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airIam2worship
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Early In The Morning I Will Praise The Lord


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« on: October 06, 2006, 12:57:58 PM »

I thought this would be a good study resource to complement 'Reading the Psalms Daily'
I love the Book of Psalms, it is so rich and full of spiritual enlightment. I pray you all will enjoy.

Psalms

By Henry Law, 1878


Preface

A brief statement will show the simple purpose of this work.

Christian households will surely be assembled on each day for domestic worship. Piety cannot allow the morning to open and the evening to close without united prayer for common blessings and united praise for common mercies. Religion will cease to be the pervading element in the house in which the inhabitants fail thus to present themselves together at the throne of grace.

It is impossible to overestimate the blessings which may be expected from such family solemnities. They sweetly sanctify the home, and are a holy picture of celestial oneness. Love will then cement the hearts which together seek a heavenly Father's face—together vow obedience to His will—together consecrate their every faculty to His service—together bless Him for their common hope—together adore Him for the gift of Jesus, and all the preciousness of the Gospel-revelation.

It is presumed, also, that a portion of Scripture will have a place in these exercises, and that suitable comments will enforce God's Word. The Book of Psalms will doubtless not be excluded. Its central position as the heart of Scripture—its devotional character as part of the Jewish liturgy—its adaptation to every circumstance of life, rather entitle it to especial consideration.

Survey most superficially its contents. It traverses every condition of man. It roams with the shepherd in the meadows. It sits with the mighty monarch on the throne. It flees with the fugitive on the hills, and hides with him in the caves. It leads the conquering host to victory. It walks with the busy in the crowded haunts, and leaves not the lonely in their solitude. It is a prop for the staggering steps—a guide for the wanderer—a counselor when perplexities bewilder—a pillow for the weary head—a sympathizing hand to wipe the weeping eye—a voice to whisper comfort to the disconsolate. No words more cheer the dying saint.

The soul in extremest agony for sin finds here a ready outlet for the bitterest streams of sorrow. Words are here supplied to crave deliverance from wrath. When a saving interest in Christ is realized and joy is in the height of rapture, here are the wings to bear aloft to heaven.

But the main glory of this book is its identity with Christ. He brightly shines throughout its varied hymns. He is constantly the speaker, and in these breathings of His Spirit we receive convincing evidence that, without ceasing to be God, He was a perfect man, and preeminently a Man of Sorrows. We here are supplied with a vivid portrait of His character, His work, His love, His sufferings, His glory. It would be no difficult task to construct a Gospel from its prophetic language. It may be regarded as His manual during His career on earth. When, as the expiating God-man, He was uplifted on the accursed tree, and the iron entered into His soul, His misery goes forth in the moanings of a Psalm, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" He gives up the spirit uttering its confiding terms, "Into Your hands I commend My spirit." He ascends amid the shouts, "Lift up your heads, O you gates!" He receives the welcome, "Sit on My right hand."

In it the history of Israel's Church is shadowed out from its cradle in the iron furnace of Egypt, through its days of light and darkness, through its triumphs and reverses, through its rejection in unbelief, through its long and dreary desertion to its ultimate recovery and final glory. Prophets, apostles, ministering servants, have gathered flowers from this field. Whenever the Gospel is preached, weighty arguments, convincing proofs, telling exhortations, dreadful warnings, are extracted from its vast mine. Thus wide is the expanse of suggestions for prayer to which the Book of Psalms invites.

I thus reach the unpretending object of this work. It seeks to give some little aid, when in due course the Psalms are opened out. Divisions are made of appropriate length for such exercise, and devotional thoughts are adjoined tending to excite the spirit of prayer and praise. All attempt to elucidate by critical acumen is utterly eschewed. If it had been possible for the writer to introduce conclusions of learning, they would have been rejected as adverse to the plan. Time has not been employed to establish a connection between the speaker's feelings and historic events. When the reference is clear, no notice is needed. When it is obscure, it is more easy to increase than to remove uncertainty. It is enough to know that the Holy Spirit depicts real and not imaginary cases. It is the reader's profit to find identity in his individual experience. He will often be constrained to feel that He who inspired these words knew accurately the secrets of each heart, and presents a mirror thoroughly divine.

It may interest the scholar to investigate the claims of diverse versions for acceptance. But the hour of prayer is not suitable for such research. Therefore the reasoning powers have never been thus summoned to give aid. To help devotion has been the one and only desire. Other works abound in which the gifts of mind have been nobly used to display the wonders of this Book. The one design here has been to make it a vehicle of piety. The object is attained whenever worship is made a real approach of the heart unto God. It is hoped that the frequent appeals to the heart may exclude formality—that enemy to direct communion with God.

This observation finds excuse in the growing desire to multiply the objective and the picturesque in places of public worship. Surely attention directed to artistic decorations and mimicry of Rome's showy service tends to divert from close dealings with Heaven. Real prayer is not kindled by extraneous sights. It is the Spirit moving in the inner man.

May He, whose glory only has been sought, give His blessing for the sake of Jesus Christ!




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« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2006, 12:59:29 PM »

Psalm 1

        Here two portraits are presented to our view. The godly man appears. His walk is holy, happy, fruitful, prosperous, heavenward—The ungodly is entirely diverse. His course is worthless, and his end is woe. Spirit of God, grant now Your light!

        1. "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful."

        All praise be to the grace of God that in this world of widespread sin some lovely spots are seen. There are the heirs of life. Born from above, to God they live. Abhorrence of all evil is their grand distinction. The godless have their schemes, their pleas, their plots, their evil counsels. In such vile course the blessed ones never walk. They resolutely shun the hateful path. Sinners have their chosen way. How broad! how thronged! what multitudes move down the sad decline! In this the blessed ones have no part. They hate the filth. They keep their feet unsoiled. Wickedness has its topstone. Scorn and derision proceed to mock God's word, Christ's work, and all the lowly followers of the Lamb. Too many love the sneering seat, and impious jests find sympathizing smiles. Such company is counterpart of hell. The blessed man sits not in such fellowship. We here are taught that in sin there is gradation. Let us flee the first step. The rolling stone descends with quickening speed.

        2. "But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law he meditates day and night."

        The godly man has his delights. His cup is crowned with joy. His table is spread with richest pleasures. The Scriptures are his soul-refreshing feast. They gladden him with views of God as his own God; Christ as his own Savior; the Spirit as his guide and sanctifying Comforter; heaven as his home forever; and all things ordered for his well-being. The morning light invites him to this sacred page. In the day his thoughts cling closely to it. The evening's shadows and night's wakeful hours call to rejoice in this treasury of truth.

        3. "And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper."

        Behold the tree on the brook's verdant bank, whose roots drink constantly the flowing stream! The laden branches bend with plenteous fruit. Unfading freshness decks the leaves. No lovelier object adorns nature's field. It is a picture of the godly man. Deep springs of grace supply his inner life. The fruits of righteousness, which are the Spirit's work, abound. His fertility of holiness is rich, and large, and real. The Lord is truly with him; and where the Lord is, there is every good. Of Joseph it is sweetly said, "The Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand." Of David we read, "He went on and grew great, and the Lord God of hosts was with him."

        4. "The ungodly are not so; but are like the chaff which the wind drives away."

        The scene is changed. The ungodly widely differ. Nature shows, also, their picture. The fruitful tree gives place to chaff—light, barren, hollow, worthless—the refuse of the barn-floor. It yields no profit. It is cast out, the sport of winds. Driven away, it leaves no trace behind. Such are the godless. They minister no grace. They benefit no souls. None gain by conversation with them. Unstable, they are tossed by every changing wind. Temptations drive them headlong. Terrible is their final doom. Jesus comes, "Whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

        5. "Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the Judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous."

        Judgment is near. The Judge stands at the door. The great white throne will soon be set. The dead shall be judged out of those things which are written in the books according to their works. They cannot flee the dread tribunal. There is no escape. No mask can hide their guilt. Their sins are all recorded. No blood blots out the stains. They plead no Savior's merit. They have no interest in the saving cross. No solid ground sustains their feet. They cannot stand. Undefended, they receive the dreadful sentence, 'Depart! you cursed ones!' Thus they are cast far from the congregation of the righteous. May we live ever with this last scene before us, and never rest until clear evidence is ours that we have happy place in "the general assembly and church of the first-born, who are written in heaven."

