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Psalms 16-19

by Chuck Smith

Let’s turn now to Psalm 16. The sixteenth psalm is called a Michtam of David. A Michtam is actually a meditation or a prayer. And there are about five or six psalms that are designated as Michtam, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, with the sixteenth. David's prayer unto the Lord is,

Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust (16:1).

The prayer for preservation. Now David, I guess, all through his life he had those that were out after him. Sometimes without cause. Saul sought to destroy David. Later Absalom his own son rebelled against him. David was a popular king, but it seems that you have, you know, a person has a capacity of gaining friends, but there are some people who just become your enemy because you have so many friends. There was a lot of jealousy. David was a very handsome young man. He was a very athletic person. He was a very dynamic person. And so it did inspire jealousy, and so David was constantly, it seems, being harassed by those that were jealous of him, seeking to get rid of him. And so the prayer, "Preserve me, O God: for in Thee do I put my trust.”

O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord (16:2):

Actually, again, if we read it more literally to the Hebrew, "Thou has said unto Jehovah, Thou art my Lord." The two different lords again. The first one the name of God; the second one the title by which it expresses my relationship to Him. “Thou art my Lord,” my Adonai, my Master. The translation:

my goodness extendeth not to thee (16:2);

Is actually a poor translation. That would much better be translated, because that doesn't really make much sense, "My goodness extendeth not to Thee." Literally it is, "I have no goodness but Thee," and that is a much better translation. "Lord, I have no goodness but Thee." If there is anything that is good in me, it is from the Lord. I have no goodness outside of Him.

Paul tells us that, "What do you have but what you have received? And if you have received it, then why do you boast as though you didn't receive it?" (I Corinthians 4:7) If there is any goodness in my life, it is because of God's work in my life. I can't go around and boast or brag about my work for God or my righteousness or anything else, because my righteousness is that gift of God to me, through my faith in Jesus Christ. “I have no goodness but Thee, Lord,” and so it is surely something that we all agree in that truth.

Now, David speaks concerning those that would worship other gods.

Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names unto my lips (16:4).

I will not utter the names of the other gods, nor will I take up their drink offerings of blood.

Now this is exactly what God had prohibited in the law when He said, "Thou shalt not drink or eat blood." God was referring to the pagan sacrifices, where they would sacrifice an animal to their gods, and as they would take the blood of the animal, they would drink it as a libation unto their gods. The drinking of blood, it was definitely prohibited in the law, not to drink the blood of animals. But it is tragic that the ignorant leaders of the Jehovah Witnesses have translated that commandment to mean that you are not the have any blood transfusions. And as a result of this mistranslation due to the ignorance of the leaders, they are killing more people every year than Jim Jones killed down in Ghana. Hundreds, thousands of people are dying every year because they refuse to take a blood transfusion, because the ignorant leaders of the Watch Tower Society have declared to them that they are damning their souls if they take a blood transfusion because the Bible says that you are not to drink blood.

But God is referring to the pagan practices that were extent in those days where they would sacrifice an animal to their god and take the blood of the animal and drink it. And David is saying, "I will not drink their drink offerings of blood." Referring to the very same practice. It is tragic that the blind are leading the blind into the ditch. My heart goes out to the people that are going around door to door, because they have been deceived by those leaders into believing everything that comes out from Brooklyn is gospel truth. That these men are the true spokesmen for God. Every church is trying to deceive them. They are the only ones who are really preaching the truth of God; all of the churches are really mixed up in the Babylonian system of religion, and thus, all of the churches are to perish and they only have the truth. And these poor people have been deceived, and they are going around door to door to spread that deception. But death is the fruit of that deception.

The LORD is the portion of my inheritance, and of my cup (16:5):

I am not going to drink the cup of their drink offerings of blood to their gods, but the Lord is my inheritance and of my cup.

thou maintainest my position. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage. I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my mind also will instruct me in the night seasons (16:5-7).

