Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Studies in Psalms 28-55|
Passage: Psalm 50
A. Find Out:
1. How is God shown? v.1-6
2. What did the Lord say He would do? v.7
3. What did He say about their sacrifices? v.8-15
4. Who did He speak against? v.16a
5. List the things they had done wrong. v.17-20
6. What did He say about all this? v.21,22
1. How were the good to maintain a right perspective over sacrifices?
2. How did the wicked think they were getting away with wrong?
3. Yet what does this psalm warn?
There seem to be two sides to this psalm. There are words to the righteous and words to the wicked. God separates them out and calls them to realise that He sees them differently.
First of all the righteous. They had been offering sacrifices just as the Law required. Yet there seems to be a sense that perhaps they had been feeling they had been good in bringing these offerings. The Lord wanted them to have a right perspective on this: when you offer a sacrifice it's no great thing. God didn't need the sacrifice, they did! God didn't need forgiving, they did! God didn't need food, they did! Everything belongs to God anyway, so He doesn't have a need. Sacrifices are for the benefit or needs of the people, it was to meet their needs, so there is no ground for pride in doing it.
Then comes the word to the wicked, where the Lord exposes them. They had (presumably) been offering sacrifices yet joining themselves to thieves and adulterers, and had been speaking wickedness and had thought they were getting away with it because the Lord has so far said nothing about it. Now He does! Now He faces them with their sin and severely warns them: stop doing it or you will incur the wrath of God in divine judgement. You can't be plainer than that!
1. Sacrifices are for our benefit, not God's. All we receive is grace.
2. God may not shout when you sin but He sees and WILL act.
Passage: Psalm 51
A. Find Out:
1. Of what is David aware? v.1-5
2. What does he ask to happen? v. 7-9
3. What then does he ask to happen? v.10- 12
4. What does he say he will then do? v.13-15
5. Of what principle is he aware? v.16,17
6. What does he finally ask? v.18,19
1. Read 2 Sam 12:7-9,13,14 to see the context of this psalm.
2. What do you observe is the order in v.1-15?
3. Why is the principle of v.16,17 so important?
David is aware of his sin (v.1-5)! He is aware of his transgressions (wandering from righteousness), iniquity (offence against God's holiness) and sin (wrong doing). He is aware that this is all against God. It may have involved people but all sin is against God!
He is also aware of HIS NEED FOR CLEANSING (v.7-9), his need to be washed so his wrongs are all taken away by God.
He is also aware of HIS NEED TO BE CHANGED (v.10-12), his heart needs dealing with so that he can remain in relationship with God. Without this change he is still lost.
He knows the EFFECTS OF A RIGHT HEART (v.13-15), that if God does this for him then he will be able to teach others and will be able to sing and speak praise.
Over all this, David is aware that it's a heart matter, not a matter of religious ritual. He can't get away with his wrongdoing by just bringing sacrifices, God wants a complete change in him , and he needs God's help to achieve all this. Without the Lord he is lost. Finally he appeals to the Lord (indirectly) to do all this for Zion 's sake, for the good name of Jerusalem , His city. When the king is right the city can be right. In all this David exhibits great understanding. Do we?
1. All Sin is against God. It is to Him we confess and seek forgiveness.
2. Confession alone is inadequate. It also requires a heart change.
Passage: Psalm 52
A. Find Out:
1. What was the evil man doing? v.1,2
2. What did he love? v.3,4
3. What will God surely do? v.5
4. What will others then think? v.6,7
5. How did David view himself? v.8a
6. What did he say he did? v.8b,9
1. Read 1 Sam 22:6-23 for the background of this psalm
2. What unholy alliance of heart & tongue is revealed here?
3. How was David not put off by this?
From the heading at the top of this psalm, we see David is referring to Doeg, and unrighteous man who sided with Saul and betrayed David in such a way that the priests who had helped him were put to death. Doeg - v.7 - trusted in his wealth in his station in life to curry favour in an unrighteous way with Saul. This man reveals his heart by the words that come out of his mouth. He boasts, he plots evil, he tells lies. The mouth speaks what is in the heart (Mt 12:34 ), the mouth reveals what we are really like on the inside! This man is revealed for what he is by his words.
David is sure that this man will not be allowed to go on, God will deal with him. The righteous onlookers will fear, understanding the wrath of God has brought judgement.
But David isn't put off by all this. He sees himself as an olive tree, flourishing in the house of God, as one who is growing in the presence of God. In that presence he can say he trusts in God's unfailing love. As a result of that he will be able to praise God and place his hope in God's goodness for whatever is to come.
2. Do we trust in God's unfailing love, despite whatever is happening?
Passage: Psalm 53
A. Find Out:
1. What is the starting point of the fool? v.1a
2. What is the general way of men? v.1b,3
3. What did God look to see and find? v.2
4. What should have happened? v.4
5. What had happened? v.5
6. What did David want to happen? v.6
1. How does unrighteousness follow from ungodliness?
2. What did David expect to have happened, but didn't?
3. Why had he expected that?
This psalm is a song about the folly of mankind. The one who says there is no God is a fool. Conversely find a fool, and he says there is no God. Godlessness is the first stage of folly. Because they are godless they have no means of restraint and so very soon godlessness is followed but corrupt (going bad, veering away from the good) behaviour. As a result, when you look around, you find there is no good anywhere.
