Talk given by John MacDiarmid at Poole High School for PCF on Sunday morning 28 August 2016
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We continue our series in the Psalms under the heading “Songs in the Key of life”, We don’t know the circumstances in which David wrote this Psalm but we are, as before, invited right into David’s reflections on the realities of life.
1. The Character of Man
The current culture of trying to persuade us of how awesome we are, does not sit easily with the Bible’s description of us as sinners, rebels and fallen people at war with God. We are thoser who God created for relationship with Him, now desparately lost and away from Him. The opening verses summarise it well:
I have a message from God in my heart
concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:[b]
There is no fear of God
before their eyes.
2 In their own eyes they flatter themselves
too much to detect or hate their sin.
3 The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful;
they fail to act wisely or do good.
4 Even on their beds they plot evil;
they commit themselves to a sinful course
and do not reject what is wrong.
Paul agrees when he says in Romans:
What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 10 As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.”[b]
The hardest thing for us all is that we have to realise that we are the ones being spoken of here. This is not a description of the hardened sinners who are so much worse than that, it is the outworking of what Augustine called “original sin”, what the theologians call “total depravity” – it is us!
Left as we are, our case is hopeless. We are lost.
What can be done?
2. The Character of God
So why does God not totally discard and send us into oblivion? The answer lies on the character of God. Various words are used of God here:
“Love” – not the mushy Hollywood version of love, but a fierce determination to act in the interests of the object of the one loved.
“Faithfulness” – a commitment to someone in spite of whatever failings they may have
“Righteousness” – a total moral purity that surpasses anything we can imagine, and which makes the best of humans look like a wreck
“Justice” – an unswerving commitment to ensure that right wins, that sin is punished.
How can all these facets co-exist and make it possible for God to live with man? David rejoiced in it, but he didn’t understand why. We do . God sent his sin to make peace on the cross, showing God’s love, his faithfulness, his righteousness and his justice and making it possible for God to show his unswerving love to any of the human race who would receive it.
3. The Constancy of God’s Love
How does this work out in practice?
- God preserves man and beats – instead of destroying them, He gives them a chance to respond to him
- He provides a refuge for those who follow him
- He provides a feast of provision
- He provides a fountain of life.
- He responds to the prayers of those who love Him