Psalm 144: Happy are the people whose God is the Lord

Rescue me and deliver me from the hand of strangers, whose mouth speaks lying words and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood:  Psalm  144:11

From War Time to Happy Time

 

Psalm 144, a psalm of praise with overtones of lament and petition, is written by David.  This poem is similar to Ps. 18 in that it describes the salvation acts of the Lord in terms of great heavenly phenomena.  It is also possible that this psalm was used in the training of the army (as was Ps. 149).  Warfare in ancient Israel was tied closely to the worship of God.  Deliverance from the enemy was not just a task for tough soldiers, it was a matter of active piety.

 7  Stretch out Your hand from above; Rescue me and deliver me out of great waters, From the hand of foreigners, 8  Whose mouth speaks vain words, And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

11  Rescue me and deliver me from the hand of foreigners, Whose mouth speaks lying words, And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood– 12  That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; That our daughters may be as pillars, Sculptured in palace style; 13  That our barns may be full, Supplying all kinds of produce; That our sheep may bring forth thousands And ten thousands in our fields; 14  That our oxen may be well-laden; That there be no breaking in or going out; That there be no outcry in our streets. 15  Happy are the people who are in such a state; Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!

144:1  The Lord my Rock is often used in the Psalms to describe God as the fortress of His people.  At times, the word is translated strength.  David found in the Lord the protection and preparation he needed in times of battle.

1  A Psalm of David. Blessed be the Lord my Rock, Who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle—

144:3, 4 what is man:  This is a quotation from 8:4, but without the stunning answer presented in 8:5.  Here the rhetorical question is used to speak of the frailty of humans who are in need of God’s help.  Passing shadow:  The sense of human frailty is illustrated dramatically in these words

3  Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You are mindful of him? 4  Man is like a breath; His days are like a passing shadow.

For you have made him a little lower than the angels, and have crowned him with glory and honor.  Psalm 8:5

144:6 The lightning of the Lord is a symbol of His judgment.  Here David celebrates God’s righteous judgments, which he prays will be exercised against his evil foes.

6  Flash forth lightning and scatter them; Shoot out Your arrows and destroy them.

144:9, 10 I will sing a new song is David’s vow to respond to God’s deliverance with renewed worship and praise.  David:  It is rare for these poems to mention the psalmist by name (18:50).  David’s use of his own name indicated to later generations that this psalm arose out of actual experiences in his life.

9  I will sing a new song to You, O God; On a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You, 10  The One who gives salvation to kings, Who delivers David His servant From the deadly sword.

 

144:11 lying words:  The principal lie of the enemy was that the Lord could not save His people (Ps. 12).

11  Rescue me and deliver me from the hand of strangers, Whose mouth speaks lying words, And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood–

144:12-15  The image of pillars seems to indicate health, beauty, and dignity.  Barns:  Agricultural productivity was possible only in times of peace and would be meaningful only in times of national freedom.  Happy is often translated “blessed.”  Its use twice in v. 15 is dramatic.  The happiness that David describes refers both to external well-being – in such a state – and to internal peace – whose God is the Lord.

12  That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; That our daughters may be as pillars, Sculptured in palace style; 13  That our barns may be full, Supplying all kinds of produce; That our sheep may bring forth thousands And ten thousands in our fields; 14  That our oxen may be strong to labor; That there be no breaking in or going out; That there be no outcry in our streets. 15  Happy are the people who are in such a state; Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!

 

** War is not a happy word.  But, in this psalm, David talks of both war and happiness.  When we are called by God to go to war, we must trust His decision and obey like David did.  David was not a violent man.  But, starting with Goliath, he was able to successfully defeat his enemies because he always began his fight with worship.  In this song, we don’t see him enjoying blood and gore of war.  He wants to sing a new song in a peaceful land.  God will move His people from war to peace to happiness.  War won’t last forever but happiness will.


144 1  A Psalm of David. Blessed be the Lord my Rock, Who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle– 2  My lovingkindness and my fortress, My high tower and my deliverer, My shield and the One in whom I take refuge, Who subdues my people under me. 3  Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You are mindful of him? 4  Man is like a breath; His days are like a passing shadow. 5  Bow down Your heavens, O Lord, and come down; Touch the mountains, and they shall smoke. 6  Flash forth lightning and scatter them; Shoot out Your arrows and destroy them. 7  Stretch out Your hand from above; Rescue me and deliver me out of great waters, From the hand of strangers, 8  Whose mouth speaks vain words, And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.9  I will sing a new song to You, O God; On a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You, 10  The One who gives salvation to kings, Who delivers David His servant From the deadly sword. 11  Rescue me and deliver me from the hand of strangers, Whose mouth speaks lying words, And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood– 12  That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; That our daughters may be as pillars, Sculptured in palace style; 13  That our barns may be full, Supplying all kinds of produce; That our sheep may bring forth thousands And ten thousands in our fields; 14  That our oxen may be well-laden; That there be no breaking in or going out; That there be no outcry in our streets. 15  Happy are the people who are in such a state; Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!