Sunday, May 09, 2021

“Your Statutes Are Wonderful” Psalm 119:129-144 [Matt's Messages]


“Your Statutes Are Wonderful”
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
Mothers' Day :: May 9, 2021
Psalm 119:129-144

Sometimes, it’s hard to pick out a particular passage of the Bible to preach that’s particularly appropriate to preach for Mother’s Day. I mean, you can preach from anywhere in the Bible on any given Sunday including Mother’s Day, but whenever I can, I like to preach a message that is particularly appropriate and suited for the particular occasion.

And this year, as we’ve been studying the fortifying truth of the Psalms, I wanted to pick a psalm that might be particularly appreciated by the mothers in our church family. Appropriate for all, of course, yet appreciated especially by the moms. 

So this time, I turned to the mom that lives in our home! Heather Joy Mitchell.

I asked Heather Joy if she would pick out the psalm for Mother’s Day, and I said that the only rule was it not be one of the 31 other psalms that we have studied so far in this series. And she agreed.

And so Heather Joy picked out for us the longest of the psalms! Psalm 119.

176 verses long!

Often called the “Giant Psalm” because it’s the longest psalm, the longest chapter in the whole Bible, and is actually longer than some entire books of the Bible!

Psalm 119.

I hope you have set aside a few hours to listen to this message!

No, don’t worry. Heather Joy didn’t ask me to preach the entire 176 verses in a short message to you today.

She actually picked out just 2 stanzas. Stanzas 17 and 18. Verses 129 through 144.

Just 16 verses, not 176!

Why do you think that Heather Joy picked out Psalm 119?

What do you know about this psalm? Other than that it’s gigantic?

Psalm 119 is also very intricate.

The unnamed author was an amazing craftsman with poetry.


Well, that was nothing compared to this!

Psalm 119 is a gigantic alphabetic acrostic in the original Hebrew. We can’t quite see it in our English versions.

This songwriter wrote 8 lines in a row for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. 

Each line starts with the same letter for 8 lines. Aleph. 8 lines. Aleph, Aleph, Aleph, Aleph, Aleph, Aleph, Aleph, Aleph. Each line of the poem starts with Aleph.

Then Beth. 8 lines. Beth. Beth. Beth. Beth. Beth. Beth. Beth. Beth. Each line of the poem in the second stanza begins with Beth.

Then Gimel. 8 lines. You get the idea.

For all 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. You know how many verses that is? 176 all perfectly following that intricate pattern.

And not only that, but the psalmist uses 8 words, 8 terms, 8 synonyms over and over again without repeating the pattern for how he deploys them in 176 verses! These same 8 words pop up in just about every single verse!

And every single verse can stand on it’s own. They are connected to what is around them and all fit into the big acrostic pattern, but they are also each independent thoughts from one another.

Tiny little couplets of Hebrew parallelism. 176 of them!

This is a masterful piece of Hebrew poetry.

It’s isn’t just massive; it’s masterful.

But that’s not the main reason why Heather Joy picked this psalm for this weekend.

Heather Joy picked Psalm 119 because of what it’s about. Not just because of its beautiful construction, but because of its beautiful subject.

Psalm 119 is about one big thing. It rings the changes on one particular theme.

Like a diamond being turned in the light for each individual facet to be admired for its own glorious beauty, this gigantic, intricate, massive, masterful song is a rhapsody about...the Law of God.

All 8 of those recurring words, those 8 synonyms that show up again and again in all 22 eight line stanzas are all interrelated terms for the Law of God, the Torah.

Command
Precept
Decree
Law
Ordinance
Word
Promise
Statute

Now, let me ask you to do some free association here.

When you hear the word “statute,” what other words immediately come to your mind?

(And pretend that you haven’t read the title of this message yet.)

“Statute!”

Um. Legal? Dry. Stale. Important, maybe? Unbending. Prohibitive? Inscrutable. Cryptic? Written. Demanding?

What comes to your mind? “Statute.”

Now, listen to what the psalmist writes in our first verse for today. Psalm 119, verse 129.

It’s the first line of the 17th stanza where each line begins with the Hebrew letter “PE” like our letter “P.”

He writes, “Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them.”

Wonderful statutes leading to obedience.

Statutes that are just full of wonder.

Awesome! Amazing! Astonishing! Astounding! Wonderful!

Those are the kind of words that the psalmist associates with these statutes.

