Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Studies in Psalms 77-100|
Passage: Psalm 79
A. Find Out:
1. What has the enemy done? v.1-3
2. How does the world look and what do they think? v.4,10
3. What question does the psalmist ask? v.5
4. What does he ask about enemy nations? v.6,12
5. What does he ask about Israel ? v.8,9
6. What does he want as an outcome? v.13
1. What has obviously happened?
2. How is the psalmist asking for judgement?
3. How is he asking for mercy?
The description of verse 1 suggests this is the time of the Exile for at no other time was Jerusalem reduced to rubble. The devastation is extensive and many have been killed (v.2) and there is no one left to bury the dead (v.3). That seems to be the background for this psalm.
Then comes the psalmist's concern for WHAT OTHERS THINK. Surrounding nations look on and see what has happened to Israel and deride them (v.4) and say, so where is this God who has supported you all these centuries? (v.10). The honour of the Lord's name is at stake here, through Israel.
There is also a PLEA FOR MERCY for Israel . He ask that the Lord will not hold their past sins against them (v.8) and that the Lord would forgive them on the basis of what it says about Him (v.9).
The other side of this particular coin is that the psalmist wants the Lord to come and deal with the nations that have done this, nations that don't acknowledge Him (v.6), that don't have a relationship with Him (implied), This is an outright desire for judgement on these nations.
But there is also a further plea that we haven't covered yet, a PLEA FOR THE PRISONERS (v.11). There ARE survivors. These, we know, were the ones going into exile. They too need the Lord's help.
1. When God disciplines it can seem final. It isn't.
Passage: Psalm 80
A. Find Out:
1. How did the Psalmist describe Israel ? v.8-11
2. What had now happened to it? v.12-16
3. What did he see as the cause of this? v.4-6
4. What does he ask the Lord to do? v.3,7,19
5. How does he refer to the Lord? v.1
6. What did he see as the necessary order? v.17,18
B. Think :
C. Comment :
In this psalm the writer again pleads with God to restore Israel . Again it obviously applies to the Exile but this psalm uses much allegorical language to catch the feeling of it all.
First he acknowledges the power and the might and holiness of the Lord who, in the past, has led them like a shepherd, caring for them, protecting them and providing for them (v.1,2). He sees what has happened as the result of the anger of the Lord but he appears to question why that is (v.12). He speaks of Israel as a vine taken from Egypt (v.8), made into a fruitful, flourishing vineyard (v.9-11). Now as he looks on Israel, all he sees is a picture of destruction. His natural question is "Why?" How often do we come to the same perplexing question?
From our perspective, through the eyes of the historians of Israel and the prophets of Israel, we now know that God was purging Israel of its idolatry, using the ungodly invaders from afar, but for the Psalmist in the midst of it, the question is still there, "Why?".
Sometimes we are almost too close to the situation to be able to see clearly and we say "Why Lord?" and as we have seen today, we have to wait, but in the meantime God does not chide us for asking.
Passage: Psalm 81
A. Find Out:
1. What does the psalmist cal for his readers to do? v.1-3
2. Why? v.4,5
3. What had the Lord done? v.6,7
4. What two things does the Lord call His people to do? v.8,9
5. What had he done, what did they do, so how did He respond? v.10-12
6. What would the Lord do for them if they would but listen? v.13-16
1. How would you summarise verses 1 to 5?
2. How would you summarise verses 6 to 12?
3. How would you summarise verses 13 to 16?
The psalmist starts with a CALL TO WORSHIP. It is a call to sing and shout (v.1) to make music (v.2) and to celebrate on the special days of the year (v.3). That is the simple opening of the psalm. Then he gives the reason to do this: because worship was a decree that god had given Israel (v.4) when they had started to get ready to come out of Egypt (v.5). Worship reminds us who God is!
Then the psalm comes with a prophetic reminder as the Lord speaks and reminds us that it had been He who had come and set them free from Egypt (v.6) and dealt with them in the wilderness (v.7). There is a CALL TO REJECT IDOLATRY (v.9) that is the other side of the coin of reminding them that it was He who had brought them out of Egypt (v.10). Worship of God alone keeps us from idolatry.
He reminds them of their INABILITY TO LISTEN to Him (v.11) which was why He had said, fine, go your own ways if that is what you choose. This is followed by the FRUIT OF LISTENING to Him (v.13) – their enemies being defeated (v.14,15) and there being abundance of provision in the land (v.16). Obedience has very practical outworkings. The psalmists call to worship therefore acts as a reminder of who the Lord is, keeps us from idolatry and encourages our obedience which opens the way for blessing. Hallelujah!
1. Worship with heart and mind – emotions and content.
Passage: Psalm 82
A. Find Out:
1. How is God shown in this psalm? v.1,8
2. What complaint does He make? v.2
3. What does He tell them to do? v.3,4
4. What words of judgement does He speak to them? v.5-7
1. If the ‘gods' were kings of the earth, what are they called to do?
2. What had they obviously been failing to do?
The only problem about this psalm is the reference to ‘gods' (v.1,6) who are even called ‘sons of the Most High' (v.6). The fact is that we know there are not lesser gods because the Bible is clear that they are simply the handiwork of man. It can't mean angels because the Bible doesn't show them having the role shown here, and powers and principalities that Paul speak about similarly don't have such roles. The most likely meaning is men in authority, kings and rulers. In this context ‘gods' are simply men that others look up to because they wield power and authority.
Having concluded that, the psalm is then simple and straight forward. The psalmist sees a vision of God who as The great ruler and judge, presides over all earthly rulers and calls them to account (v.1). He first of all accuses them of being unjust and impartial (v.2). In a Fallen World rulers often misuse their position and power. The Lord calls them to look after the weak and fatherless, the poor and oppressed (v.3) and to defend them from the wicked (v.4). Here, as if often seen in the Bible, God's compassion for the weak and needy is seen.
But then it is as if the Lord speaks about these earthly rulers. Great and mighty they may be, but really they know nothing and wander around unseeing and can do nothing when the earth is shaken (v.5). God calls them what men call them, ‘gods' for they are all made in the image of God, sons of God in this respect (v.6) but they are still men and they will still die (v.7) while God continues eternally ruling
1. If you have a position of power, don't abuse it.
Passage: Psalm 83
A. Find Out:
1. What does the psalmist ask of the Lord? v.1
2. What does he say is happening? v.2-5
3. Who does he say is involved? v.6-8
4. What does he ask the Lord to do? v.9-16
5. What does he want them to feel? v.17
6. What does he want them to know? v.18
1. Who are doing what to Israel ?
2. What does the psalmist remember?
3. So what does he want God to do?
This is a simple and straight forward psalm that calls to the Lord to deal with the enemies of Israel . It starts with a cry for the Lord to speak and act on their behalf (v.1), a cry to OBSERVE THE ENEMY. The psalmist asks the Lord to take note what their enemies are doing (v.2), how they plot against God's people (v.3) and plan to destroy them (v.4). Not only do they plot individually but they come together collectively to plot against God and His people (v.5).
He then IDENTIFIES THE ENEMY, he lists them, the people of Edom and Moab (v.6), Ammon, Amalek and the Philistines in the south and the people of Tyre in the north (7) and even Assyria (v.8) plus some lesser known places. These are the neighbours of Israel who again and again come against them.
He then REMEMBERS THE PAST and asks the Lord to do to them what he did to others who came against Israel in the past, when he rose up and brought them down before Israel (v.9-12).
Finally he ASK FOR THEIR DESTRUCTION. He wants the Lord to come and pursue them like a forest fire (v.14,15) so that they are brought to shame (v.16) and come to repentance and seek God. He want them to be finally dealt with (v.17) so that they will be humbled and will know that the Lord alone is God Almighty (v.18)
1. Being oppressed by then enemy? Call on the Lord?
Passage: Psalm 84
A. Find Out:
1. Where does the psalmist yearn to be? v.1,2
2. Who are blessed? v.4
3. Who also are blessed? v.5a
4. What have they done? v.5b-7
5. What would the psalmist rather be? v.10
6. Why? v.11
B. Think :
C. Comment :
This is a psalm that rejoices in the wonder of being in God's presence. It starts out declaring how God's dwelling place (the temple) is a wonderful place (v.1) and he yearns to be there to be with the Lord (v.2). He notes that even birds have made their nests there (v.3) and indeed anyone who goes to God's house to praise him is blessed (v.4).
The Temple, for many who live afar off, has to be a place of pilgrimage (v.5) and such a trip was a means of blessing for those who know God and get their strength from Him. On their journey they may go through dry places but it is as if those places will be transformed (v.6) as the thought of meeting with God in Jerusalem strengthens them (v.7).
