May 25, Psalms 131, 138-139, 143-145

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Psalm 131

A Childlike Spirit

A song of ascents. Of David.

Lord, my heart is not proud;
my eyes are not haughty.
I do not get involved with things
too great or too wondrous for me.
Instead, I have calmed and quieted my soul
like a weaned child with its mother;
my soul is like a weaned child.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
both now and forever.

Psalm 138

A Thankful Heart

Of David.

I will give you thanks with all my heart;
I will sing your praise before the heavenly beings.[a]
I will bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name
for your constant love and truth.
You have exalted your name
and your promise above everything else.[b]
On the day I called, you answered me;
you increased strength within me.[c]

All the kings on earth will give you thanks, Lord,
when they hear what you have promised.[d]
They will sing of the Lord’s ways,
for the Lord’s glory is great.
Though the Lord is exalted,
he takes note of the humble;
but he knows the haughty from a distance.

If I walk into the thick of danger,
you will preserve my life
from the anger of my enemies.
You will extend your hand;
your right hand will save me.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.
Lord, your faithful love endures forever;
do not abandon the work of your hands.

Psalm 139

The All-Knowing, Ever-Present God

For the choir director. A psalm of David.

Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I stand up;
you understand my thoughts from far away.
You observe my travels and my rest;
you are aware of all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue,
you know all about it, Lord.
You have encircled me;
you have placed your hand on me.
This wondrous knowledge is beyond me.
It is lofty; I am unable to reach it.

Where can I go to escape your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I fly on the wings of the dawn
and settle down on the western horizon,[e]
10 even there your hand will lead me;
your right hand will hold on to me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me,
and the light around me will be night”—
12 even the darkness is not dark to you.
The night shines like the day;
darkness and light are alike to you.

13 For it was you who created my inward parts;[f]
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise you
because I have been remarkably and wondrously made.[g][h]
Your works are wondrous,
and I know this very well.
15 My bones were not hidden from you
when I was made in secret,
when I was formed in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw me when I was formless;
all my days were written in your book and planned
before a single one of them began.

17 God, how precious[i] your thoughts are to me;
how vast their sum is!
18 If I counted them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand;
when I wake up,[j] I am still with you.

19 God, if only you would kill the wicked—
you bloodthirsty men, stay away from me—
20 who invoke you deceitfully.
Your enemies swear by you falsely.
21 Lord, don’t I hate those who hate you,
and detest those who rebel against you?
22 I hate them with extreme hatred;
I consider them my enemies.

23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my concerns.
24 See if there is any offensive[k] way in me;
lead me in the everlasting way.

Psalm 143

A Cry for Help

A psalm of David.

Lord, hear my prayer.
In your faithfulness listen to my plea,
and in your righteousness answer me.
Do not bring your servant into judgment,
for no one alive is righteous in your sight.

For the enemy has pursued me,
crushing me to the ground,
making me live in darkness
like those long dead.
My spirit is weak within me;
my heart is overcome with dismay.

I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all you have done;
I reflect on the work of your hands.
I spread out my hands to you;
I am like parched land before you. Selah

Answer me quickly, Lord;
my spirit fails.
Don’t hide your face from me,
or I will be like those
going down to the Pit.
Let me experience
your faithful love in the morning,
for I trust in you.
Reveal to me the way I should go
because I appeal to you.
Rescue me from my enemies, Lord;
I come to you for protection.[a]
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit
lead me on level ground.

11 For your name’s sake, Lord,
let me live.
In your righteousness deliver me from trouble,
12 and in your faithful love destroy my enemies.
Wipe out all those who attack me,
for I am your servant.

Psalm 144

A King’s Prayer

Of David.

Blessed be the Lord, my rock
who trains my hands for battle
and my fingers for warfare.
He is my faithful love and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer.
He is my shield, and I take refuge in him;
he subdues my people[b] under me.

Lord, what is a human that you care for him,
a son of man[c] that you think of him?
A human is like a breath;
his days are like a passing shadow.

Lord, part your heavens and come down.
Touch the mountains, and they will smoke.
Flash your lightning and scatter the foe;[d]
shoot your arrows and rout them.
Reach down[e] from on high;
rescue me from deep water, and set me free
from the grasp of foreigners
whose mouths speak lies,
whose right hands are deceptive.

God, I will sing a new song to you;
I will play on a ten-stringed harp for you—
10 the one who gives victory to kings,
who frees his servant David
from the deadly sword.
11 Set me free and rescue me
from foreigners
whose mouths speak lies,
whose right hands are deceptive.

12 Then our sons will be like plants
nurtured in their youth,
our daughters, like corner pillars
that are carved in the palace style.
13 Our storehouses will be full,
supplying all kinds of produce;
our flocks will increase by thousands
and tens of thousands in our open fields.
14 Our cattle will be well fed.[f]
There will be no breach in the walls,
no going into captivity,[g]
and no cry of lament in our public squares.
15 Happy are the people with such blessings.
Happy are the people whose God is the Lord.

Psalm 145

Praising God’s Greatness

A hymn of David.

I[h] exalt you, my God the King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
I will bless you every day;
I will praise your name forever and ever.

The Lord is great and is highly praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
One generation will declare your works to the next
and will proclaim your mighty acts.
I[i] will speak of your splendor and glorious majesty
and[j] your wondrous works.
They will proclaim the power of your awe-inspiring acts,
and I will declare your greatness.[k]
They will give a testimony of your great goodness
and will joyfully sing of your righteousness.

The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and great in faithful love.
The Lord is good to everyone;
his compassion rests on all he has made.
10 All you have made will thank you, Lord;
the[l] faithful will bless you.
11 They will speak of the glory of your kingdom
and will declare your might,
12 informing all people of your mighty acts
and of the glorious splendor of your[m] kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom;
your rule is for all generations.
The Lord is faithful in all his words
and gracious in all his actions.[n]

14 The Lord helps all who fall;
he raises up all who are oppressed.[o]
15 All eyes look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.
16 You open your hand
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.

17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and faithful in all his acts.
18 The Lord is near all who call out to him,
all who call out to him with integrity.
19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry for help and saves them.
20 The Lord guards all those who love him,
but he destroys all the wicked.
21 My mouth will declare the Lord’s praise;
let every living thing
bless his holy name forever and ever.

Are you bowed down?

Psalm 145:14 “The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.” Today’s passage presents a problem for a large group of people – those standing in pride. How can God pick up those who are already standing as if nothing is wrong? Is this passage an isolated verse or is there a greater theme of humility presented in the Bible? Let’s read some of what the Bible also says about being humble:

1) God exalts the humble!

James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

2) There is a timing for God’s move when we are humble – being humble does not necessarily get an immediate result.

1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.

3) There is also a timing for God’s response to the prideful.

Isaiah 2:12 For a day belonging to the Lord of Armies is coming against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up—it will be humbled

4) The prideful and the humble will not receive what they expect from God in His response back to them.

Matthew 23:12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

5) When we humble ourselves God moves favorably towards us. Consider king Manasseh’s plea:

2Chr 33:12-13 When he was in distress, he sought the favor of the Lord his God and earnestly humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. He prayed to him, and the Lord was receptive to his prayer. He granted his request and brought him back to Jerusalem, to his kingdom. So Manasseh came to know that the Lord is God.

6) God forgives the humble of their sin and moves to heal the damage done by sin.

2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

7) God sees false humility and no benefit will come of it.

Isaiah 58:3 ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’ Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers.

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