These are notes collected from studying with brothers in Christ. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!
The fear of the LORD stood out to me in this Psalm.
- v.11- “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;”
- v.13- “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;”
- v.17- “But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,”
God loves us and wants what is best for us. I think that living our lives with full respect for his will and power helps us remember who is actually in control.
This reminds me of Jesus’ words in John 14:23 – “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him”.
Of course there is a general love has for all of his creation, including us sinners! (Rom. 5:8), while He simultaneously hates who we’ve become in our sin (compared to His glory) (Psalm 5:5; Rom. 3:23).
Thus, He reserves a special love for those who are His people, who have been justified by His gospel, and have His Spirit within us. These seem to match the people who fear the Lord in Psalm 103. They are those who receive His special love, which He doesn’t offer to all people.
He gave them what they asked, but sent a wasting disease among them.
Talk about putting the fear of God in us! Sometimes we shouldn’t be so bold to complain about not getting what we want so badly!
Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress, when he heard their cry. For their sake he remembered his covenant, and relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
They did nothing to deserve Gods ear. But He gave it nonetheless—because of His great love
“He provides food for those who fear Him; He remembers his covenant forever.” Psalm 111:5
Note that it doesn’t say He provides a house, vacation, or so many things we mistakenly think we are entitled to.
Biblically speaking, I’m pretty sure the emphasis is always on God providing food and clothing, and that’s all we should need to be content. Here it adds the fact that this is part of what His special love for His covenant people looks like: providing us with food. May we not act spoiled, but truly realize that having food is a gift from God, and anything more is extra-special-not-promised gift.
Been thinking a lot about Psalm 118…
This ultimately is fulfilled in Christ (our chief cornerstone – i.e. new beginning).
You get this picture of enemies surrounding him and being too strong for him. BUT GOD saves the day. What they plan to discard, God plans to use as a new beginning (“chief cornerstone”).
Related: I keep thinking about how a handful of biblical books begin with the phrase: “After the death of…” (Joshua 1:1; Judges 1:1; etc.).
Though in Psalm 118 death doesn’t happen, it’s a picture of hopelessness that ends up being a new beginning. And it is fulfilled in Christ who died, then resurrected, and was a new beginning for the church. And all of those Bible books show a new beginning that starts after the death of someone. Thus, the death of someone/something, as tragic and hopeless as it seems, can also serve as a new beginning of sorts. Resurrection can come from hopeless/death situations.
I was really touched by the mammoth chapter of Psalm 119. Just how integral God’s word is to EVERYTHING related to life and godliness. Another passage I’ve been thinking about is 2 Tim. 3:17 – SCRIPTURE “thoroughly equips us for EVERY good work”. If there is a good work God has called you/us to, we should find principles for this work laid out thoroughly in Scripture. If we can’t find it there, it’s not a good work we’re called to.
Psalm 127 stood out to me today.
v.1 “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.”
No matter how great we think our plans may be, we are destined for hardship if we are working against the Lord. This reminds me of my friend Jason. He always said that he viewed taking God’s name in vain as “putting God’s name on our plans.”
Really–anything where you’ve attached God’s name/authority to something that He doesn’t vouch for is taking his name in vain. For instance, false prophecies that you claim are from the Lord. Saying that, I do think flippantly saying God’s name (especially as a curse word, for instance) is also not something God loves to hear…to put it mildly.
Psalm – Final Thoughts
I have just been really moved the last three weeks by going through the Psalms together. Honestly, I’ve decided it’s a practice I need to come back to more often (maybe with an even slower read through), but it has been really powerful to just meditate and praise with the Psalms and even pray them which I think we should do often. I have always resonated myself with David in a lot of ways and he writes 73/150 of them, so basically half.
I love the way he pours out his soul and emotions to the Lord; something that is often so lacking in the church and especially with men. I once heard someone say they thought he was a “whiner,” in the Psalms… I think nothing could be further from the truth and the comment showed an ignorance of the importance of our need and dependence for the Lord. The Psalms model this so well for us.
It’s really hard to pick out individual psalms that impact me because I could pick something from every chapter but…Psalms 119 also impacted me deeply
119:2 “blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek Him with their whole heart.”
It’s not about getting it all right all the time, knowing the right answer 100% of the time, or doing the right thing 100% of the time, but when we seek him with our whole heart and delight in Him and his testimonies and His law, a lot of the rest of life begins to fall into place.
May this be our prayer – to seek Him with our WHOLE heart. May we start to change our hearts even today/tonight to move more toward Him and to walk in all His ways.