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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Psalms 66-70

Psalms 66

This Psalm is not attributed to an author, but it is characteristic of other praises written by David and other writers. It is called to the attention of the Choir Director.

It calls for joyful singing and praise. It is refreshing to see the Biblical command to engage in joyous celebrations of God's blessing and praise. In vs. 3, God's deeds are described as "terrible," but other translations milder descriptors. The Holman translation says "awe-inspiring," and the NIV says "awesome." The KJV says "awesome and fearfully glorious." These alternate words do not make God less mighty or powerful, but they emphasize God's might and power without the reference to terror. 

In verses 8-12, he cites instances in Israel's history where God preserved them and renewed his commitment to them.

In verse 5 the author issues an invitation to "come see what the Lord has done," then he goes on to list some of those mighty deeds. He does not minimize the testing of the Israelites but praises it. God has a purpose in testing. He wants his people to be pure and righteous.
I have heard method of refining gold and silver compared to the refining process in God's interaction with individuals and with the nations. The raw metal is heated until it is liquid and the impurities can be removed.

When the refiner can see his face reflected in the molten metal, it is ready for use. God wants us to be pure in the same way. He wants us to reflect his character and his actions. Don't regret God's refining process, but understand he has a greater purpose in your life.
The author points to the offerings and the sacrifices of Israel as evidence of obedience, but the sacrifice God blesses is the repentant heart. God has listened to his prayer and has not removed his steadfast love. 

Psalms 67

Psalms 67 is a straightforward prayer for all the nations.  In the beginning, he seeks God to be gracious. Pretty quickly he calls on the people to recognize God's blessing and receive their praise. The author recognized the blessings God has bestowed and calls people to join in his prayer of thanks. 

The last two verses recap the message: receive blessings and give thanks and praise.

Psalms 68

Psalms 68 is attributed to David. It is a song and a psalm directed to the Director of Music. It is listed as a Messianic Psalm by some theologians because of references to the King and His personal suffering

This Psalm identifies the power and majestic acts of God in the history of Israel. In the first three verses, David describes the power of God toward his enemies as scattered and confused and without strength against God. The righteous rejoice before him.
Vs. 4-6 continue the story of rejoicing for the righteous because God blesses His people, becoming a father to the fatherless and a defense for widows. He makes one comment on the plight of the rebellious: They will live in a sun-scorched land.

Vs. 14 refers to a location that is difficult to determine now. In the KJV it is spelled Zalmon.  In other Bible translations it is spelled, Salmon. The location is uncertain and is often confused with other sites.  Mount Zalmon was a woody area near Shechem(Judges 9:46). Mount Salmon, or Zalmon, was a high hill that often received heavy snow, hence the reference to the "the kings scattered on the mountain like snow" in vs. 14.

David enters a discussion of the habitat of God indicating he dwells on a high mountain. He mentions Mount Bashan and Sinai.
In vs. 19, he calls for praise because God bears our burdens and saves us. Then he shifts to a mortal response to war.

The description of the King's procession is grand. The congregation applauds and calls for shows of strength and might. He calls on the congregation to sing praises and acknowledge the glory of God in the heavens. He no longer sees God as residing on the mountain but in Heaven.
Read it and rejoice in His power.

Psalms 69

Psalms 69 is a psalm of David to the tune of "Lilies." It is considered a Messianic Psalm.

In this psalm David experiences threat and persecution. It sounds like he was in danger of death. It could have been during a military campaign. Or it could be a metaphor for the constant threat he felt from enemies in his court. As a Messianic Psalm, it details the threat Jesus felt from the public.(Compare Luke 24:4; Matthew 26:14)
David is conscious of his human frailty. Sometimes he has denied fault, but here is freely confesses a lack of connection with the people. They hate him without a reason. Jesus said, "Beware when all men speak well of you."

As a Messianic Psalm, Psalms 69 looks to prophecies of the Second Coming for fulfillment.

Psalms 70 

A Psalm of David. For the Director of Music. A Petition.

David has prayed this Psalm before. Now with the repetition, he is bringing to God's notice the success he had the first time, and the relief he expects again. This is not idle repetition, but a reminder to God that he is consistent and faithful.