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My God is My Rock: Part 1

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
September 29, 2021 8:00 am

My God is My Rock: Part 1

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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September 29, 2021 8:00 am

God is my rock! Psalm 18 is a psalm of thanksgiving, in which David is looking back on his life, praising and thanking God for his steadfast faithfulness. Today on The Bible Study Hour with Dr. James Boice, we’ll get a closer look at David’s thankful heart, as we continue our study of the psalms.

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God is my rock.

Psalm 18 is a Psalm of Thanksgiving which David is looking back on his life praising and thanking God for his steadfast faithfulness to date on the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce will get a closer look at David's thankful heart. As we continue our study of the Psalms, and welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically today in the first half of Psalm 18. David is looking back on his life recognizing all the ways that God has rescued him preserved him and remained faithful to him. Let's listen together to the Psalm of Thanksgiving as David counts his blessings. If you have your Bible turn to Psalm 18 verses 1 to 24. Psalm 19 is the first long Saul in the Psalter or others. Of course everybody knows so. Psalm 190 the longest chapter in the entire Bible by this is the first really long Saul that we've encountered so far the longest.

Up to this point has been Psalm nine online 20 Psalm 18 has 50 verses because it's so long I'm going to treated in two parts dealing with the first half of it in this study, and then continuing with the second half and subsequent study of number of interesting things about this Psalm. For one thing it's Thanksgiving Psalm I spoke last time about the various categories type surge honors Thanksgiving Psalm. Strangely enough, surprisingly. Thank God for something and generally what they thank God for is some remarkable deliverance. The deliverances follow some particular prayer for deliverance and those prayers were deliverance generally take the form of the Psalms of what scholars call lament. So often you have a Thanksgiving Psalm that follows lament is exactly what you have here. We were looking at Psalm 17. The last time and we saw that that was Leman.

David is in trouble. His enemies surrounded him and he is asking God to intervene and save him from his follows. Now we come to the 18 Psalm and we find that he's thanking God for exactly that kind of a deliverance is also the kingship. Saul shows why it sometimes difficult to categorize in the kingship Psalm is a song that praises God for his blessing upon the king quite often the kingship Psalm looks forward to the kingdom, that is the Messiah and this Psalm is no exception. Toward the end we find a verse, verse 49 that the apostle Paul uses of the book of Romans, a reference to Jesus Christ he has for verses drawn from the Old Testament in the 15th chapter of Romans to prove that God sent Jesus to be the Savior of the Gentiles as well as the Jews in the first of those for verses from the Old Testament that he gives is this 49 first. Therefore, I will praise you among the nations is not just in Israel and among the Gentile nations. Oh Lord, I will sing praises to your name. So we have a biblical justification New Testament justification for treating the Psalm in a messianic manner, so you have all these things going together and it means that the Psalm is a rich one indeed. Now when we look at the very first thing we notice is that it has an exceptionally long title for the director of music. David, the servant of the Lord is saying to the Lord.

The words of this song when the Lord delivered them from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said, and then he goes into the Psalm is helpful because when we look at this and read it in terms of his deliverance from Saul and go back to the Old Testament to see the particulars which that might be referring we discover something quite interesting we discover that what this is referring to is all of the events of David's life, as recorded in first and second Samuel and what is more, and very striking when we come to the 22nd chapter of second Samuel we find precisely the song. It's all there on over this little title that I just read actually is the introduction to it. In second Samuel second Samuel 22 verses one and two are the words of the title. I just read a lot, quite helpful to our understanding of it, because that chapter in second Samuel comes toward the end of David's life.

