God’s Way Is Perfect

VERSE OF THE DAY

Psalm 18:30 (New Living Translation)

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God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.

God’s way is perfect. No one can be as perfect as God. All the Lord’s promises prove true. His claims come true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. A safe haven for shelter

“As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. ”May 29, 2021

Encouragement and Hope from God’s Word

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MONDAY

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JUNE 2016

MONDAY ENCOURAGEMENT: PSALM 18:30

Written by H, Posted in Christian Living, Encouragement

“As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: He is a buckler to all those that trust in Him.” Psalm 18:30

Ever wonder what a buckler is? A buckler is defined as being “a portable shield”, “a shield surrounding the person”, “a large shield protecting the whole body”.

If you’re going into this week (or this month, this year) wondering how you’ll ever make it through, just remember: God is our buckler. David tells us right in Psalm 18! “He is a buckler to all those that trust in Him.” All you have to do is trust God. He’s got this!

David wrote Psalm 18 in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and specifically from Saul (who was seeking him out to kill him). If the great King David could utter these words when he was on the run in the wilderness, surely we can claim God as our buckler, too!

“As for God, his way is perfect:” God’s way may not always be our way (read: His way is most of the time completely not our way, for real). Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

We may think we’ve got it all together, we may think we’ve got the best plan, but when it comes right down to it, God’s way is the best way, and His plan for our lives is the best plan. We’ve been in His mind since the day we were born, and God knows every single circumstance, relationship, job, career, pursuit, joy, sadness, and love before it’s even a thought in our minds. Until we completely surrender to God’s will, we’re just wandering nomads.

“…the word of the LORD is tried:” God’s Word is tried, tested, and true. If you’re in need of encouragement (aren’t we all?!) then flip open your Bible to one of the Psalms. Proof of God’s truth is everywhere throughout the Bible, and it’s not religion; God’s Word is full of historical facts!

“As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: He is a buckler to all those that trust in Him.”

If you’re entering this morning feeling unsure, or filled with doubt, or afraid, or sad, or unloved, remember this: God’s way is perfect, and He will be your buckler if you put your trust in Him. 

July 8, 2019

Psalm 18:30

As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. – Psalm 18:30

Dear Heavenly Father,

It’s so easy to make my prayer an arm twisting routine. I twist your arm to get you to run my life the way I think it should go. The psalmist puts me in the right frame of mind. Your way is perfect. Your word is flawless and you just want me to take refuge in you without thinking I have to tell you what you are missing down here. Oh, Lord you have worked out so many problems in my life and made them turn out for my good. You have blessed me on top of blessings. I will take refuge in you and look for the ways you will bless me through anything coming my way whether it looks bad or good at the beginning. Give me the optimism that faith brings. Hold me behind your shield and take care of all people.

Amen

Pastor Don Patterson

God did make our hearts big enough to handle the burden of worry. But they are big enough to handle the burden of faith.

Dear Heart of a Shepherd Follower,

We have seen many reminders of God’s providential care throughout Joseph’s life and admired his faith and fortitude through the sorrows and injustices he suffered.  Hated by brothers whose jealousy drove them to sell him as a slave.  Falsely accused by his master’s wife, unfairly sentenced to prison, and forgotten.  Consider another example of faith in the providence of God recorded by David in Psalm 18:30.

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Psalm 18:30 – “As for God [“El”; “Almighty God”], his way [path; actions] is perfect [without blemish]: the word [commandment] of the LORD [Jehovah] is tried [refined; purged by fire]: he is a buckler [small shield] to all those that trust in him [make Him their refuge].”

It is easy to say, “the way of God is perfect” when we are free from trials and troubles; however, are we willing to trust the LORD when trials shadow our days?  Will we trust Him when we are like gold passing through a smelter’s fire?

When enemies malign us and friends betray us, will we, like David turn to God’s promises and hope in the LORD?  Will we trust Him as our “buckler” (a small shield for hand-to-hand combat), when an enemy means to harm us?

Reflecting on the character of God (18:31), when David asserts, Jehovah is my Refuge (i.e. “rock”), his strength was renewed (18:32), his courage restored, and his steps made sure (18:33, 36).

Friend, are you facing trials?  Don’t lose hope!  Be confident “His way is perfect” and the fiery trials you are facing have the potential of purifying your heart like silver and strengthening your character like steel!

Give thanks to the LORD even before the trial is past knowing His mercies fail not (18:46-50)!

Copyright 2019 – Travis D. Smith

Psalm 18

Psalm 18 – Great Praise from a Place of Great Victory

This is a long psalm; there are only three psalms longer in the entire collection (78, 89, and 119). Its length is well suited to its theme, as described in the title. The title itself is long, with only one longer in the psalter (Psalm 60): To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD, who spoke to the LORD the words of this song on the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all of his enemies and from the hand of Saul. And he said:

In the title David tells us whom the psalm was written for: God Himself, who is the Chief Musician. He tells us more about himself, that we should consider him the servant of the LORD. He tells us the occasion for the writing of the psalm – possibly not only the immediate aftermath of Saul’s death (described in 1 Samuel 31; 2 Samuel 1), but also of the period leading to David’s enthronement (2 Samuel 2-5). He tells us also something about Saul, who out of great, undeserved kindness on David’s part, is not explicitly counted among the enemies of David (from the hand of all of his enemies and from the hand of Saul).

This psalm is virtually the same as the psalm sung by David at the very end of his life, as recorded in 2 Samuel 22. It is likely that David composed this song as a younger man; yet in his old age David could look back with great gratitude and sing this song again, looking at his whole life.

A. God’s past deliverance for David.

1. (1-3) David praises the God of his deliverance.

I will love You, O LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.

a. I will love You, O LORD: This was a triumphant declaration made in a season of great triumph. It is true that David decided to love the LORD, but even more true that he simply felt compelled to love the LORD who delivered him so wonderfully.

i. Since he was taken from the sheepfold and anointed the future king of Israel, David had lived some 20 or so years as a fugitive, and as a man who had lost everything. He lost his safety, he lost his youth, he lost his family, he lost his career, he lost his rights, he lost his connection with the covenant people of God, he lost his comforts, and at times he even lost his close relationship with God. Despite all, he remained steadfast to the Lord, and God – in His timing – delivered David and fulfilled the long-ago promise of his anointing.

ii. In saying, “I will love You,” David used a somewhat unusual word. “This word for love is an uncommon one, impulsive and emotional. Found elsewhere only in its intensive forms, it usually expresses the compassionate love of the stronger for the weaker.” (Boice)

iii. “Hebrew, I will love thee dearly and entirely…from the very heart-root.” (Trapp)

iv. “The precluding invocation in Psalm 18:1-3 at once touches the high-water mark of Old Testament devotion, and is conspicuous among its noblest utterances. Nowhere else in Scripture is the form of the word employed which is here used for ‘love.’ It has special depth and tenderness.” (Maclaren)

v. David said, “I will love You” to the God who delivered him, not only for rescuing him from his trial, but for all God did in and through the trials to make him what he was. David wasn’t bitter against God, as if he said, “Well, it’s about time You delivered me.” Instead he was grateful that the years of trouble had done something good and necessary in his life.

b. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer: David knew this to be true before, but he knew it by faith. Now David sang from a perspective that knew this by experience in a greater way than ever before.

i. When David said, “The LORD is my rock,” he likely meant it in more than one sense. A rock was of help to the ancient Judean in several ways.

· It could provide essential shade, always needed in the merciless sun and heat of the desert (as in Isaiah 32:2).

· It could provide shelter and protection in its cracks and crevasses (as in Exodus 33:22 and Proverbs 30:26).

· It could provide a firm place to stand and fight, as opposed to sinking sand (as in Psalm 40:2).

c. My God, my strength, in whom I will trust: David knew the triumph of God’s strength over the long trial. Many people fall under the excruciating length of an extended season of trial, and David almost did (1 Samuel 27; 29-30).

i. That fact that David saw his God as his strength reminds us of the promise later expressed through Paul: Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10).

d. My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold: As David listed honoring name for God upon honoring name (we can count nine just in these first few verses), we get the feeling of a flood of praise and emotion from David. He can’t say enough about who God is and the great things He has done for David.

i. It is revealing that David can speak so eloquently about his God and what God has done for him. As Maclaren says, “The whole is one long, loving accumulation of dear names.” This means that David both knew God and had experienced God.

ii. In these nine titles, we see what God was for David:

· His strength, the One who empowered him to survive against and defeat his enemies.

· His rock, which indicates a place of shelter, safety, and a secure standing.

· His fortress, a place of strength and safety.

· His deliverer, the One who made a way of escape for him.

· His God, “my strong God, not only the object of my adoration, but he who puts strength in my soul.” (Clarke)

· His strength, but this uses a different Hebrew word than in Psalm 18:1. According to Clarke, the idea behind this word is fountain, source, origin.

· His shield, who defends both his head and his heart.

· His horn, meaning his strength and defense.

· His stronghold, his high tower of refuge where he could see an enemy from a great distance and be protected from the adversary.

iii. “When he was conscious that the object of his worship was such as he has pointed out in the above nine particulars, it is no wonder that he resolves to call upon him; and no wonder that he expects, in consequence, to be saved from his enemies; for who can destroy him whom such a God undertakes to save?” (Clarke)

e. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies: In previous psalms David cried out to God from times of intense crisis; now he cries out to God with the same strength to praise Him for His deliverance. It is sad to say that many are far more passionate in asking for help than they ever are in giving thanks or praise.

i. The thought, “So shall I be saved from my enemies” did not always come easily for David. Not very long before this great season of victory, he said to himself: Now I shall perish someday by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape to the land of the Philistines (1 Samuel 27:1). This shows that there were times when David deeply doubted the final victory he now enjoyed; but it also shows that in the end, his faith – and more importantly, God’s strength – was greater than his weakness.

ii. Therefore, at this point, it is all a song of praise for David. “To be saved singing is to be saved indeed. Many are saved mourning and doubting; but David had such faith that he could fight singing, and win the battle with a song still on his lips.” (Spurgeon)

2. (4-6) The danger that made David cry out to the LORD.

The pangs of death surrounded me,
And the floods of ungodliness made me afraid.
The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me;
The snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called upon the LORD,
And cried out to my God;
He heard my voice from His temple,
And my cry came before Him, even to His ears.

a. The pangs of death surrounded me, and the floods of ungodliness made me afraid: David described two threats: first, the threat of death, and second the floods of ungodliness. The overwhelming presence of ungodliness was a significant trial to David.

i. This reminds us that despite the fact that David was a true warrior, he was also a sensitive soul who was troubled by the deeds and words of the ungodly.

b. The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me: This was another way of saying that David was threatened with death. Sheol is another word for the grave or death.

c. He heard my voice from His temple: This was long before the later building of the temple in the days of Solomon. The city of Jerusalem wasn’t even in Israeli control at the time David wrote this (not until 2 Samuel 5:6-10). Yet David knew that God had a temple, a heavenly temple that was the model for the tabernacle and the later temple (Exodus 25:9, 25:40), and that God heard prayer from heaven.

i. What did God hear from His temple? God heard David’s cry (cried out to my God). “This same poor man cried, and the cry set Jehovah’s activity in motion. The deliverance of a single soul may seem a small thing, but if the single soul has prayed it is no longer small, for God’s good name is involved.” (Maclaren)

3. (7-15) The majestic deliverance God brought to David.

Then the earth shook and trembled;
The foundations of the hills also quaked and were shaken,
Because He was angry.
Smoke went up from His nostrils,
And devouring fire from His mouth;
Coals were kindled by it.
He bowed the heavens also, and came down
With darkness under His feet.
And He rode upon a cherub, and flew;
He flew upon the wings of the wind.
He made darkness His secret place;
His canopy around Him was dark waters
And thick clouds of the skies.
From the brightness before Him,
His thick clouds passed with hailstones and coals of fire.

The LORD thundered from heaven,
And the Most High uttered His voice,
Hailstones and coals of fire.
He sent out His arrows and scattered the foe,
Lightnings in abundance, and He vanquished them.
Then the channels of the sea were seen,
The foundations of the world were uncovered
At Your rebuke, O LORD,
At the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.

a. Then the earth shook and trembled: David describes the dramatic deliverance God brought to him. It was marked by earthquakes, the indignation of God (He was angry), smoke and fire, and the personal intervention of God (He rode upon a cherub, and flew).

i. “When a monarch is angry, and prepares for war, his whole kingdom is instantly in commotion. Universal nature is here represented as feeling the effects of its sovereign’s displeasure, and all the visible elements are disordered.” (Horne)

ii. Smoke went up from His nostrils: “A violent [Middle Eastern] method of expressing fierce wrath. Since the breath from the nostrils is heated by strong emotion, the figure portrays the Almighty Deliverer as pouring forth smoke in the heat of his wrath and the impetuousness of his zeal.” (Spurgeon)

iii. He rode upon a cherub, and flew: David here emphasized the speed of God’s deliverance. “As swiftly as the wind. He came to my rescue with all speed.” (Poole) We may fairly wonder if it seemed speedy to David at the time.

iv. This terminology of David emphasizes the judgment of God; but since the judgment is directed against David’s enemies, it means deliverance for David. God won this victory against David’s strong enemy, against those who hated David (Psalm 18:16-17).

v. There is a larger principle here: understanding that deliverance for a righteous person or people often means judgment against those who oppress them.

b. The LORD thundered from heaven: David set phrase upon phrase in describing the great work of God on his behalf. According to David’s description, God moved heaven, sky, earth, and sea to deliver David.

i. When David described help coming to him through earthquakes, thunder, storms, and lightning, he clearly used poetic images from the way God delivered Israel from Egypt, at Mount Sinai, and during the conquest of Canaan under Joshua. Yet it is also entirely possible – if not probable – that he also literally saw such phenomenon sent from God to protect and fight for him. Though such events are not recorded in 1 or 2 Samuel, we remember that there were long periods of David’s life (such as when he was hunted as a fugitive from Saul) of which we have few descriptions of events. He must have experienced God’s deliverance again and again in a variety of ways.

ii. The way David describes it all leaves us with two impressions. First, he really believed those things happened as recorded in the Bible. Second, he saw the same God do similar things for him in his own day.

iii. Significantly, we might say that David could only really see this once his deliverance was accomplished. In the midst of his trial, David had many reasons and occasions to wonder where the delivering hand of God was. God’s deliverance is always seen most clearly looking back; looking forward it is often only seen by faith.

4. (16-19) David set in safety.

He sent from above, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemy,
From those who hated me,
For they were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
But the LORD was my support.
He also brought me out into a broad place;
He delivered me because He delighted in me.

a. He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy: David felt that he was drowning when the strong hand of God picked him out of many waters. Like a man caught up in a flood, David knew that his enemies were too strong for him, but that God could deliver him.

i. “Some will not see the hand of God, but I warrant you, brethren, those who have been delivered out of the deep waters will see it. Their experience teaches them that God is yet among us.” (Spurgeon)

b. He also brought me out into a broad place: The strong hand of God not only plucked David from the flood, but it also set him in a safe place.

c. He delivered me because He delighted in me: We can say that David meant this in two ways. First, he delighted in David in the sense that He chose him, anointed him, and set His marvelous lovingkindness (Psalm 17:7) upon David. Second, he delighted in David because he lived a righteous life, as explained in the following verses.

i. “Deliverance from sin, deliverance from evil propensities, deliverance from spiritual enemies – each deliverance bears evidence of God’s love to us…. How much he delights in you it is not possible to say. The Father delights in you, and looks upon you with doting love; like as a father takes pleasure in his child, so does he rejoice over you.” (Spurgeon)

5. (20-24) God delivered David because of his righteousness.

The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness;
According to the cleanness of my hands
He has recompensed me.
For I have kept the ways of the LORD,
And have not wickedly departed from my God.
For all His judgments were before me,
And I did not put away His statutes from me.
I was also blameless before Him,
And I kept myself from my iniquity.
Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness,
According to the cleanness of my hands in His sight.

a. The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness: During his long season of affliction under Saul, David was challenged to respond in unrighteous ways. He had many opportunities to strike out against Saul as a matter of self-defense. Yet David consistently conducted himself in righteousness and knew that God rewarded him because of it.

b. I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God…. I was also blameless before Him, and I kept myself from my iniquity: This was not a claim of sinless perfection on David’s part. In fact, the year or so before the death of King Saul was spent in some significant measure of spiritual and moral compromise (1 Samuel 27; 29-30). Yet through it all David kept a core of integrity toward God, was correctable despite his failings, and most importantly did not fail in the greatest test: to not give in to the temptation to gain the throne through killing or undermining Saul.

i. We believe this psalm – twice recorded in Scripture, with minor variations, both here and in 2 Samuel 22 – actually speaks from two contexts. Here, according to the title, it was sung first from David’s victory over Saul and receiving of the throne of Israel. In 2 Samuel 22 David sang it as a grateful retrospect over his entire life. He can say “I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God” in both contexts, but with somewhat different meaning. It meant one thing to say it before his sin with Bathsheba and against Uriah; it was another thing to say it after that sin.

ii. Spurgeon explained how the statement could be true both before and after the scandal with Bathsheba: “Before God the man after God’s own heart was a humble sinner, but before his slanderers he could with unblushing face speak of the ‘cleanness of his hands’ and the righteousness of his life.”

iii. Nevertheless, we can largely agree with Adam Clarke: “The times in which David was most afflicted were the times of his greatest uprightness. Adversity was always to him a time of spiritual prosperity.”

c. I kept myself from my iniquity: Some think this is arrogance or pride on David’s part. Spurgeon quotes one commentator who protested, “Kept himself! Who made man his own keeper?” Yet we know there is certainly a sense in which we must keep ourselves from sin, even as Paul spoke of a man cleansing himself for God’s glory and for greater service (2 Timothy 2:21).

i. We may see a personal danger in the words, my iniquity. It shows that there is iniquity in every person, and that we must be on special guard against our own tendencies to sin, to practice iniquity. It is true that all we like sheep have gone astray; but we have also turned each one to our own way. Our iniquity may be in us from birth; it may have been educated into us by a bad family or by bad company. Our iniquity may come to us through temptations, through adversity, or through prosperity – even by our blessings.

ii. These words of David also tell us of a special guard. David was determined to keep himself from his iniquity. “Be resolved in the power of the Holy Spirit that this particular sin shall be overcome. There is nothing like hanging it up by the neck, that very sin, I mean. Do not fire at sin indiscriminately; but, if thou hast one sin that is more to thee than another, drag it out from the crowd, and say, ‘Thou must die if no other does. I will hang thee up in the face of the sun.’” (Spurgeon)

iii. One may object: “Yet David did not keep himself from his iniquity, and some years after this he sinned with Bathsheba, and he grievously sinned against Uriah.” That is true, and David was disciplined greatly for that sin. Nevertheless, we never hear of him sinning in a similar way after his repentance from that terrible transgression. There is a real sense in which after his repentance, David did keep himself from his iniquity. As Benjamin Franklin wrote: “Many princes sin with David, but few repent with him.”

d. Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness: David resisted the remarkably strong temptation to depose Saul and take the throne promised to him by either violence or intrigue. This was the consistent expression of righteousness that the LORD rewarded by giving David a throne that could not be taken from him.

i. David here simply testified to his clean conscience, which is a good and wonderful thing. “A godly man has a clear conscience, and knows himself to be upright; is he to deny his own consciousness, and to despise the work of the Holy Ghost, by hypocritically making himself out to be worse than he is?” (Spurgeon)

6. (25-27) An abiding principle of God’s dealing with man.

With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful;
With a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless;
With the pure You will show Yourself pure;
And with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd.
For You will save the humble people,
But will bring down haughty looks.

a. With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful: David understood a basic principle of God’s dealing with men; that God often treats a man in the same way that man treats others.

i. Jesus explained this principle in the Sermon on the Mount: For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you (Matthew 7:2). Human nature wants to use a small measure of mercy with others, but wants a large measure of mercy from God. Jesus told us to expect the same measure from God that we give to others.

ii. “Note that even the merciful need mercy; no amount of generosity to the poor, or forgiveness to enemies, can set us beyond the need of mercy.” (Spurgeon)

iii. “The attitude of God towards men is created by their attitude towards Him.” (Morgan) This principle works in a positive way; those who show great mercy are given great mercy. It also works in a negative way: with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd. One illustration of this was how God used the shrewd Laban to educate the devious Jacob (Genesis 27-28).

iv. It is significant that this appears in the psalm that celebrates David’s victory over Saul. Both sides of this principle (God’s dealing with the merciful and the devious) were mightily illustrated in the lives of David and Saul through their ongoing conflict.

v. Translators have had trouble with the second half of Psalm 18:26, because it communicates a difficult concept. It’s easy say that if a man is pure toward God, then God will be pure to him. But you can’t say that if a man is wicked toward God, then God will be wicked toward him, because God can’t do wickedness. So, “David expresses the second half of the parallel by a somewhat ambiguous word, the root meaning of which is ‘twisted.’ The verse actually says, ‘To the twisted (or crooked) you will show yourself twisted (or crooked)’…. The idea seems to be that if a person insists in going devious ways in his dealings with God, God will outwit him, as that man deserves.” (Boice)

vi. Leviticus 26:23-24 promises such a thing: And if by these things you are not reformed by Me, but walk contrary to Me, then I also will walk contrary to you, and I will punish you yet seven times for your sins.

b. You will save the humble people, but will bring down haughty looks: God loves to give grace to the humble, and likewise resists the proud (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5).

i. Humble people: The idea behind the Hebrew word ani refers to the poor, afflicted, and needy ones. God’s care for these humble people is found in several psalms (Psalm 10:2, 22:24, 35:10, 68:10), though the Hebrew word ani may be translated differently in different places.

B. God’s present and future power for David.

1. (28-30) God gives His light and word to empower David.

For You will light my lamp;
The LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.
For by You I can run against a troop,
By my God I can leap over a wall.
As for God, His way is perfect;
The word of the LORD is proven;
He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

a. For You will light my lamp: David now moves from joyful thanks for the past to confidence in the future. The same God who brought him to the throne would give him the light he needed to rule and enlighten his darkness.

b. For by You I can run against a troop, by my God I can leap over a wall: This gives thanks for past victories, and thanks God for present strength. One might think that after the 20-some years of living as a fugitive from Saul, David would simply be exhausted. This was not the case; God empowering him, he felt strong enough to accomplish superhuman feats.

i. “By thee I have broken through the armed troops of mine enemies. I have scaled the walls of their strongest cities and castles, and so taken them.” (Poole)

ii. “With faith, how easy all exploits become! When we have no faith, though, to fight with enemies, and overcome difficulties, is hard work indeed; but, when we have faith, oh, how easy our victories! What does the believer do? There is a troop, – well, he runs in faith, then, to fight with enemies, and overcome difficulties is hard wall, what about that? He leaps over it. It is amazing how easy life becomes when a man has faith. Does faith diminish difficulties? Oh, no, it increaseth them; but it increaseth his strength to overcome them. If thou hast faith, thou shalt have trials; but thou shalt do great exploits, endure great privations, and get triumphant victories.” (Spurgeon)

c. His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven: David spoke of the great things he could do as empowered by God, but he came back to the thought of the greatness of God. He considered the perfection of His way, and the proven character of His word.

i. The word of the LORD is proven: “Literally tried in the fire. It has stood all tests; and has never failed those who pleaded it before its author.” (Clarke)

ii. David could say “the word of the LORD is proven” from his personal experience. The word given to David – that he would be the next king of Israel, plus hundreds of smaller promises – had been proven true.

iii. Many do not know this from their own experience because they will never allow themselves to be put in a situation where God must prove His word true. David knew the truth of this from the extreme circumstances of his life.

2. (31-36) God gives David strength and skill.

For who is God, except the LORD?
And who is a rock, except our God?
It is God who arms me with strength,
And makes my way perfect.
He makes my feet like the feet of deer,
And sets me on my high places.
He teaches my hands to make war,
So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

You have also given me the shield of Your salvation;
Your right hand has held me up,
Your gentleness has made me great.
You enlarged my path under me,
So my feet did not slip.

a. For who is God, except the LORD? David here celebrated the reality of the God of Israel against the illusions of the gods of the nations. The Philistines, the Moabites, the Edomites, and all the rest had their gods; but only Yahweh (the LORD) is God.

i. “Vain were the idols of the ancient world, Baal and Jupiter; as vain are those of modern times – pleasure, honour, and profit. They cannot bestow content, or make their votaries happy below; much less can they deliver from death, or open the everlasting doors above.” (Horne)

b. It is God who arms me with strength…. He makes my feet like the feet of deer: David knew by experience the strength of God given to him, and also the skill to use such strength. This skill was like the skill that deer have, who can run effortlessly upon the high places.

i. David sang about the way God helped him make war (as in 2 Samuel 8). God gave him strength, helped him run swiftly and on a secure path (makes my way perfect…feet like the feet of deer), made him strong enough to bend a bow of bronze, and gave him the shield of Your salvation. As a warrior, David knew God as one who helped him make war triumphantly. As God gave David what he needed (physical strength and skill), God will also give us what we need.

ii. Kidner suggests that the bow of bronze was actually a wooden bow that was reinforced with metal.

c. Your right hand has held me up; Your gentleness has made me great: David was held by the strength and skill of God’s right hand, and made great by the gentleness of God.

i. We don’t often think of someone being made great by the gentleness of God. It is easy to underestimate the power of God’s gentleness, and we often want a more evidently spectacular work from God. Yet David – this great warrior – received from and responded to the gentleness of God.

ii. We can say this was the gentleness of God in at least two respects. It was the gentleness that God showed to David, and the gentleness that David learned from God and showed to others. “While it was the gentleness God exercised that allowed David his success, it was the gentleness God taught him that was his true greatness.” (Kidner)

iii. God had shown His gentleness to David in many ways, and there were even more ways after his victory over Saul and taking of the throne.

· God’s gentleness was great to David when he was a despised member of his family, neglected, ignored, tending the sheep in solitude.

· God’s gentleness was great to David when He consoled his soul when Saul began to envy and hate him.

· God’s gentleness was great to David when He gave him a friend like Jonathan.

· God’s gentleness was great to David when He allowed him to have the holy bread at the tabernacle as he was fleeing from Saul.

· God’s gentleness was great to David when He told Abigail about Nabal, thereby keeping David from slaughtering a foolish man and his family.

· God’s gentleness was great to David when He granted him the self-control to spare Saul’s life – twice.

· God’s gentleness was great to David when He protected him even when he was foolish, such as when he acted like a madman in the court of a Philistine ruler.

· God’s gentleness was great to David when He prevented him fighting on behalf of the Philistines against Saul and Israel.

· God’s gentleness was great to David when He comforted him after David had lost all at Ziklag; where David encouraged himself in the LORD and afterwards recovered all.

iv. We notice also what this gentleness of God did: it made David great. We can say that the gentleness of God makes every believer great also, more than they often consider.

· In this world, some people are thought to be great because of their royal birth; who has a greater claim to royal birth than the son or daughter of the King of Kings?

 ·In this world, some people are thought to be great because of their election; what greater election is there than to be the elect of God?

· In this world, some people are thought to be great because of their wealth; who has greater riches than the children and heirs of the God who owns all?

· In this world, some people are thought to be great because of their victories; who has achieved greater victory than the one who is in unity with Jesus Christ, the greatest champion of all?

· In this world, some people are thought to be great because of their influence; who has greater influence than the child of God who can move the hand of God with his faithful and righteous prayers?

· In this world, some people are thought to be great because of their discoveries; who has discovered anything greater than the nature of the infinite and eternal God?

· In this world, some people are thought to be great because of their history; who has a greater heritage than a member of the body of Christ as it spans through the ages and generations?

· In this world, some people are thought to be great because of their destiny; who has a more glorious and amazing destiny than the heirs of His glory, those who are His own inheritance?

3. (37-42) God gives David victory over his enemies.

I have pursued my enemies and overtaken them;
Neither did I turn back again till they were destroyed.
I have wounded them,
So that they could not rise;
They have fallen under my feet.
For You have armed me with strength for the battle;
You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.
You have also given me the necks of my enemies,
So that I destroyed those who hated me.
They cried out, but there was none to save;
Even to the LORD, but He did not answer them.
Then I beat them as fine as the dust before the wind;
I cast them out like dirt in the streets.

a. I have pursued my enemies and overtaken them: Here David had in mind those other than Saul. David knew that as King of Israel he would have to face enemies from surrounding nations, and here he celebrated the past victories God gave him against his enemies.

b. Neither did I turn back again till they were destroyed…. You have also given me the necks of my enemies: David fought as a true warrior, and sought to utterly defeat the enemies of Israel on the field of battle. He properly believed that God gave him the victory over these enemies.

i. “Thou hast made me a complete conqueror. Treading on the neck of an enemy was the triumph of the conqueror, and the utmost disgrace of the vanquished.” (Clarke)

ii. “Of David we may say, as one did of Julius Caesar, you may perceive him to have been an excellent soldier by his very language; for he wrote with the same spirit he fought.” (Trapp)

4. (43-49) God establishes David’s throne.

