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September 8, 2021 8:00 am
The historical context behind Psalms chapter 3 points us to a time of crisis and betrayal in the life of King David today on the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce will learn that there is only one tried-and-true method for finding peace in the midst of life's challenges and will be reminded that, like David, we are each in need of the kind of deliverance that only God can provide. Welcome to Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically.
Psalms 3 is full of military references and as we study it together will be encouraged that in our daily battles. God fights for us. Verse two Psalms stand in an introductory place. The initial one at the very beginning of the Psalter showing the position proper position of the word of God in the life of the godly person's way of saying that the man who would find God and serve God and become like God must be a man. There must be a woman of the word very appropriate to be getting this book, then in the second Psalm we have a messianic Psalm Psalm about the Messiah and a prophecy of his ultimate triumph. As I say are introductory, they introduce themes are going to come up again and again throughout the Psalter but beginning with the third Psalm we have the first of a number of Psalms, especially here at the beginning talk about the different things that come into the life of the godly man and how he is to deal with how he is to be victorious. As a result of his confidence or trust in God's third Psalm has been called morning song reason for that is because of verse five. Verse five says I lie down and sleep.
I wake again because the Lord sustains way that might seem to most of us on an initial reading to be an inadequate basis for calling this entire Psalm a morning song sets only something mentioned partway through, and it doesn't seem to be dominant, but I would hope to show as we go on and look at this and our time together that it really is a morning Psalm and more than that. It is talking about a specific morning specific dangers that came in the life of King David. What happened is that it was written as were going to see in response to those specific circumstances. It's a testimony to the grace of God in David's life I we found peace and confidence with God on this dangerous morning but then because it was written in a general way as most of the Psalms are not alluding very obviously to specific things that came in the life of the writer so they could be sought and used by many people.
This gradually became a general morning song and then was put here at this initial place in the book of Psalms says kind of thing that should be in our minds as we begin the day significant that is followed by Psalm four and Psalm four is an evening song.
Now we ask what specific morning is this. I hope I've said enough to whet your appetite about it find it in the title of the Psalm, which strangely enough, though it is in the canonical text of the Hebrew Bible is not in many of our English translations. It is in the new international version and if you have that an invite you to look at it is at the very beginning that is before verse one Psalm of David when he fled from his son Absalom.
Rather, are three folks in that very brief introduction.
This is the first time in the book of Psalms that the word Psalm itself has occurred. Some of their earlier. Our book is entitled Psalms.
But that's not even the title in the Hebrew Bible, in either Psalm one nor Psalm two are introduced in this way herein. Psalm three we read a Psalm of David. Let's first thing on the second thing is the description of the Psalm to David many Psalms that are ascribed to David, that is, he is said to be the author most of them are in the first two books of the Psalter five books in the Psalter. The first two books cover Psalms 1 through 73 and most of the Psalms of David are there in these first two books but all may occur again later and there are other people who are said to have written some of the salts.
One of them is ascribed to Moses are two Psalms of Solomon people we don't know much about people like assess Keene in the Ezra Heights evenly is right sons of Cora number of the murder ascribed or directed in some way to the director of music usually responsible for the worship in the temple and then there are number of Psalms I described anybody there technically anonymous. The beginning we have a Psalm of David knew many of them not as a debate among scholars whether that really means that there Psalms of David Hebrew particle that introduces that could also mean to David Psalm to David or a Psalm of David, but traditionally are understood as being a Psalm of David. And that's a sense in which I take them, particularly in view of the third part of the subscription I'm talking about.
First thing that occurs for the first time.
Here is an Psalm second dissidents described as being a Psalm of David and the third thing is that it is related to a specific historical incident in his life and that's found in the phrase when he fled from his son Absalom.
What I want to suggest is that that should be taken literally.
I don't know why we wouldn't take it literally.
Since it's part of the Hebrew text is to be understood as part of Scripture that even if we didn't circumstances are such that we can well understand the Psalm in that context. Now you know something of the life of David so I can refer to it briefly was a time in David's life well on into his reign. When his son Absalom. It would turned against him was conspiring to take over the kingdom. David was preoccupied with the business of administration. While it was going on.
