What makes all doctrines plain and clear?
About two hundred pounds a year,
And that which was proved true before
Proved false again? Two hundred more.
—Samuel Butler (1600-1680), in Hudibras. Part 3. Canto 1.

—Treasury of David—Psalm 26

Spurgeon quoted this verse, and nothing else, in his comment on Psalm 26.10, about sinners “who are always ready to do wrong or offer a bribe.” Remember that the pound is the UK’s currency.

Money changes what many people will preach as the truth. The Greek orators took up any argument for pay. That idolatry is found in religion today and in some places even in the church of God.

While we pray that the Lord of the harvest may send more workers into his fields, we pray also that they may be people of integrity and righteousness, people of conviction and loyalty to “the grace of God in all its truth” Col 1.6 (as rendered by the Brazilian NVI version).

On what basis can I ask for God’s help? Does some condition exist, before I can go to him to request help?

May your hand help me,
for I choose to obey your precepts.
Psalm 119.173 NET

“I choose.” The decision is individual. In the end, it doesn’t matter what others do. I hope they’ll also choose to obey God’s precepts. But their decision doesn’t determine mine. Mine has been made and won’t change. Continue reading

(Read Psalm 2.) Some believe that, from its structure, Psalms 1 and 2 compose a single unit. Blessed would then form an inclusio, at the beginning, 1.1, and end, 2.12.

The psalm deals with the rebellion of the nations against the Lord and his anointed, calling them to submission. The covenant with David is behind the psalm (see 2.6). The whole world is his domain, pointing to fulfillment in Jesus. There is no resisting his authority. True happiness is in submission to the Sovereign. The final appeal shows God’s goodness in giving opportunity to repent, signaling hope and victory of the king. Continue reading

Psalm 1. The psalm serves as an introduction to the book. It emphasis the joy, pleasure, success, and divine approval of the righteous, functioning as a recommendation to everyone of the way of the righteous. It presents two ways, that of the righteous and of the wicked, showing the end of each one and how each end is tied to the choice that one makes. The end is determined and carried out by God. We are either righteous or wicked, in God’s eyes. No other option exists. Choosing the good way means rejecting association with, and influence of, sinners, besides constantly concentrating on God’s law. The figure of the tree suggest both stability and security, as well as the permanent connection to the source of spiritual nutrition. In the end, the psalm calls to mind God’s action, which reveals the good way through the law, offers satisfaction to man through it, judges without encountering resistance, and guarantees the success of the righteous.

To be blessed/happy, we must choose the way of the righteous, remove ourselves from the influence of sinners, concentrate upon God’s word, connect to the source of blessing, and recognize that God invites us to the pleasure of his fellowship and grants to all the proper reward.

This is a partial translation of the new series on the first book of Psalms, begun today on the “Deus Conosco” devotional site.