You have delivered me from the strivings of the people;
You have made me the head of the nations;
A people I have not known shall serve me.
As soon as they hear of me they obey me;
The foreigners submit to me.
The foreigners fade away,
And come frightened from their hideouts.
The LORD lives!
Blessed be my Rock!
Let the God of my salvation be exalted.
It is God who avenges me,
And subdues the peoples under me;
He delivers me from my enemies.
You also lift me up above those who rise against me;
You have delivered me from the violent man.
Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the Gentiles,
And sing praises to Your name.

a. You have delivered me from the strivings of the people: David knew that taking the throne of Israel was more than just a matter of removing Saul. There were also the strivings of the people, of those who did not immediately support David as king over a united Israel (2 Samuel 2-5).

b. You have made me the head of the nations; a people I have not known shall serve me: David also knew that God would raise him up not only as the King of Israel, but as a regional power with authority over neighboring nations who brought him tribute.

i. Isaiah 55:3-5 (and other passages) tell us that this promise will have an even greater fulfillment in the millennial kingdom of Jesus Christ, when David will be the king over the millennial Israel, which will be exalted above the other nations of the earth.

ii. As soon as they hear of me they obey me: We could say that Psalm 18:44 tells us how we should obey Jesus. This not only tells us of the obligation of the believer, but also that one can immediately come to Jesus Christ, be converted, and live obediently to God. No probation period is necessary.

iii. “If any of you have thought that trusting Christ does not involve obeying him, you have made a great mistake. They do very wrong who cry up believing in Christ, and yet depreciate obedience to him, for obeying is believing in another form, and springs out of believing.” (Spurgeon)

c. The LORD lives! Blessed be my Rock: All of this made David love and honor the LORD more than ever. He gave praise to God for the great things He had done. He had truly delivered David from the violent man, most notably the murderous Saul who hunted him.

i. “If we begin with ‘The Lord is my Rock,’ we shall end with ‘Blessed be my Rock.’” (Maclaren)

d. Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the Gentiles, and sing praises to Your name: On one level, this was David praising God for his deliverance and safety among his neighboring kingdoms. On a second level, Paul quotes this in Romans 15:8-12 as the first of four Old Testament prophesies demonstrating that the work of Jesus Christ was not only for the Jewish people, but for the Gentiles also.

i. “And therefore David is here transported beyond himself, even to his seed forever, as it is expressed in Psalm 18:50, and speaks this in special relation to Christ.” (Poole)

ii. “While David may have thought only of Yahweh’s fame spread abroad, his words at their full value portray the Lord’s anointed (Psalm 18:50), ultimately the Messiah, praising Him among – in fellowship with – a host of Gentile worshippers.” (Kidner)

iii. “At this point we are encouraged to look back over the entire psalm for messianic meanings.” (Boice) We can see many pictures of Jesus and His work in this psalm:

· Psalm 18:1-6 suggests His death (the pangs of death encompassed me…the sorrows of Sheol surrounded me; the snares of death confronted me).

· Psalm 18:7-18 suggests His resurrection (the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of the hills also quaked and were shaken…. He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy).

· Psalm 18:19-27 suggests His exaltation (I have kept the ways of the LORD…. I was also blameless before Him…. Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness).

· Psalm 18:28-42 suggests His victory (For by You I can run against a troop…. I have pursued my enemies and overtaken them). Jesus was strong enough to run against a troop and be victorious; the enemies against Jesus were strong and disciplined; yet Christ confronted them and defeated them. Jesus was great enough to jump over a wall: the wall of God’s holy law that separated us from Him. He didn’t destroy the wall; instead with His holy life He jumped over it and fulfilled the law on our behalf.

· Psalm 18:43-50 suggests His kingdom (You have made me the head of the nations…. The foreigners submit to me…. You also lift me up above those who rise against me…. Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the Gentiles).

iv. While the use of Psalm 18:49 in Romans 15:9 does show that the Holy Spirit spoke of Jesus and His work here, it also has a unique application to David himself. “There is a sense in which it applies particularly to David, well observed by Theodoret: ‘We see,’ says he, ‘evidently the fulfilment of this prophecy; for even to the present day David praises the Lord among the Gentiles by the mouth of true believers; seeing there is not a town, village, hamlet, country, nor even a desert, where Christians dwell, in which God is not praised by their singing the Psalms of David.’” (Clarke)

5. (50) God blesses His anointed king.

Great deliverance He gives to His king,
And shows mercy to His anointed,
To David and his descendants forevermore.

a. Great deliverance He gives to His king: David could say this with confidence, not only that God would give him deliverance, but also more importantly that he was His king. David knew this because he did all that he could to make sure that he did not seize or usurp the throne. He let God give it to him in time. David therefore had the blessed benefit of knowing that he was God’s king, and not one of his own making.

b. And shows mercy to His anointed: David perhaps thought back some 20 years before, when he was first anointed for the throne that he now received. It had been a long, but important journey between the time of his anointing and his receiving the throne.

c. To David and his descendants forevermore: Here David understood something by either intuition or by faith, something that would not be specifically promised to him until later. The promise was that David (and not Saul) would begin a hereditary monarchy in Israel, and that his descendants would also sit on the throne of Israel. This was the promise to build a house for David that God explicitly made in 2 Samuel 7:1-17.

(c) 2020 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – ewm@enduringword.com

Categories: Old Testament Psalms

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What does Psalm 18:30 mean? [ See verse text ]

David states categorically that God’s way is perfect, and His Word proves true. He does not say God’s way is easy, but it is perfect. David’s years of evading Saul and his men brought hardship, as did subsequent conflicts with other enemies. But through it all God was true to His word and perfectly used every trial to mold David into a faithful servant (2 Samuel 22:1). Also, during those years of testing, the Lord was David’s shield, and David writes that the Lord “is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.”

The Christian life is not easy—anyone who claims that salvation brings an easier life is lying (John 16:33). The apostles certainly faced hardship and opposition for the sake of Christ, and we should not expect anything different (2 Timothy 3:12). Nevertheless, the Lord uses every difficulty we encounter to develop Christlike character in us (Romans 5:3–5; 8:28–30; James 1:2–4; 1 Peter 1:6–9). Romans 8:35–39 guarantee that even harsh adversities are not indicators that God no longer loves us.

Writing from a prison, the apostle Paul testified: “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:12–13). Indeed, God’s way is perfect, and He is a shield for all who look to Him for protection!

Context Summary

Psalm 18:28–45 celebrates the Lord’s goodness to David during his wilderness experience (2 Samuel 22:1). Second Samuel 22:29–46 is a companion passage, and 2 Samuel chapter 8 features several of David’s victories. Other passages that focus on the victory God gives His people are Romans 8:28–39, 1 Corinthians 15:50–58, 2 Corinthians 1:8–11, 2:14–17, Ephesians 6:10–20, Philippians 1:12–26, 1 Peter 1:3–9, and 1 John 5:1–5.

Chapter Summary

In 2 Samuel chapter 22, David expresses praise for all the times in his life where God gave him victory. That prayer or song is copied almost identically here. Psalm 18, itself, might have been adapted for use in public worship. David remembers dire situations where God rescued him. He dramatically recounts how God provided rescue and power. David also credits God with rewarding his obedience by making him a powerful and successful military leader. For these reasons, David commits himself to the praise and worship of the Lord.

What does Psalm chapter 18 mean?

Psalm 18 is the fourth longest psalm in the book of Psalms. Second Samuel chapter 22 contains a nearly identical speech; the text found here may be an adapted version of David’s praise, to be used for worship. The introduction refers to the fact that David made this statement as an expression of his love for God (Psalm 18:1).

The first section in David’s song of praise thanks God for providing rescue. At times in David’s life, he was hunted and persecuted. The imagery in this section relates those experiences to the feeling of being tied up or drowning. In response to David’s prayers for help, God intervened. David evokes images of earthquakes, fire, storms, and lightning to depict the power of the Lord’s intercession. The result of that rescue was David’s victory and security (Psalm 18:2–19). 

David credits God with rescuing him and praises the Lord for rewarding his righteousness. While not a perfect man, the pattern of David’s life was to honor and obey God (1 Samuel 13:14). This part of Psalm 18 declares that David’s intent was to humble himself before God. In response to those who are merciful, God shows mercy. Those who are arrogant and proud can expect to be ruined (Psalm 18:20–27). 

After thanking the Lord for rescue, David turns to a celebration of his God-empowered victories (2 Samuel 22:1). Scripture certainly supports the idea that David’s military success was impressive (2 Samuel 8:1–8, 14). This passage uses metaphors such as being agile as a deer, strong enough to bend a bronze bow, having a wide and clear path, and so forth. While God responded to David’s pleas, those who hated God saw no help when facing destruction. As a result of this divine intervention, Israel was safe from her enemies, and many avoided war entirely by submitting to David (Psalm 18:28–45). 

The psalm closes by summarizing the themes already mentioned. God is the ultimate foundation of David’s life, and the reason for all his success. In response, David will praise and celebrate the Lord (Psalm 18:46–50).

Book Summary
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ”Psalm” in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.Chapter Context
This psalm is David’s prayer to the Lord in which David praises the Lord for making him victorious over his enemies. Second Samuel 5, 8, and 10 are companion chapters, and 2 Samuel 22 provides another version of this psalm. Second Samuel 22:1 tells us David composed Psalm 18 on the day the Lord delivered him from his enemies and Saul. Second Samuel 19 reports David’s victorious return to Jerusalem after David vanquished his enemies.

Have Compassion On Me

Psalm 6

For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be accompanied by an eight-stringed instrument.[a]

O Lord, don’t rebuke me in your anger
    or discipline me in your rage.

Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak.
    Heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.

I am sick at heart.
    How long, O Lord, until you restore me?

Return, O Lord, and rescue me.
    Save me because of your unfailing love.

For the dead do not remember you.
    Who can praise you from the grave?[b]

I am worn out from sobbing.
    All night I flood my bed with weeping,
    drenching it with my tears.

My vision is blurred by grief;
    my eyes are worn out because of all my enemies.

Go away, all you who do evil,
    for the Lord has heard my weeping.

The Lord has heard my plea;
    the Lord will answer my prayer.

10 

May all my enemies be disgraced and terrified.
    May they suddenly turn back in shame.

O Lord, don’t rebuke me in your anger
    or discipline me in your rage. Don’t show aggression against me

Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak.
    Heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony they are brittle.

I am sick at heart.
    How long, O Lord, until you restore me?

Return, O Lord, and rescue me.
    Save me because of your unfailing love. I have fallen and can not get up.

For the dead do not remember you.
    Who can praise you from the grave?[b]

I am worn out from sobbing.
    All night I flood my bed with weeping,
    drenching it with my tears. My eyes overflow.

My vision is blurred by grief;
    my eyes are worn out because of all my enemies.

Go away, all you who do evil,
    for the Lord has heard my weeping and seen my sorrows.

The Lord has heard my plea;
    the Lord will answer my prayer. The lord has heard my cry.

May all my enemies be disgraced and terrified.
    May they suddenly turn back in shame.

Hiding their face.

David Guzik

On December 19, 2015, 10:45 pm

Psalm 6

Psalm 6 – A Confident Answer to an Agonized Plea

Psalm 6 is known as the first of the seven penitential psalms – songs of confession and humility before God. It was a custom among some in the early church to sing these psalms on Ash Wednesday, 40 days before Resurrection Sunday. The title of this psalm is To the Chief Musician. With stringed instruments. On an eight-stringed harp. A Psalm of David. The title tells us the recipient of the psalm – the Chief Musician, whom some suppose to be the Lord GOD Himself, and others suppose to be a leader of choirs or musicians in David’s time, such as Heman the singer or Asaph (1 Chronicles 6:33, 16:5-7, and 25:6). Not only was it written for stringed instruments, but specifically for the eight-stringed harp.

A. The agonized plea.

1. (1) A plea to lighten the chastening hand.

O LORD, do not rebuke me in Your anger,
Nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure.

a. Do not rebuke me in Your anger: We don’t know what the occasion of this song was, but because of his sin David sensed he was under the rebuke of God. Therefore, he called out to God to lighten the chastisement.

i. There may be times when we believe we are chastened by God’s hand when really, we suffer trouble brought upon ourselves. Nevertheless, there are certainly times when the LORD does chasten His children.

b. Nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure: We know that God’s chastening hand is not primarily a mark of His displeasure, but rather it is a mark of adoption. Hebrews 12:7 makes it clear that chastening is evidence of our adoption: If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? When God corrects us it doesn’t feel pleasant, but it is good and it is for our good.

i. Anger…hot displeasure: Living before the finished work of Jesus, David had less certainty about his standing with God. On this side of the cross, we know that all the anger God has toward the believer was poured out on Jesus at the cross. God chastens the believer out of correcting love and not out of anger.

2. (2-3) Two kinds of trouble.

Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am weak;
O LORD, heal me, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled;
But You, O LORD–how long?

a. I am weak…my bones are troubled: David knew the trial of physical weakness and pain. In the midst of this kind of chastisement, he cried out to God for mercy.

i. “So we may pray that the chastisements of our gracious God, if they may not be entirely removed, may at least be sweetened by the consciousness that they are ‘not in anger, but in his dear covenant love.’” (Spurgeon)

b. My soul also is greatly troubled: David knew the trials of spiritual weakness and pain. The difficulty of these trials drove David to seek mercy from God.

i. These trials of body and soul were amplified by David’s sense of God’s anger against him. When we are not confident in God’s love and assistance, even small trials feel unbearable.

c. How long? David sensed he was under the chastisement of God, but he still knew he should ask God to shorten the trial. There is a place for humble resignation to chastisement, but God wants us to yearn for higher ground and to use that yearning as a motivation to seek Him and get things right with Him.

i. David seems to smart under the result of his sin, more than the sin itself. Ideally, we are all terribly grieved by sin itself, but there is something to be said for confession and humility for the sake of the result of our sins.

3. (4-5) The urgency of David’s plea.

Return, O LORD, deliver me!
Oh, save me for Your mercies’ sake!
For in death there is no remembrance of You;
In the grave who will give You thanks?

a. Return, O LORD, deliver me: In his agony David pleads for deliverance – but on the ground of God’s mercy, not his own righteousness. David knew that the LORD’s chastisement was righteous, but he also knew that God is rich in mercy.

i. The plea “return” also shows that David felt distant from God. This was part of the agony of the trial. When we sense that God is near us, we feel that we can face anything. But when we sense that He is distant from us, we feel weak before the smallest trial.

b. Save me for Your mercies’ sake: The note of confession of sin is not strong in this psalm of penitence, but it is not absent. The fact that David appealed to the mercy of God for deliverance was evidence that he was aware that he did not deserve it.

i. “David’s conscience is uneasy, and he must appeal to grace to temper the discipline he deserves.” (Kidner)

c. In death there is no remembrance of You: It would be wrong to take these agonized words of David as evidence that there is no life beyond this life. The Old Testament has a shadowy understanding of the world beyond. Sometimes it shows a clear confidence (Job 19:25), and sometimes it has the uncertainty David shows here.

i. “Churchyards are silent places; the vaults of the sepulcher echo not with songs. Damp earth covers silent mouths.” (Spurgeon)

ii. 2 Timothy 1:10 says that Jesus brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. The understanding of the afterlife was murky at best in the Old Testament, but Jesus let us know more about heaven and hell than anyone else could. Jesus could do this, because He had first-hand knowledge of the world beyond.

iii. David’s point wasn’t to present a comprehensive theology of the world beyond. He was in agony, fearing for his life, and he knew he could remember God and give Him thanks now. He didn’t have the same certainty about the world beyond, so he asked God to act according to His certainty.

iv. “At rare moments the Psalms have glimpses of rescue from Sheol, in terms that suggest resurrection, or a translation like that of Enoch or Elijah (c.f. Psalm 16:10, 17:15, 49:15, 73:24).” (Kidner)

B. The determined resolution.

1. (6-7) A vivid description of David’s agony.

I am weary with my groaning;
All night I make my bed swim;
I drench my couch with my tears.
My eye wastes away because of grief;
It grows old because of all my enemies.

a. I am weary with groaning: God’s chastising hand was heavy upon David. His life seemed to be nothing but tears and misery. David’s trial had at least three components.

·David felt God was angry with him.

·David lacked a sense of God’s presence.

·David couldn’t sleep.

b. All night I make my bed swim: This is a good example of poetic exaggeration. David didn’t want us to believe that his bed actually floated on a pool of tears in his room. Because this is poetic literature, we understand it according to its literary context. This is how we understand the Bible literally – according to its literary context.

c. My eye wastes away: David’s eyes were red and sore from all the tears and lack of sleep.

i. “As an old man’s eye grows dim with years, so says David, my eye is grown red and feeble through weeping.” (Spurgeon)

d. Because of all my enemies: David was brought so low that the presence of his enemies no longer prompted him to seize the victory. At this point, David seemed depressed and discouraged.

2. (8-10) David’s confident declaration.

Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity;
For the LORD has heard the voice of my weeping.
The LORD has heard my supplication;
The LORD will receive my prayer.
Let all my enemies be ashamed and greatly troubled;
Let them turn back and be ashamed suddenly.

a. Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity: It may be that the sin that led David into this chastisement was association with the ungodly. Here we see David acting consistently with his change of heart and telling all ungodly associates to depart.

i. It is important to separate from ungodly associations. J. Edwin Orr describes some of the work among new converts in Halifax during the Second Great Awakening in Britain: “Among them was a boxer who had just won a money-prize and a belt. A crowd of his erstwhile companions stood outside the hall in order to ridicule him, and they hailed the converted boxer with a shout: ‘He’s getting converted! What about the belt? He’ll either have to fight for it or give it up!’ The boxer retorted, ‘I’ll both give it up and you up! If you won’t go with me to heaven, I won’t go with you to hell!’ He gave them the belt but persuaded some of them to accompany him to the services, where another was converted and set busily working.”

b. The LORD has heard the voice of my weeping: David ended the psalm on a note of confidence. He made his agonized cry to God, and God heard him.

i. Weeping has a voice before God. It isn’t that God is impressed by emotional displays, but a passionate heart impresses Him. David wasn’t afraid to cry before the LORD, and God honored the voice of his weeping.

ii. “Is it not sweet to believe that our tears are understood even when words fail! Let us learn to think of tears as liquid prayers.” (Spurgeon)

iii. Once Luther wrestled hard with God in prayer and came jumping out of his prayer closet crying out, “Vicimus, vicimus” – that is, “Victory, victory!” David had the same sense of prevailing with God at the end of this prayer.

c. Let all my enemies be ashamed and greatly troubled: David knew that when God heard and answered his prayer, it would be trouble for his enemy. David now saw that his temporary agony and trouble gave way to a permanent agony and trouble for his enemies.

(c) 2020 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – ewm@enduringword.com

Categories: Old Testament Psalms

Enduring Word

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© Copyright 2018 – Enduring

Psalm 6

Psalm 6

What Does Psalm 6:9 Mean? ►

The LORD hath heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer.

Psalm 6:9(KJV)

Verse Thoughts

David was seriously ill in body, deeply distressed in mind and spiritually sapped.. by the mounting pressures and numerous enemies that surrounded him on every side, which caused him to pen his distressing lament: “have mercy on me O Lord and heal my bones.. my soul is greatly troubled.’ But David had not yet come to a full understanding that God is an ever present help in time of trouble, that the mercies God are new every morning, and that He is faithful to hear and respond to the cries of all His children – but He does it in His own time and in His own way.

David’s first thought was that his sickness had been sent as a punishment from God, but although bitter circumstances can result from the consequences of our own our ungodly choices..difficulties and distresses in life must by no means be attributed to God’s displeasure – on the contrary, God often permits sickness and suffering to display His glory in our lives, which frequently results in our spiritual growth and godly fruit.

David felt that heaven was deaf to his cries.. so that in the morning and at night, his pillow was drenched with his tears of self-pity.. Nevertheless the threats from his enemies were intense, real and menacing, and he bemoaned the serious effect that their influence was having on his health and well-being.

While-ever David had his eye on the enemy and the gravity of his situation he discovered that his strength was sapped; his sleep was disturbed; his fear mounted; self-pity increased and the peace of God, which passes understanding had fled far from him. But as soon as he refocused his heart on the Lord and remembered the many precious promises of God, which are ‘yes’ and ‘amen’ in Christ, he was able to pray effectively – with thanksgiving and praise and confidence. David came to an understanding that God was right with him in the midst of all his trials and tribulations.. and that God had heard and received his prayer. And so David rejoiced with thanksgiving and praise.. and prayed: The LORD hath heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer.

When like David we are encompassed by our enemies.. ill in body; distressed in mind and spiritually sapped, we should remember that the many precious promises of God, to all His children.. are ‘yes’ and ‘amen’ in Christ. And let us never forget that IN HIM we have access to the heavenly throne of grace, for mercy to find help in time of need. But we need to approach Him reverently, prayerfully and confident that He hears and answers prayer – but our prayers and supplications should be done with a heart of praise and thanksgiving – a heart that not only trusts Him to keep His WORD, but a heart ready to say, Thy will not mine be done.

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/psalm-6-9

What does Psalm chapter 6 mean?

Seven psalms are labelled as “penitential” for their intense focus on repentance from sin. These are Psalms 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143. This example does not give details, so we’re not sure exactly what David is repenting for. What’s clear is that he connects this specific instance of physical suffering—possibly some illness—to God’s discipline (Psalm 6:1–3).

The situation is dire enough that David fears for his life. At least some of his concern is related to his enemies. This might refer to Philistines (1 Samuel 21:10–13), king Saul (1 Samuel 19:2), or his rebellious son, Absalom (Psalm 3). David pleads with God to spare him, pointing out that a dead body does not worship or praise (Psalm 6:4–5).

Despite a period of fear and despair (Psalm 6:6–7), David resolves that God will rescue him. He warns his enemies to flee, knowing that the Lord has heard him and will respond (Psalm 6:8–10).

Book Summary

The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ”Psalm” in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.

Chapter Context

This psalm is ascribed to David. No exact incident in David’s life is identified in this passage. There seems to be a connection to a disease or other health issue. He may have written it during his old age, when his son Absalom rebelled against him (2 Samuel 15:12–14). Another possible inspiration is David’s sorrow over his sin with Bathsheba (Psalm 51; 2 Samuel 12:9). Psalm 6 is one of seven penitential psalms: songs expressing confession and repentance. The other six are Psalms 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143.

The Deceit Of The Human Heart

VERSE OF THE DAY

Jeremiah 17:9-10 (New Living Translation)

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“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.”

The human heart is the most untrustworthy of all things it is very wicked and untrustworthy. Who knows how bad it is but God.But I the Lord search all hearts and examine the truth of your desires within the heart for the secret motives. I give all people their honors according to what they deserve.

What Does Jeremiah 17:9 Mean? ►

“The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?

Jeremiah 17:9(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

From start to finish the Bible outlines God’s plan of salvation for all mankind and centuries before the birth of Christ Jeremiah, (the weeping prophet), foresaw that the gentiles would one day turn from idols to God.. during a time when His chosen people Israel would be set aside for a season – due to their ongoing, spiritual idolatry.

Like us, Jeremiah could not understand why wickedness waxed worse and worse in the world, and had to discover.. that the person whose heart turns away from God, to trust in man is cursed; unfruitful; barren and without hope.. while the man who trusts is the Lord is blessed indeed and likened to a well-watered tree that is planted by life-giving waters. Such a man will not be anxious in times of drought nor unfruitful despite the heat of the day – for cursed is the man whose trust in man.. but blessed in the man who trusts in the Lord.

Like us, Jeremiah had to learn that the heart of man is more deceitful than anything else – and is desperately wicked, sick and incurable..  and like Jeremiah we see the results of individuals and nations who put their trust in men.. suffering the consequences of their ungodly choices.

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The outward appearances of a man may deceive us.. but God alone understands the heart. We may not even know the true content of our own heart, but the Lord our God knows what is in the heart of each one of us.

We are all fallen creatures and although we praise and thank God that we have been saved by grace through faith in Christ.. have been made a new creation in Him and have been given His resurrected life – our old, fleshly nature lusts against our new-life-in-Christ.. and our new nature lusts against our old, fleshly, sinful self.

As born again believers who are living in the dispensation of grace, we have the permanently indwelling Person of the Holy Spirit in our heart, Who will never leave us nor forsake us – and He can never be taken away from us.. as used to happen in the dispensation of Law. Nevertheless, knowing that the heart is more deceitful than anything else and desperately wicked, we should examine our heart to see if we are in the faith – to see if we are walking in spirit and truth – to see if we are trusting in anything other than the Lord Jesus and we should ask Him to search our hearts.. to see if there is any wicked way in us that needs to be cleansed and rooted out.

Only God can fully know and understand our inner heart. May we submit to His purifying gaze and be ready and willing to say: purify my heart O Lord – no matter what it may cost..

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/jeremiah-17-9

Jeremiah Chapter 17

Jeremiah 17 – The Folly of Misplaced Trust

A. The depth of Judah’s sin.

1. (1-4) Pen and paper for Judah’s sin.

“The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron;
With the point of a diamond it is engraved
On the tablet of their heart,
And on the horns of your altars,
While their children remember
Their altars and their wooden images
By the green trees on the high hills.
O My mountain in the field,
I will give as plunder your wealth, all your treasures,
And your high places of sin within all your borders.
And you, even yourself,
Shall let go of your heritage which I gave you;
And I will cause you to serve your enemies
In the land which you do not know;
For you have kindled a fire in My anger which shall burn forever.”

a. The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron: As prophet the begins to describe the character and extent of Judah’s sin, he starts with a figure that emphasizes the hardness and strength of Judah’s rebellion against God. Their sins were engraved deeply upon them, as if written with an iron pen, and with the point of a diamond. There was nothing superficial about their sinful state.

i. “A ‘pen of iron’ was used for cutting inscriptions in rock or stone. The point of the metaphors is not the hardness of the materials used, but the indelible nature of what is written.” (Cundall)

b. On the tablet of their heart, and on the horns of your altars: Both the heart and the religious works of the people were deeply etched with sin. These bore the indelible marks of Judah’s determined rebellion.

i. “The people’s heart has guilt not only written all over it but etched into it, engraved beyond erasure.” (Kidner)

ii. “Only when God wrote his law on his people’s heart could obedience replace rebellion.” (Thompson)

iii. “The reference to ‘the horns of their altars’ may be to the altars of Baal.” (Feinberg)

c. While their children remember: Engraving upon a stone tablet lasts for generations, and so would the etching of sin upon the heart and the altars set a sinful course for coming generations. Their sin was written so deep and in such places that it would be read for generations.

d. I will cause you to serve your enemies: For all this deeply ingrained sin – especially idolatry with wooden images upon the high hills – God promised to bring His judgment upon Judah.

2. (5-8) The folly of trusting in man.

Thus says the LORD:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
And makes flesh his strength,
Whose heart departs from the LORD.
For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,
And shall not see when good comes,
But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,
In a salt land which is not inhabited.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
And whose hope is the LORD.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

a. Cursed is the man who trusts in man: One might say that this curse does not require the special activity of God; this curse is simply associated with trust placed on failing and fallible man. This is especially true because one cannot make flesh his strength without also the heart departing from the LORD.

b. He shall be like a shrub in the desert: Jeremiah pictured a weak, dry shrub in the desert about to die from drought. This is the picture of the one (believer or not) who trusts in man instead of the LORD; they are dry and unsustainable.

i. “The ‘shrub’ of Jeremiah 17:6 could be the dwarf juniper, stunted and barely alive in an area of low rainfall and poor soil.” (Cundall)

ii. Like a shrub in the desert: “According to Nogah Hareuveni, an expert on plants of the Bible, in Hebrew the name of this tree is called the Arar, which sounds similar to the word for cursed (arur) and is part of a wordplay which is central to this poem.” (Tverberg)

iii. “The Bedouin call this tree the ‘Cursed Lemon’ or ‘Sodom Apple’ because it grows in the desert salt lands that surround the Dead Sea where Sodom and Gomorrah once were. According to their legends, when God destroyed Sodom, he cursed the fruit of this tree also…. When opened, the fruit makes a ‘pssst’ sound, and is hollow and filled with webs and dust and a dry pit.” (Tverberg)

iv. “Interestingly, the cursed tree looks very healthy and abundant, as if it has survived even in hard times and still has done well in life.” (Tverberg)

c. Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD: In contrast, the one who trusts in the LORD will be like a tree planted by the waters, whose leaf will be green. Jeremiah drew on the images of Psalm 1, where the blessed man is the one who delights in God’s word (Psalm 1:1-3). In some sense, Jeremiah thought trusting in the LORD to be the same as delighting in His word.

i. “Since Jeremiah offers two variations on the theme of Psalm 1, here in 17:5-8 and also in 12:1-2, it seems possible that Psalm 1 was available to the prophet.” (Thompson)

3. (9-10) The folly of trusting one’s own heart.

“The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
I, the LORD, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.

a. The heart is deceitful above all things: Trusting the heart is just another way of trusting in man. To this point, the Prophet Jeremiah has given some reason to be cautious about the inclinations and direction of the heart. He noted how the evil heart of the people of Judah had led them astray.

· Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but everyone followed the dictates of his evil heart. (Jeremiah 11:8)

· They prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart. (Jeremiah 14:14)

· Each one follows the dictates of his own evil heart, so that no one listens to Me. (Jeremiah 16:12)

b. The heart is deceitful above all things: Our hearts often deceive us, presenting heart-fulfillment as the key to happiness. What we desire is often not what we need. The advice “be true to your heart” fails when the heart is deceitful above all things.

i. “In the OT usage the heart signifies the total inner being and includes reason. From the heart come action and will.” (Feinberg)

ii. “The pravity and perversity of the man’s heart, full of harlotry and creature confidence, deceiving and being deceived, is here plainly and plentifully described; and oh that it were duly and deeply considered.” (Trapp)

c. And desperately wicked: The heart is not only deceitful, but also wicked – and desperately so. Many have been led to rebellion, disobedience, and great sorrow by following their heart, without challenging their heart and judging it by the measure of God’s truth. “Follow your heart” is poor advice when the heart is desperately wicked.

i. The sense of the Hebrew for desperately wicked seems to have sickness more than depravity in mind. “Unregenerate human nature is in a desperate condition without divine grace, described by the term gravely ill in verse 9 (RSV desperately corrupt, NEB desperately sick).” (Harrison)

ii. For the believer under the New Covenant, we have a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26), are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), and a new man patterned after Jesus (Ephesians 4:24, Colossians 3:10). Still, there is an element of sin and flesh that remains in the believer. Since Jeremiah used the term heart in a general sense, we can say that our identity is not deceitful and desperately wicked; yet we still have to deal with an element of inward deceit and wickedness.

d. Who can know it: The heart’s deceit and wickedness are advanced enough that even the individual may not know or understand their own heart, and outsiders have even more difficulty in discerning the heart of others.

e. I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind: Though knowing the heart of one’s self or others is difficult and sometimes impossible, God searches, tests, and knows the heart and mind. It is wise to trust what God says about us more than what we think or feel about ourselves.

i. I test the mind: “A second word is here set in parallel to heart, literally, ‘kidneys’, hidden depths. These, Yahweh assays or ‘tests’…the two terms ‘heart’ and ‘kidneys’ cover the range of hidden elements in man’s character and personality. Nothing is hidden from Yahweh.” (Thomspon)

ii. “The Lord is called by his apostles, Acts 1:24, kardiognōstēs, the Knower of the heart. To him alone can this epithet be applied; and it is from him alone that we can derive that instruction by which we can in any measure know ourselves.” (Clarke)

f. Even to give to every man according to his ways: Because God perfectly knows the heart and mind of man, His judgment is true. God knows to what extent the heart either justifies or condemns the doings of a man or woman.