He began it sometimes happens to lose touch with the people very close to the people initially but generations change. David was growing older and he was beginning to lose some of that touch that he had earlier Absalom's law that sees the opportunity were told second Samuel the 15th and the 16th chapter where the story is unfolded, that he would sit in the gate of the city and is that people would come to the gates where the elder Safran where in olden times, decisions were made. He would listen to their complaints and then it say something like this. He would say, if only I were King I would deal with that.
You certainly do have a valid complaint it. It's too bad that there's nobody in charge of the kingdom. These days it really cares about little people like you were told second Samuel that by that means over the process of time, you eventually stole away the hearts of the people the time came when the rebellion broke out. He went to Hebron on a pretax T took his armed entourage within the small army had been give out the word there is that came in Hebron where David and begun his reign as king in Hebron, Absalom rains in Hebron in the news came back to Jerusalem that there was a great uprising. People apparently were flocking Absalom and David recognize the danger of the situation. He was a great military commander.
He knew that he was in great danger because he was unprepared for an attack. And so he did what he had to do. He took those were loyal to him and quickly without waiting all very evening he heard the message left Jerusalem fleeing down that steep descent away from the city to the Kedron Valley passed over the Mount of olives and into the desert where he had lived and had fought all those long years while Saul was on the throne was seeking his life as he went a long way. He was abused by people who, as is often the case when somebody is greatest fallen took special delight in his fall was a man name she my Benjamite, one who had been loyal to King Saul David's predecessor, it was still loyal to him. He stood on the hill and he shouted down. David the king as he passed by. Get out get out you man of one use ground Lord has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the household of Saul in his place. You drained that word is kind of the kingdom over to your son Absalom you've come to ruin because you are a man of blood one of David soldiers wanted to go up and put an end she my right kind of language but David said no, no, this is a time when the Lord has allowed shame to come upon me, and will spare his life may be that the Lord will restore me to Jerusalem to be God's then will rejoice that if it were not going to compound the situation by killing the man. It was a low low. In his life. What I want to suggest is that that is the situation. The third Psalm describes doesn't describe it with particular detail, as I said earlier, none of the Psalms do that because if they did, of course, it would limit their usefulness and if you study it carefully is that scholars do you see that it does describe the situation exactly like this one great Lutheran scholar and mentioned it before, HC Leopold notes a number of parallels and he says the parallels alone are enough to carry out the identification. For example, the opponents of the author of numerous defined data songs as tens of thousands are gone up against me on every side isn't any normal person who can say that it requires King almost have enemies so that quantity and yet that corresponds very well with what were told second Samuel in the battle finally takes place in second Samuel 20,000 are killed, so that's probably going to divided equally 10,001 side 10,000 on the other very easy to understand the returns of thousands drawn up against David and the battle begin. The attitude of some of David's opponents was that he had forfeited all right of hope to divine a C in verse two. Many are saying to me. God will not deliver them.
That's what shame I was saying as he shouted down to David as he fled the city in a manner blonde guy was I going to deliver you. It's quite the contrary, God is punishing you because of all evil things you've done, David actually been very generous and gracious to the household of Saul, but it's not the way it was perceived again. David and this Psalm directs his prayer to God's holy hill. You read that story and second Samuel. There were some people in his company. They wanted him to take the ark of the covenant with him when he fled the city symbol of the presence of God. They said to bring the ark with you, then it will be evident that God is with you.
David was too wise to do that he recognize that the presence of God, though it was symbolized by the ark was not identical with it. God was with him, God would be with them anyway so he said no leave the ark in Jerusalem symbolized the presence of God.
There wanted to be God's battle on his battle and he said it may be that God will bring me back so you see us up to God and Jerusalem symbolic presence of God inspires return there one day. The other thing you notice in the psalmist throughout it. This almost speaks as if all of the issues of life depend on God. That is exactly the way David speaks in second Samuel find that the author is a man of some evidence when you begin to put all that together, what you have here very closely describes the other situation I give you another reason why we should take it that way am going to apply this in a practical way in a moment, but I want you to understand the situation.
