Tuesday, January 02, 2024

2024.01.02 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 108:7–13

Read Psalm 108:7–13

Questions from the Scripture text: In what has God spoken (Psalm 108:7a)? What will He do (verse 7b)? What other two things (verse 7c–d)? What two places/peoples belong to Him (Psalm 108:8a)? And what two for honorable use (verse 8b–c)? And what two for more common use (Psalm 108:9a–b)? Who/where else is His (verse 9c)? What will they do? What does David now ask in Psalm 108:10? What is the answer to his question (Psalm 108:11)? But what is the problem, if he is looking forward to the Lord doing this? Why isn’t he looking for help elsewhere (Psalm 108:12)? Of what outcome is he sure (Psalm 108:13)? Through Whom? How?

When God seems to have turned against us, where can we find hope? Psalm 108:7–13 prepares us for the opening portion of public worship on the Lord’s Day. In these seven verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that our hope in troubled times is that God has taken us to be His own, and that He ultimately takes the whole world to be His own. 

Nations gathered in. With Psalm 108:7, David moves from the second half of Psalm 57 to the second half of Psalm 60. Both there and here, God speaks in His holiness. The view of history is the same as in Habakkuk, where God speaks from His holy temple in Habakkuk 2:20. The nations of the world (Psalm 108:9) are His to do is He wishes with them. Although Israel is currently being overrun, from Shechem to Judah He has appointed for Israel places of honor. The geographical progression in the six places from Psalm 108:7-8 recaptures the progress as they entered and took the land.

Although Moab and Edom and Philistia were at times enemies (especially Edom), by combining Psalm 60 with Psalm 57, we better understand what is happening in Psalm 108:9. It is a fulfillment of Psalm 108:3. The nations shall be gathered for the worship of God. So the wash pot and the shoe-holder and the shouting represent in metaphors that time when the nations have been gathered in: God the warrior has returned from His victory, washed up, taking his shoes off, and begins to rejoice at the conclusion of His day.

Moments of trouble between now and then. But just now, David seems to be having some trouble with Edom. Sometimes, from the midst of the sequence of circumstances, it does not immediately appear how glorious and good is the overall event. So zooming out, to consider that God has spoken all of this in His holiness, enables the psalmist to view his current circumstances from the proper perspective.

With this perspective he comes to Psalm 108:10, where the present still seems to be impossible. But now he is asking how this will happen—not from the standpoint of wondering if it will happen at all, but rather presuming that it will happen, and wondering in what way. The answer is obvious, Psalm 108:11, God Himself.

The God in Whose providence we come into trouble is our only hope for bringing us out of it. So, in our lives, we sometimes perceive that God is chastening us. We have harmed ourselves or others, and offended God, by our misconduct—or even just backsliding or negligence. Even in such circumstances, especially in such circumstances, the God who is chastening us is also our only hope.

The only thing we can do is repent; remember His Word and His character and His work; and, turn to Him anew in grateful dependence and obedience. The worst thing that we can do is think that we ourselves can come up with a way of fixing our situation. So there is much hoping in families and in nations: not in the mercy of God to bless righteousness and faithfulness and diligence, but rather the cleverness of the scheme, renewed sincerity of the intention, or renewed fury of effort. And there is much in the churches in the way of man-made “evangelism” (which is no evangelism at all), man-made discipleship, or man-made worship. 

Anything other than repentant dependence (and dependent repentance) is, ultimately, to depend upon the help of men. But, as Psalm 108:12 says, the help of men is useless. Rather, meekly submitting to the Lord, in the things the Lord has said to do, and trusting the Lord Himself to bring about what He has spoken in holiness, we must look to Him alone to deliver us from any trouble. 

Through God, we participate in God’s work. At the end, as Psalm 108:13 confidently confesses, there will be no enemies left. God turns enemies into subjects, whom He treads down in discipline, as He is with David and Israel at the time of the Psalm. Or else, there are those whom He treads down in destruction. Either way, there will be no enemies left. The one will be reconciled and perfected, and the other eliminated from the new heavens and new earth, reserved instead for wrath.

It is to this God, Who is doing this work in the whole of history, that we look. By Him, we may participate faithfully in whatever slice of history He has assigned to us, and whatever privilege or role He has given us within that slice of His work.

What trouble are you in? In Whose providence have you come into it? What is He ultimately doing? How will you be able to acquit yourself well in this part of His doing that? When His plan is finished, what will you be doing with whom?

Sample prayer:  Our gracious and glorious God, we thank You that You have spoken Your plan of redemption in Your holiness. Surely, it shall come to pass. So, we rejoice to come and praise You—to enjoy this foretaste of the great worship assembly of the nations that is the end toward all of history moves forward. Help us now, in this slice of history that You have appointed us. Through You, we hope valiantly to work. And through You, we hope valiantly to worship. Grant us to do so, we ask, through Christ, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP108B “God Spoke in Holiness” or TPH108 “My Heart Is Steadfast, God!” 

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