Monthly Archives: December 2015

Psalm 31 – Shelter from Trouble in the Secret Place of God’s Presence

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Psalm 31 – Shelter from Trouble in the Secret Place of God’s Presence
This Psalm is simply titled, To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. Spurgeon rightly said of this address to this Psalm, “The dedication to the chief musician proves that this song of mingled measures and alternate strains of grief and woe was intended for public singing, and thus a deathblow is given to the notion that nothing but praise should be sung.” We have no definite marking place in David’s life for this Psalm because he was so often in trouble. It resonates with deep and personal trust in God in the depths of difficulty.
An interesting feature of this Psalm is that it is often quoted in other passages of Scripture.

The author of Psalm 71 (possibly David himself) quotes the first three verse of Psalm 31 to start Psalm 71.
Jonah seems to quote Psalm 31:6 in Jonah 2:8, his prayer from the belly of the great fish.
Jeremiah quoted Psalm 31:13 six times, in Jeremiah 6:25; 20:3; 20:10; 46:5; 49:29, and Lamentations 2:22.
Paul quoted Psalm 31:24 in 1 Corinthians 16:13 (according to Clarke this is more clear in the Septuagint).
Most significantly, Psalm 31:5 was quoted by Jesus Christ on the cross as His final words before yielding His life (Luke 23:46). Stephen, the first martyr of the church, also alluded to Psalm 31:5 (Acts 7:59).
A. A plea for rescue, and confidence in Gods answer.
1. (1) Trusting the God who delivers His people.
In You, O Lord, I put my trust;

Let me never be ashamed;

Deliver me in Your righteousness.
a. In You, O Lord, I put my trust: This Psalm of David begins in a similar way to many of his other Psalms – with a declaration of trust in God in a time of trouble. We do not know the precise nature or time of the trouble, other than it severely afflicted David (Psalm 31:9-13) and made him despair of life. Nevertheless, David proclaimed his trust in the Lord.

b. Let me never be ashamed: Davids bold declaration of trust showed that he was not ashamed to call upon the Lord. He considered it appropriate that God answer with not allowing His servant to never be ashamed before his enemies and adversaries.

c. Deliver me in Your righteousness: Because David trusted in God, he asked God to act righteously on his behalf, and to deliver him. He asked that the righteousness of God work on his behalf.
i. Early in the 16th Century, a German monk and seminary professor named Martin Luther taught through the Psalms, verse-by-verse at the University of Wittenberg. In his teach he came upon this statement in Psalm 31:1 (31:2 in German). The passage confused him; how could Gods righteousness deliver him? The righteousness of God – His great justice – could only condemn him to Hell as a righteous punishment for his sins.

ii. One night up in a tower in the monastery, Luther thought about this passage in the Psalms and also read Romans 1:17: For in it [the gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed. Luther said he thought about this day and night, until he finally understood what the righteousness of God revealed by the gospel is. It is not speaking of the holy righteousness of God that condemns the guilty sinner, but of the God-kind of righteousness that is given to the sinner who puts their trust in Jesus Christ.

iii. Luther said of this experience: “I grasped the truth that the righteousness of God is that righteousness whereby, through grace and sheer mercy, he justifies us by faith. Therefore I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise . . . This passage of Paul became to me a gateway into heaven. Martin Luther was born again, and the reformation began in his heart. One great Lutheran scholar said this was “The happiest day in Luthers life.”

2. (2-4) A plea for rescue based on relationship.
Bow down Your ear to me,

Deliver me speedily;

Be my rock of refuge,

A fortress of defense to save me.

For You are my rock and my fortress;

Therefore, for Your names sake,

Lead me and guide me.

Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me,

For You are my strength.
a. Bow downdeliver mebe my rock: In the previous verse David established the basis of God’s rescue: deliver me in Your righteousness. David then called on God to act righteously on behalf of His needy servant, to rescue and protect David.

i. Clarke on bow down Your ear to me: “Put thy ear to my lips, that thou mayest hear all that my feebleness is capable of uttering. We generally put our ear near to the lips of the sick and dying, that we may hear what they say. To this the text appears to allude.”
ii. David asked, be my rock of refuge, a fortress of defense to save me; then said, for You are my rock and my fortress. “Be what Thou art; manifest Thyself in act to be what Thou art in nature: be what I, Thy poor servant, have taken Thee to be. My heart has clasped Thy revelation of Thyself and fled to this strong tower.” (Maclaren)

iii. ” ‘You are.then be.,’ should be the prayer of every Christian.” (Boice)

b. Therefore, for Your name’s sake, lead me and guide me: David did not ask for rescue because he was so good, but for Your name’s sake. David believed that if God would lead and guide him, it would bring honor to God and His name.

c. Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me: David knew his enemies wanted to trap and destroy him, but that God could rescue him even from clever and determined enemies.
3. (5-8) David’s confidence in the Lord.
“In this turn of the stream, faith does not so much supplicate as meditate.” (Maclaren)
Into Your hand I commit my spirit;

You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.

I have hated those who regard useless idols;

But I trust in the Lord.

I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy,

For You have considered my trouble;

You have known my soul in adversities,

And have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy;

You have set my feet in a wide place.
a. Into Your hand I commit my spirit: David asked to be delivered from his enemies and their snares, but not so he could live unto himself. He utterly cast himself upon God, committing the deepest part of himself to God.

i. Jesus expressed His total surrender and submission to God on the cross when He quoted this line from Psalm 31. Luke 23:46 records that Jesus said, Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit – and then Jesus gave His last breath on the cross. “Thus he does not surrender his life despondingly to death for destruction, but with triumphant consciousness to the Father for resurrection.” (Lange, cited in Spurgeon)

ii. Yet this committal of the soul unto God the Father is not reserved for David and the Son of David alone. Stephen, the first martyr of the church had the idea of text in mind with his final words (Acts 7:59).

iii. Into Your hand I commit my spirit: “These words, as they stand in the Vulgate, were in the highest credit among our ancestors; by whom they were used in all dangers, difficulties, and in the article of death. In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum, was used by the sick when about to expire, if they were sensible; and if not, the priest said it in their behalf.” (Clarke)

iv. “These were the last words of Polycarp, of Bernard, of Huss, of Jerome of Prague, of Luther, Melancthon, and many others.” (Perowne, cited in Spurgeon)

v. “When John Huss was condemned to be burned at the stake, the bishop who conducted the ceremony ended with the chilling words, ‘And now we commit thy soul to the devil.’ Huss replied calmly, ‘I commit my spirit into thy hands, Lord Jesus Christ; unto thee I commend my spirit, which thou hast redeemed.'” (Boice)

b. You have redeemed me: David understood that his surrender to God was appropriate because it was God who had redeemed him. He belonged to God both in gratitude for rescue, and in recognition that God had purchased him.

i. “In the Old Testament the word ‘redeem’ (pada) is seldom used of atonement: it is mostly means to rescue or ransom out of trouble.” (Kidner)

ii. “Redemption is a solid basis for confidence. David had not known Calvary as we have done, but temporal redemption cheered him; and shall not eternal redemption yet more sweetly console us? Past deliverances are strong pleas for present assistance.” (Spurgeon)

c. O Lord God of truth: This is a second reason why it was good and appropriate for the David to surrender his life to God – because God is the God of truth, and the truth demanded David’s service and allegiance. David cared about what was true.

d. I have hated those who regard useless idols: David’s surrender to God meant that he must also resist the recognition or worship of idols – which are useless idols, having no power to speak or save. In contrast David could say, “But I trust in the Lord.”

e. I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy: David’s surrender and submission to God didn’t produce misery – he was happy and joyful. Much of this was because his heart overflowed with gratitude, thinking of all God had done for him.

