Be merciful to me, O God, for man would swallow me up; Fighting all day he oppresses me. My enemies would hound me all day, For there are many who fight against me, O Most High. Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me? All day they twist my words; All their thoughts are against me for evil. They gather together, They hide, they mark my steps, When they lie in wait for my life. Shall they escape by iniquity? In anger cast down the peoples, O God! You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book? When I cry out to You, Then my enemies will turn back; This I know, because God is for me. In God (I will praise His word), In the Lord (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? Vows made to You are binding upon me, O God; I will render praises to You, For You have delivered my soul from death. Have You not kept my feet from falling, That I may walk before God In the light of the living? Psalms 56:1-13 NKJV
Save me, O God, by Your name, And vindicate me by Your strength. Hear my prayer, O God; Give ear to the words of my mouth. For strangers have risen up against me, And oppressors have sought after my life; They have not set God before them. Selah Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is with those who uphold my life. He will repay my enemies for their evil. Cut them off in Your truth. I will freely sacrifice to You; I will praise Your name, O Lord , for it is good. For He has delivered me out of all trouble; And my eye has seen its desire upon my enemies. Psalms 54:1-7 NKJV
The fool has said in his heart, “ There is no God.” They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity; There is none who does good. God looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God. Every one of them has turned aside; They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one. Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge, Who eat up my people as they eat bread, And do not call upon God? There they are in great fear Where no fear was, For God has scattered the bones of him who encamps against you; You have put them to shame, Because God has despised them. Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When God brings back the captivity of His people, Let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad. Psalms 53:1-6 NKJV
A Psalm of David when the prophet Nathan went to him after he had gone in Bathsheba.
Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight— That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, The God of my salvation, And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise. For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise. Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem. Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, With burnt offering and whole burnt offering; Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar. Psalms 51:1-19 NKJV
A Psalm of the sons of Korah. A Song for Alamoth.
God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn. The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah Come, behold the works of the Lord , Who has made desolations in the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah Psalms 46:1-11 NKJV
Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies. The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness. Psalms 41:1-3 KJV
What does it mean to consider the poor? The definition of the word consider from the Merrium Webster dictionary:
– to regard or treat in an attentive or kindly way
– to think about carefully
My interpretation has not been to think & act blindly, but to carefully consider those who are truly poor. Someone who has difficulty paying for what they need: food, clothing, shelter, health. The essentials of life. Psalms 41 instructs us to consider the poor.
It’s funny how the older you get, birthdays seems to remind you more and more of how short our lives really are. Psalms 39 struck a chord with me today as I have been thinking about how short our lives are and how we choose to spend that time.
Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths,
And my age is as nothing before You;
Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Selah
Surely every man walks about like a shadow;
Surely they busy themselves in vain;
He heaps up riches,
And does not know who will gather them. Psalms 39:5-6
I, like many others, had to look up the definition of handbreadths. It literally means just inches, like the depth of 4 fingers together. If we totaled our days on Earth and set them before the Lord, they would look like nothing to Him. He is infinite. As the text reads, our days would look like vapor. Barely even noticeable.
When we are kids, we typically want nothing more than to grow up to be an adult. How freeing and awesome must it be to grow up? Now, as an adult, I envy the kid. They have their whole lives in front of them with little responsibilities. We always seem to desire what we do not have. We reach adulthood and we “busy ourselves in vain.” We try to build up wealth, possessions or success.
Personally, I am a “go-getter”. I want to achieve success in life and in the things I work on. However, I have a balance in me that constantly pulls me back to reality. I believe that balance comes from the Lord. He helps me reflect on my heart and my motivations. What am I working for? What is my heart seeking? I do not want to heap up reaches for the sake of gathering riches. But, rather than completely throwing out the idea of working hard, I have found that the heart is what needs examined. The Lord can reveal to us our motivations and our desires. We can ask Him to align our desires with His.
I believe the next two verses offer us guidance on this path.
“And now, Lord, what do I wait for?
My hope is in You.
Deliver me from all my transgressions;
Do not make me the reproach of the foolish. Psalms 39-7-8
Where does my hope and inspiration come from? Is it the success? Possibly wealth or possessions? No. My hope is in the Lord. Knowing that my life is but a vapor humbles me before Him. I only have so long to live. I awake each morning with a hope that I can make a positive influence on the things that I touch. My hope is in the Lord, who delivers us from our transgressions. I am not perfect – far from it! But, we have a perfect God who loves us.