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Psalm 52: The Psalms & History

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
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November 4, 2021 12:01 am

Psalm 52: The Psalms & History

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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November 4, 2021 12:01 am

The human heart is the same in every generation--seeking the opposite of what God requires and justifying selfish pursuits instead. Today, W. Robert Godfrey takes us to Psalm 52 to show how tragic events in David's life remind us to pursue God alone.

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Psalm 52. David writes see the man who would not make God his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches and sought refuge in his own destruction say there is trusted in the abundance of his riches and this is so powerful and sought refuge in his own destruction. Isn't that a description of so much of the world that surrounds us.

People thinking that they will be protected by the very things that are destroying the human heart is the same in every generation, seeking the opposite of what God dictates in justifying the pursuit of harmful things we in the 21st-century must learn that lesson as well. Today on Renewing Your Mind, Dr. Robert Guthrie Texas to Psalm 52 to show us how tragic events in David's life remind us to pursue God alone.

It's interesting that the Psalms in the 50s in the Psalter are closely tied to David's own life and experience several of them have historical titles and I want us to take a look at one of them. One, I think that is so often overlooked and yet actually is a very I think powerful and thought-provoking. Psalm and its title is one of the longer titles in the Psalter to the choirmaster a masculine David window wag the Edomite came and told Saul.

David has come to the house of Ahimelech. So this is a very specific title of very specific historical event. As I'm sure you all remember this is really a reference to what is told to us in first Samuel chapters 20, 21 and 22.

David is fleeing from Saul. David has been anointed king by Samuel. Saul is still alive. And Saul is now determined to kill David and so David is fleeing from one place to another to try to preserve his life and in his desperation. Your member he comes to the tabernacle of God, which is resting in the town of Nob. We don't know where exactly that town was, but we do know that the tabernacle was there and David all the dying of hunger with a small band of men comes and begs for food and the high priest, Ahimelech says I have only the shewbread before the Lord and David says so give me the shewbread and even though it was technically a violation of the law. Ahimelech gives him the shewbread and gives him the sword of Goliath that was being held at the tabernacle as a trophy of war. Then David goes off with his man and other men join him and Saul sees this as a act of treachery and betrayal and treason. This is reported to Saul by Doe work the Edomite and dough egg is the chief herdsmen were told of Saul so is not a soldier but he thinks he can curry the favor of the king by going to report to Saul what has just happened and the text tells us that Saul was at Gibeon now for any careful student of Old Testament history that location would send shivers up the spine mean the closest equivalent you have today would maybe be Saul was at Auschwitz. Not a neutral kind of town give me was that town in the tribe of Benjamin described to us in Judges chapter 19 is the place that gang raped the woman killed her and then her husband took the body cut it into 12 pieces. It's one of the groomer Old Testament stories sent to 12 pieces to the 12 tribes demanding justice for his wife and Benjamin refused to justice where Gibeon was located and it led to Civil War in Israel and almost the destruction of the whole tribe of Benjamin, and now good deal later tibia, which had been destroyed has now been rebuilt and Saul the Benjamin Knight is in tibia, but immediately the storyteller is alerting us to the fact that this is going to be horrible because the Saul of tibia is going to be just as violent and ruthless and evil as they give the uprights have always been, and so Saul becomes livid with Ahimelech and the priest for supporting David and he orders his soldiers to kill the high priest and the other priests and soldiers refuse will not lift their swords against the Lord's anointed and the leg says I'll do it. And so the dog kills high priest and the priests of God and just one of Ahimelech sons escapes to carry word to David and to carry on the high priestly family at the aether so this is historical event that were probably inclined to think how important can this be, and yet suddenly we realize this is really a historic moment in Israel who is the true King will the priesthood of God survive what is going on here. It reminds us that really none of the stories in the Bible. None of the events in the Bible are really trivial. They're all preserved for us for a very specific point. I remember reading that in the early part of the 20th century, the leading liberal Protestant preacher in the country was Harry Emerson Fosdick and his most famous sermon was shall the fundamentalists win and it was a call to arms by the liberals to stop the terrible fundamentalists from winning in the churches in another sermon.

Fosdick rather famously said, who cares who the Jebusites were well we might well say today, who cares who delayed the Edomite lots will. God cares and again this is not just history of somebody else, long ago. This is our history as Christians were connected to this history and David sought important enough that he wrote a song reflecting on.

I've rehearsed his history, most the time we don't know a lot about the history that stands behind Psalms occasionally were given a hint here were given a fairly specific statement about their history, but the more history we know, the more he gives us the context of the Psalm and notice how the Psalm begins. Why do you boast of evil over mighty man so there's the there's the scene set for us it's a scene of evil evil done the evil boasted about. That's what's happening here and then when we think of dough egg. I think probably there's something ironic, derisive, oh mighty man.

