This psalm, addressed to the Lord, concerns the Lord's own enemies as well as those of David, the king of His people Israel. Of course all concerns of David, are concerns of the entire covenant nation, and all the enemies of the Lord are enemies of His people as well.
The psalm, then, is really not merely a psalm of David, but also a psalm of the people, and it was therefore a very appropriate song for them to sing when they gathered in the morning at the tabernacle. It's still appropriate today for the New Covenant people of God.
Though David isn't our king today, his greater Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, is King of His church, so we too can join in and repeat after the worship leader, "The King shall have joy in Your strength, O Lord; and in Your salvation how greatly shall He rejoice!" Our Lord Jesus Christ in His manhood rejoiced in the strength of His Father, and, having accomplished His people's salvation, He rejoiced greatly in that as well! He can and does sing, "You have given Him His heart's desire, and have not withheld the request of His lips." (See also Isaiah 53:10-12)
The song describes blessings received by our Lord at His resurrection and ascension to the right hand of His Father. He sings, "For You meet him with the blessings of goodness; You set a crown of pure gold upon His head. He asked life from You, and You gave it to Him - length of days forever and ever. His glory is great in Your salvation; honor and majesty You have placed upon Him, for You have made Him most blessed forever; You have made Him exceedingly glad with Your presence, for the King trusts in the Lord, and through the mercy of the Most High He shall not be moved!"
So this is a victory song, a song sung as the victorious King returns to the palace - whether in David's day or our own. But it's not joyful for His enemies. They cannot escape Him. He sings, "Your hand will find all Your enemies; Your right hand will find those who hate You." He continues in a like vein, expressing that these enemies are going to meet justice at the end when all evil is cleansed away. It should remind us of David's words elsewhere (Ps. 110, Matt. 22:44), where he says, "The Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit at My right hand 'till I make Your enemies Your footstool!"
And, finally, all the people of God join together in the final chorus to sing, "Be exalted, O Lord, in Your own strength! We will sing and praise Your power!"
Do you join in this joy of your Lord, the joy of victory over sin and the Devil? Are you glad in His gladness? And are you joyfully awaiting the day when He returns to make that complete victory plain to all men and angels?
This is a song of abandonment and restoration, of utter desolation followed by final bliss. David experienced what must have looked to him like abandonment and desolation during Saul's persecution, but when he was finally placed on the throne of Israel he also experienced a wonderful restoration. To a far more intense degree, David's greater Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, felt both of these, and this psalm is therefore His.
We need to see that because David was to become the covenant king of Israel, any abandonment he felt was an abandonment of Israel as well, and likewise any restoration was Israel's restoration. In a much deeper and even in an overwhelming sense, the abandonment of our Lord Jesus Christ upon the Cross was indeed the abandonment of all the people of God - their utter condemnation - and His restoration in resurrection is indeed their restoration!
All the feelings that David experienced, therefore, are appropriate for us as well. David leads the people in singing of the utter desolation and total abandonment he felt when it seemed that the Lord would not hear him - when it seemed that he had been finally and forever cast off, cut off from the Lord Who was his only source of life and meaning in this world.
But David doesn't charge his Lord with wrongdoing. He sings, "But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel." He explains that what he means is that their fathers trusted God and were delivered in times of crisis, that they cried to Him and didn't need to be ashamed, because He heard them.
But, David says, he hasn't been worthy of such salvation, because, "I am a worm and no man; a reproach of men, and despised by the people." In fact he even sees himself as being ridiculed by the people, because they see him as deserving his fate, as being abandoned because he deserved to be abandoned.
But we too deserve to be abandoned. We have rebelled against a God Who deserves only love and praise. But, wonder of wonders, our Lord Jesus Christ experienced all the abandonment for us - as though He deserved it! He Who "did always those things that please the Father" had to feel as though He had done NOTHING to please the Father! He experienced OUR guilt.
David, even in the midst of his depression, expressed his utter dependence upon Jehovah, his trust in God from birth to death. He cries out to an apparently unhearing God that he's facing the greatest of enemies, that it's almost too late to save him. The enemy is too strong for him. He says, "Many bulls have surrounded me; strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me. They gape at me with their mouths, like a raging and roaring lion." The result is desperate: "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it has melted within me! My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue clings to my jaws! You have brought me to the dust of death."
All the people, too, consider him a lost cause. David says about them that "They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots" - as though he would have no further use of them. So it was for the greater Son of David as well - and so it was for us in Him. Satan could look upon us as lost, as ready for eternal damnation.
But David persisted even then. He had trusted his God from his earliest moments, and he would not cease to pray to Him now - even though he knew himself to be unworthy. He prays what no doubt seemed to him like a final, desperate prayer: "But You, O Lord, do not be far from me!"
So it was also with our Lord, Who, when He was charged with all the sins of all His sponsored people and was guilty with their guilt, called upon His Father nevertheless. And the result explodes forth in David's following words. He literally shouts out, "YOU HAVE ANSWERED ME!"
So it is for ourselves as well. We were lost and abandoned, worthless and deserving of eternal damnation. But He brought us to call upon Him nevertheless, brought us to cast ourselves upon His mercy - and in Him we too are saved!
So our Lord, because He is risen, vindicated, and victorious over Satan and death, can say, "I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You!" He would have us to praise Him as well. So He leads us in singing, "You who fear the Lord, praise Him, and fear Him all you offspring of Israel! For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; nor has He hidden His face from Him; but when He cried to Him, HE HEARD!"
What will be the result? He says that "All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You. For the kingdom is the Lord's and He rules over the nations . . . They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, that HE HAS DONE THIS!"
Did you deserve to be abandoned? Do you trust in the One Who was abandoned for you? Do you rejoice in HIM?
Having been a shepherd, David was very, very familiar with shepherding. For that reason he naturally likened his relationship with God to the sheep's relationship to their shepherd. It was a close, caring relationship that he knew very well, and it truly satisfied his heart to think of Jehovah as his Shepherd. He wanted all the people of his kingdom to share in that satisfaction, that happiness of relationship.
In the early morning, therefore, he went to the tabernacle to meet those who were gathered there to worship Jehovah. He went as their worship leader, their cantor, and when he led them in the first line of the morning psalm the words reflected his own relationship to his loving God. He sang,"The Lord is my shepherd." Every worshiper repeated the words, thereby establishing in their hearts that God was their Shepherd also.
And what a loving, caring Shepherd their God was! David got the people to sing about it by having them repeat, "I shall not lack. He makes me to lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His Name's sake." So the people also all found themselves confessing that God does all these things for them as well! It's beautiful praise to a loving, caring God!
Then, having experienced dark and desperate times as well as good times in his walk with God, and knowing that such times are a part of the lives of every one of us, David leads all the people to confess their Shepherd's loving care in those times as well. He sings, "Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me!"
David knows that his God is a loving Shepherd in ALL the situations of life, whether in the presence of deadly enemies or loving friends. He knows that he'll ALWAYS be safe in his Shepherd's care. It's no wonder that he sings about it! And the people, with a new and blessed realization of the goodness of their God, gladly sing it after him. They joyfully sing out the fact that their situation (their "cup") is overflowing with the Shepherd's goodness ALL the time!
Then comes the final chorus, the final confession of God's loving kindness. They sing, "surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!"
Can we apply all of this to ourselves? We could begin by praying to see His loving, shepherding hand at all times, and in every situation of life. Sometimes we're so blind! But by His Spirit He'll help us if we ask it. Then let's pray that we will be as sheep are to their shepherd, following Him, trusting him and loving Him all the time! And let's give Him thanks for both rod and staff in every situation - even when, like sheep, we don't fully understand!
This is a "song of ascents," so called because it was sung while ascending Zion to the tabernacle (or, later, the temple). In using this particular psalm the worship leader wanted the people to come in an attitude of awe and reverence, with a realization that God was to be approached only with clean hands, hearts, and minds.
He begins by having the people think about just Who it is they are approaching. In a relatively quiet, awed voice he sings, "The earth is the Lord's and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein." So the people are reminded, even as they approach, that they are the property of Jehovah, and that all around them belongs to Him as well. He made everything, and everything and everybody are His.
So then, who may come into the majestic Presence of such a God? Everyone is thinking about that question. At least for one moment, all the people are made aware of the fact that God sees them, that He CARES how they live, that every action and every thought passes before His all seeing eye.
He cares whether they have "clean hands and a pure heart." He cares, in other words, what they've done with those hands, and He cares why they've done it. Have those hands helped the needy? Or have they robbed widows? To put it in modern terms, have they taken more money than they should really have taken? Have they sacrificially cared for those more needy than themselves? Have they been completely honest in all their dealings? And what about their hearts? Are they inclined to care about their thoughts as much as the Lord cares? Simply put, do they love Him first of all? Or are they involved with desire to please someone other than God first (idolatry). Do they desire things more than they desire to please God? In plain words, do they go about each day seeking to do those things that please Him?
If they pass these tests, then they "shall receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God . . . of salvation." Such hearts and lives, sings the leader, characterize true Israelites ("Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him")
But then comes the realization that, in the final analysis, only the Lord Himself and His Messiah pass the test. Only He is holy, and in fact, He's the King of holiness, the "King of glory!" He deserves all the people's praise as they come into His house, and, particularly as Messiah, He deserves to enter the gates as the owner of the palace! The "Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory!" Having sung this praise, the people are then and only then ready to enter the Presence of that King.
So it is for us, too, whenever we come into our Lord's special presence among His people. How do you come? Do you come quietly, with the realization that He is there? Are you clean in the cleanness of Jesus Christ?
Do you realize, as you open your eyes each morning, that you are even then coming into the very Presence of the Holy One of Israel? Do you realize that He actually cares what you do, what you think, what's in your very heart of hearts? Are you ready to come before Him, to pray, to worship, to live the day in His sight? Oh how we should pray with our Lord, "Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from the evil one, for Thine is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen"
Each of God's people should start each day with an attitude of devotion to Him and to His Word, with prayer for uprightness, with prayer for attitudes that please Him, and for righteousness of life each and every moment of the coming day. This psalm is that prayer. Each of the worshippers who comes to the temple at the beginning of the day is led by this psalm in a prayer for devotion to Jehovah.
They sing, "To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in You; let me not be ashamed; let not my enemies triumph over me. Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause." To be "ashamed" would be to find, after the fact, that the Lord wasn't there, that there was no real relationship to Him. So the worshiper sings out a heartfelt prayer that that might not be the way it is - for himself and for all who wait on the Lord that day.
Of course the only way for the worshiper to "stay on track" each day is to live it by the rules - by "Your Ways, O Lord." For that to happen, each one needs to be taught what those ways are, to be shown, as he says here, "Your paths," and to be led in "Your truth." Each and every one of God's people is entirely dependent upon Him for grace to live. They sing, "For You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day." They are thus reminded as they sing that there is no other resource.
Every moment of the day they're going to need His "tender mercies and . . . loving kindness." But as each one remembers this need at the beginning of the day, so there also come to remembrance past sins, even sins of youth, so it's necessary to sing, "According to Your mercy remember me, for Your goodness' sake, O Lord."
Such prayer should lead to the realization that God has always been good, that "the humble He guides in justice, and the humble He teaches His way," and, in fact, that "all the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, to such as keep His covenant and His testimonies."
In view of that constant goodness and mercy, each one cries out, "For Your Name's sake, O Lord, pardon my iniquity, for it is great." Such a thought leads to reflection on God's wonderful Character, on the fact that He teaches His way, the way "He chooses" to all who fear Him, and that it is He alone Who causes His people to dwell in prosperity, so that his descendants inherit the earth. In fact, "the secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant!"In view of such mercy and grace, the song goes on to say, "My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for He shall pluck my feet out of the net!"
