Category Archives: Books of Poetry

John 1:1-18 — Light in a darkened world

I once read about a young teenage girl in the United States.  She had perfect grades in high school.  She had a perfect score for the SAT.  She had a perfect score for the University of California acceptance exam.  She … Continue reading

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Song of Solomon 8:5-14 — Sealed

And so after over 900 posts, and 2 and a half years, we come to the end of the Old Testament. In this final passage, the lovers are coming back from their short trip together, and it’s evident to all … Continue reading

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Song of Solomon 7-8 — Making time to be with your spouse

In this passage, we see Solomon and his wife spending time together.  In chapter 7, verses 1-10, we see Solomon expressing his delight in his wife, and how beautiful she is.  He also expresses how much he desires her sexually, … Continue reading

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Song of Solomon 6 — Still captivated

As I look at these passages, I can’t help but think of the words of Solomon when he wrote, May you rejoice in the wife of your youth.  A loving doe, a graceful deer — may her breasts satisfy you … Continue reading

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Song of Solomon 5:2-6:3 — Anger, hurt, reconciliation

Marriage relationships don’t always go swimmingly.  In this world broken by sin, anger and hurt between husband and wife are a given.  The question is, how do we respond to it? That’s what we see in this passage. Most commentators … Continue reading

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Song of Solomon 3:6-5:1 — Wedding Day

I’ve been married for 8 years now, and I still remember my wedding day very well.  I remember how beautiful my wife looked that day, and to this day, she is still beautiful in my eyes. In chapter 3, you … Continue reading

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Song of Solomon 2:3-3:5 — Keeping ourselves pure

We live in a culture where purity is hard to come by.  How many husbands and wives come into their marriages sexually pure? Everything in our culture seems to fight against it.  TV dramas constantly depict sex before marriage, and … Continue reading

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Song of Solomon 1-2 — A love song

And so we hit the final book of the Old Testament.  It’s very interesting to me that I ended Proverbs with two posts, “To be a man,” and “To be a woman.” For in this book, we find what it … Continue reading

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Proverbs 31:10-31 — To be a woman

In this passage, we find out what it means to be the ideal woman.  As with men, too often, this world has a warped view of what a woman should be.  Much of it is focused on her appearance.  Being … Continue reading

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Proverbs 31:1-9 — To be a man

I suppose I could have called this post, “to be a king,” but I don’t think too many kings are reading this blog.  Maybe zero? But there are many men out there, and what King Lemuel’s  mother said to him … Continue reading

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Proverbs 30:29-33 — To be a leader

What does it mean to be a leader?  I think that we can get some clues from this passage. Agur writes, There are three things that are stately in their stride, four that move with stately bearing:  a lion, mighty … Continue reading

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Proverbs 30:24-28 — Learning from the small and weak

It’s very easy for us to look down on people or things that appear small or weak.  But Agur was not one who would make that mistake.  He looked at four small creatures, and from them found wisdom. From the … Continue reading

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Proverbs 30:11-23 — A corrupt generation

In this passage, Agur talks about the generation he saw in his own time.  (The word translated “those” in this passage, is actually most often translated “generations” throughout the Old Testament.  I suppose it was translated “those” to soften the … Continue reading

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Proverbs 30:1-9 — Humble before God

We go now the words of a man named Agur.  Who he was, no one knows.  But in his words, we find not only wisdom, but humility. Verse 1 is  bit obscure in its meaning.  A possible meaning (and held … Continue reading

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Proverbs 28-29 — Though we live in the midst of evil

It used to be that you could call the United States a Christian country.  But though there are many people that still claim to believe in God and even claim to be Christians, I doubt you could say that anymore. … Continue reading

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Proverbs 27 — Wounds from a friend

I remember a time in my life when I was still walking with the Lord, and I was still going to church, but I had started to neglect fellowship in a small group. My small group had broken up amicably … Continue reading

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Proverbs 26-27 — Living with a fool, living like a fool.

