8. Psalms: Exulting in God
(Psalms 57, 96, 126, and 24)

by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Audio (37:51)

Gerit van Honthorst, King David Playing the Harp (1611)
Gerrit van Honthorst (1590-1656), King David Playing the Harp (1611), 82x65cm, Centraal Museum, Utrecht, Holland.
The first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism reads: "What is the chief end of man?" The answer is: "Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever." These psalms teach us to express that joy -- and as we express joy we are caught up in that joy ourselves. One gift to us from the Psalter is to learn how to praise our God and enjoy Him in that praise.

There comes a time to exult in the Lord, to enjoy him, to delight in him, to proclaim his greatness out of sheer joy. The psalms in this chapter are similar to those we saw in chapter 4; they belong to the genre of hymns. As you read each of these psalms out loud, try to enter in to the psalmist's joy. God has given us these psalms to instruct us in how to praise. Open your heart to learn.

Psalm 57 -- I Will Awake the Dawn!

Psalm 57 is attributed to David, "when he had fled from Saul into the cave." You can read about that incident in 1 Samuel 24. As a teenager David had been anointed king, though Saul was still reigning. His victory over Goliath made him a national hero overnight. King Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage. But as David's acclaim increased, Saul's fear of David's popularity turned to paranoia. Now he sought for David's very life, while David resorted to hiding in a cave. Even so, God shows him there that Saul is in his power.

David's Lament (57:1-6)

Psalm 57 isn't a pure hymn genre. It begins as a lament reflecting David's fear that his presence in the cave would be discovered, but then turns into a full-blown hymn near the end as he realizes that the Lord has wonderfully protected him.

The first part is the lament:

"1Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me,
for in you my soul takes refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed.
2I cry out to God Most High,
to God, who fulfills [his purpose] for me.
3 He sends from heaven and saves me,
rebuking those who hotly pursue me. Selah
4I am in the midst of lions;
I lie among ravenous beasts --
men whose teeth are spears and arrows,
whose tongues are sharp swords." (57:1-4)

Be Exalted, O God (57:5, 11)

Now we hear a glimmer of praise as David begins to see God's deliverance.

"Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth." (57:5, 11)

These words of praise appear both at the midpoint of the psalm and at the end, perhaps as a musical refrain that concludes each section of the psalm. "Exalted" is rûm, "be high, lofty." Here height is symbolic of positive notions such as glory and exaltation.1 When we speak highly of God, when he becomes the focus of our hearts and minds, it is difficult to lift up ourselves, to be proud. Christian songwriter Brian Doerksen characterizes this kind of worship as, "Notice God, don't notice me."2 Worship is not about us. It is all about God. John the Baptist understood: "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30).

The prayer, "Be exalted above the heavens," is to pray that God's glory may be seen for what it is, in the same way that we pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done...." Our praying will not make it happen any sooner, but it is a prayer that puts us in the proper attitude towards the Father, giving us proper perspective of who God really is!

They Have Been Caught in Their Own Trap (57:6)

Verse 6 comes back to the traps that men set -- nets to ensnare birds, covered pits to catch larger animals. David's enemies are tricky:

"They spread a net for my feet --
I was bowed down in distress.
They dug a pit in my path --
but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah" (57:6)

Saul's army has surged up into the Judean mountains in search of David. But when Saul comes (in order to "relieve himself") into the very cave where David is hiding with his men, God shows David that his enemy is in his power. Instead of killing Saul -- "the Lord's anointed" king -- when he has a chance, David instead proclaims his honor and loyalty publicly. God is glorified and his enemy shamed.

David's Exultation (57:7-11)

Now David breaks into full-blown exultation.

"My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music." (57:7)

David's steadfast heart is much different than being "bowed down" just a verse before (verse 6b). In my own personal experience, when my heart is "bowed down," I just don't feel like praising. When I determine to praise God anyway, eventually my emotions come along and I can find myself full of heart-felt praise to God.