You have considered my trouble: David was happy because he knew God did not ignore him in his time of trouble.

You have known my soul in adversities: David was happy because he knew God had deep, substantial knowledge of David – even to the soul – in his seasons of adversities.

And have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: David was happy because he knew that God answered (or would answer) his prayer to be delivered from the snares of his enemies.

You have set my feet in a wide place: David was happy for God did not only preserve him from enemies, but God also set David in a place of safety and security.
i. You have considered my trouble; You have known my soul in adversities: “When we are so bewildered as not to know our own state, he knows us altogether. He has known us and will know us: O for grace to know more of him! ‘Man, know thyself,’ is a good philosophic precept, but ‘Man, thou art known of God,’ is a superlative consolation.” (Spurgeon)
B. Trouble and trust.
1. (9-13) David describes the depths of his trouble.
Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble;

My eye wastes away with grief,

Yes, my soul and my body!

For my life is spent with grief,

And my years with sighing;

My strength fails because of my iniquity,

And my bones waste away.

I am a reproach among all my enemies,

But especially among my neighbors,

And am repulsive to my acquaintances;

Those who see me outside flee from me.

I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind;

I am like a broken vessel.

For I hear the slander of many;

Fear is on every side;

While they take counsel together against me,

They scheme to take away my life.
a. Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble: The previous section of this Psalm ended with calm trust and gratitude to God. Here David once again took up the lament, showing that both rest and adversity come to God’s people in seasons. Yet in his trouble, David looks again to the Lord.

i. “It is as if David is riding an emotional roller coaster. Or, as if he is riding a wave from one high crest to a trough and then back to another high crest in closing.” (Boice)

ii. My soul and my body: Literally, body is belly. “i.e. my bowels contained in my belly; which was the seat of the affections, and fountains of support and nourishment to the whole body. Thus the whole man, both soul and body, inside and outside, are consumed.” (Poole)

b. My eye wastes away with grief: David described his pitiful condition in terms that seem to be taken from the Book of Job. His affliction was

Physical (my strength failsmy bones waste away) “The poetical expression need not imply that he is physically sick but could mean that his mental anguish has sapped his physical strength, to a point approaching death.” (VanGemeren)

Emotional (my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighingfear is on every side)

Social (a reproach among all my enemiesrepulsive to my acquaintances)

Mortal (they take counsel together against me, they scheme to take away my life)

Spiritual (because of my iniquity)
i. “Here the feelings of confidence ebb away in a flood of tears.” (VanGemeren)
c. I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind; I am like a broken vessel: With poetry and power, David expressed how complete his difficulty was.

i. I am a reproach among all my enemies: “If anyone strives after patience and humility, he is a hypocrite. If he allows himself in the pleasures of this world, he is a glutton. If he seeks justice, he is impatient; if he seeks it not, he is a fool. If he would be prudent, he is stingy; if he would make others happy, he is dissolute. If he gives himself up to prayer, he is vainglorious. And this is the great loss of the church, that by means like these many are held back from goodness I which the Psalmist lamenting says, ‘I became a reproof among all mine enemies.'” (Chrysostom, cited in Spurgeon)

ii. Those who see me outside flee from me: “Either loathing me as a monster of men, and an unlucky spectacle, and such a villain as mine enemies represented me, and the believed me to be; or to prevent their own danger and ruin, which might be occasioned by it.” (Poole)

iii. I hear the slander of many: “A man had better be dead than be smothered in slander. Of the dead we say nothing but good, but in the Psalmists case they said nothing but evil.” (Spurgeon)

d. Fear is on every side; while they take counsel together against me, they scheme to take away my life: David seemed almost overwhelmed by the dangers around him, but almost and not completely.

i. “This was literally true during much of David’s reign. The kingdom was surrounded by hostile neighbors, just as the present nation of Israel is surrounded by hostile Arab neighbors. But David may also be thinking of plots within his kingdom by Jewish enemies or of the days he had to flee from King Saul.” (Boice)

2. (14-18) In the midst of all his trouble, David declares his trust in God.

But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord;

I say, You are my God.

My times are in Your hand;

Deliver me from the hand of my enemies,

And from those who persecute me.

Make Your face shine upon Your servant;

Save me for Your mercies sake.

Do not let me be ashamed, O Lord, for I have called upon You;

Let the wicked be ashamed;

Let them be silent in the grave.

Let the lying lips be put to silence,

Which speak insolent things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.
a. But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord: However great David’s troubles were, his trust in God was even greater. He took careful inventory of his crisis, but would not dwell on it. He understood that Yahweh was his God (You are my God) and therefore greater than all his trouble.

b. My times are in Your hand: David could not bear the thought of being given over to the hand of his enemies, but he was completely at peace (and even happy) with the knowledge, “My times are in Your hand.”

i. David could say, my times are in Your hand because He understood that God was in control and ruled from heaven. Yet he also said because in faith had had committed all things into God’s hand.

ii. Late in David’s life he sinned by taking an unauthorized census of Israel. God presented him with the option of three punishments. David chose the punishment that would most completely set them in the hands of the Lord, explaining: Please let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man. (2 Samuel 24:14)

iii. Boice saw in all this an application to the seasons of life for the Christian.

The times of our youth are in God’s hand, times when often we are subject to the decisions others make for us.

The times of our maturity are in God’s hand, times when we should be about our Father’s business and face both apparent success and failure in it.

The times of our old age are in God’s hand, when God will care for us and bless these days as much as the others.

iv. G. Campbell Morgan saw in the words “my times” and in the entire Psalm an allusion to the seasons of Christian experience. Morgan added the thought, “We need them all to complete our year!”

Autumn (Psalm 31:1-8): “With its winds and gathering clouds, yet having sunlight and a golden fruitage even though the breath of death is everywhere.”

Winter (Psalm 31:9-13): “Chill and lifeless full of sobs and sighing.”

Spring (Psalm 31:14-18): “With its hope and expectation and its sweeping rains and bursting sun gleams”

Summer (Psalm 31:19-24): “At last the bright and golden summer.”

v. “If we believe that all our times are in Gods hand, we shall be expecting great things from our heavenly Father. When we get into a difficulty we shall say, ‘I am now going to see the wonders of God, and to learn again how surely he delivers them that trust in him.'” (Spurgeon)

c. Make Your face to shine upon Your servant: David borrowed from the priestly blessing described in Numbers 6:23-27, asking for the goodness and the favor of God to be showered upon David.

d. Let the wicked be ashamed; let them be silent in the grave: David asked God to do to his enemies that which his enemies wished to do unto David.

i. Do not let me be ashamed: “i.e. Disappointed of my hopes.” (Trapp)
C. Praise, both personal and public.
1. (19-22) David praises God on a personal level.
Oh, how great is Your goodness,

Which You have laid up for those who fear You,

Which You have prepared for those who trust in You

In the presence of the sons of men!

You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence

From the plots of man;

You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion

From the strife of tongues.

Blessed be the Lord,

For He has shown me His marvelous kindness in a strong city!

For I said in my haste,

I am cut off from before Your eyes;

Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications

When I cried out to You.
a. Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You: The same David who knew such trouble in Psalm 31:9-13 is the same David who praised God so completely at the end of the song. This is because David had a deep trust in God (as reflected in Psalm 31:14-18) and that trust was rewarded with joy.

b. You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence: Attacked by so many enemies and so many troubles, David found security in the secret place of God’s presence. There was comfort and strength in the hidden place of God’s presence, of true fellowship with Him.

i. There are many followers of Jesus Christ who seem to know very little of the secret place of God’s presence. They regard it as only a thing for mystics or the super-spiritual. Yet David was a warrior and man well acquainted with the realities of life. It is true that the life of the spirit seems to come more easily for some or others, but there is an aspect of the secret place of God’s presence that is for every one who puts their trust in Him.

ii. In the secret place of Your presence: ” ‘With the covering of thy countenance.’ Their life shall be so hidden with Christ in God, that their enemies shall not be able to find them out. To such a hiding-place Satan himself dare not approach. There the pride of man cannot come.” (Clarke)

c. From the plots of man; you shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues: The presence of God was so secure for David that he found refuge from not only the plots of his enemies, but even from the attacks from their words (the strife of tongues).

d. For I said in my haste, “I am cut off from before Your eyes”: Earlier in his time of trouble, David hastily said and felt that God had forgotten him and no longer saw him with favor. Yet when David cried out to God, He heard the voice of David’s supplication.
2. (23-24) A call for all God’s people to praise Him.
Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints!

For the Lord preserves the faithful,

And fully repays the proud person.

Be of good courage,

And He shall strengthen your heart,

All you who hope in the Lord.
a. Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints! David’s experience with God could not be kept to himself. He had to use what God had done in his life as the motivation and lesson to exhort all God’s saints to love the Lord.

i. “The psalmist has been absorbed with his own troubles till now, but thankfulness expands his vision, and suddenly there is with him a multitude of fellow-dependents on God’s goodness. He hungers alone, but he feasts in company.” (Maclaren)

ii. “Do we, if we are called the saints of the Lord, need to be exhorted to love him? If we do, shame upon us! And we do, I am quite sure; so let us be ashamed and confounded that it should ever be needful to urge us to love our Lord.” (Spurgeon)

iii. A soul that truly loves God does not lack any reasons for loving Him. Yet, God give us many reasons to love Him. Spurgeon said of the call to love the Lord, “it has a thousand arguments to enforce it.”

Love God because of the excellence of His character.

Love God because it is such a pleasant and profitable exercise.

Love God because it is so beneficial to do so.

Love God because it is the way to be cleansed from sin.

Love God because it will strengthen you in time of trial.

Love God because it will strengthen you for service.

Love God because it is most ennobling.

iv. “You may pull up the sluices of your being, and let all your life-floods flow forth in this saved stream, for you cannot love God too much. Some passions of our nature may be exaggerated; and, towards certain objects, they may be carried too far; but the heart, when it is turned towards God, can never be too warm, nor too excited, nor too firmly fixed on the divine object: ‘O love the Lord, all ye his saints.’ (Spurgeon)

b. The Lord preserves the faithful, and fully repays the proud person: Both aspects are true. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. This encouragement to praise God has a warning to those who refuse to do so.

c. Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord: David closed this Psalm as a true leader and friend, encouraging others to find what he had found in God. God’s people have reason for good courage, because God does strengthen the trusting, hoping heart.

i. Be of good courage: “Dear friends, if you want to get out of diffidence, and timidity, and despondency, you must rouse yourselves up. This is incumbent upon you, for the text puts it so: ‘Be of good courage.’ Do not sit still, and rub your eyes, and say, ‘I cannot help it, I must always be dull like this.’ You must not be so; in the name of God, you are commanded in the text to ‘be of good courage.’ If you are indolent, like that, you must not expect the grace of God to operate upon you as though you were a block of wood, and could be made into something against your will. Oh, no! you must determine to be of good courage.” (Spurgeon)

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Psalm 30 – Remembering the Greatness of God at a Great Event

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Psalm 30 – Remembering the Greatness of God at a Great Event
This Psalm has a unique title: A Psalm. A Song at the dedication of the house of David. Though the title of the Psalm (as it is in the English translation) indicates it was written for the dedication of Davids palace, Spurgeon (and Adam Clarke) thought that it was actually written prophetically for the dedication of the temple – which David prepared for, but Solomon built. Nevertheless, we take this Psalm as being written for the dedication of Davids palace. Yet, it says nothing about the house itself; rather the focus is on God and the greatness of His deliverance. At the dedication of Davids house, David wanted God to be praised, not himself.

Poole on A Song: This Hebrew word schir may be her taken not simply for a song, but for a joyful song, as it is in Genesis 31:27; Exodus 15:1; Psalm 33:3.

A. David gives thanks to the Lord.

1. (1) Thanks for victory over enemies.

I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up,

And have not let my foes rejoice over me.

a. I will extol You, O Lord: At the dedication of his own house, David did not extol himself – rather, the Lord. What might have been understood as the achievement of a man was instead the occasion for praising God.

i. 2 Samuel 5:11-12 (and 1 Chronicles 14:1-2) describe the completion of King Davids palace: Then Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters and masons. And they built David a house. So David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel, and that He had exalted His kingdom for the sake of His people Israel.

ii. In this, we see that King David knew three things that made his reign great. Every godly leader should know these three things well.

David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel: David knew that God called him and established him over Israel.

He had exalted His kingdom: David knew that the kingdom belonged to God – it was His kingdom.

For the sake of His people Israel: David knew God wanted to use him as a channel to bless His people. It was not for Davids sake that he was lifted up, but for the sake of His people Israel.

b. For You have lifted me up: This explains the core reason for Davids praise. He knew that his security and status were the work of God. It wasnt as if God did it all as David sat passively; he was a man of energy and action. Nevertheless, it was Gods work far more than his own.

i. The verbal phrase you lifted me is a metaphorical usage of a verb meaning to draw up out of the water (cf. Exodus 2:16, 19). Like a bucket that was lowered down in a well and then raised to draw water up, so the Lord pulled the psalmist out of the grips of Sheol. (VanGemeren)

ii. Grace has uplifted us from the pit of hell, from the ditch of sin, from the Slough of Despond, from the bed of sickness, from the bondage of doubts and fears: have we no song to offer for all this? (Spurgeon)

c. And have not let my foes rejoice over me: For David, this was a significant part of Gods victory on his behalf. He was constantly confronted by foes, and God protected him and made him the winner in regard to them.

2. (2) Thanks for healing.

O Lord my God, I cried out to You,

And You healed me.

a. I cried out to You: David lived a prayerful dependence upon God. God helped, but David cried out and prayed unto Him.

b. And You healed me: No doubt there were many times when David received healing from God from both illness and injury. Yet the idea of healing is also broad enough to include the sense of Gods help and rescue from any great need.

i. Many commentators believe that David remembered when God saved his life from a life-threatening illness. It has similarities to Hezekiahs psalm of praise after his sickness (Isaiah 38:10-20). (VanGemeren)

3. (3) Thanks for preservation of life.

