Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Reflecting on the Psalms: Chapter 144

Psalm 144

A Psalm of David.

1Blessed be the LORD my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:
2My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me.
3LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!
4Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.
5Bow thy heavens, O LORD, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.
6Cast forth lightning, and scatter them: shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them.
7Send thine hand from above; rid me, and deliver me out of great waters, from the hand of strange children;
8Whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood.
9I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee.
10It is he that giveth salvation unto kings: who delivereth David his servant from the hurtful sword.
11Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood:
12That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace:
13That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store: that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets:
14That our oxen may be strong to labour; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets.

15Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.

Chapter 144

While I could see verses 1 and 2 having application for a soldier, I think they also have a spitirual meaning as Matthew Henry explains: "When men become eminent for things as to which they have had few advantages, they should be more deeply sensible that God has been their Teacher. Happy those to whom the Lord gives that noblest victory, conquest and dominion over their own spirits." I feel that the more trials I face, the more I grow in terms of spiritual strength, which is what I get out of verse 1. My darkest moment had its trials and I feel that it strengthened me spiritually because after it had taken place, I felt that my strength in Christ was renenewed and that I could always rely on Him from that point on whenever the enemy would bother me or try to influence me. And I knew I felt stronger spiritually because I came out of my darkest moment feeling closer to Christ since my relationship with Him had been renewed (v. 2). I feel that was represented because I started to take my relationship with Him seriously and realized that it wasn't just praying to Him and trying to do things my own way, which kind of brought about my darkest moment. Since then I begun to trust Him more and see who He really was, regarding the attributes listed in verse 2. I don't deserve His thoughts towards me (v. 3) nor do any of His people, but I am thankful that He has thoughts towards His people out His mercy. I praise Him for having plans for the lives of those who have yet to come to Him and I praise Him for having those thoughts towards them depsite all the sins they've done (v. 4). It's kind of a model for me -- which I try to live up to -- to those before me who have wronged me. I can't think of an instance in which that has occurred, but it's one to keep in mind for future reference. I don't much else to say in regards to verse 4, but I will say that a man is no longer like a vanity (or breath) once he accepts Christ. For clarity, here's Henry's thoughts on verses 5-8: "In their highest earthly exaltation, believers will recollect how mean, sinful, and vile they are in themselves; thus they will be preserved from self-importance and presumption. God's time to help his people is, when they are sinking, and all other helps fail." With that in mind, metaphorically speaking, God did come down and help me out (v. 5). I've already kind of talked about how He helped me out and how he cast out the enemy (v. 6). Before I tlked about Him being engaged with the enemy in a spiritual and I think verse portrays the imagery perfectly. He did deliver me from the one who spoke vainty and lies (vv. 7-8). The enemy tried to tell me that I wasn't good enough for God, which I knew was a lie. As I talked about before, I knew that God was the only who could help me out during my darkest moment. While I didn't sing a new song after He delivered me (v. 9), but I did praise Him for doing so and still do. In other versions, the word "salvation" in verse 10 is translated as "victory" and I feel that my faith in Christ was what helped me to have victory over the enemy in my darkest moment. I was delivered from the enemy's influence, which only God was able to deliver me from. I would also relate verses 5-10 to when I became a Christian because when the Lord came into my life (v. 5), I no longer lived as a slave to sin (vv. 6-8). As a result, I sang praises to Him in church (v. 9) and was delivered the hurtful sword (v. 10). I like Henry's insight on the verse: "To be saved from the hurtful sword, or from wasting sickness, without deliverance from the dominion of sin and the wrath to come, is but a small advantage." I've already kind of talked about verse 11 in regards to 7-8, but I will say that in the context of becoming and being a Christian, verse 11 applies because since I have been delivered, I can have that impact on my children (v. 12), meaning that I can illustrate to them and teach them that becoming a Christian starts with deliverance. I could imagine my impact on them being a positive one as the verse talks about. For clarity, here's Henry's insight on verses 13-14: "Plenty is to be desired, that we may be thankful to God, generous to our friends, and charitable to the poor; otherwise, what profit is it to have our garners full? Also, uninterrupted peace. War brings abundance of mischiefs, whether it be to attack others or to defend ourselves." I don't have a lot to say about those other than the fact that God's blessings will pour out as a result of raising up my children in a godly way. I don't have a garner (or barn) or any sheep or oxen, but I think those verses describe one's spiritual blessings if he or she raises up his or her kids in a godly way. If I am filled as a result of being blessed (v. 13), I can see how that would result in my kids (or sheep) bringing others to Christ. I figure the more God blesses me (as a dad), the more He's gonna use that to influence and spread to to others. I was blessed when I was delivered from sin, so why not let my kids know they can delivered and give back to God by letting others know they can be delivered? Verse 14, I feel, is comparing an oxen to spiritual strength because if I am srong spiritially -- I'll say when I'm a dad just for the sake of context -- I could see myself being strong towards working for His kingdom and not letting anything distrupt or destory that. I'm not sure if those verses were meant to have a spiritual meaning, so correct me if I'm wrong. Either way, though, I know when verses 12-14 occur in my life, I will be blessed (or happy), as verse 15 says.

                                                Source used:

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 144". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>. 

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