Easy English Bible - Psalms
The Psalms of David
An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalms 73 to 89
Words in boxes are from the Bible.
A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.
The translated Bible text has yet to go through Advanced Checking.
Here are some of the things that you should know as you read the psalms in this book.
1. At the top of each psalm (say it "sarm") is a title in Dark Letters. This title is not in the *Hebrew psalm. It is not part of the Bible. It is there to give us help to remember the psalm and what it is about.
2. Under the title are some words either that Jesus said, or that somebody said about him. These words are from the *Gospels. They are part of the Bible.
3. The psalm itself is in a box. Everything that is in the box is part of the psalm. This includes the words at the top that tell us who wrote the psalm and why. In this book, we believe that these words are true and that they give us some help to understand the psalm. Other parts from the Bible are also in boxes, except the verses under the titles.
4. Words in brackets like this: ( ) are not in the *Hebrew Bible. They give us help to understand what the psalm means.
5. The *Hebrew writers of the psalms used some words that we cannot translate into EasyEnglish words. These are in a word list at the end of this book. Some words are very important, like *LORD and *righteous. You will find a whole page about these words after some of the psalms. *Righteous is after Psalm 5, the *Covenant is after Psalm 25 and the names of God (*LORD, *Lord and God) are also after Psalm 25. These psalms are in Book 1 of the Psalms of David.
6. After each psalm is the story of the psalm. Some of the psalms we know a lot about, as Psalm 18. Other psalms we do not know anything about, as Psalm 1. When this happens we say "perhaps" or "maybe".
7. After the stories comes "what the psalm means". Sometimes Bible students are not sure what the writer meant. When that happens the notes tell you.
8. At the end of each psalm, there is "something to do". This will give you help to learn more about the psalm.
Book 3 of the Psalms
The word psalms comes from a *Hebrew word meaning "*praises". You *praise someone when you say that they are great and good. The words you say are "*praises". Many of the psalms in Books 1 (1-41) and 2 (42-72) of the Psalms are "Psalms of David". This means that he wrote them, or someone else wrote them for him and put them in David’s book of psalms. But only Psalm 86 in Book 3 of the Psalms is "a psalm (or *prayer) of David". The other 16 are by 4 other people:
· 73 - 83 are "psalms or *maskils of Asaph".
· 84, 85 and 87 are "psalms of the sons of Korah".
· 88 is a "psalm of the sons of Korah" and a "*maskil of Heman".
· 89 is a "*maskil of Ethan".
Who were Asaph, Korah, Heman and Ethan? Why are their names on the psalms?
Bible students are not sure what the "of" means in the *Hebrew "psalm of Asaph ... or Korah ... or Heman ... or Ethan". It may mean that he wrote the psalm. It may mean that someone wrote the psalm for him. Asaph’s name is also on Psalm 50. Korah’s name is on Psalms 42(43), and 44-49. Psalms 42-50 are in Book 2 of "The Psalms of David". 88 and 89 are the only psalms with Heman and Ethan on them. Bible students think that "*maskil" is a special psalm. It is a psalm that teaches us something.
Who was Asaph?
We can read about Asaph in two books of the *Old Testament, Chronicles and Nehemiah. From them we learn 4 things about Asaph:
· his father was Berechiah (1 Chronicles 6:39)
· he was a music leader (1 Chronicles 15:17 ... this verse also calls Heman and Ethan music leaders)
· he was a *seer (2 Chronicles 29:30) … a *seer can "see what will happen", it is another word for "*prophet"
· he lived at the same time as King David (Nehemiah 12:46)
In 1 Chronicles 25: 1 - 2 we read this:
v1 David and the leaders of the army made these people separate. They were the sons of Asaph, the sons of Heman and the sons of Jeduthun. Their job was to *prophesy. They had to make music with *harps, *lyres and *cymbals.
v2 Here is a list of the men that did this work. From the sons of Asaph (there are) Jaccur, Joseph, Nethaniah and Asarelah. Asaph told the sons of Asaph what to do. Asaph *prophesied with help from the king.
"To *prophesy" means "to tell people what God thinks and what he is going to do". They did this with music. Maybe this means that they sang what they *prophesied.
Asaph was the leader of "the sons of Asaph". They were his family. When he died the family continued to do this work. For many centuries they were "the sons of Asaph". It became the name of a music group. Ezra 3:10 tells us that they sang when they built the *temple in Jerusalem again. This was 500 years after Asaph died! Maybe the family wrote a book of psalms called "Psalms of the Sons of Asaph". We do not know. But, when the *Israelites made our Book of Psalms, they put into it some of the Psalms of Asaph. Bible students think that Asaph made a book of psalms, and some (or all?) of them are in our Book of Psalms. They are Psalm 50 (in Book 2 of "The Psalms of David") and Psalms 73-83 (here in Book 3).
The psalms from Asaph’s book do this:
· they describe the world round us in a clear way
· they tells us that God cares for people
· they make what has happened teach us things
· they tell us that God is very great
· they are good *poetry (*poetry is using words in a beautiful way)
Who was Korah?
Levi was one of the 12 sons of Jacob. Levi’s sons, and their sons, for many hundreds of years, worked in the *temple. At first, this was a *tent (or house made from animal skins); but later it was a stone building in Jerusalem. Some of them were *priests. They killed animals and burned them, to make God happy. The rules for this are in Leviticus. Other men gave them help. Some of them made music. These included the sons of Asaph and the sons of Korah. Here, "sons" means grandchildren, great grandchildren, and so on. The "sons of Asaph" made music for hundreds of years. Ezra 2:41 and Nehemiah 7:44 tell us that they did it after the *exile. The *exile was when King Nebuchadnezzar took the *Israelites to Babylon in 587 BC. "*Exile" means "away from your own country".
But the "sons of Korah" did not make music after the *exile. Korah was a bad man. He died when the *Israelites came from Egypt to Israel. His children, and their children, and so on, are the "sons of Korah". They were a group of singers in the *temple in Jerusalem. They did not only sing, they were doorkeepers also, 1 Chronicles 26:19. This means that they only let the right people into the *temple. But after the *exile we hear no more about them. Maybe they stayed in Babylon. But they still used their psalms in the *temple in Jerusalem.
The "sons of Korah" maybe had a book of psalms as well as the "sons of Asaph". Some of these are in our Book of Psalms. Maybe they wrote them; maybe other people wrote them and gave them to the "sons of Korah".
The psalms from the sons of Korah do this:
· they tell us that they like to *praise God in special places
· they believe that *Yahweh (the *LORD) is king in Jerusalem
· they are good *poetry
Who were Heman and Ethan?
We do not know much about these two men. They were Levites (which means that they are in Levi’s family. They were not his sons, but great .... grandchildren. Ethan was another doorkeeper in the *temple. Both men gave help with the *temple music.
Now I Understand
Jesus said, "Make sure that your valuable things are in *heaven". (Matthew 6:20) (*Heaven is the home of God.)
(This is) a psalm of *Asaph.
v1 I am sure that God is good to (the people of) Israel,
to the people whose hearts are clean.
v2 But (this is what happened) to me.
My feet nearly *slipped and I almost fell over.
v3 Some people had made themselves important.
Because I was angry, I wanted the things they had.
I saw that *godless people had plenty!
v4 And so their bodies are fat (and *healthy).
Even when they die, they feel no pain.
v5 They do not have trouble *like other people
or the difficulties that hit everyone else.
v6 So they, (the *godless), wear their *pride *like a *necklace.
The bad things that they do, they wear them *like clothes.
v7 Their eyes look out from fat faces.
Their hearts are full of *pride.
v8 They laugh (at people) and say bad things (about them).
In their *pride they talk about *oppressing people.
v9 The mouths (of the *godless) say that the skies belong to them.
And their *tongues demand the earth.
v10 So his (God’s) people turn to them.
They drink everything from them (the *godless).
v11 And they (God’s people) ask, "How can God know?"
And (they ask) "Does the *Most High see everything?"
v12 This, then, is what *godless people (say and do).
They have no trouble and plenty of money!
v13 I was sure that I had made my heart clean
for no good purpose!
Also, I had washed my hands
to show that I had done nothing wrong (for no reason)!
v14 I had trouble all day
and it started to hurt me every morning!
v15 If I had said, "I will agree (with what the *godless say)";
then I would have let down all your children.
v16 When I thought about this,
it was so hard for me (to understand).
v17 Then I went into the house of God.
That was when I understood what would happen to them (the *godless).
v18 (Then) I was sure that you would put them
in a place where they would *slip!
You would throw them down and destroy them.
v19 It will take just a moment to destroy them!
Great *fear will sweep them away completely.
v20 It will be *like when you wake up from a dream.
*Lord, when you get up, you will forget that they were there!
v21 When my heart hurt me and my stomach was painful...
v22 ...I was *stupid and I knew nothing.
I was as an angry animal with you!
v23 But really I was always with you.
(Now) you hold me by my right hand.
v24 What you say to me will be my guide.
And then you will take me to *glory.
v25 I know nobody in *heaven except you.
And, with you, there is nothing (else) on earth that I want.
v26 My heart and my body may fail,
but God will always make me strong.
He is all that I will ever need.
v27 I am sure that people far from you will die.
You will destroy everybody that does not obey you.
v28 But it is good for me to be near to God.
I have made the master and *LORD my safe place.
I will tell (people) about the good things that you do.
The Story of Psalm 73
This is a psalm by *Asaph, or one that somebody wrote for him or his music group. You can read about *Asaph at the end of this psalm.
The *psalmist had a problem. Bad people had plenty of money and things. Good people did not. Why? Would it be better for him to be bad? Then he went into God’s house. There he understood that bad people would die, but good people would always live with God!
In this psalm, we have translated "bad people" as "*godless". This meant:
· before 500 BC, people who were not *Israelites
· after 500 BC, people who did not obey God and fought against him; it did not matter who they were
BC means years Before Christ came to live on the earth. About 500 BC was when many *Israelites returned home from the *exile. They came from Babylon.
So the *psalmist starts with what he had learned: God is good to the people whose hearts are clean.
What Psalm 73 means
The psalm is in three parts. They all start with the same word in *Hebrew: ak. It means "surely". We have translated it "I am sure" in verse 1 and "I was sure" in verses 13 and 18.
Verses 1 – 12: The *psalmist (maybe *Asaph) starts with what he thinks is true. "God is good to Israel", verse 1. He then says whom he means by Israel. It is not everyone that lives in that land. It is only those "whose hearts are clean". This means the people that love and obey God. There are other people in Israel that do not love and obey God. He calls these "the *godless", verse 3. The *godless had plenty of money and things. God did not seem to *punish them. This made *Asaph angry! He also wanted plenty of things. He almost stopped loving and obeying God. That is what "my feet nearly *slipped and I almost fell over" means, verse 2. The important words are "nearly" and "almost". God did not let the *psalmist fall. God was with the *psalmist, even if the *psalmist did not believe it.
Then *Asaph tells us more about the *godless:
· they have plenty to eat and drink so they are fat (or *healthy), verse 4
· when they die they do not have a lot of pain like some people, verse 4
· they do not have trouble *like most people, verse 5
· they make everyone see that they think that they are important, verse 6 (*necklace and clothes are what people see)
· they are *proud (which means they think that they are important), verse 7 and they *oppress people (or are not kind to them), verse 8
· they say that everything in *heaven and earth belongs to them, verse 9
All this makes "his people turn to them", verse 10. The *Hebrew Bible does not say who "his people" are, or "them". Many Bible students think that it means this: God’s people (whose hearts are clean) want to be *like the *godless. They want this so that they too can have plenty of money and things. They "drink everything", verse 10, or "do everything the *godless do". Then they ask each other if God knows what they have done, verse 11. The answer is God does know because he is with his people.
Some Bible students think that it is the *godless that ask the questions in verse 11. The *Hebrew Bible only reads "they". But the answer is the same: God knows about them also! This part of the psalm finishes with "the *godless have no trouble and plenty of money", verse 12.
Verses 13 – 17: Now *Asaph tells us his thoughts. He "almost fell over", verse 2, but he did not really fall over. As he says in verse 23, "I was always with you (God)". But he did want what the *godless had. We say that they "*tempted" him. He even wrote in verse 13 that "his heart was clean for no good purpose". This means that it was a waste of time being a good *Israelite! But he did not *slip and fall over, verse 2, for several reasons:
· God was always with him, verse 23
· when the *godless *tempted him, he felt bad, verse 14
· he would have hurt the good *Israelites (or "let them down"), verse 15
· he wanted to understand why it happened, verse 16
So he went to the house of God. Maybe this was the *temple in Jerusalem. We know *Asaph went there, 2 Chronicles 5:12. Maybe it was another house of God. It does not matter where it was, or when. The *psalmist saw what would happen to the *godless. He tells us in the last part of the psalm.
Verses 18 – 28: God would surprise the *godless, verses 18-20 and 27. In a moment, God would destroy them. One minute they would be there, the next minute they would not! It would be *like a dream. When you wake up, it has gone, verse 20. The verse says that it is God that wakes up to find them gone. It is true for God’s people also.
The *psalmist was sorry, verses 21-22. He knew nothing! He was *stupid! He was *like a wild animal! His heart (thoughts) and his stomach (body) had hurt him, but it was all his fault! (Fault means "doing wrong".) God was with him all the time and that was the most important thing in life, verses 23-26. Look at what he wrote about it:
· God would hold his hand and be his guide, verses 23-24
· God would take him to *glory, verse 24
· God would give him everything on earth he needed, verses 25-26
· God would make him strong, verse 26
Christians believe that "take me to *glory" in verse 24 means "take me to *heaven". This is because only God has *real *glory and God’s home is *heaven. The word "*glory" means "something that shines very much".
So the *psalmist made God his "safe place", verse 28. Another word for "safe place" is "*refuge". It is a place where you can find shelter. In a storm, a shelter will keep the wind and rain off you. In the storms of life (the bad things that happen) God will keep you safe. This is what the *psalmist believed. It is better to be "near to God" than to have plenty of money and things. In a moment they will all be gone, but God will always be with us!
Something to do
1. Read Psalm 37. Does it teach the same things as Psalm 73? Psalm 37 is in Book 2 of "The Psalms of David".
2. When you see bad people have a lot of money and things, do not get angry. Go to a quiet place and talk to God about it. Listen for his answer. It may come:
· through a Bible verse
· from a Christian friend
· from something you see
Then tell other people that God is good!
Keep Your Promise!
Jesus said, "One stone will not stay on another. They will all become broken". (Matthew 25:2)
(This is) a *maskil for *Asaph
v1 God, will you never think about us again?
Why are you burning with *anger against the people that belong to you?
v2 Think (again) about:
· your people that you bought a long time ago
· the people that you chose and saved
· the Mountain called Zion where you lived
v3 Go and look at everything that the enemy broke.
He destroyed your *temple!
v4 Your enemies have made an angry noise inside your meeting place.
They have put their own *flags there as signs.
v5 They seemed *like wild men!
They used axes to cut the *temple into pieces!
v6 They used hammers and axes to break the doors
and other things made from wood.
v7 They burned your *temple to the ground!
They said that the place where your name lived was *rubbish!
v8 They said in their hearts, "We will completely destroy them".
So they burned every meeting place of God in the land.
v9 Nobody gives us signs (that are *miracles).
There are no *prophets with us.
Nobody knows how long this will continue.
v10 God, how long will the enemy laugh at you?