        6. "For the Lord knows the way of the righteous; but the way of the ungodly shall perish."

        Amid all their trials, sorrows, pains, reproaches, let the righteous lift up rejoicing heads. The eye of God rests on their way. He called them to the narrow road. He upholds their feeble steps. He safely leads them to the glorious end. Unfailing watchfulness surrounds them. But the broad road, with its unrighteous throng, goes down assuredly to hell.

        Holy Spirit, give us the portion of the blessed man! May we escape the doom of the ungodly!



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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2006, 01:53:13 PM »

Psalm 2

        To oppose the kingdom of Christ is utterly vain, because it is established by the Father's power, and by the provisions of the eternal decree. Holy exhortation follows. May faith read reverently the prophetic hymn!

        1. "Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?"

        Pious anticipation might exclaim—Surely, when Jesus comes to bless this earth, adoring welcomes will receive Him. Surely each heart will call Him to its throne; each knee will bow; each tongue will shout His praise; thanksgivings will encircle Him. Those who thus reason little know the devil's power and man's rebellious wickedness. The Spirit's eye foresees the black reality. Among the heathen rage shall be rampant. The favored nation shall plot destruction. How base, how vain is this iniquity! It may well be asked, What prompts this hatred? Why does this frenzy madden?

        2. "The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against his anointed One."

        Those who occupy earth's highest seats are fiercest to oppose Jesus. The Herods and Pilates take determined stand. The council of the priests and elders meet in secret assembly. In the beginning it was so. The same hatred has defiled succeeding thrones and courts. Against whom is this rage? Tremble, O earth, turn pale, you heavens. This fury assails the Lord Jehovah and His beloved Son. The Father sends the Son anointed by the Spirit to be the promised Savior, to execute the all-saving offices of Prophet, Priest, and King, to bless the Church with every blessing. And earth's chiefs combine to tread Him beneath insulting feet. Give ear! this is their frantic cry—

        3. "Let us break their chains," they cry, "and free ourselves from this slavery."

        Self-will rejects restraint. Pride will not yield to rule. Licentiousness surmounts all barriers. Conceited reason lifts up defiant head. The gentle scepter of Christ's kingdom, His sweet, His light, His easy, and His loving yoke, are hated as chains which restrain and cords which fetter. When Jesus came, earth raised the cry, "We will not have this man to reign over us." It still resounds. When will man learn that widest liberty is true submission to the Gospel sway? He is a free man whom the Son makes free. He is a slave in whom unbridled lusts and passions rule. But can proud man prevail? Can he drive back the ocean's might with a feather? Can he lift up his puny hand, and bid the sun conceal its rays? Can he with straws bind the hurricane? Can he lay mountains low, exalt the valleys, and change the laws of nature? Can he scale heaven and dethrone our God? Such, doubtless, is his frantic will. But give ear again;

        4. "He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision."

        Let us lift up our eyes to God. He sits upon His throne on high; while earth is all unsettled, wild in mad menace, He reigns in calm repose. The Spirit here takes images from human feeling to depict His unruffled contempt. God laughs derisively, when puny efforts dash their feebleness against overpowering strength. Thus God shows undisturbed disdain of human fury.

        5. "Then shall He speak to them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure."

        God may be silent long; but patience is not impunity. Reprieve brings not release. When the appointed time comes, the floodgates open and wrath overflows. Who can conceive these terrors? What must His displeasure be? Who can endure when His anger issues forth? What weeping, what wailing, what anguish, what gnashing of teeth, when God arises to execute due judgment on His foes!

        6. "Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion."

        In spite of earth's malignant rage, God manifests His King. He called His Son to be the heir of all things. Upon His shoulder supreme government is laid. His hand receives the scepter of universal reign. He announces, "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth." Who can resist? Who can withstand? Our Jesus is God's King—by choice, by appointment, by will, and by sovereign decree. Now He spiritually sits enthroned on Zion's holy hill. He reigns supreme in every true believer's heart. He is invited by rejoicing love. Lift up your heads, O you gates, and be you lift up, O portals of my soul, and the King of glory shall come in. He enters, and all heaven follows in His train. He enters, and establishes the kingdom of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. This present reign on Zion's holy hill is now open to the eye of faith.

        But the day quickly comes when Jesus' throne shall be universally conspicuous. The wicked cannot hinder. Their rage can interpose no barrier. God has spoken. It must be. It must soon be. "Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before His ancients gloriously."

        7. "I will declare the decree; the Lord has said unto me, You are My Son; this day have I begotten You."

        Oh, wondrous thought! Before the birth of time, eternal councils willed the well-being of man. A covenant of grace was firmly made. We live in hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before the world began. Jesus, in His love for souls, in tender zeal to fill our hearts with joy, and to cause streams of peace to flow, announces the decree. By His Spirit He unfolds it. In His Word He writes the record. Here He displays important articles.

        It was decreed that honor should await Him as God's co-eternal Son. For a brief period His deity was hidden. In outward appearance He differed little from the sons of men. Occasionally heavenly rays broke forth; but the sun's brightness was eclipsed. Thus, as man, He suffered and died. The resurrection-morn arrives. He strides forth the mighty conqueror of death and hell. The glorious rising has a glorious voice. With trumpet-tongue it tells the wondering world, Jesus is God's Son! this day removes all doubt! this day unveils Him! The Father has begotten Him—Another morn will brightly shine. Greater manifestations rapidly come on. Amid all glory Jesus will be shown again as God's co-equal, co-eternal Son. Who then can shake His kingdom's firm supports?

        8. "Ask of Me, and I shall give You the heathen for Your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Your possession."

        Another article of the covenant is stated. Christ's kingdom shall exceed all bounds. The outcast heathen shall bend the knee. Earth's uttermost extent shall call Him Lord. But this shall be in answer to His prayer. In heaven the Son shall prosecute His entreaty. With supplication He shall urge His claims. His pleading shall recite His part performed—the ransom paid—the kingdom bought—all hindrances removed. He shall thus ask, and He shall thus obtain. Blessed Jesus, extend Your wounded hands! Let not the Father rest until earth's length and breadth shall own Your rule!

        9. "You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."

        The covenant, moreover, states that all Christ's enemies shall lick the dust. Hate may continue. Opposition may oppose. But oh! how vain! Behold His might. A rod of iron is wielded by His hands. It breaks and cannot be withstood. Opposing strength is brittle as the potter's clay. He strikes, and it lies shattered atoms. Thus shall His kingdom trample down all foes.

        10. "Be wise now, therefore, O you kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth."

        But wrath yet lingers. Space for repentance is given. Let it be duly used. A warning voice arrests earth's great ones in their mad career. It bids wisdom to awake, and sit submissively at Jesus' feet. The truest sage is a meek learner in the school of grace. To know Christ truly is the crown of knowledge.

        11. "Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling."

        Knowledge leads surely in the paths of service. Gospel-obedience is a blessed walk. It is the happy union of all grace. Strictest submission goes hand in hand with filial reverence. The cup of joy is mixed with tenderest dread of error. Love fears. Fear loves. Joy trembles, and trembling is glad.

        12. "Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him."

        Mercy still warns. It points to Jesus. It exhorts to give Him homage, because it is His due—to worship Him to whom all praise belongs—to love Him who has so loved us as in our stead to die. It forbids delay. Until our hearts be wholly His, we totter on destruction's brink! One spark of kindled wrath excludes forever from salvation's way. What, then, will be their doom against whom wrath in full fury blazes?

        Sweet melody concludes this hymn. It speaks of blessedness. It tells where true happiness now and forever dwells. It is in faith. Faith is the saving and the happy grace. It tightly clings to Christ. It trusts Him at all seasons for all things. Oh! may this blessed state be ours. Truly blessed it is!




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« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2006, 02:00:08 PM »

Psalm 3

        Foes without number press upon the speaker. Prayer is his refuge. Calmly he sleeps. His fears are gone. Speak, Lord, that thus our hearts may ever rest.

        1. "O Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me!"

        The first scene shows the monarch flying from his heartless son. Absalom advances with rebellious hosts. The outcast father looks upon the swelling billows of foul treason. Increasing numbers hunt his life. He sees, and he appeals to God.

        Here, also, our Jesus may be heard. The powers of darkness are combined. Hell and its legions terribly assail. Wicked men do their worst wickedly. On all sides troubles multiply. Many voices cry "Crucify." The servant follows in the suffering path. The true believer often will but moan.

