When it seems like evil is unstoppable, know that God sees from heaven and he will act
When it seems like evil is unstoppable, know that God sees from heaven and he will act [draft sermon notes]
Published January 30th, 2019
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The Lord Is in His Holy Temple 11 To the choirmaster. Of David. 1 In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, z “Flee like a bird to your mountain, 2 for behold, the wicked a bend the bow; b they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart; 3 if c the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” 1 4 d The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord ’s e throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids f test the children of man. 5 The Lord g tests the righteous, but h his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. 6 Let him rain coals on the wicked; i fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be j the portion of their cup. 7 For the Lord is righteous; he k loves righteous deeds; l the upright shall behold his face.
11 1 לַמְנַצֵּ֗חַ לְדָ֫וִ֥ד בַּֽיהוָ֨ה ׀ חָסִ֗יתִי אֵ֭יךְ תֹּאמְר֣וּ לְנַפְשִׁ֑י נודו 1 הַרְכֶ֥ם צִפּֽוֹר ׃ 2 כִּ֤י הִנֵּ֪ה 1 הָרְשָׁעִ֡ים יִדְרְכ֬וּן קֶ֗שֶׁת כּוֹנְנ֣וּ חִצָּ֣ם עַל ־ יֶ֑תֶר לִיר֥וֹת בְּמוֹ ־ אֹ֝֗פֶל לְיִשְׁרֵי ־ לֵֽב ׃ 3 כִּ֣י הַ֭שָּׁתוֹת יֵֽהָרֵס֑וּן צַ֝דִּ֗יק מַה ־ פָּעָֽל ׃ 4 יְהוָ֤ה ׀ בְּֽהֵ֘יכַ֤ל קָדְשׁ֗וֹ יְהוָה֮ בַּשָּׁמַ֪יִם כִּ֫סְא֥וֹ עֵינָ֥יו יֶחֱז֑וּ עַפְעַפָּ֥יו יִ֝בְחֲנ֗וּ בְּנֵ֣י אָדָֽם ׃ 5 יְהוָה֮ צַדִּ֪יק יִ֫בְחָ֥ן וְ֭רָשָׁע וְאֹהֵ֣ב חָמָ֑ס שָֽׂנְאָ֥ה נַפְשֽׁוֹ ׃ 6 יַמְטֵ֥ר עַל ־ רְשָׁעִ֗ים פַּ֫חִ֥ים אֵ֣שׁ וְ֭גָפְרִית וְר֥וּחַ זִלְעָפ֗וֹת מְנָ֣ת כּוֹסָֽם ׃ 7 כִּֽי ־ צַדִּ֣יק יְ֭הוָה צְדָק֣וֹת אָהֵ֑ב יָ֝שָׁ֗ר יֶחֱז֥וּ פָנֵֽימוֹ ׃
11 1 εἰς τὸ τέλος ὑπὲρ τῆς ὀγδόης ψαλμὸς τῷ Δαυιδ 2 σῶσόν με κύριε ὅτι ἐκλέλοιπεν ὅσιος ὅτι ὠλιγώθησαν αἱ ἀλήθειαι ἀπὸ τῶν υἱῶν τῶν ἀνθρώπων 3 μάταια ἐλάλησεν ἕκαστος πρὸς τὸν πλησίον αὐτοῦ χείλη δόλια ἐν καρδίᾳ καὶ ἐν καρδίᾳ ἐλάλησαν 4 ἐξολεθρεύσαι κύριος πάντα τὰ χείλη τὰ δόλια καὶ γλῶσσαν μεγαλορήμονα 5 τοὺς εἰπόντας τὴν γλῶσσαν ἡμῶν μεγαλυνοῦμεν τὰ χείλη ἡμῶν παρ’ ἡμῶν ἐστιν τίς ἡμῶν κύριός ἐστιν 6 ἀπὸ τῆς ταλαιπωρίας τῶν πτωχῶν καὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ στεναγμοῦ τῶν πενήτων νῦν ἀναστήσομαι λέγει κύριος θήσομαι ἐν σωτηρίᾳ παρρησιάσομαι ἐν αὐτῷ 7 τὰ λόγια κυρίου λόγια ἁγνά ἀργύριον πεπυρωμένον δοκίμιον τῇ γῇ κεκαθαρισμένον ἑπταπλασίως 8 σύ κύριε φυλάξεις ἡμᾶς καὶ διατηρήσεις ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης καὶ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα 9 κύκλῳ οἱ ἀσεβεῖς περιπατοῦσιν κατὰ τὸ ὕψος σου ἐπολυώρησας τοὺς υἱοὺς τῶν ἀνθρώπων
When it seems like evil is unstoppable, know that God sees from heaven and he will act Intro : When life is falling apart, and all we relied upon is destroyed, what then? 