There's a scholar named Peter Craigie who was written commentary on the first 50 Psalms for the Word Biblical commentary and he doesn't inclined to take these identifications of Psalms is David's literally just because it says a Psalm of David is not willing to believe that David literally wrote it might think that it's in the style of day better after David or about David to David or something like that and not necessarily the David loaded but in this case he does believe the David wrote it and the reason he gives us the military language.
He says this is a military situation we read it we tend to take all these things as images and they are course he takes it literally says look the references to followers and enemies. In verses two and eight. The reference to victory in verses three and eight back.
God is described as a shield. That's a military term. People referred to in verse seven may be employed that word may be employed with the nuance army people are against me masses against me like an army in verse eight arise overboard to rise up a Lord that's parallel to the words were used when the ark went forth in the battle see that in a minute. That's what Moses would say wise up the Lord so it has to do with battle and then finally from the Lord comes deliverance and victory belongs to the Lord that sounds as Craigie like a warcry or a battle cry all of that of course fits the situation of a man was a king was used in warfare.
As David wants so I want to suggest you see is what the psalmist describing his real danger is not just talking about problems in general, human condition, we might say ark or a discouraging situation in life in real danger as a man is in danger of his life. And yet at the same time.
It's a testimony to God's grace in his life because God gives them comfort even in the midst of danger.
Now you and I face different situations.
Of course, none of us can say that 10,000 soldiers are literally raised up against us least. I don't think we can. I don't know any of us in a lifetime are going to say that unless some reason would be in the military, video or something like that. You generally can say that there is a sense in which you and I go out to do battle. Most days of our lives. At least if you work in the secular world.
Sometimes it's true in the Christian world as well.
You may work in a company where you literally do battle.
They buy dance at cutthroat operation.
Everybody's out to get everybody else wants weapons or use you slander and gossip and innuendo and sometimes bribes or stealing all sorts of wicked things go on a man told me once that he had gone away in a small business with a partner. He got away for two weeks on vacation when he came back to partner installed in the business all right out from under him and left him with a lot of debt which shows he explained the situation to me years later he was still trying to pay off.
Ask yourself how can you have survived that kind of a world kind of world. David knew he was God's anointed. He was a prophet in the psalmist but he was also the king.
It was a secular Lori beef secular battles and we fight them to sometimes. It's not like that. We say look, here's a man who has thousands of enemies I don't have thousands and enemies.
Well now, but how many enemies do you need to make life miserable. One good one and he's really talented, or she's really vicious, can be enough and probably have more than one.
You're lucky if you know who all your enemies are made with her enemies behind her back and you don't even know the dozens out there trying to get you dismiss it does say well I'm just paranoid to know what Yogi Berra said about that Barry had these wonderful sayings send one of his sayings. My favorite saying is this just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you and maybe there maybe they are probably lots of and more successful you are, the more visible you are, the more notable you are.
It's like in the world. David situation is not altogether different than ours. Maybe you can't say that your son is raised up an army against you, but you might well be able to say that somebody in your family is against you. Somebody that ought to be on your side to side her daughter maybe hate you. They said vicious things. Maybe they are out to get you. Maybe they betray everything you stand for. Maybe it's not just a son or a daughter. Maybe it's a husband or wife you thought he or she was your ally.
Turns out there on the other side their part of that last force out there that is arrayed against you and not only an secular way may be spiritually as well. Trying to tear down your testimony, try to drag you away from a commitment to God, which you earnestly want to keep you see if that's the situation we face, and we read this Psalm and we can say to ourselves.
The very fact that it describes a situation in the life of David does not make it more remote from us, but it makes it close to us because that's what we go through as well. We asked the question how to David handle it. The learn how to cope. Now when I look at the Psalm in that way. The first two verses or section that describe the crisis illegally works it will find these little stances for you verses one into the crisis verses three and four. David's confidence in God. They will begin seeds.
I don't normally do that doing at this time. Verses five and six the courage he has even in the midst of it, and finally verse seven a cry for help in your notice in verse eight, is separated and that become something of a testimony of the very end. We have four sections. There you have the crisis of confidence, the courage, cry, and then finally the testimony noncrisis is what we've been talking about all Lord says David how many are my followers. How many rise up against me. Many are saying nothing. God will not deliver them a raised an army there marching against Jerusalem. I've had to flee.
