Psalms 9:5-8 The Enemy is Finished
Posted by adventbiblestudy on March 16, 2016
Psalms 9:5-8 The Enemy is Finished
Psalms 9:5-8 NLTse You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked; you have erased their names forever. (6) The enemy is finished, in endless ruins; the cities you uprooted are now forgotten. (7) But the LORD reigns forever, executing judgment from his throne. (8) He will judge the world with justice and rule the nations with fairness.
It’s always a good idea to review what we’ve learned. Looking back is part of how Jesus taught His disciples how to understand scripture. Looking back also helps us to see where we are as well as helping to prepare us for future lessons.
In Psalm 2, we saw how David was looking for a better way to reach people. Being the anointed king of Israel was not enough to show people who God is and what He has to offer. David’s biggest problem was always his enemies. It comes with the territory… David was a warrior. People don’t lay down and forget. King Saul was one of David’s greatest challenges. After taking the throne, his son Absalom became a threat. David’s prayer was for protection. David knew God’s power, but God wanted him to learn much more. John chapter 1 took off where David left off. Jesus filled in many of the details David didn’t understand. One of the examples Jesus used was something David shouldn’t have missed. Jesus explained He is the ladder Jacob say in his vision. John 1 also showed how one brother led another to Jesus. When we put the symbol of the ladder together with Philip leading Nathaniel to Jesus, we see how God wants us to minister to other people. To further illustrate the point, we’re shown the problems Jesus had with people from His hometown. David may have been lacking in some areas, but none of us are able to reach everyone.
David still faces problems in Psalm 3, but now his enemy is inside his family when Absalom splits the country and gathers an army to overthrow his father. Can you imagine what David went through? Talk about a civil war with brother fighting against brother. The conflict David faced was father against son. How could he wage war against his son? David is faced with an impossible decision. He can’t let his kingdom go and he can’t fight against his son. No wonder David ended his prayer: “Victory comes from you, O LORD. May you bless your people.” (Psalms 3:8 NLTse). It was David’s way of saying, “I don’t know what to do.”
When we think of David’s situation, it was a lesson he needed to learn. How often are we placed in a situation when we prayed… and deep down our prayer admit we don’t have the answer. We don’t want to make the decision. God intentionally lets us and other people make decisions that put us in a position we never wanted to be in. Paul described the transformation we need in life to avoid or learn to deal with such matters. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul tells us, Jesus already won the battle, which should be the best assurance we can ask for. Jesus won the battle without our help. There are ways we can assist Jesus and His Spirit in the ongoing battle, but we should never think we can change or defeat the world, our neighbor, or family on our own.
David’s attitude seems to change at the beginning of Psalm 5, but soon turns into another prayer for protection from his enemies. This time David can see their methods of opposing and threatening him are not through the use of military power, but words. David knows God can see their plans. David also knows the truth will come out sooner or later. We can’t be sure who was causing David problems this time, but when we study parallel texts, we see how Jesus had problems with His family. After watching Jesus grow up, His brother doubted Him. Even though they doubted Jesus, they still thought it was their job to direct Him in His ministry. You can imagine what David went through – he was also the youngest. One of the lessons revealed is how Jesus pointed people to God through scripture. That is something missing in David’s reign as king. That was why David didn’t know how to reach his enemies and failed to prepare any of his sons to take over his throne.
We see David’s learning progress in Psalm 8. David records his understanding of God’s authority. Is it correct? Is it a full image of God’s glory? We can’t make the mistake of thinking we understand everything about our infinite God. David wrote about what he understood at the time, but it was never intended to be a complete explanation or picture of God’s power and authority. Later Paul added more details. The lesson is, we have to learn how to work with people where they are. One of the most important details is how we need to work with and rely on God’s Spirit – like Jesus did. David and Jesus are two examples of how God reaches out to this dying world. We learn from David’s mistakes and lack of knowledge as well as from Jesus’ success and the lessons He taught. One thing we can’t forget, David and Jesus faced the same enemy. The one whose been around quite a while.
