Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 38 – Intro

Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart. This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 38 is a psalm of David in sin. He exists in the midst of knowing his own sin before the Lord, of the adultery, the deception, the murder. He has fallen, and is wallowing in a cesspool of condemnation, both in his thoughts, emotions and feelings.

This psalm is a second in a series of psalms that catalogues David’s writings while he is in the throes of his estrangement from God. Psalm 6, our current Psalm, Psalm 51 and Psalm 32 gives us an overview of King David’s struggles in processing through this self inflicted personal and public tragedy. This psalm provides David’s inner doubts and despair, much like Psalm 6, but prior to his full confession and repentance in front of the Living God in Psalm 51.

This psalm may be considered seeing two “persons” impacting David and his sin.

First off, David describes his Experience with God. We will look at verses 1-10 and summary verses 17 & 18 in our next post. A concluding post will look at verses 11-16, recording David’s Experience with men. Verses 19-20 will supply a summary regarding men and their “mercy” (ahem) towards David.

The last two verses caught my attention this morning, and I would like to settle on them for a wee bit. It is a common refrain through the psalms that although many psalms start out in sorrow and in pain, each psalm ultimately ends with hope. This particular psalm describes a saints heart when in despair, a hope the saint may have while under trial, while being abandoned, while alone and under conviction of sin.

Let’s take a moment to read the last two verses and consider.

Psalm 38

21 Do not forsake me, O LORD! O my God, be not far from me!
22 Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!

Take note my friends, that David, in the midst of all the pain and loss he describes in the verse 1-20, knows Who to call out to. He knows the One that can be approached, that will act. He calls out to God, claiming three names in his relationship with him.

He calls out to God as

  • LORD (Yᵊhōvâ)
    • The God of the covenant, of the promise. David call’s out to the One who initiated relationship, who pursued and promised.
  • my God (‘ĕlōhîm)
    • The name Moses used to describe the all-powerful creator of all things. The One to whom nothing stands in the way, the One to whom David claims as his own, his God, his powerful God
  • O Lord (‘ăḏōnāy)
    • A reference to David’s personal Master, his Lord, not just the Lord, but his own Lord. Even in the midst of his pain and distress, he never disowned his Lord. The very pain he went through may have been because he hung on, he persevered with a faith that accepted his sin, that owned his culpability and brought it before his Master.

But let us not stop with the three primary names David refers to in his closing plea. He also tags on “my salvation” and I realize I may be taking license in my next statement, but consider.

Many times in the Old Testament, God is referred to as the salvation of the nation of Israel and of individuals. Two verses as examples.

But Israel is saved by the LORD with everlasting salvation; you shall not be put to shame or confounded to all eternity. – Isa 45:17

It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. – Lam 3:26

Let’s remember whom God has designated as the One we are to look to for salvation, for His very name is Jesus.

She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” – Mat 1:21 ESV

When David tagged on “my salvation”, was he looking to the One who would walk amongst us, live a spotless life, speak truth to hearts and experience physical, emotional, spiritual sufferings we know nothing about. I like to think he was.

My salvation is found in no one else, not even my own self effort or supposed obedience to any moral code I may have erected in my mind.

David was in the midst of his deepest failure, and in the middle of this deep valley of despair, he looked to Him who was the salvation of Israel, and did not promise to “do better”, or “act nicer”. No – his trust was in someone outside of himself, in the ever living One.

Jesus is worthy of our trust. He is the only One we can approach in the midst of our sin, whom we can have confidence in that He will not utterly reject us.

He is good. Look to Him in your despair, in your pain, in your disappointment. He has suffered beyond our comprehension, understands deep despair, and disappointment and is waiting there for us.

Truly, He is good!

I do hope you will join me as we begin at the beginning of this psalm in our next posting. (I think I may have gotten a bit ahead of myself!) Hope to hear from you – Thanks for visiting!



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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 36 – F

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 36

10 Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your righteousness to the upright of heart!
11 Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me, nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12 There the evildoers lie fallen; they are thrust down, unable to rise.

David breaks forth in prayer. He is walking in the steadfast lovingkindness of the Lord, and is asking for a continuance of this love for the ones who know Him.

To ask God to “continue” His steadfast love is to ask God to “stretch it out”, or to lengthen out this steadfast love David experienced. And yet the psalmist, David himself, speaks of the steadfast love of the Lord as being from everlasting to everlasting in Psalm 103:17.

But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, – Psalm 103:17 ESV

Here we see a glimpse of a saint praying for something that is a reality. David is praying for the extension of the Lord’s steadfast love into the future in our verse above, and yet in the 103rd psalm, David teaches us that the same steadfast love is constantly on those who fear Him. Is this some sort of contradiction?

Lets read the two passages side by side and consider the message of both.

Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you… Psalm 36:10

But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him… Psalm 103:17

This “contradiction” disappears in the careful reading of the two texts, as it often is true of apparent contradictions in the Word. Notice that David is praying in Psalm 36:10 for the experience of the steadfast love of the Lord to be stretched out, to continue with the saint who knows the Lord, who is in relationship with the Alpha and Omega.

In Psalm 103:17, David is stating a fact of the steadfast love of the Lord as being “on” the saint. Experience of the saint is not considered in this verse, simply a statement, awesome as it is, of the constant, continual truth of the love of God towards those who fear Him. The lovingkindness of the Lord is on those who fear Him. A fact we can depend on, believe in, find comfort with, even if may not be experiencing the steadfast love of the Lord.

And yet we sometimes (often?) find that our thinking of the lovingkindness of the Lord is distorted, somewhat stilted or twisted. Sometimes, in our “fear of the Lord”, we see Him as One who “lords it over us”, who is scary, somewhat unapproachable, far far away, and even dangerous.

But if I am reading David’s prayer of the 36th psalm correctly, this experience of the steadfast love of the Lord must be a pleasurable, fulfilling, desirable, enticing experience. Else why would he beg for the continuance? And this continuance of the experience of the steadfast love of the Lord is the subject of his prayer, he is seeking to continue to experience this love in his life.

Fear and love, both combined in our experience with the Lord. Fear of the Lord and the steadfast love of the Lord. The fact of His continual love and the desire for the continuance of experiencing His love.

What is missing in my thinking? We all know that our experience and the truth may be completely at odds with each other. I think this is the issue I am considering. Many of my times of living in fear has taught me that it is often not based in truth. I recently posted a time in my life of learning this relationship of fear and truth in Let Me Tell You a Story – Horsehair. In this experience, a single lie settled in my thinking and controlled my thoughts for weeks!

To experience the steadfast love of the Lord is dependent on truth. Imagination, group think, logic and reasoning on their own may only cripple us regarding God and His ways with us. For us to continue to experience the steadfast love of God requires our fear to drive us to truth, to the Word where we find One who approached us, entered a dangerous condition, suffered through terrors, fears and torture, offered up His very life and finally died a cruel death on a bloody cross.

His is the life that had the steadfast continual love of the Lord on Him. He feared the Lord, and the Lord’s love was on Him. He trusted in this truth, even when the experience was excruciating, dealing a death blow to His life.

As we walk this pilgrim way, we need to remember this double pronged truth. Truth that the steadfast love of the Lord is on those who fear Him, and of our need of prayer to experience His love, to be controlled, filled and rejoicing in His love.

He is good.

Let us remember He is a completely different type of love than we naturally understand.


Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 36 – E

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 36

7 How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.

God’s Goodness to His Own People

David now breaks forth with the experience of the saint, the one who knows the steadfast love of the Lord, and how precious this love is to the saint. The earlier verses described a state that creation existing in, and yet did not appreciate the love of the Lord, those who did not understand or accept this love.

David now speaks of those who have come into covenant with the Lord, whose steadfast love is a constant in their lives. How precious this love is.

Precious

This particular word David uses (yāqār), refers to something that is rare or costly. Let’s consider what David may be saying.

Rare

The first time this word shows up is in 1 Samuel 3:1, where the word of the Lord is described as rare.

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD in the presence of Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision. – 1Sa 3:1 ESV

Is David seeking to inform us that the lovingkindness of the Lord is “rare”?

In the time of Eli, the word of the LORD was precious / rare, in that it was uncommon, not a recurring, consistent occurrence. No word of the LORD had been given to man for quite a while, as a matter of fact for decades, and it was precious or rare. To be precious does have a component of rarity, but I see this rarity in that the love of God is of a completely different quality than that of any other love.

God’s lovingkindness is not rare or precious simply because it appears unavailable. This is the result of our blindness and rejection. No, the lovingkindness of the Lord is bountiful. The very next two verses in our psalm speak of the abundance of a feast, and of drinking from a river. These are not descriptions of scarcity!

Costly

This same word that David uses in describing the lovingkindness of God in Psalm 36, is also used of Solomon’s palace foundations. The foundations of the palace were costly stone.

The foundation was of costly stones, huge stones, stones of eight and ten cubits. And above were costly stones, cut according to measurement, and cedar. – 1Kings 7:10-11 ESV

So what is David trying to communicate to us? The steadfast love of the Lord is precious, (of a different quality) and costly.

Costly. To be expensive. The lovingkindness of the Lord is costly, but to whom is the cost associated. During the time of David, for the Lord to provide guidance or protection, cost Him. His honor and glory were often dragged through the mud in being associated with the nation of Israel, and with the occasional actions of His greatest saints. He is a God who stoops down to His creation, who associates with the lowly and poor, who exercises a patience and care for His people that we do not understand or often consider.

Of course the saint, as a beggar looking to the Master, could claim a cost in exercising patience for the Lord’s assistance, but we often forget that any assistance is an act of love toward us. Maybe the saint could claim a cost related to discipleship. This is and always will be a reality. This may be an accurate statement, but I’m not sure this is where David is going.

The cost associated with the lovingkindness of the Lord is the cost that the one who loves pays. For the Lord of glory to humble Himself for a small nation in the middle of three continents, with a young shepherd boy raised to King, and promised an never ending dynasty. This is a costly love committing to a young shepherd boy, whose children would eventually commit acts so vile that the kingdom would be lost, and one of those children would be born in a nation under the thumb of Rome, in a manger, with a cross in His path.

Let us remember the preciousness of the love of God, of the quality of the love He has for us, and the cost He paid to flood our lives with His lovingkindness. Let us not consider our cost to high, for if we do, it may be that we have forgotten of the preciousness of the love of God. His love is of a completely different character than our understanding of love, and the cost of His love was His very life.

How precious is your steadfast love, O God!


Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 36 – D

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 36

5 Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
6 Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O LORD.

David begins such a wonderful description of our God, with the backdrop of the wicked man, showing our Gods beauties for all of creation in these two verses.

This post will spend a few minutes in verse six.

Righteousness

When I mention righteousness, what do you think? Is it the idea of always being right? Of never having to say you are sorry?

When I think of righteousness, I think of balance.

Let me explain

God is holy. God is love. God is good. God is gracious, God is mighty, God is great, God is pure, God is jealous, God is true, God is faithful, God is light…. And God is One, perfectly aligned within Himself with each of His attributes, with each of His characteristics. I fear I am speaking foolishly here, but consider. He is not in tension within Himself as to what is a correct action, or struggles with a decision, experiencing inner turmoil as to the proper way to proceed. No, He is at peace within Himself.

Each of these characteristics of our God is not in conflict with one another, where His love is arguing with His purity, (rescue or condemn the sinner) or His holiness is struggling with his mercy (remain separate or join fallen humanity) Each characteristic provides potential conflict for us, if we seek to live within these bounds, but not so with God.

You see, He is righteous, that is, He is not in conflict within Himself, and this balance, this peace is the essence of His righteousness. He is righteous, and performs all things righteously, since He is the standard of all existence. His holiness is not ignored in order to love His creation. His jealously is not staining His faithfulness. No – all of God’s characteristics are in balance, in harmony.

Mount Hermon

This righteousness that belongs to the Lord is solid, without wavering and is a constant within the life of David. David, as he looks to the mountains, sees what he has always seen, a solid mass of immovable rock.

God’s righteousness is visible to all, for the mountains are of the greatest geological formation on the earth, and cannot be hidden.

Judgements

If you are like myself, (which, if you are, try to find a way to change!!) when you hear of “judgement” you automatically think of condemnation. But a “judgement” is simply a decision that is made based on knowledge received, upon which a course of action will be pursued.

If I see an ice cream stand on the side of the road, I judge that it would taste great to have some ice cream, and based on that decision, I slam on the brakes, backup and pull into the parking lot. Although this judgement may satisfy my desire for yummy ice cream and cause a fender bender, my point is made. The results of the judgement may be positive or negative, depending on the recipient!

God’s judgements, His decisions are mysterious. His judgements are past finding out.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! – Rom 11:33 ESV

A number of these decisions may seem to have a negative impact in our experiences, but our interpretation of the judgement may, and usually is, far from the intended purposes designed by God.

You see, God’s judgements, His decisions are like the great deep. David could see the mountains, for the mountains were ever before the psalmists eyes, but the great deep was a massive mystery. Whether he is speaking of the Dead Sea, the Sea of Galilee, or the Mediterranean, the Old Testament prophets knew very little of life in the great depths. Admittedly, the culture was dependent on the sea in many ways, yet the ancient Israelite floated on the sea, and did not delve into the depths. Mysterious, like the judgements of God. Even the great man of God David admitted to his lack of understanding the judgements of our God.

Truly, it is good to remember that there is mystery in our relationship with God, and His Son Jesus Christ. As we walk through our pilgrim way, let us remember that God does mysterious feats that we cannot predict within our lives and the lives of others. And let us be thankful for the mystery, for in all His ways, He is perfectly righteous in all His judgements.


Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 36 – C

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 36

5 Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
6 Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O LORD.

David begins such a wonderful description of our God, with the backdrop of the wicked man, showing our Gods beauties for all of creation in the verses 5 & 6.

This post will spend a few minutes in verse five only, since this description of our God is such a blessing after slugging through the depressing, discouraging, painful description of the wicked man. Necessary, but in no way as edifying as the following passage.

Let’s consider our God.

God’s Goodness to All Creation

David describes four characteristics of the Lord in verses 5 & 6, as he seeks to describe God’s attitude toward all creation. Notice that in verse 6, David speaks of the LORD’s saving of man and beast. Not until the opening of verse 7 does David speak of those who know the love of God.

These verses speak of the universal love God has for His creation.

Steadfast Love

Mercy, kindness, lovingkindness, goodness. The Hebrew word חֶסֶד cheçed, kheh’-sed describes loyal love, a devotional love extending for life

This love is not an emotional love, as we often think of when we speak of love in our modern society. This is a covenantal love, a love of the will. Hosea uses this word in describing the vows God made to the nation of Israel

And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD. – Hosea 2:20 ESV

In my research, I found a wonderful resource (Hebrew Word Lessons) I would like to recommend to my reader if they study the Old Testament. I would like to thank Sarah E. Fisher for this work she has provided. Her comments on Hosea 2:19-20 caught my attention and expresses this devotional loyal love better than I.

“Notice the word Hebrew word for LOVE (ahava) was not in God’s wedding vows, but khesed was. Love is an emotion, and emotions can wax and wane. Khesed reflected a boundless, loyal, everlasting, love in action, and this is the kind of love God has for His people. It’s a much, much, fuller, grander love.” Sarah E. Fisher, Hebrew Word Lessons- Khesed- LOYAL LOVE in Action

David is speaking of a loyal, covenantal love, a love that is dependent on God’s loyalty, His faithfulness to his own word. A sure and steady promise is this love of God, of His will for His people, as the writer in Hebrews reminds us.

So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. – Hebrews 6:17-18 ESV

David not only expresses the type of love God has for the creation – that is, a loyal, faithful love, not dependent on emotions or feelings, He expands the concept to include the extent of the loyal love. This is beyond me, since the fact that God has entered into a loyal love should be enough to satisfy creation. But David sees this loyal love extending to the heavens, it is beyond his sight, and beyond his comprehension. It is all he can see and he cannot find its limitations.

Praise to the God Who is loyal.

Faithfulness

When the word faith comes up in a conversation, I automatically think of my faith, my belief, my relation to God. In the Old Testament, when faith is mentioned, it was almost universally considered an ongoing commitment, a faithfulness. In this phrase, of course, we are not looking at any of creations faithfulness, for we are sorely lacking in any exercise of faithfulness to our Creator. Truth be told, we are a treacherous, unfaithful, and promise breaking sort.

When push comes to shove, we are a Judas.

When push comes to shove, God is Jesus, the faithful One, who would give up His rights, His glory and power, His honor and dignity in order to be faithful to God, following the Father’s will to the cross. Emotion, as discussed above, was not Jesus friend in the final days, for He cried out to God for a deliverance, and yet He was faithful to the Father.

David again describes this faithfulness as extending to the clouds. When David speaks of clouds in this passage, he refers to a thin cloud, what appeared to him as a fine dust in the skies. A wispy type of cloud.

When I first read this passage this morning, I considered this description of God’s faithfulness to be somewhat less (in extent) than the infinite description of the heavens when he speaks of God’s lovingkindness. I am not convinced that this is David’s intent. I don’t think he is comparing the lovingkindness of God as being greater in extent that God’s faithfulness. David wasn’t an physicist, or a scientist when he penned this beautiful psalm. He was a Hebrew poet. When he looked to the skies, at night, he would see the heavens, during the day, he would recognize the clouds. Both beyond his reach.

This in instructive, as the passage not only speaks of the extent of God’s lovingkindness and faithfulness, but of God’s continual availability. Whether dark or light, God is there to depend on, to relish in His promise of love and faithfulness to His creation.

My friends, when we consider the wicked man as David did in the first four verses, we find a creature that is self centered, internal, taking, plotting, lying and without resistance to evil. Our God has a loyal love and faithfulness, not to ones who deserve it, for then these descriptions of God would be unnecessary. Loyalty and faithfulness is not exercised when both parties are in an enjoyable unbroken relationship. David’s description of God was no less true prior to creation, but when creation fell, and wicked man rose up, the character of God described in these verses became a shining hope, and a benchmark upon which we can know our own state of existence.

Dwell on the lovingkindness and faithfulness of our God this fine day my friend, and rejoice that your very existence came from a loving God, One who is forever faithful.


Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 36 – B

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 36

1 To the choirmaster. Of David, the servant of the LORD.

Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes.
2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
3 The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good.
4 He plots trouble while on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he does not reject evil.

In our last post, we looked at the first two verses, and it didn’t look good. I mean, the trend of this wicked man was downward from the get go!

Let’s hope for the best, but I’m gonna warn ya. Our next two verses do not provide much hope!

Words

The very words that come out of our mouth are described as “trouble”. Deceit I get, I understand the lying tongue, my goodness I get it! But the psalmist states that the wicked man’s very words are trouble.

And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words, while his heart gathers iniquity; when he goes out, he tells it abroad.

Psalm 41:6 ESV

This term can be translated in a number of ways, including “emptiness” or “a vanity of words”. This may be emphasizing a hollowness of communication, but shouldn’t be considered a neutral condition that we may consider allowable. Vanity is often associated with idol worship, and we know God’s attitude towards idols!

Let us not speak vain or empty words. Empty words are definitely not associated with righteous activity, with loving actions or a spirit of mercy!

A Change of Behavior

The psalmist now describes the wicked man’s actions, his doings, his outward appearance and behavior. It is interesting that the wicked man ceases to act wisely. Does this imply that the wicked man acted wisely in the past? Was this wicked man of a better ilk in the past, of some better character prior to his listening to transgression, prior to his self flattery?

Was this wicked one of a better ilk in the past, of some better character prior to his listening to transgression, prior to his self flattery?

I heard a philosopher speak of the necessity of time in relation to our existence, and that time allows for change. Time allows for change. Change that occurs as either growth or decay.

This wicked man is decaying, rotting on the vine, becoming less as time passes, by listening to transgression, by avoiding the fear of God, by elevating his own self importance before his eyes. The decay is becoming evident to those around him by his behavior.

He begins to stop acting wisely and to stop doing good. But this is simply a point in time, a fraction of a moment, when the direction of his life is determined. To stop doing good and think we can remain neutral is a fallacy.

Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. – Luk 11:23 ESV

We are either with God or against God. There is no middle ground, and that is why I am stating that this stopping of doing good occurs in a mere fraction of a moment, since this state of neutrality can not be maintained.

A Leader of Wickedness

This man of wickedness now blooms into a leader of wickedness. He plots his day while others sleep, spending time on how to attain his goals. He is consumed with his thoughts of greatness, and he has no one to guide him, or to caution him, since the fear of God has been ignored, even silenced to his ears.

He establishes himself in a path that is not good. The term speaks of a steadfastness, a withstanding or refusal to be moved. He has chosen to be in a path that is not good, and his very intent is to remain in this path.

To be in a path that is not good, he eventually must lay his defenses down. He does not reject evil. He may have rejected evil before, but I tend to think this is simply the decay settling into his person, a strength of resistance simply not available to this man.

Story time

My wife and I went walking last night on our favorite path, lined with massive trees, bushes and grasses. It so happened that one of the tress we enjoyed last year had fallen, now on its side, with the trunk completely broken. No saw had come upon the tree. No – it had decayed from the inside out and the strength of the trunk had disappeared. Last year it appeared strong. One swift wind, and its inner lack of strength gave way to the wind. The tree is down.

Such is the life of the wicked man. Early listening to transgression, denial of the fear of God, speaking lies to his self in the form of self flattery, becoming “neutral” towards truth and finally setting himself in a bad path. Finally there is no resistance to evil.

I find it interesting that when the psalmist describes this man, he refers to an absence of good. Not until the fourth verse, does he use the term evil. Yes, iniquity is referred to, but that it cannot be found in the wicked man’s own eyes. I also admit trouble and deceit are spoken of as coming of his mouth. This is the beginning of the wicked mans inward decay being exposed to those around him.

This is our condition. Or should I say this is our condition, our eventual destination if it were not for the steadfast love of God. He is the Savior, the Deliverer and the One who brings us back from the edge.

I am very much looking forward to the psalmists descriptions turning from the wicked man to the righteous God. For He is good, and we certainly need Him!


Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 36 – A

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 36

1 To the choirmaster. Of David, the servant of the LORD.

Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes.
2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
3 The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good.
4 He plots trouble while on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he does not reject evil.

In our last post, I veered from the specific passage above in discussing a topic brought to mind by the verses above, and that I find I am coming back to often in my thinking.

I would like to consider these verse with the approach spoken of in our previous post (Psalm 36 – Introduction). We are sinners. Yes, we have been granted the righteousness of Christ, but we live below, and David is describing the wicked man in the verses above. As mentioned earlier, we shall find good counsel in understanding this description of the wicked man as a description of our own condition while we walk with Him during our pilgrimage.

Let’s consider David’s description of the wicked man, the man we are if we are honest with ourselves, the man we are without the grace of God being shed abroad in our lives.

Transgression speaks to the heart

Even as I sit here and consider this passage, I am reluctant to admit of the times I listen to sin speaking to my heart. Do not get me wrong, I understand that the sin thoughts are not necessarily sourced in my own soul, but the fact that I listen to them is the shame I experience. Oh to be willing to turn a deaf ear to the whispers I hear in my heart. Deep in my heart, where there is more mystery than understanding, transgression speaks to me.

Transgression utters, or declares to my heart, and gains a foothold when there is no fear of God before my eyes. This term “speaks” is interesting since it is used of God speaking in many passages of the Old Testament. Now before any one tries to condemn me for associating sin with God, that is not my intent. My intent is only to notice that “speaks” is commonly used to describe a message that is “spirit” and we know that by study and experience, this includes spirits that are not of God.

No fear of God

Transgression gains a foothold in the wicked because there is no fear of God before our eyes. Transgression may “utter” all day long, and with no fear of God, will gain that foothold and progress into a growing struggle with sin. This we all can attest to and suffer under!

The fear of God. Many who read this blog may know that I spent years under the fear of God – no wait – let me correct myself – more specifically under the fear of the judgement of God. There is a tremendous difference. The fear of God, in my understanding now, is to know the living God, the fountainhead of knowledge, wisdom confidence and life.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. – Pro 1:7 ESV
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. – Pro 9:10 ESV
The fear of the LORD prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be short. – Pro 10:27 ESV
In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. – Pro 14:26 ESV
The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death. – Pro 14:27 ESV

Do not believe the lies spouted by many that the fear of God produces a sour spirit. The fear of the Lord is a wellspring of life.

Flatterings

He flatters himself! But this isn’t the boastful arrogance of a loud and proud man speaking of his greatness. No no no. This refers to the quiet ruminations within himself, of his discussions with himself, where he is telling himself how great he is! And who is to argue, if the fear of God is now a distant influence!

Pride of self, a self inflicted perception of ourselves that we are better than we truly are. We flatter ourselves. To flatter is “to praise excessively from motives of self interest” This must be recognized as being so out of touch with the nature of God as to be obvious.

Is self flattery of the character of our God…

who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. – Philippians 2:6-8 ESV

This too seems so obvious, if we are honest with ourselves. How often have you considered yourself better than your neighbor, your boss, your friend or your spouse? Paul addressed this danger amongst leaders, even apostles within the Corinthian church.

Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. – 2 Corinthians 10:12 ESV

Even those who may consider themselves to have low self esteem, flatter themselves with their weakness, in their standing in comparison with the appearance of others, their lack of confidence, of their inabilities, or a host of other characteristics that they use to draw attention to themselves.

We are to consider ourselves with sober judgement.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. Romans 12:3

Was it Spurgeon or some other saint who said that the believer was not to attain to a high self esteem, nor a low self esteem, but of no self esteem.

God is to be the only One we are to esteem. Consider the wise, mighty and rich in Jeremiah 9. They had attained. But they were instructed not to esteem their own selves but the LORD who practices love justice and righteousness in the earth!!! (By the way – we don’t practice love justice and righteousness!)

Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” – Jeremiah 9:23-24 ESV

Let us break for now and continue with the next two verses of this passage in our next post. Suffice it to say, the first two verses do not offer much hope to the wicked man. And in our next post, verses 3 & 4 will only expose more difficulty and trouble, problems and traps.

Who is able to rescue me? Who can deliver me from this awful condition!


Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 36 – Introduction

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 36

1 To the choirmaster. Of David, the servant of the LORD.

Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes.
2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
3 The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good.
4 He plots trouble while on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he does not reject evil.

The wickedness of man and the goodness of God.

This psalm magnifies the differences between our existence and the character of our God. For the first four verses, David dwells on the wicked man. As I read passages such as open this passage, where the Old Testament speaks of a “bad” fellow, I am reminded of an old pastor who focused my thoughts on identifying with the bad guy in the story.

We so often want to associate with the godly, the righteous and the beautiful (at least I do), that we often miss the truth the Word is trying to provide. Without continuously acknowledging our sinful tendencies, habits, actions, thoughts, and motives, we tend to “join the righteous” in righteously excusing our “trip ups” and condemning those sinners, and in our effort to look good, we become hypocrites in the eyes of many! This should not be so!

This concept reminds me of a time, very early in my faith, when I sought the Lord and found only sin. Everywhere in my experience, I found rebellion, acts of sin, transgression and failings. I so wanted to be close to God and to love the Lord Jesus, and yet found sin. I confessed this to a believer, and he simply stated that when we press in, the light of God exposes our nature. Get used to it!

Humility and a consciousness of our “self” is the result of facing the One who is truth. Is this not the experience of those we read of in the Old Testament.