Oftentimes I have found that God speaks to me in the night seasons. It used to be when I was younger that I could never remember when I laid down at night. Just slept straight through until the alarm in the morning. But as I am getting older, somehow I just don’t sleep through like I used to. Now noises in the night can wake me up. Used to be that you could shake and rattle. In fact, I used to counsel young kids up at the summer camps and I would say to them, "Now, kids, if you are smart you will just wait until I go to sleep and you can carry the camp off and I will never know it. But let me get to sleep." And so they wised up and they would let me get to sleep and then they would terrorize the camp. I'd never know it. I slept so soundly. Nothing would disturb my sleep. But things have changed, and now there are things that do disturb my sleep at night. And it used to be if something would disturb me, I could just roll right back over and go right back to sleep. But, you know, the phone rings at three in the morning and then I have difficulty going back to sleep after that. And I just lie there and I just sort of toss because I have been awakened out of a deep sleep, and now I am in the tossing stage. And I used to get upset at tossing, but no more. I find this is just glorious time to commune with the Lord. He instructs me in the night seasons just to open my heart to God, and it is amazing the things that God pours into my heart in the night hours. So I just now take it as an opportunity, rather than cursing the sleeplessness of night. I just take it as a neat opportunity to be instructed of the Lord in the night seasons.

I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved (16:8).

And now we are actually getting into a prophecy. Peter quotes this on the day of Pentecost when they have been challenged because of the phenomenon that has taken place, the sound like a mighty rushing wind. The Galilean disciples speaking in many different dialects, and the accusation, "These men are filled with new wine. They are drunk with new wine." And Peter said, "No, these are not drunk as you suppose. It is only nine o'clock in the morning. It is too early to be drunk, but this is that which is spoken of by the prophet Joel," and then he quotes the prophet Joel.

And then he, having given them a scriptural basis for the phenomenon that they were observing, he then began to preach to them. The message was of Jesus. There were seven points to the message. He began by the identification of the person he was going to talk about, "Jesus of Nazareth." There were a lot of little Jewish boys named Jesus. It was a popular name, because Joshua was one of the national heroes. After all, he was the one that led them into the Promise Land. “Jehovah is salvation.” So there were many Jewish mothers that were hoping that their child would be the savior also of Israel, and so they named their little boys Joshua, which in Greek is Jesus. And so to identify Him, "Jesus of Nazareth." There was probably a Jesus of Jerusalem, and of Bethany, and of Bethel, and of Samaria, so to identify Him, “Jesus of Nazareth. A man who was proved to be of God by the miracles and wonders that He did in your midst. Whom you, according to the predetermined counsel and foreknowledge of God, with your wicked hands have crucified and slain. But God has raised Him from the dead." The center truth of the message of Peter. The central truth is the resurrection of Jesus.

That is the central message of the New Testament, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, the hope and the basis of the hope for our whole Christian experience. If Christ be not raised from the dead, then our faith is in vain; we are hopeless. So the central truth, the message of the New Testament, the resurrection. So Peter gets it in the center of the truth that he is proclaiming, "Whom God hath raised from the dead, for it was not possible that He could be held by it. For David,” he said, “by the mouth of the Holy Spirit spake of Him saying, 'Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither will You allow the Holy One to see corruption." In fact, he quoted the whole.

Therefore my heart shall be glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou allow the Holy One to see corruption (16:9-10).

Peter saw this as God's direct promise to His Son. And no doubt Jesus made reference to this, and that is why Peter made the association. That this was God's promise to Jesus, "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, and neither will You allow your Holy One to see corruption."

Now concerning David, “Let me tell you, he was a prophet and he spake not of himself, but of Him who was to come. And we do testify that God did not leave His soul in hell, and neither did He allow His Holy One to see corruption. But this same Jesus hath God raised from the dead and is exalted Him to the right hand of the throne on high, and has given to Him this which He has shed forth upon us which you now see. That is, the gift of the Holy Spirit.” For He said, "I will pray the Father. He’ll send you another comforter, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive."

