Just a Bit O’ History…Psalm 92. A Psalm to be sung on the Day of the Sabbath.

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The Jews of old appropriated certain Psalms to particular days, and every day of the week had its allotted Psalms. The songs which the Levites formerly sang in the sanctuary are these…

On the first day, Psalm 24,
On the second day, Psalm 48,
On the third day, Psalm 82,
On the fourth day, Psalm 114,
On the fifth day, Psalm 81,
On the sixth day, Psalm 93,
On the seventh day, Psalm 92, based upon its title.

The Talmud confirms this saying that Psalm 92 was sung on the morning of the Sabbath at the drink offering which followed the sacrifice of the first lamb, –Numbers 28:9.

Some ancient writers thought perhaps that this last Psalm was composed by Adam as tribute to the seventh day of Creation, but dismissing such a contention as raving, Spurgeon says, “Adam in Paradise had neither harp to play on, nor wicked men to contend with.”  Although nameless, no one acquainted with David’s style in the Psalms credited to him, hesitates to ascribe to him authorship of this Divine, Sabbath Hymn. A notable feature in this Psalm is the sevenfold name of JEHOVAH in verses, 1, 4, 8, 13, 15. Seven times is the Sabbatical number.

Here again we have an admirable combination and composition, “A Psalm of Song,” or a Psalm to be sung upon the day of rest. Full of equal measure of solemnity and joy, its subject is the praise of God for all his work, and the joyful occupation of hearts resting in the Divine Worker.  If David wrote it, then the Holy Spirit certainly gave him utterance, for the style is worthy of the theme and of the day it is dedicated to.   The general theme is set forth in the first four verses. Ellicott’s introduction says, “In this Psalm we seem to have the Sabbath musings of one who had met the doubt born of the sight of successful wickedness, and struggled through it to a firm faith in “The Rock of Whom is no unrighteousness, though on earth iniquity seems to flourish and prevail.”

Upon an instrument of ten strings… the psaltery… the harp, 92:3.  We cannot agree with Chrysostom that “Instrumental music was only permitted to the Jews, as sacrifice was, for the heaviness and grossness of their souls….” Away back in the cradle of humanity we read of one Jubal –from which we have the term “jubilant,” we read that he was the father and originator of all who handle the harp and organ, Genesis 4:21.  Justin Martyr expressly says “that the use of singing with instrumental music was not received in Christian churches as it was among the Jews in their infant state, but only the use of plain song.”  The insistence of some writers is that instrumental music was not in use in the churches until about the fourth century. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, wrote of the inspiration he received by congregational singing by “clear voices and appropriate tunes.”  Isaac Watts would have us sing—

Oh may my heart in tune be found,
Like David’s harp of solemn sound.

The Psalmist felt that every sweet-sounding instrument should be consecrated in God, as General Booth believed, when he introduced band-music and tambourines to match his militant form of service and worship for his “soldiers.”   The wise observation of Spurgeon in this matter is of worthy note, “It is much to be feared of that attention to the mechanism of music, as in the mere noting keys and strings.  Fine music without devotion, which is the soul and essence of praise, is but a splendid garment upon a corpse.”

Eusebius, a prominent Biblical scholar of the 4th century, commenting on Psalm 92 says, “The Psaltery if ten strings is the worship of the Holy Spirit performed by means of the five senses of the body, and the five powers of the soul,” and in confirmation of his application goes on to quote 1 Corinthians 14:15. Carrying this application further, all who are the Lord’s can look upon the human frame made up of two eyes, two ears, two hands, two feet, one mouth and one heart—ten in all, as the instruments of ten strings with which to praise and magnify the Lord.  This is the truth that is embodied in Havergal’s searching hymn— “Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord to thee.”

Thou hast made me glad through thy work, 92:4. Already we have seen how Dante made use of the Psalms (Purg. xxviii. 80, E Salmo Delectasti), both directly and symbolically, and in his Purgatorio we have further illustration of this use when he describes the beautiful form of Matilda. Wondering at the brightness of her smile, she tells him that she is gladdened by verse 4 of Psalm, beginning with, Delectasti, “Thou, God, had made me glad through thy work.” Is it not this delight in God’s service, and labor in his cause, that makes the perfect happiness of an active life on earth?

And then there is a story of Casaubon, who was one of the most learned men of his age, and truly devout. He was so humble and reticent, that some doubted his religious spirit; but there is an incident he records in his diary which reveals it, and which shows the hold the book of Psalms had on the hearts of Christians of that time. He and his wife, residing in Paris, wished to go to the Protestant Church of Charenton. There was only a frail old boat to take them up the Seine, but they ventured it rather than lose the service. ‘On embarking,’ he says, ‘my wife, as her custom was, began to sing the Psalms. We had finished Psalms 91 and had reached Psalms 92 verse 12, when the boat sank. With difficulty we saved our lives, but the psalm book, which had been a wedding gift to my wife twenty-two years before, was lost. We reached in time for the second service; and on looking into the book of a young man near me to see what was being sung, I found it was Psalms 86:13, “for great is thy mercy towards me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest grave.” I thought immediately of the word of St. Ambrose, that “those who listen to, or read the Psalms aright, may find it as if these Psalms had been written expressly for themselves.”

One last word…

They shall bring forth in old age, 92:14. In the garden of grace, plants weak in themselves because of natural, physical decay, are yet strong in the Lord and bear fruit acceptable to Him.  Even if bedridden, they bear the fruit of patience. Grinders (teeth) may fail, but the bread of heaven is to feed upon.  The literal translation of this verse reads— “Still shall they sprout in hoary age, sappy and green shall they be,” an allusion to the great fruitfulness of the date palm, and to the fact that to the very last, this fruitfulness continues. The aged, fruitful believer is a letter of commendation of the immutable fidelity of Jehovah as the Rock and as the Righteous One. Journeying on to the end, the godly, well-stricken in years, daily prove that God’s dispensations have no flaw in them, and can no more be moved than a rock can be dislodged from its age-long foundation. The Psalm, then presents a Divine climax, that the venerable godly, far from declining, climb higher and higher as they travel on to life’s last milestone.

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Taken adapted from, Psalms: A Devotional Commentary, written by Herbert Lockyer, Sr.
Taken from, “The Psalms in History and Biography,” written by John Ker,

Just a Bit O’ History…Psalm 90. A Prayer of Moses the Man of God.

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Psalms 90

A psalm of deep solemnity and pathos, beginning with a past eternity, and moving on to an eternal future, while it gathers into its bosom men with their sins and brief fading lives,and supplicates for them God’s forgiveness and tender mercy.

Psalm 90 appears to be the oldest of the Psalms, and stands between two books of the Psalms as a composition “unique in its grandeur, and alone in its sublime antiquity.”

‘So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.’ Thomas Fuller tells in his own quaint way, that Bishop Rudd was requested to preach before Queen Elizabeth by the Archbishop of Canterbury, because he was a special favorite with the Queen, and was, indeed, designed as the Archbishop’s successor when he died. The Archbishop said, at the same time, ‘The truth is, the Queen now is grown weary of the vanities of wit and eloquence, wherewith her youth was formerly affected; and plain sermons which come home to her heart please her best.’ Encouraged by this guidance, honest Bishop Rudd chose for his text Ps. 90 ver. 12, and touched on the infirmities of age, with a personal application to the Queen. But Her Majesty, to whom hearing about death was most ungrateful, was highly displeased, and Bishop Rudd lost both the reversion of the archbishopric and Her Majesty’s favor. ‘But he justly retained,’ says Fuller, ‘the repute of a reverend and godly prelate, and carried the same to the grave.’

Dr. Stoughton, describing the funeral of John Hampden, says: His remains were conveyed to the churchyard of Great Hampden, close beside the old family mansion, where the patriot had spent so much of his life in the studies and sports of a country gentleman. Through lanes under the beech-covered chalk hills of the Chilterns, a detachment of his favorite troops, bareheaded, carried him to his last resting-place, “their arms reversed, their drums and ensigns muffled, –mournfully chanting as they slowly marched along the dirge from the Book of Psalms: Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations. Thou turnest man to destruction. Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up. In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth.’ When the funeral was over, the soldiers, retiring from the village church to their quarters, made the green woods and the white hills, that summer day, resound to the beautiful prayer, so appropriate to their circumstances, Psalms 43: 1, “Judge me, 0 God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: Oh deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man. For thou art the God of my strength: why dost thou cast me off? Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? Oh send out thy light and thy truth; let them lead me.’

