Psalm 142

A Maskil of David, when he was in the cave. A Prayer.

With my voice I cry out to the Lord;     
with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord.
I pour out my complaint before him;     
I tell my trouble before him.

When my spirit faints within me,     
you know my way!
In the path where I walk     
they have hidden a trap for me.
Look to the right and see:     
there is none who takes notice of me;
no refuge remains to me;     
no one cares for my soul.

I cry to you, O Lord;     
I say, “You are my refuge,     
my portion in the land of the living.”
Attend to my cry,     
for I am brought very low!
Deliver me from my persecutors,     
for they are too strong for me!
Bring me out of prison,     
that I may give thanks to your name!
The righteous will surround me,     
for you will deal bountifully with me.

Psalm 142 ESV

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Inclined to sin?

King David Art
Do not let my heart incline to any evil,     

to busy myself with wicked deeds
in company with men who work iniquity,     
and let me not eat of their delicacies!
Psalm 141:4 ESV

Paul (2 Corinthians 12) found that God refused to remove the thorn in his flesh though he prayed (and prayed, and prayed). Then he found that, along with the thorn, came the grace and power of God, so that he could say, ‘Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.’ (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). If we imagine that we may only experience peace and rest when all the pain is removed from life then we will be tempted to listen to anyone who offers us relief, even at the cost of a compromised discipleship (and of a greater experience of the Grace and power of God).

Dr. G. Campbell Morgan commented on Psalm 141:4: “The singer is still surrounded by men who work iniquity, but his trouble is different. He has become afraid of himself. It would seem as though his enemies had changed their method. Instead of slander and violence, they are seeking to seduce him from his loyalty to truth and uprightness. The reference to ‘their delicacies’ would seem to suggest that they were endeavouring to show him the advantages which he would enjoy if he would throw in his lot with theirs. It was this sense of peril to his own soul which was the inspiration of the song. He realised the force of the temptation, and sought refuge in his God, realizing his own weakness.

“The peril revealed is a very subtle one. Direct hostility is never so great a menace to the soul, as the suggestion that by compromise with evil and evil men, ease may be found, or that advantage may accrue from complicity in deeds of wickedness. Men of faith fail far more often by so far lowering the standard as to have fellowship with evil men, than by the suffering which results from their slander and violent hostility. This song reminds us that our only safety in such hours of peril is to be found in seeking the Divine strength in the realm of desire that we may not incline toward any evil thing. The heart garrisoned by Jehovah is impregnable; but there is no other power equal to its perfect keeping.”

From Dr. G. Campbell Morgan in Searchlights From the Word.

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Psalm 141

A Psalm of David.

O Lord, I call upon you; hasten to me!
Give ear to my voice when I call to you!
Let my prayer be counted as incense before you,
and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;
keep watch over the door of my lips!
Do not let my heart incline to any evil,
to busy myself with wicked deeds
in company with men who work iniquity,
and let me not eat of their delicacies!

Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness;
let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head;
let my head not refuse it.
Yet my prayer is continually against their evil deeds.
When their judges are thrown over the cliff,
then they shall hear my words, for they are pleasant.
As when one plows and breaks up the earth,
so shall our bones be scattered at the mouth of Sheol.

But my eyes are toward you, O God, my Lord;
in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless!
Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me
and from the snares of evildoers!
Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
while I pass by safely.

Psalm 141 ESV

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Feeling comfortable?

King David Art
Deliver me, O Lord, from evil men;     

preserve me from violent men,
who plan evil things in their heart     
and stir up wars continually. 
Psalm 140:1-2 ESV

 

Jesus said (Matthew 5) “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.” He said (John 16) “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” So, if I find myself living comfortably in the world, spoken well of by the world, neither rejected nor persecuted and without trouble to any greater or lesser degree on Jesus’ account, perhaps it is then that I need to ask myself, “What’s wrong with me?”

Derek Kidner comments on Psalm 140: “The single theme of malicious intrigue dominates this psalm, as it has dominated many others, especially those of David. The New Testament (most of Romans 3:10 – 18 is from the Psalms) treats the Psalter as a major witness to human depravity, largely because it exposes this element in us of sheer malice, a poison which can be secreted and employed not only without provocation (Psalm 69:4) but even in face of generosity and love (cf. especially Psalm 35:12-16; 55:12-14)…..

