Suffering is terrible. It is particularly hard when it comes by no fault of your own. Today’s Psalm is a good one to turn to when your suffering blind sides you and there was nothing you could have done to prevent it. Turns to God, not to despair.
- 3-9 – Through Balaam’s obedience to God, he is blessed with a greater understanding and insight to God’s plan, provision, and protection for the Israelites. He expresses this in this oracle.
- 1-5 – God takes idolatry and worship of other gods very seriously.
- 9 – A plague killing 24,000 people seems harsh, but God’s plan was to set the Israelites apart. When they intermixed with other nations, they often fell to the temptation of worshipping other gods. Clearly this Israelite who took the Midianite woman did so without regard to the congregation and interfered with worship in doing so.
- 8-15 – The first people to find out about Jesus’ birth are shepherds, one of the lowliest jobs in their society.
- Simeon offers a special blessing for Jesus because it had been revealed to him who Jesus was. Notice that he also is described as having the Holy Spirit upon him. The Holy Spirit was active and working in people well before Jesus officially sent him to the disciples after his resurrection and ascension.
- This Psalm is good for times when we suffer through no fault of our own. David calls out to God and trusts him to take care of him.
Is that a habit? Get it!?! Because she’s wearing a…oh never mind. Jesus had a habit that he was known for. This habit is mentioned frequently throughout the Gospels and it seemed to be a big part of who he was. Jesus went off by himself to pray. When things were getting rowdy or something major had just happened, Jesus didn’t panic, run away, or take charge, he went to pray. What’s your habit?
- 21 – Note that modifications were made for those who were poor, but everyone still had to offer something.
- 34 – Why would God put leprous disease in an Israelites house if it is unclean? Remember, being unclean wasn’t necessarily because you had sinned and it wasn’t sinful to be unclean.
- The priests must have been extremely busy with leprosy cases considering all the checks and double-checks they had to perform.
- 34 – “Sheep without a shepherd” – like any of us before we find Christ.
- 44 – Five thousand men means there were at least as many women and children.
- 46 – Jesus is frequently described as going off by himself to pray. This seems to be how he regroups and reconnects after strenuous teaching or healings.
- 52 – Once again we see someone’s heart hardened. It does not mention who did the hardening this time. When our hearts are hardened we are unable to recognize God’s work.
- This Psalm is helpful when we need restoration.
- Encouragement to share the work God has done in your life, “I have not hidden your deliverance”, “I have spoken of your faithfulness.”
- The difference in result when our words are righteous and when they’re wicked.
One of the most troubling passages in Scripture is that of Pharaoh’s heart being hardened. Check out the video below to help you navigate it.
- 22-9 – God explains to Moses, and Moses to the Israelites, that God will restore the Israelites to the freedom and plenty of the covenant they’re under, but the Israelites are too oppressed to hear it.
- 2-9 – ancient Jews knew their history and revered the patriarchs; normally this type of introduction of God and explanation of what he would do would have been powerful; they were so separated and broken, it did not
- 10-13 – Once again, Moses has a set back and wants to shrink from what God is calling him to.
- 14 – we begin to see people identified by tribe. Moses and Aaron come from the Levite tribe
- 3 – The concept of Pharaoh’s heart being hardened is a challenging one. It begs the question, does God also harden our hearts or the hearts of others? This Bible Project video is very helpful in explaining the concept of Pharaoh’s heart being hardened.
- 8-13 – Pharaoh’s magicians could match Moses and Aaron’s miraculous acts to a point. God always prevailed somehow.
- 22-23 – So far, Pharaoh is unimpressed. It’s important to note that the Pharaoh was seen as a god. He felt that he was equal with God so it makes a little more sense why he struggles so much with humbling himself and being obedient to God.
- 23-35 – We are to forgive as we have been forgiven.
- 3-9 – Moses created divorce certificates to put parameters around how divorce should happen. Creating the divorce certificates was not done so divorce could happen but to regulate the divorce that the Israelites were already doing.
- 11-12 – Eunuchs = men without genitals so they could not commit sexual sins; often used as servants so they could not defile the women they served
- The most famous psalm and possibly the most famous passage overall. This psalm is one showing David’s complete trust and reliance on God’s blessings and provision.
- God compared to a shepherd, a common occupation – cares for, protects, guides, and provides for his sheep.
- We view so many of our sins as fairly harmless or as one time events. Instead, our sins entangle us and drag us down to death.