Consider Isaiah

And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” – Isaiah 6:5 ESV

Or Ezekiel

Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking. – Ezekiel 1:28 ESV

David often confesses his sin, acknowledging his failings.

I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah – Psa 32:5 ESV

Daniel joins in the confession of his nation’s sin

We have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules Dan 9:5 ESV

You may be reminded of other instances in the Old Testament where a saint, in seeing the Lord not only glorifies the One above, but reduces his own standing in his own eyes. (Somewhat of a difficult verse for the self esteem movement!)

Consider Job

I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” – Job 42:5-6 ESV

The New Testament continues with this witness.

But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” – Luke 5:8 ESV

Paul was knocked down before he was called.

Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. – Act 9:3-5 ESV

Paul even spoke, as an old man of God, of his being (not was) the chief of sinners, the foremost of sinners.

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. – 1 Timothy 1:15 ESV

Oh the tension we find in our seeking of the truth. We have been provided the righteousness of Christ through faith in our Savior and the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, and yet our sinful tendencies are ever before us. That “wicked man” that we drag behind us, constantly seeks to pull us down. Ignoring or avoiding this truth will not benefit our souls. As my favorite wifey reminds me at times….

But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out. – Numbers 32:23 ESV

The battle is real my friends. The war has been won, but we each have battles to fight. In all of this discussion, a sense of humility and a consciousness of our wickedness needs to be ever before our eyes. But in the very moment I speak of this, let it be understood that there is a danger of only acknowledging our sin. We cannot lay in the cesspool of our needs, and not be looking off to the great and mighty Jesus.

As Paul reminded the sin laden Corinthians, we need to remember the nature of our God, and of His forgiving nature, His nature of comfort, and of His continual love toward those who fall. Paul directed the believers to mimic God’s nature in the following passage when confronting a condemned believer, that they

… should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. – 2 Corinthians 2:7-8 ESV

We are to live in the truth, and that includes acknowledging to ourselves and our Father, our weakness, sin tendencies and failings. This is a bitter pill to swallow but this truth will produce within us a humility greatly needed within the church today.

And we are to rejoice in the salvation our great God has provided. A salvation that delivers us from past guilt, current sin and a future of release from the presence of sin.

He is good.

Consider where you stand, lest you fall!


Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 35 – K

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 35
26 Let them be put to shame and disappointed altogether who rejoice at my calamity! Let them be clothed with shame and dishonor who magnify themselves against me!
27 Let those who delight in my righteousness shout for joy and be glad and say evermore, “Great is the LORD, who delights in the welfare of his servant!”
28 Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long.

In our last post on this marvelous psalm, we came away with David’s plea for vindication, based not simply on his own blamelessness, but on the righteousness of God.

We spoke of the difference of vindication and vengeance, and reminded the reader that vindication is an overturning of a false conviction, of a clearing of his name, of regaining a good reputation.

In our closing verses above, David pulls back on his requests for active judgement from the Lord, and requests the passive allowance of God, that of letting his enemies fall into their own traps. David often draws on this type of request. A fuller discussion on it may be found in a previous post on this psalm (Psalms for Psome – Ps 35 – B)

In our verses considered this morning, David is summing up his prayer. He asked the Lord to allow his enemies to fall into their own trap, then in verses 22-24, boldly looked to the Lord for active deliverance from his enemies, in the form of vindicating his own actions. The truth will be established, even within his enemies hearts.

The result of this vindication of David is shame upon the enemies

Let them be put to shame and disappointed …

Shame and disappointment are often found together in the Word. As a matter of fact, the root word used here for disappointed is translated as ashamed or shame occasionally in the Old Testament, and is used to describe embarrassment. If I understand this phrase right, he is asking the Lord to allow his enemies to be put to shame and experience humiliation, embarrassment.

My friends, no one enjoys experiencing humiliation. To be humbled by forces beyond our control, by others that bring secrets to light, bringing shame into our lives is a horrible experience, cutting to the very soul. And yet, self humiliation is exalted in the Word. Self humiliation brings forgiveness.

Consider the humbling of Manasseh

Manasseh led Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem astray, to do more evil than the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the people of Israel. – 2Ch 33:9
He (Manasseh) prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God. – 2Ch 33:13
And he (Amon – Manasseh’s son) did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, as Manasseh his father had done. Amon sacrificed to all the images that Manasseh his father had made, and served them. – 2Ch 33:22
And he did not humble himself before the LORD, as Manasseh his father had humbled himself, but this Amon incurred guilt more and more. – 2Ch 33:23

David is seeking for his enemies to experience a humiliation, a reckoning with truth. Earlier in this psalm, David looked for his enemies to experience truth in their hearts. Now he is looking to have his enemies experience disappointment in their plans for him, for the truth to come out and all to see the evil that has been perpetrated on David.

Let them be clothed with shame and dishonor …

I think David returns to the shame, dishonor and disappointment he prayed of earlier.

Let them be put to shame and dishonor who seek after my life! Let them be turned back and disappointed who devise evil against me! – Psa 35:4

In our verse this morning he speaks of his enemies being clothed in shame and dishonor.

When you hear the term “be clothed”, what comes to mind?

I am not a “clothes” horse, as I would rather wear a raggedy pair of work pants and an old t-shirt, something that I “cloth” myself in. I value the appearance of being average, or even poor, and consider myself an ordinary fellow, one who tries not to put on airs. Nevertheless, at work I am sometimes called upon to wear a tie (ick), and even a suit jacket. (Say it isn’t so Carl.) This type of clothing does not “fit” me, and I feel out of place as I wear it. My internal person and outward expression are at odds with each other.

David is looking for these opponents to be clothed in shame and dishonor.

These enemies are to experience the shame, and not simply internally, without any of their peers knowing. These enemies are to be seen as “shamed” ones, men who are openly disappointed in their plans of wickedness and lies. They are to be put to shame, and also to be fully exposed to all of their shamefulness.

David is looking for their internal person and their outward expression is be the same.

David’s enemies did not delight in his righteousness. They sought to tear it down, to destroy it. They will experience shame, dishonor and disappointment

David’s fellows, those who delight in his righteousness, will shout for joy, and attribute to God the salvation of His servant. David also shall tell of God’s righteousness, and praise Him.

As we close on this psalm, let us consider on additional question.

Who is speaking in verse 27? Of course David wrote this verse, but throughout the psalm he appeals to his blamelessness, and God’s righteousness. Three verses refer to righteousness in this psalm.

Vindicate me, O LORD, my God, according to your righteousness, and let them not rejoice over me! – Psalm 35:24
Let those who delight in my righteousness shout for joy and be glad and say evermore, “Great is the LORD, who delights in the welfare of his servant!” – Psalm 35:27
Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long. – Psalm 35:28

Verse 24, David appeals to God’s righteousness. Verse 28, David again speaks of telling others of God’s righteousness.

Verse 27 contains the quandary. Is this the Lord speaking of His own righteousness through the Psalmist? Is this the Lord taking possession of this prayer and interjecting his own instruction? As if God is instructing those who delight in His righteousness to shout for joy. To say forever – Great is the LORD.

No other verse in this psalm refers to David as being righteous, only blameless. and as we saw earlier in a previous post, their is a difference.

He is righteous, totally balanced in all His wonderful attributes, without any inner conflict or external contradictions within His person


Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 35 – J

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 35
22 You have seen, O LORD; be not silent! O Lord, be not far from me!
23 Awake and rouse yourself for my vindication, for my cause, my God and my Lord!
24 Vindicate me, O LORD, my God, according to your righteousness, and let them not rejoice over me!
25 Let them not say in their hearts, “Aha, our heart’s desire!” Let them not say, “We have swallowed him up.”

In our previous post, the psalmist was speaking of his enemies seeing the saints downfall, their weakened stance and eventual downfall. They were watching, waiting for the destruction of the saint.

His enemies were not the only ones watching. David has One that is also watching, seeing what is transpiring, the trials of the saint, the plots of the wicked and the fears of the saint. But the One has been quiet, allowing the plans to progress. David has previously requested that God allows his enemies to simply fall into their own pit, as we discussed in (Psalms for Psome – Ps 35 – B) . Verse 4-6 is a good example of this desire

  • Let them be put to shame and dishonor…
  • Let them be turned back and disappointed ….
  • Let them be like chaff before the wind….
  • Let their way be dark and slippery…

At this point, he is seeking vindication. Justice and vengeance upon his enemies is sought, and David is trying to get some action out of the Master. He is seeking a decree against his enemies from the Lord, not simply allowing them to fall into their own pit. He accuses God of napping, of sleeping on the job.

David knows better than to accuse the Great I Am of being asleep. But this is an Hebrew poet, an Old Testament prophet reaching out to His God, expressing his heart, opening up to the One who has held back. Pressure is mounting and he needs his God to rescue him. No longer is David simply asking for God’s passive allowance of “non protection”, at this point, he is looking for active deliverance.

Vindication.

To be vindicated!

When I think of vindication, I think of revenge, revenge on the enemy. In the paragraph above, I implied that vindication and judgement is the same thing. But I think I think wrongly! To be vindicated is to be accused of an wrongdoing, and subsequently proven to be without blame, the accusation disproven.

Throughout this psalm, David has spoke of his blamelessness, of his enemies rising up against him without cause. David is not asking the Lord to bend justice for him, to show him mercy, to forgive his sin. He simply desires to be vindicated, to be proven that the accusations are false and that his actions were blameless.

Beyond basing this vindication upon his own blamelessness, which he stands in, David appeals to God’s righteousness. David does not trust in his own blamelessness, but appeals to the very righteousness of God. This sentiment is somewhat similar to Paul’s statement regarding his own blamelessness (not aware of anything against myself..)

But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. – 1Co 4:3-4 ESV

It is the Lord who judges. He is the only one who has the right to judge, to declare a judicial sentence!

Verse 25 closes this portion with David seeking his vindication to be realized in the hearts of his enemies. He is not looking for some earthly court to make a statement that, though legal, could be denied or mocked. David is looking for his enemies to realize their own wrongdoing, to not say in their hearts Aha.

Again, this vindication David is seeking is for the benefit of his enemies, not an act of revenge or seeking retribution upon them. He is looking for truth to be established, even in his enemies lives. This is truly incredible.

Don’t confuse vindication with vengeance, or revenge. The Lord is the One who owns vengeance

“Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

David sought vindication, based on truth, on the righteousness of God. He stood on his blamelessness, yet appealed to the righteousness of God in seeking vindication.

We need to seek a blameless life out of love for His goodness to us, and yet realize we need to depend on His righteousness to deliver us.

He is good!


Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 35 – I

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book. Let’s continue with the 35th Psalm.

Psalm 35
19 Let not those rejoice over me who are wrongfully my foes, and let not those wink the eye who hate me without cause.
20 For they do not speak peace, but against those who are quiet in the land they devise words of deceit.
21 They open wide their mouths against me; they say, “Aha, Aha! Our eyes have seen it!”

David returns to the thought of unearned enemies, of hatred that is not deserved, of war that is unwarranted. We must remember, that in the prior to and in the midst of this trial, David had done no wrong, other than to follow after his God. These enemies are wrongfully his foes!

In the midst of a trial, as believers, we are to maintain a blameless character, with no deceit, anger or malice towards others, even our underserved enemies. (Consider Psalms for Psome – Ps 35 – C)

Speech and Sight

David, in this portion of the psalm, speaks of the recurring actions of his friends who have turned against him. These foes exercise their earthly senses of sight, giving them a sense of hope, of confidence and of victory!

Verse 19 speaks of David’s request to the Lord for His restraint upon those who are against him. David has entered this stance in prayer before in verse 4 through 6, and we have discussed this previously (check out Psalms for Psome – Ps 35 – B)

David continues describing the natural outgrowth of the man that knows no peace. Those who know not the Lord, that have no peace, can only speak of what they know.

They do not speak peace. This is simply a statement of negation, a statement that does not impact the believer. But you must understand that a vacuum of peace, creates the void for war. It is similar to the picture of light and darkness. Darkness is present because of no light! War is present because their is no peace.

“There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.” – Isa 48:22 ESV

There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.” – Isa 57:21 ESV

Due to the experience of “no peace” in the unwarranted enemy, to simply “not speak peace” is not enough for them. War shall come out of the void.

Of course, for our current situation, cultural and social restrictions have held back this war like tendency toward the peace seeking believer, upon the “quiet in the land”, but I ask you – Is this barrier falling? If so, is your peace remaining? Do you know of the Lord’s kindness, of His mercy, even in the midst of pain and disappointment?

But I digress.

In the midst of David’s trial, his foes devised words of deceit. They calculated, conceived and fabricated a story to destroy. This is a planned intentional attack against the “quiet of the land”, against those who seek peace.

…that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. – 1Ti 2:2 ESV

My friends, this post is not intended to create paranoia in the believer, to the extent that all we see is deception, the plans of the wicked, those who seek our destruction! It is true we have an enemy, but we also know the Great I Am, who has not only proven His great cunning and strategy in the victory of the cross, but more importantly, in the same victory of the cross, exhibited His great love for those who are in David’s place of vulnerability. We must continue to keep our eyes on Him, even in the midst of the erosion of our social and cultural norms. These norms are not to be considered our protection, but only the Lord our God.

But again, I digress.

Our unwarranted enemies will mock us, spitting out “Aha aha” in the hope of seeing their victories over us. For a time, they may witness our seeming defeats. We need to be prepared for a battle with those who are against the very Prince of Peace.

…and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6 ESV

The trials we may enter into, if we are following after Him, will be turned around, will be used by our Father to bring about our deliverance.

In our next post, we will see that our foes are not the only ones watching!


Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 35 – H

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 35
17 How long, O Lord, will you look on? Rescue me from their destruction, my precious life from the lions!
18 I will thank you in the great congregation; in the mighty throng I will praise you.

We have been in Psalm 35 for a time and yet it continues to draw me in, to connect with experiences I have lived through. I suppose that is one of the many allures of the Psalms, especially for believers who are “up in years”

Yes, as a young believer, I read the psalms, but mostly out of duty and a desire to communicate truths to others. I focused on the famous prophetic psalms, speaking of the future Messiah, or circumstances that reveal His person or life in poetry. Passages that were obviously referring to His life and death, such as Psalm 22.

Oh yes I was told that the psalms would draw me in as I age in the Lord, and lo and behold those believers were right! They are a constant partner as I dwell in them and connect my experiences with the psalmist.

The first verse we are looking at today is specifically relevant to those who have waited on the Lord for a deliverance, for an answer to prayer.

Of course the author was speaking of a threat to his very life. In the bigger picture, when considering the greater David, Jesus had to go through death to deliver us from death.

Is this not instructive for us?

The very trial that we are entering, or going through may be the very vehicle that will be used by God Almighty to deliver us from a far greater danger?

And the time element! Ah – the time element! We can’t forget about the time passing for the saint, for the extended time of trial that the saint is experiencing? The tic tic tic of the clock as we are in the midst of a trial. The constant unknown of how long, how long must I forge through this trouble?

How long? How long will God wait?

Such is a recurrent theme through the Word, of those saints dependent on the Lord, and yet somewhat disappointed, discouraged, even despondent that the deliverance has not occurred quickly.

On top of this general question of the time delay, this complaint adds a personal pain. How long o Lord will you look on?

The author recognizes that God sees the trouble and is waiting. God knows of the saint’s trial, and is apparently on stand by. He sees the saint suffering and seemingly simply watches.

As a believer, this is sometimes the most difficult aspect of any delay in deliverance. Those who have no God to trust can avoid some trials by merely capitulating to a circumstance to get relief. If they cannot escape the suffering, bitterness, anger or even hatred are the only responses they have.

For those who know the Lord, and trust His direction in life, seeking to live the inner life of love, joy and peace, the very knowledge of God’s ability over all things makes it much more difficult to understand any delay.

“I thought You loved me!” “How can you let me suffer?” “How can you let me suffer for extended periods of time?”

You see, I phrased the above problem in such a way as to reflect my common complaint. I want to understand the suffering. Good luck with that Carl! How often have I wanted the questions answered when the questions will NOT be answered!

God the Father is under no obligation to answer any question we demand of Him, and yet He promises comfort and peace in the knowledge that the Son has passed through trials beyond our comprehension. He has provided the Spirit of God to indwell us in the trial, and to provide peace as we seek God’s will.

Trials for the believer are to be expected. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Realize that as a believer, suffering is part of the calling to follow.

And yet even the Lord Himself, in the midst of the crucifixion, asked….

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” – Mat 27:46 ESV

Therefore, ask away. The prophets asked questions. The apostles asked questions, The fathers asked questions. Asking “Why” is not wrong when we are coming before an all powerful, all knowing Savior, for He is not a petty authority that cannot handle questions about His will. He is the sovereign God of the universe, of all creation. His wisdom, will and understanding is beyond us. His love for us is where we need to reside, to rest in, to abide. To recognize that His death for us, in the middle of a “WHY”, allows for our understanding to be unfulfilled and yet enough!

It is enough that we thank Him in the midst of uncertainty, or unanswered questions, of fears and dangers. Among those who are not only in the great congregation, but also among the mighty throng!

I will thank you in the great congregation; in the mighty throng I will praise you.


Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 35 – G

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 35
15 But at my stumbling they rejoiced and gathered; they gathered together against me; wretches whom I did not know tore at me without ceasing;
16 like profane mockers at a feast, they gnash at me with their teeth.

Gathering Together

Here we see David’s undeserved enemies rejoicing and gathering around the saint in trouble, the saint who stumbles. There is nothing that unites the evil ones like the apparent weakness of the saint.

As an example of this principle, notice that when the Christ was brought low, when He appeared to be weak, both Pilate and Herod became friends. But they hated each other before this!

12 And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other. – Luke 23:12 ESV

Nothing brings the lowest of the wretches together like the appearance of the saint ready to be devoured, to be destroyed and to be overcome.

The stumbling of the saint, that is referred to may be translated as a limping, or halting, or even imply a sudden slip.

How can we describe this “stumbling” in regard to the Messiah, for surely he committed no sin, neither was their guile in his mouth. He was the sinless One, and yet, He took the position of the guilty. He spoke the truth of His person, and those who were His enemies (without cause), used the truth to condemn the guiltless One.

Although His enemies knew it not, they had One ally, One helper in this upside down mystery. The Son allowed this injustice to occur. Could He not have called upon His Father for assistance, for twelve legions of angels to deliver Him?

Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? – Mat 26:53 ESV

And yet He stood down, He entered into this circus of contradiction with one purpose, one goal. He knew what was in the heart of men, He knew the trial before Him, and He allowed them to gather in unison against Him, to tear at His life, to mock and deride, and finally, even beyond any description of the passage we are in, to enter into death for His very enemies.

Rejoicing

Not only did they gather together, they rejoiced in this rejection of truth, their utter hatred of the Son. For they knew this was the Messiah. The leaders knew. And the Lord had told them they knew. (Consider Parable Surprises – Wicked Servants). There was no hiding behind ignorance, this was blind hatred for God and His Messiah.

What power hungry, insane hearts dwelled in those who sought the Saviors life. What utter confidence in the will of God for the Savior to accept this lot, this trial, to work out this act of obedience!

These wretches tore at Him without ceasing, gnashing at Him with their teeth. Slander was slung upon the righteous One, upon the guiltless One. The One who made no false statement, suffered under the false statements hurled at Him. Not only false statements cast upon His spotless character and His Royal Person, but to the extent of His death, the death of the cross.

All the while as those enemies rejoiced over His (voluntary) stumbling!

Gnashing of Teeth

They gnashed at Him.

Gnashing is not a term I often use, but in the providence of God, I had just finished a quick study in the New Testament on this very term (See Parable Surprises – Wedding Banquet)

I found that gnashing of teeth, at least in the New Testament, referred to rage, anger and fury. Of course I was looking only at the New Testament use of the Greek terms used. This morning, let us venture into a short study, discovering the Old Testament usage of this term, and its related emotions.

The Hebrew word for gnashing is ḥāraq and is used four other times beyond our passage in Psalm 35.

He has torn me in his wrath and hated me; he has gnashed his teeth at me; my adversary sharpens his eyes against me. – Job 16:9 ESV

Gnashing of teeth is associated with wrath and hatred in this verse, and also, quite interestingly, of wicked devices against the victim, of the sharpening of the eyes! This may come up again in one of our next verses!

The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him, – Psa 37:12 ESV

Again, this passage speaks of plotting, planning against the righteous.

The wicked man sees it and is angry; he gnashes his teeth and melts away; the desire of the wicked will perish! – Psa 112:10 ESV

Gnashing of teeth is the result of the anger the wicked man experiences.

All your enemies rail against you; they hiss, they gnash their teeth, they cry: “We have swallowed her! Ah, this is the day we longed for; now we have it; we see it!” – Lam 2:16 ESV

Gnashing of teeth in this passage is associated with railing against the victim, of protesting or criticizing against Him. Anger may be a part of this experience, but there is also an apparent victory in this instance, of a longing accomplished, of the plotting realized, and yet the gnashing of teeth is still spoken of. No peace, even in the midst of their long desired victory!

This gnashing of teeth is associated with anger and rage. Blind fury of those against the Son, resulted in the gnashing of teeth. The wicked experience no peace, even in attaining the very thing they sought for. No peace for the wicked in their evil devices!

“There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.” – Isa 48:22 ESV

How utterly contradictory is the desire of the wicked and the associated results of their plots.

Be careful Christian, in finding delight in the fall of a believer. You may be joining with a bad crowd!


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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 35 – F

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 35

13 But I, when they were sick– I wore sackcloth; I afflicted myself with fasting; I prayed with head bowed on my chest.

14 I went about as though I grieved for my friend or my brother; as one who laments his mother, I bowed down in mourning.

David continues, speaking of his actions towards those who rose up against him, toward those who became malicious witnesses against him.

I know of no time when David was brought before a court and had witnesses rise up formally, but I have read where the greater David literally had malicious witnesses in a mock court rise up against Him. David is describing his actions toward his undeserved enemies. How much truer are these descriptions of the Lord Jesus in His determined love towards us?

Sackcloth

Sackcloth is typically an outward expression of deep inner grief. Consider Psalm 69, where the psalmist describes another instance of wearing sackcloth.

10 When I wept and humbled my soul with fasting, it became my reproach. 11 When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword to them. – Psa 69:10-11 ESV

His wearing of sackcloth was associated with weeping and the self humbling act of fasting. How can I not refer you to the prophecy of Isaiah, describing the Messiah as a Man of sorrow, acquainted with grief?

3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. – Isa 53:3 ESV

Affliction

As I mentioned above, sackcloth is often associated with fasting in the Old Testament, and this fasting should be considered in the most basic understanding of denial. When I hear of fasting, it is true that it is often associated with food. To go without food for a period of time.

As a practical application, I have exercised this practice and would recommend it for the sake of meeting with the Lord in the times of denial. I would caution you however, that fasting may become an act of self righteousness if understood incorrectly. You see I fasted twice a week (I know – I sound like a Pharisee I read about somewhere!) In honesty I didn’t inform anyone I was doing this, other than my sweet wife who wanted to feed me. But I often congratulated myself for my pious works, my dedication and faithfulness.

What utter hogwash, for as I was fasting, I would look up fasting passages in the Word to give me strength and support during my fast.

Until I came across Isaiah 58:1-12. This passage tore a hole in my righteous balloon. It is such a passage that if you are concerned about the Lord’s attitude towards fasting, you need to leave this post, find the passage and dwell, meditate, and understand this description of God’s intent of fasting for the believer.

Are we to fast? Yes.

The affliction we are to put ourselves under may be surprising if you consider Isaiah 58. How little I truly practice the correct, proper practice of fasting! How perfectly and righteously the Lord Jesus performed true fasting.

Prayer

What can I say about prayer that the believer doesn’t already know. I speak as a man who realizes his prayer life is weak. But the intent of this post is not to dwell on myself, which I do too much.

Please realize that the prayer David speaks of is the prayer of one in grief, in sorrow and sadness, of one in confusion and under persecution. In the greater story, it is a description of the Greater David, and of His prayers for His enemies, of the grief He experienced during His passage through His ministry, of His great determination to seek us out and to go through such suffering for His creation, His people, His enemies.

Grieving

Is this not the summary phrase of the psalmist’s attitude towards his enemies, those who rose up against him?

Is not the Greater David in grief over His enemies sickness, His enemies pain and suffering?

When we consider the great exchange, the transfer of grief for joy, the exchange of poverty for riches, the trade of death for life, how can we not stand in wonder of His great love.


Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 35 – E

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 35
11 Malicious witnesses rise up; they ask me of things that I do not know.
12 They repay me evil for good; my soul is bereft.

Verse 9 & 10, as discussed in our previous post, were verses of praise, yet as we find in the context of the psalm, we were in the midst of great confusion. Verse 7 & 8 describe the psalmist’s confusion over the reaction he experienced from his enemies over his good actions. They sought to trap him without cause!

We are now entering into the psalmists confusion again, where he describes his actions of love and mercy towards those who become and are his enemies.

But before we jump into our current verses, lets consider the last time you were confused with God’s working in your life. Have you had terrible things happen to you, even good friends turn on you, become enemies? In the midst of sacrificing for another, has someone thrown it back in your face?

I may not be speaking of the depth of hatred David is speaking of here, but of the daily occurrence’s when a friend says something hurtful, when a loved one seemingly acts out of character to you. Does this knock you off your position of praise to God in your life? Do you, in the midst of a confusing time, look at the surroundings and get your eyes off the Lord?

This is far too common of an experience for myself. I desperately need to understand that God is good, all the time! If we maintain our daily focus on God and His goodness, confusing times will only strengthen us, for He is to be the center of our faith, not our perceptions and understanding of the surroundings.

For we walk by …

Back to our Psalm. David speaks in verse 12 & 13 of his enemies actions toward him.

Verse 12 speaks of a courtroom setting, of witnesses of violence rising up, establishing themselves as an authority, and questioning David as if he had committed crimes. This is surely speaking the the greater David, of the accusations hurled on our Savior, as He took our punishment, our blame, our judgement, our hatred. We are the malicious witness in the grand story. We rise up, and we blame God for things he has never thought of. The evil we conjure up, we place on Him.

We need to admit to our sinfulness.

Is this not where David takes us in verse 12. These evil witnesses repay His goodness with evil. Consider. As we seek to follow the Risen One, to depend on His Word and Spirit, our fruit will be to repay no man evil, but only good.

See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. – 1Th 5:15 ESV

In this psalm, we are confronted with two paths. One where evil is dished out on good actions, and one where acts of goodness is dished out on evil.

What path are you on?


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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 35 – D

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 35
9 Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD, exulting in his salvation.
10 All my bones shall say, “O LORD, who is like you, delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, the poor and needy from him who robs him?”

As an engineer, I tend to read my profession into passages. Not trying to justify it, or to say it is the only way to understand the Word. Definitely not. But it is the standpoint I am currently in when relating to the Word.

So when I hear David say

All my bones shall say….

I automatically consider David to be speaking of the very structure and foundation of his existence, that which provides support and stability in his body. (Without bones, we would simply be a quivering pile of skin, fat and organs laying on the ground!) The most tangible and structurally solid part of David’s body (his bones!) was the source of His exultation. He resonated deeply with this truth and the very essence of his being, he shouted out the unanswerable question…

O LORD, who is like you?

There is no one out there that is like the Lord, that behaves as the Lord does. He is the One who delivers…

the poor from him who is too strong for him, the poor and needy from him who robs him?”