O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave;

You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.

a. You have brought my soul up from the grave: We dont know if David here described what we might call a near-death experience or if it would be more like a narrow escape from death. Either way, in his life as a soldier and leader he had more than one time when death was near, and God rescued his soul from death.

b. You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit: David wasnt immortal, in the sense that one day his body would die and he would pass from this life to the next. Yet there were many occasions when God delayed his eventual death, not allowing him to go down to the pit.

i. To the pit, i.e. into the grave, which is oft called the pit, as in Psalm 28:1; Psalm 69:15; Psalm 88:4; Isaiah 38:17. (Poole)

ii. As we think of this Psalm as being sung at a dedication ceremony for Davids palace, it was instructive for David to say to all, You see the strength of my kingdom and the splendor of this palace. All seems good and secure on the day like today. Yet no one should forget that there were many times my life was in great danger and I was close to death, and praise the God who delivered me.

B. The testimony of a tested man

1. (4) The exhortation to praise.

Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His,

And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.

a. Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His: Remembering the great works of God did not only cause David to praise, but also caused him to compel others to praise Him. It was fitting, because they also were saints of His, His special people.

i. He felt that he could not praise God enough himself, and therefore he would enlist the hearts of others. (Spurgeon)

b. Give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name: Giving thanks is another way to praise God for His goodness, and is also good manners.

2. (5) The reason for praise.

For His anger is but for a moment,

His favor is for life;

Weeping may endure for a night,

But joy comes in the morning.

a. His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life: After calling Gods people to praise, King David then gave them more reasons for it. Here he rejoiced that the anger of God may be real but momentary, while His favor (acceptance, pleasure) is lasting, even for life.

i. This is a contrast between the momentary nature of Gods anger with His people and the lasting favor He holds them in. In New Testament vocabulary we might say that the correction or discipline of God is for a moment, but His grace abides forever.

ii. This description of God’s slowness to anger, and readiness to save, is given by a man long and deeply acquainted with God as his Judge and as his Father. (Clarke)

b. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning: Almost certainly, David said this as a testimony from his own life. There were may tearful nights, followed by joyful mornings – perhaps with the recognition that the mercies of God to His people are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).

i. Weeping may endure for a night: (literally, will spend the night) is a poetic expression of how weeping personified my spend the night with him, only to be gone by morning. (VanGemeren)

ii. By itself, this passage could mean, merely, into each life a little rain must fall or every cloud has a silver lining or youve got to take the bad with the good or cheer up, things will get better.But what David is talking about is Gods disfavor versus his favor, expressed in the experiences of life. His conviction is that the favor always outweighs the disfavor for Gods people. (Boice)

iii. Night and morning are contrasted, as are weeping and joy; and the latter contrast is more striking, if it be observed that joy is literally a joyful shout, raised by the voice that had been breaking into audible weeping. (Maclaren)

iv. This is an emphasis on the certainty of Gods comfort and joy to His people. Morning always follows night, and the weeping believer may be confident that as they keep their focus on God, He will bring them once again to joy. Weeping may endure for a night: but nights are not for ever. (Spurgeon)
v. This is a most beautiful and affecting image of the sufferings and exaltation of Christof the night of death, and the morning of the resurrection. (Horne)

3. (6-7) Davids troubled testimony.

Now in my prosperity I said,

I shall never be moved.

Lord, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong;

You hid Your face, and I was troubled.

a. In my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved: One may wonder if David said (or sung) this to an assembly at the dedication of his palace, and smiled at this line. It seems to communicate a overconfident assurance born of a season of prosperity.

i. We are never in greater danger than in the sunshine of prosperity. To be always indulged of God, and never to taste of trouble, is rather a token of Gods neglect than of his tender love. (Struther, cited in Spurgeon)
ii. Self-satisfaction cannot praise Jehovah. Therefore it must be corrected by discipline. The final note of praise shows that through affliction and by deliverance the lesson has been learned. (Morgan)

b. Lord, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong: King David confessed that the strength of his life and kingdom was not due to his prosperity, but to the favor of God.

i. The palace of King David in Jerusalem (discovered by archaeologists) is situated in the great hills of Jerusalem. We almost see King David making a gesture towards these mountains and telling everyone that it was Gods favor that made my mountain stand strong.

c. You hid Your face, and I was troubled: Without the constant sustaining work of God, David was deeply troubled. This isnt to imply that God played a hiding game with David, constantly hiding and then revealing Himself to him. The idea is that David was completely dependent upon the presence of God, fellowship with Him, and His favor.

i. The Hebrew word בחל bahal signifies to be greatly troubled, to be sorely terrified, as you may see in that 1 Samuel 28:21, And the woman came unto Saul, and saw that he was sore troubled. Here is the same Hebrew word bahal. (Brooks, cited in Spurgeon)

C. A prayer and its answer.

1. (8-10) The prayer from a time of trouble.

I cried out to You, O Lord;

And to the Lord I made supplication:

What profit is there in my blood,

When I go down to the pit?

Will the dust praise You?

Will it declare Your truth?

Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me;

Lord, be my helper!

a. I cried out to You, O Lord: At Psalm 30:2 King David first said that he cried out to God. This is perhaps the content of his prayer on one of those occasions.

b. What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? This was Davids prayer in a life-threatening situation. He made rational arguments to God, knowing that he would certainly praise God if he escaped death, but was uncertain if he could praise God from the pit or the dust of the grave.

i. These words of King David frankly sound strange to the reader of the New Testament. It seems very different from the triumphant confidence of Paul who said, to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21). David seemed to see no gain in death, and therefore pleaded that God would preserve his life.

ii. This is due to the admittedly shadowy understanding of the afterlife in the Old Testament. There are certainly moments of triumphant faith, such as when Job said, For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God (Job 19:25-26). Yet there are also moments of uncertainty, such as here in Psalm 30:8-9.
iii. It wasnt until the New Testament that God revealed more clearly the fate of those who trust God from this life to the next. 2 Timothy 1:10, as now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

iv. Therefore David logically – and rightly, according to the revelation he had – only knew with certainty that he could praise God on this side of death. It was a valid reason to bring before God in prayer. It was an argument with God, an urging of reasons, a pleading of his cause. It was not a statement of doctrinal opinions, nor a narration of experience (Spurgeon)

c. Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me: Even though David prayed with rational reason, in an even greater sense he simply relied on the mercy of God. It was as if he said, Lord, here are many good reasons for You to answer my prayer. Yet beyond all these, I simply ask for Your mercy, and ask You to be my helper.

i. Lord, be my helper: Another compact, expressive, ever fitting prayer. It is suitable to hundreds of the cases of the Lords people; it is well becoming in the minister when he is going to preach, to the sufferer upon the bed of pain, to the toiler in the field of service, to the believer under temptation, to the man of God under adversity; when God helps, difficulties vanish. (Spurgeon)

2. (11) The joyful answer to prayer.