John Hampden met his death in June 1643, in the beginning of the great English civil war. (Remember Jenny Geddes who helped precipitated this civil war in 1637 in Scotland when she threw her stool at the preacher for reading from a prayer-book?)  He died in prayer, with the words,

‘Oh Lord God of hosts! Great is thy mercy; just and holy are thy dealings unto us sinful men. O Lord, save my bleeding country. Have these realms in thy special keeping. Lord Jesus, receive my soul! O Lord, save my country; 0h Lord, be merciful to…’ –His speech failed, and falling backwards he expired.

Perhaps this psalm was never read amid circumstances that brought it nearer to the history where it was composed, in the desert and under the shadow of Sinai, than in one striking instance. In the year 1865 a dreadful accident occurred in Switzerland, upon the Matterhorn, a mountain which till then had defied all attempts to ascend it. Its summit was gained, but in coming down, three of the party, Lord E. Douglas, Mr. Hadow, Rev. Charles Hudson, along with Michael Croz, a guide, lost their footing on the ice, and were swept over a tremendous precipice 4000 feet high. The body of Lord F. Douglas was never recovered; the other three were found, lifeless and almost formless, on the glacier at the base. The Rev. J. M’Cormick, Mr. Hudson’s intimate friend, describes the purity and spirituality of his character, and the feeling of reverence and prayerfulness with which he contemplated the works of God in these awful solitudes. ‘Whether,’ he says, ‘the enterprise which ended in his death be looked on as wise or foolish, I am persuaded that his soul was filled with joy and gratitude as he stood where no human being had ever stood before, and gazed from a new point of view on the great Creator’s works.’ His Prayer-Book was found on his body, and it was suggested that there should be a short funeral service. ‘Poor Hudson’s Prayer-Book was produced for this purpose. I read out of it Ps. 90, so singularly appropriate to time and place, and repeated some prayers and a portion of the Burial Service. Imagine us standing with our bronze-faced guides, leaning on their axes or alpenstocks, around that singular grave, in the center of a snow-field, perhaps never before trodden by man, with that awful mountain frowning above us, under a cloudless sky,” in the very sight, as it were, of the Almighty,” and try to catch the sound of the words: “Lord, thou hast been our refuge from one generation to another. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever the earth and world were made, thou art God from everlasting, and world without end.

Thou turnest man to destruction; again thou sayest, Come again, ye children of men.”

Admiral G.E. Belknap, of the U.S. Navy, who led to the capture of many of the Barrier forts in China in 1856, and who was engaged in many Civil War battles, wrote –

Among the many noteworthy and suggestive chapters in the Bible, no omitting the magnificent epic of Job, Psalm 90 is a great favorite with me. Its majestic phrasing and solid statements often sounds in my ears. It seems to declare and impress upon us the height and majesty, the omnipotence, the unchanging purposes and eternal grace of Almighty God more comprehensively and profoundly than any other chapter in Holy Writ.  It also sets forth the solemn fact of man’s brief life and evanescent work in a way that even a fool in his sublimest folly can understand and take home to himself the ever-living truth that from the earth he sprang and to the earth he must soon return, while God reigns from everlasting to everlasting and his testimonies are ever very sure.

There is a twofold Rabbinical tradition respecting the last two verses of this Prayer-Psalm of Moses the Man of God, namely, that they were the original prayer recited by Moses as a blessing on the work of making the Tabernacle and its ornaments, and that subsequently he employed the verses in the usual benediction for any newly undertaken task, whenever God’ glorious Majesty was to be consulted for an answer by the Urim and the Thummim. 

Martin Luther reckoned that in the word beauty employed here that “there is something like the deluge of grace.”  May such a deluge be ours as we seek to live under the influence of this mighty Prayer of Moses!

Psalm 90
1599 Geneva Bible

A prayer of Moses, the man of God.

Lord, thou hast been our habitation from generation to generation.

Before the mountains were made, and before thou hadst formed the earth, and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting thou art our God.

Thou turnest man to destruction: again thou sayest, Return ye sons of Adam.

For a thousand years in thy sight are as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.

Thou hast overflowed them, they are as a sleep, in the morning he groweth like the grass:

In the morning it flourisheth and groweth, but in the evening it is cut down and withereth.

For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled.

Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, and our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.

For all our days are past in thine anger: we have spent our years as a thought.

10 The time of our life is threescore years and ten, and if they be of strength, fourscore years: yet their strength is but labor and sorrow: for it is cut off quickly, and we flee away.