In these two chapters, we see how we should deal with fools, and how to avoid acting like one.  In this passage, the Hebrew word that is used for “fool” means a person who is stupid and arrogant.  They insist … Continue reading

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Proverbs 25 — Winning favor in the eyes of men

I should say right off that it shouldn’t be our top priority to win favor in the eyes of men (or women).  Our top priority should be to please God. But I titled this as such because of what the … Continue reading

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Proverbs 24-25 — Revenge

I once heard Bill Cosby give a comedy routine on Revenge.  And he told a story of how when he was a kid, he plotted revenge against a kid that threw a slushball at him, and how his plan went … Continue reading

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Proverbs 24:11-12 — When we fail to warn the lost

Solomon writes some very poignant words here in these verses. Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.  If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive … Continue reading

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Proverbs 24 — Building our house

What kind of house are you building?  No, I’m not talking about your literal house.   I’m talking about your life.  What kind of life are you building? That’s what Solomon addresses here in chapter 24. He says, By wisdom a … Continue reading

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Proverbs 23 — What we pursue

In this chapter, we see warnings concerning what we pursue in life. Solomon starts by saying, When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are … Continue reading

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Proverbs 22 — A good name

How do others see you?  It’s an issue that Proverbs brings up more than once.  We saw this in chapter 10, and we see it again here.  Solomon writes, A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be … Continue reading

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Proverbs 21:1, 30-31 — Remembering who’s in control

When we look at this world, it’s easy to wonder if God is still in control. In verse 1, Solomon writes, The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.  … Continue reading

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Proverbs 21:5, 20 — Being wise with our money

America is a very credit driven society.  Japan, where I live, is much less so.  One of the major cultural differences I’ve found here is that at grocery stores and supermarkets, the usage of credit cards is quite minimal.  Probably … Continue reading

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Proverbs 20-21 — Facing our Judge

It’s so easy as we go through life to forget that this life is not all there is. There is a life to come after we pass out of this one.  And on the day that we leave this life, … Continue reading

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Proverbs 19-24 — Lazy

When I was a kid, I could be very lazy, particularly about my schoolwork.  I remember nearly missing out on my 4th grade school trip to the Big Island on Hawaii because I wasn’t doing my schoolwork.  I also got … Continue reading

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Proverbs 18-19 — Who (or what) we put our trust in

Who or what do you put your trust in? Yourself?  Your money?  Or God? That’s what Solomon addresses time and again in Proverbs.  He writes, The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and … Continue reading

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Proverbs 18-19, 21 — Blessing your husband

I don’t write many things addressing wives very often.  Most admonitions I write concerning married couples, at least up until this point, have been directed primarily at men.  One key reason for this is that God seems to put more … Continue reading

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Proverbs 18 — Before we speak

The proverbs are loaded with sayings about our speech.  I had a friend who once admitted avoiding Proverbs because he knew God would convict him for the things he let come out of his mouth.  (It didn’t matter, God threw … Continue reading

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Proverbs 17-19 — True friends

I’ve been fortunate over the course of my life to have found some really good friends.  People who have been there for me during the good times and bad. Several years ago, I was reminded of just how important such … Continue reading

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Proverbs 17 — Even when it works…

I’ve mentioned before that some of the proverbs express truths that God doesn’t necessarily approve of.  Proverbs 17:8 is an example of this. A bribe is a charm to the one who gives it; wherever he turns, he succeeds. At … Continue reading

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Proverbs 16-17 — How to build relationships…and tear them down

In this passage, we see some important principles for building and maintaining our relationships. One of the key issues is watching what we say. Solomon writes, A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction.  Pleasant words … Continue reading

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Proverbs 16 — Aligning our will with God’s

Often times, we try to invite God to join in with what we’re planning.  But one thing that is crystal clear from this passage is that this the wrong way to go about living our lives. We shouldn’t be inviting … Continue reading

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Proverbs 15:13, 15-17 — Is it worth the price?

Jesus once said of being a disciple, “You’ve got to count the cost.”  (Luke 14:28-33) But there are also other things for which we need to count the cost.  And we need to ask ourselves, “Is what I’m pursuing worth … Continue reading

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Proverbs 15 — Pleasing the Lord

How do we live lives pleasing to our Lord? Solomon writes in verse 3, The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good. We can’t hide from God.  Not only does he see all … Continue reading

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Proverbs 15 — Being wise in our speech

Proverbs has a lot to say about being wise in our speech, and we see a lot of it here. It starts with verse 1. A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.  (1) Often … Continue reading

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Proverbs 14:9, 23, 30 — At peace with others and within yourself

A few more passages strike me as I read this chapter.  First, Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright.  (9) All of us are human.  All of us make mistakes and hurt other … Continue reading

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Proverbs 14:20-21, 31 — Despising our Maker

How often do we despise God? “Despise God,” you may ask.  “I don’t despise God.” And yet when we look down on those God has created, we do despise him. That’s what Solomon reiterates several times in the Proverbs.  He … Continue reading

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Proverbs 14 — Think!

