Psalms


As I was walking through a parking lot the other day, this thought came to mind, “If I can do just one good thing for someone today, then it is a good day.”

Each day God is faithful to provide more than one opportunity.  God’s word provides encouragement to this end, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).  It should give us great confidence each day to know that God has a plan and good things for us to do.  Many times these things will not be easy, but they are for the good of others and for the good of our spiritual growth.

The good things we do should be done without any expectation of reciprocity as they should ultimately be done as an overflow of the love of God in our lives and for God’s glory.  May God help us to be joyful and willing servants.

“Sing to the LORD, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.”
Psalm 96:2

Advertisement

Psalm 139:13
“For you created my inmost being; 
you knit me together in my mother’s wom
b.”

The following article is only intended to convey my personal conviction as someone who is endeavoring to follow Jesus and to have His way of thinking permeate my way of thinking in all areas of life.  It is with compassion, tears, and love that I broach the very difficult and painful subject of abortion.  I am aware that what is written here will cause pain and controversy for some people I love very much, and this makes me write with great care.  Please also know for the past 10 years I have endeavored to keep serious political thoughts only to myself and those very close to me.  The reason for this is because political discussions and issues often get in the way of much more important conversations about the Good News of Jesus and the teachings of the Scriptures.  Politics can cause clouds that hinder people from seeing and hearing the most important truths of God’s Word.  

On this subject, speaking the truth in love is extremely important, as many believers and unbelievers are scarred by their choices made in the past and have deep wounds.  We must be sensitive to them when we speak about this subject like we would about the subject of divorce, and sensitive if the conversation comes up in a group or even a blog such as this. At the same time followers of Jesus cannot be silent on the subject as we have a responsibility to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. I have lost sleep and shed tears over this subject lately, much of it over the hardness of my own heart and the silence of my voice. My prayer is that this writing will be more helpful than it is hurtful, and that God will protect, comfort, and teach each reader according to their need. 

I see more and more christians who are touting a pro-abortion candidate as “a gift of God’s grace for our country” and “America’s Messiah”. I disagree with this because of the candidate’s stance on abortion.  His record is very consistent that he is pro-abortion.  There can be no debate about that fact. And there can be no debate about the importance of this subject in this election.

Here is a quote from Obama from the presidential debate on October 15, 2008. It is from the transcript so it is word for word.  The context is about the appointment of new Supreme Court Justices.

“And it is true that this is going to be, I think, one of the most consequential decisions of the next president. It is very likely that one of us will be making at least one and probably more than one appointments and Roe versus Wade probably hangs in the balance.”

Can a christian in good conscience know that abortion is morally wrong, know that a Presidential candidate is pro-abortion, and state, “I want him to be my president, and I will vote for him.”?

The arguments I have heard for yes are the following:

1.  There are many subjects under the umbrella of social justice and abortion is just one of them.  Since I agree with a pro-abortion candidate on the majority of them I will just have to disagree with him on that one. He still has my vote.

My objection:  There are many subjects under the umbrella of social justice and some have greater weight than others.  The subjects concerning the protection of innocent life are more important than those that pursue happiness.  Can we state that we love our neighbor as ourselves (including our unborn ones) and promote the campaign of someone who will not seek their protection?  Because one in five pregnancies ends in abortion worldwide, we cannot think of this matter as a secondary issue.  Can we afford for the most powerful person in the world to be wrong on this matter?

2.  Neither party intends to change anything about the situation so the subject of abortion doesn’t matter.

My objection:  A battle that should be fought but is not will always be lost.  I cannot state 100% that a pro-life candidate will appoint the correct Supreme court justices to overturn Roe versus Wade, but we are guaranteed that pro-abortion candidate’s nominees will keep the status quo.  A pro-abortion candidate winning insures that nothing on this subject in America will have the potential to change for a very long time.  

3.  What about all the innocent people in Iraq who have died since the war started?  Why are you picking the unborn over them?

My objection:  The death of any innocent person is awful.  We must remember that Iraq’s former dictator was responsible for the death of large numbers of his own people, the paid rape of hundreds if not thousands of women, and the mass murdering of a people group.  Regardless of what we should have done in the past we must deal with the reality that we are there at the present.  Even if the pro-abortion candidate is 100% correct on Iraq and the pro-life candidate is 100% wrong…the number of human lives at stake is not even close. According to the World Health Organization 43 million abortions occurred world-wide in 2003.