After this, you have a little section, which is identified in some of our Bibles is David's final words. Now it's a couple chapters after that before we actually get the death of David. These are the last things that David set. So here we have this Psalm, which by its place in second Samuel, obviously, is a summation of David's blessings received from God. During the course of a long, long lifetime of service, and so it has to be taken in that way. What we find in those books of Samuel is the David been delivered from a number of things and that's what this song talks about the had been delivered from Saul, for example, there were many years early in his life and Saul was still on the throne. Even though David had been anointed by Samuel to be the king on God had chosen to replace Saul. Saul was still there. What was more significant. David was emerging as a leader in his real people recognize that and Saul was jealous. His leadership abilities more than once, when David was still in the court of Saul serving various other notables in the kingdom did Saul tried to kill it be through spirit added on several occasions when David finally had to flee Jerusalem. First of all, to the land of the Philistines where he lived for a time and then back into his homeland where he hid in the wilderness in the cave of Balaam and in another wilderness fortresses Saul pursued him and tried to kill them again and again on many occasions. David was delivered by God. On those occasions. The stories tell us that there were times when God brought Saul within David's grasp. David could've killed him if he had chosen to do so.

But he said he would lift up his hand against the Lord's anointed David scared Saul and God spared David and so when you get to the end of first Samuel, you find there. The death of Saul after a disastrous battle with the Philistines and pretty soon you find David exalted the throne. So he had deliverance in those areas and he had deliverance from Israel's many enemies. Once David became the king. It was his responsibility to fight the battles of the people against the enemies round about second Samuel eight you have a listing of some of those battles. David was victorious against the Philistines to West against the Aramaeans of Damascus to the north against the Edomites and the Moabites to the east and all that is described in the summary form in the chapter there that precedes this all. And finally, in the chapters immediately preceding this, you have the account of the rebellion of David's son Absalom against his father, Absalom tried to turn people away from his father. The letter rebellion.

He was successful. To the degree that David actually had to flee Jerusalem with his armies. Those were loyal to live in the wilderness hiding again in the wilderness fortresses where he had so many years earlier from King Saul and eventually his armies had to fight battle against the armies of Absalom, the armies of Absalom were defeated.

Absalom himself was killed. Although David said afterwards that he had rather been heated and died. Then his son.

Now it's at the end of those accounts slows Chronicles of his life that this great Psalm comes what you have here is David looking back over a long lifetime of service, and praising God for his deliverance in all these respects other different ways of analyzing the Psalm dividing it up very helpful way is to find six different parts here.

I'm in a look at three of them in the study, and then the next three that is the second half of the Psalm and study follows. This is not difficult to recognize an initial section. Section 1 verses one through three, because in these verses David addresses himself to God and praises at the very first verse says I love you oh Lord, my strength, and then he begins to use that series of metaphors that capture for him. What God has been to him over these long years of his life. They fall into two categories. Some of them are military. God is been a shield horn of his salvation is deliver some of them refer to the years of his hiding when he was refugee and had to flee as enemies and their God was his refuge so he talks about God as his raucous fortresses refuge in his stronghold.

Interesting thing about this is the repetition of that word walk calls God is rock you find it there in verse two. Twice and you find it again later on in verses 31 and 46 verses like a nice sequence you could preach a sermon on the floor versus the one getting your point.

First of all, the Lord is my rock, secondly by God is my rock makes it even more personal. At that point. Verse 31 was a walk except our body addresses that quested the others.

And finally, at the very end of the Psalm verse 46. Please read my rock was verses seven. That image obviously of the dominant theme of this Saul me money starting about God is his rock. Years ago I read a very interesting article. The brief one, but the very interesting one by a great professor of classics in New Zealand, University of Auckland whose name is EM Blake Lockey wrote a series of articles on biblical imagery for eternity magazine and one of these particular articles was on rock. They talk about the significance of the rock had the people who lived in Bible lands rock doesn't mean very much to us, but in biblical lands rock was an important thing. Many of the biblical lands were arid desert plants and the springtime in the Ravenswood calm out on the edge of the desert a little carpet of green would spring up, but it wouldn't last long.

Soon as the rain stopped and the sun beat down mercilessly as it does send those hot lambs that will patch of green would be burnout and within a very short time. It would be covered over again by saying sent walk in the wilderness and in the shoulder of the rock that little patch of green would thrive and in certain circumstances can actually become an oasis. Now that image is picked up in the Bible. Isaiah refers to the king as the shadow of a mighty walk in the barren land king who was faithful to God would be the kind of strong person in whose shadow weaker people thrive and prosper and just as those who were members of the kingdom could thrive in the shadow of the kingdom.

