raise us up on the last day, that we may stand upright.


Chapter 21

Although there are some passages in this psalm that can be explained as applying primarily to David, a majority of them, no doubt are prophetic, and refer to our Lord the Christ.


(Verses 1 through 4) The King shall joy in Thy strength, O LORD: and in Thy salvation how greatly shall He rejoice! Thou hast given Him His heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of His lips. Selah. For Thou preventest Him with Thy blessings of goodness: Thou settest a crown of pure gold on His head. He asked life of Thee, and Thou gavest it Him, even length of days for ever and ever.


One might consider this passage as applying to David, since he was the LORD’S king of Israel , were it not for verse 4, which certainly must refer to the Christ. So, since the whole passage is so closely linked together, it must all apply to the same King. Christ Jesus came into this world to work out the LORD’S great salvation for His people. Even the miracles He wrought in His earthly ministry He declared to be not of Himself, but of the Father. (John 5:19) “Verily, verily, I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” And (John 6:44) “No man can come unto Me, except the Father Which hath sent Me draw him.” These, and many other scriptures, show that “the King,” Jesus, joyed (rejoiced) in, not His own strength, but that of the Father, the LORD. “And in Thy salvation how greatly shall He rejoice! (John 6:38-40) “For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him That sent Me. And this is the Father’s will Which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of Him That sent Me, that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” This tells us, beyond any doubt, what His purpose in coming into the world is. And it seems that John 4:32 and 34 tell us how greatly He rejoiced in this salvation for which He came. “But He said unto them, ‘I have meat to eat that ye know not of. _ _ _ My meat is to do the will of Him That sent Me, and to finish His work.’” Would we not all admit that one who places his work above food for the hungry body rejoices greatly in that work? “Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” One Who found such joy in the contemplation of the finished salvation of the LORD, that He willingly endured the cross with its suffering and shame, must, indeed, have rejoiced greatly therein. Remember that our expression, “salvation of the LORD,” in no wise infers that He either needs salvation or receives it, but that He is the source of it. Without question, the “heart’s desire” of our Lord Jesus was to finish the great work of salvation committed to Him by the Father: and that the LORD gave Him. Some, seemingly, like to focus upon the fact that in the garden of Gethsemane Jesus prayed that, if possible, that cup of suffering might pass from Him, and that was denied. What they fail to realize is that, at that time, He prayed two prayers: the other one was that the Father’s will be done. When He said, “Nevertheless, Thy will, not Mine be done,” it is the same as saying, “Whatever the cost, let Your will be done.” This request was granted in full. The Father’s will is the salvation of His elect; and this was fully accomplished. So He did not withhold from Him the request of His lips.


In verse 3 “prevent” is used in a manner that was common at the time the King James Version of the Bible was translated, but is no longer in regular usage. Our present day usage of it is to mean “keep something from taking place.” Here it means “go before.” So the LORD went before Him with the blessings of goodness. The blessings of the goodness of the LORD were with Him all the way: and when God the Father “made that same Jesus both Lord and Christ” it was, indeed, the setting of “a crown of pure gold upon His head.” Usually when we have an object made of gold, it will not be pure gold, but an alloy made of gold mixed with a baser metal, with the degree of its purity indicated in carats, 24 carat gold being considered pure. This, however, is a crown of pure gold. It will never tarnish. Our Lord’s crown is of pure gold. Next we find that this King’s request is for life: and the LORD gave it to Him, “even length of days for ever and ever.” No wonder He can declare, “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, Behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” None can make this claim, except our Lord Jesus, Whom the Father raised from the dead, and set at the right hand of His own throne in heaven. Although David was the LORD’S king of Israel , he died, was buried, and his body remained in the grave: and it  will remain there until the Lord returns to gather together all His saints. On the Day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter assured the Jews that they could, at that time, go to David’s tomb, and confirm the fact that his remains were still there. Our Lord left nothing in His tomb, except the grave clothes.


(Verses 5 through 7) His glory is great in Thy salvation: honor and majesty hast Thou laid upon Him. For Thou hast made Him most blessed for ever: Thou hast made Him exceeding glad with Thy countenance. For the King trusteth in the LORD, and through the mercy of the most High He shall not be moved.


Unquestionably, the glory of Christ Jesus our Lord is great in the “salvation of the LORD,” for it is He Who offered Himself to the Father on Calvary ’s cross, as the sacrifice for the sins of His people. And it is He that the Father raised from the dead and seated at His own right hand. He laid upon Him honor and majesty when He made Him both Lord and Christ. The LORD has blessed Him for ever and ever, and made His countenance glad. The Father has given Him a name that is above every name on earth or in heaven. All the way from beginning to finish of His earthly mission He continually declared that He was not alone; but the Father was with Him. He trusted the Father and followed His will continuously. Since He was the very embodiment of the Father’s mercy, it follows that by the mercy of the most High He was not moved, or turned aside, but held steadfastly to the course set before Him.


(Verses 8 and 9) Thine hand shall find out all Thine enemies: Thy right hand shall find out those that hate Thee. Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of Thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in His wrath, and the fire shall devour them.


Here David turns his address to the LORD, declaring that the LORD’S enemies and those who hate Him are in for a very rude awakening. The LORD shall find out all his enemies, and His right hand shall find out all them that hate Him. The phrase, “find out,” means more than just locating these enemies. It also carries the idea of both locating them and executing punishment upon them. Since it is the LORD’S “right hand” that will find them out, this suggests that heavy punishment will be inflicted upon them. Then David tells us what that punishment will be. “Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of Thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in His wrath, and the fire shall devour them.” This sounds very similar to the great judgment set forth in Revelation 20.


