Monday, August 29, 2022

Psalms for the Summer #14: A Psalms Of The Word Psalms 119

Psalms for the Summer #14: A Psalms Of The Word Psalms 119

The Pony Express was yesterday’s overnight delivery service. This was a mail delivery service that took letters from the east to the west as fast as was possible. The riders changed horses and then would pass the mail satchel to the next rider so the mail never ceased to move.  The route stretched from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, CA and was ridden in 10 days. To conserve weight they wore light clothing, small saddles and carried no weapons.  The horses wore light horseshoes or none at all, they carried small flat mail pouches, and the letters were written on very thin paper. And what you wrote had better be important because it cost $500 a ounce to deliver. Yet in spite of all this expense and all this weight savings each rider carried a full sized Bible.

From the time of the Exodus to the information age the Bible has remained a keystone in the foundation of God’s people and played a fundamental role in western civilization. Let me give you some examples.

The Bible was the first book printed on Gutenberg’s movable type printing press,

It was the first book read in outer space and left on the moon by Astronaut Edgar Mitchell. 

It was the first major book to be translated into another language, from Hebrew into Greek, in 250 BC. A feat so amazing it earned its own name, the Septuagint.

Josh McDowell points out how unique the Bible in Evidence That Demands A Verdict. He says it is Unique in its Continuity, written over 1,500 year time span, that took 40 generations, by 40 different authors, and was written in 3 different languages, Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek and on 3 different continents, Africa, Asia, Europe. Yet it speaks with just one voice, the voice of God.

It is Unique in its Circulation. To print every Bible, New Testament and individual portion of the Bible, published up to just 1974, one printer would have to produce: 1 copy every 3 seconds, 20 copies every minute, 1,200 copies every hour, 28,800 copies every day, 10.5 million copies every year nonstop for 245 years. That’s enough pages of scripture to circle the globe 1,000 times. In 1998 alone the United Bible Society distributed 20 million Bibles, and 20 million New Testaments. That is just one Bible society and does not include the millions published by the major Christian publishing houses, independent publishers or the millions of copies now produced digitally on computers, tablets and smart phones. One Bible app, YouVersion has been downloaded and installed on more than 500 million devices. When I first used this Bible app as an example in 2015 that number was only 50 million. And keep in mind, that is only one app maker, there are literally hundreds that produce the Bible. No other book in all of time and history has been distributed as much as God’s Word, none even come close and given its incredible lead none ever will.

It Is also Unique in its Translations. The Bible has been translated into more than 2200 languages. Though this is only a third of the 6500 languages know today it represents over 90% of all the earth’s most commonly languages worldwide. Wycliffe Bible Translators alone has over 6000 translators working with more than 850 languages to create Bibles in native tongues for the first time. The Bible will soon become the first book ever universally translated.

In most Bibles, the 119th Psalm, is just about in the middle of the Bible, giving it a place of prominence. It is the longest acrostic psalm, each stanza and in Hebrew each verse within the stanza, begins with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet (Aleph, Beth, Gimel, etc.).

The Psalms with all of its 176 verses, and 22 stanzas are about one subject, they sing one theme, the Wonder of the Word of God. All but five of those 176 verses say something directly about the Word of God.

Not only is the Psalms an acrostic using all the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, but it is also constructed around the number eight. Each stanza has eight verses; there are eight special names for God’s Word, “law,” “testimonies,” “ways,” “precepts,” “statutes,” “commandments,” “judgments” (ordinances), and “word.” There are eight symbols of the Word given; and the believer has eight responsibilities to the Word. The word “eight” in Hebrew literally means “abundance, more than enough”; and it is the number of new beginnings.

This all means that Psalms 119 is unlike the other Psalms and that the writer was inspired to write something special, all about one subject, the Word of God. What is it about this book that makes it so unique, so special, so unlike any other work of literature ever written? The reason this book is so important is it is God's means of reaching down from the heavens, across the ages, over ignorance and touching the heart of man. It is the revelation, the revealing of God to man. It is His love letter and His declaration of liberty. It is also his warning of the future and the truth of his judgement.

It is no wonder then that the author of Psalms 119 wrote 176 verses extolling the Word of God. It is a wonder he did not write more.

 But it is a difficult Psalm to preach. It is really 176 personally proverbs about God’s Word and other than the acrostic arrangement there is not a lot of organization within the Psalms. So I am going to be like a man searching for hidden treasure this morning. I’m going to drill down into the Psalm and bring up just a few nuggets of gold, keeping in mind that there is an entire field of treasure field.

 Let’s begin with the first stanza 119:1-8. Here there is a theme and it is that…

 God’s Word A Blessing - Psalms 119:1-8

 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. 2Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. 3They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. 4Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. 5O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! 6Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. 7I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.

 The Blessing Way

 The first stanza of Psalms 119 sounds very much like a retelling of Psalms 1, which gave us the theme for the entire collection of all the Psalms. Psalms 1:1-2 ​ 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 law doth he meditate day and night.

 This theme for the Psalms is introduced in Psalm 1, it is repeated in Psalm 19, Psalms 19:7-11 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. Then that theme reaches its height in Psalm 119. And the first lesson we learn in stanza 1 is that the Law, God’s word, the statutes, the judgments, the commandments of God leads to blessings.

