PSALMS 109:1 – 111:10 and GALATIANS 6:1–18
This Psalm of David is in many ways prophetic of Christ. We see references to Judas who betrayed the Lord in the garden. Peter refers to this Psalm (vs 8) when they were looking to bring in another Apostle (Acts 1:20). It is primarily a Psalm of deliverance with a prayer for vindication for those who are poor and needy in their time of distress. We can see once again how David was able to enter into many of the sufferings that the Lord would one day go through Himself. The utterances of David become the utterances of our Lord when He went through some of His battles. This is what the Apostle Paul meant when he talked about being acquainted with the sufferings of our Lord.
Php 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
We only have this life where suffering and pain can be known. There are aspects of Christ that we can become acquainted with like betrayal and pain that help for us to know more of who He is. David loved God and His ways and he had times where he came to know of the Lord’s anguish and pain.
In verses 1-5 we see David surrounded by those who are wicked and have a hatred for the things of God. They hindered and fought against David without a cause even as he sought to reach out and love them. They go as far to slander against David and spreads lies about him again for no apparent reason. This is exactly what Jesus came to know especially as he drew nearer to the Cross. The reward that David received in seeking to do them good was more evil. His only recourse, which he was demonstrating here, was to take the matter to prayer. This is a reminder for us as well. The importance of having a consistent prayer life cannot be understated. This is what Jesus continually did throughout His earthly ministry culminating in His intense prayer with the Father while in the garden (Luke 22:42).
In verse 6-15 we see a specific prayer against those who oppose the righteous. In this case David is praying concerning the betrayer who would turn against him. It is a picture of Judas who would later be the one who would betray Christ. It is an intense prayer of retribution against one who has turned from the faith and turned against God’s chosen. He prays in verse 6 that Satan himself would be the one to exact judgement and torture upon Judas. He prays for divine justice to be brought forth when judged. In today’s world we see failure of true justice on an immense scale. The level of corruption against political and influential leaders knows no bounds yet there never seems to be justice. On the other hand we see justice exacted towards innocent people who seek to live honourably. There will come the day when true justice will prevail and it is this day that the righteous judge looks forward to.
The earth today is crying out for true justice. The prayer becomes specific in seeing that his days are shortened so that another can take his place. This is what happened to Judas. His age was estimated to be about 30. His betrayal paved the way for Matthias to assume his place (vs 8-9, Acts 1:20. There was also the prayer of judgement upon his family and legacy. Woe to one who betrays; the consequences and fallout are most severe. It is amazing that David could have such revelation of that which was to come. In his case it was Ahithophel who served as the betrayer at the time of Absalom’s revolt. There is something about walking close to the anointed only to betray such a person to the enemy. In Judas’s case we see Satan putting the seeds of betrayal into his heart (John 13:2) which resulted in his ability to later enter into him (John 13:27). The prayer against the betrayer was absolute and complete.
In verses 16-20 we see further reasons why Judas came under such severe judgements. He showed no mercy to the poor and needy as well as to Christ in the hour of His greatest need. In verses 17-18 we see that he loved cursing and took no delight in the anointing. May we never ever take the presence of the Lord for granted. A casual disregard for the things of God can easily open ones heart to deception and reproach. In the closing verses of 21-31 we see the Lord laying out His various areas of suffering to His Father. There are several other glimpses of this period of suffering seen in the Lord from Isa 53 and Psa 22. His heart became broken; He was despised by those who looked upon Him while His physical body deteriorated because of fasting and excessive ministry. He finishes his prayer by asking the Lord to turn his captivity and suffering at the hands of the enemy into a blessing (vs 29-30). Remember, this was a prayer uttered by David which was later taken up by the Lord. What prophetic insight David had as he literally walked through an experience that the Lord would one day come to know. Perhaps this Psalm can help us to look at our respective walks in a different way.
One of the most profound of all of the Psalms as the king/priest aspect of Christ is demonstrated through the priesthood of Melchizedek. There is much to ponder in these few verses as it gives insight to the greater priesthood. What does it mean and why is it important?
In verses 1-3 David is recording a vision he is having where God the Father is speaking to David’s Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus himself refers to this incident when He was challenged by His adversaries in the temple (Math 22:41-46). It was here where the Father was saying that soon after His resurrection that He would be seated at the right hand of the Father. He then goes on to speak of the glory and power that resides in Zion. It is here where the Lord will be able to rule in the midst of His enemies. David experienced this when he ascended the throne at Zion. He had rest from His enemies during his period of righteous rule. It is a picture of what will be seen during the time of the millennium.
