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October 6, 2021 8:00 am
Today on the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce, the people of Israel have prayed for their king, and God has answered their prayers favorably. The Israelites are now praising God for his deliverance blessings and provision. Join us as together we study Psalm 21 a Psalm of national Thanksgiving.
Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce repairing you to think and act biblically in Psalm 21. The Israelites have experienced victory.
They haven't forgotten who ultimately handed them the victory there praising and thanking God for he has delivered their righteous king.
If you have your Bible turn to Psalm 21 it's not always easy to show connections between the Psalms and is a very good reason for that. As far as I can tell there are always any connections but sometimes there are sometimes are very slim.
The third Psalm is apparently a morning Psalm and is followed by Psalm four, which is an evening Psalm labs a connection of sorts, and then the Psalms and follow the one were studying tonight.
Psalms 2223 24 are connected, at least in a sequence of theme because they show different aspects of the ministry of Jesus Christ prophetically sometimes referred to as the shepherd Psalms Psalm 22 showing Jesus Christ as the good Shepherd gives his life. The shape you have a picture of crucifixion. The maps all Psalm 23, portraying him as the great Shepherd risen from the dead and therefore shepherding his sheep and also Psalm 24 picturing Jesus Christ as the chief Shepherd that is the one who was exalted and I have an and from that position now governs the affairs of his church, directing those who are his under shepherds responsible for their conduct and life of the people. So there's like kind of a connection and yet it's not very close one is only a connection of theme when we come to Psalm 20 and 21 we have something quite different. However, it really is a connection and is not merely a collection of subject matter that we have that to Psalm 20 as I pointed out last time is that Islam of prayer for deliverance or victory for the king.
King is praying. That's the picture we gather the Psalm and the people are supporting him as a price they're asking God to answer his prayer for victory in their rejoicing theme of that song comes in at the end. Although Lord save the King then you come to the next Psalm Psalm 21 and that is an obvious Psalm of national Thanksgiving for the deliverance, God is given, but there's a connection with words as well very end of Psalm 20. As I pointed out contains the words Lord and King an answer when we call that is picked up at the very beginning of the next Psalms of the very first words are old Lord the King and goes on to show that God answered his prayer and then there are other echoes from one song to the other example Psalm 20 verse four. Ask God to give the king the desire of his heart and then in Psalm 21 verse two it says you have granted him the desire of his heart again verse five of the earlier Psalm says.
May the Lord grant all your requests and then in the second verse of the second Psalm you have not withheld the request of his lips or Psalm 20 verse seven some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God, and then in the seventh verse of the next Psalm. It says the king trust in the Lord and therefore he will not be shaken. So those things go together. I suppose you could even point out that the structure of the two songs have a certain similarity there of unequal length. The second day longer than the first but they follow the same pattern or two longer stances in which people either direct their requests to God or the King and then they end with that little couple at the end which the people either request God to hear the king's requests and give him victory or thank him and praise him for some, these two are obviously to be taken together. Now, even before we plunge into the second Psalm is something that we need to see about and that is that it is a Psalm of Thanksgiving and the reason it's important to see that and emphasize that is that so often. Thanksgiving is a very last thing we do it we don't have much trouble praying. Psalm 20 at least one were in trouble. We find ourselves in difficulty and we say all God help me out to my ever going to go and not only do we do that the world is that as well. They don't even know God Sara Lee, but they will say in times of trouble. God what am I going to do the kind of prayer. Sometimes they just say oh my God, but the direction is heavenward.
You see we do that instinctively when circumstances get beyond us. But what happens when God does hear our prayer intervene in help save his deliverance work things out. Well then we find ourselves passing on the next circumstance and we forget about thanking God entirely Jesus Christ was aware of the sea pointed out on one occasion he had been in the border country between Samaria and Galilee to the north and he met 10 lepers and they cried out for mercy and he showed mercy on them. He said to them going show yourself to the priest for cleansing and as they went, they were cleansed or already rejoicing about. Of course, leprosy is deadly and very widespread disease. It was a little reprieve from death, or these 10 men, but only one of them went back to give thanks to Jesus for his deliverance in Jesus when he noted Darden pointed out that those were standing around the ask the question, he said were not 10 cleansed and yet there's only this one who has returned to give thanks. He's a Samaritan, where are the nine most of the time.
