Saturday, June 25, 2011

Reflecting on the Psalms: Chapters 84-85

Psalm 84

To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm for the son of Korah.

1How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts!
2My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.
3Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God.
4Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.
5Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.
6Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.
7They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.
8O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah.
9Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed.
10For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

12O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

Psalm 85

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

1Lord, thou hast been favourable unto thy land: thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob.
2Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah.
3Thou hast taken away all thy wrath: thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger.
4Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease.
5Wilt thou be angry with us for ever? wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations?
6Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?
7Shew us thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us thy salvation.
8I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.
9Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.
10Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
 11Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
12Yea, the LORD shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase.

13Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.

Chapter 84

Matthew Henry comments on the first few verses by stating the following, "The ordinances of God are the believer's solace in this evil world; in them he enjoys the presence of the living God: this causes him to regret his absence from them. They are to his soul as the nest to the bird." In verse 1, I am reminded of the fact that God's dwelling place (tabernacle) is indeed a lovely thing. When I feel His presence, such as during communion time, nothing can compare to that. In a way, it's a reminder that He loves me and He knows that my heart is set on serving Him, which is kind of carried over in verse 2. My soul does long for Him and He knows that. I want more and more of Him each day and it's great that He can fulfill that since His love never runs out. If I tried to get more and more of man each day, I imagine I'd end up unsatisfied because man cannot address my spiritual needs -- only God can. The part where it says "my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God" reminds me of the worship song Better Is One Day, as does verse 10 as a whole. I imagine those verses inspired that song, which has been played in my church a couple times. Henry's comparison in regards to verse 3, "They are to his soul as the nest to the bird." What a wonderful thing His ordinaces are and what a wonderful thing it is to find rest in Him. I know that since I dwell in Him -- or rather the body of Christ -- I am blessed (v. 4). I'd say that I express the fact that I'm blessed by praising Him in various ways, which I have discussed before. I find my strength in Him (v. 5), which I did during my darkest moment and the blessing that came out of that was growing closer to Him. While I don't have anything to say about verse 6, I do like Henry's thought on it, "The pilgrims to the heavenly city may have to pass through many a valley of weeping, and many a thirsty desert; but wells of salvation shall be opened for them, and consolations sent for their support." I am thankful that God opens up wells of salvation for me, especially during hard times, which is what that verse means to me. Since it's a continuation of verse 5, I see how God's strength is necessary to make it through hard times, which ringed true in regards to my darkest moment. As I go onward in my walk with God, I will come to a point where I appear before Him (v. 7), which I look forward to because I know I will be in eternity with Him. What ends my time on earth is up to Him -- what matters is that I live for Him and do His will in this world as best I can. I like how Hnery puts it as well, "Those that press forward in their Christian course, shall find God add grace to their graces. And those who grow in grace, shall be perfect in glory." When I cry out to Him, I know He hears my prayer (v. 7), especially since He is my shield. That ringed true during my darkest moment because God was my shield against the enemy during that time, and He looked on His Son -- His Anoitned One -- for my sake, so I could be delivered. I figure God worked in that way even though I didn't see it, but perhaps my growth that resulted from my darkest moment reflected God's consulting His Son. Verse 10, I am reminded of that song Better Is One Day, as I've mentioned. Also, that verse reminds me that it's better to choose God than get involved in sinful ways, which is what I see implied in, "than to dwell in the tents of wickedness." I (should) continue to seek after God because in terms of the Christian walk, it's not about how you start but how you finish. In verse 11, where it says , "For the LORD God is a sun and shield, " I am reminded that God is my light as well as my protector, especially because His light showed up and He protected during my darkest moment. I like where it says, " no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly" because that means to me that if I follow after Him and do His will, I will experience His blessings, which is always a great thing to be reminded of. And it all starts by trusting Him (v. 12), which will result in having His will revealed to me. The more I do His will and do things His way, the more blessings I will experience.

Chapter 85

In first two verses, I am reminded of God's forgiveness. As God showed favor towards His land, He shows favor to those who come to Him and repent from their sins. It's His way of saying, "Now you've come to me, you no longer have to live in sin." That idea of God's favor is implied in verse 2 as well, which I suppose I already hinted at. Knowing that God has covered my sins as well as those of my fellow believers isn't something that we take for granted. I also like Henry's thoughts on the first two verses, "The sense of present afflictions should not do away the remembrance of former mercies. The favour of God is the fountain of happiness to nations, as well as to particular persons. When God forgives sin, he covers it; and when he covers the sin of his people, he covers it all." And when one comes to repentance, God takes away His wrath (v. 3) and ceases His anger towards them (v. 4). I don't have a lot to say about that, but I think it's cool that God welcomed me with open arms when I gave my life over to Him. I can look back on that moment and imagine how God's attitude changed towards me, especially since I no longer had to live in fear of His wrath. Speaking of wrath, here's Henry's thoughts in verses 5-7, "The Lord's people may expect sharp and tedious afflictions when they commit sin; but when they return to him with humble prayer, he will make them again to rejoice in him." That, to me, reminds me of His grace and the fact that no one forgives like He does. He revives me every time I repent (v. 6), which means to me that He helps me to get over that hurdle. His mercy is something He continues to show His people (v. 7), which I praise Him for. And since I have salvation and have been redeemed from sin, I imagine His voice is much clearer to me (v. 8). God may want to reveal something to me and ever since He's freed my mind from profane thoughts, He shouldn't have much of problem doing that. I haven't fallen back into that sin and I think God watches over me to make sure I don't. Since I fear Him, salvation is near (v. 9). I like that verse because it was kinda how I felt when I cried out to God in the midst of my darkest moment -- the fact that He was gonna deliver me from my pain was what kept me going and enduring and keeping my faith in Him. I don't have a lot to say a lot to say about verse 10, but I do like the figurative language in regards to righteousness and peace each other. I think that verse sums up Christ's attributes as a whole and how they bounce off of one another. It also means to me that in terms Christ (or God), you can't have mercy without truth and you can't have righteousness without peace. In the future, that's a verse that I'd like to do an in-depth study one because I think there's a lot that can be drawn from it, mostly in terms of how it all fits together. Perhaps I would include verse 11 as a part of that study. That verse itself is an interesting contrast in terms of where truth and righteousness come from. I am thankful for God's truth and righteousness because those aspects have helped me through a lot of hard times, one being my darkest moment. Henry's thoughts on the last few verses, "For his sake all good things, especially his Holy Spirit, are given to those who ask him. Through Christ, the pardoned sinner becomes fruitful in good works, and by looking to and trusting in the Saviour's righteousness, finds his feet set in the way of his steps. Righteousness is a sure guide, both in meeting God, and in following him." God does give me good things, such as friends, food, the adundant life, and more blesings I could ask for. In verse 12, where it says, "and shall set us in the way of his steps" means to me that God's righteousness is what causes me to follow His plan for my life and that His righteousness is filled with the promise of: if you look to it, you won't lose. Your path will be clear and you'll get more than you ask for.

                                                Sources used:

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 84". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 85". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>.

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