Psalm 97:12

“Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous;
and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.”

~ Psalm 97:12

God’s holiness is commended to our remembrance. It is not the doctrine of God’s holiness that we are to remember, but His real holiness. His actual holiness causes the righteous to rejoice and give thanks. They rejoice and are thankful for His holiness. God’s holiness is set forth throughout this Psalm. Let us come aside and remember His holiness.

HIS HOLINESS IS SUPREME, for “The LORD reigneth” (Psalm 97:1). None can ascend above God or be comparable to Him. None can even reckon the extent of His dominion—it encompasses all things seen and unseen. Even man’s imagination cannot place a figment above God for all the pagan worshipers are confounded by His holiness (Psalm 97:7). How can they figure it? How can they fashion it? How can they make a likeness of it? Though they boast, they utterly fail—“For thou, LORD, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods” (Psalm 96:9).

Even the idols must bow to Him, “worship him, all ye gods” (Psalm 97:7). Idolaters make no progress against His holiness; it is even as Paul told Timothy of those who “resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.” They fight against God, “But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men” (2 Timotthy 3:8-9).

HIS HOLINESS IS TERRIBLE, for “Clouds and darkness are round about him” (Psalm 97:2). His holiness abides in righteousness and judgment. In these, God delights. His righteousness means He is faithful. Of what He has purposed, not one tittle shall fail.

In holiness, He dwells in judgment—pleading the cause of the oppressed, the fatherless, and the widow. He hears the cry of their righteous blood and vindicates them. If God calls you a worm, rejoice—it means He is taking up your cause. For thus He spoke to Jacob, “Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 41:14). He did not speak to Jacob thus to grind him into the dust, rather to lift him out of the dust. In the Scripture, we find ourselves as weak, full of sores, a frame of dust, a flower of the field, a vanishing vapor, etc. In all this, we are weak and helpless, but He will take us up, plead our cause, and vindicate us with His holy judgment.

HIS HOLINESS IS NOT PASSIVE, for “A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about” (Psalm 97:3). Neither is His holiness contained or subdued. His holiness is then victorious consuming His enemies. What have we then to fear? The earth trembles at His light (Psalm 97:4); “The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth” (Psalm 97:5). Who shall oppose any that are on the Lord’s side?

HIS HOLINESS IS NOT HIDDEN. Even the heavens cannot remain silent or indifferent, “The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory” (Psalm 97:6). The fool says there is no God. The wicked refuse to acknowledge Him and look blindly in the light of the noon sun. However, are not the works of His holiness entered into the eyes and ears of His people? “Zion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of thy judgments, O LORD” (Psalm 97:8). Do you not hear the chorus of birds singing praise to their maker? Do you not see the glory of the sun spreading its light to illuminate the creation of the Holy God before our eyes? Does not the corn and wheat stand in the field waving an offering to the one who is righteous, faithful to send the sun, wind, and rain upon the earth so that it responds by bearing forth its fruits?

HIS HOLINESS IS HAD FOR HIS PEOPLE
. “He preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart” (Psalm 97:10-11). What a ground and anchor is the Lord’s holiness! Those who love Him love His holiness and therefore, “hate evil” (Psalm 97:10).

Why then are we troubled? Why then are we downcast? Why then do we presume to be trodden under foot? His holiness is the rejoicing of our heart and the very knife cutting the taut sack, which bursts open with gratitude. His holiness is an impeccable light and there we have fellowship with Him.

What a shame that any of His people should need reminded to remember His holiness and give thanks. May our hearts and minds soar upward in the quiet gray of the morning when we render thanks unto Him for the day He has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in the light of the day that declares His righteousness unto us. “Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness” (Psalm 97:12).

Psalm 34:14

“Depart from evil, and do good;
seek peace, and pursue it.”

~ Psalms 34:14

Throughout the whole of the 34th Psalm are set out numerous reasons to heed the words of verse 14. Perhaps, in summation we could look to verses 15 and 16. Benefits are reaped by the doers of good: “The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.” Similarly, “The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.” Let us now briefly consider the four simple statements of our text.

First, we are instructed to “Depart from evil.” We are not to do evil; rather we must depart from it. We must flee from its presence and appearance. We must have nothing to do with it. Solomon warned his son to depart from sinners, “My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood” (Proverbs 1:15-16). It was not only that he was not to take part in their evil deeds, but also that he was to refrain from going in the path with them, for to evil was where their path was leading. He likewise instructed him to avoid the strange woman. “Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house” (Proverbs 5:8).

Secondly, we must “do good.” Lot, living in the city of Sodom, had an arduous task just to “depart from evil.” If he were successful in that much, he must have felt accomplished. Likewise, much energy is consumed today by the righteous to avoid evil. However, departing from evil is only one-fourth of our duty in this passage. We must also “do good.” We must be proactive in the doing of good. We must study the good, seek it out, and do it. We must set ourselves in the very way of good and continue to walk therein. “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16).

Thirdly, our responsibility is to “seek peace.” We rejoice when we are at peace. We rest when we are at peace and are refreshed. Although, we are not merely to enjoy peace when it comes, but we are to “seek” it out. Precious few today expend their energies in seeking peace. Jesus taught, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9). We are happy to have peace when it comes by the concessions of others, but we do not want to give an inch for the same. This attitude denies both the spirit and the letter of our text and ignores our plain responsibility, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18). How many have truly gone to that extremity before conceding it is not possible?

Fourthly, we have another word concerning peace; we are to “pursue it.” Most of us would be glad if we happened to come into peace. Our text is much stronger, instructing us to “pursue” peace. The hunter pursues his prey, and the hungry hunter does so even more. We must hunger after peace and pursue it relentlessly as Paul who said, “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men” (Acts 24:16). Finally, this peace cannot be achieved by ungodly compromise, for at the beginning we are told to “Depart from evil.”

To the modern mind, our text must seem radical indeed. Frankly, if we have any hope of following these precepts, we must be able to make decisive value judgments. We must be able to know what evil is and be able to distinguish it from the good. This is a mark of maturity and wisdom, “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14).

Society today rejects this wisdom, wanting rather the moral ambiguity of “objectivity.” Such objectivity is illusive, and in fact, is neither possible nor desirable. God’s people cannot mill about in the fog of obscurantism. There is no such lack of clarity in God’s Word. He says, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20). Solomon wrote, “He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD” (Proverbs 17:15). To confuse good and evil is a serious evil in itself. We must be able to discern good and evil, and “Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good” (Romans 12:9).

Psalm 89:47

“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).

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