 I Am Blessed

 You might ask how God’s Word, especially the Old Testament Law, which is what the writer here is talking about, could bring blessings. Isn’t the law bad? Isn’t it binding? Doesn’t it keep us from true freedom? The answer is yes, when it is misunderstood and misapplied. But the answer is absolutely no, when the law of God is properly placed in the believer’s life and practice.

The Psalmist here tells us that by walking in the law, keeping the testimonies and precepts we are blessed. The Bible cannot contradict itself therefore I must understand that the law, and commandments of God play a necessary role in my life.

 If I ignore the Old Testament, if I ignore the Law of God then I become one of those so-called Christians whose entire knowledge of what the Bible teaches is “Judge not lest thee be judged.”

Warren Wiersbe in his commentary “Be Exultant” said it this way and I couldn’t say it better so I’m just going to quote him. “ Many believers today stand guilty of ignoring the Old Testament and therefore many are ignorant of what God’s law teaches. “The law is a yoke,” they exclaim but the psalmist found freedom through the law (vv. 45, 133). “To pay attention to the law is to move into the shadows!” they argue but the writer of Psalm 119 found the law to be his light (vv. 105, 130). “By the law is the knowledge of sin” but the psalmist used the law to get victory over sin (vv. 9–11). “The law kills!” but the law brought the psalmist new life when he was down in the dust. “Law and grace are in opposition!” many declare, but the psalmist testified that law and grace worked together in his life (vv. 29 and 58). God used Moses to liberate the people from Egypt, but then God gave Moses the law to give to Israel at Sinai. The German philosopher Goethe wrote, “Whatever liberates our spirit without giving us self-control is disastrous.” Law and grace are not enemies, for law sets the standard and grace enables us to meet it. - Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Exultant, “Be” Commentary Series, 1st ed., (Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 104.

 Remember what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount? Matthew 5:17-20 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

 Knowing the law of God, helps me know Jesus who fulfilled the law and knowing Jesus as my Savior means that I have fulfilled the law through Him. It works like this, follow Jesus first and the law will be a guide. But if you follow the Law first then you will miss the still small voice of the Holy Spirit within you. You will miss love, you will miss grace, you may even miss Jesus and the salvation He brings.

 The proper perspective, and proper priority and proper understanding of the law and all of God’s word bring blessings to our life.

 That was the longest I’m going to spend on any one point. Now I’m just going to look at the core sample we bring up and notice a few precious truths. Look all the way down in Psalm 119:105. We sang about this earlier. Here we see that..

 God’s Word A Light - Psalms 119:105

 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.

 I Can See

 The only way you can pierce the darkness of sin and wickedness in this iniquity cloaked world is through God’s word. It is our only hope of guidance, our only hope of not stumbling into sin, our only hope of finding our way along the path God wishes us to walk with Him.

Jesus said in John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

That light, the light of the world can only be seen in God’s word. And He is the most valuable treasure we will ever find.

 A bit further down the core sample as we follow the column we come to this golden treasure. In vss 145-147 we find that …

 God’s Word A Comfort – Psalms 119:145-147

 I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O LORD: I will keep thy statutes. I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies. I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word.

 Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word. Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O LORD, quicken me according to thy judgment.

 I Can Hope

 What would we do without God’s word to comfort us? Where would we go in our deepest sorrows? Where would we find hope? How would we ever overcome our hardest trails?

When I am hopeless and helpless, defeated by this world and its ruler, the only place I can retreat and be renewed in the Word of God.

 Can you as a believer imagine a world without Psalms 23:4 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.

 What would it be like to not know Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

 How empty and hopeless our life would be if we did not know what Jesus promised in John 14:18-19 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.

 I have hope that endures because I have a book given me from the hand of God that endures forever. Look at vs.89

 God’s Word Is True Forever - Psalms 119:89, 152, 160

 89 “For ever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven” 152 “Concerning Thy testimonies, I have known of old that Thou hast founded them for ever” 160 Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

 I Can Stand

 I can stand forever, because I know the Truth of God’s Word that stands forever.

The Hebrew word, Nitzav, is translated here “settled”  It is “fixed”: it is “established”:  And the reality given to the Holy Spirit inspired psalmist is that God’s word is fast, sure and unchanging because it is settled, fixed and established in in heaven. We through God the Holy Spirit have been given an reproduction of that heavenly Word. And our earthly copy is just as secure and eternal as that heavenly original.

Jesus made this comparison in Mark 13:31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. He was talking of the heaven that men could see when they looked up and they thought that would was eternal but Jesus said, those heavens and the earth beneath you will pass away but not my words.

 This is the book that contains those words of Jesus and it will stand forever. And if I stand upon these promises that cannot fall then I also will stand forever with the One who gave the promises to me.

 For our final stanza let’s go to the final stanza of the Psalms vss. 169-176 and it is a good place to finish because it tells us that …

 God’s Word Saves – Psalms 119:169-176

 Let my cry come near before thee, O LORD: give me understanding according to thy word. Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word. My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes. My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness. Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts. I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law is my delight. Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.

