Hey, I just want to share with you how this Wednesday Night Service is not only beneficial to us here who gathered, but those who aren’t able to come. I got an email that said, Dear Skip, want to commend you on such a fine program, the Bible from 30,000 feet has truly has been a blessing to me. As a Regional Airline Pilot I seldom get the chance to attend a Sunday Service at Albuquerque, Calvary, Albuquerque, and the website, or attend Sunday Service wherever he is at, and the Calvary of Albuquerque website has been a Godsend to me.
Everyday I am bombarded with a visual on slot of pornography as well as vile language stories of infidelity and drunkenness. This program helps to set me straight in the paths of righteousness and is a cornerstone of my Bible study.
Please pray for all Airline personnel, we need it badly. So as we open and pray tonight, let's do that.
Heavenly Father, we thank You to this can be resource to not only this community, and are on fellowship, but people who are in different parts of the country and the world, who can tune in and go through the word of God with us.
We pray Father especially for this gentleman, and those who are Your servants in that Airline Industry. We pray You to strengthen them. Strengthen them Lord to stand against what they see in here. To stand up for You and Your word, and strengthen them Lord to be not just those who fight against it, but who make inroads into bringing others in that industry to Jesus Christ.
Father, now we look to Your word, and we give You our full and utmost concentration. We pray Lord that we might learn, and that we might grow, that we might be comforted as we look through now the Book of Psalms. In Jesus name, Amen!
Well, turn into your Bibles then to Psalm 73, where we begin tonight and we finish out the Book of Psalms. As you are turning to Psalms 73, here’s a little article from the Detroit Free Press that I found years back, and it’s called, Remedy for a Prune Face.
It says, ladies, and I don’t know why it's just addressed to ladies, but it says, "ladies, do you want to stay young? Then join a church choir, women who sing stay younger looking. A singer's cheek muscles are so well developed by exercise that the face will not wrinkle as soon as the non-singer."
"Who knew?", well, we are reading a book in the Bible that is filled with praises, songs to the Lord. It’s called the Book of Psalms, or in Hebrew as we said last week, ha-séfer tehillím, the Book of Praises. And the idea of the Psalms is that they were generally chanted or sung with musical accompaniment, and the theme of this book is praise. We have all looked at it, turned to it, been comforted by it, and also from time to time a Psalm writer, will take a Psalm and instill in a new melody, and we get to sing one of the old psalms afresh.
Well, as we mentioned last week, the Book of Psalms provides an intersection, and this is how I would like you to view the book. The Book of Psalms is an intersection between two realities. One is the horizontal reality, the other is the vertical reality. The horizontal is the temporal reality. The temporal reality, you know, getting up, keeping your appointments, going to school, washing the dishes, raising kids, all of the stuff everyone does on the person to person, horizontal level. That’s a horizontal reality. It includes good times, bad times, mediocre times. Then there is the vertical reality, it’s everything that is the transcendent reality. Our relationship with God, praise, worships, faith, it’s beyond the horizontal. So Psalms is the intersection between the horizontal, the temporal reality, and the vertical, the transcendent or spiritual, eternal reality.
And both of these intersect in the Book of Psalms and coexist side by side. In other words, you read through the Psalms, and you discover, the authors don’t deny human experience. They don’t deny pain and suffering, but rather they view them through the lens of faith, God, worship, fully dependent upon God through all of live circumstances.
So it provides an intersection between those two realities. As we mentioned last week by way of remembrance, though we have one book, The Book of Psalms, we mentioned it’s divided into five sections, there are five books, of praises, in this one Book of Psalms.
So, to refresh your memory, Book Number 1 is Psalm 1 to Psalm 41, that’s the first book in the Book of Psalms. Book 2 is Psalm 42 to Psalm 72. Book 3 is Psalm 73 to Psalm 89. Book 4, Psalm 90 through 106, and book 5 is Psalm 107 through 150.
And we mentioned that they correspond some belief to the five books of Moses, and so the ancient Jewish sages said, as Moses gave us the five books of the law, David gave us the five books of Psalms.
