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In the Word

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Psalm 79

Today’s text is Israel’s cry for deliverance. This community lament, similar to Psalm 74, follows a great disaster that fell upon Jerusalem (most likely the Babylonian destruction). After lamenting this destruction (v. 1-5), the psalmist petitions God for deliverance of His people, but also for retribution on their enemies (v. 6-12), before ending with praise in anticipation of His response (v. 13).

 

The nations had defiled God’s holy temple (treating something holy as unclean), “laid Jerusalem in ruins”, and slaughtered God’s people. The psalmist’s response to this reality is a series of questions for God.

 

How long, O Lord?

Will you be angry forever?

Will your jealousy burn like fire? (Psalm 79:5)

 

As part of this plea, three reasons are cited for God to act swiftly; the misery His people are experiencing (v. 1-4), His compassion (v. 8), and the humiliation brought to His name (v. 10).

As believers, when we struggle or find ourselves in crisis, it may seem as though God is aloof or slow to respond. However, we know His ways and timing are perfect, regardless of our perspective.

 

The psalmist rightly blames this ruinous condition on the heathen nations. We know that this destruction does not come about apart from God’s sovereign purposes. However, at the same time he points out that God is also angry with His people as a result of their continued unfaithfulness. Israel has sinned against God. While the worldly influences that corrupt the people of God will bear consequences, the ultimate problem lies in the hearts of the people who have rebelled against God – the reason for His righteous anger! The psalmist pleads for God’s forgiveness on behalf of the nation.

 

God’s jealousy is a passionate commitment to receiving exclusive loyalty from His people – a commitment for their good. The mention of God’s jealousy in this passage is an acknowledgement of unfaithfulness and led to the plea for forgiveness.

 

After praying for rescue, protection, and vengeance, Asaph ended this psalm with grateful dependence upon God. He properly recognized God’s place as Shepherd over His people and sheep.

 

Application

 

1.    Jerusalem is a figure of the Church of Christ. As we look at the Church today and see the devastation (materialism, intellectual pride, lack of fear of God), does our heart ache, do we grieve, can we feel the pain of this Psalm? Are we on our knees in prayer, pleading with God for the health and devotion of the Church?

 

2.    With every believer being “a temple where God dwells”, perhaps we have been “defiled” and are losing the battle with temptation, anger, speech, or apathy. Although our salvation is secure in Christ, God can use these attacks to convict us of our sins and bring us to a place of repentance. Pray through this Psalm, call out the devil’s schemes and plead with God to do a work.

 

3.    Bitterness and our desire for revenge can cause great damage in our lives as believers. As Asaph called out to God to avenge the destruction before him, we are reminded that we do not need to defend our personal reputations, right every injustice, and seek vengeance for every offence (Romans 12:18-21).

 

4.    Finally, are we grateful people filled with praise, recognizing and embracing our position as “sheep of His pasture”?

 

But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise. (Psalm 79:13)

 

Prayer

 

Lord, what a privilege it is to be loved and cared for as Your sheep, fully dependent on You. You rescued us from a world of sin, deceit, and destruction. We find freedom and rest in your goodness, protection, and justice. Root out in us any sin that still entangles us so that we can more accurately reflect who You are. Give us genuine grief for the lost, a heart for the world, and love for our neighbour. Help us be a more praise-filled, thankful people who live in anticipation of eternity. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

 

Blair Klinck

Originally written May 2021

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Psalm 72

Book 2 of the Psalter ends with Psalm 72, and brings to a close the collection of the “Prayers of David.” Scattered Psalms of David occur in Books 3-5 as well, but this concludes the organized arrangement of his Psalms in Books 1-2.

 

The Psalms at the Seams

 

The Psalms are not just a random assortment of songs, but an intentionally organized and structured set of songs, meant to communicate deep truths about who God is, and why we should worship Him. In particular, the Psalms at the “seams” of the Psalter, at the beginning and end of each book, are crucial in our understanding of the book as a whole.

 

These Psalms on the seams are where the themes of the Psalter are made the most clear, and we get to see the intent of those who, through the Holy Spirit, organized the Psalms. To see what I mean, read through the Psalms at the bounds of Book 1 (1-2, 41) and Book 2 (42-43, 72), and you’ll begin to see some of these key themes emerge. Expectation of a coming King, hope for deliverance, an eternal kingdom, and praise for the Lord, are present in all of these Psalms.


