The Second Epistle of John
This short epistle may only have taken a few minutes to pen but its message and importance are of abiding value. As with 3 John, it insists on the truth as being of paramount importance. The difference of emphasis between these two is that the 2nd warns the faithful against the reception of those who do not bring the truth, whereas the 3rd encourages believers to receive and help on those who teach it. For John, truth mattered. Doctrinal rectitude was not regarded as an unimportant theological triviality. To John it was vital. Vital issues were at stake and he desired that the recipient might not scruple to maintain what was due to the Lord.
“The elder” (Verse 1)
John is not writing as one of the apostles, although they were the highest authority on earth in the assembly. By describing himself thus he suggests the moral features of elders. Paul had previously written about the importance of speaking things that become sound doctrine, that the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience (Titus 2:1-2).
John had grown old in Christ's service and his life was consistent with being Christ's servant. He would write with due respect to a mother. Discretion is shown in not naming her,1 especially as the contents of this letter were destined to become public. John expresses his holy affection along with that of all who rejoice in the truth. His love for her and her children was regulated by truth.
1Unlike the 3rd, this epistle has no personal names, which to my mind is in keeping with the one whom it addresses.
“The elect lady” (Verse 1)
This is an individual Christian. If it were an assembly, as some have suggested, we would expect a precise parallel in the last verse, a greeting from church to church. We should not imagine that the recipient of this letter was called Electa or Kyria. There is no indication in the New Testament that anyone bore these names. Election under the dispensation of grace is directed to individuals, not to companies. Election is personal: we are not chosen in bundles.
“For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever” (Verse 2)
The Spirit of truth will abide in us for ever. His truth is not subject to the vagaries of time. It is unchangeable and unalterable. There is no development. It is not subject to an evolutionary process. The truth is “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3b). This indwelling truth within the believer is the great preservative against error.
“Grace be with you, mercy, and peace” (Verse 3)
The source of grace, mercy2 and peace is God alone. The Father and His Son are brought before us. This relationship is made known to us for our blessing, enjoyment and adoration. The Son is the One in whom the truth displays all its glory. The enjoyment of the love of God rests on the revelation of the Son of His love.
2The inclusion of mercy in the greeting is consistent with the Spirit's usage in Paul's writings and suggests again that the letter was to an individual and not to an assembly.
John was much encouraged to see some of the sister's children walking in truth, though sadly not all her offspring walked thus. Their pathway was regulated by God's Word: “as we have received a commandment from the Father”. In his 1st epistle he gives us what this was: “And this is His commandment, That we should believe on the Name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment” (1 John 3:23). Paul touches on this in Colossians 2:6: “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him”.
The writer urges the elect lady to continue in what was original. The apostles had enjoyed Christ from the beginning. Continuance in Divine truth was essential for a walk that pleased God. Some Christians consider that a commandment must necessarily involve what is legal. It would be well if such thoughts were discarded as a mistake. The Lord Jesus speaks of commandments and it is He who gives them a character wholly distinct from the law. May we be given grace to walk in ways pleasing to God.
To walk in the truth is imperative, in the face of the multitude of deceivers who traverse the world. They do not confess Jesus Christ who came in flesh. It was not just a matter of whether there was incarnation. The point John makes is in relation to all the truth concerning Christ's Person. The work of these deceivers was a moral falsity — a deceit that was also a substitute for the Truth: an abstract idol. Would they tolerate a true or a false Christ?
The sister and her children are addressed here in verse 8. They were to exercise unwavering firmness about all the truth concerning Christ's Person. John wanted his converts to “stand fast in the Lord”. As the Philippians were Paul's joy and crown, so he did not want to lose his reward3 (Phil. 4:1). There is a reward and a crown of glory for the labourers. These were the fruits of his service. Present service rendered among the saints as unto Christ will have a reward in the “world to come”. Are we currently labouring in the light of the judgment seat of Christ?
3Some editors render 2 John 8 “...that ye lose not...which ye have wrought”, etc. The “we” may embrace his correspondents.
The transgression referred to in verse 9 is really turning aside from, or going beyond, what God has revealed. There is no development of the truth as to Christ's Person. We are bidden with the first recipients of this letter to continue in “that which we had from the beginning”, but the deceivers did not abide in the doctrine of Christ. They had new ideas, but Christians have been instructed otherwise (Eph. 4:20). We live in a tolerant world, but God's Word is plain and uncompromising. “To the law and to the testimony: If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20): here in 2 John we read, “...hath not God”. But the one who abides in the doctrine of Christ has a wonderful privilege: “he hath both the Father and the Son”4.
4The enjoyment of rest is based on the knowledge of this blessed relationship. See Matthew 11:27-29.
The likelihood of a deceiver arriving at the sister's house was anticipated by John. The test of fellowship was the doctrine of Christ. It is the same today. The great touchstone is Christ, His Person and His work. The message that the false teachers of today bring, like that of their counterparts of old, is always short of vital truth in relation to God and the revelation of His Son. The important thing was that they brought “this doctrine”. There was really no room for neutrality as to Christ's Person. They had to come with sound doctrine.
“Receive him not”
These are unattractive words to the carnal man. The Ephesians were to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness (Eph. 5:11). It may have been a distressing duty but she, and we, must show unwavering firmness regarding all the truth of Christ. The perilous character of the last days enhanced the imperative. The silly women referred to in 2 Timothy 3:1-7 stand as a salutary warning. This elect lady would doubtless heed the elder's instruction. Her home, the sphere of her responsibility and service, would not be defiled with what was contrary to Christ. “...neither bid him God speed”: even the briefest encounter could help on the deceit of Satan.
It appears that John was impressed with the urgency of the situation. The need for this brief epistle was evidently occasioned by the expected imminent arrival of a deceiver. The other matters would wait for a hoped-for visit. The joy of mutual fellowship with like-minded souls going on in the truth is not only the privilege of an apostle in the first century. We too may still know something of this wonderful fellowship in our own day.
In conclusion we should observe the following salient features of the epistle:
The false doctrine was denial of the truth of Christ come in flesh. John, however, writes in a general way (verse 9). Satan was even then undermining the truth.
A Christian woman having the Word of God — this letter — was capable of judging the doctrine of one coming to her house. She was responsible to do so. Inexorable rigour was to be maintained if the doctrine concerning Christ's blessed Person was touched. The door was to be firmly shut on whoever falsified the truth.
The semblance of love which does not maintain the truth but accommodates itself to that which is not truth, is not love according to God. The true test of love is maintenance of truth. The Holy Spirit, who sheds God's love abroad in our hearts, is the Spirit of truth. Truth and obedience are essential factors in the expression of true love.
The foundation of Christianity is Christ Himself; I must have Him. My faith must cling to Him alone. I may not be able to refute the false teachers, but my faith cleaves to the Lord with purpose of heart. E.N.C.
The following bibliography lists titles in my library which have been helpful and formative: W. Kelly — Exposition of the Epistles of John, F. E. Race, 1905;
J. N. Darby — Notes on the Epistles of John, R. L. Allen, nd;
G. V. Wigram — Remarks on John's Writings, R. L. Allen, 1871;
W. Lincoln — The Epistles of John, Pickering & Inglis, nd.;
J. R. W. Stott — The Epistles of John, IVP, 1983;
J. N. Darby (ed. W. K.) — The Synopsis of the books of the Bible, vol. 5, Believers Bookshelf, 1992;
Walvoord & Zuck — The Bible Knowledge Commentary New Testament, Victory Books, 1983 (1989 printing).
“The Sermon on the Mount” (1)
Poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3)
Matthew 5:1 to 7:29 is generally known as “the sermon on the mount” (see Matt. 8:1). At the beginning of the first part there are the so-called beatitudes. They contain very practical and important lessons for all those who are in the kingdom of heaven. These beatitudes have a threefold bearing:
firstly, for the disciples at the time of the rejection of the Lord Jesus;
secondly, for believers in the present time during the absence of the Lord;
thirdly, for the future faithful remnant of the Jews during the great tribulation, before the Lord Jesus will appear as King.
The characteristics which the Lord names in the beatitudes are not those of a natural person; the new birth is necessary in order that they may be present. The Lord Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”, and these characteristics can only be manifested in the life of a person who has received new and eternal life by believing on Him, and who is taught and formed by Him (John 3:3).
The expression “blessed” appears 50 times in the New Testament. It means more than being emotionally happy, because certain circumstances may produce such happiness. To be blessed is more than that. It is the state the Lord Himself gives to those who put His word into practice in their lives.
Poverty in spirit is the inward counterpart of outward poverty. This is not, as sometimes suggested, a lack of spiritual abilities or intelligence. There are other passages where the Bible talks in a very comforting way about infants and children, but here the meaning is completely different.
A believer who does not think much of himself, who sees himself in the light of God and who therefore is humble — he is poor in spirit. This attitude of mind is described in the Old Testament with the expressions “contrite spirit” and “a broken and a contrite heart” (Ps. 34:18; Ps. 51:17). In Isaiah 57:15 the following promise is connected with it: “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones”.
If we consider ourselves honestly in the presence and in the light of God, we will be poor in spirit, as human honour and greatness cannot continue to exist when He looks at us. Examples of such an attitude of mind are Abraham (Gen.18:27), Job (Job 42:5-6), Isaiah (Isa. 6:1-5), the publican in the temple (Luke 18:13) and Simon Peter (Luke 5:8). As long as we measure ourselves with ourselves or compare ourselves with other Christians, we will always find some reason for self-satisfaction. In the world and, sad to say, among Christians too, what mostly counts is outward success, high position and prestige. The consequence is arrogance, overestimation of one's abilities and conceit. Only in the presence of God do we become and remain poor in spirit.
The Lord Jesus was in the full meaning of the expression poor in spirit. He did not seek to do His own will, neither did He seek His own honour, but only the glorification of His Father. Yet there is a great difference between Him and us. It is the difference between humility and humiliation. The Lord Jesus was perfectly meek and lowly in heart (Matt.11:29). He knew no arrogance and therefore did not need to humble Himself, as is so often the need with ourselves. Our true blessing consists not only in emulating the character of our Lord, but in being and remaining near Him.
(Other articles in this series are to follow, if the Lord will).
(Job 1:1, 6-22; Job 2:1-13; Job 19:23-27; Job 42:1-6)
(Continued from page 68)
“Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” (James 5:11)
The greater part of the book of Job concerns the three men comforting Job, without comforting him. When they had finished a true interpreter came along, and afterwards the voice of God was heard, and we have the end of the story in Job 42. The last chapter sees Job for the first time in the presence of the Lord.
A large part of the book is taken up with long speeches and I am convinced that when the Lord in the end asked the question “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” He was saying there are a tremendous number of words to no purpose at all. There are views of interest and of truth, but they contribute nothing to the vindication of God or the comfort of Job, or the true representation of God. There are some interesting things. You get “Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee” (Job 22:21). There is a verse that tells us that God gives His own “songs in the night” (Job 35:10). There are other very interesting things that have made the book of Job on everybody's lips without even knowing that they are quoting from it. When we use the expression “Job's comforters” we mean someone who pretends to comfort but is no comfort at all. Perhaps the expression which is most familiar to us is from chapter nineteen, verse twenty, where Job says “I am escaped with the skin of my teeth”. The verse is sometimes used to express a “close shave” but what Job really meant was that he was covered with boils from head to foot and the only place where there were no boils, because there was no skin, was his teeth. Another point of interest that I must mention is this. The very last part of God's address to Job from out of the whirlwind deals with a creature called Leviathan. There is a great deal of discussion about what creature the Leviathan can be and almost all the authorities, including the margin of some of our Bibles, say that it is a crocodile. When you read that he is the king of beasts and that he is absolutely unassailable in his pride, it can hardly be held to be a crocodile. I take it to be a dinosaur. If you think of that skeleton in the Natural History Museum in London, seventy feet long, one third neck, one third body and one third tail, and having a most savage display of teeth, it is not surprising when God says “Behold, the hope of him is in vain: shall not one be cast down even at the sight of him? None is so fierce that dare stir him up”. I want you to keep this in mind. When God comes to speak in the end He speaks of Leviathan and says some very remarkable things about him.
I have spoken a little already about the sufferings of Job and I want to return to them. We can easily see that it is divine wisdom that selected these three things to be representative of the total range of human suffering. First there was the sudden loss of all his possessions, the seven thousand sheep, the three thousand camels and so on. Then the total loss of his family, which was bereavement. Then there was terrible pain. It is very difficult to imagine the painful condition that he describes, with ulcers covering him from head to foot and no relief from pain day or night. There is a remarkable passage that describes Job's night: “When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day”; and when the day comes it is just the same thing over again (Job 7:4-6). Job's sufferings were of a kind very well known to us. Of course, when we consider the problem of human suffering, this is but a partial picture. Nevertheless it is very important to us because the principles of godliness never change and the lesson that Job had to learn is a lesson that we are bound to learn if we are going to live in a way that is pleasing to God. It is a lesson difficult to learn because we are so ready to take the easy and happy side of Christian life and fellowship and forget the sword of self judgment that we should apply. I will not attempt to say any more about the discourses of those so-called “friends of Job”.
Elihu seems to call himself the interpreter that Job asked for. He speaks about the fact that a daysman, an interpreter, would bring about the solution that Job sought. “If there be a messenger with Him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man His uprightness; Then He is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom. His flesh shall be fresher than a child's: he shall return to the days of his youth”, and so on (Job 33:23-25). Elihu says that the only complete answer to this is going to be when the full results of the coming of the interpreter have come to us.
