Psalms 11, 12, 13 & 14
“In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain? For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart. If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’s throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.”
“We’re in Psalm 11, if you want to turn there we’ll begin. Girls, I would encourage you to go to the conference this weekend if you can carpool, carpool, just to save some parking and pandemonium, the building will be filled, I can’t wait. And I think God is going to move, I think incredible things are going to happen, ah, just by the way the whole thing’s fallen together, the theme, heaven. You know, it’s interesting, my son Mike with senior high the last number of weeks, and a few more weeks been looking at heaven. The theme this weekend is heaven, Sunday morning we’re at ‘While we look not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are not seen, because the things that are seen are temporal, the things that are not seen are eternal,’ week after that, I’m saying, ‘OK Lord, what’s the deal, what are you saying, as a fellowship what do you want us to take hold of?’ So, I think it’s going to be an amazing weekend, and I rejoice to see 2000 women on fire, spiritually [laughter]. So that could be the beginning of a revival, no doubt. ‘Father we thank you for the freedom we have to gather and to look into your Word, Lord, how gracious you’ve been to us, Lord, these years, we see how fruitful your Word is, Lord, that it bears fruit. We think of the churches [his big church at Philmont avenue must be breaking into smaller ones, and growing large on their own], spread across the city, we think of what’s happening around the world. We think of not just the Calvary Chapels, but your Word preached through different church systems and denominations, Lord, just the fruit that’s being born, Lord [hopefully that includes this website, which is now nourishing many Ukrainians in the midst of their national struggle]. Lord, we pray that in these last days there would be a new regard, Lord, for your Word, for the Scripture. And Lord, as we have privilege to look into these ancient songs of Israel, the ancient hymnal of your people Lord, as we go through this Book of Psalms, Lord, give to us our portion. You know us, Lord, we look to you with anticipation, we pray in Jesus name and for his glory, amen.’
We’re going to see if we can get through this evening Psalm 11, 12, 13 and 14, they are all Psalms of David, songs that David wrote, and all four of them are to the chief Musician, which means they were to be played publicly at the Tabernacle, then the Temple in public worship. As we come to this 11th Psalm, all four of these are shorter, easier no doubt for the children of Israel to memorize as they sang these songs. We’re not sure if the background to Psalm 11 is Saul pursuing David. At one point he said he was like a partridge on the mountains, fleeing from Saul. Or whether it is during the time that Absalom is pursuing David, no doubt the wicked in pursuit of him, in somewhere or another, one of those two scenes. Let’s read through them, we’ll look at it. It says “In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain? For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart. If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’s throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.” (Psalm 11:1-7) David begins this Psalm by saying “In the LORD put I my trust:” it literally says ‘In the LORD I have sought refuge,’ it isn’t just ‘I trust the LORD,’ what he’s saying is ‘he has sought the LORD as his refuge,’ he knows whoever’s pursuing him here, this wasn’t just gossip, this wasn’t just backbiting, this is a situation where either Saul is in pursuit of David to kill him, or Absalom his own son, which is breaking his heart, is in pursuit of him to kill him. And David cries out and he says ‘In the LORD I have sought refuge, God has always done this for me, he’s preserved me, he’s kept me, when I faced a lion, when I faced a bear as a child, when I faced Goliath, God has always been a refuge for me, and now in this circumstance where my life seems in jeopardy, again, things are difficult as they could be,’ he said, ‘I’m seeking my refuge in him.’ Then he says, no doubt to his friends, because his friends are rather negative, but caring about his life, he says to them, “how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?” ‘We need to get outa here,’ “For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart.” (verses 1-2) “privily”, your translation may say “in the dark”, the Septuagint says “that they in a moonless night shoot at the upright in heart” the idea is, without cover of light, without being able to see, ‘you know the wicked are around, David, they’re seeking your life, the arrows are on the string, you can’t see them, and they’re seeking to kill you stealthfully, in a moonless night in the dark,’ and the friends are saying to David, you know, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (verse 3) ‘If there’s no law, if there’s no order, if there’s no justice, if there’s no morality David, if things are falling apart,’ and literally it’s ‘if the foundations’ not just be destroyed, but ‘be torn down,’ is the Hebrew, there’s a deliberateness about it. It’s saying David, you know, ‘Look at the world we’re living in, David, look at the times we’re in, if things are falling apart around us, what are the righteous going to do?’ He’s saying to them, ‘Look, I’ve sought the LORD, and I’ve sought him to be my refuge.’ They’re saying ‘Great, David, but you oughta head for the hills too, you know. Because this is going on, the wicked are going to surround you, they’re armed, they’re seeking your life, they’re going to come upon you in the night, on a moonless night, and they’re going to take you down, and David, the foundations are torn down, what can the righteous do?’ Now look, there’s a note of despair in that. And the wonderful thing about the Psalms is many times they’re visceral, the feelings are deep in the gut, it’s not just theological, there’s tears, there’s strain, there’s sorrow, there’s joy, they’re songs borne out of somewhere deep inside. And it says here ‘What are you going to do, if the foundations are being destroyed around us?’ You look around at the morality of our nation, you look around at injustice, you look around at what’s happening around us, you can come to despair. If you’re a news-junkie, you can get depressed. The only way you counter that is the Good News [i.e. you find that in the ultimate prophecies about Jesus’ 2nd coming and the set-up of the Millennial Kingdom of God. see, http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/mkg1.htm]. You spend more time in here [must be holding up his Bible] than you do watching that, you’ll always have the Good News in view. But they’re saying ‘David, what are we going to do?’ You see what’s happening to all of us in the world today with terrorism, the economy, morality, persecution of believers, you just see what’s happening, and you think ‘Hey man, the foundations, they’re not just being destroyed, they’re being torn down deliberately. What are the righteous going to do? What are they going to do? How are we going to survive this, where are we going to find ourselves?’
