This psalm shows us a great contrast between the righteous and the wicked. David turns to God for his help (v. 1). Why? David says the godly and the faithful have ceased and are no more. I do not understand this to be an absolute statement, but a poetic statement where it seems he sees no righteous people around. Indeed, righteous people existed then (and today), for God always has His “7000” (I Kings 19:18; Rom. 11:3-4)! Yet, David cries out in sorrow about the words of the wicked (v. 2).
He quickly understands, though, that “the Lord shall cut them off” (v. 3). Do we ever get downtrodden? Do we think that the world is so far gone that it is beyond help? Have we ever asked where God is during these times? If you have, then let David answer these questions in Psalm 12.
The words of the wicked sound mighty and intimidating, but I must remember that God’s words are “pure words, as silver… purified seven times” (v. 6). This means God’s word is without a speck of imperfection. It is without a hint of error! Remember that “seven” symbolizes that which is perfect or complete. Therefore, if God’s word is like “silver … purified seven times,” we can be assured there is no error to be found here! Man will lie and change facts to suit himself or to make himself look good. God changes nothing! His very word is truth (Jn. 17:17) and needs no change! We need to listen to it above anything a man might tell us!
Finally, the wicked men roam or walk when the vilest are exalted (v. 8). Sadly, this seems to be the lot of men who live on earth. God speaks, but His word is ignored by the wicked. Wicked men roam, walk, or strut when the vile are exalted. We see examples of this daily! Solomon lamented the same thing in his writings (ex: Prov. 14:34; etc.). Yet, let us remember that God is still on His throne. His pure word is with us. One day, there will be a reckoning of these things (I Thess. 4:13-17; II Thess. 1:6-9). Where will you be when that happens?
Yes, we sympathize with David’s concern, but we also know there is hope in Christ (Eph. 4:4; Col. 1:27; I Pet. 1:3; I Jn. 3:3)! Let us focus on this, and let us tell others about the hope and joy we have in the Lord (Mk. 16:16; II Tim. 2:2).
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
Do you like sad songs? When a song comes on the radio that makes you want to cry or tells about the experience of a broken-hearted person, what does that do to you? Sad songs touch people in ways that joyous songs do not. Sad songs can make one look inwardly to examine oneself. Sad songs can make us upset at the “establishment” or an oppressor. Sad songs allow us to sympathize with the singer.
I believe Psalm 13 is one of the saddest psalms we read. David asks if God will forget him forever (v. 1). How sad! Have we been in situations where we felt alone or abandoned? This is how David feels. Can we sympathize?
I like the way The Israel Bible translates verse two. It says, “How long will I have cares on my mind, grief in my heart all day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand?” Have we had times like this?
Verses 3, 5, and 6 show us that within this man still beats a heart of hope. Unlike sad songs men might write today that leave us crying or simply feeling bad for the condition of the singer, David writes a psalm that declares that in such overwhelming sadness, there is hope. “I have trusted in thy mercy” (v. 5). He didn’t deny God had any mercy left! There is still mercy for God’s people, and it abounds. Are we aware of God’s mercy, or are we only seeing the sadness?
Often, when we are hurting the worst, is when God is the closest. He cares! Such times have been compared to when a storm rolls through the land. Lightning flashes, the thunder rolls, violent winds blow, and the rains drench the earth. Yet, all of us know that that bright, shining sun is on the other side of the clouds. It has not gone anywhere and will shine long after the storm is gone.
So it is with God! “I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me” (v. 6). Amen!
I know this is not the only sad song in the Psalms, but this song definitely causes us to look inward and examine and see where our faith really lies! Psalm 13 shows us where our hope needs to be! Where is your hope? Is it in men or God? Where is your faith when the storms rage (Ps. 13:6)?
- 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
Psalms 9-10 - Higgaion and Selah
I have been trying to write a little note about two psalms a day. In this case, two psalms were originally one psalm. I am told that Psalms 9 and 10 were originally one long psalm. At some point, this psalm was divided into two pieces. However, I want to combine them once more for this writing.
Those who know about this psalm tell us that it is an “alphabetical” psalm. Perhaps we thought Psalm 119 was the only one that fits this category. Not so! There are other “alphabetical” psalms. Unfortunately, translating from Hebrew to English lost that distinction for us. Yet, Hebrew scholars assure us that David used the first 11 letters of the Hebrew alphabet in Psalm 9:1-18 and the rest of the alphabet in Psalm 10:1-17!
While we could discuss much in these two psalms regarding the praise David has for God (Ps. 10:16), David’s prayer for the enemies’ defeat (Ps. 10:15), and many other things, I would like to focus on two words in the text.
