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If God Does Not Go with Us

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
December 2, 2021 7:00 am

If God Does Not Go with Us

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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December 2, 2021 7:00 am

Sometimes when we are at the top of our game and everything seems to be going right, a defeat creeps in. It may stagger us and cause us to question, why? Today on The Bible Study Hour we are looking at Psalm 60, a Psalm David wrote later in his life as he reflected back on his failures and success. Listen as Dr. Boice pieces together the circumstances of this defeat and shows us how we can apply it to our lives today.

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Sometimes we were on the top of our game and everything seems to be going right. A defeat creeps in.

It may stagger us and cause us to question why will today on the Bible study or were looking at Psalm 60 a song David wrote later in his life as he reflected back on his failures and successes. Listen as Dr. James Boyce pieces together the circumstances of this defeat and shows us how we can apply it to our lives today. Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically.

It's the banner against the ball as David seeks revenge and attains victory over a rocky stronghold. It's a picture of God doing for men when the help of men is useless. Let's look at Psalm 60 and studied David's cry and God's response for some time now we've been studying Salem's book 2 of the software that have an historical setting from the life of David come to the very last of those in the study to Psalm 60 and Psalm 60 has set of unique distinctions. For one thing, the setting comes from later in the life of David all the others relatively early this one is late, and secondly, it has the longest historical introduction or title of any Psalm in the solar Psalm 18 has a rather long when we were already studying that this one is longer still occupies 3 1/2 lines in my Bible and about the same amount of space in the standard Hebrew Bible and the Hebrew Bible. These titles that exist are generally identified as verse one. What we have is our verse one is actually verse two. In the Hebrew Bible, and so on this particular title is so long it takes up to verse in the Hebrew Bible survivors one is actually verse three where a total 14 verses in the Hebrew song on the terseness. If you look at it closely the second half of that. This song is when David fought Hiram Behar. I am Hiram Zola and when Joab returned and struck down 12,000 feet of mites in the Valley of salt on the only time in David's career that I could possibly be placed is after he had become king and Israel in the grain for a considerable amount of time, but if that's so, then this battle with the Edomites and the defeat that this all speaks about is interesting because the Psalm is the only thing that would indicate David had any proceeds during this particular period of his history, Eric Kidner.

I mention them from time to time. One of the excellent commentators on the Psalm says except for the Psalm in its title. We should have no inkling of the resilience of David's hostile neighbors at the peak of his power.

What he means is if you go back to the Old Testament to the historical accounts and you read this portion of his history all you read about his victories and yet here is a title Psalm that indicates there was a defeat. Now that's strange as well. The title actually is about a victory, but the Psalm is about a defeat. The other thing is that you read about the defeat you go back to the history and all you read about inspectors I think are some lessons in that before we even get into the Psalm in order to see them. We ought to go back in to see what it says in the Old Testament about this. Of David's life. The relevant portion of Scripture second Samuel chapter 8 verse 14 verses let me say that in the section of second Samuel immediately preceding that we read a number of wonderful things in this period of David's life after you become king only to say that things are there starting with chapter 5, we find that chapter. The first five verses that David becomes king of Israel of last all these years she's been chased by Saul and finally Saul is killed by the Philistines, and even then David doesn't become king right away rules in Hebron for seven years, but it's at the end of that. Were talking about when David finally becomes king of all Israel. What Samuel the prophet and told him when he anointed him back in his father's house. Maybe 20 years before that. The first thing secondly were told how he conquered Jerusalem and how he made it his capital in Jerusalem was not a Jewish stronghold was possessed by another people.

Until that time, the fifth chapter of second Samuel tells us how he took third on about decisive victories that he achieved over the Philistines. I had been the great enemies of the people.

It was the Philistines that a defeated Saul in the battle of the ball and then Saul was killed but David had victory over that fourth.

