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Wordwise Insight, Issue #043
July 14, 2008

WORDWISE INSIGHT is the free monthly newsletter of


BIBLE INSIGHTS (and Reader Q & A): Psalm One; Violent Psalms

MEDIATIONS ON OUR HYMNS: Is My Name Written There?

MORE ARTICLES: God's Plan of Salvation; Assurance of Salvation



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LIKE TO ASK A QUESTION? On a Bible topic or passage of Scripture? Or one about a hymn or gospel song? Click on Questions from You.



The first psalm is a wisdom psalm, dealing primarily with the temporal effects of living as a godly or ungodly person. But especially in the case of the latter, the psalmist shows there are eternal consequences to be faced at the end of the road as well (vs. 5-6). (And there are fundamentally only two roads from which to choose, cf. Matt. 7:13-14.)

Life is a matter of believing, behaving, and belonging. For the righteous, this describes his relationship to God and His Word. For the wicked, the pattern is the same, but different beliefs lead to different behaviour, and an identification with a distinctly different group. The initial point of divergence is what a person believes–what he delights in and meditates upon. Above all, then, let that be the inspired, infallible Word of the living God. The terminal effect of our choice will be either growth and fruitfulness, or waste and irretrievable loss, either prosperity or perishing, life or death.

Vs. 1-2. Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.
“Blessed”–meaning enriched, contented, and fulfilled–is the one who delights in the Word of God (vs. 2). It is a plural word, this first word of the psalter. It might be translated, “O the blessednesses of...!” And of course the opening declaration means more than taking pleasure in the Bible as a piece of literature, or as a book of formulas guiding religious ritual. This is far more than an intellectual approach to the Scriptures, as one might treat Homer or Shakespeare. The promise is given to the one who lives a Bible-centred life. The same word...

To see the full article, click on Current Articles.


QUESTION: Some of the psalms seem to be downright nasty, asking God to do terrible things to certain people (like break their teeth)! How does this square with "God is love"?

ANSWER: What you are looking at are what are known as the imprecatory [IM-pre-ca-tory] psalms (psalms of cursing). Several of the psalms belong in this category (Ps. 35, 52, 55, 58, 59, 79, 109, and 137), though Psalm 109 is perhaps chief among them. William MacDonald calls it "the king of the imprecatory psalms." He notes, "No other calls down the judgment of God with such distilled vitriol or with such comprehensive detail." These passages are cries for the vengeance of God to be meted out against His enemies–who are therefore also the enemies of the righteous.

The Bible certainly contains both, blessings and cursings, the grace of God, and the wrath of God are plainly revealed there. Interestingly, the royal anthem honouring the Queen of England combines both a prayer for God's blessing on the monarch, and a strongly worded call for His judgment on her enemies. The song begins, "God save our gracious Queen; / Long live our noble Queen..." but later moves on to, "O Lord, our God, arise, / Scatter her enemies, / And make them fall; / Confound their politics, / Frustrate their knavish tricks, / On Thee our hopes we fix, / O save us all."

That being noted, the tone of the imprecatory psalms is disturbing to some, and several explanations have been offered for them.

1) If one rejects the inspiration of Scripture, these may be seen as simply ancient rants of less than perfect men. The present writer, however, is convinced the Word of God is verbally inspired and trustworthy. We cannot simply shrug of the imprecatory psalms as the result of human bigotry and temper tantrums...

To see the full article, click on Current Articles.


No Reservations!

The telephone has made it simple to book accommodations at a distant place when we travel. But given that we are dealing with imperfect human beings, such services are not always reliable. Mistakes can be made. I recall that happening on a trip my wife and I made, several years ago. When we arrived, there were no reservations recorded in our name, in spite of the fact that I had been assured on the phone that there would be. It was only after driving wearily from one place to another, and still another, that we finally found a bed for the night.

Praise the Lord, He does not keep records in a careless and uncertain fashion! Heaven's record books about our lives are both accurate and scrupulously thorough. In particular, there is one book whose contents should concern us above all others. It is called "The Book of Life." That book is mentioned eight times in the New Testament. Once, it is called "the Lamb's Book of Life"--the book belonging to the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ (Rev. 21:27).

Jesus speaks of the importance of having our names being "written in heaven" (Lk. 10:20). That addresses the vital function of the Book. It is a listing of those, from the beginning to the end of time, who have been granted eternal salvation. We must be certain that, when we are called to stand before the Lord, our names will be found in the Lamb's Book of Life.

The issue concerned Mary Kidder years ago. Born Mary Ann Pepper (1820-1905), it is said she was blinded in her teens, but slowly recovered her sight. And she lived most of her life in New York City. We know little more about her, except that she had a gift for...

For the remainder of this hymn story, see "Is My Name Written There" in Current Articles.


Here are two articles that have to do with God's great plan of salvation. Whether you are a seeker wondering how to be saved eternally, or a Christian wanting a review of this important subject, you should find some help here.

Plan of Salvation

Assurance of Salvation

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