Psalm Summaries [11-20]

Psalm 11

Evil people will attack the upright. But He is their foundation. He cannot be over powered and will enact justice.

Psalm 12

Though we are surrounded by evil and lies, Gods word is perfect and pure.  God will guard from evil children of men

Psalm 13

How long will God not bring about justice?  I Pray for the answer before I die.  I will trust in the Lord.

Psalm 14

David confesses that there are none in his generation that seek after God and prays for God to redeem Israel. Reminiscent of Lot pleading for the city. Probably prophetic for future generations.

Psalm 15

David asks the question of who is qualified to dwell with God and gives some morally reasonable answers.

Psalm16

God is the perfect refuge and nothing can compare to Him.   We can trust in Him and rejoice in Him.

Psalm17

David asks God to listen to Him (again) and states that he has a clear heart.  God is a refuge and protector of the weak. David prays that God would confront the evil men who want to do Him harm.  The wicked men satisfy themselves on the things of this world.

Psalm 18 (written after David was rescued from his enemies  Jonah quotes part of this in the fish!)

The Lord is a fortress and strong.  He is worthy to be praised.  David describes God’s power over and usage of nature in battle. David believes that God is rewarding him for his uprightness and purity. God protected and fought on behalf of His anointed – David.

Psalm 19

God’s creative voice speaks to His strength and power.  David loves the law and talks of the reward for keeping it.  The words of His law reveal our evil and sets the standard for right and wrong.

Psalm 20

The beginning sounds like a blessing from God at first and then goes on to explain that God is in control and He is trustworthy.  God is ultimately powerful.

Psalm Summaries [1-10]

Psalm 1
Don’t take the counsel of ungodly people.  Question: How do we
delight in the law of the Lord now?

Psalm 2
It’s classically a prophecy about Christ.  Why do people attempt to go
against God.  God will laugh at their feeble attempts and destroy them
so people shouldn’t try.

Psalm 3
Sleep well because even though people try to kill you and say God
won’t help, He can “bust ’em in da mouf.” (spelled correctly)

Psalm 4
How long will the people turn from God?  He has chosen those who will
live for Him and listen to them. Let us trust and live for God.
Question: how do we “be angry and do not sin?”

Psalm 5
Hear me God as I speak to you. You hate sin. Judge the sinful and let
those who love you celebrate you.

Psalm 6
Most people think David wrote this while deathly ill.  Heal me! Save
me! I can’t praise you in death, God. God will save me and my enemies
will be ashamed.

Psalm 7
Save me, God! If I am evil – give me what I deserve. God judge those
who are evil and establish those who are just.

Psalm 8
Your creation tells of how great you are.  Why would someone so huge
even care about mere humans (and even give them authority)? Yahweh is
sovereign.

Psalm 9 (9-10 were probably originally one Psalm)
Destruction has fallen on His enemies and even their name is perished.
He will judge evil and protect the oppressed.

Psalm 10
Wicked people hide and prey on the weak and do not fear that God will
judge.  God will arise and give justice; protect the weak and destroy
the wicked until there are none left.

Psalm 6

[Psalm 6] This Psalm is classically known as the first of the Penitential, or repentance, Psalms.

Verses 1-2 Many scholarly folk agree that David was very ill and thought he was going to die.  David possibly believed it was due to his own sin, which is interesting compared to the words of Jesus found in John 9 [especially v. 3].  Many protestant theologians [and I tend to agree] that this universally states God does not punish the sins of the people physically or with illness.  However, this verse doesn’t seem to speak directly to that issue for all people but, instead, specifically in regards to this man and his situation/purpose.  Ponder away friends.  David seeks God’s mercy in His anguish.

Verses 3-5 David asks God how long [probably before He “turns” or “returns” as stated in v4].  He pleads his case for God’s attention on the basis of two things:

  1. God’s mercy [loyal, unfailing love]. God is loving by nature even when we are unfaithful to Him and David charges this to God hoping to settle His anger.
  2. For the sake of David’s praise – since he cannot praise God if he were dead.  This is David’s humanity coming through NOT his theological stance.  It seems obvious by the context that David is not denying conscience after death.

Verses 6-7 David describes the extent of his sorrow

Verses 8-10 The words, “Away from me” are quoted by Jesus in Matt 7:23, as He describes turning away those He didn’t “know” while trying to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  Some say this is also a purging time of those unwanted in David’s kingdom.  David finishes the Psalm by declaring his assurance that God has heard him and accepts his prayer.