God planted the garden and the tree. Then He gave dominion of a small portion of the garden, one tree over to Satan. Instead of using the image Satan was created in to show his dominion over the tree, Satan used the image of a serpent, a beast created from the same elements man was, but not in God’s physical, spiritual, or moral image. After sin, the world was turned over to Satan who ruled over it not in God’s image, but his own image created in his limited imagination. We can’t be sure how advanced Satan’s ability to think and plan are compared to ours. But we can be sure how finite planning with turn out. The world today is evidence of Satan’s folly. His limited thinking and planning. The question I have … why do people think they have the ability to think, plan, and execute without God? We see how David tried to lead Israel. At times with God’s guidance. Other times David thought he had things under control. A few times he thought he could turn his back on God and His law … then did what he wanted. Did you ever notice the same pattern in Bible studies and sermons? People begin with a few scriptures then quickly drift off on their own. This lesson shows how to take God’s lead in a study and stick with it from beginning to end. The key words in Psalms 9:5-8 point us to one New Testament text in particular.
Revelation 11:18-19 NLTse (18) The nations were filled with wrath, but now the time of your wrath has come. It is time to judge the dead and reward your servants the prophets, as well as your holy people, and all who fear your name, from the least to the greatest. It is time to destroy all who have caused destruction on the earth.” (19) Then, in heaven, the Temple of God was opened and the Ark of his covenant could be seen inside the Temple. Lightning flashed, thunder crashed and roared, and there was an earthquake and a terrible hailstorm.
We find three key words shared between Psalms 9:5-8 and Revelation 11:18-19. It’s easy to see how both refer to judging and destroying nations. But why? Wrath and wicked are also similar words between the two texts. Psalms 8 shows God executing judgment from His throne. Revelation 11 add a detail by showing the Ark is in God’s Sanctuary. This is another illustration of how one text adds information to another and why we have to study the Bible in a specific pattern. When it comes to the subject of judgment, we don’t want to wander off on our own. We have nothing to do with judging, so there is nothing to do but let God explain His plans. Once we locate supporting texts linked by key words, the next step is to compare chapters to see if they share the same context. This will tells us if both chapters have the same context, in other words, are they covering the same subject and time? Chapters covering the same subject and time will compliment one another. Combined, they will reveal details we would have missed if only one chapter was studied and if each chapter was studied separately.
Psalms 9:1-4 NLTse I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. (2) I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High. (3) My enemies retreated; they staggered and died when you appeared. (4) For you have judged in my favor; from your throne you have judged with fairness.
Revelation 11:1-11 NLTse (1) Then I was given a measuring stick, and I was told, “Go and measure the Temple of God and the altar, and count the number of worshipers. (2) But do not measure the outer courtyard, for it has been turned over to the nations. They will trample the holy city for 42 months. (3) And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will be clothed in burlap and will prophesy during those 1,260 days.” (4) These two prophets are the two olive trees and the two lamp stands that stand before the Lord of all the earth. (5) If anyone tries to harm them, fire flashes from their mouths and consumes their enemies. This is how anyone who tries to harm them must die. (6) They have power to shut the sky so that no rain will fall for as long as they prophesy. And they have the power to turn the rivers and oceans into blood, and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they wish. (7) When they complete their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the bottomless pit will declare war against them, and he will conquer them and kill them. (8) And their bodies will lie in the main street of Jerusalem, the city that is figuratively called “Sodom” and “Egypt,” the city where their Lord was crucified. (9) And for three and a half days, all peoples, tribes, languages, and nations will stare at their bodies. No one will be allowed to bury them. (10) All the people who belong to this world will gloat over them and give presents to each other to celebrate the death of the two prophets who had tormented them. (11) But after three and a half days, God breathed life into them, and they stood up! Terror struck all who were staring at them.
