Wednesday, February 27, 2013

List His benefits

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Psalm 68:1-20

TO CHEW ON: "Blessed be the Lord,
Who daily loads us with benefits,
The God of our salvation." Psalm 68:19

Have you ever listed the ways God has blessed you and your family, even your nation? That's what David is doing in Psalm 68.
  • He follows opening words of general praise to God (Psalm 68:1-6) with a history of the Israelites. 
  • He alludes to the nation's march through the wilderness (Psalm 68:7), how God appeared to them on Mount Sinai (Psalm 68:8) and provided for them in the desert (Psalm 68:8-10). The "rain" may refer to the daily manna (according to Matthew Henry's commentary).
  • Psalm 68:11 seems to be a reference to God giving the word against their enemies, in Canaan, and the people proclaiming the victory that resulted.
(I was surprised when at least half of the translations I consulted, spoke of those proclaimers as women e.g. "The Lord gives the command; The women who proclaim the good tidings are a great host" - NASB. Barnes notes on the Bible explain: "The word used is in the feminine gender and refers to the Oriental custom whereby females celebrated victories in songs and dances.")
  • The verses that follow continue to exult in Israel's triumphs. There is even a prophetic reference to Jesus: "You have ascended on high, You have led captivity captive..."  quoted by Paul in Ephesians 4:7-10.

Our reading ends with a rousing praise:
"Blessed be the Lord,
Who daily loads us with benefits,
The God of our salvation!"

Nothing changes my attitude faster than gratitude. You may find that doing something like David did—recalling your history and looking for God's load of benefits in it—will lift your spirit. Why don't you try it today!

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for Your faithfulness to me. Help me to continually acknowledge You as the source of my blessings, and to have a heart of gratitude. Amen.
MORE: Messiah Alert!

Words from Psalm 68:11 are lyrics in the Handel's Messiah—Chorus 37: "The Lord Gave the Word.  Notice how the music illustrates the message. A solo voice singing "The Lord gave the word" is followed by a chorus: "Great was the company of the [preachers*],"   It's a chorus that grows larger, more complex and many-voiced as the song builds to a big-chord climax.

*It seems that Mr. Handel substituted "preachers" for the more cumbersome "company of those who proclaimed it" —at least I couldn't find any translation that translates Psalm 68:11 using the word "preachers."

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