(Verses 10 through 12) Their fruit shalt Thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children of men. For they intended evil against Thee: they imagined a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform. Therefore shalt Thou make them turn their back, when Thou shalt make ready Thine arrows upon Thy strings against the face of them.


This certainly seems to look forward to the final judgment, because until then the wicked will surely continue on in the world. Then they and their descendants, “their seed,” will be destroyed from the earth and from among the children of men. These are, evidently, the same as those in Psalm 2 that raged and imagined a vain thing. They were not able to perform that which they had imagined. Now they will have to face the judgment of the LORD. It will be as if He set them before a firing squad of archers: as the archers fit their arrows to the string to shoot, these will turn their backs in fear. Nevertheless, His judgment will be executed: they shall not escape.


(Verse 13) Be Thou exalted, LORD, in Thine own strength: so will we sing and praise Thy power.


Here is a point, which we, likely, do not give the consideration we should. We sometimes hear others say, and we might even say ourselves, that we “exalt” the LORD in praise, meaning, of course, that we praise Him because He is exalted. However, the only way He can be exalted is in His own strength. It is His strength, or power, that lifts Him up above all men, all angels, all devils, and all powers, that can even be imagined. His strength is such that by the power of His own word He created the heavens and the earth, as well as all the fullness thereof. It is by His strength that He rules the universe; by His strength He redeemed His elect; and by His strength the wicked shall be brought to judgment. Surely it is by His strength that He is exalted. It is our privilege, given to us by His mercy, to sing and praise His power.


Chapter 22

(Verses 1 through 3) “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? Why art Thou so far from helping Me, and so far from the words of My roaring? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but Thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. But Thou art holy, O Thou That inhabitest the praises of Israel .


Of course, this could be considered as just the cry of David when he had been engaged in crying unto the LORD for help, and not immediately receiving it. He might think that God had forsaken him, and had refused to hear him. So he asks why this is so. Yet, the very words of his first question are the same as cried out by our Lord while on the cross: and, as we continue through this psalm, we find many references to the experiences of the Christ. So it seems more proper to consider the whole psalm as primarily a prophecy of His suffering and glory. When Jesus cried out on the cross, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me,” the language in which He spoke was misunderstood by those around Him, and they thought He was calling Elijah to come, and take Him down from the cross. It was necessary, according to the plan of God, that the Father momentarily forsake Him that He might die, and complete the sacrifice for the sins of His people. At this time, He cried out, “Eli, Eli, lama, sabacthani.?” which Matthew tells us, means, “My God, my God , why hast Thou forsaken Me?” Remember that Jesus, several times, testified that He and the Father are One. Since God cannot die, it was needful that the Father withdraw from Him long enough for Him to lay down His life, that He might take it again. Nevertheless, the LORD is still holy. His forsaking the Son was only a necessary move that the Son might complete the work for which He came into the world, the salvation of His elect. It made no change in the holiness of the Father, and He still dwells (“inhabitest”) in the praises of Israel . Not only did He dwell in the praises of National Israel, but even now He dwells in the praises of Spiritual Israel.


(Verses 4 and 5) Our fathers trusted in Thee: and Thou didst deliver them. They cried unto Thee, and were delivered: they trusted in Thee, and were not confounded.


No doubt, this is said for comparison. Our Fathers (or our forefathers) trusted in the LORD, and He delivered them, He did not suffer them to be confused or defeated; but here His only begotten Son calls upon Him, and is left to suffer on His own. Remember that the question was: “Why is this?” Surely this is pointed out that we might a little better understand what a price Jesus paid for our salvation.


(Verses 6 through 8) But I am a worm, and no man: a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see Me laugh Me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, “He trusted in the LORD that He would deliver Him: let Him deliver Him, seeing He delighted in Him.”


This describes the scene at the crucifixion of our Lord. Verse 6 says, “But I am a worm, and no man, a reproach of men, and despised of the people.” This shows the way the people looked upon Jesus at that time. One should remember that only a short time before this, at the time of His entry into Jerusalem , and also when He was teaching in  the temple, some of these same people were shouting His praises as the son of David, and as the One that had come in the name of the LORD. Now they consider Him, not as a man, but as something far less, even as a worm that is to be crushed and forgotten. Isaiah said, (Isaiah 52:14) “As many were astonied at Thee; for His visage was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.” And (Isaiah 53:2-3) “He hath no form nor comeliness, and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him, He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.” From this some have formed the opinion that Jesus must have been what we would classify as an ugly person, both in face and form. Likely, this is not true. In fact there is an ancient writing, attributed to Publius Lentulus, the president of Judaea during the reign of Tiberius Caesar, and a contemporary of Jesus, that describes Jesus’ appearance very clearly. According to this description, He must have been one of the most handsome men, if not the most handsome man that ever lived on earth. Although, at this late date, it is impossible to absolutely verify the authorship of this description, I see no scriptural reason to not believe it. The description given by David and Isaiah should be remembered in the context in which they were written. “When we shall see Him,” as said by Isaiah, places this at the time Jesus was brought before the people by Pilate with the declaration, “Behold your king.” This was after some 14 to 16 hours of abuse, in which He had been continually beaten, slapped in the face, mocked by the soldiers, and scourged so that His very flesh hung in tatters from being cut by the whips. At this point, consider this question. Would you, or I, or the most handsome man, or most beautiful woman, we could imagine, have any beauty that would appeal to the crowd? No doubt they considered Him less than a man, even as a worm which they wanted to be rid of as soon as possible. He was, indeed, a reproach of men and despised of the people.” So they cried, “Crucify Him, crucify Him.” Then, even when He was on the cross, those nearby were mocking Him, and saying, “He trusted in the LORD that He would deliver Him: let Him deliver Him, if He will have Him, seeing He delighted in Him.” Notice this quotation from Matthew as he describes the scene of the crucifixion. “And they that passed by reviled Him, wagging their heads, and saying, ‘Thou that destroyeth the temple, and buildest it in three days, save Thyself. If Thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.’ Likewise also the chief priests mocking Him, with the scribes and elders, said, ‘He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him: for He said, I am the Son of God.’” (Matthew 27:39-43) Notice that this describes the identical picture David has presented. There can be no doubt that David’s words are a prophecy of our Lord’s suffering, instead of simply describing David’s experience.


(Verses 9 and 10) But Thou art He that took Me out of the womb: Thou didst make Me to hope when I was upon My mother’s breasts. I was cast upon Thee from the womb: Thou art my God from My mother’s belly.


This is a declaration of the protection, which the Father placed around our Lord from the moment of His conception until the end of His earthly mission. There was no other protection for Him; and He needed no other. His confidence was in the Father, even when an infant on His mother’s breasts. With that protection around Him at all times, He successfully completed the great work of redemption.

(Verses 11 through 13) Be not far from Me; for there is none to help. Many bulls have compassed Me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset Me round. They gaped upon Me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.


This text, together with all from here through verse 21, is our Lord’s prayer to the Father for His help through the great ordeal of the cross. Since the Father has been His protection to this hour of trouble, He prays, “Be not far from Me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.” Jesus knew clearly when the time had come for trouble to arise. (Matthew 26:31) “Then saith Jesus unto them, ‘All ye shall be offended because of Me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.’” As we read the description of the remainder of that night, we find that not one of His disciples spoke up for Him after His arrest. Peter did try to fight those who arrested Him, but a very short time later, three times denied that he even knew Him. John is also mentioned as going to the palace of the high priest, but he did not attempt any defense for Jesus. Lest we be tempted to judge them too harshly, we must remember that we would have done no better than did they. They had all declared their determination to stand by Him, even to prison and death, if necessary: but oh how frail is humanity! And how quickly our bravery fades away unless the Lord gives us strength! Our strength will not do. “There is none to help.” Now He describes the situation. It is as if He were surrounded by a whole herd of bulls. The wicked, who instigated this great uproar and were demanding His crucifixion, He likens to bulls; not just gentle cattle that can easily be controlled, but “strong,” or wild bulls, even as wild as “a ravening lion.” A ravening lion is one that has become so hungry that he is in a rage for food. These wicked (“bulls”) are just that enraged. They want to tear the Lord to pieces, literally. “They gaped upon Me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.” Although bulls, normally, are not carnivores, these are opening their mouths like a lion does when ready to tear his prey to pieces. So this is the prospect Jesus faced as He cried to the Father for help.


(Verses 14 and 15) I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint: My heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of My bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and My tongue cleaveth to My jaws; and Thou hast brought Me into the dust of death.


As David, is moved by the inspiration of Holy Ghost, he prophesies the feelings of our Lord in that awful scene of the crucifixion. Now it must be remembered that our Lord, although He was God manifested in the flesh, was also man. He had taken upon Himself a human body for the very purpose of being able to suffer as man for the sins of His people. As He approached the time of His arrest in the garden of Gethsemane , He said to His disciples, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” As He there prayed to the Father, He said, “O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” Also Luke tells us that at this time, “There appeared an angel unto Him from heaven strengthening Him.” When David says, “My strength is poured out like water,” he is describing the feeling of one whose strength has all left him, just as when water is poured out of a container it leaves only emptiness. So the Father sent an angel from heaven strengthening Him. Although “All My bones are out of joint” might be a literal description of one on a cross, with the weight of his body actually pulling his joints apart, it seems rather to describe the feeling of one facing such a tremendous ordeal that his strength completely fails him; and leaves him no more able to do anything than he would be if that were his condition. He continues, “My heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of My bowels.” No more is there any feeling of ability, or even desire to do anything. All of that is gone, as if the heart had completely failed. All strength has completely gone, “dried up like a potsherd” (a fragment of an earthenware vessel). Anyone who has ever suffered a moment of great fear knows the feeling described in these words, “My tongue cleaveth to My jaws.” Then we come to the final result of this: “Thou hast brought Me down into the dust of death.” Yes, no matter what we may think or say, It is the Father, the same One, Who was our Lord’s protection from His infancy, Who brought Him “into the dust of death.” Isaiah tells us, in Isaiah 53:10, “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief.” This was His purpose in coming into the world. Without this the will of God would not have been done: and Jesus knew the Father’s will before He prayed, “Nevertheless, not what I will, but what Thou wilt.”


(Verses 16 through 18) For dogs have compassed Me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed Me: they pierced My hands and My feet. I may tell all My bones: they look and stare upon Me. They part My garments among them and cast lots upon My vesture.


This is the finale of that terrible act of the cruelty of man, the crucifixion of our Lord. The assembly of the wicked (“dogs”) have Him completely surrounded. As they nailed Him to the cross, they pierced His hands and His feet, and they look and stare upon Him as upon some strange spectacle. They do not see Him as the Son of God: in fact, they do not even see Him as a man, but just as an obstacle in their way, of which they want to rid themselves. Some may think the expression, “I may tell all My bones,” means the same as Psalm 34:20, which says, “He keepeth all His bones: not one of them shall be broken.” Rather, this seems to describe Him hanging on the cross after undergoing the beatings and scourging he had suffered. His body was so gaunt and stretched out, that one could see his bones, or their shapes, as they showed through the skin. This may have been part of the spectacle that caused the wicked gathered around Him to stare. The gospel writers tell us that, indeed, those who crucified Him did part His garments among themselves, and cast lots for His coat.


(Verses 19 through 21) But be not Thou far from Me, O LORD: O my strength, haste Thee to help Me. Deliver My soul from the sword; My darling from the power of the dog. Save Me from the lion’s mouth: for Thou hast heard Me from the horns of the unicorns.


This is our Lord’s prayer to the Father for deliverance from this pack of dogs that had compassed Him about. “The dogs” refer to the wicked, not only in this text, but also in practically all scriptural applications, except where they literally mean the four-legged creatures we so often hear called, “man’s best friend.” He asks to be saved from the lion’s mouth. We earlier discussed these “bulls of Bashan ,” which were also compared to a ravening lion. So all these references are to the wicked, from whom He asks to be delivered. He ends His plea with, “For Thou hast heard Me from the horns of the unicorns.” The unicorn is commonly considered as a mythological, non-existent animal. But from some things said in scripture about the unicorn, it is thought by some to be a reference, not to the mythological animal, but to the Indian rhinoceros, which though not having two major horns as the African variety, is of about the same disposition.


(Verses 22 through 24) I will declare Thy name unto My brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee. Ye that fear the LORD, praise Him; all ye the seed of Jacob glorify Him; and fear Him, all ye the seed of Israel . For He hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath He hid His face from Him; but when He cried unto Him, He heard.


In verse 22, some may think this to be only David’s declaration that he will praise the LORD, and will not be ashamed to do so among his brethren in the midst of the congregation; and that may be the case. But it seems that, as the preceding part of this psalm so aptly describes the crucifixion of our Lord, this is His declaration of the praise of the Father for delivering Him from His enemies and raising Him from the dead. Then He exhorts all those that fear the LORD, all the seed of Jacob, and all the seed of Israel to praise Him and fear Him. He gives a reason for this special praise of the LORD: “For He hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath He hid His face from Him; but when He cried unto Him, He heard.” All those wicked, who compassed our Lord about, and demanded His crucifixion, despised Him, and hid their faces from Him: but the LORD did not. When the afflicted One cried to Him, He heard. Therefore He is worthy of all praise, and especially this praise.


(Verse 25) My praise shall be of Thee in the great congregation: I will pay My vows before them that fear Him.


This may be David’s own declaration that for the great salvation wrought by the LORD and His Christ, he will praise Him, not only in private, but before all those who fear the LORD: and whatever vows he has made, he is ready to fulfill them. This, of course, should be the determination of each of us. Yet, to me, there seems to be more than this involved in this. This really seems to be a declaration of our LORD that He will praise the Father for this before the whole congregation of the children of God in heaven, when all are gathered home. This will, indeed, be a great congregation. Not only so, but in I Corinthians 15:24-25, the Apostle Paul says, “Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and authority and power. For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet.” No doubt His vows will at this time be paid.


(Verses 26 through 28) The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek Him: your heart shall live for ever. All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the LORD: and the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Thee. For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and He is the governor among the nations.


In this David prophetically describes the result of the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord. “The meek shall eat and be satisfied.” In Matthew 5:5, Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” This He said, not in reference to the present earth, which was, and is, cursed for the sake of man; but the “new heavens and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” “The meek” is another designation of the LORD’S people, just as David so often uses “the poor;” and surely none of them would even want to inherit this earth with its curse, and all the evil attendant therewith. They look for one that has no more curse; and that is the one they will inherit. The same is true of  their eating and being satisfied. In Psalm 17:15, David tells us when we will be satisfied, “As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness.” Now David says, They shall praise the LORD that seek Him.” God gave the law to Israel . That law contained not only the ten commandments, but also a great number of ceremonial laws, which decreed the order of the service of God for the Israelites. Until Jesus came, died, and rose again, there was a limited access to the service of God. Only those who became circumcised, kept the ceremonial laws, and offered the required sacrifices, were admitted to the tabernacle, or the temple to serve the LORD. Now Those who seek Him shall praise Him. No ritual, and no sacrifice is required. Jesus has by one offering perfected for ever them that are sanctified. The only restriction now is that set forth by our Lord in John 4:23-24. “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.” So they that seek Him in Spirit and in truth are free to praise Him. “Your heart shall live for ever,” This is David’s address to our Lord. Its apparent meaning is, “Your love will never cease, but will continue even in eternity.” Verses 27 and 28 show us that the salvation purchased by our Lord on Calvary extends to His people throughout the world. “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD.” This, of course, does not mean that every individual in the world will turn to God, but people all over the world shall do so. “All the kindreds of the nations (Gentiles) shall worship before Thee.” Again throughout the world, even among all the kindred of the Gentiles, men will worship before the LORD. The reason for this is that the LORD is not only the God of Israel; but He is also the governor, or ruler of the nations, or Gentiles. All are under His power.


(Verse 29) All that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before Him: and none can keep alive his own soul.