4. (11) The folly of trusting in riches.

“As a partridge that broods but does not hatch,
So is he who gets riches, but not by right;
It will leave him in the midst of his days,
And at his end he will be a fool.”

a. As a partridge that broods but does not hatch, so is he who gets riches, but not by right: Jeremiah just spoke to the folly of trusting one’s heart. Now, he states a proverb meant to show the foolishness of trusting in riches. Not all riches are condemned; only those gained not by right.

i. “Thus many a rich wretch spinneth a fair thread to strangle himself, both temporally and eternally.” (Trapp)

b. It will leave him in the midst of his days: According to the ancient proverb, a partridge sits upon the eggs of other birds. When they do hatch, the chicks leave the partridge because they don’t really belong to that bird. Even so, riches will leave a man when he stands before God in judgment. In the end, he will be shown to be a fool for trusting in his ill-gotten gains.

i. “Ill-gotten gain is, like a bird with young she has not hatched, soon lost.” (Feinberg)

ii. “The reference to the partridge is to the popular belief that it would hatch the eggs of other birds. Just as the fledglings soon realize the false nature of the mother and depart from the nest, so riches unjustly acquired all disappear just when the owner is counting on them for security.” (Harrison)

5. (12-13) The folly of failing to trust in the God of all glory.

A glorious high throne from the beginning
Is the place of our sanctuary.
O LORD, the hope of Israel,
All who forsake You shall be ashamed.
“Those who depart from Me
Shall be written in the earth,
Because they have forsaken the LORD,
The fountain of living waters.”

a. A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary: Jeremiah has shown the folly of trusting in anything other than the Lord; now he will show by contrast the greatness of trusting God, who was symbolically enthroned at the temple in Jerusalem (the place of our sanctuary).

i. “The phrase throne of glory (or glorious throne) is a reference to the temple where Yahweh’s presence was known among his people.” (Thompson)

ii. A glorious high throne: “This may be described as one of the greatest words of the Old Testament. It expresses the deepest secret of life; the discovery of which gives the soul perpetual peace and poise and power, whatever may be the circumstances of the passing hour.” (Morgan)

iii. “The throne is sanctuary; in the authority, the executive action, the government of that throne, man finds the place of safety and refuge from all the forces which are against him.” (Morgan)

iv. “As he is cursed who trusts in man, so he is blessed who trusts in GOD. He is here represented as on a throne in his temple; to him in the means of grace all should resort. He is the support, and a glorious support, of all them that trust in him.” (Clarke)

b. O LORD, the hope of Israel: Yahweh was the true and confident hope of Israel, even if many turned away from Him. Those who did turn from Him would be noted and recorded (shall be written in the earth) and would come to shame for foolishly rejecting Him.

B. Jeremiah’s prayer for deliverance.

1. (14-17) A prayer for deliverance and defense.

Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed;
Save me, and I shall be saved,
For You are my praise.
Indeed they say to me,
“Where is the word of the LORD?
Let it come now!”
As for me, I have not hurried away from being a shepherd who follows You,
Nor have I desired the woeful day;
You know what came out of my lips;
It was right there before You.
Do not be a terror to me;
You are my hope in the day of doom.

a. Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: In contrast to the foolish people of Judah who trusted in man, in their own heart, or in riches, Jeremiah looked to Yahweh, the covenant God of Israel. Jeremiah was confident that healing or salvation from the LORD would be true healing, true rescue.

i. It’s hard to say if the healing Jeremiah cried out for was literal or spiritual in nature, and in the bigger picture it doesn’t really matter. Either need is real, and God’s ability to heal both our physical and spiritual need is true and proven.

b. You are my praise: Even in his need of healing and salvation, Jeremiah could praise God, even making God Himself his praise. Though in pride others demanded an immediate revelation of God and His power, Jeremiah was willing to wait and trust in the LORD.

c. As for me: In a series of brief statements, Jeremiah defended and justified his ministry before God. He did this to contrast himself with those who demanded God bring immediate revelation and resolution.

· I have not hurried away from being a shepherd that follows You: Jeremiah was confident in his pursuit of God’s call on his life.

· Nor have I desired the woeful day: Jeremiah spoke much of the judgment to come, but he did not desire it. It was a painful message for him to deliver.

· You know what came out of my lips: Jeremiah could appeal to God as the One who heard and judged his message, seeing that it really was faithful to the voice and the heart of God.

· You are my hope in the day of doom: Jeremiah proclaimed his trust and hope in God alone, not in the folly of most of the people of Judah.

i. “The word ‘shepherd’ usually refers to a king, but here it refers to Jeremiah as a leader of the people.” (Feinberg)

2. (18) A prayer for the justification of God’s prophet.

Let them be ashamed who persecute me,
But do not let me be put to shame;
Let them be dismayed,
But do not let me be dismayed.
Bring on them the day of doom,
And destroy them with double destruction!

a. Let them be ashamed who persecute me: Jeremiah was part of a long tradition of prophets and men of God in Israel who cried out to God for defense. This was a prayer of vengeance, but a prayer that left vengeance in the hands of God.

b. But do not let me be put to shame: Because he could defend and justify his work before God, Jeremiah confidently prayed that God would defend and justify him and bring his enemies and persecutors to shame, dismay, doom, and destruction.

C. An example of Judah’s disobedience: breaking the Sabbath.

1. (19-23) Jeremiah delivers a message to the people: obey God’s command of the Sabbath.

Thus the LORD said to me: “Go and stand in the gate of the children of the people, by which the kings of Judah come in and by which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem; and say to them, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, you kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who enter by these gates. Thus says the LORD: “Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; nor carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day, nor do any work, but hallow the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers. But they did not obey nor incline their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear nor receive instruction.”

a. Hear the word of the LORD, you kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem: At God’s direction, Jeremiah brought a strong and public word to all of Judah and Jerusalem, kings and commoners. Their response to this word would measure their surrender or rebellion to God.

i. The gate of the children of the people: “The Benjamin Gate or the Gate of the Laity (MT sons of my people) is of uncertain location, but was apparently used by persons other than priests and Levites.” (Harrison)

b. Bear no burden on the Sabbath day: Jeremiah simply repeated the Sabbath commands Israel originally agreed to as part of the Sinai Covenant (Exodus 20:8-11). He reminded them that this was as I commanded your fathers.

i. “Several of the phrases in these verses are strongly reminiscent of phrases in the Decalog where the Sabbath law is formulated.” (Thompson)

c. But they did not obey nor incline their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear nor receive instruction: Jeremiah delivered a clear message, rooted in prior revelation. Yet the kings and commoners rejected the word of the LORD and continued to treat the Sabbath as if it were any other day.

2. (24-27) A promised blessing for obedience and curse for disobedience.

“And it shall be, if you heed Me carefully,” says the LORD, “to bring no burden through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, but hallow the Sabbath day, to do no work in it, then shall enter the gates of this city kings and princes sitting on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their princes, accompanied by the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and this city shall remain forever. And they shall come from the cities of Judah and from the places around Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin and from the lowland, from the mountains and from the South, bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices, grain offerings and incense, bringing sacrifices of praise to the house of the LORD. But if you will not heed Me to hallow the Sabbath day, such as not carrying a burden when entering the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire in its gates, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.”

a. If you heed Me carefully: Jeremiah spoke for the LORD and promised the people of Jerusalem and Judah that if they radically obeyed even this one command, God would preserve their city and their kingdom (kings and princes sitting on the throne of David).

i. It wasn’t as if the Sabbath was the only command important to God; this offer to Jerusalem and Judah was simply a testing point. If they were willing to radically obey God in this one point, it would indicate a true repentance and submission to God that would extend to all points. This one point of obedience or disobedience would stand for all others, just as the eating of forbidden fruit would stand for all obedience or disobedience for Adam in the Garden of Eden.

ii. “The several regions of Judah are mentioned (v. 26); these were still possessed by Judah and Benjamin. The land of Benjamin was north of Judah. The lowland or Shephelah (NIV, ‘western foothills’) was the low hills stretching toward the Philistine maritime plain, west and southwest of Judah, and was the center of agriculture. The hill country was the central region, with the wilderness of Judah stretching down to the Dead Sea. The Negev was the arid South (cf. Joshua 15:21-32).” (Feinberg)

b. But if you will not heed Me to hallow the Sabbath…. then I will kindle a fire in its gates, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem: The promise for obedience was great; the promise for disobedience was also significant. God would allow their obedience or disobedience on this one point to stand for all.

i. Obviously – and tragically – Judah and Jerusalem did not return to the Sabbath at Jeremiah’s word, and they faced the severe judgment of God.

ii. When God told them to hallow the Sabbath, He told them to hallow the rest. “The term ‘Sabbath’ is derived from the Hebrew verb ‘to rest or cease from work.’” (Kaiser) The most important purpose of the Sabbath was to serve as a preview picture of the rest we have in Jesus.

iii. Like everything in the Bible, we understand this with the perspective of the whole Bible, not this single passage. With this understanding, we see that there is a real sense in which Jesus fulfilled the purpose and plan of the Sabbath for us and in us (Hebrews 4:9-11). He is our rest; when we remember His finished work we hallow the Sabbath, we hallow the rest.

iv. Therefore, the whole of Scripture makes it clear that under the New Covenant, no one is under obligation to observe a Sabbath day (Colossians 2:16-17 and Galatians 4:9-11). Galatians 4:10 tells us that Christians are not bound to observe days and months and seasons and years. The rest we enter into as Christians is something to experience every day, not just one day a week – the rest of knowing we don’t have to work to save ourselves, but our salvation is accomplished in Jesus (Hebrews 4:9-10).

v. The Sabbath commanded here and observed by Israel was a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ (Colossians 2:16-17). In the New Covenant, the idea isn’t that there is no Sabbath, but that every day is a day of Sabbath rest in the finished work of God. Since the shadow of the Sabbath is fulfilled in Jesus, we are free to keep any particular day – or no day – as a Sabbath after the custom of ancient Israel.

vi. Yet we dare not ignore the importance of a day of rest – God has built us so that we need one. Like a car that needs regular maintenance, we need regular rest – or we will not wear well. Some people are like high-mileage cars that haven’t been maintained well, and it shows.

vii. Some Christians are also dogmatic about observing Saturday as the Sabbath as opposed to Sunday, but because we are free to regard all days as given by God, it makes no difference. But in some ways, Sunday is more appropriate; being the day Jesus rose from the dead (Mark 16:9), and first met with His disciples (John 20:19), and a day when Christians gathered for fellowship (Acts 20:7 and 1 Corinthians 16:2). Under Law, men worked towards God’s rest; but after Jesus’ finished work on the cross, the believer enters into rest and goes from that rest out to work.

(c) 2021 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – ewm@enduringword.com

Categories: Jeremiah-Lamentations Old Testament

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The Human Heart – Living Water Ministries

King Of All Earth

VERSE OF THE DAY

Zechariah 14:9 (New International Version)

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The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.

I’m waiting on that day when the Lord returns for the Lord with rein king over all earth. Yes and on that day there will be One Lord and he will be named over all the only name Jesus alone over all.

What Does Zechariah 14:4 Mean? ►

In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.

Zechariah 14:4(NASB)

Picture courtesy of https://www.wikiart.org/en/james-tissot/jesus-goes-up-alone-onto-a-mountain-to-pray-1894

Verse Thoughts

God had a particular plan for Israel from the beginning, and a specific purpose for the Church – whom He chose before the foundation of the world. Both are God’s people, both are holy unto the Lord, and although Israel and the Church are distinct from each other, their roles are complementary, in God’s perfect plan of redemption.

The work God has purposed for each is unique to their group, although their roles and responsibilities often overlap. And while all Scripture is written for our learning, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and instruction in righteousness, there is much in the Old Testament, the Gospels, and Revelation that is directed towards Israel, while the New Testament epistles are generally written for the Church.

While the Church is raptured into heaven and meets Christ in the air before the start of the Great Tribulation, Christ’s second advent occurs at the end of this time of terrible judgement – sometimes referred to as ‘the great and terrible day of the Lord’ and elsewhere called, ‘the time of Jacob’s trouble’. Zechariah gives a clear description of certain end-time events and like many Old Testament prophets, gives clear insight into God’s unfolding plan of redemption.

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He explains how Israel will be protected from the antichrist and what will happen when the entire world comes to attack Jerusalem. He gives details of the last day’s battle, and how Israel will be empowered by God and delivered by the Lord Jesus Christ. He explains how Israel will call on the name of the Lord and look on Him whom they pierced. He tells how all the tribes of Israel will weep and mourn bitterly when they realise their terrible mistake in crucifying their Messiah – 2000 years ago.

He explains what will happen when Jesus returns to set up His millennial rule on earth, and he even identifies the very place to which the Lord will return. “In that day”, Zechariah writes, “His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west, by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.”

At His first coming, Jesus came as the suffering Servant and Lamb of God Who was despised and rejected of men. At His first advent, He gave His life as the ransom price for the sin of the whole world. And although His sacrifice on the Cross defeated Satan, sin, death, and hell… the people would not believe in Him, and crucified the Lord of Glory. “We will not have this man rule over us,” they screamed, and His kingdom had to be postponed, for a season. Israel had to be set aside for a little while, during which time, God has been working through the Church – which is the body of Christ.

It was as Jesus stood on the Mount of Olives that He ascended into heaven, as recorded in Acts. And it is to that same place – to Mount Olivet, to which Jesus will return… for two men in white explained what would happen to the bewildered disciples. “Men of Galilee,” they said “you Jewish men, why do you stand gazing up into the sky? This Jesus, Who has been taken up from you into heaven, will return in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven.”

Jesus ascended into heaven from Olivet, and He is to return to the same spot on earth. He is to set His foot on the same Mount of Olives – which is in front of Jerusalem, at the end of the 7 year Tribulation and on that day the most amazing earthquake will occur, which will open up a massive valley, running through the centre of Jerusalem – from east to west. THEN the world will KNOW that God is the Lord.

It was in His Olivet discourse that Jesus told His disciples everything that would happen at His return. He told them of wars and rumours of wars. He told them that lawlessness would increase, but that those who endured to the end would be saved – when He returned! He told them the signs of the end of the age. He predicted the persecution of godly men and of false prophets that would arise.

He told them that the gospel of the kingdom, which was curtailed at His first advent would eventually be taught throughout the world by Jewish evangelists who put their faith in Christ Jesus as Lord, and He warned of the abomination of desolation that is to be set up in a newly constructed temple. He told them that “immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not shed its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the celestial powers will be shaken.”

YES, Jesus confirmed much of what Zechariah, Daniel, Isaiah, and other holy men of God prophesied and He gave some additional information about His second coming to earth, at the end of the tribulation, which will be invaluable to those who have to endure this terrible time of judgement. But it is also a time of purifying and healing – the purifying of sinners who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and the redemption of those who call on His name.

Although the Church is removed before this time of judgement, let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and for the salvation of many who will have to endure the Great Tribulation – for when we pray into God’s will we know our prayers will be answered.

Zechariah Chapter 14

Zechariah 14 – Holiness to the LORD

A. Israel attacked but defended by the returning Messiah.

1. (1-2) Jerusalem under siege from the nations.

Behold, the day of the LORD is coming,
And your spoil will be divided in your midst.
For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem;
The city shall be taken,
The houses rifled,
And the women ravished.
Half of the city shall go into captivity,
But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

a. I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem: Zechariah seems to have the very end times in view, when Jerusalem will be surrounded and attacked by some type of international force. When the Romans came against Jerusalem in A.D. 70 they came with a multinational army and brought terrible destruction on the city and its people. Yet there was none of the deliverance that Zechariah will describe in the following verses, so it is difficult to say that this was fulfilled in the Roman attack upon Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

b. Half the city shall go into captivity: This attack against Jerusalem will be severe, but the city itself will not be overthrown (the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city).

2. (3-5) The Messiah intervenes for His people.

Then the LORD will go forth
And fight against those nations,
As He fights in the day of battle.
And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives,
Which faces Jerusalem on the east.
And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two,
From east to west,
Making a very large valley;
Half of the mountain shall move toward the north
And half of it toward the south.
Then you shall flee through My mountain valley,
For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal.
Yes, you shall flee
As you fled from the earthquake
In the days of Uzziah king of Judah.
Thus the LORD my God will come,
And all the saints with You.

a. Then the LORD will go forth and fight: Just when it seems that all hope will be gone for Jerusalem and the people of Israel, then the LORD will fight for His people.

i. “God is said to go forth when he manifests his power by delivering his people and punishing their enemies.” (Pulpit)

b. His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives… And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west: This speaks of the LORD – Jesus, as God the Son – materially returning to a material earth and setting His feet on the Mount of Olives. At that time a great split will cut the Mount of Olives in two, and the persecuted people of Jerusalem will flee through the valley made by the split.

c. Thus the LORD my God will come, and all the saints with You: Jesus will touch His feet to the Mount of Olives when He returns in glory with all the saints, the armies of heaven described in Revelation 19:14.

i. This was the type of arrival the Jews in Jesus’ day hoped for. Indeed, when the Roman armies surrounded Jerusalem in A.D. 70 a mistaken assurance from prophecies like this made the Jews utterly confident that the Messiah would return from heaven and wipe out the Roman armies surrounding Jerusalem. They could not see that the Messiah must first be rejected and the nation brought to repentance as Zechariah mentioned in Zechariah 11:12-13 and Zechariah 12:10.

B. The Kingdom of the Messiah.

1. (6-11) The Messiah’s rule changes the earth.

It shall come to pass in that day
That there will be no light;
The lights will diminish.
It shall be one day
Which is known to the LORD;
Neither day nor night.
But at evening time it shall happen
That it will be light.
And in that day it shall be–
That living waters shall flow from Jerusalem,
Half of them toward the eastern sea
And half of them toward the western sea;
In both summer and winter it shall occur.
And the LORD shall be King over all the earth.
In that day it shall be
“The LORD is one,”
And His name one.

All the land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be raised up and inhabited in her place from Benjamin’s Gate to the place of the First Gate and the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananeel to the king’s winepresses.

The people shall dwell in it;
And no longer shall there be utter destruction,
But Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.

a. At evening time it shall happen that it will be light: Now Zechariah looked forward to the glory of Jerusalem in the Messiah’s kingdom. The lights we guide our lives by will diminish, but God will establish His own light.

b. Living waters shall flow from Jerusalem: Jerusalem will no longer be a dry city, but a glorious river will flow from the city and branch off both east and west, and it will be a never ending flow (in both summer and winter it shall occur).

i. All over the world people want to know what will happen to Jerusalem. Zechariah knows the answer – God will gloriously save and restore Jerusalem, making it the capital city of the millennial earth.

ii. Ezekiel 47 records a vision that may describe this scene. Ezekiel saw a river flowing from the throne of God and down to the Dead Sea, bringing life and vitality everywhere.

c. All the land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: Since the mountains around Jerusalem would no longer be needed as a defense, they could be flattened into a plain.

d. Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited: This will be the first time in a long time that Jerusalem will be a safe place to live.

2. (12-15) Enemies are forever plagued.

And this shall be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem:

Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet,
Their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets,
And their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths.
It shall come to pass in that day
That a great panic from the LORD will be among them.
Everyone will seize the hand of his neighbor,
And raise his hand against his neighbor’s hand;
Judah also will fight at Jerusalem.
And the wealth of all the surrounding nations
Shall be gathered together:
Gold, silver, and apparel in great abundance.
Such also shall be the plague
On the horse and the mule,
On the camel and the donkey,
And on all the cattle that will be in those camps.
So shall this plague be.

a. Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet: In the glorious deliverance the Messiah brings, the enemies of God and His people will be destroyed by plague, mutual slaughter, and by the sword of Judah (Judah also will fight at Jerusalem).

i. The description of flesh dissolving makes some think that Zechariah is describing the effects of a neutron or nuclear bomb.

b. The wealth of all the surrounding nations shall be gathered together: In the glorious deliverance the Messiah brings, Jerusalem will become a wealthy and influential city again.

3. (16-19) All the nations come to Jerusalem to worship the LORD.

And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, on them there will be no rain. If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the LORD strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

a. Shall go up from year to year to worship the King: Instead of coming to Jerusalem for battle now the nations come to honor God and to remember His faithfulness to Israel in the wilderness by keeping the Feast of Tabernacles.

i. Jesus told us to go to the ends of the earth with the gospel but in the millennium the earth will come to Jerusalem to worship and honor God.

b. Whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem… on them there will be no rain: God won’t make people worship Him during the millennium, but the advantages of worshipping and honoring God will be more evident than ever.

c. If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain: Egypt is specifically mentioned because they were a nation not especially dependent on rain, yet they too would be punished if they were disobedient.

4. (20-21) The common is made holy.

In that day “HOLINESS TO THE LORD” shall be engraved on the bells of the horses. The pots in the Lord’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holiness to the LORD of hosts. Everyone who sacrifices shall come and take them and cook in them. In that day there shall no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts.

a. In that day “HOLINESS TO THE LORD” shall be engraved on the bells of the horses: This was the great inscription on the metal band around the high priest’s headpiece (Exodus 28:36). In the glory of the Messiah’s kingdom, horses won’t be needed for war any longer – now even they could wear the emblems of HOLINESS TO THE LORD.

b. The pots in the LORD’s house: These were the cooking utensils used by worshippers to cook for their own the sacrificial meat intended for them from the peace offerings. The bowls before the altar were used to gather and sprinkle sacrificial blood on the altar. These show that animal sacrifice will continue in the millennium, but not as atonement for sin – which was perfectly satisfied by the atoning work of Jesus. Sacrifice in the millennium will look back to the perfect work of Jesus.

c. Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holiness to the LORD of hosts: In the glory of the Messiah’s kingdom, what was previously common is made holy; the holy is made holier; and the irreclaimably profane is forever shut out. At the end of it all, there is no longer any distinction between the holy and profane. All is set apart to God and His purposes.

i. “The point is that the people and the city will be so holy that even these insignificant things will be fully dedicated to the Lord.” (Boice)

ii. There is a right way and a wrong way to eliminate the line between the holy and the profane: you can make everything holy (set apart to the LORD), or you can make everything profane (set apart to sin and self). Zechariah ends his prophecy making it clear that God’s way is to make everything that was once common or profane holy instead.

©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission

Categories: Minor Prophets Old Testament

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Hear My Words

Psalm 5

Psalm 5[a]

For the director of music. For pipes. A psalm of David.

Listen to my words, Lord,
    consider my lament.

Hear my cry for help,
    my King and my God,
    for to you I pray.

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
    in the morning I lay my requests before you
    and wait expectantly.

For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness;
    with you, evil people are not welcome.

The arrogant cannot stand
    in your presence.
You hate all who do wrong;

    you destroy those who tell lies.
The bloodthirsty and deceitful
    you, Lord, detest.

But I, by your great love,
    can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
    toward your holy temple.

Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness
    because of my enemies—
    make your way straight before me.

Not a word from their mouth can be trusted;
    their heart is filled with malice.
Their throat is an open grave;
    with their tongues they tell lies.

10 

Declare them guilty, O God!
    Let their intrigues be their downfall.
Banish them for their many sins,
    for they have rebelled against you.

11 

But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
    let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
    that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

12 

Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;
    you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

Psalm 5

Lord, listen to me

and understand what I am trying to say. Comprehend my thoughts.

My God and King,

listen to my prayer.

Every morning, Lord, I lay my gifts before you laying all on the table before you

Looking to you for help.

And every morning you hear my prayers.

God, you don’t want evil people near you.

They cannot stay in your presence.

Fools cannot come near you.

 You hate those who do evil. You despise them with a passion.

You destroy those who tell lies.

Lord, you hate those who make secret plans to hurt others.

But by your great mercy, I can enter your house.

I can worship in your holy Temple with fear and respect for you. For God fearing and fervent in prayer are your honor.

Lord, show me your right way of living,

and make it easy for me to follow.

People are looking for my weaknesses,

so show me how you want me to live.

My enemies never tell the truth.

They only want to destroy people. Put people in harm and dishonor you.

Their words come from mouths that are like open graves.

They use their lying tongues to deceive others.

Punish them, God!

Let them be caught in their own traps.

They have turned against you,

so punish them for their many crimes.

But let those who trust in you be happy forever.

Protect and strengthen those who love your name.

Lord, when you bless good people,

you surround them with your love, like a large shield that protects them.

Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell.

Psalm 5

Psalm 5 – A Morning Prayer

This psalm is titled To the Chief Musician. With flutes. A Psalm of David. The title of the psalm indicates that it was directed toward the Chief Musician, whom some suppose to be the Lord GOD Himself, and others suppose to be a leader of choirs or musicians in David’s time, such as Heman the singer or Asaph (1 Chronicles 6:33, 16:5-7, and 25:6). The title also tells us that the song was deliberately written to be accompanied with flutes. It shows David coming to the LORD in the morning and receiving the strength and joy he needs to make it through the day against many adversaries.

A. Approaching God in the morning.

1. (1-3) David approaches God.

Give ear to my words, O LORD,
Consider my meditation.
Give heed to the voice of my cry,
My King and my God,
For to You I will pray.
My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD;
In the morning I will direct it to You,
And I will look up.

a. Give ear…consider…give heed: David longed for an audience with God. Using the Hebrew method of parallelism, he repeated the same idea three times: “LORD, please listen to me.”

b. For to You I will pray: David prayed to God. This may sound elementary, but it is an essential aspect of prayer. Often, we come to prayer so full of our request or our feelings that we never consciously focus on God and sense His presence. David was a great man of prayer because his prayer time was focused on God.

i. “Very much of so-called prayer, both public and private, is not unto God. In order that a prayer should be really unto God, there must be a definite and conscious approach to God when we pray; we must have a definite and vivid realization that God is bending over us and listening as we pray.” (Torrey, How to Pray)

c. My voice You shall hear in the morning: David made it a point to pray in the morning. He did this because he wanted to honor God at the beginning of his day, and this set the tone for an entire day dedicated unto God.

i. Hudson Taylor, the famous missionary to China, had trouble finding time alone with God. He began to wake himself up at 2:00 in the morning and used those quiet hours when everyone else slept to commune with God.

ii. “What is a slothful sinner to think of himself, when he reads, concerning the holy name of Jesus, that ‘in the morning, rising up a great while before the day, he went out and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed!’” (Horne)

iii. “This is the fittest time for [connecting] with God. An hour in the morning is worth two in the evening. While the dew is on the grass, let grace drop upon the soul.” (Spurgeon)

d. In the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up: David gave us what to do before prayer and after prayer. Before we pray, we should direct our prayer. After we pray, we look up with expectancy to heaven, really believing that God will answer.

i. The idea behind direct is not “to aim” but “to order, to arrange.” “It is the word that is used for the laying in order of the wood and pieces of the victim upon the altar, and it is used also for the putting of the shewbread upon the table. It means just this: ‘I will arrange my prayer before thee,’ I will lay it out upon the altar in the morning, just as the priest lays out the morning sacrifice.” (Spurgeon)

ii. “It is manifestly a mistake to pray at haphazard. There is too much random praying with us all. We do not return again and again to the same petition, pressing it home with all humility and reverence, and arguing the case, as Abraham did his for the cities of the plain.” (Meyer)

iii. “Do we not miss very much of the sweetness and efficacy of prayer by a want of careful meditation before it, and of hopeful expectation after it? Let holy preparation link hands with patient expectation, and we shall have far larger answers to our prayers.” (Spurgeon)

2. (4-8) A contrast between the wicked man and the godly man.

For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness,
Nor shall evil dwell with You.
The boastful shall not stand in Your sight;
You hate all workers of iniquity.
You shall destroy those who speak falsehood;
The LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.

But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy;
In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple.
Lead me, O LORD, in Your righteousness because of my enemies;
Make Your way straight before my face.

a. You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness: David meditated on the righteous character of God. Our actions matter before a God who hates all workers of iniquity.

i. As David drew closer to God, he became more aware of God’s holiness and man’s sinfulness. “This is a good way to measure how well you are praying and whether, as you pray, you are drawing close to God or are merely mouthing words. If you are drawing close to God, you will become increasingly sensitive to sin, which is inevitable since the God you are approaching is a holy God.” (Boice)

b. I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy: This was David’s confidence. It wasn’t that David thought that he was righteous, and all others were sinners. His ground of confidence was the mercy of God.

c. In fear of You I will worship: David’s worship wasn’t based on his feelings, but on his reverence for a righteous, merciful God.

d. Make Your way straight before my face: This reflects David’s constant reliance on God. He needed God to lead him and to make the way straight. David walked the right way but was humble about it. He knew it was only God’s power and work in him that kept him from the way of the wicked.