        2. "Many there are who say of my soul, There is no help for him in God."

        Affliction has the aspect of desertion. Many reason that God's favor surely would disperse these clouds—His voice could quickly scatter all the ills. David thus persecuted seems to be cast off. Here is the scoff of Calvary. "He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him. The thieves also, who were crucified with Him, cast the same in His teeth."

        3. "But You, O Lord, are a shield for me; my glory and the lifter up of my head."

        In darkest days faith shines with brightest glow. In the wild storm it looks to God and sings. No weapon can succeed against it. God, even God Himself, surrounds His children as a shield. The shaft which touches them must pierce through God! Welcome, also, reproach and ridicule and scorn. No disgrace can soil their name. They are renowned among the sons of men. Their glory is their God. No billows can submerge them. God, even their own God, lifts up their heads. From deepest waters Jesus rose to God's right hand. Where the Head is, there too shall the members be.

        4. "I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me out of His holy hill."

        The voice of the insulting foe may loudly cry; but faith outcries. It has direct admission to the courts above. The blood-bought way is ever open. The interceding Spirit prompts the appeal. The mediating Son presents it. The Father on His throne receives it. Heaven opens, streams of answering blessings flow down. No case is desperate to him whose call can bring almightiness to his aid. Here is our Jesus. In the days of His flesh, He offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, unto Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared.

        5. "I laid down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me."

        The battlefield and the besieged fort present no downy couch. The alarms of war invite not to repose. But GOD is a pillow to the head of faith! David lies down, His sleep is sweet. He arises with renewed strength. But deeper truth sounds in these words. Jesus calmly falls asleep. The new-made grave receives Him to its bed. On the third day He casts off sleep. He appears and testifies, God did not leave My soul in hell, nor suffer His Holy One to see corruption. So, also, believers fall asleep in Him. Short is the night of death. Soon shall they awake and shout, "O grave! where is your victory? O death! where is your sting?"

        6. "I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround

        me on every side."

        Faith is a fearless grace. It has quick ears to hear the voice of Heaven. It quickly catches the often repeated word, "Fear not, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God." Let man come on, boastful of numbers, and vain-glorious in the arm of flesh; faith meets the hosts, strong in the Lord, making mention only of His name. The victory is sure. Jesus never lost a battle. No follower of His will ever fall.

        7. "Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God; for You have smitten all my enemies upon the jaw; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly."

        Grace marvelously works. It begets fearless confidence. And confidence begets increasing prayer. Trust knows no fear, and shuns presumptuous indolence. It grows more importunate in prayer. It gives no rest to God. It knows its safety; and therefore it cries, "Save me, O my God." Past experience supplies both arguments and hope. You have brought shame and confusion on all vaunting foes; therefore, now arise and save.

        8. "Salvation belongs to the Lord; Your blessing is upon Your people."

        Triumphant is the final chorus. It tells of God rich in salvation. Salvation is His property. He willed it. He provided it. He holds it. He gives it according to His sovereign purpose. It is deliverance from every peril. It is exaltation to the heights of heaven. His blessing ever rests upon His people. It gives them all things and never fails. Lord, save us, and we shall be saved. Bless us, and we shall be blessed! Amen.



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« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2006, 02:24:15 PM »

Psalm 4

        This psalm begins with prayer. Solemn admonition and earnest entreaties follow. Then the believer's chief good appears in contrast to the lot of the ungodly. May that chief good be richly ours!

        1. "Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness; You have enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer."

        Acquaintance with God brings mighty help to prayer. Strong arguments flow from experience. "You are my righteousness" is a prevailing motive. The believer stands pardoned through grace, and richly robed in Jesus' merits. One with Christ, he appears as free from guilt as God's own Son. He, also, can boldly point to past deliverances. Many had been his difficulties, but the chains were loosened, and God set him free. He thus gains courage for urgent prayers, and he learns the art of winning mercies. He plies it well.

        2. "How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?"

        True grace is pitiful of sin's mad ways, and seeks occasion to remonstrate. The service of God is glory. The wicked scorn it as contemptible. What folly can be worse! Their hearts delight in this world's empty bauble. They greedily pursue a mocking shadow. Wisdom expostulates, How long! When will such madness have an end!

        3. "But know that the Lord has set apart him who is godly for Himself. The Lord will hear when I call unto Him."

        There is a truth which annihilates such folly. God has a chosen seed. Eternal destination marks them as His own. They are godly because the Spirit seeks and calls and works most mightily within them. They are severed from the world as wheat from chaff, as gold from dross, as sheep from goats, as jewels from the quarry's dust. They are distinguished with most precious grace, especially with the gift of prayer. They often call, and never call in vain. Know this, O sons of men, and cease your fruitless opposition.

        4. "Stand in awe, and sin not; commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still."

        Wise precepts here instruct. Ponder the greatness, the majesty, the power, the glory of Jehovah. Tremble in awe of His almightiness. Let holy dread repress each rebel thought. His arm is raised against all sin. Flee sin, then, as most sure destruction. Search the recesses of your treacherous hearts. Detect their secret whispers. Nip evil in its earliest bud. In still retirement, in night's tranquil hours, become acquainted with yourselves. Thus learn the happy art of checking wicked words. Become expert in silence.

        5. "Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord."

        In worship let all formality be unknown. Outward service is vain show except the heart and all its powers grow warm. Those who worship God must worship Him in spirit and in truth. Do not trust in your holiest acts. Sin soils them all. Your best is worth nothing! No, rather, it is a filthy rag before God's eyes. When all is done, your trust must be in God's tender mercy, in forbearing grace, in pardoning love, in the atoning blood. There is no hope for man but in the work of Christ.

        6. "There are many who say, Who will show us any good? Lord, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us."

        The restless worldling is ever craving and is ever void. Conscious of inward emptiness, he seeks contentment which he never finds. The flowers plucked soon wither in the hand. The sigh is frequent, "Ah! that I knew where happiness resides!" Believers know that all delights are in God's smile, in a sense of His reconciled love, in His abiding favor, in the sight of His glory in the face of Jesus Christ. This is the joy of joys, the heaven of heavens. For this incessant prayer should be made. Shine, gracious Lord! Cause darkness to flee far away! Let Your bright beams bring light and floods of peace. May we ever revel in the rich joy of the Gospel's tidings!

        7. "You have put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased."

        Let the world scorn. Believers are the happy men. David's experience is their common lot. Their happiness is inward—the heart is its seat—it is implanted by God. It is real, substantial, and abiding. It laughs to scorn the transient merriment which earth's plenty gives. Excitement may follow the abundant harvest; revelry may exult in the luxuriant vintage; but the flare is momentary, and sinks in gloom. It is from earth, and earthly. The joy of the Lord is like the Giver—pure, perfect, and eternal.

        8. "I will both lay down in peace and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety."

        How sweet is the peace resulting from God's smile! No rage of earth or hell can ruffle it. In all disquietudes it is unmoved repose. What God bestows, no power can disturb. His gift is safety. Safe then are His people. Such is the Spirit's teaching in this psalm. May our hearts be able to respond, 'Our glad experience attests these truths!'



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« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2006, 06:55:10 PM »

Psalm 5

        Faith prays, knowing that wrath will overwhelm God's foes, and mercies crown the righteous. May prayer be thus stirred up in us!

        1, 2. "Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my meditation. Hearken to the voice of my cry, my King and my God; for unto You will I pray."

        By varied terms the Spirit shows the varied exercise of prayer. Sometimes words flow in ready utterance. Sometimes deep feeling finds no vent; the spirit groans but cannot express. Sometimes the voice swells in agonizing cries. But prayer in every form ascends to heaven. May prayer in every form be our delight! Prayer, also, lays hold of God by all His gracious names. These names are all revealed to strengthen faith. Faith is well skilled to use them. Give ear, O Lord. Hearken, my King, my God!

        3. "My voice shall You hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto You, and will look up."

        Surely our earliest thoughts should rise to heaven, our earliest words should speak to God. Happy the life when every day begins with Him! The First should have our first employ. Let not the world intrude until our God has been reverently worshiped. As arrows from the bow, let early prayers fly swift to heaven. Let, also, watchfulness follow, waiting to catch the accepting smile, and to acknowledge the returning blessings.

