The Psalms: Book 2
Psalm 42 Lovingkindness And A Song.
This psalm marks the beginning of the second book (42-72). Jewish tradition suggesting a match to the first five books of Moses. Some believe that this psalm and 43 belong together, and point to the Hebrew text for support. There does appear to be three sections (43:1-5, 6-11, and 43) all ending with the same refrain. Vv. 1-5 express the psalmist’s desire to worship at Jerusalem-to go with the multitude to the house of God (v. 4, cf. Ps. 63:2; 84:1). However, verse 5 seems to suggest that the psalmist is not limiting himself. He may not be able to make the trek to Jerusalem, but he can still find his hope and rest in Him.
God has never been bound by place or time (v. 3, cf. Ps. 79:10; Ps. 115:2-3). It was no doubt an appeal of idolatry that anyone could make one, about things they could see, and prop it up anywhere. The spiritual nature of the people of the covenant word, has always been a focus of mockery to those who construct their own religion. Idolatry is ultimately the elevation of the creature to divine status, of man’s own making. The soul of the saint is satisfied with nothing less than the LORD Himself. “’The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, “therefore I hope in Him!’” (Lam. 3:24)
“I will remember You from the land of the Jordan,” from the heights of Hermon, and the little hill Mizar, from the highs and the lows of the Jordan, the time where faith laid hold of the covenant promises (v. 6 cf. Joshua). The drought of v. 1 is answered in v. 7. “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul pants for You, O God.” “Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; all Your waves and billows have gone over me.” Lovingkindness in the daytime and a song at night, is the response of the covenant making and covenant keeping LORD (v.8).
Psalm 43 God-Our Exceeding Joy.
“Vindicate me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation.” (v.1) “These words are technical legal terms that give the psalm a judicial setting.” (NGSB, p.799) The setting is the covenant relationship. The lovingkindness of 42:8, with which this psalm is connected, speaks to the covenant relationship and the promises (cf. Ps. 26:1ff.; 35:23-24; 40:11). The ungodly, whom the psalmist seeks to be vindicated from, refers to those outside the covenant. “Literally those without covenant lovingkindness. These are nations or people who do not enjoy a covenant relationship with God, who do not honor His laws, and therefore do not share in His covenant promises.” (NGSB, p. 799)
By asking God to not cast him off, he is asking God to remember the covenant relationship, for God is his strength (v.2). The covenant relationship was the answer to the question of the ungodly, “Where is your God.” (42:3,10) Because God was his covenant Rock, he pleads to not be forgotten. The answer is, God keeps His covenant. And the heart of this covenant relationship was His truth. The law-word, contained in the heart of the ark of the covenant, was to be at the heart of the relationship, hidden in the hearts of the faithful. “Oh, send out Your light and Your truth!” (v. 3) This was the answer to, “Where is your God?”
“Let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill, and to Your tabernacle.” God’s light and truth would lead and guide them in this relationship, and the destination was His presence. And it must be noted, it wasn’t just Jerusalem-one place and one place only. Rather, it is also the tabernacle, God’s presence and place of worship as the people sojourned as pilgrims in a foreign land. The altar was the place of sacrifice, and this established the covenant relationship (v. 4). This is why it brought the psalmist joy! Here there was forgiveness, therefore God Himself was his “exceeding joy!” And so he praised him.
“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.” (43:5; 42:11, cf. v.5) ‘Help’ here, literally means ‘salvation’. Why then should the soul in covenant with this God be cast down or quiet? Much rather ought we to shout for joy! Praise, in fact, is a covenant response and commitment. And countenance speaks to one’s face-the front, with nothing hidden, the whole person laid bare. God’s covenant salvation is complete. His salvation makes one whole. There is nothing to hide in this relationship, like there was in the garden (Gen. 3:8), for God has provided salvation.
Psalm 44 Favoured In The Covenant.
Children testify to the instructions of their parents on the acts of the LORD in history (v. 1; Ps. 78:1-4). In the case of the Passover, as with circumcision, they ask for the why of something they have experienced their whole lives-if their parents have been faithful in including them in the administration of the covenant (Ex. 12:26-27; Dt. 6:20-25). The covenant people inherited the land of promise (v. 2). It wasn’t in their own strength that they gained this inheritance, it was because the LORD favoured them (vv. 3, 6-8; Josh. 24:12; Ps. 74:12). It was an administration of the covenant of grace. God was their King, in His sovereign providence He gained for them victories (vv. 4-5).
This is why the psalmist is perplexed by their present condition. To be “cut off” was to suffer covenantal judgment (v. 9ff.). Would they be like the generation in the wilderness who never entered the promised land? Or were they suffering like the new generation in the valley of Achor? But the psalmist doesn’t think so. “All this has come upon us; but we have not forgotten You, nor have we dealt falsely with Your covenant.” (v. 17) Nor was it simply outward observance-their hearts were true, and therefore, so was their way (v. 18). And so he remains perplexed.
Failure to hallow His name, or turning to other gods, were certainly grounds for the “vengeance of the covenant” (Lev. 26:25, cf. Dt. 6:13-14; Ps. 44:20). God searches the heart (v.21, cf. Ps. 139:1-2; Jer. 17:10). But the psalmist was sure that their hearts were true (v. 8). It is not surprising then that Paul turned to this psalm (Rom. 8:36). There is a lesson here for the saints-outward circumstances do not always immediately indicate “the vengeance of the covenant.” In fact, Paul quoted this psalm as he reflected on the persecution he was suffering, essentially because he came to believe in Jesus as the messiah-from whom He freely gives us all things (v.32).
First among these things was the doctrine of justification by faith, justification based on the righteousness of Christ alone (vv. 33-34). And not only justification, but this good news includes Christ’s rule from the throne, at the right hand of God, until His enemies are made His footstool (v. 35, cf. Ps. 110). He ever lives to intercede for us as we progress on in our sanctification, and He works through us for the extension of His cause and kingdom. But nothing can separate us from His love-and so, also among “these things” of the gospel, is our preservation and perseverance. It is in this context (vv. 31-39), that Paul sees their situation reflected in this psalm.
According to Paul, they were in fact in the line of those who were true to the covenant, from the heart (Ps. 44:17-18). In other words, members of the new covenant are the true descendants of those who were members of the previous administrations of the one covenant of grace-because he favoured them (v.3). What the psalmist is in fact doing, is asking God to fulfill the covenant by bringing judgment on their enemies, because they were in fact His enemies. The plea was not based on their works or righteousness, but on the LORD’s mercies (v.26).
Psalm 45 The Mighty One.
This psalm is a wedding song for a king, as such it also finds messianic application (cf. Heb. 1:8-9). He speaks words of grace (v. 2, cf. Lk. 4:22), and with the sword at His side He is the Mighty One, in glory and majesty (v. 3, cf. Eph. 6:17; Heb. 4:12; Rev. 1:16, 19:15). Truth, humility, and righteousness are the hallmarks of this King (v. 4). He is victorious (v. 5, cf. Rev. 6:2). This King is God, the second person of the trinity, and He rules in righteousness. Second person, for the first, the Father, declares this of Him (vv. 6-7, cf. Heb. 1:8-9). Royalty serves Him (vv. 8-9).
Like a bride leaving her family behind, the church joins with her King and leaves all to follow after Him (vv. 10-12, cf. Ruth 1:16-17; Is. 54:5). The church is royalty, “all glorious within the palace.” (vv. 13-15, cf. I Pet. 2:9) Generations will continually be added to the bride of Christ (vv. 16-17, cf. Mal. 1:11), and shall reign with Him (cf. Rev. 20:6). “To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Rev. 1:6)
Psalm 46 God Is Our Refuge And Strength.
Sometimes a person just needs to find strength in a safe place. This place is God Himself, for His people. “A very present help in trouble.” (v. 1) The LORD our God is near (Dt. 4:7). He is altogether separate from us, but near, and that to help. It is only because He is altogether different from us that He is our help. And chief in that help is His word (Dt. 4:8). Silently we wait for His help (cf. Ps. 62:1, 5), and pray (62:8). “Therefore we will not fear.” (v. 2) When it seems like the world is crashing all around us He is there, and He is not silent (v. 3, 6, cf. Ps. 93).
There is a city of refuge, the holy place and tabernacle or dwelling of His presence, wherein a river flows (v. 4, cf. Ezek. 47:12). This is Zion (Ps. 48:1-3, 8; 50:1-3; 76:2; 84:7; 87:1-3). But those who would seek His presence and cry out for His help must be holy (Dt. 23:14; Is. 12:6). The nations will be shaken and subdued (v. 6, cf. Ps. 2:1-2) Therefore we need not fear (cf. Nu. 14:9). Eventually they will come to Zion (Is. 60:14; Zech. 2:10-11). It has a glorious future (Ps. 125:1; Zech. 8:3; Heb. 12:22; Rev. 14:1).
There is an angelic host which accompanies His presence, and they are victorious (v. 7, 11). God has acted in history, His works are known (v. 8). “He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth.” (v. 9). This is Messiah’s reign (cf. Is. 2), and that out Zion (Ps. 76:1-3). “God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.” (v. 5) War and battles begin at the break of dawn, and it is just here that the LORD fights for His people, and continues the battle to a glorious end.
