Chapter 51 Chapter 56 Chapter 61 Chapter 66 Chapter 71
Chapter 52 Chapter 57 Chapter 62 Chapter 67 Chapter 72
Chapter 53 Chapter 58 Chapter 63 Chapter 68 Chapter 73
Chapter 54 Chapter 59 Chapter 64 Chapter 69 Chapter 74
Chapter 55 Chapter 60 Chapter 65 Chapter 70 Chapter 75

Chapter 51


(Verses 1 through 4) Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy loving kindness: according unto the multitude of Thy mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me, Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight: that Thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest.


It is thought that this psalm was written after Nathan the prophet came to David, and called to account his adultery with Bathsheba, and his murder of her husband Uriah. David knew that, from the perspective of strict justice, his punishment should have been death: but he prayed that the Lord would have mercy upon him, and, according to His loving kindness, and the multitude of His tender mercies, blot out His sin. We know, from the record of the case, that the LORD did forgive his sin; but He did not remove all the consequences of it. Because of it David was plagued with wars the remainder of his days. Even his own son, Absalom, rose up against him. Here, however, he prays that God will wash him completely from his iniquity, and cleanse him from his sin, because he acknowledges, or confesses his transgressions, and says, “my sin is ever before me.” That is, it weighs so heavily upon his mind that he cannot forget it. He is continually troubled by it. In verse 4 he says, “Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight.” This seems a little hard to understand, unless we are to understand that Uriah, the man against whom he and Bathsheba had sinned is now dead, leaving only God as the One against Whom this sin is directed. Of course, all sin is against God: for it is his commandment we violate when we sin. He confesses that this sin is against God, that it may be openly manifested that God is justified when He speaks, or gives sentence for this sin; and that He may be shown to be clear, or right, in whatever judgment He sees fit to declare. David realizes that he has no excuse for what he has done; there are no extenuating circumstances: so the only thing he can do is to throw himself on the mercy of the court. Since God is the Judge, this court is merciful.


(Verses 5 through 9) Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, Thou desireth truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part Thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide Thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.


Verse 5 is not said as an excuse for David’s sin, but it is simply a declaration that he, and we also, are sinners from the beginning, and have no good works that we can plead to offset our present transgressions, whatever they may be. David declares that from the moment of his conception, and through the term of his pre-natal development, he was a sinner: and so were we. “Behold, Thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part Thou shalt make me to know wisdom.” Nothing but “truth in the inward parts,” the heart, mind, and soul, is acceptable with God. Confession of our sin to Him is of no value unless it is accompanied by true sorrow and repentance: and He will teach us wisdom in the hidden part, or the heart. A wise mind might be one that has, by observing natural things, developed some understanding of how they operate; but a wise heart is one that God has Himself taught. “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.” Hyssop is a shrub, which was very common in that region, and was used extensively in the ritual of purification under the law. God commanded the Israelites to dip it in the blood of the animal sacrificed for the Passover, and sprinkle the blood on the lintel and door posts of the house in which they ate the Passover in the land of Egypt . Notice should be taken that David did not say, “I will purge myself with hyssop,” but “Purge me with hyssop.” He knew that all the ritualistic purification in the world would do him no good. His only help must come from the LORD Himself. He must do this work: and so it is with us. If the LORD will purge us we will be clean: and if He will wash us, we shall be whiter than snow. Otherwise, all is in vain. If He will but cleanse and wash us from our sins, we can again hear joy and gladness. As long as we are in the deep sorrow of true repentance, others around us may rejoice and be glad, but that does not really penetrate to our consciousness. Only the LORD can open again our hearts to hear that wonderful sound. When He does, the bones, which have been by the sorrow broken, can again rejoice. We are brought back to a position in which we truly rejoice in Him. “Hide Thy face from my sins and blot out mine iniquities.” One might wonder how God can hide His face from our sins without hiding it from us; and, of course, we do not want Him to hide His face from us. He does it by blotting out our iniquities. He considers them covered by the blood of His Son; and thus they are hidden from His face, and His face is hidden from them.


(Verses 10 through 13) Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free Spirit. Then will I teach transgressors Thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto Thee.


Notice that as David continues his prayer, he rightly ascribes to the LORD, and to Him alone the ability to put away this terrible sin, and as people today are so fond of saying, rehabilitate him. Two things are necessary in order that he be restored. The first is that, he must have a clean heart. He is not speaking of a natural heart transplant, but the taking away of all the evil in the center of his affections, and the replacing of it with good, and the only way that can take place is that the LORD remove these old evil desires and create in their place, the desire of good things only. The next thing he needs is a right spirit, a spirit that is only interested in righteous things. This also can only be implanted by the LORD. He continues, “Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.” To be cast away from the presence of the LORD is a terrible punishment, but one that David felt he deserved, according to the demands of justice. So he prayed that the LORD would not deal with him that harshly, but  do the opposite. "Cast me not away from thy presence.” For the answer to this prayer, he is depending upon the mercy of God; and that is also what we must depend upon. To be cast away from the presence of the LORD is one of the most drastic penalties God will send upon the wicked. (II Thessalonians I:9) “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord.” It is a penalty reserved for the wicked. David prays that God will neither thus cast him away, nor take His Holy Spirit from him. Next he prays, “Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free Spirit.” Since this was written after Nathan had come to him, David knew that God had promised, or declared that his sin was forgiven, but he also knew that God had not removed its consequences. It caused the death of David’s child, and brought warfare upon David all his days. So He prays, “Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation.” Although he could be sure of God’s forgiveness, he carried great sorrow for those things brought on by his sin. We may have similar experience. Although we may feel that God has forgiven our sin, we may still be left with great sadness because of the consequences of it. In such experience we too have to pray that the Lord will restore the joy of His salvation, and uphold us with His free Spirit. That is, that He will set us free from that sorrow, and enable us to serve Him in that spirit of freedom. If He will do this, we will, by the change made in our lives, teach transgressors the ways of the LORD; and sinners will be turned from their evil ways to the way of the LORD.


(Verses 14 through 17) Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of Thy righteousness. O LORD, open Thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth Thy praise. For Thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: Thou delightest not in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.


We do not pray for deliverance from something unless we recognize that we are either in it or in imminent danger of being in it. David realized that he was indeed guilty of the blood of Uriah, whom he had ordered his field commander to place in the heaviest fighting of the battle, and abandon. He knew that nothing he could do or say, and no sacrifice he could offer would take that “bloodguiltiness” away. His only hope is that God will deliver him from it. God is the One upon, Whom his salvation depends; for there is no other, who can deliver him. If the LORD will deliver him from this, his joy will be so great that he will sing aloud of the righteousness of God. He is not trying to make some deal with God, as people sometimes talk of doing, saying, “LORD, if You will do this for me, I will do such and such for You..” He is only anticipating the joy that such deliverance would give him. Also, if God will open his lips, his mouth will show forth the praise of God. Until then his mouth is so shut up with sorrow that he cannot praise the LORD as he should. Then he tells us that God does not want sacrifice. This is an unusual thought for that day. It was commonly taught that if I have sinned, I must bring the proper sacrifice to the priest, who will offer it as a sacrifice, and make an atonement for me. If this would do the job, David would be glad to give whatever sacrifice the LORD might demand. But burnt offering and sacrifices are not demanded. In fact, they would not even be acceptable. The only sacrifice God will approve is a broken spirit. Until God has brought him down to the very deepest repentance, the sacrifice is not complete, and therefore not acceptable. Yet there is a bright spot in all this. “A broken and contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” No matter how great is our sin, if God has brought us down to the point that our heart is truly broken and contrite because of it, He will not despise, nor ignore our heart. What wonderful comfort there is in this!


(Verses 18 and 19) Do good in Thy good pleasure to Zion : build Thou the walls of Jerusalem . Then shalt Thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon Thine altar. 


Thus David prays that the LORD will “build the walls,” or give protection to Jerusalem . Since he has already said that sacrifices and offerings are not acceptable to God; but when the LORD shall “build the walls” He will be pleased with “the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering,” it would seem that presently these offerings are not offerings of righteousness. If they were, would not God be pleased with them? In discussion of Psalm 50, we mentioned the fact that the Jews had lost sight of Him to whom the offerings pointed, and were trusting in the sacrifices themselves, which seemed to be the reason that God was not pleased with them. The same seems to be the case here. When, however, the LORD shall “Do good in Thy good pleasure to Zion : build Thou the walls of Jerusalem ,” this will also change. So this prayer seems to be not a prayer for the strengthening of the physical walls of a natural city, but a strengthening of the faith of the inhabitants of Zion , that they might offer “the sacrifices of righteousness.” When they can do this, their offerings will all be acceptable to the LORD.

Chapter 52

This psalm is said to have been written concerning David’s enemy, Doeg the Edomite, who, seeing David at the house of Ahimelech the priest, when he was fleeing from Saul, went and told Saul where he had seen him.


(Verses 1 through 3) Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? The goodness of God endureth continually. Thy tongue deviseth mischief; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah.


Although this is said to have been written about Doeg, it is readily seen to be the same as David has many times before said about the wicked in general. He addresses Doeg as, “O mighty man,” not because he is such a mighty warrior, or such a great man in any way, but because he boasts of his evil works. David asks of him, “Why do you boast of your mischief, or your evil?” Evil will not endure, but “The goodness of God endureth continually,” or forever. If a man must boast, let him boast of the goodness of God. It is of great value, and will endure forever. This wicked man, however, is continually devising, or causing trouble with his tongue, as it, like a sharp razor, works deceitfully, even cutting between friends to separate them. He is one of those wicked men, who love evil more than righteousness, and would rather tell a lie than tell the truth. It is a sad fact, but there are still many like him today.


(Verses 4 and 5) Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue. God shall likewise destroy thee forever, He shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living.


A man like this may continue for a while, and may even seem to prosper; but since his deceitful tongue is constantly devouring, or destroying everything and everyone around him, he cannot continue on and on. God will destroy him forever. In the original languages in which the Bible was written, there are many words that are translated “destroy.” They have meanings all the way from slightly, or temporarily damaging something to that of eternally destroying it. Here, however, David leaves no room for argument about this. He says, “God shall likewise destroy thee forever.” That needs no explanation. He continues, saying, “He shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living.” So we may all say with David, “Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man?”


(Verses 6 and 7) The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him: lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.


We are commanded of the Lord not to rejoice at the downfall of our enemy; but the day is to come, in which, because our enemies are also the enemies of our Lord, we shall rejoice at the judgments God sends upon the wicked: and we shall see that these are they who “made not God their strength; but trusted in the abundance of their riches, and strengthened themselves in their wickedness.”


(Verses 8 and 9) But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever. I will praise Thee forever, because Thou hast done it: and I will wait on Thy name; for it is good before Thy saints.


Some time ago I read a writing by one who is considered an expert in such matters. He said that olive trees have such longevity that, some of those on the mount of Olives today were there when our Lord Jesus and His disciples walked there. So David compares himself to a green olive tree in the house of God. The reason for this is that David trusted in the mercy of God. That wonderful mercy endures forever; and because of it, so shall we. He says, “I will praise Thee forever, because Thou hast done it.” That is, because God has cast down the wicked forever. This, of course is looking forward to His casting them into the lake of fire, as declared in Revelation 20:15. “And I will wait on Thy name; for it is good before Thy saints.” The LORD’S name is good before His saints, and to wait on His name is good before them. We should always wait patiently on Him, and on His name.


Chapter 53

This is almost a repetition of Psalm 14. It has 1 verse less that 14, but is otherwise very similar.


(Verses 1 and 2) The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good. God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek after God.


We are sometimes prone to think of “a fool” as someone who is doing, or saying, what we consider foolish things in an effort to liven the party. This is not what David has in mind. Rather, his meaning is, “one who has no understanding.” He says, “The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” This can be reversed and it will still be true. He that says in his heart, “There is no God,” is a fool. Those, to whom God has given understanding, know that there is a God. Those, who, according to this definition, are fools, are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquities. Their every act is an abomination before God: because they have not acknowledged Him as God. “There is none that doeth good. There cannot be found among them even one that does good, that is, works righteousness. “God looked down upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.” This seems to indicate that God made a special search to see if the descendants of men had sufficient understanding to seek God. Unless the heart of man is turned so that he will seek God, he cannot work righteousness, and this is the only good that God will recognize. Verse 3 will tell us the result of that search.


(Verses 3 and 4) Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? Who eat up My people as they eat bread: they have not called upon God.


Search as He did, God found not one that sought Him. “Everyone of them is gone back,” is not to be considered as that they started out to seek God, but gave up, and abandoned the search. Rather, it means that they have gone backward, or in the opposite direction. Instead of seeking after God, “they are become altogether filthy.” Among them not one can be found who does good, or works righteousness. Their efforts are all devoted to evil instead. Now the Lord poses a question, “Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge?” He does not answer this with a simple “Yes,” or “No,” but by telling us what these wicked ones do, which gives us the answer in as strong terms as possible. “Who eat up My people as they eat bread: they have not called upon God.” Those who devour, or destroy, the people of God, with no more thought of consequences than they would have concerning the eating of bread, certainly have no real knowledge. They do not even call upon God, showing that they have no understanding of Him, or even knowledge of His existence.


(Verses 5 and 6) There were they in great fear, where no fear was: for God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee: thou hast put them to shame, because God hath despised them. Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion ! When God bringeth back the captivity of His people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.


Although verse 5 is written in past tense, this is not unusual in prophecy: for God can speak of the future as already done, since past, present and future are all before Him at once. This prophecy of the destruction of the wicked, no doubt, looks forward to God’s final judgments upon them. The first statement of verse 6 clearly shows that this is future. “Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion !” This may embrace the resurrection of our Lord Jesus, inasmuch as in that, He took captivity captive. Yet the great manifestation of its glory awaits His return to gather all of His saints.


Chapter 54

It is said that this was written concerning the treachery of the Ziphims, when they betrayed David to Saul.


(Verses 1 through 3) Save me, O God, by Thy name, and judge me by Thy strength. Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth. For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul: They have not set God before them. Selah.


David, knowing that he had been betrayed to Saul, who for a long time had been trying to kill him, prays that God will save him from Saul. The strangers are the Ziphims, or “Ziphites,” as they are sometimes called: and the oppressors are Saul and his army. As we study the life of David, we find that Saul never had any legitimate reason for wanting to kill him; but because of his own jealousy, he spent a great deal of time trying to do that very thing. Surely he had not “set God before him.” That is, he was not concerned with pleasing God. In our own experience this might be a very good description, not necessarily of any man, but of Satan and all his army of temptations, doubts, fears, etc., that are always attacking us. In this battle, God is our only help.


(Verses 4 and 5) Behold, God is mine helper: the LORD is with them that uphold my soul. He shall reward evil to mine enemies: cut them off in Thy truth.


Just as David was assured that God was his helper, we can have that same assurance if our trust is in the LORD. He will be with them also that “uphold our souls,” or lend support to us in times of trial. God will cast down Satan’s hosts that disturb us, just as he would reward evil to David’s enemies. David’s prayer should be ours: “Cut them off in Thy truth.”


(Verses 6 and 7) I will freely sacrifice unto Thee: I will praise Thy name, O Lord; for it is good. For He hath delivered me out of all trouble: and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies.


When we can feel that the LORD has given us the deliverance for which we prayed, we are ready to freely offer sacrifice to Him, and to praise His name. His name is always good, and seems especially so at that time; for through it He has delivered us. The sacrifice we offer is not that of burning the flesh of animals on an altar, but the offering of which David speaks in Psalm 50:23, “Whoso offers praise glorifieth Me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.”


Chapter 55

Without question, this psalm is a prayer of David, in which he prays for deliverance from a situation which has become so bad that even in “the city,” Jerusalem , there is strife: and even friends he trusted, had turned against him, together with the enemy, who is always seeking his destruction. There are also passages in this psalm that could even be considered as the complaint of our Lord Jesus in His suffering on the cross. Yet it so clearly depicts a situation that exists today among the Lord’s people, that I am convinced that it is more beneficial to us to consider it from that perspective.


(Verses 1 through 3) Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not Thyself from my supplication. Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise; because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me.


These first three verses are a prayer that God will listen to our supplication and complaint, which is brought forth by the oppression of the wicked, and the voice of our enemy. Of course, our enemy is always Satan, although he may approach us from many different directions, and by various means. He is always “casting iniquity upon us.” Not only does he try to lead us into committing iniquity, but he even causes iniquity to be cast upon us by those who spread false rumors about us. Those who hate us are engaged in what we sometimes hear called, “muckraking,” and, if they cannot find anything, they will engage in “character assassination” by making up false reports, and spreading them. Even when they find that people know the report is not true, they never apologize to either the one about whom they have spread the report, or to those whom they have misled by the report.


(Verses 4 and 5) My heart is sore pained within me: and terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.


