You Are Gods

The psalmist’s declaration in Psalm 82:6, “You are gods,” has created confusion among Bible students, commentators, and preachers for generations, even with Jesus’ own comment on the passage. The word itself is exactly the same as the word translated “God” throughout the remainder of the psalm, and yet the context clearly dictates that it refers to others. But to whom? That has been the real question. The nature of the word elohim is fairly broad. It is plural and refers either to “mighty ones” or to the “One who is mighty” (though with the plural still present, indicating His majesty, the trinity, or perhaps even both). Some have maintained that the word here refers to angels as does happen on occasion; however, the nature of the responsibilities cited in verses two through four in particular indicate men. But, if so, why did he call them “gods”?

The setting of the psalm provides insight into the structure, the emphasis, and the specific meaning given by Jesus. In the opening verse Asaph presents an ancient courtroom scene with God presiding over all those with some kind of authority, exercising judgment over those mighty ones (Psa. 82:1) similar to how God told Moses that he would be “as God” to Pharaoh (Ex. 4:15-16) and similar in responsibility to those judges Moses appointed at his father-in-law’s recommendation (Ex. 18:25-26). He then presents the accusation as God calls the people in power to account for their failures to judge fairly, essentially charging them with partiality in letting the guilty go free while failing to protect those in need for whose protection the law was given (Psa. 82:2-4). As He brings His argument to a close, He maintains that these people who have been given great authority do not appreciate it or understand the role they have been given, using it selfishly and creating instability in society as a result of their decisions (Psa. 82:5). Thus, in the next two verses He contrasts the greatness of the responsibility with which they were charged with the death sentence against them because of how miserably they have failed to conduct themselves appropriate to the authority given them (Psa. 82:6-7). Therefore, when God told them, “You are gods, And all of you are children of the Most High” (Psa. 82:6), He was emphasizing the responsibility of the authority they had taken on and that they themselves remained under the authority of the Most High God. Therefore, because they had abused that authority, they would suffer the consequences and lose all the authority they had treated as if they had by right instead of by responsibility. However, all judgment depends on the One who judges the earth. The nations are his, and all judgment should reflect the same (Psa. 82:8).

This stinging rebuke of leaders treating themselves as the authority rather than God has many applications. It certainly applies to governmental leaders at every level, as Nebuchadnezzar discovered the hard way (Dan. 4:32). But the emphasis within the psalm goes much deeper because of Israel’s relationship to Yahweh—a name not mentioned in this psalm. Jesus defended Himself and the authority with which He taught and worked using this passage. “Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your law, “I said, ‘You are gods’”? If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, “You are blaspheming,” because I said, “I am the Son of God”?’” (Jn. 10:34-36). The Jews were upset that Jesus called Himself “the Son of God” because of its implications of displaying divine character, which happened by submission. However, Jesus pointed out that He had been given far more authority by God Himself than those judges of old whom God had called “gods.” Therefore, their emphasis on the terminology failed the test of scripture and revealed their lack of substance. But even more than that, Jesus here emphasized the responsibility of fulfilling the role given completely and unselfishly by submitting to God’s will rather than treating it as an earned honor. Leaders should never forget that they exist to serve. No matter how high the office or important the role, in the end all answer to God according to faithfulness in fulfilling His will (Jas. 3:1).

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Open Mouths, Open Hearts

When Yahweh gave the Israelites the Law of Moses, besides the civil and moral codes, the religious rites, and the health regulations, He also included instructions for the new nation to gather yearly at appointed times to participate in various feasts (Lev. 23:1). These festivals served an important function in the LORD’s plan for Israel, though they rarely appreciated and kept them throughout much of their history until their return from captivity when they took on greater meaning, as the Pharisees’ attitude toward the Sabbath implies (Lev. 23:3). Most people are familiar with the Passover and its roots in Israel’s deliverance from Egypt (Ex. 12-13; Lev. 23:4-14), and Christians are usually aware of Pentecost due to its significance in Acts 2, even if the particulars of the feast remain a mystery (Lev. 23:15-22). However, the later feast, sometimes called The Feast of Trumpets due to the action that called the holy convocation on the first of the month, which paved the way for the Day of Atonement (Lev. 23:23-32) is sometimes forgotten. Therefore, it is no surprise that people also remain unaware of the Feast of Tabernacles that followed shortly after this holy day (Lev. 23:33-34). Besides the sacrifices and feasting (Lev. 23:35-41), the Jews were to set aside the week and dwell in booths to commemorate their time traveling from Egypt to Canaan (Lev. 23:42-43)—a time that was extended to forty years due to their obstinacy. This background is essential to appreciate the message found in Psalm 81.

