Chapter 76 Chapter 81 Chapter 86 Chapter 91 Chapter 96
Chapter 77 Chapter 82 Chapter 87 Chapter 92 Chapter 97
Chapter 78 Chapter 83 Chapter 88 Chapter 93 Chapter 98
Chapter 79 Chapter 84 Chapter 89 Chapter 94 Chapter 99
Chapter 80 Chapter 85 Chapter 90 Chapter 95 Chapter 100

Chapter 76

(Verses 1 through 3) In Judah is God known: His name is great in Israel . In Salem also is His tabernacle, and His dwelling place is in Zion . There brake He the arrows of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the battle. Selah


This is another psalm of Asaph, and its primary purpose is to praise God. It has ever been that, although because of some especially great work He has wrought, His fame will temporarily spread over the world, He has been, and is, for the greater part, known primarily among His people. That was also the prevailing situation in Asaph’s day. God was well known in Judah , and He was great in Israel . Salem is one of the ancient names of Jerusalem , even reaching back to the days of Melchizedek. So in Salem is His tabernacle, and His dwelling place is in Zion . God made choice of Salem as the place of His tabernacle, or where He was to be worshipped, and Zion as the place He would dwell. No doubt, verse 3 looks forward to the time when Jesus shall return, and His feet shall stand upon the mount of Olives. At that time He shall break all the weapons of war, and bring peace upon the earth. The fact that Asaph wrote this in past tense in no wise denies that: because most prophecies of the judgment God will bring upon the earth are written in past tense, to give full assurance that they will come to pass.


(Verses 4 and 5) Thou art more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey. The stout hearted are spoiled, they have slept their sleep: and none of the men of might have found their hands.


Those, who know the Lord recognize the fact that He is more glorious and more excellent than mountains of prey. One may have been victorious over his enemies, and he may have taken as prey so much of their wealth that it appears as mountains of prey. If so, he would, doubtless, feel that this prey is glorious: but another might come, and take it all away. However, the LORD not only is more excellent and glorious immediately, but also He will never leave us nor forsake us; and His glory never fades away. He is God forever. He is so great that, even though the stout hearted have set their guards, and made their works as sure as they could, they have been spoiled; they could do no more than dead men, or men who are asleep. They cannot even find their hands. That is, they are overcome before they can even begin to fight. Read Matthew 27:62 through Matthew 28:8, paying particular attention to Matthew 28:4, “And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.” This may not be the incident Asaph had in mind, but it clearly illustrates what he said.


(Verses 6 through 9) At Thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, both the chariot and the horse are cast into a dead sleep. Thou, even Thou, art to be feared: and who may stand in Thy sight when once Thou art angry? Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth feared, and was still, when God arose to judgment to save all the meek of the earth. Selah.


Chariots and horses were, at the time of this writing, the greatest war machines man had developed; but a word of rebuke from the LORD made them utterly useless, as if they were in “a dead sleep,” a sleep from which they could not be awakened. They are no more to be feared. Only the LORD is worthy to be feared: and when His anger is aroused, none can stand before Him, or in His sight. When He spoke forth His judgment from heaven, the whole earth feared, and was still. This is prophetic of His declaration of final judgment, and is to be done when He shall arise to judgment to save all the meek of the earth. Again he speaks of the future as already done, because, inasmuch as it is the purpose of God, it cannot fail.


(Verse 10) Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee: the remainder of wrath Thou shalt restrain.


We are told in scripture, “The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God;” and that is, of course true. Yet Asaph says, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee: the remainder of wrath Thou wilt restrain.” The wrath of man is aroused by Satan, with no intention to either work the righteousness of God, or to praise Him. Yet God can, and does so restrain it that it does praise Him. Surely, the most heinous act of the wrath of man on record is the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus. Yet read what His disciples said about it, as they prayed to the Father: “For of a truth against Thy holy Child Jesus, Whom Thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel , were gathered together, for to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy counsel determined before to be done.” (Acts 4:27-28) Certainly, no one would say that these wicked ones had studied the word of God, found out what He had purposed to be done, and set forth to do that. No, they were concerned with only one thing. They purposed to destroy Jesus, His doctrine, and His influence. But God so restrained their wrath, so far as its accomplishment is concerned, that they could do no more than that which God had determined to be done.


(Verses 11 and 12) Vow, and pay unto the LORD your God: let all that be around about Him bring presents unto Him that ought to be feared. He shall cut off the spirit of princes: He is terrible to the kings of the earth.


The scriptures tell us that it is better not to vow, than to vow and not pay. This might make us a little hesitant about making vows to the Lord: but Asaph tells us to both vow, and pay those vows to the LORD our God. Let us never be afraid that we will give too much to the Lord. Rather, let us keep in mind that, not only all we have, but even we ourselves are His. “Let all that be round about Him bring presents unto Him that ought to be feared.” Our God is the One Who is worthy to be feared, as well as praised. Even princes are cut off by Him at His will. His presence strikes awe and terror to the hearts of the kings of the earth.


Chapter 77

(Verses 1 through3) I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and He gave ear unto me. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah.


As we have mentioned before, the word order in poetry is often different from what it would be in prose: and, since The Psalms are actually songs, or poems, we encounter this difference in them. In verse 1, Asaph uses, for emphasis, repetition of the clause, “I cried unto God with my voice.” He was in sufficient distress that he prayed to God: and he tells us that his prayer was not in vain; for “He gave ear unto me.” Then he describes his condition. The fact that he was in trouble was the cause of his calling upon the Lord. Although his affliction was sorrow of the soul instead of affliction of the body, he, to illustrate it, uses a physical wound that has become seriously infected, even to the point of constantly draining, and he cannot get it stopped. He says, it “ran in the night,” or all night. In such a condition there can be little, if any, comfort. So he says, My soul refused to be comforted.” Verse 3 is an example of the different word order from that normally used in prose. Because he was troubled, he remembered God: and because his spirit was overwhelmed, he complained. The wonderful thing about it all is set forth in verse 1. “He gave ear unto me.” We have the promise of our Lord that, when we pray to Him in our times of trouble, He will also hear us.


(Verses 4 through 6) Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.


Since he had prayed to the Lord because of his trouble, and the Lord had listened to his prayer, Asaph is made to realize that, “Thou holdest mine eyes waking.” In the light of later verses, this seems to mean that, even now, the Lord holds Asaph’s eyes from clearly seeing what will be the outcome of this situation. He is so troubled by this that he cannot speak. This brings him to serious contemplation of the events of the past: and we do well to follow his example. “I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.” When we can call to mind the times when, even in our darkest moments, “the night,” the Lord gave us a song in our hearts, it is of great comfort to us. We can commune with our own heart, even if we have no one with whom we can talk; and from that we can receive strength. At such times we should make “diligent search” into these experiences of the mercy of our God, that we may be the better assured that He is leading us. Such will strengthen our faith, for we know that He will never forsake us.


(Verses 7 through 9) Will the Lord cast us off for ever? And will He be favorable no more? Is His mercy clean gone forever? Doth His promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? Hath His anger shut up His tender mercies? Selah.


These are some of the questions Satan will continually try to load upon our minds when we are down cast, and especially when we begin to indulge in a little self pity. That is why we need to make such a diligent search of our former experiences. The surest antidote for this feeling of being cut off from the blessings of God is to consider former blessings and the rejoicing we have had in worshipping Him.


(Verses 10 through 12) And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High. I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember Thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all Thy work, and talk of Thy doings.


Having made a diligent search into the blessings he had formerly enjoyed, Asaph was brought to this conclusion: “This is my infirmity.” This is no ground for doubting the promise of God, or thinking that He has given up on me, and cast me away forever. This is only my weakness; not His. This experience has only brought me to the realization that it is neither my right, nor my privilege to know the future. However, I do have the right to do this, and I will do it: “I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High. I will remember the works of the LORD; surely I will remember Thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all Thy work, and talk of Thy doings.” We can remember those days when we felt the power of God as it lifted our souls and caused us to rejoice in Him. Surely, it is good to think even of His great works in ancient times, but what does us more good in such times as Asaph describes, is to remember the wonderful works He has done for us, and the great blessings He has given us. Then we can talk of them with others we meet, or, if we have no companions, we can “think upon His name.” Malachi 3:16 says, “Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon His name.” So, even if we are left alone, we can still think upon His name: and He will not forget us.


(Verses 13 through 15) Thy way, O God is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God? Thou art the God that doest wonders: Thou hast declared Thy strength among the people. Thou hast with Thine own arm redeemed Thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.


Notice the change brought about in Asaph’s thinking by the contemplation of former blessings. He is no longer in trouble, and he is no longer wondering if God has forever cast him off. Instead he is praising the LORD for His wonderful works. He declares that there is no other who can even be compared to our God. He has demonstrated His strength “among the people.” Contrary to common scriptural usage the phrase, “among the people,” probably, means “among the people of the whole earth,” because the next thing he says is, “Thou hast with Thine own arm redeemed Thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph.” This, without controversy, refers to His bringing Israel out of Egypt . Although this was a blessing to Israel , it was done in the presence of the people of the whole world. God “redeemed,” or delivered, Israel from the bondage of Pharaoh, who was one of the great kings of the age: but Pharaoh found that he was no match for the LORD.


(Verses 16 through 18) The waters saw Thee, O God, the waters saw Thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled. The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound: Thine arrows also went abroad. The voice of Thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook.


This entire text, probably, refers to God’s great act of judgment in the days of Noah. In the Genesis account, nothing is said about the thunder and lightning, but it is only reasonable to assume they were present: for it is not unusual for them to accompany storms of much smaller scale.


(Verses 19 and 20) Thy way is in the sea, and Thy path in the great waters, and Thy footsteps are not known. Thou leddest Thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.


Verse 19 is a declaration that God can, and does, go where He pleases, leaving no more trail by which man can search Him out, than if He walked in the waters of the sea, which retain no footprints at all. This is only a small hint at the greatness of His power. When, by the hand of Moses and Aaron, He led His people through the wilderness, it was as a shepherd leading his flock.

Chapter 78

(Verses 1 through 4) Give ear, O My people, to My law: incline your ears to the words of My mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and His strength, and His wonderful works that He hath done.


Verse 1 is the LORD’S call to His people. He calls upon them to listen, and pay attention to the message He is about to set forth. From this point, instead of speaking directly, the LORD has Asaph pick up the message, which does not make it any less the word of God, but only sets it upon a level to which they can better relate As appears from the message itself, his statement, “I will open my mouth in a parable,” does not mean that he will use what we most often think of as a parable, that is, the telling a narrative concerning natural things to illustrate those of a spiritual nature. Instead, he will tell of some experiences of Israel , and remind the people that these were the work of the LORD, and not just random happenings. These “dark sayings” are not things, which have not yet been revealed, but things that have been “pushed to the back of our minds,” as we often say, and almost, if not completely forgotten. They are things “we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. They have become dark, or hidden, by our forgetting them. “We will not hide them from their children,” that is, the children of our fathers, or the present generation. Instead, in them we will show His praises to the generation to come. Not only will we tell of God’s great strength and wonderful works to the present generation, but, to the best of our ability, we will provide that they be taught to future generations. This is very much like the Apostle Peter’s declaration in II Peter 1:12-15, “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.” As a teacher of the word of God, Asaph seemed to have exactly the same view of his calling as did the Apostle Peter: and so should every servant the Lord has called to this work.


(Verses 5 through 8) For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments: and might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God.


Verses 5 through 7 are simply a declaration of the fact that God established a testimony, (a verbal witness of His great works from the creation of the world to the bringing of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt ,) and a law in Israel . This law instructed Israel how to worship God, and how to treat their fellow man. Further, He commanded them to teach these to their children, and see that they were handed on down to all following generations. The purposes of His doing this were: first; that they might set their hope in God, and forget not His works: and, second; that they might avoid the chastisement which God sent upon their fathers, who were “a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God.”


(Verses 9 through 11) The children of Ephraim, being armed and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle. They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in His law; and forgot His works and His wonders He had shewed them.


Although all the Israelites were, at one time or another, guilty of disobeying the commandments of God, and as a result could not stand before their enemies in battle, Asaph singles out Ephraim, possibly, because of Jacob’s special blessing to him. (See Genesis 48: 17-22.) Because of their disobedience, the tribe of Ephraim, although fully dressed for battle, had to turn back in the face of their enemies. They had forgotten the works of God, “and His wonders that He had shown them.”


(Verses 12 through 16) Marvelous things did He in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt , in the field of Zoan. He divided the sea, and caused them to pass through; and He made the waters to stand on an heap. In the daytime also He led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire. He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths. He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.


Here Asaph begins with the wonders God wrought in the land of Egypt to persuade Pharaoh to let Israel go from his bondage, mentions His parting the waters of the Red Sea, His leading them with the cloud by day and the fire by night, and giving them water in the wilderness. He does not elaborate upon them because Israel had been, and were well acquainted with, the records of all these things. His mission here is only to remind them of these, that they might consider them in their present situation. All these things were great and special blessings God had given to Israel . It was especially important that Asaph remind them of these blessings before taking up the next part of his subject.


(Verses 17 through 20) And they sinned yet more against Him by provoking the most High in the wilderness. And they tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust. Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? Behold He smote the rock, that waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can He give bread also? Can He provide flesh for His people?


Sometimes, as we review the behavior of the Israelites, we may be amazed that, in the face of all the wonderful works God had done for them, they would still be so unbelieving that they would ever question His ability to take care of His own. But, do not we do the same? They could even remember that, He gave them water where there was no water, and that, in the cloud He provided in the daytime, and the fire He gave by night, there was protection as well as a beacon to follow. Yet, when they became hungry for the foods they had enjoyed in Egypt , they began to blaspheme God, by belittling His power, and saying, “Can God give us what we want? We are not satisfied with what He is supplying.” We sometimes forget what He has already done for us; and, as our own lusts take over, we wonder if He can take care of us through our present situation. The important lesson we should learn from this is that, the same great God, Who has brought us thus far, is just as great as ever. If it could be considered a limitation, the only possible limitation to His power that exists is His will. He can give us, and can do for us, anything that He will: and what He withholds from us would not have been for our good if we had had it. He can, and always will, provide for His people, even in a desert land. To question His ability is to blaspheme His name; for that is to speak evil of Him, and say that He is not the Almighty God.


(Verses 21 through 25) Therefore the LORD heard this, and was wroth: so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel; because they believed not in God, and trusted not in His salvation: though He had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven, and had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them the corn of heaven. Man did eat angels’ food: He sent them meat to the full.


