First sentence: The setting for this psalm is out there on the desert during Israel’s wanderings.
I am reading the Bible in 2020 using the daily M'Cheyne (Robert Murray M'Cheyne) plan. I thought it would add a layer of substance to in addition to the four chapters a day, to also read commentaries for those chapters. For that I am using Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible. But the plan goes through the New Testament (and Psalms, I believe) twice. So now that I've finished Henry's commentary for the New Testament, I am tackling the New Testament commentary section of J. Vernon McGee's series.
This is not my first time reading J. Vernon McGee. I've read probably thirty or so of his commentaries. Most recently Revelation 14-22.
This is not my first time reading J. Vernon McGee. I've read probably thirty or so of his commentaries. Most recently Revelation 14-22.
I really am LOVING McGee. This has been the best idea--to correspond my Bible reading with commentary reading.
I love McGee's enthusiasm of the psalms. He doesn't spend an equal amount of time discussing/analyzing/commentating each psalm. But he always has a little something to say at least.
I would recommend his commentaries on Psalms as a good place to start to get to know McGee.
- If you live for eighty years, it is going to be uphill all the way. We talk about coming to the “sunset” of life, but that is when you start going uphill, not downhill.
- If you haven’t formed the habit of praising God, you should.
- If you are going to heaven, you had better tune up, because you are going to spend a lot of time praising Him in heaven and the best place to tune up is down here.
- I am going to make a confession to you: I can’t worship the Lord like I want to. Do you know why? This old flesh of mine can’t rise to that level. It is only by the Holy Spirit that you and I can worship the Lord in spirit and in truth.
- We ought to recognize the fact that many of God’s choicest servants have been ill and afflicted and have never been healed in this life.
- My friend, if God would deal with us according to our sins and according to our iniquities, none of us would be saved.
- The psalmist does not say, “As far as the north is from the south.” That is quite a distance; but when you start moving from the east to the west, there is no end. When you start going west, you keep going west. When you go north, you eventually reach a point where you start going south, but when you go west, you never stop going west. That is how far God has removed our transgressions from us!
- Dr. George Gill used to put it like this: “God remembers that we are dust. We forget it, and when dust gets stuck on itself, it is mud.” That is a picture of man.
- My friend, there is something wrong with you if you cannot look back through your life and find something to thank God for.
- A little girl has defined lovingkindness. She said, “If you ask your mother for a piece of bread and butter, and she gives it to you, that is kindness. But if she puts jam on it without you asking her, that is lovingkindness.”
- The Lord Jesus made it very clear that the condition of the lost is a terrible thing. In John 3:36, where He gave that wonderful invitation, He also gave the other side of it; He contrasted light and darkness: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” I don’t know how you can make that verse any stronger. The teaching that somehow or other folks who are lost are going to have a second chance, and that there is a larger hope, and that God may have another way, is completely foreign to the Word of God, which says that the wrath of God abides on the person who has not trusted Christ. Jesus Christ endured God’s wrath for us on the cross. He did it for us, and our only way of salvation is to trust Him. If we do not, God’s wrath will be upon us.
- God is good. God is righteous, and for that very reason He has to deal with sin. The day will come when He will make things right, and I want Him to make things right.
- We really do not know how good God is. If we did, we would sing the Hallelujah chorus more often.
- Oh, that God’s people would praise Him! My friend, tell somebody today that God is good, then back it up with your experience of His goodness.
- Man is in distress and calls upon God, and God hears in mercy. It is a love song. It is a Hallel psalm. It is a simple psalm that speaks of the past sufferings of Christ in the presence of death. The night He was arrested and the day before He died the Lord sang this psalm. I wish I could have heard Him sing it!
- It is a gracious word for those in distress and trouble. It will relieve your anxiety and dispel your doubts. The Lord Jesus sang this psalm the night before He was crucified. In verses 1–5, God hears. In verses 6–13, God helps. In verses 14–19, God is holy.
- Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful [Ps. 116:5]. God is merciful, but God is righteous. He cannot just arbitrarily forgive sin. He has to be right when He does it. God is the moral Ruler of this universe. He has to be right; He has to be holy; He has to be just, but He also wants to be merciful. The only way was to pay the penalty for the sin of man.
- Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee [Ps. 116:6–7]. After a difficult, frustrating, pressure-filled day, we need to seek out a quiet place where we can confess our sins, read the Word, and talk with God. That is the sanctuary of the soul. Oh, how all of us need this—“Return unto thy rest, O my soul.” This will enable us to walk out and face the world for God.
- Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints [Ps. 116:15]. Precious was the death of Christ to God. Precious will be the deaths of those who lay down their lives as martyrs during the Great Tribulation period, and many will do so. I am not sure but what we can apply this today. The death of God’s children is precious in His sight.
- Psalm 117 is a tremendous psalm. It is like an atom bomb in the midst of the psalms, and when this little bomb explodes, you won’t find a postmillennialist or an amillennialist anywhere, for it will blow them all away. The fulfillment of this psalm will come during the Millennium when Christ reigns on this earth—and not before.
- Praise to the Word of God We come now to the longest psalm and the longest chapter in the Bible. It has in it 176 verses, and every verse (with the possible exception of two verses) is praise to the Word of God.
- Oh, that you and I might put an emphasis upon the Word of God. As believers, we need to put the emphasis where God puts it. In our day there is too much emphasis upon programs and methods and ceremonies and church activities.
- Our emphasis should be on the Word of God, because that is the only thing He has promised to bless.
- He has never promised to bless me or my ministry or any other ministry, but He has promised to bless His Word.
- my friend, if you receive life from the dead—if you receive eternal life—it will come through the Word of God. “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Pet. 1:23). We are begotten by the Word of God that reveals Jesus Christ. God’s Word will bring life to you, it will bring liberty to you, it will bring joy to you, and it will bring blessing to you.
- Oh, that we would seek God with the whole heart—not halfheartedly.
- Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee [Ps. 119:11]. Many people believe that this verse only means that Scripture should be memorized. I think memorizing God’s Word is a wonderful thing, but some of the meanest little brats I have seen in Sunday school were the ones who could stand up and quote one hundred verses of Scripture.
- God’s mercy is channeled to us—the pipe that brings it to us is the Word of God. Therefore, the psalmist says: And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved [Ps. 119:47]. Does it give you joy to read the Word of God? Do you love the Bible? If you don’t love God’s Word, ask Him to give you a love for it. I did that for years. I prayed, “Lord, give me a love for your Word.” I was not brought up in a home where I heard the Word of God, and it took me a long time to become interested in it.
- Have you ever thanked God in the middle of the night for His Word? Well, wake up tonight and do it.
- Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments [Ps. 119:73]. God made us. He knows exactly what we need. One of our basic needs is His Word, and that is what the psalmist is talking about here.
- He meditated in God’s Word because he loved it, and then he loved it even more because he meditated in it.
- Each of us should use the Word of God personally, practically, and habitually as we make our way through this dark world.
- How much time do you spend reading the newspaper, or reading trash, in comparison to the time that you spend reading the Bible? God is telling us, through the psalmist, that He hates vain thoughts.
- If you spend time in the Word of God, the day will come when you will not be interested in a lot of the trash that is published.
- The only thing that can revive us is God’s Word. Dwight L. Moody said that the next great revival will be a revival of the Word of God.
- As long as the Word of God is in your heart, my friend, as long as there is a longing deep within you to come to God, the Shepherd is out looking for you. He will put you on His shoulder and bring you back into the fold. Psalm 119 is a glorious psalm. It glorifies the Word of God which is the foundation of all liberty. And it reveals the Savior—“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). Oh, what liberty the Word of God will give to your heart and life!
- Praise the LORD; for the LORD is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant [Ps. 135:1–3]. We do not say enough that God is good. My friend, have you told anyone today that God is good? Oh, He is good! This is a call to praise Him.
- Every verse in this psalm mentions the mercy of God. It exalts God’s mercy. In Ephesians 2:4 Paul says, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.” I want mercy from God, and He is rich in it. I receive many letters from folks who tell me they have committed some sin. They ask, “Do you think God will forgive me?” Friend, He is rich in mercy. Have you called on Him? If you really want forgiveness, He will give it to you. He deals with us according to His mercy.
- I don’t know about you, but I feel like saying “Hallelujah” again. How wonderful is our God. Learn to fall down before Him and worship Him. He is worthy. When you get down in the dust (and you have to get down to get up), He will lift you up with His mercy.
