Psalm 49 should not be used to defend injustice or to suggest that it’s fine to be rich and unconcerned about the suffering of the poor (see Micah 6:1-16; James 5:1-6). There is plenty in Scripture that calls us to care for the poor (for example, Isa. 58:1-14). But, the fact that we all will die puts life and riches in perspective. It can help us break free from the bondage of resenting those who have what we do not. It reminds us that true life is not to be found in the accumulation of goods, but in using what we have been given for good.
I love to walk around it a city. Walking in Boston, New York, or San Francisco is, indeed, one of my favorite things to do. There is so much to see, to smell, to hear, and to experience. There are so many fascinating people to look at, but not too obviously.
Given my joy in walking around in a city, you can see why Psalm 48:12 caught my attention.
What is the purpose of our existence? The question is not new. Our text from Psalm 8, asks a similar question in a slightly different way, “What are human beings that you are mindful of them?”
Every now and then, I need to be reminded of why I worship. Perhaps you do too.
“Be still and know that I am God!” There are few verses in the whole Bible that I need to remember more than this one. Unfortunately, I am wired for anything other than stillness in knowing that God is God.
When I was a boy, I loved watching Adventures of Superman on our black-and-white Motorola television set. How I longed to be just like that “strange visitor from another planet” who fought a “never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way.”
Superman, ironically enough, has much in common with the king who is praised in Psalm 45. This psalm is unusual in that it is addressed, not to God or to the people of Israel, but to the king on the occasion of his wedding (45:13-15).
Psalm 44:23-24 comes in the context of an extended lament, in which the psalmist accuses God of mistreating his people, even though they have not broken his covenant (44:17). The lament concludes with this gripping verse: “Yet for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered” (v. 22).
If Psalm 43 seems strangely familiar, that’s because it is the ending of the psalm we know as Psalm 42. This is clear from the themes as well as the exact echo of 42:11 in 43:5. Both verses read: “Why, my soul are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
Have you ever been thirsty? I mean really thirsty. I’m not thinking about ordinary thirst, the kind you can quench with a quick drink of water. Rather, I have in mind an aching, desperate thirst. Have you experienced anything like this?
In the NRSV, Psalm 41:1 reads, “Happy are those who consider the poor; the LORD delivers them in the day of trouble.” The English verb “to consider” rightly captures the sense of the underlying Hebrew verb, which means, “to pay attention, to ponder” (sakhal in the Hiphil). This verb conveys the sense of focusing one’s mind and heart on something or someone.