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).

Psalm 3

Vs. 1, “LORD, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me!” This is our first Psalm that is attributed to King David. The background of this Psalm (lament) is a sober one, for David had to flee at night to escape his own son’s attempt to kill him (II Samuel 15, 16). As the king, he was already the target of many who wanted to see his demise (vs. 2). Having escaped the clutches of danger, David was able to declare the LORD’s hand in his deliverance (vs. 3-4). In the midst of the clear and present danger, David is able to find a peace that can only come through confidence in the LORD (vs. 5-8). On a side note: I’ll explain the “Selah.” The Selah appears only in Psalms except for one other occasion in Habakkuk. Scholars differ on the purpose of it. Some believe it is an instruction for silence, a notation for a musical interlude, instructions for the congregation to sing, etc. Early Jewish tradition believed it meant forever.

Regarding application…A Hero Comes Along. Vs. 8, “Salvation belongs to the LORD; Your blessing be upon Your people!” In the bigger picture of life, there are constant dangers we too face. While we may not get death threats like David or other leaders of this world; we are targeted by an unseen enemy. Much like Job, he did not realize he was the target of Satan the adversary. But, in comes the hero of hero’s; a hero far mightier than the Avengers and far mightier than the Guardians of the Galaxy. We love our hero themed movies and stories for a reason. The LORD Almighty has been the hero and champion of all creation from the very beginning of Genesis and through the Bible past Revelation and beyond! So the next time you feel in a tight squeeze, remember our psalm today!

Psalm 2

Vs. 1, “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?” What an applicable truth for our present time too! When this psalm was written, it was with the intention to recognize Judah’s kings. They are the anointed ones and considered themselves sons of God. It is a reminder for all nations to fear the anointed kings from the LORD. This royal psalm did not have in mind Jesus, yet it is a messianic psalm pointing to Christ. During the exile and the tough times of God’s people, this Psalm brought much hope. The kings and rulers of the world reject God (vs. 1-3). Yet, their schemes are nothing to the power of God for He will establish His perfect Son to reign forever (vs. 4-12).

Regarding application…Warning Signs. Vs. 11, “Serve the LORD with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling.” Though the immediate audience is the rulers of this world, we would be wise to take heed. In our single-minded ways, we can tend to think the world revolves around us. I talked about “wants” in our life in the Sunday message today. We have the adequate warning signs on this road of life. Question: Will we pay attention? As we start a new week, take time to delight in what God’s word has to exhort us. As we go about our week at work, home, & church take time to consider how you can serve the Lord!

Psalm 1

Vs. 1, “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers.” Jesus compared the two roads; one that leads to heaven and one that leads to hell. Our opening psalm reveals this same thought as we see the way of the righteous vs. the way of the wicked. The righteous do not sully themselves with the world, they turn to God’s law, and they bear much fruit (vs. 1-3). However, the wicked are like chaff; here today and gone tomorrow (vs. 4-5). God’s ever-present eye is upon both (vs. 6). The author is unknown to us, but the first Psalm is a wonderful introduction for us.

Regarding application…God’s Great Reveal. Vs. 2, “but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.” We have all that we need for godly living! The great adversary would have us believe that life is futile and without purpose. But, the psalmist reminds us that God has revealed His ways through the Living Word. Question: What is our motivation? Spending time with the Lord in devotion and prayer brings us closer to Him. Recently, my wife and I went on a one-night vacation to Long Beach. We ate good food, smelled the ocean breeze, walked together, talked together, etc. When I was with her, I was delighting in her presence. Likewise, our motivation is the Word because He reveals His heart to us every time we seek Him. It’s really quite humbling. What a loving and gracious creator we have!

Introduction to Psalms

The book of Psalms (“Praises” in Hebrew) is a collection of 150 songs compiled by several authors over a thousand-year period! King David wrote approximately half of them while Asaph, the sons of Korah, Solomon, Heman, Ethan and even Moses wrote some. There are 48 psalms that are anonymous. There are five main books within Psalms that seem to indicate they were separate for a time. It’s important to note that there are different types of psalms: hymns, laments, thanksgiving, royal psalms, enthronement psalms, penitential psalms, wisdom psalms, etc. The Psalms were written with the intention of a certain tune or musical accompaniment. The intention of Psalms is an expression of praise to God! It is an emotional journey that gives an idea of how to respond to God.