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Archive for the ‘Psalms’ Category

1 Halleluyah!

How happy is anyone who fears Adonai, who greatly delights in his mitzvot.

2 His descendants will be powerful on earth, a blessed generation of upright people.
3 Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness stands forever.

4 To the upright he shines like a light in the dark, merciful, compassionate and righteous.
5 Things go well with the person who is merciful and lends, who conducts his affairs with fairness;
6 for he will never be moved. The righteous will be remembered forever.

7 He will not be frightened by bad news; he remains steady, trusting in Adonai.
8 His heart is set firm, he will not be afraid, till finally he looks in triumph at his enemies.
9 He distributes freely, he gives to the poor; his righteousness stands forever. His power will be increased honorably.
10 The wicked will be angry when they see this; they will gnash their teeth and waste away,
the desires of the wicked will come to nothing. Complete Jewish Bible

Sometimes I can imagine myself just resting in the words of a psalm, basking in the beauty of what the psalmist is describing. Psalm 112, starting with a wonderful Hallelujah, is a great hammock in which to swing under the shade of a well-watered, leafy tree near a spring in a place like En Gedi or Banias. As you swing back and forth in a steady rhythm and feel the breezes blow over, you can be reminded of all the good that comes to the man or woman who fears G-d and delights in his mitzvot or commands.

  • They will be powerful and they will come into their power in ways that are honorable;
  • They will be bless and righteous in their ways;
  • They will be wealthy and successful and fair;
  • They will be generous with what they acquire, helping those in need;
  • They will be an encouragement to the others who are upright;
  • The wicked will be greatly annoyed by them, but nothing will come of their hatred, plotting or scheming.

It is a beautiful picture–what a wonder this G-d of ours! He is good, good, good! His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

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Know that I AM God

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

           –Psalm 46:10

This familiar verse continues to yield helpful insight about God. It contains a 2-part command and two-fold promise.

Be still and know that I am God is a command. The phrase be still can be understood desist from or stop what you are doing. The command know that I am God can be understood also as a command to recognize I am God. To say it another way, give me the authority and reverence due to me. Know could also be translated understand. To understand that He is God is to know His character, His track record, all that He has done and thereby know that He is sovereign over all things–there is no other God. The LORD our God is one–the only one.

It bears noting I AM, may have been the tetragrammaton, the four-letter Hebrew name for God, Y-H-W-H. This name for God was used by God when Moses asked what name he should use in telling the Israelites about God. It emphasizes His self-existence, that He has no beginning or end which would also contribute to our understanding of His sovereignty.

The next two phrases are promises. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth! Take it to the bank. God will be exalted among the nations, in the earth if He isn’t already. This again speaks of God’s sovereignty over the whole earth–over everything and everyone.

Know God.

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Outside of Jerusalem as you travel east, you will find Wadi Qelt. A wadi is a common feature in Israel. It is a ravine or stream bed that dries up until the raining season when it may become a rushing river or a generous stream depending on the rainfall, the run-off and the ravine itself. Wadi Qelt is such a ravine that originates near Jerusalem and extends to the Jordan River near Jericho.

Some have suggested that David may have been thinking of such a ravine when he wrote Psalm 23:4 (CJB), Even if I pass through death-dark ravines, I will fear no disaster; for you are with me; your rod and staff reassure me.

This very familiar verse reminded me of God’s guidance and correction in my life and how they prove His love for me. Moreover, my love and acceptance of God’s correction speaks of His imprint on me. In that I can see that He has brought me to this point of sanctification. I also know that He will continue to sanctify me until I am made perfect when I see Him face to face.

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Wadi Qelt

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Wadi Qelt

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Wadi Qelt

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Wadi Qelt

If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

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What can we learn about the eternal nature of God and the fleeting nature of man from Psalm 90?

In the opening verses, we learn that God is outside of time and so time is nothing to Him. In verse 2, the Psalmist says, “before the mountains were born . . .” and “from everlasting to everlasting.” In verse 4, we read, “a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night (4-6 hours).”

We, on the other hand are so consumed with and by time. In verses 5 to 6, man is compared to grass which “in the morning . . . flourishes and springs up,” but by evening “it wilts and withers away.”

After considering that so much, if not all, of our lives are wasted doing that which angers God and brings His wrath against us, the Psalmist prays for clarity–to understand God as He is and to understand ourselves and our limitations. He prays in verse 12, “teach us to number our days, that we may cultivate and bring to You a heart of wisdom.”

May that be our prayer as well. Teach us, O God, to understand how short the time is for each of us and teach us to use our time well, for Your glory, for Kingdom business.

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Songs of Ascent

Read Psalm 118:26. Those with Jesus on the Palm Sunday road that day are singing part of what are called “The Hallel” (the Songs of Ascent – sung during the Ascent up to Jerusalem for the feasts which occurred 3 times per year) which consists of Psalms 113-118, which were sung during Passover season. You will recall that our story is taking place during the Passover Season (Feast of Unleavened Bread). The songs would have been on everyone’s mind. “Hosanna!” means “O Save!”