Will the enemy always laugh at your name?
v11 Why do you hide your hand (from us), even your right hand?
Take it out from your pocket! Destroy them!
v12 For you, God, have been my king from the beginning.
You have done great things in the earth.
v13 It was you that *divided the sea, because you are so strong.
You broke the heads of the *monsters in the waters.
v14 It was you that broke the heads of *Leviathan.
You gave him as food for the animals in the *desert.
v15 It was you that made *springs and streams.
It was you that made quick-moving rivers dry!
v16 You made both day and night.
It was you that put the moon and the sun in their places.
v17 It was you that said where the (dry) land must be.
It was you that made both summer and winter.
v18 *LORD, think about this:
· an enemy has laughed at you
· and *stupid people have *scorned your name
v19 Do not give the life of your *dove to wild animals.
Do not always forget the lives of your poor people.
v20 Keep your promise!
Because the earth is full of dark places where bad men hide.
v21 Do not let *oppressed people become ashamed.
Let the poor people that need help say how great you are!
v22 Stand up, God! Tell everyone that you are right.
Remember that fools are laughing at you all the time.
v23 Listen to the noise that your enemies make.
The sound of people fighting against you goes on all the time!
The Story of Psalm 74
The *temple was the house of God. It was the place where people came to pray to God, and to *worship him. (*Worship means that you tell someone how great they are, and that you love them.) The *Israelites made several *temples. The most important one was in Jerusalem. Enemies destroyed it twice. The second time, it was the Romans, 70 years after Jesus came to the earth. Jesus had said that this would happen. Look at the top of this psalm for what Jesus said. But about 600 BC, Nebuchadnezzar also destroyed the *temple. He was King of Babylon. He took many of the *Israelites to Babylon. We call this "the *exile". BC means years Before Christ came to the earth.
Psalm 74 is about when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the *temple. The *psalmist asks God to think again! "Keep your promise" in verse 20 is "remember the *covenant" in *Hebrew. The *covenant was when God and the *Israelites agreed. God would *protect them if they obeyed him. The trouble was that they did not obey him. So God let Nebuchadnezzar destroy the *temple. He also took the *Israelites to Babylon. There they had to do what he told them to do. They were in *exile. Really, they were in a prison a long way from home.
Psalm 74 tells us what Nebuchadnezzar did to the *temple. The *Israelites were sorry because Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the *temple. They were not sorry that they had *disobeyed God. ("*Disobeyed" means "did not obey".) That is why God did not have to keep his promise. So he let Nebuchadnezzar and his army destroy the *temple.
What Psalm 74 means
The psalm is in three parts:
Verses 1 – 11: The *psalmist writes about Nebuchadnezzar destroying the *temple in Jerusalem. He asks why God is so angry that he lets it happen. He asks why God does not do something.
Verses 12 – 17: The *psalmist remembers that God is very strong. He made everything! (Some Bible students think this part is about the Exodus. This was the time when Israel went out from Egypt.)
Verses 18 – 23: So the *psalmist asks: if you are so strong, why do you let people destroy your *temple?
Verse 1: Because God let Nebuchadnezzar destroy the *temple, then God was very angry ("burning with *anger") with the *Israelites.
Verse 2: This is about God taking the *Israelites from Egypt. He bought them, chose them and saved them. He took them to Zion. Zion was the hill in Jerusalem where they built the *temple about 1000 BC.
Verses 3 - 8: The enemy destroyed the *temple (and the city of Jerusalem). They cut it up with axes, and they burned it. They "put their own *flags there as signs". Their *flags were bits of cloth with pictures on them. They showed everyone that they had won the fight ... they were "signs" of this.
Verses 9 - 11: Here the signs are different. In verse 4 they were *flags that people could look at. In verse 9 they are things that only God can do, we call them *miracles. But there are no *miracles! There are no *prophets! (Jeremiah Ezekiel and Daniel lived at this time, but maybe the *psalmist did not know them.) The enemy was laughing at God and his people. Why does God hide his right hand, verse 11? This means, why does God not do something? His right hand is his strong hand. The *psalmist asks God to destroy the enemy.
Verse 12: "From the beginning" may mean "when God made *heaven and earth". Then the great things that he has done include:
· Verse 13: *dividing the sea. This means making the sea separate from the waters above the earth, like rain and mist (water in the air).
· Verses 13 and 14: the *monsters and *Leviathan. *Leviathan is the name of an old sea-*monster. Very old stories (that we call legends) tell about God destroying *Leviathan when he made the sea.
Verse 15: This may be about the Exodus (when Israel came out from Egypt). A *spring is water coming from the ground. God then gave his people water in this way. Also, he made both the Red Sea and the River Jordan dry when the *Israelites went from Egypt to Israel. But maybe it is also about when God made the world. He made *springs and streams. He made rivers dry.
Verse 16: The *Hebrew says "the day and the night belong to you". If verses 12-17 are about God making *heaven and earth, then he also made day and night. "The moon" may mean "all the stars".
Verse 17: God decided where the dry land should be. He also made the seasons, like summer and winter.
If you read verses 13-17 in a careful way, you will find "it was you" 7 times. This translates one *Hebrew word, "atta". It comes in an important place each time. Bible students think that it means this: "It was you, God, that made everything. It was not the false gods that some people *worship".
Verses 18 - 23: finish the psalm with *prayer. (A *prayer is what you say when you ask or thank God for something.) Remember what the psalm has said:
· the enemy has destroyed the *temple and God has done nothing (verses 1-11);
· God is so great that he made everything (verses 12-17).
So the psalm finishes with:
· so, God, do something! (verses 18-23).
The problem with this psalm is this. The *psalmist did not know why God let Nebuchadnezzar destroy the *temple. He did not know what the *prophets had said, verse 9. Jeremiah said that it was because the *Israelites *disobeyed God. But the *psalmist did not know that there were any *prophets! Jeremiah even said that God would do something in 70 years time. Again, the *psalmist did not know this (verse 9). To us this is all very strange. We can explain it two ways:
· the *psalmist was so busy working for God that he did not know what was happening
· the psalm is about another *temple, when there were no *prophets (the *Jews had 7 or more *temples)
Bible students do not know. Maybe there is a third way to explain it that we have not found.
Something to do
1. Study verses 12-17, then read Genesis chapter 1 (if you have a Bible).
2. Pray for poor and *oppressed people. Ask God to give them help. These people could be:
· refugees (people running away from their enemies or from bad weather)
· *oppressed (people that have rulers that make them work hard but do not pay them much)
· at war (God will always help people from both sides if they pray to him)
Earthquakes, Horns And A Cup Of Wine!
(See The Notes)
Jesus woke up and he was angry with the wind. He said to the sea, "Shut your mouth and stop making a noise!" And the wind stopped blowing and it was very quiet. (Mark 4:39) (The word that Jesus used was one that people used to make their animals quiet.)
(This is) for the music leader.
(He must use music called) "Do Not Destroy".
(This is) a Psalm of *Asaph (and) a Song.
v1 God, we thank you.
We really thank you because you are still near to us.
This is what the *wonderful things that you have done tell us!
v2 (God said,) "At the time that I will choose, I will be a fair *judge.
v3 When the earth *shakes and everything in it (is afraid),
I will stop its *foundations moving. *SELAH
v4 I say to the people that are *boasting, "Do not *boast".
(I say) to the *godless, "Do not lift up your *horn.
v5 Do not lift your *horn up high.
(Do not) push your neck up high when you speak".
v6 For nobody
· from the east
· or from the west
· or from the *desert (in the south)
· or from the mountains (in the north)
v7 will be *judge. Only God (will be *judge).
He puts one person down and he lifts up another person.
v8 Because there is a cup in the *LORD’s hand.
It is full of *wine, mixing with *spice.
(The *LORD) will pour it out from this (cup).
All the *godless people in the world will drink it.
They will drink the last bit of it.
v9 But I will always talk about (what God did).
I will sing *praise to the God of *Jacob.
v10 (Because he says) "I will cut off all the *horns of the *godless.
But I will lift up the *horns of the *righteous".
The Story of Psalm 75
The psalm tells us that God has done something good for his people. Many Bible students think that the good thing was this. God saved them from the King of Assyria. His name was Sennacherib. Assyria was a country north and east of Judah. Sennacherib fought against many places near Judah and won. But when he fought against the capital city of Judah, he did not win. The capital city was Jerusalem. The *temple was in Jerusalem. God kept the *temple and his people that lived near it safe. You can read the story in Isaiah chapters 36 and 37. About 100 years later God did not keep the *temple and his people safe. You can read about this in Psalm 74.
There are three pictures in Psalm 75. The *psalmist tells us three things in these pictures. He does this because he thinks that we will remember pictures better than words! The pictures are of earthquakes, *horns and a cup of *wine. What do they mean? You can read the notes to find out what each picture is about. But all three of them say one thing: God is our *judge, not men.
What Psalm 75 means
Verses 1 and 9: All the people thank God for what he has done. Because he has given them help, it tells them that God is with them. The *Hebrew Bible says, "Your name is near to us". This is one way that the *Israelites said "You are near to us". God was where his name was! In verse 9, only the *psalmist speaks. He will always talk about what God has done. The "God of *Jacob" means "God of the *Israelites".
Verses 2, 6 and 7: Only God will be the *judge, and he will be a fair *judge. "At the time", in verse 2, means "when God decides to be *judge". This may be in the lives of people, or at the end when they die. If the psalm is about Sennacherib, then it was while he was alive. Later, when he died, God *judged him again. In verse 6, we could translate "the mountains" as "will lift up". They are the same word in *Hebrew. Both are true. Nobody is a more important *judge than God. It does not matter what direction they come from. And as verse 7 tells us, God "puts one person down and he lifts up another". This means that he says that one person is wrong ("puts down") and another person right ("lifts up").
Verse 3: Earthquakes. An earthquake is when the ground moves. Buildings and trees fall over. Big holes appear in the ground. People and animals become very frightened. When Sennacherib came, the people felt as if they were in an earthquake. They were very much afraid. It was not a *real earthquake, but they were just as frightened. God is speaking in verses 2 - 5 (and also verse 10). God says in verse 3 "In an earthquake I can stop the ground moving". This is a picture that tells us this. In a war, God can stop the fighting. The word *SELAH maybe means "stop and think and pray about it".
Verses 4, 5 and 10: Horns. Many animals have horns on their heads. Cows, goats and deer are examples. The horns are bones that they fight with. The horns make them strong and powerful. So, in this psalm, horns are just a picture. The *godless people (like Sennacherib) did not have horns on their heads! "Do not lift up your horn" in verse 4 means "Do not show how strong you are". Maybe it also means "Do not fight". In verse 10 God says, "I will cut off the horns of the *godless". This means that they will not be strong and powerful again. They will be like animals that have lost their horns. They cannot fight. But God’s people, the *righteous, will be strong and powerful. But they must wait for "the time that God will choose", verse 1. "Push your neck up high" in verse 5 means "Think you are more important".
Verse 8: A cup of wine. Wine is a drink with alcohol in it. This wine has spices in it. They make it taste different. The wine is a picture of God *punishing the *godless. *"Punish" means "hurt someone because they have done wrong things". Drinking the wine, then, means "punishing people". "Drink the last bit" means that God will *punish these people completely. This verse is a picture of God *judging his enemies.
Something to do
1. Read other psalms that are about Sennacherib. They are 46, 47, 48 and 76.
2. Think about the word that Jesus used to stop the wind blowing in Mark 4:39. It is a word that we use to tell our animals to be quiet. In England, we tell our *dogs "Down boy!" when they jump on us! Jesus was showing the wind and sea that he was more powerful than they were. He owned them. He was telling them, "Down boy!" Now look at Psalm 46:10. Here God tells Sennacherib, "Down boy!" God was more powerful than Sennacherib.
3. Read Isaiah 36 and 37. The same story is in 2 Kings 18 and 19.
4. Learn to say Psalm 75:9 by heart. (This means without looking at the words.)
5. Read about Asaph at the end of Psalm 73 in this set of psalms.
The notes explain earthquakes, horn, wine and spice.
Sing A Song Of Zion
The *Lion’s *Den
They got up and took Jesus out of the city. They led him to the side of a hill, where men had built their city. They wanted to throw him down. But Jesus just walked away from them, and went on his own way. (Luke 4:29-30)
(This is) for the music leader.
(He must use) *stringed instruments.
(It is) a Psalm of *Asaph (and) a Song.
v1 God is famous in Judah.
His name is great in Israel.
v2 His house is in Salem and his home is in Zion.
v3 There he broke (the enemy’s):
· bow (shooting) fire
· and *sword
· and war (*weapons) *SELAH
v4 You (God) are the Shining One!
(You are) the King from the mountains,
where you robbed your enemy!
v5 (You) took from the brave (enemy) soldiers all (the *weapons) that they had.
Now they are sleeping and will never wake up.
None of the soldiers can use their hands.
v6 When you were angry, God of *Jacob,
both the horses and the men that rode on them fell down dead.
v7 You ... everyone is afraid of you!
Who can remain standing in front of you when you are angry?
v8 From the *heavens you said that you would *judge (the people).
All the earth was afraid of you and became quiet.
v9 (This happened), God, when you came to *judge
and to save the *oppressed people in the land. *SELAH
v10 So the *anger of men will *praise you.
What remains of their *anger you will wear (as *praise).
v11 Make a promise to the *LORD your God and do (what you promise).
Let everyone that lives near bring a gift to the God that people are afraid of.
v12 He breaks the *spirit of rulers.
All the kings of the world are afraid of him.
The Story of Psalm 76
Sennacherib was the King of Assyria. Assyria was a very strong country to the north and east of Judah. About 700 years before Jesus came to the earth, Sennacherib attacked Judah. But God fought for Judah. Sennacherib did not win the war. Many of his soldiers died. The story is in Isaiah chapters 36 and 37; and also in 2 Kings 18 and 19.
Psalm 76 (like 46, 47, 48 and 75) is about what happened in this war. It tells us that God did not let the enemy destroy Jerusalem. In the psalm, there are two other names for Jerusalem: Salem and Zion, verse 2. "Salem" means "*peace" (or no war); Zion is the name of the hill where the *Israelites built their *temple. The *temple was the place where they met to *praise God.
The name "A Song of Zion" was one that the *Israelites used for this psalm. We have also called it "The *Lion’s *Den". Why? Because the words "house" and "home" in verse 2 in *Hebrew are the words for a *lion’s home. We translate them as "*den". Also, in verse 4, the words "you robbed your enemy" are "you caught your *prey". "*Prey" is a word we use for what an animal catches to eat. The *lion is a big animal. It catches and eats many smaller animals. It will even eat people! So, the psalm makes God *like a *lion. His *den (or home) is Jerusalem. He goes out to the mountains to catch his *prey. But the *prey are the soldiers of Sennacherib.
What Psalm 76 means
Verse 1: When King Solomon died, his country became two countries. One was Judah and the other was Israel. They had a king each. But Assyria destroyed Israel in 721 BC. BC means "years Before Christ came to the earth". So, when Sennacherib attacked Judah, there was no country of Israel. That means that in this psalm, Judah and Israel are both names for God’s people. They do not mean two different countries.
Verse 3: Breaking the enemy’s *weapons (bow, *shield and *sword) is another way to say that God destroyed the enemy.
