Friday, April 12, 2013

The Psalms of David – Sung a cappella

This is a great website that has the Psalms available for listening and download. Many thanks to my friend Hone for turning me on to it.


Friday, April 6, 2012

Psalm 5:10

Note: At the beginning of this verse we encounter the Hebrew word asam or ashem which has caused quite a bit of variance in our translations. Depending on which version you use you may find it translated as destroy them, hold (pronounce) them guilty, cause them to err, judge them, or make them bear their guilt. I do not think that destroy them is adequate at all; while it is perfectly fine as a possible translation of the word it seems to overstate the case for the original word and misses too much of the context of what is being said here; or, at the very least, it attempts to prematurely pass sentence on the guilty which comes shortly thereafter. All of the rest are fine and basically say the same thing with small variation. Calvin prefers Cause them to err which at least keeps with the spirit of what is being said here and doesn’t hurt anything as he uses it (seen below). The ESV and RSV translate it as make them bear their guilt and I think this is most preferable. The etymology of the word indeed shows us that it was used in terms of to cut up or to destroy; to sin; but Delitzsch explains the idea of guilt which is associated with this word as follows, “[This] verb unites in itself three closely allied meanings of becoming guilty, of a feeling of guilt, and of expiation.” Out of the possible translations of this word we cannot lose sight of the fact that expiation lies at the heart of the word; especially in context with the rest of the verse. Delitzsch explains further why this is a preferable translation when he says, “[This] signifies to cause any one to render the expiation due to his fault, to make him do penance.” This is hammered home when we realize the word being used for God here is Elohim, the judge. In its full sense it is saying, “Make them bear their guilt, O God the Judge…”

“Make them bear their guilt, O God; let them fall from their counsels…”
¨      I… join these two clauses (Cause them… Let them fall) together, as the cause and the effect. In the first, he prays that God would deprive them of their understanding, and drive them into error; and in the second, he prays that, as the effect of this, their counsels might come to naught, in other words that their undertakings might prove unsuccessful. JC
¨      Hold them guilty, i.e. condemn and punish them. Or, make them to offend, to wit, in their counsels, as it follows; so as they may either be given up to bad and foolish counsels, or fail in execution of their wise and crafty counsels… let them fall short of their aims and designs. MP
¨      […] sometimes a man's own counsel casts him down, and is the cause of his ruin. Or, "because of their own counsels”; which they have taken against the Lord and His Anointed, against His cause and interest, and against His righteous ones, particularly David; meaning their wicked counsels, in which they walked… Or "from their counsels"…; that is, let their counsels be turned into foolishness, become brutish, be carried headlong, and come to naught. JG
¨      “Pronounce them guilty” catches the meaning of the opening plea, which is a single word, the opposite of ‘justify.’ It is the first of three aspects of judgment in this verse – exposure, collapse, expulsion – for evil is vulnerable to the truth, to its own instability and to direct divine action. TOTC, Derek Kidner

“Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions…”
¨      “Cast away…” in the sense of “down from, away…,” thrust them away… [which] is to be understood according to Jn. 8:21, 24, “ye shall die in your sins.” The multitude of their transgressions shall remain unforgiven and in this state God is to cast them into hades. K&D, Franz Delitzsch
¨      Out of thy land, and from among they people, whom they either infect or molest by their wicked courses. MP
¨      David prays… [that God will] cast them out of His protection and favor, out of the heritage of the Lord, out of the land of the living; and woe to those whom God casts out. MH
¨      When God deals with men in a way of grace, He turns away ungodliness from them, or them from their ungodliness; but when in a way of judgment He suffers them to die in their sins, and so perish: or "for the multitude of their transgressions." The sins of transgressors are many and because of them they are cast out of the sight of God, and will be bid to depart from Him hereafter. JG

