Archive | August, 2016

Celebrate

Psalms 105 and 106 celebrate God’s faithfulness to his people. They recall his promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Those who sing the psalms should see themselves as the beneficiaries of all the amazing things God has done in the past.

Ashes

Ashes were often used in the OT to express sorrow, humiliation, or feelings of worthlessness. In Ps. 102:9, they are a sign of mourning, as indicated by their mention along with tears. The prophet Jeremiah encouraged Israel to “roll in ashes” to mourn the destruction that would soon befall her (Jer. 6:26).

What is integrity?

What is integrity? When the Bible describes someone as having “integrity” (101:2) it means that the person is characterized by good moral behavior. The Bible might also describe this person as “blameless” in the sight of God.

Joy to the world!

Joy to the world! Psalm 98:4–9 inspired Isaac Watts to write his famous Christmas hymn, “Joy to the World,” in 1719. The song celebrates not only the birth of Christ but how creation itself rejoices at the return of her King, who “comes to judge the earth . . . with righteousness” (98:9).

Maker of heaven and earth

Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 95 is one of several psalms that focus on God’s rule over all of creation. God is the ultimate king because he created everything that exists. The Psalms frequently remind God’s people that we owe him our worship and allegiance because it is he who made us.

Vengeance

The word vengeance is used in Ps. 94:1 to describe one way in which the Lord brings about justice in the world. Individual Israelites were forbidden to seek personal vengeance (Lev. 19:18). However, it was the duty of the civil government to ensure just retribution against wrongdoers (Ex. 21:20).

Satan knows the Scriptures

Satan knows the Scriptures. Psalm 91:11–12 was quoted by Satan when he tempted Jesus in the desert (Matt. 4:6). Of course, he misapplied it for his own evil purposes. In no way do these verses mean that believers should put themselves in unnecessary danger.

How old?

How old? Psalm 90:10 suggests that Israelites were living to be 70 or 80 years old in the days of Moses. While life expectancy has varied somewhat over the centuries, it is about the same today.

Finding your way

Finding your way in the ancient world was often an inexact science. Without a compass or map, topographical features such as oases and mountains were heavily relied upon. The few maps available were often unreliable because they may have been produced to mark a kingdom’s boundaries rather than as a tool for navigation.