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Struck Down, But Not Destroyed

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
June 7, 2020 8:00 am

Struck Down, But Not Destroyed

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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June 7, 2020 8:00 am

Most of us look back at the past and reflect on what weve accomplished, but for the nation Israel, looking back encompassed not what she had achieved, but what she had survived. Join Dr. James Boice as he reflects on both the suffering of a people and the reason for their survival.

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The Jews of the longest enduring ethnic groups on earth their God's chosen people, yet they been slandered, hated, persecuted, pursued and murdered throughout their history, and welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically. There are a number of reasons why the Jewish people have suffered so greatly. But perhaps the most compelling is that God would send the Messiah through them and that Satan was not unaware. Join Dr. Boyce as he looks at the power and grace of God in the history of Israel from Psalm 129 a Psalm of victory and survival from time to time in our study of the Psalms.

I mention the name of Derek Kidner is one of the good writers on the Psalms and I mention them again now because of something he says that the very beginning of his study of Psalm 129 he writes, whereas most nations look back to what they have achieved Israel reflects here on what she has survived seems a strange thing to say. Perhaps strange thing to do, even bordering on paranoia, but it's not all strange when you think of the history of Israel. They been slandered, hated, persecuted, expelled, pursued and murdered throughout a long history of their existence and yet they have survived intact. In fact, today, many of them are black and their traditional land of Israel are brilliant and talented people, but their survival has not been a product of their brilliance or their talents as a testimony to the power and grace of God is sovereign will and his power in preserving them as a people. That's what the Psalm is about Psalm 129 it's about the survival of the Jews in spite of centuries, even millennia of oppressions of persecutions and its explanation of black which says the reason they been able to survive is because of the will and protecting presence of God.

Now here's the way it begins.

They have greatly impressed me for my youth. What Israel say they have greatly oppressed me from my youth, but they have not gained the victory over me plowman of cloud my back and made their furloughs lawn of the Lord is righteous, he is cut me free from the cords of the wicked is at all about well, the use of Israel was the formative period of the nation when they were in Egypt referred to that way several times in the Old Testament. Hosea does it in the 11th chapter, when Israel was a child I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son the way God right so it's those formative days when the people were growing from a small number that first entered Egypt into the great nation but left that's called Israel's you and we know very well that those were days of persecution and oppression by the payroll and by those who were under his command never threatened by the numerical growth of the Jews, and so they subjected them first hard labor, treating them as slaves to construct the treasurer city of the Pharaoh and then when that didn't seem to be working Pharaoh crackdown even harder and eventually gave orders that all of the male children should be killed, was in a time of harsh, cruel oppression like that the God brought Moses into the picture allowed him to survive and brought them back years later as a great emancipator of the Jews.

But when you read this phrase in our Psalm. It doesn't merely say that God allowed them to be oppressed in their you. It says from there you which means, of course, from library earliest beginning all down through their history, even up to the time at which the psalmist is writing our Psalm and of course be on think of the Old Testament history and you have examples of that you go back to the time of the judges they were greatly persecuted during the time of the judges by all of the surrounding peoples by the Philistines, the Syrians, the Moabites, the ammonites in the Edomites you read the first chapters of Amos and you get a feeling for how bad that was because there in those first chapters. This minor profit pronounces in God's name. Judgment upon the surrounding peoples upon Damascus and Gaza Empire in Edom, Ammon and Moab and it's done because of the cruelty, treachery and wanton destruction of the surrounding nations. They suffered greatly during those long, long years underpass from the time of the judges to the monarchy and you find the same thing happening there. It was finally under the armies of Nebuchadnezzar that Jerusalem the capital of the southern kingdom fell 586 BC. All those people were carried off and exiled with a great deal of suffering and that's only the history of the Jews up to that time. If we passed beyond the 70 years of the exile.

After the time that this particular song was written, but the same kind of history is continued since then down through the Middle Ages. The Jews were persecuted in one way or another by most of the European powers soup either deported them, which they did constantly throughout the Middle Ages, so the Jews were harassed sent from place to place or at times combining them what became famous or infamous Jewish ghettos in the major cities of Europe, we think as we passed a more modern times of that dreadful period of the second world war and the Holocaust and the murder of so many Jews under Adolph Hitler. Well, may Israel say they have greatly impressed me from my youth, but Israel also adds that not gained the victory over me. I why is that why have they not gained the victory over Israel is only one answer that I've already talked about it, it's not because they're such a strong people.

