Tuesday, May 31, 2022



Charles Haddon Spurgeon was a famous English Baptist pastor in the middle 1800s. He is often called the “Prince of Preachers”. Many people who call him that have not actually read his sermons. They are not light reading. However, a fair number of young people, including young pastors, have begun reading them.  

You can find the multi-volume set of Spurgeon’s sermons in many places.  Many church libraries have them.  My BSU in college had a set, and young preacher boys used to steal his sermons and preach them in a simplified format.  Most of his sermons are online now also, thanks to Phil Johnson (The Spurgeon Archive), Midwestern Theological Seminary (The Spurgeon Library), and others.  You can also read his “Morning and Evening” devotions or “Treasury of David” commentary on the Psalms. 

My initiation to Spurgeon came at my church, Travis Avenue Baptist Church, in Fort Worth.  We had a Wednesday night series done by Dr. Curtis Vaughn, a seminary professor and member of the church.  He read from an autobiography of a noted preacher each Wednesday night and discussed it.  There was one for Spurgeon, one for Wesley and some others I don’t remember.  Then, he encouraged us to read them.  I don’t know if anyone else did, but I did if I could find them.  

One of the ones I read was Spurgeon’s.  I was captivated by his dedication to learning.  For example, as a young man, when he rode out to villages to preach, he would read on horseback, letting the horse follow the road or path.  He preferred “old” books, notably by Puritan authors.  I did go on to read some of his sermons, but I also went on to read Puritan authors where I could find them.  That largely meant prowling through the public library looking for authors whose names I recognized from that era.

This was not a very organized approach. I had no system. But, I found and read some great books.  I learned a lot of sound theology and how to apply it to life. 

So, thank you Curtis, and thank you, Charles.  Since you are both in heaven today, I hope you get to talk things over.  

Save a seat for me, won’t you?  I have some questions.

Sunday, May 29, 2022




This is the saddest psalm in the book. It sounds like it comes from Job with the psalmist’s isolation from friends and feeling like he is dying. It is one of the psalms of the Sons of Korah and is the last one.

The instruction is to sing it according to a “maskil”, maybe the melody, written by Heman the Ezrahite. This may be the Heman mentioned in 1 Chronicles 6:33, the first singer listed in the group King David appointed to sing in worship in front of the tabernacle.

Crying Out To God


Here we see the psalmist in dire circumstances. he is concerned enough that his prayer is called a cry. He was praying in a loud voice out of his pain and anxiety. 

He prayed to the God of his salvation, acknowledging that only God could save him from his circumstances, including the threat of death.

The psalmist also prayed day and night. He prayed without ceasing, as Paul said to do in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. As in many of the laments, he asked God to hear and answer his prayer. God hears the prayers of his people, but does not always answer as soon as we want, so we feel like he does not hear. 

1 Peter 3:12 says “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers”. 1 John 5:15 says “And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”

When It Feels Like You Are Dying


The psalmist has so much trouble he feels he is in Sheol. (3) That word has different meanings, but here seems to mean the place of the dead, isolated from God. His friends also seem him that way: he is counted among those who go down to the pit. (4)

The psalmist also feels that he is under God’s wrath, which lies heavy upon him. (7) He is overwhelmed by it. We do not know what the psalmist has done that has led to this conclusion. But, his even his friends shun him and he is an abomination or horror to them. Here one thinks of the example of Job who had lost everything and suffered physically and well as emotionally to the degree that his wife told him to curse God and die.

The psalmist claimed that God did all of this to him. He said “you have put me in the depths of the pit”, you overwhelm me”, “your wrath lies heavy upon me”, “you have caused my companions to shun me”; and “you have me me a horror to them”. This is an acknowledgement of God’s sovereignty over his life and why he asks God for relief. 

But the psalmist did not completely give up on God. He continues to pray every day, asking God for relief. (9)

Do The Dead Praise You?


The psalmist did not want to die while under God’s wrath. He said those separated from God in death do not see his wonders, do not praise him or declare his steadfast love. There is a sense here of not only sadness at being unable to praise God, but also an appeal to God based on God’s desire to be honored and praised. (Romans 1:21) “Abaddon”, like Sheol, is a place of the dead, but also a place of punishment. 

The Unanswered Prayer


The psalmist closes his prayer repeating the statements from the earlier part of the psalm. He feels cast away from God and close to death. He feels he is under the wrath of God and punished for it. God has even caused those close to him to shun him.

He asks why God has done these things to him. (14) He does not record an answer. God does not always tell us why. We have no claim on him for answers, as the book Job shows us.

