Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 79
PART 4 of the MESSIANIC PROPHECIES – PART 3
Psalms 45, 46, and 47
Okay, again, it’s good to see everybody back. We’re ready for program three this afternoon. And again, I want to welcome our television audience wherever you are. I know we get all kinds of letters. Some of you watch it in the shower, and some of you watch it in the living room. Some of you watch it on the den, and some of you get woken by the dog because he knows he’s going to get a walk after our program. And then we get some that have to cover up the canary. We get all kinds of descriptions of where they watch our program. But anyway, we just like the fact that you are watching and listening and learning.
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All right, we’re going to start out again with the letter to Peter like we did in the first program this afternoon. Because like I said, I’m going to use it often enough that maybe you’ll even have it memorized before we finish this series in Psalms. So, before we go back and take Psalms 46, let’s look at I Peter chapter 1 again starting at verse 9. Because this is the whole theme of the Old Testament prophetic program—first the suffering, and then the glory that would follow.
I Peter 1:9-11
“Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. 10. Of which salvation the prophets (the Old Testament writers) have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied (or foretold) of the grace that should come unto you: (They knew there was something different on the agenda, but they couldn’t figure it out. These prophets were–) 11. Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ who was in them did signify, when he testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory which should follow.”
Never lose sight of that—all the way through the Old Testament that’s the format—the suffering and the glory which should follow. Now, if you want to see how Paul puts it, just back up a little ways and stop at Romans chapter 8. We have very nearly the same kind of language even for believers of the Church Age. Even though we may have to go through suffering, yet we know that the glory is going to follow. Romans chapter 8 verse 17. Here Paul is writing to Gentiles in the Body of Christ. Peter was writing to Jewish believers in the Kingdom economy, yet the format is still pretty much the same.
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified.” Same process—the suffering and the glory that will follow.
All right, back to Psalms chapter 46, and now the bridegroom of chapter 45 is going to be the Almighty, All-Sufficient God of chapter 46. And that’s what ties it together. Psalms chapter 46 and I’m going to have to teach this much like I did chapter 45—with another portion of Scripture. Again, I’m debating whether to do it early on or wait until we’ve gone into it a ways. I think we’ll start with Psalms 46, then we’re going to go back and look at some of the history that was no doubt going to be associated with this particular Psalm.
“God (The All Sovereign, All Supreme God) is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3. Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. 4. There is a river,…”
Now, who knows where I’m going to go? What King saved Jerusalem by chiseling out a place where a river could flow and become the place of safety? Come on, you just saw it the other day. Hezekiah’s tunnel. Okay, let’s go back. I haven’t done this in a long time. I hope you out there as listeners will be patient with me. Let’s go back and look at some of Israel’s history during the time of Hezekiah—who was one of the few good kings in Israel. There weren’t many. Most of them the Scripture says—and King so-and-so did what? “Evil in the eyes of the Lord.” But Hezekiah is one of the few of which that is not spoken, so Hezekiah is one of the better kings.
I’m just debating as to how much time I can spend back here. Let’s look at Hezekiah conversing first with Sennacherib. II Kings chapter 18, I’m not going to read it all verse-by-verse. We’re going to hit some of the highlights. Hopefully enough that you get the jist of what’s taking place. And remember, Hezekiah is ruling from Jerusalem, so he has access to the Temple mount and the priesthood and all that goes with it. Isaiah is the contemporary prophet.
Now, I think we can surmise here that Psalms 46 was written around 1,000 B.C. But Hezekiah and Isaiah held forth about what point in time? Seven hundred B.C. So what can we sort of intimate? That God in the work of the Holy Spirit caused David to write Psalms 46, which in turn would be an encouragement for Hezekiah who is under the siege of the Syrian General, Emperor Sennacherib.
Now try to keep that in concept. David wrote it about 1,000 B.C., but it was so appropriate for Hezekiah’s day 300 years later. That’s why I went as far as the term “the river,” because that was one of the strong points for Jerusalem. Even though they were surrounded and they were under siege, yet because of Hezekiah’s tunnel, they were able to bring fresh water into the center of the city; and they were no longer under the threat of thirst.
So, let’s go back and pick up the history of all of this in II Kings chapter 18. Let’s jump in at verse 13. Like I said, I’m going to have to kind of hit some of the high points. We haven’t got time to read it all. You can do that at home. Do that in your spare time.
II Kings 18:13
“Now in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them.” In other words, he’s just running rampant across the land of Israel.
