BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 11, Day 4: Psalm 19

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Summary Psalm 19:

The heavens and skies proclaim God’s existence and His glory. God’s laws are perfect, his commands radiant, his statutes trustworthy. Keeping God’s laws is rewarding. May I follow God’s laws. May my words and heart be pleasing to you, God.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 11, Day 4: Psalm 19:

9) All attributes of God are revealed through Creation: his goodness, his perfectness, his omniscience, his omnipotence, his holiness, his justness, his everything.

10) Part personal Question. My answer: Perfect, radiant, right, giving joy to the heart, reviving the soul, trustworthy, making wise simple, giving light to the eyes, sure, altogether righteous, more precious than gold, sweeter than honey, great reward when kept. David said this much more eloquently than I ever could, but I love God’s rules. It gives life structure, meaning, and boundaries. God’s laws are good as He is good.

11) Part personal Question. My answer: Studying God’s Word according to David revives the soul, makes wise the simple, gives joy to the heart, gives light to the eyes, sweeter than honey, warns the servant (us), and rewards us. Studying God’s Word has kept me from totally being full of sin. My knowledge has deepened, my relationship with God is closer, and I grow more and more like Jesus with each passing day. I have hope I can someday be a good person.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 11, Day 4: Psalm 19:

Beautiful in its simplicity, God’s law gives us a reason to live and God’s Creation affirms his glory and power.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 11, Day 4: Psalm 19:

The title tells us both the author and the audience of the Psalm: To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. Some believe that the Chief Musician is the Lord God Himself, and others suppose him to be a leader of choirs or musicians in David’s time, such as Heman the Singer or Asaph (1 Chronicles 6:3316:17, and 25:6).

C.S. Lewis said of Psalm 19: “I take this to be the greatest poem in the Psalter and one of the greatest lyrics in the world.”

Aristotle said, “Should a man live underground, and there converse with the works of art and mechanism, and should afterwards be brought up into the open day, and see the several glories of the heaven and earth, he would immediately pronounce them the works of such a Being as we define God to be.”

Astronomer and physicist Robert Jastrow, “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

Paul later clarifies David’s sentiments in Psalm 19 in Romans 1. Paul explaines God’s invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse (Romans 1:20). Because this testimony had gone out through all creation, all men are without excuse for rejecting the God who gave us such clear (and beautiful) evidence of His power and wisdom.

God’s Glory announced in Creation

  • Size
  • Engineering
  • Artistry
  • Goodness and kindness

“Pour forth speech” is stronger in the Hebrew text than it appears to be in English, for the image is literally of a gushing spring that copiously pours forth sweet, refreshing waters of revelation.

The heavens never cease declaring and proclaiming God’s majesty and glory.

Verse 7 has David shifting from praising the God who reveals Himself in creation to praising the same God for revealing Himself in His word.

Philosopher Kant’s famous quote: Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe… the starry heavens above and the moral law within.”

God’s word tells us much more tells us about God than Creation. It reveals Him as the covenant God of love, as reflected in the structure of this psalm. In Psalm 19:1-6, God is referred to as El – the most generic word for God in the Hebrew language (even more generic than the commonly used Elohim). Yet here at Psalm 119:7-9, God is referred to as Yahweh (the LORD), the God of covenant love and faithfulness to His people. This is the personal name God revealed to Moses from the burning bush (Exodus 3:15).

In Psalm 119, David used a variety of expressions to refer to the word of God (law, testimony, statutes, commandment, fear, judgements.)

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How is God’s Word perfect?

  • The word gives us all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). While it does not give us all knowledge, all the knowledge it gives is true and perfect. Understood in its literary context, God’s word is never wrong in science or history or the understanding of either divine or human nature.
  • Part of the perfection of God’s word is that it is effective; it does the work of converting the soul. There is power in the reading, hearing, and studying the word of God that goes beyond intellectual benefit.

The Hebrew word translated here as converting is perhaps better understood as reviving; that is, bringing new life to the soul.

How is God’s Word simple?

  • The word of God is sure, being reliable and certain. As the Psalmist would write at Psalm 119:89Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.
  • Because God’s Word is so sure and certain, it does the work of making wise the simple. Many people of simple education or upbringing have tremendous wisdom unto life and godliness because they study and trust the sure word of the LORD.

