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January 24, 2022 7:00 am
Psalms appeal to us, in part because of their honesty. One example is the way they acknowledge the success of the wicked. All too often evil really does triumph over and boasts about its suppression of the week helpless and sometimes even the righteous are welcome to the Bible study the radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically. The problem is not that we serve in unjust God that his justice is sometimes delayed from our perspective and then succumb to thinking that the Lord isn't aware of the actions of the ungodly. Let's join Dr. Boyce as he shows us from Psalm 94 that it's okay for the righteous to call on the Lord to avenge their enemies, and that in the end God's judgment and justice will prevail.
Psalms always appealed to the people of God, and for a variety of reasons, but one reason I feel so much is that they're so honest. As I tell things as they are not always completely. Of course, because we don't always see things completely ourselves but they tell part of the truth and then that partial truth is often balanced with another that we also need to hear one of the things Psalm speaks so honestly about is the triumph of the wicked psalmist look out at the world and they say, in effect, this is not a just world. Evil triumph and not only that, they boast about it and they do it. In addition, sometimes over the godly. It's never the entire truth of courses I sent is true that they try but it's only for a time. It is also true judgment, spot from anyone point in history and one individuals experience when we look out. That is certainly the way it seems to be less what Psalm 94 is all about Psalm that is looking out at the evil of the world, particularly the triumph of evil people over those who are weak and godly and it calls upon God to do something nonhourly to react to that one thing is that we shouldn't be surprised. CH Spurgeon has great sermon on the song in which he says right at the beginning, ungodly godly righteous surprise of this because as of the way it's always been world persecutes those who are God's people, and then he gave examples that would be lively to the people of his day, spoke about the Covenanters is the Scottish Covenanters that wanted to live as I saw, I obedience to the word of God in the strict sense and were literally hunted down because of their stand for godliness and he says it's always been that way you shouldn't expect it to be different extra shouldn't be surprised when evil triumphs because it's been that way and get that is all we should do either. We shouldn't be satisfied to see it that way and what we should do is call out to the Lord to intervene and give victory for those were really trying to serve him I was.
I said that's what the psalmist doing.
I pointed out when we were trying about the last song on that even the one before that that we have entered a block of Psalms now seem to focus upon the rule of God is King's characteristic of the Psalms that the words you are Latin electric car was Hebrew name for God, the great covenant name for God and then Malik means King arrangement so there are either translated Jehovah's King or translated the Lord range search both the same idea. Now the Psalm 94 is not to be an interruption in that because the words don't actually occur here yet. That's probably not the case at the Psalm does do is describe God's function as a judge when we remember that in the ancient world. They rule of the king and the exercise of judgment was often the same thing, the highest Court of Appeal legally was the king. The king also ruled that his rule was supposed to be an expression of his justice. Although the word stone occurrences probably installments to be taken along with a block of Psalms that we are considering transfers.
The outline goes is very easy times. It's hard to find out lines in the Psalms, but this is not difficult. The new international version divides it uprightly. It's got six stanzas. The only question I would raise some of the commentators do also is whether verse three really belongs with the first stanza, rather belongs with the stanza of it follows that, is whether verses one and two should stand alone was the call to God and men, verses three through seven talk about the wicked. I think probably three should along with the second stanza, but it doesn't make any real difference in the interpretation of the Psalm. What we need to do is simply take it a stanza at a time. Now verses one and two are calling on God to rise up in judgment against the godless. That's what we must do as well as eyesight were not surprised when evil seems to triumph for a time but were not to be complacent either Richter asked God to do something and that is exactly what is taking place here that cry that is raised is not that doubts that God is somehow unjust or maybe the suspicion that he has taken up with those who do evil so the question about all the problem is a justice often seems so long delay and so that's what the psalmist assignment same godly know the evils out there. We know you don't have anything to do with that is been going on a long long time and it's time something happens and so they call that way and it bothers some people about these first two verses is that they use the word vengeance leads people to like the idea of vengeance. Somehow that seems wrong, how they read over Lord God who avenges God who avenges shine forth rise up judge of the earth pay back to the proud what they deserve.
While some people don't like that I think it's unworthy of God and yet it's not psalmist knows that the problem people like this happens that they mingled to ideas that mix up the idea of vengeance which properly belongs to the judge in this case the king it was God and were then is what you and I often fall into because of our own emotional involvement with the issues but which is not a function of the judge and is improper.
Samuel Johnson, the maker of the first great English dictionary to find it properly.
