Text: Psalm 33:1-12, Title: More Than a Suggestion, Date/Place: NRBC, 2/28/11, AM
1. Opening illustration: The church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be utterly unworthy of thinking, worshipping men…the gravest question before the church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he is his deep heart conceives God to be like…the man who comes to the right belief about God is relieved of ten thousand temporal problems…for the one single burden of eternity begins to press down upon him with a weight more crushing than all the woes of this world piled one upon another…the essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him.”
2. Background to passage: This psalm comes on the heels of Psalm 32; some manuscripts even put them together. And it picks up where the other left off exhorting the righteous to worship God. And after the call to worship, he uses a little word “for” and commences to give us a justification for praise due our God.
3. Main thought: written in verses, the psalmist gives eight reasons for us to praise the Lord.
1. Goodness (v. 4-5)
1. The first reason that we can willingly obey the command to praise the Lord is the goodness of God. It is said here to fill the earth. It is a word that describes the mercy of God that comes running to the aid of His people when they are in pain. He is a God who does not does not take pleasure (enjoy) the death of the wicked, but even more so His care for His people when they are hurting is unyielding. And so He is constantly sending mercy upon them, because He is loving-kindness; He is tender mercies.
2. Ex 34:6, Micah 7:18, Ps 68:19, Gen 39:21, Ruth 1:8-9, 2 Sam 9:3, 7, Job 10:1-6, 12, Hos 11:8
3. Illustration: translates as “mercy” 149 times, “kindness” 40 times, “loving-kindness” 30 times, “goodness” 12 times, read Chuck Swindoll, The Mystery of God’s Will, p. 132 about the “relief” of chesed,
4. The Lord definitely has great purposes for pain in your life, and is accomplishing great things through it, but He also hurts for you, and desires to comfort you. You may be a witness to the small encouragements of life that seem to carry you through the valleys. It’s those times when the darkness is thick, but peace simply overwhelms you. Even when you think that these tender mercies are not present, they are; they are His character. Know that they will be revealed again and again. Ask God to open your eyes to their presence, and your heart to receive them. If we are not careful, bitterness, anger, self-pity, hopelessness will consume us. Some of you have experienced God’s loving kindness in awesome ways, and you should give Him glory by testifying of that grace shed upon you. You also may be the means for these mercies.
Power (v. 6-7)
1. Here the psalmist gives two examples of the power of the Lord. First he speaks of creation, and the fact that creating the entire universe was created by the breath of His mouth. God created every known (and the billions of galaxies, sub atomic particles, and every unique snowflake and fingerprint) as easily as you and I breathe. That which we do every moment of every day and night without even a thought and while doing a thousand other things simultaneously, God created anything/everything that is/was/is to come. And the waters gathered. Think on that!
2. John 1:3, Rev 19:6, Gen 18:14, Jer 32:27, Job 42:2, Matt 3:9, Philip 3:10
3. Illustration: “God possesses what no creature can: an incomprehensible plentitude of power, a potency that is absolute…Omnipotence is not a name given to the sum of all power, but an attribute of a personal God…and the worshipping man find this knowledge a source of wonderful strength for his inner life. His faith rises to take a great leap upward into the fellowship of Him who can do whatever He wills to do for whom nothing is hard or difficult because He possesses power absolute. Since He as at His command all the power in the universe, the Lord God omnipotent can do anything as easily as anything else. All His acts are done without effort. He expends no energy that must be replenished. His self-sufficiency makes it unnecessary for Him to look outside of Himself to for a renewal of strength. All the power required to do all that He wills to do lies in undiminished fullness in His own infinite being.” “The greatest single distinguishing feature of the omnipotence of God is that our imagination gets lost when thinking about it” –– Blaise Pascal
4. We have little comprehension of the true power of our God. We fear men, beasts, and problems in life. We shrink back from tribulation, risk, and hardship. We are weak, and fail to realize the extent of His power. Think/meditate on His power, and let it compel your faith, your trust, your confidence, your worship, your love for Him. Don’t let people or problems become bigger than God. Let God be God in all His fullness in your mind and heart! Know the power of His resurrection.
Authority (v. 8-9)
1. The psalmist then exhorts all the inhabitants of the earth to stand in awe of Him. The word means to bow in reverent, speechless, wonder and fear because of His authority as Ruler of the Universe. Then he gives us an illustration of a king on the throne that no one questions His command. Everyone/everything obeys his every desire. This we know to be true. When He says “jump,” his subjects say, “how high.”
