Hope in God (Ps 42:11-42:11)

“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!”

Of course, we have a happy ending to this psalm. The psalmist accuses 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.

Remembering the Temple (Ps 42:4-42:6)

“These things I remember,

As I pour out my soul.

How I went with the throng.

I led them in procession

To the house of God.

There were glad shouts.

There were songs of thanksgiving.

There was a multitude keeping a festival.

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 psalmist remembers the Temple worship as he poured out his soul. There was a great crowd and a great procession to the house of God with happy shouts of joy. Everyone was keeping the festival. However, now he was cast down because his soul was disturbed and disquieted. He, however, hoped that he would again praise God in his Temple. He relied on God as his helper.

Sadness has turned to joy (Ps 30:11-30:12)

“You have turned my mourning into dancing!

You have taken off my sackcloth!

You clothed me with joy!

Thus my soul may praise you!

My soul will not be silent!

Yahweh!

My God!

I will give thanks to you forever!”

This psalm ends with the sadness of David turning into joy. His mourning has become dancing. He has put away his mourning sackcloth. He has put on joyful clothes. His soul can now praise God and not be silent. He was going to give thanks to Yahweh, his God, forever. It was a time for great rejoicing.

A prayer for deliverance from enemies (Ps 25:1-25:3)

A psalm of David

Aleph

To You!

Yahweh!

I lift up my soul!

O my God!

Bet      

In you I trust.

Do not let me be put to shame!

Do not let my enemies exalt over me!

Gimel

Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame!

Let them be ashamed

Who are wantonly treacherous.”

Psalm 25 is a psalm of David for deliverance from personal enemies in an acrostic form like Psalm 9 and Psalm 10, where each verse starts with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet as indicated. This is a lament against the enemies of David. David lifted up his soul. He trusted in God. He did not want to be put to shame. He did not want his enemies to exalt over him. Rather they should be put to shame because of their treacherous behavior.

The good shepherd (Ps 23:1-23:3)

A psalm of David

Yahweh is my shepherd.

I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul.

He leads me in right paths,

For the love of his name.”

This is the famous Psalm 23 of David that places Yahweh as the good shepherd. This “The Lord is my shepherd” is rather short compared to the preceding psalm. There is no other indication in the title other than that this is a psalm of David. David was himself a shepherd so that this is an easy amplification of his own role. Yahweh as shepherd makes sure that David does not lack anything. David as a sheep has lovely green pastures to lie down in. He has still water to drink. This restores his soul. The good shepherd leads him on the right paths. The love of the name of Yahweh drives him. The good shepherd keeps the sheep from going astray.

Yahweh should punish David (Ps 7:3-7:5)

“Yahweh my God!,

If I have done this,

If there is wrong in my hands,

If I have requited my ally with harm,

If I plundered my enemy without cause,

Let the enemy pursue me.

Let him overtake me.

Let him trample my life to the ground.

Lay my soul in the dust.

Selah”

David set up a series of hypothetical things that he might have done. If he has done any of these things he should be pursued, overtaken, and trampled to the ground.   His soul or liver should be crushed to dust. What were the potential evil things he might have done. Had his hands done any wrong thing? Had he turned on his allies and friends? Had he plundered his enemy unjustly? It was all right to plunder the enemy if there was a good cause. This seems unrelated to his defeated dead son. However, he felt he was being punished by Yahweh for something he did. Once again, there is a pause for a musical interlude, a Selah.

Job proclaims his innocence (Job 27:1-27:6)

“Job again took up his discourse.

‘As God lives,

He has taken away my right.

The Almighty Shaddai has made my soul bitter.

As long as my breath is in me,

As long as the spirit of God is in my nostrils,

My lips will not speak falsehood.

My tongue will not utter deceit.

Far be it from me to say that you are right.

Until I die,

I will not put away my integrity from me.

I hold fast to my righteousness.

I will not let it go.

My heart does not reproach me for any of my days.”

Once again, Job proclaimed his innocence before God. This is a discourse, a very solemn statement, like an oath. He maintained that the almighty Shaddai had made his soul bitter. He seemed to be talking to the living God. He said that as long as he was breathing and the spirit of God was in his nose, he would not speak falsehood or utter deceitful things.   “Far be it from me” is a kind of oath. He would maintain his integrity and righteousness until his death. This righteousness often appears to be a form of self-righteousness.

Job complains to God (Job 10:1-10:7)

“I loathe my life.

I will give free utterance to my complaint.

I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.

I will say to God.

‘Do not condemn me.

Let me know why you contend against me.

Does it seem good to you to oppress?

Does it seem good to you to despise the work of your hands?

Does it seem good to you to favor the schemes of the wicked?

Do you have eyes of flesh?

Do you see as humans sees?

Are your days like the days of mortals?

Are your years like human years?

Do you seek out my iniquity?

Do you search for my sin?

You know that I am not guilty.

There is no one to deliver me out of your hand?’”

Once again, the depressed Job hated his life. He was going to complain from the bitterness of his soul. He did not want to be condemned. He wanted to know why God was against him. Why was he favoring the schemes of the wicked? Did not God have eyes to see? His days and years are not like humans. He could look into his heart since he knows all things. He knew his sins and iniquities, but who would deliver him from the hand of God?

The last words of Eleazar (2 Macc 6:28-6:30)

“When he had said this, he went at once to the rack. Those who a little before had acted toward him with good will now changed to ill will.  They believed that the words he had uttered were in their opinion sheer madness. When he was about to die under the blows, he groaned aloud and said.

‘It is clear to the Lord,

In his holy knowledge that,

Though I might have been saved from death,

I am enduring terrible sufferings

In my body

Under this beating,

But in my soul

I am glad to suffer these things because I fear him.’”

At the rack, those who liked him thought that his speech was foolishness. They now changed from being kind to him to being ill willed towards him. They began to wipe him with blows. He finally groaned his last words. He knew that the Lord understood that he could have been saved from death. He knew his body was suffering great blows. However, his soul was glad to suffer because of fear or reverence of the Lord. This was great suffering at death with an explanation of why it was happening.

The distress of the priests in Jerusalem (2 Macc 3:14-3:17)

“There was no little distress throughout the whole city. The priests prostrated themselves before the altar in their priestly vestments. They called toward heaven upon him who had given the law about deposits, that he should keep them safe for those who had deposited them. To see the appearance of the high priest was to be wounded at heart. His face and the change in his color disclosed the anguish of his soul. For terror and bodily trembling had come over the man, which plainly showed to those who looked at him, the pain lodged in his heart.”

The priests were rightly afraid that the raid on the Temple treasury would have a sever effect on them. They prostrated in their priestly vestments before the altar. They wanted those deposits kept safe. The high priest was upset also. He was wounded to the heart that this had come on his watch. He was anguished as the pain appeared on his face and in his heart.