How is God’s Word right?

  • God’s word and the commands are right. They are morally right, practically right, and universally right. They are right because it is the revelation of a God who is holy, true, and always right.
  • Right means to make straight, smooth, right, upright.

How is God’s Word pure?

  • God’s word comes from a God who is Himself pure and holy. A pure God can communicate no other way. We never have to worry about the word of God leading people into sin or impurity; if it seems to have happened, it is evidence that the scriptures have been twisted (2 Peter 3:16).

How is God’s Word clean?

  • The word of God is clean, and therefore is enduring forever. It will never fade or corrode, diminishing because of impurity. It is clean and it makes us clean.

Here David called the word of God the “fear of the Lord.” One who reads, hears, and studies the word of God  will have an appropriate appreciation of God’s awe and majesty.

IMPORTANT FACTS TO REMEMBER ABOUT KING DAVID:

  1. Remember King David wrote this with only a fraction of what we have today as the word of God; and by most accounts his portion was not as glorious as the complete revelation of God. David would have had the first five books of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy); Joshua, Judges, a few Psalms, and perhaps Job and Ruth. We can only imagine what King David would have written about Isaiah or Hosea or the entire Psalter; much less any of the books of the New Testament. We can say with confidence that God’s word is far more glorious than King David knew!
  2. King David was a massively wealthy man, yet he is rarely known for his riches. He is much more known for his great heart towards God. His son Solomon was even more wealthy than David, and was known for his riches – yet not nearly as much for his heart towards God and his love of God’s word.

Why is the Word of God greater than material wealth?

  • God’s Word gives instruction (warning) to use for sins and dangers we cannot see, but God does.
  • God’s word gives benefit (reward).

Obeying God’s Word brings peace of mind and an unburdened conscious.

We all make errors before God; a lot of which we cannot see ourselves.

What are willful sins?

  • Sins we commit when we know better.
  • Sins we commit when friends have warned us.
  • Sins we commit when God Himself has warned us.
  • Sins we commit when we have warned others against the same sins.
  • Sins we commit when we plan and relish our sin.

The Progression of Willful Sin:

  1. Temptation
  2. Chosen thought
  3. Object of meditation
  4. Wished-for fulfillment
  5. Planned action
  6. Opportunity to perform action
  7. Committing of the sin
  8. Repeated action of sin
  9. Delight in sin
  10. Becomes a habit
  11. Becomes an idol
  12. Demands sacrifices
  13. We become a slave to that sin.

During this whole time, the Holy Spirit – and hopefully our conscience – warns us to stop. We are given the way of escape by God (1 Corinthians 10:13), if we will only take it. Yet if we do not, and end up in slavery to sin, it legitimately questions the state of our soul (1 John 3:6-9).

Note the man after God’s own heart prayed this. Think of how much then we need to pray this. If we do, as Paul wrote, For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law, but under grace (Romans 6:14).

Image result for psalm 19David closed this glorious Psalm with a humble surrender of his mouth and heart to God. He knew that real godliness was not only a matter of what a man did, but also of what he said and thought in his heart.

Redeemer is that great Hebrew word goel, the kinsman-redeemer. It was the goel who bought his relative out of slavery; who rescued him in bankruptcy and total loss. It was Boaz in the book of Ruth. King David looked to God Himself as his kinsman-redeemer.

Take away from Psalm 19:

Recognizing the glory of God in creation and the glory of His written revelation, David knew himself to be small and sinful. Yet this great God was also the glorious God of personal relationship and redemption for His people. King David knew this; so should we.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 11, Day 3: Psalms 7 and 10

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Summary of Psalm 7:

A psalm of David’s concerning Cush, a Benjamite, David entreats God to save him and be his refuge. If he has done wrong, let his enemies overtake him. David pleads for justice to be done and violence to end. God is David’s shield and is a righteous judge. The trouble and violence one causes will be upon one’s own head. David gives thanks to the Lord and praise to Him.

Summary of Psalm 10:

Here in this Psalm, David feels God is far away. He describes the ways of the wicked who revile the Lord, are always prosperous, happy, and free from trouble, who are full of lies and murder, and take advantage of victims. David calls God to not forget the helpless and to call the wicked to account for their deeds. God is king over all and He defends the fatherless and the oppressed, so they may fear no more.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 11, Day 3: Psalms 7 & 10:

6) God is just. God is holy. God is faithful. God is pure. God is a refuge. God deals with evil and violence justly and righteously. God defends the helpless. Even in the bad times, God is there.

7) Those who perpetuate wickedness will be judged by God righteously. They only bring the troubles upon their own heads. Those who are affected will prevail, and God will avenge them. God shields those who are upright in heart. God will call the wicked to account. Those who are afflicted God hears, encourages, and listens to their cries, defending them, so they will terrify no more.

8 ) Part personal Question. My answer. God and justice. God and justice for me.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 11, Day 3: Psalms 7 and 10:

Psalm 7 emphasizes God as sanctitude and refuge and how God will avenge his believers for the evil they have done. Psalm 10 emphasizes God’s defense of the helpless and holding the wicked to account for their sins.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 11, Day 3: Psalms 7 and 10:

Psalm 7 Commentary:

The Hebrew title to this Psalm reads: A meditation of David, which he sang to the LORD concerning the words of Cush, a Benjamite. The New King James Version translates the Hebrew word “Shiggaion” as meditation, though the word is difficult to translate and is used elsewhere only in Habakkuk 3:1. The specific occasion is not easily connected with an event recorded in the historical books of the Old Testament; it may be a veiled reference to either Shimei’s accusations against David in 2 Samuel 16:5 or to Saul’s slanders against David. More likely this Cush, a Benjamite, was simply another partisan of Saul against David. This Psalm contains both David’s cry of anguish and confidence in God’s deliverance.

Who was Cush the Benjamite?

  • When David was under attack from Cush the Benjamite, all he could trust was God.
  • “Nothing is known of Cush; but from Abasalom’s rebellion it emerged that Benjamin, Saul’s tribe, held some bitter enemies of David (2 Samuel 16:5ff20:1ff).” (Kidner)
  • Some believe that this Cush was really Saul or Shimei.
  • It appears probable that Cush the Benjamite had accused David to Saul of treasonable conspiracy against his royal authority.

God sometimes allows difficult circumstances, so they will awaken this urgency in us.

David knew what it was like to overcome a lion.

David had been accused of appropriating spoils which rightly belonged to the king, returning evil for good, and taking toll for some generosity.

Image result for psalm 7What do we learn from David’s prayers?

  • It’s a mistake to assume the passions of God are always with us or support our opinion. Many dangerous fanatics have been wrongly inspired by the mistaken assurance that God was for them when He was not.
  • David believed that God was for him and his cause; yet he did not hold this belief passively. He actively prayed for the accomplishing of what he believed God’s will to be.
  • David’s prayer for protection and vindication was not fundamentally selfish. He knew that his fate was vitally connected to the welfare of God’s people. His prayer was in large measure for their sakes, the sake of the congregation.

David wanted justice above all else. (Psalm 7:9)

While all sins are not equally sinful (some sins are worse than others and will receive a greater condemnation, Matthew 23:14); yet there are no small sins against a great God.

Adam Clarke believed a more accurate translation of Psalm 7:11 is, “He is not angry every day.”

Often wicked deeds may have the cover of respectability but are still filled with iniquity (as was the case with the Pharisees of Jesus’ day).

Violent endings of those who commit sin in the Bible include: Haman the enemy of Mordecai and the Jews, and the enemies of Daniel in the lion’s den.

Take aways from Psalm 7:

  1. God does not immediately judge the sinner out of mercy; He allows the sinner time to repent.
  2. God often brings the same calamity on the wicked that they had planned for the righteous.
  3. David could praise because he took his cause to God and in faith left it there.

Psalm 10 Commentary:

Because this Psalm has no title (in the midst of several Psalms that do), and because it shares some similar themes with Psalm 9, some have thought that it was originally the second half of Psalm 9. There are more reasons to doubt this than to believe it; this Psalm rightly stands on its own as a Psalm of lament at the seeming prosperity of the wicked, but ultimate confidence in the judgments of God.

