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Here is a unique Psalm in this current Sunday morning series: rather than man speaking to or about God, it is God speaking directly to His people. We must sit up and pay attention! In life, sometimes there is good and sometimes bad news, even in visiting the Doctor, and here it is clear that God has both good and bad news. And He’s speaking to two distinct groups of people. Which group are you in? Read on.
INTRODUCING GOD (v1-6)
Some people might need an introduction, but hardly God!
V1 He is The Mighty One
The Bible often describes Him as Al-mighty! No one greater, stronger, more powerful.
V1 He is God
God is God! He is the one true and living God – there is no other God, who is the Creator of the universe, all living creatures, even of humankind. He sustains the world, He is the supreme judge.
V1 He is LORD
‘Jehovah’ – the personal name of God that speaks of His self-existence (no one created Him!) and all-sufficiency. He is the redeemer and covenant maker.
V6 He is a Just God
Not only a loving God, but just. We can see that in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. ‘Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right!’ (Genesis 18:25).
V14 He is the Most High
The MOST of anything is the most! Great, strong, majestic, loving… Exalted above all others.
If we were in any doubt as to God’s power and influence:
V1 He summons the earth
V2 …God shines forth
V3 A fire devours before Him, and around Him a tempest rages
V4 He summons the heavens above, and the earth, that He may judge His people
GOD SPEAKS TO THE RIGHTEOUS V8-15
This isn’t about how good or bad we are, but indicates our RELATIONSHIP to God. Christians haven’t been saved by their good deeds but by what God has done for us in Jesus. In Christ we are RIGHT before Him.
V8 I bring no charges against you (NIV 2011)
What an encouragement; firstly to sincere Jews who battled to keep the Law and failed, and then had to offer animal sacrifices as a substitute to atone for their sins; secondly, and how much greater for us this side of the cross of Christ, we come to God not bearing our own sin but the very righteousness of Christ.
We can sometimes wallow in our failings even as Christians, but God tells us He has already forgiven us…
V9-13 I have no need of… anything!
God doesn’t NEED animal sacrifices, He owns everything anyway (He owns the cattle on a thousand hills…). What God was and is looking for is the hearts’ devotion of His people.
V14-15 Keep on keeping on!
Christians need to remember 1 John 1:9, ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all righteousness.’ Interesting, in this context there is no need to mention the love of God – because of the way God’s justice was met in the cross of Christ for us, and faithfulness to His promises, we are guaranteed acceptance and renewal. Let’s renew our commitments today!
BUT (one of the bid ‘Buts’ of Scripture) v16
GOD SPEAKS TO THE WICKED v16-22
Some might recoil at the concept that we are either RIGHT before God or are part of the group He calls the ‘WICKED’. Some of the descriptions here may not match our own attitudes, values, behaviours, but if we want God’s standard of holiness, Jesus summarised the Law: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength, and then.. “Love your neighbour as yourself.” . None of us could say we’re good enough for God!
V16 What right have you…!
Whether it is endlessly reciting the Lord’s Prayer or going through the motions of church attendance, even asking Christians to pray over adverse circumstances, the one questions remains, ‘Are you right with God, through a personal faith in Jesus?!’ No one has the right to shake a fist of defiance at God.
Recently, Martin Kemp, after visiting the sobering Killing Fields of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia stated, ‘just to think, we all have a box within us which is called ‘evil’’. Sadly, that’s true.
V22 Consider this…
‘Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you’.
Even to mention this, is it hard or callous of me, or being ‘holier than thou’? No – all Christians have had to come to God via the cross, humbly acknowledging their guilt and inability to save themselves, and put their faith in Christ. We love, pray for and long that others come to know Christ as well.
God has said, ‘Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation’ (2 Corinthians 6:2). We can’t come when it suits us but when God calls.
Verses 22-23 are an excellent conclusion, ‘Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you: those who sacrifice thank-offerings honour me, and to the blameless I will show my salvation.