Unlike many of the psalms of lament, this one does not have a happy ending. It is bleak. So, what can we takeaway from this psalm? 

First, although the psalmist saw himself as under God’s wrath, believers do not face God’s wrath. Rather, Romans 1:18 says that God’s wrath is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth of Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:9 says “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who dies for us so that whether w are awake or asleep we might live with him.” 

Second, God does discipline his “sons” for our good, that we may share his holiness. (Hebrews 12:5-11) Being under his discipline can be painful. If we are being disciplined for sin, the remedy is to confess and repent. 1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. 

When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said “Repent,” he intended that the entire life of believers should be repentance. (Martin Luther)

Third, there is suffering that is part of following Christ. Paul told Timothy to share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God”. (1 Timothy 1:8) Those who suffer for Christ in this life will be rewarded in the next life. They can also have joy in suffering, as the apostles showed after their first arrest. (Acts 5:41) Paul and Silas showed this in prison. (Acts 16:25; Philippians 4:4)

If you are suffering, do not give up on God! Keep praying. Keep rejoicing.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022



Sunday, we looked at the meaning of the word "Zion". From a mountain fortress, to the city of David, to the temple and presence of God, culminating in the heavenly city, the concept of Zion permeates the Bible.
The hymn writers discovered the concept of Zion as the heavenly city to be occupied by believing men and women for eternity. One of those hymns is "Marching to Zion". Here are the lyrics.
Marching to Zion
Come ye that love the Lord, and let your joys be known, Join in a song with sweet accord, Join in a song with sweet accord. And thus surround the throne, and thus surround the throne.
We're marching to Zion, beautiful, beautiful Zion; We're marching upward to Zion; the beautiful city of God
Then let our songs a bound and every tear be dry; We're marching through Immanuel's ground; weƦ?®e marching through Immanuel's Ground, To fairer worlds on high, to fairer worlds on high.
We're marching to Zion, beautiful, beautiful Zion; We're marching upward to Zion; the beautiful city of God
We're marching to Zion, beautiful, beautiful Zion; We're marching upward to Zion; the beautiful city of God.

Sunday, May 22, 2022




This psalm has both a temporal meaning and a prophetic one. At the time it was written, it is the exaltation by one who was going to Jerusalem, possibly for one of the three pilgrim feasts. 

Jerusalem was a special place to all Israelites because the temple was there. They rejoiced to come from all over the country to Jerusalem to see the temple and participate in the feasts. It emphasized to them how special Jerusalem was because God promised to dwell there. 

The psalm also has a prophetic meaning, looking forward to a future time when people of all races, not just Jews, will come to God. 

Zion Exalted By The Choice of God


“Zion” is another name for Jerusalem. It was originally a mountain upon which the Jebusites built their fortress. It was unconquered by the Israelites until David became king. He lived there and called it the City of David. (Samuel 5:6-10) He built a palace and then a city around it. Solomon then built a temple in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, and God’s presence dwelt within the temple.  (1 Kings 8:10)

The psalm begins with a praise, or exaltation of Zion because it is the place God chose to dwell. The psalmist calls it the city God founded. He founded it by choosing it as his dwelling place. Psalm 132:16 says “For the LORD has chosen Zion; he has desired it for his dwelling place”. Psalm 78:68 says “he chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion, which he loves”. 

God chose Jerusalem and loved it. The “gates of Zion” is just another way to say “Zion”, referring to the city of Jerusalem. He not only loved it, but loved it more than the other cites of Israel (dwelling places of Jacob). He showed this by speaking glorious things about Jerusalem. (3) 

For example, Isaiah wrote that in the latter days the mountain of the house of the Lord would be established as the highest mountain, meaning the preeminent one. Many people will come to the house of God, the temple, to learn God’s ways. (Isaiah 2:2-4) 

Isaiah also wrote that the day would come when everyone in Zion would be called holy, recorded for life, washed of sin. His presence will be with them as it was in the wilderness. (Isaiah 4:2-5)

John Newton, who wrote the hymn “Amazing Grace”, also wrote a hymn entitled “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken”, based on this psalm. 

The psalmist also calls Zion\Jerusalem the “city of God”, referring again to God’s presence there as his chosen and beloved place. 

God Exalted By the Inclusion of the Gentiles


These verses seem at first glance to be contradictory, for he refers to foreign nations, not as foreign, but as those who were born here in Zion. But it is not contradictory, it is prophetic. It looks forward to the day when the Jews will not be the only people of God. 