When the Jews would travel to Jerusalem for the feast, they would sing as they prepared their minds and hearts for the assembly and festival (Psa. 81:1-2). Thus, the reflections offered in this psalm call to mind their worship while journeying to Jerusalem and their preparation for the final major gathering of the people in the year. The references to the trumpet, the times, the Law, and the land of Egypt leave no doubt as to the purpose of the song (Psa. 81:3-5), but the further commentary of remembrances demonstrates lessons learned the hard way. God had led them out of slavery in Egypt when they cried out to him but quickly forgot his provision in complaining of their thirst (Psa. 81:6-7). The psalm alludes to the covenant relationship Yahweh had with Israel, pleading with the Jews to appreciate Yawheh’s words: “Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it” (Psa. 81:8-10). This bold offer called to mind the sending of manna and quail, the provision of water in a dry land, but also the very word of God by which they could truly live (Deut. 8:3). Sadly, they would not listen and refused to learn (Psa. 81:11-12), and this also was their Jewish heritage. But God still cared and wanted them desperately to return and listen, for then he could bless them over and over again (Psa. 81:13-16).

What hope this might offer a people removed from the original events by hundreds of years! But how much more should it mean to God’s people today, for we have seen His faithfulness not only toward Israel but in sending Jesus and the gospel. However, the principles of faithfulness still apply (Rev. 2:10). Therefore, my friends, open your mouth wide! Listen to what God has said and obey, for in fulfilling this there are multitudes of blessings awaiting from a God who can care for our every need.

But We Asked Nicely!

The northern tribes of Israel had set themselves in rebellion against God from the days of Jeroboam. The introduction of the golden calves in Dan and Bethel had paved the way for full-fledged idolatry. Thus, the introduction of Baal to Israel by Ahab, and ultimately participation in the rituals of Molech, doomed the northern kingdom to the destruction God accomplished through the hand of Assyria. This divinely appointed desolation against the capital of Samaria in Ephraim and all the people throughout the kingdom led those in the southern kingdom of Judah to feel pity for their brethren, despite their long-held division. Therefore, as the psalmists in the family of Asaph reflected on this sadness, they penned a heartfelt expression of their grief in a cry to God as the Shepherd of Israel to return in His glory and power to aid His people (Psa. 80:1-2).

Three times in this psalm they employed the wording of the Aaronic call for blessing requesting restoration, fellowship, and salvation. In the first they pled, “Restore us, O God; Cause Your face to shine, And we shall be saved” (Psa. 80:3). In the devastation of the northern tribes’ captivity they found themselves pondering why God would not listen and restore them as before (Psa. 80:4-6). They assumed this surely could not be permanent. In the second instance, they cried out the same plea but appealed to the “God of hosts” (Psa. 80:7). This reference to God’s headship of a great army implies their desire to see Him use yet another nation to reverse what Assyria had done. Using the imagery of a vine, they appealed to their beginning in Egypt and the Lord’s care in establishing them in Canaan (Psa. 80:8). They looked back through their history to note how long God had blessed them, cared for them, and protected them (Psa. 80:9-11). Thus, with this background of extensive interest, they could not fathom why God would invite a heathen nation in to trample the vineyard He Himself had planted (Psa. 80:12-13), calling for Him to defend His own once more, reverse course, and withdraw His hand of rebuke (Psa. 80:14-16). Therefore, in leading up to the final cry, they requested that He strengthen them again with the promise that they would not leave Him again (Psa. 80:17-18). Ending with the final plea, “Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; Cause Your face to shine, And we shall be saved!” (Psa. 80:19), they added one final element to their petition: the covenant name of Yahweh. In this they were asking Him to remember His covenant, because they finally did too. But it was too late for Israel, and Judah had to face up to that fact.

