Songs of Degrees – Psalm 120

Truth and Peace – Rare Commodities As the psalmist stands on the bottom step he laments his position. As one who loves truth and seeks peace, he feels that he is alone, surrounded by those who have ‘lying lips’ (v2) and ‘are for war‘ (v7). This causes the psalmist much ‘distress’ and he says ‘woe…

Songs of Degrees – Literary Introduction

Before we get into the psalms themselves, I want to examine these 15 psalms as a whole, for it is clear these psalms were compiled with thought and care. While there is linear progression from the ‘distress’ of Psalm 120 to the ultimate ‘blessing’ of the sanctuary in Psalm 134, there is also the repetition…

Songs of Degrees – Historical Introduction

Following the Hallel psalms (113-118) and the great exposition on the practical blessings of the Word of God (119), we now come to a group of 15 psalms, all entitled ‘Song of Degrees’, or in some translations ‘Song of Ascents’. We have no clear understanding as to the specific historical context that gave rise to…

Psalms for Troubled Times – Psalm 119:169-176

Live Life by Praising God I trust you’ve found our journey through this epic psalm to be profitable. It certainly is very practical, and there’s plenty for us to work on, whether in relation to personal character, social behaviour, or spiritual attitude and action. I think it will be helpful to look back and summarise…

Psalms for Troubled Times – Psalm 119:153-168

We conclude this final group of seven today continuing our look at the response of the blessed man to God. Yesterday we considered how the godly man will seek to live a life of sacrificial worship: ‘for to me to live in Christ, and to die is gain’ (Phil 1:21). Today we are going to…

Psalms for Troubled Times – Psalm 119:129-152

The Wondrous Word and Work of Christ Peh – The Wondering Man ‘Something unusual and extraordinary. A marvellous and wonderful thing!’ This is the definition for the first word of this section, and I find it instructive that this is the theme in the 17th out of 22 sections. Marvel and amazement at an object…

Psalms for Troubled Times – Psalm 119:113-128

We now come to the final group of sections – the Godward aspect. We will notice that the central section of the seven from Samech to Shin deals with the righteous basis of our relationship with the Lord. Before this we have three sections about character, and after, in a chiasmic structure, are three sections…

Psalms for Troubled Times – Psalm 119:81-112

From Darkness to Light As we come to the next section in our psalm – Caph – we come to the darkest of times for the psalmist. I find it encouraging that our gracious God does not bring the psalmist to this point until he has already passed through other experiences preparing him for the…

Psalms for Troubled Times – Psalm 119:57-80

On the SEA of life! We turn now to the beginning of the second group of seven, the manward aspect, in which we will consider the way of the blessed man with respect to his physical life on earth, and his relations with others. Group 2 – The Manward Aspect – The Earthly Man Today…

Psalms for Troubled Times – Psalm 119:25-56

Strengthened in the Inner Man We made a good start in 119a in walking in the way of the blessed man. We considered the importance of the word of God to living holy lives, growing strong in faith, ‘in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’ (2 Pet 3:18). However,…

Psalms for Troubled Times – Psalm 119:1-24

Practical Lessons for the Blessed Man As we come to the psalm itself, I want to follow the division given by A.G.Clarke, and consider the psalm over three days.  He notes that “the twenty-two sections seem to fall into three groups of seven, followed by the last section as a kind of appendix”.  Aleph –…

Psalms for Troubled Times – Psalm 119 Overview

The Magnificence and Grace of God’s Word With some trepidation we come to the longest chapter in our Bibles, but I am thankful for the help given by A.G.Clarke in ‘Analytical Studies in the Psalms’. We all know that the psalm is an alphabetic acrostic, and for many of us, we have no doubt become…