This time shall we turn in our Bibles to Psalm 101. Psalm 101 is a psalm of David, and David declares in the first verse,
I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing (101:1).
Now though David says he is going to sing of mercy and of judgment, in his song I find nothing of mercy, only of judgment. And David was very strong in his desires of God concerning his enemies and concerning the wicked. And David, of course, was interested in mercy concerning himself, but concerning his enemies he was always concerned with judgment. David, of course, is much like we are. We want mercy. Whenever we've done wrong we want mercy, but whenever someone wrongs us, then we want judgment on them. And that is only human nature I guess, but David so often is expressing his desires upon his enemies. And though he says, "I will sing of mercy and judgment," as we look at the song, David said,
I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when will you come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart (101:2).
Now the word perfect has changed its meaning through the years, and in the scriptural use of the word perfect, it is not referring to something that is without fault, but it is referring to something that is complete. So I will walk with a complete heart towards God. My heart completely towards Him, rather than my heart being perfect, you know, there’s no sin in my heart, or no evil, or nothing bad in my heart. It doesn't mean that. It means that it’s a complete heart towards God.
I will set no wicked thing before my eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it will not cleave to me. A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person. Who so privately slanders his neighbor, I will cut him off: he that has a high look and a proud heart I will not allow. My eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me. He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that tells lies shall not tarry in my sight. I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all the wicked doers from the city of the LORD (101:3-8).
So David doesn't really say much of mercy but much of judgment in this song. How that he will bring a judgment against the wicked, the slanderer, the proud, and the deceitful.
In Psalm 102, David begins with a prayer asking God to hear his prayer.
Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee. Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline your ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily (102:1-2).
How impatient we are with God, and yet, how important it is to us that God is patient with us. Yet it seems that whenever I pray I want speedy answers from God. I, again, I can identify with David. I want judgment on my enemies and I want speedy answers when I cry unto the Lord. I don't like to wait on the Lord. I don’t like to wait for His answers to come. When I snap my fingers I want action, you know. I want God to move now in this case. And I don't want to have to wait for God to answer my prayers. I guess, again, it is something that is just very natural. And yet, turn the thing around, and when God is desiring something from me, I like Him to just be patient with me and give me a chance to work it out, and I'll get there when I have opportunity, you know. And it something that I want God to extend His patience towards me in a very liberal sense. But yet, I want speedy answers to my prayers.
For my days are consumed as smoke, and my bones are burned as a hearth. My heart is smitten and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread (102:3-4).
That's pretty bad, when you get so smitten that you don't eat any more.
By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin. I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert. I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the housetop. Mine enemies reproach me all the day; and they that are mad against me are sworn against me. For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with tears, Because of your indignation and your wrath: for you have lifted me up, and cast me down. My days are like a shadow that declineth (102:5-11);
Now he is referring actually to the sundial. The method by which they kept time in those days. And the declining shadow on a sundial, the day is about over. "My days are about over. My day is like the shadow that declineth.”
and I am withered like grass. But (102:11)
Thou, O LORD, shall endure forever; and thy remembrance to all generations (102:12).
I am about ready to pass off from the scene. I am withered like grass; my days are like a declining shadow, but God, You go on forever and ever.
Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favor her, yea, the set time, is come (102:13).
So he looks forward now, prophetically, to that time when God is going to work again in Israel among the people. Before they came into the land, while still in the wilderness, Moses gave to them God's covenant whereby they would inherit the land. The covenant of God's blessings that would rest upon them if they would walk with God, and if they would serve the Lord. “Then,” God said, "I will bless your crops. I will bless your children. I'll bless your families." And all of the blessings that God had promised if they would walk with Him. "But if you turn," God said, "and walk after other gods, and bow down, and worship them and sacrifice your children unto them, then," God said, "I will turn against thee, and I will bring plagues upon the land. I will bring thee enemies in upon the land, and finally," God said, "and I will give you over to captivity and you will be scattered throughout all of the earth and you'll become a curse and a byword among the nations upon the earth."
And so God promised even before they came into the land, the dispersion that would take place if they turned against God. They would be scattered throughout all the world. We only have to look at their history to see the confirmation of God's Word to them. As long as they sought the Lord, God made them to prosper. When they turned from the Lord, the curses that God declared came upon them. Their land was smitten with drought and with famine. And the enemies came in and they were taken captive, and ultimately they were dispersed and scattered throughout the whole world.
But even in Deuteronomy, before they came into the land, God promised that the day would come when He would gather them together again, from all the parts of the earth, wherever they had been scattered, and He would bring them back and establish them in the land once again. Now this is the thread that runs through the prophecies of the Old Testament. God's faithfulness to His covenant to Abraham that the land would belong to him and to his seed.
And it is wrong to make that a spiritual analogy to the church and say, "Well, God has rejected now Israel forever and the church is spiritual Israel, and thus, the promises apply now to the church in a spiritual sense." It is true that we are all the children of Abraham by faith in Jesus Christ and that we all now can partake of God's covenant to Abraham. That is, that God will impute righteousness to us by faith. And yet, God is still going to deal with the nation Israel.
