Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Things Are Looking Up

Psalm 57

I. Sometimes Up Is the Only Direction To Look

A. When life closes in on believers, the time has come to look up to God for His mercy and take refuge with Him. To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave. Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.” (Psalm 57:1) See 1 Samuel 22 [Adullam] and 24 [Engedi]

B. Under conditions which make the world panic, believers remember Providence and turn to God. I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me. He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth.” (Psalm 57:2-3) Puritans spoke of the Valley of Vision.

C. Believers take danger very seriously, acknowledging the perils they face. My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.” (Psalm 57:4) “My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God. And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.” (Daniel 6:22-24)

II. Darkness Displays Light

A. Times of danger and disaster provide occasions for God to display love for His blood-bought saints. Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth.” (Psalm 57:5)

B. Enemies and tormentors continue to harass God’s people when it is the enemies themselves who will be destroyed by what they do; God turns evil back on the evil-doers. “They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah.” (Psalm 57:6)

C. Read Providence. The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken. The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah.” (Psalm 9:15-16)

III. Praise God from Life’s Depths

A. Believers always rejoice because they know God will do what is best. My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.” (Psalm 57:7)

B. Experience with God teaches believers to look for God’s success in every situation; Christ provides what the situation demands. “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:10-13)

C. The realization that God means Romans 8:28 is enough to awaken any easy-going Christian; believers who understand see everything in hopeful context. “Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.” (Psalm 57:8)

D. Confidence in Providence is a powerful theme for world evangelism. “I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations.” (Psalm 57:9)

E. There are no bounds or hidden restrictions to God’s mercy. “For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.” (Psalm 57:10) In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer. For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.” (Isaiah 54:8-10)

F. Not only should individual believers glorify and enjoy Providence, all creation should join in rejoicing. “Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth. (Psalm 57:11)

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