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  • John T. Polk II 10:49 am on 2016-02-23 Permalink | Reply
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    2-18-2016 War And The Fear Of God 

    The Israelites divided into Northern and Southern Kingdoms, Jehoshaphat king of Southern Judah, attempted political correctness, by trying to get along with everyone. Jehu, God’s prophet, said, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD? Therefore the wrath of the LORD is upon you” (2 Chronicles 19:2 NKJV). However, because Jehoshaphat obeyed the LORD in other matters, God helped him in a war. “And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem bowed before the LORD, worshiping the LORD” (2 Chronicles 20:18 NKJV). “And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries when they heard that the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel” (2 Chronicles 20:29 NKJV). A nation stays in war because it has not put “the fear of God” in its enemies.
    This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:00 am on 2013-05-03 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , enemies, fortress, , , , , , , , , , , , , , unhappiness,   

    Psalm 144 How To Live In A Happy State 

     This Psalm of David shows why God saw David as “a man after My own heart, who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22). This Psalm is from a heart that knows what God’s grace and mercy is all about!

    Verses 1-2 acknowledge who is with David on his throne over Israel;

    Verses 3-4 recognize how short the rule of a man is compared to God’s reign;

    Verses 5-10 show who really deserves praise for victory over enemies;

    Verses 11-15 summarize where a nation’s blessings and strengths come from.

    Verses 1-2: “The LORD” was David’s “Rock” not a castle. God guided David’s conquests; God showed what “lovingkindness” was like in between battles; David’s “fortress” (protective dwelling), “high tower” (lofty position above the enemy), “shield” (protection against soldiers’ attacks) and “refuge” (safe haven), were all in God. Thus if David’s “people” didn’t obey God, David wouldn’t be king of a nation! Would that Governments recognized this today (John 19:10-11)!

    Verses 3-4: “What is man” is the question David asks that shows great humility (Psalm 8:4). What makes us think we are so important that God would notice us? We are important not because of what we have done, but what God has done (Hebrews 2:17-18)! We do not live long enough to be impressive (James 4:13-15).

    Verses 5-10: God, however, is so impressive that He can “come down” over the Earth; make mountains smoke; use lightning strikes; all as weapons of war “from above.” It is God “from above” who “rescues” the righteous from a flood of “foreigners” hurling “lying words” and lying handshakes.  Those who serve God cannot expect those who do not to be following the same rules in the same way! Christian behavior is not universal, but should be (Ephesians 5:1-17)! It is God who deserves praise for our salvation and daily life. The “harp of ten strings” was an instrument of David (1 Chronicles 23:5) which appealed to the spiritually lazy (Amos 6:3-7) and was condemned. No man-made musical instrument was authorized by Moses’ Law.

    Verses 11-15: It would be by God’s rescue that the Nation of Israel would have: sturdy “sons” and “daughters;” plentiful “produce” and “sheep” and “oxen;” and no external raids nor internal struggles. A nation of people who respect God, will have “sons” who mature like plants and know their work to be done; “daughters” who accept their role of “pillars” as wife and mother; “produce” for people who know how to save for the next crop; fertile “sheep;” “oxen” useful for burdens; peaceful living without disruptiveness. Truly such a nation is “happy,” for “Happy are the people whose God is the LORD!” The plague of America is unhappiness, and it has become pandemic because people do not have the LORD God. “Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:1-3). “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 John 5:11). “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). DO YOU KNOW GOD?

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:22 am on 2013-03-27 Permalink | Reply
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    Psalm 119:153-160 Resh “Considerate Faith” 

    It is fitting that the greatest tribute to the Word of God is IN the Word of God, itself, and is in the longest chapter of the Word of God! This Psalm has no author’s name, historical incident, or other distraction from its theme. It is divided into 22 sections (one for every letter in the Hebrew alphabet), each consisting of 8 lines, each line beginning with the alphabet letter of that section (aleph is the first letter of each line under the aleph section, for instance). The chapter uses some 8-10 different words to describe the Word of God, each bringing something extra to the total picture of the Word of Truth. In order to savor the depth and richness of teaching in this Psalm, we will examine each portion as if it were its own chapter.

    Psalm 119:153-160  Resh                              “Considerate Faith”

    Verses 153-155 appeal for God to consider a believers’ personal effort;

    Verses 156-158 appeal for God to recognize a believer’s personal devotion;

    Verses 159-160 appeal for God to see a believer’s personal heart.

    Verses 153-155: (Verse 153) God is considerate (Nehemiah 9:32-33). “Deliver those who are drawn toward death, And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Surely we did not know this,’ Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not  render to each man according to his deeds?” (Proverbs 24:11-12) God “considers” both the obedient and the disobedient. God considers the “affliction” of one who does “not forget” His “law” (words pointing the straight path), and “delivers.” (Verse 154) Believers who sin (1 John 1:6-2:3) must have representation before God, Who will “redeem” (apply the price for) and “revive” (refresh, renew the effort) them. (Verse 155) “Statutes” (words tracing out right) keep clear who is “wicked,” because they do not seek them, but the “righteous” are mindful of them. “Salvation” is kept far from “the wicked” (Mark 16:15-16).