With such renewed confidence in the Lord, then, each one can petition Him, "Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me, for I am desolate and afflicted - the troubles of my heart have enlarged. Bring me out of my distresses! Look on my affliction and my pain, and forgive all my sins." It just reflects the fact that there are many temptations and sins to be overcome in a life lived for the Lord.
And not only the weakness and waywardness within must be in view, but the dangers outside as well - each one prays,"Consider my enemies, for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred. Keep my soul, and deliver me; let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait on You."
Having dealt with his own needs, the worshiper is then led to pray, with and for all the people. Together they sing, "Redeem Israel, O God, out of all their troubles!"
With what attitude do you come before the Lord each morning? Do you realize that you will be "ashamed" at the end of the day unless you depend on Him in prayer right from the beginning of it? Do you express your need of Him, your need of His forgiveness and of His grace and strength for that day? Do you realize the strong enemy that lurks about you all the day, seeking to "devour" you in self-seeking and sin? Are you so acquainted with yourself that you know you'll fail, possibly even many times each day, and that you'll need to be delivered each and every time by the only One Who can deliver you? And do you pray, not only for yourself, but also for all of God's people, many of whom you know and mention by name? Oh how good it is to begin each day with our eyes upon our Lord!
This is a song of preparation, the kind of preparation every worshipper should have before entering God's house. It's a song of self-examination, a song that can be sung to the Lord because He sees all that's in the heart. It's not a boastful song, even though it seems to declare the singer's entire innocence, but it's a song about the general direction and foundation of the life. Even though it's not about a perfect life, yet it is about a life committed to the Lord. The psalmist says, "For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, and I have walked in Your truth." In other words, it's a song about the redeemed life, a life that's innocent before the Lord because, by God's grace alone, every moment of it is lived in dependence upon Him - by His Spirit living within. The psalmist isn't boasting when he sings, "I shall not slip," because he's not trusting in his own strength. He can say, "I have also trusted in the Lord." Because of that trust, he can confidently say to the Lord Who knows him, "Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my mind and my heart." He's confident because God has kept him - "Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, and I have walked in Your truth." By grace alone, the whole direction of his life has been to live as one of God's covenant people. For that reason he can sing, "I have not sat with idolatrous mortals, nor will I go in with hypocrites - I have hated the assembly of evildoers, and will not sit with the wicked." In other words, through careful self examination, the singer has become aware - not that he is sinless - but that God has indeed kept him, that he is indeed still a committed member of the covenant assembly. So he can joyfully sing, "I will wash my hands in innocence; so I will go about Your altar, O Lord, that I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all Your wondrous works!" It's a joyful thing to KNOW you're in God's favor! The singer has wanted to come into the worship assembly, but he needed to think about his life first. Now that he's done that, he's glad because he can say, "Lord, I have loved the habitation of Your house, and the place where Your glory dwells!" He wants it always to be this way; he wants always to be kept from falling. He prays, "Do not gather my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloodthirsty men, in whose hands is a sinister scheme, and whose right hand is full of bribes." Instead, the psalmist, and hopefully those he's leading in worship, purpose to remain right where they are at this moment. They sing, "But as for me, I will walk in my integrity; redeem me and be merciful to me. My foot stands in an even place; in the congregation I will bless the Lord." What about you? David wrote this song while doing his own self examination, but he also wrote it so that people coming to the temple in the morning could prepare their own hearts. Are you ready to come before the Lord? You've failed often. You've sinned times without number. But you've always come back, always repented, always trusted Jesus Christ to keep you and to intercede for you. And He's done it. You, therefore, CAN come into His presence! You CAN worship Him!
The purpose of this psalm is threefold: 1) the worshippers declare their faith to one another, to any who will listen, and to the very angels of God; 2) they pray the prayer of faith; 3) they encourage one another in faith.
The first six verses of the song are the declaration of faith. The people sing, "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear. The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"
They're just saying that God is the One Who can shed light on problems, difficulties, and even the meaning of life. Relationship to Him, in fact, is what makes life meaningful, supplies overcoming grace, and inspires the fortitude needed in every situation. No matter who or what the problem, GOD is the answer. They sing, "Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident!"
Having such complete confidence, there's only one thing more needed. They sing next, "One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek - that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple." The idea is that it's great to be in the temple singing this song, but the real need is to stay there, to always be inquiring there - never to go elsewhere for help. If God grants this prayer, then everything will indeed be all right: "He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock."
Having prayed, and, knowing the grace of the prayer-hearing God - that He WILL indeed allow the worshipper always to thus dwell in the house of the Lord - he should then be confident. He can then sing, "And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord!"
Upon the foundation of such faith, then, each worshipper can now pray the prayer of faith. He can joyfully sing, "Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy upon me, and answer me!" He knows God Himself has called him to such prayer. He sings, "When You said, 'Seek My face,' my heart said to You, 'Your face, Lord, I will seek.'" He knows that, even in the most unimaginably extreme emergency, even if his own father and mother forsake him, then - even then - "the Lord will take care of me!"
With such confidence, the worshipper can pray on: "Teach me Your way, O Lord, and lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies." He sings that he would have lost heart if he hadn't believed that he would indeed "see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."
Having such solid, joyful faith in the Lord, the worshippers now turn to each other and sing, "Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!"
Do you see God as your light in life - is your relationship with Him the foundation for everything you do? Is He the One you're seeking today? Do you love Him, so that your ultimate aim is to go and be with Him forever? Based on that relationship, do you pray as He's invited you to pray? And do you share that joy as often as possible with brothers and sisters in the congregation of those who love and worship Him? That's the way it should be in the life of every Christian!