David’s Perspective Comes Right Back Where It Belongs
Well David’s perspective comes right back to the right place in verse 4, he says this, he answered his friends that are telling him to high-tail it out of town, he says look, “The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’s throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids, the children of men.” He said, ‘Look, guys, this is earth, this ain’t heaven.’ If you’ve noticed, sometimes we get really confused, don’t we? And we need to be reminded, this ain’t heaven [or the Kingdom of heaven, or Kingdom of God which is coming to earth at the 2nd coming], this is earth. You know, again, just the theme this weekend of heaven, where we’re at in the Scriptures, you think of the early Church [their focus was on the coming Kingdom of God and the 2nd coming of Christ to earth], you think of Paul, the persecution that came at him, shipwrecked, beaten, he’s goes through all this long list of stuff, and says ‘Yeah, the outward man perishes, but the inward man is renewed day by day, while we look,’ it’s not with the human eye, ‘while we look, not at the things that are seen,’ that’s the human eye, ‘but it’s while we look at the things that are not seen. The things that are seen, they’re temporal, the things that are not seen are eternal.’ The early Church, under Roman persecution, heaven was a huge part [no, the coming Kingdom of God and the resurrection was a huge part of their theology, let’s get it right, historically speaking, look it up] of their everyday life, their hope, another world where there’s glory, where the Lord reigns [now he’s getting it right, the Millennial Kingdom of God on earth]. We see the trouble around us, what are the righteous going to do? Look what’s going on, the wicked that are on the move, are we supposed to be discouraged, are we supposed to be broken down? David says ‘No, no, no, no,’ He says, “The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’s throne is in heaven” he hasn’t fallen off his throne. He’s not seeing an analyst, he doesn’t have a mood-ring, he’s not depressed, he’s on the throne of the universe, there’s only one throne. You see the stuff going on around here? It doesn’t mean anything. He’s going to come back on a white horse, with his vesture dipped in blood, the sun’s going to go out, the moon’s going to go out, all the stars are going to go out and the only glory anybody’s going to see anywhere is the Lord of lords and the King of kings, he’s coming, he’s going set up his throne, and all the things we see around us are telling us we’re getting close to that time, we’re getting close to it [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Revelation%2018-20.htm and http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Pentecost-Revetion1.htm] He’s in control. Nothing around us is in control. Everything around us is falling apart. He’s coming! He’s in heaven! He’s in his holy temple, he’s on his throne! He’s reigning in the universe! And David said ‘I’m going to make him my refuge, I’m going to find refuge in him.’ He says “His eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.” (verse 4b) It isn’t like God doesn’t know what’s going on. He sees all the injustice. He sees what’s happening, he’s saying to his friends, it’s no different from their perspective. You know, isn’t it a bummer when you’re doing your best, and Christians are kind of pulling you down? You think ‘I’m going to trust the Lord.’ ‘Oh, don’t be so naive.’ You know, you expect non-believers to do that, but come on, you don’t expect Christians to do that to you. He says ‘The LORD’s watching, he knows what’s going on,’ “The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.” (verses 5-6) ‘You’re worried about them putting their arrows on their bow-strings, you gotta be kidding,’ “upon the wicked he will rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.” And it’s happened more than once, it will happen again. He’s poured judgment on the earth, judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah, there are times when fire and brimstone fell from heaven, there is going to be a similar circumstance, Ezekiel 38 and 39, which can’t be that far into the future [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/ezek/Ezekiel%20pt3-2.htm]. It’s going to happen again in the Book of Revelation [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Pentecost-Revetion1.htm], in fact in chapter 14 of Revelation it talks about the cup of his wrath being poured out without admixture, and it’s a cup of brimstone, and it’s poured on all of those who worship the Beast and receive the mark of his name, and it says the smoke of the torment of that cup ascendeth forever and forever, it’s eternal. And the wonderful thing for you and I is, Jesus says, ‘Father, if it’s possible, let this cup pass, and if not, not my will but thine be done, Father I’ll drink it,’ the wonderful thing is, he has drunk that cup to the dregs for you and I. All the wrath that you and I might deserve, in those three hours of darkness, he took upon himself for you and I. That cup is still there for the wicked who refuse to receive forgiveness and refuse to turn. David says ‘That’s the portion, fire and brimstone, that’s coming down on them.’
