When we read the book of psalms, we can easily associate with the psalmists in every aspect of their sorrows. The book of psalms is the psalmists open heart to God; in sincerity of their cries, they confine all their troubles in the form of prayers, reaching out to the One Who can comfort and provide the balm for their hurts. David, the writer of seventy-three psalms, was a warrior; a hero, a courageous man, when confronting his enemies. His life was completed with battles. He fought even a bear and a lion to protect his sheep, and killed both of them. With five small stones and a sling, he killed a mighty giant, who came to fight with Israel. He was just a young lad at that time, but that did not stop him from going forwardly to confront the giant armored for war, while the nation of Israel panicked at his intimidation. But David, however, not once fainted at the looks of that Palestinian giant. Victory was certain in his mind, for his faith, the anointing of the Lord, and his zeal for God lead him to success. He wrote Psalm nine after victory over Goliath. In verses 3-5 he says, When my enemies turned back, they stumbled and perished before You, for You have maintained my right and my cause; You sat on the throne judging righteously, You have rebuked the nations, You have destroyed the wicked; You have blotted out their names forever and ever; sing praises to Zion to the Lord, who dwells in Zion! Declare among the peoples His doings! Vs. eleven. He proclaimed and celebrated his victory by giving God the glory. In Psalm 144:1-2 he says, Blessed be the Lord, my Rock and my keen and firm Strength, Who teaches my hands to war and my fingers to fight; My Steadfast Love and my Fortress, my High Tower and my Deliverer, my Shield and He in Whom I trust and take refuge, Who subdues my people under me. King David’s heart was always filled with praises to the Lord, acknowledging His faithfulness, mercy and loving-kindness. He fought the Ammonites, the Philistines and Syrians and was victorious. He wrote Psalms 20 and 21 celebrating his victories saying, Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand. Some trust in and boast of chariots and some of horses, but we will trust in and boast of the name of the Lord our God; they are bowed down and fallen, but we are risen and stand upright. O Lord, give victory; let the King answer when we call (Ps. 20:6-9); The king shall joy in Your strength, O Lord; and in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! He asked life of You, and You gave it to him-long life forever and ever more; for the king trusts in the Lord, and through the mercy and steadfast love of the Most High he will never be moved. Be exalted, Lord, in Your strength; we will sing and praise Your power (Ps. 21:1,4,7,13). David, the anointed of the Lord, was a powerful warrior; but he gave God the credit and praised Him for all his victories.
Oh, That I Had Wings Like a Dove
Listen to my prayer, O God
Hide not Yourself from my supplication
Attend to me and answer me
I am restless and distraught at the noise of the enemy
My heart is grievously pained within me
And the terror of death has fallen upon me
Fear and trembling have come upon me;
Horror and fright have overwhelmed me.
(Ps. 55: 1-5)
A prayer in the form of a psalm from the depth of the of David’s heart, speaks to us and comforts us in some way, knowing that we too can go to the heavenly Father with all our cares and troubles. This psalm is an expression of what David was going through in that time of his life. This shepherd boy, who killed a bear and a lion to save his sheep, finds himself in a crossroads where no help was in sight, only faith and a prayer to deliver him from the rebellion of his son, Absalom and the betrayal of his close friend, Ahithophel and many of his servants. (II Sam. 15-18). Betrayal is like cancer; it eats up the emotion and robs the peace from within. It takes a while for the results to fade away, and meanwhile, the soul is tormented with bitterness. In writing this psalm, David did not express forgiveness, but asked for God to avenge those who had offended him. We can taste his hurt feelings in verses 12-15: For it is not an enemy who reproaches and taunts me- then I might bear it; nor is it one who has hated me who insolently vaunts himself against me- then I might hide from him. But it was you, a man my equal, my companion and my familiar friend; we had sweet fellowship together and used to walk to the house of God in company. (Psalm 55:12-14). The memory of his past friendship with Ahithophel was like the taste of bitter herb going down to the stomach. That was a heavy burden on the soul. David and his family had to flee from his son, who tried to take the kingdom from him by stealing the hearts of the men of Israel. His rebellion was also a betrayal and vengeance.
David’s prayer was of urgent timing. His supplication came to God in restlessness of his heart, in grievous pain. Desiring peace, David wanted to fly away from all his troubles. He said, Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest; yes, I would wander far away, I would lodge in the wilderness; I would hasten to escape and to find a shelter from the stormy wind and tempest (Vs. 6-9). A temporary relieve, was David’s desire to have. A place where he would not hear the noises of confusion and anger against him. He just wished wings of a dove, a symbol of freedom. However, a physical presence elsewhere would not accomplish much in the way of inner peace; but a calm and undisturbed mind and heart. Circumstances we face in our everyday life can lead us either to peace or disturbances of the mind. The secret of consistency in achieving victory through it all however, is not in our self, but in the trust and faith in God, our Provider, our Shelter and refuge in our troubles. David well knew it, as he expressed it in several of his psalms. But it was necessary for him to express his inner feeling of fear and uncertainty in face of his circumstances, for they were of great proportion, beyond his ability to cope alone.
Confidence That Demands Assurance
(I John 5:14-17)
Confidence is the anchor that leads one to success. The winds of life will not overcome it, because it is based not on the tangible, but on the assurance of one’s belief. Confidence is a result of faith, believing in the unseen, when many cannot see. Confidence demands assurance to sustain it; they walk hand in hand; One cannot be confident without being sure. Paul assured the Philippians His confidence on God’s ability to finish the work He started in them, saying: I am confident of this very thing- that He Who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Messiah YAHSHUA (Phil. 1:6). When God saves the sinner, He starts the work of sanctification, a process before glorification. Confident on God’s work, we Christians are sure in the midst of our trials, that He is performing the work of sanctification, for the Bible tells us that He has given us the Spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind (II Tim. 1:7b). Paul, in his assurance of faith, suffered much persecution, confidently of God’s plan for his life. Writing to Timothy, he said, for this [Gospel] I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher of the gentile. And this is why I am suffering as I do. Still, I am not ashamed, for I know Him Whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to guard and keep that which has been entrusted to me and which I have committed [to Him] until that day (II Tim. 1:11-12). For the believer to have spiritual confidence in the promises of God, and assurance of His love, he must know Him through a relationship with Him.
Facing the Giants
(Deut. 9:1-6; I Samuel 17: 45-50)
To take possession of the Promised Land, Israel had to destroy the giants of the land. The Lord warned them that they were great and tall, they were the sons of Anakim, of whom they had heard, Who can stand before the sons of Anak (Deut. 9:2). When Moses sent spies from every tribe to spy the land they came with a frightening report: There we saw the Nephilim [or giants], the sons of Anak, who come from the giants; and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight (Num. 13:33). In the days of Joshua, he cut off the Anakim from the hill country; from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the hill country of Judah and the hill country of Israel. Joshua destroyed them utterly with their cities. None of the Anakim were left in the land of the Israelites; only in Gaza, Gath and Ashdod did some remain (Josh. 11:21-22).
In the days of David, the Philistines came to fight with Israel with their giant, Goliath of Gath. This giant stood almost ten feet tall. His heavy armor was even more impressive and intimidating. Israel’s army was dismayed and very afraid of him. Israel came to battle in their strength; all they saw was the giant before them. They forgot what God had done in the past, but there was someone who had the faith and the courage to face this giant. The mountain Israel perceived to be was just a mole hill to David. In fact all he needed was a stone and a sling and bam, the giant was done and gone!
In the Wilderness of Temptation
No nation has ever experienced the physical wilderness as the nation of Israel. Theirs were the trials, the thirst, the hunger for meat, for the onions and other things Egypt offered. To them were given forty years wandering through the desert for the purpose of being formed as a nation under God Himself. Many died; a large number of them; they did not make it through the wilderness to their destination, because they fell to temptation, while their hearts became hardened as they were tested. The signs and wonders they witnessed when God provided for their needs did not serve as a guide to exercise faith in Him. So their journey became a wilderness of temptation in every aspect: physical, emotional and spiritual. That constituted an open door to fail in every time a need arrived. Without waiting for God to provide for their needs, as He promised He was going to, they murmured and complained, even when manna- food from heaven was given them. They longed the world’s food instead. In Psalm 95 the Psalmist remembers those days with a warning: Harden not your hearts as at Meribah and Massah in the day of temptation in the wilderness, when your fathers tried My patience and tested Me proved Me and saw His work. Forty years long was I grieved and was disgusted with that generation, and I said, It is a people that do err in their hearts, and they do not approve, acknowledge or regard My ways. Therefore I swore in My wrath that they would not enter My rest (95: 8-11), and again in Hebrews 3: 7-11.
For the Sake of the Holy Seed (Part 2)
From the beginning of times, Satan tried to destroy YAHWEH’S plan to bring about His purpose of redemption for humankind. It started with Cain who killed his righteous brother out of anger and resentment. But YAHWEH gave Adam and Eve a third son who carried the righteous lineage and from his descendants, Noah was born ten generations later. From the family of Shem, one of Noah’s son, Abraham was born. The gap between Noah to Abraham was also ten generations. Here is the summary of Abraham’s lineage:
1. Noah – name means: Comfort or Rest
2. Shem – meaning: Renown; prosperity
3. Arphaxad – meaning: A healer; a releaser
4. Shelah – meaning: Sent Out, Branch or Javelin
5. Eber – meaning: To pass over, through, take away
6. Peleg – name means: Division
7. Reu – name means: Friend
8. Nahor – the name means: Breathing Hard
9. Terah – name means: Spirit, Spirited or Inspired
10. Abram – a high father – later to be called Abraham – father of multitude
A Sling and A Stone in David’s Hand
(I Samuel 17:40-49)
When we hear the name Goliath, immediately, we associate him with David and his sling in a battle between the two nations. The story here is one of a series of wars between the Philistines and Israel. The Philistines were descendants from Ham (one of Noah’s son). They were Canaanites whom God told Israel to destroy. They were the Jebusites, the Amorites, and the Girgashite, among others. Their territory extended from Sidon as you go toward Gerar, as far as Gaza; as you go toward Sodom and Gomorrah and Adamah and Zeboiim as far as Lasha (Gen.10). In their quest to keep their land and their people, they fought Israel. Because Israel did not rid themselves of their enemies entirely earlier, they had to face them through battles to preserve their lives. In this particular battle, the Philistines relied heavily on their champion by the name of Goliath of Gath. He was not an ordinary man for he was a giant. The Bible registers his height as being six cubits and a span [almost ten feet]. He wore a bronze helmet on his head and a coat of mail, and the coat weighed 5,000 shekels of bronze [about 125 pounds]. He had bronze shin armor on his legs and a bronze javelin across his shoulders, and the shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; his spear’s head weighed 600 shekels of iron [about 15 pounds]. And a shield bearer went before him (I Sam 17: 4-7).
Friends for a Life Time – David and Jonathan
Lo-Debar- a Thing of Naught
Lo-debar was a place where history opened its pages through the Bible and showed its conditions- spiritual, and physical. This city existing even in the time of Joshua carries a negative prefix Lo, and debar meaning “word” or “thing.” It was there that Jonathan’s son’s nurse found refuge when she had to flee the palace at the news of King Saul’s death to protect Jonathan’s son from being killed. He was only five years old when his nurse took him up and fled; and in her haste, he fell and became lame (II Sam.4). She then fled to Lo-debar, where she found refuge in the house of Machir son of Ammiel at Lo-debar (II Sam. 9:4). While still alive, Jonathan made a friendship covenant with David saying if anything would happen to him, David would take care of his family. Jonathan knew that David, and not he was to take the throne of his father, consequential to the destruction of his family. His son was taken and hidden in a remote place, where only the outcasts from society, the unskilled and non-educated people lived. Lo-debar was nonetheless, a place of refuge. Mephibosheth son of Jonathan lived there all his life until he was sought for and rescued by King David for the sake of his friend Jonathan.
They Hated Me Without a Cause
(John 15:25; Psalm 35:19; 69:4)
The Prophet Isaiah, 740 years before Christ, prophesized about His trial and death in a way that touches the heart of all those of us who love Him. He gave a solemn picture of the manner in which YAHSHUA was rejected and forsaken. The hatred of men toward Him was described in ways we do not understand. He was despised, rejected and forsaken by men, and like One from Whom men hide their faces, He was despised. He was not appreciated, neither esteemed; He was oppressed and afflicted, by oppression and judgment He was taken away and no one considered that He had died for their own transgression (Isaiah 53:3,7,8). The difference men saw in YAHSHUA made them uncomfortable.