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PSALM 144:11-15

A Great Old Testament Prayer!

"Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood; that our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace. That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store: that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets; That our oxen may be strong to labour; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets. Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD."

 

 A Preacher in his Study

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LESSON 1, VERSE 11:

We today begin to examine a prayer. One taken from the Psalms, Psalm 144 to be exact. This is absolutely lovely, what David asks of God. "Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood; that our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace. That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store: that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets; That our oxen may be strong to labour; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets. Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD." Psalm 144:11-15

This great series of petitions covers every need imaginable! From family to food to finances to protection to overall welfare!

It should be exciting examining every clause this paragraph contains.

Let's notice the first line, one of the negative desires in the Psalmist's heart. Often positive prayers begin with negative feelings. Usually some bad things must "go" before other good things can "come!" Read it with me: "Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood."

The verb "rid" is "patzsah," meaning "to put a gap between" two entities, between two people here, or two kinds of people. Also definitions include "to deliver, to part, to set free."

Then comes the parallel verb "natzsal," here translated "deliver" and meaning "to rescue, to snatch away, to recover."

Here is "separation" in a true Biblical sense.

"Strange" children are "nekar" children, actually suggesting "foreign or alien," strange in that sense. These are non-Jewish folks, gentiles and sinners who have lived lives of sin and ungodliness apparently.

But probably these people are overtly wicked, militantly so. "Activists" we'd call them now.

David labels them in a twofold manner, with two sets of sins. "Whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood."

Their "mouths," utilizing the Hebrew noun "peh," speak "vanity." And "shav" here means "emptiness" primarily but "falsehood" secondarily. But get this, "shav" is built upon a root word that means "to ravage, to destroy, to ruin, to waste!" That's what words can do!

But not only what they say makes these folks dangerous, maybe even more so, what they do, how they act! So Scripture adds: "Their right hand is a right hand of falsehood."

They "do," the obvious significance of that term "right hand," "falsehood." Here is the Hebrew noun "sheqer," meaning "deception, deceit," deliberately cheating and misleading people.

The second sin is worse that even the first, as is usually the case with iniquity. Paul even said this: "Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived." Second Timothy 3:13, where "shall wax" translates the Greek verb "prokopto," meaning "to cut one's way through a dense jungle," in other words "advancing and growing and getting deeper and deeper" into a thing! Sin intensifies! It proliferates! It never stays the same!

Our lesson may be too involved today, too much material.

David wants to rid his life of clutter so that he can pray in God's blessings!

In fact most great Bible prayers mention in them somewhere the elimination of evil as part of the sending of God's Mercy and Goodness and Grace!

Even the Jabez prayer does! "And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested." First Chronicles 4:10

The Lord's Prayer follows this pattern as well! "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen." Matthew 6:9-13

If we really want to pray for our families and other earthly needs, maybe we too had best start with the "praying away" of sin and rebellion from all those we love!

Oh, I'm thinking of Moses' daily prayer now. For Israel each morning as the Shekinah Glory Cloud began to move, leading the Nation forward toward the Promised land. "And the cloud of the LORD was upon them by day, when they went out of the camp. And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee. And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel." Numbers 10:34-36

Enough has been said today. The Holy Spirit Himself must apply the lesson to our hearts now.

And He will!

                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, STILL VERSE 11:

Yesterday as we covered the first verse of that great Prayer in Psalm 144, that being verses 11-15, where David prayed for God to remove the wicked men and women from his life, I had a thought.

Here's perfect Bible precedent on this subject: "How to handle one's enemies!" What to do when people are lying about you and trying to cheat and deceive you or a member of your family!

First to review the petition I'm pondering. David to the Lord: "Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood." Psalm 144:11

The "falsehood" noun, if you remember, is "sheqer." It means "fraud, deception, the intent to deceive, cheating!" This is deliberate dishonesty!

These people also have sinful tongues. They speak "vanity," in Hebrew "shav" meaning anything from "emptiness" on the lighter end of the scale to "lying" on the heavier end.

Yes, they are enemies of the child of God!

Like that person at work who does not like you. Or some distant family member who is jealous or vindictive. Or some stranger who had picked up a hatred for you, perhaps totally undeserved, and is trying to hurt you in some way.

Enemies!

Somebody who misunderstood something you said, maybe a while ago, and hates you for it. Or who has spread lies and gossip about you or someone you love.

Enemies!

What do I do?

How should I respond?

Take matters into my own hands?

Retaliate?

Forget about it and let them decimate me?

No, a dozen times no!

