Let’s turn now in our Bibles to Psalm 107. The hundred and seventh psalm begins with an exhortation to us to
Give thanks unto the LORD (107:1),
And the basis for the thanksgiving is His goodness and His mercy. Two things that we really should be thankful for: the goodness of God to us, and then God’s mercy unto us. How thankful I am for the mercy of God. Were it not for the mercy of God, where would I be tonight? Surely not here. But,
for his mercy that endureth for ever (107:1).
Now, as we go through the psalm, the first verse exhorts us to praise. But then the psalm goes on and begins to talk about certain people and their condition. And then we find the oft-repeated phrase. In fact, it’s repeated about three times, or four times through the psalm, “Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and His wonderful works to the children of men!” Oh that men would really learn to just praise God for His goodness to us. I think that we reflect too little upon God, because I really don’t think that you can seriously reflect upon God without praising and without thanksgiving. When you really just start to reflect on His goodness, on His blessings, on all that He’s done, the praises just sort of come.
Second verse he said,
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy (107:2);
We’ve been redeemed, Peter tells us, “not with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but by the precious blood of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:18,19). You’ve been redeemed; you ought to talk about it. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so. We were actually in the bondage of sin. We were slaves to Satan. Paul said, “Who in times past walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, that even now works in the children of disobedience: among whom you all had your manner of living in times past as you walked after the lust of your own heart and your own mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Ephesians 2:2-3). But from that disastrous state, the Lord has redeemed you. “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy.”
And he gathered them out of the lands, from the east, from the west, the north, the south. They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in. Then hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of all their distresses (107:3-6).
So he is describing, really, the condition of the nation of Israel that God has gathered out of all of the lands. The people who wandered after the dispersion, “hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of all their distresses.”
And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation. Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness (107:7-9).
Now that goes back to verse 5, where it speaks of their condition, “Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted.” Verse 9, “For He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.” The longing soul—the soul is the consciousness of man. And somehow there is a consciousness in every man that life must be something more than what I have yet experienced. Somehow I feel there is more to life. The longing soul of man He satisfies.
Now we start into the second strophe of this psalm as he begins to describe another group.
Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron; Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the Most High (107:10-11):
So the second group he is talking about, a group who are bound in afflictions and irons, men who are in real trouble. And the reason for their trouble: their rebellion against the words of God, their scorn for the counsels of God. How many times have we gotten into trouble when we rebelled against the counsels of God? I can do it my way. Just leave me alone, Lord. I’ll go my own way. And I am trying to do my own thing, and it has led me into bondage so many times. Sometimes we wonder, how in the world could I ever get in such a mess? It’s because we rebelled against the words of God. We scorned His counsel.
Therefore he brought down their heart with labor; they fell down, and there was none to help. Then (107:12-13)
In this sad condition,
they cried unto the LORD in their trouble (107:13),
Going back to verse 6, the first group who cried unto the Lord in their trouble.
and he saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in two (107:13-14).
Now the breaking of the bands in two go back to verse 10, “Being bound in affliction and iron.” God breaks the bondage that we experience.
Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! (107:15)
And then going back once again.
For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder (107:16).
Now he deals with another category.
Fools, because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted (107:17).
We bring a lot of grief on ourselves.
Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat (107:18);
Now this to me is interesting, because it seems to be describing a vegetarian and it calls them fools. And they do act a little funny at times if you observe them. They seem to be lacking protein in their diet. “Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat.”
and they draw near unto the gates of death (107:18).
Then [in this condition] they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses. He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from his destructions (107:19-20).
How many times God uses His Word to heal, to deliver, to set us free. How many times when I’ve had a particular problem and I was very concerned and as I was praying, the Lord would send His Word. He would give me a Scripture in my heart. A Scripture would flash in my mind, and that Scripture was just what I needed. How many times when the Word of God has flashed in my mind in a particular circumstance, I said, “Thank You, Lord, I really needed that.” For the Scripture was just exactly what I was needing at that time. And it ministered to me, and it was strength to me, and it brought me through.
Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing (107:21-22).
Now, in the Old Testament, in order to approach God they had to come to the priest with sacrifices. And there were different sacrifices that were offered in the Old Testament. There were the sin offerings, the sacrifices for sin of which we are all very familiar. But there were also what they called the peace offerings, which was just really…the idea behind the peace offering was communion with God. It was bringing a sacrifice and they would barbecue it for you and then you’d sit down and eat with God. Part of it would be burned unto the Lord, His portion, and then you would eat your portion, and it was just an offering of communion. I want to just draw close to God and just sit down and have a meal with the Lord. And so you’d offer a peace offering unto God.
Then there was also the burnt offering sacrifices. And the burnt offering sacrifices were sacrifices of consecration unto God. God, I want to consecrate myself to You. And so I would offer to the Lord a burnt offering sacrifice which was a sacrifice signifying my commitment of myself to God. So the different sacrifices that were offered.
Now we say, “Well, we’re living now in the gospel of grace, and Jesus sacrificed Himself once and for all.” Yes, as a sin offering. And that takes care of the sin sacrifice completely. But there are sacrifices of the New Testament that we are exhorted to offer unto God. Not animal sacrifices, but fruit sacrifices. “Let us offer unto God the sacrifice of praise, even the fruit of our lips” (Hebrews 13:15). And so praising God becomes actually a peace offering. As through praise, I come into communion with God. “For the Lord inhabits the praises of His people” (Psalm 22:3). The sacrifice of praise and that of commitment of myself as I am worshipping the Lord and I just yield my life to Him.