“For they have rebelled against you.”
¨      Again, he prays to God to punish them as they deserved, because, in wrongfully and wickedly making war against an innocent person, they rebelled against God. The proud, indeed, never think of this, that the poor, whom they afflict and despise, are of such estimation in the sight of God, that He feels Himself insulted and injured in their persons: for they do not imagine that the blows aimed at them are struck at heaven, any more than if they trampled a little dust or clay under their feet. But God bestows upon His servants the inestimable reward of taking their cause into His own hand. Whoever, therefore, has an approving conscience, and does not turn aside from his uprightness, although troubled wrongfully, has no reason to doubt of his warrant to improve God as a [shield] against his enemies. JC
¨      Their obstinacy is not obstinacy against a man, but against God Himself; their sin is, therefore, Satanic and on that account unpardonable. All the prayers of this character are based upon the assumption expressed in 7:12, that those against whom they are directed do not wish for mercy. Accordingly their removal is prayed for. Their removal will make the ecclesia pressa free and therefore joyous. K&D, Franz Delitzsch
¨      The Psalmist here speaks as a judge, ex officio; he speaks as God’s mouth, and in condemning the wicked he gives us no excuse whatever for uttering anything in the way of malediction upon those who have caused us personal offense… O impenitent man, be it known unto thee that all thy godly friends will give their solemn assent to the awful sentence of the Lord, which He shall pronounce upon thee in the day of doom! Our verdict shall applaud the condemning curse which the Judge of all the earth shall thunder against the godless. CHS
¨      At the root of the evildoers’ actions is their rebellion against God. Their lack of loyalty on the human plane reveals their essential lack of concern for God and His established order. The chaos caused by the evildoers requires a response from the Lord. For this reason, the psalmist prays for their demise. The declaration of their guilt also signifies the judgment of destruction… Second, the psalmist prays that the Lord’s righteousness will triumph by holding the wicked culpable for their acts and, once culpable, that He will remove them from the covenantal community. The wicked cannot continue to live as though their way is blessed or condoned by the Lord. The seeds sown in unrighteousness and unfaithfulness must bear their fruits by bringing “calamities” on the wicked. God’s justice must cause the schemes of the wicked to backfire on the perpetrators. EBC, W. VanGemeren
¨      David pronounces God’s sentence against them, not as his personal enemies, but as opposers of God and His Anointed: and only against the finally impenitent. JFB, A.R. Fausset
¨      All sin is a rebellion against God; hence sinners are called rebellious ones. The rebellion of David's subjects against him was a rebellion against God; because it was an attempt to dethrone him, whom God had made king of Israel. JG
¨      His prayer for their destruction comes not from a spirit of revenge, but from a spirit of prophecy, by which he foretold that all who rebel against God will certainly be destroyed by their own counsels. MH

Personal Summary:

Here we see the full circle of God’s dealing with the wicked: (1) They are judged guilty and they fail in their schemes and dealings, (2) as guilty they are removed from the pious people of God and their sin adheres to them in eternal punishment, (3) the reason for all of this is given in that they have with impenitent hearts rebelled against God.

With all of that said there are a couple of things that are important for us to take notice of. First, but not the most important thing to consider here, is that those that seem to exist in this world with impunity, though they openly defy God and assault His people, will be dealt with. What seems to be an injustice now, where they are left unmolested and free to act as they wish, will eventually be damning evidence against them. God assures us throughout the Bible that the wicked will be dealt with, that He hears the cries of the saints (Ps. 34:15; Jas. 5:1-4); God says plainly vengeance is mine; I will repay. So, then, there is no reason to seek our own justice while on this earth, it is in the hands of the Lord and it is not merely a possible outcome but an inevitable outcome; He sees how the wicked have wronged the righteous and He will deal with them. Their arrogance for the time will turn into groveling when they stand before Him. Our duty is to put these offenses into the hands of the Lord and rest easy knowing He has heard our cry. It ultimately doesn’t matter that they seem to be so carefree on this earth; our reward is eternal whereas they have already received the blessings of this life and will get their true reward in eternity. We have no right to seek vengeance on our own behalf, that is the prerogative of God alone.

The second, and most important thing here, is that all of this stems from God, not man. As much as we would like to believe that it is mankind who passes judgment on the wicked and hands out the guilty verdict to hold them accountable; it is clear that it is God who does the judging and it is God who passes sentence on their sin; that is his right exclusively. But more than that, it is not ultimately their sin against us that is the great cause for concern, it is that they have sinned against Him. Yes, they have committed an actual act of sin against us, but those sins are ultimately committed against God’s law. We are such selfish creatures as a result of our fallen natures! Everything is judged through the prism of “I” and we rarely look beyond our own noses to see the injury done beyond us. How often have we been ready to behead over some injury done to our person and failed to recognize the ultimate nature of the offense lies in a sin against God? And even more so, it isn’t just the sins they are committing against His people, but the obstinately wicked roam this world opposing Him specifically and have mistaken the longsuffering God of the saints to be a complacent god who will never punish their sin. In contrast to their evil imaginations, though, stands the true God. As a result His holy nature dictates otherwise and he cannot allow sin to go unpunished. He cannot allow the wicked to exist eternally while reviling His majesty. He must deal with them, as a result of who He is, and in His perfect time He will. The wicked want none of God’s mercy and they shall have none of it to His eternal glory.

