Summer In The Psalms:
The Oldest Glory
Will you take a moment with me to contemplate the existence of God? Where did He come from? Where exactly is He? What is His role as God? Today our Psalm stimulates awe of God – the One from whom was before all things existed.
1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. 2 For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas and built it on the ocean depths.
3 Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? 4 Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies. 5 They will receive the Lord’s blessing and have a right relationship with God their savior. 6 Such people may seek you and worship in your presence, O God of Jacob. 7 Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter. 8 Who is the King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty; the Lord, invincible in battle. 9 Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter. 10 Who is the King of glory? The Lord of Heaven’s Armies—he is the King of glory.
How do we understand God? Simply put, we cannot. But we can enjoy Him, we can celebrate Him, we can know Him, we can experience Him, and we can live with Him forever.
But… we cannot completely understand God – we can’t even understand how He came to be in the first place – and we need to be comfortable with what we don’t or can’t know.
Let’s do this for a moment. Let’s talk about what we cannot understand about God.
God existed before time. God was before time – He’s always been. What?? Everything that was first created had to be created by somebody. That somebody is God! Ok, maybe we might be able to accept that but, when did God decide that creation would happen? It wasn’t a matter of when, but (because God was the Creator of all things), anything created had to be created, and that includes the creation of… time!
Billy Graham said this about God in his column “Answers” Sept. 22, 2006: “No, I can’t understand how God could have always existed—but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true! God is far greater than anything we see around us, and the Bible reminds us that He is “the high and lofty One … who lives forever, whose name is holy” - One reason we have difficulty understanding this is because even time itself was created by God. Before time began, God already existed! This is why the Bible calls Him “the Alpha and the Omega (which are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet), the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End”. Part of God’s greatness is that He is eternal. Unlike us, He had no beginning and He has no end.”
Wow, that’s a lot to wrap our minds around – even Billy Graham struggled with it. It’s hard to understand – however – one really cool part about God, is that He is completely unfazed by anything! Because He’s always been, He’s seen it all! All of the phenomenal knowledge man has accumulated and made instantaneously available to anyone with access to the internet still hasn’t changed God! Newsflash! “God is completely unfazed by technology!”
As God, time is irrelevant to Him. Think about this for a moment…. We spend an inordinate amount of “time” worrying, working, recreating, planning, using technology and sleeping. But God isn’t concerned about the time we spend per se, He’s concerned about us!
Billy Graham also said this… “The Bible, however, also tells us another great truth about God. It is this: Before time began, He was already preparing the way for our salvation. The Bible says, “This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time” (2 Timothy 1:9). And because Jesus Christ is fully divine, He too is eternal—and that’s one reason why we can trust Him for our eternal salvation. Most of all, never forget that one day over 2,000 years ago this eternal God came down to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. He did this to prove that He loves us and wants us to spend eternity with Him in heaven forever.”
Before time began, God was already preparing the way for our salvation! Imagine with me for a moment - God was hanging out with Jesus & the Holy Spirit. They were enjoying being together as they always had been – none of them needed to remember what it was like before they “hung out” because they always had and knew they always would. But, they did have this thought…. Let’s make man in our own image! Let’s make him our friend. Let’s give him “free will” and put him in paradise, but let’s remember our function – because we will need our complete, cooperative power to ensure that our creation will always be able to be with us – forever – without the restriction of time!
God’s plan? To create you, to have a relationship with you and for you to someday understand the complete irrelevance of “time.” But He did attach a qualification!
David said it in today’s Psalm…
Psalm 24:3-6 - Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? 4 Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies. 5 They will receive the Lord’s blessing and have a right relationship with God their savior. 6 Such people may seek you and worship in your presence, O God of Jacob.
You might be thinking right now – “hey, how in the world can I be holy?” The short answer – you can’t. But God can make you holy.
Romans 3:10-12 - as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
Yet, God from before time began, His plan was for His creation to “need” Him, to “need” Jesus. Remember the verse Billy Graham referred to earlier?
2 Timothy 1:9 (NLT): For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.
So, what is God looking for? The prophet Isaiah gives you the qualifications straight from God Himself:
Isaiah 66:1-2 - Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”
There is one, big, significant problem we all have. It’s sin. And in spite of the time we think we have, our excuses “someday” or “in due time” or “when I’m ready” or “when I’m ready to settle down” will not diminish sin’s affect on our soul or our ability to connect with God – to give Him the glory He deserves. Why? Because we are not holy. We need to use God’s solution to our lack of holiness – the gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ.
Let’s come to grips with some very important facts this morning.
1. God is eternal – you were made in His image – you too, are eternal.
2. You can’t know every detail about your future and you can’t know everything that God knows because you just can’t. So, stop trying to. Look at what happened to Adam & Eve. The tempter, the devil, told them they would know as much as God if they ate the fruit from the tree God told them not to. The devil said – you’ll know as much as God – knowing both good and evil – so they tried it – and all of a sudden, they knew even less – but they quickly perceived they were in trouble. You don’t need to know what God knows, you don’t need to have all the answers, you just need to get to know God, personally.
3. You do, however, need to know that you do have the ability to grasp enough of God to know He loves you and that He alone can make you holy, so you can enter into life eternal as His child through Jesus Christ.
How important is this “salvation” through Jesus Christ?
I Peter 1:10-12 - 10 This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. 11 They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward. 12 They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.
Do you realize how wonderful this all is? Even though your finite mind cannot comprehend all of what you can experience on earth, how much more can you expect to understand all of God’s characteristics? However, you can understand that you must have a clean heart and clean hands and then you will receive the Lord’s blessing and have a right relationship with God and Christ your savior.
Let’s finish with understanding the power of God as it relates to His willingness to restore us to His intended position for us – His children!
King David after committing adultery and murder, was inconsolable. David was confronted by Nathan of his sin and given the unbearable news that because of his terrible sin and because he showed contempt of the Word of God, his baby conceived by the adulterous relationship would die. However Nathan the prophet let David know that the Enemy of his soul did not have the final say because the Enemy was not God, he was not the creator, nor could he forgive David’s sins. But the Creator could! In Psalm 51 we find these words from David after Nathan told him, yes, you blew it, and there will be consequences, but you will not die!
Psalm 51:7-17 - Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me—now let me rejoice.
9 Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. 11 Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. 13 Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you.
14 Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves; then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness. 15 Unseal my lips, O Lord, that my mouth may praise you. 16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. 17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
1. Give your life and your will to the One who made you.
2. Acknowledge the greatness of God, who He is and what He did for you. Confess all of your sins and no longer live under their yoke! Your sins have been paid for… so let’s stop acting like sinners and instead start giving glory to God – every day – like God’s children – with pure hands and hearts – worshiping only God and always speaking the truth.
Remember, even though time is irrelevant to God – your time on earth is measured – and it’s time to acknowledge God – quite literally – “The Oldest Glory!”