The LORD was angry against the Israelites because they did not believe in Him, and did not trust His salvation, in spite of His having so miraculously provided for them. He even caused the manna to “rain down” upon them, thus feeding them with a food not before known to man. Many people today try to find a natural origin for manna; but since His word declares it to be something He provided especially for them, I must believe His word, in spite of all their arguments. He was there: they were not. Asaph even calls it “angels’ food.” Who can deny it? All this had God already done for them; and yet they complained. He went beyond this: “He sent them meat to the full.” This He did despite their provoking Him to anger by their unbelief.


(Verses 26 through 28) He caused an east wind to blow in the heaven: and by His power brought in the south wind. He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowl like as the sand of the sea: and He let it fall in the midst of their camp, round about their habitations.


So the LORD not only supplied them with the bread from heaven, but also with meat to the full. He gave both in abundance, and without the Israelites having to do anything for it except to gather it up. We should here take notice that our getting what we want is not always to our profit, as Asaph is about to show.


(Verses 29 through 33) So they did eat, and were filled: for He gave them their own desire; they were not estranged from their lust. But while their meat was yet in their mouths, the wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel . For all this they sinned still, and believed not for His wondrous works. Therefore their days did He consume in vanity, and their years in trouble.


As he sometimes does, even today, God gave them what they asked for. He provided food for them, not just that which was necessary, but in such abundance that they gorged themselves; and still they were not turned away (“estranged”) from their lust. They were never satisfied with anything He did for them. People today are no wiser. Many, even of those who profess to be His children, if not satisfied with His blessings while they are just managing to survive, are no better contented if He gives them more of this world’s wealth. In fact, as they obtain more of those things for which they lust, their lust grows greater. So far as these of whom Asaph speaks are concerned, before they had swallowed their food the wrath of God came upon them, killing many of them. For more details of this event, see Exodus 16 and Numbers 11. According to Asaph, the LORD “slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel .” This does not refer to those who were physically the fattest of them, but to those who were considered great, or leaders, among them. Neither does it intend “God’s chosen men,” but those looked upon by their brethren as choice among Israel . In spite of this judgment of God sent upon them, they still did not trust in God, and did not consider His wondrous works. This should make one point crystal clear to all of us. That point is that, outside forces will not make a believer of an unbeliever. That can be brought about by nothing except the work of the Spirit of God: and that is a work on the inside, in the heart.


(Verses 34 and 35) When He slew them, then they sought Him: and they returned, and inquired early after God. And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their Redeemer.


If this were the end of the matter, we would surely think it completely denied the statement I have just made. But in the light of the next two verses we have to conclude that it only reinforces that statement. In the light of those verses, we are persuaded that the addition of one word at the beginning of verse 34 is clearly intended, and will make the whole matter much clearer. That word is “Only.” So “(Only) when He slew them _ _ _.” Their hearts were not changed: they were only frightened, and forced to acknowledge Him.


(Verses 36 and 37) Nevertheless they did flatter Him with their mouth, and they lied unto Him with their tongues. For their heart was not right with Him, neither were they steadfast in His covenant.


Although they sought the LORD, returned and inquired early after Him, even saying that, God was their rock, and their redeemer, they were only flattering Him with their mouth, and lying unto Him with their tongues. When Asaph says, “and they remembered_ _ _,” he means that they did very much as some of our leaders today are doing. They will make a public speech, in which they will decry the fact that our country has turned so far away from God, and by the time they leave the podium they have completely forgotten about Him. The sad thing about this is that in some “churches” today this same attitude seems to prevail. Do we think that, we can fool the LORD with our flattery and our lies? If this is our way of acting, we are in the same condition as those of whom Asaph spoke, when he said, “For their heart was not right with Him, neither were they steadfast in His covenant.”


(Verses 38 and 39) But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned He His anger away, and did not stir up all His wrath. For He remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.


Certainly the LORD was not fooled by the hypocrisy of these unbelievers; but because of His own compassion, He forgave their iniquity, and stayed the plague so that they were not all destroyed. Not only did He spare them at this time, but time after time He did, in mercy, turn away His wrath, and spare them. He did this, not for any merit they had, but because of His own mercy and grace; because “He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.” So far as we are of ourselves concerned, we are of no more value than a little breeze, which blows by, and is never again to be found. The only value we can have is that placed upon us by His love: and because of His love He has said, “Ye are of more value than many sparrows.”


(Verses 40 and 41) How oft did they provoke Him in the wilderness, and grieve Him in the desert! Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.


As we know from the record of their wanderings in the wilderness, Israel was, time after time, guilty of disobeying God’s commandments, and complaining of their hardships, thus grieving, or provoking Him. They, in their minds, limited God, doubting His power, and questioning, “Can He do this, or that?” They were never satisfied. Yet He was merciful to them.


(Verses 42 through 53) They remembered not His hand, nor the day when He delivered them from the enemy. How He had wrought His signs in Egypt , and His wonders in the field of Zoan: and had turned their rivers into blood; and their floods, that they could not drink. He sent divers sorts of flies among them, which devoured them: and frogs which destroyed them. He gave also their increase unto the caterpillar, and their labor unto the locust. He destroyed their vines with hail, and their sycamore trees with frost. He gave up their cattle also to the hail, and their flocks to hot thunderbolts. He cast upon them the fierceness of His anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble by sending evil angels among them. He made a way to His anger; He spared not their soul from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence; and smote all the firstborn in Egypt ; the chief of their strength in the tabernacles of Ham: but made His own people to go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock. And He led them on safely, so that they feared not: but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.


Verse 42 tells us that Israel forgot all the wonderful works of God, which He did in delivering them from the Egyptian bondage: and the following verses recount very briefly these miracles. The account is given in much more detail in Exodus, chapters 3 through 15. The present account only covers His works from the calling of Moses through the crossing of the Red Sea . However His mercy did not forsake them at this point. It led them all the way into the land He had given to Abraham and his seed.


(Verses 54 through 58) And He brought them to the border of His sanctuary, even to this mountain which His right hand had purchased. He cast out the heathen also before them, and divided them an inheritance by line, and made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents. Yet they tempted and provoked the most high God, and kept not His testimonies: but turned back, and dealt unfaithfully like their fathers: they were turned aside like a deceitful bow. For they provoked Him to anger by their high places, and moved Him to jealousy by their graven images.


Here Asaph tells us that the LORD proved His promise by fulfilling it to the letter despite the infidelity of Israel . He not only brought them to the borders of His sanctuary, the land He had given to Abraham and His seed, but He also drove out the inhabitants of the land, and established Israel in possession thereof. Still the same old unbelief and disobedience was in Israel that had already caused so much trouble in all their wanderings. They tempted God, and provoked Him by not keeping His testimonies, by dealing unfaithfully like their fathers, and by setting up and worshipping graven images instead of God. They were like “a deceitful bow,” a bow that will not shoot straight, and is therefore not to be depended upon. Lest we begin to pat ourselves on the back for being so much better that they, we had better review our own lives, and count, if we can, the times we have proven ourselves unfaithful, by looking to someone or something other than our Lord to see us through some situation we considered a little hard: or consider how many times we have failed to obey His commandments. Israel is the picture of everyone, in every age, who claims to serve the LORD God. Only by His mercy can anyone be spared.


(Verses 59 through 64) When God heard this He was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel . So that He forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh , the tent which He placed among men; and delivered His strength into captivity and His glory into the enemy’s hand. He gave His people over also unto the sword; and was wroth with His inheritance. The fire consumed their young men; and their maidens were not given in marriage. Their priests fell by the sword; and their widows made no lamentation.


Asaph is using “poetic license” as He says, “When God heard this He was wroth.” Certainly he knew that God does not have to be told of the infidelity of His people, or of anything else: for He knows all things. When these things were done, the LORD permitted the enemy to come in, overcome Israel , and take them captive. Even “ Shiloh , the tent which He placed among men,” was desecrated. The young men of Israel were killed in battle, and even the priests were murdered. Desolation was so great that there was not even any lamenting for the dead. All of this was the result of Israel ’s unfaithfulness. Should we not also take warning?


(Verses 65 through 68) Then the LORD awaked as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine. And He smote His enemies in the hinder parts: He put them to a perpetual reproach. Moreover He refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim: but He chose the tribe of Judah , the mount Zion which He loved.


When the LORD saw fit to again deliver Israel , it was as if a mighty man had been asleep, but had now awakened and realized that his enemies had overrun his possessions. He immediately destroyed their power, putting them to a perpetual shame and reproach, and delivering His people who had been taken captive. Then instead of again setting up His place of worship in Shiloh, in the territory of Ephraim , He chose the tribe of Judah , and set up His sanctuary on mount Zion which He loved. People are always trying to assign reasons for God having done this, or that; but it seems that the best reason we can give for His choosing Judah and loving mount Zion, is that which Jesus said was The Father’s reason for hiding things from the wise and prudent and revealing them unto babes: “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight.”


(Verses 69 through 72) And He built His sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which He hath established forever. He chose David also His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds: from following the ewes great with young He brought him to feed Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance. So He fed them according to the integrity of His heart; and guided them by the skillfulness of His hands.


After the LORD brought Israel back from captivity, and established His people again in the land, He chose David to be king over them. Notice that the captivity to which he refers is not one of the major captivities, in which they were carried away to such a place as Babylon, but simply their being overcome by, and made tributaries to local kings, such as when they were made to serve Eglon the king of Moab, for eighteen years, the Midianites for seven years, etc. All of these took place before David’s time; but the Babylonian captivity was much later. At the time of Asaph’s writing, the LORD was still blessing David to rule over, and lead His people. Although, from time to time there were skirmishes with the enemies, no one was able to overthrow Israel until after the reign of Solomon. So, at this time they were enjoying the mercies of God.



Chapter 79

As we have mentioned above, during the reign of David, although there were battles with some of the heathen tribes nearby, and even Absalom tried to take the kingdom from David, none of these were successful for the enemy. Since Asaph’s complaint seems to be against heathen, or foreign enemies who have overcome Israel and Jerusalem, it appears to be prophetic of later troubles God permitted to be brought upon Israel for her disobedience.


(Verses 1 through 4) O God, the heathen are come into Thine inheritance; Thy holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps. The dead bodies of Thy servants have been given to be meat unto the fowls of the heaven, the flesh of Thy saints unto the beasts of the earth. Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem . We are become a reproach to our neighbors, a scorn and derision to them that are round about us.


As mentioned above, this is, no doubt, a prophecy of what was ahead for Israel . Asaph has told us how unfaithful Israel has been ever since God delivered them from the Egyptian bondage. He has told how the Lord would chastise Israel , and then forgive them, and cause them to prosper. But just as soon as they were relieved from the suffering of their chastisement, they would fall back into their old sinful practices. So this apparently looks forward to another visitation of God’s anger upon them. At this time the heathen have come into Israel, “Thine inheritance,” they have defiled, or destroyed, the temple of God, and have sacked Jerusalem, leaving the bodies of the slain to be eaten by the fowls of the air and the beasts of the field. They have killed so many that the blood of the slain has run like water in the streets of Jerusalem , and no one is left to bury the dead. Jerusalem and Israel have been so highly blessed of God that all the nations around them have been envious of them; but that is all changed. Now they are a reproach to their “neighbors, a scorn and derision to them that are round about.” It seems that we, as individuals, as churches, as communities, and even as a nation, had best take warning from this. Israel had been greatly blessed of the LORD, but they failed to appreciate these blessings, and followed their own lusts. By reason of His chastisement upon them, they are changed from the envy of their neighbors to the scorn of all who hear of them. Where do we stand?


(Verses 5 through 8) How long, LORD? Wilt Thou be angry forever? Shall Thy jealousy burn like fire? Pour out Thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known Thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon Thy name. For they have devoured Jacob, and laid waste his dwelling place. O remember not against us former iniquities: let Thy tender mercies speedily prevent us: for we are brought very low


How like us Asaph seems to have been! When we have brought upon ourselves the chastening rod of the LORD, we begin to pray that God will shorten our chastisement. We ask, “How long will this continue? Shall it continue forever?” Asaph even asked that God pour out His wrath upon someone else instead of Israel . “Pour out Thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known Thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon Thy name.” He wanted just anything that would remove the suffering from himself. No doubt, we are sometimes guilty of the same way of thinking. Surely He will, at His appointed time, pour out His wrath upon those who “have devoured Israel , and laid waste his dwelling place;” but it is not our right to even suggest to Him when this should be done. Verse 8 is more in line with what our prayer should be. “O remember not against us former iniquities: let Thy tender mercies speedily prevent us: for we are brought very low.” We should beg Him not to remember (or charge) our former iniquities against us, but let His tender mercies go before (“prevent”) us.. His mercy is our only hope. We cannot pray for justice: because we are guilty, and justice would only destroy us. Nevertheless, He is a merciful God: and if we have indeed been brought “very low,” that is, if we have been brought to true repentance, He will hear and answer our prayer. David has said, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” So if we have been brought so low that we have a broken and contrite heart because of our sin, God will not despise us.


(Verses 9 and 10) Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for Thy name’s sake. Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is their God? Let Him be known among the heathen in our sight by the revenging of the blood of Thy servants which is shed.


Notice that Asaph asks for deliverance and the purging away of Israel ’s sins, not for any merit they might have, but for the glory of God, and for His name’s sake. Otherwise the heathen will ridicule both Israel and, more importantly, God, by asking, “Where is thy God?” By this question, asked in a scornful manner, they try to show that God is not able to protect His own, thus casting scorn upon Him. By His avenging the blood of His servants shed by the heathen, He will make them to know that He is able to care for His own, and to bring down their enemies. So by this He will silence His enemies.


(Verses 11 through 13) Let the sighing of the prisoner come before Thee; according to the greatness of Thy power preserve Thou those that are appointed to die; and render unto our neighbors sevenfold into their bosom their reproach, wherewith they have reproached Thee, O Lord. So we thy people and sheep of Thy pasture will give Thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth Thy praise to all generations.


As he continues his prayer, Asaph asks that God “Let the sighing of the prisoner come before Thee.” That is, may He hear, and answer the prayers of those who have been taken captive. When he asks that God, “according to the greatness of Thy power preserve those that are appointed to die,” he does not mean those whom God has so appointed, but those whom their captors have sentenced to be executed. God’s power is such that He can do this. Then may the reproach these enemies have cast upon God be multiplied seven times, and rendered to these very enemies themselves. When this is done, His people, who are also “the sheep of His pasture,” will be able to render thanksgiving to Him forever, and show His praise to all generations. This seems to look forward to the time of the final casting down of all the enemies of our LORD.

Chapter 80


(Verses 1 through 3) Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, Thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; Thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth. Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up Thy strength, and come and save us. Turn us again, O God, and cause Thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.


