Synopsis Psalms 35:7-36:5 9/24/2021
King David asked God to ruin the plans of the unrighteous. He knew that God could rescue the weak from the power of the strong. So, he looked forward to praising God for bringing justice.
David went on to describe the unrighteousness of a malicious witnesses. These were people who used the legal system as a weapon. David specifically experienced this. David had occasion to do good to his adversary. But, in a moment when David was weak, his adversary became his enemy. In this way, they returned evil for good.
In this moment of vulnerability, David cried out to God. He sought justice. Specifically, he asked God to shame the people who wished for his misfortune. Likewise, he asked God to bless those people who supported David’s cause.
David’s View on Justice
David recognized that all legal systems have a natural disadvantage. That is, no legal code can enforce goodwill. As a result, unrighteousness people do not perceive their legal system as an arbiter of justice. Instead, for them, the legal system is a mere mechanism. With it, powerful people can lawfully abuse the weak.
Competition and Justice
This never seems to change. In our time, the legal system remains an arena where legal outcomes largely depend on who can hire the craftiest attorney.
Historically, no synthetic community has ever overcome this limitation. As a result, systematic injustice tends to slowly fray the fabric of every culture. It wears away the goodwill that each person owes other people and the community at large.
Thus, this is the strange irony of all synthetic communities. The system of laws that was originally intended to promote the common good, is usually the main cause of cultural failure.
“You shall not act dishonestly in rendering judgment. Show neither partiality to the weak nor deference to the mighty, but judge your neighbor justly.” Lev 19:15
Synopsis Psalms 33:19-35:6 9/23/2021
As King David reflected on God. He exclaimed; My soul waits for the Lord because He helps me.
Although he was king, David taught the people.
Specifically, David praised God publicly. He did this so the poor might hear and be encouraged. David believed that each person should look to God in order to be filled with joy. Therefore, he instructed his people to learn to savor God’s goodness.
In this way, David challenged the people. And his challenge remains true today. Basically he said, “If you listen, then I will teach you the fear of God. Seek to do what is right and keep away from evil. If you do, then the Lord will hear you in times of distress.”
And he continued in this vein of teaching. Accordingly he taught, “Keep in mind that even a just man will experience trouble. But if you’re faithful, God will deliver you.
However, things are different for evildoers. The evil they do ultimately destroys people deliberately do evil. Therefore, God condemns no one who trusts in Him.”
King David the Teacher
In today’s passage, David taught the people. Rather than simply proclaiming God’s goodness in praise, or pouring out his heart of affection, he instructed. David’s teaching made clear a few important points. First, God called David to abide in Him. But second, and perhaps more importantly, He called David to teach others how to abide.
The goodness of God has revolutionized your life. If you find this to be true, then God has called you to share this good news. So, go share the good news!
“A slave of the Lord should not quarrel, but should be gentle with everyone, able to teach, tolerant, correcting opponents with kindness. It may be that God will grant them repentance that leads to knowledge of the truth, and that they may return to their senses out of the devil’s snare, where they are entrapped by him, for his will.” 2Tim 2:24-26
Synopsis Psalms 30:13-31:25 9/21/2021
In every circumstance, King David looked to God for help. So, he begged God not to fail his trust. He declared these things at a time when he was feeling anxious.
In his anxiety, he noted how his friends abandoned him. What’s more, it seemed that his enemies were always plotting against him. Yet, despite these unfortunate circumstances, he acknowledged that God was in control. And so, he looked to God for a remedy to his situation.
With the acknowledgement of God’s goodness, David entered into a new level of freedom to praise God. And so, he ended his reflection by encouraging others to love the Lord and trust in His ways.
David Trusted God
David’s thinking was so oriented toward God, that it impacted his interpretation of everything.
Real faith is treating Jesus like a person. Knowing that He is always with me in everything I say and do, that’s what it means to trust Jesus.
“Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”’?’” John 14:9
Synopsis Psalms 26:9-28:4 9/15/2021
In accord with King David’s acute sense of justice, he asked God not to judge all men alike. Specifically, he asked not to be taken with sinners. And then he contrasted his way of living with that of men who pay no attention to God.
Afterward, David described his nearly complete trust in God. In this way, he celebrated that God was his all-in-all. As a result, he never had reason to fear.
David’s Praise and Faith
By continuously, poetically and lavishly celebrating God’s goodness, David focused his mind’s attention. David chose to meditate about God and praise Him. It follows as a matter of narrative logic that his confidence increased. David’s confidence in God naturally proceeded from his devotion to God. For him, this was faith.
Praise and Faith
To know God is to love Him. And love for God will naturally result in praise. It follows that the more I praise, the more I keep my mind’s attention focused on God and His goodness. And the more that my attention is focused on God, the more I know him.
Faith in God means to believe in the promise. The real value of believing God’s promise isn’t the thing promised, but the opportunity to know the God of promise. So, it’s not so much what He said, but that He said it. For a human heart rightly ordered to value, this is what matters.
For this reason, the cycle of praise and faith formation is the most important virtuous cycle ever known.
“Rejoice always. 17Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.“ 1 Thess 5:16-18
Synopsis Psalms 24:9-26:8 9/14/2021
David rhetorically asked, “Who may go up to the mountain of the Lord?”. And he answered by saying, “The clean of hand and the pure of heart…”
The rest of David’s reflection depends on his appeal to God. In it, he asked God to make known God’s ways. Thus, in discovering and doing God’s will, he hoped to gain victory and be preserved from his enemies.
