Meditations on the Psalms #121

Day 121

Psalm 55 part 2

The word in v15 that the KJV translated as hell is correctly translated by most modern translations like the NLT, NASB etc as ‘sheol’ (The original Hebrew word). The footnotes often say ‘the grave’ or similar words. V15 is a parallel couplet with both lines beginning with ‘let’… Death is here synonymous with ‘the grave;’ the place of the dead (sheol.) The Old Testament knows no such concept as an eternally burning fire where the unsaved are relegated somewhere below the earth. Even the New Testament never uses the term eternal ‘punishing.’ Jesus talked about an eternal ‘punishment’; a final punishment from which there is no return. There is an infinite difference between the noun and the verb; punishing vs punishment.

V16ff David abruptly switched from praying for the destruction of his enemies to declaring calm confidence in God. It’s a further indication that he was able to leave his crisis – and his enemies – in the hands of the Lord, who would save him. This is positive self-talk and confidence in God, which was rooted in sincere dependence on God, demonstrated by constant prayer

Using repetition and vivid images (v20-21), David showed how dishonourable his enemy was. Most likely referring to Absalom’s ‘meetings at the gate, where he had won the heart of Israel.

V22 is familiar to us in Peter’s writings where he quoted this verse (1Pet 5:7).

There are few greater burdens to bear than a one-time friend who becomes a treacherous and dangerous enemy. David knew that even this was a burden that God could and should bear. Prayer is not telling God what to do but committing ourselves to His will. This psalm moves from fear to fury and finally to Faith.

Fear leads only to a desire to flee. Fury only emphasizes the consciousness of the wrong. Faith alone creates courage.

 ‘But I will trust in You’ (v23) The psalm appropriately ended with David’s focus upon God, not his enemies. He would trust in Him and not be disappointed. He who fears God will fear no one else.

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