Day 29

Psalms - Book 4

[90-106]

Psalm 90

A Prayer of Moses, the Man of God. Moses speaks of the eternity of God and the frailty of man toward whom God is showing His displeasure. He states the necessity of considering the shortness of life, and earnestly prays for God’s mercy and for His favour to return to Israel.

Psalm 91

God, my refuge and fortress. The psalmist speaks of how the godly man can feel safe in the shadow of the God in whom he trusts, who will defend and preserve him, trample on his adversaries and respond to his prayers with mercy and deliverance.

Psalm 92

A song for the Sabbath day. It is good to give praise on the Sabbath and to give thanks for God’s works. A fool has no understanding of this. The wicked will perish, but the righteous will be fruitful and flourish.

Psalm 93

The majesty and power of God. God’s reign, clothed with majesty and power, is eternal. God is mightier than any who oppose Him as testified by His works. Holiness is His house, forever.

Psalm 94

A call for justice. The psalmist appeals to God against those who are His people’s oppressors. He warns them that God sees and hears everything and even knows their thoughts. God is merciful to the righteous and will bring them comfort, but the wicked He will cut off.

Psalms 95-100

Some like to group these six psalms together. For example, when commenting on Psalm 97, Barnes says “Perhaps the most that can be said now on the origin and design of the psalm, is that these “six” psalms,    Ps. 95-100 seem to have been composed with reference to the same occasion, and may be designed to be used together. They are similar in their contents and structure; and they refer to the same thing - the sovereignty or the supremacy of God.”

Psalm 95

The writer of Hebrews implies this psalm is by David - Heb 4:3-7. A call to worship and obedience. The people are invited to praise God for His majesty and dominion, and to pray to God, for He is their shepherd and they are His sheep. They are exhorted not to be disobedient as their fathers had been in the desert and consequently not permitted to enter His rest.

Psalm 96

All the earth to sing unto the Lord who will be their judge. In this psalm, all the peoples of the earth are invited to sing in praise of the one true God, to bring offerings and to worship Him. This is to be a witness to all nations and a reminder to all that He is coming to judge the earth.

Psalm 97

God’s majesty and glory. God’s majesty and glory are acclaimed, putting idol worshippers to shame. Those who love God and hate evil can rejoice in the knowledge that He is their deliverer.

Psalm 98

In praise of God. Simply a psalm of loud and joyful praise for God’s salvation, righteousness, faithfulness and mercy.

Psalm 99

God’s mercy and justice. The Lord reigns over all; people should tremble at His great and awesome name. He loves justice as demonstrated in Jacob’s life. Reference is made to Moses, Aaron and Samuel as examples of men of old who called upon Him and were graciously answered with forgiveness and mercy.

Psalm 100

A call for praise and thanksgiving. This final psalm of the series (Ps 95-100) is a call for everyone to come before the Lord with a joyful shout and singing. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture, and with acts of thanksgiving and praise we thank Him and bless His name for His everlasting goodness, mercy and truth.

Psalm 101

A Psalm of David: Leading an upright life. David declares he will conduct his affairs with the attitude of a perfect heart. He will set himself against the ungodly and only employ the faithful. This applies not only to his own household, but as king over Israel.

Psalm 102

This psalm has a prefix generally translated as: “A prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed and pours out his complaint before the Lord.” The writer expresses the miserable state he finds himself in, representative of those in exile. He has every expectation that deliverance will come soon when God remembers His favoured people and hears their prayers. His confidence is in an unchanging God whose promises will be accomplished in the fullness of time.

Psalm 103

God’s abundant love and mercy. This ‘Psalm of David’ is full of emotions of gratitude and praise for what God has done for the psalmist in particular, and for what He does for all who keep his commandments. God’s mercy is everlasting to those who fear Him. All God’s angels, His hosts and all His works are called upon to join in the praise.

