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Friday, April 30, 2021

"The Gospel and Gossip" - May/June Issue of Christianity Today

It was a real privilege to be one of the people interviewed by Kate Shellnutt for her cover story "Whispers or Whistleblowing?" about gossip and abuse in the latest issue of Christianity Today. I just got my print copy in the mail yesterday.

In her article, Kate links to my blogpost: "Don't Misuse 'Resisting Gossip'" and  guest post for Ed Stetzer, "Gossip and Prayer Requests" and she reports some of our discussion of the difficult dynamics at play when the vulnerable may need to speak up and speak out about those wielding power and authority. The answers are not easy because they are "both/and" which always requires wisdom, courage, and love. 

I agree that the definition of gossip that we employ is a big part of the problem so that the more biblical clarity we can get on that, the more it will also be a big part of the solution. My one-sentence way of summarizing the Bible's teaching is that the sin of gossip is bearing bad news behind someone's back out of a bad heart.

I'm thankful to get to make a contribution to an important conversation.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

So far the only side-effect I'm feeling is gratefulness.

A real shot in the arm! 


You might not be able to tell with my mask on, but I'm smiling big today. 

So far the only side-effect I'm feeling is gratefulness. I feel like there is so much to be thankful for as Heather and I received jab #2 of our COVID vaccine: 

1. I'm thankful for the scientists, researchers, doctors, public health officials, hospital administrators, testing volunteers, and everyone else who worked so hard to develop these vaccines. 

2. I'm thankful for our governmental leaders past and present for their efforts to get these vaccines made and out to us here in the sticks. I'm thankful today for how the Trump/Pence administration cut through all of the bureaucratic red-tape and shrewdly invested our tax dollars in vaccine research so that we could have such incredibly effective vaccines in such a short amount of time and for how the Biden/Harris administration has accelerated the widespread distribution so that 140 million people have gotten one shot already in just a few months. American ingenuity and determination at work! 

3. I'm thankful to the Lord for building repeatable regularity into the world He has made so that science is possible. There would be no science or technology without God (Proverbs 25:2, Psalm 24:1). 

4. I'm thankful that getting immunized against COVID will enable me to get closer to people. As a pastor, the hardest part of the pandemic has been keeping my distance out of love for others. My natural inclination is to move towards others, and now I can do that more and more! For me, the vaccine helps me to love people better, and that sure feels good. In two weeks, I plan to use my full immunity to get busy in visiting people once again. You will be safe from me. Invite me over, and I'll be there! 

5. Most of all I'm thankful to belong to the Lord Jesus because no medical technology is perfect and life is short no matter what. "You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man's life is but a breath" (Psalm 39:5). What matters is being in His hands (Psalm 31:15). My safety and security are in Him. I hope you can say the same. If not, give Him a try. 

 "Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him" (Psalm 34:8).

Sunday, April 25, 2021

“Taste and See that the LORD is Good” Psalm 34 [Matt's Messages]

“Taste and See that the LORD is Good”
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
April 25, 2021 :: Psalm 34

Psalm 34 is an lyrical invitation to a “taste test.”

Psalm 34 is a song in which King David beautifully invites us all to try out, to sample, and to judge for ourselves just how good the LORD is.

Verse 8 says it this way: “Taste and see that the LORD is good.”

The metaphor alludes to two of our physical senses both of which when something is truly wonderful indicate for us great pleasure. Both taste and sight. 

“Taste and see that the LORD is good.”

This last year, Heather Joy has gotten into baking bread again in a big way. She’s had great success with her “sourdough starter” so that several times a week we who can eaten gluten get to enjoy a fresh hot loaf of better-than-Panera-bread. 

Do you like sourdough bread? Have you tried it?

Maybe with some warm butter and local honey smeared on it? Have you tried it?

Take a taste test! Somebody who has experienced the goodness of something invites others try it out and see for themselves how good it really is.

But in Psalm 34, it’s not a loaf of bread.

It’s a Person. It’s God Himself. It’s Yahweh, the God of Israel.

“Taste and see that the LORD is good.”

The Hebrew word translated “good” is “tov.” The same word that expressed God’s pleasure in the world that He had made. He saw that it was “tov.” “Tov” is the way things ought to be. It’s not just morally good. It’s good and complete and sweet.

“Taste and see that the LORD is [tov].”

That’s the invitation. But that’s down in verse 8. We need to start back in verse 1.

Interestingly, Psalm 34 is an acrostic poem. One of those A-Z sort of things where the psalmist starts each line with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Aleph, Beth, Gimel. A, B, C. You can’t see it in the English, but this is a carefully constructed poem from A-Z. 

It actually deviates from the pattern in two places, and I’m not sure why. There is no 6th letter and the 17th letter is out of order, comes at the end. But the point is that King David has spent a lot of time and effort to craft this particular song just the way he wants it to invite us to taste the goodness of the LORD and to instruct us in the fear of the LORD ourselves.


The first invitation of Psalm 34 is an invitation to join the psalmist in unceasing praise. Look at verse 1.

“Psalm 34. Of David. When he pretended to be insane before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he left. I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together.”

I have four points of application for us to consider today from Psalm 34, and they are all about how to relate to the goodness of the LORD. The first one is this:

#1. BOAST OF HIS GOODNESS.

David starts his song with a commitment to unceasing praise.

“I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.”

You can count it. I plan to always praise the Lord. In the good times and in the bad times, right? He says “at all times,” “always.” Not just when things are going well, but when things are decidedly NOT going well.  It’s much harder then. That’s why you have to decide in advance that your lips are going to always have praise on them.

Now, of course, that doesn’t mean that all we ever do is praise the Lord. Read the rest of Bible or just read the rest of Psalms to see that there are other things we do with our lips, other godly ways of talking–including lament. 