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;

You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,

a. You have turned for me my mourning into dancing: The dedication of Davids palace was a happy event. Without specifically mentioning the dedication of the house, David used it a reason to remember all the times God brought him from sadness to joy, from mourning to dancing.

b. You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness: Using the Hebrew literary tool of repetition for the sake of emphasis, David repeats the idea of the transition from sadness to gladness. It was a happy day, but God had also been faithful to David in more difficult times.

i. This might be true of David, delivered from his calamity; it was true of Christ, arising from the tomb, to die no more; it is true of the penitent, exchanging his sackcloth for the garments of salvation; and it will be verified in us all, at the last day, when we shall put off the dishonours of the grave, to shine in glory everlasting. (Horne)

ii. My sackcloth was but a loose garment about me, which might easily be put off at pleasure, but my gladness is girt about me, to be fast and sure, and cannot leave me though it would; at least none shall be able to take it from me. (Baker, cited in Spurgeon)

3. (12) God glorified and thanked for answered prayer.

To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.

O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

a. To the end that my glory may sing praise to You: King David revealed the primary reason for Gods transforming work in his life. It wasnt primarily to give him palaces; it was to so that David could praise the Lord and not be silent.

i. God worked in Davids life so that He would bring Himself glory and appropriate praise. Thought it clearly benefited David, it was primarily for Gods own glory that He did this. This principle means that God has a special reason to bring His transforming work to lives that will give Him praise.

ii. As it says, that my glory may sing praise, indicating that King David sang those praises with passion and exuberance, welling forth from whatever glory was associated with him as a man, a soldier, and a king.

iii. Sing praise indicates that David knew that in some special way, God regards and receives praise that is presented to Him in song. We sense that to David, it would be a sin to be silent.
b. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever: King David closed this song for the dedication of his house with a determination to thank God forever. Palaces seem to be permanent things, but they eventually crumble. Yet God will right be thanked and praised forever.

i. He concludeth as he began, engaging his heart to everlasting thankfulness; and therein becoming a worthy pattern to all posterity. (Trapp)

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What to Do When Under Attack Psalm 5

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What to Do When Under Attack

Psalm 5

A story is told of four pastors from the same community who got away for a fishing trip together. One night around the campfire, one of the pastors suggested, “We’re a long ways from home and from our church members. What do you say that we bare our souls and each of us tell what his secret sin is? I’ll go first.”

The others agreed, so he began, “Nobody in my church knows this, but every once in a while I slip down to the track and bet on a pony. My secret sin is gambling.”

Another pastor spoke up, “My secret sin is an uncontrollable temper. Every once in a while I get mad and yell at my wife.”

The third preacher gulped and offered, “I never thought I’d tell anyone this, but here goes. I keep a bottle of rum in the cellar. Whenever I get into a hassle with my deacons, I go down to the cellar and drink a shot of rum.”

Everyone waited for the fourth pastor, who had a faint smile on his face. Finally he said, “Brethren, my secret sin is gossip, and I cant wait to get home and talk to your church members!”

We laugh at that story, but it’s not funny when someone gos- sips about you! It often happens at work. It happens with people whom you thought were your friends. It even happens at church, where you thought you could trust people. It hurts when you find out what they’ve been saying about you behind your back.

I read about the president of a Bible institute who was visiting a man who had formerly supported the school. This man had stopped giving because he had heard that the former president of the school had two Cadillacs. Well, the fact was, the man lived a very simple lifestyle and didn’t even own one car, let alone two Ca- dillacs. So the new president couldn’t figure out how such a rumor started. But then it dawned on him that his predecessor had had two cataracts! Somehow as it went through the rumor mill, two cata- racts got changed into two Cadillacs!

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Sadly, Christian leaders often are the targets of vicious attacks from those that profess to be Christians. I know of pastors who have grown discouraged and left the ministry because they could not handle the criticism and personal attacks on them and on their families. Somehow they thought that because they were serving the Lord, they would get an exemption from criticism. I’m not sure how they came up with that idea! Look at David: although he was God’s anointed king, he was constantly under fire. It’s all through the Psalms. If you serve the Lord in any capacity, you will be criti- cized and attacked. Count on it!

So what do you do when you’re under attack? How should you handle it? Psalm 5 gives us some answers. We don’t know ex- actly when David wrote it. Since it occurs just after Psalms 3 & 4, which were written in conjunction with Absalom’s rebellion, Psalm 5 may have been written at the same time. Or, Calvin suggests that David could have written it as he reflected back on the years that he ran for his life from King Saul (Calvins Commentaries [Baker], on the Psalms, p. 52). Whatever the situation, David’s enemies were not nice men! They were spreading lies, they were deceitful, they used flattery outwardly while inwardly they were intent on de- stroying him, and they were violent (5:6, 9, 10).

What did David do? In a nutshell, he used these trials to draw near to the Lord. As Stephen Neill said (source unknown), “Criti- cism is the manure in which God’s servants grow best.” Psalm 5 isn’t a comprehensive answer. Other scriptures show that there is a proper time to confront your critics or to defend yourself or your ministry. But Psalm 5 tells us,

When you’re under attack, take refuge in the Lord as your righteous defender.

The psalm falls into two halves (1-7, 8-12), both of which follow the same outline:

Verses 1-3 and verse 8 are parallel as prayers. Verses 4-6 par- allel verses 9-10; in both sections David appeals to God as the righteous Judge. Verse 7 parallels verses 11-12; in verse 7 David reverently draws near to God by His grace; in verses 11-12, he ex- horts all that take refuge in God to rejoice in Him because of His gracious blessings.

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CYCLE 1 (PSALM 5:1-7): WHEN YOU’RE UNDER ATTACK, TAKE REFUGE IN THE LORD AS YOUR RIGHTEOUS DEFENDER.

1. When you’re under attack, take refuge in the Lord through prayer (5:1-3).

The normal response when you’re attacked is to fight back immediately. As the person is accusing you, you’re thinking of what you can say to get back at him. If he insults you, you’re thinking of a better insult to hurl back at him and you hardly let him stop speaking before you let it fly. But David didn’t do that. He took his complaint to the Lord in honest, personal, persistent, expectant prayer.

A. Pray honestly.

David’s repeated appeals (5:1-2), “Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my groaning, heed the sound of my cry for help,” are not the politically careful words of a man who is trying to proj- ect that he has it all together. Rather, they are the honest groans and cries of a man in great need. The word translated “groaning” is used only one other time (Ps. 39:3, “musing”) and refers to silent or barely audible sounds. The repetition conveys David’s honest, heartfelt cry to God. He wasn’t putting on his Sunday best and framing his words in a controlled, restrained manner. He was call- ing out to God honestly in his pain.

God knows everything about us, so it’s ridiculous to try to hide our feelings from Him. As Psalm 62:8 exhorts, “Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” So pray honestly, even if you’re groaning.

B. Pray personally.

David addresses God as “my King and my God” (5:2). The name LORD (5:1, 2) is Yahweh, the personal covenant name of God. Even though David was the king, he knew that he only served under a far greater King, the Lord God. As Matthew Henry put it (Matthew Henrys Commentary [Fleming H. Revell], 3:255), “Kings on their own thrones (so David was) must be beggars at God’s throne.” David knew God personally as “my King” and “my God.” He was in a close personal relationship with God. He was not a stranger in God’s presence.

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Prayer should be a personal, intimate relationship between you and God. You must come before Him as your King, the Lord of your life. You cannot pray rightly unless you are submissive to do His will. You must know Him as your Lord and Savior, who invites you to come into His presence through the blood of Jesus.

C. Pray persistently.

Twice David says that he will pray “in the morning” (5:3). The idea is that David’s first thought on waking was about the threats of these evil enemies. So he immediately turned those thoughts into prayer. Whatever trials God sends into our lives are to cause us to turn to Him in honest, personal, persistent prayer.

