|Series Theme: Meditations in the Psalms of David|
Meditation Title: Overview
|Series Theme: Meditations in the Psalms of David|
Meditation No. 13
Meditation Title: Safety – Psa 16
Psa 16:1 Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge.
There are times when you can take a breather and sit back and take stock of life and give thanks as you look back over the years, for the Lord's goodness which has always been there. Although the first line of this psalm starts off in ways similar to many of the psalms when David is under pressure from others, that is not the case of this psalm; it is more an illustration of those reflections I referred to just now.
“Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge.” (v.1) Yes, that is a familiar starting point for David, for life was so often stressful for him and he had learned to draw near to the Lord and find security in Him. He reflects on his relationship with the Lord: “I said to the LORD, "You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” (v.2) As he shared his heart in fellowship with the Lord he acknowledged the great ‘I AM' as the lord over his life but as he did that, he realised it wasn't a harsh subservient thing but he was, in fact, on the end of constant blessing and that every good thing he had, he had because of the Lord.
He thought of his life in Israel and of his people, “As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.” (v.3) He thought fondly of those who openly followed the Lord and who brought joy to his heart. But of course, not everyone was like that, there were those who didn't follow the Lord and they caused him to say, “The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods. I will not pour out their libations of blood or take up their names on my lips.” (v.4) He sees their struggles and strife will only increase as they turn to gods who are not God and he will not share in their pagan rites or even mention those pagan deities. He will have nothing to do with them.
No, he is aware of the goodness he has experienced through the Lord and turns to Him: “LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” (v.5,6) What a beautiful testimony. The Lord has decreed his station in life and has made him secure in it and the lines of demarcation for his life, have resulted in his life being a ‘pleasant place', a ‘delightful inheritance'. Can we say that about our lives, about where the Lord has brought us to?
He is aware of the Lord's goodness in provision and also in His guidance: “I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.” (v.7) God counsels or guides or instructs him, and the heart the Lord has given him, tells him what is right, even at night when he ponders over the day that has been and the things he has done, as well as the day ahead and how he will act in it.
He knows why this is: “I have set the LORD always before me.” (v.8a) The Lord is the central focus of his life and he imagines the Lord in front of him at all times, and he is never alone. But more than that, it is as if the Lord stands next to him as his protector: “Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken .” (v.8b) He is there and His very presence brings a sense of security so that nothing will shake him.
This truth is all-compassing: “Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;” (v.9a) Because of the wonder of all this, he finds joy bubbling in him, the joy of the Lord. This sense of the Lord's goodness is a wonderful thing and it is only the emotionally stunted who will not break out in joy.
But this sense of joy and security has physical implications as well: “ my body also will rest secure because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.” (v.9b,10) Now for David I think those words must have been meant with the rider, “at the present”, because I'm sure he wasn't giving any indication about an eternal future for himself with the thought that he would never die. No, it is far more likely that he simply meant this as a colloquial way of saying, “You're going to keep me safe.” Yet when we come to the New Testament we find Peter using this verse in his Spirit-led message on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:27) and Paul speaking in the synagogue at Pisidian Antioch.(Acts 13:35,36) both referring to Jesus' resurrection.
David concludes, “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (v.11) There are here past, present and future references in his testimony. When he says, “You have made known to me the path of life,” there is an echo of what he realises the Lord has done for him so far in his life, to know life in God's presence and with God's help. When he says, “you will fill me with joy in your presence,” it has a sense of the wonder of daily life now and in the years to come, expressed as “eternal pleasures at your right hand,” the goodness and the wonder of the eternal God brought into his life, and experience that can only be apprehended and comprehended by faith.
|Series Theme: Meditations in the Psalms of David|
Meditation No. 14
Meditation Title: Vindicate me – Psa 17
Psa 17:1,2 Hear, O LORD, my righteous plea; listen to my cry. Give ear to my prayer--
it does not rise from deceitful lips. May my vindication come from you; may your eyes see what is right.
Each of David's psalms have a different emphasis. In this one he makes a plea to the Lord but then justifies or vindicates himself. He starts out in these first two verses with a threefold cry for the Lord to ‘hear', to ‘listen' and to ‘give ear' to his ‘righteous plea', his ‘cry', his ‘prayer'. For David his prayer here is a cry that is a righteous plea.
But then comes the first hint at self-vindication: “ it does not rise from deceitful lips.” (v.1b) The implication is that others speak deceitfully but he doesn't. In the face of this feeling, he asks the Lord, “May my vindication come from you; may your eyes see what is right.” (v.2) Now that suggests that people are saying wrong things about him, and so he asks the Lord to intervene and vindicate him, for the Lord sees and knows everything, and so knows the truth about him.
Which then leads him into three verses of self-vindication. It is a bold man who can say these things to the Lord. Listen to this: “Though you probe my heart and examine me at night, though you test me, you will find nothing; I have resolved that my mouth will not sin.” (v.3) Remember he started saying his prayer did not come from ‘deceitful lips'. He is very conscious of having to speak righteously and so he is able to say now, check me out, Lord, and see that I have not sinned with my lips.
But righteousness is more than merely speaking rightly; it also involves behaving rightly: “As for the deeds of men-- by the word of your lips I have kept myself from the ways of the violent.” (v.4) This is interesting because David is a warrior and fighting has filled much of his life, yet, again and again, as you read of his life, he grieves over the deaths of his enemies - Saul, Jonathan, Abner and Absalom. Yes, he may be a warrior but he has not got a violent spirit. So much of his fighting was in defending himself and his people from those who would seek to destroy him.
So he is able to say, “My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not slipped.” (v.6) In his walk in life he has held to those words spoken of him, ‘a man after God's own heart'. Yes, he did eventually fail in temptation with Bathsheba and he was clearly imperfect in bringing about a godly nation, yet his heart intent had always been to walk with the Lord. Note in passing, the difference between heart intent and the rare sin can comes from a temporary lapse.
