Vs. 2, “How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked.” Here we see God himself reside over the human judges and leaders. Here admonishes them for their failure in being upright and judging with fairness…they were making the legal system of the time a joke. Where their is injustice for all the people, their is the Justice League of America (hehehe)…just kidding…but God will be the true Super Hero who will come to avenge the oppressesd and downtrodden. When it refers to other God’s…Asaph is not acknowledging other deities…but the Judges and Leaders who were acting like they were God’s.
Regarding application…Being a Superhero. Deep down inside, all of us at times have the hero complex where we think we can be the one to rescue someone else. I think that’s why superhero movies are still so popular today (Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Ironman, Fantastic Four, The Green Lantern, the Hulk, etc…) All of these movies have found blockbuster success because we all want to see Justice served! But our Superhero’s of today are not found in skin tight suits…but in the churches of today, in the mission fields, in the hospitals, in the workplaces. We can help bring justice to this world, but ulitmately…it is the Lord Himself who will avenge! Let us be people who stand up in courage to the injustices of this world!
Vs. 1, “Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob.” Asaph is inviting everyone to worship the Lord and celebrate the good things He has done, but it also is a time of admonishment. While there was much to be thankful, the people continued to foget all the things God has done for them. This was believed to be during one of Israel’s four major feasts (celebrations)…the Feast of Tabernacles (Trumpets) celebrating Israel’s rescue from Egypt.
Regarding application…Hearing Problem. Vs. 11, “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me.” Question: Do you have a hearing problem? Just like Israel during Asaph’s time…we are very similar. Every weekend we come to celebrate the Lord at church and yet…many of us don’t listen to God the rest of the week. He is to praised and worthy of it….but when our hearts are far away, we dishonor the Lord. God has given us His word. Taste and see that God is good. If only we would listen to the Lord and remember His goodness to us (vs. 13)…God would be able to do so much more in our lives! Let’s be plugged into the vine!
Vs. 7, “Restore us, O God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.” This reminds me of the song “Shine On Us” At this time, Israel were like a lost sheep who stopped listening to the voice of their Shepherd. Instead of being in the safety of the Shepherd & enjoying green pastures & fresh flowing streams of water….Israel found themselves enduing tears & hardship from the enemies of God. Asaph also uses the metaphor of a vineyard…they were once fruitful, but now were barren. Of course, this foreshadows the metaphors that Jesus would use to describe himself!
Regarding application…Light in the Dark. In the song “Shine On Us”…a verse goes like this, “To find our way in the darkest night…Let you light shine on us.” My iPhone has a flashlight app that let’s me use the flash from the camera. It’s great to use this when I’m in the dark. We need to light our path in this dark world with the Bible, Prayer, & Jesus living in us! Everyday we go without Jesus…is another day we fumble in the dark going down paths we might get hurt. Let Jesus shine His light in you today!
Vs. 9, “Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake.” Most scholars believe Asaph is referring to the Babylonian invasion by Nebuchadnezzar. Up until this time, God’s enemies were silenced by Israel and their dominance. However, a time would come such as this where destruction paves its way. A pastor once said, “God would rather destroy His inheritance than allow His people to sin and rebel.” We know that in time…God did answer the pleas of Asaph…for the Babylonians would pay their due punishment.
Regarding application…God’s Wrath. Vs. 6, “Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not knowledge you, on the kingdoms that do not call on your name.” This would seem an appropriate prayer…and rightfully so. The Babylonians deserved such wrath from God. But let us not forget why this all happened in the first place. God was allowing such trials to come their way because Israel had turned their face from God. Sometimes it is easier to see ths sins of others rather than the log in our own eye. The nation of Israel back then…and even ourselves today must start seeing sin the way God sees sin. Praise God for trials! However…let us endure trials that come because we are walking against the grain…not with it.
