Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament poetic book of the Psalms, which contained within its pages psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, as well as prayers and petitions which were spoken by the psalmists of old. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters twenty through twenty-five of this Old Testament book. THE LORD HEAR THEE IN THE DAY OF TROUBLE! THE NAME OF THE GOD OF JACOB DEFEND THEE! SEND THEE HELP FROM THE SANCTUARY! STRENGTHEN THEE OUT OF ZION! REMEMBER ALL THY OFFERINGS! ACCEPT THY BURNT SACRIFICE! GRANT THEE ACCORDING TO THINE OWN HEART! FULFILL ALL THY COUNSEL! WE WILL REJOICE IN THY SALVATION! IN THE NAME OF OUR GOD WE WILL SET UP OUR BANNERS! THE LORD FULFILL ALL THY PETITIONS! SOME TRUST IN CHARIOTS, AND SOME IN HORSES: BUT WE WILL REMEMBER THE NAME OF THE LORD OUR GOD! THEY ARE BROUGHT DOWN AND FALLEN: BUT WE ARE RISEN, AND STAND UPRIGHT! FOR THE KING TRUSTETH IN THE LORD, AND THROUGH THE MERCY OF THE MOST HIGH HE SHALL NOT BE MOVED! THINE HAND SHALL FIND OUT ALL THINE ENEMIES! THY RIGHT HAND SHALL FIND OUT THOSE THAT HATE THEE! THOU SHALT MAKE THEM AS A FIERY OVEN IN THE TIME OF THINE ANGER! MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME? WHY ART THOU SO FAR FROM HELPING ME, AND FROM THE WORDS OF MY ROARING? O MY GOD, I CRY IN THE DAYTIME, BUT THOU HEAREST NOT; AND IN THE NIGHT SEASON, AND AM NOT SILENT! BUT THOU ART HOLY, O THOU THAT INHABITEST THE PRAISES OF ISRAEL! OUR FATHERS TRUSTED IN THEE! THEY TRUSTED, AND THOU DIDST DELIVER THEM! THEY CRIED UNTO THEE, AND WERE DELIVERED! THEY TRUSTED IN THEE, AND WERE NOT CONFOUNDED! [MESSIANIC PSALM] [MESSIANIC PSALM VERSUS MESSIANIC HOPE] [MESSIANIC ANGUISH, MESSIANIC DESPAIR] BE NOT THOU FAR FROM ME, O LORD: O MY STRENGTH, HASTE THEE TO HELP ME! DELIVER MY SOUL FROM THE SWORD; MY DARLING FROM THE POWER OF THE DOG! SAVE ME FROM THE LION’S MOUTH: FOR THOU HAST HEARD ME FROM THE HORNS OF THE UNICORNS! I WILL DECLARE THY NAME UNTO MY BRETHREN! IN THE MIDST OF THE CONGREGATION WILL I PRAISE THEE! HE HATH NOT DESPISED NOR ABHORRED THE AFFLICTION OF THE AFFLICTED; NEITHER HATH HE HID HIS FACE FROM HIM! WHEN HE CRIED UNTO HIM, HE HEARD! MY PRAISE SHALL BE OF THEE IN THE GREAT CONGREGATION! THE MEEK SHALL EAT AND BE SATISFIED! THEY SHALL PRAISE THE LORD THAT SEEK HIM! ALL THE ENDSD OF THE WORLD SHALL REMEMBER AND TURN UNTO THE LORD! ALL THE KINDREDS OF THE NATIONS SHALL WORSHIP BEFORE THEE! THE KINGDOM IS THE LORD’S: AND HE IS THE GOVERNOR AMONG THE NATIONS! ALL THEY THAT BE FAT UPON THE EARTH SHALL EAT AND WORSHIP: ALL THEY THAT GO DOWN TO THE DUST SHALL BOW BEFORE HIM!
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD; I SHALL NOT WANT! HE MAKETH ME TO LIE DOWN IN GREEN PASTURES: HE LEADETH ME BESIDE STILL THE STILL WATERS. HE RESTORETH MY SOUL: HE LEADETH ME IN THE PATHS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS FOR HIS NAME’S SAKE. YEA, THOUGH I WALK THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH, I WILL FEAR NO EVIL: FOR THOU ART WITH ME; THY ROD AND THY STAFF THEY COMFORT ME. THOU PREPAREST A TABLE BEFORE ME IN THE PRESENCE OF MINE ENEMIES: THOU ANOINTEST MY HEAD WITH OIL; MY CUP RUNNETH OVER. SURELY GOODNESS AND MERCY SHALL FOLLOW ME ALL THE DAYS OF MY LIFE: AND I WILL DWELL IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD FOR EVER.
