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God Is My Fortress

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
December 1, 2021 7:00 am

God Is My Fortress

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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December 1, 2021 7:00 am

David was no stranger to peril. He dodged Saul’s javelins and evaded his armies. With few other resources of his own, he called on the great I AM for protection. On this program, we’ll look at Psalm 59 from an historical perspective of the life of King David.

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David was no stranger to peril. He dodged Saul's javelins and evaded his armies with few other resources of his own.

David called on the greats IM for protection on this program will look at Psalm 59 from an historical perspective of the life of King David and welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce propelling you to think and act biblically. If we live by our own resources. We eventually come up short. David learned this lesson well. As he fled his pursuers. He knew that his only hope was in the Lord's protection and deliverance.

Let's turn together to Psalm 59 as we study David's cry for help.

That's another one of these solvents that has historical setting in the life of King David was a little block on them here in this particular portion of the shoulder. The Psalms in books 1 and two of the shoulder is about that first 71 or two of the Psalms. The bulk of those are by David, but most of them don't have an historical setting. We have been introduced to the something different, beginning with Psalm 51 on that series has continued in a more or less alternating fashion. Optimal now and it will end with a Psalm 16 which is a very long introduction to it when we have is one or two of these Psalms with this historical setting, and then another song is placed into the series, which does not have historical setting that has a theme that matches more or less what appear before and after words and then the series takes up again, the way it works is that Psalms 51 and two are given an historical setting them Psalm 53 is an interruption Psalm 54 is historical Psalm 55 is not, then you have 56 and 57 that relate to something in the life of David. 58 is not and then finally 59 and 65. From this point on the end of book chili Psalms, or by David except for the very last one is by Solomon but you notice from the headings that no particular historical reference is given how we got to Psalm 60 we come to us on the lips of something that happened much later in David's life during his reign.

Most of these of been from that. When he was fleeing from Saul before he became king. This Psalms on 59 looks earlier in the series of labs that is the very beginnings of the trouble that he had with Saul described this way. It says when Saul had sent men to watch David's house in order to kill them if you're interested in the historical background for that you find it in first Samuel chapter 19 verses 11 to 18 we just review briefly what that section.

The first Samuel/David was still with Saul in these days he was serving at the court, but Saul's jealousy was increasing, women of Israel had invented a little song goes like this song. Saul and Slane's thousands with David is tens of thousands now that's about that sort of popular ditty is designed to get you in favor with the King David suffered from that Saul grew increasingly hostile and there were several occasions when what is described in the Old Testament is an evil spirit came over and while he was in this kind of a mood.

He became so hostile that he actually threw his spirit. David when David was there in the banquet hall or whatever it was that they were meeting did it twice. Each time David escaped. He got out of the area for a while and he came back after the second one he began to think it really might be better if I didn't hang around here very long. And so the thought well, now it's time to take a short vacation to go home so we went home. I was in his house. We don't know where that was.

It was married to Saul's daughter Mikael time and Saul said to his soldiers. I want you to go down there and surround the house. Goodbye night so we won't know you're coming. Surrounded by night, and when morning comes I want you to kill him.

Now David's wife who was the daughter of Saul knew her father pretty well. It seems like all of the children did. Jonathan knew his father.

Well also. David's wife said to him that evening. If you don't get out of here tonight and run away. You're going to be killed tomorrow morning. I suppose that was obvious. Maybe David was a bit slow to grasp at any rate, his wife understood the situation and so she let them down through the window by a rope or the way they like the apostle Paul out of Damascus when they were looking for his life there. Now we don't know. Again the setting of that it may have been that the house was a house on the wall of the city 11 down outside.

Mabel and Donald and Allie or something like that any rate he got away and then very resourceful life that something else as well. She bought them some time because you had an idol.

They had them but that she hadn't and she put it in the bed must've been fairly life-size and then she had a little bit ago chair and she put it on the top looked like David's hair covered a mop and when the soldiers came bursting in the morning they found them and veggies that he sick while I wasn't written into their orders. I like to do. He was supposed to be. While I went back to Saul and he said he sick and Saul said you you idiots.

I don't care whether he sick or not bring them killing when you bring them and so they went back down the course of my lifetime. David was long gone now. That's the setting versus several things in this Psalm that make us think that it applies to something a little bit broader and notice perhaps that in two of the verses in verse five in verse eight, it refers to all those nations rouse yourself to punish all the nations.

Verse five and again you scoff at all those nations. In verse eight, a little further on.