So this what you see is the result of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and it is His promise to send the Holy Spirit upon us. But He went into hell with the promise of God that His soul would not be left in hell. So that when Jesus died, and this hell is the Hebrew Sheol, which is also translated grave. "Thou wilt not leave my soul in Sheol, the grave, or hell." Now, prior to the death of Jesus Christ, Sheol of the Hebrew, or Hades of the Greek, was an area in the center of the earth that was divided into two compartments.

And Jesus tells us about it in the sixteenth chapter of the gospel of Luke, where He tells about a certain rich man who faired sumptuously every day and a poor man that was brought daily and laid at his gate full of sores, and the dogs came and licked his sores. And how that the poor man died and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom. And also the rich man died, and in Hades, hell, lifted up his eyes being in torment. And seeing Abraham afar off and Lazarus there, the man he recognized, being comforted in Abraham's bosom, cried and said, "Father Abraham, have mercy on me. Send Lazarus to me that he may take his finger, dip it in water, touch my tongue. I am tormented in this heat." Abraham said, "Well, son, you remember in your lifetime you had the good things, Lazarus evil. Now he is comforted while you are tormented. Besides that, between us there is a gulf that is fixed. It is impossible for those that are here to go over there or those that are there to come over here." "Then I pray thee, if he cannot come over here, send him back, send him back to the earth that he might warn my brothers, lest they come to this awesome place." Abraham said, "They have the law and the prophets. If they will not believe them, neither will they believe should one come back again from the dead."

So Jesus gives us a description of hell in the center of the earth. For one day they were asking Jesus for a sign and He said, "A wicked and an adulterous generation seeks after a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:39-40). So it is located for us by Jesus.

Now Peter is telling us that this was God's promise to His Son, "Thou will not leave my soul in hell, neither will You allow the Holy One to see corruption." Paul tells us, in the fourth chapter of Ephesians that He who ascended is the same one who first of all descended into the lower parts of the earth. And when He ascended, He led the captives from their captivity. So when Jesus ascended from the grave, those that were there with Abraham, being comforted, awaiting the promise of God, were delivered from the grave also. He set free those captives.

You remember the prophecy of Isaiah, in the sixty-first chapter where it said, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, to mend up those that are broken. To set at liberty those that are bound and to open the prison doors to those that are captive." He is talking about the prison doors of death, of Hades, to those that were captive. In the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, when we are told of all of these great saints of the Old Testament, who by faith, wrought all of these wonderful things, the chapter concludes, "Now these all died in faith, not having received the promise.” That is, of resurrection and of eternal life, “but seeing it afar off, they embraced it, they held on to it, and they claimed that they were just strangers and pilgrims here.” They were looking for a city which hath foundation, whose maker and builder is God. And then in the end of the chapter, again it says, "These all died in faith not having received the promise, God having reserved some better thing for us, that they without us could not come into the perfect or completed state."

Until Jesus made the provision on the cross to put away sins, they could not come into the completed state in heaven. The Old Testament sacrifices served to cover their sins, but it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats could put away sin. All they could do was to testify of a better offering that was to come, the offering of Jesus Christ Himself for our sins, by which He made the way into heaven for all men. So those in the Old Testament who were by faith believing the promise of God and trusting God through faith to fulfill His promise, they were in one side of hell being comforted by Abraham, and they were released from that captivity at the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In Peter, the epistle of Peter, we read where Jesus went down and preached to those souls that were in prison. And so for three days and three nights Jesus was preaching the glorious Good News to those who had been waiting with faithful Abraham for God's promises to be fulfilled. What a time of rejoicing that must have been. And then when He ascended, He broke the bars of the grave. He ascended. He led the captives from their captivity, and gave gifts unto men. So Peter is quoting this in the New Testament, he said, "David, being a prophet, spoke not of himself; his sepulcher is with us till this day. But he was speaking of Jesus, and we bear witness, God did not leave His soul in hell, neither did He allow the Holy One to see corruption."

For thou wilt show to me the path of life: and in thy presence is fullness of joy; and at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore (16:11).

