Bible Highlights Psalms 73 to 106
Who of us can be ungrateful when we think of all that Jehovah has done, is doing, and will yet do for us? Indeed, our hearts should move us to bless our God. That we have ample reason to bless Jehovah is well emphasized in Books Three and Four of the Psalms. As we now consider Psalms 73 to 106, ask yourself, ‘What reasons do I personally have to bless Jehovah?’
Do Not Envy the Wicked
Please read Psalms 73 to 77. These are ascribed to Asaph, evidently including his sons. Asaph confesses that he envied the wicked—until he came to his senses. (Psalm 73) Then Jerusalem’s destruction is lamented. (Psalm 74) Next are found expressions of gratitude to the “fear-inspiring” God, followed by a prayer to the “great God” to remember his afflicted people.—Psalms 75–77.
◆ 73:24—To what “glory” did Jehovah take the psalmist?
Until the psalmist came to appreciate that ‘the drawing near to God was good for him,’ he had felt that the wicked were better off than the righteous. (Psalm 73:2-12, 28) Allowing God’s “counsel” to lead him resulted in his receiving “glory,” that is, favor with Jehovah, a blessed relationship with Him.
◆ 76:6—How did “the charioteer” and “the horse” ‘fall asleep’?
The Israelites were taught to trust in Jehovah rather than in horses and chariots. (Psalm 20:7; Proverbs 21:31) They had no reason to fear the horses and scythed chariots of their enemies, for Jehovah could render their foes powerless, making them ‘fall asleep.’ The reference here is to “indefinitely lasting sleep”—death itself. (Jeremiah 51:39) This should be a warning to world leaders today who trust in their arms.—Psalm 76:12.
Lesson for Us: Psalm 75 contains a warning against pride when it says, “Do not exalt your horn.” (Verse 5 of Ps 75) The horn was a symbol of strength, power. (Deuteronomy 33:17) To exalt one’s horn was to behave with haughtiness. The psalmist here warns the wicked not to assume arrogant airs about their seemingly secure position of power, for ‘the horns of the wicked shall be cut down’ by Jehovah. (Psalm 75:10) Knowing this encourages God’s servants to remain faithful to him despite the seeming prosperity of the wicked.—Compare Psalm 144:11-15a.
Obey “the Most High”
Read Psalms 78 to 83. Asaph’s psalms continue. The lessons of Israel’s history are recounted. (Psalm 78) Then the desolation of the temple is lamented, followed by a prayer for Israel’s restoration. (Psalms 79, 80) After a song reflecting upon deliverance by God and exhorting his people to obey him, there are pleas for Jehovah to execute judgment upon corrupt judges and upon Israel’s enemies.—Psalms 81–83.
◆ 82:1—How does God judge “in the middle of the gods”?
Evidently, “the gods” were the judges of Israel. They were called gods because they were mighty in judicial power. Jehovah, as the Supreme Judge, had the divine right to enter into the midst of such judges to reprove them for failing to judge according to his law.—Isaiah 33:22; Psalm 82:2-4.
◆ 83:9-15—Was revenge the psalmist’s motive?
Not at all. He was praying for God to execute judgment upon those “intensely hating” Jehovah. (Verse 2 of Ps 83) Other nations would thus learn that the God whose name is Jehovah is indeed “the Most High over all the earth.” (Verse 18 of Ps 83) This manifestation of power would result in magnifying God’s name, Jehovah, earth wide.
Lesson for Us: That Jehovah richly rewards those who obey him is indicated by reference to the “fat of the wheat.” (Psalm 81:16) Here the word “fat” is used figuratively to connote the best. (Compare Psalm 63:5.) If the Israelites had ‘listened to Jehovah’s voice,’ he would have blessed them with “the fat of the wheat”—the best, the choicest of things. (Psalm 81:11; Deuteronomy 32:13, 14) Similarly, if we ‘listen to Jehovah’s voice,’ he will richly bless us.—Proverbs 10:22.
Read Psalms 84 to 89. The psalmists express a yearning for God’s house. (Psalm 84) Next, returned exiles ask for God’s anger to be withdrawn. (Psalm 85) David prays for guidance and protection, confident that Jehovah will answer him. (Psalm 86) A melody about those ‘born in Zion’ is followed by the plea of an afflicted one. (Psalm 87, 88) Then comes a psalm highlighting Jehovah’s loving-kindness as shown in the Davidic covenant.—Psalm 89.
◆ 84:3—Why mention birds?
The psalmist, a Levite descendant of Korah, longed to be at Jehovah’s “grand tabernacle.” (Verses 1, 2 of Ps 84) But there were tens of thousands of Levites. Only once every half year would a division of Levites be assigned to serve a week at the tabernacle. In contrast, even small birds had a more permanent home at the sanctuary by their building nests there. How happy the psalmist would be to praise Jehovah by likewise dwelling permanently in Jehovah’s house!
