By Cleavon Matthews
This Psalm contrasts the destiny of the wicked with the future of the righteous. The wicked though he prospers today will be cut off in the Day of the Lord. The righteous will inherit the earth and will be vindicated by the Lord. In this Psalm David also contrasts the conduct of the wicked with the righteous. The wicked oppress the poor, the wicked borrow and do not repay, and the wicked plots against the just. On the other hand, the righteous shows mercy and gives, his mouth speaks wisdom and his tongue talks of justice.
The message of this Psalm is to wait patiently in faith on the Lord because the Lord is faithful. Listen to the Psalm:
• Feed on His Faithfulness (v3)
• Trust in the Lord and do good
• Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart (v4)
• Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him
• Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him
• The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord
• Wait on the Lord and keep His way and He shall exalt you to inherit the land
• But the salvation of the righteous is from the lord; He is their strength in time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked and save them because they trust in Him.
In my estimation the most striking and probably the most familiar part of the text is verse 25. “I have been young and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.” The promise of this passage has a resounding similarity to what the Hebrew writer wrote in Hebrews 13:8 “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
For us this is comforting because through every trial, struggle, battle, and problem the righteous have the promise of God being with us. God never forsakes His people. God never leaves us to fight alone and He never abandons us. Whenever we are dealing with any harshness or adversity we should remember God is with us. If God is with us we can make it. Paul said, “If God be for us, who can be against us.” The answer is no one can defeat us and no enemy formed against us shall prevail.
I.DAVID SHARES HIS EXPERIENCE
“I have been young and now am old”
These are not the words of a novice. David is no neophyte. He is an experienced man. “The glory of young men is their strength: the beauty of old men is the grey head” (Proverbs 20:29. David has seen the fullness of life. He has tasted the bitter and the sweet. He has experienced both pleasures and pains. David can provide expert testimony concerning the faithfulness of God. Through everything David faced, whether good or bad, God had never forsaken him. Forsake in the Hebrew sense means to abandon, to leave in the lurch, to leave someone who is depending on you, and to leave someone alone with a problem!
David experienced many hardships.
David experienced cruelty from his family which served to teach him about God’s faithfulness.
His father overlooked him.
1 Samuel 16:10-12 “Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, the Lord has not chosen these. And Samuel said to Jesse are all of the young men here? Then he said, there remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep and Samuel said to Jesse send and bring him. For we will not sit down till he comes here. So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy with bright eyes and good looking. And the Lord said arise anoint him for this is the one!”
His brother despised him.
1 Samuel 17:28-29 “Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was aroused against David and he said why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for have come down to see the battle. And David said what have I done now? Is there not a cause?”
His wife turned her back on him.
2 Samuel 6:16; 20-21 “Now as the ark of the Lord came into the City of David Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked through a window and saw King David leaping and whirling before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart. Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said How glorious was the king of Israel today uncovering himself today in the eyes of the maids of his servants as one of the base fellows shamelessly uncovers himself. So David said to Michal It was before the Lord who chose me instead of your father and all his house to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord over Israel. Therefore I will play before the Lord.”
His son attempted to take his throne.
2 Samuel 15:3-6 “Then Absalom would say to him look your case is good and right; but there is no deputy of the king to hear you. Moreover Absalom would say Oh that I were made judge in the land and everyone would come to me; then I would give him justice. And so it was whenever anyone came near to bow down to him that he would put out his hand and take him and kiss him. In this manner Absalom acted toward all Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.”
He fought with a lion and a bear.
1 Samuel 17:37 “Moreover David said the Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said to David go and the Lord be with you.”
The Lord gave him victory with one smooth stone.
Saul tried to kill David but the Lord gave him a friend named Jonathan.
David spent time hiding in caves and the wilderness.
David knew hunger because he received five loaves of the showbread for the men with him.
David’s Psalms depict God’s faithfulness.
Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid.”
Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want.”
Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof the world and they that dwell therein.”
Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork.”
II.DAVID IS AN EXAMPLE
“Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken”
David is an example of righteousness.
It is not ultimately David’s conduct or behavior that makes him righteous. Let’s remember a few things about this great man!
1. He committed adultery with Bathsheba.
2. He murdered her husband.
3. He did nothing when his daughter Tamar was mistreated by Amnon.
4. David realized his sin and imperfection.
Psalm 51:3 “For I acknowledge my transgressions and my sin is always before me.”
I SAY THIS NOT TO DETRACT FROM DAVID NOR TO MAKE LIGHT OF SIN BUT RATHER TO DEMONSTRATE THAT THE BEST OF US HAVE SINNED AND WHAT GOD IS ULTIMATELY CONCERNED WITH IS NOT THE OUTWARD!
What made David righteous was the condition of his heart and his faith!
David was a man after God’s own heart.
1 Samuel 16:7 “But the Lord said to Samuel do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart.”
David was righteous because of his faith and so are we.
The Testimony of David
Psalm 37:5-6 “commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him and He shall bring it to pass He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light and your justice as the noonday.”
The Testimony of Jesus
Matthew 5:20 “For I say to you that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”
The Testimony of Paul
Romans 4:3 “For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
The Testimony of Habakkuk
Habakkuk 2:4 “…for the just shall live by faith.”
The Testimony of the Hebrew writer
Hebrews 11:6 “For without faith it is impossible to please Him for he that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
“Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken nor his descendants begging bread.”
Out of all of David’s experience he could say with certainty and confidence God remains faithful. God has never forsaken the righteous.
In all of Israel’s history God never left them.
…God was with Abraham as a pilgrim and stranger in the land of promise
…God was with Jacob in the house of Laban
…God was with Joseph while in slavery and in prison
…God was with Moses as he stood before Pharaoh saying ‘Let my people go.’
…God was with Israel as they journeyed in the wilderness
…God was with Joshua as they conquered the land of promise
We can count on the faithfulness of God because He never lets His people down. He is faithful even when we are not. God is faithful to His word.
The only time in scripture when a righteous person was forsaken comes from the mouth of Jesus on the cross.
Matthew 27:46 “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying Eli, Eli Lama Sabachthani? That is My God My God why have you forsaken Me?”
Jesus made this statement because for the first time in eternity God the Son was separated from His Father. The nature of the penalty that Jesus suffered necessitated that the Father leave Him for that time.
Because on the cross Jesus became sin!
2 Corinthians 5:21 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
On the Cross Jesus was treated as the worse sinner that ever lived
…he was treated as the worst murderer
…he was treated as the worst thief
…he was treated as the worst idolater
…he was treated as the worst liar
…he was treated as the worst embezzler
In Christ the sinless became the sinful in order that we might become righteous before God in Him. Apart from Him we have no righteousness. Rom 3:10 “There is none righteous no not one.”
Isaiah 53:4-5 “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows yet we esteemed Him stricken smitten by God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions He was bruised for our iniquities the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed.”
Because of the work that Jesus did; because he was forsaken on the cross the righteous don’t ever have to be forsaken 2 Corinthians 5:8 “We are confident I say and willing rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”
Isn’t it comforting to know in both life and death the Lord will never forsake us?
…we may be beaten, but never forsaken
…we may be oppressed, but never forsaken
…we may be imprisoned, but never forsaken
…we may be rejected, but never forsaken
…we may be despised but never forsaken
…we may be hungry, but never forsaken
…we may be poor, but never forsaken
…we may be single, but never forsaken
…we may be sick, but never forsaken
…we may be hated, but never forsaken
…we may be imperfect, but never forsaken
We may be….. but never forsaken
…turned down for a promotion, but never forsaken
…having a hard time with our children, but never forsaken
…having difficulty in our marriage, but never forsaken
…fighting temptation, but never forsaken