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Sunday, December 18, 2016

PSALM 143



"Hear my prayer, O Lord, give ear to my supplications:
in Thy faithfulness answer me, and in Thy righteousness.
And enter not into judgment with Thy servant:
for in Thy sight shall no man living be justified.
For the enemy hath persecuted my soul;
he hath smitteth my life down to the ground;
he hath made me to dwell in darkness,
as those that have been long dead.
Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me;
my heart within me is desolate."
(verses 1-4)

Okay, David has family problems, really bad family problems. Most think not only was this written by David, but was composed at the time he was running away for his life as he was being pursued, not by Saul, but by his own son Absalom who took over his kingdom.  So David was back to his life as a cave man.
 


Here it is in a nutshell, the tell-all since the Bible hangs out all the dirty laundry, even the ugly details of a royal family which nowadays would be published in one of those gossip magazine headlines you read at the checkout counter.  Only it would be real.  It was that bad... 


 

When David sinned with Bathsheba, the prophet Nathan not only confronted his sin, first by way of a parable about a little lamb, a family pet, but then his prophecy of the consequences of that sin. It reached further beyond just the death of their son.  He speaks of another son, unnamed....

"Thus says the Lord God of Israel,
'It is I who anointed you king over Israel
and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul. 
I also gave you your master's house
and your master's wives into your care,
and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah;
and if that had been too little,
I would have added to you many more things like these!
Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight?
You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword,
have taken his wife to be your wife,
and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon...
because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.'
Thus says the Lord, 'Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household;
I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion,
and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight.
Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel,
and under the sun.  'Then David said, "I have sinned against the Lord.'
And Nathan said to David, 'The Lord also has taken away your sin;
you shall not die.  However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die.'"
II Samuel 12:7-14)

Bingo!  It's Absalom.

So back to the gossip headlines...



David's son Absalom whom he loved dearly, caught a half-brother raping his sister.  So he killed him.  David wasn't very good at disciplining any of his kids, so he let it go.  However, sin multiplies when it is not dealt with, and lo and behold, Absalom takes over his father's kingdom and sends David running.  And in an in-your-face fulfillment of prophecy, Absalom lies with his father's wives right out in public for all to see, kind of like a dog who marks his territory, but only worse.  So this Psalm is probably written in a cave or even in the place where tombs were carved out of the caves. So it is a rather low point in David's life, a father lamenting where he went wrong raising his son, but admitting to his own sin which led them to this point.  How's that for a little background, almost T.M.I.  

Now let's see what Adam Clarke has to say about this "R"-rated mess...

"'In Thy faithfulness, answer me.'  Thou hast promised to support me in my difficulties;
and though my children forsake me, never to withdraw Thy lovingkindness from me. 
See the present unnatural rebellion of my son.  Undertake for me!

'Enter not into judgment'

Do not come into court, either as a Witness against me, or as a Judge, else I am ruined; for Thou hast seen all my ways that they are evil, and Thy justice requires Thee to punish me. (and oh how that sin with Bathsheba comes back to haunt him!) Nor can any soul that has ever lived be justified in the sight of Thy justice and righteousness.  Had I my desert from Thee, I should have worse than even my unnatural son intends me. O what a relief is Jesus crucified to a soul in such circumstances!



'He has made me to dwell in darkness'

Literally, in dark places.  This may be understood of David's taking refuge in caves and dens of the earth, to escape his persecuting son; yea, even to take refuge in the tombs, or depositories of the dead.

'Therefore is my spirit'

I am deeply depressed in spirit, and greatly afflicted in body. 'My heart within me is desolate.'  It has no companion of its sorrows, no sympathetic friend.  I am utterly destitute of comfort.'"


So David cries...
I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all Your doings;
I muse on the work of Your hands.
I stretch out my hands to You;
My soul longs for You, as a parched land."
(verses 5-6)

"I will therefore trust in Thee, for Thy mercy has not clean gone from me. 

'I stretch forth my hands'

All in distress, or under the influence of eager desire,
naturally extend their hands and arms as if to catch at help, and obtain succor.'

'As a thirsty land'

Parched and burnt by the sun, longs for rain,
so does my thirsty soul for the living God."


Remember, this is a king talking.  He left his pomp and circumstance all behind.
So what did God provide above and beyond David's stripped bare stretched out hand?



He gave His one and only Son,
the Babe in the manger
who takes away the sin of the world,
the One who left His pomp and circumstance behind
to take the form of a man,
who died and was laid in a cave, a tomb of stone.
But the dark place of a tomb is not the last word.
The stone was rolled away!


P.S.  Oh, and by the way in case you forgot, his beautiful son Absalom whom David loved to the end, was riding in bloodthirsty pursuit after his own father when his hair got caught in a tree limb and he accidently hung himself.  O that beauteous hair!  Have vainer things ever happened?  You love in vanity and you die in vain.














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