Well, tonight we begin in the third book of Psalm or Psalm 73, and if you look at it, you will note that it was written by, it says, "Asaph". Now Asaph, the author that is scribed to this book, wrote Psalm 73 through Psalm 83
We know who Asaph was, on a personal level, he was one of David’s choir directors. He had three of them, and Asaph was one of them. So we know who he is, and yet, because the author named Asaph writes about experiences in this section of Psalms, they go beyond the life of the literal Asaph. In other words, some of the Psalms that say, written by Asaph, speak about the children of Israel, who have gone into captivity, and now returned from captivity. This happened way after David, Asaph, Solomon had all died.
So some believe that there is a choir, called the Choir of Asaph, and that somebody else after Asaph wrote some of these Psalms that are under that title of Asaph, they were in that choir.
Well, you will notice something about Psalm 73. It’s a very honest Psalm. The author is struggling with one of the biggest struggles anyone faces, and that’s the problem with evil. How can evil exist? It’s a theological struggle.
So look at, how it begins, Verse 1.
"Truly God is good to Israel, to such as are pure in heart". That’s how he begins. He begins with an affirmation of faith. He begins with a personal conviction. I know God is good, and I know especially those who are pure in heart will experience the goodness of God. That’s how he begins the Psalm.
Now it’s important to get this affirmation of faith, because as you follow the Psalm down, it seems that the Psalm is removed from that premise. That is, yes, this is what I believe about God. This is what I hold to be true about God, and yet my experiences seem to have shaken me from that foundational belief. This is what I know to be true about God, but it has been challenged.
Now the Psalms begins and ends the same way. He begins by affirming God’s goodness, faith in God through every circumstance, then he says, yeah, but I got to tell you my story.
Man, I was going through such hard circumstances, I almost lost my faith completely, but then he ends up, I know God is good, and everything is hunky-dory, it's trust, faith, joy, etcetera. And it reveals that the way this man lived his life was with a thankful heart. It was the way he viewed life, with a thankful heart.
You know, if you were to go outside, and get a scoop of sand, and try to find iron particles in it, you could do it in a couple of different ways. You could take that handful, and with your finger, just sort of go through and see if you can spot with your own fingers some iron particles. You won’t get very many that way.
A better way to do it is getting a magnet. You try this as a child, and you run the magnet over that spade full of dirt and it's just the iron comes up in clumps.
Well, that’s illustrating two different ways to approach life. The un-thankful heart is like the fingers to the sand, you don't come up with much to be thankful for, but the thankful heart is like the magnet and views everything through God is good, and if you have an upright heart, don’t worry about things, God will take care of you, and they see so much to be thankful for.
Verse 2, goes downhill after that first affirmation.
"But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no pangs in their death, but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men, nor are they plagued like other men. Therefore, pride serves as their necklace, violence covers them like a garment, their eyes bulge with abundance, they have more than heart could wish." Now this guy is honest. He is frank. He says, my theology doesn't seem to square with my seeology. What I see with my eyes, and what I have always believed in, seem to clash. He said my feet almost slipped.
Now here is the big struggle, and generation after generation has struggled with this. It's the issue and the theological term is theodicy, t-h-e-o-d-i-c-y. Theodicy is the study of this. How can there be a good and all-powerful, and all-loving God, and at the same time evil in the world that God has created. Though it seem to be so contradictory that either: a) There is no God, b) He's not good or He is not all-powerful. Because if He was good, all-loving , all-powerful, He would do something about it.
So he works his way through these feelings. You notice in the Psalm, it's not an accurate picture. Notice he says "There is no pangs in the unbelievers death. Their strength is firm". Now that's not true. Unbelievers have pains, and pangs, and death like everybody else. But he is seeing this through the lens of his own suffering. You have got to notice something in the Psalm. Here is really the problem.
Look back at Verse 3, "I was envious of the boastful". Now there is the real problem. When a person views life through the lens of envy, I don't have what they have, I am not experiencing what they are experiencing. Everything goes south from there. See if you are green with envy, you are right for trouble. This boy is right for trouble, I was envious, and that seems to be the problem.
"Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain and washed my hands in innocence. For all day long I have been plagued and chastened every morning. If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children. When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me". This is the honest confession of a struggling believer.
Now I know there are some people who would read what Asaph wrote, and say, that's negative confession. I say maybe. But I say it's honest confession, and I think God can handle an honest inquiry. He has been around a long time. He can handle you or your issues. I think what Asaph is doing, is simply writing honestly what other people are thinking inwardly. He says, I didn't say it out loud because in Verse 15, "I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children". But he is thinking this. He is struggling with it.
Verse 16, "When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me, until, now here is the turning point, "I went into the sanctuary of God, then I understood their end," that is the end of the unbeliever. "Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction."
So here is a guy, and he is a spiritual guy, about to walk out on God, until he walks in to the temple, and he starts looking at life now through a spiritual lens, a spiritual perspective. As he goes into the temple, it evokes eternal thoughts. Now I don't know exactly what he saw, but perhaps he walked, and he saw that huge altar of sacrifice, where sin as being atoned, or he saw the priests in their flowing garments worshiping the Lord, or he saw the people gathering together, encouraging one another. But something set his heart on a different track. Instead of looking at God through the lens of suffering, he is looking at suffering through the lens of God. He is looking at the horizontal through the lens of the vertical.
So he says, "until I went into the sanctuary." Now here is the application. When you and I fellowship with other believers like we are doing tonight, it elevates our perspective. It changes our perspective. That's why the Bible says that we should be gathering together frequently. or as it says in the Book of Hebrews Chapter 10.
"Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together, as is the manner of some; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching"
Now here is a problem with a lot of believers who go through trouble. They have a mentality with God, if I don't get what I want, I will take my ball and go home, So what happens when Christians start suffering, not always, but sometimes? Is they drop off going to church, drop off fellowshipping with other believers, stop having their devotion and choir time. When that's when they need to go more, and seek more, and realign their perspective more, till they get this, "Until I went into the sanctuary, and I understood their end."
So think of the value of coming from the world, and coming into the fellowship of the saints, and our perspective gets adjusted when the worship band starts, and we start affirming those great truths of our faith. When we hear the word of God being taught, and it penetrates our heart. We hear a message from His word, and pain seems to take a different view. PT Forsyth, a Scottish theologian once said, "it's a greater thing to pray for pains conversion, than to pray for pain's removal".
Now go over to Psalm 84. Of course, we can't cover all of them tonight, because, again, this is an overview. This is the Bible from 30,000 feet. So I am taking, select, really some of my favorite Psalms out of all these five Books of Psalms, and looking at them, and then going over and looking at other Psalms.
Psalms 84. Notice that it is written by the Sons of Korah. Now maybe in your mind, when you hear the term Korah, you are thinking of Numbers Chapter 16, and the Rebellion against Moses. It's not that Korah.
Now the Sons of Korah were one of the families who helped lead worship in the temple days and even back from the Tabernacle Days. There seems to have been two choirs that developed in the temple worship. One were the Sons of Asaph and the other were the sons of Korah. Now what I want you to know about the Sons of Korah, is they had specific assignments. They were not only worship leaders, but they had a specific job to do in the Tabernacle and in the temple.
I am just going to read a portion out of 1 Chronicles Chapter 9. It says "The Korahites, these guys, Sons of Korah, were in charge of the work of the service. They were gatekeepers in the Tabernacle. Now it's important to know that because they are going to make reference to that in their Psalms. Gate keepers. As you read the Psalm, this is one group of very stout gate keepers.
"How lovely is your Tabernacle," the place of corporate worship, "O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord, my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God." Now you will notice something in Verse 2. I hope you catch this. Remember last week we discussed Synonymous Parallelism, where you have a stanza in a verse, and then another stanza after that, that amplifies or reinforces or agrees with it?
