PSALMS 70:1 – 72:20 and 2 CORINTHIANS 6:1–18
Once again we have a Psalm that reflects the period in David’s life at the time of Absalom’s rebellion. David is totally reliant upon the Lord in his ability to deliver him from distress. As mentioned in previous psalms David had a history of trusting in the Lord’s deliverance. The difference this time is that he is suffering due to his sin. Still, David had something within him that could lay hold of God for deliverance. He was forgiven for his sin but he had to face up to the consequences. Those consequences are now staring him in the face. It can be assumed that Satan was seeking to take full advantage in trying to discourage David and get him to give up. The strength of David was the heart he had for God. It is here where the soul comes under great attack (vs 2). It cannot be stated enough regarding the difference between the soul and the Spirit man, especially in David’s case. His writings often reflect the cry of each. He often expresses anguish, fear and frustration in early portions of his Psalms only to make strong declarative statements of trust and faith in the latter parts. David has a way of defining Heb 4:12 in the way that he writes.
Heb 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
In verses 1-3 we see many enemies that continue to come against David. In verse 3 we see those who take advantage of David’s vulnerability. If we are around people who are in a position like this we should be those who seek to build and restore the fallen. It is a testing time for all concerned when a leader has fallen. The leader has to deal with the consequence of his or her actions. At the same time those who are close to that leader will be judged in how they respond. Will they cover, uphold and pray for restoration or will they exploit and tear down that person further? This is seen all the way back to the Book of Genesis with Noah and his sons. Noah was vulnerable however it was the responses of the sons that God took note of. We do not want to be like Ham. May God give us the grace to pray for leaders at all times, especially when one is in a weakened state. We must always seek the Lord for a proper response at such times.
The key to David’s restoration was his penitent heart. This is why he can speak with authority about how God is especially drawn to those who are of a broken and contrite spirit. Once again it was a tragedy of the highest magnitude when David had sinned yet we all find great comfort and consolation through his process of being restored. If one were to sum up the whole of Christianity and what is required to live effectively for Christ it would come down to the matter of the heart (Pro 4:23).
There is no authorship given to this Psalm but it is quite clear that it written by David as he neared the end of his life. It is closely linked to Psalm 37 as far as the timing goes. David was constantly doing battle with enemies’ right up to the end. In this case it would be another one of his sons by the name of Adonijah. He was like Absalom in trying to obtain the throne by force. There are many similarities between the two events (2 Sam 15, 1 Kings 1). In each case there were defectors from David. When Absalom rebelled we saw Ahithophel, a once trusted aide of David betray him. It is mentioned in several places of scripture as a type of the betrayal that Jesus would come to know at the hands of Judas. Here when Adonijah asserts himself he is joined by Joab and Abiathar. These men were faithful to David right up to the end. It is a picture of what will be seen in the last days. The spirit of antichrist will lure those of an uncircumcised heart into his direction. His approach at the first will be very subtle finding ways to assuage and soothe the offenses of the wounded. We must never minimize the potential of an offended heart; if unchecked it will lead down a dangerous and perilous path. We need to pay close heed to the events surrounding the end of David’s life. The forces at work in his day exist today and they need to be strongly noted. The rebellion of Absalom and Adonijah failed; the antichrist in the last days will succeed for a season. There is always activity before the passing into a new season; it is especially true as we look towards the 2nd coming of Christ.
In verses 1-4 we see David crying out for deliverance. He rarely had rest from the pursuit of his enemies. In the midst of trouble David could still look to the Lord to be His sanctuary and dwelling place. He was able to rest in God due to his allowing God to establish righteousness within his life. God’s faithful hand upon David was not without precedent. He sought the Lord fervently and constantly availed of his heart to God. Still, the enemies were relentless and at times overwhelming. The fruit of peace was seen as a weapon in Psa 37:35-37 when the enemy was suddenly destroyed; the same could be said for David at this time as well.
David was treated with contempt by those around him (vs 8) yet still had an ability to ask for grace in being able to praise the Lord. How will we respond as the world’s hatred for Christianity intensifies? Will we hibernate and stay silent or become complicit with the new order? Will we have the ability to summon up the spirit man within us to command our soul to bless the Lord at all times?
