This Psalm has the longest inscription we have seen yet. It is a psalm that is directed to those who are servants of G-d. Obviously there are many benefits (mainly in the age to come) to serving G-d.
· Chief music director = the one who was responsible for leading others to recite this psalm in worship.
· The inscription also alludes to the great opposition that David had faced as well as how G-d rescued him in the midst of it. David wrote this in light of the many years that he was on the run/fleeing from Saul and his enemies.
· This psalm is called a song. One of the reasons for that is that it has a degree of worship, adoration, praise, thanksgiving etc attached to it.
v1: The word translated “love” here is a word for being merciful. The best example we could use to describe this word is that of a womb. A womb responds to a baby growing in it and it functions to provide the best it can for that baby. David is basically saying here that he is responding to the L-rd in the best way he can – according to what G-d has revealed to him. He’s making decisions based upon what is right in G-d’s eyes. When we are responsive to G-d we are going to find that we become recipients of His strength. G-d’s strength helps us to endure, overcome etc
v2: When we act in faithfulness, trusting G-d and moving in obedience to Him, we find shelter, strength, protection etc in Him.
· Horn is an idiom for strength, power or authority.
· Stronghold = a safe place, but it is also a place of elevation. The image is of G-d lifting him up and placing him in a place where the enemy cannot reach him. David sees G-d as a personal G-d. He is intimately involved in David’s life.
v3: I will call: G-d should always be the (first) One that we turn to – in every situation. David doesn’t turn to G-d first and foremost because of his situation, but because G-d is worthy of praise in every situation – good or bad.
· Worthy to be praised – G-d is One who is praiseworthy.
· “saved” – deliverance has been emphasised in these last few verses.
v4: David now focuses on the activity of his enemies.
· This word “pangs” can speak about cords/ropes but it also speaks about pain/suffering.
· “Floods” – This is literally the word for multiple rivers.
· Ungodliness is a word that refers to very evil individuals. They are full of iniquity and rejoice in the sufferings of others. These people cause David to feel afraid.
v5: “Sorrows” is a parallel (//) word to “pangs”. Death is // to the place of death – Sheol.
· Snares – David’s enemies are causing him to feel surrounded and trapped. Hemmed in with no ability to escape by himself. In this situation many people would give up, but David doesn’t.
v6: In the times of trouble David calls/cries out to the only ONE who can rescue him. David doesn’t deny his situation, but he believes G-d is going to respond to him in the midst of it.
· “Ears” is a word that speaks of intimacy. Because David had a covenantal relationship with G-d he was sure that G-d would hear his plea.
v7: G-d responds in a mighty way! He shakes the earth to its core! He is angry at David’s enemies on David’s behalf.
v8: Smoke from nostrils and fire from mouth are images that depict consuming anger. Here, G-d’s indignation is depicted as a consuming fire. Around a fire people often die. Smoke is a dangerous part of fire. It can cause as much damage as the fire itself.
v9: “bowed the heavens” – G-d’s action brought about a change in the heavenlies on behalf of
· “Darkness”(something thick, like smog) is a word that is // to smoke.
v10: “Flying with the wind” means to move at great speed.
v11: Here G-d is bringing more change. In this verse there is an emphasis on darkness. G-d makes everything dark on purpose. Noone knows – except G-d- what He is doing. When things get dark light is more visible.
v12: “Brightness before Him” – this is a word that means an excessively bright and powerful light. G-d darkens everything, but then in a moment there is an abundant powerful light that shines from before Him. Hailstones and coals of fire – a testimony of His wrath, a sign of His strength.
v13: G-d’s voice calls attention to Himself. Imagine it like at a theatre. The lights dim and then a bright spotlight shines on the star of the show. Everyone stops talking and all you hear is the main actor – same type of image here. G-d’s performance (so to speak) is about to begin.
v14: Like the arrows, the lightening scares them and scatters them.
v15: All that is happening – the moving of heaven and heaven – is because of G-ds wrath toward David’s enemies (A prophetic picture of what G-d is going to do to our enemies at the end of time)
v16: “Draw” – this is the same word that spoke of Moses being drawn up out of the waters (Ex 2:10)
v17: 1 John 4:4 The one in us is stronger than the one in this world – we do not have reason to be afraid when we are in a covenantal relationship with G-d.
v18: Our enemies may try to push us/move us but G-d is the One we can lean on – He keeps us steady. Standing strong. G-d is always available for us to lean upon. He is a great source of support.
v19: “Brought me out” has a connotation of redemption attached to it.
· A broad place is a place where the stress and affliction is not being crushingly pressed together. It is a place of comfort, relief, safety or deliverance – a good place (like a cork being taken out a bottle releases the pressure).
· G-d releases David because G-d delights in him. What would cause G-d to delight in us?
v20: David understands that G-d delights in him because David has been righteous – he has kept the ways of the L-rd and has not behaved wickedly.
· The word “recompense” is a word of pay back. It involves a payment in return for something. David is confident that the L-rd will pay him back for his righteous behaviour. This is the type of behaviour that should be important to us.
· Cleanness/purity of my hands: There is a relationship between righteousness and purity. When we are committed to the righteous judgments of G-d (His standards) they will produce a purity in our behaviour.
v22: In this case G-d’s judgements are related to His decisions – what G-d has decided is right (not what I have decided). If we want to keep the ways of the L-rd, and if we don’t want to do evil, then we have to keep His judgments and obey His statutes (laws) – not as a means of salvation, but as a testimony of being obedient, and therefore pleasing, to Him.
v23: Blameless – this is a word of perfection.
· David kept himself from sinning.
v24: This verse is a close repeat of v20.
· “Hand” is related to deeds. Our deeds need to be clean/pure. G-d’s grace works in our lives to produce righteous behaviour.
· “In His sight”: nothing is concealed/hidden from G-d.