I chuckled when I read an exuberant morning person, such as Matthew Henry (ibid.), who exhorts us that morning prayer is our duty because then we are the most fresh and most lively! While I do attempt to pray in the mornings, I must say that it is definitely not my most lively and fresh time of the day! I don’t understand how anyone can have a morning quiet time without coffee! John Wesley attributed his long life and health to his consistent practice of rising at 4 a.m. and preaching at 5 a.m.! If I tried that, I think it would shorten my life significantly and I doubt if anyone would come to hear me at 5 a.m.! But whenever you pray, be persistent at it. Spurgeon said (A Treasury of David [Baker] 1:50), “Prayer should be the key of the day and the lock of the night.”

D. Pray systematically.

David says (5:3b), “In the morning I will order my prayer to You.” The Hebrew word for “order” was used of the priests or- dering the sacrifice on the altar and arranging the bread of the presence on the table. Some apply that by suggesting that our pray- ers should be orderly or systematic, and that may be a helpful ap- proach. I am not as systematic as some, who pray for different categories on different days of the week. But I often follow the outline of the Lord’s Prayer as a pattern for prayer.

E. Pray expectantly.

David also says that he will “eagerly watch.” It is the same word that Habakkuk uses (2:1) when he says, “I will stand on my guard post and station myself on the rampart; and I will keep watch to see what He will speak to me, and how I may reply when I am

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reproved.” It pictures a guard at his military post, waiting for the messenger that he has sent to return. It implies that when we pray, we should look for the answer. As our King, we can expect God to listen and respond to our needs as His subjects. So when you’re under attack, take refuge in the Lord through prayer.

2. When you’re under attack, appeal to God as the righteous Judge (5:4-6).

David’s reasoning here is that since his enemies are so evil, surely God, who is righteous, will act on his behalf. So David re- hearses God’s righteousness to encourage himself with the truth that God will right all wrongs.

A. Godisseparatefromallevilandwilljudgeallevildoers.

When David says that God does not take pleasure in wicked- ness (5:4) it is a figure of speech that means, He hates it! Far from winking at sin or chuckling about it, God stands apart from it and His Word warns us repeatedly that He will condemn all unrepent- ant sinners to the Lake of Fire forever. If you think that your good deeds will outweigh your bad deeds and get you into heaven, you’re going to be terribly shocked! Just a single sin will bar you from heaven, unless you trust in Jesus as your Savior.

You often hear the cliché that God loves the sinner, but hates the sin. But here David says that God not only hates the sin, He also hates “all who do iniquity” (5:5). “The Lord abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit” (5:6). Jonathan Edwards no doubt had texts like this in mind when he preached his famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” There Edwards warned (The Works of Jonathan Edwards [Banner of Truth], 2:10), “The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loath- some insect, over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire….”

That doesn’t quite sound like, “God loves you and has a won- derful plan for your life”! So, does God love the sinner or hate him? Doesn’t the Bible say that He loves the whole world?

Calvin (The Institutes of the Christian Religion, edited by John McNeill [Westminster Press], 2.16.2-4) explains the apparent con- tradiction by saying that we need the verses about God’s hatred of sinners so that we will be overwhelmed with how terrible and of-

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fensive our sin is to an absolutely holy God. Only then will we properly appreciate what He did for us in Christ. He cites Augus- tine who explains that in a sense, God loved us even when He hated us. He hated us for our sin and rebellion, but He loved us in Christ before the foundation of the world.

In my judgment, we err if we are quick to tell arrogant, unre- pentant sinners that God loves them. They need to hear that they are objects of His terrible wrath. If a person is broken by his sin and guilt, then yes, tell him of God’s love in Christ. But otherwise, he needs to hear of the terrors of the coming judgment.

But in Psalm 5, David rehearses God’s hatred of the unre- pentant wicked to encourage himself with the fact that God will bring justice for His people. But there is also an inherent warning for believers here:

B. Make sure that you are in Christ and walking in obedi- ence.

As we’ll see in verse 7, David didn’t trust in his own right- eousness to approach God. We can only come into His presence by His grace as we trust in Christ. But, at the same time, before we condemn as sinners those attacking us, we need to take the log out of our own eye! Are they wicked? What about me? Am I judging my own sins and obeying Christ? Are they boastful or hateful or dishonest? What about me? While I can appeal to God to bring justice, at the same time I need to examine my own heart.

3. When you’re under attack, reverently draw near to God by His grace (5:7).

As David thought on God’s absolute hatred of sin and His holiness, he realized that he could never approach God on the ba- sis of his own righteousness. So he acknowledges that the only way he can enter God’s house is by His abundant lovingkindness. The Hebrew word translated “lovingkindness” is the Old Testament word for “grace.” Perhaps David’s phrase, “abundant lovingkind- ness” is where Paul got his phrase, “the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7; 2:7). But the only way that anyone can draw near to God is through His abundant grace as shown to us in Christ.

David’s mention of God’s house and His temple leads some to reject his authorship of this Psalm, since the temple did not yet

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exist. But both words are used of the tabernacle (Josh. 6:24; 2 Sam. 12:20; 1 Sam. 1:9; 3:3). They are symbolic of God’s presence, where His glory was seen. Thus the only way to draw near to God is with reverence or fear. That’s why Jesus told us to pray, “hallowed be Your name” (Matt. 6:9). Although we are told to draw near with confidence (Heb. 4:16), we must also come with reverence.

Thus in the first cycle, when David is under attack, he takes refuge in the Lord through prayer; he appeals to God as the right- eous Judge; and, he reverently draws near to God by His grace.

CYCLE 2 (PSALM 5:8-12): WHEN YOU’RE UNDER ATTACK, TAKE REFUGE IN THE LORD AS YOUR RIGHTEOUS DEFENDER.

The second cycle follows the same three ideas, with some variations. I must be more brief here.

1. When you’re under attack, pray for the Lord to keep you on the righteous path (5:8).

David is painfully aware of the tendency that we all have, when under attack, to respond to our attackers in a sinful manner. When someone sins against you, it is very difficult to follow the command of 1 Peter 3:9, “not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead.” So David prays (5:8), “O Lord, lead me in Your righteousness because of my foes; make Your way straight before me.” His prayer isn’t just that God would protect him from the wicked, but also that God would protect him from becoming like the wicked. David’s critics would have loved to see him stumble, so that they could have more ammunition to throw at him. It also would have brought an occasion for them to further mock David’s God. So he asks God to show him His way.

As I said, it is not necessarily wrong to defend yourself against critics that attack you. Paul did this in Galatians and 2 Corinthians. But it requires God’s wisdom to know when to defend yourself and when to ignore the critics. And whatever you do, it takes God’s grace and wisdom to respond in a gracious, Christlike manner.

2. When you’re under attack, appeal to God as the righteous Judge (5:9-10).

David describes the evil of his attackers and asks God to judge them. As with the earlier tension of whether God hates the

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wicked or loves them, so here there is a tension: Should we ask God to judge our attackers or to forgive them? Before you quickly conclude that the New Testament way is to forgive our enemies, you need to remember that the New Testament also says (2 Thess. 1:6), “For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you.” Paul goes on to say (1:9) that these wicked people “will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.” And in Revelation 18:20, when God judges wicked Babylon, we are com- manded to rejoice over her. Even the Lord’s Prayer, that His will would be done on earth as it is in heaven, includes His judgment of the wicked.