In this morning worship song, David leads the people 1) to pray for their own needs, 2) to pray against their enemies, and 3) to praise the Lord for His gracious help. What a wonderful way to start the day! Each of the worshippers who has gathered NEEDS to start the day with this kind of dependence upon the Lord, with this kind of reaffirmation of his/her relationship to Him in every aspect of daily life.
First then, they're led to confess their absolute dependence upon the Lord. They led to tell Him that in all likelihood they're going to be crying out to Him many times that day, and they will need Him to hear them each and every time. So they sing, "To You I will cry, O Lord my Rock: do not be silent to me!" They're asking the Lord not to "tune them out" on any of those occasions. Of course, He wouldn't actually "tune them out," but God would have them to pray for this mercy so that they'll be aware when He grants it.
Besides, the alternative is awful indeed! They sing, "Lest, if You are silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit!" In other words, the singer confesses that his courage and success in each situation absolutely depends upon the Lord hearing, answering, and acting on his behalf. The "pit" is sheol, the place of the dead, and those who descend to it have no further hope from the Lord.
So he wants to be heard and answered each and every time he cries out to the Lord, each and every time he "lifts up his hands toward Your holy sanctuary." The sanctuary is the place God chose to meet with believers, the place where the ark was, the place that reminded every worshipper of His Providence and mercy during the exodus from Egypt - and of the mercy which he still needs NOW!
Having sung this prayer for his needs that day, the worshipper then prays against his enemies. He doesn't want to be drawn away with them or to become one with them, because they "speak peace with their neighbors, but evil is in their hearts." Instead, he prays that they will receive just recompense for their evil actions - since they are not only their enemies but the enemies of God.
We might tend to think that this is an unusually vindictive prayer, that prayer for the welfare of one's enemies is the only right approach. However, we need to be aware of two things: 1) this isn't a personal prayer against individuals, but a general prayer against enemies of God and of God's people. The worshipper who prays this prayer might at the same time pray for the repentance of individuals among those same enemies. 2) It's a matter of being on God's side against His enemies, so it's not merely a desire for personal revenge. We need to remember what he says about them here - that "they do not regard the works of the Lord, nor the operation of His hands." Paraphrased, this prayer says, "Lord, STOP them! Don't let them hinder Your work!" And He'll answer that prayer. The worshipper may actually believe it when he sings, "He shall destroy them and not build them up."
Finally, the leader leads each worshipper to praise the Lord for actually hearing and answering him! They sing, "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him!" The Lord will hear and help during the coming day!
The song ends with a climactic chorus of praise to the God Who ALWAYS hears, Who ALWAYS blesses His dear covenant people, Who blesses them through their anointed King. So they joyfully sing that God "is their strength, and He is the saving refuge of His anointed."
Our Lord Jesus Christ is now our anointed King, and, through Him God will hear YOU today! So you too can have the confidence of the worshipper here, who closes by singing, "Save Your people, and bless Your inheritance; shepherd them also, and bear them up forever!"
Do you begin the day this way? Do you realize that there will be many, many times each day in which you're going to need His grace and strength, times that should prompt you to cry unto Him? Do you pray that He'll hear you each time? Do you realize that it isn't really your day, but His day, so that you're prayers will not only result in your success, but also in His glory in all that you do?
This is a song of purest praise, probably sung at times when the armies of Israel were victorious over enemies. Such enemies all believed in many gods - gods of floodwaters, gods of earthquakes and fierce winds, gods of wild animals, etc. In this song, though, all the things supposedly done by these other gods are ascribed to the one true God - Jehovah - Who is over ALL things.
The imagery is powerful, particularly for those who have observed such natural disasters as raging floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc. Those who sing (the "mighty ones" = warriors of the army) are exhorted to praise Jehovah - the One Who is truly over ALL things in nature. They should praise Him "in the beauty of holiness." Because they should know Jehovah as the only true God, they are therefore not like the world that believes in many gods - they are "holy." "Holiness" just means separateness, uniqueness, and it's the privilege of Israel - uniquely - to praise the true God as His separated people.
So - Who controls the mighty forces of the floodwaters or the roaring torrents that seem uncontrollable? God's people have the answer. They sing, "The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders; the Lord is over MANY waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of MAJESTY!"
Then the next few verses, full of the powerful imagery about earthquakes, splintering of great trees, dividing of otherwise indivisible flames of fire, stripping bare of forests, and forcing the sudden birth of deer calves - are calculated to move the worshipers to a sense of awe and reverence before the power of God!
Having that awe in their hearts, they're ready to sing about the true Lord of all things. They sing, "The Lord sat enthroned at the flood (the great flood of Noah's day), and the Lord sits as King forever! The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace!" The great GOD Whose awesomely powerful works they've just considered, the GOD Who has been Lord from the beginning and will be Lord to the end - is the God Who can also give them peace in the midst of all their enemies!
How about you? Are you adequately awed at the immense and glorious works of God that are around you every day - the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, etc., etc.? These are the works of the Agent of creation - your SAVIOR! Jesus Christ is Lord of all! His works therefore are meant to move you to praise and thanksgiving, because, though they reveal such a majestic Lord of all, yet He also cares for YOU!
The subtitle informs us that this song was composed for the dedication of the temple, a temple David never built, but for which he prepared by storing materials, etc. So David composed the song in anticipation of the temple's completion under his son Solomon.
The song never actually mentions the temple, but rather reads almost like an epitaph for David's entire life - a memorial to what the Lord had done to bring him to the throne of Israel and to preserve him during his shepherding of God's people until the end of his life and reign.
If indeed it is such a dedication of the temple as well as an epitaph psalm, then we can assume a great deal of faith on David's part in his preparing ahead of time for the temple's building. He must have trusted his Lord to continue to preserve him to the end of his life and to enable Solomon to do the actual building. We can also conclude that the epitaph David wanted for his life was one of praise to Jehovah.