In verses 9-11 there is the fear of being cast aside in old age. David could no longer fight the battles like he did while in his youth. People looked upon the failing physical condition of David which caused some to seek to take advantage. The same God that empowered and sustained David in his youth is the same God who is with David in old age. This must serve as an encouragement to those who begin to age in years. Our mortal physical bodies have limitations and they do diminish over time. It is God who fights for us whether we are in our youth or old age. The world places emphasis on the natural so it makes its assumptions accordingly. It makes one long for the glorified bodies that are to come. I have had the privilege of being alongside a man of God who stayed strong well into his 80’s. He began to show physical limitations as he grew older but his wit and inner man vigour was as strong as ever. His impact upon many at the end of his life was even stronger than when in his youth. It is the inner man that needs to be strengthened and renewed (vs 17-18).
David always upheld the standards and righteousness of God and sought to live by them. It is a lifelong pursuit in ever seeking to become more like the Lord. This attitude helps to keep us humble while looking to Him for enabling grace. In verse 20 the promise is given to David to be raised from the depths of the earth. This portion could well be linked to Eze 37:24 that speaks of David being resurrected to reign with Christ at the time of the millennium. We are reminded of the thought that the Apostle Paul writes when he comments about the Lord completing the good work that he hath begun (Phil 1:6). David was a player of instruments and a worshipper from a very young age. It continued throughout his life and will continue throughout eternity. God will build upon the capacities he had in this life to be seen in a greater way in the life to come. This would be true of each of us as well. What we are in this life will be enhanced and built upon in the life to come. May God help each of us to fully avail of all available grace so that we finish this life with inner strength and vigour.
King Solomon is the subject of this Psalm. At the same time it is another one of those psalms that has a greater fulfilment in Jesus Christ. It is a prayer that David brings forth to help prepare his son Solomon for the throne. Solomon was given a very solid foundation in his early years by his parents in how to rule. Secondly, while in Gibeah he asked of the Lord for the ability to judge his people with righteous judgment. There is absolute fulfilment of this prayer from verse 1 in the early years of the king. In going through this psalm we must always be mindful of the Lord Jesus Christ as the righteous judge. The early years of Solomon is perhaps the best glimpse we have of what the reign of Christ will be like. In verses 3-5 we see the fruits of righteous judgment; peace and stability being seen throughout the land. This was seen when David began his rule as king over all of Israel from the position of Zion. The oppressor spoken of in verse 4 speaks of the antichrist whose power will be broken at the time of the Lord’s 2nd coming.
In verses 6-8 we have a beautiful picture of the refreshing showers of blessing coming down upon the mown and cut down fields. There is a similar verse from Amos that points to this blessing (Amos 7:1). In one moment everything can seem like death, discouragement and destruction only to be revived by the heavenly showers dropping from above. It is like the picture of Christ at the Cross in his tortured and mutilated body only to have resurrection glory a few days later. We must try and lay hold of this truth; it will help us in times of trouble and distress. He can turn our mourning into dancing in a mere moment (Psa 30).
In verses 9-11 we see the nations of the earth coming before the king with their submission of offerings. We saw this in the early reign of Solomon but it has a much greater fulfilment in Christ during the time of the millennium. It is a beautiful picture of God arising and all enemies scattering; coming to a place of submission before the Lord. When the Lord comes with His armies at the time of the 2nd coming there will be nothing that will stand in His way. The Lord here is depicted as one who will deliver the souls of the poor and needy. He will vindicate those who have been abused perhaps even killed for his name. One of the final words of David before he died was that those who rule over men must be just (2 Sam 23:3). Our Lord is faithful and just in all his ways. The prophet Micah penned these words as further instruction along these lines.
Micah 6:8 He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
The Psalm closes with the truth of the Lord’s name enduring forever and ever. Solomon’s reign was glorious (in his early years) but soon became corrupted through idolatry and violation of the king’s laws (Deu 17:17-19). The Lord’s reign will begin gloriously and will carry throughout all of eternity. He will be exalted, honoured and lifted up. The final prayer of David for Solomon is a testimony to the greatness of Almighty God. It is a song I learned in my early days as a believer and a song that needs to be sung again today and throughout eternity. Indeed, let the whole earth be filled with the glory of the Lord.