B. Description and destiny.

1. (9-10) The description and destiny of the wicked.

For there is no faithfulness in their mouth;
Their inward part is destruction;
Their throat is an open tomb;
They flatter with their tongue.
Pronounce them guilty, O God!
Let them fall by their own counsels;
Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions,
For they have rebelled against You.

a. There is no faithfulness in their mouth: David focused on what the wicked say as evidence of their wickedness. David understood what Jesus said later in Matthew 12:34: Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Our righteousness or wickedness will sooner or later show up in our speech.

i. David felt the sting of wicked words and lies against him. Yet this prayer shows that something good came out of these attacks from the enemy. “Thus a man’s enemies, while they oblige him to pray more fervently, and to watch more narrowly over his conduct, oftentimes become his best friends.” (Horne)

b. They flatter with their tongue: “Always beware of people who flatter you, and especially when they tell you that they do not flatter you, and that they know you cannot endure flattery, for you are then being most fulsomely flattered, so be on your guard against the tongue of the flatterer.” (Spurgeon)

c. Let them fall by their own counsels: David prayed that the wicked would come to their deserved end. As rebels against God, they deserved the guilty sentence.

2. (11-12) The description and destiny of the righteous.

But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You.
For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous;
With favor You will surround him as with a shield.

a. Let all those rejoice who put their trust in You: The righteous aren’t made righteous by their words. The righteous are those who trust the LORD and love His name. But their righteousness is evident in their words. They rejoice, they shout for joy, and they are joyful in the LORD.

i. “A touch of enthusiasm would be the salvation of many a man’s religion. Some Christians are good enough people: they are like wax candles, but they are not lighted. Oh, for a touch of flame! Then would they scatter light, and thus become of service to their families. ‘Let them shout for joy.’ Why not? Let not orderly folks object. One said to me the other day, ‘When I hear you preach I feel as if I must have a shout!’ My friend, shout if you feel forced to do so. (Here a hearer cried, ‘Glory!’) Our brother cries, ‘Glory!’ and I say so too. ‘Glory!’ The shouting need not always be done in a public service, or it might hinder devout hearing; but there are times and places where a glorious outburst of enthusiastic joy would quicken life in all around. The ungodly are not half so restrained in their blasphemy as we are in our praise.” (Spurgeon)

b. But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You: This is a permit, a precept, a prayer, and a promise.

i. You have permission for joy. “You have here a ticket to the banquets of joy. You may be as happy as ever you like. You have divine permission to shout for joy.” (Spurgeon)

ii. You have a precept, a command for joy: “Come, ye mournful ones, be glad. Ye discontented grumblers, come out of that dog-hole! Enter the palace of the King! Quit your dunghills; ascend your thrones.” (Spurgeon)

iii. You should pray for joy, both in yourself and others – especially servants of the LORD. “If you lose your joy in your religion, you will be a poor worker: you cannot bear strong testimony, you cannot bear stern trial, you cannot lead a powerful life. In proportion as you maintain your joy, you will be strong in the Lord, and for the Lord.” (Spurgeon)

iv. You have a promise for joy: “God promises joy and gladness to believers. Light is sown for them: the Lord will turn their night into day.” (Spurgeon)

c. You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him: This is the greatest blessing of all – the favor of God. Knowing that God looks on us with favor and pleasure is the greatest knowledge in the world. This is our standing in grace.

i. A shield does not protect any one area of the body. It is large and mobile enough to cover any and every area of the body. It is armor over armor. This is how fully the favor of God, our standing in grace, protects us.

ii. When Martin Luther was on his way to face a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church to answer for what the church said were his heretical teachings, one of the Cardinal’s servants taunted him saying, “Where will you find shelter if your patron, the Elector of Saxony, should desert you?” Luther answered, “Under the shelter of heaven.”

(c) 2020 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – ewm@enduringword.com

Categories: Old Testament Psalms

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What Does Psalm 5:8 Mean? ►

O LORD, lead me in Your righteousness because of my foes; Make Your way straight before me.

Psalm 5:8(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

King David was not exempt from the trials and tribulations that come from living in a fallen world. He had to deal with painful problems from his own rebellions children. He had to deal with passions of the flesh; lustings of the eye and the snare that human pride brings in its wake. He had a family that scoffed at him; friends who betrayed him; a wife who scorned him; enemies who hated him and some who even wished him dead – but David also trusted in the Lord his God.

David was a man after God’s own heart for one reason only – He trusted in the Lord his God and believed all that God promised in His Word. And David sought a deep and lasting relationship with the Saviour of his soul.

David sought the Lord in the early hours or the morning and he ran quickly to the Lord for the refuge and strength that he needed, as he faced the challenges of every day life. David discovered the loneliness of a man when sin is allowed to fester and grow in the heart.. but he also discovered the freedom and joy of sins confessed and sins forgiven.

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And no matter what difficulties and dangers he faced, we always discover David crying out to the Lord in prayer. Lead me, O Lord in Your righteousness because of my foes, was his oft repeated plea, make Your way straight before my path.  And in the difficulties and dangers he faced, David prayed for guidance and justice.. he sought God’s help and strength – and he asked for the blessing of the Lord for himself and for others.

None of us are exempt from the trials, tribulations and temptation of life, nor are we immune to the disappointments, discouragement and dangers that we may meet. But we all have the choice to become a man or woman after God’s own heart, by trusting Him in every eventuality of life, by beginning each day in prayer and praise and by engaging in ongoing fellowship with our Father in heaven.

The consequences of living in a sinful world are pain and sorrow, but from the time that we wake, until the moment our head touches the pillow in the night time hours, we have a choice to seek the Lord in all things and to submit to the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Let us choose to walk in spirit and truth all the days of our life; to depend on the Lord from morning ’til night – to submit our lives to the guidance of the Spirit of God, and to pray:- lead me in Your righteousness; make Your way straight before my face. May our prayer be: Thy will not mine be done, as we face the challenges of life, in this Christ-rejecting, sinful world.

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/psalm-5-8

Psalm 5 Commentary

Explaining The Book

7 years ago

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Psalm 5 Commentary

We’ll approach Psalm 5 like we have all the psalms. We’ll explore its genre, underlying situation, structure, topic, and theme. And finally we’ll study each verse of this psalm.

Psalm 5 Genre

As has been our custom, we start these lessons considering the genre of the psalm that we’re studying. And Psalm 5 is another lament psalm. You probably didn’t believe me when I said in our first lesson that lament psalms account for about 1/3 of the entire book of Psalms. But this is the 3rd lament psalm we’ve seen in the first 5 psalms.

So Psalm 5 is a lament psalm. But how do you know it’s a lament psalm? Let’s just remind ourselves about the essence of a lament psalm. Otherwise known as complaint psalms, these psalms always feature some sort of complaint. In Psalm 5, the complaint is primarily found in Psalm 5:9. Typically the complaint is about wicked people. For example, back in Psalm 3 where the complaint involved David’s enemies who were seeking to destroy him. Or in Psalm 4 where the complaint was directed toward faithless Israelites who were turning to idols. And these people very much affect the poet writing the Psalm. These evil people are creating a crisis in the life of the psalmist. And it’s this crisis that lament psalms aim to deal with. In fact, in lament psalms we see the psalmist actually mastering this crisis in his life.

Well, what is the crisis of Psalm 5? That’s where we get into the second general phenomenon that we look for in a psalm – the underlying situation.

Psalm 5 Underlying Situation

The underlying situation is the thing in the life of the psalmist that caused him to write his poem.

You remember that in Psalm 3 the underlying situation was easy to get. It was stated at the very beginning of the psalm. David was being chased by his son Absalom.

Psalm 4 was a little more difficult to get. It was harder to get, but finally we discovered that the underlying situation of Psalm 4 was a drought that was threatening agricultural Israel’s harvest.

But what’s the underlying situation for Psalm 5? It’s pretty vague again – probably even more so than in Psalm 4. This time, I think what’s spurring David on to write this poem is wicked people. Again, that’s nothing new or special to this psalm only.

But in this case, a certain part of the body of the wicked is repeatedly mentioned. Psalm 5:9 – “For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.”

And because this is the case, David asks for the Lord to – Psalm 5:8 – “Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face.”

So, David needs the Lord’s guidance and protection because of his enemies. And in particular, these enemies are using their mouths to attack David. Remember – In Psalm 3, the enemies were using “sticks and stones” – so to speak – and were trying to “break [David’s] bones” or worse. But in Psalm 5 they’re using “words” to “hurt” David.

So, the underlying situation in this psalm is – “wicked men using their words to destroy the righteous”.

Now, I want to point out one thing here. When we talk about a psalm being a “Psalm of David”, we shouldn’t immediately assume that the psalm was written by David when he was king. David was a king for a good part of his life. So, any psalm he writes very well may be from that period in his life. But he wasn’t always a king. Any one of his psalms could have been written when he was a shepherd watching his father’s sheep. Or some of his psalms could be written during the tumultuous years when Saul was pursuing him. Sometimes, we just don’t know. And you can imagine that depending on when he wrote his psalms, he was probably facing some really different kinds of challenges. A shepherd faces different issues than does a fugitive than does a king.

So, Psalm 5’s underlying situation – the wicked using their words to destroy the righteous – could have happened at various times in David’s life – either times when he himself personally faced this kind of ordeal or when he witnessed others experiencing it.

This psalm could have been produced after Doeg the Edomite told Saul that the priests had helped David, his enemy. And Saul slaughtered the priests because of the words of the wicked Doeg.

There were at least two times when David was hiding in a city from Saul. And then the citizens of that city went and told Saul and were planning to hand David over to him. Maybe David wrote this psalm after one of those times.

The psalm may have come from the time that his son Absalom was winning the hearts of his people and then led them in rebellion against David.

We don’t know for sure. But all of these are possibilities. And here’s what’s more important than locating a certain recorded episode in David’s life that brought about this psalm: Do you know what this is like? Can you identify with David? Do you know what it’s like to have wicked men use their words to try to destroy you? Does your church know what it’s like to have wicked men try to shut the doors through their gossip and slander? Well, then this psalm applies to you. It’s a psalm to emulate and pray personally to the Lord when you’re facing these kinds of problems.

So, Psalm 5 is a lament psalm written because David wants to complain to God about wicked men who are using their words to try to destroy the righteous.

Psalm 5 Structure

Now, let’s talk about the structure of this psalm. Surely by now we all know how many components make up the structure of a lament psalm. Five. So, let’s find them.

Invocation

We see the invocation in Psalm 5:1-3. The psalmist is calling on God. And he says

Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation. 2 Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray. 3 My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

Confidence

Next, the psalmist expresses his confidence in the Lord in Psalm 5:4-7.

For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. 5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity. 6 Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man. 7 But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.

And it’s interesting, because the psalmist approaches expressing his confidence in God in two different ways.

First, he states that he is confident in God’s purity. And that purity will not allow unrighteous violent men to get away with their wickedness.

But the psalmist isn’t simply confident that God will punish evil, though. He’s confident that God has been and will continue to be merciful to him.

So, that’s the two-pronged approach that the psalmist gives concerning his confidence in the Lord.

Petition

Next, we have the psalmist’s petition in Psalm 5:8 and Psalm 5:10. It’s kind of split up. He says

Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face.

And we’ll get to Psalm 5:9 in just a bit, but skip to Psalm 5:10.

Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against thee.

The psalmist’s petition is similar to his statement of confidence in God. It also has two aspects.

First, the psalmist asks for guidance and help in the journey of life. But he needs that guidance because of his enemies.

And so second, he also petitions the Lord to destroy those enemies – these wicked men who are using their words to destroy the righteous.

Lament

And that brings us to the 4th part of the structure of Psalm 5. The lament. It’s found in the verse that we just skipped over – Psalm 5:9.

For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.

Praise

Then lastly, the psalm’s structure ends with praise in Psalm 5:11-12.

11 But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. 12 For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.

So, Psalm 5 is a psalm in which David laments the fact that there are wicked men using their words to destroy the righteous. And we just saw the layout and structure of the psalm.

Psalm 5 Topic/Theme

Now, we’ll try to grasp Psalm 5’s topic and theme. What is the psalm about?

Well, you could say – isn’t it just about the wicked – and how they try to destroy the righteous?

The answer – not exactly. That’s the underlying situation. But the underlying situation isn’t necessarily the same thing as what the psalm is about.

The topic of a psalm needs to somehow be related to everything that’s stated in that psalm. So, the invocation in Psalm 5:1-3 – they have nothing to do with wicked people destroying righteous people – for example.

Topic: Deliverance

So, what is the topic of Psalm 5? I think it’s about deliverance. That’s a common theme in the psalms – especially in the lament psalms.

So then, the invocation is where the psalmist is preparing to seek deliverance from the Lord.

The statement of confidence serves as the psalmist’s way of expressing trust in God to deliver.

The petition is where the psalmist requests God to deliver.

The lament is the reason the psalmist gives for needing deliverance.

And the concluding praise section gives the psalmist’s praise to the Lord for deliverance.

So, what’s Psalm 5 about? What’s its topic? Deliverance.

Theme: The Righteous Delivered from the Wicked

But what’s the theme of Psalm 5? How would we summarize what the psalmist says about the topic of deliverance?

I think we could sum up the theme of Psalm 5 this way. The Lord will deliver the righteous from the wicked. That might sound a little generic. It might seem like most lament psalms could be summarized this way. But that doesn’t make it any less the theme of this psalm. I think Psalm 5 is communicating that the Lord will deliver the righteous from the wicked.

Psalm 5:1-12 Commentary

So, to summarize, Psalm 5 is David’s lament to the Lord that there are evil people using their words to destroy the righteous. It’s also David’s request for God to deliver the righteous from those wicked individuals. And ultimately, it’s David’s expression of confidence that God will indeed deliver the righteous from those wicked people.

So, let’s take the remaining space here going through the psalm one last time, noticing the details of this poem. We’ll start back with the invocation in Psalm 5:1-3.

Psalm 5:1-3

David says,

Give ear to my words, O LORD,
consider my meditation.
2 Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God:
for unto thee will I pray.
3 My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD;
in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

Psalm 5:1

Let’s look at those first two statements. The psalmist wants the Lord to give ear to his words. He’s going to speak and he wants the Lord to listen and respond to those words.

But there are more than words being expressed here. Because the next line has David requesting that the Lord would “consider” his “meditation”. A meditation is not something verbal – at least not in a coherent form. Other translations translate this word as “groanings” or “sighings”. In fact, the only other place this word is used, the KJV translates it as “musing”. So, this meditation is an utterance that cannot be clearly understood by the human ear. It’s communicating something, to be sure. But sometimes that’s how our prayers are. Sometimes you can articulate your concerns to the Lord or to others. But sometimes your problem overwhelms you in your own mind and heart to the point where you’re communicating something. But no one could possibly understand. But the Lord can.

The Lord gave ear to David’s words. He listened to them. But for David’s meditations or groanings or sighings – the Lord does something different. The Lord doesn’t hear these things. He rather “considers” them. The KJV translates that word in other places as “understand” or “perceive” or “discern”.

So, the Lord listens to audible words. And he can even perceive our deepest thoughts.

Psalm 5:2

Next, David in Psalm 5:2 brings in this image of God being a king. And this fits so well. Who better to deliver the righteous who are being afflicted by the wicked?

Israel’s executive branch was her king. The king was to keep law and order. And even David – whether he was king or not at this point in his life – recognized that he needed the Lord to act as king and make matters right.

Innocent people were being destroyed. The Lord our king must act! The Lord must deliver!

Psalm 5:3

And since the Lord is king, David is going to approach him with his case according to Psalm 5:3.

It makes you think of a court room setting. Early in the morning, David is going to come to the king’s palace and plead his case before the only one who can ultimately do anything about his problem.

And when David comes to the Lord’s palace to plead his case, he really does have a case. When the KJV says that David is going to “direct” his prayer, he’s saying that he’s going to lay out his case in order. He’s going to bring the evidence of the wicked men’s wrongdoing. He’s going to bring the evidence of the innocence of the righteous. He’s going to lay it all out before the Lord.

And then he’s going to watch to see the Lord’s verdict.

Psalm 5:4-7

And there’s no doubt in David’s mind that the verdict will be favorable to the righteous. Because what we have next in Psalm 5:4-7 is his statement of confidence in the Lord.

David says,

4 For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness:
neither shall evil dwell with thee.
5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight:
thou hatest all workers of iniquity.
6 Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing:
the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.
7 But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy:
and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.

Psalm 5:4

David knows God’s character. God won’t let the guilty get away with their assault against the righteous.

Psalm 5:4 reminds me of the statement in James 1:13 to the effect that God can’t be tempted with evil. Evil has no influence on him because he has nothing in him that answers to evil’s temptations.

And not only does God have no pleasure in evil. But evil won’t even be granted temporary residence with God. The psalmist uses a pictorial word in Psalm 5:4. The word “dwell” is actually “sojourn” – like a brief stay. Evil can’t even visit God. He’s that holy.

Psalm 5:5

And back to the courtroom setting. In Psalm 5:5 we’re presented with this group known as the “foolish” in the KJV. The word is actually halal – as in Halelujah – Praise the Lord. It has to do with praising something. And in this case, these foolish folks are praising themselves. We could refer to them as the boastful.

So, these boastful fools might present themselves before God to defend themselves. But they won’t stand. They’ll be found guilty and condemned. Why? Because God hates those who practice evil – and in the context he is hating those who use their words to destroy the righteous. God hates those kinds of people.

Psalm 5:6

And David continues in Psalm 5:6 describing his confidence in the Lord to render the right verdict against these wicked men.

It’s interesting that he uses two more terms that have to do with the wicked using their mouth wrongly.

They speak leasing – they lie, is what that means. And they’re deceitful.

And all of this wrong speech that the wicked practice – it isn’t just for amusing themselves. They’re bloody, the text says. They use their words to kill people.

Think of Jezebel’s command to certain worthless men to lie about Naboth. “Naboth did blaspheme God and the king!” they said in 1 Kings 21:13. That one lie resulted in the stoning to death of an innocent man.

Those kind of people God abhors. He detests them. He is repulsed by them.

Boy, you might think, I’m not used to God thinking this way of people. I’m used to him “so loving the world” (John 3:16) and turning the other cheek (Matthew 5:39 and Luke 6:29) and praying for the forgiveness of those who crucified him (Luke 23:34) and such.

And he does all those things. We’ll even see that kind of character from him in the next verse (Psalm 5:7).

But I think if we don’t see the true repulsion that God has towards sin, we can take even the incarnation of Christ lightly.

What’s the big deal about God the Son living among sinful men if God loves man’s sin?

But he doesn’t. And he’s repulsed by it.

And at the same time, God is merciful to many. To all who trust in him and turn from their evil deeds.

Psalm 5:7

So, in Psalm 5:7, David is expressing confidence that God will deliver him from those deceptive bloodthirsty men.

In contrast to them, David will enter God’s house. Why? Because David never sinned? No. Because of the multitude of God’s mercy – his chesed – his loyal covenant love. That makes all the difference.

It’s because of God’s loyal love that any of us are any different from the wicked world around us. It’s God’s loyal love that pulled some of us from a way of life that resembled these wicked men in Psalm 5. And that same loyal love is what gave David confidence to enter God’s house. Just like he’s one of God’s family. He can come right in – experience the protection of a home, the warmth, the comfort of a home – but only because of God’s great loyal love.

And even though David is a welcomed guest in God’s home, he’s not taking that privilege lightly. He’s not going to be putting his feet up on the table any time soon. He enters in reverence and in fear of displeasing this great, loving, holy God.

Now, the last word of Psalm 5:7 is “temple”. And that’s a legitimate translation. But in 10 out of the 80 times that word appears in the Old Testament, it’s translated in the KJV as “palace”.

Remember what David said God was in the invocation? A king. Where do kings live? Not usually in temples, but in palace. Though this king is also God and so his palace is a temple.

Psalm 5:8

Now, in light of David’s confidence that God will deliver him from the wicked, we have his specific petition to the Lord starting in Psalm 5:8.

David says,

8 Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies;
make thy way straight before my face.

Let me draw our attention to the last word before the semicolon – “enemies”. The word is typically translated as “enemy”. But it has the idea of someone watching. So, you’ve got David on the narrow dark path that life sometimes is for us. And what makes matters worse is that he’s got wicked people who are watching him and waiting to destroy him. It’s no wonder that he cries out to God for leading along that path.

And that path – the path of life – might have dangerous twists and turns along the way. And so David asks God to make that path straight. Remove the obstacles. Take away the things that would cause him to stumble on this path.

Psalm 5:9

Well, what would cause David to stumble? Answer – the very ones who were watching for his life. The wicked.

And so, in Psalm 5:9, David actually interrupts his petition to God in order to break into the lament of this psalm.

David more graphically illustrates the effect that these wicked men are having on the righteous:

9 For there is no faithfulness in their mouth;
their inward part is very wickedness;
their throat is an open sepulchre;
they flatter with their tongue.

This is why David needed to be guided by the Lord on the path of life and to have his path straightened out. Because these very guys are on that path. And when you get the picture of what David is saying, it’s pretty terrifying.

David again points to their mouth. And let me try to reveal what the psalmist is really communicating.

Let’s start from the end of Psalm 5:9. They flatter with their tongue. Literally, they make their tongue smooth. Their tongue is pictured as being smooth, then. Not literally, but metaphorically. This is a poem after all. So we’re picturing their smooth tongue.

And tongues are kind of connected to and proceed from the throat. Well, David next pictures the throats of these wicked men – the throats that give voice to the words that they use to destroy the righteous – as open graves.

And finally, the inward parts – their belly – is not necessarily “wickedness” as the KJV has it. This word refers to destruction or calamity or ruin.

So, it’s a strange picture and one that only poetry can get away with. But here’s what’s being pictured. The righteous are walking along the path of life. They’re unsuspecting and suddenly they slip on the smooth tongue of the wicked and into the open grave. And like dead men, the righteous fall into those graves and meet their destruction. And all of this is picturing the effect that the words of these wicked men have on the righteous.

Psalm 5:10

So in light of this happening, David returns to his petition for deliverance – with more of a focus on God stopping the evil deeds of these wicked men.

10 Destroy thou them, O God;
let them fall by their own counsels;
cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions;
for they have rebelled against thee.

As opposed to David entering God’s house in the multitude of God’s loyal love, David asks that these men be cast out in the multitude of their transgressions.

And if we’re continuing with this royal motif, the king can do this – right? A king can banish his subjects for their rebellion.

And that’s what it comes down to in David’s mind. The sin of these men are not against men only. These wicked men – by slandering and lying and doing all sorts of other evil with their tongue – they’re rebelling against God ultimately.

Psalm 5:11-12

Well, the psalm ends on a happy note.

11 But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice:
let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them:
let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.
12 For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous;
with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.

As opposed to the wicked, who will be cast out, those of us who are righteous like David – we just need to rejoice. Do you see the three different words expressing this emotion? “Rejoice”, “shout for joy”, and “be joyful”. Why should the righteous rejoice? Because we trust the Lord and love his name and because he ultimately defends us from our enemies and from all evil.

Again, God is a shield for the righteous – for those who love his name and trust him. And this shield is all around us. He’s not going to let anything touch us.

The Lord shows this kind of favor to these kinds of people. And we praise him for this – the blessing and protection that only he can provide.

So, Psalm 5 – the Lord will deliver the righteous from the wicked.

What does Psalm 5:8 mean?

In the middle of dangerous circumstances (2 Samuel 15:13–14), David prioritizes the will of God. He asks the Lord to guide him, in no small part because there are evil men seeking to kill him (Psalm 3:1). Wicked men lay in wait to kill David, so he needed to follow the Lord’s guidance to stay safe and to persevere in righteousness.

We, too, need guidance from the Lord as we navigate through a world that seeks to conform us to its philosophy and conduct. Jesus said His sheep hear His voice and follow Him, literally taking the same road he takes (John 10:4). Romans 12:2 exhorts us to not be conformed to this world, and 1 John 2:15 counsels: “Do not love the world or the things in the world.” First John 2:16 explains, “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.” The evil world system seeks to destroy our testimony as surely as David’s enemies wanted to destroy him, so we need to follow the path God has drawn out for us in His Word.

Context Summary

Psalm 5:7–12 reflects David’s confidence in God’s justice. The Lord punishes the guilty but rewards the righteous. Other passages tell us the Lord loves righteousness and justice (Psalm 36; 58; 97). Isaiah 30, Luke 18, and Romans 1 reveal these characteristics of God, as well. Romans 3 paints the entire human race as guilty before God, but Romans 4—6 show how God justifies the guilty who believe on His crucified and risen Son Jesus (John 3:16–18). David’s prayer for blessing resembles the apostle Paul’s benedictions at the close of some of his epistles (1 Corinthians 16:23; Galatians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:28).

Chapter Summary

Psalm 5 begins with David’s urgent prayer for the Lord to heed his groaning and cry. He addresses the Lord as his King and his God, and indicates that he prays in the morning and watches for an answer. He recognizes that God takes no pleasure in the wicked but destroys evil, lying, bloodthirsty, or deceitful men. He anticipates that the God who loves him will allow him to enter the tabernacle, where he will offer reverential worship. He prays for the Lord’s leading so that he will escape his enemies, whom he identifies as devoid of truth and violent. He prays further that the Lord will cause those rebels to bear the consequences of their transgressions. The psalm closes with an appeal to the righteous to sing for joy as they take refuge in the Lord, and David asks the Lord to bless and protect the righteous

God’s Promise To Honor And Complete His Work

VERSE OF THE DAY

Psalm 138:8 (New International Version)

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The Lord will vindicate me; your love, Lord, endures forever— do not abandon the works of your hands.

The lord will clear me white and snow; for your love lord is everlasting. Do not abandon the plans you work so hard to create

The LORD will fulfill [his purpose] for me; your love, O LORD, endures forever– do not abandon the works of your hands.

Psalm 138

Psalm 138 – God’s Promise to Honor His Word and to Complete His Work

This psalm is titled A Psalm of David. Several commentators mention that it was fittingly placed next to Psalm 137, which described the inability of the psalmist to sing before the heathen. Psalm 138 is a declaration that even the kings of the nations will praise Yahweh.

“This Psalm is wisely placed. Whoever edited and arranged these sacred poems, he had an eye to apposition and contrast; for if in Psalm 137 we see the need of silence before revilers, here we see the excellence of a brave confession. There is a time to be silent, lest we cast pearls before swine; and there is a time to speak openly, lest we be found guilty of cowardly non-confession.” (Charles Spurgeon)

“There is a fine blend of boldness and humility from the outset: boldness to confess the Lord before the gods, humility to bow down before him.” (Derek Kidner)

A. Declaration of praise for the past.

1. (1-2a) The declaration of praise.

I will praise You with my whole heart;
Before the gods I will sing praises to You.
I will worship toward Your holy temple,
And praise Your name

a. I will praise You with my whole heart: David began this song with a bold declaration – that he would hold nothing back in his praise to God. It would be done with all his being, with his whole heart.

i. My whole heart: “We need a broken heart to mourn our own sins, but a whole heart to praise the Lord’s perfections.” (Spurgeon)

ii. “‘With the whole heart’ leaves no room for mixed motives of divided devotion.” (Morgan)

b. Before the gods I will sing praises to You: We can’t imagine that David meant he would praise Yahweh in the actual presence of idols and images of other gods. There are three ideas about what David meant by his singing praise before the gods (elohim).

· Perhaps it was a declaration of allegiance to Yahweh and Him alone, and the gods represent the idols of the heathen.

· Perhaps gods (elohim) in this context refer to angelic beings, as in a few other places in the Hebrew Scriptures.

· Perhaps gods refers to kings or judges, such as are spoken of later in Psalm 138:4.

i. “A witness against the impotence of idols…. Praise belongs to the Lord alone and not to the gods of the nations, whose kings will have to submit to the Lord.” (VanGemeren)

c. I will worship toward Your holy temple: Even when David was not at the temple, he recognized it as God’s appointed place for worship and sacrifice. He would worship according to God’s direction.

i. “Wheresoever I am the face of my soul shall turn, like the needle of a dial, by sacred instinct, towards thee, in the ark of thy presence, in the Son of thy love.” (Trapp)

2. (2b-3) Reasons for praise.

For Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.
In the day when I cried out, You answered me,
And made me bold with strength in my soul.

a. For Your lovingkindness and Your truth: David’s praise was not empty adoration. It had reasons behind it, which were a basis for it. He thought of the great lovingkindness (hesed) of God toward him, and God’s firmly established truth. Meditation on those gifts from God gave David a basis for his spirit of praise.

b. For You have magnified Your word above all Your name: Having mentioned God’s truth in the previous line, now David considered the main way God’s truth is communicated to us – through His word. God has such a high estimation of His word that He has magnified it above His very name, His character.

i. This is a stunning and remarkable statement, showing the incredible regard God has for His own word. He holds His word in greater esteem than His very character or name.

ii. “It would be as if God is saying, ‘I value my integrity above everything else. Above everything else I want to be believed.’ The verse does not have to mean that God’s other qualities are moved to second place.” (Boice)

iii. Charles Spurgeon explained his confidence in complete, God-spoken, inspiration of the Bible: “We believe in plenary verbal inspiration, with all its difficulties, for there are not half as many difficulties in that doctrine as there are in any other kind of inspiration that men may imagine. If this Book be not the real solid foundation of our religion, what have we to build upon? If God has spoken a lie, where are we, brethren?”

c. In the day when I cried out, You answered me: David also had very practical reasons to praise and thank God. The LORD had answered and rescued him many times. When David’s strength failed, God made him bold with strength in his soul.

i. We notice an important pattern in the reasons David gave for his praise. It is important to praise God for who He is, even more than for what He has done for us.

