Total Praise

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365 Devotionals: Songs of Praise

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. James 1:22 AMP

The Seeds of Promise Devotional Series

Total Praise

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. 2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2

Song of The Day

Watch and listen to “Total Praise” by Richard Smallwood.

Bible Basis

July Book Read From Read To Devotional
16th Psalm Book 120 Book 131 Total Praise

Memory Verses

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. 2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2

I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. Psalm 122:1

Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 124:8

They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever. Psalm 125:1

The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. Psalm 126:3

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. Psalm 126:5

Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. Psalm 127:1

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Psalm 127:3-4

Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways. Psalm 128:1

Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth: yet they have not prevailed against me. Psalm 129:2

I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. Psalm 130:5

Key people

Here is a list of key people found in today’s reading (in order of appearance) with bios from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

David. A young shepherd who gains fame first as a musician and later by killing the enemy champion Goliath.

Today’s Devotional Reading: Psalm 120 – 131

Psalm 120 Amplified Version (AMP)
Psalm 121 Amplified Version (AMP)
Psalm 122 Amplified Version (AMP)
Psalm 123 Amplified Version (AMP)
Psalm 124 Amplified Version (AMP)
Psalm 125 Amplified Version (AMP)
Psalm 126 Amplified Version (AMP)
Psalm 127 Amplified Version (AMP)
Psalm 128 Amplified Version (AMP)
Psalm 129 Amplified Version (AMP)
Psalm 130 Amplified Version (AMP)
Psalm 131 Amplified Version (AMP)

From Matthew Henry’s Commentary

This psalm is the first of those fifteen which are here put together under the title of “songs of degrees.” It is well that it is not material what the meaning of that title should be, for nothing is offered towards the explication of it, no, not by the Jewish writers themselves, but what is conjectural. These psalms do not seem to be composed all by the same hand, much less all at the same time. Four of them are expressly ascribed to David, and one is said to be designed for Solomon, and perhaps penned by him; yet Ps. 126:1-6; 129:1-8 seem to be of a much later date. Some of them are calculated for the closet (as Ps. 120:1-7; 130:1-8), some for the family (as Ps. 127:1-5; 128:1-6), some for the public assembly (as Ps. 122:1-9; 134:1-3), and some occasional, as Ps. 124:1-8; 132:1-18 So that it should seem, they had not this title from the author, but from the publisher. Some conjecture that they are so called from their singular excellency (as the song of songs, so the song of degrees, is a most excellent song, in the highest degree), others from the tune they were set to, or the musical instruments they were sung to, or the raising of the voice in singing them. Some think they were sung on the fifteen steps or stairs, by which they went up from the outward court of the temple to the inner, others at so many stages of the people’s journey, when they returned out of captivity. I shall only observe, 1. That they are all short psalms, all but one very short (three of them have but three verses apiece), and that they are placed next to Ps. 119:1-176, which is by much the longest of all. Now as that was one psalm divided into many parts, so these were many psalms, which, being short, were sometimes sung all together, and made, as it were, one psalm, observing only a pause between each; as many steps make one pair of stairs. 2. That, in the composition of them, we frequently meet with the figure they call climax, or an ascent, the preceding word repeated, and then rising to something further, as 120, “With him that hated peace. I peace.” 121, “Whence cometh my help; my help cometh.” “He that keepeth thee shall not slumber; he that keepeth Israel.” 122, “Within thy gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem is builded.” 123, “Until that he have mercy upon us. Have mercy upon us.” And the like in most of them, if not all. Perhaps for one of these reasons they are called songs of degrees.

This psalm is supposed to have been penned by David upon occasion of Doeg’s accusing him and the priests to Saul, because it is like 52, which was penned upon that occasion, and because the psalmist complains of his being driven out of the congregation of the Lord and his being forced among barbarous people. I. He prays to God to deliver him from the mischief designed him by false and malicious tongues, Ps. 120:1, 2. II. He threatens the judgments of God against such, Ps. 120:3, 4. III. He complains of his wicked neighbours that were quarrelsome and vexatious, Ps. 120:5-7. In singing this psalm we may comfort ourselves in reference to the scourge of the tongue, when at any time we fall unjustly under the lash of it, that better than we have smarted from it (Chapter 120).