So there are sacrifices of praise and here, the psalmist said, “Let them sacrifice the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and declare His work with rejoicing.” We were talking with a group of people today and we were saying, “We need to get together some night and just talk about the Lord and all of the wonderful things He’s doing.” Just spend an evening. Just getting together talking about the goodness of God, and the work of God, and the blessings of God. What a profitable evening that would be, as we just sit together and we just talk about, “Oh, you remember what the Lord did? Oh, isn’t that glorious?” And just rejoicing, you know, as you talk about the glorious works of God.
There’s an interesting thing when people get together to talk about the Lord. The Lord is always interested in it. He’s interested in what you have to say about Him. Just like you’re interested when people talk about you; you want to know what they’re saying. And you get a chance, you know, you hear your name, and you know how you tune in on your name and you get real quiet and you listen to see what they’re saying. Well, the Bible indicates that God does something like that, too. It says, “They that love the Lord spake often of Him” (Malachi 3:16). And the Lord made a record of the things that they were saying. God kept a record. And in that day, they shall be accounted as jewels. God loves people to talk about Him. And so here, “Declare His works with rejoicing.”
Now we come into a fourth category of people. A fourth section of this psalm. This is for the sailors.
They that go down to the sea in ships, that do their business in great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep (107:23-24).
The ocean is always a marvel. I love…I’m a very water-oriented person. I love the water. I love diving down and looking at the coral and the various fish, and it’s just the works of God. “They see the works of the LORD, His wonders in the deep.”
For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves thereof. They mount up to heaven, they go down again into the depths: and their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, they’re at their wit's end (107:25-27).
You ever been in a storm at sea? Huge waves.
And then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he brings them out of their distress. And he makes the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they’re quiet; so he brings them into their desired haven (107:28-30).
The work of God bringing us into the desired haven. Beautiful.
Now the psalm ends with just exhortations unto, again, of praising the Lord for His works, and it begins to list many of the works of the Lord.
Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders. For he turneth the rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground; A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein. He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings. And there he maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation; And sow the fields, and plant the vineyards, which may yield the fruits of increase. He blesses them also, so that they are multiplied greatly; and he allowed not their cattle to decrease. Again, they are minished and brought low through oppression, affliction, and sorrow. And he poured contempt upon the princes, and causes them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way. Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction, and maketh his families like a flock. The righteous shall see it, and rejoice: and all iniquity shall stop her mouth. Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving-kindness of the LORD (107:32-43).
So the final verses just sort of a conclusion to the psalm saying that “Whoever is wise, and will observe these things.” What things? Praising, thanksgiving. “Even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.”
Psalm 108 the psalmist declares:
O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory (108:1).
And then he calls for praise unto the Lord with the psaltery and the harp, a couple of instruments praising the Lord in music.
I myself will awake early. I will praise thee, O LORD, among the people: I will sing praises unto thee among the nations. For thy mercy is great above the heavens (108:2-4):
Again, why do I praise God? Well, here I praise the Lord, again, for His mercy. “As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high is His mercy over those that fear Him” (Psalm 103:11). Also praise,
that thy truth reacheth unto the clouds. [Further praise.] Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: and thy glory above all the earth; That thy beloved may be delivered: save with thy right hand, and answer me. God hath spoken in his holiness; I will rejoice, I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth (108:4-7).
Now here is David talking and he’s talking about how God is going to give him victory and possessions. Dividing Shechem, meting out the valley of Succoth.
Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine; Ephraim also is the strength of mine head; Judah is my lawgiver; Moab is my washpot; and over Edom will I cast out my shoe; over Philistia will I triumph. Who will bring me into the strong city? who will lead me into Edom? Wilt not thou, O God, who hast cast us off? and wilt not thou, O God, go forth with our hosts? Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man (108:8-12).
All of you that are spending so much time with counselors, you might read that again. Seeking the Lord for help. And a wise counselor will always just point you to the Lord, because He is the only One that can truly help you. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, who made the heavens and the earth” (Psalm 121:1-2). Vain is the help of man.
Through God we shall do valiantly: for it is he that shall tread down our enemies (108:13).
Psalm 109 makes me glad that I’m not an enemy of David. For this is one of those psalms where he really takes off again against his enemies, and I mean he goes after them with tongs.
Hold not thy peace, O God of my praise; For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue (109:1-2).
So these people were talking about David. They were lying about David. And he’s saying, “God, don’t hold Your peace. Get angry with them.”
For they compassed me about also with words of hatred; and they fought against me without a cause. For my love they are my adversaries: but I give myself unto prayer (109:3-4).
Oh, what wisdom there is in verse 4. I’ve loved them, but they’ve become my adversaries. And so I will give myself unto prayer. Rather than striking out against them in kind, rather than trying to get vengeance myself, rather than getting involved, how much better if I will just give myself to prayer. Oh, how many times I wish I’d given myself to prayer rather than getting involved.
You see, it is the trick of Satan to draw you in to a physical conflict, to get you at odds, to get you in this physical area of bantering back and forth. Satan is constantly trying to draw you into the physical arena to do battle with you. Why? Because if he can get you in the flesh, he can clean up on you like nobody’s business. Every time he gets me in the flesh, he gives me such a beating you’d think I’d learn not to get in the flesh. But he’s always seeking to draw me into the flesh. For he has a decided advantage over me.
Now David said, “I will give myself unto prayer.” I’m going to stay in the Spirit. Oh, how important that I stay in the Spirit, because in the spirit realm, I have a decided advantage over him. For you see, he was defeated at the cross. And if I can just stay in the Spirit, I can just wipe him out with the victory of Jesus Christ upon the cross. And prayer is actually the big guns of the Spirit by which I can defeat the enemy.
Now, the world is filled with spirits. And spirits have a decided advantage over us in many ways. For spirits are not bound by the time, space, material things by which we are bound. As we’ve gathered together here tonight, there are many spirits that have gathered here also, lot of angels around the place tonight. Because they’re very curious at the work that God has done in your life, and they desire to look into it.
Peter, in talking about the grace and the goodness of God towards us, he said, “Which things the angels desire to look into” (I Peter 1:12). And if He has “given His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. To bear thee up, lest at any time you dash your foot against a stone” (Psalm 91:11-12), that means the angels are here tonight. You know, they’re watching over you. They’ll be watching over you as you go home tonight.
But there are also other spirits that are here tonight. Spirits that are antagonistic to you as a child of God. Seeking to bring hurt and harm. And in the spirit realm, there is a real warfare that is going on. You remember when Daniel decided to fast and pray and wait upon God. After twenty-one days, the angel came and said, “Daniel, you know, twenty-one days ago when you started this fast, God sent me down here to bring you the answers. But, man, that prince of Persia got hold of me,” talking about Satan, “and he took me captive and he held me for twenty-one days until Michael, that great prince, came and set me free. But now I’m come to tell you the things that the Lord wants to reveal unto you. The things that you had upon your heart. God dispatched me. There was a warfare. I got captured for a while until Michael came.”
There is a fierce warfare going on in the spiritual realm. But that warfare was climaxed at the cross. In that, on the cross, Jesus defeated the spirit forces of Satan and darkness. In Colossians, chapter 2, we are told that He triumphed over the principalities and powers, which are names for spiritual entities, spiritual forces. He said He triumphed over them through the cross, making an open display of His victory as He triumphed over them in the cross. So that Satan is a defeated foe. So that if I stay in the spiritual realm, I have a decided advantage over Satan because he was defeated at the cross, and I can come against him in the power of the victory of Jesus Christ. And he’s got to back down. He’s got to back down. He was defeated at the cross.
Now these spirit forces, as I say, are not restricted to time and space and material obstacles as are we. Therefore, they have a decided advantage over us. Some of the spirits that are here tonight visiting with us in this service could quite possibly have been over a few moments ago watching the Syrian troops at the border of Jordan to see if anything was going to happen tonight. When nothing was going to happen, they decided, “Come on over, let’s go to Calvary Chapel to see what’s happening there tonight, you know.” And as fast as you can think it, because they are not bound by, despite the time, space limitations as we are, as fast as you can think it, they were here. You see, they can they can get around really in a hurry. And if things get boring here, they might head for China or something and see what’s going on there tonight, or tomorrow morning which over there.
Now, when we came in tonight, we came in through the doors. Hopefully. But the spirits that are here, they came through the ceiling or through the walls, or actually, if they were in China they may have just made a shortcut and come right through, because they are not restricted by material obstacles. They are able to pass through.
Now, it is difficult to fight with an enemy that you can’t see. That can only bring spiritual pressures. That you can only feel but without being able to see them, it’s extremely difficult to fight against them. But we have spiritual weapons. The Bible said, “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal,” they’re not fleshly, “but they are mighty through God to the pulling down of the strongholds of the enemy” (II Corinthians 10:4). And the big gun in the spiritual warfare is prayer.
And it is interesting, because the prayer itself takes on the nature of a spirit in that the prayer does not become restricted to time or space or material. So that we can pray here tonight for a friend in Florida who is maybe going through a real spiritual trial. The enemy is really oppressing them, giving them a bad time. I can go into my closet. I can get on my knees. And I can begin to intercede for my friend in Florida. And as I pray for them, my prayer takes on the nature of a spirit in that it goes immediately to Florida, right into the home where they are and begins to do business for God right there in their house. Driving back the forces of darkness. Binding the forces of the enemy, and releasing God’s work in their lives. Doing spiritual battle.
And so God has given us weapons whereby we have a decided advantage over the enemy. But whenever he gets you into the flesh, then he has the advantage. And Satan is always trying to get us into the flesh for that reason. So the best thing when someone is lying about me, someone is trying to cut me down and all, the best thing you can do is what David did, give yourself to prayer. Don’t get into the physical. You’ll only get wiped out. But retreat into prayer, and man, you can blast him to pieces and they don’t even know where it’s coming from. As you enter into the spiritual warfare and you do battle in the spirit through prayer. Oh, the change that you can bring in the lives of people.
Several years ago there was a United States senator from Missouri, very popular senator. He had a very keen mind. And he was sitting in the Senate in Washington during an especially busy session. His wife was in a prayer group with some ladies in their home state in Missouri. And her husband, because of his popularity, was actually being considered as a possible candidate for the presidency of the United States. One day, she and a group of the ladies at the prayer meeting decided that they were going to band together to pray for her husband’s salvation. A brilliant man, but he was an atheist.
