Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Studies in Psalms 101-118|
Passage: Psalm 111
A. Find Out:
1. What will the psalmist do, where? v.1
2. What 3 expressions of the same thing does he praise? v.2-4
3. What does He provide for whom? v.5
4. What has He done? v.6
5. What descriptions are given His works and His commands? v.7,8
6. What has He provided for His people? v.9
7. What is the beginning of wisdom? v.10
1. What is the purpose of this psalm?
2. What things are praised?
3. What do we learn of the Lord from them?
This is a psalm of praise (v.1) for the Lord is worthy of everlasting praise (v.10). In one sense everything here could be encompassed in “the works of God” which are referred to as ‘works' (v.2), ‘deeds' (v.3), and ‘wonders' (v.4). If you want a three point sermon they are ‘Great' (v.2), ‘Glorious' (v.3) and ‘Gracious' (v.4). Because of their nature they are pondered on (v.2), revealing His righteousness (v.3) and remembered (v.4). These are general descriptions. Specifically He provides (v.5) for those who fear, respect, honour and come into relationship with Him. He has made it possible to enter into a covenant agreement with Him, and has shown this by giving them a land for provision (v.6).
But then is a twofold description of His works. There are the works of His hands (v.7a) which are the things He created and the things He does, and then there are His precepts or instructions (v.7b), the direction and guidance He gives His people. These things bring security (v.8) by their nature, part of the redemptive package He provided for His people (v.9). Having this awesome respect that acknowledges His greatness (v.10a) is the beginning of wisdom and when you follow His way you will see how good it is and praise Him (v.10b)
1. Learn of God's deeds and praise Him for them.
2. Learn of His instructions and praise Him for them.
Passage: Psalm 112
A. Find Out:
1. How is the man who fears the Lord blessed? v.1
2. How will his family be blessed? v.2,3
3. What happens for this man and how is he described? v.4
4. Good will come to who? v.5,9
5. How is he secure in the future? v.6-8
6. How are the wicked contrasted? v.10
1. How is this man a blessing to those around him?
2. How is he blessed himself?
3. What is the cause of this blessing?
This psalm is about the man who ‘fears the Lord' (v.1), who is described as righteous (v.3,4,6,9) and gracious and compassionate (v.4). His heart is clearly turned toward the Lord because a) he delights in the Lord's commands (v.1) and as a result he has this healthy awesome respect for the Lord (v.1). That is his starting place. He trusts the Lord (v.7) and so he is secure (v.8).
Now because he is like this, his actions are also righteous. Acts follow heart attitudes. He is generous to those in need and lends freely (v.5) and has given to the poor (v.9). But these outward activities are not only an expression of his heart, they are also possible because the Lord has blessed him. His family is well established (v.2) and they are affluent and prosperous (v.3). Yet it is bigger than this; everything about him is blessed. Thus even in dark times the light shines for him (v.4) as God blesses his activities. As he blesses others and looks out for their welfare the Lord adds goodness (v.5) and thus he is well established so that his name will be remembered when he is gone (v.6). Whatever happens (v.7), he knows he is secure in the Lord's love, and so fear has no place in him (v.8) and his name will be lifted high (v.9). Indeed his enemies, the unrighteous, will see all this and will gnash their teeth in anger and in frustration (v.10). He is a much blessed man.
1. Blessing comes to the person who relates to the Lord.
2. Blessing involves giving as well as receiving.
Passage: Psalm 113
A. Find Out:
1. What is the psalmist's call? v.1,2
2. Where is the Lord to be praised? v.3,4
3. How does he see the Lord? v.5,6
4. Who does He help? v.7
5. What will He do with them? v.8
6. Who else does He help and in what way? v.9
1. What does the psalmist consider should be the extent of God's praise?
2. What is the first reason for praise given?
3. What is the second reason given?
This is a straight forward psalm of praise or, more to the point, of calling for praise. That is the initial call, to praise the Lord (v.1a), specifically those who consider themselves His servants (v.1b). Indeed this is not to be a quick burst for a moment, this is to be praise that goes on and on and on for ever (v.2). Indeed it is not to be limited in time, and it is not to be limited in location (v.3).
Now, as we might expect, there are grounds given for this praise. The first of those grounds is the Lord's greatness. He IS exalted over all nations (v.4a), He is glorified in heaven (v.4b), He reigns from heaven (v.5b) and there is no other like Him (v.5a). He is above all of our experience (v.6) and so He is vastly superior to us (implied).
