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Saturday, December 31, 2016

PSALM 145

verses 14-16


"The Lord upholdeth all that fall,
and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.
The eyes of all wait upon Thee;
and Thou givest them their meat in due season.
Thou openest Thine hand,
and satisfies the desire of every living thing."



"The Lord upholdeth all that fall."

"Now unto Him that  is able to keep you from falling,
And to present you faultless before the presence of His glory
and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen."
(Jude 24)

This is a benediction in the New Testament.  David the Psalmist speaks from experience.  He fell terribly far spiritually, but rose again when he was bowed down.  The difference in the Old and New Testament experience is in the Old it says "all that fall," whereas in the New it says, "is able to keep you from falling."  The Holy Spirit within us is the difference.  David had visitations of the Spirit time and again, but the indwelling presence Jesus promised us had not yet been given.


There's something about my meds or my age that makes me realize I can't trust myself to go down some trails, like when I stopped, dropped and rolled down the hiking trail in Tennessee and caught myself before going over the brink to the river below.  Yes, embarrassing I know, but I laid there laughing my head off.  But I have noticed whether going down bleachers or uneven ground at the beach, I become top heavy and have to be careful not to follow my big head over heels tumbling.  Yes, I'm a grandma who needs to hold onto someone's arm.  All this to say, I am now more aware of falling these days.  I like the kind of God who promises to keep us from falling, the kind of God we can hold onto to be safe.  The physical description is really about the spiritual stumbling, however.    He is able.

Adam Clarke says, "The Lord upholdeth all that fall, the falling, or those who are not able to keep their feet; the weak.  He shores them up--He is their prop.  No man falls through his own weakness merely; if he rely on God, the strongest fore cannot shake him."  It is like the parents who hold the child's hands between them, and when he slips, they swing him up and away from falling: "Upsy-daisy." 

Matthew Henry says, "He upholds them that fall, in that though they fall, they are not utterly cast down.  If those who were bowed down by oppression and affliction are raised up, it was God who raised them.  And, with respect to all those that are heavy-laden under the burden of sin, if they come to Christ by faith, He will ease them, He will raise them.  He is very ready to hear and answer the prayers of His people."


   



"The eyes of all wait upon Thee..."

This implies waiting expectantly.  "What a fine figure!  The young of all animals look up to their parents for food.  God is here represented the universal Father, providing food for every living creature.  'In due season.'  The kind of food that is suited to every animal, and to all the stages of life in each animal.  This is a wonderful mystery."...All expect it from God; and not one is disappointed!" 

How to tame a wild animal: you put out food and watch as they slowly come; then eventually you hold out food in your open hand patiently; then eat out of your hand.  Eventually they come to trust you, look to you, and desire to be petted.  The eyes may be wary at first, running  up to snatch it away.  Eventually the eyes will wait, looking up to you to provide. 



We are those feral, wild creatures.  God desires to tame us so that He can provide for us and love on us, to have us eating out of His hand, stroking us.  "Thou openest Thine hand and satisfies the desires of every living thing."


 

"Thou givest them their meat in due season."  "What a hand is this that holds in it all the food that meets the desires and necessities of the universe of creatures!" (Adam Clarke)  "He that feeds His birds will not starve His babes.  He will hear their call and will save them; that is hearing them to purpose, as he heard David (that is, saved him) from the horn of the unicorn."  Hmm.  I didn't say that, Matthew Henry did (Psalm 22:21: "Save me from the lions mouth: for Thou hast heard me from the horn of the unicorn.")  So rather than being the food, we are rescued and fed. 

Our problem is out-of-control desires.  Sin is self-will run riot.  Save us from ourselves, O Lord!  I kept a little verse in my purse for years until I lost it.  I can't quite quote it but it goes something like this.  "I do what I want.  What I want does not satisfy.  I do what He wants.  What He wants satisfies, so I do what He wants.  Thus, I do what I want."  When the Psalmist says, "He will give you the desires of your heart," this doesn't mean you have the genie's bottle or rob Santa of his sack, it means He will put the right desires in your heart.
 

Well, from feral creatures, to unicorns, to stumbling bumpkins, it's all there.  But God is there too,
ready and waiting with His hand open to feed us or to clasp ours when we come to trust Him. 