Remember the men who escorted David and were his soldiers will refer to as David's mighty men.

I think the chief herdsmen was probably not really a mighty man is local joke here a little needling of what we do know it had to do it disappears from history after he kills, but you know how brave a man wasn't to kill 85 unarmed priests and then lead soldiers back to Nob to kill women and children are this was a vicious act, for what purpose solar promise to money, solar promise of money #49 solely for Psalms earlier to going to do with all that wealth. What became of it.

Will the Psalm you see is is reflecting in this profound way about the truth that that that the Psalms are always helping us see the truth.

Why do you boast of evil mighty man. The steadfast love of God, endures all day know if you have an NIV near NIV would read very differently. I think the ESV is much to be preferred here. The Hebrew literally says what the ESV has translated the steadfast love of God, endures all the day.

The NIV slightly repointed the text, because they thought the steadfast love of God, endures all day doesn't fit here that sometimes the point in the Psalms.

Remember we talked about artful variation.

Sometimes one line repeats another line but sometimes one line stands in contrast to another line and I think that's what's happening here at the opening. There's this evil of this mighty man contrasted with the steadfast love of God that endures all the day, then returning to the mighty man your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor you worker of deceit is see how how intimately this ties into the history. How we have to know the history to see to appreciate the Psalm at all, but took to really grasp help acquainted.

This is is a memory of David. You know some people asked to David really write any of the Psalms, and I think he did and I think this is one that that shows that intimate touch and connection with the events being described. Verse three you love evil more than good and lying more than speaking what is right.

It's interesting how frequently the Psalms turned to the subject of truth and lie and how destructive the tongue is how destructive lives are how important the truth is, and that's what's being talked about here that the lie has seriously seriously led to death and to destruction wiser not innocent things wiser not light things, but they have huge and tragic consequences. You love evil more than good and lying more than speaking what is right. There's no doubt the dog had lied to Saul about the involvement of the priests. That is what complicated this whole scene and so it's a tragic saying it's a terrible scene you love all words that devour oh deceitful tongue. You see that history shows what a what a deflowering had taken place. Dozens of people wiped out because of dough egg and then really coming to the center of the Psalm, but God will break you down forever.

David, in the midst of this carnage turns to the theme of God's justice of God's judgment of God bringing right into the world, he will snatch and tear you from your tent. He will uproot you from the land of the living.

The righteous shall see and fear, and shall laugh at him how to feel about that and of this is again one of those images that sometimes we just move quickly over and other times we ponder what what are we to make of this.

However bad dough egg is if he snatched torn from his tent and uprooted from the land of the living. Should we laugh at that. Yes we should. This is a this is a vile murderous man who did what he knew was evil and the witness of all of Saul's soldiers said no we won't do that that be wrong, kill the Lord's anointed. That's all right we will do that, you know you didn't disobey Saul very lightly because Saul was a vicious man and his soldiers knew they were putting their own lives at risk by refusing to follow Saul's orders, but they had enough regard for God and God's law on God's priesthood that they wouldn't touch them and that was a testimony to dough egg about what was true and what was right and what was godly and Doig didn't care because Saul offered them a lot of money and so this vicious man will be judged. So, since songs and the righteous will see it and fear God and laugh. Most of us I think are too young to remember when the news came that Adolf Hitler was dead. There were a lot of people who rejoice that room. No monster was taken out of the world for people dance in the streets when the word came that Osama bin Laden was dead wrong can be wrong. I mean people can overdo. But there is a rightness to justice and this is a problem in the world which we live. I think justice has become a problematic concept that justice is good and right and proper.

And that's what the psalmist is saying here that these things are right and and that leads us on then to consider perhaps the whole question of the implications of the song. The calling down of judgment in the Psalms clearly David is not so much calling down judgment as anticipating judgment and rejoicing in that judgment, but other Psalms. Many other Psalms go further and call down judgment and and there many people so will assess our Christian is just not right was clearly not right that we as Christians call down judgment on our enemies. But the question here is not whether tried to call down judgment on our enemies. That's not right. Jesus said love your and peace. But the question is does Jesus call to love our enemies mean there can never be any calling down judgment on God's enemies. That's a question to ponder his and the question is what is what is the Scripture teach us about that and in some ways a fuller statement about that is from Paul, who often makes full theological statements for our benefit and Paul in Romans 11 talks about just this theme of loving the enemies and what it means in how we should understand it at verse 18 of Romans 12 he says, if possible, so far as depends on you, live peaceably with all beloved, never avenge yourselves.

