Home > Bible Study, C. H. Spurgeon, S. Lewis Johnson > Great Teachings from the Psalms

Great Teachings from the Psalms


Some really good Bible teachings come from the Psalms, that collection that I once thought of as “mere” devotional, poetry material — good for reading one a day, but no further study.  Even the original Horner Bible Reading Plan has the Psalms in a 150 day list, reading only one per day — yet has other wisdom books in shorter lists.  My modified Horner Bible Reading plan includes two Psalms per day, and cycling back through every 85 days (allowing ten days to read through Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon), a much better way to approach the Psalms as on par with the other reading lists.

The music ministry group George and Kathy Abbas recently came to the local church, for a Wednesday night much better than most.  In addition to singing many scripture songs, they emphasized the importance of daily feeding on God’s word, continual reading and study of God’s word, and all the wonderful benefits from doing so (a message seldom heard at this church, and so well needed for the people there).  These ideas, along with the scripture songs, come especially from verses in the Psalms.  I don’t know all their theological beliefs (other than Baptist and Sovereign Grace), as to where they stand concerning such things as creation, Israel, and the Second Coming; but certainly they did a better job of teaching the value of reading and treasuring the Bible as God’s word, a vast improvement over the usual at this church.

My recent sermon studies have included two with texts from the Psalms:  S. Lewis Johnson (Psalm 16), and Charles Spurgeon (Psalm 91:5).  Johnson’s “Lessons from the Life of David” intersected with Resurrection Sunday in 1991, and the result was a break from the study of 2 Samuel to look at “David and the Resurrection,” from David’s words in Psalm 16.  It’s not a traditional Easter Sunday text, but certainly does fit, for David indeed did understand something of the resurrection, and spoke of the coming Messiah, He of whom it would be true that “you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.”

Another great sermon from the Psalms is Spurgeon’s #124, “The Snare of the Fowler.”  Here, Spurgeon observed the features of the “fowler,” Satan’s ways of trapping believers, and the wonderful promise that God will deliver us from the snare: sometimes by keeping us from it (reference Joseph and Potiphar’s wife, Genesis 39), and sometimes, when we have been caught in it, by rescuing us out of it.  Some of the great words of Spurgeon:

The snare of the fowler is generally noted for its adaptation. You do not find a fowler setting the same snare for one bird as for another. He knows his bird and he adapts his bait to it. He would be an unwise fowler who should go to work with the same machinery to catch the lark that flies on high as the duck that swims long the stream.

The fowler is wiser than that—he adapts his snare to the condition of the bird which he desires to take.  Satan the fowler does just the same. There is one man here. He tempts him to drunkenness. Perhaps that would naturally be his sin if left without grace in his heart. And Satan knowing it to be his weak point attempts to overcome him by surfeiting, gluttony and drunkenness. Another man is utterly impervious to any temptation to that bestial habit but, it may be, he is easily taken in another snare—the snare of lust. Therefore Satan adapts his temptation to the hot blood of the man who naturally would be inclined to live a life of sin.

Another one perhaps eschews every lascivious and sensual habit—then Satan comes to him and adapts his temptation to the shape of pride. The man is naturally a melancholy man, fond of solitude—Satan gets him, if he can, to wrap himself up in a solitary dignity, to say, “I am holy.” “Lord, I thank you, I am not as other men are.” . . . Oh, how often it happens, Beloved, that you and I condemn a thing in another person which we allow in ourselves, perhaps without knowing it. We say of such an one, How proud he is! Well, our pride is not exactly of that shape. We have got another shaped pride but the same article, labeled differently but the same thing.  Satan adapts the pride to each particular case. We are rich—he does not perhaps tempt us to the pride of riches but he tempts us to the pride of mastership and makes us harsh masters to our servants. Or if he does not tempt us to that pride, he perhaps enchants us with the pride of generosity and we are apt to boast of our kindness and of what we have given away.

Later Spurgeon describes the case of a believing young woman who married an unbeliever and over the years was led away from God to enjoy the pleasures of this life.  Then after many years, God took away each of her children and then her husband, and thus delivered her out of the fowler’s snare:

From the wife and mother her husband and all her children were now taken away. Reason returned and she was led to reflection. She saw her dreadful backslidings, her pride, her rebellion. And she wept with the tears of a deep repentance. Peace was restored to her soul. Then would she lift up her hands to Heaven, exclaiming, ‘I thank you, O Father!—the Lord has given, the Lord has taken away and blessed be the name of the Lord.’ Thus did her afflictions yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness.  Her Heavenly Father had chastened her, “not for His pleasure but for her profit, that she might become partaker of His holiness.

So God delivered her soul out of the snare of the fowler. She started afresh in the ways of righteousness, serving God with diligence and zeal and growing up in His fear. By trouble and trial, by some means or another, God will surely deliver His people out of the snare of the fowler, even when they are in it.

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