Let’s turn now in our Bibles to the thirty-second psalm. This is a psalm of David. It’s called a Maschil which means instruction. One of the psalms of instruction. It is believed that David wrote this psalm after his experience with Bathsheba where he first tried to cover his guilt. Thinking that he was successful in hiding his sin and yet the prophet of God came and exposed his sin. David knew that he had not hidden his sin, God knew what he did. And David cried out to the prophet Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And the prophet said unto him, The Lord has forgiven your sin.
For a long time, David had sort of held this sin. Been troubled in his consciousness by his sin. But now he has received the word of God’s forgiveness. And so David wrote,
The word in Hebrew is, O how happy or O the blessed happiness of he,
whose transgression is forgiven (32:1),
David’s experience with Bathsheba was more than just sin, it was a transgression. A transgression is something that is willful. It is a defiant rebellion against the law of God. Sin is missing the mark. It could be accidental. It could be by ignorance. It could be really against your will. There are many people who sin who try not to sin. They are struggling with sin. They are struggling with the weaknesses of their flesh.
Paul describes that struggle in the seventh chapter of the book of Romans as he talks about this perverse law that he finds within his nature. “For when I would do good, evil is present with me. So that the good that I would, I do not: and that which I do not allow, I do. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death” (Romans 7:19,24)? And so he found this strange perverse sort of law working within his nature. The desire to do the right thing, the desire to follow the will of God and yet the weakness of his flesh and the failures of his flesh. And there are many Christians in the seventh chapter of the book of Romans. They can relate with what Paul is talking about because they, too, are struggling against the powers of the flesh and Satan working through my flesh to pull me down from being the person that I want to be in Christ.
A person oftentimes struggles with his bad temper. And it’s a real problem. They don’t want to have those kind of explosions. They hate themselves afterwards. They weep, they cry before the Lord. And they battle with these things. They’re part of the flesh that have to be brought to the cross, reckon crucified with Christ and dead but it is a struggle. And they’re fighting against it. And yet it’s still sin. It doesn’t take away from the fact that you’re missing the mark. It’s wrong. But it’s not a deliberate willful disobedience whereas transgression is.
It’s like God would draw a line and say, Okay, Chuck, don’t go over that line. And we get busy, we get excited. We’re just getting all excited and suddenly, in our excitement we say, We move over and the Lord says, Hey, OOPS. Oh Lord, sorry, I’m sorry, Lord. I didn’t intend to, it wasn’t a deliberate thing. And yet I did cross over the line that God said don’t cross over.
A transgression, however, God says, Okay, there’s that line now. Don’t you cross over that line. Well, what are you going to do about it? It’s a defiant kind of a willful disobedience of God. As such it brings me into a greater judgment. Jesus tells about in a parable, Luke chapter twelve, of the servant who was made steward over his master’s goods. “And his master went away into a far country and didn’t come back at the appointed time or when the steward thought he was coming home. And so he said, My master is delaying his coming. I might as well just live it up, party a bit. And he began to be drunken and he began to misuse his position of authority. And his master came back when he wasn’t expecting him. Found him in this drunken condition. And it said that he cut him off. Gave him his portion with the unbelievers. For He said, That servant that knew the will of the master and yet did not accordingly will be beaten with many stripes. Yet he who did things that were worthy of many stripes, because he did not know the will of the master, will be beaten with few. Unto much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:42-48).
Whether it be a sin or whether it be a transgression, it has to be atoned for. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). “The soul that sinneth, it shall surely die” (Ezekiel 18:20). So there’s got to be some kind of an atonement for the sins. In the Old Testament, God provided for the atonement through the substitution of an animal sacrifice. The animal died in the place of the sinner. And the blood of the animal was sprinkled on the mercy seat. And thus they made the atonement for sin or the kaphar, the covering for their sins.
And the same was true for transgressions. But even the sins of ignorance, there were laws of offering for those who sinned in ignorance. Doesn’t matter that I don’t know. It still has to be atoned for.
And so David in experiencing this declaration of God’s forgiveness said, “O the blessed happiness of the man whose transgression is forgiven.”
whose sin is covered (32:1).
kaphar, atoned for.
