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October 27, 2021 8:00 am
Today on the Bible study our will take a closer look at Psalm 35. A call for righteous judgment where David pleads his own innocence and begs God for justice, he once again asked God to rescue him and to bring judgments upon his wicked enemies are welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically.
Have you ever felt wrongly accused or attacked. David has been delivered from his enemies.
Time and again and now he's asking God to judge and deal righteously with the wicked. If you have your Bible handy turn to Psalm 35 been following this series of studies on the song for any length of time you may have noticed something about the way we usually end the services usually end by singing a hymn based upon that song. I've been rather surprised as I have prepared for the services and look through our hymnbook. Find the number of solvents that have hymns based on the most of the Psalms. Do surprisingly and in some cases I saw him will have six rate him based upon other parts of the soul. I mentioned that is that there is no him in our hymnbook for Psalm 35 I think is a good reason for that. This is one of those so-called imprecatory salts precatory millions of small men which writer pronounces judgment on his enemies are asked God the poor judgment on his enemies and is generally founded by Christians that it's hard to sing was all like that, particularly in a him on Sunday morning or Sunday evening for that matter. I suppose some Sunday night after the Eagles lose. It might be possible for us to sing that in full spirit but most of the time at seems incompatible with what we've been taught that there was Christians our Lord himself taught us that we are to forgive our enemies he said, when you pray, pray father forgive them for they don't know what they're doing.
That's what he did in the case of those who were crucifying him. He said in the sermon on the mount.
I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your father in heaven.
Well we read the Psalms and we say how in the world can we sing them might be able to study something David Dan but they don't seem to apply to us very well. Now they're not a whole lot of another are a lot of sayings like that. Scattered at random throughout solvents. There are four Psalms, particularly that art imprecatory Psalms. Seventh is the first we've already studied that this is the second the 35th to 69th is one and the worst of all, the Psalm 109 Psalm seemed to grow in intensity throughout the Psalter easiest the handlers.
Seventh, I got worse by the time you get that 109 commentators, no less than 30 anathemas pronounced against enemies, and that one song along so we say well what are you doing that. How do you treat them. I want to suggest that what we need is a balanced appraisal and I want to suggest a few different ways to go about it then want to look at the Psalm itself. I want to make some applications at the end when these are usually handled a few study books on the Psalms is for the commentator to say well we are just introduced to a different spirit in the New Testament than in the old and there's something to be said for that because there is something of a different spirit in the New Testament the Lord said to forgive our enemies, we don't find anything exactly like that in the Old Testament.
And that's true of a lot of the things of Jesus Christ that they have their roots in the Old Testament, but he said it differently, the spirit of the New Testament is indeed somewhat different. I for one, find that little difficult to settle that which I regard as a rather easy way of treating superficially. I think because what it overlooks is in the Bible as a single book given to us by a single God and therefore has to reflect the single point of view and we talk about salvation. We don't suggest that there's one way of salvation in the Old Testament and another way in the new certainly is a fuller revelation other than the know, but it's one gospel. The same thing should be true of this matter enemies and seven judgment so I think we have to look at it a little bit more deeply than that. There's a few things to consider.
First of all, all of the songs the ones I mentioned before, are set in their title to been written by David significant because David is not known for being one who work God vengeance on his enemies are a lot of vengeful people in the Old Testament the David wasn't one of them.
As a matter fact he was known for the exact opposite. David was known for was his mercy is gentle treatment of those who wrong in the great example of that is his treatment of King Saul, and Saul's predecessor on the throne hounded in the bath, chasing them from caving to cave in the wilderness yet although God delivered Saul into David's hands on at least two separate occasions we could've killed him, and become king. He did David's treatment of Saul in the Old Testament is the best testament parallel to the way the Lord Jesus Christ treated his enemies at the time of his crucifixion, praying that God would actually forgive them.
You say so fight like that makes us approach us a little bit more slowly. Second thing we notice about the Psalms of your study carefully is that in each case David claims to be innocent of the thing for which is charge and for which he's asking God to intervene on all the songs are like that all the Psalms of David quite often. David is sin, then when you come to a song like that you find quite a different spirit or David has Cindy doesn't ask God to judge his enemies.