The Upright Will Behold The Face Of God
“For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.” (verse 7)…Well of course, what do you think the righteous LORD would love? And the end of this is wonderful, the King James says “his countenance doth behold the upright.” His countenance is his face, “doth behold” is will behold or shall behold the upright. The Hebrew says ‘The upright, they will behold his face.’ Isn’t that wonderful? ‘The upright, they will behold his face.’ He begins by saying ‘You know what? Oh Lord I’m seeking refuge in you, you’re my refuge, my friends are warning me I need to run, I need to hide and I need to look out because the bad guys have got their bows and arrows, they’re gonna shoot at me in the middle of the night, and if the foundations of righteousness are destroyed there’s nothing the righteous can do. But Lord, I know, you’re in your holy Temple, I know you’re on your throne. Nothing gets by you, there is no injustice, everything’s going to get measured out in the end. Those that are wicked and refuse to bend the knee, fire, brimstone, a horrible torrent, this is going to be the measure of their cup,’ he says, ‘their portion.’ “For the righteous LORD loves righteousness;” ‘and the upright his face they will behold.’ Imagine that, one day we’re going to stand, and we’re going to look into his face. Can you imagine that? Sound’s good, doesn’t it? We will behold his face. And I think, sometimes, in the Kingdom, in the Kingdom, and if you don’t believe in the Millennium, we’ll pray for you. In the Kingdom, what will it be like? Will we as individuals maybe encounter him in Galilee? Will we somewhere in Jerusalem, find, walking down the street and turn the corner and he’ll be standing there, to see us face to face? Will he give us as individuals, each of us, those moments that we long for? [We’ll be ruling with Jesus Christ over the whole earth. see http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/mkg1.htm] And what about eternity beyond that, and the holy city, forever? [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Revelation%20%2021-22.htm] Eternity means that each one of us will have as much time alone with him as we want, and there will still be plenty of time left. What will that be like? We’re going to see his face, we’re going to see his face, it says he’s going to wipe all the tears from our eyes. There’s going to be no more death, sorrow, brokenness, it’s all going to be fixed. David’s got a great perspective, he’s fleeing to the LORD for refuge in a troubled world.
The Godly Man Ceases In Our World
“Three voices are heard here, the voice of David the Psalmist, the voice of the sinner, and the voice of the LORD. Let’s read through, we’ll back up and we’ll look at it. It begins, “Help, LORD;” we begin a lot of prayers that way, don’t we? “Help LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men. They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flatting lips and with a double heart do they speak. The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is the lord over us?” Now the LORD speaks, “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.” David now says, “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.” (verses 1-8) So he begins crying for help, he ends by saying ‘You know with the wicked of the earth there’s a problem.’ But again, we have these three voices before us here, as we look at this.
‘Save Us LORD, For The Godly Are Disappearing In Society Around Us’
He begins by saying “Help, LORD;” but it’s ‘Hoshia’ it’s ‘Save, LORD,’ he cried, ‘Save, LORD, do what only you can do, for the godly man ceases. LORD you need to intervene, you need to do this, the godly men are fading from society,’ “for the faithful fail from among the children of men.” There’s so little character, and David sees, you know, the widespread hypocrisy, widespread deceit, widespread treachery, he’s looking at the world he’s living in, he sees these problems, and he’s crying out to the LORD about them, ‘Save, LORD, intervene, you see what’s going on here, godly people are ceasing from the earth, faithful men are failing from among the children of men.’ Speaking of the evil, “They speak vanity every one with his neighbour:” speaking ‘nonsense, emptiness,’ I think he was watching the news, “with flattering lips” manipulation “and with a double heart do they speak.” (verse 2) David will pray for a single heart, the Hebrew actually says ‘with a heart and a heart,’ the idea is double-minded, double-tongued, you know, “with a double heart do they speak.” They’re manipulative, they’re intimidating, when you listen to what’s coming out of their mouth it’s emptiness, it’s vanity. He says “The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things:” (verse 3) that would be a big pile, wouldn’t it? That would be a big pile. “The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things:” God’s going to deal with it. Look, applicable to us, Timothy says this, Paul, writing to Timothy, in 2nd Timothy, ‘This know also,’ it’s in present-imperative, ‘you have to know this, you gotta know it, and you need to keep this in mind,’ present-imperative, ‘this continue to know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. Men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous,’ that means lovers of money, literally, ‘boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, astorgia, no family love, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, can’t be trusted, fierce, despisers of those that are good, no love of anything good, is what that means, ‘they are traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God,’ and look what it says, ‘having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof, from such’ present-imperative, ‘you must keep turning away.’ It says in the last days, these things are going to be prominent, and it says they’re going to be everywhere, ‘you have to know this, you have to stay on your toes, you have to watch for this, because all of this stuff, they’re going to want to hold a form of godliness, they’re going to want to have their own churches, and their own ministers [we’re talking super-liberal churches and ministers that totally deny God’s Word and laws], they’re going to hold a form of religion, but deny the power of it. From such you have to keep turning away.’ The power of it is the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to transform lives. Because we used to be like that list, and he’s transformed us through his power [by the indwelling Holy Spirit]. In the last days it says people are going to demand to live however they want to live, no love of anything good, no love of family, no love of anything but pleasure, themselves, money, selfish, high-minded, you know, traitors, and yet they want to hold a form of religion and say ‘We can have our own church, you can’t judge us,’ they’re going to hold a form of religion, but they’re going to deny the power of it. That’s the shame of it, Jesus loves them, Jesus can set them free, he can give them new life. And instead they’re going to want to hold some form of religion, and they’re going to want to deny the power, the very power of it, which is the life-transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we see it all around us. [What is the Gospel of Christ? see, http://www.unityinchrist.com/misc/WhatIsTheGospel%20.htm] This is not a new phenomenon. David wrestled with it back then. They’re all around us, ‘godly men are ceasing, faithful men are failing, these other men are speaking vanity with their neighbours, every one is flattering with his lips, they’re double-hearted,’ it says, ‘and the LORD, he’s going to cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that speaketh proud things,’ David says ‘God’s going to deal with that.’
What The Ungodly Say
Now in verse 4, the ungodly speak here, and there’s three mistakes in what this one sentence says, “who have said,” David’s quoting the ungodly, number 1, “With our tongue will we prevail;” well, no they won’t, they ain’t gonna, that’s not true. It may seem that way on the news, it may seem that way in the culture, but it isn’t true. Every knee’s gonna bow, and every tongue is going to confess, of things in heaven, of things on the earth, and things under the earth, that Jesus Christ is Lord, and that to the glory of the Father, every tongue will confess. So it says here, ‘They’re saying, With our tongue we will prevail.’ No, no. Number 2, “our lips are our own:” we can pick them out of the pile there, because he just cut them all off. It says our next breath is in his hand, you know, these guys are saying ‘We can say anything we want,’ not true. And lastly, “who is lord over us?” (verse 4) You’re gonna find out. Every human has a lord, every human has a god. We were made to worship, we were created that way. It may be your Ferrari, ‘I don’t believe in God,’ what are you doing shining that thing all the time? Why are you so mad if somebody scratches it? Every man [and woman] has a god, what’s the thing you give yourself to more than anything else? Is it money? It’s a god, then it’s Mammon. Is it pleasure? Then it’s Ashtoreth. Is it alcohol? That’s Baccus. We don’t make little statues anymore like they use to, but they were all deities relative to those different areas in our lives. Everybody’s a worshipper. We’re just made that way. They crying ‘Yeah, who is lord over us?’
Now God Speaks
Now God speaks, he interrupts, so I’m glad when he does that. He says, “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.” (verse 5) Now, the language is very interesting, it doesn’t say, literally, the Hebrew doesn’t say “the oppression of the poor” it says “for the devastation of the afflicted” it’s more violent. “for the sighing of the needy” is “the groaning of the needy” and it speaks more than just of a sigh, it’s a groaning, like when he heard the children of Israel groaning in Egypt. It’s saying here that the LORD, you know, he’s aware of all the wicked and what they’re doing, but he’s also aware of those that are oppressed and afflicted, he’s also aware of the groaning of the needy, they’re being taken advantage of, and that moves him, that moves him, he heard the cry of his people in Egypt [and look at what he did in response to that cry, cf. Exodus chapters 12-15], that moves him, he’s ever the same. He says, now his voice says “now will I arise, saith the LORD; and I will set him in safety” the afflicted, the needy, “from him that puffeth at him.” Puffed up, puffing, don’t worry when somebody puffs at you. And the idea there is arrogance and pride, ‘We just heard them puffing, here’s what they puffed. ‘With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are our own, who is lord over us?’ that’s their puffing. And the LORD says, ‘I’ve had it, you know, I see the devastation of the afflicted, I hear the groaning of the needy,’ “now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.”
David Steps Back Into The Psalm
And David now steps back in, and he says, you know, “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” (verse 6) in an earthen furnace, purified seven times. He says the Word of God is pure, there’s no alloy, it’s like silver in a furnace of earth, a clay furnace, that’s been purified seven times. There’s no dross in the Word of God, there’s no alloy in the Word of God, it is pure, it is powerful, and he says ‘When my God says he shall arise,’ David said, ‘I’m trusting in that. His words, your words are pure, your words are trustworthy, your words are like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times, you can trust the Word of God.’ Listen, in the world we live in, you watch the news, you see what’s going on around us, let me tell you this, you can trust the Word of God, you can trust the Word of God. When you think you need to go out and do something, that’s outside God’s revealed will for your life, what you’re really saying is, ‘I don’t trust him, he’s not gonna deliver.’ And it’s the oldest lie in the book, ‘God’s holding out on you, look at the tree, it’s good to the taste, it’s fun to look at, God knows it’s there, it will make one wise, he knows the day you eat thereof you’ll be like him, God’s holding out,’ everybody falls for it. That’s the oldest lie in the book, literally (cf. Genesis 3). David said, ‘No, no, things may look bleak, things may look dark,’ he’s crying ‘LORD, save now, LORD, please save, intervene, because this is what’s going on with the wicked all around, and here’s how they shoot their mouth off, this is what they say,’ and he says, ‘But for oppression, I know this, for the sighing, the groaning of the needy, the LORD says ‘Now will I arise’ saith the LORD.’ “I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.” And David said, ‘You know, the words of the LORD, they’re pure, words as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.’
God Protects the Righteous In The Midst Of The Wicked On Every Side
“Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” (verse 7) Listen, that should always be our response to God’s “I will.” Back in verse 5 God said “I will”, David acknowledges, “thou shalt.” If you believe God’s Word, and you believe what he says, and God says he’s going to do something, that’s a place for you to stand, that’s solid ground, it’s immovable, it’s a rock-solid. And David responding to these pure words, the fact that God said ‘I’m going arise, I’m going to take care of this,’ David says, “Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever” ‘from the wicked that’s around them, you’re going to do it, LORD.’ And he ends by saying, “The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest of men are exalted.” (verse 8) We’ve seen a bit of that, haven’t we, the vilest men exalted.
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David
This is a great Psalm for the impatient [both me and Pastor Joe], a good song for the impatient. “How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved. But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.” This is a great Psalm for the impatient, ‘How long is this check-out line gonna take? How long is this traffic jam gonna last? How long before you give me a husband [or wife, in my case]? Now again, this is a song that is to be sung in the congregation, it’s a Psalm of David to the chief musician. Ah, there’s three stanzas here. The first one is anxiety, verses 1 and 2, ‘How long, LORD, why are you going to let this happen to me?’ he kind of feels forgotten of God. The second one, beginning in verse 3, verses 3 & 4, is his prayer, and at the end of the Psalm, verses 5 and 6, he comes back into faith again, and his head is lifted up. This is an experience that everybody in this room has had.
David’s Anxiety: ‘How Long Wilt Thou Forget Me?’
This is something that we all know about, we have all felt this way. Have you ever felt God has forgotten about you? Anybody? OK, four, ok, there’s another person. Have you ever lied about whether you think God has forgotten about you [laughter]? Its very interesting, the Hebrew here, there’s four times in the first two verses it says “how long?” the Hebrew’s literally “until when? Until when? Until when?” It’s almost like ‘Oh yeah, it’s coming, it’s coming…when’s it gonna come?’ “How long” first he says, “wilt thou forget me, O LORD?” The first “how long?” is directed to the LORD. ‘How long will you forget me, O LORD? Forever?’ that’s long. “How long wilt thou hide thy face from me?” (verse 1) First two “how long’s” are God’s, the third “how long?” is his own, and the last “how long?” there is his enemy’s. So, “How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD?” Huge error, huge error. God can’t forget. He’s God. He’s not going ‘Oh, didn’t I, it’s that guy, used to go to Calvary, yeah, yeah, what does he look like, what does he look like? Holy Spirit would you just remind me.’ No, God can’t forget. He knows everything, the end from the beginning, he knows everything all at once, all the time. Where he is there is no past, present and future [he’s outside of Space & Time], listen, he’s the one who was, he’s the one who is, and he’s the one who is to come. Tossier used to say “Remember, that’s ‘your’ was, is, and is to come, not his was, is and is to come, where he is there’s only now.” Then you measure that in our time dimension, he’s the one who was, is, and who is to come, where he is there’s none of that, there’s only now. He’s the Self-Existing One, he never changes, he can’t forget, because he knows everything all at one time. Now the amazing thing and the wonderful thing is this, he can choose not to remember. I was just talking about this in my Bible class today, he can choose not to remember, “Their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” He can decide not to remember something, but he can’t forget. Isn’t that wonderful? Isn’t that wonderful, our sins and our iniquities he will remember no more? “He removes them as far as from the east is from the west” that’s a decision he makes, under the blood of his Son, ‘gone, forever, I will never remember them.’ He can’t forget, but he can choose not to remember. David here said, ‘Until when, how long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? forever? You know, speed this up a little, will you LORD, how long’s this going to go on?’ He feels forgotten of God, no doubt he’s downcast, when David says something like this. He asks again, “How long wilt thou hide thy face from me?” On the end of the other Psalm he said ‘the righteous are going to behold your countenance, they’re going to look in your face.’ Now whatever he’s going through he’s saying ‘How long are you going to hide your face from me? How long are you going to forget me? Is this just going to go on?’ Look in verse 2, he says, “How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily?” (verse 2a) “sorrow”, literally it’s “agony in my heart daily?” Agony in my heart daily. The thing is, God is not, he’s not on our schedule. Robie used to sing this old blues song, “He may not come when you want, but he’s right on time.” First, twice to the LORD, ‘How long will you forget me, O LORD? How long will you hide your face from me?’ Then he says ‘How long shall I take counsel in my own soul, having agony in my heart’ he says, ‘on a daily basis?’ He’s pained. “how long” now the enemy, “shall mine enemy be exalted over me?” (verse 2b) What do you do when you’re singing the blues? This must be a blues song [Dire Straits are my favorite blues group], first few verses here, this is all minor keys and 7s I’m sure, 9th cords maybe. Well, the best thing to do is pray. You know, it’s interesting, some of these are Calvin’s favorite Psalms, you read through some of the great minds in the Church, they say when they’re broken down they go to the Book of Psalms. My pastor, Chuck Smith told me, I asked him, I said “Chuck, when you’re really bummed, you don’t know what’s going on, what do you do?” He said, “I go to the Psalms, I go to the Psalms” he said, “I don’t even pray, I just go to the Psalms, and I start reading. Before long I hear David saying, ‘How long shall my soul be cast down, O LORD?’” and he said, “All of a sudden I’m there, and I sense his presence, then I get on my knees and I begin to pray,” he said, “I go to the Psalms when I’m broken down.”
David Begins To Pray
And you hear David crying ‘How long, how long, how long, how long?’ And then in verse 3, what he does, it’s wise of course, he begins to pray. That’s always a good thing to do. “Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;” Isn’t it sad, you know, when things are going great, we pray lite-prayers, when things are desperate we pray desperate-prayers. You know, things are going wonderful, and I think sometimes the Lord just sits there and thinks ‘Boy, I’d like to hear from them, you know. And maybe I’ll let a little bit of this come into their life,’ then it’s ‘O God, O God,’ and he’s probably saying ‘It’s great to hear from you, I was hoping to hear from you, good to see ya.’ David says, “Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;” there’s two “lests” now, there were four “how long’s”, now there’s there’s two “lests.” “lest I sleep the sleep of death; lest mine enemies say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.” (verses 3b-4) ‘when I totter,’ it’s a very interesting idea, ‘when I’m getting ready to fall.’ “Consider” he’s not just saying “God, think about me,” the Hebrew word is “regard,” not just “think about” not just “consider”, ‘regard me, O LORD, have regard for me.’ That’s deeper than just thinking, ‘Feel something for me, LORD, regard me, have regard for me, LORD,’ “and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;” (verse 3b) “lighten mine eyes” is luminate my eyes, he asking to bring the eternal back into view again. “sleep of death”, now there’s two “lests” there, verse 3 and verse 4, “lest”, the Hebrew is “so that” but they’re negatives. So really it says here “lest I sleep the sleep of death”, the Hebrew reads “So that I will not sleep the sleep of death.” Verse 4 says, “So that he,” the enemy, “mine enemy will not say he has prevailed against me.” So he’s saying ‘I don’t want these things to happen, LORD, this shouldn’t happen, I’m your child, I’m seeking you.’ And he says ‘Just have regard to what I’m saying, bring a light back into my eyes again, so we can get things back in perspective, so that I don’t sleep the sleep of death, so that my enemies don’t say ‘They prevailed against me,’ he said, ‘and so that those that trouble me don’t rejoice, as I fall, as I’m moved.’
David’s Heart Is Lifted Above It All, His Faith Is Restored
First [in this Psalm] there is the complaint, the anxiety, then the prayer, and then in verses 5 and 6 his heart is lifted above it all, this is a great pattern to follow, he says in verse 5, “But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.” ‘I have, LORD,’ “I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.” So, first we had four “how long’s” and two “lests” now we have these four comparisons. “I” “thy” “my thy” “I the LORD” and “he me.” Everything is now in perspective of the LORD. “I have trusted in thy mercy” “my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.” (verse 5) “I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.” (verse 6) Why not sing? That’s a great reason to sing. And, you know, he says ‘I’ve trusted in your mercy,’ part of the word is haseed there. It’s ‘I have trusted,’ not just in his mercy, but ‘in his stedfast love.’ ‘I have trusted, LORD, that your love is a love never-failing.’ Yes, certainly that’s mercy, but it’s more than that. “I have trusted in thy stedfast love; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.” Things are going terrible tonight? Your life is falling apart? You’re in the midst of the “how long’s”, you’re singing a Blue’s song? [yup, amazing how I can be at this point in my life, and I just happen to be transcribing this sermon. You know what the rabbis say about coincidence when you’re dealing with the things of God.] ‘How long? You’ve forgotten about me, Lord, I’m in agony in my heart, just counseling myself, how long, my enemy’s going to mock me, make fun of me.’ Then he goes to prayer. And as he seeks the LORD, ‘Consider, have regard for me, LORD, illuminate my eyes again, I don’t want to sleep the sleep of death, I don’t want my enemies to do this, LORD, they’re rejoicing I’m moved, but I have trusted in your stedfast love,’ his heart is lifted up again. “my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.” (verses 5b-6) Great Psalm, easy for all of us to understand and relate to.
To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David
Let me read through it, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Have all the workers of inquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD. There were they in great fear: for God is in the generation of the righteous. Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the LORD is his refuge. Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! when the LORD bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.” (verses 1-7) Now, by the way, Psalm 53 is almost a duplicate, there are slight variations. And in verse 7 there’s kind of a plea, “Oh that the salvation of Israel…” We have this 14th Psalm, it’s divided into three parts. Verses 1 to 3 basically tell us that mankind is corrupt. Man without God is corrupt, the human race has become corrupt, the effects of the fall in Eden. Verses 4 to 6 tell us that God is righteous. Mankind is corrupt, but God is righteous, he’s holy, and the seventh verse kind of ends with a prophetic longing, a longing for Israel to be restored. We’re obviously very close to that, we see them back in the land [and restored after Israel’s fall, which had not happened yet when David wrote this, so it’s really prophetic, looking forward to the Millennial Kingdom of God, when Israel, all 12 tribes, will be restored as the leading nation on earth. See http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/mkg1.htm].
