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Chuck Smith :: Study Guide for Psalms

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Introduction

A psalm is a hymn of praise to God. The Book of Psalms was originally the hymn book for Israel. The Psalms are a classic example of Hebrew poetry which, unlike English poetry made of rhyme and rhythm, consists of parallel or contrasting ideas. Many of the psalms are known as acrostics because each verse begins with a succeeding letter of the Hebrew alphabet (for example, Psalm 119).

David, who authored many of the psalms, was considered a prophet, because many of the psalms contain prophecies about the Messiah. These predictions were direct references to Jesus Christ.

Some psalms were also written by Asaph and Moses. The entire collection of 150 psalms is divided into five smaller books: Psalms 1-41, 42-72, 73-89, 90-106, 107-150.

PSALM 1: THE CONTRAST OF THE GODLY AND THE UNGODLY MAN.

v.1 "Blessed" in Hebrew means "Oh, how happy!" This verse marks the progression of the ungodly man: walking, standing, and sitting with the unrighteous.

v.2 The happy man meditates on the Law of the Lord.

v.3 This is the result of v.2. We should bring forth fruit (John 15:8), and our fruit should be lasting (John 15:16).

v.4-6 Here is the contrast to v.3. The way of the wicked will perish.

PSALM 2: THE KINGDOM AGE. A MESSIANIC PSALM.

v.2-3 His "anointed" is His Messiah. Man is rebelling against God and against Jesus Christ.

v.4-5 God judges the Christ-rejecting world.

v.6-7 The Father is speaking to His Son, Jesus.

v.8 God is promising the kingdom to Jesus.

v.9 During the Kingdom Age absolute judgment will be enforced over those who have survived the great tribulation.

v.10 The Church will judge the earth and it's kings.

PSALM 3: A PSALM OF DAVID WHEN FLEEING FROM ABSALOM.

v.1 Absalom had gathered together many to go after David.

v.5 David was able to sleep even while being pursued because of his confidence in the Lord.

v.8 The psalm ends with a note of victory.

PSALM 4: "TO THE CHIEF MUSICIAN."

This psalm mentions the use of a Neginoth, a stringed instrument, to accompany the verses.

v.1 This psalm is a prayer of the evening.

v.6-7 David's gladness will be greater than those who are against God, when they are in the time of harvest.

PSALM 5: ALSO ACCOMPANIED ON A NEGINOTH.

v.6 "Bloody" is an old English term referring to a dirty or evil man.

v.7 The contrast to v.6 begins.

v.10-11 These verses present another contrast between the curse of the wicked and the blessings of the righteous. In

v.11 God wants our daily walk to be joyful.

PSALM 6:

This psalm was to be played with stringed instruments "according to shiminith" or octaves.

v.1 David attributes human characteristics of anger and discipline to God.

v.5 David is expressing his own ideas and thoughts of death. Jesus' account in Luke 16:20 shows that death isn't oblivion.

PSALM 7:

Shiggaion means "the loud crying." The text concerns Cush the Benjamite.

v.1 David had many enemies.

v.3-5 He feels that he has been falsely accused.

v.8 David thinks that on this issue he is righteous.

v.9 Our motives will be judged by God, who judges our hearts.

v.12 To "whet" is to "sharpen."

v.13 God has planned the method of destruction of the wicked.

v.17 The psalm ends on a high point.

PSALM 8:

Gittith means "wine press," which gives the idea of harvest of judgment.

v.1 The first 'LORD' in capitals is a translation of the Hebrew name for God, YAHWEH. This Hebrew word comes from the verb "to be" and means "I am who I am." The name describes God's relationship to you, for God desires to become to you whatever you need.

The second "Lord" (from the Hebrew word atonai) means "master" and is a title indicating our relationship to Him (Philippians 2:6-10).

v.2 God has revealed himself in simple terms so that even children can understand.

v.4 David begins with God at the focal point and gets man into his proper perspective, rather than starting with man.

"The son of man" is God coming down to visit man.

v.5 Man isn't the product of random chance. He was created in God's image. Man is the highest order of God's creation on the earth and is surpassed only by the angels, God's ministering spirits.

v.6 "Dominion" implies watching over and taking care of the earth. "Thou hast put all things under His feet" refers to Jesus Christ. Like us, Jesus Christ was also made a little lower than the angels so that He could die for us.

v.8 "The paths of the sea" are the sea currents.

PSALM 9:

Muthlabben means "the death of the son" and could refer to the death of Bathsheba's first son.

v.6-7 These two verses present a contrast.

v.16 Higgaion means "meditate on that."

PSALM 10:

v.2-11 These verses describe the wicked man in his deeds and his claim that God has forgotten them. People mistake God's patience for blindness because He hasn't already destroyed them.

PSALM 11:

v.1 The righteous man has no need to flee, because his trust is in the Lord.

PSALM 12:

v.5 David says that the Lord will prevail over the wicked.

PSALM 14:

v.1-3 God's appraisal of the human race is that there is none who are righteous or seek after Him. Paul quotes this passage in Romans 3:10.

PSALM 15:

v.1-2 David asks a question and then answers it.

v.4 A truly honorable person will acknowledge his error even though it brings his own hurt. God honors a man who keeps his word.

PSALM 16:

A michtam is a meditation or a prayer. Several psalms have this form.

v.1 David asks for preservation because he has many enemies.

v.2 The first 'LORD' refers to the name of God. The second refers to my relationship to God as my Master.

"My goodness extendeth not to thee" is a poor translation and would better read, "I have no goodness but thee."

v.4 David describes those who worship other gods. "The drinking of blood" was exactly what God meant. He was referring to pagan sacrifices.

v.7 "My reins" means "my mind." Many times God speaks to His people in the night.

v.8-10 David was prophesying of Him who was to come, "the Holy One" Jesus Christ. Peter quotes this verse on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:25-27.

v.11 This is a description of the exalted place of Jesus Christ at the right hand of God.

PSALM 17: ANOTHER PRAYER OF DAVIDIN WHICH
HE PLEADS HIS OWN CAUSE.

v.1 It's important that we don't pray with deceitful lips. God can't deal with us unless we're totally honest with Him. He knows our true motives. We sometimes even deceive ourselves, but we can't deceive God.

v.3 My mouth can get me into a lot of trouble.

v.14 The wicked have their portion only in this life but God is interested in your eternal welfare (Psalm 73). My portion is coming in the life to come with Jesus Christ in His kingdom.

v.15 I'll be satisfied the day I wake in His likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18).

PSALM 18:

This psalm was written when David escaped from Saul and lived in Achish among the heathen. He is safe as he writes these words.

v.2 God is my defense

v.4-5 All of Saul's troops were after David.

v.6 "His temple" refers to God's temple in heaven.

v.10 A cherub is an angelic being.

v.43 David went down to Ziglag in the area of the Philistines. He was the leader of the city of Ziglag. "The people that served" refers to David but it also predicts Jesus Christ and the manner in which the Gospel would reach the Gentiles.

PSALM 19: THIS IS A BEAUTIFUL PSALM SPEAKING OF
GOD AND NATURE.

v.1-3 God is speaking to you every day and night through the universe He has created. God speaks to men everywhere through nature. He has spoken also to us personally so that we may know His love and plan for salvation.

v.7-8 God has given us His laws, His covenants, and His commandments.

PSALM 20:

Throughout this psalm LORD refers to YAHWEH or JEHOVAH

v.4 May the Lord give you the desires of your heart.

v.8 We rise and stand firm because we trust in the name of the Lord.

PSALM 21:

v.2 "Selah" indicates the beginning of a new thought. It signifies a break or rest.

v.5 God is gracious with the king who delights in the Lord.

PSALM 22:

This prophetic psalm stands out more than the other messianic psalms. Written by David, it gives a graphic description of the death of Jesus Christ by crucifixion. At the time it was written, stoning was the form of capital punishment. One thousand years later, the Romans introduced death by crucifixion.

v.1 This verse was quoted by Jesus on the cross. He was forsaken by God for a moment so that you would not be forsaken by God eternally.

v.2 Darkness covered the land when Jesus was crucified. He was separated from God because a Holy God could not be in fellowship with sin. "Fellowship" means "oneness."

v.6 Jesus Christ was despised and rejected by men (Isaiah 53).

v.8 The high priests mocked Jesus when He was on the cross.

v.10 Life begins before birth. There is a great deal of awareness by the fetus.

v.14 Here is another description of the cross. When Jesus' side was pierced blood and water came out of the wound. In hanging on the cross, the muscles fatigued and the joints fell out of place.

v.18 The Roman soldiers cast lots for Jesus' robe ("vestures"), because it was too good to be divided. Jesus' death was perfectly planned before the foundation of the earth.

v.21 On the temple altar were horns. When a person was desperate, he held onto the horns.

v.24 God heard Jesus when He cried.

v.27 Salvation for the Gentiles is predicted.

v.29 The resurrection is prophesied. God has given Jesus the kingdom and everyone will bow before Him (Philippians 2:10).

PSALM 23:

David sees three aspects of God: shepherd, guide, and banquet host.

v.1 I shall not lack provision.

v.2 I shall not lack refreshment.

v.3 I shall not lack strength.

v.4 God is leading me through my life. I will one day be led into the valley of the shadow of death, but I'll fear no evil. Death holds no fear for the child of God (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).

v.5 Here God is seen as a banquet host. He takes care of us in overflowing love.

v.6 God is preparing a place for us.

PSALM 24:

v.3-4 Only a person with a pure heart can stand in the presence of the Lord.

PSALM 25:

v.10 All of God's paths are merciful when you keep His covenant and His testimonies.

v.14 God's secret is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

PSALM 26:

v.1-2 Examine me and judge me, O Lord.

v.9 "Bloody" here means "murderous."

PSALM 27:

v.1-2 As children of God, we need not fear what man can do to us because He watches over us. God is our strength and salvation.

v.5 We don't need to prepare a shelter for ourselves for the Tribulation period.

v.6 We no longer give sacrifices of animals or bread, but we do give the sacrifice of praise.

PSALM 28:

v.2 At times David lifted up his hands to God.

PSALM 29:

v.3 This is Jewish poetry in its finest form showing the use of repetition.

v.11 God has many promises for His people, including these of strength and peace.

PSALM 30:

When we come to a psalm like this, we should do what the psalmist exhorts us. This experience can be a great blessing. We should follow the psalm, rather than just read it.

v.5 How glorious when God brings us through a trial or hardship!

PSALM 31:

This psalm is divided into three sections. In the first section,

v.1-8, David expresses a mixture of trust and suffering. In the second section

v.9-18, the trial is overcome. In the last section there is the triumph that comes from trusting the Lord.

v.1-2 David asks God to hear him speedily.

v.3 When David speaks of God as a rock, he is speaking of Him as a place of defense. Knowing our own weaknesses, we ought to have enough sense to make our home in the rock, since we're an easy prey for the enemy. Jesus then becomes our rock and fortress.

v.5 Jesus cried this on the cross (Luke 23:46).

v.9 The trial is overcome by the trust.

v.24 After experiencing the triumph of trusting in God, I'll encourage others to receive God's work in their lives.

PSALM 32:

This psalm was written after David's sin with Bathsheba, when Nathan, the prophet of God, came to reveal the sin to David (2 Samuel 11-12).

Psalm 51 is also a penitential psalm, written during David's guilt and repentance.

v.1 There is a difference between a transgression and a sin. A sin isn't always a willful act. The word "sin" comes from a word meaning "to miss the mark." The mark is perfection, and all of us have missed it. A transgression is a willful missing of the mark, deliberate disobedience.

v.2 God doesn't keep a blacklist of my failures and sins (Romans 8:1).

v.3 "When I kept my silence," that is, when I was trying to hide my sin and wouldn't confess it. I may try to hide my sins and guilt, but they'll always find their way out. Guilt must be released and relieved.

v.5 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). The Hebrew language here implies an immediate process. The moment I confess the transgressions in my heart, even before the words have come out of my mouth, God has already forgiven me.

v.6-7 All of us should seek God during our difficult times.

v.8 God is responding now to the psalmist.

v.9 Don't be stubborn and hard-headed when God speaks to you, otherwise He'll have to use harsh methods to guide you. God doesn't delight in painful processes, but wants to guide you with His eye.

PSALM 33:

v.1 "Comely" means "beautiful."

v.2 The psaltry is an instrument of ten strings. David was an inventor of many instruments and a talented musician.

v.6-9 How great is the power of God's Word! He spoke and it was done.

v.12 Blessed, or happy, is the nation that puts God at its center. Our own nation at one time had a strong foundation in God.

v.13-14 God is watching you.

PSALM 34:

When David was fleeing from Saul, he was taken before the king of Achish in the land of the Philistines. David acted like a madman, so that he would be released and could escape from them. Once he was safe, he wrote this psalm.

v.4 David's action was prompted by his fear (Proverbs 29:25).

v.7 Angels are ministering spirits who serve the heirs of salvation.

v.8 Everyone needs a personal experience with God. Until then, you won't know how good He really is.

v.15-17 Isaiah 59.

v.19 God doesn't promise you divine immunity from trouble, but He will deliver you.

v.20 This is a prophecy concerning the death of Jesus Christ. To hasten the deaths of Jesus and the two robbers, the Roman soldiers wanted to break their legs. Since Jesus was already dead, they didn't break His bones. This qualified Him as the sacrificial Lamb without spot or blemish.

PSALM 35:

v.11 This is a prophecy relating to the trial of Jesus Christ.

v.21 "Aha, aha" was an evil and contemptuous expression.

PSALM 36:

v.1-5 David speaks of his enemies and other wicked men. Then in v.5 he turns to God's mercy, faithfulness, and righteousness.

PSALM 37:

v.1,7,8 David says that it's easy to be anxious and worried. This anxiety arises because evil seems to triumph over good.

v.3-4 But God is in control. We needn't fret or be envious of evildoers, for they'll be cut off. So put your trust in God, and delight yourself in the Lord through praise.

v.7 One of the greatest blessings of the Christian life is to rest in the Lord.

v.11 Matthew 5:5.

v.25 If you're a child of God, you'll never need to beg for food.

PSALM 38:

David, through some unknown sin, became very sick. This psalm was occasioned by that sin.

PSALM 39: (JEDUTHUN WAS ONE OF DAVID'S MUSICIANS.)

v.4 Life is short. God helps me to number my days!

v.5 Man is ignorant in the things he knows best.

