…Psalm 36: Man’s Wickedness — God’s Perfection (part 1)

First, we are reminded of the faithfulness of God as the Savior of His people.

Second, we see that while God is a faithful Savior, He will use men of courage and faith.

Third, we see that while man is sinful, our sin never hinders God from accomplishing His saving work.

Fourth, we see from this epilogue that no human king will ever be able to fulfill God’s promise of salvation.

 

The Census

Exodus 30:12:  “When you take the census of the children of Israel for their number, then every man shall give a ransom for himself to the Lord, when you number them, that there may be no plague among them when you number them.”

The principle of Exodus 30:12 speaks of God’s ownership of His people.  No man had a right to count or number what belonged to God.  The people of Israel belonged to God. If David counted he should only do it at God’s command and receiving ransom money to “atone” for the counting.  [Bible.org]

2 Samuel 24:1-17

Census  [verses 1-7]

 1 Again the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.”    2 So the king said to Joab the commander of the army who was with him, “Now go throughout all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and count the people, that I may know the number of the people.”  3 And Joab said to the king, “Now may the Lord your God add to the people a hundred times more than there are, and may the eyes of my lord the king see it. But why does my lord the king desire this thing?” 4 Nevertheless the king’s word prevailed against Joab and against the captains of the army. Therefore Joab and the captains of the army went out from the presence of the king to count the people of Israel.

Judgement on David’s Sin  [verse 10-17]

 10 And David’s heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O Lord, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.”  11 Now when David arose in the morning, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, 12 “Go and tell David, ‘Thus says the Lord: “I offer you three things; choose one of them for yourself, that I may do it to you.” ’ ” 13 So Gad came to David and told him; and he said to him, “Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land? Or shall you flee three months before your enemies, while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ plague in your land? Now consider and see what answer I should take back to Him who sent me.”  14 And David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Please let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”

15 So he Lord sent a plague upon Israel from the morning till the appointed time. From Dan to Beersheba seventy thousand men of the people died. 16 And when the angel stretched out His hand over Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented from the destruction, and said to the angel who was destroying the people, “It is enough; now restrain your hand.” And the angel of the Lord was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.  17 Then David spoke to the Lord when he saw the angel who was striking the people, and said, “Surely I have sinned, and I have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand, I pray, be against me and against my father’s house.”

 Altar on the Threshing Floor   [verses 18-25]

 18 And Gad came that day to David and said to him, “Go up, erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” 19 So David, according to the word of Gad, went up as the Lord commanded. 20 Now Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming toward him. So Araunah went out and bowed before the king with his face to the ground. 21 Then Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” And David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you, to build an altar to the Lord, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people.”

         22 Now Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up whatever seems good to him. Look, here are oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing implements and the yokes of the oxen for wood. 23 All these, O king, Araunah has given to the king.” And Araunah said to the king, “May the Lord your God accept you.”  24 Then the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25 And David built there an altar to the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel.

Here we have an example of Calamity and Compassion.  God has poured out His wrath on His people, but now He took compassion on them. He order the angel, who was standing by the threshing floor, to cease from killing any more people. David could not have known God’s purposes yet, and so he petitioned God in an attempt to halt the plague. He asked that God’s anger be satisfied by pouring out His wrath on him [on his father’s house].  But God had a better plan.

  • Moses and Aaron, and throughout the period of the judges, God saved His people when they cried out to Him (1 Samuel 12:6-11). Then God saved Israel through Saul and David.  They led the nation in battle against their enemies.  God served as David’s Savior over and over again in his lifetime. God is faithful  as the Savior of His people, even when His people fail. David continually worshiped God as His fortress and his salvation.
  • David was prepared for his reign as Israel’s king by shepherding a small flock of his father’s sheep. He learned to trust God and to act courageously to save the flock from the attacks of bears and lions. His military career began with his confrontation of Goliath on the battlefield.  Saul did not inspire courage in his men, but David’s courage inspired many others to fight with faith and boldness against unbelievable odds. These men made it possible for David to cease fighting when his strength began to fail.

 If David is the best that history has to offer, we can only see the faithfulness of God as He used David in bringing about great blessings through his failures. Two of Israel’s greatest blessings came about as a result of two of David’s greatest sins. David’s sin with Bathsheba resulted in the messianic line passing down through Bathsheba, and eventually this marriage produced the next king — Solomon.  David’s sin in numbering the Israelite warriors resulted in the purchase of the threshing floor of Araunah, which was the building site for the temple that was to be constructed under King Solomon.   The salvation of the Gentiles was due, to the rejection of Jesus Christ as Messiah by the Jews (see Romans 11).  Our sin, while it offends the righteousness of God, can be used to accomplish His purposes and promises. He will also employ Satan to achieve His purposes (1 Chronicles 21:1.).

  • There must be one coming who is greater than David. Israel had rejected God as their king in 1 Samuel 8, when they demanded a king to “save” them from their enemies. God never really abdicated His place as Israel’s King, as Israel’s Savior. Through the line of David, God would someday provide a King for His people who would save them from their sins. He would be more than David, more than a man, and one who was without sin. He would be the Lord Jesus Christ, who came as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). He would be “delivered from death” as God the Father raised Him from the dead. He would return as the King of Israel, triumphing over his enemies.

