Psalm 18:20, 24, Reward me according to my righteousness. The Bible not only teaches that there is a righteousness that is imputed to the saints, that is, the righteousness of Yeshua, but that there is also a works-based righteousness that is a result of the good works of the saints himself that will form the basis for his eternal rewards. Yeshua alludes to this in Matt 5:19–20 as does John in Rev 19:8 (see also Matt 16:27; Rom 2:6; 2 Cor 5:10; Eph 6:6; 1 Pet 1:17; Rev 2:23; 19:12 22:12).
Psalm 18:25–27, With the merciful. To one degree or another, Elohim responds to humans in the same manner they respond to him both positively and negatively. Our relationship with him has a cause and effect component to it—we reap what we sow. This is a form of heaven’s reality discipline upon humans to ultimately, hopefully, bring them to Elohim.
Overview of Psalm 19
This psalm contains three sections that show a wonderful and logical progression from the greater (Elohim) to the lesser (man),that is, from the macro level downward to the micro level. At first appearance, these three sections may seem unrelated, but upon second glance, each section actually flows logically into to the next revealing some deep mysterious truths about YHVH Elohim’s plan of redemption for humans.
Section one (vv. 1–6) describes the creation of Elohim, which points to the glory of YHVH Elohim, the Creator. It concludes by describing the sun, which is the physical light of the world, and which is like a bridegroom in his full glory emerging from his private chambers about to marry his bride. Moreover, the physical universe is governed by physical laws, which keep it functioning in an orderly manner.
Section two (vv. 7–11) describes the glorious attributes of the Torah-law of Elohim, which reveals the character of the Creator, and it shows man what his response should be to the Almighty upon viewing the glories of his creation. Man is to worship the Creator, not the creation. When followed, the Torah helps to keep man’s life structured in a way that brings order, blessing and causes his life to function smoothly, even as the universe is structured and ordered by Elohim and functions smoothly because of his physical laws.
A Torah lifestyle is also how the saint of Elohim is a spiritual light to the world (Deut 4:6).
Moreover, as the sun’s light pierces the physical darkness of the world, the light of the Torah brings the spiritual light of Elohim into the world along with bringing many benefits to the obedient person including a blessed life.
Section three (vv. 12–14) explains what happens when the light of Elohim’s Torah shines into the darkness of a one’s life as it exposes the hidden dark areas of sin. It also shows man how to walk blamelessly before and in a right relationship with Elohim, his Creator.
This psalm then ends by stating that YHVH is man’s strength and redeemer. This is another way of saying that man is morally and spiritually weak and needs redemption from the consequences and the power of sin.
Thankfully, YHVH has the answer to this problem: he is man’s strength and Redeemer. Yeshua the Messiah is man’s Redeemer and as the sun is the physical light of the world, Messiah is the spiritual light of the world (John 1:6–9; 8:12). Elsewhere, Scripture even calls Yeshua the Sun of Righteousness (Mal 4:2), and, in his glorified state, his face shines like the sun in its full strength (Rev 1:16).
And ultimately, when a person follows the Torah through a relationship with Yeshua the Redeemer, one will eventually be raised to glory and shine like the stars in heaven (Dan 12:3; Matt 12:43), for they will be like Yeshua (1 John 3:2). HalleluYah!
Psalm 19:7–9, The Torah of YHVH. Listed here are the seven attributes of the Torah and the corresponding blessings for Torah-obedience. These are:
- The Torah is perfect resulting in converting the soul of man from spiritual darkness to spiritual light.
- The Torah is sure (i.e., to build up or support; to foster as a parent or nurse; to render or be firm or faithful, to trust or believe, to be permanent or quiet; morally to be true or certain) imparting wisdom to simple people.
- YHVH’s Torah is right (or straight) bringing joy to a person.
- Elohim’s Torah is pure (or beloved, choice, clean and clear) light bringing one spiritual enlightenment.
- The Torah that engenders the fear of YHVH (which is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge [Ps 111:10; Prov 1:6; 9:10]) is pure and last forever (it has neverbeen done away with!).
- The Torah is true (i.e., stability, certainty, truth and trustworthiness).
