“Day Trippers” – One Year Bible Reading (Psalms/Proverbs) – June 22

Psalm 140:1-13   A Lament By David

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Psalm 140:1-13   Day Trippers

Psalm 140 is the final “imprecatory” psalm.  An imprecation is a curse.  There are several imprecatory psalms.  They are Psalms 5, 10, 17, 35, 58, 59, 69, 70, 79, 83, 109, 129, 137, as well as this one.

I don’t believe we are to pray these against people in this age unless you are sure they are completely satanic.  These prayers can be used against demons.  They were prayed in Old Testament times against the enemies of Israel.  Since the seven year tribulation time in the future is also a distinctly Jewish time period, the prayers can be used against the enemies of Israel once again.

In Psalm 140, David is praying against the enemies of Israel or his own enemies since he is the King of Israel.  Those who oppress him are “evil” and particularly abusive and “violent” (v. 1).  They work at being evil and stirring up strife and war (v. 2).  They don’t literally sharpen their tongues.  That would really hurt them.  They use their language as sharpened swords to pierce believers’ reputations and to try to deprive them of power (v. 3a).  They sting believers with the poison of attacks that cause believers to shrivel and possibly die (v. 3b).

Have you ever been attacked by a fellow believer?  They can be the worst offenders.  I have quoted this portion from A.W. Pink before.  Pink was a Christian pastor and author of the late 19th and early 20th century.  He quoted a pastor named Thomas Scott who ministered in the late 18th century.  It would seem that this quote is universally applicable, having been used in all three of the previous centuries.

 

“The believer’s progress must be gradual: his faith and his graces must be proved, and his pride subdued, before he can properly endure any kind of prosperity: and for these purposes the Lord often employs the perverseness of his brethren, without their knowledge or contrary to their intention. In the professing Church few honour those whom the Lord will honour: before Jesus came, and in each succeeding generation, the very builders have rejected such as Heaven intended for eminent situations; and His servants must be conformed to Him. Ambition, jealousy, envy, and other evil passions, cause men to conceal their real motives under plausible pretenses. The believer’s wisdom, however, consists in waiting quietly and silently under injuries, and in leaving God to plead his cause, except it be evidently his duty to be active.”

Thomas Scott, p. 241 Gospel of John, by A.W. Pink

The point is that fellow believers can really be jerks.  Watch out for them.  They can act like wolves among lambs.  Jesus warns us of such (cf. Matt. 10:16).  Of course, Jesus was alerting us not only of dangerous believers but unbelievers.  True ministers of God are their targets.  The Lord recommends being shrewd like serpents but innocent as doves when being attacked.  David knew what it was like to be oppressed by his own people as well as foreign enemies.  So did Jesus.  He even had to rebuke Peter one time (cf. Matt. 16:23; also John 13:38).

In either case, David implores the Lord to protect him from evil people who would try every day to trip him up (vv. 4-5).  The chances are good that God will cause them to suffer the same punishment that they had planned to inflict on believers (cf. Ps. 7:15-16, 35:8, 57:6; 141:10; see the story of Haman in the book of Esther, Hanging Together Or Hanging Separately?).

David asks the Lord not to allow his enemies to have a victory over him (vv. 6-8).  This prayer can be prayed in any age that you are being persecuted for your faith.  And since we are in the end times, there may be antichristic people out there wanting to devour Christians for lunch.  John warned us about this day and believed he was already in the midst of the end times.  “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18).

There have been students recently attacked for sharing Bible verses in school, church meetings that have been threatened by their own town governments for meeting in neighborhood homes, and even businesses that have refused to participate in activities or actions that they have deemed contrary to their faith.  The time of the Lord’s return is much closer than it has ever been in all history.

Verses 9-11 may be prayed against our enemies in this age, provided we ask that God be the final arbiter deciding the punishment of our persecutors.  Always, our attitude should be to try to negotiate peace with any of our adversaries (cf. Rom. 12:18).  Then we should allow God to have His way with anyone who has come against us (cf. Rom. 12:19).

Finally, we should try to do something good for the one who opposes us, if we can (cf. Rom. 12:20).  God’s will is always that we attempt to overcome evil with good (cf. Rom. 12:21).  Proverbs 25:21-22 as well as Rom. 12:20 tell us that we will be “heaping burning coals” on the heads of our enemies by treating them with unexpected good, fulfilling verse 10 in this psalm.  Jesus told us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (cf. Matt. 5:44).

Verse 10 makes it clear that the people who oppose God are destined for the “lake of fire” described in Revelation 20:14-15 and Matthew 25:41.  David asks that a slanderer stalk the slanderer that has stalked him (v. 11).  Satan himself specializes in slander and debasing a believer’s heritage.  Wiersbe believes that the setting for this psalm could have been when David was in Saul’s court and jealous competitors were bad-mouthing him.

David ended up accomplishing much more for the Lord than any of his challengers.  As Wiersbe points out, David, ” . . . would write nearly half of the psalms, he would expand and defend the borders of the kingdom, and he would make the preparations necessary for the building of the temple. What a great man he was because he trusted in the Lord!”

We should follow David’s example when we are persecuted for doing God’s will.  We will have the same reward then as David!

We do not need to worry about what people think of us.  The Lord will guard our reputations even if we don’t have money for lawyers (v. 12).  I have been amazed of the things I have been accused of while in the ministry.  I have been even more astonished to see how people’s words bounce back on them and the Lord has kept my reputation intact!  Trust the Lord.  He will protect you, too (cf. Prov. 3:5-6)!

All those who have trusted the Lord and have reflected His glory will give thanks to Him and live with Him throughout eternity (v. 13, cf. John 17:3)!

Proverbs 17:22   Cackles And Cardiology

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My wife describes my hearty laughs as cackles.  She says I don’t laugh, I cackle.  What-ev-er.

Turns out, I should cackle more than I do!

A book written by Norman Cousins called Anatomy of an Illness, recounts his struggle with an “incurable” disease.  Cousins was the editor of the Saturday Review for over thirty years and was no dummy.

He decided that since his disease was not possible to treat anyway, he’d think outside the box and try some things.  He came across the ideas of using high doses of Vitamin C as well as trying to amuse himself and laugh more.  He set up a projector, before the days of iTunes, and watched a lot of Three Stooges movies.  My guess is that he would have recovered even more quickly if he had watched the Marx Brothers.  But I have a distinct bias.  I know.  That’s the silliest thing you eva hoid.

Did I mention?  Cousins recovered.  Doctors were baffled.

Thus proving “A joyful heart is good medicine.”

Conversely, ” . . . a broken spirit dries up the bones.”  If depression doesn’t literally dry out your bones, I’m sure it feels like it does.  The point it that there is really a mind-body connection.  The Scripture tells us that it’s true and experience bears it out.

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