Some of your versions may have the word “testimonies” here because the Hebrew  is related to the words that mean “to bear witness” meaning these statutes bear witness to God himself, His Law, and His requirements (thought drawn from Alec Motyer).

They are true representations of Who God is and what God wants.

And the psalmist says that these statutes are wonderful.

Now, let me ask you a trick question.

What do you think is the most important word in verse 129?

I told you it was a trick question!

What do you think is the most important word in Psalm 119, verse 129?

I’ll give you a hint. It’s not “statutes.” And it’s not even “wonderful.”


This is a prayer. These are all prayers. Psalm 119 is a gigantic prayer full of prayers. 176 little prayers.

The most important thing about these statutes is that they are the LORD’s.

That’s what makes them wonderful. That’s what makes them miraculous.

This word “wonderful” in the Old Testament is a word that almost always is talking about God. Like the Son prophesied in Isaiah 9. “He shall be called” what? “WONDERFUL.”

Same word, “Pele!”

The psalmist not in love with the Law by itself.

He is in love with the Law of the LORD.

Because he loves the LORD of the Law.

What he loves about the Law is that it God’s Word to him.

The Law was the first five books of the Bible what we often called Pentateuch or they called the “Torah” which means the “Instruction” or the “Teaching.”

It was full of what we call “laws,” the “thou shalts” and the “thou shall nots.”

But Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy have a lot more than just “thou shalt” and “thou shall not,” in them don’t they?

And everything that they said was a precious, miraculous, wonderful word from God.

And the psalmist was so in love with it.

He wrote a 176-line love song about God’s Word!

Massive and masterful and gigantic and intricate and passionate!

And we’re just going to get a taste of it in these two stanzas.

“Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them.”


Each line of this song has similar features to it.

Each line is a prayer. They are all directed to the LORD Himself.

Each line is a personal prayer. It is direct from the psalmist to God Himself. The pronouns are singular. I, me, my, mine.

Each line talks to God about God’s Word, God’s Law, mostly with those same 8 synonyms that refer to overlapping and interconnected ideas showing the richness and diversity yet unity of God’s Word.

Most of the lines are about how wonderful God’s Word is and the effect it has on the psalmist–either what it does to him or how it makes him feel or what he wants to do because of them.

Therefore each line shows us how we should feel about and relate to God’s words.

And so I think each line raises the question for us today, “Do I feel this way about God’s Word?”

Do I feel this way about God’s Law?

And if not, why not? What is wrong with me? And what needs to change?

Because there’s nothing wrong with God Word! It’s wonderful!

If I don’t feel this way, then I need to repent and to read these words again and to pray these words again and to ask God to change my heart again so that they ring true for me today.

#1. YOUR STATUTES ARE WONDERFUL.

The theme of stanza 17–verses 129 through 136–is wonder and the controlling image is that of light. Look at the next verse, verse 130. 

“The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.”

Heather Joy said to me, “Verse 130 sums up what I feel.”

This is a picture of Heather Joy’s heart. When God’s Word gets unfolded to her, it is like a wondrous light shining on her.

Some of your versions may say the “entrance” of your word gives light.

The idea is that of an open door. You’re inside and it’s kind of dark, and then somebody opens the door and the sunlight streams in!

“Now, I can see!”

God’s Word makes it so that you can see. He says, “It gives understanding to the simple.” The simple are not fools. They are the uninitiated. They are open to be taught. They are childlike and teachable. Like little kids with their Mommy.

They are not yet mature, but they are open to being taught.

And when God’s word gets opened to them, they understand. A light comes on.

Is that how you feel about God’s Word?

The psalmist wants that so badly! Verse 131.

“I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands.”

Like the thirsty deer in Psalm 42. Please give me your word! I pant for it. V.132

“Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name.”

Do you see how this psalm is all about his relationship with God?

He says, “I know how You operate. You are gracious and merciful to those who love Your name. So please give me Your word.” V.133

“Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.”

Notice here that there is no perfectionism here. There’s no sense that this psalmist has arrived, that somehow the doing of God’s Law has made him perfect.

No, the more he understands God’s Law, the more he knows how imperfect he is and how much grace he needs. This is not legalism or works-based. This is all of grace, the grace of God to give His enlightening word to fight against sin.

Heather Joy said to me, “I am desperate and weak and foolish and sinful and constantly pounded by the world’s wisdom. I need life and light and mercy and a rock and a refuge, and God is all that and so much more. He has given me Himself in his word, so I run to it to find Him. And I do. Or rather, He finds me there.”

