Manual Eleven Perfect Psalms

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Eight Perfect Psalms

Three easy steps to start your free trial subscription to Bible Gateway Plus. Create or log in to your Bible Gateway account. Enter your credit card information to ensure uninterrupted service following your free trial. Begin reading God's Word ad-free with instant access to your new online study library. Want more information about Bible Gateway Plus? They predict the coming of a messiah. Traditionally interpreters have considered a psalm messianic if, having little or no relationship to its historical context, it anticipated the Messiah or predicted the Messiah.

The first is the purely prophetic, which predicts that a future Davidic king would be the Lord Ps. Second, the eschatological psalms predict the coming of Messiah and the consummation of His kingdom Pss. Third, we have the typological-prophetic in which the writer describes his own experience but goes beyond that to describe what became true of the Messiah e. Fourth, there are the indirectly messianic psalms composed for a contemporary king but having ultimate fulfillment in Messiah Pss. Fifth, we have the typically messianic in which the writer was in some way typical of Messiah, but all he wrote in the psalm did not describe Him e.

Some interpreters think of the imprecatory psalms as a distinct type on the basis of their subject matter. These psalms contain imprecations, or curses, on God's enemies. Most of the imprecations in the psalms occur in only one or two verses in a given psalm. However, there are a few psalms that are almost entirely imprecatory e. Bullock wrote that there are at least seven psalms that fall into the category of imprecatory psalms: 35, 55, 59, 69, 79, , and One writer argued that the imprecations were prophetic judgment proclamations.

The imprecatory psalms have created a problem for some Christians, since Jesus Christ taught His disciples to bless their enemies and not to curse them Matt.

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In the progress of revelation, it was not easy for the writers of the psalms to see the details of the future distinctly. They could not feel the peace about God's ultimate establishment of justice that modern believers who know their Bibles do. Consequently, when they witnessed injustice and oppression they did not usually know how God would deal with it, so they called on Him to vindicate Himself immediately.

With the coming of Jesus Christ and the added revelation He provided, believers now have a fuller picture of how God will balance the scales of justice. It is therefore inappropriate for us to pray imprecations of the sort we find in the Old Testament. Another writer believed that at times it is legitimate for Christians to pray prayers of imprecation. We have other examples of such language in Job. The fact that Scripture records what people said and did, even though this went beyond God's will, does not mean that God approved their words and deeds.

Some of the New Testament apostles' prayers and statements were pretty strong. But I think that as apostles they were led to write what they did and pray as they did. I do not think their example in this regard should be a model for us, but is a reflection of their apostolic authority. Paul's committing certain people to Satan for the destruction of their flesh is one example. Another type of psalm, based on the form in which the writer set it rather than on the subject matter, is the acrostic.

In these psalms each verse, or group of verses in the case of Psalm , begins with the succeeding letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The psalmists adopted this style so the Israelites could memorize and remember the psalm easily. This form also suggests a complete or exhaustive expression of the psalmist's mind on his subject. The acrostic psalms are these: 9, 10, 25, 34, 37, , , , and In comparison, this New Testament identified 47 quotations from Isaiah, the second most frequently quoted Old Testament book. The psalms deal primarily with God, man especially Israel as a covenant community and the individuals in that community , and the resolution of the tension between a holy, transcendent God and sinful, alienated, finite human beings.

In addition to the Psalms' value to the New Testament writers, their value as Old Testament texts persists today. In them we receive windows that enable us to look out on our brothers and sisters in the faith of more than twenty-five hundred years ago. The Psalms invite us to experience how God's people in the past related to Him. The Book of Psalms can revolutionize our devotional life, our family patterns, and the fellowship and the witness of the church of Jesus Christ. Whether their matter be didactic, historical, prophetical, or practical, it is made the ground or subject of prayer, or praise, or both.

Some scholars have attempted to explain a single holistic structure that they believe the entire Book of Psalms demonstrates. The Book of Psalms is an inspired collection of Hebrew poems intended for use in worship. Spirit-directed compilers put them in their present order for several reasons, including authorship and affinity of ideas. The compilers did not organize them in the order in which the psalmists wrote them.

