Summary: We see people getting victimized, we see people rejecting God, we see people acting in very ungodly like ways. What should we do about it? As we study these psalms we get a picture of who God is, who we are, and we get a perspective to help.
This psalm was written for the Sabbath day. Upon returning from their captivity to Babylon, Israelis sang this on the Sabbath at the time of the morning sacrifice. The psalm extols knowing God, and being transformed by God and contrasts that with those who refuse a relationship with Him.
1 – 3
The idea here is that it is only reasonable to praise Yahweh, and to sing praise to Him accompanied by instruments. Why is it reasonable? Because of who God is and what He has done. We find that in the following verses:
4 – 11
For the psalmist, the works of God’s hands would be the rescue of Israel from her enemies. For us, the work of God’s Son is our rescue from sin and death. Not only that, but God Himself is so deep in His thoughts—you can’t figure Him out, but you sure can worship Him!
No everyone shares this though. A “stupid” person is one who lacks knowledge and could be compared to an animal, running on instinct only. Those that reject Jesus are like the grasses that come up quickly in the spring but fade to nothing in summer’s heat. Mankind on his own will not last, but those born of God will last forever.
Lifting up the horn in verse 10 suggests showing favor, as does the anointing with oil. God has indeed shown much favor on us with His salvation. He is so victorious he looks down on the defeat of his enemies.
So compared to those that reject God, those that live in Him thrive.
12 – 15
I love this picture. Instead of a quick growing—quick dying grass, those that belong to Yahweh are like trees. We grow slowly but surely, producing fruit. The fruit we produce is the actual character of God shining out from our lives. No matter how frail we become physically, that character goes on and on.
And what do these mature trees do? They proclaim the character and nurturing nature of our God.
So for Christians, it is good to praise the Lord for all His works in defeating our enemies of sin and death, and knowing that the wicked may try to harm us, but they will not last. We should instead focus on producing fruit—the character of God as we “remain” in Jesus (John 15).
There is a lot in life that is not reliable—the stock market, the job market, the housing market—our health, our relationships, our possessions, our sense of peace and satisfaction. But this little psalm declares that there is One who is always reliable.
1 – 2
These verses declare that God is king of the universe. That He created the world and is firmly enthroned upon it.
3 – 4
I picture here someone standing at the seashore, watching the pounding waves hit the beach. It seems so powerful, and yet God is “greater than the roar of many waters.” What’s probably referred to here is the creation in Genesis 1 where God separated the waters from the land.
Just as creation is under the control of God, so God’s Word is also steady.
Jesus said in Matt. 24:35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.”
Notice as well that holiness—being like God—is the “beauty of Your house”. Acting, thinking, and speaking the way God would act, think, or speak is truly a beautiful adornment for any house or person!
This psalm seems to have been written by someone experiencing injustice from the wicked and declares that God will once again restore justice and will vengeance against the wicked.
1 – 3
The psalmist is seeing those that do not love God gloating as they go about their unrighteousness. We see this pretty often in our world today. He wants God to arise—which He will, when it’s time.
4 – 7
Here he describes what they do: showing arrogance and boasting, they prey on the weak and claim that God doesn’t see or care. Just because nothing has happened in response doesn’t mean it won’t.
So the psalmist tells them to wake up!
8 – 11
The point here is that since God created us, He knows us, and that our thoughts are not as high-minded as we think they are. The word “meaningless” there in verse 11 is the word for vapor or breathe. It is also translated “idol” or “empty talk”. In our minds we think we are so substantial and powerful. But compared to the Lord, it is just like a slight breaze. Fortunately, God’s Word can get through the most stubborn and stupid heart.
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.”