Psalm 20

Psalm 20
David.


1 May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
2 May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion.
3 May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings. Selah
4 May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
5 We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the LORD grant all your requests.
6 Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he answers him from his holy heaven with the saving power of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
8 They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.
9 O LORD, save the king! Answer us when we call!

Webster defines prayer as: an address (as a petition) to God or a god in word or thought, or an earnest request or wish. In this Psalm David makes seven requests for Israel:
May the LORD answer you when you are in distress.
May the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion.
May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings.
May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
May the LORD grant all your requests.
Answer us when we call.
He is praying but he is also trusting in the Lord’s name.
Verse four “may he give you the desire of your heart” is a verse that is difficult to understand. Reflect upon these questions:
What are your heart’s desires?
Are my desires good for me?
Are my desires godly desires?
Does God pick and choose the desires I receive?

Psalm 19

Psalm 19
of David.
1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
3 There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,
5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.
10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.
11 By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.
14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

This psalm gives to us the ways that we can know God. First there is nature (natural Revelation) that declares God to us. The heavens declare his glory, the skies proclaim his work, night after night they display knowledge and by this knowledge, we can know God in an impersonal way. However, just observing the world around us scream that there must be a creator, one vastly greater than men. But we also have his written Word (law, statutes, precepts, commands, and ordinances) which to the seeker of God is more precious than gold and sweeter than honey. As I study this psalm, I realized the importance of staying in God’s word daily. His word revives my soul, it gives me wisdom, it gives me a joy and peace beyond understanding, and gives me light and direction for my daily life. By keeping them and meditating on them one can keep himself blameless, and innocent of great transgression. Yes, as we continue our journey in this life we will sometime slip and fall as we follow Christ, but as long as we stay in his word, we will not commit great transgressions.

Psalm 18

Psalm 18


1 I love you, O LORD, my strength.
2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.
4 The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
5 The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.
6 In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.
7 The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry.
8 Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it.
9 He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet.
10 He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him the dark rain clouds of the sky.
12 Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
13 The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded.
14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemies, great bolts of lightning and routed them.
15 The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of breath from your nostrils.
16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.
20 The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the LORD; I have not done evil by turning from my God.
22 All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees.
23 I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin.
24 The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
26 to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.
27 You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
28 You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.
29 With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.
30 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
31 For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?
32 It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great.
36 You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.
37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
38 I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet.
39 You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet.
40 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes.
41 They cried for help, but there was no one to save them – to the LORD, but he did not answer.
42 I beat them as fine as dust borne on the wind; I poured them out like mud in the streets.
43 You have delivered me from the attacks of the people; you have made me the head of nations; people I did not know are subject to me.
44 As soon as they hear me, they obey me; foreigners cringe before me.
45 They all lose heart; they come trembling from their strongholds.
46 The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!
47 He is the God who avenges me, who subdues nations under me,
48 who saves me from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from violent men you rescued me.
49 Therefore I will praise you among the nations, O LORD; I will sing praises to your name.
50 He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever.

As you read this psalm it refers to David and his descendants. Of course, the last descendant we know from the Bible is Christ. A form of this Psalm is also found in II Samuel chapter twenty-two. This Psalm reveals David’s understanding of God’s way. Read each phase and see if your understanding of God’s way matches David’s understanding of God’s way.
I love you
I take refuge in the Lord
I call to the LORD
I am saved from my enemies.
The cords of death entangled me the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me the cords of the grave coiled around me the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the LORD I cried to my God for help.
The Lord heard my voice
my cry came before him
The Lord reached down from on high and took hold of me
he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support.
He brought me out into a spacious place
he rescued me because he delighted in me.
The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness
according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
For I have kept the ways of the LORD
I have not done evil by turning from my God.
All his laws are before me
I have not turned away from his decrees.
I have been blameless before him
I have kept myself from sin.
The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
To the faithful you show yourself faithful
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
to the pure you show yourself pure
but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.
You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning
my God turns my darkness into light.
With your help I can advance against a troop
with my God I can scale a wall.
As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?
It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights.
He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great.
You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.
I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet.
You armed me with strength for battle
you made my adversaries bow at my feet.
You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes.
They cried for help, but there was no one to save them – to the LORD, but he did not answer.
I beat them as fine as dust borne on the wind; I poured them out like mud in the streets.
You have delivered me from the attacks of the people
you have made me the head of nations; people I did not know are subject to me.
As soon as they hear me, they obey me; foreigners cringe before me.
They all lose heart; they come trembling from their strongholds.
The LORD lives!
Praise be to my Rock!
Exalted be God my Savior!
He is the God who avenges me,
who subdues nations under me,
who saves me from my enemies.
You exalted me above my foes
from violent men you rescued me.
Therefore, I will praise you among the nations, O LORD
I will sing praises to your name.
He gives his king great victories
he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed to David and his descendants forever.