Some call this the soldier’s psalm, and think it was penned in the camp, when David was hazarding his life in the high places of the field, and thus trusted God to cover his head in the day of battle. Others call it the traveller’s psalm (for there is nothing in it of military dangers) and think David penned it when he was going abroad, and designed it pro vehiculo—for the carriage, for a good man’s convoy and companion in a journey or voyage. But we need not thus appropriate it; wherever we are, at home or abroad, we are exposed to danger more than we are aware of; and this psalm directs and encourages us to repose ourselves and our confidence in God, and by faith to put ourselves under his protection and commit ourselves to his care, which we must do, with an entire resignation and satisfaction, in singing this psalm. I. David here assures himself of help from God, Ps. 121:12. II. He assures others of it, Ps. 121:3-8 (Chapter 121).

This psalm seems to have been penned by David for the use of the people of Israel, when they came up to Jerusalem to worship at the three solemn feasts. It was in David’s time that Jerusalem was first chosen to be the city where God would record his name. It being a new thing, this, among other means, was used to bring the people to be in love with Jerusalem, as the holy city, though it was but the other day in the hands of the Jebusites. Observe, I. The joy with which they were to go up to Jerusalem, Ps. 122:1, 2. II. The great esteem they were to have of Jerusalem, Ps. 122:3-5. III. The great concern they were to have for Jerusalem, and the prayers they were to put up for its welfare, Ps. 122:6-9. In singing this psalm we must have an eye to the gospel church, which is called the “Jerusalem that is from above” (Chapter 122).

This psalm was penned at a time then the church of God was brought low and trampled upon; some think it was when the Jews were captives in Babylon, though that was not the only time that they were insulted over by the proud. The psalmist begins as if he spoke for himself only (Ps. 123:1), but presently speaks in the name of the church. Here is, I. Their expectation of mercy from God, Ps. 123:12. II. Their plea for mercy with God,, Ps. 123:34. In singing it we must have our eye up to God’s favour with a holy concern, and then an eye down to men’s reproach with a holy contempt (Chapter 123).

David penned this psalm (we suppose) upon occasion of some great deliverance which God wrought for him and his people from some very threatening danger, which was likely to have involved them all in ruin, whether by foreign invasion, or intestine insurrection, is not certain; whatever it was he seems to have been himself much affected, and very desirous to affect others, with the goodness of God, in making a way for them to escape. To him he is careful to give all the glory, and takes none to himself as conquerors usually do. I. He here magnifies the greatness of the danger they were in, and of the ruin they were at the brink of, Ps. 124:1-5. II. He gives God the glory of their escape, Ps. 124:6, 7; 124:1, 2. III. He takes encouragement thence to trust in God, Ps. 124:8. In singing this psalm, besides the application of it to any particular deliverance wrought for us and our people, in our days and the days of our fathers, we may have in our thoughts the great work of our redemption by Jesus Christ, by which we were rescued from the powers of darkness (Chapter 124).

This short psalm may be summed up in those words of the prophet (Isa. 3:1011), “Say you to the righteous, It shall be well with him. Woe to the wicked, it shall be will with him.” Thus are life and death, the blessing and the curse, set before us often in the psalms, as well as in the law and the prophets. I. It is certainly well with the people of God; for, 1. They have the promises of a good God that they shall be fixed (Ps. 125:1), and safe (Ps. 125:2), and not always under the hatches, Ps. 125:3. 2. They have the prayers of a good man, which shall be heard for them, Ps. 125:4. II. It is certainly ill with the wicked, and particularly with the apostates, Ps. 125:5. Some of the Jewish rabbies are of opinion that it has reference to the days of the Messiah; however, we that are members of the gospel-church may certainly, in singing this psalm, take comfort of these promises, and the more so if we stand in awe of the threatening (Chapter 125).

It was with reference to some great and surprising deliverance of the people of God out of bondage and distress that this psalm was penned, most likely their return out of Babylon in Ezra’s time. Though Babylon be not mentioned here (as it is, Ps. 137:1-9) yet their captivity there was the most remarkable captivity both in itself and as their return out of it was typical of our redemption by Christ. Probably this psalm was penned by Ezra, or some of the prophets that came up with the first. We read of singers of the children of Asaph, that famous psalmist, who returned then, Ezra 2:41. It being a song of ascents, in which the same things are twice repeated with advancement (Ps. 126:2, 3, 4, 5), it is put here among the rest of the psalms that bear that title. I. Those that had returned out of captivity are here called upon to be thankful, Ps. 126:1-3. II. Those that were yet remaining in captivity are here prayed for (Ps. 126:4) and encouraged, Ps. 126:5, 6. It will be easy, in singing this psalm, to apply it either to any particular deliverance wrought for the church or our own land or to the great work of our salvation by Christ (Chapter 126).