So he says, "My soul, yes, longs, even faints for the courts of the Lord", but he is not crying out just to go see a temple or a building or a tent. But notice the next phrase, "my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God". He wants an encounter with God personally. And to this guy, gathering for fellowship, what we would say going to church, to him it's not boring, to him it's not irrelevant, to him it's exciting. I can't wait to get there, he would say. Not only getting there, not just the goal, but the process. It's the pilgrimage even. In Verse 5 he says:
Psalms 84:5 he says,
"Whose heart is set on pilgrimage," Now you know what that means? When they wanted to go to the Tabernacle, when they wanted to go to Jerusalem, and they didn't live in Jerusalem, it took a long time to walk there. So they would gather in families, they would gather in communities, and they would go from their little town, their Hamlet, up the winding paths, and if they were down by the Dead Sea like Jericho they go from 1,290 feet below sea level, uphill 20 miles very steep to 2,300 feet above sea level. Very narrowly steep climb. This guy says "but their heart is set on pilgrimage".
I've told you before, and I am reminded often of going to India or places like that to minister to Christians. Here is the thing. I go there, they ask me to come and minister to them. I feel like I am being ministered too by them. Because I see the heartfelt deep desire for the word of God, for the worship, the joy. Lot of the people in India walk to church, and I have been there where they walked hours to church. So me and my western mindset, I think, okay, I have got to watch my time and the sermon, I can't go too long, because in the western part of the world you get penalized for going too long, and people start (yawning) looking at their watches or snoring or whatever. Not in India, it's very different.
Last time I was there, I preached an hour. I thought I was done, and they grabbed me back. oh, you are not done yet. We have walked many hours. You must now preach many hours." So I stayed there for – it was four hour worship service. I thought surely you guys are tired by me, oh, no, keep going. They were excited.
"Even the sparrow has found a home and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young. Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in Your house, they will still be praising You." Two birds are mentioned in that one verse. These two birds, they're interesting, because they are not beautiful, they are not valuable, they are very common birds.
The first one, the sparrow was considered a worthless creature. Jesus alluded to this in the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 10.
He said, "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? "Just a little copper coin like a penny, they are worthless. Yet it says, the sparrow has found a home. What is worthless to people, the Psalmist would say, can be valuable to God. God makes room in His house even for the sparrow.
I think the point is this. From time to time, you might say, I don't want to go to church today. I have been so rotten this week. I cut that person off, and I gave that person a hand gesture, and it wasn't an edifying one, and I said those words to that other guy, this was horrible week. I feel worthless you would say. The Lord would say, "I have got a place for you. I have got a place what you think or what they think is worthless, I find you very valuable. There is a place for you in my house".
Even if your prayer seem worthless at the time, listen to what Richard Foster once wrote. He said, "Just as a little child cannot draw a bad picture," right parents? You love those crummy little pictures. You treasure them. You think it's Picasso. It says the child of God cannot utter a bad prayer. God's heart is open and eager and waiting for us, we can just hang out with God. We can, His words, just waste time with God.
The next bird is a swallow. The swallow is a restless bird. Swallow is dark around the ears, they have short little wings. They seem to be going in very direction at one time. They are just flitting about, never resting. The only time they rest is when they mate and they have their young, and then they find a quiet place, and when they find that quiet nest, they utter a low moaning kind of a sweet song. When they sing, you know they are at rest. So not only are the worthless welcome, but the restless can find rest with God. That's the thought of this beautiful Psalm. The restless. Saint Augustine use to say and it was quoted this evening, as it called a worship, our hearts are restless until we find our rest in You.
"For a day in your courts, is better than a thousand." Now watch this, "I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than dwell in the tents of wickedness." That was the job of the sons of Korah. They were the doorkeepers. Now think of that job. Does it sound glamorous? I am a doorkeeper. No, it's really not a great job. It sounds like a boring job, except it's in the House of the Lord. Now it's an exalted task, because I am doing it for the Lord. It's like saying, "I am on staff with God." "I would rather be a doorkeeper in the House of my God, than dwell in the tents of wickedness".
Something about doorkeepers. Because of their task to make sure the place is ready and they open the door and close the door, they are at the Tabernacle first, and they leave last. They get to be there longer. Here is the point. Mundane tasks take on a new texture and composition when you have a relationship. Relationship changes everything. Changes a menial task to an exalted task.
