Psalm 13 is a psalm of a man who desires that the kingdom of God come now in its fullness.
Main Point: David begins Psalm 13 with one of the most familiar refrains from the Psalms “How long O Lord?” It is the cry of a man who is in intense pain from this world, and has wonders aloud before God why He has let it go on for so long. But David, after making his plea for deliverance from his enemy, reminds himself that he shall see salvation from God and that the Lord has already blessed him overwhelming. For these reason David can sing in the midst of his pain.
Interesting Points: The largest one for me is that even in the middle of his suffering David, can utter the words “I will sing to the Lord for he has dealt bountiful with me.”
Emotional reaction: You can feel David’s despair instantly. I know that I have been in these moment many times in my life, and I know that I could also be there again rather quickly. It is a good reminder that in the middle of our despair we can always comfort ourselves and each other how the Lord has blessed us already. Thankfulness can make much of my suffering seem small.
Psalm 12 finds David in a place where he seems almost desperate and cynical about the world around. However he reminds himself, and us, that the Lord has promised to take care of the lowly, and we can trust that more than pure silver.
Main Point: Again David finds himself in a place in which everywhere he looks there is deception. This time though the deceivers think that they will prevail with their wayward tongues. They believe that are masters of their own destiny. What these deceivers don’t realize though is the Lord is the protector of those they oppress. Because of this He will arise from his throne and protect the poor and needy. And since it is the Lord himself who says he will take care of the lowly, David reminds that the words of the Lord are more precious than purely refined silver.
The last two verses sum up the whole, “You, O Lord, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever. On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among the children of man.
Interesting Points: Unlike many of the psalms that come before it, God himself says that he will take care of the righteous poor and needy as opposed to David saying it. This leads David to remind us that his words are purer than perfectly refined silver, and they can be trusted in more.
There is also an interesting contrast between the deceivers and God. While they utter lies and from the mouths of the deceivers come great boast, it is Lord’s word who are pure and can be trusted.
Emotional reaction: This psalm reminds me that my safety is not dependent upon myself, but upon the Lord. I can take comfort knowing that he will deliver me from those who would seek my destruction. I can trust that it is so, because he has said it.
In Psalm 11 David reminds himself of the confidence he can have in the Lord even in the face of attacks by the wicked.
Main Point: The psalm is pretty straight forward. It appears that someone has counseled David to not trust in the Lord, and in a somewhat mocking tone. Telling him to “flee like a bird to your mountain”, because of the wicked. David replies that even if he were to flee to the “mountain” (I believe a reference to Mt. Zion) that Lord Dwells there and will punish the wicked who pursue him. The verse 7 holds out promise for the righteous when it says “For the Lord is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds;the upright shall behold his face.”
Interesting Points: This Psalm says that God hates the wicked in his soul, and is contrasted with how he love righteous deeds.
The idea of behold God’s face brings echo’s of Moses meeting God face to face. This was something that no other israelite had the privilege of doing. Jesus also echoes this psalm when in Matthew 5:8 says the pure in heart will see God.
Emotional reaction: I love the triumphant tone this psalms strikes, and the way it hits back at those who doubt the faithfulness of the Lord. It reminds me that though in my world it can seem like the wicked are getting ahead, the Lord will protect his chosen ones and in the end take care of the wicked. And that brings peace, and allows me to pray for my enemies. It brings Joy knowing that the Lord will deliver on his promise to remake this place.
Psalm 10 grapples with the Justice of God, and the way the world works today.
Main Point: The wicked often prosper in this life, and they often do at the expense of others. However, they are foolish and do not understand that the Lord will not let them go unpunished. Though they seek to oppress the widow and the fatherless and may seem to get away with it, the Lord shall judge them and bring them to ruin. The summary verses are in 17 and 18 “O Lord you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.”
Interesting Points: This psalms play particularly close attention to the way the Lord is on the side of the poor, the oppressed, and the afflicted. It is a theme that becomes an indictment of Israel in Isaiah that they did not take care of the oppressed. It also echos of Jesus words to take care of the “least of these.”
Emotional reaction: I had a boss several years ago who was a perfect description of the wicked in this Psalm. He always played employes off of one another, and never paid others what he promised. So I identify with the anger this expresses with the wicked, and also the frustration that comes across in the beginning of the Psalm.
In quite a few of the preceding Psalms David has asked God to deal with his enemies. Psalm 9 is a psalm that primarily praises God for the way he has delivered David from his enemies.