        4, 5, 6. "O God, you take no pleasure in wickedness; you cannot tolerate the slightest sin. Therefore, the proud will not be allowed to stand in your presence, for you hate all who do evil. You will destroy those who tell lies. The Lord detests murderers and deceivers."

        Let us remember that in prayer we draw near to the Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts. The court is holy; the unclean may not enter. Ponder the holiness of Him whom praying lips address. Sin in its every form is hateful in His sight. The very angels have no worthiness before Him. Blessed Jesus! we would draw near, cleansed in Your blood, fair in Your beauty, spotless in Your merits, righteous in Your righteousness.

        Here, also, we have sin painted in diverse colors. The monster shows most hideous shapes. Words heaped on words describe its utter vileness. Are the ungodly wicked? Sin is wickedness. Is evil to be abhorred? It is evil. Is foolishness meet for contempt? It is folly. Is iniquity most base? It is iniquity. Is murder monstrous? It is blood-stained. Is craft a vice? It is deceit. This catalogue appals. This character is ours by nature. As such we could not rightly pray. Happy if we can add, "But we are washed, but we are sanctified, but we are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."

        7. "But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy; and in Your fear I will worship toward Your holy temple."

        True worship bends in lowliest humility. It comes crying for mercy to blot out misery, and it sees a multitude of mercies outnumbering the multitude of sins. To count our sins surpasses all our powers. But where sin abounds God's mercy far exceeds.

        True worship trembles at the majesty of God, but it is bold. Its eye is fixed on the appointed place where God has promised to come down and meet. This place is our most precious Jesus. We bless You, O our God, for our true mercy-seat, our real throne of grace.

        8. "Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness, because of my enemies; make Your way straight before my face."

        The believer knows that hostile eyes observe his walk, malignant to expose each erring step. His refuge is in prayer. He supplicates almighty guidance. He desires a heaven-high course. Lead me in Your righteousness. Help me to see Your way. He would walk on earth as in the courts above.

        9. "For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulcher; they flatter with their tongue."

        The picture shows the falseness of this hollow world. Intense iniquity pervades the heart. The mouth is opened to destroy. Their words are deathful darts. They bristle with destruction. The viper's poison lurks beneath their tongues. May we be followers of Him whose lips were grace!

        10. "Destroy them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against You."

        These words are free from slightest tinge of vengeful malice. Their inmost breathing is divine. The believer sees the coming wrath. He knows God's vengeance will descend. God's honor must be vindicated; God's glory must shine forth in just perdition of rebellious foes. The believer rises into oneness with his God. He exults and triumphs in the final overthrow. Perfect love in heaven will sing, "Just and true are Your ways, O King of saints."

        11, 12. "But let all those who put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You. For You, Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor You will compass him as with a shield."

        We turn from bitter anguish to joy in overflowing tide. The saints appear in triple phase. They trust, they love, they walk in righteousness. Triple mercy meets them. God is their defense; He makes them rich in blessing; His favor is their all-surrounding shield. A triple exhortation sounds, but all the notes combine in one. Rejoice; forever shout for joy; be joyful in your God. May inward testimony prove our right to rejoice in the Lord always, and again and again to rejoice!


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« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2006, 06:57:21 PM »

Psalm 6

        Here godly sorrow changes into godly joy. May we so mourn that we too may be comforted!

        1. "O Lord, rebuke me not in Your anger, neither chasten me in Your hot displeasure."

        Seasons recur when sense of sin and bodily distress cast into lowest depths. God's anger threatens to descend in fury. The furnace of displeasure seems to burn terribly. If faith shall fail, despair must overwhelm the soul. But amid terrors faith survives; it knows its refuge and looks above. It doubts not that God still loves. When frowns most darken on His brow it pleads, 'Let not this chastening destroy; let not the flames devour.'

        2. "Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are vexed."

        The fainting flesh shows sympathy. The anguish preys upon the total frame. Sickness of soul reduces every power. Prayer is redoubled. Incessant cries besiege the throne of grace. Misery calls mercy to arise. Disease implores the heavenly healer's aid. Blessed is the anguish which flees thus to God.

        3. "My soul is also sorely vexed; but O Lord, how long?"

        Sorrow of soul is sorrow's fullest cup. All other bitterness is light beside it. The mourning days drag heavily; no dawn appears to chase away night's shade. The moan is heard, "How long, O Lord! how long?" He who would read the deepest lessons of these words must go with Jesus to the garden and the cross. By imputation He is made the sin of sin. Mountains on mountains of iniquity meet on Him. Unspeakably tremendous is the load; unspeakably tremendous is the wrath incurred. His own consent received the vicarious guilt. Just anger thickens round Him. He feels the horrors of His place. Prostrate in misery, He cries, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death." Anguish cries, "My God, my God! why have You forsaken Me?" The curse may not spare Him. Great is the mystery, but it is our salvation.

        4. "Return, O Lord, deliver my soul; Oh save me for Your mercies' sake."

        The sweetest joy is holy fellowship with God. It is heaven's foretaste to see His smile and hear the whispers of His love. To realize this oneness is faith's privilege. But when this presence is withdrawn, when mists obscure this sun, the soul can find no other comfort. There cannot be a substitute for God. There is no rest while sad desertion lasts. It is perdition's wretchedness. The sinking soul craves mercy. It agonizes; "Return, deliver, save!"

        5. "For in death there is no remembrance of You; in the grave who shall give You thanks?"

        There is fear lest sorrow's weight should snap the thread of life. Then means to tell of God's love, to speak of Christ, to sound His praise, to call poor sinners to His cross, to spread abroad His power to save, forever cease. Let us prize and sedulously use continued health and length of days. They are a precious talent. In bringing others to salvation's road, we rise in heaven ourselves.

        6, 7. "I am worn out from sobbing. Every night tears drench my bed; my pillow is wet from weeping. My vision is blurred by grief; my eyes are worn out because of all my enemies."

        The picture of the sin-frightened soul becomes more dark. Outward expressions of deep woe abound; sighs rack the heart; tears flow in copious streams; luster no longer sparkles in the eye; this bitter grief writes old age on the brow. We see how terrible an enemy is sin. When viewed apart from Christ, it is intolerable woe. What must it be in hell! Let us bless Christ with every breath. He is the Lamb of God, who takes it all away.

        8, 9. "Depart from, me, all you workers of iniquity; for the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping. The Lord has heard my supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer."

        The scene is changed. Light brightly shines; the shades of night have vanished. Mercy descends with healing on its wings. The groans are exchanged for songs of joy. We see the all-prevailing power of prayer. In darkest days let it take heaven by storm. It grasps Jehovah's arm. It clings until all blessings are given. Renewed favors strengthen the confidence that foes shall not prevail. Away! depart! you cannot lay me low. No business will I have with you. Answers to prayer stir up resolves to persevere. The suppliants who prosper are encouraged to pray more. Success begets continuance.

        10. "Let all my enemies be ashamed and sore vexed; let them return and be ashamed suddenly."

        The Spirit here gives comfort to all harassed saints. The language is prophetic. It runs through time; it shadows out the final scene. Shame and vexation are treasured up for the ungodly. They sowed the seeds of evil; they must reap the harvest of confusion. It is hard to kick against the goads. The concluding words delightfully reveal our Lord. We see manifestations of His power and triumphs. Before His eye His enemies quail and fall backwards. In His extremest anguish an angel flies to raise and strengthen. Soon will the universe be witness to the mandate, "Depart, you cursed ones, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." May we so suffer with Him, that we may reign together.


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« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2006, 07:01:18 PM »

Psalm 7

        David, stung by unjust reproach, appeals to God. He prays and foresees future judgment. The end is praise. When slanders fly around may we be similarly calm.

        1, 2. "O Lord my God, I put my trust in You; save me from all those who persecute me, and deliver me; lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver."

        David had felt the persecuting rage of man. In peril of life he often fled. Trembling, he had cried, "There is but a step between me and death." The enemy had pursued, athirst for blood, mad as the wildest beast of prey, with fangs extended to rend his limbs to atoms.

        To this day malicious fury raves in sinful hearts. If no restraining barriers had interposed, all people of God would long since have been swept from earth. But when cruelty reviles, they know their stronghold. Their God is their high fortress of defense. They enter and are safe.

