Psalms 15-20

This is a text reader for the article below:
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Psalms David Saul Resurrection

Wednesday 5/29/24

Title: Psalms Book I: Psalms 15-20

Message Video Player

Message Audio Player:

***Video is HERE***

Share this:

TwitterGoogle Podacst

Psalms Book I: Psalms 15-20

Psalm 15:1-5, 

There is no indicator of when or regarding what life event this was written so it must not be important to the meaning and understanding.

If I were to give it a guess, I would choose the time when Uzzah touched the Ark of the Covenant and died but this is nothing more than conjecture and actually has a few points which swing against it. 

This happening made David angry. As I taught you when we covered this portion of scripture in July of 2020 [See Carriers of God’s Presence & David’s song to God], David seems to lapse into silence with God for a time. He did not understand why God would do something like this to a man who was simply attempting to stabilize the Ark of the Covenant from tipping off the ox drawn cart.

We are not offered ANY of the backstory of what happened in David’s heart between this first failed attempt and the next successful one, but educated conjecture leads us to certain reliable conclusions. 

When David returned for the Ark he did so according to the Law, which means that after his anger subsided he searched out the matter.

However, cooling David’s arder may have taken a little time. Knowing his passionate disposition as we have come to, I feel we can safely conclude that he spent a fair amount of time thinking it over. 

Clearly something had been done wrong – but what?

We know that once he had settled the issue in his heart David put together a song of praise and gave it to Asaph to be sung as the Ark was entering the city of Jerusalem. 

This song was composed of portions of Psalms 105; 96; 104 & 48 which either David himself wrote and therefore should not be listed as anonymous, or from which David borrowed in the composition of this song.

What I am loosely suggesting is the possibility that Psalm 15 was written during the time David was searching his heart and what he knew of scripture regarding Uzzah and who could approach God. 

This is nothing more than an elaborate guess and as I said is not important or it would be mentioned, but no doubt this Psalm was the result of a time of contemplation regarding who can approach God and even make His tabernacle their home.

“(1) A Davidic psalm.

LORD, who can dwell in Your tent? Who can live on Your holy mountain?  

(2)  The one who lives honestly, practices righteousness, and acknowledges the truth in his heart–  (3)  who does not slander with his tongue, who does not harm his friend or discredit his neighbor,  (4)  who despises the one rejected by the LORD, but honors those who fear the LORD, who keeps his word whatever the cost,  (5)  who does not lend his money at interest or take a bribe against the innocent–

the one who does these things will never be moved.”

In the reading of this psalm I want you to notice the character traits which God honors and we know He honors them because they are like His character.

Of note is one which when lived out – is the keeping of the 1st and greatest commandment and is one I have rarely witnessed in person. “One who despises the one rejected by God”. 

Jesus pressed this issue to its limits by including family and friends in this responsibility. If even a child, parent or spouse rejects the Lord… were to apostate from Him, we are to join God in His rejection of them. We do not sympathize or empathize with those in known, sustained and well-informed rejection of God, regardless of who that person is.

Psalm 16:1-11,

Like Psalm 15 there is no setting for this Psalm and I will not suggest one. I do want you to notice though the personal nature of the Psalm

David does not just ask God for protection, He makes God Himself his refuge – and there is a difference, not only in followthrough but especially in heart. 

Not only this but he views and praises God as being his portion. It is David saying, “You are enough for me God. Besides You, I need and desire nothing else.”

“(1) A Davidic Miktam. 

Protect me, God, for I take refuge in You.  

(2)  I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good besides You.”  

(3)  As for the holy people who are in the land, they are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.  

(4)  The sorrows of those who take another god for themselves multiply; I will not pour out their drink offerings of blood, and I will not speak their names with my lips.”  

These two verses show David living what we just read in Psalm 15 both in the positive and the negative. 

He takes delight in those who have set themselves apart for God in honesty and nobility which is an Old Covenant foreshadowing of loving the Father always results in your loving your brother and sister in Christ!

However he also would not dishonor God by helping the idolatrous in their empty and mocking participation in offerings of blood before God. The speaking of their names is viewed by David as a defiling of his mouth.

“(5)  LORD, You are my portion and my cup of blessing; You hold my future.  (6)  The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.  

(7)  I will praise the LORD Who counsels me–even at night my conscience instructs me.”  

Now David speaks both personally of himself and prophetically of the Messiah…

“(8)  I keep the LORD in mind always. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  (9)  Therefore my heart is glad, and my spirit rejoices; my body also rests securely.  

(10)  For You will not abandon me to Sheol; You will not allow Your Faithful One to see the Pit.  