PSALM 40:

v.2 How thankful I am that God brought me out of the sinking sand!

v.5 You can't even number the thoughts God has for you.

v.6 What is most important to God is to offer Him your life. "Mine ears hast thou opened" refers to becoming a bondslave, or servant by choice, to the Lord. The bondslave had his ear pierced as a sign of this voluntary commitment.

v.6-7 These two verses are prophecies of Jesus Christ. "The volume of the book," the Old Testament was written about Him.

v.16 "The Lord be magnified" is a phrase we should use continually.

PSALM 41:

v.1 This psalm begins with a beatitude. God is constantly exhorting us to help the poor.

v.3 If you give to the poor, God will take care of you when you're sick in bed.

v.4 David now turns to his own case.

v.5 David's enemies ask, "When will he die and be forgotten?"

v.9 This is a prophecy about Jesus Christ and His betrayal by Judas Iscariot (John 13:18).

v.13 The first book of psalms, like each of the five books, ends in a benediction.

Second Book of Psalms

PSALM 42:

v.1 The psalmist expresses his desire for God (Matthew 5:6).

v.2 Within every man is a thirst for God (John 7:37-38).

v.5 The psalmist begins to talk to himself.

We get discouraged when we forget that God is on the throne. But God is in control.

v.7-8 Even though I'm overwhelmed at times, God continues to show His lovingkindness.

v.10 Many non believers mock Christians when they're in trouble, as if God were supposed to prevent any problems in our lives.

PSALM 43:

This is similar to Psalm 42. Some believe that both were originally one psalm, as found in some manuscripts.

PSALM 44:

v.1 This psalm begins with a powerful affirmation of God's work.

v.4 David acknowledges God as his King.

v.9 Now in contrast David begins to complain. Here is the difficulty of understanding our present adverse circumstances. God hasn't promised to keep us from problems, but He has promised to be with us in every trial (1 Peter 4:12). God will provide you with an escape from each temptation. He won't allow you to be tempted beyond your capacity to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13).

v.26 The psalm ends with a cry to God for help. We assume that God will take care of David's problem.

PSALM 45:

A messianic psalm that portrays the beautiful mystery of Christ and His bride, the Church (Revelation 19).

v.2 This verse describes the king as the most excellent of men.

v.6 The Book of Hebrews acknowledges that this verse was written concerning Jesus Christ, showing the superiority of Jesus Christ over the angels. v,9 The "queen" is the Church.

v.11 There is an intimate relationship between Christ and the Church.

PSALM 46:

v.1-2 Because God is my refuge and strength, I won't fear any calamity that might befall me.

v.4-5 The people in the Old Testament were looking forward to the city of God (Ezekiel 47:1; Revelation 22).

v.6 This verse speaks of the tribulation period before the Kingdom Age.

v.7 A reference to the God of the vast angelic host might seem remote and impersonal. So the psalmist lowers the scope to the God of Jacob. This is my level, because Jacob wasn't a very honorable man! If He can be Jacob's God, He can be my God.

v.8 The "desolations" are the results of the Tribulation period. I believe that part of the Kingdom Age will include the rebuilding of the earth.

v.9 No more wars or weapons of battle. What a glorious anticipation we have of the Kingdom Age! (Isaiah 2:4).

v.10 Be still and know that God will work His purposes.

PSALM 47:

This psalm is sung seven times before blowing the trumpet to announce the beginning of the Jewish new year. It also looks at the dawn of the Kingdom Age, when Jesus establishes His kingdom over all the earth.

PSALM 48:

v.2 Here is the Kingdom Age and "the great king." Jesus Christ and His throne will be on the north side of Mount Zion that slopes down into Jerusalem.

PSALM 49:

v.4 David says that he'll play upon the harp and speak of truths to think about.

v.6-8 You cannot buy salvation (1 Peter 1:18).

v.9-11 The rich man thinks he can buy his salvation.

v.14-15 The wealthy will be consumed at death, but God will redeem my soul.

v.17 The rich man will take nothing with him when he dies.

v.20 The man who isn't born again is living in a body-conscious state like a beast. An animal only thinks about food or procreation.

PSALM 50:

v.1 The first six verses of this psalm deal with God. The Hebrew begins El, Elohim, Jehovah, which means God (singular), Gods (a plural of majesty), and Jehovah. El is often translated "mighty," so we have here "mighty God."

v.3 When our Lord returns, He'll once again break into history. This event will occur in the climax of man's rebellion against God.

v.5-6 God will execute judgment.

v.8 The people were faithful in their religious duties.

v.9-13 God doesn't want sacrifices through a sense of obligation or duty. The people had the wrong concept when they gave their sacrifices, as if God had a need. The sacrifice was to cover the people's sin so God might have meaningful fellowship with them. The same is true in our giving to Him today. Our gifts should be given with a heart of love (2 Corinthians 9:7).

v.14 I vow to God because I'm not everything I should be and I'm promising to be better. Usually I vow when I am in trouble. God says that I should keep my vows.

v.15 God tells me to call on Him when I'm in trouble. As a result of being delivered, I'll glorify Him. Truest praise is a spontaneous response to God for what He has done for me.

v.16 God asks the wicked why they should come into the kingdom since they hated His instruction and didn't want anything to do with Him.

v.18 "Adulterers" also refers to spiritual adulterers, the followers of other gods. v,21 God tells the wicked, "You mistakenly thought that My silence was weakness!" Because God didn't judge immediately, the wicked thought that He approved of their actions. Yet God will never condone wickedness. He is patient, merciful, gracious, and longsuffering, but not weak.

v.22 The wicked person should consider his wickedness, for the day of judgment will come.

v.23 "Conversation" is an old English word meaning "manner of living."

PSALM 51:

David was greatly hated and greatly loved. He was called "a man after God's own heart," not because he was sinless, but because his heart was always open to God. We too should be open to the dealings of God. In this psalm God deals with David in his sin.

v.1 David cries for mercy. Mercy is not getting what you deserve. Justice is getting what you deserve. God is merciful.

v.3 You cannot hide your guilt from yourself. Acknowledging your transgressions puts you on the correct road. You must acknowledge and confess your sin for God to deal with you (1 John 1:9). There is no forgiveness in justifying your actions.

v.4 Sin is an act against the holy nature of God. We need to be conscious that God is with us (Acts 17:28).

v.5 David confesses the nature of sin.

v.7 The hyssop bush was used to sprinkle the blood of the sacrifices. Becoming "whiter than snow" reflects David's concept of total forgiveness. There's nothing in the world like confessing to God and receiving cleansing and forgiveness from Him.

v.12 Unconfessed sin can rob you of Christian joy.

v.14 "Bloodguiltiness" probably refers to the blood of Uriah, since David was responsible for the murder of Uriah.

v.17 God desires that you be broken over your sin.

PSALM 52:

This psalm is directed against Doeg. David was upset with him, because Doeg told Saul that David was hiding at Ahimelech's house. Saul had Ahimelech killed for helping David and his men.

PSALM 53: THIS PSALM IS SIMILAR TO PSALM 14.

v.1 According to God, an atheist is a fool (Romans 1:21-22).

v.2-3 See Romans 3.

v.5 The wicked fear when there is no cause to fear.

v.6 This is a prayer for the future of Israel.

PSALM 54:

This psalm is directed to the Ziphites. They told Saul that David was hiding in the wilderness of Ziph.

v.3 The "strangers" are the Ziphites.

v.7 David prays that God will punish his enemies.

PSALM 55:

This psalm was evidently written when David was fleeing from Absolom.

v.12-14 These verses refer to Ahithophel, David's close friend and counselor. He revolted against David and counseled Absalom to destroy David.

v.21 David had put a great deal of trust in Ahithophel.

PSALM 56:

A psalm that David wrote when he heard a mourning dove.

v.3 You never need to be afraid if you trust in the Lord.

v.8 The Bible teaches that God keeps a book of remembrances.

v.9 God is for us! This is so important to remember (Romans 8:31).

PSALM 57:

A prayer of David when he fled from Saul and hid in a cave.

v.6 Saul fell in a trap that he had set for David.

PSALM 58:

I wouldn't want to be one of David's enemies because of his powerful prayers!

v.2-5 David is talking about the sinful nature of man.

With the Christian ethic that we learned from Jesus in the New Testament, we have difficulty understanding David's ethics. We're asked to forgive our enemies. God says, "Vengeance is mine." So we must never take personal vengeance upon anyone who has wronged us (Psalm 37).

PSALM 59:

This psalm was written after David fled from his enemies. He was lowered in a basket and escaped.

v.3 Saul wanted to destroy David because he was jealous, not because David had done anything wrong.

God is David's defense, and He'll be our defense as long as we allow Him. If we try to defend ourselves, God will let us be our own inadequate defense.

PSALM 60:

v.5-12 These verses are identical to Psalm 108:6-13.

v.11 Rather than looking to man, we should look to God for help.

PSALM 61:

David probably wrote this psalm when he was in exile during his son Absalom's rebellion. David capitulated to Absalom rather than fight against him.

v.1 The word "cry" in Hebrew is "loud wailing."

v.2 "From the end of the world" is as far as a man can go. Many things can overwhelm me. When I get to the end of the road, what do I do? Where do I turn? David said, "Lead me to the rock that is higher than I." A rock is a symbol of strength and shelter.

For many, this psalm reflects the time of tragedy, when God has begun to take control and work in a person's life.

PSALM 62:

v.2,6 David's faith has increased between these two verses. This is true in our own prayers. Our faith is increased as we pray because our attitude is changed through prayer.

v.8 Trust in God at all times.

v.9 The esteem of man is less than nothing.

v.10 We shouldn't be seeking wealth for its own sake (1 Timothy 6:9; Matthew 6:24). We're to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

PSALM 63:

This psalm was written when David was in the wilderness of Judah, east of Jerusalem. In this dry area David spent a good deal of time fleeing from Saul.

v.1-2 David uses the barrenness of the wilderness to describe the barrenness of his own soul. He wants God's power working in his life again.

v.4 At times we're so formal in praising the Lord. The Jews are uninhibited in their prayers and worship.

PSALM 64:

v.1 Preserve me from fear.

v.3 David imagines his enemies speaking against him.

PSALM 65:

This psalm looks forward to the Kingdom Age when Jesus reigns upon the earth.

v.2 See Philippians 2:10.

v.5 The original meaning of "terrible" is "awesome".

In the glorious Kingdom Age, God brings righteousness upon the earth and fills it with good works. Christ is reigning in Zion and in His holy temple where praise is offered to Him.

PSALM 66:

v.2 Oh, that men would praise the Lord!

v.4 See Romans 14:11.

v.6 The "sea" refers to the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21).

v.10-12 God took us through the fire and water to purify us and bring us into God's abundance (John 15). God is never satisfied with working in you. After He works in you, He wants to work through you to touch others who are in need.

v.18 Our prayers aren't answered because of our iniquity (Isaiah 59).

PSALM 67:

v.2 The desire for God to be revealed is the motive behind David's request in v.1.

v.4 Jesus is coming to judge the nations of the earth righteously (Matthew 24). Jude also mentions this in his epistle (Jude 14-15). The Bible tells us that God's judgments will be fair and just.

v.6 The earth and the plants will respond to the praises to the Lord.

PSALM 68:

v.3 The righteous should rejoice.

v.4 "JAH" is short for Yahweh or Jehovah, "I am."

v.16 The other hills are jealous because God has chosen to dwell in Zion.

v.18 This prophecy about Jesus Christ was quoted by Paul in Ephesians 4:8. Before Jesus ascended He first had to descend to the lower parts of the earth to free the Old Testament saints. They couldn't enter into the glory of heaven until the cross. It was necessary that their sins be put away first, only done through the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.

The "gifts" refer to the gifts in the Church.

v.19 Every day the Lord gives us benefits.

v.25 David begins to describe the worship of God in the sanctuary.

v.27 David takes account of the gathering of the tribes.

v.29 This verse also anticipates the Kingdom Age, when kings shall bring their presents to Christ.

PSALM 69: A MESSIANIC PSALM.

v.7 For God's sake, Jesus bore reproach.

v.8 Jesus' brothers didn't believe in Him.

v.9 We remember the account in John 2:14-17 of the terrible things done in the temple in the name of God.

v.20 Jesus brought forth blood and water when His side was pierced, indicating that He died by a heart rupture.

Jesus looked to His disciples, the "comforters," but they had fallen asleep while He was praying (Luke 22:45).

v.21 See Matthew 27:34; Mark 15:23, John 19:29.

v.25 Peter quotes this verse about Judas in Acts 1:20.

PSALM 70:

v.4 God's people should proclaim their love of salvation and say, "Let God be magnified!"

PSALM 71:

This is the psalm of an elderly man and was probably written by David in his old age.

v.3 The name of Jehovah is a strong tower (Proverbs 18:10). When faced by danger we should run to the Lord for safety.

v.5 God isn't only a place of hope. He is also our trust.

v.9 This verse indicates David's age.

v.13 Even in his old age David prays that God would judge his enemies.

v.15 David's closeness to God was due in part to his continual praise even in the face of danger.

v.20 Here David declares his confidence in the resurrection.

The Bible teaches that the grave (Sheol or Hades) is more than a sepulcher where the body is laid. It's a place in the heart of the earth where the spirit of man goes upon death. It's divided by a gulf into two sections. One section is a place of comfort in the bosom of Abraham, the other is a place of torment (Luke 16:22-24).

v.22 David praises God with music.

PSALM 72:

This psalm is entitled "A Psalm for Solomon." It goes beyond Solomon to prophesy about the Son promised to David, Jesus Christ, in the Kingdom Age upon the throne of David.

v.1 When Jesus Christ comes again, the first order of business will be to judge the earth.

v.8 The kingdom of God will cover the earth.

v.11 We will be the kings (Romans 14:11; Revelation 1:7, Chapter 5).

This psalm closes the second book of psalms. Verse 20 ends in a doxology.

Third Book of Psalms

Now we begin a series of psalms ascribed to Asaph, the chief musician appointed by David. "Asaph" may be his name or his title as the chief musician. If it's a title, then these psalms may have been written by the various chief musicians. Some of these psalms definitely go beyond Solomon's reign (10th Century B.C.) and after the fall of the nation Israel (6th Century B.C.).

PSALM 73:

v.1 This psalm begins with an affirmation of a foundational truth concerning God: He is good to those who are pure in heart.