And so these ladies began every day at ten o’clock, no matter what they were doing, they would stop and agree together in prayer that God would get hold of the heart of this lady’s husband and bring him to Jesus Christ. Binding the work of the enemy that had blinded him; was holding him captive. During the Congressional recess, he came home. And on Sunday as she got up to go to church, she was surprised that he also got up. And she said, “Well, where are you going today?” He said, “I’m going to church with you.” And it rather surprised her, but she played it cool. And that morning in the service, when the invitation was given, he went forward to publicly receive Jesus Christ.
And, of course, she was absolutely ecstatic, as were all of the ladies that were in her prayer group who had been praying for his salvation. Afterwards, she told him of this prayer pact that these ladies had made. He said, “When did you start?” And so she said, “Well, let’s see, it was you know, Tuesday afternoon or Tuesday morning, and let’s see, it was just before…” and she figured out the date and she said, “March the twelfth, ten o’clock, Tuesday morning.”
He pulled out his diary to that date and with the time difference, he said, “Though I am sitting here in the Senate,” in his diary, “and there is debate going on, suddenly I have become conscious of a great need in my life for God.” Spirit force, the Spirit power by which lives can be changed.
“I will give myself,” the psalmist said, “unto prayer.” The wisest thing you can do. Now I don’t really believe that you should give yourself to prayer as the psalmist did. For he says in verse 5, concerning the wicked and his enemies,
They have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love. [Therefore, Lord,] Set a wicked man over him: let Satan stand at his right hand. When he shall be judged, condemn him: and let his prayer become sin. Let his days be few; and let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow. Let his children continually be vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places. Let the extortioner catch all that he has; and let the strangers spoil his labor. And let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any favor for his fatherless children. Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out. Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the LORD; and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out. Let them be before the LORD continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth. Because that he remembered not to show mercy, but persecuted the poor and the needy man, that he might even slay the broken in heart. As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him: as he delighted not in blessing, so let it be far from him. As he clothed himself with cursing like with a garment, so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones. Let it be unto him as the garment which covers him, and for a girdle wherewith he is girded continually. Let this be the reward of my adversaries from the LORD, and of them that speak evil against my soul (109:5-20).
Boy, he’s really out for blood! How far this is, of course, from the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament, who said, “Bless those that curse you, do good unto those that despitefully use you” (Matthew 5:44). But this is David, and this is what I feel many times when someone’s done me wrong. I feel, “Lord, give them one.” So though I can identify with the prayer, yet I realize that this is not the new nature in Christ of forgiveness. Realizing how much God has forgiven me, I also am to forgive.
Now, “Let another take his office,” verse 8. In the first chapter of the book of Acts, after Jesus had ascended into heaven and the disciples were meeting together in Jerusalem waiting for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Peter said to them, “You know, it’s necessary that we get someone to take Judas’ place who by transgression fell. For, the Scriptures said, ‘Let another take his bishopric,’” (Acts 1:20). And Peter is quoting this particular psalm, verse 8, “Let another take his office,” and he applies it unto Judas Iscariot. And as you read David’s vilification against this traitor, the man who lied against him and all, Satan standing at his right hand, condemned and all, there is a shadow of Judas behind it.
Now David prayed that for his enemies, but now he’s praying for himself in verse 21, and he sure changes the tune.
But for me, O God the LORD, do for me for thy name's sake: because thy mercy is good, deliver me. For I am poor and needy, my heart is wounded within me. I am gone like the shadow when it declineth (109:21-23):
Referring to the sundial.
I am tossed up and down as the locust. My knees are weak through fasting; and my flesh faileth of fatness (109:23-24).
I’m skinny and weak.
I became also a reproach unto them: when they looked upon me they shaked their heads (109:25).
And if you go over there today, you’ll see them when they are fighting with each other or talking with each other, they just shake their heads violently as they’re yelling at one another.
Help me, O LORD my God: O save me according to thy mercy: That they may know that this is thy hand; that thou, LORD, hast done it. Let them curse, but You bless: when they arise, let them be ashamed; but let your servant rejoice. Let my adversaries be clothed with shame; and let them cover themselves with their own confusion, as with a mantle. And I will greatly praise the LORD with my mouth; yea, I will praise him among the multitude. For he shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those that condemn his soul (109:26-31).
The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool (110:1).
This immediately gives to us the indication that this is one of those Messianic psalms. Or a psalm concerning the Messiah that has its fulfillment in Jesus Christ. And this first verse of the psalm is quoted in Hebrews as referring to Jesus Christ. “As the Lord said unto my Lord,” or Yahweh said unto my Lord, Adonai, “Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.” Jesus is now sitting at the right hand of the Father in glory. And God is coming to judge the earth, to put down all of the enemies of Jesus Christ, to bring all things in subjection unto Him. And by the time the Great Tribulation is over, the nations will have been subdued and will be brought in subjection unto Jesus Christ who shall come to reign. But the Father said, or, “The Lord said unto my Lord, ‘Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.”
So the writer of the Hebrews said, “God hath put all things in subjection unto Him, but we do not yet see all things in subjection” (Hebrews 2:8). It hasn’t yet come; yet it shall. But we see Jesus.
The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth. The LORD hath sworn, and he will not change, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek (110:2-4).
Now here in this prophetic psalm is an interesting little shot. It takes us immediately back to the time of Abraham, who when five kings had gotten together and came down and captured four cities and took slaves and the loot from Sodom. And Abraham heard of it and his nephew Lot was there in Sodom. And so he gathered the servants of his own house, armed them, and they took out after this confederacy of kings. They caught up with them, and Abraham and his servants destroyed them and got back Lot and all of the captives, and all of the loot that these kings had taken.