Each psalm is the expression of a writer who responded to God in the light of his particular circumstances when he wrote. Consequently, there is no argument or logical progression of thought as the reader makes his or her way through the book. There are connecting or contrasting ideas, and words and phrases that sometimes link two or more psalms together, however. Franz Delitzsch has suggested the connecting link or links of each psalm, with the one that preceded it, in his commentary on the Psalms. The subject of the Book of Psalms is worship. Worship is the act of offering to God what is due to Him because of who He is.

The Hebrew word translated "worship" shachah means to bow oneself down, or to do obeisance. The psalmists used it to describe prostration before God, or some angel, or another human being. It pictures an attitude of submission to a superior person. This word occurs only 15 times in Psalms with God as the object, but the idea of worshipping God is present in every psalm.

In Psalms, the object of worship is God. Its practitioners are people. Its center is Jerusalem: the place of God's manifest presence. Its primary method is song. The psalmists referred to God as Yahweh, Elohim, or Adonai primarily, though many other titles appear in the book. Those worshipping Him are individuals, kings, nations, and all the earth. His temple Israel's central sanctuary and His holy hill Mt. Zion were the central places of worship. Fear, awe, and joy are the primary attitudes prominent in this worship.

God's people throughout history have loved the Psalter. There are a number of reasons for its popularity. First, it is a collection of songs that arise out of experiences with which we can all identify. It is very difficult to find any circumstance in life that does not find expression in some psalm or another. Some arose out of prosperity, others out of adversity.

Some psalms deal with holiness, and others with sinfulness. Some are laments that bewail the worst of situations, whereas others are triumphant hymns of joy and thanksgiving. Some look back to the past while others look forward to the future. The psalms are great because their writers composed them out of their most profound experiences. Great poetry arises out of great living. They are also great because the writers brought these profound experiences into God's presence. They show how people behave when they are conscious of God—the only truly realistic way to live.

Therefore, the permanent value of the psalms lies in their revelation of worship. There are three great revelations regarding worship in the Book of Psalms: the object of worship, the attitudes of worship, and the activities of worship. First, the Psalter reveals the person of God, who is the object of worship. The primary revelation of God's character in the psalms is His names.

The writers employed dozens of titles and figures of speech to describe God, but the three names of God that they used most are Yahweh, Elohim, and Adonai. The name "Yahweh" captures the essential being of God. He is who He is Exod. This name occurs more often than any other in the psalms. Essentially it means that God is the eternally self-existent Person who becomes all that His people need. God's being is never the subject of debate in the psalms; the writers assumed His existence.

The Law of the Lord Is Perfect (Psalm 19:7-11) - as sung by Jack Marti

As Yahweh, God is always an adequate resource for whatever His people need, whenever they have needs. That is because the Name Yahweh describes God in covenant relationship with His people. Psalm is perhaps the greatest exposition of the essential being of God, and Psalm 23 the chief revelation of His becoming all that His people need. The second great name of God in the Psalter is "Elohim.

It is a plural word in the Hebrew, which does not necessarily signify plurality of number but immensity. God, as He reveals Himself, is so infinite that no singular word can express Him adequately. God's strength is not just potential, but kinetic i. It is latent, but also active. Such power elicited the awe of the psalmists.

Psalm 68 is perhaps the greatest revelation of God's essential might in the Psalter, and Psalm 46 sets forth His great power at work most impressively. The title "Adonai" Lord in the sense of Master does not occur frequently in the psalms, but the idea it expresses is constantly present.

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This title expresses the sovereignty of God, the fact that there is no one higher in authority than He. He is the King over the whole universe and the ultimate ruler over Israel. Perhaps Psalm 86 sets forth the sovereignty of God more magnificently than any other psalm. Whenever a person, king, nation, or race conceives of God as Yahweh, Elohim, or Adonai, the result is worship. We can do nothing else but prostrate ourselves before such a One. That is what the writers of these psalms did as they reflected on their experiences in the light of who God is.

The second great revelation of the Psalter is people's attitudes in worship. Briefly, we see people responding to the revelation of God joyfully, trustfully, and submissively but occasionally angrily, disappointedly, or quizzically. When we understand that God Himself is an adequate resource for us, regardless of our needs, we should worship by rejoicing.