PSALM 36  Man’s Wickedness and God’s Perfections

1     An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked:
     There is no fear of God before his eyes.
2     For he flatters himself in his own eyes,
     When he finds out his iniquity and when he hates.
3     The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit, He has ceased to be wise and to do good.
4     He devises wickedness on his bed, He sets himself din a way that is not good–
     He does not abhor evil.
5     Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
6     Your righteousness is like the great mountains, Your judgments are a great deep–
     O Lord, You preserve man and beast.
7     How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
     Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.
8    They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house,
     And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.
9     For with You is the fountain of life, in Your light we see light.
10     Oh, continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You, and Your righteousness
      to the upright in heart.
11     Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12     There the workers of iniquity have fallen, they have been cast down and are not able to rise.

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…Psalm 26: Are You Sealed in God?

RE_BLOG  JANUARY 23, 2013 BY 

 

Are you sealed [made secure] by the Father through Jesus Christ His Son?
Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts… as a guarantee of what is to come.  

2 Cor 1:21-22

Seek the LORD while He may be found.  Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him–
And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.  “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.  “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth, and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater– So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth.  It shall not return to Me empty. Without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it .
Isaiah 55:6-11
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 images (1)Covenants are binding.   David and Jonathan had an exceedingly strong  relationship before the Lord and made an everlasting covenant between themselves. 1 Samuel 23:16-18, says this,  ”David was in the Wilderness of Ziph in a forest. Then Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God.  And he said to him, ‘Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Even my father Saul knows that.”  So the two of them made a covenant before the Lord. And David stayed in the woods, and Jonathan went to his own house.’” 

To be in a covenant relationship with God, we are sealed by Him in with binding agreement.  It is an agreement of Promises that can not be broken or forsaken. He will care for and provide for every one of His own, including you and me.

Saul may be looking for David, but it is Jonathan who finds David. Jonathan could not have appeared at a better time, and his words couldn’t have been any better chosen. The purpose of Jonathan’s visit is to encourage David in God. Jonathan’s encouragement is summed up in verse 17, making these assurances to David:

(1) Jonathan tells David not to be afraid. With Saul’s resources it seems as though impossible for David to escape him. Saul has publicly ordered David to be detained and brought to him or to reveal his place of hiding. David’s fears are not without reason, but Jonathan tells David not to be afraid.

(2) Jonathan assures David that in spite of his father’s efforts to find him, he will not succeed.  Jonathan not only joyfully accepts this fact, but has purposed to be David’s most loyal servant and supporter.

(3) Jonathan’s assurance is rooted in the sovereignty of the God whom he and David serve, whom Saul seeks to resist. If David is God’s choice for Israel’s next king, then no one including King Saul, will be able to kill him and thwart God’s purposes and promises.

(4) Jonathan’s loyalty is not a secret. Jonathan’s father Saul is fully aware of his son’s loyalty to David, even though he does not like it. Jonathan has not kept his association with David a secret, possibly encouraging others in the kingdom to support David as well.

(1 Samuel 23:25-29)  Encouragement comes at the right moment, and it picks the right words to say. Encouragement addresses fear and promotes courage.  At its root, encouragement is helping to instill courage upon those who are afraid.  When Saul and his men went to seek him, they told David. Therefore he went down to the rock, and stayed in the Wilderness of  Maon.  And when Saul heard that, he pursued David in the Wilderness of Maon.    Then Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain.  David made haste to get away from Saul, for Saul and his men were encircling David and his men to take them.

But a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Hurry and come, for the Philistines have invaded the land!”  Therefore Saul returned from pursuing David, and went against the Philistines; so they called that place the Rock of Escape.  Then David went up from there and dwelt in strongholds at En Gedi.

Who would have believed a hostile attack against Israel would be God’s means for preserving the life of her next king? God often saves when all human hope is gone, and then in ways we would never have predicted or expected. He does so because He is God, because His resources are unlimited, and because His way of doing things is beyond our imagination…

 In this Psalm, David by the Spirit of God, speaks of himself as  innocent…  there is a comparison with that of  Christ.  The man that walks in his integrity, yet trusting wholly in the grace of God, is in a state of acceptance according to the covenant of which Jesus was the Mediator.   He longs to be satisfied by practicing only the holy commands of God.  Great care to avoid bad company, is  a good evidence of our integrity.  Hypocrites may be found attending to God’s laws—but it is a better sign of sincerity to the Lord if we exercise repentance and have a conscientious desire for obedience.
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Psalm 26 – A psalm of David
1     Vindicate me, O Lord,  for I have walked in my integrity.
     I have also trusted in the Lord, I shall not slip.
2    Examine me, O Lord, and prove me, try my mind and my heart.
3     For Your loving-kindness is before my eyes, and I have walked in Your truth.
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4     I have not sat with idolatrous mortals, nor will I go in with hypocrites.
5     I have hated the assembly of evildoers, and will not sit with the wicked.
6     I will wash my hands in innocence—so I will go about Your altar, O Lord,
7     That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving and tell of all Your wondrous works.
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8     Lord, I have loved the habitation of Your house, and the place where Your glory dwells.
9    Do not gather my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloodthirsty men,
10     In whose hands is a sinister scheme, and whose right hand is full of bribes.
11     But as for me, I will walk in my integrity, redeem me and be merciful to me.
12    My foot stands in an even place— In the congregations I will bless the Lord.