WHO SHALL ASCEND INTO THE HILL OF THE LORD? WHO SHALL STAND IN HIS HOLY PLACE? HE THAT HATH CLEAN HANDS, AND A PURE HEART; WHO HATH NOT LIFTED UPU HIS SOUL UNTO VANITY, NOR SWORN DECEITFULLY. HE SHALL RECEIVE THE BLESSING FROM THE LORD, AND RIGHTEOUSNESS FROM THE GOD OF HIS SALVATION. THIS IS THE GENERATION OF THEM THAT SEEK HIM, THAT SEEK THY FACE, O JACOB. SELAH! LIFT UP YOUR HEADS, O YE GATES; AND BE YE LIFT UP, YE EVERLASTING DOORS; AND THE KING OF GLORY SHALL COME IN. WHO IS THIS KING OF GLORY? THE LONG STRONG AND MIGHTY, THE LORD MIGHTY IN BATTLE.
UNTO THEE, O LORD, DO I LIFT UP MY SOUL. O MY GOD, I TRUST IN THEE: LET ME NOT BE ASHAMED, LET NOT MINE ENEMIES TRIUMPH OVER ME! LET NONE THAT WAIT ON THEE BE ASHAMED: LET THEM BE ASHAMED WHICH TRANSGRESS WITHOUT CAUSE! SHEW ME THY WAYS, O LORD! TEACH ME THY PATHS! LEAD IN ME THY TRUTH! TEACH ME! THOU ART THE GOD OF MY SALVATION; ON THEE DO I WAITA ALL THE DAY! WHAT MAN IS HE THAT FEARETH THE LORD? HIM SHALL HE TEACH IN THE WAY THAT HE SHALL CHOOSE! HIS SOUL SHALL DWELL AT EASE; AND HIS SEED SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH! THE SECRET OF THE L ORD IS WITH THEM THAT FEAR HIM; AND HE WILL SHEW THEM HIS COVENANT! MINE EYES ARE EVERY TOWARD THE LORD; FOR HE SHALL PLUCK MY FEET OUT OF THE NET! TURN THEE UNTO ME, AND HAVE MERCY UPON ME; FOR I AM DESOLATE AND AFFLICTED. THE TROUBLES OF MY HEART ARE ENLARGED! BRING THOU ME OUT OF MY DISTRESSES! LOOK UPON MINE AFFLICTION AND MY PAIN; AND FORGIVE ALL MY SINS! CONSIDER MINE ENEMIES; FOR THEY ARE MANY; AND THEY HATE ME WITH CRUEL HATRED! KEEP MY SOUL, AND DELIVER ME! LET ME NOT BE ASHAMED; FOR I PUT MY TRUST IN THEE!
When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find what almost appears to be benediction and prayer from the heart of David the king of Israel over the people of God. As you begin reading this set of psalms within this Old Testament book you will find something that is truly quite unique and truly powerful, for in the twentieth chapter you find the king pronouncing a benediction and prayer over the people who were entrusted into his care. What truly makes this particular selection of psalms so absolutely remarkable and astounding is when you think about the fact that the twentieth chapter contains a prayer of the king over others, while if you come to the twenty-second chapter of the same Old Testament book you will find what is considered to be one of the Messianic psalms of the Old Testament, for there is language used within this psalm that not only spoke directly to the death of Jesus, but also contained some of the very words which Jesus would echo from the cross just prior to His giving up the ghost. It’s worth noting that the twenty-second chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms is indeed a cry of anguish, a cry of despair and a cry of sorrow—not only with the heart of David king of Israel, but also Jesus the Christ who would hang naked, bruised, bloody and beaten on a cruel Roman tree. It’s worth noting that this psalm would be followed by the twenty-third psalm which is perhaps one of the most well known and beloved psalms in all of Scripture. There have been numerous souls which have been in despair and discouragement who have come to the waters that are found in the twenty-third psalm and have found a great solace and place of rest. It is actually quite astounding to think about and consider the fact that the twenty-third psalm would not only come directly on the heels of the Messianic psalm which preceded it, but it would also come directly before the psalm in which David asks who can dwell in the holy hill of Zion. What’s more, is that in between “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me” and “Who is this King of glory” is the declaration that the LORD is my shepherd. It’s absolutely necessary that we consider this truly astonishing reality, for it brings us face to face with hope after the storm, and life after the storm. It is true that the twenty-second chapter of the book of Psalms describes the death and suffering of Jesus the Christ, however, immediately following this chapter that would speak to the death of Jesus the Christ would be an emphatic and powerful declaration that the LORD is the shepherd of the psalmist David. What’s more, is that not only is the LORD the suffering One in the twenty-second chapter, and not only is the LORD the Shepherd in the twenty-third chapter, but the LORD is the King of glory in the twenty-fourth chapter.
Before you delve into the words which are written and recorded within the twenty-second, twenty-third and twenty-fourth chapters of the Old Testament book of the Psalms, it’s necessary that we first begin with and from the twentieth chapter, for within the twentieth chapter of this Old Testament book we find the psalmist David pronouncing and praying a benediction over the people of God. We know and understand in the book of Leviticus that there was indeed a priestly benediction which Aaron and his sons would pray over the people of God, however, what we find within this particular psalm is what I would describe as “the blessing of the King.” There was a blessing that was to be pronounced and spoken by Aaron and his sons in the Old Testament book of Leviticus, however, what we find here in the twentieth chapter is something that is truly spectacular and truly wonderful, as it appears David was praying and interceding for the people of God before the throne of the LORD, and before the God whom he served. The words which David prayed and pronounced over the people of God are actually quite unique when you consider the prayer which Jesus Christ Himself prayed over His disciples on the night in which He was betrayed into the hands of religious leaders and sinful men alike. What’s more, is that the words which are found written and contained within the twentieth chapter must also be considered and carefully understood in light of the words which the apostle Paul prayed—not only in the epistle which was written to the Ephesians, and not only to the Colossians, but also the Philippian saints. As you read each of these three epistles you will find perhaps some of the most beautiful words of prayer and intercession prayed by the apostle Paul over these three churches—prayers which he was undoubtedly confident the living and eternal God would indeed and would in fact here. Consider if you will the great high priestly prayer of Jesus as recorded in the seventeenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John, as well as the apostolic prayers which were prayed over the Ephesian, Colossian and Philippian congregations in the respected epistles which were written to each of them:
“These words spake Jesus, and lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee; as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. And now come I to thee; and these things I spake in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:1-26).
“Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:15-23).
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; being confident of this dry thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:3-11).
“We give thanks to God and the Father of our LORD Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, for the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye h ears before in the word of the truth of the gospel; which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in t Ruth: as ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellow servant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ; who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit. For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long suffering with joyfulness; giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: in whom we have redemption through his good, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all the fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (Colossians 1:3-20).
THE KINGLY PRAYER! THE PRIESTLY PRAYER! THE APOSTOLIC PRAYER! When you come to the twentieth chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms you will encounter something that is truly astonishing and truly remarkable concerning the various psalms which David penned. If and as you read the vast majority of the psalms which David the king of Israel wrote you will find and discover that most of them are personal prayers before the living and eternal God. The psalms which are written and recorded in this Old Testament book—particularly those which were written by David—are of such a nature that they could be the personal journal and diary entries right of the prayer journal of David. It is indeed true that there were a great number of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs that were written by David the psalmist within this book, however, there are a great deal of psalms which are personal pleas and cries of desperation from a soul which oftentimes felt crushed—crushed by the weight of the pressure of being surrounded by enemies which were too great for him, and crushed by the weight of feeling as though he were completely and utterly alone. In fact, the words which we find in the twenty-second chapter of the book of Psalms is perhaps one of the most desperate pleas and cries from the heart of David. It is absolutely undeniable that David was no stranger to trials, no strange to troubles, no stranger to affliction, and no stranger to suffering and anguish within his heart and life. David was a man who found himself continually set against two different types of individuals within the earth—the enemies and adversaries which were risen up against him in the earth, as well as the wicked and ungodly in the earth. David you will recall was described as “the man after God’s own heart,” and yet even though he was indeed a man after God’s own heart he still found himself at odds with both the wicked, as well as enemies and adversaries. The more you read and the more you study David’s life the more you will encounter the tremendous reality that he regularly found himself in a conflict and struggle between the righteous and the wicked, as well as allies and friends and enemies and adversaries. The book of the Psalms brings us front and center to David’ struggle with the wicked and with the enemies which were oftentimes round about him within this life. Permit me to ask you a question if this describes you within your life, and whether or not as you follow the LORD—most certainly the more you follow the LORD—the more you find yourself at odds with the wicked of this generation, as well as surrounded by enemies and adversaries. Consider if you will the words which are written in the tenth chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms concerning the wicked which David not only perceived within his generation, but also which he found himself at odds against:
“Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? Why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble? The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined. For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth. The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. His ways are always grievous; thy judgments are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them. He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved: For I shall never be in adversity. His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity. He sitteth in the lurking places of the villages: in the secret places doth he murder the innocent: his eyes are privily set against the poor. He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor: he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net. He croucheth, and humbleth himself, that the poor may fall by his strong ones. He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten: he hideth his face; he will never see it. Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up thine hand: forget not the humble. Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? He hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it. Thou hast seen it; for thou beholdest mischief and sprite, to require it with thy hand: the poor committeth himself unto thee; THou art the helper of the fatherless. Break thou the arm of the wicked and the evil man: Seek out his wickedness till thou find none. The LORD is KING for ever and ever: the heathen are perished out of his land. LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear: to judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress” (Psalm 10:1-18).
“The fool hath said in his heart, There is not God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? Who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD. There’re were they in great fear: for God is the in the generation of the righteous. Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the LORD is his refuge. Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When the LORD bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad” (Psalm 14:1-7).
With these two passages you truly encounter the tremendous struggle David had with the wicked and the perverse which were present within his generation. In all reality, I would dare say that the closer you walk with God the more you might very well find yourselves at odds and enmity with the wicked and ungodly of this age. The closer you walk with the LORD the more you might very well find yourself not only at odds with the wicked, but also finding yourself in a place where you strongly desire the congregation and assembly of the righteous. David was a man who walked with and walked before the LORD, and as a direct result of this, he found himself at odds with the wicked. What’s more, is that David would even find himself praying prayers for the wicked that the LORD would cut them off from the land, and that the LORD would utterly destroy the wicked from before him. David was a man who sought to set the LORD always before his face, and sought to walk in and abide in the congregation of the righteous, and time and time again this caused him to be in a place where he would be routinely and regularly at odds with the wicked, the crooked, the perverse and the ungodly within his generation. What’s more, is that as you begin reading the Old Testament book of the Psalms you will find it beginning with a strong and apparent contrast between the righteous and godly and the wicked. In fact, it might very well be said that the entire book of the Psalms discusses this disparity between the godly and the righteous with the wicked and the ungodly. The entire book of Psalms seems to present us with this disparity between the people of God and the enemies and adversaries which rise up against them to afflict their souls, and to oppress and persecute them. While the Old Testament book of the Psalms is indeed a book of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, it is also a book that describes the great enmity that exists between the godly and the righteous and the wicked and the ungodly. What’s more, is that the Old Testament book of the Psalms presents a powerful picture concerning the struggle that exists between the people of God and the enemies which would rise up against them. David was a perfect and powerful example—not only of one who walked with and walked before God and found himself at odds with the wicked and perverse of his generation, but also one who was regularly surrounded by enemies and adversaries. Moreover, David would find himself surrounded by enemies which were at times too strong, too powerful and too many for him. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this reality when reading the book of the Psalms, for the book of Psalms is indeed a book that presents us with the very real struggle against and strivings with the wicked and the ungodly, as well as enemies and adversaries.
THE STRUGGLE AND STRIVINGS WITH THE WICKED AND UNGODLY! THE STRUGGLE AND STRIVINGS WITH ENEMIES AND ADVERSARIES. We must recognize and understand these particular realities, for they help serve as the foundation for what is found written within the chapters which are before us—and not only the chapters which are before us, but also the words which are written in the eighteenth chapter of this Old Testament book. It’s incredibly interesting to read the Old Testament book of the Psalms and discover the truth that there was a day in which the LORD not only delivered David out of the hand of all his enemies and adversaries, but also when the LORD delivered him out of the hand of Saul who betrayed and sought to murder him. There came a day when the LORD did indeed deliver David out of the hand of all his enemies and adversaries, and the words which are found in the eighteenth chapter of the book of the Psalms, as well the twenty-second chapter of the book of Second Samuel demonstrate the tremendous reality of being delivered from enemies and adversaries which are too strong, too much, and too great for us. With that being said, however, it is necessary that we recognize and understand that while we might very well be delivered out of the hands of our enemies and adversaries, that doesn’t mean that we can and will be delivered from the ungodly and the wicked. Nowhere in Scripture do I find any deliverance from the ungodly and the wicked, for Scripture seems to paint a powerful picture that the wicked and the ungodly will always be in the midst of the earth. Oh, it is true the LORD can indeed deliver us out of the hands of our enemies and adversaries, and that we can walk in a place of victory, triumph and overcoming, however, there is no place in Scripture where I read and find any mention of being delivered from the wicked. In fact, I would strongly state and declare that the wicked, the ungodly and the perverse are always going to be before and among us within the earth, and we must recognize and understand this. There is absolutely no avoiding, nor is there any way of completely and utterly removing the wicked and the perverse from the earth—at least not until the last days when the LORD judges both the righteous and the wicked, and when the books are opened, scores are settled, records are called into account, and men and women are rewarded according to their deeds. The underlying question we must ask ourselves when reading the Old Testament book of the Psalms is not only regarding the presence of the enemies and adversaries we face within this life, but also the wicked, the ungodly and the perverse which are also present among us within this generation. It’s truly quite intriguing to read the Old Testament book of Psalms, and to read concerning the presence of the ungodly and the wicked, as well as enemies and adversaries, for concerning both we are given two distinct ways of dealing with and interacting with them.
As I sit here this morning I feel compelled to emphatically declare that there will be enemies and adversaries which you will face within this life, and there will be wicked and ungodly which you will encounter within this life. What we must recognize and understand, however, is that we do not deal with, nor do we approach the wicked the same way we deal with and approach our enemies and adversaries. It’s actually quite interesting to read the words which are written and recorded within the Old Testament book of the Psalms, for not only do we find David praying concerning the wicked and ungodly within his generation, but we also find David praying concerning the enemies and adversaries which were before and all around him. The book of Psalms contains countless cries and prayers from within the heart and soul of David as he found himself regularly and routinely crying out to the LORD because of the wicked and because of enemies. David was one whose heart and soul was grieved—not only because of the wicked, the ungodly and the perverse within his generation, but also with the enemies and adversaries which were before and all around him. It’s actually quite interesting to consider how this contrast between the godly and the ungodly, between the righteous and the wicked is presented and put on full display at the very outset of the book of the Psalms as the author of this particular psalm clearly sets forth a powerful dichotomy and distinction between the ungodly and the godly, between the righteous and the unrighteous. Consider if you will the following words which are written and recorded in the first chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms, which describes the clear and present disparity between the righteous and the wicked in the earth, and how the righteous are to live in the midst of the earth. What’s more, is that I also invite you to consider the words which are found in the fifteenth and twenty-fourth chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms, for within these chapters we find the call to the righteous—and not only the call to the righteous, but also powerful descriptions concerning how the righteous are to live in the midst of a generation that is saturated with the wicked, the ungodly and the perverse. What’s more, is that I would also invite you to consider the words which are found in the New Testament concerning how we are to walk in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, and how we are to walk circumspectly:
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his laws doth he meditate day and a night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish” (Psalm 1:1-6).
“Lord, Who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved” (Psalm 15:1-5).
“The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? OR who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul to vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of them that seek Him, that seek thy face, O God of Jacob. Selah. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the KING of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah” (Psalm 24:1-10.
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasures. Do all things without murmurings and disputing: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and serve of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me” (Philippians 2:12-18).
What you read and find within these passages of Scripture perfectly and powerfully describe the call we as the people of God have in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation to walk in a manner that pleases and glorifies the living God. The first and opening chapter of the book of the Psalms presents us with the strong reality of those who choose not to walk in the counsel of the ungodly, those who choose not to stand in the way of sinners, and those who choose not to sit in the seat of the scornful. It’s absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize this, for within the same psalm we find the psalmist describing how the godly are those whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditate upon the law of the LORD both day and night. The words which we find written and recorded in the fifteenth and twenty-fourth chapters of this Old Testament book are powerful descriptions concerning the righteous and those who can not only abide in the tabernacle, those who can not only dwell in the holy hill of the LORD, but also those who can ascend into the hill of the LORD and stand in His holy place. There is a clear and defined description of the contrast between the wicked and the ungodly within these passages of scripture, and if we read the psalms which David wrote we find him continually and constantly being at odds with the wicked and the ungodly of his generation—if not directly, then most certainly within his heart and soul. Undoubtedly David found himself being greatly vexed and grieved at the wickedness and unrighteousness that was before and all around him—perhaps nowhere and no place more clearly than within the prayer closet as he humbled himself before and in the sight of the living God. David was a man who constantly found himself at odds with the wicked of his generation, and surrounded and afflicted by enemies and adversaries which were too strong and too mighty for him. Nowhere is this struggle and this conflict seen in a more clearer fashion and form than in the twenty-second chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms. It is what we find in the twenty-second chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms that not only brings us face to face with David’s struggle and conflict with the wicked and the ungodly, as well as with enemies and adversaries; but this psalm is also a Messianic psalm which points beyond the conflict and struggle David faced to the conflict and struggle Jesus Christ Himself faced as He hung suspended between earth and sky on that cruel Roman tree. The twenty-second chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms is a truly powerful psalm that not only points to the tremendous conflict within the heart of David as he felt forsaken and abandoned by God in the midst of the wicked and enemies, but also points to Jesus the Christ upon the cross twenty-eight generations later. Consider if you will the words which are found within this particular psalm concerning the tremendous conflict David had—not only with the wicked and enemies, but also the struggle he had with the LORD Himself, as he felt abandoned and forsaken by Him:
“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. They cried unto thee, and were d delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded. But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly. Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is derived up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my gestures. But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me. Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns. I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard. My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him” (Psalm 22:1-25).
It is quite clear when reading the words which are written and recorded within this particular psalm that not only did David feel abandoned, forsaken and rejected by the LORD, but he also felt completely and utterly surrounded by enemies and adversaries round about on all sides. What’s more, is that David would cry out to the living God asking Him why He had forsaken him—particularly and especially during a time when he was surrounded by enemies, by adversaries, and by the wicked and ungodly. The words which are written and recorded within this particular psalm clearly point to the tremendous reality that David not only felt completely and utterly alone, abandoned and forsaken, but he also felt completely and utterly surrounded—not only by the wicked, but also by the ungodly, by enemies, and by adversaries. What we must recognize and understand about this psalm is that it didn’t merely describe a period of time within the life of David, but it would also describe the six hours Jesus hung upon the cross. I have long believed that from the sixth hour unto the ninth hour—when darkness covered the face of the earth—Jesus Himself not only found Himself completely and utterly alone, but He also felt completely and utterly forsaken, abandoned and rejected by the living God. I have long believed that during those three hours when darkness covered the face of the earth, and when darkness descended upon Golgotha—not only was Jesus surrounded in the natural by enemies and adversaries who sought to crucify Him, but I am also convinced that it was during those three hours when all of hell itself descended upon the cross of Calvary, and when every demon, every unclean spirit, every spiritual wickedness, every principality, and yes, even Satan himself descended upon the cross as Jesus hung there suspended between earth and sky. Consider if you will the narrative as it is written and recorded within the New Testament gospel narrative written and recorded by the apostle Matthew, as well as in the New Testament gospel which was written by the beloved physician Luke:
“Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed and gave him to drink. The rest said, Let be, let u s see whether Elias will come to save him. Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the c neutrino, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:45-54).
“And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man. And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and a returned. And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things” (Luke 23:44-49).
As you read the words which are written and recorded within each of these accounts of Jesus’ ‘death upon the cross you will find that for three hours on this particular day—from the sixth hour to the ninth hour—there was darkness which covered all the land. What’s more, is that not only did darkness descend upon the land during those three hours, and not only was the sun darkened, but I firmly believe that what we see in the natural was even truer in the supernatural and spiritual realm. While I do firmly believe that Jesus the Christ was surrounded in the natural by sinners, by the ungodly, by the wicked, and by the unrighteousness, I am also completely and utterly convinced that during those three hours in which darkness covered the face of all the earth, Jesus was surrounded in the supernatural and spiritual realm as surely as He was surrounded in the natural realm. In fact, I am convinced that the darkness which blotted out the light from the sun, and the darkness which covered the face of the whole land was a darkness that was produced by the forces and powers of darkness that all moved and descended upon Calvary . There is not a doubt in my mind that during those three hours in which darkness covered the face of the whole earth—although no mere human or mere mortal could see, hear or feel the presence of the forces of darkness surrounding Calvary—every manner of spiritual wickedness, and every power of darkness covered the face of the land. I strongly believe that during those three hours every unclean spirit—perhaps even those unclean spirits which Jesus had driven out of those whom He encountered—descended upon the hill of Golgotha to mock, to taunt, and to jeer at this Son of God who was hanging their suspended between earth and sky. Every demon, every ruler of darkness, every unclean spirit, and yes, I do believe that even Satan himself descended upon the hill of Calvary during this time and surrounded Jesus the Christ as He hung there suspended between earth and sky. There was Jesus completely and utterly surrounded by enemies and adversaries in the natural realm, but even more than the enemies and adversaries which we can see in the natural there were also enemies and adversaries which were present in the supernatural realm, as Jesus the Christ would find Himself completely and utterly surrounded by all of hell itself. Oh I can’t help but wonder what it must have looked like, as I am absolutely convinced that not only did and could Jesus see in the natural realm the ungodly, the wicked, and even the religious enemies and adversaries which surrounded Him there at Calvary, but also as He saw in the spiritual and supernatural realm, and saw the forces of hell, and the forces of darkness descending upon the hill of Calvary, and completely and utterly surrounding Him there as He hung naked, bruised, bleeding, broken and weary upon the cross. In fact, I can’t help but catch a glimpse of this in the epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Colossians—words which are written and recorded in the second chapter beginning to read with and from the eighth verse:
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: in whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:8-15).