Now as Abraham with his servants was coming back victorious, as they came near Jerusalem, the priest of the most high God in Jerusalem came out to meet Abraham with bread and wine. And Abraham gave to him a tenth of all that he had; that is, of the spoils that he had taken. Abraham paid tithes unto him. The priest was named Melchizedek. He had a second name, the King of Peace.
Now Abraham, the father of the nation; Abraham, the father of the faithful, those who will believe, in paying tithes to Melchizedek and receiving from Melchizedek a blessing, is showing that Melchizedek is actually one step above Abraham. For the lesser receives the blessing from the greater. And receiving the blessing from Melchizedek, the King of Peace, and paying tithes unto him, he was doing homage unto Melchizedek, known as the priest of the most high God.
Now Abraham had a son, Isaac, who had a son Jacob, who had twelve sons; one named Levi that was ordained by God to be the priestly tribe in Israel. And the family of Moses, Aaron, were chosen to be a high priest from the family of Aaron. Now Jesus, when He came, became the great High Priest unto God. For the duty of the priest was always twofold. The priest would appear before God for the people because the people themselves could not approach the holy, righteous God. It was necessary that they come to the priest who was a mediator, and the priest would go to God for the people. And then, having gone to God for the people, he would come out to the people and speak to them for God. And so God said unto Aaron, “And when you go forth and put My name upon the people, put My name on the people thus, ‘The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord cause His face to shine upon thee, and give thee peace” (Numbers 6:23-26). So he represented God to the people, but he represented the people to God, so he was a mediator.
Now in the New Testament, we have a new mediator, not a son of Levi. But He became the great high priest who went before God to represent us and who comes to us to represent the Father. But a Jew would immediately object to Jesus receiving the title of the great High Priest. For a Jew would say, “How can Jesus be a great high priest when He comes from the tribe of Judah? The Bible doesn’t say anything about Judah being the priesthood, but speaks of Levi and the priesthood in Levi. Therefore, how can Jesus be the high priest coming from the tribe of Judah?” And this is how that difficulty is solved.
Even in the Scripture itself, even in prophecy, God threw this in to the mind of the psalmist. As he’s writing this psalm, God threw it in in order that there might be the basis for the high priesthood of Jesus. “For thou has sworn, and will not repent,” “I have sworn and not will not repent,” or, “The Lord has sworn, will not repent, ‘Thou art a priest forever after,’” not the Aaronic order, or the Levitical order, but after “the order of Melchizedek.” An order of priesthood which actually precedes the order of Levi and is superior to the order of Levi in that the father of Levi paid tithes and did homage unto Melchizedek.
So it is actually a superior order of priesthood, the priesthood of Melchizedek, to whom Abraham paid tithes and did homage. Therefore, Christ, a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
Now, there are certain Bible scholars that believe that Melchizedek was actually none other than Jesus Christ in what is known as the theophany, the appearance of God in the Old Testament.
In the gospel of John, Jesus is having sort of an argument with the Pharisees concerning Abraham. And Jesus is talking about His Father being God. And they said, “We have Abraham as our father.” And Jesus said, “If you had Abraham as your father, then you would believe in Me. For Abraham rejoiced to see My day.” And they said, “Come on, who are you trying to kid? You’re not fifty years old. What do you mean Abraham saw you?” And Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:56-58).
But scholars believe that the reference to Abraham seeing or rejoicing to see My day is a reference to Melchizedek, when Abraham paid tithes unto him. So it is a very interesting verse that God has inserted here. We go back to Genesis, but we also go on to the book of Hebrews where this is used as the argument to the Jews to point out how that Christ can be our great High Priest, not after the Levitical order, but after the order of Melchizedek, a different order of priesthood. And showing that God had declared it, “The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, ‘Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.’”
The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through the kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies (110:5-6);
Of course, this is talking now about the great judgment of God that is coming as He strikes through the kings in the day of His wrath. The day of God’s wrath is come. Great Tribulation. “He will judge among the heathen, He shall fill the places with dead bodies.” As the blood will flow to the horses’ bridle throughout the whole valley of Megiddo.
he shall wound the heads over many countries. He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head (110:6-7).
Psalm 111 has twenty-two lines. It is known as an acrostic psalm; each line in this psalm begins with a succeeding letter of the Hebrew alphabet. And so the first line of the psalm in Hebrew begins with Aleph, the second line in Hebrew begins with Beyth, the third line begins with Giymel, and the fourth Daleth, and so forth through the Hebrew alphabet, each line. And this is true also of Psalm 112, another psalm of twenty-two lines. They are called acrostic because of the alphabet is used in a succeeding way throughout the psalm. It begins with Hallelujah.
Praise unto the LORD [Hallelujah]. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation. The works of the LORD are great, sought out of all of them that have pleasure therein. His work is honorable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever. He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion (111:1-4).
Again, how wrong it is to picture the God of the Old Testament as the God of judgment and wrath and all. Void of love. Here again the psalmist declares, “The Lord is gracious, full of compassion.”
He hath given meat to them that reverence him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant. He hath showed his people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the heathen. The works of his hands are truth and judgment; and all of his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness. He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name (111:5-9).
Don’t call me Reverend. There is nothing reverend about the name of Chuck or Smith. I refuse the title. It is used in the Scripture only of the name of the Lord. To me it would be almost blasphemous to tag that title onto me or onto my name. In fact, I don’t like any titles. But I always wonder about the person who tacks a Reverend on his signature when it is a title that is ascribed only to that holy name of Yahweh. That is the name that is reverend or to be reverenced.