Blessed is the man to whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity (32:2),
Paul picks this up in his epistle to the Romans, speaking how David declared the blessedness of the man to whom did not impute iniquity. As I am in Christ Jesus through a position of faith, having received Jesus Christ as my Saviour and my Lord and I have believed into this position so that I am in Christ Jesus, and as God sees me He sees me in Christ. As I am there positionally in Christ, God is not imputing to my account iniquity. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). It’s a glorious position. I understand exactly what David was saying when he said, “O the blessed happiness of the man to whom God does not impute iniquity.” What a glorious place to be. In Christ Jesus where God is not accounting to me my sin, my failures.
Now that is not an excuse for me to go out and sin willfully. Paul when he brought the truth of the grace of God to the Romans declaring unto them, “Where sin abounds, grace overflows,” he said, Shall we then say let’s go out and let’s really party it up. Let’s live in sin in order that the grace of God may abound. And he said, God forbid. How can we who are dead to sin live any longer therein (Romans 5:20-6:2)?
The principle by which I have been freed from the power of sin is that my old man, that old nature was crucified with Christ. He is dead. Now you can go to the mortuary and you can take a man who is lying there stiff in one of the coffins and you can place all kinds of temptation before him. You’re not going to arouse him at all. He is dead. You can try to entice him, do whatever, he can’t move, he’s dead. Now that is our position to that old life. Dead, the old man was crucified. I need to reckon that. Now the fact that I have to reckon it means that it hasn’t actually happened. In fact, I’m still in this body and as long as I’m in this body, I’m going to have that motion towards sin. But when it begins to come I’ve got to say, Hey, that’s a part of the old life, that’s a part of the flesh life. That life is dead, it was crucified with Christ. I reckon that to be dead so that I’m not moved by it. And alive unto God in Christ Jesus. In that position God does not impute iniquity to me.
There are many wonderful Christians who are very sensitive and Satan takes advantage of them by pointing out their failures, pointing out their flaws and seeking to cause them to feel this condemnation and unworthiness. Unworthiness to seek the Lord, unworthiness to come to the Lord because of the consciousness of, say, the weakness of self-control. They may be very moral in every aspect of their life but it could be that they’re lacking self-control. And whenever they blow up and scream at the kids, then Satan has a field day with them. He just really rakes them over the coals. Ah come on, you’re supposed to be a Christian. Look at you. And just them a bad time and they listen to Satan. Yeah, I’m so miserable. My, I’m so horrible. I don’t know why God ever. How could God love me? How could I ever ask God to do anything? Look how I’ve so miserably failed. And they get under this condemnation.
But Jesus isn’t condemning them. The Lord hasn’t even imputed that screaming at their kids against them. He’s not going around counting every little flaw and failure on your part. “O how blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity.” Your friends may say, Oh come on, you say you’re a Christian, look what you’re doing. And they may be condemning. They may be laying charges to your account. But not God. “O how happy is the man to whom God does not impute iniquity.”
in whose spirit there is no guile (32:2).
No deceit. They’re open. They’re not trying to hide anything. When Nathaniel was brought to Jesus, He said, Behold an Israelite in whom there is no guile. This guy’s open. There’s no deceit. Nathaniel said, How do you know me? But Jesus commented on Nathaniel. Interesting, no deceit. No trying to cover anything.
David had been trying to cover things. He was filled with guile. And it’s interesting how sin will lead you into guile. When you have sinned and you start then trying to cover the traces to try to hide the evidence, you try to live this false life and you become this duplicity, this deceitfulness. And it’s a thing that you seek to deceive. People on drugs are some of the greatest, and alcohol. Those who are having problems. They become tremendous con people. There’s a young kid around here right now, tries to con everybody. Thinks he’s conning me but he’s not. But it’s this, lives are filled with deceit, lies. And oh, they can swear in a ton of Bibles and all that but they’re just, there’s just this duplicity. There’s guile. “Blessed is the man in whose spirit there is no guile.”
Now David starts speaking about this position as he was in the process of trying to hide his sin with Bathsheba. David from his rooftop had seen Bathsheba bathing, he was attracted, he sent his servants with an invitation for her to come over to his palace. She came, he seduced her, she was a married woman, David was a married man, he had other wives, he had many wives. But here he took the wife of another man, seduced her and then she became pregnant.
It’s interesting how that if you are really a child of God, God won’t let you get by with your sin. If you’re not a child of God, you may get by with it and if you’re getting by with it, look out. I’d be worried if I can go out and just sin and get by with it. Alright, nobody knows. Nothing happened. Neat. Be careful, man. If you’re a child of God, He’ll chasten you. He chastens every son whom He receiveth. And if you’re not being chastened, then you’re in dangerous ground. You’re probably not a child of God. If you can go out and sin and get by with it, you’re probably not a child of God.
