PSALMS 43:1 – 45:17 and 1 CORINTHIANS 14:1–40
Here we have another psalm of David. It is a psalm that flows well from Psalm 42. It begins with a plea to God to be judged fairly in the midst of an ungodly nation. It is important to always see God as sovereign, especially when you are ministering in a foreign nation. What man may use for evil God can turn for good. David came to know this situation on numerous occasions and yet was always able to see God bring him through. God is able to preserve and allow His favour to rest upon His own. He rules over the affairs of men. The cry of David continues in verse 2. He makes clear that God is the source of His strength but cannot understand why he is going through great opposition. He even comes to the place where he feels that God has cast him off. This is not unusual for those who are pressing into the purposes of God. The enemy is well acquainted with one’s calling and will pull all stops to prevent it from coming to pass.
David then cries out for God to send forth His light and Truth that they may be his guide (vs 3). When considering the qualifications for ruling and reigning on Zion we see the need for Truth in the heart. David had a heart for truth and understood the fruit of having it internalized within the hidden part of his life. We saw in Psalm 25:10 that all the paths of the Lord are Mercy and Truth. One of the keys in David’s life was his ability to cry out for Truth; to have a heart that was exposed to the Lord (Psa 26:2, Psa 139:22-23). The tendency in man is to hide and cover-up from truth but this was not the case with David. His cry for Light and Truth sets the precedent for those who will ascend Mt. Zion (Psa 15, 24).
David goes on to speak of the altars of God that are established after coming through a great period of difficulty. These altars serve as a reminder of God’s faithfulness and only result from seasons of challenges. In verse 5 David again has to speak to his soul. The struggle between the soul and spirit man can be intense at times. We are soulish beings that are oftentimes affected by the prevailing circumstances around us. The spirit man has to arise at such times and take the ascendancy. The classic example in David’s life concerning this struggle was when he was at Ziklag. He lost everything and was now under threat from his own men. How much worse could it get? Still, he found the means to be able to encourage himself in the Lord (1 Sam 30:6). The only way we will be able to prevail in such times is to have a love for the Word of God. We must allow the Word to get deep into our spirit and heart (Heb 4:12).
This is one of the Psalms that were written by the sons of Korah. The mantle of anointing that David had in the realm of music came upon these men who can be traced to Korah who rebelled against Moses (Num 16). It is the goodness of God in seeing how he can take the descendants of those who rebelled against Him and allow them to enter into the inheritance that their father’s refused. These sons assembled many of the Psalms that would now be used for the benefit of generations to come. In verse 1 we see the method of instruction that was often used in the conveying of truth from generation to generation. There are different ways and methods of learning as seen in these verses: 1) There is the hearing of instruction. 2) Hearing from those who can teach and speak authoritatively. 3) The teacher/pupil model. These sons of Korah will share many truths and teachings in accordance to what God spoke to Moses.
“And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” (Deu 6:7)
In verse 2 there is the recollection of what God did to the Canaanites on behalf of His people Israel. God was faithful in driving out the enemy so that His people could inherit the land. If we are walking in obedience He will not allow the enemy to prevail over us. It is God’s favour and grace that enables us to gain territory while prevailing over the enemy. The psalmist was well aware of this truth in verse 3. It is not by might or power by solely by the Spirit of God that we gain the victory (Zech 4:6). In verses 4-8 the psalmist continues to make his boast in the Lord. It is recognized that it is by the anointing that God’s people have the ascendancy over the enemy. The Apostle Paul was well aware that it was only by the grace of God that he was able to become anything for Christ (1 Cor 15:10).
The sentiment totally changes in verses 9-16. In the previous verses the psalmist was boasting and acknowledging the prowess of God. He now is lamenting their pitiful condition. This psalm is written during a time of captivity where Israel is remembering the former glory that it once enjoyed. They were shamefully treated while in captivity and can now only reflect on what once was. It is a sobering reminder for us today. Sadly, we seem to take for granted the many blessings that God has placed upon us. Israel never should have to come to a place of captivity before turning back to the Lord. It appears that history may once again repeat itself as we take stock of our current situation today.
The psalmist speaks of not forgetting the Lord even in the midst of great adversities. This is a testing time and it is here where one’s resolve is tested. Will we turn back in the day of adversity? This is what Ephraim did in the day of battle as cited in Psalm 78:9-10. They had the look of spirituality but fainted in adversity. One of the reasons was due to not having a love for the Law of God. There must be a firm resolve of sticking it out no matter how difficult things become. This is where the spirit man within us must prevail and it is only accomplished in having a love for the Word of God. In the closing verses of this Psalm we see a determination on the part of the psalmist to remember all that God had done in the past. He also seeks to rally his spirit to awaken and take up the battle against all odds. There is a timing with God and it is here when the true test can come. The enemy would love for us to believe that God has forgotten His people and that all hope has been lost. There are other psalms where the writer chooses to reflect upon God’s faithfulness in the past to rally and encourage his spirit for today. This is the hallmark of a mature saint. It is a picture of one who is not governed by soul and emotions alone. It is a picture of a man who has the ability to speak to his soul to bless the Lord and to rejoice before him at ALL TIMES!