Whenever reading Revelation, there is always a temptation to jump around in an attempt to solve the symbols. Little do people know, the symbols represent only a small potion of the message. Most of the message is in the context, revealed by the chapter and related texts, which can only be located after identifying key words the author repeated. In this case, the main theme points to enemies who will be scattered in Psalm 9. We also see enemies in Revelation 11. In the introduction those enemies will try to silence God’s two witnesses, His prophets, the two olive branches and lamp stands. God’s witnesses have power to stop rain, turn rivers and oceans into blood, power over plagues, and fire flashes from their mouths and consumes their enemies. When we look back, we can compare this to, “Lightning flashed, thunder crashed and roared, and there was an earthquake and a terrible hailstorm,” in Revelation 11:19. Comparing the two verses we find God’s witnesses have a connection to His Ark, the law. It’s no wonder God’s witnesses have enemies. That’s one of the reasons Jesus had so many enemies. His enemies had their own from of law. Jesus came to straighten out a few points they went overboard on.
What is the relationship between the nations and God’s witnesses? The nations in this prophecy made themselves enemies of God’s prophets. Most people like to go back and compare the prophets God sent Israel before Samaria fell and Judah before Jerusalem fell? There are a wide variations of examples to study contained in a number of books. Many of these examples are in one book which led up to and told the story of what happened when one person separated from God’s prophet. Abraham and Lot had a lot of sheep and cattle between them. After seeing their shepherds arguing over grass and water, Abraham and Lot decide to separate. There’s no indication of a prayer. We don’t know if either one of them sought God’s advise. Abraham does what he thinks is right. He told Lot he had first choice of the land he wanted. Lot choose to pasture his sheep near Sodom which is compared to the fertile valleys in Egypt. Then we see a union. Five kings joined together to go out and conquer. When news got out, four nations joined forces to battle the threat. The four nations, including Sodom were defeated by the five nations. Lot and his family were taken captive. When Abraham heard the news, he gathered together people he took into his house like family, 318 in all. With only 318 men, Abraham chased the alliance of five kings. Here we see a contrast. Lot was taken captive when four nations fell to the combined forces of four. Abraham was able to gather 318 men with enough faith to face tens of thousands of warriors who already made a name for themselves. Abraham could have only accomplished this with God’s hand in the situation. Looking at the story, nothing is mentioned about the sheep Lot had when when he moved to Sodom. Details cover other things Abraham brought back, but nothing about Lot’s sheep. The next thing we hear about Lot is when two angels show up in Sodom to destroy the city. Lot takes them to his house inside the city. Why would Lot be living in the city if he was still a shepherd? When Lot leaves Sodom with his wife and two daughters, there’s no mention of his sheep. Did Lot some how loose all his sheep? Is there a spiritual lesson in it? Remember, the angels agreed to spare Sodom if they found five righteous people. Lot, his wife and two daughters made four people. Lot was one person short. In the time Lot lived in Sodom, there was not a single person he could reach. Not even Lot’s son-in-laws or other daughters counted towards the five righteous people they needed to save Sodom. This is one example of what happened when someone separated themselves from God’s prophet. Abraham was able to fill 318 men with enough faith to face an army of thousands. Against all odds, Abraham and his household prevailed. What a contrast to Lot who could not influence one person once he left Abraham. When Lot left Abraham, he left more than a prophet. Lot left the covenant God made with Abraham. Look at the help God gave Lot, who couldn’t reach a single person after the whole nation witnessed a miracle when Abraham’s small household chased the army who defeated Sodom and the other three kings. Sometimes there is more in missing details than we see. These details are brought to the surface when the let God’s Spirit lead in Bible Study and follow the simple methods God used to record, and present His material. We call it an inductive study. The simple process relies on keeping all the themes within context, remembering a few simple rules, like paying attention to words the author repeated, and looking back in the Bible for answers. Our parallel texts to Psalms 9:5-8 is the summation to Revelation 11. We also have to compare the summation of Psalm 9 to Revelation 11.
Psalms 9:15-20 NLTse The nations have fallen into the pit they dug for others. Their own feet have been caught in the trap they set. (16) The LORD is known for his justice. The wicked are trapped by their own deeds. (17) The wicked will go down to the grave. This is the fate of all the nations who ignore God. (18) But the needy will not be ignored forever; the hopes of the poor will not always be crushed. (19) Arise, O LORD! Do not let mere mortals defy you! Judge the nations! (20) Make them tremble in fear, O LORD. Let the nations know they are merely human.
