Message 3

Psalms 46, a Psalm of Victory

Vv. 3, 4.

Going forth to Conquer

V. 5 tells us where His conquering action takes place: in the heart of the king’s enemies. To the natural man, this does not at all seem possible. Argument, speaking ability and powers of human persuasion and reasoning seem to us to hold the hope. However, by faith we understand that it is the Word of God presented to the individual which brings about change in the heart of the individual, and thus, society.

“Thus in various centuries revivals of apostolic Christianity have broken out in the most improbable circumstances and have powerfully, rapidly and extensively affected whole communities. ‘when the shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him’ (Isa. 59.19). The wonder of God’s saving works ought therefore to make Christians slow to believe that only doom and catastrophe must await the vase population of this evil earth.” (The Puritan Hope, Iain Murray, p. xx. Banner of Truth Trust.)

The natural man considers God's Law-Word, its precepts and laws foolishness, but to those who God ordained to eternal life, it is the very power of God. (Acts 13:48)

(Psalms 119:45 And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts. Liberty is only available to men and nations as they “seek thy precepts.” That is, they study and follow God’s law in every detail of life.)

"It must be observed, however, that this description of the Word of God is applicable to it only when Christ girds it on, employs it as his sword. Of what use is a sword, even though it be the sword of Goliath, while it lies still in its scabbard, or is grasped by the powerless hand of an infant? In those circumstances it can neither conquer nor defend, however well suited it might be to do both in the hand of a warrior," (Edward Payson, quoted by Spurgeon)

It is the word of God that is quick, powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword. (Heb 4:12)

Goliath's sword did no good laying behind the altar in the tabernacle. Only when it was put to use was it useful. We must say the same for our word. No matter how sharp the Word of God is, no matter how much power is in it, or how able to defend or advance against the enemy it may be, it is useless until we put it to use. Its laws and precepts must be applied to every situation in order for those areas to be conquered for the King.

We use the sword by practicing what we say we believe.

The sinner must be confronted with IT in order for it to have the power strike his heart. Our hope is in the word of God, not in our abilities.

"Yes, I believe the Word of God has a word of instruction for all matters of life." Okay, when was the last time it was used to find direction in a matter?

"Yes, I believe the Word of God brings conviction to the sinner." When was the last time it was used to do that? When was the last time we were able to confront a sinner with it?
"Yes, I believe the sword will protect me from any dart or snare of the enemy." When was the last time a scripture was memorized to gain a victory in the area of the mind, and to allow the divine nature of Christ to control?

The Sword is sharpened by using it. (Heb 5:14.)

The sword, no matter how good, sharp, powerful or qualified it may be, is useless unless.

First, the Lord is in its use

Second, it is used by His people.

The Bible on the table never did anyone any good. It is not a magic charm to ward off evil, nor is it a cross worn around the neck. It will do what it is meant to do ONLY as it is made part of the user’s life and used effectively against the snares or darts.

ONLY as it is applied to the situation at hand will the kingdom of our KING be advanced. It will change the sinner only when the sinner is confronted with it. The supernatural means for victory is within easy grasps but it must be picked up and used.

The weapon for the defense of our house may be close at hand, but if we do not pick it up and use it, that weapon is useless. It is the strong man armed that keeps his house. Only as we are properly armed with the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God will we both keep our house and advance the kingdom of our God.

(Prov. 14:12, our human reasoning and secular education may allow us to prosper for a time, but the end thereof is death just as sure as there is a God in heaven. Our society on the verge of total collapse, and death!)

"His word instructed the ignorant, resolved the doubtful, comforted the mourners, reclaimed the wicked, silenced his adversaries, healed diseases, controlled the elements, and raised the dead." ('Psalms', Plumer, Banner of Truth Trust. Reprint of his 1867 edition, quotes Horne on pg. 515.)

The church is for instructing the army of God in the proper use and application of the weapons of their warfare; instruction in the application of His Word, the Sword. Proper instruction and use is the way His Kingdom must be advanced. Military might is absolutely useless in the war for the hearts of men. The victory was won on the cross. Only His GRACE working in His enemies will cause them to seek first the kingdom of God, Matt. 6:33. Grace is greater than all the sin in the world, combined.

What should be our prayer? "O Lord, gird Thy sword upon thy thigh, and give us wisdom in its use." It is the most powerful weapon ever conceived, it is the very power of God, but it must be used.