Verse 5: "sleeping" is a Bible way to describe death. Because the soldiers are dead, they cannot use their hands to fight.
Verse 9: We have said that "to *judge" means "to say who is right and who is wrong". But it really means more than that in many places in the Bible. This is one of those places. God *judged the Assyrians to be wrong: the result of this was that they died. God *judged the poor people to be right: the result of this was that they became free. They were not *oppressed any more. This means that the enemy did not hurt them, or take their food, money, animals and children.
Verse 10: Bible students do not really know what this verse means. This translation says what the *Hebrew words say. Maybe it means that when people like Sennacherib are angry with people like the *Israelites then people will *praise what God does.
Verse 12: "Breaks the *spirit" means "stops them wanting to fight".
Something to do
*Poetry is a special way to use words. In the psalms, we find one special way that the *psalmists used. The *psalmists were the people that wrote the psalms. The special way that they used was this: they said the same thing twice using different words. How many verses can you find in Psalm 76 that use words like this?
Questions and Answers
John sent people to ask Jesus, "Are you the One that will come, or must we look for someone else?" Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and tell John the things that you hear and see. Blind people can see again, people with bad legs can walk again, people that are ill become better, the *deaf hear and the dead come back to life". (Matthew 11: 3 - 5) (The "One that will come" is the Messiah or Christ.)
(This is) for the music leader.
(His name is) Jeduthun.
(It is a) psalm of *Asaph.
v1 I cried aloud to God.
I cried to God so that he could hear me.
v2 When trouble came, I looked for the *Lord.
All through the night, I lifted my hands (to him while I prayed).
But I did not get help.
v3 I remembered God and I cried.
I thought (about my trouble) and my *spirit became weak *SELAH
v4 (God), you do not let me close my eyes.
I have so much trouble that I do not know what to say.
v5 I think about days that have gone
and the years that have passed.
v6 At night I remember the songs (that I sang).
I ask myself questions and my *spirit looks for answers.
v7 · "Will the *Lord always say 'No' to us?"
· "Will he never again be good to us?"
v8 · "Will he for ever stop giving us his kind love?"
· "Will he not do what he promised for us and our children?"
v9 · "Has God forgotten to be *gracious to us?"
· "Is he so angry with us that he will not love us?" *SELAH
v10 Then I said, "I will think about the times
when the *Most High did give us help.
v11 I will remember the things that the *LORD has done.
Yes, I will remember the *miracles that you did in past times.
v12 I will think about all that you have done.
I will think about all the great things that you have done".
v13 Your way, God, is *holy.
What god is as great as our God?
v14 You are the God that does *miracles.
You show people that you are very powerful.
v15 You saved your people with your strong arm.
You saved the people of *Jacob and *Joseph. *SELAH
v16 The waters saw you, God,
the waters saw you and rolled over and over.
The deepest seas moved round a lot.
v17 The clouds poured down water.
The noise of *thunder was in the skies.
Your *arrows were everywhere.
v18 The voice of your *thunder was in the storm.
Your *lightning lit all the world.
The earth moved about and *shook.
v19 Your road went through the sea.
Your path was through the great waters,
but nobody saw where your feet went.
v20 You led your people in a group
with Moses and Aaron at the front.
The Story of Psalm 77
We do not know who wrote Psalm 77. Something bad had happened to him or to his people, the *Jews. God let the bad thing happen, and did not give help. Did this mean that God had forgotten his people? No! The end of the psalm tells us that God gave help in the past. He can send help again to the *psalmist, if the *psalmist waits. The *psalmist may have read the Book of Habakkuk before he wrote Psalm 77. This tells a story *like that in Psalm 77. The *Jews could not understand why God did not give them help. The *prophet Habakkuk wrote that they must have faith. This means they must believe that one day God will send help.
What Psalm 77 means
Study the psalm in 4 parts:
· Verses 1 – 3: The *psalmist thinks about the bad things that happened to him or his people.
· Verses 4 – 9: He asks God if God will ever send help again.
· Verses 10 – 15: The *psalmist remembers what God did a long time ago.
· Verses 16 – 20: The *psalmist remembers when God led his people through the Red Sea when they left Egypt.
Verse 2: The *Jews lifted their hands to God when they prayed. The words in brackets ... ( ) ... are not in the *Hebrew psalm.
Verse 3: Again, the words in brackets are not in the *Hebrew psalm. We do not know what the trouble was.
Verse 4: This means that the *psalmist cannot sleep and does not know what to pray.
Verses 7 – 9: Here are 6 questions which the *psalmist asked. They mean "Will God ever help us again?" Often, we ask these questions. Did the *psalmist get an answer to them?
Verses 10 – 15:
· The *psalmist answers his own questions. First, he remembers the things that God has done, verses 10-12. He remembers that God is a GOD OF *MIRACLES. This means that God does things that nobody else can do, as when he led his people through the Red Sea.
· Then he remembers who God is and what he can still do. God is *holy, God is great, God is very powerful. God saves people. GOD DOES *MIRACLES, verses 13-14. In verse 15 "with your arm" means "what you have done on earth". All through the *Old Testament, "the arm of God" is a picture of God doing something on earth, not in *heaven.
Verses 16 – 20: are about God leading his people from Egypt to their new home. They had to go through the Red Sea. God was so powerful; he pushed the water of the sea back. He made a dry road through the sea for his people.
In verses 10 - 20, we read about what God did, and can do. The *psalmist does not ask God to do these things again, but we think that he said them as a *prayer. It was a *prayer for God to be himself, and to do something again for his people.
Something to do
· If you have a Bible, read the Book of Habakkuk.
· When you have trouble, read this psalm. Put verses 1-3 into the present tense, as "I am crying aloud to God".
Tell Your Children
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me. Do not stop them". (Matthew 19:14)
Psalm 78: 1 - 8
(This is one) of *Asaph’s Psalms that Teach Us (about God).
v1 My people, hear what I am teaching you.
Listen to the words that I am saying to you.
v2 I will tell you a story.
I will talk about things hard to understand from past times.
v3 We have heard them and know them
because our fathers told them to us.
v4 We will not hide them from their children.
We will tell future children that they should *praise the *LORD.
(He is) very strong and he has done great things.
v5 He decided what things *Jacob must do and made the *laws in Israel.
He told our grandfathers that they must teach them to their children.
v6 Then those children would know them, even the children still to be born.
When the time came, they too would tell their children.
v7 Then they (the children) would:
· believe that God would give them help
· not forget what God had done
· obey his *laws
v8 So they would not be like their grandfathers who:
· would not listen to God
· would not obey him
· did not make God their leader
· did not continue to follow him
The Story of Psalm 78
We do not know who wrote the psalm. Maybe it was Isaiah after the fall of Ephraim, 720 years before Jesus was born. Ephraim was the name of the largest group of families in Israel.
The whole psalm is a story, the story (*history) of God’s people until the time of King David. It tells us that God was good to his people, but they were not good to him. They did not obey him. That is the problem in verse 2. We could translate it as "question" or "secret" or "puzzle". It is something that we want an answer to. It is still true today. We still ask, "Why do people not obey God, when he is so good to them?" Read the psalm and find the answer!
After the first 8 verses, above, verses 9 - 72 are in 6 parts. Each part tells a bit of the story.
God Saved Israel from Egypt and Gave them Water in the *Desert
Psalm 78: 9 - 17
v9 The people of Ephraim had bows and *arrows for war.
But they ran away when the war started!
v10 They did not keep the *covenant of God.
They refused to obey his *laws.
v11 And they forgot what he had done
and the *wonderful things that he had shown them.
v12 He did *miracles in front of their fathers.
(He did them) in the country of Egypt, in the part (they called) Zoan.
v13 He made a road in the sea and led them through it.
He built the waters into a wall (on both sides).
v14 He showed them the way with a cloud in the day
and with light from a fire all night.
v15 He broke rocks in the *desert
and gave (his people) water from deep (in the earth).
v16 He made streams to come from the rocks
so that the waters ran like rivers.
v17 But they continued to *sin against him.
They fought against the *Most High in the *desert.
What verses 9 - 17 mean
The questions, or problems, from past times (verses 2, 8-9) continue here. God did great things (or *wonderful things or *miracles) for his people, but they did not obey him. Why?
Because, like us, they wanted to do what they liked, not what God wanted! They did not keep the *covenant of God, verse 10. A *covenant is when two groups of people agree what to do. Here one group is God, the other is his people. God agreed to give them help, and they agreed to obey his *laws, or rules, verse 7. In this psalm "*laws" maybe means only the rules in the first 5 books of the Bible.
In verse 9, we have a picture of this. Ephraim (a big group of people in Israel) had everything they needed to fight a war ... but they ran away! God gave his people everything that they needed ... but they did not obey his *laws. In this part of the psalm we read about three *miracles that God did for his people:
· Verses 12 - 13 He led them from Egypt to a country that would be theirs. To do this he made a road through the sea. The water was like a wall on both sides of them. This was a *miracle because only God can make a road through a sea. God did this, but his people still did not obey his *laws or keep the *covenant.
· Verse 14 He showed them the way through the *desert. He did this with a special cloud in the day and the light of a fire in the sky at night. Again, they did not keep the *covenant!
· Verses 15 - 16 It was dry in the *desert, and they had nothing to drink. They thought that they would die, but God gave them water. But even then "they continued to *sin against him and fought against the *Most High", verse 17. We "*sin" when we do not obey God.
So there are examples of the problem from *history. It is a problem that we still have.
God Gave His People Food in the *Desert, But They Still Did Not Obey Him
Psalm 78: 18 - 31
v18 They made a plan to *test God.
They demanded the food that they liked best!
v19 And they spoke against God.
They said, "Can God do it?
Can he prepare a table in the *desert?
v20 It is true that when he hit a rock, water came out,
streams of water were everywhere.
But can he also give bread?
Can he supply meat for his people?’
v21 When the *LORD heard (this) he was very angry.
So he sent fire against *Jacob
and also his *fury against Israel.
v22 (He did this) because they did not believe that God (could do it),
or that he had the power to save them.
v23 So he gave an *order to the clouds over (them)
and opened the doors in the skies.
v24 He rained *manna down on them, for them to eat.
He gave them bread from *heaven.
v25 People ate the (same) bread that *angels ate.
(God) sent them plenty of food.
v26 Then (God) sent an east wind blowing through the skies.
And he was so strong that he also sent a south wind.
v27 And he rained meat down on them like powder.
(He rained) flying birds on them *like sand by the sea.
v28 He made them fall where (his people) were living,
all round their *tents.
v29 And they ate as much as they needed.
God gave them what they wanted.
v30 But before they ate all that they wanted
(while the food was still in their mouths),
v31 God became very angry with them.
He killed the strongest of them
and sent the young men of Israel to their deaths.
What verses 18 - 31 mean
The people saw that God gave them water in the *desert. But they needed food as well. They decided to give God a test, or an exam. "Can he prepare a table?", verse 19, means "can he put food on our table?". They did not think that he could! It does not mean that they did not believe that there was a God. They did not believe that he would give them help. In other words, they did not *trust him.
This made God very angry, verse 22. He was so angry (or *furious) that he was like a fire! Before he killed many of their best men, verse 31, he showed them what he could do. He sent *manna, verse 24, and meat, verse 27.
We think that *manna was *like bread. The word "*manna" really means "What is this?" Another word for it in verse 25 is ‘bread’. That is why we think that *manna was *like bread. The psalm gives us a picture. *Manna was what the *angels ate. *Angels live with God in *heaven. So the psalm shows us God opening a door in *heaven (the sky) and raining *manna down on the *Israelites! It is only a picture. We do not know how God really did this *miracle.
And he sent them meat. He made a strong wind that blew birds to them, verse 27. There were so many birds that they were *like bits of sand by the sea! They could eat these birds. We think that they were birds that we call "*quails". But while they ate the *manna and *quails, God killed many of them. We do not know how.
The People Are Not Really Sorry
Psalm 78: 32 - 39
v32 Even when this happened, they still *sinned.
They did not believe that God had done these *miracles.
v33 So he made their days seem to blow away like the wind.
He made their years go away fast (so that they were) afraid!
v34 When he killed (some of) them, (the other people) looked to God.
They were sorry and really prayed to him.
v35 And they remembered that God was their Rock.
Also, (they remembered) that God *Most High was their *Redeemer.
v36 But what they said was not true
and they did not mean what they said with their mouths to *praise him.
v37 They were not honest with him.
They did not obey his *covenant in their heart.
v38 But he was *merciful (to them).
He *forgave their *sin and did not destroy them.
Many times he was not angry (with them)
and did not become *furious (with them).
v39 But he remembered that they were only human,
like a wind that blows away and does not return.
What verses 32 - 39 mean
In verses 22 and 32we read that they did not "believe that God could do" or that God "had done" these *miracles. They did not think that their God was powerful enough! Some Bible students think that these verses mean that they did not believe that there was a God! They certainly did not obey him, or keep his *covenant.
Verse 33 is a nice way of saying what verse 34 says in a clear way. "Days ... to blow away like the wind" and "years to go fast" both mean that life is short. Because God killed them (we do not know how), their lives were shorter than they thought that they would be! This made the people that God did not kill say that they were sorry. They remembered that God was their Rock and their *Redeemer (verse 35).
· Rock was a name for God. It meant that they could build their lives on him (or, maybe, that he is like the Rock that gave them water in the *desert).
· *Redeemer was another name for God. It meant that he gave them help and saved them from their enemies.
Verses 36 – 37: These verses tell us about the people. They did not mean what they said and they did not keep the *covenant. But God was kind (*merciful) to them, verses 38 and 39. Because they were human, he did not destroy them. Instead, he *forgave them. What does the word "*forgive" really mean?
Some people think that "forgive" means "excuse and forget". But here it means more than this. We can only really understand it after Jesus came to the earth. Jesus died to "*forgive" *sin. This means that God "gave" our *sin to Jesus, and Jesus took it away. God gave it for us ... so we say that God forgave us! Paul tells us in Romans 3:25 that the death of Jesus gave "*forgiveness for *sins that are past". This means that God *forgave all the *sins of people in the *Old Testament because Jesus died. This includes the people in Psalm 78:38-39. But they ... *like us ... had to thank God for it!
The People Do Not Remember What God Did In Egypt
Psalm 78: 40 - 55
v40 The people (of Israel) often fought against God in the *desert.
They made him very sad in the *wilderness.
v41 Many times they *tested God
and this made the *Holy One of Israel very *unhappy.
v42 - v43 They chose not to remember what he did when:
· he saved them from the enemy
· he showed his *miracles in Egypt
· he did *wonders in that part (of Egypt called) Zoan
v44 (Here is some of what God did to the Egyptians):
He turned their rivers into blood,
so they could not drink from their streams.
v45 He sent very large numbers of flies that made a lot of trouble for them.
And (he sent) *frogs that made even more trouble!
v46 He gave the plants that they grew to *grasshoppers
and their food to *locusts.
v47 He killed their *vines with *hail
and their *fig-trees with *frost.
v48 He killed their cows with *hail
and their sheep with fire from the sky.
v49 He was so angry that he burned *like a fire against them.
He sent a group of *angels to destroy them
(called) *anger, *fury and *distress.
v50 He made a path for his *anger.
He did not save them from death.
He gave their lives to the *plague.
v51 He killed all the first born (sons) in Egypt,
the oldest boys of the men of Ham.
v52 (This is what God did for his people):
But he took his people (from Egypt) like a *flock.