Psalm 5

Psalm 5

The structure of this Psalm seems to leap frog between a plea of David defending himself (and stating his trust for God) and accusations to God about evil people.  It’s almost as if David is attempting to “remind” God that he is the good guy and they are the bad guys.  It is a very me/them mentality but I believe the religious views at the time were much more polarized and less blurred and mixed as they are now (God went to great lengths in order the keep the blood lines unchanged).  Here is the quick outline that I came up with to illustrate the comparison of the two:

  1. Verses 1-3 David gaining God’s attention (me)
  2. Verses 4-6 God’s relationship with the wicked (them)
  3. Verses 7-8 God’s relationship with David (me)
  4. Verses 9-10 The words of the wicked (them)
  5. Verses 11-12 The words of the righteous (me/us)

1-3  David begins by pleading for God’s attention.  “Sighing” could also be translated as groaning and indicates that David is wrestling in thought over something and, obviously, needs God’s help (vv1-2).  “In the morning” has so many possibilities to it that come to mind: early morning prayer is a common discipline in that time, David is so troubled that he cannot sleep and he is up early, he is up early with a request to wait for the answer throughout the day (as indicated by v. 3)…

4-6  Not only does God not like the evils presented in verse but those who are held guilty for them (we are all evil, arrogant, and liars) cannot even stand in the presence of God.  In fact he destroys them.  We are desperately in need of salvation.

7-8  The phrase “but I” begins like an arrogant protest, as if David was proclaiming himself as superior (like his poo don’t stink), but quickly follows with “by Your great mercies” giving credit to God.  It is only by the great mercy of God that David, or any of us, may enter into the presence of God.  The God of mercy deserves reverence (also translated “fear,” see Psalm 1:7) and David bows* before Him, which is a proper response when we consider the immense discord our sin causes between us and God (as stated in vv 4-6).  His incredible response is the abundant mercy God has given in place of his righteously violent wrath for the sin we commit.  HIS MERCY IS GREATER THAN WE CAN EVEN UNDERSTAND.

At the end of verse 8 we see David asking God to continue leading him toward righteousness.  An important lesson in humility is to never put ourselves above others as if we aren’t sinners AND as if we, without God’s strength, aren’t seconds away from falling into sin and death.

[9-12  A juxtoposition occurs by comparing the words of the wicked to the words (singing) of the righteous]

9-10  This is a strong accusation against those who are wicked (no doubt David’s enemies).  “Their throat is an open grave” is a phrase that has stuck out to me since I began my journey with Christ in high school.  Mouth’s open wide to speak sinful things (lies, deceit, profanity, gossip) have a very intertwined relationship with death and the grave that is open to contain it (after all the wage of sin is death.  We can sow seeds of both physical and spiritual death and, in essence, we have the ability to speak death into peoples lives.  As he encountered people like this, David prays accusations and judgement against those who speak death.  It should be a very powerful reminder that we also have the ability to speak life into people, encouraging them, and lifting them up and we should strive for these opportunities.

11-12  In turn David prays for the confidence of those who take refuge in God, telling them to be glad and sing for joy!!  It’s good to see David pray protection and favor for others who are considers “righteous.”  Most of the time he is praying for himself and God’s protection for him (but then again he did have people constantly out to get him).

*Bowing down is not popular in the American culture.  Our dignity is highly protected and justified by statements like, “that’s just not the way I worship.”  Bowing is biblically rooted and our physical posture of bowing down is not optional as if we chose what response our God deserves.  I don’t think we are not to be genuine but if you have never bowed, I would say that you should pray to see if  that you have  You could argue with me, and I could be wrong on this point, but I am speaking from experience that I had convinced myself that bowing wasn’t my thing.  God revealed to me at a worship time in college that I was selfishly protecting a self image.

Psalm 4

PSALM 4

Psalm 4 is usually linked to Psalm 3 (the language does seem to be similar) dealing with Absalom.

v1) The opening is a phrase/idea that we will see consistently throughout the Psalms.  “Answer me when I call,” has an urgency within it that seems to reveal that David feels his situation needs quick attention from God or possibly frustration that God is not answering.  David goes on to state: O my righteous God OR (in other translations) God of my righteousness.  These are very different statements but the verse is clearly David asking God to listen.

v2) David turns his attention to the men who are against him asking them how long this will last.  David feels they are unjust in their claims even calling them “delusions!”

v3) He finishes the statement by reminding them that God has set apart the Godly for Himself and tells them that God will hear when he calls to Him.  This seems like a bit of a threat, as we’ve seen david is accustomed to using.  The irony of the statement is it’s close proximity to the first line when he seems to be a little unsure.  I don’t think it’s too unreasonable to ask if David appears to be posturing when, in actuality, he is unsure as to whether God will actually stop the men from harming him.  God always hears and He is good but that doesn’t mean He does as we wish – we are, after all, self seeking in our humanity.

