Why did G-d create this world and fill it with all the resources that He did? Why, when He is perfect and lacks nothing, did He create you and I? G-d is gracious, merciful, and loving. He created us, and this world, to demonstrate this (Ps 19:1). G-d created us so that He could share Himself with us through His revelation. G-d did not create to improve or perfect Himself. He was already complete and perfect. He created us for our good. So that we would have an opportunity to know Him!
One of the predominant themes of this psalm is judgment. We need to be mature enough to see things from G-d’s perspective or point of view. G-d’s judgment has a good outcome for us (His covenant people), as it vindicates us and positions us where we ought to be for eternity.
Inscription: Asaph – we have a new author!
v1: Called the earth – He spoke it into being (Gen 1). Through His spoken (and, therefore, written) Word G-d is able to create and bring about change in our lives and in our circumstances.
- Rising and going down – G-d has put things into a consistent order. He maintains creation – daily.
v2: Out of Zion – G-d is speaking to the world but from a Kingdom perspective (Zion is Jerusalem in her redeemed state), from a new reality.
- The perfection of beauty – This is something abnormal, supernatural. In this fallen, unredeemed world no beauty is perfect. The only way beauty can be made perfect is through redemption. The outcome of G-ds redemption is going to be perfection.
- Shine forth – When G-d establishes His Kingdom His Presence will be seen in this world in a new and unique way.
v3: G-d is going to come, and He is going to bring change.
- Shall not keep silent – when He speaks change happens.
- Fire shall devour before Him – This fire (judgement) precedes His coming, filling this world with His glory.
- Tempestuous – an old English word that referred to an exceedingly strong wind or a powerful storm (His judgement or wrath).
v4: Call – make a proclamation.
- His people (everyone that He has created) – G-d is going to vindicate His covenant people, but in a very broad sense this is also speaking about a judgement of those who are not in a covenant relationship with Him (those who are against His purposes).
v5: Gather – This is a word of invitation.
- Saints – those who are recipients of G-d’s grace, who have entered into a covenantal relationship with Him.
- Sacrifice – an act of worship.
v6: The heavens declare – it is so important that we look for and know the signs that are going to surround G-d’s judgement (Matt 24, Luke 21). They should be an encouragement to us to remain faithful and diligent to G-d, being obedient to His instructions. These signs should also place within us a sense of urgency to do G-d’s will and call others to Him.
- Selah – a word of emphasis, according to most scholars.
v7: Hear…My people – are we listening to G-d? Have we put ourselves into a position whereby we can hear Him speak and are able to respond, in obedience, to His voice?
- Your G-d – G-d is revealing Himself as a personal G-d to Israel and to His saints.
v8: G-d commanded them (under the old covenant) to offer up sacrifices for their sins. They were obedient to His command, so He is not going to condemn them.
v9: However, G-d does not need or have to have these sacrifices. They do not bring Him some sort of satisfaction (Heb 10:1-7). Those who offered sacrifices only had temporary relief from the guilt of their sins. Sacrifice was a way for us to make amends to G-d (asking Him for His forgiveness) – an attempt to heal a broken relationship with Him as we acknowledged our sin before Him. Sacrifices didn’t change G-d’s position or status – it changed ours. Sacrifice was for our benefit – never for G-ds.
v10-11: These sacrifices never added to G-d in any way. We cannot offer up or give G-d anything that didn’t already belong to Him.
v12: G-d lacks nothing. We can never add anything to Him. He is perfect, complete.
v13: When sacrifices were offered to G-d He didn’t sit down and eat them up. He never personally received any benefit from them. They did not edify Him or fill Him up. Sacrifices were instituted so that we could learn truth, and so that we could demonstrate our love and commitment to G-d. Sacrifices brought change to the people who offered them – those sacrifices didn’t change G-d. Likewise, worship changes us – it doesn’t change G-d. G-d desires us to worship Him – not because it adds anything to Him, but because it benefits us by bringing about change in our lives.
v14: Offer to G-d…and pay – this is a commandment. We need to do what we have been called to do. We need to be faithful in our worship.
v15: When we are obedient to G-d (worshipping Him correctly) we can call on Him in that day of trouble and can have assurance that He is going to respond.
- Deliver – relieve the stress, the anxiety, the pressure. When we are experiencing these things it is difficult to worship G-d. When He delivers us we are better positioned to honour Him.
v16: Those who are not committed to G-d’s will do not speak about G-d’s commands or His covenant. They have no connection with them.
v17: Instruction – A wicked person hates G-d’s ethics. They consider His rules restrictive and therefore they violate them.
v18: Consented – joined together with, agreed with.
- Adultery, here, is probably speaking about idolatry.
v19: Give your mouth to evil – probably an idiom meaning that he speaks of that which is evil, violates agreements etc
- Tongue frames deceit – participates with it, supports deceit.
v20: These people speak in an unkind way. They want to bring contempt on those whom they should be loving, protecting and supporting.
v21: This verse foreshadows judgement. G-d is initially seen to be still and silent (not responding). However, we need to know that He will not be silent forever. He is going to come – like a devouring fire.
- Reprove – discipline.
v22: Consider this – understand it and remember it …do not forget that G-d is coming to set things in order.
- Tear you – an idiom of judgment.
- Deliver – save (like a lifeguard)
v23: This verse is talking about how G-d is going to work mightily in His people’s lives.
- Those who offer praise – thanksgiving – honour G-d.
- We need to be people who want things set in order. We need to desire G-d’s order. We need to be people who get serious about worshipping G-d.
- Salvation – victory.