Scripture reading – Psalm 46; Psalm 80; Psalm 135


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Three psalms are the focus of today’s Scripture reading, and they are undoubtedly pertinent and instructive to believers of the 21st century. We will begin our study considering Psalm 46 in three stanzas.


Psalm 46


Since the fall of man, the world has been filled with troubles, sorrows, and wars. The mass media of our day and the international reach of the internet have given us a view of events while they unfold. Sadly, there is little good news, and the proliferation of wickedness and violence, coupled with inept leadership, has brought the world to the precipice of anarchy. What are we to do amid trials and troubles? Psalm 46 gives us the answer.


God is Our Refuge (Psalm 46:1-3)

Our God has power over nature, and He is the place (and person) to whom we can flee in troubled times (Psalm 46:1). He is our Refuge (shelter; strong rock) and Strength (our security and place of safety). Those who flee to the LORD have no cause for worry or fear (Psalm 46:2). Whether the mountains are moved out of their places by an earthquake, or the seas are troubled (“seas” can be literal, or a symbol of human society), we can be confident God is steadfast and unshaken (Psalm 46:2-3). “Selah,” pause and ponder that promise!


God is Our River of Life and Source of Grace (Psalm 46:4-7)

Jerusalem, where the LORD established His Temple, was an outward symbol of His presence amid His people (Psalm 46:4-5). God covenanted with Israel to be a perpetual blessing to His people.

Though the “heathen raged,” the LORD was “in the midst” of His people, and the very sound of His voice caused the nations to tremble (Psalm 46:6). The psalmist assured His people, “The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah” (Psalm 46:7).


God Will Be Exalted on the Earth (Psalm 46:8-9) 

The third stanza of Psalm 46 declares God’s judgment (Psalm 46:8-11). It reminded Judah that though the armies of their adversaries were fierce, the LORD was Sovereign. He has power and authority over nature and the nations. Only the LORD can bring peace. “He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; He burneth the chariot in the fire” (Psalm 46:9).


Closing thoughts for Psalm 46 –

When troubles and trials assail, people of faith look to the LORD. He would have us to “Be still” and rest in the knowledge that He is sovereign. He is greater than our trials (Psalm 46:9). His will is to “be exalted among the heathen [and] in the earth” (Psalm 46:10).

Whatever the trial, affliction, or enemy, remember: “The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah” (Psalm 46:11).

A Cry for Compassion

Psalm 80 – A Cry for Compassion


The setting of Psalm 80 is believed to be after Israel fell to Assyria. It was a desperate plea, a petition for the LORD to intervene and save the Northern Kingdom. It was a song, a cry for the LORD’s compassion, and a prayer for salvation (Psalm 80:1-7).

Israel was described as a grapevine, a nation that God transplanted “out of Egypt” (Psalm 80:8). The LORD made room for Israel and “cast out the heathen” and caused “it to take deep root, and it filled the land” (Psalm 80:9). Israel was a bough that flourished under God’s blessings and spanned from the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River (Psalm 80:10-12; note that the Euphrates River was the east boundary of the land the LORD promised Abraham, Genesis 15:18). Israel’s enemies, portrayed as a “boar” and “wild beast,” did “ravage and devour the land (Psalm 80:13).

Psalm 80 concluded with the psalmist crying to the LORD to intervene and save His people (Psalm 80:14-15). Describing the desolations suffered by Israel (consumed by fire and cut down, Psalm 80:16), the psalmist penned for the third time:

“Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, Cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved” (Psalm 80:3, 7, 19).



Psalm 135 – Praise Ye the LORD!

The author of Psalm 135 was not named; however, it is an inspiring song that calls for God’s people to worship and praise the LORD. Three questions will serve as an outline for our study of Psalm 135.

Who should praise the LORD?” (Psalm 135:1-3)

The command to “praise” the LORD is stated three times in verse 1. However, the first “praise” was an exclamation that can be translated literally, “Hallelujah.” In praising the “name of the LORD,” we are to recall, boast, and admire Him for Who He is in His person and divine attributes (the focus of Psalm 135:4-14).

Who should praise the LORD? The first invited to praise the LORD were the “servants of the LORD” (Psalm 135:1c). They ministered in the Temple. The priests, Levites, singers, and musicians were all “servants of the LORD.” A second group who were summoned to praise the LORD were those who were standing “in the house of the LORD, [and] in the courts of the house [Temple] of our God” (Psalm 135:2).

Finally, all who gathered in the outer courts of the Temple and recognized “the LORD is good” were invited to worship and “Sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant” (Psalm 135:3). “Pleasant” means lovely, joyful, melodious, and sweet. Unlike the loud, beating, boisterous music that is characteristic of much of today’s church music, the character of the songs that were used in worshiping the LORD was “pleasant” and pleasing to Him.

“Why praise the LORD?”

Why praise the LORD?” (Psalm 135:4-14)


Many reasons are given for praising the LORD, but high on the list was that He had “chosen Jacob unto himself, And Israel for his peculiar treasure” (Psalm 135:4).

The people were to praise the LORD because of His character and attributes: He is “great, and “above all gods” [He is incomparable] and “whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, In the seas, and all deep places [He is sovereign]” (Psalm 135:5-6). The LORD is the Creator, and directs the dew, lightnings, rain, and “bringeth the wind out of His treasuries” (Psalm 135:7).

The LORD should be praised, for He was the Deliverer of His people. He “smote the firstborn of Egypt,” and by ten plagues humbled Egypt and Pharaoh (Psalm 135:8-9). He also slew the kings of the Amorites, Bashan, and Canaan (Psalm 135:10-11). He kept His covenant with Israel and gave them Canaan as “an heritage unto Israel His people” (Psalm 135:12).

The LORD should be praised for He is eternal, and His name “endureth for ever” (Psalm 135:13). He should be praised because He is just, merciful, compassionate, and “will repent [forgive] himself concerning his servants” (Psalm 135:14). 

“Why are idols unworthy of man’s worship?” (Psalm 135:15-18)

The 21st-century man might think he is too sophisticated to worship idols; however, much about Psalm 135:15-18 should reverberate in the hearts of men and women of all ages.

For instance, “the idols of the heathen [were] silver and gold, The work of men’s hands” (Psalm 135:15). Yet, is modern man any different? We may not worship objects crafted out of silver and gold, but we certainly love and lust after things we purchase with silver and gold. 

The psalmist’s description of the idols of the heathen was both humorous and tragic (Psalm 135:16-18). The heathen worshipped idols of their invention (Psalm 135:15). However, their gods were mute, blind, deaf, and lifeless (135:16-17). Indeed, those who worshipped such idols were as their gods: Psalmmute, blind, deaf, and lifeless as the objects they worshipped (135:18)!


Closing thoughts –


Psalm 135 concluded with three exhortations to “Bless the LORD” (Psalm 135:19-21).

The “house of Israel” (the Twelve Tribes), the “house of Aaron” (the high priests), the “house of Levi” (those who assisted the priests and served as Temple musicians), and all “that fear [and revere] the LORD” were exhorted to “Praise ye the LORD” (Psalm 135:19-20).

Ending as it began, Psalm 135 concluded with an appeal that should be the practice of all believers:

“Praise ye the LORD!” (Psalm 135:21)

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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