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Sunday, June 20, 2021

“Blessed is the Man who Fears the LORD” Psalm 112 [Matt's Messages]

“Blessed is the Man who Fears the LORD”
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
June 20, 2021 :: Psalm 112

Psalm 112 is kind of like Proverbs 31 but for guys.
Often on Mother’s Day churches will pull out Proverbs 31 and extol the virtues of that godly woman who fears the LORD. You might remember that Proverbs 31 is an acrostic poem, with each line of the poem starting with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Kind of like the ABC’s of being a blessed woman who fears the LORD.

Well, it turns out that Psalm 112 is also an acrostic poem with each line starting with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet: Aleph, Beth, Gimel, Daleth and so on. It is also the ABC’s, but–in this case–of a godly man.

Verse 1 says, “Blessed is the man who fears the LORD...” 

That’s from the 1984 NIV. The 2011 NIV has “blessed are those who fear the LORD” which is totally true of anyone and everyone who does, but the initial referent of this psalm was male [Hebrew “ish”], and I think this song–at least in part–was composed in the first place for guys to inspire them to be godly men.

Somebody, we don’t know exactly who, has gone to a lot of painstaking trouble to carefully compose a song about the blessing of being a man who fears the LORD.

So Psalm 112 is a great song to pull out and study on Father’s Day when we tend to focus in on the guys.

Of course, just like Proverbs 31 is to be read by the guys as well as the gals (and maybe even more so if it’s there to show the guys the ABC’s of what to look for in a godly wife) Psalm 112 is to be read and applied by the ladies, as well. So, everybody listen up, but especially the men.

Psalm 112 is not just like Proverbs 31. It’s also like Psalm 1 and Psalm 111, the immediately preceding psalm.

If we had enough time, it would be good to study Psalm 111 and Psalm 112 simultaneously. They are definitely sister psalms that correspond to and complement one another. Psalm 111 is about LORD and Psalm 112 is about the man who fears the LORD, but they use a lot of the same language, and the truth of Psalm 112 flows out of the truth of Psalm 111. You might want to sit down this afternoon and read them in tandem.

Psalm 111 ends with these words, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.”

And then Psalm 112 begins, “Praise the LORD. Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands.”


Psalm 112 begins with worship. This is, fundamentally, a praise song.

It begins, “Praise the LORD.” Praise Yahweh. Praise the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Praise God for being God!

This song is going to extol the blessings of a being a godly man, but make no mistake, this is song is ultimately about the God of the godly man. He deserves the praise! He should get the glory because He is the One giving out the blessings.

So then the songwriter sings, “Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands.”


It means to be in a state to be congratulated. It means you really have it good. 

“Way to go! Good on ya!”

The CSB says, “Happy is the man who fears the LORD.”

Oh yeah! That guy is really blessed. He’s really got it good.

It is so wonderful to be the kind of man whose life is characterized by the “fear of the LORD.” 

Now, this kind of fear obviously does not mean “terror” or “fright.” Because you aren’t happy if you’re scared out of your wits.

This kind of fear is a fear, but it’s more of a reverent awe kind of fear (a-w-e). It’s worship in awe. It’s being amazed and trembling because you realize in your heart how holy and awesome and wonderful is the LORD.

And the parallel idea is “delight.”

“Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, [what does that mean? He’s the one] who finds great delight in [the LORD’s] commands.”

Fear and delight together.

The guy who has that has it really good!

Now, I said Psalm 112 is also a lot like Psalm 1. Remember Psalm 1? How does it begin? “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.”


The man who fears the LORD, loves God’s Word!

He delights in God’s commands.

We don’t normally delight in commands.

Do you love it when somebody tells you what to do?

Sometimes we do. Like when my wife says, “Come to the table. It’s time for dinner!”

The psalmist says that that’s what it’s like for the man who fears the LORD. God’s Word is a feast to him, and he loves to hear, “Come and get it!”

Now, for most of the rest of this psalm, the emphasis is going to be on just how good it is to be this kind of a godly man.
We’re going ask the psalm, “What does this blessing look like?” And it’s going to answer us back in song.

But the deeper and more fundamental question we should be asking ourselves is, “Am I a man like this? 

Does this song sing about a guy (or by extension, a gal) like me?

Is this song about me?”

Do you fear the LORD?

Do you find great delight in the LORD’s commands?

Do you know God so that you love and trust and worship and obey Him?

If so, the psalmist says that great blessing awaits you.

I’m going to try to summarize that blessing in three words. Here’s the first one.

The blessing of:

#1. LEGACY. V.2

“Blessed is the man who fears the LORD...His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.”

The song says that the man who fears the LORD will have children, they will be mighty, and they themselves will be blessed.

Now, this psalm is set in the Old Covenant context. So all of the ways that the blessings are described are shadows of the greater blessings of the New Covenant.

These are the kind of earthly and temporary and Old Testamenty illustrations of what blessing looked like under the Old Covenant.

To understand what this means for us today, we have to transpose the song into a New Covenant key.

But the lyrics are beautiful. The psalmist says that the god-fearing man will be blessed with mighty children who are themselves blessed.

What a legacy!

The point is that blessed people bless others.

The blessing doesn’t just stop with the first generation. The man who fears the LORD is so blessed that the blessing spills over onto his children.

They become influential and powerful and blessed themselves.

A legacy.

Isn’t that a great thought for Father’s Day? That a Christian man would so fear and love and worship and obey His Lord that the blessing that comes from that would spill over onto his children?

And not just physical children, but spiritual children. Not all men will be biological fathers, but all godly men can be spiritual fathers to others.

And bless others with the blessing they have received.

Now, that doesn’t mean that, even in the Old Testament, every single child of a blessed God-fearing man will also be a blessed God-fearing man. King David was a man after God’s own heart, and look at Absalom. Look at Amnon. 

But the psalmists knows that God loves to overbless His sons so that the blessing they receive spills out and over onto others in a legacy of blessing.

Doesn’t that sound good?

That’s the kind of thing you can expect if you fear the LORD.

I want a legacy like that. Both in my biological children and in my spiritual children.

“...mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.”

What is this blessing like? Blessing number two. The blessing of:

#2. PROSPERITY. V.3

“Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.”

Now, again, it’s easy to go wrong here, and think of what is often called “The Prosperity Gospel,” if you do good and be good, then you’ll get good stuff. Health and wealth and prosperity. Christians are called to be "healthy and wealthy and prosperous."

And you can see where some people might get that from verses like this one.

And in the Old Testament, wealth and riches and land and so on were promised as a part of the Old Covenant. Promises to Israelite believers in the book of Deuteronomy.

But those are just shadows of the greater blessings to come in the New Covenant.

They are pictures of the glorious blessings of knowing Christ in the here and now and the blessings of the kingdom in the age to come.

