Sunday, April 17, 2016

How is this psalm not more familiar to me? 
It was a delight to read as if it were the first time we met. 
"There will be silence before Thee,
and praise in Zion, O God."
(verse 1)
Matthew Henry beautifully says of this...
"As there are holy groanings which cannot be uttered,
so there are holy adorings which cannot be uttered."

Have you ever been stunned to silence by the goodness and beauty of God?
Has He ever taken your breath away?
Then God invites us to speak, to Him no less.  He hears us.
"O Thou who dost hear prayer,
To Thee all men come."
(verse 2)

Jews, Gentiles, all are included in the invitation to come to our great God
who is willing to listen to all who come to Him in prayer.
"For Thou art able to do more than we are able to ask or think."
(Ephesians 3:20)
"Iniquities prevail against me;
As for our transgressions,
Thou dost forgive them."
(verse 3)
"Our sins reach to the heavens,
iniquities prevail against us,
our own consciences accuse us
and we have no reply to make."
(Matthew Henry)
Our sin is as if we played with a skunk, having been told not to, knowing good and well it is dangerous, and then we have the proof of what we have done because of being sprayed.
This is how we bring our sin before God, sin He is willing to cleanse,
(get out the tomato juice to get rid of the skunk stink.)

"Who is a God like Thee, who pardons iniquity
And passes over the rebellious acts of the remnant of His possession?
He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He delights in unchanging love.
He will again have compassion on us;
He will tread our iniquities under foot.
Yes, Thou wilt cast all their sins
Into the depths of the sea."
(Micah 7:18-19)

"Thou wilt pardon, make atonement for them; when, with hearty repentance and true faith, we turn to thee."  The old Scottish version of this verse, in their singing Psalms is...
"Iniquities, I must confess,
Prevail against me do:
And as for our transgressions
Them purge away wilt Thou."

"How blessed is the one whom Thou dost choose, and bring near to Thee,
To dwell in Thy courts.  We will be satisfied with the goodness of Thy house, Thy holy temple."
(verse 4)
Up until Jesus' crucifixion, before the curtain was rent in two, top to bottom, opening the way to the Holy of Holies, only selected priests would be chosen to enter in.  Even they had to have bells on their robes and a rope around their ankle in case they were found unworthy to stand before His presence.  If their bells quit ringing, that meant they had been struck down and would have to be pulled out by the rope.  Now we are a priesthood of believers who can come before God, "but iniquity must first be purged away."  These verses are about the privilege "To come into communion with converse with Him as one we love and value.  It is to dwell in His  courts, as the priest and Levites did, that were at home in God's house...'We shall,' which teaches us to apply the promises to ourselves...God keeps a good house, righteousness, grace, and all the comforts of the everlasting covenant; there is enough for all, enough for each; it is ready, always ready; and at no cost." (Matthew Henry)

"By awesome deeds Thou dost answer us in righteousness,
O God of our salvation,
Thou who art the trust of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest sea."
(verse 5)

Umm.  Did we leave anyone or anything out.  Nope.  God "Who dost establish the mountains" with girdles around them, God "Who dost still the roaring of the seas," oh, and by the way, God who stills "the tumult of the peoples,"  yep, that God who controls earthquakes, storms, tempests, even the 'headstrong multitude...the madness of the people,' He is in charge...He stills devils, tyrants, armies, seditions, ect."  "There is a Supreme Being who is wonderful and terrible in His acts.  By these things an eternal power and Godhead become manifest even to the most barbarous." (Adam Clarke)  Remember, "Even the wind and the waves obeyed Him."
"And they who dwell in the ends of the earth
stand in awe of Thy signs;
Thou dost make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy."

Have we not stood in awe of thunder and lightning and even the shaking of the earth?  Then more peacefully, is there any place on earth without a sunrise and sunset?  Oh my.  The sunset shouts for joy!  Did you hear it, did you go out and admire it?  Did you take a picture and post it on Facebook or on Instagram?  "Thou makes the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice." (KJV)"The invariable succession of day and night, are all ordained by Thee, and contribute to the happiness and continuance of man and beast. Or, all that fear Thee praise Thee in the morning, when they go to their work, and in the evening, when they return home, for thy great goodness manifest in the continuance of their strength, and the success of their labor." (Matthew Henry) 

The rest of the psalm is poetic beauty of God's providence over all the seasons and plantings.  "Our hearts are dry and barren unless God Himself be as the dew to us and water us." (M.H.)  
"Thou dost visit the earth, and cause it to overflow;
Thou dost greatly enrich it; ...Thou dost
bless its growth."
(selected from verses 9-10)

The last Medieval crown

"Thou hast crowned the year with Thy bounty."
(verse 11)
This is "diadem of the earth,"
an "elegant expression.

"The pastures of the wilderness drip,
And the hills gird themselves with rejoicing.
The meadows are clothed with flocks,
And the valleys are covered with grain;
They shout for joy, yes, sing for joy."
(verses  12-13)

"Literally, the hills gird themselves with exultation.  The metaphor appears to be taken from the frisking of the lambs, bounding of kids, and dancing of shepherds and shepherdesses, in the joy-inspiring summer season." 

Are we singing yet along with "Sound of Music's" "The hills are alive with the sound of music"?  Growing up with all the years of camping in the high country of Colorado where the sheep grazed, I must admit it still drips of pleasure in my memory, the lush green and the white fleece of lambs who with two shakes of a lamb's tail nursed happily switching their tail as if to music.

And again I ask, how did I miss this beautiful psalm? 
Always remember these psalms were songs to be played and sung. 
That's quite a hymnal you got there David!

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