I have great inner strength, but that's not what has caused her survival or because they are brilliant and have a great deal of brilliance and you still can stand against an oppressor reason they survived is because of God because of God. That's what this first stanza is about you. Notice how it builds up in kind of a poetic suspense. Everybody knows the answer from the beginning. If if if why the if and then it comes in the very end of the stanza. Why is because of God who is righteous and who is cut me free from the bonds of the wicked when it says that God is righteous, it means that he is righteous in the sense that is faithful to his covenant is an upright God.

He doesn't break his word is always promised to bless the people and he continues to blossom when it says he has set me free. Your company free from the cords of the wicked. It means that is deliver them from slavery and that's what he does. Again and again throughout their history. That is a parallel statement verse seven Psalm 124 which says we have escaped like a bird out of the followers snare and that's with the first stanza does become of the second stanza of the Psalm and we come to verses that are imprecatory what that means is that there versus the call for judgment upon one's enemies here it's judgment on those who hate Zion, that is, those are responsible for the kind of persecution, but the first stanza is talking about what it's saying is that God needs to punish evil and God does punish evil and God needs to reward the good and God does reward good. Should we pray for for the wicked that they should repent. Of course, but suppose they don't repent. We pray that their plans white plaster might be successful in their evil designs. Of course not. I'm always impressed with what Spurgeon does with a passage like this we do something. This is pure Spurgeon, Spurgeon comes of these passages and this is what he says. If this is an implication well let it stand in my heart says amen to it, but justice those who hate harassing the good should be brought to not those who confound right and wrong not to be confounded and those who turn back from God to be turned back up and we wish prosperity to those who would destroy that which is dearest to our hearts this present age is so flippant that if a man loves the Savior. He is styled a fanatic and if he hates the power of evil. He's called big it is for ourselves.

Despite all objectors we would revive in our heart that old practice of evil and embarrassing where those were blessed to bless God and those who curse to make themselves accursed of the righteous, and against practical study a chapter in the book of martyrs, boxes, book of martyrs and see if you don't feel inclined to read and imprecatory Psalm over Bishop Bonner and letting Mary well in spite of all that has to be said about these imprecatory Psalms and the controversy it is striking it seems to me how mild the psalmist is at this point because if you read this last dance in spite of everything that Israel has endured. He is not asking that these enemies be sent to hell, I'll take care of that in his own time. If he pleases to do that is not even asking that his enemies might have heaped on their heads. The same kind of oppression he and his people have experienced that their hands is not even saying that while he is praying for his three negative things that they might have no honor that they might have no success in that they might have no blessing as long as they pursue their evil course when I suggest is that we can pray exactly the same thing for the evil we see about us today about this matter of honor, how would Israel's enemies get on or will they get it through a military victory, especially if they were able to crush Israel completely. Which is what they were trying to do. The psalmist is asking that they might be turned back and that they might know the shame of defeat. Instead of the honor of victory. Now is not what we should pray for those who tried to do dishonorable things. We certainly don't want to pray that they be honored. So when we see evil about us, especially in our own government for our own communities are those who are oppressing others in evil ways.

We should pray that their shame might become the second thing. Verses six and seven. He prays that they might have no success uses kind of a quaint image at this point, asking that they might be like grass on the rooftop, which withers before it can grow that day. The houses had dirt rose supported by wooden beams, presumably in this hardpacked earth on top of the houses. Sometimes seeds would settle little bits of grass will grow, but of course the soil was shallow and there was no real water up there so it would with the rocket wouldn't do very well. They say that's what I would like to see happen to them. You might be able to say well, even with her grass has some value. After all, you can gather it up. Use it for fuel. And he acknowledges that he says he doesn't even want them to be that useful or successful in one people, even to be gathering up up and bringing them home as it wrong to pray like that. Of course it was wrong to pray like that.

