Psalms Book I: Psalms 1-5

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Psalms Book 1

Wednesday 5/08/24

Title: Psalms Book I: Psalms 1-5

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Psalms Book I: Psalms 1-5

Tonight we begin our long trek through the Biblical book of Psalms.

I will remind you that the book of Psalms is actually a composite of 5 books each of which contain many Psalms. The first two individual Psalms of Book I serve as a type of introduction and forward both to Book I as well as the overall book of Psalms.

So it would be wise to pay extra attention to these first two as they will set the pace and provide a type of general roadmap for the rest of the book.

Book I

Psalm 1

This is considered a wisdom Psalm.

This author is unknown but offers one of the most timeless and often supported pieces of advice given throughout all of scripture regarding the blessedness of those who delight in God’s words.

As far as we know the oldest Psalm of all was written by Moses in the Wilderness. This means that the author of Psalm 1 knew, by way of history and experience, the truthfulness of God’s first lesson to Israel. Illustrated by their physical hunger and the giving of the manna God rained on them faithfully every day – the lesson of the manna was that mankind was never designed to live only by the things of the flesh. In fact, their greatest need was to be found in hearing the words God speaks to us. 

That life is found in God’s words was the first part of the lesson. The second part however was just as important, which was the faithfulness of God to speak!

If we would learn to develop a ravenous and genuine hunger to hear from Him, our hunger would never go unsatisfied and our lives would spiritually prosper as a result. This would also open the door to the satisfaction of other prayers for health and provision, for John under the New Covenant said, Beloved, in all things I am praying that you will be prospering, and that you will be continually having good health just as your soul is prospering.– 3 John 1:2 Wuest

The Psalmist contrasts the destiny of the wicked with that of the righteous, emphasizing that the wicked are eventually destroyed while the godly prosper under the Lord’s protective care.

“(1) Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;”

This psalm hits the ground running saying more in one sentence than many sermons have in hours.

Like the end of the 2nd Psalm this Psalm begins with “Blessed is the man” which means 

Out of the 45 times it appears in scripture 26 of them are in the book of Psalms

This word is NEVER used of God, but only of the human’s condition of happiness and bliss. It is used almost exclusively in poetry and is nearly always a statement of exclamation. It is often used to describe the nation or the person who enjoys relationship with God.

The word often in a substitutionary manner of the happiness that God-given security and prosperity give.

Walk = walk in or follow after. In this case it is to follow after the advice and counsel of those who are proud and hate God. In short the wicked here are in all ways which truly matter atheists.

Stand =  means rise up and take one’s stand in the pathway or lifestyle of those whose very persons are identified with rebellion against God – namely sinners.

Sit =  more properly means to endure, inhabit and take up one’s residence. The word most often translated as seat here actually is more literally translated as assembly. This assembly is of blatantly arrogant people, noted for their love of conflict and stalwartly reject wisdom and correction. This phrase “sit in the assembly” quite literally means to entirely identify with them.

With this understanding we see  in these three modes of condition here referenced – walking, standing and sitting a verbal imagery revealing a progression of position relative to the world. Beginning with a somewhat familiar yet casual association to complete identifying with them. It is a dangerous and slippery slope to be sure and like the journey of a thousand miles it begins with the smallest of steps in the wrong direction!

“(2)  But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.”

The one spoken of here as “his” is the one who is blessed! 

Who is this one who is blessed? The one who finds his pleasure not only in God’s law or words, but in listening to and obeying them. This is actually a shout out to the Shema which is an imperative command to listen to God’s words with respect and a position relative to God just like those listed above – walk – stand and sit! Or stated more completely follow after, rise up and take your stand with and make the words of God the place you dwell

So, and I think you can see where this is leading, the passage is nearly the same message Jesus encouraged His disciples with on their way to the Garden of Gethsemane. If you will abide in Me and My words abide in you then you will be a branch connected to your Vine and you WILL bear MUCH fruit!