This is a family-psalm, as divers before were state-poems and church-poems. It is entitled (as we read it) “for Solomon,” dedicated to him by his father. He having a house to build, a city to keep, and seed to raise up to his father, David directs him to look up to God, and to depend upon his providence, without which all his wisdom, care, and industry, would not serve. Some take it to have been penned by Solomon himself, and it may as well be read, “a song of Solomon,” who wrote a great many; and they compare it with the Ecclesiastes, the scope of both being the same, to show the vanity of worldly care and how necessary it is that we keep in favour with God. On him we must depend, I. For wealth, Ps. 127:1, 2. II. For heirs to leave it to, Ps. 127:3-5. In singing this psalm we must have our eye up unto God for success in all our undertakings and a blessing upon all our comforts and enjoyments, because every creature is that to us which he makes it to be and no more (Chapter 127).

This, as the former, is a psalm for families. In that we were taught that the prosperity of our families depends upon the blessing of God; in this we are taught that the only way to obtain that blessing which will make our families comfortable is to live in the fear of God and in obedience to him. Those that do so, in general, shall be blessed (Ps. 128:1, 2, 4), In particular, I. They shall be prosperous and successful in their employments, Ps. 128:2. II. Their relations shall be agreeable, Ps. 128:3. III. They shall live to see their families brought up, Ps. 128:6. IV. They shall have the satisfaction of seeing the church of God in a flourishing condition, Ps. 128:5, 6. We must sing this psalm in the firm belief of this truth, That religion and piety are the best friends to outward prosperity, giving God the praise that it is so and that we have found it so, and encouraging ourselves and others with it (Chapter 128).

This psalm relates to the public concerns of God’s Israel. It is not certain when it was penned, probably when they were in captivity in Babylon, or about the time of their return. I. They look back with thankfulness for the former deliverances God had wrought for them and their fathers out of the many distresses they had been in from time to time, Ps. 129:1-4. II. They look forward with a believing prayer for and a prospect of the destruction of all the enemies of Zion, Ps. 129:5-8. In singing this psalm we may apply it both ways to the Gospel-Israel, which, like the Old-Testament Israel, has weathered many a storm and is still threatened by many enemies (Chapter 129).

This psalm relates not to any temporal concern, either personal or public, but it is wholly taken up with the affairs of the soul. It is reckoned one of the seven penitential psalms, which have sometimes been made use of by penitents, upon their admission into the church; and, in singing it, we are all concerned to apply it to ourselves. The psalmist here expresses, I. His desire towards God, Ps. 130:1, 2. II. His repentance before God, Ps. 130:3, 4. III. His attendance upon God, Ps. 130:5, 6. IV. His expectations from God, Ps. 130:7, 8. And, as in water face answers to face, so does the heart of one humble penitent to another (Chapter 130).

This psalm is David’s profession of humility, humbly made, with thankfulness to God for his grace, and not in vain-glory. It is probable enough that (as most interpreters suggest) David made this protestation in answer to the calumnies of Saul and his courtiers, who represented David as an ambitious aspiring man, who, under pretence of a divine appointment, sought the kingdom, in the pride of his heart. But he appeals to God, that, on the contrary, I. He aimed at nothing high nor great, Ps. 131:1. II. He was very easy in every condition which God allotted him (Ps. 131:2); and therefore, III. He encourages all good people to trust in God as he did, Ps. 131:3. Some have made it an objection against singing David’s psalms that there are many who cannot say, “My heart is not haughty,” etc. It is true there are; but we may sing it for the same purpose that we read it, to teach and admonish ourselves, and one another, what we ought to be, with repentance that we have come short of being so, and humble prayer to God for his grace to make us so (Chapter 131).

Reflection

If you ever watch television, or go to a movie theater, you are bombarded by advertisements. Marketing is not sin (neither is watching TV or a movie. These are general topics. Which movie, what program and what are the thoughts in your head ? – These are the questions to clarify. Most topics are neither here nor there. Let’s put our fire into burning off sin and stop trying to make doctrines of the commandments of men. And our offering of anything as in the form of a tool, is fashioned only to help you if you are able to use it; and is not given as a “requirement” of salvation. But we know that surely as God works, He sometimes works through people.) Jesus “got the word out” too. He had something important to say.