It's important that we gird ourselves with basic truths. Life isn't free of painful experiences. Because we don't understand all things in life, we must fall back on things we do understand. I understand that God is in control of my life and is working in all circumstances (Romans 8:28).

v.2-3 Envy, one of the works of the flesh, occurs when I get my eyes off God and onto people. The psalmist declares, "I almost went under because I was envious."

v.4-5 The psalmist observes characteristics about the wicked. These remarks about prosperity and case of life aren't always true. Satan often exaggerates appearances in our minds in order to deceive us.

v.11 The wicked deny the existence of God.

v.13-14 The psalmist comes to a false conclusion: "It doesn't pay to live the right kind of life."

v.16 Life does have painful experiences, and it's impossible to understand all the things of life.

v.17 Coming into the sanctuary of God changes our perspective. Our present discomfort narrows and limits our outlook, but God is dealing with eternity in view (2 Corinthians 4:18; Romans 8:18). Our perspective broadens as we come into the presence of the eternal.

v.18-20 How foolish to be envious of the wicked. These verses show what is in store for them.

v.22 I was as an animal with no reasoning capacities.

PSALM 74:

Here the psalmist talks about the desolation of Israel and God's apparent quietness in the face of their trouble.

v.6 During the desolation, the carved works in the sanctuary were destroyed.

PSALM 75:

v.1-2 The psalmist gives thanks to God for who He is and what He has done.

v.3 God answers the psalmist here as he does in several psalms.

v.7 Here we're presented with the folly of man's endeavors to promote the program of God.

v.8 This cup full of foaming wine is God's cup of wrath (Revelation 14).

PSALM 76:

v.1 Judah was the southern kingdom. Israel was the northern kingdom.

v.2 "Salem" is Jerusalem.

PSALM 77:

The first part of this psalm is centered around "I."

v.7-9 When my attention is on myself, I lose the consciousness of God and become separated from Him.

v.12 The psalmist changes here and begins to put his emphasis on God. Prayer often changes my heart and my attitude. I need to get my eyes off myself and focused on God before He can begin to work in my life. The psalm ends on a high note of exaltation.

PSALM 78:

This psalm recounts the history of God's people. It reminds the coming generations of the works of the Lord. We too are obligated to keep our eye on God who is continually doing great works. We mustn't let these works turn into a mere memorial.

v.5-7 They are commanded to pass on the truth from generation to generation.

v.11 The people who didn't keep God's convenant forgot His work.

v.22 God was angered with their unbelief. Without faith it's impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).

v.30 Even though the people were filled and had more food in front of them, they still lusted.

v.36 There are those who flatter God, but their hearts are far from Him.

v.39 Thank God that He remembers we're only flesh! Sometimes even we forget this. It's important to recognize what we are, and so to trust in the Lord completely rather than to trust in our arm of flesh.

The "wind" is the breath of life. It passes away and will not return. This Scripture refutes reincarnation.

v.41 God can be limited by our unbelief. One frequent way in which we lack belief is by denying the Holy Spirit.

v.49 The "evil angels" were the destroying angels who struck down the first born of the Egyptians.

v.60 The tabernacle was originally in Shiloh, the land given to the tribe of Ephraim.

v.67 When God chose a leader, He refused to take him from the tribe of Joseph or Ephraim.

PSALM 79:

This psalm discusses the invasion of Israel and asks God to take vengeance upon those who brought destruction on the nation.

PSALM 80:

v.1 In the Book of Revelation, John also describes the throne of God and the four cherubim around the throne.

v.8 The "vine of Egypt" is the nation Israel.

v.9 The people of God filled the land of Israel.

v.18 "Quicken us" means "make us alive."

v.19 God had forsaken Israel because Israel had forsaken Him.

PSALM 81:

This psalm was read for the Feast of Trumpets. The instruments were sounded in the holy month, the seventh month on the Jewish calendar.

v.1 Here we have a proclamation for the feast day.

v.7 God is speaking. He recounts to the Israelites some of their wilderness experiences. "Meribah" means "waters of strife" where the people strived with Moses and God.

v.8 God is calling His people to listen.

v.9 The psalmist declares the same as the first Commandment. Our worship should be given completely to God.

v.10 God declares what He wants to do for His people. We so often resist what God wants to do for us. God loves us unconditionally, but it's possible to remove ourselves from His presence. Then he cannot demonstrate His love to us.

v.12 Tragically, God had given these men up to their own stubborn hearts. God's spirit will not always strive with man (Romans 1:24; Genesis 6:3).

v.13 God is here lamenting over His people.

v.16 The people wouldn't listen to Him, so they went into captivity.

PSALM 82:

This psalm is directed to the judges. It has a solemn mood because the psalmist is unhappy with man's judgments.

v.1 The Hebrew word for "gods" is also translated "judges," because a judge has authority over a person's destiny. God will judge the judges.

v.2 "The persons of the wicked" are the unrighteous rich, influential, and prominent.

v.6 Here again "gods" means "judges" (Exodus 22:28). Jesus also quoted this in John 10:34. A god in this sense is anyone or anything having power over your life.

v.8 The only righteous judgment will be executed when God judges the earth.

PSALM 83:

This psalm asks for deliverance from the calamities on Israel. The psalmist is addressing God.

v.1 God's silence is a hard thing for people to accept.

v.2-12 See Judges 4 through 7.

v.18 The psalmist asks the Lord to act so that men might know He is over all things, and thus respect Him.

PSALM 84: THE TABERNACLES OF GOD.

v.2 See Matthew 5:6.

v.4 "Blessed" means "happy."

v.6 "The valley of Baca" relates to dry places.

v.10 Better the lowest place in the house of God than the highest place in the house of Bel.

PSALM 85:

v.1-2 The psalm declares God's favor with His people by bringing them back from captivity and forgiving them.

v.5-8 The psalmist speaks to God. Although the psalm begins with the restoration of the land and people, full spiritual renewal hasn't taken place. The psalmist is asking for revival

v.9-13 The psalmist affirms the faithfulness of God.

PSALM 86:

Nearly every verse here is taken from other psalms. This shows David's knowledge of the psalms. In v.5, 10 and 15, he states the different aspects of God's character.

v.5 God is good and ready to forgive. He is plenteous in mercy.

v.8-9 "Lord" here means "master."

v.11 LORD here is JEHOVAH.

All of us experience a heart divided between the desires of our flesh and our desires for God.

v.16 The psalmist responds to God's character and makes his request. It's important to know God's character and nature. That gives us the confidence to seek Him.

PSALM 87:

This psalm extols Zion, which is the city of Jerusalem.

v.5-7 The Lord is the source and giver of life.

PSALM 88:

This is a sad and somber psalm.

PSALM 89:

v.3-4 God's response to the psalmist in

v.1-2 is this prophecy.

v.5 The psalmist begins to speak from his own view again.

v.7 "Feared" is "revered". We can learn much about reverence toward God from the Jews. We need to be highly conscious of His greatness.

v.19 God speaks again.

v.22 To "not exact upon him" means that he won't be paying tribute to his enemies.

v.24 The horn is a symbol of strength.

v.27 This verse refers to Solomon, the son of David, and also to the seed of David, the King of kings, Jesus Christ.

v.35-37 Here is a prophecy of Jesus Christ.

v.52 This benediction closes the third book of psalms.

Fourth book of

Psalms

PSALM 90: A PSALM OF MOSES.

v.2 Moses declares the eternal nature of God.

v.4 Time is only binding to us because we're involved with matter. To God, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day (2 Peter 3:8).

v.6 Life is so temporary!

v.10 In the realm of time, our lives are spent as a story already told. Living out side of the time dimension, God sees the whole picture at once. He chose us outside of the framework of linear time (Ephesians 1:4).

v.12 Since I'm bound by time, may God teach me how to number my days so I might use my time wisely.

v.17 Let the beauty of the Lord be seen in you.