The Lord begins to speak in Job 38 and we read that He spoke out of the whirlwind. I have already referred to the fact that there is nothing in what the Lord says there that is outside of the life of men and of animals and of the creation as we know it. Some see something typical in them but I do not believe there is the slightest justification for this. The Lord was taking up something that Elihu referred to. He was displaying the immense greatness of God. If Job could not ask one tenth of the ten thousand questions that arise about nature how could he possibly understand God? God speaks first about the inanimate things, the earth, sea, clouds, hail and rain. He shows three things about them. Firstly that He designed them; secondly that He created them; and thirdly that He controls them. Consider the whole range of inanimate things that make up the world and the whole range of living creatures, and God commands them all. It says “Doth the eagle mount up at Thy command, and make her nest on high?” (Job 39:27). All the eagles on the earth, all moving to execute the demands of God. We cannot understand those movements and we cannot conceive in our minds the Being that could embrace the whole of them. The lesson for Job was that it was altogether too great for him to try to get to the bottom of things and seek for explanations. God in His counsels and actions is altogether too big for us. Then when the Lord comes to the end He speaks about Leviathan. We may feel like asking “what has all this explanation got to do with Job?”, but the presence of God was in the Word. If one of God's creatures terrifies the man who sets his eyes upon him how wrong it was of Job to persist and persist in questioning God. Job did maintain his righteousness and we are told that Job was an upright man, but Job also charged God with injustice in what He had done. God didn't exactly reprove Job for this. Elihu did, but God did not. God was altogether in His Words out of the whirlwind, showing that it was quite impossible for Job to cope with questions that arise about God. God gives no account of Himself in these things, His counsels and His designs, that lie behind the things that are done. We cannot expect God to give account, and this is only in earthly things! The presence of God was mediated in the things that Job heard and saw. Job's patience was manifested when he didn't curse God when his wife said “curse God, and die” (Job 2:9). His patience was manifested when he said “Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord ” (Job 1:21). That was Job's patience, but the end of the Lord was reached when Job said “Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6). After this he sailed into prosperity, though what is spoken about at the end was prosperity of an earthly kind.
The principles of godliness apply to us, though our horizon takes in greater things than Job's did. I want to explain briefly the difference that the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the descent of the Holy Spirit from Christ where He is in glory, has made to us. There is no change in the principles, as those examples of suffering saints in the New Testament demonstrate. The apostle Paul spoke about the fact that he was caught up to the third heaven and heard things which were unutterable. Then he says there was given him a thorn in the flesh in order that he might not be lifted up above measure. That is a clear example of suffering in the New Testament. There is no indication at all of the origin of this in the thoughts of God, but the end of it, the purpose of it, was plain: to keep Paul humble. Paul was indeed driven by it to an ever fuller experience of the Lord Jesus when he says “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me”(2 Cor.12:9). “My strength”, said the Lord, “is made perfect in weakness”. I often think of a kind of mechanical example of this. Think of the power in a certain gear wheel and another construction which would acquire that power, but the gear wheels don't fit. When it says “My strength is made perfect in weakness” it means that the power of Christ is not geared to our strength, but to our weakness. This felt weakness is an aspect of “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes”. It is only in felt and confessed weakness that the power of Christ is geared to us and that the will of God will be done through us. Stephen, in Acts chapter seven, is a wonderful epitome of the purpose of suffering. Stephen was stoned and his suffering was really to the glory of God. There are two things that I would like you to note there. The first is what he saw and the second is what he said: his vision and his witness. “But he”, the suffering saint, “being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55). He was serving God's purpose in the terrible suffering that came upon him and he was immediately ushered into the comfort and light and perfect joy of being with the Lord Jesus Christ. The Scripture says that he saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God and that is the real heart and culmination of Christian truth, being what is centred upon the Lord Jesus at the right hand of God.
Evangelical Christendom and its piety is largely centred upon the earthly life of the Lord Jesus. True Christianity has its centre where the Lord Jesus is at the right hand of God. The suffering saints can see there the real end and conclusion of all that has happened to them. He looked up into heaven, saw the glory of God and Jesus, and immediately continued to the last breath of his body to witness to the reality of the Saviour.
A principal lesson of the story of Job, if not the principal lesson, is his realising the presence of God in such a way that he abhorred self. This is not by any means a popular department of truth, because we don't react sympathetically to the idea that self has to be denied. Why is there so much spinelessness about our Christianity today? It is because we have forgotten such words as those of the Saviour: “if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee.......if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee” (Matthew 5:29-30). There is to be ruthless self judgment. What do you do when you read: “laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings”? (1 Peter 2:1). Does the Spirit of God bring to your mind personal feeling against someone? Malice, guile, hypocrisies, envies and evil speakings are to be laid aside, they're not to be passed over. The Word of God will reveal, and so bring us into the presence of God, as we abhor ourselves, as we judge ourselves, in the light of the cross. Then the Holy Spirit is not grieved and His power is made good to us. Unless there is this application of the cross we are turning our backs upon an enormous portion of the New Testament. Why does it say in Colossians, mortify, put to death, kill your members which are upon the earth? (Col. 3:5). It is a job to be done. Am I doing it? Are you doing it? As we read Holy Scripture are we allowing it to search us? Are we allowing it to go into the inner parts of our hearts, and as we see ourselves as God does are we doing what God has done, judging ourselves and turning away from ourselves? Then the way is open for an ungrieved Spirit to fill us with the real vision of Christ where He is and the freedom that comes from walking in the truth. It is a negative thing but it is because we have given so little attention to the need of dealing with self that there is so little of the other side: being full of the Spirit and with boldness witnessing, and at the same time entering into the reality of the heavenly side of the truth. In 1 Corinthians 11, when it talks about women having their heads covered, it is “because of the angels” (1 Cor. 11:10). That is a plain indication that there are things behind the directions that God gives us that are hidden from us. They belong to the heavenly sphere and we are not told very much about them. It is clear enough in Ephesians 6 that there are principalities and powers in heavenly places that set themselves against every movement that we make to enter into our true Canaan. There are things behind the struggle we have that are never explained to us, but what is open to us is to remember those words “let a man examine himself” (1 Cor. 11:28). That is not introspection. It is cutting, it is killing, it is sword work. “...if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged” (1 Cor. 11:31). “I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth Thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes”. So Job sailed into prosperity, and there is spiritual prosperity ahead of us if we learn this basic lesson that came to Job.
