Summary: Our Lord said, “Go into all the world & preach the good news to every creature.” What is that good news? I think it consists of two things that need to be proclaimed - that would really be “good news” to the world today. (PowerPoint Available - #288)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
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TEXT: Psalm 74:20
A. The scripture passage that I want us to consider this morning is found in the 74th Psalm. It is a beautiful &, at the same time, a tragic psalm. In it the Psalmist is speaking to the people of Israel. And this morning I particularly want to call your attention to vs. 20.
He writes, & I’m quoting from the King James Version, “Have respect unto the covenant: for the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty.”
Do you understand what he is saying? He is saying to his people, to the Jews, “Thank God for the covenant we have with Him. It makes us a special people, His people. We’re not like other nations. We’re God’s people.
"And as a result - as long as we serve God & obey Him - God will continue to shower His blessings upon us. So have respect for this covenant. Thank God for this covenant!”
Then he continues, “…for the dark places of the earth…” And by that he means the nations who don’t know God, people living in superstition & fear, bowing down to idols made by hand, people who fear the unknown, worshiping as Gods the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the spirits. He says that those places, “…the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty.”
B. Now if this were true back when the Psalmist wrote, I think it’s still true today. If he could say, “Thank God for the covenant we have with Him,” how much more can we say today, “Thank God for Jesus Christ, for the New Covenant, for the opportunity to know our Savior & our Lord, & to belong to Him!”
And again, it is sad that the last part of that verse is also still true today. The dark places of the earth, where the people do not know the good news of Jesus Christ & God’s love, are still full of the habitations of cruelty.
C. Now as you know, I spent the first few years of my life out on the border of China & Tibet. My parents were missionaries, & I remember a lot about that area, the roof of the world, the Himalayas.
For example, I remember the idols that the people worshiped. I’ve been in one pagoda, or temple, alone that had over 10,000 different idols, each one representing a different god: rooster gods, gods of the wind, gods of grain, gods of every imaginable sort.
ILL. I remember one idol – in fact, the picture of this idol has been in the National Geographic. It is an idol that is about 9 feet tall. It has 38 arms, supposedly to bring good things down from the heavens to the people who worship it. And they say that it is made out of solid gold.
I have a picture of another idol that is 3 stories tall, & each ear on that idol is bigger than I am.
I’ve seen Tibetans making idols. I’ve seen them take sticks & fashion a rough framework. I’ve seen them take clay & straw & begin to shape the idol. Finally, when it is ready, they put it into an oven & bake it until it is cured.
Then they’ll paint eyes that cannot see, ears that cannot hear, & a mouth that cannot speak. And, after having made this idol, they’ll put in on a spirit shelf or in a shrine by the roadside, & bow down & offer sacrifices before this idol that they have made with their own hands.
Truly, millions of people today are still living in the darkness of fear & superstition!
D. I want to remind you that the Psalmist wrote, “…the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty.” It’s true, & to illustrate that let me tell you a story. And if you would, please use your imagination, for I want to paint a picture that will help you see the truth of this passage in such a vivid way that you will never forget.
Hopefully, the situation portrayed in this picture is no longer happening, but this is a true story that I first heard years ago.
So travel with me in your imagination as I try to paint this picture for you:
ILL. It’s dark. I mean it’s really dark. The moonlight can barely filter its way down through the canopy of jungle leaves above our heads. And it’s quiet! No, no, there are all the sounds of an African jungle at night. But outside of that, it is quiet because in the village before us the people have long since gone to bed for their night of rest.