Friday, October 21, 2011

Reflecting on the Psalms: Concluding thoughts

Reading and reflecting on the Psalms was a great experience for me in terms of absorbing talking about God's Word. I got a lot of it and put a lot into and I'd that God helped me out both ways, so I thank Him for that. I didn't understand every verse, but I tried to comment on most of 'em as best I could. I am still open to corrections in case an interpretation needs to be corrected. Remember to correct me respectfully, though.

When I studied Martin Luther a few months ago, one of the things I read was his Preface to the Psalms. I can't seem to find an exact quote, but I remember reading a statement of his that said something along the lines of Psalms is a book that covers all the basic Christian beliefs. I agree with him because reading the messianic Psalms, for example, I already had an idea of Christ was because of reading the New Testament. However, a chapter Psalm 22 covers the basic belief that Christ was (to be) crucified since it is prophetic in nature. I figure if I started out reading Psalms and no other book before that, I would've had a good understanding of Christianity and the prophecies concerning Christ. There are passages in Psalms that speak of the Lord as one's salvation. I already knew He was my salvation before reading and reflecting on the passages concerning that aspect of Him since I had exposed myself to other passages that illustrate that He can be one's salvation, but I do feel that the Lord as one's salvation is another basic belief in Christianity since He has saved and will continue to save sinners. Since I'm not gonna list every basic Christian belief which is described in Psalms, I will end this paragraph a third one: God's omniscience and omnipresence, which are both talked about in Psalm 139. I feel that those are basic Christian beliefs because if God wasn't omniscient and omnipresent, He wouldn't be the Christian God. In fact, He'd probably some other kind of god since being omniscient and omnipresent are part of His attributes.

I thank those that have taken time to have read the scriptures and my reactions to the Pslams and I pray that the Lord will continue to use His Word to anyone who may come across my blog needing words of comfort or is just curious about the Word. Hey, if I plant some seeds, that's cool and I figure God can and will (continue to) use His Word as He pleases. I probably will blog on scripture and apologetics-related subjects in the future, which should be fun. I'll also go back to talking about life and stuff and maybe review some stuff and pretty whatever else is on my mind for more a variety-focused direction.

Reflecting on the Psalms: Chapter 150

Psalm 150

1Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.
2Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.
3Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.
4Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
5Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.

6Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.

Chapter 150

I like Matthew Henry's insight on the first few verses, "We are here stirred up to praise God. Praise God for his sanctuary, and the privileges we enjoy by having it among us; praise him because of his power and glory in the firmament." I am reminded of times in church when the Holy Spirit has worked in the service and stirred up His people. I've talked about those before, so there's really no need to go into detail about that. I do praise Him for His mighty acts and for His greatness (v. 2), mostly in my private time with Him. I don't believe I need to be around others to get stirred up to praise God -- praising Him in my own time in the past has stirred me up, I guess as a result of getting choked up when praising Him. There has been a time or two when I praised Him aloud -- or out loud? -- in the past there was a time or two when I praised Him for His mighty acts and for His greatness, which is what I've been describing. In regards to verses 3-5, I talked about praising God with instruments when I reflected on chapter 149. I think, though, that instruments are not reuqired to praise Him and that praising Him for whatever is more intimate without instruments. I have breath and I praise Him for all the good things He does and I figure every one of His people do(es) remember to praise in the good and bad times. I like Henry's insight in regards to the book's ending, "Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord. Such is the very suitable end of a book inspired by the Spirit of God, written for the work of praise; a book which has supplied the songs of the church for more than three thousand years; a book which is quoted more frequently than any other by Christ and his apostles; a book which presents the loftiest ideas of God and his government, which is fitted to every state of human life, which sets forth every state of religious experience, and which bears simple and clear marks of its Divine origin." I don't have much to add to that, but I will do a conclusion to the Psalms for my next entry.

                                                Source used:

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 150". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Reflecting on the Psalms: Chapter 149

Psalm 149

1Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.
2Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.
3Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.
4For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.
5Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds.
6Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand;
7To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people;
8To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron;

9To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD.

Chapter 149

For clarity, here's Matthew Henry's insight on the first few verses: "New mercies continually demand new songs of praise, upon earth and in heaven. And the children of Zion have not only to bless the God who made them, but to rejoice in him, as having created them in Christ Jesus unto good works, and formed them saints as well as men." I don't have a lot to say about that, but I know that in the past, I have praised and continue to praise Him for all the good things He has done in my life -- such as freeing me from my darkest moment and helping me out in my math class. I sung a new song to Him by praising Him for helping me out, which would also count as rejoicing and being joyful in Him (v. 2). I don't really use instruments to praise the Lord (v. 3), but I know that when I'm church on a Sunday, there are some that do as part of the worship. I guess, though, that that verse reminds me just to praise God just for being God and being good, which I can do with or without others. Since God takes pleasure in me (v. 4), I give back to Him by rejoicing in Him. I believe that some of the things I do to illustrate that I rejoice (or take joy in Him) include following His plan for my life, reading and obeying His Word, and praising Him. I don't really have to go into detail about those, but I'm glad that I can praise and worship Him in more than one way. I'm not sure what I'd say about verse 5 except that I rejoice in the glory (or honor) of the fact that He takes pleasure in me. For clarity, here's Matthew Henry's insight on verses 6-9: "Some of God's servants of old were appointed to execute vengeance according to his word. They did not do it from personal revenge or earthly politics, but in obedience to God's command. And the honour intended for all the saints of God, consists in their triumphs over the enemies of their salvation." So basically I'm not gonna kill someone for vengeance reasons and say that God told me to do it. However, I did face a spiritual during my darkest moment and trust in God's Word was what helped me to triumph. In terms of verse 6, I am reminded of Hebrews 4:12, which says, "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Taking both verses into account, I just continued to trust in God during my darkest moment -- which I see as form as praise to Him since I wasn't being arrogant by trusting in myself. Trusting in Him was what helped to puch through my drakest moment since I knew He was gonna eventually deliver me. Verse 9 is interesting because by trusting in God, I knew that He would take care of the enemy and have vegenace upon him (V. 7) and He did. That's what the verse means to me anyway. And eventually, when the time for the enemy's demise comes, I wouldn't be surprised if part of the reason of includes the fact that enemy tried to influence and mislead God's people. The part that says "the judgement written" is an allusion to Numbers 24:17-24, which I'll include for the sake of context...

17I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.
18And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly.
19Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city.
20And when he looked on Amalek, he took up his parable, and said, Amalek was the first of the nations; but his latter end shall be that he perish for ever.
21And he looked on the Kenites, and took up his parable, and said, Strong is thy dwellingplace, and thou puttest thy nest in a rock.
22Nevertheless the Kenite shall be wasted, until Asshur shall carry thee away captive.
23And he took up his parable, and said, Alas, who shall live when God doeth this!

24And ships shall come from the coast of Chittim, and shall afflict Asshur, and shall afflict Eber, and he also shall perish for ever.

I'm gonna let the passage speak for itself, but I thought the parallel was interesting. I figure God has a judgement in mind for those who opporess His people and will carry out the judgment(s) as He sees fit.

                                                   Source used:

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 149". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Reflecting on the Psalms: Chapter 148

Psalm 148

1Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights.
2Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts.
3Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light.
4Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens.
5Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.
6He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass.
7Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps:
8Fire, and hail; snow, and vapours; stormy wind fulfilling his word:
9Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars:
10Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl:
11Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth:
12Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children:
13Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.

14He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the LORD.

Chapter 148

I like Matthew Henry's insight on the first few verses: "We, in this dark and sinful world, know little of the heavenly world of light. But we know that there is above us a world of blessed angels. They are always praising God, therefore the psalmist shows his desire that God may be praised in the best manner; also we show that we have communion with spirits above, who are still praising him." I don't have a lot to say about that, but what the first three verses mean to me is that I shouldn't let this dark world keep me from praising Him. I'd say that when I praise Him, I'm not giving into sin and I'm doing the right thing. Also, I can praise and worship Him in many ways, which will result in Him blessing me. I don't glorify Him just to be blessed, though. In verse 4, I'd say the heavens praise God since they declare His glory. I can't see God, but I'm thankful that I can see His glory -- since it emanates from Him -- in His creation. So if I look at the heavens -- or the universe -- I can see the beauty that illustrates all that He is, which is what it means for the heavens to praise Him or for the heavens to declare His glory. In regards to verse 5, I've already talked about the power of God's voice towards His creation, so there's really no need to repeat myself. I don't have a lot to say about verse 6, but what I get out of the "he hath made a decree which shall not pass" is that God's creation -- in the context of verse 5 -- does not go beyond what He commands. I can't relate to verse 7, but I still wanna talk about it. "Dragons" can be translated as "sea monsters." I'd say that the sea monsters praise Him by doing the purpose He created them for. I guess one of their purposes would be defending small fish that are dealing with enemies so God's will can be done in the animal kingdom. I haven't thought too much about God's purposes for sea monsters, so I might explore them at a later time. What I get out verses 7-13 is that His creation was made to praise Him and also that praise isn't just something He gets from man. I'm not exactly sure mountaains and tress and stuff praise Him (v. 9) expect for fullfilling the purpose He created them for. Same goes for verse 10. However, since people are able to praise Him (vv. 11-12) in words and actions, they don't praise Him just by fulfilling His purpose for them. I believe that is one of the ways in which they praise Him, though. What I mean by that is that one of the ways a person praises God is by fulfilling His plan for their life. Not each individual animal has a plan set out by God for its life, so animals are different in that aspect. I believe that every cow has the same purpose and so does every shark just for the sake of using an example. I've already expressed how His creation (vv. 7-12) praises Him (v. 13) and I think the contrast that I noticed is kinda neat. I don't have much to say about verse 14, but here's Henry's insight on it: "May the Lord pardon us, and teach our hearts to love him more and praise him better."

