Sunday, August 13, 2017 pm                                            Psalms Index


 Tonight, we examine our next psalm.  This is another psalm of David that is not time specific.  It is a request of David for the LORD to protect him and lead him in the way he should go.

In preparing this lesson, one source noted, that sometimes in our prayers we use the expression, “Guard,

guide and direct us”.  While not using those words, that is the premise of this psalm.

 I.                     David’s request for guidance (1-5a)

a.       David’s typical request that the LORD hear his cry. (1)  

b.       Hopes for acceptable prayer. (2)  Continuing with his desire that he be heard and that God is pleased with him.  
Incense – prayer offered with a godly heart is a “sweet smelling aroma” to Him.  Revelation 5:8 – the throne scene in heaven as those around the throne worship God, with “a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” (also 8:3-4)
Hebrews 13:15-16 speaks of the fruit of our lips being a sacrifice of praise to God.

c.        In vs. 3-5, David describes SOME things that are part of the character of the godly, whom God hears.

                                                   i.      Guard what I say (3) – we must think before we speak.  The New Testament is pretty clear about this. 
Jesus in Matthew 15:11, 18-20 spoke of what comes out of the man, is from the heart. 
James 3:1-12 warns of the danger of the tongue.  He even notes that if we can control the tongue, we can control the whole body.
James 1:19 – be swift to hear, slow to speak and anger.   James 1:26 – if you think you are religious and do not bridle your tongue, your religion is useless (vain). 
Proverbs 21:23, Whoever guards his mouth and tongue Keeps his soul from troubles.
David’s prayer is that God help him control his tongue.

                                                 ii.      Keep me from evil works, including my heart. (4)  He mentions the heart here.  We have noted the heart with the tongue.  Typically, evil conduct comes from a heart that is not pure – it is polluted with worldliness or diluted with half-hearted service. 
Remember Matthew 5:8 – the pure in heart will see God.
Matthew 6:13 in teaching us to pray, Jesus reminds us to include “lead us not into temptation”. 
With men who work iniquity, not eating “their delicacies” – we ought not to desire to be like the world.  Christians are to be different.  The ways and things of the world ought not to appeal to us.  
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 – Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers,…  come out from among them and be separate. 
1 Peter 4:3 – we’ve spent enough time there.
1 Corinthians 15:33 – evil company corrupts good habits. 
NOTE: As Christians we are in the world but different.  That is the point Jesus was praying about – John 17:15-16 where He prayed NOT that we be taken out of the world (For then how could we reach others?), but we are not OF the world. 
Does this mean we cannot enjoy life?  No!  As Christians, we ought to rejoice always (Philippians 4:4). 
1 Timothy 4:4-5 speaks of every creature of God being good and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving. 
Ecclesiastes 3:12-13, I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.  
Ecclesiastes 5:18-20, Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God. For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart.

God intends for us to ENJOY life.  BUT, we must do so with eternity in mind.  That means we ensure that however we conduct ourselves, we are NOT engaging in ungodly behavior. 
This is a challenge because there are many things that are not wrong within themselves, but they CAN become ungodly – e.g. money, free time, vacations and recreation, television, sports, the internet, etc.   As with EVERYTHING we have been given, we must use it wisely and be good stewards.

                                                iii.      Let the righteous rebuke me (5a) – do we appreciate the rebuke of the godly?
This is another quality of the godly.  They are humble and willing to listen to those who care about their souls. 
Ac Christians, we have a responsibility to go to our brethren in error – Galatians 6:1-2, James 5:19-20.  Sadly, we live in times where far too many want their ears tickled (2 Timothy 4:2-4).  They want to be entertained and told everything is fine, even when they are living in sin.  How many of us make this an unpleasant task because of our attitude?  Whether arrogance or pride or indifference, our demeanor lets it be known that we don’t want to be corrected.  We DARE someone to challenge where we go, what we wear, what we do or what we teach.  This is NOT the godly attitude.
If you genuinely want to go to heaven, you should want others to warn you where you are in danger.  (cf. Matthew 18:15-18)
Proverbs 27:6, Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

David in this psalm, WANTS to be right, and is willing to hear that from ANY source that will correct him.   He noted that being struck by the righteous and rebuked by them  - was kindness and “excellent oil.”

 II.                   Keep me from the snares of my enemies (5b-10)

a.       Again, David prays - against the DEEDS of the wicked (5b). 
In this world, the wicked often have power and it seems we cannot do anything to effectively stop them.  BUT God can!  That is why, sometimes, all we can do is pray for our enemies and continue to live godly lives.  Matthew 5:44 tells us to love our enemies, bless, do good and pray for those who spitefully use and persecute us.
Paul in 1 Corinthians 4:12-13 noted that being reviled, we bless (prayer), being defamed, we entreat, etc.
We are called upon to pray for our leaders – 1 Timothy 2:1-2, and there is no exclusion if they are evil. 
How often do we approach God in prayer when dealing with our enemies?
NOTE it is not against them personally with hatred, but against their evil ways.

b.       THEIR judges are overthrown by the sides of the cliff (6-7) – a difficult verse to word, it seems here the point is that God has answered David’s prayer and these judges (rulers) are overthrown by Him and judged.  At times, throwing one over a cliff was a form of execution (it was even tried against Jesus – Luke 4:29).  Possibly that is the point. 
IF so, as they are perishing, they are reminded of the warnings and good words of David.  Sometimes, in demise or defeat, the ungodly recognize the truth of those who sought to convert and convict them with truth (sweet words).  Think of how our light puts to silence the Gentiles – 1 Peter 3:16, 2:12 & 15.

Verse 7 could be the response of these ungodly judges as they are being judged (and perishing)  - descriptive of one being cast over a cliff. 

c.        BUT, my eyes are upon you. (8)  Returning to David (and the godly who has put his trust in Him), he again describes GOD the Lord as his refuge and where he will put his trust (faith).  These are recurring themes of David and others in the psalms.

d.       (8b-9) Do not leave me defenseless David requests.  His prayer is that he be kept from the snares of the wicked. (9)  
ANOTHER thought for us to consider.  In our prayers concerning our enemies, let us also ask for wisdom to discern evil and avoid the traps of the wicked when possible.  Let us walk circumspectly – Ephesians 5:15-16; Colossians 4:5 (in wisdom toward those who are outside). 
2 Thessalonians 3:1-2, Paul asks for prayers, Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith. Also Romans 15:30-31
2 Corinthians 1:9-11 finds that God had delivered them from the sentence of death and we trust He still delivers us. 

e.       May the wicked fall into their own traps while I escape safely. (10)  David’s concluding request as he has asked for deliverance.   Note that the wicked WILL answer for their conduct.  2 Thessalonians 1:6-10.  The ungodly will be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord.


And thus, we have another psalm of David.  Even in troubled times, David shows us how we must continue to put our trust in our God.  Live your life to the best of your ability, and let God deal with what you cannot control.  As David’s son, Solomon said, The wicked is banished in his wickedness, But the righteous has a refuge in his death. (Proverbs 15:32) My we, like David, strive to be among the righteous.  That way, like David, our prayers can be offered and heard by our God.  Think about it!