    Verses 156-158: (Verse 156) God is the Father of “mercies” (2 Corinthians 1:3) which motivate Christians to become living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). His “mercies” (plural) are both “Great” (in forgiving the penitent) and “tender” (in helping the penitent), and Christians should imbed these (Colossians 4:12). (Verse 157) Christians cannot expect the same from “the wicked,” who become “persecutors” (with verbal taunting, physical abuse, or social ostracizing) and “enemies” (adversaries like Satan). “For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles–when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead” (1 Peter 4:3-5). (Verse 158) Those who “do not keep” God’s Word become “treacherous” (and should be avoided, Ephesians 5:11-13) and are “disgusted” (abhorred, loathed, like Lot, 2 Peter 2:7-8) by the faithful.

    Verses 159-160: (Verse 159) While God is “considering” wicked hearts, His “precepts” (words that highlight what’s right) also “revive” a loving heart with His “lovingkindness.” “Thus says the LORD: ‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,’ says the LORD” (Jeremiah 9:23-24). (Verse 160) Total confidence in God is produced by studying “the entirety” of God’s Word, for it is always “truth” and “every one” of His “judgments” are right, “forever.”

     All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
    • J. Randal Matheny 6:11 am on 2013-03-27 Permalink | Reply

      Jer 9.23-24 is one of my favorite passages and makes a great commentary here on this section of Psa 119.

      V. 156 is fascinating in NET: “Your compassion is great, O Lord. Revive me, as you typically do!” (See the site for the reason behind the translation choice; what is often translation “laws” here is apparently “customs.”) The rendering is not only a testimony to our frequent need, but to God’s faithful and loving work, which must often be repeated in us.

      • John T. Polk II 10:00 am on 2013-03-27 Permalink | Reply

        Several “standard” translations use the word “law” for this Hebrew word, so I based my comments upon this English word, which includes “requirement” in its intent. “Custom” can include the idea of an “option, or choice” and weakens the force of the original.

        • J. Randal Matheny 10:19 am on 2013-03-27 Permalink | Reply

          I went looking some more. It’s the Hebrew word mishpat, often translated “justice,” but with a wide semantic field, sometimes “mode of life,” “practice” or “procedure” in NASB. So one could go either way, I reckon.

    • John T. Polk II 3:23 pm on 2013-03-27 Permalink | Reply

      Randal,
      My reply was based upon Psalm 119:153, not the verse 156 you were dealing with. I apologize for not catching this with another “proofing.” I was dealing with “torah” you were commenting on “mishpat,” and there is a distinction. Thanks for your review and observation.

  • Eugene Adkins 6:52 am on 2013-02-20 Permalink | Reply
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    Blasphemy Reveals SNL’s True Understanding of Christianity 

    “SNL” (Saturday Night Live) has targeted Jesus in one of their “comedy sketches” again. It’s not the first time and unfortunately it probably won’t be the last time. Like other forms of “art” and multimedia, SNL finds an easy target to blaspheme when it comes to God’s Son. Why is that? Because this “target” doesn’t shoot back, doesn’t blow up buildings and doesn’t threaten violence through large crowds. In reality, this “target” actually encourages those who blaspheme His name to still seek His love and mercy and hope…these are the very characteristics of Jesus they continually lampooned in their sketch.

    Despite what they might say publicly, the facts reveal that SNL enjoys bullying those who do not bully back. It goes beyond immaturity right down to cowardice. If it is not cowardice then why not target other “religious figures” who are well-known? The answer to this reveals a few things:

    1) It reveals their true disdain for the grace of God.

    2) It reveals the true affection for sin that resides in their heart.

    3) It reveals the hypocritical attitude that would condemn any so-called perceived “bullying” of other religions.

    4) It reveals that they know that the true practice of Christianity is peace, for they do such blasphemous things with no fear of physical retribution by Christians.

    As Christians we are encouraged to pray for those who have this mindset. We are encouraged to have pity on their darkened spiritual condition. We are encouraged to remember how we at times have acted in our own selfish ways, both in the past and even in the present. Christianity will always be “low hanging fruit” for comedians. And we must not forget that Jesus said such things, even worse things, would continue to be directed at His name. But neither should we forget that it is not our place to seek revenge, for the laughter of those who disdain the Savior of their soul will one day exchange their tears of laughter for tears of sorrow.

    Woe to you who are full, for you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets. “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.” (Luke 6:25-28)

     
    • Weylan Deaver 9:13 am on 2013-02-20 Permalink | Reply

      No doubt many Hollywood writers are intimidated by Islam, while feeling free to blaspheme the Lord. What they don’t realize is that the Lord who meekly went as a lamb to the slaughter on their behalf two millennia ago, will come back with an entirely different demeanor:

      “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:11-16, ESV).

