Saturday, May 14, 2011

Reflecting on the Psalms: Chapters 46-48

Psalm 46

To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth.

1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
4There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
5God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.
6The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.
7The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
8Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth.
9He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.
10Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

11The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

Psalm 47

To the chief Musician, A Psalm for the sons of Korah.

1O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.
2For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.
3He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet.
4He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah.
5God is gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.
6Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises.
7For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.
8God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness.

9The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham: for the shields of the earth belong unto God: he is greatly exalted.

Psalm 48

A Song and Psalm for the sons of Korah.

1Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.
2Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.
3God is known in her palaces for a refuge.
4For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together.
5They saw it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled, and hasted away.
6Fear took hold upon them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail.
7Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind.
8As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God: God will establish it for ever. Selah.
9We have thought of thy lovingkindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple.
10According to thy name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of righteousness.
11Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of thy judgments.
12Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof.
13Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following.

14For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.

Chapter 46

Verse 1 is a verse that gives me confidence since it’s something that I go back whenever I’m dealing with crap in life and need God’s guidance and direction to deal with it. And I looked to God during my darkest moment, which I talked about before. Matthew Henry comments on verses 2-3 by stating the following: “Let those be troubled at the troubling of the waters, who build their confidence on a floating foundation; but let not those be alarmed who are led to the Rock, and there find firm footing.” Even though there was so much going on around me -- which affected my spirit -- I looked to God and established my foundation so I wouldn’t fall. I like to think of the descriptions of the disasters on earth in verses 2-3 as metaphors for hardships that I may deal with in my spiritual life. Every day, there is the possibility that hardships will come my way, which God can use for me to grow closer to Him as well as to strengthen me. Matthew Henry comments on verses 4-5 in the following: “The river alludes to the graces and consolations of the Holy Spirit, which flow through every part of the church, and through God's sacred ordinances, gladdening the heart of every believer. It is promised that the church shall not be moved.” I think it’s cool that Henry observed that the river is an allusion to the Holy Spirit because now that I think about, to be near a river can be a pleasurable experience. Taking that into account, having the Holy Spirit in my life makes me glad because I am reminded that after I face a trial, God’s Spirit comforts me and usually reveals to me what it is to be learned after facing a trial as well as why God allowed that trial. Since the church shall not be moved, as Henry states, that reminds that I’m not gonna drift away from God during times of trouble. Matthew Henry comments on verses 6-8 in the following: “Come and see the effects of desolating judgments, and stand in awe of God. This shows the perfect security of the church, and is an assurance of lasting peace.” I’m glad that since live for Him, I won’t have to experience the judgments He pours out (v. 6). Verse 7 is a reminder that God is with me, even during the most devastating times of tribulation. I don’t really much to say about it, but I will be observant of God’s work during the final days (v. 8). If I’m not, I could find myself in a bad position. Verse 9, I believe, speaks of the final days, which I trust God with since He knows how it’s all gonna work out. In the midst of troubles, I will “be still” (v. 10). or not worry, since I know that God’s gonna take care of them. That verse means to me that if I do my part, God’ll do His part. It’s kind of how a relationship with God functions, especially during the midst of trials. That’s what I had to do during my darkest moment: be still, and know that He is God. I’ll also be doing that during the final days since God knows how it’s all gonna pan out. Verse 11 is a reminder that wherever I am and whatever I’m going through, God’s always there.

