Psalm 55 13 Commentary / 14 Meaning

And then something really interesting happens in this psalm. And it’s where we finally come to understand that David was betrayed by one of his close friends. And what’s very interesting is that we see David do something that’s fairly unusual in the book of Psalms. Remember that Psalms are really just prayers. And when we pray, we’re typically speaking to whom? We’re speaking to the Lord.

But in verses 12-14, David is certainly still praying to the Lord. But we actually see him turn aside as it were and directly address the person who betrayed him and who was the human agent responsible for all his troubles.

And so, it’s an interesting lesson in prayer to know that one acceptable activity in prayer is to directly address – at least in your own heart – the one whom you believe to be responsible for your troubles. That’s what David does in verses 12-14.

12 {For/Indeed} it {was/is} not an enemy {that reproached/who reproaches/who insults} me;
{then/or else} I could {have borne/bear/endure} it:

{neither was it he that hated/nor is it one who hates/it is not one who hates} me {that did magnify himself against/who has exalted himself against/who arrogantly taunts} me;
{then/or else} I {would/could} {have hid/hide} myself from him:

13 But it {was/is} thou, a man {mine equal/like me/like myself},
my {guide/companion/close friend}, {and mine acquaintance/and my familiar friend/in whom I confided}.

14 {We took/With whom I once enjoyed} {sweet counsel/sweet fellowship/personal thoughts} {together/with each other},
and walked {unto/in/at} {the house of God/God’s temple} {in company/in the throng/among the crowd/with the throng}.

So, all of these troubles were kicked-off by the betrayal of this one man – David’s former friend.

And no doubt as you’ve experienced betrayal in this life you’ve felt similarly to what David expresses – when enemies attack you, that’s one thing. You’re ready for that because that’s what you expect from them. You still don’t like their treatment – but it’s easier to handle.

But when a friend does you wrong – you’re not expecting it at all. And for that reason, people might almost act surprised that you’re taking things so personally and poorly.

I remember one case of betrayal in my life in which someone whom I looked at previously as something of a fatherly type ended up intentionally humiliating me publicly. And the response of this man’s son was something like, “Boy, if people treated me at work the way that my dad treated you, I would let them pay me less!” His point was that the way his father treated me was not as bad as the way he was treated by his coworkers. The only problem with that logic is that his father claimed to be a Christian and his coworkers didn’t. Betrayal by supposed believers is very painful – it’s much harder to deal with than ill-treatment at the hands of people who are self-avowed atheists.

So, David does here – and you and I can – speak to our betrayer as if he were listening – as we’re praying to the Lord about being betrayed.

Psalm 55 9 Meaning

We all know in our heart of hearts that fleeing isn’t really the ultimate solution to any of our problems. It might be necessary to keep you alive! But it doesn’t solve any deep issues.

And that’s why when we’re betrayed by others and especially when this results in us wanting to run away, we need to humbly demand to the Lord that he frustrate the plans of those who have made themselves our enemies – like David did in verses 9-11.

9 {Destroy/Confuse/Confuse them/Confuse the wicked}, O Lord,
{and divide their tongues/frustrate their plans/confound their speech}:

for I {have seen/see} violence and {strife/conflict} in the city.

10 Day and night they {go about/go around/walk around/prowl about} {it upon the walls thereof/upon her walls/on its walls}:
{mischief also/And iniquity/while wickedness/malice} and {sorrow/mischief/destruction/abuse} are {in the midst of it/in her midst/within it}.

11 {Wickedness/Destruction/Disaster/Destructive forces} {is/are/are at work} {in the midst thereof/in her midst/within it/in the city}:
{deceit/oppression/violence/threats} and {guile/deceit/lies} {depart not/do not depart} from {her streets/its public squares}.

So, in David’s case really only the first part of verse 9 is him demanding that God frustrate the plans of his enemies.

The rest of verse 9 and then verses 10 and 11 are all him personifying vices and speaking of them taking up residence in the city of Jerusalem. In David’s mind, it’s as if Commander Violence and Lieutenant Strife are walking around on the city walls. Sergeant Mischief and Colonel Sorrow are in the midst of the city. Corporeal Wickedness is also there. Major Deceit and Private Guile don’t leave that city – as the literal men in this city are seeking to destroy David.

So, these people who are attacking David – they were apparently fueled by an initial betrayal from one man against David and now they’re all involved in attacking him.

And so, just like at the Tower of Babel where all sorts of people got together to thwart God’s plans and God confused their language to thwart them, so too now David is asking the Lord to confuse the plans of these people who are against him.

And that’s what you want when folks are against you. You want the Lord himself to protect you. And one way he can do this is by stirring your enemies up against each other. Then they stop attacking you!

So, do feel free to demand that God frustrate the plans of those who are opposed to you for no good reason.

Psalm 55 6 Meaning

Now, when you are just overwhelmed by a trial in your life – when you are just hemmed-in on every side and you are so miserable and you just see no way out, what is a really common response? You can’t humanly fix this problem. What is your tendency?

I think that for a lot of us, when we are dealing with insurmountable issues, we want to flee. We want to get out of there!

And that’s exactly how David speaks to the Lord in verses 6-8. He confesses to wanting to leave it all and just run away!

6 {And I/I} {said/say},

{Oh that/I wish} I had {wings/the wings} {like/of} a dove!
{for then would I/I would} fly away, and {be at rest/settle in a safe place}.

7 {Lo/Behold/Look}, {then would I/I would/I will} {wander/escape/flee} {far off/far away/to a distant place},
{and remain/I would lodge/I will stay/and stay} in the {wilderness/desert}.

{Selah/Pause}.

8 I {would/will} {hasten/hasten to/hurry off to} {my escape/my place of refuge/a place that is safe/my place of shelter}
{from/far from} the {windy storm/strong wind} and {tempest/the gale}.

Look at how long David labors on these thoughts! If you were trying to minister to someone who was in some emotionally-wrenching trial and he were to keep going on and on about wanting to escape and to get away from it all and to just find refuge in some safe place – how would you respond to that? Would you be embarrassed for him? Would you be kind of judgmental and thinking that this guy needs to get his act together? Would you start to question his maturity and maybe even his salvation?

The results of David’s awful trials that had been kicked-off by betrayal were bringing him to the point where he was seriously contemplating just running away.

And so, when you feel this way, there is nothing at all wrong with admitting this to the Lord. You might not want to admit it to others – especially if you’re trying to encourage them to keep going in the same trial that you’re facing. But you do need to tell the Lord about it.

Psalm 55 Message

I think that we’ve all experience betrayal in our lives. And if we haven’t had any or even much, we can likely expect to face this kind of thing at some point in our lives.

In fact, if we haven’t had much betrayal in our lives then what that might indicate is that we really don’t let people get very close to us.

Because the reality is that betrayal is less likely the less we actually trust other people. If you keep yourself quarantined from other people and never have many interactions that might leave you vulnerable to them, then you will be pretty much immune to the painful reality of betrayal.

And yet, to live your life in such a way as to try to avoid betrayal at all costs and to live the hermit life is to be missing out on relational realities that God wants you and me to have in this life.

So, God does not want you and me to just avoid the potential of betrayal at the cost of never having serious interpersonal relationships. And so, if you’re involved in relationships as God has created us to be in, then you are very likely going to experience betrayal.

And you and I need to know how to handle that. Because betrayal is painful. No one gets into a relationship wanting to be betrayed! And yet it happens.

So, how should we handle betrayal?

Well, let’s turn our attention to Psalm 55.

Because in Psalm 55 we have the author – whom we’re told is David – and he’s working through betrayal.

David had been betrayed by a man who was very close to him. He reports in this psalm that the two of them had previously experienced sweet fellowship in the Lord’s house together with all of the rest of God’s people.

But now this man had turned on him and was actually getting together a mob to kill him.

And here’s what I want us to recognize as we go through this psalm. We might tend to look at David and his betrayal and think that this doesn’t apply to us. After all – we might think – I’m not being pursued by people wanting to kill me. Therefore, I’m not really sure how this psalm could be a help to me, personally.

I don’t want us to think that way. I think that we need to approach this in our minds like a greater-to-lesser situation. If David could cope with being chased by a murderous group of people due to his being betrayed by one of those people, then can’t you learn to deal with betrayal in a situation that’s maybe not quite as difficult and extreme as David’s?

And the answer to that is – yes. Of course we can learn from David’s praying to the Lord on this matter of being betrayed.

So, let’s read this psalm in its entirety to see how David dealt with betrayal.

{Read Psa 55:1-23}

Superscription

So, that’s a quick read-through of how David dealt with betrayal. Now, let’s get into the details.

We’re going to just read through the superscription once more without much comment, because it’s a fairly standardly-worded superscription.

<{To/For} the {chief Musician/choir director/music director/director of music}
{on/to be accompanied by/with} {Neginoth/stringed instruments},
{Maschil, A Psalm/A Maskil/a well-written song} {of/by} David.>

1-2 Call God’s Attention to the Problem

Now, the first thing that David does when faced with betrayal is that he draws God’s attention to this reality in verses 1 and 2.

KJV Psalm 55:1 {Give ear/Listen} to my prayer, O God;
{and hide not thyself from my supplication./And do not hide Yourself from my supplication./Do not ignore my appeal for mercy!/do not ignore my plea;/and disregard not my supplication.}

2 {Attend unto/Give heed to/Pay attention to} me, and {hear/answer} me:
{I mourn in my complaint,/I am restless in my complaint/I am so upset and distressed/My thoughts trouble me} {and make a noise/and am surely distracted/I am beside myself/and I am distraught};

This is so obvious that when we experience betrayal or any negative reality in our lives, you need to pray to the Lord about it. And yet, how often do we just sit and stew on it and never let God in on the fact that you are bothered about this?

Don’t do that! Call God’s attention to the betrayal and to your feelings about it. Did you know that God cares about how you feel about being betrayed?

David mentions his feelings here. Don’t think of him as the stoic warrior. The guy had emotions!

Look at it – he’s pleading for mercy – making supplication. He’s afraid that God has hidden himself – he feels abandoned by God. He is complaining and mourning. He’s restless and upset and troubled. He is distracted and distraught and noisy in his soul.

Admit these things in your life to the Lord when you are betrayed.

So, when you’re betrayed you need to call God’s attention to the problem.

3 Identify the Problem

And second, you need to spell out what the problem really is like David does in verse 3.

