Summary: In this sermon I want you to dwell on the words of the Psalmist, and think about what it means to have an "unfailing love." How does that affect your faith and make you respond to trial in life? What do you trust?
April 24, 2005 Psalm 33:12-22
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth— he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.
Topeka has been promoting itself as a city of character. On big billboards they have been displaying certain traits that they have felt are worth promoting. One of them was “dependability.” This word basically means to be someone that others can rely on for help. If you say you’re going to help them, you show up. If you call them on the phone, they answer or call you back. They are known as people you can depend on. It’s really nice to have friends in life that are dependable - that you can count on for help - that aren’t just there when it is convenient for them. You need dependability when it comes to having an employee or a spouse. It’s even more important - the most important - when it comes to your God. He can’t just be a nice looking little ornament that hangs in your room, or a cross around your neck. He has to be someone that you not only depend on - but someone that is in fact dependable.
The LORD says, “Depend on Me”
I. Who is the LORD?
The Psalm writer starts out, Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD. Throughout this Psalm he points to a distinct characteristic of God - as seen in his name - the LORD. This description of God was explained to Moses in Exodus 34:6-7. “He passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.” Notice the key phrases throughout the first part of these verses - SLOW to anger, ABOUNDING in love and FAITHFULNESS, MAINTAINING love. A key aspect to the LORD is His CONSISTENCY. He is primarily a God of love and forgiveness. He is not a fair weather God who gives up on people after one sin or one rebellion. The Psalmist calls it an UNFAILING love - in the Hebrew it’s called CHESED - it just keeps going and going and going.
The faithfulness of the LORD is contrasted in the Old Testament Scriptures with the unfaithfulness of the Israelites. The book of Judges is a sad repetition of the same old sins repeated time and again by the unfaithful Israelites. It reads, “the LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. Unlike their fathers, they quickly turned from the way in which their fathers had walked, the way of obedience to the LORD’s commands.” (Jdg 2:16-18) God called it “prostitution.” Imagine how you’d feel if your husband or wife decided that you weren’t bringing home enough money or you weren’t sexy enough, so he or she decided to sell his or her body for sex to the highest bidder. So you kick him or her out of the house, they come back and beg for forgiveness - so you let them back. Then, a year later they do the SAME thing! That’s how God described the Israelites. After honestly hundreds of years of this Isaiah wrote, “All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations—a people who continually provoke me to my very face; (65:2-3) Faithfulness on the part of God is that he continued to hold out his hands - ALL DAY LONG in spite of this.
Do you know what really amazes me about this? Psalm 33 says, From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth— he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. The LORD looks - literally gazes at ALL who live on earth. He considers what we do. Think about that. Sometimes we turn on TV and see some really disgusting stuff. We hear on the news how people are committing murder, molesting children, abusing drugs. Imagine if you were given the power of God - and given the ability to see all that everyone does? How long, do you think, it would take you to say, “to HELL with them all. I’ve had enough!” But we aren’t in the position of God. We can turn the TV off. We can shut our doors and sleep without thinking about it. God doesn’t. He sees this stuff happen every day. He’s heard every word you’ve spoken. He’s heard every perverted and judgmental thought you’ve had. He can’t turn the channel. His very nature makes it “impossible” for him not to see it. He has to watch this garbage.