The Lord said to Daniel, "There are seventy sevens that are determined upon the nation Israel. Sixty-nine of those sevens would transpire between the time the commandment went forth to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, to the coming of the Messiah the Prince. But,” he said, "The Messiah will be cut off, with nothing for Himself. And the people will be dispersed.” But then God speaks of the prince of the people that will come who will make a covenant with the nation Israel and in the midst of the final seven-year cycle will break the covenant as he establishes the abomination which causes desolation. The sixty-nine sevens that God had appointed upon the nation Israel were fulfilled from the time that Artaxerxes gave the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, to the coming of Jesus Christ was 483 years in the Babylonian calendar.
There is a final seven-year period that is yet to take place. It is yet future. Jesus, making reference to the abomination of desolation as was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, refers it to yet a future event, an event that will precede His second coming. Jesus, in referring to the abomination of desolation, said, "When you see the abomination of desolation that was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place, let him who reads, understand. Then flee to the wilderness." So the seventieth seven-year cycle of Daniel according to Jesus is still a future event. Which event will be marked in the middle of it by the European leader that shall arise, coming to Jerusalem, and standing in the holy of holies of the rebuilt temple and declaring that he is God, and demanding that he be worshipped as God. Now, the appointed time of God upon the nation Israel, when God will once again pour out His Spirit upon her. And as is declared, “The heathen shall reverence the name of the Lord and all of the kings of the earth, thy glory.”
It would seem that this is a reference to that time, I feel, in the very near future, when Russia invades Israel and is destroyed by the power of God. In the thirty-eighth chapter of Ezekiel where the Lord records this momentous event, in verse 23, God said, "Thus will I magnify Myself, and sanctify Myself. And I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am Jehovah." So if you put that together with the fifteenth verse, “So the heathen shall reverence the name of Jehovah, and the kings of the earth, thy glory."
Now that is referred to as a relationship to God's set time to show favor upon Israel. And so if you will then go over to the thirty-ninth chapter of Ezekiel, verse 27, "When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations.” Now put that together with verse 23 of chapter 38, “I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself and be known in the eyes of many nations. When I've gathered them out of their enemies' lands and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations, then shall they know that I am Jehovah their God, which cause them to be led into captivity among the heathen. But I have gathered them into their own land and have left none of them anymore there, neither will I hide my face anymore from them, for I have poured out My Spirit upon the house of Israel, saith Jehovah God." So the Lord has promised…or, "saith the Lord God,” not Jehovah God there.
So God has promised that in the day in which He is sanctified before in them in the eyes of the heathen, or the nations of the world, that in that day, He is going to remove the blindness. "I will no longer be hid." Now Paul tells us that blindness has happened to Israel during this period of the Gentiles. Blindness has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. But this national blindness that is taken, that God has placed upon Israel, will be removed. He'll no longer be hid from them. He will pour out His Spirit upon them. Which means that God will then have taken His church out of the earth's scene. So we are talking about God's set time for the nation of Israel. The time to favor her.
For [the psalm says,] Thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favor the dust thereof (102:14).
We received a letter from our guide in Israel who was planning to come over and visit us this summer. And he said, "Dear Chuck and Kay, I write to you and trust that everything is well with you, and all. I want you to know that I won't be coming over this summer because the Lord has given to us the blessed privilege of buying property in this beautiful, holy city. The city that God has set His eye upon. The city that is blessed of the Lord. And we are going to build a home in this beautiful city of God." And, oh, he goes on, raving about the dust and the stones of the city of Jerusalem. He is so excited that he is going to have a house of his own right in Jerusalem. "Surely the people do favor the stones and even the dust thereof. For thy servants take pleasure in the stones.”
For the heathen shall reverence the name of the LORD [or Jehovah], and all the kings of the earth thy glory. When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory (102:15-16).
Now, God is going to work for another seven-year cycle with the nation Israel. It will be God's primary work upon the earth during this final seven-year cycle. It will be a time in the Scripture that is known as the time of Jacob's trouble, Jacob travailing. It will be a time of religious confusion. For at the beginning, the antichrist will make a covenant with the nation Israel. Many of their leaders will declare that he is the Messiah, and he will be acclaimed generally as their Messiah. However, there will be a couple of witnesses of God that will be telling them the truth and warning them against him. There will be those that are sealed of God, and they also will be bearing witness against him. But the religious leaders will be acclaiming him. The religious leaders who crucified our Lord and are still holding the people in blindness will be deceived and will be acclaiming this man as Messiah.
But after three and a half years, when the temple is rebuilt, and they are again worshipping, when he comes and stands in the temple, in the holy of holies, and declares that he is God and demands to be worshipped as God, then they will all realize their error. They will flee to the wilderness, a place that God has prepared for them. During the final 1,290-day period, which 1,290 days will be a time of great trouble, the Great Tribulation. A time of God's wrath, a time of greater bloodshed and horror than the world has ever seen at any time in its history. People are saying, "Good days are ahead, you know. We've got a new administration." Don't believe it. The worst is yet to come. Evil days, the Scripture says, are going to wax worse and worse.
