Psalm 54

Vs. 1, “Save me, O God, by your name; vindicate me by your might.” The historical context of our Psalm is from I Samuel 23:19-29. David is hiding from Saul, but the Ziphites report it to King Saul. David lives to express his emotions and thanksgiving for God delivering him. In the midst of such turmoil, David cried out to God to save him (vs. 1-2). Because his enemies had no regard for God, David prayed for retribution upon them (vs. 3-5). Upon deliverance, David desires to praise and bring sacrifices to the Lord (vs. 6-7).

Regarding application…Lean On Him. Vs. 4, “Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.” Question: In times of trouble, who do you turn to? Remember, those who do not have any regard for God are called His enemies. When we regard someone with high esteem, we trust in him or her in tough times. When I go out on a romantic date with my wife, I make every effort to regard her. I put my smartphone away. I focus on my conversation with her and enjoy her presence. Question: How would she feel if my eyes kept darting to my iPhone? How would she feel if my eyes kept wandering to ladies passing by our table? I have high regard for my wife and she is my focus. Likewise, if we have high regard for God we will lean on Him when we are troubled.

Psalm 53

Vs. 1, “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good.” Our Psalm today is nearly identical to Psalm 14. It is likely modified to account for a specific circumstance where God brought victory to Israel. There are two distinct variations from these two similar psalms. Instead of the use of the word LORD (YHWH), the psalter replaces it with God (Elohim) the more generic form throughout the psalm. Another variant is found in verse 5 where the power of God is actually used against the wicked in our psalm today. We humans are a foolish people (vs. 1-3). Yet, the world looks at Christians as the fools. It’s important to note that King David is using hyperbole again to share the reality of many, not all. Not only are they fools, but they are evildoers who will one day be overwhelmed with dread (vs. 4-5). Question: Where will God’s people find their hope? At a city on a hill known as Zion (vs. 6). God is king of the hill and no one is going to be able to defeat Him!

Regarding application…Foolish Ways. The atheist will say, “It is irrational to believe in God if there is no evidence.” God has given us plenty of evidence! We all have the same evidence; it’s just how we interpret it with our minds and hearts. God reveals Himself through general revelation; evidence of God in creation. God also reveals himself through special revelation; bible, Holy Spirit, miracles, etc. In the end, the Apostle Paul reminds us that we are without excuse (Romans 1:20). Many may claim they believe in God, but they live like He doesn’t exist. Let us not fall into such foolish ways!

Psalm 52

Vs. 1, “Why do you boast of evil, you mighty hero? Why do you boast all day long, you who are a disgrace in the eyes of God?” David’s psalm is responding to the horrific actions of Doeg the Edomite who slaughtered the eighty-five priests and all the people in the town of Nob. Question: Why? Because they had assisted David who was on the run from Saul. It was the tongue of Doeg that would bring their demise as he reported it to Saul (vs. 1-5). Doeg delighted in favor and wickedness. Yet, the righteous will find justice for the wicked will have consequences too (vs. 6-7). King David ends praising God as he considers the stark contrast of the wicked when compared to the righteous (vs. 8-9).

Regarding application…Olive Tree. Vs. 8, “But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.” Question: What comes to mind when you think about the olive tree? I’m always reminded that Jesus would often teach at the Mount of Olives that overlooked Jerusalem. The olive tree was one of the most valuable trees in antiquity. It was a symbol of beauty, prosperity, and fruitfulness. The uses of olive oil were many; cooking, skin care, health, and healing. Olive oil was used to anoint people and provide light, both of which are symbolic of Christ. Question: Are you like an olive tree? Remember the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus often prayed was on the Mount of Olives.

