Learning from Psalms 42-49
42:1-43:5- Three times, the question is asked, ‘Why are you downcast, O my soul’. Three times, the answer is given, ‘Put your hope in God’. Three times, there is the response of faith: ‘I will yet praise Him, my Saviour and my God (42:5,11; 43:5). Often, we are filled with questions. We must bring our questions to God. We must learn to listen for His answers. The Lord is speaking to us. Are we listening? God speaks to us through His Word. Are we taking time to read His Word? He wants us to come to Him with the prayer, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening’(1 Samuel 3:8-10). Listen to the Word of the Lord. Let His Word be your Guide: ‘Send forth Your light and Your truth, let them guide me...’(43:5). ‘Deep calls to deep’(42:7) - Let ‘the Spirit’ show you ‘the deep things of God’(1 Corinthians 2:10).
44:1-26- Victory comes from the Lord. In ourselves, we are defeated. In Him, there is victory. We see this in the history of Israel, the people whom the Lord redeemed (3). We see it also in the experience of the Psalmist (6-7). We must remind ourselves of these things. It is so easy to forget. We take our eyes off the Lord, and we get despondent - ‘...You have rejected and humbled us...You have made us retreat before the enemy...You gave us up to be devoured like sheep...You have made us a reproach to our neighbours...My disgrace is before me all day long...’(9-16). What are we to do when such negative thoughts fill our minds? We must pray, ‘Awake, O Lord!...Rise up and help us; redeem us because of Your unfailing love’. Pray for the faith which says, ‘We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us’(23,26; Romans 8:37).
45:1-17- Jesus Christ is ‘the most excellent of men’(2). He is more than that. He is God. In verse 6, we read these words - ‘Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever’. We read them again in Hebrews 1:8. They are the words which God the Father speaks to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. How does the Word of God describe Jesus Christ? - ‘He is your Lord’. How are we to respond to Him? - We are to approach Him with ‘reverence’. We are to ‘honour’ Him. We are to ‘bow down’ and ‘worship’ Him. We are to ‘obey’ Him (11). Think of the “Good News’ of our Lord Jesus Christ - ‘the Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me’. Let your heart overflow with praise to the Lord Jesus Christ - What a wonderful Saviour He is (1; Galatians 2:20)! Let us celebrate His Name in this generation. Let Him be praised for ever and ever’(17).
46:1-47:9- ‘Be still, and know that I am God...Shout to God with loud songs of joy’(10; 47:2). In our worship, there is to be both quiet trust and loud praise. We read the great words: ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble’(46:1). God’s Word brings peace - ‘in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength’. We must not keep God’s blessing to ourselves. We must share it with joy - ‘Sing to the Lord...let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory to the Lord, and declare His praise in the coastlands’(Isaiah 30:15; 42:10-12). The Lord is to be ‘exalted among the nations’. He is not only ‘our King’. He is ‘the King of all the earth’(10; 47:6-7). ‘Father (Jesus/Spirit), we love You. We worship and adore You. Glorify Your Name in all the earth’(Mission Praise, 142).
48:1-14- ‘Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised’(1). We worship God in the place of worship - ‘Within Your Temple, O God, we meditate on Your unfailing love’. Our worship must not end there. We are to play our part in seeing that the praise of the Lord ‘reaches to the ends of the earth’. We are to ‘be glad’ in the Lord. We are to ‘rejoice’ in Him (9-11). We must not keep this joy to ourselves. The Lord is ‘the joy of all the earth’. We must share His joy. We are to ‘tell the next generation’. How will they know if we do not tell them? Many are slow to come and worship the Lord. We must not be slow to witness for Him. Let’s remember God’s promise - ‘My Word...will not return to Me empty, but will...achieve the purpose for which I sent it’- and let’s say - ‘Here am I. Send me!’(Isaiah 55:11; 6:8).
49:1-20- How can I be saved? How does God answer our most important question, the question of salvation? He speaks to us about (a) our need of salvation; (b) His provision of salvation; (c) receiving salvation. (a) Our need of salvation: We cannot save ourselves. ‘No man can ransom himself, or give to God the price of his life. The price to be paid for his soul is too costly’(7-8). (b) His provision of salvation: Jesus Christ came to earth ‘to give His life as a ransom for many’. We are ‘redeemed with the precious blood of Christ’(Mark 10:45; 1 Peter 1:18-19). (c) Receiving salvation: Christ died to ‘save us from the power of hell’ and ‘take us to Himself’. We receive salvation through faith in Him: ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved’. ‘He who believes in the Son has eternal life’(15; Acts 16:31; John 3:36).