This now is the exalted place of Jesus Christ, at the right hand of the Father. He said, "Henceforth You'll not see Me until you see Me sitting there at the right hand of My Father in glory." At thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore, in thy presence there is fullness of joy God has shown to me, not death. "Thou will not leave my soul in the grave, but You have shown to me the path of life." And so the glorious promise to the Son. "And who for the joy that was set before Him by the Father endured the cross though He despised the shame" (Hebrews 12:2).


Psalm 17

 The seventeenth psalm is another prayer of David. And it is, again, one of those prayers where David is sort of pleading his own cause, his own righteousness before the Lord.

Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry; give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of deceitful lips (17:1).

It is important that our prayers not come out of deceitful lips. I am afraid that many times I have prayed rather deceitfully, hoping to sort of con God. I haven't always been absolutely honest in my prayers. I have tried to make myself look better than I really am in many of my prayers. And I find that God can't deal with me until I get totally honest with Him. As long as I keep saying, "Well, Lord, I can do it. I just need a little help." I am not really honest, and the help doesn't seem to be forthcoming. Because if He would help me under those conditions, then I would go around saying, "I always knew I could do it." So it’s when I get really honest and say, "Lord, I can't do it. I need help." Then He comes in and helps me, cause then all I can say is, "Wow! The Lord really helped me." And I give the credit and the glory to Him. "Lord, You know that I get a little upset with this brother. I don't love him as much as I should. I don't have that agape for him, Lord." That is sort of deceitful. That's not really telling the truth. "God, You know I hate his guts. I can't stand him. He makes me sick every time I look at him. I want to punch him in the nose. God, change my heart and my attitude." Then God can deal with me.

So David is saying, "Lord, I am not speaking out of deceitful lips." And it is something that we need to watch in our prayers. It can be very subtle, very subtle. We have not because we ask not; we ask and receive not because we ask amiss, that we might consume it upon our own lust. The true motive behind our prayers is often veiled. "Oh God, save my son. Bring him to You, Lord." And in my mind I am thinking, "I don't know what I am going to do with this kid. Can't control him any longer. I just know that one of these days, he keeps on the way he is, I am going to get a telephone call and it is going to be his one telephone call that he has from jail. They're going to pick him up. Our name will get in the paper. What a disgrace that will be when all of the people will see our name. Our son arrested. Can't have that! Oh Lord, save him. Lord, save him. I don't want the embarrassment of my name in the paper, you know." Motive! It isn't that my heart is breaking because my son is destined in this path for hell. It's that I don't want my good name drug down into the gossip column.

 "Oh God, send a revival to our church. Lord, save souls. Bring in the lost, pack the place, Lord. I don't know what we are going to do if we don't raise our budget some. If we only had about five new families we wouldn't have to worry about the budget. Lord, send in the souls. Maybe the bishop will notice that I am a pretty good pastor and I might even get a promotion to a bigger church. God, save souls." You know. Motive! Oh, how we have to watch it. Because I can deceive myself. You see, the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked and we don't always know it ourselves. That is why David, in Psalm 139 said, "Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts and see if there is a wicked way there, and then You lead me in Your path. O God, preserve me.” Hear the prayer that comes out of unfeigned, unclean, not out of the feigned or deceitful lips.

Let my sentence come forth from thy presence; let thine eyes behold the things that are equal (17:2).

And, again, he is asking really for justice here, something that I never do when I pray, but David feels that his cause is right here. He does declare,

I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress (17:3).

And that is a great purpose to make. I think that we so often transgress with our mouth. Our mouth can get us in the most trouble it seems.

Years ago when we first started, before we had any children, when we first started in the ministry, we knew all about how kids ought to be raised in those days. We were beginning to discover that we didn't know as much as we thought we knew about marriage, but we still knew all that there was to know about raising kids, till we had our own. And at this point we know that we know nothing about raising kids. But at that time, we put a notice in the bulletin, "Teach your child to be silent; he'll learn soon enough to talk." We get into trouble talking.