Psalm 17

Psalm 17

A prayer of David.
1 Hear, O LORD, my righteous plea; listen to my cry. Give ear to my prayer – it does not rise from deceitful lips.
2 May my vindication come from you; may your eyes see what is right.
3 Though you probe my heart and examine me at night, though you test me, you will find nothing; I have resolved that my mouth will not sin.
4 As for the deeds of men – by the word of your lips I have kept myself from the ways of the violent.
5 My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not slipped.
6 I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer.
7 Show the wonder of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes.
8 Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings
9 from the wicked who assail me, from my mortal enemies who surround me.
10 They close up their callous hearts, and their mouths speak with arrogance.
11 They have tracked me down, they now surround me, with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground.
12 They are like a lion hungry for prey, like a great lion crouching in cover.
13 Rise up, O LORD, confront them, bring them down; rescue me from the wicked by your sword.
14 LORD, by your hand save me from such men, from men of this world whose reward is in this life. You still the hunger of those you cherish; their sons have plenty, and they store up wealth for their children.
15 And I in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.

Self-examination by studying God’s word and letting his word speak to us is a process that all believers must go through. It is the process by which we realized the holiness of God and our sinfulness. It is by the process of studying his word daily that we realize that our walk is reflective of one of two paths given to us from God. These two paths reflect either the way of the righteous or the way of the wicked. This theme is developed for us in Psalms one and is expanded on throughout the remainder of the psalms. As we read this psalm reflect on Psalm one and the way in which we should walk. The ways outline in Psalm one is simple, you can choose to go the way of Cain or the way of Abel.
This psalm starts out with a prayer for vindication. However, it is a prayer that does not come from a deceitful heart, but it is a prayer for God to take action. Notice it is not a prayer for God to give the psalmist the knowledge or power to react back to the ones that are assailing him. Notice that the psalmist is stating I resolved not to sin with my mouth or walk in the ways of the wicked. We must not fall into the trap that we can do wrong in order that right may prevail. This is the same message that Paul tells us in Romans 3:5-6 “But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.) Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world?” Righteousness is impossible for man to attain, but with God all things are possible. As Paul states in Romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” the same message that David writes in verse 15 “And I in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.” So, our vindication rest in God’s hand. As we watch the news, or if we are ever involved in our court system, we soon realize that it is not the truth and doing what is right that is the goal of the verdict but winning and winning at all cost. It is usually a matter of who has the best lawyer, the best attack and the most money to win the fight. However, for the believer we must seek after what is right even if we must suffer for a season. However, this season will soon give way to eternally, where the Righteous Judge will rule in truth and in righteousness and the deeds of the wicked will no longer exist.
As I was studying Luke this morning, I could not help but dwell on the words of the two companions after they had been with Christ on their way to Emmaus. Christ had address them as foolish men and slow of heart to believe the writing of all the prophets. He then interpreted to them all the scriptures which concern him. It only after Christ had revealed himself to them and then vanished that the words, he had spoken came alive to them. On the road to Emmaus Christ educated them and gave them knowledge which caused their hearts to burn; but it was only after the Savior was revealed to them that they were able to put this knowledge together and grasp an understanding of the gospel. I have seen this truth come alive in last several years as I study the psalms daily.
The key to understanding the psalms is the gain an understanding of David, yet the more I study David the more I see how his life reflects the life of Christ during his earthly ministry. The same struggles and issues that Christ faced where like those of David, as well as the struggles that believers face in the world today. The more we study the life of Christ the more we can see how to walk in God’s way. An example of how this psalm portraits Christ can be found by comparing verse to of this psalm to Matthew 27:12-15:
And when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.
Then said Pilate unto him, hears thou not how many things they witness against thee?
And he gave him no answer, not even to one word: insomuch that the governor marveled greatly.
Christ waited on his vindication to come from God. So, as you read this psalm relate it to the events in Christ’s earthly ministry, David’s life as revealed in the scriptures and to the personal struggles that you are facing in your daily walk. Then the Holy Spirit will give you a better understanding of the way of righteous and just as the two companions on their way to Emmaus had their eyes open you too will gain a better understanding of the psalms.

