Let’s turn to Psalm 34. You notice that this psalm has a title to it entitled,
The Psalm of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed (34:1).
The word Abimelech in the Hebrew is of the king. And thus, it is a common name for the Gentile king. It isn’t actually the name of the king himself but it is his title. It’s speaking of the king. The king’s name was Achish and he was the king of Gath. And when David was fleeing from Saul, he fled over to the Philistine city of Gath of which Achish was the king. And when they told Achish that David has come, he said, Is this the David of whom the women of Israel sing when they declare that Saul has killed his thousands and David his tens of thousands? Do we want that guy around here?
And David heard the king and he thought, Uh-oh, I’m in trouble. And so he began to, he feigned to be insane. He acted like he had gone mad. He began to scrabble at the gate of the king’s palace and he began to spit and just let it run down his beard. And began to just babble like a crazy man. When the king saw him, here he was, just scratching on the gate and babbling, and the spit running down; he said, We don’t need a madman around here. Get rid of him. And so he sent David away. And so David escaped from the hand of Achish and thus when he had escaped successfully, he sat down and he wrote this psalm (1 Samuel 21:10-15).
I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth (34:1).
Again David had experienced the hand of God helping him and delivering him from a very dangerous situation. David in a sense lived on the edge. At this time of his life, not very many people would give you much as far as a hope for David’s future.
Saul was after him to kill him. He had a bad reputation among the Philistines because he had killed Goliath. He really had no place to go. But to the wilderness and of course, he fled then from this to the wilderness of Adullam: but he over and over saw the hand of God miraculously delivering him from death. And so many of the psalms of David, the psalms of praise and thanksgiving and the greatness of God and the blessings of God were written during this period of his life when he really despaired for life himself. He wouldn’t give you much chances on his survival. And yet, over and over the Lord was with him and the Lord preserved him.
So his thanksgiving, “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
My soul shall make her boast of Thee: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together (34:2,3).
David is excited. He’s thrilled. God has delivered him out of a close encounter again with death and thus, he calls then on others to “magnify the Lord with him and exalt His name together.” For David said,
I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears (34:4).
David was afraid when he heard Achish talking. So David sought the Lord, God delivered him. Now David goes on in this psalm to declare the contrast between a righteous man and a wicked man. Talking first of the righteous,
They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed (34:5).
Looking unto God, we are enlightened. The Hebrew word could be translated Irradiated. You remember when Moses came down from the mountain, his face was irradiated. His face was glowing. And so he said, “They looked unto the Lord and their faces became irradiated.” As Moses when he looked unto the Lord. “They were irradiated: and their faces were not ashamed.”
This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles (34:6).
Then David declares,
The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them (34:7).
The word angel literally means messenger and many times in the Old Testament, the phrase, the angel of the Lord, is a phase that is used of the theophanies of Jesus Christ. The appearances of Christ in the Old Testament to the patriarchs, to the men of the Old Testament times. “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about those that fear Him.”
In Psalm 91, he declares, “He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. To bear thee up, lest at any time you dash your foot against the stone” (Psalm 91:11,12). Surrounded by angels, God has given them a charge to watch over you. Take care of him. Don’t let him stumble.
Sometimes I think my angel didn’t get a cup of coffee and yet I don’t want him to get upset. I’m just teasing, angel, you keep your eye on me. I’ll tell you what, he’s been there an awful lot of times and I knew it. I was in trouble and I thought I’d had it and I don’t know how I didn’t get it even to the present time. I don’t know how I escaped except the Lord was with me and the angel of the Lord was around me. He protected me. And I thank God for that. “He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all your ways. To bear you up, lest at any time you dash your foot against the stone.”
In Hebrews chapter one, in speaking of the angels, it said, “Are they not all ministering or serving spirits, who have been sent forth to minister or to serve those who are heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:14)? So God has commissioned the angels to more or less serve those who are the heirs of salvation. To watch over you. To keep you in all of your ways.
This psalm referring to the angel of the Lord could possibly go beyond just an angel. But we’re talking usually the phrase, the angel of the Lord, is a reference to the Lord Jesus Himself. The Messenger from God. And that “He encamps around about those that fear Him and delivers them.” And then as the psalmist declares,
O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusts in him (34:8).
