v15 Rulers will do what is fair
and people with good in their hearts will do the same.
v16 Who fought for me against the bad people?
Who kept me safe from the people that did wrong things?
v17 Unless the *LORD had given me help,
I would soon have gone to live in the quiet (place of death).
v18 When I thought that my feet were nearly falling,
your kind love, *LORD, kept me safe.
v19 When I was not happy in my mind,
you made me strong and happy again.
v20 Can you (ever) agree with bad rulers?
(No! Because) their rules make people sad.
v21 They join together against good people.
They say that people that have done nothing wrong must die.
v22 But the *LORD is my strong place.
And my God is a rock where I can hide and be safe.
v23 He will *punish the bad (leaders).
He will destroy them because they are so bad.
The *LORD our God will destroy them.
The Story of Psalm 94
Bible students are not sure who wrote Psalm 94 or when. Maybe David wrote it. Maybe the psalmist (person who wrote the psalm) lived just before the exile. The exile was when the army from Babylon took the *Jews (people that were born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children) away from Judah. They made them live in Babylon. 70 years later, they came home again. Perhaps the *psalmist wrote it then.
Psalms 93 - 99 are "*royal psalms". Royal describes someone who is a king. Bible students call these psalms "*royal" because they call God "king". He is the ruler (or king) of everything! But Psalm 94 is not a *royal psalm. It is between two psalms that are *royal psalms. Why is it here? Because it tells us that God will destroy kings and rulers that do not obey him. Then everyone will see that God is king!
What Psalm 94 means
Study the psalm in 4 parts:
· verses 1 - 7: the *psalmist asks God to do something about bad leaders.
· verses 8 - 11: the *psalmist tells the bad rulers this. God does see what you are doing.
· verses 12 - 15: the *psalmist describes life when rulers are good.
· verses 16 - 23: the *psalmist tells us what God has done for him.
In many verses in this psalm, you will read the word *LORD, with 4 capital letters. This translates the *Hebrew word Yahweh (or Jehovah). The *psalmist wrote Psalm 94 in the *Hebrew language. Hebrew was the language that the *Jews used. The word does not mean "master", as the English word "*lord" does. It means "always alive". It is a special word. People that have agreed to love and obey God call him "*LORD". It is the covenant name of God. People make a covenant with God when they agree to love and obey him.
In verses 1 - 7, the *psalmist is *complaining. Complaining means "saying that something is wrong". He is *complaining about the "bad people", verse 3. Who are these bad people? The bad people before the exile, when the *Jews went to Babylon, were foreign leaders. After the exile, the *Jewish leaders were the bad people. Because we do not know the date of the psalm, we say that they are all bad leaders, foreign or *Jewish. What is the *psalmist *complaining about? That God is doing nothing about it!
In verse 1 the *psalmist says, "You are a great *judge". A judge is someone that decides who is good and who is bad. Because God does nothing, the *psalmist says, "show people that you are a great *judge", verse 1. The *Hebrew word for "great *judge" really means "*punish bad people". Because God is *judge of all the earth, the *psalmist says: "Give to *proud people what they ought to receive", verse 2. Proud people think that they are great (when often they are not). These *proud people do bad things, verses 4 - 7. They are as a heavy weight on God's people, verse 5. This means that God’s people have hurt and pain. The bad people kill widows and *murder children, verse 6. Widows are married women, but their husbands are dead. Murder is another word for kill. The worst thing is in verse 7. They say that God is not looking. God will not see what they are doing. So the *psalmist says to God "Do something!" (verse 2). He means "*punish these bad people". Punish means "hurt them because they have been bad people". This is what "they ought to receive", (verse 2).
In verses 8 - 11, the *psalmist speaks to the bad leaders. He tells them that they are fools. This does not mean that they are silly, or cannot think. It means that they are fools to think that God does not see what they are doing. In verses 8-9, the *psalmist asks three questions. The answer to them all is "yes"! Yes, God can hear. Yes, God can see. And yes, God will *punish bad leaders. The *LORD God knows that what these people think is worth nothing. The *Hebrew word "nothing" is "abel". It means "air". We often translate it "foolish" or "silly".
Then, in verses 12 - 15, the *psalmist talks about good people. They have "good in their hearts", (verse 15). The *Jews said that you thought in your heart. So, these people think good things. The *LORD rules them, (verse 12). This means that God is their king. Remember, the psalms before and after Psalm 94 are *royal psalms. "Laws", in verse 12, is another word for "rules". But God's laws are special rules. We find them in the Bible. The *Hebrew word for "law" is "torah". They called the first 5 books of the Bible the Torah, also Isaiah, Jeremiah and other prophets. (Prophets were people that spoke God’s words. Some prophets wrote books in the Bible.)
In verse 13, we read about "the pit". The *Jews thought that when you died you went to Sheol. Sheol was a dark place under the ground. In it was a big hole. They called it "the pit". It was where very bad people went. So, some people translate "until someone digs a pit" as "until they die". When that happens God promises good things for his people in verses 14 and 15.
There is a change in verses 16 - 23. The *psalmist is now writing about himself. Some Bible students say that this is a separate psalm. Other students do not agree. It does not matter. God speaks to us through both parts of the psalm. Maybe the *psalmist was the king! That would make Psalm 94 a *royal psalm also.
The *psalmist had trouble. He does not say what it was. Who fought for him and kept him safe, (verse 16)? It was the *LORD, (verse 17), so the *psalmist did not die. When the *psalmist nearly fell, God made him safe, (verse 18). When he was not happy, God made him happy again, (verse 19). A better word for happy here is "confident". It means that you know everything will be OK. The psalm ends where it began. In verse 2, the *psalmist asks God to *punish bad leaders. Now he is confident that God will do that, (verse 23).
Something to do
1. Ask God to be your king. Tell him that you will love him and obey him. Then he will be your *LORD.
2. Psalm 94:22 says, "God is my strong place (or fortress), and a rock". Read Psalm 18 and look for these words. How can God be a rock?