But man in seeking the honor of man and the glory from man takes that title to himself because he wants man to give him prestige and glory and honor. And so somewhere along the line back in history, ministers began to take the tag of Reverend So-and-so. Reverend, and then their name. And then the Right Reverend. And then the Most Right Reverend. And then the Most Holy Right Reverend. And I’m sure that God looks down and says, (Raspberries). No, He doesn’t say that, honey? No, He doesn’t say that. But I’m sure He’s disgusted with it, however He expresses His disgust. That men should seek to exalt their name. Oh God, help us. Let us exalt the name of Jesus. “God has given Him a name that is above all names: that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, every tongue shall confess” (Philippians 2:9-11). But as far as man, we’re all dust. We’re all flesh. We’re all corrupt. And titles by which men try to elevate themselves above others are a curse. They’re a sign of pride, and Reverend is a sign of spiritual pride which is the worst kind ever. “Holy and reverend is His name.” For any man to take the title of Reverend, there has got to be something wrong with his theology.
The fear of the LORD (111:10):
Or the reverence of the Lord. And actually the word fear is reverence. The reverence of Yahweh. “Holy and reverenced is His name. And the reverence of Yahweh,”
is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever (111:10).
Now let me say this. I believe that there are many men who have taken the title of Reverend in sheer ignorance. I mean, I don’t think that they are really trying to exalt themselves. Or every man that signs it Reverend Whoever is trying to exalt themselves and has a pride problem. And that I believe that there are some that just follow tradition and haven’t even thought the thing through and haven’t even gone to the Scriptures. And thus, you know, I put it down not to a real pride problem. I just put it down to stupidity. So it would be wrong if you get a letter from Reverend Ike. What is so reverend about the name Ike, pray tell? Icky Ike. We better move on into Psalm 112.
Again, it begins with the Hebrew, Hallelujah.
Blessed is the man that reverences Jehovah (112:1).
Again, the man who reverences God. Not the man who reverences a guy standing in front, or a guy with a black robe, or whatever. But a guy who reverences God, that’s the blessed man, that’s the happy man.
that delights greatly in his commandments (112:1).
David said, “Whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law doth he meditate both day and night.” David said, “O blessed or O happy is the man who delights in the law of the Lord, and in His law meditates day and night. For he’ll be like a tree” (Psalm 1:1-3). All right, now here again, “Happy is the man who delights greatly in His commandments.” This man,
His children will be mighty upon the earth: the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches shall be in his house (112:2-3):
And I do not believe that that necessarily refers to physical, monetary wealth, but really, the really rich and wealthy people are those people, the really rich home and wealthy home is that home where God is honored. They are the people who have the true riches. The riches of the kingdom. Riches that don’t corrupt. Riches that don’t fade away. Riches that can’t be ripped off. Those glorious true riches of God’s kingdom. “Wealth and riches shall be in his house.”
and his righteousness endureth for ever. Unto the upright he rises as a light in the darkness (112:3-4):
Would be a better translation.
for he is gracious, he’s full of compassion, and righteous (112:4).
That is, our righteousness in Christ.
A good man shows favor, and he lends: he will guide his affairs with discretion. Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD (112:5-7).
We’re living in days of evil tidings. At any day, you can pick up the newspaper and read of all the evil that is going on in the world. And there are some people who live in constant fear of the evil tidings that might come. But the man who has put his trust in the Lord will not fear in the day of evil tidings, because his heart is fixed.
There are some people whose hearts aren’t really fixed. It isn’t a true commitment. It isn’t a full commitment. They’ve made a partial commitment of their lives to God. Part of them serves the Lord; part of them serves the flesh. They love the Lord partly. And because of that, they are very unstable in their walk and they’re fearful. But the man who has fixed his heart, trusting in the Lord, I know that come what may, the Lord is with me. I know that come what may, the Lord is going to protect me.
I know that the Lord is watching out over me. I know the Lord loves me. I may not understand what’s happening in the circumstances surrounding my life. But I know that God loves me and I know that God’s going to see me through. I know that God has allowed it for a purpose. I know that it would not have happened unless God had allowed it to happen. And because He allowed it to happen, He has a purpose in its happening, and thus He’s going to bring good out of it. Though I may not see it now. And because I’ve fixed my heart and commitment to God, come what may, you don’t fear for calamity that may fall tomorrow. You don’t fear for what may come, because you know that whatever comes is brought to you by the hand of God.
I belong to Him. Satan cannot get to me except he come through the Lord. And therefore, trusting in the Lord, my heart is fixed on Him. I have great confidence in life.
His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, he shall see his desire upon his enemies. He hath dispersed, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honor (112:8-9).
Now in contrast to this righteous man,
The wicked shall see it, and be grieved; the wicked will gnash with his teeth, and melt away (112:10):
See, the righteous will endure forever. But the wicked will gnash and melt away.
the desire of the wicked [rather than being granted] will perish (112:10).
So you have a psalm that deals with God’s blessed man and then the final verse being a contrast to it with the wicked man. Psalm 1 has the same contrast. “O how happy is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But whose delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law does he meditate day and night. He’ll be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, bringing forth his fruit in its season; his leaf also shall not wither; whatsoever he does shall prosper” (Psalm 1:1-3). Now the wicked are not so. There’s a contrast. “The wicked are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away” (Psalm 1:4). Again, you have much said about the righteous but then the contrast with the wicked. And this is poetry in the mind of the Hebrew. The poetry comes in the contrasting of the thought.