Vs. 6-7, “So the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.” We come across a very long psalm describing the ups & downs of Israel’s history. This isn’t a record of how God’s people were treating each other…it was a record of how they were treating God. In the Jewish culture, there is a strong emphasis on passing down the teachings of God. Instead of wiping Israel from the face of the Earth, God sent them David and from his line He would send the ultimate King in Jesus. In fact, vs. 2 is a very Messianic verse pointing to how Jesus would one day teach.
Regarding application…Effect of Sin. A scholar once said in the 18th century, “Forgetfulness leads to exile, while remembrance is the secret of redemption.” While it is biblically true that the sins of our fathers can affect generations after it…it is also true that we are not doomed to make the same mistakes. How many times have you heard, “That kid is going to be just like his father.” (of course, in a bad way). The cycle of sin most definitely can be stopped. We must make an effort to remember God’s goodness & see the mistakes of our past and learn from it. Let me tell you a true personal story of mine: while in counseling as a young teenager, I had times where we had group therapy. There was a young man my age who was with his younger brother. He was 16, his brother was 12 and they had another brother who was 9. By all appearances, they were upper middle class good looking young guys. But as we dived into their life, the oldest had been molested by his father, who in turn molested his 12 year old brother & his 12 year old brother in turn molested their 9 year old brother! This is what I would call a cycle of sin. It may sound unbelievable, but it happens in families more than we may realize. We are called by God to stop the sins of our past generations and be a generation that not only lives for God…but a generation that teaches our children & their children to live for God! The vicious cycle of sin can stop if we make every effort to learn from our past. In a world of sin…we sometimes throw in our white flag and give up. But all things are possible when we put our trust in the Lord (Phil. 4)
Vs. 7, “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again?” In our previous psalm, we saw Asaph praising God for His great wonders…but now we see a different tone. Times of trouble & sleepless nights came and it was here that Asaph needed to exercise his faith. It is often difficult to accept when it seems God is silent or quiet in our current trials & tribulations. But what did Asaph do? He remembered how God was faithful in the past. He looked to the extraordinary event in the “Exodus” as a vivid reminder that God does not forsake those He loves!
Regarding application…Accepting God’s Comfort. Vs. 2, “When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted.” of course we saw what Asaph did when it seemed he thought God was silent: He prayed. But…there is another key idea in this passage we can learn from. Do not refuse the comfort that God sends when we pray. At some point, Asaph accepts God’s comfort…but we have to honestly ask ourselves, “Have I been guilty of not accepting God’s comfort?” Sometimes we get so selfishly aware of our own discomforts we are not even aware of the comforts that God sends our way. Whether it be the still small voice of the Holy Spirit, a friend to come listen to us, a event to remind us, a memory to wake us up….whatever it is, God is faithful in our prayers of distress. Let us always be ready to pray & receive God’s comfort every day of our lives!
Vs. 6, “At your rebuke, O God of Jacob, both horse and chariot lie still.” Here we find Asaph rejoicing because of a victory for God’s people! One thing we have learned so far is that while Israel cried out & found times of suffering…there were also celebrations & feasts for times of victory! Though we are not sure of what event Asaph is referring to, we do see once again that God answers prayers!
Regarding application…Facing Horses & Chariots. Question: What is our horse & chariot of today? Is it Terrorists, perhaps the fear of failure, certain relationships in our lives….whatever the case: God is bigger! What is impossible with man is always possible with God. There are going to be our Goliath’s in our lives where we will just want to quit or give up. It is then that we must remember that God is on our side. Have you called upon His name with faith & assurance that He will provide? It’s easy to praise God in times of joy…praising God in times of struggle shows our true colors.
Vs. 21, “Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace; may the poor and needy praise your name.” Times were tough & Israel had strayed back to their pagan ways of living…Asaph is referring to the Babylonian attack upon Jerusalem. The enemy had seemingly found victory over God’s people. Asaph would pray for God’s hand in rebuilding & restoring and the defeat of their enemies. Fortunately for us…we know that God would restore God’s people as they turned back to Him & bring them back to the land He promised.
