Psalm 42

Vs. 1, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.”  This psalm was for the sons of Korah; family of temple singers.  We are not sure who the author of this psalm was.  The psalm opens with an endearing scene of a dear fulfilling its thirst at the stream (vs. 1-2).  But this is no normal thirst; it is a thirst that desires only the LORD.  Yet, this psalm is one of agony and desperation as the psalmist longs for God (vs. 3-5).  The lament is poignant as the psalmist feels nearly drown in sorrow (vs. 6-11).  But there is hope in the midst of such pain.  God is never so far away as to not hear our cries to Him.

Regarding application…Dealing with Grief.  Vs. 5, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”  Question: What are the facts?  The psalmist was alone and away from the house of God.  The enemy taunted the psalmist.  Not a good recipe for joy.  There are going to be moments in our lives where we will find ourselves in similar situations.  I recall when I moved down to Southern California, I came 3 months earlier than my wife.  I left my family, my church and all that I had known to relocate in my career at the bank.  It was difficult as I was out of fellowship with loved ones and the temptations of the enemy grew.  But, I was able to hold on because of the hope that I had.  I had the eternal hope of the Lord and the temporary hope that I would reunite with my wife.  It was hope that helped me deal with my grief.  This is just a minor grief, but I know that many deal with much deeper.  But the psalmist reminds us that God is our rock!

Psalm 41

Vs. 1, “Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the LORD delivers them in times of trouble.” We come to our last chapter in the first book of the series of Psalms. King David is suffering from illness and begins to see the treachery lurking around (vs. 1-3). People would come visit David, but have ulterior motives and spread slander amongst themselves (vs. 4-10). David does the only thing he can do; cry out to God for help! David’s faith even in the midst of sickness and treachery is impressive (vs. 11-13). I would like to hope that I would be able to respond with such hope and praise.

Regarding application…Betrayal. Vs. 9, “Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me.” Question: Have you ever been betrayed? How did you feel about it? While I have had people betray me, there was no one I would consider a close friend. But David is reeling because this was a close friend of his. Judas Iscariot betrayed even our Lord Jesus. We will be betrayed as we live this life. But don’t let this fact keep you from opening your heart to others and to the Lord. There are people who are going to have ulterior and sinister motives. It would be naïve to think otherwise. Yet, David was able to find solace in trusting in the Lord!

Psalm 40

Vs. 1, “I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.” King David opens up our psalm today with giving props to God for His past deliverance; all the people will praise such acts of goodness (vs. 1-4). As David ponders of God’s wonder, his sense of appreciation and loyalty only grow (vs. 5-10). Regarding sacrifices (vs. 6), it wasn’t that David was downplaying his practice of the sacrificial system, but he understood ultimately that God wanted a relationship. Question: What good is sacrifice if we are not willing to be attentive to the LORD? In the latter half of our chapter (vs. 11-17), David cries out to God for mercy and deliverance. It’s almost comforting to know that a pillar of faith like David had tough times. None of us are immune to our own personal sins or others causing conflict in our lives. But what sets David and the others apart is our response to such trials.

Regarding application…Miry Clay. Vs. 2, “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” When I think of this verse, quicksand comes to mind; slimy pit and miry clay remind me of quicksand. Fortunately, I’ve never experienced quicksand but have seen it often enough in movies to be pretty spooked by it. It is a horrible way to slowly die as you sink into the depths of the pit. This is metaphorically how David felt; yet God lifted him out of it! Another interesting thing I wanted to mention is that David praised God for past deliverance, but also prayed for his current circumstances. Sometimes life is going to be like a marshy swamp filled with dangers and pitfalls. Keep fixing the eyes of your heart always upon the Lord!