"Steadfast" (NIV, NRSV), "ready" (NJB), "fixed" (KJV) is kûn, "established, prepared, made ready, fixed." The root meaning is to bring something into being with the consequence that its existence is a certainty.3 David's heart is now steady, focused, fixed on praise.

"Awake, my soul!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn." (57:8)

Now he calls to himself, "Wake up!" He calls to his familiar instruments, the harp and lyre, "Wake up! Get ready to play!" The "dawn" (NIV, NRSV) or "early" (KJV) is shaḥar, "dawn," the breaking of the day, that time just prior to sunrise.4 Before light he will begin to praise and sing at full volume so that even the dawn will be aroused from sleep by his melodies.

David will not be quiet. Even among the gentiles with whom he sometimes sojourns in his self-imposed exile from Saul's kingdom, he is not quiet.

"9I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
10For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
11Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth." (57:9-11)

In verse 10 he praises God's wonderful love (ḥesed). It is so great (gādōl) that it fills all creation, full up to the brim of heaven. The parallel line boasts that his "faithfulness" (NIV, NRSV), "constancy" (NJB), "truth" (KJV, 'ĕmet) fills up to the "skies" (NIV) or to the "clouds" (NRSV, KJV).

The lines in verse 10 employ the preposition 'ad, "movement up to, until, as far as."5 But God's person in verse 11 is above the heavens, above the earth, employing the preposition, 'al, "higher than, on over."6

Our God is worthy of our praise, no matter what situation we find ourselves in. He transcends our universe and our categories of what is possible. He is above it all, and thus nothing is impossible for him! Be exalted, O God, in my heart and attitudes and priorities. You are so far higher than I can imagine, yet you bend down to hear my prayers, like a father with a tiny child. Yes! Be exalted, O God, in your greatness!

Q1. (Psalm 57) Why is praise difficult in the midst of trying circumstances? How does praise affect our faith? Our attitude? Our motivation?




Psalm 96 - Ascribe to the Lord the Glory Due His Name

This song of praise commands the hearers to worship and bless Yahweh:

"1Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.
2Sing to the LORD, praise (bārak) his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day." (96:1-2)

The praise is to be joyful, characterized by singing (shîr). Singing worship is to be both universal ("all the earth") and constant ("day after day").

Blessing Yahweh (96:2)

We are called upon to "praise" (NIV) or "bless" (KJV, NRSV, NJB) his name, that is his person. The verb is bārak, "bless, praise, salute." When one greater blesses a person of lower status it means "to endue with power for success, prosperity, fecundity, longevity, etc."7 When the lesser blesses the greater, that is, God, the word means "to declare God the origin of power for success, prosperity, fertility," that is, to "praise God."8 In this sense it appears often in the Psalms:

"I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth." (Psalm 34:1; NRSV)
"So I will bless you as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands and call on your name." (Psalm 63:4; NRSV)

Declaring His Glory to the Nations (96:3-6)

Israel is not to keep God to themselves. As God spoke through the prophet Isaiah, Israel is to be a "light to the nations" (Isaiah 42:6; 49:6; 51:4; 60:3). The so-called gods of other religions are bogus. Their followers are sadly deluded. Our God is the true God. Here is the germ of the missionary call:

"3Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
4For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.
5For all the gods of the nations are idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
6Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and glory are in his sanctuary." (96:3-6)

Great Is the Lord and Greatly to Be Praised (96:4a)

Verse 4a gives two more reasons why we should praise the Lord that are echoed in Psalms 48:1 and 145:3:

  1. "Great is the LORD." We should praise God because of his immense greatness, before which we are but grasshoppers (Isaiah 40:22). To do otherwise is immensely ignorant and unrealistic.
  2. He is "most worthy of praise." "Worthy" (NIV, NJB) or "greatly" (KJV, NRSV) is me'ōd, "exceedingly, much, abundance." The word is found in many combinations, all expressing the idea of exceeding.9 Literally this phrase is "to be praised greatly." Only exceedingly great praise is appropriate before such a great God.

