The Bible is full of the history of the people of G-d – a.k.a the children of Israel. Through this history we learn truth that transforms our lives.
Inscription – ‘contemplation’ is a word that has to do with knowledge or intelligence. If we apply the principles found in this psalm to our lives it is going to make us wise.
v1: ‘We have heard’ – this speaks about a testimony regarding the amazing things that G-d had done for His people in the past (His activity). We know that G-d doesn’t change (He is the same yesterday, today and forever). What He did for our fathers He can do for us, and He can even do for our children. We need to learn from history (what pleased and what displeased G-d) so that we can grow in our understanding of G-d.
v2: Hand – Alluding to G-d’s strength and power.
- “Them You planted’ – G-d cast the nations out of the land of Israel (drove them out, afflicted them, cast them out because they were given over to idolatry and refused to submit to G-d’s revelation) and He planted the children of Israel in their place.
v3: This verse is again talking about the children of Israel.
- Not…by their own sword: meaning, they did not inherit the land with earthly power or with weapons. G-d does not always deliver people through physical/natural means. In Israel’s history we often see that G-d manifested Himself supernaturally.
- ‘Your arm’ could be a reference to Messiah.
- Light of Your countenance (G-d’s face) – the light of the face of G-d is for the purpose of illumination/revelation.
Note: The exodus from Egypt began with a great Passover – which happened on the 14th day of the first month (The crucifixion of Messiah took place on this exact day too). G-d is consistent. We can learn the principles of redemption through the history of Israel. G-d worked redemption for the children of Israel and established a nation. Yeshua (Messiah) has worked redemption for us and is going to establish the Kingdom of G-d – by His hand, His arm and His Presence – ie supernaturally.
v4: G-d is a King, and we are called to submit to His rule. We are called to understand the rule of His Kingdom and submit to those principles.
- Victories – great salvation.
- Jacob – a name that refers to the children of Israel. It is a name that means ‘to follow after’ – ie to pursue something. Jacob went after the heritage of his forefathers as he wanted to be part of the covenantal purposes of G-d. Esau was not interested in pursuing the purposes of G-d (we are told he hated/despised his birthright/heritage)
v5: Through You – not in our own power, not in our own wisdom or ability.
- Push down – it is a word of charging or stampede (like an angry bull).
- Rise up against – This speaks about those (enemies) who hate the purposes of G-d.
v6: Salvation, deliverance, victory, overcoming the enemy is not going to be accomplished through earthly weapons, but through supernatural intervention from G-d.
v7: Throughout the history of the children of Israel (G-d’s covenant people) we have seen
consistently how He supernaturally saved them from their enemies. Likewise, all of us who submit to G-d enter into a covenantal relationship with Him (New Covenant people) and we receive assistance from G-d in overcoming our enemies.
- Shame – contempt.
v8: All day long – this means every day, throughout the day.
- Praise – we need to be wise and able to discern the activity of G-d – ie what G-d is doing (in our lives and in those around us). G-d is helping, moving, delivering, shaming etc…G-d is lifting up and positioning His people where He wants them to be so that they might serve Him. Knowing what G-d is doing leads to us giving thanks and praise to Him.
v9: This verse ushers in a change in this psalm. Verse 1-8 speaks of what G-d had done for the children of Israel in the past. This verse now begins to speak of Israel’s current spiritual condition (its condition at the time the sons of Korah wrote this psalm). They have heard of all G-ds mighty deeds and acts of deliverance, but they are experiencing something completely different to that. They are feeling abandoned by G-d. In light of this they begin to examine themselves.
v10: Instead of experiencing victory they are experiencing defeat and shame.
- Taken spoil – the children of Israel are experiencing loss.
v11: You have given us up – G-d has allowed them to be in this predicament.
- Sheep…for food – they are going to be devoured.
- Scattered us …they feel vulnerable and out of place (They know that they are not in G-d’s will. When we are not in G-d’s will then we are not going to be recipients of His power/provision etc).
v12: Sell Your people for naught – they are not useful to G-d in their current condition and have lost value.
- (You) are not enriched – At the time of this psalm the people were not behaving in a way that was valuable to G-d. Therefore, G-d sold them/gave them over to their enemies. He didn’t get much in return for them.
v13: They have become a mockery and a laughingstock to those who are around them. Why? Because they are not living/behaving in a way that is useful to G-d.
v14: Make us a byword – they are held up as an example (like a living parable – an example that gives instruction to others, warns others what happens to people who are not in G-d’s will)
- Shaking of the head: When we see someone who is behaving very poorly (violating the standards of conduct) we often shake our heads. This is a gesture that expresses disbelief that someone can act in that foolish way.
v15: Dishonour…shame: Disgrace… Embarrassment.
v16: These enemies of Israel are speaking in a very derogatory way toward Israel. Things are out of order. Israel is supposed to be manifesting G-d’s glory and splendour to the nations, but instead they have become a laughingstock because of their sins and rebellion toward G-d. The people are not doing what G-d has called them to do, and they are not where G-d has called them to be.
v17: We have not forgotten: The implication here is that the people have not forgotten that they have a covenant with G-d.
- Have not dealt falsely: In a covenantal relationship with G-d there are blessings for those who obey and punishment for those who don’t. These covenantal people are not being false, as they are receiving the just outcome of their actions. When we are walking in disobedience to G-d He is going to be displeased with us and the outcome of that will not be pleasant (discipline).
v18: Heart has not turned back – will not withdraw, retreat.
We see another change in this verse. The people are acknowledging that G-d has been faithful to His covenant and they realise that they are in a predicament.
- Nor have our steps departed: They are going to recommit, reaffirm their relationship with G-d. They are not going to allow their hearts to move backwards and they are not going to allow their feet to step off G-ds path.
v19: They have been brought to submission. They have been broken.
- Jackals tended to live in and inhabit desolate land – they were not found in a good place (ie not in the land of milk and honey).
- Shadow of death – the implication is that they are in a deep valley.
v20: The implication here is that they were not going to forget the name (character) of G-d.
- And nor will they spread out their hands to idols.
v21: The people are wanting a change. They are coming clean, realising that they cannot escape from G-d as He know all things.
v22: Killed…sheep for the slaughter – they are dying, and they know it is because of their own guilt. In the midst of this destruction/suffering they are renewing their relationship with G-d.
This greatly foreshadows what we’re going to see in the last days. Tribulation (Jacob’s trouble) in the last days will draw the Jewish people (the 1/3rd remnant) to G-d – and to Yeshua their Messiah.
v23: We know that G-d never sleeps. But here He is distant, silent. They are not experiencing His Presence.
- Do not cast us off: Don’t abandon us, leave us, forsake us. The people are wanting to renew their commitment to the covenant, and they’re beseeching G-d for Him to do His part in renewing this covenant.
v24: Hidden Your face – they are feeling abandoned.
- Affliction – a word for pressure or anxiety.
v25: They have been humiliated. Noone but G-d can change their situation, through His wondrous works and mighty deeds (His supernatural activity).
v26: G-d is going to help the people. They are asking for redemptive help. Redemptive help can only come through G-d’s grace/mercy. The grace of G-d leads to redemption.