Summary: A sermon reflecting on the national tragedy of September 11, 2001
IN THE MIDST OF WICKEDNESS:
IT HAPPENED ON SEPTEMBER 11th
I got home from work on Tuesday and received a call from my mother to turn on the news and see what was going on. I flipped on CNN in time to see a building smoking and then a plan crashing into another. I soon realized I was looking at the Twin Towers in New York and that something very wrong was happening. I am sure you all have watched the news and seen the video and heard the events of the past few days. I did not want this opportunity to pass by without saying a few words.
I do not know what your reaction has been. I am sure you have been in awe of the magnitude of the destruction. Perhaps you have been fearful for your safety, concerned, perhaps angry, worried, or perhaps you have had no reaction at all. Nevertheless, our world has changed.
I. THE TRANSGRESSION OF THE WICKED (v. 1-4)
We find the Psalmist describing a type of person and a situation that we have encountered
this past week. The writer describes a “transgression of the wicked” and continues to describe the wicked person. Verses 1-4 describe what I believe are the types of people who have done the horrible things that we have witnessed this past week.
We will find that the people who did these horrible things have no fear of God. They see themselves as right and that they did the right thing and would not hesitate to do it again. They see themselves as patriots in their way of life and what they have done is good and beneficial. The words that come out of their mouths are lies and hateful and are used to cover their deeds. They are the kind of people who plan and plot even when they are heading off to sleep. They abhor good and ally themselves with evil means. The Psalmist is dealing with these kinds of people. I think it is fair to see that this past week America has begun to deal with such people and will continue to do so in the coming months and years.
II. A LOVING GOD IN THE MIDST OF WICKEDNESS (v. 5-9)
The Psalmist continues to reflect on the wicked situation and the wicked individuals he
has encountered. After reflecting on the kind of people they were, the Psalmist dwells on the lovingkindness of God in the midst of the wickedness. He describes the far-reaching mercy and faithfulness and goodness of God. He describes the lovingkindness of God in a series of mental pictures.
The first picture I get in my mind when I read verses 5-9 is the goodness of God reaching down like a huge hand protecting His people. It stretches down from the heavens and preserves man and beast. The Psalmist praises the Lord for His goodness and calls it “precious.” His lovingkindness is a “precious” thing and is to be treasured and cherished and appreciated. The second picture we get of God’s goodness appears as we read on and occurs in verse 7. I cannot help but think of a huge bird and the protection of chicks under its wing. The lovingkindness of God is a protecting aspect of God and allows us to place our trust in Him. God is worthy of our trust and is worthy of the praise we give Him for his good protection. Another picture describes God’s goodness as a plentiful house and a place where good drink is plentiful. God’s goodness is a never-ending fountain that provides life and light and good pleasures in the midst of wickedness and wicked people.
Time and time again the Psalmist describes God’s lovingkindness in so many different ways. It is a precious gift of God that is to be treasured and will be evident in times when it seems wickedness is gaining the upper hand. In those times when wickedness comes against you, God will still be there and God’s lovingkindness will still stretch down from Heaven to you.
III. LOOKING TO THE FUTURE IN THE MIDST OF WICKEDNESS (v. 10-12)
We have seen the wicked ones described. We have seen that in the midst of the wicked
ones and their wickedness God’s goodness and lovingkindness still streams down from heaven like a mighty river. The Psalmist now looks to the future. America is now looking towards the future. We will always remember the painful past, but we must look to the future.
What will it hold? What is to be our attitude about the future? The Psalmist asks that the lovingkindness of God continue into the future for “those who know You.” He also asks that God’s righteousness be given to them as well. He asks that God protect him against the wicked driving him away from God. Protect him from pride. Protect him from more wickedness.