Featured

Introduction

Welcome to Blogging Psalms!

You may know me from Watching Daily At Wisdom’s Gates (www.roberlain.wordpress.com) or the completed Proverbs blog (www.bloggingproverbs.wordpress.com).

Or maybe you’ve just stumbled across this blog of Psalms. However you’ve found this blog, you’re welcome here.

I’m setting myself the task of writing about every Psalm. We’ll go from the depths of despair to the heights of praise.

I’ve heard the Psalms described as a chemists for the soul, from which the Great Physician can prescribe whatever spiritual medication we may need at any time.

I like that description, and read from the Psalms daily, because I need my daily dose!

Be blessed as you join me on this pilgrimage of worship of the Lord God of Israel.

Advertisements

Psalm 18:25-50… Victory!

With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless; with the purified you show yourself pure; and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous. For you save a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down. For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness. For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. For who is God, but the Lord ? And who is a rock, except our God?— the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great. You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip. I pursued my enemies and overtook them, and did not turn back till they were consumed. I thrust them through, so that they were not able to rise; they fell under my feet. For you equipped me with strength for the battle; you made those who rise against me sink under me. You made my enemies turn their backs to me, and those who hated me I destroyed. They cried for help, but there was none to save; they cried to the Lord , but he did not answer them. I beat them fine as dust before the wind; I cast them out like the mire of the streets. You delivered me from strife with the people; you made me the head of the nations; people whom I had not known served me. As soon as they heard of me they obeyed me; foreigners came cringing to me. Foreigners lost heart and came trembling out of their fortresses. The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation— the God who gave me vengeance and subdued peoples under me, who rescued me from my enemies; yes, you exalted me above those who rose against me; you delivered me from the man of violence. For this I will praise you, O Lord , among the nations, and sing to your name. Great salvation he brings to his king, and shows steadfast love to his anointed, to David and his offspring forever.

Psalms 18:25‭-‬50 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/psa.18.25-50.ESV

The opening verses of this second half of Psalm 18 are echoed in the new testament. How we relate to God is often how He relates to us. This doesn’t mean to say He’s only good to us if we’re good- impossible. But we can’t expect His mercy and forgiveness if we’re not merciful and forgiving ourselves.

God hates pride. He loves humility. The world calls vice virtue and virtue vice, but not God. If we want Him to set us free, we need to humble ourselves before Him.

God is the one who brightens up our lives. He is the light in the darkness. He is the victory in the battle and the strength for each hurdle.

God’s Word is true and His Way is perfect: follow Him! He’s a shield to us when we take refuge in Him. He’s a rock of strength who empowers us to walk in integrity.

Although God is our Saviour, He also empowers us to fight for Him in the spiritual battle against the world, the flesh and the devil. He equips us with everything we need to help us to win the victory He’s already assured us of through Christ’s death and resurrection. Our spiritual enemies don’t stand a chance against us, by God’s might we will prevail!

God’s love is unfailing. He’ll never let us down. It’s only right that we rep Him to the world for His goodness to us. Every generation of His people is blessed.

“Oh Lord our God, we want to praise Your holy name, for in You we have the victory, and nothing can separate us from Your love. In Christ’s powerful name, amen”

Psalm 18:1-24… Integrity

I love you, O Lord , my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord , who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me; the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called upon the Lord ; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because he was angry. Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from him. He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under his feet. He rode on a cherub and flew; he came swiftly on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him, thick clouds dark with water. Out of the brightness before him hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds. The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered his voice, hailstones and coals of fire. And he sent out his arrows and scattered them; he flashed forth lightnings and routed them. Then the channels of the sea were seen, and the foundations of the world were laid bare at your rebuke, O Lord , at the blast of the breath of your nostrils. He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters. He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me. The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord , and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his rules were before me, and his statutes I did not put away from me. I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from my guilt. So the Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

Psalms 18:1‭-‬24 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/psa.18.1-24.ESV

Do you love God? If so, why? The Psalmist has plenty of reasons to love God. Firstly, He is his strength. Then He’s his rock, fortress and deliverer. We might think of deliverer as the postman who “delivers” the mail. But Biblically, Deliverer is the one who takes you from spiritual death row to eternal life in glory.

The Psalmist has still more reasons to love God. He is his refuge in each deep distress. He is His shield from all that would assail him. He is the horn of his salvation- the one he’ll loudly trumpet about, about how great He is.

God answers his prayers- He delivers him from all his enemies. He was as good as dead, but God rent the heavens to come down and to save him from all his foes. All that opposes us may well be too strong for us; but it isn’t too strong for God.

This half of the Psalm seems to close rather self congratulatarily if that’s a word! But God does delight in the obedience of His children- when they wholeheartedly love Him and others. It’s good to have integrity. If we don’t, we don’t have to excuse ourselves, or put down those who do.

“Oh Lord our rock, may we rely on You and not on our own righteousness. But please help us to have integrity as we seek and find in You our all in all. For Your honour, amen”

Psalm 17: Lion

Hear a just cause, O Lord ; attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit! From your presence let my vindication come! Let your eyes behold the right! You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night, you have tested me, and you will find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress. With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent. My steps have held fast to your paths; my feet have not slipped. I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words. Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Saviour of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings, from the wicked who do me violence, my deadly enemies who surround me. They close their hearts to pity; with their mouths they speak arrogantly. They have now surrounded our steps; they set their eyes to cast us to the ground. He is like a lion eager to tear, as a young lion lurking in ambush. Arise, O Lord ! Confront him, subdue him! Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword, from men by your hand, O Lord , from men of the world whose portion is in this life. You fill their womb with treasure; they are satisfied with children, and they leave their abundance to their infants. As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.