        3, 4, 5. "O Lord my God, if I have done this; if there is iniquity in my hands; if I have rewarded evil to him who was at peace with me; (yes, I have delivered him who without cause is my enemy;) let the enemy persecute my soul, and take it; yes, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay my honor in the dust."

        Pure conscience gives enlargement at the throne of grace. He can lift up the head who knows that every charge is false. David was pure of guilt towards Saul. He never sought to hurl him from his throne. He planned no traitorous plots; he sowed no seeds of insurrection. Far otherwise. When in the providence of God his cruel foe was helpless in his hands; when one blow would have crushed persecution, he would not strike. He cut off the mantle and bore off the spear to prove his power to slay—his generosity to spare. Thus conscious of innocence, he appeals to God.

        Here Jesus shows Himself to faith's adoring eye. His walk on earth was perfect purity and perfect love. His one work was to scatter blessings and do good. But enmity could not be softened. Hate causeless was hate furious. He meekly testifies, "They hated Me without a cause; they laid to my charge things that I knew not of." The servant must not expect an easier lot. The more clearly he reflects his Lord, the more bitterly will hatred rage, and viler will be falsehood's accusation. Innocence does not stop man's mouth, but it gives bold access to the ears of God!

        6, 7. "Arise, O Lord, in Your anger; lift Yourself up because of the rage of my enemies; and awake for me to the judgment that You have commanded. So shall the congregation of the people compass You about; for their sakes therefore return on high."

        Troubles last long that grace may more abound. The greater anguish kindles increased prayer. Importunity becomes more urgent. Heaven is assailed with cries that God would no longer seem indifferent, but awake, arise, and put on anger as a mantle. He is reminded of the known decree that judgment shall avenge His people and destroy rebellious foes. In all desires of execution of just wrath, faith's eye regards God's glory. When the Lord's wrathful arm is seen, His people will encircle Him with shouts of praise. Their sanctified joy will burn more brightly. Therefore, for their sake God is implored to show Himself on His high throne of power.

        These words cast light on this world's final scene. Judgment is indeed arranged. Irreversible decree demands it. Our Jesus will appear as Judge. A high tribunal will be His glorious seat. His ransomed flock will all be gathered round Him. He comes to be glorified in His saints and admired in all those who believe. Where, then, will persecutors stand? Oh! that the Spirit would arrest their course and bring them as lowly suppliants to the saving cross; for soon the day of mercy will be fled.

        8. "The Lord shall judge the people; judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, and according to my integrity that is in me."

        True religion is strictly personal. It looks inward; it diligently probes the heart. It deals rigidly with motives and with ways; it prays God to observe and judge. So David, conscious of righteous dealing towards Saul, prays that favor may regard him. This plea is quite consistent with deep sense of sin and consciousness of all shortcomings towards God. Low in deepest guilt before omniscient holiness, we may be free of injury towards man. May this sweet consciousness enable us to lift up the head, and boldly seek God's aid!

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« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2006, 07:01:52 PM »

  9. "Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just; for the righteous God tries the hearts and reins."

        Sights and sounds of evil are anguish to a pious heart. They pain him, because they are abhorrent to his new nature. He turns from them as images of Satan; he loathes them as rebellion against God. Hence he burns with desire that they may be repressed. Hence he wearies heaven with cries that God would drive iniquity into outer darkness. No faithful prayer ascends in vain. Doubtless in answer to such cries much evil is restrained. God's servants are maintained, and grace is kept as a little candle in the world's deep gloom.

        But evil will not die until our Lord returns. Then shall the wickedness of the wicked reach its end. Faith waits expectantly for the blissful reign; it visits in anticipating thought the new heavens and the new earth. Throughout heaven there is no form of sin; its hideous features are forever gone; the reign of righteousness has come. Each heart is holy; each look reflects God's image; every sound is pure. All is transcendent happiness, for all is holiness. No evil will pollute the glorious scene. God's discerning eye will then have parted light from darkness. Outside is sin and all sin's slaves; within is the Lamb's bride, all glorious in her robes of white!

        10. "My defense is of God, who saves the upright in heart."

        How safe are those whom God's shield covers! No weapon wounds them. Satan's darts fall harmless at their feet. They live through all assaults, and they shall live forever. But their own arm brings no defense. They are "kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time." Their character is as clear as their protection is secure. Through grace their hearts are wholly changed. Uprightness is their one delight; uprightness is their constant path.

        11, 12, 13. "God judges the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day. If he turns not, He will whet His sword; He has bent His bow, and made it ready. He has also prepared for him the instruments of death; He ordains His arrows against the persecutors."

        Pledges are added to pledges that the righteous have God to vindicate their cause. Faith treasures up these glad assurances, and gains strength and joy. There is no day nor hour in which God's anger against sin does not burn. But there is respite. Forbearance checks the final blow. The wicked yet may turn; he may abjure his vile rebellion. He may break Satan's yoke; he may seek mercy. In penitence and shame he may flee humbly to the Savior's cross. But if he will not turn, there is no hope. Destruction is then most sure. The Spirit gives a faithful picture of God ready to destroy. He stands in all the might of omnipotence. His arm uplifts His glittering sword; the edge is sharpened for resistless work. Other weapons are prepared. He holds His bow bent for execution. All instruments are ready, and all barbed with death. His arrows are prepared for action. The persecutors are the target to be pierced. Who can hear this and fail to flee for shelter to the wounds of Jesus!

        14. "Behold, he travails with iniquity, and has conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood."

        The faithful Word reveals the evil man. His inner man is all iniquity; it is the offspring which he bears. As deadly waters flow from noxious founts; as poison berries grow on toxic trees; so sin in all shapes flows from him. Plots of mischief are conceived; plans of falsehood are nurtured. They come to birth, they start to life, to fill the world with misery, and to blacken earth with crime. They are of their father the devil, and all their words and works savor of hellish origin.

        15, 16. "He made a pit, and dug it, and has fallen into the ditch which he made. His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own head."

        The unsaved labor hard to work their own destruction. Their feet are caught in their own net. Into their own pits they fall. They sharpen weapons mainly to wound themselves. Their arrows shot upwards fall back on their own heads. Goliath's sword severs his head. Haman hangs on his own gibbet. Adonibezek laments, "As I have done to others, so God has requited me." Dogs lick the blood of Jezebel in the place where she had slain Naboth. Eliphaz records a common experience, "I have seen that those who plough iniquity and sow wickedness reap the same." The man who rends the oak may be destroyed by its fall.

        17. "I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness; and will sing praise to the name of the Lord most high."

        The end comes on. It is all joy to the redeemed. They sing; they sing aloud; they sing forever. The praises of the Lord are their incessant and unwearied song. They laud Him according to His righteousness.

        At present they give praises from their inmost souls; but oh, how dull their hearts! how weak their voice! how poor, how meager, their most lively efforts! Their harps are tuneless; their best melody lacks life. They turn with shame from their best attempts. They do not reach the very outskirts of their theme. But when they reach their home, their songs are commensurate with Jehovah's glorious name. They praise the Lord according to His righteousness. May this delight be ever ours!

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« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2006, 07:04:58 PM »

PSALM 8

        God's name is excellent in all His works, but especially in Christ. O God! reveal Your name to us. The Spirit, who gave these words, gives their interpretation by the lips of Jesus and an Apostle.

        1. "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! You have set Your glory above the heavens."

        How precious is the right of faith to claim an interest in God! It would be vain to say that the Lord is Lord unless we could annex, "O Lord our Lord." But in His own Son God gives Himself to us. Each true believer may exult, "This God is our God forever and ever."

        What thought can grasp God's glory! Its dazzling brightness defies the sight of mortal eye. Its breadth and length, its depth and height, exceed all space. It more than fills the universe and soars above the heaven of heavens. None less than God can grasp this knowledge. But earth is chosen as the favored spot of wondrous revelation. His name is here made manifest in the face of Jesus Christ. Throughout earth's wide expanse His name is gloriously sounded. All other knowledge fades in comparison. We stand amazed at the surpassing excellence!

        2. "From the lips of children and infants You have ordained praise because of Your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger."

        We do not know what circumstance in David's life prompted these words, but our minds revert to a most interesting scene. In Jerusalem young children throng our blessed Lord. Tender voices raise the shout, "Hosanna to the Son of David." Jesus reminds the angry priests that the cry was prefigured in their Scriptures. "Have you never read, Out of the mouths of babes and nursing infants You have ordained praise?"

