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.
Psalm 31:5 is a familiar verse to many particular during the remembrance of Christ’s death — “into your hand I commit my spirit.” When He uttered those words, Christ addressed them to His Father. By referring to God as Father, Christ expressed the depth of intimacy between the First and Second Persons of the Godhead. Indeed, as John 5:20 states, “The Father loves the Son.”
That Christ prayed from Psalm 31 while on the cross, amid agony, suggests that as we study this prayer, we will, in turn, study the Lord’s heart and mind while on the cross. Psalm 31 weaves together the themes of suffering and triumph and provides an important backdrop for Christ’s death and resurrection.
Psalm 110 is perhaps the most important psalm of all 150. When Jesus asked the Pharisees, “Whose Son is He?” (Matt. 22:42), they replied that He is the son of David. Jesus challenged them and reminded them that David called the Messiah “Lord” in Ps. 110:1. “If David then calls Him “Lord,” how is He his Son?” In other words, the Messiah must be more than the son of David, He must be the Son of God.
Most are familiar with the declaration that the heavens declare the glory of God in Psalm 19. Much of that psalm is the foundation for the doctrine of general revelation. General revelation is the disclosure of God to humanity through nature. Indeed throughout all of creation, God is revealed. Psalm 29 continues this theme of general revelation. It calls upon all of creation to worship YHWH as He reveals Himself in creation. Psalm 29 is a testimony to God’s voice in creation.
Psalm 14:1 is perhaps one of the most well known verses — “The fool has said in his heart, There is no God.” Sadly, there are many fools today. Atheism, the lack of belief in any god is the religion and ideology of the modern world. Mass acceptance of atheism began to breed during the Age of Enlightenment. Atheism bloomed against the suffering and destruction of the World Wars. God’s supposed absence motivated many to rethink whether God was real. Finally, with the dawn of post-modernism, acceptance of atheism boomed. The rejection of absolute truths ushered in a complete rejection of God.
Psalm 118 is the final psalm of the hallel psalms (113-118). This particular psalm was written particularly for the first celebration of Feast of Tabernacles after the Exile, though it was also sung at Passover and Pentecost. It was this very psalm that was sung during Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem before His crucifixion.
The psalmist, possibly Ezra, writes how God reestablished his nation and triumphed over all the other nations. In doing so, Psalm 118 is a song of adoration to God, in which God is praised for His loyal love. The psalm begins with a call to worship. It continues with a confessional response to God’s mercy. Finally the psalm concludes with praise for God’s mercy.
Psalm 90 deals with the reality of the brevity of life. In this psalm, Moses contrasts God’s eternity with human transitoriness. In doing so, he reveals that humanity wrestles with two major issues. First, humanity is sinful and subjected to death Second, how can sinful humans relate to an eternal and holy God?
Romans 12:1-2 informs us that as we offer our bodies to God as living sacrifices in worship, He will transform our minds and we will demonstrate God’s good, acceptable and perfect will. Thus, God’s will is revealed as a result of worship. Have you ever considered the link between worship and God’s will? In our corporate church life, we gather to worship. We sing hymns, pray, give our offerings, and then hear God’s Word preached. Do we actually take the time to consider how those actions transform our minds? In going through the motions of worship have we demonstrated God’s will?
Psalm 81 addresses this issue. In this psalm, Israel worships God and God reveals His will. They open their heart in praise and God reminds them of what He has done in the past and reminds them to continue to submit to Him. If they respond in obedience, God will lift His judgment from them and restore His blessing upon them.
A New Year brings about new resolutions. In fact, the idea of making new years resolution goes back about three thousand years ago to ancient Babylon. A resolution involves making firm decision to commit to do or not to do something. A recent poll revealed the top ten things people resolve to do each new year. They are: 1) Exercise more; 2) Lose weight; 3) Get organized; 4) Learn a new skill or hobby; 5) Live life to the fullest; 6) Save more money / spend less money ; 7) Quit smoking; 8) Spend more time with family and friends; 9) Travel more; 10) Read more.