(11)  You reveal the path of life to me; in Your presence is abundant joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures.”

Peter under the New Covenant saw this as pertaining to Jesus making it part of his very first message on the day of Pentecost as is recorded in Acts 2:22-33,

“(22) Men of Israel, listen to these words: This Jesus the Nazarene was a man pointed out to you by God with miracles, wonders, and signs that God did among you through Him, just as you yourselves know.  

(23)  Though He was delivered up according to God’s determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail Him to a cross and kill Him.  

(24)  God raised Him up, ending the pains of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it.  

(25)  FOR DAVID SAYS OF HIM

“I saw the Lord ever before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (26)  Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced. Moreover my flesh will rest in hope, (27)  because You will not leave my soul in Hades, or allow Your Holy One to see decay. (28)  You have revealed the paths of life to me; You will fill me with gladness in Your presence.” – Psalm 16:8-11

(29)  “Brothers, I can confidently speak to you about the patriarch David: he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.  (30)  Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn an oath to him to seat one of his descendants on his throne.  

(31)  SEEING THIS IN ADVANCE, HE SPOKE CONCERNING THE RESURRECTION OF THE MESSIAH: He was not left in Hades, and His flesh did not experience decay. 

(32)  “God has resurrected this Jesus. We are all witnesses of this.  (33)  Therefore, since He has been exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, He has poured out what you both see and hear.”

Later Paul clearly reveals that he agrees by what is recorded of him in Acts 13:32-39,

“(32) And we ourselves proclaim to you the good news of the promise that was made to our forefathers.  

(33)  God has fulfilled this to us their children by raising up Jesus, as it is written in the second Psalm: “You are My Son; today I have become Your Father.” 

(34)  Since He raised Him from the dead, never to return to decay, He has spoken in this way, I will grant you the faithful covenant blessings made to David

(35)  Therefore He also says in another passage, 

“You will not allow Your Holy One to see decay.” 

(36)  For David, after serving his own generation in God’s plan, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and decayed.  (37)  But the One Whom God raised up DID NOT DECAY.  

(38)  Therefore, let it be known to you, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is being proclaimed to you,  (39)  and everyone who believes in Him is justified from everything, which you could not be justified from through the law of Moses.”

Psalm 17:1-15,

This time our Psalm is a prayer, which we have actually seen before but this is the first time it is recorded as a prayer. All of the others until now have been recorded as songs to sing even though portions of them were actually prayers.

This gives us further insight into the nature of prayer. 

Like in human relationships, we have various occasions to speak to one another. Sometimes it is regarding the everyday issues of life. Sometimes it is in excited testimony to things which have happened. Sometimes it is in concern over a strain in the relationship. Other times it is in the form of a request we make. And then there are three happy times when our communication is just celebrating the other person and all they are and mean to us. 

All of these are part of the communication of relationships and all of them have been captured in human songs either as a memory or an example of life with which nearly everyone can identify.

The point being that, our talking with God (which is what prayer is) is to be the same with all the variety of any other relationship. Our prayers should be natural, relational, intimate, honest and regular though always in the deepest respect and honor to Who He is!

Discussions with God do not need to wait for extraordinary events of life, but in our everyday lives we are to commune with Him. This is one of the ways we “acknowledge Him in all our ways – Proverbs 3:6

The overwhelming message of this Psalm is an example of not being our own defense but committing ourselves to God in the midst of trouble and trusting Him to act on our behalf.

Of note is the basis for David’s confidence which is two things. First and foremost is God’s faithful love and secondly is David’s own attempts to live honestly before Him.

“(1) A Davidic prayer. 

LORD, hear a just cause; pay attention to my cry; listen to my prayer–from lips free of deceit.  (2)  Let my vindication come from You, for You see what is right.  

(3)  You have tested my heart; You have visited by night; You have tried me and found nothing evil; I have determined that my mouth will not sin.  

(4)  Concerning what people do: by the word of Your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent.  (5)  My steps are on Your paths; my feet have not slipped.  

(6)  I call on You, God, because You will answer me; listen closely to me; hear what I say.  (7)  Display the wonders of Your faithful love, Savior of all who seek refuge from those who rebel against Your right hand.  

(8)  Guard me as the apple of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings  (9)  from the wicked who treat me violently, my deadly enemies who surround me.  

(10)  They have become hardened; their mouths speak arrogantly.  (11)  They advance against me; now they surround me. They are determined to throw me to the ground.  (12)  They are like a lion eager to tear, like a young lion lurking in ambush.  