Take a look again at Psalm 72, and notice those themes in particular:

 

Coming King:             “Give the king your justice, O God,

                                        and your righteousness to the royal son!” (v1)

Deliverance:                “From oppression and violence he redeems their life,

                                         and precious is their blood in his sight.” (v14)

Eternal Kingdom:       “May his name endure forever,

                                       his fame continue as long as the sun!” (v17)         

Praise the Lord:          “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,

                                       who alone does wondrous things.” (v18)

 

The End of the Psalms of David

 

Not only does this Psalm (along with the other “seam” Psalms highlight these recurring themes, this Psalm also wraps up the “Prayers of David.” The Psalms of Books 1-2 follow closely with the life of David, from his early wanderings in the wilderness to our Psalm, where at the end of his reign he hopes for the future king, his son Solomon (Ps 72). It is an extremely rewarding exercise to read Psalms 1-72 with 1-2 Samuel open, and following David’s entire life as represented in his Psalms.

 

Considering Psalm 72

 

With that said, what else is going on in Psalm 72?

As Christians we necessarily read all of the Bible with Christ in mind, and this Psalm is no exception! Not only was David anticipating the future king in his son, Solomon, but the future eternal King that would come in the Messiah.

Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah, is the one who has and will ultimately fulfill all of Psalm 72. He will be the king who will: “judge your people with righteousness … defend the cause of the poor … have dominion from sea to sea … deliver the needy.” Kings will “fall down before him,” prayers will be “made for him continually and blessings invoked for him all the day,” his name will “endure forever, and his fame continue as long as the sun.”  All people will be blessed in Him, and “the whole earth will be filled with His glory.”

 

That is Jesus. That is our Messiah-King, the one for whom David longed, and the one in whom we trust for our salvation.

 

Prayer

 

Jesus, our Messiah, our King, would we always remember that you are far more than the one who saves us from sin. Would we remember that you are a long-awaited and promised king, the one who died that we may have life, the one who will indeed reign over all of heaven and earth. We pray for the day when you will indeed deliver the needy, redeem the oppressed, have dominion from sea to sea, and fill the earth with your glory. We pray in your name, that day would be soon. Come Lord Jesus! Amen.

                                                                

Peter Brown

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SBC Insights

SBC Insights

 

We don’t have to look far in Scripture before we come across an exhortation from the Lord to study, delight, know, and understand, His Word:

 

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

 

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Joshua 1:8

 

In an effort to grow in our knowledge and love of God’s Word, Southshore has been following the RMM (Robert Murry M‘Cheyne) Bible Reading Plan since January 2021, which will take us through the whole Bible by the end of 2022. To supplement our study, each week we provide a reflection on one of the chapters to be read, written by someone from Southshore. We call these brief reflections SBC Insights.

 

The hope is that SBC Insights would:

  1. Remind and encourage us to be in God’s Word regularly.
  2. Provide additional Biblical insight and learning outside of Sunday mornings.
  3. Provide an opportunity for discipleship in exegesis and writing, that we might equip more people to “rightly handle the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15).

 

SBC Insights can be found on our website at SBC Insights, and will be linked each week in Southshore Connects. New Insights will be posted here each week, starting on September 21.

 

If you would like to learn more about SBC Insights, or grow in your Biblical knowledge, understanding of hermeneutics and exposition, by becoming an Insight writer, reach out to Peter Brown.

 

Peter Brown

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Psalm 39

This question must inevitably arise: What is the Christian's response when he or she follows God's commandments but his or her suffering still increases?

 

Psalm 39 of David points to an answer for this question. Beginning in verse 1, David recounts a prior commitment to remain silent so that in his speech he would not sin against both, his unnamed persecutor and God. Yet, despite keeping this commitment, David's situation only became worse resulting in his anger.

 

David's responding outburst is characterized by his pleading with God to reveal the length of his suffering. As its basis, David appeals to God's sovereignty and humanity's momentary existence. In a manner of speaking, David is pleading that this suffering not summarize the entirety of his life.

 

Coming to verse 7, we arrive at this psalm's turning point as David's question, "O Lord, for what do I wait?" demonstrates David's continued faithfulness to God. This faithfulness continues as David's recognizes his own sin and identifies God as the cause of his suffering. This recognition is significant because up until this point David has endeavored to remain innocent. So when David makes this recognition it is not necessarily about his present situation, but instead refers to his overall sinfulness and need for a saviour. As a result, David recognizes God's sovereignty and accepts that he does not see the entirety of the situation.