  1. What does Deuteronomy 16:16 say about the requirement of the people to come to the temple in Jerusalem?
  2. Copy the following portions of Hallel Psalms to give you an idea of what the people would have been singing and thinking about as they entered Jerusalem at this time of year. Psalm 113:2 Psalm 113:4-6 Psalm 115:9 Psalm 116:1-2 Psalm 116:12-14 Psalm 117 Psalm 118:19-21
Flowers in Jerusalem
Flora – Israel
Flowers – Jerusalem

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Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your justice as the noonday.

–Psalm 37:3-6

Here is the “to-do” list from Psalm 37:

  • Trust in the LORD and do good
  • Dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness
  • Delight yourself in the LORD, and wait for Him to fulfill your desires
  • Commit your way to the LORD and trust in Him, and wait for Him to bring forth your righteousness and justice and make them bright

One thing that I notice from the list is that very little outward action is required. Most of what God is asking of me is internal, e.g. trust, delight, wait, and commit. Several of the other seemingly “action” words He uses are really about internal concepts as well.

For example, dwell is speaking to us of living the Christian life-a life of promise. In the Old Testament the Israelites, under the leadership of Joshua, finally came into the land that God has promised Abraham many years before. That entry into the promised land is analogous to the New Testament believer living the abundant life-life based on the promises of God after being born again.

Feed on His faithfulness sounds like an action, but it is really a state of mind. The idea is that we would live and prosper remembering that God is faithful to the promises He has made to His people.

So I am to trust the LORD – rely on Him, to have confidence in Him.

I am to dwell in the place He has placed me and be sustained by His faithfulness as I live there.

I am to delight in the LORD. This is easy because He is my exceeding joy (Psalm 43:4). The image that God brought to mind when I was thinking about this was that of a dog rolling in green grass, arching her back and just enjoying the stretch, the warmth of the sun and the scratch of the grass on her back.

I am to commit my way to Him, but why wouldn’t I in light of the promises He makes to me. Here are just 2 found in this short passage:

  • He will give me the desires of my heart
  • He shall make my righteousness and my justice bright like the sun at noon-day, so that everyone will know-there will be no way to hide what He has done in my life

How great is our God and how wonderful His promises!

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What does a Shepherd do?

What does a Shepherd do?

The image of the shepherd is found throughout the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments. The most well-known place is probably psalm is Psalm 23, which reflects on the shepherd and what he does for the sheep.

Psalm 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.

What does the shepherd do according to verse 1 of Psalm 23?

He removes my want. How does He do that? He provides. One of the names of God is Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides.

He provides simple things like food and shelter–a job, a place to live, a car. But he also provides intangibles like comfort, companionship, and peace.

A beautiful picture is painted for us in Isaiah 40:11 where Isaiah tells us “He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young.”

There is nothing the shepherd will not give for his sheep even his life. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. John 10:11

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 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Psalm 91:1-2

When you are attacked or betrayed by someone close to you, the world can feel very unsafe. The Psalmist faced such things as I do and you may.

He speaks of the “secret place of the Most High” which reminds me that God keeps me near Him–in a place only He and I know of–a place outside of time and space–a place of relationship. I am with Him. He will never leave or forsake me.

The psalmist uses the name “Most High” and I am reminded that no one is stronger or more powerful than my God. He is the greatest ally because He is all-powerful. He has no rival–no equal.

When he says, “shall abide,” I hear the promise of God that I will always live with Him–nothing can separate us.

The “shadow of the Almighty” speaks of protection. The sun can be relentless in Israel. A shadow is a place of escape from the heat, a cool pocket of relief from the elements and the danger of exposure.

God is my refuge–a place to hide from my trouble, to retreat from the world that wants too much and offers too little.

God is my fortress–I love that image. God is a huge castle behind the wall of which I am safe and protected from my enemies.

See also Philippians 4:4-9; Psalm 34:17-19

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Psalm 9

We have been posting a series of bible studies in the book of Psalms. If you missed the introduction, you can find it at this link: Introduction to Psalms

Read Psalm 9
1. What background and/or historical knowledge do you have for this Psalm?

2. What do you learn about God from this psalm?

3. What does David say about the nations? The wicked?

4. What does David ask God for in this psalm?

See also related studies in the book of Psalms: Psalm 1, Psalm 2, Psalm 3, Psalm 4, Psalm 5, Psalm 6, Psalm 7, and Psalm 8

 

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Psalm 8

Read Psalm 8
This is a Psalm of Praise. It is often categorized further as a creation psalm. Other creation Psalms include Psalm 19:1-6; Psalm 33 and Psalm 104.

1. What background and/or historical knowledge do you have for this Psalm?

2. What does David say about God in this psalm?

3. What does David say about man in relationship to God?

4. What does David say about man in relationship to the animals, fish, etc.?

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