May we marvel at the grace of God that views us as justified men, through the imputed righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins, that we too would not be the subject of David’s psalm. In our fallen nature we have every inclination to be as equally defiant to God as they are, to be as equally unrepentant, and to arrogantly think we can do as we please and never face His wrath. Yet he condescended to us, through no merit of our own, and not only saved us but sanctifies us throughout our lives, perseveres us so that we do not fall away, and then takes us home in glory never to be burdened by sin again. What a beautiful God we serve! I pray that I will learn to lead a life that truly pleases Him. Laus Deo.

Friday, March 16, 2012


In you O Lord I put my trust,
What am I but lowly and made of dust?
In sin I’m worthy to be blamed,
Yet, through your Son I’m not ashamed.

Troubles are ever at my door,
I find no hope in self that is worthy or sure,
But I am yours and truly blessed,
Deliver me, O God, in your righteousness.

Through your Son I am exuberantly free,
For His sake incline your ear to me.
From unfounded attacks deliver my soul,
You are my fortress, my rock, my stronghold.

For the sake of your Son,
Persevere a pitiful one;
O leave your gates open wide,
And through your Spirit lead and guide.

Into your holy hand I commit my soul,
My faith and peace are secure and full,
For you, O Lord, have loved me since before my youth,
And so I love you, O God of truth.

(Ps. 31:1-5)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Psalm 5:9

“For there is no faithfulness in their mouth…”
¨      [David] still repeats the same complaints which he made before, in order thereby to render his enemies more odious in the sight of God, and to call forth in his own behalf the mercy of God, who has promised to [help] those who are unjustly oppressed. And this is to be particularly attended to, that the more our enemies manifest their cruelty against us, or the more wickedly they vex us, we ought, with so much the greater confidence, to send up our groanings to heaven, because God will not suffer their rage to proceed to the uttermost, but will bring forth their malice and wicked devices to the light. JC
¨      In his mouth is nothing that should stand firm, keep its ground, remain the same. K&D, Franz Delitzsch
¨      [David] had spoken (vs. 6) of God’s hating the bloody and deceitful man. “Now, Lord,” says he, “that is the character of my enemies: they are deceitful; there is no trusting them, for there is no faithfulness in their mouth.” MH

“[…] their inward parts are very wickedness…”
¨      In the first place, he accuses them of treachery, because they speak nothing uprightly, or in sincerity; and the cause which he assigns for this is, that inwardly they are full of iniquity. JC
¨      […] their inward part, i.e. that towards which it goes forth and in which it has its rise is corruption. K&D, Franz Delitzsch

“[…] their throat is an open [tomb]…”
¨      He next compares them to [tombs]…, as if he had said, [they are gulfs which devour all]; meaning by this, their insatiable desire for shedding blood. JC
¨      [This] comes from to yawn, gape…, a yawning abyss and a gaping vacuum, and then, inasmuch as, starting from the primary idea of an empty space… It obtains the pathological sense of strong desire, passion, just as it does the intellectual sense of a loose way of thinking from a self-willed tendency. In Hebrew the prevalent word means corruption…, which is a metaphor for the abyss…, and proceeding from this meaning it denotes both that which is physically corruptible and, as in the present passage and frequently, that which is corruptible from and ethical point of view… The substance of their inward part is that which is corruptible in every way, and their throat, as the organ of speech…, a grave, which yawns like the jaws, which open and snatch and swallow down whatever comes in their way. K&D, Franz Delitzsch
¨      How dangerous is an open [tomb]; men in their journeys might easily stumble therein, and find themselves among the dead. Ah! take heed of the wicked man, for there is nothing that he will not say to ruin you; he will long to destroy your character, and bury you in the hideous [tomb] of his own wicked throat. CHS
¨      Emitting in impious language the noisome exhalations of a putrid heart entombed in a body of sin. George Horne

“[…] with their tongues they deal deceitfully.”
¨      In the close of the verse, he again speaks of their deceitfulness. From all this we conclude, that the wrongs with which he was tried were of no ordinary kind, but that he had to contend with enemies the most wicked, who had neither humanity nor moderation. Being so miserably oppressed, he not only perseveres in prayer, but finds ground of hope even from the confusion and apparent hopelessness of his outward condition. JC
¨      Their throat is thus formed and adapted, while they make smooth their tongue, in order to conceal their real design beneath flattering language. K&D, Franz Delitzsch
¨      If ever they speak what is good, it is in order the more effectually to destroy. JFB, A.R. Fausset
¨      The methods of [the wicked] are those of the serpent in Eden, and of its minor brood the flatterer and the scandalmonger. TOTC, Derek Kidner

Since this passage is used by the apostle Paul in Rom. 3:13 and is entirely relevant to this study of this verse, even expanding upon it, we will look there for a brief moment as well.

