A conversation with Ben


Psalm 44

How do you pray when it seems God has deserted you? Learn from Psalm 44

Intro: Psalm 44 is a tough psalm because it asks God why he has seemingly deserted his people even though they have done nothing wrong.

To the choirmaster. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah.

1 O God, we have heard with our ears,
our fathers have told us,
what deeds you performed in their days,
in the days of old: Continue reading “Psalm 44”

Psalm 42 & 43

Intro: Psalms 42 & 43 teach us about the importance of the presence of the Lord in our lives. There are those who will doubt his presence, and mock us for our beliefs. Our own souls will even begin to doubt, but in these times we must remind ourselves of the goodness of the Lord, and sweetness of his presence.

Intro: Psalms 42 & 43 teach us about the importance of the presence of the Lord in our lives. There are those who will doubt his presence, and mock us for our beliefs. Our own souls will even begin to doubt, but in these times we must remind ourselves of the goodness of the Lord, and sweetness of his presence.

To the choirmaster. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah.

1 As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
Continue reading “Psalm 42 & 43”

Psalm 41

Intro: In this Psalm David asks for the Lord’s deliverance from his enemies, and from what appears to be an illness. David teaches us how to cry to the Lord asking for Him to be gracious to us.

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

1 Blessed is the one who considers the poor!
In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him;
2 the Lord protects him and keeps him alive;
he is called blessed in the land;
you do not give him up to the will of his enemies.
3 The Lord sustains him on his sickbed;
in his illness you restore him to full health.

4 As for me, I said, “O Lord, be gracious to me;
heal me, for I have sinned against you!”
5 My enemies say of me in malice,
“When will he die, and his name perish?”
6 And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words,
while his heart gathers iniquity;
when he goes out, he tells it abroad.
7 All who hate me whisper together about me;
they imagine the worst for me.

8 They say, “A deadly thing is poured out on him;
he will not rise again from where he lies.”
9 Even my close friend in whom I trusted,
who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.
10 But you, O Lord, be gracious to me,
and raise me up, that I may repay them!

11 By this I know that you delight in me:
my enemy will not shout in triumph over me.
12 But you have upheld me because of my integrity,
and set me in your presence forever.

13 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting!
Amen and Amen.

Main Point: David starts by telling us how the Almighty takes care of those who take care of the weak(1-3). While these verse can seem disconnected from the rest of the psalm, this stanza is really a set-up for the rest of the Psalm. We can see that David views himself as that man who has taken care of the poor. He knows the Promises that God has given to those who take care of the weak, and he makes his petition based upon those facts. In the second stanza (4-7) David asks to be healed, and delivered from his enemies. Which he brought up as a couple of the things the Lord does for those who protect the poor.  In the third stanza we see David goes into detail about how his enemies wish for his death, and how even his close friends have deserted him. The last three verses we see David reassuring himself that the Lord will be faithful to His promises.

This psalm quite simply is David reminding himself and the Lord of His promises to bless those who have taken care of the poor. David uses that reminder to ask for the Lord to be gracious to him.

Interesting Points: The Lord’s promise to bless(and command…funny how those are linked) those who take care of the poor can be found Deuteronomy 15:10.

It is interesting to me how David when starting his prayer reminds God all that is involved in Deuteronomy 15:10. He expounds on it. It just so happens to be pretty much the exact request that David is about to make of God. Is this an accident? NO! David is purposefully planning out his prayer, and seeking to persuade the Lord to answer his prayer. What better way than to remind the Lord what He has promised?

I love that David focuses makes his request as an act of grace from the Lord when he says “be gracious to me.”  It is a reminder that all the Lord’s blessings, even those that result from our obedience, are acts of grace. They are not things we earned or deserved.

The connection to Jesus here is also interesting. Jesus was also betrayed by a friend who broke bread with him.

Emotional Reactions: First, it reminds me that my heart needs to be much closer to the Lord’s desire to help the poor. That convicts. Second, it reminds me that I am a poor and the Lord has been gracious to me. That brings thankfulness and joy.

Psalm 40

Intro: Psalm 40 is an explosion of praise for the way the Lord saves those who trust in him. It dwells deeply on the goodness and mercy of the Lord. It is a psalm that shows how the Lord delivers his people from their sin and enemies.

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.

4 Blessed is the man who makes
the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after a lie!
5 You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told.

6 In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted,
but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt offering and sin offering
you have not required.
7 Then I said, “Behold, I have come;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
8 I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.”

9 I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O Lord.
10 I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.

11 As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain
your mercy from me;
your steadfast love and your faithfulness will
ever preserve me!
12 For evils have encompassed me
beyond number;
my iniquities have overtaken me,
and I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head;
my heart fails me.

13 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me!
O Lord, make haste to help me!
14 Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether
who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
who delight in my hurt!
15 Let those be appalled because of their shame
who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”

16 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
say continually, “Great is the Lord!”
17 As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God!

Main Point: As I wrote above, this psalm truly is all about the Lord’s deliverance of His saints. There is not a readily perceivable structure, and for most of the psalm David is speaking of the Lord’s deliverance, kindness, and goodness or how he will tell everyone of it. Only the last two stanzas really stray from that main thought.  Even then, those stanzas are asking for the Lord’s deliverance. Psalm 40 is true to its theme of the Lord’s deliverance through and through.

Interesting Points: In the first stanza notice who is taking action. It is not David. He simply cries out and waits. It is the Lord who takes David out of the pit and places his feet on solid ground. It is just another reminder that the adage “God helps those who help themselves” just isn’t true. We can do nothing and offer nothing. He is the one who saves and rescues. Notice even the song that David sings of his deliverance comes from the Lord. One of David’s greatest gifts was writing of psalms, and yet even this was from the Lord. Salvation, first to last, is from the Lord.

Notice also that David didn’t do anything that caused the Lord to act other than cry out to him. Verse 17 teaches us that he had nothing to offer God for his deliverance, and verse 12 makes it clear that David was a horrible sinner. But God saved him because he loved him.

Verses 7-10 are a perfect picture of Jesus. He was the long awaited King who came to deliver the Lord’s people. He was written about in the scrolls. He constantly spoke of the kindness, goodness, and deliverance of the Lord. He brought comfort to the afflicted and peace to the poor. He ultimately was our deliverance. He made us, horrible sinners, into saints.

Both verse 5 and verse 17 make mention of the Lord’s thoughts. In verse 5, David tells us that the Lord has multiplied not just his acts of deliverance, but also his thoughts towards us. Have you ever paused to consider that the Creator of the universe thinks of you? Ponder that for a moment. For me that can be a little shocking because I spend so little time thinking of Him, but He has multiplied His thoughts about you. It is almost like He is obsessed with you – like He would do something crazy like die for you.

In 17 David writes, “I am poor and needy.” David has nothing to offer God for His help. He is like a beggar. But the Lord takes thought of him, and this makes all the difference.

Emotional Reaction: This psalm brought me a lot of comfort in a difficult time in my life. It allowed me to see my ultimate deliverance from my sin and enemies. It allowed me to rejoice even in the middle of the darkness and allowed me to tell others to rejoice and praise the Lord too.

Now, it humbles me to think that Lord loves me and thinks of me even though I have nothing to offer.

Great is the Lord! For none can compare with Him!