Ascribe to the Lord the Glory Due His Name (96:7-8)

Next we are called upon to ascribe to or credit God with the glory that is his:

"7Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
8Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come into his courts." (96:7-8)

The psalmist, echoing Psalm 29:1-2 calls on the peoples of the earth to "ascribe" glory and strength to Yahweh. "Ascribe" (NIV, NRSV), "give" (KJV, NJB) is yāhab, "give, ascribe." Several passages are practically the same: verses 7 and 8 in our passage, Psalm 29:1-2; and 1 Chronicles 16:28-29, with a similar use in Deuteronomy 32:3. Delitzsch explains this use of yāhab this way: "to render back to Him cheerfully and joyously in a laudatory recognition, as it were by an echo, His glory and might, which are revealed and to be revealed in the created world."10

Why should the nations credit God with glory and strength? Because these qualities conform with his name, his reputation, his very character. The word "due" is clearly implied but not explicitly stated in the Hebrew text. To credit God with glory and strength is appropriate to who he is. Other psalms explain:

"Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous;
it is fitting for the upright to praise him." (Psalm 33:1)
"Praise the LORD.
How good it is to sing praises to our God,
how pleasant and fitting to praise him!" (Psalm 147:1)

The adjective "fitting" (NIV), "befits" (NRSV), "comely," nā'weh, denotes beauty or suitability.11 It suits upright, honest people to offer praise to God. Is God so ego-centered that he demands our praise? No. But only when we ourselves are hopelessly ego-centric do we deny to God the worship that is befitting who he is. When we praise and worship him we line up with the reality of the universe.

Worship Yahweh in the Splendor of His Holiness (96:9)

"Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth." (96:9)

"Worship" (ḥāwā) means "bow down deeply, do obeisance" in worship.12 The next phrase (also found in 29:2) has been interpreted several ways:

  • "the splendor of his holiness" (NIV, KJV)
  • "the beauty of holiness" (KJV)
  • "holy splendor" (NRSV)
  • "holy array" (RSV)

The word is hădārâ, "adornment, glory," is also found in a few verses previously in 96:6a, referring to God. The RSV's "holy array" takes this as the beauty of the priests' holy garments in worship. But it is probably better to see this as descriptive of God as the NIV and NRSV, "holy splendor."13

The Lord Reigns! (96:10a)

"Say among the nations, 'The LORD reigns.'" (96:10a)

Part of our worship of God is proclamation to unbelievers. Evangelism is not an option, it is a command connected with the startling reality of who God really is. We cannot be silent about our faith and worship God adequately.

Let Heavens, Earth, Sea, Fields, and Trees Worship Yahweh (96:10-13)

The final verses of this psalm build up a glorious momentum of praise. The whole creation is to be caught up in praise. You can only catch the real power of it by reading it out loud with emphasis:

"10Say among the nations, 'The LORD reigns.'
The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.
11Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
12let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them.
Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy;
13they will sing before the LORD, for he comes,
he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples in his truth." (96:10-13)

Why praise? Because the Lord reigns. The Hebrew verb mālak, "to reign, that is, to be and exercise the functions of a monarch."14 Yahweh is coming to judge (shāpaṭ) the earth, in the sense of "to govern, rule, exercise of government."15 When both John the Baptist and Jesus declared that "The Kingdom of God is at hand" (Mark 1:15; Matthew 3:2; 4:17; 10:7), they were declaring that the reign of God had come in the Messiah himself. In Jesus the Messiah "our God reigns!" (Revelation 19:6; Isaiah 52:7). The King has come to his Kingdom. This will reach its complete fulfillment at the Second Coming of Christ at the end of the ages.

This psalm declares in the most joyous and unmistakable terms that Yahweh is King. His is worthy of our praise, our obedience, our best, our whole lives. Our God reigns. Have you allowed him to reign over you?

Q2. (Psalm 96) What does it mean to "ascribe" to God attributes of glory and strength? What happens when we fail to ascribe such qualities to him? In what sense is praise to God "fitting" or "worthy"?





Psalm 126 -- He Who Goes Out Weeping Will Return with Songs of Joy

This next psalm is a mixture of a hymn of high praise and a lament. Though we don't know the author or the exact setting of this little psalm, this "song of ascents," it seems that the first half (verses 1-3) remembers a great event of God's restoration to the people of Israel. The second half (verses 4-6) is a prayer and promise that God will "do it again," that he will restore and deliver them again.

When the Lord Brought Back the Captives (126:1a)

Before we examine this short and memorable psalm we need to observe a difference of interpretation of one word that can affect the way we interpret the psalm.


Captives/captivity (NJB, cf. KJV, NASB)
shîbâ is derived from shābā, "take captive"

Fortunes (NRSV, cf. NIV)
shîbâ is derived from shûb, "(re)turn"

1a When Yahweh brought back Zion's captives.... When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion....
4a Bring back, Yahweh, our people from captivity.... Restore our fortunes, O LORD....

The question is whether the noun shîbâ is derived from the verb shābā, "take captive" or from shûb, "(re)turn." There are good arguments for both approaches, but the translation "fortunes" is widely accepted these days. If it is translated "captives/captivity" then this psalm is probably post-exilic, while if it is translated "fortunes" then it could be from any era and of more general application.16

Our Mouths Were Filled with Laughter (126:1-3)

The NIV tries to have it both ways, with verse 1a referring back to the exile and verse 4a applying more generally to some current crisis Israel is facing. This approach makes sense to me. Let me explain a bit of Israel's history.

Between 604 and 587 BC there were three separate exiles from the Kingdom of Judah as the world power Babylon under King Nebuchadnezzar sought to subjugate this rebellious kingdom. From the first exile about 70 years passed until 537 BC when the Persian king Cyrus (who conquered Babylon in 539 BC) allowed a group of the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild the temple (2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:2-3). The Jews who returned from Babylon to Jerusalem could hardly believe their good fortune. They were beside themselves with joy. The psalmist effectively catches the emotion in verses 1-3:

"1When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion,
we were like men who dreamed.
2Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
'The LORD has done great things for them.'
3The LORD has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy." (126:1-3)

Notice the exuberance of praise -- laughter, songs of joy. Other nations are amazed, too, and attribute this to Yahweh. The psalmist immediately agrees. "The LORD has done great things for us! A similar sentiment is expressed by David in Psalm 30:

"You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever." (Psalm 30:11-12)

Restore Our Fortunes, O Lord (126:4)

But now the mood of the psalm turns. The psalmist uses two images in verse 4-6:

  1. The quick changing desert wadi, and
  2. The slow but sure sowing and reaping of the farmer.

When the Jews returned to Jerusalem they found the walls were broken down and the beautiful Temple of Solomon completely destroyed. They had to rebuild their lives from scratch. Verse 4 is their prayer:

"Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like streams in the Negev." (126:4)

A stream in the Negev desert is called a wadi. Like the arroyo in the American southwest, the wadi is dry most of the year, but when there are heavy rains, a flash flood can occur by which these wadis can fill to overflowing within minutes with torrents of water. Almost overnight the parched desert will be covered with a carpet of colorful wildflowers.

The psalmist is calling on the Lord to miraculously turn things around for them, to deliver them as quickly as the dry wadis can be filled with raging water. Do it like that, O Lord! he prays. Our return to Jerusalem after decades of captivity was quick and unexpected like a desert storm. You can act with the same speed in today's crisis.

