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The Tree of Life: Psalms:

Book Four: Psalms 90-106

"The Days of Our Years"

Psalm 90. "A prayer of Moses, the man of God." Moses represents the law, by which our states of mind are reckoned, arranged and disposed. Life is transient, God alone is without time. The past, present and future are alike to Him. The allotment of life, seventy or eighty years, does not refer to the body. Moses lived 120 years. Our days are passed away in God’s wrath, our secret sins appear in the light of his countenance. We are born again when we see ourselves in that light. We carry a considerable burden when we specify where we—not other people—do wrong in thought, word and deed, and restrain bad habits. But our days are full of labor and sorrow before we have entirely changed our nature, and live in the light. "So teach us to number our days"—order our lives bit by bit—"that we may get us a heart of wisdom." Then may we thank the Lord for all our sufferings. The return bears no ratio to the price paid.

"The Lord Is My Refuge and My Fortress"

91. It is one thing to shun evil because it hurts our reputation. It is quite another thing to shun it as a sin against God, and hurtful to the neighbor. Trusting in the Lord, He delivers us from hurting or destroying good thoughts and intentions, and protects us from secret, or open, false justifications of evil; as also from secret, or open, evils (verses 3, 5, 6). The Lord’s love makes us strong in any emergency to resist evil even until it loses its power to hurt. It has no attraction or appeal. "With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation."

Thanksgiving for Rest after Labor

92. A song for the Sabbath day. The stringed instruments for the accompaniment are expressive of joy and gladness, particularly in confessions from spiritual truths (Apocalypse Explained #323). A brutish man fails to see the beauty in spiritual truths. Wickedness comes to the surface for judgment. Righteousness bears evidence to the saving power of the Lord (palm tree), and to sound reasoning (the cedars of Lebanon) planted in the soul, and bearing fruit in the ripest years of life.

"The Lord Reigneth"

93. Seven psalms celebrate the Lord as King, the one hundredth psalm serving as a doxology. The Lord took upon Him our nature to meet and overcome all the evil in it, and thereby establish and defend his church in heaven and on earth forever. The floods, mentioned three times, signify "all things which are of man’s intelligence, both in the internal and in the external man" (Apocalypse Explained #518). Power and salvation are in the voice, or meaning, of these truths in relation to life. "Thy testimonies are very sure; holiness becometh thy house, O Lord, forever." God’s rule guarantees moral order in the world.

"Lord, How Long Shall the Wicked Triumph?"

94. "O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth, show thyself." Churches have come and gone. What shall prevent the repetition of failure now? "All the workers of iniquity boast themselves. . . . They say, the Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity." The world is learning through suffering the futility of wrongdoing. The upright in heart shall follow judgment unto righteousness. They place confidence in the example of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord our God shall cut off the wicked in their own wickedness.

"O Come, Let Us Sing unto the Lord"

95. "For the Lord is a great God, and a great king above all gods." He is the Creator of the world—the Lord Jesus Christ—and the Shepherd of his people. Harden not your hearts as did your fathers in the past, "unto whom I swore in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest." They held the Lord responsible for their failure. We know better. That is a common defense mechanism to shift the responsibility from our own shoulders, where it rightfully belongs. We are no longer fooled by the appearance, or ought not to be fooled by it.

"O Sing unto the Lord a New Song"

96. "Show forth his salvation from day to day. . . . All the gods of the nations are idols; but the Lord made the heavens. . . . Give unto the Lord glory and strength. . . . Say among the nations, the Lord reigneth. . . . Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; . . . for he cometh to judge the earth; he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth."

"Let the Multitude of Isles Be Glad"

97. This song refers to those who do not have the Word, and are "consequently remote from spiritual truths." "They are only in natural truths" (Apocalypse Explained #741). "The heavens declare his righteousness, and all peoples have seen his glory. Let them be put to shame that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols; worship him, all ye gods." The responsibility rests upon those who have the Word to spread the light by lives bearing witness to the holy Name of the Lord.

"Make a Joyful Noise
before the Lord, the King"

98. A noise expresses the intensity of "the exaltation of the new life of love, and hence of joy" in the Lord’s salvation (Apocalypse Revealed #279). "All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God." The floods clapping their hands, and the hills being joyful together tell of the glorification of the Lord in the infinite variety of new views of the good life representing different individualities in wondrous harmony. "With righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity."

