Learning from Psalms 60-72
60:1-61:8- There is so much to hold us back from worshipping and serving the Lord. We could so easily become discouraged. We need the encouragement of God’s Word. This is what we have here: ‘With God we shall gain the victory, and He will trample down our enemies’(12). At times, it may seem like our enemies have the upper hand. When we feel like this, we must remember the Lord - He is ‘a strong tower against the enemy’(61:3). When things seem to be getting out of control, we must fix our eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ - He is ‘enthroned for ever’(61:7). ‘Day after day’, He calls us to worship Him and to live as His servants. He calls us to receive ‘His mercy... new every morning’, to be ‘renewed day by day’(61:8; Lamentations 3:22-23; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
62:1-63:11- The Lord is ‘my Rock and my Salvation’(62:2,6). As you read the Psalmist’s words, let your thoughts turn to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our ‘Rock’- the ‘Rock’ of our salvation. Through ‘the blood of Christ’, we receive the greatest ‘blessing’ of all - salvation (1 Corinthians 10:1-4,16). No other blessing can ever compare with the joy of knowing Christ as Saviour: ‘Your steadfast love is better than life’. Through our great Saviour - the Lord Jesus Christ - , we are learning to ‘praise’ God. We are learning to say, with the Psalmist, ‘I will praise You as long as I live’(63:3-4). What a great Saviour we have. He is greater than all our songs of praise. He is ‘too marvellous for words’- ‘Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!’(Mission Praise, 788; 2 Corinthians 9:15).
64:1-65:13- ‘Let the righteous rejoice in the Lord’(64:10). True joy in the Lord is not just a passing emotion, a feeling which doesn’t last for very long. When our ‘praise’ to the Lord is real, it leads to a changed life: ‘O God’, we will ‘keep our promises to You’(65:1). Jesus shows us the great difference between a passing emotion, a feeling which doesn’t last, and a true conversion which leads to a changed life. He speaks of those who ‘receive the Word with joy,... endure for a while’ and then ‘fall away’. He speaks also of those who ‘hear the Word and accept it and bear fruit’(Mark 4:3-9,16-17,20). How do you worship the Lord? Are you looking for a good feeling - and nothing more than that? God is looking for more. He wants us to live as ‘a new creation’(2 Corinthians 5:17).
66:1-67:7- ‘Come and see what God has done’(66:5). God invites us to look into His Word, to read His Story, the Story of all that He has done for us. ‘Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what He has done for me’(66:16). God invites us to listen to the preaching of His Word, to let His Story become our story, to let His salvation become real in our lives. We read God’s Word. We hear His Word. This is our journey of discovery. We discover what the Lord has done for us. We discover how much He wants to bless us. He waits to hear our prayer - ‘May God be gracious to us and bless us...’. He answers our prayer - ‘God has blessed us’(67:1,6-7). He wants us to ‘be glad and sing for joy’. He wants us to call ‘all the ends of the earth’ to ‘worship Him’(67:4,7).
68:1-35- God is ‘our salvation’. He is the ‘God of salvation’(19-20). God’s salvation covers our past, present and future. (a) You have been saved. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we have received the forgiveness of our sins (Romans 5:1). (b) You are being saved. God is at work in our lives, making us the kind of people He wants us to be (Romans 5:3-5). (c) You will be saved. We look forward to ‘sharing the glory of God’, being with the Lord forever (Romans 5:2,9-10). From beginning to end, salvation is the work of God – He has forgiven our sins. He is making us like Christ. He will lead us on to heaven. Our God is great. His salvation is great. Let us ‘be joyful’. Let us worship the Lord ‘with joy’(3). Let us give all the glory to God - ‘Blessed be God!’(35).
69:1-36- David is going through ‘the deep waters’ of suffering. He prays to the Lord for deliverance from ‘the flood’ and ‘the deep’(14-15). He had sinned against the Lord. He does not try to hide this. He confesses his sin and guilt - ‘the wrongs that I have done are not hidden from You, my guilt is not hidden from You’(5). He looks to the Lord, remembering that He is the God of ‘steadfast love’ and ‘abundant mercy’(16). When you come to God in prayer, do not try to hide your sins from Him. Remember - ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’. In Christ, there is ‘mercy’- God doesn’t send the judgment we deserve - and ‘grace’- God sends the blessing we don’t deserve. Come to Christ and receive His ‘mercy’ and ‘grace’(1 Timothy 1:13-16; Hebrews 4:14-16).
70:1-71:24- David is in great danger. His life is being threatened by his enemies (70:2). We might expect that he would be depressed. Far from it! Rather than being preoccupied with his own problems, he is calling on God’s people to worship the Lord with joy: ‘May all who seek You, rejoice and be glad in You! May those who love Your salvation continually say, “God is great!”’(70:4). How was David able to rise above his own problems and call the Lord’s people to worship? - He knew that the Lord was his ‘Rock of refuge’, his ‘strong Fortress’(71:3). Like David, we may face ‘many terrible troubles’. Let us learn, like David, to praise the Lord and look to Him to lead us in the way of victory: ‘You have done great things, O God... You will revive me again’(71:19-20).
72:1-20- Read the words - ‘His Name’ shall ‘endure for ever’(17) - and think of Christ. His Name is ‘the Name above all other names’. He is ‘the King of kings and Lord of lords’(Philippians 2:9-11; Revelation 19:16). Read the words - ‘all nations call Him blessed’(17) - , and think of Christ. ‘From every tribe and language and people and nation’, God’s people have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ (Revelation 5:9). Read the words -‘May His glory fill the whole earth!’(19) - and think of Christ. In the ‘new heaven and new earth’, ‘the holy city’ will shine with ‘the glory of God’. ‘Its radiance’, ‘like a very precious jewel’, will be shining from this ‘lamp’: Jesus Christ, ‘the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’(Revelation 21:1-2,10-11,23; John 1:29).