When evil people who are opposed to God attack me as God’s representative, I ask God to be glorified either in saving them or by judging them. Since I don’t know His sovereign pur- pose, I leave it up to Him. He could save them as He saved the persecutor of the church, Saul of Tarsus. Or, He may send them to eternal damnation if they do not repent.

Note how David describes his attackers (5:9): “There is noth- ing reliable in what they say; their inward part is destruction itself. Their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.” These were not constructive critics who were trying to help David do a better job. They were trying to destroy him. David asks God to judge them not only because they opposed David, but also (5:10), “they are rebellious against You.” If you are walking with the Lord and doing His work and someone attacks you, not with construc- tive criticism, but rather to destroy you, it may be that the person is rebellious against God. So don’t take it personally. You’re just God’s messenger. The critic is only angry with you because you represent God to him. Let God take care of him.

Before you pray verses 9 & 10 against your critics, you need to remember that Paul cited these verses as an indictment against the sinfulness of every one of us (Rom. 3:13). Even though we have been redeemed, we still have to fight against our old nature, which is prone to all these sins. So, again, we must take the log out of our own eye first.

3. When you’re under attack, take joyous refuge in God as your defender (5:11-12).

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David broadens the application from himself to all of God’s people who may be under attack (5:11-12): “But let all who take refuge in You be glad, let them ever sing for joy; and may You shelter them, that those who love Your name may exult in You. For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord, You sur- round him with favor as with a shield.”

Apparently, David’s attackers were still prowling around like a pack of wolves, trying to get him. But David has taken refuge in God and so he is so overflowing with joy in the Lord that he bursts forth in singing. (This is the first of 70 references to singing in the Psalms.) Being glad and joyful in the Lord is our duty, because glo- rifying God is our duty. As John Piper says, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”

The picture of God surrounding the righteous man with favor as with a shield reminds me of a Colgate toothpaste ad that was on TV many years ago. A man was standing near a bunch of kids playing ball. A hardball came flying at him, but it just bounced off an invisible shield. He went on to say that Colgate put that kind of protective shield around your teeth, to keep them from decay. David is saying that the believer can be joyful even when under attack, because the shield of God’s favor surrounds him.

Conclusion

So each cycle of this psalm emphasizes the same truths: When you’re under attack, take refuge in the Lord through prayer. Appeal to Him as the righteous Judge. And, draw near to Him by His grace, rejoicing in Him as your defender.

Paul and Silas knew that joy when they sang praises to God from the Philippian jail after being wrongly accused and beaten. Hudson Taylor knew that joy on the evening after burying his sec- ond wife in China. He sang, “Jesus, I am resting, resting, in the joy of what Thou art. I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart.”

Do you know that joy when you’re under attack? It is found in God as your refuge and righteous defender. Run to His loving arms!

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Application Questions

  1. SomeChristiansallowtheattacksofotherstodrivethemaway from the Lord, whereas for some it drives them to the Lord. What makes the difference?
  2. Should Christians take pleasure or be grieved at the thought of God judging their enemies? How does Rev. 18:20 fit in?
  3. I said that it is not advisable to tell an arrogant, unrepentant sinner that God loves him. Agree/disagree? Why?
  4. Howcanweknowwhethertodefendourselvesbeforecritics or just to ignore them? What biblical principles apply?

    Copyright, Steven J. Cole, 2008, All Rights Reserved

 

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Psalm 3 Foes without number press upon the speaker. Prayer is his refuge. Calmly he sleeps. His fears are gone. Speak, Lord, that thus our hearts may ever rest. 1. “O Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me!” The first scene shows the monarch flying from his heartless son. Absalom advances with rebellious hosts. The outcast father looks upon the swelling billows of foul treason. Increasing numbers hunt his life. He sees, and he appeals to God. Here, also, our Jesus may be heard. The powers of darkness are combined. Hell and its legions terribly assail. Wicked men do their worst wickedly. On all sides troubles multiply. Many voices cry “Crucify.” The servant follows in the suffering path. The true believer often will but moan. 2. “Many there are who say of my soul, There is no help for him in God.” Affliction has the aspect of desertion. Many reason that God’s favor surely would disperse these clouds—His voice could quickly scatter all the ills. David thus persecuted seems to be cast off. Here is the scoff of Calvary. “He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him. The thieves also, who were crucified with Him, cast the same in His teeth.” 3. “But You, O Lord, are a shield for me; my glory and the lifter up of my head.” In darkest days faith shines with brightest glow. In the wild storm it looks to God and sings. No weapon can succeed against it. God, even God Himself, surrounds His children as a shield. The shaft which touches them must pierce through God! Welcome, also, reproach and ridicule and scorn. No disgrace can soil their name. They are renowned among the sons of men. Their glory is their God. No billows can submerge them. God, even their own God, lifts up their heads. From deepest waters Jesus rose to God’s right hand. Where the Head is, there too shall the members be. 4. “I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me out of His holy hill.” The voice of the insulting foe may loudly cry; but faith outcries. It has direct admission to the courts above. The blood-bought way is ever open. The interceding Spirit prompts the appeal. The mediating Son presents it. The Father on His throne receives it. Heaven opens, streams of answering blessings flow down. No case is desperate to him whose call can bring almightiness to his aid. Here is our Jesus. In the days of His flesh, He offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, unto Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared. 5. “I laid down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me.” The battlefield and the besieged fort present no downy couch. The alarms of war invite not to repose. But GOD is a pillow to the head of faith! David lies down, His sleep is sweet. He arises with renewed strength. But deeper truth sounds in these words. Jesus calmly falls asleep. The new-made grave receives Him to its bed. On the third day He casts off sleep. He appears and testifies, God did not leave My soul in hell, nor suffer His Holy One to see corruption. So, also, believers fall asleep in Him. Short is the night of death. Soon shall they awake and shout, “O grave! where is your victory? O death! where is your sting?” 6. “I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side.” Faith is a fearless grace. It has quick ears to hear the voice of Heaven. It quickly catches the often repeated word, “Fear not, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.” Let man come on, boastful of numbers, and vain-glorious in the arm of flesh; faith meets the hosts, strong in the Lord, making mention only of His name. The victory is sure. Jesus never lost a battle. No follower of His will ever fall. 7. “Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God; for You have smitten all my enemies upon the jaw; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly.” Grace marvelously works. It begets fearless confidence. And confidence begets increasing prayer. Trust knows no fear, and shuns presumptuous indolence. It grows more importunate in prayer. It gives no rest to God. It knows its safety; and therefore it cries, “Save me, O my God.” Past experience supplies both arguments and hope. You have brought shame and confusion on all vaunting foes; therefore, now arise and save. 8. “Salvation belongs to the Lord; Your blessing is upon Your people.” Triumphant is the final chorus. It tells of God rich in salvation. Salvation is His property. He willed it. He provided it. He holds it. He gives it according to His sovereign purpose. It is deliverance from every peril. It is exaltation to the heights of heaven. His blessing ever rests upon His people. It gives them all things and never fails. Lord, save us, and we shall be saved. Bless us, and we shall be blessed! Amen.

