Psalm 13

Vs. 1, “How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” Inquiring minds want to know. Since the dawning of the first family, we have asked questions (Genesis 4). The very heart of any question can range from sincere genuine seeking to adversarial challenges. King David questions the LORD in our psalm today (vs. 1-2). David outpouring of anguish causes his heart to wonder. But David’s questioning is one that is seeking to grow his faith in the midst of tough circumstances (vs. 3-4). His life was in jeopardy and the enemy seemed to be close to victory. But the time of lament and questioning was needed in David’s prayer. For it was through the darkness that David was reminded of God’s light (vs. 5-6).

Regarding application…God’s Unfailing Love. Vs. 5, “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.” Question: What is love? There is a biblical love that is unfailing; the Hebrew word (ḥeseḏ). It is God’s loyal love given to those who trust in Him. God’s love is a covenant that He made with his people. There is nothing that can separate God’s love from those who trust in Him (Romans 8). Take our earthly relationships for example. There is nothing that can keep me from loving my wife. She is precious to me. I would die for her. If this wretched person can have a glimpse of God’s unfailing love, how much greater is God’s love? The depth of His love is something I cannot even imagine. Thank you Lord for you unfailing love!

Psalm 12

Vs. 2, “Everyone lies to their neighbor; they flatter with their lips but harbor deception in their hearts.” Certainly, King David is applying hyperbole as he looks around and sees the decline of the godly (vs. 1-2). There were many who would oppress others by their deceitful tongues. Question: What does it mean to have flattering lips? Throughout the Old Testament, the use of our lips reveals the character of a person (Psalm 12;2, 31:18, 63:5, Proverbs 16:13, Hab. 3:16). When we flatter another person with kind words, our heart is being deceptive for we are not being sincere (vs. 3-5). Thankfully, we having a standard by which the Lord has set with His flawless lips (vs. 6-8).

Regarding application…Flattery’s Danger. Vs. 3, “May the LORD silence all flattering lips and every boastful tongue.” Question: What could be the danger of flattery? I was thinking long and hard about this. One of the motives of flattery is to manipulate people. When we set our course to follow God’s will, this can often be deterred by the flattery of others. People will tell us (friends, family, school counselors) that we are good at such and such a thing. But, sometimes their motives can be selfish. We may end up doing something that God never intended us to do. On a light note example, I think of those reality television competitions. Simon Cowell always had quite a flair at destroying the dreams of young singers. They came to the competition because there must have been flattering lips of many to make them believe they could sing. Perhaps we all know people who so easily flatter others. Be careful for they will often ask for something in return.

Psalm 11

Vs. 1, “In the LORD I take refuge. How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain.” Question: Should I stay or should I go? This was the response King David would give in the midst of those wanting to flee evil (vs. 1-3). There are times when it seems evil is too rampant. The righteous yearn for a place of refuge. But, instead of fleeing, David confidently puts his trust in the LORD (vs. 4-7). God does not delight in the evil ways of this world.

Regarding application…Violent World. Vs. 5, “The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion.” Yikes, what a timely reminder for us all! This has been a tumultuous week with the Ferguson shooting and now the recent hearing of an American journalist beheaded by ISIS. It’s good to know the LORD’s stance on violence. I remember hearing a very ignorant scientific speaker comment on the violence in the Old Testament. The violence that was wrought wasn’t because God arbitrarily decided certain nations should be destroyed. Each of these nations had been given opportunities to stand down. But, in their evil, they rebelled against God. We should never seek out violence. However, there are appropriate times when we must defend ourselves from a violent world.

Psalm 10

Vs. 1, “Why, LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” I appreciate how the Lord does not hide the ups and downs of life. King David looks around at all the ungodly and wondered, “What’s up Lord?” The experiences of David as a humble shepherd to the king of Israel would give him plenty of exposure to the wicked unbelievers (vs. 1-11). We ourselves can attest to the haughty attitude of those who live as if they are above any laws. They are dangerous people who devour those around them. I can imagine David’s cry for vengeance as he puts pen to paper and realizes the seemingly effective ways of the wicked (vs. 12-15). But David declares by faith that the LORD will not forget the oppressed (vs. 16-18).

