Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Reflecting on the Psalms: Chapters 81-82

Psalm 81

To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of Asaph.

1Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.
2Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery.
3Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.
4For this was a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob.
5This he ordained in Joseph for a testimony, when he went out through the land of Egypt: where I heard a language that I understood not.
6I removed his shoulder from the burden: his hands were delivered from the pots.
7Thou calledst in trouble, and I delivered thee; I answered thee in the secret place of thunder: I proved thee at the waters of Meribah. Selah.
8Hear, O my people, and I will testify unto thee: O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto me;
9There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god.
10I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.
11But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me.
12So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels.
13Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways!
14I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries.
15The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever.

16He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.

Psalm 82

A Psalm of Asaph.

1God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.
2How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.
3Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.
4Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.
5They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.
6I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
7But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.

8Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.

Chapter 81

Matthew Henry comments on the first few verses by stating the following, "All the worship we can render to the Lord is beneath his excellences, and our obligations to him, especially in our redemption from sin and wrath. What God had done on Israel's behalf, was kept in remembrance by public solemnities." I don't worship God by just singing in church -- I also do it by drawing, writing, reading His Word,  and spending time with Him, just to name a few. However, I do sing to Him (v. 1) and I am thankful that He is my strength. If He wasn't my strength, I'd have no leg to stand on and I'd be weak. In regards to verses 1-2 as a whole, I am reminded of this. I may have shared that before, but playing with my friends was fun and it was just a great thing to get so excited in the process of praising God and having a good time doing it. I can't relate to verses 3-4, but I think I'll touch on verses 5-7. In verse 5, God is speaking of Joseph (I believe from the Book of Genesis) and removes his burdens (v. 6) and delivers him from trouble (v. 7). Taking those verses into consideration, I can relate to Joseph, mostly God took my burdens away when I called upon Him during my darkest moment. I can't quite relate to verses 8-12 or so, but I do like Henry's thoughts on them, "We cannot look for too little from the creature, nor too much from the Creator. We may have enough from God, if we pray for it in faith. All the wickedness of the world is owing to man's wilfulness. People are not religious, because they will not be so. God is not the Author of their sin, he leaves them to the lusts of their own hearts, and the counsels of their own heads; if they do not well, the blame must be upon themselves." I think Henry pretty much hit the nail on the head, so I don't have much to add to it except for a thought I have. In today's society, people don't hearken or lisen to God's voice (v. 11), which causes God to give them over to their lusts (v. 12). Those verses inspire to spread the gospel and help out those who have given into their lusts, so they will listen to and submit to Him. I like Henry's thought on the last few verses, "Christ is the Bread of life; he is the Rock of salvation, and his promises are as honey to pious minds. But those who reject him as their Lord and Master, must also lose him as their Saviour and their reward."

Chapter 82

This chapter gives me an overall picture of what God's judgment will be like as well as the nature of His judgment among those who accept or reject His love. So in a way, I think I'll reflect on both. I can imagine Him standing in the congregation of the mighty (v. 1), which is the place from which He'll judge. Perhaps that is current place from which He judges? I'm not sure, but I'll have to look into it. I haven't wondered about God's judgment towards the wicked all that much, but maybe it's something I should do more of (v. 2). It's basically just rhetorical question leading into verses 3-5, which I'm gonna get into. The reason I mentioned the nature of God's judgment among those who accept or reject His love is where verses 3-5 tie in. I have faced affliction before (v. 3), particularly during my darkest moment. I'd say that God did defend me during my that time. To tie verse 2 into, I probably did wonder why God was allowing Satan to do what he did, which is what I see in "accept the persons of the wicked." He delivered me and took me from the enemy's hand (v. 4). Verse 5, even though it's a verse I can't relate to, it seems to be speaking of the oppressed after they have relied on God to deliever them. If I am wrong about that and if the verse is speaking of the oppressors or "the wicked" (v. 4), then I can see how God would allow them to continue to walk in darkness. To avoid getting off on too much of a tangent, perhaps I will examine that verse at a later date. Henry's thoughts on verse 5 do help to clarify, "But when justice is turned from what is right, no good can be expected. The evil actions of public persons are public mischiefs." If the former is true about verse 5, as I was discussing, then I am reminded not to turn from my ways after God has helped me out. Doing so would basically be betraying Him, which I don't think He'd like very much. I cannot think of myself as a god (v. 6) and usually don't. To do so while being a child of the Most High would most likely cause God to be mad at me, which would result in me falling (v. 7). I am thankful that I don't have to be my own god because that'd be quite a burden I wouldn't be willing to deal with, especially since God guides and I follow, which is another reason why I don't have to be my own god. If I did, I'd basically be rebelling His plan for my life. I like Henry's thought on the last verse, "Considering the state of affairs in the world, we have need to pray that the Lord Jesus would speedily rule over all nations, in truth, righteousness, and peace." Yeah...something to take consideration in regards to prayer, mostly because of the way things are going in this world. And when God inherits all nations, it will be similar to the in instance in the Book of Joshua, where Moses told the Levite tribe that God was their inheritance, which I've talked about before and I thought I'd point it out. Another thing I'd like to point out about that verse is that since God will judge the earth, His judgement will have an affect on everyone, which is another implication I see in, "for thou shall inherit all nations." I look forward to God's judgment on myself and my fellow brothers and sisters and Christ because we will be judge by God's standard, which is how His judgement will be an inheritance to us.

                                                Sources used:

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 81". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>.

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 82". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>.

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