Divine Care (2)
The Father's Care. Matthew 6:19-34
In the previous article we considered the circumstances of those to whom Peter wrote and the anxious care which would naturally arise from those circumstances. They were directed to cast all their care upon God, who cared for them. In Matthew 6 the things that may give rise to this anxious care are much more general. They are not wants that arise only in exceptional circumstances, but everyday needs that all of us have. In particular the Lord speaks of food and drink for the sustaining of our lives, and clothing for our bodies. Perhaps most of the readers of this magazine, like the writer, have become accustomed to an abundance of these things. Some may be able to remember times when there was a shortage and the anxiety that was then felt. Many believers in the world today are in straightened circumstances and their concern about their needs, and those of their families, is understandable. Nevertheless three times in this passage the Lord instructs his hearers not to be careful, or anxious, about these matters1. It is in connection with them that He brings home the care of the Father and the provision made by Him.
In verse 8 He says “your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him”. Further down we are reminded of the feeding of the birds and the clothing of the lilies. They make no provision for themselves, and they are certainly not anxious about the meeting of their needs, but these are provided for.
Why is it that there is such emphasis upon our being without care? It is certainly not that we may settle down in comfortable self ease. In the parable of the sower some of the seed sown fell among thorns. The thorns sprang up and the seed was choked. In His explanation the Lord said the thorns are the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, the lusts of other things and the pleasures of this life (Matt. 13:1-9, 18-23; Mark 4:1-9, 13-20; Luke 8:4-8, 11-15). The cares of this world are first mentioned in each of the places where the parable occurs. The parable deals primarily with the initial reception of God's Word into the heart and the things that hinder this. However, what hinders this initial reception of God's Word will also hinder the fruitfulness of those who have truly received it. If we desire to live lives that are fruitful for God it is essential that the cares of this world are not allowed to displace His claims and interests. This is emphasised in Matthew 6 too. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”. As His interests are sought, as they are actively pursued, so we will find that our necessities are provided for. May we have grace to follow a course in line with these clear directions of Scripture.
1 Matthew 6:25, 31, 34a. In the King James translation this being careful or anxious is translated “take thought.” It is the verb of the same word translated care in 1 Peter 5:7a. It also occurs in verses 27, 28 and 34b.
(To be continued, if the Lord will).
The Life of David (6)
David and Goliath. 1 Samuel 17:1-54
What an exciting story this is to tell children! The giant champion from Philistia slain by a shepherd lad of Israel. The taunter slain by the truster. The underdog defeats the champion. The weakling vanquishes the strong man. How many times has this story been told and retold? Is it a story only for children? No, it is a story replete with instruction and has many applications.
(1) It is a story which describes the indomitable courage of a young man. It is history, and because it is history it is interesting, although not all history is interesting or instructive.
(2) It is illustrative of the eventual triumph of the remnant of Israel over their Gentile enemies.
(3) It provides valuable instruction for Christians which enables them to overcome the apparently insurmountable problems which they have to face in a hostile world.
(4) Most importantly, it provides a type of our Lord Jesus Christ and His great victory over the power of Satan.
(1) How Courage Conquered the Champion
As an example of courage few stories can equal this one. The incident takes place against the background of war. Two opposing armies were face to face. Between the armies the giant champion of the Philistines marched backward and forward, and taunted the ranks of Israel to send a warrior to fight with him. The outcome of the single combat would determine the war. It would decide who were masters and who were slaves. For forty days the ranting boaster bellowed out his challenge. Saul, the king of Israel, was head and shoulders above the rest of the men of Israel (1 Sam. 9:2). He was the most likely Israelite to face Goliath as far as stature was concerned. He didn't accept the challenge. Eliab, the eldest son of Jesse, and David's brother, attracted Samuel the prophet by his countenance and stature (1 Sam. 16:6-7). He didn't come forward to engage the champion. Where was Jonathan? He was a brave man and had distinguished himself by his courage in fighting against the Philistines (1 Sam. 14:11-15). No, Jonathan wasn't prepared to fight this formidable warrior. David, the shepherd teenager, took up the challenge and indicated that he was prepared to fight the tormentor of Israel. Was David presumptious in challenging Goliath? His brother Eliab thought he was and so did king Saul. David was not discouraged by their arguments. One said that he was proud, the other that he was uninstructed in the art of war. David was resolute. He had resources of power to draw from that the others knew nothing about. He trusted in the living God. He had experienced the secret help of God. When the predatory lion and bear stole from the flock he was guarding God enabled him to rescue the lambs and also to destroy the powerful animals. Victory in the ordinary pursuit of his daily calling prepared David for his extraordinary achievement in overcoming the Philistine champion. The assurance of his faith in God made David, the teenager, bold, as he prepared to face the challenger of Israel. God's armies had been defied. The uncircumcised Philistine would now learn that there was a God who was infinitely more powerful than the gods of Goliath by which he cursed David. Saul, the king, offered David the use of his armour. It was no use to David. Saul's armour would have been a cumbersome hindrance to the lad. He refused the kind offer but relied on his well proven sling and stones. He carefully selected five smooth stones from a brook, put them in his shepherd's pouch, and ran to meet Goliath. The conflict was about to begin. Goliath, trusting in his gods and in his great strength, moved forward to meet David with boastings and curses. David was trusting in the living God. It was God's battle. The outcome was a foregone conclusion. It wasn't really a conflict between Goliath and David. It was a contest between Goliath and God. David carefully took one stone from his pouch, placed it in his sling, and slang it with all his strength. The stone sped through the air (would it be appropriate to call it a God-guided missile?) and lodged in the giant's forehead. He dropped down dead. What an ignominious end for the boaster! Killed by a stone slung from the sling of a shepherd lad. David wasn't finished. He took Goliath's sword from its scabbard and used it to cut off Goliath's head. He was killed completely. He wasn't merely stunned. He was dead beyond all doubt and the victory was secured. Israel was freed from its fear and the Philistines fled. David took the head of Goliath to Jerusalem. What a victory! Perhaps his great triumph is referred to in Hebrews 11:34 were we read “out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens”.
Well done David! Your courage was celebrated in song (1 Sam. 18:6-7). It enabled Jonathan to speak favourably of you to Saul and the great event was known to Ahimelech the priest (1 Sam. 19:5; 1 Sam. 21:9). People, prince and priest were affected by your courage and your confident trust in God. Your courage will remain an inspiration and influence for others as long as the Bible is read.
(2) How the Remnant is Relieved
The Bible teaches that in the last days, prior to the establishing of the thousand year kingdom of Christ, there will be a pitiful and small remnant of godly Israelites who will face an awesome assemblage of Gentile armies. But for the intervention of God through the Lord Jesus Christ, His Son, the remnant would be destroyed. The story of David and Goliath illustrates this future conflict. That David should conquer Goliath appeared hopeless. But he did, not in his own strength, but in the power of God. Malachi 3:16 and Malachi 4:2 are verses that describe a remnant that fears God. While they come at the end of the Old Testament, prior to the incarnation of the Son of God, it will also be true of some who await the coming of Messiah as Deliverer. Daniel 9:27 is another verse that describes that time in the last days just prior to the coming of Christ as King. The head of the revived Roman empire will make a covenant with the many, i.e. the many of unbelieving apostate Israel. See Isaiah 28:14-18: “a covenant with death”. The remnant will be the few who do not subscribe to the covenant. Zechariah 13:8-9 also refers to a little weak remnant in Jerusalem which is delivered by divine intervention. See also Matthew 24:21-22 and Romans 9:27-29.
The trinity of evil constitute some of the formidable enemies of the remnant of Israel. Satan: the energiser of all the evil. The first beast of Revelation 13:1-10: the head of the revived Roman empire, the political power. The second beast referred to in Revelation 13, from verse 11: the false prophet, the antichrist, the religious power. See Revelation 16:12-16. Added to these are the kings of the east and the Assyrian, the king of the north (Rev.16:12; Dan. 11:40-45). It is obvious that the overwhelming might of the nations under Satan's power would present a seemingly impossible situation for the feeble remnant. Note the references to “all the nations” (Ps. 2:1-3; Zech. 12:2, 9; Zech. 14:2, 12; Rev. 16:14; Rev. 19:19).
The language of the remnant is graphically expressed in Psalm 46:6-7: “The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. Jehovah of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our high fortress. Selah”. The deliverance for the remnant is described in Revelation 19:11-16. Who is able to confront the trinity of evil and the other enemies of the remnant? A little Lamb!1 The little Lamb is none other than the “Lord of lords, and King of kings” (Rev.17:14). Riding upon a white horse, the emblem of victory, and followed by the armies of heaven, He executes the righteous wrath of God upon the impious and rebellious nations. The little Lamb, by divine power, has triumphed over the assembled Gentile powers and the little remnant has been delivered.
1There is a footnote to Revelation 5:6 in some editions of J.N.Darby's translation which reads “Arnion: a diminutive, used throughout Revelation: as John 21:15”. The reference in John is “Feed My lambs”.
(3) How Opposition can be Overcome
Having considered the story of David and Goliath in its historical setting and also in a future application, it can be used to illustrate the conflict of the Christian with the powers that are against him. The New Testament teaches plainly that these powers are formidable and extensive. They are as follows-
Satan, the ruler of the world and the adversary of the people of God (1 Peter 5:8).
The unseen world of spiritual, organized, evil (Eph. 6:10-13).
The world, a system energised by its ruler, Satan, and in complete opposition to Christians (John 15:17-20).
The flesh, our sinful fallen nature which is incapable of pleasing God but always manifests sin (Rom. 8:6-8; Gal. 5:17-21).
These powers can be described as infernal, external and internal foes. No one is capable of overcoming these implacable foes without divine help. No Christian should despair about failure to overcome any of the opposers. There is divine resource readily available. It is to our shame if we don't use what God in His mercy has provided.
It was a most important decision David made when he indicated that he was willing to fight Goliath. No doubt many in Israel would have liked to have fought Goliath and to be the winner. No one came forward but David. This is a crucial principle. Are we sufficiently aware of the binding power of our foes? Are we alive to the fact that bondage to them is the cause of the defeat in our lives? The bondage that stifles godly exercise and response to God in worship and testimony can be overcome, provided that we are willing to be engaged in spiritual conflict.
Soldiers of Christ, arise, and put your armour on,
Strong in the strength which God supplies through His eternal Son:
Strong in the Lord of Hosts, and in His mighty power,
Who in the strength of Jesus trusts, is more than conqueror.
It didn't take David long to know that Saul's heavy armour was unsuitable for him. Saul is a type of man after the flesh, i.e. a man controlled by fallen nature. The armour of such a man is of no use in fighting the battles of the Lord. Human resources will be found wanting in a time of need, a most important lesson for every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul said, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4-5). Human reasonings, arrogance, independency, compromise and self-confidence constitute some of the armoury of the natural man away from God. Obedience to the Word of God, humility, dependence upon God, faithfulness and a sense of one's weakness are good weapons of warfare for the Christian. Holy lives that the Holy Spirit can use are essential in combating Satan and his allies.
David was unmoved by the arrogant boasting of Goliath. Although he was confronted by a massive opponent his confidence was in the living God. Christians should have a correct estimate of the powers that are arrayed against them, but they should not be over-awed or afraid because of them. The lesson of 2 Kings 6:14-17 is a valuable one. When Elisha's servant was afraid because of the enemies that surrounded them he cried, “Alas, my master! how shall we do?” Elisha answered him, “Fear not; for they that be with us are more than they that be with them”. In New Testament language that means all the resources of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Paul writes, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31). John writes, “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:5). Again John writes, “Ye are of God, children, and have overcome them (the power of antichrist), because greater is He (the Holy Spirit) that is in you than he (Satan) that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). James writes, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Peter writes, “the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist, steadfast in the faith” (1 Peter 5:8-9). Divine resources, laid hold of with faith and courage, are more than a match for the formidable powers of Satan. Only the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. Their great power can be operative in weak vessels who in their weakness depend upon Them. David himself sums up the matter in 2 Samuel 22:18-19 “He delivered me from my strong enemy, From them that hated me; For they were mightier than I. They encountered me in the day of my calamity;
But Jehovah was my stay”.
As David looked at the giant Goliath he could have been excused if he had turned away from him and run for his life. He didn't do that. He had a resource greater than Goliath with his armour and weapons. He confronted Goliath in the Name of Jehovah of hosts, the living God. In the Bible a name is generally descriptive of the person who bears it. When David invoked the Name of Jehovah he was depending on all that God is in illimitable power. Goliath was doomed from the moment David invoked the Name of Jehovah.
The importance of the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the Christian cannot be over emphasised. It is the only Name in which salvation is to be found (Acts 4:12). Baptism is performed in His Name (Acts 8:12, 16; Acts 10:48; Acts 19:5). Prayer to the Father and the Son is in His powerful Name (John 14:13, 14; John 15:16; John 16:23, 26). Works of miraculous power were done by the apostles in His Name (Acts 3:6, 16; Acts 4:30; Acts 16:18). If sin raised its ugly head in the Corinthian assembly it was judged in the power of the Lord's Name (1 Cor. 5:4). The authority for judging evil is not in casting votes but in being true to the Name of the Lord. There may be opposition from relatives or friends but the resource of the faithful lies in the Name of the Lord Jesus. The effects and power of sin were overcome in the Lord's Name (1 Cor. 6:11). The day is not far distant when every knee will be compelled to bow to the Name of Jesus. That Name is above every name (Phil. 2:9-10). The graphic picture of Jesus coming in power and glory as described in Revelation 19:11-16 demonstrates the greatness of His Name and His great triumph over evil powers. He has a Name that no one bears but Himself. His Name is called the Word of God and He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. It is no wonder that Paul could state with triumph in a Roman prison “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:13). Paul's Saviour and Lord is ours. Have we Paul's faith and experience?
