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  • J. Randal Matheny 5:47 am on 2014-12-14 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Book of Psalms, , ,   

    Will God answer my distress call? 

    In the darkest moments, when the Psalmist cries to God for help, his words of despair are permeated with a deeper belief that God is there and that God will answer. He believes, against all appearances, that God will hear him.

    Rescue me from the mud! Don’t let me sink!
    Deliver me from those who hate me,
    from the deep water!
    Don’t let the current overpower me!
    Don’t let the deep swallow me up!
    Don’t let the Pit devour me!
    Psa 69.14-15 NET

    Confusion may reign, the hurt may throw him at the foot of death, circumstances may appear hopeless, but underneath it all lies a bedrock of faith in the benevolent purpose of God.

    Many are the reasons why he possesses such a faith, but its essence derives from his knowledge of history, his own and his people’s. God is faithful. He holds to his promises. He has never failed his people.

    Israel told the story of her creation and redemption time and again to her children. That story was preserved in Scripture.

    Let the church tell, without shame nor revision, the inspired story of the faithfulness of God in Christ. It is this history, contained in the pages of Scripture, that will secure us to the Rock and feed our hope in the darkest hour.

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:31 am on 2013-05-13 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Book of Psalms, , , , , , Praise Jehovah, ,   

    Psalm 150 Praise the LORD, not men! 

    These last 5 Psalms (146-150) are called “Hallelujah Psalms” because they begin and end with that expression: “Praise – Jehovah,” or “Hallelujah.” The author, date, and setting of each Psalm are undetermined, but their acceptance is unquestioned.

    Verse 1: Where to “praise God;”

    Verse 2: Why “praise God;”

    Verse 3-5: How to “praise God;”

    Verse 6: Who is to “praise God;”

    Verse 1: “Praise the LORD” is “Hallelujah,” or praise Jehovah, The Self-existent Deity; the next is “Praise God,” or “Halleluel,” or praise Elohim, “The Power.” God’s “sanctuary” is the designated, set aside place as “holy” where God should be worshiped. The first in the tabernacle in the wilderness (Exodus 25:8; Hebrews 9:1-5) had a “sanctuary” where worship occurred, then “the Holiest of All” where God was represented as forgiving sins. Next, in the temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 6:1-17), there was the “sanctuary” and the “inner sanctuary.” Now the church of Christ (Hebrews 8:1-2; 9:6-12; 2 Corinthians 1:1; 6:16) is the “sanctuary,” but Heaven, itself, is “the Most Holy Place.”

    Verse 2: Praise Him because of “His mighty acts,” or all those miraculous or providential deeds far beyond “all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20-21). Praise Him for “His excellent greatness,” realizing nothing is great without God, but that all God does is greater than men (1 Corinthians 1:18-25).

    Verses 3-5: David added musical instruments to God’s worship (1 Chronicles 23:5), called “instruments of David” authorized by his own authority and not God’s (1 Chronicles 15:16; 2 Chronicles 7:6), and condemned by God’s prophet, Amos (Amos 6:1, 5). The only musical instrument specified by God for the church of Christ is “your heart” (Ephesians 5:19), and there is no authorization in the New Testament for the bringing over and use of “instruments of music, like David.”  None of the instruments listed in Psalm 150 were ever used in the church of Christ by the authority of God.

    Verse 6: “Everything that has breath” means every living creature: those that are not human “praise God” because they demonstrate His Wisdom and Creative Power; those that are human praise with words and deeds from their heart: “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:15-16).

    “Praise the LORD!”

     All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
    • Robert McCurdy 9:54 pm on 2013-05-13 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you John for devoting your time and effort to produce a commentary on the Psalms. You did a great
      service for many disciples. May God continue to bless your writing efforts. Your knowledge and skill is evident.

  • John T. Polk II 4:09 am on 2013-05-10 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Book of Psalms, , , , , judgment in writing, , , , ,   

    Psalm 149 The God Who Will Not Be Conquered 

    These last 5 Psalms (146-150) are called “Hallelujah Psalms” because they begin and end with that expression: “Praise – Jehovah,” or “Hallelujah.” The author, date, and setting of each Psalm are undetermined, but their acceptance is unquestioned.

    Verses 1-5 call for God’s People to praise Him for victory;

    Verses 6-9 call for praise and defeat of their enemies.