So the king thrived in the shadow of his God, and that's what David is talking about here. God was his rock and in the shadow of the great walk David prosper. That's one of the images used take away the images. Rock is used is as a refuge and that is chiefly what David is talking about here David when he had to flee from Saul fled into the wilderness and because he knew every walking path and cranny of the wilderness. He was able to retreat in the areas the King Saul simply didn't know about and he was able to hide from them gave a lot alone was a great walk in which David heated and there were undoubtedly many times during those years of flight when David would find himself perched on some high rock in the wilderness looking down into the canyon below and watching his enemies as they tried to pursue them hopelessly of God is also like kind of a rock for his people. He is a refuge is rock in which we can hide that last picture is a picture of David standing upon a rock and looking down in the canyon below to see as enemies also suggest 1/3 of the ways the Bible refers to a rock that is the rock as a sure foundation. A solid platform for one's feet is often used in the Bible, in contrast with Myron Clay, one of the Psalm says that is lifted me out of the miry clay and is set my feet upon a rock. Establish my goings.

Jesus talked about a rock in that manner.

At the very end of the sermon on the Mount. He said the wise man is the man who built his house upon a rock.

And the foolish man is Vanderbilt's house upon the sand.

When the rains come sand just becomes a parent. Then Amanda built his house. There is swept away the one who builds on the rock he's billed on a solid foundation in his house stands firm Jesus and I met rock at my teachings are that walking wise is the man builds on me when David is praising the Lord as he does here in the first three verses of the Psalm is praising God in each of those aspects God is the one upon whom he can stand by the secure God is the one in whom he can highlight God is the one who protects.

It provides that shadow so we can prosper in a hostile environment naturally is recommending all about us to the second section of the Psalm is a longer section beginning in verse four and at least as I divided up extending to verse 19 here is talking about God's deliverance verse three verses, praise God. Now he is talking about the way in which God delivered at me. And of course this is the basis for his praise begins with a little subsection that describes his peril.

Verses four through six records of death tangled made the torrents of destruction overwhelming the cords of the grave coiled around me.

The snares of death confronted me, and so on and in my distress I called on the Lord is very similar to what we found in the earlier song we were looking at Psalm 17, we found that David was in just such a strange verses 10 through 12 of Psalm 17 describe it in different terms, but it's exactly the same thing as enemies. He said they have callous heart for speaking with arrogance. They track me down the surrounding there trying to throw me doing the ground like a Leica YM and is hungry for its prey here in this law only says different words exactly the same thing.

He says there were times in my life when I was in so much trouble. It was as if the cords of death had been wrapped around me and I was certain to be overwhelmed and die unless the board it saved me. So in my distress I called on him and that's exactly what he did. The point of view of the poetry greatest section of the Psalm is a section that begins with verse seven is really magnificent verse because here David pictures the Lord rising from his throne in heaven.

Parting the clouds and coming down to rescue David in his distress submitted all sorts of unusual phenomenon like earthquakes and underwritten hail and dark clouds and things that would terrify his enemies it's really great poetry and needs to be read has that, but when we look at it closely and think about these images. We soon find that what David is doing here is not simply making these things, but rather he's drawing upon the great history of God's dealings with the people in the years that preceded his own rain example verses seven through 11 are talking about God's appearance on Mount Sinai. When he gave the law through Moses all of those terms. There trembling and quaking of the earth. The shaking of the mountains that smoke.

The dark clouds. All of that is part of the description of God's theophany on Mount Sinai in the days of Moses and we know that that was common imagery among the people because the author of book of Hebrews in the New Testament, even picks it up and says the same thing speaking about the mountain. The quaked in the darkness in the clouds so terrifying.

He said that even Moses. He reports Moses was saying. I exceedingly fear and quick so that's what David is referring to there and in verses 12 through 14.

If either what is talking about some of the manifestations of God's power at the time of the Jewish conquest of Cana under Joshua. He talks about hailstones and lightning. The only place in the Old Testament. I know that hailstones are part of a manifestation of God is in the great victory of Joshua and his armies against the Southern Confederacy, which is recounted in the 10th chapter of Joshua.

So he's referring to that here and then at the very end. In verse 15, where he talks about the valleys of the sea being exposed. He's obviously talking about the Exodus when God parted the Red Sea, so the people could pass over on dry land, and perhaps these talking about the entrance into Canaan as well.

When God parted the waters of the Jordan so people can advance against Jericho is what he saying here is not merely what we might if we were searching around for poetic language to describe God in some exalted way he's drawing upon what God actually did in the past, even though as we know God didn't do any of these things specifically in a literal sense for David what he saying is you see that God did all those things are Moses and Joshua learned during the period of the judges is my God and it's proper to say certain sense that he has done exactly that for me. I think Spurgeon had it right when he wrote his comments on the Psalm. David has in his mind's eye the glorious manifestations of God in Egypt at Sinai on different occasions to Joshua and the judges and he considers it his own case exhibits the same glory and power and goodness, and that therefore he made accommodate the descriptions of the former displays of the divine Majesty into his own him of Branson course, that's exactly what he is doing now. This means something else to do and it's what we saw also.

When we were looking at Psalm 17 recall when we were looking at Psalm 17. I pointed out that some of the language referring to God's deliverance is the language of the covenant you find it, drawn from two of the songs of Moses in the Old Testament the one found in Exodus 15 and the second one in Deuteronomy 32 when he uses that language the language of the covenant picking images uppermost to Psalms what he saying is, is this covenant God is my God, the God of Moses, my God, to and he's doing exactly the same thing here is always doing it in different ways. Here he's using the language of the great theophanies of the Old Testament, God appeared in power to give his people victory and he saying this God.

This God who appeared to Moses and Joshua and to the others, is my God as well.

I stand in the tradition and what I need to say as ministers preaching on this text is that God is our God as well. Again, as far as I know David himself did not literally experience any of these things and see some special manifestation of God in thunder and lightning and hail God didn't intervene miraculously in any of his battles so far as we know on them by the power of God, but not miraculously. And yet, the God who was with him is exactly the same God, for there is no other as one. It was with these other great Old Testament figures and that is our God today. God delivered them delivers us. So what David says here can be said about her own experience as well well versus 16 and following talk about it. He has described the descendents of God do his 80 now says what happened. He reached down from on high and took hold of me drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy and for my close were too strong for me later on in the Psalm.

The section were going to look at next time will find that he does it all over again describe God's intervention to save them in the verses I just talked about. That is four through 19.

But beginning in verse 25 through verse 45. He talks about that same deliverance only the second time around is doing it from his perspective rather than from God and all the special language is highly political language of the manifestation of God in clouds of glory in thunder and earthquakes vanishes at what is really talking about is his victory to see how those things go together. He saying is really one and the same thing. God operates in many different ways, but he accomplishes the same thing for his people. On the third section of this in the last of the sections were going to look after three more to look at next time is verses 20 through 24 and the title that section. I would call it why God spared David the first section is praise the gods.

The second is a description of David's deliverance by God. Now we have an explanation of why God spared him. Once again, where pointed back to the 17th Psalm what he says here is that God spared him because of his righteousness. I read it Lord is dealt with me according to my righteousness. According to the cleanness of my hands. He is rewarded me right.

The ways of the Lord. I have not done evil by turning my God always laws are before me. I have not turned away from his decrees. I have been blameless before him and kept myself from sin. The Lord is rewarded me according to my righteousness.

According to the cleanness of my hands in his sight is just what we saw in Psalm 17.

I said there he was giving reasons why God should answer him, and Psalm 17 is asking for the deliverance in Psalm 18 is thanking God for it. But the reason is the same.

Psalm 17 says you probe my heart and examine me at night you test me, you will find nothing. I have resolved that my mouth about sin, and so on, to suggest a problem to us. The problem is this of this Psalm really comes toward the end of David's life as we know it did because of its association with second Samuel divided in the 22nd chapter almost the very last words of King David. The question is, how could he say that in view of his sin with Bathsheba and against her husband Uriah. We might say. You see, if we were reading Psalm 17. It's not dated. Well, this is something that he must've prayed early in his life and his pristine days of innocence he could perhaps say he doesn't claim to be sinless. I have kept your word. I have held to your plan as my feet have not slept but for the end of his life. How could he say my feet have not slipped this in this blatant arrogance or lying on David's part. When the answer to that question is a good one comes in the verses that follow are going to look at next time he goes on to talk about in the verses that follow is a general principle to the faithful.