(13)  Rise up, LORD! Confront him; bring him down. With Your sword, save me from the wicked.  (14)  With Your hand, LORD, save me from men, from men of the world, whose portion is in this life: 

You fill their bellies with what You have in store, their sons are satisfied, and they leave their surplus to their children.  

(15)  But I will see Your face in righteousness; when I awake, I will be satisfied with Your presence.”

Psalm 18:1-50,

(1) For the choir director. Of the servant of the LORD, David, who spoke the words of this song to the LORD on the day the LORD rescued him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.”

Please again pay attention to the personal nature of David’s relationship with God. He does not just ask God to help and protect, but crawls (as it were) into God’s lap and takes refuge in His very person!

This is one of my favorite Psalms, in that it paints a verbal picture of extraordinary proportions of God’s response to someone who would do His beloved harm. In it we see in dramatic fashion the power, anger and tenderness of God.

Now to place this in context, we know this is literally about Saul and we know how Saul died. There were no earthly thunderbolts or sightings of God like Zeus in the clouds with lightning bolts in his hands. 

Saul was mortally wounded in battle and rather than suffer he fell on his own sword in suicide. 

Yet, David invisions God in the spirit and how He may have appeared as He reacted to these threats against David’s life. David sees himself as tenderly loved of God. He knew he was one in whom God delighted!

David was a passionate soul and saw God as His rescuer and the warrior Who defended him. This quite literally is the kind of imagery modern movies are made of.

“He said: I love You, LORD, my strength.  

(2)  The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my mountain where I seek refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.  

(3)  I called to the LORD, Who is worthy of praise, and I was saved from my enemies.  

(4)  The ropes of death were wrapped around me; the torrents of destruction terrified me.  (5)  The ropes of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me.  

(6)  I called to the LORD in my distress, and I cried to my God for help. 

From His temple He heard my voice, and my cry to Him reached His ears.  

(7)  Then the earth shook and quaked; the foundations of the mountains trembled; they shook because He burned with anger.  

(8)  Smoke rose from His nostrils, and consuming fire came from His mouth; coals were set ablaze by it.  

(9)  He parted the heavens and came down, a dark cloud beneath His feet.  (10)  He rode on a cherub and flew, soaring on the wings of the wind.  

(18)  They confronted me in the day of my distress, but the LORD was my support.  

(19)  He brought me out to a wide-open place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.  

(20)  The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; He repaid me according to the cleanness of my hands.  (21)  For I have kept the ways of the LORD and have not turned from my God to wickedness.  (22)  Indeed, I have kept all His ordinances in mind and have not disregarded His statutes.  (23)  I was blameless toward Him and kept myself from sinning.  

(24)  So the LORD repaid me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in His sight.  

(25)  With the faithful You prove Yourself faithful; with the blameless man You prove Yourself blameless;  (26)  with the pure You prove Yourself pure, but with the crooked You prove Yourself shrewd.  

(27)  For You rescue an afflicted people, but You humble those with haughty eyes.  

(28)  LORD, You light my lamp; my God illuminates my darkness.  

(29)  With You I can attack a barrier, and with my God I can leap over a wall.  

(30)  God–His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is pure. He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.  (31)  For who is God besides the LORD? And who is a rock? Only our God.  

(32)  God–He clothes me with strength and makes my way perfect.  (33)  He makes my feet like the feet of a deer and sets me securely on the heights.  

(34)  He trains my hands for war; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.  

(35)  You have given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand upholds me, and Your humility exalts me.  

(36)  You widen a place beneath me for my steps, and my ankles do not give way.  (37)  I pursue my enemies and overtake them; I do not turn back until they are wiped out.  (38)  I crush them, and they cannot get up; they fall beneath my feet.  

(39)  You have clothed me with strength for battle; You subdue my adversaries beneath me.  (40)  You have made my enemies retreat before me; I annihilate those who hate me.  

(41)  They cry for help, but there is no one to save them–they cry to the LORD, but He does not answer them.  

(42)  I pulverize them like dust before the wind; I trample them like mud in the streets.  

(43)  You have freed me from the feuds among the people; You have appointed me the head of nations; a people I had not known serve me.  (44)  Foreigners submit to me grudgingly; as soon as they hear, they obey me.  (45)  Foreigners lose heart and come trembling from their fortifications.  

(46)  The LORD lives–may my rock be praised! The God of my salvation is exalted.  

(47)  God–He gives me vengeance and subdues peoples under me.  (48)  He frees me from my enemies. You exalt me above my adversaries; You rescue me from violent men.  

