Archives for posts with tag: Psalms

No one who waits for You will be disgraced; those who act treacherously without cause will be disgraced.” (Psalm 25:3, HCSB)

The word translated “wait” here is an interesting word in the Hebrew.  The Passion Translation explains:

The Hebrew word most commonly translated as wait (wait upon the Lord) is qavah, which also means to tie together by twisting, or entwine, or wrap tightly. This is a beautiful concept of waiting upon God, not as something passive, but entwining our hearts with him and his purposes.”

The Passion Translation translates the first part of Ps. 25.3 as: For how could anyone be disgraced When they’ve entwined their hearts with you?

We think of waiting as something passive; the Hebrew concept of waiting, especially when it came to the Lord seems to be something more active.  We wrap ourselves tightly around God and his purposes and then when he moves, we move also, in a seamless, unified manner.  His heart is our heart and his ways our ways, His purposes our purposes, and His will our will.  This puts Isaiah 40.31 into new perspective:

but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31, ESV)

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Ps. 22.1a, ESV)

His generation yet to be born will glorify him.
And they will all declare: “It is finished!” Psalms 22:31 (Passion Translation)

Depending upon how you count, there were 22 prophecies in Psalm 22 that Jesus fulfilled at the cross.

  1. The Messiah would cry out to God (1a)
  2. The Messiah would be forsaken by God (1b)
  3. The Messiah, anguished, would pray without ceasing (2)
  4. The Messiah would be despised (6)
  5. The Messiah would be mocked by people shaking their heads (7)
  6. Mockers would say of Messiah, “He trusted God, let him deliver him” (8)
  7. The Messiah would be aware of his Father from his youth (9)
  8. The Messiah would be called to God’s service from the womb (10)
  9. The Messiah would be abandoned by the disciples (11)
  10. The Messiah would be surrounded by evil spirits (12-13)
  11. The Messiah’s heart would burst, flowing with blood and water (14a)
  12. The Messiah would be crucified (14b)
  13. The Messiah would thirst (15a)
  14. The Messiah would thirst shortly before his death (15b)
  15. The Messiah would be surrounded by Gentiles at his crucifixion (16a)
  16. The Messiah would be surrounded by Jews at his crucifixion (16b)
  17. The Messiah’s hands and feet would be pierced (16c)
  18. None of the Messiah’s bones would be broken (17a)
  19. People would stare at the Messiah during his crucifixion (17b)
  20. The Messiah’s garments would be divided (18a)
  21. Lots wold be cast for the Messiah’s clothes (18b)
  22. The Messiah’s atonement would enable believers to be his brethren (22)

It truly is amazing that David penned this psalm some 9 centuries before the death of Christ.

And they put the ark of the Lord on the cart and the box with the golden mice and the images of their tumors. And the cows went straight in the direction of Beth-shemesh along one highway, lowing as they went. They turned neither to the right nor to the left, and the lords of the Philistines went after them as far as the border of Beth-shemesh. (1 Sam 6.11-12, ESV)

What strikes me about this story is that the writer of Samuel wants the reader to see what happened and feel what happened and understand what happened in the march of the milk cows.

The Philistines have captured the Ark of the Covenant and it has been a disaster and the Philistines know it. Whatever city into which the ark is placed, the population begins to experience terrible things. Very soon, they want nothing more than to be rid of the ark. After some hemming and hawing the Philistine leaders decide to send the ark back…if the milk cows will take the ark back of their own accord. Our verses record what happened. The milk cows go back straight down the main highway to Beth-Shemesh turning "neither to the right nor to the left."

The Philistine leaders do not become followers of Yahweh, but they understand that Yahweh would have his ark back, and he got it back.

Here is the faith lesson in these verses. God is sovereign over milk cows. They are nothing but dumb animals, but they must obey God's command just like everything else in this universe, and so they do obey his command and take the ark straight back to Israel, because even dumb animals are servants of Yahweh. He is sovereign over them.

