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God Save the King

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
October 5, 2021 8:00 am

God Save the King

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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October 5, 2021 8:00 am

God save the king! Today on The Bible Study Hour, we’ll take a closer look at Psalm 20, which is a corporate prayer of trust-- God will deliver the righteous king of Israel. What can this psalm tell us about the type of leaders we need today, and how should we pray for them?

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God save the King today on the Bible study our will take a closer look at Psalm 20 which is a corporate prayer of trust that God will deliver the righteous king of Israel. What can the Psalm tell us about the type of leaders we need today and how we should pray for them and welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically in Psalm 20 people of Israel are praying for their king. Recognizing that favor and success come from God alone who blesses those who put their trust in him. If you have your Bible turn to Psalm 20 Psalm 20 and with two songs that are somewhat different from the Psalms where you have seen so far. These are songs not spoken by an individual but by the people and their national and their orientation. First is the prayer that God would deliver the King probably on the occasion of some battle or perhaps many battles if it was used again and again in the worship services of Israel and then a second of the two solvents is a prayer of thanksgiving to God, having delivered okay so obviously to go together are few stylistic differences. We got a look at it helpful to do that. I think as we begin the study of these because it focuses on poetry in our minds. One thing the two are linked together by some words at the very end of Psalm 20 verse nine you read O Lord, save the King answer is when we call then the very beginning of Psalm 21 in the first verse that same ideas picked up. How great is the king's joy in the victories you give, not as apparent in English as it is in the Hebrew but the words that occur near the end of picked up again the beginning of the next call to a put together. We notice that from time to time we work our way through the Psalter.

They are not all linked in this way, I don't see any. Obviously, between Psalm 19 and Psalm 20 or Psalm 21 in Psalm 22, but these two at least along together to be studied together, and then their units in themselves is a device that the scholars call includes the that is Islam will begin with the phrase Mercer wrapped a set of words which are then repeated the very end of the Psalm. Sort of like a front door the back door to a house that is very apparent here in Psalm 20, you have the words Warden answer and then hidden in the English translation, but nevertheless they are in the Hebrew the word day Hebrew actually said day of distress have Lord answer and am stress less exactly what comes in at the end nine Lord answer and then and never since the day of our calling again today has been swallowed up in English translation, but there Hebrew, so it starts with a phrase and ends with the phrase in the Torah holds Islam together. The same thing is true of Psalm 21, where the words are Lord and strength to find them in verse one the coming again in verse 13. What is perhaps most striking stylistically about these two Psalms.

It's that they seem to be liturgical now a number of the commentators are skeptical about it.

I think rightly so, because there is a tendency in modern scholarship. Both the Psalms to find liturgical elements everywhere and because they're not always so obviously scholars tend to invent them. Invent settings in which this or that Saul had Wood been used had been used in such and such a way by certain people, and so forth.

I one should rightly be skeptical of that kind of speculative theology.

And yet there are times when it does seem that there's a liturgical element present and that is the case here. One of the most skeptical of all the scholars in that respect is an older scholar named Perrone, but even he acknowledges that there are at least as she says Liturgical elements at this point show it in this way, what you find here are two Psalms written for the most part of the first person plural that is using the word we, rather than the words iron me onto not been true of the Psalms. Up till now it is not true of the one that follows either look back to the last verse of Psalm 19.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight oh Lord my rock and my Redeemer.

So four times over there you have the word lion is quite obvious that there an individual is speaking same way. Look at Psalm 22 the first verse, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me why are you so far from saving me so far from the words of my groaning. So there you have five pronouns that indicated that individual median my repeated a variety of times that is not what we have here in the songs here.

It's in the world we will shout for joy in verse three.

Answer us when we call verse nine and then in Psalm 21 verse 13 have the same thing.

We will sling and place your light so here rather than having an individual praying you have a group of people praying and that alone suggests that it would have been used in what we would call a liturgical manner.