Mankind Is Corrupt
The Absolute Foolishness of Atheism
So, this Psalm. It says “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” Now in the Bible the fool is different than the fool is today, if you walk down the street. If somebody says ‘You fool’ it might mean one thing. In the Bible a fool is the man who said in his heart that there is no God. Because everybody in the Bible had a god. There were no atheists in the Bible. You might have had the wrong god, but you had a god. Somebody without a god was a fool, and those who would not acknowledge the true God, certainly. “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” Every culture knew that was stupid in the Old Testament. They may have worshipped the wrong god, they worshipped the sun god, they worshipped the rain god, they worshipped Baal [to see the results of worshipping Baal and what that was all about, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/1.html and read through the history on that first “html” page]. Because it tells us right in Romans chapter 1 that the invisible things of God are clearly seen in the things that are made, that God can’t be denied, that everybody sees his eternal power and his Godhead. It doesn’t say they see the Gospel in the things that are made, but they see that there’s a Designer, they see there’s an Almighty One [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/Does/Does%20God%20Exist.html for some pretty astounding proofs of this]. Every human being, in their heart, has a testimony that comes to them from Creation, ‘the heavens declare the glory of the LORD, the earth sheweth forth his handiwork, there is no language or speech in which their language is not heard.’ Every culture around the world for thousands of years has acknowledged there is Something, there is an All-Powerful One. It’s only in our culture, you know, where people say they’re an atheist. You can’t say that. You can say you’re an agnostic, but you can’t say you’re an atheist. An agnostic is somebody who doesn’t know. Gnosko, to know, pre-fix A, agnostic means “I don’t know.” The Latin word is ignoramus, but if you want to use the Greek, say ‘I’m an agnostic’ you can say that. You can’t say “I’m an atheist” because you have no proof. What you’re saying is “I know there’s no God,” you do not! Where were you been? You’ve just got here and you ain’t staying long, you ain’t seen nothing. It means you’ve gotta go through every room in this building, you’ve gotta look under every pew, you gotta look in every cabinet, you gotta go up in the ceilings, you gotta look in every vent, you gotta look in every car in the parking lot, look inside of every trunk, you start doing that all across Philadelphia, you do that in every building, you go all around the world, you do that in the entire planet earth, you go to the bottom of the sea, everywhere, then you leave the planet, you go into outerspace, you do it in all the space around the planet, then you do it to all the planets in the solar system, then you do it to all the constellations, you do it to all the galaxies, you do it to all the solar systems, and you’re saying “I’m an atheist, I’m telling you, I’ve been everywhere and there is no God,” you’re a lying dog. [laughter] You ain’t been everywhere, you have to go everywhere to say there’s no God. You can say, and I respect that, “I’m an agnostic, I don’t know.” You’re right, you don’t. I don’t know all that other stuff, but I know one thing, Jesus is my Lord. I once was blind, now I see, Amazing Grace, I know that…but he says “the fool has said in his heart, There is no God.” That starts all kinds of trouble [believing that], and there’s no accountability, then you don’t have to pay attention to Design, then you can live however you want, you know. It’s like the argument in our public schools over Creation. Every research scientist in the world, these days, knows there’s a digital code inside of the DNA molecule that demands a designer. It’s no longer a scientific argument, that’s disingenuous, it’s a moral argument, because no one wants to acknowledge the genius of design, because then they’re accountable to Somebody, there’s Somebody up there. I’ve got to give an account, and I can’t just live however I want to live. That’s the argument.
The Fruits Of Saying And Believing ‘There Is No God’
“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.” and because of that, look what it produces, “They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. These are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (verses 1-3) Paul uses the argument in Romans 3, ‘Everyone’s gone to his own way, nobody cares.’ (cf. Romans 3:10-12) The truth is, no matter what good work gets done horizontally, and people say ‘Well this is good, they did this, they did that,’ no matter what good gets done on the horizontal, if you’re corrupt vertically, if your perpendicular is crooked, what’s the difference? You got nothing cooking. He says “They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy:” the Hebrew is “stinking.” Yeah, I know. “there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (verse 3)
‘God Looks Down On The Unrighteous’
Now in regards to God, he’s righteous. “Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD.” (verse 4) Certainly a picture of the Holocaust, certainly the picture of anti-Semitism and the hatred of God’s people. Certainly a picture of the persecution of the Church [Body of Christ] and hatred of everything we believe in. “Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD.” (verse 4) no prayer, no belief. “There were they in great fear: for God is in the generation of the righteous. You have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the LORD is his refuge.” (verses 5-6) ‘You have mocked him, you’ve made fun of him because he said ‘I’m his refuge,’ and you’ve shamed the counsel of the poor,’ God looking down at the unrighteous.
David Gives A Prophetic Vision Of The Return Of Israel In The Millennium
And as he comes to the end of this, wonderfully it says this, “Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! when the LORD bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.” (verse 7) Listen, I’ll tell you this, God’s going to intervene. History is going to come to an end [i.e. the history of mankind under Satan’s hidden evil influence]. It is all winding down. The Bible says in the last days the nation of Israel will be reborn. Turn on the news, why don’t you. John Calvin, Martin Luther, William Farrell, the Reformers, they would all have been pre-Millennial, pre-trib if they were living after 1948, because they were fearless, and they weren’t afraid to say the Bible means what it says, and if they saw Israel reborn and back in the land, they would all be pre-Millennial and pre-trib [well, I don’t know about pre-trib Rapture, but they would all be pre-Millennial 2nd coming of Christ]. We see Israel back in the land. It says in the last days, Israel will be a cup of trembling for all the nations of the world (cf. Zechariah 12:1-9; 14:1-15). And it is now [somewhat]. It’s a stumbling stone to all the nations of the world, because oil is more important than blood, and money is more important than life, sadly. “Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion!” that’s going to be a great day for all of us, “when the LORD bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.” and that day is coming, “and Israel shall be glad.” Now the program will come to an end [and a new beginning. See http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/mkg1.htm]. I don’t know what your hope is in. You think we’re just going to go on and on and on and on? Listen, every generation has used the weapons they’ve developed, two things that have set us aside from every generation that has ever lived, one is nuclear proliferation, and the other is the rebirth of the nation of Israel. We’re the first generation in 2,000 years to see these people (as a nation) reborn and back in the land. Don’t stick your nose up at that, think about it. What if the Seneca Indians came back and said ‘We want Manhattan back, here’s the beads’? That’s been 300 years. That would never happen, that’s ridiculous, ‘then we want to join the U.N.’ would never happen. This is 2,000 years and they’re back in the land. It sets us aside from every generation that’s ever lived. And the New Testament presumes, prophetically, Israel back in the land, stumbling over a temple, antichrist, it’s very clear. The second thing is, the Lord said if he didn’t come when he did, there would be no flesh left alive. We’re the first generation where we can do that. During the Civil War or even the Revolutionary War, everybody wasn’t going to be dead of musket fire, it just wasn’t going to happen, the whole world wasn’t going to be dead. It wasn’t going to happen in World War I. World War II, at the end of the war, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the unthinkable happened, weapons of mass destruction [see http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Usa/Tests/Crossrd.html and http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Usa/Tests/Wigwam.html and http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Usa/Tests/Redwing.html, a shipmate friend of mine being in on the Wigwam and Redwing tests]. Now, we have a generation that can wipe itself out from the face of the earth, first time in history. Those two things set us aside. I hope you’re not thinking the U.N. is going to straighten everything out. You go to Israel, they point to the U.N. headquarters on this hill, the Hebrew name for the hill is “the Hill For Evil Counsel.” [Gotta love those Israelis!] That’s where the U.N. headquarters is in Israel. I hope you don’t think we’re just going to get more and more advanced till we all have little tiny arms and great big heads like Martians and we’re just going to move into the future and subdue everything. It’s going to come to an end. The world we know is coming to an end, history is going to close down, and God’s people are going to rejoice, he’s going to bring salvation out of Zion, he’s going to rule the earth from Jerusalem [again, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/mkg1.htm], it’s why Satan hates the Jews, and he hates the Middle East, and he hates Jerusalem, because it’s the city of the Great King. Be ready, I don’t say that, the Bible says that. Be ready. Be watchful, be sober, be vigilant. When? When you see these things begin to take place, when they begin to take place. The Lord says that his coming will be like a thief in the night. Ever been robbed? I remember one time when I was a kid, coming home, a guy was running through our house. We pulled up in the driveway, he was running through the house, he got out the back door, you just feel so violated. You ever been robbed? Thief in the night? Jesus said his coming is going to be like a thief in the night. I have a feeling if he waits much longer we’re all going to be standing around waiting for him, looking up. If there’s a preemptiveness to it, we’re there, we’re there. Five virgins, foolish, no oil in their lamps, the five wise virgins, it says ‘he awakened them when he came,’ they were asleep [too]. Be sober, be vigilant, great Psalms. Yes, there’s wickedness in the earth, but the LORD’s our refuge, he has control of our lives, he’s ruling [us, not the world presently], he’s on the throne, he’s coming back. You now, you see John sees him (in Revelation 1:13-18) and it says his eyes are like a flame of fire, his hair is brilliant, his countenance is like the sun shining in strength, he has this golden breastplate on himself, and his feet are like fine brass in the furnace, out of his mouth goes a two-edged sword, his voice is like the voice of many waters [ever hear the Niagara Falls roaring?]. Caesar doesn’t mean nothing, he has all the power and all of the authority, and he’s coming.
So, on those down days, I have them, when everything seems out of control, nothing’s out of control, go back and look in the Bible again, he wrote all this down. On the days when you feel like he forgot you, he can’t forget, and he didn’t choose not to remember you, he chose not to remember your sins. He never forgets us, we’re his chosen ones, his blood-bought ones, his own sons and daughters. The Spirit of his Son is in our hearts, crying Abba, Father. There’s great disparity between what we long to see and what’s happening around us in the world right now. There’s grave injustice, there’s all kinds of things wrong. This is not heaven [nor is it the Kingdom of God as it will exist on earth after the 2nd coming of Christ], this is earth. He’s ruling, he’s on the throne, he’s coming, that’s a great reason to sing, let’s stand. We have some great things to sing about. ‘Father we thank you for these short songs, and yet not wide, but deep Lord, the beauty and the depth of them, Lord, and certainly Psalms that we’ll read for the rest of our lives, Lord, Psalms that in different seasons of life will come closer to our hearts, Lord, the truth of these things burrowing deeper within us, Lord. Lord certainly we pray, all of us together, Lord, we’re your children, for every believer in this room tonight that feels you’ve forgotten them, Lord, speak to them, Lord, wrap your arms of love around them, remind them to lift up their heads, Lord. I pray for everyone in this room that’s discouraged, the system’s getting all over them, and they feel like, you know, ‘What’s the deal? I do my best and everything goes wrong, just wicked people got the upper hand on me, and nothing’s going to work,’ Lord, lift up their heads, Lord. Remind them that your Word is pure, there’s no alloy, it’s to be trusted, it’s like silver purified seven times in a fire, Lord. Remind them that you will arise, Lord, you will arise. And Lord as we lift our voices, Lord we pray, as a blessing to you Lord…[transcript of Psalms 11:1-7; 12:1-8; 13:1-6 and 14:1-7, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa 19116]
This world’s news is all bad. Focus on the Good News of God’s coming Kingdom. See,
And beyond that Good News is this:
Mankind is corrupt. In Israel’s past, how were they corrupt? How is that like what we see in our world today? Read through this whole “html” page,
The Absolute Foolishness of Atheism. See,
If Jesus doesn’t return when he does, mankind will destroy all life from off this planet. See,