“Think!” I’m sure many of us have heard that sentence punctuate the end of a scolding when we were kids.  We do something stupid, and after railing at us for what we did, our parents tell us, “Think next time!” … Continue reading

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Proverbs 13:24 — Disciplining our children

We’ve often heard the proverb, “Spare the rod, spoil the child.”  This isn’t a direct quote from the Bible, but the idea is certainly repeated fairly often. In Proverbs 13:24, it says, He who spares the rod hates his son, … Continue reading

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Proverbs 13:20 — Walking with the wise

One of my pastor’s favorite passages is this one, He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.  (20) He points out that it doesn’t say that a companion of fools becomes foolish, although … Continue reading

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Proverbs 13 — Pride

A lot of themes are repeated over and over in Proverbs, and one of them is the danger of pride. How does pride hurt us? It hurts us when we refuse to listen to rebuke.  Rebuke can be painful, but … Continue reading

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Proverbs 12:18, 25 — Words that wound; words that heal

These are two verses from chapter 12 that really struck me, and I felt deserved a blog to themselves. The first comes from verse 18, which says, Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings … Continue reading

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Proverbs 12 — Blunt pieces of wisdom

You’ve got to love the bluntness of some of these proverbs. Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.  (1) It is a theme that you see throughout the Proverbs.  That to be truly wise, you … Continue reading

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Proverbs 11:24-26, 30 — Being a pipeline of God’s grace

We’ve already touched on Proverbs 11, but I wanted to take a closer look at a few of those verses one more time. This passage is about the joy that comes from giving.  How when people give, it leads to … Continue reading

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Proverbs 11 — Looking ahead

If there is one theme that is repeated throughout this chapter, it’s the importance of looking ahead to the consequences of our actions. So many people in this world don’t.  I was watching part of a sports documentary called “Broke.”  … Continue reading

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Proverbs 10 — What kind of name do you have?

Shakespeare once asked, “What’s in a name?”  Quite a lot actually. Solomon wrote, The memory of the righteous will be a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot.  (7) When people hear the name Hitler, for example, there … Continue reading

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Proverbs 9 — Wisdom: A willingness to change

Some people mistake God’s love and acceptance of us with a license to sin.  They think, “God accepts me anyway, so why change?  Why not live the way I want?” But in this passage, we see that a wise person … Continue reading

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Proverbs 8 — Interpreting God’s word correctly

Sometimes people get into trouble as they interpret the Bible simply because they really don’t know how to interpret it correctly.  One of the big mistakes people make is when they bring two passages together that have no connection to … Continue reading

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Proverbs 7 — Easy pickings

Recently, my daughter had a sports festival at her nursery school.  One of the “sports” was running down to a place where she would “fish” for a gift.  She lowered her little fishing pole, and a person there attached the … Continue reading

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Proverbs 6:20-35 — Captivated by sin

It’s amazing how often we see adulterous relationships portrayed on TV nowadays.  Nobody even blinks at it.  And yet, one wonders why people never learn from it.  Even on TV, most times there are negative consequences that come from these … Continue reading

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Proverbs 6:12-19 — Acting as God’s children, or as the devil’s?

In this passage, Solomon talks about the “scoundrel,” or as the NASB puts it the “worthless person.”  In other words, a man of no use to man or God because they live only for themselves and place themselves under no … Continue reading

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Proverbs 6:1-11 — Being secure financially

I’m definitely not one to talk about how to improve your finances.  My family’s doing okay, but we’re definitely not rolling in green or anything, so I feel a little weird talking about financial matters.  But Solomon does, so here … Continue reading

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Proverbs 5 — Delighting in your wife (and husband)

This is one of several long passages warning against adultery in the book of Proverbs. In this world, people have lost sight of what marriage is about, and largely because of that, what sex is all about. Marriage is about … Continue reading

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Proverbs 4:10-27 — Watching our step

“Watch your step.” Whenever we’re in a precarious situation, people always warn us to be careful.  And in this world there are numerous pitfalls that can bring us down. So David warned his son Solomon about the pitfalls in life, … Continue reading