        We see, also, this word inscribed on the Gospel's mighty course. How poor, how weak, how feeble in themselves are the messengers of grace! They go forth as infants against hosts of giants, as David against Goliath. Against them the wit, the learning of the world combine in strong array. The Gospel's voice seems tiny to compete, but it prevails. The idols of the world succumb. The most clever arguments of vain philosophy, the mightiest efforts of conceited reason, the Dagons of skill and learning lick the dust. The enemy is stilled. Opposing lips are mute. There is a power in God's own truth, proclaimed by feeblest lips, before which Satan and his legion and all the disputants of earth must ever quail. Let no true minister of Christ complain that he is weak. He is strong in speech whom God instructs. He will prevail by whose mouth the Spirit deigns to utter truth.

        3, 4. "When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; what is man, that You are mindful of him, and the son of man, that You visit him?"

        When we uplift our eyes to the sparkling canopy of a clear night, what wonders excite admiration! The moon revolves in brilliant majesty. Countless orbs, each perhaps the center of its own system, stud the expanse with luster. What must their great Creator be! How far that power must surpass conception which willed them into being!

        But, marvel of marvels! that great power looks with tender care on man! Low as he is, and vile and base, and stained with all iniquity, yet God loves him, ever tends him with most watchful eye, and visits him with all the blessings of salvation!

        But Jesus is seen here. He is pre-eminently the Son of man. He is born one of our family, bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh. As such, He condescends to our low level. He is made in all points like us, sin only excepted. As such, He needed heavenly aid. As such, He was upheld and supported during His earthly course, and borne victorious through all His trials.

        5, 6, 7, 8. "For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and have crowned him with glory and honor. You made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet; all sheep and oxen, yes, and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air and the fish of the sea, and whatever passes through the paths of the seas."

        The decree names Jesus as the heir of all things. When He arose from deepest depths of degradation, He proclaimed, "All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth." And in a little while, His glorious kingdom will be established here, and earth, with all who breathe life's breath, the total universe, with all that it contains, shall own His sway. In the name of Jesus every knee shall bow; every tongue shall confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

        In this our present tabernacle we groan, being burdened, looking for the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior. May we by faith and prayer and every holy grace hasten His coming! Then will the chorus swell with rapturous praise through all the redeemed earth—

        9. "O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth."

        Even so, come, Lord Jesus!



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« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2006, 08:24:50 PM »

Psalm 9

        Fervent praise acknowledges God's help and righteous judgments. Prayer follows for continued favors. May we thus praise! May we thus pray!

        1, 2. "I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High."

        The Lord is worthy to be praised with all our energies, with all our powers, in every pulse of our affections, in every movement of our minds, in all places, and at all times. Heaven is unwearied praise. Earth would be heaven begun, if our whole hearts were wholly tuned to praise. It is our duty, and it should be our chief joy, to tell aloud God's wondrous works. But ah! how weak are our best efforts! Where shall we find beginning? Where shall we find an end?

        Eternal love joyed in us before the worlds were framed. Goodness and mercy have followed us from the cradle to this hour. Christ died for us. Christ lives for us. Christ soon will come again to receive us unto Himself, that where He is there we may be also. Let us praise with our whole hearts. Let us be glad and rejoice in Him!

        3, 4, 5. "When my enemies turn back, they shall fall and perish at Your presence. For You have maintained my right and my cause; You sat on the throne judging in righteousness. You have rebuked the nations, You have destroyed the wicked; You have blotted out their name forever and ever."

        Have not believers every cause for joy? They have foes around and they have foes within. Against these foes their own strength is as nothing; but God is their victory. He arises to their help. His presence crushes opposition. He does all for us, and we bless His name. Present deliverance is a pledge of the coming triumph. A day draws near when on our Lord shall sit on His glorious throne. This throne is based on righteousness. From it all righteous judgment will go forth. On it the rightful cause of believers will be maintained. Their cause is good. It cannot be disputed. They claim their pardon on the plea that all their debt is cancelled in Christ's blood—that all demands of justice are satisfied in Him. They ask for heaven on the ground that they are clothed in divine righteousness, and fitted in Christ for the marriage supper of the Lamb!

        6. "Endless ruin has overtaken the enemy, you have destroyed cities; their memorial is perished with them."

        The redeemed anticipate the devil's final fall. They are not afraid to confront him. They bid him mark, that as he destroyed, so now he is destroyed. They foresee his hateful work concluded, his destroying power broken, and his scepter forever shattered. Doubtless he wrought terrible destructions in the earth. He laid waste populous cities. He so utterly demolished them that no vestige could be found. As they were swept into oblivion, so the devil's empire shall forever perish.

        7, 8. "But the Lord shall endure forever; He has prepared His throne for judgment. He shall judge the world in righteousness, and He shall administer judgment to the peoples in uprightness."

        What a glorious kingdom now follows! All rule, all authority and power, are now put down. God is enthroned the only Lord. His scepter is uprightness. Thus He shall reign forever and ever. Sin is forever annihilated. It can no longer disturb, or vex, or soil. The righteous God rules over a righteous world. His people shall be all holy. Holiness and love shall be on each brow. Holiness alone is the atmosphere of the new earth.

        9. "The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble."

        But until the restoration of all things shall arrive, oppression will not cease, and times of trouble will continue. The irreconcilable enemy will use each opportunity to malign, to vex, and to destroy. The prince of this world will hate the godly. His fiery darts will thickly fall.

        But a ready refuge is at hand. That refuge is the Lord, and His shelter is impregnable. All acts of Satan are weak against it. He cannot force its barrier gates; he cannot scale its walls. Salvation is its ramparts; omnipotence is its strength.

        10. "And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You."

        The knowledge of the Lord begets all confidence. It is ignorance which trembles. The name which manifests His glorious perfections annihilates distrust. We may, indeed, trust fully; for the Lord hates divorce.

        Those whom He loves He loves to the end. In Him there is no variableness nor shadow of turning. The mother may forsake her nursing infant; the father may forget his first-born son; friend may abandon friend; but the Word stands forever sure, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." Holy Spirit! show us more of this unchanging love!

        11. "Sing praises to the Lord who dwells in Zion! Declare His deeds among the people."

        To the Old Testament church the Lord revealed Himself as seated between the cherubim on the mercy-seat. Christ is this seat to us. In Him we have constant access to our God, and always find a ready welcome. In Him we draw near to God, and He draws near to us. But the fullness of this truth will not be known until the glorious manifestation of the incarnate God; until He shall take His seat on the throne of David, and sit royally on Zion's hill. In knowledge of His present mercy, in forethought of His coming kingdom, let praise be ever on our lips. Let our constant utterance magnify His doings past, His doings present, and His doings in the coming age.

        12. "For he who avenges murder cares for the helpless. He does not ignore those who cry to him for help."

        This earth has drunk the blood of martyrs. Jesus bled on Calvary's tree. An apostate church is drunk with the blood of the saints. But will such wickedness escape unpunished? A disclosing day draws near. Then murderous hands will find that they were slaughterers of their own souls. Then shall the crown of martyrdom be found to be exceeding glory; then will it be fully seen that every mournful cry and every humble prayer of the afflicted saints made impression on the heart of God—were written there indelibly, fully to be answered in the appointed time. Faithful prayer can never be in vain.

        13, 14. "Lord, have mercy on me. See how I suffer at the hands of those who hate me. Snatch me back from the jaws of death. Save me, so I can praise You publicly at Jerusalem's gates, so I can rejoice that You have rescued me."

        How sweet it is in the full confidence of faith to place all troubles in the hand of God! Such prayer is very humble. Mercy is ever sought in deepest consciousness of unworthiness. There is confession that the gates of death endanger, unless deliverance is marvelously wrought.

        Why do believers thus seek aid? Their ruling motive is, that with their renewed lives they may praise Him who thus delivers, and may by lip and life exalt His praise. Renewed mercies deepen joy. It is the constant song, "I will rejoice in Your salvation." The theme demands our loudest adoration. Let us go forth in spirit and anticipate the day when we shall join the countless multitude, and cry, "Salvation to our God, who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb."

        15, 16, 17. "The heathen have sunk down in the pit that they made; in the net which they hid is their own foot taken. The Lord is known by the judgment which He executes. The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations who forget God."