He said revenge is an act of passion, vengeance of justice, injuries or revenge crimes are all vanished. We put it in other words, revenge is a response to personal injury.
While vengeance is a function of legitimate give you a text from Paul's writings that shows how the steward should be used. Romans 12 verses 18 and 19, and that quotes Deuteronomy 32.
Here's what Paul wrote as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written, it is mine to avenge, I will repay, says the Lord.
Vengeance is a proper function of God as judge. It's a way of saying evil must be punished.
Revenge is something that we ourselves should not do now. The psalmist is looking for God to do something and not only is he looking for God to do something as I've been suggesting here you and I should be looking for God to do something to that is quite a different thing from taking vengeance into our own hands. John Milton, the great poet. On one occasion in his time heard about the massacre of entire Protestant families in Piedmont area of northern Italy and the Alps families were rooted out. Women were violated. Even the infants were killed and so forth. It was a great outrage when he wrote a song about it. Based upon the Psalm and Milton's first began.
Then, show Lord buying slaughtered sanctions bones lie scattered on the alpine mountains called suggesting that's a proper prayer, proper request of one who really does desire righteousness but we sing it ourselves. We have a human is based upon this law. Psalm 94 and the first stanza of it goes.
Oh Lord, I would judge of all the earth, to whom all vengeance stuff belong rise and show thy glorious fourth.
Quite the proud and damn the wrong when we sing a hymn like that. It's a way of confessing that we stand on the side of God taking these things in our own hands.
Since God's business to dispense justice but nevertheless we stand on the side of justice, and so we look to God to do just that. Now in verse three belongs with the second stanza, as I believe it does. The problem that's disturbing the psalmist is the jubilant boasting of the arrogant don't believe that God sees what they're doing is look at that song see what they're saying what their ungodly are doing is suppressing the week and finds the specifically as the widow, the alienable fatherless. These are hopeless people in an ancient society and sometimes also the day that widow has no husband to provide for the alien has limited rights of a foreign country, and of course the orphan has no father actually become the prey of the arrogant and not only the arrogant take advantage of the week. According to the stanza very proud to be able to do it. They boast about it and as far as God is concerned may say what God apparently doesn't see because when I do these things. Nothing ever happens to me and so they think that God really doesn't care. Notice the Lord does not see the God of Jacob is no heat, and the point is that it's true. Often, at least in the short run, we will do get away with things like that and it doesn't seem as if God sees and does anything ever feel like that you receive situations like that of course you know it's an unjust evil world, and so the psalmist recognizes that same time, he appeals to God, the third stance in the third stanza he begins to warn these arrogant oppressors of the world and he calls them fools were thinking way they do when he warns them is by a series of rhetorical questions that make us think of how Amos the minor prophet did exactly the same thing in his prophecy he was arguing. Therefore, cause-and-effect, and Amos raises questions like this. The two walk together, unless they have agreed to do so doesn't lie in war in the thicket when he sees no pride when disaster comes to a city is not the Lord caused it.
The way the questions are used.
That is exactly what the psalmist is here notice is he who implanted the ear, not here to see you form the eye see to see who disciplines nations not punish you teachers man black knowledge.
The bottom line of this series of rhetorical questions is what you find in verse 11. The Lord knows the thoughts of man and other works of art is omniscient. Everything is the thoughts of our minds, and he knows the thoughts of others. As we stood no all things and be on the ship is going to be gone so anyone who thinks that he's getting away with something, is exactly what the psalmist calls him. He is a fool, and perhaps the greatest of all fools to think that he can hide something from the omniscient God or escape the judgment of him who is all-powerful, the judge of all the earth to write answers yes and he will at the proper time. According to verse 11. Not only does God know the thoughts of man.
He also knows that they are futile. That's not an argument against reason, because the questions that he just raise are meant to stimulate rational spiritual thinking in the minds of the arrogant words what you think about this. Think about what God is like and ask yourself the question that there is a God and if he is omniscient as he must be of use God.
Do you really think you can get away with it trying to stimulate real thinking. So when he says that their thoughts are futile.