Weeping Comes before Reaping (126:5-6)

But in contrast to his prayer for a sudden reversal of fortunes in verse 4, in verses 5 and 6 the psalmist advises his hearers to continue faithfully doing the right thing; God will bring the answer in due time. He uses the metaphor of sowing and reaping that would be well-known to all in this agrarian economy of subsistence farmers:

"5Those who sow in tears
will reap with songs of joy.
6He who goes out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with him." (126:5-6)

The KJV translates verse 6b with the beautiful phrase, "precious seed." However, the adjective here (meshek) probably means "a drawing, bag, pouch," so the phrase would be rendered either "bag of seed" (NASB)17 or perhaps "a trail of seed" (literally "a drawing-out of seed"), thus "seed for sowing" (NRSV).18

Why the tears? Why the weeping? Is the act of planting seed usually associated with tears?19 Not normally, though the plowing and sowing represent a great deal of labor, a labor of hope. The psalmist is writing these words as encouragement to a people who is seeking God's deliverance from a great oppression. It is a time of struggle, a time of weeping, a time of heart-wrenching trial. He is saying that later they will have cause for joy. God will answer. As David puts it in Psalm 30:

"Weeping may remain for a night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning." (Psalm 30:5)

The psalmist's message is that we must continue to do our part, the things we must do to achieve the final result, the difficult, day-by-day labor that is necessary. In due time the harvest will come -- if we don't quit. Two passages from the Apostle Paul come to mind:

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (Galatians 6:9)
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." (1 Corinthians 15:58, RSV)

Psalm 126 gives two answers to the dilemma of struggle. First, a prayer that God will suddenly deliver as he has done in the past. and second, that if we continue our labor in faith, he will bring the inevitable harvest, and with it deliverance and joy. Come, Lord Jesus!

Q3. (Psalm 126). In this psalm, the nation is going through some kind of crisis. How does the memory of God's deliverance in verses 1-3 prepare them for the prayer of verse 4? How do you understand the two metaphors of deliverance: (1) a wadi or dry gully and (2) sowing and reaping? How do these metaphors help you in your situation?




Psalm 24 -- The King of Glory

Our final psalm of exultation is a gem that seems to come from the time when David brought the ark into the city of Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6). The ark, which represents the portable throne of God, is carried by Levites up the hill to the city, through the gates, and then up the hill to what would later be the temple mount. This is a psalm of royalty, celebrating the reign of Yahweh the King. It is attributed to David.

The King is the Creator (24:1-2)

The psalm begins with a bold declaration of Yahweh's sovereignty over the whole earth:

"1The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
2for he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the waters." (24:1-2)

He is King and Owner of all because he is Creator of all!

The King's Requirement of Complete Loyalty (24:3-6)

As the ark is ascending to its resting place, the psalmist asks the rhetorical question:

"Who may ascend the hill of the LORD?
Who may stand in his holy place?" (24:3)

It is a similar question to the one asked in Psalm 15:

"LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?" (15:1)

The answer comes back:

"4He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false.
5He will receive blessing from the LORD
and vindication from God his Savior." (24:3-5)

God requires ethical and moral purity, that is, loyalty to the King and his commands, both outwardly and inwardly. Since he is King, he demands strict allegiance, as well. "Lift up his soul to an idol" means to worship an idol. "Swear by what is false," means to take an oath by a false or bogus god, rather than by Yahweh, the only true God. The reward to the loyal follower is a promise of both blessing from the King and justice when his case is heard before the King. Blessing (berākā) means to be "endued with power for success, prosperity, fecundity, longevity, etc."20 These are indeed the qualities of Yahweh's followers.

"Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, O God of Jacob. Selah" (24:6)

We considered what it means to "seek one's face" in chapter two, Psalm 27:2-8, to seek personal closeness to, a personal hearing, a relationship.