Gentiles from other nations will come into the kingdom. They would not only come in, they would come in as full members and citizens of the kingdom. That is what the psalmist means when he writes “this one and that one were born in her” and that he records these Gentiles as if they were of Israel, they were born there. (5-6)

Paul picked up this theme in the second chapter of Ephesians. He said they were alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, but through Christ were no longer strangers and aliens, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. 

The psalmist named some of the kingdoms known to Israel as examples of this truth. Rahab is a name for Egypt. (4) It was an insult. Rahab was a sea monster which had been rendered powerless by God. Job 26:12 says “By his power he churned up the sea; by his wisdom he cut Rahab to pieces”. 

When King Hezekiah wanted to make an alliance with Egypt against Assyria, the Lord warned him that Egypt would not actually help Israel. The Lord said “Egypt’s help is worthless and empty; therefore I have called her Rahab who sits still.” (Isaiah 30:7)The picture is of a dragon or monster lying still in the Nile, looking formidable, but actually doing nothing. 

Babylon was another great enemy of Israel, which was squeezed between it and Egypt. Philistia (the Philistines) was a long time enemy of Israel. Tyre was a costal city state in what is now Lebanon, to the north of Israel. Cush was an area of southern Egypt. It is named after the son of Ham, grandson of Noah. (Genesis 10:7)

These were not all of the Gentile countries of the world, even in the time of the psalmist, but they were countries known to Israel and surrounding it. The psalmist, led by the Holy Spirit, uses them to prophetically state that Gentiles will come into God’s kingdom, pictured here as Zion\Jerusalem. They would be registered by the Lord as being part of the kingdom as if they were born there. It is similar to the Book of Life mentioned in the New Testament. (Revelation 20:12-15, 21:27)

It was always God’s intention to do this. It was not Plan B after Israel failed. God told Adam and Even to have children and multiply over the earth as God’s representatives, in effect, spreading his glory over all the earth. God told Abram that “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed”. (Genesis 12:3) This shows that God intended to bless all nations through Christ, not just Israel. 

Jesus specifically told his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations. (Matthew 28:18) 

Yet, some Jewish believers took this psalm and others literally to mean that Gentiles had to come to Jerusalem, become Jews, before they could become saved. That is exactly what prompted the Council of Jerusalem of Acts 15. Some men came to the church at Antioch and said “unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved”. (Acts 15:1) The council rejected that idea. 

We see that James, the head of the Jerusalem church, understood this concept. Upon hearing about Gentiles coming to faith in Christ, James said it fulfilled the prophecy that God would rebuild the fallen tent of David and restore it, that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord. (Acts 15:15-17) James was referring to Amos 9:11-12. But it showed James understood the evolution of the concept of Israel, or God’s kingdom, to include Gentile believers. 

Paul sets this out to the Galatians, writing “Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying ‘in you shall all the nations be blessed’”. (Galatians 3:7-8) 

Here is Psalm 87, these Gentiles who are justified by faith are those who know him, as verse 4 says, from all nations. 

Exalted by the Testimony of the Redeemed



All of those who have been saved, who have come into the kingdom, will make music and sing “all my fountains are in you”. Fountains of water in desert lands brought refreshment and life. Jesus told the woman at the well that he could give her living water and that whoever drinks his water would have in himself or herself a spring of water welling up to eternal life. (John 4:10-14) Revelation 22:1-5 describes a river whose streams make glad the city of God.

All believers praise God for giving them this living water of eternal life and presence of the Holy Spirit. In the New Earth, we will do the same. This is the ultimate fulfillment of this psalm. The New Jerusalem, the city God has prepared for believers in the new creation, will contain those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21)

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation.

Psalm 68:19

Monday, May 16, 2022

A Monday Resolution

 Direct, control, suggest, this day,

All I design, or do, or say,

That all my powers, with all their might,

In Thy sole glory may unite.

(Thomas Ken, Awake, my soul)

Sunday, May 15, 2022




This psalm is a prayer of David. It is the only psalm associated with David in this third book of Psalms. It is an individual lament, but has some great truths for us to learn and incorporate into our thinking. We do not know the specific events that prompted David to write this prayer, but we can ascertain that he faces adversity at the hands of human enemies. 