Nothing in this life can cause us more sorrow of the heart than to see the spread of rumors concerning us, that we know to be false, but nothing we can do will stop them. Such things bring us to the point that we feel certain that, our life, so far as any usefulness it can have for the people of God is concerned, is over, unless the LORD intervenes. We feel completely overwhelmed by the horror of the whole situation.


(Verses 6 and 7) And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! For then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.


This is the conclusion to which we are brought when such a situation as described above continues on and on. We even begin to wish, not only that we could fly away to the wilderness, but sometimes we even pray that the Lord will cut our life short, and take us away soon. Then we remember what Solomon said, (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2) “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die _ _ _.” Since God is the One, Who has set these times, it is our duty to wait upon Him. In His time He will deliver us. This is the only thing that makes such experience bearable. Until He sets us free, all we can do is to “ride out the storm.”


(Verses 8 through 11) Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the city. Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof: mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it. Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets.


This should also be our prayer, “Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the city.” We are not to pray for the destruction of the people, but for the destruction and division of their tongues. That is, for the complete cessation of these false reports that they have spread. Everywhere that these reports continue, we will continue to see violence and strife in the city. To David, as to all the Jews, Jerusalem was, and is, the city of God . It was there He had them build His temple, which, to the Jew, is still the only place he can legally offer sacrifice to God. So, in that manner, to the professed Christian, the “gospel church” is the proper place for offering his service to God. I use the phrase, “gospel church,” not in reference to any denomination as such, but to all who profess to believe in our Lord Jesus the Christ. Is there not today much violence and strife in this city. Everyone seems to have forgotten what our Lord said are the first and second greatest commandments. Then, with each trying to substitute for them his own little group’s interpretation of a few scriptures to the neglect of all the rest, we have violence and strife in the city. The whole city is in this violence and strife, engaged in civil war among themselves, and presenting no united front against the real enemy, Satan. Constantly, (“day and night”) “they go about upon the walls thereof: mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it.” Who are they that go about this city upon the walls thereof? Are they not those who are appointed watchmen? If they are truly watchmen, and doing the work to which they were appointed, why are “mischief also and sorrow in the midst of it. There is today so much  “in-fighting” among those who claim to be servants of God, that they have neither time nor energy to focus upon the real enemy, Satan. Instead, they are so caught up in his net, that their watching for the welfare of the city has been cast aside, and they are themselves the cause of much of the wickedness that is “in the midst thereof,” and the deceit and guile that “depart not from her streets.” Surely, “organized Christianity” is in a terrible state of decay.


(Verses 12 through 14) For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: but it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.


Having spoken in general concerning the wickedness that has been brought into the city, David returns to his personal experience. This is one of the passages of this psalm that some think properly apply to the treachery of Judas against our Lord Jesus. However, I still think it has great value to us when applied to our own experience. There is an old saying, which, though not scripture, contains a very solid natural truth: “You must watch your friends; you already know what your enemies will do to you.” If it had been an enemy who set out to destroy us, with his false rumors and accusations, it not only would have been no surprise, but we also could have found ways to avoid him. In fact, we would have expected nothing less of him, and would have been prepared. But this was one, “mine own equal.” This is not said to give the idea of setting one person as more important than another, or better than another. It only shows that this man was one whom I considered as my close friend, one who, as I thought, was in full agreement with me. He was even my guide, one who led me in some things: I thought I knew him; he was “Mine acquaintance.” We even entered into discussions together; and our fellowship in those discussions was sweet. We went together to the house of God. What happened? The deceit and guile in the streets of “the city” overthrew him, and he turned against me. Perhaps, you have never had such an experience. If not, that is wonderful. But if you have, you know exactly what is under consideration.


(Verses 15 through 17) Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings and among them. As for me, I shall call upon God: and the Lord shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice.


Notice should be taken that, David changed in verse 15 from the singular, in which he described the false friend, to the plural, which refers back to the wicked, who have caused all the trouble in the first place. He prays that they be seized upon by death, but taken “down quick into hell.” This seems to mean that it is his desire that death lay hold upon them, but before it renders them unconscious, they go down “quick,” or alive, into hell. The reason for such a prayer is that, “wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.” This is not a matter of their being misled, and as a result are doing evil; but wickedness is even their habitation. It is among them, and even in their dwelling places. He then declares his confidence in spite of these wicked. “As for me, I shall call upon God; and the Lord shall save me” As long as we have this assurance, we can face whatever may come. The phrase, “evening, and morning, and at noon,” is not intended to mean just three times a day, but rather, all day long, or continuously, “will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear me.” We are told in God’s word, “Pray without ceasing,” and this is exactly what David said he will do. “And He shall hear my voice.” Not only will we pray, but also God will hear us.


(Verses 18 and 19) He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me. God shall hear, and afflict them, even He That abideth of old. Selah. Because they have no changes, they fear not God.


All this battle that was against David, and had caused so much violence, strife, and deceit in the city, has now been put behind him: for God has delivered him. We must also remember that, it is only He, Who can deliver us. When He says, “For there were many with me,” he is not saying that there were many on his side, but that there were many around him. That is, many enemies had surrounded him. Then he says, “God shall hear,” that is, “He shall give a favorable answer to my prayer.” When He does, He will afflict them. We can always depend upon the Lord to bring down the enemies of truth. He may not do so today, or as soon as we would desire: but, at His time He will do it. This is the same God, Who “abideth of old.” He is the Ancient of Days, and is God forever. These wicked do not fear God, because “they have no changes.” That is, since they have not suffered any setbacks, and God has not yet sent judgment upon them, they do not think about such, and therefore have no fear of Him.


(Verses 20 and 21) He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant. The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords.


This is the description of the wicked as he sets forth to deceive us, and is therefore a warning to us to beware of the smooth talker and the flatterer. Their words may sound very smooth and friendly, but their intent is to cause trouble and strife. If we follow them, we will be snared in their net.


(Verses 22 and 23) Cast thy burden upon the LORD and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. But Thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in Thee.


If we want help that will sustain us whatever may come, it is the LORD, to Whom we must go. He will never suffer the righteous to be disturbed, but will sustain them forever. On the other hand, He will bring the wicked down to the pit of destruction. He will cut off those who shed blood and practice deceit. He knows “how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the Day of Judgment to be punished.” Is not this reason enough for us to trust Him?


Chapter 56

(Verses 1 through 4) Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me. Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O Thou most High. What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee. In God I will praise His word, in God I have put my trust: I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.


Here we find David again praying that God will be merciful unto him, because his many enemies are bent on his destruction. Perhaps, we do not have as many men seeking to destroy us as did David; but Satan’s forces are always gathered against us. Men may at times be involved in this: but, if they are not, we still have all manner of temptations, doubts, fears, etc. to face. So we also need the mercy of the Lord, just as much as did David. These enemies are constantly trying to swallow us up, just as were his. So we have to call upon the LORD for help, and trust in Him for deliverance. When these enemies make us afraid, we have only Him in Whom to trust: but He is sufficient. So as our trust is in Him, we have no fear that our enemies can overcome us. When our trust is in Him, we too can say, “I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.


(Verses 5 through 7) Every day they wrest my words: all their thoughts are against me for evil. They gather themselves together, they hide themselves, they mark my steps, when they wait for my soul. Shall they escape by iniquity? In Thine anger cast down the people, O God.


Just as David’s enemies gathered themselves together, hid themselves in ambush, and kept themselves fully informed of his whereabouts, and what paths he traveled, that they might unexpectedly attack him, so the hosts of Satan daily do unto us. It is unpleasant, to have people around us, seemingly waiting for us to say something that they can twist to mean something we never intended. In the same way, it is sad, and even somewhat frightening, to begin thinking about something our Lord has taught, or some experience of His mercy we have enjoyed, and, without any intent of such, and no warning, have our train of thought twisted so that we are suddenly thinking of some evil we have suffered from someone, or even to thoughts of “getting even” with the perpetrator of that event. In such times there is only One, to Whom we can go for help. That is the LORD. Then we have to beg Him to cast down these wicked ones, not the people we think may have wronged us, but the evil temptations that have disturbed our minds.


(Verses 8 through 11) Thou tellest my wanderings: put Thou my tears into Thy bottle: are they not in Thy book? When I cry unto Thee, shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me. In God will I praise His word: in the LORD will I praise His word. In God have I put my trust: I will not fear what man can do unto me.


Back in verse 7, David asked the question, “Shall they escape by iniquity?” This is the strongest way of saying that they shall not so escape. Their iniquities assure us that God will, indeed, call them to account, and there is no escape. This applies not only to evil men, but also to the hosts of Satan, who always surround us. God shall in His anger cast them down. Now he says, “Thou tellest my wanderings: put Thou my tears into Thy bottle: are they not in Thy book?” Wherever we go, and whatever we do, we are still under the watchful eye of God. Our news reports are constantly filled with stories about children who have wandered away from their parents. Most of them are eventually found; but some are not. It cannot be thus with the Lord’s children; for He knows all their wanderings. They cannot get out of His sight. Therefore, since in much of his wanderings, David has been crying before God, he prays that the LORD will put his tears into His bottle, that is, that He will keep them in remembrance before Him. He also asks, “Are they not in Thy book?” Surely the LORD keeps a record of the tears of His children. He does not have to use a physical book as we do to keep records. He never forgets anything; the record in His memory is far more sure than any written one that man can write, though it were engraved in stone. The remainder of this text is a declaration of David’s confidence in God. The first thing we notice is that, he knows his calling upon the LORD will make his enemies turn back, or retreat. He knows this, because God is for him, or is on his side. No doubt, this knowledge has been brought about by the many experiences he has had of  God’s delivering him from them in times past. Now he will, in the LORD GOD, praise the word of God. Since he knows the word of God to be true and steadfast, he knows it is worthy to be praised. Then he makes a declaration in which we all should join: “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.” Our Lord Jesus has told us:, “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but fear Him Which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”


(Verses 12 and 13) Thy vows are upon me, O God, I will render praises unto Thee. For Thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt Thou not deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?


We too, should remember that the vows of our God are upon us. In case you may have forgotten, let me remind you that, when you confessed faith in our Lord Christ Jesus, and were baptized in His name, your action declared your vow more eloquently than words can express. It said that you believed Christ Jesus died, was buried, and rose again, to save you from your sins; and because He did, you will walk in newness of life for Him, following His commandments and examples. That is the vow you and I have upon us. So let us render praises unto God; for He has delivered our souls from death. Since He has already done this for us, surely He will also deliver our feet from falling, that we may walk before Him in the light of the living.


Chapter 57

(Verses 1 through 3) Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in Thee: yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. I will cry unto God most High: unto God That performest all things for me. He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth His mercy and His truth.


This psalm is said to have been written as David’s prayer for deliverance from Saul, after David let Saul go without harm, when he came into the cave in which David was hiding. (See I Samuel 24). What the occasion of this prayer was is of less value to us than its substance. Notice that David is praying for the mercy of God, not pleading some good work of his own. He knew that he was in a time and place of potential danger. Although he had shown mercy to his enemy Saul, he knew that his works were not sufficient to plead before God. His only foundation upon which to expect God’s help, was His mercy, just as it is with us. We cannot plead our works; because they are not worthy to be set before Him. He does declare that his soul trusts in God. And thus it must be with us, if we expect any help from Him. For the writer of The Hebrew Epistle says, “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.” (Heb. 11:6) Because David trusted in the LORD, he could say, “Yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.” This is an illustration David often uses, “in the shadow of Thy wings.” It is obvious that the picture he presents is that, just as little chicks run to the mother hen and get under her wings for protection in time of danger, so we turn to the LORD, and look to Him for shelter. When we do this, we will find exactly what David found. This God Who does all things for us, (not that He is a servant, as some try to portray Him, to do whatever we tell Him to do; but that He is able to do all things, and will take care of us through all,) “shall send from heaven, and shall save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. God shall send forth His mercy and truth.”


(Verses 4 through 6) My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are on fire, even among the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword. Be Thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Thy glory be above all the earth. They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah.


He here declares that he is among, or surrounded by, enemies that, like lions, would tear him to pieces, and whose teeth are like spears and arrows. Even their tongue is a sharp sword. That is, they are spreading lies and evil threats against him. In spite of being in such grave danger, he praises God, saying, “Be Thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Thy glory be above all the earth.” That which brings forth such praise is that, God has caused these enemies, who have prepared a net for his steps, and have dug a pit for him, to fall into the same pit they dug for him. Thus the LORD has delivered him from these enemies.


(Verses 7 through 11) My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise. Awake up, my glory; awake psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early. I will praise Thee, O LORD, among the people: I will sing unto Thee among the nations. For Thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and Thy truth unto the clouds. Be Thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let Thy glory be above all the earth.


Certainly there can be no difficulty in understanding this. David is declaring the mercy, glory, and praise, of God; all of which are greater than can be contained in both the earth and the heavens. He says his heart is “fixed.” It is fastened, or anchored, upon God, and therefore it cannot be moved, or disturbed: and he is determined to praise the LORD, even awaking early for this purpose. He was not as many are today. On days set aside for worship of God, they drag around and do not even arrive at the church building until after time appointed for the services to begin. David wanted to get an early start, and so should we. Not only so, but He says, “I will praise Thee, O LORD, among the people: I will sing unto Thee among the nations.” As we have pointed out before, when, in Old Testament usage we find “the people” and “the nations,” (or the heathen) together, the meaning is, “both Jews and Gentiles,” for “the people” refers to the Jews, and “the nations,” to the Gentiles. Thus David says that he will praise the LORD among the people, (the Jews, or as he views them, the LORD’S people) but he will not stop there. He will also sing unto the LORD among the nations (those who do not even believe in the LORD.) We should never be ashamed to praise Him, even among those who do not believe in Him.


Chapter 58

(Verses 1 and 2) Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? Do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men? Yea, in heart ye work wickedness; ye weigh the violence of your hands in the earth.


It is reasonably obvious that David is here addressing, not a congregation of the LORD’S people, but a gathering of the wicked. There seems to be a pattern of word usage today that might influence some to get the wrong impression of this first question, inasmuch as we most often use “congregation” in reference to a religious gathering, while using “audience,” “conclave,” “council,” or some other word, to describe a group gathered for some other purpose. The congregation here might be as are many gatherings we have today; men proposing to search for the answer to some question they think to be of importance. The two questions David asks them are: “Do you speak righteousness? And “Do you judge uprightly?” It should be clear to anyone that, unless the answer to both questions is an affirmative, nothing worthwhile can be accomplished. Then he gives the real answer to both these questions at the same time. “Yea, in heart ye work wickedness; ye weigh the violence of your hands in the earth.” This seems to adequately describe all the meetings that are being held today to study the problems of humanity, from those that are worldwide down to those of the community. Those who engage in them, although they claim to be seeking the answers to the problems of society, are only trying to further their own agenda, which is indeed working wickedness in the heart; and they “weigh,” or consider “the violence of their hands in the earth.” Usually their final recommendation of a solution is either to meet violence with more violence, or to spend more money on the problem, so that there will be more temptation for those who receive the money to make matters worse, in order to get more money spent on the problem. Thus they widen and intensify the cycle of violence. Should anyone suggest that they look to the word of God for a workable and profitable solution, he would immediately be “shouted down.” To turn back to God’s teaching is not politically correct.


(Verses 3 through 5) The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear; which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely.


Before commenting upon this, lest we begin to think ourselves better than those described by David, let us consider a quotation of the Apostle Paul, in Ephesians 2:1-2. “And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in times 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 our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” Surely this concludes us all as wicked by nature, and therefore included in David’s description. The only way any of us will ever escape “the damnation of hell,” is through the grace of our God. If we are now better than they, it is because of His grace. “By grace are ye saved.” So “the wicked go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” No man ever has to learn to tell lies. That is a trait of nature that is as natural as eating, or drinking water. Even those who have been quickened by the power of God still find their nature inclined toward falsehood. We have a natural tendency, when telling of some experience we have had, although we try to relate it accurately, to shade everything a little in our favor. This does not mean that we are deliberately lying about the matter, but simply that our nature has that tendency, and therefore we need to guard against it. “Their poison is as the poison of a serpent.” Whether or not we have been bitten by a snake, we have all heard, or seen enough  concerning snakes, that we know their poison can cause great pain, and even death. The same is true with the poison of wickedness, which is the poison of the wicked. We have been told by those who claim to be experts concerning snakes, that a very young Rattlesnake is just as deadly as a much larger one; because, although the larger one has more venom, the young one’s venom is more concentrated, and therefore stronger. In Israel , and areas thereabout, a snake charmer was a common sight. He would have a covered basket in which was a poisonous snake, such as an Adder, or even a Cobra. The charmer would have a flute, which he would begin playing, and at the same time he would remove the cover from the basket. As he played his flute, the snake would raise its head, and begin to sway back and forth in time to the music. When the music stopped, the snake would settle down in the basket, and the cover would be put back on the basket. This man was called a “charmer.” David likens the wicked to a deaf Adder, one that will not, or cannot hear the music; and therefore cannot be charmed by the charmer, no matter how wise he may be. Such a snake is always dangerous. So are the wicked


(Verses 6 through 9) Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth: break out the great teeth of the young lions, O Lord. Let them melt away as waters which run continually: when he bendeth his bow to shoot his arrows, let them be as cut in pieces. As a snail, which melteth, let every one of them pass away: like the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun. Before your pots can feel the thorns, He shall take them away as with a whirlwind, both living, and in His wrath.