Now if those are the aspects of the first of the grounds for praising Him, the second is in stark contrast: He comes down to earth and He meets the needs of the poor and the needy (v.7). These are the lowest of the low, people scrabbling in the dust or the rubbish heaps. Then the Lord comes to them and raises them, lifts them (v.7) and puts them on a par with the top people of society (v.8). Then there is the barren woman, alone at home (v.9a), who He comes to and enables to conceive so she has a family (v.9b). This is not a far off God, but One who comes to His world to bring justice and balance and goodness.
1. The Lord is Almighty, all-powerful, holy, utterly different.
2. Yet he comes to the weakest of the weak and loves them.
Passage: Psalm 114
A. Find Out:
1. To when does the psalmist look? v.1
2. What did the Lord make Israel ? v.2
3. What happened to what waters? v.3
4. What does he say the mountains and hills did? v.4
5. What questions does he ask? v.5,6
6. What does he tell the earth to do? v.7
1. What historical events is he looking back to?
2. How was the physical world affected?
3. So what seems to be the point of this psalm?
This short psalm seems a strange psalm when you really look at it. It is all about the physical world, not the people on it. It is like the psalmist is giving the physical world a wake-up call.
He starts by referring back to the Exodus when the Lord delivered Israel out of Egypt (v.1). Being a very simple psalm, he doesn't refer to the great events of the Exodus itself which were definitely physical manifestations, but picks up on some of the things that happened along the way of Israel , the land, becoming the place where God ruled, Judah the place where He established His sanctuary, the Temple (v.2). To bring the people from Egypt to the Promised Land required two lots of water to be moved, the Red Sea and forty years later the River Jordan (v.3). Now we aren't told in the historical record of any earth tremors but the psalmist envisaged the land rejoicing at God's work of delivering this people (v.4). So he addresses the waters and the hills and asks them why they moved? (v.5,6). The answer of course is because God made them move. So, he says to the earth, you should tremble (v.7) when the Lord comes because you don't know what He will do with you (implied). He had the power to bring water from the rock (v.8) so realise that He is Lord and He has power over the physical world. That is what this psalm is all about.
1. The Lord created this physical world.
2. The Lord can change this physical world. He is Lord.
Passage: Psalm 115
A. Find Out:
1. What is the psalmist's intent? v.1
2. What do people say and what does he reply? v.2,3
3. What can't idols do? v.4-7
4. What does he call Israel to do? v.9-11
5. Who will the Lord bless? v.12,13
6. What blessing does the psalmist bring? v.14,15
7. What observation does he close with? v.16-18
1. Why do you think the psalmist speaks about idols?
2. How is the rest of the psalm an encouraging call?
This is a psalm of affirmation of faith. It's both positive and negative. Let's take the negative first. The negative isn't about the Lord, but about idols. He speaks of idols to contrast (implicitly) with the Lord. Idols are purely man-made (v.4) and they can't speak or see (v.5) or hear or smell (v.6) or feel or walk or utter any sounds (v.7). In other words they are utterly impotent, lifeless wood, silver or gold. They cannot help you in any way! In fact those who rely upon them will end up equally lifeless! (v.8) Now the positive! It starts out with an acknowledgement that any glory is due to the Lord alone, not us (v.1a). His love and faithfulness are alone worthy of praise (v.1b). After the rejection of idols, which others use, come a threefold call to Israel , the priesthood and anyone who calls on the Lord, to put their trust in the Lord for He is both a help and a shield, a provider and a protector in other words (v.9-11)
This is followed by a declaration of certainty: The Lord WILL bless us, the people of God, whether we are great or small (v.12,13). As an expression of that certainty he declares what amounts to a blessing (v.14,15) because blessing always has a specific content. Look at it. He concludes with a recognition that everything belongs to God and while we are alive, we're the ones who should be extolling Him (v.16-18).
1. Realise the folly of relying upon the works of our hands.
2. Place your trust in the Lord alone.
Passage: Psalm 116
A. Find Out:
1. Why is the psalmist so grateful? v.1,2
2. What had been the psalmist's state? v.3,6b,8a,10,11
3. So what had he done and what happened? v.4,6b,8,9,16c
4. How now does he describe the Lord? v.5,6a
5. What does he say he will do now? v.12-14,17-19
6. What does it leave him feeling about himself? v.7,15,16
1. What had been the psalmist's plight?
2. How had that changed?
3. What does it leave him feeling?
This is a simple, straight forward psalm of thankfulness. We are not told the cause, but the psalmist had obviously feared for his life (v.3a). This left him feeling really bad (v.3b,c,10,11), as such a physically low state often does. He cried out to the Lord to have mercy on him (v.1), to save him (v.3). This the Lord obviously did (v.6b,8) so that the cause of his anguish was removed (v.8) and so that he could again regain his ordinary life (v.9). Even in his affliction he believed in the Lord (v.10) and his comment of verse 11 suggests that he challenged the words of others that he was under judgement and would die. No, he says, I trust in the Lord and in His love for me. I won't believe that!