 I Am Saved

 The most important aspect, the most vital element of the Bible, God’s Word to us is this; through this book and no other is the way of salvation.

 Jesus told the Pharisees in John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

 Salvation is by the Gospel, the good news of the Word of God and the Gospel is in this book. Yes it a book of blessing, yes it is a light, yes it bring hope, yes it is eternal but all of those things are dependent upon the One who is revealed in its pages. Without Jesus nothing in this book would be true, lasting or amount to anything.

 Salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ is in the Bible and it has the almighty power of God that is enough to save all mankind.

 Paul said it clearly in Romans 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

 God has miraculously preserved His Word, because salvation is written from Genesis to Revelation and we must hear it, understand it,  believe and receive it. This book tells us how we can and that we must.

Peter in his epistle wrote, 1 Peter 1:23-25 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.


 Warren Wiersbe gives an overview of  Psalms 119 with three thoughts, What the Bible Is, What the Bible Does and What we must do.

 He says, the Bible Is…, cleansing water (v. 9), wealth and treasure (vv. 14, 72, 127, 162), a companion and friend (v. 24). a song to sing (v. 54), sweeter than honey (v. 103), a lamp to show the way (vv. 105, 130), great spoil (v. 162), and a lasting heritage (v. 111).

The Bible blesses (vv. 1–2), it gives life (vv. 25, 37, 40, 50, 88, 93), it gives strength (v. 28). it gives liberty (v. 45), it imparts wisdom (vv. 66, 97–104), it creates friends (v. 63). it gives comfort (vv. 50, 76, 82, 92), and it gives direction (v. 133).

 What We Must Do therefore is … love it (vv. 97, 159), prize it (vv. 72, 128), study it (vv. 7, 12, 18, 26–27), memorize it (v. 11), meditate on it (vv. 15, 23, 48, 78, 97, 99, 148), trust it (v. 42), obey it (vv. 1–8) and faithfully declare it to others (vv. 13, 26).

 Pilgrim’s Progress: The Key Called Promise

 In Bunyan’s great allegory, Pilgrim’s Progress, the incident is related of how Christian decides to leave the Main Highway and follow another Path which seemed easier. But this Path leads him into the territory of Giant Despair who owns Doubting Castle.

 Eventually he is captured by Giant Despair and kept in a dungeon. He is advised to kill himself. The Giant said there was no use trying to keep on with his journey. For the time, it seemed as if Despair had really conquered Christian. But then, Hope, Christian’s companion, reminds him of previous victories. So it came about that on Saturday about midnight they began to pray, and continued in prayer until almost morning.

 Now a little before it was day, good Christian, as one half-amazed, broke out in passionate speech, “What a fool am I thus to lie in a stinking Dungeon, when I may as well be at liberty. I have a Key in my bosom called Promise that will, I am persuaded, open any lock in Doubting Castle.” Then said Hopeful, “That’s good news. Good Brother, pluck it out of thy bosom and try.” Christian pulled out the Key called promise, pushed it into the dungeon door  and as he turned the key, the door flew open.

 What dungeons of despair, deep within the Castles of Doubt do you need to be freed from this morning. Here is the key of promise. Here is the good news. Here is the Gospel. Here is blessing, comfort, light, hope and salvation. Do you know it? Can you use it? Do you believe it? The most valuable book in all the world is within your grasp, take it and like Christian from Pilgrim’s Progress put in your heart and use it.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Five Reasons The Bible Is True

Five Reasons The Bible Is True

Reasons 1: Written by Eyewitnesses

The writers of Scripture record their accounts as first person testimony, not hearsay or second hand.

John wrote in his Gospel, “John 19:35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.

1 John 1:1,3  That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;  …That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:16  For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
The independent eyewitness accounts in the New Testament of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ were written by people who were intimately acquainted with Jesus Christ. Their Gospels and epistles reveal their integrity and complete commitment to the truth, and they maintained their testimony even through persecution and martyrdom.

Most of the New Testament was written between AD 47 and 70, and all of it was complete before the end of the first century. There simply was not enough time for myths about Christ to be created and propagated. And the multitudes of eyewitnesses who were alive when the New Testament books began to be circulated would have challenged blatant historical fabrications about the life of Christ. – Ken Boa

In comparison to the Bible,  Homer, who wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey, was separated from his subject matter by about 400 years and was taken from an oral tradition. The majority of the Bible was written down within at the time or within a short period of time of the events.

The Bible Claims It Is The Written Word of God

Exodus 34:1  And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest. 27 And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel.

Jeremiah 36:2-3 Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day.  It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.

Revelation 1:10-11 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,  Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia…

"Whenever the Bible writers allude to themselves, they invariably say that their words are not their own but that they come from God.  God used their facilities, traits and abilities.  Some write that God put words in their mouth; others that God directed them to use their own words to convey what God had transmitted unto them….  but all are unanimous in declaring that their writings came direct from God and that God simply used them as agents...." – W. A. Criswell

The Bible Claims Divine Preservation

Psalm 119:89 For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

1 Peter 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Prohibits Alterations

Deuteronomy 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

Proverbs 30:6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

Revelation 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book

Reason 2: Manuscript Evidence

No other ancient writing has more documentary evidence than the Bible and no other writing of antiquity has as much manuscript evidence as close to the writings of the originals or that agrees as much between the extant copies.