If this is true for milk cows, then it's true for us as well. God is sovereign over our ways and the course of our life (Ps. 139.1-6).

Following your Word has kept me from wrong.
Your ways have molded my footsteps, keeping me
From going down the forbidden paths of the destroyer. (Ps 17.4, Passion Translation)

David is talking about a couple of things here. First, he points out that, like it or not, choose it or not, desire it or don't desire it, but we are all on a pathway in this life. We are all going somewhere. Even going nowhere is going somewhere in the course of life. Second, one path leads to the destroyer. In other words, there is a path you can take that will lead to your destruction.

There is an antidote to the pathway to destruction, a way through, a choice you can make to not go down the path of destruction. David is very clear on what that choice is, it is following your Word. There is something about God's Word that keeps us from wrong, that leads us away from the path to death and towards life. We won't fully understand until the New Testament that it's God's grace that changes us so that we want to follow God's Word. Grace leads to obedience, and obedience leads to following God's Word, and following God's word leads to life. Meanwhile, the Psalmists were very clear on the place of God's Word in leading us to life. Read any verse in Ps. 119 for instance.

So I say to the Lord God,
You are my Maker, my Mediator, and my Master.
Any good thing you find in me has come from you. (Psalm 16.2, Passion Translation)

I love this verse from the Passion Translation. It draws out three things that God is for us when we say that God is Lord:

  1. My Maker – God created us and fashioned and formed us in the womb. As our creator he knows best how we can flourish and have abundant life and get this, He tells us how that is possible! All of the things he tells us to do are for our own good and so that we might have abundant life.
  2. My Mediator – God the Son mediates between we who are not perfect and God who is perfect and cannot dwell with sin.
  3. My Master – This is what the word "Lord" implies. God is the one to whom we bow and to whom we defer and to whom we listen and obey. We ought to do this willingly and with delight because he has our best interests in mind. As Ed Welch writes, "The King is also our father!"

The last line sums up the truth quite well. Whatever good is found in us, comes from God himself. We ought to praise him for this, just as David did.

What can the righteous accomplish
When truth’s pillars are destroyed and law and order collapse?
Yet the Eternal One is never shaken–
He is still found in his temple of holiness
Reigning as Lord and King over all.
He is closely watching everything that happens.
And with a glance, his eyes examine every heart.
For his heavenly rule will prevail over all. Psalms 11:3-4 (Passion Translation)

There is something chilling in these verses and something hopeful.

  • Chilling – David makes the correct observation that when truth’s pillars are destroyed and law and order collapse then there is not much that the righteous can do.  There are times when evil runs amok and never more so than when truth is stifled and every man does what is right in his own eyes.  I think we are seeing the beginning of this today.  Society cannot long survive without truth.
  • Hopeful – David reminds us that, even in a time when truth’s pillars are destroyed we can have hope because the Eternal One is never shaken. God is not moved, nor worried, nor anxious when men reject truth.  This is no more threatening to him than an ant threatens an elephant.  David knows that God’s heavenly rule will prevail over all.

The upshot for we who take in David’s words?  In a time when truth is denied and denigrated, when evil seems to have the upper hand more and more, when mankind seems to become ever more blind by the minute; God still reigns.  He is still in control. He will still accomplish his ends and ultimately all will be well.

You have built a stronghold by the songs of babies.
Strength rises up
With the chorus of singing children.
This kind of praise
Has the power to shut Satan’s mouth.
Childlike worship will silence
The madness of those who oppose you. Psalms 8:2 [Passion Translation]

The Passion Translation has an insightful comment at this verse:

There may be a vast difference between the glory of the heavens and the little mouths of children and babies, yet by both the majestic name of the Lord is revealed. It is amazing that perfected praises do not rise to God from the cherubim or seraphim, but from the children and babies, the weakest of humanity.

I don’t know that I can add anything else to that, it’s a magnificent truth that they’ve highlighted.