3 {Because of/At} {the voice of the enemy/what the enemy says},
{because of/at} {the oppression of the wicked/the pressure of the wicked/how the wicked pressure me/stares of the wicked}:

for they {cast iniquity/bring down trouble/hurl down trouble/bring down suffering} upon me,
and {in wrath they hate/in anger they bear a grudge against/angrily attack/revile in their anger} me.

So, in verses 1 and 2 David just calls out to God noting that there is a problem. But in verse 3 now he goes on to identify more specifically the problem.

He’s really identifying the results of being betrayed. And those results include being spoken poorly of – the “voice of the enemy.” The results include oppression by these wicked men. They include these men bringing all sorts of trouble and hateful anger into David’s life.

So, betrayal often has serious consequences in your life. And God wants to hear about them. He wants you to talk to him about them.

So, make the problem and its consequences very clear to the Lord as you pray about your being betrayed by someone else.

4-5 Confess the Effects on You

And in verse 3 David focuses on the action of his enemies. They speak. They oppress. They cast iniquity. They hate.

But now in verses 4 and 5 David’s focus is on his own response to these realities. So, yes, call the Lord’s attention to the results of betrayal in your life in terms of how others are now treating you.

But then call the Lord’s attention to how you are responding to this treatment in your life, like David does in verses 4 and 5.

4 My heart {is sore pained/is in anguish/beats violently} within me:
and the {terrors/horrors} of death {are fallen upon/have fallen upon/overcome/assail} me.

5 {Fearfulness/Fear} and {trembling/panic} {are come upon/come upon/overpower/have beset} me,
and {horror/terror} {hath overwhelmed/overwhelms} me.

You know, I don’t know about you, but I find comfort in the fact that this brave noble warrior king David is speaking to God as if he’s as weak as a little child. You and I – all of us – have felt these ways sometimes. And we might be tempted to think that we’re being overly weak. But the reality is this is how humans are. We are weak. And we need God’s strength.

So, David mentions his heart being in anguish. He is terrified. He is full of fear. And he’s overwhelmed by terror.

And it doesn’t have to be betrayal that prompts these responses in our life. In fact, for David these responses were the byproduct of betrayal – someone betrayed David and so now he is fearful of being killed. It’s death that he is responding to now – the betrayal just started that and the remembrance of it makes it all worse for him.

But you might be feeling this way about something completely different. And that’s OK.

But as we experience betrayal and/or whatever else stems from that kind of rupture in a relationship, we need to call God’s attention to how we feel about it. He wants to hear from you on this matter.

6-8 Admit to Wanting to Flee

Now, when you are just overwhelmed by a trial in your life – when you are just hemmed-in on every side and you are so miserable and you just see no way out, what is a really common response? You can’t humanly fix this problem. What is your tendency?

I think that for a lot of us, when we are dealing with insurmountable issues, we want to flee. We want to get out of there!

And that’s exactly how David speaks to the Lord in verses 6-8. He confesses to wanting to leave it all and just run away!

6 {And I/I} {said/say},

{Oh that/I wish} I had {wings/the wings} {like/of} a dove!
{for then would I/I would} fly away, and {be at rest/settle in a safe place}.

7 {Lo/Behold/Look}, {then would I/I would/I will} {wander/escape/flee} {far off/far away/to a distant place},
{and remain/I would lodge/I will stay/and stay} in the {wilderness/desert}.

{Selah/Pause}.

8 I {would/will} {hasten/hasten to/hurry off to} {my escape/my place of refuge/a place that is safe/my place of shelter}
{from/far from} the {windy storm/strong wind} and {tempest/the gale}.

Look at how long David labors on these thoughts! If you were trying to minister to someone who was in some emotionally-wrenching trial and he were to keep going on and on about wanting to escape and to get away from it all and to just find refuge in some safe place – how would you respond to that? Would you be embarrassed for him? Would you be kind of judgmental and thinking that this guy needs to get his act together? Would you start to question his maturity and maybe even his salvation?

The results of David’s awful trials that had been kicked-off by betrayal were bringing him to the point where he was seriously contemplating just running away.

And so, when you feel this way, there is nothing at all wrong with admitting this to the Lord. You might not want to admit it to others – especially if you’re trying to encourage them to keep going in the same trial that you’re facing. But you do need to tell the Lord about it.

9-11 Demand that God Frustrate Their Plans

But we all know in our heart of hearts that fleeing isn’t really the ultimate solution to any of our problems. It might be necessary to keep you alive! But it doesn’t solve any deep issues.

And that’s why when we’re betrayed by others and especially when this results in us wanting to run away, we need to humbly demand to the Lord that he frustrate the plans of those who have made themselves our enemies – like David did in verses 9-11.

9 {Destroy/Confuse/Confuse them/Confuse the wicked}, O Lord,
{and divide their tongues/frustrate their plans/confound their speech}:

for I {have seen/see} violence and {strife/conflict} in the city.

10 Day and night they {go about/go around/walk around/prowl about} {it upon the walls thereof/upon her walls/on its walls}:
{mischief also/And iniquity/while wickedness/malice} and {sorrow/mischief/destruction/abuse} are {in the midst of it/in her midst/within it}.

11 {Wickedness/Destruction/Disaster/Destructive forces} {is/are/are at work} {in the midst thereof/in her midst/within it/in the city}:
{deceit/oppression/violence/threats} and {guile/deceit/lies} {depart not/do not depart} from {her streets/its public squares}.

So, in David’s case really only the first part of verse 9 is him demanding that God frustrate the plans of his enemies.

The rest of verse 9 and then verses 10 and 11 are all him personifying vices and speaking of them taking up residence in the city of Jerusalem. In David’s mind, it’s as if Commander Violence and Lieutenant Strife are walking around on the city walls. Sergeant Mischief and Colonel Sorrow are in the midst of the city. Corporeal Wickedness is also there. Major Deceit and Private Guile don’t leave that city – as the literal men in this city are seeking to destroy David.

So, these people who are attacking David – they were apparently fueled by an initial betrayal from one man against David and now they’re all involved in attacking him.

And so, just like at the Tower of Babel where all sorts of people got together to thwart God’s plans and God confused their language to thwart them, so too now David is asking the Lord to confuse the plans of these people who are against him.

And that’s what you want when folks are against you. You want the Lord himself to protect you. And one way he can do this is by stirring your enemies up against each other. Then they stop attacking you!

So, do feel free to demand that God frustrate the plans of those who are opposed to you for no good reason.

12-14 When Your Enemy Used to be Your Friend

And then something really interesting happens in this psalm. And it’s where we finally come to understand that David was betrayed by one of his close friends. And what’s very interesting is that we see David do something that’s fairly unusual in the book of Psalms. Remember that Psalms are really just prayers. And when we pray, we’re typically speaking to whom? We’re speaking to the Lord.

But in verses 12-14, David is certainly still praying to the Lord. But we actually see him turn aside as it were and directly address the person who betrayed him and who was the human agent responsible for all his troubles.

And so, it’s an interesting lesson in prayer to know that one acceptable activity in prayer is to directly address – at least in your own heart – the one whom you believe to be responsible for your troubles. That’s what David does in verses 12-14.

12 {For/Indeed} it {was/is} not an enemy {that reproached/who reproaches/who insults} me;
{then/or else} I could {have borne/bear/endure} it:

{neither was it he that hated/nor is it one who hates/it is not one who hates} me {that did magnify himself against/who has exalted himself against/who arrogantly taunts} me;
{then/or else} I {would/could} {have hid/hide} myself from him:

13 But it {was/is} thou, a man {mine equal/like me/like myself},
my {guide/companion/close friend}, {and mine acquaintance/and my familiar friend/in whom I confided}.

14 {We took/With whom I once enjoyed} {sweet counsel/sweet fellowship/personal thoughts} {together/with each other},
and walked {unto/in/at} {the house of God/God’s temple} {in company/in the throng/among the crowd/with the throng}.

So, all of these troubles were kicked-off by the betrayal of this one man – David’s former friend.

And no doubt as you’ve experienced betrayal in this life you’ve felt similarly to what David expresses – when enemies attack you, that’s one thing. You’re ready for that because that’s what you expect from them. You still don’t like their treatment – but it’s easier to handle.

But when a friend does you wrong – you’re not expecting it at all. And for that reason, people might almost act surprised that you’re taking things so personally and poorly.

I remember one case of betrayal in my life in which someone whom I looked at previously as something of a fatherly type ended up intentionally humiliating me publicly. And the response of this man’s son was something like, “Boy, if people treated me at work the way that my dad treated you, I would let them pay me less!” His point was that the way his father treated me was not as bad as the way he was treated by his coworkers. The only problem with that logic is that his father claimed to be a Christian and his coworkers didn’t. Betrayal by supposed believers is very painful – it’s much harder to deal with than ill-treatment at the hands of people who are self-avowed atheists.

So, David does here – and you and I can – speak to our betrayer as if he were listening – as we’re praying to the Lord about being betrayed.

15-17 Contrast Deserved Treatment & Result

Now, David next contrasts the kind of treatment he deserves versus what this betrayer and his buddies deserve in verses 15-17.

15 {Let/May} death {seize upon/come deceitfully upon/destroy/take by surprise} {them/my enemy},
{and let them/may they} go down {quick/alive} {into/to} {hell/Sheol/the grave}:

for {wickedness/evil} is in their {dwellings/dwelling},
{and among them/in their midst}.

16 {As for me, I/But I} {will call/shall call/call} {upon/out to} God;
and the LORD {shall/will} {save/deliver} me.

17 {i.e., During the…} Evening, and morning, and {at noon/noontime/noon}, {will I/I will/I} {pray, and cry aloud/complain and murmur/lament and moan/cry out in distress}:
and he {shall/will} hear {my voice/me}.

So, look at these two groups.

On the one hand we have David. What’s he doing? He’s praying calling out to God frequently. And on the other hand, we have the enemies. They have wickedness dwelling among them.

And how should they be treated? David is confident that God will deliver him from these men. And on the other hand, he prays to God that he would cause these enemies to not be able to kill him – but that rather the Lord would turn it right around on them and that they would be the ones to die instead of him.

And we can appeal to God like this. We can contrast our behavior with the behavior of those who deal treacherously with us and if we’re blameless in this regard we can ask that the Lord would turn the metaphorical weapons of the enemies back on themselves.

18-19a Express Confidence in God

And then at that point you’ll want to express your confidence in the Lord like David does in verses 18 and 19.

18 He {hath delivered/will redeem/will rescue/ransoms} {my soul/me} {in peace/and protect me/unharmed} from {the battle that was against/those who attack} me:
{for there were many with/For they are many who strive with/even though they greatly outnumber/even though many oppose} me.