I don't know when they're going to attack. Perhaps they'll come after me tonight. Not only are they pursuing me people like Shammai up there on the hill that are saying God's not going to deliver in the very fact that Absalom has succeeded so far in has raised up his army is proof gone and washed his hands of this king is a crisis like that come into our lives and their people will say that your religious wears God to help you now. Anybody say that to you. I imagine you have many of you.
I look at something that's the tone of the first stanza, verses one into what happens when you come to verses three and four but you were to shield around me oh Lord my glorious one. My head what's happened. We pass from this feeling of crisis in the first stanza to a sense of quiet confidence in stanza two is the question what's going on between stanza one in stanza to this made the difference. What's happened in between stanza one and stanza two was the David knew before. This had his eyes upon his enemies is not gotten his eyes off of his enemies upon God is always that way when Christian people are looking at the dangers the dangers grow like Peter when he was trying to walk to the board across the water when he was looking at the water the way seem to be getting higher and higher or more threatening heat said was how can I ever survive in these ways, under the trauma that he began to sink say when you get your eyes off the dangers and get your eyes on the Lord dangers real flight begins by describing the crisis slight says when he fled from his son Absalom real dangers of the dangers begin to shrink why because their last no there there every bit as strong as they ever were bought because you're beginning to see them in perspective. You're beginning to see them as God sees them, and in light of God.
Everything fades the near insignificance is a great illustration of that in the Old Testament when the spies went in the promised land.
You know that 10 when Anna looked at the land and they saw the giants sons of panic descended from the methylene's very fact that they had a name like methylene was scary enough, and I was a sense of panic descended from the now holy wow and that they were they were like football players and here they looked at them and they said all know we we seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and so also did we see to them and they went back and they said that the Lanza grade land but there's a chance of working to be able to take it with people like that living there was a 10 under with to Caleb and Joshua and Caleb and Joshua said all we can surely take it was a difference were Caleb and Joshua blinds and all they failed to see the Giants thinking the same land they'd seen the same people difference was Caleb and Joshua had their eyes on God.
So you see when 10 looked at the giants they seem small. The Giants were big huge barrier to the conquest of the land. When Caleb and Joshua God Giants began to shrink to manageable proportions.
That's exactly what has happened to David and Saul see I don't know if it was the case that when he literally fled. He literally feared that I have been certainly was a moment of panic required quick action. David acted quickly, wisely, but after all the tens of thousands set had risen up against him and he hadn't even had time to prepare for after all it was the Philistines even though they were coming. His spies with the said there beginning to arm their going to march in the spring. It would got ready to suddenly here at once from his son. Maybe he really did begin to experience the panic of the moment, but he did did. Also what he had learned to do by discipline during a long lifetime of living with God. He took his eyes from the problems he directed on the God of the problems began to shrink to see my perspective. Even the tens of thousands marching under Absalom became manageable. They came to the point where he could say at the end God give me the victory something interesting here as of the first place in the Psalter where between stanza one in stanza two you find the words. Selah is a puzzling word. Nobody really knows what it means.
Certainly the translators of the NIV don't because of the very bottom is a note says a word of uncertain meaning occurring frequently in the Psalms, possibly a musical term. Well it occurs 73 times in the Psalms that occurs three times more in the Psalm that ends the book of Habakkuk prayer. They are very formal prayer and three times over that word Selah Curtis often occurs most frequently occurs between stanzas like this, but sometimes occurs at the end you see it.
They were the very end. After verse eight sometimes occurs in the middle of the stanza you see it in the next Psalm Psalm four, right after verse four before verse five. On Monday seems to break up the flock.
