Archive for the ‘psalms’ Category

Charles Spurgeon on the text that I am preaching from tomorrow morning:  Psalm 51:

Purge me with hyssop. Sprinkle the atoning blood upon me with the appointed means. Give me the reality which legal ceremonies symbolise. Nothing but blood can take away my blood stains, nothing but the strongest purification can avail to cleanse me. Let the sin offering purge my sin. Let him who was appointed to atone, execute his sacred office on me; for none can need it more than I. The passage may be read as the voice of faith as well as a prayer, and so it runs—”Thou wilt purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean.” Foul as I am, there is such power in the divine propitiation, that my sin shall vanish quite away. Like the leper upon whom the priest has performed the cleansing rites, I shall again be admitted into the assembly of thy people and allowed to share in the privileges of the true Israel; while in thy sight also, through Jesus my Lord, I shall be accepted. Wash me. Let it not merely be in type that I am clean, but by a real spiritual purification, which shall remove the pollution of my nature. Let the sanctifying as well as the pardoning process be perfected in me. Save me from the evils which my sin has created and nourished in me. And I shall be whiter than snow. None but thyself can whiten me, but thou canst in grace outdo nature itself in its purest state. Snow soon gathers smoke and dust, it melts and disappears; thou canst give me an enduring purity. Though snow is white below as well as on the outer surface, thou canst work the like inward purity in me, and make me so clean that only an hyperbole can set forth my immaculate condition. Lord, do this; my faith believes thou wilt, and well she knows thou canst. Scarcely does Holy Scripture contain a verse more full of faith than this. Considering the nature of the sin, and the deep sense the psalmist had of it, it is a glorious faith to be able to see in the blood sufficient, nay, all sufficient merit entirely to purge it away. Considering also the deep natural inbred corruption which David saw and experienced within, it is a miracle of faith that he could rejoice in the hope of perfect purity in his inward parts. Yet, be it added, the faith is no more than the word warrants, than the blood of atonement encourages, than the promise of God deserves. O that some reader may take heart, even now while smarting under sin, to do the Lord the honour to rely thus confidently on the finished sacrifice of Calvary and the infinite mercy there revealed. [C.H. Spurgeon, ‘Treasury of David’]

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A beautiful meditation from Paul Tautages today:

Psalm 23 is comfort food for the weary soul. Read it, meditate on it, and rest in these simple truths.

  • My Shepherd adequately supplies all of my needs.
  • My Shepherd is the only sure cause of contentment.
  • My Shepherd leads me and satisfies my deepest thirst for wholeness.
  • My Shepherd is the only one who can fully restore the inner person, my soul.
  • My Shepherd desires my practical holiness and will do whatever it takes to lead me there for the sake of His Name.
  • My Shepherd never leaves my side and will never forsake me.
  • My Shepherd provides for my safety; therefore, I have no legitimate cause for fear.
  • My Shepherd’s rod of discipline and staff of protection both bring me comfort.
  • My Shepherd abundantly lavishes His grace upon me when the wolves attack.
  • My Shepherd binds up my broken bones and heals my wounds; His supply and care are abundant.
  • My Shepherd’s goodness and grace will be by my side from now, until death, and throughout eternity.

“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:14-15).

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An excerpt from Steven Lawson’s Preaching the Psalms

On 31 October 1517, Luther posted his historic Ninety-five Theses, launching his defiant protest against the vile perversions and grave abuses of the church in Rome. This decisive act became the hinge upon which history turned. And at the very core of this Protestant movement were the Psalms, which continued to play a defining role throughout Luther’s life and ministry. While being hidden by supporters in Wartburg Castle, the German Reformer translated the Bible into the German language. Included in this work were the Psalms, which Luther referred to as ‘the Bible in miniature’.

In future years, Luther would repeatedly turn to the Psalms for solace and strength. With the continent of Europe in upheaval, he found great comfort in the soul-lifting truths of the Psalms. Specifically, in 1527, Luther faced one of the greatest difficulties of his life as the Black Plague swept across Germany and much of the European continent. During this time, Luther’s son almost died and his own body was fainting under the mounting pressure. In the midst of this personal conflict, Luther found himself contemplating the promises of Psalm 46, an encouraging psalm of trust in the invincibility of the Lord.

Gaining new strength from this old song, Luther composed what is arguably his most famous hymn, ‘A Mighty Fortress’. Amid such adversity, this embattled stalwart found God to be his ‘bulwark never failing’. Though he had previously taught and even translated the Psalms, Luther now found himself living them as never before. Many times during this dark and tumultuous period, when terribly discouraged, he would turn to his co-worker, Philipp Melanchthon, and say, ‘Come, Philipp, let us sing the forty-sixth Psalm.’ Together, they would sing:

A sure stronghold our God is He,
A timely shield and weapon;
Our helper He will be and set us free
From every ill can happen.