    Verses 1-5: (Verse 1) “A new song” indicates a “new heart,” celebrating a “new victory,” and a “new life.” “The assembly of the saints” is a worship service, where “God is greatly to be feared” (Psalm 89:7). In America, every time there is disaster, trouble, destruction, criminal death, or missing person, there is some candlelight “coming together.” When Peter was kept in prison with the intent of killing him, the church of Christ gathered for prayer (Acts 12:12), not candles! (Verse 2) The people, Israel, especially their religious center, Zion, should rejoice with (verse 3) “dance” and “timbrel and harp,” just as their forefathers had done when God parted the Red Sea for them to escape Egypt and be their own Nation (Exodus 14:21-15:21). (Verse 4) God’s “pleasure” is in His People, who develop beautiful, spiritual character. (Verse 5) “Saints” should be joyful, even on “their beds,” formerly places of sorrow.

    Verses 6-9: (Verse 6) While praising God with their “mouth,” “And a two-edged sword in their hand.” This sounds like the Israelites re-building the wall of Jerusalem when they were returned to their Promised Land (Nehemiah 4:17). Apparently, there was no “gun control” then! A dis-armed people can do nothing against the enemies of God! (Verse 7) “Bearing the sword” in “vain” (meaninglessly), or using the power of the sword against “good works,” violates God’s intended purpose for “governing authorities” (Romans 13:1-5). Today, Christians are to praise God while Government uses the sword to be “God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” (Romans 13:4).

    (Verse 8) God’s government, acting as His minister, defeats evil. (Verse 9) God’s “judgment” in writing was: “When the LORD your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you, and when the LORD your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them” (Deuteronomy 7:1-2). Today, the “sword of the Spirit” in a Christian hand, “is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17), and the “nations,” “peoples,” “kings,” and “nobles” must be conquered by teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20). Since Jesus Christ established His spiritual kingdom on Earth in the 1st Century, there has been NO “Christian carnal war” waged against Muslims, Jews, or anyone else, for that matter, and therefore NO justification for persecuting the churches of Christ! All of those who persecute Christians, even to death, are persecuting Jesus (Acts 9:1-5), and, unless they repent, He will damn them forever (2 Thessalonians 1:3-10)!

    “Praise the LORD!”

     All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:00 am on 2013-05-09 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Book of Psalms, , , , , ,   

    Psalm 148 The God Who Will Be Heard 

    These last 5 Psalms (146-150) are called “Hallelujah Psalms” because they begin and end with that expression: “Praise – Jehovah,” or “Hallelujah.” The author, date, and setting of each Psalm are undetermined, but their acceptance is unquestioned. Psalm 148 is the basis of the lyric for the hymn, “Praise the Lord, Ye Heavens Adore Him” with a tune written by Franz J. Haydn. “Praise the Lord” is used some 12 times in its 14 verses.

    Verses 1-2 let us know God is praised above His Creation;

    Verses 3-6 let us know God is praised in what we call “space;”

    Verses 7-13 let us know God is praised among the living creatures on the Earth;

    Verse 14 lets us know God is praised among His people.

    Verses 1-2: Jehovah is praised in the “heights.” God’s praise comes from the Heavenly “host,” a multitude of which announced Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:13), and twelve legions of which could have kept Jesus from the cross (Matthew 26:53).

    Verses 3-6: God spoke into existence the: “sun and moon” (Genesis 1:14-18),  “stars of light” (Genesis 1:16), “heavens of heavens,” “waters above the heavens” (Genesis 1:6-8). Verse 6 says, “He made a decree which shall not pass away.” Everything in space operates with such precision, timing, and position as to totally devastate any vestige of godless doctrines, such as “Evolution.” It is pathetic to see minds wasted repeating the mantras of “millions and billions of years” in describing this Earth, when ALL OF THE CREATION IS PRAISING GOD!

    Verses 7-13: Praise of God comes “From the earth,” creatures below; weather above the surface; the surface itself; animals, reptiles, birds; all people “praise God.” NO ONE CAN SEE WHAT HAPPENS ON THE EARTH AND FAIL TO “PRAISE GOD.” Animals, reptiles, birds are different from each other, and No Scientific Fact demonstrates they came from one another! All animals of the earth are different from humans, and NO Scientific Fact demonstrates that humans came from animals! “For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4). Everything God Created shouts “Hallelujah,” everyone who seeks to explain that Creation by substituting Time & Chance for God profanes and degrades all of it.

    Verse 14: God should be praised by His People whom He has “exalted” and brought “near” to Him!

    “Praise the LORD.”