He recognizes that he stands under the judgment of God and what he does is confesses and asked for forgiveness quite different satellite fact causes us to probe a little deeper and then is this not to.
Although as I said there is a different tone. Some lot in the New Testament, from the oldest idea of rejoicing at the fall of evil is not entirely absent from the New Testament great example of it is in the book of Revelation chapters 18 to 19 with the righteous in glory absolutely salt over the fall of mystical Bible Bible and stands for all of the evil of all the kingdoms of God throughout its history and the Bible and say just praise God for evil is judged that wonderful line in which they rejoice because they say the smoke of her goes up forever and ever is an everlasting bonfire in their happy say when we see that we say maybe was a little bit more to it than simply say well on the Old Testament. They were good, but we're not like that because we are all like Jesus Christ say now have. That's the case, what is the solution.
Well, there are number things I want to suggest that the chief one is that I think when we study the Psalm we have to realize that David is writing not as a private citizen but is the king of Israel, and therefore the Chief Justice of the Lamb was role of the king.
In those days is a different thing to seek justice as a king, that being your responsibility hour to seek vengeance because of some wrong that's done to us personally quite right for us to forgive our enemies and that's commendable to do so, but it's not right for us simply to pass off the wrong done to somebody else. That way particularly aware the one responsible for administering justice. We see an innocent person taken advantage of by somebody was particularly evil. We don't simply say, well, you just have to forgive the Christian response.
Christian responses to seek justice, and David had that responsibility and he expresses it in the songs. Secondly, we have to be very careful here. There is an area I swear we should do that reason I say we have to be very careful is that you and I are Psalm really innocent and when were slandered often it's with good cause slanders and even the word to use for it may be harsh on the part of the other person but often we deserve it, but nevertheless sometimes it is true, particularly of a Christian witness. We will be abused for lack when all we really are doing as we give a witness sometimes in fear and trembling is to seek the well-being of the other person, yet were slandered for it and sometimes very evil things are done when circumstances like that it is not wrong to ask God to exalt the right and judge the wrong or exalt the righteous and judge that which is not righteous. See, it is always good to have the right prevail, say have to be careful about that because often it is our own pride or insensitivity that's involved in it. But if our mind is on the right thing and it's the truth and righteousness and justice even when it concerns us. There are occasions when we can pray for, but I must add, with awareness of our own sentence. Even when we pray along those lines, we have to be aware of our own since that's what I mean by balance. That's why I think in the analysis is only God's people who can do that. David has his balance in the Psalms and Christian people know something of their own sentence something of the holiness of God can do it to sleep. Apart from that, apart from the knowledge of holiness and justice and righteousness which we only find in God. On the one hand, and apart from the knowledge of our own sin, which goes along with that we fall into one of two extremes either on the one hand, we become self-righteous and everybody will opposes us is wrong. We become legalistic mean and that's bad, or else we become Luger. In the worst sense we say well you know nobody is really to blame. Let's forgive everybody and we forget about just as only people who know something of the holiness of God because they know something of the holiness of God. Also understand something about their own sin. Who can do this. Pray for righteousness while at the same time confessing her own sin of being aware of it, kind of background in mind, I'd like us to look at the song. Sometimes when I talk about the Psalms. I point out that it's very hard to outline the and the proof of that is that the commentators go to great. Sometimes they have radically different outlines. This is a sample that is not the case. I was astonished to find that virtually every commentator has exactly the same outline with assault divided into three parts, each part begins with a prayer and it ends with praise verses one through 10 of the first section, section 1, verses 11 through 18 of the second section. Section 2 in the third section, verses 19 through 28 of the third. I don't know why the new international version doesn't do it that way. The only place I have found slightly different outlines a output versus 17 to 21 together in one stanza.
I think they would've been better to break it with verse 18 putting verses 17 and 18 with the earlier stands on verses 19 through 21 with the second stanza when you have five stances the first few verses in the last three being separated but it would follow more or less the outline I'm suggesting first three verses are somewhat introductory, even though they go with the first section of the last three or someone of a conclusion another go with the last section is first three mercilessly give us a clue to the outline in terms of its substance or content to images here versus the image of a lawsuit and the second is the image of the battle. The idea of a lawsuit is hidden a little bit, but it's there in the word content or content sounds to us like contentious and had to do with any kind of a flight but actually it's it's a legal term. It has to do with what a lawyer.lawyer comes to help you and he fights for you in court. That's the idea of the word contention in the original language so contend the Lord with those who contend with me are people who brought a lawsuit against David anyone's God enter the list as his advocate or his defender. The idea verse one and verse two talks about about take up the shield and buckler arise and come to my aid and brandished spear and javelin against those who pursue me. There's a second image and then it comes together in the third part there at the end because the word say to my soul. I am your salvation can apply either lawyer can come to our aid in court and be our salvation legally in a champion can come to our defense of the military encountered be our salvation layer in the battle and that's what they would assign another reason I analyze that as carefully as I have is that that's what we find in the three section 1st thing we find is the image of the battle and that's in section 1 verses one through 10. A particularly four through 10 follows.
David is facing a military encountered ones. God, the defendant, verses 11 through 18 of the lawsuit's language, their ruthless witnesses are coming forward or attacking him unjustly about things he hasn't committed and so he asked God to be his defense. They are, and then in the third part just like in the beginning to come together. So in verses 19 and following toward the end you find the idea of a lawsuit and the battle mingled together, and the great, the Larison goddesses deliverance.
In other words, God is his salvation.
In the end, he rejoices. Let us look at those a little bit, this section really begins to talk about the Bible is the imprecatory part we read it by those who seek my life be disgraced and put to shame by those who plot my room and be turned back, and dismay.
May they be like chaff before the wind with the angel of the Lord, driving them away make their path be dark and slippery when the angel of the Lord pursuing them.
Why is that wise David praying that way.
Well first of all he talks about his innocence. It's what verse seven says they had their net for me without a cause without cause.
They dug a pit for me repeat that later you find it verse 19, but not those who gloat over me who are my enemies without a cause claiming there is to be innocent. Not all things they would do publicly well. He was a center but this issue whenever it is getting after him, for he had not done anything to deserve and so he's praying for God to intervene on his behalf. We can pray that as well. Where we see somebody who is done nothing to deserve the treatment they're getting. We can pray for God to intervene and protect the innocent party that is entirely proper. David is saying that one thing that's interesting in the section is his mention of the angel of the Lord in verse six we were studying the 34th Psalm. The one before this. We found the same thing. There the angel of the Lord.
These are the only two Psalms in the entire book of Psalms entire collection mention this figure is angel of the Lord is figure well the angel of the Lord could just be an angel of the Lord, but in light of the whole Old Testament seems to be more than that because from time to time periodically throughout the Old Testament there is a figure called the angel of the Lord will peers very first time was to Hagar in the early chapters of Genesis 1, Hagar's running away from Sarah her mistress Cassara was mistreating her and Hagar decide she can do without anymore she goes away into the desert course, it's a hostile environment she's about to die because she has no water included the angel of the Lord appears to her and tells her to go back and submit to Sarah her mistress and promises to bless her and in the context Hagar refers to the event names the play style God who see us me. So, in the language of the text, Hagar is referring to is angel of the Lord will peers the word is God.
Language is very clear. Now you say that this might be figurative language. True, it might be, but it might suggest something more angel Lord also appears. Abraham, on the occasion of the near sacrifice of his son about Mariah Angela Lord appears.
