Tuesday, January 23, 2024

2024.01.23 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 109:22–31

Read Psalm 109:22–31

Questions from the Scripture text: What condition of the psalmist (Psalm 109:22a) appeals to the steadfast love of God? How has his heart responded to this condition (verse 22b)? How closely does he feel like he is to death (Psalm 109:23a)? What is his strength level (verse 23b)? What, especially, has contributed to this weakness (Psalm 109:24)? In addition to hating him, how do his enemies think of him (Psalm 109:25)? But to Whom does the psalmist cry for help (Psalm 109:26a)? What does he have hope to be saved (verse 26b)? What does he want out of salvation (Psalm 109:27)? What makes the cursing of the enemy tolerable (Psalm 109:28a)? What (verse 28c) will put the enemy to shame (verse 28b)? How shameful (Psalm 109:29)? What will the psalmist do (Psalm 109:30a)? How much? With what? With whom (versev30b)? What does the Lord do, for whom, to elicit this praise (Psalm 109:31a)? From whom does he save them (verse 31b)?

What strong arguments can a believer plead when he feels like his enemies and circumstances are killing him? Psalm 109:22–31 prepares us for the opening portion of public worship on the Lord’s Day. In these ten verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that a believer has strong arguments before God in his own poverty and in God’s praise, even as he gives himself to God’s praise. 

Strong arguments from God’s people. Psalm 109:22 begins, “For I.” What sort of argument can God’s people make with Him in hope of being vindicated from the accusations that the wicked lay against them? Our God has saved us in compassion, loving us from before the world began with the love that He has for His Son (cf. Ephesians 1:3–4). He is immovable by what we call emotion, but that which is properly in Him toward others, according to His pleasure, goes out to us. 

Dear, “poor and needy” (Psalm 109:22a) believer, whose “heart is wounded within” you (verse 22b), your weakness and woundedness is a strong argument with the almighty and good God! Behold, how David continues to show the extent of his weakness. How do we think of David? The mighty warrior and stealthy strategist? Here is his strong argument with God: he feels that his shadow is lengthening (Psalm 109:23a, a Hebrew metaphor for being a the point of death, cf. Psalm 102:11), and he feels like a husk of a man like a locust that is easily “shaken off” (Psalm 109:23b). 

David’s response was to fast, but this expression of weakness before God made his “knees weak” (Psalm 109:24a) and his “flesh feeble” (versev24b). His enemies saw this and thought they had won against this pathetic weakling (Psalm 109:25).

Strong arguments in God Himself. Psalm 109:26-31 take us back to the point introduced in Psalm 109:21. YHWH is our Lord; He is our covenant God (verse 21a). He acts for the praise of His Name, which He has placed upon His elect (verse 21b). His covenant love is good, and He is pleased to display it (verse 21c). I hope that the Spirit will write this lesson on our hearts, dear reader: let us not only plead on the basis of ourselves (our weakness and neediness) and our circumstances, but especially let us plead that which is in God Himself!

  • Psalm 109:26a appeals to the covenant relationship between us and the Lord: “YHWH my God!” Note both the covenant Name and the possessive pronoun.
  • Verse 26b appeals to the ḳessed of God (“mercy” in NKJ).
  • Psalm 109:27 appeals to the giving of praise and honor to God: “that they may know” implies a display of God for praise. “Your hand” points especially to God’s power, often represented by His “hand.” “You, YHWH, have done it!” emphasizes the identity of the powerful Doer Who has done the powerful deed.
  • Psalm 109:28-29 appeals to the sovereignty of God. There is a competition between David’s enemies and David’s Lord; the one curses, but the Other blesses. Who will win? God will be glorified if blessing prevails; let the enemies be put to shame.

Strong praise. When all is said and done, David will be praising YHWH (Psalm 109:30a), so he uses his mouth already as it is intended to be used. Do you know the purpose of your mouth, dear reader? Do you use it for that purpose, with all your heart and strength? David says “I will greatly praise YHWH with my mouth.” Greatly! He will approximate now, as well as possible, the way that he will praise in the great congregation, “the multitude” (verse 30b). It will be a multitude of “poor” at whose right hand the Lord stood (Psalm 109:31a). It will be a multitude of those who were saved from condemnation (verse 31b). Believers who are in times when praise is harder do well to remember that coming time when glorious praise, of an innumerable multitude of redeemed, is certain. 

What situations have felt the most unbearable to you? How does this part of the psalm teach you to cry out to God when things are like that? Who have accused you and cursed you? Who are likely to do so to you in the future? But Who has blessed you? How can you appeal to what is in Him? How does praising Him now help you lay hold of a certain future?

Sample prayer:  O Lord, our God, we are poor and needy, but You are compassionate to the poor and needy. Your covenant love is good; help us, now, according to that love! Show the power of Your hand to help us worship, so that all may see that You have done it. By Your Spirit, make us to praise You greatly with our mouths in the assembly of Your people in Your Son, through Whom we ask it, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP109D “I Am Very Poor and Needy” or TPH236 “To God Be the Glory”

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