  • John T. Polk II 4:10 am on 2013-01-14 Permalink | Reply
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    Psalm 86 

    Vs. 1-7 give God reasons to give help;

    Vs. 8-10 give God glory;

    Vs. 11-17 give God a willing servant asking for help.

    Probably written by David, but there is no historical certainty upon which to base a background setting.

    Verses 1-7: God is requested to: “bow down” His ear and “hear” (verse 1); “preserve” a “life” (verse 2); “be merciful” (verse 3); “rejoice the soul” (verse 4); because the one making this request is: “poor and needy” (verse 1); “holy” (verse 2); crying to God “all day long” (verse 3); lifting up his soul (verse 4). Requesting favor from God is not being made by someone who has lived life with disdain for God and then, in trouble, prays, but rather, someone who stays in constant effort to contact God! A Christian equivalent might be in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. The character of God is that He is: “good” (verse 5), “ready to forgive,” “abundant in mercy” to “all those who call upon” Him. The New Testament emphasizes this: “in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:35). God will hear “supplications” (not demands!) from the obedient (verse 6). The Psalmist declares: “In the day of my trouble I will call upon You” (verse 7), but this is by no means the first time God is approached by this person (verses 3, 4, 11, 12). To “call upon” God cannot mean lifting the voice only without also lifting the life. Jesus taught: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).

    Verses 8-10: Since nowhere in the Bible is the term “gods” used of angels, then  “gods” (verse 8) must refer to all humanly-invented deities, which by comparison have no comparison with God. “Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live” (1 Corinthians 8:4-6). God’s “works” are unmatched, such as making nations (verse 9; Acts 17:26; Colossians 1:15-20; Philippians 2:9-10), or the “wondrous things” He has done (verse 10; Genesis 8:22; Acts 14:14-18).

    Verses 11-17: God responds, of course, to a heart willing to be taught to walk in His Way (verse 11), uniting the heart to “fear” God’s Name (Ecclesiastes 8:12; 12:13). “Praise” and “glory” should go to God (verse 12) because of His “mercy” in delivering the Psalmist’s “soul from the depths of Sheol” (realm of departed spirits whose dead bodies are in the grave). The Psalmist praises God for sparing him from death (verse 13). The problem with “proud” and “violent” enemies who jeopardize his life, has arisen (verse 14). Interesting to see how often pride and violence accompany the godless! To state God’s qualities (as in verse 5) is to praise Him (verse 15; Exodus 34:5-8). The final request is that God grant “mercy,” “strength,” and salvation to a faithful follower (verse 16). A “son of Your maidservant” is a way of indicating that he had been raised by a godly mother, like Timothy in the New Testament (2 Timothy 1:5; 3:14-15). For God to grant the prayer of David would be “a sign” to his enemies they are in the wrong and should be ashamed of their hatred of one who does good (verse 17).

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:19 am on 2013-01-09 Permalink | Reply
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    Psalm 83 

    Vs. 1-8 describe the ominous situation Israel is in;

    Vs. 9-18 place their appeal before God.

    This is the last of the dozen Psalms written by Asaph. Again, there doesn’t seem to be any certainty as to when, why, where, or what this Psalm specifically refers to, but there is no reason to question its place in the Book.

    Verses 1-8: In verse 1, there are three ways God could be silent: closed mouth (“silent”), deaf ears (“hold Your peace”), or be in a state of tranquility (“still”). Typically, when trouble arises, people mistake God’s quietness for either His inability to respond or His insensibility to their needs. God’s silence is not always a sign of either, but may be His way of waiting for people to listen to Him, and obey (what He has said in the Bible, for instance). By contrast, verse 2-5 describe the activities of enemies: (verse 2) “make a tumult,” lift “up their head,” (verse 3) take “crafty counsel against” God’s “people,” “consulted together against” God’s people, (verse 4) planned to “cut them off from being a nation,” (verse 5) “form a confederacy against” God. Verses 6-8 make a composite picture of enemies of the past, thus indicating that God’s people have lived, and still live, in a hostile world. Verse 6: Edom (Jacob’s rejected brother, Genesis 25:20); Ishmaelite’s (Ishmael’s mother, Hagar, was Sarai’s handmaid, Genesis 16:8-11, and he was not the child promised by God, Galatians 4:21-31); Moab (a son of incest by Lot and his daughter, Genesis 19:30-38, whose people caused sin among Israelites, Numbers 25:1-4); Hagrites (vanquished out of Palestine, 1 Chronicles 5:18-21); Verse 7: Gebal (vanquished out of Palestine, Joshua 13:5-6; 1 Kings 5:18); Ammon (a son of incest by Lot and his other daughter, Genesis 19:36-38, whose people were slaughtered by King Saul, I Samuel 11:11); Amalek (grandson of Esau, Genesis 36:12, whose people were constant enemies of Israel, Numbers 14:45, and were to be destroyed, Deuteronomy 25:17-19); Philistia and its city of Tyre (constant conquerors of Israel, Book of Judges); Verse 8: Assyria (founded by Nimrod and often powerful destructive people to Israel, Genesis 10:9-11).