In the Jewish worship services at the temple, but there's even something else. If you look at Psalm 20. Although it is true the phrases I read during the first person plural.

We will shout and we call find in verse six that their changes back to the first person singular. Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed.

What does explanation of that right is a go from the plural to the singular to the plural. Once again the natural explanation seems to be that these were versus picked up by different groups of people or individuals in the worship service. Apparently first five verses square spoken by the people interceding on behalf of their King of Kings about to go out to battle so there praying for him.

Or at least they are acknowledging that his prayers are righteous and they stand behind them, then verse 6 to 8 you have a change striking here now is a break in the Psalm comes in and the singular.

Probably some individual response.

At this point to some suggest could be the king himself. I guess that's possible likely was a priest or Levite of the people read the first part and then the priest says I know that the Lord saves his anointed, he answers him from his holy heaven with his saving power of his right hand and so on.

And when bypasses, the very last verse to a concluding echo by the people as they say together, Lord, save the King answer us when we call perhaps at this point is the king and his armies are marching out the battle right when you read it to pay attention to the details. It seems to suggest something like that not wrong to regard this therefore is a liturgical prayer that the model prayers for national leaders teaches us something about the kind of leaders we want to have and how we should pray for them. So it's a way to look at the song now as I say the first five verses are prayer of the people for the king in his victory. Although strictly speaking, are not a prayer you read them there actually directed to the king that kind of an echo of what he saying keyword here is the word. May you find it six times in these verses. May the Lord answer you when you are in distress, and may the name of the Lord God of Jacob protect you. Verse one verse two says maybe send you help from the sanctuary. Verse three. May he remember all your sacrifices verse four. May he give you the desires of your heart and then finally verse five the end of that section. May the Lord grant all your requests as I say this is not strictly a prayer yet, it is of the nature of prayer. Although it's written in this particular format is actually the expression of the hearts of the people that God would hear the prayers of the king for victory in lesson as he fights Israel's enemies. So that's the way we approach it is an interesting thing about this versus that is sort of hidden and yet is obvious when you begin to think about it, it's the revelation they give us some of Israel's king say about them.

As you read these verses well for one thing, the king himself as a man of prayer. King is presumably leading the people and prayer is in the temple and the people who are standing around outside. Probably not any great distance are agreeing with them and see his praying for them and for himself in the battle devout man. You're safe.

This is David, as it probably is the title of the Psalm says a Psalm of David. We don't have any trouble at all. Understanding or imagining how David would do that. That was natural to David. That's the kind of thing he would do that we notice.

Secondly, that is, offering sacrifices, I guess we should say at that point. Well, it was not only a man of prayer is a man of devotion and that he entered into the religious practices of the people I'm well aware as we all are that you can have hollow prayers prayers that are mere formality. You can also have sacrifices that are mere formality going through the motions. As we say there's nothing in that sound indicate that presumably what we have here is a godly king and when we realize that we ought to find ourselves saying, Blessed is the nation that has such godly leaders. With that we had them ourselves was a time when we did. I went through. In my own education when evangelicals were saying, you know, we have mythologized American history and turned all of our founding fathers into Christians and was a great movement in those days, maybe 30 years ago to more or less debunk all that you point out many of our founding fathers were deists or atheists or at least unbelievers and some but very immoral lives. That of course is true of many of them.

When this happens, which is what often happens ways we look at history is that we swing from one pole to another. And while we have succeeded to some extent, rightly debunking the supposed spiritual and Christian groundings of our nation. We sung so far that we fail in our day to recognize we had any religious groundings all and its couple of times to go back and read the kind of things that many of our founding fathers said and ask if we have people like that in government today who can be your would be as outspoken about their religious faith that these people were John Winthrop on the Puritans was the first governor of Massachusetts, you know that the Puritans were godly, but here's a man who was actually the governor appointed to that position is what he said he was this the age of 24. I desire to make it one of my chief petitions to have that grace to be poor in spirit.

