Book 2: Psalm 49 of 72 – Jesus, our Ransom!

So we reach the climax in chapter 49, which is directed to all peoples (v.1).

The climactic verse is 15 – “But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me“.  That is the true wisdom (v.3), that is the true proverb and resolution to the riddle (vv.3-4), and answer for all generations, all inhabitants of the world, all the rich and poor together (v.2).  Why should we fear in times of trouble with this as our security?  God Himself will ransom my soul.  Not my wealth (v.6), nor my cheats (v.5), nor my boasts (v.6), nor my own ransom (v.7).  How we were even burned with the image of God, that we wish to ransom the life of another so that they should live on forever and never see the pit (vv.7-9) — yet, their works are worthless.  For he sees that even the wise die along with the fool and the stupid alike, their wealth and their glories left to others (v.10).  The pit is their home (v.11), and as long as we remain in our pomp, we perish but no different from the Spirit-less beasts (v.12).

Outside of Christ, they are already condemned (John 3:16-18) – like sheep, they are appointed for Sheol and rather than Christ, death shall be their shepherd (v.14).  Their form, their flesh, their bodies, shall be consumed in Sheol – with no place to dwell.  No place to call their true home.  Yet better is one day in His courts than a thousands elsewhere, as on the day of His return we will be ransomed and He will receive me!  That is the promise in the Scriptures, the promise of this Psalmist.  Claim it, brothers and sisters – He will receive me.  We should not be looking over our shoulders as Lot’s wife; we should not envy the lives of the rich; we should not increase our “glory” and “blessings” in this world, if they are outside of Jesus (v.18-19), for the reward would merely be to go to our forefathers who do not see the light (v.19).  Again, man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish (v.20; see v.12, repeated) – but we have understanding, we have the promise, we have the Holy Spirit, we claim His victory, and we claim His gift for us – His Son!

Book 2: Psalm 49 of 72 – Jesus, our Ransom!

Book 2: Psalm 48 of 72 – Daughters of Jerusalem, Rejoice

Chapter 48 is one of the most victorious passages, following in the theme of Exodus in Book 2.  This chapter is reflective of the mood of liberation, of being emancipated from the slavery in Egypt and the euphoria which can only come by the arrival of and salvation by the Angel of the LORD.

Yet, the most interesting thing about this chapter is the reference to the daughters of Judah (v.11) – for the role of these daughters are barely reflected upon in Scripture (c.f. Songs of Solomon; Luke 23:28).  But these are the very daughters of God and bride of Christ.  Within the context of bridal imagery, we are given to rejoicing not because of our inherent works of righteousness and holiness.  On the contrary, v.1 sets the tone – “Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised in the city of our God!“.  It is the LORD, not I, Who is great.  It is the LORD, not I, Who is to be greatly praised.  And it is the LORD’s, not mine, which belongs the city of Zion and the elevated holy mountain of Eden (vv.1-2; c.f. Ezekiel 28).  This holy mount is what caused the kings to tremble (vv.5-6) – so much so that it is akin to the “anguish as of a woman in labor“.  Indeed, if there was ever an experience which a man could have which was analogous to the pains in childbirth, it is the very glory of God portrayed by his holy mount.  That heavy and weighty glory which astounds even the kings of this world (vv.4-6).  This is the city of our God, which God Himself will establish forever (and no mere son of David, no mere shadow of Solomon, but the true King of Israel Himself – v.8).  Such is the meditation of the Selah, the realisation that it must take the LORD Himself to fulfil His own promises, for men are but too weak and fickle.

Which brings me to verse 11 – “Let Mount Zion be glad!  Let the daughters of Judah rejoice because of your judgments!”  Indeed, we rejoice not because of our fruit or our witness.  Rather, we rejoice as His bride, as his weak helper, in His victories which can only be pronounced by His judgment against those who stand on their own pitiful mounts which pale in comparison to the one and only Mount Zion.

The entire chapter therefore smacks of just awestruck worship of the LORD who fulfills His promises; the LORD who protects us, as His bride; and the LORD who empowers the daughters of Jerusalem to rejoice and to take ownership of the victory which He has achieved for us.  Will we tell the next generation that the work which is being done in our lives is God’s very handiwork?  Will we claim this very victory achieved by the cross and the ascension so that we too may walk on that Holy Mount in our daily spheres of influence?  Will we remember that the crossing of the Red Sea is by the pillar of cloud by day, and pillar of fire by night, by the direction of the Angel of the LORD?  That our pride, protection and covering is from the one LORD who will guide us beyond death (v.14 – LXX translation).  Daughters of Jerusalem, rejoice in your King, by whom you influence this world in weakness, and move powerfully in ministry in brokenness.

Book 2: Psalm 48 of 72 – Daughters of Jerusalem, Rejoice