Work of Antiquity   Written    Earliest Copy       Time Span
Homer (Illiad)    900BC    400BC    500yrs    1757
New Testament    40-100AD    114AD    50yrs    5800

The time span of the New Testament manuscripts is exceptional. The manuscripts written on papyrus came from the second and third centuries AD. The John Rylands Fragment (P52) of the Gospel of John is dated at AD 117–138, only a few decades after the Gospel was written. The Bodmer Papyri are dated from AD 175–225, and the Chester Beatty Papyri date from about AD 250. The time span for most of the New Testament is less than 200 years (and some books are within 100 years) from the date of authorship to the date of our earliest manuscripts. This can be sharply contrasted with the average gap of over 1,000 years between the composition and the earliest copy of the writings of other ancient authors. – Ken Boa,

Manuscript Comparison

When comparing all the existing manuscripts, up to 24,000, there is agreement in 99.5 percent of the writings. The remaining 0.5 percent does not deal with any major doctrine, character or event of the Bible story.

Compare this to Homers Iliad which was also a sacred book to the Greeks and about the same size as the New Testament. The Iliad was written in 900BC and the latest copy we have is from 400BC, which is a 500 year span and there are only a little over total copies. Of those 1700 ancient copies there is a 5% disagreement in the words.

Westcott and Hort felt that the significantly debatable portions of the New Testament text could hardly amount to more than a thousandth part of the whole—the equivalent of a little more than half a page in the Greek New Testament - Thiessen.

For fifteen of these centuries they were replicated solely by hand. In spite of this, there are only some twelve to twenty significant textual variations in the entire New Testament, and none of these affect an important doctrinal matter. On the other hand, consider the works of William Shakespeare. These writings have existed less than four centuries (and since the invention of the printing press) and yet:

    [I]n every one of Shakespeare’s thirty-seven plays there are probably a hundred readings still in dispute, a large number of which materially affect the meaning of the passages in which they occur (Hastings 1890, 13; emphasis original). - Wayne Jackson;

Reason 3: Archaeological Evidence

“It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or exact detail historical statements in the Bible. And, by the same token, proper evaluation of Biblical descriptions has often led to amazing discoveries.” Dr. Nelson Glueck, archaeologist.

In the 1950s, Glueck discovered remains of the advanced Nabataean civilization in Jordan. Using irrigation, the Nabataeans were able to grow crops and develop a densely populated civilization in the Negev desert, despite receiving under 6 inches (15 cm) of rainfall a year. Glueck worked with Israeli leaders to build an irrigation system modeled on that of the Nabataeans.

Discoveries of the Past that confirm the Bible Story
1. The City of Jericho was destroyed by Joshua and the invading Israelite armies in Joshua 6:20.  The city of Jericho was excavated in 1930-36.  They found the wall had fallen down flat just as the Bible had said.

2. Nineveh was the capital city of the Assyrian Empire.  In 1846 Sir Henry Layard discovered the palace of Sennacherib and thousands of tablets inscribed in cuneiform from the great library of Ashurbanipal.  The tablets contained an account of Sennacheribs’s conquest of Judea that matched the Biblical account.

3. The Nuzi Tablets. Found shortly before World War II just to the east of Mari and the Euphrates River, the Nuzi excavations uncovered several thousand cuneiform tablets (dating back to 1500 BC) that confirm many customs of the day that are mentioned in the Bible, including: The servant heir custom (i.e., having your eldest servant inherit your wealth if you were childless), a practice mentioned by Abraham in reference to Eliezer in Genesis 15:2.
The birthright sales custom, mentioned with Esau and Jacob (Genesis 25:31).
The custom of household idols (Genesis 31:19 tells the account of Rachel having stolen these from her father, Laban).

4. The Mari Tablets. Discovered in 1933, the Mari tablets are diplomatic correspondences and governmental records involving King Zimri-Lim (a contemporary of Babylon’s Hammurabi). To date, some 20,000 clay tablets have been found dating back to around 1800 BC. These letters, along with the Nuzi tablets, illustrate the patriarchal customs in great detail. They also mention the city of Nahor, which apparently is named after the Nahor identified in Genesis 11:24, and make reference to the “Habiru” people (most likely an Akkadian reference to the Hebrews—an allusion to them as a nomadic people)

5. The Ebla Tablets. Discovered in northern Syria, these tablets affirm the antiquity and accuracy of the book of Genesis. Their excavation began in 1964 by two professors from the University of Rome, Drs. Paolo Matthiae and Giovanni Pettinato (an archaeologist and epigrapher, respectively). Since 1974, 17,000 tablets have been unearthed from the Ebla kingdom era and have made valuable contributions to biblical criticism.

The Five Cities of the Plain are recorded in Genesis 14.  These were considered fictitious until the discovery of the Kingdom of Elba site, which not only mentions the cities but even lists them in the same order on clay tablets 1000 years before Moses wrote Genesis.

