- In verses 2-11, what is said about: (a) man and (b) God? In view of these facts, what should be man’s attitude (verses 11, 12)? What is meant by ‘a heart of wisdom’? Cf. Prov. 9:10; Jer. 9:23, 24; Jas. 4:12-16.
- Set down in your own words the petitions of verses 13-17. What convictions do they reveal concerning God’s character and action? Can the petitions be transposed into a Christian key?
Note. Verse 11. It is only those who truly reverence the Lord who consider the reality of God’s wrath against sin in all its intensity.
The theme of this Psalm is the security and blessedness of a life lived under God’s protection. The change of pronouns has been variously explained. In verses 2 and 9a (see mg.) a solo voice declares its trust (in the first person singular), after which the choir respond with renewed assurances. Finally, in verses 14-16, God himself speaks in words of gracious promise.
- Life and health were insecure in ancient times. The world was haunted by unseen, malevolent Powers. How does the Psalmist’s faith in God transform the situation? What comfort does the Psalm bring to: (a) the sufferer, and (b) one who anticipates suffering? Cf. the fuller statement in Rom. 8:16-18, 28, 31, 35-37.
- Verses 14-16. Note here seven gracious promises of God. Can you bear witness to their truth from your own experience and from the experience of other believers? Cf. 2 Pet. 1:2-4.
- The evils mentioned in verses 3, 5, 10 and 13 refer to all kinds of adversity, insidious and hidden, or open and visible, explicable or inexplicable. Verse 13 refers not to Tarzan-like exploits, but to deliverance from dangers, natural and supernatural, not by magic (as in Egypt), but by faith.
- Verse 14. ‘I will protect’: literally, ‘I will set him inaccessibly high’.
Psalm 92 & 93
- 92. The Psalmist’s eyes have been opened to discern the principles of God’s working, which are hidden from those who have no spiritual understanding. What are these principals? How are both the emotions and the mind stirred?
- Consider the picture of the life of the godly, as described in 92: 12-14. What is the secret of their vigour and beauty? Cf. Ps. 1:3; Jer. 17:7, 8; Is. 40:29-31.
- 93. Might alone did not distinguish Israel’s God from those of surrounding nations. What two unique features dose this psalm, mention? Cf. Ps. 90:2c; Deut. 33:27 and Exod. 15:11b; Ps. 47:8.
- 92:1. ‘To praise’ means much more then to say ‘thank you ‘. It involves public acknowledgment of God’s grace by word, and probably with thank-offerings.
- 92:10. Horns symbolized power. Cf. Zech. 1:18ff. Ps. 75:10. The figure is one of reinvigoration and reconsecration.
- 92:12. ‘Flourish’: the same word as ‘spring up’ in verse 7.
- How does the psalmist find hope and comfort when oppressed by evil men? List carefully both the grounds and the content of his confidence.
- What rebuke dose the psalmist give to those in Israel who may have thought that evil men were right when they said (see verse 7) that God was indifferent to his people’s need? What purpose dose he see in the nation’s present sufferings? See verses 8-15; cf. Prov. 3:11, 12; Is. 49:14-16.
- Verses 1, 2. The fact that ‘God who avenges’ is parallel to ‘Judge of the earth’ shows that the former is not such an unpleasantly vindictive expression as the English might suggest. Both phrases indicate that God is concerned with the upholding of the moral order.
- Verse 16. A court scene. Who is my counsel for the defence?’ asks the psalmist. Cf. Rom. 8:31, 33.
Psalm 95 & 96
This tows Psalms to have been associated with the New Year festival. The renewal of the covenant was a special feature, of this festival and God was celebrated as Creator, King and Judge. Ps. 95 summons God’s people to worship him, a summons enforced by a grave warning against disobedience. Ps. 96 bids the whole creation to join in and worship the Lord.
- What is said in these two Psalms to show that worship from all creation is the Lord’s due? List the reasons why he ought to be worshipped. How should such worship find expression?
- What special reasons are given in Ps. 95 why ‘we’ should worship God? Who constitute the ‘we’? Of what danger are we warned to beware, and when, and why? Cf. Heb. 3:7-15.
- 95:3; 96:4 (cf. 97:9). The monotheism of the Old Testament is on the whole practical (e.g., Exod. 20:3) rather then theoretical. But 96:5 expresses the logical conclusion of Old Testament as well as New Testament belief – that ‘all the gods of the peoples are idols) (literally ‘nothings‘). Cf. 1 Cor. 8:4-6.
- 95:6. ‘Our Maker’: i.e., the Maker of Israel as a nation- to be his people.