The Secret of Blessedness:
The Book of Psalms is the largest and the most read book in the Bible. It is the book of praise. It deals the full range of human experiences covering from the creation through post exilic periods. The psalms were sung in the temple with the accompaniment of stringed instruments. It was the hymnbook of Jewish people. There are 150 psalms authored by many people. Seventy-three psalms are assigned to David. There are descriptive and declarative psalms. The descriptive psalms, praise God for who he is and the declarative psalms for what he has done. There are many Messianic psalms dealing with Christ's death and resurrection. Christians use Psalms in there prayers and public worship all the time. Psalms 1 contrasts the way of righteous and the way of wicked. It summarizes the whole book of psalms. This is a wisdom psalm. It begins with the word “Blessed” which means happy. A blessed man is the one who does not follow the advice of the wicked, stand around sinners and join with mockers. He is in right relationship with God and enjoys peace in his heart. Peace is not the absence of trouble but the presence of Christ in it (John 14:27). He has been blessed by God to become a blessing to others. He leads a separated life from the world. This does not mean isolation from other people but contact without contamination. The assimilation with the world is a gradual process starting with walking, standing and sitting. The life of Lot and Peter are prime examples of it.
The blessed man delights in the Word of God and meditates on it daily. Meditation of the Word of God is to the soul what digestion of food is to the body. Meditation is paying attention to the Word of God with the intention of applying it in daily life (Joshua 1:8). It is taking the Word of God out of theory and putting it into practice. Spiritual digestion is getting the Word of God from our head to our heart to become permanent part of life. We saturate ourselves with the Word of God by meditating on it. This is necessary to face temptations in life (Matt 4:1-11; Psalm 119:11). The Word is the source of spiritual nourishment. Martha was distracted with many thing but Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to him (Luke 10:41-42). Jesus invites us to enjoy his presence before we do anything for him.
The blessed person is likened to a fruitful tree planted along the riverbank (Jer 17:7-8). Tree provides shadow, hold soil and produce fruit. They need light, water and root system to grow. The blessed man produces spiritual fruit in due season (Gal 5:22-23). The roots determine the tree’s strength to produce fruit. Jesus told his disciples “I am the vine, you are the branches”. Apart from Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5). Christ is the source of life. By our fruit we will be known as Christ’s disciples. When we bear fruit, Father is glorified (John 15:8). Only the Spirit controlled believers can prosper and become fruitful in life (Joshua 1:8). Martha was troubled and worried with much serving and she missed out the blessing of hearing the Word of the Lord as Mary did. God wants us to sit at his feet to hear his Word daily. We must be rooted in Christ and in the Word of God.
In Verses 5-6, the psalmist contrasts the godly and the wicked. The wicked are like chaff. They have no root, produce no fruit and are unstable. They reject the Word of God and perish in their own wickedness. They have no hope. But the Lord knows the way of the righteous and watches over him. Christians have great obligation to share the gospel to them (Rom 1:14). God does not want anyone to perish in their sin (2 Pet 3:9). God knows those who are his and they depart from iniquity (2 Tim 2:19). How blessed to know Christ and follow him! They know Christ and make him known to others. To know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent is eternal life (John 17:3, 5:24). How comforting that the Lord knows the righteous and watches over them! Do you know Christ as your Savior and Lord?
Christ the King and the Messiah
This is one of the royal Psalms in the Old Testament. Man was made in the image of God to fellowship with him and to rule over creation. But he rebelled against God and lost all his blessings and significances. He brought death and curse in this world. The fallen world is now under the control of Satan. In verses 1-6, the Psalmist describes the rebellion of nations against the sovereign Lord. The nations are united against God. Man thinks that he can survive without God. The rulers of the world plan their strategy to defeat God. But the sovereign Lord laughs at their futile plans. Man does not realize that he is engaged in a losing battle against God. Man’s rebellion toward God brought turmoil, troubles and moral anarchy in the world.
Man does not want to be under the authority of God. He hates God and does not want to come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed (John 3:20). Man does not want to be accountable to his creator. Freedom without rules will lead to anarchy. This world is in turmoil because of moral decline, social disorder and despair. Yet man says “I will rebel against God”. God laughs at man’s futile plan against him. The fallen world is at enmity with God. But God loves the world and made it possible to be reconciled to him by giving his Son to die on the cross for our sin (Rom 5:8). Now he pleads with all to be reconciled to God (2 Cor 5:20).