The psalmist calls on the Lord to hear his call (v.8) and asks the Lord to look upon the anointed one, the ruler of God's choice (v.9) – is it himself? - because he would rather be a lowly servant in the Temple than live with the world (v.10). Why all this? Because God is like the sun who shines on his life and brings blessing, a means of protection, one who only brings good things (v.11). The psalm is a testimony to the knowledge of the Lord and the ache for the Lord that the psalmist has. It would appear that for some reason he is largely prevented from going to the Temple and thus he envies the birds who live there and the pilgrims who visit there. He knows that in God's presence is blessing and his heart yearns to be close to the Lord. And us?
A. Find Out:
1. What does the psalmist remember? v.1-3
2. What does he ask the Lord to do? v.4-7
3. What does he say he will do? v.8
4. How does he reassure himself? v.9
5. What are the characteristics he knows come with the Lord? v.10,11,13
6. What is his hope? v.12
1. How does the psalmist encourage himself by looking back?
2. What does he know about when the Lord comes?
3. So what is his yearning and his plea?
This psalm obviously comes at a time when Israel are going through a time of chastening. The psalmist, as he speaks to the Lord (v.1-7), first reminds the Lord that He has in the past shown them favour and restored them already (v.1), and forgave them when they sinned (v.2). Look Lord, you put aside your anger then (v.3), is what he seems to say, so won't you do it again and restore us (v.4) again. Please don't let your anger against us go on and on for ever (v.5), please revive us so we can become again the people who praise you (v.6). Please come and save us because of your unfailing love (v.7).
Thus this first part is a prayer of reminder and request. Then the psalmist talks to himself. He's prayed and so now he will listen to what God will say (v.8). He knows God wants peace for his people – as long as they don't return to their folly of godlessness. God's salvation is there for all who turn to Him (v.9) and His salvation means Him coming and His glory returning to the land. When His glorious presence returns then the land knows love, faithfulness, righteousness and peace (v.10). Like fresh sprouting seed, faithfulness will spring up afresh in the land and righteousness will be declared from heaven (v.11). When God comes, blessing comes with Him and the land will be blessed and will be fruitful again (v.12) and He prepares to come again to them,. (v.13) to dwell in their midst.
1. Recognise God's absence from the Land and cry for Him to come.
A. Find Out:
1. Who is David struggling with? v.14
2. What does he ask the Lord to do? v.1,6
3. What three specific things does he ask the Lord to do? v.2-4
4. What does he know about the Lord? v.5,7,8-10
5. What more does he know about the Lord? v.13,15
6. So what does he ask of Him? v.11,16,17
1. List all the things about God that David speak about.
2. What is David's apparent need?
3. So what is he confident to ask for?
This is very much a psalm of reassurance. David speaks a lot of truth about what he knows of the Lord, and this gives him confidence to ask a number of things of the Lord, to help him. As in our questions above, it is useful to note that the cause of this psalm is that David is having trouble with people (v.14) and ask for the Lord's help against them, arrogant men who seek David's life.
He first of all asks the Lord to listen to what he is saying (v.1,6) and he asks on the basis of the relationship that he has with the Lord (v.2) for the Lord to guard him against these people. Protection is his first obvious need. He appeals to the Lord's mercy (v.3) and asks Him to come and restore him and life up his sagging spirits and bring joy to him (v.4). His knowledge of the Lord bring him confidence that God is forgiving and loving and good (v.5,15) and will come in answer to his prayer (v.7). He knows that there is no one else like the Lord (v.8) and all God's enemies will one day have to come to acknowledge Him (v.9,10) so (implied) these present enemies aren't a problem!
He has the confidence to ask the Lord to teach and guide him (v.11) for he knows he is loved (v.13), but he still needs strength and needs to be saved (v.16) and looks for encouragement (v.17) that will be also seen by his enemies, to comfort him and shame them.
1. God IS loving, compassionate, forgiving. Rejoice in this!
2. When enemies rise up, turn and call on the Lord.
RECAP - Psalms 79-86
Again 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. A = Asaph, K = Sons of Korah, D = David
Variety of authors and variety of content. A cry from Exile, a warning against stubborn hearts, a call for justice, two cries for protection, a yearning for more of God and a call for restoration. Different aspects of life with God.
Lord, thank you that you are here with me, in good and bad times. Hold, me, keep me and let me know more of you.