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Proverbs 4:1-9 — Esteeming wisdom

In this passage, Solomon recalls the words his father David told him when he was a boy, words, that apparently left in a deep impression on him.  David told him, Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep … Continue reading

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Proverbs 3 — Love and faithfulness

Love and faithfulness.  Two things that are sorely lacking in this world.  It’s the reason why relationships, and particularly marriages fall apart in this world. Solomon writes in verses 3-4, Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around … Continue reading

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Proverbs 2 — Softening our hearts

In my last post, I noted the dangers of hardening our hearts toward God and his wisdom.  But in this chapter, it talks about what happens when we soften our hearts. Solomon writes, My son, if you accept my words … Continue reading

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Proverbs 1:20-33 — When we reject wisdom

In this passage, we see the dangers of rejecting God’s wisdom and clinging to our own ways. As I look at this passage, it makes me think of Noah.  For 120 years before the flood came, he preached to the … Continue reading

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Proverbs 1:8-19 — Where we get our counsel

Way back when I was in high school, I heard a song called, “Who to listen to.”  And it said, You’ve got to know who to, who not to listen to. They’re gonna hit you from all sides, Gotta make … Continue reading

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Proverbs 1:1-7 — Where wisdom begins

As we start through Proverbs, I must admit to a little uncertainty in how to present this book.  There are a broad variety of themes within Proverbs, even within the chapters themselves.  I briefly considered organizing this book by themes, … Continue reading

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Psalm 150 — Let everything that has breath…

And so we reach the final psalm in the book of Psalms.  And it closes with the most appropriate phrase. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.  (6) Where is he to be praised?  In his sanctuary, both here … Continue reading

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Psalm 149 — A time to sing, a time to fight

I must admit that upon first reading, this psalm can be a bit disturbing, particularly from verses 6 on. It is a psalm that first calls on God’s people to praise him.  To rejoice in him because he is our … Continue reading

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Psalm 148 — A call to worship

There’s a song by Tommy Walker that I love called “All the Saints Join in” which is basically Psalm 148 set to modern music. The psalm and song are essentially a call to all creation to praise its Creator.  From … Continue reading

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Psalm 147 — When we put our trust in him

In Psalm 146, we see a God who is worthy of our trust.  In this psalm, we see the results of trusting in him. As I mentioned in the blog on Psalm 146, for years, the Israelites had rebelled against … Continue reading

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Psalm 146 — The God who is trustworthy

So many times in this life, people let us down.  We look to them to help us and support us, but they leave us hung out to dry. And so the psalmist here writes, Do not put your trust in … Continue reading

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Psalm 145 — Our infinite, personal God

I was reading a book by Paul Miller this morning called A Praying Life.  I highly recommend it. In one chapter, he emphasizes two things about God.  He emphasizes his infiniteness, but also just how personal he is to us.  … Continue reading

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Psalm 144 — The God who brings us victory

This psalm was likely written just before a battle that David was facing.  And it’s interesting to me that he begins it with praise. Most times when we face a difficult battle or situation, we usually start by asking for … Continue reading

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Psalm 143 — Where we turn

Where do we turn when things are against us?  When people are against us?  It’s a question that David had to ask himself numerous times. He could have, as so many people do, turned to himself.  To his wisdom, to … Continue reading

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Psalm 142 — Pouring out our hearts before God

I’ve already written one post concerning Psalm 142, but it was in combination with another psalm, so I decided to give it its own post. Here we see David in one the caves he spent his time hiding in during … Continue reading

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Psalm 141– Lead me not into temptation…

As Psalm 140 was a prayer similar to our Lord’s in asking for deliverance from evil, Psalm 141 continues that theme and adds the other part of that verse in the Lord’s prayer. Lead us not into temptation.  (Matthew 6:13) … Continue reading

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Psalm 140 — Deliver me from evil

And so we come down to the homestretch for the book of Psalms.  It’s taken about 4 months to get this far, and we have just under two more weeks to complete it. Anyway, as I look at this psalm, … Continue reading

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Psalm 139 — The God who knows and loves me

This is one of the most famous psalms, and probably the favorite of many along with Psalm 23.  Why are these two psalms so beloved?  Probably because they show the loving care of God Actually this psalm could either be … Continue reading

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Psalm 138 — The God who fulfills his purpose in me

After the depressing nature of Psalm 137, this psalm is quite refreshing.  Why?  I suppose it’s because the focus is back where it should be:  on God. When David composed this psalm is uncertain, but I suppose it’s possible he … Continue reading

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Psalm 137 — Dwelling in self-pity

This is one of the more depressing psalms in the book, a lament apparently written during the Babylonian captivity. It pictures the psalmist sitting by the rivers of Babylon, harp in hand, but so depressed by the fall of Jerusalem … Continue reading

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Psalm 136 — Remembering the goodness and love of God

The first verse pretty much sums up the whole psalm. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. “His love endures forever.” This whole psalm is about God’s goodness and love toward his people.  But as we look at … Continue reading

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Psalm 135 — The God of gods

This psalm starts out pretty much as Psalm 134 does, with a call to worship, and you also see elements of Psalm 115 in this psalm as well. But the main theme of this psalm is the greatness of our … Continue reading

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Psalm 134 — Maintaining a heart of worship

This is the last of the song of ascents, and it has been conjectured that it was sung after the pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem had been made, and the people were ready to go home. And as they … Continue reading

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Psalm 133 — Unity

As the pilgrims continued their ascent up to Jerusalem to worship at the temple, they sang about something that is vital for the church today.  Unity. David wrote, How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! … Continue reading

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Psalm 132 — The God who is faithful to his promises

This is an interesting psalm.  It starts with a prayer to God, and it ends with his answer.  I don’t know of many psalms offhand that are like this. This is one of the last songs of ascent, and as … Continue reading

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Psalm 131 — Humility

Another short but sweet psalm, in which David shows us the kind of heart we need when approaching God, which is appropriate considering that people sang this on their way to worship God in the temple. What kind of heart … Continue reading

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Psalm 130 — A God of forgiveness and mercy

This is a very short, but sweet psalm which reflects on the forgiveness and mercy of God in a time of distress. The date of this psalm is not known, but it has the feel of someone writing after the … Continue reading

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Psalm 129 — Though we are persecuted

Here in this psalm we see two things.  First we see the persecution that the Jewish people have suffered throughout history.  We see it first in Egypt, then through the times of the judges and periods of the kings, all … Continue reading

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Psalm 128 — When we put God first

So many of us seek happiness in our lives.  We seek it in our families, we seek it in our jobs, and we seek it in financial security. But in this psalm, we see the key to true happiness.  The … Continue reading

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Psalm 127 — The limits of our own efforts

This psalm was written by Solomon, but it reminds me of a later time in Israel’s history when Nehemiah was trying to rebuild the walls. Solomon wrote, Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.  Unless the … Continue reading

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Psalm 126 — Set free!

I would guess that this was written after the Babylonian captivity, perhaps during the time of Ezra or Nehemiah, or perhaps sometime after as the Jews looked back on their return to Jerusalem.  And as you look at this psalm, … Continue reading

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Psalm 125 — Unshaken

This is another of my favorite psalms, in part because there was a song we used to sing at my church way back when that was based on it.  I especially love the first two verses. Those who trust in … Continue reading

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Psalm 124 — Rejoicing in God’s favor

This psalm was written by David, but it’s not clear what the context of the psalm was.  In all probability, it was written after a great victory in battle when the odds seemed against them.  It’s the type of psalm … Continue reading

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Psalm 123 — A cry for mercy

This is a very interesting psalm in the imagery it gives.  The psalmist writes, I lift up my eyes to you, to you whose throne is in heaven.  As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, … Continue reading

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Psalm 122 — The joy of being with God’s people

As the pilgrims came upon the gates of Jerusalem, they probably started singing this song.  And it shows their joy in coming to the house of God. I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the … Continue reading

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Psalm 121 — The God who watches over us

This is one of the most beautiful psalms in the book, and was my father’s favorite.  I can see why. It is a psalm of utter trust in the Lord. It starts out, I lift up my eyes to the … Continue reading

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Psalm 120 — Angered by the evil around us

How often do you get angered by the evil that you see around you?  That’s how the psalmist felt. What did he see around him?  Lying lips.  Deceitful tongues.  (2)  And people who not only disrupted peace, but caused war … Continue reading

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Psalm 119:145-176 — Refusing to give in to evil

And so we come to the close of Psalm 119.  As I’ve said before, it’s an anonymous psalm, but I wouldn’t be surprised if David was the author.  One reason is how this psalm ends, and the experiences of the … Continue reading