The King of Glory Shall Come In (24:7-10)

The ark and its procession have come up to the gate of the ancient fortress city of Jerusalem and entrance is called for from the gatekeeper:

"7Lift up your heads, O you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in." (24:7)

The entrance of the "King of Glory" is announced. Glory (kābōd) has the basic meaning of "to be heavy, weighty," but is generally used figuratively to refer to a "weighty" person in society, someone who is honorable, impressive, worthy of respect. In reference to God, kābōd relates to a visible manifestation of God, associated with his holiness, splendor, and blinding light.21 So what does this title mean? It refers to the King "whose whole being and acts is glory."22

"Lift up" (nāśā´) is a strange command, for gates that defended an ancient city would swing open on hinges, projections top and bottom that fitted into sockets in the lintel and sill.23 You would expect a command to swing open. But the speaker is commanding that the lintel of the gate be raised24 to accommodate the King of Glory who demands entrance. Franz Delitzsch comments:

"It is the gates of the citadel of Zion to which the cry is addressed to expand themselves in a manner worthy of the Lord who is about to enter, for whom they are too low and too straight [narrow]."25

The gate keeper shouts back for the King to identify himself:

"Who is this King of glory?" (24:8a)

The answer comes back immediately, that the King of Glory is Yahweh himself, the victorious Warrior:

"The LORD strong and mighty,
the LORD mighty in battle." (24:8b,c)

Then the call is renewed for the gates to open high and wide for the King:

"Lift up your heads, O you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in."

The final question is raised:

"Who is he, this King of glory?" (24:10a)

The answer is final and glorious:

"The LORD Almighty--
he is the King of glory. Selah" (24:10b,c)

Unfortunately the NIV's "the LORD Almighty" misses the true import of this title, which is "Lord of hosts" (NRSV, KJV), literally, "Yahweh of the Armies!"26 The Warrior King, head of the armies of heaven, "mighty in battle," demands entrance into his city!

Q4. (Psalm 24) How do verses 1-2 establish the Lord's right as King? What do verses 3-6 tell us about the requirements of the King? What do verses 7-10 tell us about the glory of the King? How does this psalm speak to you in your situation?




The King of Glory and Our Heart's Home

This final psalm of exaltation stirs me at several levels. First, for the awesome portrait it paints of our mighty conquering God who reigns with his own might against any foe. We talk about spiritual warfare; look at the might of the one to whom we pray. Christianity is not a weak, namby-pamby religion that is a push-over for any foe:

"You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." (1 John 4:4)

What foe can stand before our King?

"If God is for us, who can be against us?... In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." (Romans 8:31b, 37)

Next, I think of Jesus riding a donkey down the slope from Bethany and then up to the city of Jerusalem, surrounded by a throng of followers shouting, "Son of David" and "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." He came into Jerusalem as King to die, yet his final entry shall be to reign at his Second Coming, when loud voices in heaven will shout:

"The kingdom of the world has become
the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ,
and he will reign for ever and ever." (Revelation 11:15b)
Experiencing the Psalms, by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson, a Bible study on Psalms in 12 lessons
Now all the lessons are available together in e-book and paperback formats.

Yet at another level I am moved to tears. The King of Glory rightfully demands entrance into his city. He commands the gates to expand so that he may enter without stooping. But is he welcome in my heart? Is he King of my inner self? And now the paradox: the One who can rightfully command my heart knocks rather than battering down the door.

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me." (Revelation 3:20, NKJV)

Will I resist him? Will you? Or invite him into my heart's home? Will you open wide Jesus, Yahweh's King and Messiah, to enter your life, and as he does, bow at his feet? That is the question that comes to me. On how you and I answer it will hang our eternal destiny.

Exercise. For one of the psalms in this lesson -- or another psalm with a similar theme -- do one of the suggested exercises to help you experience the Psalms (www.jesuswalk.com/psalms/psalms-exercises.htm). These include such things as praying a psalm, meditating, reading to a shut-in, paraphrasing, writing your own psalm, singing, preparing a liturgy, and memorizing. Then report to the forum what the exercise meant to you personally or share what you've written with others.


