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  • Writer's picturePastor Mike

April 04 2024


Thursday April 04

“Man Is Like a Breath…”

 

Psalm 144:1-4

A Psalm of David.

1 Blessed be the LORD my Rock, Who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle--

2 My lovingkindness and my fortress, My high tower and my deliverer, My shield and the One in whom I take refuge, Who subdues my people under me.

3 LORD, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You are mindful of him?

4 Man is like a breath; His days are like a passing shadow.

 

The title of Psalm 144 tells us that David wrote this psalm. From the context of the psalm, we learn that he wrote it to "bless the Lord" (vv. 1, 15) and honor Him for making him a successful warrior and king, and to pray for His continued blessing of his people. In the middle section of the psalm, we notice that he was concerned about dangers around them (vv. 6-7, 11) and needs within the land (vv. 12-14).

 

In writing this psalm, it also appears that he used material from Psalm 18, his great song of victory when he finally delivered from the hand of Saul and became king. David had been a fugitive for perhaps ten to fifteen years when he was fleeing from Saul. At thirty years of age, he became king reigned over the tribe of Judah for seven years and six months (2 Samuel 2:11; 5:3-5). By the time he became king of all the tribes and made Jerusalem his capital, he had seen many battles and would fight many more over the next thirty-three years of his reign.

 

During his years of exile, David had learned much about himself and about the Lord. It is possible that David wrote this psalm shortly after he became the king of all twelve tribes. Some commentators believe he might have written it after he resumed the throne after his exile and the defeat of his son Absolom. But whenever he wrote it, in this psalm, he gives witness to Jehovah, the God of Israel, and reminded his people that their God was not like the gods of their neighbors. In verses 1-4, David reminds us that we have a loving God Who cares for us personally.

 

God prepares and equips His leaders, and David had no fear of the future (Psalms 18:34, 45; 55:21; 78:9). David often used the image of God as a Rock, fortress, (Ps. 18:2), and as shield (Ps. 3:3). In verse 2, he also calls God, “My lovingkindness”. Other translations use the phrase "my goodness" or "my loving God". David acknowledge that it was the LORD “Who trained his hands for war and his fingers for battle”.  When our boys were young I often said that this was their favorite verse in the Bible as they constantly fought with each other.

 

David inherited twelve tribes that did not always get along with each other, and during the years immediately following the death of King Saul, tribal rivalry and conflict created numerous problems. But God brought about political unity within the nation and also gave David victory against the enemies outside the nation (Psalm 18:47-48). But David's position and reputation did not go to his head, for he asked, "Who am I that God should do this for me?"

 

The statements in verses 3-4, “LORD, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You are mindful of him? Man is like a breath; His days are like a passing shadow”, remind us of Psalm 8:4, and this is a reminder that we need, especially when we think we can handle life without trusting God. The Hebrew word translated "breath" is habel, the name of one of Adam's sons (Abel). Interestingly this same word “habel” is translated "vanity" thirty-eight times in Ecclesiastes. (See also Psalms 39:4-6, 11; 62:9; 78:33; 94:11.)

 

The "shadow" image is also found in Psalm 102:11, 109:23, Job 8:9 and 14:2, and Ecclesiastes 6:12 and 8:13. James tells us in James 4:14, “Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

 

Life is brief at its best and we need to always remember how helpless we are without the Lord! Without the LORD we will live an empty and “vain” life. Make sure that you can say like David, “The LORD is My lovingkindness and my fortress, My high tower and my deliverer, My shield and the One in whom I take refuge”.

 

God bless!

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