PSALMS 31:1 – 33:22 and 1 CORINTHIANS 10:1–33
This psalm should be of help and comfort to those who may have sinned and subsequently feel distanced and removed from God’s presence. David wrote this psalm during the period of Absalom’s rebellion (2 Sam 15). The rebellion of Absalom is one of the fruits of David’s sin of adultery and murder. David had been forgiven but there are heavy and sincere consequences. He feels alone and isolated and now his only hope is in putting his trust in the Lord. The Lord Himself would later come to know of this same experience. He accepted (chose) the cup in becoming sin for us. What was it really like for Jesus when He actually became sin? Did he feel and taste of its ugliness; were the compulsions of man’s struggle with temptation and alienation from God part of His torment? Jesus willingly became sin for us and it was during that time when there was that alienation from the loving gaze of the heavenly Father. He now became the object of everything the Father disdained and hated. Jesus while on the Cross even felt moments of being forsaken (Math 27:46). David actually tastes some of this himself. He is a type of Christ and he is now enduring much of what Christ would later go through. David even came to know the anguish and reproach of a betrayer.
Psa 41:9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. (2 Sam 15:12)
David is referring here to Ahithophel who was once a faithful counsellor who served alongside him. Ahithophel changed allegiances to Absalom soon after the time of David’s sin. There are many similarities that can be drawn from the lives of Christ and David in their respective painful season. Jesus chose to become sin because it was the only way He could become the eternal sacrificial lamb; David was in sin due to his choosing to disobey God’s laws regarding adultery and murder. This distinction between David and Christ must be very clear.
In verse 2 David could make strong statements about God bowing down His ear to hear his cry, to be delivered in His righteousness. This is because God had pardoned David for his sin (2 Sam 12). This was not something that could be presumed. There is a careless theology that is promoted today that says that all of our future sins have already been forgiven. This is absolutely not true! Yes, the atonement of Christ was a once for all sacrifice but there is an appropriation of the blood that needs to be made by faith as we learn to walk in the light as He is in the light (1 John 1:7. We cannot presume that our sins are automatically forgiven after we sin. They need to be brought to the light and to the throne of grace in repentance of heart. God is a faithful and true God; one who is long-suffering towards His people and abundant in mercy. He is ever longing to forgive but it must never ever be taken for granted.
The enemy is crafty and we see this on display through Absalom, David’s son. He is a picture and type of the antichrist that will be seen in the last days. We need to take notice how he seeks to steal the people by speaking subtly to their hearts (2 Sam 15:4-6). He knew how to send spies out throughout the land in ways to further his influence. This was a most difficult time for David and understanding the background of this Psalm helps us to appreciate its thrust.
It is a psalm that should encourage those who are going through intense difficulties. The enemy works very hard at such times and this requires on our part the rising up of the spiritual man. You find many people today who come under extreme condemnation due to sin and not living as they should. David was an adulterer and murderer, a man who had tremendous light and one who reigned upon Mt. Zion for a season in the presence of God. Yet, God was merciful and forgave David of his sin. He had a tender heart and was able to acknowledge his wrongdoing when TRUTH confronted him. If we learn to love and embrace Truth we will come into a greater intimacy with God and we will come to know the Power of His Love in ways never previously known. It will serve as a catalyst for change in our lives giving us the assurance of forgiveness and the strength to live a life that is pleasing unto God.
This is a teaching psalm of David. The term “Maschil” denotes an instructive and teaching emphasis. This psalm has special meaning for me due to a personal incident that occurred in early 1983. I was putting effort into the study of God’s Word and I felt my life taking a whole new direction. There was a day when there was a personal lapse resulting in my coming under condemnation. I truly felt grieved in my Spirit and took the matter to prayer. As I was praying I was led to Psalm 32 and it came alive in a powerful way. I literally felt and experienced the forgiveness and removal of my sin. It was real and not something that I neither claimed nor presumed. It is not a Psalm that I have ever thought to take for granted since that time as well. The power of that experience never left me. It was more than just a hope of being forgiven because it is in the Bible it was a real EXPERIENCE.