Psalm 47 God, The LORD, Enthroned As King.
This is an enthronement Psalm. It is a typical structure of presentation (vv. 1-4), exaltation (vv. 5-7), and enthronement (vv. 8-9). He is presented as the God to whom all nations will be subdued. The LORD was never just the God of Israel. As King over the whole earth, all peoples are called to praise. It is the voice of triumph in the King of kings (vv. 1-2). It is a covenantal victory. All peoples come in the same way (vv. 3-4).
He acts in history from the throne in heaven (vv. 5ff.). He is exalted over all the earth. This is the reign of Messiah (cf. Pss. 2, 110). The writer to the Hebrews follows this same structure as he presents Jesus as the Lord of the covenant, in His transcendence and immanence-with presentation (Heb. 1:5-7), exaltation (vv. 8-12), and enthronement (vv. 13-14). In Hebrews we see the angelic host, and in this Psalm we see the nations of the earth.
The trumpet sounds the exaltation (v. 5) “God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne.” (v. 8, cf. I Chron. 16:31). The Psalm hearkens back to Abraham, and the covenant with the father of many nations (v. 9, cf. Gen. 12:1-3). As the One who is enthroned in heaven He rules over all the earth. From before the dawn of creation, to all eternity, He is King. “Your throne is established from of old; You are from everlasting.” (Ps. 93:2)
Psalm 48 The Glory Of God In Zion.
Another of the Psalms of Zion about Zion, it is a city on a mountain (v. 1, cf. Heb. 12:18-28). Since the fall it became necessary to offer sacrifice to approach the LORD, and the LORD would stipulate the conditions and choose the place where He would receive His people. The tabernacle would travel with the people and go before them to show the way. Eventually the temple would be built, and all according to the pattern that was given. Now it was a city. God dwells with people.
God is not only immanent, dwelling among His people, He is also transcendent. Mountains speak to rule and power. God reigns from His holy mountain. He is both the King and the refuge of His people (v. 3). However, from the beginning there was an invitation to the world-of joy. Joy comes where sacrifice is made (v. 2). Even kings marvel and fear (vv. 4-7). Biblical religion is no exclusively personal and private matter. It involves a city, a mountain, and the kings of the earth.
“As we have heard, so we have seen.” This is always the order of things. God has spoken and acted in history. We hear, but always we wait to see if the word spoken is backed up with acts. And so it is with the city of the LORD of hosts-the one who reigns with the hosts of heaven has established the city (v. 8). God’s people reflect on His lovingkindness-a clear covenantal term, coupled as it is with His righteousness (v. 9-10), summarized and reflected in His name (cf. Pss. 17:7; 36:10; 40:10; 51:1,19; 89:33-34; Hos. 2:16-20; Jer. 31:3).
Furthermore, it is God’s judgments which bring the people joy and gladness (v. 11). The beauty and impressiveness of the city of the LORD, was something they would tell of to the generations to come (vv. 12-13). And the focus as always was on the LORD who has spoken. The One who is known (v. 3), and heard (v. 8), and thought about (v. 9), and whose judgments the people rejoice in, is the God who will “be our guide even to death.” (v. 14) He is our guide in all of life, to the end.
Psalm 49 The Redeemed Shall Have Dominion In The Morning.
“Both high and low, rich and poor together” (v.2), needed to hear some wisdom from the LORD. “The redemption of their souls is costly.” (v. 8) A ransom is indeed required (v. 7), but it is not a price that any man can pay. The wealth and fame of both the wise and foolish pass on to others, while death takes hold of all (vv. 9-12) God alone can redeem the soul and receive it for all eternity (v. 15). But with the redeemed there is also blessing in this life.
The foolish lay up treasures for the redeemed-those who will place it in the service of the LORD. “The upright shall have dominion over them in the morning.” (v. 14) Again, those are upright who have been redeemed by the LORD-not trusting in their own resources, neither their works or the product they might exchange thereby. People indeed honour and glorify others when they have material riches, but death awaits all.
“A man who is in honour, yet does not understand, is like the beasts that perish.” (v. 20) Make no mistake, this psalm is not about the supposed evil of riches. It is about those who in their sinful pride and ignorance put their hope and trust in their own efforts and resources. “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mt. 16:26, cf. Lk. 12:20)
“I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death.” (Hos. 13:14) Jeremiah, in anticipation of the new covenant, but also in looking back at the previous administrations of the covenant of grace declared, “the LORD has redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from one stronger than he. (31:11) Christ came to give His life as a ransom (Mk. 10:45), the “one mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all.” (I Tim. 2:5-6)
Furthermore, we are redeemed not only that He might receive us, but that we might journey to Zion, the church and general assembly of the living God. It is a highway of holiness of the church militant on earth, joined with the church triumphant, in the courts of heaven (Is. 35:8-10; Heb. 12:18-24) “And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Is. 35:10)
Psalm 50 The LORD Has Spoken-A Covenant By Sacrifice.
“The Mighty One,” are words to shatter all claims otherwise, not just Mighty or all powerful, but the Mighty One-there is no other. “God,” He alone who is above all transcendent. “The LORD,” that is, the covenant making and covenant keeping LORD of salvation history. This One “has spoken.” This is the key. How do we know any of this truly and completely?” He “has spoken.” This is the first axiom of all thought and existence. To echo Schaeffer-He is there and He is not silent (v. 3).
He is the Creator who has “called the earth from the rising of the sun to its going down.” (v. 1) As the transcendent One, there ever remains a fundamental Creator-creature distinction. And yet, He chose a people with whom to enter into covenant with (v. 5), Zion “the perfection of beauty.” (v. 2, cf. Heb. 12:22-23) From the church He shines forth in all His glory. God, the LORD acts, and speaks (v.3). And He comes with fire and judgment (v.4).
“Shine forth,” speaks to the glory-cloud, often accompanied as it was by fire, as it was during times of judgment (cf. Lev. 10:2; Nu. 16:35; Ps. 97:3-6; Is. 24; Nah. 1) Such preceded the giving of the law (Ex. 19). And yet, the law was given in love to His covenant people (Dt. 33:1-4) A “theophany,” a visual self-revelation of God. The LORD’s presence is seen in the glory cloud, that which accompanied the tabernacle and then the temple and would ultimately to be found in Zion. Such was the thought of the writer to the Hebrews-12:18-21 (cf. Ps. 80).
For this cause the covenant, which has been ‘cut’, is one which comes by way of sacrifice (v.5). Without sacrifice there is but a judgment by fire. To this the heavens bear witness (v.6, cf. Dt. 4:26, 31:28, 32:1; Is. 1:2). His righteousness alone will suffice. His word testifies against all (v. 7). One should beware, however, that the mere exercise of the offering of sacrifices was not sufficient (v. 8-9). It wasn’t like the LORD needed food-everything is His (vv.10-13). They were the ones who needed the body and the blood of the sacrifice.
Sacrifices mean nothing without thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is for a covenant made by sacrifice-God, the LORD has provided. He is our deliverer, and He challenges us to call upon Him, and to obey by paying our vows to Him-a very covenantal act (cf. Nu. 30:2). The wicked are those who appeal to the covenant in vain-those who do so but refuse His instruction. Remember-He has spoken. But some cast His words behind them (v. 17). We know this from their actions-by their fruit we know (cf. Job 8:13).
What is the standard” The law is the standard, the very “statutes” which they took upon their lips (v.16). They broke the eighth commandment (v. 18), the seventh (v. 18), the ninth (vv. 19-20), and all this because they thought that He was altogether like them-commandments one through three, and ten (v. 21). “You thought that I was altogether like you.” This is the great divide-those who follow their own thoughts, and those who heed the word of God. To reject His word is to forget Him, and to ascend to the throne by one’s own thoughts.
In the LORD alone there is deliverance from certain judgment. Those who reject Him by casting His word behind them, do so to their own peril (v. 22). Men should fear if God is silent-not take it as a license to do evil (v. 21). If God is silent-men remain in sin, destined for judgment. Thank God He is not silent! Praise is offered by those who give thanks that He is not silent, and that He has given a covenant by sacrifice. Those who do order their conduct accordingly, will see His salvation. “Whoever offers praise glorifies me.” (v. 23)
Psalm 51 Joy Restored.
II Samuel 11-12 is the historical backdrop to this Psalm. Nathan’s parable portrays David in an ugly light indeed. As commander in chief David had the authority to send Uriah to the front line of war. It helps explain why David is not being brought before a court of law. The lack of witnesses also explains the same with regard to his sin with Bathsheba-which was sin with consequences nevertheless (12:13-14). This son died-but David believed He was destined for heavenly rest.
The saints of old believed infants of covenant parents went to heaven. “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” (12:23) In one and the same sentence David acknowledges the consequences of his sin, but also the hope he yet had in the life to come. But with the birth of Solomon, or Jedidiah (beloved of the LORD), a page was turned. This Psalm helps describe how that page was turned. But the backdrop shows that sin has its consequences but they don’t last forever.