When we appreciate God's mighty power, we should worship Him by trusting Him. When we learn that God is sovereign, we should respond in worship by submitting to Him. When we appreciate God's grace in providing all we need, we should rejoice. In the psalms, we see joy manifesting itself in love and gratitude. Love and gratitude manifest joy in the following way.

We have God's promises of forgiveness if we confess when we sin. Forgiveness for sin is one of God's greatest gifts to humankind. It is not something that we can earn or deserve. It is a gift of God based ultimately on a work that God has done for us through His Son. The penitential root attitude blossoms into adoration for God's grace.

The sweetest music comes out of hearts broken by sin, hearts aware of their total bankruptcy before God. The most glorious praises spring from the lips of those who most sense the great gifts God has given to them. This is the reason some of the most radiant Christians are those who suffer the most. Trust in God's almighty power expresses itself in honesty and courage in the psalms. Fear is the internal response to power, and courage should be its external manifestation. The person who really fears God's power will be open and honest because he or she believes God will exercise His power to defend him.

He will be willing to take risks because he is relying on God's supernatural power to sustain and uphold him. The psalmists expressed themselves, and behaved honestly before God and people, because they believed in His sovereignty. They also faced danger courageously because they believed God could and would provide adequate help for them. Submission to the sovereignty of God expresses itself in reverence and obedience in the psalms. Reverence is the external evidence of submission to God, and obedience is the core proof of it. The person who really believes that God is the ultimate authority will respect Him.

He or she will also yield to God's superior authority submissively. We see the psalmists expressing their reverence for God and bowing humbly to His will throughout the Psalter. Their commitment to trust often followed their frustration. The third major revelation concerning worship in the psalms is the activities of worship. As we have observed, one's conception of God leads to worship, and one's attitudes shape worship. One's activities also demonstrate worship. The psalms reveal that worship grows out of something God has done for man. Man does not worship because there is something intrinsic within him that must come out.

Worship is always a response to something that God has done. God elicits worship. Man does not initiate it on his own. Throughout the psalms, the psalmists responded to God's dealings with them. God is always the initiator and man the responder. This fact helps us see that God is worthy of worship. Human response in worship involves opening the soul to God. David's confession in Psalm 32 is a good example of this cf. He rejoiced in his open relationship with God, especially when he acknowledged his sin. He also received God's gift of pardon.

Then he offered praise to God. These are the essential human activities of worship: confession, praise, and thanksgiving. After God initiates worship, and man responds by worshipping, God becomes to the worshipper all that he or she needs. God is true and faithful in His dealings with worshippers. He becomes for us everything we need when we worship Him. Thus the activities of worship begin and end with God. They begin with His initiating situations in life. They end with His drawing us to Himself. In between we bare our souls, receive His gifts, and offer our praise. The message of the Psalter then is, "Worship God!

If we are sad, we should worship. If we are glad, we should worship. If we are in the dark, we should worship. If we are in the light, we should worship. The Apostle Paul expressed it this way in Philippians and 7: "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice… And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Praise ye the Lord" Ps. The life of faith is lived between these two realities.

As we read the psalms, we should pay attention to what the psalmists said about God. We should notice too what they said about themselves and the people of God. Third, we should look for how the psalmists expressed their emotions to God. Sharing what we feel is important in communicating intimately as well as sharing what we know and think. This will help us to become more transparent people. Most of the psalms in book 1 are David's. The first two are introductory to the whole collection, and psalms 10 and 33, which are not identified as Davidic, have a textual tradition of having been combined with the psalms immediately preceding them Pss.

Thus all of book 1, with the exception of the introductory psalms 1 and 2, were probably Davidic. This collection was probably the first and was later included in the canonical Book of Psalms or formed the core of it. One might think of this book as "the book of personal experience" since there is so much of that in psalms 1— Geoffrey Grogan called book 1 "largely a book of testimonies.

An additional seven psalms 9; 10; 18; 21; 30; 32; 34 offer thanksgiving for deliverance from trouble, and five more 14; 15; 35; 36; 37 provide instruction regarding the experience of evil in the world. By contrast, unambiguous praise of Yahweh is encountered in only five psalms 8; 16; 19; 29; 33 , and confident reliance on Yahweh is expressed in only three 11; 23; A single psalm 24 represents an entrance liturgy. Judging from their general character, it would appear that they were prefixed to the book with the specific purpose of emphasizing certain fundamentals that are of importance in approaching this book.