He brought the Ark to Jerusalem is the focus for the people's motion while chapter 6 second Samuel was given over to that fifth, God sent Nathan to them with the greatest message that David received in his entire lifetime, namely, that God was going to establish his house and his throne forever was a promise of the Messiah. David recognize that right away because when that prophecy came David replied is this natural for a man of a man's household perfectly well that human kingdoms rise and fall, we recognize that God was going to do it was going to be God's kingdom and therefore it was going to be as Messiah. Now it's immediately after all those unprecedented events, not just unprecedented in the life of David and president of the whole history of Israel, we come to chapter 8 where we read about these victories and those victories of the setting for our small REIT so you understand a little bit about what is happening at this time in the course of time, David defeated the Philistines and subdued method, from the control of the Philistines. David also defeated the Moabites, Gov. David fought headed. These are the son of Rehan the king of Sobol and he went to restart his control along the Euphrates River now those are the places that are mentioned in the title of Psalm 60 David captured thousand of his chariots, 7000 charioteers of 20,000 foot soldiers.

He hamstrung all but 100 of the chariot horses when the Aramaeans of Damascus came to help. It is easier kingdoms. All but David struck down 22,000 of them.

He put garrisons in the Aramaean kingdom of Damascus and Aramaeans became subject to him and brought tribute. The Lord gave David victory everywhere he went after David became famous, he returned from striking down 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of salt also is what is mentioned in the title of our song garrisons throughout all the Edomites became subject to David. The Lord gave David victory everywhere he went, seems to have happened if you put that historical account together with Psalm 60 is this the Edomites who led very close to Jerusalem simply took advantage of David being away on the capital in the center of his kingdom.

Fighting along the Euphrates to bring an insurrection and attack upon Jerusalem and they had some success. Apparently that's what the psalmist describing David engaged in the campaign on the Euphrates did the best thing he could he send Joab back to subdue the Edomites and Joab is great battle in the Valley of the salt South near the Dead Sea, and all these people were killed 12,000 of them according to the title of the Psalm after that David himself returned and he pursued the conquest of Eden even to taking the strongholds of the mountains I would probably explain why if you listen very carefully in the second Samuel later says he returned from the Euphrates of the Valley of the salty pursued the Edomites and a girl 18,000 of them, but here in the Psalm were Joab goes and fights of violence is only 12. Apparently there were two battles and David completed the conquest now that's what the historical background is, but it tells us something very interesting. I think it's something that we really need to learn. It tells us that even in times of unprecedented blessing. There are still defeats were always astounded that you say we think we have times of great blessing. This will always be blessing face the sinful and in the sinful world there will always be defeats and there were defeats of David. David was winning all these great battles along the Euphrates and he had defeated the Philistines and when he came back he had a victory over the Edomites, at least at this level.

And here people from Israel were still being killed.

We need to apply that to ourselves and say that even in times of blessing we can expect some things to go wrong is an outline goes, Islam falls into three very easy parking spot has four verses so you got for for informing goes like this, first floor our lament on the occasion of this defeats study that a little bit but David is is complaining he is lamenting what is happened verses 1 to 4. Secondly, in verses 5 to 8. He appeals to God and God answers the Lodge is wringing his hands and saying how bad it is he saying God help us and God does and that's what you have in those verses and then finally the very last section, verses nine through 12.

You have two important lessons that are to be drawn from the experience was go back and look at the sections one at a time.

First of all we have to look at this defeats that we don't know any of the specifics about it. That's because that account back in second Samuel, and there's a parallel account in first Chronicles mentions victories and the only inkling of the defeat we have here, but we don't have any of the details. We don't know exactly when it happened. We don't know exactly where it happened.

We don't know the people that were involved, but it certainly was a great defeat. At least that's the way David takes it uses two interesting images to describe one in verse two and the other in verse three. Verse two talks about the land being shaken while he is talking about an earthquake there.

That's the image that is using endings, asking God to amend its fractures. We know something about earthquakes because when earthquakes occur they make the news.

Sometimes we even see it on television. Somebody happens to be there and captures it on the video camera that happened in the last great earthquake out in San Francisco.

I was in Southern California at the time I was calling home on the phone happened during one of the World Series games out there.

I had that on. I turned down the volume so I couldn't hear what was coming over the television because I was talking with my wife and while I was talking the picture from the stadium went off and on. The sun was a newscaster on their talking and I was wondering what in the world was going on and I hung up I turned on the TV is on the holder been earthquake. They lost all connection with the stadium and pretty soon the pictures began to flood in the cracks of the earth. The collapsed freeway section of the ridge running over in Oakland that felled out of the car went down over the edges of it was a terrifying sort of thing. I called up in the phone again. I said turn on the television been earthquake out Northern California. I was supposed to be there. I was delayed and is in the south so I missed a very sorry about that. I got a wish I'd gotten on the thing about the that's that's when earthquakes are.

We see and we read about in the newspapers recent earthquake in Cairo were so many people were killed because of the structure of the buildings earthquakes in Latin America and the former Soviet Union and in other places say when David uses an image like that he saying a great and unprecedented disaster is overtaken is what is it about an earthquake well and unexpected. Suddenly the cars there is a great deal of destruction and death and there's nothing you can do about so David is saying that's what it was like when we suffer. This defeats the second image uses his drunkenness. That's what he talks about in verse three you have shown your people desperate times you've given us wine makes us stagger, so powerful Old Testament image find it again and again Psalms and also in the profits defined in Psalm 75 for example, and always has to do with the Lord pouring out his wrath goes like this in the hand of the notice a cup full of foaming wine mixed with spices. He pours it out on the wicked of the earth break it down to the very directors that's the way that image is often used to find it. Also, as I said in the profits Isaiah Jeremiah 1 example, Isaiah 5117 awake, awake, wise, upper Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the Lord, the cup of his wrath. You have drained to the dregs the goblet that makes men's bag.

That's the same kind of language you have here in the Psalms says that we would phrase it this way that this attack by the Edomites left the people staggering. They were absolutely reeling from the attack.

And yet when you read this first stanza, the worst thing about this defeat. As David describes it does not that it was as instructive as an earthquake or representative of what you think of when you think of drunkenness, but rather that it was because the Lord was angry with his people.

That's what verse one says and that's something that's really on his mind.

David says you have rejected us of God and burst forth upon us. You have been angry and he's praying now for God to restore the people, doesn't mean that God was angry with everyone necessarily a reason to think he was angry with David you go back to the historical account of the Old Testament and it said the Lord was pleased with David and he gave them victories everywhere he went so this period of his life.

David was very close to the Lord, the Lord was not punishing David he doesn't even seem to have been angry with all the people who were left at home because look at first this is talking about some of the people who remained for those who fear you raise the banner to be unfurled against the ball so there were people were godly and pious and David said you protected them. You raise the banner on their behalf. But you see some of the people I displease God, and he was angry against them, and because of that, the defeat came we think of another Old Testament example when the Jewish forces were invading Canaan for the first time and were defeated at the Battle of AI after the battle of Jericho. It was because of one man, Aiken would disobey the Lord and taking things from the battle of Jericho that were to be dedicated to the Lord.

I had a defeat that was rectified now that is very easy to apply. We expect victories for the church, but we have to remember that the church is often defeated because of the sin of one or a few churches have been destroyed because of the few factious people within the church. They get into a fight and they won't ever let nothing drop and pretty soon the whole church split apart over that loses it. Think of many examples that is one of the great tragedies. Sometimes I have to deal with people in that situation. Mostly the pastors that are involving cause I'm a pastor and I have more of an entrée to them that I do to the elders of the people in the congregation. I do whatever I can sustain the ministry because it's really unfortunate if that kind of thing is allowed to happen to get adults with denominations to that is, groups of churches.

George Bonnie's baby, drawn aside because of the sin of the failure of the few, and that was happening here.

But what should we do when that's happening.

Sometimes you can correct it can correct that you should correct it and other times you can't do what you should always do is let those people did in verse four, you rally around the banner. I guess the question then that is our banner is the gospel. That's what we rally around or maybe lots of things that we find it hard cooperating on different ideas of what a ministry should be. Certainly personality differences which are difficult to see of what our concern really is the gospel that is good news of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ to save us from our sins and we understand that that's what we're conveying to the world showing something of the compassion of Jesus Christ.

While in Christian can rally around that say in some of these worst things can be overcome. People who do that show that they actually fear God and God will defend you know in this text, you find a little seal there in the margin. At that point never quite sure what that seal means with the general wisdom of the commentators is that it probably means pause at this point, stop and consider that's a good point to pause and consider rallying around the banner. Those who fear God, second section of this second stanza contains an appeal to God to help people who have been attacked by the Edomites and it's followed very closely by God's answer is a matter of fact, the answer follows so closely upon the PO that when you read the appeal. You have to understand that is already out in faith. David's asking God to speak and help and save them right after that God is speaking so we know that he believes in God's going to do it in the course God did.

Now God's answer is in verses 6 to 8 and you notice that that's even quoted.

Beginning with the words in triumph. I will partial out Shechem. There two different ways verses 6 to 8 may be understood says the beginning of that first got is spoken from his sanctuary. The sanctuary usually refers to the place where they are of the covenant was located not later in history. After the temple was built. That was the temple area, especially the holy place of the stage that was in the temple about was the tabernacle. Probably the wilderness Tabernacle brought up to Jerusalem after David conquered it and that's what it's referring to Lynn this may be something like from God that came to David by the mouth of Nathan or one of the other prophets and is probably wise quoted way it is in our Bible which is if the prophet had this message and the message was conveyed to David. This is what God says in triumph.

I will partial out Shechem and so on. Now that maybe one way of understanding it and that's the case it's very important.

It was explained by the way, why we find exactly those verses that is verses six and following repeated in another Psalm Psalm 108 forms the latter half of Anselm versus 6 to 13 might mean you say that that Oracle from God was written down conveyed to David. David used in his Psalm, but it also was there in its own right and so was picked up by another writer later incorporated into another song I would explain that's the explanation but it could be. That's one way of looking at it the other way is this, if you look at those place names Shechem and Salk of Gilead, Manasseh don't seem to be the names that you would expect if this were a revelation given. First of all, and David's time. Remember, neither settled in the land conquest is over the tribal allocations subordinate, you would expect, probably a reference to the tribal areas and course it does mention Ephraim and Judah, but there were other tribes as well. And, wonder why doesn't mention those doubts that causes you to look at these names a little more closely. And when you do you find that they actually come from an early.

In Israel's history and more or less a review of the way in which the lien actually came in the hands of the Jewish people. Let me explain Shechem the first place it's mentioned was where Jacob settled after his return to Canaan from Panama) where he lived for 20 years with his uncle Laban and suck both which is next. Place mentioned was where he stayed immediately before that so those two names are associated with the life of Jacob and his return to Israel and Otto I am and now we return. You have the beginning of a permanent settlement there in the land Gilead and Manasseh represent larger areas of the eastern side of the Jordan River and they were occupied by Israel at the time of the conquest. Ephraim and Judah represent the most prominent tribes to the West now if you think of the historical association with those names.

It may be that the occurrence of the names, particularly in the order that we have them is meant to remind us of that early history of the. And in that case, it's not the David was given a specific Oracle from God came to him from Nathan the prophet, but rather, this is a reference to the promises that have been given to the people along the way of saying God is always promised us the landing given the skillet piece by piece. This was the way he's given it to us, and because he gave it to us. God is going to preserve us. We can trust in any case where there's a special revelation on this occasion or whether it's something building on the past word of God. The David trusted God's God said he was giving them land that would give them victory over their enemies, he trusted what God said he sent Joab even with a person of this force to attack the enemy and the expected Joab to win.

Of course, Joanne did I because of something about faith.

Biblical faith is always founded upon the word of God and faith is not optimism. People talk about in this, if that's what it is just always expecting the very best biblical faith is not a positive mental attitude kind of thing you try to work out of your salesman I going to do even better today than I did yesterday to go out the door, ready to do better today than you did yesterday is not that of all biblical faith is believing the word of God and acting on it.

That is exactly what David did believe the word of God and acted on it and raises the question actually. Do we really believe word of God and act upon it.

We got home I believe and act upon the think of it, just in terms of the banner of the gospel delete believe that God is establishing a battle of the gospel that is raised by his people come to it if we did we would raise the banner high. We would do that. Expect God to bless and bring people to know him and become the faith. People believe that one entire cities to Christ. Livingston believe anyone on the continent of Africa.

You see, that's a challenge to our faith and become the very last stanza, and there are several lessons to be drawn. At least that's the way I understand his final versus may begin by asking this question when was Psalm 60 written precisely say we know from second Samuel H that David eventually joined Joab and Edom, and together they conducted that campaign so the David eventually took even the strongholds of Edom were in this hidden mountainous country and were inaccessible, humanly speaking, and yet in the Psalm is praying that God will do it. That's what the final stanza, said he was going to lead me to the fortified city lead me to eat only God will do that. So the verse is written before the actual conquest to get after the defeat set somewhere in the middle there is where David writes that after he had heard of the feet after he had dispatched the lab to the battle but before the final victory. So you ask yourself the question what's in his mind this time. What's he thinking about what kind of lessons as a bargaining. Let me suggest that if we read these last verses carefully.

There were two of the first lesson is this number one.

Only God can give the victory is a you get that enough say that in so many words, and that's what he saying only God can give the victory that reference to the fortified city names. What is the fortified city. Well, it could be any fortified city you're talking about Edom, the great fortified city of Edom was petro teacher was law and not a high mountain fortress. You can only approach it by 2 mile passage through the mountains called to seek Sica lateral Valley where limestone rock rises at each side. The heights of several thousand feet didn't wear it so narrow and places and only two horses can pass her breasts. I had the privilege of getting into Edom and petro years ago I rode in on a roll crazy course open ever see that little horse, ever, ever again. The passage was harder because of the horse and it would've been walking for many write only about two horses to go in there side-by-side. People say that a been there and I would certainly say the same thing like half a thousand men to defend each against the battalion because he couldn't fight except that narrow the sink that we no other way to get in and do that. So when David said to bring me to the fortified city was the lead me in the dancers perfectly obvious. No human being is going to be able to help me conquer Edom as impregnable, humanly speaking of them ever gonna do it. It's going to be because God only God could get the victory like that. And David knew it. There's a second thing on only can only God give the victory of God's going to give the victory one must ask for. That's second lesson you have passport and so David did, because it in because he trusted God speaks great faith the end of the Psalm segments exactly what God is going to do with God, we will gain the victory and he will trample down our enemies. One of the writers says the Psalm closes on a strong note of confidence which was engendered by the promises of God which were grasping faith is a good summary Psalm 60 if you summarize these things write it down. A strong note of confidence engendered by the promises of God which are grasped by faith. Let me end this way you and I are not kings. As David was locked in this kind of military sense.

We don't fight literary battles and we never seem to me to my all the promises in the Bible for victory over Edomites did not directly apply to you and may not.

You and I are engaged in a great spiritual battle apostle Paul writes about it in Ephesians, he says our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms compared to the conquest of these spiritual forces the battle against petro and the Edomites was a piece of cake. Even though humanly speaking, it was impossible.

Our battle is a spiritual battle and the forces of Satan are very very powerful and you say to yourself, who can ever win that battle. The answer is certainly not you certainly not me and we getting together and even if we marshal all of the resources available Christendom by ourselves we cannot do it we can do it in the power of God say in the Bible speaks again and again at the defeat of Satan. Satan is a defeated foe is overthrown. He is very powerful is destined under destruction and what will conquer. According to the teaching of Scripture is the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.

What should we do well we should recognize that we need God to win the victory at number two.

We should ask God to give us victory. We do that we really ask God to do what I think we did. We ask God to give us the victory, and we believe that God would give us the victory we would be far more aggressive in advancing the kingdom of God that you and I usually are to give you a final reminder again from the Old Testament to remember in the book of Daniel how Nebuchadnezzar the great king of Babylon had that vision of the statue statue had I had a golden shoulders and arms of silver proportions, brass, and finally the legs and the feet of iron and it represented all these great succeeding kingdoms of the world. Nebuchadnezzar himself was a golden head that I become another glorious kingdom that is glorious but stronger just as silver is stronger than gold that was the Empire of the Greeks under Alexander. After that it was the bongs and then was the iron yarn finally represents Rome. Remember how that great vision ends tells us that in the vision what Nebuchadnezzar Salazar walked out of the mountains not made with hands that came rolling down the suspect defeat the statue so attended over grounded to bits. It became dusted blue across the heavens and that rock not made with hands, grew up to become a great mountain and filled the whole earth. You know the meaning of that rock is Jesus Christ in the mountains's kingdom that is God's prognosis for human history we look at these great kingdoms all around us and resell all how glorious they are.

We look at the iron getting them lose their house long it is that it does seem that way human beings is not the kingdoms of this world are destined triumphant. It's the kingdom of Jesus Christ. You and I believe that that's the banner around which we must rally hold in high shovel out Jesus, 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.

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