God Gets Involved

Posted: August 9, 2012 in Psalms

Psalms 138-139, “God Gets Involved”

How good it is those times when we feel alone that someone comes in to help!  Maybe it’s the day we’re overwhelmed at work, and someone comes alongside to give a hand.  Maybe it’s when the kids are running wild, and a friend calls up to see if you need a break.  Maybe it’s the person who comes along at just the right time offering to pray.  It’s SO good & such a relief when someone else gets involved.

The good news for every Christian is that our God gets involved.  He does not leave us alone.  Jesus has promised to be with us always, even to the end of the age.  The book of Hebrews tells us that God has promised never to leave nor to forsake us.  The Holy Spirit indwells us and empowers us for our trials, and the inspired Scripture equips us for every good work.  Our God is with us – and our God gets involved in our lives.  That’s exactly what David writes about in Pss 138-139.

Psalm 138 (NKJV) – Thank You for Your Faithfulness
A Psalm Of David.

Personal Praise (vss. 1-3)
1 I will praise You with my whole heart; Before the gods I will sing praises to You.

  • Sincere praise.  This isn’t superficial half-hearted worship.  This isn’t just showing up to get the “singing stuff” out of the way, or to pray out of obligation.  David has a desire to praise God with his “whole heart.”  Everything in his being is going to sing out the praises of God.
    • That’s exactly the way our praise ought to be.  The Great Commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  That’s talking about passionate whole-hearted commitment to the Lord – including (and perhaps especially) during our times of praise.  Don’t hold back your praise (and don’t put on a show) – do it sincerely, from your heart.
  • Public praise.  Some scholars believe that “the gods” might be a reference to the angels & demons, with David basically saying, “I’m going to praise you in front of all of the spiritual realm.”  At the same time, there’s no reason to think that David isn’t simply referring to the pagan gods of the nations that surrounded Israel.  David wasn’t going to give into pressures from the people around him.  He wasn’t going to be intimidated by other nations (such as the Philistines) and their gods.  No – David would openly and publicly proclaim his praise of God in front of all others, no matter who witnessed it.
    • In our own culture, we’re increasingly called upon to make a stand for God within  a godless nation.  Or at least in a nation that serves all sorts of false gods apart from the one true God.  We ought to boldly proclaim and praise the name of Jesus.

2 I will worship toward Your holy temple, And praise Your name For Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.

  • Praise God in the right way.  Just as David proclaimed his praises of the one true God (as opposed to the pagan false gods), David was going to worship God in the way in which God proclaimed.  Obviously the temple had not yet been built (though perhaps the wording here indicates that David had already begun the construction preparations at the time of the writing), but the idea is clear: he’s not going to go to the Asherah poles or high places that other people in the land often built.  David was going to worship God at His temple/tabernacle because that was how God proclaimed He was to be worshipped.
    • Today we don’t worship God in a particular place, but we can worship Him wrongly if we’re not worshipping Him through Jesus Christ, or in Spirit & truth.
  • Praise God for the right reasons
    • His character.  David specifically mentions the chesed of God – God’s loyal love & mercy/kindness shown to His covenantal people.
    • His revelation.  How much does God value His word?  On par with His own name – and even above it!  God’s word is reflective of His character.  We see the truth of God in the Scripture.  We see the love and mercy of God in the Bible.  We see the holiness of God in the Bible.  We read the promises of God, and have faith in them because they are backed by none other than the name of God Himself.  God will show His word to be true because His reputation and glory are tied to it.  Thus God magnifies His word and sees it fulfilled.
    • His faithfulness.  See vs. 3…

3 In the day when I cried out, You answered me, And made me bold with strength in my soul.

  • How did God specifically show He magnified His word above His name?  By being true to His covenant promises with David.  When David needed help, God was right there.  David needed help and God answered.  We’re not told the specific circumstance, but there were many instances in David’s life when this could easily be seen as true.  God delivered David from Saul – God delivered David from the Philistines – God delivered David even from his own rebellious son Absalom.  Whenever David cried out, God answered.  Why?  Because God is faithful.  He told David that He would help, and He did. God is always faithful…
  • Specifically, God’s answer was to embolden and strengthen David.  Deliverance wasn’t always escape from the trial (though for David, many times it was).  Sometimes deliverance was strength IN the trial.  Saul pursued David for years before he finally gave up.  God strengthened David the entire time.
    • Likewise for us.  God doesn’t always take us out of a trial; many times He gives us strength to endure it.  As Paul learned, His grace is sufficient for us for God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness.