 

Despite David's emotions resulting from his suffering at the hand of God, he uses a literary device to demonstrate his faithfulness. This literary device is David's use of personalized bodily language: 1. "Hear my prayer" (v.12), 2. "Give ear to my cry" (v.12), 3. "Hold not your peace" (v.12), 4. "Look away from me" (v.13). This usage of language demonstrates that David whole-heartedly believes in a God whom enters his crises even though he remains upset with God's inaction. This ending note further demonstrates that David's situation has not changed, he continues waiting for God's answer but expresses faith regardless of his situation and his emotions.

 

Patient faithfulness is difficult yet the Bible is full of examples demonstrating this kind of faithfulness. From Joseph's time in prison to Israel's remnant consistently awaiting the Messiah, examples abound. It is important to consider this psalm in a similar light to these examples because it demonstrates David's in the moment experience. As a result, this psalm demonstrates that patient faithfulness is not bound to emotions. Instead, patient faithfulness is the continuing commitment to return to God in times of need.

 

Prayer


O Sovereign Lord, we, like David, will inevitably sin and find ourself under Your discipline. Lord, we will also find ourselves accepting of your discipline while our situation grows worse. May we be so bold as to ask for Your gracious forgiveness while representing the greater sufferings our waiting has caused as David has. Help us as we seek remain faithful and return to you despite our emotions. In Christ’s name amen.


Bryn Robinson

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Psalm 32

 Psalm 32 is a penitential psalm. That is, it expresses sorrow for sin and the desire for repentance.

 

Sin is the reality of every human heart. Born in sin and enslaved by sin, humanity lives under the power of sin. This is the death sentence of every person.

 

Is there a solution for that condition of soul which makes fellowship with God impossible and our life after death separated from Him our forever reality? Wonderfully, marvellously, amazingly, yes, there is! The Son of God came to seek out and save the lost.

 

In the garden, following their earth-shattering disobedience, Adam hid, but God sought him out.

 

…the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” (Genesis 3:8-10)

 

God confronts us in our sin with His heavy hand of conviction, even bringing physical suffering in order to press us and force us to “come clean” with our misdeeds of wrongdoing.

 

For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah (Psalm 32:4 ESV)

 

Here is the wrestle: sin leaves us naked, ashamed and afraid. The very One we have offended, the thrice holy God is the last one we want to face. Living under the weight of the guilt of sin is a painful existence. However, in mercy, God brings us to that place that we might be honest before Him, confess our sin, seek forgiveness and be restored to Him, to others and within ourselves.

 

Jesus Christ is EXACTLY the One to whom we need to run, for there is always mercy to be found, and forgiveness is available in no other person or place!

 

Confession of sin (vs. 5) brings the covering of sin, the removal of soul-sapping, suffocating shame, and restored fellowship with our Creator. As heavy as is the weight of conviction of God’s Spirit, MUCH GREATER STILL is the liberation of forgiveness and restored joy in the Spirit. Hallelujah!

 

In response to the admission of their nakedness the Lord God made a garment for them to cover their shame (Gen. 3:21). Our forgiveness does not come with additional animal sacrifices, as it did in David’s day. It comes through trusting the Lamb of God, who is the once and for all sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 7:27).

 

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us… (Ephesians 1:7-8 ESV)

 

Let us not run from God and hide because of our sin. Let us run to the cross of Christ and seek His forgiveness, His hand of blessing and His guidance upon our lives. This is the blessing of every born again believer who has been justified by the blood of Jesus Christ.

 

Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart! (Psalm 32:11 ESV)

 

Prayer

 

Merciful Father, who seeks out the wayward and the lost, once again we thank You for the gift of Your Son who lived perfectly to die for sinful humanity.

 

Our hope, our trust, our faith is in You alone. We rejoice today, as the upright in heart, and our joy is from You and because of You. We confess our need of daily grace, humility and forgiveness. May a life of praise and obedience accompany our glad hearts for how we’ve been forgiven.

 

In the merciful name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

 

Jody Cross

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Psalm 22

In Psalm 22, David is writing his woes out as a plea for mercy from God. In many different ways, David is suffering for his faith in the Lord. He is mocked and made low, and even compares himself to a worm (v6). 


