Not all of the Psalms have “titles”, but we can quite often learn a good deal by looking at the “title” to those Psalms which do have one. The “title” of Psalm 51 is quite descriptive of that offence by David which prompted it. “A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.” (Psa 51:1) We can have no doubt as to the specific sin which the LORD used to break the heart of David nor the prophet HE used to deliver the message, causing David’s remorse and confession before the LORD.
Eleven of the Psalms are specifically addressed to the “Sons of Korah”. (42; 44-49; 84; 85; 87; 88) This is an amazing demonstration of the sovereign mercy of GOD. Korah was the ringleader of a group of men who rebelled against Moses (i.e.; GOD’s prophet) and who offered incense before the LORD which HE had not ordained. (see Num.16:1-35) GOD’s wrath was kindled against Korah, Dathan, Abiram and the two hundred fifty men who had joined themselves to them.
The LORD caused the earth to open up under the feet of these men, swallowing them up, and at the same time, striking fear into all of those who observed it. It appears that the families of Dathan and Abiram were also destroyed. (see Num.16:27-33) Yet the scriptures make specific mention of the fact that the “sons of Korah” were spared. “And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up together with Korah, when that company died, what time the fire devoured two hundred and fifty men: and they became a sign. Notwithstanding the children of Korah died not.” (Num 26:10-11) This is a perfect illustration of the LORD’s declaration of HIS good pleasure. “And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.” (Exo 33:19)
The conditionalists and prophets of free will, wish that this scripture would disappear along with Paul’s commentary on this very truth to the Corinthians. “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” (1Cor 4:7) We understand that the demonstration of HIS sovereignty in the dispensing of mercy, is but a demonstration of HIS goodness, and is in no wise predicated upon anything foreseen or observed in the recipients. When men recognize the total worthiness of all men to be destroyed, then the fact that HE would be pleased to show mercy to some, can, then, be seen not as withholding mercy from some, but rather the pouring out of mercy upon those who do not deserve it.
So, while the households of Dathan and Abiram perished, the sons of Korah were spared. It is further noted that great blessing was poured out upon Korah’s offspring as they were given the privilege of singing praises unto HIM whose grace was magnified in them, even as HIS judgment was magnified in their Patriarch. “Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.” (Psa 147:1)
The Psalmist said that “it is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD”. We are reminded that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (Jas 1:17) A man, by nature, could and would, sooner, howl at the moon than give true thanks and praise unto the MOST HIGH GOD. There is none that doeth good, there is none that seeketh after GOD, they have all gone aside in pursuit of their own way. There is a natural religion that man gravitates towards, which promotes the worship of a god or gods which suit their own imagination. David describes these men and their gods, “Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.” (Psa 115:4-8) These are “wheel chair gods”.
Men “imagine a vain thing.” (Psa 2:1) For they will worship gods which have respect unto their desires and free will and who act only according to what they will allow him to do. These gods are their servants and are much like the genie in a lamp which only has to be rubbed the right way and their wishes are granted. The “god” of present day (so called) Christianity has no power to save anyone unless they let him into their hearts, pray the right prayer, or obey his commands.
David said, “But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.” (Psa 115:3) The natural man is in total rebellion against HIM, saying; “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” (Psa 2:3) Religious men often think themselves to be in service to HIM, (and often consider it to be a most useful and proper service) even as Paul did when he was on the road to Damascus. Yet apart from the “gift” of GOD, they will never be able to praise HIM alone and will continue on their chosen path, quite content with the traditions and doctrines of their fathers, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2Tim 3:7) They will continue to despise HIM who needs nothing and waits upon no one. HE is “mighty to save” but they believe they can thwart HIS will by the exercise of their own.
Yet the true and living GOD, who is worthy of all praise, will do according to HIS will at all times. This very fact will elicit praise from those whom HE is pleased to enlighten to understand that their only hope of deliverance rests in HIS willingness to show mercy to those whom HE will. How can a ruined sinner find any help at all in a supposed god who only shows mercy to those who take the first step towards him? The scriptures are abundantly clear that it is HE who draws sinners unto HIMSELF to obtain that SALVATION which HE has provided according to HIS purpose to save that people which HE has loved with an everlasting love. This is indeed the grounds for rejoicing, praise, and thanksgiving for those so called.
“There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.” (Psa 4:6-8) David knew the answer to the question which he posed. He also knew the response which would come forth from those who have been the recipients of the manifestation of HIS goodness. ““It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High.”
The loving kindness of the inapproachable and invisible GOD has been manifested in JESUS CHRIST, our glorious REDEEMER. Can the tongues of the redeemed be silent? Must we not break forth in doxologies of praise and thanksgiving unto HIM who has shed HIS precious blood for such unworthy sinners as ourselves? It is a “good thing” to magnify HIS glorious NAME. “Praise GOD from WHOM all blessings flow. Praise HIM, all creatures here below, praise HIM above ye heavenly host, Praise FATHER, SON, and HOLY GHOST. Amen.” “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” (Rev 5:9) May HE ever be praised!mam