Psalms 59 & 58
Tonight we will be looking at Psalms 58 & 59, but we are going to look at Psalm 59 first. Both of these Psalms are written by David and both talk about his enemies.
Psalm 59:1 To the Chief Musician. Set to "Do Not Destroy." A Michtam of David when Saul sent men, and they watched the house in order to kill him.
It is believed that David is telling the Chief Musicians what tune this Psalm was to played in, and our verse tells that this Psalm refers to the time when Saul sent men to watch the house David was in in order to kill him.
The background behind this was Saulís jealousy of David. After Saul heard the people chanting that ďSaul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands,Ē he began to feel inferior compared to David, which caused his jealousy. Based on our passage, it is referring to events that took place in:
1 Samuel 19:9 Now the distressing spirit from the LORD came upon Saul as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand. And David was playing music with his hand.† 10 Then Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he slipped away from Saul's presence; and he drove the spear into the wall. So David fled and escaped that night.† 11 Saul also sent messengers to David's house to watch him and to kill him in the morning. And Michal, David's wife, told him, saying, "If you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed."† 12 So Michal let David down through a window. And he went and fled and escaped.† 13 And Michal took an image and laid it in the bed, put a cover of goats' hair for his head, and covered it with clothes.† 14 So when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, "He is sick."† 15 Then Saul sent the messengers back to see David, saying, "Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may kill him."† 16 And when the messengers had come in, there was the image in the bed, with a cover of goats' hair for his head.† 17 Then Saul said to Michal, "Why have you deceived me like this, and sent my enemy away, so that he has escaped?" And Michal answered Saul, "He said to me, 'Let me go! Why should I kill you?' "
This is most likely the background for our Psalm. One thing I like about this Psalm is Davidís descriptions of those who are evil and want to do harm to the innocent. While part of our Psalm deals specifically with a certain instance in Davidís life, he also make his psalm encompass all evildoers.
Psalm 59:1 Deliver
me from my enemies, O my God; Defend me from those who rise up against me.† 2 Deliver me from the workers of
iniquity, And save me from bloodthirsty men.†
3 For look, they lie in wait for my life; The mighty gather
against me, Not for my transgression nor for my sin, O LORD.† 4 They run and prepare themselves
through no fault of mine. Awake to help me, and behold! 5 You
therefore, O LORD God of hosts, the God of
David begins his plea to God out of desperation because he knew his life was in danger and he needed Godís help quickly. Notice the words that show his desperation: deliver me; defend me; save me; awake to help me and behold!
David had barely escaped death after Saul tried to run him through with a spear and now his men were watching and waiting to pounce on him. He calls them bloodthirsty men, which means they wanted him dead. They did not care if he was innocent or not. Those who are full of iniquity and live their life by it do not care who they run over as long as they get their way. Many times those who are like this know what they are doing is not right, but they do it anyway.
David had done nothing wrong to deserve this because he had fought for Saulís kingdom and made it grow. He was loyal to Saul and his nation, but that is how powerful jealously can become.
Proverbs 27:4 Wrath is cruel and anger a torrent, But who is able to stand before jealousy?
Proverbs 14:30 A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones.
If you find yourself being envious or jealous of someone, I want to you to understand how powerful an emotion it is. If you allow it, it will consume you and make you do things you would not normally do. It will destroy your relationships, and it can cause great damage in the church. In some cases, people who have been overcome by jealousy have killed someone and sometimes even themselves. If this is something you struggle with, make it a priority in your life to change your jealous ways because it will cause you nothing but problems.
In verse 5 of our Psalm, David expands his request to all nations that practice iniquity. He wants all those who pursue a sinful life and persecute the innocent to face the wrath of God.
Then word Selah is ďa technical musical term probably showing accentuation, pause, interruptionĒ (Thayer).† Some suggest that it was designed so that those singing this psalm would stop for a certain period of time for everyone to reflect on the words that were just sung. I can see the benefit from doing that even in some of the songs that we sing because some of songs have a powerful thought provoking message in each line, but we are donít have a lot of time to think on the message each line gives because we quickly move to the next thought.
If you have never done it, I recommend that you take a song book home for a couple of days and read the words that we sing in our songs and think on them because if you do, you will gain a greater appreciation from the message that is being taught, and it will help you to have a deeper understanding of it and it will help you to be able to express more feeling the next time you sing it.
Psalm 59:6 At evening they return, They growl like a dog, And go all around the city.† 7 Indeed, they belch with their mouth; Swords are in their lips; For they say, "Who hears?"† 8 But You, O LORD, shall laugh at them; You shall have all the nations in derision.
David gives us a vivid picture of his enemies as being dogs that lie around during the day and then come together at night to find their next meal. He likens the men to worthless dogs who have no conscience about what they devour.
In verse 7, I think we can all visualize this idea of them belching with their mouth. The idea is how they spew out words that cut to the heart of the faithful because they cast doubt by claiming that no one is going to hear our prayers, no one is going to come to our rescue. Such thinking, means that we have no hope in this life except for the present.
Those who call themselves atheist hold to this same idea, and they will never have hope of something better or be able to be comforted by the fact that we have a God that loves us and involved with our lives on a daily basis. Those who try to cast doubts and think that God does not hear or help the faithful, David envisions God sitting on his thrown laughing at them and their false claims and how they boast about how the faithful will be easily defeated because God does not exist.
All you have to do is start reading in the O.T. and you will find several examples where entire nations thought the same thing when they tried to defeat the children of Israel, but they found out that a few men that had God on their side was more powerful than any army they could muster. Those who ridicule us for believing in God and His Word will all be put in their place, and all will become believers on the day of judgment.
Psalm 59:9 I will wait for You, O You his Strength; For God is my defense;† 10 My God of mercy shall come to meet me; God shall let me see my desire on my enemies.
Davidís faith in God was strong, and he would wait for the Lord. God had been with him before, and he has no doubt that God will be with him now. When God is on our side, we have nothing to fear from man. Yes, they might kill our body, but they cannot touch our soul.
Since David put his trust in the Lord, He had no doubt that God would come to his aid and that He would bring about his desires against his enemies. This is the same kind of trust in God that we should have. When our problems or our enemies start to surround us, donít be afraid. Instead, allow yourself to trust in God and wait on Him knowing that He is there for you and will help you.
Psalm 59:11 Do not slay them, lest my people forget; Scatter them by Your power, And bring them down, O Lord our shield.† 12 For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips, Let them even be taken in their pride, And for the cursing and lying which they speak.† 13 Consume them in wrath, consume them, That they may not be; And let them know that God rules in Jacob To the ends of the earth. Selah
David does not want God to kill them all. Instead,
he wants them to be scattered and brought low. In other words, he wants them to
be defeated and made weak. The reason for this is because if they are destroyed
and gone, the children of
David hopes his enemies will eat their vile words that have spewed out of their mouth. Many times those who are full of pride and speak boastful words will usually fall and suffer because of their arrogant attitudes. As:
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.† 19 Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, Than to divide the spoil with the proud.
This is another area we must stay away from as Christians, because if we become prideful and stuck on† ourselves, the we are not any better off then these enemies that live for sin. As our verse from Proverbs said, it much better to learn to have a humble spirit, than a prideful one.
Another downside to destroying his enemy is that they would not have chance to learn or pass on the truth about how powerful God is. I am certainly thankful that we are not put to death for our sin by God because if we were, there would be no humans left. So, let us learn from our mistakes and grow from them.
Psalm 59:14 And at evening they return, They growl like a dog, And go all around the city.† 15 They wander up and down for food, And howl if they are not satisfied.
Once again, David describes his enemies as being like dogs who return every evening to reek more havoc. Also, he says his enemies are like the dogs who find food, but if there is not enough satisfy them then they will howl and continue to look for more food. Those who practice iniquity and attack those who stand for righteousness might be satisfied with what they have done, if not, they will find another victim and antagonize them.
Another side to this is that those who practice iniquity will never fully be satisfied with their evil ways because living in sin only brings temporary pleasure, but living for God and the righteous way will bring about an everlasting peace, hope, and love.
Psalm 59:16 But I will sing of Your power; Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; For You have been my defense And refuge in the day of my trouble.† 17 To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises; For God is my defense, My God of mercy.†††††
In these last two verses, David expresses his faith and trust in God because he is confident that even though his enemies are powerful, God is more powerful. David will never stop singing praises to God because God has helped him before, and he knows that God will continue to help with his current problems.