Psalms 17:1‭-‬15 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/psa.17.1-15.ESV

This Psalm opens with the language of the courtroom. The Psalmist is like a persistent widow presenting her request to the judge. He insists that he’s got integrity, and a good case.

God doesn’t just judge His people’s enemies, He judges us too. If we’re walking in step with Him, we have nothing to fear from His judgement. He’s a Saviour to those who trust in Him.

The Psalmist knew he was the apple of God’s eye, but pleaded for help against his enemies. The enemy of our souls is going round like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

But our God isn’t just *like* a lion, He *is* the Lion of the tribe of Judah, who had defeated the evil one. The Psalmist notes that evildoers often have healthy, wealthy, and happy lives. But he contents himself with the prospect of meeting God face to face, and enjoying sweet fellowship with Him.

“Dear Lord, may we not envy the wicked, whose portion is in this life. We rejoice that our names are written in heaven, where we will worship and adore You forevermore, amen”

Psalm 16: Joy

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord , “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips. The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalms 16:1‭-‬11 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/psa.16.1-11.ESV

This Psalm reads as a prayer, but also as a testimony to the goodness of God in the Psalmist’s life. God is a refuge to those who seek Him. Even if our physical lives are demanded of us, our souls and spirits can be kept safe in Him.

There is no good apart from God. Every good thing we enjoy is a gift from Him. But our relationship with Him should be the thing that we prize above all.

The world despises saints, saved sinners set apart for their Saviour. But if we are saints, we appreciate our brethren and their God infused integrity. To obey is better than sacrifice, especially if that sacrifice is to a false god!

If things are going well, it’s easy to forget God and delude ourselves that we’re self sufficient. But the Psalmist was thankful to God for every good He enjoyed. And he had faith that he would inherit eternal life.

This Psalm is an Old Testament glimpse into the doctrine of resurrection. Death isn’t the end, there’s an eternity to come- in glory if our trust is in God. The Holy One is the Lord Jesus Christ, the firstborn from among the dead.

This Psalm is one of the clearest Old Testament prophecies of the resurrection of the Messiah, never mind the rest of us! God makes known to us the path of life, and He’s Jesus, the Living Word of God.

People sometimes assume God’s a killjoy. But those of us who know Him know that the opposite is true: He’s the source of all joy. I’m reminded of the line of the old hymn: “[Biblical] religion never was designed to make our pleasures less”- quite the contrary!

“God of all joy, how we praise You for every good thing we enjoy, but above all for Yourself, the source of every good pleasure. Thank You for the joy of our salvation, in Jesus Christ our Lord, amen”

Psalm 15: Dwell

O Lord , who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord ; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.

Psalms 15:1‭-‬5 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/psa.15.1-5.ESV

The Lord is perfect. So to dwell with Him in heaven, we have to be perfect. But we’re not, so therein lies the problem.

If we were perfect, as outlined in this Psalm, we’d be alright. Jesus is the only perfect man there’s ever been. He honours those who fear Him.

We have reason to fear God, as our holy Judge. We deserve His condemnation. But if we trust in Him for our salvation, we will be safe.

If we trust in God, He can empower us to live holy lives. We can have integrity. We can chose not to sin. We may not be perfect, but when we see Him, we will be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

“Oh Lord God of heaven, may we dwell with You, through faith in Your Son, Jesus Christ. Perfect us by His Spirit we pray, in His name, amen”

Psalm 14: Atheism

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the Lord ? There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous. You would shame the plans of the poor, but the Lord is his refuge. Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

Psalms 14:1‭-‬7 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/psa.14.1-7.ESV

“Does God believe in atheists?” So questions a classic Christian book in defence of the faith. Psalm 14 would suggest that He believes in their existence, if not in the validity of their belief! Atheists might have a God shaped hole in their hearts, but most of them genuinely believe what they profess.

Can we be good without God? Atheists might be relatively good people often, but that’s only by the grace of the God they deny. We’re all not just spiritually clueless but dead and rotten to the core.

Atheists see Christians as easy pickings for persecution. And yet why do atheist regimes like China and North Korea persecute Christians so violently? They’re ultimately raging against the God of His people, and fearing that they might just be fighting a losing battle. But a cornered, wounded lion is all the more vicious.

Unbelievers like the idea of no God to be accountable to for their mistreatment of people. But God is the refuge of the oppressed. Salvation for them will be destruction for their oppressors. So we cry “maranatha”- “return Lord Jesus”.

“Return, Lord, and deliver us from this corrupt and evil generation. We long for Your salvation. We ask that You would only delay in order to graciously bring more sinners into Your kingdom, for Your honour and glory, amen”

Psalm 13: Longing

How long, O Lord ? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord , because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Psalms 13:1‭-‬6 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/psa.13.1-6.ESV

Do you ever feel like God’s forgotten about you? Well if so, you’re in good company. David in this Psalm felt the same.

Nowadays we’d say that David was depressed. He felt abandoned by God while his enemies circled like vultures. He knew that without God he was a dead man walking.

We need God to consider us and to light up our eyes. Otherwise we’ll lose out to our spiritual enemies. We have the world, the flesh and the devil against us so we need all the help we can get from the Lord of our hearts.

His present circumstances may have been bad, but David remembered his faith was in God’s unfailing love. Not only did he trace God’s faithfulness in times past, but he also resolved to sing and rejoice in God because of His generosity to him.

“Lord, make us to know You haven’t abandoned us. May we rejoicing sing to You and to Your glory, both now and forevermore, amen”