I think we find ourselves among the nine is easy to pray when we're in trouble.
But it's hard to remember to give thanks when God answers the Psalm is also a Psalm of national deliverance.
Of course, and it reminds me of another illustration in the year 1897 English celebrated the 60th year of Queen Victoria's reign was a great celebration in London and all of the leaders, governors, the military people from all over the Empire came back to London for this celebration were hundreds of ships of the British Navy in the towns and for this occasion, Rudyard Kipling, the poet was asked to write a poem and he did. It was published in the Times acknowledge God's blessing upon England during this great century Victorian era. Thank God for it. But in very memorable language. It reminded the people not to forget it was called recessional and has said allusion to the fact that after the celebration that troops were going to go all of the glory was going to depart, and we still had to remember. Here's a way where is one of my favorite poems, God of our fathers known of old Lord of our far-flung battle line beneath whose awful hand we hold dominion over Palm and pine Lord God of hosts. Be with us yet.
Lest we forget lest we forget are called our navies melt away on Boone and had land sinks the flyer low.
All our pump yesterday is one with none of the entire judge of the nations spare us yet. Lest we forget lest we forget Kipling understood something about human nature.
He knew how easy it is to forget God's blessings and he was reminding the people for the people didn't like it's wasn't that Parliament wasn't the spirit of the time when common knowledge was that Kipling was passed over the nominated for poet laureate because of this particular recessional and yet he was righteously we have that same problem in here when we come to this great song reminded when God does deliver when he does answer prayer were to be thankful for. Stands of this correspondence to the first stanza of the previous Psalm in the previous Psalm king is praying and the people are echoing his prayer there saying May the Lord answer you when you're in distress by the name of the God of Jacob protect you and now here in the first stanza of the second Psalm they are acknowledging that God did it. Some question in the minds of commentators as to who, speaking is the king himself, he could be speaking in the third person, old Lord, the King rejoices in your strength. Things like to talk in the third person I understand I don't know Manny. I think that's what they like to do and it could be the king is speaking. You could also be that it's a priest speaking on behalf of the king. There seems to been a pre-speaking in the previous Psalm in verses six and following. Maybe the priestess say the king here is rejoicing in your strength. Listen to them.
God or, more likely, I think probably most of the commentators say it's the people that were speaking and in any case, this is what the people are thinking because God is heard the king's requests to hear they acknowledge what God's.look at these verses what you'll find is that I thank God for something different in each of the first six verses in their very important things. First of all, old Lord, the King rejoices in your strength. How great is his joy in the victories you get. They are thanking God for victory through his strength as a very important thing that victory alone is something to be thankful for it. Certainly what is emphasized here because in verse five it comes back again through the victories you gave his glory is great the same time, the mind is not only on the victory. It's on the fact that God gave it.
I suppose we need to apply that to our own lives and personal ways, mostly were not facing military battles and looking for military victories, but we are looking for victories of sort, in various ways in our lives sometimes sits struggling business and we want the business to go well and get ahead, sometimes is a particular problem that were facing in our work. We want to be able to come out on top of the problem and sometimes sleaze, perhaps of the greatest victories of all it's a spiritual thing, struggling against some sin of harassing God for the victory. How wonderful it is to be able to say after he has provided the answer given the victory, old Lord, how great are the victories you give, the question is do we do that we remember to do it. That's the first thing there thanking God for the second thing is in verse two granted him the desire of his heart and have not withheld the request of his lips and say, well, that desire of his heart was for victory.
True, but what that person is saying something else, it's saying, is it not that God answers prayer.
Getting comments and presents his request.
God hears by prayer and answers it.
It's a bit broader. In other words than what you have in verse one is wonderful to God answers prayer.
We are far weaker in our Christian lives, and we should be because although we may believe that in theory we don't really believe that where it gets down to the nitty-gritty of what we do in our prayer time. We pray and then we forget what we moderate or we neglect to pray entirely and if we really believe that God hears and answers prayer. We would be more diligent in praying for the things we so obviously need were encouraged to come to him with everything Jesus said, present your requests, do it in my name and I'll here and I'll answer I give you what ever you desire.
