Summary: God invites us into a relationship with Christ. That is His heart's desire
October 9, 2016
Well, we are less than one month away from the presidential election. That’s pretty scary! Not one major newspaper has endorsed Donald Trump. That’s never happened before. Even some major nespapers have endorsed the Libertarian candidate, Bob Johnson, even though, he’s really bad on world events.
We tend to put our hope in people who are running our government. We think our elected officials are going to make all things better. Yet, often times, and this is no slight on anyone, we sit back and wait for the good to happen, we don’t get involved. We have these hopes and high expectations. Then we complain. The bottom line is our hope rests in these people.
But our hope really needs to be somewhere else. Our hope needs to be in Jesus Christ. He is our only hope. I believe Jesus is the only hope for the world. We’ve been talking about the love of Jesus and we are slowly turning to look at the Heart of Jesus. What was Jesus about? Why should we believe in Him. What does God offer that other gods don’t? We’re going to look at that and more over the next few weeks.
We’re going to start by looking at Psalm 96. The Psalmist tells us ~
1 Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth!
2 Sing to the LORD, bless His name; tell of His salvation from day to day.
In other words the entire planet is supposed to sing to the LORD. Notice the word LORD is in all caps. This isn't a typo. This is how the word Yahweh is translated into English. Yahweh, means "I Am Who I Am," or "I Will Be who I Will Be." This is how God referred to Himself when Moses asked God what He shall be called at the burning bush. Using Yahweh or LORD is different than just saying God. It is the sacred, but also the personal name of God
Yahweh is the only God.
This psalm calls the people of God to sing a song to God as he showed Himself to Moses — the great I Am. Why should we sing to Yahweh? The answer is in verse 4:
4 For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. The I AM!
You need to understand something. In the ancient world, there was god competition. Consider the gods of Egypt. Each god had a different responsibility, and they all had to work together to make the world function. For example, Nut was the goddess of the heavens. Her husband was Geb, god of the earth. And Shu, Nut's father, was the god of the air. Shu had to hold up the sky to keep it from crashing into Earth. They each had authority over different things, and somehow they're all related. There were over 28 major gods. And as you move from one dynasty of Pharaohs to the other, or as you move from upper Egypt to lower Egypt, these gods and goddesses merge and split and divide and combine. It's truly dizzying.
And this list changes as you move past the Egyptian culture and get into Greek cultures. In Greek culture, it's Zeus who has authority to send rain to the earth. He holds the lightning in his hands. But if you're on a ship in a storm, you pray to Poseidon, the god of the sea. If you wanted your crops to grow, particularly your grapes, you might go to the temple of Dionysus. Different gods for different needs.
What happens with Yahweh is this: Monotheism. God says: No, I did it all. There's only one God. I have authority over everything. It's my world, and you’re in it. This is the voice that Moses heard at the burning bush: "I Am Who I Am. I am the one who has authority over heaven and earth and authority over everything in between."
Verse 5 picks up this same thought ~ 5 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens.
Another way we could translate that word for idols is nothings: "For all the gods of the peoples are nothings." Think about what an ancient idol is? In Isaiah 44 we read this about idols ~
9 All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame.
10 Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing?
11 Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. – Isaiah 44:9-11