Thursday, April 21, 2011

Reflecting on the Psalms: Chapters 23-24

Psalm 23

A Psalm of David.

1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Psalm 24

A Psalm of David.

1The earth is the LORD's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
2For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.
3Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?
4He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
5He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.
7Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
8Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.
9Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

10Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.

Chapter 23

This psalm starts out by talking about Christ being the shepherd. I think of Christ as my shepherd every now and then and to Him, I am considred to be one of His sheep. Since He's my shepherd, He watches over me and provides for all my needs. As a sheep of His, He makes me want to rest in green pastures (v. 2). God takes care of me and I can come to Him if I need rest. Same goes for the waters -- since they are still, I will not have to worry about being harmed while in His presence. I can trust in Him to keep me on the path (v. 3) since I know doing so won't cause me to go off in the wrong direction. God helps me out when I have to with life's perils ("the valley of the shadow of death"). Verse 4 is a verse I have tied to memory and I find myself quoting it when I am unsure about a situation that I'm facing. Matthew comments on verse 4 by stating the following, "The valley of the shadow of death may denote the most severe and terrible affliction, or dark dispensation of providence, that the psalmist ever could come under. Between the part of the flock on earth and that which is gone to heaven, death lies like a dark valley that must be passed in going from one to the other. But even in this there are words which lessen the terror. It is but the shadow of death: the shadow of a serpent will not sting, nor the shadow of a sword kill. It is a valley, deep indeed, and dark, and miry; but valleys are often fruitful, and so is death itself fruitful of comforts to God's people. It is a walk through it: they shall not be lost in this valley, but get safe to the mountain on the other side. Death is a king of terrors, but not to the sheep of Christ. When they come to die, God will rebuke the enemy; he will guide them with his rod, and sustain them with his staff." I like how Henry associates the valley of the shadow of death with affliction. Looking at it from that perspective, I am reminded that I shouldn't be afraid of dealing with affliction -- probably typlically physical -- because I know that God with get me through it. While I feast, God will take care of my enemies (v. 5). I don't have to worry about dealing with enemies, which is nice because while I'm enjoying myself, God will protect and I won't even have to lift a finger. The idea of being anointed with oil and my cupping runnig over means to me that God will always make sure I am safe and He will satisfy me beyond what words can express. I am thankful that God renews His mercy each day (v. 7).

Chapter 24

Matthew Henry comments on the first couple verses by stating, "We ourselves are not our own; our bodies, our souls, are not. Even those of the children of men are God's, who know him not, nor own their relation to him. A soul that knows and considers its own nature, and that it must live for ever, when it has viewed the earth and the fulness thereof, will sit down unsatisfied." Since my soul and my my body belong to God, I have to try to honor Him with them, which isn't always easy because sometimes I wanna go off and do my own thing. I am reminded of Ezekiel 18:4, which says, "Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die." Another verse supporting that all souls belong to God. If I never came to repentence, then I'd die without ever knowing Him, which would result in not spending eternity with Him. Matthew Henry comments on verse 3 by stating, "It will think of ascending toward God, and will ask, What shall I do, that I may abide in that happy, holy place, where he makes his people holy and happy? We make nothing of religion, if we do not make heart-work of it." To me, that means my heart has to (continue to) be in the right place in order in be in good standing with God. If go out and get drunk every night, then I would that, after a while, I'm not gonna be in good standing with God. If I stay true to God, I will (continue to) be part of the generation that receives His blessings (v. 4-6). I think that's really encouraging because when there are times that I don't feel like being a Christian for whatever reason, I should remember that if I am going through a trial where I may feel like giving up on God to avoid dealing with it, I will experience His blessings if I don't give up. I guess the blessing that results from the trial could be something as simple as growing closer to Him. The last four verses pretty much speak for themselves, but I think I'll leave y'all with some of Matthew Henry's comments about them. He states, "The splendid entry here described, refers to the solemn bringing in of the ark into the tent David pitched for it, or the temple Solomon built for it. We may also apply it to the ascension of Christ into heaven, and the welcome given to him there. Our Redeemer found the gates of heaven shut, but having by his blood made atonement for sin, as one having authority, he demanded entrance." Since He made atonement for sin, that opened the door for me to come to Him and accept Him into my life when I did. Had He not taken the sin of the world upon Himself, my efforts to accept as my personal Lord and Savior would have been vain. He entered in my life so I could glorify Him.

                                                  Sources used:

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 23". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>.

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 24". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>. 

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