“What emerges clearly from this passage (140:1-5) is the evil that can arise, not from any pressure of circumstances but from love of violence, cruelty and intrigue for their own sake. David has no illusions and makes no excuses for these men, as our Lord made none for those who opposed him in, e.g. John 8:34-47. They have chosen the alternative way to God’s way, and it is that of the ‘murderer from the beginning’ and ‘the father of lies’. The reader of the psalm can reflect that this pattern of hurting, slandering and deceiving has its gentler manifestations, and is no rarity.”

From Derek Kidner in his Tyndale Old Testament Commentary on Psalms73-150.

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Psalm 140

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

Deliver me, O Lord, from evil men;
    preserve me from violent men,
who plan evil things in their heart
    and stir up wars continually.
They make their tongue sharp as a serpent’s,
    and under their lips is the venom of asps. Selah

Guard me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked;
    preserve me from violent men,
    who have planned to trip up my feet.
The arrogant have hidden a trap for me,
    and with cords they have spread a net;     
beside the way they have set snares for me. Selah

I say to the Lord, You are my God;
    give ear to the voice of my pleas for mercy, O Lord!
O Lord, my Lord, the strength of my salvation,
    you have covered my head in the day of battle.
Grant not, O Lord, the desires of the wicked;
    do not further their evil plot, or they will be exalted! Selah

As for the head of those who surround me,
    let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them!
Let burning coals fall upon them!
    Let them be cast into fire,
    into miry pits, no more to rise!
Let not the slanderer be established in the land;
    let evil hunt down the violent man speedily!

I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted,
    and will execute justice for the needy.
Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name;
    the upright shall dwell in your presence.

Psalm 140 ESV

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Filled to perfection…

King David Art
The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me. Psalm 138:8 KJV

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.
Psalm 138:8 ESV

David (138:7) wrote, ‘Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life…’ and knew that such confidence was not merely his own personal possession but the gift of God to all ‘the lowly’. When we know that God ‘regards’ us, and we remember that His love and faithfulness are ‘new, every morning’ it may change the way we face each new day, in Christ, in the world.

Charles Spurgeon commented on Psalm 138:8…. “… the confidence which the Psalmist here expressed was a divine confidence. He did not say, “I have grace enough to perfect that which concerneth me–my faith is so steady that it will not stagger–my love is so warm that it will never grow cold–my resolution is so firm that nothing can move it”; no, his dependence was on the Lord alone. If we indulge in any confidence which is not grounded on the Rock of Ages, our confidence is worse than a dream, it will fall upon us, and cover us with its ruins, to our sorrow and confusion. All that Nature spins, time will unravel, to the eternal confusion of all who are clothed therein.

“The Psalmist was wise, he rested upon nothing short of the Lord’s work. It is the Lord who has begun the good work within us; it is he who has carried it on; and if he does not finish it, it never will be complete. If there be one stitch in the celestial garment of our righteousness which we are to insert ourselves, then we are lost; but this is our confidence, the Lord who began will perfect.

“He has done it all, must do it all, and will do it all. Our confidence must not be in what we have done, nor in what we have resolved to do, but entirely in what the Lord will do. Unbelief insinuates–“You will never be able to stand. Look at the evil of your heart, you can never conquer sin; remember the sinful pleasures and temptations of the world that beset you, you will be certainly allured by them and led astray.” Ah! yes, we should indeed perish if left to our own strength. If we had alone to navigate our frail vessels over so rough a sea, we might well give up the voyage in despair; but, thanks be to God, he will perfect that which concerneth us, and bring us to the desired haven. We can never be too confident when we confide in him alone, and never too much concerned to have such a trust.

From Charles Spurgeon in Morning and Evening.

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Psalm 138

Of David.

I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
    before the gods I sing your praise;
I bow down toward your holy temple
    and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,
    for you have exalted above all things
    your name and your word. On the day I called, you answered me;
    my strength of soul you increased.]

All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O Lord,
    for they have heard the words of your mouth,
and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
    for great is the glory of the Lord.
For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly,
    but the haughty he knows from afar.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
    you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
    and your right hand delivers me.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
    your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
    Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Psalm 138 ESV

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