    Verses 9-12: Call to God to destroy enemies as He had done before: Verses 9-10: Midian (Numbers 31:1-12), Sisera (Judges 4:15-24), Jabin (Judges 4:24; 5:20-21). Verse 11-12: Oreb and Zeeb (Judges 7:25), Zebah and Zalmunna (Judges 8:4-28), who thought to capture Israel’s Promised Land.

    Verses 13-18: Only God can destroy these enemies like: (verse 13) restless “whirling dust,” and “chaff” blown by wind; (verse 14) fire burns wood, forest fire on the mountain; (verse 15) the terror of “tempest,” the fear of a storm. The purpose is to bring them to “shame” (verse 16-17) and humility before God; and (verse 18) prove that “the LORD” is “the Most High over all the earth.”

    The church of Christ today, as the body of Christ (Colossians 1:18), lives among diverse enemies (John 15:18-25; 1 John 3:11-13), and still needs for God to hear and help (Acts 18:1-10; 2 Corinthians 13:11).

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:31 am on 2012-12-27 Permalink | Reply
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    Psalm 74 

    Vs. 1-11 contain the lament over destruction in Jerusalem;

    Vs. 12-23 are the appeal for God to care for Judah as He had so often before.

    The background for this Psalm seems to be rooted in the destruction of Jerusalem caused by “Shishak, king of Egypt” (2 Chronicles 2:12-12). It indicated great displeasure by God for Him to allow pagan people to overthrow the Jerusalem, capital of political and religious practices in the Southern Kingdom of God’s People. The explanation is found in 2 Chronicles 12:5: “Then Shemaiah the prophet came to Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah, who were gathered together in Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said to them, ‘Thus says the LORD: ‘You have forsaken Me, and therefore I also have left you in the hand of Shishak.'”

    Verses 1-11: The oft-asked question “Why?” (verse 1) shows awareness that was lacking previously. This Psalm makes their dilemma belong to God by using “You,” “Your,” “Yours” some 34 times. Had the people thought of their sinful actions as directly reflecting upon God, and repented before, this might not have had to happen. God did not cast them off “forever,” for Jews and Gentiles are the people of God today in Jesus Christ (Romans 11:1-5; 1:16-17; 6:3-7). It takes destruction to drive stubborn sinners to their knees, causing them to appeal to God for forgiveness. Suddenly, they acknowledge they are the “sheep of Your pasture (verse 1); it is His “purchased” “congregation,” His “redeemed” “tribe” of “inheritance,” and His worship place “Mount Zion”(verse 2)! God’s People had improperly changed their worship of God, but now wanted something done because the enemy had: “damaged everything in the sanctuary” (verse 3) but left it standing; set banners of false gods in God’s “meeting place” (verse 4); because Solomon’s temple and palace were structured with cedar, often gold-plated (1 Kings 6:21-22), the Egyptians hacked their way through (verses 5-6), burning up their rubble (verses 7-8). The expression “meeting places” is the same as “assemblies” (verses 4, 8), and not the total destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, itself. Why can’t people see that to destroy worship practices God has given is no different than an outsider “defiling” the sacred elements of that worship? The same Scriptures that detail the sanctity of worship also demand the sacredness of assemblies. To violate one is the same as violating the other. NOW, after what an enemy has done, God’s People become keenly aware that God is not with them through: prophecy (verse 9), reaction to reviling (verse 10), or protection (verse 11)? They should have noticed this when they left the LORD.

    Verses 12-23: The people, not God, needed this reminder of God’s past dealings. This is simply a re-study of Scriptures, for when God is King to His People (as Jehovah), He saves (verse 12). In verse 13, He parted the Red Sea for Israelites (Exodus 14:21-31), then drowned Pharaoh’s army, whose “gods” were “sea serpents” (Exodus 7:8-13); later in time from Shishak, God would describe Pharaoh as “like a monster in the seas” (Ezekiel 32:2), so verse 14 pictures Pharaoh as a broken Leviathan head. When God is recognized as Creator (Elohim), He: broke fountain and flood in Noah’s day (verse 15; Genesis 6-9), and has “dried up mighty rivers,” such as the flooded Jordan (Joshua 3:14-17); made day and night and light and sun (verse 16; Genesis 1:3-5, 14-19); set earth’s borders and seasons (verse 17; Acts 17:26; Genesis 8:22).