Others may commit adultery, get by with it, not David. He’s a child of God. God’s not going to let him get by with that. She becomes pregnant. Now that old mental torment, what shall we do? Oh no, what shall we do? My, when this is found out, here I am, the king and taking another man’s wife. And he’s a soldier and he’s fighting in my armies out on the battlefields. What will people say? Can’t have this. My reputation. And so how one sin leads to another. And now the deceitfulness, the guile, the duplicity.
He sends a message to Joab and he says, Send Uriah home that he might report to me on the battle conditions. So Joab calls Uriah and says, I want you to take to king David the report of the battle and of how things are going. Report to the king. And so Uriah all excited, the king would request me, comes home and just all excited. Shivering with excitement to see David, the king, to sit before him. And David’s asking him all these questions and seems to be so interested in him and all. And David’s just filled with deceit because he’s trying to cover his sin. So that after all of the reporting and all, he says, That’s great, Uriah, tremendous job. I appreciate that. Now tell you what, you go home and spend the evening with your wife. Have a great evening with her. But instead Uriah went to the porch and slept with David’s servants there at the porch of the palace.
David says, Oh no. Come on, man. What’s wrong? You’ve got a beautiful wife, why don’t you go home? I couldn’t go home. All of my buddies are out there in the mud fighting against the Ammonites, how could I enjoy the pleasures of my wife knowing that my buddies are all out there fighting. David tried again. Got him drunk. Figured he’d not know what he was doing, just stagger home and wake up in the morning and there’s his wife and he’d never know the difference. So that when she said, Honey, I’m pregnant. He would figure, Oh well, must have been when I was home on furlough. But drunk as he was, he didn’t go home. He slept again on the porch of David’s palace.
So now the plot thickens. David takes the next step. As sin draws you deeper and deeper into its clutches. And so now he conspires to kill Uriah. Can’t have people know what I’ve done. Can’t have my guilt exposed. Bathsheba being pregnant, her husband being away, she would be stoned to death and David would be then responsible for her being stoned because of her sin. Couldn’t have that. So he plots the death of Uriah telling Joab to make an assault against the enemy, put Uriah in the front line when the battle is really hot, withdraw all the troops so that Uriah might be slain. Joab followed the orders of David. And so news came that Uriah was slain in the battle against the Ammonites. Bathsheba went through the period of mourning. And then David very magnanimously married the pregnant wife of one of his fighting men so that she wouldn’t have to just be out on the street.
And to the people looked like a very magnanimous leader. My, isn’t that marvelous of David? She’s pregnant and all and yet he took her in as his wife because the man was fighting for David. And David felt very smug. I really pulled the wool over their eyes. I really covered the guilt. But he didn’t fool God. And he deceived himself when he thought that he had fooled God.
So God sent the prophet Nathan to David declaring David’s guilt. Allowed David to judge himself and then David when he said, That man shall surely be put to death, Nathan said, David, you are the man. God has blessed you. Given the kingdom. You have wives and all a person could desire. And yet, you took the wife of Uriah and then you had him murdered. David cried out, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said, Your sins have been forgiven. The Lord has forgiven your sins. This duplicity.
When I kept silent (32:3),
When I was trying to cover my guilt,
my bones (32:3),
my whole being, bones plural is used as a metaphor for my whole being. Because the skeleton, my whole, I have the flesh and all that covers the skeleton but my bones, the whole body, my whole being,
waxed old through my roaring all the day long (32:3).
There was this inner roaring going on within David’s head, within his mind, of what he had done. The guilt of what he had done. He couldn’t get away from it. And it was just making him old. It was just destroying him.
For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer (32:4).
The heavy hand of God, the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Night and day he couldn’t escape. During the nighttime tossing in his bed. Thinking of it. How could I have done that? Why did I do that? Heavy hand of God. And then David said,
I acknowledged my sin unto the Lord, and my iniquity I have not hid, confessed. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and You forgave the iniquity of my sin (32:5).
That’s when he said, O how blessedly happy is the man whose transgression is forgiven. I said I will confess and You forgave. The Hebrew language indicates that the moment David said, I’m going to confess my transgressions; in that instant, the forgiveness was there.