I've purposed in my heart I'll not allow my mouth to transgress. Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer. Hold up my goings in thy paths that my footsteps slip not. I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me. Show your marvelous loving-kindness. O thou that savest by thy right hand them that put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me under the shadow of thy wings (17:3-8),

 Now David is asking the Lord to just keep him there as the pupil, the apple of His eye, and hiding me under the shadow of thy wings.

From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who encircle me (17:9).

And then he speaks not so nicely about his enemies.

They're enclosed in their own fat: their mouth speaks proudly. They've encircled our steps: they have set their eyes bowing down to the earth; like a lion that is greedy of his prey, and as it were a younger lion lurking in secret places.  Arise, O LORD, disappoint them, cast them down: deliver my soul from the wicked, from men which are thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life (17:10-14),

What an interesting phrase, and how important. Talking about the men of the world, he is talking about men who have their portion in this life. Now, in the seventy-third psalm, we have an interesting case where the psalm confesses, "Hey, I almost slipped. I almost went under. When I looked around and I saw the prosperity of the wicked. I saw these wicked men, and man, they had everything they wanted, everything their hearts desired. People would pour out a full cup to them. They didn't lack for a thing, and when I saw how prosperous the wicked were, then I said, ‘Hey man, it doesn't pay to try to live the right kind of a life. You know, better that you are wicked. You seem to have it better off. Here I am trying to live the right kind of a life and I’m in trouble all the time. It seems like I am always broke and I am always going through such hardships, and it really doesn't pay to serve the Lord.’" And he said, "When I sought to understand these things it almost wiped me out. My foot almost slipped. Until I went into the house of the Lord. And then I saw their end. Surely You have set them in slippery places, in a moment they go down into the pit and all." But he saw now the end.

Now, so he talks here of the men of the world who have their portion in this life only. You see, God is interested in your eternal welfare. Don't forget that. God is always dealing with you in the light of eternity. I am always interested in the light of today. I am looking for my ease today. I am looking for comfort today. I am looking for deliverance today. I want it now. So I can enjoy it for the next few minutes. But God is looking at me with eternity in view, and He wants me to have the eternal blessings of His glory and of His kingdom, and it may take depriving me of some of those things that I think I want right now in order that I might have a richer eternity with Him.

 When Jesus spoke very harshly saying, "If your eye offend thee, pluck it out." And we cringe at such a horrible thing, which He wanted you to do. He is just using an illustration that just causes you to cringe, "Oouhuhu, can't pluck out my eye!" And He is trying to get that kind of a revulsion in you, because He is seeking to point out how important eternity is. Now, I think my eyes are extremely important, but they are not as important as my eternity with Him. And that is the illustration He's trying to make. Just that your eternal welfare with Him is the most important thing in this life. And the men of the world, they have their portion in this life only. But I am a stranger and a pilgrim here; my portion is coming in the life to come. My portion is there with Him in His kingdom.

 The fifteenth verse is one of my favorites in the whole psalms, or in the Bible as far as that goes.

As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake with thy likeness (17:15).

I am going to behold Your face, Lord, in righteousness. This reminds me of what Paul said in Corinthians, where he said, "And we with open face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are changed from glory to glory into the same image by His Spirit in us" (II Corinthians 3:18). I'll be satisfied. I'll behold Your face in righteousness, and I'll be satisfied the day I awake in Your likeness. Oh, how I long for that day. When I open my eyes, and I look in the mirror and there I am in the likeness of Jesus Christ. Now I see through the glass darkly, but then, face to face. His work complete in me. Conformed into the image of God's dear Son.

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, it does not yet appear what we are going to be, but we know that when He appears we are going to be like Him” (I John 3:2). Now, people are all wondering, "Well, what kind of body?" I am not at all worried; I am satisfied that it is going to be like Him, for I am going to see Him as He is. People are always worried, "What kind of body am I going to have when the Lord comes? What will I look like? I don't know if I want to change or not. Maybe I would like to have this one, you know. Just renew it or something." No way, friend! I can hardly wait for the new model to come out. Like Him. I'll be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness. Comes from beholding His face in righteousness. As we behold the glory of the Lord, we are being changed from glory to glory.