Here's the answer. Pray about it. Pray about them. Turn them over to the Lord. Ask God to deal with them!

That's exactly what David did in our Psalm. "Lord, rid me and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood."

God can remove them from your life!

Trust Him.

Paul did this time and time again, And he had many enemies over the years too. "Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works." Second Timothy 4:15

This is God's Plan.

Let's practice it.

                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, VERSE 12:

The prayer continues, from Psalm 144:11-15. This is an amazing but little-known Text too. It does not take David long, as he pleads with his Lord, to ask something for his children.

Here are his exact words, first for his boys then for his girls. We must study these petitions one at a time. The Psalmist's goals for his children are lofty, applicable to each of us who is a parent or grandparent.

Lead us, David, in prayer. "Lord, that our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth." Psalm 144:12, the first half of the verse.

The noun "sons" is "ben" in Hebrew. It is likely derived from the verb "banah," meaning "to build." Which is exactly what sons and daughters do for a family, increase and amplify a family's influence and potential.

Then the word "plants" is spelled "natia," an unusual expression found only this one time in all the Bible! That fact alone indicates something unique, very special! David treasured his children, his whole family. "Natia" is built upon the "nata" verb stem, which means "to fasten, to fix, to establish," hence the translation "to plant!"

This is a request that our boys be firm, resolute, faithful, steadfast in character and godliness.

Then the verb "grown up" is "gadal." It not only can indicate physical growth and health, but also "to become great or important!" Even "to be powerful." Also "to be magnified," and even at times "to be praised!"

And that last noun, "youth," really means "early life." Once in the King James Bible it's "childhood." Signs of excellence in the little boys, while they are still around Mom's apron strings! Around Dad's workshop!

Just think of this. David, at whatever stage of life he may be as he pens this prayer, this 144th Psalm, is keenly aware of his family. Even if he by now is a King, caring for the affairs of State, he loves little boys and girls and wishes them to be pure and intelligent and lovely and well-behaved and godly!

Now that's an amazing desire, even from a person whom Paul describes in Acts 13:22 as "a man after God's Own Heart."

Earlier in the Psalms, Psalm 27:4 to be exact, David gives us his number one desire. "One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple." I suppose this love for his children grew out of that mammoth love for his God!

It usually does.

Come back tomorrow and we will examine David's prayer for the girls too, his daughters. It is equally thrilling. "Lord, that our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace."

God answers such prayers, if they are prayed!

                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, STILL VERSE 12:

Not often in the Bible do girls take precedent. Some would argue with that statement I guess. At least girls and ladies were not the focus until Jesus came. Our Lord spend much of his time and shared many a miracle with ladies who needed some form of help. Truthfully, Jesus accepted the help of ladies as well, time and time again apparently. A group of them followed the Lord nearly everywhere He went according to Luke 8:1-3.

One exception to this general trend in Scripture, this patriarchy in the Bible, is found in Psalm 144:12. Here David prays, intently, not only for his sons ... but his daughters too!

Word for word, here's what he asked God: "That our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace."

This is a lovely turn of words, but what does it mean? "That our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace." 

The noun "daughters" is "bath," closely related to the noun for "sons," which is "ben." Both words are linked to "banah," a Hebrew verb meaning "to build," as in "building" a godly family, with one's children.

"Corner stones" translates "zaviyth," a noun indicating "brightness!" It is thought to be from an archaic root word meaning "to be prominent!" David has no desire to "hide" or "minimize" his little girls! He wants them to be outstanding, unusual, magnificent!

Plus this, a cornerstone in any building is critical, needing to be both strong and lovely. Therefore the writer, David, extends his metaphor. Further asking God to make his daughters "polished" stones! "That our daughters may be as corner stones, polished ...."

This verb is "chatab," a word meaning "hewn, cut" or "carved." The idea here surely is that of carefully planned training and character development! By the parent on the child's behalf! This takes time and effort, lots of prayer too. And a genuine love for these little daughters.

But talk about a Dad feeling that his daughter is "special!" He writes, no, he prays to the Lord: "That our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace."

Not just any cornerstone! Like those at the palace! Like those in the Kings and Queen's Place of Residence!

The best in the land!

This noun "palace" is "heykal," meaning not only "place" but at times "temple, sanctuary." Yes, these girls are "holy" in the eyes of their Father! Children are gifts from God!

I think this clause speaks of daughters being, as an answer to prayer and a result of consistent teaching, both "strong" like pillars of stone and "lovely" like columns in front of an ornate building and "special" like daughters of a king!

"That our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace." 

