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God Who Saves: Part 1

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
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December 14, 2021 7:00 am

God Who Saves: Part 1

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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December 14, 2021 7:00 am

Our God scatters His enemies but He cares for the weak and abandoned: the fatherless, the widow and the lonely. We’re studying part one of Psalm 68 today on The Bible Study Hour with Dr. James Boice. While God’s enemies flee before Him, the righteous will be glad and rejoice and the helpless will be comforted.

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Psalm 68 traces God's victory march from Egypt to Mount Zion and his entrance into Jerusalem the holy city Mount Zion may be small compared to the mountains of the Sean to the north, but it's the mountain, on which the Lord chooses to dwell forever. In Psalm 68 will begin to see a wonderful picture of God's might and power and a source of comfort for his people are welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act likely the sovereign Lord delights in showing his might and splendor to his people, but he also delights in using something insignificant for his glory. Whether it be a small foothill for his city or a common man for his purpose. Grab your Bible and turn to Psalm 68 as we gaze upon our victorious Lord.

Psalm 68 is a song of military triumph goods been valued as such. Historically best example of a ladder of a friend should know Henry of Navarre was there great champion in the early days, and on one occasion he and his armies were confined in the fortified town of deep they were threatened with destruction by the armies of the Catholic league under the Duke of Magan fog rolled in it.

Henry's artillery from taking aim on the enemy reinforcements and bought column soldiers courage had weakened under the overwhelming strength of the enemy and the king said, listen to Saul and his time and so they began to sing Psalm 68 to the words of Landor Beja. One of the great reformers went like this, could you monstrous all along they own that slowed down amount on that I left class, days on MAS bar a say is a noted apocryphal read along soft class would not rally you raise your courage like you want to resist the enemy. That's what happened. At any rate, pressing forward to the Sam sound.

The men of the first through royalist arms lays the enemy fog cleared Henry's cam and began to take aim upon the enemy and the leg was scattered year was 1589.

16 years later, in 1573 the Protestant stronghold of Rochelle was likewise under royalist attacked four times the battle lines advanced four times they were forced back each time the defenders raised their arms to the tune of that magnificent small. May God arrives by his enemies be scattered by his foes flee before the siege was raised or shall we say was another occasion when it was used that this seizure motive. On August 1621 seizure drag on for a long time. Everybody was wondering how it would turn out one night, one of the soldiers was marching under the town's battlements, and he played to the well known to Psalm 68 was a signal to those inside the procedures going to be left which it was the next day so I town was delivered in those armies want just a Hugo knows who love Islam. It was loved by Charlemagne rate Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire by Oliver Cromwell 1168 Sam 1812. We know that because it was a time of the defeat of Pulliam's armies of Moscow and their disastrous retreat. After the armies and had to leave the city. They held a service of commemoration in the Metropolitan of the city, preached in the first verse of the song, let God arise and let his enemies be scattered well. You can understand when you study it, why it meant so much to people under those conditions. I said when we were studying last Psalm 67. Very little is been written about it. It's almost been neglected is not true. Psalm 68.

Quite the opposite is the case here, a great deal has been written about Psalm 68, partially because a lot of verses in it that are hard to understand one of the reasons why there are so many verses are hard to understand is that there are a lot of words in the Psalm that don't occur anywhere else on her to find out what the word means you have to see it in its context, and we don't have other examples of some extensor, some guessing going on here as to exactly what the words mean attenuated, has provoked a great deal of material.

The Scripture is easy to understand or 10 stanzas and that's exactly the way the new international version breaks the mop going to look at five of them in this five in the next story I can look at it another way that Sam begins with a prologue occupies the first six verses ends with an epilogue, verses 32 to 35 and in between, there's a great section that is itself divided into two main parts first part that looks to the past what God is done in the past on behalf of his people and then second half the deals with the present looks toward the future. One of the commentators, Derek Kidner says this flanked by the Boolean prologue and epilogue. The two main parts of the Psalm celebrate.