Once again this Psalm was penned after David’s Sin with Bathsheba. He bore the fruits of true repentance and as a result found the forgiveness and putting away of his sin by God. This is a profound teaching that helps to serve as a foundational anchor in Paul’s writing to the Romans (Rom 4:6-8). The purpose of trials is often for the purpose of being brought to the place of acknowledging sin which David did (vs 5). It must be acknowledged and confessed.
1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
As we meditate and reflect upon this Psalm it helps to shed further light from other such psalms that are familiar to us. The background helps us to appreciate more of what is taking place. We sing songs like “Create in me a Clean Heart” which speaks of this particular period in David’s Life. He did not want to lose that sense of God’s presence in having the Holy Spirit taken away from him. This is what the anointing of the Spirit of the Lord is all about. It is a conscience awareness of His presence at all times and the knowledge of knowing when we grieve His heart. In verse 6 we understand why David had this intense desire; he understood that God limited a day (Psa 95:8-11). Though our God is a merciful and forgiving God we must never take His presence for granted. He does limit a day and an opportunity. If we have the kind of heart that David is exhibiting here we should be in a position to hear his voice and leading. We must have the ability to both hear and obey God’s voice.
David knew well the abiding place that existed in God. He knew the security and Rest that came by abiding in Zion. David is in trouble here due to his transgression but he does know the forgiveness and protection of God due to His reigning for a season upon Mt. Zion. David is even able to speak of the future role and ministry of the Holy Spirit in being able to guide and direct his path. He also saw the Holy Spirit in His ability to guide into all truth. Jesus spoke of this quality of the Holy Spirit in John 16:13. There is an ease that the Lord is seeking in learning how to respond to His voice. Horses and mules need to be dragged by bits and bridles and sad to say many Christians are not much different. Sadder still, some are so stubborn that they turn deaf ears to the Lord’s voice. We are living in days where the Lord is speaking but who can hear? It is so easy to get caught up in our daily affairs which can result in our missing an opportunity. There is another danger that David mentions and that is the sorrows that many will experience in the last days. The sorrow can be due to getting the desire of our heart through being overly persistent. Can you see how tragic in the end this could be when we find out their desire was not necessarily God’s? This is going to be one of the ways in how the church will divide in the last days. The last verse is another one of those songs I used to sing in my old charismatic days. It did have a thrust of joy and I feel it now as I write. This Psalm has real meaning for me at a personal level due to its application in my own life.
One will notice that this psalm does not have a title so the author is not known. It is a Psalm that gives absolute glory and splendour to God. It does not speak of an event in a person’s life but rather points solely towards God and His majesty. In verses 1-3 there is an exhortation to praise the Lord with song and instruments. This manner of praise allows for an expression of one giving unto the Lord the glory due his name. It is more than words; it’s a song coupled with an instrument that is anointed that gives a sound to the Lord that the words of man cannot replicate. The creative power of Words has a power behind them that is not natural. This unnamed psalmist had an enhanced revelation of God. He knew of His ways as we see an emphasis on righteousness, goodness and Truth. It is similar to the revelation that Moses had when he was able to be exposed to God upon Mt. Sinai.
Whosever this psalmist was he was very much like Moses in his ability to know God in such a way. We also see similarities of expression that we saw in Job and Elihu (vs 7-8). This psalmist had a revelation of the Lord of hosts and His ability to triumph over all enemies. This psalmist could have well been David as we see many similar expressions concerning the God who looketh down from heaven (Psa 8). The issue is not who the Psalmist is but the revelation of God that is conveyed. This Psalm is all about God and His majesty. It can be likened to a worship service that is void of all distractions. This psalm could be likened to many songs of a worship and praise service that has God as its sole aim. We know this to be the objective of any song service but honestly we often find our minds scattered all over the place. This psalm sets the template in how a worship service should be conducted; there are a myriad of songs coupled with an intentional dedicated focus to the worship of the one who is worthy. If we allow this psalm to apprehend us it may well position us to be like those who sing the song of the lamb in eternity.
