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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Psalms 31-35

Psalms 31

This is another of David's Psalms. It sounds like he has been in battle. He uses metaphors that relate to military engagement. He sees God as his refuge and his fortress. He claims righteousness as he deliverer.

We will do well to see the traps that are set for us as an assault on our relationship with God. In vs. 5 I hear an echo from the Cross. In every situation we can always resign our own effort in favor of delivery by the Spirit of God.

David is ever conscious of his position. He senses the shame of rejection by God and the people as worse than death. He hates the idea of idols and resorts always to God as his refuge. 

He always returns to the shelter of God's presence praising God for his abundant love and protection. O, the wonders of His love. Toward the end of the Psalm he addresses the people, calling them to faithfulness and obedience for God will not abide the unfaithful.

Psalms 32

This Psalm is called a Maschil. The word Maschil is used to describe an instruction for skillful musicians. The Psalm contains some direction or instruction in piety, also. This one instructs us in how to value and accept forgiveness.

I think I have read somewhere that this Psalm refers to David's sin recorded in 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 1-17 but not all authorities recognize that reference. 

The Psalm does discuss the release from guilt and joy of forgiveness in detail. Vs 1 is often quoted in prayers and instructions on forgiveness.

Vss. 3 and 4 give the best reason for making confession. In trying to keep the sin secret, it destroys the one who is hiding it. Habakkuk 3:15 witnessed the wrath of God in vengeance and rottenness entered his bones too. When you are counted among the sinners, you have no strength to defend. Then your only recourse is confession.

Vs. 6 points the way. The Godly shall pray. God is the hiding place(vs. 7).
Don't be like the stubborn mule that is restrained by a bit, but has no understanding.(Vs. 9)

Vs. 11 describes the way to joy and fulfillment. Read the Psalm and follow its advice.

Psalms 33

This Psalm is not identified by author. It is a song of praise and joy. It credits God with creation and a bird's eye view of mankind.

 The Psalm praises the musical instruments common at the time. The harp, the psaltery, and an instrument with ten strings are mentioned.

The Psalmist praises the Lord for his control of the world and its various aspects: the physical features, governments, human insight.

This Psalm contains many oft-quoted verses and phrases: vs 3 Sing to the Lord a new song,... vs.4 the word of the Lord is right, and all his works are done in truth. Vs. 18 Behold the eye of the Lord is upon those who fear him, upon those who hope in his unfailing love vs. 20 we wait for the Lord, He is our help and our shield. (quotations from the NIV) Read and reflect on God's promises and remember his love and mercy or loving kindness.

Psalm 34

This Psalm of David records David's dependence on the Lord when he sought help because of Saul's attacks on him.

Verse 1 reminds me of I Thess. 5:18. Even in bad times and with fearful events, it is still appropriate to praise God. We offer praise, not for what is happening in our lives, but for God who is our strength and shield.

Vs. 7 reminds us that God's angels are available when we go to Him in prayer. David is in trouble. He is in the presence of a king who is able to kill him or bring destruction on him at any moment. He is fearful, but God gives him assurance. He fakes out Abimelech by pretending madness. 

I see the hand of God in delivering David from Saul and even from Abemelech, but I can't recommend playing insanity! It is a hard act. Most people can't do it especially when they are facing people who know what insanity looks like.

David kept his eyes on God and was obedient, and God brought him through. That's the part we need to remember.

Psalm 35

Psalm 35 sounds like David is still in the sights of Saul. He prays for God to fight for him and to confound his enemies. His enemies had lied about him and charged him with things he knew nothing about. He had been kind to them, but they had rejected his help.

In vs. 17 he charges God, "How long will you look on, Lord? These people devise evil against the innocent. Lord, don't keep silent."(my translation). He calls on God to prompt the people to believe in his righteousness and he gives praise to God for his faithfulness.

Read my comments first if you like, then read the Bible and see if I missed anything, or read Psalms and then check out my comments. Either way, be sure to honor the Bible first and see if I help you understand or if I'm getting in your way. David was a pretty good writer as poets go.