In closing, followers of Jesus should be pro-adoption, pro-education, pro-helping the poor, and pro-life.  The subject of life trumps all others, and we must protect the innocent.  I do not see anyway around the argument that if the pro-abortion candidate wins, then a vote for him in this election makes one complicit in every abortion in our country from when the new judges are appointed until Roe versus Wade is overturned*.

Christians may due to their conscience about other subjects say that they will not vote for the lessor of two evils and will abstain from voting, but I cannot agree with the thinking of christians who promote a pro-abortion candidate as a great agent for hope and change.  

Finally, I am thankful for the grace of God which is sufficient for all things.  Let us love and have our hope solely in One Person – Jesus Christ!  Please also know that I am open to calm, civil, and loving discussion about this or most any other subject.**

———–

* I do not believe that we are complicit with every act the person we vote for commits for 2 reasons: 

1.   We cannot see the future and are ignorant of the sins people will commit in the future. 

2.  I reiterate that different issues have different moral weights, and we are sometimes forced to pick between them.  If certain bad things happen because of my vote for the pro-life candidate I am not automatically complicit with them because I was forced to make my decision based on the greater moral issue. 

I do believe we are complicit when we know the actions someone will commit are morally wrong and it carries great moral weight (like slavery and abortion) and we vote for that person anyway.  Under those circumstances, I don’t see a way to avoid complicity.   

** Due to the sensitive nature of this topic.  I will be diligent and thoughtful about which comments are approved and not approved for public viewing.  If I do not approve your comment I will endeavor to send you a private email.

Here Psalms 11-20 are categorized.  You can scroll down or click the Psalms Category on the right hand side of the page to see Psalms 1-10 and the initial post about categorizing.  You can download the better looking PDF with psalms 1-20 categorized.

David is the author of each of these Psalms

Ps.    Category                                Description                              OT Ref.         NT Ref. 

 

11 Righteous and Wicked Contrasted

The LORD is the refuge for the righteous and the judge of the wicked

 

 
12 Petitions

May God protect the upright and the poor from those who do evil.

 

 
13 Petitions

David does not receive immediate relief from his trouble, yet He maintains faith in the LORD.

 

 
14 Righteous and Wicked Contrasted

The wicked are foolish in believing there is no God. God is with the righteous.

 

Romans 3:10-12
15 Righteous and Wicked Contrasted

Psalm 15 is a description of the character of a righteous person.

 

 
16 Worship and Thanksgiving

We can be thankful if we know that we are safe in God’s hands, and that God fullfilled the prophecy of Jesus being raised from the dead.

 

Acts 2:25-28, 13:35
17 Petitions

David urgently prays for protection from those who desire to kill him.

 

 
18 Worship and Thanksgiving

David is thankful for victory over the evil people who tried to kill him.

II Samuel 22

Romans 15:9
19 Worship and Thanksgiving

It is a beautiful Psalm that speaks of the power, wonder, and wisdom of God.

 

Romans 10:18
20 Petitions

David asks for God’s blessings in battle for those who follow the LORD.

 

 

 

 

May God add His blessing to our study of Psalms.

In an earlier post, you can see a list of 7 primary categories for the Psalms.  My goal for each Psalm is to:

1. Categorize 

2. Give a brief description 

3. List any Old Testament passages that are related 

4. List any New Testament quotations 

5. Give the author of each Psalm where possible

In the initial work I am using Excel so that the information will be sortable.  This feature will be particularly useful when the project is completed.  Unfortunately for some reason I cannot upload the Excel File.  If you would like it, I can email it to me if you drop a note in the comments section. For now, I will put the first 10 Psalms here as table and you can print it out as a PDF file by clicking here psalms-categorized.

 

Ps. Category

Description

OT Ref.

NT Ref.

Author

1 Righteous and Wicked Contrasted

The blessed longevity of the righteous contrasted with the destruction of the wicked.

   

David – most likely

2 Messianic

The Messiah’s Kingdom – all who are wise submit to Him.  He will judge the rebellious.

 

Acts 4:25-26, 13:33, Hebrews 1:5, 5:5, Rev. 2:26-27

David

3 Prayer for help

David asks God to save him from his enemies

Possibly about Absalom’s rebellion 2 Sam 15 – 18

 

David

4 Worship and Thanksgiving

In storms of adversity it is God who gives peace. Particulary vs 6-8 can be used to help one sleep in peace.

 

Ephesians 4:26

David

5 Righteous and Wicked Contrasted

God takes no pleasure in the works of the wicked. God is the defender of those who trust in Him.

 

Romans 3:13

David

6 Prayer for help

Have you ever asked, “How long?” A psalm of deep distress and anguish of heart ends with confidence in God who has heard.

   

David

7 Prayer for help

David asks God for help.  He asserts his righteousness in contrast with the wickedness of his enemies

This Psalm refers to David’s dealings with Cush who was a Benjaminite.  Their is no other OT ref.

 

David

8 Messianic

We as humans are given dominion over creation However because of the fall we do not enjoy this position.  Jesus has this position and will restore us.

Genesis 1:26-31

Matthew 21:16,     I Cor. 15:20-28, Hebrews 2:6-10

David

9 Righteous and Wicked Contrasted

The righteous works of God are praised, the wicked are warned of judgment, those in trouble have the Lord as a refuge

   

David

10 Prayer for help

David asks God to take note of and judge those who oppress the innocent and committ murder.

 

Romans 3:14

David

 

 

The Psalms are incredibly broad and deep.  Though David wrote more of them than anyone else, there are a variety of authors who wrote over about a 1400 year period. When reading the Psalms it is helpful to understand that there are different types of Psalms, and that some Psalms are more or less appropriate for the situation you are currently in than others.  When the information is available it is also a great blessing to know the context of when and why the Psalm was written. How to classify the Psalms is in large part a personal preference.  It can be a useful tool to keep a chart for yourself or put notes by different Psalms in your Bible.  I’m looking forward to making my own chart as I read through the Psalms.  In the meantime I can share some categories from  The Believer’s Bible Commentary by William MacDonald.  I’ve added a couple of categories and given examples for each.

1. Worship and Thanksgiving – Psalm 93 (probably the greatest number of Psalms fall into this category for the purpose of enhancing our fellowship with God.)

2. Messianic (Prophetic Psalms that specifically speak of Jesus Christ).  It is important to remember that sometimes part of the Psalm has to do with Jesus while other parts refer to someone else.  – Psalm 22

3. Confession and forgiveness – Psalm 32,51

4. Petitions – Psalm 17

5. The righteous and wicked contrasted – Psalm 1

6. Historical – Psalm 78

7. Prophetic but not Messianic – Psalm 14

(Note:  It is also important to note that some of the Psalms in the petition category are not appropriate for us to use in prayer today.  The author was writing in the context of the Old Testament law of an eye for an eye.  Jesus calls us to a higher standard of loving our neighbors – whether friend or enemy.

After Jesus unexpectedly turns water to wine (see previous post), we find something even more unexpected.

It is the time of Passover. Jewish people from all over the Roman Empire would travel to Jerusalem for this time of celebration and worship. It was a celebration of how God brought them out of slavery in the land of Egypt and a reminder of potential future deliverance from oppressive rule. However, there were many in the temple system who had impure motives. They wanted to get rich off those coming to worship, so they charged ridiculous exchange rates and sold sacrifices.

In the next scene we find Jesus making a whip of chords. Now this is not what I expect Jesus to be doing. I would think that a strong talking to would come first as a warning. Many others though have this view of Jesus that He was a physically weak and mild person yet very smart and like-able. Truly He is wise, but He is also, dare I say, manly!

Now the Scripture do not state that He actually hit anyone with the whip…but it was at minimum intimidating as he cracked the whip and caused a stampede of animals. With great force He turned over the tables of the the merchants and money changers. No one was willing to physically stand up to Him.

So why did Jesus take such a bold stand?

1. To fulfill the prophecy found in Psalm 69:19, “for zeal for your house consumes me,
and the insults of those who insult you fall on me.”
We should always be mindful of our motivations for service.
2. To be a wedge. The true Jesus is a wedge that divides people into one of two camps…those who sincerely want to worship God and those that have different motives.

3. To fight against religious hypocrisy. Jesus knows the damage caused by false religion…that’s why in John chapter 4 He states, Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”