I would like to think that a change of administration is going to change the whole complexion of our society, but I cannot believe that from a scriptural standpoint. Like the nation Israel, there may be moments of sort of a national revival and a turning to God and a forestalling, but we are generally going downhill so rapidly that there is nothing that can stop our decline short of a miracle of God, which I do not anticipate. Because I believe we are out at the end of the line, and I think that we are plunging into that abyss of which God spoke. As far as world history is concerned.
But immediately after the tribulation of those days, shall they see the sign of the Son of man coming with clouds and great glory. Even as we read, "When the Lord shall build up Zion, He shall appear in His glory." He appeared the first time in shame and humiliation to take upon Himself the sins of mankind and to die an ignominious death upon the cross. To be despised and rejected, smitten, pierced, scourged, bruised, crucified. But He is coming again, in power and in glory, to reign over the earth in righteousness, in peace, from henceforth, even forever.
And so God has set the time and when the Lord shall build up Zion. We know that the time is coming for Him to appear in His glory. The nation Israel has been restored. God kept His promise. He gathered the people that were scattered throughout all the world and He placed them again in the land, and they have their government, they have the possession of Jerusalem. And now we are just waiting for the final sequence of events. At this moment, we are waiting for Russia to attack the Middle East and Israel, which is going to be the key event triggering the final sequence of events. That will lead the church out of this mess.
God will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer. For this shall be written for the generation to come (102:17:18):
In other words, the psalmist says, “I am not writing this for you people; I am writing this for a generation that is going to come.” Our generation. The generation that sees the Lord building up Zion. It is just like when Daniel was writing of the same events, this final seven-year period when God was working again in Israel having removed the blindness, and now working again. Daniel said, "How long, O Lord, until the end of these things?" And the Lord said, "Seal up all of these things up in a book, Daniel. And in the last days, knowledge will be increased." In other words, Daniel, you don't understand it. Daniel was crying for understanding, and the Lord said, "You aren't going to understand it, Daniel. Just seal it up in a book. But in the last days knowledge will be increased." And God will give the understanding of these things. And as we read the book of Daniel now, we see how God has opened up the book of Daniel, and how clear it is now as we have the advantage of history. We can see now, and understand now the things of which Daniel was writing, things that he didn't understand himself. And so this is written for the generation to come. It’s for their benefit, for our benefit. We are that generation.
and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD (102:18).
So that’s declared of us, and thus we need to keep the Word of God by praising the Lord.
For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth; To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death; To declare the name of Jehovah in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem; When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD. He weakened my strength in the way; he shortened my days. I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are throughout all generations. Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old, like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed (102:19-26):
Now this is interesting, as he speaks of the earth and the heavens. God laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of His hands. And they are going to perish, the psalmist said. Jesus said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away. My word," He said, "shall never pass away" (Matthew 24:35). Peter describes how they are going to pass away. As the elements are dissolved and melt with a fervent heat. And there comes forth the new heaven and a new earth. There will be change, the new heaven and the new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. So they shall perish.
It is interesting that the psalmist here actually recognizes the first and second law of thermodynamics, which the evolutionists try to almost deny in propounding a theory that requires just the opposite affect of the laws of entropy as we know them to exist. The psalmist recognizes that the earth is growing old. "They shall wax old like a garment." As Sir Herschel Gene said, "The universe is like a giant clock that was wound up and is slowly running down.” Again, describing the affects of the first and second laws of thermodynamics. The slow winding down. Waxing old like a garment. As a vesture, as a coat, you're going to change. And like a man changes his coat. God is going to change the earth, and the heavens. And they shall be changed. But, in contrast to the universe, which is waxing old, which is winding down, in contrast to that,
But thou art the same and thy years have no end. The children of thy servants shall continue and their seed shall be established before thee (102:27-28).
And so, though the earth is waxing old, the universe is growing old, yet God never changes. Though the universe will be changed like a garment, the Lord is the same. We remember in Hebrews, and no doubt a reference to this, “Jesus Christ the same, yesterday, today and forever, Thou art the same.” God said, "Behold, I am the Lord God. I change not." The immutability of God.
Psalm 103, a favorite psalm of thanksgiving time. I trust that it wasn't so long ago that you have already forgotten how thankful you were.
Bless the LORD, O my soul (103:1):
Now this is a command of David, or a command of David, the psalmist to himself. David often was talking to his inward man, talking to his soul. And here he is commanding himself, commanding his soul to bless the Lord, "Bless the Lord, my soul." In one psalm, David, in talking to his soul, said, "Why are you cast down, O my soul? Why are you so disquieted within me?" He didn't understand his own feelings. Have you ever been at the place where you didn't understand your own feelings? Why am I feeling this way? Why do I feel upset? Why do I feel discouraged? Why do I feel despondent? Why do I feel blue? What’s wrong, soul? Why are you cast down? What is your problem? Do you think God is dead or something? Now it’s another vein, "Bless the Lord, O my soul.”
and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits (103:1-2):
So quickly we forget the benefits of serving the Lord. David then begins to list those benefits. We are not to forget them.