When we're looking at this song we need to remember once again that anything that was true for David was true for God's people Israel as well, since they were recipients of God's blessings through David. They were given victory over their foes through David, and so they could also sing with him, "I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up, and have not let my foes rejoice over me!" There would have been many, many times when they should all sing, "I cried out to You, and You healed me. O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive that I should not go down to the pit."
Always they could sing, "Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy Name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning." They would have learned, through David's reign, to wait on the Lord through thick and thin.
There would undoubtedly have been times, during prosperity, when David - and they - would have boasted that they could stand strong through anything, but when, unbeknown to them, it was not they themselves who were strong, but it was the Lord Who kept them. Then, when He "hid His face" they would indeed be "troubled." Then, having fallen into trouble, they would have cried out to their Lord in the depths of their trouble, "Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me; oh Lord be my helper!"
And the Lord, times without number, answered them. Time and time again, they could sing, "You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness!"
The result of such experience, both for Israel and for David their king, was that they could sing, "O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever!" In other words, they could learn from God's ever-present help, throughout many, many years, that they could trust Him ALWAYS, even on into eternity!
And now? David's greater Son, our Lord Jesus Christ is King, and He HAS always upheld us, and, through Him, we WILL always be blessed. So - will you trust Him through times of darkness and trouble? Will you trust that, though "His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life?" Will you remember that "weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning?" If you can thus trust Him, then, at the end of your life, this will be your epitaph of praise as well as David's!
This song was composed for any who might be in deep distress, who might fear for their very lives, and who might know their own sins well enough to suspect that it's on account of them that they're experiencing trouble.
David had times like that. There were times when He knew he had sinned. At such times He was very, very ashamed of his sin, and he suspected that all who knew him were ashamed of him as well, and in fact that they were avoiding him like the plague. Not only so, but it always seemed to be just at that moment that his enemies were attacking him as well! They were cunning, powerful enemies, enemies who could, and gladly would, take away his life. He feared that his sin was the reason for all this and that perhaps the Lord had forsaken him.
But there was one thing he was determined to do: he was determined to maintain his trust in the Lord, even though the Lord might utterly desert him to his enemies. He had called on the Lord, and he was determined to wait on the Lord, come what may. He could say with Job, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." He knew his only help had to come from God, so he stubbornly hung on - and kept praying.
Many might give up under such circumstances. This song was composed for them, composed to move them to "hang in there," no matter how desperate the circumstances.
And David knew they could be desperate. He had to confess, "My eye wastes away with grief, yes my soul and my body! For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing (his distress was not of short duration!); my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away . . . I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind; I am like a broken vessel. For I hear the slander of many; fear is on every side; while they take counsel together against me, they scheme to take away my life!"
But the answer, no matter how deep the distress, no matter how desperate the circumstances, no matter how long it had been - was still the Lord's grace. David sings, "My times are in Your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me." NO MATTER WHAT, he was going to trust the Lord! He knew his sin, he'd confessed his sin, and he knew he was dealing with a forgiving God - and He was going to trust him!
Then, turning to the congregation, and having brought each worshipper this far in song, David makes it clear that God WAS merciful, God DID hear him, and God HAD delivered him! It's as though he were directly communicating with each one who sang this song, and he wanted them to know that, though trouble couldn't get any deeper and circumstances any more desperate, yet he's been delivered, and they could be too!
He sings, "Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men!" In summary of that goodness, he sings, "For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before Your eyes; nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications when I cried out to you!"
David communicates the result of such stubborn prayer to each worshipper when he sings, "Oh love the Lord, all you His saints! For the Lord preserves the faithful, and fully repays the proud person. Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord!"
It's just as true for you as it was for David and the people he led. Have you trusted the Lord? Have you laid your sins before Him and known the forgiveness that is in Jesus Christ? Then HANG ON! David's trouble, David's sin, David's distress - was greater than any you'll ever experience - and God finally delivered him! And David's greater Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, experienced greater guilt, greater distress, greater desperation than you - or David - could ever experience, and He rose from the dead in triumph! And so will you!
The first and last stanzas of this song tell it all. They say, "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit . . .Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; but he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him. Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!"
The song is intended to bring each worshiper to trust the Lord enough to confess every sin to Him. There are adequate reasons given for doing so. David sings, and the people repeat the first of these reasons when they say, "When I kept silent, my bones grew old . . ." It's a negative reason - avoiding confession results in physical symptoms of depression and no peace with God.
Then, as the second reason, David sings, "I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,' and You forgave the iniquity of my sin." Simply put, confession is the way to God's forgiveness. God doesn't say, "If you have sinned I'll automatically forgive your sin and cleanse you from all transgression." He says you have to CONFESS!
The third reason should cause the worshiper to rejoice, because, through confession, God becomes his "hiding place," preserves him from trouble, and surrounds him with songs of deliverance!
God Himself speaks the fourth reason. He says, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye." If the worshiper confesses and is forgiven, then God will teach him and guide him.
Finally, the rest of the admonition can be summed up simply by saying, "Don't stubbornly refuse to confess your sins to God!"
Are these enough reasons for you? Do you sometimes feel depressed? Is there guilt in your soul, so that you need to "get it off your chest?" Do you want to overflow with songs of deliverance and be kept from trouble? Do you want your life to be guided by the Lord?
If these are enough reasons, then daily, hourly, CONFESS your most hidden, your innermost, your most habitual sins! "He is faithful and just to forgive your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness!" TODAY!
This is a family song, a song to be sung by the people of God, the family of those who love their Father-God. It's a song about His awesome creation and about His faithfulness among the peoples of the earth. It's a song of praise, a song sung by those who know Him and are glad to be reminded of Him and of His works as they come early in the morning to the temple on Mount Zion.
At its beginning, the people turn to one another and sing, "Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful." They also exhort those with instruments to play well for God in response to their praise.
Then, in the next two verses, they turn and sing high praise directly to the Lord Himself. They do it simply by expressing all their experience of Him, all they know and love about the God of Israel. They sing, "For the word of the Lord is right, and all His work is done in truth. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord!"