Psalm 39

Vs. 1, “I said,I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked.” Our psalm today is a continuation from our previous psalm. King David laments in his heart, but protects his tongue from lashing out at his accusers (vs. 1-3). After prolonged silence, David releases his anguish as he considers the frailty of life (vs. 4-6). Perhaps James recalled this verse when he wrote how life is but a vapor in the wind (James 4:14). Such demonstrative expression leads David to the most important thing: repentance (vs. 7-11). In the end, David asks for deliverance of his current state (vs. 12-13). It is more than acceptable to ask God to deliver us from tough times.

Regarding application…Wise Investment. Vs. 6, “Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom; in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be.” I preached from the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) this past Sunday. King David is reminds us of the foolish investments we make in the treasures of this world. Even if we thoroughly enjoyed the wealth of this world, we cannot take it with us after death. We are only stewards of the things that have been given to us in this world. Our task is to wisely invest our time and energy in godly endeavors. Question: Are you making wise investments? As I reminded my church members on Sunday; let’s find our ways to contribute wisely!

Psalm 38

Vs. 1, “LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath.” In this particular situation, David knew he was suffering because of personal sin in his life (vs. 1-2). David acknowledged the pain he was enduring was because of the guilt that affected him both physically and spiritually (vs. 3-5). Because God created us as emotional beings, David also expressed his emotions wholeheartedly to the LORD (vs. 6-10). David’s sin and weakness opened him up for other judgment and danger from others (vs. 11-12). Question: What good does this do to lament to God? David’s confession of need would compel him to pray for deliverance (vs. 13-22). Times of struggle can sprout opportunities for faith.

Regarding application…Unrest. Vs. 4, “My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.” Question: How do you know if God is afflicting you because of sin? In David’s situation, it was because there was no a peace. His personal sins were gnawing at his heart. Question: How do you respond to this unrest? We can ignore it. We can pretend it doesn’t exist. We can harden our heart. We can give up. But David shows us the better response. We often want to take care of our own individual problems. Picture sin as 2lb. weights. At first, it’s not so bad carrying a sin or two along in our lives. But, add on unconfessed sin over a period of time, you might be carrying a hundred pound bag of sin. This is a burden to heavy to bear. We can begin to lighten that load by having people in our lives to share out struggles. And ultimately, we lay it before the Lord Jesus to find true rest (Matthew 11:28).

Psalm 37

Vs. 1, “Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong.” It’s likely King David is in his old age looking back at life. He takes the time to write a psalm imparting wisdom to the younger generation in an acrostic form. It’s unavoidable to look around our lives and see the prosperity of the unrighteous. Yet, David exhorts us not to fret about such matter, but trust in the LORD (vs. 1-11). Not only do the unrighteous seem to prosper, but they also attack the righteous. But the LORD will protect them and wicked will be destroyed (vs. 12-22). The latter half of our chapter (vs. 23-40) involves David expressing how God will ultimately bless the righteous.

Regarding application…Lending Hand. Vs. 24, “Though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.” I had a crazy day today! I woke up to find out that all the keys of my family were stolen out of our garage; our home keys, church keys, and car keys! The strange thing is, they didn’t steal any of our cars; but none of them are nice (blessing in disguise). I had to scramble this morning to head over to Home Depot to replace our locks on our house. I’m not a home improvement expert by any means and so I was quickly trying to piece together the front door lock. In my haste, it was poorly put together, but at least secured our house. I went to church and ended up having to lead praise for the first time (my praise leaders were gone) and then preach a message! It was an exhausting day. But one of my church members (unplanned) came by and lent a helping hand to install the lock I had poorly put together. It was a nice way to be reminded that God upholds us by providing a lending hand through the people in our lives!

Psalm 36

Vs. 10, “Continue your love to those who know you, your righteousness to the upright in heart.” King David is able to find the confidence to overcome the proud and wicked who plot his demise (vs. 1-4). Question: What was their downfall? They had no fear of God (vs. 1). Their depravity and wickedness keep them from doing any good. Unfortunately, we have seen the extent of evil in terrorist groups today. However, David is able to contrast such evil with the goodness and love of God (vs. 5-12). His love has no boundaries and reaches to the highest of heights! David has quite a gift in finding the right words to bring justice to God’s love!