That’s why she picked this psalm. Because it’s her prayer.

The psalmist sees how beautiful the Law of God is and wants that to be reflected in his own heart and life. And he wants all obstacles to that to be removed. Internal ones like his own sin in verse 133 and external ones like oppressors in verse 134.

“Redeem me from the oppression of men, that I may obey your precepts. Make your face shine upon your servant and teach me your decrees.”

You see the image of light there again?

And that’s obviously an allusion to the blessing of Aaron in Numbers chapter 6 which I pray over my boys just about every night.

“The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

Psalm 119:135 is a personal prayer that God would do just that for the psalmist.

“Make your face shine upon your servant.”

It’s so wonderful. Shine on me with your words!

Is that your prayer today? Moms, do you pray like this?

Do you feel how passionate the psalmist is about this?

He cares so much! 

And he cares so much that so many do not care. Verse 136.

“Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed.”

The songwriter looks out on his culture, and he just cries and cries rivers of tears because nobody seems to care about God’s Law any more.

Can you relate to that?

I don’t mean that we should go “Tisk, tisk. Those people aren’t following God’s Law.”

I mean we should say, “Woe is me. I have unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips...”

So many people who claim to know and love Jesus don’t give a rip about His Word!

They are missing the wonder of it, and they are not following it.

And so we lament. We lament for God’s glory being neglected.

And we weep for God’s people’s being un-blessed because they haven’t seen the illuminating brilliance of His wonderful word!

The theme of Stanza 18 where every line begins with the letter “Tsadhe” (which is like a “TZ” in our language) is the righteousness of God’s Word which makes it trustworthy forever. Look at verse 137.

“Righteous are you, O LORD, and your laws are right.”

Notice that God’s laws are right because God Himself is righteous.

The one comes from the other. He doesn’t ever do anything wrong. He is not crooked in any way, so His laws are always straight. They’re always right. They’re always righteous. V.138.

“The statutes you have laid down are righteous; they are fully trustworthy.”

That’s not true of all the rules in the world. 

There are lots of statutes in this world that are not righteous and therefore are not trustworthy. But God’s statutes are, and the psalmist knows it. Verse 139.

“My zeal wears me out, for my enemies ignore your words.”

They don’t see, and they don’t care that God’s statutes are righteous, and that is so depressing for the songwriter. They just don’t see it!

But the songwriter sure does. Verse 140.

“Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them.” 

Heather Joy said to me, “Verse 140 is what I have learned in my mothering.”

This is what has gotten Heather Joy through in her mothering these last two decades.

This is her Bible. She has come to this book again and again and again and prayed words like Psalm 119, verse 18. “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.”

And when she found a promise there, she trusted it.

These promises in here have been “thoroughly tested,” meaning they are fully refined. They are 100% pure. They are the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. (Idea taken from Hywell Jones).

These words are not a shot in the dark. They are a light in the dark, “and your servant loves them.”

Moms, you need something tried and tested and true to base your mothering on.

We all need it.

Because there are going to be really hard days, and we’ll be tempted to lose sight of this. Verse 141.

“Though I am lowly and despised, I do not forget your precepts. Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true. Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands are my delight. Your statutes are forever right; give me understanding that I may live.”

#2. YOUR STATUTES ARE FOREVER RIGHT.

They are not just wonderful.

They are righteous forever.

There is nothing wrong with them. There is nothing wrong with God’s Word.

That is such good news! And there never will be anything wrong with God’s Word.

So that means we can trust it forever.

And if we grasp it, we can truly live!

“Your statutes are forever right; give me understanding that I may live.”

Is that your prayer today?

Do you feel this way about God’s Word?

I know that, so often, I don’t.

I agree with it. 100%.

But my heart can be so cold.  

I would love to have a heart that burns like this with a passion for God’s Word.

I would love to have a heart like this so that I could write a gigantic intricate passionate love song about God’s Law full of tears and shot full of joy!

I’m so thankful that Jesus felt this way 100% about God’s Word.

Jesus could sing Psalm 119 without any irony or repentance.


And wept when He saw it being ignored.

He knew how wonderful it was and how righteous forever.

I’m so thankful because I’m in Christ through faith in His Work on the Cross and all of His love for the Word is reckoned to my account.

But I want it to be true of me in real time, as well.