David wrote this Psalm because it is arranged in the midst of several Psalms that are specifically attributed to David (Psalms 3-9; 11-32). Yet we know David to be a man of valiant action and warrior spirit; not the kind to stand passively back while the wicked murdered and terrorized the weak and helpless. The only exception to this would be if the wicked man were in a place of God-appointed authority, such as Saul was in Israel. Perhaps this Psalm was a cry of David for God to stop Saul because David knew that it was not his place to lift his hand against the LORD‘s anointed.Image result for psalm 10

David is expressing here what we all feel at times: concern and sometimes anxiety over the seeming inactivity of God.

Times of trouble: According to Maclaren, this was a rare word in the ancient Hebrew vocabulary, used only here and in Psalm 9:9. “It means a cutting off, i.e., of hope of deliverance. The notion of distress intensified to despair is conveyed.”

One who does not seek God and the one who does not think about God is put in the same category as the one who renounces the LORD. All are sins. Man has obligations to God as His creator and sovereign, and it is a sin to neglect these obligations.

Psalm 9:15 has the wicked being condemned; here it is a heartfelt prayer.

David asks God to not allow the wicked to prosper and to bring judgement sooner.

The wicked speech of men – which is often today regarded as no sin at all – is regarded as sin in the Psalms. Cursing, lying, threatening, and troubling and evil speech are all destructive. And these words are spoken because we believe we won’t be held accountable for what comes out of our mouths.

Characteristics of a Wicked Man

  • Secrecy
  • Bully
  • Murderer
  • Oppresses others
  • Blasphemies God
  • Curses, lies, threats
  • Haughty
  • Sneers at enemies (and God)

‘Helpless’ is a word only found in this psalm (vv. 8, 10, 14), which has received various explanations, but is probably derived from a root meaning to be black, and hence comes to mean miserable, hapless, or the like.

David wants God to take action against the wicked. And he knows God will because God has seen and God judges justly.

God had long been declared the king of Israel (Exodus 15:18), even when His people rejected His rule (1 Samuel 8:7-9). If David wrote this Psalm (especially during a time of persecution from Saul), the words “the LORD is King forever and ever” would have recognized the reign of God even over the troubled and dysfunctional reign of Saul.

Spurgeon states: “Sometimes, we have desires that we cannot express; they are too big, too deep; we cannot clothe them in language. At other times, we have desires which we dare not express; we feel too bowed down, we see too much of our own undesert to be able to venture near the throne of God to utter our desires; but the Lord hears the desire when we cannot or dare not turn it into the actual form of a prayer.”

The Psalmist reminds us that the spiritual preparation of the heart is a great gift, an answer to prayer, and a mark of God’s blessing.

Take away from Psalm 10:

  • What began with a sense of despair in times of trouble has ended with calm confidence in God’s justice and victory.

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BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 11, Day 2: Psalm 139

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Summary of Psalm 139:

David prays/sings to God, saying how God knows everything about him and where he’ll go and what he’ll say. God is everywhere, guiding him. God made David in the womb and knew what he’d do on earth. David prays for God to slay his enemies who speak evil of God’s name. He hates them for it. He prays to be tested for evil and to be lead in everything.

BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 11, Day 2: Psalm 139:

3) God is omniscient. He has everything planned ahead of time and everyone’s life planned ahead of time. Darkness is as light to God. He is omnipotent.

4) David hates those who hate God. He cannot stand those who speak evil of God. He calls those who hate God his enemies. He requests for God to be in control of his destiny and all that he does. Most people today do not actively oppose God; they just dislike him. We are to love on those who don’t like God but not tolerate perpetual sin around us. We don’t have to be with unrepentant sinners; we can just pray for them. The balance comes in condoning or not condoning sin.

5) Personal Question. My answer: This Psalm reminds me how God does have my life planned out, and I merely have to be close to Him to follow it. It reminds me He knows everything and cares about knowing everything in my life. If I pray for God to lead me, He will. His will will be done in my life if I allow Him to do it.

Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 11, Day 2: Psalm 139:

Reading the Psalms gives us an insight into David’s mind during this trying time in his life. We see his highs, his lows, and all his questions, doubts, and waverings as to what God is doing in his life. This gives us hope when we do the same thing. The power of prayer cannot be stated enough.