6. Pool of Siloam. In June 2004 construction work just south of the City of David stumbled across a set of ancient stone steps. Further excavation revealed that those steps were part of a monumental pool that was later identified as the Pool of Siloam.

7.  Seal of Isaiah and Hezekiah. Excavations in Israel uncovered a seal that bore the name “Isaiah” 10 feet away from another seal that belonged to King Hezekiah. The name “Isaiah” was followed by the Hebrew letters “nvy.” “Nvy” are the first three letters of the ancient Hebrew word spelled nun-bet-yod-alef. This word, pronounced “navi,” means “prophet.”

8. Tel Dan Stele. In 1993 a stele was unearthed at Tel Dan in Israel. The stone had been carved by an Aramean king who was boasting about defeating his two southern neighbors in battle. Those other kings were the “king of Israel” and the “king of the House of David.” The two kings mentioned have since been identified as Jehoram of Israel and Ahaziah of Judah by Hazael of Damascus.

9. Ossuary of James, brother of Jesus. The James Ossuary is a 1st-century limestone box that used for containing the bones of the dead. An Aramaic inscription on the ossuary says "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus". The discovery was announced at an October 21, 2002 at a Washington press conference co-hosted by the Discovery Channel and the Biblical Archaeology Society. The man who found the box was tried for forgery and acquitted.
In “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible” in the March/April 2014 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Purdue University scholar Lawrence Mykytiuk lists 50 figures from the Hebrew Bible who have been confirmed archaeologically. His follow-up article, “Archaeology Confirms 3 More Bible People,” published in the May/June 2017 issue of BAR, adds another three people to the list. The identified persons include Israelite kings and Mesopotamian monarchs as well as lesser-known figures.
Mykytiuk writes that these figures “mentioned in the Bible have been identified in the archaeological record. Their names appear in inscriptions written during the period described by the Bible and in most instances during or quite close to the lifetime of the person identified.”

Reason 4: Prophetic Evidence

Prophecies of Daniel (580 BC)
Daniel 2:1-49 Image of the future Gentile Kingdoms.
Daniel 9:24-27 70 Weeks prophecy for Israel's return to God.
Daniel 11:1-4 Prophecy of Alexander the Great

Messianic Prophecies

Messiah's Birthplace: 700 years before event
Micah 5:2  But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Messiah’s Triumphal Entry: 500 years before event
Zechariah 9:9  Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

Messiah’s Crucifixion: 1000 years before event
Psalm 22:1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
Psalm 22:7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
Psalm 22:16  For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
Psalm 22:18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
Psalm 69:21 They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

Messiah’s Death and Burial: 700 years before event
Isaiah 53:8  He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.  And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 12  …he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.

Peter Stoner’s Probability of Random Chance for fulfillment of 8 Messianic Prophecies

Dr. Peter Stoner, PhD astrophysics, Cornel University,  in his book “Science Speaks” says that "the probability of someone fulfilling just 8 of the Messianic prophecies is 1 in 1 in 1017.  
To better illustrate it, "if we take 1017 Silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas.  They will cover all of the state two feet deep.  Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state.  Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one."

(1) Messiah to be born in Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2)
(2) Messiah betrayed for thirty pieces of silver. (Zechariah 11:12-13)
(3) Messiah’s clothes would be gambled away. (Psalms 22:18)
(4) Messiah’s hands and feet would be pierced. (Psalms 22:16)
(5) Messiah’s bones would not be broken. (Psalms 34:20)
(6) Messiah would be born in the tribe of Judah.  (Isaiah 37:31)
(7) Messiah would be called from Egypt. (Hosea 11:1)
(8) Messiah would be buried in a rich man’s grave. (Isaiah 53:9)

If we add eight more prophecies to our list those odds would be 1028 X 1017  or 1 in 1045. How many silver dollars would this be? A ball with a diameter thirty times the distance from the center of the earth to the sun. That’s the odds of just 16 prophecies fulfilled by chance.

If you increase the odds to 48 prophecies, then the chance of one person fulfilling them would be 1 in 10157.  We can no longer use the silver dollar example, it would be far too large for the entire universe to contain. Instead we will use an electron. If we could make a solid mass of electrons 10157, it would extend 6 billion light years in every directions from the earth. Now have someone choose just one and it has to be the right one on their first try.
Remember that this is only 8, 16 or 48 messianic prophecies, yet there are over 300 prophecies that Jesus fulfilled during his time on earth and thousands of other fulfilled prophecies in the Bible.

Reason 5: Historical Evidence

Scriptures constantly reference the times and events during which it was being written. If the Bible is true then these events should be verifiable. If the Bible is a work of fiction, then these events would also be fiction.

We have an example in Jeremiah 1:1-3 The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin:  To whom the word of the LORD came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.  It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month.

Ezekiel 1:2 “In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin's captivity,” is so precise we can narrow it down to the very the day of Ezekiel’s first vision (this time can actually be narrowed down to the exact day, July 31, 592 BC.)

Luke is very exact in dating his Gospel account

Luke 3:1-2 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene,  Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.

