Valuing Every Life

Explore the Bible Series

January 21, 2007

 

Background Passage: Psalm 139:1-24

Lesson Passage: Psalm 139:1-16

 

Introduction: According to the superscription, King David wrote this Psalm and commended his composition to the chief choirmaster to incorporate it into the public worship of Israel. The Psalm is deeply personal; that is, David recorded his intimate mediations during a period of great difficulty; nevertheless, the implications of this poem are universal to the experience of humankind.

 

The occasion of the poem remains a mystery.The last paragraph (vv. 19-24) seems to indicate a season when Davidís enemies threatened violence against him (See v. 19).Thought the psalmist had not brought this hardship on himself, he invited the Lord to search his heart for any wickedness (See vv. 23-24). While the psalm reflects the intimate workings of Davidís heart, the offense that troubled the kingís soul was aimed at Jehovah (See vv. 20-21). The words of the last paragraph seem particularly harsh in light of the teachings of the New Testament, but we must recall, as we study this text, that David did not did take personal offense and seek personal vengeance for wrongs done to him.He prayed that God would judge the sins of wicked and unrepentant people; that is, he took the posture that God takes toward those who refuse the mercies of Christ and persist in a sinful course of conduct

 

Some years ago, Dr. David Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote a marvelous book entitled, Spiritual Depression.The ďDoctorĒ understood that some forms of depression have their genesis in the heart (as opposed to those types of depression that arise from physiological causes).In the introduction to this helpful book, Lloyd-Jones points out the need for Christians to ďspeakĒ to themselves, to take themselves in hand when spiritual depression assails them.David, it seems, models this for us.When troubled by the violent threats of wicked men, David spoke to himself.He reminded himself of some of those ďanchorĒ truths that secure the soul during times of severe trial. God knows his people better than they know themselves.He created them and possesses a perfect and intimate understanding of every detail of their lives. Nothing escapes his notice.Our lesson for this week underscores those great varieties that stabilize and encourage Godís people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outline of Background Passage:

 

 

I.                   Godís Perfect Knowledge of His People (vv. 1-6): The Psalm begins with an assertion of Godís active awareness of the most intimate details of Davidís life.The Lordís knowledge of the psalmist was not passive and benign; rather, God actively seeks out his people.

A.    God knew Davidís sitting down and rising up (v. 2a): The Lord knew perfectly the kingís times of leisure and his periods of rising to the activities of a busy life.

B.     God knew the secrets of the kingís thoughts (v. 2): Nothing, not even the hidden motion of the mind, is a mystery to God.

C.     God knew the intricate turns of Davidís life (v 3):Nothing about the ††

D.    God knew the thoughts of Davidís mind (v. 4): Every detail of Davidís mental processes was an open book before the Lord.Even before the king formed words to express his thought, god knew him perfectly.

E.     God guided the path of King David (vv. 5-6):He hedged him in, thus directing his paths. Like the gentle hand of a loving Father, the Lord guided and protected David at every moment.Personal note: I recall the days when Kathy and I had small children in our home (now grown into three wonderful adult daughters).On many occasions, when I anticipated some threat to their well-being, mild or grave, I placed my hand on their little heads.They, therefore, knew dad was near them to guide and protect.This paragraph ends with Davidís acknowledgement that all of these things were too wonderful for him.He could not take in all of the marvelous implications of the Lordís hand on his life. Often, Godís people do not understand the Lordís ways with them.Their paths seem fraught with danger, confusion, and mystery; nevertheless, the lesson of faith teaches them that God has not abandoned his parental responsibility to his beloved children.

 

II.                Godís Inescapable Love for His People (vv 7-16)

A.    God never forsakes his people (vv.7-12): They ascend to the heights of heaven or the depths of the grave, God is there with them (See vv. 7-8). They may traverse the expanse of the vast oceans; God is there with them (v. 9).The Lordís hand guides and holds them (v. 10).Dark days come, and days of light will follow, but the Lord remains presence with his beloved ones (vv. 11-12).

B.     Godís work love for his people preceded their birth (vv. 13-16): God formed them in the womb, and made them wonderfully and fearfully (has the idea of a sacred and reverent thing).

 

III.             An Imprecatory Prayer (vv. 17-24): Davidís awareness of the Lordís glorious love for the saints moved him to pray for a demonstration of Godís impeccable justice toward those who persisted in a course of rebellious opposition to the Lordís work.

A.    David prayed that God would bring justice on those who rebelled against the Lord and his servants (vv. 19-20). Note that David did not seek vengeance on his enemies; rather, he left justice in the hand of the Lord (See Romans 12:19).David retained a rock-ribbed confidence that God would, in due season, vindicate his servants.

B.     David hated those things that God hated (vv. 21-24): Careful Bible students know that God hates some things, and a wise servant of the Lord despises those things his master detests. Please take special notice of the last two verses of the chapter.King David did not assume an arrogant, judgmental posture as he contemplated the sins of his wicked enemies.Instead, he laid himself open before the Lord to examine his thoughts and motives for praying so boldly for the destruction of the Lordís enemies.He trusted the Lord to lead his child in the ways everlasting.