December 2, 2010 * Psalms 111, 124, 70, 80

Psalter

 

Morning

 

Psalm 111

Please read the comments about Psalm 112 from Tuesday evening above. Psalm 111 and Psalm 112 belong together. Psalm 111 focuses primarily on God’s work while Psalm 112 focuses on the human response to God. Psalm 111 begins and ends with praise. This psalm also contains one of my favorite phrases, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Here, “fear of the Lord” can be summed up as praise, gratitude, and obedience.

 

Have you been practicing “the fear of the Lord”? If you have, you have been promised that you will “have a good understanding.”

 

Psalm 124

Psalm 124 is one of the Songs of Ascent. It also appears to be a sequel to Psalm 123. Psalm 123 is a prayer for help and Psalm 124 is the recounting of deliverance and the proclamation of that deliverance as coming from God.

 

What is it that God has delivered you from?

 

Evening

 

Psalm 70

Psalm 70 is remarkably similar to Psalm 40:13-17. Psalm 70 and 71 also have many similarities and are thought to have been originally designed to be read as a pair. This psalm is most often used during Holy Week and portrays a faithful sufferer whom Christians see as Christ. I personally love verse 4(a), “Let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you.” Seeking after God is a joyous endeavor.

 

Have you known this joy?

 

Psalm 80

Psalm 80 is a communal lament that makes use of the flock/shepherd metaphor and holds forth the good news of God’s faithfulness and forgiveness. I love the rhythm that verses 3, 7, and 19 provide (“Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved”) and the rhythmic similarity that verse 14 has with these three (“O God of hosts; look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine”). This psalm is a of faith and hope.

 

John Calvin said in his Commentary on the Book of Psalms, “This is a sorrowful prayer, in which the faithful beseech God that he would be graciously pleased to succor his afflicted Church.” Is this what we pray for today?

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