May 23


Psalms 55-61

We are in the Wisdom Stream and using the New International Version this week. | @7StreamsMethod | @serenatravis | #7Streams

Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Thank you Lord for being with us, for hearing us, for stepping in for us and defending us even and especially when things are at their worst. You truly are our Savior.  Amen
Today’s run of Psalms is like trouncing through a jungle, escaping the lion to encounter the huge snake, then running into an angry gorilla, and then the demented explorer who sic’s the blood-thirsty warriors on you so you run to a “Tarzan vine” that allows you to swing over and narrowly escape across the pirhana-infested river so you can have a moments rest with … the Lord!  “whew”  Somehow the Lord brought David through harrowing times like this for years on end.
55 – David is pleading for a reply and some relief. He is in anguish, and distraught with terror and worse. Things are bad. Oh, would he love to fly away. David longs to flee back to the desert – probably because it reminds him of peaceful sheep tending during his youth. His prayer for the destruction of his enemies is warranted. And what is compounding matters is that the enemy in this case was once a close companion and believer along with David as they worshiped together – that was then. Now he’s turned on David.  Honestly it sounds like Ahithophel the wretch whom we [red] read about last week. This cut David deep. II Samuel 15 is the narrative that triggered this particular prayer from David.  Amazing that David ends this Psalm, “cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain … as for me, I trust in you.”
56 – This Psalm corresponds with the story from I Sam. 21 when David was being “held” in Gath.  He is being resourceful, thinking quickly on his feet so to speak. And it is of note that his most intense interaction during this time in Gath is with his God.  The timing is intriguing (since you asked!), David is frightened in Gath; I Samuel 21:10-15. He prays this Ps. 56 here, then he escapes unscathed and then prays Psalm 34 to give thanks for delivery.  He is walking with God whatever “jungle” he finds himself in, doesn’t he?
57 – David is hiding in a cave when he writes this Psalm – I Sam. 22 coincides with this prayer. I Sam 24 and 26 are similarly tense for David and David is saying in so many words, “God all I have is you. I cannot count on anyone else.”  Interesting that David killed a lion and a bear perhaps in this same region and he likens those who are chasing him now to lions and ravenous beasts [MEN this time!] whose teeth are actual spears and arrows.  Still David’s heart is steadfast on God, he is praising, knows of God’s great love and David is in worship.
58 – David is especially bothered that the judges and rulers of this era are akin to poison on the land. He wishes that they would befallen upon their own wickedness and things would change quickly. He wants them to have no descendants to carry on the wrong doing.  They were as dangerous for the country of Israel as a lion prowling through a village with children playing outside. David just wants all the rulers who have a corrupted soul to vanish and David uses colorful illustrations to portray the depth of his desire to see them gone.
59 – This Psalm and I Sam.19 is the concurrent literature.  Saul tried to drill David through with a spear (for Saul, btw, this was an “indoor sport” that he was quite unsuccessful at).  Again, the spear stuck in the wall and David fled for his life.  So Saul sent soldiers after David. It was a recurring game of tag where ‘winner takes all’. We remember the crazed excitement of playing tag as children, don’t we?  Well this is just as exciting and it is gone way past being a game. Losing/getting caught was not an option. Yet David is very much on the run and very much filled with faith and trust.  David prays for deliverance and that is what happens.  The “howling dogs” are not victorious. David is victorious because his God is.
60 – was written during a moment when the battles David was embroiled in were not going so well. Thankfully it was a brief enough stint and God responded quickly to David’s discouraged cry.  II Sam. 8 -somewhere during this chapter- was the setting of the prayer of David here. And God responded as we can see in II Sam. 8:14 wherein God granted victory to David wherever he went.
61 – The Psalm opens with a song that is sung even today. You probably remember the melody. .It is most likely that David wrote this when he was “in flight”, far from home, and running from the pesky Absalom who had gone evil as a maniac.  David longed to be home in the house of God and in worship there again.  It would come. David’s faith was anchored forever.  It’s interesting, whether we realize day to day or not, but our prayers and the Psalms are basically assisting us to walk with God like David did.  He is a sterling example for this. We need to be spending our lives in the Psalms.

May 16


Psalms 49-54

We are in the Wisdom Stream today. Dr. Drake is covering for Serena who is out with laryngitis. We are reading from the Common English Bible this week. | @7StreamsMethod | @serenatravis | #7Streams | @drakewtravis

Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

God we thank you for the strength, courage and we can draw from these Psalms. These are common men you engaged to have them later speak to us. Thank you.  You lived in them. You live in us. Therefore let us be strengthened in the joy of the Lord. Amen

Psalm 49 – opens with a herald of “hear ye, hear ye …”  It’s a memo of all hearts, young/old, rich/poor, wise/fool.  These Sons of Korah (the writers) reverence God and fear nothing in this world. The one thing that always wins on this earth; and has the last say is the grave. All are headed there. So of all the things we are to hope in ultimately is that God will redeem and take us to himself. This hope supersedes all hopes. Riches, wisdom, time – the things that most people spend their lives trying to gain are all destined to pass with us.  So look to God for redemption.
50 – Here is another Psalm that was sung in the Temple. It certainly is regal. God does what He does in all His natural glory and magnificent splendor. God speaks and gathers His own. Amid all He does, God is mindful of us. It’s like in this Psalm, He is stopping in to assure and encourage us to keep living for Him, remaining thankful, and honoring Him – for He delivers us from trouble. As for the wicked: The total opposite awaits them. The are unteachable, they steal, visit whores, lie, cheat, even bash their own families! They better reckon and walk right or God will tear them to pieces —> with no one to rescue.
51 – David’s soul has hit bottom (though he was at the top of his world). There wasn’t an army he couldn’t beat, a territory he couldn’t attain, he was honored over the known world. Then during some “down time”, he stole a man’s wife. When he gets rebuked for it, he confesses and repents. We read this story in the history stream last week; II Sam.11&12 . Of all the great things David did, one wise old preacher said, that this prayer, this confession from Ps. 51 was David’s greatest move. He wants mercy and a renewed relationship with God. David knows about God’s unfailing love and He calls upon that love with all earnestness. David’s broken spirit IS his sacrifice to God. This Psalm that David was transparent enough to utter, has been and still is, an inspiration to billions of Believers throughout all time.
52 – David had learned that an Edomite; Doeg had run and told Saul about David’s whereabouts and thus Saul resumed his heated chase to find and kill David.  Well David has a word for Doeg-the-tattler and we find it here in Psalm 52.  The setting of this writing was in I Sam. 21:7 and 22:9.  Doeg’s presence was incidental but his obvious commitment to Saul over David is found out and is therefore what birthed this harsh word against him. God would ruin Doeg for this, though David would continue to thrive.
53 – Could this Psalm be called “The Tune of The Athiests”?  The Hebrews knew all about this concept that God’s goodness is followed or there is no good found anywhere because man on earth does not manufacture goodness. This phrasing is quoted near verbatim in Psalm 14, Paul says these words 1K/yrs later in Romans 3:10-12.  It’s the other end of the spectrum from modern-day pagans and New Agers who we may find chanting, “visualize smiles and loving worlds…visualize random kindness!” [poof]  The godless turn out to be hollow and fearful and they end up scattered.
54 – This Psalm, as in #52, is written in response to people giving away David’s location to Saul. This time it was the people of Ziph (far SE of Jerusalem). You can brief that at your leisure in I Sam. 26. David’s reaction is to call to God (as he always does) to be saved, defended, and heard in his prayers.  The contrast of the lives and spirit of those who are against God and of those who are for God is so stark. David again ends up victorious in triumph.

May 9


Psalms 42-48

We are in the Wisdom Stream and beginning Book 2 of 5 in the Psalms. We are using the Easy-to-Read Version this week. | @7StreamsMethod | @serenatravis | #7Streams

Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Lord, we thank you for these prayers that remind us of your goodness and our need for you in our lives every day, every step.  Amen.
Today we start in book Two.  Psalms is divided into five “books” and 1-41 is book One. Here we begin with the second.  We read today about the Sons of Korah.  Just so you know, these were a family of Levites, a musical group, a team or guild if you will, that David had assembled to bolster the atmosphere of worship for the Israelites.

42, 43 – These two actually form one poem.  It’s the longing cry/prayer of one who wants to get back into God’s presence; into the Temple again for worship. He’s away from Jerusalem, feeling in exile up north and east – east of the Jordan.  The locals are hostile toward him and he is caught up in a full effort to cheer himself again.  Vv. 42:5,6,11 and 43:5 are used in a familiar worship song, (from a different translation) it is sung, “why so downcast oh my soul? Put your hope in God…”  Throughout these two Psalms, The Sons of Korah are longing, quizzing and encouraging themselves so to cheer up, lamenting the cruelty of others, calling for God to come quickly, and reminding themselves of His goodness. It may sound like they are “all over the place”, but this is appropriate and applicable because so are our lives and so are we on a regular basis.

44 – The army has paused to call on God during a rough time amid a battle.  They pause to reflect and assert that it is God in Heaven who always gave the victory in Israel’s history. And they know this.  At current they are trying to see the light when it seeeems to be snuffing out. They are feeling at a loss, they are getting pushed back by enemies and they are calling on God to guide the way, to act quickly, to show and help them get moving forward in this battle again. They pray this way because they do not want to go into complete despair.
45 – is the wedding song of a king. It seems to be multifaceted in that the King before us while this is written is either David or Solomon. They talk of regality, beauty, handsomeness, victory but it does seem to go ethereal in that it sounds like Revelation 19:7 and the marriage of the Bride to the Lamb which is of God. This is an event that is going to be thousands of years away. The inspiration that transforms into ambiguity adds intrigue and an alluring passion that keeps the reading and the discussion of this Psalm very much alive … for 3000 years so far !
46 – When in trouble from enemies or natural disasters, it is God who protects and gives peace.  God indeed can conquer anything and therefore we will run to him for our covering.  It is noted that Martin Luther drew much comfort and reassurance from this Psalm during the Reformation of the 1500’s [A.D.]
47,48 –  like 42 and 43, these two Psalms read like a verses 1 and 2 segment of the same Psalm, though they’re also numbered as two separate Psalms.  The worship is breaking into rhapsody, come 47!  The Lord is King, He loves Jacob and descendants, this land of Zion,  (He rules the whole world too.)     The Lord is great; so great. He has drawn people the world over to His city.  God defends this city against any foe. God in Jerusalem is cause for elation.  It is greater than can be described. Just walk through and all around Zion and experience Him. This is the invitation here.