Larry speaks from heaven speaks as God and Abraham names a place Lord will provide significant name. This may be the same character that had appeared to Abraham earlier to announce the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. If you know that story you know the three heavenly visitors came to Abraham as he sat by the tree of mom Rob by his tent in the heat of the day to read the story. Two of them are repeatedly referred to as angels. As of the to the go down in the Sodom and Gomorrah and bring lot out there. Angels says that clearly the other one. The third character is not called an angel. Although he is like the other two, but rather he's referred repeatedly in the story as the Lord using I just dozens of times in the chapter, the Lord said, the Lord said the words and always it's this individual was speaking was also an instance of a figure like that appearing to Shadrach me shack in the bed to go in the burning furnace and they were thrown in by Nebuchadnezzar net mechanism looks anything like three men into the furnace, but I feel for things like the son of God that may be the same character that I think is a final instance of Joshua before the battle of Jericho. He's pacing outside the camp, obviously contemplating how is going to go about the battle. The next day on the figure suddenly appears with a sword in his hand, and Joshua does know what to make up at me says are you philosopher you for our enemies inside of you on your soldier and this figure says to Joshua neither.
But as commander of the armies of the Lord am I, Joshua allows before the figure because he recognizes that he is more than just a man, I'd suggest that this Old Testament figure that appears again and again is actually the Lord Jesus Christ appearing before his incarnation, I acknowledge that that's something I can't prove it but it's what I think. As I read the stories.
Certainly he's referred to is more than a man. He seems to be referred to as more than a mere angel certainly speaks with the authority of God and he takes command of the Lord's armies. Seems to me that fits Lord Jesus Christ that's the case then that's what David is referring to here in what sense probably is the commander of the Lord's hopes is probably thinking of Joshua and he said he made the angel of the Lord commanding the host of God pursue my enemies and drive them away. Know what you would pray if you were in that situation.
David was surrounded by hostile forces. Most of his life. He said God intervene, I need your help. I'm not sufficient. All by myself to resist all these powerful enemies against their attacking me without cause I'm not attacking them.
They just want my land. I want the benefits of the kingdom or intervene for me what the angel of the Lord pursue them and drive them away was right to sue second section he is dealing with a different matter what he deals with here is slander. These witnesses are coming against him. It seems to be a court case. I call this an image. The image of a battle in the image of a lawsuit I ask is that to be understood only as an image or doesn't have some kind of literal manifestation. I really don't know that I think there's something literal to it. I don't know of any example in the Old Testament of anybody being able to bring a literal lawsuit against the king. Could you do that in the Old Testament times looking. I'm not sure that was possible, but it was certainly possible to slander the king that was happening in seems to be the kind of language. David is using these ruthless witnesses are testifying against him and it is almost strip it is not in fact as if they were bringing a suit in a court of law or is what bothers them again is that it's unfounded. You see, they question me on things.
I know nothing about SA not tell us what you did there do anything anymore. They're talking about, but nonetheless that's what they're saying.
I put together. It doesn't seem to me strange at all think that you have a situation here where people are working within them without the unseen armies without an eye third current going on within anything they can do to undermine his authority and bring them down.
What bothers David most of the section is that when they were in a bad spot. He didn't take advantage of them, but rather he interceded for the work for their good while they are working for his ill verse 13 when they were ill. I put on sackcloth, I humbled myself with fasting and when my prayers returned to be unanswered.
I went about morning is over, my friend or brother. I bowed my head in grief as the weeping for my mother. Actually, I behave toward them but now when I get into trouble when the enemies are hammering on the gates of the city. Instead of supporting me or praying for me. These people are going about trying to bring me down. That's what hurts say what David says there is that they were actually marking.
Verse 16 means they must of been succeeding someone I don't know what is referring to here, but I must've said look at David. What kind of a king is that as they tried to tear them down is is on the interesting. He calls so I'm gonna look on look at what's happening in the rescue him from the ravages.
He says that he knows God's going to do it when God does it. He's going to give thanks to God in the great assembly that's away each of the sections and now in this third section. These two ideas come together theory to carefully find the language both of the battle and the law courts were involved in the theme here seems to be the fact that there gloating over already in the previous section there marking here there gloating and you see the word three times verse 19. They glowed over me and that it's in verse 24 to not let them gloat over me and in verse 26 by all who glowed over my distress be put to shame and can I suppose that hurts most of all, all the software failures as we don't succeed at everything and defeats because we are often defeated and were mature at all. Generally, we can handle some of that handle our defeats handle our failures but when people gloat over our failure that's what hurts, especially with somebody we've tried to help you if that happens at the kind of world which we live. The Solms ring true, you think of your own experience. Can't you think of time that's happened to you why God is to do here.
David prays that he will do it.
His interbeing says God is going to do it. That's the way the conclusion goes. He wants all those who were gloating over this distress to be put to shame and confusion.
And when he is vindicated. He knows that those who delight in his vindication are going to join him in joy and gladness in praising God. Now, I usually apply the Solms in different ways. Sometimes I'll even apply them at the beginning. Say what they mean and how were to take it and we study more often than not I apply them as we go along. I take each section apply it. I think is probably the best way to teach the Bible in this case, I held the application of the end because this matter of an imprecatory Psalm is difficult, and I think we have to have the whole song before us in order to apply. So how do we do it, how do we apply these words.
Well first of all let me suggest that just as I said at the beginning that David is speaking here not as a private citizen but does king on behalf of others in exactly that way that we are not kings.
We can certainly ask God for justice for other people say we should pray for that and we should be on the side of justice and we should do that vigorously. Our problem in this life is not that we are too vindictive. I think that sometimes we act in a vindictive way, but rather, we don't care about justice enough all if somebody offends us we care a lot.
That's the area in which we have to be extremely careful. But if somebody else is wrong. We don't care very much Christian should care Christian should be on the side of those who are attacked unjustly under what we can to help them and differ not in a position to do anything personally about it. Certainly we should pray you see on television. Some of the terrible things we see on the news night by night. You should intercede for those were suffering were taken advantage of by people were really evil people and have no sense of justice or righteousness of all. The second thing we can do is what I suggested earlier we can pray for ourselves in certain situations, but cautiously reason for lances that we are sinners we have to be very very careful because sin is subtle and is very easy to mix a desire for personal vengeance with the concern we should have as Christians for right and justice.
The justice of God Bible says vengeance is mine, I will repay, say of the Lord and when we have to weed through that in our prayers is to make sure all we pray for justice and for righteousness that we are not praying for an opportunity to take matters into our own hands and accomplish it ourselves, where we ourselves are concerned see in a case like that, we have to leave it with the Lord. There's 1/3 way in which these imprecatory Psalms can be applied. I noticed that the two things that are said about David's enemies. Here, the fact that like wicked enemies are seeking his life in battle and like slanderous accuser in the court.
Both of those things are seen in our great adversary the devil, because that's the way he's described in the New Testament. She is a wicked adversary. Peter says it goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour and who in the 12th chapter of Revelation is also described as the one who slanders the brothers he is a liar from the beginnings of Jesus Christ. That's a description of our enemy.
So there's no other way in which we can apply that we don't see injustice done and get involved with Adam. Pray that God would establish it least we can pray in this area. But God would bring Satan down, establish justice, and so bring in the kingdom of righteousness for which every one of us should pray what you pray, the very end of the Bible. How long will Lord how long that's the prayer of the saints. What we pray is that Jesus Christ might return in righteousness and right he will do it one day and that day we will rejoice as those in David state did when I saw his own indication pray our father, we thank you for this teaching and we would pray that would give us grace as we grow and the Christian life. Mature to see our way through these difficult areas as Jesus himself would recognize the problem we have either. On the one hand, we don't care about others. We just are willing to let everything go or we become self-righteous and vindictive and what we need is a balanced view in the middle way because we know you were sensitive to issues of rights and long injustice and injustice and at the same time.
No sin that's in our own hearts bothers you teach us that as we draw close to you rent that we might become a good force this life light in the darkness salts in the world and Selby, in a very small measure something of what Jesus Christ himself was when he dwelt among us. Thank you for listening to this message from the Bible study our 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 proclaim biblical doctrine in order to foster a reformed awakening in today's church. To learn more about the alliance visit alliance net.org and while you're there, visit our online store reformed resources. You can find messages and books from Dr. Boyce and other outstanding teachers and theologians, or ask for a free reformed resources catalog by calling 1-800-488-1888. Please take the time to write to us and share how the Bible study our has impacted you. We love to hear from you and pray for you.
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