It seems that David is really saying here that not only the living, but the dead also shall be made to know the LORD; not, necessarily, by receiving salvation from Him, but by being made to acknowledge Him as the LORD. “They that be fat upon earth” seems to describe, not those who are physically fat, but those whom God blesses on earth. All of them shall eat and worship. They shall continue in His blessings, and shall worship Him as their God. “All that go down to the dust” seems to embrace those who die, and especially seems to refer to those whom God overthrows, or strikes down to the dust, as He will do to His enemies. All of these shall bow before Him; and none can keep alive his own soul. None of these shall escape death. The Apostle Paul says, in Philippians 2:9-11, “Wherefore God hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” In spite of their being made to bow before Him, none of these who go down to the dust can prolong the life of his own soul.


(Verses 30 and 31) A seed shall serve Him; it shall be accounted to the LORD for a generation. They shall come, and shall declare His righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that He hath done this.


Verse 30 has a remarkable similarity to the Apostle Paul’s statement in Galatians 3:16: “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, ‘And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, ‘And to thy seed,’ which is Christ.” It appears that this will also apply here. In looking forward to those things, which he has already prophesied in this psalm, David concludes that, “A Seed shall serve Him.” While in this world we do not, and, indeed, can not  serve God: for to do so, one must render perfect service. Nothing less is acceptable with Him. We look forward with great anticipation to the fulfillment of Revelation 22:3: “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him.” In that wonderful city, we shall truly serve the LORD. Until that day, we must depend upon that Seed, Who did serve Him: and that Seed is Christ our Lord. The most wonderful part of this is that this Seed is accounted to the LORD for a generation, that is, a family, the family of God. As David looked upon this matter, he said, “They shall come, and shall declare His righteousness to a people that shall be born, that He hath done this.” This is the work set before the LORD’S people, to declare His righteousness to a people, who in David’s day, had not been born: and some of them may not yet have been born, but they shall be. So this must be a continuous work. We are to tell them that He has done this. That is, He has wrought out this wonderful salvation; and it is finished.


Chapter 23

This may be the most quoted scripture in the Bible: if not, it is surely a runner up for that honor. It is often used at funerals, as well as at any other time when people are in great need of comfort. I find nothing wrong with such usage; for, as such, it has a wonderful message. Nevertheless, I am fully convinced that its primary function is as our Lord’s song of triumph, as He, having arisen from the grave, surveyed His life and His sacrifice for His people, and found total satisfaction therein. As the Prophet Isaiah said, “He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous servant justify many: for He shall bear their iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:11)


(Verse 1) The LORD is My Shepherd; I shall not want.


How like Psalm 22:9-10 this is! There He declares that the LORD is He, Who has taken care of Him, even from His mother’s womb, just as the shepherd takes charge of, and is the feeder and protector of a lamb from its birth through its entire life. Not only so, but, with such a shepherd as the LORD, there is nothing to fear. “I shall not want.” That is, He would never be in need, and never be lacking for anything that would be beneficial. Just as a sheep has no defense, except that supplied by the shepherd, He says, in Psalm 22:10, “I was cast upon Thee from the womb.” He testified during His earthly ministry, “I am not alone: My Father is with Me,” signifying the complete confidence He had in His Shepherd.

(Verse 2 ) He maketh Me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth Me beside the still waters.

This verse always brings to mind the picture of a sheep, or a whole flock of them, lying quietly in a pasture of lush green grass. Then we see a pool of clear water, with hardly a ripple showing on it. This is a very restful thought; but if this is all it means to us, we may be missing a blessing. Certainly, when we see sheep, cattle, or any other grazing animals lying down with green grass all around them, we know two things about them. First, they, obviously, are not hungry; but are well fed. Second, they are neither disturbing, nor being disturbed by anyone or anything. They are satisfied with their situation. When we consider the “still waters," we may think of them as representing a situation in which there are no disturbances, no violence, no anxieties, and no threats. If so, in our Lord’s case, we would be in error. There were usually excitement, strife, confusion, and threats of violence everywhere He went. Remember that He said, “I came not to bring peace, but a sword.” Many times the Jews attempted to take Him, and punish Him in some manner. Once they even tried to take Him by force, and make Him their king. Yet in all these times He very quietly departed from them. His Shepherd led Him by the still waters. That is, He made Him to be at peace, as if nothing had happened. Even when He stood before Pilate, who said, “Speakest Thou not unto me? Knowest Thou not that I have power to crucify Thee, and I have power to release Thee,” His answer was peaceful and calm, “Thou couldest have no power at all against Me, except it were given thee from above.” This is, indeed, being led by the still waters. Oh that we might be thus led!

(Verse 3) He restoreth My soul: He leadeth Me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

We are sometimes prone to forget that, although Jesus was Emmanuel, (God with us,) and as God had all power, He was also man, in a body of flesh that could suffer pain, discouragement, sorrow, disappointment, fatigue, and all other discomforts common to the flesh. The difference between Him, in the flesh, and us is that He had no sin, either original or acquired. When He suffered any of these things, He did not have to take a vacation, attend some worldly entertainment, or seek rest in any worldly activities. “He (the LORD) restoreth My soul.” All the relaxation He needed, was supplied by His Shepherd, the LORD. “He leadeth Me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” In John 8:29, Jesus said, “And He that sent Me is with Me: the Father hath not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him.” No one else ever has been, or ever will be, able to make that claim. He was always led of the Father, His Shepherd, in the paths of righteousness for His (the Father’s) name’s sake. In John 6:38, Jesus tells us, “For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me.” Not only can He say, “He leadeth Me in the paths of righteousness”, but just as surely, “for His name’s sake.” That is, for the glory, not of Himself, but of the name of the Shepherd, the LORD.

(Verse 4) Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with Me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort Me.

