PSALMS 58:1 – 60:12 and 2 CORINTHIANS 2:1–17
It seems that David is speaking to the hypocrites; those who have the appearance of spirituality yet inwardly are workers of wickedness. This can be cleverly veiled for a time but the day comes when the true colors show forth. It is very clear that the Lord has little tolerance for hypocrisy as seen in His many disputes with the Pharisees and religious groups of His day. It is on the subject of judgement where we must be very careful. How important it is to let judgement first begin in our own house or our own lives (1 Pet 4:17). This is why a true priest has authority; he has allowed the law of God to be established first in his own heart. He then has the ability to effectively judge others and at times assume responsibility for the sins of the people. This is not the case in this Psalm. They use earthly scales when weighing and meting out judgement.
All one has to do is to look at the corrupt justice system in the USA. The scales of righteous justice have been perverted due to an underlying root of wickedness. The result of such a system is that there is wickedness seen in some children at the time of birth (vs 3). These children are birthed from a corrupt seed resulting in a future plunge towards lying and deceit. This is different from what David said in Psalm 51:5 where he states that he was shapen in iniquity. We are all born into sin due to Adam’s transgression but there are those who have the unfortunate reality of being estranged from the womb. The sin at work at the time of conception can actually have that kind of impact. David goes on to describe the fruit of their wickedness by likening them to a serpent who spreads its poison to others. This is the potential danger when a minister or congregation is corrupt. The seed that is sown can poison the flock resulting in untold damage. How many congregations are being led astray by wrong teachings coming forth from pulpits? On the surface the teaching may sound good and have an appeal but where is it taking people? This is a primary question that should always be asked.
In verses 6-9 David cries out to God to break their teeth and power. The Apostle Peter warns about the enemy as being like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet 5:8). David likens these men to young lions whose teeth need to be broken. He prays that he enemy’s attempts would be frustrated as he seeks to attack God’s people and that his power would be broken in pieces (vs 7). David even becomes more descriptive concerning the wicked; being likened to a child who is premature in his birth and dies. It is an interesting prayer of judgement when you consider one of the primary sins of today’s world. (abortion)
David now turns his attention to the righteous in the closing verses (vs 10-11). It is a picture of the 2nd coming of Christ when He comes to establish His kingdom upon the earth. It is important for us to read and understand what the Bible says concerning the last days. Sad to say many Christians do not have a conception of what will take place in the end of days. This is one of the problems with the teaching on “Kingdom Now” theology. It promotes a kind of kingdom that simply will not exist as advertised at the time of the 2nd coming. It is not a Biblical Kingdom but a well presented alternative that circumvents the truth. Christ is coming for a bride who is adorned and made ready. It is a bride, a company that will ride alongside Christ with great rejoicing at the trouncing of the wicked. We are to live a life that is well pleasing to God and seek to be salt and light in the places where God has planted us. The kind of judgement that will be seen in the days ahead will serve as a witness to others that there is a righteous judge in the earth after all. May we be men and women of righteousness in these last days; a people that will exhibit a powerful witness of the triumphant Christ.
There are several Psalms that allude to the period when David was fleeing from Saul. This is another one of them. There were times when the enemy was pursuing after David due to his sin and transgression and times when there seemed to be no outright purpose. In his early years David found himself constantly on the run from Saul. Why was David targeted, what was the reason for the enemy’s interest in his life? His problem seem to come to the forefront when people were attributing greater success too David then to Saul. The spirit of envy and jealousy began to consume Saul. How did Saul find himself in this position? It was primarily due to disobedience. It started when he assumed the role of a priest in Samuel’s absence (1 Sam 13). He did this when he began to lose the support of the people. This indicates one of his flaws in that he had to maintain the favour and support of the people. In short, he was more concerned in what people thought than what God thought. In fact, God Himself pointed this out to Saul through Samuel the prophet.