Asaph addresses his prayer to the “Shepherd of Israel,” Who is no other than The LORD God. He it is that leads Joseph (the tribe of Joseph) like a flock, and dwells between the cherubims, or on the mercy seat. His first request is that this great Shepherd “shine forth,” or show Himself, no longer remaining hidden, as He seems to be in the present distress. May He stir up, or arouse, His strength before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh. That is, let His power be shown before the tribes of Israel ; “and come and save us.” There is no one else from whom such help can come: but if God will turn them again, and cause His face to shine upon them, they will be saved. He recognizes that his own attempts to turn, or even those of all Israel , will not be sufficient. God Himself must turn them if they are to be saved: and so it is with us.


(Verses 4 through 7) O Lord of hosts, how long wilt Thou be angry against the prayer of Thy people? Thou feedest them with the bread of tears; and givest them tears to drink in great measure. Thou makest us a strife unto our neighbors; and our enemies laugh among themselves. Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause Thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.


As he so often does, Asaph again asks, “How long wilt Thou be angry against the prayer of Thy people?” When under the chastening rod of God, it does not take long for it to seem as if it has been an exceedingly long time; and we begin to wonder if this is to be our lot for the remainder of our days. Surely that is because we are made to realize that if we received justice, untempered with mercy, it would continue thus, or worse, forever. The sorrow he feels is so great that he says, “Thou feedest them with the bread of tears; and givest them tears to drink in great measure.” Their sorrow is indeed very great. He says that the LORD has made them a “strife,” a confusion that cannot be understood, to their neighbors; and their enemies laugh in scorn about them among themselves. This is a pitiful state of affairs. The only salvation from it is set forth in verse 7. “Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause Thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.”


(Verses 8 through 11) Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt : Thou hast cast out the heathen and planted it. Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land. The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like goodly cedars. She sent out her boughs to the sea, and her branches unto the river.


Thus Asaph gives us a parable of Israel , as God brought them forth from Egypt , and established them in Canaan . Just as the vine of the parable, Israel became well established, or “took deep root” in this land, and spread out so that they covered the land from the sea to the river. Notice that this vine’s phenomenal growth was the result of the LORD’S care for it. He caused it to take deep root in the land, and to flourish.


(Verses 12 and 13) Why hast Thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her? The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it.


Since the LORD has lavished such care upon Israel , that she has grown to cover the whole land He gave her, why has He now “broken down her hedges,” her defense against her enemies, and left her at the mercy of all who pass by? Anyone can, with impunity, make a prey of her. She is now as a vine left unprotected, so that even the beasts of the forests and the fields may easily come in and destroy it. This vine is now abandoned, and no one seems to care for it.


(Verses 14 through 16) Return, we beseech Thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine, and the vineyard which Thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that Thou madest strong for Thyself.  It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of Thy countenance.


Asaph’s prayer is that God will return His favor to Israel , the vine He had planted and nourished so well. Since He has abandoned her, and broken down her defenses, she has been brought to desolation. This vine which He had planted, and made strong for Himself, is burned with fire, cut down, and at His rebuke, perishing. It is evident that, unless He visits and restores her, she is forever doomed. This seems to be a prophecy of Israel during the Diaspora. There appears today some sign that He will soon revisit this vine in His mercy, just as He has many times promised. There are many today who in an effort to deny His promises to Israel, have adopted a “Replacement Theology,” nowhere in God’s word authorized, by which they try to take all of His promises to Israel, and apply them to the “Gospel Church.” Remember one thing: If His promises to Israel are not to be fulfilled to Israel , then neither can you depend upon His promises to the “Church.” Thank God, His promises are true, and will be fulfilled; and what He promised to Israel will be fulfilled to Israel . Therefore we can also depend upon those promises that He made to us. There may be in verse 15, a subtle reference also to our Lord Jesus, as “the branch that Thou madest strong for Thyself.” He is elsewhere in prophecy called “the Branch.” That is the reason given by Matthew for Joseph and Mary to turn aside, and dwell in Nazareth ; “that He should be called a Nazarene.” This word means “a branch,” or a “shoot.”


(Verses 17 through 19) Let Thy hand be upon the man of Thy right hand, upon the Son of man Whom Thou madest strong for Thyself. So will not we go back from Thee: quicken us, and we will call upon Thy name. Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause Thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.


No doubt, Christ Jesus our Lord is the “Son of man, Whom Thou hast made strong for Thyself.” In Ezekiel’s prophecy, he is often referred to as “Son of man,” because much of his prophecy is of the work of the Lord. In chapter 37 alone he is five times called, “Son of man.” That whole chapter shows the re-gathering and conversion of Israel . That re-gathering started prior to 1948, and is in progress even today. Many try to object to that on the ground that Israel today is not a “Christian nation.” One can truly say, “Neither is any other nation in the world, including The United States of America.” However, if it were a Christian Nation, it would not fit the description of the Vision of Dry Bones. All those bones were gathered together, “bone to his bone,” and were fashioned into complete bodies, while, as yet there was no life in them. Only when, at the LORD’S command, the Son of man prophesied to the breath, and commanded it to come into them, were any of them made alive. At that time all were made alive at once. This answers to Asaph’s prayer, “Quicken us, and we will call upon Thy name. Turn us again, O LORD of hosts, cause Thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.” Until He quickens them, and turns them again, they will neither call upon His name, nor be saved. Even the Apostle Paul declares that this shall be done. He gives quite a discussion of this in Romans chapters 9 through 11, with its climax in Romans 11:25-32. In this He declares that the blindness that is presently upon Israel is both temporary, and in part only. It is in part because not every Jew is struck by it; and it is temporary, because when the fullness of the Gentiles has been brought in, it will be lifted. “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, ‘There shall come out of Sion a Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.’” Notice that all of this shall be done when He shall take away their sins. It is something that shall be done immediately at the appointed time. When it is done, “All Israel shall be saved.” There is nothing retroactive about it. All Israel of that day shall be saved. Nothing is said about those who will have died in unbelief. Asaph prays in harmony with this when he says, “Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause Thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.


Chapter 81

(Verses 1 through 4) Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob. Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery. Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day. For this is a statute for Israel , and a law of God for Jacob.


Asaph is here calling for someone to praise the LORD. He gives no particular address for what he says here, but, since the body of this psalm is to Israel , or The LORD’S people, we must assume that this call is to Israel . They are to make use of a “psalm,” or song, which is to be sung to the accompaniment of the several instruments here mentioned. They are also to blow the trumpet, for this is a solemn feast day. Not only does he call upon them to do this, but it also is “a statute for Israel , and a law of the God of Jacob.” It is therefore something He, and not man, requires of them.


(Verses 5 through 7) This He ordained in Joseph for a testimony, when He went out through the land of Egypt : where I heard a language that I understood not. I removed his shoulder from the burden: his hands were delivered from the pots. Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee: I answered thee in the secret place of thunder: I proved thee at the waters of Meribah. Selah.


In verse 5 Asaph changes from the use of “third person” to “first person,” as changing from his own relating of events to that of the LORD Himself as He sets them forth. He tells us that this law, mentioned above was ordained of God when He passed through the land of Egypt before delivering the children of Israel therefrom. In verse 5 he says it was ordained “in Joseph,” instead of saying “ Israel ,” as usually the case. This was done, no doubt, because it was Joseph who brought Israel into Egypt , and took care of them during his lifetime. Then the Lord says that in that land, “I heard a language I understood not.” This is not to be considered as meaning that God is so ignorant that He could not understand the Egyptian language. Rather, the language He understood not, was that of His children crying to be delivered from the terrible bondage in which they were being held. His not understanding it does not mean that He did not know what they were saying, but only that it was something new. It had never been heard before. Certainly He knew about it, and had known about it from the beginning. He had told Abraham that it would take place. Nevertheless, this is its first occurrence. So, when the LORD heard this cry, He removed his ( Israel ’s) “shoulder from the burden: his hands were delivered from the pots.” No matter what kind of work the Israelites were made to be engaged in, they were delivered from it. God said, “Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee; I answered thee in the secret place of the thunder: I proved thee at the waters of Meribah.” We may not know where the “secret place of thunder” is, but Meribah is the place where, at God’s command, Moses smote the rock, and water came forth for Israel . When He says, I proved thee,” it is the same as saying “I tested you.” He did this, not that He might find out whether or not they would be faithful, but to show them just how unfaithful they were. He already knew.


(Verses 8 through 10) Hear, O My people, and I will testify unto thee; O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto Me; there shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god. I am the LORD thy God, Which brought thee out of the land of Egypt : open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.


God called Israel to listen to what He was going to say; and He made them a promise. That promise is that if they would listen to, and follow what He said to them, there would be no strange god among them, and they would not worship any strange god. Not only does this promise apply to Israel , but it applies with the same force to everyone who listens to and follows what He says. Instead, they will remember that the LORD is their God, He it is, Who has delivered them, whether from the bondage of Egypt , or from the bondage of sin. To these He says, “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.” He will give us everything we need. Remember that He has never promised to give us everything we may want, according to our lusts. If, and when, He withholds something from us, we must remember that He is infinitely wiser than we; and He has a good reason for withholding it.


(Verses 11 and 12) But My people would not hearken to My voice; and Israel would none of Me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lusts: and they walked in their own counsels.


Not only was this the sad reality of Israel , but it is just as true of some today who profess to be the people of God. They will not heed His word. They may adamantly hold to certain traditions, and declare them to be the word of God, when no scripture can be found to support their stand. No doubt, that is the reason there is so much cold formality, and so little love among professed Christians today. God has dealt with us as He did with Israel . “So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lusts: and they walked in their own counsels.” How true is the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for: you might get it!”


(Verses 13 and 14) O that My people had hearkened unto Me, and Israel had walked in My ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned My hand against their adversaries.


This psalm, though short, has outlined the history of Israel from their bondage in Egypt , even to the present day. Verses 11 and 12 declare that they have been turned over to their own lusts, and are walking in their own counsel: and there is a remarkable resemblance between verses 13 and 14, and Matthew 23:37 .”O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” In Luke 13: 34, we have this same speech repeated. In Luke 19: 41-44, we have, “And when He was come near, He beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, ‘If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things, which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee about, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.’” If the Lord’s people had walked in His ways, how wonderful it would have been for them! But they would not follow His laws. Some may question why the LORD did not cause Israel to be faithful to Him, since He has all power in both heaven and earth; and the only answer to which we are entitled is the one given by Jesus in His prayer to the Father, as recorded in Matthew 11: 25: “I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in Thy sight.” The LORD says that, if they had walked in His ways, “I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned My hand against their adversaries.” But this was not the situation that existed. Instead, they are walking in their own lusts, and after their own counsel. Therefore their house is left desolate, and they shall see Him no more until they shall say, “Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord.”


(Verses 15 and 16) The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto Him: but their time should have endured for ever. He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.


It is somewhat unclear why the change from first person to third, and back to first again, in this text. The message is all a statement of what the LORD would have done for Israel , had they walked in His ways. Sometimes people get the foolish notion that, when “should” is used in scripture, it means that, that spoken of is something that ought to be done, but might not. This is almost never the case. When obligation is intended, “ought” is almost always used. Here the message is that, had Israel obeyed the LORD, He would have done all these things for her. It is simply the subjunctive, and is used in a result clause. It might seem strange to some that Asaph would begin this psalm by calling upon Israel to praise God, and take up so much of it in telling of Israel ’s disobedience and God’s chastisement of Israel for her iniquities. The reason they, and we, ought to praise Him is that in spite of all our disobedience and failures, God is still faithful. Although it is not so stated in this psalm, there are numerous places, not only in other psalms, but throughout His word that God tells us that if we, or if Israel, shall turn back to Him, and seek His righteousness, He will deliver us from whatever bondage we have fallen into, just as He delivered Israel from Egypt.

Chapter 82

(Verses 1 and 2) God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; He judgeth among the gods. How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.


This is apparently an address to the judges of Israel , or to anyone else, who tries to judge his fellow man. First Asaph establishes his foundation principle. It is: “God stands in the congregation of the mighty; He judges among the gods.” This is not to be considered as recognizing gods other than the LORD God. He, and He alone, is God. However, since the other nations around Israel claimed, and served idol gods, Asaph is only reminding Israel that the LORD God, not only “stands in the congregation of the mighty,” (that is, that He is recognized among the mighty,) but He is above all the gods of the nations round about. He is even their Judge. Then upon this foundation, he asks, “How long will you judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked?” Israel claimed the LORD God as their God. So with this knowledge of His greatness, and with Him watching over them, how long will they continue to pervert judgment? Surely He will see it, and bring them into judgment.


(Verses 3 through 5) Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked. They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.


In verses 3 and 4 he gives instructions to the judges, and indeed to all of us. No doubt, one reason why the Lord so often cautions us to defend the poor and needy is that, His people are primarily of the poor and needy. We are also commanded to defend the fatherless. We are to deliver the poor, the needy, and the fatherless, from the wicked. Yet, in verse 5, he says, “They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness.” This is said concerning those he has been attempting to instruct. They pay no attention to instruction, and, consequently, they do not know, and will not understand what their proper function is. They simply will walk on in the darkness of ignorance, perverting judgment, even with God seeing it all. This is so contrary to what ought to be done that he declares, “All the foundations of the earth are out of course.” So long as this is the fundamental principle of operation, no improvement can be expected.


(Verses 6 and 7) I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.


His first statement here seems a little unclear, until we look at the explanation Jesus gave of it. (John 10: 34-36) “Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your law, “I said ye are gods?” If He called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scriptures cannot be broken; say ye of Him, Whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, “Thou blasphemest;” because I said, “I am the Son of God.”’” So, evidently the meaning of, “I said ye are gods,” is that they had been given the word of God, thus enlightening them above men to the level of gods. In spite of their having been given the word of God, they have not followed it. Therefore he says, “But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.” That is, in spite of this great advantage you were given over other men, in that to you was given the word of God, you have not followed it, and will therefore be treated just as other men, who did not have this blessing.  You will die just like they will; and in your death you will be no better than their princes, who did not have the word of God. So we see that, it is not they who know the law that are blessed, but they who keep it.


(Verse 8) Arise, O God, judge the earth: for Thou shalt inherit all nations.


This seems to be the same as the prayer of the Apostle John when he said, “Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus.” In the day of His return to judge the world, He will no more be considered as just the God of Israel, but the king of all the earth. In that day those who trust in Him shall rejoice; and all his enemies will bow before Him. He shall indeed inherit all nations.

Chapter 83



(Verses 1 through 3) Keep not Thou silence, O God: hold not Thy peace, and be not still, O God. For, lo, Thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate Thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against Thy people, and consulted against Thy hidden ones.