Psalm 14

Psalm 14

Of David.
1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.
2 The LORD looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.
3 All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.
4 Will evildoers never learn those who devour my people as men eat bread and who do not call on the LORD?
5 There they are, overwhelmed with dread, for God is present in the company of the righteous.
6 You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the LORD is their refuge.
7 Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!

 

This is from a chain letter email I received recently.

Verse one makes the same statement as Romans chapter one does, and that the person described in these two sets of verses have one thing in common and that there is no God to them, which means that they are no longer accountable to God. They deny that all things were created by him and for him.

Subject: God vs. Science

>

> —–A science professor begins his school year with a lecture to the students; “Let me explain the problem science has with religion.” The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand.

>

> “You’re a Christian, aren’t you, son?”

> “Yes sir,” the student says.

>

> “So, you believe in God?”

> “Absolutely.”

>

> “Is God good?”

> “Sure! God’s good.”

>

> “Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?”

> “Yes.”

>

> “Are you good or evil?”

> “The Bible says I’m evil.”

>

> The professor grins knowingly. “Aha! The Bible!” He considers for a moment. “Here’s one for you. Let’s say there’s a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?”

>

> “Yes sir, I would.”

>

> “So, you’re good…!”

> “I wouldn’t say that.”

>

> “But why not say that? You’d help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if we could. But God doesn’t.”

>

> The student does not answer, so the professor continues. “He doesn’t, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Hmmm? Can you answer that one?”

>

> The student remains silent.

>

> “No, you can’t, can you?” the professor says. He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax.

>

> “Let’s start again, young fellow. Is God good?”

> “Err…yes,” the student says.

>

> “Is Satan good?”

> The student doesn’t hesitate on this one. “No.”

>

> “Then where does Satan come from?”

> The student falters. “From God”

>

> “That’s right. God made Satan, didn’t he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?”

> “Yes, sir.”

>

> “Evil’s everywhere, isn’t it? And God did make everything, correct?”

>

> “Yes.”

>

> “So, who created evil?” The professor continued, “If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil.”

>

> Again, the student has no answer. “Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?”

>

> The student squirms on his feet. “Yes.”

>

> “So, who created them?”

>

> The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question. “Who created them?” There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized. “Tell me,” he continues onto another student. “Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?”

>

> The student’s voice betrays him and cracks. “Yes, professor, I do.”

>

> The old man stops pacing. “Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?”

>

> “No sir. I’ve never seen Him.”

>

> “Then tell us if you’ve ever heard your Jesus?”

> “No, sir, I have not.”

>

> “Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?”

>

> “No, sir, I’m afraid I haven’t.”

> “Yet you still believe in him?”

> “Yes.”

>

> “According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?”

>

> “Nothing,” the student replies. “I only have my faith.”

> “Yes, faith,” the professor repeats. “And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence, only faith.”

>

> The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of

> His own. “Professor, is there such thing as heat?”

>

> “Yes,” the professor replies. “There’s heat.”

>

> “And is there such a thing as cold?”

> “Yes, son, there’s cold too.”

> “No sir, there isn’t.”

>

> The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain. “You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don’t have anything called ‘cold’. We can hit up to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458 degrees.”

>

> “Everybody or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.”

>

> Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom,

> sounding like a hammer.

>

> “What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?”

>

> “Yes,” the professor replies without hesitation. “What is night if it isn’t darkness?”

>

> “You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it’s called darkness, isn’t it? That’s the meaning we use to define the word.”

>

> “In reality, darkness isn’t. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?”

>

> The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester. “So what point are you making, young man?”

>

> “Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed.”

>

> The professor’s face cannot hide his surprise this time. “Flawed? Can you explain how?”

>

> “You are working on the premise of duality,” the student explains. “You argue that there is life and then there’s death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can’t even explain a thought.” “It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it.”

>

> “Now tell me, professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?”

>

> “If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do.”

>

> “Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?”

>

> The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.

>

> “Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?”

>

> The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion

> has subsided.

>

> “To continue the point, you were making earlier to the other student, let me give you an example of what I mean.”

>

> The student looks around the room. “Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor’s brain?”

The class breaks out into laughter.

>

> “Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor’s brain, felt the professor’s brain, touched or smelt the professor’s brain? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, with all due respect, sir.”

>

> “So, if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?”

>

> Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face unreadable.

>

> Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. “I guess you’ll have to take them on faith.”

>

> “Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life,” the student continues. “Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?”

>

>

> Now uncertain, the professor responds, “Of course, there is. We see it every day. It is in the daily example of man’s inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.”

>

> To this the student replied, “Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God’s love present in his heart. It’s like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.”

>

> The professor sat down.

Psalm 142

day beginnning 1

I cried unto the Lord with my voice; with my voice unto the Lord did I make my supplication.  I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble.  When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me.  I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.  I cried unto thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.  Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I.Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me. (KJV)

This was written by David when he was running from Saul.  As I read this psalm and reflect on the times in my life that God seem so far from me I can sense the desperate need that David longed for at this time in his life.  These times are characterized by rejection even from those who should be supporting you.  It seems during these trialing times you must defend yourself from lies and dishonest statement from friends and foes alike, that are used to discredit you and your activities.  This was the case with David at this time in his life.  David was being hunt down as a criminal.  He was forced to be separated from his friends and family.   It was at this time that David even had to take his parents from their home and leave them with the King of Moab to protect them from Saul.  The only ones that surround him at this time were those who were distress, who were in debt, and those who were discontented with the events happening in Israel at that time.  These people looked to David for support, and he became captain over them.

As I study the issues that David deal with at this time, found in I Samuel chapters twenty-one through I Samuel thirty-one, I can see him praying verse six of this psalm. Toward the end of this time period  these words of David were recorded in I Samuel 27:1 “And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul will despair of me, to seek me any more in all the borders of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand.”  David just seem to give up at this time.  The memory of the time he was anointed by Samuel to be the next King of Israel was pushed to the back of his mind.  The memory of time spent in the service of King Saul and the relationship of being his son-in-law were history.  His desire was to rest and find safety among the very enemies he once had defeated.

However, there is hope in God.  David realized this in verse seven of this psalm.  In this verse I see a principle that the church today needs to grasp and take hold of in order to have others gather around them.  This principle is simply looking to God for deliverance instead of taking matters into my own hand.  The church of Laodicea lost this principle of relaying on God to rescue and taking care of them.  In Revelations 3:17 this church is characterized by theses words “I am rich, and have gotten riches and have need of nothing” yet to the Lord “they know not that they are wretched and miserable, poor and blind and naked”.  In other words their principle was “God helps those who helps themselves and see we have prosper by this principle.”  And yet in God’s eyes they were poor, naked and blind.  God intervenes in your life for many reasons, however when He does it always for His glory and refining you for his purpose.  When we wait on the Lord and go through the refining process people will see God’s goodness to us.

So as you read this psalm reflect upon the gloom and loneliness that David must have faced during these times and the hope he still had in God to be his refuge and his portion in the land of the living.  The key to David’s life is that his heart was fully devoted to the Lord.  Being fully devoted to the Lord will bring times of difficulties in our lives and these times might be hard for us to understand.  However, not being fully devoted to God will bring destruction to our life.  Solomon is a perfect example of someone who follows God and then decides to go and pursue his our purpose.  In I Kings 11:4 “As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been”.  He turned from God and God left him.  So we need to be like David and realize that when our spirit grows faint within us, it is God who know our way and all we need to do is to look to him for direction.

Psalm 139:1-6

River

O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.  Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.  Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.  For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.  Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.  (KJV)

As I read this psalm I recall a friend whose desire was to commit this psalm to memory to remind her of how much God was really in control of everything around her.  This psalm was written by David who like Timothy was instructed in the ways of truth at an early age.  His great-grandmother was Ruth, so the history of faith must have run deep in his family.  I too saw this strong faith in my mother’s parents (my grandparents) and also in her life.  As parents and grandparents we must realized that actions speak louder than words and that our children and grandchildren watch our every action.  These actions should reflect a godly world view as presented by this psalm.  Note that this psalm starts with the phase “you have search me and you know me” and ends with the phase “search me, test me, and lead me in the way everlasting”.  This psalm starts out by introducing the great teacher God and ends with a student eager to learn God’s ways.

This psalm starts by introducing an omniscience and omnipresence God who is involved in every aspect of David’s life.  The question now arise “can I apply this psalm to my life?”.  The answer to this is a resounding YES.  Just read Matthew chapters five, six and seven (Christ’s message to Israel).  In these chapters Christ is stating the way in which we should walk and how God seeing us will provide everything we need.  In I John 3:19-20 “This then is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence, whenever our hearts condemn us.  For God is greater than our hearts and knows everything” John states that he knows everything in our life.  So yes this psalm can apply to your live.

From the introduction I know that God is searching my heart and that he knows me.  He knows my actions, my speech, as well as my thoughts.  He even directs my path by placing a barrier around me.  He is my potter the one that has created me.  He knows how I was form and the purpose for which I was created to perform since these were written in his book before they even happen. So as the master teacher he knows the students.

One of the truths I learned as a classroom teacher was for learning to take place the student must be willing to learn.  David recognizes the first step in learning was to trust the teacher.  He recognized that God not only knew him and was always present, but that he was framed and created by God.  We see David’s longing for knowing God’s thoughts.  However, we also see David’s desire for God to get rid of evil.  David does not hide his hatred for people with evil intent.  However his prayer is that God will intervene in this battle.  One of the biggest issues that a classroom teacher faces in maintaining classroom discipline.  I have witness many times when an unruly student has interfered with the learning process of the class.  How to handle the issues that result from evil intent is a delicate issue for the believer.   This is why God has given us great examples of faith such as Joseph, David, and many others to help guide us along the way.  Joseph’s reply to his brothers’ request from Jacob to forgive them for the way they treated him at seventeen reveals how we must approach evil intentions of other.  He stated in Genesis 50:19-20 this truth “Fear not: for am I in the place of God? And as for you, ye meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.  So when evil intentions are directed your way turn them over to God, and keep living a blameless life before God and man.

As I study the last eight verses of this Psalm; I gain an insight of how David must have felt as King over the nation of Israel.  His desire was to rule over God’s people as a King who follow God’s way and a King who could transform this nation into a Godly nation.  As I was reading some news articles this morning I could not help reflect an article titled Bush debuts as motivational speaker by Alexander Mooney of CNN on George Bush’s comment that he made in a motivational speak in Fort Worth Texas October 26, 2009.   One of the interesting points in this article was about how Bush’s faith played a large role in guiding his decisions as the President.

“Every single day, I was honored to be your president by bringing honor and dignity to the office,” he said. Bush also added later that his faith played a large role in guiding his decisions: “From a personal perspective, I don’t see how you can be president without relying upon an almighty.”

Just like David the president’s first step was to get his our personal life in the right with the almighty.  Verses seventeen and eighteen gives us a picture of this first step:  “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.”  We must turn our thoughts toward God and reflect on his way.

However; verses nineteen through twenty-two brings up the issue of dealing with those that are wicked.  It is interesting that the first thing that David does is to turn his desires over to God.  Verse nineteen starts out by stating “If only you would”.  Yes David had no desire to be in their presences, he had no desire to take part in their plots.  Yet how do you work with the wicked when it is part of your task on this earth?  David’s desire was to create a kingdom for promoting God’s way, however, many of those surrounding him only wants to follow their desires and pleasures and promoting their way.  When studying the Psalms we see the challenges that David faced in his life as he tried to walk in God’s way.  These challenges were the same as Christ faced when he came to earth two thousand years ago.  The goal of his coming was given to us in Luke 4:16-21 as he recited Isaiah 61:1 and the first half of verse two.  The mission Christ came to do was “he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  Christ did not read the second of verse two “and to proclaim the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion; to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair”.  Many believe that this will be fulfilled when he returns the second time.

So, as we study Psalm 139 and realize that God deals with us as an individuals, we must not lose focus that God’s dealing with us is for his purpose, not ours.  As David closes this Psalm with these words, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”  The central theme of this Psalm is God’s way and our desire to follow it.  So as I read this Psalm I am drawn to these last few verses.  God usually uses a small still voice to speak to us, so heed the words of Eli and be quiet and listen for the Lord to speak to you.