And he led them like sheep through the *desert.
v53 They were safe with him as a guide and they were not afraid.
But the sea drowned their enemies.
v54 So he brought them to the edge of his *holy (land),
to this hill-country, which his right hand took.
v55 He sent away the people that were living there.
He said which parts (of the land) each group (of his people) could have.
He put the families of Israel in their homes.
What verses 40 - 55 mean
These verses look back to when Israel was in Egypt. God did two things there:
· He sent 10 *plagues to make the King of Egypt (Pharaoh) let God’s people go free
· He led his people through the Red Sea and the *desert to the land he had promised them
In verses 44 - 51 are 6 of the 10 *plagues. A *plague is when something bad happens to a group of people. Here is where you can find them in the Bible. The other 4 are also in the list.
Where to Find
water to blood
Exodus 7:17-21; Psalm 105:29
Exodus 8:1-7; Psalm 105:30
Exodus 8:16-19; Psalm 105:31
Exodus 8:20-24; Psalm 105:31
*hail and storm
Exodus 9:18-26; Psalm 105:32
Exodus 10:1-20; Psalm 105:34
Exodus 10:21-29; Psalm 105:28
death of first sons
Exodus 11 and 12; Psalm 105:36
Pharaoh would not let God’s people go. God sent these 10 *plagues to make Pharaoh let God’s people go, verses 43-51. Then God took them to the *holy land, a Bible name for the country of Israel, verses 52-55. But verse 42 tells us that "they chose not to remember what he did". This made God very sad, verse 40, and *unhappy, verse 41.
The *Israelites In The *Holy Land
Psalm 78: 56 - 64
v56 But (the *Israelites *tested God *Most High and fought against him.
Also, they did not obey his *laws.
v57 They turned away and did not keep the *covenant, like their fathers.
They were like a bow that would not shoot straight!
v58 They made him angry with their high places
and their *idols made him *jealous.
v59 When God heard this, he was angry
and he stopped giving them help completely.
v60 He left his house (the *tent) at Shiloh,
the place where he had lived on earth.
v61 He gave his power and his *glory
to the enemy for them to keep.
v62 He let the *sword kill his people,
he was so angry with them.
v63 The fire (of war) ate their young men
and the young girls did not hear music (when they married).
v64 The *sword killed their *priests
and their wives could not cry for them.
What verses 56 - 64 mean
In verses 9-31, we read about God’s people Israel (the *Israelites) in the *desert. They were coming from Egypt to the *holy land. In verses 40-55, we read about the *plagues that God used to get them out of Egypt. Now in verses 56-64, we read about Israel (the people) in Israel (the land). They turned away from God and did not obey him. They were *like "a bow that did not shoot straight", verse 57. A bow like this is not good. So, the people of Israel were not good. Instead of loving and *worshipping
God in his house in Shiloh, they loved *idols instead. They put these *idols on high hills, where they *worshipped them, verse 58. Shiloh was a place about 30 kilometres north of Jerusalem. They kept the *ark there. The *ark was a box. They kept the *covenant-rules in it. But God was so angry because of their *idol *worship that he:
· went away from the house that they had made him at Shiloh
· did not give them any more help
· gave the *ark (his power and *glory) to their enemy, the Philistines
· let the enemy kill many of the people of Israel
The story about this is in I Samuel 4 and 5. The wife of a *priest had a baby when the Philistines took the *ark of God. She called the baby Ichabod. This is a *Hebrew word that meant "the *glory is gone". She meant that the *ark of God was gone! In verse 63, "ate" means "killed them by burning them to death".
God Makes Judah Leader Instead Of Ephraim
Psalm 78: 65 - 72
v65 Then the *Lord woke up as from sleep.
He was like a strong man shouting after (drinking) *wine.
v66 He beat his enemies so that they went away.
He did this so that they would always be ashamed.
v67 Also, he decided not to let the people of Joseph (continue as leaders).
And he no longer chose the *tribe of Ephraim.
v68 But he chose the *tribe of Judah.
*Mount Zion (was there), which he loved.
v69 (There) he built a *temple to live in *like his home in *heaven.
He made it so that it would always be there, *like the earth.
v70 Also, he chose David his servant
and he took him away from the sheep farm.
v71 (He took him) from feeding sheep
and brought him to be *shepherd of his people *Jacob,
those in Israel that were his.
v72 And so David, with his honest heart, was their *shepherd.
He knew how to lead them.
What verses 65 - 72 mean
Now there is a big change. God leads his people so that they beat their enemy, the Philistines. He did three other things:
· He made Judah the leader of the *tribes, not Ephraim, verses 67-68. Until then, Ephraim was leader, but not a good leader, verse 9.
· He made his home on earth in *Mount Zion in Jerusalem, verses 68-69.
· He chose David to be king, verses 70-72. David led his people *like a *shepherd leads his sheep.
Jacob had 12 sons. Each had a large family or *tribe. As the *tribe of Levi worked in Jerusalem, that left 11 *tribes. Joseph had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. They both took the place of Joseph, so there were still 12 *tribes!
Something to do
1. Read the story of the *plagues in Egypt, if you have a Bible. You can find where they are after verse 55 of Psalm 78.
2. Make sure that you tell your children the story of Jesus and his love for them.
grandfathers ~ (in the psalm) people that lived long ago.
the law / laws ~ (in this psalm) rules in the first 5 books of the Bible.
For the *Glory of Your Name
For the *kingdom is always yours and the power is always yours and the *glory is always yours (Matthew 6:13). (The end of a special *prayer that Jesus taught us; a *kingdom is where a king rules; here, God is the King.)
(This is) a psalm of *Asaph.
v1 God, countries that do not love you have attacked us.
They have taken away your land.
They have done bad things to your *holy *temple
so that we cannot *worship you in it.
They have destroyed Jerusalem.
v2 They have given the dead bodies of your people
to the birds (that fly) in the air for food.
They have given the bodies of your servants
for wild animals to eat.
v3 They have poured out the blood (of your servants)
*like water all round Jerusalem.
There was nobody to bury your people.
v4 Our *neighbours just laugh at us.
The people that live near us *scorn us.
v5 How long will this continue?
(God), will you always be angry?
Will your *jealousy burn *like a fire for ever?
v6 Be very angry with the countries that do not love you
and the *nations that do not pray to you.
v7 Because they have beaten *Jacob
and destroyed the land where he lived.
v8 Do not be angry with us
because of the wrong things that our fathers did.
Have *mercy on us soon.
We have lost all our hope.
v9 God, give us help! (You are the God) that can save us.
For the *glory of your name, save us.
So that your name will always be famous, *forgive our *sins.
v10 Why should the countries that do not love God say,
"Where is their God?"
We want to see you become angry with these countries,
because they poured out the blood of your servants.
v11 Listen to the *prisoners that are crying!
By the power of your arm, save those that are going to die.
v12 *Lord, make the countries that do not love you
have seven times as much trouble as we have had!
Because they said bad things to you.
v13 Then we, your people (who are as) sheep in your field,
will always thank you.
So will our children and grandchildren.
The Story of Psalm 79
Something bad had happened to the *Jews. They had not obeyed God, so he let their enemies beat them. Bible students think that this happened 600 years before Jesus came to the earth. A country called Babylon destroyed Jerusalem and took many people away as *prisoners. Maybe this psalm is by one of the *prisoners. He asks God to do to the Babylonians what they had done to the *Jews, only worse. We call psalms like this "Psalms of Imprecation". You can read about them at the end of Psalm 69 in this series of psalms. Psalm 69 is in Book 2 of The Psalms of David.
The reason that he gives is this. If God does nothing, people will think that God is weak, or even that there is no God! That is why he says in verse 9 "For the *glory of your name, save us. So that your name will always be famous, *forgive us our *sins". And in verse 10 "Where is their God?"
"The countries that do not love God" in verses 1, 6, 10, 12 translates just one *Hebrew word, "countries" or "*nations". Here it means just Babylon, but it could mean any country that hurts God’s people.
What Psalm 79 means
Verse 1: The "bad things" include foreign soldiers going into the *temple. This meant that they had defiled it (made it dirty). That meant that *Jews could not use it. Also, the soldiers knocked the *temple down, so it could not be used anyway!
Verses 2 – 3: One of the worst things that you could do to your enemy was not to bury him when he was dead. That is what happened here. Instead, wild animals and birds ate the bodies.
Verse 4: The *neighbours are the countries near Judah. They included Edom. The book in the Bible, "Obadiah" tells us that the Edomites were very happy when Babylon destroyed Judah. Also, they took things that belonged to the *Jews, and did not let some of them run away from the Babylonians to a safe place.
Verse 5: *Jealousy is a special *anger. It is when you are angry because someone you love stops loving you and loves someone else. Or, when someone hurts someone that you love. Here it maybe means both. God is angry with the *Jews for not obeying him and with Babylon for hurting the *Jews.
Verse 7: *Jacob is another name for Judah or Israel. So "he lived" means "where the *Jews lived".
Verse 8: The *Jews had done wrong things for many years. Their fathers and their grandfathers (or their "*ancestors") had all done wrong things. They had not obeyed God. So God *punished them. This means he let the Babylonians hurt them, even kill many of them. So the *psalmist asks for *mercy. He asks God to be kind to them again. They had done wrong things but he still wants God to be kind to them.
Verse 9: The *psalmist asks God to save them and *forgive them. To Christians this means give our *sins to Jesus and take us to *heaven when we die. To the *psalmist it did not mean this. It meant "Give us back our land".
Verse 10: "Poured out the blood" means "killed".
Verse 11: The Babylonians took *prisoners to kill some of them. "The power of your arm" means God is showing his power on earth.
Verse 12: "seven times as much" means "a lot".
Verse 13: The *psalmist sees God’s people as a group ("*flock") of animals together in a field. The *Hebrew Bible says "*flock", not "sheep", but we have translated it "sheep" because Jesus said that he was "the good *Shepherd". A *shepherd keeps sheep.
Something to do
1. Read about Psalms of Imprecation in Psalm 69 of this set.
2. Read about *Asaph in Psalm 73 of this set.
3. Pray for people that hurt you. Pray that they will learn about God.
Make Us United
Jesus said, "I pray for the people that will believe in me … that they may be united. Then the world will believe that you sent me". (John 17: 20 - 21)
(This is) for the music leader.
(Sing it) to (music that they call) "*Lilies of the *Covenant".
(It is) a psalm of *Asaph.
v1 *Shepherd of Israel, listen to us!
You are the one that leads *Joseph *like a *flock.
You sit *like a king between the *Cherubim.
v2 Shine on Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.
Get up and show how strong you are.
Come and make us safe.
v3 God, make us return (to you).
Make your face shine (on us) and make us safe.
v4 *LORD God (of) *Sabaoth,
how long will you be angry when your people pray?
v5 You have fed them tears for food
and buckets of tears for drink.
v6 You have made the people that live near us fight (us)
and our enemies laugh among themselves (at us).
v7 God (of) *Sabaoth, make us return (to you).
Make your face shine (on us) and make us safe.
v8 You brought a *vine from Egypt.
You moved away the people that lived (in the land) and planted it.
v9 You made (the ground) ready for it,
so that it grew and filled the land.
v10 Its shade covered the mountains (in the south)
and its branches covered the big cedar (trees in the north).
v11 Its branches reached the (Mediterranean) Sea (in the west)
and the River (Euphrates in the east).
v12 Why have you knocked down its walls
so that anyone that passes can rob its fruit?
v13 Pigs from the woods attack it
and wild animals destroy it.
v14 Come back to us, God (of) *Sabaoth!
Look down from *heaven and see (us)!
Be careful with this *vine...
v15 ...that your right hand planted.
(The *vine is) the son that you made strong for yourself.
v16 You let (the enemy) cut down your *vine and burn it with fire.
Destroy them (the enemy) because you are angry!
v17 Let your hand be on the man at your right hand.
(He is) the son of man that you made strong for yourself.
v18 Then we will never turn away from you.
Give us life and we will (always) *praise your name.
v19 *LORD God (of) *Sabaoth, make us return (to you).
Make your face shine (on us) and make us safe.
The Story of Psalm 80
Some Bible students think that someone wrote this psalm 700 years before Jesus came to the earth.
There were 4 kings of all Israel, Saul, David, Solomon and Rehoboam. While Rehoboam was king, the country became two *kingdoms. The north was Israel, the south was Judah. There were 10 groups (or *tribes) of people in the north, and 2 in the south. Ephraim and Manasseh and Simeon were *tribes in the *kingdom in the north. The *tribes in the south were Judah and Benjamin. Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin always went together when the *Jews walked from Egypt to the *Promised Land. (The *Promised Land was where they came to live. We call it Israel.) But in 720 BC, Assyria beat the *kingdom in the north, and took the 10 *tribes away.
In this psalm, the *psalmist prays that the *tribes may become united again. Ephraim and Manasseh were sons of Joseph. Both Joseph and Benjamin were sons of Rachel. Rachel was the wife of Jacob. His other name was Israel. The Bible uses all three names for God’s people ... Israel, *Jacob and *Joseph!
Other Bible students think that this psalm came after the *exile. The *exile was when the king of the country of Babylon took the people in the south *kingdom away. This happened in 587 B.C. (B.C. means ‘years Before Christ came to the earth.) These students think that the *psalmist is praying for all the *tribes to become united again in the *Promised Land.
What Psalm 80 means
Study this psalm in three parts: each part ends "Make us return (to you). Make your face shine (on us) and make us safe". Bible students are not sure if "return" means "return from *exile" in Assyria or Babylon; or "return to God from the wrong things we have done". Our translation chooses the second meaning, but both could be true. "Make your face shine" is how the *Jews said, "Do something good for us". This is what we call "The *covenant". If God’s people obey him, he will make them safe. In verse 1 *Joseph means the same as Israel, God’s people. Maybe the *psalmist used the name Joseph because he was the father of Ephraim and Manasseh. The words "shine on" at the start of verse 2are in verse 1 in the *Hebrew Bible. As in verses 3, 7 and 19, "shine" here means "do something good". The good thing the *psalmist wants is for all the people to be united in their own country. "Get up" in the *Hebrew Bible is "wake up".
In the second part, verses 4 - 7, the *psalmist asks God how long it will be before:
· God stops being angry with them
· God stops making them cry buckets full of tears
· God stops their enemies fighting them and laughing at them
In verses 4 (and 19) we have the name *LORD God of *Sabaoth. Isaiah and Jeremiah often used this name. Each part of the name means something. *LORD means that he will always be alive. God means that he is powerful. *Sabaoth means that he has great armies, both on earth and in *heaven.
In the last part of the psalm, the *vine is a picture of God’s people. He brought them from Egypt to the *Promised Land of Israel, verse 8. They lived in it from the Sea in the west to the River in the east, from the mountains in the south to Lebanon in the north, verses 9 - 11.They used to build walls round *vines to keep them safe. But God knocked down these walls and let wild animals attack and destroy it, verses 12 -13. The wild animals are a picture of Israel’s enemies. Then the *psalmist prays that God will do something and send help to Israel, verses 14 - 19. "Hand" and "right hand" are Bible-pictures of God doing something in our world. "The son", verse 15, and "the man" and "the son of man", verse 17, are all names for God’s people Israel. Some Bible students think that it may be the king of Israel.