                                                   Source used:

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 148". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Reflecting on the Psalms: Chapter 147

Psalm 147

1Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.
2The LORD doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.
3He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
4He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.
5Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.
6The LORD lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.
7Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:
8Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.
9He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.
10He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.
11The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.
12Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion.
13For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates; he hath blessed thy children within thee.
14He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat.
15He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly.
16He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes.
17He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold?
18He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow.
19He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel.

20He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD.

Chapter 147

It is good to sing praises to Him (v. 1). I'd say that praise is comely, to me, because when I'm engaged in worshipping and praising Him, I am humbling myself before Him, which can be an amazing thing. What verse 2 means to me is that before a person becomes a Christian, they're an outcast and it is God's grace that brings them to Him. I thank Him for transforming everyone He has so far and I'm glad to be a part of the kingdom and that I can serve in it. I can't say I've thought too much that I was an outcast before I became a Christian, but it's true because I've seen examples of it -- people who were addicted to drugs before coming to Christ just to name one. He even healed those who were addicted (v. 3), which I'm thankful for because it's a great thing to see that miracles still happen. I wasn't addicted to drugs before becoming a Christian, but I guess God healed me by saving me at an early age so I wouldn't have to live as a drug addict before coming to Christ. I don't have much to say about verse 4 as a stand alone verse, but if I were to connect it to verse 5, I'd say that since He knows the number of stars and their names, His power and understanding is beyond any man's. I am praise for knowing even the minute details, which is what I get out of those verses. Since He knows the minute details, I am reminded that I can trust Him with things that I don't know the outcomes of and/or the details of. Sometimes I have to trust Him with those things and I know, from experience, that doing so will result in something better than I expected, which was the case with my darkest moment. I didn't know how it was all gonna work out, but I trusted in God and it did. "Meek" in verse 6 can also mean "humble." In my darkest moment, I humbled myself by coming to the Lord and He ended up taking care of the enemy for me, as I've talked about before. I can't say I do much singing to the Lord for actions He performs which are described in verse, but perhaps I should start thanking Him for those things. I'm not sure how I'd relate to verse 9, but it's a good thing He feeds the animals. If He delighted in the flesh aspects of His creation (v. 10), He wouldn't be a God I could rely on for spiritual needs. I do fear Him (v. 11) and I know that as a result of that, He takes pleasure in me because when I read His Word, that makes His day and I am blessed from what I get out of it, like when I was reading Joshua when I took algebra. I figure He used that book to take pleasure in me because He knew I needed encouragement for math and He used it to speak to my heart so I could absorb it and apply it to passing algebra. I did hope in Him and He delivered.

Yes, I do praise Him (v. 12) and I guess verse would relate to my dakest moment, where it says "For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates." He gave me strength by protecting me from the enemy's influence. I'm not sure how I'd relate to verse 14, but in verse 15, I am reminded of the power of His voice. What I have to say about that is that He wills things how He wants them to be -- concerning the weather and the environment and what have you -- and I know that man has that ability, so I thank God for His uniqueness. I don't have a lot to say about verse 16, but I like the imagery. It also reminds that God controls the weather and He recognizes the need for snow, which kind of makes me wonder what it is. If I were to know every thought that God has, my head would probably explode. I don't have much to say about verse 17, but the part that says "He casteth forth his ice like morsels" is talking about God sending hail down, which He also has a purpose for and I have no idea what the purpose is. I don't experience snow where I live so verse 18 doesn't apply to me in that aspect because there's no snow around here that melts. However, I do praise God for melting the snow in areas where it snows so that way life is easier for people that experience snow for a season. It's as if God watches over them even if they don't honor Him, which is example to me in case I end up demonstrating that kind of grace to someone. I'm not sure what the last two verses mean, but if they're suppposed to have a spiritual meaning, what they mean to me is that God has illustrated what the judgment will be like in His Word (v. 19), which is something His people will have read and understood. However, non-believers don't expect the judgment or they may have read about and not have it influence them (v. 20). Either way, that's what I get out of the "He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them" part. And I am not saying that people are scared into Christianity because they find out Christ is gonna judge Him if they don't follow Him because I hope that isn't the case. I'm saying that maybe there's some people (non-believers)that read about the judgment and God uses that to touch them and lead them towards repentance.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Reflecting on the Psalms: Chapter 146

Psalm 146

1Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul.
2While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.
3Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.
4His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
5Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:
6Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever:
7Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The LORD looseth the prisoners:
8The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous:
9The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.

10The LORD shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the LORD.

Chapter 146

I already do praise Him (vv. 1-2) my time here on earth and I plan to in eternity. I see how putting trust in princes and the son of man (or mortal men) could be a problem -- because relying on them to help me or provide salvation for me would end in being misled and let down, which wouldn't be good. I am glad, though, that since God is perfect, I have the confidence to trust in Him regarding salvation. If I tried to trust in man for salvation, man could betray me, which is what I'm getting at. I know that God wouldn't have me trust in Him and betray me for doing so because that's not in His nature. In regards to trusting in man, what I get out verse 4 is that God is immortal and man is mortal, mostly because of where it says: "His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth." In contrast, since God won't return to earth -- since man was created from the dust of the earth -- I don't have to worry about God fading away and losing hope in Him. He's eternal and because He is, He's always had thoughts towards me in terms of His plan for my life, which is another reason to trust in Him. I am happy that He is my help (v. 5) and is always there to help me out. I am happy knowing that I can trust in Him for salvation and for His plan for my life because I know that trusting in Him will never let me down. I don't have much to say about verse 6 except that I am reminded of some things that God has created and that He's always faithful, which is indicated by where it says "which keepeth truth for ever." In verse 7, I am reminded of when He helped me out during my darkest moment, particularly where it says: "Which executeth judgment for the oppressed." That, to me, means that He watched over me and His justice was at work so He could deal with the enemy's lies against me. I don't have much else to say about that verse nor can I relate to verse 8 on a large scale. I guess, before I became a Christian, I was spiritually blind becuase I didn't know what truth was and wasn't sensitive in a spiritual sense. He helped me to see the truth and I have been sensitive to it for most of my Christian life, when I realized it was about my faith, which I didn't know when I became a Christian. I'm not sure how I'd relate to verse 9, but I am thankful that His reign is eternal (v. 10). If it wasn't, His kingdom would eventually, I guess, vanish, which wouldn't be good because then there wouldn't be a way for Him to transform people when they come to Him. I figure that since His kingdom has always been there, there's always been people becoming a part of it. I've kinda talked about this before in regards to God's dominion, so I'm just adding to what I said. I do praise Him for His reign and for the fact that it's eternal.

Reflecting on the Psalms: Chapter 145

Psalm 145

David's Psalm of praise.

1I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever.
2Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.
3Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.
4One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.
5I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.
6And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness.
7They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness.
8The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.
9The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.
10All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee.
11They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power;
12To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.
13Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.
14The LORD upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.
15The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season.
16Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
17The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.
18The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.
19He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.
20The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.

21My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.