They sing of a God Who made everything there is by His mere word, and of a God before Whom all peoples should stand in awe, since He is their mighty Creator. He's a God before Whom the plans made by even the mightiest nations are as nothing, but a God Whose own plans stand forever. And at the same time He's such a God that all Who love Him are truly blessed.
In fact, He is so great that He knows every heart and every action of every person in the world. No one can succeed in this world by means of great armies, great strength, or mighty weapons, but instead "the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him" - on those who recognize that He's LORD of all - and on those who hope in His mercy. He will deliver them in every situation.
Finally, in the last stanza, the family of those who love and fear Jehovah all join together to declare their faith and love. Together they sing, "Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy Name." Finally, they all sing the family prayer. Joyfully, they sing, "Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, just as we hope in You!"
Are you part of that family? Do you sometimes just rejoice to stand with the other people of God to praise Him? Do you rejoice to be reminded of His sovereignty and faithfulness?
This is a song about answered prayer. David's purpose in writing it and introducing it to the daily worship was to remind the people to pray to a Lord Who really hears them - as long as certain conditions are met.
He begins with a declaration of his purpose. He sings, "I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth!" Next is the praise itself. He says, "I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears . . . this poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them!"
Following the praise, the leader then exhorts, "Oh taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh fear the Lord, you His saints! There is NO want to those who fear Him!"
We need to know the meaning of this all-important "fear." David has them sing about what it is. He says, "Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Who is the man who desires life, and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it." Real "fear of the Lord" is just living a life of righteousness as the result of being aware of His majestic and holy presence.
And why should they live that way? He sings, "the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry! . . . the righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles." The fear of the Lord, which shows itself in righteous living - is the condition for answered prayer.
The song closes with a promise to all who fear God in that way. They sing, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all . . . and none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned."
So, brother or sister in Christ our King - will you sing this song of answered prayer? Do you experience answered prayer in your life? There's a condition you have to meet to experience answered prayer: you must fear the Lord. That is, realizing that He is the God Who sees, you must purpose to continually live in a way that pleases Him, and, when you stumble, you must confess it to Him. In other words, you have to have a real and living relationship with Him each day, all day. It's from such a life that prayer and answers to prayer flow.
At first glance, this song seems to be quite personal, a private matter between the psalmist and his Lord. But we always need to remember, in any psalm of David, that he's writing it as the king, so any problem he's having is a problem that affects all Israel, and his own salvation is also the salvation of his people. Any attack upon David himself is an attack upon the Davidic kingdom, right down to and including the kingdom - the Church - of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
What David - and his kingdom - needed to know was that the Lord was right there in the battle with him, that He and his Lord were fighting the on same side against the same enemy. And he needed to know that the Lord was saying to him, "I am your salvation!"
If God answers this prayer, says David, then those who seek his life, those who plot how to hurt him, will be seen for what they are, and they'll be defeated and blown away "like chaff before the wind." What he wants is public vindication, he wants his enemy to be seen falling into the very pit he made for David! That way it'll be a great victory for the justice of the Covenant Lord, and all His people will rejoice with David as he sings, "And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord; it shall rejoice in His salvation! All my bones shall say, 'Lord who is like You, delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, yes the poor and the needy from him who plunders him?'"
But who is this "enemy" that David had? He says he was a supposed friend, one for whom David himself did only kindness, for whom David, in fact, gave himself sacrificially so as to do him good. Yet when David was experiencing trouble, this turncoat rejoiced and gathered many together to kill him.
With this kind of enemy in mind, then, David asks the Lord, "How long will You look on? Rescue me from their destructions!" And he goes on to say, "just as I'm praying now in the assembly of Your people, so then, when You save me, I'll give thanks in the same assembly! So don't let them win, those who have hated me without a cause!"
Apparently they were accusing him as though he himself were the villain, but he prays that the Lord Who sees all will not be silent, but will make it plain that David wasn't the villain - but that they themselves were the guilty ones. He prays that they'll be defeated, ashamed, and confused.
He prays that all God's people, all those "who favor my righteous cause," on the other hand, will soon "shout for joy and be glad," that they'll be saying, "Let the Lord be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant." When this happens, sings David, "my tongue shall speak of Your righteousness and of Your praise all the day long!"
How can we apply this to ourselves? Christians are followers of Jesus, and the world sees Jesus, the greater Son of David, as the villain in our day. People see both He and His Church as being obstacles in the way of their "progress." But hopefully, just as in David's case, that Church has been seeking only the good of its enemies. But there comes a time when those enemies must be seen for what they really are, and they must be brought to confusion and public defeat. God's justice must finally be seen by all to prevail. His Church can even now be praying for that justice. Do you? Echo the apostle when he says, "Come quickly, Lord Jesus!"
There are two - and only two - kinds of people in the world. In the words of this psalm, they are "the wicked" and "those who know You." David wants to remind the people, those who come early in the morning to the tabernacle, of these two kinds of people. He wants them to be in the second category. He wants them to pray for the kind of light for daily living that can come only from God and from knowing God.
He begins by singing a summary description of "the wicked." He says that "there is no fear of God before his eyes." It's the reason they are the wicked, the reason, in fact, for everything they are. It answers the question, "Why are they like that?" They are the way they are because God means nothing to them.
The way the wicked see it, there isn't anyone watching them - at least anyone concerned about their behavior. Simply put, he doesn't think there's a God Who cares. David says that the wicked "flatters himself in his own eyes concerning the discovery of his iniquity." For that reason, "He has ceased to be wise and to do good. He devises wickedness on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he does not abhor evil."
That's the way it is with the relativism of our own day that says there's no God, so every man is therefore his own standard - what's right for you is right for you, and what's right for me is right for me.