Friday, December 30, 2016


PSALM 145

verses 8-13



"The Lord is gracious and merciful;
Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.
The Lord is good to all
And His mercies are over all His works.
All Your works shall give thanks to You, O Lord,
And Your godly ones shall bless You.
They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom
And talk of Your power;
To make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts
And the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And Your dominion endures to throughout all generations."



"The Lord is gracious to those that need Him,
slow to anger to those who have offended Him,
and of great mercy to all who seek Him...
He is ready to give, and ready to forgive."
Matthew Henry


"He treats His creatures with kindness,
His subjects with consideration,
His saints, favour.

To the suffering, the weak,  the despondent, He is very pitiful; He feels for them, He feels with them: He this heartily, and in a divine manner.  Of this pitifulness He is full, so the compassionates freely, constantly deeply, divinely, and effectually.  In fullness in a sense not known among men, and his fullness is fragrant sympathy for human misery."  (Charles Surgeon)


"The whole creation findeth refuge under the shadow of His wings, by reason of man's transgression, it standeth in need." (Samuel Burder)

Oh, how needy man was and is ever since the fall.  Yet, the scared, naked, hiding Adam and Eve found refuge under the shadow of His wings.  He made the first clothing for them to hide their nakedness, made from the first sacrifice, blood shed, to make such a covering for their sin.  That is the picture here.


"1.  Grace to the unworthy.  2.  Compassion to the afflicted.  3.  Forbearance to the guilty. 
4.  Mercy to the penitent."  R.H.

"'The Lord is gracious' His holy nature is ever disposed to shew favour.
'Full of compassion'  Wherever He sees misery, His eye affects His heart.
'Slow to anger' When there is even the greatest provocation.
'Of great mercy'  Great in His abundant mercy.  These four things give us a wonderful display of the goodness of the Divine nature." (Adam Clarke)

"...for the sun shines as brightly as if they were saints, and the rain waters their fields as plentifully as if they were perfect." (The Treasury of David)


"If one had art to gather up all the golden sunlight that today falls over all the continents, that falls on the spider's web, the sparrow's nest, that rests on the threshold of the young foxes' hole where they play and warm themselves, that rests on the prisoner's window, that strikes radiant beams through the slave's tear, and puts gold upon the widow's weeds...and goes on its wild abundance up and down the earth, shining everywhere and always. Then it might tell the height, and depth, and unending glory of the pity of God...copiousness, and of His mercy and compassion." (Henry Ward Beecher, 1875)



  

"Sweet dewdrops are on the thistle as well as on the rose." (Thomas Watson)


"There is not a soul out of hell that is not continually under His most merciful regards: so far is He willing or decreeing before their creation the damnation of any man." (Adam Clarke)

"His tender mercies are over all His works."

"the word translates, bowels; that is the womb, such pity as the mother takes of the children of her womb." (Lancelot Andrews)


"His bowels of compassion are over all His works; He feels for His intelligent offspring, as the most affectionate mother does for the child of her own bosom.  And through this matchless mercy, these bowels of compassion, His son Jesus tasted death for every man." 



His grace for every soul is free:
For his, who forged the dire decree
For every reprobate and me."
(Adam Clarke)

"All Thy works shall praise Thee, O Lord"


"Ask of the mountains, that lift their heads among and above the clouds,
and the bleak summit of one shall seem to call aloud to the snow clad top of another,
in proclaiming their testimony to the Agency which has laid their deep foundations.
Ask of the ocean waters; the roar of their boundless waves shall chant from shore to shore
a hymn ascription to that Being, who hath said, 'Hither to shall ye come and no further.'
O God! everywhere we see Thy love!



The universe is to us the burning bush...God is ever present in it, for it burns with His glory,
and the ground on which we stand is always holy."
("Francis" Viscount Dillon)


This quote I love, love, love! 
It reminds me of one of my all-time favorites by Emily Dickenson

"Earth is crammed with heaven,
And every common bush is afire with God;
But only He who sees
Takes off his shoes--
The rest sit around it and pick blackberries."



These verses, 11-13, speak of the glory of His kingdom, as it is sung in the Messiah.
We listened to it and watched it on video at least three times over the Christmas season.
So this Psalm resonates with the music of the Messiah.


"Thy works shall praise Thee, O Lord;
and thy saints shall bless Thee.
They shall speak of the glory of Thy kingdom,
and talk of Thy power."

Speak of Him wherever you are.

"If the heart were full of God, the tongue could not refrain from talking about Him (showing there is a poverty of grace.)  If Christ be not in our heats, we are godless; if he be there without joy, we are senseless; if we rejoice in Him and speak not of Him, we are shamefully unthankful...As I will think of Thee always, O Lord, so it shall be my joy to speak of Thee often."  (Joseph Hall)


"The pomp of it.  Would we by faith look within the veil, we should 'speak of the glory of His kingdom.'"  This makes me think of Zacharias who was chosen for the once in a lifetime honor to go into that holy of holies where he was met with an angelic being.  Right there within the veil, in the glory of glories, he doubted and was struck dumb until his wife bore the son of prophecy, John the Baptist.  This could be a lesson to us that we can rejoice in the glory of God and speak of it, or be struck dumb by doubt.  We need to recognize that we stand before the burning bush and take off our shoes and worship, then go tell it on the mountain!

"Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and Thy dominion endureth throughout all generations."


"The thrones of earthly princes totter, and the flowers of their crowns wither,
monarchs come to an end; but, Lord, 'Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.'"
(Matthew Henry)

At this portion of my life, I struggle with being jaded, looking back over a life given in service to the church, the harvest of which we won't see until heaven, but certainly looks a little blighted from here; looking back over a life of political upheavals, none like the kind we just were drug through like a pile of manure of which we are just now washing away its stench.  What keeps me from slipping into that cynical mold is that God is over all, above it all, and He is gracious and glorious. 


This is beauty at its most exquisite form.  So, I can look up, sigh and say, "ain't it grand!"














Thursday, December 29, 2016

PSALM 145
verses 5-7



Just because the manger is empty
doesn't mean the glory has left.
All we have to do is remember...

"On the glorious splendor of Your majesty
And on Your wonderful works,
I will meditate.
Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts,
And I will tell of Your greatness.
They shall eagerly utter the memory
of Your abundant goodness
And will shout joyfully of Your righteousness."




For one thing, we need to meditate, remember, because we cannot always sit upon the mountain top with the spectacular view of His glorious splendor and majesty.  But we must never forget how great God is.  There is no drop of His splendor that will not be replenished.  His glorious splendor knows no end.  We can't get enough, but there is enough.  It is always there. 


Matthew Henry says, His greatness indeed cannot be comprehended.  When we cannot, by searching, find the bottom, we must sit down at the brink, and adore the depth."  "Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways." (Romans 11:33)




In Exodus 33:18-19 we see His goodness is His glory.  "Then Moses said, 'I pray You, show me Your glory!'   And He said, 'I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you..."  Like Matthew Henry says, "It can never be exhausted, for He ever will be as rich in mercy as He ever was."




Adam Clarke says of God's greatness and works, "They are glorious and beautiful, majestic and wonderful," but also "Marvellous, and full of terror."  "For the heavens declare, the sun, moon, and stars, in their splendor, magnitude, and perpetual motion shew forth God's honour and majesty.  A second kind of works are the terrible acts of His justice, such as the deluge (the flood), the fire of Sodom, Pharaoh's overthrow in the Red Sea, the earth opening up to swallow Korah, Dathan, and Abiram."  Yet, "Thy bounty shall make all generations eloquent in Thy praise."




"In the incarnation, passion, resurrection, ascension, the coming of the Holy Ghost, calling of the Gentiles, justification, sanctification, and eternal life: for all these, and each of them, men shall abundantly utter Thy righteousness."

Glory came down at Christmas.


Do you eagerly utter the memory of God's abundant goodness?  Can we be like the little children who exclaim joyfully over the presents they've received under the tree?  God has done awesome acts.  Our last child still in the home did wake us at 5:30 Christmas morning in his eagerness to find out what was under the tree.  He is a little too teenager-ish to squeal and jump up and down, yet he was quietly pleased.  In fact he stayed enthralled with his presents, so much so that he wanted to go show them to his other family and friends.  Be like that child, the one the Father has given good gifts to.





Wednesday, December 28, 2016

PSALM 145



"I will extol You, my God, O King,
And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless You,
And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised,
And His greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts."
(verses 1-4)



This is another Hebrew alphabet song with 22 verses.  Adam Clarke says that "The Rabbina have it in such high estimation, that they assert, if a man with sincerity of heart repeat it three times a-day, he shall infallibly enjoy the blessings of the world to come."  Remember, this is a song-Psalm.  Part of this Psalm has been made into a contemporary worship song, "Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised." 