PSALM 91:

This psalm tells us that the righteous man dwells with God.

v.1 There is a place where you and I can live in Jesus Christ, a place of safety, peace, and joy.

v.3 Bird-trapping was an art at that time. The "snare of the fowler" refers to the traps. In a spiritual sense, Satan has laid traps for us, but God will deliver us.

v.4 God's truth will be our shield (Ephesians 6:13-17).

v.5-10 Because the Lord is your habitation, or place of dwelling, no evil or plague will come near you.

v.8 Don't harden your heart (Hebrews 3:8-12).

v.11 Satan quoted this Scripture when tempting Jesus, but Jesus said, "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." In other words, don't test the Scriptures, don't jeopardize yourself to prove that the Scriptures work.

There is a vast heavenly host of angels with different rankings. The Scriptures don't specify when angels were created, but they serve the Lord and those who follow Him and are capable of taking on a bodily form. The angels who serve God are our guardian angels.

v.14 Here we have a change in voice, as God responds to the psalmist's ideas.

PSALM 92: THE SABBATH DAY.

v.1 It's good to praise the Lord.

v.2 To start and end the day, praise His name.

v.7 It's foolish to envy the wicked, since they'll be destroyed.

PSALM 93:

The Lord reigns and His statutes stand firm.

PSALM 94:

The psalmist is troubled because of the oppression of the wicked. He acknowledges that God is a God of vengeance who will avenge and uphold the righteous.

v.1 So often we want to take vengeance, but vengeance belongs to God.

v.7 People often think that God doesn't see the unrighteous. But God does judge them.

PSALM 95:

This psalm encourages us to sing unto the Lord and to praise Him.

v.7-11 We're warned not to harden our hearts against God or against His work. We're given the example of the Israelites and should draw spiritual analogies from their experiences.

Coming into the land is symbolic of coming into spiritual rest of God. Between my conversion and entrance into the rest, I pass through a wilderness. God takes the bitter experiences of my life and makes them sweet as He did with the bitter waters at Mara.

PSALM 96:

This psalm encourages us to praise and worship the Lord by declaring the glory of God and the wonders of His work. He is great and should be greatly praised.

v.10 The Lord reigns. He is on the throne, and all things are under His control.

v.13 The psalmist anticipates the Lord's coming day of judgment. This psalm parallels Psalm 98.

PSALM 97:

v.5 A reference to Mount Sinai.

v.10 If you love God, then hate evil. Because of the gross iniquity on the earth today, we have developed a tolerance for evil.

PSALM 98:

v.9 We can trust that God will judge righteously-something we don't find in our courts of law today.

PSALM 99:

v.1 The cherubim are an angelic class described in Ezekiel 1 and 10 and Revelation 4. Satan is one of the fallen cherubim.

v.8 Their "inventions" were the golden calf and other idols. Yet God forgave them.

PSALM 100:

v.2 If you can't serve the Lord with gladness, you'd better not serve Him. Loss of joy often occurs because a person has been pushed into something that God hasn't directed.

v.3 We are God's creation. Our very breath depends upon Him (Daniel 5:23).

v.5 Praise the Lord for His goodness, mercy, and truth.

PSALM 101: A PSALM OF DAVID.

v.1 Though David says that he'll sing of God's mercy in this psalm, he seems to speak only of judgment. David wanted judgment for his enemies but mercy for himself.

v.2 "Perfect" here means "complete."

PSALM 102:

v.2 How impatient we are with God, yet how important that God be patient with us!

v.12 A contrast between mortal man and sovereign God.

v.13 David looks forward to the time when God would work again among the people of Israel.

v.14 The people of Israel take pleasure in Jerusalem, a city made of stone and dust.

v.15 This refers to God's set time to favor the nation of Israel (Ezekiel 38:23, 39:27-29).

v.16 Jesus first appeared in Israel in shame and humiliation, taking upon Himself the sins of mankind and dying on the cross. Soon He shall appear in glory.

v.18 The psalmist here is writing for a generation to come. These words are for our own generation. Daniel also wrote for another generation.

v.25-26 Jesus said, "heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (Matthew 24:35). The psalmist also recognizes the first and second laws of thermodynamics here.

v.27 Although the earth is changed, God never changes.

PSALM 103:

This is a favorite psalm at Thanksgiving time.

v.1 This is David's commandment to himself.

v.2 So quickly we forget the benefits of serving the Lord!

v.4 "Redeemeth thy life from destruction" is to save you from hell. There are more positive aspects to the Christian life than negative.

v.8 The Old Testament God isn't a God of wrath, but of mercy. He is slow to anger.

v.14 Many times we don't remember that we're dust, but God remembers.

v.15-16 Man's days are fleeting.

v.17 God's mercy extends to eternity.

v.20-22 David calls on God's angels and all of His works to praise the Lord.

PSALM 104:

v.6 The psalmist here speaks about the Flood in Noah's time.

v.9 God has set the oceans' boundaries so they'll never again cover the earth.

v.18 "Conies" are small animals somewhat similar in appearance to rabbits.

v.24 Man was much closer to nature and the works of God's hands at this time.

v.26 Some think that the leviathan is the whale.

v.29 How dependent we are upon God!

PSALM 105:

In

v.9-45 David reviews Jewish history, emphasizing how God has preserved the people.

v.1 We're exhorted to give thanks to the Lord, to call upon His name, and to share His work among the people.

v.2 Sing unto Him and talk about the wonderful things He has done.

v.3 Glory and rejoice in the Lord.

v.4 Seek the Lord.

v.5 Remember Him. You'll be greatly blessed doing all of these things.

v.9-10 Israel's right to possess its land is an everlasting covenant.

v.39 The cloud was a covering for shade and a fog to hide the Israelites from the Egyptians.

PSALM 106:

Another review of the Jewish history, but now the emphasis is on the people. We saw how faithful God is; now we see how unfaithful man is.

v.6 We have sinned.

v.7 Two days after leaving Egypt the people began to murmur and complain.

v.15 "Their request" was to satisfy their stomachs. God granted their request, but it brought leanness to their souls. Sometimes the worst thing that can happen to us is an answer to our prayers for material things. Material possessions can cause us to suffer spiritually (1 Timothy 6:9).

v.32 Moses, who disobeyed God, couldn't go into the Promised Land for the sake of the people. He was God's example of the importance of obedience.

v.35 The people of God were to destroy the heathen. Instead they began to follow the pagan practices and became as the heathen.

v.37-38 Behind all idol worship lies Satan worship.

v.48 The "amen" brings us to the end of the fourth book of psalms.

Fifth Book of Psalms

PSALM 107:

This psalm begins with an exhortation to give thanks to the Lord because of His goodness and His mercy.

v.1 His mercy endures forever.

v.2 If we're saved, we should say so.

v.3-7 David describes the Lord's provision to the nation of Israel.

v.8 When we reflect upon the Lord we can't help but praise Him.

v.9 When the people were hungry and thirsty, God satisfied them.

The soul is the consciousness of man. Every man has an awareness that life must be more than what he has experienced. Man's soul longs after spiritual fulfillment.

v.10-11 David describes another group of people, those bound in afflictions because of their rebellion against the words of God.

v.13 As in v.6, they cry out in their trouble.

v.14 This refers to the affliction in v.10.

v.17 Now David deals with fools. We often bring grief upon ourselves by our foolishness.

v.20 How many times God uses His Word to deliver us and set us free!

v.22 In the Old Testament there were different kinds of sacrifices. Besides the sacrifices for sin, there were peace offerings for communion with God and the burnt offerings of consecration, signifying a person's commitment to God.