As he begins this psalm, Asaph calls upon God to take notice of the fact that, His enemies are in active conspiracy against His people. Although God is always fully aware of all things that are being done, there are times, as He awaits His appointed moment for executing judgment upon His enemies, that it seems to men that He might be asleep, and unaware of the evils they perpetrate upon His people. Such, however, is not the case. He has set bounds upon all men, beyond which they cannot go. Asaph is concerned that it is tine for the Lord to break His silence, and set judgment in action against those who have taken crafty counsel against His people, and have consulted against those whom He has hidden, or protected.


(Verses 4 through 8) They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against Thee: the tabernacles of Edom , and the Ishmaelites; of Moab , and the Hagarenes; Gebal and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre ; Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot . Selah.


From time to time, since the arrival of Israel in the land of Canaan , they had been faced by hostile neighbors, among whom, at times, confederacies against Israel had been organized. However, when we look at the extent of the confederacy here described, we must admit that it has such a close resemblance to the present situation in that area that, we have to wonder if this is not a prophecy of the present conflict instead of what was in Asaph’s day. As he lists all these nations that are against Israel , we see that it includes a majority of the Moslem nations, just as is the present situation. They all, being under the Moslem flag, hate the LORD God of Israel . They have taken crafty counsel against His people, the Jews. Anyone who has studied history, cannot fail to see that every nation that has befriended Israel has been blessed, and every nation that has persecuted them has been brought down. This has been true even through the Diaspora. So it is apparent that “Thy people,” and “Thy hidden ones,” in verse 3 refer to the Jews. The Arabs have, from the time of the re-establishment of Israel in 1948, had one aim: to “cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.” The so-called “Palestinians,” have softened their public rhetoric concerning this; but they have not eliminated it from their “constitution.” All these Arab nations are committed to the destruction of Israel , but God has declared that He will restore Israel at His appointed time: and, although we can not pin point the time, all signs point to its not being far distant.


(Verses 9 through 12) Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison: which perished at En-dor: they became as dung for the earth. Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zeba and Zalmunna: who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession.


In order to become better acquainted with the details of what the LORD enabled Israel to do to those mentioned in this text, review Judges, chapters four through seven. At this point suffice it to say that, these enemies were all completely destroyed. It is Asaph’s prayer that this be the lot of all these now in confederacy against Israel : and that is exactly what God has promised. Since His word has never been broken, I have no fear that it will be now.


(Verses 13 through 16) O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind. As the fire burneth a wood, and the flame setteth the mountains on fire; so persecute them with Thy tempest, and make them afraid with Thy storm. Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek Thy name, O LORD.


The first statement in verse 13 seems a little unclear, unless he means that, as a wheel, which is not attached to anything is powerless to do any work, so let them be totally unable to carry out any of their schemes against Israel . May they be stubble, or more properly, chaff, before the wind, to be carried away with nothing accomplished. Just as a fire, running wild, burns a wood, and the flame of it seems to burn the whole mountain, so let them be burned up. Since “persecute” sometimes means “inflict punishment upon one for the sake of his views,” (on religion, politics, etc.) this appears to be its meaning in verse 15. May they, because of their design to annihilate Israel , be punished so that they will be made “afraid with Thy storm.” “Fill their faces with shame that they may seek Thy name, O LORD.” This is a very interesting choice of words. In almost all of the Psalms, whether written by Asaph, by David, or by whomsoever, the prayer is usually for the complete destruction of the enemies of the LORD: but here it closes with “that they may seek Thy name, O LORD.”  Zechariah 14: 16 says, “And it shall come to pass, that everyone that is left of all the nations which came up against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and keep the feast of Tabernacles.” This is, of course, after that great battle, when the Lord Jesus shall descend, and stand upon the mount of Olives. It is the final battle of the LORD against the nations who are gathered against Jerusalem and Israel , the very battle to which current events seem to point now.


(Verses 17 and 18) Let them be confounded for ever; yea, let them be put to shame and perish: that men may know that Thou, Whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most High over all the earth.


As in verse 16, this great destruction of the LORD’S enemies is to the intent “that men may know that Thou, Whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most High over all the earth.” The most wonderful thing about this is that, this is exactly what He has promised to do.


Chapter 84


(Verses 1 through 4) How amiable are Thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even Thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house: they will be still praising Thee.


As we contemplate this, it becomes evident that the psalmist, (and we have nothing to tell us who he is, although the language is very much like that of David,) is looking upon a deserted place of the worship of God, whether it be the temple, the tabernacle, or a church of today. First, he says, “How amiable are Thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts!” In this text, “tabernacles” can mean only one thing, “places of worship.” The dictionary tells is that, when applied to things, “amiable” means “worthy of love; pleasant.” So, with this understanding of these words, we have, “How pleasant are Thy places of worship, O LORD of Hosts!” All of us, who have experienced the wonderful joy of being able to worship the LORD, can testify of this from our own experience, wherever the place of worship may have been. Apparently, however, the psalmist must have been, at this time, thinking of some places of worship that have been abandoned: for he says, “My soul longeth, yea. fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.” If this were the end of the message, we might think this to be another of those times when he was feeling to have been personally separated, for a time, from the fellowship of the Lord; and to some extent it might include that: but that is not the crux of the matter.  However, something has greatly stirred his heart and mind to seek the Lord. His feelings have gone beyond mere longing for the “courts of God,” those places like one of which Luke tells us in Acts 16:13 , “where prayer was wont to be made.” At this point, he is actually “fainting” for them. That is, he feels that without them, he will faint. Even his heart and flesh are crying out for the living God. To introduce the next verse, let us ask a question. “Have you ever gone into an old abandoned church building, where, at one time, many gathered to worship, looked around over the area where the worshippers once sat, and wondered, ‘How can this be?’” Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even Thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God.” There is no one here anymore. This old building was once dedicated to the worship of our Lord: now it is a safe place for the birds of the air. How sad! As you stand, and look around, you can almost hear the songs of praise to God that once filled the air, and the prayers that were once offered to the Lord. Then you begin to get some idea of the feelings of the psalmist  You too will say, “My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.” As he viewed the bird nests on the altar of the living God, our LORD and our King, it is no wonder he would say, “Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house: they will still be praising Thee.” What a wonderful blessing it is to be allowed to continue (dwell) in the house of God: for those so blessed will still be praising Him. Do we appreciate this blessing as we ought?


(Verses 5 through 7) Blessed is the man whose strength is in Thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.


The man whose strength is in the LORD, that is, He who depends upon the LORD, is indeed blessed; and the ways of those who dwell in the house of the LORD are dear to him, in his heart. Such as these, when they pass through the valley of Baca , make it a well. (Baca was a place known for having no water.)  They so manifest the love of God that it is as a refreshing rain that fills the pools. Since they trust in God as their strength, “they go from strength to strength.” Since the strength of God is their supply, they are never too weary to praise the LORD. “Every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.” That is, He receives every one of them favorably.


(Verses 8 and 9) O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah. Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of Thine anointed.


David was the man God anointed the king of Israel , and this text seems to identify David as the writer of this Psalm. He prays that the LORD God of hosts will hear his prayer, and look upon the face of His anointed. So it seems that he is asking the LORD, Who is his shield, to look favorably upon him, and although he does not mention it, comfort his heart after the sorrow of considering the low estate into which the sanctuary of the LORD has been suffered to fall .


(Verses 10 and 11) For a day in Thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.


Although he does not finish the statement, the first clause of verse 10 seems to mean, “For a day in Thy courts is better than a thousand (anywhere else.)” As he surveys the abandoned sanctuary of God, and thinks upon the joy of former times of worshipping the LORD, he declares that, he would rather be in the house of God, even as a lowly servant, a doorkeeper, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. In this usage “to dwell” in those tents seems to mean  “be the principal dweller” there, or to be the head of that house. We all know what God has decreed to be the final lot of the wicked: but from those who are in His house, those who walk uprightly, He will withhold no good thing; but is to them both light and protection, and will give to them grace and glory.


(Verse 12) O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in Thee.


Commentary cannot improve this declaration nor make it clearer. It will stand as written.


Chapter 85

(Verses 1 through 3) LORD, Thou hast been favorable unto Thy land: Thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob. Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of Thy people, Thou hast covered all their sin. Selah. Thou hast taken away all Thy wrath: Thou hast turned Thyself from the fierceness of Thine anger.


Here the psalmist declares the mercy of God. There have been no  “deals,” as some try to claim that they make with God. Every act has been unilateral, and altogether by the grace and mercy of God. He has been favorable to His land, and has returned the Israelites to it from those places wherein they had been held captive. He has forgiven their iniquity and covered all their sin. He then has taken away all His wrath, and turned from the fierceness of His anger. He has done all this because it pleased Him to do so. He has not required of Israel any action or promise of such, as a condition upon which to base this work.


(Verses 4 through 7) Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause Thine anger toward us to cease. Wilt Thou be angry with us for ever? Wilt Thou draw out Thine anger to all generations? Wilt Thou not revive us again: that Thy people may rejoice in Thee? Shew us Thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us Thy salvation.


It seems that, although the LORD had done all the wonderful things mentioned in verses 1 through 3, the psalmist had, somehow, not yet felt the revival of spirit that he desired, and so was wondering if he would ever again feel the full warmth of the love of God, for which he longed. He asks the LORD to “turn us,” that is, give them a new direction of mind, one that would draw them closer to God. Then he asks that the LORD make His anger toward Israel to cease. He has already said that God has turned away from the fierceness of His anger. Now he prays that He will stop it completely, and not let it go on forever. Further, He desires a revival, not the kind people speak of when they plan a meeting, and say, “we are going to have a revival.” What he desires is that all Israel be revived so that they will rejoice in the LORD. Finally, he prays, “Show us Thy mercy. O LORD, and grant us Thy salvation.” Some may want to argue that he already had the salvation, and only needs the joy of it restored to him now. That might be true, but, when a soul is really feeling the need of a revival from the LORD, he may even feel a little uneasy about whether or not he ever had salvation. He is primarily concerned with obtaining that wonderful feeling of fellowship with God.


(Verses 8 and 9) I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for He will speak peace unto His people, and to His saints: but let them not turn again to folly. Surely His salvation is nigh them that fear Him; that glory may dwell in our land.


This is a wonderful resolution for each of us, “I will hear what God the LORD will speak.” If we do this, we will be greatly rewarded: “for He will speak peace unto His people, and to His saints.” Nothing can be greater or more comforting, than for God the LORD to speak peace to our souls, no matter the storm that may be raging around us. Yet, when He does that, He also lays a great responsibility upon us, “But let them not turn again to folly.” Surely the Lord is merciful, but He also makes it clear that those who continue to be rebellious may receive the treatment He gave to Israel : “So I gave them up unto their own lusts: and they walked in their own counsels.” (Psalm 81:12) Nevertheless “His salvation is nigh them that fear Him; that glory may dwell in our land.”


(Verses 10 through 13) Mercy and truth are met together: righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven. Yea, the LORD shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase. Righteousness shall go before Him; and shall set us in the way of His steps.


This description can only refer to two great events, and both are yet to come. It describes the peace joy and righteousness in the kingdom, when Israel is restored, and also that of the “new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.” There has not been, and neither will there be, any other time of such joy, righteousness, peace, and prosperity as this

Chapter 86

(Verses 1 through 4) Bow down Thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy. Preserve my soul; for I am holy: O Thou my God, save Thy servant that trusteth in Thee. Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto Thee daily. Rejoice the soul of Thy servant: for unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.


 This is a prayer of David. He asks the Lord to listen (“bow down Thine ear”) to his prayer. He, though the king of Israel , confesses that before God he is poor and needy. That is the condition of everyone who sincerely approaches the LORD in prayer. When he says, “Preserve my soul; for I am holy,” one might be inclined to think that, since there is none holy but God, this would have to be prophetic of the prayer of Jesus in His suffering; and it might, possibly, embrace that. Yet it seems that, inasmuch as it is followed by. “O Thou my God, save Thy servant that trusteth in Thee,” it refers to David himself, and means not that he is of himself holy, but that he is made so in the sight of God by the faith God has given him. Many times, when our Lord wrought miracles of healing, He said to the recipient of the miracle, “Thy faith hath saved thee.” Those then, who fully trust in the LORD, are made holy by the faith He has given them. As we also must always do, he begs that God will be merciful to him. His constant prayer to God is that, the LORD will make his soul rejoice, for it is unto Him that he has lifted up his soul.


(Verses 5 through 8) For Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Thee. Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble will I call upon Thee: for Thou wilt answer me. Among the gods there is none like unto Thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto Thy works.


David acknowledges that the LORD is good, ready to forgive, and merciful to all who call upon Him. Therefore he pleads that God will listen favorably to his prayer. His confidence in the LORD is such that, in his time of trouble, he will call upon Him: because he is assured that He will answer him. Among all the idol gods of the world there is none that can be compared to the LORD God; and there are no other works that can be compared to His works.


(Verses 9 and 10) All nations whom Thou hast made shall come and worship before Thee, O Lord; and shall glorify Thy name. For Thou art great, and doest wondrous things: Thou art God alone.


Isaiah 45:23 says, “I have sworn by Myself, the word is gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” In Romans 14:11, the Apostle Paul says, “For it is written, ‘As I live,’ saith the Lord, ‘every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’” So it is evident that David is also looking forward to that great day, when all the world, even the enemies of the Lord, will be made to acknowledge Him as the most High over all the earth. The reason David gives for this is, “For Thou art great, and doest wondrous things: Thou art God alone.”


(Verses 11 through 13) Teach me Thy way, O LORD; I will walk in Thy truth: unite my heart to fear Thy name. I will praise Thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify Thy name for evermore. For great is Thy mercy toward me; and Thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.


Let us also pray that the LORD will teach us His way. Notice that, in his prayer, David says, “way,” not, “ways;” and “truth,” not “truths.” The Lord has but one way for us: that is the way of righteousness. And since Jesus has declared, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” there is no reason to look elsewhere for either of the three. If the Lord will teach us His way, certainly we will walk in His truth. David’s next request, by reason of the choice of words used by the translators, might seem a little obscure. So, let us examine it. “Unite my heart to fear Thy name.” We do not commonly use “unite” in this manner; but a little study of that word might be beneficial. “Unite” is derived from the Latin “unus,” which means “one,” and our principal usage of it today is to mean “make one” of more than one. Even in our marriage ceremony, we say that we “unite” a man and a woman in holy matrimony. That is, they are no more two, but one. Thus they become a “single” entity. So, in David’s usage of this expression, his meaning is, “Make my heart single to fear Thy name, so that nothing else will distract it from worshipping Thee.” Sometimes, our heart may be disturbed, and even ambiguous in its loyalty to the Lord, inasmuch as the tempter does, at times, lead us astray. If the Lord will “unite” our heart, or make it single in the fear of Him, and Him only, we will indeed praise Him with all our heart, and glorify His name forever. A review of Ephesians 2:1-10, ought to convince us beyond question that, He has “delivered my soul from the lowest hell.” So His mercy is great toward us.