- The Torah is righteous (i.e., right or just).
These are the seven attributes of YHVH Elohim’s Torah-law. Why is it important to know these? Because they give us an insight into the fundamental character of Elohim. That is to say, the Torah is an extension of the very character, heart, mind, will and personality of our Creator. This is why it is patently absurd and borderline, if not totally, blasphemous to declare that the Torah-law that YHVH revealed to his people through the patriarchs and eventually in a codified form to Israel through Moses has been done away with! The perfect and immutable character of Elohim cannot be changed, annulled, improved on or abridged in any way. Make no mistake, for anyone to think that this is possible is simply a manifestation of one’s sinful arrogance, impudence, rebellion, defiance and puerile impudence against the Almighty. Elohim will never tolerate any effort of man to impugn his character. Those who do so will be judged accordingly—especially those who teach YHVH’s people these false traditions of man by which the Word of Elohim has been made of none effect.
Psalm 19:13, Great [much] transgression. Is this to be contrasted with “small or little transgression”?
A Prophetic Messianic Trilogy. Psalms 22, 23 and 24 form a prophetic trilogy pointing to the circumstances surrounding the death (Psalms 22 and 23), resurrection (Psalm 23) and enthronement of Yeshua as King over Israel (Psalm 24). Psalm 24 shows how a person can ascend the “mountain” of Elohim and come into the presence of our Father in heaven. This psalm also presents the Messiah as YHVH and as the doorway to righteousness and salvation for those who seek him. He is the only way to the Father in heaven, if one will only open the door of one’s heart and let him come into one’s life.
Psalm 22:1–7, You forsaken me…enthroned in the praises. When it seems that Elohim has forsaken us and the heavens seem like brass, this is the time to praise Elohim, and his presence will come. It is also the time to recall and even remind him of all the good things that he has done for us in times past (vv. 4–5). This is despite the fact that the brutish and abusive behavior of others against us often makes us feel as low as a worm (vv. 6–7). Praising and trusting in Elohim at such times is counter intuitive to the natural human mind. It is in such times that one is inclined to cease believing in their Creator and, to one degree or another, forsake him and or abandon their faith altogether. Yet at these times, this is when the faithful saint seeks the Almighty all the more, even as Yeshua did while in praying in the Garden of Gethsemane and while hanging on the cross—the very thing to which this psalm prophetically pointed. For it is verse one of this psalm that Yeshua quoted while hanging on the cross dying. He was telling us that we was the fulfillment of the prophecies contained in this psalm. In fact, this psalm has several prophetic referential touch points to Yeshua’s last moments just prior to his ignominious death. They are:
- Verse 1— “My Elohim, my Elohim, why have you forsaken me?”
- Verse 6— “A reproach of men, and despised by the people.”
- Verses 7–8— “All those who see Me ridicule Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, ‘He trusted in YHVH, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!’”
- Verses 9–10— “But You are He who took Me out of the womb; You made Me trust while on My mother’s breasts. I was cast upon You from birth. From My mother’s womb You have been My El.”
- verse 14— “I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It has melted within Me.”
- Verse 15— “My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death.”
- Verses 16–17— “For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me.”
- Verse 18— “They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.”
Because of these prophetic references to the events surrounding Yeshua’s death, Psalm 22 ranks as one of the greatest messianic prophecies in the entire Tanakh. There are simply too many unique and direct references to the specific circumstances of Yeshua’s crucifixion as recorded in the Gospels to be merely coincidental. For example, how could the psalmist have known about the Roman mode of execution known as crucifixion some 1,000 years before this event occurred? Actually, the earliest crucifixions as recorded in history were performed by the Persians and Greeks as early as 500 BC, which is still some 500 years before David penned this psalm.
Psalm 22:12, Bulls of Bashan. Bashan is in the area of Mount Hermon in northern Israel. The southern base of Mount Hermon, in ancient times, was regarded by the pagans as Satan’s seat and the gates of hell. There the pagans erected a temple to the demon-god Pan. Later it became known as Caesarea Philippi, and there Yeshua confronted Satan by declaring that the gates of hell would never prevail against his church (Matt 16:18).