Jesus made our sacrifice for sin once and for all. The New Testament exhorts us to make sacrifices of praise and a commitment of ourselves by yielding to Him.

v.27-28 In the midst of a storm, sailors call upon the Lord.

v.32-43 An exhortation to praise the Lord for His many works.

PSALM 108:

v.2 The psalmist calls for praise with instruments.

v.7-10 God will give David victory over his enemies.

v.12 Vain is the help of man. God is our only true help.

PSALM 109: DAVID SPEAKS AGAINST HIS ENEMIES.

v.2 These people were lying against David.

v.4 We should give ourselves to prayer rather than lashing out. Satan's trick is to draw me into a physical conflict. When I'm in the flesh, Satan has a decided advantage over me. When I stay in the spiritual realm and use prayer, then I have a decided advantage over him. The big gun in spiritual warfare is prayer. It takes on the nature of the spirit, for prayer isn't restricted to time, space, or material. Through prayer I can defeat the enemy by the power of Jesus Christ. Jesus defeated the spiritual forces of Satan and darkness at the cross (Colossians 2:15).

v.5-20 David wants to avenge himself against his enemies. David's words are far from Jesus' teachings on forgiveness in the New Testament.

v.8 This was quoted and interpreted by Peter when Judas Iscariot was replaced (Acts 1:20).

v.21 David prays for himself.

PSALM 110:

This is a messianic psalm with its fulfillment in Jesus Christ.

v.1 In Hebrew this reads "YAHWEH said unto my Lord." Jesus is sitting on the right hand of the father in glory. God will judge the earth and bring all things into subjection under Christ.

v.4 A priest of the most high God, Melchizedek (also known as the King of Peace), came to Abraham. Abraham gave him one-tenth of all his goods. Melchizedek was greater than Abraham because he received from Abraham.

The duties of the high priest were two-fold. He was a mediator between man and God, because the people themselves couldn't approach the holy and righteous God. He would also come to the people and speak to them for God. In the New Testament Jesus Christ is the high priest who performs these duties.

Jesus Christ is of the order of Melchizedek, which precedes and is superior to the priesthood of Levi, because the father of Levi, Abraham, paid tithes to Melchizedek.

v.5-6 This verse refers to the great coming judgment.

PSALM 111:

This psalm is known as an acrostic because each verse begins with a succeeding letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

v.1 The psalm begins "Hallelujah!"

v.4 God is gracious and full of compassion.

v.9 Only the name of the Lord is to be revered.

v.10 "Fear" means "reverence." The reverence of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

PSALM 112:

v.1 This psalm also begins "Hallelujah!" Happy is the man who reveres the Lord.

v.2 Man's children are "his seed."

v.3 "Wealth and riches" is the honor given to God, the true riches of His kingdom.

v.4 Jesus rises as a light in the darkness.

v.7 We're living in days of evil tidings, but the man who trusts the Lord will not fear the day of evil. The psalmist is saying, "Come what may, the Lord is with me."

v.10 The wicked are contrasted with this righteous man. The presence of a contrast or repetition of an idea is true Hebrew poetry.

PSALM 113:

Psalms 113-118 are called the Hallelujah or Praise Psalms. These traditional psalms are sung on the Jewish feast days. No doubt Jesus sang these psalms with His disciples. Psalm 113 begins and ends with "Hallelujah!"

PSALM 114:

This psalm recalls the deliverance of the children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt.

v.3 "The sea" is the Red Sea. The waters of the "Jordan" were stopped.

v.4 Earthquakes hit when the Israelites came into the land. Jericho was leveled by an earthquake.

v.8 Moses gave the Israelites water in the wilderness from the flinty rock.

PSALM 115:

v.1 Only the Lord should be given glory.

v.3 God does whatever pleases Him.

v.8 The psalmist expresses a profound philosophy. Man has an innate desire to worship, so he makes his own gods. His gods are like himself. Thus, he's actually worshipping himself, yet his gods are much less than he is. They have eyes but do not see, feet but do not walk, etc.

The final observation is that man becomes as his god. He degrades himself. This is a curse.

To worship the infinite, true, and living God is to become more like Him each day (2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 John 3:2).

v.16 The heavens belong to God. God gave the earth to man, but man gave the earth to Satan.

v.17 The psalmist here speaks of physical death.

PSALM 116:

The gratitude of the redeemed is stated here.

PSALM 117:

This is the shortest psalm. It celebrates the universal reign of Jesus Christ who will come to rule over the earth.

PSALM 118:

Jesus probably sang this psalm with His disciples on the night of the Passover feast.

v.1 God is praised for His goodness and mercy.

v.6 God is for me. Paul takes up this theme in Romans 8.

v.8-9 Man has disappointed me so many times, but the Lord never lets me down.

v.18 There's a vast difference between correction and punishment. God has ordained punishment for the wicked, but correction for His children. Correction comes in the form of chastisement. It's a sign that I'm God's child and that He cares about me.

v.19-20 This may be related to Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem through the east gate. Psalm 24 also refers to the gates.

v.22 This is prophetic. The "stone" is Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus refers to this verse in Matthew 21:42-44. Peter refers to it in Acts 4:11. The "builders" were the Jews who rejected Jesus Christ. They refused the Gospel, so it was then given to the Gentiles.

v.24 This refers to Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem when His disciples cried "Hosanna, O Lord," which means, "Save now, O Lord."

v.26 As the disciples sang this psalm with Jesus, they were actually singing a prophecy that had been fulfilled a few days earlier when the "stone" was rejected.

PSALM 119:

In this psalm each section-indeed, almost each verse-is independent. It's an acrostic psalm where each group of eight verses begins with the same letter. The first group begins with aleph, the second with beth, and so on through the Hebrew alphabet. This psalm is dedicated to God's Word. Each verse exalts the Scriptures.

v.10 Many people seek God half-heartedly.

v.11 God wants you to hide His Word in your heart.

v.18 This is a prayer to say before reading the Scriptures, so your spiritual eyes might be opened.

v.24 Look to the Word of God for guidance and counseling.

v.41 The knowledge of God's mercy and salvation comes through God's Word (Romans 10:17).

v.50 God's Word comforts me when I'm afflicted.

v.67 The purpose of this affliction was to get the psalmist back on the right path.

v.71-72 It's good to be afflicted, for God's Word in our lives is better than all the riches in the world.

v.89 Nothing is more permanent than the Word of God (Matthew 24:35). It's wrong to challenge or change the Word of God.

v.91 "They" refers to the earth and heavens which continue as God has ordained from the beginning.

v.99-100 I'm wiser than the ancients because I have God's Word. God's Word is true knowledge.

v.105 God's Word is the guide for life.

v.126 It's time for God to work. The world, even our nation, has made void the Law of God.

v.130 The entrance of God's Word gives light to those in darkness.

v.136 This reflects the psalmist's grief for those who break God's Law.

v.162 The Word of God is like a great treasure. We rejoice when we find its contents.

v.165 We'll have great peace by following God's Law.