Main Point: In Psalm 9 we find God has delivered David from his enemies. David’s response to that is praise, and he encourages all others to do the same. Again, David is drawn to the way that God is a righteous Judge, but this time he is praising him for it rather than using it as an to win his case before God. In Psalm 5 David asked for God to protect the godly so that they may exult in the Lord, and exulting in God’s protection is exactly what Psalm 9 is about. In addition David is drawn to the themes of God caring for the oppressed, and the afflicted.
Interesting Points: David pays a lot of attention to the idea of God being enthroned. David very much sees God as the king of the world.
David reminds us all that God cares for the oppressed and afflicted. He will ultimately be on their side, and will destroy those who take advantage of them.
Emotion Reactions: I very much get caught up in excitement of David’s deliverance. The prospect of God defeating all of the circumstances in front of you brings excitement and joy. Also comfort and peace knowing that the Lord takes care of the lowly.
David ended Psalm 7 saying that he will sing praise to the Name of the Lord, and Psalm 8 delivers on that promise.
Main Point: Many of us in our “younger” days can remember our fascination with high school crushes. How even the mention of their name could excite us, and start us to thinking about how wonderful they are. David, has the same excitement at the mention of the name of Yahweh. Above all of the things that it brings up in David is the special place that God has blessed mankind with in creation. When he looks at all of creation his wonder is set on highly God set man in regards to the rest of creation. How he cares for him.
Interesting Points: God has decided that it is out of those who are weakest (infants) that he will establish his strength and silence his foes (interesting connection to the previous psalms that were so much about what other were saying and slander David).
When we look at this with a connection to the creation story of Genesis 1, we see that God has ordained the sun and the moon to “Rule” the day and night respectively. Likewise he has also set us up as rulers. We are to rule over all of creation. That doesn’t mean exploit it. We are to be good benevolent rulers, who care for cultivate their kingdom.
The way he goes through several different categories isn’t an enumeration of the things that we are rulers of, it is the poetic way of saying everything. The three major spheres of creation are cited: Land, Sea, and Air. It is clear we are to rule over all of creation. This is part of what sends David to sing God’s praise.
It also is a good reminder of the dignity with which we as humans have been created. This didn’t end after the fall. We are still created in his image, and as David reminds we have been crowned with Glory, and Honor. Not by Man, but by God.
Emotional reaction: Honestly some guilt because I rarely get this excited about the name of the Lord, that I would burst out in song. After that, I feel loved and special that God would care so much for me, and would bless me in such a way. It brings comfort and confidence.
PS: I think I need to expand my emotional vocab.
David again finds himself in God’s courtroom in Psalm 7, and this time in particular it is his own innocence that he is pleading.
Main Point: David is trusting in God to deliver him, and deal with him as a faithful servant. He calls upon God to act as the righteous Judge that he is; to save him from his friend who is accusing him of betraying him. David then takes comfort in God’s protection, and warns the wicked what will happen if they continue to rebel against God. David finishes off by thanking God for his faithfulness, and singing of the name of the Lord.
Interesting Points: David makes copious use of metaphors in this psalm, whether it is in reference to God or his enemies (his enemies are like lions, God is described as a shield and later as a warrior). He shows us how drawing upon the world around us we can speak truths that are spiritual. Many times when we use metaphors to describe God in our prayers it can help us feel a connection that can often escape us.
We also don’t have to stick to the metaphors that the scriptures supply, as all of the world speaks God’s truth. Having lived in the hot summers of the south, I know what protection and comfort the shade of a tree provides. When I think about it, I can feel the coolness and my body relaxes. It has a calming effect on my body. When I remind myself that much like the shade of that tree God protects me from the heat and trails of my own life, I feel a closeness and thankfulness to him that I would have missed.
When David asks the Lord to deal with him according to his righteousness, David is not making a claim of sinlessness. He is speaking about his innocence in this particular incident.
Verses 12-16 certainly are different here from what we have seen so far in the petition psalms of David. He breaks off into a warning that is more reminiscent of Proverbs 1, than the petitionary psalms that have just proceeded it. It is certainly a reminder that Sin has deadly consequences, consequences that the new testament teaches us ultimately was taken on for us by Jesus. This is the reason that God can relent on those who do repent and still be a righteous Judge.
Emotional Reactions: I have to say that for me, not being a place that resonates with this psalm I am having a hard time syncing with it emotionally. However, I can take comfort in the words of verse 11, “My shield is with God, who saves the upright in Heart.”