It talks about the ends of the earth that is verse 13. Now I didn't sound entirely appropriate, given that historical setting that I described what probably is happened is this is that later on this Psalm that had a strict historical setting was brought slightly so that when these phrases were added. It's a way of saying that what David experiences there. When Saul's soldiers like fierce dogs were out to get them happens all of us all the time and we will all perish. If it weren't, that we have a strong God defenses God defended David then defends us as well. And so we read the Psalm that way now Marvin Tate is one of the commentators and he says that very clearly and I think well he says the Psalm reminds us that we've not escape the problems of enemies and their evil work in human society. The dogs still prowl about in our communities and towns just as they did in the ancient world dogs which embody the devouring malignant persons and forces in human affairs law no longer mediates justice so he says, like the ancient Israelite communities like David beforehand. We have to look to Jehovah our great God for our defense on outline. While this is one of those Psalms and I mentioned the nature of the earlier when we were working at Psalm 57 that has a refrain that is is a little conflict that does repeated the song you find this one in verse nine.

All my strength. I watch for you.

You O God of my fortress, my loving God and then you find it again.

The slight variation in verse 17. At the very end of my strength. I sing praise to you. You are God, are my fortress, my loving God so what you have here are two parts to a Saul that's easiest way to outline it except that when you look at the two-part you find parallels there as well. This business of dogs is mentioned in verse six of the first part is repeated in verse 14 of the second part and I when you begin to analyze those parties of the parts really have to part so the outline is sounds complicated but it's really not to go something like this. First of all, you have an appeal to God by David verses 1 to 5 and secondly you have a description of David's fierce flows verses 6 to 8 and then the refrain man in the second half that happens all over again, but with variation so you have part four David's second appeal to God. That's verses 10 through 13 and then second description of his flows. Verses 14 to 16, and finally the refrain is repeated.

Now that's the way we need to look at it. I'm a look at each of the parts. These first two verses when David begins to appeal to God are filled with urgency and we have to say they are that we mustn't miss the urgency. Sometimes when we read the Psalms we read them is more or less abstract poetry with what beautiful ideas where detached from the emotion of the moment and so doesn't seem to have a great deal of urgency to us, but it certainly did to David and he has captured this in the language it's I suppose more evident in the Hebrew but you could get it. Even in the English you notice there are those first two verses that there are four direct appeals to God and these firms deliver protect deliver and say why we would talk about it to say that these are Simpson's prayers kind that have been drawn out of David forced out of them by the danger of the moment and so it's always right to pray that way and pray and urgency, but I want you to say this because I think this is very significant is a great lesson here, the urgency that leads us to honor what we call swift sentence prayers to God should not obscure or limit our ability appeal to God in our prayers by reason, or in other words do have thoughtful prayers because I don't course, is exactly what David does in the next versus those verses 3 to 5.

Give us three reasons why David has a right to appeal to God and why God should hear his prayer not interesting. Starts off with these urgent appeals deliver protect deliver say, but then in the reason way, although in a very brief scope because this is poetry begins to present his case to God. What are the reasons why you have one in each verse Smathers the danger the spacing David reminds Submission course. What that means is that God knows everything. You don't have to tell God things he doesn't know about. On the other hand, member talking to him. It certainly right for us to present before them the things that are bothering us about the David Nazis that are lying in wait for me. Fierce men are conspiring against right now. Let's apply that, let's do it this way, are you in danger not tell a lot about other people live in our cities and areas where they are in danger. Much of the time. Let God know he's your defense telling about that he knows of course you tell them anyway. Are you discouraged lots of people are discouraged today about about it.

Let him know. He knows that of course would tell them anyway. Are you worried about the future you're not sure about your job may be about to lose it.

You're in school you're not sure you're going to make it this semester whatever it may be tell God about what he knows about it. Tell them about anyway.

That's what David Dodds you know there was an old St. I understand the one occasion when he was in danger, knowing that he belonged. God used to argue this way used to call out to God and signature properties in danger. He was talking about himself. Now you belong to God or his property. Let them know that's a first argument second argument is David's innocence. I was an important matter to him because he repeats it several times look for. No offense or sin of mono. Lori denies an offense.

He denies a sin in the next verse is the same thing I have done no wrong and yet they are ready to attack me.

Now David is not claiming to be sinless.

Of course knew publicly well. He was a center just as you and I better know it, but that isn't the point here.

You see, he's not talking about being innocent in the sight of God. It was the absolutely anyone. He's talking about it being innocent over against his enemy is pursuing and without cause.