As the psalm goes on, David paints a vivid picture of metaphors about how hopeless his situation is, and how much he truly needs God to save him from his despair, and how he knows he can trust in the Lord, and that his people should follow this example. 

 

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?” - Psalm 22:1

 

David begins by expressing his deep sorrow to God, and goes so far to ask God why he has seemingly abandoned him and ignored his cries. However, even though David is at his lowest, and believes God is far from him, he still praises His name. 

 

“Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted; 

they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.” 

Psalm 22: 3-5 

 

We can learn a lot from what David says and does in this Psalm. He prays to God about his suffering and desires God to draw near to himself, albeit while questioning God’s intentions. And even after explaining his suffering, he recognizes the truth of who God is: He is holy, and worthy of all praise, whether we are celebrating or mourning.

 

That is a key aspect in our worship of God. We must worship him in our days of suffering, and in our days triumph alike. We must remember Him. It is far too easy to exalt ourselves in our high-points, and cast blame on God for our low-points. What David is pointing out for us, is that it is all God, or none of it is. God tells us as much through the prophet Isaiah, and the Apostle Paul:

 

“...fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” - Isaiah 41:10

 

 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” - Romans 8:31


Near the end of the psalm, David is crying out for a saviour. He is asking God to save his soul from destruction. What we know as Christians, is that by accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, our very souls have been saved. God is so great, that no one can take us from His hands. No mocking words or physical destruction can ever tear us away from Him. 

 

 

Prayer


God, you are great. You are generous and kind, and your yoke is easy. Open our hearts, minds and souls to the truth of who you are. Let our love for you guide us. You are worthy of all praise, adoration, and glory. Please remind us to eat our daily bread and to live in and through you. Praise God! Amen

 

Hayden Cowie

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Ruth 3-4

There are a few books of the Bible that we might read and wonder – “Why is this in here? What is God communicating and teaching us through this book?”


We can get turned around by the imagery and allegory of the Song of Solomon, confused by the laws and census data in Numbers, or lost in the seemingly disconnected history of Esther and Ruth, which is where we find ourselves today.

 

At first glance, Ruth may seem to be a disconnected story, but it’s really an integral part of what God was doing in redemptive history. Let me show you how:

 

The participation of Ruth in the broader Biblical narrative is definitely understated, and mostly takes place in the very beginning and very end of the book, in the genealogies that we so often gloss over.

 

First, the author spends the opening section of Ch. 1 reaching backwards through a genealogy, and very clearly introduces Ruth as a Moabite woman. This certainly seems like a random detail, until we get to the very end of the book. Ch. 4 ends by reaching forwards in Ruth’s genealogy, and identifies her as the great-grandmother of David, the future King of Israel. And that’s a big deal.

 

The inclusion of Ruth in the genealogy of David, through the powerful and purposeful providence of God, goes a long way in explaining how Israel was meant to interact with the Gentiles. In the same way that Rahab hid the spies in Jericho, and was welcomed into the people of Israel, so Ruth, a Moabite, was not only welcomed into Israel, but became great-grandmother of King David. Gentiles are meant to be part of the kingdom of God – and as a Gentile – I praise God for that!

 

Ruth’s story also reminds us that God gladly works through women to accomplish his purposes. The Bible is full of stories of God working through unlikely women, through their barrenness, Gentile lineage, poverty, and a whole list of other human limitations, to do amazing things for the kingdom of God. And we ought to celebrate the gifts and contributions of Godly women in our midst, whom the Lord uses to do great things!

 

Finally, the story of Ruth is a gospel redemption story. Ruth had no claim upon Boaz. He was not required to redeem her, or provide for her and Naomi. But he did.


Boaz serves as a type, or a model, of Christ, because Jesus redeems us in the same way. We have no claim upon Christ, we do not deserve redemption, and Jesus is not obligated to give it. But he does

 

Praise God that:

 

“By grace you have been saved through faith.

And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God!” (Eph 2:8)

 

Prayer

 

Lord would you help us to see how you are working, your redemptive history, everywhere in Scripture. Thank you for the story of Ruth, who demonstrates so well our need for redemption. And for Boaz, who shows us how our redemption in Christ is an undeserved, and unearned gift of grace. Lord we thank you that you worked through even Ruth, a poor gentile woman, to accomplish your great purposes. Would we submit our lives to you, that you would be able to accomplish great things through us, by your powerful and purposeful providence. Amen.

