Psalm 20 – Help from the Sanctuary

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.

 1 The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee;

2 Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion;

3 Remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah.

4 Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfill all thy counsel.

5 We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the LORD fulfill all thy petitions.

6 Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand.

7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.

8 They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.

9 Save, LORD: let the king hear us when we call.

Praise to God for Christ’s exaltation after His passion.  Learning the various ways God answers us.

Psalm 19 – Testimony of God in Creation

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.

1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.

3There is no speech nor la nguage, where their voice is not heard.

4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,

5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.

6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.

7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever: the Judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

12 Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.

13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.

14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

A prayer for the king.  Enjoying the revelation of God in creation and in His Word.

Psalm 18 – Praise of God & Storm Gods, Storm Imagery and Theophany

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul: And he said,

1 I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.

2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

3 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

4 The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.

5 The sorrows of hell compassed me ab out: the snares of death prevented me.

6 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.

7 Then the earth shook and trembled; the founda
tions also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth.

8 There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.

9 He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet.

10 And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.

11 He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.

12 At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire.

13 The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire.

14 Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them.

15 Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.

16 He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters.

17 He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me.

18 They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay.

19 He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

20 The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.

21 For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God.

22 For all his Judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me.

23 I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity.

24 Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.

25 With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright;

26 With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.

27 For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks.

28 For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.

29 For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.

30 As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.

31 For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?

32 It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.

33 He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places.

34 He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.

35 Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.

36 Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip.

37 I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again till they were consumed.

38 I have wounded them that they were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet.

39 For thou h
ast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me.

40 Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies; that I might destroy them that hate me.

41 They cried, but there was none to save them: even unto the LORD, but he answered them not.

42 Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind: I did cast them out as the dirt in the streets.

43 Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people; and thou hast made me the head of the heathen: a people whom I have not known shall serve me.

44 As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me: the strangers shall submit themselves unto me.

45 The strangers shall fade away, and be afraid out of their close places.

46 The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.

47 It is God that avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me.

48 He delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man.

49 Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.

50 Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and sheweth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.

The works of God show forth his glory: his law is greatly to be esteemed and loved.  A song of victory that expresses the experiences that constitute the bringing in of the realm of the kingdom.

Storm Gods, Storm Imagery and Theophany

A storm-god (Marduk?) holding two double-forked tripartite lightning bolts.
It is the unanimous view of scholars exploring comparative religion that the peculiar mythical traditions surrounding thunderbolts and lightning originated in primitive man’s awe before the thunderstorm.

It was common practice for peoples in the ancient world to identify their deities with observable, awe-inspiring natural phenomena.  As Canaan was a land of tempests, the high-ranking deities of the Canaanite pantheons were storm gods: Teshub of the Hittites, Hadad of the Arameans and Baal of Ugarit.

Storm gods were conceived of as vigorous warriors, revered for their ability to usher in the rains needed for fertility and feared for their destructive power unleashed in the storm.

Religious iconography frequently portrays storm gods as riding on beasts while wielding weapons in their hands.

Israel’s God also appears in the storm.  Indeed, the Old Testament fully fleshes out the concept that God controls the storms.

Although Yahweh is omnipresent and fills the earth (Ps 139L7-8; Jer 23:23), eh appears in the world as a physical, divine presence at specific times and locations.  This is the meaning of “theophany” – an appearance of God.

The creation, which is ordered by Yahweh and submits to his will (Lk 8:22-25), at times becomes the vehicle of His manifestation (Ps 18:7-15).  The raging wind is depicted as His chariot (Ez 1:4-28; Hab 3:8), peals of thunder His voice (Job 37:1-5; Ps 29:3-9; Jn 12:28-29; Rev 10:3-4), and lightning bolts His weapons (Ps 18:14; Hab  3:11).

The supreme god of Hurrian religion, the ruler over weather in general.
He may be shown standing on the shoulders of other gods, or he may be driving a chariot drawn by bulls.

Myths tell about him defeating other prominent gods, including Anu of Mesopotamian religions.

In the myth, Anu is his father, Teshub marks his victory by eating his genitals.

In another important myth he defeats a stone monster emerging from the sea.

His wife was Hebat, their son was Sharruma.

He would be absorbed into Hittite religion, and assimilated with their weather god, Tarhun.

In Urartian religion he is the god, Tesheba.

The appearance of God in the storm many be either to save (Deut 4:33-35) or to judge (Mic 1:3-5; Hab 3:13-15).

Theophany is only temporary because of full revelation of God’s terrifying glory cannot be endured by humans (Ex 20:18-19; 33:18-23).

God appeared in the storm to make a covenant at Sinai by which Israel became his own possession (Ex 19:16-19).

At the end of time God will return to the earth in the person of Jesus Christ, riding on the clouds with the sound of the trumpet to judge the living and the dead (Matt 24:30-31; 1 Thes 4:16-17; Rev 1:7).

Psalm 17 – Prayer of the Just for Protection

A Prayer of David.

1 Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips.

2 Let my sentence come forth from thy presence; let thine eyes behold the things that are equal.

3 Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.

4 Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.

5 Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.

6 I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech.

7 Shew thy marvelous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them.

8 Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings,

9 From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about.

10 They are enclosed in their own fat: with their mouth they speak proudly.

11 They have now compassed us in our steps: they have set their eyes bowing down to the earth;

12 Like as a lion that is greedy of his prey, and as it were a young lion lurking in secret places.

13 Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword:

14 From men which are thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes.

15 As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.

David’s thanks to God for His delivery from all His enemies.  Learning to have pure motives with the one goal of being in His likeness while passing through trials and the emeries: attacks.

Psalm 16 – Christ as Perfect Man

Michtam of David.

1 Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust.

2O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee;

3But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight.

4 Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips.

5 The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.

6 The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.

7 I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.

8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.

10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

A just man’s prayer in tribulation against the malice of his enemy.  The extent to which God Himself becomes our portion as we experience the inward parts of Christ.

Psalm 15 – Marks of the True God-Fearing

A Psalm of David.

1 LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?

2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.

He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor.

4 In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.

He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.

Christ’s future victory and triumph over the world and death.  The kind of life and experience that can remain in the church life.

Psalm 14 – General Ruin of Mankind

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.

 1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

2 The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.

3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

4 Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD.

5 There were they in great fear: for God is in the generation of the righteous.

6 Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the LORD is his refuge.

7 Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! when the LORD bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.

What kind of men shall dwell in the heavenly Sion.  Viewing the sinfulness of man in the light of God’s corporate purpose of Zion

Psalm 13 – The Confidence of the Just in the Midst of Wickedness

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.

1 How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? forever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?

2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?

3 Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;

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

5 But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.

6 I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.

The general corruption of man before our redemption by Christ.  Learning to sing to the Lord and identify our negative experiences as His dealings.

Psalm 12 – The Confidence of the Just in the Midst of Wickedness

To the chief Musician upon Sheminith, A Psalm of David.

 1 Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.

2 They speak vanity every one with his neighbor: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.

3 The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things:

4 Who have said, With our tongue will w
e prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?

5 For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.

6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation forever.

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

A prayer in tribulation.  Learning to trust in the Lord’s Words as an overcoming one during a time of decline and duplicity.

Psalm 11 – The Just in the Midst of Wickedness

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.

1 In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?

2 For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart.

3 If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?

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.

5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.

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

7 For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.

The prophet calls for God’s help against the wicked.  Learning to trust the Lord when our soul is being tested.