· First he gave God praise for who He is – a God of lovingkindness and truth.

· Then he gave God praise for His revelation – the word, magnified above His very name.

· Then he gave God praise for what He had done – God’s response to David in a time of crisis.

ii. Made me bold: “The psalmist uses a remarkable expression, in saying that Jehovah had made him bold, or, as the word is literally, proud.” (Maclaren)

iii. “If the burden was not removed, yet strength was given wherewith to bear it, and this is an equally effective method of help.” (Spurgeon)

B. Declaration of confidence for the future.

1. (4-6) Praise from the kings of the earth.

All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O LORD,
When they hear the words of Your mouth.
Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the LORD,
For great is the glory of the LORD.
Though the LORD is on high,
Yet He regards the lowly;
But the proud He knows from afar.

a. All the kings of the earth shall praise You: David was king of Israel and gave praise to the LORD, but he also knew the day would come when all the kings of the earth would praise Him. They would praise Him in response to hearing the words of His mouth from those who proclaim.

i. Morgan saw a connection between the answered prayer of verses 2-3 and the praise of kings described here: “The reason of praise is next declared to be that of lovingkindness and truth as already proved. The effect of praise is to be that of the revelation of God to others, who if they come to know Him, will also praise Him.”

ii. When they hear the words of Your mouth: “It probably means when those who know God declare his words to them. In other words, the psalm is acknowledging the need for the people of God to be missionaries.” (Boice)

b. They shall sing of the ways of the LORD: The kings of the earth would not only praise Yahweh with words, but also in song. This was in response to their understanding that great is the glory of the LORD.

c. Yet He regards the lowly: David understood that God is great in glory and on high, yet He holds the lowly, the humble, in high regard. On the other hand, God keeps His distance from the proud.

i. “Infinitely great as God is, he regards even the lowest and most inconsiderable part of his creation; but the humble and afflicted man attracts his notice particularly.” (Clarke)

ii. “Unto the lowly; unto such as are mean and obscure in the world; to me, a poor contemptible shepherd, whom he hath preferred before great princes, and to such as are little in their own eyes.” (Poole)

iii. David’s statement that God regards the lowly, but the proud He knows from afar is another way of saying a truth from Proverbs 3:34 that is repeated twice in the New Testament: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5).

iv. “Low things he looketh close upon, that he may raise them higher; lofty things he knoweth afar off, that he may crush them down lower. The proud Pharisee pressed as near God as he could; the poor publican, not daring to do so, stood aloof off; yet was God far from the Pharisee, near to the publican.” (Trapp)

v. “Proud men boast loudly of their culture and ‘the freedom of thought,’ and even dare to criticize their Maker: but he knows them from afar, and will keep them at arm’s length in this life, and shut them up in hell in the next.” (Spurgeon)

2. (7-8) David’s firm confidence for the future.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;
You will stretch out Your hand
Against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.
The LORD will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

a. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me: As David considered the greatness of God and His kindness to the humble (Psalm 138:4-6), it gave him confidence that God would revive him in his present trouble. Understanding God’s greatness and kindness builds our faith.

b. Your right hand will save me: When God’s help came, it would come with all His skill and strength (Your right hand). God would defend David against the wrath of his enemies.

i. “Thou shall strike them with thy left hand, and save me with thy right.” (Trapp)

ii. “Adversaries may be many, and malicious, and mighty; but our glorious Defender has only to stretch out his arm and their armies vanish.” (Spurgeon)

c. The LORD will perfect that which concerns me: This was David’s confident declaration. He knew that God had a plan concerning him, and this God of greatness and goodness would absolutely perfect that plan.

i. “This is the language of utmost confidence…. The hope is based, not upon the determination of the singer, but upon Jehovah.” (Morgan)

ii. This is another way of stating the great promise of Philippians 1:6: being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

iii. David could think of the particular promise (2 Samuel 7) that God had made concerning him – that his descendants would rule forever, especially fulfilled in the Messiah. The principle is true for every believer regarding the promise and course of life God has appointed for him.

iv. Maclaren noted the connection between the phrases the LORD will perfect and Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever: “Because Jehovah’s lovingkindness endures forever, every man on whom His shaping Spirit has begun to work, or His grace in any form to bestow its gifts, may be sure that no exhaustion or change of these is possible.”

d. Do not forsake the works of Your hands: With confidence in the never-ending mercy (hesed) of Yahweh, David knew that God would never forsake him, who belonged to God by creation and redemption.

i. “Look upon the wounds of thy hands, and forsake not the works of thy hands, prayed Queen Elizabeth 1. And Luther’s usual prayer was, Confirm, O God, in us that thou hast wrought, and perfect the work that thou hast begun in us, to thy glory; so be it.” (Trapp)

ii. “His creating hands formed our souls at the beginning; his nail-pierced hands redeemed them on Calvary; his glorified hands will hold our souls fast and not let them go for ever.” (Burgon, cited in Spurgeon)

(c) 2020 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – ewm@enduringword.com

Categories: Old Testament Psalms

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Commentary on Psalm 138:1-8

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Nancy deClaissé-Walford

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Psalm 138 is classified as an Individual Hymn of Thanksgiving, a psalm in which a single voice praises God for goodness to or on behalf of that individual, usually for deliverance from some trying situation.

Hermann Gunkel, one of the great fathers of psalm studies, describes hymns of thanksgiving in this way: “A person is saved out of great distress, and now with grateful heart he [sic] brings a thank offering to Yahweh; it was customary that at a certain point in the sacred ceremony he would offer a song in which he expresses his thanks.”

In eight brief verses, the singer of Psalm 138 gives thanks to God in the presence of three groups: the gods (verses 1-3); the kings of the earth (verses 4-6); and enemies (verses 7-8). Second-person pronouns abound in verses 1-3, occurring eleven times as the psalmist addresses God directly.

In verse 1, the psalmist gives thanks to God, making music in the presence of the gods. Psalms 135 and 136 also mention “the gods.” In Psalm 135:5 the singer declares “great is the LORD, our God, our Lord, more than all the gods.” And in Psalm 136:2-3, the psalmist says, “Give thanks to the god of gods … give thanks to the lord of lords.” Such phrases are common in the Old Testament, expressing God’s sovereignty over any claimants to the appellation “god.”

In verse 2 of Psalm 138, the psalm singer continues the words of thanks, this time to the “name (shem)” of god, because of God’s “steadfast love (hesed) and faithfulness (‘emeth).” “Name” was an important concept in the ancient Near East. Names reflected the natures and characters of the person who bore them and were conceptually equal to the essence of ones being. The name “Jacob” means “he usurps,” because he grabs Esau’s heel at the birth, attempting to be the first-born twin (Genesis 25:26). He indeed usurps Esau later in life when he coerces Esau into selling to him his birthright and when he tricks Isaac into giving him the blessing.

After wrestling at the Jabbok, God changes Jacob’s name to “Israel,” which means “he has struggled with God” (Genesis 32:28). During Moses’ encounter with God at the burning bush in Exodus 3, Moses replies to God’s command to return to Egypt with a seemingly simple request. “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I tell them?” (3:13).

Moses asks for God’s name in order to fully understand and then convey to the Israelites who this God was. In Exodus 20, God commanded the Israelites that they not “make wrongful use of” God’s name. And the book of Deuteronomy tells us that God’s name will dwell in the place of God’s choosing in the promised land (Deuteronomy 12:5; 14:23-24; 16:2).

The word “steadfast love (hesed)” occurs some 245 times in the Old Testament, 127 times in the book of Psalms. One Jewish scholar defines hesed as “a free-flowing love that knows no bounds.” Hesed is most closely connected conceptually with the covenant relationship between God and children of Israel. Genesis 17 records these words of God to Abram, “I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you, and to your offspring after you, the land where you are now alien … and I will be their God” (verses 7-8).

In Exodus 19, God says to the children of Israel, “If you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples … you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation” (verses 5-6). In each instance, God calls the Israelites into a special relationship centered around a covenant.

Hesed is often used in conjunction with “faithfulness (‘emeth). Both are self-descriptive words used by God in the revelation to Moses on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 34:6-8). The Hebrew verbal root of ‘emeth is ‘aman, meaning “be firm, be reliable, be permanent,” and is the root from which the word “amen” is derived. The psalmist thus gives thanks to, makes music to, and bows down toward God because of God’s name, covenant commitment, and firm reliability.

In verse 3, the psalm singer states what has prompted these words of thanks to God. The first begins in most English translations with the words “On the day that I called,” suggesting a particular point in time when the psalmist cried out. In Hebrew, however, the phrase has a broader temporal frame of reference, best understood as “whenever.” Thus, the psalmist thanks God for answering whenever the psalmist cries out.

In verse 4, the venue of thanks and singing to God shifts from the realm of the gods (verse 1) to the earthly realm of kings. The reason that kings ought to join the psalm singer in giving thanks and singing to God is three-fold: 1) The kings have heard the words (verse 4b; 2b); 2) The glory of the Lord is great (verse 5b); and the Lord is exalted, seeing and knowing the states of the lowly and the haughty alike (verse 6).

The venue shifts once again in verse 7, this time to the realm of the midst of “trouble (tsarah) and the wrath of my enemies (‘oyeb).” The two words “trouble” and “enemies” are often used in parallel constructions in Hebrew poetry (Psalm 42). The psalm singer refers to the hand of God three times in the closing verses of Psalm 138.

God stretches out a hand (verse 7); God’s hand delivers (verse 7); and the psalmist asks God not to “forsake” the “work of your hands” (verse 8). The word translated “forsake” is rapah and means “be slack, be loosened, be weak.” The psalmist has experienced God’s upholding hands over and over in the past and petitions God to continue to uphold and protect.

Psalm 138 celebrates the name, the steadfast love, the faithfulness, and the intimate care of God in the myriad places in which we find ourselves in life — our sanctuaries of safety; our chaotic social, political, and economic world; our daily trials and troubles. The psalm singer reminds the faithful that their God is a God who remembers and cares; that their God is a God worthy of thanks and worship; and that their God is a God above all gods.

About the Author

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Nancy deClaissé-Walford

Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Languages

McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University

Atlanta, GA

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The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever — do not abandon the works of your hands.

Psalm 138:8

Related Topics: Purpose, Lord, Love, Eternal, All Topics…

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

God has a purpose and plan for each of our lives. The greatest thing we can do is to find that purpose and live it out. We can trust his purpose for us because it is based on his wisdom and love. As long as we seek his will, we’re not going to do anything that can ultimately mess up his purpose for us. Yes, we may at times stray from the perfect channel he wants us to travel, but we never get totally out of the main channel. As long as we do not abandon him, and remember he will never forsake us, he will use us for his purposes.

My Prayer…

O Sovereign God, help me discern today what my life is intended to fulfill in your plan. Thank you for loving me and promising to walk beside me every step of my life. I live trusting that you will never forsake me and committed to never forsaking you. In the name of your faithful Son, Jesus, I pray. Amen.

The Thoughts and Prayer on Today’s Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@verseoftheday.com.

Hear Me When I Pray, Answer Me When I Call

Psalm 4

For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be accompanied by stringed instruments.

Answer me when I call to you,
    O God who declares me innocent.
Free me from my troubles.
    Have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

How long will you people ruin my reputation?
    How long will you make groundless accusations?
    How long will you continue your lies? Interlude

You can be sure of this:
    The Lord set apart the godly for himself.
    The Lord will answer when I call to him.

Don’t sin by letting anger control you.
    Think about it overnight and remain silent. Interlude

Offer sacrifices in the right spirit,
    and trust the Lord.

Many people say, “Who will show us better times?”
    Let your face smile on us, Lord.

You have given me greater joy
    than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
    for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.

Psalm 4

God, you show me in honor that I was innocent.

You gave me relief from all my troubles and snares.

So listen to me now when I call to you for help.

Be kind to me and hear my words of prayer.

Men, how long will you try to dishonor me? For you are troubling to me.

Do you enjoy wasting your time searching for new lies against me?Mocking me?

You can be sure that anyone who serves the Lord faithfully is special to him.

The Lord listens when I pray to him.

Tremble with fear, and stop living by sin.

Think about this when you go to bed, and calm down.

Give the right sacrifices to the Lord, and put your trust in him!

Many people say, “I wish I could enjoy the good life.

Lord, give us some of those blessings.”

But you have made me happier than they will ever be with all their wine and grain.

When I go to bed, I sleep in peace, because, Lord, you keep me safe.

Psalm 4

Psalm 4 – Talking to God and Men

This psalm is titled To the Chief Musician. With stringed instruments. A Psalm of David. The title of the psalm indicates that it was directed toward the Chief Musician, whom some suppose to be the Lord GOD Himself, and others suppose to be a leader of choirs or musicians in David’s time, such as Heman the singer or Asaph (1 Chronicles 6:33, 16:5-7, and 25:6). The title also tells us that the song was deliberately written to be accompanied with stringed instruments. In this psalm David poured out his complaint against slanderous enemies and found peace and refuge in God.

A. David talks to God and to men.

1. (1) David talks to God.

Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.

a. Hear me when I call: There was passion in David’s cry. He didn’t want to just cast up words toward heaven. He needed God’s attention to his present problem.

i. Often power in prayer is lacking because there is little passion in prayer. It isn’t that we persuade God by emotional displays, but God wants us to care deeply about the things He cares deeply about. The prophet Isaiah spoke with sorrow about the lack of this in Israel: And there is no one who calls on Your name, who stirs himself up to take hold of You (Isaiah 64:7). This is a good example of David stirring himself up to take hold of God.

b. O God of my righteousness: David knew that his righteousness came from God, and not from himself. He calls upon the God who makes him righteous.

c. You have relieved me…Have mercy on me: In a familiar pattern, David used past mercy as a ground for future help. “God, I know You haven’t blessed me to this point to abandon me, so please have mercy on me.”

i. “This is another instance of David’s common habit of pleading past mercies as a ground for present favour.” (Spurgeon)

2. (2-3) David talks to men.

How long, O you sons of men,
Will you turn my glory to shame?
How long will you love worthlessness
And seek falsehood? Selah
But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly;
The LORD will hear when I call to Him.

a. How long: David asked a valid question. Just how long will the ungodly keep to their way? They can’t keep to it forever, so they may as well abandon it now and be blessed.

i. If we find ourselves on a compromising course, it is valid to ask, “How long? If I extend this course of action out to its logical and inevitable conclusion, where will I be? Knowing this, how long will I play around with this sin?”

b. How long, O you sons of men, will you turn my glory to shame? Many try to connect Psalm 3 with Psalm 4, thinking that this was also written in connection with Absalom’s rebellion. This is probably incorrect, because the focus in this psalm isn’t on David’s physical safety or his kingdom, but on his reputation. Wicked men slandered David.

i. “In this psalm the problem is one of malicious slander and lies. It is the psalmist’s reputation rather than his person that is being attacked.” (Boice)

ii. Turn my glory to shame: Jesus experienced what David experienced. Wicked men tried to turn almost every glorious thing in His ministry into shame.

c. The LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly: David knew that he and other godly people were set apart for God. There are many reasons why we set things apart.

·We set things apart for our own enjoyment.

·We set things apart for greater purity.

·We set things apart for special service.

i. For all these reasons and more, God sets us apart unto Himself.

d. The LORD will hear when I call to Him: The ungodly have a disaster waiting for them, but the godly have a great reward in the LORD. This is why David knew, the LORD will hear when I call to Him.

i. All Christians should have the same assurance. They should be confident that God will hear their prayers. When prayer seems ineffective, it is worth it to take a spiritual inventory to see if there is a reason for unanswered prayer. The Bible tells us there are several possible reasons why prayer may not be answered.

·Not abiding in Jesus (John 15:7).

·Unbelief (Matthew 17:20-21).

·Failure to fast (Matthew 17:21).

·A Bad marriage relationship (1 Peter 3:7).

·Unconfessed sin (James 5:16).

·Lying and deceitfulness (Psalm 17:1).

·Lack of Bible reading and Bible teaching (Proverbs 28:9).

·Trusting in the length or form of prayer (Matthew 6:7).

B. David talks to himself.

1. (4-5) David calms himself before the LORD.

Be angry, and do not sin.
Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And put your trust in the LORD.

a. Be angry, and do not sin: With the ungodliness around him, David had reason to be angry, but he had no reason to sin. He reminded himself to not sin in his anger, and to find solace in meditation before the LORD.

b. Meditate within your heart: David spoke of the Biblical practice of meditation, not the Eastern practice of meditation. In Biblical meditation, we fill our heart and mind with God’s word. In eastern meditation, the idea is to empty the heart and mind, leaving it open potentially for deceiving spirits.

c. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD: David knew the value of doing religious things (offer the sacrifices), yet he also knew that those could not replace trust in the LORD. When religious observance is coupled with true trust in God, we draw near to God and experience the benefits of drawing near.

2. (6-8) David receives blessing from God.

There are many who say, “Who will show us any good?”
LORD, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.
You have put gladness in my heart,
More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.
I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

a. Who will show us any good? The voice of the ungodly cynic echoed in David’s ear. After continual disappointment from man, we may begin to doubt if God will show us any good.

b. LORD, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us: Despite what the cynics said or thought, David trusted that the LORD would show him good.

i. David seemed to claim it upon the Aaronic promise of blessing in Numbers 6:24-26:

The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

c. You have put gladness in my heart: When we know that the face of God shines favorably on us, it puts gladness in the heart. Though David was in distress, vexed by ungodly men all around, he could still have gladness in his heart because the LORD put it there.

d. More than in the season that their grain and wine increased: The ungodly can be happy when the money is coming in and everything is prosperous. David could be happy even in distressing times, because the LORD put gladness in his heart.

e. I will both lie down in peace, and sleep: David could sleep well at night, even in distressing times and surrounded by the ungodly. He slept well because his safety was from the LORD, not from circumstances or even feelings.

i. We can imagine a man lying down to sleep, tormented by all of what his enemies or pretend friends say about him. David could be that man, but instead he trusted in the LORD. He therefore had a gladness that the world could not take away, even with all their slander and lies.

ii. In his proverbs from Poor Richard’s Almanac, Ben Franklin had some good advice: “Since I cannot govern my own tongue, tho’ within my own teeth, how can I hope to govern the tongues of others?”

f. For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety: G. Campbell Morgan points out that David’s idea of alone here was not the LORD and none other. Instead, the idea was that David found safety in his solitude with God.

i. “The thought of the word alone is ‘in loneliness,’ or as Rotherham renders it ‘in seclusion’; and the word refers to the one going asleep. This is a glorious conception of sleep. Jehovah gathers the trusting soul into a place of safety by taking it away from all the things which trouble or harass…the tried and tired child of His love is pavilioned in His peace.” (Morgan)

(c) 2020 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – ewm@enduringword.com

Categories: Old Testament Psalms

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Don’t Hold Too Tight To Life

VERSE OF THE DAY

Matthew 16:25 (New Living Translation)

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If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.

If you hold to your life like you’re gonna loose it then you will loose it. But if you turn your life down very to God for his sake, you will grow and prosper in abundance.

What Does Matthew 16:25 Mean? ►

For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it.

Matthew 16:25(HCSB)

Verse Thoughts

When man sinned, he placed self on the throne of his life in place of God, but unless a believer learns the hard lesson of self-denial and sets out to live his life for Christ alone, by denying self; taking up his cross; living for Christ and identifying with Him – his life will be fruitless.

Just as Christ identified with us and became sin for us so we might be made the righteousness of God in Him – we too are to identify with Christ in His rejection, suffering, shame, loss and death, so that in Him we too may rise to newness of life – to a life of faith – a life lived in the power of the Spirit – a life lived in submission to the will of God – a life that says, Thy will not mine be done.

Generally, man desires a life of ease – a life of comfort and a life devoid of troubles – a life of honour and happiness, and men often do all they can to accomplish this in their life, at the expense of the next. But in Christ’s economy this is to ‘save’ one’s life… which means that his life – (his soul; his rewards; his honour) will be lost in the next.

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Oh, the believer who ‘saves’ his life in this world and lives for himself, will not lose his eternal salvation, but he will certainly lose his ‘life’, his soul; his rewards and his honour in the next, for whatever self-gains in this life will result in loss in the next.

We are commanded to lay up treasure in heaven and not seek after the the pleasures and comforts of this world system, for in God’s economy that is to ‘save’ one’s life, and whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Christ will find it.

It was once said that he is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep (i.e. this life and all the pleasures it offers) to gain what he cannot lose (i.e. his eternal life but with it any heavenly rewards that come from dying to self and live for Christ.)

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/matthew-16-25

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/matthew-16-25

Matthew 16:25 Meaning of For Whoever Wants to save Their Life Will Lose It

Feb 22, 2020 by Editor in Chief

Matthew 16:25
“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”

Explanation and Commentary of Matthew 16:25

Christians are blessed with the reality that they don’t have to worry about their life. The world says to worry about your life. The world says that you should look out for yourself and get what is yours. When Jesus spoke of his coming death, his disciple protested, but Jesus said this attitude was from satan, and even that satan was speaking through Peter (Mt 16:23).

But Jesus didn’t intend that he would be the only one to live and die this way. All Christian are called to “pick up their cross” and follow Jesus in his way. It is an unfortunate reality that the Church today preaches an easy believism that says, “Pray this prayer and you never have to worry about going to hell when you die.” What a tragedy! People are already in the hell of their life in a fallen flesh, in a fallen world, ruled by satan. Jesus died for so much more than a magic get-out-of-hell formula.

God’s invitation is an invitation to die to your old ways. If this doesn’t sound good to you, it is because you have no idea how wonderful it will be to let him “wreck your life.” Jesus calls us to “life abundant” (Jn 10:10).

Breaking Down the Key Parts of Matthew 16:25

#1 “For…”
After rebuking Peter and satan for being a “stumbling block” and tempting Jesus to disobey the will of God by avoiding his suffering, Jesus turns to our call to follow him in bearing our cross.

#2 “…whoever…”
God must draw us to overcome our flesh and turn to him, but he has absolutely created us as moral agents in his image with the capacity to make choices for which we are held responsible. It is part of the privilege and responsibility of being his image-bearers. Anyone who believes and comes to the Father will be saved. Everyone is held responsible for the choice to do so or not.

#3 “wants to save their life…”
How unfortunate it is when we in our ignorance think we know better than God what is good for us. From whom do we try to “save” our lives? From the only One who knows what’s best for us! Only God could make something from our lives, but it requires total obedience and submission to him. Otherwise, we just think that we are our own god. This is the worst and sneakiest form of idolatry and betrays unbelief.

#4 “…will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”
It will end badly for those who never take up their cross and die with Christ. But those who obey Him in this and trade what they see for what they cannot will find eternal and abundant life in Christ. Have the faith of a child and trust in your Father’s purposes and plans. Lay down your life and become what he intends for you.

David Guzik

On December 9, 2015, 5:56 am

Matthew Chapter 16

Matthew 16 – Revealing Who Jesus Is and What He Came to Do

A. Warnings against the Sadducees and the Pharisees.

1. (1-4) The Sadducees and the Pharisees seek a sign from Jesus.

Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and departed.

a. Then the Pharisees and Sadducees: Their working together showed a deep fear among the religious leaders. The Sadducees and Pharisees were long-standing enemies, and the fact that they came together against Jesus shows they regarded Him as a serious threat.

i. “It is an extraordinary phenomenon to find a combination of the Pharisees and Sadducees. They stood for both beliefs and policies which were diametrically opposed.” (Barclay)

· The Pharisees lived according to the smallest points of the oral and scribal law; the Sadducees received only the written words of the Hebrew Scriptures.

· The Pharisees believed in angels and the resurrection; the Sadducees did not (Paul used this division in Acts 23:6-10).

· The Pharisees were not a political party and were prepared to live under any government that would leave them alone to practice their religion the way they wanted to; the Sadducees were aristocrats and collaborated with the Romans to keep their wealth and power.

· The Pharisees looked for and longed for the Messiah; the Sadducees did not.

ii. Yet for all these differences, Jesus brought them together. Not in a good way – they came together in opposition to Jesus, but they came together nonetheless.

b. And testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven: Jesus had done many signs and they remained unconvinced. They looked for a sign from heaven such as calling down fire from heaven, preferably against a Roman legion. They said they were not convinced by the signs “on earth” Jesus had already done.

i. Jesus had already been asked for a sign in Matthew 12:38, and in response He had already pointed them to the sign of Jonah. Tradition held that a sign done on earth could be a counterfeit from Satan, but signs done from heaven (coming in or from the sky) were assumed to be from God.

ii. “The immediate demand of the Jewish leaders for a sign from heaven contrasts sharply with the Gentile crowd’s response to Jesus’ miracles (Matthew 15:31).” (France)

c. Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times: Jesus condemned their hypocrisy. They felt confident about predicting the weather from the signs they saw around them, but were blind to the signs regarding Jesus’ Messianic credentials right before their eyes.

i. “The proof that they cannot discern the ‘signs’ is that they ask for a sign!” (Carson)

ii. Jesus wasn’t the only one to notice the hypocrisy in His day. The Jews of Jesus’ day had a proverb saying that if all the hypocrites in the world were divided into ten parts, Jerusalem would contain nine of the ten parts.

iii. You cannot discern the signs of the times: Jesus said this of the religious leaders of His own day regarding the signs of His first coming. There were prophecies, circumstances, and evidences that should have made it clear to them as signs of the times that the Messiah had come. Many people today are just as blind to the signs of the times regarding the second coming of Jesus.

d. A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign: This statement of Jesus reminds us that signs alone convert no one. It is easy to place far too much confidence in signs and wonders as tools to bring people to faith in Jesus.

i. The problem isn’t that the signs are themselves weak, but that a wicked and adulterous generation seeks after them. The Bible gives repeated examples of those who saw remarkable signs, yet did not believe.

e. No sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah: Jesus promised a sign that would have power to bring people to faith – His resurrection. He had previously mentioned the sign of the prophet Jonah in Matthew 12:39-41, clearly explaining it as His coming resurrection.

i. We remember some of the similarities between Jonah and Jesus:

· Jonah sacrificed himself that others would be saved.

· Jonah disappeared from all human view in doing this.

· Jonah was sustained the days when he could not be seen.

· Jonah came back after three days, as back from the dead.

· Jonah preached repentance.

2. (5-12) Jesus cautions the disciples against false teaching.

Now when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have taken no bread.” But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?; but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

a. Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees: After the preceding conflict with the religious leaders, Jesus gave this warning to His disciples, using the metaphor of leaven.

i. As noted previously in the parable of the leaven (Matthew 13:33), leaven is consistently used as a picture of sin and corruption (especially in the Passover narrative of Exodus 12:8, 12:15-20).

ii. “It was the Jewish metaphorical expression for an evil influence. To the Jewish mind leaven was always symbolic of evil…leaven stood for an evil influence liable to spread through life and to corrupt it.” (Barclay) “False doctrine; which is fitly called leaven, because it soureth, swelleth, spreadeth, corrupteth the whole lump, and all this secretly.” (Trapp)

b. It is because we have taken no bread: This was a strange concern after Jesus had, in the recent past, miraculously fed both crowds exceeding 5,000 and 4,000 people. The disciples didn’t understand Jesus at all here and His use of leaven as a metaphor.

i. “Our memories are naturally like hour-glasses, no sooner filled with good instructions and experiments than running out again. It must be our prayer to God that he would put his finger upon the hole, and so make our memories like the pot of manna, preserving holy truths in the ark of the soul.” (Trapp)

c. Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees: Jesus impressed the importance of being on guard against false teaching, especially that in the service of religious hypocrisy.

i. Jesus charged His disciples with three things:

· Ignorance, because they didn’t understand that He was using material things (leaven) to illustrate spiritual things (the dangerous teachings and practices of the Sadducees and Pharisees).

· Unbelief, because they were overly concerned with the supply of bread, when they had seen Jesus miraculously provide bread on several previous occasions.

· Forgetfulness, because they seemed to forget what Jesus had done before in regard to providing bread.

B. Peter proclaims Jesus as Messiah.

1. (13) Jesus asks the disciples to tell Him who others say He is.

When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”

a. When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi: Jesus again withdrew from the mainly Jewish region of Galilee and came to a place more populated by Gentiles. This was likely a retreat from the pressing crowds.

i. “Caesarea Philippi lies about twenty-five miles [46 kilometers] north-east of the Sea of Galilee…The population was mainly non-Jewish, and there Jesus would have peace to teach the Twelve.” (Barclay)

b. Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am? Jesus did not ask this question because He didn’t know who He was, or because He had an unfortunate dependence on the opinion of others. He asked this question as an introduction to a more important follow-up question.

i. Caesarea Philippi was an area associated with idols and rival deities. “The area was scattered with temples of the ancient Syrian Baal worship…Hard by Caesarea Philippi there rose a great hill, in which was a deep cavern; and that cavern was said to be the birthplace of the great god Pan, the god of nature…In Caesarea Philippi there was a great temple of white marble built to the godhead of Caesar…It is as if Jesus deliberately set himself against the background of the world’s religions in all their history and splendour, and demanded to be compared to them and to have the verdict given in his favour.” (Barclay)

2. (14-16) A pointed question and a pointed answer.

So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

a. Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets: People who thought that Jesus was John the Baptist, didn’t know much about Him, and they didn’t know that Jesus and John had ministered at the same time. Yet John, Elijah, and Jeremiah (along with other prophets) were national reformers who stood up to the corrupt rulers of their day.

i. Some thought Jesus was a herald of national repentance, like John the Baptist and some thought Jesus was a famous worker of miracles, like Elijah. Some thought Jesus was someone who spoke the words of God, like Jeremiah and the prophets.

ii. Perhaps in seeing Jesus in these roles, people hoped for a political messiah who would overthrow the corrupt powers oppressing Israel.

iii. The general tendency in all these answers was to underestimate Jesus; to give Him a measure of respect and honor, but to fall far short of honoring Him for who He really is.

b. Who do you say that I am? It was fine for the disciples to know what others thought about Jesus. But Jesus had to ask them, as individuals, what they believed about Him.

i. This is the question placed before all who hear of Jesus; and it is we, not He, who are judged by our answer. In fact, we answer this question every day by what we believe and do. If we really believe Jesus is who He says He is, it will affect the way that we live.

ii. “Our Lord presupposes that his disciples would not have the same thoughts as ‘men’ had. They would not follow the spirit of the age, and shape their views by those of the ‘cultured’ persons of the period.” (Spurgeon)

c. You are the Christ, the Son of the living God: Peter knew the opinion of the crowd – while it was complimentary towards Jesus – wasn’t accurate. Jesus was much more than John the Baptist or Elijah or a prophet. He was more than a national reformer, more than a miracle worker, more than a prophet. Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah.

i. We can surmise that this was an understanding that Peter and the other disciples came to over time. In the beginning, they were attracted to Jesus as a remarkable and unusual rabbi. They committed themselves to Him as His disciples or students, as was practiced in that day. Yet over time Peter – and presumably others of the disciples by this point – understood that Jesus was in fact not only the Messiah (the Christ), but also the Son of the living God.

ii. Peter understood that Jesus was not only God’s Messiah, but also God Himself. The Jews properly thought that to receive the title “the Son of the living God,” in a unique sense, was to make a claim to deity itself.

iii. “The adjective living may perhaps have been included to contrast the one true God with the local deities (Caesarea Philippi was a centre of the worship of Pan).” (France)

3. (17-20) Jesus compliments Peter for His bold and correct declaration.

Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.

a. Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven: Jesus reveals to Peter that he spoke by divine inspiration, even if he didn’t even know it at the time. In this, Peter was genuinely blessed – both by the insight itself and how it came to him.

i. We too often expect God to speak in strange and unnatural ways. Here God spoke through Peter so naturally that he didn’t even realize it was the Father who is in heaven that revealed it to him.

ii. This also speaks to us of our need for a supernatural revelation of Jesus. “If you know no more of Jesus than flesh and blood has revealed to you, it has brought you no more blessing than the conjectures of their age brought to the Pharisees and Sadducees, who remained an adulterous and unbelieving generation.” (Spurgeon)

b. I also say to you that you are Peter: This was not only recognition of Peter’s more Roman name; it was also a promise of God’s work in Peter. The name Peter means “Rock.” Though perhaps unlikely, Peter was a rock, and would become a rock. God was and would transform his naturally extreme character into something solid and reliable.

c. On this rock I will build My church: The words this rock have been the source of much controversy. It is best to see them as referring to either Jesus Himself (perhaps Jesus gesturing to Himself as He said this), or as referring to Peter’s confession of who Jesus is.

i. Peter, by His own testimony, did not see himself as the rock on which the church was founded. He wrote that we are living stones, but Jesus is the cornerstone. We could say that Peter was the “first believer”; that he was the “first rock” among “many rocks.”

ii. Peter said as much in 1 Peter 2:4-5: Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

d. I will build My church: This is the first use of the word church in the New Testament (or the Bible for that matter), using the ancient Greek word ekklesia. Significantly, this was well before the beginnings of what we normally think of as the church on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2.

i. This shows that Jesus was anticipating or prophesying what would come from these disciples/apostles and those who would believe in their message that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.

ii. The ancient Greek word ekklesia was not primarily a religious word at all; it just meant, “group” or “called-out group.” In describing the later group of His followers and disciples, Jesus deliberately chose a word without a distinctly religious meaning.

iii. Furthermore, this statement of Jesus was a clear claim of ownership (My church). The church belongs to Jesus. This was also a claim to deity: “What is striking is…the boldness of Jesus’ description of it as my community, rather than God’s.” (France)

iv. Taken together, the promise is wonderful:

· He brings His people together in common: I will build.

· He builds on a firm foundation: On this rock I will build.

· He builds something that belongs to Him: My church.

· He builds it into a stronghold: the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

e. And the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it: Jesus also offered a promise – that the forces of death and darkness can’t prevail against or conquer the church. This is a valuable promise in dark or discouraging times for the church.

i. The Puritan commentator John Trapp explained the gates of Hades this way: “All the power and policy of hell combined.”

ii. “Neither doth hell signify here the place of the damned…but either death, or the graves, or the state of the dead: yet the devil is also understood here, as he that hath the power of death, Hebrews 2:14.” (Poole)

iii. “The gates of hell, i.e., the machinations and powers of the invisible world. In ancient times the gates of fortified cities were used to hold councils in, and were usually places of great strength. Our Lord’s expression means, that neither the plots, stratagems, nor strength of Satan and his angels, should ever so far prevail as to destroy the sacred truths in the above confession.” (Clarke)

iv. A slightly different view: “Is thus to say that it will not die, and be shut in by the ‘gates of death.’” (France)

f. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: This idea of Peter holding the keys of the kingdom of heaven has captured the imagination (and theology) of many Christians throughout the centuries. In artistic representation, Peter is almost always shown with keys.

i. Some people think that this means that Peter has the authority to admit people to heaven, or to keep people out of heaven. This is the basis for the popular image of Peter at the Pearly Gates of Heaven, allowing people to enter or turning them away.

ii. Some people think that it also means that Peter was the first Pope, and that his supposed successors have the keys that were first given to Peter. Indeed, the Papal insignia of the Roman Catholic Church is made up of two prominent keys crossed together.

iii. There is no doubt that Peter had a special place among all the disciples, and that he had some special privileges:

· He is always listed first in the listings of the disciples.

· He opened doors of the kingdom to the Jews in Acts 2:38-39.

· He opened doors of the kingdom to the Gentiles in Acts 10:34-44.

iv. Yet there is no Biblical argument whatsoever that Peter’s privilege or authority was passed on. To put it one way; one might say that Jesus gave Peter the keys, but didn’t give him the authority to pass them on to further generations, and there is not a whisper in the Scriptures that Peter’s authority was to be passed on.

v. The idea that apostolic authority comes from Jesus, who gave it to Peter, who set his hands on the heads of approved and ordained men, who in turn set their hands on the heads of approved and ordained men, and so on and so on through the generations until today is nonsense. It is exactly what Spurgeon said it was: the laying of empty hands on empty heads.

g. And whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven: The power for binding and loosing is something that the Jewish rabbis of that day used. They bound or loosed an individual in the application of a particular point of the law. Jesus promises that Peter – and the other apostles – would be able to set the boundaries authoritatively for the New Covenant community. This was the authority given to the apostles and prophets to build a foundation (Ephesians 2:20).

i. We should understand this as Jesus giving both the permission and the authority to the first-generation apostles to make the rules for the early church – and indirectly, the inspired writings that would guide all generations of Christians. The authority that Peter carries is “not an authority which he alone carries, as may be seen from the repetition of the latter part of the verse in Matthew 18:18 with reference to the disciple group as a whole.” (France)

ii. “Binding” and “loosing” were administrative terms in daily Jewish life; whenever a Jew came up against the Law of Moses, that Jewish person was either “bound” or “loosed” in regard to that law. To loose was to permit; to bind was to prohibit. To loose was to free from the law, to bind was to put under the law. “Their regular sense, which any Jew would recognize was to allow and to forbid. To bind something was to declare it forbidden; to loose was to declare it allowed. These were the regular phrases for taking decisions in regard to the law.” (Barclay)

iii. In daily Jewish life, this could be rather complicated. Here is one example from ancient rabbinical writings, cited by teacher Mike Russ:

· If your dog dies in your house, is your house clean or unclean? Unclean.

· If your dog dies outside your house, is your house clean or unclean? Clean.

· If your dog dies on the doorstep, is your house clean or unclean? Ancient rabbinical writings took the issue on and decided that if the dog died with his nose pointing into the house, the house was unclean; if the dog died with his nose pointing away from the house, the house was clean.

iv. As their rabbi, Jesus did this binding and loosing for His own disciples. Without using the same words, this is what Jesus did when He allowed them to take the grains of wheat in the field (Matthew 12:1-8).

v. Significantly, when it came time to understand the dietary laws of the Old Covenant in light of the new work of Jesus, God spoke to Peter first. He and the other apostles, guided by the Spirit of God, would bind and loose Christians regarding such parts of the Old Covenant.

vi. In a lesser, secondary sense, this power is with the Church today. “Today the Lord continues to back up the teaching and acts of his sent servants, those Peters who are pieces of the one Rock. The judgments of his Church, when rightly administered, have his sanction so as to make them valid. The words of his sent servants, spoken in his name, shall be confirmed of the Lord, and shall not be, either as to promise or threatening, a mere piece of rhetoric.” (Spurgeon)

h. He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ: Jesus was pleased that His disciples were coming to know who He was in truth, but He still didn’t want His identity popularly known before the proper time.

i. “Before they could preach that Jesus was the Messiah, they had to learn what that meant.” (Barclay)

4. (21) Jesus begins to reveal the full extent of His mission.

From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.

a. He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things…and be killed: This must have come as quite a shock to His disciples. After fully understanding that Jesus was the Messiah, the last thing they expected was the Messiah would suffer many things and be killed.

i. Yet this was the predicted work of the Messiah (Isaiah 53:3-12). He must die, and He must after His death be raised the third day.

ii. The suffering and death of Jesus was a must because of two great facts: man’s sin and God’s love. While His death was the ultimate example of man’s sin against God, it was also the supreme expression of God’s love to man.

iii. “The ‘must’ of Jesus’ suffering lies, not in unqualified determinism, nor in heroic determination (though some of both is present), but in willing submission to his Father’s will.” (Carson)

iv. “The elders and chief priests and scribes were the three groups who together made up the Sanhedrin, Israel’s highest court; Jesus is to be officially executed. The estrangement between Jesus and the official Jewish leadership is thus already irrevocable.” (France)

b. And be raised the third day: The disciples were probably so shocked that Jesus said He would be killed in Jerusalem that these words didn’t sink in. Later, an angel reminded them of these words (Luke 24:6-8).

5. (22-23) Peter’s unwitting opposition of Jesus.

Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

a. Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You! At this moment Peter had the remarkable boldness to rebuke Jesus. Peter did it privately (took Him aside), yet was confident enough to tell Jesus that He was wrong to consider going to Jerusalem to be killed.

i. It’s not hard to see Peter following these steps:

· Peter confesses Jesus as the Messiah.

· Jesus compliments Peter, telling him that God revealed this to him.

· Jesus tells of His impending suffering, death, and resurrection.

· Peter feels this isn’t right, and he feels that he hears from God and therefore has some authority or right to speak.

· Peter begins to rebuke Jesus. “‘Began’ suggests that Peter gets only so far before Jesus cuts him off.” (Carson)

ii. We can infer that if Peter was bold enough to rebuke Jesus, he was confident that God told him that he was right and that Jesus was wrong at this point. Where it all broke down was that Peter was far too confident in his ability to hear from God.

· What Peter said didn’t line up with the Scriptures.

· What Peter said was in contradiction to the spiritual authority over him.

b. Get behind Me, Satan! This was a strong rebuke from Jesus, yet entirely appropriate. Though a moment before, Peter spoke as a messenger of God, he then spoke as a messenger of Satan. Jesus knew there was a satanic purpose in discouraging Him from His ministry on the cross, and Jesus would not allow that purpose to succeed.

i. We can be sure that Peter was not aware that he spoke for Satan, just as a moment before he was not aware that he spoke for God. It is often much easier to be a tool of God or of the devil than we want to believe.

ii. “Origen suggested that, Jesus was saying to Peter: ‘Peter, your place is behind me, not in front of me. It is your place to follow me in the way I choose, not to try to lead me in the way you would like me to go.’” (Barclay)

c. You are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men: Jesus exposed how Peter came into this satanic way of thinking. He didn’t make a deliberate choice to reject God and embrace Satan; he simply let his mind settle on the things of men instead of the things of God, and Satan took advantage of it.

i. Peter is a perfect example of how a sincere heart coupled with man’s thinking can often lead to disaster.

ii. Peter’s rebuke of Jesus is an evidence of the leaven mentioned in Matthew 16:6. With his mind on the things of men, Peter only saw the Messiah as the embodiment of power and strength, instead of as a suffering servant. Because Peter couldn’t handle a suffering Messiah, he rebuked Jesus.

C. Jesus’ call to disciples.

1. (24) Jesus declares His expectation that His followers would follow Him by dying to self.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

a. Said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me”: This was a word spoken to the disciples of Jesus; to those who genuinely wanted to follow (come after) Him.

b. Let him deny himself, and take up his cross: It was bad enough for the disciples to hear that Jesus would suffer, be rejected, and die on a cross. Now Jesus told them that they must do the same thing.

c. Deny himself, and take up his cross: Everybody knew what Jesus meant when He said this. Everyone knew that the cross was an unrelenting instrument of death. The cross had no other purpose.

i. The cross wasn’t about religious ceremonies; it wasn’t about traditions and spiritual feelings. The cross was a way to execute people.

ii. In these twenty centuries after Jesus, we have done a pretty good job in sanitizing and ritualizing the cross. Yet Jesus said something much like this: “Walk down death row daily and follow Me.” Taking up your cross wasn’t a journey; it was a one-way trip. There was no return ticketing; it was never a round trip.

iii. “Cross bearing does not refer to some irritation in life. Rather, it involves the way of the cross. The picture is of a man, already condemned, required to carry his cross on the way to the place of execution, as Jesus was required to do.” (Wessel, commentary on Mark)

iv. “Every Christian must be a Crucian, said Luther, and do somewhat more than those monks that made themselves wooden crosses, and carried them on their back continually, making all the world laugh at them.” (Trapp, commentary on Mark)

d. Deny himself, and take up his cross: Jesus made deny himself equal with take up his cross. The two express the same idea. The cross wasn’t about self-promotion or self-affirmation. The person carrying a cross knew they couldn’t save themselves.

i. “Denying self is not the same as self-denial. We practice self-denial when, for a good purpose, we occasionally give up things or activities. But we deny self when we surrender ourselves to Christ and determine to obey His will.” (Wiersbe, commentary on Mark)

ii. Denying self means to live as an others-centered person. Jesus was the only person to do this perfectly, but we are to follow in His steps (and follow Me). This is following Jesus at its simplest: He carried a cross, He walked down death row; so must those who follow Him.

iii. Human nature wants to indulge self, not deny self. Death to self is always terrible, and if we expect it to be a pleasant or mild experience, we will often be disillusioned. Death to self is the radical command of the Christian life. To take up your cross meant one thing: you were going to a certain death, and your only hope was in resurrection power.

2. (25-27) The paradox of the cross: finding life by losing it.

“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”

a. Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it: We must follow Jesus this way, because it is the only way that we will ever find life. It sounds strange to say, “You will never live until you first walk to your death with Jesus,” but that is the idea. You can’t gain resurrection life without dying first.

i. You don’t lose a seed when you plant it, though it seems dead and buried. Instead, you set the seed free to be what it was always intended to be.

b. What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Avoiding the walk to death with Jesus means that we may gain the whole world, and end up losing everything.

i. Jesus Himself had the opportunity to gain all the world by worshipping Satan (Luke 4:5-8), but He found life and victory in obedience instead.

ii. Amazingly, the people who live this way before Jesus are the ones who are really, genuinely happy. Giving our lives to Jesus all the way, and living as an others-centered person does not take away from our lives, it adds to it.

c. He will reward each according to his works: This ultimate gain is given on this day. If we live life blind to this truth, we really will lose our own soul.

i. “Not only Jesus’ example, but the judgment he will exercise is an incentive to take up one’s cross and follow him.” (Carson)

ii. With His angels: “They are his angels: he stands so far above them that he owns them and uses them.” (Carson)

3. (28) A promise to see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.

“Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

a. Some standing here… shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom: Jesus said this at this moment to emphasize an important truth. Walking with Jesus doesn’t just mean a life of death and crosses. It also means a life of the power and glory of the kingdom of God. Jesus promised some of His disciples would see glimpses of that power and glory.

©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission

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What does Matthew 16:25 mean?

The idea that following Jesus shared anything with crucifixion—the tortuous, humiliating, violating death on a cross—would have shocked the disciples. Still, He has said anyone who would follow Him must deny himself and take up his cross (Matthew 16:24). Jesus had not yet revealed that He would die on a cross, though He will include that later in His teaching (John 12:32–34). Instead, He presented this as the most vivid of metaphors. Those who followed Him would have to willingly die to every bit of their own agenda, their own identity, their own approach.

Now Jesus becomes even more clear that He is describing the death of self: whoever would save his or her life will lose it. However, those who willingly lose their lives for His sake will find true life. In saying this, Jesus changed the stakes. Death to self is required to follow Him, yes, but it is also required to find the life that is truly life. In other words, Jesus says that following Him comes at the terrible cost of losing oneself, but the alternative is to permanently lose one’s life.

Jesus will make clear in the following verses that this loss of life for those who do not take the hard path of following Him will come at the judgment by Jesus and His angels (Matthew 16:27).

Context Summary

Matthew 16:21–28 describes the disciples’ reaction when Jesus reveals He must be killed by religious leaders and raised on the third day. Peter, recently praised for His faith (Matthew 16:17), chastises Jesus for saying such things. Jesus responds with a devastating rebuke of His own, saying “Get behind me, Satan!” Peter’s insistence that Messiah could not be killed is based in his own assumptions, not truth. Christ warns that those who follow Him must be willing to give up all else in the world, and to take on hardship and persecution, as needed. He adds that some standing there will not die before seeing Him coming in His kingdom; this prediction is fulfilled in the next passage (Matthew 17:1–2).

Chapter Summary

A group of Pharisees and Sadducees demand a miracle from Jesus, though He has already performed many. Jesus refuses and warns the disciples to beware of the teachings of these religious leaders. Jesus asks the disciples who the people say He is, as well as their own opinion. Peter says Jesus is the Christ, and is commended for that statement. Jesus begins to reveal that He must suffer and be killed before being raised on the third day. Peter’s attempt to scold Jesus results in a devastating rebuke. Jesus then says all who would follow Him must take up crosses of self-denial.

Love Your Neighbor As Yourself

VERSE OF THE DAY

Leviticus 19:18 (New Living Translation)

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“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

Do not hold hateful feelings or a grudge, do not seek revenge against others. Love your neighbor as you would your self. I am Lord.

18 ¶ Thou shalt not aavenge, nor bear any bgrudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt clove thy dneighbour as thyself: I am the Lord. 19 ¶ Ye shall keep my statutes.

What Does Leviticus 19:18 Mean? ►

‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.

Leviticus 19:18(NASB)

Picture courtesy of Picture  courtesy of  Moody Publishers/FreeBibleimages.org

Verse Thoughts

The Law of Moses not only instructed the Israelites on the Ten Commandments with which we are all so familiar, but also the many other laws concerning the consecration of the priests and their duties, the feast days of the Lord, and the five types of sacrifices. They included cleansing rituals and different food laws, and the various rules and regulations concerning personal conduct in the everyday activities of life.

There were a wide range of laws connected with house and home, life and living, which touched on areas such as marriage and sexual purity, forbidden practices, individual rights, the growing and harvesting of crops, and storage of food, and many moral and ethical issues that simply expanded the familiar Ten Commandments. The entire Mosaic Law was indivisible – and breaking only one of the many lesser laws signified the breaking of the entire Mosaic Covenant.

This law in Leviticus states: “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself – I am the LORD,” The focus of attention is on disagreements between neighbours, and the grievances that can be built up between people with opposing interests or those who consider their rights have been violated.

It gives direct and straightforward instruction on taking revenge, when one’s rights have been abused: “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people,” is the clear directive from the Lord. “But you shall love your neighbour as yourself. I am the LORD.” When this or any of the 613 laws of the Covenant were broken, the entire Mosaic Law was broken.

The people of Israel had been brought into a unique, covenant relationship with God. Indeed, they are the only nation that have ever been given this privilege – but great privileges come with added responsibility. They were to shun the practices of the surrounding nations on these issues and obey the Word of the Lord. They were to be a witness to the pagan nations of the goodness of God, and a light to the Gentiles.

The people of Israel were to demonstrate to the rest of the world how the people of God were to live and behave. One of the ways that this was to be done, was by NOT taking vengeance on a brother or bearing any grudge against any of the people of Israel. They were to love their neighbour as they loved themselves.

Avenging one’s rights and ‘taking the law into one’s own hands’ is the normal reaction of the ‘natural man’ – the unsaved person. But God made it plain that vengeance belongs to Him. A standard was being introduced to the people of Israel that was not practiced in the surrounding, Gentile nations. But if the Law was given exclusively to Israel, how does this impact on the life of Christians?

Well, although Christians are not under the ‘Mosaic Law’ per se, we are certainly under ‘the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus’ which James calls “the royal law according to the Scripture,” and there are many instructions that believers in the Church age are given on many of the issues that are addressed in the Law of Moses e.g. vengeance and justice belongs to the Lord.

Both Paul and the writer to the Hebrews reiterate an important principle to the Christian Church: “Vengeance is Mine, says the Lord – I will repay.” Just as Moses instructed the Israelites to leave the matter of reprisal and justice in God’s hands, so Christians in the Church-age are also directed in the New Testament to leave God to avenge us when we are wronged.

We are to trust Him when persecuted for righteousness’ sake or when hated by the world for the sake of Christ, for as we read in Deuteronomy: “In due time the foot of the evil man will slip. A day of calamity is coming on all who are wicked, and their impending punishment is hastening upon them.”

God’s instruction was clear to all His people: “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but INSTEAD you shall love your neighbour as yourself; I am the LORD.” Loving one’s neighbour in the same way that we love and care for ourselves was an instruction Christ gave to Israel many times during His earthly ministry, and both Paul and James quoted this instruction in their respective writings to Christians.

Proverbs instructs us: “Do not say, ‘I will repay evil.’ Wait for the LORD, and He will save you,” while Peter voices a similar theme when he writes: “Put aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.”

The importance of loving our neighbour as ourselves is a principle that both the born-again believer and the unsaved man recognise as coming from the lips of Jesus, and is diametrically opposite to the reaction of the natural man in this fallen world. However, as members of Christ’s Body, we have been given an even more astonishing (and impossible) commandment – that we love one another AS CHRIST LOVED US.

May we seek to fulfil this worthy directive in the sustaining and almighty power of the Holy Spirit of God, for without Him we can do nothing, but in His sufficient strength we can demonstrate godly love to others in the same way that Christ loved US.

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/leviticus-19-18

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/leviticus-19-18

Leviticus 19:18 Meaning of Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

Nov 18, 2020 by Editor in Chief

Leviticus 19:18
“You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”

Explanation and Commentary of Leviticus 19:18

Contrary to what unbelieving critics of Christianity may say, God’s character is consistent in Scripture from start to finish. His desire here in Leviticus, a book hated by the unbelieving world, is that men and women would love their neighbor as themselves. Jesus did not invent this concept in the first century, but it was always the heart of God for mankind. Here, God is focused on the Jewish person’s attitude toward his fellow Jew, his “own people,” but we know that God means us to treat all people in the same way.

The bearing of a grudge is a disaster on one’s own heart and soul. Men and women are simply not meant to carry that sort of hatred without it killing us from the inside. God, who is perfect and merciful, will be the one to right the wrongs against us. It is not that we as his agents are not called to exact justice as vested authorities from God, such as when the state carries out the rule of law in just and fair ways, but to hold a grudge is to hold onto hatred, and God will not have it in his people.

Rather, we must love our neighbor as our very selves. Some might say, “But I hate myself.” On the contrary, one cannot hate him or herself unless one truly loves oneself enough to care to hate. Everyone loves themselves, but most, especially apart from God, have a dysfunctional relationship with themselves. Nevertheless, we are called to love others. Love, especially for those who have hurt us, sets us free from the agony of hatred and anger and gives them over to the justice of God.

Breaking Down the Key Parts of Leviticus 19:18

#1 “You shall not take vengeance…”
When we are hurt, we are not to pay back to our abuser. Justice may need to be done by getting God’s agent, the state, involved, but we are to be free from the job of vengeance.

#2 “…or bear a grudge…”
God’s concern is never simply about our actions, but also our hearts. Jesus would make this crystal clear in his teaching, especially in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7). We must let go of our anger and release it to God.

#3 “…against the sons of your own people,”
For us, this means against our brothers and sisters in the Church, but Jesus even expanded the meaning of our “own people” to include all humans.

#4 “but you shall love your neighbor as yourself:”
The absence of grudges and hatred will not be indifference, but love. This is a powerful and Christlike way to live and be.

#5 “I am the Lord.”
To set these words in concrete, God reminds us who is making this command, and why he has the authority to make it and to expect us to obey. We need no other explanation.

Leviticus Chapter 19

Leviticus 19 – Many Various Laws

A. Laws regarding matters already covered.

1. (1-2) The general call to holiness.

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.

a. You shall be holy: The idea behind the word holy is “separate.” As it is applied to God, it describes God’s apartness. It means that God is different than man and from all others; different in His being and different in the greatness and majesty of His attributes. He has a righteousness unlike any other; a justice unlike any other; a purity unlike any other – and love, grace, and mercy unlike any other.

i. Part of this idea is that God is not merely a super-man; His being and character are divine, not human. The divine is a different order of being than the human.

b. Be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy: God is separate from man and from all creation. Yet because humans are made in the image of God, they can follow in His steps and also be holy. In this context, Israel was to be different; separate from the nations and the peoples around them.

i. To be holy means to be more like God, our separation unto Him and His truth – and naturally, separating ourselves from those things that are not like Him and not according to His truth.

ii. “A people created and governed by God are intended to represent Him and the truth concerning Him to other people.” (Morgan)

iii. Matthew Poole understood this as God’s declaration, I the LORD your God am holy, “both in my essence, and in all my laws, which are holy and just and good, and in all my actions; whereas the gods of the heathens are unholy both in their laws and institutions, whereby they allow and require filthy and abominable actions; and in their practices, some of them having given wicked examples to their worshippers.”

2. (3) The law to respect parents.

‘Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and keep My Sabbaths: I am the LORD your God.

a. Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father: This line essentially repeats the idea of the fifth commandment, found in Exodus 20:12. Honor for parents is an essential building block for the stability and health of all society. If the younger generations are constantly at war with older generations, the foundations of society will be destroyed.

i. “Respect for one’s parents is a subject that receives a great amount of attention in the Book of Proverbs (1:8; 6:20; 10:1; 17:25; 23:22; 29:3).” (Rooker)

ii. “The mother is put first, partly because the practice of this duty begins there, mothers, by perpetual converse, being more and sooner known to their children than their fathers; and partly because this duty is most commonly neglected to the mother.” (Poole)

b. And keep My Sabbaths: This line essentially repeats the fourth commandment, found in Exodus 20:8-11. Here, reverence for parents is linked to reverence for the LORD. Submitting to parental authority is a step to submitting to Divine authority.

i. “Reverencing parents is an act of piety towards God, since the parents are substitutes for the heavenly Father as far as their children are concerned.” (Harrison)

ii. The command in Exodus 2:8-11 is specifically to remember the Sabbath. Here, the command is to keep My Sabbaths – to hold them as God commanded, as a day of rest.

iii. Like everything in the Bible, we understand this from the perspective of the whole Bible, not this single passage. With this understanding, we see that there is a real sense in which Jesus fulfilled the purpose and plan of the Sabbath for us and in us (Hebrews 4:9-11) – He is our rest, when we remember His finished work we keep God’s Sabbaths, we remember the rest.

iv. Therefore, the whole of Scripture makes it clear that under the New Covenant, no one is under obligation to observe a Sabbath day (Colossians 2:16-17 and Galatians 4:9-11). Galatians 4:10 tells us that Christians are not bound to observe days and months and seasons and years. The rest we enter into as Christians is something to experience every day, not just one day a week – the rest of knowing we don’t have to work to save ourselves, but our salvation is accomplished in Jesus (Hebrews 4:9-10).

v. Yet we dare not ignore the importance of a day of rest – God has built us so that we need one. Six days of work and one day of rest is good for us spiritually, mentally, and physically. Like an automobile that needs regular maintenance, we need regular rest – or we will not wear well. Some people are like high mileage automobiles that haven’t been maintained well, and it shows.

3. (4) The law against idolatry.

‘Do not turn to idols, nor make for yourselves molded gods: I am the LORD your God.

a. Do not turn to idols: This line essentially repeats the idea of the second commandment, found in Exodus 20:4-6. The word for idols literally means nothings. Idols represent gods that are not real and are really nothings.

i. “This word comes from a root meaning worthless, inadequate, or nothingness. It is frequently used in the Old Testament to refer to the gods of other groups of people. The Israelites did not consider them of any value.” (Peter-Contesse)

b. Nor make for yourselves molded gods: Israel had significant trouble with the worship of idols until the Babylonian captivity (some 800 years from the time of Leviticus). The attraction was not so much to the molded gods themselves, as to what they represented – financial success, pleasure, and self-worship.

i. After the Babylonian captivity, Israel was cured of her gross idolatry of molded gods and began a more dangerous form of idolatry – idolatry of the nation itself, idolatry of the temple and its ceremonies, and an idolatry of tradition.

4. (5-8) Laws regarding offerings.

