Psalms, Book 4, Psalms 90-94

Psalm 90‑94  •  9 min. read  •  grade level: 6
The fourth book (Psa. 90-106) has its own distinct lineaments, which discover inspiration in their order, as a whole, as well as in the contents of each: only spiritual ignorance can fail to see both. Psa. 90 is the suited introduction and finds its place here rather than in any other among the 150. Historically it would precede all probably; for there is no substantial ground for doubting that Moses was the writer according to its title. Adonai is owned as Israel's dwelling-place in all generations, from everlasting to everlasting El, turning weak man (enosh) to dust, and saying, Return, sons of men (Adam). He is the God of creation and of providence. But faith, that owns man's transient littleness and the power of the divine displeasure, can also say, Return, Jehovah: how long? Their prayer rises that Jehovah's work may appear to His servants; and His majesty on their sons. Psa. 91 introduces Messiah owning Jehovah, the God of Israel, as His God, Whose is supreme power and faithfulness; and hence delivered at length and set on high. Then in Psa. 92 The true sabbath is anticipated when man's days are over; and 93 opens with the glorious word, “Jehovah reigneth,” notwithstanding all the roaring waves of creature opposition; while the godly acknowledge that, when judgment then returns to righteousness (how divorced in this age!), the throne of wickedness cannot be joined to Him, but the wicked shall be cut off in their own evil. Those that follow are so plain as to need no remark now; they, too, could be nowhere else with propriety. Who ordered all this consecution so strong, subtle, and instructive? A greater than man, whoever the instrument may have been.
Psalm 90
“A prayer of Moses the man of God. O Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations. Before mountains were brought forth, and thou gavest birth to earth and world, thou [art] God (El). Thou makest man to return to crumbling, and sayest, Return, sons of men. For a thousand years in thine eyes [are] as yesterday when it passeth, and a watch in the night. Thou sweepest them away: a sleep are they. In the morning as grass changeth, in the morning it flourisheth and changeth; at the evening it is mown and withereth. For we decay in thine anger, and in thy wrath are we troubled. Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret [sins] in the light of thy face. For all our days are turned away in thine anger: we spend our years as a thought. The days of our years! in them [are] seventy years, and if by strength eighty years, even their pride [is] trouble and mischief, for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knoweth the power of thine anger, and, as thy fear, thy wrath? To number our days thus make [us] know, and we will acquire a heart of wisdom. Return, Jehovah: how long? and repent as to thy servants. Satisfy us in the morning with thy mercy, and we will rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad like the days that thou hast afflicted us, like the years we have seen evil. Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy majesty unto their sons. And let the beauty of Jehovah our God be upon us, and the work of our hands established upon us; even the work of our hands establish it” (vers. 1-17).
Psalm 91
“He that dwelleth in covert of the Most High abideth in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of Jehovah, My refuge and my fortress, my God; I will confide in him. Surely He shall deliver thee from the fowler's snare, from mischief's plague. With his feathers shall he cover thee, and under his wings shalt thou trust: a shield and buckler [is] his truth. Thou shalt not be afraid for terror by night, for arrow flying by day, for plague walking in the darkness, for destruction walking at noon. There shall fall at thy side a thousand, and a myriad at thy right hand; to thee it shall not come nigh. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the requital of wicked [men]. Because thou hast made Jehovah, my refuge, the Most High, thy habitation, no evil shall befall thee, and no plague shall draw near thy tent. For his angels he will charge concerning thee, to keep thee in all thy ways; upon [their] hands they shall bear thee, lest thou strike against the stone thy foot. On lion and adder thou shalt tread; thou shalt trample young lion and dragon. Because he hath set his love on me, I too will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he knoweth my name. He shall call me, and I will answer him; with him for my part I [will be] in trouble; I will deliver him and glorify him. Length of days amply will I supply him, and show him my salvation” (vers. 1-16).
The N.T. clearly intimates that Messiah takes this place under the Most High and the Almighty, identifying both with the Jehovah God of Israel in the face or Satan's evil and power. It is a sort of dialog in which Messiah in ver. 2 answers the apothegm of ver. 1 and assures Israel of deliverance in 3-8. Then Israel rejoices in 9-13, and Jehovah puts His seal to it in 14-16.
