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Psalm 113: “The Name”

This psalm is one of praise and victory. This opens and closes with “Praise the Lord!” In the first 3 verses, the psalmist blesses or praises the name of the Lord. We know this to be important because of the 3rd commandment. Notice how the name of the Lord is placed 3rd after no other gods and no idols. It is a very important commandment. His name is worthy to be praised. Verse 5 also asks a very important question, “who is like the Lord, our God?” The psalmist answers this question with an indirect answer, instead of saying something like, “no one!”, he instead provides examples of God’s holiness and goodness. He speaks to the Lord’s provision for the needy and the poor. He speaks to the Lord’s provision in providing child to the barren woman. Finally, notice throughout the psalm that there are no promises of riches or prosperity, but that of provision. He knows what we need and will provide it. We are to respond to that in worship, and share with others. What a great God we serve. 


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Psalm 112: “Blessed"

This psalm seems to be a companion psalm to Psalm 111. It starts the same way, with the words, “praise the Lord!” The psalmist goes on to say that the one who fears the Lord follows His commandments (remember 111:10, where we read that the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”) This is yet another reminder of our overall and expected response to the Lord’s grace, obedience. Recall that Psalm 110 was about God. Psalm 111 is about the righteous man - who is declared righteous by God. Here, we read that the Lord provides for the righteous, the righteous man will never be moved (meaning that he will be sustained), and he gives to the poor. This is a very condensed definition of a righteous "man". We see another similar description in Job 29 (specifically verses 7-17) and of course in Ephesians 5. Often times we see the contrast in these types of writtings, and it is no different here. In verse 10, we see the description of the wicked man. He hates the blessings of the righteous man. He continues to desire his own way. You see, it is important to see the difference between the righteous and the wicked. When the world sees no difference, then as Christians we are in big trouble. We must go back to verse one (or frankly, all the way back to Psalm 1) and delight in His commandments.


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Psalm 111: “Praise!”

The psalm begins with “praise the Lord” and ends with “His praise endures forever!” What a neat way to bookend this psalm. Because of how it opens, this psalm is categorized as a Hallelujah psalm. It is also an acrostic psalm, where each line of the psalm is followed by the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet. If you hadn’t figured it out yet, this psalm is about God. I love the phrase “with my whole heart” at the end of verse 1, as it reminds us that our praises can never be half-hearted, but only with our whole heart. Verses 2-6 tell us of His great works, and why we praise Him. Verses 7-9 speak to who He is.  He (and His works) are described as faithful, just, trustworthy, everlasting, upright, the redeemer, holy, and awesome. Then finally. We get to verse 10, where we are told that wisdom is not only from God, but also gifted by God to those who fear Him. We’ve talked about fear before, and in this context it refers to a reverent fear of the Lord. We should not be afraid in the sense that if we sneeze without saying excuse me, then we will be struck down - although He is fully capable and it’s within His right  to do so. Rather, we fear Him because of His holiness, knowing that we will never live up to His standard. But that is why He sent His only Son, to meet that standard on our behalf, to die as that perfect sacrifice, to rise to show that He conquered the penalty of sin, as a free gift, so we can be saved. What an awesome Lord that we serve! It’s no wonder why “praise“ opens and closes this great Psalm. Praise Him! 


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Psalm 110: "King"

This is likely one of the more known psalms, particularly if you are a "new testament believer." Because it happens to be one of the most cited psalms. James Montgomery Boice counted 27 indirect or direct quotes or allusions to Psalm 110 in the New Testament. This psalm fits under the "royal" category of the psalms, and points (seemingly) to a future picture of Christ. Specifically, we see the rule of Christ. Verse 1 is one that is commonly quoted or referenced in the New Testament, most notably in Matthew 22:43-45 when Jesus Himself quoted this verse when speaking of Himself. There are many people out there who argue that Jesus never claimed to be God, and this is one of several verses that disagree with that. Peter also quoted this verse in Acts 2:24-26 speaking about the ascension of Jesus. And the writer of Hebrews quoted this verse in 10:13 regarding the rule and dominion of Jesus. Another familiar pasage in this psalm comes from verse 4, regard Christ as priest "after the order of Melchizedek." The original reference comes from Genesis 14, but this mysterious priest is also mentioned in Hebrews 5-7. The priestood of Jesus was like Melchizedek as they both were king and priest of Jerusalem. Overall this Psalm speaks to Jesus' reign in His Second Coming. This rule, as described in this Psalm shows Jesus as the conqueror and that His rightful place is King over all. This is the hope that Christians have. While we see many other forms of governing power, we can rest assured that the Lord  is King. 


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Psalm 109: “Victory Over our Enemies”

We come to another psalm of David. In this Psalm, we see an individual lament against an enemy. Verses 6-20 are really a prayer against their enemies. In summation, the prayer calls for the Lord to give them what they deserve. I find this to be a scary prayer. Imagine if someone prayed that against us? What we deserve is death because of our sin, and I’m sure that’s not what we would like as a prayer for us. Obviously, the circumstances of that prayer then and for us today, is that Israel and David were under constant attack from enemies. Reading it closer, there seems to be a certain ruler in mind in David’s prayer. In verses 26 and following, we see David turn the credit to the Lord, in faith, knowing that the Lord will save him from his enemies. Our enemy today is the devil. And through prayer and staying close to the Lord, we can can overcome him. It is difficult to understand this, but we know it to be true because of His Word (see Romans 8). 


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Psalm 108: “Victory in the Lord”

This is a unique psalm as it seems to borrow from two others. Verses 1-5 are borrowed from 57:7-11 and verses 6-13 are borrowed from 60:5-12. Together this lamenting psalm is both individual and community. As we’ve noted before, many of these lamenting psalms include a lot of praise. You really do see this clearly in verses 1-6, then we see the tone shift a little in verse 7 and following. Here we see David remind us of His promises, and requests to be victorious over our enemies. Isn’t that what we all want? To be victorious? One area that we all should pray for victory over is our sin. If you think about it,  war, famine and other things that they struggled with then, and we do even today are all a result of our sin. Would you do that today? Pray for victory over your sin. 


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Psalm 107: "The Steadfast Love of the Lord”

This psalm begins the final book of the Psalms, although it does seem to be connected to the prior two psalms we’ve looked at. The common theme of the Lord’s steadfast and enduring love remains in this psalm. We also see some hints of some historical context in this psalm. For example, we see 4 groups of people in this psalm. The first group in verses 4-9 are those who wandered. This of course is reminiscent of the wilderness march in the book of Numbers. The second group in verses 10-16 speak of those in the darkness, possibly speaking of captivity or slavery. The third group in verses 17-22 speaks of those who have suffered. Specifically those who suffer because of their own folly. The fourth group speaks of those who went “down to the sea in ships.” Another way to look at this psalm is by breaking it into 4 stanzas of a song. These 4 stanzas speak to 4 aspects of the Lord. In verses 1-7, it speaks to the Lord’s providence. In verses 8-20, His parson. In verses 21-30, His protection and in verses 31-43, His power. Isn’t His Word neat? We see so much throughout the Scriptures. Much of it points us back to what the Lord has done, what He is currently doing, and His promises to us in the future. We’ve seen throughout the Scriptures that He is faithful. Praise the Lord and His steadfast love! 


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Psalm 106: “Give Thanks”

I have enjoyed the, not so subtle, reminders in these psalms. We see the reminder to give thanks to open this psalm. We also see the reminder that the Lord’s love endures forever. This an important phrase because often times we are reminded of our past and what Christians call the “old self,” so it is key to understand that the Lord remains good and His love for us does not end when we sin. The theme of remembrance continues in this psalm, as you may remember that this psalm carries on from Psalm 105, speaking of Israel’s past. We read of the rebuking of the Red Sea, the idolatry with the golden calf, the worship of other gods, the disobedience relating to destroying the Canaanites from Judges 2-3. Again, we see the reminder of the Lord’s enduring love. This remains key as the closes verses of this chapter remind and reveal that the Lord was going to destroy the people of Israel for their disobedience, but Moses intervened. We also know from the Scriptures that the Lord will not turn His back on His promises or His people. In fact we see that all the way back in verse 8, that He saves the people for His name’s sake. You see, the Lord is good but He also punishes those who oppose Him. He desires that all people are saved, and are made right through the blood of Jesus. According to the Scriptures, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, you will be saved. It’s no coincidence that the people were punished for their disobedience because we know too from the scriptures that our faith is shown through our works and actions. Do your actions show your faith?


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Psalm 105: “Remember His Works”

I think one of the more powerful commands in this psalm comes from the very first verse: “make known His deeds among the peoples.” I suppose the natural question to follow this would be, what deeds are we making known? Considering the genre of this psalm, which is a historical psalm, we have some hints. This psalm and the next are connected. Psalm 105 speaks of the covenant with Abraham, Jacob and Isaac. It then speaks of Joseph, then Moses and Aaron. He speaks of the Exodus and the plagues of Egypt leading to the Exodus. This psalm even takes the reader back to Canaan, the land promised to Abraham, as told in Joshua. This is quite the history for a psalm. It points the reader back to remember its roots and where they once were, slaves, and where they are now, free. It is important for us to remember our past as well, praising the Lord for His works and telling others of them. 


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