Remembering the good old days (Ps 143:5-143:6)

“I remember the days of old.

I think about all your deeds.

I meditate on the works of your hands.

I stretch out my hands to you.

My soul thirsts for you

Like a parched land.”

Selah

David remembered the good old days when Yahweh had done so much. He meditated on the works of Yahweh. He stretched out his hands to Yahweh.  His soul was thirsting for Yahweh like a parched land seeking water. This section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause of Selah.

The sweet law (Ps 119:97-119:104)

Mem

“Oh!

How I love your law!

It is my meditation all day long.

Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies.

It is always with me.

I have more understanding than all my teachers.

Your decrees are my meditation.

I understand more than the aged.

I keep your precepts.

I hold back my feet from every evil way,

In order to keep your word.

I do not turn aside from your ordinances.

You have taught me.

How sweet are your words to my taste!

Sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Through your precepts I get understanding.

Therefore I hate every false way.”

This psalmist spoke about the sweet law. He loved the law as he meditated on it all day long. The commandments of Yahweh made him wiser than his enemies. The law was always with him. In fact, he had more understanding than his teachers because he meditated on the law. He understood more than the old folks because he kept those precepts. He stayed away from evil ways so that he could keep the law of Yahweh. He never turned away from the ordinances of Yahweh. The law was sweeter than honey, a famous phrase. He understood things because of Yahweh’s precepts. He hated all false ways. Thus this section on the thirteenth consonant letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Mem, came to an end.

There is no one like Yahweh (Ps 77:10-77:15)

“I say.

‘It is my grief

That the right hand of the Most High has changed.’

I will call to mind the deeds of Yahweh.

I will remember your wonders of old.

I will meditate on all your work.

I will muse on your mighty deeds.

O God!

Your way is holy!

What god is as great as our God?

You are the God who works wonders.

You have displayed your might among the peoples.

With your strong arm

You redeemed your people,

The descendents of Jacob and Joseph.”

Selah

Asaph, the psalmist, admitted that he was full of grief. He felt that God had changed his right hand over him. Thus he recalled the great works of God that he had performed for him in the good old days. He meditated on his great deeds. There was no other god like his God, who worked wonders. He had redeemed his people with a strong arm. His people were the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Notice the mention of Joseph, which is rare. This section ends with the meditative musical interlude pause of Selah.

Seeking Yahweh (Ps 77:1-77:3)

To the choirmaster leader, according to Jeduthun, a psalm of Asaph

“I cry aloud to God!

I cry aloud to God!

Thus he may hear me!

In the day of my trouble

I seek Yahweh!

In the night

My hand is stretched out without wearying.

My soul refuses to be comforted.

I think of God!

I moan!

I meditate!

My spirit faints!”

Selah

Psalm 77 is another in the choral psalms of Asaph, the Temple singer.   This time it is according to Jeduthun, the name of one of the Levite Merari families that David appointed as music master in 1 Chronicles, chapters 16 and 25. Jeduthun was a trumpet player. His sons led the music in the Temple. His name appears here and in Psalms 39 and 62. Once again this is a lamentation about how bad things are. Asaph or this psalmist is seeking Yahweh with a personal cry to God. He cried out aloud so that God could hear him. When he was in trouble he always sought Yahweh. He spent his nights with outstretched arms in prayer. He refused to be comforted. He was thinking of God. He moaned and meditated as his spirit became faint. This section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause of Selah.

David praises God (Ps 63:5-63:8)

“My soul is satisfied

As with a rich feast.

My mouth praises you

With joyful lips.

I think of you

On my bed.

I meditate on you

In the watches of the night.

You have been my help.

In the shadow of your wings

I sing for joy.

My soul clings to you.

Your right hand upholds me.”

David’s soul was satisfied like as if it were at a great feast. His mouth praised God with his joyful lips. At night when he was in bed, he meditated on God. During the 3 night watches, God had been a help to him. Once again, there is allusion to the refuge in the shadow of the wings of God, when in fact God did not have wings. The cherubim in the Holy of Holies had wings. David sang for joy. His soul clung to God because God helped him with his right hand. Once again, God did not have hands. These metaphorical phrases of a thirsty soul and a winged God with a right hand are ways of explaining his trust in God.