Psalm 3 - "A Morning Prayer"Thursday, June 02, 2022
Psalm 3 “A Morning Prayer”
The context of Psalm three surrounds the time when David was running from Absalom (II Sam. 15-18). I find it comforting and humbling to see David throwing himself on God’s mercy in this psalm. He cries to God concerning his enemies. Though David is king, he does not write words to the effect that he will exact revenge on his enemies (Ps. 94:1-2; Nah. 1:2-3; Deut. 32:35; Prov. 24:29; Rom. 12:17, 19)! Instead, he writes a psalm praying to God for forgiveness and that God would “smite” or “slap” (The Israel Bible) his enemies so hard that He will break their teeth (v. 7)!
Psalm 3 reminds me of Psalm 23 at times. For example, in both songs, David speaks of his enemies and how God will deliver him. In the case of Psalm 3, David’s enemies tried to discourage him and told him God would not help (v. 2). Yet, he knew the truth and knew when he cried to God, God heard him (v. 3-4), sustained him (v. 5), and defended him (v. 7). Why was David so confident? It was because he knew the source of his salvation (v. 8. Dear Christian, if you are discouraged, hurt, and insulted, please read Psalm 3 and be reminded who sustains, defends, and has saved you (Rom. 15:4)!
“Salvation (deliverance, TIB) belongs to the Lord” is what we learn in Psalm 3:8. David maintained his focus in a time of hardship, confusion, and hurt that arose from his own family. This statement is repeated when Jonah was swallowed by the great fish (Jonah 2). I find it interesting and not at all coincidental that when Jonah was suffering, he, like David, knew where to turn (Jonah 2:9)! Yes, salvation is of the Lord! It belongs to Him! If I am going to have any kind of deliverance, I need to turn to the Lord, not away from Him!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
P.S. In this psalm, we are introduced to the word “selah.” This word is seen throughout the Psalms. It is an archaic word, so old that folks have argued about its meaning for centuries. Perhaps it is a rest (just as we have “rests” in our music), crescendo, or similar musical direction. If you like, as you come to the word “selah” in your reading, rest! If this is the instruction, do not ignore it! Pause and reflect on what you read. Take it in and then proceed to the next section.
Other scholars suggest that “selah” is to be sung in the psalm. They say its meaning is similar to “amen,” or “hallelujah,” as a word of praise or exhortation. If this is the case, when you read “selah,” pause, reflect, say “Amen!” or “Praise to Jehovah!” and then continue reading with a refreshed and focused mind. See how it changes how you read this inspired poetry.
Whatever this term means, please pay attention to it as you read the psalms and note where it is written. I think the word placement (context) reveals much about this word.
Psalm 4 - "An Evening Prayer"Thursday, June 02, 2022
Psalm 4 “An Evening Prayer”
In our first article (Psalm 1), we noted that the psalms have a context and often complement each other. An example of such is seen in Psalms 3 and 4. These psalms complement each other and are often referred to as morning and evening prayers. No doubt, Psalm 4 is referred to as the evening prayer based on verse 8.
Psalm 4 is a psalm of trust. David cries out for God to hear him. He knows God has heard him in the past (v. 1), and with this confidence, he knows God will do it again. Though his enemies continue to harass him, longing for what is worthless and seeking falsehoods (v. 2, LSB), David knows God hears him (v. 3). What confidence and what trust! Friends, do you have this kind of trust in God today? Will He hear you when you call to Him? If not, why not (I Pet. 3:10-12)?
David then tells his enemies to turn to the Lord (v. 4). They needed to “offer the sacrifices of righteousness and put your trust in the Lord” (v. 5)! Is this not, in fact, the path to utterly destroying your enemies? Remind them of their need to be right with God so you can work together! By making your enemy a friend, we destroy this one for good. What did Jesus say about this? Read Matthew 5:43-48 and see if Jesus was not teaching the same principle as David was some 1000 years earlier. This is what we need to be doing today for our enemies. Bring them to the Lord (Mk. 16:15; II Tim. 2:2)!
Despite discouraging words from others (v. 6), David knows where his source of light, gladness, and peace comes (v. 7-8). It is God, and it is His peace (that passes all understanding, Phil. 4:7) that encourages, blesses, and comforts David (v. 8). He can sleep and pillow his head on the calm assurance of the Lord. The enemies come and go, and their harmful words come and go, but God remains!
Friends, can you pillow your head on the promises of God? Are you His child? If not, you can become one today and have the sweet assurance that filled David night and day (Mk. 16:16; Acts 22:16)!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
Psalm 1Wednesday, June 01, 2022
The psalms were songs sung by the Hebrews through the generations. While we know David wrote the majority of psalms, we see men like Moses, Solomon, Asaph, the Korahites, and others also penning these inspired songs. The psalms are true faith-building writings and worthy of our reading and study. These collected works have a context, and it would do us well to consider the teachings, the poetry, and the wisdom contained therein.
The first psalm clearly distinguishes between the righteous and wicked (v. 1, 4). This impresses me as I note that God says this is a distinction we can understand. Take note of many of our movies, TV shows, written works, games, internet shows, etc., and see how so many “good guys” also entertain doing evil when necessary. Further, it is not uncommon to see some “bad guys” portrayed as lovable or even “misunderstood.” The “white hats” and “black hats” that populated our entertainment in bygone days no longer exist! No wonder our children are not sure what is right and wrong when they are influenced by popular media daily! Parents, where are you (Eph. 6:4)? Christians, where are you (Matt. 5:14-16)?
Let us return to the Bible. Read Psalm 1 to your children today. Read it today for your personal application (Rom. 15:4)! When you do, you will see a clear distinction between the righteous and wicked (Ps. 1:1, 4). The difference in the kind of lives these men live could not be more apparent after reading this psalm! One lives a life of stability and focus (v. 3). He will prosper! The other lives a life of uncertainty and loss (v. 4)! Further, you will be shown what makes the righteous man righteous (v. 2-3) and the wicked man wicked (v. 4-5). Lastly, we are shown the results of righteous and wicked living (v. 3, 6).
Psalm 1 demands our attention and study (“day and night,” v. 2). Let us take time to consider this psalm well and then compare it to the teachings of Christ and the apostles. We will see the connections right away and see how it is best to do things the Lord’s way. Would God consider you a godly or ungodly person? Why did you answer the way you did? Compare yourself to Psalm 1 and see God’s definition of godly and ungodly, of who is “blessed” and who is “cursed”!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
Psalm 2Wednesday, June 01, 2022
Many have expressed their opinions about the nations addressed in this psalm. There are some aspects that God has kept vague, but I suggest this psalm is a reminder to every nation of who is really in charge of things! Beginning at the end, let us remember that the blessed people are those who put their trust in Him (God’s anointed King, v. 11-12). Have you put your trust in Him (Ps. 7:1, 11:1, 16:1, 25:2; I Tim. 4:10; II Cor. 10:7)?
When reading Psalm 2, some have tried to guess which “kings” and “rulers” joined to rage against God (v. 1-3). It really does not matter, for the end result is true for any man or nation who decides to rebel against God! When we look through history, we find many individuals, leaders of men, governments, etc., who have rebelled against God and ultimately failed. Friends, this is the point! No one can stand against God.
This is why the One who sits in the heavens laughs (v. 4). He laughs at their vain action. What can a man do to overpower God? Nothing! God will overcome (Rev. 17:14)!
This passage also has a Messianic focus (v. 6-7). Hebrews 1:5 quotes this psalm and applies it the Christ. To whom has God ever said, “thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?” He never said it to a man or an angel, only to Christ!
As this psalm closes, notice God instructs men to be “wise” (v. 10). How can we be wise? We need to listen to God’s instruction (v. 10), serve the Lord (v. 11), and worship Christ (“kiss the son;” “pay homage,” v. 12)! This is the path to real wisdom (Ps. 119:98-100).
Notice that the way God tells us to be wise is not what man says is necessary. They call what God instructs “foolishness” and their ways “wise.” Yet, God chose what men call foolish to confound and confuse those deemed “wise” (I Cor. 1:20-21, 25, 27-29).
Let’s reread Psalm 2 and be impressed with God’s power. He is in control. He rules and has sent His Son to be “King of kings and Lord of lords” (I Tim. 6:15). Will you listen to Him? Pray our rulers stop listening to men and listen to God before it is too late (I Tim. 2:1-4).
- Jarrod M. Jacobs