Something to do
1. If you have a Bible, read about why Simeon and Levi did not have a part of the *Promised Land. You will find help in Genesis 49:5-7 and Joshua 19:1-9 and all of Joshua 21.
2. When something bad happens to you or your church or your country, pray the words of verse 19.
3. Ask God to be your *shepherd, and to make you one of his *flock. If you can, read Psalm 23 in this series of psalms.
4. Count how many times "*sabaoth" happens in this psalm. Remember what it means: God has armies to give him (and you!) help.
Start The Music!
Jesus said, "Can the bridegroom’s friends be sad when the bridegroom is with them?" (Matthew 9: 15). (A bridegroom is a man getting married.)
(This is) for the music leader.
(It is a psalm) of *Asaph.
v1 Sing to God because you are so happy!
(Do this because) God makes us strong!
Shout aloud to the God of *Jacob.
v2 Start the music! Hit the *tambourine
and make beautiful sounds on the *harp and the *lyre.
v3 Start the New Moon *Festival with the sound of the *shofar.
Do it at the Full Moon (*Festival) also.
v4 For this is a rule for Israel,
something that the God of *Jacob said that we must do.
v5 He told it to *Joseph when he attacked the land of Egypt.
I heard a language that I did not understand.
v6 (It said) "I took the weight off his shoulders.
His hands did not have to carry a heavy basket (any more).
v7 When you had trouble, you called (to me) and I made you safe.
I gave you help from the centre of the storm.
I *tested you at the Waters of Meribah. *SELAH
v8 My people, hear me! You are near to danger.
Israel, I really want you to listen to me!
v9 There should not be another god among you
and you certainly should not go down on your knees to another god.
v10 I am the *LORD your God.
I brought you out of the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide and I will fill it".
v11 But my people did not listen to my voice
and Israel did not obey me.
v12 And so I let them follow their own ideas.
They did whatever they wanted to do.
v13 I want my people to listen to me!
I want Israel to walk in my ways!
v14 Then I would quickly beat all their enemies
and fight against all those that are angry with them.
v15 The people that hate the *LORD will be afraid of him
and this will happen for a long time.
v16 But he would feed him (Israel) with the best *wheat
and I would give you (Israel) plenty of *honey from the rock.
The Story of Psalm 81
*Harvest time is when we pick fruit and vegetables. The *Jews had three big *harvest times:
· April, when they picked *barley (to make bread)
· May, when they picked *wheat (also to make bread)
· October, when they picked *grapes (to make *wine). Wine is a drink with alcohol in it.
Psalm 81 is a *Festival Psalm. The *festival was at the time of the *grape *harvest. They called it "the *festival of *tents". *Tents were houses made of animal skins. At the *festival of *tents the *Jews lived for a week in *tents. This taught them how they lived when God took them out of Egypt, hundreds of years before. It told them how good God was to them.
Psalm 81 taught the *Jews that, now God had brought them into their own land, they should have no other gods. Then he would give them help against their enemies, as he did in Egypt.
Some Bible students think that Psalm 81 came from the north part of Israel. Its date was about 750 years before Christ came to the earth.
What Psalm 81 means
Study the psalm in three parts:
· Verses 1 – 4: Now the *Festival
· Verses 5 – 7: What God did in Egypt
· Verses 8 – 16: Trouble when you have other gods
In verses 1 and 4, "*Jacob" is another name for "Israel", so "God of *Jacob" means "God of Israel". Really, there were two *festivals in October, one when the moon was new, the other 2 weeks later when it was full. They are both in verse 3. The second one was the *festival of *tents. Older Bibles may call it "the *feast of booths" or "the *feast of tabernacles".
In verse 5, Bible students are not certain whether the second "he" is *Joseph or God. *Joseph, as *Jacob, is another name for Israel. If it is God, then "attacked" is when God led his people out from Egypt. If it is *Joseph, then we should translate "attacked" as "became great in". "The language" must have been words that God said. Maybe "understand" means "believe"! Verse 6 tells us about the hard work that God’s people did in Egypt. Some parts of the Bible suggest that God lives in storms, verse 7. The Waters (or Lakes) of Meribah were on the way from Egypt to Israel. The story is in Exodus 17:1-7. Bible students think that *SELAH means "stop and pray, or think, or make music".
In verses 8 - 10 ,God speaks to his people. He *warns them (tells them of the danger) of other gods. These gods are false gods, because there is only one *real God. "Open your mouth wide" means "open it as much as you can". "I will fill it" may mean:
· with food, as in verse 16, or
· with the right words to say and pray, not the wrong ones as in verses 10 and 11.
In verse 11 "follow their own ideas" is an English way to say "do whatever they think".
Verses 13 and 14 suggest that "following their own ideas" had brought trouble. The psalm does not say what the trouble was. But it does say that if they obey God the trouble will stop. God would make their enemies obey him, verse 15, and be good to his own people, verse 16.
Something to do
1. Tell God that you will listen to him and walk in his ways. ("Walk in his ways" means "do what he tells you to do".)
2. Learn how to hear God’s voice as you read the Bible. Some words will be special to you ... that is the voice of God!
3. Study Psalm 81 as *Hebrew *poetry. *Poetry is a special way to use words. Find how many verses in Psalm 81 say the same thing in two ways. A good example is verse 13. "I want my people to listen to me" means the same as "I want Israel to walk in my ways".
God And The Gods
Jesus said, "I saw *Satan fall from *heaven like a light through the sky". (Luke 10: 18)
(This is) a psalm of *Asaph.
v1 God is the leader of a meeting of the powerful ones.
He is telling the gods what he has decided.
v2 (He says) "How long will you not be fair to people?
(How long) will you say that the *godless are right?" *SELAH
v3 Be fair and give help to:
· people that are weak
· children with dead parents
· people that are poor
· anyone that has nothing
v4 Make the poor people safe and give them the help that they need.
Take them away from the power of the *godless.
v5 They (the *godless) know nothing and they understand nothing.
They walk about in *darkness.
The ground beneath them moves about.
v6 I (God) say, "You are gods
and you are all sons of the *Most High.
v7 But you will die like Adam.
You will fall like rulers".
v8 God, stand up and rule the earth,
because all the countries in it belong to you.
The Story of Psalm 82
We do not know who wrote this psalm, or when. It is a picture of God leading a meeting in *heaven, where he lives. He is telling the gods what he has decided to do. Who are these gods? Bible students suggest four answers:
· the rulers of countries on the earth, *like kings
· the false gods of the countries on the earth
· the people of Israel 2500 years ago
· *angels that have authority over countries on earth
Now the first three of these are either human, or gods made by human people. But verses 6 and 7 of the psalm may tell us that these gods are not human. They are "sons of the *Most High (who will) die like Adam". We could translate "Adam" here as "men". In verse 6, "sons of the *Most High" means "sons of God". This either means *angels (who live with God in *heaven) or his people Israel (Exodus 4:22). It is easiest to read the psalm with two meanings. At first, "the gods" meant "the people of Israel". Now it means "*angels with authority over countries of the earth" (Ephesians 6:10).
There is a picture in the first chapter of the Book of Job in the Bible. The picture shows the *angels meeting God in *heaven.
There was a day when the sons of God came to show themselves to the *LORD. And *Satan came also among them. And the *LORD said to *Satan, "Where have you come from?" And *Satan answered the *LORD and said, "From going here and there in the earth and walking about in it". And the *LORD said to *Satan, "Have you thought about my servant Job. There is nobody like him on the earth. He is good, so good; and he obeys God and does nothing wrong". Then *Satan answered the *LORD. He said, "Job has a good reason to obey God. Have you not made him safe, him and his house and all that belongs to him? You have made everything that he does work well. He gets more and more things in the land. But if you lift up your hand and hit him, he will say bad things to your face!" And the *LORD said to *Satan, "Look, you can do what you like with everything that he has. But do not hurt Job himself". So *Satan went out from where God was.
This is the story of something that happened in *heaven. The sons of God came to where God was. *Satan was with them. They talked together. Then *Satan went and did bad things to Job. The whole story is in the book of Job. The important thing for us to understand from this is: God has meetings in *heaven with people that are not men but *angels! *Satan is the leader of the bad *angels.
Psalm 82 may be about another meeting like this. God is meeting some of the *angels that have power in the world. They get the rulers of the world to do bad things. These *angels are not good *angels like Gabriel. They are bad *angels *like *Satan. Bible students call them "fallen *angels" or "bad *spirits". In the psalm, God says that he wants the rulers of the world to be good to poor people. There are two more questions to answer:
1. Why are these fallen *angels called "gods"? Every *Hebrew word that we translate "god" (or "God") means something. The word "*adonai" means "ruler"; the word "*yahweh" means "alive"; the word "*elyon" means "most important"; and the word "*elohim" means "powers". So these *angels are "gods" because they have "powers". But they are not more powerful than God is. They must obey him! The Bible tells us that "the god of this world" is a bad god (2 Corinthians 4:4). He tries to stop people asking Jesus for help.
2. Who are the "*godless" in the psalm? In the meeting, verse 1, they may be Israel’s rulers. But also, they may be the bad *angels that make other rulers and kings do bad things. It is important to understand that Israel in the psalm is the Israel of 2500 years ago, not of today.
What Psalm 82 means
Verse 1: The word we translated "meeting" is one that the Bible uses to describe Israel. That is why some Bible students think "the powerful" means Israel’s leaders. Some of them are hurting God’s people. "The powerful" may also mean "bad *angels". They make rulers do bad things to God’s people and other poor people.
Verse 2: God asks two questions. The answer to both is ‘Until God decides to give help to poor people that need it’. ‘You’ means the rulers of Israel, and the bad *angels that have authority on earth.
Verses 3 – 4: God gives help by making the rulers and important people obey him.
Verse 5: This tells us that the *godless do not know what they are doing. They are *like men who cannot see their way in the dark. As they walk, they think that the ground is moving under their feet!
Verses 6 – 7: God tells the gods that they will die like men. The reason is the same: they have not obeyed God. Just because they are important people or *angels, that will not save them from death.
Verse 8: Here is a *prayer that we can all say!
Something to do
1. Learn to say Psalm 82:8 by heart. This means that you can say it without looking at the words. When bad things happen, pray these words to God.
2. If you have a Bible, read: John 10:31-39; Ephesians 6:12.
Enemies All Round Us!
Jesus said, "I am sending you like sheep into a group of wolves. So, be as clever as snakes but, like the dove, do not hurt anybody" (Matthew 10: 16). (A wolf is a wild animal that eats sheep; a dove is a bird that does not hurt anyone.)
(This) psalm (is) a song for *Asaph.
v1 God, do not seem to be asleep!
Do not remain quiet and do nothing, God!
v2 For look, your enemies are (all) doing something.
The people that hate you are getting ready (to fight you).
v3 They are making clever *plans against your people.
They are deciding together what to do with those people that you love.
v4 They are saying, "Come on, we will destroy their country.
Then nobody will ever remember the name of Israel".
v5 They are deciding together what to do.
They are agreeing to do something against you.
v6 - v7 The people (doing this are) from:
· Edom and the Ishmaelites
· Moab and the Hagrites
· Gebal, Ammon and Amalek
· Philistia and Tyre
v8 Even Assyria has joined them.
They have made the sons of Lot (Moab and Ammon) strong. *SELAH
v9 Do to them what you did to Midian
and to Sisera and Jabin at the River Kishon.
v10 They died at Endor
and they became *like dirt on the ground.
v11 Make their leaders *like Oreb and Zeeb.
(Make) all their *princes *like Zebah and Zalmunna.
v12 They said, "Let us take all the country that belongs to God".
v13 God, blow them away *like *chaff in the wind!
v14 As fire burns a forest and *lights the mountains,
so they are on fire.
v15 Go after them with bad weather
and frighten them a lot with your storms.
v16 Make their faces ashamed
so that they will look for your name, *LORD.
v17 Let them always be ashamed and very frightened.
Let them become so ashamed that then they die!
v18 Then they will know that your name is *LORD.
And (they will know that) you are the *Most High over all the earth.
The Story of Psalm 83
Bible students do not agree when the *psalmist wrote Psalm 83. In verses 6-8 is a list of the enemies of Israel. Because they were enemies of Israel, they were also enemies of God. This was true when the *psalmist wrote the psalm, but it is not necessary that it is true today. The problem is this: not all these people were enemies of Israel at the same time. Some were enemies 800 B.C., some 600 B.C., some 400 B.C. (B.C. means "years Before Christ came to the earth".) So, some Bible students think that Psalm 83 comes from 800 B.C., some from 600 B.C., and some from 400 B.C. Maybe we shall never know who is right!
The *psalmist tells us that this is "a song for *Asaph". A psalm is words with music, or a song. *Asaph was the name of a group of singers. *Asaph lived about 1000 BC, but his singers continued for many centuries. So, any of the Bible students could be right about the date of Psalm 83!
What Psalm 83 means
Study the psalm in two parts:
· Verses 1 – 8: what the enemies of God and Israel are doing
· Verses 9 – 18: what the *psalmist wants (prays that) God will do
In verses 1 - 2, the *psalmist says that God seems to be doing nothing while his enemies are getting ready to fight him. They fight God by fighting his people Israel. They want everybody to forget that there ever was an Israel, verse 4! Verses 6 - 8 tell us who these enemies are. Some are to the east, *like Moab. Some are to the west *like Philistia. Some are to the south and some are to the north. We are not sure who the Hagrites and Gebal were. The important thing is this: the enemies were all round Israel! In verse 8, "the sons of Lot" means the countries that his children started.
In verses 9 - 12,we read about people that God destroyed. Gideon destroyed Midian; the story is in Judges 6-8. Oreb and Zeeb were *princes of Midian. People from Ephraim killed them, the story is in Judges 7:24-25. Ephraim was one of the *tribes of Israel. Gideon killed Zebah and Zalmunna in Judges 8:21. They were kings of Midian. Sisera and Jabin come from another story, in Judges 4:1-24. Jabin was king of Hazor. Sisera was the leader of his army. A woman (Jael) killed Sisera as he hid in her *tent. Two *judges (leaders) of Israel destroyed Jabin’s army at the River Kishon. In verse 14, "lights the mountains" means "makes a fire on the mountains". Bible students are not sure what verses 16 - 18 mean. Some think that it means that the *psalmist wants God to destroy his enemies as he destroyed Midian. Other Bible students think that it means that the *psalmist wants them to be sorry and believe in God. The name *LORD is the *covenant name of God. It is the name people use who agree with God and who want to obey him.
Something to do
1. Pray that God’s enemies will start to love him. Do this when they do something bad.
2. If you have a Bible, read about Barak and Deborah (Judges 4-5) and Gideon (Judges 6-8).
3. If you have a Bible map, look for the places in verses 6-8 of this psalm.
Journey To Zion
Jesus said, "Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests. But the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head" (Matthew 8: 20). (Holes and *nests are where foxes and birds sleep. Son of Man is a name for Jesus.)
This is) for the music leader.
(He must use) *Gittith.
(It is) a psalm for *Korah.
v1 *LORD of (*huge) armies
- people love your *temple very much!
v2 I want very much (to go to) the place where the *LORD lives.
(I want it so much) that it is making me feel weak!
All that I am and all that I feel is crying out to the Living God!
v3 Even the *sparrow has found a home
and the *swallow (has found) a *nest.
There she may keep her babies.
(They are in places) near your *altars,
*LORD of (*huge) armies.
