Psalms 48–50: Our Thoughts & Your Praise

Read the Bible in 2023 ◊ Week 17: Wednesday

We have thought on Your lovingkindness,
O God,
In the midst of Your temple.
As is Your name, O God,
So is Your praise to the ends of the earth;
Your right hand is full of righteousness.
Psalm 48:9–10 LSB

Wednesday’s Bible reading is Psalms 48–50.

Remember to pray before you read, because God alone gives us understanding of His Word. He is always there to teach you and help you from His Word.

Reading the Bible daily is not an in-depth Bible study, but neither is it a matter of hoping something in the text will immediately apply to your circumstances and then being disappointed when if does not. Geoffrey Thomas writes:

“The briefest regular perusal of Scripture has deep and largely unconscious effects upon us. So even if your achievements on certain days fall short of your desires, do not be discouraged, for ‘in due season we shall reap if we faint not’ [Galatians 6.9].

“…meditating on the portion read is a vital but neglected means of grace. Better indeed to meditate upon one verse than to hurriedly read a chapter, but there need be no dichotomy between reading three chapters and thinking over one verse. Select a verse, perhaps writing it down on a card to help you memorize and ponder over it; that can be good for that day.”1

That’s important to remember if you’re overwhelmed by reading more than one chapter at a time. Use a plan that works for you. Pray, read, and choose a verse to think over during the day. As you think it over, pray that God will teach you and help you to understand it.

In Psalms 1–2: The Righteous & The Wicked, I wrote that biblical meditation is not the mindless meditation of Eastern religions. It is not zoning out or trying to work ourselves up into an experience by repetition of a mantra or any other practice. The Hebrew word means to “consider, think (mull) over; ponder.” Its “root means “think through something, with personal interest in actual life-application.”2 Don’t look into the mirror of God’s word, then go away and forget what you’ve read. Notice what Psalm 49 says:

My mouth will speak wisdom,
And the meditation of my heart
will be discernment.
Psalm 49:3 LSB

Wisdom and discernment does not come from emptying our minds. Ponder what you’ve read. Ask yourself what am I learning from God’s Word that is a light to my feet and a lamp to my path. What have I learned about God? About myself? What am I to do? Ask God for His help: to give you understanding, to write His Word on your mind and heart so you won’t forget it, and to enable you to follow Him, to do as He commands.

Thomas encourages us with these words.

“Let the Word break over your heart and mind again and again as the years go by, and imperceptibly there will come great changes in your attitude and outlook and conduct. You will probably be the last to recognize these.”3

I take longer in my reading because I’m not just reading, I’m writing as well. I not only asked God to teach me, but I asked Him what He wants me to write and teach here. Since I’ve been a Christian for over 50 years, many times when I read something it is layered on top of reading and studies from the past.

When I first wrote this post, as I was thinking and not sure what to write, I noticed some repeated words. I also realized I needed to look at what these Psalms say about God, Himself. I printed out the three Psalms from the Legacy Standard Bible site. There are other Bible sites; one is Bible Gateway which I use for the NASB 1995 translation. I do this for Bible study, but infrequently for my posts here. (I did do this for several posts on Romans 8).

If you have a Bible you’re comfortable marking in, use that. I try to use the same color (or use the same shape) throughout my readings for the same word.4 If there’s something you read that gives you new insight, understanding or encouragement, note that in the margin or on another piece of paper or in a notebook.

Over the years I’ve found it very helpful to do consistent marking of the text so that I can go back and easily find key words to summarize what is taught.

In the photo you can see where I started marking the text. I would have worked at this longer and in much more detail if it was a Bible study.

In Psalm 48 I noticed that God has made Him­self known as a stronghold, (48:3) and His right hand is full of righteousness (48:10). That is who God is: a fortress and a righteous God. The psalm also says, We have thought on your loving­kindness, O God, (48:9), and speaks in verses 12–13 of walking around Zion and considering it that you may recount it to the next generation. It closes by saying,

For this is God,
Our God forever and ever;
He will guide us over death.
Psalm 48:14 LSB

This is who God is. This is His character. What does this psalm teach about God that gives you new insight into who He is? What does this psalm say about God that is a reminder you need to hear today? What does this psalm teach about God that enables you to trust Him? To love Him? To obey Him?

Psalm 49 calls everyone to hear, no matter our circumstances, and tells us the psalmist is going to speak wisdom (verse 3–4). Get ready to learn! There is a lot in this psalm about riches, and I did circle those references. Fear and being afraid is also mentioned and I marked that. Let’s look at this for a minute.

Why should I fear in days of evil,
When the iniquity of my supplanters surrounds me.
Psalm 49:5 LSB
Do not be afraid when a man becomes rich,
When the glory of his house increases.
Psalm 49:16 LSB

Why might we be afraid? This is not about a good man who becomes rich, but the psalm tells us he’s speaking of those who trust in their wealth, and boast about how much they have. Rich people have a lot of power and influence. We need to see their lives from God’s perspective. Read the psalm carefully to see why we don’t need to be afraid.

Everyone is going to die, and wealth won’t do any good in keeping us from death. Not only that, but you literally can’t take it with you (verse 17).

Only God can redeem someone, and the psalmist says,

For He will receive me. Selah.
Psalm 49:15 LSB

Psalm 50 says the God is judge (verse 6) and that the world is His (10–12). There is more about the wicked here, and some sober warnings. There are also commands. I mark commands with a large “C” around the first letter (I also marked these in Psalms 48 and 49). I noticed that sacrifice of thanksgiving is mentioned twice.

“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving
And pay your vows to the Most High;
Call upon Me in the day of distress;
I shall rescue you, and you will glorify Me.”
Psalm 50:14–15 LSB
“He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving glorifies Me;
And he who orders
his way,
I shall show the salvation of God.”
Psalm 50:23 LSB

I work to be careful about the context of the verses and not presumptuous about jumping to conclusions about what I’m reading. Don’t be dismayed at the detail. It took far longer for me to write this than it did to do this!

Looking back at everything you’ve read today. Think about God being a fortress. Think about Him being a righteous God. Think on His lovingkindness. Think about the fact He will always guide you. Remember why you don’t need to be afraid. Consider the warnings given in these psalms and what you read about the arrogant and ask God to keep you from those sins. Ask Him to help you order your way according to His Word. Remember to call on Him when you’re in distress. These are things to dwell on. Thank Him for being so wonderful and good.

There is such a wealth in Scripture. If I read something I’ve studied many times, there is always something new for me to learn. John Owen wrote,

“The Holy Spirit hath so disposed of the Scripture that the mind of God in all things concerning our faith and obedience…is clearly revealed therein.

“…In those very fords and appearing shallows of this river of God where the lamb may wade, the elephant may swim. Every thing in the Scripture is so plain that the meanest [lowest] believer may understand all that belongs unto his duty or is necessary unto his happiness; yet is nothing so plain but that the wisest of them all have reason to adore the depths and stores of divine wisdom in it.”5

Ask God to help you remember what you’ve read during your day and use it to change you. You don’t have to know everything or understand everything. God will powerfully use His Word in your life. Think on His lovingkindness. He will help us. Let us honor Him.

We have thought on Your lovingkindness, O God,
In the midst of Your temple.
As is Your name, O God,
So is Your praise to the ends of the earth;
Your right hand is full of righteousness.
Psalm 48:9–10 LSB

For a brief overview of the structure and poetry of Psalms see my post, The Five Books of Psalms.
Silvesterzug Laterne: Bk muc. (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Lamb: Site has now been deleted.
1,3Geoffrey Thomas, Reading the Bible (The Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle PA: 1980) 19, 22.
2hāgâ, Psalm 1:2, HELPS Lexicon, The Discovery Bible. Retrieved 04 January 2023.
4Years ago when I first started marking a Bible passage this way, I knew it as manuscript Bible study. Since then I’ve been in numerous Bible studies of Precept Ministries, and marking key words is a hallmark of their studies.
5John Owen, The Works of John Owen, edited by Rev. William H. Goold, Vol. IV (Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle PA: 1967) 192.

I’m using Michael Coley’s Bible reading plan (one page PDF to print) to read through the Bible in 2023. Each day my posts are on different books because he divides Bible readings into seven categories, one for each day of the week: Epistles, The Law, History, Psalms, Poetry, Prophecy and Gospels. There’s more information on his plan and other ones at Read the Bible in 2023.

Copyright ©2011–2023 Iwana Carpenter

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