TODAY’S READING: PSALM 136-143

 

OVERVIEW: 

Thanks for the Lord’s goodness to Israel; response to Israel’s captivity; thanksgiving for the Lord’s blessing; God’s omniscience, omni-presence, and omnipotence; prayer for protection against the wicked; prayer for sanctification and protection; prayer for help in trouble; prayer for deliverance and guidance.

 

HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:

Psalm 136 is a masterful and beautiful way of showing and stating that the God of the Bible who is THE Lord (vs. 1), the GOD of gods (vs. 2), the LORD of lords (vs.3), the GOD of heaven (vs. 26), and the God of creation (vs. 5-9), is tremendously merciful, and has been demonstrating His mercy throughout all of history (vs. 5-26).  Twenty-six times in 26 verses we are reminded, “for his mercy endureth for ever.” Remember, grace is God GIVING to us what we DO NOT deserve.  Mercy is God NOT GIVING to us what we DO deserve!

 

Psalm 137 is a tremendously sad song about God’s people being taken captive by the godless Babylonian empire (representative of Satan’s false kingdom of religious systems in the Bible).  This song (Psalm) could and should be felt and sung by those of us living during this time of “Laodicean” captivity (Rev. 3:14-22).

 

Psalm 138:2 is one of the most important statements in all of the Word of God concerning itself!  “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: FOR THOU HAST MAGNIFIED THY WORD ABOVE ALL THY NAME.”  In light of what the Lord’s “NAME” actually is (i.e.  the sum total of all of His attributes)  and what the Lord says regarding His own name (i.e. Neh. 9:5 – “Blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted ABOVE ALL blessing and praise”), how then could anything be exalted ABOVE His name?  God magnified His Word above His name, because it is only through the Word of God that all that God is (His name) is revealed to us, and it is only through His Word that we learn how to “magnify” (Ps. 138:2),  “exalt, bless, and praise” (Neh. 9:5) the name of the Lord!

 

In a world that has totally gone mad with reconstructive and plastic surgery to recreate what we don’t appreciate about “the look” God gave to us when He created us, Psalm 139 teaches us that the God who is omniscient (139:1-6), omnipresent (139:7-12) and omnipotent (137:13-17) made us to look just like we look for His purposes!  Rather than being all bummed and depressed about it, we need to accept it, get over it, and use our “look” to fulfill His purposes for our lives!  It will be a wonderfully freeing day when you can thank God for all of your “features” that you would change if you could!

 

Psalm 140 and verse 1 says, “Deliver me, O LORD, from the evil man: preserve me from the violent man”. The evil man is one of the main characters of the Book of Proverbs to which we will go into detail in a couple of days.  We will see in the doctrinal/prophetic application, the “evil man” is none other than the Antichrist of the Tribulation Period.  Note the singular “evil man” and “violent man” in verse 1, as if it were just one individual, and yet the pronoun in verse 2 is plural: “Which imagine mischiefs in THEIR heart…”.  I John 2:18 is a key cross reference – “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that ANTICHRIST shall come, even now are there MANY ANTICHRISTS; whereby we know that it is the last time.”

 

As we have seen continuously through the Psalms, at the end of the Tribulation Period, the Antichrist will have united the nations (UN) in war against the Nation of Israel as verse 2 described, “continuously are they gathered together for war.”  Then the key word to set the context appears in verse 3: “Selah”.  Just as it looks utterly hopeless for Israel, then the Lord returns to judge His enemies and establish His rule and rest in His millennial kingdom.  That context, (see it set in verses 3, 5, 8) prevails throughout this entire Psalm, pointing to “that day” when “the upright shall dwell in thy presence” (vs. 13) on the earth.  Once again, it’s amazing the “doors” that open with just a few simple “keys” of Bible study!

 

Verse 2 of Psalm 141, “Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense” has beautiful scriptural ramifications.  In the Old Testament Tabernacle, the altar of incense was set just outside the veil where the Lord dwelt in the Holy of Holies.  The prayers of the saints, represented in the incense, is the delightful aroma that made its way into the Lord’s presence.  That Old Testament Tabernacle was just a picture (Heb. 8:5), and when John was caught up to see the True Tabernacle, he wrote in Rev. 5:8 – “And when he (the Lord Jesus Christ) had taken the book (the title deed to the earth), the four beasts and four and twenty elders (the church) fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, WHICH ARE THE PRAYERS OF SAINTS”!

 

In Psalm 142, the historic background and context is set for us in the title, “Maschil of David; A Prayer when he was in the cave” (i.e. When Saul was seeking David’s life).  This is another great Psalm to use as a guide for those times in life when we find ourselves pressed by our “troubles” (vs. 2), “when our spirit is overwhelmed within us” (vs. 3), when our enemies have “laid a snare for us” (vs. 4), when you feel you’ve forsaken by everybody, and nobody “cares” (vs. 4), when we’ve been “brought very low” (vs. 6a), when we’ve been “persecuted” (vs. 6b), and when it feels that our very soul is in “prison” (vs. 9).  It is encouraging to know that David teaches us that we can be honest with God about our circumstances of life and how we feel, and yet, rather than allow yourself to wallow in self-pity, recognize that there are a good five billion people who are alive at this very minute who are absolutely clueless that this Psalm is descriptive of their spiritual condition, !

and if they knew enough about their condition to articulate it, they could repeat verse 4 with David, “I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.”  Will you be that man or woman today (and every day!), who will care for the souls of the lost, pointing them to the refuge, the might cross?

 

CHRIST IS REVEALED:

As the ONE WHO DELIVERS SOULS FROM PRISON – Ps. 142:7 (Luke 4:18).