Verse one is all about covenantal terms-this is David’s plea. The covenant is about redemption-the blotting out of transgressions. Cleansing comes to those who acknowledge their transgressions (v. 3). Sin is ultimately against the LORD, and He is justified in His judgment, as Paul also affirmed (v. 4 cf. Rom. 3:4, 5:12). David acknowledged not only his individual sin but the sinful condition that he was born in (v. 5 cf. Ps. 58:4).
The LORD desires truth in the inward parts-superficial religiosity will not due. Human beings are sinful to the core, and to the core one must be cleansed (vv. 6-7). Joy comes when the LORD blots out our transgressions from before His face (vv. 8-9). There can be no doubt that David hearkens back to the law. The blood purging with hyssop looks to the Passover (Ex. 12:7,22). Hyssop spoke to cleansing (Lev. 14:4), and purification (Nu. 19:18-19).
The writer to the Hebrews affirmed that all these things refer to the covenant relation (Heb. 9:19-22). Isaiah spoke of the LORD blotting out transgressions (Is. 43:25), so that His people could then return to Him (44:22). The only thing that can explain how David believed in a future hope for his son dying in infancy, and the statement here of original sin, is the covenant relationship. Furthermore, a new heart is something He must create (v. 10), and a steadfast spirit which is upheld by His Spirit (v. 11 cf. Lk. 11:13).
But David was a man who knew the LORD-he wanted the joy restored, the joy of salvation, this is the work of the Spirit (vv. 11-12). David needed deliverance from the guilt of bloodshed-even if there could not be a court case against him (v. 14). Only if one is forgiven by the LORD can one teach others and sing of the LORD’s righteousness (vv. 13-15). The law required blood sacrifice because of human sin, because what the LORD ultimately desires is a relationship, made possible only by those who acknowledge their sin (vv. 16-17).
A changed heart must come before sacrifices and worship are acceptable. Zion, the church, the people of God, are His people because of His good pleasure (v. 18). The church is also built up because of His good pleasure. Only as the LORD builds can there be true sacrifices of righteousness offered. His people work out because He has worked in that which is good (v. 19 cf. Phil. 2:12-13; II Cor. 3:17). Sin has consequences, but never what we deserve. The covenant relation testifies to grace. The LORD doesn’t give up on His children.
Psalm 52 Trust In The Mercy And Goodness Of God.
This is another Psalm with a very ugly historical background. I Sam. 22:6-23 recounts the actions of the wicked man Doeg. Saul thought that by promising riches and power to all who followed him that this would secure their loyalty (v. 7). Instead, he sensing a conspiracy, has to turn to an Edomite named Doeg. Saul assumed the worst of David and Ahimelech, and out of vengeance he has Doeg slaughter the priests of the LORD, eighty-five in all (v. 18), along with all the inhabitants of the city of Nob where they dwelt (v. 19). Only Abiathar, a son of Ahitub, escaped to tell David (v. 20).
Doeg epitomizes the evil person, motivated by greed and power, and boasting in the same. The wicked are deceitful-there is a complete lack of integrity. They love evil more than good (v. 3). Yet in the midst of such evil, David the psalmist could say, “the goodness of God endures continually.” (v. 1) That goodness, we might be surprised, would show itself in the destruction of the wicked. The wicked would ultimately be uprooted “from the land of the living.” (v. 5). It is worth noting that it isn’t a hope only of a future judgment, but the wicked will ultimately be judged in this life. “The righteous shall also see and fear, and shall laugh at him.” (v. 6)
Those who trust in themselves, in their riches and their own wicked works, shall not endure. The goodness of God is seen and known by those who make Him their strength (v. 7). And David is very clear-it is in God’s mercy that he trusts. This is the way of those who dwell in the house of God, “like a green olive tree.” (v. 8) Mercy is the entranceway into God’s house, and a green olive tree planted by the LORD, is one that bears good fruit, showing true covenant life (cf. Jer. 11:16). Such trust is forever. It leads to praise of His name, in the presence of His saints-those who trust in His mercy and goodness, and remember His works.
Psalm 53 Rejoice And Be Glad.
The biblical idea of who is a fool makes the prevailing cultural worldview look foolish indeed. The bible teaches us that the fool is one who denies God’s existence, the world says a fool is the exact opposite-at least for anything that really matters in life. It is a fundamental belief which goes to the very core of who we are-“the fool has said in his heart.” This fundamental idea, that God does not exist, like all thought, has practical consequences. “They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity; there is none who does good.” (v. 1 cf. Ps. 14:1)
There is a conflict of understanding. The secular humanist says that those who believe in God are foolish and lack understanding. God says the exact opposite. If men understood reality they would seek out their maker. Secular man will seek out the origin of everything but themselves. Instead they manufacture a lie. This is inconsistent, illogical, and foolish. There is no neutrality-man has to turn away from the truth while turning to error. God has revealed himself-this is the point of contact with man-but the fool denies what he sees and hears.
Such foolishness comes from pride. This is important to remember. “The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.” (Ps. 10:4) “There is no fear of God before his eyes.” (Ps. 36:1) Paul refers to Psalm 53 when he speaks to the sinfulness of all men. God’s judgment is just concerning all men. It goes back to the garden. Man, following the lead of Satan, in pride rose up against God, seeking to be God. This was the ultimate expression of sinful pride. Man’s rejection of God’s revelatory word in creation and law remains the ultimate expression of this rebellion (Ps. 19).
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting.” (Rom. 1:28 cf. Jer. 4:22) We live in a context of conflicting minds-there is no neutral ground. One either has a debased mind, or a mind which is being renewed. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Rom. 12:2) Conformed or transformed-these are the polar opposites, and it affects how one lives (cf. Rom. 12:1). Those who renew their minds after God’s revelatory word prove it to be “good, acceptable, and perfect.” (Rom. 12:2)
God will be found by all who seek Him, but He forsakes those who forsake him (II Chron. 15:2). Since they will have no fear of God, He then strikes them with fear. “There they are in great fear where no fear was.” They would not fear God and deny His existence. Instead they are bound by a fear which has no basis in the world which they claim is the only thing which exists. Such irrational fear is an expression of the vengeance of the covenant relation (cf. Lev. 26: 6-8, 17, 25). Those who fail to call upon God lack knowledge (v. 4), whom God gives over to irrational fear (v. 5 cf. Lev. 26:36).
“The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” (Pr. 28:1) When the church is victorious, not “if” but ‘when’, in this life, she must know that it is because God has despised her enemies (v. 5). “Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When God brings back the captivity of His people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.” (v. 6) Zion, the church militant and triumphant, has the message of salvation-deliverance from captivity, with a Mediator and blood that speaks the same message, but better than everything that came before or will ever come again (Heb. 12:22-24).
It is interesting that the same thought concludes this Psalm, even as it concluded Psalm 14-which also spoke of the fool. It makes sense when one goes back to the covenant relationship and the blessings and curses of Leviticus 26. His people indeed went into captivity, but by being in captivity they did not cease to be His people. Even the covenant promise of land to Abraham had to wait many years to be fulfilled, and for those in captivity, there is the hope of deliverance. Israel and the church has had many periods of captivity, but also of deliverance. We still can have hope that deliverances are yet to come, with gladness and rejoicing.
Psalm 54 Vindication.
David entreats God to pull out all the stops, as it were, to save him. God’s name speaks to the totality of who He is. But not just a God who looks good on paper. Idols might look like impressive works of art, but they are still deaf, dumb, and lifeless. Some people can also have impressive theologies that are nothing more than ink on paper. David pleads for God to act in his space time reality as the sovereign Lord of providence and history. There is one thing which the advocates of free will miss-they’re God does not exist in the bible. It is an idol which they deny every time they pray for God to act in history.
Words have power, when coming from and directed to the right person. “Save me, O God, by Your name, and vindicate me by Your strength. Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.” (vv. 1-2) “Vindicate me by Your strength,” is David’s plea for God to act on his behalf in his space time reality. David wasn’t asking for a warm fuzzy feeling. David was being pursued by those who were intent on taking his life. This Psalm is the prayer from one who is in the midst of trying to save his life from one who was hell bent on his destruction. If they were sent by God, that would be one thing, but just the opposite was the case.
“For strangers have risen up against me, and oppressors have sought after my life; they have not set God before them.” (v. 3). Note well the people David has in mind. This prayer concerns Saul’s desire to do away with David, as we have it recorded in I Samuel 23:14-29. David was hiding in the wilderness of Ziph from Saul, and the residents had betrayed his location to Saul. Saul was the pretender to the throne. God had chosen David. Saul knew he was fighting both the LORD and David, but he sought David out to kill him anyway. But the record there affirms the truth that God is in charge for, “God did not deliver him into his hand.” (v. 14)
However, there was someone else who appears on the scene in David’s life-Jonathan. Jonathan was a man who put his covenant relationship with the LORD before family ties. His father Saul had made the LORD God his enemy. Note well what it says concerning Jonathan, and David’s prayer. “Then Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God.” (I Sam. 23:16) This was David’s prayer-“vindicate me by Your strength.” God acts through people. God used Jonathan to answer David’s prayer and give him strength. God predestines the means as well as the end.
“Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Even my father Saul knows that.” (v. 17) Jonathan would have ascended to the throne if God intended mere family succession. But God had more important criteria for kingship-something lost on monarchists today, including those who turn to the bible in supposed support for the monarchial systems today. Jonathan was a man of the covenant, and in that vein he made his covenant with David. “So the two of them made a covenant before the LORD.” Saul was a stranger to the covenant and an oppressor of God’s anointed one.
Saul serves as an example of a man of empty words. To the Ziphites he said, “Blessed are you of the LORD.” (v. 21) No, not blessed at all, rather cursed. God ultimately led David and Saul in two different directions in life, and gave to Saul some other enemies to occupy his vengeance. David went from wilderness wandering to a place of strongholds via a rock of escape (vv. 27-29). And Jonathan chose to play second fiddle to God’s chosen one, rather than be another pretender to the throne. In so doing he became the messenger of God’s strength to the LORD’s anointed. So David can indeed rejoice in answered prayer.
“Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is with those who uphold my life, He will repay my enemies for their evil, cut them off in your truth.” (Ps. 54:4-5) The truth often cuts families apart. To be “cut off” is a covenantal term of cursing. In fact, when the biblical writers speak of the making of a covenant they will sometimes speak of “cutting a covenant,” even as the animals are cut in two. Saul was a stranger to the covenant and David was asking God to curse him-to cut him off, as it were, even as the word ‘vindicate’ indicates a judicial complaint. Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the LORD. This was a far more fearful place to be then David simply pursuing him.
Note well, David goes from referring to God as ‘God’, and concludes the Psalm by referring to Him as his covenant LORD, and that by way of sacrifice. “I will freely sacrifice to You; I will praise Your name, O LORD, for it is good.” (v. 6) This is the same name before whom he and Jonathan made their covenant with each other, and it is good. The covenant relationship is an expression of the goodness of the LORD! “For He has delivered me out of all trouble; and my eye has seen its desire upon my enemies.” (v. 7). The LORD did so, in part, through a faithful keeper of the covenant. Let us not miss similar provisions in our lives today.
Psalm 55 Bear True Witness-Judgment Will Be Rendered.
There is no specific context or individual alluded to here, and David appears to emphasize that what he wrote here is applicable to any who might share a similar burden (v. 22). It was the burden of betrayal. It concerned someone who was in the visible church-one with whom he had sweet counsel or fellowship, as they “walked to the house of God in the throng.” (v. 13) His words describe one who was more than an equal, or companion, it was from an acquaintance-a close friend. The words and their order speak to a tightening circle of familiarity with him. In fact, this is one with whom he may have covenanted with, or simply as one he was in covenant with by virtue of his membership in the covenant community (v. 20).
It wasn’t an enemy who was reproaching him-that he could bear (v. 12). It seems that it was a fellow member of the visible church who feigned shared sweet fellowship (v. 14), with words “smoother than butter, but war was in his heart. His words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords.” (v. 21) Smooth soft words which were motivated by hatred and murderous intent (vv. 3, 21). Other words were also spoken-words of an enemy hell bent on oppression. The words of David’s prayer and the reason for his moaning and pain, was that this was the voice of the same person speaking. As with Psalm 54, David sends his witness and petition to the heavenly courtroom for judgment.
A friend was taking counsel with his enemies, all the time whispering sweet smooth soft words of fellowship to him, as he feigned worship to their covenant LORD. There is a unique well of emotions that gets churned up of fear, trembling, and horror, not only when someone intends our destruction, but more so when issuing from a close confident (vv. 4-5). The natural reaction is to flee like a bird to fly away and find rest (v. 6). One would rather dwell alone in the wilderness at peace (v. 7), as an escape from the “storm and tempest” of such a betrayal (v. 8). But David shakes himself and awakens to the brute reality of his only biblical and viable response-let God, the Lord, be the judge (v. 9).
Since he speaks of walking to the house of God with the throng (v. v. 14), it is very likely that the city he speaks of in verse nine is Jerusalem, the place also of his dwelling. The temple or house of God, and Jerusalem, were God’s dwelling place-the church (cf. Heb. 12:22). Long before Matthew 18, David appears to have had a one on one with this person but they would not speak honestly, rather, they chose to say one thing to him and betray him to others, and that with hatred and murderous intent. It would also appear that he was without help from those entrusted to guard this city-those who day and night go around its walls. In other words, the elders could not be trusted either.
What does a true believer do when a fellow member of the visible church bears false witness against you while feigning sweet fellowship, and the leadership is also given over to “iniquity and trouble” (v. 10)? David prays that the Lord would give the whole lot of them over to confusion. He prays that they would fail to get their stories straight-being confused among themselves as to what the “facts” are. This is the meaning of divided tongues (v. 9). The point arrived at here is a fearful one for those who do not repent of this evil activity. More than just confusion, the destiny of these is hell itself, the ultimate covenantal curse (v. 15). They are false members of the covenant and invisible church.
Long before Matthew 18:15-17 David was following the principles therein contained. The problem was the church leadership was as corrupt as the individual. There is one thing that does not fail, however, and that is God’s judgment. The individual must in some cases give up the individual and the leadership in that expression of the visible church, as “heathen,” ie., as giving evidence of being a stranger to the covenant and true church of Christ. David turned to the covenant LORD-a statement of deliberate contrast with these pretenders. “As for me, I will call upon God, and the LORD shall save me.” (v. 16). In other words, you people are going to hell. I, on the other hand, will continue to worship the LORD.
David’s continual prayer was to his covenant making and covenant keeping LORD. Let us put this as simply as possible. If a person lies, and you know they are lying, or they simply refuse to be forthcoming with the truth, such that honest people can render judgment, or there are no honest people to render judgment, then we still have an obligation to treat them as a heathen. David wasn’t just speaking to himself, he bore witness to the throne room of heaven. He was a witness bearer for Divine judgment. He witnessed their deception and lies. God will not be mocked-these voices were heard by Him and He will call forth the witnesses. David had to tell the truth, even if only to God. “God will hear and afflict them.” (v. 19)
We have to accept that some people will never change (v. 19). But neither does God-and judgment will be rendered. “Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” The righteous members of the covenant shall be preserved-those who trust in him for that righteousness (v.20). This contrasts with those who practice deceit and lie about their own sin. “But You, O God, shall bring them down to the pit of destruction; bloodthirsty and deceitful men shall not live out half their days.” It is a judgment for this life as well as that to come. David concludes this petition with the same confidence as Psalm 54-that God would render judgment from His heavenly tribunal. God will not be mocked-judgment will be rendered.
Psalm 56 “I Will Praise His Word.”
The title makes reference to David being captured by Philistines in Gath. To this the contributors to ‘The New Geneva Study Bible’, suggest the following. “The closest parallel is I Sam. 21:10-15, when David was feigning madness before the king of Gath in order to escape him.” (p. 813) “Be merciful to me, O God.” This is sometimes the only prayer we can utter. There are times when human help is lacking-in fact, all may seem against us. Some people just never give up-their every waking moment is consumed with oppressing others (v. 1). “My enemies would hound me all day, for there are many who fight against me, O Most High.” (v. 2)
David was a warrior, but there were times when he was afraid. At times like this, his trust was wholly in God (v. 3). David gives us his point of contact-the first axiom of all thought and existence, the only way he knows this God. “In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust.” (v. 4) He wants the reader and hearer to know that his trust is based on the knowledge he has about God from his word. His trust is not based on an idea of God stemming from his own imagination. Without God’s word there is no absolute knowledge of Him, and therefore no trust. God can be trusted because of His word-which also, by consequence here, can also be trusted.
The word we have concerning God is also the basis of our confidence, because His word teaches us that He is in charge, not man. “I will not fear, what can flesh do to me?” (v. 4, 11) It is a rhetorical question, because man can do nothing which God does not permit, and God can be trusted (cf. Ps. 118:6; Heb. 13:5-6). When one is hell bent on evil, they will twist a persons words. People will bear false witness, they will make it to seem that we are saying something we are not saying, to accomplish their evil intent (v. 5). They think that by joining together they are right and will better accomplish their evil intent. “Shall they escape by iniquity?” (v. 7) David didn’t think so.
David prayed. “In anger cast down the peoples, O God.” (v. 7) There are some who believe that such a prayer is not appropriate for a believer. But David was a believer- a man like Abraham, who was justified by faith. This prayer is in fact an act of obedient response to God, who has said, “vengeance is mine, I will repay.” Many will turn to Paul in Romans and say that this is a uniquely Christian principle (Rom. 12:19). But Paul was quoting the law-something which some people believe is no longer a guide for our actions as believers (Lev. 19:18; Dt. 32:35)! David was a man whose faith was based on God’s word, and based on His word, he prayed. This is still to be the response of God’s people.
