David wrote this psalm for a very specific reason. The inscription tells us that it was for a dedication. This psalm is read every day during the feast of Hanukkah (a name which means ‘dedication’) – when the menorah/lampstand is lit (The menorah is an eight branched candlestick with an extra/ninth branch known as the ‘servant light’. The candles are lit using the flame from the servant light).
The Hebrew word used for ‘Psalm’ here (‘miz·mō·wr’) is a word related to pruning shears – a tool used to get rid of unwanted foliage in order that the tree produces more fruit.
- ‘House of David’ – this is a reference to the temple. King David was inspired to write down this psalm for the dedication of the temple (although David never built the temple he prepared for the temple with materials etc – 1 Chron 28. This psalm is a possible indication that he didn’t only prepare physically but also spiritually for it – 1 Cor 14:26, Eph 5:19). The context of the psalm gives us an indication that David wrote this psalm for a temple far greater than the first two temples – he wrote it for a Kingdom temple (specifically for the millennial temple – NOT the temple that the antichrist will desecrate).
v1: ‘Extol’ – Exalt. This is a word that means to lift something up.
- ‘You have lifted me up’ – this is a different word to the word found above. This word means to be drawn up. Many within the traditions of Judaism see this as a synonym for a lifting up in the sense of resurrection (rescue, Moses was ‘drawn out’ of the basket)
- This ‘drawing up’ gives David (us) victory over our enemies (Yeshua’s resurrection gave Him victory over satan, sin and death). David has a future hope.
v2: When David cried out G-d responded. G-d was active in David’s life.
- We should understand this healing (restoration) in the complete sense of the word – not just (eternal) physical wellbeing but spiritual.
v3: This verse is speaking clearly about resurrection from an OT perspective (from a NT perspective see 1 Cor 15:50-58)
- The grave/Sheol was the place for the dead. Eph 4:8 – This place was changed after Messiah’s resurrection.
- Resurrection language is linked to the Kingdom – when Messiah comes to rule and reign for 1000 years. This is not referring to what happens after this reign of Messiah – the New Jerusalem. There is no temple in the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:22) When there’s a new heaven and a new earth we enter into a new and totally different reality to what we know now.
v4: Saints – those who have received G-d’s grace.
- Remembrance – Biblically, a word associated with covenant. The way this verse is worded makes it seem as if the saints are living in the reality of the promises of G-d (living in the millennial kingdom) but are remembering a time (a “holy memory”) when they had only the promises to live on and not the reality itself. They are giving thanks and singing praise because they are living in the proof that G-d kept His promises.
v5: This verse talks about a change that is going to occur.
- His anger is brief, but His favour is eternal (life). G-d desires to give us resurrection life. Without experiencing resurrection life we will not experience Kingdom life. Resurrection has to do with a change (we are changed in the twinkling of an eye…)
- Joy – a shout of excitement because one’s anticipation/expectations have been met. When we go to sleep (die) there is weeping, but when we wake up (are resurrected) there is a shout of joy! G-d doesn’t slumber or sleep. He’s at work even while we are.
v6: The word translated ‘prosperity’ here is the word for tranquillity or security. When things are bad in our lives our natural minds tend to be chaotic. But when we see things from G-d’s perspective we are able to think more clearly and hear better from Him. When we see things from His perspective we will not stumble/fall…we will not be moved.
v7: Favour – delight
- David says he will not stumble/fall because he has a firm and powerful foundation – a strong mountain (Ps 62:1-2 – Yeshua).
- G-d is someone that we can rely upon. Even if He hides His face (His Presence) from us (Is 54:8), as troubling as it is, we know that it will not last forever because of His covenantal promises to us (Heb 13:5)
v8: Ps 46:1 (G-d is always near us – even if it doesn’t feel like it)
- The word ‘supplication’ is related to the word for begging/greatly desiring something. What is David asking G-d for? Grace, favour, the ability to do G-d’s will and to be in G-d’s will.
v9: Here, David is speaking of his confidence in the resurrection – knowing that death is not
final. Realise that this is a massive revelation pre the work and resurrection of Yeshua.
- ‘Pit’ is another name for the place of destruction. Life is utterly pointless if death is its final destination.
- Will the dust praise…(and) declare Your truth: This reveals a very important truth to us about David. He wanted to give thanks to G-d in a very public way. He never wanted to stop giving thanks and praise to G-d.
- Truth relates to a set of beliefs. We need to be people who are committed to G-d’s truth – no matter the consequences.
v10: David is again supplicating for the purpose of receiving that (grace) which brings about the will/purposes/plans of G-d (Titus 2:11-13 – grace not only for salvation, but grace to also DO the will of G-d).
v11: This again speaks of a change happening in a person’s life.
- Turned/overturned = causing something to turn upside down – a word of change.
- Mourning (and sackcloth) places his life within the context of death.
- How has G-d turned his mourning into dancing? By resurrection. By new life. By being changed. Dancing = dancing in worship is a physical display of gratitude.
- Clothed with gladness – G-d overturned death, defeat, the consequences of sin etc into something good!
v12: My glory -the very essence of ourselves.
- Forever – no matter what we go through, we need to be people who realise that anything that happens here on this earth is temporary. When we go through difficult and even tragic times of great suffering our minds and hearts can be steadfast. We have eternal joy ahead of us!