Psalm 104

The formation and governance of the world. Some sources attribute this psalm to David. It appears to allude to the first five days of creation: Day 1 vs 2-5 Gen 1:1-5 Day 2 vs 6-9 Gen 1:6-8 Day 3 vs 10-18 Gen 1:9-13 Day 4 vs 19-23 Gen 1:14-19 Day 5 vs 24-30 Gen 1:20-23 The psalmist concludes by expressing his intent to praise God all his life and his hope that sinners will cease to exist.

Psalm 105

God is praised for His wondrous works with Israel. The psalmist exhorts the people to sing praises to God and make known His deeds in dealing with Israel. This psalm is historic in nature and recalls God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Joseph, Jacob’s being sold into slavery and his later rise to power, Israel’s settling in Egypt and eventual bondage, Moses and Aaron’s part in Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, God’s provision for the Israelites in the desert, and His bringing them to the Promised Land.

Psalm 106

Israel’s disobedience. The psalmist praises God for His abundant mercy before offering a prayer for himself. He then confesses the sins of his people and their fathers, recalling their transgressions from history during their time in Egypt, the desert and the land of Canaan. Although they often backslid and rebelled, God heard their cries, remembered His covenant with them and took pity on them. This prompts the psalmist to pray for Israel’s restoration in order that they might once more give thanks and praise to their everlasting God.

Book 5

[107-150]

Psalm 107

Verse three implies this psalm may have been written after the Jews had been redeemed from captivity. The psalmist exhorts the people to give thanks to God for His goodness and mercy and gives four word-pictures of problems that man encounters. The first two they can directly relate to from their history: The traveller lost in the desert and prisoners in bondage. The third is of sick men and the fourth of sailors tossed around in the tempest. In each case they cry out to God who delivers them from their distress. This is in contrast to the way in which God deals with those who do not obey His word. The righteous have cause to rejoice and the wise will gain understanding of God’s loving kindness.

Psalm 108

A psalm of David: This psalm is a compound of psalms 57:7-11 and 60:5-12 with little variation, perhaps because they simply suited the occasion. David expresses his desire to give praises to God for mercies he has received. He then prays for the fulfilment of God’s promises concerning restoration of Israel’s lands and privileges taken by their enemies.

Psalm 109

A psalm of David: David complains that his enemies, who have been recipients of his love, have returned evil for good. He prays against them seeking their destruction, then prays for himself, asking God to lift him from his low state. In doing so, his enemies would see what God has done for him and be ashamed. David then declares his intent to greatly praise God publicly.

Psalm 110

A psalm of David. This psalm is Messianic in that it speaks solely of Christ and nothing else, particularly prophesying His kingly and priestly office, and His triumph over His enemies.

Psalm 111

In praise of God’s works and faithfulness. The psalmist praises God for His works as being great, honourable and glorious, and for the provision, kindness and redemption granted to His people. Fear of God is the starting point of wisdom for man. Psalm 112 The happiness of the righteous. The man who fears God and obeys his commandments is sure to be blessed with regards to himself and his family. He will conduct his affairs with righteousness and will have no cause to be afraid. The wicked will envy his prosperity.

Psalms 113 to 118

These are commonly referred to as the great Hallel. Hallel is a Jewish prayer, a verbatim recital of Psalms 113 to 118 on the feasts of Tabernacles and Passover. Psalms 113 and 114 are sung before the Passover meal and Psalms 115 to 118 after it.

Psalm 113

An exhortation to praise God. Our God is above all nations and His glory above the heavens, yet He humbles Himself and is concerned with the poorest of His creation.

Psalm 114

God’s presence during Israel’s exodus. Recalling God’s presence and power during Israel’s exodus and time in the desert.

Psalm 115

God alone is to be glorified and praised. All glory goes to God; idols are lifeless and reflect the personality of their makers. Trust and fear God who is mindful of His people and cares for them. The heavens are God’s, but He has given the earth to His people. Praise Him now, because you cannot praise Him from the grave.

Psalm 116

Gratitude to God expressed in love. The psalmist professes his love for God who delivered him from a dark period in his life. His gratitude is expressed with a resolution to serve God with thanksgiving and praise.

Psalm 117

This shortest of the psalms is a simple exhortation for all nations, which would include Gentiles, to praise God.

Psalm 118

An exhortation to praise God for His everlasting mercy. The psalmist exhorts all about him to praise God for his mercy that endureth for ever, then relates his own experience, expressing the advantage of trusting in the Lord rather than man. He was consequently able to overcome his enemies in the name of the Lord. He desires, and is given, admission to the temple - a figure of the exaltation of Christ. All the people offer praise and acknowledge that this deliverance is the Lord’s work. The psalmist prays for prosperity and ends with a short doxology.

Psalm 119

This is the longest psalm of all. It is an acrostic - alphabet - psalm made up of 22 eight-verse sections, each section beginning with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and each verse within each section beginning with the same letter. This psalm might be best described as a meditation on God’s Word, or law, but is not as formal structurally as its acrostic style and cannot be easily summarised. It is perhaps sufficient to say that the whole generally speaks of the privileges and happiness of those who observe and delight in God’s Word. Commentators generally agree that the psalmist uses ten expressions when speaking of the law: Testimonies Ways Commandments Truth Precepts Judgement Word Righteousness Law Statutes With few exceptions, one or other of these words appears in every verse of this psalm.

Psalms 120 to 134

The next fifteen psalms are prefixed with the title “A song of degrees”, four of which are ascribed to David and one to Solomon. The remaining ten have unknown authors. There is a variety of conjecture as to why these psalms have this title, but conjecture is all it is and therefore the real reason cannot be determined. There seems, then, little point in retaining the title, but it’s there and has to be acknowledged. Perhaps one day someone will solve it. With the exception of Psalm 132, which is eighteen verses, they are all very short, nine verses or less.

Psalm 120

A cry for deliverance from deceitful tongues. An example of how a man of God can suffer as much from what people say as what they do.

Psalm 121

God’s protection. Anyone who puts their trust in God knows where to turn when in trouble. God will protect them from evil and preserve their souls at all times.

Psalm 122

A psalm of David. David professes his joy in the House of the Lord and prays for the peace of Jerusalem.

Psalm 123

A prayer for mercy and relief from contempt.

Psalm 124

A psalm of David. David gives credit to God alone for deliverance from his enemies and the great danger he had been in. Confidence is expressed in God.

Psalm 125

There is strength to be found in trusting in God. Let the ungodly be warned.

Psalm 126

The Israelites are exuberant now God has brought them out of captivity.

Psalm 127

A psalm of Solomon. Everything is in vain unless it is with God’s blessing; Children are His heritage and blessed is he who has a fruitful wife.

Psalm 128

The man who fears God is blessed in his labours, his family and with seeing God’s ordinances in Jerusalem. He shall have a long life and see peace in Israel.

Psalm 129

An expression of God’s saving Israel out of her afflictions and a prayer against her enemies.

Psalm 130

The psalmist, in distress, confesses his sins, declares confidence in God’s mercy and waits upon Him. Israel, too, is encouraged to hope in God who is their redeemer.

Psalm 131

A psalm of David. David professes his humility and exhorts Israel to hope in God henceforth.

Psalm 132

This psalm is in two parts: The first, verses 1-9, speaks of David’s zeal in bringing the ark to a permanent resting place The second, verses 10-18, reflects on God’s promises to David and his line, His choice of Zion for a permanent resting place and His promises to the people.

Psalm 133

A psalm of David. A short three verse psalm: Simply, the blessed unity of the people of God.

Psalm 134

Another short three verse psalm. This one for those on night watch in the temple. Psalm 134 was the last of the fifteen psalms called the “Songs of Degrees.”

Psalm 135

An exhortation to praise God. Reasons given to praise God are reflected in nature, and in wonders done in Egypt and during the exodus. The pointlessness of idols is stated. With all this in mind, the people, priests and Levites are all called upon to praise God.

Psalm 136

Thanksgiving to God for His enduring mercy. Each verse notably ends in the phrase for his mercy endureth for ever. This psalm has some similarity with 135 in its content, but focuses on nature in the first nine verses and Israel’s history from Egypt to her restoration from exile in the remaining verses. Throughout, the people are called upon to give thanks to God for His mercies.

Psalm 137

The exiles lament over Zion whilst in captivity. The melancholy captives cannot humour their captives who want to hear songs about Zion. They cannot forget their city Jerusalem and look for judgement on Edom and Babylon.

Psalm 138

A psalm of David: A song of thanks for God’s goodness. David reflects with thankfulness on his experience of God’s goodness toward him. He knows that God also cares for the lowly, and looks forward to a future with God being there in the midst of his troubles.

Psalm 139

A psalm of David: God knows us through and through. A declaration of God’s omniscience, omnipresence, and the wonder of man’s form. The psalmist is in awe of God’s thoughts for him. He has a hatred for the wicked and asks God to search out and deal with all that is wrong in him.

Psalm 140

A psalm of David: Confidence in God’s protection. David calls on God to preserve him from his enemies, and prays for their  judgement. He expresses his confidence in God’s protection of the afflicted and in their desire to give thanks and enter His presence.

Psalm 141

A psalm of David: Prayers for safekeeping from wickedness. David cries out to God to hear his prayer, that he should not offend with his tongue and that he may be preserved from any wrong doing, expressing a willingness to be reproved. Disasters still affect his people, but he trusts in God and prays for deliverance at the expense of his enemies.

Psalm 142

A psalm of David: The title of this psalm says “A prayer when he was in a cave.” This circumstance occurred twice, recorded in 1 Sam 22 and 1 Sam 24. The prayer of a man in trouble and alone. With this psalm, David shows that when he is in great distress and alone, his comfort comes through prayer.

Psalm 143

A psalm of David. David prays for God’s guidance and support. He appears to be at the end of his tether, at an all time low, and in this desperate situation he knows God is his only refuge. He cries out ‘ ….. hear me …….. deliver me…… teach me……. lead  me….. quicken me…’ to ‘bring my soul out of trouble’. The psalm ends with a prayer against his enemies.

Psalm 144

A psalm of : God, who protects and prospers His people. David praises God, in whom he trusts, for his goodness, yet wonders why He pays attention to insignificant man. He prays against his enemies, his deliverance from them and for the prosperity of his people.

Psalms 145-150

These are a group of psalms in praise of God, probably intended for public worship. They are used today by Jews in daily prayer. Psalms 146-150 each begin and end with an Alleluia - ‘O praise the Lord!’

Psalm 145

A psalm of David: Unadulterated praise of God. David pours out praise to God for His unsearchable greatness, for His wondrous works and mighty acts, His goodness and tender mercies to all, His everlasting kingdom and power, His kindness to the lowly and His providence. He hears and answers the prayers of the faithful and all shall praise His holy name.

Psalm 146

Trust in God alone. Praise God alone, not man, for it is God who is the Creator and He who has dominion over His creation, a dominion of providence and grace which is everlasting.

Psalm 147

Praise to our omnipotent God. The psalmist exhorts believers to praise God for the care of His people Throughout this psalm, and in various places, the people are called upon to praise God as the God of nature, the God of grace and the God of Israel who gave them His Word.

Psalm 148

All creation is to praise God. Everything that exists owes praise to the Creator: the angels, the heavens, nature, all creatures and all mankind, particularly Israel.

Psalm 149

A song for God praising Him for His salvation and judgement. The congregation are called upon to Praise God with joy, with dance and musical instruments, for He takes pleasure in His people and delivers them from their enemies.

Psalm 150

A final exhortation to praise God. This is the grand climax to the Psalter, a final call to praise God with the volume of all the instruments.
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