But there really IS a God Who cares! And those who know Him love His mercy and faithfulness, His righteousness and judgements, and His providence over all His creation. They have discovered His loving kindness and have put their trust in it. They're "abundantly satisfied with the fullness" of that loving kindness, and they drink of the "river of Your pleasures" - the joy of knowing and loving that true God. Not only so, but they've even found that they can actually understand life, because, they say, "with YOU is the fountain of life - in Your light we see light."
After the people have reaffirmed their faith by singing these words, then they're ready to pray. So David leads them in the prayer of those who truly know God. He says, "Oh continue Your loving kindness to those who know You, and Your righteousness to the upright in heart." He prays that they might actually experience their God in these ways this very day! Their prayer thus seeks continuing realization of the Lord's reality, blessing, and care in their lives.
They close by praying to be kept from the influence of unbelievers, lest they fall. It's like one of the things found in the prayer our Lord taught His disciples. In that prayer they are to say, Lord, "Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from the evil one." This prayer does the same.
How do you want your day to go? Will you pray this prayer? Will you seek every day to know the presence and blessing of a real and present God?
Many kinds of people came to the morning worship at the tabernacle and later at the temple. Some were poor and some were rich, some were oppressed by others, and some were the oppressors, some were working-class people, and some were aristocracy. With this variety in mind, it was a good time for David (or later worship leaders) to warn the aristocracy and to encourage the poor - to remind them all of their covenant relationship with God and of how that covenant relationship should work itself out in the practicalities of daily life.
This psalm is that that kind of reminder. It's a song of encouragement and advice for the poor and downtrodden who trust in the Lord, and it's a song of warning to their oppressors ("the wicked"). Hopefully, singing a song like this would prepare them to deal with people in the day that was before them.
The first thing the psalm does is to advise the godly not to become upset concerning those who don't care about the Lord, because, just as the green herb soon becomes brown and dies, these wicked will soon come to an end. But the faithful then hear themselves singing, "Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness." In other words they are to thankfully take what He gives them, and leave their problems to Him. The point is that if they're delighting themselves in God, then their desires will be good in His sight - and those desires will be realized!
Simply put, GOD will take care of them and of their affairs - so THEY won't have to! Justice WILL happen for them, and everyone will know it - it'll be as obvious as the light of the noonday sun! All they have to do is to be patient, wait for the Lord to take care of things, and not focus on how the ungodly seems to be prospering. Don't fret, he says, for "it only causes harm!"
The encouragement goes like this: "evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth!" The key to such encouragement is "waiting." Such waiting just amounts to awareness that there's an eternal plan that's been made in the unseen heaven, a plan in which God is laughing at the evildoer - whose weapons against the poor will finally be the means of their own destruction! The worshippers sing, "the sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken."
So those who wait on the Lord need to remember that, "a little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked," because God is in control and will care for them, and "their inheritance shall be forever." The wicked, on the other hand, "shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord, like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish - into smoke they shall vanish away!"
The daily lives of the godly and of the wicked are in great contrast: "the wicked borrows and doesn't repay, but the righteous shows mercy and gives." The result of this glaring contrast? "Those blessed by Him shall inherit the earth, but those cursed by Him shall be cut off!" The Lord never forgets the godly, but is always close at hand. It's always true that, "though he (the godly) fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand."
As an added incentive to wait on the Lord, the leader sings and has the people repeat, "I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lends, and his descendants are blessed!" The righteous to whom the leader sings need only remember to "depart from evil, and do good . . . for the Lord loves justice, and does not forsake His saints; they are preserved forever . . . the righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell in it forever!"
The wicked don't believe it, but the righteous lifestyle of the godly is really the wisest way to live. The psalmist sings of that wisdom when he says, "the mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of justice. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide."
The people sing the conclusion to these thoughts when they say, "Wait on the Lord, and keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the land." Though the wicked are sometimes "in great power . . . spreading themselves like a native green tree," yet they're coming to their end because such self-made prosperity can't last under God's administration. The conclusion is that "the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord (not from themselves). The Lord shall help and deliver them . . . because they trust in Him."
We too need this daily wisdom. You and I need to be reminded that there's an unseen Hand in the world, an unseen but almighty Hand, the Hand of One Who laughs at the foolishness of the wicked, but a Hand Whose love upholds forever the one who trusts in Him. What we see with earthly eyes is not all there is. May God give us patient trust.
We sin. Then we cover our sin. Then we lie to ourselves and tell ourselves we haven't really sinned. As if such behavior wasn't bad enough, we then repeat the process over and over again - every day.
Occasionally, we say, think, or do things we consider to be really bad, and then when we hide those sins from ourselves or others, we feel even worse. The result of such suppression is a growing load of guilt, a load that, if left unconfessed, begins to result in the physical symptoms the Psalmist mentions in this psalm. He says, "There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your anger, nor any health in my bones because of my sin."
David had experienced all that. His sin with Bathsheba was pleasurable for the moment - but it added an unbearable weight to his load of guilt, especially after he tried to cover it with the subsequent murder of her husband. He personally experienced all the consequences he lists in this psalm.
There was eventual confession and forgiveness for David, though, and his love for God and God's people then moved him to lead the people in this song - so that they might not have to experience the same consequences of guilt he had experienced. Hopefully, as he led them in these words, they'd see their need for daily confession, their need to remain guilt free and open to their God.
For us, too, there's need for daily confession and forgiveness. Read carefully here about the result of not confessing sin, of attempting to hide it and of pretending it never existed. Then, when you've done that, consider carefully David's eventual explosion in prayer. He finally has to cry out, "For I will declare my iniquity; I will be in anguish over my sin . . . Do not forsake me, O Lord; O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord of my salvation!"
The lesson is that we shouldn't procrastinate, as David sadly did, to confess every sin. After all, Jesus Christ knew all your sin long ago, and so you won't surprise Him with any of it now. He knew it when He became your Sponsor and when He "gave Himself, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God." He knows you and still loves you! And the result of your Savior's love is expressed by John. He says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness!"
