Reading through the Bible together

Saturday, October 5, 2013

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This Psalm points to the time when “Saul had sent men to watch David’s house in order to kill him.”  In the first four verses we can picture that scene. But parts of this Psalm point the finger not only at Saul but at other enemies who caused David trouble. We could list them as follows, in general terms: Lying conspirators, traitors, war threatening heathen nations, and local street trouble- makers. We understand David’s feelings of distress when we too are victimised by gossipers who conspire against us, by friends who betray us, by outright enemies who attack us, and by prowlers in the dark who make our streets unsafe. Our world is not always a safe and friendly place, especially for those who, as Jesus said, “are not of the world any more than I am of the world” (John 17:14).

Where can we possibly find a safe place in this world? I lived for many years in a country that was in the grip of a terrorist conflict; every day and everywhere there was danger. One family decided they would move to where there would be the least likelihood of war. They moved but six months later war broke out there!

Psalm 59 says there is one place of safety to which we can flee, to which David habitually fled: “O my Strength, I watch for You, O God; You are my fortress, my loving God.” “You are my refuge in times of trouble.” This Psalm opens with a prayer for help: “Deliver me from my enemies, O God; protect me from those who rise up against me.” The real meaning of protect me makes the sentence read, “Lift me up above the reach of those who rise up against me”—like a watchful father lifting his child high above the snapping jaws of vicious dogs.

David knew he could confidently call on God to deliver him, for a number of reasons:  1) He is “Lord God Almighty”, God of angel armies. He has spiritual warriors in uncountable numbers to send to the aid of the humblest, weakest person who cries to Him for help. 2) He laughs off the threats against us because He already has the matter in hand. “God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted [or tried] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Cor 10:13). 3) David calls Him “my loving God”, and adds, “I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love.” That is, God’s steadfast love (RSV), His unfailing love, His absolute faithfulness to us each new day. 4) “God will go before me.” Whatever situation we face, God has already met it and will take us through it. 5) God’s reputation is at stake; when He delivers us, says David, “It will be known to the ends of the earth that God rules over Jacob.” The story will spread, and God’s saving power will be evident and honoured.

 

Garth Bainbridge
Ministerial Director
Greater Sydney Conference
Australia