Psalm 22:26, See notes on Psalm 49:15.
Psalm 23:2, Still waters. Sheep can only drink from calm waters; they may drown if they drink from rushing waters (their nostrils are too close to their mouth).
Psalm 23:3, Paths. Heb. ma’gal meaning “circumvallation or a winding movement; especially one thing around another.” The paths of righteousness are circular or cyclical in nature. This seems to be direct allusion to the cycles of YHVH’s calendar and appointed times (weeks, months, years, jubilees, sabbaths or feasts) which not only help to keep men on YHVH’s paths of righteousness, but aids man in his spiritual growth or climb upward as he becomes more and more like YHVH. Ma’gal is used in this way also in Pss 17:5; 65:11; Prov 2:6; 4:11; 26; Isa 26:7.
Psalm 23:4, Your rod. See notes at Sam 17:34–35.
Psalm 24:1, The earth is YHVH’s. While the earth and the entire creation belongs to YHVH, Satan is the ruler of the kingdoms of this world (Matt 4:8)
Psalm 25:10, Mercy and truth. On one side of YHVH’s path of righteousness is mercy and on the other is truth. These two balance each other out. An over-emphasis on truth tends to lead or favor judgmentalism, while an over-emphasis on mercy tends to accommodate licentiousness. There must be a balance between the two. Thankfully, YHVH Elohim wisely walks out the perfect balance between the two ends of the spectrum in his dealings with humans as should any wise and loving parent.
Psalm 25:14, The secret [Heb. sod] of YHVH. Sod means “intimate, confidential, council, advice or speech. YHVH can trust his secrets with those who fear him, since they won’t misuse or abuse this knowledge for carnal purposes, but will use such knowledge for his glory and the expansion of his kingdom.
Psalm 26:4–5, I have not sat. We must be careful about building friendship relationships with idolators (those who don’t put Elohim first in their lives) or hypocrites (those who claim to put Elohim first, but their actions speak otherwise), for in reality, they’re both idolators. Why must we carefully choose who our friends are? Because “evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Cor 15:33). The world doesn’t understand why the righteous want nothing to do with the wicked. As Scripture says, “In regard to these, they [the heathen] think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you”(1 Pet 4:4).
In the Bible and in reality, there are only two groups of people on earth: those who are part of the Israel of Elohim (Gal 6:16) or the commonwealth or nation of redeemed Israel (Eph 2:11–19), and those who are Gentiles or heathens. This fact translates into two realities on the ground for the saint: those around us who are in a relationship with Yeshua the Messiah are our brethren and members of our spiritual, forever family, and those who are not. With regard to the latter group, these folks should be part of the saints’ mission field, and it is our responsibility to share the gospel with them in hopes of bringing them into a relationship with Yeshua. In reality, they are not our spiritual family and therefore cannot be part of our inner circle of friends, otherwise, they will drag us down spiritually as 1 Corinthians 15:33 warns us against. James and John also address this issue directly and succinctly:
Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with Elohim? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of Elohim. (Jas 4:4)
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15)
Psalm 27:1–14, The Jews traditionally read this psalm during the month of Elul (the sixth month) just before the fall biblical feasts of the seventh month, since they are alluded to therein. These allusions include
- Verse 5: pavillion is suk, the root word for sukkah (relating to Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles).
- Verse 5: ohel means “tabernacle” (also relating to Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles).
- Verse 6: sacrifice [of joy]. Sacrifices of joy are the thanksgiving, love and peace offerings made to YHVH during the biblical pilgrimage feasts to the tabernacle of Elohim (ohel, v. 5; this refers to all the fall feast of Atonement, Trumpets, Tabernacles and the Eighth Day).
- Verse 6: joy is teruah (this directly refers to Yom Teruah or the Day of Trumpets and indirectly to the other fall feasts).