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction (103:3-4);
That is, He saves you from hell.
who crowns thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies (103:4);
You see, it isn't just a negative thing. The Christian life is far from a negative experience and too many people are only emphasizing the negative aspects. Looking at the negative aspects, when in reality there are far more positive aspects to it than the negative aspects. I really don't take the negative aspects into much account myself. I'm so excited with all of the positive aspects of serving the Lord that the negative doesn't really come into mind much. "For He crowns thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies.
He satisfies thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The LORD executes righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. He made known his ways unto Moses, and his acts unto the children of Israel. The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy (103:5-8).
Now you have heard people say, “Well, there is the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament. The God of the Old Testament is vengeful and wrathful and murderous and so forth. And the God of the New Testament is love, mercy, and grace.” Now wait a minute. This is Old Testament. And he declares, "Jehovah is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, plenteous in mercy." And you better perhaps read the fourteenth chapter of the book of Revelation, when the cup of the indignation of the wrath of God is overflowing and He pours out His judgment upon this Christ-rejecting earth. And you'll find that the same God is revealed in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, who is a God of love, a God of mercy, a God of patience, but also a righteous, holy God who is absolutely just.
He will not always chide: nor will he be angry for ever. He has not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities (103:9-10).
How true that is. God has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. God has been merciful to us.
For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that reverence him. And as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us (103:11-12).
Interesting that he said as far as the east is from the west, rather than as far the north is from the south. Because the north is only about 12,500 miles from the south. You can only go north until you get to the North Pole, then you are going south. And as soon as you get to the South Pole, you are going north again. The distance of about 12,500 miles, that is, unless you are going straight through. But you can start off tonight flying east, and you'll fly east the rest of your life, if you don't change directions. Or you can start flying due west, and you'll be flying west the rest of your life. So I'm glad that he said as far as the east is from the west, rather than as far as the north is from the south, because I want my sins farther away than the north from the south. I like the east and the west bit. I like God just removing completely my sins, my guilt from me. Because of His mercy.
"As high is the heavens is above the earth." Now there is some scientific discussion as to just how high that might be. And every once in a while the scientists come along and say, "Oh, we've just discovered a new quasar, or galaxy that is beyond anything we've ever known before. It is out there, eight billion light years away, ten billion light years away." All right, keep searching man; you're only expanding the mercy of my God. "For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so high is His mercy over those that reverence Him."
And so I like all these new discoveries, though I think a lot of them are just fanciful kind of interpreting of the data that they have with their own limited knowledge. And I don't think that they know what they are talking about, in many realms, and they've confessed that now. They had all kinds of ideas concerning Saturn and the rings, all kinds of scientific data that was in the astronomy books, and now they have to revise all of the books on Saturn. We've learned so much from this flyby of our little satellite recently. We've learned so many things about the rings and everything else, that all of our theories that we had are out the window now because now we have more data. And so science is changing. The facts are changing, the facts of science seem to often change, but that is totally inconsistent. Facts can't change. So it must be that the scientists were wrong. Oh, but scientists are gods aren't they? And if they said if we evolved from the tadpole, surely they must know. I don't know how high the heaven is above the earth, but however it is, that's just how high God's mercy is towards me.
Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that reverence him. For he knows our frame; and he remembers that we are dust (103:13-14).
Now we don't remember that ourselves often. We think that we are the rock of Gibraltar. We think, “Man, I can stand, you know. Let me at Satan, you know.” And we are challenging so oftentimes Satan to do battle with us. “Come on, just…you know. Come on out and fight.” And God looks down upon us and He is, number one, merciful, because we reverence Him. And secondly, He pities us, just like a father pities his child. Because God remembers our frame. He knows we are but dust. This body made out of the dust. God remembers that.
Man has a tendency to magnify his body. Oh, this body consciousness; everything is the body of man. We have come into a body worship cult. How man worships the body. We were driving down to Newport Beach the other night and this place down there. I haven't been down to Newport for a long time. All these guys working out in the windows, standing there, curling, you know. Mirrors, all over the walls. The old body cult. Worshipping the body. But God remembers it’s just dust. God looks down and says, “O man, just a bit of dust.” He knows our frame; He knows we are but dust.
Which means that God doesn't really expect as much out of me as I expect out of myself. And so oftentimes I am so disappointed with myself, and I weep because of my disappointment over myself. “Oh, I thought I was stronger than that, I thought I was better than that and all. Oh God, I am so sorry I disappointed You.” He says, “You didn't disappoint Me. I knew you were dust all the time.” God wasn't disappointed; I was disappointed in me. But God knew me, He knew me better than I knew myself. He knew that I was but dust. I thought I was Superman. I thought I could I leap buildings with a single bound, and He knows my frame.
As far as our days, we are as the grass: or like a flower in the field (103:15).