And guess where this psalm goes next in its verbal imagery…

“(3)  He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.”

Prosper means to rush, break forth and come mightily. When in the context of this verse it means to succeed and be victorious! I think it is only natural for this to remind us of God’s words to Joshua who had just taken the place of Moses as leader of God’s people. 

Joshua 1:8 records it for us and it is unmistakable in its parallels with this passage.

The Lord told Joshua: “This book of the law must not cease to be on your lips! You must meditate on it day and night so you can carefully obey all that is written in it. Then you will cause your way to prosper and be successful.”

I tell you God’s word is nothing if not consistent!

But if this is the story of the righteous, what of the ungodly and wicked?

“(4)  The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.”

Chaff is the empty outer husk of grain. It is light and unsubstantial. The slightest wind can knock it about and carry it away. This is the ontological state of the lost. They have no real substance, but are lighter than air. They have no solidity or foundation to them, no root system or stability. The Gospels give us John the Baptist’s prophetic testimony of Jesus at the end of the age saying, “I baptize you with water, but One is coming Who is more powerful than I. I am not worthy to untie the strap of His sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  (17)  His winnowing shovel is in His hand to clear His threshing floor and gather the wheat into His barn, but the chaff He will burn up with a fire that never goes out.” – Luke 3:16-17 

This is the judgment of the wicked.

The psalmist then uses a play on words as he concludes his song with a comparative statement of the future of the ungodly, as compared with that of the righteous!

“(5)  Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.  (6)  For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish.”

The New English Translation has this last verse as saying, 

Certainly the LORD guards the way of the godly, but the way of the wicked ends in destruction.– Psalm 1:6

Psalm 2:1-12,

“(1) Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing?  

(2)  The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,  

(3)  “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.”  

(4)  He Who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The LORD shall hold them in derision.  

(5)  Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure:  

(6)  “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.”  

(7)  “I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, 

‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.  (8)  Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.  

(9)  You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ ”  

(10)  Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth.  

(11)  Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling.  

(12)  Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. 

Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.”

In comparison to Psalm 1 this is deceptively simple and straight-forward, but its meaning is very profound.

Like all of scripture, this Psalm could be said to point to any number of God’s interactions with the kings and nations of the world throughout history. 

An example of this is found in Acts 4 when the believers in Jerusalem responded to the threats of the leading religious Jews against Peter and John to no longer preach in Jesus’ name. They quoted this verse as applying to Herod and Pilot saying, 

Master of all, You Who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them,  (25)  Who said by the Holy Spirit through your servant David our forefather, 

Why do the nations rage, and the peoples plot foolish things?  (26)  The kings of the earth stood together, and the rulers assembled together, against the Lord and against his Christ.’  

(27)  “For indeed both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, assembled together in this city against Your holy servant Jesus, Whom You anointed,  (28)  to do as much as Your power and Your plan had decided beforehand would happen.”

That these verses are not literally fulfilled by the events they mentioned as they well knew is obvious since the intention of God which they were referring to was the crucifixion of the Lord. 

In strong contradistiction to this, Psalm 2 is clearly referencing Jesus standing in His authority as King of the earth itself and having complete power over the kings and kingdoms of the earth. So while this statement can, and no doubt has, had many smaller partial fulfillments, its primary and complete fulfillment will not occur until the end of the Millennial reign of Christ.

As we know, the scriptures tell us that the end time reign of Jesus on the earth will be with a rod of iron

Iron in this context points to strength and power. Therefore Jesus’ rule will be an entirely uncontested one in which His rule is absolute! Which is why this Psalm calls all attempts at a revolt “a vain plot”.

We know from the book of Revelation that at the end of His thousand year reign, some kings and kingdoms will rise up in revolt against Him but will be destroyed in a moment by fire from heaven. [Rev. 20:7-10]

So it is that He counsels them beforehand saying,

be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little.” 

