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Sunday, April 3, 2016 pm                                        Psalms Index

 

STUDIES IN PSALMS
The LORD Surrounds His People
Psalm 25

     Tonight we examine another of the psalms of Ascent (120-134).    As with many of these psalms are sung, they cherish Jerusalem (Zion) where they have come to meet with the LORD.  Tonight, a psalm of strength for the godly.

 I.                     Those who trust in the LORD (1-2)

a.       Trusting in the LORD is a common theme of the psalms and for the godly.
Trust is a description of genuine faith.  Prov. 3:5-6 – trust in the LORD with all your heart…
One author in describing genuine trust noted that it involves 3 things: 
1) WE seek to know Him – the better we know God, the more we can trust Him.    Phil. 3:10 – Paul gave up all so that He might be found in the Lord and “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection…”
2) WE need to speak often with Him – communication is crucial to our trust.  Do we pray as often as we ought to, and do we pray with faith? (James 1:6)
3) WE seek to be loyal to Him – Hebrews 10:35 speaks of us not throwing away our confidence in Him.
In this verse we also find those who are TRULY His.  1 Timothy 4:10 where Paul notes that we both labor and suffer reproach – because we trust in the living God.

b.       Are like Mount Zion Mount Zion is a name for Jerusalem.  As we have noted on numerous occasions, when I see the name Zion I think not only of the physical city, but what it represents – the place where the people of God meet with Him.  This text is no different as the psalm makes a distinction between those eternally loyal and fair weather servants (vs. 4-5).
1) They cannot be moved.  When we think of mountains we think of that which is firmly established.  We are to be steadfast and immovable – 1 Corinthians 15:58
James 5:11 – we count them blessed who endure and persevere. 
Hebrews 10:34-36 – you have need of endurance. 
2) Being a mountain, it is something they ascend (rise up) to – as Christians we need to rise up to where God is - contrast this with those who seek to bring God down to their level.
His ways are higher than our ways (Isa. 55:8-9) – will we rise up to them?

c.        Are surrounded by the LORD – As mountains surrounded Jerusalem – so He protects His people.  Those that put their trust in Him will find refuge in Him.  Another frequent theme of the psalms – Psalm 32:10 says, “Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.
Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.”

Proverbs 14:26, “In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge.

d.       From this time forth and forever – this just simply illustrates the eternity of His power.   He can keep and preserve all that belongs to Him.  He keeps His word – Psalm 119:89 tells us, “Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.
Our faith OR trust in God is based upon this hope.  We KNOW that He can accomplish His will!  Isaiah 55:11, His word will not return to Him void, but will accomplish what He pleases.
Furthermore, none can snatch the godly from His hand – John 10:27-29.  His people belong to Him.
NOTE: As always we are reminded that this does not say we cannot leave Him.  It speaks of Him accomplishing His purpose.

 II.                   The scepter of wickedness (3)

a.       The scepter of the wicked – as opposed to the ways of the godly.  Wickedness in this text would be the enemies of God – many have speculated as to which nation this is a reference to.  We are not told and it is inconsequential.   Continually, YHWH demonstrated His dominion over all nations and mankind.  BUT, even as today, it seems that the ungodly are gaining prominence. 
And in a sense this world lies under the sway of the wicked one – 1 John 5:19. Matthew 13:19 speaks of the hardened heart and the wicked one coming to snatch away the seed.

b.       Shall not rest on the land of the righteous – BUT, no matter how much power Satan gains, he cannot breach into God’s territory.  Why?  1) God is greater – 1 John 4:4.  Jesus told His disciples that the ruler of this world is coming, “and he has nothing in Me.” (John 14:30)
ONLY he who is pure and holy may approach God – cf. Psalm 15.
 2) We should not allow it to be so – God will do His part, but we must do our part as is seen in the next phrase:

c.        Lest the righteous reach out their hands to iniquity – as study of the history of Israel reveals that on numerous occasions, in fact more often than not, the nation followed after iniquity.  
BUT, the godly (sometimes referred to as the remnant) would be faithful to Him at all times. 
A point I want us to understand is that maintaining a state of righteousness is up to us!
God has given us the tools we need to resist the devil.
1 Peter 5:8-9 warns us to be sober and vigilant watching for the devil.  But we are also told to resist him steadfast in the faith…
The tools of God include: 1) 1 Cor. 10:13 – assurance we can overcome whatever happens.
2) 1 John 5:18 – we must keep ourselves (faithful).  Again – RESIST him!
3) 1 Thess. 5:22 - We must abstain from evil
How far are we willing to go to preserve ourselves from the “scepter of wickedness”?  Recall the extreme measures Jesus called for – cut off your hand or pluck out your eye (Matthew 5:29-30).

 III.                 Do good O LORD (4-5)

a.       These verse are perceived by some as a prayer in this psalm.  A petition to God to uphold His people and to lead them away from evil desires.    In the “Lord’s prayer”, one of the things He gave as an example was the request, “lead us not into temptation” (Matthew 6:13)
2 Peter 2:9 tells us that the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation.

b.       Do good to those who are good and upright in their hearts (within) – a prayer for the LORD to stand with His people.
1) All that God does for us is good!  We behold the goodness of God – Romans 2:4 – it leads us to repentance.  Romans 11:22 reminds us to consider both His goodness and severity. 
2 Thessalonians 1:11 speaks of the good pleasure of His goodness…
2) He does good for those who belong to Him
3) NOTE that to request the goodness of God, one first needs to be good himself, and upright in his heart.   Matthew 5:8 speaks of the pure in heart seeing God.

c.        Those who turn aside to their crooked ways – In a concluding acknowledgment, the psalmist knows that the LORD shall lead away those who turn from Him along with the workers of Iniquity.   I am reminded in that that:
 1) That we CAN turn aside – Heb. 2:1, 3:12-13, etc.
2) Some are hypocritical – pretenders.  Others are false teachers.  We must we alert to all such.   Paul in Romans 9:6 said, “For they are not all Israel who are of Israel.”  He was making a contrast between the Israel of God (His people), and those who were Israelites in flesh only.
3) Let us pray that the LORD will lead them away – 1) With His word, let us learn to stand up to error and the corrupt so that we will not be deceived by it.  Let us resolve that we will have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness – Eph. 5:11.
2) They will stand before Him in judgment and answer. “Depart from me, you workers of iniquity.”  (Matt. 7:23)

d.       Peace upon Israel – the psalmist’s final request.  That Israel see peace.  When we submit to God’s will, His peace will rule in our hearts.  Colossians 3:15 says, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”
Galatians 6:16 even more pointed, “And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

 

Let us take consolation in this psalm that God is our strength if we put our trust in Him.