The final proof is the actual partaking yourself. I could have a Haagen Daz ice cream bar with that dark Belgium chocolate. And I could be eating, I used to buy those things. I put that in the past tense, used to, because Valentine’s Day I bought my wife a ten pound bar of bittersweet dark chocolate. Because when I would buy these Haagen Daz bars, she’d just eat the chocolate off and leave the ice cream. And we just really bought them for the chocolate. It was such delicious chocolate. And so Valentine’s Day, I bought her this ten pound bar of this dark bittersweet chocolate and I haven’t had to buy the Haagen Daz anymore. I’ve really been saving lots of money because those things are expensive. But I would take one bite a day out of the Haagen Daz bar and I just hold it in my mouth and close my eyes and just let that chocolate dissolve on the taste buds of my tongue and just enjoy. Just sit there, just enjoy as that thing was just dissolving on the taste buds and sending them into a riot of ecstasy.
I can tell you that that’s probably one of the greatest ice cream bars going. I mean the taste, the flavor is just unreal. And I could stand there before you eating one of these bars just telling you how great, how tremendous. You can’t believe how good this is. But you’ll never know until I say, Hey, take a bite.
David is saying the same thing. You can’t know how good God is. I can stand here and tell you all day of the wonders of the Lord, of the glories of the Lord, of the blessings of the Lord. And yet, it takes the actual participation for you to really know. You’ve got to experience to really know. So David is calling on you to actually experience. “O taste and see that the Lord is good.” Experience it. Enter into it that you might for your own firsthand experience know that the Lord is good. “Blessed,” and the word blessed is actually in the Hebrew, the blessed happiness or ecstasy, “is the man that trusts in the Lord.” There’s just a blessed happiness for that man who has come to put his trust in the Lord. And then, the second exhortation,
O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him (34:9).
The word fear is to have that proper respect for, the reverential awe of. Stand in a reverential awe of God. And when you really stop to meditate upon God—and people just really don’t meditate much anymore, and it’s rather sad. And I’m not talking about TM bit, that’s weird. But the saints, the men of God used to spend time just meditating upon God. I would encourage, you know our so busy, crazy schedules now, we just don’t have time for meditation. There are so many distractions. So many disturbances. So many things that crowd our minds. And unfortunately, so many things that pollute our minds. Our minds are cramped full of junk. And we just don’t take time to meditate. But I would like to encourage you, go on down to the beach. Sit in the sand at sunset. Try and find a place that you’re just sort of by yourself. Watch the sun as it goes down. Look at that ocean. Look at the skies. And just meditate upon God, the Creator. The One who set the sun in its orbit here in our Milky Way galaxy. The One who set our little earth spinning in its orbit around the sun. And just meditate upon God and the greatness of God and the power of God. That is to fear the Lord.
The effect of that will be this reverential awe of the Lord. We’re encouraged to that. But you don’t really come to that unless you take time to really think about God and more than think, just to meditate.
In the day and age which we live with the media being what it is, magazines, newspapers, television, we have become extremely broad. We know a little bit about everything. Through all of these media, we’ve been exposed to so many marvels of the world and of the universe. We know a little bit about everything but in the same token, we don’t know much about anything. We are very broad but we’re not very deep. And that’s one of the problems with our present age is the lack of real depth. Broadness, yes. We’re very broad. But depth, no. It’s rare to find a person who has real depth.
That comes through just meditation on the Lord. Through the meditation comes the fear of the Lord and the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. We don’t meditate, we don’t have that reverential awe, without that we’re not really very wise. We’re not deep. We become very broad but not deep. “O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want,” God will take care of those who have come to this real understanding of Him through meditation.
Jesus said, “If you will just seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, all the other things will be added” (Matthew 6:33). They’ll be taken care of. Get your priorities right. Really just begin to seek the Lord, fear the Lord. “There is no want to those that fear Him.” God will take care of you if you’ll take care of your relationship with Him, God will take care of you.
The young lions do lack, they suffer hunger (34:10):
They’re strong. The king of the beast. And yet with all of their strength, they suffer hunger. They lack.
but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing (34:10).
That’s great. Others that are wiser than I may want. Others that are stronger than I may want. But because the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want any good thing. I love that. And so the psalmist then said,
Come, children, hearken unto me: and I will teach you what I’m talking about when I say the fear of the LORD (34:11).
I’ll teach you what it is. Fear of the Lord.
What man is he who desires life, and loves many days, that he may see good (34:12)?
That’s all of us. We’d like to have a good, long life. See many days, enjoy good things. Loves life. How does it come? First of all,
Keep your tongue from evil (34:13),
James has quite a bit to say about our tongue. It’s not a very big part of my body but, oh my, it can sure get me in a lot of trouble. Small as it is, it can really get me in a heap big trouble. Behold the tongue, it can stir up the fires of hell. It can be used as an instrument to destroy. James said, “If any man among you seem to be really religious.” Man, he goes to church all the time. He’s always reading the Bible, talking about the Lord. He said, “if he doesn’t bridle his own tongue, that man’s religion is vain” (James 1:26). He says a rudder on the ship is just a small part of the ship. You got a huge ship. You got a small rudder and yet that rudder is able to turn that huge ship. So is the tongue. It’s a small part of you but man, it can just really turn you many directions. And so the Bible tells us to be careful with our tongue and he calls it an unruly member of our body. So “keep your tongue from evil,”
and your lips from speaking guile (34:13).
Guile is deceit. Be careful about that talking deceitfully. Trying to deceive people with your tongue.
Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it (34:14).
That’s what the fear of the Lord is all about. It’s having your tongue in control and it is seeking peace, seeking good, pursuing it. Departing from evil. For he declares,
The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry (34:15).
God is watching over you. “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous.” Again in the case of Asa, the king of Israel, Second Chronicles chapter sixteen, fifteen, one of the two, when Asa had sought the help of the Syrian king to deliver him from the attack from the king of the north, the prophet came to Asa after the strategy worked. And the prophet began to rebuke Asa. He said, “When you were just small in your own eyes, and you were facing a powerful enemy, you trusted in the Lord and the Lord delivered you. Now that you are strong and you’re facing another threat, you have trusted in man and in your own devices for your deliverance. Don’t you know that the eyes of the Lord go to and fro throughout the entire earth to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are perfect towards Him” (2 Chronicles 16:7-9)? Don’t you know that God is looking for people to bless? God is looking for a place to work.
We think of prayer and we think of God responding to prayer. We think of God giving to us. But I think that it’s important for us to understand how God gives. Because I believe that many times our very prayers express our lack of understanding of how God gives. For many times our prayers, it would seem, are designed to convince God that He ought to give to us. To let Him know the advantage that He can have if He will just give to us. Prayers become powerful sales pitches. I’m going to go in and see if I can sell God on this one.
And I’m going to tell Him, God, you can’t lose. If you’ll just help me win that Reader’s Digest sweepstakes, I’ll do all kinds, I’ll spend that money, Lord, in all kinds of wonderful ways. I’ll get the Gospel to China and everywhere else, Lord. I’ll use a little bit for myself on the way but Lord, we’ll do great things for You. And so I’m trying to give a sales pitch to God. All the reasons why He ought to bless me because I’ll just really, Lord, you can’t lose on this deal. The prayers become sales pitches as though I am trying to change God’s mind that He might see things my way.
We are so often in prayer it would appear trying to change the mind of God concerning our situation. There is a scripture where God says, “Behold I am God, I change not” (Malachi 3:6). So prayer doesn’t change the mind of God. If you think of prayer as a means to change God’s mind, you misunderstand the real purpose of prayer. Because the real purpose of prayer is not to get my will done, but to get His will done. And prayer often does change my mind as God shows me His way through prayer.
Some people think that prayer is information share time. I’m going to inform God now of all of my problems. And so I am through prayer, explaining to God the whole dilemma I’m in and usually trying to rationalize and justify why I’m in this dilemma. Wasn’t really my fault. I didn’t know they were going to really turn out that way. And I’m trying to explain my whole situation to God so that as soon as God knows what my problem is, surely He will give and help me out.
One is trying to change God’s mind, convince Him; the other is just, I need to let Him know so He can help me out. God knew your whole problem six months before you did. You can’t share anything with God that He doesn’t know. Jesus said, “Your Father knows what you have need of, before you ever ask Him” (Matthew 6:8).
In reality, in looking at how men give, we have three basic kinds of givers.