But even in the Old Testament, these promises were not the whole story.

Remember Job.

He was a godly man who feared the Lord, and what happened to all of his wealth and all of his health and all of his prosperity?

Was this song true for him?

Yes, it actually was. Just not in the short run.

In the short run, the wicked can prosper!


So we shouldn’t assume that just because somebody has wealth and riches right now that they are righteous. And we shouldn’t assume that the song is wrong just because a righteous man does not have visible prosperity right now either.


Look at the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross.

Was this song true for them?

Yes, it was. Because it’s ultimately about ultimate things.

“Wealth and riches are in his house, [second part of that line] and his righteousness endures forever.”

That’s the kind of prosperity that doesn’t fluctuate! V.4

“Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.”

Interesting that it says that darkness will come. This psalm is not blind to the dark realities of the world. But the darkness will not win for the upright.

Morning will break with daylight at the dawn. It’s inevitable!

For a certain kind of man, and here we get three important words to describe a godly man. V.4 again.

“Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.”

Who does that sound like?

Look up the page to Psalm 111 and look at verses 3 and 4.
“Glorious and majestic are his deeds, and his righteousness endures forever. He has caused his wonders to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and compassionate.”

If God is like that, then the men who fear God will be like that, too.

Are you gracious?
Are you compassionate?
Are you righteous?

Those three things sound really nice, but they are actually really hard to do.

To be forgiving and merciful and generous, and do the right thing?

That doesn’t come naturally. We need God’s help to live like that.

But when we do, how blessed we are! V.5

“Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice.”

Genuine ultimate prosperity comes to those who live like this.

It’s interesting to me how much this song emphasizes generosity as the mark of godly man. Yes, this man is blessed with prosperity, but the point of prosperity is generosity.

We have been given so much to give even more.

We have been blessed to be a blessing.

A godly man gives.

And then gives some more.

Guys, are you a giver? 

Or are you a taker?

There is certainly a time to be a receiver. This psalm extols all of the blessings that we can receive. But we don’t just receive, and we should never just selfishly take.

Instead we should receive blessing and then pass the blessing on.
And receive blessing and then pass the blessing on.
And receive blessing and then pass the blessing on.

“Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice.”

He thinks about what does. He’s careful with his behavior.

His business dealings are fair and above board.

He treats his customers and his clients and supervisors and his employees and his employers like he would want to be treated if he was in their shoes.

He doesn’t put his finger on the scale.

He doesn’t fudge the numbers on the balance sheet.

He doesn’t evade his taxes or steal from his employer.

Because he knows that God will prosper him. 

He doesn’t have to take because he knows that “Good will come to him.”

“Blessed is the man who fears the LORD.”

Here’s how blessed. Number three. The blessing of:

#3. STABILITY. V.6

“Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever.”

There will be a quality of stability in his life. And it will never end. He will be remembered by others and especially by God forever.

Now, obviously trouble will come. Earthquakes will come. The world will be shaken.

But this man will not be shaken. V.7

“He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.”

Obviously bad news is going to come, but it won’t scare him!

Because this man knows the good news, the ultimate news. So he is unwavering. He is a “Steady Eddie” because he’s not trusting himself, he’s trust in the LORD. V.8

“His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.”

Doesn’t that sound good? I want to live like that!


This is not saying that trouble will not come. Trouble will come. Scary things will happen. But this man’s heart is secure, he will have no fear.

Why?

Because he’s read the end of the book, and he knows who wins!

Remember Psalm 110? The Messiah will win, and win, and win, and win, and win, and never stop winning!

“In the end he will look in triumph on his foes.” They will all be a footstool for the Messiah’s feet.

Yes, the Cross happened, but so did the Empty Tomb, and one day soon will be the Glorious Return.

And that gives us stability.

And from that stability, we can practice generosity. V.9

“He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever; his horn will be lifted high in honor.”

More about generosity. This song really emphasizes that godly mean are generous men. 

The Apostle Paul quoted verse 9 in 2 Corinthians 9 when he encouraged the Corinthians to give sacrificially and cheerfully. 

Because there is great blessing that comes from generosity.

It’s a hallmark of righteousness.

That’s one of the things the Pharisees got wrong. They were into tithing and figuring exactly how much they had to give. They weren’t into grace giving and figuring out how generous they could be!

But Jesus was.

Jesus was the ultimate in generosity.
He was the ultimate in stability.
He was the ultimate in prosperity.

But He gave it all away to be the ultimate in generosity which created the ultimate in legacy!

What a model of godly manhood for you and me!

Men, are you generous?

Have you “scattered abroad your gifts to the poor?”

Or are you spending it all on yourself?

Psalm 112 is a wisdom psalm. Like Psalm 1 and the like the Proverbs, it presents two ways, the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked.

But unlike other wisdom psalms, Psalm 112t only gives 1 verse to the wicked, and it’s just by way of contrast. Look at verse 10.

“The wicked man will see and be vexed, he will gnash his teeth and waste away; the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.”

The wicked man will experience the opposite of the righteous man.

He will not have the blessing of legacy.

He will not ultimately have the blessing of prosperity. He will look at what the righteous man receives and be confused and angry. He’ll be vexed. He will grind his teeth in despair.

And he will not have the blessing of stability.

Everything he longs for will waste away. It will come to nothing. He will come up empty.

But this songs says the opposite is true for the man who fears the LORD.

His longings will be fulfilled.

In this world, some.
In the next world, all.
In Christ, he will be blessed.

May we be men (and women) who fear the LORD and find great delight in his commands. Praise the LORD!

***

Fortifying Truth - Psalms - Fall 2020 to Summer 2021

01. Majestic and Mindful - Psalm 8
02. All Our Days - Psalm 90
03. "The LORD on High Is Mighty!" - Psalm 93
04. "The LORD Is My Shepherd" - Psalm 23
05. "Praise the LORD, O My Soul!" - Psalm 103
06. "The Blessing of Aaron's Oily Beard" - Psalm 133
07. "A Dying Thirst for the Living God" - Psalm 42
08. "Our Fortress" - Psalm 46
09. Unrestless - Psalm 131
10. "Sun and Shield" - Psalm 84
11. "With Songs of Joy" - Psalm 126
12. "His Love Endures Forever" - Psalm 136
13. "How Many Are Your Works, O LORD!" - Psalm 104
14. "My Soul Waits for the Lord" - Psalm 130
15. "Remember David" - Psalm 132
16. "My Son" - Psalm 2
17. "Search Me" - Psalm 139
18. "Cleanse Me" - Psalm 51
19. "A New Song" - Psalm 96
20. "Hear My Prayer, O LORD." - Psalm 86
21. "May All the Peoples Praise You" - Psalm 67
22. "A Wedding Song" - Psalm 45
23. "My Feet Had Almost Slipped" - Psalm 73
24. “Rejoicing Comes in the Morning" - Psalm 30
25. 'The Waters Have Come Up To My Neck" - Psalm 69
26. "Cast Your Cares on the LORD" - Psalm 55
27. "“My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?" - Psalm 22
28. "You Will Not Abandon Me To the Grave" - Psalm 16
29. "He Will Rule" - Psalm 72
30. "Taste and See That the LORD is Good" - Psalm 34
31. "Since My Youth" - Psalm 71
32. "Your Statutes Are Wonderful" - Psalm 119
33. "The LORD Our God Is Holy" - Psalm 99
34. "Not To Us, O LORD" - Psalm 11
35. "Blessed" - Psalm 32
36. "Sit At My Right Hand" - Psalm 110

Friday, June 18, 2021

"Yes, I do." 27 Years Later

Happy 27th anniversary, Heather Joy! I happily say, "I do" every single day.

