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Creature of a Day

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
November 3, 2021 8:00 am

Creature of a Day

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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November 3, 2021 8:00 am

In Psalm 39, David recognizes the shortness of life. Rather than give up hope, he brings his concerns before God. In doing so, David realizes that we were made for eternity, and our security lies in the only eternal God.

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House out brief candle though. Both men ponder the meaning of life.

King David is no Macbeth today on the Bible study our will take a closer look at Psalm 39 were David is troubled about the brevity of life. Our mortal existence on this earth is but a breath, but our hope is in in the things of this world. Macbeth despairs but David brings it all to God. Although life is short. God is good to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically in Psalm 39 David recognizes the shortness of life rather than give up hope brings his concerns before God.

In doing so.

David realizes that we were made for eternity in our security lies in the only eternal God. If you have your Bible turn now to Psalm 39 studying Psalm 39 and Psalm 39 is Saul molasses. To think the thing about the brevity of life have I hope you're prepared to do that. It isn't an easy thing to do well doesn't want to think of course certainly not about such weighty matters as life, death and eternity, and the flesh can't think and the devil doesn't want us to think so. We have a problem the world, the flesh of the devil actually conspire to entertain us or amuse us, rather than have us think about the things of God. Word amusement is interesting.

Of course, because that's exactly what it means. It has three parts. A use and management status side effects turns it into a noun uses a central part of mutants means to think or ponder and I is the negative so amusement is not thinking that's what the world is trying to get us to do is trying to entertain us so we won't think about eternity and will go into eternity on prepare while Islam is meant to counter that I don't often find the book on the Psalms, and Arno Gable. I wrote terribly helpful because he's always trying to find prophetic references Psalms and I think go beyond what is really there.

Sometimes he says things are very very wise in his comment on this only says at one point, read it, it will bring blessing to your heart and life. That's true.

As we read it and study it tonight and trust that will be the case with you on to say a few things about an introduction introducing it. First of all, it's a good song to follow.

Psalm 38 Psalm 38 which we were studying earlier, we saw that David was seriously ill and was facing the prospect of death. He thought death would come in at a moments here in this song he is aware of the brevity of life. It's a kind of thing you would expect him to reflect on in the situation you find the Psalm proceeding very direct. I am one other way and the 38 Psalm.

He says he's going to be quiet in the face of the accusations of the wicked. I am like a death manner cannot hear like a mutant cannot open his mouth. Verse 13. This is exactly where he begins Psalm nine the client is not going to speak and see what that means. In a moment, for also certain Hebrew words occur in the Psalm that are there in the preceding Saul. No, it's not quite so evident DOS because of the English translation might hope. In verse seven is almost the same as the word weight and Psalm 3815. And that was an emphasis of the previous Saul and then in verse 10, your scourge is exactly the same as the words my wounds in verse 11 of Psalm 38 Solomon is various ways. These situations are tied together were to think they probably came out of that certain time in David's life that we don't have any details about it.

There's a mention of a man in the title to this Psalm that is worth thinking about.

This is the first personal name in the heading of the Psalm so far except for those that are used to given historical reference name of Absalom occurs in the title to Psalm three cushion the title to Psalm seven Abimelech in the title to Psalm 34 that's all. To explain the circumstances under which the song was written is not the case here. This is just an individual. If you get out a concordance of look them up you'll find that he was one of the leading musicians that David appointed to direct public worship along with ISAF and he has Psalms are going to occur later in a few other men written about in first Chronicles 16 and Chronicles 5 and a few other places.

His name also occurs in the headings of Psalms 62 and 77 and is interesting that the subject matter. Psalm 62 is very similar to the subject matter of the song makes us think there's probably some connection we don't know what it is.

Maybe this man went through something in his own life. It was very similar to what David was going through. And so he particularly commended the Psalm to him is not a man who is experienced. It was lived what I have lived. I give it to him to make the presentation we can understand that we don't know that for sure. The outline of the song is easy, and often it's reflected very clearly in the four stanzas that it's divided into in the new international version translation there's an opening section preface I would call explaining how it came to be written as a first problem that's developed in the second stanza second problem was developed in stanza three and then have a wrap up which is that prayer in the committing of the whole thing to God. And that's the way we need to look at it. Now we look at the preface and what we find David doing there is explaining that he would try to keep quiet about what he is going to say, but he found he couldn't do it. We find out what he is concerned about is the brevity of life is what he develops. Next, but in this first Anthony doesn't tell us that he simply says that Harry was trying to keep it quiet and that the last. The fire that was burning in them just couldn't be contained any longer and it burst out now I am no doctor that reflects a real situation in David's life. If that is not the case.