- There are those who say, in a naive sort of way, “I believe the Bible from cover to cover”—yet they are ignorant of what is between the covers! This is the reason those of us who are conservative are accused of being anti-intellectual. Multitudes of conservative folk claim to believe the Bible but are ignorant of it. This is the reason I put such an emphasis on teaching the Word of God. It is one thing to say you believe it; it is another thing to know what it says.
- The child of God today is a pilgrim and stranger in this world.
- Every Christian today should have a song in his heart. I don’t say a song on his lips—David made it very clear that we’re to make a joyful noise unto the Lord.
- But we are to sing in a strange land. God has given us a song, the song of redemption.
- When all the sorrow and all the grief of your sin and my sin was put upon Him, He was a Man of Sorrows. But He had none of His own, for He had no sin of His own. He was made sin for us, and He was made our sin offering, completely identified with your sin and mine.
- My friend, you and I need to examine our own hearts to see how we are worshiping God. Do we worship Him with our whole heart? One of the things which impressed me about Horatius Bonar was what he said when he went to God to repent of the coldness, the indifference, and the sin in his life. He said, “Then I went back to God and repented of my repentance.” His first confession was merely lip service, and he repented of that.
- The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands [Ps. 138:8]. This is the Old Testament way of saying, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).
- This is a theological psalm in that it reveals something of the attributes of God in relation to His creation. It reveals His omniscience, His omnipresence, and His omnipotence. These are what I call four-cylinder words, but they simply mean that God is all-knowing (omniscient), He is everywhere present (omnipresent), and He is all-powerful (omnipotent). God can do anything that is the object of His power. Sometimes the ridiculous question is asked, Can God make a rock so big that He cannot lift it? The answer to that is that God never does anything ridiculous.
- I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble [Ps. 142:2]. In other words, David laid out before God everything that was in his heart and life. That is the way you and I should pray. This idea that we should “pray around” something, or rationalize in our prayers, or pray “all around Robin Hood’s barn,” is wrong. We ought to get right down to the nitty-gritty and tell God everything in our lives. David said, “I shewed before him my trouble.” My friend, you can tell Him about your temptations; you can tell Him about everything.
- He sent His Son to the cross to pay the penalty for sin. You please Him when you accept what He has done for you.
- God is going to intrude into human history one day. I don’t want to take a fanatical position and say that He is going to do it tomorrow, or even in this century, but the fact is that He is going to do it. Cast forth lightning, and scatter them: shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them [Ps. 144:6]. When the Lord comes again, He is coming in judgment. The whole tenor of Scripture, including the New Testament, is that the Lord is coming in judgment one day.
- We have never been able to sing the Hallelujah chorus perfectly yet. But there is coming a day when Christ will return to this earth. The day that He comes forth will be a great day, and then the Hallelujah chorus will be sung correctly and completely.
- “Every day will I bless thee”—this is not for only one day in the week when we go to church but for every day. There are days when we don’t feel like blessing Him. We sometimes sing, “We praise Him for all that is past, and trust Him for all that is to come.” We can change that around and sing, “We trust Him for all that is past and praise Him for all that is to come.”
- He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds [Ps. 147:3]. God will do this for those who have passed through the horrors of the Great Tribulation. And, friend, He does it for you and me. He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names [Ps. 147:4]. What a contrast! He who cares for our broken hearts is the same God who not only knows the number of the stars—a number so vast that no human figures can express it—but has a name for each one!
- And the Scriptures say that God is a jealous God. I can’t find where He asks me to apologize for Him for this. He has created us for Himself. He has redeemed us for Himself.
- God apparently created man for the purposes of fellowship with Himself and that man might praise Him. There is no other reason for man’s existence. What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
- Worship is divine intoxication.
- The Book of Revelation does not tell us much about heaven, but one thing we are sure about—every time we read of someone in heaven they are either getting down on their faces to worship God, or getting up off their faces from worshiping God.
- My friend, some types of worship compare to going downtown, sitting in a department store window, and holding the hand of a mannequin in there. It has no more life in it; it has no more vitality in it than that! Oh, to have a heart that goes out to God in adoration and in love to Him!
- A young fellow wrote a love letter to his girl. He waxed eloquent and said: “I would climb the highest mountain for you. I would swim the widest river for you. I would crawl across burning sands of the desert for you.” Then he put a P.S. at the end: “If it doesn’t rain Wednesday night I will be over to see you.” A whole lot of so-called worship is like that today. It will not take very much to keep us away from God.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible