9 The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned back on the day of battle;
10 they did not keep God’s covenants and refused to live by his law.
11 They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them.
In reading this passage I’m reminded of pithy sayings I’ve heard over the years such as, “Adversity not only builds character in a person; it reveals character.” The same has also been said about involvement in sports. I’d like to add a third to the collection: “Experiencing signs and wonders can change a person’s heart but it can also reveal what’s in a person’s heart.” We’ve all heard stories of agnostics, atheists, and lukewarm Christians who became devout followers of Christ after witnessing a miracle or a healing. However, sometimes hearts were left unchanged or a change occurred that didn’t bear lasting fruit.
As a young Christian I was mystified by the behavior of the children of Israel in the years that followed their deliverance from Egypt. They saw the Ten Plagues, the Red Sea divided, the manna from heaven, the pillar of fire at night, the cloud of protection by day, and water coming from the cleft rock. And yet with all these signs and wonders, they did not enter God’s rest in the Promised Land and remained a stubborn and rebellious people.
Jesus ran into a similar problem in his ministry and condemned entire towns because of it: “Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than you” (Luke 10:13,14). Korazin, Bethsaida, and not to mention Capernaum, followed in the footsteps of the children of Israel.
After several years of being a Christian, my experiences with people and their responses to the supernatural agreed with the biblical narrative. While living in Minnesota, I met a couple whose youngest son was healed of a rare disease through a Christian ministry and it changed the whole family from having a tepid faith to whole-hearted devotion. And yet, in other cases, I’ve known people who, despite experiencing the supernatural, displayed a heart similar to the men of Ephraim. What they saw did not have long-term benefits for them and they faltered in the day of testing. The faith of some has even been shipwrecked.
In my time as a Christian, I have seen another group emerge that I believe is especially dear to Jesus: they have seen very little or no dramatic supernatural activity and remain devoted to and in love with Jesus all their lives. Thomas doubted the resurrection of Christ until he saw his Lord in the flesh. Jesus said,“Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
We should all strive to be in this group of disciples, because, unlike the men of Ephraim, they will not turn back in the day of battle. We may feel like we will never belong to this group, but we can always ask Jesus, like the father of the boy possessed by an evil spirit, “Help me overcome my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). He will not deny us. He will not give us a snake when we ask for a loaf of bread.
5 “Who can be compared with the Lord our God,
who is enthroned on high?
6 He stoops to look down
on heaven and on earth.
7 He lifts the poor from the dust
and the needy from the garbage dump.”
We often make comparisons. And I honestly think it is a good thing. When we compare one thing to another, we almost always choose the better over the inferior. Will it be Chinese or Mexican tonight? That depends. Do we attend this church or another? God lead me. Wear a sweater or a coat? Maybe a raincoat? Choices will often define us, whether they are small or large. We make 100s of them everyday.
The psalmist wants us to make a comparison. In his mind there is no one around that can come close to Yahweh, that sits on the throne supreme. But the psalmist asks the question anyway. He assumes that we will agree, and settle ourselves in this truth aware.
The question gets asked in verse 5. And the verses that follow (v.v. 6-9) are a true and accurate descriptions of our incredible God. Reading these will give God shape. These are profoundly remarkable, in scope and merit. He is an excellent God. He stoops and lifts the poor and needy. Most Sovereigns try to protect their thrones, and maintain an image of power and control. They clearly avoid any unscripted spontaneous contact with their “unwashed” multitudes.
Our Heavenly Father does not do this. Actually, He does the opposite. Truly remarkable.
“Lord who has mercy upon all, take away from me my sins,
and mercifully kindle in me the fire of the Holy Spirit.
Take away from me the heart of stone, and give me the heart of flesh,
a heart to love and adore you, a heart to delight in you,
to follow and enjoy you. For Christ’s sake. Amen.”
A psalm of David, regarding the time David fled from his son Absalom.
1 O LORD, I have so many enemies;
so many are against me.
2 So many are saying,
“God will never rescue him!”
3 But you, O LORD, are a shield around me;
you are my glory, the one who holds my head high.
4 I cried out to the LORD,
and he answered me from his holy mountain.
5 I lay down and slept,
yet I woke up in safety,
for the LORD was watching over me.
6 I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies
who surround me on every side.
7 Arise, O LORD!
Rescue me, my God!
Slap all my enemies in the face!
Shatter the teeth of the wicked!
8 Victory comes from you, O LORD.
May you bless your people.
8 Victory comes from you, O LORD.
Psalm 3:2 Hebrew Selah. The meaning of this word is uncertain, though it is probably a musical or literary term. It is rendered Interlude throughout the Psalms.
At the end though, the God of David does triumph. And since David trails so close behind, he too will understand victory. But none of this is easy, it certainly is not a “given.” David has to work through this “patch” of awful darkness, in order to get into the light.
V. 1, remember this, King David is being truly persecuted, and he isn’t paranoid. He understands being ostracized, and mocked as he walked down the street. There is as well, an idea of being hated by a whole lot of people. The word “many” is mentioned 3x in two verses. David is realizing the scope of all that he must endure. The slander, and mockery are intense. He seems to have become the ‘Richard Nixon’ of 1000 B.C.
V. 2, The people felt that David was beyond salvation. That he had simply sinned too much, and Absalom’s rebellion was just a reaping of what David had sown. He didn’t belong anymore in the “covenant of faith.” He was outside God’s love. This what the majority of people thought.
V. 3, 4, Pressed to the wall by this deep resentment, David makes his faith known. He declares that it is God who protects him, like a “shield.” He also pronounces that God is responsive to him; that God listens, and reacts to him. It seems that King David, who is mocked and villified by everyone, still has God’s ear!
V. 5, 6 There is peace, something special which is working through David’s life. This example of “sleeping” while people (10,000 enemies) encircle him is remarkable. Many of us would lose sleep if just one person is offended by us. But the masses David faced could have incapacitated him.
“I am not afraid.” This is an incredible declaration in the light of so much intense hatred. It is something bold, and confident, and perhaps a tad outrageous. But that is what grace is like to a watching world.
V. 7, 8, I suppose that this is a desire for justice. We agree that there is a right and a wrong. When we are “sinned against” we deep down want things to be restored. No one wants to live being hated and mocked. There is a profound sense, (it’s deep down ) and something innate. On several occasions I have experienced unjust situations, and am very much bothered to this day by those issues that have not been resolved.
In part one of our meditation on Psalm 15 we concluded by asking the question, ” Why does God’s heart grieve so greatly when His children do harm to one another?”
Part two simply states: The answer to this question is probably related to the truth that people are made in the image and likeness of God; they have incalculable dignity and worth. Because they are ‘God-like,’ to harm them with our words and deeds is in a sense to harm or offend God. Any parent knows that when their child has been slandered or cheated, they themselves feel slandered and cheated.
The Apostle John goes so far to say that “…anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, who he has not seen” (I Jn. 4:20b). This is why Christ said, “If you do it to the least of these, you do it to me,” and why Mother Teresa of Calcutta was utterly convinced that her ministry to the poorest of the poor was really a ministry to Christ Himself.
Here’s how all this relates to Psalm 15— If someone harms their brother or sister in word or deed, they offend the entire Trinity– “Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” In doing so, they alienate themselves from God’s presence and will need confession and repentance of their sins in order to acquire forgiveness and re-enter that presence. David was familiar with these truths, and that’s why, in the aftermath of his adultery and committing murder, he said to God, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight” (Ps. 51:4).
Finally, I can now understand how many Christians, including myself, can be intimidated by Psalm 15. I can imagine a brother in Christ telling me, “Jonathan, I came from a very messed-up family. I’m not making excuses but I have a lot of unresolved anger because of what my parents said and did to me. Because of this, in the heat of the moment, I’ve said hurtful things to my wife that I can’t take back. I feel terrible about how I’ve hurt her and wonder if I’m forever separated from God’s presence. I certainly feel separated from hers.”
I would respond, “No, you’re not forever separated from the presence of God. The Psalms say, ‘His mercies endure forever.’ There’s a common teaching among practicing Catholics that God’s mercy is his greatest attribute and simply overwhelms all his other attributes (e.g., justice) just like the Pacific Ocean overwhelms a sea bass. I John 1:9 says, ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.’ “ It’s good that you feel sorry about what you said, but let this sorrow lead to repentance and a real reconciliation with your wife. Please, dear one, make amends and always remember, His mercies are tender, unfathomable and inexhaustible. Put your trust in His unfailing love.”
David concludes the Psalm by saying that the person “who does these things will never be shaken.” The true Israelite will be at peace. This kind of believer will sleep well at night and can look himself in the mirror. He has evidenced his love for God by loving his brother. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment” (I Jn. 4:18). If we’re living right with God and our neighbor–i.e loving them, then what do we have to fear? The true Israelite has an inheritance in the kingdom of God that “is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17).
Psalmslife is written and maintained by two people, Bryan Lowe and Jonathan Coe. These Christian brothers have formed a relationship of more than 30 years. They have come together as partners to study the Book of Psalms. They have two separate voices, but they strive to hear from one God. We really hope Psalms Life will bless you as you personally workout the Psalms in your own life.
Bryan Lowe graduated from Alaska Bible Institute in 1984. He served with SOS Ministries in San Francisco, and with NLM in Mexico. A bonafide rascal with definite issues, who is seeking to be authentic in his faith to Jesus Christ. An avid reader and a hopeful writer. Husband and father. A pastor and Bible teacher. Diagnosed as Bipolar Depression and disabled. Hepatitis C and also a brain trauma survivor. Enjoys life in Alaska. Email: email@example.com. His other websites are www.Brokenbelievers.com and www.crossquotes.org.
Jonathan Coe is a graduate of Bethel University and Bethel Theological Seminary and has served in both pastoral and campus ministry. In 2004 he was received into the Roman Catholic Church and now lives in Colville, Washington working as a writer in the area of Christian spirituality. He writes for audiences across denominational lines and will be coming out with a book with Tate Publishing later in 2013 presently titled “Letters from Fawn Creek: Wisdom for the Journey to the Gold Rush.” His personal site is http://www.openheavensblog.com/wp/.
21 Then I realized that my heart was bitter,
and I was all torn up inside.
22 I was so foolish and ignorant—
I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.
23 Yet I still belong to you;
you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
leading me to a glorious destiny.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
I desire you more than anything on earth.
26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever.
Psalm 73:21-26, NLT
Our hearts are unstable things. Our spiritual life is often in a turmoil. For many, the yo-yo is not much more than a toy to amuse a child. At any given time, it seems we can be in any given place. Only God truly knows how confused and tumultuous we get. Some intrepid photographer once put a bull in a china shop just to see what would happen. The pics are really funny, as the bull put on a raging show, blasting glass everywhere. The more he broke, the more agitated he became. Sometimes– I think about this.
Psalm 73 is like a silver trumpet. It sounds out many things. And when we get toward the end of the psalm we run smack dab into vv. 21-26. The writer has a big dose of self-awareness. Sometimes we can travel a long way with an imperfect faith, without ever realizing what the truth really is. Oh, dear one– these can be very good times. The psalmist realizes his ugly issues. He realizes that he has gotten bitter, and he has become very foolish.