Almighty, glorious King, Lord of Glory. I exalt you. You are holy. You are mighty. You have all power. And yet you knock on my door, seek entrance into my heart. Do come in, Master, and live in me forever. Let your glory light my life. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.


  • "Be Exalted, O God," words and music by Brent Chambers (© 1977, Scripture in Song / Maranatha! Music). Psalm 57:9-11.
  • "Bringing in the Sheaves," words: Knowles Shaw (1874), music: George A. Minor (1880). Psalm 126:6
  • "Can I Ascend," words and music by Matt Redman (© 1995 Thankyou Music). Psalm 24:3.
  • "Clean Hands and a Pure Heart," words and music by Dale Garratt (© 1980, Scripture in Song). Psalm 24:3-5; 2 Chronicles 16:9.
  • "Give Us Clean Hands," words and music by Charlie Hall (© 2000, worshiptogether.com songs). Psalm 24:3-5.
  • "Great Is the Lord" (and greatly to be praised), by Robert Ewing (© 1976, Robert Ewing). Psalm 48:1-2; Ephesians 4:4-5; Psalm 96:4
  • "Hallelujah! Our God Reigns," words and music by Dale Garratt (© 1972, Scripture in Song / Maranatha! Music). Revelation 9:6-7; Psalm 96:10
  • "He Is Exalted, the King Is Exalted on High," words and music by Twila Parris (© 1985, Straightway Music / Mountain Spring Music)
  • "He That Goeth Forth with Weeping," words: Thomas Hastings (1836), music: "Brocklesby," by Charlotte A. Barnard (1868). Psalm 126:6.
  • "I Exalt Thee" (For Thou, Lord, art high above all the earth), words and Music by Pete Sanchez, Jr. (© 1976, Pete Sanchez, Jr.). Psalm 97:9.
  • "Lift Up Your Heads, O Ye Gates," #33 Chorus in "The Messiah," an Oratorio by Georg F. Handel (1741). To sing this rousing chorus as part of a choir is a wonderful and emotional experience. Psalm 24:7-10.
  • "Lift Up Your Heads to the Coming King," words and music by Steve Fry (© 1977, Birdwing Music). Psalm 24.
  • "My Heart Is Fixed, O God," words: Charles Wesley (1743), music: "Middlesex" (1875). Psalm 57:7.
  • "Our God Reigns," words and music by Leonard E. Smith, Jr. (© 1974, 1978, New Jerusalem Music). Isaiah 52:7; Psalm 96:10
  • "Seņor, Yo Quiero Entrar" (O God, I Want to Enter), words: anonymous, translated by David L. Edwards (1994), music: Latin American melody (20th century). Chalice Hymnal #291. Psalm 24:3-4.
  • "Sow in the Morn thy Seed," words: James Montgomery (1832), music: "Silver Street," by Isaac Smith (c. 1770). Psalm 126:6.
  • "The Earth Is the Lord's (Psalm 24)," words and music by Bill Batstone and Tom Howard (© 1984, Maranatha! Music). Psalm 24.
  • "Those Who Sow in Tears," words and music by Tom Howard and Bill Batstone (© 1986, Maranatha! Music)
  • "Thou Hast Turned My Mourning into Dancing for Me," unknown. Psalm 30:11.
  • "To God Be the Glory" (Great Things He Hath Done), words: Fanny J. Crosby, music William H. Doane.
  • "Who May Ascend to the Hill of the Lord?" words and music by Kirk Dearman (© 1989, Maranatha Praise, Inc.). Psalm 24:3-5.
  • "You Turned My Wailing into Dancing," words and music by Bruce Bremner (© 1980, Scripture in Song / Maranatha! Music). Psalm 30:11-13.