I will never walk humbly before my God, immediately, mildly and gently toward all men. I do resolve first to give myself my life, my wits, my health, my wealth to the service of my God and Savior by giving himself for me and to me deserves whatsoever I am, or can be, and to be at his commandment and for his glory at the kind of things. Puritans not only wrote, but believed and spoke openly as John Winthrop did George Washington was a devout Anglican and very private about his faith people in the day where asking questions about his faith because he didn't as we would say where it on his sleeve.

Yet he was a true Christian apparently were to judge by his writings prayer. He wrote in his youth of God who are rich in mercy, and plenteous, and redemption. Mark not, I beseech thee, what I have done amiss. Remember that I am but dust and remit my transgressions negligence is in ignorance is uncovered along with the absolute obedience of thy dear son, though sacrifices of sin, praise and thanksgiving which I have offered may be accepted by the end and for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ upon the cross for me direct my thoughts, words and work. Wash away my sins and the immaculate blood of the Lamb and purge my heart by thy Holy Spirit. I was a faith apparently of George Washington here in Philadelphia. When the boat for American independence was taken on 4 July 1776. The Messiah moments of solemn silence as the delegates to that convention realized what they had just done and then in that quiet moment. Samuel Adams, one of the great leaders. Revolutionary movements stood and spoke what many on that occasion were thinking.

Here's what he said in our city. On that occasion, we have this day restored the sovereign, to whom alone men ought to be obedient speaking of God he reigns in heaven, and from the rising to the setting sun makes his kingdom, and on the very day when our Declaration of Independence was signed. Ben Franklin you know is not a Christian, yet he had great respect for those who work and out of his respect for that which was religiously made a key part in the convention to draft a constitution that was held here also. In 1787. He did by calling for daily prayer were deadlocked as they were fighting between the vision for a federated government and the rights of the individual states. Here's what Franklin said in the beginning of the contest with Britain when we were sensible of danger. We had daily prayers in this room for divine protection. Our prayer server heard and they were graciously answered all of us were engaged in the struggle must've observed frequent instances of the superintending Providence in our favor, and that we now forgotten this powerful friend or do we imagine we no longer need his assistance. I have lived for a long time, and the longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of this truth that God governs in the affairs of men in a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it possible that an empire can rise without his aid. We been assured server the sacred writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that without his concurring aid, we will succeed in this political building no better than the buildings of Bible we shall be divided by our little, partial local interests are projects will be confounded and we ourselves shall become a reproach and a byword down to future ages and what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance despair of establishing government by human wisdom, and leave it to chance for conquest's words were very effective delegation pasta pray out of a Kmart constitution which has become a model for people seeking freedom throughout the world. It was the first written constitution by the people who establish those laws by which they were going to be governed by answer to God to such prayers I give that not to merely laud America for its history, but to make the contrasts we don't have that kind of leadership today. Can you think of many people in government at any level city, state, federal, that are back outspoken as these people were even the unbelievers and their desire to have God's blessing and to have prayers for their endeavors. I don't think so. I think we are fallen a long way. The second stanza of this Psalm is an expression of faith that God has heard the prayers of the king and the people were praying with them and has answered as he is always answered and that he will say the key verse here is verse seven some trust in chariots and some in horses. We trust in the name of the Lord our God. That verse is a reflection of something that you find in the book of Deuteronomy. In chapter 17 verse 16 and Deuteronomy.

There is an instruction given to the kings of Israel. Yet, or no kings at the time. The verse says there are going to be kings and it said when the kings are established, they must not collect horses, lest they put their faith in them because their faith is to be in God now. Later in Israel's history. They did that, as a matter fact, shortly after this, Solomon was the first of the kings of Israel to collect Calvary and the chariots and go with them.