As David considers these wicked ones, he prays that God will “break their teeth, O God, in their mouth: break the great teeth of the young lions, O God.” He realizes that God is the only One Who is able to stop them. Although they have the poison of serpents, and are as ferocious as young lions, God is able to neutralize them, so that they will be as if their teeth were all broken out. He continues his prayer. No doubt, his reference is to a pond or reservoir, from which the water is allowed to flow continuously, when he says, “Let them melt away as waters that flow continually,” and not a spring fed” running stream, which might flow indefinitely; for it is his desire that they may completely cease. When they begin to attack the righteous, his prayer is that their weapons be completely destroyed, “cut in pieces.” A snail, left in the hot sunshine, will soon melt away, and his desire for the wicked is that they do the same. He prays that they might pass away without seeing the sun, just as the stillborn never see the light of day. In verse 9, he uses an expression that may seem a little obscure until we consider that in that area fire wood is, and always has been, somewhat scarce. So, to warm water in a pot, they would use whatever combustible materials might be at hand. Thorns, that is, thorn bushes, were often used thus. So, “Before your pots can feel the thorns,” readily answers to an expression we often hear today, “Before the water gets hot;” and, of course, means “without delay.” Therefore without delay the LORD will take the wicked away. This will be suddenly, as with a whirlwind, and while they are still alive. This He will do in His wrath.


(Verses 10 and 11) The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: He shall wash His feet in the blood of the wicked. So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily He is a God that judgeth in the earth.


“The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance,” is adequately explained in II Thessalonians 1:6-10. In the day in which vengeance is wrought on the wicked, the righteous shall all be resting in His presence. Revelation 14: 18-20 sets forth the fulfilling of, “He shall wash His feet in the blood of the wicked. Jesus is the One Who shall tread “the great winepress of the wrath of God.” In doing so, He shall wash His feet in the blood of the wicked. When that day comes, it will be apparent to all men that, “Verily, there is a reward for the righteous: verily He is a God that judgeth the earth.”


Chapter 59

(Verses 1 through 5) Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God: defend me from them that rise up against me. Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloody men. For, lo, they lie in wait for my soul: the mighty are gathered against me; not for my transgression, nor for my sin, O LORD. They run and prepare themselves without my fault: awake to help me, and behold. Thou therefore, O LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel, Awake to visit all the heathen: be not merciful to any wicked transgressor. Selah.


We are told that this Psalm is David’s prayer when Saul sent men to watch David’s house, with orders to kill him. All of these men were soldiers of Saul, and fully experienced in battle and violence, as was Saul himself. So these enemies are not only the soldiers who watched his house, but also those who sent them, including Saul himself. As in many of his psalms, we can apply this to our own lives by remembering that Satan’s forces, that are always gathered against us, are to us very much as were David’s enemies to him. They seek to destroy us. David prays that God will defend and deliver him from these enemies, for they are mighty. He does not claim that he has not committed any sin or transgression, but that such is not involved in this situation. These enemies are not concerned with any transgression he may have committed, for “they run and prepare themselves without my fault.” If we read the account given in II Samuel concerning Saul’s efforts to kill David, we see that it was all brought on by Saul’s jealousy of David, and had nothing to do with any transgression of David. So David prays, “Thou therefore, O LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel, Awake to visit all the heathen: be not merciful to any wicked transgressors.” This is one time that, in The Psalms, “the heathen” refers not to the Gentiles, but to the wicked ones who are trying to destroy David. He prays that God will show them no quarter.


(Verses 6 and 7) They return at evening: they make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city. Behold, they belch out with their mouth: swords are in their lips: for, Who, say they, doth hear?


Apparently, as men bent on evil usually do, they hide out in the daytime, and at night become more bold; and go around through the city, trying to get information about where David is, and how best to attack him. The evil words that come forth from their mouths are as filthy as the vomit of a dog, and as dangerous as swords. They think no one knows of their evil plans.


(Verses 8 through 10) But Thou, O Lord, shalt laugh at them: Thou shalt have all the heathen in derision. Because of his strength will I wait upon Thee: for God is my defense. The God of my mercy shall prevent me: God shall let me see my desire upon mine enemies.


Although these wicked enemies think no one can hear them, God will laugh at them; not a laugh of humor, but one of derision: because they thought He did not know what they were doing. David says, “Because of his strength will I wait upon Thee.” This enemy is so strong that David cannot overcome him alone, so he will wait upon the LORD. So it often is with us. God is our only defense, but He is sufficient. This great God will go before (“prevent”) us, so there is nothing to fear, and He will let us see our desire upon our enemies. We shall be delivered from them.


(Verses 11 through 13) Slay them not, lest my people forget: scatter them by Thy power; and bring them down, O LORD our shield. For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips let them even be taken in their pride: and for cursing and lying which they speak. Consume them in wrath, consume them that they may not be: and let them know that God ruleth in Jacob unto the ends of the earth.


Notice that David prays particularly that these wicked ones be not slain. If they were slain David’s people might forget that it is God, Who delivered them. But, if God, Who is our shield, will scatter them and break their power so that they cannot carry on their evil works, His mercy and power will be much more remembered. For all the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips, (that is, for all the evil things they have boasted they were going to do, and all the false reports they have spread) let them be taken in their pride. That is, let them be broken at the very height of their evil efforts, when they are most confident of achieving their evil schemes. Let this destruction of their power be for the cursing and lying they speak. “Consume them in wrath, consume them that they may not be.” Were it not for what he says as he continues, we might think he has changed his mind, and wants all of these consumed by death, but such is not the case. He only desires that their power be broken, and that they be made so impotent that they will “know that God ruleth in Jacob unto the ends of the earth.”


(Verses 14 and 15) And at evening let them return; and let them make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city. Let them wander up and down for meat, and grudge if they be not satisfied.


In verses 6 and 7 David said these wicked ones were coming out in the evening, or darkness, and going through the city, belching forth their boasts of the evil they intended to do. Now he prays that they be allowed to continue coming forth in the evening like dogs, to wander over the city, but for an entirely different reason. “Let them wander up and down for meat, (food) and grudge (groan) if they be not satisfied.


(Verses 16 and 17) But I will sing of Thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of Thy mercy in the morning: for Thou hast been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble. Unto Thee, O my strength, will I sing: for God is my defense, and the God of my mercy.


David declares that while these broken enemies are wandering around seeking food, He will be singing of the power and mercy of God. He will sing in the morning: that is, this will be his first employment of the day, because the LORD has been his defense and refuge in the day of his trouble. When he says, “Unto Thee O my strength will I sing,” he is not trying to glorify his physical strength, but God Himself, because God is his strength, just as He also is ours. He is our defense and the God of all the mercy we ever have received, or ever shall receive; and that mercy is all we shall ever need. So surely we should praise Him.


Chapter 60

(Verses 1 and 2) O God, Thou hast cast us off, Thou hast scattered us, Thou hast been displeased; O turn Thyself to us again, Thou hast made the earth to tremble; Thou hast broken it: heal the breaches thereof; for it shaketh.


Here we find David in a very somber mood. He knows that the reason Israel has not been victorious over her enemies is that God has been sufficiently displeased with her that He has momentarily cast her off, and scattered her army. So now he prays, “O turn Thyself to us again,” He realizes that Israel ’s only help is God, and until He gives His blessing, all her efforts are in vain. Since He has withdrawn His presence from Israel , it is as if the whole world has been made to tremble, and is broken. So his prayer is, “Heal the breaches thereof; for it shaketh.” When the Lord withdraws from us, it seems the whole world shakes, and nothing seems right at all. The only cure for this condition is that the Lord again draw us close to Himself


(Verses 3 through 5) Thou hast shewed Thy people hard things: Thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment. Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah. That Thy beloved may be delivered; save with Thy right hand, and hear me.


Since in verse 1 David confesses that the LORD has been displeased with Israel , and has for that reason cast them off and scattered them, it must follow that some in Israel have committed transgressions that displeased Him. As a result of these transgressions the LORD has shown His people some hard things, some very difficult times, even “the wine of astonishment.” They have been brought to shame before their enemies. Nevertheless, this very difficulty is “a banner to them that fear God,” a flag, or rallying point for them. We must remember that, as the Apostle Paul said, “They are not all Israel that are of Israel .” This is a truth that did not just come into being when our Lord Jesus came into the world, but has been true from the beginning. When Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt , it was true, and so it was in the wilderness, and even in David’s day. Nevertheless, the troubles brought on Israel for the sake of these, is, as is often said today, “a wake up call” for true believers, those who fear the LORD. This banner is set on display because of the truth. Thus the true believers are called together that they may call upon the LORD: and He will both hear and save them with His “right hand,” or power.


(Verses 6 through 8) God hath spoken in His holiness; I will rejoice, I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth . Gilead is Mine, and Manasseh is Mine; Ephraim also is the strength of Mine head; Judah is My lawgiver; Moab is My wash pot; over Edom will I cast out My shoe. Philistia , triumph thou because of Me.


Certainly God is always holy; but the expression, “God hath spoken in His holiness,” seems to have the special significance of saying that His entire being, which is His holiness, is called upon to witness this declaration, and therefore it cannot be changed. The declaration is: “I will rejoice, I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth ; (or divide it by measuring;) “ That is, God alone shall divide these places, or shall say who will dwell there. He will allot them as it pleases Him Further, He says, “Gilead is Mine; Ephraim is the strength of Mine head; Judah is My lawgiver.” Gilead was, evidently the source of certain medicinal supplies, for we find several expressions of scripture that refer to “balm” or healing, as being in Gilead . Jeremiah 8:22 says, “Is there no balm in Gilead ?” This seems to indicate that that would be an unusual situation. Ephraim, of course refers to the tribe of Ephraim and the area they inhabited. When He says “ Judah is My lawgiver,” it is in reference to the fact that David and his descendants were chosen of God as the ruling family of Israel ; and has special reference to the fact that it is from the tribe of Judah that our Lord came according to the flesh. Many have tried to spiritualize verse 8; and if that is their desire, they are welcome to it. It seems that He is simply showing that the LORD is so great that the land of Moab, although to us a fairly large area, is to Him no more than a washpot, a fairly large pot used to boil clothes in during the laundering operation. Edom , another large area, is so small in comparison to Him, that, were He as a man, to stop to cast a little sand out of His shoe, the fall out would cover the whole country of Edom . When He says, “Philistia, triumph thou because of Me,” it is not to be taken as a prophecy that Philistia (the Philistines) will be made to triumph over Israel in the end, but a slight re-arrangement of the wording might make the meaning a little clearer: “Philistia, because of Me you triumph.” Thus it is a warning to the Philistines lest they think themselves great, and try to destroy Israel . They have won the present battle only because the LORD for His own purpose delivered Israel into their hands.


(Verses 9 through 12) Who will bring me into the strong city? Who will lead me into Edom ? Wilt not Thou, O God, Which hadst cast me off? And Thou, O God, Which didst not go out with our armies? Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man. Through God we shall do valiantly: for He it is that shall tread down our enemies.


The present distress seems to have taught David a great lesson. We find in some of his earlier psalms references to his prowess as a warrior: and, although he gives God the praise for making him such, he seems to, at times, give the impression that he might be relying somewhat on the past blessings to see him through future battles. Here the “banner” has been given him that causes him to know the truth. That truth is that not even he can win the battle without the LORD. So now he asks, “Who will bring me into the strong city? Who will lead me into Edom ?” He realizes that it is foolish to attempt going in his own strength. In verses 10 and 11, he prays that God, Who did not go with his armies, but cast them off, thus bringing defeat upon them, will give them help from trouble. He declares that the help of man is vain: it is not dependable. If God does not bring him into the strong city as a conqueror over his enemies, he cannot get there. So it is with us in all our battles against the forces of Satan. Let us never be so lifted up in our minds that we forget this. Rather, let us remember what the Apostle Paul said, “When I am weak, then am I strong.” The only strength we have is in God. When we realize and acknowledge our weakness, He gives us His strength. Verse 12 is the conclusion of this matter. “Through God we shall do valiantly: for He it is that shall tread down our enemies.”


Chapter 61

(Verses 1 through 3) Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For Thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.


As he begins this prayer, David begs God to hear his cry, and attend unto his prayer, That is, that He will not only hear him, but also give a favorable answer. Even if he might be at such a remote place as the end of the earth, he will still cry unto the LORD when his heart is overwhelmed. Such also is the experience of all God’s children. That for which he prays is that God will “lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Inasmuch as in earlier psalms, David has declared that the LORD is his “Rock,” his “fortress,” and his “high tower,” it seems that this is a prayer that God will draw him closer to Himself, and give him a greater feeling of fellowship with the LORD. This surely is a Rock that is higher than David, and higher than any of us. God is our Rock, and when He draws us to Himself, we are safe from any storm that may come. David is well aware of this, and that is the reason for his prayer.


(Verses 4 and 5) I will abide in thy tabernacle forever: I will trust in the covert of Thy wings. Selah. For Thou, O God, hast heard my vows: Thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear Thy name.


We sometimes hear people say that, “tabernacle” applies to a temporary structure: but if we read a little farther in the dictionary, we find that it also means “a temple, or a place of worship,” with no reference to the length of its duration. When David said, “I will abide in Thy tabernacle forever,” it is evident that he did not consider it temporary. God’s children shall indeed abide in the place of worship of God, whether in a building, or not, while in this world, and in eternity they shall never be separated from Him; for there “the tabernacle of God is with men.” He says, “I will trust in the covert of Thy wings.” A covert is a hiding place; and with the wings of God as our hiding place, no evil can ever find us. God has heard our vows, and that we need to always keep in mind. Whatever vows we have made, we had better pay. We are safe forever, for God has given to us the heritage of those who fear His name.


(Verses 6 through 8) Thou wilt prolong the king’s life; and his years as many generations. He shall abide before God forever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him. So will I sing praise unto Thy name forever, that I may daily perform my vows.


No doubt, this is David’s praise to God for the many blessings with which He had blessed him, and had promised for the future: but it also seems to be prophetic of our Lord Christ Jesus. The Father has indeed prolonged His life. His enemies thought they had destroyed Him, but the Father raised Him from the grave; and He is alive forever; and He shall abide before God for evermore. He is the embodiment of mercy and truth, and they preserve Him. Surely we should all join with David as he says, “So will I sing praise unto Thy name forever, that I may daily perform my vows.”

Chapter 62

(Verses 1 and 2) Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from Him cometh my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.


This presents David in a very contented situation. His soul is content to wait upon the LORD. As he considers the matter, he is convinced that his salvation can come only from God; because, as he says, “He only is my rock and my salvation.” Since the LORD is his defense, he is sure that nothing that comes can cause him to be greatly disturbed (“moved”). How wonderful it is to be able to fully rest in the LORD.


(Verses 3 and 4) How long will ye imagine mischief against a man? Ye shall be slain, all of you: as a bowing wall shall ye be, and as a tottering fence. They only consult to cast him down from his excellency: They delight in lies: they bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly. Selah.


This is addressed to, and is about, the wicked. His question to them is: “How long will ye imagine mischief against a man?” This man, against whom they are imagining, or plotting evil, probably is David himself: but that really makes no difference, because it could apply to any upright man. These wicked are constantly planning evil against any upright or righteous man. Their consulting, or plotting, is that they may cast him down from his excellency, or uprightness; and their delight is in lies instead of the truth. They put on a good front, and bless, or praise, with their words, but the thought of their heart is to curse, or criticize. A masonry wall that begins to bow, will soon fall, and so will a tottering fence. Both are dangerous. That is what David says they are like. They soon will fall.


(Verses 5 through 7) My soul, wait thou only upon God: for my expectation is from Him. He only is my Rock and my salvation: He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the Rock of my strength and my refuge is in God.


Although those who continually plot the downfall of the righteous are sure to fall, David feels no worry. His command to his own soul is, “Wait thou only upon God.” It would be wonderful if we all could learn to do that: and we have every reason for so doing, and none for refusing. The only expectation of help we can have is from Him. He, and no other, is our Rock, our salvation, and our defense. He is the Rock that has stood the test of time, and will endure even forever. If we rely wholly upon Him, we will never have any reason to be “moved,” or disturbed, no matter what may come upon us. Let us say with David, “In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.


