Life is a trial of hope that opposes the hopelessness of overwhelming tribulations. David lived a full life of victory through his relationship with an invisible savior. His Psalms are his gift to all generations with the revelation of his unending hope. You too may possess the joy he shares in these songs of victory. Life and death are seen in the frozen landscape of winter. The site of last year’s harvest looks dead even while the frozen water of next year’s crop is waiting to melt into the rivers of life. Do we have faith to see our hope in every season?
O God, thou hast cast us off, thou hast scattered us, thou hast been displeased; O turn thyself to us again. Thou hast made the earth to tremble; thou hast broken it: heal the breaches thereof; for it shaketh. Thou hast shewed thy people hard things: thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment. Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah. That thy beloved may be delivered; save with thy right hand, and hear me. God hath spoken in his holiness; I will rejoice, I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth. Psalm 60:1-6
Good news, then bad news; like the weather, life throws new troubles at us. The Psalmist is again in trouble and calling for help. But God has given a flag to his people that all can follow and rally around.
Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim also is the strength of mine head; Judah is my lawgiver; Moab is my washpot; over Edom will I cast out my shoe: Philistia, triumph thou because of me. Who will bring me into the strong city? who will lead me into Edom? Wilt not thou, O God, which hadst cast us off? and thou, O God, which didst not go out with our armies? Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man. Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies. Psalm 60:7-12
Is David contemplating his allies in Israel? The land was assigned to tribes of Israel by God, and they are still assigned today, but not everyone understands this. There are protests and angry international meddling in matters already predestined by God. So Israel still faces a stronghold of international opposition today. David knew that he didn’t need the stronger army to see the victory God has promised.
Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah. Psalm 61:1-4
Having a stone tower fortification gives an army the advantage of protection and good field of fire coverage. David knew that God had been his refuge through the years. He had a relationship with God that was time-tested. He also seemed to understand the promise of eternal life as he knows he will abide in the tabernacle of God forever.
For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name. Thou wilt prolong the king’s life: and his years as many generations. He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him. So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows. Psalm 61:5-8
God heard David’s vows. He hears ours too, and we share that heritage of hope in our faith. David knows that life in God is eternal, he knows about life after death. He knows that he has eternity to praise God. For an Old Testament prophet this is exciting because David does believe in the afterlife. But he is also expecting a long life here too.
Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved. How long will ye imagine mischief against a man? ye shall be slain all of you: as a bowing wall shall ye be, and as a tottering fence. They only consult to cast him down from his excellency: they delight in lies: they bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly. Selah. My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. Psalm 62:1-6
David waits on God as salvation and defender. David had armies and great warriors, but he did not depend on them. He had leaders in his royal court and political alliances. Those are all vanity and we still need help from above. How long will enemies imagine evil plots and traps against a righteous man? Among David’s friends and allies were secret spies and enemies. Polite words were hiding secret curses. Only wait on God, don’t trust Democrats or Republicans. He is the only source of hope.
In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah. Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity. Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them. God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God. Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work. Psalm 62:7-12
David is repeating himself, but he is doing it for our benefit. Will this time do the trick? God is safety; trust him. Men with a little power and titles are vanity but those who claim to be the greatest are a lie. George Washington wore the title of president and a position in the Masonic order of secret rites. The rule of cruelty is unreliable and stealing will earn you a steel trap. If you are prosperous don’t become obsessed with greed. Mercy is available if we give it away.
O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: Psalm 63:1-5
Satisfaction isn’t found on the internet, on television, or in computer games. The news reminds us of the spiritual drought over our world. Friends cannot understand a relationship with an invisible God, but this is where we finally find satisfaction. David has experienced fellowship with God in the sanctuary of the tabernacle. He knows the power of God’s intervention. His praise is motivated by the richness of his success.
When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me. But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth. They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes. But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped. Psalm 63:6-11
This study I write here is usually my last act before bed time. Long before I became a Christian I learned that these Psalms bring peace at bed time. David finds his peace on meditating on the comfort of a real protector. He can sleep without fear of real enemies. They will be fox meat while the king will rejoice in God. Again David refers to another as king who others can swear by and find glory. David is not claiming that honor for himself but for a higher king.
Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy. Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity: Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words: That they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not. They encourage themselves in an evil matter: they commune of laying snares privily; they say, Who shall see them? Psalm 64:1-5
David asks God to protect him from evil men. I have written about a few of our modern evils, and more appear in the news daily. Worse, they appear among our friends and allies, lurking in our churches and national leadership. Rich men fight for that power while using the poor as stepping-stones. Secret meetings and vile schemes are still the rule of law today.
They search out iniquities; they accomplish a diligent search: both the inward thought of every one of them, and the heart, is deep. But God shall shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded. So they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves: all that see them shall flee away. And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider of his doing. The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory. Psalm 64:6-10
The secret meetings aim at power and indulge amoral behavior in the comfort of their secrecy. Wall Street fraternities and the Bohemian Grove hide these misadventures today. But now as then God will trap them in their own lies and target them with destruction. The fear of God will return to the earth in that day.
Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion: and unto thee shall the vow be performed. O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come. Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away. Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple. By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea: Which by his strength setteth fast the mountains; being girded with power: Which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people. Psalm 65:1-7
God will find worshippers bringing praise to Mount Zion. To God the promise of service will be delivered, and everyone will come to the God who hears prayers. Iniquity would defeat our flesh but for God who washes them away. The mortal chosen by God is blessed to live in his courts. God will show us righteousness that is so perfect it is terrible to compare our former understanding to it.
They also that dwell in the uttermost parts are afraid at thy tokens: thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice. Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it. Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof. Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness. They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every side. The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing. Psalm 65:8-13
People of wisdom recognize the work of God in nature; the joy of morning, the life of rain, the fullness of a good harvest. It is wisdom to see God in these things and the wise celebrate the unity of the physical and spiritual blessings we have. Science can measure the assets of nature, and faith sees the signature of its author.
When we have no army against violence and no medicine against disease we have assurance against hopelessness. When crops can find no rain and when children try the foolish paths we have a resource for confidence. When we can’t bring ourselves to do the right thing we have another chance at the end of each day to be forgiven. We do not need to scientifically measure the tools of God to recognize his signature in the works that deliver us. We have a heart relationship with the God that cannot be given away nor taken away. We have a bridge between impossible physics and harmony of law and mercy in Jesus. Do you have that small measure of faith to cross an invisible bridge?