PSALMS 19:1 – 21:13 and 1 CORINTHIANS 6:1–20
This is one of my favourite Psalms of all time for a number of reasons. The primary reason is due to a song that is taken word from word from verses 7-10. The first time I heard this song I was moved to tears due to the anointing and power behind its meaning. The recording was from a summer camp meeting heard on an old cassette tape but its potency still resides within me. The background of this Psalm sees David in a period of rest from His enemies. He has opportunity to bask in the goodness of God. He speaks with a great reverence the love that he has for God’s Law and His ways. We can assume that David penned this after his ascending of Zion and establishing the Tabernacle of Praise (Tabernacle of David). It would have been before his sin with Bathsheba. It helps to portray a picture of what the millennial reign of Christ will look like.
In verses 1-6 David gives a beautiful picture of Christ as the bridegroom; a man who runs with purpose like a strong man in a race. It is a picture of Christ as He would later make His way to Jerusalem in going to the Cross as well as the Christ of the Millennium. We also see the meditative attributes of David as he ponders the night sky (vs 2). This is one of the keys to his intimacy with God. We saw this earlier in Psalm 8. To get lost in contemplative thought over God’s creation helps an individual’s capacities to be enlarged to a greater level of intimacy with Him. The beauty of creation is often overlooked in our day to day business and yet there is so much that can be gleaned and learned in taking time to stop and admire His handiwork.
David’s meditative capacities now turn in the direction of God’s Law and His Commandments (vs 7-10). The song that comes from these verses reflects this attitude of heart. David was not the only one who meditated on the Law of God. Joshua was told to mediate upon God’s law for in doing so would come forth good success (Josh 1:8). Solomon instructed his audience to meditate upon the law day and night which would then help a person be established on a good foundation (Psa 1:1-3). David saw God’s Law, His commandments, His statutes and the Fear of the Lord as treasures that far exceeded gold. What is our treasure; what is that which fills and consumes our heart? Remember, David had a heart that sought after the heart of God. We hear much today about being New Covenant Christians; what does that mean? The New Covenant is defined as follows:
Jer 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
I think it is safe to say that David would qualify as a New Covenant believer. He recognized the value of God’s law in its ability to transform and change him. He recognized the treasure of the Fear of the Lord as that which helped to maintain intimacy with God. In the big picture these qualities have far more enduring value than gold, which tends to be man’s ultimate pursuit. David can then pray and cry out to be cleansed from secret faults (vs 12). How many people put forward that kind of prayer? This attitude of heart also prompts the cry of being kept back from presumptuous sins for in doing so he will be deemed as innocent from the great transgression (vs 13). This is a beautiful Psalm of David ruling and reigning upon Zion. Still, in spite of his love for God’s law and his ways we will see a period of great transgression that will come his way. In a sense God is going to answer his prayer of verse 12 where he calls upon God to cleanse him from secret faults (sins). Though his sin will be a grievous one he will find forgiveness and restoration and in the end be declared innocent from the great transgression (vs 13). David presents to us a type of Christ but he is still a man; yet he is a man who had a heart that God could work with, a heart that is on clear display in this psalm.
This is another Psalm written when David was preparing for battle during his initial reign upon Mt. Zion. It was a song that was sung by the congregation to encourage David as he prepared to go forth to war. The people understood that David and Israel would not be successful unless the Lord fought on their behalf. The congregation could not sing such a song unless they were instructed well. David set the standard. They were able to observe his approach in bringing the Ark into Jerusalem and ultimately unto Zion. I believe this is true for any of us as we have had opportunity to learn and benefit from those who have gone before. This is why we must always be seeking to serve as an example for others, particularly the generations to come. We see the term “the name of the Lord” mentioned a few times in this psalm. This is essential in our growing relationship with God. We are acquainted with his name of healer and provider (Rapha and Jireh). They can only be fully appreciated when we are sick or infirmed or in need of provision. The congregation was echoing the thought of how people put trust in chariots and horses but we are a people who put trust in the name of the Lord; The Lord of Hosts. What is amazing to me in this psalm is how well trained the people were. This is a very mature congregational song that has been arranged. It is interesting to note that the people make reference to the offerings that had been presented to the Lord on previous occasions and that God would grant His counsel to be fulfilled.
In reading through this psalm we get instruction in how we can pray for missionaries going forth or for our leaders when they are ministering in other places or nations. The church needs to be behind this effort. Psalm 20 is a wonderful template in how a sending church should be postured when it comes to ambassadorial work whether it is missions or some sort of outreach. It requires a maturity amongst the congregants which would then reflect upon the quality of leadership. There is a real attraction in seeing the reign of David as king and priest upon Mt. Zion. It is important to study these recent Psalms 15, 19 and 20 as they help to us to see what the qualifications are for ruling upon Mt. Zion as well as the benefits and glory that comes with this privilege.
This psalm is a continuation of the previous psalm (Psa 20). One can sense the connection from those who were going forth to battle as opposed to those who stayed behind. This is as it should be. We must be watchful of a disconnect that can creep into our churches. We become fixated to our appointed tasks resulting in a certain obliviousness to what others are doing, especially when involved in outside work. These psalms convey a strong sense of ownership amongst the congregation around Zion. The early years of David’s reign upon Zion needs to be examined closely. It was a season of Rest from their enemies with an abiding abundant joy upon Zion. God was in their midst and all was glorious.