…Psalm 18: David’s Reflections

  As for God, His way is perfect. The word of the Lord is proven, He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

This reflection at the end of King David’s reign contains some of his last words and speaks of the hand of God in his life.  It follows in content  with the tradition of earlier psalms and Israel’s history.  These words are written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. They were to be taken very seriously then, and by us as well.   The content includes:  The Song of Israel by the Sea (Exodus 15:1-18),  The Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 32:1-43),   The Song of Deborah (Judges 5),  The Song of Hannah (1 Samuel 2:1-10),  The Song of David (2 Samuel 22) (Psalm 18),  The Song of Habakkuk (Habakkuk 3:1-19)..

Samuel 22:1-51, is almost identical with Psalm 18:  David’s Deliverer (verses 1-3),  David’s Danger, His Cry for Help, and His Deliverance  (4-20),  The Basis for David’s Deliverance  (21-28),  Divine Strengthening to Defeat Enemies (29-46),  Praise to God!  (47-50),  God Save the King!  (51).

 The Lord is David’s deliverer and David’s refuge.  He is also the refuge and deliverer of all who trust in Him, including all the Gentiles. All those who set themselves against God’s king (David, or the Messiah), are the enemies of God, and will be crushed.  Is David safe and secure because God is his refuge?  Yes.  David reveals this confidence and security is much more long-lasting than just during his own lifetime. He knows that as God has shown loving-kindness to him, He will show it to his descendants, and thus these blessings of which he has spoken are eternal. God has not only kept His promise to David, protecting him from those who would destroy him and establishing his throne, God will also install the One who fulfills the Davidic Covenant, God’s anointed One, the Messiah.

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 David, Servant of the Lord, spoke to the Lord the words of this song praising God for how He delivered him from the hand of all his enemies.
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PSALM 18
1     I will love You, O Lord, my strength.
2    The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer. My God, my strength,
in whom I will trust, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3    I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised–
so shall I be saved from my enemies..
4  The pangs of death surrounded me, and the floods of ungodliness made me afraid.
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5     The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me, the snares of death confronted me.
6     In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God–
He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears.
7    Then the earth shook and trembled–
 The foundations of the hills also quaked and were shaken, because He was angry.
8     Smoke went up from His nostrils, an devouring fire from His mouth–
Coals were kindled by it.
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9    He bowed the heavens also, and came down with darkness under His feet..
10  And He rode upon a cherub, and flew, He flew upon the wings of the wind.
11    He made darkness His secret place, His canopy around Him was dark waters
And thick clouds of the skies.
12  From the brightness before Him, His thick clouds passed with hailstones and coals of fire.
13   The Lord thundered from heaven, and the Most High uttered His voice,
Hailstones and coals of fire.
14   He sent out His arrows and scattered the foe, lightnings in abundance, and He vanquished them.
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15     Then the channels of the sea were seen, the foundations of the world were uncovered
 At Your rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.
16   He sent from above, He took me,  He drew me out of many waters.
17   He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me,
 for they were too strong for me.
18     They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support..
19   He also brought me out into a broad place.  He delivered me because He delighted in me.
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20   The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness– 
According to the cleanness  of my hands He has recompensed me..
21   For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God.
22   For all His judgments were before me, and I did not put away His statutes from me.
23  I was also blameless before Him, and I kept myself from my iniquity.
24   Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness,
According to the cleanness of my hands in His sight.
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25  With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful–
 with a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless.
26     With the pure You will show Yourself pure, and with the devious
You will show Yourself shrewd.
27     For You will save the humble people, but will bring down haughty looks.
28   For You will light my lamp, the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness..
29     For by You I can run against a troop, by my God I can leap over a wall.
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30   As for God, His way is perfect. The word of the Lord is proven, He is a shield
to all who trust in Him.
31   For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?
32     It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect.
33  He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places.
34  He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35   You have also given me the shield of Your salvation. Your right hand has held me up,
 Your gentleness has made me great.
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36   You enlarged my path under me, so my feet did not slip. 
37   I have pursued my enemies and overtaken them– 
Neither did I turn back again till they were destroyed.
38   I have wounded them, so that they could not rise, they have fallen under my feet.
39     For You have armed me with strength for the battle; You have subdued under
me those who rose up against me.
40     You have also given me the necks of my enemies, so that I destroyed those who
hated me.
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41     They cried out, but there was none to save, even to the Lord, but He did not answer them.
.42    Then I beat them as fine as the dust before the wind; I cast them out like dirt
in the streets.
43     You have delivered me from the strivings of the people–
You have made me the head of the nations, a people I have not known shall serve me.
44    As soon as they hear of me they obey me, the foreigners submit to me.
45   The foreigners fade away, and come frightened from their hideouts..
46   The Lord lives!   Blessed be my Rock!  Let the God of my salvation be exalted..
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47     It is God who avenges me, and subdues the peoples under me–
48   He delivers me from my enemies. You also lift me up above those who rise against me.
You have delivered me from the violent man.
49   Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the Gentiles,
and sing praises to Your name.
.50  Great deliverance He gives to His king, and shows mercy to His anointed,
 To David and his descendants forevermore..
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… Psalm 65: Making Matters Right

David is once again in Jerusalem, reigning as King of Israel.  It was a long, hard struggle for David as he waited for God to fulfill his promises.  There were a number of years of success as King over Israel, but this success led to carelessness, and ultimately to David’s fall.  The outcome was a great deal of suffering and adversity—topped off by the rebellion of his own son Absalom and having to leave Jerusalem.  David’s difficulties after his moral decline were many, and they were extremely painful. There is much to learn from them.    David did sin, and he did repent, but things did not just go on as before. David’s life was never the same.  Sin is never worth the price, and David’s life illustrates that.  What followed were difficulties that ultimately were for David’s good, and for the good of God’s people. David’s difficulties also served to humble David, and to make him more dependent upon God. It produced even greater humility and graciousness in him.

We can also see the “turning points” through out where God intervened in David’s life and for the kingdom in a very direct way.  Do we ever wonder why David didn’t just stay in Jerusalem and defend his throne from Absolam?  By leaving for the wilderness of Ephraim, He would not have to go to battle against his own people.  The people of Israel we God’s chosen as well as people under his own reign.  David’s Covenant with the God would have been immediately broken and a great sin would have occurred.  This, was a major turning point.  David did not sin against God and He intervened and worked all out all for His glory.  Another can be seen in The rebellion of Sheba,

… a Benjamite, who came against David saying,  “We have no share in David, nor do we have an inheritance in the son of Jesse. Every man to his tents, O Israel!” So every man of Israel deserted David and followed Sheba the son of Bichri.  David had appointed Amasa commander in place of Joab after the killing of his son Absalom, and by this wins back the favor of the men of Judah.  When Amasa is late in returning to Jerusalem with his army, this prompts David to send Abishai,  Joab’s brother, to search for Amasa.  A dropped sword and an unsuspecting Amasa become the opportunity for Joab to eliminate Amasa and to take back his place as commander.   Joab went on after Sheba, when a wise woman from over the wall of Israel speaks out, convincing Joab that he need not make further war because of  Sheba’s rebellion.  The people inside cornered Sheba and killed  him and threw his head over the wall to Joab.  Here is the unseen hand of God at work in saving the lives of His people Israel.

The men of Judah, from the Jordan as far as Jerusalem, remained loyal to their king. The people of Israel are again arguing with the people of Judah.  The Israelite’ s argued that since they consist of ten tribes they have ten times more ownership of David–or should we say David is ten times more obligated to them. But when the people of Judah speak of their relationship to David, their claim to him is that he is near kin. Neither speak of David as God’s anointed king.  Both tribes follow David for self-serving reasons.  We can see the spiritual condition of these people.  Israel’s sinfulness in relationship to the divinely appointed leadership of David, as if they believed their king was obliged to give them what they wanted, when they wanted it, and felt free to reject him when they didn’t get their way.  Their  rebellion against David is also rebellion against God.

Making Matters Right with the Gibeonites

A famine has come to the land of Israel.  There are two events in  2 Samuel 21 that show us there are times when God intervenes in the lives of men.  No matter how “out of control” things may have looked, God was in complete control, using the most unlikely means to achieve what He had purposed and promised.  He is using David to make “right” the breaking of covenant between the Gibeonites and Israel 400 years earlier.

I am using the commentary of Bob Deffinbaugh. (Bible.org).  The Israelite’s made a covenant with the Gibeonites four centuries before the days of David. (Joshua 9 )    It fell to David to deal with the sins of Saul regarding the breaking of this covenant.

2 Samuel 21:1-14   Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David sought the presence of the LORD. And the LORD said, “It is for Saul and his bloody house, because he put the Gibeonites to death.”  So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them (now the Gibeonites were not of the sons of Israel but of the remnant of the Amorites, and the sons of Israel made a covenant with them, but Saul had sought to kill them in his zeal for the sons of Israel and Judah). Thus David said to the Gibeonites, “What should I do for you? And how can I make atonement that you may bless the inheritance of the LORD?” Then the Gibeonites said to him, “We have no concern of silver or gold with Saul or his house, nor is it for us to put any man to death in Israel.” And he said, “I will do for you whatever you say.” So they said to the king, “The man who consumed us and who planned to exterminate us from remaining within any border of Israel, let seven men from his sons be given to us, and we will hang them before the LORD in Gibeah of Saul, the chosen of the LORD.” And the king said, “I will give hem.”  But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the oath of the LORD which was between them, between David and Saul’s son Jonathan.  So the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, Armoni and Mephibosheth whom she had born to Saul, and the five sons of Merab the daughter of Saul, whom she had born to Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite. Then he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the mountain before the LORD, so that the seven of them fell together…

Now Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it for herself on the rock, from the beginning of harvest until the late rains poured on them from heaven. And she did not allow the birds of the air to rest on them by day nor the beasts of the field by night.  And David was told what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done.  Then David went and took the bones of Saul, and the bones of Jonathan his son, from the men of Jabesh Gilead who had stolen them from the street of Beth Shan, where the Philistines had hung them up, after the Philistines had struck down Saul in Gilboa.  So he brought up the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from there; and they gathered the bones of those who had been hanged.  They buried the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son in the country of Benjamin in Zelah, in the tomb of Kish his father. So they performed all that the king commanded. And after that God heeded the prayer for the land.
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Gibeon was the hometown of Saul’s forefathers (1 Chronicles 8:29-30, 9:35-39). It was also the place where 12 of Ish-bosheth’s men (Saul’s son) engaged in a contest with 12 of David’s men, which turned into a bloody battle (2 Samuel 2:12-17). It was also the place where the “great stone was located, where Joab met Amasa and killed him.  Saul’s actions were a violation of Israel’s covenant with the Gibeonites, made nearly 400 years earlier–a covenant foolishly entered into by the then leaders of Israel (Joshua 9).   Now the Israelites are obligated to keep this covenant… but God brings a famine upon the land of Israel, prompting David to inquire into this matter and then make it right.  David inquired of the Lord concerning the reason for this famine. God’s answer was clear:

“It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites” (2 Samuel 21:1b, KJV).

Atonement must be made for Saul’s sin of seeking to annihilate the Gibeonites, with whom the Israelites had entered into a covenant of protection. Seven of Saul’s sons” were executed by the Gibeonites and thus the famine was removed in answer to the prayers of God’s people.  Because of the sin of Saul, the Gibeonites had been wronged.  David called the Gibeonites and asked what he should do to make this matter right.   “Nor is it for us to put any man to death in Israel” (verse 4).

The story of Saul, David, and the Gibeonites teaches that sin must be atoned for by the shedding of blood, and that there will one day be a payday for sin. How gracious God was to bless these people (Gentiles), and through them to bring blessing back to Israel.

 .PSALM 65      His Salvation and Providence  Pointing to the Messiah

1 Praise is awaiting You, O God, in Zion;
     And to You the vow shall be performed.
2     O You who hear prayer, to You all flesh will come.
3     Iniquities prevail against me. 
     As for our transgressions, You will provide atonement for them.
4    Blessed is the man You choose, and cause to approach You,
     That he may dwell in Your courts. We shall be satisfied with
     the goodness of Your house, of Your holy temple.
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5     By awesome deeds in righteousness You will answer us,  O God of our salvation, 
     You who are the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of the far-off seas;
6     Who established the mountains by His strength, being clothed with power;
7     You who still the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves,
       and the tumult of the peoples.
8     They also who dwell in the farthest parts are afraid of Your signs–
     You make the outgoings of the morning and evening rejoice.
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9     You visit the earth and water it, You greatly enrich it–
      The river of God is full of water; You provide their grain, For so You have prepared it.
10   You water its ridges abundantly, You settle its furrows, You make it soft with showers,
      You bless its growth.
11     You crown the year with Your goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance.
12     They drop on the pastures of the wilderness, and the little hills rejoice on every side.
13     The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered with grain;
       They shout for joy, they also sing.
  AMEN
 

… Psalm 64: David’s Darkest Days

All of what has happened to David is like a horrible dream.  Give Satan one inch and he takes a mile.  It began with one bad choice…  problems upon problems will carry him through the rest of his days.
  • David has sinned by committing adultery with Bathsheba and by having her husband killed—by Joab.  David has repented, but it seems there are endless consequences he will have to face.
  •  There was the rape of his daughter Tamar by her half-brother, Amnon.
  • Then there was the murder of Amnon by his half-brother, Absalom. Absalom fled to Geshur, where he was given sanctuary by his grandfather, Talmai. Through the intervening of Joab, David was pressured into allowing Absalom to return to Jerusalem. In time, Absalom succeeded in undermining the reign of his father.

New Text  2 Samuel 18 – 20

  • David now has been forced to flee Jerusalem due to the revolution instigated back by Absalom. While he never actually took the throne from David, Absalom acted as king for a few days, until he was defeated in battle and his life was ended.  As Absalom hung from a tree with his hair entangled in its limbs, Joab stuck three spears into Absalom’s stomach and then his ten armor bearers killed him with their swords, then hid body under rocks.
  • God gave David’s army victory over the rebel forces… but by means of going against David’s command.   Absalom was murdered by Joab, who killed Absalom in spite of David’s specific orders not to harm him.
  •  David is invited to return to Jerusalem to resume his rule over the nation Israel. But on the way there is strife between the men of Judah (David’s tribe) and the men from the other tribes in Israel. Somewhere between the Jordan River and Jerusalem, a rebellion is instigated by Sheba, and the Israelite’ s again forsake David as their king.
  • David is about to return to Jerusalem, removes Joab as commander of his armed forces,and replaces him with Amasa.   But that too is short-lived.
  • David forms his army again to go after the troublemaker Sheba.  An incredible display of violence happens as  Joab (again) “underhandedly” runs his sword through Amasa, spilling his intestines on the path.  The army of David stops to look at the scene of this man wallowing in his own blood.
  • David’s enemy Sheba has been beheaded through the intervention of a wise woman fro inside the city.   Sheba is cornered and put to death by beheading.  They take his head  and toss it over the wall.  The city is delivered, and the division of Israel is reversed.
  •  Joab retrieves it and carry’s it back to David.  With Amasa gone, Joab is again commander of David’s army.
PSALM 64   Oppressed by the Wicked But Rejoicing in the Lord
1     Hear my voice, O God, in my meditation, preserve my life from fear of the enemy.
2     Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked,
     From the rebellion of the workers of iniquity–
3     Who sharpen their tongue like a sword,
      and bend their bows to shoot their arrows—bitter words.
4     That they may shoot in secret at the blameless,
     Suddenly they shoot at him and do not fear.
5     They encourage themselves in an evil matter, they talk of laying snares secretly.
     They say, “Who will see them?”
6     They devise iniquities:  “We have perfected a shrewd scheme.”
     Both the inward thought and the heart of man are deep.
7     But God shall shoot at them with an arrow, suddenly they shall be wounded.
8     So He will make them stumble over their own tongue, all who see them shall flee away.
9    All men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God;
      For they shall wisely consider His doing.
10   The righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and trust in Him.
     And all the upright in heart shall glory.