“Given the large portion of the New Testament written by him, it’s extremely significant that Luke has been established to be a scrupulously accurate historian, even in the smallest details. One prominent archaeologist carefully examined Luke’s references to thirty-two countries, fifty-four cities, and nine islands, finding not a single mistake.” - John McRay

Jesus was very precise about the destruction of the temple saying: “Do you not see all these things? verily I say to you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Matthew 24:2; see also Luke 21:6). Why was He so specific about stones? Historian Josephus wrote of the temple’s destruction by Romans in A.D. 70: “They carried away every stone of the sacred temple, partially in a frenzied search for every last piece of the gold ornamentation melted in the awful heat of the fire. They then plowed the ground level, and since it had already been sown with its defenders’ blood, they sowed it with salt.” Josephus, The Wars of the Jews

Josephus also made specific references to John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, and James in his Antiquities of the Jews. In this work, Josephus gives many background details—about the Herodians, the Sadducees and Pharisees (Jewish religious leaders), the high priests like Annas and Caiaphas, and the Roman emperors, that are mentioned in the four Gospels and the book of Acts.

“About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats and was a teacher of such people as accepted the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many Greeks. He was the Christ. When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing among us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who had in the first place come to love him did not give up their affection for him. On the third day he appeared to them restored to life, for the prophets of God had prophesied these and countless other marvelous things about him. And the tribe of Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.” Josephus, Testimonium Flavianum  - Comfort, R. (2001).  (p. 68). Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos.

We find another early secular reference to Jesus in a letter written a little after AD 73 by an imprisoned Syrian named Mara bar Serapion. This letter, written to his son, compares the deaths of Socrates, Pythagoras, and Christ.

Other first and second century writers who mention Christ include: The Roman historians Cornelius Tacitus (Annals) and Suetonius (Life of Claudius, Lives of the Caesars)
The Roman governor Pliny the Younger (Epistles)
The Greek satirist Lucian (On the Death of Peregrine)
The Jewish Talmud also mentions Jesus a number of times  – Ken Boa


"John Wesley argued that the Bible must have been written by bad men or angels, good men or angels, or by God.  He showed that it could not have been written by bad men or angels, for it condemns their souls to hell for all eternity: nor could it have been written by good men or angels, for they would not say, "Thus says the Lord" when it was they who said it; it must, therefore have been written by God."-Henry Thiesen

The Bible, like God, does not need to be confirmed or proven it is true no matter what I can or cannot prove.  Still there is a great body of evidence that shows time and again that the Bible is absolutely without error or omission and is the very Word of God. 

Monday, August 22, 2022

Psalms Through the Summer 13: A Psalm In Days of Trouble - Psalm 86

 Psalms Through the Summer 13:

A Psalm In Days of Trouble - Psalm 86 

 In the past I used keep a clipping file for illustrations, first in a real file folder, old school analog, then later on digitally on the computer. One of the things I clipped were stories of tragedies, global ones, local ones. Tragedies that affected thousands like earthquakes or 911 and tragedies that affected just a few like the church van filled with children that was involved in highway accidents. I didn’t have to clip the personal tragedies that I knew firsthand, pain and sorrow that come to my family, my church, my friends.

Years ago then I would go to my file for a sermon like today, A Psalm In Days of Trouble, and I would find that clipping and use it to introduce the sermon. Or I would go back in time in my own mind and find something in my own life and use it. I was going to do that for this sermon and I went to my folder on my computer and selected several, place them here in the introduction to my sermon, read through them and then deleted them all.

Do any of you today need to be reminded of the pain, suffering and trouble that is in the world today? If you do then just go to the internet and read any newsfeed or digital newspaper and you will be flooded with the worst kind of trouble. The older I have gotten the easier it is for my to recall trouble and pain in my own life. The Lord has spared LeeOra and I from so much, but no one is spared entirely. Some of you my brothers and sister, my church family have gone through tragedies that I’m afraid might break me if I had to endure what you have. And yet as a pastor a part of the pain of every member is carried in my heart and soul. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11:28-29 “Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?”

The Day of Trouble, we all dread it, and we all know we have to face it, but praise our great God and Savior we don’t have to face it alone. David faced many Troubling Days and what he learned during those times the Holy Spirit inspired him to record in his Psalms. One such Psalm is our text today, Psalm 86.

 O Lord, Hear and Help - Psalm 86: 1-5

Bow down thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy. Preserve my soul; for I am holy (sanctified to you) : O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee. Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily. Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.

David Prays To The Lord He Knows

In these petitions we see a child of God who is helpless and has no ability, no answers, no hope within himself. He knows he needs the mercy of God to save him and to return him to the joy he once had.

David in these opening verses asks for 5 things. 1) God’s Condescension - Bow down, Lord, hear me, 2) God’s Protection - preserve my soul, 3) God’s intervention - Save thy servant, 4) God’s reconciliation - be merciful unto me, 5) God’s restoration - and rejoice the soul of thy servant.

Along with his need, David gives 6 foundations of his prayer. 1) His helplessness - I am poor and needy, 2) His sanctification- I am holy, (set aside, sanctified to thee) 3) His faith -I trust in thee, 4) His persistence - I cry unto thee daily, 5) His offering - I lift up my soul to thee, 6) And finally, and most important to David, God’s character - For you are good, ready to forgive and full of mercy to those that call upon you.