So for a time, for a moment, we may flourish,
But when the wind passes over it, the grass, the flower is gone, and the place of it remembers it no more. But the mercy of the LORD (103:16-17)
Now man in passing, we are dust, we are transient, we are passing, like the grass or the flower.
But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting (103:17)
High as the heaven is above the earth. That is one dimension of it, but from another dimension, it’s from everlasting to everlasting, from the vanishing point to the vanishing point, God's mercy. The height of it and the breadth of it. How glorious.
to those that reverence him (103:17),
And the key here all the way through is to those that reverence God.
and his righteousness to the children’s children [that’s my grandkids]; And to such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them. For the LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all. Bless ye the LORD, ye angels, that excel in strength, and do his commandments, harkening to the voice of his word. Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his that do his pleasure. Bless the LORD, all his works in all of the places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul (103:17-22).
So David calls the angels, the heavenly hosts, in to the praising of God. Those angels that are the ministers of God, doing His will, His pleasure. Then all of his works, all of the places of God's dominion. Then again, as he started the psalm, he ends it, "Bless the Lord, O my soul."
And thus he begins the hundred and fourth psalm,
Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, you are very great; you are clothed with honor and majesty: You have covered yourself with light as with a garment: who stretched out the heaven like a curtain (104:1-2):
I love this picturesque kind of speech. God covers Himself with light. The Scripture speaks of God as dwelling in a light, unapproachable. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the light,” and who stretched out the heavens, like a curtain. I have always had an interest in astronomy. I've always loved looking up into the skies out in the desert where you are surrounded by the desert darkness. And where the stars form a beautify canopy overhead. I love to think of the vastness of the universe. I love to take the telescope and look at the planets and the galaxies. And realize the vastness of this universe in which we live. And then to think of this psalm, that God stretched it all out like a curtain.
Who laid the beams of the chambers in the waters: who made the clouds his chariot: who walks upon the wings of the wind: Who makes his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire: Who laid the foundations of the earth that it should not be removed for ever. Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: and the waters stood above the mountains (104:3-6).
He’s talking here about the flood that He sent.
At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. They go up to the mountains; they go down by the valleys into the place which you have founded for them. For you have set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth (104:7-9).
And so God has set the boundaries for the oceans that they will never again cover the earth as they once did during the time of the flood and during the time before God brought the dry land out from a water-covered planet.
He sent the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills. They give drink to every beast of the field: and the wild donkeys quench their thirst. And by them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches. He waters the hills from his chambers: and the earth is satisfied with the fruit of they works. He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and the vegetables for the service of men: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; And wine that makes glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face shine, and bread to strengthen man’s heart (104:10-15).
That’s, of course, that good wheat bread that they made; fresh ground wheat, still had vitamin E in tact, which is very important for the strengthening of man’s heart.
The trees of the LORD are full of sap (104:16);
That is, they are fresh. They are vibrant.
the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted; Where the birds make their nests: as the stork, the fir trees are her house. The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and the rocks for the conies (104:16-18).
The little rabbit kind of an animal.
He appointed the moon for seasons: and the sun knoweth his going down. You make darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth. The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God. The sun arises, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens. Man goes forth unto his work and to his labor until the evening. O LORD, how manifold are all thy works! in wisdom you have made them all: and the earth is full of thy riches (104:19-24).
Now, man in that day was much closer to nature than we are. And I think being much closer to nature, had a keener insight many times into spiritual things. I believe that a person who is close to nature is close to God, close to God’s creation. We live in a plastic society. We live in a world that is filled with man’s works. And we become so enamored with the works of man that so often we lose sight of the works of God. The result of man’s works: the automobiles, the combustion engines, the jet aircraft, the fossil fuel electrical plants, and so forth. You see by these things, the works of man’s hands, we’ve so polluted the skies that we don’t see the blueness of the sky much any more. We don’t see the stars so much any more. We’ve got man’s lights as we go outside that hide the stars, that diminish the brightness of the stars, as far as our visible eyes are concerned. Polluted air. And thus, we’re not overawed walking out into the night as they were. We’re not so conscious of the stars as they were. We’ve got all of these asphalt highways, all of these subdivisions, house joined upon house, and now condominiums and townhouses to where we have very little green space. So we’re not so conscious of the trees and the flowers, the vegetation, the works of God’s hands. But these people living in an agrarian culture, living close to nature, living in, living under the blue skies, and the clear skies, far more conscious of God and of God’s creative acts, and God’s creative power. And unfortunately, we lose sight of these things. That’s why it’s good to take a vacation and get out in the wilds if you can, get out in the desert or get out in the mountains. Get out among the trees, get out among the rivers and the lakes, get out in nature. Come in tune with nature again, the works of God, the works of God’s hands, and then again comes that reverence and that awe as I behold the works of God in nature.
And so the psalmist here…it’s a beautiful psalm, Psalm 104, as he speaks of all of these things. The observations of nature, the fowls, the stork, the bird, the trees, the donkeys, the springs, the flowers, the goats, the conies, the moon and the sun. All of the things of nature.
