Israel’s destruction and deliverance (Psalms 42-72)
In Psalms 42-72 we see a great similarity with the book of Exodus. This part of the Psalms is about the destruction and deliverance of Israel. Again we hear the voice of the faithful remnant which makes us think about their stay in the mountains, Sela/Petra. Being outside of the country the remnant longs for Jerusalem, the place God choose to honour Him.
Sons of Korah
The first eight Psalms in this part are connected with the sons of Korah. They are the seed of Korah who gathered the congregation against Moses during the journey in the wilderness (Num. 16). Korah perished from among the congregation, but his children were saved (Num. 26:11). Their presence is a continuous indication of the mercy of God for the people, the more because they are given an important place in the Temple service with regard to the music. We read in these first eight Psalms a deep desire for God as it shows in Psalm 42:2: “My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” Here, we hear the voice of the faithful remnant that desires the Temple where one can appear in the presence of God. In the 44th Psalm we read about the destruction and misery that has come over the people and the repeated call for deliverance from the LORD. This Deliverer is described in Psalm 45 where we meet the King, the Messiah in His glory with the coming queen, Israel. In Hebrews 1 a passage from this Psalm is quoted to show that Jesus is the Son of God. In the next Psalm we read about the deliverance wrought by the LORD. Through Him, wars that always have affected and will affect Israel will end (Ps. 46:10). At that time, a faithful, delivered people will glorify the King (Ps. 47:7) and Jerusalem will have reached her destiny as ‘the city of the great King’ (Ps. 48:3).
In Psalm 49 the sons of Korah are warned not to trust in wealth, because none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him (Ps. 49:7). We know that a much better ransom has been paid; the precious blood of our Lord Jesus (1 Pet. 1:18 and 19). What a blessing to know also that the remnant of Israel will be delivered from all their iniquities through the same blood in the near future! In Psalm 50 we read how God calls us to listen to Him. It is not about sacrifices, nor burnt offerings, but the real service to the LORD is from the heart. To the believers the promise is given that the LORD will deliver them in the day of trouble. In Psalm 51 we hear the remnant acknowledging their transgressions and pleading for the forgiveness of God. It has become clear to them that their heart must be involved (Ps. 51:19). In Psalms 52-60 we read about the enemy and the remnant. Doeg, the Edomite, whose name is mentioned in Psalms 52:2, is a picture of the greater enemy of Israel of the last days. This man murdered the servants of the LORD as the antichrist will do with the faithful believers from among the nation of Israel (Rev. 13:15). It is this man who is called a fool in Psalm 53:1. Here we get also a picture of the workers of unrighteousness who swallow up the people. The remnant though, will trust in the LORD, no matter how hard and difficult it is (Ps. 54:6 and Ps. 55:17, 23). The following four Psalms (56-59) originate from David’s distress caused by his enemies. We see in David an image of the remnant, reproached by the enemy, but trusting in Him, the Almighty God. This trust is declared in Psalm 56:4 and 11: “In God I will praise His Word…”. How precious and important is the Word of the living God. The LORD shall laugh at all the heathen in derision (acc. Ps. 2:4 and Ps. 59:8) and He will deliver His beloved (Ps. 60:5). They will inherit the Promised Land and the surrounding countries (Ps. 60:8-10). The King, sitting on the throne of David from generation on generation, is described in Psalm 61.
The next Psalms describe different situations the King has to go through before ascending the throne of David. It is This King, the LORD, the Saviour of Israel, Who will bless the people and the land so that there will be a great abundance (Ps. 65:10-14). All the earth shall worship the King and the remnant will bring offerings and pay vows to the LORD (Ps. 66:13-15). Israel being a richly blessed people, will witness of the mercy and blessing of God and look back with thankfulness to what God has done for them (Ps. 68). ‘He hath prepared of His goodness for the poor’ (Ps. 68:10). “The LORD gave the Word; great was the company of those that published it” (Ps. 68:11). When the LORD brings back the people to the land, He will return, in the midst of His people, to the place of His sanctuary (Ps. 68:24-27). Then the remnant of Israel will praise the LORD in the sanctuary in Jerusalem as is written also in Zechariah 14. In Psalm 69 we see the Saviour, Who has sunk in deep mire because of His suffering. This could be a reference to the time of God hiding Himself when His Son was being punished at the Cross for our transgressions. We read in verse 17: “And hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily”. This Psalms ends with the wonderful assurance that God will fulfil His promises to Israel. Also Psalms 70 and 71 are about the Messiah and His suffering, while the last Psalm (72) of this part speaks about the ruling of the Prince of Peace in the Messianic Kingdom.