Take the young man who is a slob as a bachelor. But one night his girlfriend is coming over to visit him. Suddenly, feverishly, he cleans up his house and makes it look like it never really looks any other time but that evening. Why would he do that? Because he has a relationship of love with someone, and that menial task that he wouldn't do for himself, he would gladly do, because he loves her so deeply. "I would rather be a doorkeeper and take this menial task, than dwell in the tents of wickedness".
By the way, one of the great things I love about all of you, is some of you are CEOs, you are lawyers, you are doctors, you are professionals, you own your own business, but you can't wait to voluntarily take a task at the church, or a small group during the week to get involved, in ministering to another person. Something that the world say, I don't get why you would do that? Why don't you just go home and watch American Idolatry like everybody else? Oh no, you want to be there to share your gift and your love with other people.
Well now, turn over to Psalm 90. We are now in Book 4. Psalm 90 through Psalm 106 is the fourth book of the Book of Psalms. Psalm 90 is really a highlight, because it's the only Psalm, it's the oldest Psalm, it's the only Psalm written by Moses. I want to give you the background of this Psalm. The background of Psalm 90 seems to be numbers Chapter 20. So you don't have to turn to numbers 20, but let me tell you three huge events that happened at numbers 20 that form the background of Psalm 90.
When Moses writes this, he has this in mind. Number.1, the death of Miriam. Remember Miriam? The most important female leader during the Exodus, and the sister of Moses. He loses his sister. Very painful.
Number.2, in that same chapter, it's when Moses beat that rock when God said speak to it, and because of that, he wasn't allowed to enter into the Promise Land, something he wanted to do for 38 long years and God says "Up, sorry, you are not going in now."
Third thing that happened in that chapter was the death of the high priest Aaron, also a brother of Moses, who loses two family members. The nation is in mourning for an entire month. and with that background he now writes these words.
"Lord, You have been our dwelling place", better word is den. "Lord, You have been our den, our dwelling place in all of generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world. Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. You turn man to destruction, and say, "Return, O children of men." "For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is passed." And like a watch in the night, you carry them away like a flood. They are like asleep. In the morning they are like grass which grows up".
What is Moses doing? He is describing the brevity of life, how short life really is. He does that through the Psalm. Somebody once said, "Time is a great healer but a poor beautician".
You get it? It heals a lot of things and it ruins other things, the older we get we feel it. I remember one time Daly Gram was addressing a college back east and somebody asked him a question. One of the students in the assembly said, "Dr. Gram, what one thing in life has surprised you the most?" And without flinching he said, "It's brevity." How short it is.
It is surprising as you grow older, it's like one day you were young, and it's like, whatever happened to that, young thing. It seems like the aging process after a certain age, after a tipping point, just goes very rapidly. So watch what he says. "Lord, You have been our dwelling place. God is our den." I really like that translation. I know it says dwelling place, but I love the idea of a den. You know, there are homes that have a couple of different rooms. You might have in a home a formal living room, and then you might have a family room. Okay, the formal living room is called informal, you don't really hangout there much. It's kind of the entrance piece of the house.
But then there is the family room, it's where people just kind of hang out. It's not as together, it might be a little messy or sloppy, but you don't care, you hangout there. I like that idea. Is your relationship with God like the formal living room or like the den? Lord, You are our den, we just have intimate close, wonderful winsome fellowship with each other.
"For we have been consumed by Your anger, by Your wrath we are terrified. For You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your countenance. For all of our days have passed away in Your wrath; we finish our years like a sigh. What is your life? It's like this , Ah! Over.
"The days of our life are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow. For it is soon cut off, and we fly away." Who knows the power of Your anger, for as the fear of You, so is Your wrath. We don't know exactly what Moses was thinking in these verses. He could have been thinking all the way back to the Garden of Eden, the fall of Adam and Eve, after all he wrote that book, he recorded it. He could be referring to his own sin of hitting the rock.
In Numbers, Chapter 20: and failing to enter the Promised Land, he experienced it, or he could be writing about the deaths of many of the people and the children of Israel. Remember, many of them during those wilderness wanderings died as a result of their sin. But the whole point is, that sin leads to death.
Now you think about that. Sin leads to death, always. It will lead to the death of relationships, it will lead to the death of friendships, marriages, it will lead to the death of one's health, it can ultimately lead to the second death if it goes unrepented, unchecked, unforgiven, sin always leads to death, and that is a major theme of this Psalm.
So look at Verse 12, here is the prayer, here is the priority. So, teach us to number our days, that we might gain a heart of wisdom, or as the Knox translation says, "Count every passing day."
Here is another way to put it. Since time flies, it's up to you to be the pilot. You be the navigator. Since time goes by so quickly, you decide wisely where you are going to spend your moments, your leisure, the purpose in the plans of your life, you are the navigator. So it says number our days, teach us to number our days. I did that today. I got on a calculator, I discovered that today I have lived for 19,217 days. Well, that puts a whole new perspective on life. Do you think I am pretty young, oh boy! That's a lot of days, 19,217 days. But the idea isn't just counting time, but making time count. That's really the thought here, teach us to number our days so that we can make our time, our days count.
Now let's go to the last book, that is Book 5, Psalm 119. I am going to have you turn there, don't worry we are not going to read it all. If you know anything about that Psalm, it's the longest chapter in the Bible. It's certainly the longest Psalm, 176 Verses, and here's what I love about it, and why I am having you turn there. Because Psalm 119, the theme is the Bible. The author loves the word of God. So it's a whole Psalm, and it's a long Psalm, and I love this thought, what is the most important expression that God, the Holy Spirit would move the author to write about over and over again? And it's the word of God, over and over again.
Here's an example. The word law is written about in this Psalm 25 times. The word testimony is mentioned 22 times, precepts 21 times, statutes 21 times, the way is all euphemism for the word, 11 times, Commandments is mentioned 22 times, judgments 23 times, and the word is mentioned 39 times. It's a love for the Bible.
Something else that's remarkable about this Psalm, and it's only true of a few of them. It's an acrostic Psalm, an alphabetical acrostic I will explain. The Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters: Alef, Bet, Gimel, Dalet, He, Vav, Zayin, and all the way from Alef A to Tav our Z. So there is 22 sections, and you can see them in your Bible, how they are divided up.
There is 8 verses for every section, 8 verses all begin with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Alef, then the next 8 all begin with Bet, and then the next 8 Gimel, and on and on and on, from to A to Z, or from Alef to Tav. You know, what I think that means, the word of God will cover every gamete of life, from A to Z, every experience you have, it's helpful to meet every need in every way, that's the idea of this acrostic Psalm.
Look down at Psalm 119:9
"How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.
"Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law." I love that prayer. That is my daily prayer, I actually quote that everyday that I open the Bible, open up my eyes that I can see, behold, wondrous things from Your law.
"Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word."
"It is good for me that I have been afflicted; how many can say that? that I might learn Your statutes."
Psalm 119:105, finally.
"Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path." Do you think this guy loves the Bible? Do you think this guy loves the commandments, the precepts, the statutes, the word? That's what it's all about.
There was a man who had a pretty nice garden over in England, it was a beautiful English garden with a potpourri of every kind of imagine will blossom, and it was spring time in England, late spring. And one morning, he looked over his garden, and he saw a butterfly, and the butterfly would kind of flutter and fled over the little blossoms from one to the other, kind of surveying and soaring and touching down and then moving on.
As he kept looking out the window, he saw eventually a botanist who live down the street, he has got his glasses and his magnifying glass in his shoulder bag with books and a notebook and a pencil, and he would look and study the flowers, and he would take copious note down. A little while longer as he was still looking, a bee came by, and the bee hovered over the flower and then sunk deep down in to extract all of the pollen, every bit that he could, then he would get out and move to the next one and go down and extract pollen, go to the next one. It's a great little story. Here's what I am getting at. Which best describes your reading of the Bible, a butterfly, a botanist or a bee?
You just sort of skim it, now, I understand this is the Bible from 30,000 feet, we are doing a lot of skimming because we have a goal. But in general, you do sort of yeah, a little bit of Psalms, little bit of Matthew, I am done. Are you like the botanist, you take copious notes and you want all the latest theological facts and eschalogical charts, or you like the bee, you want to sink down into every text, every verse and extract all of the meaning for yourself, an application and life change for yourself? Which are you? Butterfly, botanist or bee?
Now go over to Psalm 139. Psalm 139, notice it's written by David, again. this is the fifth and final book of Psalms, Psalm 139. This is God's personal profile. Here's why I love Psalm 139, it gives us a great dose of doctrine. It's a theological Psalm.
Now before you go, oh, can we just skip this Psalm then? Because I don't really like doctrine, I am not into doctrine. Have you ever heard of that? I am into Jesus, I am not into doctrine. It might sound sweet and sentimental, but it's really a dump thing to say. Because doctrine simply means good, solid, wholesome, healthy teaching. You wouldn't know about Jesus or the right things without good Bible doctrine. We must care, we must care about Bible doctrine. Here's why?
Bible doctrine, all of the things that Bible teaches about God etcetera, gives us a moral and spiritual compass for navigating life. And that's why this Psalm is filled with theology about God. See, if you are off in your thinking about God, you are going to be off in your thinking about everything else. You will be off in your thinking about morality, you will be off in your thinking about human beings, you will be off in your thinking about eternity and salvation. What if you had a pilot, when you were somewhere, let's say you are flying to Hawaii, and the pilot said, "I know that Hawaii is in that general direction, so we are going to go in that general direction, and I am a very sincere, well-meaning pilot, you should know."
Now we maybe just one degree off in our calculations, but we are going in the general direction. You'd say, "Excuse me, I want off this plane, because one degree here in Albuquerque, might mean the other side of the universe by the time you extrapolate the distance that far. So that's why it's important that you are right about who God is, and this Psalm is filled with that.
First of all the first 5 verses, this is what God knows, this is what God knows, He knows everything. He is omniscient. O Lord, You have searched me, You have known me. You know my sitting downs, my rising up. You understand my thought afar off. In other words, before I even think it, before the chemicals come together to produce a thought, You comprehend my path and my lying down, You are acquainted with all my ways, there is not a word on my tongue, but behold O Lord, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, and You laid Your hand upon me.
Have you ever been in some big library, or for that matter, just a big bookstore? Last time, I was in a local bookstore, I think it was Borders Books and Tapes or something. I am just kind of going down the isles, I am thinking, man, a lot of people doing a lot of writing about a lot of stuff, it's just these exhaustive subjects in all of these books, I would love to have the time to read. It's intimidating volume after volume, research after research. It just makes you feel small. That's because when it comes to our knowledge, it's acquired knowledge, we have to learn it and acquire it, not with God. God's knowledge is innate, intuitive. He knows all things even before man can even think the thought.
"Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it. That's what God knows, God is omniscient, He knows all.
Beginning at Verse 7, the Psalmists continues with another great doctrine of God. God is omnipresent. He is everywhere.
"Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?"
"If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there." So here is the doctrine of God's omnipresence. God is always everywhere present in the totality of His person, in the totality of His being. Which means to you and me, here's really the bottom line, you can run, but you can't hide. And in so many words, the Psalmists says that, death can't hide us from God, where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up or I go down into hell, the lower parts of the earth, God is present on both sides of death.
Also look at the next couple of verses, distance can hide us from God.
"If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me." So you can't go to some place on earth or in the universe where God is not there.
I have always loved that story of a cosmonaut giving a speech, and another American astronaut who is a believer listening to the speech, and the cosmonaut said, "I have traveled the Universe. I have gone to the moon. I have traveled to outer space " And he said, "I looked and I did not see God," And the astronaut and the audience said, if he would have stepped out of the space, he would have. He would come face-to-face with Him.
"Darkness can't hide us from God; indeed the darkness shall not hide from you, but the night shines as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to you. God sees what happens in the dark, and He doesn't need night vision goggles. He is not afraid of the dark. He knows the deep secrets of man's heart.
Beginning at Verse 13, it tells us what God is like. He is almighty.
"For You formed my inward parts, You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are Our works; and that my soul knows; very well." "My frame is not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth." "Your eyes are my substance, being yet unformed; and in Your book they were all written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them."
Here the Psalmist is considering God's ability, His skill, His power, and the Bible doctrine for that is omnipotence, God's omnipotent, He can do anything. What I find fascinating about this Psalm, and it's written by David. Is David to give you an example of God's power? God's might, that God can do anything. The Psalmist doesn't reach up into the heavens like he does in Psalm 8, by the way same author, says, "Look at the heavens and the moon and the stars and consider that the divine made all of that."
But what he does, is he goes down into the womb of a woman, to the nine month human gestation period, and as the quintessential example of God's might and power, he looks at how a baby is formed from a zygote to an embryo, to a fetus, and then to the birth of a child. I will tell you why that's important, I think you can sort of figure that out, is that the Bible acknowledges person-hood from the very moment of conception, I don't care what scientist or philosophers or would even theologian say, the Bible says, Life begins at the moment a zygote is formed, that simple cell structure where there is reproduction, they come together and that conception, it's a person.
It's important that we believe that, the fetus is not something that you can remove like a swollen appendix, because it's inconvenient. We are made Imago Dei as it is says in Latin, in the image and likeness of God. And the Psalmist uses that as a wonderful example. Now this is how God thinks, this is the best part of Psalm in my opinion.
"How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!" If I should count them, I dare you to try, they would be more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with You." Go out, just try it, you won't make it very far, but just take one handful of sand, try it tomorrow, and just start seeing how, how many you can count. You know, get a cup of coffee, Turkish coffee will be the best for this, and just start counting. You will make it through the handful, and it doesn't just say a handful or a bucketful or an ocean beachful or one mesaful, it says, 'the sand.'
Now to me this is the most staggering truth of all. If the other attributes of God are monumental, and they are, if they are staggering and hard to get our mind around an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God, here's the most staggering truth, is that God in all of that wonder splendor in my things about me, why? Now this doctrine is called the obeisance of God. God humbles Himself to consider His creation that He has made intimately wonderfully.
You might say that before God formed the universe, He had you in mind. He was thinking about you. Have you ever had somebody walk up to you, I know you have, and they have said something like this, listen, you've just have been on my mind this week, you have been in my thoughts, you have been on my heart, I have been praying for you. How does that make you feel? Pretty good, doesn't it? Wow! that was so sweet, they have been thinking of me and praying for me. God would say to you, "You know what, I have been thinking about you lately. You have been on my mind, I think about you all the time, more in number than the sand."
Turn to the last Psalm in the Book Psalms, Psalm 150. In Psalm 150, and because this Psalm is the last one, and because I think this Psalm demands interaction, I am going to ask the worship group to come up as we finished this Psalm, we need you on this one. Now as you are coming up, look at those 6 verses, and something I want you to notice is that word Praise is used in these 6 verses, 13 times. So what would you think is the theme of the Psalm? Exactly, Praise.
Now in Verse 1 and Verse 6, notice the phrase Praise the Lord, in Hebrew that's Hallelujah! I found that's a universal language. You can go in any country and say Hallelujah! and somebody will know what that means. They don't translate that any other way than as it is written. So Praise the Lord.
"Praise God in His sanctuary, praise Him in His mighty firmament, praise Him for His mighty acts, praise Him according to His excellent greatness." Wait a minute, I got to get this. You know what this is, right? This is a shofar, right, a trumpet, that's the idea of the trumpet here. And it's in Hebrew the Shophar, right?
So it says, and we should do it, Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; ready, shall I do it? Okay, that's an ancient trumpet, a modern trumpet might sound a little bit like this. Alright, Dennis. So praise Him with the sound of the trumpet, praise Him with the lute and the harp. What would a harp sound like Dennis? And then it says, Praise Him with the timbrel, and the dance, very good, praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes. Come on Danny, crank it up, let's have some lead riff. Alright, there he go. So praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes, praise Him with loud cymbals, He didn't say drums, and Praise Him with clashing cymbals.
Now in case you can't apply any instrument, that's fine, or you are afraid to sing, it says this. Let everything that has breath, so check yourself, that means every creature. Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord, and then it closes Hallelujah or Praise the Lord!