PSALM 120-134

This group of psalms has the heading Psalms of Degrees, literally "Songs of Ascents." These are marching psalms sung by the people of Israel as they came to worship in Jerusalem. No matter what direction they came from, they were ascending to Jerusalem, because the city is set on a mountain. These psalms were sung in holy anticipation of communal worship.

PSALM 120:

v.5-7 The psalmist has come from Mesech and Kedar where the people hate God and oppose those who worship Him. The world we live in also opposes those who worship God.

PSALM 121:

v.1 "From whence cometh my help" is a question. The hills cannot help you.

v.2 God, the only true and living God, is the creator of the heaven and the earth. Nothing is too hard for Him.

v.7-8 These are glorious promises. God watches over me night and day and will preserve me.

PSALM 122:

v.1-2 The pilgrims traveled in large groups.

v.3 "Compact together" is "gathering together in a group."

PSALM 123:

v.2 A servant constantly watched his master's hand because the master gave signals with it. Similarly, we're to keep our eyes fixed on the Lord.

v.3 People are contemptuous toward Christians. But we fix our eyes on the Lord, not on those who trouble us.

PSALM 124:

v.1 If it hadn't been for the Lord's help, I wouldn't have survived this long. I'm assured that He'll help me in the future (2 Corinthians 1:10).

v.8 There's great power in the name of Jesus (John 16:23-24).

PSALM 125:

v.1 Zion will abide forever, but when Jesus returns and puts His foot on the Mount of Olives, it'll split down the middle. This event will also form a new underground river.

v.2 I'm surrounded by God (Acts 17:28).

PSALM 126:

v.1 The Lord freed Zion from her captivity.

v.5-6 This is also true about the ministry. Our attitude in ministry is vitally important. God has taken His glorious treasure, the "seed," and put it in earthen pots, us. God wants us to pour forth His love to the needy world around us so they're captivated by Him, not by us.

PSALM 127:

v.1 Unless the Lord builds His Church, our labor is in vain. Using gimmicks and programs to promote the Church is futile.

v.2 It's worthless to spend the night worrying.

v.3 Children are a blessing from God.

PSALM 128:

This psalm deals with the family.

PSALM 129:

v.1 Israel to this day is afflicted by others, but she stands up to them.

PSALM 130:

v.3 If the Lord were to list man's iniquities, we'd all be guilty.

v.7 We can receive mercy and plenteous redemption from Him.

PSALM 131:

v.1 The psalmist declares, "Lord, I'm a simple man."

v.3 Hope is in the Lord.

PSALM 132:

v.1-5 David wanted to build a beautiful temple for God. He said he wouldn't rest until it was built.

v.11 God had sworn to David that one from his lineage would sit upon the throne forever (Isaiah 9:6-7). Mary, a direct descendant of David, gave birth to Jesus.

v.12 Jesus promised that the Church would sit upon His throne, too.

v.14 God now speaks about Jerusalem.

v.17-18 "Mine anointed" is the Messiah.

PSALM 133:

This psalm pictures the beauty of brethren dwelling in a family-like unity.

PSALM 134:

v.1-3 First you bless the Lord, then you receive His blessings.

PSALM 135:

This psalm begins and ends with "Hallelujah!" It's an exhortation to praise God.

v.4 Because we are His peculiar people, we should praise God. "Peculiar people" in old English means that we're God's possession (1 Peter 2:9).

v.5 Men worship and serve many gods but there's only one true and living God.

v.6 God does whatever He pleases. I have no right to challenge or resist Him. I was made for His pleasure and find true fulfillment when I please Him.

v.15-18 Men worship gods like themselves instead of the true and living God.

PSALM 136:

Throughout this psalm we have the phrase "For His mercy endureth forever." The purpose of the repetition was to impress truth upon the hearts of the people. In all situations and circumstances, God's mercy endures forever.

v.5 Here the psalmist exhorts us to praise God for His creative acts.

v.10 The psalmist commands praise and thanksgiving to God for His blessings upon Israel.

PSALM 137:

This is a psalm of captivity written long after David's time by one of the Jewish captives in Babylon.

v.3 The Babylonians made their captives sing songs from their homeland. As captives, the Jews found it difficult to sing because they were so distraught.

v.7 The Edomites would always join others who wanted to attack Israel.

v.8-9 These expressions of judgment are the psalmist's own feelings. He wants God's justice to fall on the wicked, but God would rather show mercy by forgiving repentant men. God has great sorrow when he must judge (Matthew 5:43-44).

PSALM 138:

v.1-2 In all the earth there is no name like the name of God. The Jews held His name in such high esteem that they wouldn't even pronounce it.

v.4 The Word of God is magnified even more than His name (Luke 16:17).

v.8 "Perfect" here means "complete".

PSALM 139:

v.1 David realizes that God knows him completely.

v.2 God understands my thoughts in their origins.

v.5 I look back and see God's hand upon my life. I look ahead and see His plans for my life. I'm surrounded by God in my past, present and future.

v.6 "Such knowledge" refers to self-knowledge. Few people know the true motives behind their actions. God looks at our motives.

v.7-12 You cannot escape from the presence of God.

v.14 We're discovering how wonderfully we're made.

v.15-16 God knew me before I was born.

v.17-18 God's thoughts about me are more than the grains of the sand.

v.19 The psalmist now speaks of the wicked.

v.23 The man who prays, "Search me, O God, and know my heart," recognizes that he doesn't know himself.

v.24 God will destroy the wicked, so David asks God to purge anything in him that is displeasing. The work of the Holy Spirit in our lives not only reveals Christ to us, but also reveals ourselves to us, including those areas unpleasing to God.

I don't want to be deceived about my eternal destiny.

PSALM 140:

v.5 The word "gins" means "traps".

PSALM 141:

v.2 Incense in the tabernacle and later in the temple symbolized the sweet prayers of the saints rising up to God, and His response of love and joy over them.

v.3 God help me to control my tongue!

v.5 The wounds of the righteous are kindness.

PSALM 142:

A psalm of David when he was hiding from Saul in the cave of Abdulum. Typical of David, this psalm begins with mourning and ends with an uplifting tone.

PSALM 143:

v.2 David cries, "God, I don't want justice, I want mercy!"

v.6 David was a man after God's own heart, because he was thirsty for God (Matthew 5:6).

v.9-11 David's prayer: "Deliver me, teach me, lead me, quicken me."

PSALM 144:

v.3 In comparison to the vastness of the universe, what is man? Yet God is mindful of me (Matthew 10:29-31).

v.4 Though life is so short, I'm extremely important to God.

PSALM 145:

v.3 God's greatness is unsearchable.

v.8 The grace and compassion of the Lord is revealed in the Old Testament

v.14 God will hold me when I fall (Romans 14:4).

PSALM 146-150

These final hymns are the Hallel Psalms. They begin and end with "Hallelujah".

PSALM 146: A PSALM OF PRAISE DECLARING
GOD'S GLORIOUS WORKS.

v.8 A reference to the Kingdom Age.

PSALM 147:

v.1 Praise is desirable and beautiful.

v.4 There are as many stars as grains of sand. God calls each star by its name.

v.6 The meek are exalted.

PSALM 148:

This is a psalm of praise from nature.

PSALM 149:

Praising the Lord with song, dance, and on the timbral and harp. Praise shouldn't draw attention to us, but to God.

PSALM 150:

An exhortation to praise the Lord!


Used With Permission

© The Word For Today. We thank Chuck Smith, The Word For Today and Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa for their permission to utilize this work.

Psalm 138:2

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