Notice the similarities with Psalm 1 in that the kings and people take counsel together against the Lord, wanting to break free from His constraints on their carnal appetites and pursuits. Saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.”  

God is said to be SITTING in Heaven and laughs derisively at their nonsensical uprising. He taunts, scoffs and mocks them. Then he terrifies them by saying, 

I myself have installed My king on Zion, My holy hill. Who the Father encouraged to ask Him for the nations for His inheritance.

So God is essentially saying, you are in fact under His power. If I did not spare those who mocked and rebelled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, how less likely is it that I will endure such plots against My Son!

The encouragement to “kiss the Son” is a difficult passage since the word bar is actually the Aramaic word for son not the Hebrew word for son. One of the popular suggestions for clarifying this text is “in trembling kiss His feet” which I think only presses the obvious tone of the verse. God was speaking to the enemies of King Jesus, so it is not likely to be an encouragement to offer Him a token kiss of affection like that of Judas. This was more likely a call to repent in homage to Him. This indicates that even at this point, if they would show humility and contrition God would forgo His anger at them – otherwise the encouragement is meaningless. “Bow in homage to Him lest He be angry” – the word angry being used poetically for “lest He pass judgment on you”.

This song of David ends in the same way as Psalm 1 began, only concluding with an additional call to trust, “Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

Psalm 3:1-8, 

“(1) A Psalm of David When He Fled from Absalom His Son. 

LORD, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me.  (2)  Many are they who say of me, 

“There is no help for him in God.” Selah  

This is the first of 70 times we will encounter this word Selāh. It is a Hebrew verb with an unknown meaning.  It has come to be seen as a pause for reflection, though some give it musical significance thinking it to be a musical indication of a caesura (says-ur-a) or rest in the flow of a musical score. 

I believe that this is a case where both are correct and in this one song alone we will be called upon to pause in contemplation no less than three times!

David was a man who entrusted not only his life and future, but more poignantly his very heart to the Lord. He often is seen, both in the Psalms and in the historical narratives of the Old Testament, as pouring his heart out before God. He does this in praise, in lament, in frustration as well as in prayer as we see here. 

Since his call to kingship as a boy called in from the field at the home of his father Jesse to this moment when his own son conspired against him, sought to humiliate him and divided the loyalties of his kingdom against him – David was a man who knew sorrow well. 

This, along with many other of his experiences and attributes makes him a wonderful foreshadowing of Jesus – Who also was a “man of sorrow and well acquainted with grief– Isaiah 53:3.  

I love the way he tells God what he knows God already knows. “God… I’m in trouble again and they are saying that this time You will not come to my aid!

Isn’t that just like the enemy!? God has come through for us SO MANY TIMES – in fact, EVERYTIME, yet still he suggests that THIS time will be different.

Now lest you fail to truly identify with David in this song, you need to realize that he was probably struggling against self doubt and a nagging conscience. You see Absalom was angry with David and had been for some time. His anger was regarding the mistreatment of his sister Tamar. David’s first born son Amnon had raped her for which David, upon hearing it, should have demanded that he be stoned to death according to the law. Instead, David turned a blind eye to it. Absalom allowed the entire event to fester in his heart and eventually killed Amnon and fled the kingdom. David yearned for Absalom but did not call for him to return until nearly tricked into it and even then, he refused to allow Absalom to see him. When he did see him, David kissed his son and so far as we can tell never confronted and addressed all that happened. It appears as if David simply swept the entire thing under the rug and avoided it. So David’s affectionate reception of his son turned bitter in his mouth. No doubt Absalom disdained David for his weakness as most sons would in a case like this. This disdain was further underscored by David’s unresponsiveness to Absalom subverting David’s judicial providence over Israel for four full years and David said nothing! So when Absalom turned Israel against David, instead of fighting – he ran away. Now there is much more to this story but according to the title, it was when David fled from Absalom that this psalm was written.