Mount of olives

Psalm 51

Vs. 1, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.” Though David was a sinner, one thing that is undeniable; he knew God’s love. He appeals to God’s unfailing love (Hebrew word: hesed) and asks God to forgive him (vs. 1-2). Question: Why? Because for nearly nine months he had his sin to the Lord with Bathsheba and the killing of Uriah her husband. Nathan the prophet confronted David (II Samuel 12) and our psalm today is David’s response. David confesses wholeheartedly and does not minimize his sin (vs. 3-6). David not only asked for forgiveness, but sought to be cleansed from the dirt of sin (vs. 7-9). He knew only God could spiritually form him and his heart (vs. 10-12). David ultimately understood that God did not want a ritualistic showing of contrition, but He wanted a heart that sought him (vs. 13-17). David prays that God would continue to bless the nation and be delighted in their right worship and sacrifice (vs. 18-19).

Regarding application…Broken Hearted. Vs. 17, “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” Sometimes we will fall flat on our face. Sometimes we will fall in the pit of sin and separation. Yet, if we humble ourselves and soften our hardened hearts God can do something amazing. David needed Nathan to point out His sin. He knew it, but needed the extra reminder. There have been sinking moments in my life where I knew I had royally messed up big-time. But in those moments of brokenness and contrition, I became a better person because of it. If God can forgive us in our darkest moments, how much more should we extend forgiveness to those who break our hearts? Though this is a sobering reminder as we begin our week, pray that God would convict your heart through His spirit of any sin that needs to be dealt with.

Psalm 50

Vs. 1, “The Mighty One, God, the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets.” Our psalm today was written by Asaph; who was one of the three worship leaders during David’s reign. Our passage is full of imagery as Asaph envisions the LORD bursting into a courtroom scene (vs. 1-6). The whole earth is summoned before Him to be judged! Question: What are the charges? The charges begin with the sin of become ritualistic (vs. 7-15). It is a humbling thing to be called out by the LORD God! God’s people were sacrificing, but they not in a relationship with Him. The second charge seems to be directed towards the wicked (vs. 16-21). These people profess God’s name, but live a life of hypocrisy. Their actions and words were evidence against them. God both warns and promises the verdict to the world (vs. 22-23).

Regarding application…Fatal Assumption. Vs. 21, “When you did these things and I kept silent, you thought I was exactly like you. But I now arraign you and set my accusations before you.” Yikes! What a grave indictment! I’m humbled as I consider the folly of assuming God’s ways. Question: Have we falsely assumed something about God? Let us not be mistaken that God’s silence is a sign of accepting our foolish ways. These types of people God says are those who hate His instructions (vs. 17). The best way to ensure we are not falling into this category is to know Him more! Honor the Lord with your actions, words and the intention of your heart!

Psalm 49

Vs. 1, “Hear this, all you peoples; listen, all who live in this world.” We open our psalm today with a call to knowledge and wisdom (vs. 1-4). The psalmist addresses one of life’s great mysteries: why do the wicked seemingly prosper (vs. 5-12)? Yet, the wealthy had much folly, for they were trusting in the things of this world. No amount of riches can buy eternal life. Question: What will happen to such people? Their fate will be death (vs. 13-20).

Regarding application…That Don’t Impress Me Much. Vs. 16, “Do not be overawed when others grow rich, when the splendor of their houses increases.” I know this is an older pop culture reference, but this the lyrics of Shania Twain’s song came to mind. Let’s face it folks; we are easily impressed by wealth. Having lived in the Los Angeles area for seven years, I can certainly attest to the glitz and glamour. On a few occasions, my wife and I have driven through Beverly Hills and walked along Rodeo Drive. It’s quite impressive to gaze upon the extravagant wealth of the Hollywood Stars! Yet, we are reminded today that we cannot take that wealth with us. There is far better treasures waiting for us (Matthew 6:19-21).

Psalm 48

Vs. 1, “Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain.” The psalmist is praising the LORD for the security that He provided to protect them from the invaders. Question: What makes the city on Zion so great? The simplicity of God’s presence (vs. 1-3). When the enemies’ kings united to attach God’s city, they were thwarted (vs. 4-8). What a wonderful reminder that God cannot be defeated! God’s people respond appropriately giving Him praise and keep their hope in God (vs. 9-14).