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:00 am on 2013-05-08 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Book of Psalms, , , , , , , , ,   

    Psalm 147 Jehovah is God – And We’re NOT! 

    These last 5 Psalms (146-150) are called “Hallelujah Psalms” because they begin and end with that expression: “Praise – Jehovah,” or “Hallelujah.” The author, date, and setting of each Psalm are undetermined, but their acceptance is unquestioned.

    Verse 1 calls for praise;

    Verses 2-6 give Israelite outcasts reasons to praise God;

    Verse 7 calls for praise;

    Verses 8-11 give those who fear Him reasons to praise God;

    Verse 12 calls for Israelites to praise God;

    Verses 13-18 call attention to God’s absolute Power;

    Verses 19-20 call Israelites’ attention to God’s special Word to them.

    Verse 1: Sing “Hallelujah” because it is “good,” “pleasant,” “beautiful.”

    Verses 2-6: Jehovah “builds up Jerusalem” by making sure the “outcasts” are included. These are people who might be rejected by the religious snobs and overlooked for blessings. Verses 2-3 describe the work of Jesus Christ when He came (Jeremiah 30:10-17; Luke 4:16-20). God can account for all of Israel’s “outcasts” because only He knows the number, but also the name, of the stars. With all of today’s technologies, humans haven’t even seen all of the stars, yet! Although God is “great,” “mighty in power,” infinite in “understanding,” He compassionately “lifts up the humble,” but does not do the same for “the wicked.”

    Verse 7: Praise should be sung, and the instruments of David left behind, for the only instrument that should accompany worship singing today is “your heart” (Ephesians 5:19).

    Verses 8-11: The Earth follows God’s physical rules, as those who “fear Him” follow His spiritual rules: from cloud coverings come rain; from rain comes grass on mountains; from grass (greenery) comes food for beasts and ravens asking. God’s pleasure is not in the strength of horses or men’s legs, but “in those who hope in His mercy.”

    Verse 12: Israel, whose capital of Jerusalem, was also its’ worship center, Zion, is alerted to “praise your God.”

    Verses 13-18: A God-blessed nation has: 1) strong “bars” of its “gates.” Aren’t we talking about keeping out illegal immigrants, outsiders who corrupt, and disguised terrorists? A godless society has no limits! 2) blessed “children,” and this is not discussing their toys, games, sports, or other distractions, but genuine faith. 3) internal “peace,” and this is not with martial law, or a police state, but citizens with faithful obedience to God’s moral Law; 4) abundant harvest, because God has made the land cooperate and bless (Acts 14:14-17). It is by God’s Command that the Earth is blessed with: “snow,” “frost,” “hail,” “cold,” “melting,” blowing wind, and flowing water!

    Verses 19-20: God gave the Israelites (including Jews!) the advantage of “His Word,” including His “statutes” and “judgments.” That Word should have lead them all the way to Jesus Christ (Deuteronomy 4:5; Leviticus 26:40-46; Malachi 4:4; Galatians 3:7-29). No other nation ever had that advantage of specific written revelation through prophets, and yet when Jesus came, “although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him” (John 12:37). Paul asked the question: “What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar” (Romans 3:1-4). God had given the Jews the advantage of having His Word first. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16). Having God’s Word, knowing it, and obeying it is our advantage, today. Jesus said: “For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother” (Mark 3:35).

    “Praise the LORD” or “Hallelujah!”

     All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:01 am on 2013-05-07 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Book of Psalms, , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Psalm 146 What Has God Done For Me, Lately? 

    These last 5 Psalms are called “Hallelujah Psalms” because they begin and end with that expression: “Praise – Jehovah,” or “Hallelujah.” The author, date, and setting of each Psalm is undetermined, but their acceptance is unquestioned.

    Verses 1-4 urge when God should be praised;

    Verses 5-10 explain why God should be praised.

    Verses 1-4: Praise should be given to God “while I live.” Duh! This is a statement of the obvious. The Word of God nowhere encourages anyone to not praise God until after death. Trust should not be transferred from God to “princes” (government leaders) or “a son of man” (humans in general), for deliverance. The middle verse of the entire Word of God says this: “It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8). Humans die when the spirit goes back to God and the body is left on earth (Ecclesiastes 12:7), so that “in that very day his plans perish.”