The only time anyone might be tempted to say that Jesus feared any evil was as He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, that, if possible this cup might pass from Him, But the second part of that prayer negates that accusation, as He said, “Nevertheless, not what I will, but what Thou wilt.” This shows no fear; but rather a determination to continue on with the Father’s will, or plan, which was the cause of His coming into the world. He did not draw back and abandon this work; but actually walked “through the valley of the shadow of death.” He came forth from it by the resurrection from the dead. The Shepherd was with Him. We are told that ancient shepherds carried both “a rod” and “a staff.” The rod was the long stick, with a crook at one end, which we so often see in pictures of shepherds with their flocks. The primary use of this rod, in effect, was to lengthen the arms of the shepherd. The crook at the end of the rod was so made that it would, more or less, fit around the neck of a sheep. The shepherd could, with it, reach a sheep that was too far from him for him to reach with his hand. Thus he could more readily reach a sheep to pull him back from danger that might be imminent. The staff was a shorter and heavier stick, which the shepherd used for two purposes. On rough terrain, where his feet might slip, he could lean on it for support; and he also used it for defense of both his sheep and himself. I use this word order because to the shepherd the sheep came first. Thus we can see that, “Thy rod and Thy staff,” refers to the power of the LORD to protect and defend. Therefore it was by the rod and the staff of His Shepherd that our Lord was comforted.

(Verse 5) Thou preparest a table before Me in the presence of Mine enemies: Thou anointest My head with oil; My cup runneth over.

Perhaps the most outstanding illustration of the first clause in this sentence is found in Matthew 28:2-6. “And behold, there was a great earthquake: for an angel of the LORD descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel said unto the women, ‘Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, Which was crucified. He is not here: for He has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” Although David’s literal language here brings to mind the setting forth of a great banquet, at which one may sit and eat while his enemies are made to stand around and watch, it seems that, figuratively, this is even a greater banquet than men can set. Our Lord’s enemies had conspired against Him, had brought Him through their mock trial, had crucified Him, and had Him buried. They thought they were forever rid of Him. Yet, not satisfied with this, they set a watch of their temple guards, to make sure that He stayed in the tomb. (In Matthew 28:12, these guards are called “soldiers,” but they surely were not Roman soldiers. If they had been, they could never have been persuaded to tell that they slept at their post: for such a confession would have been their death warrant.) Although all His enemies were not present when the announcement of His resurrection was made, their representatives were. So officially they were there. “They became as dead men” does not mean that they lost consciousness, but simply that they became as powerless to hinder what was taking place as if they were dead. That they knew what was going on is evident; for in Matthew 28:11, they reported it all to the chief priests. Thus the great Shepherd, the LORD, “prepared Me a table in the presence of Mine enemies.” His enemies could not hinder it, and neither were they permitted to partake of it. All they could do was watch. In Israel , according to the commandment of God, priests and kings were to have their heads anointed with oil. Now our Lord says, “Thou anointest My head with oil.” Although, even from eternity our Lord is “the anointed of the LORD,” (the Christ,) this seems to refer to His being established in that office after the great work of salvation was accomplished. For this we look to two other statements of scripture. In Acts 2:36, the Apostle Peter said, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, Whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” In Romans 1:3-4), the Apostle Paul said, “Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, Which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” He has been officially established forever in His rightful office. The Father has anointed His head with oil. “My cup runneth over,” is an expression that means, “My joy is so great that it cannot be contained.” Just as when a cup is full, and one continues to pour into it, it can only run over.

(Verse 6) Surely goodness and mercy shall follow Me all the days of My life: and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Since in Psalm 21:4, He says, “He asked life of Thee, and Thou gavest it Him, even length of days forever and ever,” and here He says, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow Me all the days of My life,” we can see that His goodness and mercy shall continue forever. Not only so, but inasmuch as He is now seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven, which is, indeed, the “house of the LORD,” He will never again come back to the earth to suffer. His return will be only to gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other, and bring judgment upon the wicked.

Chapter 24

(Verses 1 and 2) The earth is the LORD’S and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For He hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.

In this David is establishing one basic fact. That fact is that, to the LORD, and to Him alone, belong the world, (the heaven and the earth,) and all things, as well as all people therein. Since it is He, Who has created all, all belongs to Him. We are sometimes tempted to think ourselves important. This can easily be corrected just by remembering that we are only small specks of the dust of the ground, while even the whole earth, together with all that is in it was created simply by the command of God, when He said, “Let it be.” Verse 2 is, perhaps, a reference to God’s action as expressed in Genesis 1:9-10: “And God said, ‘Let the waters under the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear:’ and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called He Seas.” Since about four fifths of the world is covered with water, when we spread out a map of the world, and look at it, it appears that the land areas are just resting on the seas. This seems to be a very great accomplishment: but one even greater is the real fact. This is that the whole world is a round globe, suspended in space, with no visible means of support. The LORD has set it thus in orbit; it has continued in that orbit until this day; and it will thus continue until the Lord returns, and brings this world to judgement. Then He will replace it with the New heavens and new earth wherein dwells righteousness. Contemplation of this should prepare us, in some measure, for the two questions that follow.

(Verse 3) Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who shall stand in His holy place?

Since the greatness of the LORD is such as described in verses 1 and 2, the question is, “Who is worthy to ascend (climb up) into the hill of the LORD? Or who is worthy to stand in His holy place?” These two questions, coupled as they are to the declaration of His greatness, as set forth in verses 1 and 2, express the hopelessness of man to do either of these things by his own power or righteousness. The situation is exactly as Jesus told His disciples: “With men it is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” So with this, we must search for One qualified to do this.