Wow!

                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, VERSE 13:

This great prayer continues. Not to be boring, but to give us an overview, here it is once again. Remember, it's addressed to the Lord Himself.

"Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood; that our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace. That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store: that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets; That our oxen may be strong to labour; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets. Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD." Psalm 144:11-15, where the capitalized words are today's focus, today's lesson.

This is obviously a request for food, for groceries, for sustenance! "That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store."

The petition in front of us equals that of "The Lord's Prayer!" Where Jesus allowed us also to pray to our Heavenly Father, "Give us this day our daily bread." Matthew 6:11

Trusting God for provision!

For the necessities of life!

"Lord, that our garners may be full, affording all manner of store."

The noun "garners" is "mezev," just meaning a barn or a storage silo for grain, a "granary" the books say. This picture alone suggests "plenty!" An abundance of food, apparently not only for today but the future!

"Full," the adjective, is "male," meaning a "multitude" or just "of great worth." Once in the King James Text it is rendered as "with child," obviously a word picture.

The verb "affording" is "puq," found only seven times in the Bible and meaning "furnishing. promoting, issuing, drawing out." These storage bins literally "overflow" with good things to eat!

And "all manner of store," that phrase, means "of different kinds" of produce, healthy vegetation! It's "zan" in Hebrew, from a root verb that means "to feed."

Surely today's truth is this, God wants to provide our basic needs! He encourages us to ask for these things!

And what he did for David long ago, He can still do for us today!

Someone reading here today who is discouraged or needy or facing an almost insurmountable financial problem, nearly hungry perhaps, take heart!

Ask this very thing of your great God! "Lord, that our garners may be full, affording all manner of store."

He still answers prayer!

                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6, STILL VERSE 13:

We are going to study an Old Testament way of asking for a modern-day blessing. The verse for today is part of a great prayer from the Psalms, Psalm 144 to be exact.

Here's the petition David asks of the Lord: "That our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets." Again, it's from Psalm 144:13.

Most everyone in Israel was a farmer, at least that long ago. When the Nation first entered the land every family was allotted a piece of ground, enough to raise crops and rear cattle or sheep.

For one's sheep to be healthy and fertile means that the family income will grow. I suggest that this is basically the same as asking God for a "raise!" Quite a hefty one too!

Tens of thousands of additional livestock are real sources of investment for a farmer! Blessings galore!

The noun "sheep" is interesting. It's "tzson" in Hebrew and means anything from cattle to sheep to goats, but the word is derived from an unused root verb that means "to migrate." Animals "on the move." And sheep do need a shepherd and pasture land. They congregate in flocks too!

This may be hyperbole, then again maybe not. God can bless flocks of animals that much!

But get this today please. The same God Who can cause animals to bear many young and healthy offspring can also send a man or woman in twenty-first century America an increase in pay!

And it apparently, at least at times, is appropriate to pray for such a thing!

"Lord, we are trying to pay our bills. We are doing all we can. We've been honest with our creditors. Please help us to make more money to maintain our faithful testimony for Thee. Give me that promotion at work if it's Thy Will. Give us that salary increase. In Jesus' Name, Amen."

To me asking this is about the same as trusting God for your sheep to proliferate mightily.

Once again, just needing a little application for today. "That our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets." 

Thank you, Lord, for caring for us so tenderly.

                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, VERSE 14:

We are studying the prayer of Psalm 144:11-15. We have arrived at the petition that asks the Lord: "That our oxen may be strong to labour." These words are located at the beginning of the fourteenth verse.

If I understand this request it is asking God for "strength!" Yes, strength for one's farm animals in particular, but nonetheless "strength!"

The word utilized by the Holy Spirit here is "sabal," translated "be strong to labour." It means "to bear a load" or better yet "to carry a heavy burden."

"That our oxen may be strong to labour."

I would like to take this Old Testament idea for farm animals and apply it to present-day Christians like us. Men and women who often need God's touch, God's special gift of strength for whatever reason.

Undoubtedly God can bless us with such a thing, with strength.

At least he did as Jacob prayed concerning his son Asher. Read it with me. "And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil. Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be." Deuteronomy 33:24-25

As thy days, as long as God allows you to live ... may He grant you strength for the weeks and months and years as they come and go!

What an expectation from the Lord! What a prayer request! What great faith! What a great Lord Who can do such a thing!

Then blessed old Paul enters the picture with his classic Philippians 3:13 remark! "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

Yes!

No doubt about it, God is the Giver of strength!

In fact, His very Name is "God Almighty." One of His great Names anyway.

