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Sunday, December 13, 2020

“Remember David” [Matt's Messages]

“Remember David”
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
December 13, 2020 :: Psalm 132

It is not wrong to remind the Lord to keep His promises.

I’m going to say that stronger. It is right to remind the Lord to keep His promises.

And I’m going to kick it up a notch: You and I should, in prayer, regularly remind the Lord to keep His promises.

Not because there is any danger of Him forgetting them! But because we often do and because He loves to hear us repeat them back to Him.

He likes it! The Lord likes it when we rehearse His promises to Him.

And, mysteriously, He uses those reminders to fulfill His promises in our lives.

The title of today’s message comes right out of the first verse of Psalm 132, “Remember David.”

But that’s not something the psalm is asking us to do. This isn’t a Bible trivia game for you and me. “Remember David? Kids, don’t forget King David!” And it’s not talking to David. “Remember, David. Remember how good the Lord is, Dave.” No. And it’s not something we are supposed to say to ourselves, “Remember David, O my soul.”

No. Verse 1 is a prayer to the LORD Himself. If you have your Bible open, look at it with me. Psalm 132, verse 1.

“A song of ascents. O LORD, [O Yahweh] remember David and all the hardships he endured.”


“Remember David.”

That’s a prayer!

Psalm 132 is another one of the “psalms of ascent,” those popular worship songs that the Jews loved to sing as they traveled up to Jerusalem for the high holy days of Israel. And we’ll see why this one would be so popular for singing while making that journey in just a second.

It’s both a royal psalm and psalm of Zion. And it is a prayer. It’s a prayer that God would remember David.

Now, of course, God has not forgotten who David is. That shepherd boy who was anointed king. Who slayed the giant and was chased around the countryside by the old king. Who wrote so many of these psalms that we’ve been studying.

We have not forgotten who David is, and the Lord certainly has not forgotten who David is. But the psalmist still reminds Him.

“To remember” is not just to not forget. It means to call to mind. It means to do something on behalf of the thing being remembered, in this case a person. To do something on behalf of someone else. One translation renders it, “O LORD, remember FOR David.” For David’s sake. Because of David.

“Make good on what you have promised to him, to David.”

By the time this psalm was written, David was actually gone, but his sons were still around, and one or more of them (I think we can see from verse 10) was in a mess of trouble and needed help.

So the psalmist asks God to help that royal son (or sons) of David, and he invokes the name and record of the original King David as he does.

“O LORD, remember David and all the hardships he endured.”

Interestingly, this psalm begins not with the promises that God made to David but with the promises David made to God. 

That’s what it means when it say “all of the hardships he endured.” That’s all of the difficult self-denying things that David did to keep his promises to the Yahweh. Verse 2.

“He swore an oath to the LORD and made a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob: ‘I will not enter my house or go to my bed–I will allow no sleep to my eyes, no slumber to my eyelids, till I find a place for the LORD, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.’”

David was committed to the glory of God.

David had a heart for the heart of God, and he wanted God to be worshipped rightly.

This part of the psalm is recounting David’s determination to bring the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem and build a temple around it, a house for God. Knowing, of course, that God is much bigger than the Ark of the Covenant. But it symbolized in a very real way the living presence of the LORD.

Do you remember this story? David made a promise. A serious promise. And then, eventually after a few mistakes, he kept that promise.

Verses 6 through 8 poetically tell the story. V.6

“We heard it in Ephrathah, we came upon it in the fields of Jaar: [I think the “it” is the Ark here, though it could be the call to worship,] ‘Let us go to his dwelling place; let us worship at his footstool–arise, O LORD, and come to your resting place, you and the ark of your might.”

Where is Ephrathah? Where have we heard that name before?

Ephrathah the region where the little town of Bethlehem is located.

David’s birthplace. And Somebody else’s birthplace, right?

The search begins there. And then they find the Ark in the fields of Jaar which is Kiriath-Jearim where the Ark has been living in somewhat obscurity for 20 years.