So this is not only David being taunted by his enemies which included much of Israel, but his son Absalom as well as his own conscience.

Now.. with that context – have you ever felt the need to cry out to God to save you from a mess you made for yourself in which you are largely to blame?

Have you ever felt like your enemies outnumber your friends? 

Have the taunts of the world which claim that your hope in God will finally disappoint you, ever take captive your hopes – even for a moment? 

With that in mind David calls on you to pause and consider the despair you felt in that moment.

But then, David shows us where to lead our thoughts in times like these. We are to remember the goodness God has shown us over and again and use the recollections of those times to rekindle the coals of hope once more.

“(3)  But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, My glory and the One Who lifts up my head.”

“(4)  I cried to the LORD with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah”

Ah! Think about THAT!

“(5)  I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustained me.”  

When sleeping, humans are at their most vulnerable state. Even if an abrupt and loud danger should approach, it takes a moment or two to regain our consciousness and surefootedness. So naturally David uses this to illustrate the degree to which he trusted in the Lord. Even though there is no mention of the cessation of hostilities against him, David exhibits trust in God by lying down to sleep, awakening the next morning to see his faith was well placed – “the Lord sustained him.”  

Sometimes the decision to trust is little more than that – a decision you make. When the first glimpses of God’s faithfulness to you in response to your trust appear – faith and boldness grow.

So it is that David moves from the trust of sleep to fearlessness in battle.                  

“(6)  I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people Who have set themselves against me all around.  

(7)  Arise, O LORD; Save me, O my God! For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly.” 

Why the jaw and the teeth? In the ancient world to hit anyone on the cheek was an action of reproach. A casting of contempt upon them. We saw this in Job several weeks back. In Job 16:10 & 11 Job says,

“People have opened their mouths against me, they have struck my cheek in scorn; they unite together against me. God abandons me to evil men, and throws me into the hands of wicked men.”

In addition to this, without a working jaw and teeth it would be hard for David’s enemies to continue their chides that God will not come to his rescue this time.

“(8)  Salvation belongs to the LORD. 

Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah”

The action of God in verse 7 is rendered differently in various translations due to some grammatical issues. 

Here in the NKJV it is in the past tense “You HAVE struck all my enemies”. 

The Holman has, “You strike all my enemies” taking the word as indicative of God’s character and therefore predictive of His future action in this case. 

The New English translation it has, “You WILL strike all my enemies”. 

So while the timing and indicators of God’s actions are all over the place, one thing remains most certain – somebody’s jaw was no longer safe!

The next two statements offered in closing are, I believe, a proof of which of these three translations is correct.

It says, Salvation belongs to the Lord and Your blessing is upon Your people.

So I believe the wording in verse 7 was indicative of God’s character and therefore, even though a prayer, was offered with a 100% certainty of the outcome. 

As it turns out this is NOT out of place in the Psalms regarding prayer. In much of the Psalms prayer is offered with great confidence in the response of God – which itself is a lesson to us!  

Psalm 4:1-8,

In this song David begins with a declaration of his relation to God, mentioning his current condition of relief as well as his future hope of God’s mercy in response to his prayer.

“(1)To the Chief Musician. With Stringed Instruments. A Psalm of David.

Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.  

(2)  How long, O you sons of men, Will you turn my glory to shame? How long will you love worthlessness And seek falsehood? Selah  

(3)  But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly; The LORD will hear when I call to Him.”  

Again notice the confidence David has in God and in prayer. He attributes his righteousness to God, rather than his works. He sees himself as set apart FOR God BY God and therefore has confidence that God will hear and act when he calls upon Him.

It is imperative that we, under the New Covenant, do not fail to do the same. We are so aware of our righteousness in Him that we stand in honest danger of expecting deliverance due to OUR righteousness. It is a type of confidence, but in the wrong thing. Though our righteousness is greater than David’s due to Jesus’ finished work upon the cross and sin’s loss of power over us, we still have God to recognize as its source. Yes God does deliver the righteous, but not because of who they are and some assumed right they have to expect it, but because of Who HE is and what He has done. Our faith must come as an appeal to God for mercy for even now we deserve nothing and have earned even less!

Then David begins to either instruct others or encourage his own heart.

“(4)  Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah  (5)  Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, And put your trust in the LORD.”  

The words translated as “be angry” are actually a reference to a physical shaking humans often experience in response to intense emotions. The actual emotion here is not mentioned but is up to the translator to decipher. It could be anger or it could be godly fear and trembling. Since the following words are “and do not sin” either might be appropriate.

However, we have a clarification for this verse in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians where Paul is encouraging them in regard to sins and not giving the devil any opportunities among them.

It says,

“(25) Since you put away lying, Speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another.  (26)  Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger,  (27)  and don’t give the Devil an opportunity.” – Ephesians 4:25-27  

In this passage Paul is encouraging them to replace evil behavior with good. So he tells them to replace ungodly anger for the fear of the Lord. The phrase is often understood as saying, “If you are angry, don’t sin” but Daniel Wallace says that this is unlikely on a grammatical, lexical, and historical level. 

He suggests that this was an admonition towards righteous indignation over both personal and communal sin. That your deep respect for God, drive you to extinguish sin in yourself and address it in your brothers and sisters in Christ. Your zeal should drive you to take action immediately – “do not let the sun go down” before it is addressed lest the devil gain a foothold!

Jesus’ action in driving the money changers out of the temple being consumed with a righteous zeal for God’s house” is an example of this type of overwhelming, emotional response to unrighteousness. It is NOT vindictive or hateful in nature. In fact it is not specifically focused upon people at all, but on the unrighteousness of their actions. Notice that Psalm 69:9 which points to this event in Jesus’ life says, “Zeal for your house has consumed me” attributing his zeal for the integrity of God’s house rather than vindictively against the people who had treated it lightly.

“(6)  There are many who say, “Who will show us any good?” LORD, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.  

(7)  You have put gladness in my heart, More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.  

(8)  I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.”

David points not just to God, but specifically to His face as the source of good. This was perhaps a shout back to Moses’ experience with the goodness of God on the mountain top.

David says that the gladness experienced in his heart at the light of God’s countenance is greater than that experienced in the seasons of harvest time. Not living in those days, we find such imagery difficult to fully identify with. We have the ability to purchase nearly any food – fruit or vegetable year round with no need to wait for specific seasons of harvest. However, in that day harvest was not only a time of abundance and storing away for provisions until the next harvest, but it was a declaration of poverty and extreme lack if the harvest was poor. 

So when people of that day experienced great harvests – it was a time of exuberant celebration and joy. David says such experiences pale in comparison to encounters with God. 

He ends with one of the greatest proofs of peace and a heart which is content and satisfied by acknowledging that his ability to lie down in peace and sleep is due to God’s watchful care.

Now I am going to read through Psalm 5 and offer some surface insights, but will turn it over to you to study on your own. 

While I want you to familiarize yourself with Psalms 6-10 for next week, I want you to study Psalm 5 for yourself and be ready next week to share your insights.

When I post this on the website I will offer a more complete discussion on Psalm 5, but not now so that you will be able to do your studies without your thoughts being influenced by my own. 

Psalm 5:1-12,

As I’m sure noticed long before tonight, some of these Psalms offer their attributions as well as the instrument intended to be used in its singing. The NKJV says flutes, but the New English translation points out that this Hebrew word appears only here in all of scripture and is not clearly understood. As such, they translate it as accompanied by wind instruments. However, this word being in the plural, a certain lexicon sees an association with another word which means to perforate and bore with holes – thus the connection to a flute. On the far other side of the spectrum the Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate understand the meaning as “inheritance”. Luther agrees with this understanding and I am included to do so also. He said, according to the title, this is the general idea of the psalm, that the author prays for the inheritance or heritage of God, desiring that the people of God may be faithful to Him, and may always adhere to Him.” 

So whether this is a suggested type of musical instrument or an overview of the intended direction of this Psalm I do not know.

The one BIG takeaway is this – that due to the lack of understanding of certain words like this, the world claims that such should be assumed as generally true of all of scripture and should therefore be treated as suspect. But I believe the complete opposite is the most warranted response. If those who translate the scriptures refuse to be dogmatic in as little a matter as a title for a Psalm, then I believe we have reason for great confidence regarding their treatment of more serious matters like the actual content OF the Psalm and by extension any portion of scripture!

“(1) To the Chief Musician. With Flutes. A Psalm of David.

Give ear to my words, O LORD, Consider my meditation. (2)  Give heed to the voice of my cry, My King and my God, For to You I will pray.  

I am not keen on the way the words appear in this Psalm because, at least to me, they appear on the surface to be a little presumptuous and even demanding of God. I know however that such would be extremely out of character for David who is its author and so I read into it a vocal inflection which emphasizes this as a request rather than instruction.

Nevertheless again we see very strong confidence from David in the listening ear of God. Also David directs his prayer to God in the morning which for the Jew is the midpoint of the day, though it be when he rises from sleep. The Torah emphasizes the spontaneous and intimate nature of prayer, while culturally they later developed an extra-biblical practice of praying specifically three times a day. This was not to discourage prayer at any time, but to encourage a culture of prayer which was regulated in order to keep them from lapsing into protracted time of silence towards God. This was rooted in a superficial respect for their founding fathers Abraham, Isaac & Jacob which the Torah has examples of praying in the morning, noon and evening respectively. However, like all man-made laws, the initial intention and the resulting long-term result are often vastly different. These “rules” enforced prayer rather than encouraging it. In the heart that needs a reminder, prayer is very close to pointless. In the heart where prayer is spontaneous and intimate, there is no need for reminders.

“(3)  My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up.  (4)  For You are not a God Who takes pleasure in wickedness, Nor shall evil dwell with You.  

(5)  The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity.  (6)  You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; The LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.”  

David rightly states that the arrogant cannot continue in God’s presence which is to say, with His focused attention of favor upon them.

So David determines to be a man who in humility looks to God for mercy, respecting Him and adoring Him – face to face, so to speak. Such was the basic idea of facing the temple when one prayed. It was to turn ones face towards the place where God had chosen to place His name and in which His presence dwelt. It was most likely a matter of honor and respect. 

It is perhaps this practice of David’s which inspired the portion of Solomon’s famously misunderstood and misappropriated prayer which oriented the prayer to face the temple when they pray [2 Chronicles 6].

“(7)  But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy; In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple.  

(8)  Lead me, O LORD, in Your righteousness because of my enemies; Make Your way straight before my face. (9)  For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; Their inward part is destruction; Their throat is an open tomb; They flatter with their tongue.”  

Jewish prayers were nearly always GOD focused even when they do not appear so. Here the idea is not for God to lead David SOLELY because he had enemies he did not want to fall to, but because in righteousness was the only place He could be assured of God’s provisional gaze and so, David’s request was for God to lead him in righteousness – making God’s ways clearly laid out before him so that he might walk in them. In this way he could be certain to maintain God’s favor.

Even his prayer that the wicked be judged as guilty was due to their offense against God, not their threats or attacks against David alone.

“(10)  Pronounce them guilty, O God! Let them fall by their own counsels; Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions, For they have rebelled against You.”  

(11)  But let all those rejoice Who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them

Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You.  (12)  For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield.”

David ends almost as he began with strong confidence in God’s intervention. No one reading these Psalms have any reason to view God as apathetic or unconcerned for His people. The very notion of agnosticism to David would have seemed so unwarranted as to be silly and insane.

Blessings!

Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!

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