But every day and never far away we who belong to the LORD can and should have praise on our lips. Because He is so good! We boast about Him. Verse 2.

“My soul will boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.”

Now, that’s a strange group to rejoice! “The afflicted.” The suffering. The downtrodden. The distressed.

King David invites them to hear his song and to join it! V.3

“Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together.”

We’ve seen again and again in the Psalter that praise is contagious, and it loves company. 

David wants everybody to sing in concert with him, boasting in the goodness of the Lord.

All of the time.

Last week, Pastor Kerry had us do call and response with “We Proclaim Christ! Right?" Right!

Well, there’s a call and response in the historically Black Church that goes, “God is Good...All the Time. All the Time...God is Good.”

King David would say, “Let us exalt his name together. God is TOV...All the time. All the time...God is TOV.”

In verse 4 we begin to see what David was so happy about. He had been rescued. He had been saved from his enemies. Verse 4.

“I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.” 

Like many other psalms, this one has a backstory. The superscription in verse 1 tells us that it was written out of the time when David “pretended to be insane before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he left.”


David was in trouble (as usual) and on the run from King Saul and he ran into even more trouble trying to live under a Philistine king while carrying the sword of Goliath the giant Philistine had he killed earlier.

David was in a pickle, and he used a clever ruse to get out of it.

But his own cleverness was not the point of the story that David himself got out it!

David recognized when it was all over that God had rescued him. That Yahweh had delivered him. From all of his fears and all of his troubles. Verse 6 again.

“This poor man [no resources on my own] called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.”

That’s why David is praising Him! That’s how good the LORD is!

God is TOV...All the Time. All the time...God is TOV.

I love how verse 5 describes the people who look to the LORD for salvation. They don’t look terrorized even if scary things are happening to them. Verse 5. 

“Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” 

I want that for myself especially as I age. I want to be radiant. And I want that for all of us, as well. I want us to be radiant.  If I were going plant or rename a church, I think I’d want to call it, “Radiant Church.” Shining with praise for God’s deliverance in our lives. Because, verse 7:

“The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.”

That’s an unseen spiritual reality intimated in this song lyric. Right now those of us who fear God have the angel of the LORD encamping around us. 

You are surrounded right now!

You are spiritually safe from the world, the flesh, and the devil though they make war against you as they constantly will.

“The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.”

And if that’s true, why wouldn’t you want the LORD in your life? V.8

“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”

Application point number two:

#2. TASTE HIS GOODNESS.

See for yourself. Don’t just take my word for it. Don’t just take David’s word for it!

Jump in yourself. The water’s so good!

Take a bite of the goodness of belonging to the Lord. You won’t be disappointed. Here’s what you’re going to find: blessing.

“Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”


“Blessed.” Happy. In a state to be congratulated. In a good place.

“Safe and secure from all alarms.” / “Life and rest and joy and peace.”

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus.”

Try it! Verse 9.

“Fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.”

How about that image?! Yes, even young lions who can eat anything they can catch will still get tired and hungry.



Everything you really need will be yours if you put your trust and fear in the name of the LORD.

God is TOV...All the Time. All the time...God is TOV.

Now, David has used this phrase, “fearing the LORD” a few times already in this song (verse 7, verse 9). The LORD has delivered Him from all of his fear except for his fear of the LORD.

That’s a good fear. And it’s one that we need to learn.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.

Where you do you get that?

In verse 11, King David offers to teach us. He speaks as the “father” of Israel and offers to be their teacher. Verse 11.

“Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.”

You see how invitational this song is?

David invites them to praise God for His goodness with himself.
David invites them to taste and see God’s goodness for themselves.
And now David invites them to learn to fear the LORD for themselves.

And it basically boils down to practicing God’s goodness. To living out God’s will in the sight of God and pursuing goodness like God himself. Verse 12.

“Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”

I’m going to summarize that with the phrase:

#3. PRACTICE HIS GOODNESS.

The fear of the LORD looks like living a good life in sight of God.

It’s living out your faith before a holy God.

It’s not being perfect, but it is being obedient by faith. Look at verse 12 again.

“Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days ["tov" days, days filled with the goodness of the LORD], keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good [tov]; seek peace and pursue it.”

It’s that easy.

Or it’s that simple. It may not be easy, especially for broken people in a broken world. But it’s pretty simple.

Watch your mouth.

“...keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.”

I caught myself in lie the other day. I was trying to impress somebody, and I exaggerated something to ingratiate myself with them. I’ve been shaking my head at myself every since.

How about you? Is your mouth marked by truth?

Gossip, slander, obscenity, cursing, manipulating, quarreling. There are lots of ways that our mouths can get us in trouble.

There are so many Proverbs that warn us that the fear of the LORD means that we keep our tongues from evil.

And not just our mouths, but we should watch the whole direction of our whole lives.

“Turn from evil and do good [tov]; seek peace and pursue it.”

Peace. That’s our relationships. 

To learn the fear of the LORD, we actually have to practice His goodness in our personal relationships.

“Seek peace and pursue it.”

Does that describe you and your life?

It doesn’t say “fake peace,” it says “seek peace and pursue it.”

You and I are supposed to be peace-seekers, peace-pursuers, peace-makers reconcilers.

Some of us just like to stir the pot, though.

When Christians do not practice Gods goodness like verses 12 through 14, we give Christianity a bad name.

That was the point the Apostle Peter was making in his first letter when he quoted these very lines of Psalm 34!

And Peter said we should do it even when we’re being persecuted! He said, “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, ‘Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it” (1 Peter 3:9-11). That’s Psalm 34!

We still supposed to live this way today.

Even when we are being persecuted. 