So I need to repent of my ignorance and apathy and coldness and read these words and pray these words again and again and again.

Moms out there. Have you discovered the wonder of God’s Word and its trustworthiness for yourself?

What was the last wondrous thing you discovered in the Word of God for yourself?

What was the last trustworthy promises you took hold of in the Word of God for yourself?

God’s Law is light-giving and life-giving and righteous forever.

His promises have been thoroughly tested, and his servant loves them.


***

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
29. "He Will Rule" - Psalm 72
30. "Taste and See That the LORD is Good" - Psalm 34
31. "Since My Youth" - Psalm 71

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Psalm 71 from Poor Bishop Hooper's EveryPsalm Project

Last week, Jesse Roberts sent me an advanced copy of Psalm 71 to help me write "Since My Youth" for Sunday's sermon. Poor Bishop Hooper's "EveryPsalm" project has been an invaluable aid to me this year.

I look forward to Wednesdays when the latest comes out, and today was Psalm 71:

Sunday, May 02, 2021

"Since My Youth" Psalm 71 [Matt's Messages]

“Since My Youth”
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
May 2, 2021 :: Psalm 71

I’ll be honest with you. I prayerfully picked Psalm 71 for this weekend because recently I’ve been feeling my age.

This Tuesday will mark my 48th birthday. If I make it to Tuesday, Lord-willing, I will be half way to 96 years old. 

Now, I know that for some of you that does not sound very old. You’re so old you hardly remember being 48 years old. I’m just a spring chicken. I understand, and this Psalm is definitely for you, as well!

But for others of you, you can’t imagine reaching the ripe old age of 48. That sounds like Rip Van Winkle. Theoretically, you know that you will be 48 some day, but that day seems very far off. Well, Psalm 71 is also for you.

Whether I seems old to you or not, I’ve been feeling older. I’m much more aware these days of my limitations. In the last year, I’ve begun using reading glasses. I bought 6 cheap pairs, and I have placed them on each stack of current books that I am reading in my home and my office.

And I just can’t seem to read like I used to. I keep buying books! But I don’t get them read at the pace I used to. I just can’t concentrate for that long, that sustained. 

Now, I actually feel really good. Better than I have in a long time because my health has improved in the last two years as I got really serious about my gluttony and got diligent and disciplined with my exercise.

But I’m also very aware of my limitations. How quickly I get tuckered out. What I can and can’t pull off any more.

And the other day, I hurt myself taking a nap! You know you’re getting older when your back hurts, and you realize it was because you slept the wrong way during your nap!

My beard is going grey. I’m getting older. And with my birthday arriving again (so soon after the last one!), I am reflecting on where I’m at, and on my relationship with the Lord.

We don’t know who wrote Psalm 71, but we do know that he was also feeling his age.

He had gotten older and could look back over his lifetime. His age informs his song.

This psalmist has written a prayer song to God from the perspective of one who has  lived some life, has some experience under his belt, and is now feeling his strength wane. He’s old and gray. He’s in decline.

But, being older, he is also able to look back and see what God has done over the course of his life. He can trace the hand of God on his life since his youth.

This songwriter has a long history with God, and he can lean on that history, lean on the lessons of that history, lean on the God of that history to face his current and future problems.

Which is important because, as we shall soon see, this man is not just older. He’s also in trouble. And he needs help.

Look with me at Psalm 71, verses 1 through 4.

As I read this psalm, I want you to tune your ear to hear the “always words.” Words like “always” and “ever” and “all day long.” As I was studying it this week, those words popped out at me over and over again. Listen for “always.” Psalm 71, verse 1.

“In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness; turn your ear to me and save me. Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. Deliver me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of evil and cruel men.”


Are you tired yet of psalms like this one? The psalmist is in trouble once again and is asking God for help?

We don’t know what precipitated this particular crisis, but he’s obviously under attack from some mean hombres. Verse 4 again, “Deliver me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of evil and cruel men.” This is no walk in the park. 

So many of the psalms have prayers like this. “Help! Lord, help!”

And what I love about that is that it’s so true to life, right?

Because there is always something, right? There’s always trouble in our lives. If nothing bad is happening to you, if there is no threat on the threat board, you just aren’t paying attention.

Sure, some days are better than others. Some days are awesome. My birthday is this Tuesday! We’re going to celebrate with some good food and maybe some more books?

But there’s always something, right?

We have always enemies. The world, the flesh, and the devil don’t just disappear.