If you only knew how ready and willing God is to forgive you your transgressions, you wouldn’t wait. You wouldn’t hesitate. God stands ready the moment in your heart you say, I’m going to change. I’m going to give my life to Jesus Christ, I’m tired of this sin. I’m tired of this miserable existence. I want to change. The moment that desire is there, before you can ever say, O God, be merciful, the mercy of God has already been bestowed. The sins are forgiven. David said,
For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when You may be found (32:6):
There will come a time when you won’t be able to find that ready forgiveness. “Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He’s near” (Isaiah 55:6). “Lest the evil days come when you say, I have no pleasure in them” (Ecclesiastes 12:1). “Now is the appointed time; now is the time of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). “Choose you this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). While God has opened the door, given you the opportunity, it’s time to respond and to react. I will call upon you. “For this shall every one that is godly pray unto Thee in the time when you may be found.”
For surely if I have been seeking the Lord when the great floods come, [the great trials, the great tribulation], the floods of great waters they will not come nigh unto him (32:6).
God will preserve you and keep you.
For Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble (32:7);
Oh to find that glorious hiding place in Jesus Christ. That place of safety, that place of strength and protection.
for You will encircle me or encompass me with songs of deliverance (32:7).
God is my strength, my help, my deliverer.
Now this is one of those interesting psalms that suddenly turns into a prophecy as God responds to the things that have been said. This is David’s declaration. He has experienced that gleeful blessed happiness of having God declare, Your sins are forgiven you. That whole ugly mess forgiven. That whole heavy hand of guilt lifted. Relationship with God restored. And now God responds. And the Lord speaks to David and He said,
I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go: I will guide you with my eye (32:8).
How glorious to have the Lord say, Hey, I will go ahead and I will instruct you and teach you in the way that you, I will guide you with my eye. Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah. Pilgrim in this barren land. I am weak but Thou art mighty, hold me with Thy powerful hand. And God is saying, David, I will guide you with my eye. That is, as you keep your eye upon the Lord, the Lord will indicate to you the way that you should go. I’ll guide you with my eye. But then the Lord said,
Don’t be as a horse, or as a mule, which do not have understanding: and thus their mouth must be held with a bit and a bridle, lest they step on you (32:9).
The horse and the mule. They’re guided but they are guided with a bit and a bridle. It’s a painful way to be guided. You put that bit in the mouth so that when you pull on the bridle, pulls the bit up against the mouth and the horse, you pull on him and he knows to turn. He might fight against it and shake his head but that bit hurts and you guide him with a bit and a bridle.
But God said, Don’t be like that. I don’t want to use painful methods. There are some people though that are stubborn. They won’t follow the leading of the Lord. And God rules that. He said, I don’t want to have to use painful processes to guide you. I think of the painful processes by which God many times gets our attention. And it doesn’t please the Lord. He’s not happy in using painful processes to instruct us, to guide us. He would rather just guide us with the eye. Hey, that way. Rather than having to use those painful. I am the one that makes God have to use the painful processes if I am stubborn and if I am resisting. I say, I got to go there, I don’t care. And so I smash my car. I end up in a hospital. Oh God, I hurt, I ache. Oh God, why? I told you not to go. I wasn’t going to stay long, Lord. The painful processes.
Look at Jonah. The misery he had to go through because he decided to run away from God’s call. The miserable things that we go through because we decide to go our own way, rather than the way of God. But God says, Don’t be that way. I don’t want to use painful processes. I’ll just guide you with my eye. Don’t be stubborn like a mule. If you are, He will use the bit and the bridle. He’s not opposed to that. He loves you so much, He’s going to keep you in line one way or the other. But He would rather do it with just the guiding of the eye. Makes for better relationship.
Many sorrows shall be to the wicked (32:10):
How true! When I was preaching back in Southern Illinois just across the Missouri border, Cairo, Illinois, I was just a kid. Before I was married really I had gone back to hold some revival meetings in the south. I graduated from seminary. Wasn’t married. And so I just decided to go out and hold some meetings and I was down there in this little church, Cairo, Illinois. This one little old toothless lady down on the front row and I’d make some point and she’s say, How true, how true, how true! “Many are the sorrows of the wicked.” How true, how true!
but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about. Be glad in the LORD, rejoice, ye righteous: shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart (32:10,11).
