Monday, November 18, 2013

CCVIII - Psalms 31-41

These eleven Psalms we will look at today will be the final psalms that carry the theme of man’s struggles.  David is credited to have written all of these.

Psalm 31 was probably written when Saul and his army was bearing down on David.  {I’m not absolutely certain of this because there are references to “those who cling to worthless idols”.  Saul had many weaknesses, but this was not one of them.  But I shall yield to the many scholars and Historians.}  In the twenty-four verse of this psalm there seems to be two separate events.  In the first eight verses we see where David prays for help and God sends him help and delivers him.  Then in verses 9-24 we see where David prays again for God’s deliverance and again God saves him from his enemies.  {This somewhat leans toward Saul because Saul chased David many times when David narrowly escaped his capture.}

Psalm 32 seems to be a bit different in nature.  In many of these psalms David pleas for God to deliver him from his enemies, as they have no reason to hate David.  In these, David declares his innocence and righteousness.  However in this psalm, David is confessing sins and sinfulness.  This leads us to believe that this was written right after David’s dealings with Bathsheba and her husband Uriah.  David’s sins were adultery, lying, and murder.  As I’m sure you remember, David had slept with Bathsheba.  The then sent her husband Uriah on a suicide mission in battle.  David knew this was terribly wrong, but did not confess and repent (vs 3) for quite a while, making himself miserable.  {Huge lesson to be learned here.  Knowing David, he must have been tormented by this.}

Psalm 33 is an interesting psalm as it seems to have 6 subjects.  The first four verses tell us to sing joyfully to the Lord and play musical instruments.  The next five speak of the power of God in His creation.  Next it shifts to the folly of man’s plans, and how God interrupts them.  In verses 13-15 tells of God keeping watch over all people, both the wicked and the righteous.  16 and 17 tell of man’s foolish confidence in his armies, none of which could win a battle if God does not allow it.  The remaining verses encourages us to wait on the Lord, as He is faithful and will delivers us.

I find Psalm 34 as another interesting one.  It is another “acrostic poem”.  Remember, an acrostic poem is one that uses the Hebrew alphabet (in order) as they begin each stanza.  The Hebrew alphabet contains twenty-two characters, the first being “aleph”, the second being “beth” and so on.  It is recorded in the Bible as a sub-title that Psalm 34 was written by David when he pretended to be insane when he was in the presence of Abimelek.  The timing of this event was when Saul declared that he was going to kill David.  David ran away and went to Gath, which was a city inhabited by Philistines.  The king of Gath was a man named Abimelek.  He, like all Philistines, did not like or trust any Israelite, especially David.  So in order to save his own life, David pretended to be crazy.  {I’m not certain how he did this, but David was a very smart man.}  It worked.  Abimelech did not kill David, but sent him away.  This was when David went to Adullam where he hid in a cave.  {There was mental illness then, as there is now.  At that time people didn’t know what to do with the mentally ill, but it was considered taboo to kill them.  This ethic among even the heathen nations saved David’s life.}

In Psalm 35 it’s easy to assume that David is being hunted down by either his son Absalom or Saul.  We know this because in this psalm, David clearly wants God to deal with his enemies because David could not have brought himself to kill either one of them.

Psalm 36 opens with David saying that God has placed a message on his heart concerning the wicked.  He talks about them briefly, describing them by their actions.  They flatter themselves, thus encouraging wickedness upon wickedness.  He says in verse 4 that they lie in their beds, thinking of ways to out-do each other in their wickedness.

Psalm 37 seems to contrast the good and the evil, speaking also of the evil being successfully prosperous as opposed to the righteous poor.

Psalms 38, 39, and 40, like Psalm 32, are written by David in his time of distress right after he had caused Uriah to be killed (II Samuel 11).  He was waiting to feel that God had forgiven him for these atrocious sins David had committed.  David knew he was guilty and he was ashamed.  (37:4) “My guilt has overwhelmed me”.  During this time, David was actually ill and he felt that his days were about to come to an end.  I want to draw attention to 40:8.  He writes, “I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.”  This is our goal.  This is why God loved David so.  David understood the Ten Commandments and what God meant when He wrote them.  Jesus came to the earth not to make new laws, but to place the laws in our hearts, thus changing us forever.  The Pharisees were the opposite of David.  They made mountains of additional laws on scrolls, rather than teaching the intent of the Law for people to adopt them into their hearts.

Psalm 41 is the last psalm to carry the theme of pleading for God’s deliverance from the burdens of man.  In this psalm David continues to ask God to have mercy on him, but as I read this, I can’t help but think of Job.  David was still ill, to the point he thought he was dying.  Many people came to visit him and comfort him.  These were supposed to be friends, but David discovered that they were actually saying bad things about him (vs 7), and actually wanted David to go ahead and die, so that a king more favorable to them would be crowned.  In verse 9 he says “even my close friend”, which indicated to me that this was his “best” friend, has turned against him.  We don’t know who this “best” friend was, but he was certainly not the true friend that Jonathan was in David's younger years.

This concludes the section of Psalms that deals with the struggling of man.  In the next post we will begin the section of Psalms that carries the theme of man’s pleas for deliverance from his oppressors.

No comments:

Post a Comment