Now in our minds, we’re geared for poetry coming in rhyme and in rhythm. So you get a rhythm going and it rhymes. And I particularly like the Robert Service type of poetry where you rhyme two lines and every third line is in the rhyme. And there are others, the first line, the first and third, no, the first and fourth lines rhyme and the two in between rhyme.
Longfellow’s Ode to Life,
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
‘Life is but an empty dream!’
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
things are not what they seem.
No, it’s every other one in his.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not thy goal;
‘Dust thou art, to dust returneth,’
Was not spoken of thy soul.
But then Robert Service,
There are strange things done ‘neath the midnight sun
By the men who toil for gold;
The arctic trails, all their secret tales
That make your blood run cold.
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was the night in the marge of the Lake Lebarge
When I cremated Sam McGee.
So that constitutes poetry to us. There’s the rhythm. There’s the rhyme. But to the Hebrew, the poetry was in the thought. And it was either in a compounding of a thought or the contrasting of a thought. So you take a thought and you begin to compound it.
“The ways of the Lord are perfect. The ways of the Lord are to be sought out. The ways of the Lord.” And you are compounding on the thought. Or, you take contrasting thought, “The way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked. The way of the godly, but the way of the ungodly.” And so the contrasting of thought to the Hebrew mind is poetry. There’s no rhyme, there’s no rhythm. And so we wouldn’t call it poetry ourselves. But to them, that is what constitutes poetry. Not the rhyming of a sentence or not the rhythm, but the thought itself. They find the beauty of poetry in the thought itself.
So after all of these things about the blessed man, then you get the contrast in the final verse, “But the wicked shall see it.” And in contrast to the righteous, ”he will be grieved. He’ll gnash with his teeth; he’ll melt away. He’ll perish.”
Psalm 113 begins and ends with Hallelujah.
Praise ye the LORD. Praise, O ye servants of the LORD, praise the name of Yahweh. Blessed be the name of the LORD (113:1-2)
Or blessed be the name Yahweh.
from this time forth and for evermore. From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same Yahweh's name is to be praised (113:2-3).
So you see, again here is the compounding of thought with poetry. The compounding of the idea of praising the Lord. Blessed be the Lord from the rising of the sun and so forth. And this to them is beautiful poetry because you’re compounding the thought and the idea.
Yahweh is high above all nations, his glory above the heavens (113:4).
And again, even in that, the contrast, “above the nations, above the heavens.”
Who is like unto Yahweh our God, who dwells on high, who humbles himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth! He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, he lifts the needy out of the dunghill; That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people. He makes the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Hallelujah (113:5-9).
And so the psalmist just exalting over God.
Now Psalm 114 is a little psalm that calls the deliverance of the…recalls the deliverance of the children of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt.
When Israel went out of Egypt, and the house of Jacob from the people of strange language; Judah was his sanctuary, and Israel his dominion. The sea saw it, and fled (114:1-3):
That is, the Red Sea, which parted for them.
Jordan was driven back (114:3).
The waters of Jordan were stopped that they might come in the land.
The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs (114:4).
There were earthquakes, actually. The walls of Jericho destroyed by earthquakes and so forth. “The mountains skipping like rams, the little hills like lambs.” And then the psalmist now recalling the sea and the Jordan, the mountains, he said,
What ailed you, O thou sea, that you fled? thou Jordan, that you were driven back? Ye mountains, that you skipped like rams; and you little hills, like lambs? Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob; Which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into the fountain of waters (114:5-8).
A reference to the flinty rock that Moses struck from which God gave them water in the wilderness.
Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but to thy name give glory (115:1),
Here again we have the same idea. Don’t reverend me. “Not unto us, Lord, not unto us, but to Thy name.” Let there be ascribed glory and reverence and awe.
for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake. Why should the heathen say, Where is now their God? (115:1-2)
A lot of times people do say that. They say, “Well, where was your God when, you know. What happened to your God then, pal?” “Why should the heathen say, ‘Where is now their God?’”
Our God is in the heavens: he has done whatsoever he hath pleased (115:3).
I need to remember that. “He has done what He has pleased.” May not please me, but that isn’t what’s important.
Now referring again to the heathen, their idols. “Our God is in the heavens.” He rules. But,
Their idols are silver and gold, they are the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: they have eyes, but they can’t see: They have ears, but they can’t hear: they have noses, but they don’t smell: They have hands, but they cannot handle: they have feet, but they cannot walk: and neither do they speak through their throats. They that make them are like unto them; and so is every one that trusteth in them (115:4-8).
Now here is a philosophy expressed by the psalmist that is extremely profound as he observes the heathens and their gods. And the first observation that he makes is that men have a tendency to make their own god. Man has an innate desire to worship. And having this innate desire to worship, having to worship something, men make their own gods. But when a man makes a god, he makes his god like himself. So that my god is in reality a projection of myself. So in truth, I am actually worshipping myself. Self-worship. For he notices that when they make their gods, they carve mouths. They carve eyes. They carve ears. They carve feet and hands. Why? You carve hands in your little god? Because you have hands. Why do you carve a mouth? Because you have a mouth. Why do you carve ears? Because you have an ear.