Chapter 47

Matthew Henry comments on the first few verses by stating the following: “The God with whom we have to do, is a God of awful majesty. The universal and absolute sovereignty of a holy God would be too terrible for us even to think of, were it not exercised by his Son from a mercy-seat; but now it is only terrible to the workers of iniquity.” Yeah…quite an observation there. Sometimes I just praise for the fact that He does little things in my life which reflect His goodness and faithfulness (v. 1). On Thursday, I had my history teacher look over my rough draft of my term paper, which she said was at UC level. Even though that remark may seem like something small, I am thankful that God helped to me achieve that and that He guided and directed me in putting my rough draft together. I think that’s something I’ll continually praise Him for and think of once in a while to reflect on His faithfulness in my life. “Terrible” (v. 2) means to be reverenced. That verse reminds me that I am one of His people and that since He is King over all the earth, since He observes it and creates sustains life on it, I can praise Him for those things. Matthew Henry comments on verse 4 in the following: “Jesus Christ shall subdue the Gentiles; he shall bring them as sheep into the fold, not for slaughter, but for preservation. He shall subdue their affections, and make them a willing people in the day of his power.” I thought I’d post that insight to prevent any misunderstandings of that verse. What that verse means to me, though, is that God strengthens me till the day Christ returns. As I’ve said before, I don’t going along with traditional eschatology, or should I say, premillennialism. I’m not gonna get into that right now, but I know that I will have my Christianity sorted out when Christ returns, which I think is what I’m really trying to get at. In verse 4, I am reminded that God is my inheritance, as I’ve mentioned in a previous reflection. I feel that since is my inheritance, I can express His love to others and meet their needs as He does mine. If someone needs food or clothes, for example, I’d see that as a great opportunity to express God’s love to that person and maybe even tell ‘em about Christ. He is also my inheritance because He knows His plan for my life, which I choose to follow. Matthew Henry puts it like this: “The Lord shall choose my inheritance for me; he knows what is good for me better than I do.” “Gone up” (v. 5) means that God is exalted. What that means to me is that by praising God and giving Him all the credit for something such as my term paper rough draft, I put God higher than me since He’s perfect and I’m not. What I’m mean by that is I’m imperfect because I sin. Sometimes I feel like praising God just for the sake of it (v. 6), which can choke me up. I see verse 7 as a reiteration of verse 2, so just see my comments on that. “God reigneth over the heathen” means to me that even though nations rebel against Him, He still lives those nations and gives ’em another chance, every day, to repent and turn to Him. That’s a reminder of His grace and mercy and the fact that no man could show that grace and mercy to a nation who constantly chooses to rebel. It’s cool that God shows that kind of love to non-believers because it’s a model to me of the kind of love I should show to non-believers. I can’t really relate to verse 9, so I don’t have much to say about it.

Chapter 48

Matthew Henry comments on the first few verses by stating the following, “Jerusalem is the city of our God: none on earth render him due honour except the citizens of the spiritual Jerusalem. Happy the kingdom, the city, the family, the heart, in which God is great, in which he is all. There God is known.” I imagine that Jerusalem or Zion is a place that is one to remain holy since it seems to be a reflection of God’s holiness (v. 1). And since Jerusalem is referred to as the holy city, I wonder what’d be like to go there these days. In God’s eyes, mount Zion is a beautiful place (v. 2). I imagine that He looks down upon it with admiration when things are working out according to His plan for Zion. And even though those in Zion may sin, I see God’s glory in that in the fact that He forgives them. It’s as if God isn’t willing to give up on Zion as much as He isn’t willing to give up on those who rebel against Him. So I guess I see a parallel and I reminded of God’s sovereignty over His land as well as His people, mostly because of the fact that it’s “the city of the great King” (v. 2). As God is a refuge to Zion (v. 3), He is also a refuge to me. Again, I am reminded of God’s sovereignty and the fact that He protects me when I need it. Matthew Henry comments on verses 4-7 by stating the following: “Nothing in nature can more fitly represent the overthrow of heathenism by the Spirit of the gospel, than the wreck of a fleet in a storm. Both are by the mighty power of the Lord.” If I was living in the time where heathenism was overthrow, I could see myself turning to God. And I’m thankful that I didn’t live a heathen lifestyle before coming to Christ because I imagine that would’ve been a lot for me to give up. With Christ’s strength, thought, I don’t suppose I’d have much of a problem giving it up. I see verse 8 as a reiteration of God’s sovereignty, so I don’t have much to say about it. However, I know that whenever I’m in God’s presence, I will think of His loving character (v. 9). Sometimes I’ll be so involved in prayer that I’ll feel His touch, His presence, which I think is His way of saying that He knows when I draw near to Him. I could get off on some tangent about experiences with God in regards to verse 9, but perhaps I’ll save that for some other time. Verse 10 is describing God’s name and His praise as being “to the ends of the earth.” What that means to mean is that God is endless and so is praise for Him. Since He’s eternal, His praise never stops. It reminds of times in the past when I just wanted to praise God, aloud, for 10-15 minutes. I think doing that challenged me to think of the good things God’s done in my life and made me dig deeply to think about those things. I can’t really relate to verses 11-12 except for the fact that if I were to apply them to myself, I would be grateful for God’s judgments (v. 11). What that means is that since God will have a good, favorable judgment on me, He will judge me according to me righteousness. I will tell of God’s goodness to other generations (v. 13) and I know that even when I die, God will be with me (v. 14). My flesh will die, yes, but I won’t have to worry about my soul dying since I will lived in a way which pleased God.

                                                 Sources used:

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 46". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>. 

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 47". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>. 

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 48". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>.

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