Praying For Mercy


This psalm begins with David asking God for help. He says he is in a day of trouble. (7) 

David describes himself in humble terms: he is poor and needy. There is no sense of entitlement or pride, only a supplication based on need. He asks God to be gracious to him, showing he does not claim a right to anything from God. (3, 6)

We know that God despises human pride. He values humility. Jesus said the poor in spirit, those who acknowledge their need for God’s help, are blessed. (Matthew 5:3)

David also refers to himself as God’s servant. (2) This shows his dedication to the Lord and his acceptance of the Lord’s will in his life. He trusts in God and believes in him.

David asked for God to preserve his life, so he must have felt threatened by his enemies. (2) He also asked God to gladden his soul. (4) Being under attack can lead us to sorrow and depression. Yet, David believes that God answers him when he prays. (7)

David also expressed several things about the character of God. He lists three things: (1) God is good; (2) God is forgiving; and (3) God abounds in steadfast love to his people - those who call upon him. As we have seen in previous Psalms, “steadfast love” has a covenantal setting. God has an unwavering love for his people. He proclaimed this about himself in Exodus 34:6. So, David is saying I know you have steadfast love for those who call upon you and I am calling upon you as one of your people so please exercise that steadfast love to deliver me from my enemies.

A Hymn of Praise


David’s faith that God will answer him leads him to these verses of praise. He declares the awesome traits of God.

First, David declares the uniqueness of God. There is no one like him. There is no one who does works like God’s works. (8) He repeats this in verse 10. 

This belief in one God (monotheism) was somewhat unique to the Jews in Old Testament times. Many nations worshipped many gods even though they may have had one main god. Many people believed that gods were national and each nations god was really a god, though some were more powerful than others. But God commanded the Jews to worship him only and to have no other gods. (Exodus 20:3; 34:14)

Second, David declared that all nations would come and worship God. (9) He spoke prophetically even if he did not understand how it would come about. He also spoke in faith, believing God would fulfill his promise to Abraham that all the families of the earth would be blessed through him. (Genesis 12:3) That promise is fulfilled in Christ. This verse is quoted in Revelation 15:4 as part of the song sung by all of those who conquered the beast and worshipped the Lord. 

Third, David said God would be worshipped by all nations because he is great and has done wondrous things. We are part of the fulfillment of this statement as we gather to sing praises to God for his wondrous works. 

Deliverance Anticipated


David shows his devotion to the Lord by asking God to teach him his ways so that he can walk in God’s truth. This should be the prayer of every believer. We read and study the Bible, asking God to teach us about himself and his way, so we can live accordingly, knowing it pleases him and is the best for us. 

David wanted an undivided heart. (11) He asked God to unite his heart (English Standard Version) or “give me an undivided heart” (New International Version) so that he may fear God’s name. An undivided heart is one totally devoted to God and totally believing in him and his promises. 

James wrote that we should ask God for wisdom, but asking in faith with no doubt. The one who doubts God is a double minded person, unstable in his or her ways. (James 1:8) 

Actually, David showed that he did have a united heart as he gave thanks to God with his whole heart and promised to glorify him forever. (12) Even though he was in a difficult time, he remembered and thanked God for showing his steadfast love to him and for saving his life. 

Prayer For Deliverance


David ends the psalm with a request for God to save him. His enemies are insolent and ruthless. They do not honor God and attack God’s servant David. So, David asked for strength and for God to save him.

David repeated his praise of the Lord, referring again to Exodus 34:6, as merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. David is appealing to God’s character as a basis for him to act on David’s behalf. 

Finally, David asked for a sign of God’s favor. The sign would be God’s deliverance of David from his enemies. He wants God to help him so that his enemies, who are God’s enemies, will realize he is God’s servant and be put to shame for trying to harm him. 


  1. We can ask God for help in difficult times.

    2. We praise God for his wonderful traits.

    3. We ask God to teach us and give us wisdom.

    4. We remember God’s great works to strengthen our faith.

Sunday, May 08, 2022



Proclaiming God’s Past Acts For Israel


As we have seen in several other psalms, this one starts with a recitation of things God has done for Israel in the past. All of the verbs in this section are past tense. The psalmist is reciting these things to God. God was not doing these things at the time the psalmist wrote the psalm.

The psalmist begins by saying God was, in the past, favorable to the land. The land to which the psalmist refers is Israel. The word “favorable” means more than God was nice to them. He found them acceptable because they loved and obeyed him and he blessed them for it. 

This favor came after a period of God’s discipline, however. We see this because verse 2 says God restored the fortunes of Jacob. That means he had taken them away at some time in the past. We also see that verse 3 refers to God’s wrath and anger during the former time.

Jeremiah 14:10 shows us a time when God did not accept Israel because of its idolatry. The language is almost exactly opposite the language in the verses two and three of the psalm. Jeremiah wrote: “…therefore the LORD does not accept them; now he will remember their iniquity and punish their sins”.

So, the psalmist remembered a time that Israel rebelled against God and suffered his discipline, then received the restoration of their “fortunes” when they repented. Fortunes may include protection from enemies and\or abundant crops (those things promised in the blessings of the covenant). 

In addition to a restoration of fortunes, God forgave Israel’s iniquity and covered their sins. This is an allusion to Exodus 34. After Moses interceded, God forgave Israel for its idolatry with the golden calf. God revealed himself to Moses as merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. (Exodus 34:6-7) Here, the psalmist seems to say God forgave their sin and relieved them of its consequences. He withdrew his wrath and restored Israel. (2-3)

God did not always relieve Israel of he consequences of its sin, but here he has and it is a double blessing the psalmist acknowledges. Likewise, with us, God forgives our sins but sometimes lets us experience the consequences of them. 

The words used here to describe God’s reaction to Israel’s sin give us a good picture of how serious sin is and how much it displeases God. The psalm speaks of wrath and hot anger. It speaks of God’s indignation. The New Testament speaks of it also. 

Romans 1:10 says the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. That chapter goes on to say that God gave sinful men up to their sinful natures and idolatry, and debased thinking. Romans 6:23 tells us the end result of sin is death, physical and spiritual. Fortunately, Romans 5:9 tells us those who believe in Jesus are saved by Jesus from the wrath of God. 

Prayer For Restoration


The psalmist asked for restoration again, showing us this is not the first time they suffered God’s wrath for their sin and rebellion. He wanted the Lord to stop being angry and to again show Israel his steadfast love.

“Steadfast love” translates the Hebrew word “hesed”. Exodus 34:6 said that God abounded in steadfast love. “Steadfast love” is an unwavering and enduring love. It is connected to God’s covenant with Israel. God told Moses he is abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. In Deuteronomy 7:9, Moses said “know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations…”. 

When Israel was not doing well, it was because they did not keep the covenant and suffered the curses of the covenant. That is likely the case here. But, the psalmist knows that, while Israel is often unfaithful, God is always faithful. So, he appeals to the covenant and to God’s nature as having steadfast love when he asks God to relent from anger and to revive Israel. He asked if God would prolong his anger to all generations as opposed to showing steadfast love to a thousand generations. 

Anticipating God’s Favorable Response


The psalmist wanted to hear God speak, because he believed God would speak peace to his people. This means he would speak of reconciliation, forgiving them and showing favor to them. However, they should make sure their repentance is genuine so they will not return to folly and break the covenant. 

The New Testament speaks of reconciliation also. But it is Christ that brings reconciliation. And that reconciliation is permanent.

In the psalm, God offered reconciliation only to Israel, the people with whom he made a covenant. Now, he offers reconciliation to all who will will come to Christ in faith. 

Romans 5:10 says “For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God thorough our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation”. 

The Psalmist’s Hope


The psalmist had sure faith that the Lord would bring salvation and his presence\glory to his people that came to him in faith and obedience. 

He broke into a doxology, a praise to God for his steadfast love and faithfulness, his righteousness, and the restoration of peace with his people, the people of his covenant. 

That reconciliation would bring good things to the land, as promised in the covenant blessings, and cause them to prosper. (12) 


We should constantly strive to live in obedience to God to please him. We want to experience his favor, not his displeasure or his wrath. God has done so much for us in sending his son to die for us, that it should grieve us deeply to displease him.  

When we sin, we should repent and confess our sins to God, who will forgive and restore us to fellowship with him. (1 John 1:9)


Sunday, May 01, 2022



This psalm is written from the viewpoint of a person who is going on a pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem. People who lived in Jerusalem could see the temple and could go to the temple courts whenever they wanted to.

But those who lived far away from Jerusalem could not do so. They usually came to Jerusalem only for special occasions, such as one of the feasts God told them to observe. The writer of this psalm is going and is longing to be there in the presence of God. God’s presence dwelt between the cherubim in the holiest place of the temple. But, just being near to the temple, knowing God’s presence was there, made worshippers feel close to God. 

The heading of this psalm says it is a psalm of the Sons of Korah. This group was a subgroup of the Kohathites, who were one of the groups of Levites that had jobs taking care of the temple. The Sons of Korah were singers who led in worship. So, this psalm may have written by one of these singers who traveled to the temple to fulfill his duties. 

