Cover to Cover
In verse 10, Paul says, “Men, I perceive…” and spoke of upcoming disaster to the ship, the cargo, and lives. The Bible says sailing was dangerous because “The Fast” was over. The fast referred to the Day of Atonement in late September or early October. This season was also a season for storms.
Did Paul think there would be trouble simply because of the season? The Bible says Paul “perceived” it would happen. Paul’s perception was a “knowing” in his spirit. He had what we might call a “gut feeling.” Some call it a “sixth sense.” Have you ever experienced that gut feeling that something wasn’t right? Have you ever experienced an “intuition” that you should do or not do something? That sense of knowing is your inward part, the spirit, telling you or warning you of something.
The centurion sought advice from the professionals, and just from their natural mind, they encouraged him to make it to Crete and then to spend the winter there. The centurion listened to the professionals instead of the man of God.
In verse 14, a wind called Euroclydon, or Euraquilon, rose up. It was a northeaster wind that caused broad waves. They lost navigation. The wind drove the boat to the island of Clauda, or Cauda. For three days they fought the storm. They secured the ship; they lightened the load- they did all they could to stay alive.
In verse 21, we read that Paul had been fasting. Paul had been praying and fasting, asking God for help. An angel appeared to Paul and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar.” God’s purpose was going to keep Paul alive, as well as the men around him. If not for PURPOSE, the decision to sail was a decision that would have caused an end to their lives. In saying so, the men would be witness to the word of God coming to pass.
Psalm 50 is a psalm of Asaph, a skilled musician and song writer. Psalm 50 speaks of God as an all-encompassing God, as said when mentioning both the heavens and the earth. He speaks of his greatness in owning all the animals. I don’t think God gets hungry, but He says that if He did, He wouldn’t be coming to us for help – He’s God! We need HIM, not the other way around. We sacrifice to Him because we need His forgiveness; He doesn’t need ours. We are the ones who call out to Him in trouble; God doesn’t call out to us for help. The psalm is God telling people to remember Him and fear (reverence) Him because of His authority and power of them.
Psalm 51 was written by David after Nathan confronted him about his sins in taking Bathsheba from her home and committing adultery with her and in the planned killing of her husband, Uriah. This was a psalm that David wrote and gave to the chief musician for public use, being transparent with those underneath his authority about his sin and his heart of true repentance.
In Psalm 51:4, David wrote, “Against You, YOU ONLY, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight- that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge.” It isn’t that David is saying he did nothing that hurt this married couple, because he did. I can’t imagine the grief Bathsheba could have felt for the loss of her husband. Uriah lost his life, leaving a young wife as a widow. Uriah most likely had family, a mother, father, siblings, and extended family that mourned his passing. The Bible isn’t clear about Bathsheba’s role –whether she was innocent, being flirtatious, consenting, or unconsenting – we just don’t know. David did hurt people, but in verse 4, he acknowledged God was his judge.
Paul quotes Psalm 51:4 in Romans 3:4 concerning the righteous nature of God. He is the one who makes the decision on whether or not to pardon the sinner.
In verse 7, David mentions being cleansed with hyssop. Hyssop is an herb associated with purification (Numbers 19:6). He also asks God to wash him. The Hebrew word for “wash” is the kind where clothes were cleaned through pounding them against a rock. David wanted a thorough cleansing.
David’s desire for cleansing was not just to escape punishment, but to continue in God’s Presence and in the anointing of the Holy Spirit. His motives were to keep intimacy with God and be effective as a minister of the power of God. He wanted to know the joy of God’s grace. He wanted to be upheld in God’s strength. He wanted the opportunity to teach and reach others for the Lord.
In verse 14, David asks to be freed from guilt. One horrific result of sin is guilt. There is also shame of what we’ve become and fear of being rejected and punished. Only God can lift these feelings and give us the peace and joy that comes from His righteousness.
Under the old covenant, God asked for animal sacrifice to cover sins, but David goes beyond sacrifice, understanding God wants David’s heart of repentance. (verses 16-17).
If you have ever sinned, know there is forgiveness with God when we come to him with a humble heart.
Psalm 52 was written by David when Doeg the Edomite revealed his location to King Saul, who sought to take David’s life. David was not killed, but many innocent priests where murdered (1 Samuel 22:9-23). David writes about God’s deliverance and peace.
In verse 5, David speaks about the wicked as being uprooted. When something is uprooted, any strength is removed. Anything you’ve worked hard over time to grow is taken down. Anything that had your trust is now gone. In contrast, David says in verse 8 that he is like a green (flourishing) olive tree in the house of God. His trust is not in himself; it’s in God (verse 8). The illustration of the tree in the courtyard of the temple area, is David relying on God in faith, cherishing God’s presence, and being planted in a relationship with God. What a poetic way to illustrate our dependent faith in God – a tree planted in Him!