We have to imagine that all of the strong emotion that we find in the Psalm and others like it something it's made up, just as a literary composition that taxes belief is not that he actually lived through this and thought that way, but at the same time. When you look at the Psalm in a literary way is very evident that this preface heightens our interest and wants to come because when we read David saying he's going to put a muzzle on his mouth and be silent and be still.

Not even saying anything good, let alone anything evil we find ourselves saying what what is bothering David why is he being silent, why doesn't he speak up something very important.

Must be going on its way of getting this in the song. Well as I said, what bothers him and is going to say next is the brevity of life and what he says here is that he is keeping quiet because of the wicked.

Why was he keeping quiet because of the wicked well because in his anguish voicing the kind of things were troubling him about the brevity of life and God's dealings with human beings.

He was likely to say something that would be misunderstood and be misused by wicked persons as he can keep quiet. Rather than give them an occasion to use his words to criticize God. Now I don't want to spend a lot of time on that but it seems to me a number of very important teachings come out a lot if we want to learn from David's example. One thing we learn what we say is vitally important that we can send by our lips as well as by our deeds to be on guard against what we say. David is concerned about that. Second, we can learn that is better to be silent when the say things that can be used against God by wicked person, sometimes Christian people by unguarded speech play into the hands of those that were hostile to Christianity and we ought not to do that. Number three.

We shouldn't be anxious to share such grief. Even with godly persons. That is something of course we have to ponder about because it's good to have friends and be able to talk over the things that bother us. David here is not even seeking out the counsel of the ungodly. What he does. This is the fourth point is unburden himself a God. That's what it comes down to it, we should tell our troubles, God and when we do we will find that God speaks to us ministers to us and gives us understanding what we should do is what Paul in the New Testament, counseled the Christians at Philippi to do. He said do not be anxious about anything, David.

Here is anxious because not be anxious about anything on everything I prayer and petition with Thanksgiving. Make your requests to God and the peace of God that passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. That's what we need to do when we are troubled by this matter of the shortness of life, which is troubling. David now. He talks about that problem. I call it the first of two problems of verses four through six. The keyword here is the word table in Hebrew, and it's translated into different ways and used three times in the song in verse five.

It's translated a breath each man's life is but a breath, and then in the next verse it's translated in vain to exactly the same word translated in vain. He bustles about but only in vain and then at the end of verse 11.

It's translated a breath again. Each man is but a breath that repeats what was said in verse five. What's significant about that is that it's the same or disused. Many times in Ecclesiastes and which were familiar with from the second verse of the opening chapter in the old King James version it's translated vanity vanity and in the new international version is translated meaningless, meaningless vanity of vanities, meaningless, meaningless, says the preacher, everything is meaningless unless aware David is using here just saying you sleep that human life is short.

Threescore years and 10 and then it's over you saying in terms of what we aspire to is meaningless. That's what's bothering him because he said you can work throughout the whole life trying to accomplish something and then you die and it's gone or if what you're concerned about is seeping up well you can heap up a fortune, but you die those other people you think about life in any serious way.

You become aware not only of how brief it is what you become aware of the corresponding vanity of life must go on.

Somehow gives it meaning. That's what it's trying to discover in this song.

I think the brevity of life is something that you trouble people a lot more than it does the young, notably are troubled by it because somebody is rightly said the young think their immortal. After a little while before you begin to find out you're not, we should be troubled by everybody dies eventually and after not very long time. At that whether Shakespeare was thinking of the song or even knew what.

I suppose he did. Because the Psalms were in the liturgy of the church of his day and probably heard it read many times in church added in his mind, but he certainly reflects the idea sometimes it displays and most notably in that despairing speech of King Macbeth them asked five of the tragedy by that name. His wife, Lady Macbeth to the gate of the murder of Duncan has committed suicide on the news comes to him. You know the words. He says tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day. The last syllable of recorded time and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death out out brief candle life is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his brief hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It's a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing. King David is an King Macbeth and although King David is expressing same concern. The brevity of life and its parent vanity doesn't do what King Macbeth does best despairs. King David brings it to God unless what verse four is all about your say he said here that he was trying to keep quiet. That trouble bothered him so much that it finally had to speak on the very first thing he speaks is addressed to God what David says is there show me oh Lord, my life's end and the number of my days. Now that doesn't mean God tell me how long I have to live so I can get my affairs in order. I got a week two weeks, a month or year mean that it is in the complaint. David isn't saying that God's life is short and I got a lot to do. You have given me enough time to accomplish it is and what he means what he means is give me a right perspective on the shortness of human existence so that I may apply my heart to wisdom a number my days and use them rightly as exactly by the way, what we have in Psalm 90 verse 12 of the Psalm is often rated funerals or teach us to number our days, we may apply our hearts to wisdom. That's what David is saying here so almighty was written by Moses, not by David. It expresses a much calmer and more trusting frame of mind, but it's the same thing and David is having a hard time doing that says God help me do it now asked the question as he learn anything by going to God, you say well he doesn't have to learn anything if he leaves it with God may be that peace that passes understanding, will keep his heart and mind. And that's probably true. I sense as we go through the song that it becomes increasingly call, but actually he does learn something, any reflexive than what he says in the first thing he learns when he turns to God is puzzling.