“An open grave is their throat; with their tongue they practice deception.”
¨      When Paul…, in quoting [Ps. 5:9], extends it to all mankind, both Jews and Gentiles, he does not give it a meaning of greater latitude than the Holy Spirit intended to give. Since he takes it as an undeniable point, that under the person of David, there is here described to us the Church, both in the person of Christ, who is the head, and in His members, it follows that all those ought to be reckoned among the number of his enemies, who have not been regenerated by the Spirit of God, whether they are without the pale of the visible Church, or within it… Paul, therefore, does not wrest these words from their genuine meaning when he applies them to all mankind, but asserts, with truth, that David showed in them what is the character of the whole human family by nature. JC
¨      It must be borne in mind that Paul is attempting to prove that by nature all people, without exception, are under the power of sin. In order to do so what specific type of sinfulness will he elect to use as an illustration…? Guided by the Holy Spirit, the apostle wisely selects the sin of the tongue to illustrate the universality of human sinfulness, for with respect to this evil who can truthfully say, “I am not guilty?” William Hendriksen
¨      [Paul] proceeds to instance… the corruption of man with respect to the members of his body…, [specifically mentioning] the organ of speech. MP

Personal Summary:

Here we have a picture of not only the lost specifically but the whole human race. Undoubtedly it is true that the unregenerate epitomize this description more fully and that they willfully use their wicked nature to advance their agenda against God and His people. The picture painted of these men is not flattering; it is rather grotesque, in fact, and troubling through and through. If you were to visualize the description given here you would see a very morbid beast waiting to devour those around them and carry them into the deepest pits of hell. Robert Hawker says, “What an awful view doth this unfold of the lurking of wickedness.” None of the inherent goodness of man is being taught in either of these passages. Nothing that would leave us to believe that the lost are all going to be found in heaven at the end in spite of their raging sinfulness as the Universalist would have us believe. No, all we have is this grotesque image of a raging beast seeking to serve self and devour all of those around them. I have marveled at times at the grotesque imagery of evil that Hollywood has become so adept at showing us in the movies. The image they provide of the devil really stands opposed to anything we have that would indicate he is externally offensive. Yet satan works through these movies to depict how he sees himself through the prism of his own heart; in the same way we are seeing mankind, and the wicked specifically, as seen through the prism of their heart and the result is ugly and grotesque.

But it doesn’t stop there. The more pressing matter is that the ugliness of their heart manifests itself in their evil deeds. Willem VanGemeren describes it in this way, “The wicked are… described as instruments of destruction and death. By their reign of terror they are opposed to the God of life and truth. The heart of the wicked is full of “destruction” as they plot to destroy God’s established order. Their mouths, filled with lies and deceit, are likened to an open grave because of their deadly words. They speak words that rob people of their desire to live. With their slippery tongues they sow discord, hatred, and death.” They cannot restrain themselves, the ugliness of their hearts comes pouring out into the world and they attempt to assault, devour, and rip to pieces all traces of the good and the pure.

But lest we sit back on our laurels and think we have some special claim to righteous living in and of ourselves the apostle Paul uses these words to cut us to the heart. Anyone who denies the doctrine of Total Depravity must not have studied the verses under consideration here. The reality is that when left to ourselves, our nature is just as corrupt as the lost men of this world. Within us lies the capacity and, apart from God, the desire to commit all the sins known to mankind. We are equally grotesque monsters when left in our natural state. The beauty in Christians doesn’t lie in our natures, but because we too are seen through a prism: it is the imputed righteousness of Christ that makes us beautiful in the eyes of God. It is the work of God that allows us to escape the wretched nature we are born with. It is all Him, nothing else. Remember we discussed the double thy in 5:8? It is Christ’s righteousness that validates God’s children. A wonderful pastor and friend of mine, Phil Pockras, said this concerning the matter, “Note that the Psalm says " thy righteousness..." There is none we can claim. Were we to be led according to our own righteousness, it would be into cursing and everlasting condemnation. Only as we trust in imputed, alien righteousness accomplished by Christ is there hope, certain hope, of the way everlasting.”

We must view ourselves as we surely are: wicked men in need of a Redeemer (Rom. 3:23-26), adopted because of Christ (Rom. 8:15); righteous through a free act of grace, a marvelous condescension from God to His elect (Eph. 2:8-9). Marvel not at self, for there is nothing to be found there worth marveling at, but marvel at what the Lord has accomplished in your life. Thomas Goodwin takes stock of the matter and says, “If the whole soul be infected with such a desperate disease, what a great and difficult work is it to regenerate, to restore men again to spiritual life and vigor, when every part of them is seized by such a mortal distemper! How great a cure doth the Spirit of God effect in restoring a soul by sanctifying it! To heal but the lungs or the liver, if corrupted, is counted a great cure, though performed but upon one part of thee; but all thy inward parts are very rottenness… How great a cure is it then to heal thee! Such is only in the skill and power of God to do.”