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Psalm 119:97-144 — The way to understanding

All of us would like to grow in wisdom and understanding.  And in this passage, we see how we can do so. The psalmist writes, Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me.  I … Continue reading

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Psalm 119:81-96 — Where we put our hope

And so we hit the halfway point of this psalm. I love the psalmist’s words to open this section. My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word.  (81) Sometimes we go … Continue reading

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Psalm 119:65-80 — A soft heart

I noted in an earlier blog on this psalm that the psalmist had a humble heart.  A heart that admitted that it didn’t know everything, and was very teachable. We see more of that here, but we also see a … Continue reading

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Psalm 119: 41-64 — The word that brings freedom and comfort

The love that the writer has for God’s word really strikes me as I go through this psalm.  So many people take God’s word as something that binds.  Namely, something that takes away our freedom to enjoy life.  “Do this, … Continue reading

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Psalm 119:17-40 — The need for understanding

And so we continue on with this, the longest psalm in the book. The thing I see in this passage, is the humble heart of the psalmist.  A heart that says, “I don’t know everything.  Give me understanding.” He says … Continue reading

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Psalm 119:1-15 — A desire for holiness

We now hit the longest chapter in the Bible.  Needless to say, it’s also the longest psalm.  I toyed with the idea with just getting it all over with in one shot, but I figured I wouldn’t be able to … Continue reading

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Psalm 118 — A psalm of salvation

If there is one psalm that will be sung when Jesus returns, I would guess that this would be it.  Because it is a song of utter praise for our salvation, that has more meaning for us than it had … Continue reading

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Psalm 117 — When all nations worship

This is the calm before the storm.  Here we have the shortest psalm in the Bible (as well as the shortest chapter), soon to be followed by the longest one.  I’m still not sure how I will tackle Psalm 119, … Continue reading

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Psalm 116 — Hope in the darkest of times

I think I’ve loved this psalm ever since I heard a song based on the Living Bible version of it. The Living Bible puts it something like this, I love the Lord because he hears my prayers and answers them. … Continue reading

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Psalm 115 — The One who deserves our praise and trust

The psalmist starts out this psalm with a cry that resonates. Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.  (1) Who are you living for?  For yourself?  … Continue reading

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Psalm 114 — Saved to be a sanctuary, and a kingdom

This is a psalm that talks about how God delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, led them through the desert, and into the promised land. From the partings of the Red Sea and the Jordan, to God’s appearance on Mount … Continue reading

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Psalm 113 — The God on high, who stooped down

Probably the most incredible thing about God is that as great and awesome as he is, he cares about us. This psalm starts with a call to worship, as the psalmist sings, Praise the Lord.  Praise the Lord, you his servants; praise … Continue reading

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Psalm 112 — The blessing of fearing and delighting in God

Fear and delight.  Those are two words that you don’t often seen thrown together.  But the psalmist here does use them together, talking about the blessing that comes from fearing God and delighting in him and his word. He writes, … Continue reading

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Psalm 111 — Pondering the Lord’s works

It’s so easy sometimes to ponder over the negative things in life.  To see the bad things that have happened in our lives and to let them dominate our thinking.  Honestly, that’s what I’ve been doing over the past several … Continue reading

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Psalm 110 — Our King and Priest

Today, we see one of the most famous Messianic psalms.  Jesus, himself quoted it in posing a puzzle to the Pharisees (Matthew 22:41-45). And here, Yahweh (the LORD, that is, God the Father) says to the Messiah (David’s Lord), Sit … Continue reading

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Psalm 109 — Bitterness and forgiveness, mercy and justice

This is another of the imprecatory psalms, where we see the psalmist calling for the judgment of God on those who have wronged him. A lot of people, including myself, get disturbed reading these kinds of psalms, because it seems … Continue reading

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Psalm 107 — Telling our story

Somehow through my years as a Christian, the beauty of this psalm escaped me.  But the new NIV’s rendition, particularly verse 2 struck me and put it into a new light.  It reads, Let the redeemed of the Lord tell … Continue reading

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Psalm 104 — The Creator and his creation

And so we come to the end of book IV of the Psalms (actually it ends with Psalm 106, but we’ve already covered 105 and 106 earlier). Whether David is the author of this psalm or not is unknown, but … Continue reading

