A Reading on the Psalms: Book 3

Psalm 73‑89  •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 8
In this book the general interests of Israel are in view in connection with the house of David.
The house of David is distinct from Israel. Israel had failed in responsibility, and Israel was gone, as Israel, before David’s time. In the opening, of the 1St book of Samuel you will see that the priesthood, which was the relationship between the people and God, had utterly failed, the Ark of the Covenant falls into the hands of the Philistines, and “Ichabod” is the sentence pronounced upon the people. Then we have prophecy, which is a sovereign way of God’s interposition to recall to relationship with Himself:
The history of David is grace working in power in a sovereign way, to bring in blessing and to renew God’s connection with Israel, resting now on the faithfulness of the house of David.
In this book we shall get out to Israel, and find less personal connection with Christ, and more the general ways of God going out to all people.
Psa. 73 We find this difference at once in the opening of this psalm, “Truly God is good to Israel.” It is still the godly remnant, but less connected with Christ. The saint is perplexed at the prosperity of the wicked. The body of the people is in unbelief. We know from Isa. 18 the people will be brought back to their land in unbelief! In the 4th verse the Lord keeps aloof, not acknowledging them; then the beasts of the earth and the fowls of heaven possess them. It is the inroad of the nations, but in v. 7 the Lord owns them, and the remnant inherits Mount Zion. When Israel is owned you find in the prophets that the Assyrian is the enemy, and when Israel is disowned we have the Beast, as Nebuchadnezzar.
Psa. 74 complains of the hostile desolation of the sanctuary, when rebuilt in the land. All public Jewish worship is laid low. You will find that the inquiry, “How long?” is a technical term in Prophets and Psalms, and in those who say it, it is a proof of faith. They know Jehovah will not give up His people. In the trouble faith cries, “How long?” because it knows there must be an end. You find it in Isa. 6, “Then said I, Lord, how long?” In Luke 18:88I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8) the Lord says, “When the Son of man comes, shall he find faith in the earth?” Such will be the condition into which the testimony will have fallen, that there will be scarcely any amongst the remnant with courage to say, “How long?” v. 9, “Neither is there among us any who knoweth how long.” But these Psalms are written to prevent faith failing.
We have the Assyrian coming up to Jerusalem in this Psalm. He comes up twice, the first time takes Jerusalem, the second time be finds the Lord there. You will find both in Isaiah. In chap. 28 the Assyrian takes the city, and in chap. 24 he finds the Lord there.
Psa. 75 Here the Messiah is introduced as speaking, though the Psalm commences with the remnant. The judgments of God introduce Messiah to the kingdom. He is introduced as delivering the remnant out of the difficulty. He receives the congregation, then upright judgment will be executed.
Psa. 76 Here, by the intervention of Jehovah, we get the deliverance from the assembled kings, which we read of in Isa. 29
Psa. 77 Gives us the working of faith in this time of trouble, see vv. 9, 10.
Psa. 78 The remnant trace back all the history of Israel, and how sovereign grace was brought in by David and Mount Zion, which gives the principle of God’s grace delivering by power, when both Israel and Judah had totally failed in responsibility.
Psa. 79 This is the cry of the remnant in Israel, when under the power of the hostile nations in the last days.
Psa. 80 This Psalm is a striking example of how their minds go back to Israel of old in the wilderness. See v. 2, the three tribes, Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh, were nearest the Ark, and when the camp moved these Tribes were immediately next the Ark, behind the Tabernacle, and the Sanctuary went immediately before them on the’ march of the camp.
Have we any scripture to say when the Ten Tribes will return?
No; Ezek. 37 defines the circumstances of Israel’s return, but not the time. We have in Ezekiel, Judah and Israel his companions as one stick, distinguished from the whole house of Israel in the other stick. We have at the Lord’s first coming, Simeon and Anna of the tribe of Asher, in Luke it, among the godly remnant, waiting for redemption in Israel.
I cannot tell. It is all for them, but probably, as is the case with us, it will differ in every one according to the measure of spiritual intelligence in each.
The only things as a matter of revelation which are not in the Old Testament are the Church, and the heavenly Priesthood of Christ.
The cry of the Psalm is occasioned by the great distress of Israel (see vv. 12, 13.) You must remember that Babylon and Assyria, in the last days, are one against another. Anti-Christ is the Imperial Roman Beast’s lieutenant in Judea. Assyria resists the Beast, and all nations come up. Gog is the Assyrian of the last days, the territory now occupied by Russia. We have in Ezekiel the “Prince of Rosh,” (translated “chief prince”) “Meshech and Tubal.”
Psa. 81 celebrates the coming in of God. The new moon is the symbol of Israel re-appearing on the scene—the new not the full moon. It is their restoration before the day of Atonement, not their full blessing.
In Lev. 23, which records the seven feasts, there is a long interval after the Passover and the feast of Pentecost, when there is no feast at all. In the seventh month, which gives us complete fulfilled time, we find the feast of Trumpets followed by the day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles, which last brings in the Millennium.
In this Psalm then we have Israel coming again on the scene. They had failed when redeemed out of Egypt of old, still they would appear again to reflect the light of Jehovah’s countenance.
Psa. 82 is the Messiah judging among the authorities of all the world. He judges among the gods of Israel, and then the world; and He inherits all nations.
Psa. 83 The last conspiracy is judged in Idumea; the Assyrian joins, and then men know that Jehovah is Most High over all the earth. Melchisedec, gave Him this title, when he was His priest upon earth. It is not a title of proper relationship. He was the “Almighty” with the fathers, “Jehovah” with Israel, He is the “Father” with us. He will be the “Most High over all the earth” in the Millennium. Up to this Psalm, save when looking back or looking forward, the cry of the people is addressed to God, as not being in possession of covenant blessings.
Psa. 84 As the result of v. 18 in the previous Psalm, we see them in this going to Jerusalem to worship. “Assur,” mentioned in v. 8 of last Psalm, is destroyed, and so they can come into Jerusalem again.
Psa. 85 In all the Psalms now we are in this time of war and deliverance. Still the deliverance they celebrate is prophetic, for after all they are ushered into in spirit they say, “Show us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation.” They are back in the land, and yet are looking for full deliverance, prophetically.
Psa. 86 Here the Psalmist triumphs in Jehovah, and is looking for Jehovah in the midst of his troubles.
Psa. 87 He boasts in Zion in contrast with all the other places of man’s pride. God’s people are born there. Doubtless v. 6 refers to Christ Himself.
Is this the Millennium?
No. It is prophesied of, but you never get it come in the Psalms, nor yet in Daniel. Prophecy is not needed when we are in the blessing.
Psa. 88 Here the remnant is in the depth of conviction of sin under the law.
Psa. 89 Takes up God’s mercies, and we find Christ comes in, and that they all center in Him. v. 19. Then thou spakest in vision to thy Holy One, same word as that translated mercy in v. 1. In v. 18 the “Holy One” is really Jehovah, and another word altogether. It is here the cutting off of David’s house on the ground of failure under responsibility, and then taking it up again in Christ. When Messiah came He ought to have been received, and so He would have established David’s house, but He was rejected, and the house of David was judged. But here it is set up in Christ, the center of God’s mercy, so we have in the Acts, Christ in resurrection as “The sure mercies of David!”