Psalm 16 is a very interesting song. Among other things, it has a prophetic section, wherein Peter, being guided by the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4) preached about the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. In so doing, he quoted from portions of Psalm 16.
In this “divine commentary,” we are assured that the One David was talking about in Psalm 16:8-11 was his descendant, Jesus the Messiah (Acts 2:25-28, 31)! David would die and his body buried, and that would be all, but the One to come would have a body that would not see corruption, because it was resurrected (Ps. 16:10; Acts 2:31)!
The beauty and glory of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ cannot be overemphasized. In this case, David speaks of it some 1000 years before it happened! He speaks about it with perfect clarity, so that none can misunderstand. Let us be thankful for this! Truly Christ is declared to be the Son of God by the resurrection (Rom. 1:4). Baptism has power to save because of the resurrection (I Pet. 3:21). Since Christ resurrected, we know we will one day (I Cor. 15:12-20)!
Let us be warned, though. In this same psalm we learn, “Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god” (Ps. 16:4). Let us not be enamored by other “gods.” Those things take our focus and our fidelity away from God!
It is a constant warning from God that we not be involved in idolatry. This is seen from Genesis to Revelation! John’s last words in his first epistle are to Christians, reminding them, “keep yourselves from idols” (I Jn. 5:22)! God thinks it necessary we stay away from idols and idolatry. Our sorrows will be multiplied when we do not avoid them!
What might be “gods” (idols) to us? Certainly any object, person, idea, or action that we place above God! The apostle Paul reminds us that “covetousness … is idolatry” (Col. 3:5). In this way, think about I Timothy 6:10. The “love of money” is “the root of all evil,” and those who strive for it will “pierce themselves through with many sorrows”! This passage kind of sounds like Psalm 16:4, doesn’t it? Let us make sure we put nothing above God (Matt. 6:33)!
Friends, let us take seriously the multifaceted Psalm 16. It has prophecies we see fulfilled in Christ, and has practical warnings for people of every age! We can learn much when we heed the inspired words of David.
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
Psalm 11 - 6/7/22
As every Bible student knows, some passages demand greater attention to detail. Some passages can be read once or twice, and we comprehend the statement. Other passages require several more readings to truly understand what is said. For me, Psalm 11 required several readings to understand the “feel” and flow of the song.
In reading this psalm, it is apparent that David declares his trust in the Almighty (v. 1). He displayed a trust we all ought to have. When I put my trust in God (v. 1), then why listen to the ones trying to scare me (v. 1b-3)? This section, to me, seemed very difficult until I realized that the last of verse 1 through verse 3 was a statement made by the enemy to David! This is just one of many occasions where I think the verse divisions were not helpful to the reader (me)! When one reads this and sees that the enemy is speaking from verse 1 through verse 3, the rest of the psalm makes much more sense. Verses 4-7 are then David’s answer to his enemy!
Putting the praise and the accusations side-by-side, we have a song declaring David’s trust in the Lord in everything (v. 1).
- Why would he flee to the mountain (v. 1) when God is on the throne in Heaven (v. 4)?
- Why fear man’s bows and arrows (v. 2) when God can rain down fire and brimstone (v. 6)?
- Finally, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do” (v. 3)? This statement is true and scary when taken on its own. I believe I have read articles and heard sermons concerning “if the foundations are destroyed.” Remember, in context, this statement was made by an enemy who assumed the foundations could be destroyed! They will not be destroyed so long as God is on His throne (v. 4), condemning the wicked (v. 6), and allowing the upright to behold His face (v. 7)!
Thus, David can take courage!
When I observe this world and see many wicked things happening, I get depressed. I wonder what “I” can do. I get even more depressed when I see “I” can do nothing on my own (Jn. 15:5). Perhaps David thought this way at times. I know Asaph did (Ps. 73)! Psalm 11 is God’s inspired encouragement to David (and us, Rom. 15:4) that regardless of how bad things may look through your eyes, you can be encouraged, strengthened, and ready to face the enemy when we look at things through God’s eyes!
God has an answer for whatever man might throw at us. If you deny this, read Psalm 11 again (and again) until you get it!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
Psalm 5 “Another Morning Prayer”
Here we have another morning prayer offered to God in song (Ps. 5:2-3). In it, we find praise to God for His character and the condemnation of the character of evil men. It clarifies what kind of God David (and we) are worshipping (Jn. 4:24; Josh. 24:14). Jehovah is not like the pagan gods of the nations. Those gods were often portrayed as nothing more than glorified men. They would act like men, sin as men, etc. David declares that God does not take pleasure in wickedness (v. 4). He hates all who work iniquity (v. 5; Heb. 1:9).
Note the contrast as David prays God will destroy the evildoers (v. 6, 9-10) while praying for God’s fellowship when doing righteously (v. 7-8, 11-12). This recurring theme is taught throughout the Old and New Testaments. There is such a thing as right/wrong, as godly/ungodly, and we need to recognize the distinction. Our world wishes to blur these “lines” until we cannot tell righteous from unrighteous. Friends, that is a tactic of the devil. “Woe” to people who accept this false doctrine and act this way (Isa. 5:20-25).
There is a beauty in the simplicity of David’s prayer. At the same time, there is a depth that demands our contemplation. Though “selah” is not used in this psalm, it is proper to pause and consider what is said (II Cor. 13:5). Where do I fit in this psalm? Am I described in verses like 5-6 or 9-10? Am I described in verses like 7-9 or 11-12?
Verses 4 and 7 speak of evil not dwelling with God and of David going to God’s house. While this conjures up many thoughts, let me suggest that David is speaking of fellowship at its most basic. We will see this concept repeated throughout the psalms. David is focused on making sure he is in fellowship with God, and he often describes this with terms like dwelling in God’s house (v. 7; Ps. 23:6; etc.). In our modern thinking, we might equate this with Heaven, but I understand this to mean something David intends to experience on earth as well. Fellowship with God is realized now. While we look forward to Heaven one day, let us remember our fellowship and closeness with God are experienced while we are on earth.
Go back and read Psalm 5. Perhaps this is a psalm we need to pray every morning as David did!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
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
When we read through the book of Leviticus, we see God mandating what is necessary to do in the various sacrifices and offerings that are brought to Him. He is exact in the method of sacrifice, who is to do it, etc. He not only discusses these things but also talks about what was to be done with the entrails, skin, dung, and other aspects of the animals that people tend to forget when reading about sacrifices. As we noted in an earlier study, since we have fewer people familiar with what it takes to process an animal so that the meat is suitable for eating, fewer think about what happens to the parts of the animals that are not eaten!
God in His wisdom made provisions for every part of these animals. When we read such passages as Leviticus 4:11-12, 8:17, 9:11, and 16:27-28, we see God commanding the priests to take the skin, the entrails, the dung, and remove them outside of the city to be burned. This is repeated in Numbers 19:1-10 and other places.
Why was this important to God to specify that the bull’s head, the skin, the entrails, dung, etc., was to be taken and burned? Indeed, we can comment upon a spiritual truth. No doubt, these actions foreshadowed the time described by the Hebrew writer in Hebrews 13:11-13. Just as the sacrifice was taken outside the city walls, so also Jesus was taken, and killed outside the walls of Jerusalem (Mk. 15:20-24; Jn. 19:17-18)!
Might I suggest that this command also helped them in a physical way? Remember that these people did not know about communicable diseases, microbes, viruses, and other things we are aware of today. They had no understanding about how diseases might be spread! For centuries, many who had been wounded in war died excruciating deaths, not from their wounds, but from the gangrene, blood poisoning and other problems that crept up from the lack of hygiene in the surgery tents on the battlefields and in the hospitals.
Have we ever considered the fact that God was providing a way by which men might be safe from disease? This came not only in the destruction of the animal’s parts that carried disease but also in the various washings (Ex. 29:17, 30:20-21, 40:12; Lev. 11:25-40; Lev. 13-15; Num. 19:7-10)? What about the statement that, in some instances, men are “unclean” for a day? With certain skin diseases, they were considered unclean for a week, etc. This form of “quarantine” allowed the sick time to bathe and time to change clothes. If the disease demanded a longer quarantine time, then this permitted the person to recover and not expose family members, the tribe, etc., to the same illness!
Consider the fact that God forbade the people from drinking water that had first touched a dead carcass (Lev. 11:36). Might we venture a guess as to why God said don’t drink that water? Yes, I believe they (and we) could make a spiritual application to this, but might there also have been a physical, bodily reason why God wouldn’t want people drinking water that had first touched a dead thing?
In Leviticus 13:44-55, we see laws concerning the leprous people. Notice that they had to cry “Unclean” as people approached them. Why? Again, notice God expected them to cover their upper lips. Why cover the lips? Is it not for the same reason we teach our children to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze? God went so far in this text as to say if the leprosy was on their clothes, then burn their clothes! Why do this? I think we understand now what God was doing.
God’s rules are not arbitrary. Though men might not always understand the purpose when it is spoken, there is reason and logic for God saying what He has said. These few examples bear this out. In a time when men thought nothing of diseases and spread them to others, God knew about them and caused His people to make provisions so that they might be healthy in spirit and also in body!
Once we understand this truth, look into the New Testament and think about the various rules concerning marriage (Matt. 19:4-6; Heb. 13:4), drinking (I Pet. 4:3-4), obedience to parents (Eph. 6:1-4), and numerous other statements of God. In light of what we have learned, we can know that God’s commands, His rules, are not just random thoughts. They have true meaning and purpose that allows us to not only prepare for the life to come but also allows us to enjoy life now!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs