In David's song of thanksgiving for deliverance, he invites believers to come and learn what it means to fear God. He explores the themes of controlling the tongue, putting off evil, and pursuing good as means towards fearing God.
Psalm 34 is a song of thanksgiving for undeserved deliverance. According to the superscription, this psalm was written when David feigned insanity to escape from Abimelech. Abimelech is a dynastic title for Achish the king of Gath. Though David played the part of a maniac, he attributed his deliverance from Achish to the Lord. In response, David affirmed God’s goodness and called upon the people of God to praise Him for deliverance.
According to the superscription of Psalm 30, this is a psalm of David written for the dedication of the house. The title refers to David’s dedication of the tabernacle after the numbering of the people. Following his repentance and God’s judgment, David brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem and set it in the Tabernacle. Out of David’s experience, he penned Psalm 30, a song of deliverance and dedication. God chastened David because of his sin. After repenting, David praised God that His anger was temporary and His favor is forever.
Psalm 28 is a prayer in the face of fear. As David pens this psalm he is filled with fear — fear of judgment, fear of death, fear of God not answering his prayer, fear of being overthrown by the wicked. Amid his fear, David cried out to God in prayer. While he laments his state, he knows, perhaps from previous experience, that one of the best responses to fear is prayer. While prayer is not a magic wand that removes all fears, it does help to redirect our thoughts to the One who can minister to us and help us to grapple with those fears.
Psalm 25 finds David in the midst of duel crises. He is facing an outward crisis of enemies marching towards him. As well, David faces an inward crisis as he deals with his sins. As both crises press upon him from both sides, David is forced to cry out to God and confess what he cannot do for himself. He asks not only for forgiveness but also for God’s deliverance.
The superscription of Psalm 23 states that this psalm is written by David. Before becoming king, David’s vocation was that of a shepherd. 1 Samuel 16:11 — And Samuel said to Jesse, Are these all the children? And he said, There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep. Then Samuel said to Jesse, Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here. David knew all to well what it meant to be a shepherd and how sheep tend to act. So as David posits his relationship with YHWH, he comes to understand that he is as dependent upon God as his sheep are of him. So David pens Psalm 23 as an exposé of God as a Shepherd.
Psalm 21 is a song of past and future victory in battle. The battle is won in both the past and the future through the power of God. As the superscription states, Psalm 21 is a psalm of David. David went to battle knowing that God would deliver him. In the first half of this psalm, David prayed for victory, confident that God would answer in the affirmative because of His mercy, grace, and power. In the second half of this psalm, David experiences God’s deliverance but also comes to the realization that God’s deliverance for him also comes with God’s destruction of his enemies.
In Psalm 18, David reveals that God is not absent but present, not distant but near, not aloof but active, not powerless but powerful.
Psalm 18 is a song of a grateful heart. David is rejoicing because God has triumphed over his enemies. The superscription gives us a specific reference for the writing of this Psalm. It states, “A Psalm of David the servant of the Lord who spoke to the Lord the words of this song in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.” After contemplating all the YHWH has done, David records how he was delivered and rejoiced in God’s mercies. David’s prayer embraces the entirety of God’s work in both judgment and redemption.
Psalm 12 deals with hypocrites. Too often, Christians are accused of hypocrisy and sadly, too often, the accusation is true. Christians are quick to quote Scriptures but when it comes time to apply Scriptures they change their tune. When they come against a Scripture that conflicts with their personal or political viewpoints, they deflect, claiming that the normal, ordinary meaning of the text is simply one’s interpretation. Underlying the sin of hypocrisy is moral deception.
Psalm 64 shows that God’s power is greater than any injustice against us. David writes this psalm as a prayer asking God to preserve him against those who engage in secret counsel against him. Such people use their tongues likes sword and their words as arrows. David is confident that God will prevail against those who do injustice. Hence, Psalm 64 is a song of confidence in God's justice!
