Rabbi’s Reflections – Monday, February 26, 2024

Overview:  I want to start a series of devotionals using the Psalms as the subject text.  If you were going to do a series of devotionals on the Psalms, how would you do it?  Why would I want to write my thoughts on the Psalms, which Charles Spurgeon has called, “The revelation of God’s heart?”  After all, he has already written his own devotional on the Psalms along with many other commentators.  So what hope do I have of adding anything to the mountain of material that already exists?

I’ll tell you… fresh revelation.  I pray every morning, and part of that season of prayer is to ask for fresh revelation, something relevant for today.  That is my hope.  How long will this take?  I have no idea.  It could be quite a while.  The reality is we’ll never get a complete revelation of the mind of our Father.  In Hebrew we call the Psalms, “Sefer T’hilim” meaning “Book of Praises.”

Theologians have divided the 150 Psalms into five books (1-41; 42-72; 73-89; 90-106; and 107-150.  Each one ends with a doxology.  There are three main themes to the Psalms as described in Psalms 1 and 2, wisdom, Torah and the revelation of Yeshua as God’s anointed ruler (Mashiach).  These themes may be further expanded to include jubilation, war, peace, worship, judgment, and praise.  The Psalms were intended to be the hymnbook of the Temple and the devotional guide for the people of God.

The Messianic expectation is prominent in Psalms 2, 72 and 89, along with many more.  In totality there are 150 Psalms in the Canon, with seven authors, Moses (Psalm 90), David (73 Psalms), Sons of Korach (42, 44-49, 84, 85, 87), Asaph (50, 73-83), Solomon (72, 127), Heman 88, Ethan 89.  These specific mentions account for 100 of the Psalms.  But what of the other 50?  Their authorship is not known definitely.

Thank you for joining with me in this walk through the Psalms with the Spirit of God.

The Psalms
An Introduction, Psalms 1 and 2
Part 1, Psalm 1:1

Psalm 1:1 Happy is the one who has not walked in the advice of the wicked, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of scoffers.

Who doesn’t want to be happy?  The Hebrew word is “Ashre” (pronounced “Ash-ray”).  I believe it may be an onomatopoeia (sounds like what it means), intended to be a shout for joy (like in English “hooray” or “yippee”).    The first word of the first Psalm is describes a man who shouts for joy on account of the errors he has avoided, there are three of them, walk, stand, sit.

First, this is a happy man who has “not walked in the advice of the wicked.”  The Hebrew word for “wicked” is “Rash.”  It also means evil and criminal, first mentioned in Genesis 18 to note the difference between the righteous and the wicked as Abraham interceded for Sodom.  Without even 10 righteous, Sodom could not be saved.  Wouldn’t you be happy to avoid following the advice of the wicked men of Sodom?

“The way” in Hebrew is “Derech.”  It is the word used to describe a road.  In ancient times, these were frequently used paths.  The original followers of Yeshua were called “followers of the way.”  The description here in Psalm 1 verse 1 is the joy one experiences for not following the “other way.”  The way of sinners (Chattah).  This word for sinners is also first used to describe the citizens of Sodom in Genesis 13:13 But the people of Sodom were evil—very great sinners against Adonai.  Their “way” is a road that leads to destruction.

Finally, there is the joy of not sitting in a unholy seat called “the seat of scoffers.”  Sitting and dwelling are analogous in Hebrew.  But this seat is reserved for scorners.  The same Hebrew word (Lutz) is used to describe Job’s friends.  Job 16:20 My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God. (KJV)  And as “scorners” they were finding fault with righteousness.  Be a real friend of God and don’t sit there.

That’s it, a triple portion of joy experienced by those who avoid being (walk, stand, or sit) in the way or manner of evil people.  Romans 6:23 For sin’s payment is death, but God’s gracious gift is eternal life in Messiah Yeshua our Lord.  So glad for the “but” in that verse.  Oh happy day!

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
17 Adar I Monday 26-Feb-24
Exodus 31:18-33:11 2 Kings 10 Psalm 119:121-144 John 14 Hebrews 5