(Verses 8 through 10) Trust in Him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before Him: God is a refuge for us. Selah. Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity. Trust not in appearance, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.


Having declared his satisfaction with God as his salvation, his defense, his glory, his strength, and his refuge, David turns his address to the people. His first admonition to us is that we at all times trust in God, and pour out our hearts to Him. We are to enter wholeheartedly into both praising Him for all His glory, grace, power, majesty, and righteousness, and praying to Him for whatever we need. In so doing, we glorify Him. He then evaluates all men. “Men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.” Therefore they, all men, are worth nothing when we are truly in need of salvation, defense, and refuge. None but the LORD is able to help in such times. He then says, “Trust not in appearance, and become not vain in robbery.” Many things may appear wonderful; but behind the wonderful appearance there is no worthwhile substance; these things cannot be depended upon. When he says, “Be not vain in robbery,” he may not be referring to taking a gun, or some other weapon, and by threatening someone with it, taking his property. Surely we would not think of doing such; but sometimes by taking unfair advantage of someone we might be able to get something of his that we would like to have. People even sometimes will cheat on their taxes, and consider that to be all right. They try to justify it in many ways. They will even argue that they are not hurting anyone, because that is only the government’s money. What they fail to consider is that they are cheating their neighbor; it is his money: the government has none except what it collects from the people. Since the people demand services of the government, the people must pay the bill, that is, the taxes. Cutting corners in this way is becoming “vain in robbery” as much as would be taking a gun and robbing the corner grocery store, or any other related activity. Taxes are not the only field in which we can find examples of this, but they might be the best known. “If riches increase, set not your heart upon them.” There is, by nature, some greed in the heart of every man. Although our Lord has taught us not to give in to it, we have to daily put up a hard fight to keep it under subjection. If the Lord blesses us to gain a little of this world’s goods, we should be thankful for that blessing, as for all others: but we should not let it lead us to strive harder for wealth. Just as surely as we begin to consider wealth for itself, we are on the road to trouble. Many, who, as they start in life, with hardly enough of this world’s goods to survive, have been humble, and thankful to the LORD for what He gives them; have, as they have a few successes in life, and begin to gain a little more, turned their thoughts to trying to increase their wealth. When they do this, they very often lose their humility and their thankfulness. They want to be perceived as successful. They have to have finer houses and fancier automobiles. Sometimes they even have to move in different social circles, and forget those who were their friends in earlier days. All of this is the result of setting their hearts upon riches that have increased.


(Verses 11 and 12) God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God. Also unto Thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for Thou renderest to every man according to his work.


If God speaks only once, His word will stand forever. So, surely when He speaks twice, none can gainsay Him. He has declared that power belongs to God. We should always keep this in mind. Not only should we remember that, since power belongs to Him, He is our only help: but also, should He ever cause us to be set in a position of a little power, or authority, must remember that the power is not ours, but His. And we are only stewards of it; and must use it to His glory. He can remove us from that stewardship as easily as He set us in it. He is the Judge, Who renders to every man according to his works: but since mercy also belongs to Him, we can feel the assurance of His mercy and love as we try to serve Him day by day.


Chapter 63

(Verses 1 and 2) O God, Thou art my God; early will I seek Thee: my soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see Thy power and Thy glory, so as I have seen Thee in the sanctuary.


We get into such a habit of using words according to only one of their meanings, even when they have many, that when we read, or hear, a word, the one meaning to which we are accustomed, is the one which comes to mind, and we do not even consider others. Such is the case with the word, “sanctuary.” When this word is used, unless it has some special identification of something else, we usually think of a church building, or a particular part of it. If it concerns things in David’s day, we likely would relate it to the tabernacle or the temple. Yet it has meanings that have nothing to do with a church, a tabernacle, or a temple. Since the root of this word is “sanctus,” the Latin word for “sacred,” or “inviolable,” we should consider its meaning in this case, as “a place of sacred, or inviolable, refuge.” This is what David refers to in using this word. Many times he has declared that God is his refuge, and because of this he has no fear of anyone’s being able to violate that refuge; because God is greater than all. What he desires now is to see again the demonstration of the power and glory of God, as he has seen them before when he fled to Him for refuge. God’s presence is the sanctuary in which he has seen such manifestations before; and he longs to see them again. His desire to see them, and to feel the presence of God is as intense as would be the thirst of one wandering in the desert, “a dry and thirsty land.” To one who is extremely thirsty, there is nothing of nature as precious as a fountain of cool water. So is the desire of God’s children for a manifestation of His power, glory, and love, as they wander through this present world.


(Verses 3 and 4) Because Thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise Thee. Thus will I bless Thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in Thy name.


Notice that David is not promising to praise the Lord in order that God will do something for him. But, because he has already experienced the loving kindness of the Lord, he knows it to be better, or more precious, than life; and therefore he says, “My lips shall praise Thee.” That same loving kindness has also been experienced by everyone that loves the Lord. Therefore we too should praise Him. “Thus will I bless (praise) Thee while I live.” That is, my entire life shall be dedicated to praising the Lord. “I will lift up my hands in Thy name.” Lifting up the hands was, and by some still is, considered an act of worship. So this is the equivalent of a vow, “I will worship in Thy name.” It is a vow each of us who loves the Lord should both make and keep.


(Verses 5 through 8) My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise Thee with joyful lips: when I remember Thee upon my bed, and meditate on Thee in the night watches. Because Thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice. My soul followeth after Thee: Thy right hand upholdeth me.


Today, because of our sedentary lifestyle, we are told to avoid fat in our diets; but in the strenuous exercise of their daily living, the people of David’s day needed no such caveat. They considered “fatness and marrow” as the ingredients that enhanced the flavor of their food, and without which a meal was too dull and bland. David uses this expression to show the great satisfaction he has in remembering the LORD, either while lying on his bed, or when, as a soldier, he stands night watch. It is with joy that he will praise the LORD. In verse 7 he declares that he will rejoice in the shadow of the wings of the LORD, not in anticipation of what He will do for him, but “because Thou hast been my help.” He had already experienced God’s help, and knew that God is the One, Who had upheld him. So his soul followed with great joy and great effort God, Whose right hand had upheld him.


(Verses 9 through 11) But those that seek my soul to destroy it shall go into the lower parts of the earth. They shall be a portion for the foxes. But the king shall rejoice in God: every one that sweareth by Him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.


Since David knows that he is upheld by God’s right hand, he has no fear, but declares the contrast between himself and those who seek to destroy him. His enemies shall fall by the sword, and become food for the wild beasts of the field. That is their dead bodies, instead of being buried, shall be left on the battlefield. No one knows where, or when the custom of burying the dead originated, but it is very ancient: and many people have thought that leaving their dead unburied on the battlefield was detrimental to their spirits, and an insult to them. Nevertheless, this is what David says will be the fate of his enemies. On the other hand he, “the king,” shall rejoice in the LORD; and “every one that sweareth by Him shall glory.” It was considered, not taking the Lord’s name in vain, but, actually an act of worship, to call upon Him to witness whatever oath one would take. This is what David means, when he says, “every one that sweareth by Him.” All then, who worship Him shall glory, or rejoice. “But the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.”



Chapter 64

(Verses 1 through 4) Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy. Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity: who whet their tongues like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words: that they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not.


It seems that at this point he is under siege, maybe not in actual battle, but by secret enemies that are planning His overthrow. So David prays that the LORD will hear and keep him; “preserve my life from the enemy.” As He describes these wicked ones, they seem presently to be fighting with words instead of with weapons of war, building up a conspiracy against him before they start an actual battle. Apparently they want to get a majority of the people on their side, so that they can come out in the open suddenly against “the perfect” with such numbers that they cannot be stopped. Although “the perfect” may only refer to David and others who are striving to do the will of God, it might also be prophetic of the conspiracy of the chief priests and Judas against the Christ. They had to develop this conspiracy in secret, arrest Jesus, put Him through the mock trial before the priests, and have the high priest officially condemn Him before they dared to face the people by presenting Him before Pilate. Once this was done, they had no fear; for the people had been thoroughly indoctrinated with the idea that the high priest was God’s representative on earth, and his word was the word of God. That is why, after these secret acts were accomplished, they could boldly bring Jesus before Pilate, and accuse Him.


(Verses 5 and 6) They encourage themselves in an evil matter: they commune of laying snares privily; they say, Who shall see them? They search out iniquities; they accomplish a diligent search: both the inward thought of every one of them, and the heart is deep.


It can readily be seen that this description will just as perfectly fit those conspirators against the Lord, as it will any enemy David may have had in his day. They searched for everything they could find against Him, even to setting up false witnesses. They thought no one could see what they were doing. The inward thought and the heart of every one of them was deep in iniquity. But they reckoned not with Him, with Whom they had to do. God knew every secret of their evil hearts.


(Verses 7 and 8) But God shall shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded. So they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves: all that see them shall flee away.


Since David says, “But God shall shoot at them with an arrow,” (not with arrows) it seems probable that the arrow to which he refers is the resurrection of our Lord Jesus. This was an immediate wound to them, and one that continued to grow until their nation and their temple were destroyed, and they were scattered over the earth. God made their own tongue to fall upon themselves. Remember their rash answer to Pilate, when he washed his hands before them, and said, “I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.” Then all the people gave this answer: “His blood be upon us, and on our children.” That blood is upon them to this day, and will not be removed until Jesus descends from heaven and stands upon the mount of Olives; and  they “look on Him Whom they have pierced.” David says, “All that see them shall flee away.”


(Verses 9 and 10) And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider of His doing. The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in Him; and all  the upright in heart shall glory.


When David says, “And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God,” his meaning is that men from every nation, kindred, tongue, and tribe of the earth, not each individual, in the earth, just as is the common meaning of this phrase in both Old and New testaments. As the gospel will be preached in all the world, this prophecy will be fulfilled, and the righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in Him; and all the upright in heart shall glory, or boast, of the great love, grace, and power of our God.




Chapter 65

(Verses 1 through 3) Praise waiteth for Thee, O God, in Sion: and unto Thee shall the vow be performed. O Thou that hearest prayer, unto Thee shall all flesh come. Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions, Thou shalt purge them away.


As we look at this psalm, we find it primarily one of praise to the Lord. Though there are slight hints in it concerning the power of God in subduing violence, and settling tumults, most of this praise is for His goodness, and the great blessings He has bestowed upon man. David declares that in Sion, that is, in the congregation of the LORD’S people, praise is ready to be offered unto God. His people are ready to praise Him, not only in words, but in action also. They are ready to fulfill the vows they have made to Him. “O Thou that hearest prayer, unto Thee shall all flesh come.” It is no longer a privilege open to Jews only, but to “all flesh.” As the Apostle Peter said at Pentecost, “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2:39 ) The “all flesh,” of the present text is limited only by the same restriction used by the Apostle Peter, “even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” David confesses that his iniquities overwhelm him, just as ours do us; but, “as for our transgressions, Thou shalt purge them away.”


(Verses 4 through 8) Blessed is the man whom Thou choosest, and causest to approach unto Thee, that he may dwell in Thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of Thy house, even of Thy holy temple. By terrible things in righteousness wilt Thou answer us, O God of our salvation: Who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea: Which by His strength setteth fast the mountains; being girded with power: Which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people. They also that dwell in the uttermost parts of the earth are afraid at Thy tokens: Thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice.


Notice how clearly David sets forth the choice and power of God, in bringing one unto Himself, and the purpose for which He brings him. Jesus said, (John 6:44 ) “No man can come unto Me, except the Father Which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” And (John 6:37 ) “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” Here David says, “Blessed is the man whom Thou choosest, and causest to approach unto Thee, that he may dwell in Thy courts.” The harmony between Jesus and David is perfect. Now David says, “We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Thy house, even of Thy holy temple. By terrible things in righteousness wilt Thou answer us, O God of our salvation.” Were it not that God has blessed us with the assurance that He is the God of our salvation, and therefore we are safe in His keeping, the great works of righteousness by which He will answer us, or which He will demonstrate before us, (See II Thessalonians 1:7-10) we would be struck with extreme terror; for they are terrible. But since He is the God of our salvation, and the “confidence of all the ends of the earth,” as well as “them that are afar off upon the sea,” we are made to rejoice in His wonderful care of us, instead of being terrified by His acts of vengeance upon His enemies. It is He, Who, girded with power, has established the mountains, and Who controls the seas and the waves thereof. He can, and does, even still the tumult of men. We sometimes think that man is causing a great deal of tumult in the world today; but it is nothing compared with what he will do. Yet the Lord, by a word, the lifting of His hand, or by any means He may choose, will at His appointed time, still the entire uprising. In verse 5, David said of the LORD, “Who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth,” but in verse 8 he says, “They that dwell in the uttermost parts of the earth are afraid at Thy tokens (signs). This is not a contradiction. “The ends of the earth” are those of whom the Apostle Paul spoke in I Corinthians 4:13, “Being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.” They are considered “the ends of the earth,” or the dregs of human society, by those “who dwell in the uttermost parts of the earth.” The residents of the world consider God’s “pilgrims and strangers” as the ends of the earth. But they will be sorely afraid when God sets forth His tokens, or signs of His great judgments. They will have nowhere to hide. In contrast to the fear of the wicked, the righteous shall rejoice; for “Thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice.”


(Verses 9 through 13) Thou visitest the earth and waterest it: Thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God , which is full of water: Thou preparest them corn, when Thou hast so provided for it. Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly; Thou settlest the furrows thereof: Thou makest it soft with showers: Thou blessest the springing thereof. Thou crownest the year with Thy goodness; and Thy paths drop fatness. They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every side. The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.


Surely no one would deny that verses 9 through 13 describe God’s wonderful care of the present world, in that it is by His blessings that the earth brings forth food for all its inhabitants. Also there may be some, who will try to spiritualize this, and apply it to the gospel church. This too might appear to have a little merit. Nevertheless, since it presents such a wonderful time of plenty, wherein the Lord visits the earth, waters and enriches it with the river of God, so that the ridges are well watered, and even the wilderness pastures are “clothed,” or covered with flocks, and the valleys are covered with “corn,” or grain; and even the little hills rejoice, and the pastures and valleys shout and sing for joy, I am convinced that it is rather, a description of the plenty that will be in the new earth. The Apostle Peter tells us that in that new earth shall dwell righteousness. Other scriptures describe the great peace that shall reign therein, and this shows the wonderful abundance of all things for the sustenance of life. No doubt, this language is, at least partly, figurative: for there is no scriptural indication that we will in that world have any need of natural foods: but the great plenty described here shows how abundantly the Lord will supply us, so that we shall have no needs.


Chapter 66

(Verses 1 through 4) Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: sing forth the honor of His name: make His praise glorious. Say unto God, How terrible are Thy works! Through the greatness of Thy power shall Thy enemies submit themselves unto Thee. All the earth shall worship Thee, and shall sing unto Thee; they shall sing to Thy name.


Notice that there is in this text no special call to Israel , as is so often found in the Psalms. Of course, Israel is included in the address “All ye lands.” In this, “all ye lands” are called to praise and worship the Lord. This certainly looks forward to the gospel day, if not to even the new earth, wherein righteousness will dwell. All nations are called to praise God, and make a joyful noise unto His name. Before the Lord returns to gather His saints, His gospel will have been preached to every nation on earth. Therefore “all ye lands” are instructed to “sing forth the honor of His name, make His praise glorious.” All nations are to recognize and praise the terrible works He does. Even His enemies shall, because of the greatness of His power, submit themselves unto Him: and all the earth shall worship Him, and sing unto His name.


(Verses 5 through 7) Come and see the works of God: He is terrible in His doing toward the children of men. He turned the sea into dry land: they went through the flood on foot: there did we rejoice in Him. He ruleth by His power forever; His eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah.


All the nations are commanded to see, or examine, the works of God. All his works show Him to be terrible in His doing toward the children of men “Terrible” means capable of exciting terror or awe.” We like to think of the gentleness of God toward His children: but for centuries pagans were so fearful of the works of God in nature, such as the thunder and lightning, that they tried to worship them as gods. So, “He is terrible in His works toward the children of men,” (men in nature). David refers us here to only one of God’s wonderful works, that of parting the Red Sea so that the Israelites could go across on dry land. When He wrought this great work, His people rejoiced, and sang the great song of praise to God for their deliverance from the Egyptians. He then gives a warning to all who might be rebellious. “He ruleth by His power for ever; His eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves.”


(Verses 8 through 12) O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of His praise to be heard: Which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our own feet to be moved. For Thou, O God, hast proved us; Thou hast tried us as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; Thou laidst affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but Thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.


