Sunday, June 28, 2020



This psalm is a prayer for the king and his descendants, the Davidic kings. Some of the things prayed for were accomplished by some of the kings, but some are only accomplished by the Messiah. 

Prayer for Justice

The title of the Psalm is “Of Solomon”. Normally, in Psalms, that would mean Solomon wrote it. We assume the psalms that say “of David” were written by him. However, it may be that the psalm was written by David for Solomon, asking God to bless Solomon specifically, and the following kings generally. The last verse of the psalm says it ends the psalms of David, which also seems to indicate that the psalm was written by David. 

The first prayer is that God will give the king God’s justice and righteousness. If so, the king can judge the people of Israel with righteousness and treat the poor with justice. (2)

Justice, or justness, is an attribute of God. It is not so much about judging, as in a court, but with how people are treated. God is just because he cares about all people, and especially those who are powerless. The orphan, the widow, and the foreigner are often mentioned. Deuteronomy 10:18 says God executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner giving him food and clothing. 

While we may favor the rich and successful or the beautiful, God cares equally for those who are none of these things. 

The old covenant law reflected God’s character, requiring his people to act justly. God said, in the next verse in the passage we just looked at, that the Israelites were to love the sojourner, for they were sojourners in Egypt. The Egyptians did not treat the Israelites justly and God intervened to deliver them. He then expected that they act justly toward those who were as powerless in Israel and the Israelites had been in Egypt. 

Israel’s king ruled as God’s representative and, therefore, had to be just and righteous. When the king was just and righteous, he led the people to act justly. When the nation acted justly, God blessed them. So, in verse 3, David prayed that prosperity would come to Israel because of their righteousness, living according to God’s law. 

Jesus, the last and eternal king, mirrored the Father’s concern for the weak and powerless. When John’s disciples asked him if he was the Messiah, Jesus said to tell John “the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the good news preached to them. (Luke 7:22-23) All those types of people have no way to help themselves. The Jewish culture regarded them mostly as inferior and sinful and to be avoided. But Jesus, the Messiah and King, care about them, and his care of them was a sign that he was indeed the Messiah. 

David prayed that his kingly descendants would fear God forever, as long as the moon and sun endured. (5) They would obey God and prosper in peace to the benefit of the people. 

Prayer for the King’s Dominion

David’s prayer was that the king’s dominion would not only extend in time, but also in territory. The king would have dominion from sea to sea. When God promised the land of Canaan to the Israelites, he promised them their borders would stretch from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, the Mediterranean Sea. 

It also could be that David is actually praying for the king’s territory to cover the entire earth when he says from sea to sea. None of the Israelite kings experienced this expansion of territory.  Eventually, King Jesus will do so. That is why the Great Commission is to take the gospel all over the world, to all nations. It is to spread Christ’s kingdom over all the earth. 

Philippians 2:10-11 also tells us that on the Last Day every knee in heaven and earth and under the earth will bow to Jesus and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. Jesus will fulfill David’s prayer that the Davidic descendants will have total dominion, will cause the desert tribes to bow down to him, and will receive tribute from powerful nations All kings will fall down before him and all nations will serve him. (11)

This is symbolized for us in the gospels when the Magi come from far away lands to see Jesus. They fall down and worshipped him, recognizing him as God. They give expensive gifts, recognizing the new born Jesus as king. (Mathew 2:11)  They represent the kings from far away coming tp pay tribute to the Davidic King, in partial fulfillment of Psalm 72:10. 

Then, it all comes to an amazing climax in Revelation 21:26, when the kings of the earth bring the glory and honor of the nations into the New Jerusalem and walk in the light of the glory of God. 

Isaac Watts capture the thought of this psalm with his hymn “Jesus Shall Reign”. Here are the words:

Jesus shall reign where'er the sun
does its successive journeys run,
his kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
till moons shall wax and wane no more.

2 To him shall endless prayer be made,
and praises throng to crown his head.
His name like sweet perfume shall rise
with every morning sacrifice.