11 Who knoweth the power of thy wrath? for according to thy fear is thine anger.

12 Teach us so to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

13 Return (O Lord, how long?) and be pacified toward thy servants.

14 Fill us with thy mercy in the morning: so shall we rejoice and be glad all our days?

15 Comfort us according to the days that thou hast afflicted us, and according to the years that we have seen evil.

16 Let thy work be seen toward thy servants, and thy glory upon their children.

17 And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and direct thou the work of our hands upon us, even direct the work of our hands.

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Taken adapted from, Psalms: A Devotional Commentary, written by Herbert Lockyer, Sr.
Taken from, “The Psalms in History and Biography,” written by John Ker,

Just a Bit O’ History… Psalm 89: Celestial City after the Slough of Despond

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Psalm 89.

‘Who in the heaven can be compared unto the Lord? Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the Lord?

–Verse 6.   

‘The reply of a French Huguenot to a courtier who was urging Henry IV to choose the strongest side.’

This long Psalm is like the Celestial City after the Slough of Despond of the previous Psalm.  Oh, what a change! Psalm 88 commences with a sob –Psalm 89 with a song.  The former ends in darkness, the latter in benediction and doxology.

Gregory the Great raised the question as to how perpetual singing of the mercies of God is compatible with the unalloyed bliss in Heaven, inasmuch as the thought of mercy connotes the memory of sin and sorrow, which needed mercy, whereas Isaiah said that “the former troubles are forgotten,” and “the former things shall not be remembered, nor come upon the heart,” Is. 65: 15, 17.  Then Gregory gives the explanation, “It will be like the memory of past sickness in the time of health, without strain, without grief, and serving only to heighten the felicity of the redeemed, by the contrast with the past, and to increase their love and gratitude towards God.” 

It would seem as if this was also the sentiment of saintly Bernard of Clairvaux, expressed in this verse—

Their breasts are filled with gladness,
Their mouths are turned to praise,

What time, now safe forever
On former sins they gaze:
The fouler the error,
The sadder the fall,
The ampler are the praises
Of Him Who pardoned all.
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What man is he that lives, that shall not see death?

–Verse 48

The word for man here means, what hero, or champion, or great man. The same word is used of a king, Psalmist saith, is certain to all: all shall die.”  So Justices Shallow to Silence, alluding to Psalm 89:48.  “What man is he that liveth and shall not see death?”

Death spares no rank, no condition of men. We read that Julius Caesar bid the master of the ship wherein he was sailing, notwithstanding the boisterous tempest, because he was Caesar and his fortunes embarked in that vessel, as much to say, the element on which they could not prove fatal to an Emperor, so great a one as he was.

England’s William, surnamed Rufus, once said that he never heard of a king that was drowned.  Charles the 5th, at the Battle of Tunis, being advised to retire when the battle became fierce, told them that it was never known that an Emperor was slain with great shot, and so rushed into battle. But the fact of the matter is that no king or crowned head escaped the blow of death at last.  The Scepter cannot keep off “the arrows that fly by day and the sickness that wastes at noonday.” Great Tyrants have vaunted that they had the power of life, and death, but yet were not able to guard against the shafts of their own death.  To king and knave alike the King of Terrors comes.

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,

Await alike the inevitable hour—
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
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Blessed be the Lord forever more, Amen, and Amen,

–Verse 52.

The Psalmist ends where he began; he has sailed round the world and reached port again.  Perhaps he wrote this Psalm in his old age when troubles were coming thick and heavy upon the dynasty of David and the land of Judah, and thus left a text-book for the spiritual instructions for future generations.  Victory begins to shine in this last verse, marking the end of the Third Book of the Psalms.

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Taken adapted from, Psalms: A Devotional Commentary, written by Herbert Lockyer, Sr.

Taken from, “The Psalms in History and Biography,” written by John Ker,

Just a Bit O’ History… Psalm 84: A Vision of the King in His Temple

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Jocelyn,in his life of Kentigern, tells of an interview between him and Columba, in A.D. 584, at a place called Mellindenor, where they and their companies met one another singing psalms. Mellindenor is what is now known as Molendinar, rivus molendinarius, the little stream by Glasgow Cathedral, used for the primitive mill, –the first glimpse we have of the city with mills innumerable, with a kind of anticipation of its motto of welfare through the preaching of the Word. The psalms said to have been sung were on the side of Kentigern, Ps. 138:5, ‘In the ways of the Lord, how great is the glory of the Lord!’ and on the side of Columba ‘they sang with tuneful voices’ Ps. 84:7, ‘The saints shall go from strength to strength, until unto the God of gods appeareth everyone in Sion.’ It is matter of regret that the lives of these good men should have been disfigured, through the superstition of a later age, with so many trifling legends; but the evidence we have of their delight in the Psalms and Gospels is proof of their deep spiritual feeling.