You are my king and my God.
v4 The people that live in your house are very happy.
They can always tell you how great you are. *SELAH
v5 The people that you make strong are very happy.
They want to come to you (in Zion).
v6 As they pass through a dry valley,
it (seems) to become a place with wells of water in it.
The autumn rains cover (the valley) with pools.
v7 The people become stronger as they go,
(until) each one appears before God in Zion.
v8 *LORD God of (*huge) armies,
hear the words that I am praying!
God of *Jacob, listen to me! *SELAH
v9 God, look at our *shield!
And look kindly at the face of your king.
v10 One day in your (*temple) *courts
is better than a thousand (days somewhere else).
I would rather stand at the door of God’s house
than sit in the houses of *wicked people.
v11 For the *LORD is a sun and a *shield.
He gives *grace and *glory (to people).
He gives good things to people that do what is right.
v12 *LORD of (*huge) armies
- everybody is very happy that *trusts in you!
The Story of Psalm 84
We do not know who wrote Psalm 84. Some Bible students think that it was the same person that wrote Psalms 42 and 43. We call that person "the *psalmist". The *psalmist is far from the *Temple in Jerusalem. He wants to be one of the people that visit the *Temple. We call these people "*pilgrims". Even if he could be for one day in the *temple *courts, that would be better than a thousand days anywhere else!
*Korah was the name of a group that made music for the *temple. There are notes about *Korah before Psalm 73 in this series of psalms.
What Psalm 84 means
Study the psalm in 4 parts:
· Verses 1 - 4 tell us that many people love the *temple, including the *psalmist.
· Verses 5 - 7 tell us about *pilgrims to Zion.
· Verses 8 - 9 The *psalmist prays for the king.
· Verses 10 - 12 tell us about God.
In this psalm, there are several names for God, and several names for the *temple. The names of God include:
· *LORD of (*huge) armies. These armies are millions of *angels that live with God in *heaven. *LORD is the *covenant name of God. People that agree to love and obey him use it. The *Hebrew words for "*LORD of (very big) armies" are "*Yahweh *Sabaoth". Our translation keeps the word "*Sabaoth" in Psalm 80, but uses "(*huge) armies" here.
· Living God. This means that God will always be alive and that he makes everything else alive also.
· King. This is not the king of Israel, as it is in verse 9, it is God.
· God of *Jacob. *Jacob is another name for Israel.
Other names for the *temple are:
· the place where the *LORD lives
· your house
· God’s house
The *psalmist says in verse 3 that small birds can live in the *temple. But the *psalmist is far away, verse 2. If it is the same *psalmist as in Psalms 42 and 43, then he is hundreds of kilometres away! When he thinks about it, it makes him feel weak. In verses 5 - 7, he tells us about the *pilgrims to Jerusalem. They may come on long journeys, but they really want to come to Zion. The "dry valley" in verse 4 is "Baca Valley" in *Hebrew. The Baca is a tree that lives in dry places. We do not know where this Baca Valley was. But the dry place did not stop the *pilgrims. They found water there, maybe the autumn rains. Christians have always believed that this verse means: when life is difficult, God will send help.
In verse 3, the *psalmist calls God his or her king. But in verses 8 and 9 the *psalmist prays for another king. It is the king of Israel that lives in Jerusalem. He calls this king "a *shield". The king stops other countries hurting his people. The word is not "king", but is "*messiah" in *Hebrew. It means "*anointed". "*Anointed" means "oil poured on". This is how they made kings long ago. All the Kings of Israel were *messiahs, but Jesus is the Great *Messiah! He is our king … if we *trust in him. Then we will be very happy, verse 12. Verse 11 does not say that God is the sun, but a sun. This means that God is *like a sun. He is not the sun that we see in the sky!
Something to do
1. Study Psalms 42 and 43 in this series.
2. Find all the different names for God in this Psalm.
3. Tell God that you are *trusting in him, and in his Son, Jesus.
4. Learn to say verse 6 of Psalm 84 by heart. (This means that you can say it without looking at the words.)
(or The Kiss Of *Peace)
Jesus said, "My *peace I give to you". (John 14: 27)
(This is) for the music leader.
(It is) a psalm of the sons of *Korah.
v1 *LORD, you were good to your land.
You *turned the fortunes of *Jacob.
v2 You *forgave the *sin of your people
and you *pardoned the things that they did wrong.
v3 You were not angry with them any more
and you turned away from your *fury.
v4 (But now) turn us (again), God.
(You are the God) that makes us safe.
Stop being so angry with us.
v5 Will you be angry with us for ever?
Will you always be *furious with us?
v6 Will you not turn to us (again) and give us new life?
Then your people will be happy and *praise you.
v7 *LORD, show us your kind love!
Give to us the help that makes us safe!
v8 I will listen to what God the *LORD is saying.
He will give *peace to his people, to his *saints.
But they must not turn back to become fools.
v9 Certainly he will make safe those that obey him.
Then his *glory will remain in our land.
v10 Kind love will meet *loyalty.
*Goodness and *peace will kiss each other.
v11 *Loyalty will grow (like a plant) in the ground
and *goodness will look down from the *heavens.
v12 Yes! The *LORD will give what is good
and our land will give much fruit.
v13 *Goodness will go before him
and make a way for his feet.
The Story of Psalm 85
Many Bible students think that Psalm 85 comes from about 520 BC. BC means "years Before Christ came to the earth". This was just after the *Jews came back from their *exile in Babylon.
God was angry with his people. They had not obeyed him. So he let the King of Babylon beat them and take them to Babylon. He destroyed Jerusalem. After 70 years, the king of Persia beat the king of Babylon. Cyrus, the King of Persia, sent the *Jews back to Jerusalem and the places near it. This is what verses 1-3 are about. But, a few years after they returned to Jerusalem, things were bad. They had not built God’s house (the *temple) again. There was not much rain so there was not much fruit in the fields. This meant that there was not much food. Also, some enemies attacked them. So they thought that God was still angry with them! They asked for his help to make things better, verses 4-7. Someone gave them God’s answer, verses 8-13.
What Psalm 85 means
"The sons of *Korah" was the name of a music group. In Psalm 85, there is one word that comes 5 times. It is "turn" or "turned". Each time it means something a bit different:
· "turned the fortunes", verse 1, is a *Hebrew way to say "changed things from bad to good, or good to bad". In English, we would say "their luck changed". Christians do not believe in luck. Luck means "things just happen". Christians believe that God decides what happens, as in this verse: "You (God) *turned the fortunes of *Jacob". *Jacob is a name for God’s people.
· "you turned away from your *fury", verse 3. This means that God was not *furious (or very, very angry) with his people any more.
· "turn us, God" in verse 4 is where the psalm makes its first change. They thought that God was angry again, so they ask God to turn them. Sometimes when people become Christians, we say that they become "converted". This is a word that means "turned". They turn from doing what they want to do and do what God wants them to do. That is what this verse means.
· "turn to us again" in verse 6 is about God turning. God’s people pray that God will stop looking away, and turn to look at them. This is another way to say "send us help".
· "they must not turn back", in verse 8, means they must not go back and do bad things all the time. This is the second place where the psalm changes. Now it is about the good things that will happen if God’s people will obey him.
There are several important words in this psalm:
· "*forgave" and "*pardoned" in verse 2. Maybe both words meant "excused" in 520 BC, but to Christians "*forgave" is a very special word that means more than "excused". When God *forgives us he gives our *sin (all the bad things that we do) to Jesus. When he died, Jesus took our *sin away. So we are not only excused; it is just as if we had never done those bad things! God *punished Jesus for our *sin!
· "kind love" in verse 10 is a special love that God has for people. It is a love that does not stop. People that accept this kind love become God’s people. We could call them "kind-loved" but this is not a word English people use. It is in the *Hebrew of verse 8, where I have translated it "*saints".
· "*loyalty" in verse 10 is very like the "kind love" in the same verse. It is being a friend, or a servant and not stopping whatever happens. In this verse, God gives the kind love, and his people give him their *loyalty. He does not stop loving them and they do not stop being his friends and servants whatever happens.
· A better way to translate "*goodness" in verse 10 is by the word "*righteousness". "*Goodness" means "being good"; but "*righteousness" means "being *righteous". Now only God is really *righteous, always doing what is right. God wants his people to be like him, *righteous.
· "*Peace" in verse 10 means more than "not fighting" or "no war". It translates the *Hebrew word "shalom". It is a *peace that only God can give. With this *peace, you know that you are friends with God and it makes you very, very happy. Bible students think that when *goodness kisses *peace it means this: people that accept the *peace of God become good (or *righteous). They become *like God.
In verse 12, "much fruit" means more than apples and things *like that. It means all the plants that we grow for food. There had not been much of them, because there was not much rain. But now things would change! The last verse, verse 13, is very interesting. It tells us that God would walk on the earth! This happened when Jesus came, 520 years later. Many Bible students think that all the last part of the psalm is about Jesus. Because Jesus was the *Messiah, they call verses 9-13 the messianic part of the psalm.
Something to do
Here are some verses from the *New Testament of the Bible. Which verse or verses of Psalm 85 does each one make you think about?
1. Luke 2:14. *Glory to God in the *heavens, and *peace to his *saints on earth.
2. John 1:14. The Word became a man and lived with us and we saw his *glory. (The Word is one of Jesus’ Bible names.)
3. Romans 5:1. Because we have been made *righteous through faith, we have *peace with God through our *Lord Jesus Christ. (Faith means that we accept the kind love of God.)
4. Matthew 1:21. Jesus will save his people from their *sins.
Bits and Pieces
They said to Jesus, "Teach us to pray". He said, "Ask and you will receive. Look and you will find. Knock and it will open to you". (From Luke 11: 1 and 9)
Words that David prayed.
v1 *LORD,turn your ear (to me), answer me!
Because I am weak and need (help).
v2 Save me from death because I am one of your people.
Keep (me) your servant safe. You are my God.
(I am) someone that is *trusting in you.
v3 My *Lord, give me *mercy!
All through the day, I am praying (this) to you.
v4 Make (me) your servant happy!
Because I lift up myself to you, my *Lord.
v5 My *Lord, you are good. Also, you *forgive (people).
You give your kind love to everyone that prays to you.
v6 *Turn your ear to what I am praying, *LORD.
And listen to my voice when I cry for *mercy.
v7 On the day that I have trouble I will pray to you,
because you can answer me.
v8 None among the gods is like you, my *Lord.
And nobody can do what you can do.
v9 All the countries that you have made will come
and *worship before you, my *Lord.
They will say how great your name is.
v10 For you are great. You do great things.
You alone are God.
v11 *LORD, teach me your way. I will walk in your *truth.
Make my heart united when I think of your name.
v12 I will *praise you, my *Lord and my God, with my united heart.
I will always tell people that you are really great!
v13 (I will do this) because there is so much of your kind love to me.
You will save me from going to the lowest part of *Sheol.
v14 God, *proud people are attacking me.
A group of cruel men is trying to kill me.
They do not think about you.
v15 But you, my *Lord, are a God that loves (people) and gives (them) *mercy.
You are slow to become angry and (you are) full of kind love.
You do not leave (your people when they have trouble).
v16 Turn to me and give me *mercy. Make (me) your servant strong
and make the son of your woman servant safe.
v17 Show me something that tells me that you are good.
Let my enemies see it and be ashamed.
Because you, *LORD, have given me help and been kind to me.
The Story of Psalm 86
The *psalmist had trouble. Bad people were attacking him. We do not know why or when. He prayed to God about it. This psalm is his *prayer, or the words that he prayed.
But this *prayer is special. The*psalmist did not use his own words. He used the words of David! He also used words that Moses wrote in the Book of Exodus. He took some bits from Psalms 25-28, some pieces from Psalms 54-58 and some from other psalms and other parts of the Bible. And he made a new psalm from them!
What Psalm 86 means
In verse 2, "one of your people" is a special Bible word. It is someone that has accepted God’s love. Some Bibles translate it "*saints". "I lift myself to you" in verse 4 means "I give myself to you". Some Christians show this by lifting their hands when they pray. In verse 5,the word "*forgive" means more to Christians than maybe it did to the *psalmist. To him it meant "excuse". To Christians it means that God gave their *sin to Jesus for them when Jesus died for them. That was when God *punished Jesus for our *sin!
"Answer me" in verses 1 and 7 does not mean that the *psalmist will hear God speak. It means that God will give him help. The gods of verse 8 are the false gods of the people attacking the *psalmist. The united heart in verses 11 and 12 means a heart (or person) that serves (obeys) God only. He does not try to serve (obey) God and somebody or something else. This is what Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, "You cannot serve God and Mammon". Mammon means money or what money can buy. "When I think of your name" in the *Hebrew Bible is "to be afraid of your name".
"Kind love" in verses 13 and 15 is a word *like "your people" in verse 2 in the *Hebrew Bible. God’s people (or *saints) are the people that have accepted his kind love. Read the note on Psalm 85:10. In verse 16 we read that the *psalmist's mother was also a servant of God.
Something to do
1. Only one verse in Psalm 86 does not have one of God’s names in it. (The names are: God meaning "powerful", *LORD meaning "always alive" and *Lord meaning "with authority"). Which verse is it?
2. Here are some verses from other psalms, and one from Exodus. Can you find them (or something *like them) in Psalm 86?
Psalm 9:1. With my whole (or united) heart.
Psalm 17:6. *LORD, turn your ear (to me), answer me!
Psalm 25:1. I lift up myself to you, *LORD.
Psalm 26:3. I have walked in your *truth.
Psalm 27:11 *LORD, teach me your way.
Psalm 28:2. Listen to my voice when I cry.
Psalm 40:17. I am weak and need (help).
Psalm 54:3. *Proud people are attacking me. A group of cruel men is trying to kill me. They do not think about God.
Psalm 55:1. God, turn your ear to what I am praying.
Psalm 56:13. You saved me from death.
Psalm 57:2. God, give me *mercy!
Psalm 77:2. On the day that I had trouble I prayed to the *Lord.
Psalm 77:15. You are the God that does great things.
Psalm 90:15. Make us, (your servants), happy.
Psalm 119:68. You are good.
Psalm 130:4. You *forgive (people).
Exodus 34:6. The*LORD God gives (people) *mercy and *grace. He is not quick to become angry. He is very good.
3. Does the*psalmist always use the same name for God in Psalm 86 as in the other psalms?
4. When you pray, use words from the Bible sometimes.
The Two Jerusalems
Jesus said, "You must be born again". (John 3:7)
(This is) a song with music, for the sons of *Korah.
v1 He built it on the mountains of *holiness.
v2 The *LORD loves the gates of Zion.
He loves them more than all the places where *Jacob lives.
v3 (People say) *wonderful things about you, city of God. *SELAH
v4 I will remember the people that I know, from Rahab and Babylon;
also from Philistia, Tyre and Ethiopia.
I will remember that this man was born there.
v5 They will say in Zion, "A man ... this man ... was born there".
So he ... the *Most High ... will build her up.
v6 The *LORD will write in his book (the name of) everyone that says,
"This man was born there". *SELAH
v7 The singers and the *musicians (will say),
"All my *springs are in you".
The Story of Psalm 87
This is an important psalm but we do not know who wrote it. It was for the sons of *Korah. This is probably the name of the *musicians in the *temple in Jerusalem. The *temple was the house of God that Solomon built. Solomon was the son of David. He was the third king of Israel.
