Why do you boast of evil, you mighty man? Why do you boast all day long, you who are a disgrace in the eyes of God? Your tongue plots destruction; it is like a sharpened razor, you who practice deceit. You love evil rather than good, falsehood rather than speaking the truth. Selah You love every harmful word, O you deceitful tongue! Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin: He will snatch you up and tear you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land of the living. Selah The righteous will see and fear; they will laugh at him, saying, “Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold but trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others!” But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will praise you in the presence of your saints. (NIV)
As you read this psalm go back and read I Samuel 22 where Doeg the Edomite informed Saul that David has gone to the house of Ahimelech. This was the start of David’s running which probably lasted about seven years. Seven years running as a criminal of the state. And yet during this time he placed his hope and trust in the Lord. So no matter what comes into your life remember this truth; the righteous will see and fear. I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. As you live your life on this earth do you live it in the light of today’s rewards or the rewards that eternality offers? Have you made God our stronghold and the one who will guide you, or have you made yourself the controller of your life? In Philippians chapter 4 Paul gives us an example of how to handle disputes. The key is to agree with each other in the Lord. However this does not always happen. So Paul gives us these final instructions on handling disputes in Philippians 4:8,9 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you”. This is the path we must follow when we make God our stronghold.
How do you make a decision? How do you handle the daily tough situation around you which forces you to make tough decisions? One of the keys to making good decisions is found in the principles that Paul outlines for us in Philippians 4:8, 9. However, I have come to realize in the last several years that following these principles and being Christ-like is not an easy task. Consider what Paul is saying is these verses:
- whatever is true
- whatever is noble
- whatever is right
- whatever is pure
- whatever is lovely
- whatever is admirable
- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy
- THEN think about such things
These principles taken individuality are easy to understand, however when taken as a group can cause much confusion. That is why verse eight ends in the phase “if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things” or as Psalm One states “mediate”. As I look into God’s Word daily and see his word reflecting back the imperfections of my daily activity I am reminded how much I need my Bible study to get me started every morning. Just as my looking into a mirror in the morning reflects back my physical appearances that must be corrected before I go out and face the world each morning, God’s Word reveals the things in my life that are not true, noble, right, pure, lovely, or admirable. This is why we must mediate and think about all things in light of these six attributes working together. David’s life is a great example of this process. Samuel had anointed him to be the next King of Israel. That was truth? However these verses were written as he was running from Saul and being treated as a criminal of the state. Should he not stand up and fight for what was rightful his position, knowing that God had rejected Saul and chosen David to be the next King? What was noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable? What route then should David take to secure this kingdom that he was anointed to take? This was the issue that David was facing in this Psalm.
In John 1:10-12 it states of Christ “He was in the world and though the world was made him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not received him.” Christ came to this earth two thousand years ago as King, and yet the world rejected him and crucified him on the cross. Just as David was rejected by Israel to take his rightful place during the time of this psalm, Christ also was rejected by the world when he came to earth the first time. Why did he not take the world by force since he was the King of Kings? This is a mystery that many struggle with, “why does God not intervene immediately to right the wrongs in this world?” To me the answer is simple, He did. The answer is Christ. As I study the psalms I have seen several features in David’s life that seem to reflect in Christ’s earthly ministry. The three characters in this psalm, God, the evil, and the righteous are the three main characters in the world around us today. By studying the psalms may I learn the principles of Philippians 4:8, 9 and apply them to my life. May I like David learn to rely totally on the Lord, for guidance and direction?
Opinion is defined as a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter. In a stronger form it means a formal expression of judgment or advice by an expert upon which a legal decision is based. It is opinions that either bring people together, or divides people into different groups. What happens when the mighty men of a nation look at their evil ways and call them good? How do we make a stand against these evil ways? Do we wait on God or do we make a stand and fight against evil? Sometimes it seems the route in which the righteous chose to make their stand against evil practices results in greater separation in the forces against evil practices rather than the evil practices themselves. By studying David’s life we can get a picture of what it means to truly wait on the Lord.
The very start of evil can be traced back to Satan. By studying Isaiah chapter fourteen we see these I wills used by the son of the morning:
I will ascend into heaven
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God
I will sit upon the mount of congregation, in the uttermost parts of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.
Evil is simply going against the way of God. As I looked at this Psalm today in light of Isaiah fourteen I asked myself a simply question “Do I have the characteristics of a man who did not make God my stronghold or do I look to God to fulfill in me his daily purpose?” To answer this question I went to Matthew chapter 20 verses one through fifteen:
1 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man who was a householder, who went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard.
2 And when he had agreed with the laborers for a shilling a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing in the marketplace idle;
4 and to them he said, Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.
5 Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise.
6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing; and he saith unto them, why stand ye here all the day idle?
7 They say unto him, because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard.
8 And when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the laborers, and pay them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.
9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a shilling.
10 And when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received every man a shilling.
11 And when they received it, they murmured against the householder,
12 saying, these last have spent but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.
13 But he answered and said to one of them, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a shilling?
14 Take up that which is thine, and go thy way; it is my will to give unto this last, even as unto thee.
15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Or is thine eye evil, because I am good?
12 hour Laborers for a shilling a day
9 hours Laborers for whatsoever is right
6 hours Laborers for whatsoever is right
3 hours Laborers for whatsoever is right
1 hour Laborers for whatsoever is right
A householder hired workers at different times to work in his vineyard. He agreed with the first to pay them a shilling for their day’s work. The others hired during the day were promised to be paid with the promise of whatsoever is right. At the end of the day the householder paid the last to start to work a shilling and continue to pay the reminder of the workers a shilling. These who worked longer expected to be paid more, but they were not. Then they murmured against him. The householder’s answer was simple “I did you no wrong I paid you what we agreed to.” Is it not lawful for me to do what I want with mine own?
The Questions you must answer:
Was the householder right in what he did?
Who does the householder represent?
Who do the laborers represent?
Did the laborers who worked all day had a right to question the householder’s decision?
How does this parable relate to evil?