“Let all the earth fear the LORD”.
“By the word of the LORD were the heavens made”.
“He spake and it was done”.
These are powerful words, referring to Almighty God. Today, many who call themselves ‘Christian’ show disdain for God by their lack of faith and by their public denunciation of what is holy and true. They twist scripture to mean whatever they want it to mean. They side with wicked men, showing a love for what is sinful and ugly, harmful and untrue. They will be judged!
Others, genuine believers, are afraid; they hide behind the baggage as spiritual war rages around them. They ‘tut-tut’ against fellow believers who fight alongside the Great General of our faith, who receive many wounds and scars. They want a quiet life, regardless of what scripture says about true Christian living.
This Psalm shows us a mighty Lord Who demands our attention and obedience. We are not allowed to lay in the shadows to avoid detection and hurt! Rather, we are to launch forward with vigour and a joyful following of our Lord, whether or not we are hurt by others or are attacked for our beliefs. Those who hide and refuse the battle have dull eyes and lacklustre hair; their skin is pallid and their actions are feeble; their responses are weak and their words are good for nothing.
On the other hand the holy are bright-eyed even when in the midst of battle; they exude truth and purity, spiritual health and strength! Their words are filled with truth and power. Which are you?
Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.
Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.
Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.
For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth.
He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.
It is comely for the righteous to praise God with rejoicing. That is, the saved in Christ must always praise God. To rejoice is to praise Him, because it shows joy in what God does and Who He is. Indeed, it is right that ALL people, saved or not, should praise God, because He is the Creator and keeper of life.
In David’s day he praised God and showed his joy by dancing, singing and playing the harp. It was as natural to him as breathing! It is a pity that modern believers do not follow in like manner – to praise the Lord and to be joyful simply for being allowed to live by Almighty God! Maybe you cannot play an instrument but you have a voice. And if you do not have a voice through being dumb, you still have a mind and heart!
Do not be shy – sing and play loudly for all to hear. Sing a new song… a fresh one daily, one that is new because the Holy Spirit has made you alive in Christ. Do not be hung-up on singing old hymns written a few hundred years ago. They are good to sing and I love many of them – but sing your OWN songs, and let your praises be fresh as the new day itself. Forget vain repetition. Let the Holy Spirit move you to express joy, no matter what happens or what problems you encounter. It is God’s due, and it helps you to live joyfully and strongly.
Why? Because “the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth.” Nothing God says or does can be wrong or sinful or bad for the righteous. That is why we praise Him. Everything He says is true. Everything He does is good, because it is done in truth. Many wish it were not so, but we cannot change God or His ways by our sinful reactions or desires.
God loves righteousness and judgment. He loves (‘ahab) people to be righteous and holy. The word includes the meaning of ‘to desire it’. So, when we obey, we satisfy God’s desire. And God loves judgment. Today, ignorant folks think judgment is a legal punishment. But, mishpat means justice or command; it means to decide a case in law, and legal decisions can often be for the benefit of the accused and not just punishment. It also means to give a right or privilege to someone, or simply to come to a right decision about something.
God, then, loves to do what is good for His people. For this reason, "the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD”. Only those who prefer to sin will disagree! Only those who are wicked wish to get rid of God and His commands, because they show us an holy and good way to live. Today, wicked men want to be rid of anything godly, so that they can practice their evils in society without hindrance. It will end in real tears, and the punishment they think will never come. Only then it will be too late.
By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.
David then makes assertions. They are true. God created everything in the heavens, including the stars, planets and systems, just by His word or thought. They came about in an instant and not by some odd Big Bang or other natural phenomenon (still being argued over by scientists and still as flawed!). He also made the earth and everything in and on it, by His word. His ‘word’, dabar, is whatever God says. This includes His commands found throughout scripture… powerful, absolute, clear, filled with divine demands. None of it is useless or relegated to history. Even the Mosaic laws, though specifically for the Hebrews, have projected teaching for us today, with principles concerning God and our own sinfulness, as well as history.
The statement, that God “gathered the waters of the sea together as one heap” is factual, for the world was covered all over by water at the start. It is also factual that God collected water together in “the depth in storehouses” – it was these vast underground water-caverns that burst open when the great Flood deluged the entire world, helping to form the mountains and valleys we see today.
There is a loose, indirect connection here to the Flood (with reference to these massive waters) that requires us to fear God, though we should fear Him anyway. As always, this fear, yare’, is literal quaking fear. It includes reverence for God. We should look upon Him with awe, especially as we who are elect are saved from the coming dread and terrifying fact of hell. Everyone, saved or unsaved, must look upon God with the same awe.
Many Christians think that the unsaved cannot be expected to do so, but scripture tells us otherwise! Even the unsaved MUST bend their knee to God. What they believe, think and do is irrelevant to God, for He demands their allegiance. When they do not give it, He records their evil and will repeat their wickedness before everyone on the day of judgment… “ALL the earth”… “ALL the inhabitants”. Not one person is excluded from this demand.