The first is that man that needs to be sold. He needs to see how the community would benefit from his gift. How he himself would benefit from his gift. And though he may be reluctant at first, when he sees the need and he’s convinced of the benefit, he will give to this charitable cause.
The second person is willing. He’s ready. All he has to know is that there is a need and there’s someone that’s wanting to do something and so he goes ahead and gives. You don’t have to really talk him into it. He just, Well sure, I’d be happy to. He knows now of the situation and he sits down and writes out a check.
The third kind is the fellow who sees that we have a real problem in our community. We have a lot of kids on the streets and they really don’t have anything to do. If there was a community rec. center where these kids could go and they could get into more productive kind of activities than just standing on the corner looking for something and waiting for something to happen or deciding to make something happen, if we could only have a community rec. center where we could get these kids off the streets and all, it would be a great thing for our community. And the guy thinks, Man, he sees the problem, he sees the kids on the corner and he’s reading of all of the stuff that’s happening. He thinks, Boy, we really need to do something. And so he hears that the YMCA is building a new rec. center for the kids and as soon as he hears about that, he rushes over and he says, Here, I want to write you out this check. I should do something to help. And now he finds someone is doing it and so he is glad to find someone doing the thing that he feels needs done.
The third type comes closest to illustrating the way God gives. God has a work that He desires to do in this world. God sees the need. He wants to work. He is looking for people whose hearts are in harmony with what He wants to do. Then God begins to bless, pour out upon them His resources, His blessings because these people are aligned with the purposes of God. “The eyes of the Lord go to and fro throughout the entire earth to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are perfect with His or in harmony with His.”
So get your life in harmony with God. Get your life in harmony with the purposes of God. And you’ll find that God’s blessings will just begin to flow through you like you can’t believe. And so, “the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous” in order to bless them, in order to use them really as the instruments in blessing others. “His ear is open to their cry.”
The face of the LORD [in contrast though] is against those that do evil (34:16),
God has told us what is good, what is right, what is holy, what is pure. Don’t buy that relativity bit. There are things that are pure, holy and good and “God has told thee, O man, what is good; and what God requires of you, that you do justly, and you love mercy, and you walk humbly with the Lord your God” (Micah 6:8).
But people oftentimes rebel in their heart against what God said is right and what God said is good. That rebellion in your heart against what God declares to be right is evil. The evil of rebellion in my heart against the holiness of God, the righteousness of God. And so when I set my heart against the law of God, the holiness of God, then having set my heart against Him, “the face of the Lord is against those that do evil.”
to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth (34:16).
When you come to death’s door and you’re ready to pass through. When God says concerning you as He did concerning Belshazzar, your days are numbered and finished. What do you want to be remembered for more than everything else? You’re at the end, this is the end of the road. In five minutes you’re going to be gone, friend. What do you want to be remembered for? The Bible says the Lord will “cut off the remembrance of those who do evil.”
They’ve done nothing in their life but evil and what a horrible memory to have of a person. He was a rat. Put it on his tombstone. Cruddy bum. God will cut off the evil ones, their memory.
But the righteous they cry, and the LORD hears (34:17),
Back to verse six, David said, “This poor man cried and the Lord heard.” “The righteous cry, the Lord hears.”
and delivers them out of all their troubles (34:17).
David is speaking personally. God delivered him, he was in trouble. Achish was sort of looking, scans at David. Wait a minute, this guy, the one that killed Goliath, the one that they’re staking him out, here? “Delivers them out of all their troubles.”
The LORD is near to those that are of a broken heart; and saves such as be of a contrite spirit (34:18).
In the Beatitudes, Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” That’s a contrite spirit. The Lord saves those that are of a contrite spirit. And then, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:3,4). “The Lord is near to those of a broken heart.”
Your heart broken today over circumstances, over life? As you turn to the Lord, as you just pour out your heart to Him, your grief, your sorrows, your pain, the Lord is near to you. Broken heart, that contrite spirit. God, I’m sorry. Lord, I know that I haven’t been doing as I should. Lord, I want to do better. I just want, Lord, to really walk with you. That contrite spirit. The Lord will really save. He will turn things around.
For many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD will deliver him out of them all (34:19).
As I bring these things to the Lord, as I lay them at His feet, the Lord will help me. He will deliver me.
Now here is an interesting little psalm. In the middle of this, he throws in a prophecy.
He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken (34:20).
