Monday, June 13, 2011

Psalm 144

What is Man? 

Psalm 144 is the last of the "imprecatory" ('to call down a curse') psalms.  The psalms that we have studied of this type (Ps. 7, 35, 40, 55, 58-59, 69,79, 109, 137, 144) invoke divine judgment on one's enemies.  If they should seem unreasonably harsh to the reader, consider these things:
  1. they call for divine justice rather than human vengeance
  2. they ask for God to punish the wicked and thus vindicate His righteousness
  3. they condemn sin
  4. even Jesus calls down a curse on several cities and tells His disciples to curse cities that do not receive the gospel (see Matt. 10:14-15)
In these imprecatory psalms, David begs that God will give judgment upon his persecutors in His faithfulness as Judge of right and wrong.  
In Psalm 144:
  • David acknowledges with triumph and thankfulness the great goodness of God to him in advancing him to the government of Israel
  • He prays to God to help against the enemies who threaten him
  • He rejoices in the assurance of victory over them
  • He prays for the prosperity of his own kingdom
As a king & commander of the army, King David praises God
for helping him in those responsibilities.

I love the way in verse 1 that David acknowledges his dependence upon God.  May we follow his example in all things!

Verses 3-4 talk of the brevity of life, which should serve as a reminder to us curb pride and arrogance.  We should also note that, though brief and fragile, our lives are of supreme concern to God.  
Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him?
Man is like a breath,
His days are like a passing shadow.
~ Ps. 144:3-4

Happy are the people whose God is the Lord.
~ Ps. 144:15


In verse 15, other Bible translations use the word "blessed" or "joyful." 
Such were His people . . . but they had Jehovah for their God; and in Him had a ceaseless fountain of strength, protection, earthly blessings, and eternal mercies! ~ Clarke

Why not take a minute to pause today and truly meditate on what it means to have God, Yahweh, the God of the Universe, as your Lord! 

John Gill makes this observation regarding God's children:
Yes, happy is that people whose God is the Lord.  Not only their Creator, but as their God in covenant . . .  whom He has loved, chosen, redeemed, adopted, justified, pardoned, regenerated, and sanctified; for all that God has are theirs; all His perfections are on their side and for their good; He is their portion, shield, reward, and their all in all; His covenant, its blessings and promises, are all theirs. 
The Lord takes care of them, sets a guard about them, resents all injuries done them, prevents the designs of their enemies, makes all things work together for their good, provides all things necessary for them for time and eternity, and will be their God and guide even unto death; covenant interest always continues, and therefore such must be ever happy.                ~ John Gill
AMEN and AMEN !!!

WHAT CAN I LEARN ABOUT GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:
  • God is my Rock, my lovingkindness, my fortress, my high tower, my shield, my refuge
  • God fights my battles and rescues me from my enemies
  • God is my Lord, and the benefits of being His child fill me with joy
 HOW CAN I PRAISE GOD THROUGH THIS PSALM:
  • I praise God that my battles, my times, my life, are in His hand
  • I bless God that He is my Lord - of the unspeakable joy that is mine because I am His!
PRAYER:  remember Day 1 of our Psalms study?  We talked about using the Psalms study to improve our prayer life - by praying each day's Psalm - praying God's words - back to Him.  Pastor Bob Hostetler does an excellent job praying Psalm 144 back to the Lord:   

Praise be to You, LORD my Rock,
You are my loving God
and my sure defense,
my castle keep,
and my reinforcement,
my armor and my shield,
in whom I am kept safe.
You lay my enemies low.

I don't know why you care for me,
why you give me a thought.
Like all men, my life is here today,
gone tomorrow.
My whole life span is not even a blink
of eternity's eye.

But you do care for me, Lord,
you do take thought of me.
So come, O LORD, come down.
Rip open the skies and come down;
stand on the mountains, so that they smoke.
Throw your lightning bolts
and scatter all who attack and oppress your people.

Reach down your hand from on high;
lift me out of the flooding waters
and save me from all who lie
and do evil.

Give me yet another new song to sing to you, God;
add one more praise song to my repertoire,
one more victory chant to praise you with.

Continue to build up my son
and make him a mighty oak;
continue to make my daughters
like a marble pillar in righteousness.

Empty me and mine,
to make room for your provision.
Teach me to give freely
out of all you have given to me.
Make my church a tithing church, Lord.
Make me and mine a people of faith
and generosity
and sacrifice
and joy.

Let there be no disunity
or deception
or disobedience
in our midst.

Give us the gift of Instant Obedience, Lord.
Grant that we may do what you say
the moment you say it.

Blessed are the people of whom this is true;
blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!


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