19 God {shall/will} hear, and {afflict/answer/humiliate} them,
{even he that abideth of old./Even the one who sits enthroned from of old–/ the one who has reigned as king from long ago,/who is enthroned forever/even he that has existed from eternity.}

Selah.

This is always an important piece that we tend to leave out. We can complain so bitterly and go through all of the other steps in prayer. But we often struggle to express confidence in the Lord’s help – as if the Lord won’t help. Where’s our faith?! Don’t forget to assure the Lord of your confidence in him as you pray concerning betrayal or whatever else is bothering you so much.

19b-21 Note Enemy’s Wickedness

And you might think that expressing confidence and faith in the Lord will just kind of settle you permanently. But sometimes it will actually throw you back into convulsions as you recall your problem and want to elaborate on it to the Lord, as David does in the rest of verse 19 and verses 20 and 21.

{Because they have no changes,/With whom there is no change,/They refuse to change,/men who never change their ways}
{therefore they fear not God./And who do not fear God./and do not fear God./and have no fear of God.}

20 {He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him:/My companion attacks his friends;}
he {hath broken/has violated/breaks} his {covenant/solemn promises to them}.

21 {The words of his mouth/His speech/His words} {were/was/are} {smoother than/as smooth as} butter,
{but/yet} {war was/he harbors animosity} in his heart:

his words {were softer/seem softer/are more soothing} than oil,
{yet/but} {were they drawn/they are really like sharp} swords.

And so, we can tend to go back into the details of our problems even after expressing confidence in the Lord’s willingness and desire to help us. And that’s OK – David did it and you don’t have to be discouraged when you do this.

22-23 Encourage Yourself and Others to Trust God

But eventually we need to come to the point that David does in verses 22 and 23 where he encourages both himself and others to trust the Lord.

22 {Cast/Throw} {thy burden/your cares} upon the LORD,
and he shall sustain thee:
he {shall never suffer/will never allow/will never let} the {righteous/godly} {to be moved/to be shaken/to be upended/fall}.

23 But {thou/you}, O God, shalt bring {them/the wicked} down {into/to} the {pit of destruction/deep Pit/pit of corruption}:
{bloody and deceitful men/Men of bloodshed and deceit/Violent and deceitful people/bloodthirsty and deceitful men} {shall/will} not live {out/even} half {their days/a normal lifespan};
{but/But as for me} I {will trust/trust} in {thee/you}.

So, as you and I struggle with the reality of being betrayed by people that we trust in this life, let’s remember the resources that we have in Psalm 55 and emulate the steps that David takes in dealing with the betrayal in his life. In this way, I trust that the Lord will be pleased to help us deal with the awful reality of betrayal.

Psalm 54 6 Commentary

Well, if you’re resolved that God will hear and answer you by dealing out justice to your Ziphites, then the next step is not a far reach for you.

If you really believe that God is going to help you and answer your prayer for deliverance and vindication, then the next logical step is what David expresses in verse 6. And that’s to anticipatingly resolve to praise the Lord for his help.

6 I will {freely sacrifice/willingly sacrifice/sacrifice with a freewill offering} unto thee:
I will {praise/give thanks to} thy name, O LORD; for it is good.

Now, David isn’t going to sacrifice anything while he’s being chased by Saul and away from the presence of the Tabernacle. But he is convinced that God is going to answer his prayer in such a way as to allow for him to return to a place of normalcy and ability to worship the Lord like he used to.

And this is what we ought to do in these trials of ours. We need to look forward to God actually answering the prayers that we’re offering up to him. And we need to resolve in our hearts that it won’t be back to business-as-usual after the Lord helps us.

Has this ever happened to you – that you’ve prayed desperately for the Lord to be gracious to you – and then he answers! And what’s your response?

Remember the account of the 10 lepers – and Jesus healed them all. But how many came back to thank him? Just one. You and I need to be that one who turns back to the Lord and genuinely thanks and praises him for his help.

Read the rest of our Psalm 54 Sermon

Psalm 54 4 Meaning

So, you and I – as we experience betrayal and slander – we need to desperately seek the Lord to deliver and protect and vindicate us. And we need to state clearly to the Lord why the people who are doing this to us are so troublesome in our hearts.

But don’t leave it there. We can get so focused on the wrongs that others have committed against us that we forget that there’s a God in heaven to whom we’re praying. And that’s why it’s very important to remind yourself of God’s care for you, like David does in verse 4.

4 {Behold/Look/Surely}, God is {mine helper/my deliverer/my help}:
the Lord is {with them that uphold/the sustainer of/among those who support} {my soul/me}.

So, the message that comes out loud and clear in this verse is that we need to remember that we are not alone in this battle – in this struggle – in this life.

We’re not alone as we face betrayal and slander. God is with us. He’s your helper – your deliverer.

And God is enough – that’s for sure. But very interestingly, the Lord has David speak of God as someone who is “with” or “among” another group that David takes comfort in knowing they exist. That group is “them that uphold my soul” or “those who support me.”

David takes comfort in the fact that even in this world, he’s not alone. There are others who support and uphold him.

And that’s important for us to remember as well. As we’re slandered or betrayed, we’re never alone. It might feel like we are. But it would do us well to remember that even among mankind, we’re not alone. And certainly, the Lord never leaves or forsake us.

Read the rest of our Psalm 54 Sermon

Psalm 54 1 Commentary

Psalm 54 1 Commentary Superscription

Now, like many psalms, Psalm 54 starts with a superscription or literally a “writing above” the psalm. And in this psalm the superscription actually gives us some helpful background on the situation in David’s life that called for the writing of this psalm.

KJV Psalm 54:1 <{To/For} the {chief Musician/choir director/music director/director of music}

{on/to be accompanied by/with} {Neginoth/stringed instruments},

{Maschil/a well-written song},

{A Psalm of/by} David,

And here’s now the situation in David’s life that moved him to write this…

{when/it was written when} the {Ziphims/Ziphites} {came and said to Saul/came and informed Saul/had gone to Saul and said},

{Doth not David hide himself with us?/“Is not David hiding himself among us?”/“David is hiding with us”}>

Now, the situation to which this is referring is found in both 1 Samuel 23 and in 1 Samuel 26. Two times these men from Ziph – a city in Judah – came and told Saul that David was among them.

Now, you remember that Saul was king of Israel at the time. But there was a problem – the Lord had anointed David king after he had anointed Saul. So, Saul, being an exceedingly sinful and unprincipled man – and one who was actually under the Lord’s judgement – he sought opportunities to kill his opponent David. In Saul’s mind, if he could kill David then he would be able to remain king and kind of put an end to the Lord’s anointing David to be king. He actually thought that he could stop God’s plan. What arrogance – and what madness!

Psalm 54 1 Commentary 1 Samuel 23

Well, so it happened that these men from the city of Ziph were zealous to please their humanly-appointed king, Saul. And so, the first time – as recorded in 1 Samuel 23 – these Ziphites sent to Saul letting him know that David was hiding in their region.

Now, Ziph was in a rather hilly region of Judah and it was the perfect place for a fugitive like David to hide. And so, Saul comes with his men and they search for David. And in a relatively humorous scene, Saul needs to “use the facilities” or “relieve himself” or whatever euphemism you’d like to use for it – in Hebrew, he’s “covering his feet” – and amazingly, he was doing that in the very cave in which David and his men were hiding!

Well, David’s followers encouraged David to kill Saul right then and there. But he wouldn’t do it. He wasn’t going to utilize some artificial means for God to fulfill his purpose. Unlike Abraham who with his wife Sarah planned to use some human means to accomplish God’s promise, David would not take that course of action. So, David simply cut off a part of Saul’s robe.

Then Saul leaves and David comes out after him showing him the piece of Saul’s robe that he had cut off and appealing to him that David is not interested in killing Saul. Saul repents for the moment and determines not to pursue David anymore.

Psalm 54 1 Commentary 1 Samuel 26

But then just a little while later in 1 Samuel 26 Saul gets it in his mind to once again pursue David to kill him. And so he comes down to Ziph again – where David was still hiding – because these treacherous men from that city seem to enjoy turning-in David to their bloodthirsty and God-forsaken king.

Well, this time, Saul goes to sleep and is surrounded by his army of 3,000 elite fighters. But God causes a really unusually-deep sleep to come on these folks and so David and Abishai his assistant go right up to Saul and take his spear and his water jug. Abishai offers to kill Saul and end all of this madness right then and there! But David refuses. He will not use artificial human means to accomplish God’s plan – and certainly he won’t do it when it involves disobeying the Lord.

So, David wakes everyone up from a safe distance and reveals that he has Saul’s spear and water jug. Saul repents once more and promises to never again pursue David. And I believe that Saul actually ends up keeping his word to David at that point. Because David flees to Philistia and then Saul dies in battle a little while later.

Now, reflecting on those events, try to imagine the faith that this whole scenario would have called for in this man who’s just like you and me – David. To have at your disposal the ability to end your long trial and to twice refuse. David could have had immediate relief from this persecution that drove him from his home and from his country eventually. But he didn’t take it. Why? Because he trusted in the Lord.

So, that’s a brief synopsis of the events of 1 Samuel 23 and 26 which mention these men referenced in Psalm 54 known as the Ziphites. This is the situation that called for the writing of this psalm.

And as evil as King Saul was, he’s not the only one – or really, even the primary one – that David is dealing with in this psalm. David is actually focused mostly on these Ziphites who keep urging Saul to come and try to kill David.

Psalm 54 1 Commentary Who Are Your Ziphites?

So, do you have any modern-day Ziphites in your life?

Do you have someone who likes to get you in trouble with the boss?

Or maybe a family member who selectively chooses which facts he’d like to share with others in the family that might make you look bad while he leaves out other facts that would balance out the details that seem negative?

You might – or our church corporately might – have a person or persons who try to make us look bad and get us in trouble with the larger community. {10 minutes}

Paul the apostle had at least one group of “Ziphites” if you will in the form of some unbelieving Jews in Thessalonica who weren’t content to trouble him in their city alone but also made the effort to follow after him and get him in trouble in other cities.

So, how do you deal with your Ziphites? That’s going to be the title of this message – Dealing With Your Ziphites. Let’s allow David through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to help us see how you can righteously deal with the Ziphites – the betrayers and slanderers in your life and those who have evil intent for you.

Here’s how David dealt with his literal Ziphites.