    Verses 5-10: “Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, because He:

    1. Is The God over History (verse 5), Jacob’s name was changed to “Israel” (Genesis 32:24-30), and God watched over those people (Isaiah 48) through the coming of Jesus Christ in the New Testament (Galatians 3:5-29);

    2. Is The God over Creation (verse 6), which shows absolute, total wisdom in its very existence and orderliness (Proverbs 8:12, 22-31). All scientific factual discoveries, whether in Physics, Biology, or Chemistry are simply the uncovering of God’s Wisdom behind this World’s constitution;

    3. Is The God over Justice (verse 7), evening the suppression or oppression of the hungry and imprisoned (Luke 4:16-41);

    4. Is The God over Perfecting the Needy (verse 8), with physical healing through Jesus Christ (Matthew 15:30; Luke 13:11-13), then spiritually through His Word (Acts 26:12-19). God loves the righteous, those who do His will (1 Peter 3:8-12);

    5. Is The God over Benevolence (verse 9), for He has always made rules for His people to help strangers, orphans, and widows (Exodus 22:21; Hebrews 13:2; Psalm 68:4-5; James 1:27);

    6. Is The God over Eternity (verse 10, a quotation of Exodus 15:18), Who is timeless (Isaiah 57:15; Acts 15:18).  

    “Praise the LORD.”   

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version,  unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:00 am on 2013-05-03 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Book of Psalms, , , fortress, , , , , , , , , , , , , , unhappiness,   

    Psalm 144 How To Live In A Happy State 

     This Psalm of David shows why God saw David as “a man after My own heart, who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22). This Psalm is from a heart that knows what God’s grace and mercy is all about!

    Verses 1-2 acknowledge who is with David on his throne over Israel;

    Verses 3-4 recognize how short the rule of a man is compared to God’s reign;

    Verses 5-10 show who really deserves praise for victory over enemies;

    Verses 11-15 summarize where a nation’s blessings and strengths come from.

    Verses 1-2: “The LORD” was David’s “Rock” not a castle. God guided David’s conquests; God showed what “lovingkindness” was like in between battles; David’s “fortress” (protective dwelling), “high tower” (lofty position above the enemy), “shield” (protection against soldiers’ attacks) and “refuge” (safe haven), were all in God. Thus if David’s “people” didn’t obey God, David wouldn’t be king of a nation! Would that Governments recognized this today (John 19:10-11)!

    Verses 3-4: “What is man” is the question David asks that shows great humility (Psalm 8:4). What makes us think we are so important that God would notice us? We are important not because of what we have done, but what God has done (Hebrews 2:17-18)! We do not live long enough to be impressive (James 4:13-15).

    Verses 5-10: God, however, is so impressive that He can “come down” over the Earth; make mountains smoke; use lightning strikes; all as weapons of war “from above.” It is God “from above” who “rescues” the righteous from a flood of “foreigners” hurling “lying words” and lying handshakes.  Those who serve God cannot expect those who do not to be following the same rules in the same way! Christian behavior is not universal, but should be (Ephesians 5:1-17)! It is God who deserves praise for our salvation and daily life. The “harp of ten strings” was an instrument of David (1 Chronicles 23:5) which appealed to the spiritually lazy (Amos 6:3-7) and was condemned. No man-made musical instrument was authorized by Moses’ Law.

    Verses 11-15: It would be by God’s rescue that the Nation of Israel would have: sturdy “sons” and “daughters;” plentiful “produce” and “sheep” and “oxen;” and no external raids nor internal struggles. A nation of people who respect God, will have “sons” who mature like plants and know their work to be done; “daughters” who accept their role of “pillars” as wife and mother; “produce” for people who know how to save for the next crop; fertile “sheep;” “oxen” useful for burdens; peaceful living without disruptiveness. Truly such a nation is “happy,” for “Happy are the people whose God is the LORD!” The plague of America is unhappiness, and it has become pandemic because people do not have the LORD God. “Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:1-3). “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 John 5:11). “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). DO YOU KNOW GOD?

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:03 am on 2013-05-02 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Book of Psalms, , , , , , , servant of God,   

    Psalm 143 What If The Spirit Is Not Willing? 

    This Psalm of David tells us what to expect of life before death! Living for God in a hostile world is not easy but requires trust in God and a strong faith in His Word.

    Verses 1-2 give the plea;

    Verses 3-8 detail the spiritual struggle within;

    Verses 9-12 ask for spiritual awakening.

    Verses 1-2: “Prayer” is speaking to God, “supplication” is to ask of God. “Prayer and supplication” are often connected in Scripture (1 Kings 8:37-40; Philippians 4:6). Without repentance and forgiveness, no human would be acceptable to God. No one is acceptable to God who: says they are (Luke 18:9-14); thinks they obey (Matthew 7:21-23); confesses no sin (1 John 1:8-10); works wickedness (Psalm 101:3-4); hold to the doctrine of the Nicolaitans (Revelation 2:15).