… Psalm 61: The Lord Intervenes

 This battle belongs to the Lord! …and He continues to be faithful to David.
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PSALM 61    Assurance of God’s Eternal Protection

   A Psalm of David.

1     Hear my cry, O God!  Attend to my prayer.
2     From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed;
     Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
3     For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy.
4     I will abide in Your tabernacle forever, I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.     
Selah
5     For You, O God, have heard my vows; You have given me the heritage
     of those who fear Your name.
6     You will prolong the king’s life, His years as many generations.
7     He shall abide before God forever. Oh, prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him!
8     So I will sing praise to Your name forever, that I may daily perform my vows.
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 ahithophel-and-hushai-gave-advices-to-absalom (2)This is the wonderful effect of Divine Providence.  Absalom’s mind is blinded and his heart is influenced to not rest in Ahithophel’s counsel.  Rather he desired the advice of Hushai’.    God can turn a man .himself and destroy him by him by his own mistakes and passions–Ahithophel’s former counsel was followed.  The advice that came after was not followed.  God intended to correct David, then the latter advice was meant not to destroy Absalom.  God can overpower any wisdom of man.  Whatever wisdom or help any man employs, the success is from God alone, who will not let his own people perish.
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Passage:  2 Sam. 17:1–21   Ahithophel’s counsel overthrown

Ahithophel, Absalom’s advisor, pointed out that it was David who was the problem in Israel, and suggested gathering twelve thousand men to set out to kill David.  Then all of Israel would return to Jerusalem like a bride for Absalom. At first Absalom thought the idea was a good one.  Absalom then passed it by Hushai who said Ahithophel’s advice was not good.  He spoke of David’s wisdom, he is angry and dangerous, like a bear robbed of her cubs.  He was too wise to be caught with his soldiers, but would be well hidden.  Hushai advised Absalom to wait until all Israel was behind him and then for him to go into the battle.  Absalom accepted the advice of Hushai.

God was watching over David. “For the Lord had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the Lord might bring evil upon Absalom.”  David’s underground worked to keep David informed (verses 15–20).   Hushai worked through Zadok and Abiathar, the priests. They sent messages by a maidservant to David. On one occasion they were almost caught, but were saved when a woman hid them in a well and covered it and spread grain over it to disguise their whereabouts.

verse 22-29  Ahithophel hangs himself,  Absalom pursues David  

 Ahithophel was greatly troubled that his counsel was not followed.  He then returned back to his own  city, put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died.  He knew Absalom’s cause would fail.  Absalom followed the advice of Ahithophel in taking possession of David’s concubines,  then Absalom went with his men and chased after his father.   The Lord had purposed to defeat the good advice of Ahithophel, to the intent that the Lord might bring disaster on Absalom.

…Psalm 20: Humiliation…

May the Lord answer us in the day of trouble
May He grant us according to our heart’s desire
We will rejoice in your salvation and in the name of our God we will set up our banners!
Some trust in chariots, and some in horsesbut we will remember the name of the Lord our God.  Psalm 20: 1,4,5,7
 
Honor and majesty You have places upon him…  Psalm 21:5

No one wants to be humiliated. Most of us are willing to do whatever it takes to keep from being humiliated.  Here the Kings own men receive the kind of humiliation that comes when you realize that your own character has been challenged and made public.  The goodness and kindness that God puts into the heart of his people… many use against us to humiliate us.  We’re talking about the kind of humiliation that goes beyond embarrassment to anguish.

It is also said this humiliation is something we all must go through, not for growth, but for salvation. Through it and in obedience to God’s instruction, we learn how to deal with people in godly ways–rather than heaping sin upon more sin.  We also learn to seek the protective covering for us through Christ’s sacrifice.

In the Beatitudes, Jesus talks about the humble, the lowly, and those who mourn.

 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.  Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”  ~ Matthew 5:3-5

 

The scene is after David has shown kindness to Methebosheth, Johnathon’s son.  The enemy will surely try to strike us down after we we do some good and pleasing for God.   The Lord has helped David to set up a holy kingdom.  The people are all of one accord singing and praising the God of Israel.  This scripture shows the evil nature of the heart’s of men.  This was more of a strike against David rather than the nation of Israel.  A progression of  Satanic attacks will begin to take place in David’s personal life from this point on.