Psalm 54 1 Commentary Request Deliverance and Vindication from the Lord

To begin, you need to request of the Lord deliverance and vindication, like David does in verse 1.

{Save/Deliver} me, O God, by thy name,
and {judge/vindicate} me by thy {strength/power/might}.

So, David is asking for deliverance and vindication.

Let’s note first of all what David is not doing and what we ought not to do. And that is to take your own vengeance on these people – these Ziphites in your life. Don’t take your own vengeance. That would be just as unrighteous as they’re acting. Don’t do that!

Vengeance is mine, says the Lord. I will repay.

If someone comes along and slaps you on one cheek, turn the other so that he can slap you there as well.

If your enemy is hungry, feed him. This is the way that you can heap burning coals on his head – by doing good to him.

Pray for those who persecute you.

These are all New Testament admonitions for us to not seek our own vengeance – but to allow the Lord to repay people who are doing us wrong.

So, negatively, don’t take your own vengeance.

But positively, of course, seek the Lord for deliverance and vindication.

You need deliverance from the consequences of what betrayers and slanderers will do to you. You need their traps against you to fail. And you need the damage that they’re trying to inflict on you to explode in their own faces.

So, you need God to deliver you from their schemes. But you also need God to clear your reputation amongst those whom these Ziphites have tried to ruin that very reputation. You need to be vindicated by the Lord.

So, in regard to your Ziphites – your betrayers and slanderers – don’t take your own vengeance, but rather seek the Lord to protect you from them and to vindicate you or to clear your reputation where they have sought to slander you publicly.

Read the rest of our Psalm 54 Sermon

Psalm 54 Sermon

Psalm 54 Sermon: I’d like us to turn our attention to the book of Psalms. And in particular, we’re going to be considering Psalm 54.

Let’s read this 54th psalm to begin our time together.

{Read Psalm 54…}

Psalm 54 Sermon 1a Superscription

Now, like many psalms, Psalm 54 starts with a superscription or literally a “writing above” the psalm. And in this psalm the superscription actually gives us some helpful background on the situation in David’s life that called for the writing of this psalm.

KJV Psalm 54:1 <{To/For} the {chief Musician/choir director/music director/director of music}

{on/to be accompanied by/with} {Neginoth/stringed instruments},

{Maschil/a well-written song},

{A Psalm of/by} David,

And here’s now the situation in David’s life that moved him to write this…

{when/it was written when} the {Ziphims/Ziphites} {came and said to Saul/came and informed Saul/had gone to Saul and said},

{Doth not David hide himself with us?/“Is not David hiding himself among us?”/“David is hiding with us”}>

Now, the situation to which this is referring is found in both 1 Samuel 23 and in 1 Samuel 26. Two times these men from Ziph – a city in Judah – came and told Saul that David was among them.

Now, you remember that Saul was king of Israel at the time. But there was a problem – the Lord had anointed David king after he had anointed Saul. So, Saul, being an exceedingly sinful and unprincipled man – and one who was actually under the Lord’s judgement – he sought opportunities to kill his opponent David. In Saul’s mind, if he could kill David then he would be able to remain king and kind of put an end to the Lord’s anointing David to be king. He actually thought that he could stop God’s plan. What arrogance – and what madness!

Psalm 54 Sermon 1 Samuel 23

Well, so it happened that these men from the city of Ziph were zealous to please their humanly-appointed king, Saul. And so, the first time – as recorded in 1 Samuel 23 – these Ziphites sent to Saul letting him know that David was hiding in their region.

Now, Ziph was in a rather hilly region of Judah and it was the perfect place for a fugitive like David to hide. And so, Saul comes with his men and they search for David. And in a relatively humorous scene, Saul needs to “use the facilities” or “relieve himself” or whatever euphemism you’d like to use for it – in Hebrew, he’s “covering his feet” – and amazingly, he was doing that in the very cave in which David and his men were hiding!

Well, David’s followers encouraged David to kill Saul right then and there. But he wouldn’t do it. He wasn’t going to utilize some artificial means for God to fulfill his purpose. Unlike Abraham who with his wife Sarah planned to use some human means to accomplish God’s promise, David would not take that course of action. So, David simply cut off a part of Saul’s robe.

Then Saul leaves and David comes out after him showing him the piece of Saul’s robe that he had cut off and appealing to him that David is not interested in killing Saul. Saul repents for the moment and determines not to pursue David anymore.

Psalm 54 Sermon 1 Samuel 26

But then just a little while later in 1 Samuel 26 Saul gets it in his mind to once again pursue David to kill him. And so he comes down to Ziph again – where David was still hiding – because these treacherous men from that city seem to enjoy turning-in David to their bloodthirsty and God-forsaken king.

Well, this time, Saul goes to sleep and is surrounded by his army of 3,000 elite fighters. But God causes a really unusually-deep sleep to come on these folks and so David and Abishai his assistant go right up to Saul and take his spear and his water jug. Abishai offers to kill Saul and end all of this madness right then and there! But David refuses. He will not use artificial human means to accomplish God’s plan – and certainly he won’t do it when it involves disobeying the Lord.

So, David wakes everyone up from a safe distance and reveals that he has Saul’s spear and water jug. Saul repents once more and promises to never again pursue David. And I believe that Saul actually ends up keeping his word to David at that point. Because David flees to Philistia and then Saul dies in battle a little while later.

Now, reflecting on those events, try to imagine the faith that this whole scenario would have called for in this man who’s just like you and me – David. To have at your disposal the ability to end your long trial and to twice refuse. David could have had immediate relief from this persecution that drove him from his home and from his country eventually. But he didn’t take it. Why? Because he trusted in the Lord.

So, that’s a brief synopsis of the events of 1 Samuel 23 and 26 which mention these men referenced in Psalm 54 known as the Ziphites. This is the situation that called for the writing of this psalm.

And as evil as King Saul was, he’s not the only one – or really, even the primary one – that David is dealing with in this psalm. David is actually focused mostly on these Ziphites who keep urging Saul to come and try to kill David.

Psalm 54 Sermon Who Are Your Ziphites?

So, do you have any modern-day Ziphites in your life?

Do you have someone who likes to get you in trouble with the boss?

Or maybe a family member who selectively chooses which facts he’d like to share with others in the family that might make you look bad while he leaves out other facts that would balance out the details that seem negative?

You might – or our church corporately might – have a person or persons who try to make us look bad and get us in trouble with the larger community. {10 minutes}

Paul the apostle had at least one group of “Ziphites” if you will in the form of some unbelieving Jews in Thessalonica who weren’t content to trouble him in their city alone but also made the effort to follow after him and get him in trouble in other cities.

So, how do you deal with your Ziphites? That’s going to be the title of this message – Dealing With Your Ziphites. Let’s allow David through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to help us see how you can righteously deal with the Ziphites – the betrayers and slanderers in your life and those who have evil intent for you.

Here’s how David dealt with his literal Ziphites.

Psalm 54 Sermon 1b Request Deliverance and Vindication from the Lord

To begin, you need to request of the Lord deliverance and vindication, like David does in verse 1.

{Save/Deliver} me, O God, by thy name,
and {judge/vindicate} me by thy {strength/power/might}.

So, David is asking for deliverance and vindication.

Let’s note first of all what David is not doing and what we ought not to do. And that is to take your own vengeance on these people – these Ziphites in your life. Don’t take your own vengeance. That would be just as unrighteous as they’re acting. Don’t do that!

Vengeance is mine, says the Lord. I will repay.

If someone comes along and slaps you on one cheek, turn the other so that he can slap you there as well.

If your enemy is hungry, feed him. This is the way that you can heap burning coals on his head – by doing good to him.

Pray for those who persecute you.

These are all New Testament admonitions for us to not seek our own vengeance – but to allow the Lord to repay people who are doing us wrong.

So, negatively, don’t take your own vengeance.

But positively, of course, seek the Lord for deliverance and vindication.

You need deliverance from the consequences of what betrayers and slanderers will do to you. You need their traps against you to fail. And you need the damage that they’re trying to inflict on you to explode in their own faces.

So, you need God to deliver you from their schemes. But you also need God to clear your reputation amongst those whom these Ziphites have tried to ruin that very reputation. You need to be vindicated by the Lord.

So, in regard to your Ziphites – your betrayers and slanderers – don’t take your own vengeance, but rather seek the Lord to protect you from them and to vindicate you or to clear your reputation where they have sought to slander you publicly.

Psalm 54 Sermon 2 Request God to Hear You

Now, you need to be earnest about this as you as you seek this kind of thing. Don’t be ashamed to do like David did in verse 2 and ask the Lord to hear you.

2 {Hear/Listen to} my prayer, O God;
{give ear to the words of my mouth./Pay attention to what I say!/listen to the words of my mouth.}

Now, what do you see David doing here? David is getting desperate. And it’s alright to be desperate in prayer. Look – you and I are going to be desperate somewhere – either in front of everyone or in front of the Lord. David is being wise and he’s expressing his desperation to the Lord.

A calm quiet mumbled prayer for deliverance and vindication from your Ziphites – your betrayers and slanderers – well, that might just indicate that you really don’t care whether God answers or not. Your heart needs to be in a state of desperation before the Lord.

Now, it’s not disrespectful to God to demand that he hear you. The verbs in verse 2 are commands. Now, no doubt they are submissive commands. But they are commands nonetheless. Don’t think that it is beneath a faithful Christian to command God to do something on his behalf. With the heartbeat of Jesus in you saying, “Your will be done” you can command the Lord to do anything. Even when it’s an essentially self-focused prayer. David’s is here. He’s praying for himself.

So, in your life as you experience Ziphite moments of betrayal and slander, desperately go to the Lord asking him for protection from them and vindication before them and others.

Psalm 54 Sermon 3 Present Your Trouble to the Lord

And then you’ll want to bring up the details of why you’re so desperate as you pray to the Lord, like David does in verse 3.

3 {For strangers/For Foreigners/Strangers} {are risen up against/have risen against/attack/are attacking} me,
{and oppressors/and violent men/ruthless men} {seek after my soul/have sought my life/seek my life}:
{they have not set God before them./who do not respect God/men without regard for God}

Selah.

So, what case does David have against these Ziphites? What is his justification for asking that God would put an end to their schemes?

Well, David points out that these men – who were Israelites, and actually from the tribe of Judah – were acting like foreigners. Why else would they be seeking to destroy the one whom the Lord had already anointed king and who was just waiting until Saul would step aside until he could assume the crown? David was in fact – and in God’s eyes – the king of Israel. There was only one problem – the old king whom God had rejected wouldn’t leave. And yet, despite that, as a matter of fact, David was the king of the Ziphites. But they were acting like foreigners because they were betraying their king.