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Psalm 103 — The love and mercy of God

This is a psalm of praise for the love and mercy of God.  When David wrote this, we don’t know, but I kind of think it was written after his sin with Bathsheba or perhaps his sin concerning the census. … Continue reading

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Psalm 102 — The God who never changes

I love how this psalm ends. In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.  They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment.  Like … Continue reading

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Psalm 101 — Becoming like Him

In this psalm, we see a glimpse of why God called David a man after his own heart. He starts by singing, I will sing of your love and justice; to you, Lord, I will sing praise.  (1) Because of God’s … Continue reading

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Psalm 100 — True worship

This is, above all, a song of worship. It starts out with a call to worship, as the psalmist sings, Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.  Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.  (1-2) It then … Continue reading

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Psalm 99 — The God who is holy

So often, when we think of God and his character, the first word that comes to mind is “love.” And it is true.  God is love.  But here we see another aspect of his character.  His holiness.  And so while … Continue reading

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Psalm 98 — Rejoicing in our salvation

This psalm is anonymous, so it could’ve been written in any number of contexts.  It could’ve been written following the Israelites deliverance from Egypt, or perhaps it was written by David after his reign was firmly established, or it could’ve … Continue reading

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Psalm 97 — Rejoicing in our King

This is another psalm that rejoices in the greatness of our King. The psalmist starts by shouting out, The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice.  (1) “Let the earth be glad.”  In a perfect … Continue reading

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Psalm 95 — The one worthy of our praise and trust

This psalm is very interesting to me in that it starts out with great praise and rejoicing, and concludes with a solemn warning. You can easily hear the joy in the psalmist’s voice as he sings, Come, let us sing … Continue reading

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Psalm 94 — The God who judges, the God who disciplines

Judgment and discipline.  I think a lot of times we get confused about which God is doing in our lives, particularly when bad things happen to us.  It’s easy to think, “God must be judging and punishing me for what … Continue reading

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Psalm 93 — The God who reigns

This is a very short psalm, and it reminds me of the old song by Jack Hayford, “Majesty.” For it reminds us of the majesty of God and how it is he that reigns over this whole earth.  The psalmist … Continue reading

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Psalm 92 — Making music towards God

This psalm was written for the Sabbath.  As most people know, the Sabbath was a day that God told the Israelites to set aside in order to worship him.  That’s exactly what this psalm does. I like verses 1-2. It … Continue reading

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Psalm 91 — Shadow of the Almighty

One of my favorite books is “Shadow of the Almighty.”  It’s a book that has a lot of the letters and journal entries of a man named Jim Elliot, a missionary to the Aucas in South America.  If you’ve never … Continue reading

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Psalm 90 — Keeping our perspective

I wrote briefly on this psalm a while back, but after rereading it, I’ve decided to come back to it and add to my comments.  In this psalm, we see the mortality of people in contrast to the eternal nature … Continue reading

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Psalm 89 — The God who never fails

After such a depressing psalm in Psalm 88, Psalm 89 starts off on a much brighter note.  Nevertheless, it too was also written in a time of trouble. The psalmist starts by singing, I will sing of the Lord’s great love … Continue reading

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Psalm 88 — God’s silence

This psalm could almost have been written by Job.  This is yet another psalm that deals with God’s silence in our suffering.  And as in real life, we don’t always see a happy ending. The psalmist starts by basically crying … Continue reading

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Psalm 87 — The people of God

This psalm is talking about Jerusalem, but as I read it, I really see the love God has for his people, and how he rejoices over us. The psalmist says of Jerusalem, He has founded his city on the holy … Continue reading

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Psalm 86 — Guarding our hearts in times of trouble

Solomon once wrote “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”  (Proverbs 4:23) This is always true, of course, but especially in times of trouble.  And Solomon’s father David certainly had his share of it. … Continue reading

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Psalm 85 — Repentance and mercy

It’s not certain when this psalm was written.  Charles Spurgeon seems to have thought it was written by David, but I tend to agree with the scholars who say it was written after the Babylonian captivity. The psalmist writes, You, Lord, … Continue reading

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Psalm 84 — Setting our sights

This is one of the most beautiful psalms in my opinion and one of my favorites.  And it’s one in which we are encouraged to set our sights, not on the things of this earth, but on eternity. It was … Continue reading

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Psalm 83 — Deliver us from evil

