Summer In The Psalms :
What God Does
I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. 3 He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord. 4 Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord, who have no confidence in the proud or in those who worship idols. 5 O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them. 6 You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings. Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand[a]—you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings. 7 Then I said, “Look, I have come. As is written about me in the Scriptures: 8 I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.” 9 I have told all your people about your justice. I have not been afraid to speak out, as you, O Lord, well know. 10 I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness. 11 Lord, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me. Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me. 12 For troubles surround me—too many to count! My sins pile up so high I can’t see my way out. They outnumber the hairs on my head. I have lost all courage. 13 Please, Lord, rescue me! Come quickly, Lord, and help me.
14 May those who try to destroy me be humiliated and put to shame. May those who take delight in my trouble be turned back in disgrace. 15 Let them be horrified by their shame, for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now!” 16 But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, “The Lord is great!” 17 As for me, since I am poor and needy, let the Lord keep me in his thoughts. You are my helper and my savior. O my God, do not delay.
In the end, we must realize that God is the one with the perfect plan for – everything!
Robert Tallent, pastor of Gethsemane Baptist Church in Concord, NC tell this story in one of his sermons: “close don’t count”
WE NEED FIXING
There was a barber in a small local town who had been the only
barber in town for years. Everyone went to this barber to get their hair cut. Then, one day a big hair salon franchise came to town and opened up shop. They advertised, "All Haircuts for $3.00"
Slowly, the barber's business began to dwindle. He just couldn't compete. In a last ditch effort to save his business, he hired a business consultant. The consultant spent a day pouring over the barber's books asking many questions. At the end of the day the barber asked the consultant, "So what do you think ? Should I close up shop?" The consultant said, "Not yet. I'll be back tomorrow."
The next day, the consultant showed up with a huge banner that he hung in front of the barber shop that said, "We Fix $3.00 Haircuts!"
That's what the world has done, sold out for a cheap price. We try to fix ourselves, and we are fixable, but it takes God.
David had the material and military means to conquer any problem, want or need. The problem was, none of them could fix sin and its affects. Only God can do that. And David finally figured that out. Thus, Psalm 40!
Summer in The Psalms
Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! 2 Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! 3 When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. 4 Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. 5 Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. 6 Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment. 7 For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. 8 The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. 9 Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.” 10 Many sorrows come to the wicked, but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord. 11 So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!
Guilt is a terrible thing. Feeling guilty can literally wreck your life.
- Guilt: a feeling of deserving blame for offenses
- Have you ever felt guilty?
- Did you ever do something to warrant feeling guilty?
- David, the writer of this Psalm sure did some things to warrant feeling guilty.
- David also experienced what it was like to be rid of his guilt.
What if… we would make decisions to live godly lives and pre-empt guilt every chance we got?
A remarkable thing happened this year in South Dakota!
A South Dakota high school golfer cost herself and her team a state championship when she self-reported an error she'd made on her scorecard. Sioux Falls Christian won the Class A girl’s state golf tournament on Tuesday, with senior Kate Wynja finishing first overall for the second year in a row. Wynja, who finished several shots ahead, realized she'd submitted an incorrect scorecard, crediting herself with a 4 on No. 18 instead of a 5.
"I knew I needed to tell them," Wynja told the Argus Leader. "It was really sad, mostly because I knew what the result would be. I knew that I would be disqualified, and it broke my heart for the team. But I knew I couldn't leave without saying something."
She and her coach reported the violation to tournament directors, who had no choice but to disqualify her. That also meant her team finished second, not first. The team championship went to Belle Fourche. Dan Swartos, a tournament director, called the situation "awful." "I have so much respect for Kate to come up and do that," he said. "I cannot say enough for that young lady and how much integrity that took, and how proud I am to have kids like that in South Dakota."
There has been an outpouring of support for Wynja on social media, with teammates and competitors offering support. "That was a tough situation in general (but) being surrounded by people who love me is awesome," Wynja said.
This young lady decided that giving up a state championship and doing the right thing was better than going through life feeling guilty.
What would you do?
How about having long-standing guilt and it’s driving you further and further away from the joy of the Lord? Can you identify with any of David’s observations?
David’s observations of being guilty of not confessing his sin.
- His body wasted away
- He groaned all night long
- He felt the disciplinary hand of God heavy on him
- His strength was zapped
A little boy visiting his grandparents was given his first slingshot. He practiced in the woods, but he could never hit his target. As he came back to Grandma’s back yard, he spied her pet duck. On an impulse he took aim and let fly. The stone hit, and the duck fell dead. The boy panicked. Desperately he hid the dead duck in the wood pile, only to look up and see his sister watching. Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing.
After lunch that day, Grandma said, “Sally, let’s wash the dishes.” But Sally said, “Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen today. Didn’t you Johnny?” And she whispered to him, “Remember the duck!” So, Johnny did the dishes. Later, Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing. Grandma said, “I’m sorry, but I need Sally to help me make supper.” Sally smiled and said, “That’s all taken care of. Johnny wants to do it.” Again, she whispered, “Remember the duck.” Johnny stayed while Sally went fishing.
After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally’s, finally he couldn’t stand it. He confessed to Grandma that he’d killed the duck. “I know, Johnny,” she said, giving him a hug. “I was standing at the window and saw the whole thing. Because I love you, I forgave you. But I wondered how long you would let Sally make a slave of you.”
Will you let the guilt of your sin steal your vitality?
Why not just give it to God?
David finally stopped hiding his sin and confessed!
- God forgave him
- His guilt is gone
- God became David’s hiding place
- God protected him from trouble
- God surrounded him with songs of victory
Dennis Davidson (Senior Pastor of the Shannondale Baptist Church in Knoxville, TN) in a sermon entitled "Punished for You and Me" tells this poignant story about Cliff Barrows, the longtime Music and program director for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Assoc.
Cliff Barrows himself tells of the time his two young children did something wrong. Although they were gently warned, they repeated the offense and needed to be disciplined. Cliff's tender heart was pained at the thought of having to punish the ones he loved.
So, he called Bobby and Bettie into his room, removed his belt bare back he knelt by his bed. He told each child to whip him ten times. Oh, how they cried! But the penalty had to be paid. The children sobbed as they lashed their daddy's back. Then Cliff hugged and kissed them, and they prayed together. "It hurt," he recalls, "but I never had to spank them again."
Are you haunted by the memory of some cowardly, selfish, or shameful acts? Jesus took the lashes for all our sins. Now He invites us to accept His forgiveness and devote the rest of our lives to Him. He wants us to know the greatness of His Father's love. That's why He died! God the Judge not only declared us guilty, but also paid our penalty
1 Pet. 2:24 – “He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.”
David then decides to listen to the Lord and make Him his guide!
- Now he gets God’s advice
- Now God watches over him
- Because David trusts in God, he receives God’s unfailing love
- Because David obeys God, he has unlimited joy and… his heart is pure (very important because our hearts must be pure to see God!)
Do you feel guilty about something in your life?
Why would you carry your guilt when you have someone who will take it away and replace it with joy?
Will you lay your guilt at the Cross today? The result? Unlimited Joy!
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!”