"Exalt the Lord,
and Worship at His Footstool"

99. The thought in this song is centered in the Lord’s presence in the Sacred Scriptures. These are his footstool. Moses and Aaron among his priests represent the law and its interpretations to meet human needs. And "Samuel among them that call upon his name" represents the prophet announcing the word for action. "Exalt ye the Lord our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the Lord our God is holy."

"Serve the Lord with Gladness"

100. The jubilate, "A Song in praise of the Lord, that He is to be worshipped with the heart, because He is the Former of the church." "Come before his presence with singing." Every day brings many openings for the application of religion to life, and the practice of religion. "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting, and his truth endureth to all generations."

"A Perfect Heart"

101. The man who thinks he is perfect stands alone; no one else believes it. The perfection of the Lord’s character is admitted, and recognized the more we see that He knew all that is in man, and successfully measured His strength with the worst in man. The more we are humiliated by our imperfections, and do something to rectify them by the help of the Lord, the more nearly we approach the perfection of the Father in heaven (Doctrine of the Lord #84). "The evil will perish when the Lord comes." "Morning by morning will I destroy all the wicked of the land; to cut off all the workers of iniquity from the city of the Lord."

"Ring Out the Old, Ring in the New"

102. All change is attended with uncomfortable premonitions, feelings of loneliness, absent-mindedness, and aversion. "My days are like a shadow that declineth, and I am withered like grass. But thou, O Lord, shalt endure forever. . . . Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion; for the time to favor her is come. For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favor the dust thereof." They cling to the letter, and there is power in it. The old garment, however, must go; the spirit will take the place of the letter. "Thou art the same, and thy years have no end. The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee." New truths will be drawn from the Word to supply the needs of each rising generation.

"Bless the Lord, O My Soul"

103. How beautiful! How comforting! Renewing the innocence of youth like the eagle, rising to higher altitudes, and taking in an ever-expanding view of life, and the mercy of the Lord in all his dealings with us frail human creatures to the end of life, and in its continuation beyond the grave.

"Song in Praise of the Lord"

104. This song celebrates the glory of God in nature, which is as a theater representing "the progress of regeneration, or the formation of the church in man" (Apocalypse Explained #405). "From the Lord are Divine truths, or the Word (verses 1–4). Of the sense of the letter on which the church is founded (verses 5–9). From this all are taught, every one according to the state of his intelligence (verses 10–23). From this are the knowledges of truth and good, from which is spiritual nourishment (verses 24–30). May the good be saved and the evil perish (verses 31– 35)";"; that is, the evil in ourselves.

"The Lord Hath Remembered His Covenant"

105. A song descriptive in its inner meaning of "the establishment of the church, and the reformation of the natural man." The covenant made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob assured them of the possession of the promised land. The Lord protected the children of Israel in going down into Egypt, in leading them out of it, and throughout their sojourn in the wilderness, until they regained possession of their lost inheritance, that they might keep his statutes and observe his laws. How wonderfully the story sets forth the steps in entering into the spiritual life, called heaven, in the keeping of God’s laws.

Israel Confesses His Apostasy

106. The Psalmist takes the same historical retrospect, but now refers to the ingratitude and rebelliousness of Israel on each occasion. It is good to thank the Lord for past mercies. Our thanks are deepened by the consciousness that the Lord blessed us in spite of all our lapses and waywardness. But best of all are the thanks that are free from pain, free from the memory of things said and done to the hurt of others. Perfect gratitude exists only in the fullest use of God’s gifts, without any abuse of them, after the Lord’s own example. He was tempted from childhood to the last of his life, but had light from the Word to expose the evil, and strength from the Father’s love within to meet and overcome it at the time, so that no man could convict Him of sin (John 8:46). We might go through early life without doing and saying so many things for which we are sorry. But we live in the sight of God as well as in the sight of the world, and there is much that is corrupt and unsightly in the inside of the cup. As regards aught to be done in setting our house in order we may say, "Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise." And for past mercies we gratefully sing: "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting; and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the Lord."

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