David Asked God
David asked God, “Make known to me your ways, Lord; teach me your paths.”
Make Known Your Ways
Often it seems, this is what we all crave: If I only knew with certainty what God wanted me to do, I would do it.
At least that’s what I tell myself.
“You have been told, O mortal, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
Synopsis Psalms 22:22-24:8 9/13/2021
King David wrote, “All the ends of the earth will worship and turn to God”. In this way, he anticipated that even future generations would sing God’s praises.
And then he invoked the language of shepherding from his youth. He suggested that relationship with God is like that between a shepherd and his flock. The shepherd has the wisdom that the sheep lack. And through this wisdom, the sheep who follow will never lack for anything.
He concluded this psalm with the imagery of a banquet table. And he marveled at how God set the table in the sight of David’s enemies. Yet, there was nothing they could do to despoil the banquet.
David Beyond His Enemies
As long as David followed God, he was beyond the reach of his enemies. David experienced this relationship first with a lion and a bear that he fought as a shepherd. Later, he experienced God’s faithfulness with Goliath and King Saul. So, David anticipated this kind of relationship in all that he did throughout his life.
Beyond My Enemy
The evil one wants to ruin me – and you. The scriptures indicate that out of spite and envy he is willing to destroy every good thing. As such, he is my enemy to the extent that I am hoping to follow Jesus.
And yet, he is powerless against me to the same extent that I actually follow Jesus. What David wrote is an encouragement. God has provided everything I need for life and for Godliness. If I keep my eyes on him, I will never be despoiled again.
Synopsis Psalms 21:8-22:21 9/9/2021
King David used the psalm to express his confidence that God would save him. And he anticipated singing and chanting God’s praise once his rescue was complete.
In Psalm 22, David delivered the heartfelt cry of an innocent man. Accordingly, he began by openly wondering the reason for God’s abandonment.
Furthermore, he described the way other people mocked him to scorn at the very moment that circumstances seemed to be against him. Finally, David marveled at the treachery of other men who seemed poised and ready to attack him only in his moment of great weakness.
Psalm of an Innocent Man
In the latter Psalm, David anticipated many of the experiences that Jesus was destined to experience in his passion.
He cried out in wonder that God may have abandoned him.
And his tormentors mocked him by suggesting that God would rescue him if he really loved him.
And for those who seemed to have triumphed over him, he struggled knowing that his tormentors were dividing his garments and wrongfully taking ownership of his possessions.
I am not innocent. In fact, I am probably the worst sinner that I will ever know. And so, my intuitive interpretation of this psalm is jaded.
But Jesus was innocent. Still, He wasn’t innocently naïve like an unborn child. Instead, he was fully, knowingly and willingly innocent because He always chose righteousness. He always chose to enter into the full possibility of every moment of His life on earth.
In perhaps the most historically awesome irony ever, the people living in the moment of Jesus’ crucifixion, mocked Him with the very words from this psalm. In this way, the hearts of all human beings toward God were revealed. For me this means, had been there, I most likely would have done the same thing.
It’s sometimes terrifying to admit that I have spent most of my life at enmity with God. But it’s moments like this that penetrate the veneer of human personality and expose my core. And who I really am very much remains a work in progress. And that progress is entirely dependent on the grace of God manifest the ministry of His church community.
“He trusted in God; let him deliver him now if he wants him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.” Matt 27:43
Synopsis Psalm 19:13-21:7 9/8/2021
David offered a prayer for the benefit of both king and country in time of war. And this prayer expressed both blessings and the reason for faith.
The petition for blessings came in the form of praying for success in military planning and execution.
But the appeal of faith was a reminder. David declared that the only thing worth trusting in is God’s name.
Some Trust in Chariots…
David trusted in God and the power of prayer so much that he even instructed others how to pray for him.
Trust in the Lord
Trust in Jesus. This is what it means to have faith. Trust that His purpose in creating you is good. And trust that He will bring you to the fullness of the essence in which He created you.
“Brothers, pray for us” 1Thess 5:25
Synopsis Psalm 18:39-19:12 9/3/2021
David wrote poetically about the law. Specifically, he described how the heavens are filled with glory. For example, the sun and moon and stars are all glorious. And in like manner, so is the law of God.
In fact, he described the perfection of God’s law. And he spoke of how the law refreshed his soul.
Moreover, he associated the law with cultivating the “fear of the Lord”. And for him, the “fear of the Lord” is pure, enduring forever.
In conclusion, David observed that the law is more desirable than gold. And it is sweeter than honey.
The Law and Salvation
David loved the law of the Lord because it empowered him and made him free to serve God.
If God never revealed His will, then no one could know it. And if no one could know His will, then no one could do it. Thus, relating to God rightly would be practically impossible without His revelation.
Perhaps it is for this reason that St Jerome once wrote, “…ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ”
“So then the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.” Rom 7:12
Synopsis Psalms 14:1-16:11 8/25/2021
The foolish deny existence of God. In fact, this is the definition of foolishness. As a result, those who deny God live lives that are loathsome and intrinsically corrupt.
Conversely, those who live upright lives because of their love for God will thrive. According to King David, such people will always be stable and unshaken.
For this reason, David proclaims that God is the greatest good. And with this knowledge, he was confident that his life would be filled with gladness and blessing.
Denying the existence of God is like pretending someone I don’t like doesn’t actually exist.
But shunning is a special form of idiocy. I shun to solve a relationship I have no way of dealing with. Still, nothing is ever really solved by denying an obvious, but inconvenient, reality.
“Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.” Matt 10:32-33