Again, it is irrelevant to argue that if people are not elect they cannot respond. Not so. God claims their bended knee, whether they are saved or not, and whether or not they want to. Can I explain it? No, I cannot. I can only repeat what God says in His word.
God spoke and it was done. When He commanded something, it happened and was fixed forever. Once God says something, it is a law that cannot be shaken. The feeble ways men try to ignore or reject His laws are laughable, even to God.
The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect.
The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD: and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.
The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men.
From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth.
He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works.
There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength.
An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength.
As David says, God looks at the ways the heathen make their own humanistic decisions and crushes them. They come to nothing! Today, nations are run by wicked people who try to ignore and deny God. They cause immeasurable harm to people and bring in godless laws. They think they can do what they like. Sometimes the people rebel and remove their leaders. No matter what, God looks on with grim bemusement, calling them fools. They will face the Creator they deny very soon! Until then those of us who are elect must stand firm, even when harmed, and even after our complaints fall on deaf human ears.
God’s counsel is eternal. It cannot change nor can it be challenged. Whatever He says is for all time. The futility of wicked people is the epitome of stupidity as well as sinful. Strangely, the words and acts of wicked leaders and people do actual harm to society, yet they all continue to push their agendas. They prefer self-harm and misery, to godliness and truth that does them good. This proves just how blind and foolish they are. As I keep repeating – NOTHING in godliness can harm a person, whereas EVERYTHING in sinfulness does harm.
Nations that are godly are blessed by God. Even those within their number who are sinful are blessed by the presence of the elect! In Europe Islam is taking over in the minds of men and leaders, and governments decry, and legislate against, Christians. In Victorian times leaders paid at least lip service to God and made it known that Britain was a Christian nation. And this is why it was mightily blessed.
By the start of the 1960s all this changed and homosexuals took over the minds and hearts of many, leading to what we have now – a godless nation devoid of God’s blessings. It is why Britain and Europe are now sliding downwards into a pit of their own making.
However, there are a few who stand firm as believers, and as verse 12 tells us, they (we) are still blessed as individual: “he hath chosen (us) for his own inheritance”. As His chosen children we are in His favour; in the midst of evil and misery we must show that we belong to God, for then we will know His blessings.
God always looks from Heaven to earth, watching what we do and hearing the awfulness of wickedness. He does not just watch us; “he beholdeth all the sons of men”. No-one escapes His watchful eye, or His judgments. He observes “all the inhabitants of the earth”, and whether or not the sinful accept it, they are bound for hell. God knows them because He made them all!
Some rulers think their might will save them. What fools! None of them are saved by the armies they control. Even the strongest ruler will be deposed at some time. See how many have thought themselves strong in the last hundred years – and how many were brought down with a crash! Only God can keep a good leader in power and a good army in control. But, only when they obey God and do what is right.
In the days of David a war horse was the symbol of safety and power. It could crash through enemy lines with immense power and weight, killing and dispersing men. But, even a war horse can be brought down, despite its strength and weight. This is how the Mongols swept through most of Europe… they used their skills and much smaller horses to destroy huge war horses used by knights, whose selves and horses were covered by armour.
The lumbering beasts were fearsome head-on but the lighter Mongol horses swung around nimbly and the Mongol warriors shot arrows into the exposed necks of the war horses. And so they destroyed the knights! No unsaved strong man is free from destruction! There is always a way to bring him down. Only God can keep us… when we live righteously. Do not trust in anything worldly, whether money, strength or influence, for anything worldly is destined for failure and ruin.
Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy;
To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield.
For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.
Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.
The ‘Behold’ at the start of verse 18 is used to attract attention. It links what was said previously to what David is about to say. He is saying something like “Having said all that, remember this…”. Remember that the “eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him”. His ‘eye’ is His ‘ayin, His mind and will. His eye is also the spring from which freshness comes.
As He watches His flock so He gives it sustenance and refreshment. But, only if they fear Him… that is, revere Him and obey. Some tend to think of this as enforcement, but it is not. We are not forced to obey. Those who truly are saved will WANT to obey because they love the Saviour. The saved “hope in his mercy” – they look forward in expectation to God’s blessings. And He gives them in abundance; they overflow.
One of these blessings is to save their souls from death (verse 19) and to “keep them alive in famine”. The ‘death’ here is not figurative but literal, so David must be referring to war, though it may be applied figuratively, as the next phrase can be either literal or figurative, meaning actual agricultural famine, or a famine of Jehovah’s word.
Those who hunger after God will wait for the LORD (verse 20), because their hearts are grounded in Him. He is our “help and shield”. It is worth reminding ourselves of this waiting, for God always comes to those who wait in righteousness.
And when we wait and He comes, we will rejoice. Our trust or faith will prove to be valid and full of God’s promise – which He always keeps. When we trust in Him He will never let us down. The emphasis is on our trust… and trust (faith) is a gift of God!
We hope, or wait, for God to act in our lives, and, in His mercy, He answers. Note that – whatever He gives us is according to His mercy. It is not given because of anything we do, but because God wishes to do it. And whatever He wishes to do is already been in His mind eternally.
© June 2011
Published on www.christiandoctrine.com
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