You wouldn't want to pray the people who have evil designs would succeed in their evil designs. Pray that they might be frustrated and that that might be known instead. And then there's the final thing it's in verse eight that they might have no blessing now that particular prayer or wishes connected to the harvest image in verse seven, because it was a common practice in times of harvest from people were joyful to exchange blessings in the name of the Lord to have an example of that. And Ruth second chapter and verse for Boaz arrives in his field. Honey has a greeting for the harvesters. He says the Lord be with you and they reply the Lord bless you that's why the response is given what the psalmist is saying is, may there be no blessings like that ever.

These evil people.

Is it wrong to pray like that. Of course not how could it be wrong. The opposite is what would be wrong and let's think about this also.

What has been the end of those who have set themselves against the Lord and against his anointed, while the end is that they experience self-destruction suicide Derek Kidner. I mentioned a moment ago writes about those who choose the way of hate which is soul destroying and set themselves against God, which is suicide. The end is exactly that self-destruction suicide and we see that in the history of those who set themselves against God and were talking about anti-Semitism which we've been doing, we can't help but think of the cause of anti-Semitism in the ultimate cause is not merely that the Jews are different from other people or unique all that different after all.

The Jews themselves. They were just like other people, only more so. Lots of more so people in the world.

Some of you not even Jewish or more so and that's not that that's the ultimate cause of the persecution that will cause his spiritual God promised to send the Messiah through the Jewish people, and Satan, who hates the Messiah, hates the Jewish people through whom the Messiah was to, and did, of course, come once the pictures of that in the Bible as a matter fact you have a great one in the book of Revelation right at the end you recall, in the 12th chapter of Revelation, the devil is pictured as a terrible Dragon who was standing before a woman who was about to give birth, so that he might I quote devour her child the moment it was born perfectly obvious, but that is a woman is Israel. The devil is the Dragon.

Her child is Jesus Christ. He hates the woman because he hates Jesus. Now that's a prophetic picture in that particular account of Revelation.

The child was snatched up to God and saved out of the hands of the Dragon it's trying to destroy it.

But if you think throughout history, you realize that although Jesus is victorious over Satan's like, nevertheless, got in his likeness against Jesus back to the very beginning of the Bible Genesis to that first great announcement of the gospel and what you find God saying there is a speaks to Satan is this, he that is Jesus will crush your head, but you will strike his heel.

That's what Satan tried to do down through history.

He was always striking out a Jesus from those very early moments when you caused Herod to move against the children of Bethlehem, thinking that if he killed the infants and massacred them somehow we would get this alleged pretender was thrown all the way up to the instigation of fact final murderous hatred in the hearts and minds of Jesus enemies caused them to drive him to the cross back to verse here in the Psalm that we passed over already. It's the one in which Israel describes her mistreatment by saying Plowman have plowed my back and made therefore rose wall that's a powerful measure of course it combines two ideas to metaphorical ideas. One of beating her scourging and then the second of a farmer who's cutting furloughs across the field thoroughly digging up the land that saying that's what it's been like. But when you look at that and you think of it in terms of the experience of Jesus Christ, you can't help but realize that Jesus would literally beat this part of the persecutions he endured before his crucifixion yet. You see, here's the important thing about that although Jesus was persecuted and beaten. It was through that that he achieved our salvation. So when Isaiah writes about Isaiah 53 five with his stripes we are healed.

I goes on to unfolded. He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities the punishment that brought us peace was upon him. We all, like sheep have gone astray would turn everyone to his own way, but the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all these attacks on Jesus were literal they were real and yet it's through them, God achieved our salvation. Jesus himself like Israel might well say they have greatly impressed me from my youth would've added rightly.

We well understand it, but they have not gained the victory over me.

How could they possibly have gained the victory Jesus is God.

He's the only sovereign ruler of the universe. Therefore, although Satan struck out against him and wounded him in that respect, argues the work of Christ from the cross of Christ actually crushed Satan and defeat his work forever. Back in the second Psalm was a picture of this rulers of this world.

You might in their opposition against God and his anointed by God is and threatened by that. God simply laughs the falling of beer human beings and for that matter, Satan himself think that new creatures can stand against the Almighty God and then God says I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.

