Daily reading assignment – Psalm 81, 88, 92-93
Today’s scripture reading consists of four chapters in the book of Psalms. I will briefly outline and highlight each, but give greater commentary to the fourth, Psalm 93.
Psalm 81 – Psalm of the Feast of Trumpets
Psalm 81, like Psalm 73, is authored by Asaph a Temple musician. Like all the psalms, this was a psalm you would have heard in the Temple, performed by musicians dedicated to leading the congregation in worship. Psalm 73 coincides with a feast known as the Feast of Trumpets (Numbers 29:1).
Reminding us how important orchestras and congregation singing were to Israel, the psalm calls the people to “Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob”(Psalm 81:1). (The “joyful noise” indicates a melody and harmony).
The following verses acknowledge percussion instruments (timbrel), string instruments (harp, psaltery), and woodwind and brass instruments (most likely silver trumpets, of which one hundred twenty are mentioned in (2 Chronicles 5:12). Imagine how the LORD loved the glorious sound voiced by hundreds of singers accompanied by a great orchestra of skilled musicians!
The balance of Psalm 81 is a reflection on the LORD’s covenant with Israel (81:5-10), the failure of the people to obey the Law and Commandments (81:11-12), and a reminder of the LORD’S longing to bless His people if they keep covenant with Him (81:13-16).
Psalm 88 – A Psalm of Lamentation
Psalm 92 – A Psalm of Praise for the Sabbath Day
Psalms 93 – A Psalm of Praise for God’s Sovereignty
Scholars believe Psalm 93 was written after the Babylonian captivity. In a matter of 70 years, Israel had witnessed the implosion of Babylon, arguably the first great world empire. Nebuchadnezzar had conquered the known world in his day and among the many nations led away to serve him was Israel. Unlike other ancient nations that were resettled and assimilated by the Chaldeans, the Jewish people maintained their identity as a chosen people, distinguished by God’s Law.
Israel’s return to their land and the rebuilding of the Temple and city of Jerusalem gave cause for the author of Psalm 93 to state three truths regarding God and His immutable character.
The first truth states, God is Sovereign and His Rule is Forever (93:1-2).
A study of world history yields the reality that even the greatest nations rise and fall. With the passing of time, every nation that has ever taken its place on the world stage inevitably evidences corruption and the decay of character and morality. Nations rise and nations fall. Kings rule and presidents preside, but the reign of the LORD is everlasting.
The second declaration proclaims, God is Greater than My Circumstances (93:3-4).
At first glance, we see mighty, destructive floodwaters that describe circumstances that are powerful, sweeping, and devastating (93:3). We have witnessed the devastating power of floodwaters sweeping away everything in their path…homes, possessions, even lives are lost to the power of surging waters. The floodwaters are emblematic of the rise of nations and their rage against God’s Truth. His voice is mightier than the greatest nations of the earth.
With that picture in mind, the psalmist writes, “The LORD on high is mightier” (93:4). He is mightier than the thundering waters of a waterfall or the pounding waves of the sea. He is mightier than the circumstances that seem ready to overwhelm you. He is mightier than the sorrows and disappointments that have brought you low.
Our closing principle is, God is Faithful – His Word, Testimonies and Promises are Sure (93:5).
Israel’s return to her land following the Babylonian captivity fulfilled God’s promise He would not forget or forsake His people. Surely there were times in Babylon when all seemed lost; the temple had been destroyed, the walls and city of Jerusalem had become nothing more than a pile of rubble, and the people had been removed from their land. However, not a promise of the LORD had failed and the Jews were restored to their land.
Take heart, God is Sovereign; He is greater and mightier than your circumstances, faithful to His promises, and His reign is forever!
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith