Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Studies in Psalms 56-76|
Writers & Content
Both at the beginning and end of this series of studies, we include a table showing the whole content covered. Next to the study number we have included a letter indicating the writer of that particular psalm as noted in your Bible. You will see that right down to Psalm 70 they are attributed to David and when you come to individual studies you will see that 71 and 72 are also probably by David, which takes us to the end of Book 2. Psalms 73 to 76 covered here, starting us in Book 3, are all attributed to Asaph
A lot of David's psalms in this set of studies, continue to testify to the difficulties he coped with, struggling against enemies. Linked to that, perhaps, is his awareness of personal weakness and frailty. Mixed in with these are occasional psalms bearing testimony to God's goodness as our provider generally, for instance, and His provision of the Land and His power in victoriously taking the land.
Reading the Psalms
As previously we would like to emphasise that more than any other Scripture, the psalms are best read out loud. If you have the time, do read them out loud and catch the sense of what is being conveyed in a way that simple reading doesn't do.
Because many of these psalms of David especially were written in times of distress, they are really cries of the heart that probably find echoes in our own hearts when we go through difficult times. They are very human and very down to earth.
One of the things that also comes through these psalms, either linked to the pleas in anguish, or indeed even standing on their own, are testimonies to God's activities in the past. We need to learn again and again that our faith is founded on the historical acts of God. Our faith is bolstered when we remember what God has done for us. For the Old Testament psalmists this was always what God had done for Israel , from Exodus through to Exile. For us today it also includes the work of God through His Son Jesus Christ. We are what we are because of what God has done. These psalms reveal the Lord who stepped in and formed a people, and who was there for them, even when they were going through difficult times. We are reminded of His grace and His greatness as the psalmists cry out AND testify. Hallelujah
Theme of the Psalms in this Series
NB. The Letters with the study numbers = the author. D=David etc. See recaps.
Passage: Psalm 56
A. Find Out:
1. What had been happening to David? v.1,2
2. How further did he describe what they were doing? v.5,6
3. What did David say he would do? v.3,4,11
4. What did he feel about God's word? v.4,10
5. What did he ask the Lord to do? v.1a,7,8
6. What did he say he would do? v.12
1. Read 1 Sam 21:10-15. What phase of David's life is shown there?
2. What did David feel about his life at that time?
3. What kept him?
The note at the top of the psalm indicates he wrote this psalm at a time when he was on the run from Saul and had to flee to the Philistines, the enemy! Yet the enemy distrusted him and many of them wanted to kill him. Without doubt this was a time when David's life was under threat from every direction. Yet he was the Lord's anointed (see 1 Sam 16:1,13), so why was this all happening to him? Why was God allowing this? The answer comes in this psalm.
Three times in this psalm David declares his trust in God. It's easy to say you trust in God, but it's only when you go through difficult circumstances that the truth of that really comes through. When things are going well, when you have plenty of money and plenty of friends, and you have good health and the future looks good, it's easy then to say “I trust in God”, but what about when the opposite happens? How do we react when money is very short, when friends have drawn back from you, your health is breaking down and you worry about the future? Yet it is in these circumstances that our trust in God is proved to be genuine entire trust in Him alone
Passage: Psalm 57
A. Find Out:
1. How did David view the present situation? v.1
2. How further did he describe it? v.4,6
3. What was his response to all this? v.2
4. What did he want of God? v.5,11
5. What did he say he would do and why? v.7-10
6. What did he expect God to do? v.3
1. Read 1 Sam 22:1 What appear to be David's circumstances here?
2. What about God does David reveal here he knows?
3. How does that help him?
Several times in David's life between calling and kingship he found himself in a cave, which is what the note at the top of this psalm refers to. The most likely one is the one when he first flees to the cave of Adullam . He feels he is in a state of impending disaster (v.1), that he is being pursued (v.3), that they are out to kill him (v.4), having set a trap for him (v.6). His life is under threat.
What is David's response to all this? He cries out to God, he asks for mercy, he declares he will take refuge in God, he reminds himself that God has a purpose for him, he asks for God to be exalted, he declares he will praise God, and he declares God's love for him. Again and again when we study David, we find that as soon as he has a problem he turns to God and declares truth. What an example!
Why could David turn so easily to God? Because he was sure of God! He describes God as “God Most High” who rules from heaven, and whose plans involve David. He knows that this is not some all-distant, impersonal God but one who comes down and saves. Twice he refers to God's love and faithfulness. Our God is love (1 Jn 4:16 ) and so everything that comes from Him is love. All His encounters with us are love. But He is also unchanging and therefore when He has promised blessing, He is faithful and will do it.
1. Everything that comes from God is love. Am I sure of that?
2. God is utterly faithful. Can I utterly rely on that?
Passage: Psalm 58
A. Find Out:
1. Who does David first speak about? v.1a
2. What does he ask and what is his judgement? v.1b,2
3. How does he describe them? v.3-5
4. What does he ask of the Lord? v.6-8
5. What does he feel will happen? v.9
6. What will be the result? v.10,11
1. What does David say about the ways of the wicked?
2. What is his desire for them?
3. What does he feel will be the end result of that?
In this psalm David denounces the wicked, calls judgement from God on them and declares vindication for the righteous.
First he identifies the wicked. In this psalm it is unjust rulers that he speaks against. They should be rightly judging their people but instead of bringing peace, order and justice to their people, they bring injustice and violence. He then clarifies the way of the wicked and makes two important observations about them: first, they were wicked from birth. This is a key truth to understanding salvation, all have sinned and gone astray (Rom 3:12 ), all inherited sin, it was something that has been with us since we were born. Second, they are out of control. Sin seeks to be unrestrained (that is the picture of the snake that ignores the charmer). Sin feeds on sin. When God lifts off His hand of restraint, then sin breaks loose (Rom 1:24 ,26,28). Following this David calls on God to judge them, to destroy them and their works. Remove them from the earth, is his call. As he asks this (v.6-8) he has a sense within him that God will grant his request and that quickly (v.9). When this happens, he declares, the righteous will be glad, they will be relieved when evil is removed and all who watch will know that there is a God and His judgement has come.
