Sunday, July 5, 2009

Psummer Psalm Pseries - Psalm 19


1The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
2Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.
3There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard.
4Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their utterances to the end of the world.
In them He has placed a tent for the sun, 5Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; it rejoices as a strong man to run his course.
6Its rising is from one end of the heavens, and its circuit to the other end of them; and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
7The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
8The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.
10They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
11Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
12Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults.
13Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; let them not rule over me; then I will be blameless, and I shall be acquitted of great transgression.
14Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.

Ever had your eyes opened up to something you never saw before. It is like understanding an illusion. We had Lou Leventhol from Emmanuel Baptist Church speak at the ministerial Christmas banquet. He did 2 illusions. The first was with a newspaper. He ripped it up and then unfolded an unripped newspaper - it was quite impressive. In the second one he made a Bowling ball appear out of a big notebook - also quite impressive. In 2 Corinthians 4 we read that the god of this world - Satan - has blinded the eyes of the unbelieving. One of the reasons why it is hard to reach people for Jesus is because they are blind! How difficult that must be, to be blind. In John we read a story of a man born blind. Jesus heals him, and for the first time in his life he can see! This Psalm talks a bit about this. This Psalm challenges us to open up both our physical and our spiritual eyes and look around. In these verse we find 2 revelations of God and a revelation for our self.

1) Verses 1-6 Natural revelation “glory of Elohim”
This is a great passage full of imagery. It talks about the out ward light, the sun, and its portrayal of God the Creator. The first few verses are great: They talk of speech without words or voice. Although they may not be popular, mimes create a message with nether sound nor words, but easily tell the story of their heart. The trick is to look around you, at the world and creation, and see God rather than man. We as humans have messed up our world in so many ways that we can make it hard to see God. Some of us need to slow down in order to see God. Some of us need to get out more into the world. Just open yourself to the possibility and see how God answers your search. The thing about the sun, is that even a blind man can feel the heat of the sun. In the same way, even a non-Christian can feel the love of the Gospel. We go through phases in music, and one song that comes and goes over the years is Louis Armstrong’s A Wonderful World. That song is about looking around you and seeing the wonder of life. We spent some time yesterday at Kinsmen park by the wading pool. I was struck by all the mothers and dads of varying shapes and sizes caring in the same way of love for their little ones. There is a commonality of human experience that also involves a search for understanding. It is a search for the reason of life, and ultimately the answer is found in Jesus.

2) Verses 7-9 Special Revelation, Scripture
A friend of mine had a wonderful testimony of how he came to the Lord. He was laid up in a hospital bed, and someone gave him a Bible. He started reading the book of Romans. If you know Romans, you know Paul poses several rhetorical questions in the first half of the book. As my friend read, he couldn’t answer or refute the questions. By the end of the book he gave his life to Jesus. In all my training to lead someone to Jesus, Scripture is always used. It is the foundation of our faith. It is where we derive our doctrine. It is where we find our understanding of who we are in Jesus.
Where as the first few verses of Psalm 19 talked about the outward light of the sun, these verses talk about the inward light of the Scriptures. The word for God here is different. It is Yahweh, God’s personal name, that is used here. The reason is simple: this passage is about Scripture, and the Scriptures simply reflect the character of God. Look at the words used for Scripture first: law, testimony, precepts, commandments, fear, judgements. These 6 things all reflect a different aspect of what God’s word does. The law, for example, talks about the ethics - what is right and what is wrong. The testimony is about encouragement. Scripture does so many different things. That is one reason why we hand out the daily planners from the Bible Society. They include 3 tracks: one to read a chapter a day, a second to read through the New Testament in a year, and a third to read through the Bible in a year.
Reading the Bible is one of 3 key things you need to be involved with. The second is prayer, and the third is community. These 3 are like a 3-legged stool, that sits firm on the ground. Even if one leg is a bit shorter than the others, a three legged stool never rocks. A 2 legged or 1 legged stool, on the other hand, is all about balance, and invariably you will fall. The reformation was based on getting back to the Scriptures, and in this age of post modernism we need more than ever to know and understand the depths of the Bible
Look also at the words used to describe the Scripture: Perfect/complete, sure, right, pure, clean, true, desirable. Aren’t these words that also describe God? Remember that the Law, the Word of God is basically a revelation of who God is. It makes sense that the character of God, then, is described in a description of the Word of God. Remember that passage in Hebrews 1:1-3a “ 1God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,
2in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature…” This is about revelation of who God is. That is what the Scriptures does for us.

3) Verses 10-13 Self revelation
Look at the words describing what the Scriptures does in us. The first word used is “desirable”. They create in us a yearning for God. I mentioned before the man in Winnipeg who was Islam and wanted to immigrate. He was told if he said he was a Christian it would be easier, so he started to read the Bible so he knew what it is about. He ended up becoming a Christian because the Scriptures do that. When Billy Graham preached, he always had a Bible in his hand, and a verse on his lips. It is the Scripture that God uses to cut us to the quick, to probe to the innermost parts of our lives.
The second thing Scripture does in us is to warn us, to guide us away from danger. A month or two ago my dad sent me some stuff from my childhood. One of the things he sent was a 5 star memory certificate. It was awarded to me when I was 10 years old. I had to memorize 5 things: the Lord’s Prayer, the 10 Commandments, the Beatitudes, the 23 Psalm, and the Books of the Bible. Those things along with the verses and stories I memorized in Sunday School and Stockade and Battalion were invaluable to me as I grew up. I just saw an article yesterday that talked about how people are leaving the church, not just when they enter college, but before that. We need as a church to teach our kids what the Bible says. We as adults need to know it ourselves, and not just from years gone by. We think we are self righteous because we follow the don’t commands about adultery and gluttony, but forget about the ones about gossip and the do ones about love. The Scriptures help us to stay current and in doing so keep us on the path of holiness. What was it that Jesus used in Hid temptation in the wilderness - it was Scripture.
The third word here is sins - the very thing that is against the character of God. You have God here… and everything that isn’t here is sin. Sin is what God is not. The Scripture illuminates sin in our lives. The Spirit uses Scripture to convict us, to lead us back to Jesus when we stray. Each of these three words are about illuminating us from the inside out; about changing us from the inside out. Allow the Scripture to invade your life like the rain water invades the dirt of the farmers fields. Let it saturate you with the character of God, and lead you in the ways of righteousness.
Make your commitment today, in the same way as verse 14 concludes this Psalm: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.”

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