Are you ready for persecution?

It seems to me from watching things online that many Christians are not ready for persecution because they are repaying evil with evil and insult with insult instead of blessing.”

Are you ready for persecution?

Get ready.

And get ready by practicing the goodness (the tov-ness) of God.

With your mouth.
With your life.
With your relationships.

We are to repay evil and insult with blessing so that we may inherit a blessing.

Because our God is so full of blessing, so full of goodness.

So full of attentive care.

That’s how David ends this song–with a litany of beautiful images of God’s goodness  up close and personal.

One on top of another.

It’s so full of promise that our last application point is simply:

#4. REST IN HIS GOODNESS.

Because when we live in the fear of the LORD knowing that His holy eyes are on us so we want to please Him and live in accordance with His goodness, we also know that His holy eyes are not just on us but on our enemies, and He will deliver us. V.15

“The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry; the face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. [Yikes!] The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned. The LORD redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.”

This afternoon, take out a piece of paper and a pen and make a list of all of the goodness that this song ascribes to the LORD.

And just revel and rest in it!

Look at all of those sensory words. Its not just our mouth and eyes with which we taste and see.

It’s the LORD’s eyes, and ears, and face and personal presence, and closeness.

He is near and He cares.

Do you need to hear that today? I’ll bet that some of you really do!

The LORD hears and He cares.

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted...”

Are you brokenhearted today?

“[He] saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

He does not promise us a trouble-free life. “A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.”

For great King David, that was a metaphor of God’s overall protection, but of course for great King David’s greatest son, King Jesus, it was literally true.

They did not break His bones (John 19:36).

Though they did pierce His hands and feet.

And He did die on the Cross.

There is a tension here, isn’t there? This psalm can’t be promising that we will win every single time. That Christians will never lose, never really suffer, never really die.

Our Lord did all of that.

But even as He died, they did not break His bones, and that pointed to the ultimate deliverance that came in just 3 days when He came back to life and life forevermore.

And verses 21 and 22 point to our ultimate deliverance, our ultimate salvation.

Which is “no condemnation” for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Condemnation for those outside of Christ Jesus. 

“Evil will slay the wicked [it will catch up to them]; the foes of the righteous will be condemned.”

Judgment is coming. Flee the wrath of God.

But Jesus absorbed the wrath we deserve so that we can be redeemed. Verse 22.

“The LORD redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.”

Rest in that!

Rest in that goodness!

All who take shelter in King Jesus can say, “I will never be condemned.”

God is TOV...All the Time. All the time...God is TOV.

Come try Him for yourself.

Taste and see that the LORD is good. 


***

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" - 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

Sunday, April 18, 2021

"We Proclaim Christ! Right?" by Pastor Kerry Doyal [LEFC Sermon Notes]

"We Proclaim Christ! Right?"
Believers long to present Christ to others so we can present them to Christ.
Colossians 1:27-29
Kerry Doyal, Allegheny District Superintendent

We are easily distracted. Admittedly, some more than others – squirrel! We live in days of multiplying diversions and deepening divisions. It is easy to get off message and mission. Our passage today helps us refocus on our central source and message of hope. Jesus, God’s sovereign Son, and sole means of redemption and adoption, is our life and mission. He is to be what we are all about.  

“God wanted to make known among the Gentiles the glorious wealth of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 We proclaim him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 I labor for this, striving with his strength that works powerfully in me.” (Col. 1:27-29 – CSB)

Confined in Rome (60 AD), Paul reaches out to a church being threatened with doctrinal drift and spiritual distraction. Epaphras visited Paul to share his concerns for the church in Colossae. Paul writes them, pointing them back to the Lord Christ Jesus. He reminds us of our central commitment – Messiah Jesus. Finding life and hope in Him, we strive to proclaim Him to others.
 

WE PRESENT CHRIST TO OTHERS SO WE CAN PRESENT THEM TO CHRIST.

A full presentation of Him, in His fullness, which leads to Fullness, Maturity in Him

1.      We are All about HIM; Christ, our hope of glory

a.       Seeking to know Him better to live worthy of Him (1:9-14)

b.      Him: God’s Sovereign Son, His exact image, firstborn, over all…  (15-23)

c.       Him: God’s Made-known secret; the Savior, our Source of Life (24-27)

2.       We Proclaim Him, with Wisdom  

a.       Willing to suffer as servants of this glorious message of hope (24-27)

b.      Warning them – “Get right”

c.       Teaching  them – “Grow up”

d.      With Knowledge and Insight into message, method (cf. Col 4:2-6)

3.      We’re Purposeful: To Present Mature Disciples to Him

a.       “proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become

b.      an offering acceptable to God” (Romans 15:16 - NIV)

c.       Not just “getting’ souls saved” – make disciples! (Matt. 28:18-20)

d.      Help them grow up in all things (cf. Gal. 4:19; Eph. 4:1-6)

4.      We Persevere in this Mission, with His Power

                Agonizing, toiling, dependent on Him (John 15:1-5; 1Cor. 15:10)

 
APPLICATION QUESTIONS.

Ø  Do you know Him? He is God’s source of hope for us (1:26, 27)

Ø  Are you growing in knowledge of Him?  Pray Col. 1:9-14

Study Col. 1:15-20; write out who He is, what He’s done

Ø  Do you live to make Him known? With your:

Life  - fruit of Spirit, deeds (Gal. 5:19-22; Matt. 5:13-16)

Lips – truth of Spirit from the Word  (Col. 3:16-17; 4:5, 6)

Ø  What flows most frequently from you? What drips over your lips?

