Monday, September 24, 2018

READ IT! - Introduction to Psalms 136-142

Readings for this week

Monday: Psalm 136
Tuesday: Psalm 137
Wednesday: Psalm 138
Thursday: Psalm 139
Friday: Psalm 140
Saturday: Psalm 141
Sunday: Psalm 142

Introduction to Psalms 136-142

Psalm 136 

The anonymous author of this psalm writes, “Give thanks to the LORD, his love endures; who spread out the earth, his love endures; who led Israel out of Egypt, his love endures.” 

“The God of heaven” was a Persian title for God frequently found in the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Daniel. 

Psalm 137 

The anonymous author of this psalm writes, “By the rivers of Babylon, we wept when we remembered Zion. How can we sing the LORD's song? O Babylon, happy the one who repays you!” 

This psalm is one of the more violent psalms and speaks of how the Jews were destroyed by the Babylonians and carried away as captives. This psalm ends with a call for vengeance against those who had done them violence. 

The Jews wanted the Babylonians to pay for what they had done to their people, saying, "If only we could do to you what you did to us! How would you like it if we smashed in the heads of your babies like the way you did to ours?" 

Psalm 138 

David writes, “I give you thanks, O LORD! All the kings of the earth will praise you. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life.” 

Psalm 139 

David writes, “O LORD, you have known me. Where can I go from your Spirit? You knit me together in my mother's womb. Search me and know my heart.”

This psalm is in my opinion one of the most beautiful of all the psalms. It portrays a God beyond escape, a God who is everywhere at all times and who sees and knows everything. 

God is in heaven, but he is also in the earth, in all of its farthest corners and hidden places - even in death itself, God is there. 

No matter where we end up, God will always be there with us. Nothing is hidden from his sight. He knows the past, the present, and the future, and he knows our very thoughts before we even know them ourselves. But more than that, He chooses to make His own thoughts known to His people. He chooses to be intimate with us. And he leads us out of our own decay and inclination toward evil, and into his own everlasting and healing nature. 

Psalm 140 

David writes, “Rescue me, O LORD, from evildoers; protect me from the violent. You are my God, my salvation. The LORD executes justice for the poor.” 

Psalm 141 

David writes, “O LORD, may my prayer be as incense. Do not turn my heart to evil. Let the righteous rebuke me. Keep me from the traps of the wicked.” 

Psalm 142 

This Davidic psalm opens with an introduction that states that this is a prayer from the time when David was in the cave. He writes, “I cry out to the LORD! When my spirit is faint, you know my path. Save me from my persecutors! You will deal bountifully with me."

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