I’ll tell you, when you really come to that awareness that God has forgiven, God has taken away the heavy load, no longer do I bear the guilt of those things that I have done. It is cause for just the shouting for joy. “O how happy is the man whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.”
Psalm 33 is a psalm that exhorts to the people, to the congregation to praise the Lord. To rejoice in Him. Notice the words, Rejoice, praise the Lord, sing, play skillfully and these exhortations.
Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is beautiful for the upright (33:1).
It’s just a beautiful thing to praise the Lord. Rejoice in Him.
Praise the LORD with the harp (33:2):
It’s sort of with a small stringed instrument, usually about ten strings on it, five to ten strings that they played.
and with the psaltery and with the instrument of ten strings (33:2).
So the various stringed instruments.
Sing unto the Lord a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise (33:3).
I can play with a loud noise but not so skillfully.
For the word of the LORD (33:4)
The exhortation, Rejoice, sing praises and so forth, but why? The reasons? “For the word of the LORD,”
is right; and all his works are done in truth. He loves righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD (33:4,5).
These are reasons for you rejoicing. These are reasons for you to praise the Lord. So when you take time to just worship the Lord and to praise Him, it’s good to take out this thirty-third psalm and spend some time just praising the Lord for His word. It is true, it is right. It will guide you into truth. Praise Him for His righteousness and judgment. Praise Him for His goodness that fills the earth. And then he begins to speak of His goodness. First of all, praise Him for,
By the word of the LORD were the heavens made (33:6);
Looking around at the universe, seeing the universe.
by the breath of his mouth they were brought into existence (33:6).
He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap: he lays up the depth in storehouses. Let all the earth fear or reverence the LORD [stand in awe of the Lord]: let all of the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him (33:7,8).
God is surely worthy to be praised. He is surely worthy of our reverence as we think of the creation of the universe.
This past week I had a fascinating experience as Dr. Carl Cottman invited me over to the laboratory in the Psycho-biology Department of the University of California here in Irvine. And he took me through and showed me the experiments that they are doing and the discovery of these chemicals that the body produces to heal the brain, to restore the brain. The study that they’re doing in Alzheimer’s disease and how they believe that it is possible for them to perhaps one day find the cure for the Alzheimer’s disease as they have found that the brain does produce certain chemicals to heal itself. And explained to me the little receptors and these neurons and the connections that were made and went through that whole process. It was fascinating.
Fascinating because I thought, My, what tremendous design we are discovering. How God so designed the human body, how God so designed the brain so that if one of these little lines is broken to the receptor, then there’ll come out another new chute and make the connection. And how the brain is so designed to heal itself. To create these connections when they are broken. When the brain has been damaged, how it is designed to heal itself. And I thought, Oh, I can’t fathom the wisdom. We can look at it. We can see the microscopes. And we can look at these little functions of the brain. The brain cells and the way they are shaped and all and I look in the microscope and saw those things. And it just fascinated with the whole thing, how they store the memory and how they do all, it’s just fascinating. And you think of God’s great wisdom in putting it all together.
Thinking of the olfactory senses. How that my brain, actually as I inhale through the nose the chemicals in the air dissolved. And as they dissolve in this mucous membrane in there, they’re dissolving certain vibrations into my brain that my brain catalogues so that when I have those same chemicals dissolving, at a later time I think, Hmm, chocolate chip cookies. All of these various, and it’s just really these vibrations coming into the impulses coming in, and yet my brain taking them and cataloging them and keeping a file of them. Marvelous design. I love it. And when you look at God’s work, God’s creation, you stand in awe of Him. “Let the earth fear the Lord, the inhabitants to the world just stand in awe of Him.”
For He spoke, and it was done (33:9);
By the word of His power, by His breath He brought it into existence.
he commanded, and it was established (33:9).
The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he makes the devices of the people of none effect (33:10). But the counsel of the LORD will stand for ever (33:10,11),
I am interested with all of the new fads that come along. The new fads within the church. The new get-rich programs and all of these things. How to grow a big church overnight. And all of these faddish things that come along. And how people are always tripping after them. Oh the latest thing. This is it, and oh yes, this is it. And people are always tripping after these new things. And I said, Well, just wait. Time will tell. And within two or three years all of these new things just fizzle out. They’re like skyrockets. They make a big flash. Everybody’s saying, Ooh, this is it. But soon they’re ashes. And people are looking for something else spectacular, amazing. It’s just interesting to watch these things come and go and people get all excited and they bring in articles and they’re just, ohh, this is, oh my. Just wait. Another cycle and it will cycle right out.
