Today’s reading consists of five anonymous Psalms. We begin with Psalm 92, which is titled “A Song for the Sabbath.” The Psalmist begins by expounding the goodness of praising God through song day and night (92:1-4 – this is presumably speaking specifically of the Sabbath). The Psalmist then praises God for His works (v. 5). Notice that God’s works are tied in with His thoughts – what God thinks to do, is done.
The Psalm then turns its attention to the wicked. They are stupid and foolish (v. 6) because they see only with earthly eyes, not realizing they are doomed in the world to come (v. 7). And because God is sovereign and exalted King (v. 8), the wicked most certainly will be destroyed (v. 9). In contrast, God exalts and anoints His people (v. 10) who know what happens to the wicked (v. 11). They also know that if we see with spiritual eyes, we are blessed both in this world and the world to come beyond measure (vv. 12-14_. These are those that praise God (v. 15).
Psalm 93 praises God as King. He is the sovereign King Who created and sustains (93:1), as has been sovereign King from before time began (v. 2). The floods roaring are a metaphor for the voice of God (v. 3 – see Ezek 43:2, Rev 1:15). It also points to His sovereign power in judgment as floods represent judgment (v. 4 – see Gen 7:10, Ex 15:5, Dan 9:26). Even in judgment, God is just and holy (v. 5).
The next three Psalms we will consider are Psalms of Ascents. These are the Psalms that would be sung as Israelites ascended the mountain toward Jerusalem at the feasts. Psalm 123 is a prayer for those coming before Him, in preparation for coming into His presence at the Temple. We have an affirmation that the Psalmist sees with spiritual eyes, looking to God in heaven (123:1), and seeking mercy from Him (v. 2). Then the Psalmist prays for mercy from the One to Whom he looks for mercy (v. 3). He then expresses humility before his merciful God (vv. 3-4).
Psalm 130 is an acknowledgement of God’s sovereignty in salvation. The Psalmist cries from the depths (130:1), signifying his acknowledgement of his sinfulness. All he can do is pray to God for mercy (v. 2). He knows that he – indeed all people! – are sinners before God (v. 3 – see Rom 3:23). Yet God is forgiving (v. 4). Note that He is forgiving that He may be feared. His kindness is meant to lead us to repentance (see Rom 2:4).
Knowing that he is a sinner and that God alone can forgive, all he can do is wait on God, and seek Him in His Word (v. 5). So he does so diligently (v. 6). That he compares this seeking and waiting to the coming of morning shows that those who seek and wait on God are as sure to be saved as the sun is to rise. He then calls for all to hope in the Lord as he does (v. 7 – see v. 5). Only in God is hesed love to be found, and redemption to be found. God will save those who hope in Him (v. 8).
Psalm 137 appears to have been written during the Babylonian exile. The Psalmist repents and mourns over the captivity as he remembers living in God’s presence (137:1). The Babylonians wanted to hear them sing songs of praise to God as a form of mockery (vv. 2-3). But they cannot bring themselves to sing songs of joy while captives (v. 4). They still hold out hope of a return to Jerusalem and God’s presence, and would rather lose the ability to play and sing than lose that hope (vv. 5-6).
The Psalmist then prays against the enemies of God. He prays that God would repay Edom for her part in the captivity (v. 7 – see Oba 10-11). He then prays – seemingly rather harshly – for God to repay Babylon (vv. 8-9). He is pronouncing the blessing on God. He is the One Who will repay Babylon. The language of verse 9 may seem harsh, but what the Psalmist is doing is praying God’s promises back to Him (see Isa 13:16 where God pronounces judgment on Babylon). He has faith that God will do what He promised and restore His people.