Somehow the Lord delivers him. We're not told how; that's not the key issue. The key issue is what happened to him, how he felt, the fact that God saved him and then what he felt afterwards. He now feels incredibly grateful (v.12) and wants to receive all that God has for him as he seeks for an even deeper relationship (v.13) and will ensure he does all he should in living out that relationship (v.14). He affirms afresh he is the Lord's servant (v.16), having been saved from death (v.15), and so now he will do all the covenant requires. He will bring thank offerings and seek the Lord (v.17), he will do all he should (v.18) at the Temple of the Lord (v.19).
1. Thankfulness is practical.
2. Think of all you have to be thankful for and thank Him.
A. Find Out:
1. Who are exhorted to do what? v.1a
2. Who else are exhorted to do what? v.1b
3. What is the first reason given? v.2a
4. What is the second reason given? v.2b
5. What is the final call? v.2c
1. How are those who are to praise described?
2. How is praise explained?
This is a remarkably short psalm with examples of parallelism. In the first line there is a call and an identification of those the call comes to. In the second line, the call comes again but in a different word, and to the same group but again differently. Is there any significance in the different words? Yes!
First of all, the call. It is very simple and we see it so often that we probably take it for granted and therefore don't take it in. It is to praise or ‘extol' someone. Now extol means to lift up or glorify someone for who they are. This is what we do when we praise the Lord, we lift Him up in our prayers or singing, simply for who He is and His nature. Praise is slightly different from giving thanks, because when we give thanks we are expressing gratefulness for something that has been done for us. This call is to the whole world. It is first to nations, national groups of all people, but it is also to ‘peoples' which has a slight tribal or cultural element to it. Yet, simply, it is to everyone who lives in this world.
Second, the reason. Different versions express this verse differently. The NIV speaks of love and faithfulness. Some versions speak of His enduring love which parallels the faithfulness… forever. God is to be praised because His love is unique. It goes on for ever and ever. You can utterly trust in this love; it will always be there for you. This element of God's character is utterly dependable.
1. This psalm declares the absolute basic: God is love.
2. That love never changes, never varies, is always there for us.
A. Find Out:
1. Who are called to declare what? v2-4
2. What had been the psalmist's problem? v.10,11a,12a,13a
3. So what had he done? v.5a
4. How was he answered? v.5b,10b,11b,12b,13b
5. What does he feel now? v.6,7,14
6. What principle has he learnt? v.8,9
7. So what now happens and why? v.15,16
1. Recap: what had been the psalmist's state?
2. Recap: how had the Lord answered him?
3. What is the end result?
This is all about giving thanks for deliverance. The overall sense and primary call is to give thanks to the Lord for His goodness and His love (v.1). Remember yesterday we said that thanks is a response to the Lord having DONE something FOR US.
The psalmist explains that he had been in trouble with all the rest of the world against him (v.10-12), with the clear implication that they were out to destroy him. They were about to overcome him (v.13a) when he cried out to the Lord (v.5a). Note there is just that one reference to his crying out to the Lord; he's more taken up with what happened – the Lord answered (v.5b). The way of the answer was to enable him to overcome his enemies (v.10-12).
The outcome of all this is twofold. First it's about how he feels and second, it's about what he does. He now feels secure. With the Lord with him, who does he need to fear (v.6), for he can overcome his enemies (v.7). The Lord has become his strength and his means of salvation (v.14). He now knows that it is better to trust in the Lord than rely on supporters (v.8,9). As he result of this he now wants everyone to declare God's goodness (v.1-4) and he himself is part (implied) of the shouts of triumph in the camp (v.15) for he has been lifted high (v.16).
1. When the enemy presses in, cry to the Lord.
2. When the Lord delivers, give thanks.
A. Find Out:
1. What certainty does the psalmist now have & what will he do? v.17
2. What has the Lord done? v.18
3. What does he ask so he can do what? v.19
4. Why will he give thanks? v.21
5. What has happened to what? v.22
6. How does he view that? v.23
1. What does he start by saying the Lord has done?
2. How does the picture of v.22 also convey that?
3. What does it leave him feeling?
The psalmist had felt his life was under threat (v.13) but the Lord had saved him (v.14). Now he reflects on what has happened and what he now feels. He is assured now that he will live and not die, (v17a) and so he will tell out what the Lord has done (v.17b). The trial he had been through had actually been the Lord chastening or disciplining him (v.18a), but it was a chastening that fell short of death (v.18b). As a result of his chastening he wants to make sure he lives in the place of righteousness (v.19). Different commentators suggest these gates were either Jerusalem or the Temple , but I suggest that first they are simply the entry back into the righteous life, for that is always God's intent when he disciplines us. The gates through which the righteous may enter (v.20) are not only the gates for the righteous but the gates into the righteous life. He doesn't enter begrudgingly but with thanks (v.19b) for what the Lord has done in bringing him to this place. He cried to the Lord in the midst of that chastening and the Lord answered (v.21) and brought him salvation for which he is now very thankful.
Then comes a verse which appears as a prophetic fulfilment in the New Testament, but it must surely apply to him first. He imagines himself as a builder's stone that everyone else rejected (v.22) but the Lord placed him in the place of honour (at the top of the arch).
1. God disciplines those He loves and discipline is painful.
2. The purpose of discipline is to bring us into a place of righteousness.
A. Find Out:
1. How does the psalmist now see the day? v.24
2. And what does he ask of the Lord? v.25
3. Who does he greet? v.26
4. What does he invite them to do? v.27
5. What does he himself purpose to do? v.28
6. What does he finally call everyone to do? v.29
1. What do we see about prayer after deliverance here?
2. What picture or event is being shown here now?
3. What is the obvious outcome of deliverance?
Remember the context of all that follows. The psalmist had been under threat of his life from enemies, he had cried to the Lord and the Lord had given him the ability to overcome them. How is he left feeling? Jubilant!
It's a new day! That is his first feeling in today's verses. Yesterday was a day of threat; today is the day of salvation from the Lord, a day that He has brought about (v.24). But note what follows: a prayer for salvation (v.25), ongoing salvation we suggest. Just because yesterday has passed and he has been saved, doesn't mean he is casual about today and tomorrow. He recognises that he needs the Lord's help every day. Next we see where he is, the Temple of the Lord (v.26), as he greets others who would come and join his celebration.
In celebration they would process up to the Temple waving palm leaves or branches (v.27), acclaiming the Lord and the goodness of His provision. This is a time of public celebration. For the psalmist himself, he makes this declaration that he will give thanks (v.28), he will exalt the Lord publicly, acknowledging the wonder of the salvation He has brought him. It is good that there are times of public affirmation that the Lord is our God and at such times we encourage one another (v.29) to give thanks to the Lord for His ongoing love which has blessed us.
1. When God blesses and saves you, make sure you give thanks.
2. See each day as a new day and commit it to Him.
RECAP - Psalms 111-118
In this final group of 10 studies we have seen :
Here we have been reminded of God's mighty acts, the fear of the Lord, the Lord's greatness, His power over the earth, His worthiness of praise, His ability to deliver from death, His love & faithfulness and His power to deliver. It's all about God's greatness.
Lord, you are worthy of my praise. Please forgive me that I praise so little. Open my eyes to see your wonder please.
Reminder-Summary of the Theme of the Psalms
It is almost impossible to categorise the psalms, and even trying to sum up one psalm under a heading really only produces an inaccurate assessment, because most of the psalms have a number of elements in them.
There is often an indication of the problems that the particular psalmist is suffering. In that respect the psalms are very encouraging, for they show us God's people struggling with life. They struggle with enemies trying to bring them down or simply speaking against them, they struggle with health, and they struggle with doubts. Downtimes, of which there are plenty in the psalms, are times of vulnerability, when the enemy leans on us and doubts rise up to be fought off.
But then there are the psalms that are just full of praise at the awareness of God's goodness. At such times we are challenged: do we see the Lord in such glowing terms, and if not, why not? They remind us that these ‘up' times are legitimate, they are there to be part of our experience as the people of God, to balance out the difficult times. It's not hypocritical to praise God on one day and cry out on the next; that's just how life is.
The most important thing about the psalms is that they are testimonies of people's experiences of God. They tell us about the things God does, they tell us what He's like. Sometimes these may be experiences we've not had, but they are true nevertheless. They remind us of God's greatness, His power and authority, whether He does anything or not. At other times they tell us of specific things that He has done. They remind us that He is holy and righteous and we would do well to remember that. We are held accountable. But then they reassure us that He is loving, faithful, forgiving, full of grace and mercy. Every now and then there are little hints of His ‘big plan' and hints of the coming Messiah, His answer to our Sin, creep through.
Challenges to Thank, Praise, & Worship
Life dulls us. The psalms bring back perspective. They remind us that God has done things for us – and we should be thankful. They remind us how wonderful He is – and we should praise. They remind us how great He is – and we should worship. Natural responses to Him?