“Are We Missing It?” sermon from outdoor service on 8/15/10
Romans 1:20 & Psalm 19
Listen to these words of the Psalmist, a Psalm of David, from Psalm 19 (recite from memory)…
1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
3 There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,
5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is hidden from its heat.
I’ll stop there and come back to the rest of Psalm 19 in a little bit, but what a song, huh! Did you catch the opening and all the words? “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands…” The Psalmist almost worships creation, although he doesn’t since he acknowledges God as the creator and whom creation glorifies/magnifies. When was the last time you slowed down and took a look at the world around you? Do we even do this anymore today? Ok, maybe you’re one who does this all the time, or likes nature, but I think you’d agree with me that we don’t necessarily care about the world around us so much as we do about other things. We live very fast-paced lives. We have so many things going on in each of our lives and nature and the world around us often takes a backseat. It’s interesting though that this is the exact opposite of where this Psalmist begins his worship and praise to God. He stops and takes notice, and even breaks out into song in view of the world around him.
The beginning lines of a book I am reading called Crazy Love say this, “What if I said, ‘Stop praying’? What if I told you to stop talking at God for a while (or even just stop and take notice of God right now), but instead to take a long, hard look at Him before you speak another word?” We live in a society where so much clouds our view and imprisons our attention. So much technological things consume our lives and we are almost captives to busyness that we hardly stop to notice God or the world around us, or when we do it’s quick, short-lived, or even inconsiderate. We as a culture can easily be slow to listen, quick to speak, and quick to become angry (the opposite of what James 1:19 suggests). Another quote from the same book says, “The wise man comes to God without saying a word and stands in awe of Him.” Let’s do this for a second. I am going to stop and just let us be here in silence for a moment. Take in the nature around you; breathe in and out slowly, listen to the sounds around you (the wind, birds, etc—close your eyes if you’d like), look into the horizons and clouds. What does nature teach us about God? (1-2 minutes of silence)…
Well, I hope you saw or felt something or just took advantage of a chance to slow down and be with God where you are. Again, I’ll say the quote I just read, “The wise man comes to God without saying a word and stands in awe of Him.” As a quick example of this, take a look at the Lord’s Prayer. How does it begin? “Our Father, who art in Heaven, Hallowed by thy name! Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” This prayer begins with reverence and awe! And a focus on God, not us. It acknowledges that God is in the heavens and on His throne, His name should be hallowed (not “hollowed”, do we even know what this means anymore?), and that our hearts should desire that His will be done. These are to be our first priorities! It’s only after these things that we are to then pray about our more personal needs (our daily bread, forgiveness, guidance, deliverance). The end of the Lord’s Prayer then closes sort of like the beginning in declaring that “Thine is the kingdom, power, and glory for ever!” So really, this prayer has little to do with us, but a lot to do with God: so slow down and take notice as you pray.
So, let’s go back to the beginning of Psalm 19 then and take a closer look. One thing I think this Psalm helps with is how to get a God-sized view again. We so easily belittle God and forget His magnificence and glory. When was the last time you got a taste of how grand, glorious, magnificent God is? God’s art speaks of Himself; reflecting who He is and what He’s like. Isn’t this true with any artist? So this Psalm opens with, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” The first thing I notice here is that God is worshipped by all and above all. Creation worships and tells of the glory of God. Think about this, when you pray or worship God you don’t do it solo; there’s symphonic praise going on all around us. This also tells us that God is above all. In view of the heavens and creation around us we quickly become reminded of how magnificent, thoroughly meticulous (detailed in His creation), powerful, creative, etc God is. This is so important! I think I’ve already shared this in a previous message but, we tend to live towards what our image of God is. If we don’t have proper perspective of who/what God really is we don’t treat Him as we should, we don’t believe or have faith as we should/could. This is so important because it’s where our relationship with God should have its foundation. Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Our knowledge, wisdom, etc depends on our fear/reverence of God. And that’s why this is where this Psalmist begins.
Moving on then to the second part of Psalm 19, we see that it’s after he gains this perspective that he goes on to speak of God’s Word. The Psalm goes on to say…
7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is pure,
The ordinances of the Lord are sure
and altogether righteous.
10 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the comb.
11 By them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
In light of these two sections of this Psalm, I think there are two ways, or means of which, we can miss it in regards to God. The first we’ve already talked about; not having a God-sized view of God. The second is not having a God-sized view of God’s Word. Now, you might be thinking, it says the Law here not God’s Word. That’s true, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to link this to God’s Word because that’s where we learn of the Law and the things of God. The Psalmist here only speaks of the Law, but really the whole Bible is to be our main source of faith and life, for it tells of God and His ways. The thing that grabs my attention about this second part of Psalm 19 is how the Psalmist has such a love relationship with God’s Law; His statutes, precepts, ordinances, commands. When was the last time you were so enamored with the Word of God? Hopefully, that’s true of you today. I hope that you love this book; that you know its significance and magnificence deeply!
Again, it’s so easy for this to have a cheapened status in today’s culture. Words today are cheap, easy to come by, exist in abundance. I don’t know if we know what means today to hang on any words or anything written as if our life and faith depends on it, let alone God’s Word. This Psalmist seems to know two things deeply: his life and faith depends greatly on his Creator Himself and His (God’s) Word!