                                                                

Peter Brown

 

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Judges 10

After the people of Israel entered the promised land, they began a cycle of disobedience through idolatry by bowing down and worshipping the gods of Syria, Sidon, Moab, as well as the gods of the Ammonites, and the Philistines. They seemed to be intent to worship anything but the one true God, breaking the first commandment over and over again: 

                                                                                                               

 “You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3

 

Unfortunately, this circle of disobedience would last for hundreds of years and cause destruction, distress, and death among the Israelites. The picture of a circle is used here because Israel’s actions in the book of Judges followed the same steps over and over again. 

  1. There is peace in the Land, and Israel serves the Lord
  2. Israel does evil in the eyes of the Lord
  3. God punishes Israel, and the people are oppressed 
  4. Israel cries out to the Lord
  5. God raises up a Judge 
  6. Israel is delivered from the oppressors, and they are in turn delivered into God’s hands 
  7. Repeat steps 1 - 6 

 

Israel's constant idolatry drove a deep wedge between them and God, that led God to challenge the people of Israel in their idolatrous ways.

 

“ Go and cry out to the gods whom you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.” Judges 10:14 

 

This is when the Israelites knew they were in a lot of trouble with God, as they quickly changed their allegiance and humbled themselves with acknowledgement of their wickedness as they cried out for salvation.

 

 “We have sinned; do to us whatever seems good to you. Only please deliver us this day.” Judges 10:15 

 

After their statement of guilt, Israel put away their false gods and became servants of the Lord once more. However, the cycle of disobedience would continue on for many generations more. 

 

Sins like the idolatry that the Israelites were committing may be easier to see and condemn because it seems too foreign to us as followers of Christ to do as they did. However, idolatry doesn’t end with bowing down to idols and false gods. The most prevalent way to commit idolatry in this day and age is the worship of the self above God. Right now as I’m sure you have seen, we are living in a very self-centered society that emphasizes what's best for me,instead of what’s best for others. 

 

As followers of Christ we are called to serve others, and not ourselves. We are to look outwardly and be of service to others in their need, but it can be all too easy to fall into the trappings of this world. 

 

“But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:43-45

 

“Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him” John 13:16

 

As Christians, we need to “put away” our idolatry as well, just as the Israelites did in Judges, and become a true servant of the Lord. 

 

Prayer

 

Lord, you are good and gracious. Full of mercy and love. We come to you humbled by your works, accepting that we have fallen short, and will again. Have mercy on us, and teach us more and more. Open our hearts to serve as you have done, and make us more and more like you every day. Show us our sinful ways. Thank you for your faithfulness to us, and remind us daily of why we follow you. Help us deny ourselves and take up the cross to follow you.

 

Amen

 

Hayden Cowie

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Jeremiah 16

Last fall we talked about the gospel (good news), which Jody summarized in 5 words beginning with the letter G. Do you remember what they were?

 

God, guilt, grace, gratitude, and glory.

 

If you’ve ever wondered where you can find the gospel in the Old Testament, today’s passage from Jeremiah 16 is one of many examples. The people of Israel had sinned. Blatantly. Habitually. Through Jeremiah, God begins the gospel message in this passage by confronting his wayward, rebellious people and tells them “every one of you follows his stubborn, evil will, refusing to listen to me” (v 12). This is the New Testament message that Paul preached many years later in Romans 3:23 “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.

 

Having made their guilt clear, God says that he will “doubly repay their iniquity and their sin” (v 18). We must not forget that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a). God is just and judgement for sin will happen. In this case, it is by the Israelites being “hurled out of this land” (v 13), which happens in chapter 39.

 

What is amazing is that in the middle of this chapter, in the middle of confronting sinners with their guilt, God promises grace and restoration (v 14). In fact, the restitution will be so wonderful that it will be even better than when God brought his people out of Egypt! (v15). How can this be? Why would He do this? Because God desires to be in relationship with us and to cleanse and restore us. All of this is His initiative and He is the only one who can do it. Even our repentance, our turning back to him is only through his grace (see Ephesians 2:8,9).

 

The remnant who will be restored like this will surely cry out to God in gratitude and give Him glory, as Jermiah does in verse 19: “O Lord, my strength and my stronghold, my refuge in the day of trouble”. Those who stubbornly persist in their sin will also bring God glory, but it will be through the display of his power and justice in their punishment (v 21).

 

And there it is. The gospel. It begins with God and ends with His glory. He shows the people their guilt, provides grace, and elicits gratitude. And it’s the same today. The good news is available to us in 2022 as well. We are all just as guilty as the Israelites were. God will punish our sin, either in us or in the perfect substitute, His son, Jesus Christ. Either way God will receive glory.

 

Have you agreed with God about your guilt? Have you cried out to him for forgiveness and grace? If not, don’t wait any longer! He longs to restore you so that you can know Him. If you have, then praise him in grateful adoration for his amazing grace!

 

Prayer

 

God of all grace, we acknowledge our guilt before you. We agree that our hearts have turned to idols and we have worshiped and run after other things in our lives instead of you. Your judgement towards us is just. Forgive us Oh Lord. Wash away our guilt by the blood of your son, Jesus. Make us holy so that we might be acceptable in your presence and be free to worship you, just as we were made to do. Thank you making a way for us to return to you! Amen.

 

Duncan Taylor

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Psalm 139

One of the major differentiating characteristics of God in the OT is His speech. As such, tremendous importance is placed upon His silence because this gives His people the opportunity to respond. One important response is lament which functions as God's established silence to listen to the heartache of His people. Let's evaluate the way in which God desires our response to our crises.

 

In our study, we will use Psalm 139, a lament psalm, to discover the way God seeks to hear our heartaches by recognizing the typical lament structure:

  • Petition - a cry to God, referring to God by a name provided in Scripture (Great Comforter, Sovereign Lord, etc.).
  • Plea - one's particular request for God to act.
  • Complaint - the lamenter's difficulty which identifies his/her motives andthe problem.
  • Expression of Trust - an expression of trust that God as identified in Petition will respond.

 

David begins his lament in v.1-18 by praising God's discernment through recognizing:

  • God's intimate knowledge of himself (v.1-6),
  • God's omnipresence from which he cannot escape (v.7-12),
  • God's knowledge of David's own creation that he doesn’t have the ability to see or remember (v.13-18).


Following typical lament form, this lament begins in v.1-18 with David's petition to the all-seeing God. Yet this is not the only part of lament found within v.1-18. David's expression of trust is demonstrated in v.5-6, 17-18 which present David's faith that God's discernment continues within his life.

 

David's plea is found within v.23-24 as he asks God to search, know, see, and lead him. Thus far, three of four components have been apparent but the specifics of the complaint require greater consideration.

 

To identify David's problem, we must appreciate v.19-22 in the context of v.1-18 so let's summarize v.1-18 in three general sections: 1. God, You are discerning (v.1-6). 2. None can escape Your presence (v.7-12). 3. God, You are the creator with authority over lives (v.13-18). Now let's turn to v.19-22.

 

If you'll allow me, I'll construct a simplified summary of David's conflict: "God, I know who You are. You know my heart and thus know the hearts of the wicked. Just as I cannot escape You, neither can the wicked. You have the authority as creator over my life and thus over the lives of the wicked. Yet the wicked are still here and they surround me even though they hate You (v.19-20). Surely, You do not count me among them, for I despise their hatred of You. Should I judge them as they hate You because I love You? (v.21-22)."

 

To summarize: the conflict David experiences is what to think/how to feel in the tension between God's character which hates evil and God's sovereign extension of grace which allows the wicked to remain. This lament psalm rightfully calls God to act and punish the wicked because they despise Him, and yet David's petition and plea demonstrates his desire to not only hate the wicked as God does, but also demonstrate God's grace toward them. In short, it is a prayer: "God I don't know how can I hate evil as You do, and represent Your grace to evildoers. Search me and lead me to follow You in this."

As a result, this lament demonstrates David's suffering as he questions the Godliness of his hatred of evil-doers and tries to authentically reflect God's character toward them. In so doing, this lament is about the suffering of waiting for God's action and the internal suffering experienced in the waiting. Let us seek lament according to God's instructions as we await Christ's return.

 

Prayer

 

Speaking God, it is awe-inspiring to appreciate lament as our opportunity to voice suffering. Thank you for the systematized process of lament which functions as Christian crisis language. May we appreciate lament's role in the Psalter as corporate not merely personal worship. Let us recognize that it is in and through lament that we must move from pain to praise for you have established this as such. We bless your name in this Christ Jesus. Amen.

 

Bryn Robinson

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