He doesn't mean the reason is futile. What he means is acting like this futile acting as if you can get away with it is the most foolish of all things Paul quotes this verse in first Corinthians 320 to prove that the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight is what one of the commentators says there has perhaps never been a more devastating demonstration of the foolish thinking which men occasionally become guilty of me imagine that the Lord is not aware of what they are doing is right is profoundly right, but were often guilty of exactly that kind of thinking and of the rabbis had a way of talking about evil and avoiding it. They said there are three great safeguards to avoiding evildoing set number one to know that there is an ear which hears everything number two that there is an eye which sees everything. Number three that is at hand that writes it all down in the book that's going to be opened up. The last day is pretty good and certainly that's the sort of thing. Psalmist would say well let's go to the next stanza, and assess questions in the meantime while we're waiting for God's judgment of it is delayed. What are the righteous to think psalmist is ask God to rise up and execute justices describe the crimes of the arrogant. She's asking God to avenge his worn them. But now, what about those where the oppressed one about the righteous. How are they to conduct themselves at this point, beginning with verse 12. The song takes on a quieter tone as the writer begins to address these people and what he does is assure them that the evils they endure are hard as it may seem for their benefit. Discipline is what he uses school of faith and that the righteous judgments will certainly be provided by God.
In the end of verse 12 sets the tone because it uses outward discipline. This is not discipline, which is a punishment for sin is that kind of discipline to a child gets out of line and punish the child in order to let it know that there are standards or penalties will live right standards are not upheld. This is not talking about that this is talking about the hardships of life that develop character like Paul does in Romans five suffering produces patience and patience, character, and so forth. That's what it's talking about somebody does your is not talk about the wrong that the godly may have done, but rather he's encouraging them by four promises four things are promised in these verses number one relief from days of trouble in verse 13, but I do have trouble psalmist and pointing out that the struggle is never utterly unmitigated or unrelieved God provides relief from trouble in his time and in any case, we have the promise that is always with us when were going through it. Jesus said the very end of the best-known version of the great commission low.
I am with you always, even under the end of the age.
So there's a great promise. There secondly he promises great and eventual punishment for the wicked. Also in verse 13 not only is God going to provide for the righteous and keep them through difficult times is also going to punish the wicked in due time. In other words it says a pitch is dug for them and are surely going to fall into it elsewhere in the Psalms. It said that the wicked digging pits digging for other people traps try and catch the godly also says in other places in the Psalms. I dig a pit they fall into it themselves and that's what the psalmist is saying here.
The third thing is the steadfast faithfulness of God through all of this and that's was mentioned in verse 14 God will not reject his people or forsake his inheritance may seem to do it at times when deliverance is delayed, but his people are never abandoned in actuality all had that in mind when he wrote to the Romans Romans 828 know that all things God works for the good of those who love him were called according to his purpose. It may not seem good may not be the good that we desire. What comes into our lives governed by a faithful God is strengthening and finally the fourth thing and that is the final triumph of righteousness. This may refer to times of moral and social renewal in Israel. It probably does, or even in some other nation like ours.
We would prefer that break constantly for times of moral renewal, but in the ultimate sense has to refer to the day of the return of Jesus Christ judgments this will be when God Almighty makes the nations his inheritance, the ends of the earth session will be to quote from Philippians when the name of Jesus every knee will bow and things in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of the glory of God the father therefore great promises we on ask a question of the stanza and the question is this where do the righteous learn about these things were looking out of the wicked world learn about that every man would pick up a newspaper is very easy to learn about the evil of the world where you learn about the promises of God which seemed to stand so counter to what we witness in the world with only one answer to that of that's in the Bible, the words we learn those things by studying the Bible and that is what the psalmist was talking about in verse probably mentions God's law. In other words, were sustained by life's troubles in life's troubles by the Bible. So that's where where to go when things become difficult for us. We asked the question at that point is that indeed work we do is that what you do, the author of Psalm 119, wrote the princes sit together and slander. May your servant will meditate on your decrees.
Your statutes are my delight, they are my counselors saying there is that God will provide wonderful counsel for us and strength we desire it and study the Bible.
Now, having assured the righteous of the things that God is going to do for them.
The psalmist adds a word of personal testimony, which is next stanza versus 16 through 19. These words recall that major theme of Psalm 73. Remember psalmist and that Saul massive spoke about his foot slipping when he contemplated the wicked psalmist you're saying almost the same thing when I said my foot is slipping your love the Lord supported me.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul is really interesting about that stanza is that the psalmist says that God was the only one who did this is not that there should not about others. One of the privileges of being a Christian is that there are other Christians who are there to encourage us hold us up. And that's the way it's supposed to work for many things that are said about that actual support of the Bible but the truth is often it doesn't happen. You look around for the kind of help you need person you need really isn't there, that's what the psalmist says you went through this particular difficult time of his life. He looked around there was nobody but there was God. God was always there when Paul was in his last imprisonment.