But now David is moving it to the center of the kingdom, the center of God’s chosen people and to the tabernacle at what will soon be the location of the temple.

And they sing (v.8), “Arise, O LORD, and come to your resting place, you and the ark of your might.”


And David is moving it into Jerusalem.

Remember how he danced? How happy he must have been to have finally fulfilled his promise! Verse 9.

“May your priests be clothed with righteousness; may your saints sing for joy.”

May the leaders be godly and everybody be happy because the Ark is where it is supposed to be.

That’s what this song is saying.

You can see now why this would have been a popular worship song for ascending to Jerusalem on pilgrimage! 

“Let us go to his dwelling place; let us worship at his footstool.”

The Ark was the throne room footstool of the Almighty!

And the songwriter builds off of David’s success story with a request for David’s successor. V.10

“For the sake of David your servant, do not reject your anointed one.”

Remember David.

“LORD, remember David and what he did for You.

So now when David’s royal son is in trouble, do not reject him. Help him out!”

If you read in 2 Chronicles chapter 6, you’ll find that Solomon either wrote those words or quoted those words when he dedicated the temple. He actually said, “O LORD God, do not reject your anointed one. Remember the great love promised to David your servant” (6:42).

This psalm divides neatly into two parts, basically two halves, verses 1 through 10 and then verses 11 through 18. I have a point of application that I want to make for both halves. Here’s the first one:

#1. REMIND THE LORD TO KEEP HIS PROMISES.

It’s not wrong to bring them up.

In fact, it’s wrong to NOT bring them up in prayer!

We should be invoking the promises of God all of the time when we pray.

“Remember David!”

“Remember what He did. And, even more importantly, remember what You said You would do for him!”

We don’t know what kind of problems the current king had gotten into. It could have been all kinds of things. In fact, this was probably prayed for a lot of Davidic kings over the years for a lot of different problems. We don’t know.

But we do know on what basis the psalmist expected God to help the king out.

It was on David’s account.

“For the sake of David your servant, do not reject your anointed one.”

Can you see yourself praying that way? Can you see yourself reminding God of somebody else’s name when you are praying?

You know, that’s actually what we are doing when we pray in Jesus’ name. Because all of God’s promises are YES in Jesus. So when we pray in Jesus’ name, we are invoking all of those promises and invoking Jesus’ name in expectation of their fulfillment. “Remember, Jesus, Lord! Remember, Jesus!”

And the Lord loves to hear it. He loves to hear us recount and rehearse and remind Him of what He has promised to do.

Of course, to do that, you have to know what God has promised. Do you know what God has promised you? Maybe this afternoon, you should make a list of promises that God has made to you and pray them back to the Lord in the name of Jesus.

Because that’s the flipside of this point and the point of the second half of this psalm.

#2. TRUST THE LORD TO KEEP HIS PROMISES.

We don’t remind Him because He’s forgetful. And we don’t remind Him or He won’t come through. We remind Him and then we expect Him to come through.

Because God is a lot more trustworthy than David ever was!

In the second half of this psalm, the psalmist sings his assurance that God will keep all of His promises to David. In fact, the second half echoes the first over and over again but then cranks it to 11.

Because the LORD is the greater promise-maker and the greatest promise-keeper. 

Here’s what He promised to David (and it affects us, too). V.11

“The LORD swore an oath to David, a sure oath that he will not revoke: ‘One of your own descendants I will place on your throne–if your sons keep my covenant and the statutes I teach them, then their sons will sit on your throne for ever and ever.’”

That’s a bigger promise than, “I won’t sleep until I find a place for you,” isn’t it?

This song is about 2 Samuel 7 where the LORD made a covenant with David.

David told the LORD he wanted to build Him a house, but the LORD said, “Actually, I’m going to build you a ‘house.’ A royal dynasty that will never end.” Do you hear the forever words in there? Verse 11, “he will not revoke.” Verse 12, “sons will sit on your throne for ever and ever.”

The LORD has made big promises to David, and He intends to keep them. Verse 13.

