Psalm Reading Program

UCG-INSD Churches CMK Beginning January 1, 2012

Week 25 (Days 112-116), Psalm 113-117 for August 27-31, 2012

Psalm 111—118.

Eight psalms that begin or end with Hallel or Hallelujah (Praise the Lord). There are two exceptions: 114 and 118. They are still considered as Hallelujah Psalms because of the context of the surrounding psalms. 114 is viewed as an illustration of the final point of 113.

Psalms 113-118

113 is part of the previous set of three as well as this set of six Hallel or Hallelujah (Praise the Lord) Psalms. They were sung in post exilic times at Passover (Days of Unleavened Bread), Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles, and probably at all the Holy Days. The Soncino commentary notes that they were distinguished as the Hallel of Egypt (from the mention of Egypt in 114:1, which tied them to the Passover season and Holy Days in general) from “the Great Hallel,” which was defined as the songs of ascents (120ff). Jesus and the disciples traditionally sang 118 and possibly all of them at the Passover before he was crucified.

Psalm 113

Author: Not known.

Time/Occasion: Not known. Probably written after the Babylonian captivity in celebration of the return. This psalm is a picture of Israel being destitute and nearly destroyed when she was lifted up by God in ancient times: first from Egyptian slavery and later from Babylonian captivity.

Main theme: Praise to God the Unique God— Creator and Redeemer.

V. 1. A call to His people, extended in V. 3 to all nations. (First to the Jew, then to all—Romans 1:16, etc.)

V. 4ff. His majesty is so high that He must figuratively stoop (v. 6.) to examine His children’s situations.

V. 7-8. He does lower Himself in order to raise the poor (in spirit) to the heights.

V. 9. This has strong links with the Song of Hannah (1 Samuel 2:1-15) and the Song of Mary (Luke 1:46-55).

Hymnal: N/A.

Personal application: V. 6-8 is an OT prophetic type of Christ lowering Himself to the level of man for the purpose of giving to them the glory that He and the Father have (Philippians 2:6-8).

V. 9. Immediately following Chapter 53 about Christ’s sacrifice, OT Israel is called a barren woman in Isaiah 54:1-4. Isaiah then prophesies that spiritually barren and desolate Israel will be given a huge family of spiritual children through Christ’s sacrifice, the New Covenant, and the NT Israel of God. Beginning with V. 5, “Thy Maker is thy Husband…”, Chapter 54-56 tells the beautiful story of God giving His grace to Israel and the whole world, fulfilling the prophecy of Psalm 113:9. In the end, the spiritually barren wife of the Lord will be transformed into the productive bride of Christ and mother of the Family of God—“a joyful mother of children.”

This same principle applies personally to each member of the Church. Our failures, struggles and shortcomings in this life will be turned into victory, success, achievement, and fulfillment if we persist and never give up our baptism vow to God.

Psalm 114

Author: Not known, but it flows from 113:9, and is viewed as an illustration of God lifting up His people, making a barren, conquered, enslaved nation of Israel into a free and productive tool in God’s service.

Time/Occasion: Not known, but fits with 113 and was used at Holy Days with 113-118.

Main theme: The Egyptian deliverance in retrospect.

The elements of the earth trembled in fear—a poetic description of the earthquakes and other miracles that accompanied the Exodus.

God’s future deliverances and interventions for His people is the implied prophecy and assurance here. The second Exodus, prophesied in Jeremiah 16:14-15 and elsewhere, is in mind in this psalm.

Hymnal: #67 When Israel Out of Egypt Went.

Personal application: God’s chosen physical nation will once again be delivered and lifted up, as many prophesies foretell. Beyond that, every individual with the New Covenant relationship with God can expect in unfeigned faith God’s provision, protection, and favor through the trials of this life and specifically through the end time tribulation.

Psalm 115

Author: Not known.

Time/Occasion: Not known. Fits in the post exilic time frame. This is organized well for antiphonal singing, that is, two groups singing to each other, as mentioned in Ezra 3:11 where the priests and Levites sang one to another in praising. It was used at Holy Days with 113-118. Has a famous or notable beginning: Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us

Main theme: Prayer of the people for help and a reminder and exhortation to maintain confidence and faith in Israel’s God—the true God. The focus here is on trust in God as a nation and Church.