Rev 4:10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
Rev 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
1 Cor 10
When reading the writings of Paul we see him as an avid student of the Old Testament. He is going to make a direct application from the example of Israel as they journeyed from Egypt through the wilderness. The problems and stumbling blocks that plagued Israel are many of the same problems that are confronting the Corinthians. How many times does it need to be said in seeing how history repeats itself? If we could learn this lesson and apply it we would be spared such heartache and setbacks. In verses 1-6 Paul gives a brief review of Israel’s experience after being set free from Egypt. They all had the same opportunities but many of them failed of the grace of God. The wilderness was allowed by God to test and see what was really in their hearts (Deu 8:2). Let’s be very clear; God will allow for such testing’s to come our way because it is through them that the heart is revealed. Today’s church really needs a good dose of perspective and understanding in some of the ways that the Lord operates. He does give some indicators through His Word and it is His will for us to discover them (Math 13:45-46). This is another reason why we should never diminish or dismiss the Old Testament because the Lord uses it to help give instruction to the church. Their lives certainly cannot measure up to the technological and comfortable living arrangements that we enjoy today nonetheless the human heart condition continues to be consistent. If the church would take a careful and contemplative journey through the Book of Deuteronomy and seek to implement its message our world and the church would be a totally different place. In fact, this is exactly what we should do because the one who was given the Law at Mt. Sinai is again coming to the earth along with Elijah as one of the Two Witnesses (Rev 11).
In verses 7-11 we see a brief history of what Israel was guilty of and each one could be applied to the Corinthians. They (Israel) were first and foremost idolaters, (vs 7) they played church much like Israel did under Aaron at the foot of Mt. Sinai (Exo 32:1-6) and they were complainers who majored on never being thankful. These were issues that Paul had to address at Corinth. One of the primary problems with the Corinthians was their human wisdom and pride (vs 12). It is a similar condition one sees with the church of the last days which is characterized by Laodicea (Rev 3:17). We must not be deceived with the sin of self-reliance; it is pride and it suppresses God in lieu of man. It is the embodiment of the evil one.
Paul then quickly goes to the subject of their idolatry and for the need to flee far from it (vs 14). Paul then speaks concerning the communion of Christ; emphasizing as to how all are one bread as part of the body of Christ. Paul wants to make clear the responsibility that each member brings to the overall body of Christ. The people cannot go off to do their own thing; they are accountable and responsible for one another. The sins of the people prevented those who were upright from entering into the promise. We should think about what it would be like if one of us were responsible for holding everyone from going on. The sin of one man (Achan) affected all of Israel. This truth especially comes alive when God is moving mightily. These Old Testament examples must become more than just Bible stories they must be seen as instructional warnings for us. What they did the Corinthians were doing and what they did is being done today as well. Our responsibility is so much greater seeing that we have been bestowed with great light.
Paul will be speaking on the communion table in the next chapter but you can see how he is already preparing the way. He wants the Corinthians to begin to seek after other men’s welfare as opposed to their own (vs 24). It is the Lord’s earth and it is for His pleasure. If we can grasp this and see how blessed we are in being created after His image and given the opportunity to work cooperatively with Him it would change our focus. Paul saw this and was trying to convey this awesome reality to his audience. Paul speaks on the subject of how to respond when offered food that has been sacrificed to idols. One of the keys here is to not ask questions as to the source of where certain foods came from (vs 27). We can easily get overly suspicious to a fault. If we know that a food has been offered to an idol and it may cause someone else to stumble in your eating of it then abstain from doing so. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness of it and we need to be able to receive all things with thanksgiving. There may be times when we need to exercise wisdom because food offered to idols can have a power behind them. We pray God’s blessing and cleansing of food before partaking and then let our conscience be at rest. If something is not to be eaten then we need to believe that the Holy Spirit will enable us to properly discern. God’s Word is not limited and we need to trust the Holy Spirit as the teacher and instructor of Truth to guide the people. If we have a hunger for His Word we will not be given a stone (Math 7:9). The key is having an all-out hunger and thirst after righteousness so that we can be those who experience the blessing of being filled.