The *LORD has given help to the *psalmist (verse 1), so he prays for help again (verse 2). The *psalmist wrote the psalm. Lies are words that are not ... Read more
The *LORD has given help to the *psalmist (verse 1), so he prays for help again (verse 2). The *psalmist wrote the psalm. Lies are words that are not true. A false *tongue tells lies. The *tongue is the part of our mouth that talks. And it tastes things. Verse 4 tells us that God will *punish (or hurt because they did wrong) some people. They are the people that live near the *psalmist. Arrows are sharp sticks that a bow shoots. Mesech and Kedar were places where bad people lived. A *tent is a small house that people make out of animal skins. People could move it easily. The *psalmist wanted to live in *peace. *Peace is when there is no war. But the people of Mesech and Kedar wanted war!
The word *LORD is a special Bible word. It is one of God’s many names. It is his *covenant name. A *covenant is when two people (or groups of people) agree. Here, God agreed to love his people and send them help. His people agreed to love and obey God. *LORD is "Yahweh" in Hebrew. Hebrew is the language that the *psalmist spoke. There is another word "*Lord". This means "master" or "someone with authority". Often it is a name for God, but not in this psalm. Read less
The Story of Psalms 120-134
These 15 psalms are called "Songs of Ascent" in many Bibles. "Ascent" means "going up". This translation calls it "climbin... Read more
The Story of Psalms 120-134
These 15 psalms are called "Songs of Ascent" in many Bibles. "Ascent" means "going up". This translation calls it "climbing". But what are we climbing? Bible students give us 4 answers:
· One line in the psalm "climbs" on the line in front of it. This means that it repeats the line. Read the start of Psalm 124 for an example.
· There were 15 steps from where the women stood to where the men stood outside the *temple. The *temple was God's house in Jerusalem. As the men climbed the steps, they sang one psalm on each step. This is why most of the psalms for climbing are short.
· Jerusalem was on the top of a hill called "Zion". The *Jews often went to Jerusalem to worship God at the *temple. "Worship" means "Tell God how *wonderful that he is. And tell him that you love him". The *Jews sang these psalms for climbing as they went up to Jerusalem.
· Hezekiah was a king of the *Jews. He was so ill that he thought he would soon die. He prayed for a longer life. God made the clock "climb" back 10 degrees. This was about an hour. It was a sign that Hezekiah would live another 15 years. Hezekiah made a book of 15 psalms, 10 of them new, the other 5 by David and Solomon. The story is in Isaiah chapter 38.
We do not know which of these is the true answer. It may be something else! Perhaps answers 3 and 4 are the true answers.
Who wrote the psalms for climbing? Some are by David, and one or two are by Solomon. Solomon was David’s son. The other psalms for climbing may be by Hezekiah or one of his friends like Isaiah; or by Ezra or Nehemiah. Ezra and Nehemiah were leaders of the *Jews 500 years after Solomon built the *temple, or 250 years after Hezekiah was king. This was when the *Jews made the Book of Psalms. The psalms for climbing were part of this Book of Psalms. Read less
We do not know when David wrote this psalm. Some people think that the *prophet Zechariah wrote it; maybe he used David’s words and rewrote (wrote aga... Read more
We do not know when David wrote this psalm. Some people think that the *prophet Zechariah wrote it; maybe he used David’s words and rewrote (wrote again) them. Zechariah wrote a Book of the Bible. He lived 450 years after David.
What Psalm 139 means
This psalm is in 4 parts:
· Verses 1-6. God knows all about us.
· Verses 7-12. We cannot hide from God.
· Verses 13-18. God created (made) us.
· Verses 19-24. David prays about his enemies and himself.
God knows all about us
"When you look at me" in verse 1 means "when you study me, or give me an exam". *LORD is a special name for God. It is his *covenant name. A *covenant is when two people (or groups of people) agree. Here, God agrees to love and give help to his people. They agree to love and obey him. The *LORD sees every part of us. He even knows what we are going to say. He knows before we say it, (verse 4)! "Your hand" in verse 5 means "your power". It means what God does in this world. To understand this is like climbing a very high mountain, (verse 6). It is too high to get to the top!
We cannot hide from God
The Holy Spirit, or Spirit, (verse 7), is another name for God. If you go to *heaven (or the sky) or *Sheol (below the earth) God will find you. If you go to the east or the west, you cannot hide from him, (verses 8-9). His hand (or power) will always be with you, to be a guide and a help, (verse 10). David saw it as a good thing that God was always with him. He had God as a guide and someone to give him help. We cannot see in the *darkness, when there is no light. We cannot see when it is dark ... but God can, (verses 11-12)!
God made us
"The secret place" and "deep in the earth" mean his mother's womb, (verse 15). The womb is where mothers keep babies before they are born. Some Bible students think "difficult" should be "valuable" in verse 17. Both ideas are true! "Grains of sand" in verse 18 are "little bits of sand".
