Psalm 89:47

[ 3 minutes to read ]

“Remember how short my time is:
wherefore hast thou made all men in vain?”

~ Psalm 89:47

The brevity of man’s life is given no small attention in the Scripture. James reminds us that our life “is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14). Job characterized his own days as “swifter than a weaver’s shuttle” (Job 7:6). The number of the days of man’s life is compared to a hand breadth (Psalm 39:5) and “like grass which groweth up. In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and whithereth” (Psalm 90:5-6). Day follows hard after day and our time flees as if pursued.

A quick glance at our text might cause us to put it in with other verses that treat of this subject. However, there is an important distinction between this verse and most others that address the shortness of man’s life. The distinction is one of perspective. Most of the verses are written man-ward in the sense that they speak to man to provoke him to realize his situation. Consider Psalm 90:12—“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Such verses exhort men to be wise and redeem their time because they have little of it and man is prone to waste his time on insignificant things.

Our text, though, speaks God-ward. It is a man speaking to God, “Remember how short my time is.” It should be considered a prayer, pressing upon the Almighty to remember how few the petitioner’s days really are. The Psalmist is crying out for deliverance asking, “How long, LORD?” (Psalm 89:46). This prayer is neither irreverent nor unbelieving. He does not doubt the deliverance of God, but he cries for it to come speedily.

The Psalmist feels a sense of urgency when he sees the people of God in disgrace in the world. He is grieved to see God’s enemies with a high hand defying the Living God. He cannot carry on with personal business when the Kingdom of God seems receding with its crown in the dust (Psalm 89:44). Though he knows his present condition is not the end of the story, he implores God that He will not let his days run out before the power of the true King triumphs.

The Psalmist qualifies his petition by asking, “Wherefore hast thou made all men in vain?” Several thoughts are suggested by this phrase. The vanity of how men spend their lives is magnified when set against the brevity of that life. So few days we have and they are mostly consumed in procuring the material things of the world.

It seems the Psalmist thought that his own days would be vain if God delayed in showing mercy. If the Lord were not working, his days would be consumed. He had the spirit of the old prophets who longed to see the power of God in their day. They had hope in the future, yet desired to see God working in their own day. They wanted to see terror struck in God’s enemies and for Him to be the rejoicing of His people.

We need this spirit in our day. A comparative minority of people continue to advance the agenda of evil and tread Christians under foot. Who will redeem their time in these evil days? Who will forsake all for the Kingdom’s sake? Who will beseech God that He act in power to confound His enemies and vindicate His own name in our day? May the people of God today have the conviction of urgency that makes them cry, “Remember how short my time is.” “Blessed be the LORD for evermore. Amen, and Amen” (Psalm 89:52).

Psalm 113:2

[ 3 minutes to read ]

“Blessed be the name of the LORD
from this time forth and for evermore.”

~ Psalm 113:2

This whole Psalm is one of pure devotion. From beginning to end, the Psalmist mingles prayer with praise—a concoction that sends up a most sweet aroma. After reading it, one could easily begin to meditate on the thousand mercies that attend our way every day. Every point of mercy is a condescension of the Lord who is “high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens” (Psalm 113:4). This Psalms exalts the Lord God with amazement: “Who is like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high, Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!” (Psalm 113:5-6).

The first direction in our verse is to bless His name, “Blessed be the name of the LORD.” A reference to His “name” exists in each of the three opening verses of this Psalm. The name of the Lord speaks to us of power, authority, wisdom, etc. The mention of His “name” exhorts us to contemplate all of His attributes, all of His names.

A name is an identifier and a way that God reveals Himself to us. He is jealous of His name, “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images” (Isaiah 42:8), and so should we be jealous of His name. In this regard, may we have the testimony of Phinehas, of whom it is written, “He was zealous for his God” (Numbers 25:13). Though a rose may smell just as sweet by another name, we cannot presume to change the name of God and offer to Him a sweet savor.

To give God a new name would be to worship a false god. We often give names to the people around us. These may be derogatory or complementary and usually reflect something that we presume about the person we have so labeled. To approach God this way would be for the creature to find out the Creator rather than the Creator revealing Himself to the creature. This is man’s attempt to define, and thus limit God. God is not boxed in by man. He is the “high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy” (Isaiah 57:15).

The godhood of God is in His name and anything other than receiving His testimony concerning Himself is idolatry. This is discomfiting to the egalitarian feminists, humanists, evolutionists, postmodernists, et al. However, they have “set themselves . . . against the LORD,” and consequently, “the Lord shall have them in derision . . . speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure” (Psalm 2:2, 4-5). Except these repent of their idolatry, they will finally be made to bow at His name and be cast from His presence forever (Revelation 20:12-15).

The direction to bless is set in a perpetually present day—“from this time forth.” Each day is the day of blessing the name of the Lord. The birth of every new day is a reminder of the covenant faithfulness of our God, who vowed, “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22). It should sober us to think of how we cannot today praise God yesterday. That opportunity is gone, but while it is yet today, we may praise Him.

This should be our daily activity. “From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD’s name is to be praised” (Psalm 113:3). “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). Let us continue in blessing the name of the Lord “from this time forth and for evermore.”

Psalm 56:3

[ 3 minutes to read ]

“What time I am afraid,
I will trust in thee.”

~ Psalm 56:3

The Christian, though entered into innumerable blessings, is not without fear. David could well recognize his danger, for he prayed, “Mine enemies would daily swallow me up” (Psalm 56:2). He was not so proud he could not admit of fear within. Paul was one who had also entered into similar experience. He wrote, “For, when we come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears” (2 Corinthians 7:5).

David was not indulged in blissful ignorance; he was a sensible man who knew enough to be afraid when he was in great danger. He was not wrong in this, for he resolved, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” In a certain sense, fear can be a blessing and preserver of our life. One reason we do not drive an hundred miles per hour on the highway at night is fear. We teach our children as they to grow to fear certain things. Not all fear is bad, nor is it wrong. Faith puts fear in the right place, making us fear God and not man.

A wonderful fact to our minds is that fear and trust were co-occupants within the Psalmist. “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” How could these abide together? All fear has not been banished from the present life of God’s people. The presence of fear within David was not of itself wrong, but whenever fear reared its head, he would trust in God. Though fear might have been present, it was not in the majority. Fear was overruled by trust and had to give place to confidence.

The key is that fear was not debilitating for the Psalmist. If he had given in to fear, he had been paralyzed, unable to go forward. This was not the case, however, because of trust. He said, “In God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me” (Psalm 56:4). He reiterated, “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me” (Psalm 56:11).

Note also that trust did not result in dishonesty. In other words, his trust did not involve talking himself into the fact that man could not do anything to him. Rather trust in God enabled him to “not fear” and “not be afraid” of “what flesh can do” to him and “what man can do” to him.

The antidote for fear is simple and efficacious—trust in the Lord. Though fear is not banished, it can be overcome. Are you debilitated by fear? Are you afraid of something and have become practically paralyzed because of it? Let us then consider a few words from God to direct our trust in the time we are afraid.

Do you have a fear of the dark and of the night? Are you robbed of rest by fretting in the absence of the sun? Hear God’s Word: “When thou liest down, thou shat not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet” (Proverbs 3:24).

Are you afraid of being rejected? Are you kept from witnessing a good confession before men because you fear being rejected? Do you worry you shall be forsaken of any caregivers? Hear then the Word of the Lord: “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up” (Psalm 27:9).

Do you fear going hungry? Are you afraid the food source will dry up, or the economy will take a dive? Hear God’s Word of promise: “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Habbakuk 3:17-18).

Lastly, are you afraid of God’s hand turning against you? Do you fear that evil shall come and not just good? Be assured with Job, who said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13:15).

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