Psalms

Future Song (Psalm 30)

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I find it fascinating to think that according to the title of the Psalm – David composed Psalm 30 for the dedication of the temple.

And yet, David was not alive for the dedication of the temple since it happened after he had died, during the time of his son Solomon’s reign.

But in faith, David wrote a song to be sung at some time in the future. A future he would not see with his eyes, but one which by faith he could see – and so prepared a song for it.

Psalm 30 itself is a Psalm of thanksgiving to God. David thanks God for deliverance (vs1), for healing (vs2-3) and the restoration of joy and thankfulness (vs11-12).

It is so important to stop and to thank God. After all, when we express our thanks publicly at least six things happen;

1. God gets glorified as the Giver, Protector, Provider, Source, Comforter, Guide, Sustainer, Forgiver, Redeemer, the ONE who answers prayers, who heals & as our loving Father.

2. We get right-sized (humility); we get the right perspective. Because by thanking God for something we are acknowledging that we did not do this thing, it was not our power or ability or cleverness.

3. We have our faith strengthened for the future – seeing past grace is the foundation for future faith!

4. Others get encouraged – if God did that for you, then others are stirred to keep trusting God themselves.

5. God’s nature & character get displayed – God stories help all who experienced them and those who heard of them to grow in their understanding of God. More than this, those who are on a journey towards faith can hear about what God is really like, not from a book but from real-life stories!

6. The Devil is defeated – Revelation 12:11 tells us that it’s by the blood of the Lamb & the Word of our testimony that the Devil will ultimately be conquered. The more we honour God, the more glorious His praise, the more defeated is the enemy.

Through his life, David had experienced God in such amazing ways that He had faith that God would do what He had promised to do – to bless David’s line and to allow His son Solomon to build God a temple (1 Chronicles 22:6-19)!

And so David in faith wrote this Psalm of thanks for the future. What have you experienced of God? What can you thank God for, and how can that become a testimony to others and a foundation of hope for the future?

Let me tell you… (Psalm 34)

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This Psalm is just absolutely jam-packed with gems about God and how God interacts with us his people.  It is a psalm full of personal and experiential knowledge of God’s nature and character.

It’s almost like David is explaining in the rest of the Psalm why he says in verse 1; “I will bless the LORD at all times, His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

David wants you and I to join him in magnifying the LORD with him, wants us to join in and exalt God’s name (God’s character and attributes) together.

My God answers prayer! (vs4-6,15,17)

David can testify that he called out for God, he enquired after God in threatening life situation after threatening life situation (David was a fugitive fearing for his life for 15yrs!) and he can testify that God answered when he called.  More than that God delivered him from all the threats that put fear into his heart.  ‘This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles’ (vs6)!  And because of this testimony David can declare that the face of those who look to God for their help – their faces are radiant (vs5).

What are you facing today?  Call out to your God who answers, who delivers, who saves.  Put your trust in the trustworthy ONE, so that your face may radiate on the day that God delivers you.

Angelic Help (vs7)

Angels are ministering spirits sent out by God to serve and protect God’s children (Hebrews 1:14).  David can testify to angelic protection, a heavenly body-guard for those who fear God.  This reminds me of the moment in Israel’s history when Elisha’s servant feared because of the formidable Syrian army amassed around the city and the servant was afraid and Elisha prayed that God would show him the mighty heavenly host that was arrayed around them to protect them and declared to his servant; “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us (angels) are more than those who are with them” (2 Kings 6:15-17).

Know this.  God the Holy Spirit is with you (Hebrews 13:5) and God has sent an angelic body-guard to encamp around you!  So, do not fear.

Taste and See (vs8)

We learn in lots of ways, from what we read or hear from others, through modelling etc but experiential learning is one of the most powerful sources of learning.  David urges you and I to do as he has done – do ‘taste and see’ that God is a faithful deliverer.  This is an invitation an exhortation to find out for ourselves to experience that God is good!

Such knowledge of God hewn out of the experience of everyday life is unshakable and precious!  There are no short cuts but this is the exhortation of Scripture for you and I to discover for ourselves what David has discovered – God is good.

Recounting, Praise & Prayer (Psalm 9)

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(vs1) Whole hearted thanks, gratitude expressed is the bone and marrow of the Christian life!  David declares that he will give thanks to God with his whole heart.  Gratitude expressed is a heart matter and a head matter in that it requires a decision of the will to express what one is grateful for.

(vs2) Gratitude is founded on remembering, recounting what has happened, recounting what God has done for you and for His people.  Again, David declares that he will recount, he decides to remember and as he does, recounting leads to feeling grateful and expressing it to God in prayer and in songs of thanks!

(vs3-9) David recounts God’s interventions for His people.

(vs10)  When God is thanked, God is honoured, we get perspective and our faith for the future is fortified.  In this verse David declares that those who know God put their trust in Him (because He is worthy of trust) and those who have put their trust in Him can testify that God does not forsake those who trust in Him.

(vs11) So it’s appropriate to praise Him with singing, for He alone is King of kings, it’s appropriate to ‘tell among the peoples His deeds’.

(vs13-20) Emboldened by his recounting and his praise, reminded of God’s faithfulness to him and to Israel, David transitions into confidently asking God for some things which is totally appropriate since his thanksgiving has reminded Him that God is worth praying to and bring your requests to.

Reflection:

  • Decide to recount what God has done for you, for us as a church.  I challenge you to write down no less than 25 things right now that you can thank and praise God for & then take some time to do just that.
  • (vs11) Why not decide to tell 1 person at least 1 of those 25 things you’ve just recounted in a way that honours God today, encourages you and them
  • Having recounted and thanked God, confidently bring your requests to your Father in Heaven.

Two Bookends (Psalm 8)

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This Psalm is one with two bookends (vs1&9) that hold within them some reflection as the content held within those bookends of praise and exaltation of God.

Bookend #1:

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! 

King David here addresses God as Yahweh, the eternal self-existent and only God of all who is also ‘our God’, the One who made a covenant with His people and established a unique relationship based love and commitment with us.

King David breaks out in praise and worship delighting in how majestic God is in all the earth!  When king David says; ‘how majestic is your name’ he is referring to God’s character, God’s attributes that are known to His people and in fact are known not just to His people, but known to the whole earth, all the nations because of the way God has intervened for His people and judged the nations of the earth!

The content between the bookends (vs2-8)

‘Out of the mouth of babies’ – the ESV commentators think that this phrase probably refers to God’s people who seem like little and insignificant babies compared to some of the impressive nations around them.

(vs2) David is reflecting on how God is His wisdom uses weak, small and seemingly insignificant people on the planet to make Himself known as the strong and mighty  One, through His interactions with them and through their actions and history.

(vs3-4) David considers all the magnificent things God has made in creation, and finds it astounding that God has set His attention and affection on us, on human beings.

(vs5-8) And yet David knows that God’s given us as little human beings a position, a place, a role as His agents having authority & responsibility for everything on the planet, and that is just an amazing thing to think about, to ponder and to praise God for and a responsibility to take seriously.

Bookend #2:

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! 

At the end it all, Yahweh, our Yahweh we praise You for who You are and for what You’ve chosen to do, how You have set up the planet and how You have intervened for Your people, even for little me.  I praise You, we praise You.

Reflection:

•Write down the names of God you know and what they say about WHO God is WHAT God has done and then praise God for those things.

•Do you feel week, think of the church as weak and insignificant?  Can you see how God’s people have always felt like ‘babies’ compared to the nations?  How does this encourage you to think differently?

•Consider the role God has entrusted to us within creation, are you taking that role seriously?  What might need to change?