Maybe that is why we struggle with accepting His goodness, His kindness, His abundant, overflowing grace. As with everyone we know, (including ourselves), there seems to be an agenda attached with any assistance provided, a secondary, hidden motivation benefitting the rescuing soul. Rare is the one who rescues simply out of an abundance of grace. How uncommon to find one that delivers simply out of love, and not with a side benefit. Scarce indeed is the selfless one.

And yet, this is the One we worship. The One we look to for guidance and strength, for wisdom and patience, for understanding and comfort. He is altogether unlike any other.

And yet we experience His loving kindness most when we are in our deepest need, when we realize our enemies are much stronger than us, when we realize we cannot win the fight. When we are in a condition of utter helplessness, the Lord, the God of Jacob is the One who delivers, the One who rescues, the One who saves us from an enemy that is much stronger than us, of whom we have no resource other than Him to find our defense.

He is worthy to trust. Not only worthy, but altogether the only One that will not let the trusting soul be ashamed, or to be let down.

Praise Him


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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 35 – C

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 35
7 For without cause they hid their net for me; without cause they dug a pit for my life.
8 Let destruction come upon him when he does not know it! And let the net that he hid ensnare him; let him fall into it–to his destruction!

This short passage is a continuation of the imprecatory prayer of David, of his desire and request that the Lord deal with his enemies.

Verse 7 is providing David’s blamelessness in front of his enemies. And it speaks of the greater David’s righteousness in front of His enemies.

David’s enemies hid a net and dug a pit (poetically speaking) for him to be entrapped in, but David boldly declared that the enemies were motivated by something other than David’s actions. He claims the actions were not cause of the enemies hatred! In other words, H actions were not the reason causing this hatred. How bold! How proud of David to claim this!

But wait a minute. Is this not to be the condition of each believer? Is not the believer to walk in such a way as to be blameless?

Consider David’s situation. He acquires enemies seemingly “out of nowhere”. And these enemies are hunting him down. Without reason. Is it not somewhat confusing for us when we acquire an enemy out of nowhere?

Our lives are to be of a blameless character. Notice that I am not associating blamelessness with perfection or sinlessness. I remind you that Paul’s prayer was seeking believers to

10…. be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, – Philippians 1:10 ESV

Now we need to understand that to be blameless is to be without blame. (Duh – that is obvious Carl.) Ok, in other words, to be blameless is to be without any cause of stumbling another.

If we commit a sin against a brother, we are to ask for forgiveness, and thereby enter into blamelessness. If a believer offends a non-believer, they are to seek seek reconciliation and forgiveness from the non-believer. Blamelessness must be maintained by avoiding or removing any instance of blameworthiness. (Dang – I am using big words today, no?)

Nevertheless, you see the reason I did not assign blamelessness to the Son of God, since it may imply the requirement of forgiveness due to an unjust offense. Blamelessness is never used in relation the the Master in the New Testament Psalm 35:7 may be rightly understood as prophetic of the Son, describing His righteous actions towards those who rose up as enemies against Him.

In verse 8, David returns to the idea of “letting” destruction come upon his enemies, and it may be of benefit to remember the principle of how the devices of the wicked boomerang on them. A bit fuller explanation may be found in the previous post Psalms for Psome – Ps 35 – B.

Both David and Jesus had powerful enemies arrayed against them in their tribulations, and both were rescued.

But how marvelous was the rescue of the Savior. How incredible the deliverance, even from the grave! How utterly fantastic the reclaiming of His life. He who did no harm, who was hated without cause, and who suffered such horrible treatment from His subjects, patiently enduring the shame and agony of the cruel crucifixion, how magnificent the Savior is in his resurrection!

He is righteous. We are not. (I speak of experience, not in standing!) Our focus, at least out of this passage, is a call to blamelessness. A desire to keep “short accounts” with those we hobnob with.

And to understand, that as we maintain (or work to become blameless) we will acquire enemies without cause. David did. Jesus did. The prophets did. The apostles did.

Ok then, so do you got some enemies? By being blameless I mean. By doing good and not evil?

For a believer to accumulate enemies by being offensive, rude, hateful proud or self righteous is not the calling we have brothers. Acquiring adversaries through doing good, (and not evil) is the way of the Master.

For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. – 1Peter 2:15 ESV

By the way, where are you in relation to being blameless with your spouse, your children, your employer or even that cantankerous church member that rubs you the wrong way? Accept a position of humility in your life, and reach out to those you may suffer insult from. They may even cause you offence or hurt. Seek forgiveness and relationship with your enemy. Do good.

For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. – 1Peter 2:20 ESV

Remember, by doing good we may acquire enemies, but in the acquiring of these enemies, we are to remain blameless even with those who seek our harm.

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, – Mat 5:44 ESV

Leave your thoughts and comments below. As always I look forward to hearing from you.


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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 35 – B

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Let’s return to Psalm 35 and continue in David’s prayers

4 Let them be put to shame and dishonor who seek after my life! Let them be turned back and disappointed who devise evil against me!
5 Let them be like chaff before the wind, with the angel of the LORD driving them away!
6 Let their way be dark and slippery, with the angel of the LORD pursuing them!

As I have been ruminating over these three verses a concept comes up that I would offer the reader. David is looking for the Lord to “let” his enemies be put to shame and dishonor. To “let” them be like chaff and to “let” their way be dark and slippery.

Would it be correct to see David’s prayer here as a prayer of allowance, that is of letting those who are laying traps for David to fall into their own traps. His prayer is that the Lord is to drive them away, and pursue them, and we will consider that a bit later, yet a few moments on the concept of the lost being caught up in their own devices against the Lord’s people.

Consider the following passages.

Let their own table before them become a snare; and when they are at peace, let it become a trap. – Psalm 69:22 ESV

The nations have sunk in the pit that they made; in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught. – Psalm 9:15 ESV

In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor; let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised. – Psalm 10:2 ESV

In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor; let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised. – Psalm 10:2 ESV

Whoever misleads the upright into an evil way will fall into his own pit, but the blameless will have a goodly inheritance. – Proverbs 28:10 ESV

A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet. – Proverbs 29:5 ESV

He who digs a pit will fall into it, and a serpent will bite him who breaks through a wall. – Ecclesiastes 10:8 ESV

There are actually many more passage that speak of the devices of the wicked planned for the saint to turn back onto the wicked. (As a matter of fact, our next post will find this principle again in verse 8!)

The Scripture also gives numerous examples of this principle. The first example that comes to mind of this deliverance is of course the story of Esther and how the schemes of Haman were turned upon himself.

A proud man utterly humbled by honoring the very man he hates most. A ruler of nations that had the power of life and death, himself hung on the very gallows he had prepared for Mordecai, the believer. Take note also that not only was Haman’s fortunes turned on him, so were Mordecai’s, in that he was lifted up to great heights.

Or consider the eleven sons of Jacob and their turning Joseph over to slave traders. The brothers went from being seemingly in control over Joseph, to becoming totally dependent on the mercy of Joseph.

I can’t keep bringing examples since I do want to consider verse 5 and 6, but as we meditate on the deliverance of the Lord in our lives, lets consider the wonder of the Lord’s ways. The wicked sin against the Lord in plotting against the believer, and the sin itself becomes the very judgement they fall into.

A word of caution for those believers who may think this does not apply to their own lives since they are “positionally” on the Lord’s side, this last example of Jacobs sons shows that to be in covenant with the Lord of Glory does not remove us from this very same principle. (For those interested in this topic, consider the post The Lord’s Enemy.)

Let’s consider verse 5 and 6

Oh to think like a Hebrew. The pictures found in the psalms, as we take a few minutes out of our busy day, are so graphic and so alarming.

Consider the precarious spot David is seeking for the enemy.

Chaff in the wind. The very purpose of the wind when winnowing the harvest was to carry the chaff away. The chaff had no power of resistance over the wind.

Their way to be dark and slippery. Given that David’s request is for his enemy to be powerless against the circumstances he is in (chaff in the wind) , he is also asking that they have no knowledge or understanding of their condition, neither any ability to resist their falling into their trap.

In the midst of this self destruction, David is asking that the angel of the Lord drive them away, and to pursue them. To “drive” is to push, to push violently, to be thrust down. To “pursue” is to run after, to chase after. The term is sometimes translated as to harass or to persecute!

Not only is David requesting to Lord to allow the enemy to fall into his own wicked devices, but he is requesting that the Lord ensure this result. He is praying that the Lord push the enemy down, and to chase after him, as a victorious general would ensure a victory over the defeated enemy.

David is a military man, a man of blood and was a strategic fighter. He did not waver in his passion for the victory of the God of Israel, and his prayers were reflective of his zeal.

Let me encourage those reading that passion in prayer is often found in the Word and may need to be found in our lives. A prayer of recitation without personal involvement may be simply words bouncing off the ceiling at times. May our prayers, as we go through our days of pilgrimage, exhibit a greater passion and desire to see God get greater victories in our lives and the lives we touch.

May God bless you as you seek to follow after Him.


Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 35 – A

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 35

Of David.

1 Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me!
2 Take hold of shield and buckler and rise for my help!
3 Draw the spear and javelin against my pursuers! Say to my soul, “I am your salvation!”

This is the first of the imprecatory psalms, a psalm that speaks of violence upon the writers enemies. Imprecatory means cursing, and this psalm, along with eight other psalms (55, 58, 59, 69, 83, l09, l37 and l40) recites what was going on in the saints heart during times of trial and struggle.