Secondary theme: V. 4-8. Our unique, powerful God is contrasted with their weak, impotent gods. Yet another reason the true God deserves praise is because He is the opposite of false gods.

Hymnal: #68 Praise Belongs to God.

Personal application: The exhortation is good medicine at any time. V. 12-15 reminds us that God hasn’t forgotten us in bad times. He will bless His Church and cause them (specifically) to increase as He promises, but in His time. This implies bad times will occur during our history, through which God will not forget us. We just have to keep on keeping on being faithful.

Psalm 116

Author: Not known.

Time/Occasion: Not known. Probably post-exilic along with the whole set of 113-118.

Main theme: Gratitude and love of the redeemed. The focus is on personal faith, starting with “I,” This contrasts with 115, which starts with “us.”

Psalm 116 is not usually included on lists of messianic Psalms, but does refer to Christ:

V. 3 connects this psalm with others that prophesy of Christ’s crucifixion (Psalm 16, 22, etc.)

V. 15. Jesus was the pre-eminent saint of all time (Colossians 1:18). His death was the most precious treasure of mankind for what it accomplished—the salvation not only of Himself three days and three nights later, but of all of us.

This psalm is the experience and prayer of Jesus approaching the cross (He probably sang this song that night); and it is the experience and prayer of all converted Christians. He was saved from death by resurrection because of sin, but it was our sin. We are also saved by death, but it is our own sin and guilt. What we have in common with Christ are many things, one of which is facing death in faith and dependence on God.

Hymnal: N/A.

Personal application: This is the prayer of thanksgiving and love of a mature member of the Church of God who understands that he has been and will continue to be a sinner in need of redemption. The poem is developed in couplets and triplets. He will call on God for as long as he lives. He is beyond the point of no return—totally committed for life (V. 1-2). He realizes that he has been spared death for his sins (V. 3-4,8).

V. 6. Simple-hearted—that is, childlike in their sense of dependence on and trust in God for their daily life.

There is a three-point progression in parallel form in V. 12-14 and 16-18. The question is asked, What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits to me? This is the same question as Paul’s reasonable service instruction in Romans 12:1. The three answers are:

  1. Take the cup of salvation.

  2. Call on the name of the Lord.

  3. Pay my vows in the presence of His people.

The answers are expanded in V. 16-18 and 19:

  1. V.16 describes accepting Jesus as our personal Savior—stated at the baptism ceremony.

  2. V. 17 describes taking God’s name as one’s own—also part of baptism (in the name of the Father,

The Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

  1. V. 18 live the lifestyle and habits of obedience to God’s law—our obligations.

Verse 19 explains where this occurs: In God’s house—the Church of God.

Psalm 116 is an personal and intimate prayer of thanksgiving and worship of one of the Firstfruits. We should us it for this purpose!

Psalm 117

Author: Not known.

Time/Occasion: Not known. This is the shortest chapter in the Bible and the shortest psalm in the Psalter. It has been joined with 118 or appended to 116 for different uses. It is the seventh Hallel or Hallelujah Psalm starting with 111. This points out that some of the Psalms were used indifferent combinations for different temple services and later readings in the synagogue. This affected the number of the whole collection at different times. But the order and combinations aren’t the important thing. It is useful to understand some of the different combinations because of the inter-related messages and lessons, but it’s possible to examine the structure beyond usefulness and allow it to become a distraction to the main meanings and teachings. There are 150 in all as they are divided now, which makes it easy to count and use.

Main theme: This is an expanded Hallelujah (Praise Ye the Lord).

V. 1. All nations called to worship God.

V. 2. The reason for it: God’s truth and His mercy—His two main attributes in His dealings with men.

V. 1 is used by Paul in Romans 15:11 to show that God had salvation in mind for the gentiles from the beginning of His plan.

Hymnal: #69 Praise the Lord on High; #95 From All Who Dwell Below the Skies.

Personal application: This short psalm declares the grand design of God’s mind and His plan. It states the basics of the gospel of the Kingdom of God in a nutshell. We should all know these two verses by heart.