Chapter 145

I already extol, bless, and praise Him (vv. 1-2) pretty much every day, mostly for having a roof over my head, food to eat, and for another day by thanking Him for those things. Those verses are ones to keep in mind during trials, as Matthew Henry states: "Those who, under troubles and temptations, abound in fervent prayer, shall in due season abound in grateful praise, which is the true language of holy joy. Especially we should speak of God's wondrous work of redemption, while we declare his greatness." I don't remember if I praised God for my trial during my darkest moment, but I did pray fervently, which did resulted in me priaisng Him for His deliverance. In verse 3, I am reminded that words cannot describe His glory as well as His greatness because His greatness is unsearchable. I praise Him for being so good and for the fact that His greatness will never run out. I'm not sure how I'd relate to verse 4, but maybe I'm part of the generation that tells of His works and acts. If I am, that's a great thing to be a part of so I can let others know of His great works in my life and praise Him for all the good stuff, which is what I get out of verse 5. Perhaps, however, I should do as verse 5 commands when the opportunities present themselves, but sometimes it's hard to narrow down how He's working in my life. "Terrible" (v. 6) means "awesome." I have heard of the awesome things God has done in the lives of others, such as freed them from drugs and other addictions. Because of His work in others' lives, I am reminded of how good He is and that He can help solve any problem a person might have. I praise Him for transforming those that I know that used to do drugs into people who are part of His kingdom. If His hand wasn't over them, they'd be lost and it's a good thing they aren't. They -- the former drug addicts -- do talk about His goodness (v. 7) and so do I, whenever the opportunity presents itself when I'm with other believers. The part regarding singing of His righteousness reminds me of worship tim in church when me and the other believers do just that -- whether it be directly or indirectly -- the message gets across to Him that one of the things we are praising Him for as a body is His righteousness. I will say that no one is as righteous as He is because if someone was, that would create problems in terms of knowing who to praise for their righteousness. His actions are justified -- as I illustrated before in regards to Psalm 137 -- and I know that since they're justified, they are righteous. If He just killed people with a reason, His actions wouldn't be justified. I don't have a lot to say about verse 8, but I can't think of anyone who is as gracious and compassionate as He is. When I mess up, He welcomes me with open arms so I can repent and He can help me out and all that. I am thankful that His love outweighs my sins, but that doesn't mean I should abuse His forgiveness. When I felt convicted of thinking of material things I planned to spend money on once I had a job, I know that the Lord opened His arms so He could help me to change my thoughts in regards to what I would do with my money and not just focus on spending it on myself. That is kind of where verse 9 comes in because His change in me was a result of His tender lovingkindness. I don't have much to say in regards to verses 10-12 since they're pretty self-explanatory, but I will say that His works (or His creation) illustrates to me that He is worthy of praise since He took the time to create nature and all that. I am someone who has acknowledged Him as my creator and since I have acknowledged that, I believe in a God that is worthy of praise. What verse 11 means to me is telling people about the good things God has done in my life, which I haven't had much chance to do outstide of Christian circles, but I hope to tell non-believers and plant seeds that way. Continuing on from verse 11, I feel that verse 12 applies to both and non-believers because I could tell either a believer or non-believer about His glorious works in my life and I imagine it would have a different effect on either person. When I let other believers know how He is at work in my life, it's usually for the sake of praising Him. If I were to let non-believers know, it would be to plant seeds. What "and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations" (v. 13) means to me is that there hasn't been a generation that hasn't has its people who were under His domionion and I praise Him for His everlasting kingdom. If He wasn't everlasing (or eternal), then His kingdom wouldn't be and His kingdom wouldn't be there for purposes of dominion when it needs to be. So I guess His dominion is something that is a big deal to me and it's something I'd like to explore further at a later time.

In my darkest moment, I did fall (v. 14), but the Lord upheled me by protecting me from the enemy's influence, which allowed me to focus on my walk with Him, which I did by praying fervently and reading His Word. I'm not sure how I'd relate to verse 15, but I know I can rely on Him for my desires (v. 16). I have in the past, deliverance from my darkest moment being an example, and right I'm relying on Him to provide me with a job. He knows I want one and I just gotta wait on Him since He knows when I'll have one. I've already kind of alluded to verse 17, so there's not much reason to repeat myself. I basically called upon Him when I became a Christian (v. 18). I'm not sure how I'd explain He was near, but when I called on Him, I wasn't fooling around -- I wanted to see what living for Christ was like even though I didn't really understand it at a young age. Now I know how I can do it and what it means and all that. Originally I thought eternal life sounded pretty good, but now I now I see it's more than that -- it's about living for Him. In my darkest moment, God heard my cry and heard me (v. 19), as I've talked about before. I feared Him before my darkest moment took place, but kind of gave up on Him because I thought I could deal with things on my own, which was what led to my darkest moment. I figure since He had known I was one of His faithful, He helped me out as soon as I had cried out to Him. In regards to verse 20, He preserved (or watched over) me by protecting me from the enemy's infleunce, which He eventually took care of. I try to speak His praise for every good He does in my life (v. 21) or let Him know that I am thankful for the good things as He does them. I guess all flesh blesses His holy name by existing, but it's something I may look into further since I am not sure.

                                                    Source used:

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 145". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Reflecting on the Psalms: Chapter 144

Psalm 144

A Psalm of David.

1Blessed be the LORD my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:
2My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me.
3LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!
4Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.
5Bow thy heavens, O LORD, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.
6Cast forth lightning, and scatter them: shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them.
7Send thine hand from above; rid me, and deliver me out of great waters, from the hand of strange children;
8Whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood.
9I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee.
10It is he that giveth salvation unto kings: who delivereth David his servant from the hurtful sword.
11Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood:
12That 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:
13That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store: that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets:
14That our oxen may be strong to labour; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets.

15Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.

Chapter 144

While I could see verses 1 and 2 having application for a soldier, I think they also have a spitirual meaning as Matthew Henry explains: "When men become eminent for things as to which they have had few advantages, they should be more deeply sensible that God has been their Teacher. Happy those to whom the Lord gives that noblest victory, conquest and dominion over their own spirits." I feel that the more trials I face, the more I grow in terms of spiritual strength, which is what I get out of verse 1. My darkest moment had its trials and I feel that it strengthened me spiritually because after it had taken place, I felt that my strength in Christ was renenewed and that I could always rely on Him from that point on whenever the enemy would bother me or try to influence me. And I knew I felt stronger spiritually because I came out of my darkest moment feeling closer to Christ since my relationship with Him had been renewed (v. 2). I feel that was represented because I started to take my relationship with Him seriously and realized that it wasn't just praying to Him and trying to do things my own way, which kind of brought about my darkest moment. Since then I begun to trust Him more and see who He really was, regarding the attributes listed in verse 2. I don't deserve His thoughts towards me (v. 3) nor do any of His people, but I am thankful that He has thoughts towards His people out His mercy. I praise Him for having plans for the lives of those who have yet to come to Him and I praise Him for having those thoughts towards them depsite all the sins they've done (v. 4). It's kind of a model for me -- which I try to live up to -- to those before me who have wronged me. I can't think of an instance in which that has occurred, but it's one to keep in mind for future reference. I don't much else to say in regards to verse 4, but I will say that a man is no longer like a vanity (or breath) once he accepts Christ. For clarity, here's Henry's thoughts on verses 5-8: "In their highest earthly exaltation, believers will recollect how mean, sinful, and vile they are in themselves; thus they will be preserved from self-importance and presumption. God's time to help his people is, when they are sinking, and all other helps fail." With that in mind, metaphorically speaking, God did come down and help me out (v. 5). I've already kind of talked about how He helped me out and how he cast out the enemy (v. 6). Before I tlked about Him being engaged with the enemy in a spiritual and I think verse portrays the imagery perfectly. He did deliver me from the one who spoke vainty and lies (vv. 7-8). The enemy tried to tell me that I wasn't good enough for God, which I knew was a lie. As I talked about before, I knew that God was the only who could help me out during my darkest moment. While I didn't sing a new song after He delivered me (v. 9), but I did praise Him for doing so and still do. In other versions, the word "salvation" in verse 10 is translated as "victory" and I feel that my faith in Christ was what helped me to have victory over the enemy in my darkest moment. I was delivered from the enemy's influence, which only God was able to deliver me from. I would also relate verses 5-10 to when I became a Christian because when the Lord came into my life (v. 5), I no longer lived as a slave to sin (vv. 6-8). As a result, I sang praises to Him in church (v. 9) and was delivered the hurtful sword (v. 10). I like Henry's insight on the verse: "To be saved from the hurtful sword, or from wasting sickness, without deliverance from the dominion of sin and the wrath to come, is but a small advantage." I've already kind of talked about verse 11 in regards to 7-8, but I will say that in the context of becoming and being a Christian, verse 11 applies because since I have been delivered, I can have that impact on my children (v. 12), meaning that I can illustrate to them and teach them that becoming a Christian starts with deliverance. I could imagine my impact on them being a positive one as the verse talks about. For clarity, here's Henry's insight on verses 13-14: "Plenty is to be desired, that we may be thankful to God, generous to our friends, and charitable to the poor; otherwise, what profit is it to have our garners full? Also, uninterrupted peace. War brings abundance of mischiefs, whether it be to attack others or to defend ourselves." I don't have a lot to say about those other than the fact that God's blessings will pour out as a result of raising up my children in a godly way. I don't have a garner (or barn) or any sheep or oxen, but I think those verses describe one's spiritual blessings if he or she raises up his or her kids in a godly way. If I am filled as a result of being blessed (v. 13), I can see how that would result in my kids (or sheep) bringing others to Christ. I figure the more God blesses me (as a dad), the more He's gonna use that to influence and spread to to others. I was blessed when I was delivered from sin, so why not let my kids know they can delivered and give back to God by letting others know they can be delivered? Verse 14, I feel, is comparing an oxen to spiritual strength because if I am srong spiritially -- I'll say when I'm a dad just for the sake of context -- I could see myself being strong towards working for His kingdom and not letting anything distrupt or destory that. I'm not sure if those verses were meant to have a spiritual meaning, so correct me if I'm wrong. Either way, though, I know when verses 12-14 occur in my life, I will be blessed (or happy), as verse 15 says.

                                                Source used:

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 144". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Reflecting on the Psalms: Chapter 143

Psalm 143

A Psalm of David.

1Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness.
2And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.
3For 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.
4Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.
5I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.
6I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah.
7Hear 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.
8Cause 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.
9Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me.
10Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.
11Quicken me, O LORD, for thy name's sake: for thy righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble.

12And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant.

Chapter 143

For clarity, here's Henry's commentary on the first few verses: "We have no righteousness of our own to plead, therefore must plead God's righteousness, and the word of promise which he has freely given us, and caused us to hope in. David, before he prays for the removal of his trouble, prays for the pardon of his sin, and depends upon mercy alone for it." With that in mind, what I am reminded of in verses 1-2 would be the time when I felt convicted of thinking about the material things I could spend my money on once I had a job instead of thinking about giving a portion back to the Lord. I basically just prayed and God heard me (v. 1). It didn't take too long for Him to start working and changing my thoughts towards His will, which He did as a reflection of His faithfulness and His righteousness towards me. I'm not sure if I can explain the details of how He worked through His faithfulness and righteousness, but I know that He did help me out and help me to change my mind so I could align with His will. I'm not required to give to God, but I want to do it when I have a regular paycheck. I'm not sure how I'd relate to verse 2, but I will say that I depened on His righteousness to help me out when I felt convicted. If I didn't change my attitude towards what I'd do with my money despite being convicted, things would've gotten worse, which I feel would've brought about the spiritual implications in verses 3-4. If I were to give into the flesh and material possesions, I could imagine myself becoming an easy target for the enemy, which I'm glad I avoided. My spirit would've also grown weak (v. 4), which would've been bad. I'll also say that verses 3-7 relate to my darkest moment because during that time I did feel that the enemy was trying to make me fall by basically implying that I wasn't good enough for God (v. 3) when he used my trials against me. As I talked about before, my spirit did feel overwhelmed (v. 4), but what helped me pull through was meditating on His works (v. 5), which I've touched upon in regards to Psalm 77 verse 5 and verses 10-11 (here). Originally I didn't have a lot when I reflected on those verses in Psalm 77, but I must've meditated on the fact that He's my provider and two of the ways He provides for me is by helping me out when I'm in need and He delivers me when I need to be delivered -- even it's from something small such as my own selfish thoughts. By meditating on those things, I reminded myself that in biblical times He provided for delivered people, which is what I get out the "I remember the days of old" part. I probably meditated on other things, but I just figured I'd talk about two that came to mind. I remember feeling spirtually dry (v. 6) and I basically stretched forth my hands to Him when I cried out to Him in prayer. I don't have much else to say about that, but I know that the Lord worked in my heart as soon as He heard me (v. 7). I was falling -- or should I say failing? -- spiritually, which God recognized by helping me out. That's what I get out of the "my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit" part. Perhaps verse 8 is a verse that I should incorporate into prayer since I do wanna (continue to) love like Christ whenever I can and walk in His way as best I can. In the mornings, when I pray, I ask for God to help me and my fellow believers to love Him and love others and serve Him and serve others. I don't go outside much, but when I get a job, I wanna show Christ's love and humility to customers or whoever, since loving one's neighbor applies to loving whoever he or she comes into contact with. I am not dealing with any enemies at the moment, but verse 9 is a verse to keep in mind for future reference. I like Henry's insight on verse 10: "He (David) prays that he might be enlightened with the knowledge of God's will; and this is the first work of the Spirit. A good man does not ask the way in which is the most pleasant walking, but what is the right way." I don't have a lot to say about that, but perhaps knowledge of His will and the power to carry it out is something I should start asking Him for -- and not just when I'm faced with a decision. "Quicken" (v. 11) means to keep alive or continue in life. I feel that God kept me spiritually alive when He protected me from the enemy's infleunce. Had He not protected me, I would've given into the enemy and no longer lived as a spiritual being, but rather as a slave to the enemy. By portecting me, that was how God started to bring my soul out of trouble since it had no infleunce from the enemy when He protected me. He completed His bringing me out of trouble when He delivered me. I don't have a lot to say about verse 12, but here's Henry's insight on it: "But we should especially seek the destruction of our sins, our worst enemies, that we may be devotedly God's servants."
                                                   Source used:

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 143". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Reflecting on the Psalms: Chapter 142

Psalm 142

Maschil of David; A Prayer when he was in the cave.

1I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication.
2I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble.
3When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me.
4I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.
5I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.
6Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I.

7Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.

Chapter 142

In my darkest moment, I did cry out to God (v. 1). By doing that, He helped He me out, which I was believe was an act of grace or mercy because I rebelled aginst Him by trying to do things my way and I didn't do anything to deserve His help, but He helped me out anyway. There was a time when I prayed and let Him know what was going on (v. 2), particularly because I couldn't deal with my trials on my own ans was overwhelmed (v. 3). I remember feeling overwhelmed -- like I had weight on my spirit -- and felt weak because I couldn't take care of my problems on my own, which the enemy was trying to use against me. I figure since God knew I had a lot on my eternal spirit and a lot bothering me, He used that to direct towards Him and eventually deliver me from my trials. In regards to the "the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me" part in the terms of the enemy's snares, so there's really no need to talk about it again. I'm not sure how I'd relate to verse 4 because I did get prayer support during my darkest moment, but verse 5 does apply because when I cried out to God, I basically acknowledged that He was my refuge and my portion. He illustrated that by protecting me from the enemy's influence and delivering me from the enemy. He did attend to my cry (v. 6), probably because when I cried out to Him, part of that implied that I had been brought low and needed to be delivered. I knew the enemy was stronger than me and that I couldn't use his false claims against me -- regarding how he thought I wasn't good enough for God -- against him. I needed to rely on God so the truth could be known: that I didn't have to be good enough for Him to be part of His kingdom. I did feel that my soul was in a prison (v. 7) and I trusted in Him to get me out of it and He did. At the end of it, I praised His name for getting me out of the prison and still do to this day. How I would relate to the "the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me" part is that those who prayed for me praised Him for His deliverance when I no longer had to deal with my trials.

Reflecting on the Psalms: Chapter 141

Psalm 141

A Psalm of David.

1Lord, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee.
2Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
3Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.
4Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties.
5Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities.
6When their judges are overthrown in stony places, they shall hear my words; for they are sweet.
7Our bones are scattered at the grave's mouth, as when one cutteth and cleaveth wood upon the earth.
8But mine eyes are unto thee, O GOD the Lord: in thee is my trust; leave not my soul destitute.
9Keep me from the snares which they have laid for me, and the gins of the workers of iniquity.

10Let the wicked fall into their own nets, whilst that I withal escape.

Chapter 141

Verse 1 I would relate to my darkest moment because when I cried out to the Lord, He made haste to me and helped me out as soon as He heard me. I'm not sure if I lifted up my hands during that time (v. 2), but it wouldn't surprise me if He thought of my prayer as incense. I also like Matthew Henry's insight on the verse: "When presented through the sacrifice and intercession of the Saviour, they will be as acceptable to God as the daily sacrifices and burnings of incense were of old. Prayer is a spiritual sacrifice, it is the offering up the soul and its best affections." He pretty much hit the nail on the head. Verse 3 may be one to keep in mind for examining myself in case there are times when I don't need to talk. I can't say I really talk excessively that much, but when I do, I'm not aware of it and do it just to be loud when no one's around. So maybe I should start asking to God to speak when I should and when I shouldn't since He knows ahead of time when I will and when I won't. I'm usually quiet when in the mornings and when I watch TV and stuff since I'm relaxing, but I guess when I act goofy when I'm on my own, part of that includes pointless speech, perhaps as a way of dealing with energy. I don't have a desire to do evil things (v. 4) and one of the things that comes to mind in regards to that is when I ask Go to help me to tame my tongue. I have to do my part my maintining self-control, which works out some days and doesn't work out on other ones. I can trust in Him, though, to help me out and watch over my heart since I have a fresh start on it every day. I'm not sure how I'd relate to verse 5 since I can't recall being reproved, but I can use it for future reference. I try to study the Word and understand it so I know it well and can avoid being corrected as much as possible. In Bible studies in the past, there has been a time or two when I missed a point, but I wouldn't I was corrected -- I just had the point mentioned to me. Furthermore, I wouldn't mind being corrected, but I shouldn't read over a verse and/or misinterpret it because then I just make myself look bad. I heard there's some Bible scholars that misinterpret even the most basic of scripture -- "Thou shall not kill" being an example -- and kind of makes me wonder if they've really took the time to study and understand God's Word by themselves or just had some man at a university teach them. I don't listen many preachers who make a habit of misinterpreting scripture, but rather I may not always agree with what one preacher says, which results in picking in choosing what I know is from His Word and not the traditions of men. I am not biblically required to agree with everything my pastor says and I'm glad I have that freedom. I also like Henry's thoughts on the verse: "We should be ready to welcome the rebuke of our heavenly Father, and also the reproof of our brethren. It shall not break my head, if it may but help to break my heart: we must show that we take it kindly." I'm not sure how I'd relate to verses 6-7, but here's Henry's thoughts for the sake of clarity: "Those who slighted the word of God before, will be glad of it when in affliction, for that opens the ear to instruction. When the world is bitter, the word is sweet." So if I were user verses 6-7 for future reference, I'd say that maybe I could bring His Word to those who have rebelled against Him and need to His Word. After all, Amos 8:11 does say, "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD, " which is something to keep in mind. I haven't meet somebody who has previously rejected the Bible and God and all that and changed their opinion on those things, but in case I ever do, I want for God to use me to make a difference in that person's life. As for me, I do set my eyes on Him and trust in Him (v. 8). I have made the right choice and can be used by Him for those who hunger for His Word. As I had mentioned in regards to the previous chapter, the Lord kept me from the enemy's snares in my darkest moment (v. 9). I don't have much to add to that, but being able to trust in God so that one doesn't get caught in the enemy's snares is a great thing because trusting in Him is what brings light into the darkness and provides a way out. I figure the enemy fell into his neat when God was finished dealing with him (v. 10) and He provided me a way out by protecting me from the enemy's influence.

