Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Studies in Psalms 28-55|
Writers & Content
As we continue on through the Psalms you will note in your Bible at the top of most of the Psalms who they are attributed to. This set runs from Psalm 28 through to Psalm 55 which, as we commented in the Introduction of the first set, takes us into what your Bible divides and calls Book 2 from Psalm 42.
Up until Psalm 41 you will see that at the start of most of the individual psalms they are attributed to king David. When we move into Book 2 you will see they are also written by Asaph or the ‘sons of Korah', the priests. This means that the breadth of vision for these psalms is widened to include a variety of writers, but what you will find is that there is a remarkable similarity to the Psalms of David. In other words we find that all the psalms tend to be the cry of the human heart, especially the hearts of those in relationship with the Lord, as they wrestle with the difficulties of living in this Fallen World. On one hand they struggle to cope with the sins of others, and their own sins, and on the other they struggle in their yearning to know the Lord, the invisible God who is there.
Apart from recognising the division that your Bible makes of Book 2 starting at Psalm 42, in this set of studies we will apply no division headings which we believe would be artificial. Unlike the first set, we will simply start at the first psalm in this part and work our way through one by one in a consecutive order.
Reading the Psalms
What we would like to emphasise at the beginning of this set, and it applies just as much to the first set, is that more than any other Scripture, the psalms are best read out loud. A number of years ago the writer was asked to read psalm 22 out loud for a recording that would be used for a big service. Half way through the psalm I stopped. “I'm sorry, can we take that again, because I don't know how to read that because I'm not sure what it means,” I had to ask. Reading the psalms out loud does that. You get checked on your understanding of the heart cry of the writer. That's what these psalms are, heart cries of the writer and so they are emotional rather than cerebral. Let them touch your heart as you read them. These studies seek to help your mind take in what is in each one (a lot!) but let your spirit be stirred by the experience of each writer.
Passage: Psalm 28
A. Find Out:
1. What is David feeling and so what does he do? v.1,2
2. What does he not want to happen? v.3
3. What does he feel about the wicked? v.4,5
4. Then what sense does he have? v.6
5. What is he able to declare about himself? v.7
6. What is he able to declare about Israel ? v.8,9
1. What was David's fear that he was addressing through prayer?
2. How does he seem to get an answer?
3. In what does that result?
Initially David seems to fear getting swept away with all the rest of the wicked people. It seems as if the Lord is not noticing him and because he is aware that the Lord deals with the wicked, he is afraid that the Lord will just deal with him in the same way. For a moment he seems to lack assurance of his relationship with the Lord. Does that sound familiar? So he cries to the Lord (v.1,2), aware of the ways that God will deal with the wicked (v.3-5).
Suddenly there comes assurance! (v.6). That is how it is in prayer isn't it? So often as we pray, it seems, the answer comes. Often it isn't a word from the Lord but just a simple sense that the Lord has heard and that He reassures us. That is one of the blessings of prayer.
As soon as that reassurance is released in David he also finds a release of praise and testimony. At the start he spoke of the Lord as his Rock, the one on whom he would stand firm when all else around is unsure. Now he expands on that, the Lord is his strength and He is the one who protects him as well. As that reassurance comes, his heart sings for joy, and praise and thanks gush forth. Isn't that how it is, when reassurance comes after a time of anguish, wondering and waiting? Joy pours forth and releases faith for further prayer and petition.
1. We each need that sense of God's love upon us. Seek it.
2. When that comes, faith and joy are released. Hallelujah!
Passage: Psalm 29
A. Find Out:
1. What does David say we should recognise? v.1,2
2. What characteristics does he give to the voice of the Lord? v.3,4
3. List the things the voice of the Lord does. v.5-9
4. How does he view the Lord? v.10
5. What does he say the Lord also does? v.11
1. What activity of the Lord does David focus on here?
2. How does this make him think of the Lord?
3. What does he say should be our response?
This is the psalm of an outdoor man! It seems that at some time David had been out in the country when a storm broke loose. There was tremendous thunder that seemed to shake the ground, amazing lighting, terrible rain. Even the great cedar trees were lashed and broken, and the oaks beaten down. This was a serious storm!
As David gazes on this storm he sees in it the work of God. In the Creation God spoke and it was, and similarly here David sees that God speaks and the thunder crashes, God speaks and the lightning blazes, God speaks and the rain pours, and the end result is that the earth is lashed by the power of the Lord. Yes, he sees it as the power of the Lord.
In the twentieth century most of us have become so materialistic that we see little of the work of God in the Creation around us, we only see the work of the hands of man. Yet this is God's creation and David sees Him still active in it. David sees God as the Lord who is reigning over His creation, as the King or ruler over all things. That is why David, at the beginning of the psalm, exhorts us to give glory to God and worship Him for His utter different-ness (holiness) for His is so great and so powerful. Recognise the Lord's greatness is the message David cries out through this Psalm. Do we?
2. Give glory to the One who reigns over all things.
Passage: Psalm 30
A. Find Out:
1. List the things the Lord had done for David. v.1-3
2. What does David maintain about God's discipline? v.5
3. How had David been shaken? v.6,7
4. What had been the basis of his pleading? v.8-10
5. Then what had the Lord done? v.11
6. With what result? v.12
1. How had David experienced the negative side of knowing God?
2. How had he pleaded against this?
3. What had then happened?
This is a psalm of testimony. First David knew a time of the Lord's anger, then he cried to the Lord and then the Lord blessed him. Let's examine each of these.