    God’s People may become foolish, but an enemy is “a foolish people” who reproach and blaspheme God’s Name (verse 18); would be a “wild beast” to the “turtledove” Jews (verse 19); would provide cruel homes for a covenant people (verse 20). God’s People needed to be freed so they might praise God’s Name (verse 21); enemies vanquished because they increase in reproaches and riots against God (verse 22-23).

    Lesson: The only way to correct corrupt practices is to return to God’s Word!

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:35 am on 2012-12-24 Permalink | Reply
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    Psalm 71 

    Vs. 1-13 contain a prayer to God;

    Vs. 14-24 contain praise of God.

    Psalm 71 contains a number of verses from previous Psalms which have been identified as David’s. Those Davidic verses will be cited in brackets for comparison. Hence, this could easily have been another Psalm authored by David, who was in “old age” (verse 9) and “old and grayheaded” (verse 18).

    Verses 1-13: David could trust life, security, and the future into the hand of God (verses 1-3 [31:1-3]); God is asked to deliver from a “wicked,” “unrighteous,” “cruel” man (verses 4-5 [140:1,4]); trust in God begins in childhood (verse 5); it’s good that God “took me out of my mother’s womb” (verse 6 [22:9-10]) and not a partial birth advocate (!); “wonder” (verses 7-8) refers to a work of God; the plea (verse 9) is to not be “cast off” in his “old age,” or forsaken when he is weak; the enemies misrepresent the character of both God and David (verses 10-11 [56:5-6; 31:13; 83:3-5; 3:2]); David appeals to God to be near and hurry (verse 12 [22:11, 19; 38:21-22; 40:13]); desires that the adversaries know opposition from God (verse 13 [35:4, 26; 40:14].

    Verses 14-24: David promises to serve God in the future: “will hope,” “will praise,” shall tell,” “will go,” “will make mention.” Our unquenchable hope in God (verse 14) should elicit undying praise of God, though “aged” praise of God should not be left to another generation; telling of God’s righteousness and salvation should be continuous “all the day” (verse 15 [35:28; 40:5]); to “go in the strength of the LORD God” means simply to rely upon God (verse 16) and God’s righteousness, not ours, should be the subject; what we learn early in life (verse 17 [26:7]) we are prone to remember and declare; though “old and grayheaded” our task isn’t completed unless we teach “this generation,”  and the one “to come” (verse 18) God’s “strength,” “power,” and “righteousness”; in verses 19-21, God is above all for there is none like Him, He repeatedly delivers “from the depths of the earth,” and can “comfort me on every side;” true to form, David sings praises to God “with the lute” and “with the harp” (verse 22), but he uses his “lips” to do the singing (verse 23), and his “tongue” to talk (verse 24); David’s foes are “confounded,” that is, confused, to see their enemy helped by God, and “brought to shame,” that is downcast by guilt, for what they have been doing.

    Some phrases have worked themselves into our everyday conversations: “all the day” (verses 8, 15); “all the day long” (verse 24); “more and more” (verse 14); “in the strength of the LORD God” (verse 16); “old and grayheaded” (verse 18).

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:27 am on 2012-12-20 Permalink | Reply
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    Psalm 69 

    Vs. 1-4: David presents his woes to God;

    Vs. 5-12: David’s zealous obedience to God created the problems;

    Vs. 13-18: David’s heartfelt plea for God to step in with help;

    Vs. 19-21: David’s hurts caused by his enemies;

    Vs. 22-28: David calls for God’s wrath to come upon them;

    Vs. 29-36: David offers praise to God who looks after His “prisoners.”

    The inspired Apostle Paul quoted Psalm 69:22-23 in Romans 11:9-10 with the words “And David says.” That ends all speculation as to authorship. Psalm 69 is quoted more in the New Testament than most other chapters in the Old Testament. Directly related to Jesus’ life are: Psalm 69:4 (John 15:25); Psalm 69:9 (John 2:17); Psalm 69:9 (Romans 15:3). Not quoted, these verses describe things done in Jesus’ life: Psalm 69:8 (John 1:11; 7:5); Psalm 69:21 (Matthew 27:34; Mark 15:36; Luke 23:36; John 19:28-30). These quotes relate to God’s plan for Jesus: Psalm 69:22-23 (Romans 11:9-10) show God’s plan always was to include Gentiles; Psalm 69:25 (Acts 1:20) describes Judas Iscariot.

    Verses 1-4: David’s desperation is described as a drowning man; his cries have dried out his throat; his enemies hate him, though unprovoked by offense that he has committed.

    Verses 5-12: David’s appeal is based on his: verses 5-6, integrity, which God certainly would know; verses 7-9, zealous obedience; verses 10-12 shameful treatment by his enemies.

    Verses 13-18: David’s prayer and desire is for God to: verses 13-15, hear and deliver him from this terrible situation; verses 16-18, “draw near to my soul.”

    Verses 19-21: David’s deep wounds include: “reproach,” “shame,” “dishonor,” “broken heart,” “heaviness,” pitiless, comfortless, being mistreated.

