Tuesday, July 12, 2022

2022.07.12 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 59:9–17

Read Psalm 59:9–17

Questions from the Scripture text: Whose position is more secure than that of the self-deceived men from Psalm 59:7 (Psalm 59:9)? What three things does the psalmist acknowledge God to be to him in verse 9a, verse 9b, and Psalm 59:10a? What two things will God do (verse 10)? What surprising request does the psalmist have about the wicked in Psalm 59:11a? Lest what happen? What two things does he ask instead in verse 11b, verse 11c? What fourth thing does he call God now in verse 11d? For what five offenses is he asking God to bring them down (Psalm 59:12)? Despite the request in Psalm 59:11a, for what ultimate end does he pray in Psalm 59:13a–b? For what purpose (verse 13c–d)? What is continuing, even while David pens this Psalm (Psalm 59:14-15)? What is the contrast between their actions and his actions (Psalm 59:16)? What will David do (verse 16a)? When (verse 16b)? Why (verse 16c, verse 16d)—what is he seeing in his circumstances that his enemies are not seeing? What five things does David know God to be to him (Psalm 59:16-17)? What response does he triply declare to the character and work of his God (verse 16a, verse 16b, verse 17a)?

What is God displaying through our persecutions, and how should we respond? Psalm 59:9–17 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these nine verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that persecutors are exhibitions of God’s power over them and justice against them, and that believers demonstrate their awareness of God by seeing His power and mercy as the main components in the midst of persecution, which compels them to sing His praises in the midst of persecution.

Where is God? Persecutors deny His existence as a way of comforting and emboldening themselves in their wickedness (Psalm 59:7). But believers remind themselves of His existence as a way of comforting and emboldening themselves under the onslaught of the persecutors’ wickedness (Psalm 59:9-10). Who is right? The believers are, of course. But our flesh is forgetful of God and fearful of circumstances, so He gives us songs to sing and pray that will drive knowledge of Him into our hearts.

The mercy of reminders. The psalmist has a concern for his people in Psalm 59:11a. If God wipes out his enemies too quickly, the nation might forget what happened. So he prays that the humbled enemies would be scattered around. One can almost see the psalmist’s mind racing to understand why his persecutors are allowed to continue for a time and coming up with the correct (though partial) solution that there are believers who need to see in time examples of God’s ultimate justice against the wicked.

Remembering and seeing the last day. Of course, this purpose of the wicked’s presence will expire. All believers will be gathered in one day. All believers will have been perfected one day. And on that day there will be no more sorrow, pain, suffering, or sin. Then the wicked will be consumed (Psalm 59:13). They will disappear from our view forever. And the God Who will reign then, rules now already. This Psalm stirs up our understanding to see His rule; it stirs up our faith to cling to His rule.

Responding now to presently unseen realities. So, Psalm 59:14-17 bring us back to David’s present circumstances, with the same wicked persecutors brashly and boldly hunting him down (Psalm 59:14-15). But they’re only big dogs in their own minds. There is an infinitely greater presence to which David (and we) needs to be responding. God is his defense (Psalm 59:16c). God is his refuge (verse 16d). God is his strength (Psalm 59:17a). God is his defense (verse 17b). God is his mercy (verse 17c). This is what he sees now in his circumstances, and to this he triply pledges himself to sing praise (Psalm 59:16a, verse 16b, Psalm 59:7a). 

Under painful, persistent persecution, the unbelieving heart says, “how can I possibly sing?” But under painful, persistent persecution, the heart that knows the presence and purposes of God toward us in Christ says, “how can I possibly not sing?” God grant that trials would compel us to sing His praise!

When are you forgetful of God in willingness to sin? When are you forgetful of God in fearfulness or anxiety? What helpful reminders has He given you? How are you responding to Him?

Sample prayer:  O God, there are many who refuse to acknowledge that You rule unto the ends of the earth. Act in our day in such a way as to display Your glory and Your reign! Grant unto us that even in the midst of pain and trouble, we would remember You. Now, in this praying and in this singing and in this reading and in this hearing, declare Yourself to us by Your Word. Declare Yourself to be our defense! Declare Yourself to be our refuge! Declare Yourself to be our strength! Declare Yourself to be our covenanted love! Declare Yourself glorious, and be glorified in our worship, for we ask it through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP59B “I Wait for You” or TPH59 “O Save Me from My Foes”

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