Getting To Know Gods Will
Chap 16 Part 3 of 4
God creates. Israel’s faith stood on two mighty creative acts. The Psalms celebrate God’s creation.
READ: Psalms 104
The Psalms also celebrated God’s creation of the nation Israel by delivering a slave people from Egypt.
Psalm 77:16-20; “16 The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled. 17 The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound: thine arrows also went abroad. 18 The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook. 19 Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known. 20 Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.”
Psalm 78:12-13; “12 Marvellous things did he in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan. 13 He divided the sea, and caused them to pass through; and he made the waters to stand as an heap.”
Psalm 95:7; “7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,”
Psalm 100:3; “3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”
READ: Psalm 106
Creation faith led Israel away from pagan worship, for it called the nations to praise Israel’s God.
Psalm 96:1-4; “1 O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth. 2 Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; show forth his salvation from day to day. 3 Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. 4 For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods.”
Such belief in God as Creator also led Israel to call upon the natural elements – sun, moon, stars – to worship the God of Israel, a remarkable claim in a world where such elements were worshiped as chief gods by Israel’s neighbors.
Psalm 148:1-5; “1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights. 2 Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts. 3 Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. 4 Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. 5 Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.”
Even the feared sea monsters were viewed as frolicking creatures of Israel’s God.
Psalm 104:24-26; “24 O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. 25 So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. 26 There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein.”
God rules. Because God is Creator of nature and director of human history, He controls nature and historical events. Free human sinners may thwart His purpose for the time being, but His ultimate goal for creation and His purpose of redemption shall be achieved. The will of God shall be done on earth, in history, as it is done in heaven. The Lord’s ultimate goal for His creation is an age of peace, the realization of the kingdom of God on earth.
Psalm 46:8-11; “8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. 9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. 10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. 11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah”
To say God is sovereign King of the universe means He cannot be controlled or manipulated by men and women. He hears our laments and complaints but remains free to act how and when He chooses. He saves from destruction and dispenses justice. God’s sovereignty extends over the whole of creation and all the nations.
Psalm 22:27-28; “27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. 28 For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and he is the governor among the nations.”
His kingdom, across all generations, is everlasting.
Psalm 145:10-13; “10 All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee. 11 They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; 12 To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom. 13 Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.”
God reveals Himself. People do not discover God; He reveals Himself to them. In special events, such as the Exodus from Egypt and the coming of Christ, God disclosed Himself to those ready to receive Him. He raised prophets such as Moses to interpret His acts of revelation to His people.
Isaiah 40:5; “5And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.”
God chooses. God chose to reveal Himself in a particular land to an elect nation. He elected Abraham,
Psalm 47:9; “9 The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham: for the shields of the earth belong unto God: he is greatly exalted.”
Psalm 105:6-7; “6 O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen. 7 He is the LORD our God: his judgments are in all the earth”.
….and the nation of Israel;
Psalm 33:12; “12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.”
Psalm 105:6; “6 O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen.”
….but His purpose included all nations.
Psalm 117:1-2; “1 O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. 2 For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.”
Such election involves both privilege and the responsibility to obey God and share one’s faith. Evangelism and mission result from the electing love of God.
Psalm 96:1-3; “1 O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth. 2 Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; show forth his salvation from day to day. 3 Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.”
God’s election is always of grace and always at the divine initiative. No human can ever deserve the electing love of God. As humans, we can only experience God’s loving election and respond in praise and gratitude, obedience and worship. Election calls us to live in covenant relationship with the Creator and with one another.
God forgives. The Psalms take sin seriously. All sin is opposed to God, and all people are sinners. The Psalms divide people into two groups: the friends of God (forgiven sinners) and the enemies of God and His people (those who do not seek divine forgiveness). Psalm 1 sets forth this truth clearly. The psalmist depicts these two types of people and what happens to them. Many different words describe our separation and estrangement from our Maker. These expressions include missing the mark, evil, wickedness, transgression, and iniquity.
Psalm 32:5; “5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah”
Because the psalmists took sin seriously, they focused on the importance of divine forgiveness. “Create in me a pure heart, O God”.
Psalm 51:10; “10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”
To experience divine forgiveness, people must turn from sin and return to the Lord.
Psalm 80:3, 7, 19; “3 Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved…. 7 Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved….
19 Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.”
God saves. Psalms couples divine forgiveness with salvation. This concept has several facets: God saves from pain and suffering to wellness and wholeness; He saves from sin to pardon; and He saves from the danger of death, giving life. Salvation in the Psalms is both material and spiritual. God saves us in the midst of suffering, with His presence and comfort, and simultaneously saves believers from suffering and from the penalty of our sins. God does not treat our sins fairly. Instead, God Himself atones for our sins, covering them over. He lifts the burden of guilt, cancels the sin debt, and no longer remembers our sin against us. Forgiveness, atonement, and salvation are rooted in the gracious nature and activity of God. He wants to be our Redeemer.
Psalm 103:2-14; “2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: 3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; 4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; 5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6 The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. 7 He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel. 8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. 9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. 10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. 13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. 14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.”
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