The psalm is about Jerusalem. The psalm calls Jerusalem by the name Zion. Really, Zion was the name of the hill on which Solomon built the *temple. The *Jews thought that God lived on this hill. It was his home on earth. Because they thought that God was *holy (or very, very good) they thought that Zion was *holy also. So they called the hill of Zion a "mountain of *holiness".
But the psalm is really the story of two Jerusalems! Verses 1-3 are about Jerusalem on earth, the capital city of the *Jews. Verses 4-6 are about another Jerusalem. We can see this very clearly in the translation from the *Greek Bible below. (The translation above is from the *Hebrew Bible.) 250 years before Jesus came to the earth, the *Jews translated their Bible into *Greek.
This meant that more people could understand it. In some places, the two Bibles are different. We do not know why. We do believe that both translations teach us what is true.
What Psalm 87 means
Verses 1 - 3 are about Jerusalem, the capital city of the *Jews. Verses 4-6 are about the *Church. The *Church is the City of God, the New Jerusalem. The person that wrote Psalm 87 did not know this. But God inspired them to write verses 4 - 6. "Inspired" means "gave them words to say". The person that wrote the psalm thought that Jerusalem would become the most important city on earth. God knew that the NEW Jerusalem would be the most important city! But it would not be on earth, but in *heaven where God lives.
Verses 1 – 2: These verses are about the Jerusalem that is on earth. To give you help to understand this difficult psalm we have shown it like this:
He built it on the mountains of *holiness
the *LORD loves the gates of Zion
He loves them more than the places where *Jacob lives
To the left it is about the *LORD God; to the right it is about the Jerusalem on earth, the capital of Israel. The "mountains of *holiness" are the hills on which they built Jerusalem. They were *holy because they thought that God lived there. "The gates of Zion" means the whole city of Jerusalem. *Jacob is another name for Israel, and the land where the *Jews lived.
Verses 4 – 6: These verses are about the *Church. The person that wrote the psalm did not know about our *Church. He thought that people from all over the world were becoming *Jews. This was probably true. But the *New Testament of the Bible repeats Psalm 87:5 and says that it is about the *Church (Galatians 4:26). People come to it from all over the world: Rahab (Egypt), Babylon (Iraq), Philistia, Tyre (Lebanon) and Ethiopia (Sudan) were countries near Israel.
We think that God is speaking in verses 4-6. He says that everyone that is born in Jerusalem is in his book. What does "born in Jerusalem" mean? We believe that it means "born again". This is another way of saying "becoming a Christian". The name of every Christian is in God’s book. He will not forget any of them. They are all included in those that say, "this man was born there". In verse 6, this means "I was born there". Here is Psalm 87:5 in another translation. It is not from the *Hebrew Bible. It is from the *Greek Bible:
"A man will say, 'Zion is my mother'. This man was born in her. So he ... the *Most High ... will build her up".
It is the translation from the *Greek Bible that the *New Testament uses. In Galatians 4:26 Paul wrote, "the Jerusalem that is above ... is our mother". Remember, Jerusalem and Zion are the same place.
What does all this mean? It means that when we are born again (or become Christians) we are born in a place called Jerusalem. This is not the Jerusalem that is on earth. It is a Jerusalem that is in *heaven, where God lives. The people that live there are all the people that have become Christians. The Jerusalem that is in *heaven is made up of people, not buildings.
Verse 7: This verse is difficult to translate. It probably means one of:
· the singers and *musicians must use music that is called "All my *springs are in you"
· the singers and *musicians all say that their *springs are in Jerusalem (this means that Jerusalem gives them new life)
Something to do
1. If you have a Bible, read Galatians 4:21-31, Hebrews 11:13-16, and Hebrews 12:22-24.
2. Ask God to put your name into his Book of Life!
Down Among the Dead Men
Jesus went into a town called Nain. Many of his *disciples and a lot of people went with him. Now when he came near to the gate of the town, he saw a dead man. They were carrying him out. His mother was a *widow and the dead man was her only son. A big crowd of people from the town was with her. And when the Lord (Jesus) saw her, he was very sorry for her. He said to her, "Do not weep". And he came and touched the *coffin. The men carrying it stood *still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, get up”. And the dead man got up and began to speak. And Jesus gave him to his mother. And everybody was afraid. They said that God was really great and that a *prophet had come among them. And (they said) that God had visited his people. (Luke 7:11-16)
(This) song (is a) psalm for the sons of *Korah.
The music leader (must use music called) "*mahalath leannoth".
(It is) a *maskil by Heman the Ezrahite.
v1 *LORD, (you are) the God that makes me safe.
I always cry to you in the day and at night for help.
v2 I want you to hear the words that I am praying.
Listen to my *cry for help!
v3 Because I have a lot of trouble
and my life is coming near to *Sheol.
v4 (People) say that I am among those that are going to the *Pit.
I am *like a strong man that has become weak (and ill).
v5 I am almost with those that are already dead.
(I am) *like dead people lying in their *graves.
You do not remember them any more
and you cannot give them help where they are.
v6 You are putting me in the lowest *Pit,
in a very dark and deep place.
v7 You are very angry with me.
You are like a heavy sea,
pouring all over me and knocking me down.
v8 You have taken my best friends away from me.
You have made me seem very bad to them.
The place that I am in is *like a prison that I cannot leave.
v9 My eyes are weak because I am so sad.
*LORD, every day I pray to you.
I lift my hands up to you (while I pray).
v10 Do you do *miracles for people that are dead?
Do dead people get up and say that you are great?
v11 Do people talk about your kind love in the *grave?
(Do they say) in *Abaddon that you continue to be good to people?
v12 Do they know about your *miracles in dark places.
(Do they know about) the good things that you do
in the land where people forget (everything).
v13 But *LORD, I cry to you for help.
Every morning I pray to you.
v14 *LORD, why are you throwing me away?
Why do you hide your face from me?
v15 I have been ill and near to death since I was young.
You have let bad things happen to me
and I do not know what to do.
v16 Your *fury pours over me.
You are attacking me and destroying me!
v17 (The things that you do), they are all round me *like a *flood.
They are on every side of me.
v18 You have taken away from me my friends
and the people that love me.
My only friend is *darkness.
The Story of Psalm 88
This is a psalm by someone that was ill since he was a child. It may have been Heman himself, or someone that Heman knew. It is the saddest of the psalms. He prays, but God does not seem to listen. So he feels that he is already in *Sheol. *Sheol was a dark place under the ground. The *Jews believed that people went there when they died. The worst bit of *Sheol was the *Pit. People that went there never came out. But nowhere does the psalm say that the writer had done something very wrong. Yet God was attacking him, doing very bad things to him. Why? God gives no reason. Yet Heman still says "every morning I pray to you", verse 13. That is what the psalm teaches us. If things get bad … pray to God every morning!
What Psalm 88 means
In verses 7, 16 and 17, Heman writes about water. His trouble is *like the sea. It is heavy and pours over him. It is all round him *like a *flood. It makes him feel that he cannot move. It was *like being in a prison, verse 8, and he cannot get out. We do not know what the prison was. Maybe he was so ill that he could not move. Maybe people put him in a place where they could not see him. This was because he looked so bad. His friends and the people that loved him did not want to look at him, verses 8, 18. He made them feel sick!
Maybe the prison in verse 8 is *Sheol itself. He is "near to *Sheol", verse 3, which means "almost dead", verse 5. There is nothing that he can do, only pray: and God does not answer! He sends no help. Heman asks if God does *miracles for the people in *Sheol. The answer then was "No!" But the story from Luke’s *Gospel at the top of the psalm says that for Christians the answer may be "Yes". Jesus made the *widow’s son alive again! He came back from *Sheol. But this is not usual. We must make sure that we tell God that we believe in him and love him before we die!
Something to do
1. Tell God that you believe that he loves you, and that you love him. This means that you are sorry for what you have done wrong, and will try to obey God in future days.
2. If you have a Bible, try to read some of the Book of Job. Could Job have written Psalm 88?
Make Your *Kingdom Come Soon!
Make your *kingdom come soon. Make people obey your rules in the earth as they do in *heaven (Matthew 6: 10). (This is part of a special *prayer that Jesus taught us. A *kingdom is where a king rules; here, God is the King.)
Psalm 89: 1 - 4
(This is) a *maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.
v1 I will always sing about the kind love of the *LORD.
I will tell (my) children and (my) grandchildren
that you will do what you have promised.
v2 Yes! I will say that nothing will ever stop your kind love (for us).
You will do the things that you promised in *heaven.
v3 (God had said in *heaven)
"I have made a *covenant with the man that I chose.
I have made special promises to my servant David.
v4 Someone from your family will always be king.
And there will always be a place where they (will rule) as king". *SELAH
The Story of Psalm 89
God made special promises to David. They are in 2 Samuel 7:12-17. The important promise is that someone from David’s family would always be king. Ethan wrote Psalm 89 many years after this. He called it a *maskil, a psalm that teaches us something.
In the psalm, Ethan sings about a problem. God had promised that there would always be a king in David’s family. But now there was no *Jewish king! The army from Babylon had beaten the *Jewish army. They took the *Jewish king to Babylon and the King of Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar) became king of the *Jews. How could anyone explain this?
Christians have sung this psalm on Christmas Day for many centuries. This is because Jesus is a king from David’s family, he will always be king and he was born at Christmas. That is how we explain the problem ... but Ethan did not know this!
What Psalm 89: 1 - 4 means
In verse 3 the *covenant is what God and the *Jews agreed. If the *Jews would love and obey God, then he would keep them safe. The *Jews had a special *covenant name for God: *Yahweh. We translate it *LORD, with 4 capital letters. In this part of the psalm, Ethan says that he still believes that God will do what he had promised. Ethan was right! We think that *SELAH means a place to stop and pray, or think, or listen to music.
The *Kingdom of *Heaven
Psalm 89: 5 - 18
v5 In *heaven, they *praise the *wonderful things that you have done, *LORD.
Also, the *holy *angels that meet together
(know that) you will do what you have promised.
v6 For who is there in *heaven that is *like the *LORD?
Which of the *sons of God is *like the *LORD?
v7 God frightens very much the *holy ones that meet together.
He makes them more afraid than anyone else does.
v8 Most Powerful *LORD God, who is as strong as you are, *LORD?
And you do everything that you have promised!
v9 You are the ruler of the boiling sea.
When the water rises up, you make it quiet again.
v10 You broke Rahab and killed it!
With your strong arm, you destroyed your enemies.
v11 The skies belong to you and so does the earth.
You made the world and everything that is in it.
v12 You made (places in) the north and in the south.
Tabor and Hermon *praise you when they hear your name.
v13 You have a strong arm; your hand is powerful;
you have lifted up your right hand (to use your power).
v14 You have built your *kingdom doing what is right and fair.
Your kind love and the fact that you keep your promises go in front of you.
v15 The people are very happy when they know how to *praise you.
*LORD, they will walk in the light from your face.
v16 They will *praise your name all day
and talk about your *righteousness.
v17 Your *glory will make them strong
and by your *grace you will lift up our *horn.
v18 Yes! Our *shield is the *LORD’s
and our king belongs to the *Holy One of Israel.
What Psalm 89: 5 - 18 means
In verses 5 and 7 the *angels/ones are *holy because they live with God. *Holy means "very, very good". Only God is really *holy. In verse 6, "*sons of God" is another name for "*holy *angels" or "*holy ones". They are not people from earth, but God’s servants in *heaven. The answer to the two questions is "Nobody". The *angels are not *like God (or as good and powerful as God). In verse 8,it may mean "who on earth is as strong as you are?" The answer again is "Nobody", not even the "*sons of God" and "the *holy ones", verses 6-8.
In verses 9-14, the *psalmist comes "down to earth". He has talked about God as the most powerful person in *heaven in verses 5 to 8. Now he talks about God’s power on earth. In verse 9, God can make an angry ("boiling") sea quiet. This means he can make the loudest sea quiet. Jesus did this when he stopped the storm at sea. Jesus could do this because he was God. In verse 10, Rahab was either a sea-*monster, or a name for Egypt. In verse 12, Tabor and Hermon are the names of mountains in Israel. When we see great hills and mountains, we remember that God made (*created) them. That makes us *praise God. Mountains do not *praise God, they make us *praise God!
In verses 15-18, we read about God’s people. They are people that *praise God. In verse 15 "walk" means "live". "The light of your face" means "God being good" or "God showing the way". God’s face is where God is. Verse 17 is full of special Christian words. (Some people call them "*jargon"!) Some Bible students think it means:
· because you are great and powerful you will make them strong
· because you are kind you will make us strong
"Lift up our *horn" is *jargon for "make us strong". Note that the *psalmist changes from "them" to "our" in this verse. He has been talking about God’s people all the time. Now he says so! In verse 18, "the *Holy One of Israel" is a name for God.
A *Kingdom on Earth
Psalm 89: 19 - 37
v19 A long time ago, you spoke to your servants.
It was like a dream. You said (to them),
"I have given help to a brave soldier.
I have chosen a young man from the people.
v20 I have found David my servant.
I have poured my special oil over him (to make him king).
v21 My hand will make him strong and,
Yes! My arm will make him powerful.
v22 No enemy will win a war against him
and no *wicked people will *conquer him.
v23 I will destroy his enemies before him
and kill those that hate him.
v24 I will do everything that I have promised him.
Also, (I will give him) my kind love.
And by my name I will raise his *horn.
v25 I will put his (left) hand over the sea
and his right hand over the rivers.
v26 He (David) will say to me, "You are my Father,
my God, and the Rock that makes me safe".
v27 Also, I will make him (as) my first born (son).
(He will be) the most high of the kings of the earth.
v28 I will always give him my kind love
and my *covenant with him will have no end.
v29 One of his family will always be king,
as long as there are skies (above us).
v30 - v31 If his *descendants:
· do not listen to what I am teaching them
· and do not obey my *laws
· say that my *laws are bad
· and do not do what I tell them (to do)
v32 I will *punish their *sin with a stick
and the wrong things they do with a *whip.
v33 But I will not take my kind love from him (David)
and I will not *break any of my promises.
v34 I will not *break my *covenant (with him)
or change any of my promises.
v35 At one time I made a promise.
Because I am *holy I will not *lie to David.
v36 His *descendants will always continue
and his *kingdom will go on as long as the sun (shines).
v37 Like the moon, it will always be there.
From the sky, it will see everything that happens". *SELAH
What Psalm 89: 19 - 37 means
In this part of the psalm, Ethan remembers the promises that God made to David. He said that all God’s people could see God in a *vision, verse 19. A *vision is *like a dream. They could also hear what God said. He told them that David was to be their king. In those days they made someone king by "*anointing" them. This means "pouring oil over them". They made the oil from *olives, which grew on the trees in Israel. (They still do!) In verse 21 (and verse 13), the hand and arm of God mean the things that he does on the earth. In verse 24 we read about a *horn again. It is a *horn on the head of an animal that makes it look strong. In verse 17, it was the people that God made strong. Here it is David that God makes strong. The hands over the seas and rivers, verse 25, mean that David is strong in these places. Verse 26 tells us that David will call God "My Father". In the *Old Testament, the king thought of God as Father for his people; in the *New Testament, each Christian thinks of God as Father. The "first born son", or oldest son, verse 27, had twice as much from his father as the other sons. "Most high" is also a name for God, but here used for the king. This is a part of the psalm that makes Christians think about Jesus. That is why they have sung it at Christmas for centuries. In verses 32-33, it is not David that God *punishes, but his *descendants.
Psalm 89: 38 - 52
v38 But you have said "no" to your *anointed (king).
You have turned away (from him)
because you have become angry with him.
v39 You have *broken the *covenant with your servant.
You threw his *crown to the ground and made it dirty.
v40 You have broken all the walls (round his city).
You have destroyed all his strong places.
v41 Everyone that goes near him robs him.
Everybody that lives near him laughs at him.
v42 You have made all his enemies strong,
you have made them all happy (because they beat him).
v43 You made the edge of his *sword *blunt
and you have not given him help in war.
v44 You have taken away his authority as king
and you threw his *throne on the ground.
v45 He does not look *like a young man any more.
You have dressed him in *shame. *SELAH
v46 *LORD, how long (will this continue)?
Will you always hide yourself?
Will your great *anger (always) burn like a fire?
v47 Remember that my life is so short!
Have you *created people for no reason?
v48 What man can live and not die?
Who can save himself from the power of *Sheol (death)?
v49 *Lord, where is the kind love (that you gave us) in past times?
Where are the special promises that you made to David?
v50 Remember, *Lord, that people have *scorned your servant.
Many countries have said bad things to me.
v51 *LORD, your enemies laugh at the king that you have chosen.
They *scorn him everywhere he goes.
v52 Always *praise the *LORD! *Amen and *amen!
What Psalm 89: 38 - 52 means
In the first 18 verses, the *psalmist tells us how great God is. In verses 19-37, he tells us what God promised to David. Now, in verses 38-45, he tells us that God has not done what he promised. In verses 46-51, he prays that God will do something. (Verse 52 is not part of the psalm. It finishes Book 3 of The Psalms.) The servant in verses 39 and 50 is the king. Some Bible students think that the king speaks in verses 50-51. The psalm does not answer the problem. There is no answer until Jesus came to earth. Remember ... Jesus was a *descendant of David!
Did Ethan write all Psalm 89?
Many Bible students think that Psalm 89 is three psalms in one! Ethan was one of David’s singers. He could not have known about Nebuchadnezzar, who lived 500 years later. Bible students explain this by saying:
· Ethan wrote the first part, verses 1-18. At this time, both Tabor and Hermon (verse 12) were in the land David's *descendants ruled. Later, they were not.
· Someone else wrote the next part, verses 19-37. This was maybe 400 years after David ruled Israel. Maybe Josiah was king.
· A third person wrote the last part, verses 38-51. This was after Nebuchadnezzar had beaten the *Jews. He took their king (Jehoiakin) to Babylon. Jehoiakin was not king any more.
Something to do
1. If you have a Bible, read what God promised to David. You will find it in 2 Samuel 7.
2. When God does not answer when you pray, read this psalm, then read in the *New Testament about Jesus! Then wait for your answer.
3. Count how many times the special word "kind love" comes in this psalm. (The word is "Hesed" in *Hebrew.)
Abaddon ~ a place in *Sheol where they destroy people.
Adonai ~ *Lord or master; (or better, my *Lord or my master) in *Hebrew.
altar ~part of the *temple.
amen ~ we agree!
ancestor ~ people years ago that your parents came from.
angels ~ *spirits that live in *heaven with God.
anger ~ what you feel when you are angry.
anoint ~ pour *olive oil on.
anointed ~ with (*olive) oil poured on.
ark ~ a box with things important to the *Jews in it.
arrows ~ pointed sticks shot by a bow.
Asaph ~ look in the Introduction.
barley ~ a plant; people make bread from the seeds (called "grain").
BC ~ years Before Christ came to the earth.
blunt ~ not sharp.
boast ~ say that you are great and important (when maybe you are not).
boil ~ a red place on your skin that hurts.
break ~ (in Psalm 89:33, 34) not do (what you said you would do).
broken ~ (in Psalm 89:39) not done (the past of ‘*break’).
chaff ~ dead part of a plant round the seed.
Cherubim ~ special *angels that live with God in *heaven.
Church ~ all those people that believe all about Jesus.
coffin ~ box made of wood that they bury dead bodies in.
conquer ~ beat in a war.
consider ~ think about.
courts ~ places outside the *temple.
covenant ~ two people have agreed what each should do (here, God and his people). Look after Psalm 25 in Book 1 of the Psalms of David for more about the covenant.
created ~ made (as only God can make).
crown ~ a special hat that a king wears.
cry ~ words that you say aloud when you are frightened or sad.
cymbals ~ you hit two of them together to make a loud noise.
darkness ~ when there is no light.
deaf ~ cannot hear.
den ~ the home of a wild animal.
descendants ~ children, grandchildren, and so on; people in your family that live after you are dead.
desert ~ a dry place with much sand.
disciples ~ people that Jesus taught.
disobey ~ not obey.
distress ~ a very *unhappy feeling.
divide ~ make into more than one part.
dog ~ an animal.
dove ~ a bird (that may mean Israel).
Elohim ~ one of God’s names in *Hebrew. It means very powerful.
Elyon ~ one of God’s names in *Hebrew. It means very important.
exile ~ away from your own country.
fear ~ what you feel when you are afraid.
feast ~ another word for festival [see festival].
festival ~ a happy party with much eating, drinking, singing and dancing.
fig ~ a fruit that many people eat.
flag ~ material with signs on it. Each country has its own flag.
flock ~ a group of animals such as sheep.
flood ~ deep water.
foes ~ enemies.
for ever ~always.
forgive ~ take away the results of *sin. (But look in the notes on Psalm 85:2).
forgiveness ~ what you give people when you *forgive them.
foundations ~ what people build houses on.
fox ~ an animal.
frogs ~ small animals that live in water and on land.
frost ~ cold white powder *like snow.
furious ~ very, very angry.
fury ~ what you feel when you are very, very angry.
Gittith ~ maybe music from a town they called Gath.
glory ~ something that shines very much, maybe *heaven: God has glory because his *righteousness shines from inside him.
godless ~ people that do not obey God, and that fight against him.
goodness ~ what makes people do good things.
Gospel ~ one of the four books at the beginning of the New Testament [see New Testament].
grace ~ when someone (here God) is kind and *forgives when he does not have to forgive.
gracious ~ being kind when you do not have to be kind.
grapes ~ the fruit of a plant called the *vine. People use them to make drink that has alcohol in it. The drink is *wine.
grasshopper ~a small *locust (here it may also mean *locust).
grave ~ a hole in the ground where they bury dead bodies.
Greek ~ a language.
hail ~ ice in rain.
harp ~ you can make music with it.
harvest ~ picking fruits.
healthy ~ having good health.
heaven ~ the home of God.
heavens ~the skies or the home of God.
Hebrew ~ the language that the *Jews spoke when they wrote the Psalms of David.
history ~ when someone records past events, we say that they have written history.
holiness ~ something that is very good; in Psalm 87, a place where God is.
holy *angels ~ they live with God in *heaven.
holy ~ very, very good; only God is really *holy, the land where he lives with his people is also *holy because he is there.
holy land ~ the land of Israel.
holy ones ~ they live with God in *heaven.
honey ~ a special sugar made by insects called bees.
horn ~ hard bone on head of animal, showing it is strong; look at the note on Psalm 75:4.
huge ~ very, very large.
idol ~ a false god made of wood or stone or metal.
Israelite ~ a *Jewish person (see Jew).
Jacob ~ another name for Israel, both the people and the land. (Jacob was Abraham’s grandson).
jargon ~ special words.
jealous ~ what you feel when someone else loves the person that you love.
jealousy ~what you feel when you are jealous.
Jehovah ~ how some languages say *Yahweh, one of the names of God in *Hebrew.
Jew ~ someone who was born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.
Jewish ~ a word that describes a *Jew or anything to do with a *Jew.
Joseph ~ another name for the people Israel. (Joseph was Jacob’s son.)
judge ~ say who is right and who is wrong; or, the person that says who is right and who is wrong.
kingdom ~ the country that has a king.
Korah ~ look in the Introduction in Book 3 of the Psalms of David.
laws ~ the rules in a country. In Psalm 78, the rules in the first 5 books of the Bible.
Leviathan ~ a sea-*monster.
lice ~ small insects that can carry illnesses to people.
lie ~ say words that are not true.
lightning ~ narrow lines of light in the sky during a storm.
lights ~ (in Psalm 83:14) makes a fire (on the mountains).
like ~ another word for "as".
lilies ~ flowers.
lion ~ a dangerous animal.
locust ~ an insect that eats all the green parts of plants.
Lord ~ a name for God; it means he has authority, or "master"; *Adonai in *Hebrew. Look also at *LORD below.
LORD ~ a special name for God that his people use. It is the *covenant name of God. In *Hebrew it is *Yahweh or *Jehovah. Look after Psalm 25 in Book 1 of the Psalms of David for more about the names of God.
loyalty ~ being a friend, or a servant and not stopping, whatever happens.
lyre ~ you can make music with it.
mahalath leannoth ~ maybe it means "when you are ill" in *Hebrew. Bible students are not sure.
manna ~ food from *heaven. It is *like bread. The word "manna" is *Hebrew for "What is it?" This is because the *Jews did not know what God had sent them!
maskil ~ a psalm that teaches you something.
merciful ~ kind.
mercy ~ being kind when you do not have to be kind.
Messiah ~ in the *Old Testament, the *anointed king. In the *New Testament, Jesus. The word messiah is *Hebrew for *anointed.
miracles ~ great things that only God can do.
monster ~ a very large animal.
Most High ~ a name for God.
mount ~ small mountain.
musical instrument ~ something that makes music when you hit it (cymbals, drum), blow in it (flute, trumpet, horn, shofar) or touch it in a quiet way (harp, lyre). Many of these are in Psalm 150 in Book 5 of The Psalms of David.
musicians ~ people that make music. They sing, or play *musical instruments.
nations ~ countries.
necklace ~ something pretty to wear round your neck.
neighbours ~ people that live near (either house or country).
nest ~ place where a bird keeps its babies.
New Testament ~ the last part of the Bible, which the writers wrote after the life of Jesus. It is about the things that Jesus did and taught and about the church [see church].
oil ~ not motor oil, but from a fruit called the olive.
Old Testament ~ the first part of the Bible; the *holy things that the writers wrote before Christ’s birth.
olive ~ a fruit.
oppress ~ when you are not kind to people, we say that you are oppressing them.
oppressed ~ people that the enemy have hurt.
order ~ words that tell someone what they must do.
pardoned ~ *forgave, or excused (but look in the notes for Psalm 85:2).
peace ~ when we are friends with God and with other people; or, when we have no trouble in our minds; or, when there is no war and everybody is happy.
pilgrims ~ people that make a special journey.
Pit ~ the worst bit of *Sheol.
plague ~ something very bad, often an illness.
plans ~ thoughts about what to do.
poetry ~ using words in a special (often very beautiful) way.
praise ~ say how great somebody is; or, words that say how great someone is.
praise you ~ say how great you are.
prayer ~ words that you say when you pray.
prey ~ what an animal catches to eat.
pride ~ what you feel when you think that you are important.
priest ~ a servant of God in his *temple.
prince ~ son of a king.
prisoners ~ people caught and kept by the enemy.
Promised Land ~ Israel.
prophesy ~ tell people what God thinks and will do.
prophet ~ someone that says what God thinks and will do.
protect ~ stop people hurting and destroying (someone or something).
proud people ~ people that think that they are very important.
psalmist ~ the person that wrote a psalm (or psalms).
punish ~ hurt someone because they have not obeyed the rules.
quails ~ small birds that people can eat.
real ~ proper.
Redeemer ~ a name for God. It means that he pays the price of our *sin. This happened when Jesus died on the cross.
refuge ~ a place where you can hide and be safe.
righteous ~ very good (only God is really righteous). God says that the people that love and obey him are righteous. Sometimes we say that they are "the righteous", meaning "righteous people". Look after Psalm 5 in Book 1 of The Psalms of David for more about the word "righteous".
righteousness ~ what you have when you are *righteous.
rubbish ~ what people throw away.
Sabaoth ~ a *huge group of people, usually armies of *angels in the Bible.
saints ~ people that have received God’s love, his people.
Satan ~ the leader of the bad *spirits, known also as the Devil and Lucifer.
scorn ~ laugh in a bad way at someone.
seer ~ another word for *prophet.
SELAH ~ a place to pray or think or make music.
shake ~ move from one side to another and back again very fast many times.
shame ~ a bad feeling when we have done wrong.
Sheol ~where *Jews said that you went when you died.
shepherd ~a sheep farmer.
shield ~what a soldier holds over himself to stop things hitting him.
shofar ~ a *musical instrument. They were animal *horns. They blew into them.
shook ~ past of *shake.
sin ~ not obeying God, or what you do when you do not obey God.
slip ~nearly fall over (as on oil or on ice).
sons of God ~ they live with God in *heaven.
sparrow ~ small bird that makes *nests in houses.
spice ~ look in the notes in Psalm 75.
spirit ~the part of us that lives when our body dies.
spirits ~ they are alive, but we cannot see them. There are good spirits usually known as *angels. Bad spirits (known also as evil spirits, or demons) do not live in *heaven now, but in the air round us. *Satan is their leader.
springs ~another word for "wells" (of water) in Psalm 87.
still ~ not moving.
stringed instruments ~ See *musical instruments. Stringed instruments include the *harp and the *lyre.
stupid ~ opposite of clever.
swallow ~ small bird that makes *nests in houses.
sword ~ a long, sharp knife that soldiers use to fight people with.
tambourine ~ a *musical instrument that you hit or *shake.
tears ~ water coming from our eyes when we cry.
temple ~ a place where people meet to *worship God.
tempted ~ someone asked you to do something wrong.
tent ~ a home or building made from animal skins.
test God ~ make God show what he can do.
tested ~ (in Psalm 81) saw if they were good or bad.
tested ~ gave a (spoken) exam to.
throne ~ a special seat that a king sits on.
thunder ~ loud noise in the sky in a storm.
tongue ~ the part of our mouth that we talk with.
tribe ~ a large group of people from the same family.
trust ~ believe that someone (usually God in the psalms) will be good to you.
trusting in you ~ looking to you for help.
truth ~ usually words that are true; in Psalm 86:11, things that God teaches.
turn your ear ~ a way to say "Listen!" in *Hebrew.
turned the fortunes ~ change things (look in the notes on Psalm 85:1).
unhappy ~ the opposite of happy.
vines ~ plants that grow *grapes (to make *wine).
vision ~ *like a dream.
warn ~ say that something (usually bad) will happen.
weapon ~ something to fight people with, like a *sword or a gun.
wheat ~ plant like *barley. People make bread from its seeds. (The seeds are called "grain".)
whip ~ something to hit people and animals with.
wicked ~ very, very bad.
widow ~ woman whose husband is dead.
wilderness ~ a wild place where people did not grow food.
wine ~ a drink with alcohol in it. People make it from *grapes.
wonder ~ another word for *miracle.
wonderful ~ great and surprising.
worship ~ tell someone that they are very great and that you love them.
Yahweh ~ the *covenant name for God. Most Bibles translate it *LORD with 4 capital letters. It means something *like "I am" or "always alive".
© 2001-2002, Wycliffe Associates (UK)
This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words).
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