O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom you have made them all (104:24):
For you see the wisdom of God in the design of a leaf, in the design of a deer or the animals, their capacities.
the earth is full of thy riches. So is this great and wide sea, wherein there are creeping innumerable [things that are creeping], both small and great beasts. Where the ships sail: and there is the leviathan (104:24-26),
Some think that that is a reference to the whales.
who thou hast made to play therein. These all wait all upon thee; that you may give them their meat in due season. That which you give them they gather: and you open your hand, and they are filled with good. And you hide your face, and they are troubled: you take away their breath, and they die, and return to their dust (104:26-29).
How dependent we are upon God. God takes away our breath; we die.
You send forth thy spirit, they are created: and you renew the face of the earth. The glory of the LORD shall endure for ever: the LORD shall rejoice in his works. He looks on the earth, and it trembles: he touches the hills, and they smoke. I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD (104:30-34).
Having observed nature and the hand of God in nature, and the marvelous wisdom of God and the glory of God as He has expressed in nature it brings forth a song in the heart of the psalmist. A song unto the Lord, singing praises, the meditation of Him shall be sweet. I will be glad in the Lord.
Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the LORD, O my soul. Praise ye the LORD (104:35).
O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk of all of his wondrous works (105:1-2).
Now we are exhorted here to several things. First of all, we are exhorted to give thanks to the Lord. Secondly, we are exhorted to call upon His name. And thirdly, we’re exhorted to share the work of God among people. In the first verse, three exhortations: to give thanks, to call upon Him, and to share His truth among people. Then in the second verse, further exhortation: sing unto Him, sing psalms to Him, and talk of all of His wondrous works.
God loves you to just talk about Him. In fact, there’s a Scripture that indicates that God eavesdrops whenever you talk about Him. “And they that love the Lord did speak of Him one to another and God kept a record of it. And they shall be accounted as His jewels in that day when He makes up His treasure” (Malachi 3:16-17). People just talking about the Lord, talk about His wondrous works.
And then further exhortations:
Glory in his holy name (105:3):
And then rejoice,
let the heart of them that seek the LORD rejoice (105:3).
And then we are commanded,
Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore (105:4).
Remember his marvelous works that he has done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth (105:5);
So all of these exhortations in five verses. Things that we are to do. So whenever you’re just sitting around thinking, “What shall I do?” Turn to Psalm 105, and you’ll have a lot of things that you can do. Things that you’ll find will be a very great blessing to you, benefit to you, as you follow these exhortations.
O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen. He is Jehovah our God: his judgments are in all the earth. He has remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations. Which covenant he made with Abraham, his oath to Isaac; And confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant: Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance (105:6-11):
Now notice the covenant of God has been established with Abraham; He declared it by an oath to Isaac; He confirmed the same to Jacob. So that you wonder about the right of the land of Israel, who it belongs to. By an everlasting covenant God said, swearing to Abraham and to Isaac and confirming it to Jacob, “Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan and the lot of your inheritance.” God swore this to them when they were but few in number, very few. In fact, they were strangers in the land when God said, “Look around. As far as you can see to the north, east, south, and west, I’ve given it to you.” And from the top of Bethel God said to Jacob, “Look, Jacob, all around. For I have given you this land.” He said the same to Abraham at the same place.
When they were just few in number; they were strangers in the land. When they went from one nation to another, and from one kingdom to another people (105:12-13);
They were just sojourners roaming around in the land as nomads, as Bedouins. Taking their tent and pitching it and grazing out an area and then moving on. And yet, the land was all theirs. It had been promised to them by God.
And God would allow no man to do them wrong: in fact, he even reproved kings for their sakes (105:14);
Going back to the history of Abraham. How Abimelech the king and the Pharaoh were reproved by God for the sake of Abraham.
As God said, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm (105:15).
God protects His anointed and His prophets.
Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he broke the whole staff of bread. He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold as a servant: his feet were hurt with the fetters: he was laid in iron: Until the time that his word came: and the word of the LORD tried him. And the king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and let him go free. He made him the lord of his house, and the ruler over all of his substance (105:16-21):
And so now the psalmist does what the Israelis always love to do, the rehearsal of their history. Steven in the book of Acts rehearsed the history for the people. Now the psalmist here is rehearsing a part of their glorious history, how that God preserved them when the famine came into the land by sending Joseph ahead of them down into Egypt to prepare the food for them so that they’d have food during the time of the famine. And God made Joseph the lord over the house of the Pharaoh and the ruler of all of his substance.
To bind his princes at his pleasure; and to teach his senators wisdom (105:22).
So Joseph was second in command; he could bind the princes of Egypt and he taught the senators wisdom.
Israel also came to Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham. And he increased his people greatly; and made them stronger than their enemies. He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtilely with his servants. He sent Moses his servant; and Aaron whom he had chosen. They showed his signs among them, and wonders in the land of Ham. He sent the darkness, and they rebelled not against his word. He turned their waters into blood, and he killed their fish. Their land brought forth frogs in abundance, in the chambers of their kings (105:23-30).
Frogs in the king’s bed and in the kneading troughs of their dough.
He spake, and there came forth divers sorts of flies [all kinds of different flies], and lice in all of their coasts. And he gave them hail for rain, flaming fire in their land. He smote their vines also, their fig trees; he broke the trees of their coasts. He spake, and the locusts came, and the caterpillars, and that without number, and they did eat up all the vegetables in their land, and devoured the fruit of the ground. He smote also the firstborn in their land, the chief of their strength. He brought them forth also with silver and gold (105:31-37):
That is, now He brought His people forth with silver and gold,
and there was not one feeble person among their tribes. Egypt was glad when they departed (105:37-38):
I can imagine…tired of the flies and the lice and the frogs and the caterpillars and the locusts.
He spread a cloud for a covering (105:39);
Now that cloud by which they were led was more than just something to lead them. It was a covering. They were going through this hot wilderness area. And so what did God do? He put the cloud above them to give them shade, a covering. Not only when the cloud moved was it God’s indication for them to move, they followed under the shadow of the cloud. God used it as a covering over them. And when necessary, God brought it down and made it fog behind them to keep the Egyptians from knowing what was going on as they escaped through the Red Sea. The cloud that led them went behind them and settled down and was a thick fog to the Egyptians. So God used the cloud for many purposes. A covering.
the fire to give them light in the evening (105:39).
So they could go out at night with the light of the fire of God above them.
And the people asked, and he brought quails, and he satisfied them with the bread from heaven (105:40).
The manna that He had given.
He opened the rock, and waters gushed out; and they ran in the dry places like a river. For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham his servant. And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness: And he gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labor of the people (105:41-44);
He brought them into this land and actually they took over the vineyards and the orchards and all of the people that were there. They inherited all of the rock walls and everything that the people had made.
That they might observe his statutes, and keep his laws. Praise ye the LORD (105:45).
In the Hebrew that is, “Hallelujah. Praise ye Jehovah.”
Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? Who can show forth all his praise? Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times. Remember me, O LORD, with the favor that you bear unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation; That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance (106:1-5).
Now, in Psalm 105 he rehearses their history with the emphasis upon God. God promising the land, God bringing them into the land. Psalm 106 is another rehearsal of their history, but it’s an emphasis now upon them, the people. And what a vast difference when you look at history with the emphasis upon God and you look at history with the emphasis upon man. You look at history with the emphasis upon God and you see the faithfulness of God in history. You look at history with the emphasis upon man and you see the unfaithfulness of man. And so as he looks now at history with the emphasis upon man, he confesses:
We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly (106:6).
Just like our fathers, we are guilty. We have sinned. We’ve committed iniquity. We’ve done wickedly.
Our fathers understood not your wonders in Egypt (106:7);
He referred to these wonders, the plagues in the last chapter, but the Israelites did not understand them.
they remembered not the multitude of your mercies; but they provoked him at the Red Sea (106:7).
God brought them out of their bondage, but they didn’t get but a day’s journey away when they were murmuring and saying, “Why did you bring us out here? To kill us out here? Weren’t there enough graves back there? Why did you bring us out here?” They began to murmur and complain against God two days out. And they never stopped.
Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known. He rebuked the Red Sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness. And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. And the waters covered their enemies: and there was not one of them left. But then they believed his words; and they sang his praise. But they soon forgot his works; and they waited not for his counsel: But they lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and they tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness to their soul (106:8-15).
Their request was for the satisfying of their fleshly desires. God gave them their request. He satisfied their fleshly desires, but as a consequence, it brought a leanness to their spirit. So oftentimes this is true where we get our eyes upon the material things where we begin to live a very materialistic existence. This may be something that we’re really desiring and longing after, the things in the material realm. And God may give us those things that we are longing for. But unfortunately, so often it brings with it a leanness to my own soul. I suffer spiritually as the result of it. How hard it is for those who trust in riches to even enter into the kingdom of heaven, for they that will be rich fall into divers temptations which drown men’s souls in perdition.
And so the children of Israel, God gave them their request. Sometimes that can be the very worst thing that can happen to us spiritually, for God to answer our prayers. He gave them their request, but gave them leanness into their soul.
They envied Moses also in the camp, and Aaron the saint of the LORD. The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, and covered the company of Abiram. And a fire was kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked. They made a calf in Horeb, and they worshipped a molten image. Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass. They forgot God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt; Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red Sea [or awesome things by the Red Sea]. Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them. Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word: But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not to the voice of Jehovah. Therefore he lifted up his hand against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness: To overthrow their seed also among the nations, and to scatter them in the lands. They joined themselves also to Baal-peor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead. Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions: and the plague broke in upon them. Then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment: so that the plague was stopped. And that was counted unto him for righteousness to all generations for evermore. They angered him also at the waters of Meribah, so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes (106:16-32):
Here’s an interesting insight. The reason why Moses couldn’t go into the Promise Land was for their sakes. That God might teach them the importance of obedience to God. Obedience to God is surely one of the most important things in life for each of us. What does God require of me? Obedience. Moses was disobedient to God in the eyes of the people. God said to Moses, “Go out and speak to the rock and it’ll give forth water.” Moses took his staff and he hit the rock. “Must I hit this rock and give you water?” And thus, he failed to represent God, and for the people’s sake God didn’t let him go into the land.