“Ye people,” which, unless some additional identification is given means the people of the LORD, are called upon to “make the voice of His praise to be heard.” That is, we are not only to praise Him in our hearts, or, as is so popular today at public gatherings, “to have a moment of silence” in honor of Him, but to make the voice of His praise to be heard. That is, we are to praise Him aloud, and not be ashamed. He it is, Who holds, or keeps “our soul in life.” Not only so, but if we are standing firmly in faith, the reason we have not slipped is that He does not suffer our feet to be moved. Verses 10 through 12 set forth a truth that many today try to deny. That truth is that the path through which His people pass is one He has chosen, and appointed for them. This is not to say that everything we do, say, or think, is predestinated of God; but many of the experiences are. The argument is not whether, or not, He has set every detail of the path, nor whether we have responsibility for some of our sorrows and afflictions; but whether, or not, He sends hard trials upon us. David declares that it is a process of trying us, even as silver is tried, which is by fire, that our dross might be burned away, and we be, by our suffering, conformed more to the image of His Son. “Thou broughtest us into the net; Thou laidst afflictions upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and water.” In all of these except the going through fire and water, David specifically said, “Thou broughtest _ _ _,” “Thou laidst - - -,” and “Thou hast caused _ _ _.” So there can be no doubt that God purposed and brought to pass this path for us. So far as the fire and water are concerned, the Lord has also known about that from the beginning; and in Isaiah 43:2 He says, “When thou passeth through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” So without controversy the LORD is the Director of our path: and even if we are still in the water and the fire, we can take comfort in God’s promise that He will do for us what David says He has already done for him. “But Thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.” If we but stop and think, we realize that we have many times experienced this same thing. So we know His promise is true and faithful.


(Verses 13 through 15) I will go into Thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay Thee my vows, which my lips have spoken, when I was in trouble. I will offer unto Thee burnt offerings of fatlings, with the incense of rams. I will offer bullocks with goats. Selah.


David was speaking according to the order of the worship service God had ordained to be observed under the law. Today we no longer offer burnt sacrifices: but we are to offer the sacrifice, or offering, of praise to the LORD for the wonderful blessings He has given us. One thing in this that must not be overlooked, is, “I will pay Thee my vows, which my lips have spoken, when I was in trouble.” It is not unusual for one in some serious trouble to promise that if the Lord will give him relief, he will do this, or that, in thankfulness for it. Yet, when relieved, he forgets his promise. Remember one thing. The same Lord, Who gave you relief, can make you wish you had kept your vow.


(Verses 16 through 20) Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what He hath done for my soul. I cried unto Him with my mouth, and He was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the LORD will not hear me: but verily God hath heard me; He hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, Which hath not turned away my prayer, nor His mercy from me.


We often hear proclamations made, or see notices written to “Whomsoever it may concern.” This one is addressed to “All ye that fear God.” In this case these addresses would be one and the same, because only those who fear God would be at all concerned with the message that is to follow. David calls for all, who fear God, to come and hear what God has done for his soul. First, he says, “I cried unto Him with my mouth, and He was extolled with my tongue.” We sometimes forget that our crying unto God for help in trouble is extolling, or glorifying, Him: because in doing so, we are recognizing and honoring Him as the One, from Whom our help must come. So in David’s crying unto God, God was extolled by David’s tongue. He then presents evidence similar to what the man who had been born blind said to the Pharisees. David says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the LORD will not hear me.” To regard anything is to give recognition, or honor to it. So, if in my heart I honor iniquity, my prayer is hypocritical, and therefore the LORD will not hear me. The blind man said, “Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of Him, him He heareth.” (John 9:31) This is an established fact against which there is no argument. So, David continues, “But verily God hath heard me; He hath attended unto the voice of my prayer.” Since God does not hear sinners, but does hear those who worship Him, and do His will, the very fact that He has heard David’s prayer proves that David is a worshipper of God, and is doing His will. Is there not also herein comfort for us when God answers our prayers? Having come through so much testing, which is always unpleasant, David may have been made to wonder if God may have turned away from him. (This is a condition, which sometimes troubles the Lord’s people today also.) But since God has answered his prayer, thus assuring him that He has not cast him off, David wants all that fear the LORD to hear about it; and he says, “Blessed, (or praised,) be God, Which hath not turned away my prayer, nor His mercy from me.” How wonderful it is to feel that God has not refused to hear our prayer; and that He has not turned His mercy away from us!


Chapter 67

(Verses 1 through 3) God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause His face to shine upon us; Selah. That Thy way may be known upon the earth, Thy saving health among all nations. Let the people praise Thee, O God; let all the people praise Thee.


Except for verse 1, this entire psalm is a song of praise unto the Lord: and, since verse 1, in the act of begging for mercy from God, acknowledges that He is the One Who is able to show mercy, and give help to us, it too is in praise to Him. David’s prayer is that God’s way may be known in all the earth, and His “saving health,” (his power and strength,) be known among the nations. With this knowledge, let all the people praise God.


(Verses 4 and 5) O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for Thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon the earth. Selah. Let the people praise Thee, O God; let all the people praise Thee.


David continues asking that not only Israel , but also all the nations, be glad, and praise the LORD: because He will rule all nations, and will dispense righteous judgment to all the people. So let all the people praise Him.


(Verses 6 and 7) Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us, and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.


Some may consider this to apply to the “Day of Grace,” or “The Gospel Dispensation,” but inasmuch as it follows the declaration that our Lord shall rule all nations, and says, “Then shall the earth yield her increase,” it seems to be looking to the day in which the curse, which God put upon the earth for Adam’s sake, shall be removed. That is, it points to the new earth in which will dwell righteousness. In that day, all the ends of the earth shall fear Him, and His blessings shall be on the whole earth.




Chapter 68

(Verses 1 through 3) Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered: let them also that hate Him flee before Him. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. But let the righteous be glad, and let them rejoice before God, yea, let them exceedingly rejoice.


Here David prays that God will arise and scatter His enemies: he seems to want God to do this immediately. We, like him, are sometimes prone to be in a bigger hurry than God is. Perhaps, this may be because our time is so short, while God is eternal. He doesn’t have to hurry. It is David’s desire that these enemies be driven away like smoke is driven before the wind, or be melted down like wax melts when exposed to the heat of the fire. This will indeed be done, but according to God’s own timetable, not ours. Of course, when this is done, the righteous will be glad, and rejoice before God: and this also is what David asks for.


(Verses 4 through 6) Sing unto God, sing praises to His name: extol Him that rideth upon the heavens by His name JAH, and rejoice before Him. A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in His holy habitation. God setteth the solitary in families: He bringeth out those who are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.


David calls upon us to “Sing unto God, sing praises to His name: extol Him That rideth upon the heavens by His name JAH, and rejoice before Him.” In this verse seems to be the only place in scripture that this name appears. Nowhere in scripture is any definition given of it. We can find in scripture the definition of many of the names of God, but nothing is given on this. There, no doubt, are some who would attempt to give a definition of it, but, since it is not clear where they got their information, we might not be benefited by such. Some, who claim to know the Hebrew language, say that it simply means that He is the LORD; and for lack of scriptural definition, we shall assume that they may be correct. In any event, He rides upon the heavens, is a Father to the fatherless, the Judge of widows, and God in His holy habitation, which, obviously is heaven. We are often admonished to abuse neither the fatherless, nor the widows; for He is the avenger of such. Since He is the holy God, and is in His holy habitation, it is appropriate that we praise Him and extol His holy name. Not only is He the avenger of the fatherless and the widows, but He also “setteth the solitary in families,” and “bringeth out those that are bound with chains.” That is, He provides companionship for the lonely, and sets the prisoners free. On the other hand, “the rebellious dwell in a dry land.” He withholds blessings from them.


(Verses 7 through 10) O God, when Thou wentest forth before Thy people, when Thou didst march through the wilderness; Selah: the earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel. Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby Thou didst confirm Thine inheritance when it was weary. Thy congregation hast dwelt therein: Thou, O God, hast prepared of Thy goodness for the poor.


David recounts briefly God’s leading Israel out of Egypt , and through the wilderness. That was when the LORD went before them, and marched through the wilderness. The earth and the heavens shook at His presence. Even Sinai was moved (or shaken) at His presence. The land of Israel has always been an arid country; but when it was weary (in need of refreshing) God sent a plentiful rain to confirm (maintain) His inheritance. David has firsthand knowledge of this; for God’s congregation has dwelt therein, and God has prepared of His goodness for the poor.


(Verses 11 through 14) The LORD gave the word: great was the company of those that published it. Kings of armies did flee apace: and she that tarried at home divided the spoil. Though ye have lien among the pots, ye shall be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold. When the Almighty scattered kings in it, it was as snow in Salmon.


This text may prophetically refer to the Gospel Day: for the Lord did indeed give the word (the gospel) and great has been the company of those who have published (preached) it. Our Lord began to preach it; and initially he called twelve men, ordained them, and sent them forth to preach His word. Later He called and sent forth seventy. After His resurrection, when persecution arose against His disciples, “they went everywhere preaching the word:” and so it has continued to this day. In its history, it has disturbed and overcome kings, armies, and nations; “and she that remained at home divided the spoil.” He says further, “Though ye have lien among the pots;” and this seems to answer closely to the Apostle Paul’s declaration in I Corinthians 4:9-13. “For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed unto death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honorable, but we are despised. Even unto this present hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place; and labor, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.” Yet, though this be our condition unto the present day, David says, “Ye shall be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.” This also agrees with what the Apostle John says, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” (I John 3:2) “When the Almighty scattered kings in it, it was white as snow in Salmon.” This too is prophetic, concerning the earth when the Lord shall have brought judgment upon the kings of the earth, and removed the curse from the earth. Then it will be pure and undefiled, as represented by the statement, “White as snow in Salmon.”


(Verses 15 through 17) The hill of God is as the hill of Bashan; an high hill as the hill of Bashan. Why leap ye, ye high hills? This is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the LORD will dwell in it for ever. The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: The LORD is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.


Mount Zion , which is usually the place referred to as “the hill of God,” was considered by the Jews a very holy hill. While Bashan might be an area of higher hills, it was not thought to have such a close relation with God as did Zion . So, even though it might not be so high, physically, as the hill of Bashan, the hill of God is more important, and because of that importance is “as the hill of Bashan; an high hill as the hill of Bashan.” Its claim to greatness is not based upon its physical height, but upon its being “the hill which God desireth to dwell in.” There is therefore no justification for these high hills to “leap” or rejoice; because God will dwell in His hill forever. So it is therefore far more important. “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels,” indicates that not only is the army of God formidable by reason of its numbers, but also because of its personnel: they are angels instead of mortal men. The LORD is surrounded by them in the holy place, as when He came down upon mount Sinai with the fire, the darkness, and the power, that caused even Moses the man of God, to “exceedingly fear and quake.”


(Verses 18 and 19) Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captivity captive: Thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD might dwell among them. Blessed be the LORD, Who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.


The Apostle Paul has explained verse 18 for us, so that we need not wonder about its meaning. It is a prophecy of our Lord’s death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. In Ephesians 4 :8-13, He 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.) And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” David points out that some of the gifts are “for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.” He did not say “for all the rebellious.” As the Apostle Paul points out in Ephesians 2:1-5, all of God’s people were also “rebellious,” or “by nature the children of wrath even as others,” until God, by His grace, saved them. With this knowledge, David says, “Blessed (or praised) be the LORD Who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.” This same God, Who has done so much for us, is still showering us with benefits. His work did not stop when He, by His grace quickened us into life in Christ Jesus, but also it is He, Who daily provides for us all things that we need. Certainly we ought always to praise Him.


(Verses 20 and 21) He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto God the Lord belong the issues from death. But God shall wound the head of His enemies, and the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses.


Verse 20 is a profound declaration indeed, and it stands true in all generations. “He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto the Lord belong the issues from death.” There may be many, who are called gods; but when their worshippers call upon them, they are like Baal. Remember Elijah told them, “Cry aloud; for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.” Sometimes we are told that these gods others claim want very badly to do something, but without the cooperation, or even the help of feeble man they cannot accomplish it: the whole project fails because puny man stands in their way. David declares that this is not the case with our God; for “He that is our God is the God of salvation.” He brings salvation with neither permission nor help from anyone. Even the issues from death belong to Him. Not only can He order and execute death upon His enemies; but He can also raise the dead and make them to live forever. He proved this beyond any controversy when He raised Christ Jesus our Lord from the grave, and set Him at His own right hand in heaven. “But God shall wound the head of His enemies, and the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses.” Certainly God will destroy all His enemies, but this declaration is also a reference to what the LORD said to Satan (Genesis 3:15 ) “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.” The death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus is the fulfilling of this prophecy.


(Verses 22 and 23) The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan , I will bring My people again from the depths of the sea: that thy foot may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies, and the tongue of thy dogs in the same.


This language may seem a little gory to us, but its meaning is that God shall gather His people together in complete triumph over all their enemies. Although His people may have wandered away from “the hill of God,” as he said in verse 15, and may have been enticed to think the higher “hill of Bashan” to be more desirable. And even if they have gone down into the depths of the sea, He shall still bring them back again to that final triumph.


(Verses 24 and 25) They have seen Thy goings, O God; even the goings of my God, my King, in the sanctuary. The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; among them were the damsels playing with timbrels.”


All these who will be brought back to that great day of triumph, are those to whom God has revealed the beauty of worshipping Him in the sanctuary. Notice that he says neither “in the temple” nor “in the tabernacle,” but “in the sanctuary.” A sanctuary is a place of sacred, or inviolable refuge, and God is our refuge. He is a refuge which none can violate or defile. So to those who shall be gathered back, He has shown the great glory of worshipping Him in His sanctuary. The Jews had added much ritual and pageantry to the service of the Lord; and it was very beautiful. So David refers to this beautiful sight to illustrate the beauty of being in the sanctuary of God.


(Verses 26 through 28) Bless ye God in the congregations, even the Lord from the fountain of Israel . There is little Benjamin with his ruler, the princes of Judah and their council, the princes of Zebulon, and the princes of Naphtali. Thy God hath commanded thy strength: strengthen, O God, that which Thou hast wrought for us.


Everything from verse 22 through the remainder of this psalm looks forward to that great day of God’s triumph over all His enemies, of which Zechariah tells in Zechariah 14; which, in spite of the protestations of many to the contrary, is yet to come. In that day, the kingdom shall be restored to Israel . One of the great objections some have to the restoration of Israel is that they think it would mean the re-establishing of the offering of burnt sacrifices, etc., which it does not. At that time Israel shall be converted to the gospel of the Son of God. In the present text, David is showing that in that day all Israel shall be saved. There is nothing retroactive about it. All Israel of that day shall be saved. God is He Who has commanded the strength of those He will re-gather. David says, “Strengthen, O God, that which Thou hast wrought for us.”


(Verses 29 through 31) Because of Thy temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring presents unto Thee. Rebuke the company of spearmen, the multitude of the bulls, with the calves of the people, till everyone submit himself with pieces of silver: scatter Thou the people that delight in war. Princes shall come out of Egypt ; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.


Because in that day the worship of God shall center around Jerusalem , kings shall bring presents there. Today, although many of us have no interest in Rome as the center of the Christian religion, there are many who do; and the dignitaries of almost all nations think an audience with the Pope to be a great honor; but in that day all eyes will turn toward Jerusalem . See Zecharia 14:16-19. “Rebuke the company of spearmen, the multitude of the bulls, with the calves of the people, till everyone submit himself with pieces of silver: scatter Thou the people that delight in war.” The bulls, or bullocks, once used for sacrifice, and “the calves of the people,” whether the idols they once served, or what they once considered proper for sacrifice, are rebuked. They will be used no more. Everyone must submit himself to a new system. They shall indeed bring presents to the King, but these will not be burnt offerings. Their day is over. Egypt and Ethiopia have always been by the Jews considered heathens; but they also will come to worship the Lord.


(Verses 32 and 33) Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth: O sing praises unto the Lord; Selah: to Him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old; lo, He doth send out His voice, and that a mighty voice.


In that day all nations are called upon to praise the Lord. He is so great that He “rides upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old.” Not only so, but He has spoken, and that with a mighty voice. When He shouted in battle, all the world heard Him, and all who were gathered against His people were destroyed: see Zechariah 14.


(Verses 34 and 35) Ascribe ye strength unto God: His excellency is over Israel , and His strength is in the clouds. O God, Thou art terrible out of Thy holy places: the God of Israel is He That giveth strength and power unto His people. Blessed be God.


Surely we can do no less than ascribe all power and glory unto God. He is the One, Who gives strength and power unto His people. When He speaks forth from His holy places, He makes even the earth to tremble. What is puny man compared to Him? Let us praise Him constantly; for to Him only is praise due.


Chapter 69

(Verses 1 through 3) Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.