June 18, 1994





Engagement Photos circa 1993





Photo by Donnie Rosie



Photo by Isaac Mitchell.

October 2017

Photo by: Nate Weatherly Photography, Used by Permission

June 2020




October 2020


February 2020


The Happy Husband

Oft, oft, methinks, the while with thee
I breathe, as from the heart, thy dear
And dedicated name, I hear
A promise and a mystery,
A pledge of more than passing life,
Yea, in that very name of wife!

A pulse of love that ne'er can sleep!
A feeling that upbraids the heart
With happiness beyond desert,
That gladness half requests to weep!
Nor bless I not the keener sense
And unalarming turbulence.

Of transient joys, that ask no sting
From jealous fears, or coy denying;
But born beneath Love's brooding wing,
And into tenderness soon dying.
Wheel out their giddy moment, then
Resign the soul to love again;

A more precipitated vein
Of notes that eddy in the flow
Of smoothest song, they come, they go,
And leave their sweeter understrain
Its own sweet self-a love of thee
That seems, yet cannot greater be!

Samuel Taylor Coleridge [poemhunter.com]

Sunday, June 13, 2021

“Your Love Is Better Than Life” Psalm 63 [Matt's Messages]

“Your Love Is Better Than Life”
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
June 13, 2021 :: Psalm 63

I was so thirsty!

This week, my oldest son Andrew took me on a 15.5 mile hike in the Quehanna Wild Area. And let me tell you, that place is aptly named. It is not tame! We saw some beautiful sights including some amazing wildlife–two newborn fawns, one still being licked by its mom. And also a huge Elk with its antlers in velvet. It was so majestic!

Drew and I were out for about 6 hours, and we took along lunch and some snacks to keep our energy up. And I carried with me 2 full water bottles.

That was not enough!

I got so thirsty. The weather was nice. It wasn’t too hot. There was a breeze. And there was shade a lot of the time. But all of that walking and walking and walking takes a lot out of you, which you need to replace. Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! 

I was so thirsty.

Do you feel my thirst? I’ll bet you’re feeling thirsty just because I’m saying the word “thirsty.”

In Psalm 63, King David was thirsty. 

The superscription of Psalm 63 says that he wrote it about or when he was in the Desert of Judah. One of those many times when David was a fugitive on the run from somebody who wanted to harm him.

It could have been King Saul or more probably King David’s own son Absalom (2 Samuel 15-17). 

Somebody had chased King David out into the Judean wilderness.

And he was so thirsty.

So thirsty that he wrote a song about it!

But the thirst that David wrote his song about wasn’t primarily physical but spiritual thirst.

He was thirsty for God. Psalm 63, verse 1.

“A psalm of David. When he was in the Desert of Judah. O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”


Do you feel David’s thirst?

He wasn’t in the Quehanna Wild Area. He was in the desert. The wilderness of Judah was (v.1), a “dry and weary land where there is no water.”

You can just feel how sapped he must have felt. How needy he was. How worn out.

He was literally in that arid place.

But he used that dry location to illustrate what his soul needed. He wasn’t just thirsty for water, he was thirsty for God.

“My soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you...”

That’s his whole being! David knew that with his whole being he was thirsty for God.

This psalm is a sister psalm, or at least a cousin, to Psalm 42 which we studied together back in October. That’s the one by the sons of Korah that says, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?”

That’s how David feels here, too.

He feels a dying thirst for the living God.

King David knew that his desperate spiritual thirst had been satisfied before when he had encountered God in worship. Verse 2.

“I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.”

David knows what will satisfy his thirst. There was a time in the past when he saw God with the eyes of his heart and knew His power and His glory. He was wowed by the glory of God in worship.

So David wants more of that. He wants more of God.

He knows that God is the ultimate satisfaction and nothing compares to Him. V.3

“Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.”

That’s an amazing statement right there! That’s where we get our message title for today. It’s how David felt about His Lord. It’s how precious David knew that his God was. 

“Your love is better than life.”

What other things would you put in that category?

What things are better than life itself?

No matter what you put in that category, it’s going to be a short list. Right?

Some would put their family.
Some would put their honor.
Some would put their nation’s freedoms.

It’s really a question of what would you die for?

What is more precious than life itself?

For King David it was the love of God.

Some versions have “lovingkindness.” Some have “steadfast love.” Some have “unfailing love.”

The Hebrew word is “hesed.” We’ve seen it again and again this year as we’ve studied the fortifying truth of the Psalms.

Hesed is God unending loyal love. Faithful and loving at the same time. Lovingly faithful and faithfully loving.

According to David, God’s love is better than life itself.

In other words, God is the soul-quenching water for our spiritual thirst.

And that’s why David seeks Him in the desert.

I have three points of application that arise from Psalm 63, and each point is just one word that captures what we should do today because the hesed of God is better than life itself.

Here’s number one:

#1. SEEK!

Seek God.

Listen to what David sings in verse 1 again.

“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you;”

David knows where soul satisfaction is truly found. “I seek you.”

You know that we are all spiritually thirsty, right? We were made to worship, and even in our most fallen condition, we still worship. We just gotta worship something.

Everybody is seeking something.

Everybody is thirsty.

Remember when Jesus talked to the woman at the well? He knew that she was thirsty. 

And He knew that He was water.

King David knew that God was soul-quenching water, and so that’s why he sought Him out in the desert.

And why he named God as his God. Did you catch that in the very first line?

“O God, you are my God.” 

“I choose to find my soul’s satisfaction in you.”  “Earnestly I seek you.”

Can you say that you do the same?

All too often, I find myself earnestly trying to fill my spiritual thirst with the wrong things. 

I seek pleasure or popularity or possessions as if they will satisfy the cravings of my soul. 

And it seems to work for a few seconds, and then I’m thirsty again.

But Jesus told the woman at the well, “whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14).

Seek Him.

There was water in the Quehanna Wild Area. In fact, Andrew knew of a fresh spring that he had filled his water bottle from before. And we filled up both of my bottles again. (And I drank both of them before we got home!).

