Allen Ross’ three-volume commentary on the Psalms is a helpful resource for studying the Psalter. I’ve been using this set for the past few years and I generally appreciate Ross’ balance between exegesis, interpretation, and application. The set is available on Logos and at other good bookstores. This afternoon my studies were on Psalm 143. Here’s a brief example of Ross’ commentary style for those interested. It’s specifically on Psalm 143:8a:
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you; Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. (NIV).
The petition in verse 8 is expressed more positively. “Cause me to hear your loyal love in the morning.” How does one “hear” God’s love? The verb “to hear” (s.v. Ps. 45:10) carries the force of responding to something said or done. God’s love will cause him to be delivered from his plight, i.e., his whole being will respond to God’s love (for “loyal love,” s.v. Ps. 23:6). The image of the morning signifies a new beginning, a new day dawning, as opposed to the dark night that he is now enduring (compare Ps. 130:6). He prays this because he trusts (בָּטַחְתִּי; s.v. Ps. 4:5) in the LORD—he does not simply believe in the LORD, he casts himself on him for deliverance.
And then the second petition of the verse is for guidance: “Cause me to know the way in which I should walk.” The immediate concern is how he should conduct his affairs in the midst of this crisis—he simply does not know how to deal with it; but the petition is broad enough to mean all his decisions and actions throughout his entire life. The motivation for this is parallel to the expression of trust above: “for to you I lift up my soul.” His trusting is displayed in his praying. He is totally committed to trusting the LORD, so along with deliverance from the current crisis, he wants guidance. How will God show him guidance? He might reveal it to him through his meditation on God’s word (see Pss. 119 and 63:6–8), or through instruction from priests or prophets, or through a specific direction from the LORD.
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
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