Now David looks at their state and observes a situation involving the people of Jerusalem, and sees that their godlessness is shown in another form of behaviour - fearfulness. An enemy had come and had been defeated by the Lord, but the people were overwhelmed by their dread of what might yet happen. They had no security because they had no relationship with God. Well that's crazy, says David (almost implied in what he does say), because if they did feel like that you would have expected them to seek God for help in their distress, but no, they've all turned away and no one is seeking God for help. How stupid! If only, he goes on, salvation would come to Jerusalem again, if only the Lord would restore Jerusalem to Himself, then they would be able to rejoice again in the knowledge of the goodness of God!
2. When things go wrong, is the natural thing to do to seek God?
Passage: Psalm 54
A. Find Out:
1. What, in general does David ask? v.1
2. What, specifically, does he ask? v.2
3. What has been happening to him? v.3
4. What truth does he rely upon? v.4
5. What does he say he will do? v.6
6. Why? v.7
1. How does this psalm start out in desperation?
2. How does it end in hope?
3. Why do you think the change takes place?
The notes at the beginning of the psalm indicate that David wrote it when he was on the run from Saul and was likely to be betrayed by some of the people through whom he passed. He has a sense that he is about to be attacked by those who are against him and against God. His life is under threat. So what does he do?
He prays. Again and again we find that this was the reaction of David to difficult circumstances, to seek God. Moses was another man who had done the same. Whenever he had opposition or whenever he had a crisis we find him seeking God. Is that our reaction when things go wrong, when people seem against us, to seek God?
In his praying he declares the truth: God is for him! God is the one who will help him and sustain him. He knows that from his past experience. So, he says, knowing the Lord is my helper may all evil rebound on itself, may those who seek my downfall be destroyed. My God has faithfully upheld me and therefore I may expect Him to come against those who come against me. Very well, I will trust in this and I will simply get on and praise and worship my God because I know the outcome! He has delivered me in the past and therefore I can trust in Him for the present. It is as good as done. I will praise Him.
1. When crisis comes, is our first response to go to God with it?
2. When we pray, do we declare the truth and receive faith and peace?
Passage: Psalm 55
A. Find Out:
1. How does the Psalmist feel? v.2,4,5
2. Who caused him to feel like this? v.3,9,11
3. Who is it that really causes him anguish? v.12-14
4. How do the former group operate? v.9b-11
5. How does the latter person act? v.21
6. What is the Psalmist's answer? v.1,16.22
B. Think :
C. Comment :
Yesterday we considered those times when God seems far away. Today we consider another time when anguish comes, when those closest to us turn against us. First there are general enemies who are against him, the wicked who are always against the righteous. But then there is the one who has been a "close friend" who shared fellowship, who walked together with him before the Lord (v.13,14). But now this one has turned against him and whose words are smooth, enticing, but destructive (v.21). When those we love most, or who are closest to us, turn against us, that is one of the hardest things to take. With this comes a sense of hurt, rejection, loneliness, even grief and, like the Psalmist, we want to run away and hide from it all (v.6-8)
Yet in all of this David prays. He first shares his heart feelings of anguish, then he asks the Lord to deal with the enemy, then he declares in faith his knowledge of the Lord. "Cast your cares on the Lord" (v.22) is a summary of Jesus' words in Matthew 11:28-29. The Lord wants us to unburden ourselves on Him; His shoulders are broad enough to take it all. If we try to carry the burden alone, we'll go down under it.
RECAP - Psalms 50 -55
We conclude, as previously to 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.
Various of this group of psalms show us what was going on in David's heart through his varying circumstances. Psa 51 reveals his heart when he has sinned, in 52 he has been betrayed by Doeg, in 54 he has been betrayed by the Ziphites and in 55 he simply expresses his anguish for having been stabbed in the back by one close to him. In these his answer is to cry to the Lord and plead for His mercy and His intervention. The psalm of Asaph (50) challenges our attitude towards giving to God; not to impress but to bless.
Lord, thank you that you are with me and for me in whatever circumstances, bringing forgiveness and reconciliation and restoration through the death of your Son, Jesus Christ.
Below are summary tables of what we have seen in this set of studies
Theme of the Psalm
Lesson of the Psalm
As we look back over these psalms, most of which are attributed to David, we could almost just repeat our comments that we made at the conclusion of the first set of studies in Psalms.
Let's summarise those comments which apply equally here. David is seen as a man who:
- is a righteous man who nevertheless was very human and frail,
- walked closely with God, even though he failed on occasion,
- lived in difficult days with trying circumstances
- whose response to those circumstances was to cry to the Lord.
In addition we would emphasis the fragility of the spirit of this man who seemed to feel so much the oppression of those who came against him, and his own frailties and failures. These psalms are encouraging because they show us the heart of this man described as a man after God's own heart, and it is often encompassed by doubt and uncertainty, but still seems it seems to come through into a place of testimony of trust in the Lord. That is a powerful lesson!
B. Asaph & the sons of Korah
Book 2 (from Psalm 42 on) brings us the added wider perspective of the priests and prophet who also wrote psalms, yet they bring very similar cries to the cries of David, and make us realise that these are all cries of the human heart, common to each of us, especially the cries of the people of God who yearn for Him in the face of the world's godlessness.
The lesson is that it is not wrong to have doubts and concerns and to express them to the Lord. In fact their example encourages us to be real with God and to do the same to pour out our heart concerns to the Lord. That is being real! In the midst of that we also find mighty revelation and testimony. That is the wonder of the life of one of God's children: we can feel frail and weak and vulnerable, yet in the midst of it all we can still know the Lord and the wonder of the revelation He gives. Rejoice in the wonder of that in the midst of your uncertainties as you seek Him and find He is there and with answers!