Friday, September 23, 2011

Reflecting on the Psalms: Chapters 130-131

Psalm 130

A Song of degrees.

 1Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD.
2Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
3If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
4But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
5I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
6My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.
7Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.

8And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

Psalm 131

A Song of degrees of David.

1Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.
2Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.

3Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever.

Chapter 130

Verse 1, to me, illustrates desperation in relation to crying out to God. An example of a desperate would be my darkest moment, when I was crying out to Him with utter need and hopelessness. I needed Him to free me, which He did as a result of my acknowledging that I reached a low point (v.2). I am also reminded of the fact that almost every day, I ask for God to help me to sin less and tame my tongue because I have no desire to sin and want to resist temptation as best I can, which isn't always easy. If I resist temptation and then decide to do something good, my time will have been spent doing something good, which the Lord will bless. I am thankful that He doesn't keep record of the sins of His people (v. 3). If He did, He wouldn't be omnibenevolent, which would result in His people falling ("who shall stand?") and spending eternity without Him. I feel that in terms of His forgiveness, His omnibenevolence is what keeps people living as slaves to sin once they accept His Son. What I mean by that is once a person expereinces God's love in the process of coming to Christ, he or she wants to live a lifestyle of loving Christ and not sin. I know people that lived sinful lifestyles before coming to Christ and they suffered as a result of things such as drug use. They changed and realized that loves covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8), including their drug use. And since one's sins are covered once he or she comes to Christ, that illustrates that he or she lives as a slave to sin, but rather a slave to Christ. If any more explanation is needed, let me know. I didn't see that theological implication in that verse when I first came across it, but I'm glad I did. I hope what I said makes sense and seems logical. What I get out of verse 4 is that one of the reasons I find myself in awe of God (in church and my quiet time) is because no one forgives like He does and as much as He does. He allows non-believers to live another (undeserved) day even though they constantly resist Him. If that's not grace, then I don't what is. I praise Him for that, as odd as it may seem, because the non-believers that God allows to live another day would end up being (some of) the same people that He could use me to touch, which He would be glorified in. He knows I'm more than willing to make a difference for His kingdom -- I just need to ask Him for opportunities. It could be something small such as buying lunch for a homeless person, which I've talked about before. Another point I wanna establish in regards to that verse is that His people should not abuse His forgiveness (Romans 6:1), which is something I should take time to examine in my walk. If He convicts me of that, I'm gonna ask Him help me to change in that area. I think before I talked about a time when my thoughts were profanity-laced, which I asked God to help me out with. I did feel bad, having those thoughts, so I asked Him for forgiveness (v. 4) and I waited for the moment in which He would no longer help me to have those thoughts (vv. 5-6). Another thing I've felt comvicted of, which I think I talked about already, was if I get a job, I'd (constantly) think about spending money on material things and not give some of it back to the Lord. I asked Him to change me and now I wanna give back to Him if I do get a job and still have money for myself and/or for dates if I ever get involved with a girl. I do still think buying the latest August Burns Red CD or the few Demon Hunter CDs I want or what have you, but it's not something that consumes my thoughts anymore and I'm glad that He freed me from that. I did find hope in Him as a result of feeling convicted (v. 7) and He love (or mercy) was illustrated in that when He helped me out so I could repent of my selfish thoughts. God did redeem from my thoughts (V. 8) and if there's more convictions that come up in the future that He can redeem me of, that means He's not done with me.

Chapter 131

For clarity, here's Matthew Henry's insight on the first few verses: "The psalmist aimed at nothing high or great, but to be content in every condition God allotted. Humble saints cannot think so well of themselves as others think of them. The love of God reigning in the heart, will subdue self-love. Where there is a proud heart, there is commonly a proud look." I do see humility being implied in verse 1 and I try to put what God thinks of me above what of others think since I don't seek approval form others. If they praise me for something, that's great, but I don't go out of my way to get praise from others, which is what I get out of the "neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me" part. In verse 2, I am reminded that I am a child of God and it is by behaving like one that I illustrate humility to Him. I think if I wasn't a child of God, I'd be arrogant and proud all the time and always go about seeking praise for my accomplishments. Being a child of God allows me to humble myself before Him when doing so is necessary (such as my darkest moment) and letting Him know that since I belong to Him, being prideful will not help me deal with my problems. I am reminded of Matthew 18:3, which says, "And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." And it is by becoming a child of God -- or as a little child in this case -- that I inherited the hope of eternal life (v. 3). I believe eternal life begins the moment a person becomes a Christian. I know that in order for something to be eternal, it doesn't have a beginning, but the concept of eternal life works because God is eternal and it is something that is inherited once a person becomes a Christian. That is something I'd like to explore further for another time.

                                                      Source used:

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 131". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>.

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