David's desire to slay Goliath was not to acquire any glory for himself. It was to demonstrate to all the earth that Israel had a God, a living God, who could express His power through a weak, young, shepherd lad. The battle was the Lord's, not David's. David was only an instrument in God's hands. Paul wrote, “God hath chosen the weak things of the world, to confound the things which are mighty” (1 Cor. 1:27). A Christian may desire to obtain victory over Satan and his wiles for relief. There is nothing wrong with an exercise of that kind, though all victories over evil powers should lead to glory and praise to God. When Israel was safe on the other side of the Red Sea, and Pharaoh and his host had been swallowed up in divine judgment, Israel celebrated its deliverance in a song of praise to the God of their salvation (Ex. 15:1-19). Blessing should always lead to praise and worship. It was a remarkable feature of the outpourings of the Spirit's power in revivals in past days that many beautiful hymns of praise and worship were composed. The Bible teaches that heartfelt thanksgiving follows deliverance (Rom. 7:24-25; Col. 1:12-13). It is God who gives the victory. It is God who deserves the praise. We enjoy the blessing.
(4) How the Power of Death was Defeated
The most important lesson to learn from the story of David and Goliath is that of the victory of the Lord Jesus over Satan. Why were the soldiers of Israel afraid of Goliath? The answer is simple: he wielded the power of death. When were they delivered from that fear? When they saw David take Goliath's sword, his instrument of death, and cut off the giant's head. The threat of death was removed completely.
In Hebrews 2:14-15 we read: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage”. The Lord Jesus, the Son of God, became a man in order to die, to accomplish God's plan of redemption (Heb. 2:9-10). When He died He was placed in a tomb, but after three days He arose from among the dead. Death was overcome by Him (Rev. 1:17-18; Rom. 6:9). The power of death that Satan wielded to keep people in bondage was broken. The Son of God entered into Satan's domain and conquered it and annulled the enemy's power. How wonderful to live in the day of the glad tidings of God's grace and triumph. “....our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality (incorruptibility) to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). When the Lord Jesus comes for His church the bodies of the sleeping saints will be raised from their graves and the bodies of the living saints will be changed. Then will be heard the triumphant shout “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor. 15:54-55). The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death (1 Cor. 15:26; Rev. 20:14). In the eternal day of God death will not exist for the blessed (Rev. 21:4).
He Satan's power laid low;
Made sin, He sin o'erthrew;
Bowed to the grave, destroyed it so,
And death by dying slew.
Bless, bless the Conqueror slain,
Slain in His victory;
Who lived, who died, who lives again-
For thee, His church, for thee!
(Further articles in this series are to follow, if the Lord will).
Five Little Pebbles
(1 Samuel 17:40)
Five little pebbles lay in a brook,
Five little pebbles hid in a nook.
“What are we good for?” said one to the other.
“Little or nothing, I'm thinking, my brother.”
Wearing away, day after day,
It seemed that for ever those pebbles might stay.
If they were flowers, ever so gay,
Doubtless someone would take them away;
Or if they were big stones that builders could use
Perhaps then some builder those five stones would choose.
Wait little pebbles, rounded and clean,
Long in your loneliness, lying unseen,
God has a future awaiting for you,
Five little pebbles sturdy and true.
Five little pebbles hid in a brook,
David came down and gave them a look,
Picked them up carefully out of the sand;
Five little pebbles in his great hand.
“Hark!” there is shouting, there is fighting today,
Boldly these pebbles are borne to the fray;
One of them chosen and put in a sling —
Could we have thought that a stone could thus wing?
Onward it sped with a might not its own,
Onward it sped by the shepherd-boy thrown;
Swift as an arrow, straight as a dart,
For the whole nation that stone played its part,
Striking the giant's great terrible head,
Laying him low, a mighty man dead.
Five little pebbles lay in a brook,
Mentioned with honour in God's Holy Book.
Be thou a pebble, contented and low,
Ever kept clean by His mercy's pure flow,
Hidden and ready till Jesus shall look,
And choose you, and use you, a stone from the brook.
S. J. B. Carter (1858-1938).
From Our Archive
In issue number 4 of the first volume of this magazine we included an article by a brother, then in his 99th year, who was subsequently called home on 6 August 1991. The following article was written by the same author, some 55 years earlier. It appeared in the 1935 issue of “Edification”. The editors believe it will be of interest to Truth & Testimony's readers.
The apostle Peter frequently uses the word “conversation” in his two epistles. We must not understand it as being merely the talk of the lips: it is a word of much larger meaning, covering all our lives and behaviour. What Peter says to us is doubtless the outcome of the memorable words of the Lord to him, as recorded in John 21. What is the practical result of the conversation of the saints? If we were all thoroughly set for God, what an effect would be produced and what testimony for Christ!
First, he reminds us that we have been brought clean out of the old “vain conversation”: all connected with the old system of religion which suits the first man. We have been redeemed to God with the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:14-18). The first thing the soul gets hold of is that we are out of the old state and delivered from that vain conversation. So we need to shake ourselves clear of everything of a religious nature which does not suit God.
Next comes the “honest conversation” that should adorn us as strangers and pilgrims (1 Peter 2:11-12). What is a stranger? A stranger is a person who is away from home. Where is our home? It is not here. He is up there and we are strangers here. We are not at home. A pilgrim is a man going a journey, and the point of our pilgrimage is home — HEAVEN. The apostle Paul was a pilgrim, as his words in Acts 20:22-24 reveal. We are away from home, but we are going home. Does your heart say “yes” to this? Then travelling home to Him we must have our conversation honest.
You know we live surrounded by much dishonesty. God says to you and me, “See that you are honest: see that you have a heart and a conscience that are answering to the truth and light of God”.
Then we find “chaste conversation” (1 Peter 3:1-4). He is here addressing Christian women, whose path may be very difficult. Cases are before his mind where the wife is converted and the husband unconverted. The husband might be won by the chaste conversation of his wife. That stresses the importance of the inside — the home life.
Then comes a “good conversation” (1 Peter 3:8-17). This is to be outside in the world, for a Christian is a person who is blessed, and is sent out to be a blesser. You bless even the person that is opposed to you. Thus you may reproduce something of Christ in the world out of which He has been cast. Do you want to see good days, if the Lord tarry? Refrain your tongue from evil. Here we come to the actual talk of the lips and what a good effect is produced on ourselves as well as on others. The blessed Lord sees and hears all, “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers”. But the face of the Lord is against His own children if they are doing evil, as it is against the children of the world. But on the other hand “who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good”?