Politics, pandemic, playthings…  (Luke 6:45; Col. 3:14-16) 

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Interview with Bill Arnold at Faith Radio about "Resisting Gossip"

On Friday, I enjoyed talking about Resisting Gossip yesterday with Bill Arnold on Faith Radio out of Minneapolis.

Live radio can be kind of daunting--I had a few moments when I blanked out and I tripped over my words, but it was still fun to have a lively conversation about saying, "No" to the temptation to talk about people behind their backs.


Sunday, April 11, 2021

“He Will Rule” Psalm 72 [Matt's Messages]

“He Will Rule”
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
April 11, 2021 :: Psalm 72

This might take a little bit of effort, but imagine for a moment that you are soon going to be crowned the next king of Israel. 

Imagine that you are living 3,000 years ago in ancient Israel, and your daddy had been the king of Israel, and you are either soon going to be crowned or have recently been crowned, and you are now coming into the fullness of your reign. 

And you have an opportunity to write a prayer song about your reign. A prayer for you to pray, a song for you to sing and for others to pray and sing along with you.

What do you put in that prayer?

What do you include in that song?

It was apparently a situation something like that which was the occasion for the composition of Psalm 72.

The superscription says that Psalm 72 is “Of Solomon.” Just like many of these psalms have been “Of David.” There are only actually 2 Psalms in the Psalter listed as “Of Solomon.” This one and Psalm 127.

And this one is all about the reign of the king.

It’s a prayer for and about the king–the royal son–and his rule.

I’ve titled this message, “He Will Rule,” drawing from the first three words of verse 8 in the 1984 New International Version.

Because it’s all about the rule and reign of this king.

Now, which king is in view in Psalm 72?

That’s a very important question.

What king is this song about?

Well, just like the last four psalms that we have studied together the last four Sundays, I think that the answer is complicated. It’s at least twofold.

There’s the original king that this song is about (I think Solomon himself here), but the language of Psalm 72 is so exalted, so extravagant, so boundary-busting, that I think it must also be prophetic about a Great King to come.

Not just great David’s great son King Solomon.
But great David’s greatest son King Jesus.

And I think you’ll see and feel that yourself as we read it together.

This is a royal psalm that seems also really be a Messianic psalm.

Many of the phrases that describe the king can actually be translated either as a request, “May He be this...” or as a declaration, a vision, a prophecy, “He will be this...”

Like that phrase in verse 8. It could be translated, “May He rule.”

I think the ambiguity may be intentional so that we hear both Solomon praying for these things for himself and also prophesying that they will be some day in the future be fully realized in Jesus.

So, back to the question. You are about to be crowned king, and you’re writing a prayer song about your reign.

What do you put in that song?



The LORD appeared to Solomon at Gibeon and said to him, “Ask whatever you want, and I’ll give it to you.”

Do you remember what young Solomon asked for then?
A discerning heart. He said, “[G]ive your servant a discerning heart [wisdom!] to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (1 Kings 3:9).

And the Lord loved that answer and gave that wisdom and much more blessing to him.

Well, that’s what Solomon starts Psalm 72 with. Let’s look at it. Verses 1 through 4.

“Psalm 72. Of Solomon. Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness. He will judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice. The mountains will bring prosperity to the people, the hills the fruit of righteousness. He will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; he will crush the oppressor.”

I have three points to summarize the rule of the king in Psalm 72. 

#1. HIS REIGN WILL BE RIGHTEOUS.

He will rule in righteousness.

Do you see how Solomon repeats that idea over and over again in the first 4 verses?

“Righteousness, righteousness, righteousness.”

He wants righteousness, rightness, justice to be the hallmark of his reign.

That’s the number one thing he asks for.

“Endow the king with your justice, O God [divine justice! The ability to make the right ruling, the right decision, to know right from wrong in any given situation, Endow the king with your justice, O God], the royal son with your righteousness. [And then perhaps more prophetically.] He will judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice.”

What does that look like? When the king is reigning in righteousness, then prosperity is the result. 

Verse 3. “The mountains will bring prosperity [literally “shalom” “peace” “wholeness”] to the people, the hills the fruit of righteousness. [It will be everywhere. And that justice will be evidenced by how the most vulnerable are treated.]

That’s the exact right thing to pray for as you begin your reign as king.

Pray that you would bring justice like that. That you love justice like that. That you would have a heart of righteousness, and that you would bring righteousness to bear in every situation under your rule.

Now, we don’t have a monarchy in this country, but these are good things for us to pray for in our democracy, as well, I think. We can pray that our government (which is by the people) would be for the people, especially the most vulnerable people among us. And we can pray that we would be wise to elect those whose policies would most have that effect.

Because these verses open up for us the heart of God. It’s a heart for justice. Notice what Solomon calls the afflicted in verse 2? They are “your afflicted ones.” Those who are suffering under injustice are described as belonging in some way to the Lord Himself.

So that how we treat the last and the least and the oppressed matters deeply to God. And, therefore, it should matter to the king. V.4

“He will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; he will crush the oppressor.”

I think that in first instance this is Solomon’s prayer request for himself and his rule.

But how did Solomon do at this after all?

Was he thumbs up or thumbs down in the end?

Well, Solomon was a pretty mixed bag. He got some things right early on, and I think he may have actually came back strong at the end of his life.

But, in many ways, he failed at this very thing. In 1 Kings 12, his former subjects said that he had placed a heavy yoke on them. At least some of them actually said that he had oppressed them instead of crushing their oppressors.

So I think this psalm is also prophetic about the Messiah and His unswerving commitment to righteousness. 

I think Psalm 72 predicts that the Messiah will set everything right as it should be. Poverty will be eliminated. Peace will rule. And everything still wrong will be made right. When He will rule in righteousness.