And they weren’t just betraying their king. David says that they were attacking and rising up against him. As they called twice for Saul and his army to come and destroy their king, these Ziphites were in a way themselves indirectly attacking David.

David goes on to say that these Ziphites were also violent men. They were oppressive. They were ruthless. And they sought after David’s soul – after his very life.

And further, these Ziphites were acting this way because they had a faulty relationship with the God to whom David is praying. {20 minutes}

And this really is the root cause of all betrayal and slander – it’s that people don’t have a right relationship with the Lord. They don’t set God before their eyes – they don’t respect him – they have no regard for him. And where that’s the case – where people have no regard for the Lord, well, they’re not going to regard his people, either.

So, these Ziphites are bad folks. They are violent and oppressive and murderous in their hearts – if not with their hands – toward God’s true servant. And they have no regard for the Lord.

Are your Ziphites similar? Those whom you’ve known over the years to betray you or to slander you – would you be able to describe them in this way?

Well, perhaps this is a safeguard then. We can be so easily offended and put on the defensive by any number of really small matters. And it’s possible for us to identify a person as a Ziphite – a slanderer or betrayer – and yet, really if you were to try to bring this kind of charge against them to the Lord, you’d find not enough evidence to convict, as it were. In those cases, perhaps praying this kind of prayer for these people wouldn’t be appropriate.

And yet, if you’re able to identify some people in your life in these terms, then you are free to do so. God wants you to pray this way about them. He wants you to say the same thing about these people that he himself knows to be true.

Certainly, confess your own faults and sins first. But then after that, have no qualms about speaking to the Lord concerning your Ziphites in terms that the Lord himself would be comfortable with and understand and agree.

Psalm 54 Sermon 4 Remind Yourself of God’s Care for You

So, you and I – as we experience betrayal and slander – we need to desperately seek the Lord to deliver and protect and vindicate us. And we need to state clearly to the Lord why the people who are doing this to us are so troublesome in our hearts.

But don’t leave it there. We can get so focused on the wrongs that others have committed against us that we forget that there’s a God in heaven to whom we’re praying. And that’s why it’s very important to remind yourself of God’s care for you, like David does in verse 4.

4 {Behold/Look/Surely}, God is {mine helper/my deliverer/my help}:
the Lord is {with them that uphold/the sustainer of/among those who support} {my soul/me}.

So, the message that comes out loud and clear in this verse is that we need to remember that we are not alone in this battle – in this struggle – in this life.

We’re not alone as we face betrayal and slander. God is with us. He’s your helper – your deliverer.

And God is enough – that’s for sure. But very interestingly, the Lord has David speak of God as someone who is “with” or “among” another group that David takes comfort in knowing they exist. That group is “them that uphold my soul” or “those who support me.”

David takes comfort in the fact that even in this world, he’s not alone. There are others who support and uphold him.

And that’s important for us to remember as well. As we’re slandered or betrayed, we’re never alone. It might feel like we are. But it would do us well to remember that even among mankind, we’re not alone. And certainly, the Lord never leaves or forsake us.

Psalm 54 Sermon 5 Remind Yourself that God will Make Matters Right

And it’s not that God is just there but that he’s not going to do anything.

No – when we experience slander and betrayal – and as we desperately cry out for God to deliver and vindicate us from those whose actions toward us and attitude toward the Lord are demonstrably wicked and harmful – then as we remind ourselves that we are not alone – that God is with us – well, we then need to remind ourselves of the ultimate end and result of the Lord being “with” us.

And that is, that he will ultimately make matters right, as David confesses to believing in verse 5.

5 {He shall reward evil unto mine enemies:/ He will recompense the evil to my foes;/May those who wait to ambush me be repaid for their evil!/ Let evil recoil on those who slander me;}
{cut them off/Destroy them} {in thy truth/in your faithfulness/as a demonstration of your faithfulness}.

So, David is sure that the Lord will make matters right by bringing justice to the evil-doers in his life.

And the wording in Hebrew is a little hard to determine whether David is asking for these things to happen or if he’s just declaring that God will indeed make these things happen – or maybe both!

But whatever the case, whether he’s again submissively commanding that the Lord would bring justice to his betrayers and slanderers – or whether David is simply stating his conviction that the Lord will bring justice to these men the Ziphites, the result is the same. David believes that the Lord will do right.

And we need this too. We can pray desperately for God to help – and then basically allow unbelief to make us think as if the Lord is not going to help. That’s no good! If we pray for God’s help, we need to believe that he will act.

The one who comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.

Anything you ask, if you believe that you receive it, it will be given to you.

If any man lacks wisdom, let him ask of God and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering or doubting.

These are New Testament admonitions that encourage us to do just what David is doing here – to really believe that God is going to take care of you – and that he is going to “take care of” your slanderers and betrayers and persecutors. {30 minutes}

Psalm 54 Sermon 6 Anticipatingly resolve to praise the Lord for his help

Well, if you’re resolved that God will hear and answer you by dealing out justice to your Ziphites, then the next step is not a far reach for you.

If you really believe that God is going to help you and answer your prayer for deliverance and vindication, then the next logical step is what David expresses in verse 6. And that’s to anticipatingly resolve to praise the Lord for his help.

6 I will {freely sacrifice/willingly sacrifice/sacrifice with a freewill offering} unto thee:
I will {praise/give thanks to} thy name, O LORD; for it is good.

Now, David isn’t going to sacrifice anything while he’s being chased by Saul and away from the presence of the Tabernacle. But he is convinced that God is going to answer his prayer in such a way as to allow for him to return to a place of normalcy and ability to worship the Lord like he used to.

And this is what we ought to do in these trials of ours. We need to look forward to God actually answering the prayers that we’re offering up to him. And we need to resolve in our hearts that it won’t be back to business-as-usual after the Lord helps us.

Has this ever happened to you – that you’ve prayed desperately for the Lord to be gracious to you – and then he answers! And what’s your response?

Remember the account of the 10 lepers – and Jesus healed them all. But how many came back to thank him? Just one. You and I need to be that one who turns back to the Lord and genuinely thanks and praises him for his help.

Psalm 54 Sermon 7 Anticipate the Lord’s Answering & Helping You

And really, beyond resolving to thank the Lord for his deliverance and vindication from slander and betrayal – from the Ziphites in your life – you need to anticipate the Lord’s answering and helping you – precisely because he has helped you so many times in the past. This is how David thinks of things to end Psalm 54 in verse 7.

7 {For/Surely} he {hath delivered/rescues} me {out of/from} all {trouble/my troubles}:
and {mine eye hath seen his desire upon/my eye has looked with satisfaction upon/I triumph over/my eyes have looked in triumph on} mine enemies.

In other words, has the Lord ever answered any of your prayers? If he answers this prayer concerning people who slander or betray you, is that the first time that God has ever answered your prayer?

Of course not! For true believers God delights in answering our prayers.

Ask and you will receive. Whoever asks will receive.

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

These are statements from Jesus concerning God’s desire to answer our prayers. This is what he wants to do for believers. And so, you and I have experienced answered prayer before, haven’t we?

Yeah, we have! And this is one thing that helps encourages us that God will do this again. As you earnestly seek the Lord’s deliverance and vindication when you’re betrayed or slandered you know that he will hear you – because he’s heard and answered you many times before.

Psalm 54 Sermon Closing

So, what we’ve seen in this psalm is inspired counsel regarding how to deal with the Ziphites in your life – with people who intentionally get you in trouble – by slandering and betraying you – even though you did nothing to deserve such treatment. You – like David – need to…

  1. Earnestly ask the Lord for deliverance and vindication.
  2. Bring up the details about these people who have attacked you – that they have no regard for God or man.
  3. Remind yourself of God’s care, and rest assured that he will make matters right.
  4. Anticipate praising and thanking the Lord for answering this prayer just like he’s done for you so many times in the past.

And in this way, I think the Lord will be pleased to help us as we seek to Deal With Our Ziphites.

Job 42 Summary

Job 42 Summary: Let’s turn our attention to Job chapter 42. We’ll be studying the last chapter of the book of Job today.

We started this series October 15th, 2017. And even though that was more than 52 weeks ago, this is only the 47th lesson in this series.

And so, we’ve studied through the entire book of Job.

In the beginning we were introduced to this righteous man. And then we were made aware of this meeting in heaven in which God brings Job to Satan’s attention. Satan insinuates that Job is righteous only because of what God gives him – only because God favors him and blesses him with all sorts of good things in this life.

So then God took those things away in order to prove to Satan that Job was genuinely righteous and that God wasn’t somehow buying Job’s obedience and devotion.

And Job started well. Even when his wife encouraged him to curse God and die, Job refused – and actually gently rebuke his wife, encouraging both of them to take both good and evil from the Lord.

But by the time that Job’s three friends come and they sit with him in silence for seven days, Job related to them what a struggle he was having in his heart. He began by cursing the day of his birth and wishing for death. Life had gone from unrestrained blessing to unrelenting pain and suffering.

And what was most difficult for Job was that God seemed to be punishing him. And Job couldn’t figure out the cause of this punishment. It didn’t make sense to Job.

And Job wasn’t alone. His three friends also sensed that God was punishing Job. And so they urged him to stop sinning and start praying. And if he did, they assured him, God would stop the punishment and bring back the blessings.

There was only one problem with that arrangement in Job’s mind. Job was not sinning and he was praying. And so, he knew that this punishment – as he saw it – was undeserved. And therefore, his mind started going in the direction of placing blame as well – just like his three friends. Only, Job wasn’t going to blame himself – because he knew he was innocent and undeserving of punishment. So, Job took the step of starting to blame God.

Not that God is evil – in Job’s mind. But maybe God just is a little bit mistaken. Or maybe God is finding fault with Job in some area that Job knows nothing about – sort of unfairly punishing him for secret sins that Job himself is unaware of.

And so, Job begins to demand that God explain himself. Job orders God into court to defend his ways – his mysterious, confusing ways – in Job’s life.

And that’s when Elihu comes and is angry that the three friends have no charge against Job and yet they accuse him anyway. And he’s also angry at Job because Job was basically making God look bad in order that he might look good. And Job didn’t need to do that. God can remain perfect and his people remain righteous – even when we’re suffering. We don’t need to make God look bad when we’re suffering.

And one thing that Job really should have reckoned with is the fact that not all suffering is punishment. When God brings suffering into our lives, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s angry with us. It doesn’t mean that he is exacting punishment on us. And Elihu even said as much.

And then the Lord shows up. Just like Job was demanding. But, the Lord wasn’t prepared to explain himself to Job. God had no plan to lay out the whys and wherefores to Job about his suffering. God said not a word about Satan. Those things are not what Job needed to learn.

What Job needed to learn is what we need to learn. That when God’s ways don’t make sense to us, we need to trust his wisdom.

And so, the Lord started questioning Job on various aspects of nature that God perfectly controls – just like he perfectly controls the lives of his people. And God asked Job – can you do this? Do you know this? Where were you when this happened?

And the only one who could answer any of those questions was God himself. Not Job.

Job was demanding that God explain his ways to him – in particular, in the realm of Job’s circumstances. And God’s questions were intended to help Job see that Job can’t even understand what God does throughout creation. How would Job even begin to understand why and how God was working in his life the way he was?

And then God challenges Job to try out being God for a day!

And then the Lord brought to Job’s attention two wonderful beasts that each were intended to teach Job something.

Behemoth was to be imitated by Job. Behemoth lived with the strength that God gave him without worry and without fear. And Job needed to take the posture of that creature.

And then Leviathan. Job was supposed to think about God and treat God more like Job treated this dangerous powerful creature. Job was treating God so commonly – as if it’s proper to impel the Master of the Universe to a court of law so that he can explain himself and make himself accountable to a puny little creature like man is. Job wouldn’t expect Leviathan to show up for his day in court! Why should he expect God to do so?

Job 42 Summary | God Can do Any/Every Thing

And after all of that – forty-one chapters that have taken us over a year to study – Job gives his final response to the Lord in verse 1 of chapter 42.

KJV Job 42:1 Then Job [answered/replied to] the LORD, and said,

2 I know that thou canst do [every thing/all things],
and that no [thought/purpose/plan] can be [withholden/thwarted] [from thee/of yours].

So, this the first confession of a man who’s seen God and been rebuked by him. The response is “I know you can do everything.” And on the opposite side of that, “I know there’s nothing you can’t do.

If God wants to stop the suffering of one of his people, no one will stop him. If God – in his sovereign wisdom – chooses to bring suffering into the life of one of his faithful servants, suffering that servant will have to endure.

It’s all up to the Lord though. He gives and he takes. And whatever he does, he’s right. And whatever he decides to do cannot be stopped by anyone but him.

Job 42 Summary | I Spoke Ignorantly

And in light of this reality that God can do anything and won’t be stopped by anything, Job makes a second confession in verse 3.

3 [you asked…] Who is [he/this] that [hideth/darkens/obscures] [my…] counsel without knowledge?

By the way – let interject here – that’s not Job speaking to the Lord. As in that’s not Job accusing God of hiding counsel without knowledge.

Rather, this is Job repeating a question that God had asked him earlier in the previous few chapters.

Job is saying, “you asked me, ‘Who is this that hides or darkens or obscures counsel without knowledge.’” And the idea is that Job is saying – “you were right, God.” And that’s what he admits to in the rest verse 3.

[therefore/but/surely] [have I/I have] [uttered/declared/spoke of] that I understood not;
things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.

So, Job’s second confession to the Lord is that he spoke ignorantly. He spoke as if he fully understood things that now he’s come to see he has no idea about. Job spoke so confidently about his own innocence – and equally confidently about the fact that he believed that God was wrong in the way he was dealing in Job’s life.

But after all these questions and all these mighty works of God paraded before him, Job realizes that he knows nothing! He doesn’t understand. He doesn’t know. He couldn’t make the world work for one millisecond! He was way out of line in speaking of things that he’s so ignorant of.

And brethren, we need to be aware of this fact as well. Let me just put it rather bluntly – what areas of your life do you think that God is totally botching? Or has totally botched? Are there events in your life that you look at – and to think of them fills you with bitterness toward others and ultimately toward God himself?

Can you see things the way that God sees them and understand that you really don’t understand? Have you been humbled to the point of Job and confess that those things that you take issue with God about – really, you’re the one who’s in the wrong.

Job 42 Summary | I See You and Abhor Myself

Well, Job has one more confession to make in verses 4-6.

4 [You said…] [Hear, I beseech thee/Hear now/Pay attention/Listen now], and I will speak:
I will [demand of/ask/question] thee, and [declare thou unto/you instruct/you will answer] me.

And once more, I’ll break in and remind us that Job is not at this point demanding God to answer him. Job again is repeating to God a question that God himself asked Job in the last few chapters.

And Job wants to let the Lord know that he did indeed hear the Lord. God commanded Job to hear. And so, Job says…

5 I [have/had] heard of thee by the hearing of the ear:
[but/and?] now mine eye seeth thee.

Job has heard from and seen God. He has indeed listened and paid attention to the Lord. And now he has this extra added bonus of actually seeing God.

And certainly Job is speaking of physical sight. And yet, I think Job is pointing to a reality beyond that. Job has not just seen the physical representation of the Lord. But he’s experienced God. Through Job’s suffering and the struggles that have attended that suffering, Job has literally come face-to-face with the Lord and he has experienced God. It’s not just hearing about God from his three friends or from his wife. No – now Job has heard from and experienced God directly. And that’s enough for him.

And this is Job’s response to that reality.

6 [Wherefore/Therefore] I [abhor myself/retract/despise myself],
and repent in dust and ashes.

So, Job confesses to both hearing and seeing God. And he confesses that his response is like Isaiah’s – “Woe is me! I am unclean!” Or as Job puts it, “I abhor myself and repent!

And that’s Job’s last statement.

He’s confessed that God can do anything. That Job himself spoke ignorantly. And that he has seen and experienced God and therefore abhors himself and repents.

No more arguments. No more accusations. No more demanding God to come to court and explain himself.

God has spoken. And that is enough for Job.

So, that’s how God rebukes Job and sets things right with that righteous man.

Job 42 Summary | God Rebukes the Friends

But God’s not done dealing with people. Elihu doesn’t need to be dealt with by God. He generally spoke on God’s behalf and experiencing no rebuke from the Lord.

But Job’s three friends are another matter. God rebukes them in verse 7.

7 ¶ [And it was so, that after/It came about after/After] the LORD had [spoken/said] these [words/things] unto Job,

the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite,

So, we notice that the Lord targets Eliphaz. Now, we’re going to see God speak to all three of these men. And yet, somehow Eliphaz gets the direct attention of God. This might indicate that Eliphaz was perhaps the leader of this group. Maybe that also explains why he would begin each of the three sections of dialog between Job and his friends.

But anyway, God addresses Eliphaz and says…

[My wrath is kindled against/My anger is stirred up against/I am angry with] thee, and against thy two friends:

Why? Why is God angry at these three men?…

[for/because] ye have not spoken [of/about] me [the thing that/what] is right,

as my servant Job hath.

So, even though Job was wrong in his approach to God in demanding that God explain himself to Job – God says here that what Job said about him was essentially correct.

These friends on the other hand were speaking falsehoods about God. And yet, we remember that they had the wisdom of the ancients on their side – they had the testimony of ancient wise men who had passed on before them. One of these guys kept referring to visions he had received – remember the spirit passing before one of their faces at night and causing him great fear and then giving him a revelation. All of that is nonsense when it doesn’t correspond to the word of God.

Visions and experiences and ancient wisdom is all fine and well – but these are not what we should be basing our life on. Our experience is not what we should be pulling out and relating to someone who is suffering. The person who is suffering needs God’s words delivered to him compassionately and patiently.

And so, these three friends had not spoken orthodox doctrine to Job. They had said things about God that just weren’t true. They had asserted that God always punishes evil and always rewards good in this life and pretty much immediately. And God says here, “that’s just not right!

Job 42 Summary | God Orders the Friends to Sacrifice

And so, because of the folly of these friends, God would be right to destroy them on the spot. Or even to apply to them the kind of suffering that Job had experienced.

And yet, instead, we’re going to see God be merciful to these three men and command them to sacrifice in verse 8.

8 [Therefore/Now therefore/So now] take [unto you now/for yourselves] seven [bullocks/bulls] and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering;

and my servant Job [shall/will] [pray/intercede] for you: for [him will I accept/I will accept his prayer]:

[lest I/So that I may not] deal with you after your folly,

[in that/because] ye have not spoken of me [the thing which/what] is right,

[like/as] my servant Job [has…].

So, Job had been on the short end of things for a while now. These three men have been pompously accusing him of secret sin. And Job had been pretty much defenseless against them.

But now the tables have turned. And God fully recognizes in the sight of these three accusers, that Job is his – what? It’s stated three times in this verse. Job is God’s… servant. There was some doubt about that. But not anymore. God makes it clear that Job is his true servant.

And so, these men are at Job’s mercy now. They’re sacrificing – not to Job – but to God. And yet, Job is their priest and mediator before God.

And if they don’t offer that sacrifice and if Job doesn’t pray for them, God menacingly threatens that he will deal with these men according to their foolishness. These men, who had considered themselves as wise! God says that they’re fools!

And God repeats the charge against them. They spoke of God what was not correct.

Job 42 Summary | The Friends Sacrifice and Job Prays and God Accepts

And you better believe that these three men – as foolish as they had behaved themselves – they do fear God and they’re going to make a bee-line to Job with those sacrifices in verse 9!

9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did [according/just] as the LORD [commanded/told] them:

[the LORD also/and the LORD] [accepted/had respect for/accepted the prayer of] Job.

And where Job had felt such a lack of God’s presence – such a rejection of his prayers – now the only one whose prayers are effectual before God is this one who has felt so rejected by God. Job is no longer rejected.

Job 42 Summary | The Lord Restores Job in Summary

And that applies to his prayers, but we’re going to see from the rest of this chapter that everything is restored to Job. He’s going to experience acceptance by God in every way. Verse 10 summarizes this role reversal.

10 ¶ [And/So] the LORD [turned the captivity of Job/restored the fortunes of Job/restored what Job had lost/made Job prosperous again],

[when/after] he prayed for his friends:

So, God did wait until Job showed that he had truly forgiven these men. And sometimes that is what is holding back some of God’s blessings in our lives is when we refuse to forgive those who have wronged us in some pretty serious ways. And yet, God wants us to forgive everyone – just like he’s forgiven us…

[also/and] the LORD [gave Job twice as much as he had before/increased all that Job had twofold/doubled all that had belonged to Job/gave him twice as much as he had before].

So, that’s Job’s restoration in a summary fashion.