See we see a lot of examples of Satan's oppression a lot of evil in this world, but we have to remember is Christian people that the victory is never going to go to Satan victory is the victory of our Lord victory belongs to Jesus Christ, we come back to Revelation. Again, in the 11th chapter we read this, the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ and he will reign forever and ever heart say amen to that, he will reign forever and ever. One last point of application because when we remember that Jesus lives. We also remember that we will live because he lives because he's been victorious.

We're going to be victorious and we notice that it's not in our case by avoiding our share of the world's oppression is Christian people who were following after Jesus Christ victory doesn't come by avoiding the difficulties, but rather passing through them victoriously.

Jesus said when he was talking to his disciples before his own arrest beating and crucifixion in this world you will have trouble said to his disciples if they hated me and I'll hate you, and the more you are like Jesus Christ, the closer you want to Jesus Christ. The more you will be hated but he said at the same time.

Nevertheless, don't be discouraged. Remember that I have overcome the world. How often in the long course of history have Christians been forced to cry out, they have greatly impressed me from my youth cry of the saints, and we read about it in Revelation. Is this how long will Lord how long how long does this have to endure how long do we have to put up with all of the discouragements.

All of the abuse. All of the crushed things all of the sin. All of the evil that surrounds us in the world and the only answer we have is I am coming soon. I'm coming soon since Jesus, but in the meantime, Jesus is with us to give us the strength to persevere. We say why is this so necessary.

But why doesn't he just eliminate these things like why why isn't life perfect for Christians, so we never have to go through any of these problems and the answer is this world that stands around the looks on might know that the power is of God amount of loss might be directed to see honor and worship him.

That's why the apostle Paul was one who understood this.

He suffered many things as a missionary to the Gentiles. He says he was repeated the imprisonment beaten strong shipwreck start threatens listen, here's the way Paul understood it, he's writing here to the Corinthian's we have this treasure means the gospel which is bearing to the world. We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and from us are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed, but not in despair persecuted, but not abandoned, struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body for we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body, that forceful Christian battle cry, which is in Latin sometimes is printed on Seals's next to a picture of the burning bush Latin Reed's neck, and consummate by torrid means and yet not consume. See that's it exactly the fires of persecution are always there.

The Jews of had them and so have Christ people, Jews and Gentiles down throughout the centuries we say as Paul himself could say thanks be to God gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ prayer father were thankful for that victory were thankful that you've done it in the way you have that it might be perfectly evidence that our survival as your people. Indeed, our triumph is for your people is not because of anything in us is because of that one. We serve, who is the king of kings is the Lord of lords to whom you have given all the kingdoms of this world will be seen to be triumphant ultimately one day we thank you for that.

In Jesus name for listening to the Bible study hours featuring the teaching of Dr. James Boyce since the time of Christ election has consisted of individuals called into the kingdom of God without respect to race or background, but Israel's election as a people, is unique. If you'd like to learn more.

We like to offer you a free copy of the CD entitled the privilege of Israel by the late Dr. Donald Gray Barnhouse is free CD offers our way of saying thanks for listening. Give us a call that 1-800-488-1888 we be happy to send you a copy of the privilege of Israel again. Our phone number is 1-800-488-1888. This same God who preserved Israel cares for those who suffer for Christ.

You can help encourage fellow believers around the world by keeping Dr. Boyce's messages of hope on the air and on the Internet with your financial contribution today, please visit our website at Bible study our God work if you could also call us directly at 1-800-488-1888 in our mailing address is 600 Eden Rd., Lancaster, PA 17601. Thank you. We appreciate your support Dr. Boyce's impact reached far beyond the pulpit are Bible teacher was a prolific author and articulate spokesman for the reformed faith around the world, audio, and print materials from Dr. Boyce's special event broadcast in writing ministries are available@reformedresources.org that's reformed Greece is dawdling hi Mark Daniels thank you for listening. Psalm 130 is both a profound prayer and a great model of biblical exposition in each short verses a contains a penetrating explanation of the gospel in the essence of forgiveness. Join Dr. James Boyce as he follows the psalmist journeyed from his confession of sin is testimony of the goodness of God. That's next time one Bible study our preparing you to think and act biblically


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