All tagged Psalms

Eschatology 101: Prophetic Language or Psalm 104:1-4 (Part 4)

Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent. He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind; he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire. - Psalm 104:1-4

This psalm presents an interesting question: is this representative of a covenant individual or the covenant messiah? This individual is seemingly free from any sin. If read quite literally could this be applied to anyone but the messiah?

After establishing how the Lord is the covenant fulfillment for the psalmist, this psalm turns briefly to the assurances of the person seeking after God. It is the one receiving counsel and instruction (v. 7) from God that is not shaken (v. 8). Our “heart” and “flesh” can rejoice for our God is deliverer of both soul and body.

This psalm is different from the rest in that it does not have a portion about the unrighteous. Instead this psalm begins in a strongly covenantal way. The word “preserve” is used early in the OT with reference to covenant obligations (Gen 2:15; 17:9-10; 18:19). Here the request is from man to God to keep us within His covenant. Similar statements can be found even within the New Testament (John 10:29; Jude 1:24).

These two are not distinct descriptions! They are the same for “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt 12:34; Luke 6:45). Vocal ascent requires plenary obedience by fearing the Lord (v. 4). The man who does these things shall not be moved (v. 5). Again Christ taught this in the parable of the two houses (Matt 7:24-27).

The title says it all. Your children are in your house. Perhaps you should double check? Okay. Check. Now why are they there? I know how they got there. If you don't know go ask your parents and I'm sure they'll be delighted to explain it to you. This isn't a question of "how?". This is a question of "why?".

With this foundation the psalmist extols the work of God in history: He will protect His people forever. The word “generation” may here refer to a type of person, the unrighteous who bring destruction. Then this psalm would sing out eternally for the people of God to remember as they see wickedness on “every side” (v. 8). There is nothing to appear in the conclusion when the Lord’s pure word establishes the protection of “us”, the “godly ones” (v. 1), forever.

Put into practical words, God as Creator stands as a Promise to His people of their protection and assurance in righteousness. Any attack against God’s purpose for His people can be equated and symbolized as a destruction of the created order or “the foundations.” And if that can be done, the righteous have no hope (v. 3).

The apostle Paul taught on the subject of accountability (Rom 14:12). Likewise, Peter taught on the responsibility of accountability (1 Pet 4:5). Finally the author of Hebrews affirms the requirement for accountability (Heb 4:13). The modern reader who denies responsibility for their behavior cannot reside in the New Covenant. 

The heart that says “God has forgotten” is often encapsulated in desperate self-exaltation. This is the prohibited exaltation at the cost of others (v. 10). The imagery provided by the Psalmist does not provide relief to the modern reader. For in utilizing the imagery it doesn’t describe a strict accusation but a clear picture of the perversity of the unrighteous. 

One cannot be the faithful who calls upon the Lord (v. 1) when he is crying out “there is no God” (v. 4). So how is one to determine what his heart is truly proclaiming? Inspect how they treat the poor (v. 2), proscribe their level of greed (v. 3) and analyze their pride (v. 4, 6).