An Overview Of The Old Testament
Part 122 – The Lord Knows You Through The People Of God Are Happy (Psalms 139-144)
1. From reading the first twelve verses of the 139th Psalm, is there any way we can hide our thoughts or location from God?
No: “(1) O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. (2) Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. (3) Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. (4) For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. (5) Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. (6) Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. (7) Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? (8) If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. (9) If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; (10) Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. (11) If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. (12) Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee” (Psalms 139:1-12).
* We are naked before God (Hebrews 4:13).
** He knows our every thought (I Chronicles 28:9, Job 42:1-2, Isaiah 66:18, and Luke 11:14-17).
*** “(15) Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? (16) Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding” (Isaiah 29:15-16)?
2. Did the Psalmist reveal anything that shows us that God knows us in the womb?
Yes: “(13) For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. (14) I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. (15) My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. (16) Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalms 139:13-16).
* Even before the womb (Jeremiah 1:5).
** The Lord can see to the womb bearing fruit (Psalms 127:3) and prevent it from doing so as well (Genesis 20:18).
3. How highly did the Psalmist admire the thoughts of God?
“(17) How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! (18) If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee” (Psalms 139:17-18).
* Consider: Isaiah 55:8-9 and Romans 11:33-36.
4. How do things look for the wicked in the 139th Psalm?
Not so good: “(19) Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. (20) For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain”(Psalms 139:19-20).
5. What kind of relationship did the Psalmist have with those that hate God?
“(21) Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? (22) I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies” (Psalms 139:21-22).
* God certainly hates both sin and sinners (Psalms 5:4-6, Psalms 11:5-7, Proverbs 6:16-19, Proverbs 16:5, Romans 9:13, and Hebrews 1:8-9).
** “Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked... Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way… Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way… Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way… I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love… Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph… Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good… For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it” (Psalms 97:10; 119:104; 128; 163; Amos 5:15, Romans 12:9, and I Peter 3:10-11).
6. Did the Psalmist appear to want to do what is right as the 139th Psalm concludes?
Yes: “(23) Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: (24) And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalms 139:23-24).
7. Did the Psalmist have enemies, which made him need God’s help?
Yes: “(1) Deliver me, O LORD, from the evil man: preserve me from the violent man; (2) Which imagine mischiefs in their heart; continually are they gathered together for war. (3) They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders' poison is under their lips. Selah. (4) Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man; who have purposed to overthrow my goings. (5) The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set gins for me. Selah. (6) I said unto the LORD, Thou art my God: hear the voice of my supplications, O LORD. (7) O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle. (8) Grant not, O LORD, the desires of the wicked: further not his wicked device; lest they exalt themselves. Selah. (9) As for the head of those that compass me about, let the mischief of their own lips cover them. (10) Let burning coals fall upon them: let them be cast into the fire; into deep pits, that they rise not up again” (Psalms 140:1-10).
8. Was the Psalmist confident that God would maintain the cause of the afflicted rather than allowing the evil speaker to be established in the earth?
“(11) Let not an evil speaker be established in the earth: evil shall hunt the violent man to overthrow him. (12) I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor. (13) Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence” (Psalms 140:11-13).
9. Did the Psalmist want God to continually be ready for his prayers?
Yes: “(1) LORD, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee. (2) Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. (3) Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips” (Psalms 141:1-3).
10. Did the Psalmist ask for God’s help in not practicing wicked works?
Yes: “(4) Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties. (5) Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities” (Psalms 141:4-5).
* Remember, the Holy Spirit directly intervened in the lives of God’s people at this time (II Peter 1:20-21), wherein now that no longer occurs (I Corinthians 13:8-13).
** Notice the words of David: “(1) Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, (2) The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue” (II Samuel 23:1-2)
11. As things would get bad (judges overthrown, bones scattered, snares laid, etc.), where did the Psalmist keep his eyes?
Upon the Lord: “(6) When their judges are overthrown in stony places, they shall hear my words; for they are sweet. (7) Our bones are scattered at the grave's mouth, as when one cutteth and cleaveth wood upon the earth. (8) But mine eyes are unto thee, O GOD the Lord: in thee is my trust; leave not my soul destitute. (9) Keep me from the snares which they have laid for me, and the gins of the workers of iniquity. (10) Let the wicked fall into their own nets, whilst that I withal escape” (Psalms 141:6-10).
12. Does the 142nd Psalm show us that we should be able to pour our concerns before God when we feel deserted and overwhelmed?
Yes: “(1) I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication. (2) I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble. (3) When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me. (4) I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. (5) I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living” (Psalms 142:1-5).
* When all desert us, God will not if we are faithful to Him (Hebrews 13:5-6).
13. While the Psalmist knew his enemies were stronger than him, who was he confident in for help?
God: “(6) Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I. (7) Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me” (Psalms 142:6-7).
* Israel had all too often trusted in men (Isaiah 31:1; 36:6), so it is good to see faith in God!
14. Does the 143rd Psalm start with the same confidence Psalms 139:23 displays?
No: “(1) Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness. (2) And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified” (Psalms 143:1-2).
* Psalms 139:23 says: “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts”. ** Verse 24 says to correct him IF there is any error, but verse 23 shows a willingness to be examined that Psalms 143:2 does not.
15. In the 143rd Psalm, is the Psalmist confident and strong or failing and weak?
His is failing and weak: “(3) For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead. (4) Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate. (5) I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands. (6) I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah. (7) Hear me speedily, O LORD: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit. (8) Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee. (9) Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me” (Psalms 143:3-9).
16. What requests close the 143rd Psalm?
“(10) Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness. (11) Quicken me, O LORD, for thy name's sake: for thy righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble. (12) And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant” (Psalms 143:10-12).
17. To whom does the Psalmist give credit for his carnal warfare abilities?
God: “(1) 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” (Psalms 144:1-2).
* Notice David’s words: “(32) For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God? (33) God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect.
(34) He maketh my feet like hinds' feet: and setteth me upon my high places. (35) He teacheth my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms” (II Samuel 22:32-35).
18. How does Hebrews 2:6 fit into our current study?
Hebrews 2:6 says: “But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?”
Psalms 144:3 says: “LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!”
19. What do we learn in the 144th Psalm that should cause us to realize our days are short on this earth?
“Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away” (Psalms 144:4).
* Life, in this world, is short (Psalms 39:4, Proverbs 27:1, James 4:13-15, and I Peter 1:24).
20. For what purpose does the Psalmist ask God to bow the heavens, cast forth lightning, etc.?
“(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. (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” (Psalms 144:5-8).
21. Why was the Psalmist singing a new song unto God?
“(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” (Psalms 144:9-10).
22. What would be some of the positive results if God chose to deliver the Psalmist from the hand of strange children?
“(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” (Psalms 144:11-14).
23. Who should be a happy people?
“Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD” (Psalms 144:15).
* God’s people should be happy (Psalms 32:11; 40:16; 68:19, and Proverbs 29:18).