So many people seem to believe that they will always get one more chance to repent, one more chance to get things right, one more chance to obey their Lord. Like Israel, they assume that the longsuffering of the Lord knows no bounds, and sadly, they will only learn better when it is too late. They mistakenly look back to better times, assuming that they deserved them then and deserve the same now, misunderstanding the goodness and grace of God as if it is an eternal pool of blessings for them to dip into as they wish. Then, when they become desperate, they finally realize the importance of the covenant. Unfortunately, they often think of it in terms of God’s promises but not their own responsibilities. How sad that so many people have the opportunity of salvation and yet cast it aside until they need God to pull them out of the consequences of their own failures. They assume He always will. They are wrong (Rom. 2:1-11; 2 Cor. 5:9-11). Salvation and blessings are not a right; they are a privilege, and should be treated accordingly.

Higher Aspirations

My oldest daughter recently graduated from high school. Reaching that milestone required overcoming a number of health challenges along the way, but we persevered and never lost faith that she would not only achieve this but much more. And that confidence has only increased over the years. Her mother and I set goals for her and expected excellence, and she did the work necessary to make that happen. While my own grade point average was high, the courses listed on my high school transcript were not necessarily the most academically challenging (something preaching school, college, and graduate school later corrected). And I insisted that my children have a more extensive education than I—something their mother has made possible through years of hard work. In this, I doubt that I am that different from many other fathers. However, even parents who push their children academically in school often fail to point their children to high aspirations spiritually. Instead, they accept a level of participation, education, and effort that they would never accept in general education. And yet, if anything, the opposite should be true. The words of Asaph in Psalm 78 reflect this principle well.

Parents should take seriously the responsibility to take what they have learned by hard experience and pass on to the next generation (Psa. 78:1-3). Truly, failing to do so spiritually is a disservice to our children, amounting to spiritual abuse. They need to know what God has done for us and for them, and they need to appreciate their parents commitment to Him (Psa. 78:4). In an allusion to Deuteronomy 6:4-9, the psalmist emphasizes the importance of teaching our children spiritually (Psa. 78:5-6)—not just facts and information, but faith and hope and love (Psa. 78:7).   The last thing we should want is for our children to repeat our mistakes, accept our ignorance, or reject their God (Psa. 78:8), but the history of Israel shows just how easily this can happen despite their parents’ personal faithfulness  (Psa. 78:9-64). Therefore, individual faithfulness is not enough to guide your children. You must do what it takes to instill in them a faith that they themselves claim as their own. The challenges the children of Israel faced were of their own making, and each generation was accountable to God for its own decisions. But the responsibility for each was the same—following God’s guidance faithfully (Psa. 78:65-72).

We should want the best for our children spiritually, and that means expecting excellence from our children spiritually. The goals we set for our children, then, should not center around their imitating their parents’ knowledge, activity, and involvement in Christianity; our goal, as parents, should be for them one day to surpass us in understanding, in faith, and in righteousness. It is sad how passive, docile, and passé parents can be about preparing their children spiritually. My friends, the core purpose of parenting does not revolve around preparing your children for life; it is all about preparing your children for eternity. And our parenting should reflect this.

Waiting for Relief

Waiting—just waiting—can prove painfully difficult, especially when the anxieties of life pressure and surround us. Many can appreciate the stress of waiting for a doctor’s call following a test. Is it cancer? My heart? Or nothing that big at all? In the midst of a struggle, after bad news has come in wave after wave, a feeling of helplessness sets in, weighing heavily on the heart and encouraging doubt, so that the acceptance of dire circumstances begins to cause hope to waver. Such weariness had taken hold when Psalm 74 was penned, beginning with the cry, “O God, why have You cast us off forever? Why does Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture?” (Psa. 74:1).

The nature of the circumstances described within this psalm speaks of no event during the lifetime of David and Asaph. Even the cry itself looks back in time (Psa. 74:2). But more than this, the situation speaks of “perpetual desolations” and damage to “the sanctuary” (Psa. 74:3) caused by enemies who raised their flag in Israel’s capital (Psa. 74:3-4), destroying the beauty of the temple (Psa. 74:5-7) and attempting to obliterate Israel’s memory of God altogether (Psa. 74:8). The ascribed authorship therefore must refer to the singers who followed Asaph, perhaps descended from him, and called themselves by his name, writing following the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians. As such, they had turned against all that God had said and no longer enjoyed His guidance and protection (Psa. 74:9). Is it then any wonder that they cried out in pain, “O God, how long will the adversary reproach? Will the enemy blaspheme Your name forever?” (Psa. 74:10). They finally realized that God had withdrawn from them, and realized just how much they needed Him (Psa. 74:11).

But here the psalm turns, growing more personal and reflective. Finally, after losing the kingdom, the psalmist realizes that God is his rightful King, and has been all along (Psa. 74:12). He proved it when He accomplished His salvation in parting the Red Sea, accomplishing in fact what other gods only claimed (Psa. 74:13-15). He proved it by His power over nature (Psa. 74:16-17). Thus, the psalmist recalls the great deliverance of the LORD and longs for a return of such feats (Psa. 74:18-19). However, rather than assume their right to His care, rather than presume their special character as His people, the psalmist appeals to the covenant the LORD made with them (Psa. 74:20), to their promise of returning their allegiance and love to Him and Him alone (Psa. 74:21), and to the cause of justice against an ungodly people (Psa. 74:22-23).

The exact circumstances of this psalm may seem remote to most people today; however, this is because we see this situation only from a physical rather than a spiritual standpoint. We identify too much with our country and not enough with our God. Therefore, we should re-read the psalm with a spiritual heart and consider the ramifications of spiritual captivity, living in a world that is openly hostile to Christ’s kingdom. When we see Satan on the march in the decisions made in government, when we see the destruction of morality in the direction of society, and when we see the cornerstones of spiritual freedom mocked, torn down, and burned one after another by a people declaring their moral, ethical, and sometimes even religious superiority, surely we can identify with the plea of the psalmist! How long must we wait until God is once more respected and acknowledged? How long must we wait to restore respect for God’s Word as truth? How long must we wait while enduring the scorn of the ungodly? How long indeed! The psalmist did not know the answer, and neither do we. But the enduring answer remains the same. We must come to our senses as a people, give ourselves wholly to our God, and let Him handle the timing while we devote ourselves to faithfulness. This was the answer for the Jews in Babylonian captivity, and it is the answer for God’s people today.

Then I Understood

Understanding the suffering of the righteous and the comfort of the wicked has perplexed people at least since the time of Job. This problem has led some to blame God, some to blame themselves, and some to blame anyone and everyone. Doctrinal confusion does not help. Those who confuse God’s sovereignty with absolute interference in everything unnecessarily create a contradiction, effectively treating even evil as God’s will. However, for most the problem is personal. They do not stop and contemplate doctrinal implications in the midst of a crisis; they simply want an explanation, just as Job did. Asaph, a chief singer appointed by David after he brought the ark to Jerusalem (1 Chr. 16:5), had such concerns and wrote what he learned from the experience in what we know as Psalm 73.

The challenge for God’s people lies in developing an eternal perspective while living in a temporal world. This is the key to appreciating the goodness of God and maintaining personal purity, especially when the world uses temporary circumstances to try to create doubt (Psa. 73:1-2). Now more than ever, we become aware of the wealth, power, and pleasures many in the world enjoy (Psa. 73:3-5) due to the interconnectedness of society through various media. Thus, people who would otherwise be content find new reasons to envy, sometimes just through a simple post on Facebook or Twitter. However, while the material wealth of the wicked may have an appeal, we too easily forget about the character many have used to procure it (Psa. 73:6-9). Christians marvel at their worldly friends who seem to have everything they could possibly desire. It would be easy, if divorced from eternity, to fall into the trap of accepting their philosophy and worldview in justification (Psa. 73:10-11). Such a snare, dependent upon a short-term view of man’s existence, has great spiritual consequences. When people concentrate solely on the material (Psa. 73:12), they also cease to appreciate the spiritual (Psa. 73:13), including the rebuke that God offers to such self-absorption (Psa. 73:14). It is thus this realization of the true consequences of worldliness and separation from the godly that provides a needed course correction to our thinking (Psa. 73:15). However, as Asaph found, the recognition of this conflict can be difficult, even after the decision to remain faithful to God (Psa. 73:16). But his next statement powerfully points all who follow back to righteousness: “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end” (Psa. 73:17). Bowing down before God, bringing eternity into view, and listening to His Word brought all the perspective and answers he needed. God will judge the wicked (Psa. 73:18) and their wealth and power has an end (Psa. 73:19-20). The world presents itself as permanent, when it is the most temporary of all. Therefore, it is essential to remind ourselves daily of the value of the soul, the value of forgiveness, and the value of eternal life.  These have lasting value with which material benefit cannot compare.

It is easy to fall under the spell of materialism and worldliness, and coming to your senses to see their folly can be a humbling experience (Psa. 73:21-22). But this can produce great growth as well, because we learn to trust the wisdom of God as the only sure Guide into eternity (Psa. 73:23-24). From this we learn true devotion and the true nature of this world (Psa. 73:25-27). And from this we gain a purpose that transcends the physical universe (Psa. 73:28). God does not condone wickedness, nor does He ignore it. He allows it today, and it tests us in the present. But the key is following God’s revealed will regardless, so that the eternal is what we follow into eternity.

Potential

The transition of power from the reign of David to Solomon, his son, had proven challenging, but through the diligence of Bathsheba and Nathan, Solomon took his place on the throne, ultimately reigning for forty years (1 Kings 1:1-53; 11:42-43). Shortly after the responsibilities of sovereignty fell upon him, Solomon sacrificed at Gibeon, and the LORD offered to grant him a request. Solomon’s choice of an understanding heart with which to rule stands as one of the great decisions in antiquity (1 Kings 3:1-15), but the psalm he wrote at this time reveals the greatest aspirations of kingly leadership, far beyond simply ruling well.In Psalm 72 the newly crowned King Solomon expressed the necessity of God’s will as the foundation for every good judgment for all mankind for all time (Psa. 72:1). Whether caring for the poor (Psa. 72:2) or ensuring the protection of others (Psa. 72:3), the right kind of ruler seeks justice for those who have no one else to help (Psa. 72:4), and he is worthy of everyone’s respect for having done so (Psa. 72:5). The ruler’s care, properly given, blesses the people (Psa. 72:6) and makes righteousness available throughout his kingdom (Psa. 72:7). Such a ruler has great authority (Psa. 72:8), earning great respect through his victories (Psa. 72:9). His fame and glory will be known and honored throughout the world (Psa. 72:10-11) because of the character of his rule (Psa. 72:12-13). He receives honor because he values the people he rules (Psa. 72:14). He is worthy of great praise (Psa. 72:15), and his people will be blessed beyond measure (Psa. 72:16). He will never be forgotten. To the contrary, his rule brings blessings so rich that he will acknowledged throughout all the world (Psa. 72:17). But this recognition goes far beyond human praise, because the glory and the honor belong to the LORD. He alone could provide such marvelous care to the people, and thus He deserves all the praise (Psa. 72:18-19).

It is fitting that Solomon ended the psalm by noting the death of his father, and so the end of the many praises he offered to God in psalm (Psa. 72:20). However, it is even more fitting when we remember that Solomon’s reign did not fit this description in character—despite his great wealth and wisdom. As noted in 1 Kings 12:9-11, Solomon had placed burdens on the poor—not eased them. Therefore, however much potential Solomon had as a king to serve the people and make righteousness reign, he failed miserably. Moreover, David’s reign was filled with war—not peace. Nevertheless, there is a King for whom all these things are true: Jesus, the Messiah. For in expressing the possibilities of the king’s son, he was in fact describing the reality of the reign of God’s own Son. For in His reign righteousness does indeed prevail, blessings are bountiful, and God is glorified. So many people sadly look for an earthly reign filled with earthly blessings. When we come to appreciate ourselves as the poor and needy in sin, we will also appreciate the depth of the wealth made possible by the reign of our King (Col. 2:3), and we will begin to understand the depth of the wisdom of God’s plan for Jesus, the King, from the very beginning.

No Limits

Airplanes have always fascinated me. Perhaps this has its roots in the model airplanes my Grandpa, a former naval aviator, built and kept around his house. It might have come from my early reading of books about the Wright Brothers. It is even possible that it grew out of watching James Stewart star as Charles Lindbergh in The Spirit of St. Louis or any number of war pictures I watched as a youth. Or maybe the sheer amazement of watching a large, heavy object overcome the power of gravity always stayed with me. But the account I love the most may be America’s early efforts in exploring the power of the jet engine and pushing its capabilities to the limit. In the time immediately after World War II, they produced jets capable of reaching just below the sound barrier. But even in this term we see the challenge they faced. Flying faster than the speed of sound was considered impossible by some, but all thought of it as a real barrier—a physical blockade preventing anyone from passing. However, on October 14, 1947, Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in the Bell X-1 and forever changed the world of aviation. Having proven the people’s prior assumptions about the sound barrier, design changes quickly made it possible for planes to fly many times faster than the speed of sound.

Not unsurprisingly, we often create artificial barriers to our own forgiveness, spiritual growth, blessings, faithfulness, happiness, and even greatness because we do not really trust God to do what He said He will do. And the reality is: so many people have played games with what God said in His Word that they have created a barrier for the real peace only God can provide. In Psalm 71 the psalmist combines a variety of problems that we can allow to keep us from trusting God: shame, doubt, failing strength, troubles, old age. You will note that all of these refer to human weakness, but when we look at God through the lens of these weaknesses it can cause us to see God as weak. And here the psalmist provides three metaphors to counter such foolishness: “Be my strong refuge, To which I may resort continually; You have given the commandment to save me, For You are my rock and my fortress” (Psa. 71:3). God is our refuge. God is our rock. God is our fortress. God is the one place we can go for safety when we think all hope is gone. God provides a place of safety in the midst of a world of unruliness and unrest. God can put us in a position of strength and protect us from the advancement of any and every foe.

We can place ourselves in a very foolish position sometimes because we act like we are the strong ones and God needs our help. But it is only when we realize how helpless we are in our sin and even in life, and then see how strong God is and how willing He is to help, that we are ready to trust Him with our hearts, with our lives, and with our souls. How sad that we—the creation—would have trouble handing ourselves over to the One who made us, treating the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God as if HE is the one suffering from so many limitations. However, when we stop arguing with God and start trusting God, then and only then, will we realize the depth of blessings and care He is capable of bestowing. Worldly people concerned about worldly things think of God in worldly terms, and so they limit what God could do for them. But when we see the world in spiritual terms, embrace spiritual things, and appreciate God for what He can offer us spiritually in eternity, we realize how small the world has tried to make God and how big He truly is. “My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness And Your salvation all the day, For I do not know their limits” (Psa. 71:15).

Poor and Needy

Investigating the background of various psalms to give them greater context can provide quite a challenge at times. While some offer a descriptive heading to the reader, most do not. Moreover, since the psalms represent a collection written by a number of poets spanning generations, with many unattributed, this only complicates the problem. Then, occasionally one psalm will borrow from another earlier psalm, so that some part of one of David’s psalms finds new life and new application in another generation, though the psalm may still bear that great king’s name. The case of Psalm 70 is more interesting yet. With just a few minor changes in the verbs used and the changes from Yahweh to Elohim, the entirety of the seventieth psalm comes from Psalm 40:13-17. The theme matches well the subject of the surrounding psalms, trusting in God for deliverance, and may explain its reuse here as a prayer for similar occasions.
The cry for immediate help and the need to hurry found in verses one and five suggests a desperate hour in David’s life, most likely during Absalom’s rebellion, but this simplification of the wording and the emphasis on Elohim—The Mighty One—intentionally focuses on the contrast between the power of God and the weakness of man. Thus, the weakness of man highlights the power of God, who alone is able to deliver, as verses one and five make evident. This reality then brackets a series of exhortations highlighted by the third person hortatory (Let…) expressing his wishes concerning first those who are attacking him (Psa. 70:2-3), then concerning those who trust God (Psa. 70:4), and finally, as placed in the mouths of those who trust God, concerning God Himself (Psa. 70:4). This sequence creates a crescendo effect within the context of God’s power addressing man’s need, moving rapidly from the reversal of fortune required against the attacker, the joy that the godly feel in such circumstances, and the ultimate outcome desired of God’s glorification. Thus, what began as part of a personal psalm tied to a specific moment of desperation became a prayer appropriate for any righteous man who should find himself the object of scorn, ridicule, and woe at the hand of the unrighteous.
While the origin of the psalm is interesting and the structure compelling, the basic message of the psalm can easily get lost in its brevity and simplicity. When fully retreating from the context of Psalm 40, this psalm points to the bigger picture of serving God despite opposition and turmoil. In fact, seen spiritually, the power of the message becomes even clearer. Each and every day, Satan and his allies pursue God’s people, trying desperately to take life back from us, hurling hurt toward us in every way imaginable, and taking glee in every misstep we may make along the way. Nevertheless, as the righteous stand faithfully and seek deliverance from God without compromise, the godly rejoice and glorify God who has made such an impact. Is this some great victory that we have achieved by listening, obeying, and being faithful to our Lord? Not at all. We are but poor and needy. The victory is His. And waiting on that moment can seem like an eternity. But it is because of eternity and our faith in God that we can endure.

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