(Verses 4 and 5) He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of His salvation.

To find a man with clean hands, we must find one who has no sin. He must never have committed a sin, and he must not have any original sin, sin inherited from Adam. This immediately cuts down every one of us. In Psalm 14:2-3, we find, “The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” In Ephesians 2:2-3, the Apostle Paul gives this testimony. “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of the flesh and of the mind: and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” So this completely rules out man from having clean hands. The next qualification is a pure heart: and we are completely cut off by the same scriptures already quoted. Then he must be one, who “hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. It is to be kept in mind that perfection is demanded in the qualifications of one who will, or can, ascend into the hill of the LORD, or stand in His holy place. Compare this with Psalm 25:1: “Unto Thee, O LORD, will I lift up my soul.” Evidently, his expression, “lift up my soul,” means “I will worship,” or “I will praise.” So one who “lifts up his soul unto vanity,” is one that takes a great interest in things of no value. For one to worship anyone, or anything, except the LORD, is to lift up his soul to vanity. Further, one, who will ascend into the hill of the LORD, or will stand in His holy place, must be one, whose word is always true. He never promises that which he cannot deliver. Among men there can be found no candidate for this office. So, with men it is impossible. Nevertheless with God all things are possible; and in His Son, Christ Jesus our Lord, One is found, Who measures up in every detail: and “He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of His salvation.” Not only is He qualified to ascend into the hill of the LORD, and to stand in His holy place, but He shall accomplish it. As David penned down these words, their fulfillment was future; but they were fulfilled when the Father raised Jesus from the dead, and seated Him at His own right hand in heaven. In Ephesians 4:8-10, the Apostle Paul says, “Wherefore He saith, ‘When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.’ ( Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things.)” In John 3:13, Jesus said, “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man, Which is in heaven.”

(Verse 6) This is the generation of them that seek Him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.

Having shown that One, and only One, is qualified to ascend into the hill of the LORD, and to stand in His holy place, (and that One is the Christ,) David declares that this is the generation, or the family, of them that seek the LORD, and that seek the face of Jacob. Since Jacob had died long before this time, and is now in the presence of God, those who seek his face must be the same ones that seek the LORD. They are those, who are the generation, or family of God, those whom the Christ is not ashamed to call His brethren. They are those to whom the righteousness of our Lord is imputed: for it is only through that imputed righteousness of the Christ, that one is made able to be received into the hill of the LORD, and to stand in His holy place. When He ascended up on high, He gave gifts unto men: and this is one of the gifts He gave.

(Verses 7 through 10) Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah.

As David addresses these gates, and these everlasting doors, which must be the gates and doors of heaven, he ascribes to them a human quality; as if, because of the failure to find among the children of men anyone, who could ascend into the hill of the LORD, or stand in His holy place, they are sad, and their heads are drooping, as do ours under grave disappointment. But it is time for them to cheer up, and lift up their heads: for the King of glory is about to enter. The first reaction to this is to ask, “Who is this King of glory?” Since none among the children of men could be found able to enter, Who can? This question is somewhat like one, asked of our Lord by the Jews. (John 12:34) “The people answered Him, ‘We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest Thou, ‘The Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man?’” The despondent gates had been convinced that no one would, or could, enter them. Now the cry is, “Lift up your heads; and the King of glory shall come in.” The logical question then is, “Who is this King of glory?” “This King of glory” and “This Son of man” are One and the Same, Christ Jesus our Lord. Although David here uses two titles that are usually ascribed to the Father only, Jesus has repeatedly told us that He and the Father are One: and He further tells us that what belongs to the Father is his, and what belongs to Him is the Father’s. The first 6 verses of Isaiah 63, as well as all of Revelation 19, show conclusively that Jesus is “the Lord mighty in battle,” and “the Lord of hosts.” He is the King of glory, and having overcome both hell and death, by arising from the grave, He is now ready to enter through these gates and the everlasting doors. This is the picture David sets forth. Remember that as David looked upon it, it was to be in the future: but we look back upon it as an accomplished work.


Chapter 25

(Verses 1 through 3) Unto Thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in Thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me. Yea, let none that wait on Thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.

The phrase, “lift up my soul,” originally derives from an offering to the LORD, required by His law, and called, “the wave offering,” or “the heave offering.” That offered in this offering was lifted up, and “heaved,” or “waved,” before the LORD. When David says, “Unto Thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul,” it is the same as saying, “I am offering my soul as a wave offering unto You, O LORD.” Thus to lift up one’s soul, whether unto God, or unto an idol of some sort, is to worship the one unto whom it is lifted up. In this case it is David’s declaration that he worships the LORD. He continues, “O my God, I trust in Thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.” His trust is altogether in the LORD: he is looking to no other for help. So He prays “Let me not be ashamed,” or, more accurately, “Let me not be put to shame.” That is, Let not my enemies overcome me. If they should overcome him, it would be also an occasion for them to blaspheme the LORD, because they knew that He was David’s hope. He not only asks this for himself, but also for all that trust in, and wait upon, the LORD. May none of them be brought to shame. Instead, may that be the lot of those who transgress without cause.

(Verses 4 through 7) Shew me Thy ways, O LORD; teach me Thy paths. Lead me in Thy truth, and teach me: for Thou art the God of my salvation; on Thee do I wait all the day. Remember, O LORD, Thy tender mercies and Thy loving kindnesses; for they have been ever of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to Thy mercy remember Thou me for Thy goodness’ sake, O LORD.