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Psalm 3

Foes without number press upon the speaker. Prayer is his refuge. Calmly he sleeps. His fears are gone. Speak, Lord, that thus our hearts may ever rest.

1. “O Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me!”

The first scene shows the monarch flying from his heartless son. Absalom advances with rebellious hosts. The outcast father looks upon the swelling billows of foul treason. Increasing numbers hunt his life. He sees, and he appeals to God.

Here, also, our Jesus may be heard. The powers of darkness are combined. Hell and its legions terribly assail. Wicked men do their worst wickedly. On all sides troubles multiply. Many voices cry “Crucify.” The servant follows in the suffering path. The true believer often will but moan.

2. “Many there are who say of my soul, There is no help for him in God.”

Affliction has the aspect of desertion. Many reason that God’s favor surely would disperse these clouds—His voice could quickly scatter all the ills. David thus persecuted seems to be cast off. Here is the scoff of Calvary. “He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him. The thieves also, who were crucified with Him, cast the same in His teeth.”

3. “But You, O Lord, are a shield for me; my glory and the lifter up of my head.”

In darkest days faith shines with brightest glow. In the wild storm it looks to God and sings. No weapon can succeed against it. God, even God Himself, surrounds His children as a shield. The shaft which touches them must pierce through God! Welcome, also, reproach and ridicule and scorn. No disgrace can soil their name. They are renowned among the sons of men. Their glory is their God. No billows can submerge them. God, even their own God, lifts up their heads. From deepest waters Jesus rose to God’s right hand. Where the Head is, there too shall the members be.

4. “I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me out of His holy hill.”

The voice of the insulting foe may loudly cry; but faith outcries. It has direct admission to the courts above. The blood-bought way is ever open. The interceding Spirit prompts the appeal. The mediating Son presents it. The Father on His throne receives it. Heaven opens, streams of answering blessings flow down. No case is desperate to him whose call can bring almightiness to his aid. Here is our Jesus. In the days of His flesh, He offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, unto Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared.

5. “I laid down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me.”

The battlefield and the besieged fort present no downy couch. The alarms of war invite not to repose. But GOD is a pillow to the head of faith! David lies down, His sleep is sweet. He arises with renewed strength. But deeper truth sounds in these words. Jesus calmly falls asleep. The new-made grave receives Him to its bed. On the third day He casts off sleep. He appears and testifies, God did not leave My soul in hell, nor suffer His Holy One to see corruption. So, also, believers fall asleep in Him. Short is the night of death. Soon shall they awake and shout, “O grave! where is your victory? O death! where is your sting?”

6. “I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround

me on every side.”

Faith is a fearless grace. It has quick ears to hear the voice of Heaven. It quickly catches the often repeated word, “Fear not, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.” Let man come on, boastful of numbers, and vain-glorious in the arm of flesh; faith meets the hosts, strong in the Lord, making mention only of His name. The victory is sure. Jesus never lost a battle. No follower of His will ever fall.

7. “Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God; for You have smitten all my enemies upon the jaw; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly.”

Grace marvelously works. It begets fearless confidence. And confidence begets increasing prayer. Trust knows no fear, and shuns presumptuous indolence. It grows more importunate in prayer. It gives no rest to God. It knows its safety; and therefore it cries, “Save me, O my God.” Past experience supplies both arguments and hope. You have brought shame and confusion on all vaunting foes; therefore, now arise and save.

8. “Salvation belongs to the Lord; Your blessing is upon Your people.”

Triumphant is the final chorus. It tells of God rich in salvation. Salvation is His property. He willed it. He provided it. He holds it. He gives it according to His sovereign purpose. It is deliverance from every peril. It is exaltation to the heights of heaven. His blessing ever rests upon His people. It gives them all things and never fails. Lord, save us, and we shall be saved. Bless us, and we shall be blessed! Amen.

1. “O Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me!”

The first scene shows the monarch flying from his heartless son. Absalom advances with rebellious hosts. The outcast father looks upon the swelling billows of foul treason. Increasing numbers hunt his life. He sees, and he appeals to God.

Here, also, our Jesus may be heard. The powers of darkness are combined. Hell and its legions terribly assail. Wicked men do their worst wickedly. On all sides troubles multiply. Many voices cry “Crucify.” The servant follows in the suffering path. The true believer often will but moan.

2. “Many there are who say of my soul, There is no help for him in God.”

Affliction has the aspect of desertion. Many reason that God’s favor surely would disperse these clouds—His voice could quickly scatter all the ills. David thus persecuted seems to be cast off. Here is the scoff of Calvary. “He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him. The thieves also, who were crucified with Him, cast the same in His teeth.”

3. “But You, O Lord, are a shield for me; my glory and the lifter up of my head.”

In darkest days faith shines with brightest glow. In the wild storm it looks to God and sings. No weapon can succeed against it. God, even God Himself, surrounds His children as a shield. The shaft which touches them must pierce through God! Welcome, also, reproach and ridicule and scorn. No disgrace can soil their name. They are renowned among the sons of men. Their glory is their God. No billows can submerge them. God, even their own God, lifts up their heads. From deepest waters Jesus rose to God’s right hand. Where the Head is, there too shall the members be.

4. “I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me out of His holy hill.”

The voice of the insulting foe may loudly cry; but faith outcries. It has direct admission to the courts above. The blood-bought way is ever open. The interceding Spirit prompts the appeal. The mediating Son presents it. The Father on His throne receives it. Heaven opens, streams of answering blessings flow down. No case is desperate to him whose call can bring almightiness to his aid. Here is our Jesus. In the days of His flesh, He offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, unto Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared.

5. “I laid down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me.”

The battlefield and the besieged fort present no downy couch. The alarms of war invite not to repose. But GOD is a pillow to the head of faith! David lies down, His sleep is sweet. He arises with renewed strength. But deeper truth sounds in these words. Jesus calmly falls asleep. The new-made grave receives Him to its bed. On the third day He casts off sleep. He appears and testifies, God did not leave My soul in hell, nor suffer His Holy One to see corruption. So, also, believers fall asleep in Him. Short is the night of death. Soon shall they awake and shout, “O grave! where is your victory? O death! where is your sting?”

6. “I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround

me on every side.”

Faith is a fearless grace. It has quick ears to hear the voice of Heaven. It quickly catches the often repeated word, “Fear not, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.” Let man come on, boastful of numbers, and vain-glorious in the arm of flesh; faith meets the hosts, strong in the Lord, making mention only of His name. The victory is sure. Jesus never lost a battle. No follower of His will ever fall.

7. “Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God; for You have smitten all my enemies upon the jaw; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly.”

Grace marvelously works. It begets fearless confidence. And confidence begets increasing prayer. Trust knows no fear, and shuns presumptuous indolence. It grows more importunate in prayer. It gives no rest to God. It knows its safety; and therefore it cries, “Save me, O my God.” Past experience supplies both arguments and hope. You have brought shame and confusion on all vaunting foes; therefore, now arise and save.

8. “Salvation belongs to the Lord; Your blessing is upon Your people.”

Triumphant is the final chorus. It tells of God rich in salvation. Salvation is His property. He willed it. He provided it. He holds it. He gives it according to His sovereign purpose. It is deliverance from every peril. It is exaltation to the heights of heaven. His blessing ever rests upon His people. It gives them all things and never fails. Lord, save us, and we shall be saved. Bless us, and we shall be blessed! Amen.

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