.At War with the Ammonites (2 Sam. 10:1–19)

imagesThe king of the Ammonites died. David affirmed his loyalty to the Ammonites because of the friendship he had with the deceased king.  But the Ammonites insulted the Israelites who had come to them in kindness and shaved off half of the beard of each man. They also cut off their garments at their hips and sent them away in disgrace.   David let his servants stay at Jericho until their beards had grown out.  In the meantime he prepared to punish the Ammonites.

This is a terrific passage of people from different nations working together for the good of all.  The Syrians were hired by the Ammonites to join in fighting Israel.  Joab, David’s general, realized that he was faced with a battle on two fronts. He divided his forces and prepared for battle. He chose to lead the battle against the Syrians and put Abishai in charge of the battle against the Ammonites. First the Syrians were defeated and then the Ammonites fled. After this battle, the Syrians regrouped and came against Israel again. David led in a decisive victory over them. The Syrians decided it was not a good idea to help the Ammonites against Israel any more.

One of the most inspiring texts of the Bible is found in verses 11 and 12. Joab said to Abishai, his brother, “If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you shall help me; but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will come and help you. Be of good courage, and let us play the man for our people, and for the cities of our God; and may the Lord do what seems good to him.”

 The Ammonites and Syrians Defeated

Passage    2 Samuel 10:19    
It happened after this that the king of the people of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his place.  Then David said, “I will show kindness to Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father showed kindness to me.” So David sent by the hand of his servants to comfort him concerning his father.  And David’s servants came into the land of the people of Ammon.  And the princes of the people of Ammon said to Hanun their lord, “Do you think that David really honors your father because he has sent comforters to you?  Has David not rather sent his servants to you to search the city, to spy it out, and to overthrow it?”
Therefore Hanun took David’s servants, shaved off half of their beards, cut off their garments in the middle, at their buttocks, and sent them away.  When they told David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed.  And the king said, “Wait at Jericho until your beards have grown, and then return.”  When the people of Ammon saw that they had made themselves repulsive to David, the people of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Beth Rehob and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand foot soldiers; and from the king of Maacah one thousand men, and from Ish-Tob twelve thousand men.
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 Now when David heard of it, he sent Joab and all the army of the mighty men.  Then the people of Ammon came out and put themselves in battle array at the entrance of the gate. And the Syrians of Zoba, Beth Rehob, Ish-Tob, and Maacah were by themselves in the field.  When Joab saw that the battle line was against him before and behind, he chose some of Israel’s best and put them in battle array against the Syrians.  And the rest of the people he put under the command of Abishai his brother, that he might set them in battle array against the people of Ammon.  Then he said, “If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you shall help me; but if the people of Ammon are too strong for you, then I will come and help you. Be of good courage, and let us be strong for our people and for the cities of our God. And may the Lord do what is good in His sight.”
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Psalm 20    The Assurance of God’s Saving Work
1     May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble, may the name of the God of Jacob defend you–
2     May He send you help from the sanctuary, and strengthen you out of Zion.
3     May He remember all your offerings, and accept your burnt sacrifice.      Selah
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4     May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose.
5     We will rejoice in your salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners!
     May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.
6    Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed–
     He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand.
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7     Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the
       Lord our God.
8     They have bowed down and fallen, but we have risen and stand upright.
9     Save, Lord!  May the King answer us when we call.

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So Joab and the people who were with him drew near for the battle against the Syrians, and they fled before him.  When the people of Ammon saw that the Syrians were fleeing, they also fled before Abishai, and entered the city. So Joab returned from the people of Ammon and went to Jerusalem.  When the Syrians saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they gathered together.  Then Hadadezer sent and brought out the Syrians who were beyond the River, and they came to Helam.  And Shobach the commander of Hadadezer’s army went before them.  When it was told David, he gathered all Israel, crossed over the Jordan, and came to Helam.  And the Syrians set themselves in battle array against David and fought with him.  Then the Syrians fled before Israel; and David killed seven hundred charioteers and forty thousand  horsemen of the Syrians, and struck Shobach the commander of their army, who died there.  And when all the kings who were servants to Hadadezer saw that they were defeated by Israel, they made peace with Israel and served them. So the Syrians were afraid to help the people of Ammon anymore.
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…Psalm 15: The Kindness of David

O man, what is good,  and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.  – Micah 6:8

“Love and mercy,” “loyal love,” or “loving-kindness” along with justice, wee commanded of Israel if they were to walk humbly before their God.  Both justice and mercy are foundational to God’s character (Psalm 89:14). God expected His people to show love to their fellow man and to be loyal in their love toward Him, just as He had been loyal to them.

“Walk humbly” is a description of the heart’s attitude toward God. God’s people depend on Him rather than their own abilities (Micah 2:3). Instead of taking pride in what we bring to God, we humbly recognize that no amount of personal sacrifice can replace a heart committed to justice and love. David’s life was an example of this kind of love.

David’s Kindness to Mephibosheth—Jonathan’s Son

David never forgot his love for Jonathan.  Their’s was a  friendship as deep as life itself.  David was thinking about Jonathan one day and wondered if there were any descendants of Saul left to whom he might show mercy for Jonathan’s sake.  He inquired and found  that Jonathan had a son still alive, and learned  of his being lame in the feet.  His name was Mephibosheth.  David sent for him.

