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Ambassador Baptist Church
1926 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15209
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Pastor's Pen - June 26, 2007
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June 26, 2007

Psalms 70-73
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Chapter 70
  1. (To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, to bring to remembrance.) Make haste, O God, to deliver me; make haste to help me, O LORD.
  2. Let them be ashamed and confounded that seek after my soul: let them be turned backward, and put to confusion, that desire my hurt.
  3. Let them be turned back for a reward of their shame that say, Aha, aha.
  4. Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified.
  5. But I am poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God: thou art my help and my deliverer; O LORD, make no tarrying.

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Chapter 71
  1. In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion.
  2. Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause me to escape: incline thine ear unto me, and save me.
  3. Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.
  4. Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.
  5. For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.
  6. By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother's bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee.
  7. I am as a wonder unto many; but thou art my strong refuge.
  8. Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day.
  9. Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth.
  10. For mine enemies speak against me; and they that lay wait for my soul take counsel together,
  11. Saying, God hath forsaken him: persecute and take him; for there is none to deliver him.
  12. O God, be not far from me: O my God, make haste for my help.
  13. Let them be confounded and consumed that are adversaries to my soul; let them be covered with reproach and dishonour that seek my hurt.
  14. But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more.
  15. My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof.
  16. I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.
  17. O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works.
  18. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.
  19. Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee!
  20. Thou, which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth.
  21. Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.
  22. I will also praise thee with the psaltery, even thy truth, O my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel.
  23. My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed.
  24. My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long: for they are confounded, for they are brought unto shame, that seek my hurt.

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Chapter 72
  1. (A Psalm for Solomon.) Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king's son.
  2. He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment.
  3. The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness.
  4. He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor.
  5. They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations.
  6. He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth.
  7. In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.
  8. He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.
  9. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.
  10. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts.
  11. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.
  12. For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper.
  13. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy.
  14. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight.
  15. And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba: prayer also shall be made for him continually; and daily shall he be praised.
  16. There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon: and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth.
  17. His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.
  18. Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things.
  19. And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.
  20. The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.

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Chapter 73
  1. (A Psalm of Asaph.) Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.
  2. But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.
  3. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
  4. For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm.
  5. They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.
  6. Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.
  7. Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.
  8. They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily.
  9. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.
  10. Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.
  11. And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High?
  12. Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.
  13. Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.
  14. For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.
  15. If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children.
  16. When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me;
  17. Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.
  18. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.
  19. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.
  20. As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.
  21. Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.
  22. So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.
  23. Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand.
  24. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.
  25. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
  26. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
  27. For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee.
  28. But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.

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Thought for the day:
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 The song of Asaph in Psalm 73 deals with a re-occurring theme in the Scriptures: the apparent prosperity of the wicked coupled with the hardships of God's people. Asaph opens with the declaration of the goodness of God to Israel, and adds that He is particularly good to those who obey Him. This is a profound statement, for it shows that God is faithful to His promises. Israel was God's chosen people, and He had a covenant responsibility to provide for them, and He did much for them even during their times of rebellion. However, He will do even more abundantly for those who desire to follow Him.

 Having made this statement, Asaph reveals his own difficulty in believing this truth. In verse 2 he mentions that he had just about given up on following the Lord. This occurred, according to verse 3, because he saw that the ungodly were prospering, and he became envious of them. He begins to list out the "benefits" that the wicked seem to have that God's children do not have. Before we go any further, it is worth noting that sometimes our discouragements can give us a false view of what is really going on in the lives of others. There is no doubt that he observed sinful men who were prospering, but it is also true that there are wicked men who do not prosper, and godly men who do. We need to be careful that we are correct in our assessments not only of God, but also of that which we see around us.

 Note what he observes about the benefits of the ungodly. He states that they remain relatively healthy right up until the time of their death, and do not seem to have the pains of illness that the believers do (4). He states that they don't have troubles and plagues (5). They are violent and proud (6), yet they are fat with the bounties of life and they have more material possessions than anyone could ever wish for (7). This occurs in spite of the fact that they are wicked and prideful in their speech (8-9). They question whether or not God is paying attention to their wickedness, and even if He has enough wisdom to know what they are doing, or what to do about them (11). Asaph concludes by saying,

"Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches," (12).
The wicked are prosperous, and the prosperous are wicked. This draws him to this conclusion:
"Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning" (13-14).
He states that he has wasted his time living righteously and repenting of his transgressions because all that has gotten him is a life of heartache and chastening (14).

 It is at this point that Asaph realizes the error of his thinking. He knows that if he shares his thoughts with others that he will cause the children of God to stumble (15). As a side note, we must always remember to be careful what we say to others. If our thinking is wrong, and we share it with immature believers, it will make their thinking wrong as well. When we get bitter and allow our bitterness to spill out into our daily speech, it will have a negative effect on those around us, leading them away from God. Asaph went into the sanctuary, apparently to spend time with God and His Word, and this is when he began to understand what was really going on. This also points out to us the importance of spending time with God even when things look bleak and God seems distant. Asaph couldn't figure out God on his own, and his powers of observation were leading him away from the Lord. Rather than stay that way, he went back to God, and Jehovah showed him truth. He showed him that although it may seem that the wicked prosper in this life, that they will someday stand before God in judgment and receive the reward for their evil. Thus, they do not deserve our envy, for we would never want to be in their shoes for eternity.

 Asaph concludes the psalm with statements of his grief and foolishness over ever thinking so poorly of the Lord. He admits that God is ever with him and leads him, and will ultimately lead him to Heaven. Therefore, there is no one on earth that Asaph would rather follow, and he will trust God to always do what is right.

 It is easy for us to all prey to the same thoughts that Asaph had. May we not be overwhelmed by them, but rather may we go to the Lord, realize Who He is and what He is going to do both for us and to the wicked, and follow Him.

Pastor Mark J Montgomery

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