Do you long for that? I know I do. Every day I read the news I long for it even more. There is so little justice, so much injustice. And, I admit, I don’t always know what justice actually is in many situations. 

But Jesus does, and Jesus will, and He will bring divine righteousness to His kingdom.

#2. HIS REIGN WILL BE BOUNDLESS.

It will not just be righteous, but it will be boundless. 

In verse 5, Solomon goes really big. He swings for the fences. Verse 5.

“He will [or “may he”] endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations.”

Now, if he’s praying for himself, that’s a little over the top. Perhaps it’s just poetry to say, “always,” or perhaps he means himself and the rest of David’s dynasty, all of David’s sons “through all generations” are in the “he” there.

Maybe. But you can’t help but think about the Messiah, can you?

About a king that literally endures as long as the sun and moon...AND EVEN LONGER! Boundless in time. An endless enduring reign. 

And boundless in blessing. Verse 6.

“He will be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth.”

Solomon wants to be like that, but we know that Jesus is and will be.

He is so refreshing and life-giving.

I love that Jesus is like a Spring rain! Fallen on mown field. What’s the significance of that? Well, it’s refreshing, but it’s also fruitful, right? The first planting has already grown up and been cut. And now the rain is coming to nourish the second planting. And then third and the fourth and fifth to infinity. Verse 7.

“In his days the righteous will flourish; prosperity will abound till the moon is no more.”

Boundless prosperity! Can you imagine?

That’s what the kingdom will be like.

Now, all of that was in jeopardy when Jesus died on the Cross, wasn’t it?

It sure didn’t look like boundless prosperity. 

It sure didn’t look like perfect righteousness was going to win.

That’s why the resurrection that we celebrated last Sunday is so important for today.

Because King Jesus is still risen indeed today, we know that His Kingdom will come and be forevermore.

Forevermore, boundless in time. And boundless in space. Verse 8.

“He will rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.”

Now that could be in Solomonic terms from the Mediterranean to the Sea of Galilee,  but feels bigger than that, doesn’t it?

And from the River (the Euphrates) to the ends of the earth.

That’s saying the whole world, isn’t it? The whole known world.

Solomon is not emphasizing limits here but extension. Everywhere you look, this king will rule or “may he rule.” Verse 9

“The desert tribes will bow before him and his enemies will lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and of distant shores will bring tribute to him; the kings of Sheba and Seba will present him gifts.”

Solomon is like pointing to every point on the compass.

Anybody know where Tarshish was? It was probably Spain. That’s where Jonah wanted to go, right? That was a far West as anybody had heard of.

And how about South? Sheba and Seba are in the South.

Seba is probably present day Ethiopia.

Sheba is probably present day Yemen.

And the River was to the East and North.

All over the compass, Solomon expected to reign.

He would defeat his enemies, and even attract other kingdoms to follow him.

That’s what happened with the Queen of _______ in 1 Kings 10?


Far away places.

And if that was true of King Solomon for a limited time, how much more will it be true of King Jesus for an unlimited time? Verse 11.

“All kings will bow down to him and all nations will serve him.”


And then my mind goes to Revelation 21 where it says that all of the kings and nations of the earth of will come to the New Jerusalem to worship the Lamb and bring in their glory and honor to King Jesus.

All of these things have been promised to King David in some form, and Solomon is just praying that they will be fulfilled.

And we know that they will be fulfilled!

Boundless in time.
Boundless in flourishing.
Boundless in territory.
Boundless in mercy and justice.

In verse 12, Solomon goes back to the theme of justice, and he says that this kind of justice is what will really attract the nations.

It won’t just be the king’s raw power, but how he uses that power to exercise compassion and justice for the vulnerable. Verse 12.

“All kings will bow down to him and all nations will serve him. For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.”

That is the heart of a true king.

If you are in any position of leadership and authority, pray that this would be true of you in your leadership.

Pray that you would use what power you have for those who are powerless.

Verse 15. “Long may he live! May gold from Sheba be given him. May people ever pray for him and bless him all day long.”

Here Solomon asks for long life and for his people’s prayers. He prays for prayer.

And he prays for blessing.

#3. HIS REIGN WILL BE BLESSED.

His reign will be righteous.
His reign will be boundless.
And His reign be blessed.

Verse 16, “Let grain abound throughout the land; on the tops of the hills may it sway. Let its fruit flourish like Lebanon; let it thrive like the grass of the field.”

In verse 15, he prayed for gold from Sheba. And the Queen of Sheba brought him some!

In verse 16, he prays for crops. He wants thriving crops throughout the land–even on the tops of the hills. That would be miraculous in Israel.

Fruit growing like trees grow in Lebanon.

Fruit like grass!

That’s a picture of blessing, isn’t it?

This is pointing beyond Solomon, beyond Israel, to Jesus and His Kingdom in the New Heaven and the New Earth.

A completely renovated world. 

Where everything is not only righteous but prosperous.

Not only just but blessed.

All because of Who the King is. Verse 17.

“May his name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun. All nations will be blessed through him, and they will call him blessed.”

Solomon prayed for boundless blessing on his reign, and well he might as long as that blessing came as the fruit of righteousness.

But this prayer is too big for Solomon’s britches. His shoes were not big enough to fill up verse 17!

Verse 17 alludes to the promises made to Abraham, doesn’t it? The Abrahamic Covenant. “All nations will be blessed through him, and they will call him blessed.”

Well, Solomon in his splendor was foretaste of the fulfillment of that blessing but only a foretaste.

Thankfully, “One greater than Solomon has come.”


“One greater than Solomon has come.”

A thousand years after King Solomon wrote Psalm 72, King Jesus came and began  to really fulfill it.

And now 2000 years after that we are waiting for Jesus to sing this song to its fullest and be blessed forevermore!

