Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Studies in Psalms 77-100|
Passage: Psalm 87
A. Find Out:
1. Where has the Lord established and where does He love? v.1,2
2. What have been written of the place? v.3
3. Who acknowledge Jerusalem ? v.4
4. What comes out of the special-ness of Jerusalem ? v.5
5. What will the Lord write? v.6
6. What will those people do? v.7
1. What is special about Jerusalem according to this psalm?
2. What does the psalm say about the inhabitants?
3. What, particularly, marks out Jerusalem for the Israelites?
For is today this is a simple but strange psalm. It simply heralds Jerusalem . The actual name Jerusalem is not used, only Zion , the main mountain (hill) upon which the city is built. Again, perhaps because it is such a short psalm, it doesn't give the primary reason why Jerusalem is so special, beyond saying it is where the Lord has set His foundation' it is the place where God established a meeting place with His people. In that sense it was a portal to heaven, the only one on the whole earth. It is thus a place that the Lord loves (v.2), a place where the glory of the Lord was revealed (v.3) and a place that was known of all around the world (v.4).
Yet the focus of this psalm is really none of that; that is merely the background. The focus of this psalm is the wonder of being an occupant of Jerusalem - at least that is how it appears at first. But verse 4 seems to indicate that a lot of non-Jews were born' in Jerusalem . Twice more (v.5,6) there is reference to those born' in Jerusalem, and we suggest that in fact the psalmist means that every person or creature, wherever they are in the world, who acknowledges the Lord, has the origins of their belief in Jerusalem, in the facts of history that indicate that it was there God revealed Himself to His established people.
2. We too are in the register of those born in Zion . Hallelujah!
Passage: Psalm 88
A. Find Out:
1. What form does this psalm take? v.1,2,9b,13,14
2. What does the psalmist feel? v.3-5,15
3. What does he see as the cause of this? v.6-8,16-18
4. What basis does he use for his plea for help? v.10-12
1. What appears to be the nature of the psalmist's plight?
2. What does he see as the cause of that?
3. What is the basis of his appeal?
This is a strange psalm in that we are told a lot, but a lot is left unsaid. It is first and foremost a plea for help from the Lord. In that sense it indicates a man who has some sort of relationship at least with the Lord. He sees the Lord as one who saves him on a daily basis (v.1). Now that is strange because elsewhere he feels the lord has rejected him (v.14).
The cause of the psalmist's anguish seems to be his state of health. He feels near to death (v.3-50 and in fact has been like this ever since he was young (v.15). The nature of his illness is not stated but twice he speaks of his friends having been taken away (v.8,18) and says he has been made repulsive (v.8). It is possible, therefore, that he is a leper. The main thing that seems to come out of this psalm though, is his blaming the Lord for it. The Lord, he says, has done this (v.6-8, 16-18). Now whether or not that is true is unclear. He certainly sees affliction as God-sent.
The reality is that, living in a Fallen World, we suffer the things of the world, simply because we are part of it, and affliction, infirmity, being disabled, isn't necessarily anything to do with our personal sin, but more the state of the world.
His appeal to the Lord suggests a man with a shallow knowledge of the Lord. He doesn't appeal to the Lord's love or faithfulness but on the basis of what good is it for him to go to death because dead men can't hear the wonders of the Lord or praise Him.
1. In anguish we can lose perspective. Beware!
Passage: Psalm 89:1-18
A. Find Out:
1. What two things does the psalmist speak about? v.1,2
2. Who had the Lord spoken what about? v.3,4
3. What characteristics are extolled in v.5-8?
4. What aspect of the Lord is extolled in v.9-13?
5. What characteristics are extolled in v.14?
6. How are people blessed with God? v.15-18
1. What characteristics of God are repeated again and again?
2. What point is being made in v.5-8 and then in v.9-13?
Because this is a large psalm we will take it in 3 parts. The difficulty of that is that the reason for the first part (v.1-18) doesn't become clear until v.38 where it is clear that Israel has been severely disciplined by God.