Regarding application…Experiencing God. Vs. 8, “As we have heard, so we have seen in the city of the LORD Almighty, in the city of our God: God makes her secure forever.” Not many of us will have the opportunity to lay our eyes upon the city of Jerusalem. I’ve heard first hand testimonies of how breathtaking and emotional it can be. But, while we may not ever make it to our spiritual motherland, we have special places in our lives where we experience God powerfully. These places are not just limited to our physical world. We can testify of experiencing God in different places/times in our lives. Like the psalmist, there is something to be said in recording God’s goodness in our lives. Share it to others as you live this life. Talk with others in fellowship or write down God’s goodness at different stages in your life!

Psalm 47

Vs. 1, “Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.” The psalmist opens up with an exhortation to celebrate the victory the LORD has brought over the nations (vs. 1-5). Notice that the “call to worship” is not for just Israel, but of the whole earth! God is king of all nations! God has subdued them, but has offered a relationship with Him. The reigning King (Yahweh) should rightfully be exalted (vs. 6-9). The nations have rejected the king, even Israel. Yet, the psalter looks forward to a time when all nations will bow down to the LORD. This of course looks to the eschatological reign when Jesus returns!

Regarding application…Proper Response. Vs. 7, “For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise.” Question: Why do we praise the Lord? Why should we sing and clap with exuberance? Because He is worthy! God is in the business of restoration. Even when nations are defeated and people suffer, there are sovereign reasons to draw people to Him. That is why we should make time for celebration. We can get so myopic and focus on the bad too much. The reality is that God is forcefully advancing the Gospel to the ends of the earth. His work and will is being done in the midst of our busyness and worry. Let’s have a proper response when we worship Him in service and church and in everyday life.

Psalm 46

Vs. 1, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” It was this psalm that inspired Martin Luther to pen, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” The psalter has an unswerving trust in the LORD (vs. 1-3). Though the foundations of the earth may shake, their faith is eternal! Though God’s holy city has been the center of turmoil even to this day, God will protect her (vs. 4-7). And in the end, He will restore peace among the nations (vs. 8-11). Question: Do you trust Him? This psalter challenges us to trust in the sovereignty of God.

Regarding application…Be Still. Vs. 10, “He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” In the midst of a violent and tumultuous world, God tells us to, “Be still.” Question: When was the last time you were still before the Lord? When we are still before the Lord, we are trusting in Him. We don’t have to panic. We don’t have to worry. In a way, God is telling us “Chill out, dude!” I don’t have a child yet, but when my dog (Frankie, a pitbull) is scared, he’ll come to sit at my side. Even though he is shaking, I just calmly assure him and pet him letting him know it’s okay. That will always do the trick. If we only had so much trust and faith that our doggies have! Sometimes, it’s a blessing to not be too smart for our own good. Let His presence calm the storms of your life.

Psalm 45

Vs. 1, “My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.” We are unsure of the author and which Davidic King the psalmist is referring to. It is a unique and beautiful song of praise. What makes it different is that it is a song giving praise to the earthly king in the line of David (vs. 1-9). Many scholars point out that many applied this meaning to a future king (Jesus) during the postexilic years. The latter half of our chapter (vs. 10-17), the psalter also spends time exhorting the future bride to be. She was to have pure devotion to the King and would be rewarded for it. Her future children would be blessed!

Regarding application…Future Anticipation. Vs. 17, “I will perpetuate your memory through all generations; therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever.” Though this psalm was not originally messianic in its intention, we certainly can apply the future anticipation. When a couple gets married, not only do we celebrate the commitment on the wedding day; we celebrate their future. Their coming together as covenant promise for purity, godliness, and a hopeful future bring much anticipation. Newly wed couples hope for children and a good life! The wedding celebration is part of that anticipated future. Christ is the groom waiting for His bride (Revelation 19:7-9). It is a future anticipation that keeps me going through the tough times of life. Thank you Lord for hope!