“You number my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your book?” (v. 8) Another rhetorical question. Such is the Father’s love for His children. More than hearing, our God can and will act. Only a sovereign God can answer David’s prayer with action. But not only is He sovereign, He acts in providence on David’s behalf. “When I cry out to you, then my enemies will turn back; this I know, because God is for me.” (v. 9) It was certainly based , in part, on his own experience. But many experience “deliverance”. Rather, David makes clear again, that his confidence is ultimately in God’s word.
“In God (I will praise His word), In the LORD (I will praise His word), in God I have put my trust.” (vv. 10-11a) Not just God, Maker of heaven and earth, but the covenant making and covenant keeping LORD. God’s people have a special added relationship with Him as their covenant LORD. This is what David means when he says, “vows made to You are binding on me, O God.” (v. 12) David had covenanted with God, even as He had covenanted with Him. If this seems boring or inconsequential to you, you don’t understand how stupendous this is! It led David to also say, “I will render praises to You.” (v. 12)
David had the hope of eternal life. “For You have delivered my soul from death.” There is no escaping that David is referring to life apart from the body. Soul does not simply mean mortal life in the scriptures, as some suppose. There are numerous passages which refer to the soul as the person, and that which can exist apart from the body, that which continues to exist while the body dies. However, David also had hope in this life-it was not all about just waiting to die. “Have You not kept my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living.” (v. 13) We can have hope to “see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” (Ps. 27:13)
Psalm 57 Awaken The Dawn With Praise.
There are times when our only recourse is direct appeal to God for mercy. There are times when we feel as helpless as a little bird seeking shelter under a parent’s wings, at least until the calamities pass by (v. 1 cf. Ruth 2:12; Ps. 17:8; 63:7). As in Psalm 56 there is the appeal to God as “Most High,” a belief in God as the sovereign Lord over all (v. 2 cf. 56:2). This is the God of providence, who acts in history on behalf of His people, the One dwells in heaven but rules in the earth (vv. 2-3). His enemies wanted to take his life, like lions ready for the prey, but God in mercy would deliver him (v. 4).
In God, mercy and truth dwell together (v. 3). From heaven His glory is above all the earth (v. 5). David describes his situation as a small bird, who his enemies are seeking to capture with a net or dug pit. However, in what is a common theme in the psalter and the scriptures as a whole, these enemies end up being caught by their own devices. This is God acting on behalf of his people, bringing on their enemies the very thing they sought to inflict them with (v. 6 cf. Ps. 7:14-16; 9:15-16; 10:2; 35:7-8; 37:15). “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” (Gal. 6:7)
God answered David’s prayer. “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast.” He was strong and confident to the core, and it led him to praise, with all his strength and instrumental accompaniment (v. 8)! “I will sing and give praise.” (v. 7) He would declare his praise among the nations, praise of the One in whom mercy and truth dwell together (v. 10 cf. 108:3). This is the One who is exalted above the heavens, whose glory is above the earth. Far from being distant, such imagery speaks to the vastness of His mercy (cf. 103:11). For this reason, David like a bird, would greet the dawn with singing and praise (v. 8).
Psalm 58 The Righteous Will Rejoice When They See The Vengeance.
David laments the silence and violence of the judges with regard to righteousness, but what lurks in their hearts betrays their words spoken, and lack of integrity (vv. 1-2). Again David affirms the doctrine of original sin and total depravity (v. 3). They refuse to listen to anyone other than themselves. Their words are lies-poison (4-5). God will bring on them destruction, and their words will fail to accomplish their intent (vv.6-8). It won’t take long either, and their destruction will be complete (v. 9). “The righteous shall rejoice when they see the vengeance; he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked, so that men will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely He is God who judges in the earth.” (vv. 10-11)
These Psalms of individual lament (51-59), share some common themes, and they only make sense when understood within the context of the covenant. One such theme is vengeance. Long before Paul’s treatment of this subject, the saints of old understood it as God’s work, not ours. The vengeance of the covenant relation (cf. Lev. 26: 6-8, 17, 25) was written into the very heart of the law. David’s prayer in 56:7, for example, is a prayer that is in fact an act of obedient response to God, who has said, “vengeance is mine, I will repay.” The LORD of the covenant would execute vengeance on behalf of the enemies of His people.
Many will turn to Paul in Romans and say that this is a uniquely Christian principle (Rom. 12:19). But Paul was quoting the law-something which some people believe is no longer a guide for our actions as believers (Lev. 19:18; Dt. 32:35)! David was a man whose faith was based on God’s word, and based on His word, he prayed. This is still to be the response of God’s people. It hearkens back to Moses’ song of witness-written to be a witness in any future lawsuit (32:43). In fact, “the vengeance” was understood as the execution of the lawsuit in the covenant. Jeremiah links vengeance with the LORD’s judgment of his cause (11:20 cf. 15:15).
The righteous will wash their feet in the blood of the wicked (v. 10 cf. 68:23). “But God is the judge; He puts down one, and exalts another.” (75:7) There is more involved in living in covenant with God then many realize. It is a life and death proposition. God will execute vengeance on His enemies on behalf of His people. Those who seek the blood of His saints, and this is what is in view here, will themselves have their own blood trampled underfoot. And this is another common theme-that which the wicked devise will ultimately come back upon themselves. The wicked will suffer the fate they seek to execute on the innocent.
Psalm 59 Power And Mercy Together.
This Psalm of individual lament again puts things into perspective for what we find in these psalms-David’s enemies were after blood. Saul sent these men for just this purpose (I Sa. 19:11). These weren’t just irritants-they are “bloodthirsty men.” However, hatred is the seed of murder, and most of us can relate to David in regard to those who have a hate on for us. As he says, “swords are in their lips.” (v. 7) “They lie in wait,” seeking to catch the innocent by surprise, as David says, “through no fault of mine.” (vv. 3-4 cf. 56:6) Like a dog they return at night hoping to not be seen (v. 6 cf. 14-15). They gather together for a common cause and cover the entire city (vv. 5-6).
The reason these people are getting a hate on is, as David says, they think no one hears (v. 7). And so David appeals to God as his covenant LORD, as the One who does hear (v. 5 cf. Ps. 10:11). “But You O LORD shall laugh at them; You shall have all the nations in derision.” (v. 8 cf. Pr. 1:26) It is for this reason, and this alone, that David can wait, for God is the One who hears and will be His strength and defense (v. 9). “My God of mercy shall come to meet me; God shall let me see my desire on my enemies.” (v. 10 cf. 54:7) David’s desire is that his enemies would “know that God rules in Jacob to the ends of the earth.” Saul had no such claim.
David wanted these enemies to know that He lived by God’s mercy, and that his God rules over all the earth, as the shield of His people (v. 11 cf. 83:18). Words express intent, in this case murderous intent, through cursing (the bearing of false witness), and lying (cf. 57:4). It all stems from sinful pride (v. 12). They are fully deserving of wrath, for this is the very thing they sought to bring upon the innocent (v. 13 cf. Pr. 12:13). For this reason David would sing of God’s power and mercy. Note well, power and mercy together. Our God is able to exercise His mercy, and thankfully, as His people, it is not divorced from His power (vv. 16-17).
Psalm 60 Through God We Will Do Valiantly.
With the longest title of any psalm in the psalter, the historical backdrop is found in II Sam. 8 and I Chr. 18, where David along with his commanders Joab and Abishai ultimately gained victory over many peoples, including the Edomites in the valley of Salt. Unlike the historical records, which highlight the victory, this psalm speaks to some of the setbacks and struggles to gain that victory. It should also be noted that these battles come right after the LORD made His covenant with David, as we have it recorded in II Sam. 7, which itself came after he captured Jerusalem and brought in the Ark of the covenant. I Chronicles 16 elaborates on the significance of the entrance of the Ark, including David’s song of thanksgiving-also found in Psalm 105:1-18.
The testimony is clear-David gained these victories because the covenant making and covenant keeping LORD God was with him. “So the LORD preserved David wherever he went.” (II Sam. 8:6) And the content of this covenant relation was that God would build David a house, and would in the process also build His own house. It is significant that the last of the Old Covenant administrations is focused on God’s house. David dedicated the precious metals he acquired in these victories to the LORD, “along with the silver and gold that he had dedicated from all the nations which he had subdued.” (v. 11) “And the LORD preserved David wherever he went.” (v. 14) David had in mind the situation concerning the Ark of the Covenant and the restoration of true worship, as a transitional point for the people, followed by the covenant relation renewed (I Chr. 15:11-15; 17).
The covenant relation renewed with the covenant with David was David’s hope of restoration (v. 1). They went from confusion as to what the LORD required of the covenant relation and true worship, and in the renewed covenant relation alone there was healing (vv. 2-3). His beloved would be saved and delivered by His power and government (v. 7), His sovereign providence, and the covenant would serve as the banner for those who fear Him-“displayed because of the truth.” (v. 6) Shechem hearkens back to the covenant with Abraham (v. 6), and Joshua was called to fulfill those original promises (Josh. 1:6). And Jacob’s last words would prove fulfilled, including the destiny of Judah. “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet.” (Gen. 49:10)
God through David would put Moab in its place (II Sam. 8), and the victories over these enemies are an occasion for praise also in Psalm 108:7-9. “God has spoken in His holiness” (v. 6 cf. 108:7), is also an expression which finds a unique connection with the covenant with David. “My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David: His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before Me.” (89:35-36) This would find ultimate fulfillment in Messiah, even as Genesis 49:10, “and to Him shall be the obedience of the people.” Messiah would come in the long Judaic line of lawgivers-to whom obedience would be given by all peoples (Dt. 18:15; Ps. 2:6-9; 72:8-11; Is. 11:1; 42:1, 4; 49:6; 60:1-5; Mt. 1:3; 2:6; 21:9; Lk. 2:30-32; 3:33; Rev. 5:5).