In this first part there is a brief reference to the Lord having called David (v.3,4) into an everlasting covenant. That will be expanded upon in v.19-29 which we'll see in the second part. So what are the primary characteristics of this first part? They are the constant references to the Lord's love, justice and faithfulness. God's love is referred to in v.1,2 & 14, while faithfulness is referred to in v.1,25,8 & 14. The emphasis is clearly on God's faithfulness. it is almost as if the psalmist is having to convince himself of this characteristic of the Lord in the face of the calamity that, as yet, he daren't bring out into the open.
In v.5-8 he emphasises the Lord's greatness, a God who is greater than any other being. He expands that in v.9-13 reminding us that God created the world (v.11). Then he moves into a passage of praise and speaks of those who are blessed by acknowledging the Lord's righteousness (v.16) and for whom the Lord is a shield (v.18)
In all this the psalmist recites what he knows to be true, yet in the back of his mind is the calamity which he doesn't understand.
1. When we don't understand what is happening, speak truth.
Passage: Psalm 89:19-29
A. Find Out:
1. What had the Lord said He had done? v.19,20
2. What did the Lord say He would do for him? v.21-24
3. How will he know the Lord? v.26
4. How will He appoint him? v.27
5. How long will the Lord love him? v.28
6. How long will his line last? v.29
1. Why had David become a king?
2. Why had he been victorious?
3. What security had he had about the future?
Bear in mind that in the final part of this psalm, the psalmist is going to bring out his reservations about what has happened to Israel . In the first part, we saw previously, he declared basic truths about the Lord that He is loving, faithful and just. This centre part is what makes the complaint or query that follows, so difficult. If God had said nothing about David or Israel 's future, what had happened would have been bad, but not so bad as it appears. This is very apposite for us, for we come to Christ and preachers declare such great things and then it all goes wrong and we are left wondering about all that had been said. This, for this reason, is a very powerful psalm.
So, in this part we are reminded that David had been king because the Lord had called him, but He didn't just call him, He said great things about him and about his future. The Lord said He would strengthen and sustain David (v.21), and He had. He said that David would overcome his enemies (v.22,23) and he had. He said that David would have a close relationship with Him (v.26) and he did. He said David would be the first of God's kings and would be more glorious than others (v.27) and he was. He said His love would always be upon David (v.28) and that he would be established for ever (v.29) but now something has happened that puts a question over that last part. What has happened? See the next part!
1. Remember that whatever is happening isn't the end of the story.
2. Ask God for wisdom if the way isn't clear (Jas 1:2-5)
Passage: Psalm 89:30-52
A. Find Out:
1. What did God warn about David's sons? v.30-32
2. What did He say He would not do? v.33,34
3. What did He reiterate? v.35-37
4. Yet what did the psalmist see had happened? v.38-45
5. What questions did he ask of the Lord? v.46,49
6. What did he ask the Lord to do? v.47,50,51
1. What were the two sides of what god had said?
2. Yet what did the psalmist feel had happened?
3. What do you think was the truth of the situation?
There were times in the life of Israel ( Judah ) when God's discipline on their ungodliness or their unrighteousness in the form of an enemy who oppressed them. The Exile was the ultimate of such times and surely each time it must have been difficult to hold onto the truth God had a covenant with them and would not break it. What is also difficult to remember is that the covenant also involved Israel being chastised for their sins (v.30-32) but even though that may be happening, God would not remove His love from them (v.33) and would not forget His covenant with David (v.34-37)
When such a chastising came, it appeared as if God were rejecting His people (v.38), renounced His covenant (v.39), allowed an enemy to prevail (v.40-43) and put an end to his throne (v.44,45). Until God brought them through and restored them, there was always the question is this the end of us?