But what the Lord has done stands. He commands and it stays fast. And he “brings the counsel of the heathen to nothing.” I think of how many times the Bible has been attacked by men. And people say, You can’t trust the Bible, it’s not reliable because Dr. so-and-so said and he’s a scientist, after all. And then time goes on. The scholars said you can’t trust the Bible’s reliability because it spoke about a man by the name of Pilate and we don’t have any secular records in history of a man by the name of Pilate. Thus Pilate was only a fictional character made up by the Bible writers and it proves that the Bible is unreliable. You can’t trust it because there is no secular record of Pilate.
And these brilliant Bible scholars who had spent their lives, surely these men know. And so the faith of a lot of people were destroyed because they listened to these brilliant men. And they had people convinced that the Bible is an unreliable document because it spoke of a man who did not exist, a man that it called Pilate.
Recently as the archaeologists were uncovering the ruins of the city of Caesarea, they find this stone monument in the city with Pilate’s name in it, governor of the city in the area. I think, Oh those poor souls that believed those nuts and had their faith destroyed because the scholars said there is no secular record of Pilate. But the interesting thing is they would rather believe a secular record than believe the Bible. If the Bible says something is right and the secular says something different, I would take the Bible over the secular. Look what people are saying. Can you trust the newspapers today? And you have people trusting secular records. I would take the Bible over any secular record. For “the word of God is true.” It’s established. “The counsel of the Lord stands forever,”
the thoughts of his heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation (33:11,12)
This last portion of the psalm he goes into declaring how “blessed is the nation,”
whose God is the Jehovah (33:12);
Of course, he’s speaking specifically at that time of the nation of Israel, Jehovah was their God. Oh the blessed happiness of the nation whose God is Jehovah.
and the people whom he hath chosen as his own inheritance (33:12).
The nation of Israel which God chose as His inheritance above all of the people of the earth. Now he said,
The LORD looked from heaven; he beheld the sons of men. From the place of his habitation he looks upon all of the inhabitants of the earth (33:13,14).
God has a neat view of the whole earth. Looking from heaven, He looks down, He sees the whole earth.
There was a king of Israel, of Judah, the southern kingdom whose name was Asa, Second Chronicles fourteen, fifteen and sixteen give us a pretty good account of his reign. When he came to the throne at twenty-five years of age, the nation was invaded by over a million troops coming from the area of Ethiopia. They combined with the Nubians in this massive invasion. Asa had a good size army almost 500,000 men but that meant that they were outnumbered two to one. Plus the Ethiopians and Nubians had more tanks. They had a lot of chariots. He was outmanned, outnumbered. Seeing his condition, knowing that in the natural, physical realm, he could not go out and defeat this great invading army, knowing that from all natural kind of speculation, he was defeated, so he went to prayer. And he said, O Lord, it is nothing for you to help those that are weak or those that are strong. Help us, O Lord. Lord, it doesn’t really matter to You if we have 500,000 or we have a million five hundred thousand. Help us, Lord, for in Your name we’re going to go out against this enemy. We’re going to stand up to him. We’re going to go out and battle them. But we’re going to do it in Your name. O Lord, You are God. Don’t let men prevail over You. Lord, it’s Your battle, we’ll go and fight it for you. But You’re God, don’t let man prevail over You.
And Asa went out with his army and they defeated this huge host of Ethiopians and Nubians. As he was coming back from victory, the prophet of God came after him and said, The Lord is with you while you be with Him. And if you seek Him, He will be found of you. But if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. Hey, when God has just given you a big victory like that and everybody’s rejoicing, I would never forsake the Lord. Man, never, never would I ever forsake the Lord. But we read on.
After he had reigned for many years, was strong, prosperous, the king of the north, the kingdom of Israel decided to invade the southern kingdom. They came and they began to build fortified cities outside of Jerusalem to cut off the supplies. And so Asa took money out of the temple treasury and he sent it up to Benhadad, the king of Syria, and he said, Look, we have a mutual defense treaty. I’m sending you this money and I want you to take your troops and I want you to attack Israel from the north. And so Benhadad sent the Syrian army to attack Israel from the north.