Mephibosheth had every reason to be afraid of David. It was the custom in those days for any new king to destroy all of the descendants of rival dynasties. He fell on his face before David, but David assured him he had nothing but kindness for him. He promised to restore to him all of the lands that had formerly belonged to Saul, and he would receive the income from the lands as long as he lived.  Mephibosheth would always be a guest at David’s table.  Love will continue in spite of all circumstances. Not even death could make David forget Jonathan. Through Jonathon’s son, David  found a way to honor the house of Saul. He never got away from that awesome respect he had for “God’s anointed.”

What a beautiful picture this represents for us.  From the first man Adam, to us, the children of the one who made himself an enemy of Godby his sin he crippled his descendants, and suddenly we are taken from our helpless state and brought into the household of the Lord. We are made rich in Jesus, and through Him have direct access to the King of kings.  How great and wonderful is this kindness?  Not only David, but the kindness of God, in whom David represents!  The lame, the wounded, and the forgotten are one with the King of Glory.

Psalm 15

1     Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle?  Who may dwell in Your holy hill?
2     He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart.
3     He who does not backbite with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor,
      Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend—
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4    In whose eyes a vile person is despised, but he honors those who fear the Lord–
     He who swears to his own hurt and does not change,
5     He who does not put out his money at usury, nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
     He who does these things shall never be moved.
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—The passage   (2 Sam. 9:1–13)
Now David said, “Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”
 And there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba. So when they had called him to David, the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” He said, “At your service!”
 Then the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, to whom I may show the kindness of God?”
And Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan who is lame in his feet.”
 So the king said to him, “Where is he?”
And Ziba said to the king, “Indeed he is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, in Lo Debar.”  Then King David sent and brought him out of the house of  Machir the son of Ammiel, from Lo Debar.
 Now when Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, had come to David, he fell on his face and prostrated himself.
Then David said, “Mephibosheth?” And he answered, “Here is your servant!”
 So David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually.”  Then he bowed himself, and said, “What is your servant, that you should look upon such a dead dog as I?”  And the king called to Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, “I have given to your master’s son all that belonged to Saul and to all his house.  You therefore, and your sons and your servants, shall work the land for him, and you shall bring in the harvest, that your master’s son may have food to eat. But Mephibosheth your master’s son shall eat bread at my table always.” Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.
 Then Ziba said to the king, “According to all that my lord the king has commanded his servant, so will your servant do.”
“As for Mephibosheth,” said the king, “he shall eat at my table like one of the king’s sons.”  Mephibosheth had a young son whose name was Micha. And all who dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants of Mephibosheth.  So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem, for he ate continually at the king’s table. And he was lame in both his feet.

kindness_is

…Psalm 24 Prepare the Way of the Lord

 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,  nor sworn deceitfully.  He shall receive blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
 
Lift up your heads, O you gates!  And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.   Psalm 24:4-7
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straight pathKing David has been busy sending out his armies to cleanse and purify the land of the surrounding heathen nations, purifying the land from all those who worship idols and foreign Gods.  “Lift up your heads O ye gates! Lift them up ye everlasting doors;—so the King of Glory shall come in.”   It was necessary to cleanse the land if the Spirit of God was to be at rest with His people.  This also is making a way for the coming Messiah.  This Psalm represents the image of all people dwelling in the very presence of God.  It specifies who is qualified to enter the city of David.    John the Baptist will do it again when he announces the arrival of the coming Messiah. “Hear the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, Make His paths straight.’ ” Matthew 3:1-12

Their will be a third time when this scene takes place–at the second coming of Christ.  We are told in Revelation that God’s temple would be trampled on by the nations for 42 months. During that period, for 1,260 days two witnesses would be granted authority to prophesy. They are described as two olive trees and two lampstands who stand before the Lord of the earth. Revelation 1:1-6
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Psalm 24
The King of Glory and His Kingdom
1     The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein.
2     For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters.
3     Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place?
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4     He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
       nor sworn deceitfully.
5     He shall receive blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6     This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face.  
7    Lift up your heads, O you gates!  And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
     And the King of glory shall come in.
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8     Who is this King of glory?  The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.
9     Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors!
     And the King of glory shall come in.
10     Who is this King of glory?  The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.

…Psalm 95 Where is the Joy?

There is Joy in the Rock of Our Salvation
Where there is joy there is worship.  This psalm has a wonderful progression that brings us right into the presence of God!   It begins with jubilant praise and thanksgiving.  But later the mood begins to change.  “Come let us bow down and worship…let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.”  Praise and thanksgiving lead us to worship.  Worship is an attitude.  Every part of our being is involved in submission to God.  We can hear God speaking to us–our spirit in direct communion with God.
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man–
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”  1 Corinthians 2:9
.Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless His Name–
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day
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images (1)
Psalm 95

1     Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
2     Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
3     For the Lord is the great God, and the great King above all gods.
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4     In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the heights of the hills are His also.
5     The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land.
6     Oh come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
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7     For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.
     Today, if you will hear His voice:
8     “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, as in the day of trial in the wilderness,
9     When your fathers tested Me, they tried Me, though they saw My work–
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10     For forty years I was grieved with that generation, and said, ‘
     It is a people who go astray in their hearts, and they do not know My ways.’
11     So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ”