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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

July 11, 2024

Rēad to Read …Again


Daily Reading: Psalm 140-145

 

Psalm 141:5

Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities.

 

Such a bold prayer. Only a person that is serious about increasing their personal righteousness would dare pray like this. Imagine a king asking such a thing as these. David did. And God answered!

 

Psalm 141 according to the Reese Chronological Bible was written in 1028 B.C. Twenty-three years later, 1005 B.C., King David committed the horrible sin of adultery with Bath-Sheba. To cover up his sin he ordered her good husband to be placed in the most dangerous position in a battle that he would be killed. He was. Then, within the year, Nathan, a prophet of God skillfully confronted David and exposed his sin telling him, Thou art the man (II Samuel 12:7). Nathan, a righteous man, smote David, not physically but rather with the words of his message. This rebuke of the man of God served the king well in that he repented, and wrote one of the greatest penitential songs of all time. We call it Psalm 51. Here is the beginning stanza of the song;

 

Psalm 51:1-4

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

 

Yes, David, the king, was smitten but it was a kindness, he was reproved but it was like excellent oil.  It did not break him, it was the beginning of healing him. Proverbs 20:30 states: The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil:… David was not wounded physically but most certainly he was emotionally. Also, Proverbs 6:23 confirms that, …reproofs of instruction are the way of life:. For a person who desires to live a life of righteousness, reproofs from the righteous are like a medicinal ointment, it both cleans out a wound and starts the healing process. But only if the patient is absolutely committed to truly being healed from sinful actions.

 

Many people have visited a doctor with an ailment but fail to follow the prescriptions or treatments that the doctor recommends. Only a person who has the sincere desire to be right with the Lord God, typified by praying a prayer like David’s, will see the smiting words of reproof as kindness, and excellent oil.

 

The last phrase of today’s verse causes many an argument about its exact meaning. This is one of those instances in Bible interpretation wherein the old saying “When the Bible makes perfect sense seek no other sense” should be implemented. This entire verse is speaking about righteous individuals helping others. David seems to indicate that those same righteous individuals may have their own calamities of life. If and when that happens the king states that he will pray for them in their situations, not harm them in any form of retribution or reprisal as other lesser men may be prone to do.

 

The next time in church, when the message from the man of God smites and reproves, don’t get offended, or mad. Get glad, for the message will not break you. It is preached out of love, coupled with prayer, to help, heal, and perhaps halt from worse actions with greater calamities.

 

Dr. William T. Howe

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