'Flee'; give up; panic? Not if God is who he says he is! 1. God is our refuge in times of terrible evil (v1-3) v1 how can you (plural) say to my soul. Disdain and mockery from a god-less world. v2-3 the description. Wicked, attacking seemingly helpless upright in heart. The very foundations destroyed. Application Where do we fit into this? How do we know if we are wicked or upright? Our own self-assessment? No, these are 'covenantal terms' - those right with God and those not. Through the NT, it's those 'in Christ' or not. We relate to this in our day and age; foundations being destroyed. Mockery and disdain to Christians. But through Jesus we take refuge in Almighty God. Stepping forward in courageous faith. Church planting, in all its weakness, challenges the lie that 'Christianity is dead'. 2. God sees from heaven and he will act (v4-7) v4 YHWH in his holy temple/palace. I.e., he is untouched in his ruling dwelling place. Watching and testing everything. 'Heaven' is not distant, but a deeper level of reality. v5 the contrast is, the wicked are hated but the righteous are tested. v6 Calling on God to judge, not taking matters into own hands ('imprecatory'). v7 'For'. Continues from the 'gatehouse' to the city in Psalms 1-2. Expanded here; the upright are invited into intimacy with YHWH. Glory of God: He is in glorious control. He tests and sees, he will judge the wicked. He gives his personal presence to his beloved people. FCF: We are the wicked! We shoot at the upright in heart. We suffer the panic of being shot at. Feeling everything is falling apart. Person of Jesus: He is the true righteous and upright one. When you read upright in the Psalms, think Jesus! He was shot at in the dark. Work of Jesus. He suffered the terrible portion of the cup of death. If ever there was a time a despair at the success of evil and the 'foundations being destroyed', it was Good Friday. But God, who loves and saves the upright, raised him in glory and victory. A man, Jesus of Nazareth, has been seated in heaven to behold the face of God forever. Intimacy and security. Union with Jesus. By faith in him, I turn away from wickedness. I rest in the fact that I am a new creation, raised up into glorious life in Jesus. So in times of trouble I will not fear, since God is in his palace seeing and testing everything. I know that trials come as a function of his love (v5) In Jesus I enjoy communion with the Father. Wow! Application So do you see that we can only receive these verses through the person and work of Jesus? The certainty that he sees, knows and assesses The certainty that we are called 'upright' and 'righteous' in his sight - that is what we really are. The certainty that trials come as refining tests, not as markers of his displeasure. [fallacy of 'covenantal blessings and curses' to those in Christ - it's not just a better covenant, it's a new one, yet still continuous with the old] Jesus sings the curses on his confirmed enemies (cf texts applied to Judas). We aren't to take matters into our own hands. Invitation, through life in the Son, to enjoy communion with the Father; to 'behold his face' by faith in this life, and in the physical presence of Jesus in the age to come. [distinction between union and communion] Wrap-up When life is falling apart, and all we relied upon is destroyed, what then? 'Flee'; give up; panic? Not if God is who he says he is! In Jesus God has made us upright, assured us of his control and knowledge in times of trial. He has assured us of his love, even in refining trials. He has called us, through union, into communion with him.