‘And if you offer a sacrifice of a peace offering to the LORD, you shall offer it of your own free will. It shall be eaten the same day you offer it, and on the next day. And if any remains until the third day, it shall be burned in the fire. And if it is eaten at all on the third day, it is an abomination. It shall not be accepted. Therefore everyone who eats it shall bear his iniquity, because he has profaned the hallowed offering of the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from his people.

a. If you offer a sacrifice of a peace offering: A peace offering (for the enjoyment of peace with God and fellowship with Him) was always to be made of one’s own free will. God did not want forced fellowship from His people.

b. It shall be eaten the same day you offer it: Nor did God want stale fellowship with His people. The meat of a peace offering was not to be eaten after two days.

i. He has profaned the hallowed offering of the LORD: “To profane something is to treat it as if it were not sacred. The whole expression may be rendered ‘has shown his spite for what belongs to the LORD’ or ‘has desecrated something the Lord considers sacred.’” (Peter-Contesse)

B. Other laws.

1. (9-10) Providing for the poor by leaving fields incompletely harvested.

‘When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the LORD your God.

a. You shall not wholly reap the corners of your field: This was one of the public assistance programs in Israel. Farmers were not to completely harvest their fields, so the poor and needy could come and glean the remains for themselves. Grain was left at the corners of the field, and grapes were left on the vine. This shows God cares for the poor and wants them to have opportunities.

i. This is exactly what Ruth was doing when Boaz noticed her (Ruth 2:2-3).

ii. This was not the only care given to the poor in Israel. Deuteronomy 14:28-29 and 26:12-15 also command that every three years there be a special tithe collected for the relief of the poor.

b. You shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: This was a wonderful way to help the poor and the foreigner. It commanded the farmers to have a generous heart, and the poor to be active and to work for their food. It made a way for the poor to provide for their own needs with both work and dignity.

i. “By gleaning the corners and the leftovers of the field, the poor were spared the embarrassment of asking for charity.” (Rooker)

ii. “This is holiness according to the Divine standard, which ever has this element of compassion.” (Morgan)

2. (11-13) Honest dealing.

‘You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another. And you shall not swear by My name falsely, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the LORD.
‘You shall not cheat your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of him who is hired shall not remain with you all night until morning.

a. You shall not steal: In essence, this repeats the eighth commandment (Exodus 20:15). This command is another important foundation for human society, establishing the right to personal property. God has clearly entrusted certain possessions to certain individuals, and other people or governments are not permitted to take that property without proper legal process.

i. Ephesians 4:28 gives the solution to stealing. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.

b. Nor deal falsely: In the context of you shall not steal, this probably has reference to false dealing in order to steal from someone or take money from them deceptively.

c. You shall not swear by My name falsely: This is an aspect of what is forbidden under the third commandment (Exodus 20:7), against taking God’s name in vain. Again, in context, it probably has the idea of swearing oaths to deceive others in taking money from them.

d. You shall not cheat your neighbor: To cheat – to take money from others with some form of deception – is the same as to rob him. Cheating is a form of robbery or stealing, and God commands against it.

e. The wages of him who is hired shall not remain with you: God commands the prompt payment of those who are hired. When people are hired and not paid, it is not only a sin against those hired – it is also a sin against God.

i. “For this plain reason, it is the support of the man’s life and family, and they need to expend it as fast as it is earned.” (Clarke)

3. (14) Basic human compassion commanded.

You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God: I am the LORD.

a. You shall not curse the deaf: God commanded Israel to not mistreat those with physical disabilities. Cursing the deaf is cruel because they can’t hear your curse, though others can. To put a stumbling block before the blind is just mean.

i. “He who is capable of doing this, must have a heart cased with cruelty.” (Clarke)

ii. “Even if the deaf person were unable to hear the curse, people thought that a curse had its own power to cause harm. And the deaf man would be unable to do anything to counteract it.” (Peter-Contesse)

iii. This law sought to command and build basic kindness among the people of Israel. An accurate and revealing measure of our humanity is how we treat the weak and unfortunate.

iv. This law also sought to correct bad theology. It was common then (and still exists today) for people to think that if someone had a physical disability (such as being deaf or blind), then that person was specially cursed by God. They thought it had to do with some special or specific sin from that person or their ancestors. They thought if God had so cursed them, then they could also curse them. With this command, God corrected that bad thinking.

b. Nor put a stumbling block before the blind: It would take a cruel, hard-hearted person to deliberately put a stumbling block before the blind – to deliberately trip a blind person. That this command was necessary shows us the kind of rough people the Israelites were after 400 years of slavery in Egypt. Their cruel environment made cruelty seem normal to them. This had to change.

i. These commands regarding kindness and generosity are in the midst of what is often called the holiness code of Israel. This reminds us of something often forgotten: generosity and kindness to those in need is an important aspect of holiness.

ii. “Under these two particulars are manifestly and especially forbidden all injuries done to such as are unable to right or defend themselves; of whom God here takes the more care.” (Poole)

4. (15-16) Laws regarding justice and truthfulness.

‘You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor. You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD.

a. You shall do no injustice in judgment: This was a command to judges and magistrates. Exodus 21-23 gives many principles to the judges of ancient Israel for making their legal decisions. Yet all was based on the fundamental responsibility to do no injustice in judgment.

i. Jesus repeated this foundational principle: Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment. (John 7:24)

b. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: To give preference to a person just because they are poor, or just because they are mighty, is to do injustice in judgment. It should not be done.

i. This specific command speaks against a popular philosophy in the modern western world. An aspect of what is sometimes known as “critical theory” basically divides everyone into one of two categories: the oppressors and their victims. Their idea is that all who are mighty are oppressors, and all who are poor are victims – and that preference should always be given to the poor whom they understand to be victims. This goes against what God commands; this is to do injustice in judgment.

ii. Certainly it is more common to honor the person of the mighty than it is to be partial to the poor. But they are both sins; they both are an injustice. Things should be judged according to truth and evidence of the truth, not according to class theories. As God says: In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor.

c. You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people: A talebearer is essentially a gossip, someone who cannot mind their own business (1 Thessalonians 4:11). They take great pleasure in talking about the lives of other people and spreading stories.

i. Adam Clarke described the talebearer: “The person who travels about dealing in scandal and calumny, getting the secrets of every person and family, and retailing them wherever he goes. A more despicable character exists not: such a person is a pest to society, and should be exiled from the habitations of men.”

ii. A talebearer, “who makes it his business to go up and down from one to another, and divulge evil and false reports concerning others, which, though many times it proceeds only from levity and talkativeness, yet apparently tends to the great injury of our neighbor.” (Poole)

d. Nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor: God commands us to promote and protect the lives of those around us. We have no excuse to be indifferent to the loss of life.

i. “Stand forth against the life of your neighbor: literally, ‘stand upon the blood of your neighbor.’ The exact meaning of this expression is uncertain…. most commentators take it to mean that, whenever a person is in danger of losing his life as the result of a legal case, a witness should not fail to speak out.” (Peter-Contesse)

5. (17-18) The command to love one’s neighbor.

‘You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

a. You shall not hate your brother in your heart: Love for one’s brother is commanded, not only in action but also in heart. Yet if it is not present in the heart, then it should be in one’s actions and the heart will follow. We should not stop at treating others well and having a heart of hatred towards them; God desires to change our hearts to love them.

b. You shall surely rebuke: Love will rebuke another when it is necessary. We all have blind spots where we think everything is fine, but it is evident to others that we need to be corrected.

c. You shall not take vengeance: Vengeance belongs to God (Romans 12:19) and there is a sense in which we can hold back God’s work of vengeance upon others by seeking it ourselves.

i. Of course, this principle applies to interpersonal relationships, and not to the rightful functions of government in keeping the law. Criminals cannot be let free because vengeance belongs to God. God exercises His vengeance through the rightful use of government authority (Romans 13:1-7). It is appropriate to both personally forgive the criminal and testify against them in court.

d. Nor bear any grudge: This is very difficult for many people. It is easy to cherish a grudge against another, especially when it is deserved, but too much damage is done to the one holding the grudge.

e. You shall love your neighbor as yourself: Some are surprised to see this generous command in what they believe to be the harsh Old Testament, but even the Old Covenant clearly commands us to love others.

i. “The significance of the verse is also highlighted by the fact that Jesus and Paul both cited this verse as a summary of the duties one has to his fellow man (Matthew 22:39-40, Romans 13:9).” (Rooker)

ii. Unfortunately, many ancient Jews had a narrow definition of who their neighbor was and only considered their friends and countrymen their neighbors. Jesus commanded us to love your enemies (Luke 6:27), and showed our neighbor was the one in need, even if they might be regarded as a traditional enemy (Luke 10:25-37).

iii. The command to love your neighbor as yourself is simple yet commonly misunderstood. This doesn’t mean that we must love ourselves before we can love anyone else; it means that in the same way we take care of ourselves and are concerned about our own interests, we should take care and have concern for the interests of others.

iv. We already love ourselves: For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it (Ephesians 5:29). Paul warned that in the last days, men will be lovers of themselves (2 Timothy 3:2) – and not in a positive sense! In fact, our misery when things are going badly shows we love ourselves; we rejoice in the misery of those we hate. Our challenge is to show others the same love we show ourselves.

6. (19) Laws of purity in response to pagan practices.

‘You shall keep My statutes. You shall not let your livestock breed with another kind. You shall not sow your field with mixed seed. Nor shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you.

a. You shall not sow your field with mixed seed: The mixing of these things – different species of livestock, seeds, and fabrics – was usually seen by ancient pagans to be a source of magical power. God wanted Israel to have no association with these pagan customs.

i. “Partly, to teach the Israelites to avoid mixtures with other nations, either in marriage or in religion; which also may be signified by the following prohibitions.” (Poole)

b. Nor shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you: Since those pagan customs are no longer an issue in our day, we shouldn’t worry about mixing wool, linen, or other fabrics. This law is a good example of something that is no longer binding upon Christians today because the pagan custom the law guarded against is no longer practiced.

i. However, in our modern age there are important distinctions that have become blurred and things Christians must not participate in. The present-day blurring of distinctions between genders should be resisted by Christians.

7. (20-22) The penalty for unlawful intercourse with a concubine.

‘Whoever lies carnally with a woman who is betrothed to a man as a concubine, and who has not at all been redeemed nor given her freedom, for this there shall be scourging; but they shall not be put to death, because she was not free. And he shall bring his trespass offering to the LORD, to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, a ram as a trespass offering. The priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering before the LORD for his sin which he has committed. And the sin which he has committed shall be forgiven him.

a. Whoever lies carnally with a woman who is betrothed to a man as a concubine: This deals with a woman who was a concubine in the sense she was a slave girl, who was eligible to be married.

i. This is the situation described: A slave girl is engaged to marry a free man, and then a different man has sex with her. Normally, the penalty was death; but because the woman was a slave and was presumed to be not free to resist (or guarded by a father), the penalty was not death. Yet, because of the rape, she was not marriable to her fiancée, so he must be reimbursed (the punishment mentioned). Then the moral guilt would be settled by sacrifice, and presumably the man who had sex with her would be obliged to marry her.

b. And the sin which he has committed shall be forgiven him: With the appropriate sacrifice, the sin could be forgiven.

i. “It is worth noting that only the man was considered blameworthy, not the female slave. Being a slave, the woman may have felt she had little recourse in resisting a male who was a free man and thus more powerful both in the social and economic spheres.” (Rooker)

8. (23-25) Regarding the fruit in the land of Canaan.

‘When you come into the land, and have planted all kinds of trees for food, then you shall count their fruit as uncircumcised. Three years it shall be as uncircumcised to you. It shall not be eaten. But in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, a praise to the LORD. And in the fifth year you may eat its fruit, that it may yield to you its increase: I am the LORD your God.

a. When you come into the land: God reminded Israel of their ultimate goal – the promised land, the land of Canaan – and told them not to eat of the fruit of the trees they plant there for three years. Then the fruit of the fourth year belonged to the LORD, and the fruit of the fifth year could be eaten.

b. That it may yield to you its increase: God knew that not harvesting the fruit for this period would be beneficial for both the trees and the surrounding ecology, resulting in ultimately more productive fruit trees.

i. “The reason for this law is not stated, but it does reinforce to the Israelites that the land is the Lord’s and that he is giving it to them as a gift.” (Rooker)

9. (26-31) Laws to insure separation from pagan practices.

‘You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor shall you practice divination or soothsaying. You shall not shave around the sides of your head, nor shall you disfigure the edges of your beard. You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the LORD.
‘Do not prostitute your daughter, to cause her to be a harlot, lest the land fall into harlotry, and the land become full of wickedness.
‘You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary: I am the LORD.
‘Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.

a. You shall not eat anything with the blood: Eating blood was a practice in many pagan cultic ceremonies, as was divination and soothsaying. Therefore, both were directly forbidden.

i. Harrison on soothsaying: “The prognostication of favourable times for specific forms of action.” This was predicting lucky days or favorable times as an astrologer or others might do.

ii. “Pagans often employed divination and sorcery to try to determine what events would soon transpire. Divination and sorcery were widespread in the ancient Near East, particularly in Mesopotamia and Egypt.” (Rooker)

b. You shall not shave around the sides of your head, nor shall you disfigure the edges of your beard: To do this was to imitate pagan customs of that day. Today, Jewish orthodox men are noticeable by their untrimmed beards and the long, curly locks on the sides of their heads.

i. “This the Gentiles did, either for the worship of the devils or idols, to whom young men used to consecrate their hair, being cut off from their heads, as Homer, Plutarch, and many others write; or in funerals or immoderate mournings, as appears from Isaiah 15:2Jeremiah 48:37.” (Poole)

c. Cuttings in the flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: These were also pagan practices God wanted Israel to be separate from. The trimming of the hair, the beard, cutting, and tattoos were all connected with pagan rites of mourning.

i. Cuttings in the flesh for the dead: “The reference here is to the practice of making deep gashes in the skin while mourning the death of a relative. This was done to provide life blood for the spirit of the dead person rather than to express sorrow.” (Peter-Contesse)

ii. “The tattoo indicated that one was a slave to a particular deity.” (Rooker)

iii. “Ancient writers abound with accounts of marks made on the face, arms, etc., in honour of different idols; and to this the inspired penman alludes.” (Clarke)

iv. Part of this message to us today is that what our culture thinks and how they perceive things is important. If some clothing or jewelry or body decoration would associate us with the pagan world, it should not be done. This is a difficult line to draw because the standards of culture are always changing. Some modern examples of changing standards are hair length and earrings for men.

v. In Paul’s day, in the city of Corinth, only prostitutes went around without a head covering – so it was right for the Christian women of Corinth to wear veils, though they were not required to by the letter of the law (1 Corinthians 11:5-6).

d. Do not prostitute your daughter, to cause her to be a harlot: To prostitute your daughter in this context probably means to give her as a ritual prostitute at a pagan temple. This was of course forbidden, though in the eyes of the pagan culture, it was a religious thing to do.

i. “In some neighboring religions, people thought they were being pious by making their daughters participate in the cult of fertility. But such religious prostitution was not acceptable for the Israelites.” (Peter-Contesse)

ii. “This was a very frequent custom, and with examples of it writers of antiquity abound. The Cyprian women, according to Justin, gained that portion which their husbands received with them at marriage by previous public prostitution.” (Clarke)

e. Mediums and familiar spirits: These were ways the pagans sought to contact the dead or other spirits; this was a doorway into the occult, and strictly forbidden – those who seek after these things are defiled – “made dirty” by them.

i. The word for familiar spirits comes from a root meaning “to know”; “perhaps referring to the occultic information which the practitioner of necromancy purported to have.” (Harrison)

ii. “To attempt to know what God has not thought proper to reveal, is a sin against his wisdom, providence, and goodness. In mercy, great mercy, God has hidden the knowledge of futurity from man, and given him hope – the expectation of future good, in its place.” (Clarke)

iii. “In some Near Eastern societies such mediums would dig a small hole in the earth to symbolize a grave, and then put offerings in it to attract the attention of the person whom the medium desired to contact.” (Harrison)

iv. “Not only all real dealers with familiar spirits, or necromantic or magical superstitions, are here forbidden, but also all pretenders to the knowledge of futurity, fortune-tellers, astrologers, and so forth.” (Clarke)

10. (32-37) Further laws of kindness and justice.

‘You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the LORD.
‘And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
‘You shall do no injustice in judgment, in measurement of length, weight, or volume. You shall have honest scales, honest weights, an honest ephah, and an honest hin: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.
‘Therefore you shall observe all My statutes and all My judgments, and perform them: I am the LORD.’”

a. You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man…. if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him: These are all expositions on the principle of you shall love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18). If we were the old man, or the stranger, or the consumer, we would want fair and kind treatment.

b. You shall do no injustice in judgment, in measurement of length, weight, or volume: God cares that we do business honestly. The surrounding culture may tell us that it doesn’t matter how we make our money, but God tells us to use honest measurements in all our business. This idea is repeated in passages such as Proverbs 11:1, 16:11, and 20:23.

c. I am the LORD: 15 times in this chapter, God declared that He is the LORD – and the one with the right to tell us what to do. This is something that God expected ancient Israel to respect and expects His modern-day followers to also respect.

(c) 2021 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – ewm@enduringword.com

Categories: Leviticus Old Testament

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So Many Are Against Me

Psalm 3

A psalm of David, regarding the time David fled from his son Absalom.

O Lord, I have so many enemies;
    so many are against me.

So many are saying,
    “God will never rescue him!” Interlude[a]

But you, O Lord, are a shield around me;
    you are my glory, the one who holds my head high.

I cried out to the Lord,
    and he answered me from his holy mountain. Interlude

I lay down and slept,
    yet I woke up in safety,
    for the Lord was watching over me.

I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies
    who surround me on every side.

Arise, O Lord!
    Rescue me, my God!
Slap all my enemies in the face!
    Shatter the teeth of the wicked!

Victory comes from you, O Lord.
    May you bless your people. Interlude

So many enemies rise against me though I have faith I do not flinch or am not afraid for God is my savior and refuge he is on my side and keeps me safe he comes when I raise my voice out to him and call on him

Psalm 3

Psalm 3 – Peace in the Midst of the Storm

This is the first psalm with a title: A Psalm of David when he fled from Absalom his son. James Montgomery Boice points out that since these titles are in the canonical text of the Hebrew Bible, “They are to be taken with absolute seriousness throughout.” The events are recorded in 2 Samuel 15-18, but the heart of David at that difficult time is recorded in this psalm.

A. David’s trouble and God’s help.

1. (1-2) What those who troubled David did.

LORD, how they have increased who trouble me!
Many are they who rise up against me.
Many are they who say of me,
“There is no help for him in God.” Selah

a. How they have increased who trouble me: At the writing of this psalm David was in a great deal of trouble. His own son led what seemed to be a successful rebellion against him. Many of his previous friends and associates forsook him and joined the ranks of those who troubled him (2 Samuel 15:13).

b. There is no help for him in God: David’s situation was so bad that many felt he was beyond God’s help. Those who said this probably didn’t feel that God was unable to help David; they probably felt that God was unwilling to help him. They looked at David’s past sin and figured, “This is all what he deserves from God. There is no help for him in God.”

i. Shimei was an example of someone who said that God was against David, and he was just getting what he deserved (2 Samuel 16:7-8). This thought was most painful of all for David – the thought that God might be against him and that there is no help for him in God.

ii. “If all the trials which come from heaven, all the temptations which ascend from hell, and all the crosses which arise from the earth, could be mixed and pressed together, they would not make a trial so terrible as that which is contained in this verse. It is the most bitter of all afflictions to be led to fear that there is no help for us in God.” (Spurgeon)

c. Selah: The idea in the Hebrew for this word (occurring 74 times in the Old Testament) is for a pause. Most people think it speaks of a reflective pause, a pause to meditate on the words just spoken. It may also be a musical instruction, for a musical interlude of some kind.

2. (3-4) What God did for David in the midst of trouble.

But You, O LORD, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
I cried to the LORD with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah

a. You, O LORD, are a shield for me: Though many said there was no help for him in God, David knew that God was his shield. Others – even many others – couldn’t shake David’s confidence in a God of love and help.

i. Under attack from a cunning and ruthless enemy, David needed a shield. He knew that God was his shield. This wasn’t a prayer asking God to fulfill this; this is a strong declaration of fact: You, O LORD, are a shield for me.

b. My glory and the One who lifts my head: God was more than David’s protection. He also was the One who put David on higher ground, lifting his head and showing him glory. There was nothing glorious or head-lifting in David’s circumstances, but there was in his God.

i. Men find glory in all sorts of things – fame, power, prestige, or possessions. David found his glory in the LORD. “Oh, my soul, hast thou made God thy glory? Others boast in their wealth, beauty, position, achievements: dost thou find in God what they find in these?” (Meyer)

c. I cried to the LORD with my voice: “Surely, silent prayers are heard. Yes, but good men often find that, even in secret, they pray better aloud than they do when they utter no vocal sound.” (Spurgeon)

d. He heard me from His holy hill: Others said that God wanted nothing to do with David, but he could gloriously say, “He heard me.” Though Absalom took over Jerusalem and forced David out of the capitol, David knew that it wasn’t Absalom enthroned on God’s holy hill. The LORD Himself still held that ground and would hear and help David from His holy hill.

B. Blessing from and to God.

1. (5-6) God blesses David.

I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the LORD sustained me.
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people
Who have set themselves against me all around.

a. I lay down and slept; I awoke: David used both of these as evidence of God’s blessing. Sleep was a blessing, because David was under such intense pressure from the circumstances of Absalom’s rebellion that sleep might be impossible, but he slept. Waking was another blessing, because many wondered if David would live to see a new day.

i. “Truly it must have been a soft pillow indeed that could make him forget his danger, who then had such a disloyal army at his back hunting of him.” (Gurnall, cited in Spurgeon)

ii. God sustains us in our sleep, but we take it for granted. Think of it: you are asleep, unconscious, dead to the world – yet you breathe, your heart pumps, your organs operate. The same God who sustains us in our sleep will sustain us in our difficulties.

b. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people: With God sustaining him, David could stand against any foe. Before it was written, David knew the truth of Romans 8:31: If God is for us, who can be against us?

2. (7-8) David blesses God.

Arise, O LORD;
Save me, O my God!
For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone;
You have broken the teeth of the ungodly.
Salvation belongs to the LORD.
Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah

a. Arise, O LORD…. For You have struck all my enemies: David’s mind was on both what he trusted God to do (Save me, O my God) and on what God had done (struck all my enemies…broken the teeth of the ungodly). Knowing what God had done gives David confidence in what the LORD would do.

b. Arise, O LORD: This recalled the words of Numbers 10:35, where Moses used this phrase as the children of Israel broke camp in the wilderness. It was a military phrase, calling on God to go forth to both defend Israel and lead them to victory.

c. Broken the teeth of the ungodly: This vivid metaphor is also used in Psalm 58:6. It speaks of the total domination and defeat of the enemy. David looked for protection in this psalm, but more than protection – he looked for victory. It wasn’t enough for David to survive the threat to the kingdom. He had to be victorious over the threat, and he would be with the blessing of God.

d. Salvation belongs to the LORD: David understood that salvation – both in the ultimate and immediate sense – was God’s property. It isn’t the property of any one nation or sect, but of the LORD God. To be saved, one must deal with the LORD Himself.

e. Your blessing is upon Your people: This showed David’s heart in a time of personal calamity. He wasn’t only concerned for God’s hand upon himself, but upon all God’s people. He didn’t pray for preservation and victory in the trial with Absalom just for his own sake, but because it was best for the nation.

(c) 2020 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik – ewm@enduringword.com

Categories: Old Testament Psalms

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Psalm 3: When Life Falls Apart

Those of us old enough to remember the Watergate scandal recall the stunning, unprecedented resignation of President Richard Nixon. Whether you agreed or not with the man politically, it was a sad spectacle to watch. It must have been terrifically shocking, depressing, and humiliating for Mr. and Mrs. Nixon to endure.

One day, you are one of the most powerful men in the world. You are always the center of attention. You are always surrounded by a cadre of Secret Service agents whose job is to protect you at risk of their own lives. Your words are plastered on the front pages of newspapers around the world. At press conferences, reporters try to parse the nuance of your every sentence. What you say can make the stock market shoot up or down. When you give orders, a bunch of underlings jump to make it happen. You live in a mansion with servants attending to your every need. You have a private jet, helicopter, and limousine, plus a private retreat, at your disposal as you carry out the nation’s business.

But the next day, you resign in disgrace, your presidency a shambles. You leave the public eye. You move out of the White House. Nobody cares anymore what you say or think, unless you’re ready to confess your guilt in the scandal. Life changed drastically on that fateful day for Mr. and Mrs. Nixon!

But the resignation of President Nixon was not nearly as traumatic and humiliating as the events that hit King David when his son Absalom led a revolt against him. David had reigned for decades as one of the most powerful monarchs in the world. His military prowess was legendary. He had extended Israel’s dominion far beyond its borders. He had become fabulously wealthy, living in a palace of breathtaking splendor with his many wives and servants. He had absolute authority of life or death over everyone with whom he had dealings. No one dared to get on his bad side.

But then David sinned with Bathsheba and ordered the death of her husband, Uriah. Although David subsequently repented when the prophet Nathan confronted him, David’s sins set in motion a series of God-ordained devastating consequences. David’s oldest son, Amnon, raped his half-sister, Tamar. Tamar’s brother, Absalom, took revenge by murdering Amnon. Absalom fled into exile for several years, but later was permitted to return. But after his return, David refused to see his wayward son for two years. The resentment built and Absalom began to court the disgruntled people in the kingdom, offering himself as a more sympathetic leader than his powerful father was.

Finally, Absalom pieced together a strong conspiracy. David realized that to survive, he had to flee the capital immediately with all of his supporters and their families. All of his servants and their little ones hastily grabbed what they could and took off towards the wilderness. David followed them, weeping, and walking barefoot with his head covered in shame. To add insult to injury, a man named Shimei, from the family of David’s predecessor King Saul, came out as David passed by. He cursed at David, threw stones at him, and accused him of being a worthless man who had brought about his own downfall by being a man of bloodshed (these events are described in 2 Samuel 15 & 16).

It was David’s most traumatic, humiliating experience in his entire life. Everything that he had spent his life working for had suddenly unraveled. Many whom he had thought were allies and friends had abandoned him and sided with his rebellious son. And the most painful wound of all was the treachery and betrayal of Absalom. It brought home to David his own failure as a father. One son was murdered, a daughter was raped, and the murderer was now after his own father’s life in addition to his kingdom. Life was falling apart for David.

What do you do when life falls apart? Few of us have gone through anything close to the trauma that David was experiencing. But in lesser ways, you’ve probably had times when you could identify with David. Perhaps you thought that things were fine at work, but you suddenly got called into the boss’ office and were fired under false allegations brought against you by those you had trusted. You were out of work and the firing made the prospect of finding another job look bleak. You didn’t know how you would provide for your family. Life fell apart.

Or, perhaps one of your children turned against you and took up a lifestyle of drugs or sexual promiscuity that is totally opposed to your values. He leveled all sorts of false charges against you. He resisted your every attempt to talk or be reconciled. Your many years of love and sacrifice on his behalf were met with scorn and anger. Life fell apart.

Or, much to your shock, your mate suddenly announced that he was having an affair, he was leaving you immediately and filing for divorce. You had no hint of the situation in advance. You had thought that things were fine. You were happy. You trusted him. You were both involved in your local church and in your children’s activities. But suddenly, you realized that you had been lied to and deceived for a long time. Life as you knew it suddenly changed drastically and fell apart.

What do you do when life falls apart? David wrote Psalm 3. He wrote a psalm! Maybe that’s why he is called a man after God’s heart! Some scholars call Psalm 3 a morning psalm, and Psalm 4 (which may have been written at the same time) an evening psalm. Perhaps David wrote Psalm 3 just after he crossed the Jordan, awaiting the inevitable battle with Absalom’s forces. Verse 5 hints that he wrote it after waking up safely after a good night’s sleep. Psalm 3 shows us that…

When life falls apart, you can experience God’s peace by laying hold of Him in believing prayer.

After the superscription, which gives us the circumstances, the psalm falls into four strophes of two verses each. The first (3:1-2) reveals David’s peril. Strophe two (3:3-4) records his initial prayer. Strophe three (3:5-6) shows the peace that results from his prayer. The final strophe (3:7-8) gives a repeated prayer and an affirmation of faith that God alone can deliver and bless His people.

1. There are times when life falls apart (3:1-2).

David cries out (3:1-2), “O Lord, how my adversaries have increased! Many are rising up against me. Many are saying of my soul, ‘There is no deliverance for him in God.’” The first, second, and final strophes are followed by “Selah,” which is probably a musical notation meaning, “pause,” or “crescendo.”

David begins by crying out to Yahweh, translated Lord (in small caps). When the NASB uses “Lord” (not small caps), it is translating the Hebrew, Adonai, meaning “Sovereign Lord.” “Lord” in small caps translates Yahweh, the personal, covenant name of God. God revealed Himself to Moses with this name at the burning bush. It is related to the Hebrew verb, “to be,” so that God tells Moses, “I am who I am” (Exod. 3:14). For David to address God as Yahweh had the same connotation as New Testament believers addressing Him as, “Abba, Father” (Willem VanGemeren, Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. by Frank Gaebelein [Zondervan], 5:74). It is an intimate, personal cry for help.

I’ve already described David’s traumatic situation, but note a few other features brought out by these verses. First, David’s adversaries were increasing in number. He always had enemies, but the ranks were growing daily. Things were snowballing against David. Like a dam that first leaks and then suddenly bursts, the raging torrent of the rebellion was threatening to sweep David and his loyal followers to their deaths.