End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 11, Day 2: Psalm 139:

This magnificent Psalm is titled, For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. It does not surprise us that such a significant Psalm came from David’s pen, who was “the sweet psalmist of Israel” (2 Samuel 23:1). The Chief Musician is thought by some to be the LORD God Himself, and others suppose him to be a leader of choirs or musicians in David’s time, such as Heman the Singer or Asaph (1 Chronicles 6:3316:17, and 25:6).

David prayed to Yahweh, understanding that He had personal knowledge of him. Pagans often thought that their gods were hostile or indifferent to men and women; David knew the true God cared to search and know all of us.

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  • God knows me.
  • He is everywhere with me.
  • He created me.
  • God knows all my thoughts.
  • God knows all my words.
  • God knows me better than I know myself.
  • God is everywhere.
  • God knows me in the womb.
  • God sees me at all times.

As Jesus would later say, God knows the number of hairs on our head (Matthew 10:30).

In the Hebrew grammar, You know (139:2) and You covered (139:13) the emphasis is on You. God is involved in everything we do.

The normal sense of a hedge in the Bible is of a protective barrier. God hedged David on every side, so that nothing could come to David unless it first passed through God’s permission. What was true for David is true for all who trust in the LORD.

The Psalmist speaks of God as a Person everywhere present in creation, yet distinct from creation. God is everywhere, but he is not everything.

God is present in Hell

David did not describe what we normally think of as hell – Gehenna (Matthew 10:2818:9), the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14-15). The Hebrew word here is sheol, which has the sense of the grave or by implication the afterlife.

Even in hell, God will be present because there is no place where God cannot be. Yet God’s presence in hell will radiate none of His love and grace; only His righteous judgment.

“Wings of the dawn” may well refer to the spread and speed of light as it fills the morning sky from the east to the west. Light itself can not outrun God’s presence and knowledge.

Death and the grave cannot separate David from God’s love – as Paul would later write in Romans 8:38-39. In fact, God’s right hand – His hand of skill and strength – would hold David no matter what would come.

God’s constant presence with David was like a constant light in the darkness. As the pillar of cloud illuminated Israel in the wilderness (Exodus 13:21), so with God’s presence the night shines as the day.

Image result for psalm 139Skillfully wrought: “Hebrew embroidered; exquisitely composed of bones, and muscles, and sinews, and veins, and arteries, and other parts, all framed with such wonderful skill, that even heathens, upon the contemplation of all the parts of man’s body, and how excellently they were framed, both for beauty and use, have broken forth into pangs of admiration and adoration of the Creator of man, as Galen particularly did.” (Poole)

If God made us, why did He make birth defects?

The  “The root meaning of the word rendered ‘precious’ is weighty. The singer would weigh God’s thoughts towards him, and finds that they weigh down his scales.” (Maclaren)work of God in fashioning the body of the individual has made some wonder about the presence of birth defects, and what that may mean regarding God’s work. We should regard such birth defects as injuries to God’s original design, and even as a person may be injured out of the womb, so they can be injured while still in the womb and in the process of formation. Such injuries are the result of the fall and the corruption it introduced into the world, yet still the eye of faith can see the hand of God at work in what defects or injuries He would allow in His providence.

“The Lord’s writing in the book (cf. Psalm 51:1Psalm 69:28) refers to God’s knowledge and blessing of his child ‘all the days’ of his life (cf. Ephesians 2:10).

“That God should think upon us is the believer’s treasure and pleasure.” (Spurgeon)

Discovering our own sin

  • We do not hate the person; we hate the sin.
  • “It is easier to glow with indignation against evildoers than to keep oneself from doing evil. Many secret sins may hide under a cloak of zeal for the Lord.” (Maclaren)
  • We often don’t know our own evil ways. Praying for God to flush them out is powerful.

David ended this majestic psalm by declaring his destination – the way everlasting. Trusting the God of complete knowledge and constant presence would bring David to everlasting life.

“The final words could be translated ‘the ancient way’ as in Jeremiah 6:16; but the majority of translators would appear to be right in rendering them the way everlasting, in contrast to the way of the wicked, which will perish.” (Kidner)