Psalm 19 8/3/15
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.
The earth is a testament to the greatness of our God. I have travelled around a good deal of Australia, though there is still heaps I have not seen. This country we live in is amazing, I have seen numerous different landscapes, desert, rainforest, mallee, Farms of all different sorts, I've swum in lakes, dams, oceans and rivers. climbed mountains, trees and hills. This land we live in vast and wonderful. At night, especially here at Rainbow the heavens put on a magnificent show, and the sunsets and sunrises we get here are breathe taking.
Our psalm today reminds us that creation points towards it's creator. " The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge. "
The heaven tell us of God, but we as Christians know that we shouldn't look to the heavens for our answers, we shouldn't look up into the heaven to find evidence Of God and his will for us. Right after telling us that the heaven tell of God's glory, the psalmist tells us that we do not hear it's voice.
" There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. "
The heavens, the mountains, this earth proclaims God's handiwork, but you are not going to be able to come into a loving relationship with God, by sitting on top of a mountain looking at stars.
The one way, the only sure way of knowing God, and having a relationship with him is through his word.
The old testament was broken up into the Pentateuch, the prophets and the history and wisdom books. The Pentateuch is the first five books, they are the more important books of the old testament, where God creates everything and sets forth the plan of salvation that reaches fulfillment with his Son.
In Lutheran theology we teach Law and Gospel. Law is what you have to do to get into heaven, and the gospel tells us that Christ, fulfilled the law on our behalf. In the old testament Law is not always so narrow, sometimes it's those first five books of the bible, and sometimes it's used to talk about all of scripture.
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
This is clearly not just the laws we heard in the ten commandments. when I hear those I do not feel revived, but I am reminded of my inability to live them out. If I want to be revived I'll read something of Paul or go to a gospel and hear What Christ promises to do through the water of baptism, and his body and blood at Communion.
God's word revives us, it brings peace and often puts things in perspective. It reminds us of God's everlasting love for us and the joy he has in us. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made. each individuals created with our own strengths and weaknesses and known and loved by God.
We know God loves us because we read it in scripture, as we read it our soul is revived and we gain a greater understanding of God, we gain wisdom.
the decrees of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple;
Trust in God is the purest form of wisdom. And it comes from the Holy Spirit through prayer, and hearing God's word.
AS we read God's word, The Holy Spirit works in us, changing us to be more like Jesus, and strengthening our trust in Him. There is lots of practical advice in the bible. The ten commandments and the book of proverbs are great for those sorts of things. It is a good thing to have the ten commandments on your mind, to go through them in the morning before you start the day, and go through them at night at the end.
as the psalmist says,
Moreover by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
At the start of the day if you think of the ten commandments use that as a warning to keep you on the straight and narrow, praying along with the psalmist, Keep back your servant also from the insolent; do not let them have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
And then when the day has ended or when the burden of broken commandments weighs you down, turn to God in trust and prayer, asking him for the soothing balm of the gospel.
The commands of God are very good things, they tell us how to live in harmony with ourselves and with others. But in the end, knowing what the good and right thing to do does not help us do it. It is only the Holy Spirit and the constant return to God in repentance that helps us live a righteous life. I could tell you all the things that you could and should be doing but it's useless unless I tell you that Jesus Christ has already done what matters.
God is in control. He has given us His word and the confidence that everything we need to know about God is in his book. God has sealed us with his Holy Spirit, and it is through that Holy Spirit alone that we do good works, and have come to believe in Jesus. we hear it multiple times in the bible, God lets people suffer the results of their sin and the sin of others, hoping that they will turn to him, who can redeem them and cure all their wounds. Your sin, your struggles to live out the Holiness you have received, does not mean you are any less of a child of God.
This world has amazing things in it, wonderful people, beautiful scenery all of it singing the praises of it's creator It's good to enjoy the blessing's of God's good creation enjoying fellowship and food, but by far is enjoying those things along with God's word.
God loves you, he knows you intimately, and he loves you. He sent his Son, to live out the commandments perfectly on our behalf. We are righteous because of what he did, We added no good things to Christ's sacrifice, but that's ok, because the payment He paid, was the perfect amount. Trust in God, be filled with the Holy Spirit and continue to deepen your relationship with God and your trust in his word. amen.
the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus amen.