(49)  Therefore I will praise You, LORD, among the nations; I will sing about Your name.  

(50)  He gives great victories to His king; He shows loyalty to His anointed, to David and his descendants forever.”

Psalm 19:1-14, 

This is an interesting Psalm. It has been used as an example by those who believe the earth is flat and that the sun moves around us. These are said to be literalists, but I don’t believe that even these literalists believe David was actually claiming that he was a literal apple in God’s eye or that God has wings or that as being light God casts a shadow all of which we just read in Psalm 17. The scriptures tell us that God IS light and in Him is NO darkness at all and even that may be metaphor in that light and darkness represent both good and evil, understanding or mental blindness. Point is, like all of literature, there are portions of the scriptures which are metaphorical, symbolic, foreshadowing of future events and in those cases they need to be seen as such. It is my experience that when these modes of speech are used the context and overall statement of the passage make it clear.  

We have an entire section on this in our statement of beliefs under the very first point which is ‘A. The Holy Scriptures’.

In fact, David is making use of a type of metaphor by using the sky and the movement of the Sun’s light across the earth as a visual for the unavoidable impact God’s words have on mankind when the light of them shines upon them. 

In addition to this, we have a very interesting breakdown of the various parts of the scriptures. David addresses the instructions, testimonies, precepts, commands & ordinances of God and their intended effect in our lives.

“(1) For the choir director. A Davidic psalm. 

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands.  

(2)  Day after day they pour out speech; night after night they communicate knowledge.  

(3)  There is no speech; there are no words; their voice is not heard.  

(4)  Their message has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the inhabited world. 

In the heavens He has pitched a tent for the sun.  (5)  It is like a groom coming from the bridal chamber; it rejoices like an athlete running a course.  (6)  It rises from one end of the heavens and circles to their other end; nothing is hidden from its heat.  

(7)  The instruction of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; 

the testimony of the LORD is trustworthy, making the inexperienced wise.  

(8)  The precepts of the LORD are right, making the heart glad; 

the commandment of the LORD is radiant, making the eyes light up.  

(9)  The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; 

the ordinances of the LORD are reliable and altogether righteous.  

(10)  They are more desirable than gold–than an abundance of pure gold; and sweeter than honey–than honey dripping from the comb.  

(11)  In addition, Your servant is warned by them; there is great reward in keeping them.  

(12)  Who perceives his unintentional sins? Cleanse me from my hidden faults.  

(13)  Moreover, keep Your servant from willful sins; do not let them rule over me. 

Then I will be innocent, and cleansed from blatant rebellion.  

(14)  May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You, LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.”

The ending of this Psalm is very human and all too easy with which to identify. David moves in graduating fashion through various expressions and degrees of sin.

He admits that we don’t always know ourselves and we require God’s help to reveal unintentional sins as well as keeping us back from sins of passion. When we are angry, hurt or even surprised we might react without thinking in a way which is quite ungodly. 

Then there are the times when we might even know that what we are looking to do is wrong, but our resolve for revenge or to right a perceived wrong against us moves us with poor discretion towards outright rebellion. 

For all of this we need His help! 

Finally David mentions what is otherwise referred to as high handed sins which were sins of defiance. These were not just rebellion against God’s laws, but were committed as an act of open and deliberate defiance against God deliberately and unrepentantly. These were met with the penalty of death and no forgiveness under the Old Covenant and it could be said to correspond to the Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit under the New Covenant for which there is also no forgiveness. [For more on this simply search the phrase or the word Apostasy on our website.]

David openly admits his susceptibility to any of these and his need for the constant help of God to place a governor on his soul so as to not overstep.  

Psalm 20:1-9, 

This Psalm is very simple but in everyone who has ever called upon God for help and witnessed His faithful deliverance – it resonates with truth and stirs memories of safety. Our God is a refuge for us!

“(1) For the choir director. A Davidic psalm. 

May the LORD answer you in a day of trouble; may the name of Jacob’s God protect you.  

(2)  May He send you help from the sanctuary and sustain you from Zion.  (3)  May He remember all your offerings and accept your burnt offering. Selah  

(4)  May He give you what your heart desires and fulfill your whole purpose.  

(5)  Let us shout for joy at your victory and lift the banner in the name of our God. May the LORD fulfill all your requests.  

(6)  Now I know that the LORD gives victory to His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with mighty victories from His right hand.  

(7)  Some take pride in a chariot, and others in horses, but we take pride in the name of the LORD our God.  

(8)  They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand firm.  

(9)  LORD, give victory to the king! May He answer us on the day that we call.”

Blessings!

Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.