                                                   Source used:

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 141". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Reflecting on the Psalms: Chapter 140

Psalm 140

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.

1Deliver me, O LORD, from the evil man: preserve me from the violent man;
2Which imagine mischiefs in their heart; continually are they gathered together for war.
3They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders' poison is under their lips. Selah.
4Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man; who have purposed to overthrow my goings.
5The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set gins for me. Selah.
6I said unto the LORD, Thou art my God: hear the voice of my supplications, O LORD.
7O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle.
8Grant not, O LORD, the desires of the wicked: further not his wicked device; lest they exalt themselves. Selah.
9As for the head of those that compass me about, let the mischief of their own lips cover them.
10Let burning coals fall upon them: let them be cast into the fire; into deep pits, that they rise not up again.
11Let not an evil speaker be established in the earth: evil shall hunt the violent man to overthrow him.
12I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor.

13Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence.

Chapter 140

Matthew Henry comments on the first few verses by stating the following: "The more danger appears, the more earnest we should be in prayer to God. All are safe whom the Lord protects. If he be for us, who can be against us?" Although I haven't dealt with an evil or violent man in my flesh (v. 1), in a way I did during my darkest moment. The enemy acted evil towards me by trying to cut me off from God, but He delivered me from that. Verse 2 relates because I suppose the enemy imgaine mischief or made an evil plan in his heart, which was when he tried to pull me away from God. He sharpened his tongue like a serpent (v. 3) by trying to get me to believe his lies, but that didn't work out because God helped to figure out that he was lying to me. The enemy's tongue is one of deceit and nothing I can trust because doing so will only cause perversion and destruction, kind of like how a snake treats its prey. When an animal is eaten by a snake, the animal loses and the snake wins, which would've happened to me if I gave into the enemy's lies. I would've lost and he would've won and I'm glad he didn't. One I cried out to Him, He did keep me from the hands of the wicked (v. 4) and I'm glad He did.The enemy tried to overthrow me and trip me up by telling me lies, but God protected me from him and I was reminded who I should trust in. I'm don't remember if proud men set a snare for me in real life (v. 5), but the enemy is proud and arrogant and he set a snare for me when he tried to get me to believe his lies. That didn't stop me from crying out to God (v. 6), though, and asking Him to help me out. I must've reminded myself and acknowledged to Him that He is my God when I cried out to Him. I think by doing that, I showed to Him that I was humbling myself and needed Him to help me out. He covered my head (v. 7) by protecting me from the enemy, which I don't really have a lot to say about. I do remember, though, that when He protected me, the enemy didn't seem to bother me, which illustrated to me that I can trust in the Lord for protection from the enemy for another time if I face another situation in which I need to. I also think by trusting in Him, the enemy was not able to act upon his desire of attacking me (v. 8), assuming he had any. To me, that illustrated that there is no protection like the Lord's and also that nothing can (metaphorically) break or pierce it. How verse 8 ties into that is that when I trusted in the Lord, the enemy was not able to attack me, assuming that's what he had in mind. I'm not sure how I'd relate to verses 9-11, but I will say that God will take care of those who have oppressed His people in due timing. I figure the enemy is behind that and he's gonna get paid his due as well. The way I see it, God's justice will displayed during that time, which is what I get out of the "I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afficted" in verse 12. Up to that point, I'd say every one of God's people will have dealt will affliction from the enemy and God will maintain justice by aving vengeance upon the cause of the afflictions that His people dealt with. It will be interesting to see all of God's people on that day as well as His acts of vengeance upon the enemy. God is a just God, which is something I'm thankful for and I would imagine it's something His people will praise Him for when justice is given in the last days (v. 13). I do consider myself to be upright and I look forward to dwelling in His presence when the time comes.

                                                    Source used:

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 140". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Reflecting on the Psalms: Chapter 139

Psalm 139

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.

1O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.
2Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
3Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
4For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.
5Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
7Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
8If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
9If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
10Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
11If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
12Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
13For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.
14I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
15My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16Thine 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.
17How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
18If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.
19Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men.
20For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain.
21Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?
22I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.
23Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

24And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Chapter 139

When I ask God to search me, He searches me (v. 1). When I felt convicted about thinking about the things I'd spend money on when I would have a job instead of thinking that I could give a portion to the Lord. How that conviction was when my pastor preached a message on stewardship one Sunday and illustrated how one could give a portion back to the Lord and still how enough to use for whatever he or she needed. Later on, probably a day or two later, I asked God to search for any impure ways in me, which resulted in me thinking that I could give a portion back to God. He does know when I go to bed and when I get up (v. 2). He is  omniscient -- or all-knowing -- so I kinda figure He knows every minute detail of my life and I praise Him for His omniscience because not only is that something that only belongs to Him, but also because since He already knows how something will work out, I can trust in Him, which is really neat. I don't wanna get off on too much of a tangent here, but God's omniscience and free will can and do co-exist because His foreknowledge doesn't cause us to make the choices we make. I've been kind of looking at the co-existence of God's omniscience and free will lately and that's something I learned which. It's funny because yesterday (Sunday), I walked into my dad's Bible study in the last five minutes or so and noticed that the teacher had written the word "omniscience" on the board with "Psalm 139" written beside it and I mentioned, at the end, how God's foreknowledge doesn't cause us to make the choices we make. Moving on, I like verse 3 because it illustrates to me that I can trust in God because He can guide my part and I can come to Him for rest, which is what I get out of the "Thou compassest my path and my lying down" part. He knows my ways, so of course I can trust in Him to direct me in my walk with Him. In my darkest moment I did that and when He protected me from the enemy, I took that His way of saying that I shouldn't go out of my way to get involved with the enemy. I never thought of it before, but God knows every word before I say it (v. 4). I guess that's kinda why I ask God to help me tame my tongue since I can trust in Him to help me out with that. It's not always an easy thing to live up to, though, but at least I don't go out of my way to use bad language. Sometimes if I experience pain, I'll use a word, but perhaps I should try not say anything at all. I'm not sure how I'd relate to verse 5, but I know that as a human, I cannot attain God's knowledge and know everything and I'm kind of glad I don't have that responsibility because there are some thoughts that some people have that I wouldn't wanna know. God deals with it, every day, though and loves people despite what they think about. I'm not saying I hate people for having disgusting thoughts -- I'm saying that I couldn't take on God's role. I don't feel I can hide from God (v. 7) since He's omnipresent. He's even in heaven and hell (v. 8), but I trust that I will be with Him in heaven (or eternity) when that time comes and won't end up in hell reminding myself that He's everywhere. I'm not sure how I'd relate to verses 9-10, but they're there for future reference in case I ever do dwell in darkness, which is carried over into verse 11. I'd say verse 12 relates to my darkest moment because the darkness in my life at the time was not dark to the Lord once I relied on Him to be my light and help me through it. The darkness is the same as light to God since His light shines in the darkness. In verses 13-14, I am reminded that God made me in His image and cares for me and I praise Him for that. No one else could've made me who I am and  made me the way He did. He knew ahead of time what I was gonna be like before He made me and knew I would do things for His glory, which is cool because if He put my soul in another body, I probably wouldn't have turned out to be who I am today. I don't have a lot to say about verses 15-16, but I'll talk about 'em anyway. What verse 15 means to me is that when God made me, my substance (or frame) was not hidden from Him, which I figure because He's omnipresent. If it was hidden, then He wouldn't have known what He was doing and I'm glad He did because I don't think I'd trade bodies or lives or whatever with anyone else. In that verse, I am also reminded that God's breath of life was what gave me life, which is what I get out of the "and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth" part, which is talked about in Genesis, I thank Him for His breath of life and that He created people as He saw fit. I don't have much to say about verse 16, but what "Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect" means is that God saw my unformed body before He created it, which I'd say He used as a reference to create me.

His thoughts are precious towards me (v. 17), which I know because if His thoughts weren't precious towards me, He wouldn't bless me. He blesses me by helping me to understand His Word and conform my thoughts to His, which was what He did when I asked Him to help me in regards to my thoughts of greed and selflishness, which I talked about in regards to the first verse. I haven't counted them, but verse 18 reminds me how blessed I am, especially for the little things like waking up every day, having a roof over my head, and having food to eat. I'm not sure how I'd relate to verses 19-22, but I will talk about them. I know God will take care of the wicked (v. 19), so I don't have to worry about doing it myself. I haven't dealt with too many enemies that have spoken against God (v. 20), but I'll let God dea with them if I come across anyone that does. I'm not sure if I would have to apply verses 21-22 since Jesus said to pray for one's enemies and do good to them, which is something I try to live up to. I prayed for that guy in my math class who was giving me a hard time, so hopefully he's doing OK these days. I never mentioned anything to him about my faith, but I didn't have vengeance on him for the language he used towards me -- instead, I just turned the other cheek and took it and maintained self-control by doing so. Not to sound like he's going to hell because he could've given his life to Christ, but if he's rejected the gospel, he'll spend eternity without God. I do believe that those who have never heard (the gospel) do spend eternity with God, but that's a topic for another time. It is possible that he's never heard, though. With verse 1 in mind, I did ask Him to search my heart (v. 23), which was the result of feeling convicted. The wicked way (v. 24) was focusing my thoughts on using the money to buy CDs and some other things instead of thinking I could use it for His kingdom. He led me into the way of the everlasting by helping me to change my thinking before things got worse. I don't have a job yet, but I will give back a portion to the Lord when I do.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Reflecting on the Psalms: Chapters 135-138

Psalm 135

1Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the name of the LORD; praise him, O ye servants of the LORD.
2Ye that stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God.
3Praise the LORD; for the LORD is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant.
4For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure.
5For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.
6Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.
7He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain; he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries.
8Who smote the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and beast.
9Who sent tokens and wonders into the midst of thee, O Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his servants.
10Who smote great nations, and slew mighty kings;
11Sihon king of the Amorites, and Og king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan:
12And gave their land for an heritage, an heritage unto Israel his people.
13Thy name, O LORD, endureth for ever; and thy memorial, O LORD, throughout all generations.
14For the LORD will judge his people, and he will repent himself concerning his servants.
15The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men's hands.
16They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not;
17They have ears, but they hear not; neither is there any breath in their mouths.
18They that make them are like unto them: so is every one that trusteth in them.
19Bless the LORD, O house of Israel: bless the LORD, O house of Aaron:
20Bless the LORD, O house of Levi: ye that fear the LORD, bless the LORD.

21Blessed be the LORD out of Zion, which dwelleth at Jerusalem. Praise ye the LORD.

Psalm 136

1O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
2O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever.
3O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.
4To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever.
5To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever.
6To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever.
7To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever:
8The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever:
9The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever.
10To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever:
11And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy endureth for ever:
12With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endureth for ever.
13To him which divided the Red sea into parts: for his mercy endureth for ever:
14And made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endureth for ever:
15But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endureth for ever.
16To him which led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endureth for ever.
17To him which smote great kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:
18And slew famous kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:
19Sihon king of the Amorites: for his mercy endureth for ever:
20And Og the king of Bashan: for his mercy endureth for ever:
21And gave their land for an heritage: for his mercy endureth for ever:
22Even an heritage unto Israel his servant: for his mercy endureth for ever.
23Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever:
24And hath redeemed us from our enemies: for his mercy endureth for ever.
25Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever.

26O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Psalm 137
1By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
2We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.
3For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.
4How shall we sing the LORD's song in a strange land?
5If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.
6If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.
7Remember, O LORD, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof.
8O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.

9Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

Psalm 138

A Psalm of David.

1I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee.
2I 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.
3In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.
4All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, when they hear the words of thy mouth.
5Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the LORD: for great is the glory of the LORD.
6Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.
7Though 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.

8The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.

Chapter 135

I do praise His name (v. 1), pretty much every chance I get. I may not get to do it the next day, so it's a good idea to do it when I can. But if God decides to take my life the next day, it's not like I won't be prasing Him in eternity, but I shouldn't use that as a reason to not praise and worship Him. In church, I do praise Him (v. 2), which is an awesome thing when the Holy Spirit's working through that, which I've kind of talked about before. I can't really describe, though -- you have to be there to experience it. And I know that praising Him is a good thing to do (v. 3) as it expresses the fact that He is good and there is none like Him. It is also pleasant to sing praises to His name because He's pleasant towards me by blessing me and I wanna give back to Him for that. I can't relate to verse 4, but what I have to say about it is that God's people were chosen by Him to do His will and carry it out. That's a great thing to be a part of and I couldn't ask to be a part of anything else. God knew I was gonna live for Him even before I was born, so that means to me that He chose me from the start -- I just had to come to Him when He knew I was going to. I am His child and I try to acknowledge every day. He is indeed great (v. 5), which He expresses by how He works in the lives of His people.  There was a time in my church when there was a couple people who were on stage and they'd walk up individually with a piece cardboard showing that they had writtend down what God has helped them to overcome or provide them with. It God's works which display His greatness and faithfulness and there's no one who can live up to His faithfulness. I praise Him for His faithfulness because I relied on that so He could help me out in my darkest moment. He is above all gods because no other gods contain His attributes and they don't live up to His faithfulness, like I mentioned. I also think that His greatness is what influences Him to be above other gods since they don't contain the same amount of greatness as He does nor do they surpass it. I don't have a lot to say about verse 6, but what it means to me is that God does as He pleases, whether it be on earth or in heaven or in the seas and deep places. He can choose to take one of His own home with Him tomorrow and He probably will since people die every day. He can choose to provide food for a fish or what have you. What I get out of that verse is God's sovereignty is what keeps His creation in line. I can't choose when I'm gonna die since God already knows, meaning that I can't cheat Him ending my life earlier than I think He knows. I don't plan on ending my life any time soon -- I'm just using that as an example. God's soverignty in terms of when He knows something will happen is something I'd like to look into further. I have somewhat and I know C.S. Lewis talked about it. I don't feel like looking up the quote now, but I may include it later. I feel that verse 7 also kind of deals with God's foreknowledge in relation to when knows something will happen since, as I believe I've talked about before, He has control over the weather, which is an implication I see in the verse. The vapours (or clouds) don't ascend by themselves -- God influences it. If they did ascend by themselves, they'd either do so more than or less than what God would see as necessary. That also relates to lighting because lighting could occur more or less than God would see as necessary if He had no control over it and I'm thankful that He does have control because I wouldn't wanna get struck by lighting due to hectic weather conditions beyond His control. I don't think of God and His influence over the wind that much, but I'm glad He brings it out when He sees fit because if He had no control over and it decided to be windy whenever it wanted to, high winds could knock trees and stuff over. Sometimes, when it's windy, trees do fall over, but I think God intends for that to happen. He probably knows it's gonna happen ahead of time, but I think He brings about high winds just for the sake of knocking stuff over. I'm not sure how I'd relate to verse 8 since I haven't looked much into God's killing of the firstborn, but I am somewhat familiar with God's wonders in Egypt (v. 9). In Exodus chapter 7, I recall the following in verses 8-14...

8And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
9When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent.
10And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent.
11Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.
12For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods.
13And he hardened Pharaoh's heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.

14And the LORD said unto Moses, Pharaoh's heart is hardened, he refuseth to let the people go.

I don't have a lot to say about that, but it shows that when God promises a miracle, He delivers. I just wanted to use that passage as an example, particularly because it is that stands out to me and I wanted to share it. Yes, God did kill have His people kill nations and races in the Old Testament (vv. 10-11), which I'm not gonna discuss because I don't wanna go off on too much of a tangent nor waste time talking about it, but I will post some links and videos at the end of this as to why God killed races, which I know seems hard to understand for some people, but that doesn't mean that God didn't have legitimate reasons. After all, He did not want to risk letting a Cannanite live because doing so would've had the potentional to contaminate the bloodline of Christ, which is one of the reasons. I don't own any land (v. 12), but I do see eternity as an inheritance or part of my hertiage as a joint-heir to Christ. What I mean my that is that since He chose me, part of includes knowing I will be with Him in eternity since I chose to accept that fact that He chose me by coming to Him.

If His name didn't endure forever (v. 13), He wouldn't hold up as an eternal being. God's people have stood for Him throughout time and even though may get killed for their faith, God can't be killed. It's as if He displays that His name endures forever by people coming to Him and making Him known. I feel that His name endures forever is that His people trust in Him even in the most difficult of times. I trusted in Him during my darkest moment and doing so displayed that He wasn't gonna give up on me because He reigned during that time by dealing with the enemy. My faith endured during that time because I trusted in my eternal king, which (probably) caused Him to endure against and erase the enemy's influence. I'm not saying that my prayers command how I want God to work, but rather God works through prayer by answering and delivering as He sees fit. And He did by answering me in my time of need in such a way that was greater than I could've imagined. Verse 14 is a verse that reminds that I look forward to God's judgement towards me. Judge translates as "vindicate," which means to clear, as from an accusation, imputation, suspicion, or the like. He always kind of does that when I ask for forgiveness of my sins since He forgives and forgets, which is way of repenting -- or having compassion -- towards His servants. I am thankful that He is a forgiving God and that He honors that. I try not to abuse grace, which I've talked about before. Lately I've asking Him to help me to sin less and tame my tongue when I pray in the mornings and it's been working out for me most of the time. I don't worship idols, so verses 15-18 don't really apply to me. If I did, though, there would be consequences for that, like trying to trust in them as verse 18 indicates. In regards to verses 19-21, I do bless or praise the Lord when I pray mornings and in church worship time. To me, part of praising Him means thanking Him for the small things, such as having food to eat, a roof over my head, and being able to breathe.