Having declared his worship of God and his trust in Him, David pleads that the LORD will show him His ways and teach him His paths. That is, that He will enable his eyes to see the way the LORD will have him go, and enlighten his mind, that he might be able to recognize the paths of the LORD. He further prays that God will both lead him in the LORD’S truth, and teach him that he might know it. Actually, verse 5 is almost a repetition of verse 4 in slightly different words. The reason he desires the LORD to do this he expresses thus: “For Thou art the God of my salvation; on Thee do I wait all the day.” Since the LORD is the God of His salvation, there is no other to whom he can go; and therefore he will wait for Him all the day. He is in a condition similar to that expressed by the Apostle Peter in John 6:68: “Then Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” In the first place, there was no one else to whom they could go, because Jesus had the words of eternal life, just as the LORD was the God of David’s salvation. With this faith, we too should be determined to wait on Him all the day. “Remember, O LORD, Thy tender mercies and Thy loving kindnesses; for they have been ever of old.” We, just as did David, ask the LORD to remember us, not according to our works, which are not worthy to be brought before Him, but according to His own mercy and loving kindness, which have always been faithful. He is forever merciful and kind to His children. “Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions.” In the expression, “the sins of my youth,” David may be concerned with the fact that, usually, young people may be more prone to go astray, than they will after they are more mature: but it appears possible that his reference is to original, or Adamic, sin, since he separates it from “my transgressions,” which certainly would be sins committed in life. He says, in Psalm 51:3, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Thus his prayer is that God will remember neither our inherited sinful nature, nor our sin by practice. Instead may He remember us according to His mercy; and for the sake of His own goodness.

(Verses 8 through 11) Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will He teach sinners in the way. The meek will He guide in judgment: and the meek will He teach His way. All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep His covenant and His testimonies. For Thy name’s sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great.

David has been praying to the LORD for His mercies. Now he tells us some of the LORD’S works. First, he declares that the LORD is “good and upright:” and, because He is, He will “teach sinners in the way.” He did not say, “a way,” as if the LORD would let them select any way they might choose, and teach them therein. Instead, he says, “the way,” as only one. So that must be the way of God’s choosing. Read Ephesians 2:1-10. The LORD removes them from the way in which they have lived, places them in that which He has chosen, and teaches them therein. “The meek will He guide in judgment: and the meek will He teach His way.” In David’s common usage, “the meek” is a reference to the LORD’S people, just as is “the poor.” These He guides in judgment, and teaches His way. To those who keep the LORD’S covenant and testimonies, all His paths are mercy and truth. Now David makes another plea, “For Thy name’s sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great.” He recognizes that his iniquity is so great that, his only hope of pardon is for the LORD’S name’s sake, not for any worthiness that he might have; for, indeed, he had none: and neither do we. Our only hope is in the mercy of God.

(Verses 12 through 15) What man is he that feareth the LORD? Him shall He teach in the way that He shall choose. His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth. The secret of the LORD is with them that fear Him; and He will shew them His covenant. Mine eyes are toward the LORD; for He shall pluck my feet out of the net.

When David says, “What man is he that feareth the LORD?” it is the equivalent of saying, “Any man that fears the LORD.”  So the promise is that, any man who fears Him, He will teach in the way that He shall choose. He can therefore be assured that the LORD will teach those who fear Him in the way of righteousness: for that is always the way of His choosing. Those that fear Him shall have their souls dwell at ease; that is, in peace. He is not promising that they shall dwell at ease, so far as being wealthy in worldly goods, as some try to read into this. He only says, “their souls,” not “their bodies,” shall dwell at ease. Not only so, but, their “seed,” or their descendants, “shall inherit the earth.” This has no reference to the earth as it now is, under the curse of sin; but it looks forward to the “new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” We also are to remember that “his seed” refers, not to his natural descendants, but to those who are of his spiritual family, the righteous. The Apostle Paul points out that, the promises made to Abraham and his seed were, not necessarily to his descendants after the flesh, but to those who are of the faith of Abraham. The LORD is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant. In I Corinthians 2:9, the Apostle Paul says, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit.” Certainly these things are the secret of the LORD: and moreover “He will shew them His covenant.” Since this is to be the lot of those who fear the LORD, David declares, “Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD; for He shall pluck my feet out of the net.” As long as we look steadfastly to the LORD, there is nothing to fear. He will deliver us from the snare of the enemy, Satan.

(Verses 16 through 20) Turn Thee unto me, and have mercy on me; for I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring Thou me out of my distresses. Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins. Consider mine enemies; for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred. O help my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I have put my trust in Thee.

Certainly there should be no difficulty in understanding this, seeing that it so aptly describes the very feeling we so often experience. We may not be surrounded by wicked men who are seeking to destroy us; but we are constantly under attack by Satan’s army of  temptations, doubts, fears, and everything else that he can throw at us. We do often feel desolate and afflicted, loaded down with troubles of one sort or another. Then we pray to the LORD for deliverance and mercy, just as did David. We beg Him to prevent our being brought to shame, as that would bring reproach upon Him: for we have put our trust in Him.

(Verses 21 and 22) Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on Thee. Redeem Israel , O God, out of all his troubles.

From David’s declarations of the integrity and uprightness of the LORD as compared to his confessions of his own iniquities, it seems that his prayer is that God will, in His own integrity and uprightness, deliver him and preserve him. This, surely, is the only way either he or we could hope to be preserved: for our integrity and uprightness is not sufficient. Not only does he pray for himself, but for all the LORD’S people: “Redeem Israel , O God, out of all his troubles.”


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