It is plain to those who read the Old Testament Scriptures that law and prophecy are fundamental to the spiritual life of Israel. One is the basis, the other is the essential superstructure. One lays the foundation, the other builds on what is thus laid. Psalm 1 can rightly be said to exemplify the proper attitude toward the law of the Lord. Psalm 2, as it were, gives the essence of prophecy and indicates what place it plays in the life of the true Israel. He who has grasped these two issues aright is well on the way that leads to a right reading of the Psalter.

The first psalm is one of the best known and favored in the Psalter. It summarizes the two paths of life open to people, the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked cf. It also deals with God, godly living, and the hope of the godly in view of the Mosaic Covenant promises. Therefore it is an appropriate one to open the collection of psalms, and in early times, it was considered to be a prologue to them. Its figures of speech recur throughout the rest of the book. In view of its content, it is a wisdom psalm, a Torah psalm, and a didactic psalm designed to give understanding to the reader cf.

Grogan regarded the whole Book of Psalms as wisdom literature. Torah psalms do not comprise a literary genre of the Psalms, since there is no standard literary pattern comparable to what we have seen with some other literary genres. On the basis of their content, however, they nevertheless form a legitimate category. This psalm contrasts the righteous person, who because of his or her behavior, experiences blessing in life, with the unrighteous, whose ungodly conduct yields the fruit of sorrow and destruction.

VanGemeren gave a structural analysis of each of the psalms. Two men, two ways, two destinies. The Hebrew word for "man" in this context describes a person, without specifying gender. Each of these is more intense than the former one. These descriptions proceed from being casually influenced by the wicked to cooperating with them in their wickedness. However, this is probably a case of synonymous parallelism describing the totality of evil rather than three specific types of activities in a climactic development cf.

But far heavier emphasis is laid on the fact that in his aversion to sin a godly man shuns every form of it at all times and in all places. It appears 26 times in the Psalter. This blessedness is not deserved but is a gift from God. Even when the righteous do not feel happy they are blessed from God's perspective because He protects them from judgment resulting from the Fall cf.

Likewise the reference to the "way" in this verse occurs again in The godly allows the Word of God Heb. One expositor saw Jesus Christ as the ultimately godly person profiled in this psalm. Regardless of the time of day or the context, the godly respond to life in accordance with God's word. The motivation of the godly in this activity is delight; he or she has a desire to listen to and understand what God has revealed cf. Jesus expounded this idea in the Beatitudes Matt.

You can become as busy as a termite in your church and possibly with the same effect as a termite , but you won't grow by means of activity. You will grow by meditating upon the Word of God—that is, by going over it again and again in your thinking until it becomes a part of your life. This is the practice of the happy man. Their fruit will appear at the proper time, not necessarily immediately, and their general spiritual health, represented by the leaves, will be good. Usually the fruit God said He would produce in the lives of most Old Testament believers was physical prosperity cf.

The fruit a Christian bears is mainly a transformed character and godly conduct cf. In both cases it is God's blessing on one's words and works. His prosperity is from God's viewpoint, not necessarily from the world's. The most important part of a tree is its hidden root system because it draws up water and nourishment that feeds the tree. Without a healthy root system a tree will die, and without a healthy "root system" a believer will wilt. Fruit, in biblical imagery, is what is visible to other people, not just what is hidden within a person.

It is also what benefits other people, what others can take from us that nourishes them cf. John In contrast, leaves are what others simply see and admire. The term "wicked" Heb. They have little regard for God but live to satisfy their passions. They are not necessarily as evil as they could be, but they have no regard for the spiritual dimension of life, so they are superficial. Chaff is the worthless husk around a head of grain that is light in weight and blows away in the winnowing process.

It is neither admirable nor beneficial to others. Then He will blow the wicked away cf. He knows has intimate, loving concern about what they have done cf. The "way" refers to the whole course of life, including what motivates it, what it produces, and where it ends. This whole psalm is a solemn warning that the reader should live his or her life in view of ultimate judgment by God. Not only will the godly way prove the only adequate one then, but it also yields a truly beneficial existence now. The fundamental contrast of this psalm and all of Israel's faith is a moral distinction between righteous and wicked, innocent and guilty, those who conform to God's purpose and those who ignore those purposes and disrupt the order.