Regarding application…Enemy Defeated. Throughout history, those who opposed our God have tried in vain to stamp out God’s people. Even today, people want to take out the “Christ” in Christmas & replace it with X-Mas. States & Governmenet groups are beginning to take the very name of God out of the laws. However, let us not be discouraged when it seems the enemy is winning. Rather, let us light our flame for Christ even brighter so that this lost world would see Christ in us!
Vs. 2, “You say, “I choose the appointed time; it is I who judge uprightly.” The injustices of the world seem to go unnoticed, but Asaph is reminding us all that God in his right timing will judge accordingly. One day God will pour out the cup of wrath (vs.8) unto this sinful world. The knowledge of God’s power should give us hope & a good Godly fear!
Regarding application…Holding on to Hope. There is a regular customer @ the bank that comes in quite often. I’ve gotten to know this elderly lady, and we engaged in a conversation about criminals & how they can steal your identity, etc. She was distressed and shared with me how she feels the world is just getting worse. As Christians….we know the world is going to get worse before it gets better. That is why we must hold on to promises that God will judge rightly! While it is right to pursue justice when bad things happen…sometimes we have to wait…trust….& praise God anyway!
Vs. 26, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” In this psalm, we find Asaph (One of King David’s Choir Directors) as the author. This is reminencent of Job while he looked on all the pagan people prosper while he struggled. While God is good…things were not so good in Asaph’s life. He speaks of his feet almost slipping (vs. 2)…as he envied the rich. Yet through his doubts, he was able to find his faith in the Lord. He learned to trust in Him!
Regarding application…What is Good? Let’s discuss the topic of “Goodness” Asaph did not realize “good” to him, was not the same as “good” to God. We here the saying, “we walk by faith.”…well, Asaph was literraly & metaphorically walking by sight. He couldn’t help but see so many successful people, yet none of them loved God. What would be the turning point for Asaph? Vs. 16-17, “When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.” Asaph would go into God’s sanctuary & would begin to see what “good” was from God’s perspective. “Good” is not what great things we own or have done….”Good” is where we are going! In the end…Asaph was able to say goodness was being near to God. Have you rested in Him? Spend time with Him today…be ready to proclaim God’s goodness @ your church this weekned! ”God is good…All the Time!”
Vs. 1, “Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness.” This is one of two psalms that has been attributed to Solomon….though some believe it was written by David for his son Solomon. Whatever the cases…it is very deeply enriched with Messianic themes pointing to the final King in Jesus! Notice the intent of the request are for wisdom & sound judgment…peace & provision for the needy. Some authorities rule with a strong arm & pride, but we see here that God’s chosen was to rule by example! But the final hope is that one day God will indeed fill the whole earth with His Glory!
Regarding application…Those In Need. Vs. 12, “For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help.” Who were these people?…better…Who are these people today? I am convicted today, because I am guilty of forgetting about those who have nothing. It’s so easy in life to get comfortable with my own events & circumstances. Of all people…being an orphan myself…I should remember those who are truly needy. It still is my deep seeded desre to one day run my own orphanage. But I ask myself…”What am I doing now?” Jesus gave us the ultimate example of reaching to the needy & unloved of society. Yeah…I’ve done my part in helping people when I can along the streets or homeless people who come to our church on Sunday afternoons…but I must confess, I don’t do enough. It seems society has grown cold to the cries of the needy because of the ones who have given them a bad name. We almost turn our cheeks at homeless people on the ramps before highways….muttering, “They’ll go buy alcohol anyway.” is our excuse. Who are we to judge? There are so many legitimate people truly in need. So many children who are unloved & forgotten. Yet, we live in a “I, Me, Myself” society. Brothers & Sisters in Christ…this should not be! Pray & ask God to convict you about something that you need to do to reach out to those who are in need!