In verse 3-13 we have one of those dual applications that is often seen in God’s Word. There was a fulfilment that was seen in David but there is a greater fulfilment that will be seen in Christ in His triumph at the Cross and at the time of the 2nd coming. How do we come to know what the heavenly Father is like? Jesus answered this question by making the following statement:
Joh 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
Jesus said that by observing His life and how He lived the disciples would come to know the Father. Jesus was not the Father but He was an expressed image of the Father (Col 1:15, 3:10). David is not Christ but he gives a powerful portrayal of what the reign of Christ will be like during the millennium. Antiochus Epiphanes IV is not the antichrist but he gives a powerful illustration as to his person and what he will be like (Dan 11:21-32). This psalm has a direct application to David and his day but it actually gives a more powerful projection of the Lord at the time of the 2nd coming. This psalm closes with a beautiful harmonizing of both the King and the Congregation. In closing this psalm it may help to provide a side by side application of what it was like in David’s day while upon Zion and what it will be like at the time of the 2nd coming. Hopefully, it will help to spur us on that we may one day partake of such a company.
Psa 21:13 Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power.
Rev 19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
1 Cor 6
Paul is going to address the subject of judgment and how it needs to properly administered. They were making a mockery of judgment concerning themselves and it was ending up as a reproach before the world. He shames them by illustrating how the world looks upon them and their methods of internal justice. Who would want to look to the church to solve problems when there is no ability to keep their own house in order? Paul then quickly makes the point that the church will have the responsibility and privilege of judging angels (vs 2). If they cannot manage the simplest issues among themselves how would they be able to function in this capacity? Paul has a way of driving home his point. He fleshes out their immaturity regarding judgment and then presents the call to the church to judge angels. Suffice it to say he was getting their attention.
In verse 1 Paul goes right to the heart of the matter. How dare you take a brother or sister before the court of law. What will be the people’s impression of Christianity if this is the behaviour observed amongst the “so called” spiritual ones? Is this not one of the reasons why Christianity has lost its sense of witness? Where is the reality of brotherly love? Since the mid 1980’s there have been a myriad of church related scandals that have made headlines. There were already plenty of church cynics in place but this has added more fuel and ammunition to their fire. Now this does not excuse any of the cynics or people who have been turned off but there is no denying that the lack of a true witness has played a contributing factor. One of the big issues plaguing the church today is in the area of divorce. The sad fact is that many married (Christian) couples now turn to the world for advice and counsel. Think of it! The world now becomes the solution for problems in the church. This Corinthian issue has a modern day counterpart.
God has intended the church to be a place of judgment. If there is a call upon the saints to judge the world (vs 2) and angels (vs 3) we can then assume it has the capacity to judge matters within itself. The Bible makes clear that the church and its saints will have the authority to judge spiritual principalities and powers (Psa 149:7-9). This privilege will be given to those who allow God to bring judgment first into their own lives. We must first be clean ourselves before wielding authority in the Spirit.
One of the presiding roles of a high priest is that of a judge. The church and its qualified leadership need to execute right judgment in matters of controversy. This is clearly seen in the esteemed “Zadok Priesthood”:
Eze 44:24 And in controversy they shall stand in judgment; and they shall judge it according to my judgments: and they shall keep my laws and my statutes in all mine assemblies; and they shall hallow my sabbaths.
This is a priesthood that esteems God’s laws and ways more than the whims of people. They establish their congregations and their judgments on what God says. Jesus Himself made clear that we shall be judges but He quickly added that we were to “judge righteous judgment” (Joh 7:24).
In verses 9-10 Paul is very clear about what happens to believers who continue in sin. This message is becoming increasingly lost in much of Christianity today. Paul is speaking to believers, not to the lost! What is taking place today is a redefining of God’s love so as to accommodate the ever changing values of society. Why do you think the world’s value system seems to be changing by the day? It is because the church is allowing it; bit by bit the moral absolutes of God’s Word are being redesigned by a newly appointed “priestly elite” who ultimately cater to the ways of people more than to the ways of God. The 44th chapter of Ezekiel summarizes these contrasting groups of priests rather well (Eze 44:12, 23).
In verses 12-13 Paul addresses the subject of appetites. He seems to link an excessive appetite for food with an appetite for the sensual as seen in verse 13. This does not mean that a heavy eater is automatically categorized as a fornicator but there is something to be said concerning ones inordinate appetite. If one has no power over his flesh in managing and tempering his natural intake for food what then is to temper his fleshly appetite for the sensual. We must always be mindful that our bodies belong to the Lord. Paul will thread this warning concerning fornication into the next few verses as he introduces the thought of our union to Christ being likened to marriage (vs 16-17). The thought of two becoming one in marriage is more than just the union of two physical bodies but it is also a union of two (human) spirits. If such a person is a fornicator he or she then opens themselves up to others which will result in all sorts of emotional and physical distress. Christ desires to be at one with us; that we may become His bride. He paid the price; He died and purchased our redemption. Paul is heightening the revelation of who we are and what we are called to. How is it then that the church allows petty issues to get in the way of the opportunities that God has made available. Paul is sharing these things to their shame; he is seeking to get their attention to see just how carnal they really are. They will see for themselves how far away they are from what could be and it is Paul’s hope that his letter will help steer them into the right direction. Their first test will be in the area of judgment. The following verse has stuck with me since my very early days as a believer; it will be examined in a bit more detail later:
1Co 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.