Regarding application…Quench Your Thirst. Vs. 9, “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.” It is the most amazing thing to gulp down Gatorade when you are metaphorically dying of thirst! Jesus would tell the Samaritan woman and all of us that we would never thirst again (John 4:13-14). Think of all the bad things we can drink; alcohol, soda-pop, sugary juices, caffeine induced drinks, etc. All of these never really quench our thirst. They have side effects and can harm our bodies over time. Likewise, we intake metaphorical drinks to quench our insatiable desires. But only the Lord can quench the inner thirst of our souls.

Psalm 35

Vs. 1, “Contend, LORD, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me.” When we chosen to be a righteous people, there will always be enemies lurking to attack. King David makes the wise decision to consult the Lord for help (vs. 1-3). Because of their wickedness, David pleads that God would bring judgment upon them (vs. 4-8). His faith enables him to thank the Lord and praise Him even before God delivers (vs. 9-10; 17-18; 28). Like a courtroom setting, David is opposed by false accusers (vs. 11-16). He prays that his enemies would not gloat over him (vs. 19-27).

Regarding application…God’s Timing. Vs. 17, “How long, Lord, will you look on? Rescue me from their ravages, my precious life from these lions.” Question: How is your patience? Sometimes, we just need to have a little patience. God timing is always perfect. Our task is to wait until God delivers. Metaphorically, we are like children constantly asking our parents, “How much longer?” on a road trip. It’s okay to ask, but we must remember not to complain with a bitter heart. Question: What’s the difference? David was lamenting, yet he was able to praise the Lord.

Psalm 34

Vs. 4, “I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” In order to escape Saul, David fled to the Philistines only to have been recognized. This Psalm is the response to the LORD delivering David from the hands of Abimelech/Abimelek and the Philistines (I Samuel 21). This is another acrostic psalm (following the Hebrew alphabet). David begins the psalm with a wondrous call to worship (vs. 1-3). David could certainly testify that it is the LORD who delivers those who trust in Him (vs. 4-7). If we have any doubts, David challenges us to take us taste test and see for ourselves (vs. 8-10). Once we have tasted His goodness, David exhorts us to godly living (vs. 11-14). We close with the encouragement that the LORD will continue to encourage the righteous (vs. 15-22).

Regarding application…Seek Peace. Vs. 14, “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” David had been in this situation of divine deliverance because he had sought peace in his relationship with King Saul. Question: Are you a peaceful or confrontational person? I think it’s only natural to want to “strike back” when we feel threatened. However, we must remember that the LORD avenges; He is the one and only true Avenger! Our task is to make every effort to cross our “t’s” and dot our “i’s” when it comes to seeking peace in our earthly relationships and ultimately with the Lord!

Psalm 33

Vs. 1, “Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him.” We ended yesterday’s psalm being exhorted to turn and sing to the Lord. Question: How are we to sing? Joyfully! Our psalm today is a continuation of giving proper praise to the LORD. King David encourages us to praise and sing new songs (vs. 1-3). David is able to sing a new song unto the LORD because his eyes are opened more to God’s unfailing love and justice (vs. 4-5). It was God’s word that created the universe and it is His word that is in control of all things (vs. 6-9). God is above all nations and will thwart the wicked plans of leaders (vs. 10-17). God has not forgotten about those who are righteous and eyes are ever on us (vs. 18-19). His mercy and faithfulness will come in the right time (vs. 20-22).

Regarding application…Expecting? Vs. 22, “May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you.” Our journey with the LORD has its mountains and valleys. Yet, we are called to praise him in the good times and the bad. One of the huge benefits of praising the LORD is acknowledging our expectation that He hears and protects us. The very definition of hope is an expectation that something will happen. Question: What are you expecting? What are you hoping for? I have my personal hopes and dreams, but in the end I must lay them at His feet. All I can hope for is that the LORD would protect and use me mightily for His kingdom.