Daily Family Worship

Psalm 135: The Mosaic Psalm

by | Jul 4, 2024

psalm 135

This Psalm almost seems like a continuation of the preceding one – or at least an extension of the Psalmist’s meditations on the mercy, goodness, power, and majesty of the Lord, as he pondered thereon from midnight till morning. Whatever the occasion may have been, it is a sweet invitation – seasonable at all hours, at midnight or at dawn, in the evening or at noonday. The Psalmist had learned by sweet experience that to praise the Lord and to sing praises unto His name was a pleasant occupation. People often say that religion is very dull work. We do not wonder at their saying so; for when the heart is not in it, it must be the dullest of work, for it is so contrary to the natural instincts of the unrenewed heart. Those instincts are so powerfully drawn in the very opposite direction, that however one may grieve over the exhibition, one cannot wonder at the mere man of the world exclaiming at the weariness, monotony, and dullness of religion. It would be a miracle if it were otherwise, for “the carnal mind is enmity against God” – and can enmity take pleasure in that which it hates? But the Psalmist tells us here, as he had told us before, that praise is indeed a pleasant occupation; and Solomon goes further when he says of Wisdom – that is, true religion – that not only are her ways pleasantness, but all her paths are peace! The Psalmist bids us sing praises unto the Lord’s name, for it is pleasant; and Solomon describes the fragrance of that name as sweet and precious ointment.

“The Lord chose Jacob and Israel to himself” – and for what purpose? “For his peculiar treasure.” And that is the very same purpose for which the Lord now separates His chosen ones – namely, so that He might redeem them from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself as a peculiar people who are zealous of good works. He has chosen us to be His peculiar treasure, but the very purpose of His choosing us is so that iniquity may no longer have dominion over us. We are chosen so that – as Paul says – “we may be redeemed from all iniquity”; and so that – as Peter adds, with the Psalmist here – “we may show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.” And see the firm foundation upon which the Psalmist plants his foot: “I know!” We love to hear the people of God speaking in this calm, undoubting, and assured confidence – whether it is about the Lord’s goodness or the Lord’s greatness. Perhaps you may say that it required no great stretch of faith or knowledge, or any amount of bravery, to declare that God was great; but not many wise nor mighty persons, in the Psalmist’s days, had attained unto his knowledge or made his confession that Jehovah, the God of Israel, was “above all gods.” Baal, Chemosh, Milcom, Dagon, and Molech claimed the allegiance of the nations all around Israel. Moses once carried a message from Jehovah to the king of Egypt; and his reply was, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice? I know not the Lord.” And even among Jehovah’s peculiar people themselves, not all who were of Israel were true sons and daughters of Abraham. There is a knowledge that plays around the head, like lightning on a mountain’s summit, yet leaves no trace behind; but the knowledge that we desire is like the fertilizing stream that penetrates into the very recesses of the heart, and brings forth all the fruits of holiness, love, peace, and joy forevermore!

It is a melancholy picture that is given in this Psalm of the debasing effects of idols and idolatry – the work of men’s hands! They have mouths that do not speak, eyes that do not see, ears that do not hear, and bodies without breath. And as the idols are, such are the makers of them; such are their worshipers and those who trust in them. These words are indeed a call to us to bless the Lord for the mercies which He has given to ourselves; but it is an even louder call to be up and doing for those who do not know God, and have – as yet – no memorials among them of the deliverances which He has worked! It is poor gratitude which is content with saying, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” – unless it goes on to ask, “What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?”

Lord, we repent of times when we have placed our confidence and trust in idols – perhaps not in gods made of wood and stone; but idols nevertheless, especially in the form of our own selves! Forgive us, and help us to worship You alone! Amen.

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