Psalm 60

Vs. 1, “You have rejected us, God, and burst upon us; you have been angry—now restore us!” King David wrote this psalm in the midst of waging war. The Edomites had invaded Judah while David was up north fighting the Arameans. Our psalm begins with a plea for deliverance and victory against Israel’s enemies (vs. 1-4). It seemed Israel was trapped and pressed on both sides. Yet, David would recall God’s dominion over the land and see a hopeful triumph (vs. 5-8). The latter section of our chapter (vs. 9-12) is a set of three rhetorical questions recognizing the Lord will be the one to deliver. The battle belongs to the Lord.

Regarding application…Source of Help. Vs. 11, “Give us aid against the enemy, for human help is worthless.” Human help is worthless compared to the power of God to enable victory. When we attempt to live this life based on our own efforts, we will fail. The only way to triumph is when the source of our help is done through faith in the Lord. Question: Where do you turn when you need help? While God can certainly use our fellow believers to affirm, we must not neglect prayer and dependence on Him. I suppose this where the overconfidence in us can wreck havoc in our lives. Keep a humble perspective of yourself and of others. Let’s not get our heads too big that we don’t listen to the Lord!

Psalm 59

Vs. 1, “Deliver me from my enemies, O God; be my fortress against those who are attacking me.” King David is recalling the incident where Saul had sent men to watch his house the night he tried to kill David with a spear (I Samuel 19:8-11). Our psalm begins with a plea for deliverance from the treachery of the enemy (vs. 1-10). Rather than hope to see his enemy dead, David sought out justice (vs. 11-13). Yet, again we see David’s lament turn to praise as he realized the hope in the LORD.

Regarding application…God is the Strength. Vs. 17, “You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely.” When I began the Psalm devotions, I made the decision to commit to all 150 psalms at one time rather than alternate with a New Testament book. I’m glad I made that decision. My family and I have been informed by our landlord of nearly three years that they wanting to move back into their property as soon as possible. But, I must put my reliance upon the Lord who is my strength. There are going to be some difficult times in the near future with juggling several obstacles, but I know God will be our light. Question: What circumstances in your life do you need to rely on His strength?

Psalm 58

Vs. 1, “Do you rulers indeed speak justly? Do you judge people with equity?” In King David’s psalm today, he rebukes the unrighteous rulers (vs. 1-5). Question: What would be the result? Wickedness would run rampant in the land. Justice would be skewed.   But David would cry out to God for divine judgment (vs. 6-8). Like lions the enemy seeks to devour so David asked that their teeth be broken and removed. David had strong confidence in the LORD that He would bring about justice (vs. 9-11).

Regarding application…Is God Just? Vs. 11, “Then people will say, “Surely the righteous still are rewarded; surely there is a God who judges the earth.” Question: Why is justice so important? I want you to imagine a world where there is no judgment. What many of us don’t realize is that justice keeps us at bay. If there were no consequences for our sins, there would be just rampant anarchy. A world where there are no consequences might sound great, but the moment an injustice hits you, you might change your opinion. The punishment should fit the crime. While the wicked may seem to thrive in the world today, there will be a just punishment. God is just. Let us trust in His justice and timing.

Psalm 57

Vs. 3, “He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me—God sends forth his love and his faithfulness.” Our psalm today is in the context of David fleeing from Saul and hiding out in a cave (I Samuel 22, 24). Though David could have slain King Saul, he would not kill God’s anointed. Instead, he recognized it was God’s providential hand that protected David and his men hiding out in the cave (vs. 1-5). David’s heart of worship is in full display as he extols the Lord (vs. 6-11)! What an amazing response of trust, love, and hope in the Lord!

Regarding application…Have Mercy On Me. Vs. 3, “Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.” I love God’s timing! This week for my bible study on Wednesday, I made a commitment to say the Jesus’ prayer each day this week, “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me a sinner.” It is a wonderful phrase to remember practicing the presence of the Lord in our life. David had this same thought in mind as he remembered the mercy of the Lord and also showed mercy to Saul. What a merciful God we have! Receive His mercy and extend His mercy today!

Psalm 56

Vs. 1, “Be merciful to me, my God, for my enemies are in hot pursuit; all day long they press their attack.” King David records another psalm with a plea for deliverance (vs. 1-2). He had to run from his own people only to find danger in the land of the Philistines at Gath (I Samuel 21). Here David had to act like a madman to escape the clutches of the Philistines. I can’t imagine the sheer danger that seemed to beset David so often. Despite his natural inclination to fear (vs. 3-4), David’s fear turns to trust. Though the enemy was lurking (vs. 5-7), David calls out to God (vs. 8-13).

Regarding application…Walking in the Light. Vs. 13, “For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.” Though there are people who walk in darkness (Isaiah 9:2), the righteous walk God in the light of life. Question: When do you walk? One of the things I enjoy doing with my wife is going on leisurely walks. We are able to talk about our day and just enjoy each other’s presence. However, our schedules are often so busy that we are unable to walk with other until the evening. While I enjoy walking with my wife, when we walk in the evening I am on constant alert. There are shadows lurking on every turn. It’s much more enjoyable to walk in daylight. Walk with the Lord both day and night as you meditate on His word!

Psalm 55

Vs. 1, “Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea.” Our psalm today is a poignant one as King David feels the pain of betrayal and danger. The historical context is believed to have been Ahithophel’s betrayal of King David as he sided with Absalom (II Samuel 15). We can feel the deep emotions David expresses in his anguish (vs. 1-8). Naturally, he asks God for justice (vs. 9-11, 15). He continues to lament as the sting of betrayal was from someone who he trusted with his life (vs. 12-14, 20-21). In the end, David calls upon the LORD with a renewed sense of trust and confidence (vs. 16-19, 22-23).

Regarding application…Confidence in the LORD! Vs. 22, “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” David had to literally flee from his enemies. Yet, this would not shake his faith in the Lord. This psalm today couldn’t have been a timelier one for me personally. As I went out to my car this morning to head over to Seminary, a sinking feeling came upon me. I saw the door unlocked. As I approached the car my suspicions were validated. My after party CD player, car charger and all that was valuable in my car was stolen. In fact, all three of my cars were broken into. The thieves stole my bike two weeks ago along with all of the car keys and house keys. We rekeyed the house locks, but found out that to rekey all the cars was going to cost over $1000. We took the risk and the thieves were bold enough to come back for seconds. I feel betrayed and vulnerable, but my trust like David must be in the Lord!

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.