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Presented, March 4, 2007 pm
Lord, Be My Fortress
Tonight we examine another psalm of David. It is a psalm assigned “to the chief musician” meaning that at some point, it was used in worship to God. As with many of the psalms, we do not know exactly when in the life of David it was penned. We know it was during one of his times of grief as he is being persecuted by enemies. Probably, it was later in life when his own son Absalom rebelled and turned the city against him (2 Samuel 15-18). This, of course was one of the punishments which was a result of David’s sins involving Bathsheba (see Psa 31:10-11).
I. God, Our Fortress – Do you trust Him? (1-8)
a. In You, I put my trust – David begins with a familiar theme of his – trusting God. We are again reminded of how he could look back and know of God’s influence in his life. It was his faith.
Be my rock and refuge – the term rock is a reference
to the strength. It is actually a boulder or the material of which mountains
are made of (#6697, TWOT), thus a monumental force.
Our God is like that! 1 Samuel 2:2 refers to Him as our rock. In Deut. 32:4 as Moses gave his farewell address, he made reference to Jehovah God as the “Rock.” 5 times in that chapter (32:4, 15, 18, 30, 31) he refers to Him as their Rock and contrasts that with the nothing gods of other nations which he also refers to as rocks (32:31,37, etc.)
Our God is strong and immovable. We can lean on Him for protection from our enemies and rely on Him as our firm foundation!
He is also described as a fortress – or place of refuge. Like Romans 8:31 – if He is for us, who can be against us?
And as his deliverer from the snare of the enemy.
Vs. 5 “Into your hands I commit my spirit.”
That is an interesting phrase as David puts his trust completely in God. He
says this during uncertain and dangerous times – NOT knowing what the future
Note that he says, “I commit my spirit” meaning that he trusts God regardless what happens – EVEN after this life.
That phrase has been quoted throughout the centuries by followers of God on their deathbeds.
We are most familiar with it from Luke 23:46 where Jesus said that as He died on the cross.
d. Vs. 6 – again David notes how he has hated (utterly despised) those who worship idols. A part of trusting God is rejecting that which jeopardizes His trust in you. If you want God to be for you, you HAVE TO be for Him as well (cf. Matthew 7:21)
e. Vs. 7-8, he acknowledges (once again) the deliverance of God. God knows what he has gone through (vs. 7). Note vs. 8 which states, “You have set my feet in a wide place.” Keeping with the analogy of a huge, mountainous rock – we find a firm space that is safe to maneuver, unlike the edges of a mountain. David is well protected and he knows it.
f. While this theme recurs frequently – let us understand well the advantage of God being on our side, AND what it takes for be in His favor (i.e. obedience).
II. David - The depths of his despair (9-13)
a. In these verses you find a detailed description of what David was going through at this time. You find how he felt. He is in trouble and grieved. He has enemies, even among his neighbors (perhaps even his own son). He is slandered, etc. How miserable can one get?
Why is it like this? Vs. 10 says, “My strength
fails because of my iniquities.”
Sometimes we face great troubles that we had nothing to do with – we are innocent, and maybe even as we stand up for what is right, we pay a price. BUT, how often in life do we bring on the troubles we face? How often do we in some way, because we are NOT what we ought to be, responsible for where we are at? Probably more than we care to admit.
As I read these verses I think of what Nathan said to David when he exposed him for adultery, murder and deceit in 2 Samuel 12:10-14
What makes David a “man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22) was his willingness to truly acknowledge his sins and shortcomings!
c. But even in this, David needs help and lifting up. And when we find ourselves in that state, we need lifting up too. 1 Thessalonians 5:14, Galatians 6:1-2, esp. “bear one another’s burdens.”
III. God, Our Deliverer – Let Him Take Care of it (14-18).
(vs. 14) – it is in times of difficulty that we need to trust the most. As the
shipwrecked sailor in a tempestuous sea puts his trust in the rescuer hovering
above him (though the rescue is very dangerous). Or a child clinging to his
mother when faced with an operation or some other frightening task. (or even in
simple every day tasks they show their trust). So it is, in the difficult and
troubling times we MUST trust in God.
Proverbs 14:26-27, “In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death.”
Psalms 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
Dwight W. Moody once said, “Trust in yourself, and you are doomed to disappointment; trust in your friends, and they will die and leave you; trust in reputation, and some slanderous tongue may blast it; but trust in God, and you are never to be confounded in time or eternity." (Illustrations of Bible Truths – Trust, #828)
We need our friends and brethren, but at the deepest level – we need trust in God, for he is the one who holds our eternity in His hands.
vs. 15 David notes that his times are in God’s hands. David knows ultimately
who is in control of all things. That is why He is the ultimate source of
Luke 12:17-21 tells the parable of a rich fool who failed to put his trust in God.
Another lesson in vengeance. Again David calls for
God to vindicate him and the godly. Again, David’s request is in light of that
which is best for God. Again David leaves it in God’s hands. Cf. Proverbs
25:21-22, cf. Romans 12:20.
He desires that the ungodly be stopped and those who serve God be exalted. Note who the ungodly are:
i. They persecuted him (unjustly) – 1 Peter 3:15-16
ii. They have lying lips – Revelation 22:15, but outside are…whoever loves and practices a lie.
iii. They boast and show contempt for the godly – Cf. Luke 11:15 against Jesus.
Rest assured, God will deal with such.
IV. The Greatness of His Goodness (19-20)
Truly God is a good God providing us with hope of the
best. 1 John 3:1-2 – we are called “children of God”, 1 Corinthians 2:9 tells
us that what we have in store is indescribable.
Christians have a hope of heaven, His guidance in our lives (through His word), loving and caring brethren.
As well as His protection – John 10:28.
b. It is prepared for those who trust Him and fear Him, “in the presence of men.” These are those who are not ashamed on Him. Earlier in this psalm David request that he not be made ashamed, but rather let the wicked be ashamed. Here we find the reward. Matthew 10:32-33
c. It is interesting to note what we are protected from – the plots of men in pride (James 4:6) and the strife of their tongues. Ultimately, words can do great and irreparable harm – consider James 3:5-7.
V. David’s Deliverance (21-22) – Once again
a. What we find in these verses is not new. We have noted them in other psalms. David cried to the Lord and He delivered him.
b. However vs. 22 notes that he believes it is the end with his standing before God, but He heard and delivered him. The primary verse that comes to my mind in this is 2 Samuel 12 where after David has pronounced death to that wicked and evil rich man AND discovered that “you are the man!” David faces death from God for what he has done (and according to the law that would have been justified - Leviticus 20:10), but God forgives him.
c. We too have been delivered, maybe physically from death and perils, but most certainly from the death of sin. Romans 6:23 tells us the wages of sin is death. James 1:15 says that sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death. 1 Corinthians 15:56-57 which says the sting of death is sin, BUT thanks be to God, we have victory.
VI. A call to all saints (23-24)
a. In conclusion, he calls his fellow saints to: Love the Lord and be of good courage. Considering all that He had done for us, you would think that loving Him would be an easy thing to do (1 John 4:19), but is it?
b. What about when we are dealing with difficulties and perceived inequities in our lives? Do we still love the Lord even then? Are we bitter toward Him? Do we despise “the chastening of the Lord”? Heb. 12:5-6
c. David was not deterred from praising God, nor did he justify others complaining about their less than perfect lot in life.
In all that we do and endure in this life, let us give God the glory He deserves, knowing that He loves us and has something good waiting for us if we obey Him. Think about it.