Does the writing of this type of psalm give us license to pray down vengeance on our enemies? Can we model our prayers upon the scriptural example set out in these psalms?

This is a tough question for me since I tend to hear the Master’s comments when James and John wanted to call down fire from heaven

And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” Luke 9:54

Of course, based on the Old Testament witness, this could be an accepted course of events. In one of the imprecatory psalms, the author speaks of smashing babies heads against rocks!

Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock! – Psalm 137:9 ESV

Wow!

But not so with the Son of God. Luke simply states that Jesus turned and rebuked them.

But he turned and rebuked them. – Luke 9:55 ESV

To call destruction onto our enemies is against the spirit of the gospel. The folks that have chosen to be our enemies are without the gospel and under condemnation. We are not to hurry them to their destiny. We need to persuade them towards the Lord Jesus. (Let us not talk of our brothers as enemies, for this is simply sin.)

In this Psalm, David is most likely running from King Saul, and seeking survival. Yet when he has opportunity to take revenge on King Saul, he relents and provides mercy. Why won’t he become the answer to his own prayer?

Again, this is why this type of Psalm gives me pause.

Can New Testament believers pray to God for their enemies destruction while showing mercy to them at the same time? This smacks of a double minded existence, where what we want and what we do are two different things. Talk of being conflicted!

Can we ask the Father in heaven to serve justice upon the enemies of the church while maintaining a clear conscious? Consider the slain souls of Revelation 6.

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne.

They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”

Rev 6:9-10 ESV

Is this sufficient justification for us to cry our for vengeance on our enemies? Notice these souls are not seeking their justice, but requesting the time when God’s judgement will avenge their blood.

Are you starting to see why these imprecatory psalms give me pause?

Let’s consider the passage before us.

Verse 1 starts out with “Contend” and “Fight”. David is calling out to God to defend him, no, not to defend him but to fight for him. There is a difference. David is seeking an offensive move from God and not simply a protective, defensive stance. And yet, is this the same cry that we believers cry out as we may come under attack, pressure, or pain, and that we seek God’s ever present help?

I often don’t think of God as an offensive (as opposed to defensive, not repulsive) warrior, and that surely impacts my prayers, and most likely my general faith state.

When have you asked the Lord to fight for you, or better yet to fight with you in the deliverance of another soul, by prayer, or fasting?

When I hear of contending and fighting, I think I understand that the Old Testament saint was expressing a war like term that was related to this earth, to battle with a national or physical enemy. This is not on the Christian’s agenda. Our battle is not with flesh and blood – This is a hard lesson for me to keep focused on.

In the midst of all the requests in this portion of the psalm, for the Lord to fight for this saint, verse 3 modifies all of these requests, asking that in the middle of all of the strain and stress, his soul would know that God is his salvation. This is key to the Psalm and is a thought repeated through out the passage (v 9, 27)

As we venture through this psalm, I find I am challenged to settle back and let the Lord have the reins of the salvation He has provided. Recently I have seemingly thought it all depends on me, that I am responsible for success, for safety and for security.

I have to give these fears, doubt and burdens back to the Master and realize He is good, He is strong and He is my Salvation

How about you? Are you carrying a burden you needn’t? Are you depending on yourself for things you cannot deliver? Are you tired and worn out?

You may have the wrong yoke on!

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Matthew 11:28-29 ESV


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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 34 – G

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

In our previous post, I supplied an introduction to this psalm that may be beneficial for review if you have not read it. Psalms for Psome – Ps 34 – A

Lets continue with Psalm 34:19-22

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
20 He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.
21 Affliction will slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22 The LORD redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

In our last post on this precious psalm, we spoke of the eyes and ears being towards the righteous. We spoke of the action of the eyes and ears of the Lord. The activity of the Lord towards the righteous one.

This portion of the psalm describes a specific instance where the Lord looks and listens toward the righteous one.

The Lord is active in the righteous ones life, whether by conviction or by comfort, and as we walk and obey, He is active in looking out for us us, and looking towards us. Specifically this psalm defines the action of the Lord in relation to the afflictions of the righteous. He is near the righteous one that is experiencing afflictions

This psalm, more importantly speaks of one Righteous One, the Messiah.

As I have read through the Psalms, I sometimes consider how the Messiah might have related to the prophecies and promises written of Him. Lets remember that the Word of God is about the Messiah and for the Messiah. He is the all and end of every passage.

This particular psalm includes information that is an obvious reference to the passion of the Christ, to the very crucifixion of the Son of God. I am of course, referring to the prophecy of His bones not broken in verse 20. What a highly specific prophecy pointing the lost to find the truth and the saved to find encouragement!

This prophecy speaks not of an affliction, but in the limits of His suffering. Therefore the psalmist must be thinking of afflictions that do not refer to His bones. Join me as I consider a few of the afflictions of the Righteous One.

Physical Afflictions

This passage speaks of the “many afflictions” of the Righteous One. When I think of the physical afflictions of the Son of Man, I think of the crucifixion, and of the torturous physical pain of the cruel cross. The cross was the culmination of His passion and opened the most Holy Place for us to enter into.

And yet, He suffered physically prior to the crucifixion, a suffering that makes me shudder.

By his wounds you have been healed.

The scourging of the Master is a horrendous physical torture, and has been described by Eusebius as follows

“For they say that the bystanders were struck with amazement when they saw them lacerated with scourges even to the innermost veins and arteries, so that the hidden inward parts of the body, both their bowels and their members, were exposed to view” (Ecclesiastical History, Book 4, chap. 15).

Peter describes the result of His scourging in his first epistle, as our healing. Of course this represents our healing from sin, and not the temporal healing from a sickness. This is obvious for two reasons.

  • Peter reaches back to Isaiah 53:5 in relating to this healing, and throughout the book of Isaiah, healing was always associated with the curse of sin.
  • Physical sickness may be cured based on the mercy of God in a specific instance, and not a blanket promise that applies to physical sickness. This promise refers to the healing of the sin curse upon humanity.

The term “wound” in the Greek specifically refers to a bruise, wale or wound the trickles with blood. How understated!

As we have spoken previously, the entire Old Testament is a description of the Lord Jesus and of His mission. One passage in the Old Testament, when considering the sufferings of the Lamb of God may speak of this wounding of the Son of Man.

Then he shall kill the bull before the LORD, and Aaron’s sons the priests shall bring the blood and throw the blood against the sides of the altar that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting.
Then he shall flay the burnt offering and cut it into pieces, – Leviticus 1:5-6

When Moses refers to “the flaying” of the burnt sacrifice, I understand this is after the death of the Levitical offering. I also understand that this term is usually used of the stripping of clothes.

And yet He was the Lamb of God, and the sacrifice of His life was an offering beyond my comprehension. This is offered to the reader for their consideration and meditation

Emotional Afflictions

Let us look to two aspects of His emotional life for this present post.

Sorrow

His emotional life was littered with affliction, including the affliction of sorrow. He was referred to as a Man of sorrow, acquainted with grief.

Isaiah 53:3

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Matthew 26:38

Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.”

Fear

He experienced fear, for He begged for the crucifixion to be removed from Him, His prayers always focused on the will of the Father, yet the struggle of His coming suffering struck fear and loathing in His heart. How could it not. He was a man of like passions as us and His life was coming to a violent death, full of pain and suffering.

Matthew 26:39

And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

Consider the reality of those last hours in the garden, of the terror He experienced, of the loneliness of His time, with His disciples falling asleep.

I can’t imagine a time when any of us will experience this type of emotional trauma.

Spiritual Afflictions

How can any of us imagine or comprehend the spiritual affliction of the Son of Man being forsaken by the Father in heaven, who had been in communion with the Son of Man constantly and continually. At no time had sin drove a wedge between the Father and the Son until the cross, where Jesus had been left utterly and completely alone, without any comfort, open to the taunts of His enemies and the apparent success of darkness and spiritual wickedness.

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” – Mark 15:34

He was forsaken on the cross. The spiritual affliction was the one affliction that Jesus questioned. He questioned the Father. He had pleased the Father constantly in His life, through all His actions and attitudes. Yet abandoned in His greatest time of need.

Victory in Affliction

Lets return to the psalm we were discussing, and remember the tone of our passage we are looking at today is one of deliverance.

  • vs 17 ..the Lord hears and delivers them out of all thier troubles
  • vs 19 ..the Lord delivers Him out of them all
  • vs 22 ..The Lord redeems the life of His servants

Deliverance of the Righteous One resulted in His resurrection, His deliverance from a life that experienced afflictions. How this must have buoyed up the Master in the midst of His trials, in the midst of His afflictions.

As the Master meditated on these passages, His purpose and mission became clearer and clearer, though full of affliction. He saw His way through it for the sake of the will of the Father, and to provide life for us.

Let us consider the Masters afflictions and understand that the Word provided Him, not only the promise of afflictions, many as they were to be for His life, but also the promise of deliverance.

As followers, we can enter into these promises.

For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:3-4

Today, many of us shall encounter various degrees for affliction. These afflictions are opportunities to follow Him in them. These are gifts from the Father and are provided for our training as we grow up into His likeness.

May Jesus become greater in all our lives! Praise Him for His loving sacrifice!


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