David prays about things
There is a quick change in the next 4 verses. The *psalmist (David) makes a *prayer of imprecation (asks for bad things to happen) for his enemies. They are God’s enemies too, (verse 20). In verse 19, David says that they are "*wicked people". "*Wicked" means "very, very bad". He also says that they are "men of blood", (or people that murder other people). Verse 21 asks if the *psalmist hates God’s enemies. Verse 22 gives the answer: "Yes!" "Hate" means the opposite of "love". The psalm finishes where it started. God is looking into the *psalmist’s mind. "The old ways", (verse 24), are the right ways that God told people to walk in. They will never come to an end. Read less
The first line is verse 1 in the Hebrew Psalm 140. Our verse 1 is their verse 2, and so on. Hebrew is the language that David spoke. Bible students th... Read more
The first line is verse 1 in the Hebrew Psalm 140. Our verse 1 is their verse 2, and so on. Hebrew is the language that David spoke. Bible students think that the first line means that David wrote the psalm. Then he gave it to the music leade who would get people to sing the psalm.
We do not know when David wrote this psalm. People were saying bad things about David. What they said was not true. We call the people "slanderers", (verse 11). Their words hurt David very much. It was as if a snake bit him, (verse 3)! Some snakes put poison into you when they bite you. One of the worst snakes is the viper.
The word "*selah" comes after verses 3, 5 and 8. It is a Hebrew word that does not come often in Book 5 of the Psalms. It is a word that David often used in his psalms in Books 1 and 2. Bible students are not sure what it means. They have explained it in at least 12 ways! The most common ways are:
· stop and think about the words;
· stop and pray about the words;
· stop and listen to music (while you think and pray).
In Psalm 140 the word *selah helps to put the psalm into parts:
· verses 1 - 3: David prays that the *LORD will save him from *evil people;
· verses 4 - 5: David prays that he will not become caught in a *trap;
· verses 6 - 8: David tells the *LORD that the *LORD is David’s God;
· verses 9 - 11: David prays that the *LORD will destroy these *evil people;
· verses 12 - 13: David says that he is sure that God will be kind to *righteous people.
Verse 1: *LORD is a special Bible word. It is the *covenant name for God. A *covenant is when two people (or groups of people) agree. Here God agrees to love and give help to his people. His people agree to love and obey him. "*Evil" means "very, very bad".
Verse 3: Our tongues we use them to talk and taste. When a snake bites you, it puts poison into you. The viper is a snake with a very bad poison. "The poison of vipers is on their lips" means that it is in their mouths. David is saying that these *evil people are like snakes; they hurt you with their mouths. They do not bite you, but they say bad things about you.
Verse 4: "The hands of *evil people" means "the bad things that they can do to you". "Trip over" means that your feet hit something and you fall over.
Verse 5: Here are 3 words that mean the same: traps, *nets and snares. They are what you catch animals and birds with. But these *evil people wanted to catch David! So they hid their traps and *nets and snares to catch David. The words "*proud people" mean "people who think that they are better than they are".
Verse 6: "*Mercy" means that someone does not *punish (hurt) us when they should hurt us.
Verse 7: Here are 2 words that sound the same: *LORD and *Lord. The first is the *covenant name for God, "Yahweh" in Hebrew. The second is a word that means "master". It is "adonai" in Hebrew. A "helper" is somebody who gives help. "Cover my head" means "stop people hurting me". Soldiers used to cover their heads with shields. You could hide under a *shield.
Verse 9: David is praying. He wants the trouble that he has to go to his enemies. It is "the trouble that their lips caused". This means what happened because of the bad things that they said about David.
Verse 10: You can dig coal out of the ground. People use it to make fires. It burns very well. Mud is very wet earth. Verses 9-11 make this a "Psalm of Imprecation". This means a psalm that prays for bad things to happen to your enemies.
Verse 11: A slanderer says things that are not true.
Verse 12: "In need" is a way to say, "that have needs".
Verse 13: "*Righteous" means "very, very good". Only God is really *righteous, but he makes his people *righteous too. This is part of the *covenant. "*Praise someone" means "tell someone that they are great". "Your name" means everything that God is: great, powerful, *righteous and many other things also. Read less
John 17:1,2 "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give e... Read more
John 17:1,2 "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him." (ESV)
"To all you have given him." How that thought has been debated over the years! Is not eternal life open to all? Did not Jesus die for all? (Or the more modern idea: Can't anyone who is good earn eternal life?)
Jesus implies here that there is another part of the equation. Eternal life is not earned. And neither is it independently chosen. It is a gift, and the faith which which we reach out and receive the gift of eternal life is itself also a gift. Not one person has the ability or the inclination to turn to God in faith apart from the choosing of God. As A.W. Tozer said so well, God is always prior.
I did not choose him. I did not trust (believe) him on my own. It was not by reason or work that I came to him. It was his work in me and his sovereign choice. It is all God.
That truth tears away any remnant of pride in myself - as it should - for there is nothing in me, not even my will or desire, to recommend me to God. Any movement toward God and faith is purely a product of his work in me.
That is humbling. I can do nothing but thank you, Lord, that somehow out of your love and sovereign purposes you turned me toward you. Thank you. Read less