This psalm may express David’s own experience of great sorrow; but it seems to very adequately describe our Lord’s sorrow as He approached the time of His great suffering. He is as one who is, not only in a pool of water deep enough to put him in imminent danger of drowning, and is trying to stand where there is no solid footing: and he is gradually sinking in the miry bottom of the pool. He has been crying for help so much that he is completely worn out, and his mouth and throat are so dry that he can no longer call. While waiting for God to deliver him even his sight fails.


(Verses 4 through 6) They that hate Me without cause are more than the hairs of My head: They that would destroy Me, being Mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away. O God, Thou knowest My foolishness; and my sins are not hid from Thee. Let not them that wait on Thee, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed for My sake: let not those that seek Thee be confounded for My sake, O God of Israel.


Surely those who hated our Lord Jesus did it without cause: and they were many. They were also mighty. They had power of the chief priests of the Jews, together with the power of Rome , the greatest nation in the world at that time, behind them. “Then I restored that which I took not away.” There were many who had been deprived of their health, the ability to see, hear, walk, or talk, and some whose lives had been taken away. It was not He that took these things away; but He did restore them. “O God, Thou knowest My foolishness; and My sins are not hid from Thee.” The foolishness of which He speaks is what is by men considered foolishness. When one knows that he is walking into sure death, but goes ahead anyway, men consider this foolishness. He said Himself, at the time of His arrest, “Know ye not that I could pray unto My Father, and He would presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels?” Yet He did not pray for them. To men this is foolishness. But, Thanks be unto God, He was faithful to His mission. “And My sins are not hid from Thee.” His sins are those that were yours and mine. He took them upon Himself that He might by His suffering and death put them away forever. He not only took those sins upon Himself; but He made them His own. “He Who knew no sin was made sin for us.” No, His sins were not hidden from the Father. He then prays, “Let not them that wait on Thee, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed for My sake: let not those that seek Thee be confounded for My sake, O God of Israel:” and this prayer the Father heard. Although He paid the full price, death, for those sins, the Father raised Him from the grave, and set Him at His own right hand in heaven. So those who seek the Lord, and wait upon Him, will never be ashamed for the sake of their Lord.


(Verses 7 through 12) Because for Thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered My face. I am become a stranger unto My brethren, and an alien unto My mother's children. For the zeal of Thine house hath eaten Me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached Thee are fallen upon Me. When I wept and chastened My soul with fasting, that was to My reproach. I made sackcloth also My garment; and I became a proverb unto them. They that sit in the gate speak against Me; and I was the song of the drunkards.


This was written as a song: and, sometimes in writing songs, a little different word order may be used from that used in prose. Let us set verse 7 between verses 8 and 9, not to change the meaning, but that related ideas may be more closely grouped together. He says, “I am become a stranger unto My brethren, and an alien unto My mother’s children.” This immediately brings to mind two scriptures from the New Testament. After telling of some of our Lord’s miracles, Mark says, (Mark 3:21 ) “And when His friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on Him: for they said, ‘He is beside Himself.’” Then near the end of that same chapter, His mother and His brethren came and tried to get through the crowd to Him, probably with the same idea that His friends had had earlier. Then in John 7:3-8, an account is given that shows that He had become an alien to His mother’s children. Notice that He never said that he was an alien unto His Father’s children. “Because for Thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered My face_ _ _ For the zeal of Thine house hath eaten Me up.”  According to John 2:17, this was fulfilled by our Lord, when He drove out of the temple, the money changers, and those who bought and sold. “The reproaches of them that reproached Thee are fallen upon Me.” Jesus explained to His disciples that this is the principle upon which the entire present system operates. The reason the people hated Him is that they first hated the Father: but since the Father was beyond their reach; and He was present, and doing the will of the Father; the reproaches they would have hurled at the Father fell on Him as the Son and Servant of the Father. He further taught that the same principle would continue through time. Because they hated the Father, they hated the Son also; and while He was within their reach, their reproaches to the Father fell upon Him. Now that He is removed from them, their reproaches to Him must fall upon us, His servants, who are still within their reach. His sorrows, instead of causing others to be sympathetic to Him, only made Him their “proverb,” or, as we often hear it said today, “the butt of their jokes.” Those who “sit in the gate” are the leaders of the community. Both they and the drunkards, as well as all in between, show their dislike and scorn of Him.


(Verses 13 through 17) But as for Me, My prayer is unto Thee, O Lord, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of Thy mercy hear Me, in the truth of Thy salvation. Deliver Me out of the mire, and let Me not sink: let Me be delivered from them that hate Me, and out of the deep waters. Let not the waterflood overflow Me, neither let the deep swallow Me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon Me. Hear Me, O LORD; for Thy loving kindness is good: turn unto Me according to the multitude of Thy tender mercies. And hide not Thy face from Thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear Me speedily.


Turning from a description of His sufferings and woes, our Lord, as we believe This to be, speaks of His desires. First He says, But as for Me, My prayer is unto Thee, O Lord, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of Thy mercy hear Me, in the truth of Thy salvation.” He knows that, as He prays, it is in a time acceptable, or pleasing, to the Father. Therefore He has full confidence that His prayer will be heard. So He prays, “O God, in the multitude of Thy mercy hear Me, in the truth of Thy salvation.” Although Jesus is the Son of God, yet, while here in the flesh, He being in the form, or role, of a servant, always deferred to His Father; and, when speaking of going back to the Father, said, (John 14:28,) “Ye have heard how I said unto you, ‘I go away; and come again unto you.’ If ye loved Me, ye would rejoice, because I said, ‘I go unto the Father:’ for My Father is greater than I.” So, in this prayer, He is praying from His position as a Servant; and therein He prays for mercy, just as should all of the LORD’S servants. He prays that the Father hear Him in the multitude of His mercy, in the truth of His salvation. Even though He is the Son of God, in that position He was in need of the mercy and truth, or faithfulness, of the Father in delivering Him, to which He refers as “Thy salvation.” Verse 14 refers back to the condition He describes in verse 2, and is a request that He be delivered from it, and from the enemies who have imposed it upon Him. In verse 15, He asks that neither the “waterflood” nor “the deep” (that is, the great suffering through which He was going, and must go,) be allowed to swallow Him up: and that the pit (the grave) not be permitted to “shut her mouth upon” Him. Though it was the Father’s plan that He pass through death, the grave was not suffered to “shut her mouth upon” Him. In less than seventy-two hours from the time He was laid therein, He was freed from it forever! He continues praying to the Father for His mercies, and in verse 17, He says, “And hide not Thy face from Thy Servant; for I am in trouble: hear Me speedily.” Thus He acknowledges His position as a servant while in the fleshly body, or “the form of a man.”


(Verses 18 through 20) Draw nigh unto My soul, and redeem it: deliver Me because of Mine enemies. Thou hast known My reproach, and My shame, and My dishonor: Mine adversaries are all before Thee. Reproach hath broken My heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none.


When He says, “Draw nigh unto My soul, and redeem it,” His use of “redeem” is only to mean “deliver,” not “pay a redemptive price,” for in that sense it needed no redemption: but He did desire that it be set free, or delivered from the situation in which it was. Perhaps, most accurately, His prayer is that His soul be set free from this body of suffering. His enemies were all around Him; and because of them, He prays the Father to deliver Him. The Father has from the beginning, known of the suffering, reproach, and shame, His enemies were heaping upon Him. His heart is broken by their reproaches, and He is filled with sorrow. What always makes suffering more unbearable is also His lot. There is no one who cares, or shows any sympathy for Him; there is none to comfort Him.


(Verse21) They gave Me also gall for My meat; and in My thirst, they gave me vinegar to drink.


It may seem surprising to some, just how closely this describes Jesus’ experience on the cross. Matthew 27:34 says, “They gave Him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when He had tasted thereof, He would not drink.” Mark 15:23 says, “And they gave Him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but He received it not.” There may seem to be a slight discrepancy between these accounts, but it is not a basic difference. It can easily be only a difference of translation, so far as the words “vinegar” and “wine” are concerned: for even Mark says, (Mark 15:36,) “And one ran and filled a sponge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave Him to drink.” So far as the discrepancy between “gall” and “myrrh” is concerned, we must remember that neither of these accounts was written until several years after the event, and both substances are extremely bitter. It is claimed by some that the purpose of this drink was to cause a sort of stupor in the one being executed, so as to lessen the pain. However, from what we know from history concerning Roman soldiers, it seems unlikely that they would be concerned about lessening the pain of one they were ordered to crucify. As already pointed out, Mark 15:36 calls this drink, “vinegar,” Matthew 27:34 and 27:48 say, “vinegar,” Luke 19:36 says, “And the soldiers also mocked Him, coming to Him, and offering Him vinegar,” while John 19:29 says, “Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to His mouth.” All the arguments men may raise against it, will not disprove His statement here, “They gave Me also gall for My meat; and in My thirst, they gave Me vinegar to drink.”


(Verses 22 through 28) Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake. Pour out Thine indignation upon them, and let Thy wrathful anger take hold of them. Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents. For They persecute Him that Thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom Thou hast wounded. Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into Thy righteousness. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.


It seems that one might have two possible directions to look for the meaning of “Let their table become a snare before them.” It can be considered as their “dining table,” or their “council table.” In consideration of the first option, we remember that the priests obtained much of their food from the sacrifices offered by the people, as required by the law. If the law and “the customs of Moses” were laid aside, their supplies would be substantially cut. So they could not afford to have Jesus accepted by the people as the Messiah; for to do so would stop these offerings, or, at least, substantially reduce them. Then, so far as their council table is concerned, John 11:47-53 gives an adequate description of its part in the condemnation of Jesus. Without quoting the whole, let us consider the counsel the high priest gave to the council when they were trying to decide how to stop Jesus from His works and teachings. They were afraid that if they did not stop Him, “all men will believe on Him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.” (Of course, their “place” was as the council that decided what ought to be done about sacrifices, and all matters concerning the worship service, and they were far more concerned about holding their position than about anything else.) Now, consider the high priest’s advice: “Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.” Although John does explain that this was a prophecy of what God had purposed, nowhere does he even hint that the high priest was aware of this. It was only his intent to get rid of Jesus. So their table did, in fact, become a snare before them, and cause them to do that which brought upon them the condemnation of God, so that, within fifty years both their nation and their temple were destroyed. “And that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.” No doubt, the law was given for the benefit or welfare of Israel : and as long as they kept it, and followed its ordinances by faith in Him, to Whom every sacrifice pointed, they were blessed. However, their keeping of it and its ordinances had deteriorated into little, if any, more than ritual; and they trusted in this ritual of sacrifices and offerings, instead of Him to Whom these offerings were made. So, even it became a trap to them. The remainder of this text is simply a declaration of their punishment for their persecution of our Lord. Isaiah 53:4 says, “Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” These against whom this terrible sentence of desolation is pronounced, are those who “persecute Him Whom Thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom Thou hast wounded.” Lest we try to deny that it is the LORD Who has smitten Him, consider Isaiah 53:10: “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.” This entire episode is proof that although things come to pass exactly as God has purposed them, that does not lessen the responsibility of those who are active in them. So He says, “Add iniquity to their iniquity: and let them not come into Thy righteousness. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.” To this day, this sentence is still upon Israel ; although the LORD has promised that at His appointed time He will restore Israel .


(Verses 29 through 31) But I am poor and sorrowful: let Thy salvation, O God, set Me up on high, I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs.


This is still our Lord’s prayer as He suffered on the cross; but it turns from His enemies and their sentence to Himself. “But I am poor and sorrowful.” He knew that his appointment with death was about to take place. So now He prays, “Let Thy salvation set Me up on high:” and that is exactly what the Father did. He raised Him from the grave, and set Him at His own right hand on high. In this position, He “will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving.” This He says that we might follow His example. God is better pleased with praise and thanksgiving than with burnt offerings as represented by “an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs.” The day of such offerings is over.


(Verses 32 and 33) The humble shall see this, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God. For the LORD heareth the poor, and despiseth not His prisoners.


“The humble,” (which in David’s writings most often means, “the Lord’s people.) “shall see this, and be glad.” They do not have to be present in Jerusalem at the time of our Lord’s crucifixion to see this; for by faith they are enabled to see it even today as they read, or hear the gospel, which tells us of His death, burial, resurrection and ascension; and nothing else can bring them such joy. All who seek God shall live. What a wonderful promise! The LORD hears the cries of the poor: and though they may be oppressed, imprisoned, or despised of men, God does not despise them.


(Verses 34 and 35) Let the heaven and earth praise Him, the sea and everything that moveth therein. For God will save Zion , and will build the cities of Judah : that they may dwell there, and have it in possession. The seed also of His servants shall inherit it: and they that love His name shall dwell therein.


When considering verse 34, “Let the heaven and earth praise Him, the seas and everything that moveth therein,” one should read Revelation 5:11-14. There indeed this is fulfilled. The remainder of this is a declaration that God will actually and literally restore and rebuild Israel . In fact, that is already becoming a reality instead of a promise. Some want to object to this on the grounds that Israel is not a “Christian nation.” If it were, it could not be a fulfilling of His promise. Ezekiel 37 gives us the picture of both the restoring, and the awakening, of Israel . All the bones in the valley were assembled, and covered with sinews, flesh, and skin, with still not a sign of life about them. Only when Ezekiel, at God’s command, prophesied to the wind (spirit,) did breath come into them, “and they lived and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.” Just so, when God commands, Israel will be given spiritual life. But be assured of one thing: He has promised, and at His time, He will restore and establish Israel .


Chapter 70

(Verses 1 through 3) Make haste, O God, to deliver Me; make haste to help me, O Lord. Let them be ashamed and confounded that seek after my soul: let them be turned backward and put to confusion, that desire my hurt. Let them be turned back for a reward of their shame that say, Aha, aha.


This is a psalm of David, wherein he asks that the LORD will deliver and help him speedily; and that his enemies be brought to shame and confusion. He prays that those who seek after his soul with a desire to hurt him might be turned away from him, and filled with confusion. May those who, as they see the trouble and affliction that is upon him, show their approval of his suffering by saying, “Aha, aha,” be turned back, or overthrown, and their reward be that they are put to shame. This could also very readily be the prayer of our Lord Jesus, while on the cross.


(Verse 4) Let all those that seek Thee rejoice and be glad in Thee: and let such as love Thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified.”


Having asked that his enemies be put to shame, he now speaks concerning those who seek the Lord, and love His salvation. His prayer for them is that they may rejoice and be glad in the Lord, and that they may continually praise Him.


(Verse 5) But I am poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God: Thou art my help and my deliverer; O LORD, make no tarrying.


When we are made to feel poor and needy before God, and realize that He, and He alone is our help and our deliverer, we too cry, “Make haste unto me, O LORD, make no tarrying.” But we have a wonderful promise of our Lord for just such occasions. “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” It is then that we have ministered to us abundantly that entrance “into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,” of which the Apostle Peter speaks in II Peter 1:11 .


Chapter 71

(Verses 1 through 3) In Thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion. Deliver me in Thy righteousness, and cause me to escape: incline Thine ear unto me, and save me. Be Thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: Thou hast given commandment to save me; for Thou art my rock and my fortress.


David declares that his trust is in the LORD. Because of this he prays that God will not suffer him to be put to confusion or shame. If we trust in Him, we too can pray unto Him and have full confidence that He will hear and answer us. He will incline His ear unto us, and deliver us in His righteousness. We should always keep in mind that our deliverance must be in His righteousness, because we have no other. As David prays that God will be his strong habitation and continuing refuge, he speaks with full assurance, “Thou hast given commandment to save me;” and the reason he gives is, “for Thou art my rock and my fortress.” This very much reminds one of the question the Apostle Paul asked in Romans 8:31, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Not only is He our rock and fortress, but His commandment has already been given to save us.


(Verses 4 through 7) Deliver me, O God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. For Thou art my hope, O Lord God: Thou art my trust from my youth. By Thee have I been holden up from the womb: Thou art He that took me out of my mother’s bowels: my praise shall be continually of Thee. I am a wonder unto many; but Thou art my strong refuge.


We, even as did David, should constantly pray that God will deliver us from the wicked, and from the unrighteous and cruel man. Verses 5 and 6 are David’s praise to God for having been His hope, his trust, and his keeper even from birth: and if we will but review our own lives, we will find that He has been the same for us. Even at times when we were not aware of Him, and, possibly, not even concerned about Him, He has taken care of us. The life with which we were born is a gift from Him, as are all other benefits we have enjoyed. Therefore we should spend much more time praising Him than what most of us do. Our praise of Him should never cease. David says, “I am a wonder to many; but Thou art my strong refuge.” No doubt, when the little shepherd killed the giant, Goliath, many considered him a wonder, and could hardly believe their own eyes. There also may have been many other things he did that caused just as much wonder. Perhaps, we have never been great warriors as he was, and we may never have done anything that we, or anyone else would consider great feats, but we have come through experiences that, not only others, but even we ourselves, were surprised that we survived. Our only answer for this is, “But Thou art my strong refuge.”