I want to focus on the two words “Higgaion” and “Selah.” It is interesting to note that “Higgaion” is translated in other psalms (Ps. 19:14, 92:1-3, 2:1, 38:12; Isa. 59:3, 13; etc.), but not here. Here, the translators of the KJV, LSB, TIB, ASV, ESV, NET, NAS, and several others chose to “Anglicize” a Hebrew word. What does “Higgaion” mean? It is hard to know its exact meaning, but often it is considered an utterance or a call for meditation from the reader of the Psalms (Evan Blackmore. The Book of Psalms, Vol 1. 2017. p. 180). For this reason, a handful of translations render the word “meditation” (NKJV, NLT, LSV, etc.) and even “quiet interlude” (NLT). The next word in Psalm 9:16 is “Selah.” We remember from our study in Psalm 2 that this word is a complicated word. It can mean rest, but it also carries the idea of meditation at times.
Thus, as David pens this psalm, when he comes to verse 16 of Psalm 9, the musical notation is to rest or pause and meditate on what was said. I really like these words because I think they provide added emphasis to the songs and teaching. The blessed man is one who “meditates” (higgaion) on God’s word (Ps. 1:2). Do we meditate on the teaching in the psalms? They are rich!
By application, when we sing praises to God (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; Heb. 13:15; Jas. 5:13; etc.), are we truly thinking about and meditating upon the meaning? Though our songs are not verbally inspired like the psalms were (II Tim. 3:16-17; II Pet. 1:20-21), they are based in Scripture and worthy of our meditation because of the message they teach from God’s word. We also recognize that several psalms have been supplied with a tune, and we today worship God and sing the songs once penned by David in this way. Pause! Meditate! Think about what a privilege we have when we can read these songs and sing them to God!
Much more ought to be said, but please allow these words to encourage us to not only meditate on the words of Scripture but make sure we meditate on the “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” we direct to our God (Col. 3:16)! May they be holy! May they be offered “in spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4:24), that they might be a “sweet-smelling savor” to God (II Cor. 2:15).
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
Psalm 7 - 6/4/22
This psalm reminds us that while enemies can come from “without,” they can also come from “within”! Paul warned the Ephesians about this reality with Christians in Acts 20:28-32. In this reading, please note that this psalm was penned as a result of the actions of “Cush, the Benjamite.” There is some confusion about who “Cush” might have been, but there is no mistaking the term “Benjamite.” Remember that David was from Judah. Benjamin was one of the other Israelite tribes. This means David was crying to God for deliverance from his own people!
Sadly, harm will come to us from those closest to us at times. This is not something we like to think about, but remember that even Jesus went to ‘his own, and his own received him not” (Jn. 1:11)! It was Paul who warned the elders that, “of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:30). Another example is Diotrephes (III Jn. 9-10). He would have been among the brethren John addressed in his letter. He would not have been someone from “outside” but a member of the congregation who loved the “preeminence”!
As we read Psalm 7, it doesn’t escape my notice that David cries for God’s justice in this case. Punishment needs to come from the Lord in this matter (Ps. 7:10-11). Yes, let us remember that God needs to be the One who punishes. It is not for us to take vengeance on others (Rom. 12:19). “The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (Jas. 1:20).
We need to read the pronouns carefully in this song, but notice how the men who turn to wickedness and hurt themselves in the end (Ps. 7:15-16). This is the way of the wicked. Wicked schemes and actions will ultimately fail! Sin will not prevail, but righteousness will (v. 9-10)! David declares this knowledge, but no doubt, it is still hard to endure under such conditions (v. 1, 14). How much harder is it when we see people acting in an evil way who should know better? Remember, this was a “Benjamite” who had done this to David! It was not a Philistine, Ammonite, Moabite, or some other “heathen” from a foreign nation!
A few things we can learn from this psalm include:
1. Let us make sure we are not acting as the Benjamite. Let us be a people who are living right and speaking right (Phil. 4:8-9; Jn. 13:34-35).
2. Let us understand that even brethren can disappoint us at times. Sometimes, they do worse than this and berate and hurt us. Let us be like David and trust that God sees and knows what is happening in those situations. He will take care of things if we are patient and allow Him to do His work (Ps. 7:1, 9-11)!
Reread Psalm 7 and take comfort in God who sees and knows. Trust Him, and let us find the good even when hard times are upon us, and people (especially brethren) wish to hurt us (II Tim. 3:12). Take all of your care to God as David did (I Pet. 5:7), and know God sees and is ready to help us in our troubles.
- Jarrod M. Jacobs