In verse 4 we are introduced to the thought of the Melchizedek priesthood. We must never forget that it was always the Lord’s intention for all His people to become priests (Exo 19:6). This is reflected in the life of Melchizedek who was both a priest and king (Gen 14:18). His ministry preceded that of Moses and Aaron so it is a greater priesthood than that of Levi. Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek. Paul picks up on this theme in His letter to the Hebrews. Levi was in the loins of Abraham when Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek thus signifying a greater priesthood. It was due to Israel’s disobedience and refusal to hearken to the voice of the Lord that the privilege of becoming priests was only given to Levi. Melchizedek represents one of the most beautiful types of Christ that we see in the whole of the Word of God. What is seen in Gen 14:18 where Melchizedek meets Abraham as a king/priest comes to a fulfilment in Revelation where all are called to be made unto Christ as kings and priests (Rev 1:6, 5:10). There is much to learn and glean from the person of Melchizedek. His life will be examined in more detail when we examine the Book of Hebrews.
The final verses of 5-7 show yet another picture of the triumphant Christ at the time of the 2nd coming. Those who seek to do battle against the Lord at Zion will be slaughtered resulting in becoming the food for the great supper which the birds and animals will feast upon. It is interesting to note in verse 7 that there will be a brook, a stream of a water of life that will sustain and strengthen the Lord and those with Him at the time of the 2nd coming. This is yet another Psalm where we see David having amazing revelation and insight pertaining to things of the last days. I am thinking of Enoch who walked with God and then was not (Gen 5:24). He was so closely linked with God that he was simply translated and taken away. There appears to be a measure of one’s walk that can be so intricately entwined with the Lord that it’s as if they are walking it out themselves. We see this with the Shulamite and the King in the Song of Songs. The intensity of love between the two makes it almost impossible to distinguish one from the other when you get to the last chapter. David’s insights into the Lord’s betrayal (Psa 109) and revelation concerning Melchizedek and the last days (Psa 110) is astounding. Will there be a message and revelation of the Lord that will be able to be produced and seen in our lives?
This Psalm along with the next (Ps 112) are very similar in their expression. Here we see the celebration of the might, glory and lovingkindness of the Lord. In verse one there is praise going up to the Lord in the assembly of the righteous and upright of heart. We should note the distinction being made amongst the congregations. This is a congregation that is upright suggesting that the manner of people we worship with does matter. What kind of praise and worship is going up before the Lord? Is it acceptable to God or is it something that resembles more of a modern day rock concert? Just because music goes up that mentions the Lord etc does not mean that it is acceptable. I find myself with a greater ability to enter into wonderful worship in some congregations as opposed to others. The praise and worship that constitutes one of the primary emphases of a church service is important. Is the offering that goes up one that reflects the offering of “Abel” or that of Cain?
In verse 2-4 we see the beauty of God’s creation being described in conjunction with His righteousness and compassion. Creation not only reflects God’s handiwork it also declares His faithfulness. We do well to spend time and observe and meditate over the wonderful creative works of our God. In verse 5 we are reminded that our God is one who keeps covenant with His people. The covenant He made with the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) was manifested through the Cross through Jesus Christ. God can be trusted to fulfil all that He has promised to do. Once again it is good to reflect and ponder over the promises of God knowing that He is faithful in all His ways. God demonstrated His ability to keep covenant by destroying the powers that opposed His people as they journeyed through their inheritance of Canaan. Each of these victories was further evidence of God bringing to pass His promises. In verse 7-8 the righteousness and truth of God are highlighted. This is why the children of Israel were constantly reminded to keep God’s Laws and statutes. He is a Holy and Just God and desires that we come into that place of abiding with Him. Man could not accomplish this in the Old Testament but the promise given to the patriarchs came to pass through the person of Jesus Christ. He is truth and it is through Him where we can know and abide in Truth and righteousness. The psalmist concludes by placing a very high emphasis on wisdom. It is far more valuable than gold (Psa 19:10). Wisdom is the principal thing (Pro 4:7). The precious anointing of the “Fear of the Lord” is also emphasized. In verse 10 you have three of the seven spirits of the Lord mentioned as seen in Isa 11:2-3. The Fear of the Lord is a conscious awareness of God’s presence at all times. It allows for a sensitivity in knowing that which is pleasing or grieving to the Spirit. An old charismatic song helps to bring these last few verses into light. It is taken from Psa 19:7-10. It is one of my all-time favourite choruses due to its ability to move my spirit.
Psa 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
Psa 19:8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
Psa 19:9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
Psa 19:10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Paul has been making the case that “Love” is the fulfilling of the Law as opposed to rigid adherence to legalistic rules. In chapter six we see a practical application of “love” in action in two different areas. In the first five verses we see how love should be expressed to someone who has fallen. Secondly, in verses 6-10 we see love expressed in the meeting of temporal needs of those whom God has appointed as leaders.
Paul makes clear in verse 1 that if a brother is overtaken with sin the first responsibility of the church is to seek for his restoration and good. This is to be done in meekness knowing that we can experience the same fate. When we minister to a fallen brother or sister it is important to be ever mindful that but for the grace of God we too could be in the same peril. There are countless testimonies of leaders who have been overly critical and harsh of fallen brethren only to be overcome themselves. Our interest for fallen brethren must be for their restoration and well-being. This is love in action and it is the fulfilling of the Law (Rom 13:8-10, Jn 13:34, Mat 7:12). We must be very careful in how we somehow think we are more spiritual than one who is fallen. It is this kind of attitude which can open a door of opportunity to the enemy to test. Our motive should always be to minister to that person in love, trusting that a difference will be made.
Jud 1:22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:
A good exercise for one who is ministering in these situations to one who has fallen is to allow the light of God’s Word to shine within their own heart. This can be humbling but it keeps us ever dependent upon His grace and mercy. It will ensure we have the right attitude while ministering to the life of another. In the end we are responsible for our own hearts and we will give an account. We will also give an account in how we treat others; did we minister out of true compassion and love? This is how the Law is fulfilled and it helps to shed a whole different light on what the Galatians have been taught by the Judaizers.
The laws concerning sowing and reaping are mentioned in verses 6-10. This is true regarding finance, our words, our works, our thoughts and a host of many other things. It is a law clearly seen in nature. So the question then is what are we sowing? Do we sow a healthy prayer and devotional life? How about our finances’ do we sow liberally for God’s Work? In verse 6 Paul speaks of the importance of sowing into the lives of ministers who feed upon and teach the living Word of God. This helps to not have them to be tangled with the things of the world (2 Tim 2:4). It is not only an investment into the life of a minister but it is an investment into the kingdom because it allows the minister to press in on the congregations behalf with a full heart. In verse 8 Paul breaks down our sowing into two categories. We are either sowing to the flesh or to the Spirit. He also makes clear that whichever we sow to we will one day reap. We live in an “instant gratification” world which wreaks havoc on the laws of sowing and reaping. True sowing and reaping takes time but if we live by “instant” reactions we are going to tend to be more products of the flesh. The enemy will certainly seize on this approach since this was the method used against Adam and Eve while in the garden. An “instant gratification” society does not give due heed to consequences. The flesh demands fulfilment now while the things of the Spirit take more time. This is why we must have vision and perspective in everything we do. It is also why the Word of God must be front and center in everything we do. Man does not like long delays but let us never forget that our God is one who keeps covenant.
In verse 11 Paul states that he has written this letter by his own hand making clear how impassioned he is for this church. Paul would usually dictate letters that would be recorded by scribes but this letter bears his very own handwriting. He had great love and concern for this group of believers. In verses 12-13 Paul returns to his primary concern of the Judaizers and their influence over the church. In essence he is saying that those who promote the law do not keep it; in fact they are its greatest violators. They do not love but are rather motivated by self-interest at the Galatians expense. Sadly, this is true of many ministries today. Paul’s glorying comes by way of the Cross and Him crucified. He goes on to say that God is not interested in people who have the physical circumcision but who are actually a new creation. This is the “true circumcision” not the one made with hands which was only meant to be a token of the true. Yet, it was the token act of circumcision that the Judaizers have touted to the Galatian brethren. Paul concludes his letter by reemphasizing his love and burden for this precious church. His letter had passion, was direct and to the point but it was due to his great concern for the damage that was being done. Paul was the real deal who had the credentials of an Apostle to back up his message as opposed to the self-serving Judaizers. His final exhortation in effect is that we are to be those who walk in the spirit and not after the ways of the flesh. An instruction we all need to take to heart today.