The psalmist begins by affirming God’s goodness to his faithful followers (v 1), but he didn’t always feel that way. After all, as he looked around his world, he observed evil people thriving, while he, one of God’s devoted people, struggled. At some point or other in our lives, we have all dealt with these feelings of envy and the sense that God is not fair.Read More
Articles posted by Tremper Longman
Looking to the Past
Read Reflect A sleepless night, and the psalmist blames God. After all, God had promised his people that he would be kind, loving, and merciful to them, but trouble has come into his life anyway. The psalmist, though disappointed in God, nonetheless still turns to God in his present difficulties and boldly calls him to […]Read More trouble, the cross, lament, Exodus
An Important Lesson from Past Disobedience
Psalm 78 rehearses sad events from Israel’s past and does so for a purpose. The psalmist “give[s] instruction and explain[s] the mystery of what happened long ago” (v 2). God gave his people his law so they would know how to obey him in a way that would please him and allow their lives to flourish (vv 5-8).Read More faithfulness, obedience
Worship God, Not Idols
Darkness is My Only Companion
Psalm 88 may be the darkest of all the lament psalms. While most laments end with a note of praise, Psalm 88 ends with the plaintive statement that “darkness is my only companion” (v 18). The psalmist tells us that he has been sick and near death since he was a child (v 15). He has been abandoned by his friends and relatives (v 18).Read More suffering, faith, persistent prayer
Like a Flourishing Tree
The psalmist expresses his thanks to God with great joy and celebration. He knows that God destroys the evil people who threaten him. They are like short-lived grass that springs up but then is soon plucked out (vv 5-9). He has witnessed the destruction of his enemies and now he worships God with thankfulness (v 11).Read More protection, rock, trees
You are King!
Doesn’t it sometimes feel like the world is falling apart? The morning news brings reports of murders, bombings, warfare, financial trouble and more. Our own lives experience illness – our own and that of others, fractures in relationships, difficulties at work. The list goes on and on.Read More trouble, king, water, Near Eastern imagery
God is Eternal and Unshakeable
The composer, who is described in the title of the psalm as “someone who hurts,” calls on God to make his healing presence known to him. His physical pain is overwhelming, and he seems close to death (vv 3-5); indeed his torment is bone deep (v 3). He feels that his life is temporary like smoke or short-lived grass (vv 4, 11).Read More God’s eternal nature, suffering, loneliness
The Kindness and Love of the Lord
These days God in the Old Testament is often contrasted with God in the New Testament. In the former, God is angry and capricious while in the New Testament he is loving and forgiving. Psalm 103 undermines this faulty stereotype.
The psalmist praises and thanks God for his kindness and love.Read More compassion, praise, forgiveness
The Wise Creator and Provider
This marvelous prayer honors God for creating the cosmos and everything, human and animal, that lives in it. He has done so wisely, creating an order that not only brings life into existence, but provides for our every need.
The opening of the psalm uses Near Eastern metaphors to describe God’s creative acts.Read More creation, Near Eastern imagery