Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies . (ESV) This was a difficult passage to write a commentary for, but here it goes: In the New Testament Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:43-44, "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," Jesus has given us additional teaching on the treatment of our enemies. One additional thought (a possibility): When David is referring to hating those who hate the Lord, he is referring to how he feels abou them, whereas Jesus is referring to treatment of those enemies.
They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain! (ESV) Notice that one of the examples that David uses to show how these people are truly the enemies of God is the fact that they are taking God's name in vain. This is a command that we take lightly sometimes, but it was mentioned in the Ten Commandments fairly high up on the list. Mentioned before murder and adultery. Consider today how you use God's name. Do you refer to Him in an empty, meaningless fashion?
Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me! (ESV) Have you ever prayed that way? You are just sick of the wrong that is going on around you, and you just cry out to God, asking Him to end it. Even though it doesn't say so in this particular passage, we know why God tarries, why God stays His hand. It is His grace. Consider the story of Jonah. Jonah wanted the evil people of the city of Nineveh to perish. He wanted them to pay for their crimes against humanity, and he did not want them to get right with God. So when God calls Jonah to go to that city, Jonah runs. We know what happens next. God doesn't let Jonah get too far, and miraculously brings him, not only to a place of repentance, but also back to Nineveh. After Jonah preaches, the people repent. Jonah isn't too happy about this so he goes and sits down outside of the city. He builds a little shelter and God causes a vine to grow up over Jonah to shade his head. The vine die
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you. (ESV) Saying that God's thoughts are precious is a two fold statement. First, it is a statement of reality. For David, God's thoughts had become precious becaus he was beginning to understand what God was thinking about. Second, it is a statement of theory. God's thoughts should be precious to us. We should begin to put a high priority on what God is thinking about us. So, we begin to think of God's thoughts the way we should, which will lead us to a better understanding of reality.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (ESV) Before you were born, God knew all of your days. They, according to this verse, were written in a book. I always assume that statements like these are figurative, that there isn't an actual book with my days in it. But if it is figurative, what is it representing? There is an absoluteness about things written in a book. Once it is written, it is written. Especially in those days, the days before white-out and backspacing. Your days were written in a book that doesn't erase, a book that God Himself has written and keeps. Aren't you thankful that you have an ear with the Author of your life?
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. (ESV) We can't skim over a verse like this; not the way things are in the world today. David is here stating that there was a time that he was in the womb. He talks about when he was being made in secret. That secret place that he is referring to is in the womb. With current technology, we can get a glimpse into that womb, but they couldn't. We can see now that those babies are babies. The question is: Do you suddenly become you when you are born? Or you could state it: Does the soul enter the body when the baby pops out? The answer to this question is "No" and here is a scripture which, in a small way, validates that thought. Keep in mind also that if you were being "intricately woven together" that implies a weaver. We know that it is God himself that was working on you.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. (ESV) I praise you! David finally says it, as should we all. It has been building through this chapter, kind of like a thick liquid coming to a boil. You can see the place where the bubble is starting to rise, and then finally it is too much pressure on the inside and it pops. The same thing here. When you begin to discuss these amazing attributes of God, just how big He is, how He is everywhere, how He knows all things... And then you bring it down to the closeness and personal touch He has on every life... The praise comes out, or at least it should. David states here, after his bubble pop of praise, that the way we are made is amazing. He describes it as "fearful" and "wonderful". And this knowledge has made it into his very soul. May you, today, allow the knowledge of God sink down to your soul.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. (ESV) God has an intimate knowledge of who we are. He knows us so well because He is everywhere we are. He also knows us so well because He made us. His creative actions did not cease after that first week. Every baby that has ever been born was formed by God. How should this knowledge impact us? Here are a few truths that you can take away from this: All babies belong to God. All babies are made by God. God made you. and God doesn't make mistakes... That last one wasn't in this verse, but that is already known about God. If we keep that in mind as we look at those other truths, there is great encouragement there.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. (ESV) There have been times in my life where I have wanted the darkness to surround me and the light to be gone. Sometimes it was because of things that I wanted to do, so I didn't want to be seen by God. I wanted Him to vacate the premises so that I could do what I wanted without Him standing over my shoulder. There have been other times that I simply wanted to dwell in my own misery. I didn't want Him there to bring that ray of light, I wanted to "enjoy" my pitiful state... It seemed easier. In those times I don't always see God bursting through. And notice that it doesn't say that He comes bursting through, vanquishing the darkness. It only says that it isn't darkness to Him. We are such great fools that say in our hearts, "There is no
If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. (ESV) David has made this teaching about the Omnipresence of God very personal. He has spoken about himself in each of these verses, but in these two verses he move in just a little bit closer to the mind and heart of God. He reveals that God's presence isn't that of a bystander. God is where David is, and He is there with arms extended. He is helping David, He is leading him and guiding him. God is holding him up. God's Omnipresence isn't that of a whispy vapor. He also isn't just "in" everything. He is PRESENT!
If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! (ESV) Here we have this continued thought of the omnipresence of God. I love how David doesn't make it a matter of textbook (scroll?) theology. This isn't something that he is discussing in a non-personal way. He is talking about himself. God is where he is.
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? (ESV) I don't ever think that I want to go from God's Spirit or flee from His presence, but there are times when I think that I have. We usually don't ask God to step out before we get impatient with our children or lash out at our spouse. We don't say, "Excuse me God, would you mind stepping into the other room while I am watching this show?" We usually don't say or think these things, but how often we live like it. Allow this understanding of God to penetrate your daily life.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. (ESV) I concur. These last few days I have been seriously contemplating these verses. I have contemplated them before, but in the past my meanderings through this passage have remained with the concept that God is everywhere and He knows all things. That is wonderful. That is high and lifted up. I cannot attain it... But this time, the scriptures have struck me in a slightly different slant. God is here. He knows me. As I type these words, He is present with me. That is high. That is wonderful. I cannot attain it.
Hey! Show your support of this blog by becoming a follower! On the right hand column of this blog there is a spot where you can become a follower of this blog. I titled it "fellow wanderers". You could also show your support by dropping some additional comments from time to time. OR... You could start your own commentary blog! Just some thoughts....