Notice the good things — good days follow that which is good; a good conscience and good conversation. So if we are doing good, following good and feeding on good, we shall see good days and have a good conscience and all around you will have to admit that yours is a good conversation. More than that, God will yet so work that they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
In the second epistle we read of that which must necessarily pain us, for God will and must judge. But before He did it in Sodom He “delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked” (2 Peter 2:4-9). If Lot had only had a little spiritual sense and devotedness to God, he would have kept close to his old-fashioned uncle, Abraham. But like many young men he thought he would get on in this world, and where did he go? He first “pitched his tent toward Sodom” and then got inside and “dwelt in Sodom” (Gen. 13:12; Gen. 14:12). God gave him soon after a solemn warning, for he was taken prisoner with all his belongings by Chedorlaomer and his confederates. His old-fashioned uncle came again on the scene and set him free. But heedless of this warning, back he went straight to Sodom. Perhaps he thought he could improve that godless city, like many Christians today who seek in vain to whitewash this present evil world. God had to drag Lot out of Sodom. But while in it he only got his soul vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked.
There is a way of preventing the conversation of the wicked from getting into your soul and vexing it. Get preoccupied. If you are preoccupied with Christ there will be no room for this to get in. There is plenty of moral filth all round about. Be occupied with Christ and with the good, then you will have the honest and chaste conversation and all the filthy conversation round you will not affect you. If you do this you may meet with persecution, but you will find in the long run that the world will not trouble you much. If you take your stand for Christ you will very soon find the world shaking you off. You will never get your soul really vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked unless you get “unequally yoked” with them.
Lastly, in speaking of the appearing of the Lord, Peter says “what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness” (2 Peter 3:8-14). That is beautiful. The saint, born of God and filled with the Holy Spirit, is to walk in an atmosphere of holy love and go through the world with holy conversation. He lives in a holy atmosphere and carries it with him. That is, he is one separated to God, with whom he walks. So he radiates the grace resulting from God's presence. We cannot seek anything better than that. While wending our way to the glory and the day of manifestation and reward, our souls might know what it is to go forward in the power of the Spirit of God. So let us take heed to Peter's words, “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless”.
We belong to heaven, so what befits us is “honest conversation”, “chaste conversation”, “good conversation”, and “holy conversation”. May we be really set to follow the Lord. Let us seek with ever increasing earnestness the blessing of others, since we are so fully blessed ourselves.
Psalm 119 (3)
(Continued from page 90)
Breakdown of the Acrostic Arrangement of Psalm 119
To give the reader an idea of what the acrostic arrangement of this Psalm looks like in the Hebrew language I give here a breakdown of all the verses. The Hebrew letters are shown in phonetic script. The meaning of the letters at the beginning of each section of eight verses will be given in subsequent articles, if the Lord will.
Verses 1-8. ALEPH
Verse 1. ASH-REY “Blessed...”
Verse 2 ASH-REY “Happy and abundantly blessed...”
Verse 3 APH “Also they do no iniquity...”
Verse 4 ATA “Thou hast commanded us...”
Verse 5 AH-GHALEY “Oh that! (Would that!)...”
Verse 6 AHZ “THEN...then shall I not be...”
Verse 7 AHDAK “I will thank THEE...”
Verse 8 ASHAMAR “I will keep...”
Verses 9-16. BETH
Verse 9 BMEH “With what..?”
Verse 10 B-KOL “With all...with my whole heart...”
Verse 11 B-LEHVI “...in my heart...”
Verse 12 BA-RACH “Blessed...”
Verse 13 B-SAHPHATI “With my lips...”
Verse 14 B-DEH-RECH “...in the way (of)...”
Verse 15 B-PIK-KOO-DEEMAK “...in Thy precepts...”
Verse 16 B-GHOOK-KAHTAK “...in Thy statutes...”
Verses 17-24. GIMEL
Verse 17 GAH-MAL “Deal bountifully...”
Verse 18 GAH-LAH “Open! (Reveal!)...”
Verse 19 GEHR “A stranger (I am)...”
Verse 20 GAH-RAS “(My soul) breaketh for (is crushed)...”
Verse 21 GAH-GART “Thou hast rebuked...”
Verse 22 GAH-LAL “Remove (or roll away)...”
Verse 23 GAM “Also (Princes did sit)...”
Verse 24 GAM “Also (Thy testimonies)...”
Verses 25-32. DALETH
Verse 25 DAH-VAK “...clings...”
Verse 26 DEH-RECHI “...my way...”
Verse 27 DEH-RECH “...the way of (Thy precepts)...”
Verse 28 DAH-LAPH “...drops (melteth)...”
Verse 29 DEH-RECH “...the way (of lying)...”
Verse 30 DEH-RECH “...the way (of Thy truth)...”
Verse 31 DAH-VAKT “I have clung...”
Verse 32 DEH-RECH “...the way (of Thy commands)...”
Verses 33-40. HE
Verse 33 HAYAHRANNI “Teach me...”
Verse 34 HA-BEENI “Make me understand...”
Verse 35 HA-DAREKNI “Cause me...”
Verse 36 HAT-LEBI “Bow (incline) my heart...”
Verse 37 HA-GAH-VAR “Turn away...”
Verse 38 HA-KOOM “Make rise...”
Verse 39 HA-GAH-VAR “Turn away...”
Verse 40 HIN-NEH “Behold...”
Verses 41-48. VAV
Verse 41 VA-BANI “Let come to me...”
Verse 42 VA-GAH-NAH “And I will answer...”
Verse 43 VA-LA “And not deliver...”
Verse 44 VA-ASHAMARH “And I shall keep...”
Verse 45 VA-ATHALACH “And I will walk...”
Verse 46 VA-ADABARAH “And I will speak...”
Verse 47 VA-ASHTATGAG “And I will delight myself...”
Verse 48 VA-AHSAH “And I will lift up...”
Verses 49-56. ZAIN
Verse 49 ZA-KAR “Remember (this)...”
Verse 50 ZA-AT “This...”
Verse 51 ZEHDEM “The proud...”
Verse 52 ZA-KARAT “I remember...”
Verse 53 ZALGAHPAH “Hot zeal (horror)...”
Verse 54 ZAHMERT “...songs...”
Verse 55 ZA-KARAT “I remembered...”
Verse 56 ZA-AT “This...”
Verses 57-64. CHETH
Verse 57 GHEHLEKI “My portion (is)...”
Verse 58 GHAHLAT “I intreated...”
Verse 59 GHAHSHAVT “I thought (mused) on...”
Verse 60 GHOOSHT “I hurried (made haste)...”
Verse 61 GHEHVEL “The cords (of sorrows)...”
Verse 62 GHEHTZE “At midnight (at dividing half)...”
Verse 63 GHEHDER “A companion I am...”
Verse 64 GHEH-SEDK “...Thy mercy (or favour)...”
Verses 65-72. TETH
Verse 65 TOHV “...good, goodness, kindness of God...”
Verse 66 TOHV “...good...”
Verse 67 TEHREM “Before...”
Verse 68 TOHV ATA “Thou art good...”