David knew where the water was, so he sought it, and it was better than life.

And here’s number two:

#2. SING!

Seek and Sing.

Notice what David says he’s going to do because God’s hesed is better than life. Look again at verse 3.

“Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.”

He’s going to sing about it!

David is promising in the desert to sing about the steadfast love of the Lord. V.4

“I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.”

Do you hear all of the singing words in there?

And how forward focused David is? He is committing himself to singing, no matter what.

He is going to sing as long as he lives.

And he’s going to life up his hands.

Do you do that? Do you lift up your hands when you sing?

Not to show off. But to direct your worship upward? To honor God?

“In your name I will lift up my hands.”

Notice the soul satisfaction again in verse 5. The “soul” stands for the whole essential being of a person, “My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods.”

The Hebrew there is literally something like, “with the fatness and the fatness.” Two different words for fatness. 

More than needed. Way beyond what is needed. 

David says that he knows that in God, he will have much more than He needs!

God is not just soul-quenching water. He is a soul-satisfying feast!

It is so good to know the love of God.

It is better, so much better than life.

One of my favorite meals all year is Easter Dinner. Heather Joy makes her famous seven layer salad (with a layer of bacon and mayonnaise in there!), and she makes carrot casserole, and smashed potatoes with gravy, and bunch of other things, and at the center is a ham with an apricot glaze with cloves in it. And she bakes it to perfection so that the skin is like meat candy. It’s so good.

It’s “the fatness and the fatness.”

And eating it is so satisfying.

That’s what David says the Lord is like.

And what does he do about it?

Notice how I just sang Heather’s praises for her meal?

David says that he will sing about God’s hesed in that same way. “With singing lips my mouth will praise you.”

Do you sing about how good it is to know God’s love?

I have tried to emphasize singing in every single pastoral letter for the last 65 weeks.

Have you noticed it in the postscripts? The P.S.’s? 

David might not feel like singing right now. He’s in the desert. He’s on the run. He’s thirsty in more ways than one. And there may be no end in sight.

But still he sings.

There have been a lot of days in the last 65 weeks that I have not felt like singing. Including a bunch of Sundays.

But the hesed of God is better than life, therefore we sing.

Even at nighttime.  Look at verse 6.

“On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.”

It sounds like David can’t sleep.

It sounds like he’s having a sleepless night.

That’s no fun!

He’s in bed. He’s not on watch, but he’s awake during all three of the watches of the night. 

Have you ever had a sleepless night? A long sleepless night? What do you do with it?

David says, “Try singing.”

Look at sleeplessness as an opportunity to rehearse what you know about the steadfast love of the Lord.

“On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.”

So often, when I’m awake in the middle of the night, I’m thinking about my problems, about my worries, about the things that make me anxious.

And obviously, David thought about his enemies, too.

But when he couldn’t sleep, he redirected his soul to sing. V.7

“Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.”

God is not just soul-quenching water.
He is not even just a soul-satisfying feast.
God is also a soul-securing shade.

“I sing in the shadow of your wings.”

The illustration is a baby bird safe under the wings of the mommy bird.

David sees himself as a baby chick that feels sheltered and secure under the overhang of God’s protective wing.

Which leads to point number three.

#3. CLING!

Seek. Sing. And cling.

If God is that kind of a safe place, then the only smart thing is to run to Him and stick close by. Verse 8.

“My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”

There’s that word “soul” again. David’s whole essential being clings to God.

He grabs hold and doesn’t let go.

But the amazing thing about verse 8 is not how strong David’s grip is, but how strong God’s grip is.

“My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”

We hang on, because He hangs on to us.

In the last few verses of this song, it turns from a plaintive song of longing and almost lament into a hymn of confidence and hope.

King David clings to God because He knows God’s hesed, God’s faithful love.

And he knows that God will ultimately solve all of his problems. David fully believes in God’s justice and faithfulness will sort it all out. Verse 9.

“They who seek my life will be destroyed; they will go down to the depths of the earth. They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals. But the king will rejoice in God; all who swear by God's name will praise him, while the mouths of liars will be silenced.”

It hasn’t happened yet. But it’s going to.

Right now, David is in the desert on the run, but he believes that one day soon God will destroy his enemies and silence their false accusations.

How much more can we who live on this side of the Cross and the Empty Tomb and the pouring out of the Spirit can we be sure that all of our enemies will suffer the same fate?

Like we saw last week in Psalm 110. Our Lord will win and win and win, and all of His enemies will one day become a footstool for His feet.

That’s why we run to Him and cling to Him and place ourselves under His wing.

V.11 again. “[A]ll who swear by God's name will praise him...”

All who are loyal to Him will find out that He is loyal to them.

They will learn and rejoice that the loyal love of God is better than life.


***

Fortifying Truth - Psalms - Fall 2020 / Winter 2021 / Spring 2021

01. Majestic and Mindful - Psalm 8
02. All Our Days - Psalm 90
03. "The LORD on High Is Mighty!" - Psalm 93
04. "The LORD Is My Shepherd" - Psalm 23
05. "Praise the LORD, O My Soul!" - Psalm 103
06. "The Blessing of Aaron's Oily Beard" - Psalm 133
07. "A Dying Thirst for the Living God" - Psalm 42
08. "Our Fortress" - Psalm 46
09. Unrestless - Psalm 131
10. "Sun and Shield" - Psalm 84
11. "With Songs of Joy" - Psalm 126
12. "His Love Endures Forever" - Psalm 136
13. "How Many Are Your Works, O LORD!" - Psalm 104
14. "My Soul Waits for the Lord" - Psalm 130
15. "Remember David" - Psalm 132
16. "My Son" - Psalm 2
17. "Search Me" - Psalm 139
18. "Cleanse Me" - Psalm 51
19. "A New Song" - Psalm 96
20. "Hear My Prayer, O LORD." - Psalm 86
21. "May All the Peoples Praise You" - Psalm 67
22. "A Wedding Song" - Psalm 45
23. "My Feet Had Almost Slipped" - Psalm 73
24. “Rejoicing Comes in the Morning" - Psalm 30
25. 'The Waters Have Come Up To My Neck" - Psalm 69
26. "Cast Your Cares on the LORD" - Psalm 55
27. "“My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?" - Psalm 22
28. "You Will Not Abandon Me To the Grave" - Psalm 16
29. "He Will Rule" - Psalm 72
30. "Taste and See That the LORD is Good" - Psalm 34
31. "Since My Youth" - Psalm 71
32. "Your Statutes Are Wonderful" - Psalm 119
33. "The LORD Our God Is Holy" - Psalm 99
34. "Not To Us, O LORD" - Psalm 11
35. "Blessed" - Psalm 32

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Interview about "Resisting Gossip" on "His People" Program on Pilgrim Radio

Yesterday, I got to be a guest on "His People" with Bill Feltner of Pilgrim Radio talking about Resisting Gossip: Winning the War of the Wagging Tongue. Today, they made the recording available online (Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify). 