When I look at this passage, it reminds me of our Lord’s prayer, when he told us to pray, “Deliver us from evil.” In this psalm, Israel was facing some really big threats by the surrounding nations.  And so the … Continue reading

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Psalm 82 — When the judges will be judged

I think a lot of us get frustrated by the injustices we see in our courts.  People we know are guilty get set free, and the people they hurt are left even more wounded. It’s not a new problem.  It … Continue reading

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Psalm 81 — If only…

In this psalm, the psalmist begins with a call to worship, singing, Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob!  Begin the music, strike the timbrel, play the melodious harp and lyre.  (1-2) The … Continue reading

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Psalm 79-80 — The consequences of sin

These two psalms seemed linked, so I’m putting them together.  Both apparently happened after the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon, and are very similar in tone to Lamentations. Psalm 79 opens with this lament: O God, the nations have invaded your … Continue reading

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Psalm 78 — Telling the next generation

For my daughter’s last birthday, we bought her a children’s Bible.  What’s nice is that it’s in English and Japanese, so my wife reads to her in Japanese, and I read to her in English.  It’s our hope that through … Continue reading

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Psalm 77 — Abandoned?

One thing I’ve noticed about the psalms as I’ve been going through them is that a lot of the themes seem to be similar.  Particularly, the struggles people have when dealing with an invisible God.  It’s kind of comforting, actually. … Continue reading

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Psalm 76 — The God who will be praised

It has been conjectured that this psalm was written after the incident with Sennacherib, during the time of Hezekiah.  Whether this is true or not, I’m not sure, but it does fit with the events laid out in Kings and … Continue reading

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Psalm 75 — When justice finally comes

Whenever I look at this psalm, I can’t help but sing to myself the old chorus based on this psalm. We give thanks to thee O Lord, we give thanks. For thy name is near, Thy wondrous works men declare. … Continue reading

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Psalm 74 — A cry for mercy

It’s not certain when this psalm was written.  There are a couple of problems with trying to date it.  First, the notation attributes this psalm to Asaph who lived during the times of David, Solomon, and Rehoboam.  There is nothing … Continue reading

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Psalm 73 — Discouraged by the evil we see.

It  can be discouraging at times to see all the evil that is in this world.  To see people who prosper despite having no fear of God at all.  People who only look out for themselves and don’t care who … Continue reading

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Psalm 72 — When Christ reigns

This is a psalm written by Solomon that looks forward to the time when Christ, the great King, reigns. So often we look at the people ruling or governing our nations, and all we are left with is disappointment.  People … Continue reading

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Psalm 71 — Our hope and confidence

This is probably not the most well known of Psalms, but the more I read it, the more I like it.  It shows the hope and confidence that the psalmist had from knowing God, even during the darkest of times. … Continue reading

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Psalm 70 — Hurry up God!

I debated briefly whether to give this chapter it’s own blog entry, considering it’s very similar to the latter part of Psalm 40.  But I don’t think I really commented much on that part of Psalm 40, so I decided … Continue reading

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Psalm 69 — The cry of Christ

This psalm is largely, though not completely messianic.  In it we see many references which are applied to Christ in the New Testament. We see his suffering on the cross in which he starts sinking into death.  He cries out … Continue reading

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Psalm 68 — A God of power…and mercy

As I read this psalm two things strike me.  First, God’s power. It starts out with a prayer showing God’s power to cast down the enemy. May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him. … Continue reading

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Psalm 67 — Blessed that all may know

This psalm starts out much as the priestly blessing does in Numbers 6:24-26. The psalmist writes, May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us. (1) What’s interesting to me is the reason … Continue reading

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Psalm 66 — The God who brings us through trial

Nobody likes trials.  At least, I can’t say I do.  But in this psalm we see the rejoicing of God’s people having come through those trials. The psalmist sings, Shout for joy to God, all the earth!  Sing the glory … Continue reading

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Psalm 65 — The God who saves us and fills us

It’s hard to tell in what situation this psalm was written.  It’s possible it was written after a time of famine or drought as a result of God’s judgment, followed by a time of repentance and blessing. The psalmist starts … Continue reading

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Psalm 64 — No escape

One of my all-time favorite shows is “Columbo.”  They often show it on “Mystery Channel” here in Japan.  And in it, the criminals always think they have devised the perfect crime, only to see it come unraveled thread by thread … Continue reading

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