3 People and realms of every tongue
dwell on his love with sweetest song,
and infant voices shall proclaim
their early blessings on his name.

4 Blessings abound where'er he reigns:
the prisoners leap to lose their chains,
the weary find eternal rest,
and all who suffer want are blest.

5 Let every creature rise and bring
the highest honors to our King,
angels descend with songs again,
and earth repeat the loud amen.

In verses 12-14, we again see that all of this comes because of the justice of the king, delivering the needy, the poor, and those without a helper, the powerless. He redeems those who are oppressed and subject to violence. 

Prayer for Longevity and Prosperity

In these verses, David again prays that the king have a long life and great wealth. He prays that the king’s people will pray for him continually and invoke blessings for him. The king will lead the people in justice and righteousness and the people will respond with prayer and blessing.

David then echoes the promised blessings of the covenant, that grain would grow in abundance and the people would grow in number. In Leviticus 26, the blessing promised for obedience to the law included the land yielding it increase, or the abundance of grain. It also included the fruitfulness of the people to be multiplied in number. David is praying that the king would lead the people into obedience to the covenant, which is righteousness, so that they would experience the blessings promised by God. If so, his name would endure, or be known for ever, and the nations he ruled would call him blessed.  

As new covenant believers, we know that our king, Jesus Christ, is just and righteous. By following and obeying him, we receive many blessings. Most of our blessings in this life are spiritual rather than physical. But, when God makes all things new, Jesus will reign over the perfect new creation, the new heavens and earth, and we will reign with him over all of it. There will be peace, sinlessness, love, fellowship, and the lack of any need. 

Doxology: Praise of God’s Kingship

The psalmist closed his prayer with praise for God, blessing him because he had done wondrous things. He prayed that the whole earth would be filled with his glory. The people then say “amen and amen”, meaning that they confess these words are true. With them, we say “amend, come Lord Jesus”. 

And that ends the psalms of David. 

Sunday, June 14, 2020



This Psalm was written by an old man. It is thought to have been written by David, since the thought of the psalm is similar to Psalm 70, which is attributed to David. He is old and he has faith in God to help him. But, from the perspective of an old man, he wants to finish strong and knows he can only do this with God’s help.

Prayer of Confidence

These verses, like all of the lament psalms, show David calling for help. He uses many different words and phrases for this: deliver, rescue, hear, save, be a rock of refuge.

In particular, David desired that he never be put to shame. He wanted to finish his life and his rule as king in a Godly way, with a reputation as a Godly man. Even in old age, after a successful tenure as king, he had enemies that would destroy him and his reputation if they could.

But David placed his confidence in the Lord. In verse 1, he said “in you” he found refuge, in the Lord. Old people that have lived a life of faith come to this point of view. They have trusted in God all of their lives and he has delivered them many times. Therefore, they have confidence in him and have given up confidence in themselves. Like David, they seek protection in the Lord.

David also asked God to deliver him as a matter of God’s righteousness. So, what is righteousness as it pertains to God? Righteousness is to act rightly, to act in according to the right standards. For God, his righteousness is a natural expression of his holiness. His treatment of us will always be in perfect agreement with his holy nature.

God’s righteousness is part of who he is. Because he is God, he is the standard of righteousness. There is nothing outside of God that is great than God and binds him. Human morals and ethics change constantly, but they do not change God and he is not bound by them.

Because God is holy and righteous and unchanging (immutable), he always and consistently acts in accord with his perfect character. The psalms tell us that over and over. They say God is righteous (119:37), his righteousness is everlasting (119:42), and he is righteous in all his ways. (145:17)

One way God reveals his righteousness is by fulfilling his promises, in doing what he said he would do. Nehemiah said “You have kept your promise, for you are righteous.” (9:7-8) In this context, Nehemiah referred to promising Abraham that his descendants would have the land of Canaan.

David knew all of this about God. God had made promises to Israel that he had kept in David’s lifetime. But God had also made promises to David. He made a covenant with him. And so David had faith that God would keep his promises and, in doing so, save David from being shamed by his enemies. That is why he prayed “in your righteousness, deliver me”.