Just as David put his trust and confidence in God, we should too. We have it so much better than David did during his time because we know about Christ, and we have the completed Word of God. We can know what we need to do be saved and be pleasing to God. We can know with all confidence that God keeps His promises and is looking out for us every single day.
Yes, He allows us to be tested and go through some difficult times, but in the end we can grow from our tribulation and increase our faith and hope in God. Let us never forget that God is control, and no matter how powerful our enemies think they are, they will never come close to the power of God.
Now lets move on to Psalm 58. This Psalms begins with righteousness and ends with justice. In this Psalm, David expresses his dislike for those who live in sin. The more you love God and righteousness the more you are going to despise sin. When we read Psalms like Psalm 58, we need to keep in mind the time period of the O.T., in which salvation was spoken more with physical salvation in mind. In fact, much of their mindset was based more on the physical than the spiritual.
Just the opposite is true under the N.T. because under the new covenant the focus has shifted to the spiritual, instead of the physical.
Psalm 58:1 To the Chief Musician. Set to "Do Not Destroy." A Michtam of David. Do you indeed speak righteousness, you silent ones? Do you judge uprightly, you sons of men?† 2 No, in heart you work wickedness; You weigh out the violence of your hands in the earth.† 3 The wicked are estranged from the womb; They go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.† 4 Their poison is like the poison of a serpent; They are like the deaf cobra that stops its ear,† 5 Which will not heed the voice of charmers, Charming ever so skillfully.
Like Psalm 59, this Psalm is set to the same tune. David is setting his charge against some of the leaders of his day. These men were not interested in righteousness, they were only interested in doing things there way even though it was evil. Some of these same words would certainly apply to some of the leaders of our nation.
David pictures the evil men as becoming evil as soon as they are born. Of course David not teaching that they were born evil as no one is, but as far back as he could remember they had been practicing there evil deeds.
We can also know that he was not saying they were
born evil because he says as soon as they are born they speak lies. We all know
that babies cannot speak when they are born, so it took time for them to become
that way. If their fathers and mothers taught them to live in sin from their
youth, they would most likely live a life of wickedness themselves. However,
this does not always happen because when we went through the kings of
David points out how poisonous the words of the wicked are. When the wicked is allowed to spew out their vile words and they do it skillfully, they can cause much damage. This is why the N.T. warns us many times to keep an eye out for false teachers who speak smooth words and destroy the faith of many.
Psalm 58:6 Break their teeth in their mouth, O God! Break out the fangs of the young lions, O LORD!† 7 Let them flow away as waters which run continually; When he bends his bow, Let his arrows be as if cut in pieces.† 8 Let them be like a snail which melts away as it goes, Like a stillborn child of a woman, that they may not see the sun.
Again, Davidís love for God and righteousness makes him have a strong hatred for sin. He wants God to destroy their mouths by breaking all their teeth, and he wants them to be weak, he does not want them to successful in anyway. Ultimately, if they are going to practice evil, he would rather they be like stillborn child that never gets to see the light of day. Some Christians may think this sounds harsh, but the N.T. certain teaches the importance of silencing those who teach false things:
Titus 1:10 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision,† 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.†††
As Christians, we must not be afraid to speak out against those who do not speak the truth and who try destroy the faith of others and lead them away from God. As David, we should have a strong hate for sin, not the sinner.
Psalm 58:9 Before your pots can feel the burning thorns, He shall take them away as with a whirlwind, As in His living and burning wrath.† 10 The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance; He shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked,† 11 So that men will say, "Surely there is a reward for the righteous; Surely He is God who judges in the earth."†
In the O.T. when God helped the children of
While this last part certainly applies to the physical battles they had during the O.T. the same thing will hold true at the end of time. Because when the day of judgment occurs, every nation will be brought before God, and those wicked nations and all those who have lived in sin and persecuted and killed the innocent will face the ultimate wrath of God, which is eternal torment in hell, but those who have lived a righteous life will get to rejoice in that day as they see Godís justice. This does not mean they will not feel sorry for the people, but they will be happy that God has kept His promises and put an end to the evil way.
Whether the wicked believes or not right now, they will all believe on the day of judgment. So, we should be encouraged to warn the wicked of what awaits them, and we should be encouraged to keep the evil way out of our lives so that we can victorious in the end and spend eternity in heaven.