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Monday, December 4th, 2023
the First Week of Advent
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 138

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-8

Psalms 138:1-8 :

I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee. I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy loving-kindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name ( Psalms 138:1-2 ).

Here David is expressing his praise unto the Lord. Praising God with a whole heart, praising God for His loving-kindness, His truth, and for His Word, that God has magnified His Word above His name. Now, in all the earth there is no name like the name of God.

In the Old Testament times, the Jews held this name in such high esteem that they would never pronounce the name of God. They felt that no human lips were worthy to pronounce His name. And it came to pass that as they would copy the scriptures, when they came to the name of God, they would only copy the consonants, leaving out the vowels, so that a person would not even pronounce the name in his mind as he was reading because just the consonants were unpronounceable. And so in reading of the scriptures, when they would come to this name of God, they would just bow their head and worship. Now as we've gone through the Psalms, you've noticed how often it says, "Thy name, O Lord, is above all the earth." "Thy name, O Lord, is to be magnified. Thy name." And all of the emphasis that was put upon the name of God. "The name of the Lord is a high tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe" ( Proverbs 18:10 ).

And so they would just put consonants, Y-H-V-H. Try and pronounce it. It's impossible to pronounce. They left out the vowels deliberately so that people would not be tempted to pronounce the name. This was never required of God. This was just sort of something that man by religious tradition picked up on. There are a lot of things that God does not require. Men have just made them religious traditions. And so we follow in the religious traditions of man things that are not necessarily commands or even desires or wishes of God. Man always has to make some kind of religious hocus-pocus out of things, rather than just taking it straight as God dished it out.

And so we do not know for sure the exact pronunciation, but it is thought to be Yahweh. There are some who say Yahovah. And there is theological debate on what is the correct pronunciation, whether it be Yahovah or Yahweh. It seems that Yahovah is more recent type of a pronunciation dating from maybe the sixteenth century and that Yahweh is indeed the correct pronunciation for the name of God. We don't know, but Yah is the contracted form. They would refer to as Yah. And thus, there were many names that had this Yah in it. Yahosaphat, Joshua, Yashua, actually, our Yashua. And this Yashua, the contracted form of Yahweh is salvation, is the name Jesus in Greek. So He was given one of the names of God, Yashua, Jehovah is become our salvation.

Now in the New Testament, we read that, "God has given to Him," that is, Jesus Christ, "the name that is above all names. That at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord, to the glory of God the Father" ( Philippians 2:10-11 ). A name above all names.

Yet, as important as is the name of Jesus, as glorious as is the name of Jesus, yet God has honored His Word. "Thou has magnified Thy Word above even Thy name." Now, as I say, there's nothing more important than the name of God, and yet, He has put His Word even above the name, as far as magnifying His Word. Jesus said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My Word shall never pass away" ( Luke 21:33 ). We need also to honor the Word of God, even as He has honored it.

In the day [the psalmist said] when I cried you answered me, and you strengthened me with strength in my soul. All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, when they hear the words of thy mouth ( Psalms 138:3-4 ).

And so referring to the Word of God.

Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the LORD: for great is the glory of the LORD. Though the LORD be high, yet he has respect to the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off ( Psalms 138:5-6 ).

Here is, again, a good example of Hebrew poetry. The contrast, "The Lord is high, yet He has great respect to the lowly. But the proud," so you have the contrast here, "He knoweth afar off."

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you will revive me: you shall stretch forth your hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me. The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endures for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands ( Psalms 138:7-8 ).

I love this verse. "The Lord will perfect that," and the word perfect is to complete. God's going to complete that which concerns me. Those things that are of concern to you in your relationship with God, God's going to take care of it. The Lord is going to perfect that which concerns me. For His mercy endures forever. And then the prayer, "Lord, don't forsake." I'm the work of His hands. "God, don't forsake the work of Your own hands." "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Psalms 138". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/psalms-138.html. 2014.
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