    Verses 3-8: Enemies, in persecuting our souls, may make us feel “crushed,” surrounded in darkness, lifeless and overwhelmed. Reading and meditating on the Word of God helps us “remember” God’s help in the past. “Meditate” is the focus on God’s “Works,” “musing” is thinking through His Way, spreading out one’s hands is to show God we hold nothing back from our obedience. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). When we feel our spirit fail, an alarming thought is that God would turn away from us, thus Jesus cried out from the cross: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46). Jesus was taking our place on the cross (1 Peter 3:18). If we will remember God’s “lovingkindness,” then our “trust” in Him who has shown us “the way in which I should walk” will “lift up my soul to You.”

    Verses 9-12: David asks God to “deliver” him from enemies, “teach” him to do God’s will, and “lead” all the way into “the land of uprightness.” God’s “Spirit is good,” so Christians should “Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). A soul delivered from trouble is a soul “revived.” God is merciful to His Servants – anyone may become a “servant of God.” Daniel was spared in a den of lions because he was a “servant of the living God” (Daniel 6:20).

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 10:00 am on 2013-05-01 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Book of Psalms, cave, , , , , , , , prison,   

    Psalm 142 From the Depth of Despair 

    This Psalm of David may well have been written from the cave of Adullam, while King Saul pursued him to kill him (1 Samuel 22:1).

    Verses 1-3 picture the “caveman” mindset;

    Verses 4-7 show the difference between refuge and prison.

    Verses 1-3: “Cry out” indicates his desperate situation, “supplication” is a prayer presenting a problem to God, but asking for help with it. David’s “complaint” is not with God, but a presentation of his “trouble” that he would “pour out.” David’s “spirit was overwhelmed within” him, more than once (Psalm 61:2; 77:3; 143:4). This perfectly expresses what we all feel like sometimes when life is too much to handle! Jesus shows how not to let this get to us. “For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” (Hebrews 12:3).

    Verses 4-7: Before David’s men gathered to him, he knew “no one who acknowledges” him, his insecurity noted that “refuge has failed” him. In complete despair, he said: “No one cares for my soul.” Jesus reached this moment, for on His way to the cross, “they all forsook Him and fled” (Mark 14:50). Paul had this moment, for he said: “At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me” (2 Timothy 4:16). The common thread woven through these faithful men is the LORD never left them: David “cried out to You, O LORD” (Psalm 142:5); “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit” (Luke 23:46); “the Lord stood with me and strengthened me” (2 Timothy 4:17). God was David’s “portion in the land of the living.” As long as David was alive, God was with him. When “persecutors” seem “stronger than I,” never forget God, for He never forgets us. Life can become our “prison,” but once released from this “very low” time, we are freed to “praise” God, and enjoy the fellowship of the “righteous” who “shall surround” us. God abundantly blesses those faithful to Him. Joseph was released from a dungeon through God’s gift of interpretation of dreams (Genesis 39-41); Samson through his renewed covenant strength (Judges 16:21-31); Jesus releases people from their prison of sin (Isaiah 42:5-7; Luke 4:14-21); the Apostles were set free to preach Jesus (Acts 5:17-25). Everyone who remains faithful to God in whatever prison they find themselves, must learn they are not alone.

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:02 am on 2013-04-30 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Book of Psalms, , , , , , , , , , snares, traps, , ,   

    Psalm 141 Shut My Mouth 

    This Psalm of David could have originated at one of several times in his life, so the historical background is not definitely set, but it clearly is similar to other of his Psalms.

    Verses 1-2 appeal to God to hear this prayer;

    Verses 3-4 concerned with one’s words;

    Verse 5-concerned with one’s thoughts;

    Verses 5c-7 concerned with one’s bones;

    Verses 8-10 concerned with one’s eyes.

    Verses 1-2: To “cry out” expresses immediate need(s). For prayer to be “set before” God “as incense” (Exodus 30:1-10), helps us see that when Moses’ Law was taken out of the way by the cross of Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:14-16), Christian prayers ascend before God instead of incense (Revelation 5:8).

    Verses 3-4: It is not asking for God to choose our words, but knowing we have called attention to the problem we have with wrong words should keep us more keenly aware (Matthew 12:34-37). “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless” (James 1:26). “For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body” (James 3:2). In fact, David realizes, to avoid sin, we must not lean toward “any evil thing,” “practice wicked works,” associate with evil workers, or commonly associate with sinners. This progression into sin is similar to Psalm 1.

    Verse 5: If we find ourselves heading in the wrong direction, the rebuke of a righteous person should bring us back to spirituality. “Open rebuke is better Than love carefully concealed” (Proverbs 27:5). “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).

    Verses 5c-7: Our prayers should be not only for us to be strong, but for the wicked to be blunted and weakened. “Judges” are their leaders, but “sweet” “words” of a prayerful appeal to God can see them taken down. Their damage, however, may break up God’s people as if physical bodies had been plowed under!

    Verses 8-10: “Eyes,” rightly focused on the goal, must not be misled. Once a person has been buried in the water of baptism into Jesus’ death (and not before), and raised to a new life with Him (Romans 6:3-5), they are saved (1 Peter 3:21). “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3). By obeying God and following Jesus Christ, God will “keep” (avoid sin, 1 John 3:6) a Christian from the “snares” and “traps” the wicked continually provide. It was the partial obedience of the Israelites in cleaning the wicked nations out of the Promised Land, that God warned they would become “snares and traps to you, and scourges on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land which the LORD your God has given you” (Joshua 23:13). “Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; He who guards his soul will be far from them” (Proverbs 22:5). David did not pray out of vengeance or hatred, but simply that God let “the wicked fall into their own nets” and he be allowed to “escape.” When the wicked are treated with their own wickedness is not only just, it is fair for the righteous. “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, And he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him” (Proverbs 26:27). A rolling stone may not gather moss, but often it punishes the ones who started it rolling!

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 3:52 am on 2013-04-29 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Book of Psalms, , , , , , , , , violent men, vipers   

    Psalm 140 Deliver Me From Evil 

    A Psalm of David that recognizes how evil surrounds someone trying to live right. Paranoia involves fear without facts – this Psalm, however, deals with facts that give ample reason to be aware and careful! “You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked” (2 Peter 3:17).

    Verses 1-5 pray for preservation from evil men;

    Verses 6-7 reassert confidence in God;

    Verses 8-11 pray for persecution on the wicked;

    Verses 12-13 remind the upright of their reward.

    Verses 1-5: God is asked to “Deliver me” “from evil men; “Preserve me from violent men;” “Keep me” “from the hands of the wicked.” Jesus taught His disciples to pray “do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13). “Evil men” are those who: plan it in their hearts; gather for war; hone their tongues like serpents; speak venomously. Psalm 140:3 is quoted in Romans 3:13 to help describe sinners in need of Jesus Christ. Little wonder that John the Baptist (Luke 3:7), then Jesus (Matthew 12:34; 23:33), called their generation of Jews a “brood of vipers.” “The wicked” are those determined to “make my steps stumble;’’ hidden a snare to tie me up; “spread a net;” “set traps,” all designed to stop a faithful person from being faithful!

    Verses 6-7: David’s God hears his supplication, provides strength to save, and protects his head in battle.

    Verses 8-11: If the wicked are unpunished, their pride swells. Solomon would later say: “Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (Ecclesiastes 8:11). David’s prayer is that: their evil words are turned back upon them; they are consumed by fire; their slander goes unproven; evil men fight it out with the violent men! Worldly people “slander” the message of salvation: “For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner? And why not say, ‘Let us do evil that good may come?’–as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just” (Romans 3:7-8). “Whoever hides hatred has lying lips, And whoever spreads slander is a fool” (Proverbs 10:18).

    Verses 12-13: Regardless of the opposition, God will prevail on behalf of the “afflicted,” giving “justice for the poor,” being thanked by the righteous, and receiving the upright to “dwell” in His presence.

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:00 am on 2013-04-26 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Book of Psalms, , , , , , hates, , , pantheism, , ,   

    Psalm 139 Father Knows Us Best 

    This Psalm of David gives a picture of how thoroughly God knows us. We should seek to know Him as completely as we can, for “when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods” (Galatians 4:8); “the world through wisdom did not know God” (1 Corinthians 1:21); “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8); Jesus Christ will be “taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

    Verses 1-6 show how completely God knows about our individual lives;

    Verses 7-12 show how useless it is for anyone to try to flee from God;

    Verses 13-16 show when God begins to know us;

    Verses 17-18 show how completely we should know God;

    Verses 19-22 show how completely we should side with God;

    Verses 23-24 show how completely open we should be with ourselves and God.

