Thursday, February 4, 2010

Worship: Through the enjoyment of God's Word!

Worship through the WORD
Psalm 119:17-32

Psalm 119:17-32 - Deal bountifully with Your servant, That I may live and keep Your word. 18 Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. 19 I am a stranger in the earth; Do not hide Your commandments from me. 20 My soul is crushed with longing After Your ordinances at all times. 21 You rebuke the arrogant, the cursed, Who wander from Your commandments. 22 Take away reproach and contempt from me, For I observe Your testimonies. 23 Even though princes sit and talk against me, Your servant meditates on Your statutes. 24 Your testimonies also are my delight; They are my counselors. 25 My soul cleaves to the dust; Revive me according to Your word. 26 I have told of my ways, and You have answered me; Teach me Your statutes. 27 Make me understand the way of Your precepts, So I will meditate on Your wonders. 28 My soul weeps because of grief; Strengthen me according to Your word. 29 Remove the false way from me, And graciously grant me Your law. 30 I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me. 31 I cling to Your testimonies; O Lord, do not put me to shame! 32 I shall run the way of Your commandments, For You will enlarge my heart.

This morning I want to talk to you about an aspect of worship that requires a little more discipline than just coming to church and singing songs. In fact it requires a ton of discipline to do it properly. But the wonderful thing is that the more disciplined you become in it, the more worship you bring to our Lord.

Let’s see how, 18 - Deal bountifully with Your servant, That I may live and keep Your word.

The Psalmist is asking God to deal bountifully. He’s asking that in all aspects of his life that God would reveal Himself clearly. In both blessing and chastening.

There are wonderful things for us in God’s word. In fact, they are so wonderful that when you see them… I mean really and truly see them; you are changed. A change takes place in you that you can’t even control. Such that it could only be the work of an Almighty Creator. For you to be a Christian to begin with there has to have already been a profound change that took place. When you heard with your heart that you were a sinner, dead in your transgressions and that God’s wrath was on your head but Jesus died for your sins and you repented and trusted the Savior. Did that not radically change you? It should have. In fact, if it was genuine then it DID change you! If I have a flashlight with dead batteries and I change the batteries, if I really changed the batteries then the flashlight will turn on and give off light! If I lied though, and only pretended to change the batteries, then it will remain in its useless state.

And the Psalter is pleading with God for more and more of His Glory to be manifest in him.

2 Corinthians 3:18 – But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. Christian’s have nothing obstructing their view of Jesus Christ. His glory is revealed in Scripture. We see that glory in Scripture and we worship Him through disciplined study of it. We don’t need a high priest to go to God for us, we have a Great High Priest in Jesus Christ!

18 Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. - Open my eyes… it literally translated means uncover my eyes. We are blinded by our sin and cannot see anything without God’s help. No one can see these amazing glories of God in scripture unless they have been revealed to them by God. And God doesn’t reveal them to those whom He hasn’t regenerated. As you study God’s word you’d be very wise to make your prayer before hand ‘O God please open my eyes to the wonders of Your word, because God if you hide your truth from me then I cannot burn for you.’ Jeremiah 20:9 – “But if I say, “I will not remember Him or speak anymore in His name”, Then in my heard it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones; And I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot endure it.

You can probably read the Bible and catch some meaning, but you won’t see the wonder, the beauty, and the glory of it without God’s help. Back up to Psalm 119:11… how do we live a life not sinning against God? By treasuring HIS words in our heart! God has to be our treasure. And as such you have to treasure His word. We treasure the most ridiculous things sometimes. We can quote lines from movies, TV shows, and songs… but ask us to memorize a portion of Scripture and we act as though the world is ending.

When we are dating someone we hang on to the letters they write us or the text messages in this generation and we just read them over and over… but we can’t find a desire to memorize and pour over the greatest love letter ever written.

You’ve got to treasure God’s Word. Speak about it in your homes. Discuss it with your family. Do you have a time each night that you sit down and study the Bible together? I don’t mean you on this side of the room and you on this side and you’re each just reading the Word… but I mean a time when you sit down together and pick a passage or topic and pour over God’s Word and pray together so that you might better understand it! So that you might better see His truth and apply His truth.