David knew where is strength would come from, and he spoke not only for himself. “Through God we will do valiantly, for it is He who will tread down our enemies.” (v. 12) God would empower David and the nation to accomplish His purposes. Only God could give them help from trouble, “for the help of man is useless.” (v. 11) Before the LORD renewed the covenant relation with David, they were as those who were cast off (v. 10). But now there was victory. Their covenant making and covenant keeping God would fight through and for them. This same transition occurred before and after Joshua renewed the covenant the LORD had made with Moses-Joshua 8:30 ff. This same transition occurred with Messiah and the new covenant, except that this was the final renewal-and victory over the nations is assured (Mt. 26:26-29; 28:18-20).
Psalm 61 Our Rock And Tabernacle.
There is no place where we can be, where God cannot hear our prayers. This is good to know, especially at those times when we are overwhelmed to our very core. When we think we are going under, He can and will lift us up and make us secure (vv. 1-2). Only God can deliver us from sinking and place us on a solid foundation. Upon this secure rock the house of the LORD was placed-a secret place of safety where His people behold His beauty (Ps. 27:4-5), and where He leads us and guides us with His truth (Ps. 31:3-5). This idea of the LORD building His house upon the Rock will come up again, as part of the mission of David’s greater Son. This would be part of Messiah’s mission. For David, the Rock and tabernacle are inseparable (v.4).
Moses declared in his song of covenantal witness, that the LORD was “the Rock” (Dt. 32:4, 15). Only when they forsook the covenant would they suffer defeat (Cf. Is. 17:10-11). However, when they remained faithful, even their enemies had to confess the supreme rule of the LORD. “For their rock is not like our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.” (Dt. 32:31) “When He slew them, then they sought Him; and they returned and sought earnestly for God. Then they remembered that God was their Rock, and the Most High God their Redeemer.” (Ps. 78:35) Of course, we know that the rock which followed the people in their journey was Christ (I Cor. 10:4 Cf. Ex. 17:5-7; Ps. 114:8).
This makes what Jesus said in Matthew 7:24 all the more significant. “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the Rock.” More than simply a general statement of the foundation in one’s life, it also spoke to the mission He came to fulfill. This is reinforced by Jesus words following Peter’s confession-that upon this Rock, He would build His church (Mt. 16:18) We are together, old and new, His house, and He is the Rock upon which it is being built (Heb. 3:4-6). The remnant of ethnic Israel accepted Jesus as their Rock, and remained members in His house, to the others He was a “stumbling stone and rock of offense.” [Rom. 9:33 (Is. 8:14), Cf. 28:16]
“Oh come, let us sing to the LORD! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.” (Ps. 95:1) “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer.” (II Sam. 22:2 Cf. v. 32, 47; Ps. 18:1) He is our place of refuge (94:22). David made his vows-a very covenantal act. And within that heritage he stood-those who fear His name (v. 5). In return, the LORD would prolong his life (v. 6). Eternal life in God’s presence was His hope, preserved to that end with mercy and truth (v. 7). It was a daily relationship for David (v. 8). Not only so, but his greater Son would also be preserved forever (Cf. Ps. 22:25). David’s vows were binding, and the LORD did preserve him (Ps. 56:12-13). It is the way of His people (76:11).
Psalm 62 The Contentment Of The Silent Soul.
A silent soul is a waiting soul, waiting for the only one who can help, because a silent soul is one that knows it needs salvation that only God can provide. “He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.” (v. 2) A silent soul is a secure soul, one that finds contentment in God alone. The silent soul is the expectant soul-expecting God to answer prayer and deliver, expecting God to exercise vengeance where vengeance is due. The silent soul is one that has God as their rock, defense, salvation, refuge, glory, and strength.
The wicked are sound and fury, hell bent on murdering the innocent. But God will slay the proud, overthrowing them “like a leaning wall and a tottering fence.” (v. 3) Those the psalmist has in view are actually hypocrites. “They bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly.” (v. 4) These are not fellow believers who sometimes don’t know what to say to a fellow believer, or indeed fellow sinners saved by grace and working out their sanctification. These are impostors, “who delight in lies.” These are people deliberately bent on the destruction of others who are innocent.
These are those who are motivated by envy, of one in a higher position than they, and that they cannot possess. Thus they want to bring the one who is higher down. But the psalmist knows what will be the end of those gripped by envy. He also knew what is the real state of those of high degree-at least before God. “Surely men of low degree are a vapor, men of high degree are a lie; if they are weighed on the scales, they are altogether lighter than vapor.” (v. 9) The psalmist warns against trusting in riches, or in violence and robbery.
The godly contentment of the silent soul trusts in Him for its needs, and is thankful to Him for what it has. “Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” (v. 8) The silent soul knows all this because God in His mercy has spoken. “God has spoken once, twice I have heard this; that power belongs to God.” (v. 11) The scriptures are the first axiom of all thought and existence. And what he knows is that power and mercy both belong to God. It is not power without mercy, nor is it mercy without the power to act.
God could speak once and it would always be true. But for us, in His mercy, He speaks twice, because “on the testimony of two or three witnesses (Dt. 17:6), matters of life and death are decided. And judgment is what is ultimately at stake for all. “For You render to each one according to his work.” (v. 12) The silent soul is the humble soul that trusts in God’s mercy for when that judgment comes. The proud and the hypocrites will be slain (v. 3), and all their consultation with each other, as though the majority is always right, will count for nothing but additional judgment.
Psalm 63 Soul And Body-Satisfied With God Day And Night.
David wrote this psalm while in the desert wilderness of Judah. The beginning verses highlight this. David had a personal relationship, as we would say. God was his God. And it was the most important relationship in his life-his day began with prayer, and no doubt early in every circumstance he was in, he sought the Lord. He also looked for Him in the sanctuary-to see His power and glory. So David’s God is a personal God, and a God who has the power to act in all His glory. And in the sanctuary there was one chief understanding of glory-the glory Presence of God, symbolized in the overarching cherubim covering the mercy seat.
Pietism would see in David’s desert wilderness experience a mere physical metaphor for his spiritual condition. However, it was a spiritual situation which in fact reflected his total state-both body and soul. The scriptures absolutely repudiate any notion of spirituality which separates body and soul, or that sees the soul only as that spiritual life of the believer. David’s flesh also longed for God! “My soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land.” (v. 1) However, this psalm also affirms that man is both body and soul, soul is not just the life of the person, as others suppose.
David found the LORD in the sanctuary where His glory was symbolized in the glory Presence above the Ark of the covenant. And at the core of that covenant was a relationship initiated and established on the basis of the LORD’s lovingkindness-a very covenantal term. It continues as the basis of the new covenant administration of the covenant of grace, as we find in the preamble to Jeremiah’s prophecy of the new to come (Jer. 31:1-3; Cf. Ps. 138:2). His lovingkindness thus leads David to praise Him while He lives-again, he wasn’t living in escape for a future life alone (vv. 3-4). Body and soul together are satisfied together offering praise (v. 5).
David began His day with God and he ends His day with Him also, and he ends it by reflecting on who He is and what good things He has shown and done for him (vv. 6-8) This is a good and healthy exercise for any saint-to begin the day with God, and to end it with reflecting on who He is and what He has done (Cf. Ps. 42:8). The core of a healthy spiritual life is a right apprehension of who God is with a heart of gratitude for what He has done. Those who sought his life were destined for a far different end-they would fall by the sword, by David’s sword (v. 10). Therefore He as King would rejoice.
However, this psalm was and is for more than just King David. It is for “everyone who swears by Him,” that is, it is for all those who have taken their vows of living in covenant with the LORD. “You shall fear the LORD your God and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name.” (Dt. 6:13) Those in covenant with the LORD shall glory, because as LORD of the covenant He will protect, defend, and empower His people for victory. On the other hand, those who take His name in vain will not be guiltless (Dt. 5:11). This David also affirmed. “But the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped.” (v. 11).
Psalm 64 A Bitter End.
David had a complaint-‘meditation’ is too weak of a word for what is on his mind here. He was pleading to God to save his life from the wicked and their secret plots. The chief weapons of the wicked, in this case, are bitter words. Bitterness is the opposite of contentment. It is an adjective of envy (Js. 3:14). It rarely involves the individual alone- many become defiled (Heb. 12:15). “They encourage themselves in an evil matter.” (v. 5) They plan and lay plots in secret-against the blameless. Bitter envy is not just coveting what someone else has, it is scheming that the other cannot have what is rightfully theirs. “If I can’t have it, then neither will they.”