It is not only the content of any vessel that determines it’s value. And the content for our context may be either what the vessel holds, or the fabric from which the vessel is made. The worth could be so because of who made it.

You have heard that the book should not be judged by the cover. Yet we add to this, that sometimes the book is the cover – because we wear our heart outwardly. This is the method designed by Christ, to draw his people unto himself. Thus if we remove completely the outward book that is our “conversation” (behavior), which is meant to model the Christ after whom we have our pattern, then where is the modeling for the world that needs a shape?

Christ made a thirty second commercial thousands of years ago – and it’s still running…

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20

Your thought process has such a vital role in everything you do. Perhaps the most prevailing reason why some have trouble taking the Word to heart is because they have not yet moved beyond it being “His Word.” When we speak of the Bible as “His word,” it is to distinguish it from other words that are not implied to be His – and not that we have depersonalized the Word as though we stand on the outside, looking in. For a purpose of the Holy Spirit within us is to guide us in truth; and as on we walk with Him, we are made to look from the inside – out. And this is the source of “vision.”

What would be the difference in our spiritual growth if we flipped that small switch from it is His, to It is mine? (Some of you just gasped (and that for the second time, since the first was when I started talking about movies).) Stay with me.

Jesus said, what belongs to the Father belongs to Him (Jesus). The Holy Spirit within us gives us access to what belongs to Christ and inherently what belongs to God our Father. Thus we say boldly, the Bible is mine. It is God speaking to me. I take it personally. It’s part of our relationship. We are communicating. OK. Questions? Comment. Moving on.

Jesus ate with sinners and that did not make Him backslide out of being our Savior. If we are not strong enough, not grounded enough in Him to take part, then that’s one thing. That’s a point of departure to grow on. But just because a snail’s shell is soft, doesn’t mean a mature turtle has to stay off the sidewalk. Jesus came to save the lost, not the just who need no repentance. Yes, evil communication corrupts good manners. But the Holy Spirit speaking to the lost is not “evil communication.” In fact, it is Holy communication. What has happened though is that some have taken a situation and lumped all into it, rather than understanding that when the Holy Spirit leads, He creates the situation; and as such it is NOT a corruption, but a light shining in darkness – and that is precisely what he left us here for. Else we could be with Him already.

God wants the Sauls of the world to release the Davids. The Philistines are coming! The Jeremiahs have spoken. The Lord has set His deliverance in order. Now let the Word work for you. If you love the Lord, it’s yours.

Today, absorb Psalm 121 again.

Psalm 121 is a good passage to commit to memory.  Brainstorm about it. Write notes. Sing it. In your journal (if you are not keeping a journal daily, now is a good time to start. A written or blog type will do.), work on it by writing your thoughts down. The Lord said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. What does that mean to you? Faith is majorly interpretation. That is why it is difficult to keep without understanding. We do not have to understand all situations. We have understand things about the nature of God. This is where faith comes from. Until it makes sense to you, you will have a hard time believing. If your faith needs bolstering, try putting the promises of God into your own words. You are supposed to take hope “personally.”

PSALM 121

1  I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.

3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.

6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

7 The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

8 The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Now here is what it means to me…

I turn my full attention to God who is beyond myself; He is  my source. Everything I need comes from Him, the same God who is the creator of heaven (my home) and earth (my deployment). He will not abandon me so my enemies will not be able to overthrow the good work that I do in His name. He is watching over me continually; and though I must at times take rest, even as I sleep he is on guard. The Lord is my shelter and provision for every situation that I may walk without fear and have comfort according to His will. He will protect His Spirit within me, from the wicked rule of the enemy, allowing His way to flourish and keep me on a right path as I submit to Him. The Lord will make remembrance of me before Our Father and cause the works of my hands to prosper in His name. All this He will do continually; and the use of these shall even outlive my life.

If we can handle it, it is good to put the Word in our own words. If not, just keep reading until God gives you something you can use to remember his promises.


References

« The Amplified Bible
« The King James Bible
« Matthew Henry’s Commentary
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Image Source: 365 Seeds of Promise by Shenica Graham.

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