When we were over in New Guinea, the missionaries told us of a tribe of people who have a congenital hip dislocation. And this whole tribe of people, it’s a congenital thing; they all have a deformity of their right leg which is shorter than their left through this congenital hip problem. And they said that all of the little gods that this particular tribe carved out have a deformed right leg. Because a man makes a god like himself, a projection of myself. It is known as the anthropomorphic concept of God. Widely recognized. Man makes gods like himself.
But then the psalmist observed that though a man has made a god like himself, he has actually made his god infinitely less than himself. Because though I may carve out eyes on my little god, the eyes on my little god can’t see. Though I may carve feet on my little god, they can’t walk. Though I may carve hands on it, it can’t handle. Though I may carve ears on it, it can’t hear. Though I may carve a mouth on it, it can’t speak. So I’ve made a god like myself, but in reality, I have made my god less than myself. And the final observation of the psalmist is, they that have made them have become like the gods that they have made. Or a man becomes like his god. This is a truth of life that you cannot escape. You are becoming like your god, whatever your god is. A man becomes like his god.
Now, if I have made my own god like myself but I’ve made my god less than myself, then by worshipping the god that I have made, I am degrading myself. I am becoming less than I was. Because I’m becoming like my god. And my god is less than me because I’ve made my god like myself, but actually less than myself. So my god is insensate. It can’t feel, it can’t see, it can’t hear. I become insensate. I no longer can feel the presence of God. I can no longer feel the touch of God. I can no longer see the hand of God. I can no longer hear the voice of God. I’m becoming insensate just like the little god that I made. For a man becomes like his god. If your god is false, you’re becoming false. If you’re god is cruel, you’re becoming cruel.
A man becomes like his god. That can be the greatest curse in all the world. Or it can be the greatest blessing in all the world. It’s all relative as to who is your god. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we’re going to be: but we know that, when He appears, we’re going to be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is” (I John 3:2). You see, a man becomes like his god. “We, with open face beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed from glory to glory, into His same image” (II Corinthians 3:18). I’m becoming like my God everyday. And if I’m worshipping the true and the living God, how glorious it is as I am being transformed into His image daily as I worship Him. Man becomes like his god.
Now the New Testament tells us, “We are now the sons of God. It does not yet appear what we’re going to be. We know when He appears, we’ll be like Him.” So you have actually in one side of it, man making a god like himself, infinitely less than himself; and thus, man being degraded as he worships his god. On the other hand, you have God making a man more than himself. More than man could ever be in himself. And thus, the worship of the true and the living God is always an elevating experience as God is conforming you into His image. Making you like Him.
Now I’ve either made a god like me, or God is making me like Him. You’re in one of the two. You’re either on the path down or the path up. Every man has a god. Don’t believe a man who says, “I’m an atheist,” because a god is only a title, and it is the title of what is the master passion of that person’s life. What’s the guiding principle of his life? Watch him for a while and you can see. Maybe the guiding passion of his life is pleasure and his whole life is lived for pleasure. Molech is his god. Maybe his whole life is lived for power and he’s trying to control things, money, possessions and all. And Mammon is his god. Maybe he’s trying to develop his intellect and the expansion of his consciousness and his understanding and all and he’s made this the chief goal of life. Then Baal is his god. Every man has a god. Some of them are rather worthless gods, but gods indeed. And how good it is to worship and serve the true and the living God. Not one that I’ve created in my own mind. Not a concept that I have created. But to take the revelation of God of Himself to us and to worship the true and the living God.
So interesting observations from the psalmist here concerning the heathen and their gods.
O Israel, trust thou in Jehovah: for he is your help and your shield. O house of Aaron, trust in Jehovah: he is your help and your shield. Ye that reverence Jehovah, trust in Jehovah: for he is their help and their shield. Jehovah hath been mindful (115:9-12)
And, of course, here again compounding, “O Israel, Aaron and ye that fear the Lord.” It’s a compounding of the idea, Hebrew poetry.
The Lord hath been mindful of us: he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron. He will bless them that fear the LORD, both small and great (115:12-13).
Same compounding with the blessings now.
The LORD shall increase you more and more, and your children. Ye are blessed of the LORD which made heaven and earth. The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD'S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men (115:14-16).
The heavens were the Lord’s, but God gave the earth to man. But man blew it and gave it to Satan. And Satan now possesses the earth. But Jesus came to redeem the earth back to God, and before long He’s going to take and claim that which He purchased. And I can hardly wait.
The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence (115:17).
Now this is one of the proof text for soul sleep, but I don’t have time to go into it tonight. We’ll go into it when we get to Ecclesiastes, where the Scripture definitely teaches is that there is a consciousness. This is the psalmist expressing a thought of his own mind, and it is much like Job where God said, “What do you, you know, what are you talking about death? You haven’t been beyond the gates of hell. You don’t know what’s there. And talking out of your head.” And so here the psalmist is speaking of things which are not in keeping with the whole body of Scripture which tells us that of the state of the dead, and especially the words of Christ.
But we will bless the LORD from this time forth for evermore. Hallelujah (115:18). May the Lord be with you now and fill you with His love. May He guide you through this week. Entering into that time of the year where pressures always increase as we prepare to celebrate the pagan holiday of Saturnalia in our own Christianized form. May God protect you from the crass commercialism and keep you out of the hype of man. That you lose not sight of God and the things of the Spirit. But may more and more we become spiritually minded. And may we walk in the Spirit that we will not be guilty of fulfilling the desires of our own flesh. May the Lord be with you now and bless and keep you in the love of Jesus Christ.