II Kings 18:14
“And Hezekiah the king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria to Lachish, (which is up in Northern Israel) saying, I have offended; (In other words, he’s coming sort of like a milk-toast before Sennacherib.)return from me: that which thou puttest on me I will bear. And the king of Assyria appointed unto Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold.”
II Kings 18:15-16
“And Hezekiah gave him all (Hezekiah gave in hoping to allay a breach of the wall and so forth.) the silver that was found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures of the king’s house. 16. At that time did Hezekiah cut off the gold from the doors of the temple of the LORD, and from the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.” Hopefully to appease him and keep him from invading the city.
Well, Sennacherib just ridiculed all that. He sends word back to Hezekiah that that’s not going to delay him one bit. He’s still going to knock down the walls, the gates, or whatever; and he’s going to invade Jerusalem. Now, of course, Hezekiah realizes the only hope he has is the God of Israel, because all the cities have already capitulated. Jerusalem alone is standing against this Syrian army.
II Kings 18:17
“And the king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris and Rab-shakeh to Lachish to King Hezekiah with a great host (the armed forces of Syria) against Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. And when they were come up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is in the highway of the fuller’s field.”
II Kings 18:18
“And when they had called to the king, there came out to them Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder. 19. And Rab-shakeh said unto them, speak ye now to Hezekiah, Thus saith the great king, the king of Assyria, What confidence is this wherein thou trustest?”
II Kings 18:20-21a
“Thou sayest (but they are but vain words,) I have counsel and strength for the war. (Now Sennacherib says to King Hezekiah–) Now on whom dost thou trust, that thou rebellest against me? (Got that?) 21. Now, behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, even upon Egypt…” In other words, Sennacherib thinks that Hezekiah is depending on Egypt to come to his defense. But that’s not what Hezekiah is depending on. Hezekiah is depending on the Lord of Israel. All right, verse 22:
II Kings 18:22-23
“But if ye say unto me, We trust in the LORD our God: is not that he, whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away, and hath said to Judah and Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem? 23. Now therefore, I pray thee, (Now this is the Assyrian talking.) give pledges to my lord the king of Assyria, and I will deliver thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them.” Verse 25:
II Kings 18:25
“Am I now come up without the LORD against this place to destroy it? The LORD said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.” Now, did the pagans have an idea of the God of Israel? Well, just enough to know that He was always coming to Israel’s defense—miraculously. So they could use the name of the Lord, even though they had no conscience relationship with Him. That’s what they’re doing. They’re ridiculing Hezekiah for depending on the God of Abraham to defeat the Syrian host. They’re just ridiculing them. All right, now I’m going to come down all the way to verse 29.
II Kings 18:29-30
“Thus saith the king, (That is of Assyria—Sennacherib.) Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you out of his hand; 30. Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, The LORD will surely deliver us, and this city (Jerusalem) shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.”
II Kings 18:31
“Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, make an agreement with me by a present, (In other words, more gold, more silver, more this and more that–) and come out to me, and then eat ye every man of his own vine, and every one his fig tree,…” In other words, he’s conning the king of Israel to let him come in by negotiation, as they say today. Well anyway, Hezekiah knew better than to come in on any of that.
Now, let’s just come a little further. Chapter 19. Now Hezekiah’s in a dilemma. This Syrian army is surrounding the city, and the rest of Judah has already been defeated by the Syrian army. The only hope he has left is the God of Abraham. Now, of course, Isaiah is holding forth north of Jerusalem up in the mountain area. And somehow or other he’s able to communicate with Isaiah.
II Kings 19:1-3
“And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, (In other words, this scornful rebuke from Sennacherib.) that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD. 2. And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz. 3. And they said unto him, (That is unto Isaiah.) Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth.” In other words, the whole city of Jerusalem was in fear and trembling to the point that even a mother didn’t have the strength to deliver her child. That’s what it’s emphasizing.
II Kings 19:4
“It may be the LORD thy God will hear all the words of Rab-shakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God; and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard; wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that are left. 5. So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah.” All right, now we’ve got to pick up Isaiah’s answer in verses 6 and 7.
II Kings 19:6-7
“And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say to your master, (Hezekiah) Thus saith the LORD, Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. 7. Behold, (Now here it comes. Here comes God’s promise.) I will send a blast upon him, (That is the Syrian, Sennacherib.) and he shall hear a rumor, and shall return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.” All right, in the next few verses Sennacherib again ridicules the God of Hezekiah. But now we’ll come all the way over to verse 14, still in chapter 19.