You see, their history was oral history for many years. They learned their history from the stories that were told by the mothers to the children. Stories of their past, the story of God’s work in their midst. From the time a child was first cradled in its mother’s arms, the mother would whisper in the child’s ear, “The Lord is God. The Lord is God.” And very early they would begin to rehearse the stories of God’s work in their history to their children. And they would pass down by oral tradition the stories of God’s deliverance, God’s power, God’s work. And as they would tell the story of the bondage in Egypt, after the death of Joseph and the Pharaoh who arose and knew not Joseph and how that their fathers were placed under cruel subjugation by the Pharaoh. How that he had ordered all the baby boys to be slain. And the terrible cruel bondage, the slavery. But then God raised up a leader, even Moses, who was a man of God and God spoke unto Moses. And God sent Moses down to Egypt, and through Moses brought the plagues upon the Egyptians. And they would tell their children the exciting story of how a man in tune with God was able to bring their fathers out of the bondage of Egypt. And Moses was the hero, the man of God, the man that God used. But then their voices would become hushed, as they would say to their children, “But Moses could not go into the Promise Land because he disobeyed God.” And that importance of obedience to God above everything else was just burned into the mind of the children as Moses the example of a man of God highly honored and favored. A man like no other man with whom God did speak in such a direct way, and yet, this man Moses, as close as his relationship was with God, he was held back from the greatest ambition of his life. He could not go into the land because he disobeyed God. And for the sake of the people, Moses was not able to go into the land.
Because they provoked his spirit (106:33),
The people had provoked Moses’ spirit.
so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips. They did not destroy the nations, though they were commanded to do so. But they mingled with the heathen, and they learned their ways. And they began to serve their idols: which were a snare to them. Yes, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters to devils (106:33-37),
They followed the practice of the Baal worshippers, who would sacrifice their little babies in these little arms of their gods. Baal…you see the little iron and stone gods and their arms are outstretched with the hands in an upward position. You can see them in the museums over there, the little gods that have been uncovered by the archeologists. And what they would do is place these little gods in the fire until the metal, the iron would turn glowing red hot and then they would take their babies and place them in the glowing hot arms of this idol of Baal sacrificing their babies. And as the babies would scream in pain and all, they would dance and scream so that they couldn’t hear the screams of their children. Practices of the heathen. This is why God drove the people out of the land. This is why God commanded them to destroy the people, because their practices were so corrupt. But they disobeyed God and exactly what God knew would happen did happen. They began to follow after these pagan, licentious, horrible, evil practices of worship.
They shed innocent blood, even the blood of their own sons and their own daughters, who they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood (106:38).
Now the interesting thing is that God here declares that they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils. In other words, behind the idol worship was Satan worship. And this is true; behind idol worship is Satan worship. Paul said, “They that do sacrifice things unto idols do sacrifice them unto devils” (I Corinthians 10:20). It is common belief that many of these idols are actually inhabited by demon spirits. Even as a demon is embodied in human bodies sometimes, demons often will seek embodiment within an idol that is worshipped by people. And thus, prayers and all to the idol can be answered by demon activity. There is power; there are things that can be done in a supernatural realm by the demonic forces that are inhabiting these idols. And behind the false worship is the worship of Satan. That is why it is so totally inconsistent to say, “Well, all religions really lead people to God. And how can you say that Christianity is the only real way to God, because these people are very religious, they’re very sincere. Look at the way they are worshipping their idols.” The Scriptures said they’re worshipping devils. And Satan is really the choreographer behind all of the religious systems of the world, apart from Christianity.
And so the people were defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions. Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against his people, inasmuch that he abhorred his own inheritance. And he gave them into the hand of the heathen; and they that hated them ruled over them. Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand. Many times did he deliver them; but they provoked him with their counsel, and were brought low for their iniquity. Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry: and he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies. He made them also to be pitied of all of those that carried them captives. Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise. Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the LORD (106:39-48).
Now, again the Amen, the doxology brings us to the end of the fourth book of the psalms. And beginning with Psalm 107 we enter now into the fifth book of the psalms. And so entering in now to a new, the fifth and the final book of the psalms, which goes from here to Psalm 150.
I think at this point we’ll cut it off for this evening, and next week we’ll pick up with Psalm 107. Because these are relatively long psalms through here, but the next ten psalms are quite short. So we’ll go from Psalm 107 through 116 for next week, and then we’ll go 117 through 119. That will be plenty for the following week. Psalm 119 in itself would be a lot, but 117 and 118 are short, relatively short psalms.
Shall we stand. May the Lord help us not to forget His greatness, His mercy, His love, His wisdom, His power. May we walk in the consciousness of His presence. May we become more attune to His works and to His love. May God be with you and may God bless you and may God strengthen you through this week. In Jesus’ name.