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!

Psalm 44

Vs. 1, “We have heard it with our ears, O God; our ancestors have told us what you did in their days, in days long ago.” The psalmist reminisces of God’s delivering hand from the days long ago (vs. 1-8). He was the one who delivered them though their swords swung in victory. However, the mood of the psalm takes an interesting twist. Instead of the past triumphs, the psalter laments of the present defeats (vs. 9-16). Any number of defeats could be referenced; the Assyrians and Babylonians stand out. The psalter seems to be in a position like Job in which they cannot fathom a specific sin that would have resulted in such despair (vs. 17-22). To the psalmist’s credit, they call upon the Lord to intercede (vs. 23-26).

Regarding application…Our Perception. Vs. 23, “Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever.” Of course, we know the Lord never sleeps. Yet the psalmist felt that the Lord had forsaken all of Israel. The tone seems a little out of line. But I appreciate the fact that though their perception was possibly misguided; they still did not stop turning to the Lord. Question: When struggles transpire in life, do you turn to God? One of the common denominators in my life as well as many I have spoken with in ministry over the years is this: No. When struggles come and we feel far from God, many admit they are not turning to God in their prayers and devotions. So the application I see as we start the week; cry out to God even when life throws lemons at us, even when we may be wrong, even when our perceptions are all out of line. Keep turning to God!

Psalm 43

Vs. 1, “Vindicate me, my God, and plead my cause against an unfaithful nation. Rescue me from those who are deceitful and wicked.” Our short psalm today is a continuation from our previous psalm. The psalmist longed to be in the presences of the Lord as a dear pants for water. Now we see that the longing materialized in the desire to be at the holy mountain in God’s temple (vs. 1-5). Rather than remain in the previous chapter of deep agony, the psalmist exercise’s hope as they look to the future!

Regarding application…Guiding Light. Vs. 3, “Send me your light and your faithful care, let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.” God gave us the sun, the moon, and the stars to guide our paths in this world. But there is a far more powerful light than those. The Apostle John reminds us that God is light (I John 1:5). Many years ago as a teenager, I nearly lost my way spelunking in the caves of Indiana. I actually got stuck for a couple of hours in a crevice. Those two hours were two of the longest hours I spent in my entire life. Had it not been for a flashlight, I might have cried my way into utter despair. Turn off a flashlight in a cave and you will experience true darkness. It’s pretty spooky. But in the darkness of this world we live in, God is our guiding light. Keep those batteries of faith charged up!

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!