Some of the most marvelous promises regarding prayer from the mouth of Jesus Christ. We have to understand them in the context when he says to ask anything you want in my name is not saying ask any foolish thing is anything consistent with my name but I problem generally is not along that line our problems. We don't ask at all. Here are the people after the victory, saying, isn't it a wonderful thing that God answers prayer as well as God wouldn't have to do it God could keep that great bronze doors of heaven shot blast and say well you just have to manage as best you can and we would manage I guess is best we can, which would not be very good. God is like that. He delights to answer the prayers of his people and the people were thankful for that. In the song is verse three.
You welcomed him with rich blessings and placed a crown of pure gold on his hat. I call these blessings associated with the crown see if it says you welcomed him with rich blessings that probably is the welcome. The king received when he returned from battle that's the case, the blessings are those that are associated with his victory and his rule of the kingdom very next phrase talking about a crowd of pure gold on his head would suggest that we would perhaps call this the perquisites of office of the blessings that are associated with the job whenever thankful for those most of us have fairly responsible or meaningful work to do in hers. Great blessings associated with that habit.
You don't have it you understand a little bit more how great those blessings are people lose jobs they realize what a great blessing. It is a hard one when you have a job you have an income a steady income. That's like the rich blessings that the company the work wonder if you're thankful to God for that.
You have a steady income or fracture work is such that you actually contributing to something that really is significant for somebody else's life and for society as a whole lot all jobs are like that, but many jobs are the best jobs are like that than to be able to give the working hours of your day to something that really makes a difference is a blessing. Indeed, if you're trying to help some kind of problem.
If you're dealing with people in a particularly needy area of life. It's a great privilege to be able to do that sometimes are just blessings of being associated with people with whom it's fun to work are facing challenges are even being able to travel around life, think personally, I suppose it doesn't hurt to say this, the one of the great blessings of my life is all the airplane travel I do. I just love to fly I I would make a good advertisement for an airline, you know, we love to fly and it shows it shows I often find myself in the air, thanking God for the privilege of being able to travel. I marvel at it that I can leave here in the morning I can fly halfway across the country and I can have a meeting and I can fly back in when it is just just tremendous. I account that is a very special thing. Another blessings like that you know them in your own particular work whatever it may be a joy to be able to thank God for those things people are doing that here in verse three. Verse four says he ask you for life and you gave it to him. Length of days for ever and ever.
Not hard to understand the length of days in regard to David because he lived a relatively long time, 70 years fairly long span of life, at least in that age, God gave him lengths of days thing is hard to understand.
There is a phrase for ever and ever. How does not apply to David while there are a number of possibilities. You could say this is just a case of court hyperbole. May the king live forever in a how it said the problem with that is that it seems to fit better in a pagan environment than in the court of Israel.
It's a sort of thing we find in the Old Testament, but in the book of Daniel, in reference to the court Bible and they say to Nebuchadnezzar king live forever. That's kind of flattery you expect. You don't really expect that being said in the court of Israel toward David so it is wonder about that. Besides, it's not something that is being wished for the king.
It's an acknowledgment of something God game that he really give them eternal life. Good meeting. He gave me eternal life. Spiritually, that of course is true or that's what he does with us.
It doesn't seem to me that the text is saying that it could be a reference to the continuation of the Davidic line I can for Samuel seven you have the promise of a line of David that God was going to establish his throne forever and ever so very same phrase. Maybe that's what it's talking about. More likely, however it seems to me that because that promise of establishing his throne forever and ever was fulfilled ultimately not in his mere physical descendents, but in that one physical descendent, Jesus Christ, the Messiah rains upon the throne of David forever. The probably what we have here is a messianic reference to be very careful with that because it is easy to read that sort of thing into the Psalm as a matter of fact, some of the commentaries on the Psalms do that to such an extent that it almost useless for understanding the song.