He built large forts or garrisons where these mounted units were stationed and they were all over the country. It's one thing that archaeologists notice and by which they can date certain fortifications of happened in the time of Solomon. It does incidentally also interested in this kind of thing, argue for an early dating of the song, the scholar sale.

The Psalms are late, but you see here you have a verse that it's not right to trust in horses. Later they did so David's time they didn't. It pushes it back in the back. In the early days as really didn't do this, and their history as we find in the Old Testament is a long series of experiences of God intervening and sometimes miraculous ways and certainly without superabundance of human force to deliver them from their many many enemies go back to the beginning of their history to the time of Abraham. Abraham was no soldier. He was no warrior. It was a Bedouin chieftain. He was powerful and enriching a lot of people around them, but was in the king. He didn't to maintain an army yet when the four powerful kings of the East attacked the five cities of the plane and carried off Loch Ness family and other captives from Sodom and Gomorrah all the spoil Abraham arms his retainers.

We had 318 of them able to follow him and the battle they went out and attacked the retreating armies by night fell upon the recovered lot. The family and the spoils was bold and brave stroke. Abraham was certainly a strong and courageous man.

But the victory wasn't because Abraham was bold or strong or courageous is because God gave them the victory as Melchizedek reminded him when he returned from the battle because it I told him that it was God most high, who had given in the battle and got people Israel knew that you come to the time of the Exodus. People weren't even an armed body of people at that time they were just a collection of slaves routable almost and yet God intervened in a powerful way through 10 great plagues upon the Egyptians and finally when the Egyptians were pursuing them, and they crossed the Red Sea, God allowed the waters of the Red Sea, to come back again and they drowned the pursuing forces of the Egyptians. Moses wrote about it in that great song called the song of Moses, which begins, I will sing to the Lord for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider. He is hurled into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my song, he has become my salvation. Joshua experienced the same thing at Jericho I conquered the city. Not because they were more powerful, but because God knock down the walls. The same thing happened in Gibeon where the sun and the moon were restrained in their courses while they took a full victory over there retreating enemies. Gideon experienced the same thing. He started out with a large army and God actually peeled it down and finally he went after the Midianites with only 300 and fell upon the by night watches Abraham a done upon the city. The kings of the East to attack the cities of the play. David gave the author of the song killed Goliath up with the sword and armor, but with the sling small stone that was Israel's history.

So when the person on this Psalm says some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God is not pious rhetoric.

What Israel had done it was a challenge to keep on doing it and it should be a challenge to people everywhere. Wherever there is a remnant of Christian people in the nation. It should be true for us as well. I suppose someone will say that point is that ever happened with other people in history. I think enhance though at this point, we have to be careful because we tend to read history in a jingoistic or chauvinistic fashion and we can always be wrong in our interpretations, but it seems to me that it's happened I think of the history of England, for example, give the example of the Spanish Armada there that fate of the Reformation in England hung in the balance, not to mention the succession of the English throne.

The Spanish had mightier ships and more of them.

They were met in the channel is a great victory.

Drake wanted and then there was an enormous storm to complete the victory that drove the galleons of the Spanish fleet on up the channel, and the narrower waters were. Finally, most of them were wrecked and walks off the coast of Scotland. Very few of those ships got back and broke the might of the Spanish fleet in England was not threatened anymore. Reformation was saved to give another example, the time of Dunkirk in the second world war.

Here the European expeditionary force was trapped on the continent were Spencer divisions that encircled the people in England were praying, praying, everywhere, and God did exactly the opposite. That happened at the time of the Armada. Apparently a storm destroyed the Armada God gave Coleman thong at the time of Dunkirk and the boats of the English were able all the boats everything they could muster were able to transport the troops off the continent and back across the channel along long distance England people in England were praying everywhere. They knew what was happening and I think in many cases were literally praying the words of the song including the last words of the Lord save the King answer us when we call in God seems to have done that that happening today.

I think it is. I think that's exactly what's going on in Eastern Europe talking about the great changes there and you read in the papers about what's happening and how there's this great rebirth of democracy in a search for freedom.