Thus the psalmist cries out and that is both natural and good for the lord to come and end it and restore the people to Himself. How long will things go on? (v.47) If it goes on for too long I'll never see the restoration (v.48). Where is that original love? (v.49). Look Lord, and see how the rest of the world taunts the people of God (v.50,51). Surely that can't glorify the lord (implied), yet I will praise Him (v.52)
1. Turmoil, upheaval and misunderstanding are part of life.
2. They are times of testing and training (Jas 1:2-4)
Passage: Psalm 90
A. Find Out:
1. How long had the Lord been what? v.1,2
2. What does the lord do, for what are men like? v.3,5,6
3. What is their state? v.7-10
4. Of what is he aware, so what does he ask? v.11,12
5. What further 3 things does he ask? v.13-15
6. What finally does he ask of the Lord? v.17
1. What characteristics of the Lord are seen here?
2. What about time is Moses aware?
3. What about themselves is he aware?
The central sense is of God who is everlasting (v.1,2) and that time, our time, is like a drop in the bucket (v.4,10). But He is also a holy God who sees everything (v.8) and judges. The secondary sense is about the frailty of man who returns to dust (v.3), who are like grass that comes and goes so quickly (v.5,6). Moses is aware of their need of the Lord's help to make the most of the fleeting days that they have (v.12)
Also coming through strongly is that sense that God is currently angry with them (v.7) and has afflicted them (v.15) and so Moses wonders how long this will go on (v.13). His plea is that the Lord will look upon them with compassion (v.13) and that by the next day His love will be expressed and known by His people (v.14) so that joy will be theirs again (v.14,15). He asks that they may see the deeds of the Lord again (v.16), for wherever God is close to His people, he acts and odes things for them. They had known this in the past and he wants them to know it again this wonderful moving of God in them, around them and for them. His final request is that God's favour or blessing will be upon them, God's decree of good for them, for when it is, then the things they do will be established. So often time or the enemy sweeps away the fruit of our activities, but Moses knows that when the lord blesses them, what they do will be established and will remain.
1. With God's blessing comes a sense of fulfilment & achievement.
A. Find Out:
1. How is closeness to the Lord first portrayed? v.1,2
2. What is the second such picture? v.4
3. What is the first consequence of that? v.3,5-8
4. What will the Lord do? v.11,12
5. What will you be able to do? v.13
6. What are the 5 "I will"s by the Lord? v.14,15
B. Think :
C. Comment :
First of all we note the Psalmist's POSITION, close to the Lord, in His shadow, "under His wing". As Christians today we are "in Christ" (e.g. 2 Corinthians 5:17 ). All our characteristics and activities follow from WHO we are and WHERE we are. Then comes the CONFIDENCE OF FAITH concerning PROTECTION, "surely He will save you" (v.3). He is confident that the Lord will guard him, keep him from evil, and protect him. Meditate on 1 John 5:18.
How many modern day Christians have the same confidence in God's promises like the psalmist had? Yes, there are battles, there are failures, but God promises that He will be with us in it all (Hebrews 13:5b,6).
Third in the psalm we see RELATIONSHIP with the Lord, much of which indicates that we will have difficulties, we will have troubles, where we will need the Lord to help us. "I will rescue... I will protect.. I will answer... I will be with... I will deliver..." all reveal a personal God who comes to us in our life situations which are not always easy.
Yes, the Psalmist reminds us of our position with the Lord, challenges us to be people of faith and comforts and reassures us with the promise of the Lord's activity with us.
RECAP - Psalms 87-91
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. K = Sons of Korah, E = Ethan, M = Moses, U = Unnamed
Again a variety of authors and a variety of content. Psa 89 stands out by length and is almost a psalm of confusion why Lord? 88 & 90 comes as cries of anguish in places of weakness and illness. 87 stands out in contrast, on the wonder of living in Jerusalem and 91 stands out as a testimony to the Lord's protection and blessing.
Lord, when I am going through trying times, please remind me of the truths of your word and let your grace flow in me. Thank you that in Christ I am secure.