Psalm 103 – Moses

Psalm 103:6 He (the Lord) made known His ways to Moses and His deeds to the people Moses_Pleading_with_Israelof Israel. (NIV)

My study note on this verse was – Why not Abraham or Jacob/Israel? That was several years ago but as I began to study Psalm 103 that question nagged me again. Why did God wait to show “His ways” to a man? Why Moses and not the Father of Faith – Abraham or Jacob, Joseph, or Judah?

Why did David single out Moses as having been shown the “ways of God?” I mean Abraham had gotten a promise and a covenant from God and had been shown favor so why Moses? I am going to digress here a moment and think about the relations these men had with God. In Exodus 6: 2- 5 God said that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob knew Him as El-Shaddai (the God who pours out His riches because of His grace) thinking about these men they were blessed. Yes, they were tested, had trials and even messed-up but they were blessed because of God’s grace. However, in the same verses, God said He had not shown them the Jehovah (the One Who promised them deliverance because of His divine control) side of His nature. This part was for Moses and the children of Israel to experience.

Both Abraham and Moses experienced visits with God. In Genesis 12:7, 17:1, and 18:1 God “appeared” to Abraham; at first I thought of a vision like he had in chapter 15:1. But according to Strong’s Concordance “appear” carries the context of something literally seen. Moses also had “visits” in the burning bush (Exodus 3), the heavenly dinner party (Exodus 24), and the times in the cloud on the mountain.

Both men had conversions with God but it seems that Moses wrote things down while Abraham passed things on orally. Before the event that is talked about in Psalm 103, which is Exodus 33:13, Moses had written a Book of the Covenant (Exodus 24: 7).

So now to the question as to why God’s ways were revealed to Moses – Moses asked! Exodus 33:13 records the conversation Moses had with God. The NIV states it this way, The Path“If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know You.” The context here is important because in verse 12 Moses is talking about leading the people. “Ways” means a highway or well-traveled path so with a little play on words Moses is asking for two things in this passage – physical direction and spiritual knowledge. (See study on Paths and Ways). A lesson here for leaders, you need to ask to know God’s ways.

Comparison of Psalm 14 and 53

Is there a deep spiritual significance to having two nearly identical Psalms in the Bible?  – No, not that I could find but I think it is kind of neat. They appear in two different parts or books within Psalms. The first “book” goes from #1 to # 41 and the second “book” is #42 to #72. The books end with “Amen and Amen” and #72 announces, “This concludes the prayers of David son of Jesse.”

Psalm 14For the director of music. Of David. The fool says in his heart,  “There is no God.”They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
there is no one who does good.

The Lord looks down from heaven
on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
any who seek God.
All have turned away, all have become corrupt;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.

Do all these evildoers know nothing?

They devour my people as though eating bread;
they never call on the Lord.
But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,
 for God is present in the company of the righteous.
You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor,
    but the Lord is their refuge.

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the Lord restores his people,
let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!

Psalm 53

For the director of music. According to mahalath. Amaskil of David.

The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and their ways are vile;
there is no one who does good.

God looks down from heaven
on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
any who seek God.
Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good,
not even one.

Do all these evildoers know nothing?

They devour my people as though eating bread;
they never call on God.
But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,
where there was nothing to dread.
God scattered the bones of those who attacked you; you put them to shame, for God despised them.

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When God restores his people,
let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!

You have to wonder if David changed the music with #53?  Did the change from Jehovah (Lord) in #14 to Elohim (God) change how it was sung or were they for different types of worship services or a special occasion? Jehovah means “The Eternal” and Elohim means “Supreme God” of the two I would think that Psalm 14 might be the more formal one.

I am guessing Psalm 52 and 53 were written after 1 Samuel 22 when Doeg the Edomite killed the priest. I think that time period would have given David a lot of inspiration to write several psalms. (Please see the blogs on David, LORDWhen Psalms Were Written and Jacob/Israel )  There is also a study on Psalm 60 and 108.

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