Psalm 112

Praise the Lord!
Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
    who greatly delights in his commandments!
His offspring will be mighty in the land;
    the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in his house,
    and his righteousness endures forever.
Light dawns in the darkness for the upright;
    he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.
It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;
    who conducts his affairs with justice.
For the righteous will never be moved;
    he will be remembered forever.
He is not afraid of bad news;
    his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.
His heart is steady; he will not be afraid,
    until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.
He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor;
    his righteousness endures forever;
    his horn is exalted in honor.
10 The wicked man sees it and is angry;
    he gnashes his teeth and melts away;
    the desire of the wicked will perish!

Psalm 112 ESV

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Forever!

Psalms decorative

He sent redemption to his people;    
he has commanded his covenant forever.     
Holy and awesome is his name!
Psalm 111:9 ESV

 

Why turn to a 19th century preacher (Charles Spurgeon) for comments on the Psalms and their application to life in the 21st century? Aren’t there contemporary voices that speak with a better understanding of life as we Christians live it in the here and now? Well, the answer to that second question is, I think, both yes, and no. Of course there are helpful contemporary voices; Tim Keller for instance in My Rock My Refuge; Derek Kidner in his Tyndale Commentary; and, as they used to say in the commercials on late night television, ‘that’s not all; there’s more!’ But is their understanding of the Psalms, is their understanding of the struggles and the joys of life, necessarily better than the understanding of men and women of the past? Well, no, not necessarily (and I am sure they would be the first to agree). So we are blessed to be able to turn to both because, in the end, they all turn back to the one source, the Psalms themselves; the inspired songs of sinners (like ourselves) composed in their own times of deepest distress, and of almost unutterable joy. After all, God, their God and ours, is the same, ‘yesterday, today and forever’, and he has ‘commanded his covenant forever’. Personally (I understand not all will feel this way) I find the older style of Spurgeon a helpful boost to my imagination, to my grasp of this timeless, eternal, aspect of the Psalms and their relevance to me today. So, here are some comments from Charles Spurgeon on Psalm 111:9…

Spurgeon wrote…. “The Lord’s people delight …. to contemplate the antiquity of that covenant, remembering that before the day-star knew its place, or planets ran their round, the interests of the saints were made secure in Christ Jesus. …. They delight to celebrate it as “signed, and sealed, and ratified, in all things ordered well.” …. to think of its immutability, as a covenant which neither time nor eternity, life nor death, shall ever be able to violate–a covenant as old as eternity and as everlasting as the Rock of ages.

“…. for they see in it all things provided for them. God is their portion, Christ their companion, the Spirit their Comforter, earth their lodge, and heaven their home. They see in it an inheritance reserved and entailed to every soul possessing an interest in its ancient and eternal deed of gift. …. bequeathed to them!

“More especially it is the pleasure of God’s people to contemplate the graciousness of this covenant. They see that the law was made void because it was a covenant of works and depended upon merit, but this they perceive to be enduring because grace is the basis, grace the condition, grace the strain, grace the bulwark, grace the foundation, grace the topstone. The covenant is a treasury of wealth, a granary of food, a fountain of life, a store-house of salvation, a charter of peace, and a haven of joy.”

From Charles Spurgeon in Morning and Evening.

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Psalm 111

Great Are the LORD’s Works

111  Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
    in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord,
    studied by all who delight in them.
Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
    and his righteousness endures forever.
He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
    the Lord is gracious and merciful.
He provides food for those who fear him;
    he remembers his covenant forever.
He has shown his people the power of his works,
    in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
    all his precepts are trustworthy;
they are established forever and ever,
    to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
He sent redemption to his people;
    he has commanded his covenant forever.
    Holy and awesome is his name!
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
    all those who practice it have a good understanding.
    His praise endures forever!

Psalm 111 ESV

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Our holy clamour?

King David ArtBe not silent, O God of my praise! 
For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me,     
speaking against me with lying tongues. 
They encircle me with words of hate,     
and attack me without cause. 
In return for my love they accuse me,    
but I give myself to prayer. 
So they reward me evil for good,     
and hatred for my love.
Psalm 109:1-5ESV

While I may be quickly inclined, in the face of persecution, to pray about my ‘accusers’, I am often slower to pray for them. When I do, my prayers on their behalf will often begin, at least, with a sort of icy brevity. David’s prayers for his enemies had a different quality.

