Two Psalms for Easter

Lately I’ve been publishing a series of Psalms on this blog. With Easter Sunday quickly approaching, I began a search to find the Psalms that are often quoted for Easter. Two Psalms that were prominent (among several) in the results from my search are Psalm 16 and Psalm 118. Psalm 16 was written by David, and while the author of Psalm 118 is not named, “there is reason to believe it was [authored by] King David” (quote source here).

In an article published on April 7, 2020 on PorticoArlington.org titled, Preparing for Easter: Psalm 16 (the author’s name is not mentioned), the article states:

Psalm 16:1-11 is a Psalm that is uniquely helpful in preparing for Easter Sunday. This might not be obvious upon a first reading of this Psalm, (or even a second!), however, both Peter and Paul clearly understood the application that this Psalm had for the resurrection of Christ.

In Acts 2:25-28 Peter uses the text of this Psalm as a primary text for hisPentecost Sermonwhen he is discussing the impossibility of Jesus being held in death. The LORD had promised David an imperishable inheritance, and Christ is that inheritance! For Peter, Jesus is clearly the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promise that David is claiming in Psalm 16.

In Acts 13:35, Paul also references this Psalm to show the continuity of the Old Testament promise of good news and the New Testament fulfillment of that good news in Jesus Christ. Here, we see one of the many ways that Jesus is greater and better than David, namely that he did not see corruption. David ultimately failed to be a pure hearted King, Jesus, on the other hand, is the perfect King that Israel had longed for. The evidence of Jesus’ purity is the resurrection. Death could not hold him because he was righteous.

Now that we have seen how this Psalm is pointing to Jesus and finds its fulfillment in him, let’s consider the ultimate hope of this Psalm. David’s hope is connected to the presence of the LORD. The presence of the Lord brings refuge (Psalm 16:1), community (Psalm 16:3), provision and sustenance (Psalm 16:5), beautiful inheritance (Psalm 16:6), wisdom (Psalm 16:7), stability (Psalm 16:8), joy (Psalm 16:9), eternal security (Psalm 16:10), eternal pleasure (Psalm 16:11). All of these blessings come with the presence of the LORD and they are ultimately dependent on God fulfilling his promises to David. If the promises rest on the faithfulness of David, there is no hope of these blessings. And if we pursue the blessings apart from the only faithful servant, our hope is fading at best.

This Easter Sunday, perhaps more tangibly than many of us have experienced before, we can direct our hearts to the only place where an undefiled hope can be found: to the presence of the LORD in Jesus and by the power of the Spirit. (Quote source here.)

Here are the eleven verses in Psalm 16 (ESV):

A Miktam of David.

1 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
    I have no good apart from you.”

As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
    in whom is all my delight.

The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
    their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
    or take their names on my lips.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
    you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
    in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
    because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
    my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
    or let your holy one see corruption.

11 You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Regarding the second psalm, Psalm 118, in The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik, teaching pastor at Calvary Chapel SB, Bible teacher, and author of the The Enduring Word Bible Commentary, he begins his comments on this psalm with the following (his entire commentary on Psalm 118 is available at this link):

Psalm 118 does not name an author in its title, but there is reason to believe it was King David, the Sweet Psalmist of Israel. Ezra 3:10-11 suggests that Psalm 118 was sung at the founding of the second temple, and when they sang it, they attributed it to David (“according to the ordinance of David king of Israel,” Ezra 3:10).

“Most probably David was the author of this psalm…. It partakes of David’s spirit, and everywhere shows the hand of a master. The style is grand and noble; the subject, majestic.” (Adam Clarke)

Though this was likely David’s psalm, it was also Jesus’ psalm. “This is pre-eminently the triumph song of the Christ, He the ideal Servant, He the perfect Priest, He the Leader of the people. How much all these words meant to Him as He sang them on that night in the upper room.” (G. Campbell Morgan)

Though this was likely David’s psalm, it was also Luther’s psalm. This is my own beloved psalm. Although the entire Psalter and all of Holy Scripture are dear to me as my only comfort and source of life, I fell in love with this psalm especially. Therefore I call it my own. When emperors and kings, the wise and the learned, and even saints could not aid me, this psalm proved a friend and helped me out of many great troubles. As a result, it is dearer to me than all the wealth, honor, and power of the pope, the Turk, and the emperor. I would be most unwilling to trade this psalm for all of it.” (Martin Luther, cited by James Montgomery Boice) (Quote source and complete commentary are available at this link.)