    Verses 22-28: Here, David speaks for himself, for he asks for retribution, a far cry from Jesus Christ on the cross who said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). Payback to David included: verse 22, their prosperity “become a snare;” verse 22, their “well-being a trap;” verse 23, darkened eyes means darkened/dim understanding (Ephesians 4:17-20); verse 24, God’s “indignation,” and “wrathful anger;” verse 25, a wiped out land. This request is upon enemies who have abandoned God (verses 26-28).

    Verses 29-36: David presents his humility from which he will praise God, which is better than animal sacrifice (verses 29-31). God said in Hosea 6:6: “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” Dedication must accompany, and be the basis for, the sacrifices of worship. Christians should remember that: “here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:14-16). Good works are useless without the sacrifices in worship, but worship is meaningless without a consistent service of good works. That God “hears the poor” (verse 32-33) shows no one is unimportant to God who serves Him. Verses 34-36 point universal praise to God because His future plan pointed through Israel to Jesus Christ.

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:44 am on 2012-12-13 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , enemies,   

    Psalm 64 

    Vs. 1-6 picture David’s enemies “secretly” plotting against him;

    Vs. 7-10 show God’s response and men’s reactions.

    There is reason to think this Psalm was written while King David’s son, Absalom, plotted his overthrow (2 Samuel 15:7-13), but though the names change, the situation prompting this Psalm happen continually: wicked people plot to destroy those obedient to God: “Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him. But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all” (Matthew 12:14-15).

    Verses 1-6: David seeks relief from “fear of the enemy,” because fear is an enemy of faith. Jesus rebuked Peter with: “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31). God told Israel: “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God” (Isaiah 41:10). David’s “fear” is caused by “secret plots of the wicked” and open “rebellion of the workers of iniquity.” Tongues that speak sharply-piercing words; launch “bitter words” like arrows “at the blameless;” and who “do not fear.” Words can be weapons of mass destruction: “He who speaks truth declares righteousness, But a false witness, deceit. There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, But the tongue of the wise promotes health. The truthful lip shall be established forever, But a lying tongue is but for a moment” (Proverbs 12:17-19). There is nothing permanent about some people’s words except the hurt they inflict on others! Verse 5 shows the wicked emboldened by: boasting among themselves; making secret plans; thinking they are hidden from judgment. This verse dissects bullies, gangs, tyrants, dictators, back-room politicians, socialists, religious leaders, ad nauseum. In the shopping cart of the perverse, one finds “maliciousness,” “whisperers,” “backbiters, haters of God,” “boasters,” “unmerciful,” and whether cloaked in government, religion, news, entertainment, “those who practice such things are deserving of death” (Romans 1:29-32). What happens in Vegas (or anywhere else, for that matter!) DOES NOT STAY THERE! The wicked could accomplish much good if, as in verse 6, they spent their time and energy planning to do good!

    Verse 7-10: The best lesson for bullies of every stripe is for them to learn they, too, can be hurt! God will “fire back” at them and they will “suddenly” discover nothing is hidden from God! “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). Verse 8 is later spoken by Solomon: “The wicked is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, But the righteous will come through trouble” (Proverbs 12:13). Verse 9 states what the Apostle Paul will write in Romans 14:10-12: “For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: ‘As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.” According to verse 10, as certainly as the unrepentant wicked will be damned, the righteous will be forever blessed.

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:37 am on 2012-12-12 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , enemies, ,   

    Psalm 63 

    Vs. 1-2 show David seeking God;

    Vs. 3-6 show David satisfaction with God;

    Vs. 7-8 acknowledge God’s past help;

    Vs. 9-11 state David’s faith in God’s present help;

    This Psalm of David fits with his flight through a wilderness of Judah from his rebellious son, Absalom (2 Samuel 15:14-30). Many beautiful Psalms are written out of duress or trouble, and show how humble and frail we really are. Some of the best times to worship God are when we are at our lowest.

    Verses 1-2: David’s personal relationship with God (“my God”), his eagerness (“Early”), his deep desire (“soul thirsts,” “my flesh longs”), describe his need to find God (“in the sanctuary”). “Sanctuary” is a sacred place appointed by God for His presence to be represented. God told Israel, through Moses; “And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it” (Exodus 25:8-9). The “sanctuary” for Christians is not a building, but an assembly of the church of Christ. It was to the “church of God at Corinth” that God said: “For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people” (2 Corinthians 1:1; 6:16). Jesus’ followers, like David, are blessed “who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).

    Verses 3-6: One must truly be blinded to the truth to speak of the Old Testament God as hate-filled and war-mongering, but the New Testament God as loving and forgiving. What, then, happens to David’s reference to this God as having “lovingkindness?” It is “lovingkindness” which prompts David to “praise,” “bless,” and “lift up [his] hands” to God. In “a dry and thirsty land,” David finds spiritual satisfaction (“as with marrow and fatness”); though “there is no water,” David’s mouth can “praise” God; all night long, David can find comfort in God’s care. Physical help did come, however (2 Samuel 17:27-29).

    Verses 7-8: Based upon God’s protection in the past (“have been my help”), David again seeks shelter under God’s “wings,” his “soul” following God’s direction, feeling supported by God’s “right hand.” These physical allusions to God as if He had a physical body are purely a human using physical terms to understand how important God really is.

    Verses 9-11: To “go into the lower parts of the earth” clearly indicates that David’s enemies would die; and that “they shall fall by the sword” shows their deaths would be connected with violence; and that “they shall be a portion for jackals” predicts their loneliness in death, for their bodies are left to wildlife, which happened in 2 Samuel 18:6-8 . David’s praise for God will continue, but death will stop the “lies” of his persecutors. Solomon’s wisdom would say: “A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who speaks lies will not escape” (Proverbs 19:5).

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:58 am on 2012-12-06 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , enemies,   

    Psalm 59 

    Vs. 1-7 describe the aggressiveness of David’s enemies;

    Vs. 8-15 show what God can do to defend the righteous;

    Vs. 16-17 praise God for His deliverance.

    This Psalm reflects David’s spiritual emotion when King Saul has surrounded his house to catch him when he tries to flee. Though married to Saul’s daughter, she now loves her husband and assists his escape (1 Samuel 19:8-18).

    Verses 1-7: In verses 1-2, David prays for salvation from: “my enemies,” “those who rise up against me,” “workers of iniquity,” “bloodthirsty men.” All of these terms later describe those who finally crucify Jesus Christ (Luke 11:23; John 13:18; 19:11; Luke 13:27; Matthew 27:25). Verses 3-4 show familiar evil traits as in Psalm 56: 5-6, except this is an attack on his life, not just his words. Their plan here is: “lie in wait for my life,” “gather against me,” “run and prepare themselves.” This, clearly, is not through any fault of David (“Not for my transgression nor for my sin”). David did sin, but not to cause this. Jesus Christ never sinned, yet had this same attack made upon Him. How wicked can anyone become who would reject the only perfect person who ever lived? Verse 5 calls for no mercy, but Jesus later would cry: “”Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34), and they would be offered salvation that repented and were baptized to be saved (Acts 2:38). Verses 6-7 show the enemies “return” (are persistent), “growl” (vicious), “go all around the city” (seeking victims), “belch with their mouth” (bark to spread fear), “swords” (destructive intent), all because they have no fear of God! Romans 3:10-18 show how people get to that point of sinfulness.

    Verses 8-15: The enemies’ approach is laughable to God and those whom He protects (verses 8-9). In verse 10, David shows how personal God’s defense is when he calls Him “my God of mercy.” The “OMG” in verse 1, as this expression, is always uttered with respect, not mindless profanity! God’s slow destruction of them is a visual lesson few will forget (verse 11). Ungodly nations that crumble, rather than immediately fall, are included in History books (ex. Persia, Greece, Rome, Germany, Russia, America). Enemies would fall because of their teaching, pride, profanity (verse 12-13), and that God brings them down proves God IS! Verses 14-15 show the wicked persist because they refuse to learn their lesson. Solomon said, “The wise in heart will receive commands, But a prating fool will fall” (Proverbs 10:8).

    Verses 16-17: When God comes through for David, David rejoices and will “sing praises” and no mention is made of this being accompanied with his musical instruments! Interesting, isn’t it, that when James writes of Christians rejoicing with psalms, he says: “Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms” (James 5:13)?

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted. 

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:14 am on 2012-12-05 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , enemies, ,   

    Psalm 58 

    Vs. 1-5 show how thoroughly wicked some may become;

    Vs. 6-9 ask God to dismantle the strengths of the wicked;

    Vs. 10-11 mention how satisfied the righteous are when that is done.

    Verses 1-5: In verses 1-2, David shows his disgust at corruption in judicial matters. “You silent ones” in Hebrew can also be “you gods” reflecting the presumed elevated position judges should occupy. Jesus based an argument on the coordination of Bible teaching when He quoted Psalm 82:6 as “You are gods, And all of you are children of the Most High” (John 10:33-38). “Judges” were being addressed, and they had abandoned their adherence to God’s Law, thus could not be counted on to make right judgments! In verse 3, the wicked are “speaking lies” as soon as they become “wicked” and “go astray.” Since newborns do not “speak,” this figure of speech will not permit the doctrine of “inherited sin” or “total depravity.” Rather, this verse shows that as quickly as possible, people leave the goodness of God’s Law for the evil of the Devil’s way, but this is not the condition of the baby at birth! The baby’s condition is not sinful, but the world into which he is born! Verses 4-5 describe David’s generation, just as Jesus later would do (Matthew 12:24; 23:33). Like snakes, they inject poison designed to destroy; they strike without listening (Ecclesiastes 10:11; Jeremiah 8:17); they attack when they are not being “charmed.” In other words, the wicked are wicked regardless of what the righteous may, or may not, say to them. People act wickedly when there have been no cross words, heated exchanges, pathetic offensive videos, or religious debates set before them!

