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Saturday, January 7, 2017

Psalms 36-40

Psalms 36

This is another of the Psalms of David. The introduction describes him as "The servant of the Lord."

Several of David's Psalms focus on his own sin and his pleading to God for forgiveness, but this time he is concerned with the people he sees around him, perhaps, in his family or his associates.

This is a sermon worthy of a great preacher. The sinful flatter themselves in their own eyes and don't fear God or recognize his authority. They make evil plans on their beds at night.

Vss. 5-9 he reminds us of the love and righteousness of God. He calls to mind the heavens, the mountains, the oceans for comparison. 
He claims the love and righteousness of God for those who know Him, but reserves destruction for the proud, the wicked and the evildoer.

Psalms 37

Psalms 37 is an acrostic poem with each verse beginning with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This one has an inconsistency in translation because there are 40 verses, but there are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. Usually the acrostic poems have 22 verses or a multiple of 22. Apparently some translation problem caused a variation in the verse count.

The sections or verses give an instruction followed by a reason or consequence.  One of David's major themes is the benefit of righteousness and the sure destruction of evil doers. Another repeated caution is against worry. He uses the word "fret." Vss.1,  7 and 8 and much of the text cautions against allowing your thoughts to dwell on negative emotions and internal anger and fear of the wicked.

Many of the verses are memorable and often quoted for support and inspiration. Vs. 4 is one that sustains and strengthens: "Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." Verse 25 is often quoted for strength in difficult times: "I was young and now I'm old, but I have not see the righteous forsaken or their young begging bread."

Many verses contrast the lives and expectations of the righteous and the wicked. Pay attention. You might find the reason for your situation here.

Vss, 39 and 40 give a summation of the ways and lives of the righteous and the wicked. It will give you insight into your choices. Read it with intention.

Psalms 38

This is a plea for forgiveness. David often pleads for forgiveness, but we are rarely aware of the name of his sin. In this Psalm he does not define the sin, but he is very expressive about the effects of it.

Proverbs 12:4 and Habbakuk 3:16 describes sin as having the effect of bringing rottenness to the bones. David does not use that expression, but he describes lack of soundness due to sin. He pleads for God to release him from the burden of sin. 

Festering wounds are gruesome and sin has caused him to be shunned by those who are closest. Sometimes those who would have been his companions may have avoided him because they fear judgment or because they are ashamed to be associated with him. Or maybe he is paranoid and they are not as repulsed as he believed. Either way, he is conscious of the sin and repentant before God.

Read it and see if he identifies ways in which you have failed to be obedient and repentant.

Psalms 39

Jeduthun was a musician in the Temple appointed by David. 

In the text of the Psalm, David decides to cease speaking to make sure he did not sin, but it didn't work. Like Jeremiah 20:9. the word of God became a flame and he could not restrain himself. He began to look on people and see the emptiness of life without God's provision. 

Life without God is a mist, a phantom, meaningless. Wealth is nothing. He fears God's judgment and dreads His word. He calls out for God's grace in his agony.

Psalms 40

Psalms 40 alternates praise with recitation of God's kindness. David is not overwhelmed by sin, but recalls God's goodness to him. He does plead for mercy and recognizes his sin, but he is confident of God's help and deliverance.