One greater than Solomon has risen from the dead is coming again soon!

So, how do we apply Psalm 72 to our lives today?

Three quick bullet points of application:

#1. Expect His Reign.

“He will rule!” Solomon prayed for it, and he was also prophesying it.

And we should fully expect it to be fulfilled in the return of Christ.

His reign WILL BE righteous.
His reign WILL BE boundless.
His reign WILL BE blessed forevermore.

We can put all of our faith in that biblical hope.

Sometimes (often!), it doesn’t seem likely. It doesn’t seem like the kingdom is on the way.

But we know it is!

He will rule. Expect with it with all of you heart.

#2. Expand His Reign.

That starts with submitting to it yourself and then sharing it with others.

If you have never bowed the knee to King Jesus and received Him as your own Lord, don’t wait another second. You’ve just read where history is headed. You don’t want to be on the wrong side of this King.

“His enemies will lick the dust.”

But His subjects will be rescued from their oppressors even from their own oppressive sin.

And tell other people about Him!

This is Who King Jesus is! Invite others from here to every point on the compass to put their faith in Him.

Expand His Reign.

#3. Extol His Reign.

Praise God that the King has come, the King has come back from the dead, and the King is coming again to bring a kingdom that will never end.

That’s where the Psalm 72 goes at the very end. This part actually may be added as the ending not just for Psalm 72 but for the whole second part of the Psalter because verse 20 has the note, “This concludes the prayers of David son of Jesse.”

Regardless, it is the right place to go next. And that is praise because of His reign. Verse 18.

“Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds. Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen.”

***

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" - 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

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

15:14 Podcast Interview

I thoroughly enjoyed being interviewed by Curtis Solomon of the Biblical Counseling Coalition for their 15:14 Podcast. We got talk about Resisting Gossip and especially how it relates to biblical counseling. Stay clear to the end for a two minute "get-to-know-you" speed round of favorites!



You can subscribe on Google Podcast, Apple Podcasts, or PodBean to find this and future episodes of 15:14 – A Podcast of the Biblical Counseling Coalition.



Sunday, April 04, 2021

“You Will Not Abandon Me to the Grave” Psalm 16 [Matt's Messages]

“You Will Not Abandon Me to the Grave”
Lanse Evangelical Free Church :: Resurrection Sunday
April 4, 2021 :: Psalm 16

I picked Psalm 16 for Resurrection Sunday because both the Apostle Peter and the Apostle Paul preached on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from Psalm 16.

The Apostle Peter preached from Psalm 16 on the
Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) when the Holy Spirit came in power, and the church was born.

And the Apostle Paul preached from Psalm 16 in a synagogue in the city of Pisidian Antioch. Paul got up to preach about Jesus Christ being raised from the dead, and one of his key go-to passages to preach about the resurrection was Psalm 16.

For the last several months we’ve been studying the Psalms together for their fortifying truth. And the last several weeks we’ve been specifically studying the Psalms of the Passion. Those psalms that–whatever else they were doing–were prophetically singing not just about King David but about King Jesus and what He did for us on that first Passion Week.

The last three psalms (69, 55, and 22) prefigured and predicted the sufferings of our Lord Jesus.

But Psalm 16 prophesied of Jesus’ glorious resurrection!

The psalm has this confident line in verse 10 prayed directly to God, “You will not abandon me to the grave.”

“Up from the grave He arose!”

But that’s getting ahead of the story. It’s getting ahead of the song.

I want us to look at the entire psalm, not just verse 10. Because there is a lot of good stuff in Psalm 16 for our hearts today.

It’s basically a song about how good we have it if we have the Lord.

In Psalm 16, there are these words that run through this song that just sound so good.

Delight.
Delightful.
Pleasant.
Joy. Rejoicing.
Rest. Refuge.
Secure. Unshaken.
Pleasure. Pleasures. Eternal pleasures.

Doesn’t that sound good? That’s Psalm 16!

It’s a psalm of delight and pleasure and confidence and everlasting joy.

Psalm 16 is a song that David wrote and David sang and David lived.
And it’s song that Jesus sang and Jesus lived like no one else.
And it’s also a song that we all can sing with our lives today.

I think David is in trouble...again.

David is in trouble a lot. 

We saw that back when we studied 1 and 2 Samuel, and we’ve seen it again and again in the Psalms.

David is in trouble, and he calls out for help.

But Psalm 16 is a little different because–instead of pouring out his troubles and concerns and fears to the Lord (a very good thing to do that he does in other psalms)–David uses this song to express his utter confidence and utter contentment in the Lord no matter what.

In this psalm, David gives many of the reasons why he is trusting the Lord in the midst of his trouble and specifically focuses on how good he has it because he has the Lord and how good he expects to have it because he has the Lord.

Listen to verse 1. Psalm 16, verse 1.

“A miktam of David. Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge.”

“Yes, I’m in trouble, and I need you to keep me safe once again. And I’m trusting in you to keep me safe.” “In you I take refuge.”

So David begins with a prayer request for help in the midst of whatever trouble he’s found himself in this time. 

But the interesting thing is–that’s the last prayer request in this song!

The whole rest of the song is David celebrating why he takes refuge in the Lord and exclaiming just how good it is to belong to Him.

If I had to sum up the entire song in one sentence it would be something like this:

IN THE LORD, I’VE GOT IT SO GOOD.

Would you say that with me? “In the Lord, I’ve got it so good.”

Say that to your neighbor today: “In the Lord, I’ve got it so good.”

Write that down if you are taking notes: “In the Lord, I’ve got it so good.”

That’s basically what he sings in verse 2. Verse 2.

“I said to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.’”

Now, I want you to note the pattern here. It starts with his personal commitment, and it leads to his personal contentment. Commitment then contentment.

David says to Yahweh, “You are my Lord.” Personally. “In you I take refuge.” “And I am putting all of my eggs in your basket.” “Apart from you I have no good thing.”

King David has decided that he will follow Yahweh, and he has declared that Yahweh is where it’s at. “Apart from you I have no good thing.”

In the Lord, I’ve got it so good.

#1. BECAUSE I’VE GOT THE LORD’S PERFECTIONS.

In the Lord, I’ve got it so good because I have the Lord Himself in all of his perfect goodness, and He is all that I need.

If you have everything in the world, but you don’t have the Lord, you actually have nothing.

But if you have nothing in the world, but you have the Lord, you actually have everything. Amen?

“Apart from you I have no good thing.”

And the flip-side is true, too. With You, I have all kinds of good things!

Like what? Like God’s people. Look verse 3.

“As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.”

Point number two. (By the way I’ve got 7 of these subpoints, but they’re going to come hot and fast. Stay on your toes.)

In the Lord, I’ve got it so good. 

#2. BECAUSE  I’VE GOT THE LORD’S PEOPLE.

David is praising God for the “saints,” the faithful believers in the Lord that are in the land. His kingdom citizens who are living out the covenant by faith.

And how does David feel about them? In them (v.2) “is all my delight.”

David just loves God’s people.

If you truly love God, you will also love God’s people.

Because when we come to God, we don’t come to God alone but to God’s community, the family of God, the saints that are in the land, that are in the church.

I am just so happy to be with you all this morning. It has been so hard to be so separated from you all these last twelve months! 

You are my delight. In the Lord, I’ve got it so good.

Now, in verse 4, David paints a contrast. He’s been proclaiming his total commitment to the LORD, but that is not what others may be doing. V.4

“The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods. [The ones that are not the LORD.] I will not pour out their libations of blood or take up their names on my lips.”

David says that those who exhaust themselves chasing after other gods will only cause themselves trouble and sorrow.

And we’ve all seen that, haven’t we? Maybe not other gods like Allah or Baal or Molech, but other gods like Money, Sex, Power, Pleasure, Security, Popularity.

Those who run after them end up in a world of hurt.

David says that he is not going to get on that treadmill. He’s not going to worship at those pagan altars. Yahweh is his Lord.

Do you need to be reminded of that today? What have you been chasing recently? And where does that lead?

David knows how futile following counterfeit gods can be.

And he knows how good it is to follow the one true God.

In the Lord, I’ve got it so good.

#3. BECAUSE I’VE GOT THE LORD’S PROVISIONS. Look at verses 5 and 6.

“LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.”

Isn’t that wonderful?!

David uses metaphors of portion and cup which conveys like “real wealth” and “real satisfaction” and “real pleasure” (Tim Keller). And he uses the metaphor of land allotment like when the twelve tribes got their land inheritances in the book of Joshua?

“[Y]ou have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.”

It’s just a beautiful way of saying, “Boy, do I have it good!”

“I just love how things have fallen out for me. This line right here is in just the best place. And everything inside of it is so wonderful.”

And the point is not real estate! Not ultimately. The inheritance here is the Lord Himself and then everything else he provides.

It’s kind of like “count your blessings” like we sang back on Celebration Sunday.

But it’s more like, “I have more blessings than I can count. And the blessings I have  are more wonderful than I can describe.”

It’s better than anything.

And we who belong to Jesus know that this is true for us. There is nothing greater than knowing Him. 

Philippians 3:8, “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord...”

“[S]urely I have a delightful inheritance.”

In the Lord, I’ve got it so good. Do you feel it?

David sure does. He goes on to say that he has the Lord’s guidance. Or we’ll say to keep up the alliteration, “The Lord’s path.”

In the Lord, I’ve got it so good.

#4. BECAUSE I’VE GOT THE LORD’S PATH. V.7

“I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.”

When you have the Lord, you have the Lord’s counsel and direction. You have God’s Word hidden in your heart, and at night time as you mull it over, the Lord can speak to you through that Word hidden in your heart, and you get His direction and get set on His path.

Do you see how David is so full of contentment?

He’s so happy!

Are you happy like David is?

Now, we know that he’s not always this happy. He sure wasn’t this happy in most of Psalm 22 last week, was he?

There is a time for lament. Hard times call for hard prayers.

But total commitment also leads to total contentment when you have the Lord.

David is saying, “In the Lord, I have it so good.”

#5. BECAUSE I’VE GOT THE LORD’S PRESENCE. Look at verse 8.

“I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

Now, where is the LORD in verse 8?

David sings that he has set the Lord before him. So he’s got his eyes fixed on the Lord. A very good idea! Keep your focus on the Lord.

But where is the Lord in verse 8? He also says, “Because [the LORD] is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

Which is it? Before beside? It’s both, right?

I think he means that the LORD is not just his goal but his guide. And his defense. He stands by David. He stands with David. He is there to help.

The Lord is present.

Notice again, the pattern of commitment then contentment.

He sets the LORD before him, that’s a commitment to put the Lord first.

And he finds the Lord beside him, that’s contentment in the Lord.

He says, “I will not be shaken.”

I don’t know about you, but I want that for my life. I am so easily shaken.

I want to be unshakable.

And that only comes with knowing the presence of the Lord. Before and beside.

But here’s how unshakable David feels. He is ready to praise God with his whole being. V.9

“Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because [and here’s our key verse for Resurrection Sunday] you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.”

In the Lord, I’ve got it so good.

#6. BECAUSE I’VE GOT THE LORD’S PROMISE.

David rejoices with his heart and voice, and also his body. He feels so secure. So happy. So blessed to belong to the Lord.

And I think that David expects to be rescued once again.

Now, verse 10 is kind of tricky to interpret. And there are a lot of legitimate possibilities for how to understand it.

Some biblical scholars think that David is saying that he expects to die but not to be abandoned to the place of the wicked. That word for “grave” in the NIV is “Sheol” in Hebrew and can be translated “Hades” or even “Hell.” So in that interpretation, David is saying that he won’t be lost in hell and the “decay” in the second part of the verse (what we call the B-line) is “corruption” as in eternal corruption. 

David would be saying, “I know that you will keep my soul out of Hell.”

And that’s possible. Lots of good theologians take it that way.

But, with other theologians, I think he’s basically just saying that he doesn’t expect to die today.

He might be in trouble. He might be on the run. 

Things may be heating up for him, but David believes that God is protecting him at this point and that God will deliver him on this day.

Of course, David doesn’t expect to live on forever. But, on this day, he expects to live to see tomorrow.

“You’re not going to abandon me to ‘Sheol’ [the place of the dead] in this crisis, Lord. I don’t believe that. I believe I have your promise to get out of this.”

And the second part could mean the same thing because of Hebrew parallelism. “Nor will you let your Holy One [i.e. David as the anointed king] see decay.”

This is how good I’ve got it in the Lord. I am not dying today! I believe I have your promise on that.

Now we come to Jesus.

Now we come to those sermons of Peter and Paul when they quoted Psalm 16 in Acts 2 and 13.

If you have your Bible, you might want to turn to Acts 2, verse 22.

And see again why we are gathered here today.

Peter is preaching to the Jews on the day of Pentecost. He says: 

“Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. [“Death could not keep his prey. He tore the bars away.”] 

David said about him [And here’s our Psalm 16]: ‘'I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.'

[It turns out that Psalm 16 was about Jesus all along! V.29 of Acts 2.]

“Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. [He did eventually go into his grave and decay!] But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. [There was a greater Holy One who could fill up verse 10 in a way that David never could. David was a prophet (to what degree he knew and understood that we don’t know, but Peter says:] Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact” (Acts 2:22-32).

The last couple of weeks we’ve said that whatever David merely tasted, Jesus swallowed whole.

So David experienced betrayal. Jesus experienced betrayal like no other.
David felt like he was being attacked by vicious dogs. Jesus literally had his hands and feet pierced.

But the flip-side is also true.

Whatever good things David was singing about in part, Jesus experienced to the fullest.

So if King David expected to not be abandoned to the grave by not going into the grave, King Jesus was not abandoned to the grave by going into it and then coming right out of it!

Walking right out of it! Alive again!

If King David expected as the “Holy One” to avoid decay because he avoided death on the day he wrote Psalm 16, King Jesus was the really Holy One” who really avoided decay by not decaying even after He actually died!

By being resurrected with a body with new properties.

With the perishable now clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.

To now live in the power of an indestructible life.

“He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today!”

So nobody can say like Jesus can say, “In the Lord, I’ve got it so good.!”

Of course, He had to go through so bad to get to that good. But now He’s so good and will be forever. 

And that’s good news for us. Because it means our salvation. That’s where the Apostle Paul took it in Acts 13 when he preached a sermon on Psalm 16.

He was preaching to Jews and Gentiles in this synagogue in Pisidian Antioch, and he told the gospel story once again. Paul told them about how Jesus was crucified, buried in the tomb but then (Acts 13:30), “But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people. We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm: ‘'You are my Son; today I have become your Father.' 

The fact that God raised him from the dead, never to decay, is stated in these words: ‘'I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.' So it is stated elsewhere: ‘'You will not let your Holy One see decay.' [That’s the promise of Psalm 16:10.] For when David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed. But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay. Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you” (Acts 13:30-38).

You see, because Jesus died and was raised to life, we can be forgiven.

You can be forgiven. 

And even more than that! You and I can also trust the promise that we will not be abandoned to the grave forever when we die. But we, too, will be raised up, resurrected to be with Jesus Christ in imperishable immortal bodies, as well.

To experience the blessings of the Lord’s presence forever.

Forever! That’s where David goes with his last verse of this amazingly beautiful song.

After all is said and done, even beyond the grave, this is what will remain for those who have the Lord. V.11

“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

In the Lord, I’ve got it so good.

#7. BECAUSE I’VE GOT THE LORD’S PLEASURES.

And they are eternal pleasures.

I can’t wrap my mind around that, but I look forward to experiencing it forever.

Talk about delight!

Talk about the boundary lines falling in pleasant places!

For all eternity: “[Y]ou will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

It doesn’t get any better than that and yet it will never get worse!

That’s what we have to look forward to because we’ve got the Lord.

In the Lord, I’ve got it so good, and I’ll have it so good forever.

Not because of anything I have done.

Or because of anything King David has done.

But because of what King Jesus has done going down, down, down into the grave.

It looked like he was abandoned there.

That word “abandoned” in the Hebrew is the exact same Hebrew word translated “forsaken” last week in Psalm 22 and the Greek word also matches in Matthew and Acts.

Jesus felt abandoned, forsaken, into the grave.

But He also went down singing in his heart Psalm 16:10, “You will not abandon me to the grave! You will not let your Holy One see decay!”

And He did not stay in the grave.

Nor did He gather any decay.

Instead, He came back to life to give us forgiveness for all who put their faith in Him. [I hope that’s you!]

And He came back to life to give us life with him in His presence filled with joy and experiencing eternal pleasures at HIS right hand.

No longer are we talking about God being at our right hand.

Now, we are at His. Together with Jesus enjoying Him forevermore.

“Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King.”


We captured 18 minutes of yesterday's message before the video camera quit recording. 


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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" - 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