First, his experience of anger. David had felt a sense of self-centred security (v.6), and that is always godless. It is the temptation that comes to all of us when we are prospering, that we forget it is God who brings us the prosperity. So the Lord simply stood back (v.7) and suddenly David was alone, his enemies rose against him and he despaired of his life. It only takes the Lord to stand back and remove His protection for us to realise our weakness, foolishness and vulnerability!
So then David cried out to the Lord; always the right response! He cries for mercy, not justice. He knows he doesn't deserve anything more than he's getting so he cries for mercy, that undeserved lifting of judgement. He has no other grounds on which to plead.
As soon as he came back into a right relationship, the Lord moved and delivered David. Suddenly everything changed. Suddenly it is dancing and joy, a singing heart and thankfulness. How quickly we can change when the Lord moved away and then when the Lord returns His blessing. He shows how weak we really are.
1. We don't deserve blessing but we can cry for it on the basis of mercy.
2. We are weak and the Lord is strong. Let's maintain that perspective.
Passage: Psalm 31
A. Find Out:
1. What has David done (v.1) and so what things does he ask ? v.2-5
2. What declarations of testimony does he then make? v.6-8
3. List the things he says about himself. v.9-12
4. What does he ask the Lord to do? v.15-18
5. What does he say the Lord does? v.19,20
6. What does he then say the Lord has done for him? v.21,22
7. What does he then exhort us to do? v.23,24
1. What was David feeling about himself that made him pray?
2. What was the apparent cause of those feelings?
3. What was he able to say about the Lord that gave him confidence?
Observe first what David was feeling : he was in deep distress and anguish (v.9,10) and that affected his very physical being. We all know that worry is exhausting, that it causes stomach upsets and generally throws our body out of line.
Next note what caused this : he had enemies (v.11, 15) who were wicked (v.17), slandering him (v.13), lying (v.18), plotting against him even to take his life (v.13). No wonder he felt stressed!
Then let's note David's knowledge of God : he knows the Lord as a refuge (v.1-4,20), his times are in His hands (v.15), God has unfailing love (v.16,21), He's utterly good (v.19). Even in distress, with this sort of knowledge he can be confident. It just needs speaking out.
Then see David's requests : for the Lord to be his protection (v.2), to be his guide (v.3), to free him from these circumstances (v.4), to deliver him from his enemies (v.15).
Finally see the answers to his prayers : the Lord heard him (v.22), expressed His love (v.21) and obviously preserved him (v.23)
Passage: Psalm 32
A. Find Out:
1. What is this Psalm all about? v.1
2. What happened when he refused to acknowledge his sin? v.3,4
3. What happened when he acknowledged it? v.5
4. What 3 things does the Lord say He will do? v.8
5. What is the psalmist NOT to be like? v.9
6. What characterises the life of those who seek the Lord? v.10,11
B. Think :
C. Comment :
Read 1Jn 1:9. The key word is "if"! The psalmist testifies to two phases of his life. In the first phase he refused to acknowledge his sin. Through that time, life was a heavy burden and great distress, with a sense of great weakness as God dealt with him. The end of that phase came when he confessed his sin. Because God loves us, He may take us through a period of weakness to bring us to the place where we will eventually face up to our true state.
As soon as he did that, God forgave him and covered his sin so it was as if it had never been. He then found that he had a relationship with the Lord where the Lord protected and preserved him from trouble and his enemies. The Lord also taught him, not in a vague distant way but in an intimate closeness so that he understood.
No longer was he like a beast in the field guided by a hard bit and bridle, but he now went as His Lord desired automatically. This relationship brought him a sense of being surrounded by love which in turn released a spring of joy from within. How different life now was, now that he had confessed, now that God had forgiven his sin and taken him into close relationship.
Passage: Psalm 33
A. Find Out:
1. What does the psalmist exhort us to do? v.1-3
2. Why? v.4,5
3. What has the Lord done? v.6-9
4. What does the psalmist say about the Lord's plans? v.10,11
5. What does God do (v.13-15), so what follows? v.16-19
6. So what is the psalmist's position? v.20-22
1. How is the Lord first shown to be almighty?
2. How is He then, secondly, shown to be almighty?
3. What effect should this have on our lives?
The psalmist is aware of the greatness of God and the effect that that knowledge should have on our lives.
After some introductory words about the word of the Lord, the psalmist focuses on the Lord's creative activity. He is the One who spoke and the world came into being. This is the God with whom we have dealings, this is the God with whom we dare to have a relationship.
But then he moves on. This God has plans and purposes and all of the shouting of men will not deflect Him from working those out. He watches over mankind and works for the good of His people. These are vital truths we must understand.
Now these truths should have effect upon us mere humans. First, they should create within us a fear or awesome respect for God (v.8). Is it there?
Second, they should bring us to a place of resting in the will of God, free from all striving for personal ambition, as we hope in Him (v.20-22). Are we doing that?
Third, it should bring us joy (v.1-3,21) as we realise the greatness of God and that that greatness is working for our blessing (v.18,19,22) . Is it there?
1. God is creator-sustainer of this world. Worship Him.
2. God is in control of this world. Rest in His love.
RECAP 1 - Psalms 28 - 33
In this set of studies, our recaps will be different from those usually found in Bible Alive Studies. We will simply produce a table as a reminder of what we have recently been reading in the Summary, and then a similar table in the Lessons.
This group of Psalms from David show us again and again something of David's relationship with the Lord. In two of them (28 and 30) he anguishes when God either seems silent or seems absent. Hearing and knowing God are crucial to David. In one of them (32) it was his own silence that kept the Lord at a distance. Relationship is about awareness and closeness. These are vital to the Christian.
Oh Lord, draw my heart, draw me close, give me a sense of your presence. Open my ear to hear you. I need you Lord, so much.