Millennial Praise (vss. 4-6)
4 All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O LORD, When they hear the words of Your mouth. 5 Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the LORD, For great is the glory of the LORD.

  • As the king of Israel, David praises God, but David understand he won’t always be the only one.  One day, all of the kings of the nations will recognize God as God and give Him praise.  Philippians 2 tells of how every knee will bow & every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.  Revelation tells us how Jesus will come back in victory over the kings of the earth, and that all the nations will serve Christ for 1000 years during the millennial kingdom.  The psalms already have spoken of the nations being given to Jesus as an inheritance (Ps 2:8).  What David writes here seems to reflect that day when all the nations come before Jesus and recognize Him as the King of kings and Lord of lords. 
  • Why will the nations praise God?  Two reasons given here:
    • When they hear God’s word.  As when the queen of Sheba travelled across Africa to come hear the wisdom of Solomon, so will the word of God be recognized as such when Jesus rules in His power and glory.  The word of God is foolishness to those who are perishing today, but in the days of the kingdom, people will clearly see God for who He is, and recognize His word as wisdom & worthy of praise.
    • When they understand God’s glory.  It’s inconceivable that anyone see the revealed glory of God and NOT worship Him.  When Peter first recognized Jesus as the Messiah (after the miraculous catch of fish), Peter understood the glory of God & asked Jesus to leave him.  When Isaiah saw the throne of God and God’s glory, he proclaimed that he was a man of unclean lips.  Once people see the glory of God, they cannot help but understand their need to worship Him rightly.
      • That’s one of the reason we always want to lift up the glory of God!  Church is not about US; it’s about Jesus.  When we tell people the good news, we want to help them see Christ & not ourselves.  They need to see HIM in order that they would understand their need to be saved.

6 Though the LORD is on high, Yet He regards the lowly; But the proud He knows from afar.

  • The kings of the earth will worship God, but they are not the only ones.  In fact, the kings of the earth are not the only ones who will be recognized by God.  God sees king and pauper alike. God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34) – every person is alike to Him with equal value.  The same blood of Jesus has been shed for every single person, be it the billionaire in NYC or the family living on $2 per day elsewhere in the world.  God sees (“regards”) the lowly person, knowing their needs & extending His grace.
  • There is one type of person that will have an estranged relationship with God: “the proud.”  God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

Future Deliverance (vss. 7-8)
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand Against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me.

  • Although David understands how the kings of the earth will one day worship God, he also understands that at the present time, that wasn’t the case.  David experienced trials & troubles, and he called upon God for help.
  • What does he trust God to do by faith?
    • Grant life & strength.  David needed to be “revived.”  He was weak and powerless but he served the One who gives life.
    • Grant defense.  God would act on David’s behalf.  It would not be David fighting the battle, but God.
    • Grant deliverance.  Not only would God defend David in the battle, but God would be victorious.  However God chose to do it, David would be saved.
    • Interesting A-B-A structure here.  The work of God towards David – against his enemies – toward David again.  David is never outside of the view of God.
  • Note these are statements of faith – it is a fact that God will do these things.  There’s no doubt in David’s mind.  God WILL revive – God WILL defend – God WILL save.
    • These things are just as true of our relationship in Christ!  God revives us by giving us a new birth of the Spirit…  God defends us in our spiritual battles against the enemy…  God saves us by taking us home to heaven…

8 The LORD will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

  • Another word for “perfect” here is “complete.”  God will finish what He started.
  • God always finishes what He begins!  Philippians 1:6, "being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;" []  What confidence that ought to give every believer in Christ! 

 

Psalm 139 (NKJV) – The Personal Perfect God
For the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

  • Two huge theological truths handled in depth here: God’s omniscience & God’s omnipresence.  The psalms have often taught of God’s omnipotence – we’ve seen His power at work in abundance.  Over and over again the psalmists write of God’s miraculous deliverance, be it from Egypt or from contemporary enemies, etc.  Yet that’s only one attribute out of many from Almighty God.  Not only is God all-powerful, He’s also all-knowing, and ever-present.  In this worship song written by David, these other two attributes are addressed, as David sees the immensity of God’s knowledge and presence and is amazed that THIS God would be personally involved in the life of such a humble servant.