Psalm 18

 The eighteenth psalm has a long title to it. It is to chief musician. It is a psalm of David, the servant of Jehovah, who spake unto Jehovah the words of this song in the day that Jehovah delivered him from the hand of all of his enemies and from the hand of Saul. And he said,

I will love thee, O LORD, my strength (18:1).

So that is all an introduction to the psalm, which is written in the Hebrew, just the introduction to the psalm. This evidently is the time when he was pursued and he escaped the hand of Saul and went down to Achish, because he speaks about dwelling, in the latter part, of dwelling among the heathen and all, and no doubt it was as he had fled from Saul to the Philistines so that Saul would not pursue him any more. And so now safe from the pursuit of Saul, having been delivered by the hand of God from Saul.

 "I will love thee, O Lord my strength.”

The LORD is my rock, and my fortress (18:2),

He had been actually been running in that rocky wilderness area around the Dead Sea, En-gedi, and those rocky cliffs, hiding in those caves and using the rocks as a place of defense and as a fortress. "The Lord is my rock and my fortress,”

and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; he is my buckler, the horn of my salvation, and my high tower (18:2).

All of these are defensive weapons of war. God is all of it. He is my defender. He keeps me. He is my high tower. He is my buckler. He is my strength.

I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: and so shall I be saved from my enemies. For the sorrows of death encircled me, the floods of ungodly men (18:3-4)

All of the troops of Saul, he came out with several thousand men pursuing David. And David looked over there and saw all these guys and he knew they were after my hide. And they had encircled David. He was trapped. "The sorrows of death encircled me.”

The sorrows of hell encircled me about: the snares of death prevented to me. And in my distress I called upon the LORD, I cried unto my God: and he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even unto his ears (18:5-6).

Now, out of His temple. The temple was not yet built in Jerusalem, but he is talking about God's temple in heaven.

Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also the hills moved and were shaken, because of his anger. There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: and coals were kindled by it. And he bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet. And he rode upon a cherub [one of those angelic beings], and did fly: and he did fly upon the wings of the wind (18:7-10).

 And all of this is very beautiful poetic and picturesque speech. Of course, this was a song written in Hebrew type of poetry. Very descriptive and very beautiful indeed.

In verse 16 he said,

He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me. The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has recompensed me (18:16-20).

Verse 25,

With the merciful you will show yourself merciful; with the upright man, you will show yourself upright; with the pure you will show yourself pure; with the forward you will show yourself forward. For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but will bring down the high looks. For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall. As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all of those that trust in him. For who is God save Jehovah? And who is a rock save our God? It is God that girded me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places. He teaches my hands to war, so that the bow of steel is broken by my arms. Thou hast also given me the shield of my salvation: and thy right hand hath held me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great (18:25-35).

Interesting phrase, “Thy gentleness hath made me great.” And he goes on and tells how the Lord had subdued his enemies that were rising up against him. And then he, in verse 43,

Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people; you have made me the head of the heathen (18:43):

He had actually gone been down in Ziklag, in the area of the Philistines, and he was the head of the city of Ziklag,

and of people whom I have not known shall serve me (18:43).

Now this, of course, David was speaking of himself, but it became prophetic of Jesus and the gospel going unto the Gentiles.

The LORD liveth; blessed be my Rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted (18:46).


Psalm 19

 Chapter 19 is one of the beautiful favorite psalms where David does speak about how God does reveal Himself to man in nature.

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard (19:1-3).

God is speaking to you every day, every night, through the world, the universe that He has created. The heavens are declaring you the glory, the awesomeness, the magnitude of God, as the earth is showing to you His infinite wisdom. The life forms around the earth.

Now this last week I had a very interesting experience. We have a fellow in our church who is the president of a polygraph firm, and so he has been doing some experiments with his polygraph machines. By hooking the connections up to a plant leaf and then watching the responses on the polygraph as the electrodes are hooked up to a plant. And he had been doing these experiments and he wanted me to come over and observe some of the things that he had discovered. And I found them very interesting.