(Verses 8 through 11) Let my mouth be filled with Thy praise and Thy honor all the day. Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth. For mine enemies speak against me; and they that lay wait for my soul take counsel together, saying, God hath forsaken him: persecute and take him; for there is none to deliver him.


Certainly we should all pray that our mouths be filled with the praise and honor of our God. Perhaps, when we were young, and feeling the vigor of natural life, we might not have thought quite so much about what the future might hold for us: but we are all daily growing older, and unless the Lord sees fit to cut our lives short before then, we surely will come to a time when our natural strength will fail us. So our prayer is as was David’s, “Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth.” As you grow weaker, physically, and you, more and more, are left to just sit around and think of times of your life, as they have been, and compare them to what you have now, unless the Lord answers that prayer, your life will be miserable. You may not have men that are your enemies that will try to destroy you; but all of Satan’s forces will attack you, loading you with doubts, fears, worries, gloom, loneliness, and every evil they possibly can. They will indeed say, “God hath forsaken him: persecute and take him; for there is none to deliver him.” But remember that He Who has been your help and refuge even from birth up to the present is the Almighty God: so pray to Him, and praise His name, for he will never forsake those who depend upon Him. He is our rock and our fortress.


(Verses 12 and 13) O God, be not far from me: O my God, make haste for my help. Let them be confounded and consumed that are adversaries to my soul; let them be covered with reproach and dishonor that seek my hurt. But I will hope continually, and will yet praise Thee more.


David continues his prayer for God’s help and deliverance from his enemies, and for the destruction of his adversaries. With these enemies brought to shame, he declares that his hope will continue, and that he will praise the LORD even more. So should it be with us.


(Verses 15 through 18) My mouth shall shew forth Thy righteousness and Thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof. I will go in the strength of the Lord God: I will make mention of Thy righteousness, even Thine only. O God, Thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared Thy wondrous works. Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed Thy strength unto this generation, and Thy power to every one that is to come.


There is much here for us who are advanced in age to consider. First, let us talk of the righteousness of the Lord, and of His salvation all the day. There are many reasons for this; but David mentions only one: “for I know not the numbers thereof.” Young people, whether they do or not, may feel that they have plenty of time ahead in which they can talk of these things; but we who are older know that our time is rapidly slipping away; and we do not know how many more days we may have. This might be our last one. So it behooves us to use it in praising our God. With this in mind, let us “go in the strength of the Lord God.” That is, let us not waste the time He does give us, but use it in praising our God, and praising His righteousness only. It is wonderful to be able to remember praising God, and declaring His great works, power, and righteousness in days past; but let us not think we have done enough, and that it is time to retire from such. On the contrary, we should beg this same God, Who taught us in our youth, to forsake us not, now that we are old and greyheaded, but give us strength to continue on as long as He sees fit to keep us here. He will call us away when He is ready.


(Verses 19 through 21) Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, Who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto Thee! Thou, Which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up from the depths of the earth. Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.


Here David declares that, although the LORD has done great things, which certainly shows that He has wonderful power, as witnessed by His creating, and ruling over all things, there is another attribute which must be addressed. That is His righteousness. It is “very high,” which is the same as saying, “it is most high.” There is no other to be compared with it. Because of this he exclaims, “O God, who is like unto Thee!” No other exists that can be compared to the LORD. Verse 20 sets forth our expectation, since we have approached the latter days of our lives in this world. “Thou, Which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth,.” We can in Him look forward to another great show of His love for us, as well as a demonstration of His power, after He has shown us “great and sore troubles,” that is, after He carries us through death itself, the greatest, and sorest trouble we shall ever know. He will quicken us again, and bring us up from the depths of the earth.” Not only will He raise us from the grave, but David continues, “Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.” For just a hint of how much greater we shall be in the resurrection, read I Corinthians 15:35 -57. We shall be in the likeness of our Saviour, and in His presence we shall have the greatest of all comfort. There will be no more sin, sorrow, pain, sickness, death, or tears. We shall indeed be comforted on every side.


(Verses 22 through 24) I will also praise Thee with the psaltery, even Thy truth, O my God: unto Thee will I sing with the harp, O Thou Holy One of Israel. My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto Thee; and my soul, which Thou hast redeemed. My tongue also shall talk of Thy righteousness all the day long: for they are confounded, for they are brought unto shame, that seek my hurt.


In this, we no more find a prayer for deliverance; but a declaration that it is an accomplished fact. All the enemies are destroyed, and therefore not only our lips, but also our souls shall rejoice in praising the LORD, Who has delivered us. We shall praise His truth and righteousness. This shall be our full employment all the day. What a wonderful day that will be, when all the saints of God are brought home to suffer no more, but forever to praise His holy name.


Chapter 72


This is David’s prayer for his son, Solomon, whom God had chosen to succeed David on the throne of Israel . Often, as we study this prayer, we find short portions of it that seem to look beyond Solomon to our Lord Jesus, Who, according to the flesh, is also of the seed of David, and is the true King of Israel forever.


(Verses 1 through 3) Give the king Thy judgments, O God, and Thy righteousness unto the king’s son. He shall judge Thy people with righteousness, and Thy poor with judgment. The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness.


Here David prays that God will give His judgments, or the wisdom to dispense them, to “the king,” and the “king’s son,” which, of course Solomon was. He was David’s son, and therefore “the king’s son;” while he also was “the king” who was to rule after David. Also he prayed that the Lord would give to him His righteousness. From the record God gives of  Solomon, we see that He answered this prayer. He enabled him to render such wise and righteous judgments that his fame spread to all the nations around him. By reason of such judgments, the reign of Solomon was one of great peace and prosperity. Only in his old age did Solomon let his wives lead him astray. But, for the greater part, his reign was one of peace and righteousness.


(Verses 4 through 8) He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor. They shall fear Thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations. He shall come down like rain on the mown grass: as showers that water the earth. In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. He shall have dominion from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.


Human nature being what it is, among all people, the rich have historically oppressed the poor, even in Israel . With the wisdom and righteousness of the judgments rendered by Solomon, the poor of the people were freed from the oppressor, and their children, “the children of the needy,” were saved from the evils of poverty. One of which was that often the children of the poor were sold into slavery to their wealthier brethren, although God had forbidden their being sold to strangers. Verse 5 seems to look beyond Solomon to the reign of our Lord, which will endure forever. His reign will be as refreshing to the people as rain is to the new mown grass; not the hay that is cut off, but the stubble that is left. When the rain falls upon it, it sprouts up with fresh growth. Were it not for the showers upon the earth, all things would be dry and dead: but as the showers water the earth, all vegetation turns green again. “In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.” The first clause of this sentence surely refers to both the reign of Solomon and that of the Christ: but the latter one must only apply to that of our Lord; for Solomon’s reign did not last as long as the moon endures. Verse 8 seems also to look forward to the reign of our Lord, instead of that of Solomon, because it says, “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth:” and while Solomon’s dominion reached farther that that of any other king of Israel , it never reached that far. Yet the kingdom of our Lord will be over all the earth.


(Verses 9 through 12) They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and of the Isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him. For He shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper.


This describes the glory of the reign of Solomon as king of Israel . Verse 11 might have in view also the reign of the Christ. However, in a restricted sense it does apply to Solomon’s reign. When we say, “restricted sense,” we mean that his statement, “all kings shall fall down before him,” does not mean “every king in the world,” but all the kings that heard of his wisdom and glory. Even today, we use the same manner of speaking. If we go to a meeting of some sort, and afterward are telling someone about those attending, we may say, “Everyone was there.” That is neither meant nor understood to mean “everyone in the world,” but “everyone we expected.” As we have already pointed out, Solomon rendered such wise and righteous judgments that he did deliver the poor and needy from those who oppressed them; and his fame spread over many nations.


(Verses 13 through 15) He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight. And he shall live, and to him shall be given the gold of Sheba : prayer also shall be made for him continually; and daily shall he be praised.


As has already been said, God’s gift of wisdom to Solomon enabled him to render judgments that spared the poor and needy, and saved the souls of the needy. “Souls” is here used, just as in many other places in scripture, to mean the whole person, and not just the spiritual part. An outstanding example of this usage is found in Genesis 46:26, “All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt , which came out of his loins, besides Jacob’s sons’ wives, all the souls were three score and six.” Even the next verse of the present text clarifies this usage. “He shall redeem their souls from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight.” He will deliver them from deceit and violence: and whoever does violence to them, especially those who shed their blood are in grave danger of severe judgment: for he sets great value upon their blood. He will avenge it. “And he shall live, and to him shall be given the gold of Sheba .” Because he, instead of asking of the Lord long, life or riches, he asked for wisdom that he might be able to rule and judge the Lord’s people, God gave to him all three, wisdom, wealth, and long life. Not only so, but since he ruled with such wisdom and righteousness, prayer was continually made for him, and he was daily praised by the people


(Verses 16 and 17) There shall be a handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon : and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth. His name shall endure forever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.


Perhaps, this may envision both the reign of Solomon and that of our Lord the Christ. Surely there are similarities between the two. Usually, the place for growing corn (grain) is in the valleys, and not on the mountains. Yet in the reign of this King shall be such a time of prosperity that, even on the top of the mountains a handful of seed will flourish and produce so much fruit that it shall shake like Lebanon: and the city shall flourish like the grass of the earth. There will be great prosperity throughout all the land, both on the mountains and in the city. “His name shall endure for ever. His name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.” This can apply to Solomon, but even more to our Lord Jesus. Solomon’s name has continued to this day, and will, no doubt, continue “as long as the sun:” but the name of our Lord will continue forever, even after the sun shall be no more. “Men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.” There are blessings to humanity today that have come down to us from Solomon: and all nations are, and shall be blessed in Christ Jesus our Lord.


(Verses 18 through 20) Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, Who only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be His glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with His glory; Amen, and Amen. The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.


Here David turns from his prayer for Solomon to praising the LORD God, the God of Israel. His language is so clear that there is no need for comment. We can only say, as he did, “Amen, and Amen.”


Chapter 73

This is not a psalm of David, but of Asaph. That really makes no difference, as long as we consider that it is inspired of God: because as long as it is inspired of Him, it is His word, no matter who was chosen to pen it down.


(Verses 1 through 3) Truly God is good to Israel , even to such as are of a clean heart. But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.


Asaph begins by calling attention to the fact that God is truly good to Israel . Lest any think that he means that everyone who is of natural descent from Israel is thus blessed, he adds an appositive to clarify the matter; “Even to such as are of a clean heart.” No doubt there were in Israel , just as there are among professed Christians today, some whose hearts are not clean. However this goodness of God does not necessarily extend to them. It is “even to such as are of a clean heart.” Then he looks at the “slippery slope” upon which he had tried to stand. He says, “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.” This is a very dangerous position in which to try to stand. He does not leave us to wonder what this dangerous position is; but continues thus, “For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” David, in several of his psalms, has informed us that the foolish, or the fool, is he who has not sufficient understanding to recognize that there is a God; and he therefore is the same as “the wicked.” Asaph’s great danger was that he became envious when he saw their prosperity. This is the same trap into which many fall today. As we continue through verse 12, we find Asaph considering only the prosperity of the wicked, and saying nothing about their “down side.”


(Verses 4 through 8) For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. Their pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment. Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish. They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily.


As Asaph considered these wicked ones, he saw only one side of their situation. To him it seemed that even in their deaths “there were no bands.” That is, they died very easily, with no hard struggling or suffering at the end, as others experienced. They kept their strength until the end. To him it seemed that they did not have troubles in life, as others have, and were not plagued by all the unpleasant things that were the lot of others. Because of this, they are proud. “Pride compasseth them about as a chain.” This chain is not one such as a prisoner would wear, but one they wear as an ornament: and “violence covereth them as a garment.” They are not at all reluctant to use violence to obtain whatever they see and want. To them it is just a way of life. The expression, “Their eyes stand out with fatness,” has no reference to their physical appearance, but to the fact that they have no difficulty accumulating wealth. “They have more than the heart could wish.” That is, their wealth increases so that they do not know what to do with it. “They are corrupt and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily.” They plan oppression against those around them, speaking wickedly about how they will bring it about; and they speak loftily, as if they are better and greater than their neighbors.


(Verses 9 through 12) They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth. Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them. And they say, How doth God know? And is there knowledge in the most High? Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.


The wicked “set their mouth,” or direct their speech, “against the heavens.” They even complain  about the weather, such as its being too wet, too dry, too hot, or too cold, as if they could do a better job of ordering it than is being done. They have no respect for God, Who alone rules such things. “And their tongue walketh through the earth.” They speak in a derogatory or critical manner about everything and everyone in the world. “Therefore his people return hither: and the waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.” In spite of their unthankful speech and conduct they come back to their place of beginning with no damage, and continue to prosper. “The waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.” Not only do they prosper, that is, receive the waters of a full cup, but these waters are “wrung out to them.” They get all that is in the cup, leaving nothing for others. “And they say, ‘How doth God know? And is there knowledge in the most High?” This they say in ridicule of even the existence of God: for they have already been described as foolish, or without understanding; and the fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” Now Asaph concludes their description thus: “Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.” By this he removes all doubt as to the identity of those of whom he speaks. They are the wicked and the foolish against whom he was envious when he saw their prosperity.


(Verses 13 through 17) Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of Thy children. When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.


Verses 13 and 14 are the temptation against which Asaph had to fight as he contemplated the successes of the wicked, and contrasted his experience against them. They have one success after another, with never any troubles. They are not plagued with sorrows and afflictions, although they are not concerned about God and righteousness: but I, as I try to maintain a clean heart and innocent hands, am plagued all the time, and chastened every morning. That is exactly the way Satan wants us to think; and if we think that way too long, our steps will surely slip, and we will fall into serious trouble. Asaph then says, “If I say, ‘I will speak thus;’ behold, I should offend against the generation of Thy children.” If he spoke out, and tried to teach according to these thoughts, it would be an offense, or a transgression, against the entire generation of the children of God. What then could he do? “When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.” When He was thus tempted, and knew that, that temptation is offensive to the Lord’s children, he was greatly troubled, and wanted to know the answer. However that answer was beyond his reach, “it was too painful for me.” He could not by his own reasoning find this answer. He never did understand it until he went into the sanctuary of God. That is, until the LORD drew him into His presence, and revealed it to him. Then he understood their end.


(Verses 18 through 20) Surely Thou didst set them in slippery places: Thou castest them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when Thou awakest, Thou shalt despise their image.


Although Asaph had thought the wicked to be so secure in their wickedness that they do not have troubles as do others, he now sees that their security is very precarious. God has set them in slippery places, where there is no solid footing at all: and they may be brought to destruction without warning. They are, or, at least should be, consumed with terror, because they never know when real calamity will come, and complete desolation overtake them. Although the Lord never sleeps, He has dealt with them as one asleep. When He shall awake, that is, when His time for action is come, He will despise their image. That is, He will hate even their appearance.


(Verses 21 through 24) Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in the reins. So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before Thee. Nevertheless I am continually with Thee: Thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me by Thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.


When the Lord showed Asaph the answer to the situation of the wicked, he was much disturbed, that he had been so foolish and ignorant, as to be envious at the wicked for their prosperity. He considered that he, so far as wisdom and understanding are concerned, was no more than one of the beasts of the earth. Yet he was confident in the Lord, that He will never let him fall. Just as the Lord had already held him by the hand, so will He also guide him by His counsel, and afterward take him to glory. This promise God has also given to all who trust in Him: and His promise cannot be broken.


(Verses 25 and 26) Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides Thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.


Since God has revealed this great truth to him, Asaph declares that there is none in heaven, or on earth for whom he has any desire except the Lord. He knows that both his heart and his flesh shall fail; that is, he must die. Yet God is the strength of his heart, and is his portion forever. Therefore he can never be separated from the Lord. So it is with all that have been made to trust in Him.


(Verses 27 and 28) For, lo, they that are far from Thee shall perish: Thou hast destroyed all them that go a-whoring from Thee. But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all Thy works.


The contrast between verses 27 and 28 is immediately noticed. In verse 27 he declares that all that are far from God will be destroyed; and all who once claimed to be His, but have left Him, are already, to all practical intents and purposes, destroyed. Yet it is good for Asaph, and all who love the Lord, to draw near to God. Then he says, “I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all Thy works.” He is no longer envious at the wicked; for he sees that his first assessment of them was made without any understanding of their final end. So, let us never yield to that temptation, but always trust in the LORD.


Chapter 74

(Verses 1 through 3) O God, Why hast Thou cast us off for ever? Why doth Thine anger smoke against the sheep of Thy pasture? Remember Thy congregation, which Thou hast purchased of old; the rod of Thine inheritance, which Thou hast redeemed; this mount Zion , wherein Thou hast dwelt. Lift up Thy feet unto the perpetual desolations; even all that the enemy hath done wickedly in the sanctuary.