In verses 7-9, we see the declaration of the king. The sovereign God laughs because his kingdom is secure and his king is enthroned in heaven. Jesus is God’s promised King (2 Sam 7:14). God is in control and he is resolved to establish his kingdom. Nothing can stop his sovereign reign. He will bring all nations into his submission one day (Rev 11:15). Christians can rejoice because God is able to take care of them in any circumstances. Jesus is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He is reigning today in the hearts of those who trusted in him. Adam’s sin brought death in this world but the obedience of Christ brought life an immortality in Jesus. God’s decree is that he will break the rebellion of nations. Jesus defeated Satan and our ultimate victory is guaranteed. Do you enjoy victory over sin and live a life that pleases God? Have you received eternal life by receiving Christ by faith?
In Psalm 2:10-12 we read the exhortation of the Holy Spirit. “Be wise, be instructed, serve the Lord, rejoice and kiss the Son”. Kiss the Son means to embrace Christ and not be ashamed of him. God wants us to hear his voice and act wisely. Are we willing to be instructed to become wise unto salvation? Or are you relying on the philosophies of this world to live. Only the Word of God can make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ (2 Tim 3:15). Rebelling against God is rebelling against our own nature. We are created in God’s image to serve God with fear. Fear does not mean dread. We serve God because we love him. Blessed are those who put their trust in Christ. They will find lasting joy and satisfaction in Christ. God is just and he will not allow sin and rebellion to continue forever. Those who found refuge in Jesus Christ, are the most joyful and blessed people! Have you trusted in Christ to be saved?
A Psalm of security
David trusted in the Lord when he was surrounded by enemies. This Psalm was written by David when he fled from his son Absalom (2 Sam 15-17). David was in danger of his life (3:2). He was driven from the palace and forced to flee from Jerusalem. His enemies said that there is no hope for David and God has abandoned him. In spite of all adversities David found his safety and protection in the Lord. It is a morning prayer. This Psalm starts with plea (3:1-3). He says “Many are the enemies who rise up against me”. And David ends this Psalm with a song of praise. He says “Salvation belongs to the Lord. Your blessing is upon your people”(3:8). How could David lie down and sleep in the wildness when his was in physical danger? David knew that God will protect him because of his past experiences. When his own son Absalom had turned against him and in the midst of all his trouble David found his strength in the Lord.
David was confident that God will restore him to his throne (3:3-6). The reason for this confidence is given in verse 3. He knew that God is a shield around him, his glory and the lifter up of his head. So David says “I lay down and slept; I awoke because the Lord sustained me” (3:5). He knew God will hear his prayers. Those who desire to live godly will face persecution (John 16:33; 2 Tim 3:12). Satan will use sufferings to robe our peace. Some get better and others get bitter. But God has promised perfect peace to those who trust him (Isaiah 16:3). David experienced great peace because he loved the Law of the Lord (Psalms 119:165).
David found his security in God (3:7-8). Relational conflict and anxiety ca rob our joy and peace. A thankful heart and a prayerful attitude help us overcome anxiety (Phil 4: 6). Reflection on what is good helps to find peace in difficult time. Memorizing and meditate on what is good will help us. May be you are facing adverse circumstances now. Bring them to the Lord in prayer. He will give you his all surpassing peace (John 14:27; Phil 4:7). David knew that salvation belongs to the Lord (Jonah 2:9). David was praising God for his deliverance and protection. David had experienced God’s deliverance in the past. He is confident that God will do it again. The psalmist exhorts those who are in danger to put their trust in the Lord. David lay down and slept because the Lord sustained him. Do you experience the peace and protect Christ offers? Salvation belongs to the Lord and his blessings are upon those who trust him.
Rest in the Midst of Trials
This is an evening Psalm, a prayer for deliverance. The occasion for the Psalm was probably the same as the previous Psalm. It starts with prayer and supplication. The Psalmist prays for relief from troubles. “Have mercy on me and hear my prayer Lord”. This is David’s usual cry to God. His son Absalom attempted to destroy David’s reputation. Joab’s deception and falsehood were well-known. People said this is the end of his reign and God had abandon David. David was facing pressure from inside and outside. He is wondering how long God will allow people to ruin his reputation by false accusation. No one likes their reputation being destroyed. People dislike the rejection especially from family. David is deeply hurt and wonders how long it will continue. In spite of all difficulties, David encouraged himself in the Lord.
Misunderstanding and rejection are common among God’s people. There was none misunderstood like Jesus (Mark 3:21). But his confidence was in the Father who sent him. David trusted in the Lord who called him to be the king of Israel. God’s servants must place their confidence in the Lord at all time. Their sufficiency comes from the Lord (2Cor 3:5). We must prayerfully trust the Holy Spirit to give us power and grace to serve Christ. He promised that he will never reject or forsake those who come to him (John 6:37; Heb 13:5). David was confident that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself. Therefore he will answer when they call upon his name. They are the object of God’s covenant love. God can use our trails and adversities as tools to transform our character and prepare us for his use. Joseph is a good example of this. Thirteen years of trails helped him to prepare for God’s service (Gen 45:5).
David stood still and waited for God’s answer (4:3; 46:10). He prayed that those who reject him would abandon their wicked ways and become worshipers of God. Gospel brings blessing and transformation. This does not mean financial success or physical health, though these are also gifts from God. The truly blessed person will experience peace with God and peace of God in their turbulent time (Phil 4:7, 9). Those who prayerfully trust the Lord will be blessed with God’s all-surpassing peace. The Lord will be their shield and glory. In the midst of adversities, David experienced peace and security because he trusted in the Lord.
David knew that anger can lead to sin (James 1:20). He was confident that God will deliver him from all dangers. David experienced greater joy than those who had abundant harvest. Paul exhorts us to rejoice in the Lord always (Phil 4:4). David could lie down and sleep for he knew that the Lord will keep him safe (4:8). Do you have that confidence in the Lord? Suffering is part of Christian life. Christians should get their eyes of their difficulties and trust in the Lord. Difficulties are God’s plan to help us to grow spiritually (Rom 5:3-4). There is nothing to fear when we are in right relationship to God. Our joy and peace depend not on our circumstances but on God who protects and provides our needs (Rom 14:17; Phil 4:19)
A Morning Prayer
This psalm is a morning prayer for help (5:1-3). Most probably this psalm was written shortly after the rebellion of Absalom. Prayer is our lifeline to God. Jesus got up early in the morning to pray (Mark 1:35). Prayer is the first thing in believer’s life (1 Tim 2:1). It is like the first thing the priest does in the tabernacle, offering the burnt offering on the Brazen Alter. It is a picture of our total dedication to God. If you want to have a blessed day, start the day with prayer (Rom 12:1). “The day started without prayer and meditation of the Word of God is a wasted day”. How blessed to begin the day with God! Prayer includes intercessions, adoration, thanksgiving and supplication. We must pray for the people in the authority so that we may lead a peaceful and dignified life every day. We must pray that people would hear the gospel and come to the knowledge of salvation (1 Tim 2:1-4).
The psalmist expresses his confidence in the Lord that he will answer his prayers (5:4-7). God is not pleased with wickedness. Pride and deception are detestable to God. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). When burdens are beyond us to bear, we cry to God. Prayer is a battle against the powers of darkness and wickedness in the heavenly places (Eph 6:12). David prayed against wickedness of those who persecute him. God is holy and he will judge the wicked. It may not happen immediate because God is long-suffering (2 Pet 3:9). David did not extol himself but worship God in reverence for his unfailing love toward him. Worship is bowing down before God in humility and in gratitude.
David makes his petition to God for his guidance (5:8-10). He is confident that because God is righteous he will guide him in a right path. David prays for the judgment of his enemies. Since his enemies are engaged in their wickedness, God would declare them guilty. David is confident that God is able lead him to victory. May be you are going through some difficulties and challenges now. Place your confidence in the Lord who is able to deliver you from your troubles. Pray for the wisdom to know the will of God (James 1:2-5).
This psalm closes with a note of encouragement (5:11-12). David rejoices because he puts his trust in the Lord. He exhorts all those who take refuge in God to rejoice and sing praise to God. God blesses and protects those who love God. He will surround them with his shield of love.
David knew that joy comes when we trust in the Lord. What a privilege to prayer to a loving God who is faithful! Do you know this gracious Savior who promised to keep in perfect peace all those who trust in Him? (Isaiah 26:3).