Remember what he said. He wrote that everyone had deserted him. All those in Asia.
Second Timothy 115 and Dimas remember because he loved this present world selectively for 10/16 versus S indeed at my first offense and no one came to my support but everyone deserted me that what was his testimony. Verse 17 the very next verse says the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength.
Go to do exactly the same thing for you if you feel abandoned by Robbie come to the very last stanza. And here we get back to where we started because his picks up the theme of judgment refers to God is the judge of all the earth. Once again, versus 22, 23, corrupt judgment throne's of this earth cannot be allied with the upright throne of heaven so the psalmist looks for the day when the judge of the earth will rise to destroy the wicked for their sins against the righteous.
So we say the meantime, shall the righteous do. We are living in a wicked world.
What are we to do.
The answer is righteous have to live by their faith in God. That's what he is talking about when he says again in a word of testimony. Verse 22 the Lord has become my fortress, my God, the rock, in whom I take refuge, he runs to God and he trusts God tried to come to this point of the song without thinking of another one of the minor prophets, not Amos, but rather Habakkuk Habakkuk is the prophet who gives this text, which became such an important text Martin Luther and which I referred to indirectly when I said, what shall the righteous do.
They should live by faith. Habakkuk said the just shall live by faith. Second chapter verse four situation is less Habakkuk was living in a time of moral decline and he was praying for revival, probably in his youth. The witness the great revival under Josiah and Zoe wanted to see something like that happen again. And so he prayed, said God, in effect, God once you do something, and God answered and said yes I'm going to do something. What I'm going to do is send the Babylonians overthrow the nation because I'm going to judge people in the back it said just a minute. That is exactly what I was asking for. I was asking for revival in my judgment. Nevertheless, the God judgments going to comment as he began to explain it.
What was coming.
Habakkuk grew so frightened that he describes it, saying my heart pounded my lips quivered to cake up into my bones.
My legs trembled because it was no light matter have urination overthrown by another everybody carried often slavery all the judgment all the tragedy all the misery all the death and he understood the Bronson judgment was coming. It was serious. He was frightened what he do well.
He did what God told him to do said, what shall I do, God said in the meantime, all chapter sayings go judge the Babylonians to in the meantime said to Habakkuk righteous man shall live by faith. So back again and again to explain at the end exactly the way that faith expressed itself in his life.
You know that he endlessly says, though the fig tree does not abide that there are no grapes on the minds of the olive crop fails and the fields produce no fruit. Though there are 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. That's what it is to live by faith in evil times the wicked rejoice in their sin, saying the Lord does not see me with righteous rejoice in God does see will both punish the sin and in his own time reward righteous spray father were thankful for. The song deals in such an honest way as many of the Psalms do with the sin evil in this world not always alert to it as we should be times participate in it and find ourselves doing what is wrong. Over the last evil as they are in is your people we desire that righteousness might prevail, and so we pray as psalmist doesn't rise up in righteousness to bring judgment and reward those who do right.
We also pray in the meantime, help us to live as we should. We are just weak people and we find ourselves.
Oftentimes, just as Habakkuk did with our knees knocking together and her lips quivering in her heart, sometimes failing us for fear or discouragement.
The return to you, and we find that you are the rock, in whom we can take refuge, and we do and so we go on for the praise of the glory of Jesus Christ whose name we pray.
Amen. Thank you for listening to this message from the Bible study our listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance is a coalition of pastors, scholars and churchmen who hold to the historic creeds and confessions of the reformed faith and who proclaim biblical doctrine in order to foster a reformed awakening in today's church. To learn more about the alliance visit alliance net.org and while you're there, visit our online store reformed resources. You can find messages and books from Dr. Boyce and other outstanding teachers and theologians, or ask for a free reformed resources catalog by calling 1-800-488-1888. Please take the time to write to us and share how the Bible study our has impacted you. We love to hear from you and pray for you. Our address is 600 Eden Rd., Lancaster, PA 17601. Please consider giving financially to help keep the Bible study our impacting people for decades to come. You can do firstname.lastname@example.org over the phone at 1-800-488-1888 or send a check to 600 Eden Rd., Lancaster, PA 176014 Canadian gifts mail those to 237 Rouge Hills Dr., Scarborough, ON M, one scene two line 9. Thanks for your continued parents, and for listening to Bible study. Our preparing you to think and act