Saturday, July 9, 2011

Reflecting on the Psalms: Chapters 96-97

Psalm 96

1O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth.
2Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day.
3Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.
4For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods.
5For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
6Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
7Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength.
8Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts.
 9O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.
10Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously.
11Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof.
12Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice

13Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.

Psalm 97

1The LORD reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof.
2Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.
3A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about.
4His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled.
5The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
6The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory.
7Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods.
8Zion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of thy judgments, O LORD.
9For thou, LORD, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods.
10Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.
11Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.

12Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.

Chapter 96

Matthew Henry comments on the first few verses by stating the following, "When Christ finished his work on earth, and was received into his glory in heaven, the church began to sing a new song unto him, and to bless his name." I figure during the end times, all the earth will sing to the Lord (v. 1), which will be a wonderful thing. In my church, we worship and praise Him (obviously), which I don't have much to say about. Verse 2 kinda ties into the church aspect and I know that there are people, including myself, that do try and show forth His salvation on a daily basis. I think part of that is reflecting Christ and having actions that display that. I'm not gonna get into a long explanation, but I know that helping someone out can mean a lot to them and it's a cool thing when I can be a part of something and have an impact on someone's life. What verse 3 means to me is that I can talk to others about the wonderful things God's done in my life. And if one doesn't accept Christ right then and then as a result of my declaring God's works, at least I will have planted a seed. God's gonna work in that seed however He chooses, which reminds me that it's Him at work and not me. I kinda talked about God being above other gods in regards to Psalm 95:3, but what I will say about verses 4-5 is that idols have no place in God's Kingdom and He's not very happy when others try and put other gods -- or even worldly things -- in place of God. That passage makes me wanna examine myself to make sure I'm not putting an idol in front of God. And whenever I'm in God's dwellingplace or sanctuary (v. 6), I can honestly say that His honor and majesty (or joy) are before Him. Those are aspects of His character that will never go away and I think they express His sovereignty over all His creation, which He'll never lose. I am glad to have Him as my King. I give to God by declaring He is my glory and strength (v. 7), which I should probably do (outside of church) more often. I do give God the glory (v. 8) by thanking Him for the good things He's done in my life. I thanked Him for helping me out on my math tests, which I think He blessed me in return for by helping me to pass the class. It reminds me of Proverbs 3:5-6, which says, "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." I did trust in Him and it's great that His will was done in the end. Without asking for His will to be done on tests and quizzes, I imagine I would've had a hard time focusing, which would not have been good. What "bring an offering, and come into his courts" means that when I should acknowledge God's presence when in His courts. I can do that by being aware of the Spirit and letting it work in me and in others. I'm kinda reminded to not harden my heart, which I've talked about before. I like Henry's thoughts on verse 9, " We must worship him in the beauty of holiness, as God in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself. Glorious things are said of him, both as motives to praise and matter of praise." So maybe my worship of Him could touch people and bring them to Him. If God wants to use me that way, I'm fine with that. And I could worship Him by showing the love of Christ to others. They'll see that in me and want what I have. That'd be a cool thing to see God at work like that. Verse 10 kinda relates to what I was talking about with verse 9 since it instructs me to let the heathen (or nations) know that He does reign. Maybe God can use that to encourage someone no matter what they believe in. I figure God's reign could, I guess, reveal itself through prayer to help someone deal with crap in life or whatever. God could use His reign for something small in a big way, which is an exciting thing to think about. It makes me wanna help others out and prayer for 'em if they're dealing with crap in life. I also like Henry's thoughts on the verse, "We are to hope and pray for that time, when Christ shall reign in righteousness over all nations. He shall rule in the hearts of men, by the power of truth, and the Spirit of righteousness." So maybe I should think about Christ's reign, especially due to way things are these days. I like the imagery in verses 11-12. To me, the imagery is a response to God's reign as well a sign to look for in regards to His judgment (v. 13). He is my judge and I look forward to hearing a good report from Him.

Chapter 97

Matthew Henry comments on the first few verses by stating the following, "Though many have been made happy in Christ, still there is room. And all have reason to rejoice in Christ's government." I don't have much to say about verse 1, but I like the imagery in verse 2 regarding clouds and darkness. Although those things are round about Him, they have no authority over Him. Rather, He has authority over the weather and I see His glory in that because He knows His creation and He won't let it hurt anyone. "righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne" reminds me that righteousness and judgement belong to Him and He will judge from His throne. Not much to say about that except I do look forward to a good report from Him. I'll let God take care of His enemies (v. 3) -- Satan and his army -- since that's His place and since He has the power to do so. I'm not sure how I would relate to verse 4, but what it means to me is that God certainly has His ways of revealing Himself to those in need. That's always an awesome thing to see -- others coming to Him -- and seeing Him work in that. That's what "His lightnings enlightened the world" means to me, especially because when others do come to Him, they do tremble and realize their worthlessness before Him and need for Him. Verse 5, to me, is about the effect that God has on His creation. I suppose the mountians melting like wax is a metaphorical thing, as it relates to His rule on earth, as Bullinger points out. The heavens do declare His righteousness (v. 6), which means to me that the universe is a display that He acts in accordance to divine law. The universe is so vast and I can't see why that wouldn't reflect His character. And His people see His glory in the fact that the heavens declare His righteousness and praise Him for it, which is a good thing to praise Him for. In regards to verse 7, I'm gonna repeat about what I said about idols, but I do think it's foolish that someone can invest time in idols when an idol hasn't done anything praiseworthy. I imagine that I will rejoice in reponse to His judgements (v. 8) since I figure He's gonna give me a good report. I'll skip verse 9 since it's basically a repeat of Psalm 95:2 and Psalm 96:4-5. In regards to verse 10, I do hate evil as a result of loving the Lord. I don't partake in what breaks up all that is good or desirable, which is kinda how Bullinger puts it. If I did partake in that kinda stuff, it would a negative impact on my walk. "Evil" to me can include drugs and living in worldly ways. And I think another thing that results from hating is that God preserves my soul so it can be spotless from evil and worldly influences. In my darkest moment, I hated the fact that the enemy was trying to influence me, which is where, "he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked" comes in. Light was sown for me (v. 11) to free me from the enemy's grip. I do rejoice in God (v. 12) since He is so good and holy and all that. And I don't praise of thank Him for His holiness, but I probably should, especially sent His Son is a model for me to be holy.

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 96". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>. 

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 97". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>. 

Bullinger, E.W. The Companion Bible.

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