First, God's victorious march from Egypt with its culmination of Jerusalem and then secondly the power and majesty of his reign seen in the ascendancy of his people and the flow of worshipers and vassals to his footstool. One feature of the Psalm is that it abounds in names for God interesting to study it that way for our five main works for God. Very common explicit pharmacy all laugh your Elohim, L Lord Jehovah shot. I others are in the form of descriptive words or phrases things like this. He who rides in the clouds father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, one of Sinai God our Savior. The sovereign Lord my God and King, and he who rides the ancient skies above funders with a mighty voice. Each of these 10 stanzas tells us something unique about God and it would be interesting to study the Saul that way. What does stencil one tell us about God. What does stanza to tell us about God and so on. Has a majestic sweet through the history of God's doings and not respect Islam is perhaps unparalleled by any other in the solar event for which it was specifically written. It is probably the occasion of the bringing of the ark up to Jerusalem and the time of King David.

There are parts of the Saul that suggested it was written later and mention all that is been written about it and ardently among all that great collection of writings or many people who were arguing for all kinds of dates for the Saul, but you look at that title, and it does say it's by David and when you look at the historical events in it that can be identified. They seem to lead up to but they don't go beyond the time of David, so there may be phrases that suggest something later they may well of an addict later in order to broaden the Psalm for its use of the later tradition in the history of the liturgy of Israel.

But it seems to me that you Really better than the site. While this was probably something that dates from David's time of the statement's name is attached to it now.

Just as the opening half of this Psalm or perhaps the opening phrase is a long history that extends throughout the history of Europe and the wars of religion in France and even beyond services first half of the Psalm of a long history. Looking back, what it does is go back to that time of Sinai. When the people were gathered around the mountain and the proceeds from that point up to the entrance of the ark. Presumably that symbolizes the presence of God in the holy city of Jerusalem.

Now the setting seems to begin at Sinai, because this is the way the Psalm actually begins was words that you see there make God arise by his enemies be scattered seem to go back to that time when Israel after it had been camped around the mountain finally set out on the march through the desert on the way to Canaan.

You know what it happened to live in those months that they were camped at Sinai got a given them along the mountain and then he also give them instructions for building the tabernacle and all of the furniture that was to be found in the tabernacle central piece of furniture was the ark of the covenant contained a clock which had cherubim images of angels and over that art between the wings of the cherubim God was supposed to dwell in a symbolic sense that we look at the very heart of his people.

What it was meant to teach. Shall God bless that interpretation because when the tabernacle was dedicated were told that this great cloud of the Shekinah glory that symbolizes the splendor and the grandeur and the protecting influence of God came and descended upon the ark. So while the people were encamped there at Sinai, they had this visible manifestation of the presence of God. I what happened when they are ready to set out we read about it in the these early books of the book of numbers. Moses said this, I'm quoting for members rise up in the Lord, may your enemies be scattered your foes flee before you as that happened the cloud raised up from the tabernacle it moved ahead for the people and they followed and it says whenever it came to rest is in the cloud stopped and the people were supposed to encamp waiting for the other march was a said return.

Oh Lord of the countless thousands of Israel.

How much the membrane is preserved in the first stanza of the song. People are looking back to those great days as a change here.

However, in Psalm 68 the prayer Moses uttered arise. Oh Lord is turned into a declaration of remembrance. Literally God has a reason the new international version recognizes that that's also anticipating the movement of God and so they translated may God arise, but it's looking back to that event.

Look at it. Two things are said about God in the prologue for six verses first that he scattered his enemies through the wicked and secondly that he cares for the week and the abandoned so that prologue has two stanzas to let them first, the destruction of the scattering of the enemies is found in verses one to and then God's protection of the week are the disadvantages described in verses five and six.

This is talking about his character so wonderful character and after it's described well that people righteous are called upon the appraiser is what they do in verse three in verse six is a fact about God that is known to God's people. Lungs were close to that God is the one who protects the week and he takes an interest those who have nobody else to take an interest in recall that the Virgin Mary when she was told about the child that would be conceived in her womb, and when she went to visit her cousin Elizabeth shortly after the beginning of her pregnancy said when she got there. Those words of the Magnificat that recognize exactly that God has performed mighty deeds with his army and scattered those who were proud and their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones is lifted up a humble and is filled the hungry with good things is exactly the flow of thought that you have at the beginning of the Saul God is God and scatters the wicked, and is a God Up humble that's Argonaut. That's why the righteous praise and is why we are to praise him as well. Now the words that begin the third stanza, verses 7 to 10, which is the first stanza of the main body of the Psalm pick up from prologue because the prologue is slicking back to those days recorded in numbers when Moses set arise of God lead us forth. That's what God did. This begins to describe what happened when God led them forth now is a jumble of images share sort of compacted in a poetic way, is a shaking of the earth that was associated with the theophany at Mount Sinai. Her brain wraps arraignment defeated Sisera read about it in the song of Deborah in the book of Judges and then talks about showers of blessing, which are God's provision for the poor. This image showers of blessing reminds us of Psalm 65 that we were starting to reply some of these things together. Now you will for my stanza of the fourth stanza, and here it is directed toward the conquest of Canaan say they been led from Sinai that led through the wilderness. Now they come in to Canaan again.

There is a fast-moving pattern of images or kings and armies fleeing verses 12 and 14. There is a picture of the Jewish armies dividing the plunder in verse 12 Thursday ease of the conquest, which is Psalm assess like snow falling gently on the land in verse 14 verse 13 is the first of a number of these verses that are really puzzling. We have to say. At least I have to say I don't really know what it means thoughts about the wings of God's dog being sheathed with silver world was that and then it speaks of this happening while you sleep. Among the campfires while I read commentaries I got dozens of explanations of what that might be. But the fact that there are dozens simply shows that nobody really know and I don't really know doesn't mean it didn't mean anything certainly meant something to the people of its day doesn't mean we will never understand that someday we may, for the moment we have to save the verse we just don't quite understand verse 11 is interesting. It's taken on importance in the church far beyond its original meaning and the smallness is that person says the Lord announced the word and great was the company of those who proclaimed it on its original setting. If you try to read it in the context of the Psalm seems to be a noted victory taken with the verses in, afterwards it seems to say God said you're going to be victorious.

If you do so, and so we know that that one happened. He told what to do when they were conquering Jericho and the walls fell down and told about the conduct battle against AI and so on and it says God gave the word and then they proclaimed and they said this is what we should do it so they didn't so it seems to mean in the original setting of the Saul bought in the church is taken on a different kind of meaning, because when we talk about proclaiming the word in the church less to do with the gospel, and many people pick that up and said God made the gospel alone is revealed to us in Jesus Christ great is the company of those who have proclaimed that throughout the world. As you might expect. Spurgeon had a great deal to say about Spurgeon was one of those who proclaimed it widely and so he read his treasury of David what he has to say about the Psalm you find a lot of very interesting references. He refers to an underwriter's name is William Bridge and he makes a great deal of the fact that the word company company of those who proclaimed it is actually the word host refers to an army and he says what that really is talking about is an army of preachers being great is what this man says an army of preachers is a great matter as it's a great matter to have seven or eight good preachers and a great army. But I will army of preachers while it's glorious Spurgeon, like that he wished were great army in his day because another man, William strong said the Lord did give his word at his ascension, and there were a multitude of them that published in a by this means kings of armies were put to flight. They conquered by the word somebody who like handling it that way is what Spurgeon himself said all for the like to see all in the church today when the gospel is published both men and women might eagerly spread that glad tidings of great joy problem today is that that zeal doesn't seem to exist where is as great army of people who heard the word of the gospel and are so anxious to tell other people about it. I don't see it much. At least I don't see it in the Western world. I don't see it in the United States.

Preachers on preachers or puppeteers. A lot of them are performing about teaching the word of God very well.

Besides, it shouldn't be limited to them.

When you talk about an army of those who proclaim the work people of God in the early days of the church. They were so thrilled with the gospel everywhere talking about Jesus Christ and the world was evangelize the world about day within a very short time. I don't see that today we should be praying that God will begin a new work of reforming grace in our time by raising up such a multitude of proclaimers on the picture of snow falling gently on Mount Solomon in verse 14 leads naturally to a description of these high, rugged mountains of Bashan at the start of stanza five.

Peaks of Mount Herman on the northern fringe of that particular range about 9000 feet above sea level.

So that's pretty high mountain range.

By contrast, Zion, which David choses the location of his capital city where the ark eventually came to rest in his day is only about 600 feet above the surrounding plane so if you compare that to the majestic mountains of the mountains.

Herman and Bashan and blindness, but Lily Linda foothill by poetic inversion. Solomon says these great big high mountains that looking in the upon Mount Zion and the reason they should do that is God's chosen to dwell on Mount Zion. Well that's important because what that really says is a God delights to choose small things.

That's one of the great principles of the word of God. You can trace it in book after book Old Testament and New Testament. Wherever you go. God doesn't impress with greatness the way we think of greatness in all things that seem to be important in the eyes of the world. People were powerful and talented and wealthy. All of that sort of thing on his and impressed by that because God's power and wealth and greatness succeeds. It is infinity exceed some small little thing what God delights to do is reach down and touch something that is insignificant and use it to his glory. We saw at the beginning and is what we saw when we referred to Mary in the Magnificat.

She said yes. That's what our God is like our God is a God and who's down and help slowly and is what we see as well. You put it in first Corinthians is writing to a church. It kinda got big ideas about itself file important. They were so wants to take them down a peg and he says look around to see what you are like many wealthy people in your congregation. Not many noble people in your country and many philosophers your congregation is God pick people like you in order that he might bring glory to himself or his way says it brothers. Think of what you were when you were called by many of you were wise by human standards, not many were influential, not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise God chose the weak things of the world to shame strongly chose the lowly things of the world and the despised ingest even the things that are not to never find the things that are so that no one can boast before him because of him that you are in Christ Jesus would become for us wisdom from God.

That is our righteousness or holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it's written in him who boasts boast in the Lord means that if you think you yourself a somebody great. You need to be humbled in order that God might use you and also if you're thinking of yourself as someone small you shouldn't be discouraged all in this world. Most people think of themselves as quite small and insignificant as people have low self images that way it's not a bad thing if they yield that over to Jesus Christ because that's the kind of people you work with David and Saul came from a humble background. He was the youngest son in a rather obscure farming family and the landing certainly wasn't from an influential noble family, but God lifted amount because of God's man used them is greatly that's all we need.

People are willing to do just that, in order that the glory might go to God now. Stanza five is the high point of the Psalm and the climax of the Psalms 1st half, which it seems to be because it's the longest of the census away calling attention to within verse 17 is certainly the climax of the climax Sheriff's daughter tens of thousands and thousands of thousands of orders come from Sinai and was sanctuary see if this is describing the progression of God leading his people from Sinai through the wilderness to all that historical period of the conquest of the judges of the time of the kings, and finally David and the ascension of the olive art into Jerusalem and that's the climax that selects how about this language is exalted language Lord is coming with tens of thousands of chariots probably refers to the angels chariots about the kind of things that God opened the eyes of the servant of Elisha to see hills filled with chariots of fire round about Elisha is probably referring to that, but in any case, it's a way of saying that all this was not accomplished by merely human me. David is writing this all me saying we didn't get to this point because armies were so superior and we didn't get to conquest of Mount Zion because I'm a brilliant general, they would say no is because God is gone before us and when we thought that the armies of God were fighting on our side. That's why accomplished. So when he looks back he does exactly what we should do when we look back. He gives all the glory to God. One interesting thing here and that is the use of verse 18 by Paul in the New Testament.

Let me read what it says here verse 18 when you ascended on high, you lead captives in your train you receive gifts from men even from the rebellious that you are God might dwell there, subversive topics often letter to the Ephesians and he uses it in connection with Jesus Christ and his ascension when he says there when he ascended on high, the lead captives in his trade and gave gifts to men. Now it's not at all surprising that the apostle Paul to take a verse like that of the Old Testament and the plight Jesus Christ does that all the time and it simply a way of saying that the Old Testament is fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

Problem with that.

Even if you're using a figure from the Old Testament. Ultimately that's fulfilled in Jesus Christ is what he say the problem is this is what's puzzling in the Psalm, God is described as receiving gifts for men, even the rebellious as he is conquered only have to bring gifts. And in Ephesians, Paul describes Jesus as dispensing gifts to man that seems to be a warm use of the bar released an unjustified modification of the Old Testament text now. Some commentators have suggested that is exactly what Paul that he simply took that Old Testament verse and used it for his own ends is made. Say what he wanted to say. I guess in some extent it's possible to do that because we naturally pick up language that we have in our heads because of some context in which we hope to use it in a different way would be anything wrong with that. But Paul isn't doing that he's clearing the Old Testament. He says I'm just as it's written so we know it's referring to the Psalm and then when he does it actually changes so is he doing here is playing fast and loose with Scripture, while her various suggestions. One suggestion has to do with the nature of the image itself. When the king is victorious and enters into his capital city both receives and gives gifts, and giving gifts to do in the kingdom's greatness gives gifts to other people so two things certainly happen on the image solution may also be in the fact that the Hebrew word translated received also be rendered brought so it could mean he brought gifts for man and it's interesting that two of the ancient versions Aramaic in the Syriac version actually translate Hebrew word is gave so whatever Paul was intending Ephesians, he certainly was. Depending on an ancient manuscript tradition was inventing a new idea point of course is that what is so beautifully described in the Psalm that is the entrance of God into his holy city, symbolized by the entrance of the art is completed in Jesus Christ. And so what Paul is doing and what we need to do when we come to assault like that intend to because he's justified it by the way, he is not. It is the safe. Ultimately, all of this is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, we look back to it.

We say God was great and strong and magnificent in the way he led the Jews from Sinai into their own land he promised to do it and he did it and he drove out there enemies but we look at that and we say that's only a small thing compared to what Jesus Christ because Jesus Christ is gathered up his people and these led them out of bondage and is brought them into the glorious kingdom which is his church and within the kingdom, the Lord Jesus Christ reigns as King and he dispenses gifts for men and women to gives gifts to those in his church.

While conclusions from lack Jesus gives gifts to those in his church in your instructions given gifts to you. Are you using them doesn't give gifts to no purpose is not aimless of what he does has a purpose in all things he wants you to use that gift second conclusion I suppose is if he is giving you a gift. Are you thankful for, say, or Jesus Christ you really are a gracious, loving, sovereign, the kings of the world are not like that. The kings of the world to pay attention to small people like me.

I only one important people around the people of influence and power and wealth and that sort of thing that you stoop down to bless me praise and prevent then the we acknowledge him as King. King over our lives. Every single thing that we do, how we think how we pay, how we use our time. What we do at work. What we do or not at work.

What we doing church really is time here. Well, if Jesus really is the king is a glorious King and if we look back and say well yes he saved me from my sin by his death upon the cross, then it has a present consequence of the must be acknowledged as King of Vegas can even now that is true well and we rejoice exactly the way David does and the Psalm will recite praise be to God. Praise be to Jesus arcing on side of prayer. Father, we are thankful for this teaching for what it means in its context but also what it means is we apply it to Jesus Christ, who has one these great victories on our behalf.

Spiritual victories probably give us grace to understand, appreciate what is Don beloved informant to be obedient and follow him as king more truly is and appraise them before the eyes of a watching world 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 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.

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