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Friday, December 23, 2016

ADVENT DEC. 23

PSALM 144

Harps to slingshots...



David was a king but also the head of an army, much like we would call our president the Commander in Chief, except David fought alongside his soldiers.  Thus we have verses like,


"Blessed be the Lord, my rock,
Who trains my hands for war,*
And my fingers for battle;**
My lovingkindness and my fortress,
My stronghold and my deliverer,
My shield and He in whom I take refuge,
Who subdues my people under me."

*To use the sword. battle-ax,or spear
**To use the bow and arrows, and the sling.




Most believe this was written after the restoration of his kingdom after the death of Absalom.
His people were back under his leadership, his kingship.  He may have lost a battle, but  in a sense he came out the victor in the war.  David acknowledges where his victory came from: from God his fortress and stronghold, his deliverer, his shield, his refuge, and the one who even trained his hands and his fingers for war. 

David was trained to be a shepherd, but now found himself to be a soldier.  "His hands had been used to the crook and his fingers to the harp, but God taught his hands to war and his fingers to fight, because he designed him for Israel's champion." (Matthew Henry) So here we have David singing about it.  His whole life was put into songs because those fingers taught for war were also trained to play the harp.

Did you ever think that the "multitude of the heavenly host praising God" (Luke 2:13) bringing the shepherds the good news that the little Lord Jesus had been born were also the army of heaven?  They laid their  weapons down as they came to sing praises to God's holy Son who came from heaven to earth.  You know their fingers were itching to protect their Commander, that babe who lay helpless in the manger.  But it was a time to be the choir worshiping Him, the One who was now a little lower than the angels.  God put His Son smack dab in the middle of the sons of men...


"O Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him?
Or the son of man, that You think of him?"
(what a poor little thing is he, that Thou takest knowledge of him
that Thou makest account of him." (Matthew Henry)



These verses have multiple layers.  They are repeated in Job 7:17...


"What is man that You magnify him,
And that You are concerned (set Your heart on) about him?"



Then again in Psalm 8:4 which is quoted also in Hebrews 2:6-8...


"What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him
Yet You have made him a little lower than God (or the angels),
And You crown him with glory and majesty!
You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet."


David is describing himself as the son of man.  Yet we know in hindsight who the true Son of Man was, the one who was fully God, fully man.  For a time He was a little lower than the angels here on earth as described in Philippians 2:6-11...


"Who, although He existed in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped (asserted),
but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-slave,
and being made in the likeness of men.
Being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him,
and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow,
of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father."


To me, this is the best explanation of these verses in this Psalm.  David is prophetic here of the Christ, the Son of God, who was also called the Son of Man.  But first there had to be a long Advent, waiting, for the Messiah who was coming.  


In the meanwhile, he left the sons of man in charge,
to rule over the works of God's hand...


"Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;
and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds in the sky




and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing




that creeps on the earth...God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply,
and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and



over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the face of the earth."
(Genesis 1:26-28)



This is called stewardship, a God-given responsibility not to be taken lightly when God put man in the saddle, so to speak. So in the middle of those cattle, in the hay cultivated by the sons of man,
a child was born, a Son was given.







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