But then he comes again with a further threefold plea to the Lord: “I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer,” (v.6) and then he makes a general request: “Show the wonder of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes.” (v.7) He know the Lord saves those who take refuge in Him, so he asks Him to express His love to him: “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings from the wicked who assail me, from my mortal enemies who surround me.” (v.8,9) He asks the Lord to ‘keep' and ‘hide' him from his enemies. Now we are getting to the heart of this prayer. It's taken a while but it is yet another of David's requests to be delivered from his enemies. The following verses speak of them and of his need for deliverance from them.
“They close up their callous hearts, and their mouths speak with arrogance.” (v.10) This is what they are like: hard hearted and arrogant, and because of that they have come after the righteous one: “They have tracked me down, they now surround me, with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground.” (v.11) This sounds like one of those occasions when Saul's army has pursued him, but he is not specific. He is surrounded and he knows they just want to get him down, and he remembers what he's seen in his early days as a shepherd: “They are like a lion hungry for prey, like a great lion crouching in cover.” (v.12) He is put in mind of the lion coming to ravish his sheep and so these pursuers are out to get and destroy him.
Thus he pleads for deliverance: “Rise up, O LORD, confront them, bring them down; rescue me from the wicked by your sword.” (v.13) May they be confronted (even as he is by them) and may they be brought down (even as they want to do with him). They are wicked and he is righteous and thus he calls on the Lord to deliver him: “O LORD, by your hand save me from such men, from men of this world whose reward is in this life.” (v.14a) These men only look to the rewards that they can get from what they achieve in this life by their own violence, victory over their enemies, but their enemy is a man of God and so he can call on his Lord for protection and deliverance.
As he prays this, yet again as in so many other psalms, he comes to a place of assurance. First of all it is in respect of what he knows about the Lord and His goodness: “You still the hunger of those you cherish; their sons have plenty, and they store up wealth for their children.” (v.14b) The Lord provides for his children and (by implication) David being his child will receive His provision, this time in the form of protection and deliverance. He concludes, “And I--in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.” (v.15) He has come to the place of assurance that because of his righteousness, being a child of God, he will see and know the Lord so that in the morning when the Lord comes, David will be satisfied and reassured that all is well, his Lord is there for him and he will be delivered.
|Series Theme: Meditations in the Psalms of David|
Meditation No. 15
Meditation Title: Triumph – Psa 18
Psa 18:3 I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies .
With 50 verses this must be the longest of David's psalms and is also found in 2 Sam 22. The heading over it tells us that it was written by David after he was delivered from his enemies and from the hand of Saul . Because of its length we will deal with it in parts rather than in individual verses.
Verses 1-3: A declaration of love of the Lord (v.1) who David sees as his protection (v.2), who he calls on, praises, and through whom knows deliverance from his enemies.(v.3)
Verses 4-6: The cause for his prayer – that he feels he was facing death (v.4,5) and when he called to the Lord, He heard (v.6).
Verses 7-15: The phenomena of the Lord's coming . There is a shaking (v.7) and fire (v.8) as the Lord descends from the heavens (v.9,10) coming through the clouds (v.11), the brightness of His glory breaks through, pushing the clouds, hail and lightning ahead of it (v.12). He speaks with a loud voice (v.13), with arrows of lightning He scatters His enemies (v.14) and all is laid bare before Him (v.15).
Verses 16-19: The Lord's specific dealings with David . He lifted David out of the circumstances that were threatening to drown him (v.16), rescuing him from his enemies (v.17) who had confronted David with disaster (v.18a), being his support (v.18b) and deliverer (v.19a), simply because the Lord delighted in him (v.19b)
Verses 20-24: David's justification of that last statement . The Lord has blessed and delivered him because he is righteous and clean (v.20), for he has kept the Lord's ways and not turned to evil (v.21) and has not turned away from any of the Lord's laws (v.22) and have thus kept himself blameless and free from sin (v.23) and for this the Lord has rewarded him (v.24). What a section of confidence!
Verses 25-27: General principles of the Lord's ways . He matches what He finds in His people and blesses them accordingly.
Verses 28 & 29: David's personal testimony in the face of all this . The Lord shows him the way, making all things clear (v.28), and so with the Lord's help he can achieve anything as an army commander (v.29).
Verses 30-36: David's general testimony about the Lord . The Lord's way is perfect and He is a shield and refuge for those who turn to Him (v.30), and there is no other like this (v.31) who gives David strength and guides him perfectly (v.32), giving him strength and agility (v.33) and strength and ability (v.34), enabling him to triumph (v.35) and have a clear and firm path ahead (v.36).
Verses 37-45: David's specific testimony of how it all worked out. He was able to triumph over his enemies (v.37-42), he was delivered from being under the pressure of enemies to being over them (v.43) so they now obey him (v.44) and come fearfully before him in subjection (v.45).
Verses 46-50: Final testimony and praise to the Lord . May the Lord who lives be praised (v.46), a God who deals with His enemies (v.47) and who has rescued David from his enemies (v.48). Therefore David will praise Him (v.49) for He has given David victory and blessed him with His kindness which both he and his descendants will know for ever (v.50).
This is one of those passages of Scripture that, being poetry or song, is a combination of material fact and allegory and personification. It tells how David had been under pressure from enemies, even with his life under threat, and how he had called out to the Lord. It is then in very graphic and flowery language that he imagines how the Lord came, but the outcome is clear and specific- he is delivered. Along with this are some specific principles in respect of how the Lord works with people. Individual verses make this an amazing source of material for profound meditation. It comes out of one man's experiences and testimony of the Lord and brings much amazing revelation. Spend time on it if you can.
|Series Theme: Meditations in the Psalms of David|
Meditation No. 16
Meditation Title: Meditation – Psa 19
Psa 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
In this psalm David ponders on the wonder of the Creation, particularly the skies, and then on God's design and the rules He has given to His people by which to live. It is a meditation on the Lord and the wonder of what He has given us.
As we considered in psalm 8, we can imagine David the shepherd boy out on the hillside looking after his father's sheep, and it is a cloudless night. He looks up with wonder; “ The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” (v.1) Looking at the sky at night especially leaves you wondering: this must be the work of God. It is like they shout to us, we are the handiwork of a purposeful all-wise and all-powerful Creator. As we commented before, you have to be emotionally dead not to look at such a clear night sky and not be moved.
But maybe it's not only at night. Maybe the night started him thinking like this, so he continues the thoughts in the day as he sees the enormity of the clouds and, whether it is day or night, it's like they call to us to think on God: “Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.” (v.2) The more we see through big telescopes the more we should wonder like this.
And this is the same wherever you go in the world: “There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.” (v.3) It doesn't matter what nation you are in around the world, what language surrounds you, it is just the same: “Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” (v.4)
Then, in the day, he ponders on the wonder of our Sun. It's like the sky is a tent, a home for it, but it is not stationary. “In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun.” (v.4b) He likens it to various pictures of men arriving in their splendor: “which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.” (v.5) These men, a bridegroom or a champion runner, both arrive heralded by the acclaims of those who await them. So it is with us and the sun as it does its daily circuit: “It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.” (v.6) We await it eagerly every morning, and once it arrives it dominates the sky.
But David's mind then runs to the wisdom of the Lord who made all these things. He thinks on His design and then specifically His design for His people that He has conveyed in the Law given through Moses. In these next three verses observe the different words used for aspects of the Law: “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.” (v.7-9) Law – all the rules collectively and generally. Statutes – decreed requirements. Precepts – written order or requirement. Commands – instructions. Ordinances – a directive or decree. Some try to suggest different meanings for these different words but I suggest they simply suggest the variety of terminology that we use to refer to this all-important subject of rules for living and in this case, God's design rules for living. More importantly see what they do – revive the soul – making the simple wise – give joy to the heart – give light and understanding – and a sure description of the Lord's will, His directions for right living.
David then flows into what he feels about them: “They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.” (v.10) Precious and good tasting! They have good effect in his life: “By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” (v.11).
But as so often David is aware of his own moral frailty: “Who can discern his errors?” (v.12a) Therefore, to cover all his bases, “Forgive my hidden faults.” (v.12b) He realises however much he has set his heart after these things, he needs the Lord's help: “Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.” (v.13) How actually does the Lord do that? How do we participate in it? He actually draws us to Himself and our role is to draw near to Him. In His presence, in the awareness of His presence, it is difficult to sin!
Thus he concludes with a hope that what he has said, what he has on his heart, will be acceptable to the Lord: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (v.14) Amen!
|Series Theme: Meditations in the Psalms of David|
Meditation No. 17
Meditation Title: Personal Wishes – Psa 20
Psa 20:1 May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you .
The structure or direction of this psalm is unusual. In each of the first five verses, six times David makes a form of request that seems to be for others, starting with the word ‘May'. Remember that this is a man described as ‘a man after God's own heart' and we find David making heart expressions or desires. Now they may be for others or they may be for himself in his role as king. Those six ‘desires' or personal wishes are then followed by three verses about trust in the Lord, followed by one cry to the Lord.
So let's consider these six ‘May' desires. “ May the LORD answer you when you are in distress .” (v.1a) This speaks of a situation where a) we are in distress and b) we cry out (implied) to the Lord. ‘May' is softer than ‘He will'. It has an air of strong hope behind it, surely founded in his knowledge of the Lord. An answer from the Lord is his first desire and that is quickly followed by the form of that answer: “may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.” (v.1b) That is interesting; it is not ‘may the Lord protect you' but ‘may His name protect you'. Perhaps that is something like the protection of having the name of being a Roman or how having a British passport protects you. We come under the protection and authority of the Lord so heaven help those who seek our destruction!
But that is only the first stage, for David's desire continues to action coming from the Lord Himself: “May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion .” (v.2) Help and support comes from the very place of God's dwelling, the sanctuary in the Temple , and from the city itself, Zion . Does that suggest both spiritual and physical help?
Then he steps behind the actions to see what lies behind them: relationship. “May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings.” (v.3) Sacrifices and offerings were the human expression of that relationship, a response to the Law. So, says David, may the Lord hear you and respond to your cry, sending you the help you need, and may it be on the basis of the living relationship He has with you and you have with Him. A relationship is a two-sided thing. That is why it cannot apply to those who ignore or even reject the Lord. There can be no relationship there and so He is unable to bring the blessing He desires and reward their godlessness; it just wouldn't work!
But where there IS such a relationship with the Lord, then the godly heart can have a further desire: “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.” (v.4) Remember, such a desire, to be meaningful and realistic, must flow out of that genuine relationship with the Lord, and for that to exist, in us there must be a godly and righteous attitude that means we only want what the Lord wants for us. Thus the desire of our heart will be the desire of His heart and therefore we can expect His blessing on those desires and on our plans, so we can expect them to succeed.
The reality of the wonder of this will release faith in us which will be accompanied by a sense of wonder and joy: “We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.” (v.5a) This is real and this is tangible. The blessing of the Lord brings victory and victory brings rejoicing. There is a natural and practical flow in all this.
But he has one more final all-encompassing ‘desire': “May the LORD grant all your requests.” (v.5b) The fact that rejoicing separated this last one off from the others simply means that a) the reality of the others produces an emotion that cannot be contained and b) this finishing place is the same as the starting place and therefore encapsulates all that has gone before.
He then finds himself moving in assurance. It is the same as it is so often in David's psalms, as we've noted several times already: once he starts praying or laying it out before the Lord, he finds a sense of assurance flowing back from the Lord. This, surely, should be a common outworking of our praying.
“Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he answers him from his holy heaven with the saving power of his right hand.” (v.6) He knows he himself is the Lord's anointed and as he has expressed these desires, possibly for himself as if from outside himself, he has this strong assurance that God will save him and answer his requests that have come in this slightly unusual form.
He affirms the basis for his trust : “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” (v.7) Yes, others may trust in their armies but David knows the truth: all such armies are powerless against the Lord! “They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.” (v.8) That's the truth of it. They can appear mighty and powerful but they will be brought down by the Lord while we will be lifted up by the Lord.
So, back to prayer: “O LORD, save the king! Answer us when we call!” (v.9) We don't trust in prayer, but we trust in the Lord and as we pour out our needs to Him, so we find rising in us that assurance that He IS there on our case and because we are His people, He WILL act on our behalf. He wanted to anyway; He just wanted us to know it as well!
|Series Theme: Meditations in the Psalms of David|
Meditation No. 18
Meditation Title: Blessed & Assured – Psa 21
Psa 21:1,2 O LORD, the king rejoices in your strength. How great is his joy in the victories you give! You have granted him the desire of his heart and have not withheld the request of his lips.
The first two verses set the tone of the psalm. It is a psalm of rejoicing in what the Lord has done for David. He rejoices in the (outworking of the) strength of the Lord because the Lord has clearly stepped in and granted him victories. Even more, David sees that as specific answers to prayer; the Lord has given him what he asked for.
He reflects back on his experience with the Lord: “You welcomed him with rich blessings and placed a crown of pure gold on his head.” (v.3). When David sought the Lord, he found a real welcome. There wasn't just a cold acceptance of him by the Lord, the Lord had poured out blessing after blessing on him and given him the role of king. Maybe there is even more in that, a sense of being given the highest approval possible by the Lord by being given a pure gold crown.
David had sought the Lord and asked for life and received more than he could have dreamt: “He asked you for life, and you gave it to him-- length of days, for ever and ever.” (v.4) The Lord hadn't merely preserved David, He had granted him eternal life – for ever and ever. An amazing revelation.
Yes, the Lord hadn't merely blessed David, He had blessed him in abundance: “Through the victories you gave, his glory is great.” (v.5a) The Lord had given him victory after victory and as a result David's name was known and exalted everywhere and thus he could say, “you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty.” (v.5b) Without doubt, David had been lifted up and exalted by the work of the Lord on his behalf.
He thinks back to what he has just said and lets it sink in: “Surely you have granted him eternal blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.” (v.6) Eternal blessings? Does that just mean blessings from an eternal God, or does it mean he understands that his destiny is eternal. Whichever it is, David is left full of joy in the wonder of the Lord's presence.
But David recognizes that these are not things casually poured out by the Lord; they are things the Lord is able to give His people when they put their trust in Him and He is able to guide them and bless them: “For the king trusts in the LORD; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.” (v.7) Note the word ‘For' that could be replaced by “Because”. Trust in God leads to the Lord being able to guide and bless His people, which in turn leads them to learn a new confidence, that because of His love (which they have now experienced) they will not be shaken by the affairs of the world or by others coming against them.
Why? “Your hand will lay hold on all your enemies; your right hand will seize your foes.” (v.8) The answer is because he has learnt that the Lord will not just sit back and let His enemies prevail; He will come against them. There will be a time in the future when the Lord will appear and at that time it will be a time of judgment: “At the time of your appearing you will make them like a fiery furnace. In his wrath the LORD will swallow them up, and his fire will consume them.” (v.9)
Such a judgment, he sees, will have long-term consequences: “You will destroy their descendants from the earth, their posterity from mankind.” (v.10) Whatever else this says, it says that their wrong-doing will be utterly stopped and will not be allowed to continue through their future generations. These particular people will be brought to a complete end.
Frustration is decreed for these people. They make a loud noise, they may appear great and mighty, they may appear a lot of things to frighten people around them, and they certainly appear godless and unrighteous, but they face the Lord and He will not let them proceed with their schemes: “Though they plot evil against you and devise wicked schemes, they cannot succeed.” (v.11) Why? Because “you will make them turn their backs when you aim at them with drawn bow,” (v.12) or to put it another way, the Lord will make them vulnerable and nothing they do can stop Him destroying them.
As a result, David rejoices in the Lord: “Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength; we will sing and praise your might.” (v.13) The Lord is exalted in the eyes of men because of His great strength and all will see that none can withstand His might.
In this psalm we see David looks back to when a) he cried to the Lord for help and then b) when the Lord came and granted him victories over his enemies. Note in passing, there was nothing in David that, after the victory, attributes it to himself; he sees it all as the work of the Lord. This brings him a new confidence in life and even more brings a sense of rejoicing in the Lord's goodness. We might ask ourselves, when we have prayed, and when we have had success, are we childlike in faith and attribute it to the Lord, seeing Him worthy of our praise?
(NB. We will omit Psa 22 as we have considered it in a separate series on its own)
|Series Theme: Meditations in the Psalms of David|
Meditation No. 19
Meditation Title: The Shepherd – Psa 23
Psa 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing
The danger with meditating on this psalm is that it is so well known that we might become complacent with it. The sense of it is that it is written by a shepherd about The Shepherd. David starts off, “The I AM is my shepherd.” The name of the Lord as revealed to Moses is the name he refers to. The great eternal God, the One who is and was and always will be, is his God. But more than this, this One acts like a shepherd to David and David is one of His sheep. David, as a shepherd, knows about sheep and he knows that the shepherd cares for and provides for his sheep. David knows that with the Lord as his shepherd he lacks nothing. The Lord is first of all his Provider.