And when the king of Israel heard that they were being invaded from the north, he took the troops from the building of this fortified city, put them up on the northern sector to defend against Benhadad. And having withdrawn the troops, the men of Judah were able then to move in and to destroy the fortified city and to take the goods and to fortify other of their own cities and Asa felt very smug. Successful strategy. Nice to be powerful. Nice to have money. Nice to be able to figure your way out of these problems.
And the prophet of the Lord came to him. He said, When you were little in your own eyes, and you were faced with a formidable enemy, you called on the Lord and the Lord delivered you out of the hands of the Ethiopians and the Nubians. But now that you’ve grown prosperous and you’re powerful, you trusted in the arm of flesh, your own devices. Don’t you know that the eyes of the Lord go to and fro throughout the entire earth that He might show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are perfect towards Him? Don’t you know that God wants to help you? Don’t you know that God wants to bless you? Don’t you know that God wants to work in your behalf and God is just looking for places to work. He’s looking for instruments through which He can work. And all He requires is a heart that’s towards Him. A heart that is in harmony with Him.
If you want to begin to see the power of God in your life, then get your heart in harmony with God, with the purposes of God. For God is just looking for people whose hearts are in harmony with His. Doing the things that He wants done and when God finds such an individual, such a person, then God begins to pour His Spirit, His power through their lives. And so the secret is just get your heart in harmony with God, with what God is desiring and wanting.
“The Lord looks from heaven. He looks upon the inhabitants of the earth. He beholds the son of men.”
He fashions their hearts alike; and he considers their works (33:15).
And then the declaration,
There is no king that is saved by the multitude of a host (33:16):
A strong army is not the key for success. Rome fell in the zenith of its power, as far as military might is concerned. “There is no king that is saved by the number of troops:”
a mighty man is not delivered by his great strength (33:16).
A horse is a vain thing for safety: neither can he deliver by his great strength (33:17).
Don’t trust in the strength of your armies. Don’t trust in the strength of your men. The conditioning of the men and the number of the cavalry units that you have because your safety and your victory lie in the Lord.
Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon those that hope in his mercy (33:18);
They are the ones that will find God’s deliverance and God’s work.
To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the LORD: for He is our help and our shield (33:19,20).
Our trust is in God that He will deliver us. I sort of fear for those people who are trusting in the provisions that they are laying up for the great tribulation period. There are groups that sell you survival kits. There’s quite a profitable business. They say the church is going to go through the tribulation and thus, you better start laying up stores of food. You need to lay up water. You need to lay up so much grain. They have a whole list and for $2,000 they’ll sell you all of the wheat and the canned goods and canned water and everything else you’ll need to survive for the seven years. And they’ll also sell you some Uzi’s so that when the hungry people come around, you’ll be able to defend your supplies. And then they talk about, Well God will surely leave us as evangelists here in the tribulation period. Yeah, evangelize with an Uzi, that’s a new way of evangelism.
No, you’re not going to be preserved by your supplies of food or whatever. Preservation is of the Lord. He will deliver us from death. He will be the One that will keep us alive in the periods of famine. “Our soul waits for the Lord for He is our help and our shield.”
And our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name (33:21).
What is His holy name? Yahweh or Jehovah, however it is pronounced.
Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee (33:22).
As you hope in God, He will be merciful to you. That is, the basis of God’s mercy, our hope in Him, and the degree in which you hope in Him, in that degree His mercy will be extended to you. “Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in Thee.”
We really didn’t get too far but who cares? If we don’t finish it here, we’ll finish it there. For throughout the ages to come, God shall be revealing unto us the exceeding riches of His mercy and kindness towards us through Jesus Christ. So we’ve got a lot to learn. God loves you so much it’s going to take all eternity for you to discover the depth of His love. His mercy is so great towards you. It will take all eternity to discover the depth of God’s mercy. O the depth of the riches, the heights and the depths of the riches of God’s love for us in Christ Jesus.
May God help us that we might comprehend more and more His goodness, His mercy, His love towards us as we come to know and to trust in His mercy. May the Lord be with you and watch over and keep you in His love and by His grace as we seek Him and as we follow Him.
If some of you have been wrestling with your conscience, the heavy hand of God has been upon you because of things that you’ve been doing. Let me urge you to just confess to the Lord your sin. Your transgression. For the Bible promises, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). There’s no sense going on another day. There’s no sense spending another sleepless night. There’s no sense being tormented by your conscience anymore. For the Lord Jesus Christ will wash you and cleanse you. And I urge you to just open your heart to Him and let Him work in your life.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #7176