Thanksgiving for God’s steadfast love (Ps 108:1-108:4)

A song, a psalm of David

“My heart is steadfast!

O God!

My heart is steadfast!

I will sing!

I will make melody!

Awake!

My soul!

Awake!

O harp and lyre!

I will awake the dawn!

I will give thanks to you

Among the peoples!

Yahweh!

I will sing praises to you among the nations.

Your steadfast love is higher than the heavens.

Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.”

Psalm 108 seems to be compilation of 2 other psalms, Psalm 57 and Psalm 60. The title is simply a song or psalm of David. This first section is almost word for word from Psalm 57. David was steadfast in his love, just as God had shown his steadfast love to him. He was ready to sing and make melody on the harp and lyre. He wanted his soul to wake up. He was going to wake the morning dawn. He was going to give thanks to Yahweh among all the people. He would sing his praises among the nations because God’s love was as high as the heavens. His faithfulness extended beyond the clouds. David loved Yahweh as Yahweh loved David.

Praise Yahweh (Ps 104:31-104:35)

“May the glory of Yahweh endure forever.

May Yahweh rejoice in his works.

He looks on the earth.

It trembles!

He touches the mountains.

They smoke!

I will sing to Yahweh

As long as I live.

I will sing praise to my God

While I have existence.

May my meditation be pleasing to him.

I rejoice in Yahweh.

Let sinners be consumed from the earth!

Let the wicked be no more!

Bless Yahweh!

O my soul!

Praise Yahweh!”

This long psalm of thanksgiving ends with a shout out praise for Yahweh as the creator of all people and things. The glory of God endures forever so that Yahweh should rejoice in his works. If he looks at the earth, it trembles. If he touches the mountains, they start to smoke. This psalmist will sing praise to Yahweh as long as he lives and breathes. He wanted his mediation to be pleasing to Yahweh. He rejoiced in Yahweh. However, he wanted the sinners consumed and the wicked wiped away. Finally, he wanted his soul to bless and praise Yahweh. The phrase “praise Yahweh” is another way of saying alleluia, the Hebrew “Hallelujah.”

Blessed be Yahweh (Ps 103:1-103:5)

A psalm of David                 

“Bless Yahweh!

O my soul!

All that is within me,

Bless his holy name!

Bless Yahweh!

O my soul!

Do not forget all his benefits!

Who forgives all your iniquity?

Who heals all your diseases?

Who redeems your life from the Pit?

Who crowns you with steadfast love?

Who crowns you with mercy?

Who satisfies you with good

As long as you live?

Thus your youth is renewed like the eagles.”

Psalm 103 is simply a thanksgiving psalm of David. In the opening verses, he repeats the same phrases. Yahweh is to be blessed from his soul. Then David pointed out all the benefits of Yahweh with a series of questions. Yahweh forgives iniquities. He heals all diseases. He saves people from the pit or the grave. He crowns us with steadfast love, mercy, and goodness. He sustains our lives so that we remain young eagles.

Give thanks to Yahweh (Ps 86:12-86:13)

“I give thanks to you.

Yahweh my God!

With my whole heart,

I will glorify your name forever.

Great is your steadfast love toward me.

You have delivered my soul

From the depths of Sheol.”

David gave thanks to Yahweh, his God. With his whole heart he wanted to glorify his name forever. Yahweh’s steadfast love towards him had delivered his soul from the depths of Sheol. It sounds like Yahweh saved David from death at some point because he loved him so much.

Personal prayer to Yahweh (Ps 86:1-86:7)

A Prayer of David

“Incline your ear!

Yahweh!

Answer me!

I am poor and needy.

Preserve my life!

I am devoted to you.

Save your servant who trusts in you!

You are my God!

Be gracious to me!

Yahweh!

I cry to you all day long.

Gladden the soul of your servant!

Yahweh!

I lift up my soul to you!

Yahweh!

You are good.

You are forgiving,

You abound in steadfast love

To all who call on you.

Give ear to my prayer!

Yahweh!

Listen to my cry of supplication!

In the day of my trouble,

I call on you.

You will answer me.”

Psalm 86 seems like a personal prayer of David. There is no other indication in the title. David wanted Yahweh to listen to him by giving him his ear. He wanted an answer since he was poor and needy. He wanted to preserve his life since he was devoted to Yahweh. He trusted in Yahweh as a servant. All day long he cried to Yahweh, his God. He wanted Yahweh to be gracious to him and gladden his soul. He knew that Yahweh was good and forgiving due to his steadfast love. David wanted Yahweh to hear him in the times of his trouble. He called and expected an answer.

Praise God (Ps 71:22-71:24)

“I will also praise you with the harp,

For your faithfulness,

O my God!

I will sing praises to you with the lyre,

O Holy One of Israel!

My lips will shout for joy,

When I sing praises to you.

My soul also will shout for joy.

You have rescued my soul.

All day long,

My tongue will talk of your righteous help.

Those who tried to do me harm

Have been put to shame.

They have been disgraced.”

This long psalm ends with the usual cry of praising God. This psalmist, like the Davidic psalms, talks about playing the harp and the lyre.   He was going to sing praises about the faithfulness of God, the holy one of Israel. His lips would shout for joy because his soul had been rescued. All day long, he would talk about the righteous help of God. He had to add the zinger that those who tried to do him harm were put to shame and disgraced.

The thirst for God (Ps 63:1-63:4)

A psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah

“O God!

You are my God!

I seek you!

My soul thirsts for you!

My flesh faints for you!

I am like in a dry and weary land.

There is no water.

So I have looked upon you

In the sanctuary.

I behold your power and glory.

Because your steadfast love

Is better than life,

My lips will praise you.

So I will bless you

As long as I live.

I will lift up my hands.

I will call on your name.”

This Psalm 63 refers to the time that David was in the wilderness with his outlaw band of warriors against King Saul. There is no indication of any choral element in this psalm. David was seeking God. His soul was thirsty for God, like in Psalm 42. His flesh was faint without God. He was like in a dry and weary land without water. He wanted to look on the sanctuary of God, but it did not exist at this time. He wanted to behold the power and glory of God. He realized the steadfast love of God was better than life itself. His lips would praise and bless God as long as he lived. He was going to lift up his hands and call upon the name of God.

David’s steadfast love of Yahweh (Ps 57:7-57:10)

“My heart is steadfast!

O God!

My heart is steadfast!

I will sing!

I will make melody!

Awake!

My soul!

Awake!

O harp and lyre!

I will awake the dawn!

I will give thanks to you

Among the peoples.

Yahweh!

I will sing praises to you

Among the nations.

Your steadfast love is

As high as the heavens.

Your faithfulness

Extends to the clouds.”

David was steadfast in his love, just as God had shown his steadfast love to him. He was ready to sing and make melody on the harp and lyre. He wanted his soul to wake up. He was going to wake the morning dawn. He was going to give thanks to Yahweh among all the people. He would sing his praises among the nations because God’s love was as high as the heavens. His faithfulness extended beyond the clouds. David loved Yahweh as Yahweh loved David.

Sheol for all (Ps 49:14-49:15)

“Like sheep

They are appointed for Sheol.

Death shall be their shepherd.

Straight to the grave they descend.

Their form shall waste away.

Sheol shall be their home.

But God will ransom my soul

From the power of Sheol,

He will receive me.”

Selah

Once again we have the theme of the shepherd. This time death, not Yahweh, is the shepherd. Death leads all of us sheep directly to the grave, where we waste away. Our homes will be Sheol, the ill-defined underground afterlife. However, we do have an exception. The psalmist believes that God will rescue him from the eternal power of Sheol. God will ransom his soul with his belief in an eternal afterlife with God. With that, it is time for another musical interlude pause of Selah.

Hope in God (Ps 43:5-43:5)

“Why are you cast down?

O my soul!

Why are you disquieted within me?

Hope in God!

I shall again praise him!

My help!

My God!”

This is an exact repeat of the refrain that ended Psalm 42. The psalmist accused his soul of upsetting him. He was going to hope in God. He would sing his praises again. God was his help. Thus despite some grievances, this northern psalmist still believed and praised God.