Foxe, in his Book of Martyrs, under the year 1554, in the reign of Queen Mary, gives an account of one William Hunter, nineteen years of age, who was pursued to death for the gospel’s sake. It is taken from his brother’s narration. ‘He suffered with great constancy, and recited the 84th Psalm as he was a-dying. There was a gentleman standing beside him who said,” I pray God have mercy upon his soul.” The people said, “Amen, Amen.” Immediately fire was made. Then William cast his Psalter right into his brother’s hand, who said, “William, think on the holy passion of Christ, and be not afraid of death!” And William answered, ” I am not afraid.” Then, lifting up his hands to heaven, he said,”Lord, Lord, Lord, receive my spirit;” and, casting down his head again into the smothering smoke, he yielded up his life for the truth, sealing it with his blood to the praise of God.’

When Thomas Halyburton was dying, he caused them to read the 84th Psalm, and to sing the latter part of it,”

‘Lord God of hosts, my prayer hear ;
O Jacob’s God, give ear.
See God our shield,look on the face
Of thine anointed dear.’

He joined in singing, and, after prayer, he said, ‘I had always a mistimed voice and a bad ear, but that which is worst of all, is a mistimed heart. But, shortly, when I join the temple service above, there shall not be, world without end, one string of the affections out of tune.’ And, after that, he caused one of the ministers to read to him what Dr. Owen had said of this temple service above, in his book on the Person of Christ.

Thomas Halyburton, born 1674, died 1712, with a brief life, has left in Scotland a well-known name. He was a man of remarkable ability, uniting a fervent nature with a decided power of metaphysical thought. His piety had the character of that of Rutherford and M’Cheyne, clinging to the person of Christ with a deep, intimate affection. His death-bed sayings, many of which were preserved by his friends, are like those of Bunyan’s pilgrims by the river’s brink when they looked across to the King in his beauty. One of them is,

‘O blessed be God that ever I was born! I have
a father, a mother, and ten brethren and sisters in
heaven, and I shall be the eleventh. O blessed be
the day that ever I was born !’

He was Professor of Divinity at St. Andrews, and lies there by Rutherford’s side.

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Psalm 84

Geneva Bible

O Lord of hosts, how amiable are thy Tabernacles? My soul longeth, yea, and fainted for the courts of the Lord: for my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God. Yea, the sparrow hath found her an house, and the swallow a nest for her, where she may lay her young: even by thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my king and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in thine house, they will ever praise thee. Selah.

Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee, and in whose heart are thy ways. They going through the valley of Baca, make wells therein: the rain also covereth the pools. They go from strength to strength, till every one appear before God in Zion. 

O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer, hearken, O God of Jacob. Selah. Behold, O God, our shield, and look upon the face of thine Anointed. For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand other where: I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tabernacles of wickedness. For the Lord God is the sun and shield unto us: the Lord will give grace and glory, and no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

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Written by John Ker, D. D.
Taken from, “The Psalms in History and Biography,”
Wikipedia, and other sources.
Edited for thought and sense.

Just a Bit O’ History… Psalm 81: A Framework of an Appeal, and a Lament of Blessings Lost

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Psalm 81

“Hear, 0 my people,and I will testify unto thee: 0 Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto me: there shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god. I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt.”

–Psalm 81: 8-16.

The whole passage forms the beginning of the appeal…

…the Scottish exiles in Newcastle, Aug. 10, 1584. They had been compelled to quit Scotland, owing to the oppressive course which was afterwards pursued in Church and State for a full century, during the reign of the later Stuarts. At the head of the exiled party were Andrew Melville and his nephew James, and here was drawn up the system of government for the Church of Scotland, which fought its way to a definite triumph in the Glasgow Assembly of 1638.

Andrew Melville took up the standard from the dying hand of John Knox, and, instead of Frankfort and Geneva, the shelter of the refugees was found in Berwick and Newcastle. The common interest of the Reformation was now drawing England and Scotland more closely together, especially to the side of the Puritans, and was even then preparing the way for the union of the kingdoms.

Psalm 81

Geneva Bible

Sing joyfully unto God our strength: sing loud unto the God of Jacob. Take the song and bring forth the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the viol. Blow the trumpet in the new moon, even in the time appointed at our feast day.

For this is a statute for Israel, and a Law of the God of Jacob. He set this in Joseph for a testimony, when he came out of the land of Egypt, where I heard a language, that I understood not. I have withdrawn his shoulder from the burden, and his hands have left the pots. Thou calledst in affliction, and I delivered thee, and answered thee in the secret of the thunder: I proved thee at the waters of Meribah. Selah.

Hear, O my people, and I will protest unto thee: O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto me, And wilt have no strange god in thee, neither worship any strange god, (For I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt); open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. But my people would not hear my voice, and Israel would none of me, So I gave them up unto the hardness of their heart, and they have walked in their own counsels.

Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! I would soon have humbled their enemies, and turned mine hand against their adversaries. The haters of the Lord should have been subject unto him, and their time should have endured forever. And God would have fed them with the fat of wheat, and with honey out of the rock would I have sufficed thee.

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Written by John Ker, D. D.
Taken from, “The Psalms in History and Biography,”
Wikipedia, and other sources.
Edited for thought and sense.

Just a Bit O’ History… Psalm 79: A Cry from Extremis, and a Call to God for Forgiveness, for Mercy, and for Compassion.

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Psalm 79

Fourteen Protestants of Meaux, arrested at a meeting, sang this psalm as they went to death,

‘Les gens entres sont en ton heritage.’

‘O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance.’ The priests and monks tried to drown their voices by singing ‘0 salutaris hoslia;’ but the song of the martyrs was silenced only by the flames. While some of these sufferers chose psalms with the cry for pardon for sin, and others the hope and joy of the divine vision, there were those again who, as in this case, appealed to God for his persecuted truth. Crespin, the early French martyrologist, tells of one of these, Jean Kabac, put to death with indescribable cruelty, at Angers, in 1556, that he continued to sing this psalm till he had scarcely the form of a man, and so gave up his soul to God.

It was not till 1562 that the Huguenots were driven to resistance by these barbarities, and by the massacres committed by the Duke of Guise. No one who is ignorant of this history can estimate rightly the position taken up by John Knox, when all the craft of her uncles sought to employ Mary Stuart as an instrument for crushing the Reformation, first in Scotland and then in England. It was his foresight and firmness which thwarted the deeply laid plans of the Papal party in France and at Borne.

Verse 2. We are told in Jurieu’s Letters that the Protestants of Metz sang this verse when they lifted from a heap of refuse, where it had been cast, the body of one of their brethren, a judge of the city, and carried it away to internment.

Verse 8. ‘O remember not against us former iniquities: let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us; for we are brought very low.’ They were the last words of John Owen, who died August 24, 1683, when things looked very dark in England and Scotland for the cause of religious truth and freedom. It was the time of which the poet Waller has said,–

‘Bold is the man who dares engage
For piety in such an age.’

Indifference, infidelity, immorality were general in court and country, and the Church of Rome was in great hope of regaining its power. But Owen had a bright hope beyond. When told, in his last illness, that his book, Meditations on the Glory of the Redeemer, perhaps the most remarkable, certainly the most elevated, of all his works, had just been put to the press, the dying man lifted up his hands, and said, ‘I am glad to hear it, the long wished for day is come at last, in which I shall see that glory in another manner than I have ever done, or was capable of doing, in this world.’

Psalm 79

Geneva Bible

 O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance: thine holy Temple have they defiled, and made Jerusalem heaps of stones. The dead bodies of thy servants have they given to be meat unto fowls of the heaven,and the flesh of thy saints unto the beasts of the earth. Their blood have they shed like waters, round about Jerusalem, and there was none to bury them. We are a reproach to our neighbors, even a scorn and derision unto them that are round about us.

Lord, how long wilt thou be angry, forever? shall thy jealousy burn like fire? Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thy Name. For they have devoured Jacob, and made his dwelling place desolate.

Remember not against us the former iniquities, but make haste, and let thy tender mercies prevent us: for we are in great misery. Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy Name, and deliver us, and be merciful unto our sins for thy Name’s sake.

Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is their God? let them be known among the heathen in our sight by the vengeance of the blood of thy servants that is shed. Let the sighing of the prisoners come before thee: according to thy mighty arm preserve the children of death,  And render to our neighbors sevenfold into their bosom their reproach, wherewith they have reproached thee, O Lord.  So we thy people, and sheep of thy pasture shall praise thee forever: and from generation to generation we will set forth thy praise.

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Written by John Ker, D. D.
Taken from, “The Psalms in History and Biography,”
Wikipedia, and other sources.
Edited for thought and sense.

Just a Bit O’ History… Psalm 73: A Meditation for the Weary, Bitter, and the Stumbling

2011-07-034Psalm 73

After the defeat of Montcontour, as they were carrying Admiral Coligny off the field, nearly suffocated by the blood of three wounds pouring into his closed visor, an old friend, who was being carried wounded beside him, repeated the first verse of this psalm,”

‘Si est ce que Dieu est tres doux’
‘Truly God is good to Israel,’

The historian adds, ‘That great captain confessed afterwards that this short word refreshed him, and put him in the way of good thoughts and firm resolutions for the future.’ If the whole psalm is read, it will be seen to be singularly suited to such an emergency; and so well were the psalms then known, that the first verse called up the whole.

Ver. 25. One of the most interesting records of the Covenanting time, is the diary of Mrs. Veitch, wife of one of the outlawed ministers who was imprisoned and exiled, and more than once in view of the scaffold. They survived all, and after the Revolution he became minister, first of Peebles and then of Dumfries, where he died. An extract from her journal may give some idea of the tenderness of heart that lay beneath the stern conscience of those times, and of the springs of simple faith in personal experience which refreshed and strengthened them in their endurance for principle.

She tells of the death of her third son, twelve years of age, with whom, and other children, she had taken refuge in Northumberland, while her husband and her older sons were in Holland. She saw the death of her child approaching, but feared that the thought of it was bitter to him. When in this state of anxiety she says, ‘One day, calling me to his bedside, he told me that the world had lost its attractions to him, and that he was resigned to die. I asked the reason of this, as his heart seemed to be otherwise set. He said that he had been praying and giving himself to Christ; that Christ had assured him of the delight he took in his soul, and this had comforted him. Afterwards he said, “Is it not a wonder that Jesus Christ should have died for sinners? Oh, this is a good tale, and we should think often on it.” He frequently repeated these words, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee,” which refreshed me,’ says his mother, ‘more than if I had been made heir of a great estate. Calling for his brother, who was at home, and his sisters, he blessed them all, and bade them farewell. On becoming unable to speak, he held up his hand while I spoke to him of death and heaven. At last, with his own hand he closed his eyes, and so we parted in hope of a glorious meeting.’

Ver. 26. ‘My flesh and my heart fails, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever,’ was the last verse on which the thoughts of Charles Wesley rested, and with which his sanctified genius rose to higher notes among angels and ransomed spirits. His death was like his life. He called his wife, and bade her write to his dictation. It was the last of seven thousand hymns, some of them the finest in the English language, which had swelled from his heart day and night, wherever he moved.

In age and feebleness extreme,
Who shall a sinful worm redeem?
Jesus, my only hope thou art,
Strength of my failing flesh and heart ;
0, could I catch a smile from thee,
And drop into eternity!

 

Psalm 73

Geneva Bible

Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
3 For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.[a]
5 They are free from common human burdens;
they are not plagued by human ills.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
they clothe themselves with violence.
7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity[b];
their evil imaginations have no limits.
8 They scoff, and speak with malice;
with arrogance they threaten oppression.
9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
and their tongues take possession of the earth.
10 Therefore their people turn to them
and drink up waters in abundance.[c]
11 They say, “How would God know?
Does the Most High know anything?”
12 This is what the wicked are like—
always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.
13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
and have washed my hands in innocence.
14 All day long I have been afflicted,
and every morning brings new punishments.
15 If I had spoken out like that,
I would have betrayed your children.
16 When I tried to understand all this,
it troubled me deeply
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.
18 Surely you place them on slippery ground;
you cast them down to ruin.
19 How suddenly are they destroyed,
completely swept away by terrors!
20 They are like a dream when one awakes;
when you arise, Lord,
you will despise them as fantasies.
21 When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
22 I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.
23 Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
27 Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.
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Written by John Ker, D. D.
Taken from, “The Psalms in History and Biography,”
Wikipedia, and other sources.
Edited for thought and sense.
god-strenght