What he saying is I'm innocent where Saul is concerned I am done anything to offend him. The wonderful thing. You and I are in trouble and we can say that this is not always the case. Quite often, because in human affairs people are all sinners, we get into situations where it may not be mostly our fault is partially our fault software that limits the way we can pray, but it's a great thing. It is sometimes the case, I should even say often the case where we can say Lord in this matter. I really about sin before you any right when you do that, then you're able to appeal to God boldly and that's what David Dodds, here's the third thing in his argument before God said character of God himself, is that is presented in the names of God, you know, one of the most striking features of the Psalm of the names of God and here in verse five have those names in profusion only Lord God Almighty, the God of Israel, that is really a powerful collection first of the words occurs there is Yahweh.

Have a great name for God Jehovah that was given to Moses on Mount Sinai. Now that is not explained. On that occasion means I am that I am I am the self existent. What I don't need any help from adequate to every situation so it's quite right for David to appeal to goddesses, Yahweh, Jehovah, remembering the second book of the seller. That name is not so, the second book, the name for God Elohim tends to predominate, is even more striking by this word. Yahweh, their second name is LOA Masato somebody off and that means Lord God of hosts, and when that word hosts the armies used it has a double meaning Lord of hosts, Jehovah Szabo oath is a God of the armies of Israel, but he is also the God of the heavenly legions and stand behind your yard this point David doesn't have any real earthly legions are you still in a position of authority with Saul, but when he was at his home in the many soldiers to protect him. What is really reminding himself here is that God controls these heavenly forces somebody appeals to God.

The appeals of the strong God and I respect and last name is LES right now and it means the God of Israel, and when you bring in the name Israel will what you're talking about is the covenant God is a God entered into a special covenantal relationship with his people promising to be to them a God and to be that forever and ever. Now that God was David's God. So when he prays, he reminds himself and God that it's not that we could God that is prayer praying to the God of the universe was entered into a covenant relationship with his people and commands the heavenly legions say that makes a great deal of difference. One of the commentator says the writer recalls God's unique power by employing the various most familiar names by which he was known in Israel and that is absolutely right to see what you can pray, as David does only Lord God Almighty, the God of Israel by God to set a great deal and you can be greatly encouraged and comforted. So that's first section now in the second section he begins to talk about his enemies and describe the many refers to them as dogs understand what it means there as we say you dog doesn't mean a whole lot things of that while blogs of an eastern ancient city.

They were very subtle pets in the ancient world. Apparently they were on occasion because you know when Jesus talked to the Canaanite woman. He said it's not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dog, so it does sound like the children sometimes have little pets were dogs, but generally not the reason was obvious what people will pour it and waste money on animus and so you had wild dogs and they roamed around the city and they did a very useful thing and that is they were the scavengers stated that sewage systems either. We would just throw garbage out of my mic. Now they didn't have as much garbage as we did either. Whatever they had, they would throw out then these dogs would range around the city, especially at night and consume it now. David says my enemies are like that when I was studying this I came across a very funny description of this by an Englishman who visited Constantinople in the last century and he wrote the description about what he found there came from England got to this eastern city and he couldn't believe it when he tried to go to bed at night. It was so noisy because of all the while boxers is description of the whole city rang with one fast Wyatt yelping, howling, barking, growling and snarling was all merged into one uniform and continuous even sound for hours it was known while I went to sleep and I woke again and still with my windows open.

I can hear the same tumult going on and it wasn't until daybreak than anything like tranquility was restored, and I read that I thought since I live in a big city live safer quarter of a century that probably I would found it quite as noisy. There is Englishman Denny probably came from the English towns somewhere where it absolutely quieted like you never heard a thing he couldn't believe how bad it was with some of the less you understand what is described now.

David is saying, look, this is what it's like to use soldiers of the cutting or like these wild dogs, snarling and plowing about the city and the route to get me now.

I guess the question is David afraid of the dogs on the answer of course is no right time to read the song they really does seem to be afraid we seen some of them, but you don't detect any of that in the sole reason is not afraid is a God is not afraid reason I say that is the way he finishes up the section you are Lord laugh at them. You scoff at all those nations are several times in the Psalms were God to send laugh at his adversary sold to war. We know that very well also. Psalm 37 verse 13. Well, that's what David says here God is laughing at them so I try be troubled by. I am sure that all this Englishman could hardly sleep at night.

David slept very well when he escaped that night because he knew that God was protecting him, verse nine, we come to the first occurrence of this refrain look at it more fully.

The second time around. I want you to notice here. The one difference between this occurrence of the refrain in the last are both alike except for the phrase in verse nine I watch for you which becomes icing prays to you in the second repetition now that phrase I want for you is important that probably is the key to the song. David has his eyes on God when you read that it makes you think that makes me think of a black recall that a backup was in a similar situation, God had told him in answer to his prayer that he was going to send the Babylonians against the city and eventually the city of Jerusalem was going to be overwrought now if ever there were wild dogs barking at the city gates.

It was in those days there was no gay when they surrounded the city. They killed people only took the rest off of the slavery it was a horrible thing to contemplate and back was really disturbed about it and he does what he can barely quiets himself down and he thinks about things and he reviews the character of God in Christ will apply to the situation he so can't really understand why God is doing what God is doing audit set on bringing the Babylonians for judgment but he looks that this people in the Babylonians and he is with the Babylonians or more evil people that my people. How can you use a more even prepared to judge people that certainly not sinless and they are wicked but not as wicked as they are. I didn't really get an answer to that is not doing so. What you find in the very middle of the prophecy are these words I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts, and I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give this complaint and it's in response to that while he is waiting. God gives the word that the apostle Paul and picks up and uses for the very heart of the gospel just shall live by faith defined in the second chapter of Habakkuk is God's answer, both in terms of the just and the wicked excess in those days the just have to live by faith, that is they have to trust me, even though things seem to be going badly. But he reminds Habakkuk in that chapter. In the second half of it that he is going to judge the wicked is because he uses the wicked to judge those who should be righteous, but are not very so does he. Also in his own time. Judge the wicked. God is going to do right you can be sure about. But in the meantime, live by faith. While that's what Habakkuk learned and what he did.

Now David is doing exactly the same thing. David and the song on the run surrounded by soldiers without any real place to turn and be seen.

Some of the problems he had when he tried to find refuge.

David, in those circumstances simply says I'm in trust God and keep my eyes on God. Other times, alike, let me say that when you and I can do no more guidance. There are things we can do it. We're in a situation where we just talk collectively we can actually improve it and sometimes we're in a situation where we were surrounded by Christian friends and that's good because they some like the kind of support we need much be Jason generally ends, but there are times when there's really nothing you can do and you don't have any support at all, and in an occasion like that. What you need to do some please keep your eyes on God. In other words, watch for him. David doesn't all my strength. I watch for you.

You gone are my fortress, my loving God. I said in the second half of this he does the same thing all over again. You want the outline sissy appeals to God again describes enemies again and finally, you have the refrain again, but it's never simply a repetition like in time around it goes up in March and that's what happens here is a and the first time when he appealed to God. He was really thinking about himself when he appeals to God. The second time is really thinking about what God is able to do on is able to destroy his enemies. Yes God to destroy them.

What's unique in this section, something that we haven't seen before verse 11 says do not kill them on board our shield or my people will forget your might make them wonder about and bring them down. We know he does want these wicked people to be overcome.

Eventually, because that's what he says later on consumed them in wrath consumed and delay are no more.

Really saying here earlier is don't do it right away handle them in such a way that might even learn from it because you see if the righteous prevail in the ungodly are simply quickly overturned while the righteous very soon forget that and he said make a lesson of these people for the benefit of those who are righteous. Now that's a very important thing to see about evil and God's handling of evil. We don't have time to explore it a great length to see sometimes people use the existence of evil in the persistence of evil.

Sometimes even the success of evil persons is an argument against God, even against the existence of God. If there is a God, why would he permit such things to happen. Obviously permit such things happen. I can't understand why he would permit such things to happen therefore is either foolish or there's no God.

That's why the art is actually arrogant on our part think that we can encompass what God is doing in history in matters of good and evil, but that's the way the argument goes, what David is saying here, just a tiny little bit of the argument they had a great deal of understanding what David is saying is that God allows even on the world for the benefit of the righteous.

We might learn from it and I may say so putting it in the broadest possible context. That's what history is all about what God is showing as it either doesn't work even on the cell eventually brings itself down and when you talk about goodness. Sometimes when you try to live and do the right thing. You suffer for it, but in the end that's the better way to live. The real meaning of history of my judgments is that in situations exactly comparable to what the wicked are going through those who are righteous and serve God would do the right thing regardless of the consequences, and even the angels look on and say is not marvelous that these people in those circumstances live for God and as we do that, we demonstrated before the angels of that's the right way. That's what David in a very preliminary way of saying here.