Human life is not mocked or trivialized. How it is lived is decisive. In this "second psalm" Acts , one of the most frequently quoted in the New Testament, David Acts exhorted the pagan nations surrounding Israel to forsake their efforts to oppose the Lord and His anointed king cf. He urged them to submit to the authority of the son Son whom God has ordained to rule them cf.

The first and second psalms were always united as one in the rabbinical traditions. The New Testament writers quoted from the royal psalms at least 27 times: from Psalm 2, 18 times, from Psalms 18 and 45, once each, and from Psalm , seven times. The messianic vision, while not complete in the Psalms, develops somewhere in between.

We can see this development more clearly in the prophets than in the Psalter. In fact, there is a self-contained messianism in the prophets that we do not find in the Psalms. In contrast, the messianic application of the Psalms develops within the interpretive process of the Jewish and Christian communities, although it is important to recognize that the raw material for the messianic vision is already laid out in the Psalms and is not merely an invention of those communities.

The messianic psalms may be divided into two groups: the typically messianic and the directly messianic. The directly messianic psalms are prophecies about Christ alone and do not have reference to any preceding person. The typically messianic psalms refer to an actual situation that existed in the days of some Israelite king, who ruled as Yahweh's representative and typified some aspect of Christ or His reign.

Psalm 2 seems to be typically messianic, and the king in view is David. David expressed amazement that the nations would try to overthrow the Lord and the king He had placed on Israel's throne to serve as His vice-regent. If Israel's kings submitted to the throne in heaven, they enjoyed God's blessing and power.

To the extent that they proved faithful to God, they carried out the will and plan of God on earth. He could not believe that the nations would try to do something that was sure to fail. It was senseless to reject God's rule and ruler cf.

Acts ; Rom. The people in the first part of Psalm 1 delight in the law, but the people in the first part of Psalm 2 defy the law. The term "Anointed" is really "Messiah" Heb. Every Israelite king anointed by a prophet was a messiah. Though we usually think of Jesus as the Messiah, He was the most faithful of many "messiahs" in Israel's history.

Since this psalm deals with Israel's king, it is a royal psalm, as are psalms 18, 20, 21, 45, 72, 89, , , , and The godly meditate on God's words , but these wicked rulers meditated on rebellion. They wanted to be free of the restraints that bound their freedom: the taxes and limitations on them that David had imposed. In the last days, the nations will be in rebellion against all of God's imposed restraints. Today, people want to break the marriage bands that God has imposed on humanity.

They want to cast away the cords of the Ten Commandments that restrict their conduct. They want to do as they please. It is presented as if there were a camera on earth and one in heaven. The figure of God sitting as sovereign ruler of all on His throne is a common personification that the psalmists used cf. This is the only place in Scripture where the writer described God as laughing. What He said, He spoke in anger, because they had refused to submit to the authority of His king, who was an extension of Himself. God established the kings of Israel—with greater or less stability on their earthly thrones—depending on their submission to the throne in heaven.

David was very faithful to represent God, though not completely faithful, so God established his throne quite solidly, which involved ability to control the nations around him. Jesus Christ was completely faithful to carry out God's will on earth. He will, therefore, completely dominate His enemies. Other prophets also referred to the coming Messiah as "David" cf. It became known as Jerusalem. Later, "Zion" was the term used to refer to the top area of that mount where the temple stood. It occurs frequently in the psalms as a poetic equivalent of Jerusalem, especially the future Jerusalem.

Verses 6 and 7 are the climax of the psalm, the answer sought in verses and expounded in verses There the Lord described the relationship He would have with David and the kings that would succeed him as that of a father with a son. This communicated to David his legitimate right to rule over Israel. The figure connotes warm affection rather than simply a formal relationship.

In the ancient world a king's son usually succeeded his father on the throne. In Israel, God wanted the kings to regard Him as their Father. From the giving of the Davidic Covenant onward, the term "son," when used of one of the Davidic kings, became a messianic title. David saw himself as the object of God's paternal love and expressed that in this verse.