Is someone reading here "weak" today? Seeking help and encouragement and a spiritual or physical boost?

Take that need to the Lord. He will answer and can readily provide the strength we so earnestly need.

If He can strengthen the livestock as our day's verse says, He can certainly strengthen the farmer who walks behind those beautiful animals too!

                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8, STILL VERSE 14:

David is clearly praying for his family. He has already discussed with the Lord his children, both the boys and the girls. And his oxen, his livestock and farm and its productivity.

Now he asks for something else, a form of protection. His very words: "That there be no breaking in, nor going out." Psalm 144:14

What does this mean?

I think that his home be safe!

The term "breaking in" is "peretzs," meaning a "breach or gap," probably in the city walls. Or in the wall of prayer that's been built around a family! David is essentially asking: "Lord, keep any intruder away from our home, from my family!"

This can be a literal burglar of course, but also no doubt an enemy of the faith. Some skeptic who wishes to destroy the sacred beliefs of our children or other loved ones!

"That there be no breaking in, nor going out." Where the Psalm 144:14 expression "going out" is "yatzsa" in Hebrew, meaning "departing or exiting." The teachers say this refers to an "exile," a loss of one's property and homeland. In other words: "Lord, keep us moored and fixed to our foundation, to our original convictions and ways of life, when we first met Thee and began to follow Thee!"

No departing from the faith!

No apostasy!

Living First Corinthians 15:58, more or less. "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."

Goodness!

What a prayer, or part of a prayer!

No undesired intrusions!

No unexpected defections!

With God's Hand of Safety upon us and our own! Much like Moses prayed every night as Israel rested! "Moses said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel." Numbers 10:36

God be with us!

He is our Safety!

                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 9, STILL VERSE 14:

David continues one of the most comprehensive prayers in the Bible. In Psalm 144:14 he asks the Lord: "That there be no complaining in our streets."

What a request!

Unusual too!

The man of God here has already petitioned God for success on his job, and grace upon his family.

Now this, "That there be no complaining in our streets."

This aspect of the prayer affects the attitudes of a family! Of a community! Of a whole city apparently!

The "noun" complaining, a verbal really, is called a gerund in English, a verbal noun. It translates "tzsvachah" in Hebrew and means "crying or shouting." It's from a root word that indicates something like our word "hollering."

No fussing!

No fighting!

No disharmony!

In other words, if reversed, peace in our midst!

Psalm 133 tells of the major blessing of such unity. "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments. As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore."

This great 144th Psalm, its prayer, just asks for the thing that brings such gigantic blessings. And that thing is "no complaining!"

Peace and kindness and grace and mercy and understanding and tolerance and Christian forbearance and peace!

God grant it to us!

To our homes and families and churches!

"That there be no complaining in our streets."

Truly this lesson can end with an element of excitement. Praying for peace!

Amen.

                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Oh, let me add another word. That noun for "streets" does not limit itself to the lanes and highways and roads of a nation. It is spelled "rechob" in Hebrew and means "any broad or open space." Even a "plaza" can be implied. That is, any place where people congregate.

No arguing ... anywhere!

 

 

LESSON 10, VERSE 15:

David's great prayer has ended. But if God chooses to answer such noble requests, verse fifteen certainly will be the case. "Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD." Again, this is Psalm 144:15

In other words, if God has done these things: "Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood; that our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace. That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store: that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets; That our oxen may be strong to labour; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets."

Then, happy and blessed and honored will be the people who enjoy such things, such gifts, from their Lord!

I guess so!

"Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD."

The two times the word "happy "occurs here, the Holy Spirit uses a Hebrew interjection!

A statement of surprise and glee!

Spelled "esher," the word indicates a state of "blessedness," enjoying God's grace and mercy and love!

Our verse also implies that if one has Jehovah, the God of Abraham, the Triune Ruler and Creator and Redeemer, if a person holds this God as True and Righteous ... if one has been saved in New Testament language ... then that man or woman is the recipient of multiple benefits daily from their Heavenly father.

"In such a case" just means "like this."

Folks, all I know to do is encourage each of us to pray these petitions. Pray about wickedness. Pray about our families. Pray about our needs. Pray about attitudes. Then claim the answers to those requests!

The result?

Really, the results?

Blessings from God above!

James was right. "Ye have not because ye ask not." James 4:2

These past few Bible lessons have given us the prayer list David used. And this fifteenth verse tells us the outcome of praying such things.

Let's get started!

                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Remember what Samuel said long ago. "God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you." First Samuel 12:23

 

 

 

 

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