God knows us (vss. 1-6)
1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me.

  • Opening summary.  Introduces the theme that runs through the entire psalm.  God knows us personally & intimately!
  • WHO does all of this?  The LORD.  David’s relationship with God is grounded in the fact that he knows God as the One True God – the covenant God of Israel.  This is foundational to all of the rest. … Likewise with us.  Unless we start off with the foundation of knowing Christ Jesus as Lord – God the Son Himself – there’s no way we could say anything else with certainty about our relationship with Him.  We’ve got to be grounded in Christ, or we have nothing with God.
  • The idea here is that God has personally known David from the inside-out.  It’s not that God has a passing knowledge of David, or that He was vaguely familiar with him.  No – God knew everything about David.  God “searched” David and knew everything about him.  We tend think of searches as a bad thing – something that is a bit too invasive (TSA pat-downs in the airport, for example), but when done properly (and legally), searches can be a good thing.  Sometimes a search might reveal something that a person didn’t even realize they had.  God does far more than search us physically; God searches us spiritually.  God truly knows us better than we know ourselves.

2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. 3 You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.

  • God knows our daily patterns & times of rest.  When we set our alarms, and when we hit the snooze button – God knows it all.  This is far more than the children’s idea of Santa Claus, “he knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake”.  This is such intimate knowledge of us that He knows our habits and patterns.  Just as husbands and wives know each other’s bed-time routines, God knows ours.  It speaks of the intimate knowledge God had of David (and of all of us).
  • God knows our inner-most thoughts.  It’s an amazing reality that God knows our very thoughts – the ponderings of our hearts.  Just as Jesus demonstrated He knew what the Pharisees were thinking (on many occasions), so does God know our thoughts.  BTW – this is why our hearts can condemn us.  We may say one thing sweetly with our lips, while we go on cursing that person in our mind.  God knows our thoughts, and we will be held accountable for the things we dwell upon in our minds.
  • God knows everything we do.  Whatever “path” David took, the Lord God knew what it was.  ALL of David’s ways were known by the Lord – and likewise with all of us.  God knows every single action we’ve ever done.  That can be somewhat sobering on one hand, but also pretty encouraging on the other.  For all those times that it seems that no one appreciates what it is you’ve done & sacrificed, God knows.  God knows every single one.
  • God knows everything we say.  In fact, God knows the words we’re going to say before we even say them.  Sometimes we think that the words we say don’t matter.  They certainly matter to God.  Jesus tells us we will give an account for every idle word spoken…choose your words carefully!

5 You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.

  • Because God knows us perfectly, He can perfectly protect us.  Sometimes we think of the spiritual armor in Ephesians 6 as our only protection in spiritual battle – but we get a lot more than that.  We have the protection of the hand of Almighty God!  He knows our weak spots & temptations, and He will provide protection when we submit ourselves to His hand.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.

  • We can never reach the end of the knowledge of God.  It is beyond our comprehension – the best we can do is just get a glimpse of it.  Think about it: the Bible tells us that God knows the past, present, and future (some of which is later affirmed in Ps 139).  We also are told that God knows every single one of us individually.  Thus God knows the intimate thoughts, words, and ways of every 6 billion+ people currently on the planet, as well as the ones who have lived in the past, and have yet to be born in the future.  And that doesn’t even begin to say anything about the animal kingdom or any other aspect of the universe.  Jesus tells us that God knows when even the smallest sparrow falls (Mt 10:29).  The vastness of the knowledge of God is incredible!
  • We may not be able to attain to this knowledge, but we can praise God for it.  When we consider the infinite knowledge of God, we cannot help but be overwhelmed at His greatness, and affirm our trust in Him.  This is the lesson learned by Job. … Job 42:1–3, "(1) Then Job answered the LORD and said: (2) “I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. (3) You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know." []  Job obviously repented for speaking rashly about God – but God was still pleased with Job and received his sacrifices, worship, and prayers.  Praise God for His knowledge of you!  Yes, He knows every sin – but He also knows the extent to which you’ve been covered by the blood of His Son!

God is with us (vss. 7-12)
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?