As we are thinking about the earth showing His handiwork and day unto day they’re uttering speech. And the question is, just how much understanding or knowledge is there in a plant? And so, as he hooked up the electrodes to the plant, and the needles started just moving up and down as it was measuring the responses within the leaf, he said, "Now move the needle upwards. Move in an upward position on the graph." And as he commanded it to do so, the needle started moving upward. And he said, "Now show us the downward movement." And the needle moved down on the graph. And then he said, "Now show us some violent motion," and the needle began to swing all the way across. Then he said to me, "Now you choose a number in your mind." And so he said, "Is the number one?" And of course I didn't answer. But he was just measuring the graph. "Is the number two? Is the number three?" And the needle was just going up and down, and when he got to my number seven, the needle goes way up and then came back down again and leveled off, and then, "Eight? Nine? Ten?" And I looked at the thing and I thought, “I can't believe it.” What kind of communication, you know.

Now I am certain that there are many things of God's creation that we don't understand. That there are vast facets within nature that we have only begun to scratch the surface. That God has coded in many things, wisdom that is phenomenal, things that are just amazing. And I think that there is much to be learned and much to be discovered. God says that day unto day they are uttering their speech. That it’s a universal language. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. You say, "Well, what do you make of it?" I don't know what to make of it; it was weird. But it was interesting. And it just sort of opens up your mind to the fact that God's creation is far vaster than what we ever dreamed. What kind of intelligence is just in a cell itself?

There was a gal who pinched the leaf, one of the leaves on the plant, not the one that the electrode was attached to, and the needle began to move violently. She went out of the room to get something and the needle settled down. When she came back in the room, the needle started moving violently again. The way this was all discovered is a fellow had attached the electrodes to a plant and he was just watching the movement of the needle, sort of fascinated with it. And he decided to water the plant, and as he picked up the water to water the plant, the needle started going crazy. So instead of watering it, he stopped and he put the water back down, and the needle settled back down again and so he picked it up as though he was going to water, deciding he wasn't going to do it, but just see what the needle would do, and this time it didn't do anything. And he made several gestures like he was going to water it, but not intending to do it, and the needle did nothing. And this guy started getting bugged. And so he finally decided, "Okay, I really will water it this time. I'll go ahead and really water it." And the needle started jumping again and he watered the thing. Now I don't know the explanations of it. I have no explanation for it. But it's interesting. “All nature,” we sing, "All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres." Who knows? The wisdom of God who has created life forms, the infinite variety of life forms. What kind of understanding has He put into some of these life forms? I don't know. It is fascinating.

 "The heavens declare the glory of God, the firmament shows His handiwork, and day unto day they utter their speech." They are talking to us. "Night unto night their voice goeth forth. There is not a speech nor a language where there voice is not heard." God speaks to man universally through nature. But though nature speaks to you of the existence of God, the testimony or the witness of nature then falls short because it cannot tell you of the love of God and the redemptive plan of God for your life. For that we needed the special revelation, and God has thus given us the special revelation that we might know His love and His plan for our lives. But the fact that God exists, we all know just by the fact of life around us and life forms around us.

 Now David in this psalm, of course, speaks of the law of the Lord, and the testimony of the Lord, the statutes of the Lord, the commandment of the Lord, the fear of the Lord, the judgments of the Lord. All of these are a part of God's revelation to us in His Word.

The law of the LORD perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD (19:7-9)

God has revealed Himself in nature, but He has revealed Himself more specifically in His Word. And thus, His law, His testimony, His commandments, His statutes, His judgments.

More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey in the honeycomb (19:10).

Oh, how sweet the Word of God becomes to us as we get into it and as we begin to draw from its sweetness.

Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward (19:11).

And so he closes the psalm with a prayer, Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not rule over me: then shall I be upright, I shall be innocent from the great transgression. O God, let the words of my mouth, the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer (19:13-14).

Chuck Smith

Pastor Chuck Smith began his ministry at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, in 1965, with just twenty-five people.