What is it mean well that can mean one of two things that can be derived from the Hebrew verb which means to lift off work to raise and people who drive it from that root say well it said musical notation means here is where you modulate to a higher key may be on the other hand, it can also come from a verb which means to pause or stop and generally most people think that's what it means success. Look at the time to stop the parts to think about this. Perhaps it even meant both letter this point in the singing of the piece would be a modulation of quiet musical interlude, and then you begin the next stanza, but CM probably indicates that during that period were to stop and think were to apply what we have just said or what we just read and I would suggest that's what we ought to do, see if you think I'm sure you have as we been talking here about the crises you're facing in your life. Perhaps what you're going to face tomorrow morning when you go to work. Do what it says Selah stop, think, consider get your eyes away from the troubles on the God you do that you be able to see and say you are a shield around me. Oh Lord. David says three things about God and that verse says God's a shield that is gonna protect and is done it before you do it again.
He says God lifts up his head and said his drooping your head is drooping amazed by it, stripping off his drooping son and his drooping I get. I get tired sometimes get discouraged and regroup. Well, God lifts up the one is drooping first thing God doesn't answer him.
See, when he cries a lot but answers him from his holy hill.
God speaks to him when he cries out in need. God does that to you. He doesn't always answer immediately doesn't always answer saying what we want them to say as his own ways and his ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts, but he does answer, he does not abandon his people live long with the Lord, you know that is true. Those things should be in your mind when you face the problems you do face day by day should be able to stop and say yes God is like that.
He has been with me in the past to be with me again when that happens, problems begin to shrink in size. Next stanza and the third is the one that in most people's minds is the best. At least it's the one that seems to touch the most closely. It's where song gets its name morning Saul expresses his quiet confidence that David has in God, and it shows real courage. I lie down and sleep. He says I wake again because the Lord sustains me.
I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side. One of the commentator says this is the spiritual high point of the salt. When I think it is. Imagine David having to split Jerusalem quickly. The text in second Samuel says even went barefoot bear hadn't only pulled something over and set aside a morning making his way out of the city, the king, the king and here he is out of the wilderness that that first night he doesn't know what's happening. Always heard is that Absalom and his armies are marching on Jerusalem and he's had to flee and what's Absalom to do is Absalom to turn an entire document and pursue them at night. Jim out there in the desert and wipe them out all at once he enters and his troops. David spotted God. God is the one that's in charge of his life. God's shield always has been God's answer to prayer always has can trust God and so what we find David doing is lying down and sleeping helping you sleep on a night like that you can do it if you commit your life to God is exactly what David did. That's why he's a model that's why we have a Psalms in our solar. That's the way he lived, and that's the way we can live as well. It isn't only see the fact that he has laid down and slept. That's remarkable in itself sleeping in situation like that, but literally speaking the Psalm is the Psalm of the next morning he lay down and slept. Now he woke up in the morning. It's refreshed. He says I'm ready to face the new Diane was coming. I this army is coming about things as you say, I'm afraid of that. I'm not afraid of the 10,000 because I composed myself and my resting in the Lord's way you and I ought to go off to work on Monday morning to go off resting and go on fearing on flows may be drawn up against us doesn't mean that there's no battle there is about. And David acknowledges that in the fourth of the stanzas sees describe the crisis. He has expressed his confidence.
He's demonstrated courage. But now, nevertheless draws in the end of the Psalm he cries to God for help because God knows he needs it needs God's help. Absalom has the edge. He has the numbers. The armies set aside David really has a little group of people that fled away with them. If God doesn't help that there's no and so he turns to God and he says arise overboard and deliver me, deliver me. Oh my God, that he thinks of the past because you've struck all my enemies on the joy you broken the teeth of the wicked. That's what David and experience during a long career as King wanted done that for now he says I need it again.
Need God and is in that courage that he went forth when I read this I think of Martin Luther you know Luther was a man of great courage and for the same reason. He learned to trust God. He's put it into his humans. We sing it when we sing a mighty Fortress is my God is what Luther had discovered and what he knew was that great time in his life. You know when he was on the way to work swear he was to give defense of himself before the diet had been given a safe conduct, but his friends had heard his enemies saying that a heretic shouldn't be granted the privilege of a safe conduct. Nobody should honor the safe conduct of a heretic and besides John Haas had been given a safe conduct, not very long before that he been distinctly simply rest of them anyway. Now Luther was going to war's marching into the very hand of his enemies. People began to warn them along the way they said don't go finally as he got on the very edge of the city's friends followed him from within the city sent them urgent message by us already said do not enter forms. Luther replied tell your master that even if there should be as many devils and worms as there are piles upon the house tops.
