The Apple of His Eye ... commentary of Psalm 74
The Apple of His Eye
… A commentary of Psalm 74
Psalm 74:5 “A man was famous according as he had lifted up axes upon the thick trees.”
So, you want to be Famous
Some want to be celebrated!
Some want fame … whatever the price!
And some love to have people to talk highly about them.
Some are always in line to get praise.
Some want to be renowned!
Some want to be known for great exploits.
Yes, it’s all about position and fame.
Our verse begins like this:
“A man was famous…
There are people that you will meet in life who just crave position, power or wealth or maybe it’s all the above.
Now, just close your eyes for a moment and maybe you will recall so and so, and what so and so desired the most, that so and so was in a trajectory … set for fame.
We have here placed by the Spirit of God [in the book of Numbers, chapter sixteen] an incident involving three men who were seeking fame, renown and position above the people.
Here is what these men did. These three men “took men” [two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, already “famous in the congregation”] to perform as co-conspirators with them, and they all “rose up” against Moses. It was a rebellion! All for FAME!
The end of this story shows where these cravings for fame will take a person or persons. It is BAD END!
Let’s begin reading this passage: “Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men:
And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown:
And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?” [Numbers 16:1-2]
Now it is obvious to anyone who reads this narrative involving Korah, Dathan and Abiram.
It’s … as plain as the nose on your face what they were after in life.
· Korah wanted fame.
· Dathan wanted fame.
· Abiram wanted fame.
And all three were most willing to do most anything [This includes causing strife and usurping authority] to come out on top of the pile.
Notice this: They gathered themselves together to push their agenda.
[The two hundred and fifty princes + Korah + Dathan + Abiram = 253 rebels.]
Observation: Rebels always have a tendency to gather with other rebels.
A man seeking fame may mean getting a name down here [on Earth] but not getting a name up there in Heaven. Those that are known of men down here … are not the same men to be known of God up in Heaven.
Observation: Some throw away the eternal for the temporal gain.
Now, the rest of the story will not come out well for Korah, Dathan and Abiram. If you read on down from verse five through thirty, and you will see how everything gets sorted out in the contest between God’s man [Moses], and these three rebels. [Numbers 16:5-30]
See verse thirty-one, and we will continue there.
The fame seekers now meet their end: “And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them:
And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.
They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.
And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also.
And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.
And the LORD spake
unto Moses, saying,
Speak unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, that he take up the censers out of the burning, and scatter thou the fire yonder; for they are hallowed.
The censers of these sinners against their own souls, let them make them broad plates for a covering of the altar: for they offered them before the LORD, therefore they are hallowed: and they shall be a sign unto the children of Israel.
And Eleazar the priest took the brasen censers, wherewith they that were burnt had offered; and they were made broad plates for a covering of the altar:
To be a memorial unto the children of Israel, that no stranger, which is not of the seed of Aaron, come near to offer incense before the LORD; that he be not as Korah, and as his company: as the LORD said to him by the hand of Moses.” [Numbers 16:31-40]
These men sinned against their own souls. They paid a horrible price to pursue fame. The ultimate commentary for this whole story is given to us by no less than by God HIMSELF, when HE walked down here on this earth in HIS first advent.
Now, are you ready for this? Jesus Christ, the Son of God propounded, [in the Gospel of Mark, chapter eight, verse thirty-six] this: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” [Mark 8:36]
Down through the ages, the people that are famous here on earth among men do exploits. The famous do exploits! The mighty men do exploits!
Now, some men do exploits in the strength of the flesh. Others do exploits through the unseen powers derived from “principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” [Ephesians 6:12]
Recall Nimrod: “He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.” [Genesis 10:9]
Now, there is someone who in the near future will do exploits because he hates God. He heart shall be against the holy covenant. He is a vile person, who is located in the book of Daniel, chapter eleven, verse twenty-five, and the prophet prophecies of this exploit.
Daniel 11:28-32: “Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land.
At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter.
For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant.
And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.”
And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries:”
In contrast to these exploits [via flatteries against God] by certain men, there will be exploits performed by through faith in God by the people of God. Look here now at the next verse in Daniel [see the last part of verse thirty-two]: It continues here with the word: BUT … “but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.”
So, the people of God, and of HIS SON, Jesus Christ, also, do exploits! The difference is: They do exploits through faith in God and in God’s word. The word of God contains promises. These people had faith: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. These people believed in the promises of God.” [Hebrews 11:1]
Read the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews in chapter eleven. Come down to verse thirty-two and thirty-three, and we see this: “And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,” [Hebrews 11:32-33].
Conclusion: Rather than pursuing fame, and renown, here on this earth in the now, it is far, far better, to seek to be famous with God through FAITH in having our names written “in the book of life”. [Philippians 4:3] Amen!
Now something else: Believing on the LORD Jesus Christ puts us on the road in the way of humility. It puts us effectively on THE CROSS, so that we can say, as Paul said: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”: [Galatians 2:20]
This identification mark of humility borne in the believer has other facets in the promises of God. Mind you: There is a promise given to us of God in the book of the Proverbs, twenty-two: “By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.” [Proverbs 22:4] God does all the heavy lifting for the humble in heart!!! [Humility is the opposite of pride.]
It is better for one to be humble and let God do the promoting: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” [James 4:10]
In the Gospel according to Luke [in chapter fourteen, verse ten], the LORD gives further light with this divine directive: “But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.” [Luke 14:10].
Now take note: The desire of some men is to be celebrated!
Some men just want all the fame … whatever the price!
Observe: Some men love to have other people talking highly about them.
And some men stand in line … only to get praise.
Some men crave to be renowned!
For these, it is all about position and fame.
Commentary: There always has been certain men down through history who have sought for position and fame.
Napoleon is one of them.
“…according as he had lifted up axes upon the thick trees.”
Napoléon Bonaparte was born 15 August 1769.
Napoleon was a French statesman and military leader who rose to great fame during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars.
Napoleon’s thick axe was his ability coalesce men around him and galvanize them to action. He totally dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. But for what price?
In the end he died defeated, broken and in isolation on May 5, 1821 on the island of St. Helena at the age of 51.
Lesson learned? Napoléon Bonaparte lifted his axe upon the thick trees for a very short time, and for what?
“For what is a man
profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose
his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange
for his soul?” [Matthew 16:26]