Psalm 27:1, My light…salvation…fear…strength of my life. What more does a person need? The saint has the light of Yeshua and the Word of Elohim (these are synonymous) to guide him in the gross or thick spiritual darkness of this world. He also has the divine promise of salvation or deliverance from any and every enemy that would come against him to kill, steal and destroy including death, which is the ultimate enemy. Finally he has the divine strength or power of the Creator at work in his life through the indwelling presence of the Spirit of Elohim. Beyond this, there is nothing to fear in this life. In fact, many times I have quoted this verse and applied it to a particular part of my body that needed healing, and I have received divine healing. For example, as I was writing this, I humbly, yet boldly declared this promise over a pain in my back, and I was instantly healed. Now I now don’t have to go to the chiropractor. HalleluYah!
Psalm 27:2, Enemies…foes. Too often when reading scriptures that contains these words, we assign a person or name to them. But consider this: Our foe or enemy may be a situation or condition (e.g., a health condition, emotional distress, financial problems, difficult life circumstances [e.g., flood, fire, drought, weather conditions]), or a demonic spirit entity that is behind a person or situation that is our enemy. Moreover, our enemy may be our own sinful condition or wrong attitudes, and we are now reaping the deleterious consequences thereof. So before automatically blaming someone else for our problems and the consequences thereof in our lives, let’s rethink who are what our enemies may really be.
Psalm 27:4, Dwell in the house of YHVH. How does one dwell in the house of YHVH all the days of one’s life? Is this merely hyperbolic, fanciful thinking and rhetoric on the part of the psalmist, or is it actually possible to do? Obviously as physical humans, we are confined to life on this earth while living in the earth suit of our physical bodies. At the same time, Scripture declares that we are seated with Yeshua in heavenly places (Eph 2:6), and that our affections must be on heavenly things (Col 3:2); therefore, we exist in two realities or dimensions at the same time: an earthly physical dimension and a heavenly or spiritual dimension. How? Simply this: We are a tripartite being of spirit, soul and body (1 Thess 5:23). Although the body part of us is confined to this earth, our soul (mind, will and emotions) and spirit can operate from and in the spiritual dimension of heaven through our relationship with Elohim through Yeshua and through the power of his word and Spirit. We can allow the Spirit to operate through us and direct and guide everything that we do, say and think. In so doing, we are dwelling in the house or family (Heb. bayith) of YHVH, while, in a sense, temporarily living abroad (in the foreign country of this physical existence) on this earth and away from the real home of our Father’s heavenly house, which in due time, at the end of this age, is coming to this earth. Amein and halleluYah!
To behold. Literally to see as a prophetic seer in an ecstatic state, to perceive by experience or with intelligence. (Also see Ps 63:12.) There is more than one way to come into contact with the beauty, favor, delightfulness or pleasantries of YHVH.
To inquire in his temple. The psalmist talks about going into the tabernacle to encounter YHVH. Since there is no longer a physical tabernacle in which the saints can go to seek YHVH, where do they now go?
The saint is the tabernacle or temple of the Spirit of Elohim (1 Cor 3:16; 2 Cor 6:16), and the Spirit dwells in one’s personal spirit. This means that one must go inside himself to seek and behold beauty of YHVH. Perhaps this is “the secret [or the covered, private, hidden or protected] place” to which the writer makes reference in v. 5.
Psalm 27:5, In the time of trouble. The house of YHVH (as discussed in my commentary on the previous verse) is the place where YHVH will hide his saints in the time of trouble. If one fails to make the house of YHVH a place of refuge during trouble-free times, how can one expect to know anything about this secret place of YHVH much less go there or rely on it during troublesome times?
Set me high upon a rock. In the secret place of YHVH (which in other places I refer to as my “God-bubble” or “the spiritual force field” that surrounds me, or which the psalmist elsewhere refers to as taking refuge under the wings of the Almighty), we will find a mighty and solid rock on which to stand during times of trouble. That Rock is Yeshua our Savior, the Written and Living Word of Elohim.
Psalm 27:6, The sacrifices of joy…praises. See notes at Ps 116:17.
Psalm 27:4, 8, Inquire…seek. Literally this means “to look for, consider or reflect.” Such an effort takes time and energy, and to accomplish, one must quiet down the rambunctiousness of the soul (one’s mind, will and emotions), so that one’s inner man or personal spirit can rise up and speak as it is informed and directed by the Spirit of Elohim.