And the psalmist is feeling it. So he asks God for an “always refuge.” Did you catch that “always” word in verse 3?

He keeps using these strong images of safety and security and protection. V. 1 “refuge.” Verse 3, “rock of refuge.” Then the end of verse 3, “my rock and my fortress.”

That’s what you need when you’re under attack! You need a solid rock fortress that is impregnable and unassailable. If you are in this rock fortress, you are perfectly safe.

And what does he say it needs to be? Verse 3, “Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go...”

Today, I have 4 summary statements to try to capture the force of this prayer song. Here’s the first one:

#1. I ALWAYS NEED AN ALWAYS REFUGE.

This isn’t something that I grow out of. I always need a safe place to run to when the attacks come. “Help!” Because there’s always something. If I’ve learned anything over the last several years, there is always something.

So I always need somewhere safe to run.

The question is where. Where do we run when the attacks come?

Where do you run? 

This songwriter has learned to run to the LORD, and he has found the LORD to always be there. Look at verse 5.

“For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth.”

There’s our sermon title. “Since my youth.”

The psalmist looks back over the full stretch of his life and says that he has been able to put his confidence in Yahweh, in the LORD, in since he was very very young.

The LORD has always been his rock and his fortress. 

#2. YOU HAVE ALWAYS BEEN MY ALWAYS REFUGE.

Verse 5 again. 

“For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth. [We go way back!] From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother's womb. I will ever praise you.”

The psalmist goes back before he can even remember to say that the LORD has always been there for him.

And he has been trusting Him for as long as he can remember. 

Now, not everybody can say that. Some of you [in this room] have a testimony like this songwriter. Some of you do not.

Some of you became Christians later in life, as adults, and we praise God for you! What a glorious thing to be saved as an adult! Like the Apostle Paul coming to trust Christ later in life. Perhaps from a notorious background. 

But those are not the only awesome testimonies out there.

Let me tell you about another kind of awesome testimony:

Somebody who was born into a Christian family and nurtured in the gospel from before they knew words. A child whose family was a part of Bible-teaching church and whose parents prayed for them and did family devotions together. And who prayed to receive Christ so long ago that they don’t even remember it they were so little. Their parents had to tell them about it later.

And they just grew up with Him. Just grew up trusting Him. Growing up in Him. God has always been their always refuge.

That’s an awesome testimony, too.

That’s what this fellow could say. He looks back over the decades and says, “For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth.”

And people could see it. Verse 7.

“I have become like a portent to many, but you are my strong refuge.”

Now, a “portent” is like a sign, and this one could be negative or positive. Like people can see the trouble that is coming towards him, and they are like, “Whoa! Here it comes. I wonder what’s going to happen.” And he’s like, “Doesn’t matter what. I’m going to trust the LORD.”

Or it could be a positive sign. As in a wonder or a marvel. Like people who have watched this psalmist get into trouble and then trust God and get out of trouble again and again and again. And they’re like, “Wow! I see what God can do in a life that is committed to Him.”

Either way, people are watching, and they are watching not just what comes at us but what comes out of us when stuff comes at us.

And this old psalmist says, “Just watch. The LORD is my strong refuge, and I’m going to say so all day long.” Verse 8.

“My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long. [There’s some more “always words.”]

The psalmist is saying something like this:

#3. I WILL ALWAYS TRUST YOU AS MY ALWAYS REFUGE.

That sounds good, but let me ask you a question that I was asking myself as I studied Psalm 71 this week: 

"Matthew, how would you respond if you were old, losing strength, and under evil attack? Could you write this psalm yourself?"

I think I would be very tempted to give in. To throw in the towel. To look around for an alternative refuge.

Money, popularity, relationships, addictions, pleasure, government, escapes, friends, family, maybe try out some other gods.

How about you?

How would you respond if you were old, losing strength, and under evil attack? Could you write this psalm yourself?

This is why I’m glad that Jesus could sing Psalm 71 so perfectly. He never faltered. He trusted God from before His birth and never wavered all the way to the Cross and the Empty Tomb.

Jesus always trusted His Father as His always refuge.

“Into Your hands I commit my spirit.”

And on this day, this psalmist trusted God fully, too.

He looked back on his many yesterdays with the Lord, and decided to build his today on the Lord, as well.

Which is good because he was still under attack. Verse 9.

“Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone. For my enemies speak against me; those who wait to kill me conspire together. They say, ‘God has forsaken him; pursue him and seize him, for no one will rescue him.’ Be not far from me, O God; come quickly, O my God, to help me. May my accusers perish in shame; may those who want to harm me be covered with scorn and disgrace.”

You feel it? Do you feel his desperation?

It’s one thing to be young and under attack.

It’s another to be old and under the same level of attack.

But this songwriter is undaunted. He keeps coming back to the LORD. He keeps asking God to not cast him away or discard him like so many people discard the elderly.

He says, “Don’t forsake me.” 

And we know that God has promised to never leave us nor forsake us, so that’s praying that God would keep His promises–a very biblical thing to do.

And he prays that God would not only rescue him but flip the situation upside down so that those who want him to come to shame would be shamed themselves. He prays for justice to be done. Again, (like we saw in Psalm 69, 55, and 22) he doesn’t take vigilante justice into his own hands, he prays that God’s divinely perfect justice would be done.

And he puts his stake in the ground. Verse 14.

This is the exact middle point, the center, of the whole psalm. Verse 14.

“But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.”

Can you say that?

Are you saying that today?

That’s what I want to mark my life in my 49th year starting on Tuesday.

“But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.”

I will always trust You as my always refuge.

I will always run to You.

I’ve seen your faithfulness in all of my yesterdays, so I will trust you will all of my today and all of tomorrows.

#4. I WILL ALWAYS PRAISE YOU AS MY ALWAYS REFUGE. V.15

“My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure.”

I love that! He says, “I don’t even know how good You are. I can’t get to the bottom of it. I have more blessings than I can count. My salvation extends to a depth I cannot fathom. So I will not ever quit saying how awesome you are.”

“All day long.” There’s another “always word.”

Like we said last week, “GOD IS TOV all the time. ALL THE TIME God is tov.”

The psalmist is determined to praise God for His mighty deeds.

That includes the big things like rescuing Israel from Egypt. But it also includes all of the personal things that God has done just for the psalmist. V.16

“I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign LORD; I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone. Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.”

There’s our title again. “Since my youth.” I’m not young any more, but I’m still learning. And I’m still praising.

“Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. [V.18.] Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.”

This psalmist asks for another day to pass on what he’s learned about God to the next generation, to the kids.

He asks for more grace so he give God more praise.

He still needs God!

We don’t get to a point where we say, “I’ve got all of the God I need. Thanks.”

No, we needed Him yesterday, and we need Him today, and we’ll need Him tomorrow.

Especially so that we can tell the young ‘uns that they need Him today and tomorrow.

“Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.”
Is that your prayer?

Are you committed to declaring God’s power and might to the next generation?

One of the reasons why God has let you and I live this long is to tell the young people how awesome He is.

My friend Blair Murray was 84 when he died. And I loved to do baptism interviews with him. He was an elder in our church for many years. Many of you knew him. Some of you did not. 

He loved to talk to young people about how trustworthy our Savior was.

When we did a baptism interview, he would always say, “You will never regret it. You will never regret following Jesus. He is worth it.”

“Even when I am old and gray [or bald!], do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.”

And then that’s what he does with whole rest of the song. He just praises God and promises to praise God to the next generation and in joyful worship. Verse 19.

“Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, you who have done great things. Who, O God, is like you? [To the skies. Beyond our comprehension is your righteousness. Your holiness. Your rightness. Your justice. O God, you who have done great things. Who, O God, is like you? NOBODY! Nobody is like this God! V.20]

“Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.”

Don’t you just love the honesty and the realism here? He’s says, “Life has been hard, and you’re sovereign over the hardships. But God is good all the time. And all the time God is good. And You’re going to come through again and again and again.”

Someday, the psalmist would actually die as will we.  But we know that one day from the depths of the earth we will be brought up again!

So that we never stop praising Him! V.22

“You will increase my honor and comfort me once again. I will praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God; I will sing praise to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel. [Fire up the worship band!] My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you–I, whom you have redeemed. My tongue will tell of your righteous acts all day long, for those who wanted to harm me have been put to shame and confusion.”

I always need an always refuge.

But, praise God, You have always been my always refuge.

So I will always trust You as my always refuge. Even when the times are hard, and I’m under attack. Especially when the times are hard and I’m under attack.

I will always praise You as my always refuge.

Since my youth and forever.

“But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.”

***

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
29. "He Will Rule" - Psalm 72
30. "Taste and See That the LORD is Good"