  • Not only is God omniscient (He knows everything that can be known), God is omnipresent (there’s no place where God is “not”).  Keep in mind that the omnipresence of God is NOT the same thing as pantheism.  Pantheism teaches that all things in the universe together make up the great consciousness of god (not unlike Star Wars’ “Force”).  That concept is completely different than that of God being omnipresent.  We do not collectively comprise God; God exists totally separate from us.  God is not the rock nor the trees, but you cannot find rocks or trees outside of the presence of God.  The presence of God is everywhere, though God is not “everything.”
  • This is the crux of David’s questions.  Where can we go in all of the universe that is somewhere apart from the reach of the Holy Spirit?  Is it possible to run and hide from the presence of God?  No.  To be sure, there are places in which God allows His special presence to be made manifest.  We think of the pillar of cloud/fire – or the chabod glory in the tabernacle – of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within the people of the Church – these are all areas in which God specifically manifests His presence.  Non-believers do not have the same access to the presence of God as born-again believers.  Yet they cannot find a corner of the world in which God does not exist.
    • Sometimes people want to run from God & hide their sin from Him.  It can’t be done!

8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.

  • Death is no escape from God.  Be it heaven or the grave, God is there.  The Bible teaches that for the Christian, when we are absent from the body, we are present with the Lord (2 Cor 5:8).  Some people run to suicide thinking that it’s a grand escape; in reality it’s not an escape at all…it simply ushers us into the presence of God.  Every single person will one day face Almighty God – we need to be ready to see our Maker.
  • Question: “Is God really in hell?  I thought hell was eternal separation from God.”  Technically, that’s not really the issue here in verse 8, as the word for “hell” is “sheol,” which is a Hebrew reference to the grave; not to the lake of fire and place of eternal torment.  That said, there’s definitely an indication in the Scripture that hell is not exactly as far removed from God as we might imagine. Revelation 14:9–10, "(9) Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, (10) he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb." []  Because God is omnipotent, God’s presence will be there. That’s not to say that God is actively torturing people in hell…God forbid the thought!  People who are in hell are sent there because of their own sin against God and rejection of the grace of Jesus Christ.  Is it a place of torment?  Yes.  But the Bible says nothing of God tormenting people there; the fact that they are there IS the torment itself.  And they truthfully are “removed” from God, in that they are forever removed from the possibility of being reconciled unto Him.  It seems to be that part of the torment of hell is that people will be able to look to the blessings of heaven & the joy of the relationship between God and His people, all the while knowing that they will never ever partake.
  • With all that said, it must be emphasized that although hell is always described in the Bible as being populated with people, not a single person HAS to go there.  Anyone can be forgiven of their sin, and be granted everlasting life in heaven if they repent of their sin, trusting Jesus as their God and Savior.

9 If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.

  • Beyond the world here-after, there’s no escape from God in THIS world, either.  Even if David could fly to the other side of the world, or go to the deepest parts of the ocean (a place of terror for the Hebrew), God would still be there.
  • Notice the language of love being used here.  David is not fearful of being in the presence of God; he’s fearful of being OUT of the presence of God.  As long as God is with him, David knows that God will lead him & God’s right hand will hold him.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me; 12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

  • If we can’t find a place where God cannot go, is it possible to hide in a place where God already exists?  Maybe David could be hidden in the shadows…  No – even that is impossible.  Like the child who covers his eyes & claims, “I’m invisible!” so God sees us no matter where we are.  The best camouflage available cannot hide us from the eyes of God.  We cannot be hidden in the darkness because darkness and light are alike to Him.
  • Even if we think of “darkness” as a symbol for sin, we cannot be hidden away from God.  Sin doesn’t hide us from God; it merely turns us away from Him.  God is still right there, ready to forgive through Jesus Christ.

God formed us (vss. 13-16)
13 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.