Finding God’s Help

You can see why this prayer is seen by so many as a universal prayer during times of crisis, pain or loss in our lives, family, our community or our nation. Like David, when we don’t have any answers, or any ability to overcome or even to understand, it is at those times that we must make our plea for help to God. We must call out to God, asking Him to bow down, to condescend from heaven and to turn a listening ear to our prayer. We ask him to reach down, to hear us and bring us back to a place of joy in our lives.

David cried out to God believing that God would hear and that God would act. He believed this because of His covenant and his personal relationship to the Lord.

When we come to our own days of trouble and turn to God for help, we must trust that our Lord will help and we can only have that faith if we like David, have a relationship with Him. This is fundamental, it is foundational to every prayer we pray.

How many times have we watched a movie where the hero gets in trouble and then prays like this. “Lord, you know I’m not real religious (He always looks up to heaven) and I know I don’t really pray or go to church and such, but if you’ll just help me out right here. I promise I’ll never ask you for anything else. Amen Oh and I’ll try to start going to church.”

Now in Hollywood, a place that is as far from knowing God as Pluto is from the Sun, that kind of prayer might make sense, but in the real world of broken people, broken hearts, broken families and broken nations it is useless. Such a prayer has no power, no foundation upon which to put our faith upon. That’s not a prayer, its an attempt to bargain. You might as well be on the game show “Let’s Make A Deal.” I should say it is better than no prayer, but it is not the prayer of a David or a faithful child of God.

Our pain in this sinful world is real, our sorrow, our trouble, our hurts are overwhelming and if we hope to survive them, to overcome them then we better have more than a Hollywood idea of prayer and the God we are praying to.

Like David we must have a covenant and a personal relationship with God. Our covenant is the new covenant based upon the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Our personal relationship must be built on repentance and faith and built, like all relationships, by time spent with God.

We call out to God’s not because we haven’t prayed before, haven’t asked him for anything before but because we have asked Him for everything and we do it all the time.

I’ve asked God for eternal life. I’ve asked God to forgive me sin and my guilt for putting Jesus, His son upon the cross. For my family, church and friends, I ask God for providential and supernatural protection and guidance. I pray daily, I pray multiple times a day. I pray ceaselessly believing God is always near, always aware and always listening. I seek God’s voice through his Word daily and try to see God in all things all around me. And because I’ve walked with Him and talked with Him, I have that personal relationship with Him and when I need the Lord, I know He will hear and He will help.

Paul put it this way in Romans 8:14-17 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

You and I are the children of God in our day of trouble we will call out to our Heavenly Father. You and I are not under bondage from sin or from fear, we have been given the Holy Spirit. We are adopted into the family of God, and we cry out “Abba, Father.” I believe God will hear and God will work because we are heirs of God. Yes, we will at times suffer but rest assured by the promise of god that we shall be glorified.

Oh Lord, Hear And Answer - Psalms 86:6-10

6 Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. 7 In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me. 8 Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works. 9 All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. 10 For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone.

David Prays In Faith and Hope

After David asks to listen, he then prays in faith. Once again, he asks God to hear him, “Give ear, O Lord, (O Jehovah) to my payer and attention to my supplications, my most intimate, innermost needs are brought before You.”

I think vs 7 is the key verse for the Psalms, it was the reason this passage spoke to me, “In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee, for you will answer.”  That is a statement of David’s unwavering faith. In the terrible times of my trouble, I will call upon the Lord for he will answer me.”

He knows God will answer him, He has always answered him both as the shepherd boy fighting the lion, the young warrior fighting the giant Goliath and as the King of building Jerusalem. God has heard the prayers of David and David knew to pray to His God because God who has told His people from the beginning, “Call unto me and I will answer.” The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was not distant, not removed or hidden from His people. The Lord who spoke to Moses from a burning bush was also the Lord who heard the desperate cry of Hagar and Ishmael.

Asaph, one of David’s Chief musicians wrote Psalms 50:1-3 ​ The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence:  Psalms 50:15 And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.

David, Asaph, all the saints and children of God, base their hope upon their Lord. He is their God, they know Him and they know that there is none other like Him. David knows that God has made all the nations and that one day they will all worship him and glorify His name. His hope is a future reality because of God’s greatness. The Lord is a God who does miraculous things. He is God alone, and therefore He can give hope with all seems hopeless. This is David’s faith in the Lord and in the Lord he then finds the hope he needs in the day of trouble.

Finding God’s Hope

Like David we will all face our own day of trouble. I wish it would be only one, but it wasn’t that way for David and it won’t be that way for us. Most of you already have known and have experienced many days of trouble. As long as we are in this sinful, evil, hateful world that is under the power and influence of the Wicked One, we will see many days of trouble.

When our own day of trouble dawns upon us, whether it be my life, my family, my church, my nation or world, we really only have two choices. We can face it on our own or we can turn to God and face it with the Lord. Depending on that choice we will either grow bitter, disillusioned and hopeless trying to deal with problems too great and too overwhelming or we will learn humility, see with heavenly perspective and find the hope that overcomes because we went to God in prayer and faith.

Psalms Survey of Overcoming through prayer and faith. The book of Psalms is filled with this reality of prayer and faith in God that brings the child of God to undefeatable hope. Look at this quick survey of hope from Psalms.

Psalm 34:4–6 4 I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. 5 They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed. 6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

Psalm 107:13–16 13 Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses. 14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder. 15 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! 16 For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder.

Psalm 116:1 I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.

Psalm 138:3 In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.

Psalm 31:24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.

Psalm 38:15 For in thee, O LORD, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.

Psalm 39:7 And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.

O Lord, Hear and Teach - Psalms 86:11-15

11 Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. 12 I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore. 13 For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell. 14 O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set thee before them. 15 But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.

David Prays for Guidance and Strength

Finally, as David closes his prayer, he asks for guidance from His God and knows that as God works in his life, and answers his prayer, he will be drawn closer to God and find the peace and joy his soul so desperately needs in the day of trouble.

He asks God to teach him and in that guidance he will walk in truth and his heart will be united as he walks with God. His heart will be not be divided by the wickedness around him trying to take his eyes of God and only seeing the difficult time he faces. But instead his united heart will focus through faith on God.

David contrasts the Lord with the troubles and violence around him, “vss 12 I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore. 13 For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell. 14 O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set thee before them. 15 But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.”

David says when I go to God and I walk with God, He shows me, He teaches me there is a path through the Day of Trouble. There is a way when he can walk as God guides him, a way that will bring him through the valley of the shadow of death to the table God has prepared for him.

When you think about it isn’t Psalm 23 David looking back upon all those days of trouble and seeing how God brought him through them all?

Psalms 23 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 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.

Finding God’s Way

Our final understanding, our final faith if you will is to accept that suffering can bring us to God and help us see our way through by walking closer to Him. Closer than we did before our Day of Trouble came.

Listen again to what David says in that last verse, Psalm 86:15 “But you, O Lord, are full of mercy and grace and truth.” The world, David knows, is unreliable, wicked, seeking only to hurt and harm, but God is the exact opposite of that wickedness. With God there is mercy and forgiveness when our day of trouble comes even from our own sin and bad choices. With God there is grace, the undeserved, unmerited love that God is so willing to pour out to us. With God there is unfailing, unshakeable truth. I can find in God all that this world, with its sin, sorrow and suffering has tried to take from me.

I don’t believe that God arbitrarily or randomly sends suffering and trouble into our life. I think most times we do a good enough job of that ourselves, but I do believe with all my heart that no matter why I stand under the glaring sun of another Day of Trouble, I can go to my Lord, he will hear me, he will help me, he will give me hope and he will guide me through.

One day our prayers will be answered with the ultimate answer from God. God will answer our prayer with the word, “My child, come home.” Our hope will become reality, our faith shall become sight and we will be guided from this world of wickedness with all its Days of Trouble, to that haven of rest. That will be the greatest answer to prayers that you and I will ever receive, but until then we have a path to walk and I want to walk it with the Savior hand in mine.

The Path I Feared by George MacDonald

I said, "Let me walk in the fields.
He said, "No; walk in the town."
I said, "There are no flowers there.
He said, "No flowers but a crown."

 I said, "But the skies are black,
There is nothing but noise and din."
And He wept as He sent me back;
"There is more," He said. "There is sin."

 I pleaded for time to be given.
He said, "Is it hard to decide?
It will not seem hard in Heaven
To have followed the steps of your Guide."

 I cast one look at the fields,
Then set my face to the town.
He said, "My child, do you yield?
Will you leave the flowers for a crown?"

 Then into His hand went mine;
And into my heart came He;
And I walked in a light divine,
The path I had feared to see.

Conclusion - Psalms 86:16-17

16 O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give thy strength unto thy servant, and save the son of thine handmaid. 17 Shew me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me.

David repeats his plea and restates his faith

I see vss. 16-17 as a repetition and summary of the preceding verses. David’s conclusion to his prayer in the Day of Trouble.

Here again he pleads for God’s presence, love and strength, “O turn unto me and have mercy upon me, give me thy strength.” He declares himself a "son of thine handmaid," he means one born into the service of God and pledging himself as a lifelong servant to his Lord and Master.

The last thing he asks is for God to make him a token, a symbol for good in order that those who hate will see it and be ashamed of their hate because the Lord God, Jehovah has helped and comforted David.

I want you to notice that in all the prayer, David does not ask for deliverance, or for God to stop or prevent evil and violence. There are many Psalms in which David does ask for those things but not here in Psalm 86. Instead, he asks for God to give to him those things that will draw him closer to his Lord, make him a stronger servant and in overcoming, he wants to be seen as proof of God’s goodness, and bring glory to the Lord.

Facing Our Day of Trouble

What will we pray in our own Day of Trouble? Will we go to God as His own, saved by grace through faith? Our will we come as aliens and strangers? Will we come in faith and find hope. Will we see that suffering brought us closer to the Lord we love? Will we walk through the ruins with Him and find that He guided us safely and surely to our through?

If Psalm 86 teaches us anything, it teaches us that in the Day of Trouble what I need more than answers or deliverance is just for my Lord to be with me.