“For the LORD has chosen Zion, he has desired it for his dwelling: ‘This is my resting place for ever and ever; here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it–”

It wasn’t just David that chose Jerusalem. The LORD did, too. And He calls it “Zion” which reminds us that it’s not just that spot of physical real estate in Israel. That was simply the symbolic earthly headquarters that prefigures and foreshadows the heavenly headquarters, the heavenly Zion, the heavenly throne room, and perhaps one day will again serve as the location for the Davidic throne when Jesus reigns on Earth in the millennium.

The point is that the LORD is going to keep His promises to David.

And it’s going to be glorious. Verse 15.

“I will bless her with abundant provisions; her poor will I satisfy with food. I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her saints will ever sing for joy.”

Do you hear how verses 15 and 16 fulfill the requests of verses 8 and 9?

Zion will be safe and satisfied and well-stocked and saved and sing for joy!

“Her saints will ever sing for joy!”

So far, these promises have only been partially fulfilled.

If you read the books of 1 and 2 Kings and 1 and 2 Chronicles, you can read the story of how God has answered these kind of Psalm 132 prayers with partial fulfilments of all of his promises to David.

Part of that is because of verse 12. David sons did not always (often?) keep up their end of the deal. “If your son keep my covenant and the statutes I teach them, then their sons will sit on your throne for ever and ever.”


It got so bad, they were all sent into exile! The temple torn down and Zion desolated. No son of David on the throne. No Son of David in sight.

But even their disobedience will not stop the Lord from fully keeping His promises in His own time.

The LORD had a plan that would be fulfilled starting in Ephrathah once again.

A little baby would be born in Bethlehem and be the Son of David.

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ [Messiah] the Lord" (Luke 2:11).

Once in Royal David’s City, the Messiah would be born.

Do you know what the Hebrew is for the words “anointed one” in verse 10 and in verse 17?

It’s “Messiah.” Look at verse 17.

“Here I will make a horn grow for David and set up a lamp for my anointed one. I will clothe his enemies with shame, but the crown on his head will be resplendent.”

God has promised a horn, a lamp, and a crown.

A ox’s horn was a symbol of growing strength and might. Nobody would be stronger than this Messiah.

A lamp is a symbol of a perpetually shining life. Nothing will snuff out this Messiah.

And while his enemies, the world, the flesh, and the devil, will be clothed with shame, this Messiah will be clothed with a crown. A victorious, glorious, radiant, resplendent crown.


Hallelujah!

You can see why the pilgrims loved to sing this song as they marched upwards to Zion.

Because they knew they were singing about the Messiah.

The Lord has promised this Messiah.

A Royal Son of David whose Zion will provide safety and satisfaction and salvation and songs of joy!

We ain’t seen nothing yet!

Trust the LORD to keep His promises. “The LORD has sworn an oath to David, a sure oath that he will not revoke." So don’t be afraid to remind Him of it. He’ll love it if you do!

And trust Him to make good on it. Because He definitely will in His time and in His way. But perfectly and forever. “Here I will make a horn grow for David and set up a lamp for my anointed one. I will clothe his enemies with shame, but the crown on his head will be resplendent.”

Remember David.

And remember Jesus!


***

Fortifying Truth - Fall 2020

01. Majestic and Mindful - Psalm 8
02. All Our Days - Psalm 90
03. "The LORD on High Is Mighty!" - Psalm 93
04. "The LORD Is My Shepherd" - Psalm 23
05. "Praise the LORD, O My Soul!" - Psalm 103
06. "The Blessing of Aaron's Oily Beard" - Psalm 133
07. "A Dying Thirst for the Living God" - Psalm 42
08. "Our Fortress" - Psalm 46
09. Unrestless - Psalm 131
10. "Sun and Shield" - Psalm 84
11. "With Songs of Joy" - Psalm 126
12. "His Love Endures Forever" - Psalm 136
13. "How Many Are Your Works, O LORD!" - Psalm 104
14. "My Soul Waits for the Lord" - Psalm 130

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