Wednesday, September 14, 2016

PSALM 118 

verses 10-14

"All nations surrounded me;
In the name of the Lord I will surely cut the off...
They surrounded me like bees;
They were extinguished as a fire of thorns;
In the name of the Lord I will surely cut them off.
You pushed me violently so that I was falling,
But the Lord helped me.
The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation."

Surrounded like bees,
pushed violently so I was falling,
But the Lord helped me.

Instead of putting hands up to surrender to the enemy,
the Psalmist was putting his hands up to be rescued by the Lord
then hands up in praise,
"The Lord is my strength and song."

Adam Clarke quotes a poem by Pope concerning the army swarming like bees...

"The following host
Pour'd forth by thousands darkens all the coast.
As from some rocky cleft the shepherd sees,
Clust'ring in heaps on heaps, the driving bees,
Rolling and blackening, swarms succeeding swarms,
With deeper murmurs and more hoarse alarms;
Dusky they spread a close embodied crowd,
And o'er the vale descends the living cloud:
So from the tents and ships a lengthening train
Spreads all the beach, and wide o'ershades the plain:
Along the region runs a deaf'ning sound;
Beneath their footsteps groans a trembling ground."

"They compassed me about like bees, came upon him in swarms, set upon him with their malignant stings; but it was to their own destruction, as the bee loses her life with her sting."
(Matthew Henry)

I've told of it before, but while visiting a relative's house in Santa Cruz, my cousins and friends were in the back part of the property.  As I watched from inside the house, the guys all ran up swatting something while one stood before the sliding glass door, growled and ripped apart his shirt like a he-man.  I wondered what on earth was going on, only to discover that they had accidently disturbed a colony of bees and this one had a bee stinging him from inside his shirt.  Bees. 

There are Killer Bees who have attacked in swarms.  Imagine an enemy so vast that it is like a "living cloud" with a deaf'ning sound...groans a trembling ground."

From the Psalmist experience, sometimes we are surrounded with an impossible ability to be saved.  Just like we are saved from the impossible stain of sin by the blood of Jesus Christ, so He can save us from our enemies, "Thou prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies."
As martyrs in history teach us though, sometimes He saves us by lifting the curtain so that we may slip on past the sting of evil in this world and enter into His presence in the next.  That is God's perspective.  He knows the pain and suffering in this world of woe, even while hanging on a cross, but He has overcome sin and the sting of death.  He said, "I go to prepare a place for you that where I am, you may be also."

"The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation."

"If God be our strength, He must be our song;
He works all our works in us,
He must have all praise and glory from us."
(Matthew Henry)

Bees are hard to fight with the sword or even the bullet.
After watching the Civil War re-enactment battle
where my son had to tear off each package of gun powder
and reload his rifle after each shot,
it was evident how vulnerable the soldiers were even while armed. 
That's us without help from above.

Heard the buzz lately?
Are we more afraid of the buzz than the actual pain of the sting?
In the words of one president,
"We have nothing to fear, but fear itself."
It's hard to sing His praise from a position of fear.
Find His strength
even if you have to limp into His camp
leaning on His arm while singing victory!

Speaking of bees...
When my children were in early elementary school,
one mother told me her son came home so enamored with our daughter he said,
"You don't understand, mom!
It's like she's the queen and we're all her worker bees!" 


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