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).

Psalm 37:3

[ 4 minutes to read ]

“Trust in the LORD, and do good;
so shalt thou dwell in the land,
and verily thou shalt be fed.”

~ Psalm 37:3

We can hardly find a more direct and succinct answer to a very common question than our text. How often have you asked or been asked, “What should we do?” Our text was a favored one of Hudson Taylor, missionary to inland China. In his later years, he administered a large, visionary mission endeavor. He had two principles of operation that he never abandoned during his work as a missionary—do not go into debt to finance the Lord’s work, and do not ask directly for money from others to finance the work. He had already seen a mission work fail for these reasons and he chose rather to trust God and ask Him for everything he needed.

While he was blessed for adhering to these principles, life was certainly interesting when he had many young men in his care and no, or not enough, money to provide for them. When this was the case, Taylor would always seem to be calm and quietly resting in faith. He would be asked times over, “What should we do?” His answer was simple and biblical, “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” Likewise, we may turn to this verse in all conditions when we wonder what we should do.

The construction in the Hebrew actually contains four imperatives. The first is to trust in the Lord. The second is to do good. The third is to dwell in the land. The fourth is to feed on the truth. Let us take a few moments and consider the four injunctions.

First, we are told, “Trust in the LORD.” At first, this statement may seem a little less than colorful, but when we consider the context of this Psalm, it becomes more meaningful. The whole Psalm speaks of “enemies,” “evildoers,” “workers of iniquity,” etc. So, this word does not come to the Psalmist in a vacuum or an abstraction. This word comes to one in adverse circumstances. The Psalmist sees the wicked “who prospereth in his way” (Psalm 37:7), and the wicked who “plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth” (Psalm 37:12). He is living in the real world, having very real problems. Yet, the word comes, “Trust in the LORD.”

Notice some of the other commands joined with “trust” in this Psalm—“fret not,” “delight,” “commit,” “rest,” “wait,” etc. All of these speak to one who dwells in the presence of his enemies and he must learn to trust, to sit down at the table there prepared for him and be able to delight himself in the Lord (Psalm 23:5).

The second admonition is to “do good.” What should we do when we are surrounded by enemies? What should we do when troubles overtake us? What should we do when we are in a quandary, not knowing what to do? Simply, we should “do good.” In every situation, it is always right to “do good.” It is always appropriate.

What does it mean then to do good? We can be assured that it is not to do good Pharisee-style. Rather, it is to do good by God. Jesus said the second greatest commandment was, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Mark 12:31). Doing good is not in rites, traditions, and ceremonies. Rather, it is doing the will of God toward man. It is giving a cup of cold water to one who is thirsty (Matthew 10:42), feeding and clothing our hungry and cold neighbor (James 2:16), visiting the fatherless and widows in their affliction (James 1:27), reaching out to those around us who are truly in need (Proverbs 31:20), returning good for evil and blessing for cursing (Matthew 5:44), and also, preaching the gospel in word to them (Matthew 11:5). What of these things are not always at hand to us? No matter our condition, we may always “do good.”

The third imperative is to “dwell in the land.” There is something to be said for staying where God has put us. In other words, do not run for the high ground when the circumstances are adverse. We must learn to be content in the land where God has led us, even when surrounded by enemies. If God leads us out, by all means, we must follow, but until that time, we must not abandon our post of duty.

I read a story once of Stonewall Jackson in a battle before the days of the Civil War. Jackson’s company was losing the fight and as it turned into a route, his fellow soldiers were retreating in mass. But, Jackson did not retreat. Rather, he dug in and weathered the storm. When asked later why he did not retreat with the others, he responded that he had no orders to retreat. He assured them he would have complied with such orders speedily had they come; otherwise, he would not abandon his post. May God give us the flint-like determination to dwell in the land, despite the difficulties.

The fourth word was to feed on the truth, or that we shall be fed with the truth. In the presence of much falsehood and “wicked devices” (Psalm 37:7), what better regiment of nourishment than the truth. When evil prevails around you, eat up the truth. When perturbation and chaos reign, swallow the truth. If bread and water fail, esteem the truth more than your necessary food (Job 23:12).

We should always strive to be immersed in and imbibed with the truth of God’s Word. Paul admonished the Philippians similarly, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8). Further, he told young Timothy, “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them” (1 Timothy 4:15).

The words of our text are spoken against the backdrop of active, wicked, and cruel men. The Psalmist knew no better than to “Trust in the LORD, and do good.” How else could we know peace in the midst of the storm? How else could we find comfort amidst distress? Dear beloved people of God, do not let your eyes deceive you. Rather look unto God, “fret not,” “delight,” “commit,” “rest,” “wait.” “Trust in the LORD, and do good . . . And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday” (Psalm 37:3, 6).

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