Summary: God is Lord of creation, Lord of our lives, and the Lord, King of glory.
These several Sundays, we are preaching from the Psalms. If you are acquainted with the Psalms you appreciate some of the tantalizing word pictures included there:
• God’s commands are sweeter than honey and drippings of the honeycomb (19)
• The river of God is full of water ( 65)
• Under his wings you will find refuge ( 91)
• The Lord is my shepherd ( 23)
If you are like me, you experience times when you can’t find the right words to pray. That’s the time to turn to the Psalms. Use a psalm to express your praise to God or your trust in God or your failings before God, or your anger toward God. The Psalms serve as a rich resource for our spiritual understanding of life, because they remind us that behind all of life’s experiences God is at work and that he is the center of our worship.
Last Sunday Sue pointed out that several Psalms point to nature as a way for us to understand better who God is. The Bible says, “Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made.” (Romans 1:20). Have you thought about the greatness of God as you look at the tiny flowers and the large features of the landscape? When we read the Psalms, we see that the God of nature is never far away. In many of the psalms images and comparisons are drawn from events of nature like rivers and mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes, clouds and storms.
Psalm 24 is not one of the nature Psalms, but it begins by recognizing the creator of our world. Psalm 24 fits into a group that we might call reflection psalms because they invite us to reflect on what we need to become in order to approach God. Other psalms in this group include 1, 15, 101, 112.
If you look over Psalm 24, you see that it divides into three parts. It begins with the recognition that God not only owns the earth and all it contains, he also created it. “He has founded it upon the seas,” we read. Those words take us back to the first verses of Genesis where we get a picture of a formless void, darkness, and chaos. And by divine command God created light out of darkness and separated the dry land from the waters and he made the earth. Psalm 24 would have us know that God was not just interested in real estate, but he created the world and that means its inhabitants, its people, and the systems that support them.
We could stop right there and spend the rest of our time thinking about what it means to recognize that God owns our world, that He is Lord of creation. E.g.,
• It means that we are not the owners, but we are the caretakers of what he has created. There is nothing we can put our name on and call it our own. We take care of it for Him. We are stewards. This week, think about the ways you are being a steward of the earth, the environment when you recycle paper and cans or pick up trash that others have discarded.
• It also means that if he owns the world, he has a claim on us because we are a part of this created world. Ps 100 says “Know that the Lord is God. He made us and we are his.” And we read in through the New Testament that not only did God make us, but when we were lost he looked for us and eventually paid the price of sending his son to claim us
There is the story of a boy once made a little boat. He spent hours working on that boat, planning, carving, and painting it so that he could play with it on a nearby pond. One day a strong wind took it across the lake and he was heart broken. One day he spied it in a toy shop. The shop keeper had put a price on it and the boy paid the price and took the boat home with him, having twice purchased the boat. That is the story of God’s claim on us. Paul wrote in I Cor. 6 “You are not your own. You were bought with a price,” and that price was his son Jesus. Did you know that God loved you that much?
Psalm 24 says, “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world and those who live in it.” Now that we know that God is Lord of all creation, what should our response be? How can we even approach a God such as this? How can we think of standing before him, as limited and imperfect as we are? Ps. 24 begins to raise these questions in these first two verses and we don’t have to wait long for an answer.