The brevity of human life may be, it is nevertheless God was caused it to be brief and notice that's a motif of the Psalm you have it in verse five he doesn't just save my days are a mere handbreadth.

He says you have made my days of your handbreadth and not just me. God is in singling him out to kill them before his time. This is true of everybody.

Life is short and you made it that way is what David says later on, it becomes even stronger when he deals with the second problem verse nine. You are the one who has done this. I am overcome by the blow of your hand you rebuke and discipline. Menu consumed their wealth like a moth, and so on. I say will. How is that helpful, but as he learned from that. Well he knows that God is a good God and therefore God is done. This is not an accident is God's doing. It must be for a good purpose. Even though we can understand it is good that our life not be too long as what he saying say well I can understand that it would be better for me if I had another 10 years or 15 years or other 25 years is what King Hezekiah thought, God sent the prophet doing the telling that he was going to die in the turned face the wall and cried and made a fool of himself and God sent the prophet back and said all right you to live longer, but that last years of his life, or years of trouble goddesses appointed you to have 25 years. He knows that's what's best for you. If he's appointed you to have the score years and 1070 years. That's what's good for you theological live longer. That's what good for you, but in any case is not going to go on the 200, 300, 400 years is God's doing and when David understands that he begins to quiet down and learn from God in the something else and it's connected with the other thing that is when he turns to God, he realizes that God is the only place in which is going to find any meaning.

That's what verse seven says. But now, Lord, what do I look for my hope is in you is if you can't look to the value of your life in the amount of wealth. You can accumulate if you Look to the value of your life and the number of years you can endure well aware of them. Are you going to find value and David is the right answer is the only one it's in God my my hope is in you, the verse does not mean I turned to you because you're my last hope he means God is the hope of his people and we get to an understanding of the meaning of our life and we see it in terms of God and eternity. Now verse, verse seven, where he expresses the second thing he learns actually introduces the third stanza in the third stanza. As I said against talk about a second problem first is the brevity of life. The second problem here is God's discipline of his people, which sometimes is very heart recall the previous lawman. I think the two are connected.

That David was sick and he recognize that the sickness which he thought was leading them to the very brink of death was because of his sin mentioned that several times verse three verse five of Psalm 38 sees that kind of connection and here is bemoaning the fact that God is so heavy-handed in his dealings with them. This is the same sort of thing that Joe said Job had unusual suffering as we know from that story one point as he was replying to his accusers rather early on in the book of chapter 7 Joe is a classic statement of exactly what David is saying here.

Here's what Job said, what is man that you make so much of him given so much attention now. He doesn't mean that positively the attention the Job is getting here is discipline and this is a complaint when his manager makes a much of him that you examine them every morning, and test him every moment we never look away from me or let me alone even for an instant, is what Job says if I have sent you a watcher of men. I mean I course I've said how does that hurt you. Job is saying why have you made me your target I become a burden to you if I become a burden to you, why do you not pardon my offenses and forgive my sins, but I will soon lie down in the dust that you will search for me and I will be no more understand that complaint does not have an echo in your heart.

That's what David is thinking David great King David Joe, the righteous man is righteous man upon the face of the earth at that time.

That's the kind of feeling they were expressing under the hand, heavy hand of God we know in Job's case, it wasn't discipline was a case of Job being held out before the watching Angels as one who would suffer great things and praise God in spite of us. I don't understand what's going on, but the Lord gives the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of Lord David apparently was suffering for his sin you say when you're going through those things. So the question is the same average ever said that I had many people say that to me. I said things like this. What is God want with me. Why does he care what I do I do can possibly affect him or hurt him. I don't have anything to contribute to them why doesn't God just forget about me and leave me alone.

That's the question.

David's asking is as an answer to that yes is an answer to that. Good answer to that answer is this, in spite of the brevity of our earthly existence. We are not merely creatures of the day.

We are creatures made for eternity happens to us and in us and what is done by us as eternal consequences. God is concerned about is that he takes time by discipline necessary to develop the kind of character that is going to be a blessing and redound to his praise throughout eternity. You see, you go back to verse seven and you find that that's what is really saying when he says Arduino.

I look for my hope is in you what he saying there is, you're the one who gives meaning to life because you're the eternal God, I'm the creature of the day as I come to know you live in the light of your countenance and serve you and are blessed by you then my life begins to take on meaning that gives us the understanding even in the midst of the trials I undergo. That's a very profound thing. I started out by saying you have to think think about the brevity of life's apparent meaninglessness what God is doing. Most people never think along that line. All Christian people do should. That's where understanding comes from. I come to the last stanza and we find exactly what we would expect here, David is look at the brevity of his life is turned away from that is look to God. He found that God is arrange things as they are, and that the meaning of his existence is going to have to be found in the eternal God, because it certainly can't be found in anything here. Everything here is passing now. He says, recognizing that I am a pilgrim passing through.

That's the meaning of those words alien and stranger that you find in verse 12. Those were classic terms in Israel for describing people who weren't Jews, but were living in the land first and alien probably means one. It was there for a short time in the stranger when it was there longer. According to Jewish law had to be treated nicely, but they weren't allowed to purchase property. I did never share of the land they belong to another land and they were citizens of another kingdom. That's what David is saying you say that's the way I am to be here alien and a stranger here is all my fathers were sinners. He says all my fathers were anybody who read that knew the Old Testament would immediately perk up their ears. Realizing that this was an Old Testament theme, you find those words again and again in the Old Testament. Abraham is the first one uses them because Abraham were told dwelt as an alien and a stranger in the land. One classic passage which is poignant the way it's expressed Abraham as you know was called out of the counties and sent Israel the land that was going to be given to him and to his posterity forever. But during his lifetime he never owned a cubic foot of it. Only exception was when his wife Sarah died. He had no place to bury her because he didn't own any land and so he had to negotiate with the Hittites for the burial plot the cave of mock palatal described there in the book of Genesis and there's this poignant moment when Abraham rises from weeping over Sarah and addresses the Hittites, Abraham rose from beside his dead wife and spoke to the Hittites. He said I am an alien in the stranger among use only some property for the burial site here so I can bury my dad's. Abraham was just a pilgrim that's picked up in the New Testament as well. For example, in first Peter 211 Peter reminds Christians of his day that their pilgrims dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against the solely means don't get bogged down here because this is in your home. Your me for eternity. Your life should be characterized by righteousness because the place you're going to is a righteous kingdom.

Again, I think of Hebrews 11 the great catalog of the heroes of the faith, all of whom were pilgrim. This land was 13 of the chapter says all these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised, I only saw them and welcomed them from a distance and they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on the earth and the conclusion he draws from what is this, since we have their example. Let's follow it and abstain from the things that entangle us here and press on in the life that we have to live looking under Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith mentioning Jesus is interesting. Jesus lived an exceedingly short life years of our lives are threescore and 10.

According to the song. But Jesus lived only 33 of those 70 years, and yet his was the most influential like that ever lived.

Say it's not a question of the duration. It's a matter of quality and what makes our life life of quality is by having it based upon God and the knowledge of him.

Alexander McLaren says the lives that are lived before God can never be trifles. We come to the very end of the Psalm of David says something that's understandable but not terribly edifying. Verse 13 look away from me, that I may rejoice again before I departed them no more. When he says look away from a what he means is lift your heavy hand of discipline so I can be happy again. Just a little bit before I die on terribly noble sentiment, but it is what Job said of those verses I read earlier, will you never look away from me or let me alone even for an instant or even a little later on and Job 10, turn away from me so I can have a moment's joy before I go to the place of no return to the land of gloom and deep shadow as I say that's understandable if you're really down if you really have the kind of distress burning within you. The David expresses a laterally stanza, so much so he doesn't even want to speak about it but he can't control it and eventually it bursts out if that's going on in your soul is very understandable that you think that way, you say to God, just leave me alone for a minute so I can have a moments peace and joy before I die, I want to suggest that there's a better way of doing it and really the Psalm itself indicates that better way. Instead of worrying about where God fixes his eyes.

We should worry about is where we fix our eyes and you know the teaching high-rise to be fixed on God himself. The only stable point of the turning universe fixed on the Lord Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith was gone before us and like Abraham upon that eternal city that has foundations, whose builder and maker is God city yet to come.

And that's what it means to number our days, apply our hearts to wisdom and those who do it are wise father, we thank you for the Psalm sober as it is nevertheless touching something which we all experience.

If we ever pause to think that all I'm short it all is and how meaningless apart from you. Father, we thank you that it need not be meaningless. That is not for those who know you in Jesus Christ, we would pray for such, there might be new sense of living in the light of your countenance serving you.

Finding meaning in what we do because you will place this year to do it.

Therefore, knowing that what we do has eternal consequences. We pray for any who may not know this or merely troubled by these things. Worried about that friends, loved ones or the dangers of traces on every hand pray that you use these words turn them from falling that wisdom which is found in Jesus Christ was made unto us wisdom and redemption). His name 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 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.

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