Verse 69 TAH-PHALI “...have forged (against me)...”
Verse 70 TAH-PHASH “...without feeling (fat as grease)...”
Verse 71 TOHV-LI “...for my good...”
Verse 72 TOHV-LI “...better to me...”
Verses 73-80. YOD
Verse 73 YAH-DAK “Thy hand...”
Verse 74 YAHREHK “They who fear Thee (reverence)...”
Verse 75 YAHDAGT “I know (perceive, am aware)...”
Verse 76 YAHINI “Let be...”
Verse 77 YABOHNI “Let come to me...”
Verse 78 YABOHSHU “Let be ashamed...”
Verse 79 YESHEEVLI “Let turn to me...”
Verse 80 YAHI “Let!!...”
Verses 81-88. KAPH
Verse 81 KAH-LATAH “...(is) being consumed (spent)...”
Verse 82 KAH-LAU “...fail (i.e. my eyes)...”
Verse 83 KEE “For...”
Verse 84 KAH-MEH “As what...”
Verse 85 KAH-RAHLI “...they have dug for me...”
Verse 86 KOL “All...”
Verse 87 KAM-GAT “...in a little while...”
Verse 88 KA-GHEHSEDAK “...by Thy mercy...”
Verses 89-96. LAMED
Verse 89 LA-GOH-LAHM “For ever...”
Verse 90 LA-DOHR “...to generation...”
Verse 91 LA-MISH-PAHTAK “...according to Thy judgments...”
Verse 92 LO-LEH-Y “Except...”
Verse 93 LA-GOH-LAHM “...for ever...”
Verse 94 LAKA-ATA “To Thee I am...”
Verse 95 LO-KAH-VAH “...for me waited...”
Verse 96 LA-KOHL “...to all...”
Verses 97-104. MEM
Verse 97 ME-H “O how...!”
Verse 98 ME-AH-YAVI “...than mine enemies...”
Verse 99 ME-KOHL “...than all...”
Verse 100 ME-ZAH-KEHNUM “...than the ancients...”
Verse 101 ME-KOHL “...from every...”
Verse 102 ME-MISH-PAHTK “...from Thy judgments...”
Verse 103 ME-H “How...!”
Verse 104 ME-PIK-KOO-DEEMAK “Through Thy precepts...”
Verses 105-112. NUN
Verse 105 NOOR (or NEER) “...a light (lamp)...”
Verse 106 NASAVAT “I have sworn...”
Verse 107 NAGAHNAHT “I am afflicted...”
Verse 108 NADAHVAT “...free offering (my mouth's)...”
Verse 109 NAFASHI “My life (soul)...”
Verse 110 NAHTHANU “(The wicked) have given...”
Verse 111 NAHGHALT “...I have inherited...”
Verse 112 NAHTAHT “I have bowed...”
Verses 113-120. SAMECH
Verse 113 SEH-GAPHEEM “...vain thoughts (half hearted)...”
Verse 114 SITH-RI “...my covert...”
Verse 115 SOOROO “Turn away (O evildoers)...”
Verse 116 SAH-MACHNI “Uphold me (sustain)...”
Verse 117 SAH-GADNI “Hold me up...”.
Verse 118 SAH-LAHT “Thou hast trampled...”
Verse 119 SEEGUM “...(like) dross...”
Verse 120 SAH-MAR “(My flesh) has shivered...”
Verses 121-128. AIN
Verse 121 GAH-SAHT “I have done...”
Verse 122 GAH-RAV “Be surety...”
Verse 123 GAHI-YINI “My eyes...”
Verse 124 GAH-SAH “Deal (with)...”
Verse 125 GEH-VEDK “...Thy servant...”
Verse 126 GEHTH “It is (time for)...”
Verse 127 GAL-KEN “Therefore...”
Verse 128 GAL-KEN “So...”
Verses 129-136. PE
Verse 129 PEH-LEHUT “...(are) wonderful...”
Verse 130 PEH-THAGH “The entrance of...”
Verse 131 PEHI “...my mouth...”
Verse 132 PAH-NAH “Turn (to)...”
Verse 133 PAH-GAMI “...my steps...”
Verse 134 PAH-DAH-NI “Redeem me...”
Verse 135 PAH-NAK “...Thy face...”
Verse 136 PEH-LEG “Rivers (of)...”
Verses 137-144. TSADDI
Verse 137 TZAD-DEEK “Righteous...”.
Verse 138 TZAH-VAHT “...Thou hast enjoined (commanded)...”
Verse 139 TZAH-MATTHANI “...has eaten me up...”
Verse 140 TZAH-RAPH “...pure (is)...”
Verse 141 TZAH-GEER “...small...”
Verse 142 TZAD-DEKTAK “Thy righteousness...”
Verse 143 TZAHR “Distress...”
Verse 144 TZAH-DAK “The righteousness...”
Verses 145-152. QOPH
Verse 145 KAH-RAHT “I cried...”
Verse 146 KAH-RAHTOOK “I cried to Thee...”
Verse 147 KAH-DAMT “I go before...”
Verse 148 KAH-DAM “...go before...”
Verse 149 KOHLI “...my voice (saying)...”
Verse 150 KAH-RAVU “(They) draw near...”
Verse 151 KAH-ROV “Thou art near...”
Verse 152 KEH-DEM “...of old...”
Verses 153-160. RESH
Verse 153 RAH “Look on...”
Verse 154 REEVH “Contend (for my cause)...”
Verse 155 RAH-GHOHK “...far off (is)...”
Verse 156 RAH-GHAMEEMK “...Thy tender mercies...”
Verse 157 RAVEEM “Many (are)...”
Verse 158 RAH-AHT “I saw...”
Verse 159 RAH (KEN) “See (how)...”
Verse 160 ROHSH “The sum of (head of)...”
Verses 161-168. SIN/SHIN
Verse 161 SHEREEM “Princes...”
Verse 162 SHOO-SHAN “(I) rejoice...”
Verse 163 SHEH-KER “...lying...”.
Verse 164 SHEH-VAG “Seven (times)...”
Verse 165 SHAH-LOHM “...peace...”.
Verse 166 SHAH-VART “...I have hoped...”
Verse 167 SHAH-MARH “My soul has kept...”
Verse 168 SHAH-MART “I have kept...”
Verses 169-176. TAV
Verse 169 TAKAH-REHV “Let come near...”
Verse 170 TA-BOH “Let (my prayer) come...”
Verse 171 TABAGNA “...shall pour forth (belch out)...”
Verse 172 TAGANA “...shall answer...”
Verse 173 TAH-YADOK “Let (Thy hand)...”
Verse 174 TAH-AVIT “I have longed...”
Verse 175 TAH-NAPHSHI “Let (my soul)...”
Verse 176 TAH-GAHT “I have gone astray...”
(To be continued, if the Lord will).