“But now they kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord hath commanded thee.” (1 Sam 13:14)
We must remember that David was not yet on the radar screen when this word was given to Saul. He continued as king and was given an opportunity to execute God’s judgement upon the Amalekites. Once again he failed to follow through on God’s commandment on such a critical matter. Saul’s failure was highlighted to him in the following verse:
“…Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” (1 Sam 15:22)
Knowing a bit of the background concerning Saul helps to give a better understanding why he is violently disposed towards David. This is how the spirit of envy can gain an entrance into a life. The trigger point seemed to come when the praises to David became higher than Saul’s. The fruits of disobedience to God are bitter indeed. David at this time is suffering due to his life finding favour at the expense of a man who has lost the anointing. This is the root issue with Lucifer and the church who is called to bride of Christ. Lucifer lost his position and is now taking vengeance against the church who seeks to become the bride, the church who is finding favour and blessing in its love for Christ. David’s scenario is a window into a much greater battle.
In verses 1-4 David looks to God to deliver him from the workers of iniquity. He makes mention that they are doing these things due to no fault of his own (vs 3-4). David looks to God for his vengeance to be poured out upon the heathen without mercy. It is later interesting to note that David will have an opportunity to execute final vengeance upon his primary nemesis only to spare his life. David came to the place of seeing Saul as being appointed by God and therefore withstood taking his life when he had the opportunity. He learns much through this period of fleeing in his life.
David sees that the Lord ultimately laughs at such attempts from the enemy. He also has the sense that God will preserve him in any situation. He certainly has had vast experience in this area through the years. David later remarks that he will sing of God’s power, noting his mercies in the morning and His preserving strength throughout the day. When looking upon this Psalm let’s not just see it as one involving Saul and David; it is a picture of Satan’s jealousy and envy against the church. We wrestle not against flesh and blood and it will be the church, through Christ that will execute ultimate vengeance upon its foe. Do we recognize God’s appointed Saul’s that may exist in our own lives?
David had to deal with many differing issues during his lifetime and one of them was problems that came from within how own ranks. Joab was a mighty warrior who wrought great victories for David but he was not tempered. Sometimes there will be fallout due to the actions of those who may be associated with us. You can see this in many accounts throughout scripture. Remember what Levi and Simeon did to Shechem over the matter of their sister Dinah? Their actions caused Jacob many problems. It is another device the enemy will seek to exploit in a leader, to find areas of vulnerability that he can take advantage of.
David looks to the Lord to once again turn His face upon them. He is calling upon God to help heal any breaches that may have been caused in this matter. The truth is not always to acknowledge and appropriate because it gets to the root of issues. The people have been shown hard things, things perhaps that have been difficult to reconcile. This is oftentimes true in our lives when we are going through periods of uncertainty. It can be difficult making sense of situations. It is in such times where we need to respond as David did here. To call upon him for mercy and to know that we come before a God who places emphasis on Truth (vs 4). We are familiar with the verse in knowing the Truth and being set free by it (John 8:32). This requires a continuing of the study of His Word in order to be His disciples and experience the benefits of His mercy (John 8:31).
There is deliverance and protection in the Holy Place and holy of Holies of Moses Tabernacle. It is here where the voice of the Lord is heard (vs 6).There are many references in scripture where God speaks of protection and preservation. In the Outer Court there is no covering of the garments of protection. It is sobering to think of the number of Christians who have never progressed in their Christian walk but have settled for serving God on their terms. Perhaps the verse that sums up the matter best is Zepheniah 2:3.
“Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgement; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.”
Do we understand the fruit of meekness and its cost? Do we have the ability to see God at work in every situation? This is one of the qualities we see in David in all of his ordeals. Do we accept the circumstances that God may allow to be brought before us? Are we those who have a love for righteousness? This is far more than the imputed righteousness of Christ received at salvation. Jesus Himself exhorted us to hunger and thirst after righteousness that we might be filled. It is regrettable in seeing many of the doctrines being taught today veering away from this truth. As this Psalm progresses one can see how David was able to see a bigger picture in the midst of his foes. He saw Moab as not just an enemy but as a wash pot. As David continued in his journeys you can see his realization of an unfolding revelation of a bigger picture. This is why the familiar verses from Psalm 23 can bring such comfort and encouragement. David walked through this experience. He can see how God was preparing a table before him in the midst of his enemies. Do we see the benefit of such a perspective (Psa 23:5)? He closes this psalm with another famous charismatic chorus we used to sing. It is through our God where we shall do valiantly and have the privilege of treading down our enemy. Jesus defeated Satan at the Cross yet he still exists and he still does damage. Why is this allowed? Could it be that God wants to give you and I the same opportunity; to be able to triumph over our enemies through God? The answer is yes and we want to seek to avail of all God’s mercy and grace.
2 Cor 2
In this chapter we will see the response of the church to Paul’s admonishing them over the matter of incest involving a church member. Everything concerning their future actually hinged on whether they properly addressed this matter. Paul wrote a very powerful rebuke to them, it was weighty and it pulled no punches. Paul comments in verse 9 that it was towards that end that he wrote. He also reminds them that it was out of the great love for them that he wrote the first letter. This chapter makes known how they responded on this matter.
In verse 1 we see a continuation from the previous chapter. Paul delayed his coming to them in order to see if he could come as a benefit or as one who will bring reprimand. They were in effect on trial and Paul wanted to see how they would respond. It was a critical moment for the future of the church. In verses 2-5 we see the heart of a true spiritual father. He was burdened and heavy when hearing the initial reports of what was taking place. Now he is able to rejoice in hearing that there was a positive response from his hard hitting letter. He anguished over them in tears because of his concern for their eternal state. This is a picture of a priestly role as well. He felt responsibility for the church so he took it personally when they were allowing this sin to go forward without judgment. It is a picture of what Phineas did when he executed judgement against the participants in the gross immorality (Num 25). God notes such intervention and Paul was certainly a man who found favour and authority with the churches.
In verses 6-8 Paul is exhorting the church to extend forgiveness to the man who had sinned. It was commendable that the church acted upon Paul’s letter; the fact that they did so quickly and unanimously helped the repentance to take place. Now Paul is exhorting them to receive him back into fellowship so that he does not lose hope and will feel accepted. It needs to be understood that Paul was not endorsing him back to a ministry position or office but rather into fellowship. This has been a problem in many church situations where a person of high rank in ministry has fallen and has either refused to give up their post or has been hastened back into a leadership role. We must seek the mind of the Lord in such matters and not be so quick to restore a person to their position after a significant transgression.
Paul was standing with the church in their forgiving of the man. He wanted to warn them to not have any resentful men among them as was the elder son in the account of the prodigal. The prodigal did return and was restored to fellowship with his father but he lost his inheritance. The attitude of the elder brother, if applied to this forgiven man, would be something that Satan could seize upon in bringing division to the church. The power of forgiveness can never be understated. If there is failure on our part to forgive we are in danger of allowing bitterness to enter in. If there is bitterness there is no availing of the grace of God; something we all need to grow in daily.
Paul closes this chapter by remarking that we are either the savour of death or the savour of light. If Christ is truly in you it will bring one of the two reactions from people. Our words and presence can offend people; they reject the Christ that is in you and oftentimes will choose to distance themselves accordingly. This happens because the Christ in you brings conviction to them. On the other hand there will be those who enjoy being in your presence. The Christ in you has an appeal to them and they are comfortable being around you. The Apostle James says that life and death are in the power of the tongue. We are called to be the salt of the earth. Salt can either preserve or it can kill. The Apostle is exhorting the church to grow and mature and to be a strong witness throughout the land of Corinth. They now have an opportunity to build upon the momentum of the right response to Paul’s first letter.