That's the of your enemy turn the other cheek.

Love never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, vengeance is mine, I will repay, since the Lord so close explaining here that the love of the enemy is not an absolute and forever ethical principle that would undermine God's right to judgment.

We don't have a right to judge because were sinners in need of mercy for God is righteous and he will bring judgment on the wicked and when we cringe at implications in the Psalter.

We have to remember that in the context of the Psalter. There is always first of all, a call to repentance before there's a call to judge not always in an individual Psalm, but in the Psalter as a whole. The wicked are always called to repentance before there's a call to judgment and I think that's very important and important for us to see, let me offer you one example of that. In Psalm 10 verses four and 15 we read in the pride of his face.

The wicked does not seek him. All his thoughts are.

There is no God breaks the arm of the wicked and the evildoer call his wickedness to account till you find none of that's an implication that the calling down judgment on the wicked. But in Psalm nine we read in verse 10, and those who know your name put their trust in you for you, oh Lord have not forsaken those who seek you. God always responds to those who seek him. Had Doig repented at any point God would forgive the point is, Doig refuses to repent Doig rejoices in his wickedness. Doig embraces his ill-gotten gain and the Psalter says the Psalm says the Scripture says there will be judgment for him for that. He doesn't have to be judged if he turns and repents, but if he doesn't turn, repent, there will be judged on and so the word of the prophets echoes through the centrist prophet Ezekiel, turn, turn.

Why will you perish, says the war. It's not that there isn't mercy for the repentant. The implications relate to those who refuse to repent dough egg more than most saw the truth Saul righteousness and action when the other soldiers would not kill Bruce, but he did it anyway and there's no evidence there was ever any repentance in his heart and so verse seven says see the man who would not make God, his refuge would not make God's refugee quarterly God's refuge, but he would not make God's refuge when I say he could have on not talking about councils of eternity. Now I'm talking about the well meant offer of the gospel see the man who would not make God's refuge but trusted in the abundance of his riches.

See there is trusted in the abundance of his riches and this is so powerful and sought refuge in his own destruction. Isn't that a description so much of the world that surrounds us. People thinking that they will be protected by the very things that are destroying and then David response to this in terms of of his life and who he is and says I am like a green olive tree in the house of the Lord's, an image that will be taken up again in Psalm 92 Psalm for the Sabbath, but this beautiful picture that that he is a living green thing living before God and God's house and I'm like a green olive tree in the house of the Lord. I trust in the steadfast love of the Lord forever and ever.

I will thank you forever because you have done. I will wait your name for it is good in the presence of the godly here's here's David since the Lord has preserved him. The Lord has protected him.

The Lord has enabled him to endure in spite of the mighty man who would destroy him because the steadfast love of the Lord surrounds him and protects him. Now we might say, what about poor Ahimelech and the 85 priests with them.

Well the steadfast love of the Lord endures everyday for them to no longer in this world, but in that world. That is to come, that the Scriptures to talk about.

I was to the funeral of a fellow I knew recently who in his younger days, had been a Top Gun pilot and his unit had a number of Christians in it and that was reported that the motto of their unit was today. I am invincible unless the Lord has other plans. And though this is sort of what David is is rejoicing in here is in the mercy of the Lord. But here this little historical incident has been captured and preserved for us in this poem of David, but a poem that is not just a poem for that historic incident long ago but remains true today.

The tragedy of those who take refuge in their own destruction and will be destroyed by the stands and such contrast to those who lived before the Lord in the house of Lord and so this is a wonderful place for us to close this lecture I trust in the steadfast love of the Lord forever and ever asked Dr. Robert Godfrey from his series, learning to love the Psalms.

Thank you for joining us for Renewing Your Mind on this Thursday I'm Lee Webb, Dr. Godfrey is a look at your teaching fellow and the chairman of the board of licking your ministries and is a man who loves the Psalms in the series he shows is that this grand book of poetry is one of the greatest treasures. The Lord has given to his people. It's more than just a songbook. It's an inspired guide for our prayers would like to send you the full 12 part series on two DVDs.

When you give a donation of any amount to look at your ministries. Think when you complete all the lessons you'll have a new understanding of the themes structure and beauty of the Psalms, so make your request and give your you can call us at 800-435-4343.

By the way, when I type the word Psalms in the search I get there early if thousand results for articles and helpful Bible studies table talk is a discipleship magazine written by today's leading theologians and pastors to help Christians grow in their knowledge of God. First time subscribers will receive a free three month trial subscription and I hope you'll check it out it try table will tomorrow we wrap up our highlights of Dr. Godfrey series by taking a look at how the Psalms help us deal with grief. I hope you'll join us Friday for Renewing Your Mind

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