Longing for the Temple


The psalmist had an intense desire to be at the temple and in God’s presence. He said the Lord’s dwelling place was lovely. It was not lovely to him because of its physical beauty, but because God dwelt there. The place was special, or dear, to him. 

The psalmist referred to God as LORD of hosts (Yahweh sabaoth).  He is the Ruler of the forces of heaven, but also of the whole earth. This is what Martin Luther called Jesus in his hymn “A Mighty Fortress”. The New International Versions interprets it as “LORD Almighty”. 

This intense longing for the temple courts is so strong it is a physical sensation for him. It is so strong it makes him feel faint at times. But it also makes him sing for joy to God. He sings out loud. The New International Version says he cries out for God. His longing is not for the physical structure, but for the God who dwells there, the living God. 

Since even the most common birds, the sparrow and swallow, make nests near the temple altars, how much more blessed are those who can dwell in God’s house, in his presence, and sing is praises. (3-4)

Blessing The Pilgrims


Also blessed are those who travel to Jerusalem. Their strength is in the Lord as they travel and their affection, or heart, is on the roads to Jerusalem (Zion). They look forward to being at the temple so much that even the road there is important to them. 

We do not know what the “valley of Baca” is, but it must be a dry place that is difficult to pass through. But these pilgrims are so full of joy that they make it a place of springs and pools. They have the strength of God to pass through this to get to the place where they will stand in the presence of God. It could be that Baca is a metaphor for a time of adversity that the psalmist goes through before he get to experience the joy of being at the house of the Lord.

The pilgrims get stronger as they go. The go from “strength to strength”. (7) All of the finish the journey and appear at the temple before God. 

Prayer for Protection of the King


Interposed with the expressions of joy for being at the house of the Lord is this prayer for the king, the anointed one. The psalmist sees the king as their protector, their shield. He is the one whom God appointed to lead Israel and defend it. So the psalmist asks God to look upon him, extend favor to him, because is is also dependent on the Lord. 

Here the psalmist not only referred to God as the Lord of Hosts, the almighty one, but as the God of Jacob. (8) God extended his covenant with Abraham to Jacob. (Genesis 35:1-15) He protected him in many trials. He also blessed him with many descendants, as promised, so that they became the nation of Israel. So, the psalmist is invoking the covenant and asking God to protect the king, and therefore Israel, as he promised to in the covenant.



The psalmist here returns to his joy at being at the temple. He said one day there is better than a thousand days elsewhere. It is so good, he would rather be a lowly doorkeeper at the temple, than dwell with the wicked. 

Again, the joy for the temple is expressed as being in the presence of God. The psalmist saw God as sun and shield. He is the sun in the sense that he gives blessings to his people; he shines upon them. He is the shield because he protects them from their wicked enemies. 

In fact, God does not withhold any good good thing from those who keep his covenant (walk uprightly). Again we are reminded of the physical blessings of the covenant. When Israel kept the covenant, God promised them rain at the right times, increasing crops, trees that bore much fruit, having more than enough to eat. They would be secure in the land, having peace with no fear. They would have many children. Their enemies would flee before them. God would dwell among them and they would be his people. (Leviticus 26:1-13)

Acknowledging Their Blessing


The last verse of the psalm is an acknowledgement of the blessings the Lord gives to his people. The psalmist exclaimed “blessed is the one who trusts in you”. Those who put their faith in God will be blessed. They will experience God’s favor. 

How does this psalm apply to new covenant believers?

Like the psalmist, we should long to be in the presence of the Lord. Paul felt this so intensely that he said “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.” (Philippians 1:21-23)

Fortunately for us, we do not have to travel to Jerusalem to be in the presence of the Lord. He indwells us. John 14:23 says “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” 

1 Corinthians 6:19 says “Do you know know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? “ 

As believers, we live with the presence of God, who dwells within us. Jesus also promises to be among believers who gather together. Jesus said “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them”. (Matthew 18:20)

What could be better than to be in the presence of the almighty God who created and rules the universe? We should want to be in his presence in personal prayer and Bible study. We should rejoice to be in the gathering of believers with Christ among them. 

This is a blessing God has given us, a great blessing. We live in the presence of the Lord since he is always with us, and we experience his presence when we gather and worship together. We should long to come to worship at church and not consider it just a duty. 

While the Lord does not promise us the same physical blessing in this earthly life that he promised to old covenant believers, he promises us an eternal inheritance of life with him in the new creation, where every blessing will be ours. (1 Peter 1:3-9) 

This gives us joy.