Tuesday, August 16, 2022

2022.08.16 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 64

Read Psalm 64

Questions from the Scripture text: To whom was this Psalm entrusted (superscript)? Who penned it? What does he immediately ask God to do in Psalm 64:1? From what does he ask God to preserve his life? What does he ask God to do to him in Psalm 64:2? As what are the wicked using their tongues (Psalm 64:3)? How do they employ this weapon (Psalm 64:4)? What do they not do (verse 4b)? What do the wicked do to themselves in Psalm 64:5? Of what do they assure themselves (Psalm 64:5-6b)? Why can’t we access others’ (and perhaps our own) inward thought and heart (Psalm 64:6c, cf. Jeremiah 17:9)? Who can access, and what does He do to the wicked (Psalm 64:7a)? With what effect (verse 7b)? Whom does He make the Psalm 64:3a weapon to wound (Psalm 64:8a)? What two things do others do in verse 8b? What do all remaining men do in Psalm 64:9a? In verse 9b? Why do they praise Him (verse 9c)? Who make the three responses in Psalm 64:10? What are those responses? 

How can the righteous be delivered from fear of the wicked? Psalm 64 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these eleven verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that we ought to expect the malicious and apparently foolproof attacks of the wicked, but when we see them through the lens of Who God is, we are delivered from a state of fear and brought instead into a state of gladness, confidence, and praise.

The situations that we can expectPsalm 64:3-6. David asks to be heard, preserved, and hidden in Psalm 64:1-2. verse 1b presents the greatest danger: fear. But the Lord is a deliverer from fear releasing us from its Satanic bondage (cf. Hebrews 2:14–15). How does He do that? 

Firstly, He gives us reasonable expectations. If God gives us songs for when others use words with the intent of mortal harm (Psalm 64:3), and cleverly execute a seemingly foolproof plan (Psalm 64:4Psalm 64:6a–b), to get clean away with it (Psalm 64:5)… then why are we surprised when we experience such things in life? Truly, their inward thought and heart are out of both their own range (cf. Jeremiah 17:9) and ours (Psalm 64:6c); so, things may be better than they seem or even much worse. God’s Word prepares us to be surprised by neither.

The God through Whom we must view such situationsPsalm 64:7-8. This Psalm turns on that same glorious hinge as in Ephesians 2:4, “but God.” The situation hasn’t yet changed, but the “But God” reminds him of how it must end, and that even before it does so, God is already acting according to all of His glorious character.

God is all-wise and knowing (Psalm 64:7a). The depth of men’s hearts are out of our range, but not God’s. He can see clearly to aim. 

God is perfectly powerful and effective (Psalm 64:7b). His arrow always finds its mark. 

God is perfectly just (Psalm 64:8a). The weapon from Psalm 64:3a ultimately enters into themselves, a symmetry that declares God’s justness. 

God is merciful (Psalm 64:8b). Whereas they had comforted themselves that no one would see, not only does God Himself see, but He makes others to see as well. Why? So that others may flee away. When God shows to us the dangers of sin in others, He mercifully warns us off of our own sin, and we should heed that warning.

The corrected response of the righteousPsalm 64:9-10. Now that the righteous is viewing his situation through the lens of Who God is, his response has shifted 180 degrees. Fear of the enemy in Psalm 64:1b has been exchanged for the fear of the Lord in Psalm 64:9a. Instead of praying about the works of the enemy in Psalm 64:2b, he is declaring the work of God in Psalm 64:9b. Instead of anxiety over the shrewdness of the enemy in Psalm 64:6b, there is wise consideration of God’s actions in Psalm 64:9c.

God will bring the righteous finally into that perfect blessedness that Christ, their righteousness, has earned for them. But even before then, the Spirit has given us songs and prayers like this one that bring us from a state of anxious fear to a state of joy, confidence, and praise (Psalm 64:10): joy (“glad in Yahweh”), confidence (“trust in Him”), and praise (“all the upright in heart shall glory”).

When the Lord brings us into situations like David’s, we may be sure that He intends for us to turn our attention to Him and to exchange anxious fear for that fear of the Lord that brings us into a condition of joy, confidence, and praise!

What people or circumstances is the Lord using to turn you to Himself in joy, confidence, and praise? How are you making use of those circumstances in order to have your heart turned to Him?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for the perfect wisdom in which You order our lives, and for the patient help that Your Word gives us for navigating the more difficult parts. Forgive us for when men seem big to us, and You seem small, resulting in anxious fear. Grant that Your Spirit would direct our hearts unto You, so that upon the hinge of knowing You, we might exchange anxious fear for that holy fear of You. Thus, bring us, we pray, into gladness and trust and glorying in Jesus Christ, through Whom we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP9B “Sing Praise to the Lord” or TPH64 “Hear My Voice, O God”

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