An Affirmation of Confidence

Here David recites his history with the Lord. The Lord had been his hope and trust since his youth. Even from birth, God had guided David on his way. We see this in the Scripture. While a shepherd, David had killed lions and bears that threatened his sheep. ( 1 Samuel 17: 36) He gave credit to the Lord for that, saying that the Lord delivered him.

And in that same Faith, David went and fought and killed Goliath saying “I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts”. (1 Samuel 17:45)

Because of his many mighty deeds, David had been a “portent” or miraculous sign to many. But David saw God as the one with real strength and gave him the glory for it. He said “My moth is filed with your praise, and with your glory all the day”. (8)

Prayer in Old Age

Despite his many successes, some saw David as old and weak. They thought God had forsaken him, leaving him vulnerable to attack from younger men. So, David asked God not to abandon him, or cast him off, in his old age when his physical strength had gone. (9) His enemies believed God had abandoned him and that he had no one to deliver him. There is the implication here that David’s enemies knew God had delivered him in the past. But they evidently believed God would not do it again because David was old.

Hope In Old Age

 Even though David called for help, he did it in confidence and hope in the Lord. He said he would hope continually. In fact, even as he got old, he would increase his praise. He would tell others of God’s righteous acts. He believed in God’s righteousness and believed God would act accordingly. He would fulfill his promises. David would continue to tell others of all the times God had saved David and Israel.

Never in this process does David proclaim is own strength or power. He continued to fall back on his trust in God’s righteousness. This shows us how important it is that we study and know God’s word so that we know God’s nature. We need to know the one we have placed our trust in, so that our faith, confidence, and peace will grow as we get older.

God had taught these things to David from his youth. David wanted God to stay with him so he could continue to teach another generation about him.

Affirmation of Confidence

These verses are a combination of praise to God and an expression of confidence in God. The two go together. When you praise God for his wonderful attributes, your confidence in him will grow. As your confidence in God grows, your praise will increase.

So David proclaims that God’s righteousness reaches the high heavens. It is a way of saying God’s righteousness is so great, it cannot be contained. From praising God’s character, David went on to praise God’s deeds, saying he had done such great deeds, there was no one like him.  Those are the two sides of praise: praising God for who he is and what he had done.

The thought that no one is like God, as expressed in very 19, runs throughout the Bible. It is behind God’s command that we shall have no other gods before him. (Exodus 20:3) Moses sang a song after God brought the Israelites through the Red Sea. He sang “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you , majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders.” (Exodus 15:11) Those are rhetorical questions the answer to which is “no one”. God’s wonderful deeds flow from his wonderful character.

David also acknowledged God’s sovereignty over his life. He said that God made him see many troubles and calamities. But he believed God would still act to revive David, give him comfort, and even increase his greatness. It reminds me of the words of Job: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord”. (Job 2:21)

Thanksgiving with Confidence

The psalm ends with a stanza devoted to praise. David was ready to praise God with musical instruments, the harp and the lyre. He praised God’s faithfulness. That is a trait similar to God’s righteousness. He is faithful to those who believe in him and love him. He does not abandon them.

David also said he would shout and sing his praises because God had redeemed him. He had been saved from is enemies and his enemies had been shamed, so David was vindicated by the Lord. The Lord was righteous, so David would talk about that all day long.


God showed his righteousness in the Bible by keeping his promises to Israel. He kept his promises to bless them when they kept the covenant and he kept his promises to curse them when they disobeyed.

God has made us promises as new covenant believers. He promised us the Holy Spirit. He promises us eternal life. Because we know he is righteous, we know he will keep those promises. Certainly, as we get older, the promise of eternal life means more and more to us.

Daniel Whittle wrote a hymn back in 1883 that reflects our faith in God’s righteousness. The refrain of that hymn says:

But I know whom I have believed
And am persuaded that he is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto him against that day.

God is righteous and he will keep his promise to each and every one of us. He will never leave us or forsake us. 

Sunday, June 07, 2020


This is a very short Psalm consisting of two stanzas (1-3; 4-5). It is very close to the wording of Psalm 40:14-16. The title directs it to the choirmaster, so it was meant to be sung. And it is for the “memorial offering”.

The memorial offering was a portion of the grain offering. It was to be of fine flour with oil poured on it and with frankincense sprinkled on it. Most of the grain offering was given to the priests to eat, but the memorial portion was burned on the altar and produced an aroma pleasing to the Lord. The thought seems to that it was to remind the Lord to act with favor toward the one who brought the offering.

So, it is possible that the words to those three verses of Psalm 40 were used to write a short song to sing to the Lord while the memorial offering was presented and burned on the altar.

The Cry for Deliverance

The psalm starts with the please of the Psalmist to hurry and come to deliver him from his enemies, to help him. 

The Psalmist goes on to describe how he wants the Lord to help him by dealing with those who want to hurt him. He wants God to put them to shame and confusion. He asks God to turn them back and into dishonor. This is the Psalmist asking God to do to his enemies what they seek to do to him: to hurt him and shame him into dishonor.

The Psalmist describes these people as those who say “aha. Aha!”. We have all had these people in our lives. They live to say “aha” when they catch us slipping us or some other Christian making a mistake or falling into sin.  They point they finger and say “aha”, you are no better than me or anyone else, whether you have ever claimed that or not. 

Certainly, we are to live so that we do not bring shame on the gospel or the Lord. Ephesians 4:1 says “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called…”. It goes on to say we do this by having humility and gentleness, bearing with each other in love and maintaining the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 

Colossians 1:10 says “…walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him…”. Paul said we do this by bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 

But we all make mistakes and some want to use them against us. And when someone who claims to be a Christian does something terrible, or renounces the faith, they broadcast it loudly. Those are the kind of people to which the Psalmist refers.


The Psalmist calls all who seek God to rejoice and be glad in him. You know, we study God’s attributes and we praise him for them. But, we are also to have joy and gladness in him. 

I have to say that many of the Christians I have known in my life were not joyful. Many were dutiful. Others were angry or mean. Only a few were joyful. 

But we can have joy because of who God is and that we have a relationship with him. We take joy in who God is. He is perfect, holy, forgiving and loving. We want to be in his presence and to know him intimately. David wrote “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the home of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple”. (Psalm 27:4) 

He also write “in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”. (Psalm 16:11) 

Our relationship with God should bring us joy. The Bible tells us to delight ourselves in the Lord. (Psalm 37:4) In fact, one of the fruits produced in us by the Holy Spirit is joy. (Galatians 5:22) And we are commanded to be joyful. Philippians 4:4 says “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice”. 

Paul preached this and he lived it. Despite his beatings and betrayals, even in prison, he experienced joy. In Philippi, Paul and Silas were attacked by a crowd, stripped by the magistrates and beaten with rods. Finally, they were put in prison, bound by stocks on their feet. The next thing we see is Paul and Silas praying and singing hymns to God. (Acts 16:25) They could only do that because they had a deep joy in their relationship with the Lord. 

Many of you today could use some joy. It has been a difficult week of tragedy, rebellion and sin on full display. Many of you have been confined to your homes for months because of the pandemic. You may find yourself depressed, anxious, and unhappy. 

In these times and with these feelings, it is tempting to fall into apathy, or anger, or indulgence. But none of these things will provide lasting relief or satisfaction. The only one who will is the Lord. He is there and he is waiting to fellowship with you. Revelation 3:20 is a verse often misused. It was written to believers who were apathetic.  Jesus said “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me”. It is the picture of you and the Lord sitting together in communion with each other, enjoying each other’s company, experiencing joy. 

John Piper put it this way: “God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in him”. When you find your satisfaction in God, you find joy. You have no problem saying with this psalmist “God is great”. 

The last verse is a cry of humility. The Psalmist asks God to help him because he is poor and needy. He is helpless to help himself. We are the same. We cannot satisfy ourselves or deliver ourselves. But God can and will for those who believe in him and seek him.