4) It’s unclear to me as to who David is directing this statement to.  It’s possible he is just reminding himself of the truth in the statement when he may be tempted himself to sin in his anger.  The Reader is obviously meant to understand this truth.  We see that David identifies the ability to be angry but not sin in it and he gives advice in this situation to search your heart and be silent.  Other translations say,” meditate with in your heart on your bed, and be still.”

5) We are to offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord which is a contrast to those who “love delusions and seek false gods” in verse 2.  Going to God (or His alter) with anger in our heart is pointed out as wrong on multiple occasions in the bible.

6) The times have become so dark that it seems those who are around David are desperate to see any kind of “Good.”  There have been plenty of times in my life (and even now) that I have felt like evil people were around me all the time.  David’s prayer is simple but powerful none the less.  “Let the light of Your face shine upon us, O LORD.” This is slightly reminiscent of Moses encounter with God that left him glowing.

7-8) David’s past expiriences have led him to trust in God to the extent that he knows God will honor the prayer and he is filled with greater joy than during times of plenty (and probably celebration)!!  Instead of losing sleep over his less than favorable conditions, David rests confidently in the safety of God.

Psalm 3

PSALM 3

It’s can be pretty distressing when your afro-bearing son gains the political support of the Kingdom and decides to kick you (the king) out (it’s the afro that  will later be the death of Absalom by the way).  This is the plight that we find David in as he pens the 3rd Psalm.

In verses 1-2, David’s enemies do not claim that his God is not real (the idea of doubting God’s existence was most likely not even present); rather, they claim, for some unknown reason, that God no longer favors David.  It seems they believe that God now favors his son Absalom, who had been subtly raising a rebellion in the kingdom for quite a while (probably about 40 years).

In one sense we see that David has complete confidence in God throughout psalm 3, however, if God decides not to favor David, he seems to be resolved and content with the outcome either way when you look back in 2 Sam. 15:26.  David’s commitment to God choosing, even in light of his own person destruction, is extraordinary.

Still, David is fiercely confident in God and that God will continue to shield him, remain his glory, and the lifter of his head (it seems like a Jewish idiom is present here but I couldn’t find one).  Since David seems to be unsure if God is for him or against him (given the contrast of 2 Sam 15 and this Psalm), I wish I knew what David meant by his statement, “I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill.”  Did David just have the feeling that God would be on his side, or did he hear a direct revelation (audibly, in a dream, etc) from God that He was on David’s side with this? Either way, his trust in God is further illustrated as he decides to stop running, let his guard down, and sleep knowing that God will protect him against “ten thousands” of pursuers coming from all angles to get him.

Psalm 3 ends by beckoning God to fight on his behalf.  The metaphor gives beast-like characteristics to his enemies and tells of a time when David has known God to strike beasts at the source of their strength – their jaw and teeth.

I wonder many times in the Psalms where the line of poetic hyperbole is crossed from the literal description.  Was David possibly an incredibly emotional guy (like most musicians are) or were the situations described as intense as the psalmist describes.  I do believe, however, that Erwin McManus has correctly stated that we, in our lack of faith, tend find any way possible to remove ourselves from the context with which miracles happen.  Maybe, in our culture, safety and money are what we trust in to deliver us from our “bad” situations.  In any case the ending is clear that David believes God is the only one who can give him salvation in this desperate situation.

Psalm 2

The opening question posed by David is probably rhetorical and most likely pointed.  The point is clear though – it is so incredibly foolish to go against God and His anointed, that he even describes God as laughing and scoffing at their attempt to do so.  This theme runs throughout the life of David as he interacted with Saul.  I don’t know when this Psalm was written in David’s life but he clearly learned the lesson and lived by it.  God allows wrath to fall on those who oppose him (verses 5-6).  We see this play out in the new testament in Romans 8:31 says “if God is for us, who then can stand against us?”

In verses 7-9 we see a decree given to David by God that puts him in authority.  Does it not make sense that a pre requisite to being given spiritual authority (God’s anointing) is to understand submission (to God and also to man) and the fear of the Lord.  This is the very substance of servant leadership?

The ending borders on the edge of arrogance when you consider David is writing about himself (since he was given authority in verses 7-9).  But, when you are the anointed of God because you have have lived in reverence to God and His anointed previous to gaining authority, it comes as wisdom to ask others to follow in doing the same for you.

10Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.