Morning Light – September 22nd, 2016

ml_2016Today: [Psalm 144] The Lord is Your Strength in Battle. Psalm 144 is said to have been written by David when he defeated Goliath with a sling and 5 stones. It is a Psalm highly regarded in the middles ages as expressing the ideals of knighthood and chivalry. The emphasis of the psalm is the warrior’s trust in God against every device of Satan to tear down and distract you from seeking the kingdom.
[Psa 144:1-15 KJV] 1 [[[A Psalm] of David.]] Blessed [be] the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, [and] my fingers to fight: 2 My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and [he] in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me. 3 LORD, what [is] man, that thou takest knowledge of him! [or] the son of man, that thou makest account of him! 4 Man is like to vanity: his days [are] as a shadow that passeth away. 5 Bow thy heavens, O LORD, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke. 6 Cast forth lightning, and scatter them: shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them.
Psalm 144 is a warrior’s psalm. Some scholars in antiquity ascribe Psalm 144 to the time that David slew Goliath or one of his brothers. In the middle ages this psalm was considered to be the fitting prayer of Christian warriors and influenced the ideals of chivalry and knighthood. This psalm is not without controversy in modern events. In 2015 a gun shop in Florida produced an AR-15 with Psalm 144 engraved on the butt stock – ostensibly for the purpose that it would never be used by an Islamic terrorist.
In verse 1 we see the Lord is our strength and teaches our hands to war and our fingers to fight. David was taken from being shepherd to being a warrior that slew giants with only a sling and 5 stones. What he knew of combat he learned defending his flock against bears and lions. Can you imagine young David, spurned by his brothers and held in light esteem by his own parents – in wilderness finding himself confronting a voracious bear assaulting his flock. No doubt when he rehearsed his exploits with the flock to his family they were doubtful because when Samuel came to anoint a king among David’s brothers – he was considered too insignificant to be present. David is one of the most significant men in all history yet considered inconsequential even by those closest to him.
David in verse 2 describes God as his fortress and his high tower. Sometimes when you are in war you run for cover. Other times you take the offensive. It is important to know when to go low and withdraw from controversy and when to speak up and make your voice heard in the midst of a contest for your life. David saw God as his defender. One of the great weaknesses you will struggle with is being defensive and over sensitive. Solomon taught that we should not regard what is said about us by others – saying in Proverbs that the “foolish believe every word….” Being defensive and thinned skin will do far more harm to your friends and allies than it will serve to protect you from your critics and opposers. Let the Lord be your defense. When you feel threatened, instead of speaking up and saying something you will regret – rather retreat into the fortress that God is around you. When you trust in God and rely on God in times of vulnerability He will always protect and defend you.
David also speaks of verse 2 of God subduing people under him. Is this something we can or should believe for? Humility is one of the chief attributes of a spiritual warrior. Humility is the secret weapon that no man coming against you can overcome. Humility completely confuses Satan. In all the assaults of the enemy against you – humility is the one thing he can’t take advantage of and use against you. If you get your feelings hurt, the enemy can use that. If you get angry and say something untoward – the enemy can use that as well. If you are prideful or thin skinned the enemy will take advantage and use your immaturity to plow you under. Humility is another matter altogether. Humility is a defense that the enemy cannot penetrate.
[Jas 4:10 KJV] 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
Notice that humility is in the sight of the Lord and not in the sight of man. Humility has nothing to do with what man thinks of you or trying to convince men how spiritual you are. Humility is something that takes place between you and God and not any other relationship.
[1Pe 5:5 KJV] … God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
The opposite of humility is pride. God resists – sets His forces in array against the proud. Even if you are in the right and God would otherwise defend you – if you refuse the path of humility God Himself will defeat your cause. Learn to walk in humility.
1 Pe 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
Humility may affect your relationship to others but when you humble yourself it is unto God and not unto man. I can’t find any verse of scripture that says you must humble yourself to a man. You walk in humility before men but your submission is under the hand of God. Men have lots of ideas about what humility should look like in your life. You have to subdue as David the opinions of men no matter how lofty they may be and put them in proper perspective. Humility is a transaction between you and God and none other.
7 Send thine hand from above; rid me, and deliver me out of great waters, from the hand of strange children; 8 Whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand [is] a right hand of falsehood. 9 I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery [and] an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee. 10 [It is he] that giveth salvation unto kings: who delivereth David his servant from the hurtful sword. 11 Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand [is] a right hand of falsehood: 12 That our sons [may be] as plants grown up in their youth; [that] our daughters [may be] as corner stones, polished [after] the similitude of a palace: 13 [That] our garners [may be] full, affording all manner of store: [that] our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets: 14 [That] our oxen [may be] strong to labour; [that there be] no breaking in, nor going out; that [there be] no complaining in our streets. 15 Happy [is that] people, that is in such a case: [yea], happy [is that] people, whose God [is] the LORD.
In verses 7-8 David cries out for God to deliver him from the vanity and falsehoods spoken against him by others. If in your lifetime you do something other than march in place till Jesus comes, you will be lied against. You will be maligned and misrepresented. If you pause and give heed or answer the accuser he has you right where he wants you. What man calls his right to have an opinion God calls an outright lie. When others accuse you and malign your motives know that this is not the only time you will face such challenges. Satan is the Father of lies. He knows falsehood so well he can conjure up all manner of accusation against you in the lips of those who ought to favor your righteous cause. Learn not to give heed to or be affected by the lies of the enemy. When someone sees you through a lens other than the one that reflects what God has said about you – that is a lie. When someone deals with you a someone other than one for whom Christ died – that is falsehood. Look to God. Know that it is God who will deliver you from all such persons. Leave them to God and keep seeking the kingdom.
In verse 9 David breaks forth into song. He is saying in essence – “they are lying on me and misrepresenting me … I think I will sing a song!” In other words you are where your attention takes you. Don’t put your attention on those demanding that you answer them or pay attention to what they are saying. Focus on the Father. Turn your thoughts toward God and the faithfulness of God in your life. The enemy uses such tactics against you because they are effective. When you refuse to be manipulated or taken advantage of by the childishness and unkindness of others they will eventually get bored and move on. Keep your mind and your heart fixed on God.

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