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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Psalms 11-15

Psalms 11

David helps us understand the ways to take refuge in the Lord. He will not be a bird that flies to the mountain. He sees the wicked with the bow aimed and the arrow fixed to the string. They lurk in the shadows to fire at the righteous.

What can the righteous do when there is destruction all around? Retreat to God. God  looks on the earth and sees the righteous and the wicked. He judges between them.

I guess it makes me uncomfortable to consider judgment. I think of God as merciful and forgiving, but I must also remember that He is righteous and calls us to follow in His way. 


Psalms 12

This Psalm is accompanied by the Sheminith which may be an instrument, and expresses the lowest notes of male voices. This may be to lend a sad and foreboding tone to the message,

David criticizes people who pay lip-service to righteousness, but lie to the righteous. He calls us to honesty and truth, and denounces those who flatter and manipulate with words. The wicked are everywhere when vile men are exalted.

Psalms 13

David is depressed. He complains to God that He has hidden His face and forgotten him. 

David wrestles with his own thoughts and the specter of his enemy overshadows him.  He begs God to give light to his eyes else he will be lost in death. He fears his enemy will gloat over his defeat.

He seems to open his mind to see God's unfailing love, and his heart rejoices in God's salvation. Now he sings praises for God's bountiful goodness.
David knows how to praise and worship. Listen to him! Learn from him!

Psalms 14

The director of music is directed that this is to be performed in the order of David's Psalms. We don't know if this to a tune or rhythm, but apparently it was significant.

Psalms 14 challenges those who doubt God's interest and attention in the affairs of men. It is the Fool who scoffs at God that is in error. A fool is one who is morally deficient, without direction. 

It has become popular in modern culture to claim honest and admirable character, but deny respect or honor of God. People seem to want to "be a good person" without any standard or system of values or restriction on behavior.

In this Psalm David declares these men to be hopelessly lost. "They are altogether become filthy."(KJV) We often use fool to mean silly or lacking in understanding, but here it means depraved. In this instance it means deliberately blind to the absolute proclaimed truth of righteousness. 

Frederich Nietzsche was the Prussian philosopher who proposed the notion that God is dead because of the treatment of humans. God is dead and we have killed him. We must find some other foundation for our society since there is no base to rest on now.

David recognized the philosophical argument, but he also saw the flaw in the argument. Human reasoning is not sufficient for the task. Only God in His righteousness is able to secure salvation for man. The poor, the wretched, the weak, and the sinful retreat to Him and find comfort.

Psalms 15

This Psalm is a picture of the perfect man who commits no sin and can rely on obedience to the law without need of forgiveness.

It seems this righteousness is almost devoid of mercy and joy. He does lend money to the poor without interest, and he abides in God's presence, but there is no mention of worship. It is a position to be sought and living in God's presence is a blessing. Don't dismiss it without understanding the deep truths of this Psalm.