Here are the 29 verses in Psalm 118 (NKJV):

1 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

Let Israel now say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron now say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let those who fear the Lord now say,
“His mercy endures forever.”

I called on the Lord in distress;
The Lord answered me and set me in a broad place.
The Lord is on my side;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
The Lord is for me among those who help me;
Therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me.
It is better to trust in the Lord
Than to put confidence in man.
It is better to trust in the Lord
Than to put confidence in princes.

10 All nations surrounded me,
But in the name of the Lord I will destroy them.
11 They surrounded me,
Yes, they surrounded me;
But in the name of the Lord I will destroy them.
12 They surrounded me like bees;
They were quenched like a fire of thorns;
For in the name of the Lord I will destroy them.
13 You pushed me violently, that I might fall,
But the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.

15 The voice of rejoicing and salvation
Is in the tents of the righteous;
The right hand of the Lord does valiantly.
16 The right hand of the Lord is exalted;
The right hand of the Lord does valiantly.
17 I shall not die, but live,
And declare the works of the Lord.
18 The Lord has chastened me severely,
But He has not given me over to death.

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness;
I will go through them,
And I will praise the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord,
Through which the righteous shall enter.

21 I will praise You,
For You have answered me,
And have become my salvation.

22 The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This was the Lord’s doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.

25 Save now, I pray, O Lord;
Lord, I pray, send now prosperity.
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
We have blessed you from the house of the Lord.
27 God is the Lord,
And He has given us light;
Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.
28 You are my God, and I will praise You;
You are my God, I will exalt You.

29 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

As Easter Sunday approaches, let us take the words of Jesus found in John 11:25-26 into our hearts and our lives–“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” That is a question we all must answer.

I’ll end this post with the words from John 3:16-17: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son [Jesus Christ], that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world…

But to save . . .

The world . . .

Through him . . . .

YouTube Video: “Jireh” sung by Elevation Worship & Maverick City, and premiered on March 26, 2021:

YouTube Video: “Jesus Saves/Easter Song” sung by the Worship Team at Northland Church on Easter Sunday, April 12, 2009:

Photo #1 credit here
Photo #2 credit here
Photo #3 credit here

Psalms of Encouragement

Waiting is a part of life that nobody likes, and sometimes, we aren’t even sure what it is that we are waiting for. Maybe it’s a medical report, or a job offer, or finding a spouse, or even just for the workday to finally get over with. Hurry up and wait” was a phrase I heard often when I was in the military. Life is filled with “waiting” for something to happen. And we wait; and we wait; and we wait….

Sometimes what we are waiting for might take years or even decades to happen. Sometimes it can happen practically overnight when we least expect it. For example, I spent six years trying to find an apartment in an income-based senior apartment complex while living in tiny hotel rooms as my only housing option due to my low income that would not allow me to rent a regular apartment. And then what seemed like practically overnight it finally happened, but not in the way I was expecting, and not in an income-based senior apartment complex either that I never did find. And where I did find an apartment to rent was a total surprise that I never expected in a location I never thought I could even begin to afford to live in. But here I am, at least for now.

On a daily basis, we wait in grocery store lines, or traffic, or doctor’s offices; we wait for the rain to stop and the sun to come out; we wait for dogs to stop barking or for people to be friendly, and we wait, and wait, and wait. Waiting is a fact of life but we hate it just the same. We wait for family to call or love to come our way or a great job that just never quite seems to show up. And if you’re older like me, you’ve maybe waited all your life for something that you’ve finally figured out at this point probably isn’t coming your way after all. But you don’t lose hope since you’re still breathing, and you’re still on this side of the grave.

