Morning Light – July 12th, 2016

ml_2016Today: [Psalm 65-66] God is Noisy – but Reliable. In the two psalms we study today we find David in the mood to make noise. David was very celebratory and noisy when it came to his response to God. He believed that the whole capacity of man to celebrate and rejoice was given solely for the purpose of praising God and God alone. He believed that every word out of man’s mouth was a vow to God as well. He trusted in the mercy of God and the faithfulness of God to answer every prayer when his life (and ours by following his example) are offered up in praise and prayer to God.
[Psa 65:1-13 KJV] 1 [[To the chief Musician, A Psalm [and] Song of David.]] Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion: and unto thee shall the vow be performed. 2 O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come. 3 Iniquities prevail against me: [as for] our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away. 4 Blessed [is the man whom] thou choosest, and causest to approach [unto thee, that] he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, [even] of thy holy temple. 5 [By] terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; [who art] the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off [upon] the sea: 6 Which by his strength setteth fast the mountains; [being] girded with power: 7 Which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people. 8 They also that dwell in the uttermost parts are afraid at thy tokens: thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice. 9 Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, [which] is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it. 10 Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof. 11 Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness. 12 They drop [upon] the pastures of the wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every side. 13 The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.
Psalm 66 is a psalm of committed trust in God. Verse one begins with the profound statement that “praise waits for God”. The original wording in the Hebrew suggests an alternate rendering would be “public jubilation is due only to God and is abstained from until directed at God alone”. In our culture we celebrate many things but David in this psalm suggests that God and God alone is worthy of praise. This is interesting when the church world for centuries has been very staid and expressionless in it’s worship. In many churches for centuries the idea of spontaneous and vocal praise to God is considered a vulgar and unsophisticated thing to do. People in this churches look very somber and lethargic while they sing hymns of the most sublime nature as though their emotional state is completely disconnected from the content of what they are singing or the God they are singing to.
David was very inappropriate in his praise. He danced before the Lord and deeply offended his first wife who was struck barren as a result. David says in this psalm that if we are going to celebrate – the only fit reason to do so is in celebration and praise to God. For David the whole purpose of instrumentation and music is exclusively to praise and worship God. On a morning news show recently a pop star took the stage in front of several thousand people and urged the people “lift up your hands!”. I thought “whether she realizes it or not she is leading them in worship…” except the only object of worship was herself!
David goes on to say that praise belongs to God and also our vows belong to God. Jesus cautioned against making vows but to let our yea be yea and our nay be nay (Matt. 5:37). This doesn’t mean that we don’t keep our word. The Jews in Jesus’ day had different variations of truthfulness. If the swore by the city of Jerusalem it meant one thing. If they swore by the temple it was another. If they swore by the altar the oath was more binding. If they swore by the gold on the altar the oath was unbreakable. Jesus is teaching in Matt. 5 that every word out of your mouth should be as the words out of God’s mouth – without variation.
In verse 4 David says “blessed is the man that God chooses, and causes to approach Him…” That tells us that approaching God and drawing near to God is something that originates with God and not with us. Paul said in Romans 3:11 that “no man seeks after God” in our natural state. In John 6:44 Jesus said that no man seeks after God unless the Spirit draw Him. This is the calling that rests upon every man, woman and child – to come after God and to seek after His courts. The fact that you have any desire to know anything about God is proof that God has put His attention on you and made a choice where you are concerned.
[Psa 66:1-20 KJV] 1 [[To the chief Musician, A Song [or] Psalm.]] Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: 2 Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious. 3 Say unto God, How terrible [art thou in] thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee. 4 All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing [to] thy name. Selah. 5 Come and see the works of God: [he is] terrible [in his] doing toward the children of men. 6 He turned the sea into dry [land]: they went through the flood on foot: there did we rejoice in him. 7 He ruleth by his power for ever; his eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah. 8 O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard: 9 Which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved. 10 For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. 11 Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. 12 Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy [place]. 13 I will go into thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay thee my vows, 14 Which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble. 15 I will offer unto thee burnt sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams; I will offer bullocks with goats. Selah. 16 Come [and] hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul. 17 I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue. 18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear [me]: 19 [But] verily God hath heard [me]; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. 20 Blessed [be] God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.
Psalm 66 is another noisy psalm of David. One pastor made a great emphasis of being silent before God. He taught that heaven would be a place of silence and sober minded meditation. His wife was teaching on Psalms at the time and kept coming to her husband to help her quiet it down but concluded that it wasn’t possible. Psalms is a very noisy book. If you don’t like noise in church you wouldn’t like hanging out with king David – he was a very noisy king when it came to matters relating to God.
When verse 3 speaks of God being terrible it is speaking of the astonishing nature of the presence of God. The presence of God’s power in itself makes His enemies to bow before Him. In the church of the last 30 years there has been a purposeful effort made to take a casual approach to God and the things of God. Our demeanor in God’s presence should reflect His nature. When we stand before God’s throne at the end of time no one will be taking a casual posture. God is a God that evokes astonishment in those that stand before Him.
In verse 8 David tells the people to make His praise heard. You can’t really silently praise God. Praise by its very nature is verbal. This is true also in prayer. Prayer that is not verbalized is wishful thinking. It is a strategy of the enemy to keep you from verbalizing prayer and praise unto God. Learn and make the effort to break the habit of being silent in your communication with God. There is a place for praying in your heart but if that is the general way that you pray and you never make known and make your praise and prayer to be heard there is a deficit in your devotional life that will not serve you well in terms of answered prayer.
Verse 13 says we should approach God with burnt offerings and fulfilled vows. The burnt offering was not a sin offering. The burnt offering was a consecration offering. It represents YOU giving yourself to God. The vow that you keep is the vow you made when you submitted to Jesus as your Lord and Savior. To say Jesus is Lord means your choices are not your own. Your life is not your own. Paul emphasized this:
[Rom 12:1-2 KJV] 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
This living sacrifice is not a sacrifice for sin but a sacrifice for service. Even your physical body – your hands, your heart, your voice belong to God to dispose of as He will. Paul is suggesting to us that we belong to God in a very intimate and practical way. Many people are very health conscious and body conscious. I would suggest that much of the anxiety we have over our body image would be dealt with if we would see our bodies and devoted to the service of God instead of merely instruments of pleasure seeking and fulfilling our own appetites.
In verse 18 David says that if there is iniquity in our hearts that God will not hear us. This is an act of mercy. If we ask God to move in our lives and there is resentment in us toward our brother or forgiveness then we are putting ourselves at a disadvantage. It is for our own protection that faith only works by love. God will only move and bless your life to the degree that you are willing for Him to move and bless the lives of those around you – particularly those you dislike or who have wronged you in some way.
The psalm concludes with David being confident that God will answer his prayer. God will not turn away your prayer or turn His nose up at your prayer. Your prayer is not a piece of paper stuffed in the crack of a wall somewhere. Your prayers are not ignored. You are not ignored. God will hear your prayer and He will not deny you access to His mercy. When it seems that way it is up to us to check up on our heart. Are we asking mercy for ourselves and judgment for others? Satan successfully aborts answers to prayer by tempting Christians to be judgmental in their nature. Be forgiving. Be humble. Be a living sacrifice. The result will be the hand of God manifesting to deliver and bless your life.

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