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Sunday, November 5, 2017 pm                                        Psalms Index

 

BLESSED BE THE LORD, MY ROCK
Psalm 144

 

Tonight, we examine another psalm.  As with the past few this one is attributed to David.  It seems to be written by a king who appreciates God, possibly one who has matured.  He can see the influence of God in his life and the power He yields to accomplish His will.  And that is the psalmist’s desire. 

 I.                     Blessed be the LORD my Rock (1-8)

a.       My Rock – again David acknowledges God as his foundation and refuge

b.       He has trained my hands for war, and fingers for battle (1) –

                                                   i.      David was a warrior who had fought many battles, from defending his sheep as a youth, to defeating Goliath, serving under king Saul and as a king who brought peace to Israel by subduing their enemies around. 

                                                 ii.      Yet in this, he acknowledged that it was the hand of God. He was his “trainer”.  As an example, consider what he says as he faces Goliath.  David gave God the glory for his victories.

                                                iii.      Spiritually, we continue to be at war with the devil (cf. Ephesians 6:10-18).  We must engage it spiritually with God as our commander.  We must heed His “training” – that is His word (cf. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, Ephesians 6:17 – the “sword of the Spirit”; and Hebrews 4:12 – His word is sharper than any two-edged sword.

                                                iv.      As we mature, we can see how our faith is the victory (1 John 5:4).  As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:57, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

c.        Who is this God? (2)

                                                   i.      His lovingkindness (patient and merciful) and fortress (his protection).  His high tower (scout our guide) and deliverer (provider of victory).  His shield (his personal protection) and the one in whom he takes refuge (his personal shelter of safety).  The ONE who subdues his people under him.

                                                 ii.      All these qualities demonstrate David’s appreciation for God AND his dependence upon Him. 

d.       A humble question (3-4)

                                                   i.      LORD, what is man, that You take knowledge of him, or the son of man, that You are mindful of him?  David uttered the same plea in Psalm 8:4-5 – where man’s lowly estate is addressed. 

                                                 ii.      In vs. 4 David notes the passing brevity of man.  James 4:14 reminds us that we are a vapor that appears only a little while.  Solomon, in Ecclesiastes often speaks of the vanity of life.  1 Peter 1:24 describes the glory of man as the flower of the grass.  See also James 1:10.

                                                iii.      So, WHY did He take notice of us?  It is a good question and one that will humble us if we truthfully answer it.

                                                iv.      As we consider the blessings, refuge and hope found in Him, let us NEVER forget what we really deserve.  But instead we receive His grace and mercy (Ephesians 2:4-5).

e.       A prayer for deliverance (5-8)

                                                   i.      A call to come down and touch the mountains – possibly a reference to Mt. Sinai in Exodus 19:16-18, 20:18-19. 

                                                 ii.      David’s desire is that God instill fear in his enemies and make His presence known as at Mt. Sinai. 

                                                iii.      That he be delivered from them – his enemies. 
Described as foreigners – these are NOT the LORD’s people.  These are enemies of God and His people and nation. 
Do we have “foreigners” who seek to stop or discourage us from following the Lord?

1.       First be reminded where our citizenship is at (Philippians 3:20; Ephesians 2:19).
Here we are described as “sojourners and pilgrims” – 1 Peter 2:11, Hebrews 13:13-14 – here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.

2.       Described as those whose mouths speak lying words (deceit, or empty words), whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood. 
How often do the ungodly seek to blaspheme the truth and those who stand with it?  Matthew 5:11-12 – blessed are you when they revile you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My name’s sake
1 Peter 4:3-5 notes how some “think it strange” that you no longer walk with them, speaking evil of you. 
Our “foreigners” may not just be outspoken enemies of the truth.  It may include family, friends, neighbors, educators, and workers that we deal with on a daily basis.  It is ANYONE who seeks to turn you from serving God. 

3.       Beware! And don’t let them succeed.  Instead PRAY!  That’s what David is doing.

 II.                   I will sing a new song (9-15)

a.       David was a psalmist.  He played a harp from early youth.  He used it to sooth Saul when he was vexed.  Many of the psalms we have were written and composed by David (though we do not have the tunes).   David often used instruments of music and many of the superscriptions of psalms more than likely addressed the music being used.  Here in vs. 9, a harp of ten strings is mentioned.  David used instruments.  In fact, he invented some (Amos 6:5). 
Suffice it to say, while he used them, such is not authority for us to use them in the NT church.  Now we are commanded ONLY to sing – Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16, 1 Corinthians 14:15, etc.  Much more can be said about this which will be addressed in greater detail at a later time.

b.       Again, David notes that God gives salvation to kings and has delivered his servant David from the deadly sword. (10)  More than once, David has used his name as he approaches God (cf. 2 Samuel 7:26, Psalm 18:50).  Perhaps here, David is introducing his “new song”.
NOTE: Salvation to us means being forgiven of our sins.  But in broader terms it is the idea of being delivered from death or an enemy, much like we would use the term secularly, e.g. “He saved his life” or “You saved me from disaster there.”
Of course, spiritual salvation is always our ultimate focus – Hebrews 5:9, Jesus became the “author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him”; Hebrews 2:3 – do not neglect “so great a salvation”; Titus 2:11 – the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men; Mark 16:16, “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved”; Acts 2:40, “Be saved from this perverse generation.”

c.        Vs. 11 – David sings, “Rescue me and deliver me from the hand of foreigners…” – repeating vs. 8. 

d.       Vs. 12-14 – David’s perfect vision.  Sons and daughters that grow up and become beautiful pillars (support); barns full of all kinds of produce; sheep producing abundantly; oxen that are strong and healthy; AND peace in the streets. 
This is descriptive of a utopian society.  Sadly, David’s kingdom was nowhere near that, nor is ours, nor will it likely be such in the near future.  Why? Because, we do not fear God, nor submit to His will.  Instead, we villainize Him and anyone who attempts to set Biblical moral standards.   Even among God’s people there is division and disharmony.  God’s word IS the solution to the ailments of society. 

e.       Vs. 15 – “Happy are the people who are in such a state; Happy are the people whose God is the LORD!  We may not be able to control our nation or communities so that this could be said, but WHAT ARE WE doing to see that God is the Lord of His church?

 

As with so many of the psalms, let us take consolation in the message of this one.