Still, I will enter it at must have stuck with him because many years later, on his deathbed he was thinking about and talking about it and he said of that moment.
I was then on daunted. I heard nothing and acted that way because it was at the diet that he spoke those immortal words, must not be persuaded by the words of Scripture and sound reasoning. I cannot and will not recant here I stand I can do no other God help me, a man called out for help to God and God heard God to deliver loser spirit, and for many many years and he became the father of the Reformation and David experienced it to God delivered David, would you think that God would abandon David in a situation like that.
God didn't abandon David. David had been caught off guard. His own son had been raised up against in the armies of the enemy consisted of 10,000 God heard David and he spared him and he returned to the throne.
Absalom had attacked that night he would've been able to wipe out David.
David knew it when they David said he had a faithful counselor with them and the counselor wanted to stay with David.
He said no go back to the city and pretend that you're still loyal Absalom, and when counsel is given you give counsel that will serve my cause and so this counselor did like to counsel that might they said what should we do some of them said I was the time to attack enemies weak man this faithful counselor David blessed by God.
In this long counsel was actually to help.
David said no you know Davidson, man-of-war, or any knows how to fight.
What if you attack him tonight and he actually win, or even he wins a skirmish my everybody's going aside, he's he's going to triumph knows that this counselor what you need to do is wait.
Take your time and collect your armies. Then when you're good and ready to move out against it were told. God bless the Council to confound the counselors that actually were for Absalom and Absalom didn't attack about intervening surcease is not explicitly God intervened. Interestingly enough, David didn't know what was happening. David said his own counselor back in.
That's what he wanted to have happen, but he didn't know that was happening. And yet God was working all that out. All that was happening while David was sleeping and waking, and trusting God and eventually course, the battle did, David, and this time had managed to collect those who were loyal to him and there were many had a battle.
It was a great battle I mentioned earlier that 20,000 soldiers were killed according to the text and second Samuel, and among them in the battle was a son Absalom the hard moment for David.
He didn't want his son to die. Nevertheless, God had preserved them. He had cried out, arise overboard. Deliver me. Oh my God.
God did arise in power and deliver him glory, went to God for the very end of this David gives a testimony verse eight from the Lord comes deliverance is a great text. It's almost the same thing you have in the second chapter of Jonah verse seven Jonah after his experience in running away from God and being thrown overboard and swallowed by the whale and repenting in the belly of the great fish has flatlined salvation is of the Lord is what this text is saying, salvation is of the Lord.
I heard somebody preach on Jonah once they said that is the theme of the Bible unit is theme of the Bible. Salvation is of the Lord, you and I need deliverance, the deliverance of all sorts of ways but all spiritually and the only place that deliverance would come from above all spiritually is from God, but it does come from God. That's it. Salvation is from the Lord. From beginning. Dan says that we don't save ourselves. God saves a seat plans and he executes it only applies it does not do the human will or human powers of decision or anything else. But it's due to God the grace of God. Salvation is of the Lord, we know that to be true, but if that is true in the greater matter destroy the matter of our salvation were utterly helpless when we are subject to the power and the influence of the devil and are on our way to hell. God intervened in the situation like that and say just as I might say the situation in which you and I did not even cry for help, God did that well then how much more is God going to save us the battles of this life, the battles you face tomorrow morning to because he wants to work through you and he honors his promises. You cry out to them you say arise. Oh Lord deliver me. Oh my God do it was to demonstrate his power.
You your life prayer. Father, we thank you for this great great Psalm. Thank you for the great Manor Road. It's not because of himself great in you because of what you did in him what you taught him how you bless them, and through him how you teach us. Father, we don't live in situations as dramatic as his complaint role models with armies. Yet we fight battles every day and we need deliverance in them just as much as David did father do arise for us. We ask you to do it to you to do its in the meantime, we want to rest confidently in what you have done lying down to sleep. Sleeping well rising again. Rising to a new day, knowing that you go before us the victory is the Lords branches. Thank you for listening to this message from the Bible study our listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals.
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