Friday, May 27, 2011

Reflecting on the Psalms: Chapters 56-59

Psalm 56

To the chief Musician upon Jonathelemrechokim, Michtam of David, when the Philistines took him in Gath.

1Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me.
2Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O thou most High.
3What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.
4In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.
5Every day they wrest my words: all their thoughts are against me for evil.
6They gather themselves together, they hide themselves, they mark my steps, when they wait for my soul.
7Shall they escape by iniquity? in thine anger cast down the people, O God.
8Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?
9When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.
10In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word.
11In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.
12Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee.

13For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?

Psalm 57

To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave.

1Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.
2I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.
3He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth.
4My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.
5Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth.
6They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah.
7My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.
8Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.
9I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations.
10For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.

11Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth.

Psalm 58

To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David.

1Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?
2Yea, in heart ye work wickedness; ye weigh the violence of your hands in the earth.
3The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.
4Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear;
5Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely.
6Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth: break out the great teeth of the young lions, O LORD.
7Let them melt away as waters which run continually: when he bendeth his bow to shoot his arrows, let them be as cut in pieces.
8As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away: like the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun.
9Before your pots can feel the thorns, he shall take them away as with a whirlwind, both living, and in his wrath.
10The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.

11So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth.

Psalm 59

To the chief Musician, Altaschitch, Michtam of David; when Saul sent, and they watched the house to kill him.

1Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God: defend me from them that rise up against me.
2Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloody men.
3For, lo, they lie in wait for my soul: the mighty are gathered against me; not for my transgression, nor for my sin, O LORD.
4They run and prepare themselves without my fault: awake to help me, and behold.
5Thou therefore, O LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel, awake to visit all the heathen: be not merciful to any wicked transgressors. Selah.
6They return at evening: they make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city.
7Behold, they belch out with their mouth: swords are in their lips: for who, say they, doth hear?
8But thou, O LORD, shalt laugh at them; thou shalt have all the heathen in derision.
9Because of his strength will I wait upon thee: for God is my defence.
10The God of my mercy shall prevent me: God shall let me see my desire upon mine enemies.
11Slay them not, lest my people forget: scatter them by thy power; and bring them down, O Lord our shield.
12For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips let them even be taken in their pride: and for cursing and lying which they speak.
13Consume them in wrath, consume them, that they may not be: and let them know that God ruleth in Jacob unto the ends of the earth. Selah.
14And at evening let them return; and let them make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city.
15Let them wander up and down for meat, and grudge if they be not satisfied.
16But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.

17Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing: for God is my defence, and the God of my mercy.

Chapter 56

Sometimes I may deal with enemies that swallow me up or “hotly pursue me” (NIV). In those situations, I am sure to ask God for mercy so I am not overcome by my enemies. I haven’t dealt with enemies to high degree, but I was in a math class at San Jose City where this one guy treated me like crap cuz I looked at him with a goofy face because he thought it had something to do with him and got pissed about it. So I had a bit of an enemy there and asked God for mercy so that guy wouldn’t beat me up or anything. I thought I’d included Matthew Henry’s comments on the first few verses, “We may flee to, and trust the mercy of God, when surrounded on all sides by difficulties and dangers. His enemies were too hard for him, if God did not help him.” Yeah…God helped me out to no fear my enemy even though he intimidated me a few times. I just let God worry about that and if the authorities needed to get involved, I would not have been hesitant to contact them. Putting my trust in His Word is what directs my steps and I can’t say it’s misled me thus far. And since putting my trust in Him is something I’m used to doing, I know He’ll protect me from any man (v. 4). I’m not sure if my enemy’s thoughts were evil towards me (v. 5) except for when he’d flip me off or something. He did threaten me that time after I made a goofy face at him and his threats did have harmful, evil intentions behind them. I’m not sure if verse 6 relates to the situation, but I know that God shows anger toward my enemies (v. 7) and deals with ‘em as He sees fit. Matthew Henry comments on verses 8-9 by stating the following, “The heavy and continued trials through which many of the Lord's people have passed, should teach us to be silent and patient under lighter crosses. Yet we are often tempted to repine and despond under small sorrows. For this we should check ourselves. David comforts himself, in his distress and fear, that God noticed all his grievances and all his griefs.” I can’t really relate to verses 8-9 since I have yet to deal with enemies on the degree that David did, but I suppose I could apply them to my darkest moment because I know was lamenting during that time (v. 8) and when I cried out to Him, the enemy left me alone (v. 9). I see verse 10 as a reiteration of verse 4, so just see my comment on that. I was thankful for His deliverance and that I was able to reground myself in Him (v. 13).

