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!

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.