Second, verse 2 reports the words of David’s enemies, who were impugning his relationship with God. The verse reads literally, “Many are saying to my soul….” That is, their words were hitting David in his heart or soul, saying, “There is no deliverance for him in God.” Probably, they were bringing up his now-public sin with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband. They were saying, “Hypocrite! Scoundrel! How can he claim to follow God? His claim that God has anointed him as king is a joke! God is not on the side of such a phony!” C. H. Spurgeon (A Treasury of David [Baker], 1:25) writes,

Doubtless, David felt this infernal suggestion to be staggering to his faith. If all the trials which come from heaven, all the temptations which ascend from hell, and all the crosses which arise from earth, could be mixed and pressed together, they would not make a trial so terrible as that which is contained in this verse. It is the most bitter of all afflictions to be lead [sic] to fear that there is no help for us in God.

Of course, Jesus, David’s Son, went through similar trials as He hung upon the cross. His enemies taunted Him (Matt. 27:43), “He trusts in God; let God rescue Him now, if He delights in Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” And, even worse, as He bore our sin Jesus felt forsaken by the Father as heard in His awful cry (Matt. 27:46), “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” The difference was, David knew that he was being taunted because of his own sins. But, Jesus was without any sin or guilt.

Although I have never gone through anything close to what David experienced, I have had several times in the past 32 years of pastoral ministry when a disgruntled faction in the church rose up against me. These painful situations follow a pattern similar to Absalom’s rebellion. A leader or several leaders begin to spread seeds of discontent among the church. People who already are unhappy about something gravitate to these men, thinking that they may understand their complaints. These leaders, like Absalom, always seem understanding and ready to listen (see 2 Sam. 15:2-6). The word begins to spread and more people begin to air their grievances to these “sympathetic” leaders. The whole thing begins to snowball. In the process, the leaders of the rebellion impugn not only the pastor’s teaching and his leadership, but also his motives: “He doesn’t really care for hurting people like you.” “He isn’t walking closely with God.” When people that you have cared for and prayed for slander your motives, it really hurts!

Note that even though God knows all these details, David tells Him what’s going on. He’s not informing God, but rather laying his burden on the Lord. David is acknowledging to God that he is not able in himself to handle this overwhelming situation.

2. When life falls apart, you must know who God is and how to lay hold of Him in prayer (3:3-4).

“But You” (3:3) reflects David’s shift of focus from his frightening circumstances (3:1-2) to the Lord in prayer. This strophe shows the Lord to be our shield, our glory, the restorer of our joy, and our prayer-answering God.

A. THE LORD IS OUR SHIELD.

We recently studied this as we looked at the shield of faith as a part of our spiritual armor (Eph. 6:16). It first occurs in the Bible when God told Abram that He is Abram’s shield (Gen. 15:1). It also occurs frequently throughout the Psalms (5:12; 18:2, 30, 35; 28:7; 33:20; et. al.). It means that God is our protector and defender. He shields us from the enemy’s attacks. Note how David personalizes it, that the Lord is a shield “about me.” Your faith in the Lord must be personal.

B. THE LORD IS OUR GLORY.

Although David had great earthly acclaim before this catastrophe, he is acknowledging that his identification with the Lord is his only claim to glory. Whether the Lord restored David to his place of earthly prominence or not, God was his glory. The term points to “the comparative unimportance of earthly esteem, always transient and fickle” (Derek Kidner, Psalms 1-72 [IVP], p. 54). As Christians, we will share in Christ’s glory (2 Thess. 1:10).

C. THE LORD IS THE RESTORER OF OUR JOY.

“To lift up the head” is a Hebrew expression for restoring someone who is cast down to his dignity and position. Joseph told the cupbearer (Gen. 40:13), “Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office.” (See, also Gen. 40:20; 2 Kings 25:27 [NASB, margin]; Ps. 27:5-6). By way of application, it refers to God restoring to us the joy that we had before the crisis brought us low. He humbles the proud, but lifts up the humble who cry out to Him, bringing joy to those He restores (1 Sam. 2:1-10; Ps. 107:9, 33-42).

D. THE LORD IS OUR PRAYER-ANSWERING GOD (3:4).

J. J. S. Perowne (The Book of Psalms [Zondervan], p. 123) observes that David’s crying to the Lord with his voice does not express “a single act, but the habit of a life.” Spurgeon said (ibid., p. 26), “We need not fear a frowning world while we rejoice in a prayer-hearing God.”

God’s “holy mountain” (or hill, 3:4) refers to Mount Zion in Jerusalem, where the ark of the covenant remained. Zadok and the Levites were carrying the ark to join David in his escape. But David sent them back into the city, saying (2 Sam. 15:25-26), “Return the ark of God to the city. If I find favor in the sight of the Lord, then He will bring me back again and show me both it and His habitation. But if He should say thus, ‘I have no delight in you,’ behold, here I am, let Him do to me as seems good to Him.” David’s heart was humbled before God. If the Lord restored him, David would worship Him. If the Lord did not restore Him, David still would bow before His just and holy ways. But even though now David was separated geographically from the symbol of God’s dwelling place, the separation was no hindrance to his prayers.

We should learn to humble ourselves before God, realizing that our only plea is His grace. Also, no matter where we’re at or in what kind of difficult circumstances we find ourselves—even if our difficulties are the result of our own sin or failure—we can cry out to the Lord for grace and know that He will hear and answer according to His purpose.

Thus when life was falling apart, David laid hold of the Lord in prayer. Then what happened?

3. When you lay hold of the Lord in prayer, you will experience His peace (3:5-6).

The whole of Psalm 3, but especially verses 5-6, is a real-life drama illustrating Philippians 4:6-7: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” David cried out to God in prayer, then he went to bed—not in the palace, but camped in the wilderness—and slept through the night. It reminds me of Peter on the night before his intended execution. He was so sound asleep in the prison between two guards that the angel sent to rescue him had to hit him to wake him up (Acts 12:7)! David awoke safe and sound, because the Lord sustained him. As reports came in of the tens of thousands set against him, he was not afraid (Ps. 3:6).

When the Lord is your shield and the one who sustains you, the odds or numbers against you don’t matter. As someone has said, “One plus God is a majority.” Or, as Paul puts it (Rom. 8:31), “If God is for us, who is against us?” As he goes on to say, even if we are like sheep for the slaughter, “in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37). Even if our enemies kill us, we can have God’s peace in our soul.

4. Believing prayer depends completely on God for deliverance (3:7-8).

In a make-believe world, David could have said, “Amen” after verse 6. But in the real world, when not only you, but also hundreds of loyal supporters and their families are depending on you, anxiety has a way of creeping back in. So David cries out to God again (3:7-8), “Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God! For You have smitten all my enemies on the cheek; You have shattered the teeth of the wicked. Salvation belongs to the Lord; Your blessing be upon Your people.”

In verse 1, many were rising up against David. Now, he uses the same verb to ask God to rise up against his enemies. In verse 2, David’s skeptics had said that God would not deliver him. Here, David uses the same verb to ask God to save him. He pictures his enemies as ravenous beasts baring their teeth, ready to devour him. So David asks God to break their teeth, which would render them powerless. The verbs may be translated as petitions (VanGemeren, 5:78) or they may reflect David’s sure confidence that God would act. So he wrote as if He already had acted (Alan Ross, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, ed. by John Walvoord & Roy Zuck [Victor Books], 1:793).

David’s final exclamation, “Salvation belongs to the Lord,” shows that David was not depending on his troops, or his counselors that he had planted to mislead Absalom, or on any military strategy. Rather, he acknowledges that any victory would come from God alone. When we cast ourselves on God alone for deliverance, He gets all the praise when He answers our prayers.

David’s final request, “Your blessing be upon Your people,” shows that David was not praying selfishly. He was the anointed king of God’s people. Absalom’s rebellion negatively affected the entire nation. So when David asked God to deliver him, he saw it in terms of God’s blessing His people.

Believing prayer always keeps this kingdom purpose in focus. The Lord’s prayer teaches us to pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). If your world has fallen apart because you’ve been wiped out financially, or your marriage is in trouble or your child has rebelled, don’t just pray selfishly so that your happy world might be restored. Pray in light of God’s kingdom purposes. Pray that God will act so that He will be glorified and His people will be blessed and strengthened.

Conclusion

David turned this horrible experience of betrayal, emotional pain, and nearly being killed into a song of praise. This teaches us that God can use our worst trials to deepen our trust in Him and to produce praises that will encourage His people. When life falls apart, you can experience God’s peace by laying hold of Him in believing prayer. When He answers, He gets the glory, you get the joy, and God’s people get the blessing.

Although, as I said, I’ve never gone through anything close to David’s experience, I have weathered a few difficult attacks. On one such occasion, as I faced a difficult meeting that evening, I spent the day fasting and seeking the Lord in prayer. I realized that not only was my survival as a pastor at this church at stake, but also the well being of the church. About mid-day, the Lord encouraged me with a phone call from the man who had succeeded me as pastor in California. He had learned about the crisis here because one of my opponents had called him to try to dig up some dirt to use against me. But this pastor told me that the elders at my former church had been up past midnight praying for me. They were standing behind me.

But as I walked up the sidewalk towards the meeting that evening, I was anxious. I asked the Lord why I didn’t have His peace in this situation. I was reciting Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Those two words, “with thanksgiving,” hit me between the eyes. It was as if the Lord said, “I haven’t heard you thanking Me for this opportunity to trust Me.” I stopped, bowed my head, and whispered, “Lord, thank You for this trial.” I immediately sensed His peace. He worked that evening to deliver me.

Whether it’s a minor crisis or whether life is falling apart at the seams, if Jesus is your High Priest you have access through His blood to the same prayer-hearing God who rescued David. Even if the crisis is the result of your own sin, humble yourself before Him in repentant, believing prayer and He will exalt you at the proper time.

Application Questions

1. Why does God not always remove the consequences of our sins, even after we’ve repented? See Hebrews 12:3-11.

2. David not only prayed; he also escaped and then organized his army to fight the enemy. Where is the proper balance between prayer and the use of permissible means?

3. Some say that to pray in faith means to “command God” to act according to His promises. Why is this wrong? See 2 Sam. 15:25-26.

4. Why is it essential not just to pray for your problems, but also to pray for God’s greater purpose and glory for His people?

Copyright, Steven J. Cole, 2008, All Rights Reserved.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture Quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, Updated Edition © The Lockman Foundation

FROM THE SERIES: PSALMS

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Psalm 3 Commentary

Let’s study Psalm 3!

Psalm 3 Commentary Genre

First, we’ll talk about the genre of Psalm 3. What kind of poem is it?

Well, it’s what we call a lament Psalm. You could also call it a complaint Psalm. And this kind of Psalm accounts for about 1/3 of the entire book of Psalms. So just about one out of every three Psalms that you encounter is similar to the Psalm that we’re studying today.

Now, I said this is a complaint Psalm. But let’s not get the wrong idea. This Psalm doesn’t simply record the Psalmist griping about something. These Psalms actually present the Psalmist’s strategy for mastering a crisis. So, he’s not whining. He’s actually working toward a solution for his crisis. And we get to listen in while he works through his problem. And so the lament Psalms give us an inspired way to deal with problems and situation that are common to all men.

So – what type of poem are we studying today? Lament/complaint.

Psalm 3 Commentary Underlying Situation

Now, most Psalms are a reaction of the poet to some stimulus. In Psalm 3, what is the stimulus? What is driving David to write this lament poem? What’s happening in his life?

Well, look at the first line of the psalm. What does it say? This is “A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.”

When you think of David, you might think of him in pastoral settings out in the countryside. Or you picture him in his royal palace kind of taking it easy. But this man’s life was filled with conflict.

Even when he was a relative-nobody he was wrestling bears and lions away from his father’s sheep. He defeated Goliath and won some acclaim among the people and even in King Saul’s sight. But then Saul turns on him and David basically becomes a fugitive for years until Saul dies.

Finally, David becomes king. But he’s still constantly going to war – that’s what kings did in those days. But one time he doesn’t go out to war. He stays behind. And he ends up catching a glimpse of a young woman from his palace. As we all know, he ends up committing adultery with her and then ordering the murder of her husband. God rebukes David for those horrendous crimes. And God promises David that the sword will never depart from his house the rest of his life. He will have war and conflict until he dies.

And that’s where Absalom enters the picture. Absalom has a sister who is violated by one of David’s sons from one of his other wives. Absalom kills that brother and flees. Finally he’s persuaded to come back and live close to David. But David won’t talk to him – for years. So, Absalom eventually gathers a number of people together, wins their hearts, and leads a rebellion against his father David. Absalom and his entourage actually run David out of Jerusalem and are trying to literally kill him. And that’s the situation that called for the writing of this Psalm.

So, this Psalm captures some of the emotion that David felt as he fled for his life from Jerusalem. Can you imagine the embarrassment of being pursued by your own child who’s looking to take your life? Can you imagine the regret and self-hatred that David would have experienced – knowing that his own sin with Bathsheba so many years ago had caused this turn of events? Can you imagine the pain of being betrayed by so many trusted advisers and friends in addition to the people you served as king for so many years? All these emotions and many more I’m sure are in David’s heart as he flees Jerusalem.

So, we’ve discovered and rehearsed the underlying situation that called for the writing of this Psalm. And we’ve looked at what kind of Psalm this is. It’s a lament Psalm.

Psalm 3 Commentary Structure

And these lament Psalms have a discernible structure to them. There are actually 5 components to any lament Psalm. So, let’s discover the structure of Psalm 3.

Invocation

The first component of a lament Psalm is the invocation of God. And we see that in this Psalm 3:1. What’s the first word out of David’s mouth in this Psalm? He says, “Lord”. He immediately invokes the Lord.

So, that’s the first component of the structure of this Psalm.

Lament

The next component of a lament Psalm is the lament or the complaint itself. And we find that in Psalm 3:1-2 verses.

“LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. 2 Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God.”

This is where the poet defines the crisis that he’s experiencing – and that he’s going to try to master with God’s help.

Confidence

Another component of the structure of a lament Psalm is an expression of confidence in God. We see this in Psalm 3:3-6 where we have these reassuring statements from David regarding his confidence in God.

“But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. 4 I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. 5 I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me. 6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.”

David is confident that God will deliver him from his multiplied adversaries.

So, that’s the 3rd component of a lament Psalm – the poet’s expression of confidence in God.

Petition

Then, comes the petition – where the poet actually asks the Lord for something. We see that in Psalm 3:7. And in this Psalm it consists of a petition to God for him to remedy David’s crisis.

“Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.”

By the way, it took 6 verses for David to actually ask God for something.

So that’s the 4th part of the structure of this Psalm.

Praise

Finally, Psalm 3:8 ends the Psalm with the last component – which is the praising of God.

“Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people.”

I think the praise here occurs when David proclaims that it is in the Lord’s power alone to provide deliverance. That’s a glory that belongs to the Lord alone. And so he’s to be praised for it.

So, that’s the structure of this Psalm. 5 parts – invocation, lament, confidence, petition, and praise.

Topic/Theme

Now, with the genre, underlying situation, and structure established, we’re going to discover the topic and theme of the Psalm.

The topic is what a Psalm is about. The theme is what the author says about that topic.

So, we’re going to try to summarize the content of Psalm 3 in one word (topic). And then we’ll summarize what David says about that topic (theme).

So, let’s read Psalm 3:1-2 again. Because usually the topic of the Psalm appears near its beginning.

“LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. 2 Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God.”

So, from Psalm 3:1-2 verses we get the idea that David is facing enemies. And their number isn’t dwindling or remaining steady, even. David is facing multiplied and multiplying enemies.

And what are these enemies claiming? They’re saying that God won’t help David. The word “help” has to do with salvation. Or in this context – deliverance. So, here David’s enemies are saying that God will not deliver David from their plans to kill him. And that happens to be the topic of this Psalm – deliverance. You want to know what Psalm 3 is about in a nutshell? It’s about deliverance. And we’ll see evidence of that throughout the Psalm.

Now, David has something to say regarding God’s delivering him from his multiplied enemies. Psalm 3:7 – he says “Save – or deliver – me, oh my God.” And in Psalm 3:8 he reminds himself that “salvation – the kind that David so desperately needs – belongs to the Lord.” There’s the topic again – salvation or deliverance. And it’s the Lord’s to grant deliverance like what David is looking for. And so, despite multiplied enemies claiming that God will not deliver David from their schemes to kill him – look at what David says in Psalm 3:6. “I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.” Ten thousands – that sounds like multiplied adversaries. And yet, David is not afraid of them. Why? Because he’s confident that the Lord will deliver him.

So, here’s what David says about the topic of Psalm 3. He’s talking about Confidence in God’s deliverance from multiplied adversaries. He’s confident that God will deliver him.

Psalm 3 Commentary

OK, we’ve looked at the genre, underlying situation, topic, theme, and structure of Psalm 3. But now we’re going to dive into the details of this Psalm.

Psalm 3 Commentary Verses 1-2

We’ll go back to Psalm 3:1-2.

“LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. 2 Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God.”

You can sense David’s dismay from the very first verse. “Lord! How many…” he exclaims. He expresses amazement at how many enemies he’s acquired. He was their king, their leader, God’s chosen ruler for them. And now so many of them had turned on him. So, David is shocked.

Now, note once more the concept of increasing opposition. They’re – Psalm 3:1 – “increased”. There are – Psalm 3:1 again – “many” that rise up. And he goes ahead and states it one more time in case we missed it – Psalm 3:2 – “Many” speak discouragingly to him. So, let’s really sympathize with David’s utter dismay. His whole country has turned on him.

And these folks aren’t just sitting around. They’re actively opposing David. They’re troubling David. They’re rising up against him.

Let’s think about that image of rising up. And it is an image. Let me ask you – Were the enemies all previously sitting down, but now they’re standing on their feet – and so that’s what David is truly concerned about? No, David’s not concerned about their physical position. So when he tells us that these people are “rising up” he’s putting a picture in our mind. It’s like he’s imagining this large group of angry enemies physically rising up as one to confront and physically destroy him. It’s a terrifying picture. And it accurately portrays how David feels.

But these enemies aren’t just physically imposing in David’s mind. Their very speech is terrifying to David. They’re claiming that God will not deliver David. Can you think of why they might say this? How many people do you think knew about David’s sin with Bathsheba and against Uriah her husband? Nathan did. In addition, God through Nathan told David “by this deed [David’s sin] thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme” in 2 Samuel 12:14. So then, many people apparently knew of David’s sin. It was public knowledge. And what David was now experiencing was actually chastisement from the Lord for that sin. So, think about it. The very fact that these enemies were attacking and reproaching David was by God’s allowance. Can you see why these folks might think that God won’t deliver David from their plans to kill him? David’s own sin got him in to this mess. Maybe God was going to let David’s enemies finish him off.

And that’s where Psalm 3:2 ends.

I’ll briefly mention “Selah”. As far as I know and anyone can say, this probably calls for a musical interlude. But the fact is that no one definitively knows what it signifies. So I won’t be paying much attention to it in coming lessons.

Psalm 3 Commentary Verses 3-6

Now, in complete contrast to what these increasing enemies are saying about David, we have Psalm 3:3. God is David’s “shield”, his “glory”, and “the one who lifts up” his head. These sayings are obviously poetic devices. They’re images that put pictures in our minds. God does not physically manifest himself as a shield. His hand didn’t physically and visibly reach down from heaven and lift up David’s head. So let’s talk about what these images mean.

Shield

First, a shield protects from advancing attacks. The KJV has David saying that God is a shield “for me”. The word actually means “round about”. So, picture it – if an enemy attacks David from any direction, he’s not going to get David. Why? Because David’s “shield” is in the way. That’s the Lord – protecting him.

Glory

Next, the word “glory” can also mean “honor”. David is being supremely dishonored by men – his own son in particular. But in contrast, God gives him honor.

Lifter

Lastly, God lifts up David’s head. You surely know what it feels like to have increasing opposition to you – at home, at work, even among God’s people, unfortunately. And does it ever make you just want to hang your head? That’s where David was. But God lifts his head from despair.

And David may or may not know it at this point, but God was going to restore David to his throne in Jerusalem. And by doing that, God would lift David’s head – so to speak – and get rid of his reproach.

Intimate

Now, note one more thing in Psalm 3:3. Notice how intimate David is with the Lord. He personally addresses the Lord. He looks at the increasing enemies and distress in his life. And then he turns to the Lord alone and reminds himself and the Lord of what God really is to him.

Past

Now, Psalm 3:4 brings us back in time a little. David explains how he came to be so confident in the Lord’s protection of him. He cried to the Lord. He didn’t whisper under his breath. This word is actually translated a few times as “scream”. It’s translated many more times as “call” or “cry” as we have it here. David was earnest in communicating with the Lord. He needed to be heard.

And what happened when David directed his prayer to God? God “heard him”. God answered David when he called.

And he did so from his holy hill. That’s probably a reference to Mount Zion or the Temple Mount – even though the Temple hadn’t been built yet.

And do you wonder what God told David? How exactly did God answer David’s cries? Well, we don’t have the response recorded. But whatever it was, it gave David the confidence that we saw in verse 3. It also results in what he testifies about in Psalm 3:5.

Sleep

David says “I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.” Now, if you were being chased like a fugitive, could you imagine trying this? Laying down and sleeping? I think sleeping would have been very hard for David. And the reason it would be so hard is because he would be uncertain as to whether he would indeed awake in the morning. Or would his life have been taken overnight? But when God answered David’s pitiful cries, David gained confidence to sleep. And because God was protecting him, David actually woke up. The enemies didn’t hurt him. And they wouldn’t. Ever. Because God was with him. The Lord “sustained” him, it says. That word “sustained” is something like “propped up” or “supported”. How exactly do you sleep in the midst of gut-wrenching anxiety about your very life? David could because he knew that the Lord was the one who was propping him up and supporting him. David was confident in God’s deliverance.

10,000

And so because of all these considerations, David boldly proclaims in Psalm 3:6 – “I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.” David won’t fear. Even in the face of overwhelming odds – ten thousands of people against just him. He’s confident in God’s deliverance. And that’s how he pictures it. It’s ten thousands of his enemies versus… how many? Just him. Even if those are the odds and that’s what happens, he’s going to remain confident in God’s deliverance.

Psalm 3 Commentary Verse 7

And so now David – Psalm 3:7 – finally makes petition to the Lord. “Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.” So, in contrast to the enemies in Psalm 3:1 who rise up against David – now we have David calling on the Lord to himself rise up – and to save or deliver David from his enemies.

And we have some imagery here again. Did God literally smite David’s enemies on the cheek? Did he break the teeth of the wicked who persecuted David? Do we have that recorded anywhere? We don’t. So, what is David poetically expressing here?

Cheek

First, a slap to the cheek was a sign of contempt. In other words, God thinks little of these enemies. He will not honor them. He honors David as we saw before.

Teeth

And what about the shattering of teeth? Well, in a day and age before dentures – you lose your teeth and you’re rendered fairly incapacitated in certain ways. And that’s just what God was going to do to David’s enemies. They may be many, but their efforts against David would be brought to nothing and they themselves would be despised by the Lord – whom they claimed would not deliver David.

And so David can call upon God to rise up and deliver him – knowing that this is what God does. God has done these kind of things for David before. And he’ll do them in this very distressing situation.

Psalm 3 Commentary Verse 8

Finally, we come to the end of the Psalm. Psalm 3:8. “Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people.” Now, I believe this is where the Psalmist praises God for his deliverance from increasing opposition. Literally – “salvation” – deliverance – “unto the Lord!” This is his domain. No man could give David the deliverance he needed. The Lord alone is able to deliver. It’s in his hands. And so he deserves our praise. And those who are truly his – God’s people – we get “the blessing.” What blessing is he talking about? Well, we get many countless blessings as God’s people. But in particular – we have what this Psalm is talking about – deliverance through our God.

Psalm 3 Commentary Conclusion

So, that’s Psalm 3. It’s David expressing his confidence in God’s deliverance from increasing opposition.

Now, if David could be confident that God was going to save him from multiplied and multiplying enemies who were intent on his literal physical death – can you and I be confident in that same God to deliver us from our troubles? We can argue from greater to lesser. If God can deliver his people from death, can he deliver from other lesser types of distresses?

We’ve just entered a new year. This message was delivered on the first Sunday of 2015. Look back over the past year. What has God delivered you from? What enemies has he delivered you from? What perils? What dangers? What temptations? Thank him for the deliverance he’s given you in the last year.

And then I would just encourage us to add this kind of prayer to our prayer arsenal. We’ve just been through an entire lesson breaking apart this man’s prayer. We’ve seen him call to the Lord and tell the Lord his bitter complaint. We heard him express his confidence in the Lord. Then we saw him ask the Lord for help. And finally we saw him praise the Lord.

I can tell you from just a little experience that this kind of approach to God helps. When you’re faced with a situation that just won’t quit and is just completely perplexing and disturbing, mimic what David did in Psalm 3. Let me lay out how you could do this, one last time:

Call out to the Lord. He’s the only one who can do anything anyway.

Then lay out your complaint before him. Give him details. Tell him what is so troubling to you. Approach him like a father who cares… because he is a father who cares! I know in our holier moments we wouldn’t dream of complaining to the Lord. But if it’s good enough for David, it’s good enough for us! God actually wants us to bring our complaints to him. So, do it.

Don’t stop there, though. Next, you can express your unwavering confidence in the Lord.

Then offer your request to him. Isn’t the order of this Psalm interesting? You don’t just blurt out your request if you’re following the pattern of this Psalm. It actually takes you a while to get to asking anything if you’re following the pattern of Psalm 3. But do make your request! God actually wants to hear it and wants to answer it according to his will.

And lastly praise the Lord for who he is and what he does.

I’ll just get real personal now and tell you how I’ve prayed recently after the pattern we see in Psalm 3. If there’s one thing that is most troublesome to me, it’s my wife’s health issues. Un-diagnosed weakness is something she struggles with constantly. And I have a few choices. I can sit and stew and get angry at God for letting this happen. That’s immature and just plain wrong. Or I could pretend like it doesn’t bother me, but it does. So, I prayed to the Lord about Lori’s health after the pattern of Psalm 3. And I’m not going to say that it solved all my problems or anything. But it was strangely calming. And I know the Lord heard it and will respond the best way possible.

What’s your single greatest burden? What is the thing that concerns you the most? The thing that makes you want to cry out? The thing you can’t do anything about? Would you consider taking it to the Lord? Invoke him. Complain to him. Express your confidence in him. Make your request to him. And praise him.

What does Psalm 3:3 mean?

David is fleeing from a massive army, sent by his own son, Absalom. It is only through the influence of an ally that this army did not rush on him in a vulnerable moment (2 Samuel 17:15–16). Prior verses indicated that many were writing David’s situation off as hopeless (Psalm 3:1–2). And yet, as he had in the past, David successfully overcame his enemies’ threats and taunts by trusting in the Lord.

He addresses the Lord as a shield around him, his glory, and the lifter up of his head. Just as a shield protects a warrior from swords, arrows, darts, and spears, so David envisions the Lord protecting him from his enemies. This is the same confidence David expressed as a youth, when he confronted Goliath. At that time, he called out to Goliath, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand…For the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hand” (1 Samuel 17:45–47).

The Lord was David’s boast, and David fully expected Him to restore him to his position as king of Israel.

Context Summary

Psalm 3:1–6 discloses David’s plight, arising from the violent coup being waged by his son, Absalom. David’s enemies abounded and mocked him. Those around David said God would not deliver him. Psalm 7 complements this passage by expressing David’s concern that his enemies constantly assault him. Despite their opposition, David trusts in the Lord as his shield and deliverer. He anticipates God’s judgment on his enemies. The mockery expressed in Psalm 3:2 is similar to that of those who crucified Jesus (Luke 23:35–37).

Chapter Summary

David cries out to the Lord while being pursued by many enemies. Others are telling him the situation is hopeless, that he cannot be delivered from his trouble. However, David testifies that the Lord is his shield and deliverer. He says the Lord answered him from the site of Mount Zion. This answer to prayer led to a good night’s sleep and confidence that he had nothing to fear from his many foes. He closes the psalm by declaring that the Lord had slain his enemies in the past and would do so again. The Lord would strike down David’s enemies with crushing blows to the head. He knew the Lord delivers those who trust in Him, so he asks the Lord to bless His people

What Does Psalm 3:8 Mean? ►

Salvation belongs to the LORD; Your blessing be upon Your people! Selah.

Psalm 3:8(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

How frequently we take our eyes off the Lord and focus on our own mounting problems and the multitude of enemies that seem to accumulate outside our door. How often our trust in the Lord falters and we allow our hearts to fail within us, for fear of what is happening in our lives and the lives of those we love.. instead of looking to the Lord for our strength and relying upon Him to provide all that we need,  according to His riches in glory, for His blessing is upon His people for eternity/

David was a man whose emotions fluctuated from ecstatic joy to despondent disquiet, for although he acknowledged the faithfulness of God to finish the good work that He had started in his life, and to fulfil all that He had promised to this man after God’s own heart. David too easily was swayed by the immediate circumstances of his life. He was too often moved by the monumental tasks he was called upon to complete and he was too often overwhelmed by the taunting terrors that stalked his earthly pathway.

David however learned from his youth to quickly get his eyes off his enemies and to keep His focus on Jesus – the God of heaven and earth, Who alone was his shield and buckler and Who alone was his shepherd and the lifter up of his head. David knew that the Lord Jehovah was his Rock, his Fortress and his Salvation, Whose blessings are upon all His people forever and ever – amen.

When David sought to depend on his own ingenuity and might he discovered the inadequacy of his own abilities and energy, for David knew in his heart that salvation belongs to the Lord alone and that God is our refuge and strength – a very present help in time of trouble.

Our God and Saviour is the same yesterday, today and forever, for His promises are altogether sure, His mercies are new every morning and His grace is sufficient for all our mountainous problems and every taunting terror. He has promised to undertake for all our immediate circumstances.. if only we would cast all our cares upon Him, for He cares for us. Great is His faithfulness for the Lord our God is our Salvation and His blessing is upon all His people throughout time and into eternity.

Source: https://dailyverse.knowing-jesus.com/psalm-3-8

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