“Indeed” In The PsalmsRelated Media
The Hebrew word “indeed” can certainly stand emphatically for that which is to be especially emphasized. Associated with this thought is an emphasis on that which is trustworthy and/or faithful, hence properly rendered at times as “indeed”. Several psalms utilize the word “indeed”. For example, in Psalm 58 David defends the righteousness of the Lord in the face of the unrighteous (cf. vv. 10-11). As the psalm begins, however, David addresses unjust rulers. He begins by citing their injustice:
Do you rulers indeed speak justly?
Do you judge uprightly among men?
No, in your heart you devise injustice,
and your hands mete out violence on the earth. (vv. 1-2)1
As Van Gemeren remarks, “The wicked judges do not render a judgment characterized by righteousness … and equity. … The Lord’s rule, on the other hand, is characterized by ‘righteousness’ and ‘equity’”.2 Futato suggests also that not only political rulers, but church leaders also have been known to make unjust decisions.3
Although we live in a world that too often is suppressed by unjust leadership, such does not mean that anyone of its residents is entitled to behave in the same manner. The scriptural teaching remains true that, “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Prov. 14:34).
Moreover, the Lord is He who gives “what is good … righteousness goes before him and prepares the way for his steps” (Ps. 85:12-13). Kenneth L. Barker remarks that God’s “blessings result in the enjoyment of ‘what is good’”4 Although Barker appears to intend his remarks to apply to the Israelites, nevertheless the principle remains applicable to today’s world: “Those who fear him will enjoy the benefits of his kingdom of “righteousness”.5
Indeed, it may surely be said that God is well deserving of our praise for all we are we owe to the Lord, including our protection. For God himself is our shield even as Ethan the Ezrahite wrote:
Blessed are those who have acclaimed you,
who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD.
They rejoice in your name all day long;
they exult in your righteousness,
For you are their glory and strength,
and by your favor you exult our horn.
Indeed, our shield belongs to the Lord,
our king to the holy one of Israel. (Ps. 89:15-18)
Another example may be seen in a later psalm which records that at one time the Israelites, “were but few in number, few indeed, and strangers in it (i.e., that is, as Israel approached the land of Canaan)” (Ps. 105:11). In this psalm it is recalled that even in their wilderness wanderings, and despite their own actions, and even though they were few in number, God’s protective hand was over them (vv. 13-14).
So also, the psalmist, who wrote Psalm 121, speaks of God’s protective hand extending and watching over his people. As Perowne remarks, “the Creator of the Universe, the Keeper of the nation, is also the Keeper of the individual.”6 Not only was this true for Israel as a nation but for all of God’s people.
Truly the Lord watches over God’s people. His protection is ever near. Even as the psalmist expresses it:
He will not let your foot slip –
he who watches over you will not slumber;
Indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep (Ps. 121:3-4).
As the psalmist says what was true for Israel (cf. Ps 87:5) is still certainly true for all God’s people (Ps. 121:5-8). Thus, the hymn writer wrote:
I trust in God wherever I may be …
Upon the land or on the rolling sea,
For come what may, from day to day,
My Heav’nly Father watches over me.
I trust in God – I know He cares for me.
On mountain bleak or on the stormy seas;
Tho’ billows roll, He keeps my soul,
My Heav’nly Father watches over me,7
Moreover, God is the believer’s true source of strength as it says in Psalm 46: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble”. As I have written elsewhere, “Even in times of testing a committed believer can be assured of God’s presence and strength, including the need for necessary physical strength (Ps. 18:1-2). For in our weakness we can find God’s strength to be our sufficiency for each day’s challenges (2 Cor. 12:9-11).”8
Therefore, as we read/study the Scriptures we can “indeed” be assured that God indeed is a righteous God who wants us to experience His righteousness, His protection, His faithfulness, and His guidance in our life. May we, then, “indeed” be ready and eager to look to him for all of life’s actions and adventures.
1 All scripture references are from the NIV.
2 Willem A. Van Gemeren, “Psalms”, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, eds. Tremper Longman III and David E. Garland (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008), V:466.
3 Mark D. Futato, “The Book of Psalms, in Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, eds. Philip W. Comfort (Carol Stream, Il., Tyndale House, 2009), VII:201.
4 Kenneth L. Barker, “Psalms”, in Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), I:886.
6 J.J. Stewart Perowne, “The Book of Psalms”, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976), 2: 373.
7 W.C. Martin and Charles H. Gabriel, “My Father Watches Over Me.”.
8 Richard D. Patterson, “Source of True Strength” in Bible. Org, 2013, 10.