(Verses 14 and 15) O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set Thee before them. But Thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.


This could, within reason, be considered a prayer of our Lord Jesus in the time of His great suffering, as could also the remainder of this psalm. However, it, no doubt is also descriptive of David’s own experience. The proud, the wicked, the violent, etc., were constantly rising up against him, just as the forces of Satan are against us, even today. But in all cases, to those who trust in Him, the Lord is “full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.” It is because of this that we call upon Him when in need.


(Verses 16 and 17) O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give Thy strength unto Thy servant, and save the son of Thine handmaid. Shew me a token for good; that they, which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because Thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me.


If we consider this as a prayer of our Lord Jesus, we can see the fulfillment of it in the gospel record. He asks that the Lord “give strength unto Thy servant, and save the son of Thine handmaid.” In Luke 2:38, we are told, “And Mary said, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.’ And the angel departed from her.” He was indeed the “son of Thy handmaid.” And the Lord showed Him “a token for good,” in that He raised Him from the grave. Those who hated Him were also ashamed (put to shame) when they saw it. They were so confused that they resorted to paying their own guards to lie about the event. Of course the meaning of this prayer is obvious when considered as a prayer of David, for deliverance from his enemies, or as we apply it to our own cries for deliverance from the forces of Satan that always surround us.

Chapter 87


(Verses 1 through 3) His foundation is in the holy mountains. The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God . Selah.


As we have mentioned earlier, in poetry there is sometimes a transposition of words from what would normally be used in prose to say the same thing. Without changing the meaning, we can change positions of verses 1 and 2 thus: “The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. His foundation is in the holy mountains.” Since mount Zion is at Jerusalem , the two are often used interchangeably. God had Solomon build the temple at Jerusalem , but even before that, the ark of the LORD was brought up and established in Jerusalem , or Zion . Since this is the place ordained of God as the center of the true religion, it is called “the city of God .” The psalmist says, The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.” That is, He has established Zion as the greatest, or most important place in all Israel . This holy mountain is His foundation, or seat of government. With this background, can anyone wonder why the Jews are so adamant in holding to Jerusalem today? “Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God .” This was true when written; and it is true today.


(Verses 4 and 5) I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me: behold Philistia, and Tyre , with Ethiopia ; this man was born there. And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: the Highest Himself shall establish her.


Although Rahab was the name of the woman of Jericho , who befriended the spies of Israel , the name here seems to refer to a place instead of a person. Some think it refers to Egypt : and it may; but it might also refer to Jericho , the home of the aforementioned woman. All the places here listed were ancient cities or countries of importance; but to the psalmist, they are not to be compared to Jerusalem , or Zion . His meaning, as he says, “This man was born there,” is that, as great as these places may have been considered, Zion is far ahead of them all, and it is his boast that he was born in Zion, not one of these, as he considers them, inferior places. The time will come when the Lord shall so establish it that, many will claim the honor of having been born in Zion , the city of God


(Verses 6 and 7) The LORD shall count, when He writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah. As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in thee.


The psalmist is confident that, when the LORD establishes Zion , and writes up the census of the people, He will give recognition to the fact “that this man was born there.” In Zion shall be the singers, and the musicians. As he says, “All my springs are in thee,” we need to remember that the land of Israel was, for the greater part, a dry and dusty land; and a spring of water in such a place is a most welcome and valuable find. It is refreshment for both man and beast. So the psalmist feels that all the sources of refreshment for him are to be found in Zion . It is no wonder that he loves her.

Chapter 88

(Verses 1 through 3) O LORD God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before Thee: let my prayer come before Thee; incline Thine ear unto my cry; for my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.


This is the prayer of one Heman the Ezrahite. The first thing he does is to recognize the LORD God as the God of his salvation. Then he declares that his burden is so great that it has caused him to cry day and night. In this troubled condition, he asks the LORD to let his prayer come before Him, and to listen favorably to it. He is not just lightly troubled, but his soul is full of trouble. His sorrows are very great. Whether he is actually afflicted with some disease he knows is terminal, or whether his sorrows are just so heavy that they make him feel to be near death makes no real difference. He is as one under the sentence of death, and burdened with sorrow.


(Verses 4 through 7) I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am a man that hath no strength: free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom Thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from Thy hand. Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps. Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and Thou hast afflicted me with all Thy waves. Selah.


It would be extremely difficult to consider this prayer, and not see therein a picture of our Lord Jesus, as He suffered the ultimate penalty for our sins. This man declares that he is already counted with them that go down into the pit, the grave. His strength is gone. The only freedom from his troubles is to be “like the slain that lie in the grave,” cut off from even the hand and memory of God Himself. He is not denying that God will, at His appointed time, raise the dead, but he is saying that while they are dead, there is no evidence that men can see, that God even remembers them, and for the present, they are cut off from His hands. He feels that it is God Who has “laid him in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps.” He continues, “Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and Thou hast afflicted me with all Thy waves.” Surely this also describes the Son of God, as He lay in the darkness of the grave. He bore the wrath of God for us that we might go free. Surely all the waves of the wrath of God afflicted Him.


(Verses 8 through 10) Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; Thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth. Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD I have called daily upon Thee, I have stretched out my hands unto Thee.


Heman complains that all his acquaintance have forsaken him, and consider him an abomination. This is because of the affliction the LORD has laid upon him. He seems to be as one shut up in prison, with no way out. He is constantly mourning, and has stretched his hands forth unto the LORD, while continually calling upon Him.


(Verses 1o through 12) Wilt Thou shew wonders to the dead? Shall the dead arise and praise Thee? Selah. Shall Thy loving kindness be declared in the grave? Or Thy faithfulness in destruction? Shall Thy wonders be known in the dark? And Thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?


All these questions, at first glance, seem to be an effort to deny the resurrection of the dead; but such is not the case. They are all based upon what we may call the short range view of the matter. During the time of man on the earth none of these will take place. Until our Lord returns, those who go to the grave will stay in the grave: and the Lord will deal with them no more until that day. So, so far as men are concerned, none of these things will take place: but at the Lord’s return, the dead shall be raised.


(Verses 13 through 15) But unto Thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent Thee. LORD, why casteth Thou off my soul? Why hidest Thou Thy face from me? I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer Thy terrors I am distracted. Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; Thy terrors have cut me off.


Heman continues, declaring that he has been crying unto the LORD, and will continue to do so. When he says, “My prayer shall prevent Thee,” there two things we need to remember about the word, “prevent.” First: in ancient times verbs of action were often used to mean one thing, or its direct opposite, that is, “go” could mean either “go” or “come,” depending upon the context, particularly the preposition used with it. Second: “prevent,” instead of meaning “hinder,” or “keep from,” as we most often use it today, could mean either “go before,” or “come before.” So, the statement means, “In the morning my prayer shall come before Thee,” meaning, of course, that he was determined there would be no delay about his praying. That would be for him the first order of the day. Then he begins to question why it is that the Lord has cast off his soul, and no longer smiles upon him. He has been afflicted and about to die from his youth up to the present time; and while he suffers these great terrors that the Lord has sent upon him, he is distracted: he is so disturbed that he cannot think as he ought. The wrath of the Lord, which he feels going over him like water, or the waves of the sea, has cut him off.


(Verses 17 and 18) They came round about me daily like water; they compassed me about together. Lover and friend hast Thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness.


Almost all the Psalms end on a cheerful note; but not so with this one. Heman is still very much downcast. Those terrors that have so disquieted him continue to encompass him daily like waves of water. All his friends and acquaintances have been so affected by his condition that instead of sympathizing with him and trying to comfort him, they have all forsaken him, and he is in the darkness of despair. We do not know whether or not there may have been more to this prayer, and it somehow has been lost: if not, it is somber indeed.

Chapter 89

(Verses 1 and 2) I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known Thy faithfulness to all generations. For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: Thy faithfulness shalt Thou establish in the very heavens.


This is a psalm of Ethan the Ezrahite. As Ethan begins, he says that He will sing the mercies of God forever. By singing forth the songs of His mercy he will make all generations to know of the LORD’S faithfulness. He has formerly declared that mercy shall be built up forever, and that God will establish His faithfulness in the heavens.


(Verses 3 and 4) I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn unto David My servant, Thy seed will I establish forever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah.


Here we have God’s answer to Ethan. It confirms what Ethan has already said. He declares that He has chosen David, and has sworn to him that, He will establish his seed forever, and his throne to all generations. Therefore it can never fail.


(Verses 5 through 7) And the heavens shall praise Thy wonders, O LORD: Thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints. For who in the heaven can be compared unto the LORD? Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the LORD? God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about Him.


Ethan’s reaction to the declaration of the LORD is that of amazement, declaring that even the heavens shall praise His wonders and His faithfulness in the congregation of His saints. His saints shall be gathered together to see and hear the heavens praise His wonders and His faithfulness. (See II Thessalonians 1:7-10.) This shall be “when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired by all them that believe.” Then he asks two questions, both of which can only receive the same answer: “There is none.” God is so great that neither in heaven nor in earth can one be found who can be compared to Him. Therefore “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be held in reverence of all them that are about Him.”


(Verses 8 through 10) O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto Thee? Or to Thy faithfulness round about Thee? Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, Thou stillest them. Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain; Thou hast scattered Thine enemies with Thy strong arm.


Ethan continues admiring and praising the greatness of God, declaring that none can be found who can be compared to Him. Even the waves of the stormy sea cannot go beyond the limitations He places upon them. When they arise, He can, and does, quiet them down. Some commentators seem to think the reference here to Rahab is, actually speaking of Egypt , when God destroyed Pharaoh’s army at the Red Sea . Whatever the reference, it shows clearly that His enemies cannot stand before Him, but are scattered by the strength of His arm.


(Verses 11 through 13) The heavens are Thine, the earth also is Thine: as for the world and the fullness thereof, Thou hast founded them. The north and the south, Thou hast created them: Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in Thy name. Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is Thy hand, and high is Thy right hand.


This is a continued recitation of the power and glory of God. All things are His because He created them. Therefore in His name shall His people rejoice. Mount Hermon is in the northern portion of the kingdom of Israel under the reign of David, and Tabor is a little southwest of the Sea of Galilee . So the reference to Hermon and Tabor seems to mean that the LORD’S people throughout His kingdom shall rejoice in His name, because of His great power.


(Verses 14 through 18) Justice and judgment are the habitation of Thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before Thy face. Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of Thy countenance. In Thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in Thy righteousness shall they be exalted. For Thou art the glory of their strength: and in Thy favor our horn shall be exalted. For the LORD is our defense; and the Holy One of Israel is our King.


The habitation of anyone, or anything, is the place where he, or it, resides, and is therefore his, or its, home, support, foundation, or refuge. Perhaps, in this instance, “foundation” is the proper word. Justice and judgment, then, are the foundation of the throne of God. Although He is not only the Greatest among others, but Greater than all others together, in both glory and power, His throne is founded more upon His justice and judgment than upon His power and glory, while mercy and truth go before His face. What a wonderful combination! Those who know the joyful sound of His justice, judgment, mercy, and truth, are a blessed people, and shall walk in the light of His countenance. They will constantly (“all the day”) rejoice in His name, and will be exalted in His righteousness. He is the glory of our strength, and only by His favor to us can our power be exalted, or strengthened: “for the LORD is our defense; and the Holy One of Israel is our King.”


(Verses 19 through 21) Then Thou spakest in vision to Thy holy One, and saidst, I have laid help upon One that is mighty, I have exalted One chosen out of the people. I have found David My servant; with My holy oil have I anointed him: with whom My hand shall be established: Mine arm also shall strengthen him.


No doubt this vision is one that was given to Ethan. In it he was permitted to hear what the LORD said to His holy One. It seems that what the LORD said might have a double application. That is, it seems to embrace both David and his greater Son, our Lord Jesus the Christ. The message is: “I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people. I have found David My servant; with My holy oil have I anointed him: with whom My hand shall be established: Mine arm also shall strengthen him.” He did indeed make David a mighty one in Israel . Witness his first military encounter. He, a little shepherd boy, slew the champion of the Philistines, a giant well practiced in the art of war. So He “laid help upon one that is mighty.” He also chose him out of the people. He sent Samuel to the house of Jesse for the purpose of anointing the one He had chosen out of the people. Did He not there find David, even though Jesse did not think David important enough to bring him before Samuel until Samuel insisted that he must be brought? Then, by the hand of Samuel, He anointed His servant David. Yes, all of this fits David perfectly. Yet, does it not also fit our Lord Jesus? He is indeed One, Who is mighty; He also was chosen out of the people. The LORD sent His angel to find Mary, and announce to her that she had been chosen of God to be the mother of the Son of God. Was He not also anointed of the Father, Prophet, Priest, King, and Saviour of His people? And was not also the hand of the LORD established with Him? Yes, in all points this covenant fits Him as well as it does David.


(Verses 22 through 24) The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him. And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him. But My faithfulness and My mercy shall be with him: and in My name shall his horn be exalted.


This is a continuation of the message given to David, and witnessed in a vision by Ethan. As we have pointed out above, this seems to have dual application. “The enemy shall not exact upon him,” does not mean that no enemy shall rise up against him, but that no enemy can overcome him, and place him under tribute. Although David had enemies that rose up against him, they could not take the kingdom from him. God continued to maintain his glory, and caused that the kingdom to be handed down to Solomon, David’s son. When Jesus was laid in the grave, His enemies thought they had won the victory; but when He arose, His glory was even brighter than before. The LORD said, “And I will beat down his foes before His face, and plague them that hate Him.” This He did for David: and those who so hated Jesus that, they cried out, ”His blood be upon us and upon our children,” are still suffering the plague from the consequences of that rash statement. The LORD said, “But My faithfulness and My mercy shall be with Him: and in My name shall his horn be exalted.” He is still keeping that promise. Since it has prevailed this long, we ought never to fear that it will fail.


(Verses 25 through 29) I will set also his hand in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers. He shall cry unto Me, Thou art my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth. My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and My covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven.


Verse 25, probably, refers more to David than to our Lord Jesus, if we take the statement, “I will place his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers,” to be literally limited to the wording used. The kingdom of our Lord is to be worldwide; and, admittedly, the language here used might be by some considered as “understatement,” and used to mean the whole world instead of just the territory from the Mediterranean Sea to the river Euphrates and its tributaries, as would be the limited meaning. David very often, in The Psalms, declares that God is his God, and the rock of his salvation, while Jesus constantly recognized God as His heavenly Father. Verse 27, probably ought to be considered as a reference, primarily, to Jesus; for several times in The New Testament He is spoken of as “the firstborn,” and He is higher than the kings of the earth. Then the LORD says, “My mercy will I keep for Him for evermore, and My covenant shall stand fast with Him. His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and His throne as the days of heaven.” No doubt, this has dual application; for the angel told Mary, “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.


