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Psalms 131; 138-139; 143-145 Listen
LORD, my heart is not haughty (Psalm 131)
A Song of degrees of David.
1 LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.
2 Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.
3 Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever.
Here's a very short Psalm written by David. The introduction to this Psalm says Song of Degrees. Here's the entry from Easton's Bible Dictionary regarding the meaning of this introduction:
Song of Degrees: song of steps, a title given to each of these fifteen psalms, 120–134 inclusive. The probable origin of this name is the circumstance that these psalms came to be sung by the people on the ascents or goings up to Jerusalem to attend the three great festivals (Deut. 16:16). They were well fitted for being sung by the way from their peculiar form, and from the sentiments they express. “They are characterized by brevity, by a key-word, by epanaphora [i.e., repetition], and by their epigrammatic style...More than half of them are cheerful, and all of them hopeful.” They are sometimes called “Pilgrim Songs.” Four of them were written by David, one (127) by Solomon, and the rest are anonymous.
David uses an interesting simile here in these verses. He is content in the Lord just as a recently-fed baby in the presence of his mother - no fretting over sustenance - just contented fellowship.
A Psalm of thanks (Psalm 138)
A Psalm of David.
1 I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee.
2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
3 In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.
4 All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, when they hear the words of thy mouth.
5 Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the LORD: for great is the glory of the LORD.
6 Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.
8 The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.
You will notice in this Psalm of David a declaration of thanks, his reasons for thanks, a call to praise, and his expression of confidence in God. David was surrounded by nations that were polytheistic. He proclaims in verse 1, "I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee." He makes it clear that he'll not compromise the worship of the true God for political correctness. As a matter of fact, his world view is almost prophetic when he asserts in verse 4, "All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, when they hear the words of thy mouth." He's convinced that there's coming a day when they'll acknowledge the one true God as well. That gives this Psalm a little of that Messianic Kingdom flavor.
A personal relationship with God (Psalm 139)
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.
1 O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.
2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.
5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.
19 Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men.
20 For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain.
21 Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?
22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm reveals how very personal his relationship with God is. David
displays the intense interest God has in every aspect of the lives of
his people. And when did God begin to display this interest in David's
life? There's the answer in verse 13, "For thou hast possessed my
reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb." Let's face it, David was certain that his life began in his mother's womb.
Notice four attributes of God listed here by David:
I find verses 21-22 particularly interesting here: "Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies." Ouch! That's not very politically correct in today's Christian circles. The Hebrew word there for "perfect" means "complete/thorough." Hey! I don't make the news, I just report it. And...that's what David himself wrote in this Psalm with regard to his attitude toward those who have set themselves against God.
Deliver me from my enemies (Psalm 143)
A Psalm of David.
1 Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness.
2 And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.
3 For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead.
4 Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.
5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.
6 I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah.
7 Hear me speedily, O LORD: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.
8 Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.
9 Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me.
10 Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.
11 Quicken me, O LORD, for thy name’s sake: for thy righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.
12 And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant.
Psalm 143 was written by David and is one of the seven penitential psalms, the others being Psalm 6 (see notes), Psalm 32 (see notes), Psalm 38 (see notes), Psalm 51 (see notes), Psalm 102 (see notes), Psalm 130 (see notes). David
is asking God for his favor and deliverance. He's obviously going
through some adversity as he is writing this Psalm. He longs for the
good ol' days in verse 5.
Following is a brief outline of this Psalm:
Blessed be the LORD my strength (Psalm 144)
A Psalm of David.
1 Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:
2 My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me.
3 LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!
4 Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.
5 Bow thy heavens, O LORD, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.
6 Cast forth lightning, and scatter them: shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them.
7 Send thine hand from above; rid me, and deliver me out of great waters, from the hand of strange children;
8 Whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood.
9 I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee.
10 It is he that giveth salvation unto kings: who delivereth David his servant from the hurtful sword.
11 Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood:
12 That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace:
13 That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store: that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets:
14 That our oxen may be strong to labour; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets.
15 Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.
David prays for the Lord's help and the Lord's blessings upon his people. He credits his accomplishments to God. When God's people are dependent on God, what is their attitude? Psalm 144:15 says it all, "Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD."
Following is a brief outline of this Psalm:
A very poetic Psalm (Psalm 145)
David’s Psalm of praise.
1 I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever.
2 Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.
3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.
4 One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.
5 I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.
6 And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness.
7 They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness.
8 The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.
9 The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.
10 All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee.
11 They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power;
12 To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.
13 Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.
14 The LORD upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.
15 The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season.
16 Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.
18 The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.
19 He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.
20 The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.
21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.
David was waxing very poetic when he wrote this one. This is an acrostic Psalm like Psalm 119 (but much shorter). Each verse begins with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet. There is one deviation from this acrostic style - no "nun," the equivalent to our letter "n." Without Hebrew manuscript evidence to do so, the NIV and the New Living Translation add a verse for this letter of the Hebrew alphabet and append the verse to the end of verse 13. Their reasoning for doing so apparently lies in its entry into the Greek Septuagint and a recent discovery of its presence in one of the documents discovered among the Dead Sea scrolls. Of the commonly used translations today, no other Bible translation with which I am familiar makes any attempt to enter it into the text with such weak textual evidence. This Psalm is all about praising God.