David is SO much like us! Apparently he was faced with a situation in which it would have been best for him simply to remain silent, to let the "wicked" have their say without answering, even when they spoke about him. And he succeeded for a while. He held it in as long as he could. But all the time he was almost bursting inwardly because of the their injustice, their falsehood, and their proudness. It's likely that if he'd continued to remain silent they would have "hanged themselves" with their own words. But he couldn't.
When he couldn't take it anymore and just had to defend himself, the inward dam burst, and a torrent of words escaped his mouth. He became nearly as bad as his accusers had been, and he sinned with his mouth - grievously. He knew he shouldn't have done it. He had purposed before the Lord to hold his tongue. But, as we often do, he failed, and now there were consequences. It didn't seem like the Lord was helping him, and he knew why - he had sinned.
God's covenant people Israel should never act like that! They should always trust Him and let Him take care of their problems instead of taking them into their own hands. But, like David, they fail, and God is dishonored by it.
But dear brothers and sisters, that's why David composed this psalm and introduced it into the daily worship - he knew everyone who sang it could relate to it, because such things happen to everyone. So he led them in this penitential song, a song of confession to God and prayer for His mercy and restoration. He knew they'd all need it.
In the first three verses, he simply tells God what he's done. Then, in the next three verses, he confesses is frailness, his foolishness, and the shortness of his time on this earth.
Finally, he confesses that the Lord is all he has. He returns to Him and begs His merciful forgiveness - that He would turn to him again because his life is too short to spend it apart from Him. He begs His gracious restoration by saying, "Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; Do not be silent at my tears, for I am a stranger with You, a sojourner, as all my fathers were. Remove Your (reproachful) gaze from me, that I may regain strength, before I go away and am no more."
Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever "burst forth" with words that should never have been said? I suspect we all have. Confess your sin to your Lord. Seek His restoration. He's merciful.
Although this is a psalm of David, it's also a messianic psalm, a psalm that looks forward to the great Descendant of King David, our Lord Jesus Christ. David sang it, phrase by phrase, and the congregation repeated each phrase in their morning worship, but as appropriate as it was for David's Israel, it's equally appropriate for our Lord and His Church. In fact it's quoted in Hebrews 10:5-7, and there attributed to our Lord.
David was the leader of Israel's armies. But since Israel as a nation was in peril in each of its battles, David was therefore also the nation's savior, the commander who would be counted on to deliver them from defeat. The psalm before us, in fact, was probably sung in memory of victory in a particular battle. But it undoubtedly became much more. It became a song to be sung in anticipation of any other battles David and Israel might fight and win with God's help. So it's a song of thanksgiving to the God Who alone could give them such victories.
The first necessity in such a song was confession that battles of any kind could never be won merely by means of superior weapons or greater strength, but, ultimately, they could be won only by the intervention of God. David sings, "I waited patiently for the Lord, and He inclined to me, and heard my cry!" Very simply, He's confessing that rushing right in, depending on his own strength and upon the fierceness of his charge - wasn't ever going to result in victory, but that waiting patiently for the Lord to act on Israel's behalf was the sure key to success.
When thinking about such military engagements, it was always necessary to face the possibility of David's death and the defeat of God's people. David knew that possibility very well, and he saw it as it really was. To him it was like "an horrible pit," a pit filled with "miry clay," a pit out of which the Lord must save him or he would indeed be forever lost.
The words David uses in this psalm are in fact descriptive of death. In the Hebrew mind physical death was often likened to a "pit" (sheol) filled with miry clay, a pit from which there could be no escape. In any given battle, only God could save David (and Israel) from such death. He alone was therefore to be praised when they won, and His alone would be the glory.
And, just as we should do in remembrance of the battles of our lives, David praised the God Who was ALWAYS thinking about them, ALWAYS caring for them - Whose thoughts toward them were so many they couldn't ever be numbered.
Along with knowing that great armor and weaponry couldn't win, David also knew that "religious goodness" wouldn't save Israel either. In other words, their "sacrifices and offerings" wouldn't be any more effective than more horses and better swords. Instead, as David himself very well knew, God had another plan. It would be David himself who would be used of God to bring the victory. He sings, "Sacrifices and offering (religious rituals) You did not desire; my ears You have opened (to hear God's call to lead the people in battle). Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require. Then I said, 'Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart (not just in outward religious observance).'"
So Israel had to trust in God alone, and God's means for Israel's salvation would be David himself! But even though he was to be such a savior, yet David himself had to depend entirely upon a much greater Savior. So he promised the Lord that he would tell "the great assembly" (all Israel) about that dependence, and he prays a simple prayer of that dependency when he says, "Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O Lord!"
He candidly confesses to the Lord that it isn't his own worthiness that makes him a fit leader. Indeed he has to say, "My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of my head; therefore my heart fails me."
So it's abundantly clear that all help will have to be from the merciful and gracious Lord. He sings, "Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me; O Lord, make haste to help me!" And in the same vein he prays "Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; let such as love Your salvation say continually, 'The Lord be magnified!'" Having confessed that it all depends on God, He closes with another simple prayer. He says, "You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!"
Our Lord Jesus Christ, like David, was given the task of being His people's Savior - their Deliverer in the world's greatest battle, the battle over sin and death. Like David, we need to see that it's ultimately His battle, not ours. Like Israel, we too need to be aware that religious ritual can't save us any more than it did them. Only Jesus Christ, the Son of God, can ultimately save us.
We're in that battle now. We're in it today - from the time we get up in the morning until we lie down again at night - and it's an awful battle against all the forces of darkness! Oh tell Him, then, that He is your David, your Savior! Tell Him at the very beginning of the day that He's all the help you have - or need.
Then fight hard, knowing that He has accepted the challenge, that He voluntarily came to be your Savior and Lord, to lead you and show you the way in every battle against the world, the flesh and the Devil. It is to Him we appeal when we close our prayers by saying, "…through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen."