Psalm 144

144:0There seem to be two different psalms here. Verses 1-11 may be words that David prayed before he fought Goliath. This is what some Jewish Bible students think. The story of David and Goliath is in 1 Samuel chapter 17. Verses 12-15 are words that someone prayed for God's people.

Both parts of the psalm have the word ‘bless’ in them. But the word means something different in each part.

– In verses 1-11, David blesses God. This means he praises God, (or tells him that he is very great);

– In verses 12-15, someone prays that God will bless God's people. Maybe this someone was David. Here, bless means ‘send plenty of good, strong children.’ Not only human children, but cows, sheep and food-plants also.

We know that the people in verses 12-15 are God's people. We know that because the psalmist uses the word ‘LORD.’ The psalmist is the person who wrote the psalm. He wrote it in the Hebrew language. The word ‘LORD’ is a special word for God. Some people translate it ‘Yahweh.’ It is the covenant name for God. A covenant is when two people (or groups of people) agree. God agrees to love and send help to his people. His people agree to love and obey God.

We Bless God and God Blesses Us!

This is a psalm of David.

1 LORD, I bless you! You are my Rock!

You prepared my hands for war.

You taught my fingers to fight.

2 You give me your kind love.

You are my fortress.

You are like a strong place that you can take me to.

You are a shield that keeps me safe.

You make my people obey me.

144:2Verses 1 and 2 make us think about Psalm 18. Psalm 18:2 tells us that God is like David's rock, his fortress, and his shield. God is like David's rock because David can ‘build’ his life on God. A rock will not move if there is trouble. In the same way, God will not move. He will always be there to send help. A fortress is a strong building. People are safe in a fortress. In the same way, people are safe with God. So ‘like a strong place’ is the same as ‘like a fortress.’ A shield was what soldiers held over their bodies. It stopped their enemies hitting them. Some Bible students think that ‘my people’ should be ‘foreign people.’ Maybe both are true.

3 LORD, why do you want to know about people?

Why do you think about them?

4 People are just like the wind.

They are just like a shadow that passes.

144:4Verses 3 and 4 ask questions. People are like wind – they soon die away. So why does God interest himself in them? The answer is in verse 2. It is because of God's kind love to people. This is the love that never stops. It never stops, even when we do not obey God.

5 LORD, open your heavens and come down to earth.

Touch the mountains so that they give out smoke.

6 Send flashes of lightning to frighten your enemies.

Shoot your arrows and destroy them.

144:6Verses 5-6 again make us think about Psalm 18. Psalm 18:7-19 tells us that God came to help David in a great storm. The heavens are where God lives. Flashes of lightning are the lights in the sky in a great storm. A bow shoots arrows, (sharp bits of wood). But here the arrows are flashes of lightning.

7 Put your hand down from high in the heavens.

Take me from the dangerous waters.

Make me safe from the hands of foreign people.

8 Their mouths speak lies.

Even when they make a promise, they are saying a lie.

144:8Verses 7-8 (and 11) talk about foreign people. If Jewish Bible students are right, then these must be the Philistines. Goliath was a Philistine. ‘Lies’ are words that are not true. The Hebrew Bible does not say, ‘when they make a promise.’ It says, ‘they have false right hands.’ We think that people lifted up their right hands to make a promise. Here, they were not telling the truth. They had ‘false right hands.’

9 I will sing to you a new song, God.

I will make music to you on a ten-stringed harp.

10 You give help to kings to win their wars.

Save your servant David from death by a sword.

144:10Verses 9-10 David prays for help (maybe against Goliath and the Philistines). If God saves David from death by the sword, David will make music to the LORD. A sword is a long, sharp knife that soldiers use to kill people with. The ‘ten-stringed harp’ made music.

11 Make me safe from the hands of foreign people.

Their mouths speak lies.

Even when they make a promise, they are saying a lie.

12 I pray that, when they are young,

our sons will be like strong plants.

I pray that our daughters will be beautiful,

like parts of the wall of a great house.

13 I pray that you, LORD,

will fill the places where we store many different foods.

I pray that our sheep will have thousands of young sheep.

Then there will be tens of thousands of them in our fields.

14 I pray that our cows will have good health.

I pray that none of them will be sick or have abortions.

I pray that none of them will cry aloud in our fields.

15 If this happens, then God has blessed our people.

If the LORD is their God, then God will bless people.

144:15Verses 12-15 pray that God will bless his people. This means that:

– Their children will be strong and beautiful;

– Their animals will have good health and many young animals;

– Their plants will give plenty of food.

‘Abortions’, in verse 14, is when someone has a baby before the right time. Then the baby is born dead. Some Bible students think that it does not mean ‘abortions.’ They think that it means ‘knock down our walls, so that we cry aloud in our streets.’