What are we left with then? Certainly there is a world around us that we are rightfully wary of. Certainly when that world wrongs us we can take our case to the Lord and know that He will vindicate us from wrongful assaults on our being or on our character, whatever the case may be. We can, through this truth, rest easy knowing that they cannot harm a single hair on our head without God’s approval. But we are also left with a deep realization of our own sinfulness, a sinfulness that exists in measure even after we are saved, and the great act of love with which God saved us. Think of it: the liberal wants to focus on God’s foreknowledge of man’s choice of Him; but the reality is that God indeed had foreknowledge and it showed Him nothing more than that we would sin against Him throughout our lives, to include every man that ever lived (Gen. 8:21), and yet He still chose us! How much more beautiful does Ps. 2:8 become when we realize that not only are we chosen in eternity, but that the Son asked for us as His inheritance! This not only knowing what great sin we would commit against God but knowing what great sacrifice it would take for Him to secure His inheritance! What beauty! What love! What unfathomable riches we are granted though we deserve only wrath! If we recognize all of this then surely we are left with pity for the wicked, with a desire to share the Gospel with them, to love them even as our Lord has loved us. I don’t say this is always easy, but if we are truly stricken by what the Lord has done for us how can we not desire the same for those around us? Though the personal injury may be great, still our offenses are greater.

May we, with a grateful heart and a humble spirit, take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, into the world with us as we go. May we yearn for the Spirit to give us the ability to skillfully present the truth, forever reminded of the debt we owed, so that we may [share the Gospel] as never sure to [share it] again, and as a dying man to dying men. May the Lord be forever exalted! Amen.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Psalm 5:8

“Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness, because of mine enemies…”
¨      [This is] a prayer that God would lead His servant in safety through the midst of the snares of his enemies, and open up to him a way of escape, even when, to all appearance, he was caught and surrounded on every side. The righteousness of God, therefore, in this passage, as in many others, is to be understood of His faithfulness and mercy which He shows in defending and preserving His people. JC
¨      [David] prays for God’s gracious guidance… The direction of God, by which he wishes to be guided he calls tsadaqah. Such is the general expression for the determination of conduct by ethical rule. The rule… is the order of salvation which opens up the way of mercy to sinners. When God forgives those who walk in this way their sins, and stands near to bless and protect them, He shows Himself not less just, than when He destroys those who despise Him, in the heat of His rejected love. By this righteousness, which accords with the counsel and order of mercy, David prays to be led, in order that the malicious desire of those who lie in wait for him may not be fulfilled, but put to shame, and that the honor of God may not be sullied by him. K&D, Franz Delitzsch
¨      Lead me, O Lord, as a little child is led by its father, as a blind man is guided by his friend. It is safe and pleasant walking when God leads the way. CHS
¨      Because they are most malicious and mischievous, and withal cunning and treacherous…, and they lay snares for me, and if thou dost not assist me, will be too hard for me, and will triumph over me; which will reflect dishonor upon thee also. MP
¨      The confident hope expressed in vs. 7, so far from causing remissness, only stimulates him to pray afresh, on the ground of that hope. JFB, A.R. Fausset
¨      The word chosen for my enemies perhaps emphasizes their vigilance. But the answer to ‘my’ peril is in the twofold ‘thy…,’ with its frank acceptance of a higher standard and a surer aim than one’s own. TOTC, Derek Kidner
¨      He earnestly prays that God, by His grace, would guide and preserve him always in the way of his duty… See here the good use which David made of the malice of his enemies against him. The more curious they were in spying faults in him, that they might have whereof to accuse him, the more cautious he was to avoid sin and all appearances of it, and the more solicitous to be always found in the good way of God and duty. Thus, by wisdom and grace, good may come out of evil. MH

“[…] make thy way plain before my face.”
¨      […] he acknowledges how impossible it was for him to avoid being entangled in the snares of his enemies, unless God both gave him wisdom, and opened up for him a way where no way is. It becomes us, after his example, to do the same thing; so that distrusting ourselves when counsel fails us, and the malice and wickedness of our enemies prevail, we may betake ourselves speedily to God. JC
¨      David further prays that God will make his way (i.e. the way in which a man must walk according to God’s will) even and straight before him, the praying one, in order that he may walk therein without going astray and unimpeded. The adj. yashar signifies both the straightness of a line and the evenness of a surface. K&D, Franz Delitzsch
¨      Brethren, when we have learned to give up our own way, and long to walk in God’s way, it is a happy sign of grace; and it is no small mercy to see the way of God with clear vision straight before our face. CHS
¨      This was a needful request, because many good men are oft at a loss what their duty is in several circumstances. MP
¨      The way of our duty is here called God’s way, and his righteousness, because He prescribes to us by His just and holy laws, which if we sincerely set before us as our rule, we may in faith beg of God to direct us in all particular cases. MH

Personal Summary:

There are many trials in this life which we have faced and untold more to come. Some of them are self-imposed as a result of sin and some are the wicked advances of evil men. In this verse we have the answer to how we should react to those circumstances. We are shown that it is not through our efforts that we ultimately overcome difficulty, it is not because we become more righteous men in and of ourselves, it is not because we are so special and unique that we overcome obstacles, it is because the Lord delivers us Himself. Yes, we have responsibilities that require action on our part, but make no mistake about it: your best efforts apart from the hand of God are worth nothing.

What is left is to cast ourselves, along with all of our fears, all of our heartaches, with all of our struggles before Him and garner the sure hope that can only be had in Him and is exclusively available to His children. The rest of the world cites hope all the time but their version is nothing more than wishful thinking. Our hope lies in a perfect God who has promised to use all things for our good. Matthew Henry showed us an example of this: even in David’s time of distress and persecution the Lord moved him to discipline himself to more pious living; the Lord even used this time of hardship for good in the life of David, certainly He has and will do the same for us.

We must seek the Lord’s will, we must be in constant prayer, we must spend time studying His word, and we must trust in Him to show us the way. It is God who sustains us, it is God who protects us, and it is God who will see us through the difficult times in our lives. Robert Hawker says, “[…] looking up to Jesus, shall we not say, lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness, even thine only, that thy way may be straight before me?” Certainly we do, or we should, in full recognition of the fact that our perseverance in the faith and in life lies ultimately with the Lord; we must look to Him in good times and in bad to be our great defender and guide through this life. As Charles Spurgeon said above, “Brethren, when we have learned to give up our own way, and long to walk in God’s way, it is a happy sign of grace; and it is no small mercy to see the way of God with clear vision straight before our face.” May it be so, Amen.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Psalm 5:7

Note: Calvin makes a point of whether the verse properly begins with and so as to make it a continuation of the preceding verse or if it is properly rendered but where David contrasts himself with the men previously mentioned. I think it is safe to say that most agree it is in contrast to the aforementioned men, making but the more appropriate word; though the consideration is a minor one. Calvin says, “[…] the prophet, by simply commending his own piety towards God, separates himself from the class of whom he spoke.” Derek Kidner makes the point, “The significance of the words But I… will come into your house is sharpened by their proximity to 4b, ‘Nor shall evil dwell with you.’”

There is also some controversy as to whether or not your house refers to the tabernacle or not. Franz Delitzsch makes an almost bullet proof case that it is but does so in a manner that is too lengthy to include here. I operate on that reasonable assumption based on what he provided there and with what some of the others have defaulted to as well. Derek Kidner, and to a lesser degree John Gill, say otherwise, but I don’t think they got this right after a review of the evidence.

“But as for me I will come into your house…”
¨      The scope of the passage leads us to understand [David] as promising to give thanks to God. He had before spoken of his enemies as hated of God; and now, being persuaded that God will keep him in safety, he calls himself to the exercise of gratitude. JC
¨      [This] Psalm…, states what he, on the contrary, may and will do. K&D, Franz Delitzsch
¨      While mine enemies, whom the Lord abhors, are put down, I, whom thou lovest as thy pious worshipper, will come into thine house (to thank thee for deliverance), not through mine own power, but through thy favor. JFB, A.R. Fausset
¨      I will come, to wit, with holy boldness and confidence, as becomes thy son and servant; whereas my enemies cannot appear in thy presence with any comfort and safety. MP
¨      The contrastive phrase “but I” expresses the psalmist’s hope in God’s love over against God’s certain hatred of all forms of evil. EBC, W. VanGemeren