◆ 89:49—What were these “acts of loving-kindness”?
The expression “acts of loving-kindness” refers to the Kingdom covenant with all its features. In times of difficulty, it was fitting for the Israelites to call these promises to Jehovah’s attention, not because they doubted the covenant, but by way of appealing to God on the basis of it.
Lesson for Us: Psalm 85 emphasizes what should make us yearn for God’s new system of things. Only brief mention is made of the material blessings. (Verse 12 of Ps 85) The main emphasis is placed on spiritual blessings: loving-kindness, trueness, righteousness, and peace. (Verses 10-13 of Ps 85) Jehovah does not appeal to materialistic longings but shows that the spiritual blessings of the new system should be the strongest motivating force for us.
‘Jehovah Has Become King!’
Read Psalms 90 to 100. Moses contrasts God’s eternalness with man’s brief life span, and then he highlights Jehovah as our source of security. (Psalms 90, 91) Jehovah’s superior qualities are extolled, and succeeding psalms highlight God’s power, loving-kindness, and righteousness as well as the Kingdom theme.—Psalms 92–100.
◆ 90:10—Did not Moses live much longer than 80 years?
Moses, who lived 120 years, was not typical of people in general. Of the faithless generation that came out of Egypt, registered ones “from twenty years old upward” were to die within 40 years, well within what is stated by Moses. (Numbers 14:29-34) The comment that at the time of Moses’ death “his eye had not grown dim, and his vital strength had not fled” indicates that he had God’s sustaining power.—Deuteronomy 34:7.
◆ 95:3—How is Jehovah a “King over all other gods”?
As the Universal Sovereign, Jehovah is supreme and is King over all the false deities in that he is far above them. There simply is no comparison between Jehovah God and any angels or anything else that some might worship, including nonexistent false gods.
Lesson for Us: Psalm 91 highlights another reason we have for blessing Jehovah—“the secret place of the Most High.” (Verse 1 of Ps 91) It is a place of spiritual security, of protection from spiritual harm, for those who fulfill the requirements set out in this psalm. It is “secret” in that it is unknown to people of the world, who lack spiritual vision. The fact that it is the secret place “of the Most High” indicates that only if we uphold Jehovah’s side of the issue of universal sovereignty will we find security there.
“Praise Jah, You People!”
Read Psalms 101 to 106. David here describes his manner of administering affairs of state. (Psalm 101) An afflicted one prays to Jehovah to “build up Zion.” (Psalm 102) Calls to “bless Jehovah” follow in psalms calling attention to God’s mercy, grandeur, and creative works. Here, too, is the first of over 20 occurrences in the Psalms of the expression, “Praise Jah, you people!” (Psalms 103, 104) Finally, two historical psalms bless Jehovah for his deeds in behalf of his people.—Psalms 105, 106.
◆ 102:25—Who “laid the foundations of the earth”?
The psalmist was talking about God, but the apostle Paul applied these words to Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 1:10, 11) As it turns out, these words also apply to Jesus, for he acted as Jehovah’s Agent in creating the universe. (Colossians 1:15, 16) So Jesus, too, could be said to have “laid the foundations of the earth.”
◆ 103:14—What does “formation” signify?
The word here rendered “formation” is related to the verb “to form,” used at Genesis 2:7, and to the noun “potter,” used with reference to one who forms clay. (Isaiah 29:16; Jeremiah 18:2-6) So the psalmist reminds us that Jehovah, the Great Potter, handles us tenderly, knowing that we are as fragile as earthen vessels.—Compare 2 Corinthians 4:7.
◆ 104:4—How does Jehovah ‘make his angels spirits’?
Since angels are already spirit creatures, this could not refer to their spirit bodies. The word “spirit,” though, can also mean “wind” or “active force.” God can thus use his angels as powerful forces to carry out his will. They can also be used as executional agents—as “a devouring fire.” It is reassuring to Christians to know that their preaching work is backed by such powerful angelic creatures.—Compare Revelation 14:6, 7.
Lesson for Us: Psalm 106 helps us to appreciate that rebellious Korah, Dathan, and Abiram envied Moses’ position as administrator of God’s nation. (Psalm 106:16; Numbers 16:2-11) In the end, the rebellion was crushed when “a fire went burning” among the rebels. (Psalm 106:18) Certainly the dangers of pride and envy are here made manifest. Speaking out against appointed servants of Jehovah today can likewise bring his displeasure.—Hebrews 13:17; Jude 4, 8, 11.
Indeed, Jehovah has given us much for which to be grateful. When we consider all the blessings he has showered down on us, should we not do as the psalmist urged, “Bless Jehovah, O my soul”?—Psalm 103:1.