I don't know about repeating this Psalm 145 three times a day, it would be nice, but I doubt I will do that.  However, I can and should have breathed in my soul constantly that verse, "Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised."


David as a king is singing this to His King.  He calls God, "my God, O King."  Me, my, mine: these are personal words first spoken in childhood.  "Mine!" is a typical exclamation of a little one.  But as God is embraced as "my God," He is One to be shared in worship with all the world, extolling, blessing, and praising His name. 


"I will extol thee."  Adam Clarke interprets this as "I will raise Thee on high, I will lift Thee up."
He quotes a hymn line by Mr. Addison, "Thro' all eternity to Thee, A joyful song, I'll raise;
But O, eternity's too short To utter all Thy praise."  This is perhaps why we have the tendency in worship to raise our hands.



"His greatness is unsearchable."  "Literally, To His mightinessess there is no investigation.  All in God is unlimited and eternal."  This is to express the unexpressable by praise.  He is the great Beyond.  He is unsearchable, yet our hearts search for Him and find no rest until we find it in Him.  Augustine said, "Our hearts are restless until we find our rest in Thee." 



Adam Clarke goes on to say, "His greatness is unsearchable.  Past our weak capacity to comprehend: higher than the heavens, deeper than hell, having no end.  Or, if great here refer to Him as King, then in respect to the extension of His empire over every living creature, He is great: He rules over the hearts of the children of men; over their thoughts and affections; and nothing is hidden from His sight."

"One generation shall praise Your works to another." 

"Thy creating and redeeming acts are recorded in Thy word: but Thy wondrous providential dealings with mankind must be handed down by tradition, from generation to generation; for they are in continual occurrence, and consequently innumerable." 


It is like lighting the next candle as yours is melting away.

I think of my Gram and her sister, Ruby and Sally.  They were raised by godly parents.  Their father Uncle Bud was an evangelist.  They had a Christian heritage that went further back as their grandfather Robinson was a physician and lay preacher.  This generation--my life--and the next generation--my children's--have been blessed by them, even by the generations who walked before us whom we never met.   However, it was a privilege to have known Miss Sally and her husband, Uncle Welch.  After every visit, as company was leaving, Uncle Welch would pause at his threshold and quote from memory a long passage of Scripture as a parting gift.  At least one of his descendants did likewise.  Now thinking of the murder of one of their great granddaughters, it is a terrible, insensible loss.  One hopes that this earlier generation had passed down to her generation a longing heart for God that found her rest in Him. 



What a responsibility it is to make sure it is passed down.  As the Scripture says, "I have no greater joy than to hear my children walk in truth."  (III John, verse 4)  "I rejoiced greatly that I found thy children walking in truth..." (II John, verse 4)  There was the song that used to be sung, "My Father's Eyes."  Truly, what we want more than our children to have certain features, is that they be recognized by resemblance to their heavenly Father as His child.  And yet, every Christian is a first generation by regeneration.  You cannot merely  inherit a tradition without embracing it yourself.





Tuesday, December 27, 2016

PSALM 144:12-15




"Let our sons in their youth be as grown-up plants,
And our daughters as corner pillars fashioned as for a palace;
Let our garners be full, furnishing every kind of produce,
And our flocks bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields;
Let our cattle bear without mishap and without loss,
Let there be no outcry in our streets!
How blessed are the people who are so situated;
How blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!"



  


This is like a morning after,  Christmas, satiated with all God's blessings.  This Psalm celebrates blessings as Adam Clarke describes...
1. fruit of the body, sons and daughters,
2. fruit of the ground, grass and corn,
3. fruit of the cattle,--'the increase of kine, and flocks of sheep...'


"Let our sons..."

It is a recognition of God's blessings when we come together at Christmas with our sons and daughters.  However, we grieve with those who grieve over the loss of their children.  It never seems right when a parent outlives their child.  Yet, sons and daughters are reminders that life will go on without us when our time comes.  It is a heritage passed down, a torch handed off. 



Usually it is sons who go to war, though nations such as Israel requires all their youth--male and female-- to enlist so as to be ready to defend their nation.  So, at Christmas we recognize those who serve in the military, some who have to be away from home over the holidays. 




Being with our oldest son, is a joy realizing all the years of blessing he has given us with his humor and intellect, and the enjoyment he gave us as he excelled in sports.  Not only that, but as with all our children, the grandchildren are a blessing.  It may add up when we have nineteen of them so far, but Christmas presents are a way to celebrate each of their live. 


Grandaughters



Daughters


Laura and her beauties

Robin and Ezra, her nephew


Tifani and Zane

Matthew Henry says, "It is desirable to see our daughters as cornerstones, or corner pillars, polished after the similitude of a palace, or temple.  By daughters families are united and connected, to their mutual strength, as the parts of a building are by the cornerstones; and when they are graceful and beautiful both in body and mind they are then polished after the similitude of a nice structure.  When we see our daughters well-established and stayed with wisdom and discretion--when we see them by faith united to Christ--when we see them purified and consecrated to God as living temples, we think ourselves happy in them.  He prays for a growing estate with a growing family." 
Avery and Ella, twins

It makes me think of Mary, who was chosen to be a pillar of faith when the angel told her to fear not...Some say that as an orphan, she grew up serving in the temple, which was a common practice, until she came of age.  Then she was engaged to Joseph, and so goes the Christmas story.
cousins

It is a beautiful description of daughters.  But if they are the pillars and cornerstones, it is also a warning that if one pillar is weak, the structure is in danger.  So our prayers can be for our daughters to all stand tall in the beauty of holiness that it may be passed on to our daughters' daughters.
Grandparents Day

This year I chose to give as gifts to my daughters and older granddaughters, a version of the Psalms which has added places to make notes and even designs to doodle and color.  Since I have been in the Psalms in my blog since Jan. 6 of this past year, it seemed a fitting way to pass it on. 


"That there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in or streets."
(verse 14 KJV)

All these blessings were actually in possession.  All these expressions should be understood in the present tense...'without mishap and without loss.'  'So well ordered is the police of the kingdom that there at not depredations, no robbers, house-breakers, or marauding parties in the land; no sudden incursions of neighbouring tribes or banditti breaking into fields or houses, carrying away property, and taking the people to sell them under captivity: there is no such breaking in, and no such going out, in the nation.  My enemies are either become friends, and are united with me in political interest; or are, through fear, obliged to stand aloof." (Adam Clarke)

Sadly I woke this morning to the news that a second cousin, 46 years old had been murdered, her car stolen on Christmas Day in Washington D.C., tragic news.  Her grandmother would have been my grandmother's sister. 


If you've ever been robbed, you know that it is a feeling of violation.  Someone has trespassed and grabbed things away.  When we lived in the country, we were robbed seven times in eight years there.  Thieves knew that the response time of the sheriff was enough delayed for them to get away.  It was funny though that years later we found the exact marked Barbie case full of Barbie clothes that had been stolen from our young daughter, in a thrift shop.  I also found an unmistakable piece of broken jewelry, a piece of jade from my grandmother, of no great worth, but definitely mine.  However, most of what was stolen was never recovered.  Even in the nice neighborhood where we live now, so many bikes have been stolen that we've lost count.  I know, you'd think our boys would learn that they needed to lock them up, but tell that to an ADD child. Now that I've learned to shop for Christmas online, the FedEx man jumps off his truck with our packages, does the ding-dong ditch kind of thing, and we know a package is hidden somewhere on the porch so as not to attract a thief.


But these last verses mean more, it means there is a yearning in our hearts for the Prince of Peace.  The earth has known little peace.  Sadly slavery still is occurring, people stealing people, whether it is sex trafficking that even occurs in our country, in our town and neighborhood, or it is the Muslims who still traffic in Africa for slavery in our present time, or the radical Islamists who steal women and children for their own perverted use condoning it by verses in their sacred writings by the sayings and practice of Mohammed himself. 


We little realize and appreciate the safety we dwell in here in our own country taking it for granted.  But police, sheriffs, homeland security, and the military intelligence and force all protect our peace within our borders.


Matthew Henry says, "It is desirable thus to dwell in quiet habitations.  His reflection upon this description of the prosperity of the nation, which he so much desired:  'Happy are the people that are in such a case (but it is seldom so, and never long so), yea, happy are the people whose God is the Lord.'"