It was in this sense that Jesus spoke of Himself as the "Son" of God. That was a claim to be the Messiah. The "today" in view then is not the day of David's birth but his coronation, the day he became God's "son" by becoming king cf. Since this psalm deals with a royal coronation, scholars often refer to it as a coronation or enthronement psalm. God begot David in this metaphor, not by creating him, though He did that too, but by setting him on the throne of Israel.

The Apostle Paul taught that Jesus fulfilled this "day" on the first Easter, when Christ arose from the dead Acts ; cf. I wish they would listen long enough to find out what it means. It would help them a great deal to find it has no reference to the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ—which they would see if only they would turn to the New Testament and let the Spirit of God interpret [Acts ].

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As the great universal King, God promised to give him all the nations of the earth for his inheritance cf. David personally never ruled the whole world, but David's Son who would be completely faithful to His heavenly Father will do so someday i. A non-messianic interpretation, which I do not accept, sees God giving the Jew David's descendant "the nations as thy inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as thy possession" in Christ.

In other words, with the breaking down of the barrier that separated Jew and Gentile, which Christ's death achieved, the Jews now have "inherited" and "possess" the Gentiles, and together—in one body—they make up the church. This verse is often used inappropriately as a challenge to participate in Christian missions. It is not. This passage hasn't any reference to Christ's first coming.

This speaks of His second coming, when He comes to this earth to judge. The emphasis in this verse is on the putting down of rebels, rather than the rule that will follow that subjugation. Potters' vessels are not to be restored if dashed in pieces, and the ruin of sinners will be hopeless if Jesus shall smite them. The leaders of these nations would be wise to bow in submission not only to David, but, what is more important, to the King behind him in heaven. He does not gloat over the destruction of his foes. He was merely expressing in strong terms the certainty of the victory of the cause of the Lord.

The human king and "the Son" of God enjoy close association in this whole psalm. Their wrath and their pleasure are different only in the spheres in which they operate, the local and the cosmic. The nations would serve the Lord as they served His son, the king of Israel.

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Only by taking refuge in His anointed, rather than rebelling against him, could they avoid the wrath of God. Ruth ; to lean on e. Job The Apostle Peter saw in the opposition of Israel's leaders to Jesus a parallel with the refusal of the nations' leaders in David's day to submit to David's authority Acts The writer to the Hebrews also saw a fulfillment of the coronation of God's "son" in Jesus' resurrection and ascension Heb. By that exaltation, Paul wrote, Jesus was declared to be the Son of God cf. In another eternal sense, of course, Jesus was always God's Son Matt.

Then the Anointed One will smash His enemies and rule over them with absolute control cf. The inspired interpretation of this is in Acts , which asserts its fulfillment in the crucifixion of Christ. And 6 the present appeal to the world powers vv. The title of this individual lament psalm identifies the writer as David. It also uses the word "psalm" Heb. All but four of the psalms in Book 1 of the Psalter identify David as their writer, all except Psalms 1, 2, 10, and The occasion of his writing this one was his flight from Absalom 2 Sam.

Fourteen psalms record the historical episodes from which they sprang Pss. Only two of these historical episodes are not recorded elsewhere in Scripture Pss. David was; and yet that did not hinder his joy in God, nor put him out of tune for holy songs. In , J. Thirtle proposed the theory that some of the titles, which appear at the beginning of some of the psalms, were originally postscripts at the end of the preceding psalm.

He believed copyists unfortunately moved them. He based this theory on the fact that some Egyptian and Akkadian hymns ended with postscripts that contained the kinds of notations found in some of the psalm titles. Not many conservative Bible scholars have agreed with Thirtle's theory. In psalm 3, David voiced his confidence that God would protect him, since he was the Lord's chosen king. This is the first of many prayers in the Psalms. In Psalm 2 the enemies are foreign nations and kings, but in Psalm 3 they are the rebellious people of Israel. Ironside, who believed there was a great deal of prophecy in the Psalms, wrote that in psalms 3—7 "we have set forth in a peculiar way the sufferings that the remnant of Israel will endure in the days of the great tribulation.

What would happen if Christians took this list seriously? If we want to find favor with God, we will obey and follow Him in all ways, not just some. How does your life measure up to this list? You are absolutely right. It starts with Christians humbling themselves before God. And Psalm 15 is an excellent guideline for what God expects.

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