In this interview, we delved a little deeper into the themes canvassed in the recent cover story of Christianity Today. What a privilege it is to try to make a helpful contribution to an important conversation!

Sunday, June 06, 2021

“Sit At My Right Hand” Psalm 110 [Matt's Messages]

“Sit At My Right Hand”
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
June 6, 2021 :: Psalm 110

"I didn’t see that coming!"

How many times have we said those words?

“I didn’t see that coming! I didn’t know that that was going to happen. If I knew that was coming, I would have made some different choices that’s for sure...”

For example, if we had known what the weather was going to be like far in advance, we would have had 3 more indoor services last Sunday and then a combined outdoor service this Sunday. It was cold and rainy last week and gorgeous this week!

But we can’t foresee the future.

If there is anything we’ve learned in the last year or so it’s that we often don’t know the future.

How would your life be different if you knew the future?

If you knew what was going to happen tomorrow, how would that change how you feel about today? How would that change how you feel about tomorrow? How would that change the decisions you are making today about tomorrow?

How would your life be different if you knew the future?

Psalm 110 is a song about the future.

Psalm 110 is a royal song, a song about kingship written by a king about a king. It’s written by a current king about a future king.

It’s a song about the future.

Of all of the psalms in the psalter, Psalm 110 is the most directly prophetic. It’s the most oracular, that is to say that it has oracles, verbal prophecies about the future delivered directly from God to this future king embedded into this song for us to sing.

It’s really unique. And it’s really important.

Psalm 110 is one of the most important psalms in the whole entire Bible. It is one of the most quoted psalms in the New Testament. It’s a lynchpin psalm. It ties a whole bunch of things together between the testaments.

If the Bible were hypertexted, then you could click on many many places in your New Testament (and several in the Old, as well!), and you’d find yourself back here at Psalm 110.

And like a few of the other psalms we’ve studied together this Spring, it is super-obvious to followers of Jesus that this psalm is all about Him.

Psalm 110 was written about 1,000 years before Jesus was born. 

But, like I said, this is a psalm about the future.

This song predicted Jesus in the future, and it still predicts a future for Jesus. And I know that because even Jesus said so!

Psalm 110 is a song about the future, and it is a certain future. A guaranteed future.  An inescapable future. An unavoidable future. Psalm 110 is a sure song about what is certainly going to happen to and through the future king.

And that makes all of the difference for you and me living today.

There are two major oracles in Psalm 110. The first begins in the very first verse. Verse 1.

“Of David. A psalm. The LORD says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’”


Now, it’s important from the git-go to figure out who all these “Lords” are.

It can be confusing at first, but it’s really really important. Jesus said so! You might remember when we studied Matthew 22 together back in September of 2019. You might not remember that. It was a very long time ago in COVID-years. But Jesus led a little Bible study with the Pharisees on Psalm 110.
And He pointed out that it was written by David under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and the first line refers to two different Lords.

“The LORD says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’”

There are two people named “Lord” there in your English translation. 

Now, we’ve seen the capital LORD all over the Psalms this last year, haven’t we? That stands for the covenant name of God, Yahweh. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The LORD of all the Earth.

That’s the divine Person giving this oracle. Yahweh, the LORD. The Glorious One! The Holy One! Yahweh.

So...Who is the LORD talking to?

He’s not talking to David. 

He’s talking to David’s Lord. “My Lord,” David says.

He’s not talking to King David.

He’s talking to David’s King.

Who is that?

Well, I suppose when David was writing it, he might have had Solomon in mind at first. He might have been sitting down trying to write a coronation song like we said Psalm 2 probably was. [That we studied together back at Christmas time.]

But the things that God was revealing to David that He was promising to David’s Lord were really too big to be fulfilled by Solomon. And they sure weren’t. Solomon was a big disappointment, as were all of David’s sons to one degree or another until one particular Son was born. These shoes were too big for most of David’s sons to fill.

So much so that the Jews from ancient days interpreted Psalm 110 as Messianic. To them it was clearly about great David’s greatest Son still to come. 

So much so that Jesus said to the Pharisees about Psalm 110, “What do you think about the Christ?” [the Messiah] and everybody agreed that Psalm 110 was about the Christ, about the Messiah to come.

It’s the only thing that makes sense. David’s Lord is the Messiah. David’s Lord is the Christ.

(And we know that that was Jesus Himself!)

So what does this song say that the LORD said to David’s Lord? V.1 again.

“Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”

I have three points to summarize this short but o so important song about the future of this king, and here’s number one:

#1. DAVID’S LORD WILL RULE FOREVER.

The LORD says to David’s Lord, “sit at my right hand” which is an amazing thing to say. 

What an invitation! 

The LORD of everything is saying to David’s Lord, “Come up here and sit next to me.”

That is extreme exaltation! That is extreme honor. That is an unbelievable invitation and exaltation.

Who gets treated like that?!

The author of the epistle to the Hebrews says, who else does God give that privilege to? And the answer is nobody. Not even the angels. Only to Someone as exalted as God Himself.

It wasn’t given to David, but it was given to David’s Lord.

“Come up here and ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’”

Now what does that mean? It means that the LORD is going to defeat every single enemy of David’s Lord.

He’s going to give the Messiah total victory over his enemies so that they are totally vanquished and totally dominated and totally humiliated.

They will be the Messiah’s footstool.  

He will put his feet on their necks.

That is the ultimate flex.

That is the ultimate photo-op.

Becoming a footstool says that these enemies are totally defeated in every single way.

So it’s a picture of total exaltation and complete victory.

That’s what’s going to happen to the Messiah. 

He is going to rule. V.2

“The LORD [Yahweh] will extend your mighty scepter [David’s Lord’s scepter] from Zion [Jerusalem, the LORD’s headquarters so to speak]; you will rule in the midst of your enemies. Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy majesty, from the womb of the dawn you will receive the dew of your youth.”

Now, verse 3 is notoriously difficult to translate which then makes it notoriously difficult to interpret, but the picture while not certain is certainly positive. This is describing victory for the Messiah.

On the upcoming day of his battle, his troops will be ready and willing. The Hebrew there is literally, the troops will be “freewill offerings.” They will all volunteer to fight because they believe the Messiah is just and right and on the winning side. “Here I am, please take me!”

“Arrayed in holy majesty, from the womb of the dawn you will receive the dew of your youth.”

Now that could be describing the Messiah Himself decked out in splendor and waking up refreshed with unstoppable vigor to go to war. 

Or it could be describing, in Hebrew parallelism, more about the volunteer army. They are arrayed in holiness and just materialize everywhere out of nowhere like the morning dew. And they rally to His cause.

Either way, it’s a description of majestic victory for David’s Lord.


His scepter will be extended.
His rule will be expanded.
No enemy will stop Him.

Until every single enemy is His footstool.

This king to come will be the ultimate king.

“Sit at my right hand!”

Psalm 110 is a song about the future.

Part of it has already happened now hasn’t it?

It was all future back when David wrote it, but the New Testament writers agree that when the Lord Jesus Christ was resurrected and then ascended into heaven, He was fulfilling Psalm 110. Read Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2 this afternoon. You’ll see it.

King Jesus is right now at the right hand of the Majesty on High.

And His rule has begun.

But it’s not all here yet. It’s still future.

It’s still expanding. 

As more and more people receive Jesus as their Lord, His kingdom comes, His kingdom grows. And one day, Jesus will bring His kingdom in all of its fullness, and He will rule fully and forever.

Until every single enemy is His footstool.

So one key application of Psalm 110 is to stop being His enemy!

If you have never repented of your rebellion and asked for amnesty and received Jesus as your Lord, then you are headed towards the footstool.

But you don’t have to get there! 

Because of point number two:

#2. DAVID’S LORD WILL SAVE FOREVER.

All who come to Him.

There is a way to escape the footstool.

And the way is actually David’s Lord Himself.

Let’s look at verse 4. This is an amazing verse. We could have a whole Bible study on just this verse.

It’s the second oracle of Psalm 110, the second verbal prophecy of the future of King David’s King, and it’s more than just an oracle. It’s an oath. Look at verse 4.

“The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.’”


He only shows up three times in the Bible. Near the beginning. Here near the middle. And then again near the end.

He shows up and then disappears.

He shows up and then disappears.

But he’s obviously important as a pattern for the priesthood of the Messiah.

I’m sure you don’t remember when we studied Melchizedek as a church back in Genesis chapter 14 in 2003. That actually was a very long time ago! You probably want to go back and read Genesis 14 this afternoon to get the whole story. I don’t have time to tell it again today.

But this Melchizedek (Hebrew: king of righteousness), king of peace, king of Salem which was probably Jerusa-SALEM shows up in Genesis 14, and Father Abraham gives him a tithe of the spoils of his victory over neighboring kings in a recent battle.

And all of that is very important. And the book of Hebrews spells out how important it all is.

One key thing that Hebrews points out is that unlike every other major character in the book of Genesis, the mysterious Mr. Melchizedek doesn’t have a genealogy. 

He’s not only greater than Father Abraham so that he receives a tithe from Abraham, but he is a picture of eternity, no listed father and no list mother. No listed birth and no listed death.

He’s a picture of eternity.

So he’s a picture of FOREVER.

And so one of the things it means for David’s Lord to be a priest in the order of Melchizedek is that this priesthood is not temporary. And therefore weak. This kind of priesthood is incredibly strong.

The author of Hebrews says that Psalm 110 proclaims that the Messiah will be a priest forever, and that Jesus can be a priest forever “on the basis of the power of an indestructible life” (Hebrews 7:16).

That’s awesome! That’s an incredible part of what it means for David’s Lord to be a priest in the order of Melchizedek.

But what was so astonishing in the first place is that the Messiah would be a priest ...at all!

Let me ask you a Bible trivia question. (Of course, the Bible is never trivial.)

Which tribe do the priests of Israel come from? The tribe of Levi, right?

Ok. Which tribe to the kings of Israel comes from? The tribe of Judah, right? That’s where the promise was. 

Which one was David? Tribe of...? Judah.
Which one was Jesus? Tribe of...? Judah.

So could Jesus be a priest? 

King Saul got in trouble for acting like he was a priest.

Psalm 110 reveals that Yahweh has sworn an oath. An unchangeable, irrevocable oath that David’s Lord will be a priest.

He will be both!

He will be both a king and a priest.

A king that rules and a priest that represents.

Represents the people to God.
And represents God to the people.

And guess what?

That’s what the mysterious Mr. Melchizedek was. He was a king/priest in Salem. 

So God had something special in mind for King David’s King.

He was going to serve like the mysterious Mr. Melchizedek in the dual role of King and Priest.

He would not just be the ultimate king, but also the ultimate priest!

And that means that you and I can be saved forever.

Because this priest intercedes not just with the blood of bulls and goats and lambs.

But with His own perfect blood shed on the cross.

And He intercedes with this perfect blood perpetually, permanently, unceasingly FOREVER on the basis of His indestructible life!

So rejoice!

Because David’s Lord will save forever.

Last week, we sang with Psalm 32 about how blessed we are our for our sins to be covered. This Psalm sings about how blessed we are that our sins are covered FOREVER!

“You are a priest FOREVER.”

The LORD has sworn it and will not change His mind.

That means that you and I are saved forever, and He will not change His mind.

And nothing nothing nothing will stop Him ever.

That’s point number three.

#3. DAVID’S LORD WILL WIN FOREVER.

This song ends with a climax of exultation in the unending victories of the Messiah.  Look at verse 5.

“The Lord is at your right hand [I’m not actually sure which Lord that one is. It might be switched to say that Yahweh is at the Messiah’s right hand to help Him or it might be a prayer to Yahweh that the Messiah definitely at His right hand. Either way, the LORD and the Lord are in perfect harmony here and working in perfect concert to defeat their enemies v.5]; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath. He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.”

Now, I know that that kind of language is stark and could be shocking if you don’t know what the Bible says that King Jesus is going to do when He returns.

Read Revelation 19 to see the ultimate fulfillment of this.

But the point is glorious. Jesus will win.

And He will win and win and win.

Every single enemy will be defeated.

He will crush kings.
He will crush lords, heads.
The corpses of His sworn enemies will pile up and pile up and pile up.

This will all be righteous. This will all be just.

Nobody will get some judgment they don’t deserve.

“He will judge the nations.”

And nothing will stop Him from winning. V.7

“He will drink from a brook beside the way; therefore he will lift up his head.”

That’s a little obscure and there are different ways of interpreting it, but I think it means that He’ll either pause in the heat of battle refresh Himself and then just keep going and going and going–unceasingly refreshed.

Or that after it’s all said and done, the Messiah will take a big long refreshing drink and lift up His head and smile exultantly, rejoicing in His total victory.

Any way about it, the picture is of invigorated victory.

David’s Lord will be the ultimate king.
He will be the ultimate priest.
And He will be the ultimate winner, the ultimate victor forever.

Forever.

Now, let’s apply that to our life.

As we opened Psalm 110, I asked you, “How would your life be different if you knew the future?”

Well, this is the future.

This song is about the future. 

The future and forever King, the future and forever Priest, the future and forever Victor.

You now know the future. What difference will that make for you?

Here’s one. Think about this:

One day, all of your enemies will be stomped on by King Jesus.

How do you feel about those enemies now?


But one day every threat will be neutralized by David’s Lord.

How might that erase my worry in the here and now?

One day, all of your implacable enemies--the world, the flesh, and the devil--will be stomped on by King Jesus.

And because of Psalm 110 you can see that coming.

***

Fortifying Truth - Psalms - Fall 2020 / Winter 2021 / Spring 2021

01. Majestic and Mindful - Psalm 8
02. All Our Days - Psalm 90
03. "The LORD on High Is Mighty!" - Psalm 93
04. "The LORD Is My Shepherd" - Psalm 23
05. "Praise the LORD, O My Soul!" - Psalm 103
06. "The Blessing of Aaron's Oily Beard" - Psalm 133
07. "A Dying Thirst for the Living God" - Psalm 42
08. "Our Fortress" - Psalm 46
09. Unrestless - Psalm 131
10. "Sun and Shield" - Psalm 84
11. "With Songs of Joy" - Psalm 126
12. "His Love Endures Forever" - Psalm 136
13. "How Many Are Your Works, O LORD!" - Psalm 104
14. "My Soul Waits for the Lord" - Psalm 130
15. "Remember David" - Psalm 132
16. "My Son" - Psalm 2
17. "Search Me" - Psalm 139
18. "Cleanse Me" - Psalm 51
19. "A New Song" - Psalm 96
20. "Hear My Prayer, O LORD." - Psalm 86
21. "May All the Peoples Praise You" - Psalm 67
22. "A Wedding Song" - Psalm 45
23. "My Feet Had Almost Slipped" - Psalm 73
24. “Rejoicing Comes in the Morning" - Psalm 30
25. 'The Waters Have Come Up To My Neck" - Psalm 69
26. "Cast Your Cares on the LORD" - Psalm 55
27. "“My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?" - Psalm 22
28. "You Will Not Abandon Me To the Grave" - Psalm 16
29. "He Will Rule" - Psalm 72
30. "Taste and See That the LORD is Good" - Psalm 34
31. "Since My Youth" - Psalm 71
32. "Your Statutes Are Wonderful" - Psalm 119
33. "The LORD Our God Is Holy" - Psalm 99
34. "Not To Us, O LORD" - Psalm 11
35. "Blessed" - Psalm 32

Sunday, May 30, 2021

“Blessed” Psalm 32 [Matt's Messages]

“Blessed”
Graduation Sunday
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
May 30, 2021 :: Psalm 32

I hope you followed along with Owen in your Bible or in the inside back of your worship guide. If so, please keep your Bible open and your finger on the text. If not, then turn in or turn on your Bible to Psalm 32. A psalm of David. A “maskil” of David which probably means a “teaching psalm.” Psalm 32 which is full of fortifying truth.

Psalm 32 is a joyful song about a great blessing. It has some sad stuff in it, some heavy, weighty, serious stuff. But it kicks off on a super joyful note and then ends in the same exultant tone. Woo!

Psalm 32 starts with the word “blessed.”

What a great word! We heard that word again and again last week in Psalm 135.  To be blessed means to be happy, to be joyful, to be enriched, to be thriving, to be flourishing. To be blessed means to be in state to be congratulated. To really be living.

To be “blessed” mean to have something worth celebrating in your life. It’s a blessing, for example, to graduate from a school. Congratulations.

#Blessed!

When we studied the beatitudes a few years ago, we said that it could be translated “Good on you!” “So happy for you!” “Good for you!” “Way to be!”

The CSB, which is the translation we just gave to the graduates, translates it in verse 1 and verse 2, “How joyful!”

And what’s interesting is what David is celebrating as such a blessing.

Who is truly blessed?
Who is truly happy?

This psalm is not about the blessings of having money or having stuff. It’s not about being blessed with a brand new car or motorcycle or truck.

This psalm is not about the blessings of freedom. Freedom is a blessing, and we are thankful today for so many freedoms we enjoy in this nation that came at the cost of so many sacrifices.

But that’s not the blessing that David wrote this song about.

This psalm is not even about the blessings of family or other loving relationships between people as wonderful as those blessings are, as well.

No, this psalm is about how blessed it is to be forgiven.

Psalm 32, verses 1&2 again.
“Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.”


Psalm 32 is a joyful song about a great blessing. It’s a very happy song.

Because it’s a song about a man who has personally experienced the blessing of forgiveness.

I have three points to summarize Psalm 32 for you this morning, and this is the first one:

#1. BLESSED TO BE COVERED.

David says that God’s people are blessed to be covered by God’s forgiveness.

Look more closely at verse 1. David actually uses 3 different Hebrew words for “sin” in the first 2 verses and accordingly 3 different ways of describing the blessing of forgiveness. V.1

“Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven [and the Hebrew word there emphasizes the idea of transgressions being “lifted away” from the sinner, borne away, to be seen no more, then...], whose sins are covered [different word for sin, different word to describe forgiveness. Here the idea is that his sin is seen no longer because it is covered over by something that hides it permanently from view. It’s also like we say when a debt is paid, “It’s covered.” The debt of sin is paid for and gone to be seen no more. V.2]. Blessed is the man whose sin [yet another Hebrew word] the LORD does not count against him [it is no longer reckoned to his account] ...”

No matter how you conceive of your sin, this forgiveness is total. It is not coming back on you, no way no how.

Forgiven, covered, not counted against you, not on your permanent record.

Isn’t that a blessing?!

Isn’t it wonderful that this kind of blessing exists?!
We live in an unforgiving world. Humans can be so bitter and relentless and demanding and exacting in our justice. Our pound of flesh. One strike and you are out.

And we might assume that God is the same way because we know that God is holy and we know that God knows how unholy we are! How sinful and rebellious we are.

Our sin is not small! But God’s grace is greater still.

And so, how joyful we can be if we know that we are forgiven in this way.  That our sin would be forgiven, that our sin would covered.

“Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.”

David knows this because David was, at one time, not that man.

At one time, David had tried to cover up his own sin. And that never goes well. Look at verse 3.

“When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Selah”

“Selah” probably means “Stop right there and think about that for a while.”

Many Bible scholars believe that David is singing about that time when he had sinned against Bathsheba and her husband Uriah and then tried to cover it up and pretend like it had not happened.  [See also Psalm 51 that we studied earlier this year.] And he went a whole year like that.

And it was miserable.

“When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.”

He might have looked good on the outside, but he was miserable on the inside. And it came out in his health wasting away under God’s discipline.

“For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.”

I wish we had a little more of the heat of summer today. 

But I’m glad I don’t feel like David did wilting under the weight of unconfessed sin.

He was miserable.

Are you miserable right now? Are you holding onto some secret unconfessed sin?

The Lord knows. It’s no good trying to hide it from Him. “Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).