This is a Psalm known as a Maschil which means that it is instructive in its content. It depicts a love relationship very similar to that which is seen in the Song of Solomon. It speaks of the relationship between Solomon and the greater King the Lord Jesus Christ. It also serves as a picture of the future relationship between the Lord Jesus Christ and His bride the church. In verse 1 we see the reflections and joys of a meditative heart. It can be likened to the words that David expressed when he viewed the majestic night sky in Psalm 8. The beauty and awesomeness of God cannot be contained and its only means of release and expression is through the pen of a ready writer. This is why it is important for us as believers to commit to some means of recording such encounters with God. The contemplative approach to God helps to break discouragement and hopelessness. He is a God of great wonder and majesty and it is humbling when considering that such a great God would even take notice of people like ourselves.
The psalmist becomes even more captivated at the beauty of the Lord in verse 2. He sees a picture of abundant grace being poured into His lips making him far more worthy than mortal man. He is the lily of the valley; the bright and morning star of creation. There is no one who can be compared to Him. In verses 3-5 we see another picture of the Lord. He is a majestic warrior girded for battle with Truth and Meekness. Who can stand against Him? Here we have a picture of what the 2nd coming of the Lord will be like. We also have a picture of the authority and power that is vested in the Word of God.
The Lord is the Living Word and there is nothing that can stand in the way of His Truth. We are called to be like Joshua of old who first yielded to the sword in His own life before wielding the sword throughout the land of their inheritance. These verses help to provide keys in how we can live a victorious life. There is Truth coupled with Meekness which are both essential ingredients in the life of a believer. A person who has the fruit of meekness is one who has yielded all their rights and privileges to the master. They do not live for themselves but live for the one who is worthy. The description above is not just meant for the Lord but for those who will be seated with Him in heavenly places; those who will accompany Him at the time of his return when he conquers over His foes. As we behold His beauty we should seek to become more like Him.
The throne of God is established forever. He is a king and we as believers have the call to be both priests and kings unto the most-high God (Rev 5:10). It is not a right but it is a calling that is afforded to all provided we seek after Truth and Meekness. This is one of the dangers in the teachings seen in churches today; the assumption that all believers are automatically kings and priests. We are called to become kings and priests which involves a process of obedience and being yielded to God.
The essence of True Christianity can be summed up in verse 7. Here you find no middle ground. One either has a love for God and His righteousness or a hatred for the things that are wicked and contrary to God. We see this same “no middle ground” exhortation in the Book of Revelation. The Laodicean church had the warning given to be either hot and on fire for the Lord or to be cold against Him. There was no room for middle ground. At the conclusion of Revelation you have the characterization of two different streams; one that leads unto righteousness and holiness while another traversing in the direction of wickedness and unrighteousness. There seems to be a time when man is able to straddle between both streams but that day and season has passed. If we seek to have it both ways we will find ourselves becoming more absorbed into the world’s system. In our drawing closer to God we come to know the things that please Him in contrast to the things which are an affront to Him. Will we choose to align ourselves accordingly? The more we learn to walk in the light the more we come to the place of having to make decisions which reflect what is in our heart. Do our choices reflect that which please the heart of God? It is important to come to the place of embracing the light and Truth. This will help ensure that we come to the place of making right choices. If we love and embrace Truth we will have spiritual garments that reflect the temperance and humility portrayed in verse 8. What a contrast these garments provide in light of the spirit and culture seen in today’s world.
The attention now focuses upon the bride in the closing verses of this beautiful Psalm. The preparation of the bride is emphasized and we see hints of her qualities that will compose the heavenly bride of Rev 19:8. It is an inner work of righteousness that has been produced. One of the keys and points of emphasis in this Psalm is the requirement of leaving our father’s house and letting go of earthly ties. There have been so many tragedies through the years that we have witnessed where this break and separation could not be made. This was one of the problems with Abram in the initial stages of his ministry. He could not make separation from his kindred and as a result nearly lost everything in Egypt (Gen 12). There has to be a willingness to let go of family ties if we are to be counted worthy of being His bride. This does not mean foolishly dismissing or not honouring our loved ones. It simply means that our pursuit of God must be one that does not allow family or earthly ties to hold us back. God must be put first.
1 Cor 14
Now that Paul has established the importance of love and how love must be at the foundation of that all is done he goes on to speak about the usage of some of the spiritual gifts. He recognizes how these gifts can be easily abused resulting in their being a reproach to the church as opposed to being gifts of edification. It is for this reason that many today shun the gifts seen at Pentecost. The wild atmosphere seen in the Corinthian church has been duplicated in many recent moves of God. Paul in this chapter goes to great lengths to validate the gifts and to make clear their function in helping to build up the body of Christ. If love is at the core then the gifts have the means to flow out in a way that both builds up the body while serving as a witness to the unbeliever. Paul is going to zero in specifically on the gifts of prophesy and the speaking in other tongues. If there is not order when these gifts are on display there will be chaos but when they flow through the facilitating of the Holy Spirit there is no limit in what God can do and speak. The Holy Spirit will help ensure that the gifts that are given are stewarded well in their usage.
Why does God give gifts in the first place? We must see the gifts as having a purpose and function. We can see from the very beginning of creation that God loves to communicate with man. This was one of the blessings that Adam enjoyed with God before the fall. How is it possible for an eternal, self-existent God to be able to communicate with mortal man? Why would God desire to have such a relationship with man? God uses man to communicate truth to one another for the purpose of strengthening and building the overall body of Christ. A Word of God can be quickened either through the Word, an impression or thought that can have serve as an immediate benefit to another person. You will find this too often be the case in a church setting or prayer presbytery.
It is important at such times to make sure there is order and that there are mature believers who can help judge and assess what has been shared. Let me share a personal example which had a great impact upon me. I was in a church service in Bangalore, India in 2004. There was a guest speaker who was visiting in the church who moved in the prophetic realm. He called me up front and began to speak prophetic words over my life. Several of the things mentioned were quite specific so I was sure to note them down. The words had no immediate application but over the years each of them has come to pass in dramatic ways. There is one unfulfilled word from this prophesy that has yet to come to pass but my faith is heightened seeing how God brought the other items to pass. I was very sure to write down what was shared and to make opportunity to go back and rehearse them. This service from over 11 years ago had a great impact upon me and even today serves as a great source of strength. This is an example of what prophesy can do. This is what Paul is aiming for in his message to the Corinthian’s. They were giving prophesy and the gifts a bad name due to their immaturity as believers but they are not to be avoided nor shunned. This is one of the ways where the body of Christ learns dependence and appreciation for one another. The Holy Spirit is the administrator so it makes sense to yield ourselves to His person so that He can communicate and effectuate the plan of God for our lives and for our churches.
Paul also speaks on the issue of speaking in other tongues. This is a subject that is often misunderstood and abused. Perhaps the best way to look at the Speaking in other tongues is to see it as the language of the Holy Spirit. It is a beautiful way in which He can communicate the mind of God through human channels who do not limit Him by their own understanding. When we speak in other tongues we are by-passing our intellect and thoughts. This allows the Holy Spirit the ability to have full expression of intent through vessels that would otherwise hinder the flow.
The gift of tongues can edify and build up a believer, a church or be a means of God being able to communicate to unbelievers. There is no limit to what God can speak through human channels when directed by the administering person of the Holy Spirit. A quick Old Testament example should help clarify this point. The founder of Babylon (Babel) was a man by the name of Nimrod. He was a man of great influence and had ability to rally all men to a cause. His power was in his ability to communicate effectively. He is a type of the antichrist who will come on the scene in the last days. His persuasion was so strong that he rallied a people to construct a tower that would reach the heavens for the purpose of challenging God and becoming as gods (Gen 11:1-6). Their power was so strong that even God said that there is nothing that can be restrained from them (Gen 11:6). How then did God break their power? He dispersed them by giving them different tongues. Here is the origin of different languages or other tongues. We then see the reverse of this at Pentecost at the birthing of the early church. There were men and women gathered who were together in unity, in one accord. It was in that atmosphere of unity and order where the Holy Spirit was able to come upon them. How then did they go forth and effectuate Jerusalem, Samaria and the outer parts of the known world? It was through other tongues under the administration and leadership of the Holy Spirit. Can you see the exact reversal of what happened at Babel? Can we see how important this subject is as we approach the destruction of both mystery and natural Babylon in the coming days ahead? When there is order the gifts of the Holy Spirit serves a powerful function. If there is immaturity and the mind set of doing our own thing without accountability there will be chaos; the church and the gift will suffer reproach. The Apostle Paul has been very systematic in his approach on this subject. He is first dealing with them as spiritual babes and challenging them to grow up and mature. He now demonstrates the potential that exists if they come to know the power of true love and out of that love allow the flowing of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.