    Verses 6-9: In verses 6-8, God is asked to destroy every troubling advantage the wicked may have by: making them toothless predators; drained off waters; broken arrows; diminishing snails; and dead babies! Since God says, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay” (Romans 12:19), David shows what vengeance one is entitled to ask God for! Verse 9 shows how quickly this could happen, before a “pot” could heat up over burning thorns!

    Verses 10-11: The “righteous shall rejoice” to know God will not save the wicked, but they will pay for what evils they have done. David will say more in Psalm 139:19-22: “Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God! Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men. For they speak against You wickedly; Your enemies take Your name in vain. Do I not hate them, O LORD, who hate You? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies.” And again in Psalm 119:104: “Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.” It is a broken society that would “hate good and love evil” (Micah 3:2).

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:54 am on 2012-12-04 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , enemies,   

    Psalm 57 

    Vs. 1-6 show David stating his problem before God;

    Vs. 7-11 show David’s confidence in God’s response.

    With King Saul in hot pursuit, “David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam” (1 Samuel 22:1). While in a cave of retreat and defeat, David probably composed this Psalm, and 400 men, including his own family, joined him and began his climb to the throne.

    Verses 1-6: The tender picture of God’s “wings” overshadowing a frightened David would be later termed by Jesus as He pictured Jerusalem: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37). In verse 2, David says God “performs,” which means “God completes” whatever needs to be done, in this case, David’s deliverance. Those who would “swallow me up” indicated the butchery at heart of his enemies. Micah 3:1-4 uses the same sentiment, but shows it to be figuratively used for both Northern and Southern Kingdoms turn on each other to rob of all they have as though they were cannibals! David’s enemies are savage (“lions”), hate-filled (“set on fire”), vicious in language (“teeth are spears and arrows”), and heart-ugly (“tongue a sharp sword”). They had “prepared a net” and “dug a pit” for David, but as is often the case, fell into it themselves. “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, And he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him” (Proverbs 26:27).

    Verses 7-11: David would not take his heart from before the LORD, but kept it  “steadfast,” and ready to “sing and give praise.” In verse 8, David speaks to his musical instruments: “Awake, lute and harp!” Clearly, even David did NOT include his musical instruments whenever he said “sing,” for they were an addition to his vocal praise of God! This, then, is yet another reference to such instruments left behind in Moses’ Law, for Jesus “has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14). Verse 9 points to David’s hope for the future, when God would be praised “among the peoples,” and “among the nations,” both frequently referring to “Gentiles,” which has happened since the church of Christ (the “kingdom of God” Acts 8:12) began in Acts 2. In verses 10-11, God’s “mercy,” “truth,” and “glory” are above the earth and cannot be tainted by anything that happens down here. For God to be “exalted” “above the heavens” means that no scientific discovery, no scientist, no human, can ever see, control, reach or ruin the “Most High.”

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 3:30 am on 2012-12-03 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , enemies   

    Psalm 56 

    Vs. 1-4 speak of the continual problem of David: enemies were relentless;

    Vs. 5-7 tell us what “they” say;

    Vs. 8-13 acknowledge what God has done and will do to save David.

    Verses 1-4: Because God has not abandoned David, David certainly hasn’t abandoned God! According to verse 3, fear of enemies should bring out the best in a believer! David’s disdain for what enemies have power to do is allowed by his confidence in what God has power to do. Verse 4 (and verse 11 uses “man” for “flesh”), says, “In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?” This is quoted in Hebrews 13:5-6 and is true for Christians, as well.

    Verses 5-7: “They:” “twist my words;” focus all their evil thoughts against David; gather, secretly spy for some way to trap him; seek to ambush him and kill him. David’s life, as seen through these Psalms, foreshadows Jesus Christ, who later had enemies characterized the same way. “So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor” (Luke 20:20). This constant deliverance of David from his enemies simply demonstrates how hostile the “world” is toward those who serve God. Again, Jesus taught, “”If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also” (John 15:18-20). In verse 7, he asks: “Shall they escape by iniquity?” He then calls for God to punish them.

    Verses 8-13: God keeps a tally of how often David has to flee his enemies, how much sorrow they cause, and a book of their misdeeds toward God’s anointed. In verses 9-10, the enemies know to cower when God is called into the fray. For Jesus, this is illustrated in John 18:1-6. In Corinth, the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision saying, “I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city” (Acts 18:10). Verses 12 & 13 show the covenant between David and God, for David commits himself to honor his own vow to God, and continues to respect God for delivering David. Today, Christians should respect their covenant relationship with God (Hebrews 8:6-7).

     All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
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