  • Just the basic design of the human body declares the wonder of God!  Have you ever taken the time to look at the basic musculo-skeletal system?  But more than just basic design, God created us individually.  God is personally involved in the formation of every single human being on the planet.  David has no doubts that God “formed [his] inward parts,” and that’s exactly what God did with each one of us.
  • Question: “If God creates us and forms us individually, and all these things are by His design, what about people who are born disabled?  Or not fully-formed?”  Good questions – and questions that we ought not to be quick to just give some pat answer to.  There are a couple of things we need to keep in mind.
    • God did design the general human body perfectly, and declared it to be “good.”  The problems of sickness, etc., came in after the fall of mankind.  Every problem that is in the natural world today will one day be rectified at the day of the new heavens and the new earth.  Sin is the problem, Jesus is the answer, and the final restoration is promised eventually.
    • Even with that in mind, God still works individually within each life.  As hard as it can be to deal with disabilities and other illnesses from birth, we have to affirm that God loves every individual, no matter how long they live or what difficulties they have in life.  Some babies are born breathing only for a few moments before dying in the arms of their loving (and grieving) parents.  Let it be known that that child has value.  That child is individually loved by God, even if we do not know nor understand the circumstance of his/her birth (or miscarriage).  Of course the same could be said about all children in all physical circumstances.  God knows and loves every one as individually as He loves you & me.

15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

  • God sees every aspect of pregnancy.  Modern science has given us amazing pictures of the development of babies from conception to birth.  Long before science ever got a glimpse of these things, God saw us there.
  • What does David mean by “the lowest parts of the earth”?  This seems to be figurative language.  David certainly didn’t understand the intricacies of human gestation, and this was just his way of describing the womb & what goes on there.
  • This brings up a huge issue in our modern culture concerning abortion.  People have been repeatedly told that a fetus in the womb is nothing more than a glob of tissue, and not truly human.  Because it’s not really a person (the abortion-activists tell us), a woman can rid herself of that tissue of flesh, just like ridding herself of any other tissue of flesh.  I want to be as clear as possible: that is a lie straight from the devil.  The Bible makes it perfectly clear in this passage (and many others) that pre-born infants have immense value to Almighty God, and He is their Guardian in the womb.  David did not refer to himself as anything less than human in the description of his mother’s pregnancy.  From the very moment of conception, the Bible would affirm that so-called “mass of tissue” to be a BABY, no less human than you or me.
    • Objection: “But a fetus can’t survive outside of the womb!”  A baby can’t survive apart from the care of his/her parents.  An elderly person living in a nursing home cannot survive apart from the care of his/her children.  A person’s physical location or physical abilities have absolutely zero bearing on whether or not that person is a human.  A woman doesn’t stop being a human if she tragically is involved in a car wreck and sent to the ICU, hooked up to life-support to survive.  There’s virtually zero difference between that ICU patient & a child in his/her mother’s womb.
    • Since Roe vs. Wade in 1972, there have been well over 50 million children aborted (and that figure is only updated to 2008, Guttmacher Institute).  Currently, 22% of all pregnancies end in abortion in the USA.  Keep in mind there are over 311 million people living in the USA today.  As a nation we have effectively killed off 16% of our population.  There’s no doubt the USA will have much to give account to God for on the day of judgment.
    • No doubt the subject of abortion can be shocking, and filled with a lot of painful memories for many women (and men).  We need to be reminded of the fact that it is indeed a sin, but we also need to be reminded that it is a sin for which there is forgiveness.  The blood of Jesus covers ALL of our sin.  For those who put their faith in Jesus as Lord, you are completely washed & cleansed.  There may be painful memories over sins of the past, but God does not see you as guilty.  Jesus bore your guilt for you when He went to the cross & died for sin.  If you have gone through an abortion, or have encouraged someone to get an abortion, forgiveness and cleansing is there for the asking in the Lord Jesus Christ.  ALL of us have sinned – there’s not one who has not transgressed against Almighty God.  The glorious good news is that ALL of us can still be forgiven.

16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.

  • Notice that people are more than bodies.  God saw David’s “substance, being yet unformed.”  David (like all pre-born babies) did not look entirely the same as he would later, but God still knew him & saw him.  His personhood was not affected by his physical body.  David was still David, even if no one knew it except God.
  • God ordains our days.  He knows exactly how long every single human being will live.  We cannot extend our life, nor contract our life by one day.  Keep in mind that does not excuse sin or temptation.  We cannot walk in front of a bus & claim, “Since God knows the number of my days, I won’t die here!”  That may be the day God knew we were going to die because we would be foolish enough to step in front of a bus.  We can’t affect the quantity of our days, but through our free will we can certainly affect the quality of them.  Our decisions have consequences.  The person who eats nothing but bacon and French-fries all day will have a vastly different quality of life than someone else. … Of course David’s point is that God knows these things.  God knows how long we’ll live, and God knows how we’re going to live.  Before we knew anything about our lives, God knew everything.  God knows every choice we’ll make, and every consequence that will follow.

Summary – God loves us (vss. 17-18)
17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! 18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.

  • What an amazing thing: God thinks about YOU.  We’ve already seen how God knows the thoughts of 6 billion+ people on the planet – but beyond that, God’s thoughts are individually directed towards us.  We obviously think about God, but incredibly God also thinks about US.  What is man that God is mindful of him?  Yet God does.  What humble love – what incredible grace!  We tend to think only of our peers and our loved ones.  We are certainly no peers of God (we are infinitely LESS than He!), but we ARE beloved by Him.  His thoughts toward us are amazing demonstration of His love.  And if that were not enough, just consider what God’s thoughts culminated in: the cross – the ultimate demonstration of the love of God for us!
  • Not only does He think about you, God thinks about you a lot!  His thoughts towards David (and thus towards us as individuals) are innumerable.

Prayer for protection (vss. 19-22)
19 Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God! Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men. 20 For they speak against You wickedly; Your enemies take Your name in vain.

  • This may seem like an unusual transition, but it makes sense if we stop to think about it.  David understands that God knows him, is with him, and loves him so much that God hardly stops thinking about him.  Who better to appeal to in times of trouble, than God?  David has a thorough understanding that God truly knows his needs, and so he doesn’t hesitate to appeal to the Lord in prayer.
  • What is the problem these wicked men?  How do they demonstrate their wickedness?  In two ways:
    • They hurt people.  They are “bloodthirsty men.”  They can’t get enough of violence as they intentionally seek to hurt other people.
    • They blaspheme the name of God.  Not only do they attack people, but they attack the name and reputation of God.

21 Do I not hate them, O LORD, who hate You? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies.

  • We’ve seen many prayers that record the accurate thoughts of the authors, which aren’t exactly examples for us to follow.  This seems to be one of them.  David (as the king of Israel) was rightfully zealous for the glory of God.  He ought to have been; this was part of his responsibility as the ruler of God’s people.
  • It’s good to be zealous for the Lord with Godly zealousness (Gal 4:18), as when Jesus was consumed with zeal for the holiness of God’s temple & threw out the money-changers.  Or when Paul didn’t back down against Peter when Peter started acting hypocritically in front of Hebrew Christians.  Or when Nehemiah took people by the hair and beard for how they were breaking God’s covenant.  There are times that Godly zeal is good, though we need to be careful that we are acting according to the will of God & not according to the desires of our own flesh.
  • Unlike David, we do not need to react to God’s enemies in the same way.  We don’t hate our enemies, or the enemies of God – we love them & pray for them.

Prayer for mercy (vss. 23-24)
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.

  • David returns to the thought in verse 1.  God had already searched David in the past, and the prayer here is that God would continually search his heart.
  • Why?  Because David understands the wickedness of our flesh.  There were other people who were bloodthirsty blasphemers of God’s name – but that didn’t mean that it was impossible for David to join their ranks one day.  David understood the need to be vigilant against sin.  If he was not going to become one of the wicked, he needed the help of God.  He needed God to continue to search him & guide him in way he was to go.

Conclusion:
Praise God that He gets involved in the lives of His people!  God had answered the prayer of David in the past, and in return David erupted in sincere praise of God, trusting Him for the future.  God had shown Himself to be personally involved in the life of David, and David was overwhelmed by God’s omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence.  That God would not only know of us, but KNOW us and then personally get involved in our lives through the work of Jesus Christ and ongoing work of the Holy Spirit is truly amazing.

How do we respond to all of this?  First, we can respond as David did: in praise.  May we whole-heartedly praise the God who made us, knows us, and loves us!  Let us not hesitate to proclaim His praises among the entire world.  Second, we (like David) can entrust ourselves to Him.  There’s not a situation in our lives of which God is not intimately aware.  Take those things to the Lord & trust Him to deal with it.  Don’t be upset if things don’t go the way you might initially plan them to go – God knows infinitely better what He wants to do, and what you need Him to do in your life.  Trust your loving God and Savior to do exactly that.

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