And, it’s not that we’ve been passive during all of this time of waiting, although sometimes we are. We’ve also been friendly to others, and we call our family, and we walk the dog if we have one (although I don’t).

Sometimes what we need during all of this time of waiting is a big dose of encouragement. And the older I get the more I turn to the Book of Psalms for encouragement. People can and will disappoint us, and David and the other writers of the Psalms have experienced every emotion and rejection in life that we feel. Reading the Psalms is like finding fellow travelers through life that have gone there before us, and God was their source of strength, encouragement, fellowship, and help.

In an article published on October 26, 2020, titled, 6 Beautiful Psalms of Encouragement for You in Your Daily Life,” by Jessica Brodie, Christian novelist, journalist, editor, blogger, writing coach, and contributing writer on Christianity.com, she writes:

Throughout the 150 chapters that comprise the Bible’s Book of Psalms, the message is clear: When the trials and burdens of our everyday existence wear us thin and we experience despair, frustration, hopelessness, or even anger, the best solution is to call upon the Lord. The Psalms provide encouragement in all of life’s up and downs but also in your daily waking up and living!

Many of us have learned how to cope with life’s big moments—the mountains and the valleys, the times of wild bliss, and those dark periods of anguish and turmoil. But what about regular daily life, the day-to-day grind that can feel at times monotonous or even meaningless? On occasion, we all experience seasons when daily life can wear at our souls, make us question our faith, or wonder how we’ll possibly endure. At times like these, it can help to know God-breathed words of comfort, encouragement, and motivation into his precious child, King David, and the other writers of the psalms, who penned both cries for divine assistance, as well as deep, abiding messages of gratitude and praise. (Quote source here.)

I agree! In the rest of her article (click here) she includes six psalms and what they have meant to her. The six psalms are quoted below. She ends her article with the following paragraph:

These are just a few of the many encouraging psalms we can tuck into our hearts to help us stay strong and faithful in everyday life. And they all circle back to one crucial, all-encompassing truth: God is the only sure thing. When we focus on faith over fear, we cannot help but be encouraged. (Quote source here.)

Those six psalms are Psalm 16, Psalm 27, Psalm 91, Psalm 34, Psalm 142, and Psalm 37:

Psalm 16
A Psalm of David

Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.” Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips. Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Psalm 27
A Psalm of David

The Lord is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. One thing, Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.

Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior. Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations. I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Psalm 91
Abiding in the Shadow of the Almighty

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Psalm 34
Praise for Deliverance from Troubles

I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to blot out their name from the earth. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned. The Lord will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

Psalm 142
A Prayer for Help in Trouble

I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. I pour out before him my complaint; before him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way. In the path where I walk people have hidden a snare for me.

Look and see, there is no one at my right hand; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life. I cry to you, Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. 7 Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.

Psalm 37
The Insecurity of the Wicked

Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret-it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity. The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming. The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken. Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous. The blameless spend their days under the Lord‘s care, and their inheritance will endure forever. In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty. But the wicked will perish: Though the Lord‘s enemies are like the flowers of the field, they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke.

The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously; those the Lord blesses will inherit the land, but those he curses will be destroyed. The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing. Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever. For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed the offspring of the wicked will perish. The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever. The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just. The law of their God is in their hearts; their feet do not slip. The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, intent on putting them to death; but the Lord will not leave them in the power of the wicked or let them be condemned when brought to trial.

Hope in the Lord and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it. I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a luxuriant native tree, but he soon passed away and was no more; though I looked for him, he could not be found. Consider the blameless observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace. But all sinners will be destroyed; there will be no future for the wicked. The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

I hope these words have been an encouragement to all who read them. I’ll end this post with the words from Psalm 27:14 (NKJV)–Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart…

Wait . . .

I say . . .

On the Lord . . . .

YouTube Video: “While I Wait” by Lincoln Brewster:

Photo #1 credit here
Photo #2 credit here