“[…] in the multitude of your mercy…”
¨      [It is] as if he had said, I may now seem to be in a condition almost desperate, but by the favor of God, I shall be kept in perfect safety. JC
¨      By the greatness and fullness of divine favor he has access to the sanctuary, and he will accordingly repair thither today. It is the tabernacle on Zion in which was the ark of the covenant that is meant here… Into this tabernacle of God, i.e. into its front court, will David enter this morning, there he will prostrate himself in worship, towards Jehovah’s the Holy of holies. K&D, Franz Delitzsch
¨      […] trusting only in thy great mercy for admittance… and acceptance… for which I will come to pay my thanks and service unto thee. MP
¨      […] I will not come… by my own merits; no, I have a multitude of sins, and therefore I will come in the multitude of thy mercy. I will approach thee with confidence because of thine immeasurable grace. God’s judgments are all numbered, but His mercies are innumerable; He gives His wrath with weight, but without weight His mercy. CHS
¨      The hope of fellowship with God is based not on his righteousness but on His sovereign “love”… For the psalmist, the hope of entering into the temple is much more than the typical walking into the courts of the temple… The psalmist seeks the affirmation of God’s love for him in an evil world and hence the assurance of God’s presence with him. EBC, W. VanGemeren

“In fear of you I will worship toward your holy temple.”
¨      […] hypocrites, in giving thanks to God, do nothing else but profane His name, inasmuch as they themselves are unholy and polluted, he therefore resolves to come in the fear of God, in order to worship Him with a sincere and upright heart… [It] is only through the goodness of God that we have access to Him…; no man prays aright but he who, having experienced His grace, believes and is fully persuaded that He will be merciful to him. The fear of God is at the same time added, in order to distinguish genuine and godly trust from the vain confidence of the flesh. JC
¨      As the sculpture is on the seal, so will the print on the wax be; if the fear of God be deeply engraven on thy heart, there is no doubt but it will make a suitable impression on the duty thou perfomest. William Gurnall
¨      David’s reverent fear of God is the result of the grace of God experienced in his deliverance. JFB, A.R. Fausset
¨      His submission to his covenantal God is further illustrated by the manner of his approach. He bows down “in reverence,” not in paralyzing fear. EBC, W. VanGemeren
¨      David resolves… to worship Him reverently and with a due sense of the infinite distance between God and man…; God is greatly to be feared by all His worshippers. MH

Personal Summary:

What prevents the saints from drawing close to God? We have the blessing of being viewed not as ourselves, where if that were the case we would be just as damnable as the wicked, but through the prism of the imputed righteousness of Christ. We do indeed stand opposed and separate from the lost; based on Christ we are, when compared, like David, found righteous where they are found evil. That is a glaring contrast between us and them and one that we may revel in as long as our revelry leads us to give thanks to God. It is in Him that we find salvation, it is in Him that we may joy, it is in Him that we are saved from the evil plots of those that persecute us. How can we be left to say anything other than what Robert Hawker said in summing up this verse, “[…] how blessed it is for us to draw nigh to Jesus, who hath come, and who is both the mercy seat, the sacrifice, and the temple; the way, the truth, the life!” Calvin and others stated how openly this concept of grace, deliverance and acceptance led David to worship God and give thanks and how can we but do otherwise? Our life is a long chain of blessings which truly began at salvation and ends with glorification; from blessing to blessing we live and somewhere between the first and the last we experience so much grace that should our sinful hearts even attempt to number them we would fail to see even a small percentage of what the Lord has actually given us.

One of the times that we seem to be most in tune with recognizing the blessings of God is when we are in the midst of a difficult time; whatever the cause of that difficulty may be. While there are a litany of reasons the Lord allows us to go through these times, I cannot but think that one of them is to lead us to recognize His gracious dealing with us when previously our hearts had become complacent in seeing His sovereign hand at work in us. Calvin says, “[…] as our carnal minds either wickedly undervalue the grace of God, or put the low estimate upon it which is commonly put by the world, let us learn to extol its wonderful greatness, which is sufficient to enable us to overcome all fears.” These times cause us to look for and remember the many times the Lord has been gracious to us and when He delivers us, yet again, it causes us with David “to be grateful to God for it, and keep it in remembrance.”

With this principle firmly entrenched in the heart of every believer we learn to exist in the fear of the Lord, with a reverential sincere heart that depends on Him, and in hope, knowing He has been gracious to us in the past and expecting Him to be gracious to us going forward based on the merits of His Son Jesus Christ. That comprises the perfect state of Christianity. Martin Luther says, “A blessed verse this is! A blessed saying! The words and the sense itself, carry with them a powerful contrast. For there are two things with which this life are exercised, HOPE and FEAR… Between these two, as between the upper and nether millstone, we must always be ground and kept, that we never turn either to the right hand or the left. For this turning is the state peculiar to hypocrites, who are [also] exercised with the two contrary things, security and presumption.”