For many of us with a strong set of religious principles, we deem this inconsistency as a complete and total failure. We see our stupid behavior and decide that God will never, ever accept that kind of person (whether its you, or someone else.) But, my Bible reads so much different! I’m told that,
”Yet I still belong to you;
you hold my right hand.” (v. 23)
Can a jerk follow Jesus? But more, can a bitter believer be held close, and loved so faithfully? When we begin to “really” see ourselves, we may often condemn what we see. Condemnation is one of the most insidious diseases of the spirit. The Holy Spirit saves his strongest medicine for us who are regularly sickened by this evil.
If you take a piece of white chalk, and you dip it into a cup of india ink. The chalk obviously absorbs the ink– it is porous. If you snap the chalk, and examine the inside, you will see that the ink has altered everything, this is how condemnation works. Once affected, we are very vulnerable to bitterness and confusion and guilt. We discover that our life is bracketed by the word, “if.”
Verse 23-25 speak loudly of a love that will never let you go. Never. Write down your sin, tally it up, “ Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand.” As sinners who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus, “though our sins be as scarlet; they shall be as white as snow.”
For the choir director: A song of the descendants of Korah, to be sung by soprano voices.[a]
1″ God is our refuge and strength,
always ready to help in times of trouble.
2 So we will not fear when earthquakes come
and the mountains crumble into the sea.
3 Let the oceans roar and foam.
Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!” Interlude
“Ever-present!” That is how another version words verse 1. I will not to have to hammer very long to get to the real point. It is as if these three verses were beautiful gems just waiting on the ground. “Oh, look here! There is a diamond, and I saw a big ruby lying just over there!” The special promises of the Bible are just like that. I guess its just what holds our gaze.
The sons of Korah have compiled these verses for us to hold dear, close to our breasts. Korah was a family– a clan in the Jewish community. I’d like to believe that the composition of this Psalm knit them together in a profound way. (Their “family reunions” were not drunken brawls, where the police must be called in.) Rather they connected around the Word they had composed. Could it be that you are a son or daughter of Korah? I think that could be arranged. It would be a blessing.
These verses speak about the “secure security” we have in God. You’re the 98 pound weakling, with scoliosis– you wander the beach and very big bullies line up just to kick some sand in your face. And you really are sick of it. God has guaranteed our security. He now stands between us and them! And is always there, and ready to intervene.
The verses that follow all deal with calamities and natural disasters. In Mexico, I lived on the side of a volcano. I now live in Alaska with various earthquakes and tsunamis. I have been through hurricanes, tornados and floods. (I even went without coffee for three days.) But for God’s precious people, there will be triumph, even though there be at times considerable loss. We are not immune to bad things– we are just comforted and sustained in these terrible moments. We get comforted, when others can find none.
10″ The years of our life are seventy,
or even by reason of strength eighty;
yet their span is but toil and trouble;
they are soon gone, and we fly away.
11 Who considers the power of your anger,
and your wrath according to the fear of you?
12 So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.”
Psalm 90:10-12, ESV
(Actually, in order to scoop this up, you should read Ps. 90:7-17. I can honestly predict good thing emanating from your reading.)
I once attempted to carry Bibles into the village of Minto, Alaska in January 1985. Minto is small and isolated, and it is north of the Arctic Circle. In winter, it is a cold, beyond cold. We saw the temperature drop to a -30, with a windchill of -50 F.
When it gets this cold, the tires on your car freeze. They get flat spots, frozen rubber that keeps its shape. So you hear a clumping sort of sound when someone drives by. This is readily seen in Fairbanks.
Our car just had to breakdown in this frozen waste. We were quite isolated, we were the only vehicle in 50 miles. I tell you this. The cold was horrific. The dead car now was nothing more than a “windbreak”. Since the engine couldn’t run, the temp quickly plummeted. And I knew two things.
- One, I discovered that this kind of cold could quickly kill you.
- Second, I was going to die, as “a Bryan flavored popsicle.”
But we found a miracle. Twelve hours later, a singular snowplow right at the point of turning around, saw the red top of our little Toyota. The driver hesitated, and then decided to find out this mystery. He discovered us, and yes, we were quite close to dying. (No melodrama here folks, just keep moving).
“So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.”
This is a Psalm of Moses, and we see him connect the dots. This particular verse should lift us up. Just the idea of enumeration should connect us to a deeply eternal watch. Moses is writing directly to the psalmist, and we must accept all that he has said.
Things are astonishingly brief for us. Even as believers (expecting something better) are never really content. We think that we deserve much more than this. But our life is shortened to a set of days, and we have no recourse but to take all that is given to us.
In 1985, in a beat-up Toyota Corolla I suddenly understood the issues. My life was negotiable. This was my certain moment, when I could really understand. We must “count our days”. Only the person who discovers his mortality, can really appreciate” eternal life”.
Its simple, really. We focus on the numbers, and the numerical count we have accrued. We can honestly do nothing less– and nothing more. It seems we are living on a tether, and we can only advance so far. But this is not a bad thing.
There is an “old world” idea of bravery. It’s not so popular lately. But we will only advance if we understand “bravery.” Courage is the only accepted currency in the spirituality of this moment, today. We will trust in the things He gives us.
- The Fellowship of the Saints (brokenbelievers.com)
- Respect Your Elders: 1971 Datsun 240Z Vs 2013 Scion FR-S (automobilemag.com)
- How Dark Could it Possibly Get? Psalm 88 (psalmslife.com)
- To Number My Days – Poetry (cathykilpatrickleadership.wordpress.com)
- Jesus, forsaken by God for us. (explorethestory.wordpress.com)
For the choir director: A psalm of David.
1 Only fools say in their hearts,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and their actions are evil;
not one of them does good!
2 The Lord looks down from heaven
on the entire human race;
he looks to see if anyone is truly wise,
if anyone seeks God.
3 But no, all have turned away;
all have become corrupt.
No one does good,
not a single one!
Psalm 14:1-3, NLT
I remember it clearly. I was a student at Alaska Bible Institute, and got enmeshed in one of those “bull sessions” that periodically arise when there is far too much time, pizza and root beer.
The conversation rolled and we got on the subject of the depravity of man. Essentially, it is the doctrine that states that we are at best, evil and fallen into a sinful state. We are living in darkness and iniquity without hope. Only Jesus’ death and resurrection can save us and deliver us.
V. 1, “Only fools say in their hearts,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and their actions are evil;
not one of them does good!”
David is speaking directly to people who claim they are “atheists.” Within this belief system, there is an aggressive disbelief in any faith in an unseen God. There are also “agnostics” who are not sure that God can be known or understood.
This psalm states that all who state their unbelief are “fools.” There’s no ‘soft’ take here. A verse this bold gives us no real room for any compromise. Deep down we want to be pleasant, and make allowances– but that simply isn’t possible.
“The atheist can’t find God for the same reason that a thief can’t find a police officer.”
In Mathematics there is something called “the lowest common denominator.” What it is is the smallest positive integer that is a multiple of the denominators. According to David, the atheist is a complete fool at his core level.
There is a moral and spiritual decay that results in this foolishness. They are “corrupt,” and “evil,” and no good.
V. 2, “The Lord looks down from heaven
on the entire human race;
he looks to see if anyone is truly wise,
if anyone seeks God.”
I believe that we are in a constant state of evaluation. The entire 7 billion humans alive today go under the microscope. This close examination is not intrusive or invasive. God simply knows. He is completely aware of His created beings.
The Lord is seeking wisdom in the hearts of people. Wisdom, in my thinking is completely underrated. We think something else will substitute. I see wisdom as a mix of discernment, and comprehension, with a smattering of foresight and balance.
But– there is no one! This is where the doctrine of the depravity of man makes its entrance.
V. 3, “ But no, all have turned away;
all have become corrupt.
No one does good,
not a single one!”
The verdict isn’t good. We are slaves to sin, serving Satan with wild abandon. Most likely, we are not conscious of this arrangement. And even if we were it would change us very little. Sin is what we want, but it is certainly not what we need.
The good news is that He loves us. Jesus Christ lived, died and was raised from the dead. The Old Testament ingrained the deep sense of what is holy. But it also instilled an awareness of the sacrificial. Lambs died for the sins of people. And Jesus “the Lamb of God” substituted Himself in our place.
- I Must Have Mercy! Psalms 6 (psalmslife.com)
- How Dark Could it Possibly Get? Psalm 88 (psalmslife.com)
- O Lord, The Battle is Far Too Fierce: Psalm 70 (psalmslife.com)
- King David Discusses the State of Mankind in His Psalms (myviewandopinion.wordpress.com)
Temple Guards, Praise the Lord
A song for going up to worship.
134 Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord,
you who serve at night in the Temple of the Lord.
2 Raise your hands in the Temple
and praise the Lord.
3 May the Lord bless you from Mount Zion,
he who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 134, NCV
This remarkable Psalm is part of an elite group known as “the Psalms of Ascent.” These 15 were sung as the congregation of Israel went up the steps of the temple in Jerusalem. They would sing each in “rounds” with each other. As you can well imagine, this made the ascent slow, but meaningful.
As you read the three verses, I get a picture of worshippers turning back and blessing the Levites. This takes place at the very end of the day. The Levites, and other godly ones who lived in the Temple, (remember Anna and Simeon, in Luke 2?)
V. 1, “Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord,
you who serve at night in the Temple of the Lord.”
The first significant thought is “Lord” mentioned three times. The word is the recognition of someone’s status and standing. We call Him Lord, because He is that (and more).
The second has to deal with the Levitical “night-shift.” They served and guarded the Temple during the wee hours of the night. They probably cleaned, stacked wood, sharpened knives and maintained the Holy Place with its needs.
There was no real glory working the night shift. There were no people to serve. The crowds were for the day shift. (Here’s a weird thought– think “Disneyland at 2:00 a.m.”) There was also a contingent of non-Levite people ministering to the Lord as well. They had no duties, and only the priests could serve through their work.
V. 2 “Raise your hands in the Temple
and praise the Lord.”
I’ve worked nights before. It’s a real adjustment. You never feel like you’ve had enough sleep, and it is really hard to be positive and cheerful. I could get pretty grouchy at times.
But an exhortation is given, a shout and a blessing as the crowds leave. “Raise up your hands– and praise Him!” It is as the work, although necessary, would be secondary. The worship however, was primary. We need to hear that.
V. 3, “May the Lord bless you from Mount Zion,
he who made heaven and earth.”
To be blessed (made “lucky”) by our Creator and Lord is pretty profound. As a kid who read a lot, I think of “fairy dust.” I know better now, but to be blessed by God is deeply significant.
To summarize, I believe this Psalm is speaking of those in the church who are doing “hidden service.” No one sees them really. They go about there duties quietly, and purposefully. The only recognition is from God– who sees all.
I must encourage you to keep on. There are more than you think who see your hidden ministry to the Father.
Praise the Lord with Music
1 Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his Temple;
praise him in his mighty heaven.
2 Praise him for his strength;
praise him for his greatness.
3 Praise him with trumpet blasts;
praise him with harps and lyres.
4 Praise him with tambourines and dancing;
praise him with stringed instruments and flutes.
5 Praise him with loud cymbals;
praise him with crashing cymbals.
6 Let everything that breathes praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!
Psalms 150, NCV
There exists an orchestra here, a certain symphony of praise. So many are escorted into this, and yet not enough are praising Him. These six verses give us a deep variety of instrumentation to choose from. Everything must be accepted, and brought into this certain place of blessing Him loudly.
There are 12 certain approaches listed in this psalm. Twelve ways to worship, who go on to create a deep harmony within each other. None of us operate on our own, but as believers are ushered into music practice. All of a sudden, we are much more than “spiritual musicians.” We are quite corporate, or at least should be.
Recently, I’ve gotten hooked on the Jazz musician, of Miles Davis. His work seems to be always a conundrum of a jazz and blues, but always several instruments working together, weaving a wonder that is exquisiteness at it’s best. He teaches me of how the Church weaves a certain connection between people.
Psalm 150 brings everything together, as we read it we should think “together.” We have “worship tools” that enhance what we want to do. Harps, tambourines, and flutes are some of what we play. All are invited as we excel in something more than the mundane or ordinary. We will never be elevator music or “Muzak.”
Psalm 150, the last psalm should really be the first psalm. (But I won’t make a federal case of it.) The throne room of God is not simply a visual place– it is just as much an auditory one. We do see things, but we also hear things, which are wonderful in themselves. Get ready dear ones, for a concert which will not disappoint, that is going on, without us, in the heavenly places.
For the director of music. A psalm of David. To help people remember.
“1 God, come quickly and save me.
LORD, hurry to help me.
2 Let those who are trying to kill me
be ashamed and disgraced.
Let those who want to hurt me
run away in disgrace.
3 Let those who make fun of me
stop because of their shame.
4 But let all those who worship you
rejoice and be glad.
Let those who love your salvation
always say, “Praise the greatness of God.”
5 I am poor and helpless;
God, hurry to me.
You help me and save me.”
Lord, do not wait.
Psalm 70:1-5, NCV
“As in all warfare, the two essential elements in victory are knowing your enemy and knowing your resources.”
Sinclair B. Ferguson
Welcome to the war! It’s very seldom that a new convert realizes what we are all up against. Not to put too fine a point on it, but you have become a target for hell to shoot their arrows at. What was never an issue before, now becomes an universal adjudication.
There is a nasty viciousness about Satan’s attacks. We look into his kingdom and see such hostility and spite that it takes your breath away. David saw it also. He was able to write cogently and forcefully about what he had experienced. What we have here in Psalm 70 is nothing less then a “first person” account of a war that’s going on for David’s very soul.
V. 1, there is a plea of desperate alacrity in this verse. There is a deep earnestness to David’s words. Figuratively, he has been pinned down by the enemy, and is making an urgent call for help. It’s typical for a soldier under a withering assault will cry out to be saved.
V. 2, Sometimes we start viewing the darkness as a kind of foggy philosophy of ‘anti-god’ protoplasm. But David won’t do that. His enemies are real, and they possess solid identities. They can be forced to be backed down. And yet David can’t push these bullies away, and so we see him on the radio to HQ for divine intervention.
V. 3, I can just imagine God hearing these words from David. I can see the hint of a smile that the Father has for such audacity and zeal. I can hear Him say, “Now that’s my boy!” The Father releases His power on those who are desperate.
V. 4, Now David doesn’t remain in this same place. We see him getting up and advancing directly into worship. (I always wanted to get a tattoo, “Born to Worship.”) David finds his footing enough to exhort and encourage his brothers and sisters. Warfare does that to you, David understood where everything was leading to.
V. 5, This verse always struck me as being out of sequence. V. 4 after all seems to be the pinnacle. This arrangement though creates a real sense of the cyclical nature of spiritual warfare. In a certain sense we will never see a final battle in our lifetimes. There will always be high places to tear down, and towering giants to kill. But our Helper is just a prayer away. Thank God.
- God, Come Quickly: Psalms 70 (psalmslife.com)
- Lord, Please Hurry!! (mrsknack.wordpress.com)
- Psalm 28:3 Draw me not away with the wicked and with the workers of iniquity, (calvinistview.com)
- Restore the Sparkle: Psalm 13, NLT (brokenbelievers.com)
- Psalm Chapter 70 (pofw.wordpress.com)
- Psalms (vannettachapman.com)