Jesus said it like this. John 17:17 – Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. SANCTIFY!! It means to set apart. If then we are sanctified by the truth and God’s word is truth, what should our response be? That’s shown in our text this morning. TEACH ME, SHOW ME, I want to understand!

19 I am a stranger in the earth; Do not hide Your commandments from me. – I’m a stranger here. I don’t follow the morality standards of this world. Teach me YOUR commandments God because that’s where I find my moral code. My code of conduct. There’s a desperation in the words of the writer here. A desperation to be found in the Refuge of God! A sense that without the commandments of the Lord, there is no direction… without God’s word there is a great loss.

20 My soul is crushed with longing After Your ordinances at all times. – My soul is crushed… Listen to him. My soul… is… crushed… More than food and water, this is what he longs for. He can’t get enough… I wonder how often we approach God’s Word with that type of longing. That type of desire!

21 You rebuke the arrogant, the cursed, Who wander from Your commandments. 22 Take away reproach and contempt from me, For I observe Your testimonies. - He’s not being arrogant here. Because in verse 22 he admits that if those things are found in him to remove them because these things are barriers that will keep us from God. James 4:6 – But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. To the one who will humbly submit themselves to God, He will grant them grace upon grace!

23 Even though princes sit and talk against me, Your servant meditates on Your statutes. 24 Your testimonies also are my delight; They are my counselors. – Here we see a few things. One is that he’s being slandered for his faith. He’s following God’s word and he’s probably being called arrogant and pious.

The psalmist says that even though these people with lots of earthly value are criticizing you, I don’t meditate on their words. It means I don’t dwell on their words. I focus on God’s word.

There is an amazing thing that happens when God opens your eyes to His word. You begin to burn in your heart for Him. It is awesome. The more you study, the more you burn and the more you burn the more you are sanctified… and the more you are sanctified the more intensely that fire burns and you begin to proclaim His truth and stand on His word with more boldness… more unashamedly.

25 My soul cleaves to the dust; Revive me according to Your word. – Do you see this recurring theme? Every time we find sincere worship happening in Scripture it is always preceded by what? The person emptying themselves before God and listening to Him through the study of His word and prayer.

We are so prone to cleave to dust… to the things of this world. We need God to grow us past the need for worldly wants. He says I’m worldly. I am too in love with myself and this world. I’m hanging on to things that just flat don’t matter… Things that will one day perish. He’s pleading with God to give His heart one single passion to live his life for. Here’s a side note for you, anytime you are facing a decision that you are praying about and you decide to only pray about it and not seek out what God’s word says, you are setting yourselves up for trouble. You should never simply trust your heart. The Bible says that the heart is deceptive and so we are to lean on HIS understanding. His understanding is found in His Word and reinforced through our prayers.

The Bible is the inerrant word of God. There are no errors or mistakes. I’m holding onto the world God, but Your word promises revival in my soul. Oh revive me God. I see Your promises vs. the world… I want more of YOU!

26 I have told of my ways, and You have answered me; Teach me Your statutes. – He admits that in the past he’s tried to justify himself by holding up his works, his self-proclaimed goodness and here’s what happens. He says, I’ve told you of MY WAYS and YOU have answered me. If you are holding yourself up by your works then you aren’t truly seeking God. I say that because when we do seek God we always see that we need to empty ourselves of pride and lean on Him because HE IS GOD!

Isaiah 55:8-11 – For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will MY word be which goes forth from MY mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

His word won’t return void. Every word is good for teaching, rebuke, correction…

Finally then, 27 Make me understand the way of Your precepts, So I will meditate on Your wonders. 28 My soul weeps because of grief; Strengthen me according to Your word. 29 Remove the false way from me, And graciously grant me Your law. 30 I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me. 31 I cling to Your testimonies; O Lord, do not put me to shame! 32 I shall run the way of Your commandments, For You will enlarge my heart. –All these words of God have been read with his eyes and understood with his heart and he wraps up by saying. God, continue teaching me and if I won’t listen then MAKE me listen. Get my attention and MAKE me listen. He weeps because of his sin and wants to be strengthened according to His Word. His response to God’s moving in His life is an energetic one. He says ‘I SHALL run the way of Your commandments!’

What beautiful worship comes from just simply dwelling on God’s words.

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