Psalm 39 reveals the brevity of life and brings us face to face with the fact that each person’s days on this earth are fleeting.
Lord, make me to know my end,
And what is the measure of my days,
That I may know how transient I am.
Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths,
And my age is as nothing before You;
Certainly every man at his best state is but a mere breath. Selah
Surely every man walks about like a shadow;
Surely they busy themselves in vain;
He heaps up riches,
And does not know who will gather them.
And now, Lord, what do I wait for?
My hope is in You.
Deliver me from all my transgressions;
Do not make me the reproach of the foolish.
I was mute, I did not open my mouth,
Because it was You who did it.
Remove Your plague from me;
I am consumed by the blow of Your hand.
When with rebukes You correct man for iniquity,
You make his beauty melt away like a moth;
Surely every man is vapor. Selah (Psalm 39:4-11)
The psalmist writes, how transient I am (39:4). He describes his days as handbreadths, his lifetime as nothing before You...., a mere breath....a shadow (Psalm 39:5). Therefore, his hope is not in himself or in the things of this world. His hope is in God (39:7) who holds the world in His hands. God is sovereign. Whatever has been done, God has done it (39:9). He is the primary cause of all things, including everything that comes into my brief life and yours. Therefore, our hope is in Him.
What do you hope for? We all have earthly hopes for ourselves and our families: a safe and secure home, good health, a good education, a good job. But you must realize that one day all these things will be meaningless. In the end, those are dead hopes because they are terminal. This brief life will be over and then what will become of your eternal soul? When Job had lost his children, his livelihood, his servants, his home, his health, and his wife’s respect, he did not place his hope in having those things restored. He placed his hope in God (Job 13:15). God is the God of hope (Romans 15:13). What do you hope for? Is it a hope of which you can be certain?
Hear my prayer, O Lord,
And give ear to my cry;
Do not be silent at my tears;
For I am a stranger with You,
A sojourner, as all my fathers were.
Remove Your gaze from me, that I may regain strength,
Before I go away and am no more. (Psalm 39:12-13)
The psalmist expresses that those who place their hope in God are strangers and sojourners on the earth (39:12). God’s people hope in something beyond this life. They desire a better country, that is a heavenly one (Hebrews 11:13). Those with earthbound hopes will find their hopes to be nothing in the end -- dead hopes. But those who hope in God have a living hope (1 Peter 1:3); it is a hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:2), a hope centered in Christ (Ephesians 1:2), a hope of salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:8), a hope of eternal life (Titus 3:7), and a hope of experiencing the fullness of God’s grace when Christ comes again (1 Peter 1:13). It is a sure and steadfast hope, an anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19). It is my hope and I pray it is yours.
Are you a worrier? Are you easily upset? Do the circumstances around you or events in the news distress you and cause you to fret? "Fret" is an old-fashioned word that means to worry or be anxious. I confess that I am prone to fret, and I think fretting is something a lot of us yield to these days. That’s why I wanted to share Psalm 37 with you.
1. Do not fret because of evildoers,
Be not envious toward wrongdoers.
2. For they will wither quickly like the grass
And fade like the green herb.
3. Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
4. Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
5. Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
6. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
And your judgment as the noonday.
7. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
8. Cease from anger and forsake wrath;
Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.
9. For evildoers will be cut off,
But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.
10. Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more;
And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there.
11. But the humble will inherit the land
And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity……..
39. The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
He is their strength in time of trouble.
40. The Lord helps them and delivers them;
He delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
Because they take refuge in Him.
The message of Psalm 37 is do not fret (37:1,7,8). When you observe the evil in this world and see the wicked prospering, do not fret (37:7). The psalmist gives the reason: God sees every injustice that is done and the Lord loves justice (37:28). He will bring forth justice in the end! So do not fret. Instead, the psalmist calls us to trust in the Lord and do good (37:3), delight yourself in the Lord (37:4), commit your way to the Lord (37:5), rest in the Lord (37:7), and wait patiently for Him (37:7). He is the God of justice!
Do you feel that evil is triumphing around you? Do evil, careless schemers seem to have the upper hand? Has this affected you personally? Has it made you angry? Or perhaps you are tempted to envy those with power and wealth even though they may have obtained it through dishonesty. Do not fret! As Psalm 37:8 points out, fretting is a dangerous indulgence! Read verse 8 and then compare it with verses 3-7 and verses 39-40. Which words from these verses describe you? Which words describe what you should be doing instead of fretting? Do you think it is better to spend your time fretting or following the psalmist’s advice? Which path will you choose?
I love Psalm 29 because it overflows with the glory of the Lord! Sometimes when we encounter storms in life, we may forget the power and glory of God. We may lose heart and question our faith or we may turn to other people for help and consolation. We may forget that God is our strength and all the help we will ever need. In Psalm 29, David remembers and praises the power and glory of the Lord.
1. Praise the Lord, you heavenly beings;
praise his glory and power.
2. Praise the Lord's glorious name;
bow down before the Holy One when he appears.
3. The voice of the Lord is heard on the seas;
the God of glory thunders,
and his voice echoes over the ocean.
4. The voice of the Lord is heard
in all its might and majesty.
5. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars,
even the cedars of Lebanon.
6. He makes the mountains of Lebanon jump like calves
and makes Mount Hermon leap like a young bull.
7. The voice of the Lord makes the lightning flash.
8. His voice makes the desert shake;
He shakes the desert of Kadesh.
9. The Lord's voice shakes the oaks
and strips the leaves from the trees
while in His Temple everyone shouts, “Glory”.
10. The Lord rules over the deep waters;
he rules as King forever.
11. The Lord gives strength to his people
and blesses them with peace.
This is one of my favorite psalms because it is a song of praise to the God of glory (29:3) who is King forever. It is a response and an attack upon false religions that believed their pagan gods brought the rains and were the power behind fierce storms. David knew the real power behind the storm. In Psalm 29, he wrote of the glory of God in the storm. By His mighty power, God brought the great Flood (Genesis 7), and that same power is behind the thunderstorm. That same power is forever, and it is that power which gives strength to His people, you and me.
All power and all blessings come from God. The God who thunders in the storm and strips the forests bare is the God from whom all strength and blessings flow. My mind and my body may grow weak, but God is my strength; He is all I ever need (Psalm 73:26, NEB). How has God been your strength? How has He strengthened your mind, your heart? How has He given strength to your physical body? How often has He been there for you and done for you what no one else would or could do? What is there you will praise and glorify God for today? How will you encourage others to ascribe glory to God?
In the fall of 2005, I was living alone with my two furry dogs in The Woodlands, Texas. It was less than two months after hurricane Katrina. A new storm, hurricane Rita, was blowing in from the Gulf of Mexico. The eye of the storm passed not many miles from my home. My two dogs and I spent the night of the storm huddled under blankets on the family room floor. We watched as the street-lights cast shadows of wind-blown trees on the wall. We watched as the trees bent precariously until some snapped in half or fell over, uprooted. The rain pelted the taped windows. The wind howled all night long. Thunder boomed and shook the house, and lightening lit up the sky as if it was broad daylight. Finally, in the early hours of the morning, the storm moved on and we fell asleep. Later, reading Psalm 29, I reflected upon the glory of the Lord in the storm and marveled at His mighty power. I had been afraid. I should have remembered that God was in control of the storm and that He is also my strength and He is all I ever need.
Going through a storm, whether it is outside or within you, is a good time to remember the Lord and His mighty power. The same awesome power that generates the thunder, lightening, wind, and rain is available to you! It is the power of God. The Lord will give strength to His people (Psalm 29:11). What better reason to shout, “Glory!”
I have been involved in Disciplers since 1987, as a discussion leader, teacher, writer, and now as director. I am profoundly committed to the stewardship of this ministry which God has entrusted to me for a time. God’s word is the chief joy of my life. I cherish my personal time in the word, and I am filled with gratitude to be able to share His word with you, my fellow disciples in Christ.