Verse 13 sums it up the very end. Then it will be known to the ends of the earth that God rules over Jacob. That's what is concerned about the God be known of the God be glorified and that can be in his own circumstances, whatever it may be that must've been a great principal with David because we find it on his lips and other places back in his early life when he was just a boy. Anyone not to fight with Goliath is what he said in his battle with Goliath. He told that Philistine champion before he killed him. This day the Lord will hand you over to me and I'll strike you down and cut off your head will know that there is a God in Israel is, he didn't sell, cut off your head and then the make a hero out of me what David was thinking Sadie had always the glory of God in mind. And that's what he spring here in the second part the second time he talks about his enemies. Verses 14 to 16 again the first of them is nonsense. The same image, and so on, but he has a different thought here. We suggest here is that they're going to go around about the city hunting for their food, but they're not going to be satisfied.

Verse 15. Of course they work they didn't get David a regatta right had to go back to the king and say we miss him so they missed them in psalmist.

Until indeed, he did write a long incident after incident until finally Saul himself perished unless something else to remember about evil, sometimes even looks good in our culture certainly glamorized to see what the Bible tells us is that evil is never really satisfied, you can do the evil thing but it's dissatisfied with great image of God. Back in the very beginning of the Bible in the garden.

Even when God judged the serpent to have been instrumental in the fall of our first parents. The judgment said you will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life estate doesn't actually eat dirt. Of course, that's a way of saying that everything that he takes will turn to dust in his mouth to use our own image and you say that's a way that is was sent. Sin looks glamorous at the beginning that it always turns to dust along the way and in the final analysis, it is not satisfied what's on his mind going to satisfy. That's why we need to get to know God we made for God, Augustine said, our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you. But when we find a resting but we really do find rest, and we find satisfaction to rise. The godly goes.

Psalm 23 describe God's going to prepare a table for them even in the presence of their enemies and goodness and love is going to follow them all the days of their lives.

And David knew that demonstrated it for all to see Wally come to the very last processes. The final occurrence of the refrain is a great testimony all my strength. I sing praise to you, you oh God or my fortress, my loving God is a great testimony, particularly when we remember that at this point in his life's circumstances had changed a bit as they may have escaped and gotten why we don't know exactly when he wrote it, but he was still running from Saul and he was still in danger of his life was a great testimony, but even more so when you look at this member I said there's that's like changing the Saul Fraser choose earlier about watching this change to singing here is what I say goes up a notch and says oh my strength. I sing praise to you.

You are God and so on. I asked the question what brought him to the point of jubilance! Well, the answer is found in what he said earlier that the reason he singing now is that he was watching earlier reason is able to praise God now is that he had his eyes on God.

Earlier in the Saul thing is interesting that in the Hebrew language is why we have the slight variation the words that are translated watch and saying are identical except for a single letter by can apply it this way.

I think it's valid. I think it's a way of saying that keeping one's eyes on God is only a stroke away from sing his praises and rejoicing in always see that at the time you have your eyes on God to sing. Eventually, so let me ask you this way, do you like joyous and hard for you to sing God's praises well perhaps it's because you're not watching for college. You're not thinking about God. You don't have your mind on God have my cake at exactly the same experience of David.

Remember I referred to them earlier, but didn't understand what was happening in history was puzzled by the great moral dilemma finally set set myself up on my watchtower and I wait to see what you say to me yet exactly the same experience because having dotted and having eventually heard from God and the very last stanza. He breaks out into song be put out for circumstances and unchanged either but at the end he singing anyway.

So here's what you have in singing of the fig tree does not bond and there are no grapes on the minds of the olive crop yields in the fields produce no food and whether or no sheep in the pan and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be joyful in God my Savior. The last line say the sovereign Lord is my strength.

He makes my feet like the feet of a deer and he enables me to go on the heights. Those are the words of somebody was warned wait on God as a final quote from Alexander McLaren. He says trust God as he is in trust him because of what he is see to it that your faith lays hold on the living God himself and on nothing besides you do that, regardless of the circumstances eventually will end up singing her father, we thank you for the wonderful promises that we have him this great song and for the lessons as well and as we have studied them, seeing how our lives in some areas measure up in other areas did not.

So help us to learn from it all to do what really is the central thing to fix our eyes on you to begin to think and focus as Christian people want to do and so as we see you work in this, the joy of song is 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 proclaimed biblical doctrine in order to foster a reformed awakening in today's church.

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