Chapter 136

One of the reasons I thank Him and praise Him (vv. 1-3) is because His mercy (or love) does endure forever. What that means to me is that He loves is people show much that when their faith is tested, He's not gonna give up on them no matter how difficult of a time they're going through. In my darkest moment, His love endured forever by His watching over me and keeping me grounded in Him even though the enemy was trying to drive me away from Him. I do give thanks to Him for doing great wonders (vv. 3-4), which I've kind of talked about in regards to chapter 135 verses 6-7. However, I wanna expand on that by saying that He does great wonders every day by providing another undeserved day, for example. I think His love endures in that because His loves creation -- more specicifically the people He created -- so much that He allows every indiviaual to live another day, in the instance that just one more person might come to Him. There are people that hate God and live godless lives, but He's not gonna cut the days short and give up on them just because they rebel against Him. He loves endures because it is stringer than anyone's hate towards Him and I feel that each brand new day is an expression of His love because He's giving those who hate or don't acknowledge His Son's death on the cross another chance on a daily basis until He decides when it will end. He loves those He created so much that He's not gonna give up on 'em, especially because He knows who will accept His love and who won't and when they will, so I think the end will be established partially on the basis He knows all who will come to Him in due time. There are those who have never heard, which is a subject for another time. He did make the heavens and skies and stuff (v. 5) and I think His loves endures forever in that since every day (or should I say night?), His people have the chance to look up in the skies and see the beautiful creation He made. I'm not sure if He uses the skies to bring people to Him, but the heavens do proclaim His glory and sometimes I get to see a rare thing like a sunset, which is an expression to me that His love endures because even though I don't deserve to see a sunset since He brings about another day by grace, He expresses His enduring love through a sunset by reminding me that He loves me so much that He's giving me the opportunity to see something beautiful. I guess verse 6, the implication is that God created land above waters and His love endures forever in that since He provides people with ground above water so they won't drown. I don't have much to say about that and I did kind of already allude to verses 7-8 in regards to talking about the sunset. However, I will add to verse 8 that God watches over the sun and it shines when He wants it too. How His love endures forever in terms of the sun shining is that it provides light even though no one deserves it. He is light Himself yet no one who is already a Christian did anything to deserve His light. Also, He uses the sun to help -- let's say a non-believing farmer's plants grow in this case -- grow even though the farmer did nothing to deserve the light for his plants to grow. The farmer gets food out of the deal, which God provided which He can use to reveal to the farmer that He exists and wants to have a relationship with the farmer. His loves endures in that because He provides the farmer with another day, knowing when the farmer will come to Him as me to him as a result of realizing where the light, should I say, comes from. Not that there aren't other ways in which the farmer can come to Christ, but in this instance I was assuming that the farmer lived away from the city and doesn't have much contact with people. I think it's kind of cool that His loves endures forever in the most simple of ways. I don't have a lot to say about verse 9 since I've kind of already alluded to it and it doesn't really speak to me anyway. I kind of mentioned my thing about verses 10-12 in regards to chapter 135 verses 8-11, but I haven't looked in the original passage which is alluded to in that same chapter, so I'm not sure how His love endured forever in that. I do recall Him departing the Red Sea in the Book of Exodus (vv. 13-15) and I see His love enduring in verse 13 because He left the Red Sea open for the time He needed it be open so the Israelites could cross (v. 14). He could've smashed the Israelites, but no, He loved them and provided an entry for them so they could escapse the enemy, which I see as an expression of His love because they weren't done living their lives. He protected the Israelites from the enemy because He loved them and wanted to test His love in a time that seemed difficult because the only way they could've survived was by escaping. I see God's love in verse 15 because if He didn't overthrow Pharaoh and his host (or army), they might've contaminated the bloodline, which wasn't something God wanted to risk. His love endured in that time because He knew His Son was gonna come and be the Savior to the world and He must've thought of everyone at that time -- the time when He getting ready to ovethrow Pharaoh and his army -- who was gonna come to Christ. So His love held up in a difficult time because He knew people would need a Savior later on.

I'm not sure what passage verse 16 is alluding to, so I'm not sure how God's love endured (forever) in regards to that verse. Same goes for verses 17-20, but I did I was going to include some links and videos at the end of this in regards to chapter 135 verses 10-11, so I will. I think the thing that comes to mind is that, in regards to verses 17-20, the bloodline of Christ would've most likely been contaminated if God let those kings continue to live. I've already explained that position in detail, so there's no need to repeat myself. What I am reminded of in verses 21-22 is that I am a joint-heir with Christ, as I painted out in regards to chapter 135 verse 12. How His love endures forever in terms of eternal life as a heritage is that one a person becomes a believer and they end up facing trials in their life and look at what's going on in this world, they can use those as reminders that those things are nothing compared to eternity. I praise Him that I can find comfort in the fact I have inherited eternal life and that that reminder can keep me going in the toughest of trials. For clarity, here's Matthew Henry's insight on verse 23: "God's everlasting mercy is here praised for the redemption of his church; in all his glories, and all his gifts. Blessed be God, who has provided and made known to us salvation through his Son." I am thankful that I was redeemed of sin (vv. 23-24) and that that continues in the sense that it is represented by the fact that I can repent for the sins I do as a result of His grace of being sufficient. I try not to abuse His forgiveness, though, as I've talked about before. He loves me and wants to help me to not do a certain sin again, especially if I am struggling with one. For clarity, here Henry's insight on verse 25: "May we know and feel his redeeming power, that we may serve him in righteousness all our days. May He who giveth food to all flesh, feed our souls unto eternal life, and enliven our affections by his grace, that we may give thanks and praise to his holy name, for his mercy endureth for ever." He pretty much put the nail on the head and I don't really have anything to add, but I will say that He love endures in regards to His Word as a reflection that because He loves the people He created, He's can use His Word to communicate to them and help them out in the most difficult of times. What I mean by that is that someone can read something encouraging from His Word so they can have guidance for whatever they're dealing with. And He uses that to express to the person that He loves them -- kind of like He did in my darkest moment -- and that His love endures in trials because it uses His Word as a foundation to communicate that. One of the reasons I do give thanks to Him is because His love does endure forever (v. 26). I don't really mention that when thanking Him, but I do usually thank Him for food before eating and I know He provides it because He loves me and would stop at nothing to provide me if I had a hard time getting food, which I believe is how He provides for those who don't get three meals a day. An example of that would be when I helped out with Food 4others so food could be brought over to the less fortunate in other countries. God used His people that day and gave them the energy and humility they needed so they could pack food. That is kind of how God's love endured in that instance. Another way it endured is because God wasn't gonna give up on the less fortunate for being less fortunate and used His people to provide for them.

Chapter 137

For clarity, here's Henry's insight on the first few verses: "Their enemies had carried the Jews captive from their own land. To complete their woes, they insulted over them; they required of them mirth and a song. This was very barbarous; also profane, for no songs would serve but the songs of Zion. Scoffers are not to be compiled with. They do not say, How shall we sing, when we are so much in sorrow? but, It is the Lord's song, therefore we dare not sing it among idolaters." I can't really relate to the first four verses since I haven't really associated with idolaters, but in case I ever do, I can use that passage as guidance. Also for clarity, here's Henry's insight on verses 5-7: "What we love, we love to think of. Those that rejoice in God, for his sake make Jerusalem their joy. They stedfastly resolved to keep up this affection. When suffering, we should recollect with godly sorrow our forfeited mercies, and our sins by which we lost them." OK, starting with verse 5, I do rejoice in God and by doing so I make Jerusalem -- which is God's chosen people -- my joy, meaning to me that I enjoy rejoicing because God has illustrated to me that I can as a result of His divine works. I believe that He works in ways that I can't understand, but I see the fruits of His works -- such as His helping me out in my algerba class and having victory in that -- as an expression of His divine works, which I rejoiced as a result of every time when I passed a quiz or a test in my class. I think by giving back to Him by rejoicing Him and thanking Him, He continued to help me out by answering my prayers to continue to pass my quizzes, tests, and my final. I can't say God forgot me in regards to algebra (v. 6), but I remember feeling that He did during my darkest moment. I don't think He really did, but the enemy had me thinking that. By crying out to Him, He remembered me (v. 7) and saw that I needed His help and needed to be freed from the enemy. That verse suggests that the children of Edom tried to rase  (or tear down) Jerusalem, much like how the enemy tried to use his lies against me to tear me down, but God intervened and rewarded (or repayed him; vv. 8-9) by dealing with him while protecting me from his influence. So I figure God must've fought the enemy so he would learn his lesson and not influence me on the scale that he did for probably the rest of my life here. I'm not implying that he can influence me when I'm eternity with God -- I'm saying that he can only really influence me or God's people (in general) while they're here in the physical world. And God will finally repay Satan -- on a much larger scale -- in due time, as the Book of Revelation talks about. Verse 9, I know, a lot of atheists will criticize because I guess they think it suggests that God kills babies or something, but the context is Babylonian captivity, which is something they fail to take into consideration. Here's some good info on the subject which should hopefully clear up any misconceptions.