2 Cor 6
Paul now speaks on the subject of grace. It is a topic that was not properly understood in his day; something we can say about our day as well. He begins by warning to not receive the grace of God in vain. This makes it clear that grace can be abused and lost. He elaborates in Hebrews that grace can be forfeited if we allow bitterness to take root in our heart (Heb 12:15). We must understand the function of grace in order to properly benefit from it. Grace can be defined as “God’s enabling power”; it helps us to accomplish God’s purposes with strength beyond ourselves. (Please see the commentaries in Romans 6-8 for a more thorough description.) Paul also writes in Hebrews that Grace can be rejected; it all comes down to choice. We either seek to avail of its benefits or we can refuse it outright (Heb 10:29). Why would one refuse grace? It is needed when an element of our flesh has to die. It requires a letting go of something that is strongly working within us so that it can be replaced with the enablement that will help see us through. Paul is also making clear that there is an accepted time of which we can avail of His grace. We cannot live or serve God continually on our terms. He was warning them to not take God or His available grace for granted. May we also heed this warning in our own lives today.
Paul was a true ambassador of the kingdom of God and he lists several areas where he has proven himself before men. The pressure upon a minister is an immense one and must not be taken lightly. This is oftentimes the reason why God does not promote people quickly for fear of not being able to hold up under pressure. The minister will be tested in any number of ways and Paul lists several of them in verses 3-10. How does one measure up in being able to prove faithful in these areas? It can only be by the grace of God. How do we respond when tested in the area of patience? How do we respond when people say evil and untrue statements about us? It is at times like this where we make a choice to either respond in frustration or learn to stay quiet while calling upon grace to be still and quiet. This is where we learn to die to the flesh and this is exactly where the Corinthians needed to be challenged. Paul has authority because he has proven himself in all of the areas mentioned. This is how our life can serve as a witness to others by being an example of what we teach. This is what helped to distinguish Paul from others. He was able to avail himself of grace in his time of need; he learned how to die daily (1 Cor 15:31). This is why he could come to the place of glorying in the Cross and of its power (Gal 6:14). Paul saw these challenges as opportunities to die to the flesh while arising in newness of godly strength. It all comes down to an attitude shift. He saw opportunity in challenges and he realized that he only had this life in which he could take advantage of it.
One of the keys in our Christian walk is to live a separated life from those who would hinder our relationship with Christ. We need to live in the world but not become like the world. Why should a believer link with an unbeliever? This is oftentimes seen in marriage situations where a believer marries an unbeliever. It can also be seen in friendships where believers like spending time doing the things that unbelievers do. In virtually every case the believer’s testimony is weakened and soon compromised. This was seen in the life of Solomon. The wisest man in the known world eventually became beholden to foreign gods due to being unequally yoked with unbelieving women. Do we think we are more capable than Solomon if we were to go down this road?
God hates mixture because it dulls our spiritual senses. Such intermingling results in the people of God becoming more like the people of the world instead of the other way around. This has been seen over and over again. The approach that the church takes in winning the world also has to be examined. It takes wisdom in knowing how to be salt and light to a lost and dying world. The church must be able to connect and engage with the world but not be lured into its ways. Jesus was able to mingle and mix with sinners without compromising His standards or way of life. The grace and wisdom is available for us to be able to do the same. The enemy works very hard in seeking to strike compromises so as to neutralize the thrust of the church. This is exactly how Pharaoh sought to neutralize Moses in his 4 offers of compromise before the Exodus. True sanctification demands separation from the elements of the world. True sanctification also demands separation unto the things of God. This in fact is the definition of holiness; the separation from the world the flesh and the devil and separation unto God (Col 3).
The Book of Revelation is very clear on this subject of separation. The letter to the church of Laodicea is an exhortation to not entertain mixture but to choose to be all out for God (Rev 3:16). It also makes clear that there will be two streams that will be flowing out of the church in the last days.
Rev 22:11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
Which of the above two streams will we flow in? The Apostle Paul gives the Corinthian church some keys in how to grow in grace in order to live a separated life. May God help each of us to give heed and appropriate his message; that we may grow in the true grace of God.