Your pretending that you’re innocent is not fooling Him for one second.

And it can be forgiven!

It can feel so scary to admit your sin before a holy God, but He’s not just holy, He’s gracious. That’s what David found! Verse 5.

“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’–and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah”

How joyful!

Just think about that. “Selah.” Just think about that!

All David had to do was own it and confess it and not cover up his sin, and then God covered up His sin!

How awesome is that?!

How joyful!
How happy!
How blessed!

As Christians we don’t celebrate being perfect sinless people.

We don’t even celebrate being good people.

If you think you’re basically a good person, you don’t really understand Christianity.

We believe that we are bad people.

We believe that all people are bad!

But we also believe that bad people can be forgiven.

And we know that’s because of the Cross of Jesus Christ.

We aren’t just covered. We are covered by the blood.

Unless you have not been covered yet.

The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, [God in Christ] is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Have you done that?

For the first time? Confessed your sin, uncovered your sin before God and received the covering of your sin by blood of Jesus?

If you have not, I invite you to do so today.

Uncover your sin before God and have God cover your sin through the blood of Christ.

In verse 6, David prays that people would repent and seek God in that way. Because He is the only safe place in the universe. Look at verse 6.

“Therefore [because God forgives in this way] let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him.”

Those are sobering words “while you may be found,” because it’s clear that there is coming a time when God’s patience will end and He grace will not be found.

So David prays that while there is still time, everyone who wants to be godly will seek the Lord and put their trust in Him and hide themselves away in Him.

He uses the metaphor of rising waves, “mighty waters rising.” Remember the waters of the sea were a symbol of chaos and evil and trouble in the Hebrew mind.

But God’s throne is secure against the chaos of the mighty waters rising. 

David is saying if you repent and put your trust in the LORD, then the waters will not come over your head. You will be on high ground! 

You will be safe! Verse 7. He prays, “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah”

Just stop and think about that!

How blessed is that?

That’s number two this morning.

#2. BLESSED TO BE SURROUNDED.

Blessed to be covered, our sins covered.

And blessed to be surrounded, our God is our hiding place.

He’s our fortress. He’s our safe place.

How blessed is that?

David used to be running from God, but now God is his hiding place.

David used to need protection from Gods wrath or at least God’s discipline. But now God protect Him from trouble!

David was miserable under the heavy hand of God. But now God surrounds Him with songs of deliverance. Salvation songs!

What a beautiful picture of blessing!

And who do you think is doing the singing in verse 7?

He’s surrounded by songs of deliverance.

David is singing verse 7, but he’s singing about other singing. Singing that surrounds him.

It very well could be God’s people, Israel, singing with and around him.

He can hear the songs of his church so to speak singing, “This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day the long!”

But it also might be God doing the singing.

Think about that.
Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”

God Himself singing songs celebrating His own grace at work in David’s life.

Brothers and sisters, the Bible says when you were first saved, there was much rejoicing before the angels. I think that’s God rejoicing.

Can you imagine God singing over you right now?

#Blessed!

Surrounded. 

He’s got you surrounded by blessing.

If you are trusting Him.

Blessed to be covered.
Blessed to be surrounded.
Blessed to be guided.

#3. BLESSED TO BE GUIDED.

Here’s another reason why I think the singer being referred to in verse 7 might be God Himself–because in verse 8, God is the singer. God sings over David in verse 8.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.”

David records a prophetic word directly from God in his song. God promises to guide David.

He isn’t just forgiven. He isn’t just protected. He’s given instruction and counsel and watch-care.

Isn’t that wonderful?

God also warns David to receive this guidance with submission. Verse 9.

“Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.”

God knows that David can be stubborn.

He says don’t be like a obstinate beast of burden that has to be coerced and doesn’t listen and doesn’t receive counsel.

Does this remind you of anybody you know?

It should you remind you of you.

Long before Matt Cox and Miracle Mountain Ranch, God was using horses to teach good theology.

Don’t be stubborn! Yield! Receive. Humble yourself.

And God Himself will guide you.

What a blessing that is! V.10

“Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD's unfailing love [hesed] surrounds the man who trusts in him.”

What has God been trying to get through your thick skull recently?

I’ll bet you know.

What has God been trying to guide you into, but you’ve been insisting on not listening?

“Do not be like the horse or the mule...”

Instead, rejoice. Rejoice and be glad because you are so blessed. V.11

“Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!”

Because we have every reason to rejoice.


No matter what?
No matter COVID.
No matter restrictions.
No matter distancing.
No matter masks.
No matter jobs.
No matter cancer.
No matter relationships.
No matter finances.
No matter politics.
No matter death.

No matter what.


Because we are blessed!

We are blessed to be covered. Our sins are covered by the blood of Jesus.

We are blessed to be surrounded. Our God is our hiding place and sings over us songs of deliverance.

We are blessed to be guided. If we will humble ourselves and receive it. “The LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trust in him.”

We are so blessed. We must rejoice.

“Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!”


***

Fortifying Truth - Psalms - Fall 2020 / Winter 2021 / Spring 2021

01. Majestic and Mindful - Psalm 8
02. All Our Days - Psalm 90
03. "The LORD on High Is Mighty!" - Psalm 93
04. "The LORD Is My Shepherd" - Psalm 23
05. "Praise the LORD, O My Soul!" - Psalm 103
06. "The Blessing of Aaron's Oily Beard" - Psalm 133
07. "A Dying Thirst for the Living God" - Psalm 42
08. "Our Fortress" - Psalm 46
09. Unrestless - Psalm 131
10. "Sun and Shield" - Psalm 84
11. "With Songs of Joy" - Psalm 126
12. "His Love Endures Forever" - Psalm 136
13. "How Many Are Your Works, O LORD!" - Psalm 104
14. "My Soul Waits for the Lord" - Psalm 130
15. "Remember David" - Psalm 132
16. "My Son" - Psalm 2
17. "Search Me" - Psalm 139
18. "Cleanse Me" - Psalm 51
19. "A New Song" - Psalm 96
20. "Hear My Prayer, O LORD." - Psalm 86
21. "May All the Peoples Praise You" - Psalm 67
22. "A Wedding Song" - Psalm 45
23. "My Feet Had Almost Slipped" - Psalm 73
24. “Rejoicing Comes in the Morning" - Psalm 30
25. 'The Waters Have Come Up To My Neck" - Psalm 69
26. "Cast Your Cares on the LORD" - Psalm 55
27. "“My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?" - Psalm 22
28. "You Will Not Abandon Me To the Grave" - Psalm 16
29. "He Will Rule" - Psalm 72
30. "Taste and See That the LORD is Good" - Psalm 34
31. "Since My Youth" - Psalm 71
32. "Your Statutes Are Wonderful" - Psalm 119
33. "The LORD Our God Is Holy" - Psalm 99