With unshakable confidence in God, Luther reflected upon and drew strength from this choice psalm:

We sing this psalm to the praise of God, because He is with us and powerfully and miraculously preserves and defends His church and His word against all fanatical spirits, against the gates of hell, against the implacable hatred of the devil, and against all the assaults of the world, the flesh, and sin.

Despite Luther’s intense inner turmoil, this valiant Reformer clung to the rock-solid truths of Israel’s ancient hymn book. Four years before he died, he wrote in his Bible the text of Psalm 119:92: ‘If Your Law had not been my delight, then I would have perished in my affliction.’ Such biblical truth empowered this spiritual leader and enabled him to persevere in the midst of his many struggles to reform the church. To the very end, this daring leader of the Reformation tenaciously held to the glorious revelations of the Psalms.

HT: Ligonier

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Mark Talbot, who has been a partial paraplegic for 45 years writes,

Psalm 88 (and the other psalms of lament) teach us at least two lessons that help us to breathe when we are feeling suffocated by suffering.

First, they teach us that when we have a complaint with God, we are to take it directly to him. The psalmists never complain about God; they always complain to him.

And, secondly, they teach us to be honest. All of the psalmists, exactly like the unknown psalmist who penned Psalm 88, model transparency, expressing their complaints to God as frankly as they can.

Both of these lessons are, so to speak, part of the psalmists’ exhaling, of their crying out, pleading, and complaining to God by breathing out to him what it would be harmful for them to try to withhold from him.

What we learn, when we go on to study all of the other psalms of lament, is that the psalmists always went on to inhale, to deliberately breathe in truths about God’s character, about his promises, about his previous wondrous acts for Israel, and about his record of individualized care for them. Breathing in these truths gave them hope, which is often what we most need when we are dealing with disability.

Mark will speaking at Desiring God’s conference on disability in November

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How did David write the psalms

“My soul follows hard after You—Your right hand upholds me.” Psalm 63:8

Did the question ever arise in your mind—how David composed the Psalms? Of course, the answer would be, “He composed them by divine inspiration.” But that is not my meaning. We will put the question in another form. Do you suppose that David wrote his psalms, as the college clergy and learned ministers prepare their sermons on a Saturday evening; that is, that he sat down with his pen in his hand, for the express purpose of composing a psalm? I do not think so. I believe that David composed his psalms in this way. The Lord led him into some experience, it might have been a mournful, or it might have been a joyful one; He might plunge him into some depths, or He might raise him up to some heights; but whichever it was, the Spirit filled his soul with some deep feelings, and when these had begun to ferment, so to speak, in the Psalmist’s soul, he immediately gave them utterance; as he himself says, “While I was musing, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue” (Ps. 39:3). Thus he seized his pen, and as the Lord the Spirit brought the thoughts into his mind, and dictated the words, he penned them down.

Now that will account for this circumstance, that in David’s Psalms notes of mourning are so intermingled with strains of rejoicing; that he is sometimes crying after an absent God, and sometimes enjoying a present Lord; sometimes overwhelmed in the deep waters, and at other times standing on a rock, singing the high praises of his God. And being written in this way, they have become such a manual of Christian experience. The feelings flowing out of a heaven-taught heart, and the words being dictated by the Holy Spirit, they suit the experience of all Christians, more or less, at all times. Would we, then, know whether the same God that taught David is teaching us, we have only to compare our experience with that of David, as recorded in the Psalms; and then, when laying it side by side with his, we find it to agree, we may, if the Lord the Spirit shine into our heart, gather up some testimony that we are under the same teaching as that highly-favored man of God enjoyed in his soul.

In the words of the text we find David describing his soul as being engaged in a divine pursuit; he says, “My soul follows hard after You;” and yet that pursuit was not free from difficulties, but one which required all the support of God; he therefore adds, “Your right hand upholds me.”1

 J. C. Philpot. The Spiritual Chase. July 27th, 1843.

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First, Charles Spugeon on the use of this psalm:

It is impossible that any ill should happen to the man who is beloved of the Lord; the most crushing calamities can only shorten his journey and hasten him to his reward. Ill to him is not ill, but only good in a mysterious form. Losses enrich him, sickness is his medicine, reproach is his honor, death is his gain. No evil in the strict sense of the word can happen to him, for everything is overruled for good. Happy is he who is in such a case. He is secure where others are in peril, he lives where others die. (my italics, The Treasury of David, Vol. 2, Part 2, 93)

Then John Piper on its misuse.

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How to read a Psalm

My OT seminary professor, Dr. Bob McCabe, shares three things you should be looking for when you read a psalm.

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