    Verses 1-6: There is no one who knows and understands us like God does: not Mother, Father, Children, Husband or Wife, close friend. God interacts with individual lives by examination, constant monitoring, complete understanding of our thinking, hearing all our words, protecting and guiding at times, all exceeding our own understanding of ourselves!

    Verses 7-12: As Adam and Eve discovered in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:6-8), there is nowhere God cannot find us: Heaven (as if we could!)? He is there; “Hell” (Sheol, the place beyond the body’s grave, where departed spirits dwell)? He is there; fly as fast as the light of a new day (as if we could!)? dive as deep as the sea goes? He still could guide and hold us; be surrounded by total darkness? God sees as if it was still light. God is everywhere, but He is NOT everything! God is Creator NOT the Creation! Pantheism is totally wrong in this concept.

    Verses 13-16: God designs, develops, and delivers each and every human baby ever born! For each and every human baby, while in the womb, God “covered” (intricately weaves together) our organs; “fearfully and wonderfully” develops the baby; makes the skeleton support structure; begins His work on “unformed” “substance” (Hebrew term for embryo), prepared the baby to live “the days fashioned for me” (plans for the baby to live its life on earth). Abortion is the destroying of the work of God, and wise Solomon said: “I know that whatever God does, It shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, And nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him” (Ecclesiastes 3:14). Abortion is taking from the work of God!

    Verses 17-18: There is much more about God than we can grasp, but we should learn all we can while we can. The Word of God is the gradual unfolding of the revelation of God.

    Verses 19-22: Instead of demanding God to “side” with us, we should get on God’s “side.” There should be no evil work a Christian would practice, plan, or proceed to do: terrorism, abortion, self-centeredness, drunkenness/drug abuse, divisiveness, fornication/adultery, lust, or anything else contrary to “sound doctrine.” Whatever God condemns, Christians should condemn. Whatever God hates, Christians should hate. Whoever is an enemy of God, should be an enemy to a Christian. No Christian should compromise this commitment to God for any  political platform, union slogan, or gang fidelity!

    Verses 23-24: An open heart asks for God to check it out, and is willing for Him to “lead me in the way everlasting.” Why wait? God provides for Christians to “examine themselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5). “For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world” (1 Corinthians 11:31-32).

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:04 am on 2013-04-25 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Book of Psalms, , , , , , , , ,   

    Psalm 138 God’s Name Works 

    A Psalm of David that is so typical of David’s other Psalms, full of praise to God.

    Verses 1-2 God’s Name is worshiped above all gods;

    Verses 3-5 God’s Name is glorified above all kings;

    Verses 6-8: God’s Name reaches to all people.

    Verses 1-2: (Verse 1) Praise to God should include the “whole heart” out of which we “sing praises.” David, with all the musical instruments introduced by him into worship, felt praise involved singing from the heart, in spite of others’ “gods.” In the New Testament, Christians should, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16). (Verse 2) What God has done in “lovingkindness” and “truth” distinguish Him above all.

    Verses 3-5: (Verse 3) David’s boldness came from God’s answering His pleas. No proof of God’s care is better than experience, and hindsight is always 20/20! (Verse 4) “Kings of the earth” quickly learn Jehovah God is mightier than they are. (Verse 5) When defeated, even they join in God’s praises (Example Daniel 4).

    Verses 6-8: (Verse 6) God never loses sight of, or sensitivity toward, “the lowly.” No one is too minute or insignificant but that God will hear. But “the proud” God recognizes from “afar,” that is, God doesn’t need to have them close to know how to deal with them. “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:5-6). (Verse 7) “In the midst of trouble” God “revives” (refreshes), extends a protecting “hand,” offers His “right hand” to “save.” Since Jesus said God is “spirit” (John 4:24) which has no “flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39), then all references to God’s “body” of physical characteristics obviously are figures of speech designed to help us understand Him. (Verse 8) God looks better to our cares than we can, which is why we should cast “all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). He does this out of His “mercy” which “endures forever.” “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:17 am on 2013-04-24 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Babylon, , Book of Psalms, , , , , , , ,   

    Psalm 137 What 70 Years of Regret Did 

    Because of their horrendous sins, God’s people (both Northern Israel and Southern Judah) were violently removed from their Promised Land for 70 years (2 Kings 17:5-23; 2 Chronicles 36:15-23). This Psalm was clearly written to express the Israelites’ sense of loss and regret while in Babylon, and their anticipation of revenge which God would bring against the Babylonians. That “payback” came at the hands of Cyrus, king of Persia, who then caused the Israelites to return and rebuild their Holy City, Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Jeremiah 50:18-32).