This is another psalm of Asaph. He begins with two questions. Both of these questions indicate that, for some reason, God has seen fit to “cast off” Israel for a time. His first question seems to indicate that Asaph fears that it is to be permanent, as he says, “O God, why hast Thou cast us off forever?” Perhaps the “forever” may be an exaggeration of Asaph’s mind, inasmuch as we are prone to think that any unpleasant experience has continued far longer than it really has. He knows that there is a reason for this casting off; so he asks “Why?” He would like to know what the reason is. He continues, “Why doth Thine anger smoke against the sheep of Thy pasture?” Thus he acknowledges that we are only the sheep of the pasture of the Lord, having no defense of our own, and not having sufficient understanding to direct our way. Because of the fact that the scriptures so often refer to the Lord’s people as sheep, we seem to have adopted the idea that a sheep is a wonderfully intelligent animal, while the opposite is more nearly true. The greatest reasons for our being likened to sheep are that, first of all, we have no defense of our own, but are wholly dependent upon our Shepherd; and second, sheep are notorious for following their leader, not necessarily the shepherd, but the lead sheep of the flock. For this reason, many shepherds used to take a goat, put a bell on him, and use him as a leader of the flock. It is from this practice that a common expression comes that is applied to a leader: “bell wether.” The advice to Bo Peep in the old nursery rhyme is somewhat erroneous because if the sheep are left alone when lost, they will not likely find their way home. The shepherd must go after them. Nevertheless we are the sheep of our Lord’s pasture; and the wonderful thing about the matter is that He never leaves us to find our way home, but Himself comes, finds us, and takes us home. Many places in scripture speak of our straying from our Shepherd, and this is, evidently, one of the times when Israel strayed from their Shepherd. Because of this His anger smoked against them. Still Asaph prays that the Lord will remember His congregation, which He has purchased of old, which is the rod of His inheritance, and which He has redeemed. They are also the mount Zion in which He has dwelt. So it is upon this basis that he prays the Lord to remember them, and not upon that of their works. “Lift up Thy feet unto the perpetual desolations; even all that the enemy hath done wickedly in the sanctuary.” For God to “lift up His feet” unto these desolations caused by the enemy, is to prepare to trample them under foot, or destroy them. The enemy has done wickedly in the sanctuary, and is to be destroyed.


(Verses 4 through 6) Thine enemies roar in the midst of Thy congregation; they have set up their ensigns for signs. A man was famous according as he had lifted up axes upon the thick trees. But now they break down the carved work thereof at once with axes and hammers.


Asaph complains that the Lord’s enemies have come into His congregation (the assemblies of His people) and there they are not quiet, but have caused a great disturbance by their roaring. They have even removed the Lord’s signs, and have raised their own ensigns, or flags, in lieu thereof. They have even changed the basis upon which a man is to be counted worthy of honor. Whereas before he was honored according to his prowess in the use of axes against the thick trees; they now tear down all the beautiful carved work with axes and hammers. In the light of this development, one would think the expression, “as he had lifted up axes against the thick trees,” to mean, not so much his ability to clear the land by cutting down these trees, as that of being able to make beautiful carved word, which is another use of the axe. These are some of the changes brought about by the Lord’s enemies who have come into the congregations.


(Verses 7 through 9) They have cast fire into Thy sanctuary, they have defiled by casting down the dwelling place of Thy name to the ground. They said in their hearts, Let us destroy them together: they have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land. We see not our signs: there is no more any prophet: neither is there among us any that knoweth  how long.


Asaph continues his complaint against the enemies of the Lord. Not only have they destroyed the carved work which was the glory of former generations, but they have even cast fire into the sanctuary of the Lord. They are making an all-out effort to destroy everything that pertains to God. Can not we see a parallel between those enemies of the Lord in that day and those of the present time? Are not those of the present day doing everything they can to destroy the sanctuary of God? Within the past few years there has been a rash of burning of church buildings, not just those burned by white supremacist groups because of race hatred, but of all races and denominations: and, what is even more significant, men have crept into churches unawares, and gradually, and in some cases not so gradually, led congregations away from any effort to teach the word of God in reality. They are teaching that it never was intended to be taken as literal truth, but is only for a general guide; and then only if one thinks it fits his situation. Otherwise he can take whatever part of it he feels applies to him, and discard the rest. If that is not an attempt to destroy all the synagogues of God in the land, (the synagogue is the place where the word of God is studied) one would be hard pressed to find anything that would answer to this complaint in any generation. Very recently a great uproar was caused by the enemies of God against anyone’s going into any town, community, or section thereof, and preaching the gospel where people live who do not believe it. This did not take place in China , Iran , or some other foreign nation, but in the United States of America . With consideration for the views of our modern law-makers, judges, etc., how long do you think it will be until this objection will be declared the law of the land? This will be done in the name of civil rights, to protect the “rights” of those who do not want to hear the gospel. Since in every community there are some who, care nothing for our Lord, and do not want to hear His word, the next step will be to outlaw the preaching of the gospel. I realize that to many, even of conscientious believers, this will be taken as the demented ramblings of an old man, out of touch with the reality of modern society. The immediate answer of most will be, “That can’t happen here.” Remember that fifty years ago the majority would have said, “They can’t outlaw prayer in public school.” Perhaps, they could not: BUT THEY DID. These enemies of God are destroying “all the synagogues of God in the land;” and they have eradicated “our signs.” We are, more and more, helping them to do that. From experience I know that the churches I attended twenty or thirty years ago would often meet as much as thirty minutes early to start the song service on Sunday mornings. Now most of the members are not there in time to start singing at the appointed time; and because of starting late with the singing, the preaching is often a little late in being started. Yet, if the time is approaching 12:00 N. and it appears that the preacher may run a little over time, many get restless. The Lord only commanded us to keep one day out of seven holy to Him: but now we are pushing ourselves if we give an hour and a half out of the seven days to His service. Is this “remembering the Sabbath day, and keeping it holy?” Personally, I think not. Yet we wonder what has become of our signs. “We see not our signs: there is no more any prophet: neither is there among us any that knoweth how long.” We need to wake up and look around. First of all, we need to look for our signs, which have been cast down. If they are not here, why are they not? The answer is very simple. We have not held them up, and defended them as we should. Some will surely say, “I defend the doctrine of my church against anyone.” Perhaps, you do; but how? Do you do it in such a dogmatic manner that it drives others away? Or do you do it in an humble loving manner, showing the one to whom you are speaking that you love him, or her, and only desire to help him or her to understand your viewpoint? After all, the points upon which you and someone else differ are not the most important principles of the gospel. In Matthew 22: 37-40, Jesus tells us what our two most important signs should be: “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 great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang (depend) all the law and the prophets.” In John 13:34-35, Jesus says, “A new commandment I give unto you, ‘That ye love one another.’ By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Without controversy, these are the signs for which we should search, and which we should again set up. We should consider them as not only signs, but “ensigns,” or flags, which identify us as an outpost of our Lord’s army in this world filled with His enemies. “There is no more any prophet.” At this time, after the death of Samuel and Nathan, the Lord withheld from Israel such prophets. Later He did send Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and others, who prophesied of many things that were, and some that still are, to come; but at the time of this writing Israel had no prophets that taught them the word of the Lord. Today, in the church there is very little teaching of the word of the Lord, except for a few items that will fit the doctrine of the particular denomination with which that church is affiliated. It seems that the greatest emphasis today is on showing the difference between the doctrines of this local assembly and the one a little farther down the road; not on teaching the whole counsel of God, as did the apostles. “Neither is there any among us that knoweth how long.” Although our Lord has told us that no man knows the day and the hour of His return, He has also given us many signs that precede His coming, following them by this saying, “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; when his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: so likewise ye, when ye see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” The complaint made by Asaph seems to indicate that, not only is there none among us who knows how long, but that there is also a lack of desire to know anything about it. Although we are well aware that no one knows the day and the hour, and therefore we cannot pin point the time that is no excuse for ignoring the signs. I, for one, would much rather be considered, and even called, “a fanatic,” because I am concerned about the signs of His return, than to be one of those, who scoff, and say, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning.” This is usually the answer we get, even from our brethren, when we mention anything about the approach of His return. There seem to be few indeed, who either know or care about “how long.”


(Verses 10 through 12) O God, how long shall the adversary reproach? Shall the enemy blaspheme Thy name for ever? Why withdrawest Thou Thy hand, even Thy right hand? Pluck it out of Thy bosom. For God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.


All these questions amount to the same thing. They are not to be considered as demands that God get busy, and do something about this situation, but they are expressions of awe at the patience of God as He awaits the time He has appointed for action against His enemies, and requests for help against those enemies. Men are always impatient; and because of the weakness and the short span of life of men, we sometimes may even fear that God will wait too long before doing anything about them. We must remember that it is never too late for God. His timing is always perfect. Apparently Asaph realized this, as he said, “For God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.” This is in perfect accord with a statement of the Apostle Peter: “But beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” This is the same God, Who has been working salvation in the midst of the earth.


(Verses 13 through 15) Thou didst divide the sea by Thy strength: Thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters. Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness. Thou didst cleave the fountain and the flood, Thou driedst up mighty rivers.


Here Asaph praises God for some of His mighty works. It is a little unclear whether the statement, “Thou didst divide the sea by Thy strength,” refers to His work, as set forth in Genesis 1: 7-10, or to His dividing the Red Sea that Israel might cross it on dry land. Either work is great enough to rate special attention. The reference to His breaking the heads of the dragons and leviathan (the sea serpent) may not refer to any recorded event, but may have been included only to show His great power over all creatures, both of the land and the sea. When, in the days of Noah, He brought the flood upon the earth, Genesis 7:11-12 says, “The same day were the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.” So He did “cleave the fountain and the flood.” He shut off the river Jordan in time of flood, and let Israel pass over dry shod.


(Verses 16 through 18) The day is Thine, the night also is Thine: Thou hast prepared the light and the sun. Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: Thou hast made summer and winter. Remember this, that the enemy hath reproached, O LORD, and that the foolish people have blasphemed Thy name.


Asaph praises God by calling to memory some of the works of the Lord. Although some may like the bright clear light of the sun, while others prefer the beauty of the moon and the stars, God made both, and therefore both are His. This can also be applied to the path through which we are led. The path may be bright with joy, or clouded with much sorrow. Yet it is the way He has appointed. See Psalm 66:10-12. Knowing this, let us praise Him: for He shall bring “us out into a wealthy place.” He has established the “borders,” or boundaries, of the earth. He has made both the summer and the winter. He has power over both heat and cold, it reaches to both extremes. He has no equal. Then Asaph prays that the LORD will remember that His enemies have cast reproach upon Him, and those with no understanding have blasphemed His name. Certainly He will remember this: but He will not be hurried into bringing judgment upon them for it. That too will be according to His schedule; not ours.


(Verses 19 through 21) O deliver not the soul of Thy turtledove unto the multitude of the wicked: forget not the congregation of Thy poor for ever. Have respect unto the covenant: for the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty. O let not the oppressed return ashamed: let the poor and needy praise Thy name.


He continues praying for the LORD’S beloved, which is the meaning, in the Psalms, of “Thy turtledove.” He pleads that their soul be not delivered unto the multitude of the wicked. “Forget not the congregation of Thy poor for ever,” shows clearly that the LORD’S people are poor in this world’s wealth. Of late more and more popularity is being gained by the doctrine, “God wants to bless His children with wealth of material things in this world.” A more dangerous doctrine cannot be imagined. Certainly God can call, and at His will does call, a rich man, such as Joseph of Arimathaea, and He can, and for His own purpose, will sometimes, permit one He has already called to accumulate a little wealth: but His word teaches throughout that His people are, by far, for the greater part, the poor and downtrodden of this world. He has something far better reserved for them in the world to come. Those who overlook this fact, and try to teach “Materialism,” are showing a total disregard for His truth. Since the dark places of this earth are full of “the habitations of cruelty,” Asaph prays that God will “have respect unto,” or remember the covenant. In scripture we can find many covenants, or promises that God has made. However, since this mentions only one, “the covenant,” and is associated with a prayer that the LORD “let not the oppressed return ashamed,” and that He “let the poor and needy praise Thy name;” it seems probable that it refers to His promise that He will never leave nor forsake His own.


(Verses 22 and 23) Arise, O God, plead Thine own cause: remember how the foolish man reproacheth Thee daily. Forget not the voice of Thine enemies: the tumult of those that rise up against Thee increaseth continually.


In this, Asaph is asking, not that God come to the defense of His people, but that He arise to His own defense against those, who are reproaching Him. “The foolish man,” the man David has several times said says in his own heart, “There is no God,” daily reproaches God by denying His existence. With all the evidence, even in nature, that proclaims the existence and glory of God, as in Psalm 19, those who deny His being do indeed reproach Him. They are continually calling Him a liar. Try as we may, we cannot defend God or His honor against this. Only He can successfully plead His cause. This is not to say that we should not put forth every effort to uphold the word of God against all opposition, but only that we do not have the power to convict or convince foolish men of His being. He only has that power. Not only does the foolish man, who denies the being of God reproach Him, but so do also all His enemies, even if they be forced to acknowledge that He exists. So Asaph prays that God will not forget, or pass over, the tumult of these enemies, which increases continually. It seems that in our nation, which has claimed to be a “Christian Nation,” this tumult has arisen to almost the crescendo it reached in Jerusalem , when they cried, “Crucify Him, crucify Him.” How much longer will He suffer this to go on? I confess that I do not know. But I am made to believe that the reckoning day is not far distant.


Chapter 75

(Verse 1) Unto Thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto Thee do we give thanks: for that Thy name is near Thy wondrous works declare.


As Asaph begins this psalm, which is a song of praise and thanksgiving unto the LORD, he says, “Unto Thee, O God, do we give thanks.” Then, that no one might misunderstand, he repeats, “unto Thee do we give thanks.” This thanksgiving is not to the hosts of heaven, nor is it to some unknown god, as was the altar of the Athenians. It is unto none but the LORD God. The reason for this giving of thanks to Him is that His wondrous works testify that His name is near.


(Verses 2 and 3) When I shall receive the congregation I will judge uprightly. The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved: I bear up the pillars of it. Selah.


This is the Lord’s answer to Asaph. Unquestionably it looks forward to the Day of Judgment, when “the earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved.” That is when the bond between the earth and its inhabitants will be dissolved, and they will be separated for judgment. At that time He shall receive the congregation, or the gathering of the inhabitants of the earth. At that time the Lord will judge uprightly. He will render righteous judgment. After all, He it is, Who upholds the pillars of the earth. We think of the pillars of any edifice as being what supports that building, while seldom do we consider what it is that supports the pillars. Yet the pillars of any structure can hold up only so long as they, in turn, are solidly supported. God is therefore the final support, or foundation of the earth: and when He removes that support, the earth will be dissolved, and all its inhabitants will be brought to judgment, before this Judge, Who will judge uprightly.


(Verses 4 through 8) I said unto the fools, Deal not foolishly: and to the wicked, Lift not up the horn: lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck. For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He putteth down one, and setteth up another. For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and He poureth out the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.


This is a continuation of the LORD’S answer. He declares that He has warned the fools not to deal foolishly, which may to some seem strange. “How,” they will probably ask, “can a fool not deal foolishly?” One should, with this, read Matthew 11:20-27, where it becomes abundantly clear that even though the Father has hidden some things from some, that does not lessen their responsibility to obey Him. He also has said to the wicked, “Lift not up the horn: lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck.” “The horn” is a phrase that is most often used to mean, “power,” inasmuch as the horns are the weapons used by horned animals in their battles. So the Lord’s commandment to the wicked is that they not lift up, or flaunt, their power, and that they not speak “with a stiff neck,” or haughtily. They are not to think that promotion comes from any compass direction, nor from any earthly source. Instead, “God is the Judge: He putteth down one, and raiseth up another.” Certainly the wicked have disregarded this commandment, just as they have the rest of His word. Nevertheless, in God’s hand is a cup filled with red wine full of mixture; and He is the One, Who pours it out. That is He divides it as He will. “But the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.” God does not deal in half way measures.


(Verse 9) But I will declare for ever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.


What a glorious contrast there is between the wicked and those, who love the LORD. This is our comfort as we journey through this life of toil and sorrow. We look forward to the day when we can indeed sing and declare praises to the God of Israel forever.


(Verse 10) All the horns of the wicked also will I cut off; but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted


The wicked shall no more afflict and oppress the righteous; for their power will be destroyed, and they themselves be made to drink the dregs of the wrath of Almighty God. At the same time the power of the righteous shall be exalted, and they shall shine forth as the stars in the kingdom of God .


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