  1. Andrew Bowling, rûm, TWOT #2133.
  2. Brian Doerksen quoted by Andree Farias, "Pioneer Doerksen on What's Wrong with Worship Music," Christianity Today, July 2007.
  3. John N. Oswalt, kûn, TWOT #964. This is the Niphal stem. Holladay references this verse for the meaning, "2. be stable, secure, b. steady spirit" (Holladay 153a),
  4. Victor B. Hamilton, shaḥar, TWOT 2369.
  5. 'Ad, Holladay 264b-206c, II.
  6. 'Al, Holladay 272b-273a.
  7. John N. Oswalt, bārak, TWOT #285.
  8. Bārak, Holladay 49-50.
  9. Walter C. Kaiser, m'd, TWOT #1134a.
  10. KD 5:368 on Psalm 22:2. In the Greek Septuagint translation, yāhab is translated by didōmi, "give," in 1 Chronicles 16:28-29 and by pherō, "to bring, present, bear," in the Psalms passages. "'Ascribe' with synonyms 'attribute' or 'credit' would suggest 'inferring of cause, quality, authorship' (Webster). Hence the passages would demand everyone to acknowledge the Lord Yahweh as the great king and offer such ascription of glory and greatness as is commensurate with his majesty" (Paul R. Gilchrist, yāhab, TWOT #849.
  11. Leonard J. Coppes, nā'weh, TWOT #1271a.
  12. The histafal stem of ḥāwā, Holladay, 97a.
  13. So Kidner, Psalms 1-72, on Psalm 29:2, p. 125. However, Craigie (Psalms, p. 242-243), renders this as "holy attire," rejecting a supposed Ugaritic etymology of a cognate word. "The reference is probably a poetic reflection on the holy (or purified) attire in which human worshipers were dressed for their celebration of the Lord's victory" (p. 247). Tate (Psalms, p. 510) translates Psalm 96:9a: "Bow down before Yahweh in (his) holy splendor." In footnote he gives different uses of the word.
  14. Robert D. Culver, mālak, TWOT #1199.
  15. Robert D. Culver, shāpat, TWOT #2443.
  16. Victor P. Hamilton (shûb, TWOT #2340b) cites Dahood (Psalms III (Anchor Bible, p. 218) for the view that that shîbâ is in fact from shûb. Dahood offers the translation "restore the fortunes of" citing the Sefire inscription in support. He treats the word shebût of Psalm 126:4 also as from shûb offering a similar translation. This view, now widely adopted, makes it unnecessary to see in this phrase a mark of exilic literature.
  17. So Victor P. Hamilton, māshak, TWOT #1257. The root māshak, has the idea of "to draw or drag."
  18. Kidner, Psalms 73-150, p. 440, footnote 2. Also Kirkpatrick, Psalms, p. 750.
  19. However, it might be a time of anguish for a family that has barely enough food at planting time, since to put the seed corn in the ground for a future harvest is both an act of deprivation and of faith.
  20. John N. Oswalt, berākā, TWOT #285b.
  21. John N. Oswalt, kābēd, TWOT #943e.
  22. Franz Delitzsch, Psalms, KD 5:338.
  23. Burton Scott Easton and Ralph W. Vunderink, "Gate," ISBE 2:408.
  24. So KD 5:338; Walter C. Kaiser, nāśā´, TWOT #1421. Rō´sh, "head, top, summit, upper part" is used generically for "lintel" here. The specific word for lintel is mashqôp (Exodus 12:7, 22-23) or ´ayil (1 Kings 6:31).
  25. Franz Delitzsch, Psalms, KD 5:338.
  26. Ṣebā´ōt means, "armies, hosts," from the verb ṣābā´, "fight, serve" (John E. Hartley, ṣābā´, TWOT #1865b).

Copyright © 2024, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

Sign up now!To be notified about future articles, stories, and Bible studies, why don't you subscribe to our free newsletter,The Joyful Heart, by placing your e-mail address in the box below. We respect your privacy and never sell, rent, or loan our lists. Please don't subscribe your friends; let them decide for themselves.
Country(2-letter abbreviation, such as US)
Preferred FormatHTML (recommended) Plain text