Talking about the righteous, the Lord delivering and all. And then he says, “He keepeth all of his bones.” And that is a prophecy concerning Jesus Christ when He was crucified, that they would not break any of His bones. As you get to John’s gospel, he tells us that the rulers came to Pilate because it was the day of the preparation for the great sabbath, the big sabbath, and so they wanted to hasten the death of the people that were hanging on the cross. Sometimes you could hang there for a day or two before you die. And so they wanted to hasten their death by increasing the pain and they would do that by taking a sledge hammer and just cracking their legs. The pain was severe as it was but that would be enough to just take you over the hump and as it would hasten the death of the prisoners.
And so they came to Pilate and said, Hey, we don’t want these guys hanging here on the sabbath day. It’s against our law. How about letting us. Do what you need to do. So they came out and they broke the legs of the two thieves. But when the fellow came to Jesus, He was already dead. So John tells us, they did not break his legs in order that the scripture might be fulfilled which saith, Not a bone of Him shall be broken” (John 19:31-36). “He keepeth all of His bones: not one of them is broken.” Referring to this psalm, a prophecy, which of course was necessary in order that Jesus fulfilled the type of the lamb that was used for the sacrifice. Because if you go back and read the study of the sacrifices, the lamb that was to be sacrificed could not have a broken bone” (Exodus 12:46).
One of the requirements of the sacrificial lamb is that it could not have any broken bones. And thus for Jesus to fulfill that type, He could not have a broken bone. The sacrifice had to be perfect and Jesus was perfect. So not a bone of Him was broken.
That one little prophecy and then right back to the subject. The contrast of the wicked and the righteous.
Evil shall slay the wicked (34:21):
I was trying to think of some evil that doesn’t have as its consequence the destruction of a person, of a personality. The destroying effect of sin. Almost every sin and evil that I can think of has a built-in destructive capacity. In fact, the thing is, as I look at it, it would seem that the things that God said are wrong are those things that are hurtful, destructive, harmful and can destroy. God says, Don’t do that. And as you really look at all the things that God said you shouldn’t do, you’ll find that inherent within those things is this destructive quality. “Evil will slay the wicked.”
Evil destroys. It destroys relationships. It destroys your body. It destroys your mind. It destroys your sense of values. If we could only see what evil does and evil is doing to this world in which we live. It destroys the wicked. And it’s individually but it’s also collectively as a society, as a nation. Evil destroys a nation when evil prevails.
and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate (34:21). The LORD redeems the soul of his servants: and none of those that trust in him will be desolate (34:22).
The contrast here. The evil shall be desolate. “But the Lord redeems the soul of his servants and those that trust in him, they’ll not be desolate.” He’s contrasting the evil, the righteous.
In the next psalm, he really takes off after the evil.
There was a big rally in Washington, D.C. as the pro-abortion forces mustered all of their strength to perpetuate their lies and their filth and their murders and their adulteries and their evil. All week I’ve been hearing on the news that they were planning to have 500,000 pro-abortion people march on Washington, D.C. That’s been on the news all week long. They’re planning for 500,000. Today they say there was an estimated 300,000. You can figure with the liberal press, that’s been bloated considerably.
If Christians would meet and there was 300,000, the press would report it as a hundred thousand or less. But because of their cause, the press is going to inflate it. But they were saying 300,000 in Washington. Now all week long for two weeks, they’ve been saying, There’s going to be 500,000 are going to gather in Washington, D.C. So what did they say today? More people here we ever dreamed or hoped for. Bunch of liars. They’ve been announcing they were going to have 500,000. Almost half that amount show up and they say, Oh, this is marvelous, more than we ever thought were going to come. This is success. This is overwhelming. Bunch of liars. But that’s what we’re dealing with when you’re dealing with the world and the corrupt evil world.
David knew how to deal with them. I think that I like David. Let’s see how David talks to the Lord about these kind of people.
Plead my cause, O LORD, with those that strive with me: fight against them who are fighting against me (35:1).
You take up my cause.
Take hold of the shield and the buckler, and stand up for my help (35:2).
Stand with me, Lord. You take up your shield and buckler. Let’s go at after them, let’s go get them.
Draw out also your spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation (35:3).
And so Lord, be on my side now. Lord, stand with me and we’re standing against these enemies and these that are fighting. Now listen what he says he wants the Lord to do.
Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion those who devise my hurt (35:4).
He wants God to confound them, put them to shame, turn them back and confuse them.
Let them be as chaff before the wind (35:5):
Actually what he’s saying is, Blow them away, God. Yeah, because when they would thresh the wheat, they would put it on the rock and they would trample on it and all to get the chaff off of the kernel. And then when the wind would blow, they’d throw it up in the air. They’d just take and throw handfuls up in the air and the chaff would blow. It’s light and it would just blow away in the wind. And the wheat would drop back down on the rock. So he says, Blow them away, God. I like that. And then,
let the angel of the LORD chase them (35:5).
Go after them.
Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the LORD persecute them (35:6).
And now he gives the reasons. You notice all these let, let, let. This is what he wants the Lord to do. And now he gives the reasons why he wants the Lord to do it.
For without cause have they hid for me their net over the pit (35:7),
They’ve set the net over the pit. They put the leaves on. They’re trying to trap me, Lord.
which without cause they have dug for my soul (35:7).
They’ve dug this pit and they’re trying to trap me. And so,
Let destruction come upon them suddenly, without them being aware of it; and let his net that he has set for me catch him (35:8):
Lord, catch him in his own net,
and let him fall. And [if You do this, Lord] my soul will be joyful in the LORD: I’ll rejoice in your salvation (35:8,9).
Man, You just blow them away, let them fall in the pit and I’m just going to be back there saying, Alright, God, go for it. “My soul will rejoice, Lord, in You.”
All my bones (35:10)
And we mention about the bones being the skeleton talks about my whole being.
shall say, LORD, who is like unto thee, which delivers the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him (35:10)?
Really the forces of evil that prevail here in the United States are too strong for us. They are so well entrenched. They are so well organized. If we wanted to have an anti-abortion rally in Washington, D.C., they could probably get fifty thousand people. Though we are against it, we all are very emotional and all in this thing and rightfully so. Yet, after all, there’s going to be a big game on TV Saturday. I don’t want to go back to Washington, D.C. We’re not dedicated to the cause as we should be. And that’s the big difference. Commitment. They’re strong, they’re organized, they’re committed. They are in positions of power. And thus, we need the Lord. We need the Lord to deliver from those who are too strong for us. From those that would spoil.
For false witnesses (35:11)
That’s the problem, they don’t care about the truth. “False witnesses,”
did rise up; they charged me with things I didn’t even know about (35:11).
The accusations that have been made, I didn’t even know about them.
They rewarded me evil for good as they tried to spoil my soul. But as for me, when they were sick, I put on sackcloth: I prayed for them. I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned unto my own bosom (35:12,13).
What a difference. Here they are against me, turned against me. And yet when they were sick, here I was over, visiting, praying for them.
I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother (35:14).
I was there, I was there to help them and to sorrow with them.
But in my adversity they rejoiced, they have gathered themselves together: yea, the abjects have gathered themselves together against me, and I did not know it; they tear me, and they don’t cease: With hypocritical mockers in their feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth (35:15,16).
They’ve turned against me.
Lord, how long will You just stand there and look? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from those lions (35:17).
Lord, don’t just stand there. Look and do something. I like that.
I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among the people (35:18).
Now get them, Lord.
Let not them that are my enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause (35:19).
The idea of ha-ha, we got that guy. Winking with their eyes at each other.
For they speak not peace: but they devise deceitful matters against them that are quiet in the land. Yea, they opened their mouth wide against me, and said, Aha, aha, our eyes have seen it (35:20,21).
That Aha must have been a real thing of derision. They don’t have curse words in Hebrew. Interesting. If they want to curse, they have to use English. But this term Aha, that was about as bad as you could say. You say, Aha, aha, it was really, it was just really bad news. And so David, and you’ll find this in other scriptures where “they open their mouth, they said, Aha, aha.” They said that dirty word against me.
This You have seen, O LORD: don’t keep silence: O LORD, be not far from me. Stir up now Yourself, awake to my judgment, even to my cause, my God and my Lord. Judge me, O LORD my God, according to Your righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me (35:22-24).
Looking pretty bleak for David at this point.
But let them not say in their hearts, Ah, so would we have it: let them not say, We have swallowed him up. Let them be ashamed and brought to confusion together who rejoice at my hurt: let them be clothed with shame and dishonour that magnify themselves against me.
Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteousness (35:25-27):
Let the others be confused and blown away. But Lord, those that are on my side, let them be glad and rejoice.
yes, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which has pleasure in the prosperity of his servant. And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and I’ll praise You, Lord, all the day long (35:27,28).
So David’s selling God on a bill of goods. This is what I’ll do, Lord, You just get me out of this one and take care of them, blow them away and I’ll just praise you, Lord, all day long. And don’t wait too long, do it pretty fast here, Lord, if You don’t mind.
This 36th psalm is a short one.
The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes (36:1).
Confusing. In fact, it’s so confusing we know that that must not be what he said. And so the commentators are busy trying to determine just what David was saying here. And it probably is lost somewhere in the translation. And some of the Hebrew texts translate it this way. “The transgression of the wicked saith within his heart,” and I think that that’s probably the correct translation, rather than my heart. The wicked, “those transgressors, say within their heart, that there is no fear of God. They are saying within their heart. They think they’re going to get by with it.
They have no fear of God in their eyes (36:2),
He thinks he’s getting by with the evil. He thinks that somehow he is hiding his guilt,
until his iniquity be found to be hateful (36:2).
He thinks that he is hiding it and won’t be found out. That’s what most think that David is saying in those two verses. If you just read them, they are difficult admittedly to understand. But the wicked, we’re talking about them.
The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he has left off to be wise (36:3),
Wisdom isn’t there. He’s lost.
and he has quit doing good. He devises mischief upon his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he does not hate or abhor evil (36:3,4).
So the first four verses form the first trope of this psalm in which he is talking about the wicked and those that are transgressors who have no fear of God, who live in a deceitful way because they flatter themselves; I’ve hid these things from God and God really doesn’t care that I do them anyhow. That my iniquity isn’t really hateful to God. I’m a special case. My case is different and so I can do it and God doesn’t care. The words of his mouth iniquity and deceit. He’s not really wise. He’s not doing good. But in contrast now.
Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reaches to the clouds (36:5).
He turns from the wicked now and tremendous contrast to God.
Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are like the great depths of the oceans: O LORD, You preserve man and beast. How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Your house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of Your pleasures (36:6-8).
What a phrase. What a statement. God, in contrast, is merciful. He is faithful. He is righteous. He is just. He is filled with lovingkindness. How excellent is Your lovingkindness. And thus because God being what He is, it’s proper, it’s right, it’s good to put your trust in God. You can put your trust in God and you should. And those that put their trust in God, what shall happen? “They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of Your house.”
As you put your trust in God, your life will just be blessed. The abundant satisfaction of walking in fellowship with God. And then I love this. “You will make them drink of the rivers of Thy pleasures.” I love that. The rivers of God’s pleasures of which we shall drink. Of which we do drink who have put our trust in Him. O the joy, the pleasure, the delight, the satisfaction of serving the Lord. Of living for the Lord. Of walking in fellowship with God. Sheer joy, sheer pleasure day after day.
For with thee is the fountain of life (36:9):
Ponce de Leon, if you only knew. Could have saved all of that trek through the everglades. “With Thee is the fountain of life:”
and in thy light shall we see light (36:9).
That’s the second trope, verses five through nine. The finals trope verse ten,
O continue thy lovingkindness (36:10)
Now he turns to the prayer. The rest has been declaration first of the wicked, then of God. And now the prayer, “O continue thy lovingkindness”
unto them that know thee; and thy righteousness to the upright in heart (36:10).
God just continue Your lovingkindness to those that know You. Your righteousness to the upright in heart.
Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked remove me. For there are the workers of iniquity fallen: they are cast down, and they shall not be able to rise (36:11,12).
So the prayer: “God, just continue Your lovingkindness. Don’t let the foot of pride come against me. Don’t let the hand of the wicked remove me. Because the workers of iniquity have fallen: they’re cast down, and they shall not be able to rise.”
Great psalm, great psalms, great truths. May God help us to walk in the light of His word. Filled with His knowledge. The knowledge of Himself as it’s revealed in the word. A lot for us now to go home and to put into practice.
Father, we thank You this night for Your word truly a lamp unto our feet, a light unto our path. May we walk, Lord, in its light. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #7177