(Verses 30 through 33) If his children forsake My law, and walk not in My judgments; if they break My statutes and keep not My commandments; then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless My loving kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer My faithfulness to fail.


This clearly sets forth God’s declaration of His providential dealings with Israel , the seed of David. We find that even Solomon, the first generation from David, although God had blessed him with the greatest wisdom of any mortal man who ever has lived, or ever will live, turned away from God, and worshipped the gods of his wives. For this, God took the greater part of the kingdom from Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, and gave it to another. Yet, for the sake of David, He left the tribe of Judah in the hand of Rehoboam. The history of the Jews even to, and through, the Diaspora, proves that God, for the sake of David, has kept His word. How then, can anyone doubt that He will fulfill His promise to restore Israel ? His faithfulness cannot fail.


(Verses 34 through 37) My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that has gone out of My lips. Once have I sworn by My holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before Me. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah.


Thus Ethan concludes that vision he has been given concerning the covenant of God with David, and, as we have already pointed out, with our Lord Christ Jesus. God will neither break nor alter His covenant. He has sworn by His own righteousness that the seed of David  and his throne shall endure forever, and shall be established as an eternal witness in heaven. Just as the Apostle Paul points out concerning God’s covenant with Abraham and his seed, “seed” is singular instead of plural, and therefore must refer to the Christ. Nevertheless, let no one think that because of this “the gospel church” is now substituted for Israel , and to it are given, and in it are fulfilled all the promises made to Israel . Such an idea can only be reached by twisting, or wresting, the scriptures. This is one of those errors that the Apostle Peter says are brought about by those who “wrest, as they do also the other scriptures to their own destruction.”


(Verses 38 through 41) But Thou hast cast off and abhorred, Thou hast been wroth with Thine anointed. Thou hast made void the covenant of Thy servant: Thou hast profaned his crown by casting it to the ground. Thou hast broken down his hedges: Thou hast brought his strongholds to ruin. All that pass by the way spoil him: he is a reproach to his neighbors.


As Ethan considers the situation of Israel , he feels that the LORD has broken His word. Yet, when we look at his description of Israel ’s condition, we see that it clearly reflects exactly what the LORD said would be the result of disobedience to His law, His judgments, His statutes, and His commandments. Although they have been brought down so that all, who pass by can take a spoil of them, and they are a reproach to all their neighbors, they are not utterly destroyed. We too can sometimes forsake God’s commandments, and bring upon ourselves such desolation that we, for a time, cannot see that we are responsible for it: and only when He opens our eyes can we understand that it is the chastisement He has already declared that He would send. He has not broken His covenant, nor will He ever do so. Ethan’s complaint can also be considered as a description of the suffering of our Lord Jesus. Isaiah said of Him, “He is a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.” The LORD did, momentarily, profane His crown by casting it to the ground, when He turned Him over to the wicked to be crucified. Until that time, no man could lay hands upon Him, “for His hour was not yet come,” but this was, as Jesus said to those who came to arrest Him, “your hour, and the power of darkness.” All his hedges (protection) were broken down, and He was “a reproach to His neighbors.”


(Verses 42 through 45) Thou hast set up the right hand of his adversaries; Thou hast made all His enemies to rejoice. Thou hast also turned the edge of His sword, and hast not made Him to stand in the battle. Thou hast made his glory to cease, and cast His throne down to the ground. The days of His youth Thou hast shortened: Thou hast covered Him with shame. Selah.


On that sad occasion the LORD did “set up the right hand of His adversaries.” That is, He strengthened their power. Two things are of special significance regarding this. John tells us that those who came to arrest Jesus, when He said to them, “I am He,” went backward, and fell to the ground; and, apparently they could not even get up until He gave them permission by saying to them, “I have told you that I am He: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way.” Matthew says that when Peter tried to defend Jesus at that time, Jesus said, “Put up again thy sword into his place: for all that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray unto My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” surely in this He strengthened the power of His adversaries, and made all his enemies to rejoice. In this battle He was left without any defense, just as a warrior whose sword has failed him by having its edge turn. Therefore He could not stand in that battle. For the moment His glory did cease, He was put to shame, and His life brought to an end. This is not a beautiful picture; but one of great sorrow. Our only hope, or joy is to look beyond it: and this view Ethan does not give us. We can be thankful that David, in some of his Psalms, does set this view before us.


(Verses 46 through 49) How long, LORD? Wilt Thou hide Thyself for ever? Shall Thy wrath burn like fire? Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast Thou made all men in vain? What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave?  Selah. Lord, where are Thy former loving kindnesses, which Thou swarest, unto David in Thy truth.


Here Ethan asks a whole series of questions to which he gives no answers. If we did not have the record of the resurrection and ascension of our Lord, we might also think the crucifixion of the Christ to be in vain. Then we also might wonder if the LORD had broken His word, and abandoned His covenant. Ethan, as he beholds the condition of Israel , asks, “How long, LORD? Wilt Thou hide Thyself for ever? Shall Thy wrath burn like fire?” He is concerned that the wrath of God might continue on until all Israel is consumed, as by fire. If that is the case, he fears that God has made all men in vain. He asks that the LORD remember what a short span of life he has, thus intimating that if this desolation is not soon brought to an end, he will never be able to see the return of God’s mercies, as He has promised to David. He knows that all men die; and when they do, they do not rise again, and come back to this life. Then he asks “Where are Thy former loving kindnesses, which Thou swarest unto David in Thy truth.” He knows that the LORD has promised, “Nevertheless My loving kindness will I not utterly take away from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.” Yet Ethan is no longer able to see the manifestation of this.


(Verses 50 and 51) Remember Lord, the reproach of Thy servants; how I do bear in my bosom the reproach of all the mighty people; wherewith Thine enemies have reproached, O LORD; wherewith they have reproached the footsteps of Thine Anointed.


Here he prays that the LORD will remember the reproaches that His enemies have hurled at Him and His servants. He even bears in his own bosom the reproaches of all the “mighty people.” That is, the enemies who have been permitted to overthrow the Lord’s servants, thus appearing to be “mighty people.” They have even reproached “the footsteps of Thine Anointed.” This could well be the prayer of our Lord Jesus, as He waited in the grave for the Father to raise Him up.


(Verse 52) Blessed be the LORD for evermore. Amen, and Amen.


Surely the very wording of this verse tells us that the LORD has shown Ethan the answers to those questions he has asked: and that answer is that: He will fulfill all His promise and covenant He has made in His truth to His servant David. So we can join him as he says, “Blessed (or Praised) be the LORD for evermore. Amen, and Amen.”


Chapter 90

                                                     This psalm is a prayer of Moses the man of God.


(Verses 1-4) LORD, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God. Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men. For a thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.


As Moses addresses God, he realizes that God, and He alone, is eternal; and, as such, He has been our dwelling place, or our place of safety in all generations. He considers that in all the generations of man, including Adam, and from him through the ages, God is, and has been, the only security for man. He did not begin being the refuge for His children when He called Abraham forth from Ur of the Chaldeans. He had already been that from the beginning. It was He Who translated Enoch, and it was He Who instructed Noah to build the ark. Verse 2 takes us back to a view of God in eternity before the creation of the world. Even then He was God. That is, He was the same then as now. His wisdom, knowledge, glory, righteousness, truth, faithfulness, and power were just as great as they are now, or ever will be. His wonderful works, although they show forth His attributes, never added a single one, and never made one greater than it was before. Men have a somewhat difficult problem with the fact that God was, in all respects, the same before He created the world as He is now. If they did not, they would never make such statements as they do concerning Him. To make excuses for the wickedness of man today, they often say, “If the Lord were living on earth today, He would not have taught as He did when here.” This signifies that they think He did not know then all that has occurred since. This is man’s weakness, not God’s. “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.” He has never changed, nor will He ever change. “Thou turnest men to destruction; and sayest, ‘Return, ye children of men.’” Surely the man, whom He turns to destruction, is the one, who walks in disobedience, so that He turns him to destruction in the sight of others as a lesson to them, and says to them, “Return, ye children of men.” The scriptures bear witness of this time after time. “For a thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday when it is passed, and as a watch in the night.” We, being creatures of time, measure everything by years, months, days, hours, minutes, and even seconds, and fractions thereof. But since God is eternal, a thousand of our years mean no more to him than the passing from one day to another does to us; or, indeed, even less, just a watch in the night. We often use such statements as this; but still the human mind cannot fully comprehend this truth. Our understanding is limited just as is everything else that exists in the natural realm.


(Verses 5 through 9) Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up. In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth. For we are consumed by Thine anger, and by Thy wrath are we troubled. Thou hast set our iniquities before Thee, our secret sins in the light of Thy countenance. For all our days are passed away in Thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.


The subject here is humanity and the brevity of the life of men. A man may be getting along well in life, and enjoying many good things, perhaps, even great prosperity, when suddenly the Lord takes everything away, as if by a flood. “They are as a sleep, (or, perhaps, more properly, a dream). When he awakes it is all gone. Just as the green grass is fresh and flourishing in the morning, but cut down and withered in the evening, so is man. Perhaps, the reference to our being consumed by the anger and wrath of God, since the overall subject is the brevity of natural life, is to the fact that God told Adam that, in the day he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he would surely die. So death is brought upon us because Adam angered God by his disobedience. This same thought seems to run through verses 7 through 9. When our life is over it means little more to the world than a tale someone has told.


(Verses 10 through 12) The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knoweth the power of Thine anger? Even according to Thy fear, so is Thy wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.


Sometimes people take Moses’ statement, “The days of our years are threescore years and ten,” to mean that God has allotted to every man seventy years of life, and one who lives longer than that is borrowing some of the time which was allotted to another, who did not get his full allotment. From this idea comes the often heard expression, “borrowed time.” This is certainly not what Moses meant. He is simply saying that seventy years is about the average time of a man on this earth, but if he does live a little longer, his life is still filled with labor and sorrow. One should remember that before the flood in Noah’s day the life span was much longer. After the flood it deteriorated to about one hundred, twenty years, and by the time of Moses it was about seventy, although Moses himself lived about one hundred, twenty years. None of this alters the fact that the average life span was about seventy years. However some were given sufficient strength to live eighty years, and even longer. Yet the very strength that carries a man thus far is only more labor and sorrow; for it too will soon be cut off, and the man is gone, as if he flew away. This entire discussion is for the purpose of calling our attention to the fact that we are not eternal as God is, but have only a short time at most. No man knows the power of the anger of God, that is, how soon it might be aroused to the point of sweeping us away. His wrath is only according to His fear. The greater fear of Him we have, the better we can understand the capabilities of His wrath. Only those who fear the LORD, and understand the brevity of life and the fact that the wrath of God is able to take us away at any time, and without warning, will apply themselves to the study of His wisdom. So Moses says, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.” He is not asking the LORD tell us how many more days we have left, but that He teach us to measure the distance we have already come against what is common to man. Thus, although we will not know how many more days we have, we will be aware that we are fast approaching the end of the way. When we realize this, we will be more likely to apply our hearts to wisdom, instead of the foolishness that often occupies the minds of the young.


(Verses 13 through 15) Return, O LORD, how long? And let it repent Thee concerning thy servants. O satisfy us early with Thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad according to the days wherein Thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil.


Here Moses asks the same question we so often encounter in the Psalms. “How long?” Surely, when the chastening of the LORD is upon us, the time seems extremely long, and we greatly desire it to be over. He asks that God “repent Himself” concerning His servants. This certainly is not an accusation against the LORD that He has done wrong in chastising His servants, and needs to repent of it. Instead, it is simply a prayer that God will turn away from the chastisement, and show mercy to them. May His mercy cause them to rejoice and be glad all their days. May we spend as many days rejoicing as it seems we have in being chastised and seeing evil.


(Verses 16 through 17) Let Thy work appear unto Thy servants, and Thy glory unto their children. And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish Thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish Thou it.


This seems to be a prayer that the LORD will manifest to these His glory in His wonderful works that they, in turn, may show, or declare them to their children. When he says, “Let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us,” it seems that the meaning may really be, “Let the beauty of the LORD our God be before us;” for oftentimes we find “upon” and “before” used interchangeably. He desires to see the beauty of the LORD God. He further prays that God will “establish,” or approve, the work of their hands. Otherwise all their effort to serve Him is in vain. They desire His approval of the work of their hands in serving Him.


Chapter 91

(Verses 1 and 2) He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.


This is a song of praise and worship unto God. As the psalmist begins, he says that one who is hidden away in the secret place of the most High, or is under the protection of the LORD God shall “abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” That is, he shall always have the protection of the power of God. He shall be kept in safety by the LORD. Then he lays claim to this protection by declaring that the LORD is his refuge, fortress, God, and the center of his trust, not just for the present, but for all time to come.


(Verses 3 through 6) Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare and the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor the destruction that wasteth at noonday.


In the first statement he declares that, although there may be those who would lay snares for those kept by the power of God, as a fowler does for birds, the LORD will deliver them. And He will also deliver them from epidemics of painful and loathsome diseases. Verse 4 is an illustration often used by David to show God’s care for those who trust in Him. His simile is that just as a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings and protects them from danger, so shall the LORD protect those who look to Him. Thus we will be safe from whatever trouble may come, whether day or night. We need have no fear of the enemy, the terrorist, pestilence, or destruction; for our LORD is a sure retreat.


(Verses 7 through 10) A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, Which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come near thy dwelling.


Sometimes people get an erroneous idea of the meaning of this text. They forget that anything can be exaggerated; and that is what some do for this. First of all, we should remember, and we will if we are trusting in the LORD, that when He is ready to call us away from this earth into His eternal presence, He will do so; and both the time and the means will be according to His choice. So this text is not a declaration that He will never let death come upon our bodies. Rather, it is a promise that we need have no fear, even in the midst of the worst troubles that come upon us; for He is our protection, and nothing can overcome us until He is ready to take us home. No one who trusts in Him should fear death; because our Lord Jesus has gone through it before us, and will be with us in that crossing. Until then we can safely rest in His love and power.


(Verses 11 through 13) For He shall give His angels charge over Thee, to keep Thee in all Thy ways. They shall bear Thee up in their hands, lest Thou dash Thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt Thou tread under feet.


We know from the gospel records that this applies to Christ Jesus our Lord. Verses 11 and 12 are the quotation Satan used in trying to entice Him to cast Himself down from the pinnacle of the temple. Perhaps, it might also have application to all those for whom He died. That would certainly be in keeping with the foregoing message of this Psalm. The wonderful thing about that temptation is the manner in which our Lord answered it, “Again it is written, ‘Thou shalt not tempt the LORD thy God.’” So whether we try to restrict this promise to the Christ, or try to apply it to all God’s elect, the answer is the same. Certainly we ought to be thankful for His wonderful protection over us: but we must never deliberately try to push the limits of His promise. Such is tempting God; and this we are never to do.