Chapter 57

Even though I may deal with calamity from time to time, I know that I can make refuge in the shadow of His wings (v. 1). And if I do that, God’s gonna protect me from calamities, which He did during my darkest moment, which I’ll always be grateful for. I cried out to God, yes (v. 2), which I may even have to do for small things. God wants to hear from me and He wants me to depend on Him for help, which I’ve been asking Him for in prayer lately since I have finals this week. So I suppose I cry out to Him in a small way, which is never a bad thing. I am reminded of God’s deliverance in verse 3, mostly in the case of my darkest moment. He saved me when I called upon Him and kept the enemy at bay. In verses 4-5, I’m reminded to praise God in the midst of trials, which may sound kinda weird for some people. I suppose, though, take if I praise God during my trials they’ll not only be easier to get through but I’ll grow closer to Him in the midst of my trials when I praise Him for them. On a related note, James 1:2 says, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations.” And to comment on that verse, I should be thankful for trials that come my way because they will typically result in me growing closer to Him. As I’ve mentioned before, I have finals this week, which I see as a trial because I am trusting God to help me out with them. And by trusting in God, I can grow closer to Him since I trust He’ll help me succeeded. Kinda how faith works because believing is seeing and I believe that, with His strength and wisdom, I will pass. Matthew Henry comments on verse 6 by stating the following, “But the mischief they designed against him, returned on themselves. And when David was in the greatest distress and disgrace, he did not pray, Lord, exalt me, but, Lord, exalt thine own name. Our best encouragement in prayer, is taken from the glory of God, and to that, more than to our own comfort, we should have regard in all our petitions for mercy.” And I if have God exalt Himself during my distress, He’ll help me get through my distress as a result of giving up my pride and selfishness to Him, which is kinda cool. Kinda reminds me of my darkest moment when I exalted Him by giving up my belief that I could deal with my problems on my own. After I complained about my problems, I was thankful that God helped me out (v. 7) and I could even use music to praise Him for that (v. 8). I will praise God among others for all the good thing He’s done (v. 9), which I think I talked about in a previous reflection. Since His mercy is great unto heavens (v. 10), that means to me that no one’s mercy and love is as far-reaching and comforting as His, which I praise Him for. I also praise Him for the fact that nothing can compare to His glory (v. 11) and it’s always a great thing to see it in His creation.

Chapter 58

Verses 1-3 seem to be convicting of rulers who are against God. I’ll include Matthew Henry’s comments, which state the following, “When wrong is done under the form of law, it is worse than any other; especially it is grievous to behold those who profess to be children of God, joining together against any of his people. We should thank the Lord for merciful restraints; we should be more earnest in seeking renewing grace, more watchful over ourselves, and more patient under the effects of fallen nature in others. The corruption of their nature was the root of bitterness. We may see in children the wickedness of the world beginning.” Kinda reminds me of Obama and his connection to shady groups, like Acorn. I’m not gonna go on political conspiracy theory rant, but I just thought I’d mention that. Some people who are born sinners (v. 3) from the start never come to Christ, which is a sad thing. It makes me wanna do something about it and perhaps go the extra mile just to bring someone to Christ. Since their poison is like that of a serpent (v. 4), I don’t imagine myself getting involved with them. Verses 3-5 illustrate to me how deceptive the wicked can be. They also emphasize to me to trust in God because He will protect from any evil I may face, as verse 6 says. I don’t think I’ll ever deal with lions in my life, but I know from experience that God will stop anyone who tries to hurt me. I thought I’d also include Matthew Henry’s thoughts, “David prayed that the enemies of God's church and people might be disabled to do further mischief. We may, in faith, pray against the designs of the enemies of the church. He foretells their ruin. And who knows the power of God's anger?” Sometimes I pray that the enemy won’t harm those I care about so their (potential) connection with God won’t be disrupted, so I guess I do my part by praying for the church by asking God to keep the enemy at bay. Verses 7-9 don’t really apply to me, but I do suppose they describe what happens to the wicked when I pray against Satan and his followers having an influence on my friends. I don’t want evil forces in general to influence my friends and I know if I pray about that, God will honor that, which is cool because it shows that He protects people even if they don’t follow Him. Whenever God has vengeance in my life -- such as what I mentioned in regards to praying against the enemy’s influence -- I will praise Him that for the fact that He has helped those I prayed for to not be influenced by the enemy (v. 10), which is something I should probably start doing. And if God frees His people from the enemy’s influence, I see their freedom as a reward (v. 11). Kinda like in my darkest moment how God freed me from the enemy’s influence. From that, I can use my experience to help others and ask God free them because it’s guaranteed when one asks for it.