However, God sees, knows, and will act. “He will make them stumble over their own tongue.” (v. 8) Here is another theme that runs throughout the psalter, that the wicked will be caught by their own devices. When it happens, men will think twice before they allow bitterness to ruin their lives (v. 9). The sorcerer Simon was not numbered among the apostles, envied their gifts, and was bitter about it. Peter told him to repent, because he saw that bitterness had poisoned him (Acts 8:23). David’s enemies were also poisoned, and they would die from their own venom. The wise will fear God and declare His work, and the righteous will be glad (vv. 9-10).
Psalm 65 Praise To God For His Salvation And Providence.
Praise awaits God in Zion, the place where He choses to dwell. Zion is the church, and to it all flesh will come (Heb. 12:22-24). God hears the prayers of those who confess their iniquities and transgressions, for those who take their covenantal vows, and atonement is provided (vv. 1-3). These are those whom God has chosen to approach Him in this covenant relation, to dwell in His courts and be satisfied with the goodness of His house, of His holy temple (v.4). And together with the saints of old, we are His house (Heb. 3:4-6), and temple of His presence (Jn. 2:19-21; Eph. 2:21). By awesome deeds of righteousness He is the “God of our salvation.” (v. 5) In this salvation alone will all people find their confidence before Him.
This God is the omnipotent One, with sovereign rule among the nations, and control over all the earth. The signs of His authorship and rule are everywhere, so that all people are afraid, but all creation daily rejoices in Him (v. 8). He is the One who waters the earth so that it is enriched and blessed with growth (vv. 9-10). Year by year His goodness is manifested (v. 11), in the wilderness and the little hills (v. 12). Not only in the wilderness but also in the pastures, the flocks are multiplied, and the fields are covered in grain. Wilderness and pastures together “shout for joy, they also sing.” (v. 13) The whole earth and everything in it, sings for joy. Our God is worthy of praise both in His salvation and His providence.
Psalm 66 Sanctification – A Rich Fulfillment.
A call to the whole earth to praise God for who he is, His name, and what He has done and continues to do, His works. His power, part of who He is, manifests itself in His work of causing His enemies to submit (vv. 1-5). He rules all creation and governs it for the good of His people (v. 6). He is both omnipotent and omniscient-He not only knows, but He is also able to act. His power is not blind-He sees all things (v. 7). His enemies are not the nations as such-all are called to bless and worship Him (v. 8). God alone can keep one’s soul secure (v. 9).
God’s people do sometimes suffer, but not without a purpose. God tests His people that they might more and more be sanctified into His image-like the refining of silver (v. 10). Affliction and oppression among men, and fire and water in the earth, from all things God will bring His people “out to rich fulfillment.” (v. 12) And this sanctification is based on a relationship built of sacrifice (vv. 13-15). It is a covenantal relationship, wherein God has provided a sacrifice, and His people respond with their vows of obedience. If it were simply one’s own work, then there would be no need for sacrifice.
Iniquity had to be dealt with, and it is by way of sacrifice. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.” (v. 18) Prayer is useless if we harbor iniquity in our hearts. Repentance is the necessary twin sister to faith. The Psalmist wants the whole world to know that when he dealt with his sin, God heard his prayer, and so he offered praise (vv. 16-19). It was a relationship based on mercy. Sanctification is made possible because of mercy and sacrifice. “Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer, nor His mercy from me!” (v. 20)
Psalm 67 A Psalm Of The Great Commission And The Cultural Mandate.
The psalmist pleads for God to bless-knowing that blessing is based on mercy, in fact, mercy is the chief blessing, that very thing which is necessary for spiritual life itself. Only in mercy do we want Him to look upon us, but when He does, there is nothing better than to have His face to shine upon us (v. 1). And this shining is not an end in itself-God shows His people mercy and favour so that He may be made “known on earth.” (v. 2) We know that mercy means salvation, because the psalmist says so, and God wants that this salvation would be known “among all nations.” (v. 2)
This hearkens back to the priestly blessing of Numbers 6: 24-26, wherein the priests put God’s name on His people and blessed them (v. 27). “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” The prophets looked ahead to a time when the outreach to the nations would increase, including Isaiah, who saw the promised Servant to come (52:10). As Peter and Paul were doing their work, God was also moving in the heart of an Alexandrian, Apollos (Acts 18:24-25).
It has always been God’s intention that His people make known His salvation to all the nations. This goes to the heart of the Abrahamic covenant (Gen. 12:2; 17:4-7; 18:18). What God was doing with the Patriarchs and the nation of Israel was never just for them, anymore than what God is doing today is just for one people or nation. It has always been God’s intention that people from every tongue, and tribe, and nation serve Him. This was reiterated by Jesus in His great commission (Mt. 28: 18-20), which itself is a fulfillment of Daniel 7:13-14 (Cf. Mk. 16:15-18; Lk. 24:46-49).
Daniel makes clear, as does Psalm 110, that this reign started when the Messiah ascended to the right hand of the Father-for it is the reign of the One who sits on His throne in heaven. From the heavenly throne of His Glory Presence He rules among the nations (Ps. 2). “Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You. O, let the nations be glad and sing for joy!” (v. 3-4a, 5. Cf. Titus 2:11) And part of this worldwide expansion, part of this salvation, is that God “shall judge people righteously, and govern the nations on earth.” (v. 4b)
This isn’t a promise of future judgment and rule in heaven, rather it is His rule from the heavenly throne among all “nations on earth.” (v. 4b. Cf. Ps. 96:10-13; 98:9) With the worldwide expansion of this salvation there is a worldwide expansion of His rule, a rule that is according to the law-word of the covenant. Israel was but an example of what God intended for all nations. Salvation is not just sanctification of the individual, nor is sanctification of the individual just a private matter. God’s intention is that He would govern every area of life among all peoples and all nations.
What is more, even the created order shall experience the effects of the worldwide expansion of this salvation. “Then the earth shall yield her increase; God, our own God, shall bless us.” (v. 6) Paul made this point also when he said, “the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.” (Rom. 8:22) So we see that it is also not a salvation apart from the earth, the physical, the body, but rather, it is inclusive of this. “Even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope.” (vv. 23-24)
What is involved here is covenantal blessing, even as we find it in the law-word of the covenant. “If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, then I will give you rain in its season, and the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. For I will look on you favorably and make you fruitful, multiply you and confirm My covenant with you.” (Lev. 26:3-4,9 Cf. Ps. 85:12) As Ezekiel said, with the “covenant of peace’ would come “showers of blessing.” (34:25-27) Such will be the possession of the remnant (Zech. 8:12).
The faith of God’s covenant people is a whole world and life view-a biblical and covenantal view of all of life. From one’s basic presuppositions, to their outworking into every sphere-God rules it all, via the law-word of the covenant. Adam and Eve were given the cultural mandate at the dawn of creation-the exercise of dominion in stewardship to the creator (Gen 1:26-28; 2:15). The fall tarnished that. But the Great Commission, which began with the promise of Genesis 3:15, is to restore that mandate, to His glory. Gospel preaching isn’t simply fire insurance for a heavenly rest.
Psalm 68 The Strength Of The Ascended One.
The enemies of God are like smoke and melting wax-there is nothing of substance and they quickly pass (vv. 1-2). On the other hand, the righteous rejoice before God and are glad when they see the end of His enemies, as He “rides on the clouds.” (v. 4) The righteous also rejoice because God is a Father to the fatherless, and places the solitary in families. “He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.” (v. 6) The righteous and God’s enemies are opposites-the righteous are not rebellious toward God.
The history of the covenant relationship is one where God has delivered His people and watered the earth, which itself was moved at His presence. Hereby God “confirmed” His inheritance, His congregation who were weary, His goodness to the poor (vv. 7-10). And the key to this covenant relationship, and the redemption associated with it, is the word. “The LORD gave the word; great was the company of those who proclaimed it.” (v. 11) Great was the company of those who proclaimed His word!
No one could say that God the LORD was not clear, or that they had not heard. Kings heard that word and they and their armies fled (vv. 12, 14). His people, on the other hand, were as she who remains at home and divides the spoil, and “like the wings of a dove covered with silver.” (v. 13) At Bashan, east of the Jordan at the beginning of the possession of the land, God staked His claim for His people (vv. 15-16). Verse 17 is a picture of the heavenly court and Council of the Glory Presence (Cf. Dan. 7:10). God may “dwell” in Bashan, but He rules from the heavenly court.
Verse 18 also finds Messianic fulfillment. They are all crystal clear. After the Lord gave his disciples the ‘Great Commission’ as we find it in Mark (vv. 15-18), Mark then states the following. “So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.” The Lord is seated on His heavenly throne, and yet, He is working with them, confirming His word.
The ascended Lord sent His Holy Spirit (Acts 1:9). Paul quotes verse 18 but in light of its fulfillment-He gave gifts to men (Eph. 4:8). God has highly exalted Him, upon His completed work on the cross (Phil. 2:8-9). Christ is sitting at the right hand of God (Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3). It was He who poured out the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and beyond, with the accompanying signs (Acts 2:4, 33; 10:44-46; I Cor. 12:4-11; Eph. 4:7-12). He rides on the clouds of heaven, and from there His voice is sent out (v. 33-34).
God’s people are daily loaded with benefits from the God of their salvation, including escape from death (vv. 19-20). But all who continue on in their trespasses are His enemies, and their heads will be wounded (vv. 21-22), crushed under the feet of His people (v. 23). God is seen entering the sanctuary with singers and instruments of praise (vv. 24-27). God will strength His people, and dwell in their midst (vv. 28-29). The nations will ultimately submit, bring gifts, and offer their worship also (vv. 30-35).
Psalm 69 Zeal For The House Of The LORD.
David’s distress was such that he thought he would drown under the weariness, even in his own tears (vv. 1-3). He was waiting on God, but seemingly with no place to stand. There is an irony to suffering which David tries to capture-his throat is dry, while the waters engulf him. It is a spiritual truth that the salt water of one’s sufferings, cannot of themselves quench our thirst. Whether from personal hatred or because of his position, David’s enemies hated him without cause. He is asked to restore what he has not stolen (v. 4).
Verse 4 and the hatred of God’s enemies finds fulfillment, according to John, in the person and work of Christ (15:25 Cf. Ps. 35:19; 109:3-5). We should note that John says, “that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law.” So here we see that John refers to the Psalms as their law, in effect, the canon of the old testament as a whole. They all point to the same thing-they hated without cause and returned His love with hatred. And so we should also know that the world will also hate us if we follow Him (vv. 18ff.).
One of the sad consequences of our foolishness, and our sin, is the danger that those who are seeking God may be discouraged in doing so and be ashamed (vv. 5-6). David understood that sin is never just personal in its effects. It is true that all sin is against God, because He is the one to call sin what it is (Ps. 51:5-6). But others are impacted by our foolishness and sin as well. But there are also times when perhaps our family and friends may be ashamed simply because we choose to do that which is right-such as our zeal for God’s house, His church (vv. 7-9).
Verse 9 carries forward the thought of verse 4, and the fulfillment referred to by John. They hated our Lord without cause, and one of the reasons was His zeal for God’s house. John also saw this truth in this Psalm fulfilled in Christ. Zeal for God’s house was eating Him up, and caused Him to clear it of the moneychangers (2:17). This was He who became a stranger to His brothers, an alien to His mother’s children (Ps. 69:8 Cf. Is. 53:3; Mk. 3:21; Lk. 8:19; Jn. 7:3-5). And Paul, quoting this Psalm, saw Christ as receiving the hatred that was directed to God (Rom. 15:3).
The leaders and judges also sit in reproach, and this was certainly the case with the leaders in Jesus day (10-12). David no doubt also experienced this. And David, on the basis of God’s mercy, turns to God for his salvation (vv. 13-15). He appeals to the LORD’s lovingkindness expressed in the covenant relation, the multitude of His tender mercies (vv. 16-18). The LORD knew his reproach, shame, and dishonor (v. 19-20). Such was also the condition of Messiah (Ps. 22:6-7; Heb. 12:2). None would deliver, but He would deliver Himself (Is. 63:5).
Amidst the many references to Messiah in this psalm, we then come upon a third direct quote in verse 21. “They also gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” For his dry throat (v. 3), they gave Him vinegar to drink (Mt. 27:34, 48; Mk. 15:23, 36; Lk. 23:36). When He finally did sip of the sour wine, His work was finished (Jn. 19:28-30). And in these verses Paul sees the actions of apostate Israel being fulfilled (vv. 22-23 Cf. Rom. 11:9-10). They were being subject to the lawsuit curse of the covenant (Dt. 32:21), for they were not of the elect (Rom. 11:7).
Anger and wrath was being poured out, for the elect remnant it was on Messiah, for the rest they would suffer themselves (vv. 24-28). The covenant was broken, and someone had to pay the price. Messiah paid that price, and David, along with all the poor and sorrowful, rejoice in His salvation with thanksgiving (vv. 29-33). The whole of creation will praise Him, along with Zion, His church (vv. 34-35 Cf. Heb. 12:22-24). These are those who are the true descendants of His servants in the past, they inherit the promises, dwelling together in His house (v. 36 Cf. Heb. 3:4-6).
Psalm 70 “Let God be magnified!”
What do we magnify in life? Those who love the salvation of the LORD magnify Him. Others seek to hurt their neighbours, especially those who magnify the LORD. David prays that these enemies would receive the very things which they seek to inflict-that God would turn the tables on them, so to speak. It is a common theme in the psalms that the wicked will eventually be caught by their own desires and devices. Shame and confusion and turning back from their plans-this is what David prays. On the other hand, the poor and needy know they need God, and He is their help and deliverer. Therefore, those who seek the LORD will rejoice and be glad (Cf. Ps. 35:4-8, 26; 40:15). God is magnified in the salvation of sinners, and in the turning back of His enemies. “Let God be magnified!”
Psalm 71 Only The Righteousness Of The LORD God.
The psalmist is focused on God’s righteousness. Righteous here is more than just justice, virtue, or that which is right. It also means rectitude or integrity. God can be trusted because He has absolute integrity and rectitude. God cannot be anything but right and just. This cannot be said of any man, even Adam before the fall held the possibility for the fall. But there are some things which God cannot be or do. It is impossible for God to not be righteous. It is impossible for God to lie (Heb. 6:18). For this reason God can be trusted as a solid place of refuge (vv. 1-3).
This was something that the psalmist knew from his youth, even from infancy (vv. 5-6). The older generation had passed this on, and he asks that the LORD would permit him to do the same (vv.9; 17-18 Cf. Dt. 4:5; 6:7). His God had acted in His power in his life. The LORD had been faithful his whole life. Many were ready to give up on him, but the LORD God remained his “strong refuge.” (v.7) He had reason to hope in, and to praise Him, continually (vv.8, 14). Prayer was no futile exercise (v.12).
The unrighteous are just the opposite-cruel (v.4). And he did not know the limit of that cruelty (15). They counsel together to take down the LORD’s people, because they think that God has forsaken them (vv.10-11). So also for this reason, he would tell of the LORD’s righteousness, and His salvation all the day (v.15). The LORD’s righteousness only, is the salvation of His people (v.16). There is no righteousness like the LORD’s righteousness (v.19). Even though God had shown him great and severe troubles, He would revive him, comfort him, and make him great (vv.20-21).
The psalms themselves call for instrumental accompaniment, contrary to those who claim to follow “the regulative principle.” The psalms themselves command their use. He can’t help but want to worship God for His faithfulness, and His holiness (v.22), and to sing as one of the redeemed (v.23). Only those who are redeemed can truly worship God acceptably. But it is the LORD’s righteousness that stands out the most here-seen in the defeat of his enemies. In His righteousness He confounded and consumed their enemies (vv.13, 24).
Psalm 72 The Dominion Of The Son.
When the king looks to God’s “judgments,” the people will experience righteousness and justice (vv. 1-2), and his son will bring hope. Mountains and hills are symbolic of governments and rule (v. 3). The judgments of the king’s son will permeate to the smallest of governmental rule, and to the poorest of the people (v.4). Oppressors will be broken. God will be feared “as long as sun and moon endure, throughout all generations.” (v. 5) The king’s son will be a blessing to the whole earth (v. 6). “In His days the righteous shall flourish, and abundance of peace, until the moon is no more.” (v. 7)
Note well, this reign does not start when the moon is no more rather, it will start with His appearing and continue until the moon is no more. It is a reign characterized by the judgments of God, righteousness, justice, blessing, and peace. This Son “shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.” The idea of dominion hearkens back to the garden and the duties of man, but this Son will have a dominion that will cover all. When it says that His enemies will lick the dust-this also hearkens back to the curse of Satan and the promised seed of the woman (Gen. 3:14-15).
It concerns more than Israel (v. 10). “Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him.” (v. 11) He will save the souls of the needy-those poor in spirit, those who know their need (vv. 12-13). He will redeem them (v. 14). We also have here a testimony to His deity-for only God can receive prayer and the praise of worship (v. 15). The people and the earth both shall flourish (v. 16). His name shall endure forever, and He shall receive blessing from the nations reserved for God alone (vv. 17-18). The whole earth will be filled with His glory (v. 19). The was in fact the goal and purpose of the covenant promise of the land-God’s glory to fill the whole earth (Cf. Nu.14:21).
This blessing to and from all nations is also in fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant (Gen. 12:3). As Isaiah put it, this reign effectively dawned with the birth of the Son and would continue on forever (9:6-7). The Spirit and the Father signaled the inauguration of the Son’s ministry, echoing the words of Isaiah 11:2 (Cf. Mt. 3:16-17; Mk. 1:10; Lk. 3:22; Jn. 1:32). Isaiah 11:3-5 echoes this psalm, as does Zechariah 9:10. David’s greater Son may be at the right hand of God (Ps. 110), but He also rules on the earth. So also is the testimony of Habakkuk. “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (2:14)