While the Bible does not specifically speak to New Years resolutions, there are a number of Scriptures that challenge believers to make commitments to certain behaviors. Psalm 22:8 — commit yourself to the Lord. Psalm 37:5 — Commit your way to the Lord. Proverbs 16:3 — Commit your works to the Lord. Making a resolution is an act of the will to commit oneself to a certain course of action. In Psalm 101, David resolves to live a blameless life and to surround himself with purity.
The beloved Christmas carol, Joy to the World was written by Isaac Watts, based on his study of Psalm 98. The carol was first published in 1719 with a melody different from the one sung today. The more familiar tune was written in 1836 by Lowell Mason after he combined various pieces of Handel’s Messiah.
Because Psalm 98 was written before Jesus’ birth, the original readers rightly read it as a proclamation of the Messiah’s coming. For modern readers, Psalm 98 is both a proof that the Messiah came and a prophecy that the Messiah is coming again. Joy to the world is, then, both a Christmas song and an apocalyptic song.
In Psalm 36, David contrasts the wicked with the righteous. While contemplating the lifestyle of the wicked and their evil schemes, David found relief in knowing God who pour out His mercy on His people. As such, David prayed that God would continue to display mercy so that the wicked would not destroy his integrity.
Unbelief is not a modern problem, it is as old as the Garden of Eden. Satan’s suggestion that Adam and Eve could be like God presented God as being out of reach of humanity. As such, humanity was free to live as if God did not exist. In that moment, unbelief was born. In the context of Psalm 10, the oppressed has been crying for justice. Yet, the wicked proper, God seems absent, and in comes unbelief. As David soon discovers, however, God is very much present and at work!
Psalm 9 is written during a time of crisis in David’s life. Yet, it is a triumphant song of thanksgiving for justice. In his hour of trouble, he turns to the Lord. David praises the Lord for his righteousness and justice in judging wicked nations and for being the Eternal Judge who the oppressed and afflicted can trust. Psalm 9 demonstrates that God is the Living God who is active in human history and life.
How often have you heard it said, "Contracts were made to be broken." This self-serving morality dominates politics, businesses, and relationships. When there is no longer any sense of justice, moral responsibility, or accountability, the societal order and individual relationships collapse and injustice emerges. Psalm 7 addresses the issue of injustice.
In Psalm 6, David prays to God for healing as well as deliverance from his enemies. David prays all through the night for healing. He expresses his battle with severe pain and deep depression yet at the same time expresses his faith and relief in God’s presence. As we come to this psalm, we learn that when illness strikes, to cry out to God for healing balancing that request with an appeal for God’s perfect will to be done.
God’s holiness receives little attention today from either the pew or the pulpit. Instead, professing believers crave a God who is accepting and tolerable, a God who will build up their self-esteem. Regardless of how people want to view God, the stark reality is that He is holy.
This lack of attention on God’s holiness has resulted in the moral malaise tearing apart this nation. The news is filled with sleaze and scandal. We have descended into moral relativity. The only answer to recovering from this moral malaise is a spiritual awakening… a biblical revival of God’s holiness from the pulpit and in the pew. As such, we come to Psalm 99 to discover a sense of God’s holiness.
Churches are full of hypocrites. Sadly that sentiment is too often true. Christians do not practice what they preach. Psalm 50 speaks to this issue. It demands a faith that acts, what the Bible refers to as faith and obedience. As James said, “faith, if it has no works is dead… show me your faith without the workds, and I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:17-28).
Psalm 66 is a psalm of thanksgiving to the Lord by an individual who has been rescued by God. The unknown psalmist calls upon God's people to praise Him for redemption. He then recites God's awesome deeds of redemption. Finally, he calls on God's people to join him in worshiping God.
Psalm 141 is presents the reality that even the holiest of saint has the potential to be the most horrific of sinners. The closer one draws to God, the more aware he or she becomes of their potential to sin. The psalm demonstrates that if one toys with sin, it will overtake them. Thus David, prays to God to guard his mouth and lips, to turn his heart from evil, and to protect against the allurement of the delicacies of those who work iniquity.
In Psalm 57, David experiences calamities coming from an enemy who is like a lion out for the kill. Although his enemies have set traps for him, David is confident that they will fall into their own traps. Hiding under the “shadow of His wings,” David knows that God will protect and deliver him.