Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Psalm 39- Sermon Notes

Psalm 39:0 To the chief Musician,
even to Jeduthun, A Psalm of David.
A Mere Breath- Sermon Notes
April 12, 2015
Lynchburg, Virginia

There seems to be two drastically different things going on in this Psalm. David is again overwhelmed by his own sins and God’s rebuke of him for them. At the same time, David’s enemies take advantage of his weakened state and fall upon him.
In this situation, David seeks to be faithful to God on both fronts. He confesses his sins and he refuses to lash out in anger against his enemies.

Psalms 39:1 I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.  2 I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred. 
He holds his tongue because he knows that while his enemies are real enemies, God is still in control. His enemies delivered a trial but God sent it. He will not return evil for evil.      
It is in the face of the wicked that your tongue would most likely be unbridled. We should learn David’s wisdom from his constraint. He knows that if he lets his tongue fly in such a situation that he will surely sin. But he determines not to do so. He says that he holds his peace, even from good. That is, he chooses not to attack the wicked or to defend himself. He remains dumb.
These statements remind us of Jesus. He held His peace when the High Priest brought false witnesses against Him. He did not rail at them nor did He defend Himself. Matt. 26.
When they take Him to Pilate, they further accuse Him and He answers them nothing. Pilate marveled at this. Matt. 27. Also, when Jesus is brought before Herod, he was asked many things but Jesus answered him nothing. Luke 22. And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused Him.
It is true that Jesus had an end in mind. He was going to the cross for His people. He could have defended Himself ably and rightly. However, in such a circumstance, it would have prevailed Him nothing. The Jews had determined to kill Jesus and the truth or falsity of His defense had nothing to do with the outcome. In the face of vehement accusation, to hold one’s tongue is wise and prudent.

My sorrow was stirred
It is unclear why his anguish increases. The ESV says he held his peace to no avail and my distress grew worse. I think we can understand this both in David’s case and in Jesus’s case. He held his peace to keep from sinning but it didn’t matter. Whether he spoke or whether he kept silent the outcome was the same. The enemies would not back off, treat him fairly or justly or relieve his sorrow. It was their sole purpose to increase his sorrow.
Furthermore, he seems to have a clear indication that this is God’s plan. It is delivered by wicked men but it is still God’s plan. If it is God’s plan for one to suffer, then this is not really relief. In fact, it may increase sorrow because it is impossible to thwart the will of God.

3 My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue, 
This another good lesson taught to us both by David and again by Jesus. David kept his peace in the presence of his enemies and accusers. Had he lashed out in anger, he would have said or done something that he regretted. Instead, he held his peace until it was burning inside him. Then he does exactly the right thing. He pours his heart out to God.
He held his peace and considered the situation and his own condition. Instead of lashing out as his enemies or of aiming bitterness at God, the reality of his condition burned within him. Thought his enemies accused him falsely, he knew that he could not stand guiltless before God.
The fact of his accusers and the control it took to not lash out at them helped David to realize that in the sight of God, he is also a sinner like him. This is a burning hot realization.

4 LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.  5 Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.  6 Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.
The result of David’s silence and then also of David’s words, is to see himself the way he really is before God. He is a frail man with numbered days. In the sight of God, his days are but a few, like the width of a man’s hand.
Even an old man is no wizened man in the sight of God. Every man even at his best is simply vanity. “Every man at best is at best a man.” How true this is. It is a truth that every man would be best to know.
Man is completely vain, transitory. There is nothing permanent about his condition, position, wealth, fame, influence. If a man thinks he is great, it is merely a vain show. He knows himself to be merely a man. David reveals his true humility to confess this truth even while all the world thinks him a high king.
A vain man is but a breath. The word vanity is hebel, a breath, something that has no substance and disappears rapidly.
Man walks in vain show. They make a lot noise for nothing, again, hebel, a breath. His life is as fleeting as his show, a breath.
Even were a man to heap up riches, they too, are a breath. Who will take care of them when he dies? He does not know who will come after him, whether the heaping up will have been of any use at all. Then why all the tumult in the process? Vanity.

7 And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.  8 Deliver me from all my transgressions: make me not the reproach of the foolish.
David does not wait for justice. He does not wait for his accusers to stop accusing. He does not trust in his riches. His only hope is in the Lord.
He asks for two things and he gets them in the right order.
1.   Deliver me from all my transgressions. David is beset by enemies but he does not aim at them first. God has got his attention and David is humbled befo
2.   Make me not the reproach of the foolish- This is a prayer for deliverance from his enemies. David knows that he must get right before God or he has no standing to expect God to deal with his enemies. He does that and then asks God to make a distinction. Deliver me from fools!

9 I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it.  10 Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thine hand.  11 When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity. Selah. 
David calls out to God and explains that he was mute before his enemies because he understood that God had sent the trouble to him. The enemies are wearing him down and the thought of his own sins is wearing him down, but he sees both as having come from God. He asks God to stop striking him. He says that God’s blows have consumed him. They have brought him to the end.
Even his beauty, his health is consumed away, like a garment that is eaten by a moth. If David knows this, surely every man is vanity, a breath, habel.

12 Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.  13 O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.
David is calling upon God to remember His promises. If you are suffering, either as a result of the consequences of your own sins or even as a result of persecution of enemies, remember to not return evil for evil. God is both capable and willing to deliver you. Take your concerns to Him.
Furthermore, David reminds God of the law of hospitality. If a man is a stranger dwelling in a foreign land, he is to given food and shelter. David reminds God that both he and his fathers before him were all strangers, sojourners with God. Thus, God was required to grant them hospitality. He could not look away from their tears or remain silent. He was required by the law of love to be a Good Samaritan.
The Good Samaritan took the stranger and healed him. He helped him recover strength so that he could continue on his journey. He needed to be saved, both spiritually, delivered from sins, and physically, delivered from enemies.
David calls upon God to not be silent to his entreaties, to his prayers. Jesus gave a similar encouragement to us.
         Luke 11:5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? 7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. 8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

The lesson is clear. God is waiting to act on our behalf. He does call us to call Him. Call upon expecting an answer because He cares for you. Though He may be silent for a season, He is not unaware of our need. It is our need that shows us that we are needy. God’s delay in answering our prayers for deliverance are hidden in His divine counsel.
In 2 Cor. 12, Paul had a messenger of Satan sent to buffet him. He asked to be delivered of it three times.
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.  8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.  9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
We need to remember Paul’s lesson to take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake. And thus, all our struggles and infirmities are indeed for Christ’s sake, if we are in Him and He is in us.
It is our weakness that shows the strength of Christ in us. We are not strong of our own accord. In our flesh, we would either fail or if we succeeded, we would get all the glory. But those who are in Christ give God the glory for perseverance. This does indeed redound to God’s glory.
And that is our chief end, that is why we are here, that is why we are victorious and that is why we suffer, to give God glory.
So do not despise the shame of suffering. Do not turn away from this burden and privilege to enter into Christ’s suffering. Whether He gives you immediate relief or let’s you continue in your suffering, God’s grace is sufficient for you.

Psa. 90:12   So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.  13 Return, O LORD, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants.  14 O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.  15 Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil.  16 Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children.  17 And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.

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