I won't name contemporary commentators with Don that because it would be a criticism, but it would be possible to mention, I think that St. Augustine's great volume on the Psalms sees so many Christological references in them that it's almost useless as far as understanding with the Psalm is really saying hard to criticize St. Augustine by thing in this respect got carried away. You have to be very careful when you do that, because in every line, you're seeing a reference to Jesus Christ you're not really hearing what the people are saying and in spite of that, from time to time. You have to say there are things that certainly are a reference to the Messiah next fall is a great example how does not have any bearing whatsoever upon the experience of David. It's a trick of the crucifixion might say to yourself, well, it's poetic language describing some of the things that David felt he suffered internally and maybe that is the sense in which he wrote it with the fulfillment obviously is not in Davidson Jesus Christ writing what you have here in the 21st Psalm is a little bit of that place as you have a little bit of a messianic reference and other times you have a whole lot of a messianic reference, and I think here you have a little bit when you see that you begin to realize that there are other things that point I had to Messiah and you begin to pick up a few of those references in the solver is a very interesting fact it should be noticed about the Psalm and that is that in the Jewish targums and in the palm and the beginning of the Psalm which says, oh lord the king introduces a word that's not here in the Hebrew text weird habits. The basis of this translation Hebrew word is anointed or machine documents.
The word Christ are Messiah and what the Targum and the Talmud say is this Mel! King Messiah. So the ancient Jews, those who produce those documents obviously saw the whole Psalm is messianic change came about in that respect. In Jewish thought in the Middle Ages. Because as Christianity spread the Jews got on their guard against the claims of Christians who found references to the Messiah and the Jewish books and one rabbi who was born in 1040 A.D. his name was Rabbi Solomon's sake is known as rocketry said something about this particular song. He said the old doctors meeting the rabbis that went before him interpreted the Psalm of King Messiah, referring to that opening phrase, but he said in order to meet the schismatics weight which event the Christians.
It is better understanding of David himself. While there is some good basis in Jewish learning to consider which portions of the Psalm in a messianic way, and I think that's what it's doing in the fifth verse you have half this thing for which the people give thanks send it is the glory, splendor and majesty which God is given to the king. You and I perhaps don't have a very great measure of glory, splendor and majesty. I don't know always what is intended by that we certainly don't have it in a political sense. We don't have as we say the trappings of power. Most of us, but certainly we experience glory in the spiritual sense, knowing that we are destined to be made by Jesus Christ talking about that when we were studying Romans eight where you have that great chain of divine actions on the part of those upon whom God sets the saving love is for ordained they be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ predestined them to that is called and justified them and glorify them in glorification. There appears in the past tense of the sense in which we can say that we have been glorified will have it all yet our sanctification is part of it. We were headed that way. And if the people in David's day could praise God and thank him that he gave glory to the king.
Certainly we can do that is Christian people. Thank him for the glory. He's given us.
Then finally, in verse six, there's another thing surely you have granted him eternal blessings and made them glad with the joy of your presence is eternal blessings of the joy of God's presence. Now the blessings of heaven are going to be knowing the joy of God's presence in its fullness.
Even now we experience that when David experienced that we experience exactly the same thing except perhaps we know more about it because God is revealed himself more fully in Jesus Christ you think God for that. Think of all the things that we should be thankful for. For the victories that God give us through his strength that he answers prayer for the rich blessings attend upon our work for length of days were promised that didn't the 10 Commandments of that we honor our parents will be given length of days for glorification then many things that are associated with that of the joy of God's presence. All of those things unfold in the opening six verses of the song on the seventh verse we have something else. I think the new international version translators a right to attach this verse to the earlier ones because it's part of that stanza wraps it up again at the same time. It's something of a transition because in the first six verses we have Thanksgiving for past victories and what we find in verses eight and following is Thanksgiving for victories. Yet, on the link between the Thanksgiving for the past and the anticipation of the future is what you find in verse seven. It's a great verse having to do with the covenant keeping promises of God. This person is rich in covenant language. King trust in the Lord.
That's the human side of it – Hebrew word is both talk to trust them.
The unfailing love of the most times the divine side of it. It's a great word sentence what is sometimes translated lovingkindness elsewhere. It's the love that flows from the covenant.
I think once we begin to see this in terms of the covenant and recognize that this is a transition we see some of these messianic elements again because it is through Jesus Christ that the covenant is With us as Alexander McLaren who is one of the great preachers as well as commentators on the Psalm has a passage that summarizes this right give it to you for what it's worth.
These daring anticipations are too exuberant to be realized in anyone but him, whose victory was achieved in the hour of apparent defeat whose conquest with both his salvation and God's praise, knowing that he is always heard it was king of man because he endured the cross, and wears the crown of pure gold because he did not refuse the crown of thorns who lives forever more, having been given by the father to have life in himself was the outshining of the father's glory seat, picking up all the themes in the verses we just talked about and has had all power granted to him who is the source of all blessing to all who dwells in the joy to which he will welcome his servants, and who himself lived in Concord by the life of faith and so became the first leader of the long line of those trusted and therefore stood fast. I don't to say said one to read too much into the song but when you begin to reflect upon it at that level. It certainly draws your attention to Jesus while he made the transition people now begin to pray for victories. Yet, that's what verses eight through 12 are all about. Your hand will lay hold on all your enemies your right hand will seizure flows at the time of your appearing you will make them like a fiery furnace in his wrath.
The Lord will slow them up in his fire will consume them. That's an interesting point to think about, as well as in it I said earlier that part of our problem is that once we receive the things we ask for. We forget to give thanks that's a great problem, but another problem is this having received the past blessings and even having given thanks, we forget to pray for the things that are yet to come. And yet that's what the people are doing their saying just because we had a great victory doesn't mean the battle is over. As long as were here in life are battles to be fought victories to be one Lord, we thank you even now on the eve of this great victory for the victories for us in the days when if you do that. I wonder if you ever have that kind of forward looking orientation in your prayers.
I was listening to take gopher man talking about churches and how they grow, and so forth, and he complained of so many pastors retire at the age of 50 and then they go out and collect their pay until they retire officially the age of 65 when they get the 50 they give up and they say there's no more victories to be one what I thought of it in terms of the Psalm because what is true pastors is true. Many of us, we get in the middle age and we say well done. That's now I can sit back and take my ease in Zion.
Whenever we do that were in trouble. I'm convinced that as long as God leaves us in this life. He leaves us here to win victories.
That's what it's all about the stand for Jesus Christ and to stand for his way of morality and to stand against the wickedness all around us is when Christian people give up and retire mentally or in any other way. The devil is a field that we can't do that as long as were here. We have to fight the battles we have to anticipate the victory God is going to get one or those victories I don't know what they are I think are great victories to be one here in Philadelphia will have to do is read the paper to see where some of the battle lines are drawn to what battles is leading us to fight.
But there are some we are here is where you put us we have years ahead of us, God giving us life and length of days. Let's guard ourselves to the task and let's thank God in advance what he will do and then without anticipation went smooth ahead and let's remember to pray for our leaders as we do.
That's where it ends. The exalted Lord in your strength.
We will sing and praise your mind. That's an echo of what we had in the previous on the previous onset of Lord save the King answer when we call it now. This one says be exalted the Lord in your strength. You seem to go together.
We do one of two things with our leaders, whether there are political leaders in government or whether their leaders in the church or even in business, whatever it may be either we idolize them making them more than they are forgetting that they're just men or women and that they are sinful and flawless. We ourselves do honestly think too little of that we despise them. And so, in either case we forget to pray everything to poorly of them, we don't bother to pray. We think too highly of them, we don't bother to pray and actually we have to do both. Realizing that what we need is the power and presence of God to bless us through our leaders of God gives us good leaders. It is a great blessing, a nation without them suffers a church without them will always suffer. God has given them to us and we have a responsibility to pray. You see, here's the combination on Lord save the King B.
Maybe whoever the leader may be old Lord, save the king he needs saving and then when he does the exalted Lord in your strength because Gothic gives the blessing and it's through him alone that we have the victory. Let us pray. Father, we thank you for the Psalm and for its straightforward instruction about prayer and about Thanksgiving. We examine our own prayer life in the light of what we find ourselves to be deficient as always the case will examine ourselves in the light of the Scripture not to leave it there. The examination is to produce progress and so we would progress the teachers and encourage us. Bless us and give us because of the theme of these Psalms are right approach to our leaders not neglecting them in our prayers, recognizing that they are sinful human beings all the same, and in any case, praying for them and praying for them faithfully and we ask that you bless us abundantly in all those ways. Thank you for listening to this message from the Bible study our the listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance is a coalition of pastors, scholars and churchmen who hold to the historic creeds and confessions of the reformed faith and who proclaimed biblical doctrine in order to foster a reformed awakening in today's church.
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