Job 42 Summary | The Lord Restores Job’s Relationships

Now, we’re going to see Job’s restoration in detail with some specifics.

Verse 11 has Job’s relationships restored.

11 Then came there unto him
all his brethren,
and all his sisters,
and all they that had [been of his acquaintance/had known him] before,
and [did eat bread/they dined/ate] with him in his house:

and they [bemoaned/consoled/comforted] him, and [comforted/consoled] him [over/for] all the [evil/adversities/trouble] that the LORD had brought upon him:

every man also gave him a piece of [money/silver], and every one [an earring of gold/a gold ring].

So, one thing to note here is that all of these people had apparently abandoned Job. What help these folks could have been to the suffering Job in his hour of need! And yet, isn’t that sometimes what God orchestrates in our lives so that we don’t trust man – so that we don’t rely on man for our happiness. Sometimes, the Lord brings us to the point where we have literally no one. And the ones we might have are no help.

And that’s OK. It’s as God intends. We don’t have recorded here that Job was bitter against these fair-weather friends and family. He has heard and seen God – experienced God. And I think that he wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. His heart is like that of Joseph’s where he could harbor no bitterness against his brothers but instead saw that where they meant evil, God meant good – and God won!

And I think we need to notice one more thing in this verse. Who brought the evil on Job?

The inspired author of this book places the blame for all the bad stuff that happened on God. This is not Eliphaz saying this. It isn’t even Elihu. It’s the divine author stating in no uncertain terms that God himself brought this evil on Job. God is not apologizing about it. He’s not seeking to shift blame to Satan. He’s not concerned that his reputation will take a hit when people realize that he himself is the one who brings evil – calamity – hardship into the life of one of his righteous people.

I started out this series over a year ago in part because I had a friend whose two young children died in a car accident. And I was talking to one of my sons recently who was a friend of the older boy and we were talking about grief. And my son asked if grief is supposed to go away. And I said that I don’t think you ever get over the death of someone who you love and care for. And he seemed relieved – because even he is still after over a year grieving the loss of his friend.

Now, I want to be clear that I think the first thing that I would say to this grieving father would not be along the lines of this truth – that the Lord made this happen. And certainly you would never relate this to a person in a cold and callous way with no emotion in your voice or face. This is not some truth to beat grieving people to death with.

But it is a truth that we all need to recognize. God is in control. He brings good and he brings bad in this life. And it doesn’t matter who you are.

Can we accept that God ultimately brought the evil into the life of this missionary family in Cameroon? Can we accept that there’s a little 6 year old boy in Minnesota who just had to have a large tumor removed from his brain and still has cancer in his spine and might be enduring harsh treatments for months – and even then he’s not fully out of the woods – can we accept that this is God’s doing?

And I can admit, I don’t want to accept it! I don’t like this. I want the Millennium – now! I want all tears wiped away from our eyes! I want the lion to lay down with the lamb – now!

But we don’t have that now. We have what God has wisely orchestrated in our lives. And as blind and shortsighted as we are – we must trust our captain. We must trust God’s wisdom.

And in fact, you talk to the wife of this murdered missionary or you talk to the believing parents of this dear young child – and you’ll hear them speak of their trusting the Lord. You’ll hear of them being confused and not being able to make sense of things – but you’ll also hear their unwavering faith. And they are an awesome example of what God is teaching us in this book.

And you know – all of these things will be made right one day when we’re with the Lord.

Job 42 Summary | The Lord Restores Job’s Fortunes

But God saw fit to restore Job in this life – even his fortunes in verse 12.

12 So the LORD blessed the [latter end/latter days/second part/latter part] of [Job/Job’s life] more than [his beginning/the first]:

for he had fourteen thousand sheep,
and six thousand camels,
and a thousand yoke of oxen,
and a thousand [she asses/female donkeys].

And I’ll just note here that all the way back in chapter 1 and verse 3 we’re told that Job had these kinds of things as well. Only there, he had half as much. God blessed him with twice as much material blessings – just like he said in verse 10. And these blessings didn’t come because Job stopped sinning and started praying. They came simply because God is gracious.

This is his posture toward his people. He wants to give us good things. And most of those good things are reserved for us in heaven. And yet even on earth he gives us so much to be thankful for.

Job 42 Summary | The Lord Restores Job’s Heirs

And the restoration continues in verse 13 where the Lord gives Job more children.

13 He had also seven sons and three daughters.

And Charlie Hatchett once told me of a really interesting encounter. I can’t remember who the two people were – I think one of them was Dr. Cedarholm who founded Maranatha Baptist University. Dr. Cedarholm paid a visit to a pastor who was struggling with how God was working in his life. And this pastor had found himself in the book of Job and got to this point. And the pastor noticed with some dismay that even though God blessed double all that Job had materially – he only gave him back the number of children that he previously had – 10, not 20. But God said in verse 10 that he gave Job double all that he had before. And so this pastor was really distraught about this seeming oversight by God.

And Dr. Cedarholm came to him and this pastor related that struggle to him. And Cedarholm reminded this pastor that God did indeed restore double to Job even in the area of his children. His previous 7 sons and 3 daughters… were with the Lord. And because of that, they’re just as alive as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are. And he would see them again. Job did indeed receive double in the area of children.

Job 42 Summary | Special Attention to the Daughters: Names

And interestingly enough, the Lord draws great attention to Job’s daughters in the next few verses.

In verse 14 he focuses on their names.

14 And he called the name of the first, Jemima [dove…];
and the name of the second, Kezia [cassia…];
and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch [horn of eye-paint…].

By the way, as you know, women often go unnamed in the Old Testament. And so the fact that these daughters of Job are named I think is significant.

So, I feel compelled to try to tie these names to some sort of meaning. So, here’s a try.

Doves are graceful. Think of the difference between a dove and a crow. Even though doves tend to flit around whereas a crow is a bit more confident, the flight of doves is more graceful than that of a crow or other birds.

Or perhaps the reference to a dove speaks of a beautiful voice. Doves can have very pleasant songs that they sing.

Cassia smells nice. It’s the bark of a tree that is burned and gives off a really nice scent. This in the days before air fresheners and potpourri and artificial stuff like that.

And then cosmetics applied around the eyes enhances one’s beauty.

So, gracefulness or a sweet voice – pleasant scent – and physical beauty. We’re led to think that these attributes characterized Job’s second three daughters.

Job 42 Summary | Special Attention to the Daughters: Beauty

And while what we just considered bears implicit testimony to the physical beauty and charm of these ladies, verse 15 makes this very explicit.

15 And in all the land were no women found [so fair/as beautiful] as the daughters of Job:

Job 42 Summary | Special Attention to the Daughters: Inheritance

And what’s really unusual is the next fact we hear about them. These girls were so special that they received an inheritance just like their brothers.

and their father [gave/granted] them [an…] inheritance [among/alongside/along with] their [brethren/brothers].

So, typically in the ancient near east, the boys got the inheritance. The girls would get whatever inheritance was left to the man that they ended up marrying.

But I think the idea here is twofold. First, that God gave Job some very exceptional daughters. And second, that God gave Job so much that he had an abundance to give to even his daughters. There wasn’t any scarcity in Job’s latter life.

Job 42 Summary | The Lord Allows Job to Know His Heirs

So, next we hear a summary of Job’s long life in verse 16.

16 After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his [sons/children], and [his sons’ sons/their children], [even four generations/to the fourth generation].

I’m guessing then based on the twofold arithmetic that we’ve experienced so far that Job lived 70 years before his trial. Because 70 x 2 = 140, which is how long Job lived after his trial of suffering.

So, he lives 140 of his 210 years on this earth after his suffering.

Job 42 Summary | Job Dies Happy

And then Job dies. And he dies a happy man.

17 [So/And/And so] Job died, being old and full of days.

And death is always sad. And yet, there are certain deaths – maybe you’ve been to certain funerals where you just feel like the deceased lived a really good and long and pleasant life. Like, yes we’re very sad that this person is no longer with us. And yet, what a life he or she lived!

And that’s how Job dies. He lived a full, blessed, happy life.

And it wasn’t just because of the stuff that God gave. It’s because Job had heard and seen the Lord. And in light of that encounter and all that led up to that moment with his sufferings and trials – Job had come to understand how to correctly value the stuff that God gave him in this life.

Did Job understand God’s ways? No! He still didn’t. But Job had come to learn to trust God’s wisdom. God saw fit to bless him in his latter years. But I think that even if Job hadn’t been materially blessed in this life, he still would have carried that lesson with him of trusting the Lord in everything.

So, may the Lord help us to trust him in good times and in bad. When we feel like everything’s going for us and when we feel like just to get through the day is an uphill battle. In everything, God is wise. And he’s trustworthy. May the Lord help us to trust him.

Job 41 Meaning

Job 41 Meaning: Let’s turn in our Bibles to Job, chapter 41. Lord-willing, we’ll be finishing this chapter today! We’ll be studying verses 22-34. If you want to study verses 12-21 read this. Verses 1-11 are here.

And we’re entering into this section of God responding to Job’s accusations throughout this book. And in this last bit of this response we’ve seen the Lord point Job’s attention to this creature called Leviathan.

And in our last lesson we saw the Lord declare that he won’t keep silent about how he created this beast – but rather that he was going to elaborate on Leviathan’s physical features. And so, that’s just what he did for most of the last part that we studied. And the Lord continues doing that in these last verses of this chapter that we’ll be studying right now.

So, the last thing we heard about was how Leviathan literally breathed fire out of his mouth!

Job 41 Meaning: Neck

And now, in verse 22, the Lord continues to speak of Leviathan’s attributes – what he’s like. And God is going to mention the strength of this creature’s neck.

22 In his neck [remaineth/lodges/resides] strength,
and [sorrow/dismay/despair] [is turned into joy/leaps/runs/goes] before him.

So, that first statement is easy enough to understand – Leviathan has a really strong neck. That’s simple.

But what about that second statement? What does it mean and how does it relate to the first statement? Does it relate to that first statement?

Well, I think that the way we would tend to read the KJV rendering of that verse might give us the wrong impression. When it says, “sorrow is turned into joy before him,” what impression does that bring to your mind?

I’ll tell you how I picture it. We’ve had God talk about how frightening and dangerous and deadly this creature is for the last 21 verses. And all of a sudden, we get to the second line of verse 22 and it’s as if the dark clouds roll away – the sun starts to shine – and all of God’s creatures scamper joyfully in front of Leviathan and lead him on a joyful happy parade!

That cannot be what God is saying! Context, context, context!

What God is saying is that it’s as if sorrow or dismay or despair leap before him or run before him. In other words, these emotions are coming for you unless you get out of his way! Leviathan is a menacing, terrifying – and as the first line of this verse says – strong beast that you need to avoid.

And just like Leviathan, God is strong. He’s all-powerful. And to stand in his way is to invite upon yourself sorrow.

He is a God to be loved and close to. But he’s also a God who is strong and to be respected and yes feared.

Job 41 Meaning: Flesh

Well, the Lord wants to move on to the next physical attribute of Leviathan that is noteworthy. And that’s his flesh in verse 23.

23 The [flakes/folds] of his flesh are joined [together/tightly]:
they are firm [in themselves/on him]; [they cannot be moved/immoveable].

So, Leviathan’s skin had folds that were apparently very tight. So tight – in fact – that they were practically unmovable.

Now, God’s human creatures these days spend a lot of money on trying to achieve what Leviathan already had. You could go to a store and be confronted with a good portion of an aisle dedicated to tightening the folds of your flesh – to use the language of this passage. Maybe someone here could capitalize on this and develop some Leviathan cream!

Anyway, Leviathan had tight skin and that’s because that’s how God made him. He did nothing to get that kind of skin.

And just like Leviathan’s skin – God can’t be moved either. And we’ve explored that consideration already so I won’t belabor it here.

But in addition to God’s inability to be moved if he doesn’t want to be move, just like the tightness of Leviathan’s skin – I think that we’ve come to appreciate – as surely Job had – the way that God manages this creation. How tightly ordered this cosmos is. What integrity the systems that God has created display. How well God knows his routine – what needs to happen when.

It’s like having a boss who knows your job better than you do. He knows what needs to happen when. And you can be assured that nothing will get dropped or be forgotten.

So, that’s what we learn of God through a consideration of Leviathan’s skin.

Job 41 Meaning: Heart

And next up, God wants to showcase Leviathan’s heart or perhaps more broadly his chest.

24 His [heart/chest] is as [firm/hard] as a [stone/rock];
[yea,/even] as hard as a [piece of the nether/lower] millstone.

So, let’s consider millstones. These are and were stones that would be used to grind grain into flour. Of course, they needed to be hard and heavy.

In the setup that God is alluding to here, you’d have one large, hard, heavy stone that served as a base on the bottom of the setup. And then there’d be another stone that was rolled on top of that lower stone. And in between the two stones would be the grain.

And so, that lower stone needed to be hard.

And that’s what God is saying the heart or chest of Leviathan is like. It’s hard and strong!

And there’s one way to think of this if God is speaking of his heart and another way to think if he’s speaking about his chest.

If God is speaking of Leviathan’s heart as being hard then we might think of this beast as cruel and callous. Nothing can move him emotionally. He’s hard like that.

If God is speaking of Leviathan’s chest as being hard then we get another picture of impenetrability. We’re reminded once more that Leviathan is practically invincible and untouchable.

And either of these situations can be applied in certain ways to God and what he’s like. God doesn’t need to be moved emotionally by anything – and yet we see him condescend to his creatures and show emotions – anger, joy, sorrow, etc. And of course, as has been mentioned many times in this chapter, God is unable to be affected by anything if he doesn’t want to be – not even attempts by his human creatures to manipulate him as Job and his three friends had done.

Job 41 Meaning: Effect on Others

Well, the hard-hearted and hard-chested Leviathan – like God – tends to be unaffected by others. And yet, this beast had quite an affect himself upon other creatures.

25 When he raiseth up himself, the mighty [are afraid/fear/are terrified]:
[by reason of/because of/at its/before his] [breakings/the crashing/its thrashing] they [purify themselves/are bewildered/withdraw/retreat].

So, even the most powerful flee in terror when Leviathan raises itself up – and then crashes itself down or thrashes around or whatever it chooses to do.

And of course, if this beast that was created by the Lord has this kind of effect on even the most powerful of its fellow-creatures – then how much more should even the mightiest human fear the Lord when he raises himself up?

And God has done this to Job. He is raised up in a whirlwind. And we’ve seen and will yet again see Job’s response. It’s a proper fear and reverence of this supreme being who created this terrifying creature, Leviathan.

Job 41 Meaning: Inability to be Attacked Successfully

And part of what causes this creature Leviathan to have so terrifying of an effect on others was the difficulty that anyone would have in attacking him.

26 The sword of him that [layeth at/reaches/strikes] him [cannot hold/cannot avail/will have no effect]:
the spear, the [dart/arrow], nor the [habergeon/javelin].

So, to bring a sword against Leviathan would have no effect. Neither would the spear or arrow or javelin.

Job 41 Meaning: Ineffectiveness of Weapons Against Him

And that’s because the material that these devices are made of are nothing to Leviathan.

27 He [esteemeth/regards/treats] iron as straw,
and [brass/bronze] as rotten wood.

Straw and rotten wood of course are very flimsy. And yet to this amazing creature, they might as well be iron and bronze – or vice versa. The material doesn’t matter due to the strength and ferociousness and imperviousness to attack that Leviathan had.

And so, God turns once more from the materials of these weapons that have no effect on Leviathan to the weapons themselves.

28 The arrow [cannot/do not] make him flee:
slingstones [are turned/become like/are like] [with/to] him [into stubble/chaff].

So, he’s not afraid of arrows. And his mindset concerning stones that someone might use to throw at him – which would be very heavy and solid – well, Leviathan considers them as if they’re like stubble or chaff that are easy to just blow away. They’re light and inconsequential.

And the Lord wants to speak one more time of how ineffective weapons are when it comes to Leviathan.

29 [Darts/Clubs] are [counted/regarded] as [stubble/a piece of straw]:
he laugheth at the [shaking/rattling] of [a/the] [spear/javelin/lance].

And so that ends a section of a few verses where God wants to impress on the hearers the fact that no weapon is effective against Leviathan.

And the Lord ends that section stating Leviathan’s response to all of these weapons. He laughs.

And that reminds us of the Lord’s response to those who rage against him. Psalm 2 – the Lord laughs. Just like Leviathan does – the Lord laughs at all those who rage against him.

Job 41 Meaning: His Wake

So, the Lord has already spoken a few verses ago about Leviathan’s effect on the mighty around him. But now, he’s going to highlight the effect of Leviathan on his surrounding environment in verses 30 through 32.

30 [Sharp/Jagged] [stones/potsherds] are [under him/his underparts/his underside]:
he [spreadeth/leaves its mark like/leaves a trail like] [sharp pointed things/like a threshing sledge] [upon the mire/in the mud].

So, Leviathan’s belly had a sharp and hard covering and as he would slide on by through the mud, he would leave an unmistakable mark. You could tell that he had been there. He had a visible effect on his surroundings.

So, that’s the solid surface he was traveling on. And from there he goes down into the water and so let’s see what happens there in verse 31.

31 He maketh the deep to boil like a [pot/cauldron]:
he [maketh/stirs up] the sea like a pot of ointment.

Now, we need to consider what God means here. Is he being literal about the sea boiling? He could be. After all, Leviathan could breathe fire!

Or perhaps God is being poetic and is wanting to portray the bubbles that would be created by Leviathan’s sharp twists and turns in the water as if the water were literally boiling.

Either way, we’re told by the Lord of Leviathan’s effects on the water that surrounds him.

And I think God is envisioning the water a little bit lower down. But in the next verse – verse 32 – the Lord speaks of Leviathan’s effects on the surface of the water.

32 He [maketh/leaves] a [path/wake] [to shine/that glistens] [after/behind] him;
one would think the deep [to be hoary/to be gray-haired/has a head of white hair].

So, picture the wake created by a boat. And that’s close to what Leviathan made the surface of the water to look like as he passed by through it.

So, whether it’s the ground he’s on or the water he’s in – both down deep and on the surface – Leviathan left his mark everywhere he was.

And God is similar. Romans 1 tells us that everything that he’s created bears his marks. And so, no one is excused from worshipping him and giving him thanks.

Even in Job’s suffering, God’s marks – his handiwork – was all over it. Job clearly recognized that God was behind his suffering. It was evident that this was God’s doing. Now, Job didn’t like it – but he did recognize it. It’s unmistakable. Just like the effects that Leviathan leaves behind him in his environment. Clearly discernible.

Job 41 Meaning: Uniquely Fearless

Well, two verse left in this chapter.

And so, the next verse has God pointing to the uniqueness and fearlessness of Leviathan.

33 [Upon/On] earth there is [not his like/nothing like him/nothing his equal],
[who is made/one made/a creature] without fear.

So, God extols Leviathan as uniquely fearless. And why shouldn’t he be? He has no predators and he’s pretty much invincible. Really, the only thing that can end this creature’s life is the Lord himself, who gave him that life.

And if the Lord points to Leviathan as a one-of-a-kind creature, then how much more uniquely excellent is that one who created him?

And this lack of fear that Leviathan had corresponds to the lack of fear that Behemoth had. And we’re supposed to imitate Behemoth and think of God the way we think about Leviathan – and so this is not the time to encourage ourselves to be fearless. Rather, this is where we should marvel at the fact that God never fears. He has no fear. What would God ever be afraid of? There is no unknown to him. There are no credible threats. He can’t die. He cannot be injured or wounded.

That’s amazing!

Job 41 Meaning: Triumph Over the Proud

And so, the Lord finishes his speech about Leviathan in verse 34 with a note on how Leviathan triumphs over the proud.

34 He [beholdeth/looks on/looks down on] [all high things/everything that is high/every haughty being]:
he is a king over all [the children of pride/that are proud].

And this is the kind of work that God had ordered Job to do back in chapter 40. If Job thought that he could be God, then the Lord told him that one of the things he needs to do is to look on the proud and deal with them.

Well, Job was unable to do that – at least to the extent that God could. And yet, even Leviathan – this creature – is able to do that. Leviathan doesn’t struggle with proud people. He will kill them in an instant. If they wanted to attack him, they’d never succeed. Leviathan is better at “being God” in that sense than Job was.

And so, all of this calls for a great deal of humility from Job. God has inundated him with a barrage of questions that he can’t answer. And now the Lord has challenged him to try to be God, to imitate Behemoth, and finally here to consider God the way he would consider this dangerous creature Leviathan.

So, what we saw in verse 34 is the last statement made by God to Job which we have recorded in this book. God is going to speak to Job’s three friends in the next chapter, but this is the last thing he says to Job.

And so, next time Lord-willing we’ll wrap up this study we’ve been having over the past year in the book of Job.