But the provision he speaks of is not what we might have thought: “ He makes me lie down in green pastures.” (v.2a) He provides David with gentle, quiet, refreshing rest. Note He's not providing food in the usual sense but food for the soul – stillness, rest, freedom from activity; that's what being made to lie in green pastures does for you.
But it's even more than this, “he leads me beside quiet waters.” (v.2b). It is a second picture that suggests gentle, quiet, refreshing that is not merely of the body, for so David concludes, “ he refreshes my soul.” (v.3) For Dave, the Lord's provision, that is so important, is a provision that refreshes not his body but his soul. How important this is in this day of haste and stress. How so many need this refreshing of soul. They cannot do it on their own, they need to come under the Lord's direction and let Him bring them into that place of quiet, that place where solitude brings a refreshing. How so many of us struggle and strive with life, strive to achieve some importance, some stature, when all along the Lord wishes to restore us to what we were originally, His children untrammelled by the ways of the world and the stupidity of sin. Instead of struggling to get our own way, instead of trying to make something of ourselves, if only we would put ourselves in the hands of the great shepherd He would bring us into a place of stillness and quiet and refreshing that life in the world has denied us, a place where He is able to lead us to become the people He has on His heart, more wonderful than anything we might consider for ourselves.
Movement through life is at the heart of this psalm. Yes, it started with the Lord bringing him to a standstill, to stillness, for that is where spiritual life begins, when we come to the end of ourselves and place our reliance entirely upon Him. But then the Lord led him in quiet places and refreshed him. After we have come to the Lord that first time, we find life takes on a new feel. Striving and struggling have gone – He is in charge, He is now leading us and that is very refreshing.
But then we find that the way He is leading us, had a very right and good feel about it: “He guides me along the right paths .” (v.3a) Notice the repeat language: “He leads me… guides me…” It is all about the Lord showing the way. No longer is it us in control of our lives. And why does He do it? There may be many reasons but they are summed up, as we now know, because He is love (1 Jn 4:8) and He wants the best for us, but that is all in conformity with who He is and therefore all He does is to conform to who He is and how He is known in His world and so it is, “for his name's sake.” (v.3b)
He thinks on further to his ongoing walk with the Lord: “ Even though I walk through the darkest valley….” (v.4a). He thinks of some of the dark moments of life that he has experienced, seeing them as times of walking through a dark valley. They are scary BUT, “I will fear no evil.” (v.4b) What should be the human experience, isn't. Why? “for you are with me.” (v.4c) In however long it is that he's known the Lord, David has come to realise that security comes from knowing that the Lord is there with him.
This is a tremendous revelation for the new believer (and the old!) and it comes with a specific reason: “your rod and your staff, they comfort me .” (v.4d) Now without trying to go deep here, the rod and the staff were the shepherds tools of his trade. They were what he used to beat off attacks of wild animals, and what he used to both lean on, but also to reach out and guide the sheep and even, sometimes, to rescue them. Put most simply, David the sheep knew that his Shepherd had the means to protect him, guide him and rescue him – and that was both comforting and bought a great sense of security.
So there it was, his walk with the Lord. It started off with the Lord bringing him to a standstill, then leading him into a way of quietness and refreshing, guiding him in right ways and in such a way that he had total security. He now reflects on the wonder of this, starting from this place of security where he doesn't have to worry about the dark times of life or of enemies. Indeed, he reflects, “ You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” (v.5a). What does that say? It says when enemies turn up, leave it to the Lord. Come and sit down with Him and enjoy His presence as you ‘eat' together in great style. Yes, battles may have to be fought but before that, just focus on the Lord and on enjoying Him and either leave it up to Him to sort out or let Him show you how He wants you to sort it out.
But it gets even better than that: “You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” (v.5b) i.e. the Lord blesses him and makes him look and feel good, and he's left with a really good feeling and optimistic about the future: “ Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (v.6) Is that the sense that you and I have as a result of our walk with the Lord? All I'm going to get in my life as I walk it with the Lord is goodness and love and a real sense that my future with the Lord is secure. Hallelujah!
|Series Theme: Meditations in the Psalms of David|
Meditation No. 20
Meditation Title: The King of Glory – Psa 24
Psa 24:10 Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty— he is the King of glory.
The structure of this psalm is interesting. It starts with God as Creator (v.1,2) and then moves to consider who can approach the Lord (v.3-6) and then just who it is who is to be worshipped in Jerusalem in the tabernacle (v.7-10). At first sight it may seem difficult to understand David's train of thought and we certainly don't have many clues as to when and why he wrote it. So let's just work our way through it and see what arises as we meditate upon it.
So we start with God of Creation. First comes a declaration that the world belongs to the Lord – all the earth and all the people on it: “The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” (v.1) As always David has a reason for the assertions he makes: “for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.” (v.2) i.e. the earth belongs to God because He made it. No one and nothing exists without the Lord, and therefore He has a claim on them.
Is it the thought that we all belong to the Lord that starts David thinking about how we may approach this Creator God? Being an Israelite, David lives with the revelation that has come down to them through the centuries that has culminated in the belief that the “dwelling place” of the Lord was the tabernacle in Jerusalem . Of course the temple would not be built until after David died but for now the truth for them was that the Lord dwelt in the tabernacle or tent, erected in the centre of Jerusalem, but the question still arose, who could go up to that place, who could approach this Creator God that he has just been thinking about? “Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord ? Who may stand in his holy place?” (v.3) If God is so great who can approach Him?
If God created this world then surely He knows how we work best and surely He will expect us to live like that? There are certain things that stand out in the Law that had been passed on to Israel , things that the Lord surely expects of His people. These things are things we should think about and work on: “The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.” (v.4) Four requirements. First, ‘clean hands'. Dirty hands would be hands that have done wrong or unclean things, things that are not right in God's sight. A ‘pure heart'. An impure heart is one that has become contaminated by things that are contrary to God's design for us. A pure heart is a heart like God's heart. The latter two things are two aspects of the same thing. They refer to people who have turned away from the truth, turned away from the one true God and who have turned to superstitions and man-made ideas of things to worship. Such a person who desires to approach and encounter the Creator-God must hold to that truth that He is Creator and requires His people to live according to His design and not turn from it, whether that is in respect of their behaviour, their heart direction, or their thoughts about God. When they do, “They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Saviour.” (v.5) David knows that relationship with the Lord means Him decreeing good for their lives and dealing with their sin, and therefore it is good to seek the Lord: “ Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob.” (v.6)
So David moves from thinking about what is required to enter into a relationship with the Lord, to imagining the Lord coming to His place in the heart of Jerusalem, he imagines Him coming to Jerusalem. In poetic language he addresses the gates of Jerusalem : “Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors,that the King of glorymay come in.” (v.7) and then, because they might know who he was talking about he asks on their behalf, so to speak, “ Who is this King of glory?” (v.8a) and answers, “The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” (v.8b)
Note here that David has moved from thinking about God as Creator to God who comes down and fights on his behalf and on behalf of Israel , i.e. from the impersonal power, perhaps, who made the world, to a very personal God who comes and acts on our behalf. He also now names Him with the name given to Moses, the “I AM”, the eternal one, yet the one who has revealed Himself to His people.
Thus again he addresses Jerusalem : “Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors,that the King of glory may come in.” (v.9) and then asks the same question: “Who is he, this King of glory?” (v.10a) and gives the answer, “The Lord Almighty— he is the King of glory.” (v.10b) i.e. the one he knows as the I AM, the one revealed to Moses, is not only the one who fights for Israel and triumphs on their behalf, He is able to do that because He is, in fact, the all-mighty One who created all things. It is the Creator of the world who he welcomes into Jerusalem .
Thus in this relatively short psalm we see David's understanding of the revelation of God, that He is the Creator and owner of all things, He is the One who comes and fights on behalf of Israel, and He is also the One who has made Himself personal to them by coming and dwelling in their midst in Jerusalem. The one we worship is the Creator of all things but he has revealed Himself to us as One who will fight on our behalf but, even more, is One who draws very close to us. Hallelujah!
|Series Theme: Meditations in the Psalms of David|
Meditation No. 21
Meditation Title: Trust, Guidance, Forgiveness – Psa 25:1-10
Psa 25:1 In you, Lord my God, I put my trust.
As this is quite a large psalm we will take it in two halves and the first half has as its contents those three aspects in our title: trust, guidance & forgiveness. We might suggest that they flow in a logical order. When we come to a place where we trust the Lord, we are then open to His guidance. As He brings guidance into our lives, we realise He knows all things and understands all things and has what we might call ‘standards', and we soon realise that we have not been living up to those standards and are in need of His forgiveness. So let's look at what David writes.
Trust: He starts out with this clear declaration: “In you, Lord my God, I put my trust.” (v.1) I know we have commented on it in previous psalms but it is significant and therefore bears repeating. Notice the capital letters of ‘LORD'. This is the name, the I AM, revealed to Moses. It is The revealed name and it's the name by which David acknowledges God, the God of their history. This is the One he has come to know over the years, the One in whom he now trusts. Now this ‘trust' is a very practical thing: “ I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame,nor let my enemies triumph over me.” (v.2) He trusts the Lord to keep him safe when there is a threat from his enemies.
This means that he can be at peace knowing that the Lord will be there for him in a very practical way. Being defeated by an enemy would mean both he, Israel and the Lord being put to shame. This is what drove him when Goliath was challenging the armies of Israel . He considered shame was being brought on Israel and on the name of the Lord because of what was happening and that provoked him into action. Whatever are the present circumstances, that is what he now fears. But now, because of his knowledge of the Lord, he has a confidence: “No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.” (v.3) ‘Hoping in the Lord' is no casual wanting something to come about but a strong assurance that God is there and acts on our behalf. When we have this strong assurance, then we can also know that God will turn up for us, but those who are violent and all out for themselves, they are the ones who will know shame.
Guidance: Having this strong assurance of the Lord being there for him, David has a further confidence, that he can ask the Lord to bring him into a closer understand of the way the Lord works “Show me your ways, Lord , teach me your paths.” (v.4) That's almost exactly the same as Moses asked of the Lord (Ex 33:13). Show me the way you work please Lord, show me where you go, what you do; I want to know because I want to learn to walk more closely with you (implied). This is a very practical request for guidance; this is no mere intellectual request. It is a request that will bring a radical change to his life. He continues, “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour, and my hope is in you all day long.” (v.5) David's trust is in God who has been his saviour, that He knows best and His ways are the right ways, and so he, too, wants to walk in them. But even as he thinks on this, he realises that he falls short of God's standards, which takes us on to the next section.
Forgiveness: He appeals to the Lord's mercy and love: “Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.” (v.6) i.e. in His revelation to His people, the Lord has shown Himself to be a God of love and mercy so with this in mind, David feels secure enough to pray, “Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good.” (v.7) David is aware that he hasn't always had this awareness of the Lord and so he needs God's forgiveness for the times in his youth when he was less than what he should have been. He is also aware that he still has a propensity to be self-centred and self-seeking and ignoring the Lord. What a measure of self-awareness! But in his appeal he reveals a further awareness that many of us either do not realise or are not sure about – that God is good! And so he continues: “Good and upright is the Lord.” (v.8a) This is a further confidence that he has, that whatever dealings the Lord has with him, they will be for his good and they will be good.