    Verses 1-6 state the woeful lesson learned;

    Verses 7-9 give the somber belief that God repays “in kind” (Jeremiah 50:29).

    Verses 1-6: Being “by the rivers of Babylon” instead of their Jordan River was a constant reminder of why they were in Babylon. Those rivers included the Tigris and Euphrates, Chebar (Ezekiel 1:3), and the Ulai (Daniel 8:2). Israelite sorrow was so deep they “wept” when they thought about destroyed Jerusalem; “hung [their] harps” because there was nothing to sing about, even though their captors requested a song; and prayed for their “right hand” become useless and “tongue” stick to the “roof of” their mouth, if they tried to forget their “chief joy” should be in Jerusalem.

    Verses 7-9: Israel was descended from Jacob, and his twin, Esau, became known as “Edom” (Genesis 25:30; 36:1). “Edom,” thus was a name for non-Israelites, or “nations” in the Old Testament and “Gentiles” in the New Testament. The Babylonians who had destroyed Jerusalem are represented by the term “sons of Edom” and specifically, “daughter of Babylon” whom God was going to destroy at the time of this Psalm. That destruction has already taken place, and a lingering prophecy still affects that place today. “Babylon” is modern Iraq, and the first “Gulf War” was fought when Saddam Hussein declared he would excavate ancient Babylon and bring it back to its former glory. God had decreed otherwise: “’Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,’ says the LORD; ‘and I will make it a perpetual desolation’” (Jeremiah 25:12; also see Jeremiah 51:24-26, 59-64).  (Psalm 137: 8-9) These verses reflect what God promised would happen to Babylon: “’Let the violence done to me and my flesh be upon Babylon,’ The inhabitant of Zion will say; ‘And my blood be upon the inhabitants of Chaldea!’ Jerusalem will say” (Jeremiah 51:35). Babylon’s bloodshed of innocent children in Jerusalem was repaid in kind when the Persians did the same to Babylonian babies.

     All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:00 am on 2013-04-23 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Book of Psalms, , , , , , , , thank God   

    Psalm 136 Why Worship God? “For His Mercy Endures Forever” 

    This is almost a repetition of Psalm 135, but with the phrase “For His mercy endures forever” added to each verse (26 times). That phrase was ordered at the dedication of the tabernacle by David (1 Chronicles 16:41), at the dedication of Solomon’s Temple (2 Chronicles 7:1-6), and before battle by Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20:20-22). It means without God’s guiding “mercy,” they would not be a nation. “Mercy” (willingness to relieve the price of sins) is mentioned in 129 verses in the Book of Psalms. The “mercy of God” kept Israelites together until Jesus Christ came, and now God’s “mercy” is for both Jews and Gentiles through Jesus Christ (Romans 11:30-32; Galatians 3:22-29). To illustrate God’s “mercy,” evidence is drawn from the written history of God’s Word. AND for those mid-guided commentators who think the Old Testament God is hateful and violent, His motive for providing and protecting Israel as a nation was so that He could provide mercy for all who will obey Jesus Christ today (Ephesians 2:1-7)!

    Verses 1-3: “Give thanks to the LORD” for: “He is good;” He is above all “gods;” He is “the Lord of lords!”

    Verses 4-9: True science is the uncovering of the “wisdom” God used in the Creation. His orderliness precisely designed the “heavens.” And, He has done these “great wonders” “alone!” This is detailed in Genesis 1-2.

    Verses 10-15: God broke Egypt as a dominating power when He “brought out Israel from among them” in establishing them as His Nation. This is detailed in Exodus 1-14.

    Verses 16-22: God destroyed all nations in Canaan that Israel might be given the land He had promised Abraham. This is detailed in the Book of Joshua.

    Verses 23-24: In the Promised Land, when Israelites repented of their sins, God continued to lead them to victories over their enemies by raising up a “judge.” This is detailed in the Book of Judges.

    Verse 25: All food is produced because God’s mercy gives orderly seasons (Genesis 8:22; Acts 14:15-17). Solomon will acknowledge: “Moreover the profit of the land is for all; even the king is served from the field” (Ecclesiastes 5:9). It is pathetic poverty of spirit when people are taught to forget this fact!

    Verse 26: We must never cease thanking “the God of heaven” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18).

     All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
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