REMINDERS AND FAREWELLS
The church needs to hear the old song again. Psalms are songs, and these are to remind us of where we came from and where we should be going. We need to hear these during the battles of life as a rallying spirit.
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Psalm 51:1-5
David is sure of God’s righteousness, and he is also sure of his own shortcomings. He asks mercy and cleansing from his sins. He is aware of the curse of sin in his life. Without sin there would be no church.
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Psalm 51:6-9
Lord you want truth, and you will plant it in the secret places of my soul. If you cleanse and teach me I will have joy restored to me. Turn away from my sins Lord. David is revealing how he lives through his mistakes; he asks God for mercy.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. Psalm 51:10-15
This is not religion; this is the song of joy in the Lord. These lines are still a song that we have known. God can restore our joy and make us guides for others. If I am delivered from my sin I can be a light house to the lost. Some of you “Jesus Hippies” will remember Keith Green singing these verses. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Green
Keith was also Jewish, and I can almost see him as that picture of David at the top of this page. He was moved by the same spirit. Isn’t it great to remember a move of God when young people were rediscovering faith that mainstream churches were forgetting? God is still moving!
For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar. Psalm 51:16-19
Keith had experienced religion in Christian Science, but that didn’t work for him. He could have had fame in secular music, but that path too was closed to him. The works of religion and career works do not work for God. It was repentance that brought him a career with lasting rewards.
Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? the goodness of God endureth continually. The tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah. Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue. God shall likewise destroy thee for ever, he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah. Psalm 52:1-5
I lament our nation when I see both conservatives and liberals indulging in dirty politics. Christians are of another nation, the Kingdom of God. We have no boundaries and God removes the darkness for us. We have no anxieties driving us to rail against the darkness. Faith says that is God’s job, and fear is of unbelief.
The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him: Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness. But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever. I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done it: and I will wait on thy name; for it is good before thy saints. Psalm 52:6-9
The righteous shall fear God, but not the men who trust wealth to oppress the poor. The righteous man is able to bend in the wind like a green tree. His trust gives him peace and he knows that praising God is a small price for assurance.
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good. God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread: they have not called upon God. There were they in great fear, where no fear was: for God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee: thou hast put them to shame, because God hath despised them. Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When God bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad. Psalm 53: 1-6
If God is to measure faith, we cannot measure God by science. He has chosen to be invisible. Would it be fair to let the rich man use his science and education to be saved, while the poor can’t enter in? So rich and poor alike can be evil without discovering God. But he has discovered them. This is your test; your entrance exam. The invisible God has promised to see the hidden sin. Our cities are full of crime, but now we also see more in the small towns as well. Gangsters get the headlines, but our leaders are also in conspiracies and immorality.
Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me by thy strength. Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth. For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul: they have not set God before them. Selah. Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul. He shall reward evil unto mine enemies: cut them off in thy truth. I will freely sacrifice unto thee: I will praise thy name, O LORD; for it is good. For he hath delivered me out of all trouble: and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies. Psalm 54: 1-7
No one does good, so David knows that he needs help. He has done wrong, but others are gathering to do greater violence against him. David knows that he has help and he is reminding us that God will take care of judgment. David has had evidence of God’s faithfulness before.
Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication. Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise; Because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me. My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. Psalm 55: 1-5
Hear me Lord, don’t be unreachable; pick up the phone! David wants to hear, to feel the assurance of the God he knows and trusts. No one wants to wait for answers when evil is closing in on us. We call the police today but David faced armies of greater strength and truly violent intentions. A siege is a time of helplessness. If the police aren’t there or the phone is dead we need more help.
And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest. Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the city. Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof: mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it. Psalm 55: 6-10
To fly as the birds do seems to offer safety, but we know that arrows also fly. David asks the game warden to eliminate the poachers. He has seen violence in their city. Perhaps this is the time when David’s son Absalom drove him from Jerusalem. Many of the people of Israel opposed David.
Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets. For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company. Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them. Psalm 55: 11-15
For the city to be evil is no pain to David except that these are fellow Jews and even his own flesh and blood, his son. These are men and women who had joined David in the house of God in worship. David cannot hope for salvation for those who are now become enemies of God. He prays that their end will be quick, which is the only mercy he can offer them. They have chosen to be enemies of their own God. David cannot save them.
As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me. God shall hear, and afflict them, even he that abideth of old. Selah. Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God. He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant. Psalm 55: 16-20
David has asked God to help, and he trusts that the help will come. He already has peace in his heart even while the war is still raging. God will afflict his enemies so he need not be distressed about what to do. The man who does not fear God has brought war against his friends, breaking the covenant with God.
The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords. Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee. Psalm 55: 21-23
This enemy, like Absalom, was diplomatic while he was planning war. If you drive slowly, others relax and open space for you to blow past them. This politician was waiting for the time to strike a mutiny. By faith we need not fear the plotters. As we saw in the earlier (“What the Hell?”) bible study, modern conspiracies are also under the all seeing eye of God. Secrecy and violent planners will be gone. We like David will see the evidence that God is dependable. Praise him for what he is about to do by faith today.