1. Sin is inherent and we are helpless. We need God's salvation.
Passage: Psalm 59
A. Find Out:
1. From whom does David asked to be delivered (4 descriptions) v.1,2
2. What does he say about them and about himself? v.3,4
3. How further does he describe them? v.6,7,14,15
4. How does he describe the Lord? v.9,16,17
5. What does he ask the Lord to do? v.5,13
6. Yet what does he also ask and why? v.11
1. Observe the note at the beginning. Read 1 Sam 19:9-13 for context.
2. What TWO forms of opposition was coming against David here?
3. How did he see the Lord and what did he want to happen?
Saul has opened himself (through his disobedience) to disciplinary action coming from the Lord, in the form of being attacked by an evil spirit. This makes Saul violent and reject the man most able to help him, David. David has to flee but the words of Saul, and subsequently his followers, follow after David. But words aren't enough for the enemy, he will also act against David and try to kill him. David becomes aware of this and this psalm ensues. David sees those ordered by Saul to come after him as wild dogs (v.6), snarling among each other and prowling round looking for food, looking for someone to destroy. A very graphic picture of them! They are enemies (v.1), evil-doers (v.2), conspiring against him (v.3), ready to attack (v.4)
But David isn't down about this; his trust is in the Lord. He first describes God as the Lord God Almighty, the God of Israel (v.5). He is God who is all-powerful, the God who has made Himself known to Israel as the Holy One. He will have no problem with a few unrighteous men; He laughs at them (v.8). Yes, Lord, sweep them away, is David's request, but don't kill them outright, do it slowly so that others see and know it is You (v.11). To David, God is a shield (v.11), his fortress (v.9,16,17), one who will provide his protection from the enemy. In Him he can rest and be secure.
1. Do we understand God's greatness and holiness?
2. Can we say the Lord is our shield and fortress?
Passage: Psalm 60
A. Find Out:
1. What does David say God has done? v.1-3
2. Yet for those who fear Him what has He done? v.4
3. Then what does he pray? v.5
4. What was God's answer? v.6-8
5. What does David pray? v.11
6. What conclusion does he reach? v.9,10,12
1. What do the notes at the beginning indicate about this Psalm?
2. Yet what has been David's feeling about Israel ?
3. How did he come to a place of assurance?
According to the notes at the beginning of the Psalm, David wrote this Psalm during the fighting phase of his rule. In 2 Sam 8 we find a long list of victories given to David but we need to remember two things: 1) He needed to fight because his enemies were prevailing and had been encroaching into Israel, 2) Although we only hear of his victories, in the early days at least there must have been some defeats, for that is the tone of his psalm.
First of all there is a SENSE OF REJECTION (v.1-3) of Israel by God. Why else would the enemy prevail? Yet within that there is also a small SENSE OF HOPE (v.4), so we then see David PRAY (v.5) and ask for God's deliverance.
To this comes a PROPHETIC RESPONSE (v.6-8) from God that He has decreed that He will take back all the land that belongs to Israel which the enemy had taken. This enables David to come to a FAITH DECLARATION (v.9-12) where he declares that it will be God who will rise up again against the enemy for them. This order seen here in this Psalm is simple and vital. We must hold onto it.
Passage: Psalm 61
A. Find Out:
1. How does David feel? v.2b
2. What does he ask and why? v.2c,3
3. What does he yearn for? v.4
4. Yet what does he know about himself? v.5
5. What does he ask? v.6,7
6. What does he say he will then do? v.8
1. What need does David apparently have?
2. How does he see the Lord as an answer?
3. How, therefore, would you describe this psalm?
This psalm is a simple prayer that comes out of weakness (v.1). What that weakness is we're not told for David simply says “My heart grows faint”. That phrase would suggest he's rather cast down by the circumstances and feel like giving up. When he says “ From the ends of the earth I call to you” (v.2), there is a feeling that he feels distant from God. David's cry is, therefore, a cry to be brought near to God so that God can be a refuge or place of safety to him while he feels weak. He's known that in the past (v.3) and he knows what his place is as one who fears the Lord (v.5).
So what does he actually ask? First that God will actually hear him, will listen and take note of what he is asking. Second, that God would lead him to find the Lord (v.2c). Third, that the Lord would grant to him long life (v.6). Fourth, that the Lord would make him a ruler in His presence for ever (v.7a). Fifth, that he would be protected by the Lord's love and faithfulness (v.7b).
These things all come from knowing what his heritage (or inheritance) was, as one rightly related to God (v.5). He knew these things should be his so he asked for them. He knew that when he took hold of these things, as God granted them, he would be able to praise God (v.8) and get on and do what he had promised God he would do.
1. Knowing who we are in Christ is critical to how we live.
RECAP - Psalms 56 - 61
In this set of studies, as in the earlier psalms 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. Next to the study numbers, the letter indicates the writer. D=David
This group of Psalms, again from David, continues to reveal his heart as he struggles in the early days, against the Philistines and Saul and generally when he was coping with enemies. They remind us that life isn't always easy, and sometimes our struggles are because other people are not being friendly (understatement!).
Oh Lord, I am your child. Help me to be gracious to those who would not be gracious to me. Please be there for me and protect me against their words and their actions that would seek to harm me. Help me to have Jesus' compassion for them.