Time to get back into David’s frame of mind. In his prayer, David is reaching out to God. ” I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.” David also sees mistakes the nations made. “The nations have fallen into the pit they dug for others. Their own feet have been caught in the trap they set.” How did those nations trap themselves? David answers the question. “This is the fate of all the nations who ignore God.” Compare this to the contrast in the summation for Revelation 11. “It is time to judge the dead and reward your servants the prophets, as well as your holy people, and all who fear your name, from the least to the greatest.” David also points out how God notices His people. “But the needy will not be ignored forever; the hopes of the poor will not always be crushed.” Both texts and chapters point out – there are two sides to God’s judgment. David confirms judgment is coming. But the LORD reigns forever, executing judgment from his throne. He will judge the world with justice and rule the nations with fairness. (Psalms 9:7-8 NLTse).
Remember how David had to earn the role of prophet? David is proclaiming the same message as God’s two witnesses. Why do people hate the prophets? David wrote about the hope he and God wanted people to see. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O LORD, do not abandon those who search for you. (Psalms 9:10 NLTse). We’ve seen contrasts teaching the same lesson. These contrasts point to a choice. People can either listen to God and accept what He has to offer, or ignore Him and face His judgment. What are the nations? The question should be, what is a nation? Nations are made up of people, land, laws, and possessions. When people put their possessions and laws in front if God, they loose sight of what is really important. Once they’re hooked on their possessions, they want to put God in a box so to speak – pull Him out when they need Him to solve problems. How many pf those problems did they cause themselves? Look at David, one of God’s prophets. Did he lead a stellar life? No! David had problems because he made mistakes. He killed one of his best friends to get his wife. David already had a number of wives, too many. So many he didn’t have time to teach his sons. He left their education up to his wives. Filled with jealousy caused by competition for attention, their outlook on God was tainted. They lived in a gilded cage so to speak. All the luxuries of life – still happiness escaped them. David was a prophet, but had the same problem as Lot – they had a difficult time reaching people. Maybe that was the cause of their problems. Do you know any people who seem to, or claim to know a lot about God, but are poor at expressing what they know? Does the old saying, “a little bit of knowledge is dangerous,” describe them? Because nations are people, the worse thing people can do, is act like evangelists with all the answers. Anyone cooperating with God’s Spirit will see right through them. There is no answer that fits every question. Jesus reached people on an individual basis. Jesus didn’t give Nicodemus the same answer He gave the the other priests and pharisees. Jesus answered their questions in such a manner, Gospel writers tell us, they held their peace. Jesus had the power because of His close connection with God’s Spirit combined with His knowledge of scripture. How effective will God’s witnesses be? But after three and a half days, God breathed life into them, and they stood up! Terror struck all who were staring at them. A lot of people think they know what the terror is. They’ll tell you it’s telling the world, they are right and the rest of the world is wrong. Are they claiming to be greater than David or Abraham? For some reason, Abraham didn’t reach Lot well enough to turn him into an effective evangelist. Did Abraham have some type of faith in Lot when he bargained with the angels under the tree, or was he trying to get the number down because he know Lot was bound to fail? What or who do we have to guide us? It seems we have God’s witnesses, His prophets. In two examples we see how Lot’s expectations of wealth clouded his ability to minister. Eventually Lot left Sodom with nothing. David had a limited view of God’s plan of salvation, even though he recorded more prophecies than any author in the Bible. Why couldn’t David understand God’s plan? Of course David was influenced by wealth and had a weak spot for women. Now look at people who make up a nation. Like it or not, they are all individuals. There are two reasons people will have to face God’s judgment. They don’t want to listen to God – they run away from Him. The other reason is a bit more personal. No one has been able to reach them with the message they want to hear. Jesus wasn’t exaggerating when He said the fields are ripe but the workers are few. The first step is learning how to listen to God’s Spirit, so when its your time to reach people, you can work up to God’s ability to reach them.