Let us then look to the Lord with reverence and awe, let us lean on His grace for deliverance and sustenance, let us give thanks that He is working in our hearts and in our lives and that He does not allow His children to be destroyed with the wicked. He is a beautiful God worthy of all praise and honor and if our hope is in Him, and is we desire to see His will accomplished in preference to our own, we will never be disappointed or let down. Laus Deo!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Psalm 5:6

“You shall destroy those who speak falsehood.”
¨      When we see the wicked indulging themselves in their lusts, and when, in consequence, doubts steal into our minds as to whether God takes any care of us, we should learn to satisfy ourselves with the consideration that God, who hates and abhors all iniquity, will not permit them to pass unpunished; and although He bears with them for a time, He will at length ascend into the judgment-seat, and show Himself an avenger, as He is the protector and defender of His people. Again, we may infer from this passage the common doctrine, that God, although He works by satan and by the ungodly, and makes use of their malice for executing His judgments, is not, on this account, the author of sin, nor is pleased with it because the end which He purposes is always righteous; and He justly condemns and punishes those who, by His mysterious providence, are driven whithersoever He pleases. JC
¨      Observe, that evil speakers must be punished as well as evil workers… All liars shall have their portion in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone. A man may lie without danger of the law of man, but he will nto escape the law of God. CHS
¨      The liar is only a haribreath away from the murderer. Though the liar may claim to go only so far with his deception, when he is caught he is dangerous, for he may attempt to cover his tracks. Deception and greed mark the person who is unfaithful to God and people; she is a potential murderer. EBC, W. VanGemeren
¨      Little know the wicked how everything which now they have, shall be a snare to trap them when God begins to punish them. William Cowper
¨      […] whether in matters of religion; as false doctrines, errors, and heresies, are lies; and so all that deny the deity, Sonship, and Messiahship of Christ, are liars; and the followers of the man of sin speak lies in hypocrisy: or in common conversation; such are like to Satan, and are abominable in the sight of God; and He will destroy them…, for all liars have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone. JG

“The Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.”
¨      Bloody men shall be made drunk with their own blood, and they who began by deceiving others shall end with being deceived themselves… How forcible is the word abhor! Does it not show us how powerful and deep-seated is the hatred of the Lord against the workers of iniquity? CHS
¨      The “bloodthirsty” person is… not necessarily one who is guilty of murder but one who no longer knows the limits between “mine” and “thine” and thus twists and perverts justice, even at the cost of human lives or dignity. Instead of “taking pleasure” in evil, the Lord “abhors” all who practice wickedness. EBC, W. VanGemeren
¨      Liars and murderers are in a particular manner said to resemble the devil and to be his children, and therefore it may well be expected that God should abhor them. These were the characters of David’s enemies; and such as these are still the enemies of Christ and His Church, men pefectly lost to all virtue and honor; and the worse they are the surer we may be of their ruin in due time. MH

Personal Summary:

In the last verse we saw that God hates sin and that God hates sinners. In this verse we are given very real examples of those men whom God hates. These liars and murderers stand naturally opposed to a holy God and He abhors them. These are men who carry these sins with them as the general mark of their character. As such they resemble their father the devil and once again we hear God tell us that He hates them, detests them, and they will be dealt with.

It is important for us to realize that we too were liars, and perverts, and murderers before the Lord called us to salvation. We have no just reason to look down at these men, though we have every right to hate what they do and represent. We cannot relish in their demise beyond the fact that our loving God cares for us and will always avenge the sins that these men commit against us. But, even that isn’t really where we find our joy in the matter. What we are to be overjoyed with is that the holy justice of God will be satisfied in every man who has ever walked the face of the earth. Not one soul will escape His omniscient gaze. His holiness is never in doubt, His justice is never passed over, His law is never forgotten.

Who are we that we should be boastful or proud of of who we are? Without the justification we receive in Christ we are equal to the most wretched sinner that has ever walked on this planet and carry with us the potential to match them in every sinful deed. Knowing what awaits them we should glory in awe and wonder that the Lord has numbered us with the elect, forgiven our sins, and restrains us from acting upon the most evil desires of our hearts. Knowing what awaits them we should pity what they will one day face. Knowing that there is no hope for them apart from Christ we should witness to them and hope for their salvation. We are only deemed the righteous of God because we are seen through the prism of Christ, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God. He is our hope, our defender, our everything. Robert Hawker ends his consideration on 5:4-6 by saying, “Oh! Thou holy one of God! Cause me to be forever fixing my eyes, my whole soul with unceasing rapture upon thee, as the Lord our righteousness.” I thank God that we may pray such a prayer and know it has been answered, I thank God that our righteousness does not depend on us; otherwise, we too would be numbered with those whom the Lord abhors. May we live to Him and for Him in all that we do, happily having become slaves of righteousness to His glory.