According to the superscription Psalm 52 is a Maskil or Contemplative Song written by David. He wrote it on the occasion of the treachery of Doeg the Edomite (1 Samuel 21-22). In the context, this mighty man is Doeg. Doeg reported to Saul that Ahimelech the High Priest had provided food and shelter for David. As a result, Saul ordered the execution of Ahimelech. When his soldiers refused to execute the High Priest, Does stepped in and did the deed. Distraught over the events, David penned this psalm chiding the treachery of Doeg and contrasting the foolish man to the faithful man.
Psalm 70 expresses a yearning for God to act. The shortness of this psalm demonstrates the urgency by which it is prayed. Help is needed now! How often in our lives are we faced by crisis in which we need God to act immediately. We need God to vindicate us. We need God to deal with those who have hurt us or grieved us. So, this psalm provides us with the Scriptural foundation for crying to God, bringing our hurts and grievances to him, and asking Him to help.
Psalm 33 is a song of praise, especially for God’s protection. While there is no specific author attached to this psalm, the translators of the Septuagint ascribe authorship to David. As well, there is no specific occasion given for this psalm. However, based on verse sixteen, the psalm does reference God’s protection at the Red Sea. As well, based on verse nineteen, the psalmist references God’s protection during the famine. This is likely a reference to the three year famine during the reign of David. Whether the psalmist had in mind these specific occasion, is unknown. What is known it that God is to be praised for protecting His people!
Some six hundred years before the Exodus, God made a covenant with Abraham to be His God and for his descendants to be God’s people. In that covenant, God promised to give them a land where they could dwell in His presence. Now Abraham’s descendants found themselves enslaved and oppressed in a land not their own. God remembered His covenant with Abraham to be their God. As such, He delivered them and brought them out of Egypt into their own land so that He could dwell in their midst. Psalm 114 praises God for the deliverance of His people from Egypt. As well, it is an example of the praise believers should be offering for deliverance from sin, Satan, and separation from God.
Do you have delight in worship? David delighted in worship and penned Psalm 122 to express his delight. He begins in verses 1 and 2 with a call to worship. He continues with the climax of worship in verse 3 through 5. He concludes in verses 6 through nine with the contribution to worship. As believers work their way through this psalm, they will be challenged by David's personal experience in worship. Is your worship of God a joyful delight or a begrudging duty?
Psalm 32 is a Psalm of David. The superscription states that it is a Maskil or contemplative psalm. Here David contemplates upon his sin, possibly his sin committed against Bathsheba and Uriah, God’s chastisement and forgiveness. He encourages others who have sinned to seek the Lord who will deal with graciously with them.
In the fulness of time, God sent forth His Lamb in fulfillment of Abraham’s promise to Isaac, in Genesis 22:8 — “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” Thus, when Jesus Christ appeared before John the Baptizer, almost two-thousand years later, John recognized the fulfillment of the type and declared, in John 1:29, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” This Lamb was chosen by God before the foundations of the world and then chose by humanity on the Great Sabbath, Nisan 10, AD 29. Christ the Lamb was purchased for thirty pieces of silver, presented to the people as the Messiah and Lord, and then finally probed for blemishes and proven spotless and sinless. After all of that, the Lamb was slaughtered as the Passover sacrifice. Indeed as Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 5:7, “Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.”
Psalm 22 has historically been viewed as a prophetic psalm of the Messiah. When Jesus prayed from the cross, He quoted the words of this psalm as His own. In Matthew’s Gospel, Matthew explains that the casting of lots for Jesus’ garments took place in order to fulfill prophecy. To support his statement, Matthew quotes Psalm 22. There is not doubt, that this psalm is prophetic and points to Christ. Christ Himself interpreted the psalms to disciples explaining that they speak of Him — “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44).
Psalm 20 is like the calm before the storm. Israel is ready for battle. An eerie silence falls across the battlefield just moments before the sounds of war break forth. Their enemies are at the ready, trusting in their chariots and horses to deliver the victory to them. However, in this moment of silence before the battle begins, Israel’s commanders go to the Temple, offer sacrifices to God, and petition Him for blessing. The lesson for believers is that spiritual preparations must be made before the spiritual war can be waged.