Chapter 59

Matthew Henry comments on the first few verses by stating the following, “In these words we hear the voice of David when a prisoner in his own house; the voice of Christ when surrounded by his merciless enemies; the voice of the church when under bondage in the world; and the voice of the Christian when under temptation, affliction, and persecution.” And sometimes I have to cry out to God when under affliction and persecution, as David did in verses 1-2. I realize that the only way for me to deal with opposition from my enemies (vv. 3-4) is by reliance on God. His helping me out makes me fearless before opposition and it also comforts me since His comforting me is His of letting me know that He’s gonna help me get through whatever I’m dealing with. He helped me get through moment, for example. And since He is against my transgressors -- those who sin against me -- not only will He deal with ‘em as He sees fit, but He will also deliver me from ‘em so they won’t harm me. The latter part was what God did during my darkest moment: He delivered me from the enemy’s grasp so I wouldn’t be harmed by his attacks on me. I could deal with an enemy who comes in contact with me on a daily basis (v. 6) -- almost like that guy in my math class -- and even though they think that God doesn’t pay attention to what they say (v. 7), God will still have power over them (v. 8). I can’t personally relate to those verses, but there’s been the occasional enemy who has snuck up on me as is described in the verses. I suppose if I were to relate the verses to my darkest moment, I would say that during the times in which Satan returned to give me a hard time, which he did in a sneaky, kind of way, it wasn’t a secret because God knew about it and one day the enemy will be in derision. I remember having to wait upon God a little bit but that was only because He provided me with safety when He knew I needed it the most (v. 9). I think during that time, God allowed me to see my desire upon the enemy, which was having his connection cut off from me (v. 10). God brought Satan down(v. 11), which meant that I no longer had to believe his lies (v. 12). It was a great thing to experience freedom from his lies because continuing to live with them wouldn’t have done me any good. God will eventually destroy Satan and I guess He consumed him by freeing me (v. 13). When God poured out His wrath upon Satan, he lost power over me, which meant that nothing was hindering my walk, which was a great thing. And I think by letting the enemy know that He rules to the ends of the rule, He displayed that His saving power and His sovereignty was more than Satan could handle. The enemy may return to give me a hard time (v. 14), but since I won’t succumb to his lies, as I have learned from experience, he’s not gonna be able to hunt for me and treat me as if I’m food (v. 15). I am thankful that from my darkest moment, God helped to learn how the enemy operates and how I can not be influenced by him. He may go out like a dog to attack, but his efforts won’t be successful if I tell him to get behind me. Matthew Henry comments on verses 16-17 by stating the following, “The trials of his people will end in joy and praise. When the night of affliction is over, they will sing of the Lord's power and mercy in the morning. Let believers now, in assured faith and hope, praise Him for those mercies, for which they will rejoice and praise him for ever.” What I have to add to that is that I should never stop praising God for His saving power because nothing compares to it and He’s the only who can save His people from the enemy’s influence.

                                                  Sources used:

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 56". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>.

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 57". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>.

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 58". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>.

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 59". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>.  

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