The one thing you don't read about in the papers is how religiously grounded it all is yet that is the great story, people with religious concerns seeking crying out after God asked for freedom in God gives it that literally is what's happening we know little bit about it because of Poland with a strong Catholic faith. Obviously, undergirding the Solidarity movement of John being very close to that of John Paul supporting them all the way down the line thinking seems to have been true to some extent in eastern Germany. Conventional wisdom has it that the turning point was in October 9 and likes it when people master the great rally saying we would rather die than be subjugated.

Let them shoot. We will still march that was a spiritual statement we would rather die than continuous we are, and seems to have been the beginning of the change there in East Germany. The most remarkable case of all is in Romania. The revolution began around the home of reformed pastor in the tonic to Masaru the security police wanted to arrest him because he was two influential people were listening to him and his parishioners surrounded F's house and said you have to shoot us first were not going to let you take the pastor was a standoff. The police didn't move effectively or dramatically. At the time and that small group of people collected others, and pretty soon there were several hundred.

By the next day there were several thousand was a young Baptist church worker who thought this might be a good time to do something spectacular and significant and so we got the idea of handing out candles. He went around, gathered all the candles he could find many came to the crowd where there were the several thousand people. He gave out the candles. He lit his own candle and that he passed the light around everybody lighting their candle from his candle and pretty soon the crowd was standing around with candles and they were chanting and singing singing hymns. The fighting started shortly after that, you know, perhaps 10,000 people were killed and to Masaru Lisa finally did fire this young man came in. The candles were shot in the leg and amputate his leg. Later, when he was in the hospital. His pastor came to visit him and he said to his pastor. I lost a leg, but I am happy with the first light is a that's not a revolution. The people in Romania are not calling what happened there revolution, they say, rather call it God's miracle is what Joseph Tonn tells us, and he has been there and seen it well you see of every good and perfect gift comes down from heaven, from the father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. As James tells us in the gift of freedom certainly comes down from God to the people who will seek God and his blessings will find freedom and the people who will not have God will lose their freedom and tyranny will succeed at. We are in danger of having happen here in time.

We don't seek God as is in Eastern Europe of Don. We stood back and looked at the marble of the Berlin wall crashing and we said, isn't that wonderful, but what is to be gained of all they find when I come across the wall and the West distilled supermarkets and the materialism that is excluded. Any mention of the maker say when you take a song like this and begin to put it in the context of the events of our day, or the state of our nation, you find that is very relevant. Indeed, we have leaders and prayers. David prayed on this occasion can we say because of the prayers of our leaders.

The Lord has saved his anointed, he has answered him from heaven.

I can we say that will be so seldom call upon the name of God at all, but we come to the very end very last verse again is an echo is the people provide response to what's been said a Lord save the King answer us when we call I first tells us of where to pray for those in authority only when you need adverse to toss the Scriptures tell us as well. The New Testament does Paul writing to Timothy said, I urge, then, first of all, the request prayers, intercession Thanksgiving be made for everyone for Kings and for all those in authority that we may live peaceable and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness because this is good and it pleases God our Savior.

That's what were told to do, then let's do it. Let's pray for those in authority and while praying for those in authority.

Let's also pray that God will give us people who are godly leaders able leaders yes and godly leaders to and so less our nation.

We needed in our day spray our father, we can't read a song like this without being convicted of our failure to pray for godly leaders and for wisdom for those we do have and for righteousness rather than sin and wickedness to have a new rebirth in our times, recognizing our nation which has had such great beginnings in so many godly founding fathers is today far from you, so much so that for politicians it's almost ticket the disaster to be too outspoken with their faith, our father, what we need is a revival of national proportions and for that to happen we need an earnest, faithful, consistent burning of your people to you once again. Father, we can say save the King.

We have no king but we do say a Lord save our country and answers when we call in Jesus name, amen.

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