You show yourself faithful to the blameless you show yourself blameless. The pure you show yourself pure, but the crooked you show yourself shrewd. You save the humble but you bring low those who are haughty. I think it's in view of that general principle that we have to understand what he says before he's not saying in these verses that any follower of God is blameless because of course none of us already knew that he was not himself. Even before the sin with Bathsheba. He's not even saying that he is sinless at the time he utters the prayer, but what he saying is that General Way, God does reward righteousness and if you go in the way of sin or unrighteousness.

Certain inevitable and undesirable consequences follow doesn't handle every case. Take the case of Job. You say, what about that there was a righteous man suffered many things, and of course God vindicated Job and rewarded them in the end it worked out all right but there were many long months, perhaps years between when things didn't seem to be going very well forever in the principal didn't seem to hold true what David is saying is in a general way that's true, and if you it's said to David yes David the one about Bathsheba and that how can you bring that up. David would say that was a shameful episode and I repented of it but it makes the point because as a result of that sin I experienced many difficult things in my life.

The principle that I'm talking about verses 25 and following. I experienced as well.

When I fell into sin. I suffered for it. Generally speaking, the tenor of my life is been to seek the way of God and God is blessed me for doing that to say that you, as well. You and I have within us the same capacity for sin. The David did many of us have done exactly that, or perhaps things that were even worse, but generally hearsay.

If we are repenting of the sin of trying to follow in God's ways God does bless God doesn't bring up the sin against us and overaggressive, rests on the head with it again and again as if he were going to say all you sin back there. You said you are useful to me anymore.that way. God always takes us right where we are. Rejoice is when we repent of sanity picks us up and establish us as upon the rock once again lifting us out of the miry clay our own transgressions and blesses us and makes us a blessing others as David himself, so obviously was going to go on look at some more aspects of the act and the second of these two studies of the solvent electric close by reference to something else.

One of the great sermons of the Great American evangelist DL Moody was on the theme there rock is not. It is our rock wasn't based on this long, but rather from verse from Deuteronomy 32.

The verse that Moody had in his Bible. The King James Bible when something like this there rock is not as our rock. Even our enemies being judges part of that verse that intrigued Moody was the last part. Even our enemies being judges and he said when you consult those who are not Christians last and whether that in which they trust is adequate. They themselves confessed you don't need the testimony of Christian rather, they themselves confessed that there rock is not as our rock.

This particular sermon. Moody talked about atheists and pantheists and infidels with the right words for talking about unbelievers in those days and he went through each one, and he told stories came to the end and he said I have never known an infidel that I happily when they died. He said I don't find a rock to hold onto. There is no comfort in their atheism and their pantheistic philosophy or in their unbelief they call for anyone to be with them personally call as a Christian minister there rock is modest. Our rock even our enemies being judges, I think, is the message of the song.

You and I go through life and we sin again and again we sometimes sin gratefully, but when we point back to our failures or even our strengths, but to our rock enters our confession when our rock is not, is there rock rock is a rock which we have found through all the changing vicissitudes of life. All the temptations of life and that walk is never failed us and when we come the end of our days since David didn't look back over life, we will be able to say, as David does in this Psalm, who is the rock except our God and the answer is there is none and we will conclude as he himself does well then praise be to the rock.

Even our God our father, we thank you for this great hymn of David's great testimony through your blessing and keeping power in his life over many long long years of service.

Many of us are that stage of life we look back over a long life and we confess that you been faithful any of us are young we look ahead to a lifetime of service. If you spare us to do that yet. Whether we look forward to. Rather, we look back. Our testimony is the same rock is not as there rock our rock solid rock rock from which we can build a rock refuge one in whom we can hide upon whom we can stand father, help us to show that by the way we live by the words we speak Jesus and thank you for listening to this message from the Bible study our the listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals.

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