Saturday, November 24, 2007

Psalm 144

Psalm 144 is one of my favorites. I picture David looking across the field the night before a great battle. In 24 hours, the battlefield will be littered with corpses, will smell of blood and will echo with the moans of the dying.

First, he blesses the God who has equipped him as a warrior. Then, he muses over the disgust God must have with those whose sinful hearts create the horror of war. What is man that thou art mindful of him? Then he calls upon God to come and miraculously defeat the enemy, to deliver David from the carnage and death of just this one battle.

Then, finally, he remembers why he fights. It is to preserve and protect the sons and daughters of the covenant, that they may live and flourish and prosper in the land given to them by the covenant Lord. And, finally, David ends, as he began, with a word of blessing.

Blessed are the people whose God is the LORD.

This song is for all the sheepdogs out there who follow Christ. I like to sing it to Azmon (usually, the C.M tune setting for "O, for a Thousand Tongues")
   1  Blest be the Lord my strength, that doth
instruct my hands to fight;
The Lord that doth my fingers frame
to battle by his might.
   2  He is my hope, my fort, and tow'r,
deliverer and shield;
In him I trust, my people he
subdues to me to yield.
   3  O Lord, what thing is man, that him
thou dost so highly prize!
Or son of man, that upon him
thou thinkest in such wise!
   4  Man is but like to vanity,
so pass his days to end,
As fleeting shade. Bow down, O Lord,
the heav'ns, and thence descend;
   5  The mountains touch, and they shall smoke,
cast forth thy lightning's flame,
And scatter them; thy arrows shoot,
consume them with the same.
   6  Send down thy hand from heav'n above,
O Lord, deliver me;
Take me from waters great, from hand
of strangers set me free;
   7  Whose subtle mouth of vanity
with flatt'ring words doth treat,
And their right-hand is a right-hand
of falsehood and deceit.
   8  A new song will I sing to thee,
O God the Lord most high,
And on a ten-stringed lute also
praise thee most joyfully.
   9  E'en he it is that only gives
deliverance to kings;
Unto his servant David help
from hurtful sword he brings;
  10  From strangers' hand me save and shield,
whose mouth talks vanity,
And their right-hand is a right-hand
of guile and subtlety.
  11  That so our sons may be as plants
which growing youth doth rear,
Our daughters as carved corner-stones,
like to a palace fair;
  12  Our garners full and plenty may
of sundry sorts be found;
Our sheep bring thousands, in our streets
ten thousand may abound:
   13  Our oxen be to labor strong,
that none may us invade;
No goings out there be, nor cries
within our streets be made.
  14  The people happy are that with
such blessings great are storm;
Yea, blessed all the people are,
whose God is God the Lord.

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