Charles Spurgeon wrote, with Psalm 109:4b in mind….

“Continuance and perseverance are intended in the expression of our text. David did not cry once, and then relapse into silence; his holy clamour was continued till it brought down the blessing. Prayer must not be our chance work, but our daily business, our habit and vocation. …. so must we addict ourselves to prayer. We must be immersed in prayer as in our element, and so pray without ceasing.”
Lord, teach us so to pray that we may be more and more prevalent in supplication.”

From C.H. Spurgeon in Morning and Evening.

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Psalm 109: 1-5; 21-31 ESV

Be not silent, O God of my praise!
For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me,     
speaking against me with lying tongues.
They encircle me with words of hate,     
and attack me without cause.
In return for my love they accuse me,     
but I give myself to prayer.
So they reward me evil for good,     
and hatred for my love.

But you, O God my Lord,     
deal on my behalf for your name’s sake;     
because your steadfast love is good, deliver me!
For I am poor and needy,     
and my heart is stricken within me.
I am gone like a shadow at evening;     
I am shaken off like a locust.
My knees are weak through fasting;     
my body has become gaunt, with no fat.
I am an object of scorn to my accusers;     
when they see me, they wag their heads.

Help me, O Lord my God!     
Save me according to your steadfast love!
Let them know that this is your hand;     
you, O Lord, have done it!
Let them curse, but you will bless!     
They arise and are put to shame,
but your servant will be glad!
May my accusers be clothed with dishonor;     
may they be wrapped in their own shame as in a cloak!

With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord;     
I will praise him in the midst of the throng.
For he stands at the right hand of the needy one,     
to save him from those who condemn his soul to death.

Psalm 109: 1-5; 21-31 ESV

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Love to be brave?

King David Art

 

 

 

 

My heart is steadfast, O God!     
I will sing and make melody with all my being!

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!     
Let your glory be over all the earth!
That your beloved ones may be delivered,     
give salvation by your right hand and answer me!

Oh grant us help against the foe,     
for vain is the salvation of man!
With God we shall do valiantly;     
it is he who will tread down our foes.

Psalm 108:1, 5, 6, 12, 13 ESV

When Jesus endured the cross, for the joy that was set before him (Hebrews 12) he was not, of course, acting selfishly. Jesus’ joy was to do his Father’s will; to accomplish His work of bringing many sons to glory; sons whom Jesus would be glad to call brothers (Hebrews 2). Such courage, to endure pain in bringing glory to God, is not beyond even the least of Jesus’ disciples, as Timothy Keller reminds us….

Timothy Keller writes…

COURAGE FOR HIS SAKE. “Steadfastness” (see verse 1) is courage – standing one’s ground and doing right regardless of fears and consequences. Where does courage come from? Primarily it comes from wanting something more than your own safety. David wants all to see God’s glory (verse 5). True courage is not “I can do it”- that is self-confidence. It is rather, “This is more important than me.” In the animal kingdom the mother undauntedly faces any size foe, not because she thinks she can win but for the sake of her young. David will face any foe for the sake of his Lord, whom he loves above all. He’s not looking at himself. That is the secret of courage.

Prayer: Lord, give me such a sense of your living reality in my life that I live a more fearless life. Fear is just thinking of myself and my abilities instead of having my mind focused on you. Give me enough love for you to be brave. Amen.

From Timothy Keller in My Rock My Refuge

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Psalm 108

A Song. A Psalm of David.

My heart is steadfast, O God!
I will sing and make melody with all my being!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn! I will give thanks to you,
O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your steadfast love is great above the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!
That your beloved ones may be delivered,
give salvation by your right hand and answer me!

God has promised in his holiness:
“With exultation I will divide up Shechem
and portion out the Valley of Succoth.
Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine;
Ephraim is my helmet,
Judah my scepter. Moab is my washbasin;
upon Edom I cast my shoe;
over Philistia I shout in triumph.”

Who will bring me to the fortified city?
Who will lead me to Edom?
Have you not rejected us, O God?
You do not go out, O God, with our armies.
Oh grant us help against the foe,
for vain is the salvation of man!
With God we shall do valiantly;
it is he who will tread down our foes.

Psalm 108 ESV

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