Because everything the Lord does is good, the ways He deals with different people will be good and appropriate and, thus, “therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.” (v.8b) Sinners, by definition, are not living according to the way God has designed them and therefore they need correcting, or teaching, bringing back to the right way. But then there are those who are not proud and self-centred: “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.” (v.9) These people He will guide and show them the way He wants them to go. They are open to Him (unlike the proud) and so He can guide them into the ways of blessing (implied).
Again and again David reveals his confidence in the Lord. Here comes another time: “All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.” (v.10) Keeping the covenant expressed through the Law was the means of doing what God required and for those people, David knew by experience, that would mean blessing because the Lord was loving and faithful.
|Series Theme: Meditations in the Psalms of David|
Meditation No. 22
Meditation Title: Relationship & Deliverance – Psa 25:11-22
Psa 25:14 The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.
We now move on to the second of the two halves. Remember the first half had as its contents: trust, guidance & forgiveness. In this second part we move on to see relationship & deliverance. In some senses what David has said in the first part is all about his relationship with the Lord but now he goes on to make an appeal based on that relationship and then speaks about relationship with the Lord in a more general way.
Relationship: Already he has been indicating his awareness of his own inadequacies and need for forgiveness and now he seeks greater forgiveness or, if you like, he has a greater sense of his need for forgiveness: “For the sake of your name, Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.” (v.11) Recognition of need for forgiveness is at the start of a relationship with the Lord. It is tied in with an awesome respect or ‘fear' of the Lord: “ Who, then, are those who fear the Lord ?He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.” (v.12) Those who have this awesome respect submit themselves to Him and are open for Him to direct their lives which will bring blessing to them: “They will spend their days in prosperity, and their descendants will inherit the land.” (v.13) But having a right attitude towards God is the key issue, and out of that the Lord shares His heart with them: “The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.” (v.14) So, to summarise his understanding of relationship, it must start with an awesome respect for the Lord and a recognition of our own need of His forgiveness. When we come to this place the Lord teaches us how to live according to His ways which are best, and in so doing will bless our lives, and we will understand and share in the relationship that He has made possible for such people.
Deliverance: In the final part of this psalm David moves on to consider the problems that face him and his need for deliverance from them which, he knows, can only come from the Lord: “My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare.” (v.15) He obviously feels there are those who are out to trap him. But is more than that: “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.” (v.16) He feels he is on his own and has been injured, obviously by those who are against him.
Thus he cries for deliverance: “Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish.” (v.17) He has a troubled heart and a sense of anguish. Troubles do that to us and only the Lord can truly deal with those. As so often with Hebrew poetry, he repeats himself but in a slightly different form: “Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins.” (v.18). Previously he had spoken of a troubled heart and a sense of anguish and now he speaks of his affliction and distress. But he also adds something and it is clear that he links what is happening to his sin. David understands something that many of us don't realise that sin and difficulties are so often linked, with one flowing out of the other: “A man reaps what he sows.” (Gal 6:7)
But it is not only his sin he has to contend with, he also has physical enemies who are against him: “See how numerous are my enemies and how fiercely they hate me!” (v.19) As so often in David's life, it was a life of strife, contending with those who would seek to bring him down. Thus he then prays. “Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me be put to shame.” (v.20a) As God's anointed king, defeat and failure would mean shame and that includes shame on the name of the Lord, because of his relationship with the Lord and the fact that he trusted in the Lord to look after him: “for I take refuge in you.” (v.20b). If the Lord didn't look after him in the face of conflict, that would bring a question mark on the name of the Lord and he didn't want that ever to happen.
David knew that living in a right way would bring blessing and protection against evil because in that sort of life he could trust in the Lord to bless him: “May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord , is in you.” (v.21). Thus he finally prays, “Deliver Israel, O God, from all their troubles!” (v.22) Whatever he was asking for himself also included Israel and so if he asked for deliverance for himself he also wanted it for his people, Israel.
|Series Theme: Meditations in the Psalms of David|
Meditation No. 23
Meditation Title: Vindication Again – Psa 26
Psa 26:1 Vindicate me, Lord, for I have led a blameless life;
Back in psalm 17, as we have seen previously, David prayed, “May my vindication come from you.” (Psa 17:2) and quite often in these psalms of David there is this element if either trying to be right before God or of the Lord showing him to be right before his enemies. He starts out with an interesting statement, especially in the light of earlier psalms where he is particularly aware of his failures. We must assume therefore that this psalm was written early on in his life: “Vindicate me, Lord , for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the Lord and have not faltered.” (v.1) Now this is interesting for it focuses on his attitude towards God rather than on his behaviour. In respect of his attitude towards God he is sure of himself: he has trusted in the Lord and held firm to that trust.
In fact he is willing to be checked out in this respect: “Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.” (v.2,3) He is willing to come under full scrutiny – heart (will & emotions) and mind (intellect) – because he has always been conscious of God's love and always sought to rely on the Lord's constancy, His reliability, the fact that His love will never change. This is all about attitude and relationship and in that, he maintains he has been constant.
He moves on in his self-vindicating process to consider his behaviour, the outworking of his attitude. He starts, “I do not sit with the deceitful, nor do I associate with hypocrites.” (v.4) He knows that deception and hypocrisy are wrong and so he has shied away from such people, yet one wonders if, at this stage of his life, he yet doesn't really know himself. How many of us can declare that we are completely free of hypocrisy? But perhaps he means those who constantly live in delusion, refusing to face the Lord and the truth. When he speaks of evildoers and the wicked, he does not mean people who occasionally do evil or who are occasionally wicked, but those who have settled in that way of life: “I abhor the assembly of evildoers and refuse to sit with the wicked.” (v.5)
From the rejection of the godless people of the world, his mind takes him to times when he goes to worship, presumably in the Tabernacle (for the Temple was not yet built). There is the laver where hands were ceremonially washed but for him it was merely a procedure to be followed for he has sought to keep himself clean morally at all times and therefore he was free to worship and praise the Lord without any sense of guilt inhibiting him: “I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, Lord, proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds.” (v.6,7) Thus he is able to enjoy the experience of entering the Tabernacle to worship the Lord fearlessly: “Lord, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells.” (v.8) For many, thoughts of being near to God bring a sense of fear and trepidation and they are reminded of guilt and shame, but that is not David's experience at this time of his life (although it might have been later) and it should not be the experience of the children of God, us. May we be able to have clear consciences as David had.