II Kings 19:14
“And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD.” Can’t you just picture this? He just lays all this out. He says, all right now, Lord, I’m putting it in your hands.
II Kings 19:15-16
“And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said, O LORD God of Israel, who dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth. (You’re the Creator of everything!) 16. LORD, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, LORD, thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, who hath sent him to reproach the living God.”
II Kings 19:17-19
“Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands, (He’s powerful.) 18. And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them. 19. Now therefore, O LORD our God, I beseech thee, save thou us out of his hand, that all of the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD God, even thou only.” All right, now verse 20:
II Kings 19:20
“Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, That which thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard.” Now, for sake of time, let’s jump all the way to the end, verse 35, still in chapter 19.
II Kings 19:35
“And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred and eight-five thousand men: (What mayhem.) and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.” That was God’s answer on behalf of Hezekiah to the king of Assyria.
All right, now what did the prophecy say that we just read up in verse 7? “That he would have his life ended in his own land.” Okay, now come down to verse 36 and here that comes.
II Kings 19:36-37
“So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. (Which was the capital of Assyria, just over there northeast of present-day Baghdad. It’s in the news periodically. Now here’s Sennacherib’s prophesied end.) 37. And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.”
So there is the background for what we feel is the reason for Psalms 46. Now come back to that, and for the moment we have left, we will just consider how appropriate this Psalm of encouragement was to Hezekiah at the time of certain annihilation. All right, we’ll just go back to verse 1.
“God is our refuge and strength,…” Now, how many of you are aware of the Orthodox Jews presently in Jerusalem? You’ll see them with the black hats and the long curls and all that. What is their attitude toward military service? They will not serve and are not for any kind of military. Why?
Their approach is like this—the God of Israel will take care of us. Well, the problem is, Israel is not in the same relationship with Jehovah today as they were then. If Israel didn’t have a military, they wouldn’t last 24 hours. But those Orthodox Jews—and that’s why it’s kind of a thorn in the side of the rest of Israel—why don’t those people defend us like we do? Why don’t their kids have to go into the service like we do? But they don’t. They will not serve. And they will not promote anything that would indicate using anything but the power of God to spare them. But always remember, Israel is not in the same relationship that they were back in Old Testament days.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help (When?) in trouble. (Now keep your mind on Hezekiah who is being surrounded by the hosts of the Assyrians.) 2. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;” Now I’m going to come back later to this word “midst,” which is used so often in the Hebrew Scriptures—denoting God’s presence in the Nation throughout her history.
“Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.” In other words, the tumult of an invading army surrounding the city. Now you and I can’t comprehend what that could be like, where the city is totally surrounded by enemy troops waiting to knock down the city gates and come in and destroy the city and the people—which they had already done to most of the land of Israel.
“There is a river,…” And, of course, that was one of the salvation aspects of Hezekiah’s—he had had his people dig a tunnel that went from one of the fresh water pools clear into the center of the city, where they were able to get their drinking water and so forth during the siege.
“There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, (Jerusalem) the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. 5. God is in the midst;…” There it comes again.
Over and over “in the midst.” Maybe I should take the time right now before we go any further. Let’s just chase down a few of these where we have a reference to the “midst.” Let’s go first to Isaiah chapter 12 verse 6. We’ll do this quickly, because this happens too often to not be a thread of Scripture.
“Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. 6. Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: (That’s Jerusalem, remember.) for great is the Holy One of Israel in (What?) the midst of thee.” He’s right in the center of their citywide activity.
All right, let’s go to Ezekiel chapter 43 verse 7. I’m just showing how this is a thread that carries all the way through these prophetic scriptures.
“And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcasses of their kings in their high places.”
All right, let’s turn to another one in Joel. Just keep going ahead—Joel chapter 2 verse 27. I want to make that impression on you, that this is not just a little quirk of one prophet. This is a theme of all the prophets coming up through Israel’s history, that the day is coming when Israel will have God in their midst in the person, of course, of the Son.
“And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else; and my people shall never be ashamed.” That is once He takes that place “in their midst,” which, of course, He is not tonight.
All right, let’s jump up ahead for just one more, a brief look at Zechariah chapter 5. We’re going to jump in at chapter 2 verse 5.
“For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.” See how that’s a constant promise? All right, then we can go on to just one more while we’re Zechariah. Chapter 8 verse 3 and we’ll have to close.
“Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain.” Now you’ve heard a lot about Jerusalem today, haven’t you? But, you see, that’s the very core of God’s dealing with His promised people – the city of Jerusalem.