Ps. 45:3 O most mighty... Only one Person rates this title, KING JESUS. He alone can claim all power, might and authority. And His claim is legitimate, as well as deserved. "Jesus is the truest of heroes. Hero worship in his case alone is commendable." My, how this world hungers for heroes. We have one, His name is Jesus. "He is mighty to save, mighty in love". He alone is the “mighty God” in Isa. 9:6.

The mighty KING goes forth to subdue the earth with His weapon of war, His Word, and, in Plumer's words, "because Messiah was mighty and blessed forever, his warlike undertaking would surely be successful."

Revelation. 2:12, 16 points out that in this present age, our KING has His sword and is using it: 12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;…16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Ephesians. 6:17 (And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:) tells us it is also given to the saints. It is to be used, for without its proper use we will fall to the enemy. Without its proper use, those around us who are against the King, will remain in bondage.

In passing, let us notice Revelation 2:16! How does the KING fight against all who are against His word? With a sword? Does He take it out and cut off the hand of the thief, or chop off the head of the disobedient or unbeliever? Certainly not! Here are two ways that He fights:

1. The results of sin are allowed to come to pass upon the unrepentant. The results were established in God before the worlds were formed, and they are revealed to us in His Word. It is His love, mercy and grace that wrote the words of life down and gave them to us:

And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day. (Deut 6:24)

He could have left us polluted in our own blood, but in His mercy, He saw fit to say unto us, “Live.” (Ez 16:6, 22)

2. It is through His preached word (on the individual level, or public preaching), that the Spirit moves in the heart to convict the sinner of his sin and bring him to repentance. (Jn 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment,) Therefore, our faith is in the word of God and the Spirit working through His word, no matter how hardened that sinner might be.

Observe the order given in this Psalm:

1. --Fairer than-- The Son of man came, God with us.

2. --Grace is poured-- He completed the work given to Him by His Father.

3. --God hath blessed-- He is exalted above ALL because of His completed work.

4. --Gird thy sword-- He now has his sword girded on with which he will conquer the nations. He "put it on" when He was exalted. The KING is now going forth to conquer. All might, glory and majesty was given to Him by the FATHER at His resurrection. (Matt. 28:19, 20)

V. 4
His position is established as being on the right hand of majesty and power. His authority and His claim to authority has been shown and established.

Now we see the KING going out to conquer. Spurgeon quotes David Dickerson (pg. 327), "The wheels of Christ's chariot, where upon he rideth when he goeth to conquer and subdue new converts to his kingdom, are majesty, truth, meekness, righteousness, manifested in the preaching of his gospel; --Christ goeth no voyage in vain, he cometh not short of his intent and purpose, but doeth the work for which he cometh, preaching the gospel;--"

"Prosperously" "advance, prosper--be successful." Two other uses of this word are in Jer. 22:30 (“shall not prosper”) and Ezek. 17:15 (Shall he prosper? shall he escape…”) which are opposite of our word here in Ps. 45:4.

From these passages we see the promise that the seed of Coniah, the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, will not prosper because of sin. Then we see in Ezekiel that the king of Jerusalem tried to enlist Egypt's aid when the Lord sent the king of Babylon against him for his sin. The Lord tells him that he will not prosper.

The King of Palms 45:4 possesses the promise that as He rides forth in truth, meekness and righteousness, He shall prosper. Moreover, His seed, the redeemed seed of Abraham, shall prosper and the battle He is engaged in shall prosper, for whatsoever he, the seed, doeth shall prosper. (Ps. 1:1-3; Matt. 16:18)

Here we see three conditions for the gospel to go forth in its power to subdue the sinner to the King. The gospel will prosper if it is presented:

In truth, for it is the truth that holds the promise of freedom. (John 8:32, 36)

In meekness, for meekness holds the promise of inheritance. (Mat 5:5)

In righteousness, for righteousness holds the promise of boldness. (Pro 28:1)

But "Truth will be ridiculed, meekness will be oppressed, and righteousness slain, unless the God, the man in whom these precious things are incarnated, shall rise for their vindication." And He promises that He will rise to defend His word. (2 Tim. 2:24-26.)

Our prayer should be that King Jesus would "ride prosperously" against His enemies today. Only this prosperousness is the Spirit subduing those who are against Him, subduing them to the King. We know many people whom we desire the King subdue.

The three conditions or wheels on His chariot, how are they met and His gospel of the kingdom advanced? Grace, working in His people to advance the cause of their righteous King.