For him, he knew that he did not deserve the judgement that falls on sinners, and on those who care little of respect for life or those who plan wickedness and care little for truth and justice: “Do not take away my soul along with sinners, my life with those who are bloodthirsty, in whose hands are wicked schemes, whose right hands are full of bribes.” (v.9,10) There is perhaps almost a naïve honesty about David at this time of his life for he is able to declare and request, “I lead a blameless life; deliver me and be merciful to me,” (v.11) and then to declare, “My feet stand on level ground; in the great congregation I will praise the Lord.” (v.12) There is a confidence in him that he is secure in the Lord (standing on level ground) and because of this he is sure his future is assured and that he will stand with the saints in the great congregation in heaven. Perhaps in the letters to the seven churches in the book of Revelation, when Jesus rebukes one church for having lost its first love, he is referring to such a simple and almost naïve time such as this witnessed here in David's life at this time. Perhaps, rather than being sceptical about the quality of his life at this time, a quality that enables him to write in the way he does, we should instead yearn for the same quality for ourselves.
|Series Theme: Meditations in the Psalms of David|
Meditation No. 24
Meditation Title: Assurances – Psa 27
Psa 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?
Sometimes when encouraging people to build self-esteem in themselves, we say, look in a mirror and speak the truth to yourself, the truth about yourself and your position in life. That's rather what David seems to be doing here in this psalm. By the nature of what he says in it, he has in the back of his mind that he has enemies and they trouble him, but he is going to declare the truth about the Lord to counter those concerns.
Thus he starts with this assurance about the Lord: “The Lord is my light and my salvation.” (v.1a) What does light do? It shows the way or it lights up your surroundings and lets you see and understand what is there. The Lord does this for David. But life is full of difficulties and David's experience of the Lord says that God is for him and will be there to save him from those difficulties. With that in mind he can say, “whom shall I fear?” (v.1b) If God is for him he doesn't have to be afraid of anyone. Do you want to stand in front of a mirror and say that to yourself? This sense of security that he has in the Lord makes him feel it's like he's inside a castle and protected by the Lord and so, indeed, why be afraid of anyone: “The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?” (v.1c)
This sense of security has very practical outworkings. If he is this secure in the Lord then when enemies come, they are the ones who are going to fall before the Lord: “When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.” (v.2) One thing follows another in this spiritual logic. If God is his light and salvation and stronghold, then it doesn't matter who or how many come against him for it is the Lord they will encounter: “Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.” (v.3) We don't know who David has in mind when he writes this; it could have been Saul or it could have been the Philistines or some other national army invading. Whoever it is – he is secure in the Lord! OK, so much for enemies and his security in the Lord; now it's time to move on.
It's like he turns his back on thoughts of the enemy and turns to face or consider the wonder of knowing the Lord's presence: “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” (v.4) That's the big issue in life – his relationship with the Lord, knowing the Lord, seeking the Lord in the Tabernacle (house of the Lord), seeking the Lord in heaven (in his temple [the Temple wasn't yet built so this must refer to His home in heave]) It was actually being able to be close to the Lord that was at the heart of his security: “For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.” (v.5) If he can be close to the Lord in the tabernacle, then he knows the Lord will protect it and him and so when the enemy comes he will be safe there. Wherever we are in life, if we can know the presence of the Lord, there is safety for us, His people.
David has this picture in his mind, of his enemies coming like a hoard to overcome him, and of the potential of him going down before them, but he knows that while he stays close to the Lord, the Lord will be there for him and he will be lifted up and so will not fall before them and, in fact, he will be lifted above them and therefore, in that place of worship he will be able to praise and worship the Lord, regardless of who comes: “Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.” (v.6)
So having given himself this talk in the mirror, so to speak, he turns away and speaks directly in prayer to the Lord. This needs to be appropriated and it starts in prayer: “Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me .” (v.7) Sensing and knowing the Lord's presence starts when we seek Him in prayer. Prayer does a lot of things and one of them is that it gives us a sense of the Lord being there. In his heart David knows what he has to do: “My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord , I will seek.” (v.8) That's what he is doing in prayer, seeking the Lord's face or, to put it another way, seeking to sense the Lord is there.
As he prays, he voices his worst nightmare: “Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Saviour.” (v.9) God not drawing near, God being angry with him for some reason, God rejecting him or leaving him, these are the anguishes of insecurity that we can find within us. But David knows better than these fears: “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” (v.10) Even if his closest family might reject him (but they hadn't) God would never do that. That was the confidence that he had in his relationship with the Lord.
In this confidence, he prays for guidance: “Teach me your way, Lord;lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors,” (v.11) but then expresses the practical outworking of that: “Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations.” (v.12). This is what he needs, deliverance from enemies who tell lies about him and yet, even as he prays, that confidence, that we have seen so many times when he prays, breaks through: “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (v.13) The confidence that he has in his spirit as he prays will be translated into a practical outworking so that his experiences in life will reveal the goodness of the Lord.
With all this in mind, it's like he returns to the figurative mirror and speaks again to himself: “ Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord .” (v.14) That's it, that's all he's got to do, trust in the Lord, wait on Him, hold to the truth and just wait and God will do what God will do. Excellent!