2. Job 38:4-11, Pro 8:29, 1 Sam 15:22, Hos 6:6, Ex 19:5,
3. Illustration: Robert G. Ingersoll was delivering his lectures against Christ and the Bible, his oratorical ability usually assured him of a large crowd. One night after an inflammatory speech in which he severely attacked man’s faith in the Savior, he dramatically took out his watch and said, "I’ll give God a chance to prove that He exists and is almighty. I challenge Him to strike me dead within 5 minutes!" First there was silence, then people became uneasy. Some left the hall, unable to take the nervous strain of the occasion, and one woman fainted. At the end of the allotted time, the atheist exclaimed derisively, "See! There is no God. I am still very much alive!" After the lecture a young fellow said to a Christian lady, "Well, Ingersoll certainly proved something tonight!" Her reply was memorable." Yes he did," she said. "He proved God isn’t taking orders from atheists tonight."
4. When He says to a donkey, “speak,” it speaks; to the sun, “stand still,” it does; to the storm, “peace,” and silence comes across the face of the deep; to the angels, to the moon and stars, to the waters/snow/hail/rain, to locusts/frogs/gnats; if this is true with the natural and supernatural worlds, shouldn’t it be true for us. You see, authority is what is lacking in our churches and in our minds. Most of you would not question the inspiration of scripture, the inerrancy of scripture, the infallibility of scripture, but those things are of little value if we do not believe that the bible has authority over our lives. If it has authority, we will strive to follow it regardless of our feelings, situation, or pressures. Therefore, we don’t make excuses or reasons why we cannot follow His instructions and leadings, but just do it. This is a question that you must make a decision on before the moment. Right now, does God have the authority over your life to command your every move, thought, and word, and to do with you as He pleases?
Providence (v. 10-12)
1. The term providence is used to describe the control and supervision of creation to bring about His desired ends. He brings the plans of unbelievers to nothing. The intentions of His heart will be carried out for all generations. He orchestrates as great conductor the music of this world in respect to every natural phenomenon (animals, wind, water, fire, disasters, rain, drought), with respect to every human institution (governments, nations, marriage, wars, knowledge, science, politics), with respect to each person individually (decisions, circumstances, random happenings in time, thoughts, desires, talents), and especially with respect to His chose people (note the reference in v. 12). Every atom of every molecule in every part of creation at all times is under His loving care, and working to accomplish His will.
2. Isa 46:10, Rom 8:29, 11:33-36, Eph 1:11, Gen 50:20, Acts 2:23
3. Illustration: "I began to understand God’s omnipotent power," Struecker said. "He was orchestrating every single bullet that was fired that night. ... The peace that I had was not only for my own life, but for the lives of my soldiers. If any of them were to get shot, then that was part of God’s sovereign plan." And God chose to preserve Struecker that night. Mark Driscoll’s comment to Donald Walker’s testimony, “Trust the past to God’s mercy, the present to God’s love and the future to God’s providence.” – Augustine, "It must be felt that there is no national security but in the nation’s humble acknowledged dependence upon God and His overruling providence." -John Adams
4. Can you imagine the wealth of multitasking He must do to accomplish that? The forethought? The wisdom? The skill? He is using all of your pain to achieve His glory and your good. He brings the worst acts of others in line with His will. Therefore, we have no need to be bitter about an act that God permitted/ordained. Think of the security in this truth! You can rest in Him knowing that He is the architect of your life! Nothing that comes into your life, didn’t come across His desk. Not only in your life, but every reach of this world. What a God! Who is like You in the heavens, who is like you on the earth?! And all these plans are formulated in the mind of a God of tender mercies who rejoices to see the blessedness of His children. And they are inalterable, immutable, unchanging, and sound. Talk about the providence of the gospel?
1. Closing illustration: read the words to Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise and O Worship The King, “It does not matter where He places me or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me. For the easiest positions, He must give grace; and in the most difficult, His grace is sufficient. So, if God places me in great perplexity, must He not give me much guidance? In positions of great difficulty, much grace? In circumstances of great pressure and trial, much strength? As to work, mine was never so plentiful, so responsible, or so difficult; but the weight and strain are all gone. His resources are mine, for He is mine!” - J. Hudson Taylor
3. Isn’t He beautiful? This God of mercy, power, authority, and providence bids you to follow Him, rest in Him, worship Him, serve Him, love Him.
* Is Christ Exalted, Magnified, Honored, and Glorified?