Regarding application…God Encourages. Vs. 17, “You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.” When we see the injustices of this world, it’s easy to grow discouraged. However, David is encouraged after it’s all said and done. Question: What would cause David to come to this solution? He was honest to the Lord. The fact that David was able to articulate his thoughts and record them gave him the perspective he needed. Question: How does God encourage you? We have many avenues; church, prayer, people, etc. One of the most important ways is to stay connected by allowing God to speak to us through the Bible.

Psalm 9

Vs. 1, “I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” Question: What deeds is the Psalmist considering? This psalm of David begins with praise and thanksgiving (vs. 1-3). Perhaps David is looking back and considering God’s faithful deliverance throughout the ages (The Exodus, Noah, etc.). David knew that God’s wonderful deeds are something that should not go unheralded. Another reason David was able to praise God was because He was actively delivering David presently (vs. 4-8). Because of God’s hand against the enemy, David was able to declare God provides refuge for those who are oppressed (vs. 9-14). There is safety in the presence of our God! Those people and nations that go against God and His people will be rightly judged (vs. 15-20). This is God’s divine retribution for those who have continued to go against him and harden their hearts. Until the new heavens and earth, there will be people and nations that will rise up against the Lord.

Regarding application…Testify God’s Goodness. Vs. 11, “Sing the praises of the LORD, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what he has done.”   Question: Did you notice that twice (vs. 1, 11) David reminds us to tell and proclaim what God has done? Sometimes we get myopic and think that our source of encouragement only comes from others (Bible, sermons, bible studies, praising, etc.). However, David is reminding us that we hold something very powerful; the testimony of God’s goodness! When I worked at the bank, one of my jobs for a year was being a personal banker. My goal was to sell people on why they want to open a checking, savings, credit card, line of credit, mortgage, IRA, etc. One of things I realized that no matter how much I share the benefits of each of these products, it means nothing if I haven’t experienced it first hand. So, I made it my goal to have each of these products I sold so I could share my first-hand testimonies of how they helped me. My production skyrocketed! When we share first-hand testimonies of God’s goodness, we are encouraging each other profoundly!

Psalm 8

Vs. 1, “LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens.” Yea, what a breath of fresh air! Over the last five chapters, we have gone through the dark valleys of David the psalmist (Psalm 3-7). There are times for everything. And though we walk in the valley of the shadow of death, we are afforded opportunities to find joy in this life on earth! David starts this psalm out with praising God and His great name (vs. 1-2). Even through the mouths of children and infants, God is magnified above all others. Though David was not privy like we are of some the scientific explanations of the marvel’s of God’s creation, he understood the vast beauty of the world (vs. 4). Perhaps David was looking up at the night sky when he wrote his Psalm. Rather than think the universe revolved around him, David was humbled that God would be mindful of us humans (vs. 4-8). We are the joy of God’s creation and made in His image. He crowned us with authority to be caretakers of this world.

Regarding application…God Cares? Vs. 4, “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” When we juxtapose the righteousness of God next to our sinful nature from the fall, it’s really hard to imagine that God would care for us. Question: If a loved one ends up sick in a hospital, what is the natural hope and expectation? That we would come visit them. This is what God has done for us. Even in our spiritual sickness, God did not abandon us. Question: Why? Because God cares deeply for us. And we know this because He sent His one and only Son (John 3:16) to visit us.

Psalm 7

Vs. 1, “LORD my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me.” This psalm is attributed again to King David. Though we do not know whom Cush the Benjamite was and his relationship with David, it seems he must have been a slanderous enemy. David cries out to God for deliverance (vs. 1-5). As if in a courtroom setting, David declares his innocence from the lies of the enemy. Rather than declare judgment upon his foes, David seeks a right judgment upon his foes (vs. 6-9). David shifts from a courtroom setting to a battlefield (vs. 10-17). No one can stand up against the God Most High. It is folly and such enemies will inevitably be defeated.

Regarding application…Faith in God. Vs. 17, “I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High.” Notice that David is thanking God even before his prayers are answered. It’s customary for most of us to thank someone after the task has been done. But this is just a wonderful reminder to see David’s faith in God. There are times when we ask things of each other and don’t put much faith that they will follow through. We’ve been the perpetrator and victims of such interchanges. But God does not fail us. He is our righteous judge and mighty warrior!

Psalm 6

Vs. 4, “Turn, LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love.” David’s lament psalm comes from suffering (vs. 1-5). We have fragile human bodies that are susceptible to disease. David is not sure why he is sick, but he makes sure to come humbly before the LORD. Rather than blame God, David seeks God. It’s hard to read the emotional and physical anguish that David is experiencing (vs. 6-7). An interesting phenomenon transpires upon David’s lament. Though in anguish, his prayers to the LORD lifts his spirits (vs. 8-10). God gave emotions to us to express ourselves. Rather than stay in a state of complaining, David expressed it with the intention to trust in the Lord.

Regarding application…Being Sick. Vs. 2, “Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint; heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony.” Question: Have you ever been really sick? It’s horrible to be sick. I remember when I had to go to the emergency room because of a 104-degree temperature. My whole body was aching. Sometimes it’s fun to be a little sick and stay home from school when you’re young. But being really sick is awful. Sickness is a reminder of our mortality. It’s really quite humbling. I remember my brother-in-law’s brother was super buff and big. But he got a debilitating disease and lost 50 lbs. He was a shadow of what he had once been when compared to his physical prime. In our sickness (physical, mental, spiritual), let King David be our example of turning to the Lord!

Psalm 5

Vs. 2, “Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray.” Yesterday’s previous chapter was an evening psalm, and today is a morning one. I can imagine having composed this psalm of lament and prayer the next morning. David sets the example for all of us as the first thing he does is turn to the Lord (vs. 1-3). As David grows in the knowledge of the LORD, he is able to make true statements about God’s character (vs. 4-6). Rather than pat himself on the back when comparing himself to his enemies, David simply bows in reverence (vs. 7). Because enemies beset David on all sides, he prays that the LORD would lead him through the dangers (vs. 8-12).

Regarding application…Trusting in Troubled Times. Vs. 12, “Surely, LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.” Question: What would cause David to turn to the LORD? Troubled times. Let me remind all of us a very simple truth: the enemy targets the righteous. It’s these very troubled times that actually help the believer grow in their faith. Like a muscle that must be torn to grow bigger, our faith must be challenged to grow. When there is no trouble in our lives, we might linger and get ourselves into trouble that does not build Christian character. King David had already experienced this with Bathsheba. So when we find ourselves in trouble because of our intention to walk with the LORD, find comfort to know that our God is with us!

Psalm 4

Vs. 1, “Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.” Most scholars see our Psalm today connected to the previous Psalm. King David constructs this Psalm with an emphasis on the character of God. In the midst of distress, David cries out to God for mercy (vs. 1-3). His faith gives him the confidence to trust that God will answer. But, this is also about encouraging others to turn to the LORD in the midst of restless nights (vs. 4-5). David ends the Psalm acknowledging that it is the LORD alone who can provide such peace and prosperity (vs. 6-8).

Regarding application…What’s Prosperity? Vs. 6, “Many, LORD, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?” Let the light of your face shine on us.” Question: How does one prosper? When the countenance of God is upon them. The fact that we know God has our back and is always there is quite amazing! Take performance in any arena (sports, music, acting, etc.) When you are a little kid and competing in your first piano recital or playing sports, it’s so important to have family members there. It doesn’t matter if you scored a goal or got everyone to clap. If a child sees that no one from their family is there for them, the victory is bitter. Our prosperity isn’t based on our achievements, but the fact that God’s face is looking with approval from afar. He is the one that makes us prosper! Prosperity doesn’t always come as we think it should. Just review the beatitudes as a poignant reminder (Matthew 5:1-12).