        The final veil is here again withdrawn. The Spirit calls us to behold the wretched sinners' doom. They plotted ruin to the saints—in ruin they are overwhelmed. They craftily spread snares—they now are caught, and all escape is hopeless. Into a pit of deep and endless woe they sink. Their multitude is great—their numbers exceed calculation. But numbers vanish before God's might. They cast God from their minds—they would not think of His authority and power; but now they cannot fail to recognize His hand. The final execution proclaims His work. Over their prison-house there is inscribed, "A God forgotten is a God avenged. A God unknown in time must fearfully be known throughout eternity." Would that poor sinners, before it is too late, cease to kick against the goads! Sin will recoil on sinful self.

        18. "For the needy shall not always be forgotten; the expectation of the poor shall not perish forever."

        Times of trouble seem to have long course. Sighs often inquire, "When will this darkness cease—when will these sorrows end?" But a bright morn will surely dawn. The help expected will exceed all thought. No word will fail on which faith hopefully relied.

        19, 20. "Arise, O Lord; let not man prevail; let the heathen be judged in Your sight. Put them in fear, O Lord; that the nations may know themselves to be but men."

        The cry is earnest. Fear seems to tremble lest God's cause should sink, and puny man stand conqueror. God tarries that the saints may stir Him up. Their supplications will be heard. The ungodly shall be taught that at their best they are weak flesh and blood. Their strength is nothingness before Jehovah's arm. It is mad folly for potsherds of the earth to strive against their Maker. May we be ever found one with our blessed Lord! May His cause be our cause! His victories our victories! His heaven our heaven! His throne our throne forever!



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« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2006, 08:28:05 PM »

Psalm 10

        The main feature in this psalm is the foul portraiture of evil. Prayer follows in full confidence that God will arise and judge. May the Spirit raise hatred of evil in our hearts!

        1. "Why do You stand afar off, O Lord? why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?"

        There is much weakness in the strongest faith. It is prone to sink when billows swell and storms descend. Trials assume desertion's form. Darkness seems to imply that God cannot be near. The sun eclipsed seems gone forever. But faith in weakest hours still prays, and meekly questions, 'Why is it so?'

        2. "The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor; let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined."

        The Spirit proceeds to draw a full-blown portrait of sin. The mask is withdrawn. The monster is dragged forth to light. The hideous features are revealed. The Spirit's pen cannot exaggerate. The dark colors are not too dark. The deep ingredient of the wicked heart is pride. This scorns the humble followers of the Lamb, and seeks to trample them beneath insulting feet. But often do oppressive schemes recoil, and plots involve self-ruin.

        3. "For the wicked boasts of his heart's desire, and blesses the covetous, whom the Lord abhors."

        In arrogance the wicked boasts that his desires shall prosper. And who can hinder him? He loves the hoarders of ill-gotten gains. In spite of God's abhorrence, they are his delight.

        4. "The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God; God is not in all his thoughts."

        His haughty attitude vaunts independence. He does not stoop to study God's will. He is no suppliant at wisdom's gate. God is not the substance of each thought, but rather rashness says, "There is no God."

        5. "Yet they succeed in everything they do. They do not see your punishment awaiting them. They pour scorn on all their enemies."

        His every step insults both God and man. His dim eye grovels on the ground. It has no power to pierce the heavens and read God's will. His insolence condemns his foes.

        6, 7. "He has said in his heart, I shall not be moved, for I shall never be in adversity. His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud; under his tongue is mischief and vanity."

        In self-complacency he thinks prosperity must last forever, and evil days can never come. He cannot speak without floods of evil issuing forth. His words are open curses and insidious falsehoods.

        8. "They lurk in dark alleys, murdering the innocent who pass by. They are always searching for some helpless victim."

        Evil words lead on to evil deeds. He craftily devises murderous acts. He narrowly observes the poor and feeble, thirsting for their blood.

        9, 10. "Like lions they crouch silently, waiting to pounce on the helpless. Like hunters they capture their victims and drag them away in nets. The helpless are overwhelmed and collapse; they fall beneath the strength of the wicked."

        Sometimes as a beast of prey he crouches for a desperate spring; sometimes as a crafty huntsman he spreads entangling nets. By every art he seeks to execute his hateful plots.

        11. "He has said in his heart, God has forgotten; He hides His face; He will never see it."

        False thoughts of God deceive him. Impunity persuades him that God disregards. He flatters himself that omniscience does not observe him.

        12. "Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up Your hand; do not forget the humble."

        These sights of sin impel believers to the mercy-seat. They turn away. They look above. They seek their God. They tell out their fears. They ask His help. They commit the persecuted to His care. They stir Him up to have them in remembrance.

        13, 14, 15. "Why do the wicked condemn God? He has said in his heart, You will not require it. You have seen it; for You behold mischief and spite, to requite it with Your hand; the poor commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless. Break the arm of the wicked and the evil man; seek out his wickedness, until You find none."

        How vain the atheistic thought that God sits still in unconcern! From His high throne He ponders all the ways of men. In right time He will avenge His honor. The helpless shall indeed be helped; the boastful arm of wickedness shall be shattered. All evil shall be dragged to light; no sin shall go unpunished.

        16. "The Lord is King forever and ever; the heathen have perished out of His land."

        Glorious light shines forth. The throne of God is set. He rules, He reigns, in majesty supreme forever. His enemies are all destroyed. Throughout the blissful realm no trace of evil can be found. His happy subjects now lift up the head. One shout is heard, Glory, glory to our God!

        17, 18. "Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart, You will cause Your ear to hear; to judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress."

        Good Lord, increase our faith in the power and prevalence of prayer! The eternal world will show that supplication never desired in vain. Grace prompts the desire, inspires the words, prepares the heart, and gives the full reply. When God comes forth to answer and to help, what can feeble flesh avail! It perishes forever. From this view of the wickedness of the wicked, their righteous doom, the glories of the coming kingdom, let us bless Him who has delivered us from the wrath to come, and called us to His kingdom and glory!



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« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2006, 08:29:54 PM »

Psalm 11

        Confidence relies on God when storms of trouble threaten. The terribleness of final judgment is revealed. May perfect shelter be our happy lot!

        1. "In the Lord I put my trust; how can you say to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?"

        Happy the soul which calmly rests on God! He is a rock so firmly based and so exceeding high, that swelling billows dash in vain, and raging storms harmlessly beat. Feet planted on it are as safe as God is safe. His power is omnipotence. Who can upset it? His love can never change. His wisdom knows no bounds. His truth can never fail. Let us then trust Him, at all times, in all places, under all trials. Let us trust Him with our souls and bodies, for time and for eternity. Let us trust Him with all our matters and with all our friends. Safe in His arms we may defy all foes.

        But they will taunt with sneering malice. They will exclaim, Make haste to flee. There is no safety but in flight. As the frightened bird seeks refuge in the high and distant hills, so fly with rapid wing. To tarry is destruction. Tarry not.

        2. "For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart."

        Peril may be near. The wicked hate and plot—their bow is strong; their arrows ready; their eyes are watchful. If given the opportunity, their venomed shafts will inflict deadly wounds. Thus Jesus walked amid incessant snares. At every turn some ambush was concealed. What crafty questions spread entangling nets! So too it is each day with us. The enemy is ever near. Let us look up. Let our daily cry be heard, "In the Lord I put my trust."

        3. "If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?"

        The foundations of our trust are firm, and never can be moved. We have received a kingdom that cannot be shaken. What is the strong foundation of our trust? It is Christ. It is His glorious person, His deity and manhood indissolubly joined, His everlasting love, His finished work, His precious blood, His expiating death, His all-atoning cross, His resurrection-might, His rule at the right hand, His never-ceasing intercession, His well-ordered providence, His coming kingdom, His eternal reign. How blessed, how encouraging, are these truths! Not one can be opposed, not one can disappoint. We may rest all our weight on them. They cannot sink. If any flaw could be discerned, if any weak part showed insecurity, we might indeed despond. But building on this solid base, we may indeed reject all taunts. We have a strong city. God has appointed Salvation for walls and bulwarks.

        4. "The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord's throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids try the children of men."

        Ours is no visionary trust. Of old our God was present in the sanctuary. True worshipers might there approach and find that He drew near to them. Christ is our mercy-seat. In Him we meet our God; in Him our God meets us. What then shall be our fear?

        But more; our God sits high enthroned in heaven. He rules arrayed in omnipotent power. How safe are those who are protected by His arm! His eye sees every outward act and searches every inward thought. His people never are unseen. No darkness can conceal His foes. We may then confidently trust.

        5. "The Lord tries the righteous; but the wicked, and him who loves violence, His soul hates."

        Many are indeed our trials, but all are ordered for our good. Thus faith is tested; leaks in the vessel are discovered; sincerity is discerned; weak parts are strengthened; the walk becomes more close, more vigilant, and more strict. These probings are among our blessings. "Blessed is the man that endures trial, for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." But all iniquity is hateful in His sight. His holy nature abhors sin.

        6. "Upon the wicked He shall rain snares, fire, and brimstone, and a horrible tempest; this shall be the portion of their cup."

        They cannot escape just wrath. Their frightful doom is here portrayed. Mercy warns of this destruction, that men forewarned may flee to Christ. Images of agony are here combined. What Sodom and her plains foreshowed is coming reality. A fiery deluge overwhelms its victim. A flaming lake engulfs. There is a cup which they must drink. The cup is hot to overflowing with all extremity and intensity of torment. Wrath has not yet gone forth. Let all who hear fly speedily to Christ.

        7. "For the righteous Lord loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright."

        Righteousness will execute what righteousness denounces. Justice maintains forever that rebels are thus punished. But saving smiles beam sweetly over the redeemed flock. God now beholds them in all love. They soon shall see Him in all glory. Holy Spirit! keep us ever in the light of His countenance.


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« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2006, 02:06:21 PM »

Psalm 12

Fearing that the godly cease and the ungodly vaunt, prayer is made and confidence is professed in God's pure Word. Supported by such comfort, may we never fear!

1. "Help, Lord; for the godly man ceases; for the faithful fail from among the children of men."

Amid the trials of this sinful world there is sweet solace in the company of holy men. Their counsel strengthens; their example cheers; their fellowship delights; their meek endurance teaches patience; their zeal excites to work. We joy in their joy; we gain grace from their grace. But they are not always near. We often shed tears beside their graves. It may be that adverse circumstances fix our dwellings where evil is most prevalent. Many have mourned this desolation. Lot's heart is vexed in Sodom. Elijah wails his lonely state. Jeremiah weeps in friendless solitude. Paul sadly writes, "Only Luke is with me."

But comfort is not linked to man. Faith can fly straight to heaven. Prayer can bring down the joy of joys, the presence of our God. The fervent cry, "Help, Lord," can turn earth's desert into smiling paradise. The saint feels that he is not alone when God is by his side. The heart is glad when Jesus holds communion.

2. "Everyone speaks vanity with his neighbor; with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak."

Where grace is absent insincerity prevails. Ungodly conversation has taint of unreality. The unconverted heart—the birthplace of all speech—is double. From an insincere source there must flow insincere words. Dissimulation within dissimulates without. Hatred and mischief, injury and wrong, fraud and oppression, are deeply plotted, while the look blandly smiles, and flattery conceals the base intent. Ah, world! ah, treacherous world! you are a truthless cheat!

3, 4. "The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaks proud things; who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own; who is lord over us?"

Sad is the blinding power of sin. Proud reason dreams that independence is its heritage. It does not bow to God's sovereign rule. It claims a seat above the throne of God. It acknowledges no power superior to itself.

The true believer widely differs. He feels, I am not my own. I am bought by the precious blood of Christ. I gladly give myself, my all, my every word, my every work, to my Redeemer's cause. My highest honor is to be the servant of my glorious Lord. My noblest work is to act out His will. My happiest life is to serve Him. But these deceivers mainly deceive themselves. Flattering others, they are self-injuring. Their lips prepare their own destruction. The Lord hears, records, and will most surely punish. Wisdom proclaims, "By your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned."

5. "Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise," says the Lord. "I will protect them from those who malign them."

The prayer ascends, "Help, Lord." The answer comes, "Now will I arise." Prayer speedily brings heaven to aid. God's eye never fails to observe the cruel treatment of His suffering saints. His ear receives each feeble breathing of His persecuted children. It was so when Israel groaned in the Egyptian furnace. "I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows." In every age it has been so. It will be so until the reign of peace is sweetly settled. Until that day the world will see oppression working and deliverance checking.

6. "The words of the Lord are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times."

While falsehood, deceit, and wrong abound in evil men, the faithful Word is near to comfort. No insincerity pollutes it. It is pure from all alloy, as silver perfectly refined. It has been the staff of many suffering pilgrims, and it never fails. It will sustain when other props are gone.

7. "You shall keep them, O Lord; You shall preserve them from this generation forever."

The Church has lived through every age, and still it lives. There have been times when signs of life were very feeble. The quivering spark has seemed almost extinct. The daughter of Zion has been left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers. But God's power has not deserted them. They have been kept by His mighty power through faith unto eternal life. And safely they will be preserved, until they stand together a countless multitude in Emmanuel's land.

8. "The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted."

It may be that earth's highest seats are occupied by the most reprobate men. A Pharaoh, a Herod, a Nero, may wield the tyrant's scepter; then vice and villainy will show unblushing front. On all sides wickedness will riot. Let us in such distress pour out the cry, "Help, Lord," and the Lord will speedily arise. With such assurance, let us not despond!


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« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2006, 02:14:24 PM »

Psalm 13

The soul long troubled here at last finds peace. Lord, may our faith never fall! Joy is at hand.

1, 2. "How long will You forget me, O Lord? forever? how long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall my enemy be exalted over me?"

Discipline is needed in the school of grace, and therefore it is not withheld. A loving Father orders it—a loving hand applies it. The purpose and the result are increase of grace. Lurking sins are thus detected. Weakness in faith's fabric is repaired. Secret foes are dragged to light and slain. Prayer and dependence and matured experience gain power. Fruits of righteousness are ripened. A shaken tree takes deeper root.

To effect this, tokens of God's presence are withdrawn. The much-loved smile smiles not. The tender whispers are no longer heard. Precious communion fails to cheer. The sighing spirit mourns desertion. It is as a forsaken dwelling. No ray of love illumines the surrounding darkness. Fears whisper, 'God is forever gone.' Dreary days drag on their dreary length. In the morning there is the wail, "How long?" In the evening it is still, "How long?" The soul is much perplexed. Harassing doubts intrude. Questions arise. What is the purpose? When will be the end?

Thus daily sorrow is the daily bread. Thus grief and heaviness pervade the day. The cry is often repeated, "How long? how long?" Affliction deepens because the enemy appears to triumph. It is his joy when saints are sad. He rears his head when they lie low; his cause is crowned when adversity fills their cup. This knowledge aggravates their misery. The cry continues, "How long! how long?" David is here. This is a path which his feet often trod. Each child of God is here. In this darkness they often walk. But above all, the Man of Sorrows is here too. There is no cup of anguish which His lips tasted not. These words anticipate the bitter cry, "My God, my God! why have You forsaken Me?"

3. "Consider and hear me, O Lord my God; give light to my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death."

In every state faith has its sure employ. In darkest night, amid the howling storm, in dreariest solitude, in racking pains, from the whale's belly, in the battlefield, when the foes rush with overwhelming might, when hope seems hopeless, when all remedy is fled, when heaven seems closed, in agonies of death, in jaws of hell, it prays. There is no state which excludes prayer. There is no place without an access to the mercy-seat. Faith never forgets, The Lord is my God. I have a property in Him. Thus it can ever cry, "Consider and hear me, O Lord my God." Relief and comfort are implored. The present gloom seems like an instant death. A ray of love is sought to give reviving light. The smile of God's countenance is desired to keep the eyes from closing in dark death.

4. "Lest my enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved."

There is fear lest the enemy shall triumph, and the tottering cause of truth should fill the wicked with malicious joy. Thus David trembled; but his fears were visionary. Opposing foes could not detain him from the throne. Thus Satan seemed about to triumph when Jesus was dragged to trial and uplifted on the cross. Truth seemed about to fall and victory to crown hell's efforts. But how short the hope! The conquering Savior bursts detaining bonds. He rises omnipotent to vanquish all hell's arts and might. In Him His people live. In Him they will prevail. In Him they soon will sit on thrones of glory. In Him they soon will place victorious feet on Satan's neck. Therefore we will trust and not be afraid.


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