Consider also if you will the words which are written and recorded in the sixth chapter of the epistle which was written by the apostle Paul unto the Ephesian congregation, the words which are written in the tenth chapter of the second epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints, as well as the words which are written and recorded within the second chapter of the New Testament epistle which was written unto the Hebrews:
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Where free take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall e able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching there unto with all prayer and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:10-18).
“For thou we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6).
“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:14-15).
If there is one thing I absolutely love about the narrative that is found in these passages, as well as the narrative of Jesus the Christ on the cross is that immediately after feeling completely and utterly forsaken and abandoned by the living God, and after being surrounded on all sides by wicked men, enemies and adversaries—not only do we find David praising the LORD, but we also find in the very next chapter David emphatically declaring and speaking of the LORD as his shepherd. How absolutely remarkable and astounding it is to think about the fact that despite David’s feeling forsaken, abandoned and rejected by the LORD his God, he would in the same passage transition to speaking forth praise before and unto the living God, and in the very next chapter presenting us with perhaps the most beloved psalm in the entire book. As I mentioned at the beginning and outset of this writing—there are countless discouraged, depressed, distressed, and despondent souls that have come to the twenty-third psalm and have drank deeply from the hope and the encouragement that is found in the midst of its words. There have been countless individuals who have found themselves in utter and complete anguish and agony, and yet in the midst of their emotional state, they have come to the twenty-third chapter and have found a place of rest, a place of hope, a place of encouragement and a place of solace before and in the presence of the living God. What’s so incredibly powerful about the twenty-third chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms is not only that the LORD is indeed our Shepherd, but as such He is able to lead us into those things we face, and even lead us through those things we face. We know that we do not have a high priest who cannot be and was not touched with the feeling of our infirmity, but we must also recognize and understand that we do not have a Shepherd who cannot and does not lead us into and through things—some of which are pleasant and enjoyable, and some which are perhaps more difficult to handle and bear. David begins the twenty-third chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms by emphatically declaring that the LORD was indeed his shepherd, and because the LORD was his shepherd, he would not be in want. What you will find in the rest of the psalm is a powerful declaration concerning what the LORD as our shepherd looks like, as the LORD not only leads us into things, not only leads us through things, but also leads us beside certain things and certain places. Consider if you will the words which are found within this beloved psalm beginning with the first verse:
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy road and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever” (Psalm 23:1).
Before you even delve into the words which are found within the twenty-third chapter of the book of the Psalms, it is first necessary to consider the tremendous transition which takes place in the twenty-second chapter of the same book, for while this chapter would begin with David crying out as to why his God had forsaken him, he would go on in the latter part of the psalm to declare “For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard” (Psalm 22:24). Stop for a moment and consider those words, for the same one who cried out and asked the LORD why he had forsaken and abandoned him was the same one who later on in the very same psalm would declare of the LORD that He never despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, nor did He ever hide his face from him. Please don’t miss the incredible truth surrounding these words, for there was a powerful transition that took place within the heart and soul of David, as he would move from feeling despised, forsaken, and abandoned by the living God to emphatically declaring that the LORD never abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, nor had He ever His face from Him. There would be those who would declare that during those three hours of darkness in which Jesus was surrounded by enemies and adversaries—not only in the physical and natural realm, but also in the spiritual and supernatural realm—that His Father turned His back on His Son, and that He perhaps even turned his face away from Him, however, I would strongly suggest that the reason for Jesus’ cry on the cross concerning his God forsaking Him wasn’t necessarily because He felt—or even thought—that the living God had forsaken Him. Rather, what I strongly think, feel and believe is that it was during those three hours when darkness covered the land that Jesus found Himself completely and utterly surrounded in the natural and physical realm by enemies and adversaries, as well as in the supernatural and spiritual realm. I would dare say and suggest that the reason and purpose behind the cry of Jesus was because during those three hours He found Himself completely and utterly surrounded by every manner of spiritual wickedness, and every power of hell. I firmly believe that in that hour (or rather, during those three hours) Jesus found Himself surrounded by all of hell itself, as hell gathered itself with all its forces to Calvary to watch the death of the Son of God. I would imagine that all of hell reeled and jeered in that moment as the Son of God hung there naked, bruised and bleeding upon the cross of Calvary. There is not a doubt in my mind that during those three hours all of hell itself lifted up and raised its voice against the Son of God, and railed against Him every accusation and every foul and filthy thing imaginable.
I sit here today and I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that there on the cross Jesus cried out to his God asking why He had forsaken Him, and yet I have to admit that I do not believe, nor have I believed that it had anything to do with the Father actually turning His back or His face on His Son. If in the same Messianic psalm from which the words Jesus Himself used clearly state that the LORD hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, nor even hiding His face from Him, then how can we state that the Father would have turned His face—much less His face from His Son. It was the divine plan, purpose and will of both the Father and the Son to allow this to even take place and unfold, for we witness and behold this reality in the fifty-third chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah. It is in this particular passage of Scripture where we find it was the good pleasure and will of the Father to allow His Son to suffer, and I can’t imagine for a single moment the Father would have forsaken and abandoned Him—whether it was on the cross as He hung their naked, bruised and bleeding, or in the grave. In fact, it would be David Himself who would also—under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit—declare that the LORD would not allow the Son to see decay in the grave. I am absolutely and completely convinced that there on the cross it might have seemed as though God had forsaken the Son—or at the very least His presence and His voice unable to be discerned—because of the great cloud of darkness that covered the face of the land. It would be an entire three hours that Jesus the Christ would hang there upon the cross with every foul and filthy spirit from hell surrounding Him on all sides as they spewed out their venom and poison condemning, accusing, insulting and judging Him. The insults we see from the religious leaders in Judaea and Jerusalem, as well as the insults which we see at the hands of the Romans was a picture in the natural of what was taking place in the supernatural. I would dare say that up until the third hour Jesus hung upon the cross man lifted up and raised their voices against the eternal Son of God, but during those last and final three hours it was all hell itself that rose up against the Son of God to insult, ridicule, mock, accuse, condemn, judge, and assault Him with their words.
As I prepare to bring this writing to a close, I can’t help but find it absolutely incredible to think about the fact that David—in the same psalm in which he initially asked and cried out why his God had forsaken him—would also emphatically declare in faith and confidence that the LORD had never and will never despise, nor abhor the affliction of the afflicted. What’s more, is that David would go on to declare that the LORD has never and will never hide His face from the afflicted—even if the afflicted is and would be His own Son. What makes this even more incredible is when you think about and consider the tremendous declaration that is found in the chapter immediately following this Messianic psalm, for David would speak of and declare the LORD to be His shepherd. David would not only declare that the LORD was His shepherd, but would also declare of the LORD how He made him to lie down in green pastures, and how He led him beside still waters. What’s more, is David would go on to declare of the LORD that He restored His soul, and led him in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though David walked through the valley of the shadow of death, he would fear no evil, for the LORD who was his shepherd would be with him. The rod and the staff of the LORD would comfort him, and the LORD would indeed prepare a table in the presence of his enemies. I would even dare say that a tablet was prepared in the presence and company of enemies at Calvary, for you will find in Scripture the LORD referring to the altar of burnt offering and sacrifice as the table of the LORD. There one Calvary’s mount we find a table being prepared in the company and presence of enemies and adversaries, as the LORD would prepare the table of sacrifice and offering in the presence of all of hell itself in order that the divine work of redemption and salvation might be accomplished and fulfilled. Oh that we would view the cross of Calvary and Calvary’s mount as a divine table which was indeed prepared in the presence of enemies, as the LORD would indeed prepare a table, a sacrifice and offering before the LORD in the presence of enemies in order that His divine purpose and will might be accomplished. Oh that we would truly recognize and understand this, and would allow ourselves to be absolutely and completely caught up in the fact that the LORD prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies. What’s more, is that the LORD invited the enemies and adversaries to the table of sacrifice and offering in order that there at the table the enemies might be conquered and subdued by and through the cross of Jesus the Christ. It is because the LORD is our shepherd that goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our life, and we can dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. Oh that we would read the words which are found in the twenty-third chapter of the book of Psalms in a new light, and would completely and utterly allow ourselves to see it in a different light—in light of a God who neither abandons nor forsakes us, and in light of a God who never turns His back or face upon us.