Psalm 92
“A psalm, a song, for the sabbath day. [It is] good to give thanks unto Jehovah, and to sing psalms unto thy name, O Most High, to show in the morning thy mercy and thy faithfulness in the night, on decachord and on psaltery, on a meditation (higgaion) with a harp. For thou, Jehovah, hast gladdened me by thy work; in the doings of thy hands I will triumph. How great are thy works, O Jehovah! Very deep are thy thoughts. A brutish man knoweth not, and a fool doth not understand this. When wicked [men] spring up as grass and all the workers of iniquity flourish, [it is] for them to be destroyed forever. And thou, Jehovah, [art] on high forever. For, lo, thine enemies, Jehovah—for, lo, thine enemies—shall perish; scattered shall be all doers of iniquity. And my horn shalt thou exalt like a buffalo's; I shall be anointed with fresh oil. And mine eye shall look upon my watchers; mine ears shall hear of those rising against me—evil-doers. The righteous one shall spring up as the palm, as a cedar in Lebanon shall he grow. Planted in Jehovah's house, in the courts of our God, they shall spring up. Still shall they bear fruit in old age; fat and green shall they be; to show that Jehovah is upright, my rock, and no unrighteousness in him” (vers. 1-16).
How suitable this song will then be needs no comment here. Blessing on earth follows judgment.
Psalm 93
“Jehovah reigneth; [in the] majesty he is clothed, [in the] strength he girdeth himself: yea the world is stablished, it shall not be moved. Fixed [is] thy throne of old: from eternity [art] thou. The floods (rivers) lifted up, O Jehovah, the floods lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring. Above the voices of many mighty waters, breakers of the sea, mighty is Jehovah on High. Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thy house, O Jehovah, forever” (to length of days) (vers. 1-5).
This psalm again is so plain that only superstition or skepticism can mistake its import.
Psalm 94
“O Jehovah God, to whom vengeance belongeth, O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, show thyself. Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth; render desert to the proud. Jehovah, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph? They prate, they speak arrogantly; all the workers of iniquity boast themselves. They break in pieces thy people, O Jehovah, and afflict thine heritage. They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless. And they say, Jah shall not see, nor shall the God of Jacob consider. Consider, ye brutish among the people, and fools, when will ye be wise? He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? He that formed the eye, shall he not see? He that disciplineth the Gentiles, shall he not correct—he that teacheth man knowledge? Jehovah knoweth the thoughts of man, that they [are] vanity. Blessed [is] the man whom thou disciplinest, O Jah, and teachest out of thy law that thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked. For Jehovah will not cast off his people, nor will he forsake his inheritance. For judgment shall return unto righteousness, and all the upright in heart shall follow it. Who will rise up for me against evildoers? Who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? Unless Jehovah [had been] my help, my soul had soon dwelt in silence. When I said, My foot slippeth, thy mercy, O Jehovah, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. Shall the throne of wickedness have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by statute? They gather themselves against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood. But Jehovah hath been my high tower, and my God the rock of my refuge. And he hath brought upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own evil; Jehovah our God shall cut them off” (vers. 1-23).
It is the cry of a righteous remnant anticipating and longing for the establishment of Jehovah's righteous rule on the earth, as the preceding psalm proclaimed the great principles succinctly: Jehovah reigning, not Satan as now (John 14:3030Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. (John 14:30), 2 Cor. 4:44In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (2 Corinthians 4:4), Eph. 2:2; 6:122Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (Ephesians 2:2)
12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)
); His testimony very sure, before His power is displayed superior to all opposition; holiness becoming His house forever on earth as well as in heaven. This draws out the appeal for His vengeance on the evil then undisguised towering to heaven and blasphemers in pride; and its folly is exposed before their brethren that believe not. But their own hearts take the comforts of His discipline, as yet in vain for the Gentiles, but in faithful keeping for His own. The return of righteousness to judgment is assured if He reign, and the impossibility of fellowship between Himself and the throne of iniquity. Such will be the blessedness when He brings in the First-begotten into the habitable earth; and such in view of it the earnest prayer of the godly Israelite. W. K.