The King will reward faithfulness and righteousness, and avenge the rebellious when His time is right. The reward and the vengeance will be in the way laid down in His Word, for all judgment has been committed to the King. (Jn 5:22-30)

As we follow the Spirit’s order here, keep in mind that v. 6 is identified as being in the process of fulfillment right now as the Father says to the Son, Thy throne O God, is for ever and ever. (Acts 2:25, Heb. 1:6-13, Heb. 10:13)

Notice the order of Heb. 10,

12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

1. This man
2. Offered the one sacrifice
3. Sat down on the right hand of God;
4. His enemies are being subdued through the power of the gospel
5. He will stay on His heavenly thrown until all things are subdued. 1 Cor. 15

24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.

There is a tremendous war going on right now. According to Colossians 2:15, the enemy was defeated, but the army of God has a hard time grasping the fact of their victory, and rather than press the victory which was won, we have dropped our weapons and fled. Or when there is a slight victory as David over Goliath, rather than pressing the victory we spoil the tents of the enemy. (1 Sam 17:53)

How is the King on His throne going to turn the tide of the battle? We do not know, but we are most certainly assured that one day, every living soul shall bow before Him. (Phil 2:10)

How is the battle pressed today? Grace! God working through His spoken word through His people. His assurance of victory should give the boldness of a lion to speak up with the word of God at every opportunity.

Again Spurgeon says, "Foreseeing the result of divine working, the Psalmist prophesied that the uplifted arm of Messiah will reveal to the King's own eyes the terrible overthrow of his foe."

"Lord, let us see the overthrow of Your enemies as is shown us in Ps. 45:5, 6."

"In presenting the NT doctrine of the kingdom of God we should notice (1) the prevalent expectation of the Messiah at the time Jesus was born. There was no exact uniformity of belief or of expectation. Some enthusiastic looked for a war-like chieftain, gifted with an ability of leadership, to cast off the Roman yoke and restore the kingdom of Israel to some such splendour as it had in the days of Solomon. Others seem to have entertained a more spiritual view, as Zacharius, Simeon, and Anna (Lk. 1:7-79; 2:25-33), and to have united the general hope of the redemption of Jerusalem with the blessed thought of confirming the ancient covenants of promise, obtaining remission of sins, personal consolation, and a life of holiness. Between these two extremes there were probably various other forms of expectation, but the more popular one was that of a temporal prince. John the Baptist shared somewhat in this current belief and seems to have been disappointed in the failure of Jesus to fulfill his concept of the Messianic hope (Matt. 11:2-6). Nevertheless, John's ministry and preaching evinced much spiritual penetration, and his baptism of repentance was divinely appointed preparation for the kingdom of heaven which he declared was close at hand." (Dictionary of Religion, James Hastings, T&T Clark, 1924, pg. 517.)

One more quote for this verse. Plumer here comments,

The war-like figure of the preceding verse is here retained. Kings often went into battle in chariots, and as the enemy was routed they pressed forward triumphantly. But their conquest was with weapons of death, and amidst the slaughtered corpses and dying groans of their enemies. But the victories of Messiahs are those of truth--His sword, of meekness, the meekness of Christ, and of righteousness, the glorious rectitude of God, his glorious method of justifying sinners, and the unbending integrity of his people, whose righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees. (Psalms, pg. 516)

Important, so spend some time here!

Now, this raises an interesting thought. Two methods of conquest are offered:

First, war, military might, death, destruction, slaughter and all the unpleasantness that goes with it. (Think Muslims.)

Second, the King’s method’s method is truth, meekness and righteousness; that is, the Gospel of the KINGDOM as fulfilled in Christ. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, describes the KING'S kingdom. (Rom 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.)

His Kingdom stands in stark contrast to the kingdoms of men of war and mass slaughter. No wonder many writers desire to make the king of Psalms 45, King Solomon. They need an illustration of a physical kingdom advanced by death and destruction.

An excellent illustration is David as he desired to build a beautiful temple for the Lord. As we know, he was prevented from carrying out his desire.

2 Samuel 7:1-3 records his desires to build a house for the Lord, which would show that God was now in full and permanent possession of the land. The thought goes on. The building of the temple signified "The making for David of a house." (Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 4, pg. 182-3.) This house was Christ and His kingdom, the church.

So we see that for God to permit David to build the Temple would indicate God's establishment of His throne and kingdom through David’s bloody warfare. Though the blood was shed at God’s command, God’s throne was to be established without blood. God did establish His throne, but He did it later and in a different way, as we will see.

We will look at the implications of 2 Samuel 7:4-17 next time.