I'd like to dig deeper in regards to verses 8-9, so I'll start off with Hosea 13:9-16, which is a similar passage, where God is speaking to Israel...

 9O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.
10I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes?
11I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath.
12The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid.
13The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son; for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children.
14I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.
15Though he be fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come, the wind of the LORD shall come up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up: he shall spoil the treasure of all pleasant vessels.

16Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.

How does to relate to Psalm 137:8-9? Well, besides the fact that they both mention infants, both passages are prophetic in nature, meaning that God predicted what would happen, which is why both Psalm 137:8-9 and Hosea 13:14-16 use words such as "will" and "shall." I think the prophetic aspect is important because it doesn't imply that God had already dashed up infants because of the sins the Babylonians and the Samarians, but He had yet to. And God had yet to cause destruction, He was giving the Babylonians and the Samarians a chance to repent, so it's possible that some of the Babylonians and the Samarians did. If He let the Babylonians and Samarians, He would've risked the bloodline of Christ being contaminated, which I've talked about in regards to other passages already, so there's no need to repeat myself.  Here's Henry's insight on the passage in Hosea: "Israel had destroyed himself by his rebellion; but he could not save himself, his help was from the Lord only. This may well be applied to the case of spiritual redemption, from that lost state into which all have fallen by wilful sins. God often gives in displeasure what we sinfully desire. It is the happiness of the saints, that, whether God gives or takes away, all is in love. But it is the misery of the wicked, that, whether God gives or takes away, it is all in wrath, nothing is comfortable. Except sinners repent and believe the gospel, anguish will soon come upon them. The prophecy of the ruin of Israel as a nation, also showed there would be a merciful and powerful interposition of God, to save a remnant of them. Yet this was but a shadow of the ransom of the true Israel, by the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. He will destroy death and the grave. The Lord would not repent of his purpose and promise. Yet, in the mean time, Israel would be desolated for her sins. Without fruitfulness in good works, springing from the Holy Spirit, all other fruitfulness will be found as empty as the uncertain riches of the world. The wrath of God will wither its branches, its springs shall be dried up, it shall come to nothing. Woes, more terrible than any from the most cruel warfare, shall fall on those who rebel against God. From such miseries, and from sin, the cause of them, may the Lord deliver us."

I got a few more scriptures I'd like to explore in regards to Psalm 137:8-9 then I'll move onto the next chapter. First is the law of retalitation, which is found in Leviticus 24:17-21...

17And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death.
18And he that killeth a beast shall make it good; beast for beast.
19And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbour; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him;
20Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again.

21And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it: and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death.

I don't have a lot to say about that, but it does illustrate that since God's chosen people (the Israelites) were being opposed, He had every right to deal with their oppressors. He's God and He doesn't have to go by what anyone says since He's sovereign over all. People try and make God do what they want Him to and act how they want Him to act, but it doesn't work that way, especially if they ask Him to work in such a way that does not follow His sovereignty and/or His Word.

Moving on, the aspect of children being dashed or destroyed or whatever is mentioned in two verses. One is 2 Kings 8:12, which says, "And Hazael said, Why weepeth my lord? And he answered, Because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel: their strong holds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with child." The other is Hosea 10:14, which says, "Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people, and all thy fortresses shall be spoiled, as Shalman spoiled Betharbel in the day of battle: the mother was dashed in pieces upon her children." I have also two verses that indicate that the Babylonians were guilty of the crimes described in 2 Kings 8:12 and Hosea 10:14. The first one is Jeremiah 51:24, which says, "And I will render unto Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight, saith the LORD." That basically means that God was gonna repay the Babylonians for their crimes. The other verse is Isaiah 13:16, which says, "Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished." From all that, it is safe to conclude that God curses those curse His people, which is supported in Genesis 12:3, which says, "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." A similar verse is Romans 12:19, which says, "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." And when Jersualem was being opposed in Psalm 137, it's not indicated that God's people took vengeance upon the Babylonians and that's because they didn't. God, however, would take vengeance upon the Babylonians if they didn't repent. It's OK for God to take vengeance because sin is not without its consequences. And since there was no way the Babylonians could've hid from God while engaging in their sin since He sees all, they were basically giving God permission to have vengeance upon them as a result of comitting the sins they committed, which are talked about in 2 Kings 8:12 and Hosea 10:14. I hope I don't have explain any further and I hope I made sense. If I need to corrected, please correct me.

If an atheist happens to come across this entry, I'm not expecting that they will believe scripture to be true, but rather that scripture is backed up by scripture in regards to Psalm 137:8-9. Maybe it'll turn some heads, I dunno, but I do know that God will use as He pleases. I like giving non-believers things to consider, especially if it challenges them and changes their opinion about God and the Bible and all that. In a way, I defended the faith in by digging deeper into Psalm 137:8-9 -- I guess because I had looked more into it and wanted to stand for God.

Chapter 138

I like Henry's comment on the first verse: "When we can praise God with our whole heart, we need not be unwilling for the whole world to witness our gratitude and joy in him." Whether or not I do praise (or thank) Him with my with my whole heart is something that I should examine myself in regards to. I try to and it's not always easy, but I do know that He counts trying as doing. I think part of it that is hard to live up to for me is that sometimes when I'm worshipping God in church, my mind focuses on other things when it should really be focusing on Him since I'm worshipping Him. I usually do come back to Him, though, so I can focus on Him, which tends work out better when I humble myself and turn my hands toward my chest like I described before. I try to be thankful for the little things, such as having a roof over my head and having food to eat, which is one way in which I express that I am thankful in my heart towards Him. I don't have much to say about the "before the gods will I sing praise unto thee" part since I already do it. I do worship in His temple (v. 2) -- or the church I go to, which is a house of God. I feel that one of the reasons I engage in public worship is to proclaim His lovingkindness (or faithfulness) if it is lyrically represented in a song. I could also start thanking Him for His faithfulness in my own prayer time. The "thy truth" part applies because usually before I read His Word, I thank Him for the truth found in His Word. What "magnified" in verse 2 means, according to Bullinger, is "by fulfilling it beyond all expectation." So if I use God's Word as a guide and rely on it for direction, He will fulfill my prayers beyond my expectations, which He did during my darkest moment when I cried out to Him, knowing He would deal with the enemy, as His Word says. And He didn't do just that -- He renewed my relationship with Him. That kind of describes what I was going to say about verse 3, but I will say that, in my darkest moment, He did answer me and He did strengthen me by protecting me from the enemy's influence. I'm not sure how I'd relate to verses 4-5 since it doesn't really appeal to people like me, but I can relate to verse 6 since I do consider myself one of the lowly. I do like Henry's insight on it as well: "Though the Lord is high, yet he has respect to every lowly, humbled sinner; but the proud and unbelieving will be banished far from his blissful presence." When I let God know I need help with something or when I ask Him to be forgiven of my sins, which I do pretty much every day, I am humbling myself before Him and saying to Him that I can't deal with my sins on my own, especially if I need His influence to help me to tame my tongue. I never really thought that when I ask God to help me to tame my tongue I am humbling myself, but it makes sense. And what I will say about the proud is that they have the chance to come to Christ every day -- they just need to humble themselves and acknowledge that they need a Savior. In my darkest moment, it was in the midst of my troubles in which I cried out to God (v. 7). He revived by protecting me in my trial and also by working so that my relationship with Him could be renewed. How He stretched forth His hand against the wrath of the enemy was when He dealt with the enemy for me was when He was in an spiritual battle which I didn't witness because I can't see God. But just because I can't see God, I still believed, by faith, that He was taking care of the enemy for me. To say He wasn't would be absurd. The enemy didn't bother me much to the point he could try to deceive me again after my darkest moment had ended, so I'd say God took care of him. Yes, the enemy can still attack me, but I can tell him to get behind me in Christ's name. I don't have much to say about the last verse, but I will say that it reminds me of Philippians 1:6, which says, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." I do have confidence that He will continue to work in me and in my life, which is a reflection that He loves me and that that loves endures forever no matter what I go through. He will never forsake me, as the psalm ends, and I am thankful that He lives up to that and that He is the only one who does.

So I said I was gonna post some links and videos in regards to the kings that were killed, which will present more of a general overview, but here they are anyway...

1. Thou Shall Not Kill: Does God Violate His Own Commandment?

2. How can a God of love orchestrate Killings in the Old Testament?

                                                    Sources used:

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 136". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>.

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 137". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>.

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Hosea 13". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>.

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 138". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>.

Bullinger, E.W. The Companion Bible.