We begin today with Psalm 15. David begins by asking who can live in God’s tent or on His holy hill (15:1). David is asking who can dwell in God’s presence. David proceeds to answer the question. It is those who are blameless and righteous, and whose heart speaks truth (v. 2). His heart dictates what he does. It also dictates how he speaks. He does not slander with his words (v. 3). He also loves his neighbor (v. 3), discerning between the evil and the righteous (v. 4). He uses what God has given him to be generous toward others (v. 5). These are those who are never moved, that is, who are established in the Lord. Many of the principles in this Psalm are evident in Leviticus 19:9-18.
Psalm 19 begins with an assertion that creation itself reveals that God is (19:1). This is the natural revelation that Paul says condemns unbelievers in Romans 1:19-20. David expounds how the heavens make God evident. The movement of the heavenly bodies – the sun and the moon – speak clearly to the world about God (vv. 2-4). The unchangeable course of the sun and its effects speaks everywhere of God’s creative and sustaining power (vv. 5-6).
David analogizes this to the Law to move from natural revelation to special revelation*. Just as the sun does what it was created to do and provides light and heat, so the Law does this within man. It revives his soul (can also be translated “life”) and makes him wise (v. 7). It makes the heart glad (v. 8). The law is true and reveals righteousness (v. 9), which is why it is more precious than worldly riches and more delightful than worldly pleasures (v. 10). In verse 11, David sees the law as a benevolent warning for the sake of man, who finds reward in his obedience.
Having covered the sufficiency of natural revelation to know that God is, and the sufficiency of special revelation to know what God requires, David speaks of the insufficiency of man to understand apart from these. No man can discern his own errors – the natural man has blind spots to his own sin (v. 12). The Word of God not only reveals these sins, but it leads to faith that declares us innocent from sin. It directs us and keeps us from unintentional sins (v. 13). David ends with a prayer that his words and his heart would be pleasing to God, Who has saved him and established him in his faith (v. 14).
Psalm 69 is the cry of one in great distress. David may have written this while on the run from Saul or Absalom. Either way, this was a point where David felt he was suffering greatly through no fault of his own. This Psalm is used in the New Testament as it applies to Jesus. So this Psalm is also a prophecy by David about his promised Son.
The Psalm begins with a cry of desperation. Only God can save him, because he feels as if he’s drowning (69:1), or that he is in a slippery mire or caught in a flood (v. 2). He feels as if God is not even with him (v. 3). Everyone is against him without cause, and he is being forced to pay for wrongs he did not commit (v. 4). Jesus quotes part of this verse in John 15:25 to speak of those who seek His life, and to show how He fulfills this prophecy. In verse 5, David (not Christ) is saying that God knows his sins (v. 5). This is not an admission that he deserves what he is suffering. Rather, it is a claim to righteousness because God knows His sins and forgives his sins because of his faith.
In verse 6, David prays that God would keep him from sin that he might not bring shame on Israel. This points to the sinlessness of Christ. David understands that he is suffering because of his devotion to God (v. 7). This points to the suffering of Christ. In verse 8, David says he has become a stranger to his own family. Jesus had family that did not understand him. In verse 9, David’s all-consuming zeal for God’s presence has caused the enemies of God to become his enemies. The Gospel of John reveals that the Apostles saw Jesus’s first Temple cleansing as a fulfillment of the first half of this verse (John 2:17). Paul says that Christ fulfilled the second half through His selfless sacrifice (Rom 15:3).
David says that Godly humility (v. 10) and reverent worship (v. 11) make him an enemy of the world and an object of ridicule (v. 12). Like Christ. Yet he will trust in God. Like Christ. In His time, David known God will save him (v. 13). He prays for God to lift him from the mire, the water, and the flood (vv. 14-15). He prays for God to answer him because of His hesed love and mercy (v. 16). David prays for salvation from his enemies (v. 18) because they are God’s enemies (v 19). David is in despair because there is no help to be found in the world (v. 20), only further attacks (v. 21). Three of the evangelists describe the fulfillment of verse 21 by Jesus (Matt 27:48, Luke 23:36, John 19:29). David then prays (as he does) that his enemies would be caught by their own sin and punished for their sin (vv. 22-28). This is in contrast to Christ Who prayed for His enemies (Luke 23:34).
David prays in verse 29 for salvation, then turns this to a song of praise. His worship (v. 30) is an acceptable sacrifice to God (v. 31 – see Rom 12:1). God helps the humble who seek Him (v. 32) and answers the needy and oppressed (v. 33). David calls for all of creation to praise God (v. 34), because He will save His chosen people (vv. 35-36). This He did. Through Christ.
Psalm 145 is a Psalm of praise to the King. It contains repetition to emphasize the high praise. David will bless God’s name forever and bless Him every day (145:1-2). The Lord is great, and His greatness is unknowable (v. 3). God’s works, acts, works (again), and deeds will be proclaimed (vv. 4-6). God is merciful (v. 8) and His mercy is over all (v. 9). God’s people will praise His works, power, and deeds (vv. 10-12). Note the kingdom language in verses 11-13. God upholds, raises, provides, satisfies, fulfills, and preserves (vv. 14-20). For this David praises God. For this, all flesh should bless Him (v. 21).
*”Natural Revelation” refers to how the creation reveals God. The world reveals God. Our own hearts reveal God. This is what theologians call the sensus divinitatus – the inner sense of God’s existence common to all people that confirms what the creation around us reveals. It is not that some people don’t have this, it is that they suppress the truth they know (see Romans 1:18-23). “Special Revelation” refers to revelation given by God directly to man. This would include all of God’s direct words (appearances, visions, etc.) given to the prophets in the Old Testament, as well as the incarnate Word: Jesus Christ Himself. It includes the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the writing of the Scriptures. For us, it includes His inscripturated Word and the testimony of the Holy Spirit within us.