(Verses 14 through 16) Because He hath set His love upon Me, therefore will I deliver Him: I will set Him on high, because He hath known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer Him: I will be with Him in trouble; I will deliver Him and honor Him. With long life will I satisfy Him, and shew Him My salvation.


This is, primarily the Father’s promise concerning Christ Jesus our Lord. Perhaps, it might be extended to all, who are represented in Him, but its principal application is to Him. As we consider the gospel record, we see that He indeed loved the father: and everything He did, or taught, was according to the will of, and for the glory of, the Father. So the Father declares, “Because He hath set His love upon Me, therefore will I deliver Him. I will set Him on high, because He hath known My name.” This promise the Father fulfilled to the letter. He set Him even at His own right hand in heaven. “He shall call upon Me, and I will answer Him: I will be with Him in trouble; I will deliver Him and honor Him.” Surely He did deliver Him, and honor Him. The Apostle Peter said, (Acts 2:36 ) “_ _ _ God hath made that same Jesus, Whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” He also showed Him His salvation, and satisfied Him with long life. In Revelation 1:18, Jesus said, “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”


Chapter 92

(Verses 1 through 3) It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O most High: To shew forth Thy loving kindness in the morning, and Thy faithfulness every night, upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound.


As the psalmist considers the blessings of the LORD to men, he thinks of what a good thing it is to render thanksgiving and praise unto the LORD. Sometimes things that are good are not pleasant, but this is something that is both good and pleasant. It is good because it is the right thing to do. When we thank God and praise Him for his great works and His wonderful blessings to us every day we live in this world, we are rendering to Him that which is His due; and without question the most pleasant memories I have from life are centered around praising Him. I have never cared much for singing the songs of the world, but the songs that render praise and thanksgiving to my God have meant much to me for more than seventy years. My voice is no longer as strong as it once was, and neither is it of as good quality as it has been, but when others are singing the Lord’s praise, I still have to join in. The psalmist indicates that we ought to thank and praise the LORD at all times, both in the morning, and at night, He calls upon us to accompany the singing of God’s praise with musical instruments. This immediately causes some to rise in objection; but nowhere in the word of God are we commanded to leave off instrumental music.


(Verses 4 and 5) For Thou, LORD, hast made me glad through Thy work: I will triumph in the works of Thy hands. O LORD, how great are Thy works! And Thy thoughts are very deep.


That which makes it so good and so pleasant to praise and thank the LORD is that His work has made us glad: and through the work of His hands we will triumph. We will never win a victory through our own works, or our own strength: all depends entirely upon Him and His works. This is true even in things of this natural life, and much more so in those pertaining to eternal life. The whole work of salvation was wrought out by our Lord alone on Calvary . He also arose from the grave, and ascended up to heaven with no help from man. In addition to this, He is the One, Who quickens us from death in sins to life in Christ Jesus our Lord; and He is the only One, Who can raise us up on that great resurrection day. So it is all through His works, and not ours. As we contemplate this, we have to exclaim with the psalmist, “O LORD, how great are Thy works! And Thy thoughts are very deep.”


(Verses 6 through 8) A brutish man knoweth not, neither doth a fool understand this. When the wicked spring up as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish, it is that they shall be destroyed forever: but Thou, LORD, art most High for evermore.


The psalmist sets forth a principle, which he says is not understood by either the brutish man or the fool. In fact, Asaph declares in Psalm 73, that he did not understand it either, until he went into the sanctuary of the LORD. Then it was revealed to him. This principle is that, the wicked are allowed to spring up and flourish in this world, because they shall be destroyed forever. But the LORD will continue as the most High for evermore.


(Verses 9 through 11) For, lo, Thine enemies shall perish; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered. But my horn shalt Thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil. Mine eye shall also see my desire on mine enemies, and mine ears shall hear my desire of the wicked that rise up against me.


The psalmist continues, declaring that all the enemies of God and all workers of iniquity shall perish or be scattered, but those who trust in the LORD shall be exalted in power, and shall both see and hear the destruction of those enemies.


(Verses 12 through 15) The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon . Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age, they shall be fat and flourishing; to shew that the LORD is upright: He is my Rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.


The LORD has promised that He will indeed take care of the righteous. Those who are established in His house shall continue to flourish, and even in old age they shall still serve Him, and be fruitful. In careers of this world’s economy there comes a time for one to retire from service; but in the service of our LORD, there is no place for retirement. Ill health and physical weakness may bring us to the point that we can no longer do some of the things we did when younger and stronger; but as long as He gives us any ability to do anything in His service, there is no quitting place. When He sees fit, He will call us away. Until then, we are to serve, that we may demonstrate that He is upright. He is our Rock, or support, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. He is always true.




Chapter 93

(Verse 1) The LORD reigneth, He is clothed with majesty; The LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith He hath girded Himself: the world also is established, that it cannot be moved.


Even though the events that take place in this world are not always what we think they ought to be, and many get fearful, and wonder if God has lost, or given up, control of the world, we can rest in full assurance that He still reigns over it all. He is in full control; and at His appointed time, He will demonstrate His mighty power in bringing all things to proper judgment. He is clothed with majesty and strength, both of which are of Himself, and not another. He has established the world also so that no one and nothing except Himself, can move it, or set it aside.


(Verses 2 and 3) Thy throne is established of old: Thou art from everlasting. The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice: the floods lift up their waves.


God’s throne is not of recent making. It is “of old,” that is, it is eternal: and so is God and His kingdom. The floods, or the waters, have lifted up their voice in testimony to His greatness. They bear witness of His power.


(Verses 4 and 5) The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea. Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh Thine house, O LORD, for ever.


Although the voices of the floods have testified of the LORD, He is mightier than all they can say about Him. His testimonies are very sure: and holiness is the proper ornament of His house forever.


Chapter 94

(Verses 1 through 4) O LORD, to Whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to Whom vengeance belongeth, shew Thyself. Lift up Thyself, Thou Judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud. LORD, how long shall the wicked triumph? How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves?


As the psalmist here prays, he acknowledges that vengeance belongs only to God. We may feel that we have been greatly wronged, but however that may be, we are to leave the whole matter in the hands of the LORD, and make no effort to “get even” with anyone. We, like the psalmist, may sometimes get a little impatient, and ask the LORD to take action on the matter, but if we fully trust Him as we ought, we will try to wait patiently for Him. Although we may wonder how long He will suffer the wicked to triumph, and threaten the saints with their hard speeches, we still know that, at His time He will take proper vengeance upon His enemies. Then all their boasts will prove in vain.


(Verses 5 through 7) They break in pieces Thy people, O LORD, and afflict Thine heritage. They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless. Yet they say, The LORD shall not see us, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it.


It is a sad fact that in today’s society, most seem to have forgotten that God has many times commanded us to take special care of three members of our populace. They are, the widows, the strangers, and the fatherless. I greatly fear that most of us today are guilty of neglecting these three. The psalmist says that the wicked are doing four abominable things. They are breaking in pieces the LORD’S people by afflicting His heritage, killing the widows and the strangers, and murdering the fatherless. One of the most common causes of abortion is that, the pregnant girl either does not know who is the father of her child, or she cannot get him to take up his responsibility as a father. So, since the baby is, in effect, fatherless, the easiest way out, as she sees it, is abortion. Make no mistake about it, THIS IS MURDER. Of course, the primary cause is their refusal to follow the LORD’S commandment in the first place, and abstain from sex until married. Since they did not keep His law concerning one point, they apparently thought, “Two wrongs make a right,” which they never do. Certainly there are also other pretended excuses for abortion, but they all produce murder. Most of the killing of the widow and the stranger is done, not quite so much by violence as by neglect. In the present era we have many homeless on the streets of our cities, who are usually forgotten by the public until some special season, when people want to show how philanthropic they are, or until some special event calls attention to them. Certainly some of them may be there because of evil habits they have chosen, and by which they have been brought to this low condition: but there are also those who are there by no fault of their own; and it is not ours to judge who is who. Of course it would cost us something to do anything that would be a real help: but it will cost more not to do anything. Thus we are killing the stranger. Perhaps, even more pitiful is the widow who has grown old, and none of her children think they can take care of her. They have her sign over any property or money she may have to them, declare that she has no assets, and place her in a low class nursing home, with Medicaid left to take care of her. There she pines away, wondering what she ever did to deserve such treatment from even her own children. Thank God, this is not the experience of every widow who grows old: but there are many more of these than the general public realizes. I have personally seen some of them. Yet those who are responsible for such things will tell you how much they love their mother, and what great sacrifices they have to make for her, when, in fact, they seldom even go to see her. This is the equivalent of what the psalmist said, “Yet they say, ‘The LORD shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it.’” Oh how badly they are fooling themselves!


(Verses 8 through 11) Understand, ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise? He that planted the ear, shall He not hear? He that formed the eye, shall He not see? He that chastiseth the heathen, shall He not correct? He that teacheth man knowledge, shall He not know? The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vain.


Notice that he is not addressing the heathen, who make no claim of having the law of God, or of believing in Him. His address is, “Ye brutish among the people: and ye fools.” Both of these terms are regularly used in the Psalms to indicate those who, in their hearts, have not the love of God, but are in that respect no more than brute beasts, and those who have said in their hearts, “There is no God.” There have always been some of these among the people of God, though not of them; and there always will be until, in the end of the world, He sends forth His angels to gather them out, bind them in bundles, and burn them. They are the tares that grow among the wheat. His question to them is, “When will ye be wise,” and is the equivalent of “You never learn.” They do not know, and they cannot learn that, He Who made both the eye and the ear can both see and hear: and He Who has taught man knowledge certainly knows, not only their actions, but their motives as well. He also knows that their thoughts are vanity; they are totally worthless.


(Verses 12 through 15) Blessed is the man whom Thou chastenest, LORD, and teachest him out of Thy law; that Thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked. For the LORD will not cast off His people, neither will He forsake His inheritance. But judgment shall return unto righteousness: and all the upright in heart shall follow it.


This is a wonderful comfort to all, who have felt the chastening rod of the LORD. It is also in perfect harmony with what we find in Hebrews 12:5-8. “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, ‘My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him: For whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.’ If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” So the man whom the LORD chastens and teaches His law is a blessed person: he is a son of God. By this he is taught patience, to wait upon the LORD until the pit is properly prepared for the wicked. With our impatient nature, we might otherwise want punishment laid upon the wicked before it is properly prepared for them. We have no need to fear because it seems to us that their punishment is held in abeyance. It will be executed at exactly the right time. “For the LORD will not cast off His people, neither will He forsake His inheritance.” At the proper time the LORD will bring judgment; and that judgment will be righteous. It also will bring about righteousness. Therefore shall the upright in heart (the righteous) follow it.


(Verses 16 through 18) Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. When I said, My foot slippeth; Thy mercy, O LORD, held me up.


As the Psalmist asks, “Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Or who shall stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?” there appear to have been no volunteers. So he says, “Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence.” It may be that his meaning is that, had not the LORD helped him, his soul was about to dwell in the silence of death. He was in a serious situation; and there was no help for him among men. Nevertheless, when He said, “My foot slippeth,” the mercy of the LORD was present, and held him up. He is also our help in time of trouble.


(Verses 19 through 21) In the multitude of my thoughts within me Thy comforts delight my soul. Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with Thee, which frameth mischief by a law? They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood.


Certainly we too are delighted and made to rejoice by the comforts of God, as we consider them in our thoughts. We might not have opportunity to speak with anyone else about them, but just to quietly think upon them brings great joy. The psalmist’s question is another example of the different word order that sometimes is used in poetry. It may be slightly clearer when the words are differently aligned. “Shall the throne of iniquity, which frameth mischief by a law, have fellowship with Thee?” It is designed as the strongest way of saying that such cannot be, instead of being an inquiry as to whether or not it shall be. The LORD has no fellowship with such. He then sets forth a complaint against the wicked. “They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood.” The LORD will have no fellowship with such.


(Verses 22 and 23) But the LORD is my defense; and my God is the Rock of my refuge. And He shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the LORD our God shall cut them off.


Although these wicked ones gather themselves together against the righteous, and condemn the innocent, we have no reason to fear, if we can truly say in our hearts, “But the LORD is my defense; and my God is the Rock of my refuge.” As the Apostle Paul asked, “If God be for us, who can be against us.” Verse 23 is the answer to the question in verse 20. Far from having fellowship with the wicked, God will “bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness.” Then so that no one can misunderstand it, he says, “Yea, the LORD our God shall cut them off.” This ought to settle the question for everyone, and for all time.


Chapter 95

(Verses 1 through 3) O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.


We are here invited, or rather, commanded, “O come, let us sing unto the LORD.” That is, we are not to just wander off into the desert, or some other solitary place, but come together that we might sing praises to the LORD our God. Even if there are those who like I am, are unable to sing with as pleasing a voice as some others, let us make a joyful noise unto the LORD, the Rock of our salvation. Let us join together in His presence with thanksgiving and songs of joyful praise unto His name. There is ample reason for this; “For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” What greater reason can there be for praising Him?


(Verses 4 through 6) In His hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is His also. The sea is His, and He made it: and His hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.


It matters not whether we look at the land or the sea. Both, together with all that is in them, were made by the LORD. The pagans had many gods; some for the land and things therein, and some for the seas and their fullness. But we who worship the LORD God, know that He is God and King of all. He needs no help, because He made and rules all things. He is even our maker. Therefore let us bow down and kneel before Him Who made us.


(Verses 7 through 11) For He is our God; and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His land. Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: when your fathers tempted Me, proved Me, and saw My work. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known My ways: unto whom I sware in My wrath that they should not enter into My rest.


In verse 7 the psalmist declares that the LORD is our God, and we are His people, or His sheep. Although we are people, we are just as much His property as would be a flock of sheep, or anything else that belongs to Him. His kingdom is not a democracy, nor was such ever intended. He is an absolute Monarch. The kingdom belongs to Him. It has been, is, and will be, ruled by Him. One of the great sins of Israel is that they did not want to follow His laws, but wanted to run things their way: and that seems to also be the trouble even today. Yet He warns us against this, saying, “Today, if ye will hear His voice, harden not your heart, as in the day of provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness. “ He does not give all the details here: they can be found in the record of the journey from the bondage of Egypt to the Promised Land. Here he only points out that they, who hardened their hearts, not only caused themselves but also that whole generation to be cut off from entering the land of Canaan .


Chapter 96

(Verses 1 through 3) O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth. Sing unto the LORD, bless His name, shew forth His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the heathen, His wonders among all people.


This is a call for the praises of God to be sung and declared by “all the earth,” that is, by all the inhabitants of the earth. Some will immediately cry out, “ There is no need to call upon everyone to praise the LORD. Only those who believe in Him will praise Him.” If that is considered true, does it excuse the unbeliever, and justify our not calling upon him to praise the LORD? I think not. Just read Matthew 11:20-24. The fact that some will not believe, and will not praise Him in no wise removes from them the responsibility of so doing; and it does not remove our responsibility to call upon them to do so. We are not just to praise Him once, and leave it off from then on; but “Sing unto the LORD, bless His name; shew forth His salvation from day to day.” Further, we are to “declare His glory among the heathen, His wonders among all people.” Some preachers have been known to declare, while in the pulpit, “I will not preach to anyone except the children of God.” This is in direct opposition to the command of our Lord to His disciples in Mark 16:15. We are to preach and declare His praise to all. The Holy Ghost will make the application to the heart.


(Verses 4 through 6) For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before Him: strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.


The reason all the earth ought to, and is called upon to, praise God is that He “is great, and greatly to be praised: He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.” All these other gods, the gods of the nations, are only idols. They have never done anything; and they never will do anything, because they have no power at all, not even the power to speak or to move. But the LORD God, Whom we worship, is omnipotent. He made the heavens. Certainly He made the earth also, but while the earth is within the reach of man and his gods, though they had nothing to do with making it, the heavens are completely beyond their reach. Yet the LORD made them. Thus He is shown to be far superior to man and his idols. “Honor and majesty are before Him: strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.” This leaves man with no support for his claims to greatness. It belongs alone to God.


(Verses 7 through 10) Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto His name: bring an offering, and come into His courts. O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before Him, all the earth. Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: He shall judge the people righteously.


Verses 7 through 9 call upon all the earth to praise, worship, and fear the LORD. When we are told to “give” this, or that, to the LORD, the meaning is “ascribe,” or “render,” it to Him. In the sense of owning it, and thus being able to give it to Him, it cannot be considered, because all things are already His. This is particularly true of praise, honor, glory, and power. They belong exclusively to Him. We can only declare that they are His. We are to fear before Him, and call upon all men, even the heathen, to do the same. We are to declare to them that the LORD does indeed reign, and that He will establish the world so that it shall not be moved (shaken or troubled). This, of course will be its condition when the new earth has been brought forth. “He shall judge the people righteously.”


(Verses 11 through 13) Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad: let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the LORD: for He cometh, for He cometh to judge the earth: He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His truth.


Here the psalmist turns his attention completely to the coming of our Lord to judge the world, and establish the new earth together with the righteousness by which it will be ruled. He calls not only upon the earth, but also on the heavens to rejoice at this wonderful event. He will “judge the world in righteousness, and the people in His truth.” What a glorious and joyful day!



Chapter 97

(Verses 1 through 3) The LORD reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof . Clouds and darkness are around Him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of His throne. A fire goeth before Him, and burneth up His enemies round about.


This is a simple declaration of a most profound truth. When we lose sight of it, even temporarily, we may be thrown into a panic, as many seem to be today. All today, who speak concerning current events, seem to be in terror because of what they call the Y2K problem. Their fears seem to embrace everything from minor electronic gliches to total destruction. Why? Because they either have forgotten, or have never known that “The LORD reigneth.” Yes, this world will be brought to total destruction; but only at the time long ago appointed by the great God of heaven and earth. And while we do not know when that will be, we do know that He is still on His throne, ruling over all things both in heaven and on earth, and nothing can bring that destruction before its time. The whole earth, including the multitude of islands throughout the world, are under His control. Therefore “let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of the isles be glad thereof.” No matter how threatening the situation may appear, He is still in control. One thing that sometimes may cause us to have a greater fear of events than we should is that, “Clouds and darkness are round about Him.” That is, He and His purposes are hidden from us, as if He were completely enshrouded in the darkest of clouds, and even darkness itself, until He is ready to reveal His will. When they are thus hidden, we are to walk by faith instead of sight, until He sees fit to reveal to us what He will have us do. Then He will show us His righteousness and judgment, which are the “habitation,” (dwelling place) of His throne. In these it remains secure. Therefore we ought to rejoice, instead of being afraid of what may take place. Although we may not understand it, that which comes to pass will be according to His will and purpose. He is so great that “A fire goeth before Him, and burneth up His enemies round about.” Without question this entire text looks forward to the coming of our Lord to bring judgment upon the world.


(Verses 4 through 6) His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled. The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the LORD of the whole earth. The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the people see His glory.


 We may not know whether, or not, the psalmist is referring to any particular event in verses 4 and 5. He may be simply declaring that the lightning, which has been a source of terror to man as long as man has been on earth, is still under the LORD’S control and command, and that “the earth,” or the inhabitants of it have through the centuries trembled before it. Though we think of the hills as being permanent and unmovable, even they cannot stand before Him, but at His approach they melt like wax exposed to heat. In Psalm 19 David bears witness to verse 6, showing that “there is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.” So this is a universal witness to His glory.


(Verses 7 through 9) Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship Him, all ye gods. Zion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of Thy judgments, O LORD. For Thou, LORD, art high above all the earth: Thou art exalted above all gods.


The psalmist prays that confusion may be laid upon all that serve graven images, and boast of their idols. That is, may God put them to shame and confusion because their idols, in which they have trusted, have proven themselves unable to help them in their time of need. Then he calls, not upon the worshippers of these idols, but upon the idols themselves, to worship, (or bow down before) God. Zion and the daughters of Judah have heard this proclamation, which has been set forth from the beginning of this psalm, and have rejoiced because of the judgments of the LORD. “For Thou, LORD, art high above all the earth: Thou art exalted far above all gods.” Man, even in the darkness of paganism, although he has made images of his gods, and has set them up before him in his effort to worship, has, for the greater part, maintained that the gods themselves actually dwell in the heavens, (in the clouds, the sun, the moon, etc.). But this wonderful LORD God, Whom we love, is not only high above all the earth, but is “exalted far above all gods.” None can even approach unto Him.


(Verses 10 through 12) Ye that love the LORD, hate evil; He That preserveth the souls of His saints; He delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness.


The psalmist closes this out with some very valuable instructions to the LORD’S people. First those who love the LORD are told to hate evil. It is obvious that if we hate evil, we will try to avoid it; and such should be our constant endeavor. He is the One, Who keeps the souls of His saints, and delivers them out of the hand of the wicked. That which is sown is expected to grow. So, since light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart, this is the equivalent of saying that God will increase light and gladness to the righteous, those who are of an upright heart. Therefore let the righteous rejoice in the LORD, and render thanksgiving to Him every time we think of His holiness.


Chapter 98

(Verses 1 through 3) O sing unto the LORD a new song; for He hath done marvelous things: His right hand, and His holy arm hath gotten Him the victory. The LORD hath made known His salvation: His righteousness hath He openly shewed in the sight of the heathen. He hath remembered His mercy and His truth toward the house of Israel : all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.


This psalm is not a prayer for deliverance: neither is it a request for leniency in chastisement for sin. It is simply a song of praise to the LORD because of His greatness and glory, as shown by His wonderful works, some of which are already done, and some yet to be done. In fact, this text is a prophecy of the coming of the Christ, “the salvation of our God.” He came, taught, was crucified and buried, and rose again, in the sight of the heathen, as well as of Israel , though many did not believe what they saw. “O sing unto the LORD a new song,” is an admission that those already in use were not adequate for the occasion, inasmuch as we are so limited in our knowledge, not only of His works, but even in the choice of words in which to praise Him. We have exhausted man’s ability, but still have not even come close to rendering proper praise to Him. Even as He may give us new songs of praise to Him, we will still be in need of a new song until the day we stand complete before Him in glory, and sing His praise perfectly. He has neither had nor needed any help from anyone to accomplish that which He has purposed. “His right hand, and His holy arm hath gotten Him the victory.” This is undoubtedly true with all His works, but it especially stands out in the great work of salvation. Isaiah says, (Is. 63:5) “And I looked, and there was none to help; I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore Mine own arm brought salvation unto Me; and My fury it upheld Me.” So, not only did He suffer the cross alone, but He will also destroy His enemies, and “tread the winepress of the wrath of God” alone. Wonderful works indeed are these! Just as His suffering on the cross “hath openly shewed in the sight of the heathen,” so will also His judgments, when He comes and treads the winepress of the wrath of God. He has “remembered His mercy and His truth toward the house of Israel ,” and He has shown His salvation throughout the world. He does not say that the whole world has believed His salvation, but that all the world has seen it.


(Verses 4 through 6) Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Sing unto the LORD with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.


There certainly is nothing hard to be understood in this. It is a call for all the earth (all the inhabitants of the earth) to praise the LORD. Some will surely say, “’All the earth’ does not mean everyone in the earth, because there are many in the earth who do not believe in the LORD, so they can’t praise Him.” If this is your attitude, I invite your attention to Matthew 11:20-25. From that text, it is obvious that, for reasons of His own, the Father has hidden these things from some, and revealed them unto others, but His hiding them from some, in no wise lessened the responsibility of those from whom they were hidden to believe. Verses 5 and 6 tell us to make use also of musical instruments, as well as the voice, in praising “the LORD, the King.”


(Verses 7 through 9) Let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful before the LORD; for He cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall He judge the world, and the people with equity.


The psalmist makes use of what is called “poetic license” when he speaks of the floods clapping their hands; but the call is for all things, both animate, and inanimate, to praise the LORD: and that may, indeed, come to pass when He comes to judge the world. When he says, “Let the sea roar,” he is not asking that its waves be raised in a mighty storm, that they should roar in anger, but that, at the LORD’S coming to judge the world, it may give forth a roar of gladness and praise to welcome Him. “For He cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall He judge the world, and the people with equity.”


Chapter 99

(Verses 1 through 3) The LORD reigneth; let the people tremble: He sitteth before the cherubims; let the earth be moved. The LORD is great in Zion ; and He is high above all the people. Let them praise Thy great and terrible name; for it is holy.


This is another declaration of the greatness of our God. We are reminded that the LORD reigns over all the world. He has reigned from eternity; and He will reign forever. Sometimes we may become a little worried, and think that, maybe, He has turned loose the reins of power, and is letting the world drift along on its on, since there is so much evil all around: but this is not the case. All things are still under His control. Therefore the people, all the inhabitants of the world, should tremble before Him. We should, literally, be afraid of Him, as well as have a reverential awe of Him. Not only is the LORD “great in Zion ,” or among His people. But He “is high above all the people.” Therefore all ought to praise His “great and terrible name; for it is holy.” Certainly we ought to praise Him for all His works and all His attributes, but especially for His holiness.


(Verses 4 and 5) The king’s strength also loveth judgment; Thou hast established equity, Thou executest judgment and righteousness in Jacob. Exalt ye the LORD our God, and worship at His footstool; for He is holy.


Of course, since the LORD raises up kings, and puts them down, He is without question the king’s strength. So to say “the king’s strength loves judgment,” is to say, “The LORD loves judgment.” Therefore, as He has set up His king, He has also established equity, and He executes judgment and righteousness in Jacob, or among His people. Again the psalmist calls upon us to “exalt ye the LORD our God, and worship at His footstool; for He is holy/” Jesus, in speaking of the Father, said, “Heaven is His throne; and the earth is His footstool.” Since we are on earth, we are at His footstool. Therefore we are to worship Him while we are on earth. The only way in which we can exalt Him is in praising Him, and ascribing to Him the praise, thanksgiving, honor, and glory, that already belong to Him. We need no greater reason for so doing than this: “For He is holy.”


(Verses 6 and 7) Moses and Aaron among His priests, and Samuel among them that call upon His name; They called upon the LORD, and He answered them. He spake unto them in the cloudy pillar: they kept His testimonies, and the ordinance that He gave them.


Here he gives three men as examples of those who have called upon the LORD, and have received answers to their prayers. The scriptures tell of many more, but the word of God declares that two or three witnesses are enough to establish any matter. These men “kept His testimonies, and the ordinance He gave them.”


(Verses 8 and 9) Thou answeredst them, O LORD, our God: Thou wast a God that forgavest them, though Thou tookest vengeance of their inventions. Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at His holy hill; for the LORD our God is holy.


Sometimes we think of such men as Moses, Aaron, and Samuel, as great heroes of God: but they also were men, and needed forgiveness. Although the LORD did indeed forgive them, He took “vengeance upon their inventions.” That is, He chastised them for their errors, just as He does all His children. For the third time we are called upon to praise and worship the LORD our God, because He is holy: and this is our duty to do.

Chapter 100


(Verses 1 and 2) Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before His presence with singing.


This is wonderful admonition to all of us who love the LORD. First he says, “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD.” No doubt there are many of us who wish we were able to do a better job of singing than that which we do. There are many in this world who are blessed with wonderful voices; and for that both they and we ought to be thankful. However many of us have voices that are not so beautiful. The psalmist, however did not say, “Make a perfectly melodious noise unto the LORD.” Instead he said, “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before His presence with singing.” If we, or even if others, think that our voices do not sound so well as those of some others, we are still commanded to make a joyful noise unto the LORD, serve Him with gladness, and come before His presence with singing. After all, in worshipping Him, we are not to be concerned with the approval of men, but of God. Surely, then, if we have His love in our hearts, we can do what He has commanded. We ought always to be ready to do the best we can with whatever gift He has given us, whether men judge it to be to their liking or not.


(Verse 3) Know ye that the LORD He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.


As this immediately follows verses 1 and 2, it clearly reinforces what we have already said about them. To refuse to use the gift God has given us because we do not think it to be as good as that given to another, is, by our action, to say that He has treated us unfairly. And we are going to get even with Him by refusing to use an inferior gift. This is dangerous ground indeed. “He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves.” If we had made ourselves, and were not satisfied with the result, we might have reason to criticize the outcome. But this is His work, not ours: so who gave us a right to criticize it? Remember that we are the sheep of His pasture. What right does a sheep have to criticize either his shepherd, or his shepherd’s work?


(Verses 4 and 5) Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations.


Since it is fully established that “He hath made us, and not we ourselves,” we certainly ought to “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless (praise) His name.” Surely I can do this, even if He did give to someone else a more pleasant sounding voice than He gave me. After spending nearly four years taking care of a loved one, whose voice the LORD saw fit to completely take away, I would give this advice to all: “Be thankful for what He has given you, and try to use it to His glory, no matter what men may think.” Verse 5 gives us three reasons for doing this: “The LORD is good,” “His mercy is everlasting,” and “His truth endureth to all generations.” Are not these sufficient reasons?


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